Author Topic: Elgar's Hillside  (Read 285100 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3360 on: December 22, 2020, 01:46:15 PM »
I have both Bean/Groves* and Little/Davis, but somehow I haven't listened to them much. In fact I don't even remember having listened to these recordings! Weird. Both are relatively new purchases. That's one interesting thing to do in the near future: To compare these two and see if they make Dong-Suk Kang/Leaper** on Naxos sound "piss-poor" in comparison.  :P

* In the 30 CD EMI Elgar box.
** This was my first Elgar CD ever. I got it in Christmas 1996 as a present from my dad. I had heard Enigma Variations on radio a few weeks earlier and it had changed my life. The whole December 1996 I has talking about Elgar and how I must explore his music because Enigma Variations was just super-promising. I just knew Elgar is my favorite. So my dad got this for me for Christmas and it was such a wonderful way to dive into the music of Elgar! That's why the disc is special to me and it takes miracles to make me call it piss-poor.

Okay, I get it. You can leave the ‘piss poor’ comments alone. It wasn’t the best phrase to describe what I would call passable performances. Anyway, yes, that EMI set would be a nice way to dive into Elgar’s music as there are many fantastic performances, but, unfortunately, it’s OOP, so they’ll have to find another way in.
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3361 on: December 22, 2020, 02:23:29 PM »
Okay, I get it. You can leave the ‘piss poor’ comments alone. It wasn’t the best phrase to describe what I would call passable performances. Anyway, yes, that EMI set would be a nice way to dive into Elgar’s music as there are many fantastic performances, but, unfortunately, it’s OOP, so they’ll have to find another way in.

Naxos wouldn't have become the giant it is today had they released tons of piss-poor recordings. They managed to release "good enough" recordings and people bought their releases in volumes and the rest is history. "Passable performance" is certainly a better phrase, but I think even it demonstrates a condescending attitude toward the label. Is it fair to evaluate a label based on how they do Mahler or Bruckner when those releases hardly represents the "areas of excelence" of the said label and you have tons of great recordings elsewhere to choose (meaning homework)?

I did not know the Elgar box is already OOP. Shocking! I didn't hurry to buy it, but when I bought it on March 3, 2011 for 37.33 euros delivered it was easily available.  :)
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3362 on: December 22, 2020, 03:04:31 PM »
I did not know the Elgar box is already OOP. Shocking! I didn't hurry to buy it, but when I bought it on March 3, 2011 for 37.33 euros delivered it was easily available.  :)

I never needed to own it, but it’s unfortunate that someone who is new to Elgar wouldn’t be able to buy this set since it’s OOP.
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Offline Irons

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3363 on: December 23, 2020, 02:39:55 AM »
I have both Bean/Groves* and Little/Davis, but somehow I haven't listened to them much. In fact I don't even remember having listened to these recordings! Weird. Both are relatively new purchases. That's one interesting thing to do in the near future: To compare these two and see if they make Dong-Suk Kang/Leaper** on Naxos sound "piss-poor" in comparison.  :P

* In the 30 CD EMI Elgar box.
** This was my first Elgar CD ever. I got it in Christmas 1996 as a present from my dad. I had heard Enigma Variations on radio a few weeks earlier and it had changed my life. The whole December 1996 I has talking about Elgar and how I must explore his music because Enigma Variations was just super-promising. I just knew Elgar is my favorite. So my dad got this for me for Christmas and it was such a wonderful way to dive into the music of Elgar! That's why the disc is special to me and it takes miracles to make me call it piss-poor.

Some father to give such a fulfilling and life-enhancing Christmas present.

I mentioned on another thread that sometimes a composer's most popular work is disparaged because it is popular! I haven't searched but wonder how often Enigma Variations pop up on this thread and others.

On the subject of the VC Ida Haendel is an interesting one. When I first heard it I thought it too slow, but over time I have come to the realisation that with the help of Boult she has more to say then many other versions.

 
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Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3364 on: December 23, 2020, 05:34:31 AM »
Very nice. Have you heard the Little/Davis recording on Chandos? This is my current reference for this concerto, but I’m a big fan of Little’s playing in general. I think she does a good job of navigating the complicated emotional makeup of this work.

Yes I know the Little recording.  I have to say I preferred Little's playing earlier in her career.  On a purely personal level, I am not so enamoured of her sound/vibrato as I was.  Her Elgar as an interpretation is good but it would not make my top 5 or probably top 10 performances and I find the inclusion of the "alternative" version of the last movement cadenza a perfect example of an irrelevant/pointless USP.  I think  I've mentioned it before - in the mid-80's I worked fairly briefly for the agency who represented Oscar Shumsky in the UK.  He was keen to do the Elgar with Andrew Davis but that never materialised.  I think that would have been rather special

Responding to other recent comments in this thread.  No way is Kang with Leaper "piss-poor".  I enjoy it as a performance - yes the orchestral playing does not sound as full or confident as some but that does not dismiss or negate the artistic value.  Kang is a fine player - good enough to appear on BIS several times so no way a "bargain basement" player.  Also - someone said something about not judging Naxos by their Mahler or Bruckner.  Worth remembering that their Tintner Bruckner and Wit Mahler is actually well received and rather fine.  I would say the reverse is often true.  "Big" names on "Big" labels sometimes get adulatory reviews simply because of the perceived status of artist and label which is not always merited......

