Author Topic: Rattle rumble  (Read 1875 times)

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Offline Todd

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Re: Rattle rumble
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2017, 05:51:25 AM »





The Sixth.  Birmingham.  Rattle opens the Allegro molto moderato in light, shimmering fashion, and there seems to be not an austere sound as some generate, but a celebratory feel, at least for the first seven or so minutes.  At that point, it becomes darker and more abstract, and then when the timps gently introduce the Allegretto moderato the playing sounds almost expressionless.  A sense of musical coolness remains in most of the movement, though all the while Rattle extracts very fine playing from the Brits and while never rushed, the playing displays a nice tension.  The Poco vivace, while not slow or cumbersome, sounds deliberate and controlled most of the time, though Rattle makes sure to deliver a potent coda.  The Allegro molto sounds large scaled and spacious (is all the reverb natural?) but not weighed down or pressed too hard.  Some of the string playing after about 7'30" takes on a mass-like quality, where one can easily envision a portion of the liturgical text being set.  This might be part of the symphony that according to scholars is potentially influenced by Palestrina, and then Rattle closes out with a serene coda.

Berlin.  The opening is perhaps a bit lovelier, but it is weightier, and as the music unfolds, Rattle keeps ratcheting up intensity a bit until a sort of plateau is reached where the winds come out to play.  There's almost a sense of playfulness to go along with the tonal richness; it's neither celebratory nor austere.  Here, the more immediate, vibrant, and weighty sonics are lovely to hear, but the perhaps more artificial transparency of the Birmingham recording offers a broader perspective.  There's also a less dramatic change in tenor past the seven minute mark.  The Allegretto moderato sounds a bit less expressionless, and noticeably more sumptuous.  The string playing in the last quarter or so of the movement, while executed without flaw, seems almost too rich at times.  Almost.  The Poco vivace sounds weightier, and both punchier and smoother.  The Allegro molto starts off sounding less grand in scale and sort of lazily fun before the Berliners start to crank things up a bit, but not too much, a couple minutes in.  The quasi-mass-like music sounds thicker and richer here, and while one still senses the same overall tenor, it's less pronounced, though it is definitely more beautiful, and the coda is slightly more dramatic and the fade out more compelling.

Birmingham works better for me here.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

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Re: Rattle rumble
« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2017, 05:38:53 AM »





The Seventh.  Birmingham.  Rattle makes the Adagio very solemn and almost processional.  Vague hints of Wagner and Elgar can be heard, and the trombone theme and climax are both utterly captivating.  The transitions between sections are almost all perfectly seamless and the soundworld fantastical throughout, and the climaxes emerge out of the quieter playing with perfect form and timing.  The Vivace and Presto sections are markedly intense, with the strings evoking a sort of condensed Mahler at times.  This is one of Rattle's better recordings.

Berlin.  The opening Adagio is solemn here, as well, but it sounds tenser throuhgout.  Climaxes are executed with superb precision and power, but the trombone theme does not sound as compelling here, and the Vivace and Presto section, while superb, lack the same feel as the earlier recording.

Birmingham wins again.

Overall, were I forced to choose just one set, I'd probably keep Berlin, but since I have both, I'm happier that way.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Brian

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Re: Rattle rumble
« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2017, 06:13:58 AM »
Are you going to revive this thread in the fall when the new BPO label Beethoven cycle hits? Those BPO releases are usually a jolt to the wallet, so I am glad someone is taking the plunge for the rest of us...

Offline Todd

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Re: Rattle rumble
« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2017, 06:25:58 AM »
Are you going to revive this thread in the fall when the new BPO label Beethoven cycle hits? Those BPO releases are usually a jolt to the wallet, so I am glad someone is taking the plunge for the rest of us...


Probably not.  I didn't care for Rattle's VPO set, and so don't want to do an A/B with him here.  The 2015 LvB cycle is available right now for $49 for downloads, so it's mid-price.  If there is a Mahler cycle in the can, I'd A/B that.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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