Author Topic: Bruckner's Abbey  (Read 488987 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Lilas Pastia

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #240 on: June 26, 2007, 06:20:43 PM »
Today's listening was devoted to the Tahra Jochum 5th, his very last concert with the Concertgebouw (December 1986). This is  5-7 minutes broader than the familiar BRSO and SD versions on DG and EMI. The extra time is spread over all four movements. The recording is very natural, with lots of detail and fine resonance. Note that Jochum's COA sounds different form Haitink's: more somber in colour, more 'spread' in phrasing.

In the program notes Jochum explains how and why he did retouchings in the score. For example, where strings and brass play ff, the brass have no problem being heard, but the strings tend to lose presence. Jochum asks the brass to play slightly softer so the important string lines are clearly heard. Also, in the coda of IV, where in a live performance the brass are at the limit of their forces and are asked to produce that roof-raising final climax, he adds 11 additional instruments. These either take over the regular payers' lines or double them altogether. Obviously these adjustments are unnecessary in a recording, where balances can be fine-tuned in different ways. Also, the finale can be played when the players are still fresh. The unusual prominence of the strings in that recording is indeed noticeable. I don't feel it's just that the recording is clear - there's more to it. Not that the brass are slighted, just that the strings have more presence than usual in the complex, loud passages. And the coda does blaze more and show an extra oomph without necessarily sounding louder. It sounds fuller. I 've never heard the famous 1964 Ottobeuren recording, but since it was a live occasion, I wonder if the same adjustments were made? I haven't seen any mention of those adjustments before, but in those program notes, Jochum clearly details them as his usual way of performing the symphony.

Tempi being all on the slow side, there's a certain stoic quality to I and II. The orchestra always seem to have lots of extra tone, lung or muscle power in reserve. They never force. The scherzo is also slower than usual, but very sharp and animated. The Finale is built slowly, as is clear right from the introduction, which is laid out spaciously but with very pointed details. Suffice to say that it's one of the most succesful I've heard. IMO Klemperer builds a hotter head of steam, but to other ears he sounds dyspeptic, so there you have it: slow tempi can either sound majestic, granitic, and inevitable or OTOH comatose, arthritic and dispirited.  To my ears this 5th has all of the former attributes, and none of the latter. Those seeking an antidote to a geriatric 5th can look for the Gielen on Accord, easily the best of the 70 minutes versions.

In short: this moves ahead of the other Jochums available, and near the top of the list. It's a very deep experience.


sidoze

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #241 on: June 28, 2007, 09:54:31 AM »
Quote
In short: this moves ahead of the other Jochums available, and near the top of the list. It's a very deep experience.

Thanks, that sounds like a great performance. Some of your description reminds me of Jochum's B7 with the Concertgebouw in Japan (1986 too) which I liked a lot.

http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/747998

Quote
I saw the 8th at HMV from an unfamiliar label, Altus.

Excellent label -- the Jochum sym I mentioned above is on that label.

question: Solti's B7 with the VPO, is that available in the west? Anyone know when it was recorded?

http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2514397

Drasko

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #242 on: June 28, 2007, 10:02:21 AM »
question: Solti's B7 with the VPO, is that available in the west? Anyone know when it was recorded?

http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2514397

Offline MishaK

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3788
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #243 on: June 28, 2007, 10:12:08 AM »
question: Solti's B7 with the VPO, is that available in the west? Anyone know when it was recorded?

http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2514397

I haven't heard the VPO B7, but I used to have his VPO B8 from around the same time and found it an intolerable hack-and-slash browbeating of the score. It doesn't make me the least bit curious about his VPO B7. The CSO B7 recorded some twenty years later, by contrast, is a very fine performance.

sidoze

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #244 on: June 28, 2007, 10:35:54 AM »
Thanks to both of you, I will not have to work for that particular CD right now :)

Searched through HMV Japan and discovered that there's a whole Asahina world which opens up if you search for the maestro in Japanese. Found this B9 he recorded near the end of his life (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail.asp?sku=488895). Checked the timings at the B discography, think I'll pass on it, not extreme enough compared to his 30+ minute outer movements with the CSO from '96 (plus that one was free = less work).
« Last Edit: June 28, 2007, 10:37:44 AM by sidoze »

M forever

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #245 on: June 28, 2007, 07:55:56 PM »
Any other thoughts?

Yes, my thought is this is yet another totallly nonsensical thread. Bruckner's music is way too complex for any one interpreter to get it "right", let alone be the "best". We may all have personal preferences and "favorites" maybe for each of the symphonies, but even these are vague and rarely absolute, and even if we think so in individual cases, that doesn't make anyone "the best" interpreter of Bruckner's vast symphonic oeuvre.

In order to "decide" that, one would have to "completely understand" Bruckner's music. Which no one does.

The question in itself is ridiculous, and anyone who thinks he can answer that question automatically disqualifies himself and reveals himself as a total Bruckner ignorant.

