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The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: Discobole on February 19, 2012, 10:08:10 AM

Title: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Discobole on February 19, 2012, 10:08:10 AM
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Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 19, 2012, 11:11:11 AM
Sure. I know this one better anyway.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: madaboutmahler on February 19, 2012, 11:31:05 AM
Definitely count me in. I love this piece a lot.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: DavidW on February 19, 2012, 11:43:52 AM
Count me in too. :)
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 19, 2012, 02:33:26 PM
OK no problem. So there are 2 groups to listen until next Sunday at midnight (Paris time), but if you need a little more time it will not be a problem. One has 5 versions, the other has 6. There are 2 excerpts to listen to.

All I need is a ranking of the versions. Ex aequo is possible so you can have two firsts, or three thirds, etc. Then I'll use the Condorcet system, which will allow me to establish the global ranking (in case of Condorcet paradox, the mean ranking will count).

mc ukrneal & madaboutmahler, you are in the yellow group (5 versions).
DavidW, I put you in the red group (6 versions).
You'll receive the informations in a few minutes by pm.

If you have time I can give you the other group too, of course, just tell me.

You will hear very important differences of sound quality, due to the age of some of the interpretations. Please try as much as possible to judge the quality of the playing and of the interpretation, and not only on audiophile criteria ;) If Bernstein, Karajan and others were eliminated in the first round, it is not by mere chance, I guarantee you great surprises !

Anyone can join the listening until results are published. For that second round, until next sunday, then.
Please send both. Thanks! Should be fun!
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Lisztianwagner on February 19, 2012, 02:51:47 PM
Quite violent and full of surprises...quite right, how many beautiful recordings were left out! ;D
This thread sounds very funny anyway, you can count me as well.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 20, 2012, 04:14:51 AM
I was very excited to do this comparison as Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 is a favorite. And so below are my results. I will do the red group too if I have time later in the week. Not sure how others are writing this up, but I put my thoughts down as I went along. I did go back for a couple of comparisons. But mostly, this is from one listen. I gave each clip a rating (mostly just for my memory) and used that to come up with a ranking.

Yellow Group Summary:
I liked C3 and A5. Those two should make it to the next round. I would eliminate the other three. In particular, D1 should be eliminated for sure. It was terrible (poor tempo choices in the second clip). But all of them had something different that they did, or some unique aspect. I think C3 was the clear leader, but I liked A5 fairly well too (and I loved the sound this orchestra produced). Interesting that I did not like any of the ones that appear to have come in first in previous rounds (if I understood correctly).

A5-e1:
Very nice opening and sound. But a hair slow, which is not the bigger problem. It seems to lack forward momentum just a bit and this makes it a bit more laid back, but playing is of high quality. The speed up in the middle section lacks something and again we are too laid back (not enough forward propulsion). Perhaps you think I am overemphasizing this, but I feel it makes this a difficult one to fully embrace (though I like the sound they produce very much). Rating: 6.
 
A5-e2:
Speed slower than I like (always a litmus test for me).The forward propulsion is better though still a bit too much back on the heels. Good unison playing.  Fourth movement sounds much better. Stately. Too controlled at times, but I liked the sound of the woodwinds. Dynamics are better here for the most part.  I liked this movement. Rating: 7

Overall: Very good standard of playing. I think the speeds, while not always to my taste, would work better if there was more of a forward propulsion felt (which is admittedly better in the second excerpt). The playing is excellent overall  and I like the sound the orchestra produces, so I really think the issue here is one of interpretation, and less of execution by the orchestra.  Dynamics could have more abandon, but then perhaps this is what gives this version more stateliness.

Ranking: 2

B1-e1

Nice start. Here is what the first lacked in terms of propulsion. Dynamics are, well, more dynamic! Horns are slightly out of tune towards the end of the clip. Rating: 6.5

B1-e2
Better tempo, but some weird acoustic effects going on early. A bit ragged in moments, sometimes a problem in versions that go fast. And then when it slows down, it is a bit dull. And then back to main theme – I feel that some of the magic has been lost somewhere in the quieter bits. Then they do the cardinal sin – start the big melody in the fourth movement fast – then slow down as you go along. The next part is too undifferentiated compared to the opening  of the movement.   Rating: 4

Overall: I liked the execution until the middle of the second excerpt, where this one just self-imploded, but I preferred the sound of the orchestra in A5 much more. The inability to hold the tempo in the opening of the fourth movement is a huge problem. A5 was better here - noticeably so. I think the orchestra is generally not as good as the first in this instance and I bet that would be more visible in a comparison of the entire piece.

Ranking: 3

D1-e1
Ok. Older sound. Glad I took a short breather to allow it to differentiate a bit. Nice impact at the opening - much more dynamic approach to loudness here.  Speed up is well done, but then the tempo is a bit slower than I like, but the feeling of moving forward is there nonetheless. But then the middle section is a bit dull in terms of dynamics and feels a bit wearing (perhaps related to sound, but they did it earlier, so I have to think it is not entirely so). But then it picks up again towards the end of the clip. Rating: 5

D1-e2
My god!  A glacier would move faster than the opening of this! Awful. Terrible! Dull as can be and labored beyond belief. The orchestra plays decently enough, but who would want to listen to them? A complete disappointment. And then the section after the opening is even worse, because they don’t feel differentiated enough (too uniform a sound).  Fourth movement is better, but the magic is long gone. Rating: 1.5

Overall: Starts ok, but the second clip is a disaster of major proportions. The whole piece loses coherence and momentum.   

Ranking: 5

C1-e1
Decent opening. A better overall balance or dynamics, articulation, etc. in the early parts, but that seems to lessen as the work progresses.  Strings seem a bit awkward at times. Shame, because this could otherwise be outstanding. Rating: 5.

C1-e2
Tempo good, but the sound is congested and not open – probably a balance issue among the instruments (though perhaps a sound issue as well). Interpretation is better in terms of tempo/impact/drive.  But the conductor does not seem to pull quite the same level of majesty that some of the others do. And then they really speed up! Ach, but they go so fast to start that there is no way they can hold the tempo.  Rating: 4

Overall: There are some nice bits. But the overall impact is less than the sum of its parts. And the orchestral playing as a whole is less varied and less interesting.

Ranking: 4

C3-e1

Even with the hiss, this one grabs your attention more than the others at the start.  This is the way the start should be played. Don’t know if they will keep it up, but here’s hoping so. Great intensity (though a moment of ragged playing as they sped up)!  It had great clarity, good movement, and uses the dynamics in a way completely advantageous to the music. Very interested to hear who this is (orchestra plays very well indeed). Thrilling.  Rating: 9

C3-e2
Speed is good to start.  Too bad this wasn’t in better sound to make a better impact, but still good. Slower parts are still dramatic and do not lose your attention.  Fourth movement is a rousing start.  Rating: 7.

Overall:  The interpretation was excellent. The orchestra was tight. Of these five, in these clips, this was my top choice.

Ranking: 1
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: madaboutmahler on February 21, 2012, 09:22:01 AM
Listening to the 'yellow group' now. Really enjoying myself and remembering how much I love this piece!

Could you also send me the red group as well please? I should have time to post the yellow votes this evening, and the red votes tommorow.

Thanks again. :)
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 21, 2012, 09:32:00 AM
Listening to the 'yellow group' now. Really enjoying myself and remembering how much I love this piece!

Could you also send me the red group as well please? I should have time to post the yellow votes this evening, and the red votes tommorow.

Thanks again. :)
Very intersested to hear your opinion of the yellow group, having already posted mine. I won't get to the red group until later in the week, but I think I will be able to post on them as well. Really interested to see how our opinions will compare to the other forum too.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: madaboutmahler on February 21, 2012, 09:36:37 AM
Very intersested to hear your opinion of the yellow group, having already posted mine. I won't get to the red group until later in the week, but I think I will be able to post on them as well. Really interested to see how our opinions will compare to the other forum too.

Thanks Neal - I'll probably be finished and ready to post my vote in around half an hour. On B1 at the moment. Looking forward to reading your vote which I see you have already posted, but I shall not read just yet. ;)

I'm enjoying this so much. Love this symphony.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Lisztianwagner on February 21, 2012, 09:37:42 AM
The excerpts are FLAC files, yesterday I downloaded a programme to open them; I will provably listen to those pieces this evening, I adore Schumann No.4 very much!
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 21, 2012, 09:57:41 AM
The excerpts are FLAC files, yesterday I downloaded a programme to open them; I will provably listen to those pieces this evening, I adore Schumann No.4 very much!
Yellow group was all mp3. Is there a Flac in the red? I haven't downloaded those yet.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Lisztianwagner on February 21, 2012, 10:11:38 AM
Yellow group was all mp3. Is there a Flac in the red? I haven't downloaded those yet.

No, it is all mp3 too, I've just seen; but it was rather strange, because when I clicked to download the Red group, it was pointed out as a FLAC file, but when I opened it with my programme, it didn't work; I tried again with a WinRAR programme (for mp3), and I could open it.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: DavidW on February 21, 2012, 10:49:24 AM
Red group is all mp3.  I played them with windows media player.

BTW I did some serious listening last night, but I won't be able to finish until tonight.  And then I'll post my impressions.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: madaboutmahler on February 21, 2012, 12:26:40 PM
My vote:



note: Copied in my notes that I took while listening as well.

