Author Topic: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)  (Read 190457 times)

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #260 on: December 10, 2009, 06:40:37 AM »
Elgarian,
Just so you don't suspect unanimity on this topic, I will come out now and say that I am very fond of my Bilson/Gardiner set, and don't necessarily agree with comments which suggest that it is in some way unworthy of your attention.

Bilson is an excellent pianist, and despite things I've read to the contrary, Gardiner and his team are very fine accompanists. If there are sound balance issues, I haven't heard them to the point where they interfere with my listening enjoyment.

It could well be that Sofronitsky's fireball approach gives more visceral pleasure. I don't know since I don't have those disks, but in the meanwhile, I have had and greatly enjoyed the Bilson/Gardiner for years, which puts me one up on anyone who doesn't have any at all. :)

Just sayin'...

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Elgarian

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #261 on: December 10, 2009, 06:49:15 AM »
Thanks for that, Gurn.

As it happens, I made my decision yesterday. I found 30 second samples of everything on both Immerseel and Sofronitzki sets, and played them over and over, several times through the whole lot. Within the inevitable limits imposed by those 30 second samples, I came to the conclusion that while Immerseel is very beautiful, there's an urgent intensity to Sofronitzki that would leave me forever wondering 'what if?', if I chose not to buy her set. So I took a deep breath and ordered one, partly on the grounds (suggested by DA) that it probably isn't going to stay around forever.

So I wait, a little anxiously - but it's a good anxiously.




Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #262 on: December 10, 2009, 07:12:53 AM »
Thanks for that, Gurn.

As it happens, I made my decision yesterday. I found 30 second samples of everything on both Immerseel and Sofronitzki sets, and played them over and over, several times through the whole lot. Within the inevitable limits imposed by those 30 second samples, I came to the conclusion that while Immerseel is very beautiful, there's an urgent intensity to Sofronitzki that would leave me forever wondering 'what if?', if I chose not to buy her set. So I took a deep breath and ordered one, partly on the grounds (suggested by DA) that it probably isn't going to stay around forever.

So I wait, a little anxiously - but it's a good anxiously.

Urgent intensity has a lot of appeal... :)

Let us know. I'm gonna hold what I have for now. ;)

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Franco

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #263 on: December 10, 2009, 07:34:02 AM »
I am about to order the Brautigam box of the Mozart Piano Sonatas on BIS.

After listening to the samples, this seems like a nice addition to my only other complete set by Eschenbach.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #264 on: December 10, 2009, 07:39:08 AM »
I am about to order the Brautigam box of the Mozart Piano Sonatas on BIS.

After listening to the samples, this seems like a nice addition to my only other complete set by Eschenbach.

I think that's a good choice, I enjoy mine. OTOH, I also enjoy my Eschenbach set, when thousands say they don't. Oh well... :)

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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #265 on: December 10, 2009, 07:55:15 AM »
I am about to order the Brautigam box of the Mozart Piano Sonatas on BIS.

After listening to the samples, this seems like a nice addition to my only other complete set by Eschenbach.

Franco - along w/ Gurn et al, I have the Brautigam Mozart box of Piano Sonatas (have two others, but on modern piano); just ordered Brautigam in the Haydn PSs - guess that I like the guy!  :D

Now concerning Mozart's Piano Concertos, the only fortepiano set that I own is w/ Bilson-Gardiner (the price was just right at the time!) - I too enjoy the box but find the piano 'in the distance'; at higher volumes, I'm quite pleased w/ the performances and will keep the set; I'd love to hear the one preferred by DA, but not for the current price of admission - will wait (maybe Harry can get Brilliant to make a deal!  ;) ;D) - Dave

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #266 on: December 10, 2009, 08:59:49 AM »
Elgarian
The choices for complete Mozart piano concerto sets using forte piano are extremely limited, only three I know of:
Bilson
Immerseel
Sofronitzski

I have all three but only keep the Bilson for reference, great orchestral parts by Gardiner wasted on badly balanced recording that dwarfs the scale of keyboard as well as giving it soft opaque sound.
I have Sofronitski and Bilson.

I must say, I can't see what the fuss is about with Sofronitski.

Sure, the orchestra sounds great. But where are the really insightful, special interpretations.?

That's not a rhetorical question entirely. There is a lot of music in that box and I may have missed something. But I would say that in every one I have heard between 20 and 27 I know more haunting recordings, though not necessarily HIP ones.

Bilson, on the other hand, can rise to major heights -- in 14, 22, 23, 24 he is really memorable, I think.



« Last Edit: December 10, 2009, 09:02:14 AM by Mandryka »
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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #267 on: December 10, 2009, 09:41:49 AM »
Mandryka
Sounds like you are more likely to enjoy Immerseel's set, he has a slower more reflective style

Bilson.......
If there was not a sound balance issue it would be very good set for me, but forte piano sounds distant and slightly soft focus  like someone just cut volume as soon as forte piano takes over. This may be natural sound balance you hear from center seat of large hall, but I want to hear what is being played in greater detail and forte does not have the sound volume or projection to compete with orchestra from farther listening distance like modern grand piano.

