Author Topic: Beethoven in Period Performances  (Read 194974 times)

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Online Que

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Beethoven in Period Performances
« on: April 07, 2007, 06:34:50 AM »
So.....here we are. 8)

And just for the record: period performances means the use of period instruments and a lot more, but those interested in the topic will be well aware of that fact. :)

Q
« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 11:36:53 PM by Que »

Offline Bunny

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2007, 12:44:58 AM »
The granddaddies of HIP Beethoven cycles are the Hogwood and Norrington sets.  Of the two, I prefer the Hogwood.  Other great HIP cycles include the Gardiner and Brüggen.  Gardiner's set has a sweeter tone than the Brüggen, whose sound can be a bit harsh.    Of all the HIP cycles, the Brüggen is probably the most radical sounding.  At this point, I think the Brüggen cycle is oop, but sets can still be found at reasonable price from some vendors.  It never had wide release in the USA and it's almost impossible to find here.  I hate to admit it, but I haven't cracked the cellophane on the Tafelmusik Beethoven 5th and 6th.  There's been too much to do lately.  FWIW, the two most popular of these cycles are the Gardiner and Hogwood, with sound quality on the Gardiner a bit better than the older cycle.  The first Norrington cycle is not a particular favorite of mine.  Although Gramophone cited it as one of the most important (or best) Beethoven cycles ever made, I really don't think that it wore very well.  His second cycle with more conventional forces is preferable. 

Zig-Zag Territoires has announced  that that Immerseel's Beethoven cycle will be released in 2008:

This [Ravel Bolero] is the last project of Anima Eterna before the complete symphonies of Beethoven which will be released in 2008 ! As you can see on their concerts’ agenda, many Beethoven concerts are scheduled to prepare this big event. 

Strangely, this was in the information for the Ravel Bolero recording on the Zig-Zag website.  There is no other mention of it at all, anywhere.  It's certainly something to look forward to.

The only HIP Savall Beethoven symphony recording I have is the Eroica which I like very much, but many people really hate that recording.  I don't know if he's actually done more than that.  The sound that Savall gets is closer to baroque than classical; but it's filled with a rough energy that appeals to me.  Good luck finding that one, as I suspect it's long oop.



Another thing that we should consider are the hybrid cycles (Dausgaard, Zinman, Harnoncourt, Fey) which use scaled down conventional orchestras, limit the vibrato of the string sections, use either older brass instruments or hand stopping techniques, etc.  Although they don't use period instruments, they are informed by Historic research and practice.  I n er know whether they should be discussed in HIP threads or not.


Harry

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2007, 12:58:39 AM »
That is rather asking after the well known road Que! :)
Of course you know my choice huh?
Gardiner it is.
The drive and sheer energy, the orchestra so committed, the more than excellent sound.
The only drawback on this cycle is the seventh, introduction to slow, far to slow, and overall lacking the grip one has to have over this difficult symphony. Even Karajan dissappoints me in this work. Most conductors are at a loss with this one!
In fact I do not know of a performance of the seventh which will do for me! Alas!
Hogwood and Norrington, have both there merits and shortcomings, but Hogwood is by far the best of the two.

Offline Bunny

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2007, 01:03:37 AM »
With apologies to Todd, I've decided to start the thread for the HIP Beethoven concertos and other works -- orchestral and chamber.

So far, these are the complete piano concerto cycles I have:

Steven Lubin with Academy for Ancient Music/Christopher Hogwood
Robert Levin with the Orchestra Revolutionnaire et Romantique/J.E. Gardiner
Jos van Immerseel with Tafelmusik Orchestra/Bruno Weil (only available separately - no box set).

The Bruno Weil/Tafelmusik recording of the Piano concerto no. 5 (Emperor) also has the Violin concerto, Vera Beths on violin; and that is the only recording I know of of the violin concerto.

I also have the Arthur Schoonderwoerd/Ensemble Cristofori recording of the 4th and 5th Piano Concertos, which Schoonderwoerd conducts from the piano bench




Harry

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2007, 01:31:59 AM »
This is the one I have Bunny and very satisfied with it!

Offline Bunny

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2007, 01:35:23 AM »
Harry, I have to agree with you about the Norrington cycle.  His second cycle is light years ahead of his first in my esteem.  I seem to fluctuate between the Hogwood and Gardiner for the Symphonies as which I prefer.  For the first two, I gravitate more to the Hogwood, despite the early digital age sound.  For the Eroica, I prefer the Gardiner, but not the one in the cycle, but the one on the BBC movie dvd.  I also prefer Hogwood's Pastoral.  In truth, neither cycle is perfect, and the closest I can get to HIP Beethoven heaven is probably Dausgaard's and Fey's hybrid symphonies.  For this reason I am really eager to hear Immerseel's scheduled for release in 2008.