First place: A5 e1 – A rather beautiful opening, expressed well. The allegro is excellent, a very good tempo and very good balance throughout the orchestra.
A5 e2 – Thoroughly enjoyable with a good tempo choice. The performance of this movement is very successful! The second subject is played wonderfully. The opening to the finale is very powerful with a beautiful balance. So, overall, to be me, this is the best. And the one I found the least to criticise personally!

Second place: C3 e1 – Excellent tempo at the beginning but it seems to be lacking a bit in expression, to me at least. Very good allegro. I thoroughly enjoyed this orchestra’s playing, and don’t really mind the not perfect sound quality.
C3 e2 – Good tempo. Really charming, lovely second subject. Amazing start to the finale, very moving... Overall, this gets second place from me, the orchestra plays wonderfully and the tempi are excellent.

Third place: C1 e1 – Nice warm sound, but far too fast at the beginning. Excellent tempo for the allegro, exciting playing from the orchestra. Successful.
C1 e2 – Great, exciting tempo. Brilliant playing from the orchestra. Beautiful lyrical second subject, very romantic! Amazing, powerful opening to the finale, excellent brass in particular. Great lead in to the allegro, which starts in a brilliant way! Overall, third place. It could have been higher, but I found the opening too fast. The tempi were otherwise almost perfect.


the others:
B 1 – Again, the opening was a little too fast and not as expressive as the other competitors.
D1 – A really beautiful opening, but the rest was just too slow! Many excellent dynamic contrasts though, and charming moments. Still a lot to admire despite the almost dragging tempo.


Much enjoyed this and look forward to finding out the winners! :)

No problem, I'll send it right away !


Looks like I've just recieved it, thank you!
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: madaboutmahler on February 21, 2012, 12:40:56 PM
Spoiler :
So, B1 is 4th and D1 is 5th ?

Yes. :)  
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: John Copeland on February 22, 2012, 09:52:29 AM
I am a bit late.  Can you count me in too?   :(
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: madaboutmahler on February 22, 2012, 09:57:03 AM
I am a bit late.  Can you count me in too?   :(

I knew you would, John!! Looking forward to seeing how your opinions compare to mine... :)
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: John Copeland on February 22, 2012, 03:42:41 PM
 :D
Very interesting!  I had the same notion, and wrote as I listened, one listening only.  My mini reviews cover both parts of each installment (eg; C1 covers both C1 e1 & C1 e2).  I did not reference anything said on this thread for the excercise, but am delighted mc ukrneal and Daniel have approached this in a similar way.  And wow, how different can opinions be!  (Especially with A5 and D1).  Here is my prattle on the matter...

A5
It is played but not built up well enough to give it anything spectacular.  Background stuff for me.  Lacks some emphasis and clarity on string attack.  It is not speaking to me personally, but to too many folk at once.  Too 'flat' for me. Not nearly enough in its forward push. I would switch this off.  4/10

B1
More 'sectioned' than A5.  More sonority, more attractive to listen to.  Nice use of transitional dynamics.  Air conducting stuff.  A hint of mystery, but only a hint.  In the first part, instruments in the lower register (basses, cellos) audibly keep a nice undercurrent for everything to sit on. I would keep listening. Needs more character though. 7/10

D1
I like how this connects in the flow of music.  Sounds live and old, would like to hear a better recording of this.  More visceral excitement here, and romantic lightness is clear.  This is very good indeed.  Very much to be listened to if it were better recorded.  Nice build ups and drop offs. Loads of character.  Slower tempo than the others, but this adds to its force. I would keep listening for sure. In fact, I want it.  9/10


C1
A 'big' treatment.  Modern instruments discernable.  Lush romanticism. Nice accelarando. Well done but too bossy.  Sometimes the playing dominates the music, but it's beautifully played. Faster than D above, but the conductor is capturing the music fully.  A contender in the 'heavyweight' category! 8/10


C3
Seems to get better as it goes along - takes a couple of minuites before it really starts telling me it has something to say, but when it does, we are in full flow and boucing along nicely, although lacking in character.  I would not consider switching this off, but may see if I could find something that talks to me from the start. Quite good. 7/10

Ranks from first to last:
D1  First
C1
B1 and C3 (=)
A5  Last

I am very interested to see which conductors and orchestras are involved in these.  How dramatically and sometimes diametrically opposite our enjoyment of different interpretations are.  I am a fan of this idea.  Merci beaucoup Discobole.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: John Copeland on February 22, 2012, 04:23:31 PM
Thanks ! Would you like to listen to the Reds too ?

7 participants gave their vote in the Yellow group, 5 votes are expected until Sunday. So, here are the trends...

Two versions (A5 and C3) are perfectly even at the first place. Nearly everyone put each of these among their first three (except one 4th place for C3 and one 5th place for A5). The mean ranking of these two is exactly the same too. It it stays that way, they will both be qualified for the finals.

Behind, we have another perfect equality between B1 and C1. But each of these versions could still progress to the finals, as the votes are still very close.

If we stay with that closeness between versions, the elimination will be complicated to determine. I have not already decided if the finals will be a selections of 4, 5 or 6 versions, everything depends on how close the versions are in this round : either I qualify the 2 best of each group, or the 3 best, or the 2 best + the best of the 3rds. I hope this is clear.

D1 is, on the contrary, quite certainly already eliminated. And this elimination will be SHOCKING ;) .

That elimination WILL be shocking as it is my favourite of the lot.   :( >:(
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: DavidW on February 22, 2012, 06:19:36 PM
Red group reporting in, comments:

Favorites:
1. B3 (excellently judged pacing, very transparent sound)
2. D5 (very passionate, love the sense of push and pull in this performance)
3. B2 (great sense of tension)

And I liked all of them but perhaps A1.

Rankings (greatest to least):
B3
D5
B2
A4
C2
A1
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mszczuj on February 22, 2012, 07:23:01 PM
All right, I can't resist longer.

Give me these guys.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 23, 2012, 02:15:30 AM
Very exciting to do this again with a second group. Don’t try to use my ratings across both groups. I’ve been consistent within the groups, but have not tried to be consistent between the two. The ratings are only useful as relative ratings within each group. 
Red Group Summary:
C2-e1:
Ok start- not quite as full blooded as it could be, but still ok. Fleeter. Lighter.  Picks up speed and I’m into it big time. It has times that are too staccato. Some small unison issues a couple of times. Nice intensity after the start though. The low brass doesn’t quite shine through the way I like, which is the balance issue I have here, but overall I like this version. Rating: 7.5

C2-e2:
Slow start (prefer faster), but sounds good anyway, though perhaps a bit heavy. Less intense than the first movement. Return of main theme has nice impact. Grand feeling in the approach. Getting to the fourth movement - And then my favorite part –too clipped! Speed ok, but not the ideal version. Rating: 5 

Overall: Really like the overall approach. Tempi were not always ideal and too clipped in the fourth movement. I don’t like that phrasing there either. First movement was very good.

Ranking:  3

D5-e1:
Start is good, but then some entrances seem off. Unison strings – poor sound doesn’t help, but then they seem to have some wrong notes. There seem to be some unison problems elsewhere as well. And the inconsistency of tempi in a couple moments doesn’t endear me to this version. Some bloated moments towards the end of the clip too. Rating: 5

D5-e2:
Fast start! Unison not bad, but still a little muddy the first time through – better the second time. And then a sudden slowdown. Huh? Why? And then a speed up. Ok, this I don’t like the whipsaw effect of the tempo changes. Horrible.  And this is too staccato in moments too.  Rating: 3

Overall: I didn’t like this one. Ignoring the sound, it just has too many issues in too many areas – unison, tempo, phrasing, etc.

Ranking: 6

A4-e1:
Starts on the faster side, with some inconsistent tempi by the players. And then we’re off to the next section. Better, until the tempo is pulled back so suddenly. There are also some strange balances – where cello come through too strongly or some other instrument is highlighted in a moment where it would not normally feature so prominently.  Rating: 5

A4-e2:
Good start on this clip. Much, much better- everything – sound, phrasing, unison, etc. Until the strings/woodwinds are featured and they seem a bit muddy to start and don’t really keep up the intensity either. They lose steam/umpff. And then they seem less interesting in the fourth movement too, though speed is good. Rating: 4.5

Overall: Nothing special. Some nice moments, but overall inconsistent and irritating.

Ranking: 4

B3-e1:
Don’t particularly like the beginning. It’s too thin with the woodwinds with little nuance. Balance is odd and while it is speedy, it doesn’t have any lyricism – it’s almost matter of fact. I’m not feeling it (though the quality of the playing itself is quite good). Too staccato (and clipped at moments). Dynamics are exaggerated a bit at times. The performance gets better after the opening. Never heard a PI recording for Schumann before, but this is what I imagine it would sound like (that or it’s a smaller group). Rating: 4

B3-e2:
Racing here. I like it fast, but this has no soul to go along with it. So it is exciting, but doesn’t get to my soul. Orchestra is playing very well though - one of the best heard in any group (for their precision and unison playing). The soft parts are almost prissy here. Fourth movement lacks impact (though speed is great and maintained). Rating: 4

Overall:  Not enough impact in many areas (outside the fast and exciting bits). A lot of wonderful playing, but the impact is too extreme without enough nuance (and when you really want them to sock it to you – they cannot or don’t). While it is not for me, I did like that it is totally different. But it’s not one I would ever return to. 

