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Walter Levin (LaSalle) died
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Herman
2017-08-09 18:06:26 UTC
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Ninety-two years old, Walter Levin died, long time first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet.

The LaSalle Quartet, of course, was renowned for their Beethoven, and Second Viennese School playing.

From the Eighties onwards Walter Levin was one of the world's pre-eminent teachers in the string quartet world. It's hard to think of a violinist currently playing in chamber music who has not had contact with Levin.

And with Levin, the LaSalle Quartet is officially extinct.
h***@btinternet.com
2017-08-09 18:46:53 UTC
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Post by Herman
Ninety-two years old, Walter Levin died, long time first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet.
The LaSalle Quartet, of course, was renowned for their Beethoven, and Second Viennese School playing.
From the Eighties onwards Walter Levin was one of the world's pre-eminent teachers in the string quartet world. It's hard to think of a violinist currently playing in chamber music who has not had contact with Levin.
And with Levin, the LaSalle Quartet is officially extinct.
Well by coincidence I've been listening to a talk by him which was broadcast by France Culture. He says something really interesting (It was hard to hear some of it because there's a translation in French over it)

"Tradition is a word that is often used and often misunderstood. Its etymological origins have something to with traditore, something to do with betrayal, who gives away secrets, state secrets. And that is a nasty tradition.

Tradition can be the opposite of what one thinks of as being positive, it can be something negative, which permits one not to have to think about what is the meaning and the significance of what a piece of music is today. No piece of music stays the same, as time goes on and other music gets composed, that puts it into a different frame of reference. Every contemporary new piece that is written today changes the entire relationship to the old music. And every piece of music needs to be re-evaluated.

There is no other tradition than the serious analysis and the serious evaluation of what the elements are that made a composer write a certain piece and what is the relevance of these elements today.

That means it changes all the time. Tradition is anything, but not keeping something the same, tradition is that which changes all the time, but takes that change seriously in relation to that which was written, but not as something that is rigid, and has to do with a museum piece, the worst thing that we can do is make our music a museum in which things have a fixed value, and that's the way you do them, and that for ever will remain unchanged. That would be totally uninteresting, we won't need any more performers, which would take away our right to ... in terms of the relevance that this has today, and in the changing knowledge that we have about music through new music.

That is a tradition that re-evaluates the old in the light of the new, and I think that is often forgotten when people talk about tradition, that it means knowing wheat is being done in music today, that the musician must participate in the development of contemporary music, the avant garde of the avant garde, he must be very well familiar with what's going on, even for playing old music . . ."

The announcer to the programme stressed his respects for urtexts, and she likened his ideas about text and interpretation to Jewish ideas (Talmud I guess.)

I've also been listening to LaSalle op 132 (a live one), which I think is really interesting.
m***@gmail.com
2017-08-09 19:20:32 UTC
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Post by Herman
Ninety-two years old, Walter Levin died, long time first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet.
The LaSalle Quartet, of course, was renowned for their Beethoven, and Second Viennese School playing.
From the Eighties onwards Walter Levin was one of the world's pre-eminent teachers in the string quartet world. It's hard to think of a violinist currently playing in chamber music who has not had contact with Levin.
And with Levin, the LaSalle Quartet is officially extinct.
A sad moment, for sure. I'll recommend again The LaSalle Quartet: Conversations with Walter Levin:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1843838354/

Does anybody know if the following DG material has ever appeared on CD?

Mendelssohn quartets 1 and 2 (terrific)
Schumann quintet (James Levine, piano)
Schubert D. 956 (Lynn Harrell, cello)
Debussy quartet

BTW, a recent release on Hanssler (2015) is well worth seeking out. Haydn Op 71/2, Brahms Op 67 (a good substitute for the badly transferred DG CD version), and Zemlinksy SQ 3. 1965, 1968, 1977.

