Author Topic: Lieder ohne Worte  (Read 7506 times)

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Offline Todd

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Re: Lieder ohne Worte
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2014, 06:25:20 AM »




Ilse von Alpenheim.  A swift, light, lovely 19/1 characterized by fluid legato quickly gives way to a more pointed, lean, comparatively lightly pedaled and often bright and more than occasionally metallic sounding approach in the faster works that follow.  The first Venetian Gondola Song is stark.  The second and third ones, too.  Overly mellifluous Mendelssohn this is not.  Rather, it strikes me as a lighter, slightly “smaller” version of Michael Korstick, though of course, Mrs Dorati recorded her set much earlier.  The set is certainly consistent, never really wavering much in style, with no wallowing allowed at any time, and more attention lavished on structure than melody.  While tonal beauty isn't really Alpenheim's thing, good dynamic control certainly seems to be.  This dynamic control, married to more appealing than normal tonal beauty in the left hand playing, makes the Spring Song an unexpected delight.  While I doubt this set gets many repeat listens around these parts, I can see some listeners enjoying this slightly stern set for its lack of excess. 
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

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Re: Lieder ohne Worte
« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2014, 07:31:35 AM »





Daniel Gortler.  Who is Daniel Gortler?  Well, he's an Israeli pianist who has recorded next to nothing, and about whom little information is available.  He's a professor at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, and he has been performing for a good while, and performs a wide variety of core rep.  So far, so good, I guess.  This set was recorded in 1997, but the Romeo release is from 2006.  It's also the only release I own with Hebrew liner notes.

I wonder why it took so long for this set to get released, because really, everything just jells.  Gortler's playing is lyrical at all times, and when it is not wonderfully warm and rich, it is bright and colorful.  Dynamics are basically perfectly judged.  Tempi are slower on the whole than Barenboim's, but Gortler's choices all make perfect sense.  When he needs to be energetic, he is.  When he needs to play slow, he does.  When the music needs to be a bit darker, it is.  And above all, Gortler plays the pieces as if they are, in fact, songs.  Listening, it is almost always possible to think about a singer in the mix.  Every piece seems just right.  Perfect, even.  If the praise seems too effusive, I can't help it.  I think this may the one, the Lieder ohne Worte I cannot be ohne.  The last time I experienced such a perfect blend of everything was when I listened to Paul Badura-Skoda's LvB cycle on Astree, but I have no quibbles with this set. 

Sound is nearly ideal, offering a perfect perspective and just a bit of resonance.

I'd love to hear Gortler in as much Schubert as possible, but for now only a Schumann twofer appears to be available.  I'm pretty sure I'll be buying it.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline George

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Re: Lieder ohne Worte
« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2014, 08:27:31 AM »
Gortler's first Song Without Words can be heard on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIU70B6K7Ls

It is beautifully played, but too fast for me. (Gieseking's EMI recording remains my favorite)
"I can't live without music, because music is life." - Yvonne Lefébure

Offline Brian

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Re: Lieder ohne Worte
« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2014, 08:55:05 AM »
Gortler's first Song Without Words can be heard on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIU70B6K7Ls

It is beautifully played, but too fast for me. (Gieseking's EMI recording remains my favorite)
If that's too fast, definitely, absolutely do not click this link. ;)

Offline George

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Re: Lieder ohne Worte
« Reply #24 on: December 07, 2014, 08:56:30 AM »
"I can't live without music, because music is life." - Yvonne Lefébure

Offline Todd

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Re: Lieder ohne Worte
« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2014, 07:26:02 PM »




András Schiff.  A single disc, incomplete set, the only one I picked up for this survey.  I figured that Schiff should be almost ideal for these pieces, but my enthusiasm was a bit misplaced.  The first thing of note is the resonant and hard sound, with a few clangy passages thrown in, which are rare for Schiff.  The second thing of note is how serious Schiff makes these pieces sound.  These are not charming miniatures; these are significant, heavy pieces.  (Well, sort of.)  Schiff does manage to make a good chunk of the playing work, and he tends to adopt slow tempi – though sometimes too slow.  102/5 (Kinderstuck), usually a light, quick, purely charming piece, is here transformed into a slow meditation on an abstract notion of childhood.  It is not entirely successful.  He makes Rev seem light and frivolous.  Not a first choice at all, but Schiff's talent is such that his heavier-than-it-should-be approach ends up offering an intriguing slant on a few pieces.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

