Author Topic: Op 69  (Read 2200 times)

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Online Holden

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Re: Op 69
« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2020, 04:06:04 PM »
I'm enjoying reading these Todd - Beethoven's music across a variety of genres. If you've got the time could you add a new genre, his piano concertos. Op 58 might be a good place to start.
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Holden

Offline Todd

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Re: Op 69
« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2020, 04:14:40 PM »
I'm enjoying reading these Todd - Beethoven's music across a variety of genres. If you've got the time could you add a new genre, his piano concertos. Op 58 might be a good place to start.


After I did the years-long survey of Op 73, I started compiling handwritten notes on Op 58, but never got around to converting it to electronic form.  I think I made it through around thirty versions.  At this point, I'd have to start over. 

I was thinking of Op 132 next, which would force me to buy another five to ten versions because, well, because.  Maybe stockpile them both for 2027.  I've also thought about a sonata-by-sonata survey of all recordings of all of the piano sonatas, but I don't know how long that would take me, even if I stopped buying new non-cycle recordings.  (As if that would happen.)
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Online Holden

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Re: Op 69
« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2020, 10:58:23 PM »
If I had enough recordings of Op 58 then I would give it a go but unfortunately I don't. How many recordings of Op 58 do you have?
Cheers

Holden

Offline Todd

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Re: Op 69
« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2020, 05:58:30 AM »
How many recordings of Op 58 do you have?


I don't know for sure.  Somewhere in the 40-50 range.
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Offline Todd

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Re: Op 69
« Reply #24 on: December 13, 2020, 06:06:51 AM »


Xavier Phillips and FFG, because you can't have just one FFG recording.  Phillips launches with a dark, rich, supremely well controlled tone, and FFG enters with even more seriousness of purpose than before.  Phillips can and does create a singing tone, but what he and FFG are more about is vibrant, vigorous playing, with not a little wit, as displayed in the passages that, as in 31/3, can be played in a manner suggesting laughter.  In terms of musical vigorousness, the duo gives up nothing to anyone.  The Scherzo continues the high energy good time, which makes the subdued coda all the more compelling.  The Adagio cantabile is all beauty and songfulness, and then it's off to the (musical) races, as Phillips and FFG lighten up, speed up, energize things even more, and generally deliver one of the most sparkling and fun renditions around.  Absolutely fantastic.
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Brass Hole

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Re: Op 69
« Reply #25 on: December 13, 2020, 11:10:33 AM »
Chopin's Op. 69 are among the 9 of the waltzes that I like from his output, especially No 1.





Offline Todd

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Re: Op 69
« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2020, 06:05:23 AM »


Pierre Fournier and Arthur Schnabel.  Fournier and his three recordings come last.  The old mono sound is fine, though Fournier's cello sounds high and nasal, with less lyricism than one would expect from him.  Part of this is due to Schnabel pushing the overall tempo of the Allegro ma non tanto to an almost aggressive degree.  Finally, after seven minutes in, Fournier gets to really do his thing, and marvelous it is.  The movement is high on excitement, but a bit lacking in nuance, as is the even more pressed Scherzo.  Schnabel likes his Beethoven played fast.  The Adagio cantabile starts off more relaxed and Fournier again gets to let his cello sing, while Schnabel also backs off.  In the Allegro vivace, it's back to high speed, high energy playing.  The excitement factor is again pretty darned high.  Nice, but not Fournier's best outing.
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Offline Todd

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Re: Op 69
« Reply #27 on: December 15, 2020, 05:03:18 AM »


Pierre Fournier and Friedrich Gulda.  Fournier's cello sounds much better here, and he opens the Allegro ma non tanto with a richer sound that sings.  Gulda plays as accompanist and accommodates the much broader tempo.  He plays clean, with fine dynamic contrasts.  And Fournier soars over Gulda, the two musicians working sympathetically together, but also offering a nice contrast.  The Scherzo has plenty of rhythmic pep, thanks to Gulda, and sounds like an adroit mix of fun and seriousness, with a pleasing sense of relaxation in parts.  The Adagio cantabile, of course it sounds splendid while the Allegro vivace has enough pep to impart a nice sense of energy, but also a decently relaxed feel wherein Fournier can deliver his superbly refined playing.  (The shifting perspective and sound in one section indicates that the sessions were not optimally spliced together.)  A step up from the pairing with Schnabel.
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Offline Todd

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Re: Op 69
« Reply #28 on: December 16, 2020, 05:58:21 AM »


Pierre Fournier and Wilhelm Kempff.  The survey ends with Fournier's last recording, a live recording where he pairs with Wilhelm Kempff.  This recording has long been a favorite, and so it remains.  The repeatless Allegro ma non tanto starts off with Fournier playing in predictably lovely fashion, and Kempff enters as only Kempff can, with a not particularly vigorous, definitely non-super-virtuoso approach that nonetheless sounds just right.  The whole thing is laid back, almost to a fault, and neither artist seems too concerned about super-tight ensemble or playing everything with precision.  Rather they just let the music flow, even if a bit choppily.  It's old-fashioned chamber music playing by people familiar with each other.  No reason to go for broke.  The Scherzo retains much of the same feel, and while the rhythmic component is pretty nice, it's really just a light-hearted take.  Those wanting bite should listen elsewhere.  The Adagio cantabile again benefits from Fournier's elegant, beautiful tone, here augmented by Kempff's lovely, gentle playing.  It's almost unfair to the hapless listener, really.  The Allegro vivace is not the swiftest, surest, or most vigorous of versions, but, aided in good part by late-career Kempffian fantasy and insouciance, it just glides along to the end, a fantastic musical time.  It's a recording that defies the most critical listener to dislike it. 

