Author Topic: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)  (Read 250679 times)

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Baron Scarpia

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1700 on: December 19, 2017, 02:20:48 PM »
Hello. About the controversial subject of Beethoven's tempi, I've been making some research and just realized one important fact that many maybe seem to be missing. The 9th was played in other parts of the world several months after it's debut in 1824, and received raving critiques. His other symphonies were also played by orchestras all over. So the conductors must have naturally followed the tempi that Beethoven marked. We have the original manuscript, and if it had wrong markings, they would have been corrected while Beethoven was still alive, in order for his 9th to have been played appropriately. The same goes for the broken metronome argument. Other conductors that played his symphonies must have communicated with Beethoven if they though his markings were off. Maybe some of these conductors were in the debut as well. The other argument that I've seen is that at the time they used one complete cycle of the metronome back and fourth, as one beat, so that would mean that the tempo should be halved, or something like that, and while not an expert on classical music, far from it, I am not sure about it, as it possibly wouldn't agree with the old system of "Allegro ma non troppo" e.t.c.

Your argument has huge assumptions. In Beethoven's time the metronome had just started to come into use. Quite possibly contemporary conductors looked at the traditional tempo markings and simply ignored the metronome markings.

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1701 on: January 31, 2018, 01:41:41 PM »
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Classical CD Of The Week: Classic Beethoven From Vienna Via Korea


I would argue that this is the most successful of the six cycles the orchestra has recorded.

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1702 on: February 01, 2018, 04:08:04 AM »
Enjoy Beethoven better with this one weird trick
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1703 on: February 01, 2018, 08:24:15 AM »
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Classical CD Of The Week: Classic Beethoven From Vienna Via Korea


I would argue that this is the most successful of the six cycles the orchestra has recorded.

Physical discs can only be acquired from Korea, but the whole cycle (incl. the piano concerts with Backhaus and the violin concerto with Szeryng) can be downloaded in FLAC format from Presto Classical:

https://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/classical/products/7923782--beethoven-complete-symphonies-other-works

I had some problems however with the Choral finale (unable to burn this particular movement to CDR- surely a file error), which Presto couldn't solve for me.
Tiden læger alle sår,
heldigt nok at tiden går.

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1704 on: February 01, 2018, 08:43:37 AM »
Physical discs can only be acquired from Korea, but the whole cycle (incl. the piano concerts with Backhaus and the violin concerto with Szeryng) can be downloaded in FLAC format from Presto Classical:

https://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/classical/products/7923782--beethoven-complete-symphonies-other-works

I had some problems however with the Choral finale (unable to burn this particular movement to CDR- surely a file error), which Presto couldn't solve for me.

Correct; also Apple Music has it with and without Decca branding. But I'm so physical in my outlook and habit, as regards music, that if it doesn't exist on CD, it just doesn't exist for me.  :D My flaw.

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1705 on: February 01, 2018, 09:00:57 AM »
Correct; also Apple Music has it with and without Decca branding. But I'm so physical in my outlook and habit, as regards music, that if it doesn't exist on CD, it just doesn't exist for me:D My flaw.

So was I until about two years ago. Too many CDs, I wanted to hear, were unavailable as physical discs, so I resigned and began to purchase these in the shape of downloads. So far I have not regretted this.
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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1706 on: February 02, 2018, 03:47:32 AM »
Thanks to our Scarps for providing the final straw, as it were . . . I have at last reeled in the Pollini set of the pf sonatas.  It is a little misleading if I say I have been loving it.  I mean, it's musically true, but I have also been stuck (and entirely agreeably) listening mostly to the Hammerklavier.

I do propose to get out and about within that box more, though, and soon.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Baron Scarpia

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1707 on: February 02, 2018, 09:14:11 AM »
Glad it's been a positive experience. I wouldn't feel bad about getting stuck on the Hammerklavier. I think overall 90% of my listening to Pollini's Beethoven Piano Sonata recordings have been the Late Sonatas, where his unique skills really find their true field of action.


