Author Topic: Op 47  (Read 1025 times)

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Offline Florestan

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Re: Op 47
« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2020, 11:35:03 AM »
Will you review Uto Ughi / Lamar Crowson and Wolfgang Schneiderhan / Carl Seeman?

If you don't have them I'd be only too happy to provide them for you, I'm really very very curious what you'd make of them.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2020, 11:37:55 AM by Florestan »
“Especially as far as I am concerned, romanticism is not the bloodless intellectual commitment to a program, but the expression of my most profound mind and soul.” --- Sergei Bortkiewicz (1877-1952)

Offline Todd

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Re: Op 47
« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2020, 01:32:21 PM »
Will you review Uto Ughi / Lamar Crowson and Wolfgang Schneiderhan / Carl Seeman?

If you don't have them I'd be only too happy to provide them for you, I'm really very very curious what you'd make of them.


No.  For this go-round, I am sticking with versions I own only. 
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Everything dies - Alien Bounty Hunter, The X-Files

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Offline Florestan

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Re: Op 47
« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2020, 01:33:12 PM »

No.  For this go-round, I am sticking with versions I own only.

Okay.
“Especially as far as I am concerned, romanticism is not the bloodless intellectual commitment to a program, but the expression of my most profound mind and soul.” --- Sergei Bortkiewicz (1877-1952)

Offline Todd

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Re: Op 47
« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2020, 05:42:50 AM »




Two from David Oistrakh and Lev Oborin.  The mono recording starts with Oistrakh's big tone and predictably fine control, and Oborin's able support.  The repeatless movement moves forward with nice energy, and a sense of scale and inevitability, and it picks up in intensity, and never forgoes control, as the music progresses.  The duo introduce a bit of lightness, too.  The Andante theme is presented at a fairly brisk tempo, but sounds appealing, and Oborin plays with no little energy, though clarity lacks a bit in the recording - or is it the playing?  The pair deliver nicely distinct variations, though none sound especially nuanced.  The Presto sounds playful and fun and if not the most vigorous, it sounds a bit light, at least when compared to the opening movement.  Nice.  The stereo recording, taken from the full cycle, starts off with a more subdued Oistrakh, poorly recorded and with a violin that wanders a bit spatially.  The tone sounds more beautiful, but the playing more subdued.  Oborin sounds roughly the same as before.  Then comes the Presto, and it's slower, heavier, and kind of droopy.  And boring.  The movement, though not much different in overall timing from the mono recording, just seems to drag.  The Andante and variations fare a bit better, but Oistrakh, in particular, sounds comparatively lifeless.  The Presto is droopy, slow, and enervated.  Pity the duo didn't record the cycle in the early 50s.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2020, 06:47:13 PM by Todd »
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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Offline Todd

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Re: Op 47
« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2020, 06:33:18 AM »




Now for two from the same pianist, one Martha Argerich.  In the earlier recording, Kremer slashes right into the piece, not really seeing a need to go for something slow or searching, and Argerich has no difficulty pairing with him.  The two rush headlong through the opening movement.  Yes, they do back off and play with something more relaxed, Argerich especially.  (Kremer's tone always seems edgy.)  It's high in excitement.  The Andante fares better in the faster variations, which can sound pleasingly light and vibrant, while the slower variations maintain higher than normal levels of tension.  The Presto, launching with Argerichian thunder, ends up predictably high voltage, though one with bounce to go with the edge.  Overall, a high energy, none too shabby take.

In the later recording, Vadim Repin opens with a more beautiful, pristine, and controlled tone in the Adagio sostenuto, while Argerich announces her arrival in a rather pronounced manner.  But then she backs off and plays music with more subtlety than she sometimes does.  As the Presto opens and moves along, Argerich often dominates, but it ends up not mattering because Repin's playing is still so attractive that one just sits back and enjoys.  Too, Argerich varies her touch and even her tempo within brief passages in an audible yet not obtrusive way.  With Repin, the expectation would be that he shine in the Andante and variations, and so he does.  His precision and purity beguile, and here Argerich plays with fine subtlety much of the time.  Sure, the two pep things up when appropriate, and in the fourth variation, rather like Dusinberre and Korevaar, the music takes on a sweet feel, with Argerich again doing a fantastic job softening up her playing, and the last variation takes on a nicely romantic feel.  After more Argerich thunder to open, the concluding Presto is fairly light and ebullient, with Repin bowing away and Argerich doing a quite delightful job using the melody to underpin the violin while punctuating it with some dandily played accompaniment.  When called for, the duo shriek and thwack out the dynamic explosions, and everything just sounds tip-top.  An outstanding rendition.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Everything dies - Alien Bounty Hunter, The X-Files

Everyone dies - William Barr, United States Attorney General

Offline Todd

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Re: Op 47
« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2020, 06:44:33 AM »
 



Sticking with one pianist for two recordings, Wilhelm Kempff makes his inevitable appearance with Georg Kulenkampff from the 1930s and Wolfgang Schneiderhan from the 1950s. 

