Author Topic: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues  (Read 36707 times)

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Offline milk

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #160 on: July 06, 2021, 03:57:25 PM »
Another one I’m enjoying.

Offline Madiel

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #161 on: July 07, 2021, 03:13:23 AM »


Papadopoulous is now one of the more obscure recordings, but it appears it was actually just the 2nd Western one, recorded in 1989/90. It was released around the same time as Nikolayeva’s Hyperion version (which was recorded just a fraction later), and judging by the Gramophone review I found of them both, suffered in comparison. Which was inevitable I think as a matter of perception no matter the quality; how can you directly compete with a Nikolayeva recording of this work?

Unfortunately I think Papadopoulos’ performance isn’t a lost treasure. It tends to be a bit pedestrian... and when it’s not pedestrian it’s sometimes kind of annoying. He’s one of the pianists who falls for what is often considered a misprinted metronome marking in the C major fugue, which on its own wouldn’t be so bad, but it’s not the only case of slow dragging tempi. There’s basically no speed change in the E minor fugue, and no sense of flow in the C sharp minor one. The D major prelude arpeggios sound messy and the B minor prelude is tedious banging. And then, just to change things up, the D flat major prelude is absurdly fast (no way in hell is that Allegretto, mister!).

It’s not all bad. The F minor fugue is rather nice. So is the C minor one (though the prelude is turgid). The B flat minor fugue is at least interesting, if a little weird, in that he abandons a steady tempo (in a piece that has almost no sense of tempo anyway) to really play around with the ornaments. But there aren’t that many moments that made me sit up and take notice in a good way. For every competent movement there’s likely to be a somewhat clunky one nearby.
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Offline hvbias

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #162 on: July 07, 2021, 06:29:44 AM »
Timings aside does anyone hear a difference in technique in Nikolayeva's Hyperion recording compared to the Melodiya? Maybe I was overly hyper focused on this in the past, hearing some of her live recordings from the late 80s and early 90s just didn't leave me impressed and wondering if this did effect her studio recordings as well, things like slowing down in segments that specifically required repositioning her hands, etc. I don't think I heard any anomalies in editing that stood out, but I'd expect Hyperion to have no issue with that with these being digital recordings.

Offline Madiel

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #163 on: July 08, 2021, 01:47:06 AM »
I just started listening to Jarrett's version. The liner notes proudly announce that he follows the metronome marking in the printed score for the C major fugue. You couldn't get a better demonstration that the metronome marking is a misprint, using a crotchet when it should be a minim.
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Offline Madiel

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #164 on: July 08, 2021, 02:41:43 AM »
So, more extended thoughts on Jarrett, from listening to Volume 1 (P&Fs 1 to 12).



Hmm. The profound, erroneous slowness of the C major fugue aside, Jarrett tends towards fast (the only faster version overall is Woodward). I hesitated in disliking this because I realised at some point that he's often not that much different in speed to Lin. And I like Lin.

But I do think that sometimes Lin is a bit glib in some weightier pieces. What she has to make up for it fantastic rhythmic snappiness (aided by great recorded sound) that gives everything a lift and keeps the ear interested. Whereas I realised that I was finding listening to Jarrett quite tiring - I don't think that's a function of the time of night or what sort of day I had, I really do think it's caused by going from one piece to the next and there not being much let-up or contrast.

To take one really strong example, the F sharp minor prelude and fugue is really very fast (and I think Lin's fugue is fast and glib), and when I got to the following E major prelude it felt like more of the same. I wanted a rest. I couldn't get one. Ironically the only rest came at C major when I didn't yet need one.

Jarrett's technical skills are fully on display. He can do a torrent of semiquavers, such as in the B major fugue, and it's still clear. The G sharp minor fugue, where Lin backs off and gets shy, is actually excellent in its relentless drive. On one level I have to say this is pretty good playing a lot of the time, and listening to a single prelude & fugue I might well think it's at least an interesting take. But the cumulative effect of all that drive left me feeling wrung out.

I'll add to this if my thoughts from Volume 2 (P&Fs 13-24) are especially different or otherwise notable. I need a break and a cup of tea first...

EDIT: So far much the same. Prelude 16 didn't feel like a moment of repose after fugue 15, etc. It just kind of keeps going. A lot of it is played quite well but there isn't enough room for breath and little sense of contrast.  I did quite like the C minor prelude and fugue.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2021, 03:40:37 AM by Madiel »
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Offline aukhawk

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #165 on: July 08, 2021, 05:15:27 AM »
By complete coincidence I've been listsning to a bit of Jarrett today as well - for the first time in probably 25 years, so much did I prefer Nikolayeva (Hyperion) when I first bought the Jarrett and was disappointed.

