Discussion:
Most difficult famous piece to get right?
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Lawrence Kart
2018-08-23 00:35:10 UTC
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I vote for the Beethoven Sixth.

I have one great recording (I won't say perfect, even though that's what I think) -- Monteux with the Vienna Philharmonic. Listening to to a set of Beethoven LPs I'd just purchased, Bohm with the Vienna Phil., I was dismayed, after enjoying Bohm's First, at how pedestrian his Sixth was. So I hauled out every Sixth I had around at the moment -- Bernstein, Vienna Phil., Furtwangler 1944 (Berlin} and '54 (Vienna), Jochum with the Berlin Phil., and Harnoncourt with the COE. Harnoncourt is just quirky, lots of lunging accents; Jochum is almost impossibly slow but does capture some of the vital pastoral mood/moods; both Furtwanglers edge close to the ideal but not close enough for me, both too slow for one thing, though not as slow as Jochum, and I find some of F's point-making a bit too "conductorial"; Bernstein is so fussy with dynamics that this pretty much becomes what the performance is about; Bohm, as the Brits say, is just po-faced.

And Monteux? A perfect flowing tempo for the first movement -- why doesn't anyone else capture what he does? -- and from then to the end I sit there stunned, absorbed, you name it. In particular, what a simple piece of music it seems in Monteux's hands up to a point, and then one feels (I feel) that it is in fact not simple at all.

Any other candidates for the "most difficult famous piece to get right?" Or candidates for a Sixth that surpasses Monteux's?

Larry Kart
HT
2018-08-23 05:49:20 UTC
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Chopin's last scherzo. Usually played too slow (ca. 11 minutes) and un-scherze like. A performer who did it get right:



Henk
JohnGavin
2018-08-23 13:42:29 UTC
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Chopin's last scherzo. Usually played too slow (ca. 11 minutes) and un-scherze like. A performer who did it get right:

http://youtu.be/nvoJD-fJIEI

Henk

_————————————————————————————————-

I used to like this recording. It remains admirable for fantastic reflexes and virtuosity - but it now comes across to me as rather 1 dimensional. Horowitz falls short of capturing the capriciousness of the piece - this is Chopin, the genius improviser in a rare, light, carefree mood. VH delivers on the runs, but misses the charm of the other bits (the ascending chords, the unisons).

2 pianists who capture this better, IMO, are Grosvenor and Barbosa (both available on YouTube).
AB
2018-08-23 20:04:03 UTC
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Post by HT
http://youtu.be/nvoJD-fJIEI
Henk
I greatly admire Horowitz, but i don't like this at all. Very superficial, not that clean. He could be very careless at times.

AB
dk
2018-12-04 02:05:10 UTC
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Post by HT
Chopin's last scherzo. Usually played too
slow (ca. 11 minutes) and un-scherze like.
http://youtu.be/nvoJD-fJIEI
Too harsh!

dk
HT
2018-12-04 10:58:52 UTC
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Post by dk
Post by HT
http://youtu.be/nvoJD-fJIEI
Too harsh!
Indeed. It is harsh. If it's not harsh, it's just nice - even if it's played very well:



Henk
HT
2018-12-04 11:47:55 UTC
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Post by HT
Post by dk
Post by HT
http://youtu.be/nvoJD-fJIEI
Too harsh!
http://youtu.be/xCQZ7RsEXNI
Eight years earlier a much better Moiseisch:



Henk
AB
2018-12-04 18:43:02 UTC
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Post by HT
Post by HT
Post by dk
Post by HT
http://youtu.be/nvoJD-fJIEI
Too harsh!
http://youtu.be/xCQZ7RsEXNI
http://youtu.be/-y4HqZfWbsI
Henk
yes better, but still not that clean.

AB
AB
2018-12-04 18:45:30 UTC
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Post by HT
Post by dk
Post by HT
http://youtu.be/nvoJD-fJIEI
Too harsh!
http://youtu.be/xCQZ7RsEXNI
Henk
I find the piano harsh, playing a bit insensitive.

