Author Topic: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)  (Read 290374 times)

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PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1780 on: May 26, 2019, 05:55:37 AM »
Yes. One of the most stimulating Eroicas I know.
Fascinating, I didn't know there is an earlier one from 1951:



that clocks in around 50 minutes, much more conventional, not as well recorded nor well played unfortunately. Usually when conductors get older they slow down but not Herman here.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1781 on: May 26, 2019, 07:56:43 AM »
The Eroica is the best of Scherchen's Beethoven (still the fastest first movement I am aware of) but the 8th with Scherchen (Westminster) from the mid-50s is also worth seeking out. Some of the others must also have been quite spectacular in their day (fast, furious and quite transparent despite mostly mono) but I think they have been mostly superseded by better played interpretations in better sound, such as Gardiner, Paavo Järvi etc.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
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PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1782 on: May 26, 2019, 12:42:27 PM »
The Eroica is the best of Scherchen's Beethoven (still the fastest first movement I am aware of) but the 8th with Scherchen (Westminster) from the mid-50s is also worth seeking out. Some of the others must also have been quite spectacular in their day (fast, furious and quite transparent despite mostly mono) but I think they have been mostly superseded by better played interpretations in better sound, such as Gardiner, Paavo Järvi etc.
Norrington (LCP or Stuttgart) is close, so is Chailly/Leipzig. Chailly is actually a tad faster overall but none matches Scherchen's sub 15 min first movement with the repeat taken.

Offline staxomega

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1783 on: May 27, 2019, 06:33:46 AM »
I've been relistening to Igor Levit's late Beethoven now that he'll be recording the full cycle. I'm slowing starting to warm to it, though his Op. 110 still doesn't do it for me. He doesn't build to the first climax in the opening movement in a satisfactory enough way. Still this is overall some very good late LvB. I've always enjoyed his Diabellis.

Offline amw

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1784 on: June 06, 2019, 02:38:14 AM »
The Eroica is the best of Scherchen's Beethoven (still the fastest first movement I am aware of)
Lan Shui's mixed modern and period instruments recording with the Copenhagen Philharmonic is a few seconds faster (and I also happen to like it a lot although it's probably not better than the Scherchen—natural horns always sound great in Beethoven lol)

Offline Jo498

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1785 on: June 06, 2019, 03:20:23 AM »
I had not been aware of Shui's. I was always somewhat surprised that even the swiftest of HIP and similar like Gielen, Norrington, Järvi, Zinman etc. didn't break 15 min. But in any case the Scherchen is more dramatic and weighty than these four, partly maybe because his orchestra is tasked somewhat beyond its abilities. Scherchen is very fast but never gives the impression of "Mendelssohnian fleetness", while IMO the others with all due respect to them and to the fairy grace of Mendelssohnian scherzi don't always escape this impression. (And from the snippets Shui also seems closer to Järvi than to Scherchen in this respect.) Gielen (SWF) is also weighty as far as the mere sound does go but stiffer and less dramatic than Scherchen, I think. And as far as I recall Gielen's older Cincinnati recording is even more "dry".
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline amw

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1786 on: June 06, 2019, 03:27:59 AM »
I do somewhat blame the Del Mar/Bärenreiter editions for the "Mendelssohnian" qualities of a lot of newer recordings because it significantly tones down Beethoven's more extreme dynamics, possibly for good scholarly reasons but nonetheless mitigating one of the most characteristic features of the music. Even the slower HIP recordings (Herreweghe, Hogwood, Brüggen) are comparatively undramatic compared to the older Scherchen (or Cluytens, Leibowitz etc) recordings. Emmanuel Krivine is an exception but he conducts Beethoven much more like it's Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, which appeals to me immensely but is not in any way "HIP" except for the use of period instruments.....

PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1787 on: June 06, 2019, 03:36:28 AM »
I had not been aware of Shui's. I was always somewhat surprised that even the swiftest of HIP and similar like Gielen, Norrington, Järvi, Zinman etc. didn't break 15 min. But in any case the Scherchen is more dramatic and weighty than these four, partly maybe because his orchestra is tasked somewhat beyond its abilities. Scherchen is very fast but never gives the impression of "Mendelssohnian fleetness", while IMO the others with all due respect to them and to the fairy grace of Mendelssohnian scherzi don't always escape this impression. (And from the snippets Shui also seems closer to Järvi than to Scherchen in this respect.) Gielen (SWF) is also weighty as far as the mere sound does go but stiffer and less dramatic than Scherchen, I think. And as far as I recall Gielen's older Cincinnati recording is even more "dry".
Yes you nailed it. The orchestra sounds a bit overworked and is fighting to keep up, IMHO exactly the same way Beethoven would want it to sound. I also like the minimal use of string vibrato and not walls of string sound like you hear from the likes HVK.

