Author Topic: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?  (Read 40500 times)

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Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #200 on: May 19, 2018, 09:00:08 AM »
It's been about a decade since I last hear anything from Vanska's cycle. I once had a disc with syms 4 & 5 on it. I never outright disliked the disc, but I never could seem to really find a way into it.

A decade later, the entire cycle is mine.

And I'll never part with it.

Great, "non-digital" sonics help, but on top of that, what I once perceived as "routine" in that disc, I now hear extraordinary insights. What has changed in the intervening decade? Well, obviously I've gotten a decade older!! ;D
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #201 on: May 19, 2018, 10:26:00 AM »
It's been about a decade since I last hear anything from Vanska's cycle. I once had a disc with syms 4 & 5 on it. I never outright disliked the disc, but I never could seem to really find a way into it.

A decade later, the entire cycle is mine.

And I'll never part with it.

Great, "non-digital" sonics help, but on top of that, what I once perceived as "routine" in that disc, I now hear extraordinary insights. What has changed in the intervening decade? Well, obviously I've gotten a decade older!! ;D

I remember exactly how I got my hands on the disc of Sys 4 & 5. I had drinks with Tim Page at Union Station and he said that the last thing he needed was more Beethoven and if I wanted that disc. I had been looking forward to those recordings as it was, so Yes! And indeed, I think that's one of the best 4ths on record and Vanska's cycle all the way up there... only not on my list because it is fairly similar in style to Paavo Jaervi's, which is also very good.

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #202 on: May 19, 2018, 08:06:55 PM »
I remember exactly how I got my hands on the disc of Sys 4 & 5. I had drinks with Tim Page at Union Station and he said that the last thing he needed was more Beethoven and if I wanted that disc. I had been looking forward to those recordings as it was, so Yes! And indeed, I think that's one of the best 4ths on record and Vanska's cycle all the way up there... only not on my list because it is fairly similar in style to Paavo Jaervi's, which is also very good.

Cool! :) I had to google Tim Page. Music critic?
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #203 on: May 19, 2018, 11:11:14 PM »
Vanska's cycle is very popular it seems. I am not too familiar with it. Because of so many recordings being made of these symphonies so often it is hard to tell which ones are going to be outstanding.........

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #204 on: May 20, 2018, 02:26:26 AM »
Cool! :) I had to google Tim Page. Music critic?

Yes, the one. One of the few genuinely nice and wonderful music critics; a Mensch.
He was at the Post at the time; I think I had just been booted off the stringer list by the Editor.
I was thinking: "Really, he doesn't want that disc? What's wrong with him?"  ;D

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #205 on: May 23, 2018, 11:19:52 PM »
In the midst of all the pro and cons of the preferred Karajan/BPO cycles - easy to forget that *other* early 60's BPO cycle from Andre Cluytens.  I've been revisiting this recently and it strikes me as having the best elements of the sheer technical address of the orchestra (plus remarkably good recording for something pushing 60!) plus an unfussy, dynamic and thoroughly enjoyable interpretation from Cluytens.  Can any cycle ever be deemed the No.1 - surely not - but this is worth a visit for sure.


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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #206 on: May 23, 2018, 11:25:11 PM »
After listening to Karajan recordings of the 7th I also went back to one of his predecessors, Cantelli's 7th. Actually rather similar (not a shock, both were disciples of Toscanini) but Cantelli doesn't quite hit it. The way Karajan shapes the finale, particularly the code, which becomes more and more and more frenzied, building up to higher and higher and higher levels of intensity without any loss of composure or ensemble balance is astonishing.

At some point I have to find Karajan's old mono cycle with the Philharmonia.

Offline CB45

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #207 on: May 24, 2018, 08:14:23 AM »
The Cluytens cycle is indeed a considerable, consistent, achievement.  The recent Cluytens box contains that cycle together with his earlier reading of the Pastoral, from 1955, and also with the Berlin Philharmonic, which I find a wonderful reading, showing deep engagement with the score.  The HMV LP had a beautiful and dignified sleeve, golden green, with a simple sheaf of wheat in the centre.  That LP was one of the first I was given, alongside Beecham's Philips recording of Mozart's Haffner and Linz symphonies.  Hard to beat!

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #208 on: June 08, 2018, 05:54:03 PM »
I have really really enjoyed this recently. This is a great sounding re-mastered edition of live performances, with a really sense of tempo and phrasing that might seem a bit quirky or extreme from a rhythmically rigid modern perspective, but this approach to tempo seems to follow the natural tendencies of Beethoven's harmonic and melodic direction better than some other historical recordings I have heard.



Actually it follows closely the kind of expressive tempo modifications described by Beethoven and his contemporaries over a hundred years before these performances were made.

I am curious if there are any more recent recordings that use historical evidence of phrasing, portamento, articulation and especially tempo that was described by Beethoven and co. in the early 19th century.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2018, 05:56:52 PM by jessop »

Offline PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #209 on: June 09, 2018, 08:06:57 AM »
I think it depends on when the original recording was made.  For me,  almost everything recorded before 1950 (a very approximate date) is too "hissy" to be interesting as anything other than its historical interest.    For whatever reason,  recordings in the '50s (and a couple in the late 40s) seem to have overcome that problem, and while the sonics may seem dull on some of them,  a number of mono recordings from the late 50s actually sound better to me than some early stereo recordings.
My feelings exactly. There were some fantastic sounding recordings in mono made in the 50s like Karajan's Der Rosenkavalier and Capriccio. They sound so good that it almost begs the question why back then anyone would try stereo.