AB
dk
2018-12-07 17:27:17 UTC
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Post by HT
Post by dk
Post by HT
http://youtu.be/nvoJD-fJIEI
Too harsh!
Indeed. It is harsh. If it's not harsh, it's
http://youtu.be/xCQZ7RsEXNI
No, no. 4 should sound sparkling! Like this:


dk
dk
2018-12-07 17:33:05 UTC
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Post by dk
Post by HT
Post by dk
Post by HT
http://youtu.be/nvoJD-fJIEI
Too harsh!
Indeed. It is harsh. If it's not harsh, it's
http://youtu.be/xCQZ7RsEXNI
http://youtu.be/mChAelTj064
Incidentally, both Grosvenor's technique and
his sound production leave Volodya in the dust!

dk
JohnGavin
2018-12-07 18:22:54 UTC
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- show quoted text -
Incidentally, both Grosvenor's technique and
his sound production leave Volodya in the dust

It’s the uncalculated spontaneity and youthful freshness that makes Benjamin Grosvenor’s version so admirable as well.
AB
2018-12-07 18:51:34 UTC
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Post by dk
Post by dk
Post by HT
Post by dk
Post by HT
http://youtu.be/nvoJD-fJIEI
Too harsh!
Indeed. It is harsh. If it's not harsh, it's
http://youtu.be/xCQZ7RsEXNI
http://youtu.be/mChAelTj064
Incidentally, both Grosvenor's technique and
his sound production leave Volodya in the dust!
dk
impossible to compare sound production due to recording differences. Don't underestimate V.'s technique:-)

AB
n***@gmail.com
2018-12-08 16:37:25 UTC
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Post by AB
Post by dk
Post by dk
Post by HT
Post by dk
Post by HT
http://youtu.be/nvoJD-fJIEI
Too harsh!
Indeed. It is harsh. If it's not harsh, it's
http://youtu.be/xCQZ7RsEXNI
http://youtu.be/mChAelTj064
Incidentally, both Grosvenor's technique and
his sound production leave Volodya in the dust!
dk
impossible to compare sound production due to recording differences.
Indeed, the recording studio, the engineers and the instrument itself. Pianists audition several different Steinways before deciding on the one they want, and then even have it transported to a concert hall for their recital.

Don't underestimate V.'s technique:-)
Post by AB
AB
HT
2018-12-07 20:41:04 UTC
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Post by dk
Incidentally, both Grosvenor's technique and
his sound production leave Volodya in the dust!
Grosvenor has a great technique and sound. His musical personality turns pale alongside that of Horowitz. You have to be very young and naive to believe that a Chopin scherzo should sparkle.

Henk
AB
2018-12-07 21:36:28 UTC
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Post by HT
Post by dk
Incidentally, both Grosvenor's technique and
his sound production leave Volodya in the dust!
Grosvenor has a great technique and sound. His musical personality turns pale alongside that of Horowitz. You have to be very young and naive to believe that a Chopin scherzo should sparkle.
Henk
he was very young at that point, but the talent is obvious and huge; yes, the playing is a bit flippant but his playing has matured since then......if you listen to his recent recitals one can hear a complete artist. just listen to Gaspard-Ravel. Astounding.

AB

AB
dk
2018-12-08 05:44:10 UTC
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Post by HT
Post by dk
Incidentally, both Grosvenor's technique and
his sound production leave Volodya in the dust!
Grosvenor has a great technique and sound. His
musical personality turns pale alongside that
of Horowitz. You have to be very young and
naive to believe that a Chopin scherzo
should sparkle.
I did not say "a Chopin scherzo should sparkle"!
I said the 4th scherzo op. 54 should sparkle!
Huge difference! You have to be very old and
naive to believe it shouldn't!

Chopin isn't what Ashkenazy makes it sound like!

dk
HT
2018-12-08 10:27:36 UTC
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Post by dk
Chopin isn't what Ashkenazy makes it sound like!
Ashkenazy? To avoid further misunderstandings: in my opinion the 4th scherzo should sound like Horowitz makes it sound. Other suggestions are welcome - as long as they "bite" instead of "sparkle". For example:



Henk
JohnGavin
2018-12-08 14:49:37 UTC
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Ashkenazy? To avoid further misunderstandings: in my opinion the 4th scherzo should sound like Horowitz makes it sound. Other suggestions are welcome - as long as they "bite" instead of "sparkle". For example:

http://youtu.be/zcFI-7taTDU

Henk

To my ears, Horowitz makes it sound first and foremost like a virtuoso vehicle. Those fantastic spring-coiled fingers, combined with the super accelerated action of his Steinway impress for sure, but late Chopin is more than that. It’s not a bad performance by any means, but I’d be tempted to describe it as Scherzo op. 54 by Chopin-Horowitz.
HT
2018-12-08 15:55:48 UTC
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Post by JohnGavin
To my ears, Horowitz makes it sound first and foremost like a virtuoso vehicle. Those fantastic spring-coiled fingers, combined with the super accelerated action of his Steinway impress for sure, but late Chopin is more than that. It’s not a bad performance by any means, but I’d be tempted to describe it as Scherzo op. 54 by Chopin-Horowitz.
I couldn't disagree more. There is nothing what I would call virtuosic about this performance. As Dan Koren said: it's too harsh. There is not one moment in the whole where he shows off and/or is trying to please the audience. On the contrary. I like the expression "menacing urgency" used by one of the commentators on YT.