Ranking: 5

A1-e1
Slow beginning, but maintains the momentum. A balm compared to the last, despite slow tempo. Though transition to next section not ideal. Then it takes off. And I am enjoying this ride now. Ooh yeah. I’m liking the approach – lots of detail to be heard, good unison, excellent playing, nice dynamic differentiation (though could have even more), harmonies coming through clearly, etc. Nice long lines in the interpretation too. Strings are a touch strident in moments when exposed.  Rating: 8

A1-e2
Slower than desired tempo to start, but impact is excellent.  Slower section is ok. Dangerously slow towards the end, but here it stays together anyway before the transition to the fourth movement. Somehow, inexplicably, I am still hooked despite them nearly coming to a standstill. I think part of it is that I am hearing more detail in the quieter bits and I like the phrasing. And then – oh yeah. A good speed in the fourth, though could have been a little faster right there at the end of the clip. But since the differentiation is so high, it still works ok. Rating: 7.5

Overall:  This one works. It gave me goose bumps all the way through (especially where they took that big risk with speed, where you think they are going to crash and burn and they don’t – a real risk).

Ranking: 1

B2-e1
An oldie! But a good start. Good impact, though on the slower side. Transition loses steam as first. And then we are off to the races in an incredibly exciting version – great unison. Considering the speed and the fullness of the orchestra, it’s a remarkable accomplishment. Outstanding version. But then the woodwinds are lost (is this a recording issue – I am going to guess so, but it really makes it hard to evaluate this). Still, loved the approach. Rating: 8

B2-e2
Off to the races – exciting, though perhaps too fast as the details are harder to pass along. Still, much better nuanced than B3. Some less good unison and balance here at moments (could be recording issue). Fourth is a hair more staccato than I prefer, but keeps my attention. Rating: 6

Overall:  I would never recommend this version because of the sound (as a first choice), but some remarkable stuff. I’ve given it a bit of leeway due to the sound issues, which may not be fair, but I think the overall approach is good. This is a conductor I would have liked to have heard in better sound.

Ranking: 2
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mszczuj on February 23, 2012, 09:27:12 AM
It was easy.



No, no, no!

B1: Without ever trying to make any music outside main motifs. Unbelievable simplistic. The major question is rising: why, the hell, some people think there is any reason to listen to the classical music. Rank 5.

D1: Definitively nothing common with Schumann. But at least music. Rank 4.

Neutral:

C1: Schumann. Minimalistic Schumann. Nothing special but nothing especially wrong. Rank 3

Yes!

C3: Interesting, energetic. Introduction to 1st movement not very brave, moreless like a child tune - but at least a tune not some  boring sounds without any reason inserted here by composer who was not able to write good orchestral music.  Rank 2

Yes! Yes!

A5: Good rhetorical performance. From the very first sound you know that it is about something.  Not perfect - little too mendelssohnian conception of playing minor so I miss some energy in exposition of the 1st movement (this energy you can find in C3). But on the other hand I like its conversation-like way of connecting voices and it is sounding exactly like Dvorak because of this. Probably would grow in next listenings. Rank1


Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Sadko on February 23, 2012, 02:30:08 PM
I did read some of the comments, but since the numbers mean nothing to me and I won't remember them I think I'd like to join in, if there is time till Sunday evening.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Sadko on February 23, 2012, 06:38:43 PM
That is so interesting. I'm very curious who is who.

I think I'd like to do the other group too.

My ranking is:


1. C1
2. C3
3. D1
4. B1
5. A5

My short little notes:

A5: too slow, too heavy
B1: a bit too controlled, also slow, but breathing more than A5, also too heavy
D1: over-dramatic, stretched, heavy again, too calculated build-up of arcs, more natural than B1
C1: the first one I like. Flows, sings, natural, still a bit on the heavy side
C3: less than C1. Nice unusual contrasting of voices. Less flow, but not inorganic. A bit calculated again. A bit rushed.

Summary: C1 is the only one I like.


.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Herman on February 24, 2012, 02:02:50 AM
Is there any particular reason why most of this topic is in "white ink" i.e. I can't read most of what you guys are saying?
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Lisztianwagner on February 24, 2012, 03:54:21 AM
I enjoyed so much listening to all those different versions of the same piece, how amusing! :D

My votes for the red group:

First place: A1-e1 - The movement was very romantic and lyrical, with great intensity and brilliance; the beginning was a little slow, but it didn't make the piece lack passion, that on the contrary remained powerful and very well-played.
A1-e2 - Very gorgeous, impressive and energetic, it was highly enjoyable; again, the rythm was rather slow, but this didn't compromise the beauty of the performance. It became faster in the 4th movement, good speed, nice tempi.

Second place: C2-e1 - Excellent perfomance, it showed wonderful orchestral harmony and intesity; the beginning was faster, but it kept a right speed and a good balance.
C2-e2 - It had the slowest begginning and it sounded lacking some strenght and power compared with the 1st movement, but the soft sections were extremely melodious and enchanting. The short part of the 4th movement was very good, it had a nice speed and sounded stirring.

Third place: B2-e1- This one was an old recording, but I didn't have problems because of this; the rythm was much faster (just as I expected anyway), but the piece was very powerful and vigorous.
B2-e2 - Very quick, but also very enjoyable, harmonic and well-played.

The others, in order:
D5 - Old recording; it was pretty good and it had a good intesity, even if the instruments didn't seem to always play in unison.
A4 - The 1st movement started with grat energy, but the rythm was too uneven, fast in the Vivace, too slow in the following section; the sound of the cello after the brass was too strong, not harmonic enough; the 3rd movement was rather moving, but it lacked a bit of expressive power in the final part.
B3 - Not particularly brilliant beginning, despite having a nice speed and being played in a precise, clear way. It didn't have enough passion and melodic strenght, the notes were too sharp.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Sadko on February 24, 2012, 04:33:19 PM
Here is my RED vote:



EDIT: I changed D5 and A4 to equal, because of the chaos in D5.

1. D5 & A4
2. C2
3. B3
4. A1
5. B2

My notes:

C2: Passionate, heavy, not bad, a bit stron accentuations, e2 too triumphant
D5: That is music! e2: Some chaos in the orchestra, less convincing than e1
A4: Near, equal to D5? No, could have more flow.
B3: Too fast, not breathing. e2: totally un-romantic
A1: slowish, not breathing, not bad, uninteresting
B2: Wilful, strange stops, unnatural
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: John Copeland on February 24, 2012, 06:54:35 PM
D1 in the yellow group.  My favourite.
I am having trouble understanding why this has been eliminated, or is due for elimination.  Really.  And even worse is A1 being at the top, which was my least favourite.   :-\  I am starting to think I listen to music the wrong way round or upside down.  I can find NOTHING in A1 to heartily recommend it and almost everything in D1 to advocate and promote it.  But so many others hear it the other way around.  It is mighty confounding, I can only hope the result will provide me with some redemption.   :'(
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 25, 2012, 01:34:13 AM
D1 in the yellow group.  My favourite.
I am having trouble understanding why this has been eliminated, or is due for elimination.  Really.  And even worse is A1  being at the top, which was my least favourite.   :-\  I am starting to think I listen to music the wrong way round or upside down.  I can find NOTHING in A1  to heartily recommend it and almost everything in D1 to advocate and promote it.  But so many others hear it the other way around.  It is mighty confounding, I can only hope the result will provide me with some redemption.   :'(
I'm not sure if we can talk openly about this yet, but you bring up something that is quite interesting - 1) namely the criteria that we all used (where priorities are probably different) and 2) what preconceived ideas we have on the piece. Tempi are probably the most important for me (for this piece - I usually start by trying out the end, something I don't do for any other piece - just like with Verdi's Requiem I start with the Dies Irae and the Tuba Mirum). I could live with stacatto, less than ideal phrasing, and wrong notes if the tempo choices are right. Not everyone will agree with me. But this does perhaps provide you an answer to your question without yet giving away the game for others. If you go back and read my comments, they may give you some additional insight as well.

But this leads to my second point. Should we be open to absolutely anything in the piece or are there 'correct' ways of playing? Here is a more personal choice and one that I don't really think there is an absolute answer. The composer does not always mark every detail either. All I can say, regarding the clips in question, is that even putting my thoughts on the appraoch aside, I felt that the one you liked did not work. We can continue in cloaked form if you want to discuss or wait a day or two to do it openly.

I would add though - who cares if we had different preferences? The most interesting part is to know why we had them.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mszczuj on February 25, 2012, 02:38:00 AM
Red was not so easy

All are acceptable for me.

Yes!

Rank 6: A4 - little too unambiguous

Rank 5: B2 - the same problem but more inventive

Rank 4: D5 - trying to differentiate but in the way which makes it lacking some consistency

Rank 3: A1 - good, it makes some differentiation without lacking consistency, bu it is little to tepid

Rank 2: C2 - good, just good, not brilliant, but everything is on the right place

Yes! Yes!

Rank 1: B3 - it is little crazy, but colourful. I would say it is the most similar to the way, it was played in Schumann time. (But the listeners heard it then in the way we hear A5 from yellow set).

Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mszczuj on February 25, 2012, 03:54:14 AM
mszczuj, you have two A1 and no B2 in your ranking ;D

Fixed.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Sadko on February 25, 2012, 07:38:06 AM
I was thinking about the information the final ranking list will contain.