Having, in the last few days listened to small selections** from: Rubackyté, Papadopoulos, Woodward, Melnikov, DSCH himself, Richter, Nikolayeva (Melodiya) - and much more extended listening sessions with: Petrushansky, Weichert, Donohoe - after all these, my reaction to Jarrett is ... very positive (only listened to a small selection** though).  I shall have to move him back out of my metaphorical oubliette into my main listening collection.  I was interested to hear that the piano sound was much more recessed than I expected - ECM of course have nothing to learn when it comes to recording Keith Jarrett playing a grand piano, but most of his many live solo jazz concerts are recorded a bit closer than this.

Of all those mentioned above, the other 'new to me' version that got a really positive response was Weichert.  I said before that she was very straight-ahead, and its true but on repeated listening she's not completely inflexible, just the bending is, well, subtle.  'Understated' might be a good word for Weichert.  (Donohoe by contrast, the opposite - similar tempo choices but a bit heavy-fisted.  A knockout Fugue 15 though.)  Weichert is very inexpensive from Amazon (for a 4 CD download package, includes the Sonatas and the Op.34 Preludes) but it's a good recording so I think - though I don't really need another Op.87 - I'm ready to shell out the extra to get lossless files from Presto.


** taking the Preludes and Fugues as separate items, my 'small selection' would be about 8 such.  An 'extended listen' would be 20 or more, out of the total of 48.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2021, 05:27:43 AM by aukhawk »

Offline Madiel

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #166 on: July 08, 2021, 05:51:08 AM »
Interesting re Weichert as she happens to be next in the randomly shuffled list I’m working from.
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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #167 on: July 14, 2021, 08:59:26 AM »
Some gemeral observations, drawn from listening to a strickly limited subset of Op.87 as detailed below, and the following pianists so far:
Nikolayeva/Hyperion, Nikolayeva/Melodiya, Lin, Weichert, Jarrett, Petrushansky, Donohoe and to a slightly lesser extent, Melnikov, Rubackyté and Woodward
I hope to add some of the obvious missing names (Papadopoulos, then Bond, arec next in line) to my own notes in due course.

The pieces auditioned - 1 quick Prelude, 2 dramatic extended Preludes, 2 long slow Fugues, 1 fast and complex Fugue:
In each case the quote is lifted from the Hyperion booklet.  And in brackets after, is the tl:dr of my preferred versions:

Prelude 8 in f sharp minor (Allegretto 2/4) - "busy semiquavers over an ostinato-like two-note figure"  (favs: Weichert, Donohoe, Rubackyté)
Fugue 8 in f sharp minor (Andante 3/4) - "a splendid piece of sustained intensity and feeling" (favs: Melnikov, Donohoe)
Prelude 12 in g sharp minor (Andante 3/4) - "a superb Passacaglia" (favs: Lin, + 4 others)
Fugue 13 in F sharp major (Adagio 2/4) - "shows this composer at his most personal, deep in contemplative thought"   (fav: Nikolayeva/Melodiya)
Prelude 14 in e flat minor (Adagio 7/4) - "somberly Mussorgskian" (favs: Lin, + 2 others)
Fugue 15 in D flat major (Allegro molto) - "fiery, hot-headed and intensely chromatic ... constant changes of time-signature" (favs: Petrushansky, Donohoe)

Timings:
In general there is only so much to be gleaned from looking at track timings - because many of these pieces, and many of these peformers, use a massive rallentando towards the end, which distorts any comparisons of the basic tempo adopted.  I found just listening and thinking "that sounds just right" a better guide.
Total duration - the sweet spot seems to be 2h28, with about 50% of all recordings surveyed falling within 5 seconds minutes of that timing.  The massive outliers are Petrushansky (slow) and Woodward (quick) but I have found plenty to like about both these recordings, even if neither is likely to be a first choice.

Touchstone:
I can't help regarding Nikolayeva as the touchstone in this music, by which everyone else must be judged.  Timings-wise both her recordings here are outliers though, much slower than what seems now to be the norm, and - in the limited subset of six pieces I chose to audition - Nikolayeva/Hyperion didn't really shine at all, her best moment was probably the slow Fugue No.8, one of my very favourite pieces - but even there I found others I preferred.

