Author Topic: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle  (Read 28230 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #40 on: January 29, 2011, 07:46:24 PM »
I will repeat my remark above, it is a highly regarded recording, but not to my taste.  My description of why I didn't enjoy it is mean't to allow people to decide for themselves whether they think they will like it, independent of my own preference (i.e., some people like the old Decca method of presenting opera in stereo recordings).

The question is what is your taste? I've been trying to figure this out since I arrived on this forum last June. It seems all you ever do is complain about this recording or that recording instead of offering the reader, which obviously would be myself in this case, any idea of what you look for in a performance. Everybody has an opinion, but telling people what you enjoy instead of complaining about what you don't enjoy is more productive and helps promote conversation.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2011, 07:52:16 PM by Mirror Image »
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Scarpia

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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #41 on: January 29, 2011, 07:53:28 PM »
The question is what is your taste? I've been trying to figure this out since I arrived on this forum last June. It seems all you ever do is complain about this recording or that recording instead of offering the reader, which would be me in this case obviously, any idea of what you look for in a performance. Everybody has an opinion, but telling people what you enjoy instead of complaining about what you don't enjoy is more productive and helps promote conversation.

In this case is should be pretty obvious that I would have enjoyed the performance if the recording of the voices had not been manipulated in a way that I found unnecessary and distracting. 

When I read reviews here or elsewhere I am less interested in statements that the recording is good or bad than in objective descriptions of the attributes that a recording has and why it pleased or failed to please.  When I post comments, I try to write reviews that meet these criteria.  And I feel I succeed to some extent, especially since someone above said my review was interesting and that it led him to conclude that he would probably enjoy the recording, despite the fact that I personally didn't.


Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #42 on: January 29, 2011, 08:18:06 PM »
In this case is should be pretty obvious that I would have enjoyed the performance if the recording of the voices had not been manipulated in a way that I found unnecessary and distracting. 

When I read reviews here or elsewhere I am less interested in statements that the recording is good or bad than in objective descriptions of the attributes that a recording has and why it pleased or failed to please.  When I post comments, I try to write reviews that meet these criteria.  And I feel I succeed to some extent, especially since someone above said my review was interesting and that it led him to conclude that he would probably enjoy the recording, despite the fact that I personally didn't.

You're being quite vague, Scarpia. My comment to you is not about the specific recording you critiqued anymore but more about your approach in conversing with other people. It seems that you would rather tell somebody what you don't enjoy rather them telling them what you enjoy. I think the reality is you don't know what you truly like and that you just look for ways to complain because you're a bitter, angry person with nothing better to do.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2011, 08:21:55 PM by Mirror Image »
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Online Daverz

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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #43 on: January 30, 2011, 07:38:38 AM »
You're being quite vague, Scarpia. My comment to you is not about the specific recording you critiqued anymore but more about your approach in conversing with other people. It seems that you would rather tell somebody what you don't enjoy rather them telling them what you enjoy. I think the reality is you don't know what you truly like and that you just look for ways to complain because you're a bitter, angry person with nothing better to do.

Where'd this come from?  I don't see any call for personal attacks here. 

I love this recording, but I can sympathize with the problems that Scarpia has with it because I've had the same kind of experience with other "universally" praised recordings.  I've wanted to throw some Rostropovich recordings across the room because they put the cellist in your lap, with the orchestra waaay back in the mix (e.g. the Dutilleux/Lutoslawski and the Haydn with Marriner, both on EMI).

Offline mjwal

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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #44 on: January 30, 2011, 09:02:31 AM »


In any case, I'm looking for an alternate recording but it seems all the ones that interest me, Haitink, Dorati, Boulez, are out of print.   Perhaps I'll go for the Gergiev on LSO live (SACD).

