Author Topic: Dmitri's Dacha  (Read 571014 times)

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Offline krummholz

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Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2900 on: May 19, 2022, 02:48:48 AM »
Some of Haitink's DSCH cycle is terrific, the only problem with the Concertgebouw 8th is the Decca folks really went to town on rendering the famed concertgebouw acoustic, creating a caricature of reverb which isn't really convenient in this music (same with the eighties Beethoven cycle on Philips).

I have sat in this hall a lot and I have never heard what I'm hearing on this DCH8 disc. Hilariously, Chandos does the same engineering trick with the Nat Scottish Orchestra.

Interesting. I have both recordings, and I've never noticed excessive reverb on either. Of the two, I find the Haitink far more gripping than the Jarvi (I assume that's the NSO disc you're referring to).

Offline Herman

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Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2901 on: May 19, 2022, 03:47:21 AM »
Neeme Järvi is just not such a great conductor.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2902 on: May 19, 2022, 05:10:53 AM »
It's nothing to do with Beethoven or Brahms.  It's simply that with Shostakovich, there's a lot of 2nd-rate (or worse) mixed in with the good.  For me, life is far too short to spend time on anything less than excellent.

Anyhoo, even though I don't like the Leningrad, here is a very good free-to-view video stream of it conducted by that micro-manager-in-chief, Teodor Currentzis (SWRO) :
https://www.swr.de/swrclassic/symphonieorchester/aexavarticle-swr-83346.html

He brings entertainment to the long boring march by bringing the various orchestral sections to their feet in turn - Count Basie-style.

You're free to dislike whatever you choose just as I'm free to tell you I think the Leningrad is an extraordinary work --- warts and all.
“I am hitting my head against the walls, but the walls are giving way.” - Gustav Mahler

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2903 on: May 19, 2022, 05:56:50 AM »
You're free to dislike whatever you choose just as I'm free to tell you I think the Leningrad is an extraordinary work --- warts and all.

You and me both!!

Offline LKB

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Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2904 on: May 19, 2022, 06:28:51 AM »
Interesting. I have both recordings, and I've never noticed excessive reverb on either. Of the two, I find the Haitink far more gripping than the Jarvi (I assume that's the NSO disc you're referring to).

I have several of the Haitink/Shostakovich RCO releases on CD, and none of them seem overly reverberant to me. But then, I've had them a long time and perhaps I've grown accustomed to it...
Mit Flügeln, die ich mir errungen...

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2905 on: May 19, 2022, 10:12:33 AM »
The long march in the Leningrad isn't boring if it's done well. The only recording I know is Petrenko... and I find it gripping.

Not boring, at all, in good hands. Honi soit qui mal y pense
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Offline relm1

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Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2906 on: May 19, 2022, 03:31:37 PM »
Not boring, at all, in good hands. Honi soit qui mal y pense

Karl, who is your "good hands" suggestion please?  I LOVE Bernstein's CSO recording and I've not heard it bettered, but what you?

Offline DavidW

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Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2907 on: May 19, 2022, 03:36:14 PM »
Not boring, at all, in good hands. Honi soit qui mal y pense

Correct me if I'm wrong but one of the first performances was done with only half an orchestra, woefully under-prepared and it was still met with enthusiastic praise (excepting the critics of course).  It seems like one of those lightning in a bottle musical works, capturing the mood of a people at a certain time.

So like MI and Swan I say yes warts and all.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2908 on: May 19, 2022, 06:16:50 PM »
Karl, who is your "good hands" suggestion please?  I LOVE Bernstein's CSO recording and I've not heard it bettered, but what you?

You didn't ask me, but I love Svetlanov and Rozhdestvensky. Nothing boring about either of these conductors.
“I am hitting my head against the walls, but the walls are giving way.” - Gustav Mahler

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2909 on: May 19, 2022, 10:06:31 PM »
You didn't ask me, but I love Svetlanov and Rozhdestvensky. Nothing boring about either of these conductors.