This expression would fit many of young Horowitz's best performances. It's what makes him stand out, in my opinion.

Henk
Herman
2018-12-08 11:14:30 UTC
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You conferred with the composer about this?

Or do you just mean you find 'sparkling' more pleasant?
dk
2018-12-08 18:40:24 UTC
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Post by Herman
You conferred with the composer about this?
Indeed. I advised him while he wrote it! ;-)

dk

Herman
2018-08-23 06:21:05 UTC
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"Right" in this case just means "the way I like it"?
Herman
2018-08-23 07:33:17 UTC
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Post by Herman
"Right" in this case just means "the way I like it"?
Looks like this topic started another quote bot frenzy
Andy Evans
2018-08-23 10:09:33 UTC
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I think Debussy Jeux is nearly impossible to get right - it's such a strange work. Cleveland/Boulez come closest for me but even so I find it hard to listen to this music - I'm never "convinced".
Lawrence Kart
2018-08-23 15:54:12 UTC
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Post by Andy Evans
I think Debussy Jeux is nearly impossible to get right - it's such a strange work. Cleveland/Boulez come closest for me but even so I find it hard to listen to this music - I'm never "convinced".
D.H. Inghelbrecht

Yes, difficult to get right. A great work in my book.
Tassilo
2018-11-23 00:33:25 UTC
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I have several live Boulez performances of Jeux that I prefer to the studio recording from Cleveland. Then again, I have a problem with almost every studio recording Boulez made for DG in the last 25 years. (I blame the engineering, because the live broadcasts preceding the studio recordings have been just fine.) -dg
Post by Andy Evans
I think Debussy Jeux is nearly impossible to get right - it's such a strange work. Cleveland/Boulez come closest for me but even so I find it hard to listen to this music - I'm never "convinced".
Lawrence Kart
2018-08-23 15:51:20 UTC
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Post by Herman
"Right" in this case just means "the way I like it"?
Right. But I didn't "just mean" that. I mentioned a few specific points and could have added a great many more about each of those recordings. Of course, they aren't all the Sixths out there, which was why I asked the question as i did. In any case, the question arose in my mind because when I listen to a recording of a familiar great work that seems ideal to me, I usually find that other performances are not that dissimilar. That wasn't the case here, not at all.
AB
2018-08-23 20:05:13 UTC
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Post by Herman
"Right" in this case just means "the way I like it"?
good point Herman!


AB
g***@gmail.com
2018-08-23 06:57:22 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Kart
I vote for the Beethoven Sixth.
I have one great recording (I won't say perfect, even though that's what I think) -- Monteux with the Vienna Philharmonic. Listening to to a set of Beethoven LPs I'd just purchased, Bohm with the Vienna Phil., I was dismayed, after enjoying Bohm's First, at how pedestrian his Sixth was. So I hauled out every Sixth I had around at the moment -- Bernstein, Vienna Phil., Furtwangler 1944 (Berlin} and '54 (Vienna), Jochum with the Berlin Phil., and Harnoncourt with the COE. Harnoncourt is just quirky, lots of lunging accents; Jochum is almost impossibly slow but does capture some of the vital pastoral mood/moods; both Furtwanglers edge close to the ideal but not close enough for me, both too slow for one thing, though not as slow as Jochum, and I find some of F's point-making a bit too "conductorial"; Bernstein is so fussy with dynamics that this pretty much becomes what the performance is about; Bohm, as the Brits say, is just po-faced.
And Monteux? A perfect flowing tempo for the first movement -- why doesn't anyone else capture what he does? -- and from then to the end I sit there stunned, absorbed, you name it. In particular, what a simple piece of music it seems in Monteux's hands up to a point, and then one feels (I feel) that it is in fact not simple at all.
According to the following:

- The Pastoral, in particular, is the kind of performance one more or less despairs of hearing nowadays.

https://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/beethoven-symphonies-6
Alex Brown
2018-08-23 07:09:41 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Kart
I vote for the Beethoven Sixth.
To my ears there are at least three recordings of the Sixth which are
great (Klemperer, Bohm, Bernstein) while other Beethoven symphonies
haver fewer or no wholly successful recordings: the Fifth and the Seventh.