The Immerseel & Sofronitzsky are balanced much closer listening perspective to forte piano so there is a more equal balance to keyboard & orchestra, and you hear the keyboard in sharper clearer detail. I would be very happy with Bilson if it had sound balance used for Immerseel & Sofronitzsky, love Gardiner's orchestral energy

I maybe more sensitive to this issue than others, but for me it is a problem...........
« Last Edit: December 10, 2009, 10:44:55 AM by DarkAngel »

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #268 on: December 10, 2009, 11:38:33 AM »
Bilson.......
If there was not a sound balance issue it would be very good set for me, but forte piano sounds distant and slightly soft focus  like someone just cut volume as soon as forte piano takes over. This may be natural sound balance you hear from center seat of large hall, but I want to hear what is being played in greater detail and forte does not have the sound volume or projection to compete with orchestra from farther listening distance like modern grand piano.

The Immerseel & Sofronitzsky are balanced much closer listening perspective to forte piano so there is a more equal balance to keyboard & orchestra, and you hear the keyboard in sharper clearer detail. I would be very happy with Bilson if it had sound balance used for Immerseel & Sofronitzsky, love Gardiner's orchestral energy

I maybe more sensitive to this issue than others, but for me it is a problem...........

DA,
As we've discussed elsewhere, there is little to say about why people can be in total agreement about 90% of the things they listen to, and for whatever reason they are NOT about the other 10%. I've heard what you're talking about, but I guess I just have made compensations for it and don't even pay attention to it any more. :)

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Offline Sorin Eushayson

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #269 on: December 10, 2009, 07:35:26 PM »
I think the issue with the Bilson/Gardiner set can be alleviated by decent audio equipment.  Good sound stuffs pull the fortepiano nice and close... Or maybe I'm just listening to it too loudly!  ::)

Resisting the urge to throw up a link to my thread with samples over at CMM...  :-X

Elgarian

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #270 on: December 11, 2009, 02:35:45 AM »
There is a lot of music in that box and I may have missed something. But I would say that in every one I have heard between 20 and 27 I know more haunting recordings, though not necessarily HIP ones.
The decision had to be HIP, in my case, because I specifically want the fortepiano. The real astonishment for me is not that I'm buying such an expensive box of Mozart piano concertos, but that I'm buying any box of Mozart piano concertos at all. Such is the distance I've travelled in the last year, thanks in large measure to the tips I've picked up here.

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #271 on: December 13, 2009, 07:11:52 AM »


I keep coming back to this recent purchase, which I'd say is proving one of those distinctly mould-breaking experiences. I can't pin down exactly why. Some of these sonatas seem to instill a sense of quite profound revelation. I'm thinking for example of the one in D major, K306. It's almost as if I'm being privileged to listen in on a mysterious conversation between the violin and fortepiano - a conversation about something that I don't quite understand, but which is being conducted in such exquisite language that it really doesn't matter. Do you know what I mean? It's like the way we can't really understand what Eliot is saying at the end of Little Gidding, but nonetheless we hang on every nuance, in hope.

There are passages of such lyrical flightiness, expressed with such exhilaration, that it makes me actually laugh to hear them - maybe not quite a laugh - somewhere between a laugh and a gasp. And the sound of this recording is so delicious too. The acoustic is clear and reverberative - like 'being there'. The violin and the fortepiano sound so good that I can't help feeling that I know the music was always intended to really sound like this.

Really, I can't believe that this is me, listening in such a rapt manner, to Mozart violin sonatas that a year ago I wouldn't have expected to be able to listen to for more than five minutes without grumbling. I guess this is what original instruments, playing works of genius, by people who are clearly inspired through to their very bones, can do for us. jpc still have this set on offer for under 10 euros. If you don't get one, you'll regret it one day.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #272 on: December 13, 2009, 07:23:34 AM »
I have been really enjoying Bezuidenhout's 310 over the past few days -- just the drama of it takes your breath away. And the sounds he can make come out of that instrument were, to me, quite shocking (in a good way.)

The 475 on the CD is equally extraordinary, and nearly as enjoyable.

Playing Mozart Sturm und Drang style, with massive changes in dynamics, extended dramatic pauses, no jagged edge smoothed over, all discontinuities highlighted  -- is that way of doing it HIP?
« Last Edit: December 13, 2009, 07:26:19 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #273 on: December 13, 2009, 07:52:10 AM »
I have been really enjoying Bezuidenhout's 310 over the past few days -- just the drama of it takes your breath away. And the sounds he can make come out of that instrument were, to me, quite shocking (in a good way.)

The 475 on the CD is equally extraordinary, and nearly as enjoyable.

Playing Mozart Sturm und Drang style, with massive changes in dynamics, extended dramatic pauses, no jagged edge smoothed over, all discontinuities highlighted  -- is that way of doing it HIP?

