Author Topic: The Romantics in Period Performances  (Read 127517 times)

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Online Sergeant Rock

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2007, 01:51:21 AM »
Actually, Schubert is predominately a CLASSICAL-era composer . . . . . . (not Romantic) . . . . . .

I won't dispute the use of the word "predominately" but do want to point out that over 600 of Schubert's works are clearly Romantic (the songs). He really straddled both Classical and Romantic styles but "at the end of his life with the G major Quartet, the C major Symphony and the C major String Quintet, Schubert returns to classical principles in a manner almost as striking if not as complete as Beethoven" according to Charles Rosen in the The Classical Style. Schubert doesn't get a chapter or section to himself in that book but does in Rosen's The Romantic Generation. I think we can safely place him among the Romantics too even if he didn't plunge in all the way.

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« Last Edit: April 13, 2007, 01:53:51 AM by Sergeant Rock »
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Offline Bunny

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2007, 06:35:35 AM »
I won't dispute the use of the word "predominately" but do want to point out that over 600 of Schubert's works are clearly Romantic (the songs). He really straddled both Classical and Romantic styles but "at the end of his life with the G major Quartet, the C major Symphony and the C major String Quintet, Schubert returns to classical principles in a manner almost as striking if not as complete as Beethoven" according to Charles Rosen in the The Classical Style. Schubert doesn't get a chapter or section to himself in that book but does in Rosen's The Romantic Generation. I think we can safely place him among the Romantics too even if he didn't plunge in all the way.

Sarge

I think being predominantly romantic is a little like being predominantly pregnant. 

When I put any Schubert on after a recording by Haydn, there is no doubt in my mind that Schubert is squarely in the early romantic movement.  He fits there as comfortably as Caspar David Friederich and the Sorrows of young Werther.

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2007, 09:15:30 AM »
I think being predominantly romantic is a little like being predominantly pregnant. 

When I put any Schubert on after a recording by Haydn, there is no doubt in my mind that Schubert is squarely in the early romantic movement.  He fits there as comfortably as Caspar David Friederich and the Sorrows of young Werther.

FWIW, David Dubal classifies Schubert as a Romantic composer, as do I. That's simply how I hear him.

Offline Bunny

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2007, 10:37:56 AM »
FWIW, David Dubal classifies Schubert as a Romantic composer, as do I. That's simply how I hear him.

FWIW, I haven't ever seen Schubert classified as a Classical or even Neo-Classic composer.  Anyway, if he's considered Neo-Classic, isn't that movement actually in the romantic tradition of antique revival styles?  Who would put an architect of the 19th century Gothic revival into the same category as the architects of Chartres Cathedral?

Let's just compromise and call Schubert Early Romantic rather than Late Classical.  To my ears he sounds Romantic, too.

Online Que

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2007, 11:10:33 AM »
Actually, Schubert is predominately a CLASSICAL-era composer . . . . . . (not Romantic) . . . . . .

I think the whole issue is a non-starter... 8)


Speaking of Schubert - does somebody has this recording of violin sonatas?
The sample sounds superb!  :D


            click picture for link

Q
« Last Edit: April 14, 2007, 11:18:50 AM by Que »
À chacun son goût.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2007, 11:38:28 AM »
I think the whole issue is a non-starter... 8)


Speaking of Schubert - does somebody has this recording of violin sonatas?
The sample sounds superb!  :D


            click picture for link

Q

No, but I do have the one on "Explore" by Jaap Schröder & Christopher Hogwood of the 3 sonatinas and the sonata. I think it's particularly good.



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Online Que

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2007, 03:12:32 AM »
No, but I do have the one on "Explore" by Jaap Schröder & Christopher Hogwood of the 3 sonatinas and the sonata. I think it's particularly good.



8)

Thanks, Gurn. :)


Anyone thinks this HIP Schumann is a good idea?



Q

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Offline Bunny

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2007, 06:11:23 AM »
Thanks, Gurn. :)


Anyone thinks this HIP Schumann is a good idea?



Q


You know, I saw that and the price was so low at Amazon that I just added it to the basket.  I felt Andreas Staier and Christophe Coin were not going to be awful and probably were going to be very interesting at least.  It only arrived last week and I haven't cracked the cellophane yet.