From my own listening I had real interest only in the ones I found "good", found it quite uninteresting to differentiate within the uninteresting. And if there is great diversity in the opinions they can equal out each other.

For a future comparison I thought about the following way: Everybody listens to all pieces (if they are not too many), and everyone picks just his top rated ones. The result would be a list ordered as to the amount of top ratings a recoding got. So even only one enthusiastic view wouldn't be lost in the result.

Because one person out of ten praising an interpretation means something different than ten finding it just one point above zero, which would look the same in the end result, with the current system.

What do you think?


Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: madaboutmahler on February 25, 2012, 02:46:02 PM
Scots John, don't you worry, you're not the only one who likes D1, and liking it is very understandable. After all, it has progressed to the second round, when so many great interpretations have already been eliminated ! Actually, just so you know, I listened to almost 50 versions, sometimes several times, to make the first selection of 20. And it was not an easy job. Therefore there are only great versions here. Everyone is entitled to like a different one among these two groups. The blind comparison is not really meant to say this one is better and the other is bad, but tries to define, by agregating everyone's preference, what would be the "ideal" recording. That means it can hardly be the more personal or original one.
Just to take an example, when Celibidache is in a comparison like that (I don't say he is this time, but I don't say he's not :P ), he is frequently eliminated very quicly. That certainly doesn't mean he was not a great conductor, and that is recordings are bad. He is a myth, his interpretations are, but you listen to them because it's Celibidache, not because it's Beethoven or Schumann or Bruckner...

I really liked D1 too! ;)

My votes for the red group will hopefully be posted tommorow morning.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Sadko on February 25, 2012, 04:15:50 PM
The problem with this idea is that it would actually not reflect as well everyone's preferences. If one person votes for a version A and everyone else for B, then the pro-A is forgotten. Voting for only one version per person would lead to a problem which would be similar of the Tocquevillian critique against democracy (tyranny of the majority). You would then not define the "ideal reference recording" of a work, but the interpretation which is liked by most people. This is not the aim of a blind comparison, for that you just need to see the charts on Amazon.
The Condorcet system allows to define which is the most consensual recording, the version in which qualities are generally recognized by everyone, and about which very few flaws are . A version can even win such a comparison without ever being first in the votes.
Again, that doesn't mean this is the only recording you need to know, or the best one, or everyone's favourite. This is just a little exercise. And this is an occasion to hear some different interpretations too : the result is interesting but the most interesting part is hearing new things, new points of view on a particular musical work.

Hearing new things and new views - I agree. And don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for your efforts, and it is an interesting thing you are doing here, which is what made me wish to take part :)

But I'd still like to discuss the "theoretical" aspects: My idea was that the "result" is the whole list of favourites, not just the one winner. For in politics one has to decide for one thing or the other to be done, while in art you can have a few winners that could never go together :) If for example my favourites all dropped out of the final selection and I had to vote for the "least uninteresting" - wouldn't this vote be almost meaningless and not really indicate much about the value of the selected work?
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: John Copeland on February 25, 2012, 08:29:50 PM
mszczuj, you have two A1 and no B2 in your ranking ;D

Scots John, don't you worry, you're not the only one ...

Ach, I didnt notice the white font or I would have responded earlier.  Thank you for your response.  It is Sunday, the day of reckoning for the Schumann 4, and I'm pretty excited to see whose take it is I like so much, and do some analysis on the most popular one.  I think we are all well impressed by the time and process you have invested in these projects, they help us all to understand what it is that makes music tick for us, regardless of how 'popular' ones choice is.  It is an outstanding excercise in the appreciation of quality music.
The real quality here, of course, being my own choice, D1    lolol   :D :D
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Lisztianwagner on February 26, 2012, 05:48:14 AM
I'm looking forward to seeing the results and knowing which versions will be eliminated. :)
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: madaboutmahler on February 26, 2012, 06:57:08 AM
9 hours to go :P (and 6 votes to wait for).

I should be able to post my vote before 7.00 :)
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: madaboutmahler on February 26, 2012, 11:25:13 AM
Sorry, I have not had the chance to listen to the red group today so will have to pull out of voting for that selection. Enjoyed making my yellow vote though! :D
Looking forward to seeing the results.
Beethoven's Große Fuge, his original finale for quartet op. 130 : I'm currently starting to listen more than 40 versions to do the selection).

How impressive, thank you for your dedication to this forum already! :) I am sure that is on behalf of everyone here! :)
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: John Copeland on February 26, 2012, 02:03:21 PM
Come on, come on, I'm near choking to find out whats what!!   ;D
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: DavidW on February 26, 2012, 02:04:37 PM
Come on, come on, I'm near choking to find out whats what!!   ;D

Exactly my thoughts too... for days! :D :D
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: DavidW on February 26, 2012, 04:34:44 PM
So Dausgaard was my favorite!?  Awesome!  Will have to listen on spotify. :)
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: John Copeland on February 26, 2012, 04:38:34 PM
I'll send the listening informations for the finals tomorrow. Here are the versions, in the order of listening (but you can do otherwise)if you forgot (the 1st ranked are 1 & 2, then are the 2nd, in order defined by a neutral draw ;) )

- A1
- A5
- B2
- C3
- D5

 :-\ This is getting like the elections in Syria.   lolol     :P  Great stuff.  I was with Furty, proving myself to be an 'old school' listener after all.  I am very happy with that result, reagrdless of it being last in the semi finals.  I am now going to GET that recording now that I know what it is, and I am perfectly happy I made the right choice (for me).  This has been VERY worthwile Discobole, thank you.   :D :D :D   Delighted.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Sadko on February 26, 2012, 04:42:56 PM
Yes, I also saw my preferences in my votes confirmed (so far), not being influenced by names.

I'll have to look at Levine's Schumann then :-)

But what I'm really curious about is the identity of D5, maybe the other Cantelli?

Thanks from me too, Discobole.

PS.: I have been checking out Amazon for Cantelli, quite a lot there, and a tragic story, as I read on wikipedia, he died in a plane crash at Paris Orly, aged only 36.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 26, 2012, 10:40:29 PM
Now, who did you eliminate ?

5th : version D1, Berliner Philharmoniker, Wilhelm Furtwängler (DG, 14/5/1953)

There it is ! It progressed, not without difficulty, after the first round, but Furtie couldn't renew this performance and the fans were not that many. D1 is really, really far behind the 4 others.
That doesn't change anything to the fact this is a tremendous performance, a monument of recorded music, recorded in a single take (!) by Furtwängler. This interpretation is overwhelming, the tension never leaves the music, from beginning to end. But the blind comparison does not really correspond to this version : by comparing, you forget about tension and the slow tempo is too exotic (when it is so easily forgotten in a normal situation).
Reeditions are of course on DG, but also Tahra, which I used for its superior sound quality, and to avoid that too many among participants recognized thanks to the acoustics only ;)
Hmmm. Furtwangler has yet to impress me, despite a titanic reputation in Wagner and Beethoven. I never understood what people saw in his Beethoven (often has people raving about him), which is why I have generally stayed away from him. And here comes yet another disaster (and disaster is what I think it is, particularly with the tempo choices). I think comparing does not hurt this version any worse though. There is a lack of tension in that first clip too (which is the problem) and the same problems that are evident in that clip are magnified much more in the second. Now if you like the first clip, I imagine the second clip is even better. But I think he totally misses the boat with this one.

It will be very interesting to hear all the finalists and I will try to forget everything I head and listen to it all with a fresh ear.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 27, 2012, 03:00:44 AM
5th : version D1, Berliner Philharmoniker, Wilhelm Furtwängler (DG, 14/5/1953)
That doesn't change anything to the fact this is a tremendous performance, a monument of recorded music, recorded in a single take (!) by Furtwängler. This interpretation is overwhelming, the tension never leaves the music, from beginning to end.

I was with Furty, proving myself to be an 'old school' listener after all.

I'm not playing the game but have read the results with interest. Fun to go back and see what people thought now that we know which is which (among the eliminations). Furtwängler's Fourth has been my favorite for over thirty years. (In fact, shortly after I joined GMG I claimed it was the definitive performance...which brought the wrath of the forum down on my head ;D )  Sorry to see it knocked out so early. And Szell's very different kind of Fourth...another long time favorite gone now   :'(

Sarge
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: madaboutmahler on February 27, 2012, 09:08:53 AM

I'll have to look at Levine's Schumann then :-)


Me too!

