Classical Corner Classical Music Corner

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by George P, May 29, 2015.

  1. rischa

    rischa Where'd Dizzy go?

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Looks good! My Chopin is limited to a few Rubenstein CDs, which I have to admit I haven't listened to in years. I should add them to the queue.
     
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  2. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    [​IMG]

    Another night, another set of Nocturnes. Wasowski plays slow like Tipo, but he really makes it work. He also has gorgeous sound. A very special set. Unfortunately, OOP.
     
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  3. JuniorMaineGuide

    JuniorMaineGuide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
    I’m glad you included this as part of your “survey”. I picked it up recently at a thrift shop and really enjoyed it.
     
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  4. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    Glad you enjoyed it!

    If it wasn't obvious yet, :laugh: I really love the Nocturnes, I can't get enough of them.
     
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  5. dale 88

    dale 88 Errand Boy for Rhythm

    Location:
    west of sun valley
    Disc 7 from a Roussel 11 CD box
    Albert Roussel Edition
    Erato, 2019
    Roussel: Bacchus et Ariane
    Jean Martinon, conductor
    Orchestre National ORTF

    Roussel: Symphony no. 4
    Charles Munch, conductor
    Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux

    Roussel: Sinfonietta
    Andre Cluytens, conductor
    Orchestre de la Societe des Concerts du Conservatoire.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    [​IMG]

    Ciani performs the 18 Chopin Nocturnes (and more) in this 2CD set, which is so rare that it took me 15 minutes to even find an image. The performances are live and seem to have been recorded from the audience, mid-December 1973. So the sound isn't that great to begin with. Couple that with nearly constant coughing and you have your work cut out for you to hear past all of this to enjoy the performances. A friend had suggested this set to me years ago and I have tried a number of times to see what he saw in it, but it just isn't happening. Tempo choices at times are odd, piano tone is bangy in spots and overall it just isn't a successful performance, even if I ignore the sound limitations. Not recommended.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
  7. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    OK, I won't rush out to hunt down a copy. I blush to admit this pianist's name is entirely new to me.
     
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  8. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    Wikipedia, the encyclopedia anyone can edit, is my friend: it has an article about Ciani, albeit in not quite 100% idiomatic English. He died in a 1974 automobile accident at age 32; according to the article, one of his last recitals included the complete Chopin Nocturnes. I wonder if this recording came from it? He "attended advanced courses" (I suspect that means participated in master classes) with Cortot, who is said to have described him as follows: "miraculously gifted ... one of the most remarkable examples of the rarest talents one could hope to find." Of course, that may just mean he paid his bill on time! ;)
     
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  9. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    :laugh:
     
  10. rischa

    rischa Where'd Dizzy go?

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    I've been on a Baroque kick for a few weeks. Picked this Bach/Oistrach record up at a used book store yesterday, listening to it now. Elegant yet energetic performance by the orchestra and soloists (so far), but damn the noisy as hell DG vinyl.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
  11. Robert Godridge

    Robert Godridge Forum Resident


    Here's a very rare record, only issued in Germany I believe. This is not from the famous English Decca set from 1953. Part of a trade with a fellow collector! Telmanyi's 78s aren't really common and this one was a mail order only issue I think.
     
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  12. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    I may be slow, but it does take me a while. :oops: This morning I got out my copy of the Chopin etude played by Busoni and gave it a whirl. It proved prone to the same sort of distortion your copy has, although (depending on the stylus) I think to a lesser degree. Comparing it to a couple of modern recordings on CDs, I find that the record runs at around 82 RPM. I also find a possible explanation, at least in part, for its tendency to blast: it's relatively weak in the bass, even compared to other acoustic recordings. I'm guessing Columbia's cutter may have been "bright" and peaky, causing rough patches in the original master that in the pressed copies would grow worse when they were played with steel needles.

    For what it's worth, my best results so far have been with a Shure V15Vx-MR cartridge and 4.0 mil truncated elliptical stylus. A 3.5 mil non-truncated elliptical in a Pickering XV15/625e was also better than the rest; I haven't compared the two directly, and I'm out of time for now.

    Never a dull moment with acoustic 78s!
     
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  13. Robert Godridge

    Robert Godridge Forum Resident

    blimy 82rpm? it didn't sound too slow to me at 78 at least the Bach side which I know better didn't. I will try speeding it up to around 82, you're probably rite and my transfer is probably a bit slow.
    Never a dull moment with acoustic 78s indeed! the people who just play their records on acoustic machines (including me if I'm not digitising) have it fairly easy in that a fibre or steel needle just sounds good out of the packet.
    Sounds like we're both using similar equipment for our 78s.
     
