Author Topic: Mozart  (Read 206786 times)

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Offline Florestan

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Re: Mozart
« Reply #1380 on: April 16, 2022, 04:30:48 AM »


Recently I thought it was a good idea to start listening to this cycle and I went straight for 515.

My God! I have never ever heard it played like that. Uncompromisingly stern, grim, harsh, mournful and soulful. Funeral music. Now that I think of it, the exact equivalent of Leonskaja's Schubert Impromptus. Needless to say, I lost any appetite to hear the rest of the set.

Am I alone in this?
"I’ve always said music should make you laugh, make you cry or make you think." - Kenny Rogers

Offline Jo498

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Re: Mozart
« Reply #1381 on: April 16, 2022, 06:30:07 AM »
Yes, I just found this out. Apparently it's missing because he did it previously for a different label.
This seems to be the case; unfortunately that Philips disc has been long out of print. I don't know if it has been included in a box of the Mozart Edition or similar.

Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
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Offline amw

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Re: Mozart
« Reply #1382 on: April 16, 2022, 10:11:11 AM »


Recently I thought it was a good idea to start listening to this cycle and I went straight for 515.

My God! I have never ever heard it played like that. Uncompromisingly stern, grim, harsh, mournful and soulful. Funeral music. Now that I think of it, the exact equivalent of Leonskaja's Schubert Impromptus. Needless to say, I lost any appetite to hear the rest of the set.

Am I alone in this?
I love it for those reasons: K515 is a deeply elegiac, melancholy piece at heart and this version brings out those qualities very well. That and the sound quality is superb. That said, if you're looking for a more universally acceptable historically informed version that isn't quite so uncompromising and allows more room for chiaroscuro and consolation, while still bringing out the melancholy aspects (and arguably even better than the Kuijkens do), try Chiara Banchini's Ensemble 415. (If you don't want the melancholy aspects at all, try L'Archibudelli, or revert to modern instruments and the Nash Ensemble or the Takács Quartet and György Pauk.)

The Kuijkens are essential in K406, 516 and 593 for me, but their K614 feels rather mechanical and excessively serious; IOW, these characteristics of their playing are pretty consistent across the entire set.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Mozart
« Reply #1383 on: April 16, 2022, 10:47:11 AM »
Serious Mozart is definitely a thing, and Kuijken is one of the people who explored it most. His Mozart quartets are like that, as are the Mozart violin sonatas with Leonhardt and Luc Devos. There are people who have followed him, Saloman Quartet for example, and Ryo Terakado in his Mozart Sonatas with Boyan Bodenitcharov. It's almost a tradition!

Also note that there are pieces by Mozart which everyone plays seriously, for example the Masonic Funeral Music, the Fantasy and Fugue in F minor K 594, the C minor Adagio and Fugue, the Fantasy K475.  So it's not as if this way of playing at least some of the chamber music is wrong headed, rather than just something Andrei didn't enjoy.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2022, 10:59:47 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Mozart
« Reply #1384 on: April 17, 2022, 03:21:07 AM »
K515 is a deeply elegiac, melancholy piece at heart

I don't mind melancholy music. Actually, I love it and KV515 is one of my favorite pieces of such music. But, but, but ---- in my book melancholy doesn't equate grimness, especially not in Mozart of all people. Even the most melancholy of its works (besides KV515 the PC 24 immediately comes to mind) have a (typically Mozartian) bittersweetness which is far removed from any feeling of doom&gloom, hopelessness and desolation. Mozart's is a gentle and tender melancholy that doesn't make one feel as if the whole world had been just irremediably turned into ashes and dust. A ruined castle covered in ivy and lit by the setting sun, rather than a graveyard after a category-5 hurricane. Turning his music into the sonic equivalent of the latter is imho wrong, utterly wrong.

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and this version brings out those qualities very well.

Well, to these ears this version simply exaggerates and distorts them. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

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the sound quality is superb.


Can't disagree.

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That said, if you're looking for a more universally acceptable historically informed version that isn't quite so uncompromising and allows more room for chiaroscuro and consolation, while still bringing out the melancholy aspects (and arguably even better than the Kuijkens do), try Chiara Banchini's Ensemble 415. (If you don't want the melancholy aspects at all, try L'Archibudelli, or revert to modern instruments and the Nash Ensemble or the Takács Quartet and György Pauk.)

Thanks for the tips, will investigate. My current go-to set of quintets is the Heutling Quartet and Heinz-Otto Graf. A real sleeper*. I also like Grumiaux and his team, Ensemble Villa Musica and Talich. I have the Guarneris queued up next.

*If you or anyone else is interested in hearing them, just let me know by PM.

« Last Edit: April 17, 2022, 03:40:56 AM by Florestan »
"I’ve always said music should make you laugh, make you cry or make you think." - Kenny Rogers

Offline Florestan

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Re: Mozart
« Reply #1385 on: April 17, 2022, 03:25:14 AM »
Also note that there are pieces by Mozart which everyone plays seriously, for example the Masonic Funeral Music, the Fantasy and Fugue in F minor K 594, the C minor Adagio and Fugue, the Fantasy K475.  So it's not as if this way of playing at least some of the chamber music is wrong headed, rather than just something Andrei didn't enjoy.