With Kulenkampff, the violinist opens with a vibrato- and portamento-rich Adagio sostenuto, and peak Kempff joins him with playing that is cleanly articulated and nicely dynamic, even through the surface noise.  The duo drop repeats, so the movement comes in at a taut 11'05", and it's about energy and drive.  Kempff proves more fallible than Kulenkampff in the fastest passages, but just as in later years, it miraculously seems to matter not at all.  Kulenkampff seems relaxed and natural with the music, and acts as something of a more romantic foil to Kempff.  The Andante, also cut down, starts with Kempff's just right Beethoven playing, and then Kulenkampff joins in and blends perfectly.  They play the faster music quite lightly, with the violinist gliding above Kempff, who plays some of the faster music both beautifully and entirely unseriously while also being serious.  The Presto is played quickly, with ample drive and rhythmic drive and playfulness.  It's really quite marvelous, and here is recorded evidence than ancient recordings can withstand comparison to later studio efforts filled with judicious editing.

With Scheiderhan, the opening violin salvo is warm and relaxed and not as tight as some preceding versions, but its comfyness is compounded when Kempff enters.  The entire Presto has a sort of more relaxed, lighter feel than some of the hard-hitting versions.  Combined with the sonic constraints of the mono recording, it's almost easy listening, but not quite, and if it were, it would be of the good kind.  The Andante and variations sounds quite leisurely and dynamically limited, a sort of lazy stroll of a good time through the music.  Specific phrases seem to delight in the wit of the writing, or make it sound so when it shouldn't.  It's anti-virtuosic in a way, and more about joy and pleasure.  (One can almost envisage a cartoon of Bugs Bunny frolicking to the playing.)  The Presto, well, it's a bit laid back and dynamically limited, but by this time, the listener simply doesn't care.  (The same would apply if the listener dislikes the approach.)  Not one of the greats, but extremely fine if one succumbs to its charms. 
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Everything dies - Alien Bounty Hunter, The X-Files

Everyone dies - William Barr, United States Attorney General

Offline Todd

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Re: Op 47
« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2020, 05:16:52 AM »


Veering back to a prior violinist, Georg Kulenkampff joins young Georg Solti for a second recording.  The super-stripped down opening movement starts with a taut Adagio sostenuto, and then in the Presto, the importance of the accompanist becomes obvious as the duo press forward in the faster sections with speed and drive, with nuance lacking and dynamic contrasts played up.  Sounds like Solti.  Kulenkampff ups his game in terms of speed, but the overall effect sounds less enjoyable than his pairing with Kempff.  The taut, more driven nature carries right on into the Andante, which sounds kinda fun but also a bit more like a run-through.  The Presto is swift, firm, and maintains the run-through feel.  The duo are both efficient and effective, but the styles differ and they don't sound as musically amalgamated as other pairings.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Everything dies - Alien Bounty Hunter, The X-Files

Everyone dies - William Barr, United States Attorney General

Offline Todd

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Re: Op 47
« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2020, 05:58:16 AM »




Going with two from the same violinst one more time, here Pinky.  In the recording with Barenboim, a young Zukerman opens with a rich tone and measured playing, with Barenboim adding Barenboim level support shortly thereafter.  The transitional music is handled dandily, and the Presto is taken at an energetic but not fast pace.  Wide dynamic contrasts characterize the playing more than zip, which works just fine.  The two trade off between who hogs the limelight, and the playing comes off as refined with some purposeful rough edges.  The pair play the Andante and variations very well, indeed, with ample stylistic changes, and fine and beautiful playing, but at times it sounds like what one expects top students at a conservatory to deliver.  In the stripped down Presto, the duo play with verve and nice dynamic contrasts and deliver a solid overall version.  With Neikrug, Zukerman opens in a strikingly similar manner, just in notably better sound.  Neikrug is less pronounced and distinctive when he enters, almost as though he consciously defers to the fiddler.  That's not to say that the pianist can't turn it on when he wants to, because he can and does, it's just that the balance differs.  The Presto has a nice degree of energy, but the overall tempo is held back just a bit, allowing the musicians the time to let the music unfold, and occasionally, some passages end up sounding kind of klunky.  The Andante benefits even more from Zukerman's big tone, and Neikrug again fades a bit.  The concluding Presto has ample energy, but the rhythmic pulse of better versions is not as pronounced, though the duo blend together well and Zukerman's playing never sounds less than engaging.  A nice version.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Everything dies - Alien Bounty Hunter, The X-Files