Piano sound:
As I said earlier, I often have difficulty separating recording quality from piano quality, which is why I use this phrase to cover both.  Best IMO (of the recordings listed above) is Lin, and by a good margin in my book, from Woodward in 2nd place.  The Lin recording is a bit close, for more air Jarrett or Donohoe are possibilities, though the latter sounds a bit compressed to me (read: loud).  Although none of them are less than good, a lower tier for varying reasons is occupied by Melnikov (jangly), Rubackyté (dull), Petrushansky and Nikolayeva/Melodiya (very occasional peak distortion).

Pinch of salt:
Comparing my notes with Madiel's excellent survay of Nikolayeva, Melnikov and Lin - it's not really any surprise to find that our tastes differ, so that on more than one occasion his 'last' is my 'first' and vice versa.  Most notably in the Prelude No.12 where Madiel puts Lin 3rd of 3, she is unequivocally my first choice (of 10) in this dramatic music.  Similarly in the 15th Fugue where Madiel prefers Nikolayeva, I find her (both recordings) all at sea.  Admittedly Lin is not much better but I quite like Melnikov here - but for me, Petrushansky and to a lesser extent, Donohoe (with identical timings incidentally), take this music where it needs to go.

That's as far as I can go for now - from my notes it looks as though the standouts among new-to-me recordings of Op.87 are Weichert and Donohoe.  Of these Donohoe has scored better, but I'm not sure I completely buy into the piano sound on this recording (his instrument is tuned a tiny tad flat compared with most others, which doesn't help).  The Weichert recording sounds more natural to me, if less spectacular.  And sound-wise neither are a patch on Lin who I already have (but in my comparisons, Lin is shown to fall short in the slower music generally - and that is most of it!)
« Last Edit: July 14, 2021, 11:30:27 PM by aukhawk »

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #168 on: July 14, 2021, 11:19:06 AM »
Interesting, thanks.
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Offline hvbias

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #169 on: July 14, 2021, 12:20:41 PM »
Some gemeral observations, drawn from listening to a strickly limited subset of Op.87 as detailed below, and the following pianists so far:
Nikolayeva/Hyperion, Nikolayeva/Melodiya, Lin, Weichert, Jarrett, Petrushansky, Donohoe and to a slightly lesser extent, Melnikov, Rubackyté and Woodward
I hope to add some of the obvious missing names (Papadopoulos, then Bond, arec next in line) to my own notes in due course.

The pieces auditioned - 1 quick Prelude, 2 dramatic extended Preludes, 2 long slow Fugues, 1 fast and complex Fugue:
In each case the quote is lifted from the Hyperion booklet.  And in brackets after, is the tl:dr of my preferred versions:

Prelude 8 in f sharp minor (Allegretto 2/4) - "busy semiquavers over an ostinato-like two-note figure"  (favs: Weichert, Donohoe, Rubackyté)
Fugue 8 in f sharp minor (Andante 3/4) - "a splendid piece of sustained intensity and feeling" (favs: Melnikov, Donohoe)
Prelude 12 in g sharp minor (Andante 3/4) - "a superb Passacaglia" (favs: Lin, + 4 others)
Fugue 13 in F sharp major (Adagio 2/4) - "shows this composer at his most personal, deep in contemplative thought"   (fav: Nikolayeva/Melodiya)
Prelude 14 in e flat minor (Adagio 7/4) - "somberly Mussorgskian" (favs: Lin, + 2 others)
Fugue 15 in D flat major (Allegro molto) - "fiery, hot-headed and intensely chromatic ... constant changes of time-signature" (favs: Petrushansky, Donohoe)

Timings:
In general there is only so much to be gleaned from looking at track timings - because many of these pieces, and many of these peformers, use a massive rallentando towards the end, which distorts any comparisons of the basic tempo adopted.  I found just listening and thinking "that sounds just right" a better guide.
Total duration - the sweet spot seems to be 2h28, with about 50% of all recordings surveyed falling within 5 seconds of that timing.  The massive outliers are Petrushansky (slow) and Woodward (quick) but I have found plenty to like about both these recordings, even if neither is likely to be a first choice.

