Discussion:
Non-British "Enigmas"
(too old to reply)
Kerrison
2009-04-29 07:56:04 UTC
Permalink
Are any Elgarian collectors here particularly taken with non-British
recordings of the "Enigma Variations"? One at the top of my list is a
terrific version made for the old East German 'Eterna' label by Rolf
Kleinert and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (on a Berlin Classics
CD). But there were very good accounts from Mehta and the Los Angeles
Phil, Ormandy in Philadelphia, Steinberg in Pittsburgh, and Stokowski
and the Czech Philharmonic. Not quite so near the top of my list are
Solti and the Chicagoans, and Skrowaczewski and the Saarbrucken Radio
Symphony. Any other non-UK versions which can be recommended?
Paul Goldstein
2009-04-30 02:11:12 UTC
Permalink
In article <d6bfa07f-8bfc-48ce-8bae-***@w35g2000prg.googlegroups.com>,
Kerrison says...
Post by Kerrison
Are any Elgarian collectors here particularly taken with non-British
recordings of the "Enigma Variations"? One at the top of my list is a
terrific version made for the old East German 'Eterna' label by Rolf
Kleinert and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (on a Berlin Classics
CD). But there were very good accounts from Mehta and the Los Angeles
Phil, Ormandy in Philadelphia, Steinberg in Pittsburgh, and Stokowski
and the Czech Philharmonic. Not quite so near the top of my list are
Solti and the Chicagoans, and Skrowaczewski and the Saarbrucken Radio
Symphony. Any other non-UK versions which can be recommended?
One that comes to mind is Toscanini/NBC, though I probably like Toscanini/BBC a
little more.
M forever
2009-04-30 03:48:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kerrison
Are any Elgarian collectors here particularly taken with non-British
recordings of the "Enigma Variations"? One at the top of my list is a
terrific version made for the old East German 'Eterna' label by Rolf
Kleinert and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (on a Berlin Classics
CD). But there were very good accounts from Mehta and the Los Angeles
Phil, Ormandy in Philadelphia, Steinberg in Pittsburgh, and Stokowski
and the Czech Philharmonic. Not quite so near the top of my list are
Solti and the Chicagoans, and Skrowaczewski and the Saarbrucken Radio
Symphony. Any other non-UK versions which can be recommended?
There is also a live Solti recording with the Wiener Philharmoniker,
and one (studio, IIRC) with the same orchestra and Gardiner - although
the conductor here is obviously a British element, so I guess that
doesn't match your criteria here. There is also one with the Berliner
Philharmoniker and Levine. I have all three of them and while they are
all very well played and musically interesting in their different
ways, I don't really know the piece well enough nor do I know that
many versions in general, so I can't really give a good opinion based
on comparison.
Curtis Croulet
2009-04-30 05:05:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by M forever
There is also a live Solti recording with the Wiener
Philharmoniker, and one (studio, IIRC)
Hmm. There's a Solti recording with Chicago SO. I have the LP.
--
Curtis Croulet
Temecula, California
33°27'59"N, 117°05'53"W
jrsnfld
2009-04-30 06:06:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Curtis Croulet
Post by M forever
There is also a live Solti recording with the Wiener
Philharmoniker, and one (studio, IIRC)
Hmm. There's a Solti recording with Chicago SO. I have the LP.
"Hmm"? M was just pointing out that Solti recorded the piece again in
Vienna many years after his Chicago recording (which Kerrison had
already mentioned).

Personally, I think the Chicago recording is very satisfying, and I
haven't tried the Vienna recording. I'm sure it's fine too. There has
also been a live Chicago broadcast of Solti's that's been passed
around, and it is one of my favorite Enigmas these days, despite the
sonic limitations.

This is a piece that Monteux did famously well: there is a wonderful
performance with the Concertgebouworkest that's on CD now.

Andrew Litton does a great job with this piece, as evinced by
broadcasts with Dallas and Milwaukee. I haven't heard Zinman/
Baltimore, or at least I don't remember having heard it. I have some
of his Elgar and it seems quite good. Paavo Jarvi's with Cincinnati,
on the same label, is probably not a step up, sadly--the recordings
are almost always a poor shell of the excellent broadcasts they do.

Sadly, I don't think I've gotten the Dutoit recording with
Montreal...I'll have to get that someday.

I notice that Adrian Leaper recorded this for Naxos way back, possibly
with a Slovak orchestra?

Is it really true that Ormandy never recorded this? Shame on him, and
double shame on Giulini, whose Elgar would have been gorgeous!

--Jeff
Curtis Croulet
2009-04-30 06:32:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by jrsnfld
"Hmm"? M was just pointing out that Solti recorded the piece again in
Vienna many years after his Chicago recording (which Kerrison had
already mentioned).
I thought Michael was implying that the studio recording was also with the
Wiener Phil. Sorry, Michael. My mistake. It's been years since I played
that Solti LP. The companion work is Schoenberg's Variations Op. 31, which
I played many more times than the Elgar. These past two years, I've learned
to actually enjoy Elgar's Syms 1 & 2, but I still haven't entirely made my
peace with his other works.
--
Curtis Croulet
Temecula, California
33°27'59"N, 117°05'53"W
Kerrison
2009-04-30 07:16:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Curtis Croulet
Post by jrsnfld
"Hmm"? M was just pointing out that Solti recorded the piece again in
Vienna many years after his Chicago recording (which Kerrison had
already mentioned).
I thought Michael was implying that the studio recording was also with the
Wiener Phil.  Sorry, Michael.  My mistake.  It's been years since I played
that Solti LP.  The companion work is Schoenberg's Variations Op. 31, which
I played many more times than the Elgar.  These past two years, I've learned
to actually enjoy Elgar's Syms 1 & 2, but I still haven't entirely made my
peace with his other works.
--
Curtis Croulet
Temecula, California
33°27'59"N, 117°05'53"W
Of course, there are several "Enigma" recordings with British
orchestras under non-British conductors, such as Pierre Monteux with
the London Symphony, Andre Previn and the Royal Philharmonic, and
Leonard Slatkin with the London Philharmonic. The most notorious is
the one with Leonard Bernstein and the BBC Symphony Orchestra for DG,
a bizarre performance which resulted in the orchestra announcing that
they never wanted him to conduct them again. For his part, Lenny said
he never wanted to conduct them again either, and he never did.

Ormandy's Philadelphia LP of "Enigma" for CBS also included the
"Cockaigne" Overture and Vaughan Williams's "Tallis Fantasia" ..
surely this collection has been issued on CD?
Stan Punzel
2009-04-30 15:39:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kerrison
Post by Curtis Croulet
Post by jrsnfld
"Hmm"? M was just pointing out that Solti recorded the piece again in
Vienna many years after his Chicago recording (which Kerrison had
already mentioned).
I thought Michael was implying that the studio recording was also with the
Wiener Phil. Sorry, Michael. My mistake. It's been years since I played
that Solti LP. The companion work is Schoenberg's Variations Op. 31, which
I played many more times than the Elgar. These past two years, I've learned
to actually enjoy Elgar's Syms 1 & 2, but I still haven't entirely made my
peace with his other works.
--
Curtis Croulet
Temecula, California
33°27'59"N, 117°05'53"W
Of course, there are several "Enigma" recordings with British
orchestras under non-British conductors, such as Pierre Monteux with
the London Symphony, Andre Previn and the Royal Philharmonic, and
Leonard Slatkin with the London Philharmonic. The most notorious is
the one with Leonard Bernstein and the BBC Symphony Orchestra for DG,
a bizarre performance which resulted in the orchestra announcing that
they never wanted him to conduct them again. For his part, Lenny said
he never wanted to conduct them again either, and he never did.
Ormandy's Philadelphia LP of "Enigma" for CBS also included the
"Cockaigne" Overture and Vaughan Williams's "Tallis Fantasia" ..
surely this collection has been issued on CD?
Yes, on a Sony 2fer, I don't have it in front of me, but it also has the
Violin Concerto, Cello concerto and P&C marches.

Stan Punzel
John
2009-04-30 21:26:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stan Punzel
Post by Kerrison
Ormandy's Philadelphia LP of "Enigma" for CBS also included the
"Cockaigne" Overture and Vaughan Williams's "Tallis Fantasia" ..
surely this collection has been issued on CD?
Yes, on a Sony 2fer, I don't have it in front of me, but it also has the
Violin Concerto, Cello concerto and P&C marches.
That's SB2K 63247, with the Tallis Fantasia released on several CDs,
such as SBK 62645, as well as the recent 10 disc Ormandy Original
Jacket Collection.
Matthew B. Tepper
2009-04-30 14:43:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Curtis Croulet
I thought Michael was implying that the studio recording was also with
the Wiener Phil. Sorry, Michael. My mistake. It's been years since I
played that Solti LP. The companion work is Schoenberg's Variations Op.
31, which I played many more times than the Elgar. These past two
years, I've learned to actually enjoy Elgar's Syms 1 & 2, but I still
haven't entirely made my peace with his other works.
For me, the Violin Concerto is his absolute masterpiece.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
Curtis Croulet
2009-04-30 15:30:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
For me, the Violin Concerto is his absolute masterpiece.
For me it just goes on and on and on. But there's hope.
--
Curtis Croulet
Temecula, California
33°27'59"N, 117°05'53"W
Frank Berger
2009-04-30 15:36:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Curtis Croulet
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
For me, the Violin Concerto is his absolute masterpiece.
For me it just goes on and on and on. But there's hope.
That what? Elgar will return to it and tighten it up? Failing that, maybe
Andrew Payne will take a crack at it.
Matthew B. Tepper
2009-04-30 15:59:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Curtis Croulet
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
For me, the Violin Concerto is his absolute masterpiece.
For me it just goes on and on and on. But there's hope.
Daniel Hope?
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
Curtis Croulet
2009-05-01 07:29:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Post by Curtis Croulet
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
For me, the Violin Concerto is his absolute masterpiece.
For me it just goes on and on and on. But there's hope.
Daniel Hope?
That I'll eventually like it.
--
Curtis Croulet
Temecula, California
33°27'59"N, 117°05'53"W
Terry
2009-05-01 15:56:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Curtis Croulet
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Post by Curtis Croulet
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
For me, the Violin Concerto is his absolute masterpiece.
For me it just goes on and on and on. But there's hope.
Daniel Hope?
That I'll eventually like it.
No, seriously, has Daniel Hope recorded it? I would be very interested if he
has.
--
Cheers!

Terry
M forever
2009-04-30 19:26:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Curtis Croulet
Post by jrsnfld
"Hmm"? M was just pointing out that Solti recorded the piece again in
Vienna many years after his Chicago recording (which Kerrison had
already mentioned).
I thought Michael was implying that the studio recording was also with the
Wiener Phil.
M said:

"There is also a live Solti recording with the Wiener Philharmoniker,
and one (studio, IIRC) with the same orchestra and Gardiner"

The studio recording (on DG) with the Wiener Philharmoniker I
mentioned is conducted by Gardiner, the Solti is taken from live
performances and also includes, Kodaly's "Peacock" and Blacher's
Paganini Variations. In the same concerts in Vienna, they also played
Brahms' Haydn Variations but there was obviously not enough space on
one CD for that as well. An interesting concert program though - four
variation pieces by four different composers.
Post by Curtis Croulet
 Sorry, Michael.  My mistake.  It's been years since I played
that Solti LP.  The companion work is Schoenberg's Variations Op. 31, which
I played many more times than the Elgar.  These past two years, I've learned
to actually enjoy Elgar's Syms 1 & 2, but I still haven't entirely made my
peace with his other works.
--
Curtis Croulet
Temecula, California
33°27'59"N, 117°05'53"W
David Royko
2009-04-30 17:05:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by jrsnfld
Personally, I think the Chicago recording is very satisfying, and I
haven't tried the Vienna recording. I'm sure it's fine too. There has
also been a live Chicago broadcast of Solti's that's been passed
around, and it is one of my favorite Enigmas these days, despite the
sonic limitations.
Solti's Chicago recording has been my favorite for years. I think I'm
also the source for that live CSO/Solti broadcast performance that's
floating around these days, recorded 25 or 30 years ago off of WFMT
with my little ol' Nakamichi deck--I offered it up on OperaShare a
couple of years ago, maybe elsewhere since then, I can't recall. In
both cases (the live and studio CSO--I've not heard is VPO recording),
the cumulative power he achieves at the end is the most hair-raising
of the versions I know. I have never been knocked out as much by a
"British" recording, though I probably haven't heard any new
recordings made over the past 10-15 years or so..

Dave Royko
Dave Royko's Self-Promotion Department--Info about:
Autism Boot Camp; Ben stories (Adventures in Autism);
My book "Voices of Children of Divorce" [St. Martin's Press];
Music reviews & articles, and etc, can be found at my website:
www.geocities.com/davidroyko/mypage.html
M forever
2009-04-30 19:28:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Royko
Post by jrsnfld
Personally, I think the Chicago recording is very satisfying, and I
haven't tried the Vienna recording. I'm sure it's fine too. There has
also been a live Chicago broadcast of Solti's that's been passed
around, and it is one of my favorite Enigmas these days, despite the
sonic limitations.
Solti's Chicago recording has been my favorite for years. I think I'm
also the source for that live CSO/Solti broadcast performance that's
floating around these days, recorded 25 or 30 years ago off of WFMT
with my little ol' Nakamichi deck--I offered it up on OperaShare a
couple of years ago, maybe elsewhere since then, I can't recall. In
both cases (the live and studio CSO--I've not heard is VPO recording),
the cumulative power he achieves at the end is the most hair-raising
of the versions I know. I have never been knocked out as much by a
"British" recording, though I probably haven't heard any new
recordings made over the past 10-15 years or so..
Is that all that makes a good Enigma performance for you - that it
"knocks you out"?
Post by David Royko
Dave Royko
Autism Boot Camp; Ben stories (Adventures in Autism);
My book "Voices of Children of Divorce" [St. Martin's Press];
Music reviews & articles, and etc, can be found at my website:www.geocities.com/davidroyko/mypage.html
Bob Harper
2009-04-30 23:19:01 UTC
Permalink
(snip)
Post by M forever
Post by David Royko
Solti's Chicago recording has been my favorite for years. I think I'm
also the source for that live CSO/Solti broadcast performance that's
floating around these days, recorded 25 or 30 years ago off of WFMT
with my little ol' Nakamichi deck--I offered it up on OperaShare a
couple of years ago, maybe elsewhere since then, I can't recall. In
both cases (the live and studio CSO--I've not heard is VPO recording),
the cumulative power he achieves at the end is the most hair-raising
of the versions I know. I have never been knocked out as much by a
"British" recording, though I probably haven't heard any new
recordings made over the past 10-15 years or so..
Is that all that makes a good Enigma performance for you - that it
"knocks you out"?
Post by David Royko
Dave Royko
Autism Boot Camp; Ben stories (Adventures in Autism);
My book "Voices of Children of Divorce" [St. Martin's Press];
Music reviews & articles, and etc, can be found at my website:www.geocities.com/davidroyko/mypage.html
I doubt that, but it would certainly beat "puts me to sleep" :)

Bob Harper
Terry
2009-04-30 08:10:58 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 29 Apr 2009 17:56:04 +1000, Kerrison wrote
(in article
Post by Kerrison
Are any Elgarian collectors here particularly taken with non-British
recordings of the "Enigma Variations"? One at the top of my list is a
terrific version made for the old East German 'Eterna' label by Rolf
Kleinert and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (on a Berlin Classics
CD). But there were very good accounts from Mehta and the Los Angeles
Phil, Ormandy in Philadelphia, Steinberg in Pittsburgh, and Stokowski
and the Czech Philharmonic. Not quite so near the top of my list are
Solti and the Chicagoans, and Skrowaczewski and the Saarbrucken Radio
Symphony. Any other non-UK versions which can be recommended?
What do you consider non-British? Would an English orchestra conducted by a
³foreigner² be admitted? If so, I nominate Pierre Monteux and Charles
Mackerras. If it's to be ³all foreigners², then Levine with the Berlin
Philharmonic Orchestra, on Sony, is worth anyone's attention.