SE.
c***@gmail.com
2017-08-09 19:49:12 UTC
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Post by Herman
Ninety-two years old, Walter Levin died, long time first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet.
The LaSalle Quartet, of course, was renowned for their Beethoven, and Second Viennese School playing.
From the Eighties onwards Walter Levin was one of the world's pre-eminent teachers in the string quartet world. It's hard to think of a violinist currently playing in chamber music who has not had contact with Levin.
And with Levin, the LaSalle Quartet is officially extinct.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1843838354/
Does anybody know if the following DG material has ever appeared on CD?
Mendelssohn quartets 1 and 2 (terrific)
Schumann quintet (James Levine, piano)
Schubert D. 956 (Lynn Harrell, cello)
Debussy quartet
BTW, a recent release on Hanssler (2015) is well worth seeking out. Haydn Op 71/2, Brahms Op 67 (a good substitute for the badly transferred DG CD version), and Zemlinksy SQ 3. 1965, 1968, 1977.
SE.
Schubert and Schumann: http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Pentatone/PTC5186227

Debussy & Ravel: http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/DG/4777482 (lossless d/l, "not available in your country")

Mendelssohn (the most desirable of the three, imo): http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/DG/4373172 (ditto as to format and availability fwiw)

The excellent Hanssler collection that Steve mentions also is available as a lossless d/l: http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/H%25C3%25A4nssler/HAEN94228. Particularly valuable for the Brahms, imo.

We lived in Cincinnati at the tail end of the Lasalle's residency at CCM; we arrived in 1986 and they retired in '88. (We were fortunate in their replacement: the Tokyo Quartet, who were in residence during the rest of our time in Cincy.) The man I replaced on the faculty of Hebrew Union College was a German expat who had arrived in Cincinnati by way of Israel after WWII. He was a close friend of Walter Levin, who had made the same journey, having had the good fortune to arrive in Palestine right before the war. Through my colleague I got to know Levin pretty well and also became acquainted with the late Henry Meyer. Meyer, who actually survived the concentration camps, was delightful company. Levin, who moved back to Germany post-retirement, was charming as long as he was allowed to dominate the conversation and his opinions went unchallenged. A classic yekke, iow, but what a musician!

AC
Herman
2017-08-10 07:17:38 UTC
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Through my colleague I got to know Levin pretty well and also became acquainted with the late Henry Meyer. Meyer, who actually survived the concentration camps, was delightful company. Levin, who moved back to Germany post-retirement, was charming as long as he was allowed to dominate the conversation and his opinions went unchallenged. A classic yekke, iow, but what a musician!
AC
thanks for this, incl. the new (for me) word 'yekke.'

I guess Meyer was one of those guys who had to fiddle for their lives in the camps.
c***@gmail.com
2017-08-10 11:36:00 UTC
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Through my colleague I got to know Levin pretty well and also became acquainted with the late Henry Meyer. Meyer, who actually survived the concentration camps, was delightful company. Levin, who moved back to Germany post-retirement, was charming as long as he was allowed to dominate the conversation and his opinions went unchallenged. A classic yekke, iow, but what a musician!
AC
thanks for this, incl. the new (for me) word 'yekke.'
I guess Meyer was one of those guys who had to fiddle for their lives in the camps.
You may have noted in the Wikipedia article and elsewhere something like this: "The LaSalle's name is attributed to an apartment on LaSalle Street in Manhattan, where some of its members lived during the quartet's inception." That street happens to be two blocks from my office. There's a nice Italian restaurant there now amidst the apartments and other businesses. The school that was Juilliard (also two blocks south of Lasalle) became the Manhattan School of Music after Juilliard decamped for Lincoln Center in 1969.

AC
dk
2017-08-12 23:06:24 UTC
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A classic yekke, iow, but what a musician!
Maybe you should explain what "yekke"
means to the rest of the audience ;-)

dk
AB
2017-08-13 00:09:53 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
A classic yekke, iow, but what a musician!
Maybe you should explain what "yekke"
means to the rest of the audience ;-)
dk
you don't know what a 'yekke' after all these years:-)

AB
c***@gmail.com
2017-08-13 00:48:00 UTC
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A classic yekke, iow, but what a musician!
Maybe you should explain what "yekke"
means to the rest of the audience ;-)
dk
For those who lack access to Google and/or Wikipedia? ;-) Btw, Herman, the derived adjective is "yekkish" (not yekkeish).

