Author Topic: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies  (Read 22432 times)

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Online Brian

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #40 on: July 23, 2019, 11:16:35 AM »
Weird good...or weird bad?

Sarge
Jury's still out, here. I've listened to three or four of the symphonies and so far I mostly stare at the player with a shocked face. He does all sorts of not-notated playing around with dynamics, note length, instrumentation (like having the theme of Eroica's finale played by string quartet only), sudden changes in tempo.

In the booklet, Fischer explains that he's kinda been converted to an almost anti-HIP point of view.

“You can compare the conductor to a modern-day stage director. A stage director asks himself, “What
should I do with this old play? Should I try to visualize how the playwright would have done it today
and try to understand what he wanted to say? This is the philosophy of a stage director as it is the
philosophy of the conductor.”

“It is impossible to listen to music from the beginning of the 19th century today and really understand
what it felt like to hear it for the first time.”

“When playing Beethoven, Mozart or Haydn, it is not enough to play it on original instruments or try to
play exactly as our research indicates that they did back then. It would not, to the same extent, move a
contemporary audience emotionally, because in the meantime our ears have changed, and so have the
things we can fantasize and dream about. I need to play the notes in such a way that we can recreate
the feelings of the listeners which Beethoven would have wanted to invoke in his audience, rather than
playing it exactly how he wanted it to sound.”

so, i.e., if people were initially super shocked by a passage, then Fischer's goal is to make it shocking to us, today, by reinterpreting it.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #41 on: July 23, 2019, 11:34:34 AM »
so, i.e., if people were initially super shocked by a passage, then Fischer's goal is to make it shocking to us, today, by reinterpreting it.

Sounds like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa or something close to Glenn Gould's deconstructing Mozart and Beethoven sonatas.

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"

Online Brian

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #42 on: July 23, 2019, 11:47:38 AM »
Looks like someone has uploaded the cycle to YouTube, legally or not, so you can sample your way through. I linked to 8/i, but they should all appear on the sidebar.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #43 on: July 23, 2019, 12:01:49 PM »
Looks like someone has uploaded the cycle to YouTube, legally or not, so you can sample your way through. I linked to 8/i, but they should all appear on the sidebar.

Thanks. I'll check it out later.

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"

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #44 on: July 23, 2019, 04:23:29 PM »
The new Adam Fischer/Danish Chamber Orchestra cycle on Naxos is f*%)@!in' WEIRD, man.

I enjoyed the 9th. It is closer to Zinman than anyone else I can think of, but that's fine: I like Zinman! :)

I heard the 8th on a streaming radio programme, it is much the same as the 9th, very brisk tempi, for sure.

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Offline amw

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #45 on: July 23, 2019, 08:37:32 PM »
From my experience so far it's very much like the Emmanuel Krivine/Chambre Philharmonique recording: Beethoven symphonies played as though they were Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. I definitely have nothing against this approach but I'm not yet sure how well the recordings will stand up to repeat listening, or the various other recordings that use this approach (don't know Zinman's symphonies but his piano concertos definitely fit here).

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #46 on: July 23, 2019, 10:54:20 PM »
Sounds like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa or something close to Glenn Gould's deconstructing Mozart and Beethoven sonatas.

Sarge

I must say that No.1 is an amazing performance; I'm only two discs in... but it's very promising, so far. Definitely "good weird", if "weird" is the right word. I'm beginning to come around on Adam Fischer in a big way. (The RING in Budapest helped, too... as did his Mozart Cycle with the Danish CO.)

And then wait until you get the Ninth with a counter tenor for an alto. :-)

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ALSO:


Karajan’s 1970s Beethoven In Blu-ray Audio: A Controversial Set Revisited

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #47 on: July 23, 2019, 11:01:30 PM »
so, i.e., if people were initially super shocked by a passage, then Fischer's goal is to make it shocking to us, today, by reinterpreting it.

It sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #48 on: July 23, 2019, 11:17:15 PM »
Quote from: Adam Fischer
“It is impossible to listen to music from the beginning of the 19th century today and really understand
what it felt like to hear it for the first time.”

“When playing Beethoven, Mozart or Haydn, it is not enough to play it on original instruments or try to
play exactly as our research indicates that they did back then. It would not, to the same extent, move a
contemporary audience emotionally, because in the meantime our ears have changed, and so have the
things we can fantasize and dream about..”

I've been making these points for years.  :D
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”  --- Victor Hugo

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #49 on: July 24, 2019, 12:09:14 AM »
I've been making these points for years.  :D

I know... I've read it and figured: WAIT. NOW someone says it? It's what the best opera directors and very few music directors (Enoch zu Guttenberg, mainly!) have been saying... but I'd never heard it from a mainstream conductor... and certainly not one as astoundingly unflamboyant as Fischer. And he's absolutely right, of course.

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #50 on: July 24, 2019, 02:03:33 AM »
I've been making these points for years.  :D

You (and Fischer) are generalizing too much. Your attitude may apply to the general relatively uneducated listener, but it is possible with training and an open mind to learn to appreciate the efforts of the HIP movement and eventually to get to love them.

Some examples:

Period instruments may be unfamiliar in the first hand and one may think they are imperfect and primitive, but with repeated exposure they become familiar and one may learn to understand, that the music was written to suit these instruments. Take e.g. the second Brandenburg concerto. Modern instruments completely spoil the delicate balance between the four soloists (making the piece a kind of trumpet concerto). With period instruments the balance is natural and perfect.