(I read somewhere that Monteux recorded this work in Vienna and in Paris, but
I haven't heard these recordings.)
--
Cheers!

Terry
Gerard
2009-04-30 14:21:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Terry
(in article
Post by Kerrison
Are any Elgarian collectors here particularly taken with non-British
recordings of the "Enigma Variations"? One at the top of my list is
a terrific version made for the old East German 'Eterna' label by
Rolf Kleinert and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (on a Berlin
Classics CD). But there were very good accounts from Mehta and the
Los Angeles Phil, Ormandy in Philadelphia, Steinberg in Pittsburgh,
and Stokowski and the Czech Philharmonic. Not quite so near the top
of my list are Solti and the Chicagoans, and Skrowaczewski and the
Saarbrucken Radio Symphony. Any other non-UK versions which can be
recommended?
What do you consider non-British? Would an English orchestra
conducted by a ³foreigner² be admitted?
Or what about Stokowski, mentioned by the OP?
He was not so very non-British, IIRC.
D***@aol.com
2009-04-30 18:32:03 UTC
Permalink
This post might be inappropriate. Click to display it.
D***@aol.com
2009-04-30 18:40:06 UTC
Permalink
On Apr 30, 3:10�am, Terry <***@clown.invalid> wrote:

[snip]
Post by Terry
(I read somewhere that Monteux recorded this work in Vienna and in Paris, but
I haven't heard these recordings.)
--
Cheers!
Monteux's only commercial recording of the Enigma Variations was
made in London, with the LSO, around 1958/9. Of course, since he loved
the work, he might well have conducted it in Vienna and Paris and
there might be live performances recordings around. As has been posted
here, there is a "live" recording of him doing it with the
Concertgebouw Orchestra. And there is his performance with the
Symphony of the Air at Arturo Toscanini's memorial concert in January
1957.

Don Tait
makropulos
2009-04-30 22:29:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by D***@aol.com
[snip]
Post by Terry
(I read somewhere that Monteux recorded this work in Vienna and in Paris, but
I haven't heard these recordings.)
--
Cheers!
Monteux's only commercial recording of the Enigma Variations was
made in London, with the LSO, around 1958/9. Of course, since he loved
the work, he might well have conducted it in Vienna and Paris and
there might be live performances recordings around. As has been posted
here, there is a "live" recording of him doing it with the
Concertgebouw Orchestra. And there is his performance with the
Symphony of the Air at Arturo Toscanini's memorial concert in January
1957.
Don Tait
Yes. It's worth adding a couple of others off air: there is a Monteux
live Enigma with the Orchestre National in a Music & Arts set
(CD-1182), and another one with the Boston Symphony on a very recent
West Hill Radio Archives box set of live Monteux performances in
Boston.
Benoit D
2009-05-01 17:44:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by D***@aol.com
Monteux's only commercial recording of the Enigma Variations was
made in London, with the LSO, around 1958/9. Of course, since he loved
the work, he might well have conducted it in Vienna and Paris and
there might be live performances recordings around.
West Hill Radio Archives has just released a performance with BSO
(Jan. 18, 1957):
http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//WHRA6022.htm
(wonderful set!)
--
Benoit D
Thornhill
2009-04-30 12:25:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kerrison
Are any Elgarian collectors here particularly taken with non-British
recordings of the "Enigma Variations"? One at the top of my list is a
terrific version made for the old East German 'Eterna' label by Rolf
Kleinert and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (on a Berlin Classics
CD). But there were very good accounts from Mehta and the Los Angeles
Phil, Ormandy in Philadelphia, Steinberg in Pittsburgh, and Stokowski
and the Czech Philharmonic. Not quite so near the top of my list are
Solti and the Chicagoans, and Skrowaczewski and the Saarbrucken Radio
Symphony. Any other non-UK versions which can be recommended?
Gardiner pretty much goes out of his way to sound non-British in his
recording with the VPO. He conducts it as if it were composed by
Brahms. You'll either find it intriguing or infuriating.
Andrew Clarke
2009-05-01 12:33:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Thornhill
Gardiner pretty much goes out of his way to sound non-British in his
recording with the VPO. He conducts it as if it were composed by
Brahms. You'll either find it intriguing or infuriating.
Interesting comment. Elgar certainly didn't sound "Elgarian" or indeed
"British" when first performed. He's arguably best understood as an
offshoot of German Romanticism rather than The Founder of the British
Musical Tradition.

Regards,

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Elgarian
2009-05-01 18:15:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Thornhill
Gardiner pretty much goes out of his way to sound non-British in his
recording with the VPO. He conducts it as if it were composed by
Brahms. You'll either find it intriguing or infuriating.
Interesting comment. Elgar certainly didn't sound "Elgarian" or indeed
"British" when first performed. He's arguably best understood as an
offshoot of German Romanticism rather than The Founder of the British
Musical Tradition.
Regards,
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Hmmmm... An interesting if provocative assertion. ("Elgar certainly
didn't sound 'Elgarian' or indeed 'British' when first performed.")
There is something to be said for Elgar's music as an "offshoot of
German Romanticism." For one thing, he revered Beethoven, Wagner, and
Brahms--and admired Germany and the Germans. When he holidayed in
Germany in the early 1890s, he heard all the major Wagner operas in
Bayreuth and Munich, and The Dream of Gerontius clearly borrows the
Wagnerian method of the Leitmotiv.

Elgar also attended the English premiere of Brahms's Third Symphony;
he himself later conducted the symphony and gave a lecture on it;
again, there are Brahmsian touches (at least structurally, no?) in his
own symphonies. In the South has more than its share of (Richard)
Straussian moments. (Elgar liked and admired Strauss and thought
highly of Ein Heldenleben; he later did in The Music Makers much the
same thing that Strauss had done in Heldenleben.) And of course he
found two of his staunchest champions in Jaeger and Richter.

By the way, Michael Kennedy asserts that the music of Schumann and
Dvorak had an even greater influence on Elgar than did Brahms, Wagner,
and Strauss.

Be all that as it may... In any case, by definition, at least from
Froissart onward, Elgar's music always was and is "Elgarian" (in the
same way that Brahms's music is Brahmsian, Wagner's Wagnerian, and so
forth).

Regards,

John
M forever
2009-05-01 18:29:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Thornhill
Gardiner pretty much goes out of his way to sound non-British in his
recording with the VPO. He conducts it as if it were composed by
Brahms. You'll either find it intriguing or infuriating.
Interesting comment. Elgar certainly didn't sound "Elgarian" or indeed
"British" when first performed. He's arguably best understood as an
offshoot of German Romanticism rather than The Founder of the British
Musical Tradition.
Regards,
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Hmmmm...  An interesting if provocative assertion.  ("Elgar certainly
didn't sound 'Elgarian' or indeed 'British' when first performed.")
There is something to be said for Elgar's music as an "offshoot of
German Romanticism."  For one thing, he revered Beethoven, Wagner, and
Brahms--and admired Germany and the Germans.  When he holidayed in
Germany in the early 1890s, he heard all the major Wagner operas in
Bayreuth and Munich, and The Dream of Gerontius clearly borrows the
Wagnerian method of the Leitmotiv.
Elgar also attended the English premiere of Brahms's Third Symphony;
he himself later conducted the symphony and gave a lecture on it;
again, there are Brahmsian touches (at least structurally, no?) in his
own symphonies.  In the South has more than its share of (Richard)
Straussian moments.  (Elgar liked and admired Strauss and thought
highly of Ein Heldenleben; he later did in The Music Makers much the
same thing that Strauss had done in Heldenleben.)  And of course he
found two of his staunchest champions in Jaeger and Richter.
By the way, Michael Kennedy asserts that the music of Schumann and
Dvorak had an even greater influence on Elgar than did Brahms, Wagner,
and Strauss.
Be all that as it may... In any case, by definition, at least from
Froissart onward, Elgar's music always was and is "Elgarian" (in the
same way that Brahms's music is Brahmsian, Wagner's Wagnerian, and so
forth).
Regards,
John
Interesting comments! Are you familiar with Gardiner's recording? If
so, do you understand what Thornhill meant when he said that Gardiner
went "out of his way to make it sound non-British"? Does what he said
make sense? It doesn't to me and some others here. Maybe you can shed
some more light on that.
Elgarian
2009-05-02 18:02:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by M forever
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Thornhill
Gardiner pretty much goes out of his way to sound non-British in his
recording with the VPO. He conducts it as if it were composed by
Brahms. You'll either find it intriguing or infuriating.
Interesting comment. Elgar certainly didn't sound "Elgarian" or indeed
"British" when first performed. He's arguably best understood as an
offshoot of German Romanticism rather than The Founder of the British
Musical Tradition.
Regards,
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Hmmmm...  An interesting if provocative assertion.  ("Elgar certainly
didn't sound 'Elgarian' or indeed 'British' when first performed.")
There is something to be said for Elgar's music as an "offshoot of
German Romanticism."  For one thing, he revered Beethoven, Wagner, and
Brahms--and admired Germany and the Germans.  When he holidayed in
Germany in the early 1890s, he heard all the major Wagner operas in
Bayreuth and Munich, and The Dream of Gerontius clearly borrows the
Wagnerian method of the Leitmotiv.
Elgar also attended the English premiere of Brahms's Third Symphony;
he himself later conducted the symphony and gave a lecture on it;
again, there are Brahmsian touches (at least structurally, no?) in his
own symphonies.  In the South has more than its share of (Richard)
Straussian moments.  (Elgar liked and admired Strauss and thought
highly of Ein Heldenleben; he later did in The Music Makers much the
same thing that Strauss had done in Heldenleben.)  And of course he
found two of his staunchest champions in Jaeger and Richter.
By the way, Michael Kennedy asserts that the music of Schumann and
Dvorak had an even greater influence on Elgar than did Brahms, Wagner,
and Strauss.
Be all that as it may... In any case, by definition, at least from
Froissart onward, Elgar's music always was and is "Elgarian" (in the
same way that Brahms's music is Brahmsian, Wagner's Wagnerian, and so
forth).
Regards,
John
Interesting comments! Are you familiar with Gardiner's recording? If
so, do you understand what Thornhill meant when he said that Gardiner
went "out of his way to make it sound non-British"? Does what he said
make sense? It doesn't to me and some others here. Maybe you can shed
some more light on that.
I've only heard Gardiner's recording of Enigma once, on the radio,
several years ago. As far as I can recall, I didn't particularly care
for it. But whether that's because it sounded "non-British," I can't
say. More likely it simply sounded (to my ears) unidiomatic--which,
as far as Elgar's music is concerned, might well be the same thing as
sounding "non-British."

Regards,

John
Simon Roberts
2009-05-02 18:49:47 UTC
Permalink
In article <3106343c-82f7-4fcb-bd6e-***@x31g2000prc.googlegroups.com>,
Elgarian says...
Post by Elgarian
I've only heard Gardiner's recording of Enigma once, on the radio,
several years ago. As far as I can recall, I didn't particularly care
for it. But whether that's because it sounded "non-British," I can't
say. More likely it simply sounded (to my ears) unidiomatic--which,
as far as Elgar's music is concerned, might well be the same thing as
sounding "non-British."
I suspect that more than a few listeners, encountering Elgar's recordings of his
own music "blind" for the first time, would complain that they don't sound
idiomatic....

(I suppose I should make it clear that this isn't a comment on Gardiner's Elgar,
about which I can't remember anything except that I thought it a bit dull.)

Simon
M forever
2009-05-02 23:03:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Simon Roberts
Elgarian says...
Post by Elgarian
I've only heard Gardiner's recording of Enigma once, on the radio,
several years ago.  As far as I can recall, I didn't particularly care
for it.  But whether that's because it sounded "non-British," I can't
say.  More likely it simply sounded (to my ears) unidiomatic--which,
as far as Elgar's music is concerned, might well be the same thing as
sounding "non-British."
I suspect that more than a few listeners, encountering Elgar's recordings of his
own music "blind" for the first time, would complain that they don't sound
idiomatic....
Can you explain what you mean by this?
Post by Simon Roberts
(I suppose I should make it clear that this isn't a comment on Gardiner's Elgar,
about which I can't remember anything except that I thought it a bit dull.)
Simon
Simon Roberts
2009-05-02 23:52:16 UTC
Permalink
In article <2e9831c2-db3b-4eec-a417-***@h23g2000vbc.googlegroups.com>,
M forever says...
Post by Paul Goldstein
.com>,
Post by Simon Roberts
Elgarian says...
Post by Elgarian
I've only heard Gardiner's recording of Enigma once, on the radio,
several years ago. =A0As far as I can recall, I didn't particularly care
for it. =A0But whether that's because it sounded "non-British," I can't
say. =A0More likely it simply sounded (to my ears) unidiomatic--which,
as far as Elgar's music is concerned, might well be the same thing as
sounding "non-British."
I suspect that more than a few listeners, encountering Elgar's recordings=
of his
Post by Simon Roberts
own music "blind" for the first time, would complain that they don't soun=
d
Post by Simon Roberts
idiomatic....
Can you explain what you mean by this?
Specifically, that Elgar's own performances of his music tend to be fast, fairly
plain, and emotionally "cool" (if you've heard any you'll likely know what I'm
referring to); rubato is subtle, he doesn't wallow or luxuriate, doesn't yank at
heartstrings. If you want a brief example that sums it up, the Nimrod variation
should do it (doesn't matter which of his (two? three? I forget) recordings you
listen to) - they're among the fastest on records and least likely to bring a
lump to your throat (which isn't, of course, to say they don't have any
emotional effect).