AC
Frank Berger
2017-08-13 01:51:22 UTC
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Post by dk
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A classic yekke, iow, but what a musician!
Maybe you should explain what "yekke"
means to the rest of the audience ;-)
dk
For those who lack access to Google and/or Wikipedia? ;-) Btw, Herman, the derived adjective is "yekkish" (not yekkeish).
AC
German Jews were/are stereotypically known for strict
adherence to ritual and punctuality.

Yekke joke: Arriving in synagogue someone asks a Yekke, "Is
it time for the evening service to start?" The Yekke says,
"Not yet." Five seconds later, he says, "Now."
Al Eisner
2017-08-15 20:03:46 UTC
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Post by dk
Post by c***@gmail.com
A classic yekke, iow, but what a musician!
Maybe you should explain what "yekke"
means to the rest of the audience ;-)
dk
For those who lack access to Google and/or Wikipedia? ;-) Btw, Herman, the
derived adjective is "yekkish" (not yekkeish).
AC
German Jews were/are stereotypically known for strict adherence to ritual and
punctuality.
Yekke joke: Arriving in synagogue someone asks a Yekke, "Is it time for the
evening service to start?" The Yekke says, "Not yet." Five seconds later, he
says, "Now."
But a much more comprehensive and interesting view is presented in this
Haaretz article which is one of Google's top hits:
http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/you-re-a-yekke-how-cool-1.366934
--
Al Eisner
AB
2017-08-16 17:30:50 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by dk
Post by c***@gmail.com
A classic yekke, iow, but what a musician!
Maybe you should explain what "yekke"
means to the rest of the audience ;-)
dk
For those who lack access to Google and/or Wikipedia? ;-) Btw, Herman, the
derived adjective is "yekkish" (not yekkeish).
AC
German Jews were/are stereotypically known for strict adherence to ritual and
punctuality.
Yekke joke: Arriving in synagogue someone asks a Yekke, "Is it time for the
evening service to start?" The Yekke says, "Not yet." Five seconds later, he
says, "Now."
But a much more comprehensive and interesting view is presented in this
http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/you-re-a-yekke-how-cool-1.366934
--
Al Eisner
large contingent concentrated in Washington Heights, (upper Manhattan, NYC)

AB

YM ​יוֹשִׁיוּכִּי
2017-08-13 17:45:51 UTC
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Post by dk
Post by c***@gmail.com
A classic yekke, iow, but what a musician!
Maybe you should explain what "yekke"
means to the rest of the audience ;-)
dk
Guys, don't insult des Jecken.

YM
Johannes Roehl
2017-08-10 09:34:47 UTC
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Post by Herman
Ninety-two years old, Walter Levin died, long time first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet.
The LaSalle Quartet, of course, was renowned for their Beethoven, and Second Viennese School playing.
From the Eighties onwards Walter Levin was one of the world's pre-eminent teachers in the string quartet world. It's hard to think of a violinist currently playing in chamber music who has not had contact with Levin.
And with Levin, the LaSalle Quartet is officially extinct.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1843838354/
Does anybody know if the following DG material has ever appeared on CD?
Mendelssohn quartets 1 and 2 (terrific)
Schumann quintet (James Levine, piano)
Schubert D. 956 (Lynn Harrell, cello)
Debussy quartet
BTW, a recent release on Hanssler (2015) is well worth seeking out. Haydn Op 71/2, Brahms Op 67 (a good substitute for the badly transferred DG CD version), and Zemlinksy SQ 3. 1965, 1968, 1977.
I don't recall any problems with the Brahms/Wolf CD-set from DG.
But I'll get the Hänssler eventually, thanks for the rec/info.

Overall it is a disgrace for DG that they only managed to re-issue their 2nd viennese school + Zemlinsky, many years after the older CDs went oop and in between they had been licensed to Brilliant. I think the Mendelssohn was never on CD (except on demand like from Presto) and the Late Beethoven only once (and again on Brilliant). If not separate issues they could have easily done two moderate sized boxes, one with Beethoven through Wolf and the other one with 20th century music.
wkasimer
2017-08-10 14:13:56 UTC
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Overall it is a disgrace for DG that they only managed to re-issue their 2nd viennese school + Zemlinsky, many years after the older CDs went oop and in between they had been licensed to Brilliant. I think the Mendelssohn was never on CD (except on demand like from Presto) and the Late Beethoven only once (and again on Brilliant). <
The Beethoven late quartets did appear, as part of DG's Complete Beethoven Edition in 1997 - this, at least, shows up on the used CD market.