WRT to the Immerseel/Seiler Schubert: I have their Mozart which is wonderful.  (I should add that to the list of HIP Mozart as it's really a terrific recording.)  I doubt that their Schubert will not be quite good at the very least.  I don't know if it's reference though, and haven't seen it reviewed anywhere.

Online Que

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2007, 06:40:17 AM »
You know, I saw that and the price was so low at Amazon that I just added it to the basket.  I felt Andreas Staier and Christophe Coin were not going to be awful and probably were going to be very interesting at least.  It only arrived last week and I haven't cracked the cellophane yet.

WRT to the Immerseel/Seiler Schubert: I have their Mozart which is wonderful.  (I should add that to the list of HIP Mozart as it's really a terrific recording.)  I doubt that their Schubert will not be quite good at the very least.  I don't know if it's reference though, and haven't seen it reviewed anywhere.

Bunny, I will waiting for your findings on the Schumann. :)

As for the Schubert violin sonatas, here is a review from Gramophone.
Although I recall reading a less ambiguous recommendation - could be in a magazine.

Q

Reviewed: Gramophone 10/2006, Duncan Druce
 
Period performances – and from precisely the right period, too

These sonatas date from 1816-17 and the choice of instruments is precisely appropriate: Midori Seiler plays a Viennese violin made in 1814 by Franz Geissenhof, while Jos van Immerseel’s piano is a copy by Detmar Hungerberg of another Viennese instrument dating from 1814, by Johann Peter Fritz.
The piano has a sweet, clear upper register, ideal for Schubert’s singing melodies, and attractively reedy bass notes. It also boasts a typical range of special effects – a muffled “moderato” pedal and a buzzing “bassoon” stop, heard to great effect in D408’s Minuet. The violin has a bright, penetrating sound (a character that’s emphasised by close recording) – there are places where a softer, warmer quality would have been welcome, in the trio of D574’s Scherzo, for example. All four sonatas sound delightfully animated, and in the wonderful opening Allegro of D574 Immerseel and Seiler achieve an elegant expressive quality that brings out perfectly each aspect of the music.

But not everything is quite so convincing: in the first two movements of D385 the many little expressive hesitations give a slightly mannered impression, and in D408’s finale I’m troubled by Seiler’s choice of note lengths – her second note seems extraordinarily short (Immerseel doesn’t follow suit) and the three chords at the first forte, played sostenuto, don’t blend with the piano. And though the booklet-note goes into detail about Spohr’s prescriptions for selective vibrato, Seiler’s use of the ornament, tasteful and restrained though it is, seems to belong to the 21st rather than the 19th century. However, these are personal reactions; it’s certainly an interesting, worthwhile disc.
À chacun son goût.

Offline Bunny

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2007, 07:03:07 AM »
For gramophone this is a very negative review; they have damned the recording with the faintest of praise!  That magazine habitually eschews plain speaking because of a needless respect for "gentility."   I'm going to wait until I have an opportunity to hear this unless I see a positive review from some one I am more familiar with.  At least it will give my poor wallet a chance to recover from recent adventures at Amazon.

Don

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2007, 08:22:41 AM »
Thanks, Gurn. :)


Anyone thinks this HIP Schumann is a good idea?



Q



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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #31 on: April 15, 2007, 09:17:02 AM »
I've had the Herreweghe for a few years and always get much pleasure from it.  A winner!

Thanks for the feedback on that, Don. I agree with Bunny, Coin and Staier can't likely combine on something and not be at the very least acceptable. I guess I'll follow popular opinion on this one and see if Amazon has it. :)

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Haffner

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #32 on: April 15, 2007, 09:20:55 AM »
Actually, Schubert is predominately a CLASSICAL-era composer . . . . . . (not Romantic) . . . . . .


I hear this as well in Schubert's music, D. It's nice to notice that someone else hears it  :D

Schubert overall can sound more Mozart-ian than Beethoven-ian. To me, at least.

I wonder if Beethoven's late music dumbfounded Schubert...

Don

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #33 on: April 15, 2007, 12:08:54 PM »
Thanks for the feedback on that, Don. I agree with Bunny, Coin and Staier can't likely combine on something and not be at the very least acceptable. I guess I'll follow popular opinion on this one and see if Amazon has it. :)

8)

Also, another fine Herreweghe/Schumann entry are the symphonies 2 and 4.