In other words, his performances sound quite a bit different from most since.
And as most people know Elgar's music from others' performances and recordings,
and because "idiomatic" doesn't really mean much more than "what's
interpretatively familiar for this music", it probably won't sound idiomatic to
the uninitiated. Which - my more general point - helps show, in part, what's
wrong with being concerned with whether a performance is "idiomatic".

(And leads to another, related point: if conductor A makes Elgar sound
"Brahmsian", that can only mean something like "conductor A conducts Elgar as
though he were conducting Brahms", which in turn must mean something like
"conductor A chooses the same or similar tempi, balances, dynamic range, etc.
for Elgar as he does Brahms". But none of this is helpful unless we know how
conductor A conducts Brahms. And even then, just how helpful is it? Most
conductors bring much the same style to everything they conduct, so why not say
"conductor A makes Elgar sound like Mendelssohn?" Did Boult, that consummate
Elgarian, make Elgar sound like Brahms (or Brahms sound like Elgar)?).

If a more general meaning is meant - conductor A conducts Elgar the way Brahms
is conducted - it's entirely useless: conducted by whom? Presumably Gardiner
doesn't conduct Elgar like Furtwaengler (or Abendroth or Toscanini or Wand or
Dorati or Janowski or ...) conduct(ed) Brahms.)

Simon
M forever
2009-05-03 00:00:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Simon Roberts
M forever says...
Post by Paul Goldstein
.com>,
Post by Simon Roberts
Elgarian says...
Post by Elgarian
I've only heard Gardiner's recording of Enigma once, on the radio,
several years ago. =A0As far as I can recall, I didn't particularly care
for it. =A0But whether that's because it sounded "non-British," I can't
say. =A0More likely it simply sounded (to my ears) unidiomatic--which,
as far as Elgar's music is concerned, might well be the same thing as
sounding "non-British."
I suspect that more than a few listeners, encountering Elgar's recordings=
of his
Post by Simon Roberts
own music "blind" for the first time, would complain that they don't soun=
d
Post by Simon Roberts
idiomatic....
Can you explain what you mean by this?
Specifically, that Elgar's own performances of his music tend to be fast, fairly
plain, and emotionally "cool" (if you've heard any you'll likely know what I'm
referring to); rubato is subtle, he doesn't wallow or luxuriate, doesn't yank at
heartstrings.  If you want a brief example that sums it up, the Nimrod variation
should do it (doesn't matter which of his (two? three? I forget) recordings you
listen to) - they're among the fastest on records and least likely to bring a
lump to your throat (which isn't, of course, to say they don't have any
emotional effect).
In other words, his performances sound quite a bit different from most since.
And as most people know Elgar's music from others' performances and recordings,
and because "idiomatic" doesn't really mean much more than "what's
interpretatively familiar for this music", it probably won't sound idiomatic to
the uninitiated.  Which - my more general point - helps show, in part, what's
wrong with being concerned with whether a performance is "idiomatic".
(And leads to another, related point: if conductor A makes Elgar sound
"Brahmsian", that can only mean something like "conductor A conducts Elgar as
though he were conducting Brahms", which in turn must mean something like
"conductor A chooses the same or similar tempi, balances, dynamic range, etc.
for Elgar as he does Brahms".  But none of this is helpful unless we know how
conductor A conducts Brahms.  And even then, just how helpful is it?  Most
conductors bring much the same style to everything they conduct, so why not say
"conductor A makes Elgar sound like Mendelssohn?" Did Boult, that consummate
Elgarian, make Elgar sound like Brahms (or Brahms sound like Elgar)?).
If a more general meaning is meant - conductor A conducts Elgar the way Brahms
is conducted - it's entirely useless: conducted by whom?  Presumably Gardiner
doesn't conduct Elgar like Furtwaengler (or Abendroth or Toscanini or Wand or
Dorati or Janowski or ...) conduct(ed) Brahms.)
Simon
Hmm...maybe Gardiner conducts Elgar like he conducts Brahms? He
probably does, in a way. But I doubt that's what was meant here...

Some interesting thoughts and observations there, especially about the
use of the word "idiomatic" in this context. Do you think it is
generally just the "familiar" and "expected" that people refer to when
they use that word, or are there certain qualities beyond familiar
interpretive styles which could be defined as "idiomatic", e.g. the
general tone and "feel" with which a piece of music is played,
comparable to authentic accents in spoken language?
Simon Roberts
2009-05-03 01:00:19 UTC
Permalink
In article <cfca1c0e-b4b4-4978-932c-***@v17g2000vbb.googlegroups.com>,
M forever says...
Post by M forever
Hmm...maybe Gardiner conducts Elgar like he conducts Brahms? He
probably does, in a way. But I doubt that's what was meant here...
Beats me; maybe we'll be told....
Post by M forever
Some interesting thoughts and observations there, especially about the
use of the word "idiomatic" in this context. Do you think it is
generally just the "familiar" and "expected" that people refer to when
they use that word,
Frankly, I have no idea; I'm just guessing based on decades of reading reviews
etc. that contain the word. I've never seen anyone give a detailed (or any
other) explanation of what they mean and my reaction tends to be cynical - that
this is just more lazy reviewspeak that gives the impression that the author is
writing from a position of privileged knowledge which he doesn't have time to
divulge. Without explanation, the word is useless; give the explanation and you
no longer need the word....

or are there certain qualities beyond familiar
Post by M forever
interpretive styles which could be defined as "idiomatic", e.g. the
general tone and "feel" with which a piece of music is played,
comparable to authentic accents in spoken language?
Perhaps that's how it could or should be used (and perhaps that's what many who
use it would like to suggest), but if so it's the background explanation of why
performance X is(n't) "idiomatic" (not to mention the more fundamental question
of why it matters in the first place) that's interesting. In the context of
music that's been played over a long period of time in a variety of styles -
i.e., where a wide range of idioms have developed - selecting one as the
standard ("idiomatic" doesn't seem a concept for which a relativist could have
much use) by which idiomatic performances are to be judged seems almost
arbitrary. A Londoner of a certain age would have grown up knowing that
Beecham's Mozart was idiomatic, only to have that "knowledge" upset by the
succession of Marriner, Pinnock, Norrington and all the post-HIPsters. Is any
of them idiomatic? All of them? None? Does it matter?

If it were generally agreed that a particular genre or set of works (etc.) ought
to be performed in a certain way for various reasons associated with that genre
or set of works it would make sense and perhaps it could be done with, say,
gregorian chant. It's easier to use the term "idiomatic" in other contexts.
For instance, to state the obvious, much English theatre is class- and
accent-specific and doesn't "work" unless those features are accurately conveyed
(and someone unfamiliar with the accents and how they're perceived locally will
miss much of what's going on). It makes sense to refer to performances which
get such details "right" as "idiomatic", but I don't think there are equivalents
in music.

As for your suggestion of a broader analogy to "authentic" accents in spoken
language, I'm not sure how helpful that is. I'm not really familiar with how
other languages have changed over time, but English has changed a lot, both in
terms of the meanings of words and their pronunciation (and spelling and syntax
etc, etc.), over the past 500 years, say (pronunciation has even changed
significantly during the age of recording, for that matter - some accents have
all but died out, others have spread, etc., on both sides of the Atlantic).
It's not much easier, if at all, to figure out how the words in a Dowland lute
song should be pronounced (it's not even certain how "Dowland" should be
pronounced - does "dow" rhyme with our "sow" or "bow" or something else? Does
it help knowing that it was likely pronounced like the "o" in "dolens" (hence
the wit in "semper Dowland, semper dolens")? Only if we know how late
Elizabethans pronounced "dolens"...) than it is to figure out their "authentic"
performance style. I get the impression that some other languages have changed
less, but even they aren't likely to have been static.

Anyway, I doubt it's more useful to say "Bernstein's 'Nimrod' is unidiomatic"
than "it's too damn slow", "isn't faithful to the letter of the score", "is a
revelatory rethinking of an overly-familiar score," or some such.

Simon
Bob Lombard
2009-05-03 01:49:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Simon Roberts
Perhaps that's how it could or should be used (and perhaps that's what many who
use it would like to suggest), but if so it's the background explanation of why
performance X is(n't) "idiomatic" (not to mention the more fundamental question
of why it matters in the first place) that's interesting. In the context of
music that's been played over a long period of time in a variety of styles -
i.e., where a wide range of idioms have developed - selecting one as the
standard ("idiomatic" doesn't seem a concept for which a relativist could have
much use) by which idiomatic performances are to be judged seems almost
arbitrary. A Londoner of a certain age would have grown up knowing that
Beecham's Mozart was idiomatic, only to have that "knowledge" upset by the
succession of Marriner, Pinnock, Norrington and all the post-HIPsters. Is any
of them idiomatic? All of them? None? Does it matter?
If it were generally agreed that a particular genre or set of works (etc.) ought
to be performed in a certain way for various reasons associated with that genre
or set of works it would make sense and perhaps it could be done with, say,
gregorian chant. It's easier to use the term "idiomatic" in other contexts.
For instance, to state the obvious, much English theatre is class- and
accent-specific and doesn't "work" unless those features are accurately conveyed
(and someone unfamiliar with the accents and how they're perceived locally will
miss much of what's going on). It makes sense to refer to performances which
get such details "right" as "idiomatic", but I don't think there are equivalents
in music.
As for your suggestion of a broader analogy to "authentic" accents in spoken
language, I'm not sure how helpful that is. I'm not really familiar with how
other languages have changed over time, but English has changed a lot, both in
terms of the meanings of words and their pronunciation (and spelling and syntax
etc, etc.), over the past 500 years, say (pronunciation has even changed
significantly during the age of recording, for that matter - some accents have
all but died out, others have spread, etc., on both sides of the Atlantic).
It's not much easier, if at all, to figure out how the words in a Dowland lute
song should be pronounced (it's not even certain how "Dowland" should be
pronounced - does "dow" rhyme with our "sow" or "bow" or something else? Does
it help knowing that it was likely pronounced like the "o" in "dolens" (hence
the wit in "semper Dowland, semper dolens")? Only if we know how late
Elizabethans pronounced "dolens"...) than it is to figure out their "authentic"
performance style. I get the impression that some other languages have changed
less, but even they aren't likely to have been static.
Anyway, I doubt it's more useful to say "Bernstein's 'Nimrod' is unidiomatic"
than "it's too damn slow", "isn't faithful to the letter of the score", "is a
revelatory rethinking of an overly-familiar score," or some such.
Simon
I agree that 'idiomatic' is a useless term in music criticism, because
it has no clear meaning. If one examines the dictionary
(Merriam-Webster) definition of 'idiom', the first two definitions
obviously do not apply, and the third:

<< 3: a style or form of artistic expression that is characteristic of
an individual, a period or movement, or a medium or instrument <the
modern jazz idiom> ; broadly : manner, style <a new culinary idiom> >>

has less useful application to the subject every time i process it.

bl
A N Other
2009-05-03 07:29:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Simon Roberts
Specifically, that Elgar's own performances of his music tend to be fast, fairly
plain, and emotionally "cool" (if you've heard any you'll likely know what I'm
referring to); rubato is subtle, he doesn't wallow or luxuriate, doesn't yank at
heartstrings.  If you want a brief example that sums it up, the Nimrod variation
should do it (doesn't matter which of his (two? three? I forget) recordings you
listen to) - they're among the fastest on records and least likely to bring a
lump to your throat (which isn't, of course, to say they don't have any
emotional effect).
If you want a longer example try either symphony or Falstaff in which
you'll find lots of fairly subtle rubato. The performances on record
of the First Symphony which bring a lump to my throat are Elgar's and
Solti's.