Offline RebLem

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #210 on: June 13, 2018, 09:43:32 PM »
I have lots of good sets.  But in the past few years, lots of HIP and OIP groups have recorded the nine, and each has been hailed by a few as revolutionary and revelatory and the one to get.  To me, though, only one of them has actually fulfilled that promise--the one from Jos van Immerseel and Anima Eterna on the Zig Zag label, distributed by Harmonia Mundi.
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Offline Marc

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #211 on: June 13, 2018, 10:38:05 PM »
I have lots of good sets.  But in the past few years, lots of HIP and OIP groups have recorded the nine, and each has been hailed by a few as revolutionary and revelatory and the one to get.  To me, though, only one of them has actually fulfilled that promise--the one from Jos van Immerseel and Anima Eterna on the Zig Zag label, distributed by Harmonia Mundi.

What's OIP?

Obbligato instruments périodique? ;)
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Offline RebLem

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #212 on: June 14, 2018, 06:16:39 AM »
What's OIP?

Obbligato instruments périodique? ;)
Original instruments practice. That's an established term.  It would probably be better to call it PIP, period imstruments practice, but that's not an established practice.  In other words, playing a piece on instruments of a kind, either actually from the period, or modern faithful reproductions of the same, that would have been used at the premiere performance or at the best sort of performance from that period.
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #213 on: June 14, 2018, 06:21:31 AM »
Original instruments practice. That's an established term.  It would probably be better to call it PIP, period imstruments practice, but that's not an established practice.  In other words, playing a piece on instruments of a kind, either actually from the period, or modern faithful reproductions of the same, that would have been used at the premiere performance or at the best sort of performance from that period.

If it were such an established term, I reckon more of us would have heard of it before. The 8 [sic] google hits also suggest that it's not that established. More importantly, how does it differ from HIP?
As in: Original instruments performance being not just "historically informed" but going further, namely by the use of their instruments... (although that much us usually also implied with"HIP"). Or are you using it interchangeably?


Offline PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #214 on: June 14, 2018, 06:28:07 AM »
If it were such an established term, I reckon more of us would have heard of it before. The 8 [sic] google hits also suggest that it's not that established. More importantly, how does it differ from HIP?
As in: Original instruments performance being not just "historically informed" but going further, namely by the use of their instruments... (although that much us usually also implied with"HIP"). Or are you using it interchangeably?
The whole thing sounds pretty hokey to me. With all these HIP/PIP/OIP Beethoven out there that differ dramatically in instrument construction and playing style how can there be such a thing as "historically informed"? If one is "informed" does it mean the other guy is not?

Offline André

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #215 on: June 14, 2018, 07:06:18 AM »
The whole thing sounds pretty hokey to me. With all these HIP/PIP/OIP Beethoven out there that differ dramatically in instrument construction and playing style how can there be such a thing as "historically informed"? If one is "informed" does it mean the other guy is not?

That’s the whole point. Today’s « informed » performance automatically supersedes what precedes it. Or, how to get instant legitimacy ... ;)

Offline RebLem

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #216 on: June 14, 2018, 08:10:17 AM »
If it were such an established term, I reckon more of us would have heard of it before. The 8 [sic] google hits also suggest that it's not that established. More importantly, how does it differ from HIP?
As in: Original instruments performance being not just "historically informed" but going further, namely by the use of their instruments... (although that much us usually also implied with"HIP"). Or are you using it interchangeably?
I am not using the two terms interchangeably.  HIP performances are performances on modern instruments with no attempt to make them look or sound like period instruments.  The "historically informed" part refers not to the instruments themselves, but such things as period instrument tuning and what we know or think we know about period tempos and other aspects of performance practice from whatever time is in question.
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #217 on: June 15, 2018, 12:18:27 AM »
I am not using the two terms interchangeably.  HIP performances are performances on modern instruments with no attempt to make them look or sound like period instruments.  The "historically informed" part refers not to the instruments themselves, but such things as period instrument tuning and what we know or think we know about period tempos and other aspects of performance practice from whatever time is in question.

Oh, then one of us isn't using "HIP" in the conventional sense.

I always use it, quite interchangeably, to denote Original Instrument Performances. I wouldn't, for example, denote Abbado's Rome cycle with the BPH as "HIP", but I would, Gardiner's.
Not that your definition doesn't make sense, hinging on the word "informed". What you describe as HIP, as logical as it sounds, is something I would (cumbersomely) describe as quasi-HIP or hybrid-HIP... (Harnoncourt's cycle with the COE or anything the Klangverwaltung Orchestra does with E.v.Guttenberg or the like.)

If it's worth anything (at least to establish what the convention is), Wikipedia agrees with me:

Quote
Performance on period instruments is a key aspect of HIP, such as this baroque orchestra...

P.S. I've rarely heard a modern-instrument, Period-Performance-Inspired ("PPI"? ;D) orchestra tune down. Phrasing and tempo are usually about it, when it comes to adopting the modern -- which is to say: aspirationally historical -- style.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #218 on: June 15, 2018, 02:07:52 AM »
for what its worth I don't know any period ensembles who play with unequal temperament.  There might well be but the reality is to modern ears an ensemble (not just a keyboard alone) playing that way will sound out of tune and also for the players themselves it is all but impossible to play accurately but unequally.

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #219 on: June 15, 2018, 02:35:11 AM »
for what its worth I don't know any period ensembles who play with unequal temperament.  There might well be but the reality is to modern ears an ensemble (not just a keyboard alone) playing that way will sound out of tune and also for the players themselves it is all but impossible to play accurately but unequally.


So you think, that ensembles always played in equal tuning, earlier as well as now??
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