Thank you from me also, Discobole.
I look very much forward to the next round! :)
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Lisztianwagner on February 27, 2012, 09:14:16 AM
Szell's version was left out; what a pity, it was one of my favourites in the red group!
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: madaboutmahler on February 27, 2012, 02:10:57 PM
Thank you, Discobole!! :)

I hope to post my votes sometime during this week.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: John Copeland on February 27, 2012, 03:20:26 PM
And, for the record, here is the general ranking, updated after the second round :

6. Philharmonia Orchestra, Guido Cantelli (EMI, 5/1953) (A4, T2, 4e/6, cm 2,56)
7. Berliner Philharmoniker, Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Teldec, live 1/1995) (B1, T2, 3e/5, cm 3)
8. Philadelphia Orchestra, James Levine (RCA, 1978) (C1, T2, 4e/5, cm 3,07)
9. Cleveland Orchestra, George Szell (CBS, 12/3/1960) (C2, T2, 5e/6, cm pondéré 3,09)
10. Svenska Kammarorkestern, Thomas Dausgaard (BIS, 2009?) (B3, T2, 6e/6, cm pondéré 3,33)
11. Berliner Philharmoniker, Wilhelm Furtwängler (DG, 14/5/1953) (D1, T2, 5e/5, cm 3,5)
12. New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein (Columbia/Sony, 1960) (D2, T1, 3e)
13. Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan (EMI, 4/1957) (D3, T1, 4e, cm 3)
-. Boston Symphony Orchestra, Erich Leinsdorf (RCA, 1963) (B4, T1, 4e, cm 3)
15. Staatskapelle Dresden, Herbert von Karajan (ORF/DG, live 13/8/1972) (A3, T1, 4e, cm 3,25)
16. Orchestre révolutionnaire et romantique, John Eliot Gardiner (Archiv, 1997) (C4, T1, 4e, cm 3,43)
17. London Symphony Orchestra, Karl Böhm (ORF/Andante, live 10/8/1975) (B5, T1, 4e, cm 4)
18. Wiener Philharmoniker, Leonard Bernstein (DG, live 1984) (C5, T1, 4e, cm 4,14)
19. Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Runfunks, Rafael Kubelik (RCA, 18/5/1979) (D4, T1, 4e, cm 4,6)
20. Tonhalleorchester Zürich, David Zinman (Arte Nova, 10/2003) (A2, T1, 4e, cm 5)

Excellent Dicobole, you are conducting this study with commendable detail.  What a shame Furty is at 11.  Some people just don't know good music played brilliantly when they hear it...  :P  I will tune in to what IS being heard with what you've sent us.  Thanks again.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Que on February 28, 2012, 09:32:36 AM
Don't mention it, I'm just interested ;D

Oh, by the way, anyone can still participate in the finals, if new participants want to join ! 8)

Please count me in. :)

I see a few I like amongst the drop-outs: the live Harnoncourt and I recently got Kubelik and liked that as well. Still, no sign of Sawallisch yet... ::)

Q
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: jlaurson on February 28, 2012, 01:05:44 PM
Don't mention it, I'm just interested ;D

Oh, by the way, anyone can still participate in the finals, if new participants want to join ! 8)

Very well! I love your methodology. My ears are primed.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Scion7 on February 28, 2012, 05:53:05 PM
On vinyl, I have rec.1974  Kubelik/Berlin Philharmonic on DG -
but I found the complete symphonies set by Chailly/Gwandhavsorchester in a used book store cheap and grabbed it.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: DavidW on February 29, 2012, 04:43:51 PM
Jens, if you don't mind, would you please put all comments (even the symmetric one you posted) related to the specific samples in white so that the rest of us who haven't listened yet won't be influenced? :)
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 01, 2012, 12:02:34 AM
The order in which I listen to the various movements of each performance (so far I've been working one movement at a time) seems to have a considerable influence on how I like them.

Anyone else found that (the general order thing, not the specific example) to be the case, too? 
I have a different approach. I think it's important to hear the clips in the context they were meant to be heard, so I will not start with direct comparisons of clips, but rather listen to the clips for each version in order. I think it is important to hear the artists' decisions within the context of the whole. After I have gone through them all, I will almost certainly start comparing the same moments across the clips (especially since I already know all the versions are interesting in some unique way, having participated in the previous round). I have also decided that I will try to listen to each set of clips (from each conductor/orchestra) on a different day (or at least not back to back) in order to let each interpretation breathe. This may create more work for me later, but I would like as independent opinion as possible for each. The advantage I hope to gain is a 'feel' for each version and better insight into the reasons they made certain decisions and how they inter-relate. This will help me determine if the whole is better than the sums of the parts or not (which is something I feel we should strive to capture when we compare like this).   

But I digress. The order can influence your opinion to some degree, I would agree. Yet the 'best' version should still stand out. And in any case, this is part of our job as the evaluator to try to recognize why one version works better than another. In fact, this becomes an opportunity to comment on some aspect of the playing/interpretation. In the end, I am less intersted in the order that people choose, but rather their reasons for doing so. Some of the comments have been very effective - whereby I read them and can tell whether I will like a version or not (regardless of whether the poster liked them or not - and often I come to the exact opposite conconclusion based on their evidence, because I have different priorities in listening).
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Sadko on March 01, 2012, 07:22:30 PM
This was quite a different experience for me, I see now I really need more excerpts to appreciate the whole work.

I understood a lot about my own criteria, and I HAVE FOUND MY LOVE. I HAVE SEEN THE FACE IN THE LOCKET, NOW I MUST HEAR THE DIVINE NAME! :)

For the overall comparison I tried to find vivid images to be able to keep all the interpretations in mind, some of them turned out to be a bit irreverent :)

Thanks a lot Discobole for this enriching experience!


My ranking is:

A5  #1
A1  #2
D5  #3
C3  #4
B2  #5

---------------------------------------

And here are my notes, in the original order

D5
==

flows & breathes
power & drive, but still romantic
dramatic, passionate
sometimes rushed, needed to relax & relish

Character: The virile, ardent, boisterous, impatient, emotional young man

---------------------------------------

B2
==

Good start - but then the wilful stops
very fast, but not rushed
"funny" ping-pong effect, is he taking the work serious?
Zero romanticism
a caricature
ROMANZE: A tight grip that allows no free flow, but well done.
A "romanze" it is not.
Something stretched, mechanical, hurdy-gurdy like.
SCHERZO: Again, it doesn't dance, it's exercise,
the "song-like" melody doesn't sing, but says: UP!-down-UP!-down
LANGSAM: We are supposed to see a mystery unfold, but it doesn't happen.
And then he is happy he can do jump-exercise again.

Character: Arrogant drill sergeant makes the composition jump in the yard.

---------------------------------------

C3
==

Sadness. A bit "Symphonie pathétique". Drive.
Rushed - and then slowing down strangely
Inorganic tempi.
Heavy.
Again, an abrupt accelerando, like switched on instead of developed.
ROMANZE: More a funeral march. The "song" is very slow, and heavy.
SCHERZO: Carnival of the Animals: Elephants. It even tries to dance.
LANGSAM: BIG!
LEBHAFT: Heavy

Character: The sad circus elephant.

---------------------------------------

A1
==

Nice opening, but the slowness is also a bit "inflexible". A bit on the heavy side, but also earthbound and straightforward. Clarity. With longer listening I see the emotionality here too, it is not so in your face.
ROMANZE: Again a bit heavy, not so outspoken, but: tenderness within solidity.
SCHERZO: Heavy! Lament: Heavy opening = "Scherzo" of grim fate. Like above: It does make sense, it is convincing.
LANGSAM: Story is continued. I like it!
LEBHAFT: Rebellion, turmoil.
I quite changed my opinion on hearing more of the whole.

Character: The middle-aged man, controlled face, straightforward thinking, behaving rationally, with a sensitive, melancholic heart, carrying heavy weights of fate on his shoulders.

---------------------------------------

A5
==

Even more fate. Very sad, more flexible, tender, and extrovert than previous A1. Very convincing & nice. Yes, also agility here. Sings. Dramatic, flows. This seems to really be able to follow the mercurially changing stream of qualities in the composition. And it does not impose anything on it, it RELEASES what is in it, rather than putting its STAMP on it.
ROMANZE: ... so many colours readily available on the palette ... It is just right.
SCHERZO: ...
LANGSAM: Wonderful transition ... as above, all is there!
LEBHAFT: as above

Character: The soul-mate of the composition is able to produce the full spectrum. The composition can sing through him freely, beautifully, in its full richness, without alienation.

---------------------------------------

Ranking: Do I need to re-compare? Lets see what is clear so far:

A5   #1 beyond any doubt ("The soul-mate")
B2   #5 impertinence ("The arrogant drill sergeant")
C3   #4 clear too ("The sad circus elephant")

D5 & A1    "The ardent man" versus "The controlled melancholic"? I must re-compare.

A1: The orchestral playing is of course much better. The whole thing is more polished and very clear.
No, I think, I enjoy D5, but it is:

A1   #2 ("The controlled melancholic")
D5   #3 ("The ardent man")


EDIT: I removed the white.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: madaboutmahler on March 06, 2012, 10:21:24 AM
Just started now, and enjoying it all of course! :D

Shall either post my votes later this evening or tommorow.

I love Schumann 4 so much!
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: madaboutmahler on March 06, 2012, 03:03:02 PM
Spent the last 4 hours or so listening to Schumann 4 and enjoyed every second of it! :)

Here is my vote for the final:

(notes included first though)

A1
1)   Really moving performance of the opening. An excellent tempo, the lines perhaps could be shaped even more. Beautiful though. Great accelerando towards a brilliant tempo for the allegro. I had a few problems with the balances, but these criticisms are extremely picky and didn’t affect my enjoyment too much. ;) Later on in the movement, I realise why I have a bit of problem with this performance so far. I feel that there is not enough dynamic contrast, phrasing and the balance is not always perfect, IMHO. It’s just not exciting me the way it should in this allegro. The orchestra is playing beautifully however, I blame the conductor. ;) (Oh dear... it will probably turn out to be one of the greats.... ;) )
2)   Hmmm.... Same kind of problems. The playing is not warm enough for me also.
3)   Not bad. It just doesn’t excite me... and I don’t like the balance and dynamics, and where the hell is the phrasing, in the second lyrical melody. This is in the top 5? Maybe I’m just being too harsh... but seriously, it just seems to lack feeling.
4)   Slow, but rather powerful opening. Again, the allegro just lacks thrill and enthusiasm. Ends well I suppose. It seems that the very opening and very ending are the best parts of the performance, and what happens in between is rather dull. For me at least.