And since this is the Beginner's Forum, let me say, asking question like this is the worst possible way to begin exploring Bruckner's music. Those who have done so for a long time and who have listened to more than just 5 complete cycles know it is a long and fascinating, quite possibly never ending journey. Which is exactly what makes it so fascinating. Not this "the best" kindergarten stuff.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2007, 06:05:03 AM by M forever »

Offline PSmith08

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1231
  • Some guy on the internet.
  • Location: Indiana
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #246 on: June 28, 2007, 08:35:37 PM »
After hearing no less than 5 different cycles of Bruckner's symphonies, i have conclude that it is Eugen Jochum, his live recording of the fifth (Ottobeuren 1964) has to be one of the finest out there.

any other thoughts?

I'll bite. Why, do you think, is Eugen Jochum the "best" interpreter of Bruckner? Is this a universal best, i.e., does Jochum do each of Bruckner's symphonies better than anyone else; or, is it based on the whole cycle(s)? Not to get picky, and not for M forever's reasons, but I'm not sure that adjectives like "best" can be applied in most cases, especially to interpretations. How do we define best? Most faithful to the score? (If so, which version(s)?) Most "Bruckner-ian" sound environment? Still, when we get into that, we'd have to agree about what that environment is and how you quantify it. Simply saying something is the "best," without definitions and evidence, seems a bit arbitrary and possibly beyond justification.

M forever

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #247 on: June 28, 2007, 09:57:41 PM »
How do we define best? Most faithful to the score? (If so, which version(s)?) Most "Bruckner-ian" sound environment? Still, when we get into that, we'd have to agree about what that environment is and how you quantify it. Simply saying something is the "best," without definitions and evidence, seems a bit arbitrary and possibly beyond justification.

Or in other words:
In order to "decide" that, one would have to "completely understand" Bruckner's music. Which no one does.

Why, do you think, is Eugen Jochum the "best" interpreter of Bruckner?

I think the queston almost answers itself. One has to have a very thorough misconception of the nature of this music and/or a nearly complete misunderstanding of its substance to even ask that question in the first place.
Or in other words, there is no answer to the question. Maybe there is one to the question why that question was asked in the first place, but that has noting at all to do with Bruckner.

I understand you are not repeating the first, but asking the second question.

I think Jochum itself would heartily agree. After all, he conducted the music different all the time, he reviewed his ideas and reapproached the music in new ways literally all his musical life, right up to his death. Not because he was still trying to find the "right" way. But because he had a very deep understanding of the music and knew that it is "inexhaustible". One could say that made him one of the really good, or, if you need that word, "one of the great" Bruckner conductors, but the elusive nature of the subject forbids such classifications as "the best". Especially across the board, like here.


For some reason, I thought we were in the Beginner's Forum. But obviously, we are not. No idea why I thought that. Probably because of the nature of the above posts.



uffeviking

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #248 on: June 28, 2007, 10:27:08 PM »
You are correct, M forever, you were in the beginners section, but I doubt any beginner to classical music would be familiar with five cycles of Bruckner's music, hence I moved it here where MahlerTitan's question and your reply could receive further deserving comments. 

uffeviking  $:)

Offline Sergeant Rock

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22461
  • Location: Wine Country Germany
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #249 on: June 29, 2007, 03:11:52 AM »
You are correct, M forever, you were in the beginners section, but I doubt any beginner to classical music would be familiar with five cycles of Bruckner's music, hence I moved it here where MahlerTitan's question and your reply could receive further deserving comments. 

Where is Mahler Titan's question? I saw M's reply but had no idea what he was replying to. When I first read it, I assumed he was condemning this thread (Bruckner's Abbey).

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 PSmith08

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1231
  • Some guy on the internet.
  • Location: Indiana
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #250 on: June 29, 2007, 06:41:31 AM »
Where is Mahler Titan's question? I saw M's reply but had no idea what he was replying to. When I first read it, I assumed he was condemning this thread (Bruckner's Abbey).

Sarge

Maybe it got left behind in the other thread?

Offline Sergeant Rock

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22461
  • Location: Wine Country Germany
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #251 on: June 29, 2007, 07:05:47 AM »
Maybe it got left behind in the other thread?

I checked there but it was gone. And I see now that MT deleted the thread. That explains it.

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 Sergeant Rock

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22461
  • Location: Wine Country Germany
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #252 on: June 29, 2007, 07:14:27 AM »
i deleted, M forever thought i asked a stupid question, so there is no point for me to have this stupid thread here. the original posts simply says, "who do you think is the best interpretor of Bruckner"

Oh, that's an easy question to answer. Celibidache, of course. 8)  But only the most committed Brucknerites understand this. It separates the true disciples from the posers. It takes years of intense study and meditation in order to achieve this level of insight. You need at least thirty years experience, listening to all other conductors, subsisting on brown rice and Bohemian-style beer before the revelation, like a burning light, strikes and you just KNOW: Celi is the man.

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 MishaK

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3788
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #253 on: June 29, 2007, 07:21:43 AM »
i deleted, M forever thought i asked a stupid question, so there is no point for me to have this stupid thread here. the original posts simply says, "who do you think is the best interpretor of Bruckner", according to M forever, by saying that I am stupid, and belong to kindergarten.

