Author Topic: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)  (Read 224112 times)

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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1680 on: September 18, 2017, 12:04:15 PM »
I've completed my most ambitious discography to-date: [cross-post from the LvBSQ4t thread]


A Survey of Beethoven String Quartet Cycles

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2017/09/a-survey-of-beethoven-string-quartet.html


A heck of a lot of work -- and VERY appreciative of any corrections and additions! (Todd!?!)

Offline George

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1681 on: September 24, 2017, 12:42:17 PM »
I've completed my most ambitious discography to-date: [cross-post from the LvBSQ4t thread]


A Survey of Beethoven String Quartet Cycles

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2017/09/a-survey-of-beethoven-string-quartet.html


A heck of a lot of work -- and VERY appreciative of any corrections and additions! (Todd!?!)

Hey, a friend of mine on another site, wanted me to pass this on to you:

Quote
Since you're in contact with the compiler, would you mind passing on a tidbit (that he may already know, but that doesn't appear in the listings): in addition to the labels shown, the Pascal set was released at least in part on Concert Hall Society. That was related to Musical Masterpiece Society in some way, and he does list it in that form.
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1682 on: September 24, 2017, 12:46:26 PM »
Hey, a friend of mine on another site, wanted me to pass this on to you:

Thanks for that - and much appreciated. Will look into it tomorrow and see what info should/needs to be added.


Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1683 on: September 30, 2017, 06:34:45 PM »
I have acquired a curious recording from crq.org.uk

In 1966 the BBC had a series "The Composer Conducts" and Robert Simpson chose to conduct Beethoven's Eroica. He took an "authentic approach" which consisted of using modern instruments but in the strength that they would have had in Beethoven's orchestra (ie fewer strings), and going back to the original score discarding changes that subsequent conductors had introduced to deal with the increased number of strings, and with passages where they thought Beethoven was limited by his natural brass instruments.

The result, although the sound is not great, is amazing and Simpson's tempi are very fast. Here is comparison between Simpson's tempi and those the Hannover Band, Anima Aeterna, and (for an example of a slow conductor) Guilini:

              I           II         III          IV
HB         17.19    13.43   5.24      10.24
AE          16.46    13.23   5.36      10.54
Simpson  16.44    15.10   5.49      10.57
Guilini      21.07    17.52   6.39      13.59

It will be seen that Simpson is the fastest of all in the first movement!

Offline amw

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1684 on: September 30, 2017, 07:49:43 PM »
(Although actually slower than the indicated tempo, which is not taken by very many people other than Scherchen w the VSOO.... 14:47 iirc, with repeat)

Offline Jo498

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1685 on: October 01, 2017, 01:34:41 AM »
Scherchen is the fastest, but there are bunch of others who come pretty close: Leibowitz (w/o repeat), Gielen, Gardiner, Norrington (all about 20-40 sec. behind Scherchen or so). And there are bunch more slightly below/around 16 min with repeat.
16:44 is probably on the fast side of median but I would not call it fast. Note that Giulini ist among the slowest ever (although I think there is one from the very late Klemp with 18 min w/o repeat, the 1950s Klemp was moderate/average with about 15 min w/o repeat).

I love Taruskin's comparison in an essay on Beethoven performance that listening to the Scherchen one feels like the audience watching Roger Bannister running the mile sub 4 minutes for the first time must have felt...

And you can see that Simpson is rather traditional in the funeral march instead of the HIP 12-13 minutes.

He seems fastish in the finale, although again here long playing times are often mostly due to a bigger slow down in the andante section than the score calls for not for sticking to the crazy tempo of the main section, most are slower than indicated but reasonably close.
I wonder if Beethoven really wanted the variations as fast as the initial "flourish" because both the tempo words and the fast M.M. (half note 76, faster than the finale of the 7th that "feels" much faster) are much faster than the indications for the variation theme in the Prometheus music and the piano variations (where it is marked something like "allegretto", not "allegro vivace"). In any case I think some flexibility in the variations in the finale is appriopriate even when not explicitly indicated.
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Offline Cato

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Sonata #23 Essay by P. Jumppanen
« Reply #1686 on: October 09, 2017, 03:51:27 AM »
Courtesy of the Oct. 7/8th 2017 edition of the Wall Street Journal:

Quote
In Beethoven’s ‘Appassionata,’ darkness overwhelms light.

By Paavali Jumppanen
Oct. 6, 2017 12:25 p.m. ET

In 1804, following works born of the idealism of the French Revolution and the Enlightenment such as his “Eroica” Symphony, Beethoven created the greatest musical explosion for solo piano of its time: the Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, known as the “Appassionata.” It is a work of a very different temper.

