Post by firstname.lastname@example.org Post by Michael Schaffer Post by email@example.com Post by Michael Schaffer Post by firstname.lastname@example.org Post by Matthew B. Tepper Post by GMS
sechumlib wrote, about Maazel, "He tends to bend things all out of
shape at will."
I find this to be an interesting remark. 25 years ago, when I began my
5-year tenure with the Cleveland Orchestra, I would've agreed completely.
All these years later, and after being exposed to the self-indulgent
pulling about of Daniel Barenboim for the last 15 years, Maazel now seems
absolutely staid in comparison to D.B. Barenboim has been deified on
this board while Maazel comes up for criticism for, IMHO, a somewhat
similar musical approach. I wonder what this says about musical tastes
and the way they've evolved over the last 30 years. Or is it that
Barenboim receives some slack for acknowledging influence from
Furtwangler recordings? Just wondering.
It is that Barenboim, not Maazel, specializes in the composer that so many
people on this newsgroup consider the greatest of them all: Bruckner.
Maazel may have been too busy to specialize in Bruckner, but he's
actually one of only a few Brucknerians with an entire recorded cycle
to his credit. It was issued by his Bavarian orchestra as a limited
edition item. If someone wants to give these recordings to me for my
birthday, I will certainly not resist!
I would really like that, too, but I can't find a trace of it anywhere,
not even the BR website or amazon.de. That would be cool. I like
Maazel's BP 8 a lot, and the SOBR is a great Bruckner orchestra. It
would also be good and instructive for you to listen to that and imbibe
their brass sound, in particular.
It's ok, Michael. Even if I don't listen to those EMI Celi recordings
much anymore, having ruled in favor of his earlier performances, I do
imbibe in a lot more Bruckner from various Munich orchestras than you
might imagine, with Kubelik and Knappertsbusch and Kempe (and a stray
Steinberg aircheck) being special favorites of mine. It should be good
and instructive for you that there are people who actually love all of
the many different great brass sections around the world without the
slightest desire to denigrate or dismiss any of them.
Exactly my attitude. That's why I don't feel the need to declare any of
the many great orchestras or their specific sections "peerless" world
champions like you and some other people feel the strong and naive
desire to do when it comes to the CSO.
You are hopelessly confused again. I've never made any such
declaration...I use the word "peerless" for different musicians to
emphasize things they do that are unique and cherishable--I could write
pages and pages about the peerless aspects of a half dozen or more
favorite orchestras without hesitation, but I have never suggested that
any orchestra is some "world champion". The CSO is peerless in the way
it combines those many seemingly contradictory attributes I mentioned
before; the Cleveland Orchestra is peerless in the way it combines
almost the same set of attributes, with some additions and
subtractions, in its own unique way; the same with the Leningraders
under Mravinsky, or the Philharmonia under Karajan, or ...this can go
on. I would use that word "peerless" again and again in an instant to
describe those things that my ears tell me are special to the various
orchestras I've heard without any sense of competition between these
venerable, varied, and shifting traditions. These orchestras *do* make
peerless sounds--splitting the hairs to describe them accurately is the
difficult task that I take on every once in a while, even if the effort
is lost on you because of your prejudices.
To imply that my enthusiasm for various performers means that I have
some determined "ranking" in mind about various musicians and composers
is a ludicrous, prejudicial misreading and your own blind and
persistent mistatement of everything I have written in this newsgroup
You do, by the way, have a pernicious tendency to read into prejudge
people's statements, infer things that are out of context and then
restate, over and over, your misguided opinion about people as fact,
with ever smaller ties to truth as you go. This, of course, has been
mentioned to you by various people in the past: you are as fond of
misrepresenting people as you are of whining that you are
If you go back and read carefully my many postings in this newsgroup
you will also find practically no desire to "rank" anything. Who else
in this newsgroup surveys 40 Mahler 7s and 50 Mahler 3s, etc. etc., and
sincerely expresses plaudits for practically all of them? Who else
recommends a couple dozen recordings of the Franck symphony as being
fully convincing favorites?
It's fun to joke and rib you about your CSO blindspot, occasionally,
and I'm sure this helps inspire me to write ever more enthusiastic
things about that orchestra in particular, because its quality is so
blindingly obvious, but let's not forget the context. If you were
trashing Mravinsky's Leningraders I'd lay it on just as heavily in
response. I don't mind being ribbed as a CSO admirer, but I do not like
being prejudged and then misrepresented to others.