As you have guessed, I am not too enthusiastic about this performance. It lacks power, beauty, excitement and enthusiasm. I put this down to the conductor really. The orchestra plays well. There is just too little phrasing and balance in the performance. Perhaps I am being too harsh, but I was not moved and made excited by this performance. Rant over. ;)

A5
1)   Yes... this is more like it! :D Beautifully handled opening. Gorgeous playing, with excellent phrasing, dynamics and it is played with such passion! Wonderful performance of the allegro, great tempo with brilliant playing from the orchestra, excellently controlled.
2)   Beautiful. Very lyrical playing, expressed very well. Well, listening now to the violin solo... this is excellent. Wonderful phrasing and expressive playing.
3)   Brilliant performance. Great tempo, thrilling! Ok, one of my favourite parts of the symphony, the lyrical second subject. Excellent, beautifully balanced. Too many conductors focus too much on the violin line, when in my view it should be the winds singing out the most, which this conductor allows! :) Delightful and charming.
4)   Powerful opening, very passionate and expressive. The rest is excellent and highly enjoyable.

Well, this is excellent! Close to perfect really, I found barely anything to criticise at all! Absolutely brilliant.

B2
1)   Ooooh, another old one! I don’t really mind the hissing in the background as apart from that, I think the orchestra is recorded really well. Very moving, passionate and powerful opening. Beautiful dynamics and articulations. Brilliant allegro, a great tempo choice. I love the way this orchestra play, very warm and enthusiastic with a precise attention to the detail of the articulations and dynamics. Wonderfully phrased and balanced.
2)   Beautifully expressed melody with an excellent sense of shaping and rubato. Charming violin solo, so beautiful and romantic!
3)   Thrilling tempo! Brilliant, exciting performance. The second subject is nicely phrased, and expressively played but perhaps could be just that bit more romantic. (or maybe I’m just saying that because the romantic section started playing just as Scarlet sent me a message!!!! :) :) ) And the winds need to come out more! Apart from that, I must have enjoyed this performance of the movement as I have re-listened to it quite a few times...
4)   The opening perhaps lacks a bit of momentum. The allegro that follows is perfectly fine and highly enjoyable. Wonderful ending.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this performance. I loved the tempo choices, and the orchestra were always persuasive and enjoyable to listen to. Wonderfully balanced, phrased with great dynamic/tempo contrasts and emotional excitement.

C3
1)   A very beautiful performance of the opening. And the allegro that follows is also brilliant, I love the excellent balance and connection between the orchestra. The lyrical theme of the movement is handled in a very lyrical way, beautiful!
2)   Rather good. Sometimes in this movement, the expression seems to be held back a little. Not in all parts though.
3)   Good tempo, could be a little more energy. What a wonderful, warm, charming trio section though. This really is some of my favourite Schumann! :) So delightful!
4)   Powerful opening. The rest of the movement is greatly enjoyable. Like I heard in the first movement and in the trio, a wonderful connection between the orchestra throughout this movement. Loved the ending too.

Overall, a good performance. In particular, the outer movements and the trio. I felt that the romanza and scherzo could have been played with more expression though. But overall, good but can’t really compete with A5 or B2.

D5
1)   Beautiful. Some unexpected dynamic contrasts which really are beautiful. Brilliant allegro, highly enjoyable, the playing is great! I am really impressed by this.
2)   Nicely shaped melody, but maybe the playing overall is not as romantic as it should be... good sense of rubato and balance though. The orchestra is not quite perfect here but still plays expressively with a wonderful warm tone.
3)   Very strong and heavy! Great tempo, with very exciting playing from the orchestra. I think the tempo changes within the scherzo work well. Balance not to my taste in the trio, but played rather beautifully. Maybe just a tiny tiny little too fast, and no rubato...
4)   Beautifully expressed and powerful opening.... very moving! Great tempo for the allegro, with very enthusiastic playing from the orchestra. Extremely enjoyable!  The whole performance uses a really expressive use of rubato, far more than any of the others. To me it really works. Great dynamics. Love the ending too, great increase in tempo.

Overall, a really great performance. I particularly am impressed and love the use of dynamic contrast and rubato. Great tempo choices, and the playing is nearly always expressive and inviting. 

So, in order:

1) A5
2) B2
3) D5
4) C3
5) A1

Really enjoyed this and am very excited to hear the results! Thank you, discobole!
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: arkadin on March 08, 2012, 01:36:49 PM
how can i attend ?
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 10, 2012, 01:04:02 AM
I wrote more than I was expecting (got carried away). I've left it in case there was interest. Results are in the first paragraph. I highlighted the overall results of each submission if you don't want to read clip by clip comments. 

Most interesting. I chose A1 as the winner. Actually, I felt it won by a lot. It left the door open on the last clip, but none of them were ideal there either. Interesting that A1 and C3 were my #1 picks in the two scenarios and here they were #1 and #2 (I didn’t look at my earlier notes until I heard all five, so good to know I am consistent  - phew!). C3, A5, and B2 (in that order) were closely grouped, but D5 was clearly a ways back for me, mostly due to strange tempos. Despite this, it did have excellent phrasing and stylish sound. If not for the tempo changes, this could have been a real contender.  Also interesting – none of these was ideal, particularly in the last clip. A1 came closest, but despite listening to all of these different and wonderful versions, I don’t feel I have found ‘the one’ for me yet from these groupings.

A1
Clip 1: Nice start in terms of atmosphere and sound. Good dynamics and phrasing in terms of differentiation throughout. Great impact. Speeds up and becomes thrilling. Oh man, this is heaven. Lots of detail. The constant movement in dynamics and phrasing that are heard here are impressive (more than others) and this really adds a ton of impact. Good forward thrust. Overall - impressive.  Rating: 9.
Clip 2: Prettily done and overall moving. String soloist is good and nicely highlighted.  Rating: 8
Clip 3: And this wonderful start is even more impressive in context. Wow!  A little more exaggeration of dynamics/phrasing could have made it even better in a couple places. Good consistency in terms of speed. Slowdown towards end works, amazingly so.  Rating:  8.5
Clip 4: Build up is spine tingling. Very organic build up – really well done! Rating: 9
Clip 5: Some muddiness in strings at moments. Speed – ach, wish they had started faster. Still, excellent. But they have left the door open here. But they do make the rest of it effective. Such a slight blemish, I know, because they do pick up momentum. Race to end is exciting.  Rating:  7.5.
Overall:  A1 has set the bar very high. Playing and style have been at a very high level. I will definitely consider acquiring this one. Slight let down in the last clip, but nothing is less than good. Going back and comparing, one of the things I love about this is the legato playing. Some sound too clipped or staccato (and some go too legato all the time), while this one a better balance in this regard. It made the difference for me in terms of being moved by it. There is also more going on with the dynamics/phrasing and I responded to that. There is a lot of great detail audible here. The details and nuances of inflection, phrasing, dynamics, etc, are one of this version’s most admirable qualities.

Rank: 1

A5
Clip 1: Crisp start. A bit statelier than A1, but quite lyrical and well played. And we’re off - better playing in terms of crispness and precision. A bit faster, so perhaps doesn’t emphasize the emotional aspects quite as much. It doesn’t always get quite as much sound from low brass (at around the 5-5:30 mark) and even brass in general.  Sometimes I wanted more. Brighter than A1. Rating: 8.
Clip 2: Loses momentum a bit at the start. Liked solo a bit less than A1 – seems to get lost a bit at times in the orchestra (perhaps a recording issue). Perhaps a bit more mechanical playing here. Rating: 6.5.
Clip 3: Nice crisp, energetic start. Great!  This is a more stately approach. Great in the bombastic parts, but seems to let me down in the quieter, lyrical parts. I think it is played a bit too staccato in places. Still, excellent playing. Good amount of detail.  Rating: 7.
Clip 4: Played well. Did its job. Rating: 7.
Clip 5: Slower too. But then picks up. Again, very nice playing, and some wonderful moments. I felt they could have let their hair down a bit more throughout. Very exciting end. Rating: 7.5.
Overall: This is a grander version in many ways, and less overtly emotional for me. I liked it. It’s played well. But it doesn’t touch me like A1 did. It doesn’t make as effective use of the extremes.  And I didn’t like some of the phrasing, but that is what differentiates this version in many ways. But still worthy to be in the final (and I rather hope that someone will champion it – it has a lot of good qualities).