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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1709 on: May 25, 2018, 07:10:35 AM »
How beautiful the second (and final) movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata no. 27 is! The recurring rondo theme has an almost Schubertian simplicity that is quite affecting.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1710 on: May 30, 2018, 01:06:05 PM »
latest on ClassicsToday:

Level-Headed Beethoven From Leipzig



In a way, every cycle of Beethoven’s string quartets is impressive–even with 50-some (67, to be precise) on the market already. That’s certainly true of the “complete-complete” traversal by the Leipzig String Quartet, recorded between 1994 and 2006 (the string quintets were added in 2011)

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1711 on: May 30, 2018, 03:35:53 PM »
Latest on Forbes.com


Classical CD Of The Week: Classic Beethoven From Vienna Via Korea


I would argue that this is the most successful of the six cycles the orchestra has recorded.
No wonder that cover art looks familiar:


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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1712 on: May 31, 2018, 07:46:22 AM »
No wonder that cover art looks familiar:





So, the recording of the Welsh songs of Beethoven is finished now? Do we have the final edits? Do we have the approval of the soprano re. her bio? OK. Let's go to print.

Sir, what about the cover?

A picture of the artists, perhaps? They like that!

Sir, have you seen the pianist?

Oh, just image-google "Beethoven", then.

Offline PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1713 on: June 07, 2018, 10:06:32 AM »
Just browing SurprisedByBeauty's nice compilation of every complete LVB symphony cycle out there. Can't help noticing that only 2 cycles from the Staatskapelle Dresden - for a major German orchestra that is almost impossible.

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1714 on: June 07, 2018, 10:43:45 AM »
Just browing SurprisedByBeauty's nice compilation of every complete LVB symphony cycle out there. Can't help noticing that only 2 cycles from the Staatskapelle Dresden - for a major German orchestra that is almost impossible.

Blomstedt & Davis... ottmh. Right? {Correct, as I checked my database}

Oh, and if anyone's looking for that listing (just the alphabetical one; I'm still working on the proper discography more like the one of the String Quartets), it's here: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2017/10/a-survey-of-beethoven-symphony-cycles.html

I assume it might have something to do with the surprisingly short average 'life-span' of StaKap music directors.


Let's look at those that have reasonably been within the 'recording age':

1922–1933 Fritz Busch
1934–1943 Karl Böhm
1943–1944 Karl Elmendorff

This was before the idea of 'complete cycles' were a thing and recording was difficult. Also: the war didn't help.

1945–1950 Joseph Keilberth
1949–1953 Rudolf Kempe
1953–1955 Franz Konwitschny
1956–1958 Lovro von Matačić
1960–1964 Otmar Suitner
1964–1967 Kurt Sanderling
1966–1968 Martin Turnovský

None of these stayed for longer than 5 years; they probably didn't even perform all 9 Beethoven symphonies in their tenure.


1975–1985 Herbert Blomstedt Bingo!

1985–1990 Hans Vonk He was largely doing contemporary music, or at least a lot of it.

1992–2001 Giuseppe Sinopoli Didn't seem that interested in Beethoven; had many options, as far as recording anything were concerned... and died prematurely.

2002–2004 Bernard Haitink Just temporary

2007–2010 Fabio Luisi Too short

2012–present Christian Thielemann He's just recorded one with Vienna - like Rattle, before he went to Berlin - but still might record a Dresden cycle, if he stays there for more than, say, another 4 years.

Offline Daverz

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1715 on: June 07, 2018, 11:21:54 AM »
Just browing SurprisedByBeauty's nice compilation of every complete LVB symphony cycle out there. Can't help noticing that only 2 cycles from the Staatskapelle Dresden - for a major German orchestra that is almost impossible.

I'm fond of the Blomstedt cycle, though it tends to get dismissed as "kapellmeister Beethoven". 



He has a new cycle with the Gewandhaus.

Offline PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1716 on: June 07, 2018, 11:44:18 AM »
I'm fond of the Blomstedt cycle, though it tends to get dismissed as "kapellmeister Beethoven". 



He has a new cycle with the Gewandhaus.
Not sure about "dismissed" as I haven't come across a negative review of that cycle. It is well-played, well-recorded, and nothing that will shock anyone. I like it a lot.

Blomstedt & Davis... ottmh. Right? {Correct, as I checked my database}

Oh, and if anyone's looking for that listing (just the alphabetical one; I'm still working on the proper discography more like the one of the String Quartets), it's here: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2017/10/a-survey-of-beethoven-symphony-cycles.html

I assume it might have something to do with the surprisingly short average 'life-span' of StaKap music directors.


