On Mar 30, 5:23 pm, Phlmaestro <***@yahoo.com> wrote:
> On Mar 30, 5:03 pm, M forever <***@gmail.com> wrote:
> > On Mar 30, 2:33 pm, Phlmaestro <***@yahoo.com> wrote:
> > > On Mar 30, 1:41 pm, M forever <***@gmail.com> wrote:
> > > > On Mar 30, 11:30 am, Phlmaestro <***@yahoo.com> wrote:
> > > > > On Mar 30, 10:13 am, The Historian <***@gmail.com>
> > > > > wrote:
> > > > > > On Mar 30, 12:14 am, Phlmaestro <***@yahoo.com> wrote:
> > > > > > > On Mar 29, 11:41 pm, The Historian <***@gmail.com>
> > > > > > > wrote:
> > > > > > > > Listening to the Eroica now. Good first movement, and a powerful
> > > > > > > > funeral march. The scherzo is good but slightly rushed. Muti's Eroica
> > > > > > > > was one of the high points of his mid-1980s cycle. I should pull it
> > > > > > > > out and compare the two. Both are better than Ormandy's digital
> > > > > > > > recording from 1979, which was probably conducted on auto-pilot.
> > > > > > > I would definitely take the Eschenbach Eroica over Muti's Philadelphia
> > > > > > > recording. But I don't agree that the Eroica was a high point of that
> > > > > > > cycle. Numbers 4, 7 and 9 are my favorites from it.
> > > > > > I like Muti's 3, 6, and 9 from the cycle. Many of the others are
> > > > > > overdriven - in other words, typical Muti.
> > > > > > Anything else worth hearing in the Eschenbach cycle? I have the 8th,
> > > > > > which strikes me as well-done. Certainly better than Muti's rush
> > > > > > through it.
> > > > > I'm pretty sure I saw him conduct all nine symphonies live, and while
> > > > > none of them stood out as being aweful, the only one that made a
> > > > > strong enough impression to get me to buy the download was the Eroica.
> > > > > But it seems like you and I disagree on the Muti cycle (I listened to
> > > > > the disc with 7 and 8 the other night and enjoyed it a lot), so I'm
> > > > > not sure my taste in Beethoven would be a good guide for you.
> > > > For me, the whole Muti cyclehas no highlights or low points. I think
> > > > it is generally very well played and musically very straightforward,
> > > > tightly controlled by Muti, but beyond that, it has remarkably little
> > > > features or qualities of any kind. It is consistently mediocre and
> > > > unremarkable in really any way. I did kind of enjoy listening to it
> > > > once though because of the basically quite nice, polished, rounded
> > > > off, slightly dark sound Muti gets from the orchestra. I also heard
> > > > them play the 5th live in Berlin back then which was a nice concert
> > > > but again nothing special. Muti has that talent to make things very
> > > > high end and mediocre at the same time. His Schubert cycle is amazing
> > > > in that respect - only Muti could make the WP play Schubert so
> > > > mechanically and stiffly!- Hide quoted text -
> > > > - Show quoted text -
> > > While I obviously don't quite agree with you on the Beethoven cycle
> > > (at least in its entirety; I do for some of it),
> > What merits do you find in the Beethoven cycle that I missed? For
> > instance, in the 4th symphony to which I re-listened just now,
> > inspired bu this discussion. I think it's a very solid, but also
> > mechanical and not very musical performance which does not give me any
> > new insights into the music or - for me - is even a particularly
> > convincing (and convinced?) performance of this piece, just a
> > technically polished runthrough. Or what am I missing?
> > > I think your
> > > description is a pretty good fit for his tenure in Philadelphia. Over
> > > a period of a dozen years - more if you include the recordings he made
> > > before he took over for Ormandy - there were obviously a number of
> > > exceptions to the rule; including a few in that Beethoven cycle IMO.
> > > But I started going to concerts about midway through his tenure here,
> > > and I can honestly say that not a single concert I saw him lead stands
> > > out in my memory as being really outstanding. The orchestra played
> > > very well for him, but from an interpretive standpoint, nothing really
> > > stood out. And the orchestra sounded more generic than they did both
> > > before and after his tenures (especially before, but I noticed a
> > > change for what I thought was the better in the "sound" the orchestra
> > > was putting out almost immediately when Sawallisch took over).
> > How did the sound change?
> > > I've mentioned on here before that I get the impression from a few
> > > more recent performances of his that I've heard, that Muti has matured
> > > somewhat and is a better conductor today than he was during the 80s
> > > and 90s. I guess we'll get a better idea when some of his CSO live
> > > recordings start to come out.
> > I don't actually think Muti is an any better conductor now than he was
> > back in the 70s. He always was and still is a very professional, very
> > straight, no-nonsense, very technical kapellmeister type conductor who
> > does not even seem to look for any deeper insights into the music,
> > just a technically correct and smoothly polished rendition of the
> > written notes served in pleasantly warm and rounded off sound. Maybe
> > he will help the CSO to develop a less screechy, glaring sound and
> > maybe he will manage to give the string sound a little more depth and
> > roundness which it is sorely lacking, but I am not expecting any major
> > musical revelations coming from that corner. It is an amazingly
> > unoriginal and shortsighted choice they made by hiring him anyway.