As far as Gardiner and the Wiener Phil on DG is concerned, it's quite
clear Gardiner is conducting Elgar, but the orchestra thinks it's
playing Richard Strauss. Brahms isn't in the equation. ( :-) )
M forever
2009-05-03 16:53:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by A N Other
Post by Simon Roberts
Specifically, that Elgar's own performances of his music tend to be fast, fairly
plain, and emotionally "cool" (if you've heard any you'll likely know what I'm
referring to); rubato is subtle, he doesn't wallow or luxuriate, doesn't yank at
heartstrings.  If you want a brief example that sums it up, the Nimrod variation
should do it (doesn't matter which of his (two? three? I forget) recordings you
listen to) - they're among the fastest on records and least likely to bring a
lump to your throat (which isn't, of course, to say they don't have any
emotional effect).
If you want a longer example try either symphony or Falstaff in which
you'll find lots of fairly subtle rubato. The performances on record
of the First Symphony which bring a lump to my throat are Elgar's and
Solti's.
Which Solti one?
Post by A N Other
As far as Gardiner and the Wiener Phil on DG is concerned, it's quite
clear Gardiner is conducting Elgar, but the orchestra thinks it's
playing Richard Strauss. Brahms isn't in the equation. ( :-) )
The WP know and can play Strauss and Brahms better than most
orchestras on the planet, in addition to many other composers. Of
course they don't think they are "playing Strauss" or "playing
Brahms".
And BTW, they don't play Strauss or Brahms or any other composer in
just one standard way or style. There is a wide spectrum of
interpretive approaches, and unlike a lot of other orchestras, they
can deliver the whole spectrum, whatever the conductor asks for.
So I don't see how you can have arrived at this statement. How do you
know that "Gardiner conducts Elgar" but "the orchestra thinks its
playing Strauss"? What does that even mean?
Please explain and give concrete examples for where the orchestra does
something which does not work in Elgar's music, but which only works
in Strauss (and not even Brahms).
Gerard
2009-05-03 16:52:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by M forever
Post by A N Other
Post by Simon Roberts
Specifically, that Elgar's own performances of his music tend to
be fast, fairly plain, and emotionally "cool" (if you've heard
any you'll likely know what I'm referring to); rubato is subtle,
he doesn't wallow or luxuriate, doesn't yank at heartstrings. If
you want a brief example that sums it up, the Nimrod variation
should do it (doesn't matter which of his (two? three? I forget)
recordings you listen to) - they're among the fastest on records
and least likely to bring a lump to your throat (which isn't, of
course, to say they don't have any emotional effect).
If you want a longer example try either symphony or Falstaff in
which you'll find lots of fairly subtle rubato. The performances on
record of the First Symphony which bring a lump to my throat are
Elgar's and Solti's.
Which Solti one?
Post by A N Other
As far as Gardiner and the Wiener Phil on DG is concerned, it's
quite clear Gardiner is conducting Elgar, but the orchestra thinks
it's playing Richard Strauss. Brahms isn't in the equation. ( :-) )
The WP know and can play Strauss and Brahms better than most
orchestras on the planet, in addition to many other composers. Of
course they don't think they are "playing Strauss" or "playing
Brahms".
And BTW, they don't play Strauss or Brahms or any other composer in
just one standard way or style. There is a wide spectrum of
interpretive approaches, and unlike a lot of other orchestras, they
can deliver the whole spectrum, whatever the conductor asks for.
So I don't see how you can have arrived at this statement. How do you
know that "Gardiner conducts Elgar" but "the orchestra thinks its
playing Strauss"? What does that even mean?
Please explain and give concrete examples for where the orchestra does
something which does not work in Elgar's music, but which only works
in Strauss (and not even Brahms).
Probably you've never heard about cultures where something like "humor" is being
practised.
A N Other
2009-05-03 17:18:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gerard
Post by M forever
Post by A N Other
Post by Simon Roberts
Specifically, that Elgar's own performances of his music tend to
be fast, fairly plain, and emotionally "cool" (if you've heard
any you'll likely know what I'm referring to); rubato is subtle,
he doesn't wallow or luxuriate, doesn't yank at heartstrings. If
you want a brief example that sums it up, the Nimrod variation
should do it (doesn't matter which of his (two? three? I forget)
recordings you listen to) - they're among the fastest on records
and least likely to bring a lump to your throat (which isn't, of
course, to say they don't have any emotional effect).
If you want a longer example try either symphony or Falstaff in
which you'll find lots of fairly subtle rubato. The performances on
record of the First Symphony which bring a lump to my throat are
Elgar's and Solti's.
Which Solti one?
Post by A N Other
As far as Gardiner and the Wiener Phil on DG is concerned, it's
quite clear Gardiner is conducting Elgar, but the orchestra thinks
it's playing Richard Strauss. Brahms isn't in the equation. ( :-) )
The WP know and can play Strauss and Brahms better than most
orchestras on the planet, in addition to many other composers. Of
course they don't think they are "playing Strauss" or "playing
Brahms".
And BTW, they don't play Strauss or Brahms or any other composer in
just one standard way or style. There is a wide spectrum of
interpretive approaches, and unlike a lot of other orchestras, they
can deliver the whole spectrum, whatever the conductor asks for.
So I don't see how you can have arrived at this statement. How do you
know that "Gardiner conducts Elgar" but "the orchestra thinks its
playing Strauss"? What does that even mean?
Please explain and give concrete examples for where the orchestra does
something which does not work in Elgar's music, but which only works
in Strauss (and not even Brahms).
Probably you've never heard about cultures where something like "humor" is being
practised.- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
I failed. Obviously.
Gerard
2009-05-03 17:17:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by A N Other
Post by Gerard
Post by M forever
Post by A N Other
Post by Simon Roberts
Specifically, that Elgar's own performances of his music tend
to be fast, fairly plain, and emotionally "cool" (if you've
heard any you'll likely know what I'm referring to); rubato
is subtle, he doesn't wallow or luxuriate, doesn't yank at
heartstrings. If you want a brief example that sums it up,
the Nimrod variation should do it (doesn't matter which of
his (two? three? I forget) recordings you listen to) -
they're among the fastest on records and least likely to
bring a lump to your throat (which isn't, of course, to say
they don't have any emotional effect).
If you want a longer example try either symphony or Falstaff in
which you'll find lots of fairly subtle rubato. The
performances on record of the First Symphony which bring a lump
to my throat are Elgar's and Solti's.
Which Solti one?
Post by A N Other
As far as Gardiner and the Wiener Phil on DG is concerned, it's
quite clear Gardiner is conducting Elgar, but the orchestra
thinks it's playing Richard Strauss. Brahms isn't in the
equation. ( :-) )
The WP know and can play Strauss and Brahms better than most
orchestras on the planet, in addition to many other composers. Of
course they don't think they are "playing Strauss" or "playing
Brahms".
And BTW, they don't play Strauss or Brahms or any other composer
in just one standard way or style. There is a wide spectrum of
interpretive approaches, and unlike a lot of other orchestras,
they can deliver the whole spectrum, whatever the conductor asks
for.
So I don't see how you can have arrived at this statement. How do
you know that "Gardiner conducts Elgar" but "the orchestra thinks
its playing Strauss"? What does that even mean?
Please explain and give concrete examples for where the orchestra
does something which does not work in Elgar's music, but which
only works in Strauss (and not even Brahms).
Probably you've never heard about cultures where something like
"humor" is being practised.- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
I failed. Obviously.
I don't think so.
Some people with too much cultural background only can be too serious, about
everything.
A N Other
2009-05-03 17:15:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by M forever
Post by A N Other
Post by Simon Roberts
Specifically, that Elgar's own performances of his music tend to be fast, fairly
plain, and emotionally "cool" (if you've heard any you'll likely know what I'm
referring to); rubato is subtle, he doesn't wallow or luxuriate, doesn't yank at
heartstrings.  If you want a brief example that sums it up, the Nimrod variation
should do it (doesn't matter which of his (two? three? I forget) recordings you
listen to) - they're among the fastest on records and least likely to bring a
lump to your throat (which isn't, of course, to say they don't have any
emotional effect).
If you want a longer example try either symphony or Falstaff in which
you'll find lots of fairly subtle rubato. The performances on record
of the First Symphony which bring a lump to my throat are Elgar's and
Solti's.
Which Solti one?
Post by A N Other
As far as Gardiner and the Wiener Phil on DG is concerned, it's quite
clear Gardiner is conducting Elgar, but the orchestra thinks it's
playing Richard Strauss. Brahms isn't in the equation. ( :-) )
The WP know and can play Strauss and Brahms better than most
orchestras on the planet, in addition to many other composers. Of
course they don't think they are "playing Strauss" or "playing
Brahms".
And BTW, they don't play Strauss or Brahms or any other composer in
just one standard way or style. There is a wide spectrum of
interpretive approaches, and unlike a lot of other orchestras, they
can deliver the whole spectrum, whatever the conductor asks for.
So I don't see how you can have arrived at this statement. How do you
know that "Gardiner conducts Elgar" but "the orchestra thinks its
playing Strauss"? What does that even mean?
Please explain and give concrete examples for where the orchestra does
something which does not work in Elgar's music, but which only works
in Strauss (and not even Brahms).- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
You don't know what this means?

"( :-) ) "

I was being facetious.........
M forever
2009-05-03 17:26:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by A N Other
Post by M forever
Post by A N Other
Post by Simon Roberts
Specifically, that Elgar's own performances of his music tend to be fast, fairly
plain, and emotionally "cool" (if you've heard any you'll likely know what I'm
referring to); rubato is subtle, he doesn't wallow or luxuriate, doesn't yank at
heartstrings.  If you want a brief example that sums it up, the Nimrod variation
should do it (doesn't matter which of his (two? three? I forget) recordings you
listen to) - they're among the fastest on records and least likely to bring a
lump to your throat (which isn't, of course, to say they don't have any
emotional effect).
If you want a longer example try either symphony or Falstaff in which
you'll find lots of fairly subtle rubato. The performances on record
of the First Symphony which bring a lump to my throat are Elgar's and
Solti's.
Which Solti one?
Post by A N Other
As far as Gardiner and the Wiener Phil on DG is concerned, it's quite
clear Gardiner is conducting Elgar, but the orchestra thinks it's
playing Richard Strauss. Brahms isn't in the equation. ( :-) )
The WP know and can play Strauss and Brahms better than most
orchestras on the planet, in addition to many other composers. Of
course they don't think they are "playing Strauss" or "playing
Brahms".
And BTW, they don't play Strauss or Brahms or any other composer in
just one standard way or style. There is a wide spectrum of
interpretive approaches, and unlike a lot of other orchestras, they
can deliver the whole spectrum, whatever the conductor asks for.
So I don't see how you can have arrived at this statement. How do you
know that "Gardiner conducts Elgar" but "the orchestra thinks its
playing Strauss"? What does that even mean?
Please explain and give concrete examples for where the orchestra does
something which does not work in Elgar's music, but which only works
in Strauss (and not even Brahms).- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
You don't know what this means?
"( :-) ) "
I was being facetious.........
I know what that means but I don't see anything funny in that
statement. Not everything becomes funny just by attaching a :-)

What are you trying to make fun of anyway? That you have nothing to
contribute except for silly clichés? Do you have anything of interest
to contribute about this subject?
Gerard
2009-05-03 17:20:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by M forever
Post by A N Other
Post by M forever
Post by A N Other
Post by Simon Roberts
Specifically, that Elgar's own performances of his music tend
to be fast, fairly plain, and emotionally "cool" (if you've
heard any you'll likely know what I'm referring to); rubato
is subtle, he doesn't wallow or luxuriate, doesn't yank at
heartstrings. If you want a brief example that sums it up,
the Nimrod variation should do it (doesn't matter which of
his (two? three? I forget) recordings you listen to) -
they're among the fastest on records and least likely to
bring a lump to your throat (which isn't, of course, to say
they don't have any emotional effect).
If you want a longer example try either symphony or Falstaff in
which you'll find lots of fairly subtle rubato. The
performances on record of the First Symphony which bring a lump
to my throat are Elgar's and Solti's.
Which Solti one?
Post by A N Other
As far as Gardiner and the Wiener Phil on DG is concerned, it's
quite clear Gardiner is conducting Elgar, but the orchestra
thinks it's playing Richard Strauss. Brahms isn't in the
equation. ( :-) )
The WP know and can play Strauss and Brahms better than most
orchestras on the planet, in addition to many other composers. Of
course they don't think they are "playing Strauss" or "playing
Brahms".
And BTW, they don't play Strauss or Brahms or any other composer
in just one standard way or style. There is a wide spectrum of
interpretive approaches, and unlike a lot of other orchestras,
they can deliver the whole spectrum, whatever the conductor asks
for.
So I don't see how you can have arrived at this statement. How do
you know that "Gardiner conducts Elgar" but "the orchestra thinks
its playing Strauss"? What does that even mean?
Please explain and give concrete examples for where the orchestra
does something which does not work in Elgar's music, but which
only works in Strauss (and not even Brahms).- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
You don't know what this means?
"( :-) ) "
I was being facetious.........
I know what that means but I don't see anything funny in that
statement. Not everything becomes funny just by attaching a :-)
What are you trying to make fun of anyway? That you have nothing to
contribute except for silly clichés? Do you have anything of interest
to contribute about this subject?
QED.
As usual.
A N Other
2009-05-03 17:36:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by M forever
Post by A N Other
Post by M forever
Post by A N Other
Post by Simon Roberts
Specifically, that Elgar's own performances of his music tend to be fast, fairly
plain, and emotionally "cool" (if you've heard any you'll likely know what I'm
referring to); rubato is subtle, he doesn't wallow or luxuriate, doesn't yank at
heartstrings.  If you want a brief example that sums it up, the Nimrod variation
should do it (doesn't matter which of his (two? three? I forget) recordings you
listen to) - they're among the fastest on records and least likely to bring a
lump to your throat (which isn't, of course, to say they don't have any
emotional effect).
If you want a longer example try either symphony or Falstaff in which
you'll find lots of fairly subtle rubato. The performances on record
of the First Symphony which bring a lump to my throat are Elgar's and
Solti's.
Which Solti one?
Post by A N Other
As far as Gardiner and the Wiener Phil on DG is concerned, it's quite
clear Gardiner is conducting Elgar, but the orchestra thinks it's
playing Richard Strauss. Brahms isn't in the equation. ( :-) )
The WP know and can play Strauss and Brahms better than most
orchestras on the planet, in addition to many other composers. Of
course they don't think they are "playing Strauss" or "playing
Brahms".
And BTW, they don't play Strauss or Brahms or any other composer in
just one standard way or style. There is a wide spectrum of
interpretive approaches, and unlike a lot of other orchestras, they
can deliver the whole spectrum, whatever the conductor asks for.
So I don't see how you can have arrived at this statement. How do you
know that "Gardiner conducts Elgar" but "the orchestra thinks its
playing Strauss"? What does that even mean?
Please explain and give concrete examples for where the orchestra does
something which does not work in Elgar's music, but which only works
in Strauss (and not even Brahms).- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
You don't know what this means?
"( :-) ) "
I was being facetious.........
I know what that means but I don't see anything funny in that
statement. Not everything becomes funny just by attaching a :-)
What are you trying to make fun of anyway? That you have nothing to
contribute except for silly clichés? Do you have anything of interest
to contribute about this subject?- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
Reading the thread, old boy, a little more than you.
Bob Harper
2009-05-03 18:06:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by A N Other
Post by M forever
Post by A N Other
Post by Simon Roberts
Specifically, that Elgar's own performances of his music tend to be fast, fairly
plain, and emotionally "cool" (if you've heard any you'll likely know what I'm
referring to); rubato is subtle, he doesn't wallow or luxuriate, doesn't yank at
heartstrings. If you want a brief example that sums it up, the Nimrod variation
should do it (doesn't matter which of his (two? three? I forget) recordings you
listen to) - they're among the fastest on records and least likely to bring a
lump to your throat (which isn't, of course, to say they don't have any
emotional effect).
If you want a longer example try either symphony or Falstaff in which
you'll find lots of fairly subtle rubato. The performances on record
of the First Symphony which bring a lump to my throat are Elgar's and
Solti's.
Which Solti one?
Post by A N Other
As far as Gardiner and the Wiener Phil on DG is concerned, it's quite
clear Gardiner is conducting Elgar, but the orchestra thinks it's
playing Richard Strauss. Brahms isn't in the equation. ( :-) )
The WP know and can play Strauss and Brahms better than most
orchestras on the planet, in addition to many other composers. Of
course they don't think they are "playing Strauss" or "playing
Brahms".
And BTW, they don't play Strauss or Brahms or any other composer in
just one standard way or style. There is a wide spectrum of
interpretive approaches, and unlike a lot of other orchestras, they
can deliver the whole spectrum, whatever the conductor asks for.
So I don't see how you can have arrived at this statement. How do you
know that "Gardiner conducts Elgar" but "the orchestra thinks its
playing Strauss"? What does that even mean?
Please explain and give concrete examples for where the orchestra does
something which does not work in Elgar's music, but which only works
in Strauss (and not even Brahms).- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
You don't know what this means?
"( :-) ) "
I was being facetious.........
Facetious is a tone with which Michael is not familiar, and (almost?)
always finds offensive. Despite his excellent English, subtleties of
tone, especially humor, are frequently lost on him, drowned by excessive
literalism.

