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BBC Radio 3 recording reviews
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Bozo
2014-01-18 15:59:27 UTC
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CD Review :

Haken Austbo , Grieg ( complete ? ) , 2 -cd , Berlin Classics label.

Mark Bebbington , Alwyn and Carwithen ( not known to me ), SOMM label. I enjoyed Bebbington's SOMM cd of the neglected Hurlstone Piano Sonata.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03q4wsn

Essential Classics :

Thomas Zehetmair, Orchestra of the 18th Century,Frans Bruggen on Philips play the Beethoven Violin Concerto in a " concerto" fashion BBC presenter Rob Cowan finds more appropriate and truer to Beethoven than what he feels are slower-tempied, " profound" approaches of most today ( he does mention Heifetz favorably, however ) :

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03pdc9p

Perhaps like the Brahms 2nd Pico , the Beethoven Vico getting slower ?
Bozo
2014-01-18 16:23:13 UTC
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Post by Bozo
Thomas Zehetmair, Orchestra of the 18th Century,Frans Bruggen
Forgot : Includes a kettle-drum assisted first mov.cadenza by one Schneiderhan. Disagreement among Amazon - US reviews : http://tinyurl.com/k3a7x3y
td
2014-01-18 16:28:45 UTC
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Post by Bozo
Haken Austbo , Grieg ( complete ? ) , 2 -cd , Berlin Classics label.
?????

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Grieg-Piano-Works-CD-Boxset/dp/B003AO1KZM/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1390062446&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=Haken++Austbo+Grieg

TD
Christopher Webber
2014-01-18 16:43:55 UTC
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Seven discs? A mere nothing!

Einar Steen-Nøkleberg's (imperious and poetic) Naxos cycle runs to
*fourteen* volumes, and even then he reckoned there were other pieces he
might have included.

That Naxos cycle is - for me - one of the noblest of the label's
achievements.

Austbo's 2-CD sampler doesn't appeal, nor would I recommend it to
newcomers - as it doesn't include anything from Grieg's two finest piano
cycles, the 1896 set of Norwegian Folk Songs and (top of the pile) the
1902 'Slåtter'.
td
2014-01-18 17:41:08 UTC
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Post by Christopher Webber
Seven discs? A mere nothing!
Einar Steen-N�kleberg's (imperious and poetic) Naxos cycle runs to
*fourteen* volumes, and even then he reckoned there were other pieces he
might have included.
That Naxos cycle is - for me - one of the noblest of the label's
achievements.
Austbo's 2-CD sampler doesn't appeal, nor would I recommend it to
newcomers - as it doesn't include anything from Grieg's two finest piano
cycles, the 1896 set of Norwegian Folk Songs and (top of the pile) the
1902 'Sl�tter'.
I don't know how they got to 14 volumes on CD. Even the old BIS set on LP only reached 12 or 13, I seem to recall.

Oppitz on RCA Victor CDs was about 6 CDs, Austbo is 7.

Naxos must have been picking up scores out of Grieg's waste basket.

The vacuum cleaner approach. And you praise this?

Frankly I wouldn't trade all of these sets for Gilels' single DG CD of Grieg.

TD
Bozo
2014-01-18 17:46:08 UTC
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Post by td
Frankly I wouldn't trade all of these sets for Gilels' single DG CD of Grieg.
Found my Gilels Grieg DDG lp , new, for 99 cents, in a Walgreen's if I recall.
Christopher Webber
2014-01-18 20:43:19 UTC
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Post by td
The vacuum cleaner approach. And you praise this?
Indeed I do. Steen-Nøkleberg's is not the "vacuum cleaner" approach, but
rather what I'd call the Autolycus approach. He, you will recall, is the
pedlar in 'A Winter's Tale' who describes himself as "a picker up of
unconsidered trifles". And some of the unconsidered works which this
pianist picks up on are of great value and beauty.

Certainly, some volumes of the set are not central (those containing
transcriptions from orchestral works such as the 'Peer Gynt' suites for
example, and the antiquarian three of 'straight' transcribed folksongs)
but with those exceptions the set should be central to anyone with an
interest in Grieg's keyboard works.

It also includes the works for piano and speaker (such as 'Bergliot'
Op.42) which are among Grieg's most individual and exploratory works.

The problem with pianists who choose to present a few, hackneyed items
such as the most popular numbers from the 'Lyric Pieces' and the
'Ballade' is that they are missing out on Grieg's best and most
distinctive work in the field. Most of the Lyric Pieces are, after all,
commercial salon pieces of limited interest, and the Sonata and
'Ballade' are early and somewhat derivative.

This is not true of the wondeful, late 'Slåtter' Op. 72, or the various
sets of Norwegian Folk Songs and Dances, where he reveals himself to be
the avatar (and equal) of Bartók.

That's why I would not be without Steen-Nøkleberg's Naxos recordings.
They are a treasure-trove of excellent - and shockingly undervalued - music.
td
2014-01-18 22:03:18 UTC
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Nice to have your opinion.

But I choose to ignore it, and at my own peril.

TD
Christopher Webber
2014-01-18 22:42:54 UTC
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Post by td
But I choose to ignore it, and at my own peril.
You could always dip a toe, Tom.

Vol.4 would be a great place to start, with the superb 'Slåtter', a very
strong 'Holberg Suite' and some exquisite smaller works.

