Author Topic: Purchases Today  (Read 2219553 times)

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Offline Gordo

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3120 on: October 26, 2013, 08:25:05 AM »
Another difficulty with Rozhdestvensky is that he seems to have become a cranky old fart. He resigned from the Bolshoi in 2001 after some disputes, and canceled a series of concerts in Amsterdam in 2006 because the Sinfonietta's official bio didn't mention that he had worked with them before.

I did some research and these are some details of the Amsterdam's incident and a very similar one happened in Boston two years later:

Quote
Conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky Quits Concerts Over Liner Notes
By Ben Mattison
28 Feb 2006

Conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky has withdrawn from a series of concerts with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta because the orchestra left him out of its liner notes, the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reports.

Rozhdestvensky, the former principal conductor of the Bolshoi Theatre, the BBC Symphony, and other orchestras, was scheduled to lead the Sinfonietta in four concerts in Amsterdam starting February 24 and on a tour to Utrecht and Frankurt. The program featured the work of Shostakovich, one of Rozhdestvensky's specialties.

According to NRC Handelsblad, Rozhdestvensky arrived in Amsterdam on February 20 and led a rehearsal before checking into his hotel; there, he found a package of gifts including the Sinfonietta's 2005 CD of Beethoven and Walton. The liner notes packaged with the CD apparently did not list Rozhdestvensky, who previously led the ensemble in 2003, among the past guest conductors of the orchestra.

The conductor "became enraged," orchestra manager Mark Vondenhoff told the paper, saying that he had been "hurt to the core" and that the snub "ruined his life." Vondenhoff and concertmaster Candida Thompson went to the hotel and apologized, but Rozhdestvensky and his wife, pianist Viktoria Postnikova, who was to appear as well, left immediately for Paris.

Roman Kofman, the artistic director of Bonn's Beethovenhalle Orchestra, replaced Rozhdestvensky on the program; Alexander Menikov stepped in for Postnikova.

Quote
The Boston Globe

Thoughts on a missing maestro at the BSO
By Jeremy Eichler, Globe Staff | November 30, 2008

Concertgoers last week lost a rare opportunity to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra play under the baton of a legendary Russian conductor in the twilight of his career. Gennady Rozhdestvensky was scheduled to conduct the BSO, but he angrily pulled out of all four performances at the last minute and left town.

He was offended by the BSO's marketing materials, yet the incident also shed light on a deeper problem of the orchestra condescending to a potential audience. If the BSO had the artistic vision to bring Rozhdestvensky to its stage, it should have had the marketing courage to stand behind its reasons for doing so.

To rewind the story, the incident occurred after Rozhdestvensky discovered that his name had been omitted altogether from a list of "Distinguished Conductors" in the BSO's season brochure. He was also upset that the week's cello soloist, Lynn Harrell, had been featured in a large photo and given top billing on a concert poster, while his name appeared only in the concert details.

In the view of Rozhdestvensky, a major figure in Russian music of the 20th century, being left off the list of noteworthy conductors was a painful "moral insult." By Saturday, he and his wife, pianist Viktoria Postnikova, who had also been scheduled to perform, were on their way back to Moscow.

In the wake of the incident, in comments posted to Boston.com, some readers chastised the BSO's marketing choices as highly disrespectful. Others ridiculed Rozhdestvensky's reaction as overblown and diva-like, and pointed to his similar walkout on the Amsterdam Sinfonietta in 2006 as evidence of a short fuse and an outsized ego. There is some truth in both perspectives. And among many other things, this was also clearly a culture clash between Old World and New, an eminent Russian maestro and an American-style marketing machine hopelessly seeing past each other.

But the story also raises bigger questions about the nature of classical music marketing more generally in the 21st century, at a time when organizations large and small are sharply feeling the economic pinch and the competition for ticket-buyers is as tight as ever. Despite, and partly because of, these difficult times, it's also a period when cultural institutions stand to gain a great deal by approaching the public in a way that projects the sustained importance and vitality of their artistic missions.

