David Hurwitz

Started by Scion7, January 11, 2016, 06:42:39 PM

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vandermolen

Quote from: Roberto on April 08, 2023, 12:39:35 PMMy opinion about Mr. Hurwitz: I started to watch his videos maybe 1 and half year ago. I like his style and I think he is funny. He obviously has musical knowledge and I appreciate that. Some of his advice opened new horizons on my musical view. I like his music theory videos it helps me a lot, because I am not musician.
I think the biggest problem with his channel: less would be more. I started to watch all of his videos from te beginning but after a while I gave up. I don't have problem with 40+ min Hurwitz videos but not every day.
I already had 1500+ CD collection when I started to watch his videos and at the beginning I bought CDs based on his proposal. But after 2-3 big disappointments, I became more critical with his proposals.
I usually agree with his opinion about bad performances. I sometime agree with his opinion about period instrument people but not always. I think he is obsessed with this vibrato-thing.
I don't think he really listens to every CD. When he discuss about big boxes, I think he listened to those recordings years ago and, if ever. Or he picks some recordings from that boxes and listens to those again but clearly not all.
Opinion aboud sound quality is highly a matter of taste. He is unreliable for me in this topic also. Sometime I agree with him but sometime I don't.
This seems very wise to me and I agree that 'less is more' with his videos.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

vers la flamme

Quote from: Roberto on April 08, 2023, 12:39:35 PMMy opinion about Mr. Hurwitz: I started to watch his videos maybe 1 and half year ago. I like his style and I think he is funny. He obviously has musical knowledge and I appreciate that. Some of his advice opened new horizons on my musical view. I like his music theory videos it helps me a lot, because I am not musician.
I think the biggest problem with his channel: less would be more. I started to watch all of his videos from te beginning but after a while I gave up. I don't have problem with 40+ min Hurwitz videos but not every day.
I already had 1500+ CD collection when I started to watch his videos and at the beginning I bought CDs based on his proposal. But after 2-3 big disappointments, I became more critical with his proposals.
I usually agree with his opinion about bad performances. I sometime agree with his opinion about period instrument people but not always. I think he is obsessed with this vibrato-thing.
I don't think he really listens to every CD. When he discuss about big boxes, I think he listened to those recordings years ago and, if ever. Or he picks some recordings from that boxes and listens to those again but clearly not all.
Opinion aboud sound quality is highly a matter of taste. He is unreliable for me in this topic also. Sometime I agree with him but sometime I don't.

Agreed—just the sheer amount of time it would take to even make that many extremely lengthy videos wouldn't leave behind much time for actual listening. I suspect that many of the opinions he is laying out in his videos are based on distant memories of the recordings in question.

Roberto

All in all Hurwitz obviously has big impact on classical music community. People talk about him, and even here, he gathered more comments than Tchaikovsky for example (Hurwitz topic: 828; Tchaikovsky topic: 550). So he did something very well.  :)

j winter

Quote from: Roberto on April 08, 2023, 12:39:35 PMMy opinion about Mr. Hurwitz: I started to watch his videos maybe 1 and half year ago. I like his style and I think he is funny. He obviously has musical knowledge and I appreciate that. Some of his advice opened new horizons on my musical view. I like his music theory videos it helps me a lot, because I am not musician.
I think the biggest problem with his channel: less would be more. I started to watch all of his videos from te beginning but after a while I gave up. I don't have problem with 40+ min Hurwitz videos but not every day.
I already had 1500+ CD collection when I started to watch his videos and at the beginning I bought CDs based on his proposal. But after 2-3 big disappointments, I became more critical with his proposals.
I usually agree with his opinion about bad performances. I sometime agree with his opinion about period instrument people but not always. I think he is obsessed with this vibrato-thing.
I don't think he really listens to every CD. When he discuss about big boxes, I think he listened to those recordings years ago and, if ever. Or he picks some recordings from that boxes and listens to those again but clearly not all.
Opinion aboud sound quality is highly a matter of taste. He is unreliable for me in this topic also. Sometime I agree with him but sometime I don't.
Yes, I agree with pretty much all of this.  I watch him fairly frequently because I often enjoy his sense of humor, and it's interesting to compare his opinion with mine on recordings I've heard, but clearly there's WAY too much on his channel to even think about watching it all.  He's definitely got his prejudices, which is all part of being a critic and which have been discussed here at length, but with that in mind I'll often drop by his channel when I have a few minutes to kill.  He has definitely turned me on to some good recordings, I have to admit.
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

Spotted Horses

Quote from: Roasted Swan on May 26, 2021, 08:32:22 AMPD:  if you like the Janacek quartets try and hear this disc (perhaps Hurwitz mentioned it - I've no idea)



Not only were these the first recordings of a new critical edition of the quartets - with several terrifyingly hard passages reinstated on the "original" instruments, but also the filler is a brilliantly idiomatic transcription of movements from "On an Overgrown Path" for quartet.  Its nearly as good as having a third quartet by Janacek!