> > Apparently, all they wanted is a "big name" to put on their posters,
> > and that is what they got, and not much else.
> > Despite being not a huge fan of Muti as you may have gathered by
> > now :-) there are aspects to his work that I respect and even like. He
> > can make some repertoire sound really good and I like that he programs
> > some neglected stuff along with the greatest hits, and that he also
> > used to record some works outside the mainstream, like the Scriabin
> > symphonies or lesser known Prokofieff works like the 3rd symphony and
> > the Meeting of the Volga and the Don. This thread actually reminded me
> > that I was curious about Muti's recording of La mer which is couple
> > with Chausson's Poème de l'amour et de la mer and Ravel's Une barque
> > sur l'océan so I found a cheap used copy and ordered it.- Hide quoted text -
> > - Show quoted text -
> On the Beethoven 4th, I actually haven't heard it for many years. I'm
> going based on memory. I was still living with my family when the
> cycle first came out in the mid 80s. My mother bought it, so I
> listened to the cycle often back then. Now, I only have 7-9. I like
> the extent to which he pushes the 7th, keeping the rhythm and lots of
> energy throughout. I wouldn't put it quite in the same league as my
> favorite recordings of the 7th (C. Kleiber on Orfeo and Barenboim/
> Berlin St. on Teldec, along with Furtwangler's wartime performance),
> but it's an above average recording IMO. I suppose it's possible that
> were I to hear the 4th now, I wouldn't like it as much as I did years
> ago. But back then, I recall thinking it was one of the best
> recordings in the cycle.
I didn't know there was also a live 7th with Kleiber on Orfeo. Good to
know. I put that recording on my wish list. I also listened to Muti's
7th in the meantime and find it quite good, too, although not among
the best I have heard either. There is indeed a strong sense of
forward momentum and cumulative rhythmic energy. I also noticed more
clearly what I found lacking in the other Beethoven syn phonies I
heard from that Philadelphia cycle: there is often very little
attention paid to inner voices, especially wind parts which color
harmonic changes, e.g. the passage in the first movement when the
Vivace begins and the "call and response" between flutes and violins
develops. That is all done very well but the harmonic background
provided by the clarinets and bassoons (5th bar of the Vivace onwards)
is underexposed. That seems to be the rule throughout this cycle -
very nice superficial sheen but little textural and musical "depth".
Anyway, let's not flog this horse too much since we all seem to
basically agree about these recordings. I can see though how some
might find more of interest in them than I do.
> As far as the sound of the Philadelphia from Muti to Sawallisch, I'd
> say Sawallisch took them "part" way back to where they had been in the
> pre-Muti days, although certainly not all the way back to the Ormandy-
> Stokowski sound. The strings became a little warmer and thicker, the
> brass blended in a little more. Overall, there was more of a "wall of
> sound" type of impression.
> On Muti and the CSO, the only thing I've heard from them is a live
> Tchaikovsky 6th. I thought he did arguably a better job than any other
> conductor I've heard at balancing the sections of that orchestra. The
> brass didn't blare above the other sections. They sounded very good
> IMO. The drawback to the performance, as we've alluded to, is that it
> while Muti did a great job in controlling the orchestra in the manner
> in which I just described, it also felt like he was putting the breaks
> on them to too great of an extent. It was a very good performance that
> could have easily been a great one had he just pushed them harder.
> I've heard the live recording of the same symphony that he made a few
> years ago with the French orchestra that he works with a couple times
> and while that orchestra isn't the technical equal of the CSO, I
> thought it was a more appealing performance from an interpretive
I have that recording, too (on Naïve) and find it similarly appealing
although I would disagree with the statement that the Orchestre
National de France isn't "the technical equal" of the CSO; they are an
excellent orchestra and while standards used to be a bit shaky, like
many other orchestras the standard has improved quite dramatically
since the 60s and 70s. I have heard them live a number of times and
found them usually very impressive- especially as far as sound and
ensemble culture are concerned. They have a very refined string sound
and play very flexibly as an ensemble, rather than just executing the
notes safely. I heard them play Tchaikovsky 5 with Masur here in
Boston last year and as a result of that fabulous performance, I have
pretty much stopped going to BSO concerts - it's just not quite the
same. I suspect that the differences you hear between this recording
and the live performance of the 6th you attended may have to do with
the orchestras, too.
> The other performance, aside from that one with the French orchestra,
> that really made me stand up and take notice was a Bruckner 6th he led
> with the NY Philharmonic a season or two ago. That was one case where
> he most definitely did not put the breaks on his orchestra and pushed
> them to deliver an extremely memorable performance. It's probably
> about the best performance of a major Austro-German orchestral work
> that I've ever heard Muti lead.
Muti also recorded the 6th in Berlin. A fairly massive and heavy
performance, IIRC. I haven't heard it in a long time. That is, as I
mentioned, one of the things I like about Muti - he doesn't just
concentrate on the "biggest hits". He did record the 4th, too, but he
has apparently conducted the 2nd quite often in concert as well. There
are several live recordings of that floating around (e.g. with WP).