Touchstone:
I can't help regarding Nikolayeva as the touchstone in this music, by which everyone else must be judged.  Timings-wise both her recordings here are outliers though, much slower than what seems now to be the norm, and - in the limited subset of six pieces I chose to audition - Nikolayeva/Hyperion didn't really shine at all, her best moment was probably the slow Fugue No.8, one of my very favourite pieces - but even there I found others I preferred.

Piano sound:
As I said earlier, I often have difficulty separating recording quality from piano quality, which is why I use this phrase to cover both.  Best IMO (of the recordings listed above) is Lin, and by a good margin in my book, from Woodward in 2nd place.  The Lin recording is a bit close, for more air Jarrett or Donohoe are possibilities, though the latter sounds a bit compressed to me (read: loud).  Although none of them are less than good, a lower tier for varying reasons is occupied by Melnikov (jangly), Rubackyté (dull), Petrushansky and Nikolayeva/Melodiya (very occasional peak distortion).

Pinch of salt:
Comparing my notes with Madiel's excellent survay of Nikolayeva, Melnikov and Lin - it's not really any surprise to find that our tastes differ, so that on more than one occasion his 'last' is my 'first' and vice versa.  Most notably in the Prelude No.12 where Madiel puts Lin 3rd of 3, she is unequivocally my first choice (of 10) in this dramatic music.  Similarly in the 15th Fugue where Madiel prefers Nikolayeva, I find her (both recordings) all at sea.  Admittedly Lin is not much better but I quite like Melnikov here - but for me, Petrushansky and to a lesser extent, Donohoe (with identical timings incidentally), take this music where it needs to go.

That's as far as I can go for mow - from my notes it looks as though the standouts among new-to-me recordings of Op.87 are Weichert and Donohoe.  Of these Donohoe has scored better, but I'm not sure I completely buy into the piano sound on this recording (his instrument is tuned a tiny tad flat compared with most others, which doesn't help).  The Weichert recording sounds more natural to me, if less spectacular.  And sound-wise neither are a patch on Lin who I already have (but in my comparisons, Lin is shown to fall short in the slower music generally - and that is most of it!)

What your post is rightly highlighting is that I don't think I've found a completely "flawless" op. 87 from start to finish. To me I find this interesting given it's compositionally not to dissimilar to WTC but the WTC has so many fantastically consistent recordings through both books.

I went back to Melnikov and I have to pedal back on my complaining about this recording being overly resonant.

Offline Madiel

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #170 on: July 14, 2021, 03:11:45 PM »
Interesting, thank you.

I would note that I’m much more likely to look at a prelude and fugue pair in my comments, even if I talk about each separately. Sometimes it’s the juxtaposition of the 2 that’s important.

For instance in no.12 it’s Lin’s fugue that’s the big disappointment to me, not her prelude.

And I think it’s pretty clear in no.15 that my comments were not about the fugue.  You say you like Melnikov. Well so do I if we’re just talking about the fugue if you read what I said.

So in both of the specific examples you decided to pick out, your description of what I said is rather at odds with what I actually said.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2021, 03:18:23 PM by Madiel »
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Offline amw

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #171 on: July 14, 2021, 03:30:09 PM »
Given that all the fugues are played attacca after the preludes, meaning that each prelude + fugue is a continuous and relatively self-contained unit, I think significant musical meaning is lost if one examines a particular prelude or fugue in isolation, comparable to evaluating only the first half of a sonata movement, for example.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #172 on: July 14, 2021, 04:10:39 PM »
Given that all the fugues are played attacca after the preludes, meaning that each prelude + fugue is a continuous and relatively self-contained unit, I think significant musical meaning is lost if one examines a particular prelude or fugue in isolation, comparable to evaluating only the first half of a sonata movement, for example.

A good point.
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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #173 on: July 14, 2021, 11:47:20 PM »
Interesting, thank you.

I would note that I’m much more likely to look at a prelude and fugue pair in my comments, even if I talk about each separately. Sometimes it’s the juxtaposition of the 2 that’s important.

For instance in no.12 it’s Lin’s fugue that’s the big disappointment to me, not her prelude.

And I think it’s pretty clear in no.15 that my comments were not about the fugue.  You say you like Melnikov. Well so do I if we’re just talking about the fugue if you read what I said.

So in both of the specific examples you decided to pick out, your description of what I said is rather at odds with what I actually said.

Yes I take the point (and amw below) about listening to the Preludes and Fugues as pairs - but in point of fact that's not what I do, when listening for pleasure.  On most recordings they are tracked separately** and I take advantage of that.  And on another day I'd likely have different preferences, so please take my remarks with a "pinch of salt".