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Offline Todd

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Re: Op 69
« Reply #29 on: December 16, 2020, 05:59:07 AM »
A first ever survey of a cello sonata yielded interesting results.  Like a musical Grande Armée, French cellists sweep all before them, with my new reference being an all French duo, and the top tier being composed almost solely of artists from the land of wine and cheese.  I wonder what that might mean?  I know it means nothing beyond my taste happens to lean toward the French in this work.  (My other takeaway is that FFG needs to rerecord the Beethoven sonatas.)


Top Tier (A French sweep)
Phillips/FFG
Gastinel/FFG
Tortelier/Heidseick
Capuçon/Braley
Fournier/Kempff


Second Tier
Perényi/Schiff
Maisky/Argerich
Altstaedt/Lonquich
Fournier/Gulda
Schiff/Zacharias


Third Tier
Everything else
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Offline aukhawk

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Re: Op 69
« Reply #30 on: January 01, 2021, 03:23:04 AM »
I'm enjoying reading these Todd - Beethoven's music across a variety of genres. If you've got the time could you add a new genre, his piano concertos. Op 58 might be a good place to start.

I've enjoyed reading these too. 
This cross-posted from the 'Best of 2020' thread - not meaning to hi-jack this thread, but I had to post this somewhere in appreciation of Todd:

I'm over 70 now and I have to confess I've never really got on with Beethoven's music - apart maybe from some of his earlier Piano Sonatas.  His orchestral music has always been especially problematic and to this day I've never listened to Beeethoven's 9th Symphony in its entirety.  In hindsight this 'Beethoven block' is probably because in my formative years the Gold Standard for Beethoven was Klemperer - and believe it or not I clung to him for nearly 50 years.

So I thank Todd for his tireless survey of Beethoven recordings over the last year, which has opened my ears to some very fine music.  And how tastes have changed!
Thankyou, Todd !! - the following five outstanding Beethoven acquisitions are down to your advocacy:
(I should add that I buy mainly downloads and selected tracks where I can - not the complete compilations as illustrated below.)

Hunt Sonata; Yusuke Kikuchi

This is music I simply didn't know at all.  After reading Todd's thread and sampling a couple of them, I settled on this one.  Very nice addition to my music library.

Late Quartets; Quatuor Ebene

I've always up to now struggled with the late quartets.  These recordings, despite their too-obvious flaw of being over-produced, have really opened this music up for me.

Piano Concetos 3 & 4 Oliver Schnyder and James Gaffigan

These two concertos are probably my favourite orchestral music by Beethoven.  I've long relied on Perahia with Haitink, but these newer recordings are a revelation, I've listened to the 3rd in particular several times this year.

Symphony 3 Eroica; Thomas Adès

I really wanted to like Toscanini as well but I just found the NBC SO tympanist too distracting.  For every tymp hit (and there are a lot of them, in the Eroica) it was a lottery just how far behind the beat he would be.  (Or maybe, just maybe, the tympanist was getting it right and the entire rest of the orchestra was pressing on too hard?)

Violin Concerto; Patricia Kopatchinskaja  with Herreweghe

This is just wonderful - possibly my top choice of the year.

then, apart from the above here are my three other Beethoven standouts of 2020:

Piano Concerto 5 'Emperor'; Kristian Bezuidenhout on fortepiano and Heras-Casado conducting the Freiburger Barockorster.

This is music that I really have never liked much - it's just too bludgeoning, the music of a deaf composer.  In this recording the fortepiano is light and crystalline while the accompaniment from the Freiburgers - who I always find a bit too lush and heavy in their core repertoire - here that warm sound is a plus.  There is a terrific separation between soloist and orchestra, which in this particular music works really well.  The first time I've ever really enjoyed this concerto.
The coupling is the 2nd Concerto which is completely new to me.  I've had a listen, and will certainly be playing it again.

Symphony 6 'Pastoral'; AAM Berlin

From the same stable as above, the AAM self-drive through this familiar landscape.  They are predictably quick, textures are light and gossamer-thin, but the storm when it arrives has terrific impact, a real throwback to the music of Sturm und Drang.  What a contrast to Klemperer!

Symphony 5; Teodor Currentzis

Raising this tired old warhorse to a whole new level.  And I see Currentzis has a 7th coming out later this year as well.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2021, 03:28:05 AM by aukhawk »