Composed soon after Beethoven first faced the catastrophic prospect of incurable deafness, the work has fascinated and confounded performers and listeners ever since. Full of tragic power, the sonata is arguably Beethoven’s darkest and most aggressive work. It has been compared to Dante’s “Inferno” and Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”

To this day pianists the world over wrestle with the jarring drama of this technically ferocious keyboard marvel. Having experienced the thrilling yet strenuous task of performing it numerous times, I can attest to the truth of what Carl Czerny, the composer’s most influential student, said of it: Performers must “develop the kind of physical and mental powers that will be needed to be able to represent the beauties of the noble musical picture.”

The main expectation of the Viennese Classical sonata was to provide the listener with a well-balanced mix of delight and surprise. Mozart was particularly skillful in the former, while Haydn excelled at the latter. Beethoven’s recipe was to write an emotionally involving composition that would hold the listener’s full attention until the very end, one in which shifts and surprises were part of a dramatic entirety.

Among Beethoven’s 32 sonatas, the “Appassionata” stands out for its uncompromising pianistic drive and extremely effective dramaturgy. One early 20th-century commentator spoke of the work’s “rush deathward.” The absence of any hint of a silver lining in the work was well ahead of its time.

Over the course of its three movements, the “Appassionata” pulls the listener through a wide range of extreme emotions. The drama begins with the pianist slowly reaching to the keyboard. Unison notes then fall downward and stalk upward, giving rise to a mysterious stillness. Suddenly the music bursts its bounds, and as it charges ahead the pace relaxes into a lyrical and hymn-like episode of graceful beauty. The dream soon proves to be a nightmare, though, as the fierce turbulence that lurked behind the work’s quiet opening regains its full potential. More dramatic shifts follow as episodes of extreme velocity, furiously jolting rhythms (that could be described as jazzy had they been created a hundred years later), and moments of solace alternate in transporting the listener.

But is the source of the diabolic power of the “Appassionata” simply the drama of violent surprises and shifts of mood? In my view it stems from something deeper, the way Beethoven highlights the tension between what was by then Western music’s most fundamental building blocks, the major and minor keys. You know what these are even if you think you don’t. Music in a major key usually sounds optimistic, cheerful; music in a minor key often sounds sad, even foreboding. These traits—naturally elaborated and complicated beyond what words can describe—add much to the music’s meaning and provide a kind of a dramatic framework.

In Beethoven’s day, “public” works such as symphonies needed to end upbeat and in a major key; it simply wouldn’t do to send a large audience home with an unpleasant aftertaste. However, in pieces written for smaller, private audiences, such as piano sonatas, Beethoven was emboldened to continue in the darker mode until the very end. In the “Appassionata” he made use of this freedom as he did nowhere else.

Throughout the sonata we are witness to a back-and-forth drama of major conquered by minor, or, if you will, darkness overwhelming light. Much of the piece’s harmonic structure includes the systematic repression of brighter themes in major keys. The first movement’s lyrical second theme (in A-flat major) is the first victim. The propitious melody comes to a sudden standstill; a strident chord interrupts and the music veers off into minor. Throughout the rest of the movement, other major keys become strangled by minor. This impulse reaches its climax in the cataclysmic second part of the sonata, which comprises the second and third movements, which follow each other without a break.

Remaining entirely in major, the second movement denies the horrors of the first movement until the sudden and terrific opening gesture of the minor key finale crushes the hopes represented by the major once and for all. The major mode makes one last attempt at an entrance near the very end of the work, but tragically late. And because of its tardiness it sounds like devil’s laughter in the face of ultimate damnation.

Czerny speculated about the finale that, “Perhaps Beethoven, ever fond of representing natural scenes, imagined the waves of the sea in a stormy night, whilst cries of distress are heard from afar.” Audiences over the past two centuries have perceived them to be devastatingly close. The modern listener may be inclined to either view, while every performance cultivates a truth of its own. In the end, what remains certain is that the “Appassionata” is a masterpiece that remains eternally fascinating with its eerie, brilliant and original wildness.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1687 on: October 09, 2017, 05:31:31 AM »
Splendid essay.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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http://www.karlhenning.com/
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1688 on: October 09, 2017, 06:22:51 AM »
Love the essay and such, but if I may be a curmudgeon for a second: classical music in newspapers isn't helped if the paywall (in this case) or at the very least clicks on the article are syphoned off by cross-posting the content. If we like the fact that newspapers let people like Jumppanen write about such topics, we should all click on the article (even if we don't have access), or access it through a Google News search (which usually works) and most of all: COMMENT on it. Editors measure the worthiness of an article by the amount of comments, I am afraid to say.

Offline Cato

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1689 on: October 09, 2017, 06:29:36 AM »
Splendid essay.