Offline Bunny

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #34 on: April 16, 2007, 05:42:14 AM »
Also, another fine Herreweghe/Schumann entry are the symphonies 2 and 4.

I'll be on the lookout for that; I need more HIP Schumann. ;D

Offline JoshLilly

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #35 on: April 16, 2007, 07:29:43 AM »
Having listened to tons of music from that time period, I really can't understand why people think that Beethoven's stuff would have been seen as bizarre or unusual to his contemporaries. There was certainly "weirder" stuff being written in his lifetime. For example, Czech composers in orchestral music were experimenting in some harsh sounds that would become more commonplace a couple of decades later. Even W.A. Mozart's older Italian contemporary, Muzio Clementi, wrote symphonies in Beethoven's time that contained more "futuristic" chord-work than Beethoven did. He liked using trombones, too.


"The other three movements are conceived with a similar feeling for size: Spada justifiably claims that the slow movement hints at Schumann and Brahms and that the rhythmic insistence of the minor-key Scherzo (which Clementi rather modestly entitled "Minuet") foreshadows Bruckner; throughout, too, I wonder whether Schubert knew it."  -Martin Anderson


Many moments in Clementi's symphonies are harmonically "thicker" than anything found in Beethoven's, using stuff fairly unusual for the time. And even then, I don't think they sounded shocking to anyone.

I think recordings of symphonies by Schubert, Schumann, and Beethoven with over-large orchestras on modern instruments have harmfully coloured people's perception of that time period in music. When I used to hear all the Beethoven symphonies performed under the baton of people like Karajan, Furtwängler, Bernstein... and more. You know, the big recordings people love so much. Well, I never really thought Beethoven's symphonies were all that great, and in fact, I thought he was just a bad orchestrator. Everything sounded like a mush at times. Then I got Gardiner's set... and everything sounds perfect, you can hear all these things that you don't even know are there with the modern orchestras. I think the 8th symphony suffers the most from a modern orchestra, and even more especially, the fourth movement... no matter what you do, a big modern orchestra just can't let you hear everything, it's just too big, the intricacies vanish into that huge sound.

I think modern orchestras playing symphonies of that time don't give the composers enough credit... if they had been writing for modern orchestras with modern instruments, the orchestration would have been completely different. I think my initial feeling "Beethoven was a bad orchestrator" was correct, based on the recordings I listened to; yes, if he had written those symphonies for the orchestras I was hearing, he wasn't very good at it. But the truth is, he wasn't doing that.

It's all opinion and personal taste, as to what people like more. For me, it was the opening of a whole new world to hear appropriately-sized and instrumented orchestras playing symphonies by these three composers. I went from "yeah, these symphonies are pretty good", to total ecstacy. With Schumann and Beethoven, that was due to Gardiner recordings. I kind of wish I'd never discovered Gardiner's Beethoven, though, as I can't even bear to listen to any modern recording any more, I just can't stand it, it sounds so bad to me, you can't hear all the "stuff" Beethoven was doing. Ever heard period-instrument, properly-scaled Rossini??  That's another interesting avenue to explore! Sounds "sharper", if that makes any sense. Neat stuff all around.

Offline Bunny

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #36 on: April 16, 2007, 09:29:33 AM »
Having listened to tons of music from that time period, I really can't understand why people think that Beethoven's stuff would have been seen as bizarre or unusual to his contemporaries. There was certainly "weirder" stuff being written in his lifetime. For example, Czech composers in orchestral music were experimenting in some harsh sounds that would become more commonplace a couple of decades later. Even W.A. Mozart's older Italian contemporary, Muzio Clementi, wrote symphonies in Beethoven's time that contained more "futuristic" chord-work than Beethoven did. He liked using trombones, too.


"The other three movements are conceived with a similar feeling for size: Spada justifiably claims that the slow movement hints at Schumann and Brahms and that the rhythmic insistence of the minor-key Scherzo (which Clementi rather modestly entitled "Minuet") foreshadows Bruckner; throughout, too, I wonder whether Schubert knew it."  -Martin Anderson


Many moments in Clementi's symphonies are harmonically "thicker" than anything found in Beethoven's, using stuff fairly unusual for the time. And even then, I don't think they sounded shocking to anyone.