Bob Harper
jrsnfld
2009-05-03 17:55:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by M forever
Post by A N Other
If you want a longer example try either symphony or Falstaff in which
you'll find lots of fairly subtle rubato. The performances on record
of the First Symphony which bring a lump to my throat are Elgar's and
Solti's.
Which Solti one?
Solti recorded the Elgar 1st more than once?

--Jeff
M forever
2009-05-02 23:05:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Elgarian
Post by M forever
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Thornhill
Gardiner pretty much goes out of his way to sound non-British in his
recording with the VPO. He conducts it as if it were composed by
Brahms. You'll either find it intriguing or infuriating.
Interesting comment. Elgar certainly didn't sound "Elgarian" or indeed
"British" when first performed. He's arguably best understood as an
offshoot of German Romanticism rather than The Founder of the British
Musical Tradition.
Regards,
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Hmmmm...  An interesting if provocative assertion.  ("Elgar certainly
didn't sound 'Elgarian' or indeed 'British' when first performed.")
There is something to be said for Elgar's music as an "offshoot of
German Romanticism."  For one thing, he revered Beethoven, Wagner, and
Brahms--and admired Germany and the Germans.  When he holidayed in
Germany in the early 1890s, he heard all the major Wagner operas in
Bayreuth and Munich, and The Dream of Gerontius clearly borrows the
Wagnerian method of the Leitmotiv.
Elgar also attended the English premiere of Brahms's Third Symphony;
he himself later conducted the symphony and gave a lecture on it;
again, there are Brahmsian touches (at least structurally, no?) in his
own symphonies.  In the South has more than its share of (Richard)
Straussian moments.  (Elgar liked and admired Strauss and thought
highly of Ein Heldenleben; he later did in The Music Makers much the
same thing that Strauss had done in Heldenleben.)  And of course he
found two of his staunchest champions in Jaeger and Richter.
By the way, Michael Kennedy asserts that the music of Schumann and
Dvorak had an even greater influence on Elgar than did Brahms, Wagner,
and Strauss.
Be all that as it may... In any case, by definition, at least from
Froissart onward, Elgar's music always was and is "Elgarian" (in the
same way that Brahms's music is Brahmsian, Wagner's Wagnerian, and so
forth).
Regards,
John
Interesting comments! Are you familiar with Gardiner's recording? If
so, do you understand what Thornhill meant when he said that Gardiner
went "out of his way to make it sound non-British"? Does what he said
make sense? It doesn't to me and some others here. Maybe you can shed
some more light on that.
I've only heard Gardiner's recording of Enigma once, on the radio,
several years ago.  As far as I can recall, I didn't particularly care
for it.  But whether that's because it sounded "non-British," I can't
say.  More likely it simply sounded (to my ears) unidiomatic--which,
as far as Elgar's music is concerned, might well be the same thing as
sounding "non-British."
Regards,
John
Gardiner is usually pretty good at bringing out musical "idioms" and
"characterizing" music. I assume that he is also fairly familiar with
what is "idiomatic" in Elgar - if there is such a thing. I know it's
hard to put that in words, but can you try to explain what makes a
performance sound particularly "British" or "idiomatic" in Elgar's
music?
Rugby
2009-05-02 23:22:06 UTC
Permalink
On May 2, 6:05 pm, M forever <***@gmail.com> wrote:
I know it's
Post by M forever
hard to put that in words, but can you try to explain what makes a
performance sound particularly "British" or "idiomatic" in Elgar's
music?
Yes,it's hard to put into words,even if one has the "cultural
heritage" you require.That's why we call Elgar's works "music."

Listen to them.

Regards, Rugby
M forever
2009-05-02 23:45:02 UTC
Permalink
 I know it's
Post by M forever
hard to put that in words, but can you try to explain what makes a
performance sound particularly "British" or "idiomatic" in Elgar's
music?
Yes,it's hard to put into words,even if one has the  "cultural
heritage" you require.
How would you know?
That's why we call Elgar's works "music."
If something is "music", that doesn't mean all of it's parameters are
completely out of reach for description and discussion.
But again, how would you know?
Listen to them.
I do, and i don't hear any parameters in "completely British"
performances of this music which strike me as particularly
"idiomatic". Which means either there aren't any, or I am not
"getting" them. Which is why I am asking people who think they do to
explain what it is I am not "getting".

Assuming of course that those people do actually hear and understand
what they are talking about, not that they are simply saying that
because they think it makes them sound knowledgeable.
Regards, Rugby
Andrew Clarke
2009-05-03 11:05:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by M forever
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Thornhill
Gardiner pretty much goes out of his way to sound non-British in his
recording with the VPO. He conducts it as if it were composed by
Brahms. You'll either find it intriguing or infuriating.
Interesting comment. Elgar certainly didn't sound "Elgarian" or indeed
"British" when first performed. He's arguably best understood as an
offshoot of German Romanticism rather than The Founder of the British
Musical Tradition.
Regards,
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Hmmmm...  An interesting if provocative assertion.  ("Elgar certainly
didn't sound 'Elgarian' or indeed 'British' when first performed.")
There is something to be said for Elgar's music as an "offshoot of
German Romanticism."  For one thing, he revered Beethoven, Wagner, and
Brahms--and admired Germany and the Germans.  When he holidayed in
Germany in the early 1890s, he heard all the major Wagner operas in
Bayreuth and Munich, and The Dream of Gerontius clearly borrows the
Wagnerian method of the Leitmotiv.
Elgar also attended the English premiere of Brahms's Third Symphony;
he himself later conducted the symphony and gave a lecture on it;
again, there are Brahmsian touches (at least structurally, no?) in his
own symphonies.  In the South has more than its share of (Richard)
Straussian moments.  (Elgar liked and admired Strauss and thought
highly of Ein Heldenleben; he later did in The Music Makers much the
same thing that Strauss had done in Heldenleben.)  And of course he
found two of his staunchest champions in Jaeger and Richter.
By the way, Michael Kennedy asserts that the music of Schumann and
Dvorak had an even greater influence on Elgar than did Brahms, Wagner,
and Strauss.
Be all that as it may... In any case, by definition, at least from
Froissart onward, Elgar's music always was and is "Elgarian" (in the
same way that Brahms's music is Brahmsian, Wagner's Wagnerian, and so
forth).
Regards,
John
Interesting comments! Are you familiar with Gardiner's recording?
Sadly, no.
Post by M forever
If so, do you understand what Thornhill meant when he said that Gardiner
went "out of his way to make it sound non-British"? Does what he said
make sense? It doesn't to me and some others here. Maybe you can shed
some more light on that.
I'd be interested in Thornhill's own take on this, but I would suggest
that he's referring to the growth of a performing tradition among
British orchestras (not surprising when you consider how few non-
British performers ever recorded Elgar at all) which Gardiner has set
aside.

"British" can mean of course, Tony Hancock, Alfred Hitchcock, Lady
Thatcher, George Formby, George Melley, the Beverley Sisters, Kingsley
Amis, Eddie "The Man with the Golden Trumpet" Calvert, Wallace and
Grommit, Dame Felicity Lott - tremendous in Offenbach btw - Peter
Sellers, Kenneth Graham, Kenneth Williams, the Duchess of Cornwall,
the Duchess of Duke Street and much, much more ...


Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Gerard
2009-05-03 12:02:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clarke
"British" can mean of course, Tony Hancock, Alfred Hitchcock, Lady
Thatcher, George Formby, George Melley, the Beverley Sisters, Kingsley
Amis, Eddie "The Man with the Golden Trumpet" Calvert, Wallace and
Grommit, Dame Felicity Lott - tremendous in Offenbach btw - Peter
Sellers, Kenneth Graham, Kenneth Williams, the Duchess of Cornwall,
the Duchess of Duke Street and much, much more ...
You obviously forgot about Monthy Pyton.
And Blackadder.
M forever
2009-05-03 16:59:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by M forever
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Thornhill
Gardiner pretty much goes out of his way to sound non-British in his
recording with the VPO. He conducts it as if it were composed by
Brahms. You'll either find it intriguing or infuriating.
Interesting comment. Elgar certainly didn't sound "Elgarian" or indeed
"British" when first performed. He's arguably best understood as an
offshoot of German Romanticism rather than The Founder of the British
Musical Tradition.
Regards,
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Hmmmm...  An interesting if provocative assertion.  ("Elgar certainly
didn't sound 'Elgarian' or indeed 'British' when first performed.")
There is something to be said for Elgar's music as an "offshoot of
German Romanticism."  For one thing, he revered Beethoven, Wagner, and
Brahms--and admired Germany and the Germans.  When he holidayed in
Germany in the early 1890s, he heard all the major Wagner operas in
Bayreuth and Munich, and The Dream of Gerontius clearly borrows the
Wagnerian method of the Leitmotiv.
Elgar also attended the English premiere of Brahms's Third Symphony;
he himself later conducted the symphony and gave a lecture on it;
again, there are Brahmsian touches (at least structurally, no?) in his
own symphonies.  In the South has more than its share of (Richard)
Straussian moments.  (Elgar liked and admired Strauss and thought
highly of Ein Heldenleben; he later did in The Music Makers much the
same thing that Strauss had done in Heldenleben.)  And of course he
found two of his staunchest champions in Jaeger and Richter.
By the way, Michael Kennedy asserts that the music of Schumann and
Dvorak had an even greater influence on Elgar than did Brahms, Wagner,
and Strauss.
Be all that as it may... In any case, by definition, at least from
Froissart onward, Elgar's music always was and is "Elgarian" (in the
same way that Brahms's music is Brahmsian, Wagner's Wagnerian, and so
forth).
Regards,
John
Interesting comments! Are you familiar with Gardiner's recording?
Sadly, no.
Post by M forever
If so, do you understand what Thornhill meant when he said that Gardiner
went "out of his way to make it sound non-British"? Does what he said
make sense? It doesn't to me and some others here. Maybe you can shed
some more light on that.
I'd be interested in Thornhill's own take on this, but I would suggest
that he's referring to the growth of a performing tradition among
British orchestras (not surprising when you consider how few non-
British performers ever recorded Elgar at all) which Gardiner has set
aside.
How did he do that? Specifically which elements of that performance
tradition has Gardiner set aside? Where can we hear that in this
recording, and what are the defining elements of that grown
performance tradition? How can you tell - just from listening, not
from looking at the performers' names and then imagining what it must
sound like - that the way something is played is coming from inside
that grown performance tradition - or not?
Post by Andrew Clarke
"British" can mean of course, Tony Hancock, Alfred Hitchcock, Lady
Thatcher, George Formby, George Melley, the Beverley Sisters, Kingsley
Amis, Eddie "The Man with the Golden Trumpet" Calvert, Wallace and
Grommit, Dame Felicity Lott  - tremendous in Offenbach btw - Peter
Sellers, Kenneth Graham, Kenneth Williams, the Duchess of Cornwall,
the Duchess of Duke Street and much, much more ...
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
p***@my-deja.com
2009-05-01 18:45:37 UTC
Permalink
On May 1, 2:15 pm, Elgarian <***@yahoo.com> wrote:

(snipped, to avoid repetition)

Interesting comments in this message. It's nice to have a true
Elgarian in this discussion group.

pgaron
Elgarian
2009-05-02 18:12:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@my-deja.com
(snipped, to avoid repetition)
Interesting comments in this message. It's nice to have a true
Elgarian in this discussion group.
pgaron
Many thanks for that compliment. Elgarian by name, Elgarian by
nature, eh?

(Not bad for someone who is domiciled--or should I say "exiled"?--in
New Jersey, if I say so myself. But I'm happy to have visited & spent
time at numerous sites associated with Elgar--not only the birthplace
museum, but particular locations in & around Malvern, Worcester,
Hereford, Settle [in Yorkshire, where he used to holiday as a young
man], London, & so forth.)

Cheers,

John
Andrew Clarke
2009-05-03 10:38:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Elgarian
Be all that as it may... In any case, by definition, at least from
Froissart onward, Elgar's music always was and is "Elgarian" (in the
same way that Brahms's music is Brahmsian, Wagner's Wagnerian, and so
forth
.. and Handel is Handelian, yes, it becomes tautological, but my
quotation marks were put there to suggest that "Brahmsian" and
"Elgarian" have become rather hackneyed stereotypes which have grown
up over the years since the first performances. As, I suspect has
"British" Elgar - what could be more different than Boult's and
Barbirolli's versions of the symphonies, for example?

"Brahmsian" -- well, autumnal, introspective, brown Windsor soup (or
braun Potsdam soup if you prefer). The third movement of the Third
symphony at a suitably lugubrious tempo. But of course Brahms wrote
some brilliantly passionate music -- I'm thinking of the string
quintets and quartets here. And he is to me the master of the almost
endless melodic line bringing a new range of feelings with every
effortless twist and turn.

"Elgarian" - well, nobilmente, Norfolk jackets, cocker spaniels,
cucumber sandwiches, Sir John Betjeman, all awash with nostalgia for a
vanished Golden Age. But then there's the Introduction and Allegro, a
gem if ever there was one, and the Sea Pictures and so much more. No
long melodious lines here, I don't think - the slow movement of the
1st symphony nearly qualifies - and where Elgar waffles most is when
he gets a couple of interesting phrases to play with but can't find
anything to do with them, so he just keeps repeating them (a lot of
the Cockaigne overture is a case in point). But then the man comes up
with something so overpoweringly moving ...

