Author Topic: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9  (Read 150616 times)

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #40 on: April 29, 2009, 03:25:15 AM »
;D ;D ;D

Deep and lofty. At the same time.

---

Back to those 84 dotted halves or quarters per minute in the IV Froh! march.
A friendly person lent me a copy of Norrington/LCP, and the section is just too slow. It doesn't make musical sense to me, just like Klemperer's 1970 Eroica-scherzo.
If Norrington had got it right one could still make a good military march by marching one step to the bar instead of two, right? And the music would sound something like the french marching band in the movie Waterloo. That could most definitely have been Beethoven's intention.

That is exactly the way I feel. I have never disputed Sarge's assertion that it is on the cadence of a military march, and I equally dislike versions that take it at a cartoonishly quick pace. But I have many versions that get it musically, sensibly correct, and these are my favorites. Right or not.   :)

8)
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Offline jwinter

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #41 on: April 29, 2009, 04:05:10 AM »
*Sigh*.   OK, all right, I'm ordering the Fricsay.  As if I need another 9th.  Sheesh...

;D
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted.

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Dr. Dread

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #42 on: April 29, 2009, 04:12:59 AM »
*Sigh*.   OK, all right, I'm ordering the Fricsay.  As if I need another 9th.  Sheesh...

;D

Everybody's doing it. :D

karlhenning

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #43 on: April 29, 2009, 04:28:38 AM »
*Sigh*.   OK, all right, I'm ordering the Fricsay.  As if I need another 9th.  Sheesh...

;D

I like the Fricsay I've heard. But, I don't need another Ninth.

Everybody's doing it. :D

Not I  0:)

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #44 on: April 29, 2009, 05:06:27 AM »
Back to those 84 dotted halves or quarters per minute in the IV Froh! march.
A friendly person lent me a copy of Norrington/LCP, and the section is just to slow. It doesn't make musical sense to me

How could a march, taken at a march tempo, not make musical sense?


Quote
If Norrington had got it right one could still make a good military march by marching one step to the bar instead of two, right?

I actually tried that, and it's awkward. But marching at Norrington's tempo the left foot falls naturally on every strong beat. It's perfect. (If you've ever been a member of a marching band, or in the military, you know what I mean.) I understand the majority's relunctance to accept this. We've all heard it taken so much faster by every other conductor, Norrington sounds weird in comparison...until you get up off your ass and start marching around the room  ;D  Then Norrington and, IMO Beethoven, make perfect sense, musically and otherwise.

Quote
And the music would sound something like the french marching band in the movie Waterloo. That could most definitely have been Beethoven's intention.

As a soldier, and a student of military history, I'm annoyed how often film makers depict military history, tactics and details incorrectly. I'll have to watch Waterloo again to see what you're talking about, but like the film's massed bagpipe bands and British troops in column formations (instead of single pipers and thin long lines), I wouldn't be surprised if they got the French music wrong too.

That is exactly the way I feel. I have never disputed Sarge's assertion that it is on the cadence of a military march, and I equally dislike versions that take it at a cartoonishly quick pace. But I have many versions that get it musically, sensibly correct, and these are my favorites. Right or not.   :)

Yes, that's the bottom line. We like what we like, right or wrong, and that is as it should be. But now that M forever is no longer with us, someone has to defend Norrington and his Classical Players. I elect myself for the job  ;D

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

karlhenning

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #45 on: April 29, 2009, 05:41:13 AM »
[ I may have missed something, but . . . in terms simply of "marchability," if the question is [ dotted-half or dotted-quarter ] = 84  per minute, of course, the "marchable" tempo is the same in both cases, and the difference is whether the footfalls match the dotted-half or the dotted-quarter. ]

Offline Valentino

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #46 on: April 29, 2009, 06:03:25 AM »
Hmm...
Allegro Assai Vivace and dotted quarter = 84. How does that match up?
We audiophiles don't really like music, but we sure love the sound it makes

karlhenning

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #47 on: April 29, 2009, 06:14:55 AM »
Hmm...
Allegro Assai Vivace and dotted quarter = 84. How does that match up?

Dotted-quarter at 84/min. seems rather lively to me.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #48 on: April 29, 2009, 07:49:31 AM »
Dotted-quarter at 84/min. seems rather lively to me.

So, "rather lively" doesn't really equal "very fast and lively", does it? Or is this merely Dr. Henning's traditional understatement?

This goes all the way back to a question I asked in the Classical Corner some time back, which was essentially "when a musician of that era saw a term like "Allegro assai vivace", this had a specific meaning as to tempo that was interpreted by all concerned just like metronome marks are today, correct?". Metronome marks were at the very beginning of being accepted at this time, but Italian tempo terms were universal. :)

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Offline Valentino

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #49 on: April 29, 2009, 08:12:20 AM »
In other words as fast as you can go allegro, but not presto. 2*84=168, like in the accompanying letter.
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Offline Sorin Eushayson

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #50 on: April 29, 2009, 05:17:42 PM »
So, "rather lively" doesn't really equal "very fast and lively", does it? Or is this merely Dr. Henning's traditional understatement?