It is also possible with training to learn to appreciate other tunings (mean tone, modified mean tone) so that they do not sound out of tune in ones ear, and to learn to appreciate the special seasoning these tunings add to the music.

No HIP-ster would make the claim that a precise copy of how the music might have sounded in earlier ages is sought after - everyone knows this is completely impossible, but with period instruments, period tuning and informed interpretation some of us think we are better able to understand the music and to enjoy it. This has nothing to do with romanticism, unless you consider all interest in history to be an expression of romanticism. Humans are interested in history first and foremost in order to learn from it.

Of course you (and Fischer) will continue to make your points in the years to come, but that is another history.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #51 on: July 24, 2019, 02:24:56 AM »
My main contention is not that much about instruments but about the idea that anybody alive today is able to experience music written centuries ago like people back then experienced it. This is downright impossible no matter how old the instruments or how historically informed the performance --- for the simple reason that how we hear music depends not only on how it sounds but also on the whole set of cultural, social and religious values, conventions and assumptions that define our environment, and the set today is vastly, radically and utterly different than it was in Bach's or in Beethoven's time (and theirs were already different ones). That is all.
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”  --- Victor Hugo

Online Mandryka

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #52 on: July 24, 2019, 02:26:52 AM »
Quote
It [HIP] would not, to the same extent, move a
contemporary audience emotionally, because . . .  the
things we can fantasize and dream about [have changed].”

A couple of weeks ago I was with some friends and the topic for discussion was whether we have a place for heroes now. The hero -- the person who, finding the world inconsistent with his values, desires, aspirations, fights to change the world, and wins the fight. That sort of archetype may seem to no longer have a place in the world post Kafka. No matter how much Joseph K struggles, he'll never find the way in to the castle, the world is too strong, to intransigent.

Anyway, seeing that point by Adam Fischer, I was reminded of this conversation, and my own ill at ease with middle period Beethoven, the so called promethean Beethoven.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #53 on: July 24, 2019, 02:42:38 AM »
My main contention is not that much about instruments but about the idea that anybody alive today is able to experience music written centuries ago like people back then experienced it. This is downright impossible..
I have never claimed anything like that. But HIP helps me to understand the music better. Of course I shall never be able to understand it fully, i.e. in the way it was understood in its own time.

What I also object to, is that you use your points to detract from HIP. Actually it seems to me, that you have misunderstood the purpose and aim of HIP. It looks as if you are reproducing Taruskin. But he is outdated - the philosophy of HIP has changed since he wrote his pamphlets about this topic. When we admit, that we cannot reproduce the music 100% as it was played in former times, why should anybody then claim he was able to experience the music as they did back then?
« Last Edit: July 24, 2019, 02:44:15 AM by (: premont :) »
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Offline jwinter

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #54 on: July 24, 2019, 04:02:09 AM »
ALSO:


Karajan’s 1970s Beethoven In Blu-ray Audio: A Controversial Set Revisited


Intersting read, thanks for sharing.  I agree with a lot of that, actually.  Karajan's 70s set was the first cycle I heard.  Having "imprinted" on it as a young man, I suppose it had a large influence on my taste in Beethoven thereafter, though I haven't relistened to it in a very long while.  I've come to prefer an orchestral sound that isn't quite so polished and smooth for these works, but I agree with the reviewer that the 7th is thrilling, and the 5th from this set is still my personal favorite after all these years.
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted.

-- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #55 on: July 24, 2019, 04:27:41 AM »
I linked to 8/i, but they should all appear on the sidebar.

Thanks I listened to 8 this morning and have been comparing it to some of my favorites (Klemp, Szell, Lenny, the HIPster Norrington). While I didn't dislike Fischer--enjoyed it for the most part--I also found faults. His first movement is simply too fast, even though I love Norrington (and he's only 20 seconds slower in this movement but for some reason he doesn't seem rushed.) The Sacre-like (Lenny's description) long Fortissimo with the Triple Forté climax at the end of the development isn't nearly as powerful as Szell and Norrington (who really does give us shock and awe here with prominent, dissonant-sounding horns and sharp accents).

In any case, I'll continue to listen to Fischer (heard the Ninth already). I do like the sound. Thanks again for the YouTube link.

Sarge
« Last Edit: July 24, 2019, 04:29:21 AM by Sergeant Rock »
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"

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #56 on: July 24, 2019, 04:35:18 AM »
And then wait until you get the Ninth with a counter tenor for an alto. :-)

Ack!!!! Not a bargain-counter tenor! I was not impressed with Fischer's Ninth. Moving on to the First now.

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"

Offline DaveF

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #57 on: July 24, 2019, 06:05:30 AM »
so, i.e., if people were initially super shocked by a passage, then Fischer's goal is to make it shocking to us, today, by reinterpreting it.

Shocking?  You want shocking?:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-2vd1Yz6xQ
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Online Biffo

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #58 on: July 24, 2019, 06:10:09 AM »
Shocking?  You want shocking?:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-2vd1Yz6xQ

That isn't shocking, it's just kitsch.

Offline JBS

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Re: Complete Sets of Beethoven's Symphonies
« Reply #59 on: July 24, 2019, 06:27:15 AM »

ALSO:


Karajan’s 1970s Beethoven In Blu-ray Audio: A Controversial Set Revisited


I think (having heard all four of his cycles now) I prefer this one to the other three, although the 1980s cycle gives it a close run.
That said, to someone not really into classical music, but looking for a basic presentation of the music, the 1960s cycle might be the best option.

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