But I agree - DG has been pretty disgraceful in its treatment of string quartet groups other than the Emersons and the Amadeus, both of whom seem to be issued ad nauseum. Like the LaSalle, the Melos Quartet's recordings are virtually all long OOP, except for the Cherubini set that was picked up by Brilliant. And then there's the Hagen Quartet, still active - DG issued most of their recordings only in Europe, and then only for a very brief time. A few things have been picked up by Newton Classics, but their outstanding Schubert, Schumann, and Beethoven are only available on the used CD market, sometimes at ridiculously high prices.
Johannes Roehl
2017-08-11 10:01:01 UTC
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Post by wkasimer
Overall it is a disgrace for DG that they only managed to re-issue their 2nd viennese school + Zemlinsky, many years after the older CDs went oop and in between they had been licensed to Brilliant. I think the Mendelssohn was never on CD (except on demand like from Presto) and the Late Beethoven only once (and again on Brilliant). <
The Beethoven late quartets did appear, as part of DG's Complete Beethoven Edition in 1997 - this, at least, shows up on the used CD market.
But I agree - DG has been pretty disgraceful in its treatment of string quartet groups other than the Emersons and the Amadeus, both of whom seem to be issued ad nauseum. Like the LaSalle, the Melos Quartet's recordings are virtually all long OOP, except for the Cherubini set that was picked up by Brilliant. And then there's the Hagen Quartet, still active - DG issued most of their recordings only in Europe, and then only for a very brief time. A few things have been picked up by Newton Classics, but their outstanding Schubert, Schumann, and Beethoven are only available on the used CD market, sometimes at ridiculously high prices.
Ah, I had not been aware of the Beethoven edition. (I eventually got a used copy of the first CD incarnation of the late Beethoven.) Fortunately I (being in Europe) got almost all the Hagen I wanted in time before they went oop although the disc with D887 & LvB op.95 is the most expensive single used like new disc I bought (around 17 EUR)

I realize that some of this repertoire is somewhat niche but e.g for the Mendelssohn DG had only the older Melos integral box, the LaSalle Zemlinsky was the first complete recording of the pieces, thereby a "classic" that should not have been let oop etc.
Herman
2017-08-11 11:10:49 UTC
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Fortunately I (being in Europe) got almost all the Hagen I wanted in time before they went oop although the disc with D887 & LvB op.95 is the most expensive single used like new disc I bought (around 17 EUR)
so, how does the Hagen Beethoven hold up on record?
s***@bluewin.ch
2017-08-11 12:00:18 UTC
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Post by Herman
Ninety-two years old, Walter Levin died, long time first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet.
The LaSalle Quartet, of course, was renowned for their Beethoven, and Second Viennese School playing.
From the Eighties onwards Walter Levin was one of the world's pre-eminent teachers in the string quartet world. It's hard to think of a violinist currently playing in chamber music who has not had contact with Levin.
And with Levin, the LaSalle Quartet is officially extinct.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1843838354/
Does anybody know if the following DG material has ever appeared on CD?
Mendelssohn quartets 1 and 2 (terrific)
Schumann quintet (James Levine, piano)
Schubert D. 956 (Lynn Harrell, cello)
Debussy quartet
BTW, a recent release on Hanssler (2015) is well worth seeking out. Haydn Op 71/2, Brahms Op 67 (a good substitute for the badly transferred DG CD version), and Zemlinksy SQ 3. 1965, 1968, 1977.
SE.
On Amazon.com most of the LaSalle recordings are available: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1/135-4290437-8360100?url=search-alias%3Dpopular&field-keywords=lasalle+quartet.
You can also have a look at the excellent German online retailer at jpc.com: https://www.jpc.de/s/lasalle+quartet and: https://www.jpc.de/s/lasalle+quartet+beethoven.
BTW the recording of the LaSalle's 1976 Salzburg Festival recording is very recommendable: Schubert Quartettsatz, Lutoslawski, Ravel and as an encore the alternative finale to Beethoven's opus 130.
Robert Spruytenburg
AB
2017-08-11 19:51:28 UTC
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Post by Herman
Ninety-two years old, Walter Levin died, long time first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet.
The LaSalle Quartet, of course, was renowned for their Beethoven, and Second Viennese School playing.
From the Eighties onwards Walter Levin was one of the world's pre-eminent teachers in the string quartet world. It's hard to think of a violinist currently playing in chamber music who has not had contact with Levin.
And with Levin, the LaSalle Quartet is officially extinct.
just listened to some of the Debussy string quartet on youtube. Playing is not impressive at all...... serious lack of vigor.
Why would one collect their recordings when the Julliard Quartet of the same era is so much superior.