Incidentally I haven't heard Gardiner's Enigma, I revere Mackerras's
Brahms and I've always preferred Andre Navarra's recording of the
Elgar Cello Concerto to Jacqueline Dupre's. And I wish Edu had
preserved somewhere the original ending of the Enigma Variations.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Elgarian
2009-05-03 19:06:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Elgarian
Be all that as it may... In any case, by definition, at least from
Froissart onward, Elgar's music always was and is "Elgarian" (in the
same way that Brahms's music is Brahmsian, Wagner's Wagnerian, and so
forth
.. and Handel is Handelian, yes, it becomes tautological, but my
quotation marks were put there to suggest that "Brahmsian" and
"Elgarian" have become rather hackneyed stereotypes which have grown
up over the years since the first performances. As, I suspect has
"British" Elgar - what could be more different than Boult's and
Barbirolli's versions of the symphonies, for example?
I suppose one could make a case for describing Barbirolli's Elgar as
"Italian" Elgar! Especially in the case of his Rome concert recording
of the Dream of Gerontius.
Post by Andrew Clarke
"Elgarian" - well, nobilmente, Norfolk jackets, cocker spaniels,
cucumber sandwiches, Sir John Betjeman, all awash with nostalgia for a
vanished Golden Age.  But then there's the Introduction and Allegro, a
gem if ever there was one, and the Sea Pictures and so much more. No
long melodious lines here, I don't think - the slow movement of the
1st symphony nearly qualifies - and where Elgar waffles most is when
he gets a couple of interesting phrases to play with but can't find
anything to do with them, so he just keeps repeating them (a lot of
the Cockaigne overture is a case in point). But then the man comes up
with something so overpoweringly moving ...
One of the frequent complaints against Elgar's music by non- (or
anti-) Elgarians is his apparent reliance on that repetition of
favorite phrases. I can't recall who it was (a German critic or
conductor, I think) who remarked unfavorably on "all those sequences,
und so weiter."
Post by Andrew Clarke
I wish Edu had preserved somewhere the original ending of the Enigma Variations.
After Elgar revised the ending, at Jaeger's suggestion, after the
premiere, evidently the original ending was not performed anywhere
until Frederick Ashton used it in his ballet of Enigma Variations
(1968). I'm not sure where Ashton found the score, but obviously it
had been preserved somewhere, and this version contiinues to be used
in performances of the ballet.

The original ending is included, along with the standard revised
ending, in Mark Elder's recording with the Halle Orchestra. As far as
I know, this was first (and still the only) recording of this
version. Well worth acquiring, along with Elder's other Elgar CDs,
most of which include a rarely heard work (or an unusual and rarely
heard version of a familiar work, as Elgar was rather industrious in
re-arranging/ recycling his music) as a filler.

Regards,

John
M forever
2009-05-01 14:30:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Thornhill
Post by Kerrison
Are any Elgarian collectors here particularly taken with non-British
recordings of the "Enigma Variations"? One at the top of my list is a
terrific version made for the old East German 'Eterna' label by Rolf
Kleinert and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (on a Berlin Classics
CD). But there were very good accounts from Mehta and the Los Angeles
Phil, Ormandy in Philadelphia, Steinberg in Pittsburgh, and Stokowski
and the Czech Philharmonic. Not quite so near the top of my list are
Solti and the Chicagoans, and Skrowaczewski and the Saarbrucken Radio
Symphony. Any other non-UK versions which can be recommended?
Gardiner pretty much goes out of his way to sound non-British in his
recording with the VPO. He conducts it as if it were composed by
Brahms. You'll either find it intriguing or infuriating.
Can you explain how he does, or tries to do that? How does he make the
music "sound as if it were composed by Brahms"? What stylistic or
expressive means are used to achieve that?
Also, what does "sound like Brahms" mean? There are so many different
interpretive approaches to playing Brahms' orchestral works. Please
clarify!
I have the recording but haven't listened to it in a long time. I look
forward to your explanations so I when I pull it out again, I can
listen for these things.
Terry
2009-05-01 16:01:49 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 2 May 2009 00:30:50 +1000, M forever wrote
(in article
Post by M forever
Post by Thornhill
Post by Kerrison
Are any Elgarian collectors here particularly taken with non-British
recordings of the "Enigma Variations"? One at the top of my list is a
terrific version made for the old East German 'Eterna' label by Rolf
Kleinert and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (on a Berlin Classics
CD). But there were very good accounts from Mehta and the Los Angeles
Phil, Ormandy in Philadelphia, Steinberg in Pittsburgh, and Stokowski
and the Czech Philharmonic. Not quite so near the top of my list are
Solti and the Chicagoans, and Skrowaczewski and the Saarbrucken Radio
Symphony. Any other non-UK versions which can be recommended?
Gardiner pretty much goes out of his way to sound non-British in his
recording with the VPO. He conducts it as if it were composed by
Brahms. You'll either find it intriguing or infuriating.
Can you explain how he does, or tries to do that? How does he make the
music "sound as if it were composed by Brahms"? What stylistic or
expressive means are used to achieve that?
Also, what does "sound like Brahms" mean? There are so many different
interpretive approaches to playing Brahms' orchestral works. Please
clarify!
I have the recording but haven't listened to it in a long time. I look
forward to your explanations so I when I pull it out again, I can
listen for these things.
Thank you for asking that question. I've been musing over the original
statement for some hours now, and would like to have these points explained,
if possible.
--
Cheers!

Terry
Rugby
2009-04-30 12:30:58 UTC
Permalink
On Apr 29, 2:56 am, Kerrison <kerrison126-***@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

Here's a real British "enigma" :

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/5248440/Sex-on-Queens-lawn-at-Windsor-Castle.html

Rugby
A N Other
2009-04-30 12:41:47 UTC
Permalink
www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/5248440/Sex-on-Queens-lawn-at-Windsor...
Rugby
Disgraceful! Surely they must have seen the signs for "Keep off the
grass".

What next for a thread? Non-German Wagner? Non-French Ravel?
Matthew B. Tepper
2009-04-30 14:43:55 UTC
Permalink
Eugen Jochum made a recording with (I think) the LPO for DGG that was pretty
good in the day. I haven't heard it since the LP era, however. Sometimes I
enjoy listening to the "Enigma" from an off-air tape I made around 1974 with
Ozawa/San Francisco.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
Kerrison
2009-04-30 14:59:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Eugen Jochum made a recording with (I think) the LPO for DGG that was pretty
good in the day.  I haven't heard it since the LP era, however.  Sometimes I
enjoy listening to the "Enigma" from an off-air tape I made around 1974 with
Ozawa/San Francisco.
--
Matthew B. Tepper:  WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page --http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page ---http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
Barenboim also recorded it and here he is with the Chicago SO in
"Nimrod" ...


Lawrence Chalmers
2009-04-30 14:59:45 UTC
Permalink
I also think very highly of the Toscanini/NBC. I had it on lp, but
never reacquired on cd, which I should do. The lp had Cantelli's
Pictures (Moussorgsky-Ravel) on the other side.
Nils-Eivind Naas
2009-05-02 21:36:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Eugen Jochum made a recording with (I think) the LPO for DGG
that was pretty good in the day. I haven't heard it since the
LP era, however. Sometimes I enjoy listening to the "Enigma"
from an off-air tape I made around 1974 with Ozawa/San
Francisco.
LSO, in fact. A fascinating performance, especially "Nimrod"; slow,
stately, very different fom Monteux, though no less valid. I had a
cassette tape that was unfortunately eaten by the player :-(

--
Elgarian
2009-05-01 01:09:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kerrison
Are any Elgarian collectors here particularly taken with non-British
recordings of the "Enigma Variations"? One at the top of my list is a
terrific version made for the old East German 'Eterna' label by Rolf
Kleinert and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (on a Berlin Classics
CD). But there were very good accounts from Mehta and the Los Angeles
Phil, Ormandy in Philadelphia, Steinberg in Pittsburgh, and Stokowski
and the Czech Philharmonic. Not quite so near the top of my list are
Solti and the Chicagoans, and Skrowaczewski and the Saarbrucken Radio
Symphony. Any other non-UK versions which can be recommended?
I'll add my hearty Elgarian endorsement to the aforementioned Ormandy/
Philadelphia (in the Sony two-fer, which includes Ormandy's very
Tchaikovskian take on the Cockaigne Overture), Steinberg/Pittsburgh,
Stokowski/Czech PO, and Solti/Chicago. Oddly enough, Solti/Chicago
strikes me again as "Tchaikovskian"--the Tchaikovsky of the ballets;
much more delicate and detailed (as opposed to powerful and sweeping)
than I expected from this source.

I recently acquired the Paavo Jarvi/Cincinnati recording. Now I'm
wondering if Paavo was sober at the time!

Haven't heard the Skowaczewski. Is it anything like the Jochum (since
both are outstanding Bruckner conductors)?

I have both Toscanini recordings. Interestingly, for Toscanini (as
for Boult, Barbirolli, Stokowski, and Monteux), the Enigma Variations
would have been "contemporary" music.

Does the Previn recording (with the LSO? I can't recall) count as "non-
British"? In any case, I don't find Previn's Elgar as satisfying as
his Vaughan Williams.

But in the category of Most Definitely Non-British: Did Svetlanov
ever conduct the Enigma Variations, I wonder? His hell-bent-for-
leather rendition of the Second Symphony, complete with those braying
Soviet horns, is something to behold; and his concert recording of the
Sea Pictures (with his wife, a soprano) is also well worth seeking
out. I haven't heard his Dream of Gerontius. Svetlanov and Elgar
seems a most unlikely pairing, but evidently Yevgeny was immensely
fond of Edu. I can't think of any other Russian/Soviet conductors who
ever paid attention to his music, although Rostropovich did play the
cello concerto, if memory serves.

Oh, and how can one forget Bernstein's (in)famous Enigma Variations?
(With the BBC Symphony.) Say what you will, but you have to hear it
at least once.

Regards,

John
A N Other
2009-05-01 08:49:49 UTC
Permalink
But in the category of Most Definitely Non-British:  Did Svetlanov
ever conduct the Enigma Variations, I wonder?  His hell-bent-for-
leather rendition of the Second Symphony, complete with those braying
Soviet horns, is something to behold;
and despite the horns, the performance show Svetlanov's depth of
understanding of the idiom.

and his concert recording of the
Sea Pictures (with his wife, a soprano) is also well worth seeking
out.  I haven't heard his Dream of Gerontius.  
I have; it's not quite as successful as the 2nd Symphony and the
chorus isn't Russian!

Svetlanov and Elgar
seems a most unlikely pairing, but evidently Yevgeny was immensely
fond of Edu.  I can't think of any other Russian/Soviet conductors who
ever paid attention to his music, although Rostropovich did play the
cello concerto, if memory serves.
There's a live recording. 1965 Proms. He refused to play it in public
again as he said he could never do as good a job as du Pre.
Oh, and how can one forget Bernstein's (in)famous Enigma Variations?
(With the BBC Symphony.)  Say what you will, but you have to hear it
at least once.
Of course. Shudder.
Regards,
John
The most admirable performance is Boult, March 1940, Concertgebouw.

He'd said he'd do the concert, and he did.
A N Other
2009-05-01 17:16:32 UTC
Permalink
 I can't think of any other Russian/Soviet conductors who
Post by Elgarian
ever paid attention to his music, although Rostropovich did play the
cello concerto, if memory serves.
I remember now an earlier recording with a Russian orchestra and
conductor

Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra NATAN RAKHLIN [OOP Russian Revelation
CD] Recorded: November 28, 1958
Elgarian
2009-05-01 17:39:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Elgarian
Post by Kerrison
Are any Elgarian collectors here particularly taken with non-British
recordings of the "Enigma Variations"? One at the top of my list is a
terrific version made for the old East German 'Eterna' label by Rolf
Kleinert and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (on a Berlin Classics
CD). But there were very good accounts from Mehta and the Los Angeles
Phil, Ormandy in Philadelphia, Steinberg in Pittsburgh, and Stokowski
and the Czech Philharmonic. Not quite so near the top of my list are
Solti and the Chicagoans, and Skrowaczewski and the Saarbrucken Radio
Symphony. Any other non-UK versions which can be recommended?
I'll add my hearty Elgarian endorsement to the aforementioned Ormandy/
Philadelphia (in the Sony two-fer, which includes Ormandy's very
Tchaikovskian take on the Cockaigne Overture), Steinberg/Pittsburgh,
Stokowski/Czech PO, and Solti/Chicago.  Oddly enough, Solti/Chicago
strikes me again as "Tchaikovskian"--the Tchaikovsky of the ballets;
much more delicate and detailed (as opposed to powerful and sweeping)
than I expected from this source.
I recently acquired the Paavo Jarvi/Cincinnati recording.  Now I'm
wondering if Paavo was sober at the time!
Haven't heard the Skowaczewski.  Is it anything like the Jochum (since
both are outstanding Bruckner conductors)?
I have both Toscanini recordings.  Interestingly, for Toscanini (as
for Boult, Barbirolli, Stokowski, and Monteux), the Enigma Variations
would have been "contemporary" music.
Does the Previn recording (with the LSO? I can't recall) count as "non-
British"?  In any case, I don't find Previn's Elgar as satisfying as
his Vaughan Williams.
But in the category of Most Definitely Non-British:  Did Svetlanov
ever conduct the Enigma Variations, I wonder?  His hell-bent-for-
leather rendition of the Second Symphony, complete with those braying
Soviet horns, is something to behold; and his concert recording of the
Sea Pictures (with his wife, a soprano) is also well worth seeking
out.  I haven't heard his Dream of Gerontius.  Svetlanov and Elgar
seems a most unlikely pairing, but evidently Yevgeny was immensely
fond of Edu.  I can't think of any other Russian/Soviet conductors who
ever paid attention to his music, although Rostropovich did play the
cello concerto, if memory serves.
Oh, and how can one forget Bernstein's (in)famous Enigma Variations?
(With the BBC Symphony.)  Say what you will, but you have to hear it
at least once.
Regards,
John
Just to update my own list: There is also a Telarc recording by the
Baltimore SO conducted by David Zinman, is there not? (Presumably
"superceded" by Telarc's recent P. Jarvi/Cincinnati version.) In any
case, I've not heard it--but I am favorably impressed by the Zinman/
Baltimore Elgar 1st Symphony (paired with P&C #s 1 & 2.

I've occasionally wondered why Karajan completely neglected Elgar--not
that I am heartbroken that he never recorded any Elgar, but I do think
it might have been fascinating to hear how his Elgar would have
sounded. I suppose his two recordings of Holst's The Planets allows
us to imagine what he might have done had he ever set his mind to Sir
Edward's music.