Sounds like an interesting disk. I need to check and see if we Americans are worthy of it... :-\

Yes, it could be. There were not a lot of "rules" yet, vis-a-vis dynamics, and any individual player may have felt that he had license to pursue that avenue of expression and it would possibly have been remarked upon, but not forbidden. About the only thing that wasn't done was playing legato. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that this was because the pianists of the time had learned their trade on a harpsichord. In any case, there should be noticeable articulation. A very nice example of this can be found in the playing of Semerjian on ATMA . His style would not be the most popular today (and indeed, he adopts it for Mozart, but plays Schubert much more legato; hurrah for him!) but would have been right at home in 1780. Note Beethoven's remark to Ries about having heard Mozart play; "he played very choppy". 

There are people who could undoubtedly give you a much better appreciation of what 'HIP' keyboard style consists in, although I think it would entail reading a book or two... :-\

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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #274 on: December 13, 2009, 10:09:08 AM »
Well, I finally acquired a Wolfie HIP Symphony box w/ Pinnock - debated for months between him & Hogwood, but I guess the Pinnock price, reveiws, and comments from Harry in the listening thread pushed me toward Pinnock.  I've been listening to these works the last 3 days and just have a couple of discs remaining - excellent sound & performances - the cover art for my box is different from that usually shown, but these are the '93-95 recordings.


Offline Coopmv

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #275 on: December 13, 2009, 10:36:24 AM »
Well, I finally acquired a Wolfie HIP Symphony box w/ Pinnock - debated for months between him & Hogwood, but I guess the Pinnock price, reveiws, and comments from Harry in the listening thread pushed me toward Pinnock.  I've been listening to these works the last 3 days and just have a couple of discs remaining - excellent sound & performances - the cover art for my box is different from that usually shown, but these are the '93-95 recordings.



This set does look interesting.  I have almost all the Pinnock's baroque recordings, including those of Haydn's works.  I consider many of Pinnock's recordings of Bach and Handel works from the 80's remain to be my personal gold standards to this day.  At any rate, I only had the chance to listen to one of his Mozart Symphonies performance on my local classical station and was not particularly struck by it.  Hey, at less than half of what I paid for my Hogwood's set, it probably is well worth the money ...    ;D

Elgarian

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #276 on: December 14, 2009, 03:01:57 AM »
One can never predict how someone else will respond, but my box of Pinnock's Mozart symphonies just gathers dust. Period instruments they may be (and that's why I bought it in the first place), but I find the performances curiously lifeless - more like documentations than performances.

I bought the Warner box of Mozart symphonies recently, so I've been listening to Harnoncourt's recordings of the later symphonies, and have been pleasantly surprised to find them far more engaging, vital, and persuasive - period instruments or no.

DarkAngel

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #277 on: December 14, 2009, 05:18:27 AM »
Elgarian
If you wish to supplement your Warner Harnoncourt/RCO symphony box there are a couple 2CD sets of the early & misc. symphonies available............I think these symphonies are missing from that set  ;)
(I have these two BTW and they are fresh lively renditions well worth owning)



We can't be comfortable knowing we have an incomplete set now can we.......... ;)

« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 08:15:54 AM by DarkAngel »

Offline sTisTi

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #278 on: December 14, 2009, 09:07:18 AM »
Elgarian
If you wish to supplement your Warner Harnoncourt/RCO symphony box there are a couple 2CD sets of the early & misc. symphonies available............I think these symphonies are missing from that set  ;)
(I have these two BTW and they are fresh lively renditions well worth owning)
Please enlighten me what you like about the Harnoncourt/RCO performances :-\ In general I like him very much as a conductor and have lots of works from the Baroque period that I love, but his Mozart completely eludes me.

I have two discs (35&36 and 40&41) and find them the most perverse readings I've ever heard, and it's not a pleasant experience for me to listen to them ???. It's hard to describe what bothers me exactly, but somehow the performances do not "flow", Harnoncourt insists on micro-managing every accent and phrase, it all seems like the symphonies are stitched together from bits and pieces that very desperately want to express something but somehow fail to make a convincing whole. It all sounds very mannered, with exaggerated dynamics and some strange speeds. I feel Harnoncourt tries to be different from all other interpretations (like in his ridiculously slow Overture to Le Nozze di Figaro) just to make a point.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 10:22:06 AM by sTisTi »

Elgarian

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #279 on: December 14, 2009, 09:28:13 AM »
We can't be comfortable knowing we have an incomplete set now can we.......... ;)

Ha! How well you understand that addictive streak, DA. However, in this case I have so much new Mozart to listen to that I can rest content with my Warner box ... for now..... My Sofronitzi box of Mozart fortepiano concertos arrived today, so add that to the Warner symphonies, the utterly delectable Mozart fortepiano sonatas box (which I can't stop listening to), and the Warner Mozart Sacred Music box, and that looks like an awful lot of Mozart to absorb before I start worrying about the little gaps!