Rank: 3

B2
Clip 1: Adjusting for the poor sound. A lot of phrasing and dynamic differentiation at the beginning of this one.  And we’re off, almost wildly (too wildly?). Boy is this exciting, though it frays a bit at times. At the four minute mark, it sounds strange  - instruments badly recorded there?  Perhaps a bit too staccato (especially in some of the declamatory moments). Rating: 7
Clip 2: Perhaps slow, but I really enjoyed the almost duet quality that starts this off. A real melancholy feel, which the violin solo changes. Lovely effect there.  This movement captures a good sense of quiet, melancholy and longing. Rating: 8.
Clip 3: Love it fast – this almost too much so, though it’s a brilliant contrast with the previous movement. Good playing here (though a hair clipped :)). A little muddy when the strings play their unison part, though style is good.  Tremendous contrasts here (within the clip and compared to the previous one). Rating: 7.5.
Clip 4: Pretty good. Rating: 6.
Clip 5: Good speed (though clipped/staccato). Seems a bit tame here though compared to some of the earlier playing. A little more legato would have gone a long way. But the buildup as it goes on is quite good. And then it flies like the wind at the end. It soars. Rating: 7.
Overall: Shame about the sound, but a very good interpretation.  Lack of punch in brass (almost certainly a recording issue) is a real shame as a number of moments are less than they could be. The approach overall is well done and I imagine this must have been quite impressive to hear in person. Certainly deserving to be in the final.

Rank: 4

C3
Clip 1: Nice start. Though loses a bit of energy. I could see someone liking the sweep of it, though for me, a bit draggy. There is some congestion in the tuttis (but I will ignore that for the purposes of this listening). And then it goes at a nice tempo, but the playing is ragged to start (which really reduces the impact). Winds have a bit of highlighting in the sound. I find the continual lack of unison and precision irritating (in some parts caused by an inconsistency in tempo and entrances), for which I marked it down. Also not loving the balance (which may be a technical issue, but I find irritating). Rating: 6.5.
Clip 2: Another version, where the start is almost like a duet. Some really beautiful playing. Solo violin is also quite beautiful. It is a bit slow when the violin enters, but it somehow suits this interpretation. Rating: 8.5.
Clip 3: Nice start, but a bit clipped in style, which changes the impact of the movement. Nice overall, but doesn’t grab me. Rating: 7.
Clip 4: Nice build up. Really gorgeous playing here. Rating: 8.5.
Clip 5: Slow, stately start. Speeds up, and gives it a bit more momentum. And then it slows down around the 2:15 mark– not effective. But as they settle in to the speed, they do ok. This one doesn’t do well at building the excitement. It is more of a roller coaster in this respect.  Rating: 7   
Overall: Fine version let down by some imprecise playing in the early movements. The staccato playing is not always stylistically the right choice in my opinion, but perhaps there are those here who will prefer it.  A good version though.

Rank: 2

D5
Clip 1:  Not quite as impactful a start. Improves as it goes on. First couple of minutes are mixed, but then they seem to get it together a bit.  Some unison and wrong note issues. Sudden speed at about 9:40. Did anyone else do this?  Rating: 7.
Clip 2: Opening theme is out of synch with the strings to start, which lessens the impact. A bit dull to me. String solo – entrance early (and again unison is not as precise as I’d like). Phrasing is pretty good.  Rating: 6.5
Clip 3: Quick and fleet. Finally, they sound together. And then they slow down (too much)! Ugh. And then fast again. Then slow. Then fast.  (I didn’t know I could get a whiplash from listening to music). Absolutely destroys this movement and the flow. It’s a coarse way of playing it in my opinion. Rating: 3
Clip 4: Trying to repair the damage, and the movement has a pretty good buildup, though not quite as exciting as some of the others. Some details not heard (probably due to recording issues). Rating: 7.
Clip 5: And we’re off! Nice. Some unison issues. And then a bit slower, and slowing down even more. Do I need to insert a quarter?!?!? And now they are close to disaster, but they speed up tremendously.  And then a bit slower. This one has some nice effects and phrasing (really fine, that some of the others don’t come close to), but it is totally outdone by some strange tempo changes. The highlight of some moments is excellent, but the overall line is damaged to make a certain moment shine. And the ending is brilliant (fast and furious). Rating: 5
Overall: This one is ruined by strange inconsistencies or changes in tempo that distract (neurotic perhaps). Some outstanding phrasing and style. Shame, because it does a number of things better than (or as good as) the others.

Rank:  5
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mszczuj on March 11, 2012, 10:36:36 AM

My opinion have somehow been changed after listening to all the fragments.

Bad
Rank5 B2 - Not good at all. Played as the orchestral fireworks not as the spiritual experience.
Rank4 D5 - All the slow is too slow when compared with the fast. Like if it was only contrast between them in this symphony. And it is not the very interesting slow.

Good
Rank3 C3 - Good but there is sometimes too much hurry in the fast movements. I don't mean tempo. It is like if it was a movement which goes in one direction. It is not always but sometimes.
Rank2 A1 - Good but not very brillant. But it is more acceptable when you listen to it some more times.

Very good
Rank1 A5 - The only one which make some sense in the Finale and this is not an easy task. It seems to be much slower that it really is. And this is not because of the dullness but because of the richness.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Lisztianwagner on March 11, 2012, 01:31:55 PM
Listening to so many versions of Schumann No.4 was very amusing, I look forward to seeing the results! ;D
My comments:

A1
1. The opening was slow, but passionate and harmonic; great tempo, with great intesity in the Allegro, which was very powerful and beautifully played; very melodious and brilliant second theme. Excellent phrasing and balance among the instruments.
2. Quite romantic and lyrical, it expressed a rather melancholic, but melodious, moving atmosphere; very good violin solo.
3. Very powerful and impressive opening. Nice tempo, good phrasing of the themes; the lyrical melody was charming and enjoyable. The rythm was a bit slow, making the movement lack some passion and expressive strenght.
4. It started in a very beautiful and thrilling way, but it sounded lacking power in some parts of the Allegro, which was enchanting and brillaint though. The Finale is very intense and dynamic.

A5
1. Gorgeous opening, incredibly passionate and powerful; the phrasing was wonderful and the first theme showed much intesity and orchestral brilliance. Great balance and rythm, it was a highly enjoyable performance, very well-played.
2. Very moving and romantic movement, powerfully emotional, with amazing rythm and tempo; the violin solo was very melodious and technically wonderful.
3. Such a thrilling and powerful performance, I appreciated it very much; the rythm was perfect and phrasing beautiful, they gave great passion and harmony to the movement.
4. Higly expressive and intense opening; the rest of the movement was melodious, colourful and very beautiful, with a powerful and striking finale.

B2
1. I adore the old recordings. The rythm was very fast, but intense and brilliant at the same time; also the choice of the tempo is very good. Very gorgeous and powerful opening, so was the allegro, certainly bright and  impressive. The orchestra sounded very fine and precise, great quality.
2. Beautiful and charming playing, rather expressive and moving; enchanting violin solo, very well supported by the orchestra.
3. Powerful and vibrant beginning; also excellent phrasing between the first melody, very exciting and rich of energy, and the second one, harmonic and melodious. Fast and involving rythm.
4. Very good opening, intense and well-played; the allegro was rather strong and beautiful, although the tone sometimes seemed to grow faint a bit too much, maybe because of the not perfect sound quality. Powerful and thrilling finale.

C3
1. Brilliant and expressive opening, rather passionate; the introduction to the Allegro was too slow, it lacked some strenght and intesity, but it remained powerful and moving enough anyway. The lyrical theme was melodious and romantic. Nice connection of the melodies, even if the passages sometimes sounded hasty.
2. Enjoyable and rather enchanting, but it sounded lacking harmony during the performance.
3. Fairly passionate and intense; good, but maybe little slow rythm, which didn't create enough strenght and power.
4. Started in a very enegetic and vibrant way, rather valuable; the final part was very moving and intense as well; a good performance, brillaint.

D5
1. It was another old recording, the sound quality was much better here. Beautifully played by the orchestra, the movement was powerful and dynamic, brilliant and harmonic.
2. Not as romantic, passionate and lyrical as the other versions; otherwise, again the orchestra played in a fine and enthustiastic way, certainly enjoyable.
3. Rather expressive and strong, but the rythm was not perfectly balanced, it sometimes changed during the performance.
4. Both the opening and the finale were beautiful, quite intense and powerful; here the choices of tempo and rythm returned on a good level, particularly warm and involving in the Allegro, more slow and enphatic in the soft part.

In order, my ranking:
A5
B2
A1
C3
D5
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Sadko on March 11, 2012, 01:42:00 PM
I'm interested in the preferences of our participants, so I made a little table with the choices.

Since I don't know how to make a white coloured table I made a screenshot:

http://s14.directupload.net/images/120311/z75b3rx2.gif (http://s14.directupload.net/images/120311/z75b3rx2.gif)
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 11, 2012, 02:05:48 PM
I'm interested in the preferences of our participants, so I made a little table with the choices.

Since I don't know how to make a white coloured table I made a screenshot:

http://s14.directupload.net/images/120311/z75b3rx2.gif (http://s14.directupload.net/images/120311/z75b3rx2.gif)

It's very nifty to see it that way. Thanks! I hope there will be a few more votes. It would have been unanimous on the #1 choice except for me!  :o
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: madaboutmahler on March 11, 2012, 02:25:30 PM
I'm interested in the preferences of our participants, so I made a little table with the choices.

Since I don't know how to make a white coloured table I made a screenshot:

http://s14.directupload.net/images/120311/z75b3rx2.gif (http://s14.directupload.net/images/120311/z75b3rx2.gif)

Thanks for this. Can't wait for the performances to be revealed!

By the way, Ilaria - it seems our votes are almost identical! Just one difference! You have good taste! :P
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Lisztianwagner on March 11, 2012, 02:32:48 PM
Thanks for this. Can't wait for the performances to be revealed!