Amazon.ca ...
http://www.amazon.ca/Piano-Music-Vol-4-Grieg/dp/B000001401
Dana John Hill
2014-01-20 17:40:37 UTC
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Post by Christopher Webber
Post by td
The vacuum cleaner approach. And you praise this?
Indeed I do. Steen-Nøkleberg's is not the "vacuum cleaner" approach, but
rather what I'd call the Autolycus approach. He, you will recall, is the
pedlar in 'A Winter's Tale' who describes himself as "a picker up of
unconsidered trifles". And some of the unconsidered works which this
pianist picks up on are of great value and beauty.
Certainly, some volumes of the set are not central (those containing
transcriptions from orchestral works such as the 'Peer Gynt' suites for
example, and the antiquarian three of 'straight' transcribed folksongs)
but with those exceptions the set should be central to anyone with an
interest in Grieg's keyboard works.
It also includes the works for piano and speaker (such as 'Bergliot'
Op.42) which are among Grieg's most individual and exploratory works.
The problem with pianists who choose to present a few, hackneyed items
such as the most popular numbers from the 'Lyric Pieces' and the
'Ballade' is that they are missing out on Grieg's best and most
distinctive work in the field. Most of the Lyric Pieces are, after all,
commercial salon pieces of limited interest, and the Sonata and
'Ballade' are early and somewhat derivative.
This is not true of the wondeful, late 'Slåtter' Op. 72, or the various
sets of Norwegian Folk Songs and Dances, where he reveals himself to be
the avatar (and equal) of Bartók.
That's why I would not be without Steen-Nøkleberg's Naxos recordings.
They are a treasure-trove of excellent - and shockingly undervalued - music.
Whoa, memories! I bought this set in the summer of 1999 from a popular
online CD retailer which is long since gone whose name I cannot recall.
I do remember that I paid less than $40, which, for fourteen CDs, seemed
like such a bargain to me at the time that I couldn't afford not to get it.

I don't listen to it often, but I do agree that some of those Norwegian
folk songs are extraordinarily charming, and it is quite worth having.

Dana John Hill
Gainesville, Florida
David Fox
2014-01-20 19:55:41 UTC
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Post by Bozo
Haken Austbo , Grieg ( complete ? ) , 2 -cd , Berlin Classics label.
Mark Bebbington , Alwyn and Carwithen ( not known to me ), SOMM label. I enjoyed Bebbington's SOMM cd of the neglected Hurlstone Piano Sonata.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03q4wsn
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03pdc9p
Perhaps like the Brahms 2nd Pico , the Beethoven Vico getting slower ?
Performances of the Beethoven VC are getting slower and far too
reverential. It's gotten to the point where IMHO it no longer works in
concert. The last two live performances I heard had interminable first
movements, with little contrast at all to the second movements. The
final movement sounded more dirge-like than dance-like. This is more
the rule than the exception these days judging from recordings and videos.

The first movement of the Violin Concerto is marked "Allegro ma non
troppo." There is nothing "Allegro" at all about most current
performances. In contrast, the near-contemporaneous Fourth Piano
Concerto is marked "Allegro moderato". While there has been a tendency
to slow this piece down too over the years, one would think that
"Allegro moderato" would be slower (more moderate) than "Allegro ma non
troppo", yet the basic pulse of nearly every performance of the first
movement of the Violin Concerto is slower than what prevails for PC 4.
In any case there should be a distinct difference between the first
movement and the "Larghetto" marking of the second. When there is not,
something is clearly amiss.

I decided to list the timings of the first movements from some of the
recordings on my server. Here's the list:

Kreisler 24:11 (1926)
Wolfstahl 21:48 (1929)
Szigeti 22:31 (1932)
Heifetz 21:18 (1940)
Menuhin 23:55 (1953)
Milstein 21:13 (1955)
Francescatti 23:41 (1960)
Schneiderhan 24:25 (1962)
Oistrakh 24:03 (1962)
Stern 23:52 (1965)
Chung 25:26 (1979)
Perlman 24:24 (1981)
Hahn 24:25 (1998)
Tetzlaff 22:50 (2005)
Repin 25:27 (2007)
Capucon 24:27 (2009)

While there are exceptions, there has been a tendency for performances
of the first movement to drift from a 21-22 minute norm prior to 1960 to
a 25 minute norm today.

The Heifetz/Milstein/Wolfstahl interpretations make far more sense to
me. The "ring every ounce out of every measure to show our appreciation
for its spiritual depth" performances simply kill the piece.

DF
Bozo
2014-01-20 21:23:40 UTC
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The "ring every ounce out of every measure to show our appreciation for its >spiritual depth" performances simply kill the piece.
Thanks for the info.Zehetmair is certainly worth hearing , although I'll still keep my Heifetz / Munch. Even David Garrett plays the Beethoven these days.
Andy Evans
2020-06-27 09:45:57 UTC
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The Grieg Holberg Suite came up again in Record Review today. The reviewer came quite close to choosing the idiomatic Trondheim Soloists or the Oslo Camarata which he thought had "Grieginess". But then finally he chose the soupy, romantic Academy of St Martin for it's superior technical ability. His excuse was that "Folikiness can be overdone". Well, not for me. I lived and worked as a musician inn Norway for 6 years and I have a pretty good feel for the country having toured it up and down for years. I also speak Norwegian and have many musician friends there.

I'm all for idiomatic. Sibelius from Soderstam. And Falla from truly Spanish performers - such a huge difference. For instance my two most listened to 7 Popular Songs are from flamenco singers

Estrella Morente,


Trinidad Montero

Andy Evans
2020-06-27 09:56:20 UTC
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Post by Andy Evans
I'm all for idiomatic. Sibelius from Soderstam.
Should have read "Segerstam" here. On the subject of idiomatic I'd also include Janacek operas from the opera houses in Prague and Brno on Supraphon. Definitely nothing from Mackerras. I've heard a number of Janacek operas in Prague and Brno. The Czech musical culture is pretty unique, and so are their singers and musicians.
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