Author Topic: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites  (Read 41284 times)

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Offline aukhawk

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #60 on: February 04, 2015, 04:36:56 AM »
Those are some big names being kicked off so early, by the way.  ???

Yes but plenty left in too.  Some random notes:

Of those who did best in the proloque, two scored 100% but neither are names that figure strongly in the lengthy GMG Bach Cello Suites thread, in fact one of them is virtually unknown.  2 more scored 92% and 90% and again neither are exactly GMG favourites.  Next in line at a very creditable 85% is the first of what I would call the GMG favourites (judging by the Cello Suites thread), a definite hot tip for the final. 
The 'not a cello' recordings divided opinion (only one 'maybe' vote between the three of them!) but they all survived, two of them very comfortably and one only just, on a technicality.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2015, 04:39:22 AM by aukhawk »

jlaurson

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #61 on: February 04, 2015, 05:58:21 AM »
Except for Wispelwey III (which I've never found engrossing on superficial listening... but which my respect for the artist and love for his 2nd recording made me assume it was my shortcoming), I am not surprised by the ones that fell by the wayside.

I've long said that Rostropovich is one of the most ghastly recordings of the Cello Suites.... (In the Bach Cello Suite thread: "What a beastly dud in his discography, indeed. Too reverent (or whatever else the problem was) and a complete bore.")

...and I only regret not having had the chance to blindly make a statement about it and see if my known opinion would be borne out by my blind opinion. Either YoYo was never considered a great recording, either... and Tortelier and Starker (esp. Tortelie) have always been overrated... hold-over reputation from a time with much less competition.

Gosh am I glad I wrote what I wrote about Isserlis: A9 Fast and glib on first hearing. - NO. I’m happy to hear it but if I never hear this again that’s fine, too. Not bad, but not giving me anything other can’t give me also. This would win only against egregiously off kilter recordings.

This compares to what I wrote about the recording for the ionarts Bach Cello Suite mini-survey:

Quote
Stephen Isserlis’ recording out of the way first: Speedy, lean, without much audible interpretive weight (though plenty via the fine liner notes!), he and his Hyperion engineers offer a somewhat thin sound in a very dry acoustic. That’s surprising, given the luxurious sound that his Stradivarius (Suites 1-4, 6) and Guadagnini (Suite 5) cellos are known to produce in concert or on other recordings.

Isserlis gives a very matter-of-factly reading that makes Gastinel’s – not really a personality-imbued interpretation, either – seem downright willful. There are moments when the interpretation strikes me as timid. Soft parts – listen to the Gavotte of Suite No.5 – can sound rushed and remind me of Rostropovich. (Which you won’t mistake for praise, given the above.) In the best moments he shows élan and a refreshing, athletic stride – but all too often it just sounds wimpy. He is a little easier on ornamentation than his French and German colleagues, and double stops are less often ‘carried over’ more notes – perhaps a result of working off the relatively ornamentation-sparse Anna-Magdalena score?...

Ken B

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #62 on: February 04, 2015, 06:16:45 AM »
A4 identified! I really should have guessed. I had Tortelier on vinyl too. I liked it at first but quickly stopped listening to it because of the grand canyon echo.
Starker is a sentimental favourite as I saw him do a Bach and the Kodaly -- where he rules -- live.
I like Bylsma but my favorite is nowhere to be seen yet.
If I were being cyncial I'd predict Guido Schieffen will win .... >:D

Offline Moonfish

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #63 on: February 04, 2015, 06:22:44 AM »
Bylsma is one of my favorites......    :'( :'( :'( :'(

Interesting that only one of my no votes resulted in an elimination.  The A votes must have been all over the place..?
« Last Edit: February 04, 2015, 06:24:43 AM by Moonfish »
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Offline aukhawk

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #64 on: February 04, 2015, 08:22:10 AM »
Yes the late flurry of 'A' votes coming in did completely re-order that group.
But I would say all the votes were all over the place - 10 performers attracted both 'Yes' and 'No' votes without any 'Maybe' at all, indicating not that they were 'good' or 'bad' but simply a polarised view of their performing style.
The Courante from Suite 4 was deliberately chosen for this purpose, as it immediately highlights certain contrasts in bowing techniques so that in a very short time you can mentally place the performer somewhere on the map**

** a useful shorthand might be, if you think of the four compass points and then placing a performer somewhere in the space beteen them - I put 'grand performers' such as Tortelier up to the North, and 'introverts' like Wispelwey to the South - with 'dancing' types to the West and 'wrestling' types to the East.  That's how I look at it anyway.  Everyone would have their preferred area on that map, mine is sort of East and a bit South, and for choice I don't usually listen to anyone in the northern quadrant, which I think is just modern GMG-informed taste  ;)
« Last Edit: February 04, 2015, 08:24:49 AM by aukhawk »

Ken B

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #65 on: February 04, 2015, 09:13:59 AM »
Interesting that only one of my no votes resulted in an elimination.  The A votes ...

Yes the late flurry of 'A' votes coming in did completely re-order that group.


A plot to disenfranchise Moonfish!

Offline Pat B

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #66 on: February 04, 2015, 12:53:09 PM »
It would have been interesting to see comments on Rostropovich's Suite 6, but no surprise whatsoever over his early departure.

I love Bylsma in general, but for the Bach Suites, I think his earlier recording is better.

I am bummed about Zelenka, who I had never heard of. Her Bourree II may have been "misguided" as somebody said, but it was one of the most interesting things I heard here.

From other groups, I am surprised that Starker was dropped so overwhelmingly.

Offline Moonfish

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #67 on: February 04, 2015, 01:47:13 PM »
A plot to disenfranchise Moonfish!