Certainly not. Bruckner's music, perhaps more than that of many other composers, can sustain a very wide interpretive spectrum. If you like the music to begin with, you will find that there are many gratifying approaches to his work, many of which will make you want to revisit other interpretations as well. Interpretive styles can range from the urgent (Jochum), to the classically poised (van Beinum), to the mystic (Giulini), to the anguished (Furtwängler, at least in the 9th), to the majestic (Karajan), to the driven (Schuricht), to the suspended in time (late Celibidache), etc. And all of these are vast simplifications. There is little point in anointing someone as the "best" where the interpretive variety is so broad and diverse, yet among that variety there are so many equally convincing and gratifying approaches that to put one above the others would serve no purpose.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2007, 08:05:53 AM by O Mensch »

mahlertitan

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #254 on: June 29, 2007, 07:40:16 AM »
Certainly not. Bruckner's music, perhaps more than that of many other composers, can sustain a very wide interpretive spectrum. If you like the music to begin with, you will find that there are many gratifying approaches to his work, many of which will make you want to revisit other interpretations as well. Interpretive styles can range from the urgent (Jochum), to the classically poised (van Beinum), to the mystic (Giulini), to the anguished (Furtwängler, at least in the 9th), to the majestic (Karajan), to the driven (Schuricht), to the suspended in time (late Celibidache), etc. And all of these are vast simplifications. There is little point in anointing someone as the "best" where the interpretive variety is so broad and diverse, yet among that variety there are so many equally convincing and gratoying approaches that to put one above the others would serve no purpose.

i guess they really have a problem with the word "Best", and i admit that the word "best" is quite a problematic word, but i wasn't trying to make a serious statement or anything, and off M forever goes with all of his personal attacks, which i think was quite uncalled for.

Offline MishaK

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3788
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #255 on: June 29, 2007, 08:07:21 AM »
i guess they really have a problem with the word "Best", and i admit that the word "best" is quite a problematic word, but i wasn't trying to make a serious statement or anything, and off M forever goes with all of his personal attacks, which i think was quite uncalled for.

MT, there are no stupid questions.  ;) You are looking for the highest quality, which is commendable. It's just very hard to find common parameters for measuring "best" in this case.

Lilas Pastia

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #256 on: June 29, 2007, 08:25:07 AM »
In any case, amid the huffing and puffing were some very judicious comments. I agree that there can't be an answer to this question. Who would be Beethoven's best interpreter? or Mozart's?

 The quest for excellence is always commendable and it should be the focus of discussion. I myself react rather negatively to the eternal "best Bruckner cycle" question. It never existed and never will. Period. Case closed 8). Unless one agrees that the total  (any cycle) is much less than the sum of its parts (pick any half dozen favourite recordings of the individual symphonies, preferably played by orchestras and conductors of different cultures and eras). And here I join Mforever's insightful comment on the inexhaustible depth and  richness of Bruckner's music. I think this is the main reason this particular thread has been going for over 3 years now - it started life in GMG's former incarnation.

Offline Brewski

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 12328
  • "Man With No Shadow" by Makoto Tojiki (2009)
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #257 on: June 29, 2007, 08:38:59 AM »
Echoing O Mensch and Lilas, I also think "the best Bruckner" cycle is elusive, given the huge number of interpreters and orchestras involved over decades of performance.  Just to take one symphony, the Eighth: I must have 10 or 12 recordings of the piece, and don't "not like" any of them.  Like most composers, Bruckner can withstand many approaches, so finding "the best" is a difficult mission.

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline beclemund

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 524
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #258 on: June 29, 2007, 09:06:19 AM »
Even if you tried to construct a cycle of the "best" single performances, there would be trouble as there are many that stand out for each symphony in their own way. I have just begun to digest the symphonies and while I began with Jochum's DG set a few years ago and Tintner's Naxos set a few years after, it was only recently that I began to investigate the weight of Bruckner's symphonic output and the vast potential for real joy in exploring a wide variety of interpretations. I have as many interpretations of his 8th today as there are symphonies in his cycle, and I am far from content with my exploration even of that one symphony (and even farther from the others).

If you are looking for a starting point to capture the whole of Bruckner's symphonic output (or most of it anyhow), either of Jochum's sets can make for a good beginning, as can sets from Skrowaczewski, Barenboim, Wand, Karajan, Tintner, Celibidache or whichever conductor you prefer. And while each of those sets will feature some standout individual performances, the whole will probably leave you wanting more. Or you could approach the symphonies à la carte and take suggestions from others as to which individual performances are likely to resonate with you.

The one thing that all in the Bruckner appreciation society seem to have in common is that they seldom stop at one. You can have seventeen favorite 5ths (so long as Sinopoli's Dresden and Jochum's '86 Amsterdam are among them ;)) and still find something new in a previously unheard interpretation.
"A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession." -- Albert Camus

Offline CS

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 156
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #259 on: June 29, 2007, 09:26:47 AM »
I have more Bruckner in my collection than any other composer (well over 100 cd's), and I never stop seeking more :)

One of the reasons Bruckner is so great is because there is no "greatest" boxset or recording; there are so many ways to play and interpret his music that comparison often becomes a useless tool, and one must simply judge the recording on its own merits.

--CS