Author Topic: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)  (Read 177215 times)

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George

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #320 on: February 06, 2010, 12:35:56 PM »
It's not that ugly --  I was imagining something truly execrable!

Yep, I actually like it. *shrugs*

Bulldog

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #321 on: February 06, 2010, 01:07:33 PM »
Yep, I actually like it. *shrugs*

I like it also, but I can see how some folks would consider it gaudy.

Bulldog

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #322 on: February 06, 2010, 01:12:32 PM »
I've heard both the Mozartean Players and the Beaux Arts Trio (but not yours sorry), and both brought reactions of hohum good but not great.  I'm tempted to lean towards it being the works themselves.  I didn't think that there was anything revelatory about the Mozartean Players either, they just sounded a little more balanced.  The piano quartets are great, but the trios... I don't know I think I'll just play Haydn instead.  I mean they are pretty good, but they don't really stand at the same towering height as many of his (Mozart) other chamber works. :-\

I find the Mozartean Players set the best I've heard of the Piano Trios.  I do agree that the Trios are not as rewarding as Mozart's Violin Sonatas or Piano Quartets.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #323 on: February 06, 2010, 01:14:50 PM »
It's not that ugly --  I was imagining something truly execrable!

Bun,
You being a Mozart fan, I bet you get that this is a bit of a send-up, yes? There is a journal or letter somewhere that is very often quoted in the Mozart literature. The author (I shouldn't be so lazy and just look it up, but...) talks about the current "season" in Vienna and some new works by Mozart which he saw performed by professionals "last evening", and didn't even realize they were the same works which he had heard a few dozen times at private soirées where amateur pianist ladies and their admiring gentlemen string player/suitors had butchered the pieces all-to-be-damned because they were so difficult when played correctly. It is precisely what is pictured on the cover shown. The works in question? Yup, the Piano Quartets. I really think the cover designer meant it as a reference to that document. I personally was amused. :D

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Offline Bunny

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #324 on: February 06, 2010, 02:25:59 PM »
Bun,
You being a Mozart fan, I bet you get that this is a bit of a send-up, yes? There is a journal or letter somewhere that is very often quoted in the Mozart literature. The author (I shouldn't be so lazy and just look it up, but...) talks about the current "season" in Vienna and some new works by Mozart which he saw performed by professionals "last evening", and didn't even realize they were the same works which he had heard a few dozen times at private soirées where amateur pianist ladies and their admiring gentlemen string player/suitors had butchered the pieces all-to-be-damned because they were so difficult when played correctly. It is precisely what is pictured on the cover shown. The works in question? Yup, the Piano Quartets. I really think the cover designer meant it as a reference to that document. I personally was amused. :D

8)

You know, when I saw the cover I realized that somewhere in my collection I have that album!  If the cover is meant as a send up, I'm not sure that the painting is quite the right one to use.  The painting which is quite well known, was commissioned by George, 3rd Earl Cowper (he stands in profile in the middle) to celebrate his engagement to Hannah Anne Gore (redundant names?!).  Cowper is shown with Anne's family, her father and sister on cello and square fortepiano; her mother and other sister in conversation while reading or sketching - the 18th century version of a Norman Rockwell family vignette.  However, the painting hanging behind Anne is an allegory: Hercules ejecting Calumny from a wedding.  It refers to the gossip about Earl Cowper's rakish ways, he lived as a British expatriate in Italy where he was a noted philanderer. I wonder how the 16 year old Anne really felt about this marriage to Cowper who was in his late 30s.  Is this the rake tamed? Or merely another target for the Earl's lust? The sense of unease is further heightened by the fact that Anne's family are completely oblivious of the Earl, staring intently at their daughter who returns his look with a grave expression.  Things are not what they seem here.

Elgarian

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #325 on: February 10, 2010, 01:41:23 PM »
I'd like to make a preliminary report on my Great Mozart Piano Concerto Experiment.

The story so far: First, after lengthy anguishing, I bought the horrendously expensive box of HIP concertos with Viviana Sofronitzki on fortepiano, conducted by Tadeusz Karolak:



I listened to quite a lot of the discs - some several times over, and found myself more and more charmed, enchanted, excited, enticed, beguiled by them. This was a huge breakthrough - I've never been fond of the piano, never much enjoyed piano concertos, never cared tuppence for Mozart's in particular; yet here I was, unexpectedly listening over and over and wanting to listen to nothing else. And I started to ask - does the HIP performance really make all this difference? The difference between light and dark? Between Yes and No? I wanted a non-HIP set for comparison, to see how much change had been going on in me, rather than in the type of performance I was listening to.

jpc were selling the Annerose Schmidt/Kurt Masur box for a merely nominal sum, so I sent for one. Shortly afterwards Navneeth pointed out that they were selling the Brendel/Marriner set for not much more, so, fearing the Schmidt/Masur might be rather mediocre, I took the plunge and sent for that as well. They've both arrived:



I've made a first tentative start to the experiment by listening to the 25th (K503), first by Sofronizki, second by Schmidt, third by Brendel. The result - I'm really quite stunned.