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Re: Lieder ohne Worte
« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2014, 01:55:46 PM »




Rena Kyriakou.  Until now, my only experience with this pianist was her woefully recorded set of Chabrier's piano music, which also lacks a bit in the energy department.  (This is mostly when compared to Naida Cole's blockbuster recording of two Chabrier pieces; Chabrier recordings aren't exactly super-abundant.)  But I've read a few glowing comments about her Mendelssohn.  On evidence of this set, Mendelssohn is more her thing.  First of all, the recorded sound is more helpful.  While aged (it is from 1962), with some distortion and drop outs, it nonetheless conveys the qualities of Kyriakou's playing.  Second, no doubt aided by what sounds like a Bosendorfer, Kyriakou largely emerges as a full-blooded player of Mendelssohn's music.  The tempi aren't necessarily fast – and sometimes, like right out of the gate in 19/1, they are incredibly slow – but they are generally well judged, and Kyriakou makes everything sound big and robust.  Her playing tends to favor the melody over the accompaniment, with some nearly biting, often bright but never harsh right hand playing evident much of the time.  I can't say the playing is nearly as lyrical as someone like Gortler, nor as deep as Adni, but it works.  A pleasant, better-than-expected set. 

It appears that the set is available on YouTube, so there's no reason to pay even the Vox price for this one.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

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Re: Lieder ohne Worte
« Reply #27 on: December 28, 2014, 03:54:14 PM »




Roberte Mamou.  Revisiting the set that kicked this whole thing off.  After hearing so many different versions, Ms Mamou's comes across as a nice enough set.  It generally sounds nice.  It is generally lyrical enough.  It may be a bit serious at times, but it also is devoid of excess rubato or dynamic fiddling.  But ultimately it is a bit unmemorable.  It isn't bad, it just isn't what I'm listening for.  YMMV.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

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Re: Lieder ohne Worte
« Reply #28 on: December 28, 2014, 03:55:32 PM »
Ten-and-a-half sets of Mendelssohn should do it for me for a while – well, until the Michael Endres set is released, at any rate.  I would group the sets thusly:


Tip-Top Tier
Daniel Gortler


Top Tier
Roberto Prosseda
Michael Endres
Daniel Barenboim
Daniel Adni


Second Tier
Christoph Eschenbach
Livia Rev
Balázs Szokolay
Rena Kyriakou


Third Tier
Andras Schiff
Michael Korstick
Ilse von Alpenheim
Roberte Mamou
« Last Edit: November 01, 2015, 11:20:29 AM by Todd »
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

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Re: Lieder ohne Worte
« Reply #29 on: June 24, 2015, 05:29:32 PM »




Christoph Eschenbach.  A perfect example of a recording being exactly what was expected.  Eschenbach's playing is predictably meticulous, generally beautiful, and he never delves deep.  It's pretty much all surface, which works well in this music.  Everything stays light.  In an all bon-bon collection, the sweetest treat is the no doubt too saccharine for some Op 19/1, which flows effortlessly for over four and a half minutes.  Second tier and quite enjoyable.  Good sound, but the remastering could be updated.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Oldnslow

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Re: Lieder ohne Worte
« Reply #30 on: June 24, 2015, 08:17:28 PM »
Eschenbach's Songs Without Words has been recently reissued as part of a 6 CD set on DG Eloquence, which I just purchased and look forward to hearing. It also contains Chopin, Schubert, and Schumann.  He is (or was) a superb pianist--I recall some great Bartok solo pieces many years ago that I don't believe have ever been reissued. His Emperor with Ozawa  on Pentatone is tempting too.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Lieder ohne Worte
« Reply #31 on: October 12, 2015, 01:02:26 AM »


I´m actually quite fond of this one. People often complain about her playing too slow. Okay, there are a few pieces where she could have played faster but I am not sure she should have been, op. 19/1 included. She makes quite a convincing case for their being played slower than one would expect. What I like the most is that she doesn´t refrain from playing some pieces as if they were not songs without words but ballads without words. Overall she might not be as poetic as Gieseking (but then again who is?) and might not have the same beauty and purity of tone as Gieseking (but then again who has?), but in her best moments --- and there are many --- she is not too far.
"In Heaven I shall hear again." - Beethoven

El Chupacabra

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Re: Lieder ohne Worte
« Reply #32 on: October 12, 2015, 02:10:19 AM »
I'll be curious to find out if you find a set better than Barenboim.