This goes all the way back to a question I asked in the Classical Corner some time back, which was essentially "when a musician of that era saw a term like "Allegro assai vivace", this had a specific meaning as to tempo that was interpreted by all concerned just like metronome marks are today, correct?". Metronome marks were at the very beginning of being accepted at this time, but Italian tempo terms were universal. :)
For some reason I always imagined Baroque allegros being performed very fast, much faster than today.  This is based on no scholarly data whatsoever.  ;D

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #51 on: April 30, 2009, 03:28:48 AM »
For some reason I always imagined Baroque allegros being performed very fast, much faster than today.  This is based on no scholarly data whatsoever.  ;D

Well, no matter how you slice it, allegro = fast, and anything less than that is wrong, just as playing presto (very fast) would be wrong. Although where I was (and have been for some time) going is that the musicians of the time simply knew how fast "allegro" should be; it was a consensus "fast"... ;)

8)
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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #52 on: May 03, 2009, 05:40:49 AM »
This morning's version is new to me. The late, great Richard Hickox in the time before he started Collegium Musicum 90, with the Northern Sinfonia. This recording was released by ASV in 1989. The orchestra is touted as being precisely the same size and instrumentation as the premiere orchestra, but on modern instruments of course. The playing is excellent, but the singing even more so. One of Hickox' strengths was choral work, and here, the London Symphony Chorus does great service to the music, and the soloists, led by Heather Harper, Alfreda Hodgson, Robert Tear and Gwynne Howell do a splendid job. This recording is firmly in Group C - "HIP influenced on modern instruments", and is perhaps the forerunner of that movement. It is certainly the earliest one that I have or have heard of. :)

8)

----------------
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Northern Sinfonia \ Hickox - Op 125 Symphony #9 in d 4th mvmt - Presto - Allegro assai
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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #53 on: May 10, 2009, 03:48:58 AM »
Well, this morning I listened to Cleveland/Szell for the first time, since it has been mentioned so many times on this Forum. It rather has me scratching my head, to be honest.  ???

It is a good, solid performance, but I guess that after all the hype I had my hopes set a bit higher than usual. As it turns out, to MY ears anyway, it is a typical performance from its time (1963), no better or worse than Karajan / Berlin or London / Jochum from the same year. Which of course are also good performances, although not far removed from the style still in vogue 10 years earlier.

In summary, I would say it was enjoyable, but not revelatory or path-breaking. Nor does it have to be to justify itself, although it would have had to be to justify the hype I have read about it, and not just here, but in various books and Internet reviews. :)


8)


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Cleveland Orchestra / Szell (1963) - Op 125 Symphony #9 in d 4th mvmt - Presto - Allegro
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #54 on: May 10, 2009, 04:23:03 AM »
Meronome markings should be avoided. The music will always sound faster in the composers mind than in the real life.
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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #55 on: May 10, 2009, 04:31:14 AM »
Meronome markings should be avoided. The music will always sound faster in the composers mind than in the real life.

No doubt that is true. Other than a few pioneering exceptions, it seems that they have been avoided, by and large. :D   

8)

----------------
Listening to:
SWR Stuttgart /  Norrington - Op 125 Symphony #9 in d 3rd mvmt - Adagio molto e cantabile
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Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #56 on: May 10, 2009, 04:43:23 AM »
Meronome markings should be avoided. The music will always sound faster in the composers mind than in the real life.
All hearing, of course, takes place in the mind.  Are not some composers' tempo indications based on actual performance and not just their imaginations?
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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #57 on: May 10, 2009, 04:51:21 AM »
All hearing, of course, takes place in the mind.  Are not some composers' tempo indications based on actual performance and not just their imaginations?

Indeed they are, but not in the case of the 9th. Beethoven wrote an interesting letter to his publisher giving him the metronome markings and stressing that they were far more important for performance than the marked tempos were. In any case, there are very few recordings which adhere strictly to the metronome markings, and I suspect that at least in part it is because it would cause a revolution among listeners (look at Norrington's first effort, which does do this, and is still (unjustifiably) reviled to this day).  Listeners are very conservative as a group, and they like what they were brought up listening to, even if it isn't correct. :)

8)

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SWR Stuttgart /  Norrington - Op 125 Symphony #9 in d 4th mvmt - Presto - Allegro assai
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #58 on: May 10, 2009, 04:58:50 AM »
All hearing, of course, takes place in the mind.  Are not some composers' tempo indications based on actual performance and not just their imaginations?

As Beethoven was deaf at the time of the Choral, I suppose, that his "performance" must have taken place in his mind exclusively.
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Offline Coopmv

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #59 on: May 10, 2009, 05:06:54 AM »
Indeed they are, but not in the case of the 9th. Beethoven wrote an interesting letter to his publisher giving him the metronome markings and stressing that they were far more important for performance than the marked tempos were. In any case, there are very few recordings which adhere strictly to the metronome markings, and I suspect that at least in part it is because it would cause a revolution among listeners (look at Norrington's first effort, which does do this, and is still (unjustifiably) reviled to this day).  Listeners are very conservative as a group, and they like what they were brought up listening to, even if it isn't correct. :)

I need to find some time to re-listen to my first Norrington's 9th to determine if it deserves to be reviled.  It has been some 15 years since I last listened to that 9th ...