Author Topic: Beethoven in Period Performances  (Read 199786 times)

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Online Mandryka

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #860 on: December 14, 2015, 11:27:50 PM »
If I were that bored, I wouldn't have bothered; quite the contrary, it's always fun to poke at Sacred Cows anew.

OK.

No, they do not. They correct the imbalance on the recording, and bring the distribution closer to standard 18th-century documented practice. With three 1st violins, the 16th-note figurations at mm. 119-22 and 364-67 of the Emperor finale would be audible, as they are on most standard recordings but not on Sch's. A single 1st violin is not sufficient to be heard over the dotted quarters played by eight woodwinds at this point.

I can't believe I'm still debating the same points on this recording that I was in 2008 . . . .

I haven't listened yet to the PC5, but tell me, with the balances you came up with, would you lose any music played by viola, cello,or bass because of the extra violins? I'm just trying to understand his decisions, and it may be a matter of swings and roundabouts, I don't know.

Some (all?) of the other points you make against him in Beethoven are technical, and may or may not be justified.  But the question remains about whether the small scale and instruments used, and phrasing and balances employed, make what he does a worthwhile exercise.

I'll check the Mozart later when I get back from work. Have you heard Beghin's Mozart? Sometimes what he does can seem uneven too.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 11:44:24 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #861 on: December 15, 2015, 02:28:11 AM »
Schoonderwoerd also mentions that the Piano Concerto no. 5 was performed numerously in private performances in this kind of music rooms Vienna in 1810 and 1811, before the first public performance in Kärtnertor Theater, with Czerny as the soloist.

Schoonderwoerd is wrong. The first public performance of the PC5 took place in Leipzig at the Gewandhaus and the soloist was Friedrich Schneider. 

(poco) Sforzando made excellent points about the size of the string section, to which the following can be added:

"Typically, a late eighteenth century string section might consist of three desks (ie, six players) of first violins, two desks of second violin, one or two desks of violas, a desk of cellos and a double bass. Exceptions were commons. For example, as early as 1753, the Dresden Orchestra had fifteen violins, four violas and three each of cellos and basses. " - David Fligg: A Concise Guide to Orchestral Music, 1700 to the Present, Mel Bay Publications, Inc. (2010), pp. 16-17 online

So, 6-4-4(2)-2-1.

"The late eighteenth century Viennese ensembles incorporated approximately thirty-five participants. The core of this ensemble, the string section, boasted between six and eight first violins with the same number of seconds, four each of violas and cellos, and two string bases [sic!]" - Christopher John Murray (ed.): Encyclopedia of the Romantic Era, 1760-1850, Taylor and Francis Books (2004), p. 831 online

So, 8(6)-8(6)-4-4-2.

Even if we take the most conservative estimation we are still far from 1-1-2-2-1, which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, both historically and musically. To the best of my knowledge there is not a single documented case of a late 18th century / early 19th century orchestra where the violins were less numerous than all other strings combined, or the winds were more numerous than the all strings combined, and for a reason: it would have been the top of absurdity.



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Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #862 on: December 15, 2015, 03:54:45 AM »
OK.

I haven't listened yet to the PC5, but tell me, with the balances you came up with, would you lose any music played by viola, cello,or bass because of the extra violins? I'm just trying to understand his decisions, and it may be a matter of swings and roundabouts, I don't know.

Some (all?) of the other points you make against him in Beethoven are technical, and may or may not be justified.  But the question remains about whether the small scale and instruments used, and phrasing and balances employed, make what he does a worthwhile exercise.

I'll check the Mozart later when I get back from work. Have you heard Beghin's Mozart? Sometimes what he does can seem uneven too.

There is no such thing as merely "technical." Anything technical has a musical basis, and vice versa. The reason why the cello and bass are less a problem is that in classical practice, they are in effect a single instrument with the bass doubling the cello line an octave below. Sometimes in quiet passages composers will ask that the bass be silent and only the cello plays, but I cannot think of a single example from this period where the double bass plays an independent line. In heavier tuttis, the cello-bass line is frequently doubled by the bassoons as well. As for the violas (unlike in a string quartet where all the players have independent parts), their frequent function is to serve as inner voices completing the harmony, or they will double either the violins or cellos as needed. The score of the Beethoven violin concerto makes it plain that at least two violas were needed, as they sometimes play triple stops that would be impossible on a single instrument.
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Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #863 on: December 15, 2015, 04:18:29 AM »
I'm just trying to understand his decisions, and it may be a matter of swings and roundabouts, I don't know.

