Author Topic: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163  (Read 43851 times)

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Offline amw

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Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« on: July 24, 2014, 09:11:09 PM »
Official thread for this.

The format:
Round 1 - Exposition of the first movement
Round 2 - Third movement (complete)
Round 3 - Second movement (complete)
Final round - Entire piece, probably

Voting:
Y(ea) or  :) means you liked it, M(eh) or   :-\ means it was ok but not special, N(ay) or  :( means you didn't like it.
If there's one recording you thought was head and shoulders above all the rest you may award it a Distinction ( ) of some kind. This will be taken into account when I'm scoring these. A recording that's awarded distinctions by three people is guaranteed to advance, if it wasn't already going to.

Numbers/10 is also acceptable for those who prefer it.

You have 3 weeks to vote, making 15 August 2014 the deadline.

Links should be sent out within an hour or so; if you didn't get one and want one let me know. (New participants will also be accepted, we're always looking for people)

BEGIN
« Last Edit: July 27, 2014, 02:17:45 PM by amw »

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2014, 01:19:19 AM »
Please post here when you have sent the links so we will know if we have/have not gotten them. 
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

Offline amw

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2014, 01:36:52 AM »
I've already sent them... guess I overlooked you. Apologies.

Should be in your inbox momentarily

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2014, 02:02:55 AM »
Thanks!
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

Offline OrchestralNut

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2014, 04:00:23 AM »
Thanks for the links, AMW!  I will start sampling on the weekend.  :)

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2014, 04:07:26 AM »
Do you (or do we) want votes and comments whited out - before I post my Group B impressions?

Offline OrchestralNut

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2014, 04:34:16 AM »
AMW, do we need an account with WinZip to open the MP3 files?  Thanks!  :)

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2014, 05:05:16 AM »
AMW, do we need an account with WinZip to open the MP3 files?  Thanks!  :)
You will need something that allows you to open a zipped file. If you don't have a program that does that, I recommend 7zip, because it is 1) free and 2) opens pretty much any archived file.
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

Offline Jay F

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2014, 05:30:54 AM »
D3 Thumbs up
D5 Yea
D7 Yea
D2 Yea
D6 meh
D4 meh
D1 meh
D8 meh
« Last Edit: August 29, 2014, 07:09:41 AM by Jay F »

Offline OrchestralNut

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2014, 06:26:02 AM »
You will need something that allows you to open a zipped file. If you don't have a program that does that, I recommend 7zip, because it is 1) free and 2) opens pretty much any archived file.

Ok, thanks Neal!  :)

Offline Jo498

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2014, 06:44:59 AM »
The scoring is supposed to be public in this thread?
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Jay F

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2014, 06:54:37 AM »
The scoring is supposed to be public in this thread?

I don't know. Everyone voted in white in the Mahler #2 blind comparison. Snowblind, I guess.

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2014, 08:48:19 AM »
Group B

None are perfect but several sound more interesting than the three recordings I currently own and like. 
Which bodes well for the rest of this comparison!

B7 > B2 > B8 >> B5, B1, B6 > B3 > B4

B7 gets my 'Y-plus' award.
B2 and B8 are also Yeh.
The rest are varying degrees of Meh, it's such good music that I don't really dislike any of them, but for the sake of the vote I'll nominate
B4 as Neh.


B7 is perhaps a more 'romantic' performance than I would ideally like - a widish vibrato, and touches of rubato that I could do without - but lots of brio in the sections where this is called for, and a very good close-miked detailed recording makes for a very involving listen.

B8 seems very assured and straightforward, more to my taste, but unfortunately in a large acoustic (possibly live) not ideal IMO for a recording of 'chamber music'.  I thought I heard a couple of clumsy edits early on.

B2 caught my interest (and approval) for being almost vibrato-free.  Another close and detailed recording lets the individual voices spike through at seemingly random moments - a very stimulating listen.  It would have been my easy top pick but - too fast.

Of the rest -
B1 alternately tentative and assertive.
B3 the opposite, polite and even-toned, almost mannered, like a cucumber sandwich at the vicarage.
B4 middle-aged recording? just undistinguished.
B5 definitely older, unless mono is back in fashion.  Good energetic performance though, seems a bit cello-led.  Almost a 'Y'.
B6 similar to B4 but a bit better recorded.