I thought so too!  0:)   The idea of Beethoven swirling together the "delight" of Mozart and the "surprise" of Haydn - together with his own innate sense of drama, contemplation, joy, etc. - is an excellent observation.

Love the essay and such, but if I may be a curmudgeon for a second: classical music in newspapers isn't helped if the paywall (in this case) or at the very least clicks on the article are syphoned off by cross-posting the content. If we like the fact that newspapers let people like Jumppanen write about such topics, we should all click on the article (even if we don't have access), or access it through a Google News search (which usually works) and most of all: COMMENT on it. Editors measure the worthiness of an article by the amount of comments, I am afraid to say.

I did not give the usual link because, unfortunately, unless you are a subscriber, what you will see is an ad for subscribing, after the first paragraph or so.  The Wall Street Journal used to allow subscribers to spread the article via a link, but now even that has been proscribed.

As a 25+ year subscriber, I am often surveyed by the company about the likes and dislikes, and so I always push the Arts/Music/Literature etc. articles which still, thankfully, appear.  With the birth of the weekend edition some years ago,the WSJ has improved greatly on that point.

« Last Edit: October 09, 2017, 06:33:15 AM by Cato »
"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1690 on: October 09, 2017, 06:58:45 AM »

As a 25+ year subscriber, I am often surveyed by the company about the likes and dislikes, and so I always push the Arts/Music/Literature etc. articles which still, thankfully, appear.  With the birth of the weekend edition some years ago, the WSJ has improved greatly on that point.

I didn't mean to be combative - just saying how editors work. And glad for everything that's going in the right direction. Incidentally, you can still access the article w/out a subscription by Google-NEWS searching the title. That way, they still get the click and (I think) some money from Google.

Offline Cato

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1691 on: October 09, 2017, 08:15:27 AM »
I didn't mean to be combative - just saying how editors work. And glad for everything that's going in the right direction. Incidentally, you can still access the article w/out a subscription by Google-NEWS searching the title. That way, they still get the click and (I think) some money from Google.

No no, I did not assume anything combative!  0:)  Good to know about by-passing the ad/restriction!
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1692 on: October 10, 2017, 03:43:37 AM »
Beethoven Piano Sonata Cycle Survey updated: Richard Goode's 1993 Nonesuch cycle has been re-issued by Warner.


Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 4, 1990 - 1996

Offline ørfeo

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1693 on: October 11, 2017, 01:12:22 AM »
I would have thought the 'Moonlight' sonata was equally an example of a dramatic minor key finale.
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1694 on: October 13, 2017, 07:02:28 AM »
It's been a couple years, but I've finally put the information I have collected into a preliminary shape of an alphabetical index (with links) of every (?) Beethoven Symphony Cycle ever recorded. (And some that aren't really cycles, but you'll pardon that. Tricky cut-off line and I'd rather be too inclusive than exclusive.)



A Survey of Beethoven Symphony Cycles: Alphabetical Index



Any and all help is much appreciated. Obviously many details are not included in this listing, but will in the final form -- such as soloists of the 9th, choirs, and to which extent some cycles are not complete or cobbled together or partially identical.

Thread might best be pursued in here: Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1695 on: November 13, 2017, 02:02:08 PM »
Arguably the all-round best #LvB SQ4t cycle there is! Finally given some re-release love w/a deluxe edition!
Hard to believe the Quartet had to pay for the recordings, when they made them.




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Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1696 on: November 13, 2017, 04:26:48 PM »
Arguably the all-round best #LvB SQ4t cycle there is! Finally given some re-release love w/a deluxe edition!
Hard to believe the Quartet had to pay for the recordings, when they made them.




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I have the original Takács releases of the early and middle quartets. They're my faves for those quartets. For the late, still lovin' the Hagens.
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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1697 on: November 13, 2017, 04:42:18 PM »
Arguably the all-round best #LvB SQ4t cycle there is! Finally given some re-release love w/a deluxe edition!
Hard to believe the Quartet had to pay for the recordings, when they made them.

To what extent is the edition deluxe? Is it claimed that the compact discs are "remastered?" The recordings are from 2002-2004 and from the booklet it appears they were recorded using standard PCM technology. My experience is that the original releases of recordings from that general time frame are already more or less as good as they are going to get.

Offline Jeffrey Smith

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1698 on: November 13, 2017, 06:25:16 PM »
I think deluxe refers to the packaging.

As it happens,  I am listening to the Quatour Mosaiques recording of the late quartets right now (CD 1, nos 12 and 14). Despite the gut strings and A=432, I am most reminded of Quartetto Italiano.

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1699 on: November 14, 2017, 04:49:00 AM »
I would have happily bought that Takacs box, if I hadn't already bought the Middle and Late quartets from the series. Hunted them down only a couple of years ago.
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

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