AN
Frank Berger
2017-08-11 20:14:29 UTC
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Post by Herman
Ninety-two years old, Walter Levin died, long time first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet.
The LaSalle Quartet, of course, was renowned for their Beethoven, and Second Viennese School playing.
From the Eighties onwards Walter Levin was one of the world's pre-eminent teachers in the string quartet world. It's hard to think of a violinist currently playing in chamber music who has not had contact with Levin.
And with Levin, the LaSalle Quartet is officially extinct.
just listened to some of the Debussy string quartet on youtube. Playing is not impressive at all...... serious lack of vigor.
Why would one collect their recordings when the Julliard Quartet of the same era is so much superior.
AN
Anything scarce is good. Completely unavailable is best.
AB
2017-08-12 17:16:13 UTC
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Post by AB
Post by Herman
Ninety-two years old, Walter Levin died, long time first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet.
The LaSalle Quartet, of course, was renowned for their Beethoven, and Second Viennese School playing.
From the Eighties onwards Walter Levin was one of the world's pre-eminent teachers in the string quartet world. It's hard to think of a violinist currently playing in chamber music who has not had contact with Levin.
And with Levin, the LaSalle Quartet is officially extinct.
just listened to some of the Debussy string quartet on youtube. Playing is not impressive at all...... serious lack of vigor.
Why would one collect their recordings when the Julliard Quartet of the same era is so much superior.
AN
Anything scarce is good. Completely unavailable is best.
is that a political statement?

AB
Herman
2017-08-12 07:31:01 UTC
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just listened to some of the Debussy string quartet on youtube. Playing is not impressive at all...... serious lack of vigor.
Why would one collect their recordings when the Julliard Quartet of the same era is so much superior.
That way of thinking would lead one down the path of having just one perspective / performer (and may I say the Juilliard would not be my single interpretation of the Debussy, very unidiomatic).

The LaSalle was special in their dedication to 2nd Viennese School music, Zemlinsky, Lutoslawski, Penderecki. But they have more or less been superseded in most of their recordings, which tend to sound a little professorial (or, to borrow from AC, yekkeish).

The reason why I posted this notice about Walter Levin is that he has been tremendously influential as a teacher after the LaSalle was disbanded.
AB
2017-08-12 17:15:18 UTC
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Post by AB
just listened to some of the Debussy string quartet on youtube. Playing is not impressive at all...... serious lack of vigor.
Why would one collect their recordings when the Julliard Quartet of the same era is so much superior.
That way of thinking would lead one down the path of having just one perspective / performer (and may I say the Juilliard would not be my single interpretation of the Debussy, very unidiomatic).
The LaSalle was special in their dedication to 2nd Viennese School music, Zemlinsky, Lutoslawski, Penderecki. But they have more or less been superseded in most of their recordings, which tend to sound a little professorial (or, to borrow from AC, yekkeish).
The reason why I posted this notice about Walter Levin is that he has been tremendously influential as a teacher after the LaSalle was disbanded.
Herman,

In no way did I mean to critisize you for posting about Mr. Levin's death.. Please accept my apologies if my comments came off as belittling your thoughts.......
I was responding to others who were referring to their recordings....

AB
Herman
2017-08-12 17:58:19 UTC
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Post by AB
Herman,
In no way did I mean to critisize you for posting about Mr. Levin's death.. Please accept my apologies if my comments came off as belittling your thoughts.......
I was responding to others who were referring to their recordings....
AB
That's okay.
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