I seem to recall that Janacek originally wrote the second quartet with viola d'amore instead of viola. I wonder if this is a factor in the revision.
There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. - Duke Ellington

Pohjolas Daughter

Quote from: Spotted Horses on June 22, 2023, 06:54:33 AMI seem to recall that Janacek originally wrote the second quartet with viola d'amore instead of viola. I wonder if this is a factor in the revision.
I've listened to the recording with the Manderling Quartet, but wasn't keen on it.

Can't remember whether or not I tried to hunt down this CD with the Energie Nove.  Will try some YTing and searches in library system--particularly as I love "On an Overgrown Path".

PD

Spotted Horses

Quote from: Pohjolas Daughter on June 22, 2023, 08:26:23 AMI've listened to the recording with the Manderling Quartet, but wasn't keen on it.

Can't remember whether or not I tried to hunt down this CD with the Energie Nove.  Will try some YTing and searches in library system--particularly as I love "On an Overgrown Path".

PD

At least according to the Wikipedia page, Janacek abandoned the idea of using Viola d'Amore instead of Viola because he was unsatisfied with the sound of the instrument in the quartet setting. The change wasn't a concession inconvenience of using an unconventional instrument. So I'm not super keen on hearing his revisions reversed, although I would be curious to hear the transcription of "On an Overgrown Path," which I have been enjoying in Kupiec's recording.
There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. - Duke Ellington

Pohjolas Daughter

Quote from: Spotted Horses on June 22, 2023, 08:33:26 AMAt least according to the Wikipedia page, Janacek abandoned the idea of using Viola d'Amore instead of Viola because he was unsatisfied with the sound of the instrument in the quartet setting. The change wasn't a concession inconvenience of using an unconventional instrument. So I'm not super keen on hearing his revisions reversed, although I would be curious to hear the transcription of "On an Overgrown Path," which I have been enjoying in Kupiec's recording.
I remember watching this video (Audite) regarding the recording with the Manderling.  You might find it to be of interest.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psRcu5_FGnw

PD

Karl Henning

Quote from: Pohjolas Daughter on June 22, 2023, 09:47:16 AMI remember watching this video (Audite) regarding the recording with the Manderling.  You might find it to be of interest.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psRcu5_FGnw

PD
Interesting. Watching now.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Roasted Swan

Quote from: Spotted Horses on June 22, 2023, 08:33:26 AMAt least according to the Wikipedia page, Janacek abandoned the idea of using Viola d'Amore instead of Viola because he was unsatisfied with the sound of the instrument in the quartet setting. The change wasn't a concession inconvenience of using an unconventional instrument. So I'm not super keen on hearing his revisions reversed, although I would be curious to hear the transcription of "On an Overgrown Path," which I have been enjoying in Kupiec's recording.

I'm no Janacek expert - but doesn't the viola d'amore appear in some of his operatic and orchestral scores too?  To quote an online review of the Energie Nove performance;

"The leader of the Moravian Quartet who gave the work's premiere in 1928 - a month after the composer's death - was František Kudláček and he instigated many of the amendments that were incorporated into the published score.  The two main ones transplant stratospheric viola writing into the more manageable violin register. The first such passage is in the 3rd movement - figures 1-3 in the 'standard' UE score [around the 1:00 minute mark - track 17] - the viola has the melody lead which passes to the second violin at figure 2.  Not here; the viola keeps playing going up to a G sharp two and a half octaves above middle C.  The other main passage is the very end of the work where the 'top' line again stays in the viola whereas 'normally' it has passed to first violin.  The viola of the Quartetto Energie Nove, Ivan Vukčević, plays these challenging passages quite superbly - the tone of the instrument in this register more cutting than a 'sweeter' violin.  Elsewhere the differences seem to be more use of pizzicato either to mark passages more clearly or to give a folksier character.  Most telling is the very opening to the 4th movement which has a aptly stamping rumbustious character from all the players which the heavy pizzicati chords reinforce.

One other observation from following the standard score while listening to this original version is that there seems to be extra editing of the work.  There are a lot of dynamics and graduations of dynamics marked in the standard score not present in the current performance.  But elsewhere the players clearly diligently do play very specific markings both in terms of tempo and dynamic so I can only assume that the ones they apparently miss out are not there in the original.  So characteristic of Janáček's sound-world are extended passages marked sul poniticello [the glassy overtone-laden sound achieved by bowing literally 'on the bridge'] as well as the manic arpeggiated musical cells and these are played with an ideal sense of manic intensity."