Given that all the fugues are played attacca after the preludes, meaning that each prelude + fugue is a continuous and relatively self-contained unit, I think significant musical meaning is lost if one examines a particular prelude or fugue in isolation, comparable to evaluating only the first half of a sonata movement, for example.

Only in the case of the Fugues surely - you can't attach musical meaning to the Prelude, from a Fugue that is as yet unheard.  To take your sonata example - the 1st 4 notes of Beethoven's 5th Symphony are a statement that must be taken at face value, on its own terms - without any reference to what is to follow, which at that point in time s purely hypothetical.
(You can, maybe, assign importance to the key relationships between adjacent P&F pairs, which I also haven't done.)


** that might be a significant point of difference in the recordings worth mentioning.  Jarrett, Woodward and Nik/Melodiya for example, do not track the Preludes and Fugues separately.  Most others that I have encountered so far, do.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2021, 11:55:57 PM by aukhawk »

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #174 on: July 15, 2021, 01:21:46 AM »
Yes I take the point (and amw below) about listening to the Preludes and Fugues as pairs - but in point of fact that's not what I do, when listening for pleasure.  On most recordings they are tracked separately** and I take advantage of that.  And on another day I'd likely have different preferences, so please take my remarks with a "pinch of salt".

Your listening preferences are your own. The far bigger point, which you seem not to have taken, is that you misrepresented my views in the 2 cases where you decided to say "Madiel and I have different opinions".
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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #175 on: July 15, 2021, 03:56:56 AM »
I've been listening to Caroline Weichert's version tonight. Bottom line, I think it's really rather good, probably the best of the half dozen I've tried recently.



Weichert's reading is not big and boldly dramatic. What it is, though, is unfailingly musical. There are some cases where she takes a tempo that wouldn't be my choice, but then she almost always makes sense of it. For example, the start of the E minor fugue is rather fast but then when she hits the acceleration she does accelerate and gives the sense of drive and momentum that's needed. Similarly the G sharp minor prelude is faster than I'd like but she gives the fugue the drive it needs to still be a contrast. A slow and dreamy D major prelude is nicely offset by a very perky fugue. The music always has shape.

I think the A flat p&f was about the only place where I really wanted her to pick up the pace somewhere, but even then it was quite pleasant. I found the E flat major prelude uncomfortably fast though... and that would basically be the weakest spot in the entire 2.5 hours.

And there's lots of tone colour as well. Lots. That E minor prelude and fugue works in part because she uses really muted tones, a nice offset to the bolder G major piece before it. The B minor prelude is heavy without being thumping. The B flat minor prelude and fugue is wonderfully elegant. She makes several preludes in particular rather song-like.

The recording is slightly recessed, and Weichert never quite lets fly to the degree that some pianists do (though the E flat minor prelude for example sounds sufficiently intense), but within the range she's using there's a really nice palette. And she really seems to understand when to play for contrast between one movement and the next, and when to play for continuity or linkages (there are plenty of cases where Shostakovich creates a link from one p&f to the next).

There are a few cases where she doesn't play the notes I was expecting. Whether that's her or a different edition of the music, I'm unsure (I think in some cases I might have heard another pianist do the same thing). It wasn't a super big deal though.

Some similarities perhaps to Rubackyté, but I generally found myself responding to Weichert with a greater degree of enthusiasm. I might have to compare Weichert head-to-head with Melnikov at some point.
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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #176 on: July 16, 2021, 12:50:17 AM »
Your listening preferences are your own. The far bigger point, which you seem not to have taken, is that you misrepresented my views in the 2 cases where you decided to say "Madiel and I have different opinions".

If I did so, it wasn't wilful.  Of the 12th Prelude specifically you wrote:
"Nikolayeva is good. She gives the prelude a lot of gravity ... Melnikov is perhaps even better. His prelude has intensity ... Against this competition, Lin’s prelude is decent ..."
and so I summarised that as:
"Madiel puts Lin 3rd of 3".

Anyhoo - I auditioned a bit of Papadopoulos yesterday, then a bit of Bond.





Papadopoulos, well I found the piano sound wanting - the instrument simply doesn't sound like a concert grand - and after listening to 3 tracks (P&F Eight, and P 12) I decided there wasn't enough in the performance to compensate for that disadvantage.   Putting him rather in the same general category as Rubackyté for me - given the strong competition, no further listening required.