These challenges are not unique to the BSO by any stretch, but last week's incident brought them to the surface. One cannot say that Rozhdestvensky misread the BSO's marketing material; he simply made the mistake of assuming that the words mattered. He viewed them as a serious reflection of the artistic values of the institution, rather than as a pragmatic marketing strategy designed to sell tickets. The problem also occurred because, in this case, there was such a wide gap between the two.

In artistic terms, the notion that Rozhdestvensky does not belong on a list of the distinguished conductors visiting Symphony Hall this season is a patent absurdity. He is a widely respected musician, even revered in some circles, with more than 400 recordings to his name. His life and his approach to conducting represent an increasingly rare link to a historical era and a particularly Russian narrative about the existential importance of classical music in the 20th century. He has worked with many of the great composers and soloists of his time.

No one on the artistic side of the Boston Symphony Orchestra would dispute his stature as distinguished. That, after all, is why he has been invited back to guest conduct the orchestra many times since his first appearance in 1978.

But Rozhdestvensky is no longer a household name to the mainstream public, so the orchestra chose to spotlight Lynn Harrell instead. In a joint phone interview this week, BSO managing director Mark Volpe and director of sales and marketing Kim Noltemy strongly defended their decision to promote the concert exactly the way they did.

"Obviously we want to learn from experiences, but I still feel we did absolutely nothing wrong," Volpe said. "We wanted to sell tickets, and we felt that Lynn Harrell was certainly better known by our audience, so we were going to focus on that." Noltemy also noted that Rozhdestvensky had been the focus of new media promotion including an online podcast. Apparently, when these new media efforts were mentioned to the 77-year-old conductor, he was not placated.

One can easily see it from the BSO's perspective. "You have seconds to attract attention of someone walking by," said Noltemy of the poster. "You have to promote what will grab someone quickly." Or as Volpe commented in defense of the subscription brochure: "We have to sell roughly 10 million dollars worth of tickets [over the course of a season]. I see the brochure, frankly, primarily as a sales piece."

But even so, does it necessarily follow that there would be no room in a list of distinguished conductors for a name that is not instantly recognizable to a wide swath of the symphony public? In fact, assuming that the orchestra has earned the trust of its audiences, perhaps some readers would take an unknown name in this context as an invitation to discover who this conductor actually is.

The plight of classical music in a free-market economy has never been an easy one, especially in this country, where institutions must do without the generous government subsidies enjoyed in Europe. In the mid-20th century, the art form benefited - in the short term - from a broader cultural hierarchy that placed it near the top of the heap. Classical recordings were seen as an essential marker of a proper middle- or upper-class home.

But these days, classical music competes on a leveled postmodern playing field, where distinctions between high and low culture are increasingly meaningless. And there are all the other familiar reasons why times are tough for musical institutions.

Yet the ace in the pocket of orchestras and performing arts groups is that they are selling an experience that is simply not interchangeable with anything else. But it is easy for that message to get lost as marketing strategies increasingly come to mimic the techniques of the entertainment industry at large. Is there really no other way?

In search of some fresh thinking on this subject, I called up a few wise voices in the field this week, starting with Ara Guzelimian, who helped run Carnegie Hall for much of the last decade, and was a major force in turning that venerable institution into a beacon of progressive musical thinking. "For me it's very simple," he said. "I think the artistic values and mission have to be represented in every aspect of the way an organization presents itself. They're not separated functions, but I think we as a profession run into trouble when there's a divergence. This has been a subtle and unsubtle tension in every organization in which I've worked."

I also spoke with Thomas Morris, who has worked at the BSO and the Cleveland Orchestra and runs one of the more magical summer festivals in the country, in Ojai, Calif. "If you look in general at orchestra brochures or ads," he said, "you tend to find a predominance of weight being given to star factors and to the greatest hits of the repertoire. I disagree with that philosophically. I don't think it works, and I don't think it should work. Ultimately, the great thing about a concert - is the experience of the concert. And when you have great institutions that are putting on concerts, I believe that the ultimate attraction is the institution. Information about what's being played is informational. A concert to me is an adventure. And that's something that in fact you don't have competition for."