 ??? :'( :'( :'(
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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #68 on: February 04, 2015, 01:50:15 PM »
B3 (one 'Yes' vote)
Pieter Wispelwey (his 3rd recording) (and a personal favourite  :( )


I did my best! I should add that I had never heard it before either. On the other hand, these things always surprise.
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #69 on: February 04, 2015, 01:58:52 PM »
I did my best! I should add that I had never heard it before either. On the other hand, these things always surprise.

True! The outcome will be interesting (hopefully) and very unpredictable!
It would be fun if we could bet on the different versions of the cello suites!!  >:D
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Offline Jay F

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #70 on: February 05, 2015, 09:19:44 AM »
Blind comparison. Bach Cello Suites, "round 1 proper." Group D:

1. D5 & D3 tie for favorite (I must get these if I don't already have them, and I only have one.)
3. D2 meh
4. D4 meh
5. D1 no
6. D6 no
« Last Edit: February 05, 2015, 09:21:31 AM by Jay F »

Offline Madiel

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #71 on: February 05, 2015, 02:02:51 PM »
Well I shall definitely watch this with interest. The only 2 cellists I have - Rostropovich and Tortelier - have both gone by the wayside.

(Of the two I tend to prefer Rostropovich, but he does need a kick up the backside at times.)
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Offline aukhawk

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #72 on: February 06, 2015, 01:13:12 AM »
I'd never listened to Rostropovich (in Bach) before preparing this comparison - he's mostly had unfavourable reviews in various places - but actually I quite liked what I heard, within the context of the 'grand old men' of the 50s,60s,70s I thought he came off best and was the most modern-sounding of those.

Tortelier now, he was very unlucky not to go through, actually purely in scoring terms he scored more (42%) than two cellists who have gone through on 40%.  Basically there were 7 cellists on a level, with only 2 places available - on a different day with a different breakfast inside me - or wearing different underpants - I might have selected them differently.  Tortelier though was one of only 3 out of 30 to attract no 'Yes' votes at all, and on that basis I felt it was reasonable to put him out.
I well remember his televised Bach masterclasses - they were great viewing (and good promotion for his box set of LPs).

Thanks for the round 1 vote Jay F - I should have made it clearer that I'm looking for a ranking from now on, 1 to 6 - but I'll interpret your vote as a 1=1>3=3>5=5 - unless you want to come back with a more specific order.

The plan by the way is to reduce these remaining 18 to 10, so that round 2 when we get there, will be 2 groups of 5.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2015, 01:23:50 AM by aukhawk »

Offline Jay F

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #73 on: February 08, 2015, 10:05:22 PM »
Thanks for the round 1 vote Jay F - I should have made it clearer that I'm looking for a ranking from now on, 1 to 6 - but I'll interpret your vote as a 1=1>3=3>5=5 - unless you want to come back with a more specific order.
1. D5
2. D3
3. D2
4. D4
5. D1
6. D6
« Last Edit: February 09, 2015, 12:26:23 PM by Jay F »

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #74 on: February 09, 2015, 02:00:51 AM »
Thaks Jay F - crikey, that's put the cat among the pigeons!  :o

jlaurson

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #75 on: February 09, 2015, 02:09:45 AM »
D1: Slow start where I’m about to say: Nay… but then, Hello! Amazing way of catching the wave.
I love it.

Another outrageously slow beginning… Too maintained slow… and lots of sniffing and runny-nose noises… and excited moans at his own playing… The rest doesn’t come up to the same level at all… Still, I want to hear more of it.

Tepid YES.


D2: Senseless race toward proving what exactly? Fast is not necessarily exciting. It’s impressive, but not exciting.

Negative OK.


D3: I like it without it striking me as superb at first. Resonant… but actually, in its’ neither offensive nor awesome way, it’s quite regal, quite beautiful, noble… unconcerned… an island unto its own. And that I like very, very much.

Solid YES.


D4: Mildly tubby… cello is put into the forefront… Mastery of the instrument over insight. Elegant lithe tone, to put it more positively. Overly vigorous…

Indifferent NO.


D5: Individual. Pitch gives away the HIPster. Elegant like the above but with something to say. Flew by me on the first few listenings, but that’s probably because of the listening of so much before that. Slows down to a point where I lose interest. It comes around, anyway. Also, it’s well past my bedtime. More listening tomorrow. Like the Polyphonic element the player gets going…

I could see myself really enjoying this for the long line and for the long ride – rather than being necessarily impressed or wowed by any particular moment. Something I can’t quite say for D4 but certainly something I could see happen with D3, also. I continue to find myself listening up and thinking: I hope I didn’t rate the performance I am listening to right now as glib, earlier… because I kind of like it. Then I come back and am glad to see it’s D5 which I had already started to appreciate.

Solid YES.

D6: steady in a way that I quite like… this one makes me take note in the way D5 didn’t. Not that I paid great attention.

Positive OK



1 D3 & D5
3 D1
4 D6
5 D2
6 D4

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #76 on: February 09, 2015, 03:00:52 PM »
Thanks - I must listen again for those "runny-nose noises… and excited moans".   ;)

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #77 on: February 12, 2015, 01:39:57 AM »
Any more votes coming in? Or any more groups to listen to?

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #78 on: February 12, 2015, 01:53:11 AM »
No just the 2 votes in Group D so far.  Basically we have 5 voters per group, no point really in setting a deadline yet.
I'll PM you the links for group F - which judging by your vote, will be more to your taste than group E would be.

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Blind comparison: Bach Cello Suites
« Reply #79 on: February 12, 2015, 03:55:38 AM »
Just really busy lately. As soon as I have a chance, I will listen.
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