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General Classical Music Discussion / Re: Karajan was a silly musician
« Last post by Traverso on Today at 08:15:54 AM »
I don't think it is nitpicking. I said somewhere above that the deviations you listed would be at the same level as would cause me to like one recording and not another, although they would be deviations between one performance and another, not from the score (since I have not studied Mahler's scores). But as Jens mentioned, it is hard to interpret balances between two instruments based on dynamic markings.  We don't have a National Institutes of Standards specification of how many dB a mf is when played by a trombone, an oboe, and a viola section. So even though you have justified your reaction by comparison with the score, I still suspect the issue is that they just don't sound right to you. And I grant you they may even go against the "spirit" of Mahler's style. The difference is that it doesn't bother me that Karajan went looking for a different sound in that music. Who needs another recording that sounds just the same as the others? I've read that Karajan had wanted to conduct the Mahler symphonies as early as the 50's, but it wasn't until the 70's that he was satisfied that he was prepared and would have sufficient rehearsal time to find the right palette of orchestral colors to suit the music. I find it wonderful that Karajan produced a view of the music from a different esthetic perspective.

It brings to mind one old Karajan recording that impressed me, the Schubert unfinished symphony, with Berlin from DG, around 1965. There are passages in the development and in the coda of the first movement where Schubert writes a remarkably tortured harmonic progression for the string section. In that recording, as I recall it, Karajan's Berlin Philharmonic produces a very striking, ghostly string sound in those sections. It is a unique view of the work, although probably not anything like what Schubert expected, and certainly not as clear a presentation of the harmonic progression as I would hear from a historically informed performance. I like it, and I like Mackerras' HIP recording with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, where the harmonies are played with wonderful clarity. Time goes on, we are different than the audiences in those days. We have heard things they have never heard and we are ready to hear things they would not expect or want to hear.

I used to be more rigid in my tastes. I could not imagine listening to Bach except by an HIP ensemble (Harnoncourt was my deity). But now I enjoy listening to it all. And wow, imagine what Harnoncourt would have done with Mahler. Might have been crazy. Too bad he never recorded any.

Harnoncourt disliked Mahler,too much a ego dokument.
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General Classical Music Discussion / Re: What are you listening to now?
« Last post by Spineur on Today at 08:15:45 AM »
I have not been listening to Bach cello suites in a year !  Time to fix this !


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     Trump attorney Michael Cohen withdraws libel lawsuits over Russia dossier

     My grocery store isn't carrying the National Enquirer any more. I looked for it at the checkout line where I always see it, and no, it's gone. Of course the store is in the Deep State hellhole of Cambridge. Still, if you've lost Star Market.....

     I wonder if Hildabeast is still dying of all of those diseases the Russo-trolls gave her. How can I find out now?
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Samantha Bee perfectly captures my feelings about the recent James Comey media blitz:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LruThmuaxms

(After a montage of talking heads touting his bombshell revelations and the beanpole himself spouting the oft quoted words, Samanta, exasperated, says: "Morally unfit to be president? That's not a bombshell, that's how they answer the phone at the White House now!")
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General Classical Music Discussion / Re: Karajan was a silly musician
« Last post by San Antone on Today at 08:05:28 AM »
True, and it's also correct to say that dynamics are relative, especially between varying instruments.  That said, a forte on a trumpet has a particular timbre that a mezzo-piano lacks, and we should assume that the timbre was of great importance to Mahler whenever he calls for a given dynamic, especially when, as with the oboes in the first theme, he emphasizes the nature of the timbre with a verbal instruction.

Of course it doesn't sound right to me.  I would expect that a recording of a Mahler work would sound like Mahler's music.  Karajan's Sixth does not.

I don't know why you continue to assume that I have a particular idea of how the work should sound, and dismiss any recording that doesn't fit that idea.  There are other recordings of the Sixth that I have disliked, and there are many that I have enjoyed (live performances as well).  Unless you think that every recording I've heard sounds more or less the same, I don't see how you can justify that assumption.