I'm pretty sure the Dorati is still available on Brilliant - I bought it not very long ago for 3 € or so. Very recommendable, though my memory does not suffice to give a description that would hit the nail on the head for you (I am away from home); let me only say that it is clear, unmanipulated sound, and that the singers sound really inside the roles and the language they are singing, though they might not have the same "star" quality as Ludwig and Berry.
P.S. I fail to see the logic of the aggressive mails directed at you; to me, what you write is always illuminating, but perhaps the assailant is narcissistically affronted when others fail to share his enthusiasms (thus the sobriquet Mirror Image?) - wrathful words were also flamed at me when I expressed my dislike of Mutter's  recording of the Berg concerto.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2011, 09:07:20 AM by mjwal »
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Scarpia

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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #45 on: January 30, 2011, 09:16:41 AM »
I'm pretty sure the Dorati is still available on Brilliant - I bought it not very long ago for 3 € or so. Very recommendable, though my memory does not suffice to give a description that would hit the nail on the head for you (I am away from home); let me only say that it is clear, unmanipulated sound, and that the singers sound really inside the roles and the language they are singing, though they might not have the same "star" quality as Ludwig and Berry.
P.S. I fail to see the logic of the aggressive mails directed at you; to me, what you write is always illuminating, but perhaps the assailant is narcissistically affronted when others fail to share his enthusiasms (thus the sobriquet Mirror Image?) - wrathful words were also flamed at me when I expressed my dislike of Mutter's  recording of the Berg concerto.

I did notice the Dorati Bluebeard on Brilliant, but I have most of Dorati's other Bartok recordings on Mercury and preferred it is its original CD release, which I managed to find used.  (It's a real shame that the Mercury catalog is mostly out of print now.)    Reviews of the Dorati tent to criticize the singers, but their familiarity with the language will be a big plus, I expect.  Berry sounds like he is speaking Klingon in that Kertesz recording.   :P  In any case, looks like I'll be deluged with Bluebeards, since Gergiev, Dorati and Fischer are now on order.   

About not liking Mutter's Berg, that is unfathomable.   ;D
« Last Edit: January 30, 2011, 09:41:46 AM by Scarpia »

Offline knight66

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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #46 on: January 30, 2011, 10:42:28 AM »
This is a piece I am no kind of expert on and I am still very much getting to grips with it. I have Boulez on DG and echo Bruce's comments that Norman sounds more like she would victimise rather than be victim, but the sheer sounds she makes are terrific and often exciting. So, I don't know how authentic the performance is, but I have been getting a lot out of it.

Mike
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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #47 on: January 30, 2011, 10:50:29 AM »
This is a piece I am no kind of expert on and I am still very much getting to grips with it. I have Boulez on DG and echo Bruce's comments that Norman sounds more like she would victimise rather than be victim, but the sheer sounds she makes are terrific and often exciting. So, I don't know how authentic the performance is, but I have been getting a lot out of it.

That is the view Kertesz claims to have of the work, that Bluebeard is the victim and that the wives, including Judith, are sadistic.

Offline knight66

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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #48 on: January 30, 2011, 10:52:26 AM »
Interesting, that does indicate I have got hold of the wrong end of the stick....I need to do a bit of reading; and listening.

Mike
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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #49 on: January 30, 2011, 10:56:37 AM »
Interesting, that does indicate I have got hold of the wrong end of the stick....I need to do a bit of reading; and listening.

I tend to think it is Kertesz who has the wrong end of the stick, or at least that there is something to both ends of the stick.  To put it at a very simplistic level, Bluebeard wants to be nice, but is drawn unwillingly into the same patterns of behavior by Judith's curiosity and insistence.
 

Offline MDL

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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #50 on: January 30, 2011, 11:03:38 AM »
In both Bluebeard and The Wooden Prince, the woman has to learn a lesson and be punished.

Offline ccar

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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #51 on: January 30, 2011, 11:21:39 AM »
Some other recordings I enjoy - probably ‘HIP’  ;D:

Ferenksik 1956 – the great Hungarian tradition of Ferencsik and the Budapest Philharmonic, with the mytic Bluebeard of Szekely (for whom Bartok transcribed the part into a lower tessitura) and Klara Palankay - probably the greatest Judith on record.
 