You should try Knauer.

Offline Todd

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Re: Lieder ohne Worte
« Reply #33 on: November 01, 2015, 11:20:06 AM »



Michael Endres.  The set that kicked the whole thing off.  It took a couple years for this set to hit the market, but it's here now, and it's basically what I expected.  I decided to listen to Daniel Gortler play some of the works before sampling Endres, and while I still find Gortler to be my favorite pianist in these works, that doesn't mean Endres isn't superb, because he is.  His style differs from Gortler's.

First, his playing, on the whole, is a bit faster.  He plays slower in some pieces, but Endres does not ever stretch the pieces out.  Second, Endres pedals more sparingly.  Some might say more judiciously.  Endres does not produce one even slightly unpleasant sound throughout, but the playing lacks the warm beauty of Gortler's.  Third, Endres plays with greater clarity throughout.  The closer sound helps in this regard, as does the sparer pedaling, but with Endres, the focus seems to be on making sure that no detail is left unaddressed, that melody and accompaniment both receive their due.  Fourth, Endres plays with more precise dynamic and tempo gradations.  There's a slightly analytical feel, though that is not meant in a negative fashion.  It was uncommonly easy to listen to each disc all the way through.  And when the predictable highlights pop up – the darker hued Venetian Gondola songs, the Spring song, Op 67/4 (a highlight for me) – Endres delivers.

Overall, Endres joins the ''Top Tier'', but not the tip-top tier occupied by Daniel Gortler alone.  Fully modern sound, as expected for an Endres release.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Holden

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Re: Lieder ohne Worte
« Reply #34 on: November 01, 2015, 05:48:59 PM »


I'm exploring only complete sets, but the Babayan may very well end up in my collection at some point - provided I can find a copy.  Based on his sublime Scarlatti and the extraordinary live recordings available online, I must say that he strikes me as almost the ideal pianist for this music.





In a week or two.

I've listened to the Gortler and agree that it is excellent. However, I think that the Babayan is the better intepretation. A pity it's not complete. The four Schubert/Liszt song transcriptions are also sublime

It's available here



a bit pricey but definitely worth the money.
Cheers

Holden

Offline George

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Re: Lieder ohne Worte
« Reply #35 on: August 28, 2016, 05:14:22 PM »



Daniel Adni.  Using Daniel Barenboim as the baseline for timings, Adni is generally slower, most of the time only a bit, but sometimes a lot.  19/1 sets the pace with a very slow tempo, and a gentle, lovely tone and demeanor.  The first Venetian Gondola Song (19/6) is stretched out to almost three minutes – a full minute longer than Barenboim – and sounds melancholy, but it's hard to imagine this as a song of any kind.  The second (30/6) likewise takes over a minute more than Barenboim, while the third (62/5) is about forty seconds longer.  But for real long, there's the Duetto (38/6), which is over two minutes longer.  When one considers these are all miniatures, that's pretty darn long.

Adni can and does infuse more energy into playing works, with19/3 and 30/2 notable examples, and the Funeral March 62/3, while slow, has weight and seriousness aplenty.  The famous Spring Song is pure delight, as it should be, and the equally famous Spinning Song is delightful and energetic in proper proportion.  As Adni plays the later works, many of them become more refined and serious, and the playing reflects that well. 

The additional works included in the set match the Barenboim set, except with the more famous Daniel, the Kinderstucke Op 72 is also included.  Adni plays all the extras as well as he does the main works in the set. 

Adni's set is more or less comparable quality-wise to Barenboim's, though not as tonally rich.  Sound is early 70s SOTA transferred excellently to digital.  He's at least as good here, and maybe better, as in Grieg's Lyric Pieces.  Perhaps Warner will reissue all of Adni's recordings.  It looks like he's sort of the Andre Previn of piano music: a great or near-great performer of second tier works.

Thanks for the heads-up on this set. It's gorgeously and expressively played. My only other complete set is Barenboim and I like the Adni quite a bit more. EMI really should put this set back in print.
"I can't live without music, because music is life." - Yvonne Lefébure

Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Lieder ohne Worte
« Reply #36 on: September 23, 2018, 06:00:21 PM »
[a bit of overlap with my other thread sorrynotsorry]

Anie Dorfman?

Ginette Doyen?

Two from the LP era (ca 1950s). Has anyone heard them?
« Last Edit: September 23, 2018, 06:02:41 PM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

 

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