The BSO knows this, and knows how to foreground its artistic principles in its self-presentation. But it also needs reminding on occasion, especially when marketing drifts as far from the organization's internal artistic vision as it did last week.

All of this naturally applies to programming perhaps even more than it does to the marketing of visiting artists. When the BSO chooses to present innovative programs, that approach should be trumpeted, not seen as a reason for apology. One hopes the coming seasons will offer even more innovation. Ultimately, the easiest way to market classical music is to have something genuinely exciting to sell.

To see a success story in this very area, consider the BSO's own proud advocacy for the music of Elliott Carter. Rather than soft-pedaling James Levine's fervid belief in this extremely challenging music, the orchestra has run with it. And its bold choices are already paying dividends. The all-Carter festival at the Tanglewood Music Center this summer had a much larger audience than anyone expected. And both concerts in early December featuring the BSO's next Carter world premiere are already sold out.

That's good news, and the orchestra is surely eager to turn the page on last week's events. But let's hope Rozhdestvensky's cancellation is not just seen as a one-off scandal, but as an occasion to reflect on some of these broader issues: what it means for an institution to promote with confidence its own artistic choices, to market from a position of strength, and to understand the delicate but essential balance of when to follow popular taste, and when to lead.
Musica lætitiæ comes medicina dolorum
(Music is a companion to joy and a medicine for pains)

Parsifal

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3121 on: October 26, 2013, 10:11:43 AM »
The BSO does not deserve to have Rozhdestvensky grace it's stage, given the lack of respect they showed him. 

But then again, this is the purchase thread.



It's not available on amazon.com yet.  I got it from amazon.de for less than 16 Euros plus about 4 Euros shipping.  A similar deal is available on Amazon.fr, but Amazon.de has a lower shipping rate to the US.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2013, 10:17:32 AM by Scarpia »

Offline TheGSMoeller

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3122 on: October 26, 2013, 01:28:17 PM »
A Dvorak Party! The Dohnanyi is a replacement of a copy I unfortunately lost many years ago, pre MP3 days so I never burned a copy on my hard drive.


   

Offline Sammy

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3123 on: October 26, 2013, 01:41:25 PM »
The BSO does not deserve to have Rozhdestvensky grace it's stage, given the lack of respect they showed him. 

I'm surprised that the BSO didn't consider Rozhdestvensky to have exposure value but thought Harrell did have it.  Perhaps Harrell had a big name many years ago, but he's done little in recent years (as far as I know).  I think the BSO screwed this one up.

Offline Gordo

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3124 on: October 26, 2013, 01:43:19 PM »
The BSO does not deserve to have Rozhdestvensky grace it's stage, given the lack of respect they showed him. 

Do you see? If there are not disks involved, we are in complete agreement.  ;) ;D
Musica lætitiæ comes medicina dolorum
(Music is a companion to joy and a medicine for pains)

Offline Artem

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3125 on: October 26, 2013, 02:35:07 PM »
Found this in a used store jazz section. Gonna listen tonight.


kishnevi

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3126 on: October 27, 2013, 06:36:39 AM »
from Arkivmusic



***even if the Pappano is not that good--I think I only have one other recording of the Four Sacred Pieces, and that's the one with Reiner.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3127 on: October 27, 2013, 06:54:20 AM »
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

kishnevi

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3128 on: October 27, 2013, 06:58:19 AM »
Nice set! Great performances.

And I have absolutely none of DSCH's film music, so this will help plug an important hole.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3129 on: October 27, 2013, 07:04:46 AM »
And I have absolutely none of DSCH's film music, so this will help plug an important hole.