I think the Sofronitzki is terrific - vital, rippling playing from the fortepiano, sharp orchestral playing, lovely crunchy HIP sounds - just the thing that's been wowing me for the last couple of weeks.  A winner all the way. So when I put the Schmidt/Masur into the player I expected to be crushingly disappointed.

Well, it sure isn't HIP. And of course the piano sound is so much rounder and smoother and more mellow than the fortepiano. But I was shocked by how much I was being swept along by the music. The orchestral playing is incisive, decisive, urgent, and convincing. Schmidt plays with conviction and vitality. I reached the end amazed and delighted that I seemed to have found a completely different way of enjoying the piano concertos. So then I put on the Brendel and expected to be sent into spasms of ecstasy.

Well... I was surprised to find it was a live recording, so the playing field is certainly not level - but oh, oh, oh, this is everything I used to think Mozart was. The orchestral sound is big, cloudy, imprecise. Brendel plays with astounding skill - so much so that it's impossible to figure how he melds one note into another in the way he does. But where's the humour - the delight, the thrill of discovery, the sharp transitions from heart-stopping beauty to pensive contemplation, to delight, and then back again? This sounds like the kind of Mozart my Mum and Dad would have listened to, if they'd liked Mozart. Smoothed-out Mozart; smeared out Mozart. Mozart to doze by.

You know the first few minutes of the third movement? The best test I could think of was the degree to which I find myself smiling as that jaunty, cheeky tune is first introduced by the orchestra,  then followed by the rippling piano. With Sofronitzki I'm smiling in little fits and starts; with Schmidt, amazingly, I'm smiling non-stop, except for a bar or two where she discovers a reason for sober contemplation, then off we go again. But with Brendel, oh dear, I don't smile at all. I'm full of admiration for the meltingly gorgeous skill, but where's the feeling?

So at the close of round 1, I'm deeply puzzled. My prime allegiance is still to the HIP Sofronitzki. She's early Elvis, at Sun records, rockin' and rollin'. The real thing. But my goodness, there's something to be said for Schmidt and Mazur, who really seem to know where they're going. They're like later Elvis, more polished but emphatic and powerful - yet importantly, pre-Army. Brendel and Marriner seem like post-army Elvis - the sanitised, Elvis-made-safe, suitable for family listening.

In short - this has proved to be a fascinating exercise. When, after some years' time, I've worked my way through all of these concertos in triplicate like this, maybe I shall understand this HIP-business a little better?

« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 01:43:01 PM by Elgarian »

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #326 on: February 10, 2010, 01:47:18 PM »
Does this mean that Brendel is like old, fat Elvis then?  :)

I am very pleased that you are having this experience.  0:)

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Scarpia

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #327 on: February 10, 2010, 02:05:55 PM »
Does this mean that Brendel is like old, fat Elvis then?  :)

I am very pleased that you are having this experience.  0:)

8)

And Uchida is the Pat Boone of Mozart PCs.

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #328 on: February 10, 2010, 02:07:56 PM »
I listened to quite a lot of the discs - some several times over, and found myself more and more charmed, enchanted, excited, enticed, beguiled by them. This was a huge breakthrough - I've never been fond of the piano, never much enjoyed piano concertos, never cared tuppence for Mozart's in particular; yet here I was, unexpectedly listening over and over and wanting to listen to nothing else.
Congratulations, Alan, you've opened the door to several treasure troves at once:  Mozart in general, piano concertos in general, and Mozart's piano concertos in particular--one of the finest bodies of work in all of classical music.

And Uchida is the Pat Boone of Mozart PCs.
Another point on which we disagree.  (Is there no end to them?)  Though I admire the wit of your comparison, I think the apt target is not Uchida, but Jeffrey Tate. ;)
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 02:11:13 PM by DavidRoss »
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Elgarian

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #329 on: February 10, 2010, 02:35:10 PM »
Does this mean that Brendel is like old, fat Elvis then?

Oh no, I wouldn't be so horrible as to suggest that. No, he's more like the I-wannabee-a-crooner-like-Dean- Martin Elvis of the post-army early 60s.

(I am rather hoping that this somewhat negative Brendel experience will turn out to be just a bad hair day on his and Marriner's part.)

Elgarian

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #330 on: February 10, 2010, 02:38:18 PM »
Congratulations, Alan, you've opened the door to several treasure troves at once:  Mozart in general, piano concertos in general, and Mozart's piano concertos in particular--one of the finest bodies of work in all of classical music.

Good to see you round and about again, Dave. Yes, doors and windows keep banging open almost daily, at present. Exciting times.