Lan Shui's mixed modern and period instruments recording with the Copenhagen Philharmonic is a few seconds faster (and I also happen to like it a lot although it's probably not better than the Scherchen—natural horns always sound great in Beethoven lol)
I always like the Viennese playing Beethoven (and Brahms for that matter) as the horns are as authentic as they come.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1788 on: June 06, 2019, 09:54:43 AM »
I admittedly also like some tempo flexibility in this huge first movement and also in the marcia funebre. E.g. the famous 2 vs 3 beats and brutal dissonances are more efficient if not quite as fast.
Leibowitz is w/o repeat, better played and recorded than Scherchen but probably also still worthwhile although after many comparably fast recordings his Eroica and the whole cycle is not as spectacular and exciting as it was even in the late 1980s when I first encountered some of them as a teenager.

Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1789 on: June 06, 2019, 10:01:30 AM »
If any evidence is needed that old Beethoven recordings were not all hyper-Romanticized, Furtwangler-esq affairs there is the Schurickt/Paris Conservatory recording of the 8th symphony (EMI). Blistering!

PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1790 on: June 06, 2019, 11:35:07 AM »
If any evidence is needed that old Beethoven recordings were not all hyper-Romanticized, Furtwangler-esq affairs there is the Schurickt/Paris Conservatory recording of the 8th symphony (EMI). Blistering!
Never liked any of Furt's Beethoven, or HVK's for exactly the reason above.

Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1791 on: June 06, 2019, 11:41:28 AM »
Never liked any of Furt's Beethoven, or HVK's for exactly the reason above.

Never thought I'd see Furtwangler and Karajan lumped together!

Offline Brian

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1792 on: June 07, 2019, 07:31:42 AM »
No real insight here, but based on this discussion I listened to the Scherchen '58 and loved it.

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1793 on: June 07, 2019, 11:11:29 PM »
Likewise I listened to Lan Shui's Eroica and found it a bit meh.  But then I grew up listening to Klemperer.

Offline amw

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1794 on: June 07, 2019, 11:42:11 PM »
No real insight here, but based on this discussion I listened to the Scherchen '58 and loved it.
I still think it's probably the best performance of the symphony around.

Online Mandryka

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1795 on: June 07, 2019, 11:55:55 PM »
Likewise I listened to Lan Shui's Eroica and found it a bit meh.  But then I grew up listening to Klemperer.

What do you think of the Scherchen 58 Eroica I wonder
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1796 on: June 08, 2019, 12:07:00 AM »
Can someone just confirm the timings of the 1958 recording you are all talking about? The one I like I’ve tagged 1959, which could well be my fault. It runs

Movement 1 14,39
Movement 2 13,25
Movement 3 5,25
Movement 4 10,21

I have another one on a CD called « The Ultraphon Recordings » which I don’t like at all!

And then I have a third which also seems OK, with no details in the tags at all other than the conductor,  with timings

Movement 1 14,47
Movement 2 15,42
Movement 3 5,57
Movement 4 12,36

« Last Edit: June 08, 2019, 12:18:58 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline amw

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1797 on: June 08, 2019, 12:30:32 AM »
Can someone just confirm the timings of the 1958 recording you are all talking about? The one I like I’ve tagged 1959, which could well be my fault. It runs

Movement 1 14,39
Movement 2 13,25
Movement 3 5,25
Movement 4 10,21
Yes this is the 1958 one.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1798 on: June 08, 2019, 12:32:26 AM »
Correct, this is the 1958 Westminster. I think the ultraphon is even earlier than the early/mid-fifties Westminster. I am not completely sure but I think Scherchen did a complete mono cycle 1951-54 (as shown above in the Tahra reissue), then the 3rd and 6th in stereo in 1958 and a live cycle in the 1960s in Lugano but there are also a few single older recordings from the late 40s or early 50s. The ultraphon is probably one of this last group.

EDIT: The second one mentioned by Mandryka is the ca 1951 Westminster mono (I have it in an Archipel issue, Tahra would probably preferable). Note that the first movement is slightly slower without repeat than WITH repeat in the stereo, i.e. this is actually much slower, would be closer to 18 min if the repeat was taken (i.e. a middle of the road tempo while not as slow as late Klemp or Giulini).

I am not really convinced by any "slow" (mainly concerning the first movement) Eroica. But I like a few with a "moderate" (ca. 16-17 min w/ repeat) and flexible tempo if sufficiently dramatic. Chief among them probably Bernstein/NY, also Erich Kleiber (both in not ideal sound from around 1950), maybe Munch and Harnoncourt (fast than most but not quite as fleet as Scherchen or the faster HIP influenced ones)
« Last Edit: June 08, 2019, 12:36:59 AM by Jo498 »
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Online Mandryka

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Re: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
« Reply #1799 on: June 08, 2019, 12:55:24 AM »
Thanks, I’d better change the tag!
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