This goes slightly off topic but it does pertain to the 1st movement march in the Leningrad....  For me there is almost always a "sweet-spot" tempo that conveys exactly the right feel to a work/passage.  Most often this is where something could be characterised as a march or a dance.  The key is to find a speed that is poised and controlled yet with an inexorable forward momentum.  The big mistake is to equate speed (ie a faster tempo) with energy.  Now the sheer length of the Leningrad march really tests a conductor (and by extension an orchestra - but mainly a conductor) to combine a sweet-spot tempo with subtle musical points that draw both the music and the listener forward.  The Leningrad march can indeed sound boring but that is because the conductor has been tested and found wanting.  For the same reason - the great conductors - Bernstein/Svetlanov/Rozhdestvensky can make this same music a shattering experience which rises far above the "on the page" mundanity of the material.

Two other pieces that are really prone to needing the sweet spot tempo - Bolero and the opening of Elgar 1.  No coincidence the repetitiousness of Bolero is often cited as being "boring" but with the right sense of inevitability the piece becomes so much more than just an exercise in orchestration.  With the Elgar that opening "great hope for the future" theme needs stately grandeur but NOT either a sense of leaden empire-inspired wallow or too fast glibness.  You are being set up for its transending return 50 minutes later - one of the great symphonic conclusions.  Boult and Handley are two of very few conductors who can hit that tempo exactly right.  In each case the difference between sweet spot and "wrong" might be seconds but when its right its RIGHT!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2910 on: May 19, 2022, 10:21:25 PM »
I don't find 'Bolero' boring at all, nor the Leningrad Symphony, which I discovered through Ancerl's fine old recording on LP. I remember liking the cover art on the LP - sadly reminiscent of scenes from Ukraine today.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2022, 10:27:12 PM by vandermolen »
"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).

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2911 on: May 20, 2022, 01:15:12 AM »
For the same reason - the great conductors - Bernstein/Svetlanov/Rozhdestvensky can make this same music a shattering experience which rises far above the "on the page" mundanity of the material.

I have that Bernstein recording and I'm a big admirer of Bernstein's recordings in general - but even he can't elevate the Leningrad 1st movement above the level of mediocrity. 
I've seen Rozhdestvensky live, conducting a Tchaikovsky symphony, and he was ... surprisingly demonstrative.  A real arm-waver.  His orchestra that day was the Leningrad Philharmonic, a superbly drilled soviet machine.  The contrast between the two was stark - and, fortunately, the orchestra won.

Offline hvbias

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Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2912 on: May 20, 2022, 11:14:29 AM »
Just revisiting the old Kondrashin/Moscow PO cycle.  Will any orchestra - Russian or other - ever be able to play this music with this kind of ferocious intensity ever again?  Were these performances born of the society/political regime in which they were made in the sense that the players "got" what this music is about in a way that no Western orchestra ever could.  I accept that in many cases these were the versions that "imprinted" Shostakovich for me (c/o the EMI/Melodiya LP box of the symphonies)



so I might not be wholly objective here(!) but goodness these are GREAT performances!!!!!

I think the odds of that style being replicated are slim. There might be some conductor that can bring the tempos that Kondrashin had, but you'll still miss out on the "charm" of the sound of those brash Russian orchestras. Paradoxically I think that less than perfect playing also adds to the intensity (along with Kondrashin's tempos).

This is a trip back, it was the first Shostakovich cycle I bought, Melodiya CD reissue box with the spectacles on the cover. Back in 2002 or 2003 with the big Headfi classical thread if anyone else was a member there. I clearly remember DarkAngel (a GMGer as well) singing the praises of this box, and the symphonies/interpretations were unlike anything I had ever heard before, not a bad first cycle! :)

What would have been nice is if Kondrashin recorded the full cycle with the RCO.
"I feel very strongly about Chopin — I just love him" - Fou Ts'ong

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2913 on: May 20, 2022, 11:17:06 AM »
Karl, who is your "good hands" suggestion please?  I LOVE Bernstein's CSO recording and I've not heard it bettered, but what you?

The Lenny/CSO recording is magnificent! The recording which sold me on the Leningrad was Ančerl/Cz Phil.  I also really like Temirkanov/St Pedtersburg Phil and Shostakovich/Prague Symphony.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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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

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2914 on: May 20, 2022, 11:20:29 AM »
Correct me if I'm wrong but one of the first performances was done with only half an orchestra, woefully under-prepared and it was still met with enthusiastic praise (excepting the critics of course).

That was one astounding occasion:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/KOkBEqtGUI8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/KOkBEqtGUI8</a>
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