Sebastian 1951 – Georges Sebastian had conducted the work in the presence of Bartok himself in 1942; and in this Budapest Radio broadcast we also have the chance of listening to the voices of Szekely and Palankay in their prime.

Susskind 1953 - the first studio recording of the work, made with the assistance of Peter Bartok (son of the composer); one of the few including the narrated Prologue and also with two other great interpreters of the roles – Endre Koreh and Judith Hellwig.


                                              
« Last Edit: January 31, 2011, 02:58:17 AM by ccar »

Offline knight66

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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #52 on: January 30, 2011, 11:29:02 AM »
Well, I have had a bit of a read and it seems that both creators had very ambivalent attitudes towards women. Bluebeard may well have been in fear. I will have to have a listen. It reminds me a bit of Lohengrin. The very dense essay with the disc makes reference to the Wagner.

On with the shimmering, moaning and shrieking.

Mike
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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #53 on: January 30, 2011, 01:47:45 PM »
Some other recordings I enjoy - probably ‘HIP’  ;D:

Ferencsik 1956 – the great Hungarian tradition of Ferenksik and the Budapest Philharmonic, with the mytic Bluebeard of Szekely (for whom Bartok transcribed the part into a lower tessitura) and Klara Palankay - probably the greatest Judith on record.
 

Palankay/Szekely/Frencsik recording can be sampled on youtube (in 7 parts)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_mjtWklo4E

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #54 on: January 30, 2011, 04:09:21 PM »
In both Bluebeard and The Wooden Prince, the woman has to learn a lesson and be punished.

Damn right she does! ;)
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”


Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #55 on: January 30, 2011, 04:13:44 PM »
This is a piece I am no kind of expert on and I am still very much getting to grips with it. I have Boulez on DG and echo Bruce's comments that Norman sounds more like she would victimise rather than be victim, but the sheer sounds she makes are terrific and often exciting. So, I don't know how authentic the performance is, but I have been getting a lot out of it.

Mike

The Boulez/Norman/Polgar recording is quite good. Norman's voice is magnificent. Maybe not the most appealing Judith, but this doesn't matter, she's in complete control and Boulez's accompaniment is wonderful.
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”


Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #56 on: February 01, 2011, 05:00:03 AM »
Norman sounds more like she would victimise rather than be victim....

The Gramophone review is amusing, contrasting the women in Boulez's two recordings:

"Troyanos was an earnest, even defiant Judith, whether shocking or shocked, seductive or petulant. Norman is regal, insistent, authoritarian; a formidable lady, not to be messed with. Witness her amazonian command at the beginning of track 3, at the point where she notes the seven doors and asks why they are bolted. Had I been Bluebeard, I would have thrown her the keys at the outset and run to the nearest town for cover."

For a second and third Bluebeard (already own Kertesz) I decided to buy Boulez's earlier version (Troyanos, Nimsgern) and Adam Fischer's.

Sarge
« Last Edit: February 01, 2011, 05:56:49 AM by Sergeant Rock »
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Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #57 on: February 01, 2011, 08:35:18 AM »
For a second and third Bluebeard (already own Kertesz) I decided to buy Boulez's earlier version (Troyanos, Nimsgern) and Adam Fischer's.


You won't regret it, it's terrific.
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Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #58 on: February 01, 2011, 08:54:51 AM »

You won't regret it, it's terrific.

Good to hear. The Gramophone reviewer (reviewers? there are several reviews) thinks highly of it too.

Sarge
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Re: Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
« Reply #59 on: February 10, 2011, 03:04:53 PM »
This one arrived (it was cheap at MDT)



Not  bad, I like the singer who portrays Bluebeard a lot in this recording, and Judith is also well sung.  Perhaps the most satisfying version I have listened to so far, although ironically the sound of the orchestra in this multi-channel SACD is not as satisfying as Kertesz's mid-60's recording with the same orchestra.  I have one more Bluebeard to listen to, the Adam Fisher recording on Columbia (they are still selling it under the CBS masterworks logo, rather than Sony).