So it seems that this performance in fact reinstates Janacek's intentions which the first performers (after his death) changed for practical/performance reasons.  I liked the version of "Overgrown Path" for quartet very much.  Not instead of the original but just as a new way of hearing/appreciating this wonderful music.

Madiel

Quote from: Roasted Swan on June 22, 2023, 11:14:12 AMI'm no Janacek expert - but doesn't the viola d'amore appear in some of his operatic and orchestral scores too?  To quote an online review of the Energie Nove performance;

"The leader of the Moravian Quartet who gave the work's premiere in 1928 - a month after the composer's death - was František Kudláček and he instigated many of the amendments that were incorporated into the published score.  The two main ones transplant stratospheric viola writing into the more manageable violin register. The first such passage is in the 3rd movement - figures 1-3 in the 'standard' UE score [around the 1:00 minute mark - track 17] - the viola has the melody lead which passes to the second violin at figure 2.  Not here; the viola keeps playing going up to a G sharp two and a half octaves above middle C.  The other main passage is the very end of the work where the 'top' line again stays in the viola whereas 'normally' it has passed to first violin.  The viola of the Quartetto Energie Nove, Ivan Vukčević, plays these challenging passages quite superbly - the tone of the instrument in this register more cutting than a 'sweeter' violin.  Elsewhere the differences seem to be more use of pizzicato either to mark passages more clearly or to give a folksier character.  Most telling is the very opening to the 4th movement which has a aptly stamping rumbustious character from all the players which the heavy pizzicati chords reinforce.

One other observation from following the standard score while listening to this original version is that there seems to be extra editing of the work.  There are a lot of dynamics and graduations of dynamics marked in the standard score not present in the current performance.  But elsewhere the players clearly diligently do play very specific markings both in terms of tempo and dynamic so I can only assume that the ones they apparently miss out are not there in the original.  So characteristic of Janáček's sound-world are extended passages marked sul poniticello [the glassy overtone-laden sound achieved by bowing literally 'on the bridge'] as well as the manic arpeggiated musical cells and these are played with an ideal sense of manic intensity."


So it seems that this performance in fact reinstates Janacek's intentions which the first performers (after his death) changed for practical/performance reasons.  I liked the version of "Overgrown Path" for quartet very much.  Not instead of the original but just as a new way of hearing/appreciating this wonderful music.

That whole great big long quote appears to be about replacing a viola with a violin, not about replacing a viola d'amore with a viola.

Nor are changes to an orchestral score of any real relevance to changes in a quartet setting. The whole POINT of quartet writing is that the instruments have the same timbre. That's why string quartet writing is considered so challenging.
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Spotted Horses

Quote from: Madiel on June 22, 2023, 05:57:07 PMThat whole great big long quote appears to be about replacing a viola with a violin, not about replacing a viola d'amore with a viola.

Nor are changes to an orchestral score of any real relevance to changes in a quartet setting. The whole POINT of quartet writing is that the instruments have the same timbre. That's why string quartet writing is considered so challenging.

I think the short history is:

1) Janacek writes the quartet intending Viola d'Amore
2) Janacek decides Viola d'Amore doesn't blend well with the ensemble, authorizes substitution of viola.
3) When the quartet is posthumously debuted, players judge the part assigned to viola problematic because it exceeds the range of the viola, the quartet is revised to give some passages to violin.
4) The revisions are reversed and people are trying to play in on viola, despite the difficulty.

I'm not sure there is a definitive version, because Janacek may well have agreed that the quartet should be revised to reflect the range of the viola. In any case, I'm curious to hear the recording being discussed (which is available on streaming services in short supply on physical media).

Question: Are other ensembles adopting the new corrected version of the quartet?
There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. - Duke Ellington

AnotherSpin

#832
Quote from: Roberto on April 08, 2023, 12:39:35 PMMy opinion about Mr. Hurwitz: I started to watch his videos maybe 1 and half year ago. I like his style and I think he is funny. He obviously has musical knowledge and I appreciate that. Some of his advice opened new horizons on my musical view. I like his music theory videos it helps me a lot, because I am not musician.
I think the biggest problem with his channel: less would be more. I started to watch all of his videos from te beginning but after a while I gave up. I don't have problem with 40+ min Hurwitz videos but not every day.
I already had 1500+ CD collection when I started to watch his videos and at the beginning I bought CDs based on his proposal. But after 2-3 big disappointments, I became more critical with his proposals.
I usually agree with his opinion about bad performances. I sometime agree with his opinion about period instrument people but not always. I think he is obsessed with this vibrato-thing.
I don't think he really listens to every CD. When he discuss about big boxes, I think he listened to those recordings years ago and, if ever. Or he picks some recordings from that boxes and listens to those again but clearly not all.
Opinion aboud sound quality is highly a matter of taste. He is unreliable for me in this topic also. Sometime I agree with him but sometime I don't.