Antoine Marchand

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #331 on: February 10, 2010, 02:46:25 PM »
Does this mean that Brendel is like old, fat Elvis then?  :)

Please, a little bit of respect for your King, Texan boy.  >:(  :)

Another point on which we disagree.  (Is there no end to them?)  Though I admire the wit of your comparison, I think the apt target is not Uchida, but Jeffrey Tate. ;)

I totally agree with David; Uchida is a superb pianist and a great Mozartian.

Here she has eliminated some extra-weight (=Tate):


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/3dkK1iw2SMk" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/3dkK1iw2SMk</a>
   


 :)


Scarpia

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #332 on: February 10, 2010, 02:47:42 PM »
(I am rather hoping that this somewhat negative Brendel experience will turn out to be just a bad hair day on his and Marriner's part.)

The Brendel recordings were some of my first experiences with the Mozart PCs.  I loved the music instantly, but gradually Brendel/Marriner was replaced as my recording of choice for every concerto.  I still enjoy Brendel's playing, but not Marriner.  You might try a few of the more recent Brendel/Mackerras recordings.  Also, I regard Schiff's cycle on Decca as my favorite overall set.

jlaurson

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #333 on: February 10, 2010, 02:53:11 PM »
The Brendel recordings were some of my first experiences with the Mozart PCs.  I loved the music instantly, but gradually Brendel/Marriner was replaced as my recording of choice for every concerto.  I still enjoy Brendel's playing, but not Marriner.  You might try a few of the more recent Brendel/Mackerras recordings.  Also, I regard Schiff's cycle on Decca as my favorite overall set.

I'm surprised we are even allowed to discuss Brendel (and Uchida) in the HIP Mozart thread. Are we not going to be taken to task for impurifying this hoallowed ground?  ;D
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 07:18:34 PM by jlaurson »

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #334 on: February 10, 2010, 02:56:15 PM »
I regard Schiff's cycle on Decca as my favorite overall set.
Aha!  We can agree!

I'm surprised we are even allowed to discuss Brendel (and Uchida) in the HIP Mozart thread. Are we not going to be taken to task for impurifying this hollowed ground?  ;D
Probably.  Do we care?  ;)
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Scarpia

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #335 on: February 10, 2010, 02:59:38 PM »
Aha!  We can agree!

It was bound to happen.

I'm surprised we are even allowed to discuss Brendel (and Uchida) in the HIP Mozart thread. Are we not going to be taken to task for impurifying this hollowed ground?  ;D

Technically, I think we can mention any non-HIP performer, as long as we include a condescending remark that they are decidedly not HIP.

DavidW

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #336 on: February 10, 2010, 04:44:16 PM »
Well... I was surprised to find it was a live recording, so the playing field is certainly not level - but oh, oh, oh, this is everything I used to think Mozart was. The orchestral sound is big, cloudy, imprecise. Brendel plays with astounding skill - so much so that it's impossible to figure how he melds one note into another in the way he does. But where's the humour - the delight, the thrill of discovery, the sharp transitions from heart-stopping beauty to pensive contemplation, to delight, and then back again? This sounds like the kind of Mozart my Mum and Dad would have listened to, if they'd liked Mozart. Smoothed-out Mozart; smeared out Mozart. Mozart to doze by.

This is not about HIP vs. anti-HIP, this is about introverted vs. extroverted.  Brendel subsumes the emotional roller coaster to give a more refined performance, but much deeper than a few of the pianists (er keyboardists I guess) that go for gaudy, exaggerated gestures.  It takes more effort to appreciate his artistry, but in the end is more rewarding.  If you're bothered by his legato phrasing, you should know that most HIPsters are still using legato phrasing.  There is a whole spectrum of performances here, and one doesn't have to bash one to appreciate the other. :)

DavidW

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #337 on: February 10, 2010, 04:46:04 PM »
The Brendel recordings were some of my first experiences with the Mozart PCs.  I loved the music instantly, but gradually Brendel/Marriner was replaced as my recording of choice for every concerto.  I still enjoy Brendel's playing, but not Marriner.  You might try a few of the more recent Brendel/Mackerras recordings.  Also, I regard Schiff's cycle on Decca as my favorite overall set.

I don't like Schiff's playing in the Decca cycle but love the orchestral part, and Brendel's playing is exquisite but not the Marriner.  If we have Brendel/Vegh what a combo that would be! :)

Scarpia

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #338 on: February 10, 2010, 04:56:43 PM »
I don't like Schiff's playing in the Decca cycle but love the orchestral part, and Brendel's playing is exquisite but not the Marriner.  If we have Brendel/Vegh what a combo that would be! :)

Better than Brendel/Mackerras?

DavidW

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #339 on: February 10, 2010, 05:00:33 PM »
Better than Brendel/Mackerras?

Wait!  Seriously?  Did not know about that, I must add to my wish list.  They didn't do all of them did they?  But at least several of the great ones?