Okay, I get it, you don't like Karajan's M6.  I'm curious whose Mahler 6th you do like?
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General Classical Music Discussion / Re: Karajan was a silly musician
« Last post by Mahlerian on Today at 08:03:22 AM »
I don't think it is nitpicking. I said somewhere above that the deviations you listed would be at the same level as would cause me to like one recording and not another, although they would be deviations between one performance and another, not from the score (since I have not studied Mahler's scores). But as Jens mentioned, it is hard to interpret balances between two instruments based on dynamic markings.  We don't have a National Institutes of Standards specification of how many dB a mf is when played by a trombone, an oboe, and a viola section.

True, and it's also correct to say that dynamics are relative, especially between varying instruments.  That said, a forte on a trumpet has a particular timbre that a mezzo-piano lacks, and we should assume that the timbre was of great importance to Mahler whenever he calls for a given dynamic, especially when, as with the oboes in the first theme, he emphasizes the nature of the timbre with a verbal instruction.

So even though you have justified your reaction by comparison with the score, I still suspect the issue is that they just don't sound right to you. And I grant you they may even go against the "spirit" of Mahler's style.

Of course it doesn't sound right to me.  I would expect that a recording of a Mahler work would sound like Mahler's music.  Karajan's Sixth does not.

The difference is that it doesn't bother me that Karajan went looking for a different sound in that music. Who needs another recording that sounds just the same as the others?

...

I used to be more rigid in my tastes. I could not imagine listening to Bach except by an HIP ensemble (Harnoncourt was my deity). But now I enjoy listening to it all. And wow, imagine what Harnoncourt would have done with Mahler. Might have been crazy. Too bad he never recorded any.

I don't know why you continue to assume that I have a particular idea of how the work should sound, and dismiss any recording that doesn't fit that idea.  There are other recordings of the Sixth that I have disliked, and there are many that I have enjoyed (live performances as well).  Unless you think that every recording I've heard sounds more or less the same, I don't see how you can justify that assumption.
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Partly in response to a mention of Ormandy and Shostakovich I've been listening to:

and

.  Even these old "Sony Essentials" discs have come up sounding very well in comparison to the murky dreadfulness I remember of so many CBS LP's in the 1970's.  Symphony No.5 gets a good but very 'straight' performance - perhaps a bit literal and without the irony that you expect to hear in the Post-Testimony world.  A staright-forward 2nd movement Landler and a beautifully played Largo but without the angst some find and a finale without much potential equivocation.  As such it works well but I do think there are darker layers to this piece. 

I really liked the performance of No.1 - very brash and brilliant - emphasising the youthful bravura of the piece - here the slightly strident recording adds to the occasion.  My real surprise on this disc was all the fillers from Andre Kostelanetz and "his orchestra".  The orchestra I take to mean the New York PO and they play with ridiculous brilliance.  These are little snippets of inconsequence from Shostakovich's pen but when played with the fizz and vigour and virtuosity they are here its pretty irresistible.
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I'm no Karajan acolyte but to call any major musician "silly" is to my mind rather ...... silly.  Dissecting any recording with a score to hand can be an interesting experience -  oops there goes an accent, that's never a true pianissimo, why can't I hear the flute...... etc etc.  At the end of the day it is an interpretation and if it chimes with your own inner conception that's great and if it doesn't that should not mean the performers involved do not care about what they do and/or have not thought long and hard about what they do and how to achieve their goals.  Perhaps Karajan somewhere along the line was a musical narcissist.  Once I was working with Hugh Bean and asked him out of all the recordings he had ever made which did he rate most highly.  Now Hugh Bean would never suffer fools gladly and he was a remarkable player and musician in his own right.  His answer.... Karajan's Rosenkavalier.

Personally I would prefer a strikingly individual performance of anything - even if I really did not like it - rather than something that was either superficial or generic or hid behind the excuse of "authenticity".  Not that I would dismiss performances because they are nominally HIP but simply because the performer can hide behind the urtext as if "just" reproducing that is enough.
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General Classical Music Discussion / Re: What are you listening to now?
« Last post by Traverso on Today at 07:47:16 AM »
Mahler

Das Klagende Lied

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The Diner / Re: 5 Favourite Movie Villains
« Last post by drogulus on Today at 07:44:54 AM »

     I'll go with Rickman/Gruber and this guy:     

     <a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/opbi7d42s8E" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/opbi7d42s8E</a>
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