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  14. crispi

    crispi Vinyl Archaeologist

    Location:
    Berlin
    I would definitely go out on a limb and say that's not a genuine DG cover. Biggest giveaway is the choice of typefaces (Tahoma!) and no catalogue number in the top right corner... Fan-made, I'd say. Not saying that he didn't record for DG, but that that is an unofficial cover. Or somebody was very drunk at DG Italy :)
     
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  15. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    Or both. :winkgrin:
     
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  16. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    [​IMG]

    Next up on my survey of the Chopin Nocturne sets that I own is Pires. After Ciani, her full digital sound was welcome to my ears. I also enjoyed her playing more than I have in the past. Previously, I was let down by her Nocturnes, as she plays them with a wider dynamic range than anyone I have heard. She plays them less like Nocturnes and more like Ballades, very dramatic. These are Nocturnes for the concert hall, not for the living room. Once that is established, I was more able to enjoy her take on these works. I think these are best played at dusk, rather than deep into the night.

    Since she presents these works in a unique way, I plan to hold onto this set. I wouldn't recommend her as a first or even a second set, though. For that I would suggest Arrau and Moravec. For a set in modern sound, Wasowski is superb at presenting the works at slower tempos and Freire splendidly plays them at more conventional tempos. Except for Wasowski, all of these sets are currently in print. The Wasowski is well worth hunting down, though, along with his wonderful Mazurkas.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
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  17. TonyACT

    TonyACT Boxed-in!

    I recently purchased the 2005 Pollini set which has some very mixed reviews - would be interested in your thoughts if you have heard them.

    Another in my 'one year soon' pile :cool:
     
  18. J.A.W.

    J.A.W. Music Addict

    We usually have different tastes, but I wholeheartedly second these recommendations, they are all worth having.
     
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  19. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Forum Resident

    Spinning-
    [​IMG]
     
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  20. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    [​IMG]

    This set compiles all of Askenase's Chopin recordings. His first piano teacher was his mother. She was a pupil of Mukili, who was a pupil of Chopin himself. Askenase plays the Nocturnes straight and by modern standards at least, at a slightly rushed tempo. The sound is dull, but thankfully the performances are not, they are different. The performances seem like they are from another time, though the recordings were only made in 1952-1954. This is Chopin played in a very masculine way. It focuses on being more dignified than on beauty. I'd wager that people who would like a strightforward, unsentimental Chopin would like these. No sniffing of the flowers here. What Backhaus is to Beethoven, Askenase is to Chopin.
     
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  21. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    I did hear that set, back when it came out. What I can recall is that I disliked it less than I expected to. Pollini's style is really not to my taste in romantic music, though his DG CD of the Chopin Etudes is impressive. I recently picked that up at a used shop.
     
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  22. TonyACT

    TonyACT Boxed-in!

    He is an interesting interpreter. I read one review suggesting he is a cold and un-emotional player and thereby unsuited to the nocturnes.

    By way of contrast I have a DVD of him playing Beethoven's Piano Concertos 4 and 5 with Bohm and the Vienna Philharmonic. He is lively and energetic, jumping up off his chair at times with strong emotions written across his face. My favourite performances of these works.
     
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  23. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    [​IMG]

    Another set of Nocturnes, this time from rare box set that, for a few years was difficult for me to find, until it popped up one day in the old J&R Music store in downtown NYC. An online acquaintance who was a Chopin fanatic had recommended the pianists' Chopin Nocturnes set to me, so I was excited to finally find it. The sound is lovely, the pianist's Fazioli (clearer, brighter than a steinway) piano is captured nicely. Ciccolini's style lies at the opposite side of the spectrum from Ashkenase and Smeterlin. He sniffs each and every flower, at times losing forward momentum in the process. Still, his touch and tone are gorgeous, and his playing evokes a light, evening daydream. He plays in the style of Tipo, but his playing is more effective and his sound is clearer. He handles both the tender passages and the tumultuous ones equally well. In the tender passages, he savors every note, much like Arrau. Unlike Arrau, though, the sound and textures are light and brighter than Arrau's darker, heavier tones and sound. All in all, this set remains among my favorites, as the pros greatly outweigh the cons.

    For the Nocturnes, Arrau remains my favorite, then probably Moravec. After these two, the rest of my favorites are Wasowski, Ciccolini and Freire, probably in that order.
     
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  24. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    I agree. He is very interesting. One listen to his Chopin Etudes would convince anyone his playing can be intense and yes, emotional. Still, I think many other pianists find far more beauty in the music than he does. I just don't think that is his goal. Or his style. I think he excels in modern music, stuff like Schoenberg. I hope you enjoy his Nocturnes when you get to them.

    By the way, another pianist known for being cold and more focused on technique than beauty is Weissenberg, and I enjoy his Nocturnes. So there really are no rules, no science to this stuff.

    A friend of mine, who is a certified Beethoven piano nut rates that recording of the 5th PC above all others. I bought it at his recommendation and have enjoyed it ever since. For the 4th I love Arrau/Haitink.
     
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  25. rischa

    rischa Where'd Dizzy go?

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Has anyone compared these two releases of Grumiaux's Sonatas and Partitas? I have the one in the top picture but was considering getting the 2001 version seen in the bottom pic, as a couple reviews said It sounds better.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

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