There are many who play just as
Post by Michael Schaffer
well or maybe even better, it depends on the moment, the style you want
to hear in specific repertoire, and other factors. That doesn't mean we
can not appreciate all these different styles at the same time as we
are aware of which sound and playing styles are more adequate for
certain types of music. Realizing that, for instance, the Viennese
brass comes closes to the sound ideal of the late romantic German
repertoire does not mean that we can't appreciate other styles of
playing, just as it doesn't mean they can't be effective and musical in
other areas of the repertoire in which they are less "authentic".
Well, once again, your sound ideals are far too pre-fixed and
pre-limited and pre-determined and pre-sumptuous for me. You are
thinking too narrowly for me, to say things like "more adequate" and,
as you did earlier, "more relevant" in judging one perfectly musical
and effective interpretation against another.
That depends on which elements of the stylistic spectrum you deem
important. I think they all are. Style, playing style and sonority are
very important parts of that spectrum. So are other elements, such as
musical expression, balance, formal structure, textural layering,
etcetcetc. You apparently didn't understand what I actually said in the
last few sentences. By saying "they" can be effective in other areas of
the repertoire in which they are less "authentic" (note the "" to
indicate that this is a vague, not a very precise qualification), I
didn't mean "them" others, I meant, in this particular example, the
Viennese brass. Saying they are probably not the most "authentic" in,
say, French repertoire, doesn't degrade them at all. It doesn't say
wahtever "authentic" exactly may be, you can't be musically great in
that repertoire if your style reflects a different background and
Once again, ebing aware of these elements does not autmatically mean
judging them. But being aware definitely means appreciating the
differences more for what they are, rather than throwing them all in
the same pot.
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I know it is popular to
ascribe certain idiomatic advantages exclusively to certain local
traditions on the basis of historical inheritance, but I also know that
provincialism is rampant and music transcends it.
I wouldn't ascribe these "advantages" exclusively to "certain local
traditions". Style can be learned, and in fact, where it is still "in
the air", to what degree and however fragmented or not, it still has to
be acquired. But in order to be able to learn style, you have to be
aware of what it actually is and of which elements it consists.
Whatever "provincialism" may actually mean in your usage, it certainly
does not apply to local traditions when it comes to music which emerged
from that same culture. The interest people have in understanding such
elements of the cultural environment they come from - and once again,
for the slow-brained, interest and awareness does not mean that other
styles and local traditions are less "valid" in general - may be very
puzzling for someone like you who doesn't know that kind of
environment, at least as far as his musical interests are concerned.
But whatever it is, or however you want to call it, it certainly is not
"provincialism". The province is where things don't happen and where
there is no connection to outside influences and views. That certainly
does not apply to any of the musical cultures of those countries where
all that culture stuff comes from. The sheer obviousness of two
neighboring countries, such as, for instance, France and Germany,
having two traditionally very distinct musical cultures which at the
same time have endless connections and mutual influences, makes the
whole thing so interesting. What does actually constitute style? Which
elements are still there, which have changed, how have they changed.
All that is extremely interesting and has nothing to do with
"provincialism". On the contrary, one can only really appreciate
elements of other cultures if one is really aware of the same or
similar lements in one's own culture, and the other way around.
All that has nothing to do with ranking and judging. But it has
everything to do with understanding.
Post by firstname.lastname@example.org
I think you should be
able to understand why I find repugnant any notions of authenticity
that impede a broad and cosmopolitan appreciation for what is actually
effective or musical or correct or appropriate in performance.
What is effective and/or "correct" is extremely difficult to define.
Musical interpretation is such a vast and elusive subject. One thing we
can be sure of, namely that the knowldege and appreciation of
traditional styles of music and playing music is extremely important
for what you call "cosmopolitan" appreciation. That sounds good and
nice, but in order to be really cosmopolitan, you have to be open to
understand and appreciate the subtleties and fine or not so fine
differences. Throwing everything into the same pot is not
"cosmopolitan". Don't kid yourself about that. I don't know if it is
"provincial" either, but whatever it is, it is not real appreciation.
A real connoisseur of, say, French cooking knows and appreciates what
sets it apart from other cooking styles. He doesn't throw it literally
in the same pot with whatever else is out there. You don't have to
throw Sauerkraut in the same pot with a French bouillabaisse to make it
"cosmopolitan" and less "provincial". Although there are actually
French cooking styles which also use Sauerkraut, namely in the Alsace
which is a partially French, partially German influenced region. It is
very interesting (and tasty!) to see what they do with it as opposed
to, say, in Thüringen. Knowing the differences doesn't make you
appreciate the variations any less. But if you want to make an Alsatian
dish, you should know how it's done, and not confuse it with the German
Sauerkraut style. That would be provincial.
Now, that's a very simplistic comparison, but I think it may help to
illustrate my point in an easy-to-understand way.
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Meanwhile, if authenticity is so important to you, try to use
authenticity as a basis for your comments about other people in this