Regards,

John
jrsnfld
2009-05-01 19:11:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Elgarian
Post by Kerrison
Are any Elgarian collectors here particularly taken with non-British
recordings of the "Enigma Variations"? One at the top of my list is a
terrific version made for the old East German 'Eterna' label by Rolf
Kleinert and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (on a Berlin Classics
CD). But there were very good accounts from Mehta and the Los Angeles
Phil, Ormandy in Philadelphia, Steinberg in Pittsburgh, and Stokowski
and the Czech Philharmonic. Not quite so near the top of my list are
Solti and the Chicagoans, and Skrowaczewski and the Saarbrucken Radio
Symphony. Any other non-UK versions which can be recommended?
I'll add my hearty Elgarian endorsement to the aforementioned Ormandy/
Philadelphia (in the Sony two-fer, which includes Ormandy's very
Tchaikovskian take on the Cockaigne Overture), Steinberg/Pittsburgh,
Stokowski/Czech PO, and Solti/Chicago.  Oddly enough, Solti/Chicago
strikes me again as "Tchaikovskian"--the Tchaikovsky of the ballets;
much more delicate and detailed (as opposed to powerful and sweeping)
than I expected from this source.
I recently acquired the Paavo Jarvi/Cincinnati recording.  Now I'm
wondering if Paavo was sober at the time!
Haven't heard the Skowaczewski.  Is it anything like the Jochum (since
both are outstanding Bruckner conductors)?
I have both Toscanini recordings.  Interestingly, for Toscanini (as
for Boult, Barbirolli, Stokowski, and Monteux), the Enigma Variations
would have been "contemporary" music.
Does the Previn recording (with the LSO? I can't recall) count as "non-
British"?  In any case, I don't find Previn's Elgar as satisfying as
his Vaughan Williams.
But in the category of Most Definitely Non-British:  Did Svetlanov
ever conduct the Enigma Variations, I wonder?  His hell-bent-for-
leather rendition of the Second Symphony, complete with those braying
Soviet horns, is something to behold; and his concert recording of the
Sea Pictures (with his wife, a soprano) is also well worth seeking
out.  I haven't heard his Dream of Gerontius.  Svetlanov and Elgar
seems a most unlikely pairing, but evidently Yevgeny was immensely
fond of Edu.  I can't think of any other Russian/Soviet conductors who
ever paid attention to his music, although Rostropovich did play the
cello concerto, if memory serves.
Oh, and how can one forget Bernstein's (in)famous Enigma Variations?
(With the BBC Symphony.)  Say what you will, but you have to hear it
at least once.
Regards,
John
Just to update my own list:  There is also a Telarc recording by the
Baltimore SO conducted by David Zinman, is there not?  (Presumably
"superceded" by Telarc's recent P. Jarvi/Cincinnati version.)  In any
case, I've not heard it--but I am favorably impressed by the Zinman/
Baltimore Elgar 1st Symphony (paired with P&C #s 1 & 2.
Yes, that's why I mentioned both Zinman and Jarvi earlier. The Zinman
recording of the 1st symphony is quite good; the Jarvi series in
general is a disappointment compared the broadcasts, and the Elgar /
Britten disc is not an exception to that rule.

-Jeff
Elgarian
2009-05-02 18:23:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by jrsnfld
Post by Elgarian
Post by Kerrison
Are any Elgarian collectors here particularly taken with non-British
recordings of the "Enigma Variations"? One at the top of my list is a
terrific version made for the old East German 'Eterna' label by Rolf
Kleinert and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (on a Berlin Classics
CD). But there were very good accounts from Mehta and the Los Angeles
Phil, Ormandy in Philadelphia, Steinberg in Pittsburgh, and Stokowski
and the Czech Philharmonic. Not quite so near the top of my list are
Solti and the Chicagoans, and Skrowaczewski and the Saarbrucken Radio
Symphony. Any other non-UK versions which can be recommended?
I'll add my hearty Elgarian endorsement to the aforementioned Ormandy/
Philadelphia (in the Sony two-fer, which includes Ormandy's very
Tchaikovskian take on the Cockaigne Overture), Steinberg/Pittsburgh,
Stokowski/Czech PO, and Solti/Chicago.  Oddly enough, Solti/Chicago
strikes me again as "Tchaikovskian"--the Tchaikovsky of the ballets;
much more delicate and detailed (as opposed to powerful and sweeping)
than I expected from this source.
I recently acquired the Paavo Jarvi/Cincinnati recording.  Now I'm
wondering if Paavo was sober at the time!
Haven't heard the Skowaczewski.  Is it anything like the Jochum (since
both are outstanding Bruckner conductors)?
I have both Toscanini recordings.  Interestingly, for Toscanini (as
for Boult, Barbirolli, Stokowski, and Monteux), the Enigma Variations
would have been "contemporary" music.
Does the Previn recording (with the LSO? I can't recall) count as "non-
British"?  In any case, I don't find Previn's Elgar as satisfying as
his Vaughan Williams.
But in the category of Most Definitely Non-British:  Did Svetlanov
ever conduct the Enigma Variations, I wonder?  His hell-bent-for-
leather rendition of the Second Symphony, complete with those braying
Soviet horns, is something to behold; and his concert recording of the
Sea Pictures (with his wife, a soprano) is also well worth seeking
out.  I haven't heard his Dream of Gerontius.  Svetlanov and Elgar
seems a most unlikely pairing, but evidently Yevgeny was immensely
fond of Edu.  I can't think of any other Russian/Soviet conductors who
ever paid attention to his music, although Rostropovich did play the
cello concerto, if memory serves.
Oh, and how can one forget Bernstein's (in)famous Enigma Variations?
(With the BBC Symphony.)  Say what you will, but you have to hear it
at least once.
Regards,
John
Just to update my own list:  There is also a Telarc recording by the
Baltimore SO conducted by David Zinman, is there not?  (Presumably
"superceded" by Telarc's recent P. Jarvi/Cincinnati version.)  In any
case, I've not heard it--but I am favorably impressed by the Zinman/
Baltimore Elgar 1st Symphony (paired with P&C #s 1 & 2.
Yes, that's why I mentioned both Zinman and Jarvi earlier. The Zinman
recording of the 1st symphony is quite good; the Jarvi series in
general is a disappointment compared the broadcasts, and the Elgar /
Britten disc is not an exception to that rule.
-Jeff
Sorry, Jeff, I must have been speed-reading through the thread &
missed your mention of the Zinman.

I've only listened to the recently acquired Jarvi Elgar/Britten disc
once so don't yet have a firm opinion about it one way or the other;
l'll have to listen to it again--or maybe I shouldn't!

Re. your previous remark about Giulini: Yes, Giulini might have been
a splendid Elgar conductor. By the way, Giulini did record the
Britten Sea Interludes, did he not? Or am I thinking of someone else?

Regards,

John
Simon Roberts
2009-05-02 18:55:09 UTC
Permalink
In article <784b9e1f-8167-4595-90e6-***@m24g2000vbp.googlegroups.com>,
Elgarian says...
Post by Elgarian
Re. your previous remark about Giulini: Yes, Giulini might have been
a splendid Elgar conductor.
Could easily imagine a Giulini Enigma Variations being impressive, esp. Nimrod.

By the way, Giulini did record the
Post by Elgarian
Britten Sea Interludes, did he not? Or am I thinking of someone else?
Not sure, but he recorded at least the Serenade for Tenor/horn/etc. and
performed the War Requiem.

Simon
Matthew B. Tepper
2009-05-02 22:39:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Goldstein
In article
Elgarian says...
By the way, Giulini did record the Britten Sea Interludes, did he not?
Or am I thinking of someone else?
Not sure, but he recorded at least the Serenade for Tenor/horn/etc. and
performed the War Requiem.
Four Sea Interludes and "Young Person's Guide," both with the Philharmonia
Orchestra, October 1962, for EMI. Serenade with Robert Tear, Dale Clevenger,
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, April 1977, for DGG. "Les Illuminations" with
Tear and Philharmonia, September 1978, also for DGG. War Requiem performance
from 1969 with various soloists and New Philharmonia, issued by BBC Legends.
Last and probably least, "Building of the House" Overture, 1967, also New
Philharmonia, also BBC Legends.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
Matthew B. Tepper
2009-05-01 19:33:06 UTC
Permalink
Elgarian <***@yahoo.com> appears to have caused the following letters
to be typed in news:5976095c-993e-4d48-87a8-
Post by Elgarian
I've occasionally wondered why Karajan completely neglected Elgar--not
that I am heartbroken that he never recorded any Elgar, but I do think
it might have been fascinating to hear how his Elgar would have sounded.
I suppose his two recordings of Holst's The Planets allows us to imagine
what he might have done had he ever set his mind to Sir Edward's music.
And don't forget that Walton 1.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
jrsnfld
2009-05-01 19:39:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
to be typed in news:5976095c-993e-4d48-87a8-
Post by Elgarian
I've occasionally wondered why Karajan completely neglected Elgar--not
that I am heartbroken that he never recorded any Elgar, but I do think
it might have been fascinating to hear how his Elgar would have sounded.
I suppose his two recordings of Holst's The Planets allows us to imagine
what he might have done had he ever set his mind to Sir Edward's music.
And don't forget that Walton 1.
I just listened to it a few weeks ago and I've already forgotten it. I
remember some nice things about it, but overall it's uncompetitive and
probably not representative of how Karajan would have made this sound
with the Philharmonia or the Berlin Phil.

Did you like it?

--Jeff
M forever
2009-05-01 19:58:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by jrsnfld
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
to be typed in news:5976095c-993e-4d48-87a8-
Post by Elgarian
I've occasionally wondered why Karajan completely neglected Elgar--not
that I am heartbroken that he never recorded any Elgar, but I do think
it might have been fascinating to hear how his Elgar would have sounded.
I suppose his two recordings of Holst's The Planets allows us to imagine
what he might have done had he ever set his mind to Sir Edward's music.
And don't forget that Walton 1.
I just listened to it a few weeks ago and I've already forgotten it. I
remember some nice things about it, but overall it's uncompetitive and
probably not representative of how Karajan would have made this sound
with the Philharmonia or the Berlin Phil.
Did you like it?
--Jeff
Is that a live recording with the RAI Rome orchestra? According to
karajan.org, there are no recordings with him of anything by Walton,
and he only ever conducted this symphony on one occasion in 1953 in
Rome.
Steve de Mena
2009-05-02 03:06:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by M forever
Post by jrsnfld
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
to be typed in news:5976095c-993e-4d48-87a8-
Post by Elgarian
I've occasionally wondered why Karajan completely neglected Elgar--not
that I am heartbroken that he never recorded any Elgar, but I do think
it might have been fascinating to hear how his Elgar would have sounded.
I suppose his two recordings of Holst's The Planets allows us to imagine
what he might have done had he ever set his mind to Sir Edward's music.
And don't forget that Walton 1.
I just listened to it a few weeks ago and I've already forgotten it. I
remember some nice things about it, but overall it's uncompetitive and
probably not representative of how Karajan would have made this sound
with the Philharmonia or the Berlin Phil.
Did you like it?
--Jeff
Is that a live recording with the RAI Rome orchestra? According to
karajan.org, there are no recordings with him of anything by Walton,
and he only ever conducted this symphony on one occasion in 1953 in
Rome.
Yes, it's the RAI Rome recording. On the 2CD set on EMI/IMG, the
series on conductos - with the black covers..

Steve
A N Other
2009-05-01 20:00:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
to be typed in news:5976095c-993e-4d48-87a8-
Post by Elgarian
I've occasionally wondered why Karajan completely neglected Elgar--not
that I am heartbroken that he never recorded any Elgar, but I do think
it might have been fascinating to hear how his Elgar would have sounded.
I suppose his two recordings of Holst's The Planets allows us to imagine
what he might have done had he ever set his mind to Sir Edward's music.
And don't forget that Walton 1.
--
It's cut - I wonder why.

Karajan did not conduct pieces he felt others could do rather better,
I understand.

He did perform Richard Rodney Bennet's Aubade, Britten's War Requiem
and Frank Bridge Variations, Tippett's Child of our Time and VW's
Tallis Fantasia. He seems to have left British music to other
conductors of the Philharmonia. I would like to have had the
opportunity for hearing an Enigma from him.
A N Other
2009-05-01 20:03:20 UTC
Permalink
...and Walton's Belshazzar's Feast!
M forever
2009-05-01 20:20:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by A N Other
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
to be typed in news:5976095c-993e-4d48-87a8-
Post by Elgarian
I've occasionally wondered why Karajan completely neglected Elgar--not
that I am heartbroken that he never recorded any Elgar, but I do think
it might have been fascinating to hear how his Elgar would have sounded.
I suppose his two recordings of Holst's The Planets allows us to imagine
what he might have done had he ever set his mind to Sir Edward's music.
And don't forget that Walton 1.
--
It's cut - I wonder why.
Karajan did not conduct pieces he felt others could do rather better,
I understand.
He did perform Richard Rodney Bennet's Aubade, Britten's War Requiem
and Frank Bridge Variations, Tippett's Child of our Time and VW's
Tallis Fantasia. He seems to have left British music to other
conductors of the Philharmonia. I would like to have had the
opportunity for hearing an Enigma from him.
My impression isn't so much that he left most of the British
repertoire to British conductors because he felt they could do it
better - after all, he conducted a lot of French, Russian, Italian,
and music from many other countries. I think the reason for this is
more that he felt that there was very little British music worth
performing. Which may not be entirely true, but it is a view which is
apparently shared by the vast majority of "classical" music artists.
A N Other
2009-05-02 08:23:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by M forever
Post by A N Other
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
to be typed in news:5976095c-993e-4d48-87a8-
Post by Elgarian
I've occasionally wondered why Karajan completely neglected Elgar--not
that I am heartbroken that he never recorded any Elgar, but I do think
it might have been fascinating to hear how his Elgar would have sounded.
I suppose his two recordings of Holst's The Planets allows us to imagine
what he might have done had he ever set his mind to Sir Edward's music.
And don't forget that Walton 1.
--
It's cut - I wonder why.
Karajan did not conduct pieces he felt others could do rather better,
I understand.
He did perform Richard Rodney Bennet's Aubade, Britten's War Requiem
and Frank Bridge Variations, Tippett's Child of our Time and VW's
Tallis Fantasia. He seems to have left British music to other
conductors of the Philharmonia. I would like to have had the
opportunity for hearing an Enigma from him.
My impression isn't so much that he left most of the British
repertoire to British conductors because he felt they could do it
better - after all, he conducted a lot of French, Russian, Italian,
and music from many other countries. I think the reason for this is
more that he felt that there was very little British music worth
performing. Which may not be entirely true, but it is a view which is
apparently shared by the vast majority of "classical" music artists.- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
You may well be right. A shame. He did conduct Ives, the once.
Matthew B. Tepper
2009-05-02 14:27:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by A N Other
You may well be right. A shame. He did conduct Ives, the once.
Which piece? I imagine "The Unanswered Question," perhaps.

