Author Topic: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)  (Read 186663 times)

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Online Mandryka

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #420 on: May 05, 2010, 02:23:49 AM »
Download the Bezuidenhout/Herreweghe here:

http://ceolnasidhe.blogspot.com/search/label/Philipe%20Herreweghe

If you like it I'll put up a PC 24 he did with Brueggen in Paris last year.

I wasn't enthusiastic about Sofronitsky (fille) -- but I have found some good ones in Bilson and Gardiner -- 22 for example, and 14.

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DarkAngel

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #421 on: May 05, 2010, 03:18:55 AM »
There was quite an extensive discussion of some of these in the HIP Mozart thread here, starting at about #228:
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,232.msg376200/topicseen.html#msg376200
The discussion continues sporadically over several pages.

I have these two sets, by Viviana Sofronitzki (left) and Immerseel (right):



The Sofronitzki set cost me an arm and a leg, but it's a purchase that I don't regret in the least. The more I listen, the more I love it, and this is the one I turn to, time and again. The recording quality is fabulous, her playing is full of vibrancy and life, and the orchestra supplies everything I hope for from a HIP approach. There's a longish sample available here:
http://www.sofronitsky.com/recordings.html

The Immerseel box was a more recent purchase and is much, much more affordable; but much though I admire Immerseel, and would always want to give him the benefit of the doubt, my progress through his box is slow. The simplest way to describe the difference is that by comparison with Sofronitzki he's too polite. I know these things are very personal, and one size never suits all, but I find with Sofronitzki that I can almost imagine a pipeline straight through to Mozart - I can indulge almost in the illusion that he's playing, revelling in those quicksilver shifts in mood that tumble one after another.

The set by Bilson (see post above) has admirers too, but I haven't heard it.

Of the three complete sets I prefer Sofronitzki, over Immerseel and Bilson. Immerseel is too relaxed at keyboard overall for my tastes and Bilson unfortunately has an unbalanced sound mix with the forte piano dwarfed in scale by orchestra.....keyboard sounds soft and distant. Compare this to Sofronitzki and Immerseel who have the balance right with more prominent and detailed keyboard.....personally I never listen to Bilson set because this imbalance is so obvious to me despite great orchestral work by Gardiner
 
For individual concerto CDs Andreas Staier ranks at the very top for me, his two great Teldec Cds can be obtained in a reduced price 5CD boxset:
 
 
 
« Last Edit: May 05, 2010, 03:33:10 AM by DarkAngel »

DarkAngel

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #422 on: May 05, 2010, 03:23:35 AM »

 
Brautigam has very nice forte piano performance of early concertos for 2,3 keyboards with Lubimov, a bit pricey......
 
 

 
There are 4-5 Levin/Hogwood/Lyre CDs out there which I prefer over the Bilson/Gardiner overall, they are mostly out of print but can be obtained as Arkiv Music re-issues
« Last Edit: May 05, 2010, 03:46:30 AM by DarkAngel »

Online Mandryka

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #423 on: May 05, 2010, 05:51:54 AM »
It's interesting that my two favourite pianists in the sonatas -- Lubimov and Newman -- have recorded so few of the concertos (if any!)

Is that right? Or have I missed the recordings?
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Online Sergeant Rock

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #424 on: May 05, 2010, 06:32:40 AM »
Of the three complete sets I prefer Sofronitzki, over Immerseel and Bilson. Immerseel is too relaxed at keyboard overall for my tastes and Bilson unfortunately has an unbalanced sound mix with the forte piano dwarfed in scale by orchestra.....keyboard sounds soft and distant. Compare this to Sofronitzki and Immerseel who have the balance right with more prominent and detailed keyboard.....personally I never listen to Bilson set because this imbalance is so obvious to me despite great orchestral work by Gardiner

Just goes to prove, one man's poison...