Let's see. His technique is deficient, his orchestra is unbalanced, and he is totally clueless about the function of the cadenza despite numerous models from the composer himself. Great recording!
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #864 on: December 15, 2015, 07:56:09 AM »
Let's see. His technique is deficient, his orchestra is unbalanced, and he is totally clueless about the function of the cadenza despite numerous models from the composer himself. Great recording!

The guy is a graduate of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris and Utrecht University, a former student of Immerseel , a multiple prize winner.

He may be rubbish too.
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kishnevi

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #865 on: December 15, 2015, 06:03:27 PM »
Cara Cecilia!  I don't remember it being that bad! Better give dig out my copy and find out what I missed before!

Offline jochanaan

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #866 on: December 18, 2015, 06:28:50 PM »
The "Emperor" was premiered at Gewandhaus. This fact alone should give Schoonderwoerd pause.  ;D
I did some checking and found that the Gewandhaus Orchestra that premiered the Emperor is the same notable Leipzig Gewandhausorchester of today.  According to a history I found, the orchestra "doubled in size" under Felix Mendelssohn in the 1840s, and had doubled again by about 1930, to 100 players.  That makes about 25 players (plus the pianist), more or less, to play Beethoven's Opus 73.  If 13 of them were winds, brass and timpani, to play the 13 parts in the score for those instruments, that leaves 12 strings approximately: perhaps 4-3-2-2-1.  Or, if we concede that Mendelssohn might not have literally doubled the orchestra, perhaps 18 strings, maybe 6-6-2-2-2 or 5-4-4-3-2.

The Kaerntnertor Theater link someone posted earlier includes a drawing of the orchestra "pit" with music stands set up for 34 string players (assuming two players per stand).  But the drawing dates from 1821.  Whether all stands were occupied at the Opus 73 premiere is perhaps an open question, unless someone with more knowledge or better Googling technique than I can tell us...
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Offline jochanaan

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #867 on: December 18, 2015, 06:31:03 PM »
I have heard some of Mozart's sacred music with orchestra and chorus played live in a church setting with one string player per part, on modern instruments.  It worked well enough, although I suspect the wind players were holding back.  However, it's very likely that the brass players of those days simply did not blow as loudly as our modern brass players.  Life is so much noisier now...
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Offline Pat B

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #868 on: July 07, 2016, 10:06:42 AM »
I just finished my first listen to Quatuor Terpsycordes's newish disc with op.18#6 and op.132. I'll try to provide a more thorough write-up sometime later but for now, I'll say I tentatively put it among my favorite SQ discs. If you are of the HIPpy persuasion, I don't think you will be disappointed unless you are allergic to audible breathing.



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Offline listener

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #869 on: July 07, 2016, 06:04:55 PM »
SYMPHONY no.9 - Tafelmusik
from the Tafelmusik website:
February 2016 marked a major milestone, as the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir made a live recording of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at Koerner Hall, thereby completing its recordings of all nine Beethoven symphonies – the first North American orchestra on period instruments to do so. The recording will be released on the Tafelmusik Media label on September 30, 2016, with worldwide distribution by Naxos.
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Online Que

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #870 on: October 27, 2018, 03:08:04 AM »
Anyone noticed this release back in July?


Q

Offline amw

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #871 on: October 27, 2018, 03:10:40 AM »
I have it. It's good, although has not received as much attention from me as recent modern instrument recordings of the Beethoven trios.

Offline milk

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #872 on: December 03, 2019, 02:30:43 PM »

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #873 on: December 03, 2019, 04:15:48 PM »
Anyone noticed this release back in July?