Harry

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2007, 01:37:21 AM »
Harry, I have to agree with you about the Norrington cycle.  His second cycle is light years ahead of his first in my esteem.  I seem to fluctuate between the Hogwood and Gardiner for the Symphonies as which I prefer.  For the first two, I gravitate more to the Hogwood, despite the early digital age sound.  For the Eroica, I prefer the Gardiner, but not the one in the cycle, but the one on the BBC movie dvd.  I also prefer Hogwood's Pastoral.  In truth, neither cycle is perfect, and the closest I can get to HIP Beethoven heaven is probably Dausgaard's and Fey's hybrid symphonies.  For this reason I am really eager to hear Immerseel's scheduled for release in 2008.

Interesting comments, will act on it, thank you!

Offline Bunny

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2007, 01:39:32 AM »
Harry, that's a lovely recording, but wait until you hear the 4th.  That one completely lost me as it used a strange cadenza writtten by Levin that just is not up to Beethoven's work.  I also tend to prefer the Lubin Emperor over that one as well.

Harry

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2007, 02:03:18 AM »
Harry, that's a lovely recording, but wait until you hear the 4th.  That one completely lost me as it used a strange cadenza writtten by Levin that just is not up to Beethoven's work.  I also tend to prefer the Lubin Emperor over that one as well.

Buuny, I have the complete cycle, only could not find the picture belonging to it.

Offline Bunny

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2007, 02:31:05 AM »
What do you think of the 4th PC in the set?

PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2007, 03:10:40 AM »
I'll let you know soon, I got it used last week for $3.99.  8)


Got mine for $3.99 also, so great minds think alike right?

Anyway I listened to it yesterday and frankly it is very good. The orchestra is very small, maybe 40 if even that. There is little if any vibrato and the string sound is rather dull and bare. But there is passion and committment in the playing. You can hear the contrabassoon extremely well in the finale whereas elsewhere it is buried in a mass of sound. I would compare it to Hogwood but even Hogwood is brighter-sounding.

George

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2007, 04:23:45 AM »
Got mine for $3.99 also, so great minds think alike right?

Yeah, we graduated from the same Academy.  ;)

Harry

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2007, 06:15:26 AM »
What do you think of the 4th PC in the set?

I have to re listen again Bunny, and will do so in this week, and then tell you.
From my old listening notes I read, that I found sound quality good, performance good, and yes the Cadenza was for me also something to be sceptical about. I made a note of that!

Offline jwinter

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2007, 06:55:48 AM »
For the symphonies I have Gardiner and Hogwood.  I like them both, though I'd pick Hogwood in a pinch.  Gardiner is beautifully played, swift smooth and clean almost to the point that you forget it's HIP.  Hogwood is a bit less manicured, if you will -- the sound is a little more rough, the strings have more bite, they're more astringent and less blended.  The whole point of a HIP set, for me, is to highlight the constrasts in instruments and technique with the more modern sets -- for that reason, I prefer Hogwood to Gardiner.
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.

-- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Haffner

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2007, 08:05:52 AM »
I'm predictably awaiting the verdicts on HiP performances of the LvB middle and late-era String Quartets.

Offline Bunny

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2007, 08:38:50 AM »
I think that for Beethoven sq you will have to wait for the Quatuor MosaÏques to finish their cycle.  Their Beethoven is as wonderful as their Haydn.



And another volume to be released later this month!


George

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2007, 08:39:54 AM »

I take it they hit the bullseye, Bunny::)

Haffner

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2007, 08:47:34 AM »
I think that for Beethoven sq you will have to wait for the Quatuor MosaÏques to finish their cycle.  Their Beethoven is as wonderful as their Haydn.



And another volume to be released later this month!





Trust me, Bunny, I'm first in line to be there when the Quatuor Mosaiques finish their LvB String Quartet cycle.

Haffner

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2007, 08:48:38 AM »
I take it they hit the bullseye, Bunny::)

 :D


Kind of an unimaginative set of cd covers huh George?

George

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2007, 08:51:14 AM »
:D


Kind of an unimaginative set of cd covers huh George?

I love the first one, but then yeah, it gets old quick.

I trust the performance more than makes up for it.  8)