Well, at least the Masonic Funeral Music is explicitly funeral. But yes, truth is I don't enjoy grim and stern Mozart and I don't think his music should be played like that. That being said, kudos and more power to people like amw who do enjoy it. De gustibus et coloribus non disputandum est.

Btw, recently I finished the Paul Badura-Skoda modern piano set of sonatas recently and found it rather mechanical and joyless overall. My current favorites are Christian Zacharias, Fazil Say and Maria Joao Pires (Denon).
« Last Edit: April 17, 2022, 03:31:09 AM by Florestan »
"I’ve always said music should make you laugh, make you cry or make you think." - Kenny Rogers

Offline Valentino

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Re: Mozart
« Reply #1386 on: April 21, 2022, 04:23:16 AM »
That Ensemble Zefiro 6 CD box on Arcana is lovely. Thank you GMG folks for the head up!
We audiophiles don't really like music, but we sure love the sound it makes

Offline hvbias

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Re: Mozart
« Reply #1387 on: April 21, 2022, 07:10:27 AM »
Well, at least the Masonic Funeral Music is explicitly funeral. But yes, truth is I don't enjoy grim and stern Mozart and I don't think his music should be played like that. That being said, kudos and more power to people like amw who do enjoy it. De gustibus et coloribus non disputandum est.

Btw, recently I finished the Paul Badura-Skoda modern piano set of sonatas recently and found it rather mechanical and joyless overall. My current favorites are Christian Zacharias, Fazil Say and Maria Joao Pires (Denon).

Fazil Say recently recorded Fantasia in D minor: https://youtu.be/9RC0XqN3-qU

Also available on Qobuz.
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Offline Spotted Horses

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Re: Mozart
« Reply #1388 on: June 10, 2022, 11:39:32 AM »
Even as a fanatical admirer of Mozart, I find myself assuming anything with Koechel number below 200 is likely to be a skillfully constructed confection. I found myself shocked by the depth of the three Divertimenti, K136, K137, K138 (the so called Salzburg Symphonies). The slow movement of K138 particularly impressed me with its use of strong dissonance. If I have heard these before, I didn't appreciate them. It is nice to be able to be surprised by a composer I have been listening to since I was a teenager.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Mozart
« Reply #1389 on: June 10, 2022, 12:17:43 PM »
Just listened/listening to the g minor piano quartet and the Bb flat maj trio K 502 in stunning live performances with Lars Vogt (2003-04), not sure if available outside the "Spannungen" chamber music box (disc 12).
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Madiel

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Re: Mozart
« Reply #1390 on: June 10, 2022, 01:34:22 PM »
Even as a fanatical admirer of Mozart, I find myself assuming anything with Koechel number below 200 is likely to be a skillfully constructed confection. I found myself shocked by the depth of the three Divertimenti, K136, K137, K138 (the so called Salzburg Symphonies). The slow movement of K138 particularly impressed me with its use of strong dissonance. If I have heard these before, I didn't appreciate them. It is nice to be able to be surprised by a composer I have been listening to since I was a teenager.

Yes, saw your post on the other thread. As I started listening to the K catalogue as chronologically as possible, I came across high quality works rather earlier than I anticipated.
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Offline Spotted Horses

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Re: Mozart
« Reply #1391 on: June 10, 2022, 07:16:06 PM »
That Ensemble Zefiro 6 CD box on Arcana is lovely. Thank you GMG folks for the head up!

Thanks for mentioning it. Just the thing I have been looking for. The most satisfactory set of Mozart divirtimenti and serenades I have is the Philips Mozart edition volumes, mostly Marriner. I also have the Vegh set, but I seem to be alone in thinking it is deathly dull. The Zefiro will supplement the smattering of PI recordings I have accumulated.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Mozart
« Reply #1392 on: June 11, 2022, 03:38:12 AM »
The most satisfactory set of Mozart divirtimenti and serenades I have is the Philips Mozart edition volumes, mostly Marriner. I also have the Vegh set, but I seem to be alone in thinking it is deathly dull.

Try this as well:



Boskovsky and Mozart, a match made in Heaven.
"I’ve always said music should make you laugh, make you cry or make you think." - Kenny Rogers

Offline Spotted Horses

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Re: Mozart
« Reply #1393 on: June 11, 2022, 04:29:03 AM »
Try this as well:



Boskovsky and Mozart, a match made in Heaven.

I have that release, but generally find it less appealing than the recordings in the complete Mozart edition, featuring Marriner and others





In addition to a smattering of individual releases (Harnoncourt and others), I have a few other very valuable sets







The Bohm set I find rather dull, except for an exceptional recording of the Masonic Funeral Music. The Meyer/Trio di Clarone set is miraculous.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Mozart
« Reply #1394 on: July 10, 2022, 04:57:40 AM »


This is 18th century reductions of operatic music, for two violins. Worth a listen I’d say, unless your a violinophobe.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2022, 05:27:31 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Mozart
« Reply #1395 on: July 18, 2022, 09:34:55 PM »


Afanassiev makes K310 sound like a series of orchestral pieces in an opera. This is an outstanding CD IMO, the most rethunk Mozart piano CD in a long long time.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2022, 09:42:03 PM by Mandryka »
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