Q

Hell, I didn't even notice the post, let alone the release!  :o    I'll see if I can still find it though, I like the players. :)

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #874 on: December 03, 2019, 04:19:56 PM »


I've got a couple adverts for it, but not gotten it yet. Will be interested to know what you think of it. For whatever reason, I never heard any of Brautigam's concertos, although I have all of the Beethoven solo disks... :-\

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Offline milk

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #875 on: December 03, 2019, 05:15:15 PM »
I've got a couple adverts for it, but not gotten it yet. Will be interested to know what you think of it. For whatever reason, I never heard any of Brautigam's concertos, although I have all of the Beethoven solo disks... :-\

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I’m trying this new “HD” streaming in Amazon and this is a great one to start with. It’s sounds beautiful. I’m no Beethoven expert but I think this is very energetic and enjoyable. I don’t know yet how it stacks up to the few others out there. I think Immerseel is the competition?
I’m going to predict that people around here will love it.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #876 on: December 03, 2019, 06:30:06 PM »
I’m trying this new “HD” streaming in Amazon and this is a great one to start with. It’s sounds beautiful. I’m no Beethoven expert but I think this is very energetic and enjoyable. I don’t know yet how it stacks up to the few others out there. I think Immerseel is the competition?
I’m going to predict that people around here will love it.



  • Levin/Gardiner,
  • Immerseel/Weil,
  • Tan/Norrington,
  • Schoonderwoerd/Cristofori (no conductor).

At least, these are the 4 I have, in the order I like them, not aware of others, until now. Sounds like a good start for you, I can well follow it up. eClassical sent me a special offer on it, but they only offered the 24bit download, which a) I don't really need, and b) is a freaking humongous download (a single disk is usually a gig and a half!). When the regular 16 bit FLAC is available,. I will go ahead and download it. It looks intriguing.  :)

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Offline JBS

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #877 on: December 03, 2019, 08:13:27 PM »
I have the physical CDs, have played them once, liked what I heard.
BIS has stuffed three concertos onto one disc, so CD 1 is 87 minutes long!

I also got the Brautigam's set of Variations, Bagatelles, etc. That in fact landed today.

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Offline Ras

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #878 on: December 04, 2019, 02:51:43 AM »
  • Levin/Gardiner,
  • Immerseel/Weil,
  • Tan/Norrington,
  • Schoonderwoerd/Cristofori (no conductor).


The problem for me with period recordings with fortepiano is the fortepiano itself. Many fortepianos sound terrible to be honest. But I like Steven Lubin with Hogwood on Decca, Melvin Tan with Norrington on Virgin, and Immerseel with Bruno Weil on Sony. Lubin's Decca recording also includes three piano sonatas (Moonlight, Tempest, Pathetique).
Lubin appears to be out of print. It may be included in the new huge complete works of Beethoven box from DG/Decca though????I don't know??. Brautigam and Levin both choose inferior sounding fortepianos for their period recordings of Beethoven's piano concertos. This is the Lubin/Hogwood box I have:

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Re: Beethoven in Period Performances
« Reply #879 on: December 04, 2019, 05:25:43 AM »
The problem for me with period recordings with fortepiano is the fortepiano itself. Many fortepianos sound terrible to be honest. But I like Steven Lubin with Hogwood on Decca, Melvin Tan with Norrington on Virgin, and Immerseel with Bruno Weil on Sony. Lubin's Decca recording also includes three piano sonatas (Moonlight, Tempest, Pathetique).
Lubin appears to be out of print. It may be included in the new huge complete works of Beethoven box from DG/Decca though????I don't know??. Brautigam and Levin both choose inferior sounding fortepianos for their period recordings of Beethoven's piano concertos. This is the Lubin/Hogwood box I have:



But that can't be changed, it is a personal thing with you (and many others). FWIW, I read an interview with Brautigam where talked about his fortepiano (it is his own), he said it was the greatest discovery of his life when he found it in a shop in Holland. He thinks the sound is brilliant, I think it is excellent, and you think it is an inferior choice. This just shows the difference in potential reactions. I'm good with that. :)

I'll look up that Lubin set though. I like Lubin, his group (Mozartean Players) do a very nice Mozart Keyboard Trios cycle.

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