By the way, Ilaria - it seems our votes are almost identical! Just one difference! You have good taste! :P

Are they? Let me have a look.....
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Lisztianwagner on March 11, 2012, 02:35:05 PM
Are they? Let me have a look.....

Ah, you're right; I suppose this means you have good taste too. ;)

Can't wait to see the results and the names of the interpreters!
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Sadko on March 11, 2012, 02:37:09 PM

Can't wait to see the results and the names of the interpreters!

Looking at the votes so far I have the feeling we have got to wait a bit longer ...
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: madaboutmahler on March 11, 2012, 02:41:30 PM
Ah, you're right; I suppose this means you have good taste too. ;)

 ;D

Looking at the votes so far I have the feeling we have got to wait a bit longer ...

According to the original intentions, there are only 20 minutes to go until the results shall be revealed....
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Sadko on March 11, 2012, 02:54:08 PM
So it is "official" now, we'll have to wait till Tuesday, midnight.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: arkadin on March 13, 2012, 01:48:34 PM
it was difficuld decision because i m not a good schumanian,

1st  D5 : more expressive and sharper than the others, more unexpected change of volume of sound made it first
2nd B2 : i like old recordings, they have deeper sound, tempo was very fast, it was the only weak side
3rd  A5 : perfect recording, it has no weak side but has no special side as well
4th  C3 : unbalanced in general about tempo and expressiveness, it s also nice old recording
5th  A1 : as you see slow tempo brought it last, but i didn't say i didn't like it.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Sadko on March 13, 2012, 05:03:25 PM
For the readers of this thread who didn't take part in the reviewing, here is the result, as told by Discobole:

    1. A5
    2. A1
    3. D5
    4. B2
    5. C3

    5th - C3 : Philharmonic Promenade Orchestra (London Philharmonic Orchestra), Adrian Boult (Nixa/Westminster, 8/1956)

    4th - B2 : Deutsches Philharmonisches Orchester Prag, Joseph Keilberth (1942)

    3rd - D5 : Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Leipzig, Hermann Abendroth (Edel/Berlin Classics, 31/3/1956)

    2nd : A1 - Berliner Philharmoniker, Klaus Tennstedt (EMI, 4/1980)

    1st : A5 - Staatskapelle Dresden, Wolfgang Sawallisch (EMI, 9/1972)
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 13, 2012, 11:09:11 PM
For those who like pictures:

Here is the final ranking :

1. A5
2. A1
3. D5
4. B2
5. C3

You can also see the table of votes (http://img15.hostingpics.net/pics/780442schumfin1.jpg) and the table of preferences (http://img15.hostingpics.net/pics/888947schumfin2.jpg).

The versions are :

5th - C3 : Philharmonic Promenade Orchestra (London Philharmonic Orchestra), Adrian Boult (Nixa/Westminster, 8/1956)

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/5/59/Sir-adrian-boult.jpg/250px-Sir-adrian-boult.jpg)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51XdMfvQ1IL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

4th - B2 : Deutsches Philharmonisches Orchester Prag, Joseph Keilberth (1942)

(http://www.testament.co.uk/images/Keilberth.jpg)

(http://www.forgottenrecords.com/images/covers/cache/SCHUMANN%20SYMP%201%20ET%204%20KEILBERTH%20front_192.jpg)

3rd - D5 : Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Leipzig, Hermann Abendroth (Edel/Berlin Classics, 31/3/1956)

(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-K0O3TDFpI8U/TwIk1Tr-PkI/AAAAAAAABF8/DIvpI4urhLM/s1600/abendroth1.jpg)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51tWiMajTCL._SL500_AA300_.jpg[img] [img]http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51dHCrbZVQL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

2nd - A1 : Berliner Philharmoniker, Klaus Tennstedt (EMI, 4/1980)


(http://www.resmusica.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/07/portrait_tennstedt_emi.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51iGIcQbMSL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

1st : A5 - Staatskapelle Dresden, Wolfgang Sawallisch (EMI, 9/1972)

(http://www.playbillarts.com/images/photos/SawallischChrisLeePhilOrch1.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Ci5bd0p7L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: jlaurson on March 14, 2012, 12:23:27 AM
C3: spunk and joy. / Slight distortion and/or pitch issues with solo violin. Very bloody slow. / A bit bombastic. Also aged. Bit on the heal of the notes. | meh.. still not impressed at 2:02 / Drag-drag-drag...  / Slackmeister. No urgency. Picks up, as they all do, and gets better.

My least favorite.

B2: First movement in and out... hard to listen through all the SQ issues and judge adequately.  / a sea of calm / Holy cow: Zippy stuff, this! Lebhaft? More like: "Only 4:30 to one side of these shellacks? No problem?" / Nice dramatic build-up, orch-internal dynamics finely nuanced. / Not getting a lot out of this, so far. Oh, no, wait... there's drama coming around.

Good stuff.

A5: on the wrong headphones dense, thick... and some of that sticks. I imagine a big name orchestra with a big name guest conductor to play like this... in the 80s, maybe. / well played toward the end, amid a style that is no longer my cup of tea for Schumann, fine clip - but you hardly notice. / Star Wars / _____ / full bodied, smooth romantic -- yet with momentum. Wagnerian moments "inapproprite" but totally awesome.

Not a favorite, either... but with greatness somewhere in there.

A1: ____ / ______ / Sofort schmissig. Wie ueberhaupt A1 einfach sinning und mitnehmend ist. / ______

D5: _____ / _______ / _________ / _______ / yeah... dig it. not quite like the others.

I THINK that my choice would be: 1.) A1,      2.) B2                                  3.) A5,              5.) C3

(I don't really have a proper opinion about D5...)
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: jlaurson on March 14, 2012, 12:30:46 AM
C3
==

Sadness. A bit "Symphonie pathétique". Drive.
Rushed - and then slowing down strangely
Inorganic tempi.
Heavy.
Again, an abrupt accelerando, like switched on instead of developed.
ROMANZE: More a funeral march. The "song" is very slow, and heavy.
SCHERZO: Carnival of the Animals: Elephants. It even tries to dance.
LANGSAM: BIG!
LEBHAFT: Heavy

Character: The sad circus elephant.


Haha. Brilliant.  ;D
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Lisztianwagner on March 14, 2012, 08:08:35 AM
Wow, so the Sawallisch was my favourite recording? A really beautiful, brilliant performance! ;D
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: arkadin on March 14, 2012, 08:41:03 AM
i didn't understand how you calculated it
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: madaboutmahler on March 14, 2012, 09:02:35 AM
I knew it was the Sawalisch! ;) Absolutely brilliant, classic recording - it deserved to win. I doubt Sarge would agree though. ;)

So the other one I really liked was the Keilberth. Just looking for it on amazon now, but cannot find it!!! Any suggestions?
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Sergeant Rock on March 14, 2012, 09:11:04 AM
Sawallisch!

As promised in the Listening Thread:


AAARRRRGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/jan11/HomerScream.jpg)


Sarge

Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: jlaurson on March 14, 2012, 09:16:17 AM
As promised in the Listening Thread:


AAARRRRGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

You will like my reaction to it, then? And I also always thought it was "the classic of classics".

Quote
A5: on the wrong headphones dense, thick... and some of that sticks. I imagine a big name orchestra with a big name guest conductor to play like this... in the 80s, maybe. / well played toward the end, amid a style that is no longer my cup of tea for Schumann, fine clip - but you hardly notice. / Star Wars / _____ / full bodied, smooth romantic -- yet with momentum. Wagnerian moments "inapproprite" but totally awesome.

Not a favorite, either... but with greatness somewhere in there.

So the other one I really liked was the Keilberth. Just looking for it on amazon now, but cannot find it!!! Any suggestions?

Same here (except our first choice differed) -- if you can find it somewhere, let me know.
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: madaboutmahler on March 14, 2012, 09:25:16 AM
Poor Sarge..... :D

Same here (except our first choice differed) -- if you can find it somewhere, let me know.

Will do... may be rather hard to find. If you find it first, please do let me know. :)
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: Sergeant Rock on March 14, 2012, 09:37:47 AM
3rd - D5 : Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Leipzig, Hermann Abendroth (Edel/Berlin Classics, 31/3/1956)

Interesting. The Bronze Medal goes to Abendroth, a performance I own but have never listening too. I'll have to rectify that.

Sarge
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 14, 2012, 10:12:50 AM
As promised in the Listening Thread:


AAARRRRGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/jan11/HomerScream.jpg)


Sarge


It wasn't me! Not guilty!  8)
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 14, 2012, 10:17:03 AM
i didn't understand how you calculated it
Somewhere earlier, the name of the system was explained. If you look at the second table (of preferences), you will see that A5 beat all the others. This was done as if there were only two choices and the one that was ranked highter won. It was not just an accumulation of the scores. Does that help? Or do you need more precision?
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: arkadin on March 14, 2012, 12:18:16 PM
Somewhere earlier, the name of the system was explained. If you look at the second table (of preferences), you will see that A5 beat all the others. This was done as if there were only two choices and the one that was ranked highter won. It was not just an accumulation of the scores. Does that help? Or do you need more precision?

ok, thanks
Title: Re: Blind comparison : R. Schumann, Symphony no. 4
Post by: DavidW on March 14, 2012, 02:46:11 PM
I feel bad that I was too busy to contribute to the final round, but I look forward to listening to that king of recordings.  I've never head it before!