It's the balance in the Gardiner/Bilson that I find far more satisfactory than Sofronitzki. The fortepiano was, and is a puny instrument compared to a modern grand and the Bilson recordings give us a true sound picture, I think. What I hear in the Sofronitzki is a recording engineer boosting the sound artificially, making the instrument sound far, far grander than it actually is. I think it's odd that we claim we want a HIP sound but then use modern techniques to distort it, making the period instrument sound larger. I can understand someone preferring that...but is it HIP?

Agree that Gardiner's accompaniment is first rate--the drama of the D minor is just tremendous. This Mozart cycle contains some of the best recordings he's ever made (and I'm speaking as non-fan of the conductor).

Sarge
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DavidW

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #425 on: May 05, 2010, 07:01:20 AM »
I did plenty of listening via youtube before I ordered (recently the Immerseel set) and my impression was that (a) Bilson is too muted, (b) Sofronitzki is too loud, (c) Immerseel is just right.  But I think that sonically the differences are not so staggering as it has made out to be here, I would guess that the differences are 5-10 dB (anyone is about 5 off from Immerseel) at most.  Performance wise the only (I didn't listen to any Staier though) one that hit a home run for both soloist and ensemble is Levin/Hogwood which I think all of which are oop.  Keyboardist only Sofronitzki has the most fire, and orchestral only Gardiner would win for surprisingly snappy well controlled performances.  I ordered Immerseel because it was actually available :D (Sofronitzki was not) but also his graceful placing I know will have lasting pleasure, and certainly better playing than Bilson. :)

btw I think that the talk of authenticity and volume seems inappropriate for discussing recordings played back on hifis where the volume is set by taste. :P  I doubt that any of you go to some huge effort to volume match to what it would sound like then, and play with the equalizer to reproduce the kind of room acoustics they had back then.  So what does it really matter if the volume of the keyboard is a bit louder or quieter than it should be outside of personal preference?  Besides for all you know they played in small chamber orchestra sized halls and the fortepiano easily filled the room.

Scarpia

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #426 on: May 05, 2010, 07:03:42 AM »
btw I think that the talk of authenticity and volume seems inappropriate for discussing recordings played back on hifis where the volume is set by taste. :P  I doubt that any of you go to some huge effort to volume match to what it would sound like then, and play with the equalizer to reproduce the kind of room acoustics they had back then.  So what does it really matter if the volume of the keyboard is a bit louder or quieter than it should be outside of personal preference?  Besides for all you know they played in small chamber orchestra sized halls and the fortepiano easily filled the room.

This makes no sense to me.  Overall volume may be a matter of preference,  but achieving the correct balance between instruments (or the balance expected by the composer) is one of the main reasons for using historically appropriate instruments. 

Online Sergeant Rock

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #427 on: May 05, 2010, 07:22:02 AM »

btw I think that the talk of authenticity and volume seems inappropriate for discussing recordings played back on hifis where the volume is set by taste. :P  I doubt that any of you go to some huge effort to volume match to what it would sound like then, and play with the equalizer to reproduce the kind of room acoustics they had back then.  So what does it really matter if the volume of the keyboard is a bit louder or quieter than it should be outside of personal preference?  Besides for all you know they played in small chamber orchestra sized halls and the fortepiano easily filled the room.

I wasn't talking abut how loud anything is but how authentic the balance between soloist and orchestra is in the recordings. There is no way Sofronitzki sounds that "large" in real life. I have the same objection to recordings on modern instruments that artificially enlarge the soloist. I prefer a realistic balance.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

DavidW

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #428 on: May 05, 2010, 07:22:12 AM »
This makes no sense to me.  Overall volume may be a matter of preference,  but achieving the correct balance between instruments (or the balance expected by the composer) is one of the main reasons for using historically appropriate instruments.

*cough* equalizer *cough* different room acoustics will reinforce some frequencies while not others, which shift the tonal balance anyway.  I wasn't just talking only about overall volume.  I was saying that when you play it at home you are already mangling the sonic space in such a way that it's not authentic beyond just having the sound of the fortepiano be off by a few dB's (if it is).