Let's look at those that have reasonably been within the 'recording age':

1922–1933 Fritz Busch
1934–1943 Karl Böhm
1943–1944 Karl Elmendorff

This was before the idea of 'complete cycles' were a thing and recording was difficult. Also: the war didn't help.

1945–1950 Joseph Keilberth
1949–1953 Rudolf Kempe
1953–1955 Franz Konwitschny
1956–1958 Lovro von Matačić
1960–1964 Otmar Suitner
1964–1967 Kurt Sanderling
1966–1968 Martin Turnovský

None of these stayed for longer than 5 years; they probably didn't even perform all 9 Beethoven symphonies in their tenure.


1975–1985 Herbert Blomstedt Bingo!

1985–1990 Hans Vonk He was largely doing contemporary music, or at least a lot of it.

1992–2001 Giuseppe Sinopoli Didn't seem that interested in Beethoven; had many options, as far as recording anything were concerned... and died prematurely.

2002–2004 Bernard Haitink Just temporary

2007–2010 Fabio Luisi Too short

2012–present Christian Thielemann He's just recorded one with Vienna - like Rattle, before he went to Berlin - but still might record a Dresden cycle, if he stays there for more than, say, another 4 years.

Not to beat on a dead man but as far as Sinopoli goes for someone who died prematurely he sure left a rather large recording legacy already so I am not sure whether there really is anything regret there that he didn't do a Beethoven cycle.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2018, 11:46:59 AM by PerfectWagnerite »

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1717 on: June 07, 2018, 11:34:18 PM »
Not sure about "dismissed" as I haven't come across a negative review of that cycle. It is well-played, well-recorded, and nothing that will shock anyone. I like it a lot.

Not to beat on a dead man but as far as Sinopoli goes for someone who died prematurely he sure left a rather large recording legacy already so I am not sure whether there really is anything regret there that he didn't do a Beethoven cycle.

Yes, I think whenever "Kapellmeister-ish" has been used in relation with the Blomstedt-cycle, it's been followed by "in the best sense". The new cycle is all that but adapted to today's standards (Del Mar score, tempi, alacrity).

Don't know how I feel about a hypothetical Sinopoli Beethoven cycle. I love a LOT of what Sinopoli did... in fact, most... and yet I think that his Beethoven would have been vaguely thick and boring. Irrational, perhaps, but there you have it.

Perhaps stupid, too, because we could check out how his Beethoven sounded - there's more of it than I knew... albeit only one (?) with the StaKap.

Of course the Piano Concertos 1 & 2 with Argerich (Philharmonia).
The Violin Concerto & Romances with Shlomo Mintz (Philharmonia).
Symphony No.9 (Dresden StaKap) - and
Symphony No.3. (Israel Phil, Helicon)
That - and a chorus from Fidelio.

Offline PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1718 on: June 08, 2018, 04:57:01 PM »
Yes, I think whenever "Kapellmeister-ish" has been used in relation with the Blomstedt-cycle, it's been followed by "in the best sense".

I truly dislike that term "Kapelmeister-ish" as people tend to selectively apply that term to any traditional or "old school" interpretation. It has loosely been applied to such diverse individuals as Masur, Bohm, Suitner, Haitink and yes Blomstedt although there is nothing similar in their intepretations. While other rather traditional interpretations like Wand, Barenboim and Solti have not been deemed "Kapelmeister-ish". I think it is a rather lazy way to label a particular reading.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2018, 05:03:13 PM by PerfectWagnerite »

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1719 on: June 08, 2018, 11:51:09 PM »
I truly dislike that term "Kapelmeister-ish" as people tend to selectively apply that term to any traditional or "old school" interpretation. It has loosely been applied to such diverse individuals as Masur, Bohm, Suitner, Haitink and yes Blomstedt although there is nothing similar in their intepretations. While other rather traditional interpretations like Wand, Barenboim and Solti have not been deemed "Kapelmeister-ish". I think it is a rather lazy way to label a particular reading.

I can't comment on its use and abuse so much as what I think it denotes... which is a no-fingerprints, hands-off approach to the music... often also associated with a kind of background (rising through the ranks, instrument--co-repetitor--assistant--operetta/opera-house experience--conductor--music-director). Masur, I think, would qualify... Blomstedt, too, and especially Sawallisch. But you are right, there is no clear delineation and only because they may fit that term, there's no saying that their interpretations would also or necessarily be more similar than disparate.