[edited to de-white]
« Last Edit: October 04, 2014, 05:03:35 AM by aukhawk »

Offline amw

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2014, 09:57:30 PM »
White text would be good—gives the observers who might be watching this thread something interesting to read before the inevitable shock of the unmasking, while the participants are encouraged to keep themselves in the dark. It's the best of both worlds, sort of.

(Also if anyone needs to hear this exposition a few more times you can always do another group. Standard blind comparison protocol applies.)

Thanks for the interesting comments aukhawk.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2014, 01:07:05 AM »
So we have 32 (4x8) versions altogether?
(I have only listened briefly to the first two of mine, will not comment before more listening.)
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline amw

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2014, 01:24:48 AM »
So we have 32 (4x8) versions altogether?

Yes. I listened to about 50 in total so a few had to be cut (including a few well-known ones...), 32 I felt to be about the absolute minimum. >.>

I somehow missed Jay F's votes as well—appreciated. I am dumb.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2014, 04:15:21 AM »
As I am new to this, what is "standard blind comparison protocol"?
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline amw

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2014, 01:41:57 AM »
Basically some unwritten (more or less) rules/guidelines people have tended to follow.

e.g.
Participants are encouraged to avoid reading others' results until after they've listened, as already mentioned (Though plenty of people don't avoid doing so, such as me)
You can throw out guesses as to what particular recordings are, but if you're absolutely 100% sure don't spoil it for everyone in public
Try to judge the performance rather than the sound quality
Wait a few days before requesting a second group so the discussion isn't dominated by one or two people
Cryptic teasing comments from the comparison organiser are required
Etc.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2014, 01:11:28 AM by amw »

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2014, 11:25:57 PM »
Here is a piece I know only a bit, so it should be interesting...

Group D

D1 - Strikes me as quite classical in style. Here everything is formal and straightforward. Despite this, I love the precision. I think the sound really hurts this (in that similar versions with better sound will bloom, where here it cannot). The tempo is nicely done with little manipulation. Occasionally, the top violin produces an ugly sound. This is a performance to admire from afar. Meh?. Let's call it 'Meh PLUS' or Yea Minus.

D2 - Here is the antithesis to D1. So many lovely details here and the crescendos are, well, to die for really. This is a much more nuanced performance, with precision no less than in D1. One really feels the passion here. At the same time, I can hear every part quite clearly. They leave the door open to others (barely cracked) only in that the slow part does not showcase the line quite as well as others. Still, excellent performance. Thumbs up.

D3 - Similar to D1 with a dash of D2. Excellent precision here too. The lead violin seems a hair too deliberate at times which highlights him/her for the wrong reason. Another fine version. Yea.

D4 - Too static. It is like they are playing most of it within mp to mf, which makes it lacking in dynamic range. So I don't like it, but the playing is still pretty good.  This was going to get my neah vote, but one was even worse, so just a 'meh' here.

D5 - Also a more restrained version. Tempo sometimes seems to slow down. This really makes it seem too overly dramatic - that is,not organically dramatic (superficial might be another word you could use here). And just too slow (at least it feels slow) at times. Meh

D6 - Very nicely done. The top violin seems to hesitate just the slightest when it has the double note entry, which I find makes it sound wrong rather than passionate or nuanced. Quieter middle section loses steam a bit. Otherwise, I mostly liked this one. Yea.

D7 - Seems a bit too staccato/cut off/long pauses at times and very bass heavy. This one sounds different too, and it is an unattractive sound when they pick at the instrument for sure, though there are often moments when the sound of a particular instrument struck me as ugly. This one nearly gives me a headache. This is actually worse than D4, so I would give it a thumbs down.   

D8 - A very pleasent version, though without the same level of detail as the very best. Nonetheless, well played.

In case anyone is interested in the order: D2, D3, D6, D8, D1, D5, D4, D7.  So, D2 gets the thumbs up and D7 the thumbs down.
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

Offline amw

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Re: Blind Comparison: Schubert String Quintet D. 956 / Op. 163
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2014, 01:20:35 AM »
Thanks for the comments mcukrneal. (I'm assuming D8 is also a :) as you ranked it ahead of D1 the :)– )

Yes, a few classic versions included here will probably be punished for sound quality, but due to the praise they've attracted in the past (and the fact that one of them happens to be in my personal top five >.>) I felt I couldn't not include them. I think there's about one with significantly worse sound quality per group... perhaps I should have put all of them in their own group, or something?

Actually I think D1 and D2 may be respectively the worst and best recordings in the comparison in terms of sound quality. Probably shouldn't have put them so close together. :(