Kori Bond - hmm, not much of a discography - makes this look like a bit of a vanity project.  But I was and am blown away by her 'romantic' take on this music.  The first track I listened to (Prelude Eight) has the same duration as Weichert and both are slightly slower than Nikolayeva.  In this music, which I have always seen as a perky little number, Nikolayeva seems too slow, but there is a sense of irony there, giving meaning to the slowness.  Weichert is just deliberate and metronomic - I like this but would like it more if she were a bit quicker.  Bond seems to imbue the same piece with pathos.  I never heard it like this before - but of course, the sadness is right there in the music, why didn't I hear it before?
The piano sound is good, in the same ball-park as others including Weichert (I use the ending of Fugue No.13 followed by the opening of Prelude 14, to make my initial assessment of piano sound for each recording).

Bond is rather an 'extreme' version of Op.87 and so not an automatic first choice - but I will be buying this one today.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2021, 12:53:13 AM by aukhawk »

Offline Madiel

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #177 on: July 16, 2021, 12:58:29 AM »
If I did so, it wasn't wilful.  Of the 12th Prelude specifically you wrote:
"Nikolayeva is good. She gives the prelude a lot of gravity ... Melnikov is perhaps even better. His prelude has intensity ... Against this competition, Lin’s prelude is decent ..."
and so I summarised that as:
"Madiel puts Lin 3rd of 3".

Oh please just stop. That is not a summary. You are literally doing the exact same thing again, of deciding that because you only listened to the prelude, you can just excise half of every sentence I wrote to leave behind bleeding chunks of ideas. Which is why you can't see that I only mentioned Lin's prelude briefly because it was Lin's fugue that I needed to make a point about while trying to keep my comments short enough to be readable.

I mean, you decided that you could ignore a section of a sentence starting with "but" as not having been a key influence on the meaning of the sentence.

I wasn't trying to rank preludes. I was trying to rank preludes and fugues. Taking "good" and "better" and applying them to something other than what I was talking about is just completely inappropriate.

If you're not capable of reading something that was written about both a prelude and a fugue despite the fact that you only listened to one or the other, and parsing for context, then just don't try.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2021, 01:14:34 AM by Madiel »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #178 on: July 16, 2021, 01:20:43 AM »
I've been listening to Caroline Weichert's version tonight. Bottom line, I think it's really rather good, probably the best of the half dozen I've tried recently.



Weichert's reading is not big and boldly dramatic. What it is, though, is unfailingly musical. There are some cases where she takes a tempo that wouldn't be my choice, but then she almost always makes sense of it. For example, the start of the E minor fugue is rather fast but then when she hits the acceleration she does accelerate and gives the sense of drive and momentum that's needed. Similarly the G sharp minor prelude is faster than I'd like but she gives the fugue the drive it needs to still be a contrast. A slow and dreamy D major prelude is nicely offset by a very perky fugue. The music always has shape.

I think the A flat p&f was about the only place where I really wanted her to pick up the pace somewhere, but even then it was quite pleasant. I found the E flat major prelude uncomfortably fast though... and that would basically be the weakest spot in the entire 2.5 hours.

And there's lots of tone colour as well. Lots. That E minor prelude and fugue works in part because she uses really muted tones, a nice offset to the bolder G major piece before it. The B minor prelude is heavy without being thumping. The B flat minor prelude and fugue is wonderfully elegant. She makes several preludes in particular rather song-like.

The recording is slightly recessed, and Weichert never quite lets fly to the degree that some pianists do (though the E flat minor prelude for example sounds sufficiently intense), but within the range she's using there's a really nice palette. And she really seems to understand when to play for contrast between one movement and the next, and when to play for continuity or linkages (there are plenty of cases where Shostakovich creates a link from one p&f to the next).

There are a few cases where she doesn't play the notes I was expecting. Whether that's her or a different edition of the music, I'm unsure (I think in some cases I might have heard another pianist do the same thing). It wasn't a super big deal though.

Some similarities perhaps to Rubackyté, but I generally found myself responding to Weichert with a greater degree of enthusiasm. I might have to compare Weichert head-to-head with Melnikov at some point.

I can see exactly why you say this, though my attention has been less on these than on op 34. She's good!
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Offline Madiel

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #179 on: July 16, 2021, 03:49:14 AM »
I can see exactly why you say this, though my attention has been less on these than on op 34. She's good!

I suspect getting the physical CD set, though, is almost impossible.
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