I think recordings of symphonies by Schubert, Schumann, and Beethoven with over-large orchestras on modern instruments have harmfully coloured people's perception of that time period in music. When I used to hear all the Beethoven symphonies performed under the baton of people like Karajan, Furtwängler, Bernstein... and more. You know, the big recordings people love so much. Well, I never really thought Beethoven's symphonies were all that great, and in fact, I thought he was just a bad orchestrator. Everything sounded like a mush at times. Then I got Gardiner's set... and everything sounds perfect, you can hear all these things that you don't even know are there with the modern orchestras. I think the 8th symphony suffers the most from a modern orchestra, and even more especially, the fourth movement... no matter what you do, a big modern orchestra just can't let you hear everything, it's just too big, the intricacies vanish into that huge sound.

I think modern orchestras playing symphonies of that time don't give the composers enough credit... if they had been writing for modern orchestras with modern instruments, the orchestration would have been completely different. I think my initial feeling "Beethoven was a bad orchestrator" was correct, based on the recordings I listened to; yes, if he had written those symphonies for the orchestras I was hearing, he wasn't very good at it. But the truth is, he wasn't doing that.

It's all opinion and personal taste, as to what people like more. For me, it was the opening of a whole new world to hear appropriately-sized and instrumented orchestras playing symphonies by these three composers. I went from "yeah, these symphonies are pretty good", to total ecstacy. With Schumann and Beethoven, that was due to Gardiner recordings. I kind of wish I'd never discovered Gardiner's Beethoven, though, as I can't even bear to listen to any modern recording any more, I just can't stand it, it sounds so bad to me, you can't hear all the "stuff" Beethoven was doing. Ever heard period-instrument, properly-scaled Rossini??  That's another interesting avenue to explore! Sounds "sharper", if that makes any sense. Neat stuff all around.

Try getting a hold of some of Osmo Vänskä's Beethoven symphonies and you will see that Beethoven translates beautifully to modern, full size orchestra.  If you don't like what you have heard of Beethoven by a full size orchestra, then you haven't heard it done well.  Vänskä has such precise control over his orchestra that they manage to play the pianissimos at an almost inaudible level.  Because they can do this, he obtains tremendous transparency so that all of the voices can be heard.  I love HIP Beethoven, but it's not the only way to do it.

Online Que

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #37 on: April 19, 2007, 12:32:48 PM »


MENDELSSOHN A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hebrides Overture Fingal's Cave.
Sandrine Piau & Delphine Collot, La Chapelle Royale, Collegium Vocale Gent, Orchestre des Champs-Elysees
Philippe Herreweghe.


I have listened to this tonight - bought it on impulse this week.
I thought: Romantic composer + HIP + Herreweghe + Sandrine Piau = Nice. :)

And nice it is, very nice. Although have a some reservations on Herreweghe's relaxed take on this - it's sometimes too relaxed for my taste, when I miss the true Mendelssohnian frisson of Masur.
But here are a lot of advantages too: Herreweghe catches the sense of mystery in a perfect and subtle way. As always with Herreweghe: the orchestral sound and texture is gorgeous - very much enhanced by the period instruments. Their sound is a luxury I could get used to btw - I'd better be carefull.. 8)

Q

 

À chacun son goût.

Offline Bunny

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #38 on: April 20, 2007, 05:28:52 PM »
I just received this, but haven't had a chance to listen yet.  For me, anything done by Pieter Wispelwey is going to be very interesting as he is a student of Anner Bijlsma.  He records material both on period cellos and modern construction cellos.  On this recording, he is accompanied by Paul Komen on a Fortepiano by Josef Riedel, Vienna, ca. 1865 and he plays a Bohemian Cello from the 19th century. 


Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: The Romantics in Period Performances
« Reply #39 on: April 20, 2007, 05:52:32 PM »
I just received this, but haven't had a chance to listen yet.  For me, anything done by Pieter Wispelwey is going to be very interesting as he is a student of Anner Bijlsma.  He records material both on period cellos and modern construction cellos.  On this recording, he is accompanied by Paul Komen on a Fortepiano by Josef Riedel, Vienna, ca. 1865 and he plays a Bohemian Cello from the 19th century. 



Interesting, Bunny. For me, I would be interested to hear your take on Komen (I already know Wispelwey). He recorded a complete Beethoven Sonatas cycle on one of those "can't get 'em in America" labels, like Stradivarius or Globe, one of those. Anyway, I friend in Europe was very high on them. Kindly let us know what you think of him. :)

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