Reading or watching Hurwitz is interesting, imo. Although I rarely do. His views are so often opinionated or dictated by hidden agendas. So what? One does not necessarily have to agree. And to seek external support for one's own opinion from Hurwitz or anyone else is plain silly.

Madiel

I very much doubt Hurwitz has hidden agendas. He's quite forthcoming about them.

It's the people who don't admit the existence of agendas that you have to worry about, not the people who present their opinions in several videos a week.
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Roasted Swan

Quote from: Madiel on June 22, 2023, 05:57:07 PMThat whole great big long quote appears to be about replacing a viola with a violin, not about replacing a viola d'amore with a viola.

Nor are changes to an orchestral score of any real relevance to changes in a quartet setting. The whole POINT of quartet writing is that the instruments have the same timbre. That's why string quartet writing is considered so challenging.

You are quite right about the first point - but I don't think the 2nd quartet was conceived with a viola d'amore so the either/or is not relevant here.  Again, I have no knowledge about how involved Janacek was able to be in the preparation for the 1st performance before his death.  My feeling - simply based on the consistently unique sound-world he creates across all musical genres - is that he would have wanted it played as he wrote it.  By the end of his life he knew what he wanted and how to get it - the problem was others either didn't believe him or couldn't perform what he wanted!

I'm not sure I agree with your statement that all the instruments in a quartet have the same timbre.  A neat online defintion of timbre is " the quality of a sound made by a particular voice or musical instrument..distinct from pitch, intensity, and loudness".  This is evident in a quartet where a violin playing a specific note at a given dynamic is identifiably different from the same note played by the viola or cello.  However there should be a certain equality of tone and dynamic range - as I understand it the main issue with using the viola d'amore is that it simply could not match the other usual instruments so there is an ongoing issue with instrumental balance.  As you say - not an issue in a larger orchestral score where the viola d'amore might just be adding a specific instrumental colour to a key passage.

For me the 'challenge' of quartet writing for composers is to find musical solutions which even in works of substantial scale and complexity only require effectively 4 notes vertically at any given point.  For performers add huge challenges of balance, ensemble, intonation before you even get to interpretation.  But that's why players like playing quartets - high risk high reward....

AnotherSpin

Quote from: Madiel on June 22, 2023, 11:35:40 PMI very much doubt Hurwitz has hidden agendas. He's quite forthcoming about them.

It's the people who don't admit the existence of agendas that you have to worry about, not the people who present their opinions in several videos a week.

I am not worried by Hurwitz or by any one else. All people are conditioned in their own way and there is nothing to do (or worry) about.

Madiel

Quote from: Roasted Swan on June 23, 2023, 12:00:04 AMMy feeling - simply based on the consistently unique sound-world he creates across all musical genres - is that he would have wanted it played as he wrote it. 

The common problem with this notion is determining at what point you say "he wrote it". Rather than "he was writing it". Of course, once you're up to changes that you know happened after the composer had died, it's rather easier to be certain that the composer was not consulted on the changes and didn't express the view that it was a fantastic idea.
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Madiel

Quote from: AnotherSpin on June 23, 2023, 02:08:57 AMI am not worried by Hurwitz or by any one else. All people are conditioned in their own way and there is nothing to do (or worry) about.

Then don't talk about hidden agendas. That implies a need to reveal.
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Karl Henning

QuoteI think the biggest problem with his channel: less would be more.

Insufficient QC on the content. Truth is, that was a problem of his even before he decided to carpet-bomb YouTube.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Roasted Swan

Quote from: Madiel on June 23, 2023, 06:12:12 AMThe common problem with this notion is determining at what point you say "he wrote it". Rather than "he was writing it". Of course, once you're up to changes that you know happened after the composer had died, it's rather easier to be certain that the composer was not consulted on the changes and didn't express the view that it was a fantastic idea.

To the bolded text - sorry if I'm being thick but I don't actually understand the point you are making.  As I have said to both my previous posts - I am no Janacek expert so I have no idea to what degree he was consulted or not.  But I do know of so many instances where composers who challenged the performing convention of their time had works modified to conform with those conventions because their demands were deemed at best unreasonable (technically) or at worst plain "wrong".  The general trend seems to be to go back to the original intentions once technical standards permit allied to a greater understanding/appreciation of the original musical goal. 

At the end of the day the debate does risk becoming a discussion of how many musical angels are dancing on the end of a pin - I'm glad this great music is still generating debate and inspiring performances from the best artists.