Franco

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #429 on: May 05, 2010, 07:28:16 AM »
I just listened to several audio clips from the Bilson/Gardiner set and thought the balance very nice - the fortepiano appears to emerge seamlessly from the orchestral fabric in a nice effect and adds a subtle sparkling quality to the overall texture. 

I have the Immerseel and, although the Amazon clips are clearly not enough to accurately judge, I think I might prefer the Bilson set, and have wishlisted it for possible purchase after I've had a chance to mull further.

I'm also keeping my eye on the Brautigam Mozart PC recordings - I've heard a few things on YouTube that sounded absolutely fantastic, with the fortepiano placed in the middle of the orchestra for an exceptional balance.

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #430 on: May 05, 2010, 07:28:50 AM »
Well, Bilson already has a realistic balance, and yet it seems to annoy some people. There is no way that a circa 1785 Walter fortepiano is going to dominate an orchestra that is as small as realistically possible at 12 people, and likely larger than that too. So without a whole lot of artificial mic'ing (ala Sofronitsky), one has to accept the fact that the piano of 1785 isn't the piano of 1885 or 1985. As it happens, I am very pleased with the Bilson/Gardiner, and I just got the Immerseel (haven't listened to it yet though)  solely because of the constant string of bitching here about perceived issues that I simply can't hear as a problem. :)

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Scarpia

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #431 on: May 05, 2010, 07:29:03 AM »
*cough* equalizer *cough* different room acoustics will reinforce some frequencies while not others, which shift the tonal balance anyway.  I wasn't just talking only about overall volume.  I was saying that when you play it at home you are already mangling the sonic space in such a way that it's not authentic beyond just having the sound of the fortepiano be off by a few dB's (if it is).

Again, don't agree at all. The fortepiano covers the same acoustic bandwidth as the rest of the orchestra, it can't be emphasized using equalization without emphasizing the various sections of the orchestra that overlap in frequency.  In any case, I find that the ears tend to normalize themselves to the overall ambiance of a room so that the effect of overall equalization is less than you would expect. 

I think what I (and maybe Sarge) is getting at is not strictly speaking loudness of he instrument, but recording perspective.  In recordings with spotlighting I often find myself annoyed that the orchestra is recorded with microphones at a distance, and the solo instrument is picked up with a microphone which is very close, which produces an inconsistent sound image.   I find this distracting.  The Bilson recordings are pretty well done, IMO, as are the Levin.  The others I have not heard.


DavidW

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #432 on: May 05, 2010, 07:30:30 AM »
I wasn't talking abut how loud anything is but how authentic the balance between soloist and orchestra is in the recordings. There is no way Sofronitzki sounds that "large" in real life. I have the same objection to recordings on modern instruments that artificially enlarge the soloist. I prefer a realistic balance.

Sarge

No I read you right.  That is addressed in my reply to Scarpia that also misread my post.

Realistic balance depends on the concert hall and the size of the orchestra, and also how it sounds in your own home.  I don't think that you can claim that it will always sound like Bilson/Gardiner and that is authentic.  Depending on the environment it could sound like any of those three, including Sofronitzki if you sat in the front row.  I have been in concerts in a small room that really helped a harpsichord project, so why not a fortepiano?  You are just too fast and loose at proclaiming what is authentic.

Not only that but the volume differences are not as big as you make it out to be, nor what DA claims.  Way, way over the top.  We are talking about somewhat louder, somewhat quieter differences.  Would either of you really dismiss a recording on the basis of slightly not what you want?  Because that would be kind of petty.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2010, 07:42:22 AM by DavidW »

DarkAngel

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #433 on: May 05, 2010, 07:40:44 AM »
Just goes to prove, one man's poison...

It's the balance in the Gardiner/Bilson that I find far more satisfactory than Sofronitzki. The fortepiano was, and is a puny instrument compared to a modern grand and the Bilson recordings give us a true sound picture, I think. What I hear in the Sofronitzki is a recording engineer boosting the sound artificially, making the instrument sound far, far grander than it actually is. I think it's odd that we claim we want a HIP sound but then use modern techniques to distort it, making the period instrument sound larger. I can understand someone preferring that...but is it HIP?