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3365 on: December 23, 2020, 07:59:21 AM »
Yes I know the Little recording.  I have to say I preferred Little's playing earlier in her career.  On a purely personal level, I am not so enamoured of her sound/vibrato as I was.  Her Elgar as an interpretation is good but it would not make my top 5 or probably top 10 performances and I find the inclusion of the "alternative" version of the last movement cadenza a perfect example of an irrelevant/pointless USP.  I think  I've mentioned it before - in the mid-80's I worked fairly briefly for the agency who represented Oscar Shumsky in the UK.  He was keen to do the Elgar with Andrew Davis but that never materialised.  I think that would have been rather special

Responding to other recent comments in this thread.  No way is Kang with Leaper "piss-poor".  I enjoy it as a performance - yes the orchestral playing does not sound as full or confident as some but that does not dismiss or negate the artistic value.  Kang is a fine player - good enough to appear on BIS several times so no way a "bargain basement" player.  Also - someone said something about not judging Naxos by their Mahler or Bruckner.  Worth remembering that their Tintner Bruckner and Wit Mahler is actually well received and rather fine.  I would say the reverse is often true.  "Big" names on "Big" labels sometimes get adulatory reviews simply because of the perceived status of artist and label which is not always merited......

We all hear pieces different. I’ve always loved her playing whether it was 30 years ago or today. I think she brings a wealth of emotion and personal experience to this concerto. Not many I can say match her except maybe the Bean/Groves performance, which I do think highly of. I haven’t heard any other performances that have done much for me. This is one of the most difficult concerti to pull off.
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Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3366 on: December 23, 2020, 03:07:17 PM »
We all hear pieces different. I’ve always loved her playing whether it was 30 years ago or today. I think she brings a wealth of emotion and personal experience to this concerto. Not many I can say match her except maybe the Bean/Groves performance, which I do think highly of. I haven’t heard any other performances that have done much for me. This is one of the most difficult concerti to pull off.

For sure this is a very hard concerto to play successfully - technically very demanding and at the same time emotionally elusive.  It responds to many differing interpretations - the Haendel mentioned above is wonderful but I very much like the earlier Zuckerman/Barenboim recording who play it as an out and out big Romantic concerto with the virtuosity emphasised.  Not an approach I would usually warm to but Zuckerman is so good that criticism seems churlish!

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3367 on: December 23, 2020, 04:29:07 PM »
For sure this is a very hard concerto to play successfully - technically very demanding and at the same time emotionally elusive.  It responds to many differing interpretations - the Haendel mentioned above is wonderful but I very much like the earlier Zuckerman/Barenboim recording who play it as an out and out big Romantic concerto with the virtuosity emphasised.  Not an approach I would usually warm to but Zuckerman is so good that criticism seems churlish!

I don’t think I’ve heard that Zuckerman/Barenboim recording. I know some like Barenboim’s Elgar, but I never could get into it. Maybe a mental block? I don’t know why.
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Online Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3368 on: January 12, 2021, 04:18:31 AM »
We all hear pieces different. I’ve always loved her playing whether it was 30 years ago or today. I think she brings a wealth of emotion and personal experience to this concerto. Not many I can say match her except maybe the Bean/Groves performance, which I do think highly of. I haven’t heard any other performances that have done much for me. This is one of the most difficult concerti to pull off.
I just checked out her website.  There's a short video in which she states that she had decided to extend the date of her retirement from concerts to the end of 2020 due to Covid and missed concerts....hoping to be able to reschedule concerts that she was unable to do earlier in the year.  Well, obviously, that didn't happen so am wondering whether or not she might extend her retirement date yet again?

PD

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3369 on: January 12, 2021, 08:52:40 AM »
I just checked out her website.  There's a short video in which she states that she had decided to extend the date of her retirement from concerts to the end of 2020 due to Covid and missed concerts....hoping to be able to reschedule concerts that she was unable to do earlier in the year.  Well, obviously, that didn't happen so am wondering whether or not she might extend her retirement date yet again?

PD

I’m not sure and, honestly, I had no idea of her retirement, so that is news to me. She certainly deserves more attention than she has received in the past. She has a sound that is totally her own and this is tough feat for anyone who has ever played the violin for a number of years.
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”