That brings me a chuckle, as it reminds me of an episode of "Frasier,"
containing a set-piece montage in which our eponymous protagonist is
wandering the streets of Seattle late at night, trying to make up his mind
about a matter of great moment. He is faced wherever he turns with visual
denotations of his indecision. At some point he winds up at Benaroya Hall,
where he sees a poster advertising a Seattle Symphony Orchestra concert
featuring two works: Elgar's "Enigma" and Ives' "Unanswered Question."
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
A N Other
2009-05-03 17:40:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by A N Other
You may well be right. A shame. He did conduct Ives, the once.
Which piece?  I imagine "The Unanswered Question," perhaps.
My apologies for leaving you question unanswered. Yes, it was The Unanswered Question.
Performance in Los Angeles in 1959, with the LAPO.
Bill Anderson
2009-05-03 18:26:51 UTC
Permalink
It does appears that earlier in his career, he did perform some
British works frequently. A listing can be found here::

http://www.karajan.co.uk/britishcomposers.html

- Bill
Matthew B. Tepper
2009-05-03 19:46:54 UTC
Permalink
Bill Anderson <***@comcast.net> appears to have caused the
following letters to be typed in news:df0370a3-09f0-4939-8f01-
Post by Bill Anderson
It does appears that earlier in his career, he did perform some
http://www.karajan.co.uk/britishcomposers.html
When did Imogen Holst say that about Karajan's VPO "Planets"?
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
Bill Anderson
2009-05-03 19:57:14 UTC
Permalink
Imogen's comment was news to me too, Matthew.

I haven't heard that performance in decades, but I remember being very
impressed by it at the time, especially the brooding, malevolent
opening he gave to Mars.

- Bill
D***@aol.com
2009-05-02 20:02:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by A N Other
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
to be typed in news:5976095c-993e-4d48-87a8-
Post by Elgarian
I've occasionally wondered why Karajan completely neglected Elgar--not
that I am heartbroken that he never recorded any Elgar, but I do think
it might have been fascinating to hear how his Elgar would have sounded.
I suppose his two recordings of Holst's The Planets allows us to imagine
what he might have done had he ever set his mind to Sir Edward's music.
And don't forget that Walton 1.
--
It's cut - I wonder why.
Somewhere, perhaps or probably in a review of the "Great Conductors"
CD set, someone wrote about Karajan's thoughts about the symphony.
Unfortunately I can't remember where. But I recall reading that
Karajan had some doubts, thus perhaps the cuts. Also that he expressed
his doubts to Walton, who was angry and offended. I hope someone here
can verify it and quote it.
Post by A N Other
Karajan did not conduct pieces he felt others could do rather better,
I understand.
He did perform Richard Rodney Bennet's Aubade, Britten's War Requiem
and Frank Bridge Variations, Tippett's Child of our Time and VW's
Tallis Fantasia. He seems to have left British music to other
conductors of the Philharmonia. I would like to have had the
opportunity for hearing an Enigma from him.
Karajan's English Columbia LP of Britten's Frank Bridge Variations
remains stunning today, for both interpretation and playing. Coupled
with Vaughan Williams's Tallis Fantastia. My LP is Angel 35142.

In his biography of Karajan (Northeastern U. Press, 1998), Richard
Osborne wrote (p. 645) that between 1979 and 1982, despite his
advancing years, Karajan "...continued to take on new material --
symphonies by Haydn, Mahler, and Nielsen -- astonishing for a man of
seventy-two. (There even talk of his recording Berlioz's Harold in
Italy and Dvorak's Seventh Symphony, further Shostakovich, and more
English music." In a footnote, Osborne added "Mention was made of
Vaughan Williams's emotionally disruptive Fourth Symphony and his war-
torn Sixth. It was around this time that Karajan asked for a number of
Elgar scores. (The request was to EMI's Peter Alward. Deutsche
Grammophon would not have been interested; nor, sadly, was the Berlin
Philharmonic.) The scores were all returned, except, significantly
enough, that of the Second Symphony, which Karajan found to be of
absorbing interest. The work has its emotional peak in the first
movement, after which all is a slow dying toward the dark: music which
audiences in 1911 neither comprehended nor wished to hear." (Unquote
Osborne.)

One would like to have been able to hear Karajan conduct Elgar's
Second Symphony. Evidently, in the end he never did.

Don Tait
A N Other
2009-05-03 07:02:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by A N Other
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
to be typed in news:5976095c-993e-4d48-87a8-
Post by Elgarian
I've occasionally wondered why Karajan completely neglected Elgar--not
that I am heartbroken that he never recorded any Elgar, but I do think
it might have been fascinating to hear how his Elgar would have sounded.
I suppose his two recordings of Holst's The Planets allows us to imagine
what he might have done had he ever set his mind to Sir Edward's music.
And don't forget that Walton 1.
--
It's cut - I wonder why.
  Somewhere, perhaps or probably in a review of the "Great Conductors"
CD set, someone wrote about Karajan's thoughts about the symphony.
Unfortunately I can't remember where. But I recall reading that
Karajan had some doubts, thus perhaps the cuts. Also that he expressed
his doubts to Walton, who was angry and offended. I hope someone here
can verify it and quote it.
Post by A N Other
Karajan did not conduct pieces he felt others could do rather better,
I understand.
He did perform Richard Rodney Bennet's Aubade, Britten's War Requiem
and Frank Bridge Variations, Tippett's Child of our Time and VW's
Tallis Fantasia. He seems to have left British music to other
conductors of the Philharmonia. I would like to have had the
opportunity for hearing an Enigma from him.
  Karajan's English Columbia LP of Britten's Frank Bridge Variations
remains stunning today, for both interpretation and playing. Coupled
with Vaughan Williams's Tallis Fantastia. My LP is Angel 35142.
  In his biography of Karajan (Northeastern U. Press, 1998), Richard
Osborne wrote (p. 645) that between 1979 and 1982, despite his
advancing years, Karajan "...continued to take on new material --
symphonies by Haydn, Mahler, and Nielsen -- astonishing for a man of
seventy-two. (There even talk of his recording Berlioz's Harold in
Italy and Dvorak's Seventh Symphony, further Shostakovich, and more
English music." In a footnote, Osborne added "Mention was made of
Vaughan Williams's emotionally disruptive Fourth Symphony and his war-
torn Sixth. It was around this time that Karajan asked for a number of
Elgar scores. (The request was to EMI's Peter Alward. Deutsche
Grammophon would not have been interested; nor, sadly, was the Berlin
Philharmonic.) The scores were all returned, except, significantly
enough, that of the Second Symphony, which Karajan found to be of
absorbing interest. The work has its emotional peak in the first
movement, after which all is a slow dying toward the dark: music which
audiences in 1911 neither comprehended nor wished to hear." (Unquote
Osborne.)
  One would like to have been able to hear Karajan conduct Elgar's
Second Symphony. Evidently, in the end he never did.
  Don Tait
Thank you for those details - I had heard Karajan wasn't uninterested.

Browsing Gramophone Archives I came across an assertion there was a
plan he would record the Walton 1 with the Philharmonia, but I *guess*
the RAI cut performance and Walton's reaction put paid to that.
Matthew B. Tepper
2009-05-03 15:27:21 UTC
Permalink
A N Other <***@hotmail.co.uk> appears to have caused the following
letters to be typed in news:8f4a1149-9021-4747-b89e-
Post by A N Other
Browsing Gramophone Archives I came across an assertion there was a
plan he would record the Walton 1 with the Philharmonia, but I *guess*
the RAI cut performance and Walton's reaction put paid to that.
Wasn't there also a to-do many years earlier when Beecham performed one of
the Elgar symphonies with cuts?
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
A N Other
2009-05-03 17:34:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
letters to be typed in news:8f4a1149-9021-4747-b89e-
Post by A N Other
Browsing Gramophone Archives I came across an assertion there was a
plan he would record the Walton 1 with the Philharmonia, but I *guess*
the RAI cut performance and Walton's reaction put paid to that.
Wasn't there also a to-do many years earlier when Beecham performed one of
the Elgar symphonies with cuts?
That I do not know, but I have the new Beecham biography arriving on
Tuesday - perhaps the answer to that will be there.
largo_57
2009-05-03 19:33:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by A N Other
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Wasn't there also a to-do many years earlier when Beecham performed one of
the Elgar symphonies with cuts?
That I do not know, but I have the new Beecham biography arriving on
Tuesday - perhaps the answer to that will be there.
When you get it, try pp. 50-51.

- Bryan
Matthew B. Tepper
2009-05-03 19:46:55 UTC
Permalink
largo_57 <***@aol.com> appears to have caused the following letters to
be typed in news:2a298295-6b2b-4431-a7b5-
Post by largo_57
Post by A N Other
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Wasn't there also a to-do many years earlier when Beecham performed one
of the Elgar symphonies with cuts?
That I do not know, but I have the new Beecham biography arriving on
Tuesday - perhaps the answer to that will be there.
When you get it, try pp. 50-51.
Something about Berlioz, I wager!
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
Matthew B. Tepper
2009-05-03 19:46:54 UTC
Permalink
A N Other <***@hotmail.co.uk> appears to have caused the following
letters to be typed in news:2c63675c-baa7-4de4-a5b9-
Post by A N Other
following letters to be typed in news:8f4a1149-9021-4747-b89e-
Post by A N Other
Browsing Gramophone Archives I came across an assertion there was a
plan he would record the Walton 1 with the Philharmonia, but I *guess*
the RAI cut performance and Walton's reaction put paid to that.
Wasn't there also a to-do many years earlier when Beecham performed one of
the Elgar symphonies with cuts?
That I do not know, but I have the new Beecham biography arriving on
Tuesday - perhaps the answer to that will be there.
A Beecham biography? Tell me more!
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
A N Other
2009-05-03 21:27:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
letters to be typed in news:2c63675c-baa7-4de4-a5b9-
Post by A N Other
following letters to be typed in news:8f4a1149-9021-4747-b89e-
Post by A N Other
Browsing Gramophone Archives I came across an assertion there was a
plan he would record the Walton 1 with the Philharmonia, but I *guess*
the RAI cut performance and Walton's reaction put paid to that.
Wasn't there also a to-do many years earlier when Beecham performed one of
the Elgar symphonies with cuts?
That I do not know, but I have the new Beecham biography arriving on
Tuesday - perhaps the answer to that will be there.
A Beecham biography?  Tell me more!
--
Matthew B. Tepper:  WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page --http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page ---http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
The new John Lucas biog - it came out towards the end of last year.
The UK edition has a CD included - Beecham rehearsals, an extra
incitement to buy.
Elgarian
2009-05-03 19:17:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Wasn't there also a to-do many years earlier when Beecham performed one of
the Elgar symphonies with cuts?
Yes--the First Symphony, which Beecham derided as "the musical
equivalent of St Pancras Station." (This coming from a man who
championed Berlioz!) Of course, Sir Thomas wasn't above cutting,
rearranging, or otherwise altering any composer's score.

Nonetheless, I regret I haven't heard Beecham's recording of the
Enigma Variations, even though it probably isn't idiomatic. (Whatever
the heck "idiomatic" means.)

Regards,

John
Matthew B. Tepper
2009-05-03 19:46:55 UTC
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Elgarian <***@yahoo.com> appears to have caused the following letters
to be typed in news:4fe19a2c-e907-4923-8564-
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Wasn't there also a to-do many years earlier when Beecham performed one of
the Elgar symphonies with cuts?
Yes--the First Symphony, which Beecham derided as "the musical equivalent
of St Pancras Station." (This coming from a man who championed Berlioz!)
Of course, Sir Thomas wasn't above cutting, rearranging, or otherwise
altering any composer's score.
I imagine I might find Sir Thomas' remark funnier if I knew anything at all
about St Pancras Station. The ones I remember most clearly from my times in
London are Victoria and Paddington.

Oh, and Beecham's 1947 broadcast of "Les troyens" had some cuts in it, though
not as many as would seem from the unfortunate Malibran CD release, which
also cut out the Andromache/Astynax pantomime and the wrestling match.
Nonetheless, I regret I haven't heard Beecham's recording of the Enigma
Variations, even though it probably isn't idiomatic. (Whatever the heck
"idiomatic" means.)
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
A N Other
2009-05-03 21:35:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Elgarian
Nonetheless, I regret I haven't heard Beecham's recording of the
Enigma Variations, even though it probably isn't idiomatic.  (Whatever
the heck "idiomatic" means.)
Regards,
John
I have the Sony Beecham edition Elgar volume, and it is most certainly
"idiomatic" in that Elgar's idiom comes through loud and clear; it's a
remarkably young and fresh performance.

D***@aol.com
2009-05-03 20:21:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
letters to be typed in news:8f4a1149-9021-4747-b89e-
Post by A N Other
Browsing Gramophone Archives I came across an assertion there was a
plan he would record the Walton 1 with the Philharmonia, but I *guess*
the RAI cut performance and Walton's reaction put paid to that.
Wasn't there also a to-do many years earlier when Beecham performed one of
the Elgar symphonies with cuts?
That story is fun, as so much involving Beecham can be.

As I recall it, around 1913 or so he and his Beecham Symphony
Orchestra went on a tour in Britain. Elgar's First Symphony was on
most of the programs. As the tour went on, and they performed the
symphony night after night, Beecham's patience wore thin and he began
to cut it. Finally, he had the circa 51 minute symphony down to about
38. (That was just in the "provinces," of course. But at the final
performance of the tour, in Cambridge, Beecham restored all of the
cuts, perhaps in response to strong public criticism from Havergal
Brian [John Lucas, "Thomas Beecham -- An Obsession with Music," The
Boydell Press 2008, p. 51]). But it's also another instance of
Beecham's bravado. Lucas quotes Beecham as calling Elgar 1 "neo-
Gothic, the equivalent of the towers of St. Pancras Station."

But Beecham's studio and live performances of the Enigma Variations
are unique and uniquely beautiful. Plus his other studio-made Elgar.

Thoughts, anyone? Agree? Disagree?

Don Tait
Paul Goldstein
2009-05-03 20:58:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by D***@aol.com
But Beecham's studio and live performances of the Enigma Variations
are unique and uniquely beautiful. Plus his other studio-made Elgar.
Thoughts, anyone? Agree? Disagree?
I only know the studio Enigmas, but I agree fully, Don, and have always wondered
why even the British critics don't seem to recognize the greatness of Beecham's
Elgar. He is much more imaginative in that great work than Boult or Barbirolli
IMO.
Nils-Eivind Naas
2009-05-02 21:49:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Elgarian
I've occasionally wondered why Karajan completely neglected
Elgar--not that I am heartbroken that he never recorded any
Elgar, but I do think it might have been fascinating to hear how
his Elgar would have sounded. I suppose his two recordings of
Holst's The Planets allows us to imagine what he might have done
had he ever set his mind to Sir Edward's music.
You'll find the answer in Osborne's biography.
I remember it as "second-rate Brahms", or something to similar
effect.
Oh yes, a really deep and understanding personality at work...
--
nen
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