I look at it as a matter of perspective........
The soft distant sound of Bilson may be what audience would hear from middle row of concert hall, but Sofronitzky, Immerseel, Staier etc represent a conductor's perspective being closer to keyboard giving it more prominence and detail......which I prefer :)
« Last Edit: May 05, 2010, 07:50:15 AM by DarkAngel »

DavidW

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #434 on: May 05, 2010, 07:40:57 AM »
Again, don't agree at all. The fortepiano covers the same acoustic bandwidth as the rest of the orchestra, it can't be emphasized using equalization without emphasizing the various sections of the orchestra that overlap in frequency. 

That's a superficial, spherical cow kind of argument.  If they had equal emphasis on each frequency then the instruments would be tonally identical (and sound like white noise). ::)  Nope, wrong.  Having the same range doesn't matter, it's frequency response and how room acoustics affect it.  The same orchestra would sound different in different rooms.  Composers know this, they would actually re-orchestrate their works if it were to played in a larger hall or smaller hall than they originally had in mind.  And it does have an effect on balance and clarity of instruments.  In a large hall the violins and brass would dominate over the forte piano, in a smaller room things would be more balanced.

Quote
In any case, I find that the ears tend to normalize themselves to the overall ambiance of a room so that the effect of overall equalization is less than you would expect. 

What are you saying here that our ears get used to it, so who cares?  Well over time, not in the span of a single concert though.

Quote
I think what I (and maybe Sarge) is getting at is not strictly speaking loudness of he instrument, but recording perspective.  In recordings with spotlighting I often find myself annoyed that the orchestra is recorded with microphones at a distance, and the solo instrument is picked up with a microphone which is very close, which produces an inconsistent sound image.   I find this distracting.  The Bilson recordings are pretty well done, IMO, as are the Levin.  The others I have not heard.

I agree that spotlighting can be distracting, but that is not really the problem at hand, Sarge just painted it that way.  As he said he really exaggerated it the problems with that new cycle. :-\

DavidW

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #435 on: May 05, 2010, 07:44:46 AM »

I look at it as a matter of perspective........
The soft distant sound of Bilson may be what audience would hear from middle row of concert hall, but Sofronitzky and Immerseel represent a conductor's perspective being closer to keyboard giving it more prominence and detail......which I prefer :)

You've had much more time in these cycles (though I've heard the whole Bilson/Gardiner a few times over) but my impressions are the same.  Just intimate vs spacious sound stage and not authentic vs wrong kind of thing. :)

DarkAngel

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #436 on: May 05, 2010, 09:15:15 AM »
It's interesting that my two favourite pianists in the sonatas -- Lubimov and Newman -- have recorded so few of the concertos (if any!)

Is that right? Or have I missed the recordings?

Sad but true.......I have keyboard sonata sets by both but have not seen any keyboard concerto cds  :(
 
(there is the Lubimov/Brautigam collaboration CD pictured earlier here)
« Last Edit: May 05, 2010, 11:34:44 AM by DarkAngel »

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #437 on: May 05, 2010, 11:22:01 AM »

 
There are 4-5 Levin/Hogwood/Lyre CDs out there which I prefer over the Bilson/Gardiner overall, they are mostly out of print but can be obtained as Arkiv Music re-issues

I have 5 disks for a total of 10 concertos; 9, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22 & 23. Is anyone aware of any more of these that I may have missed? I like 'em too... :)

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Bulldog

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #438 on: May 05, 2010, 11:37:29 AM »
I have 5 disks for a total of 10 concertos; 9, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22 & 23. Is anyone aware of any more of these that I may have missed? I like 'em too... :)

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1-4 is on one disc, 15 and 26 on another.

Scarpia

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Re: Mozart in Period Performances (HIP)
« Reply #439 on: May 05, 2010, 11:40:39 AM »
1-4 is on one disc, 15 and 26 on another.

Bizarre to cancel a cycle so close to completion!