Everyone dies - William Barr, United States Attorney General

Offline Todd

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Re: Op 47
« Reply #28 on: November 25, 2020, 05:53:06 AM »



Itzhak Perlman and Vladimir Ashkenazy.  Big tone, lots of vibrato, immaculate control, that's how Perlman starts.  Big tone, immaculate control, that's how Ashkenazy starts.  Then they merge.  Here are two giants of the analog stereo era in their inevitable pairing, and this is one of those times when big name stars fully deliver on their promise.  The duo drive through the opening movement Presto with what could be called abandon if it were not for the absolute control they display in every aspect of their playing.  And they clearly worked out what they wanted to do.  When Perlman must shine, oh boy, does he, with every register pristine.  When Ashkenazy must come to the fore, of course he does with Ashkenazian command.  Yep.  The Andante comes in at a lengthy 16'30", and the duo attend to every detail, every musical nook and cranny, that legendary artists ought to.  Each variation is basically characterized perfectly, with perfect tempo proportions and perfect dynamic contrasts everywhere.  The Presto, well, the Presto sounds just as perfectly realized, with perfect levels of energy, perfect musical teamwork, and even a slightly elongated last note from Perlman.  Perlman and Ashkenazy were both at their peaks when they recorded this work, and it shows.  One of the great recordings.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Everything dies - Alien Bounty Hunter, The X-Files

Everyone dies - William Barr, United States Attorney General

Offline André Le Nôtre

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Re: Op 47
« Reply #29 on: November 25, 2020, 01:47:00 PM »
Sorry to change the subject here, but my top request for an exhaustive review thread--by you and others--would be Schubert D960 piano sonata. I obtained a very interesting recording by Ellsworth Snyder, a friend (lover?) of John Cage and have been kind of entranced by it. Snyder was also an abstract painter of some repute. He believed that Schubert would have wanted this sonata played much slower than common practice...

Offline Holden

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Re: Op 47
« Reply #30 on: November 25, 2020, 03:16:27 PM »
Sorry to change the subject here, but my top request for an exhaustive review thread--by you and others--would be Schubert D960 piano sonata. I obtained a very interesting recording by Ellsworth Snyder, a friend (lover?) of John Cage and have been kind of entranced by it. Snyder was also an abstract painter of some repute. He believed that Schubert would have wanted this sonata played much slower than common practice...

Which is what Richter did.......

Cheers

Holden

Offline Todd

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Re: Op 47
« Reply #31 on: Today at 05:52:06 AM »


Leonidas Kavakos and Enrico Pace.  Kavakos starts the Adagio sostenuto is supremely controlled, almost Bach-sounding style, and Pace starts off with strongly characterized playing offering a striking contrast.  Kavakos only gradually picks up the volume, and as he does Pace recedes a bit to allow the main focus to be the fiddler.  Part of that seems to be the production team's choice, and part is Pace's, and as in every other chamber music recording he has made, he demonstrates that he is one of the best accompanists working today by knowing how to pair with the big star.  Not that he's a wallflower, or that Kavakos dominates proceedings like Heifetz, because the two alternate back and forth quite nicely.  Kavakos demonstrates instrumental command second to none, playing fast or slow, loud or quiet, a single note or double stop, or anything else, as well as anyone.  The dynamic and tempo transitions are seamless and flawless throughout, and the duo generate amply energy in the Presto.  In the Andante, the duo again display supremely fine coordination, so well-drilled that it sort of becomes something of a weakness.  The playing lacks spontaneity and sounds nearly perfect, like a Steven Osborne museum grade recording but refined even more.  They play the concluding Presto at a proper tempo, but somehow it manages to sound slower than it is, and everything sounds almost too meticulous.  Yep, that's kvetching of the highest order.  I will say, that I now regret not taking the opportunity to drive up to Seattle to hear the duo in person this last January.  Who knows if I will ever have the chance to hear them in person again. 
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Everything dies - Alien Bounty Hunter, The X-Files

Everyone dies - William Barr, United States Attorney General