Oh, really? Well I hope you enjoy the music, Jeffrey. For further exploration, I highly recommend this set on Capriccio:

“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3130 on: October 27, 2013, 10:46:18 AM »
Since Tchaikovsky has entered my stratosphere once again (I went through a huge Tchaikovsky phase four years ago), I bought these:





“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

kyjo

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3131 on: October 27, 2013, 11:00:22 AM »
I know you've never disliked his music, John, but I am pleasantly surprised to see you getting into Tchaik! :) He's my numero dos composer. I don't own those Alto recordings you purchased, though. I have the Virgin Classics set of the PCs, which is fantastic. :)

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3132 on: October 27, 2013, 11:03:40 AM »
I know you've never disliked his music, John, but I am pleasantly surprised to see you getting into Tchaik! :) He's my numero dos composer. I don't own those Alto recordings you purchased, though. I have the Virgin Classics set of the PCs, which is fantastic. :)

Tchaikovsky is a favorite for sure. I love this man's music. Remember I did write that I had a major Tchaikovsky phase about four years ago. I'm also very, very ashamed to admit that I don't know his PCs as well as I should, so this Pletnev set seemed like a no brainer. For the record, I do have quite an extensive Tchaikovsky collection already, but I could always use more. :)
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

kyjo

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3133 on: October 27, 2013, 11:07:46 AM »
Tchaikovsky is a favorite for sure. I love this man's music. Remember I did write that I had a major Tchaikovsky phase about four years ago. I'm also very, very ashamed to admit that I don't know his PCs as well as I should, so this Pletnev set seemed like a no brainer. For the record, I do have quite an extensive Tchaikovsky collection already, but I could always use more. :)

You've never heard PC 1!? ??? I must desperately try to avoid over-exposure to this work, especially that opening (which has to be one of the most attention-grabbing openings in all music)! I can understand that you haven't heard the others, though. No. 2 is quite u********* IMO and its slow movement is very beautiful.

EDIT: Oops, I glossed over the part of your post that says "as well as I should". :-[

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3134 on: October 27, 2013, 11:22:45 AM »
You've never heard PC 1!? ??? I must desperately try to avoid over-exposure to this work, especially that opening (which has to be one of the most attention-grabbing openings in all music)! I can understand that you haven't heard the others, though. No. 2 is quite u********* IMO and its slow movement is very beautiful.

EDIT: Oops, I glossed over the part of your post that says "as well as I should". :-[

Sure, yeah, I've heard all of Tchaikovsky's concertante works at various points, but I never really made an effort with them. But, as any indication from my purchase of that Pletnev set, this will soon change.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Brian

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3135 on: October 27, 2013, 11:45:19 AM »
No. 2

By far my favorite of the three, as a matter of fact!

kyjo

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3136 on: October 27, 2013, 11:50:23 AM »
By far my favorite of the three, as a matter of fact!

No. 1 is still my favorite but no. 2 isn't far behind! Beats me why it isn't programmed more on concerts, considering Tchaik's current popularity with audiences.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3137 on: October 27, 2013, 01:58:48 PM »
I hope the Amazon back cover image is wrong; any letter with a diacritic is missing from the print (e.g., "Magdalena Ko en ")

The box arrived some days ago; safe and sound, orthography intact. Amazon must have photographed the super collector's adiacrita edition.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3138 on: October 28, 2013, 03:39:25 AM »
Arrived this morning: Gerald Finzi's Die Natalis (Martyn Hill, tenor) and Clarinet Concerto (Michael Collins, clarinet), Hickox conducting; and HIP Wind Quintets by Mozart and Beethoven with Penelope Crawford on  the fortepiano




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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Purchases Today
« Reply #3139 on: October 28, 2013, 03:41:41 AM »
I'm surprised that the BSO didn't consider Rozhdestvensky to have exposure value but thought Harrell did have it.  Perhaps Harrell had a big name many years ago, but he's done little in recent years (as far as I know).  I think the BSO screwed this one up.

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