In general I find works with a "tragic" strain most often fail on
record, e.g.

Mozart 40
Mozart Piano Concerto 24
Dvorak 7
Mahler 6
--
- Alex Brown
Lawrence Kart
2018-08-24 00:21:42 UTC
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Post by Alex Brown
Post by Lawrence Kart
I vote for the Beethoven Sixth.
To my ears there are at least three recordings of the Sixth which are
great (Klemperer, Bohm, Bernstein) while other Beethoven symphonies
haver fewer or no wholly successful recordings: the Fifth and the Seventh.
- Alex Brown
Now that I've heard Klemperer, I agree that belongs up there with Monteux.

Larry Kart
Lawrence Kart
2018-08-24 01:27:24 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Alex Brown
Post by Lawrence Kart
I vote for the Beethoven Sixth.
To my ears there are at least three recordings of the Sixth which are
great (Klemperer, Bohm, Bernstein) while other Beethoven symphonies
haver fewer or no wholly successful recordings: the Fifth and the Seventh.
- Alex Brown
Now that I've heard Klemperer, I agree that belongs up there with Monteux.
I'm also very impressed by Erich Kleiber's (1953), which has a certain invigorating nervousity that his son also evinces, perhaps to the point of becoming febrile at times, in his impressive YouTube Sixth.

Also, I have second thoughts about Bernstein's live Vienna Phil. recording (1980). I was listening on LP, and everything I said about it above still applies. Then today I listened to the same performance on CD and could hardly believe the difference. The fussy dynamic shifts are evened out (if that's the way to put it), and the whole sonic picture is more "forward,." This is the most joyous first movement of the Sixth I've ever heard, and if joyousness isn't the whole story, Bernstein makes it seem like it is.
Post by Lawrence Kart
Larry Kart
Lawrence Kart
2018-08-24 02:44:46 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Alex Brown
Post by Lawrence Kart
I vote for the Beethoven Sixth.
To my ears there are at least three recordings of the Sixth which are
great (Klemperer, Bohm, Bernstein) while other Beethoven symphonies
haver fewer or no wholly successful recordings: the Fifth and the Seventh.
- Alex Brown
Now that I've heard Klemperer, I agree that belongs up there with Monteux.
I'm also very impressed by Erich Kleiber's (1953), which has a certain invigorating nervousity that his son also evinces, perhaps to the point of becoming febrile at times, in his impressive YouTube Sixth.
Also, I have second thoughts about Bernstein's live Vienna Phil. recording (1980). I was listening on LP, and everything I said about it above still applies. Then today I listened to the same performance on CD and could hardly believe the difference. The fussy dynamic shifts are evened out (if that's the way to put it), and the whole sonic picture is more "forward,." This is the most joyous first movement of the Sixth I've ever heard, and if joyousness isn't the whole story, Bernstein makes it seem like it is.
P.S. Comment on C. Kleiber's You Tube Sixth: "This was Kleiber's only performance of Beethoven's Sixth Symphony. He was very fond of the work, but he considered it extremely difficult, and he was apparently unsatisfied with his interpretation -- so much so that he never attempted it again.
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Lawrence Kart
Larry Kart
g***@gmail.com
2018-08-24 04:18:30 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Kart
I vote for the Beethoven Sixth.
I have one great recording (I won't say perfect, even though that's what I think) -- Monteux with the Vienna Philharmonic...
According to the following:

- Pierre Monteux, Vienna Philharmonic (1959, RCA LP, London CD; 41½‘) – Monteux’s paramount gift was to meld classical restraint with humanizing warmth.

http://www.classicalnotes.net/classics4/pastoral.html
g***@gmail.com
2018-08-24 07:14:30 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Kart
I vote for the Beethoven Sixth.
I have one great recording (I won't say perfect, even though that's what I think) -- Monteux with the Vienna Philharmonic. Listening to to a set of Beethoven LPs I'd just purchased, Bohm with the Vienna Phil., I was dismayed, after enjoying Bohm's First, at how pedestrian his Sixth was. So I hauled out every Sixth I had around at the moment -- Bernstein, Vienna Phil., Furtwangler 1944 (Berlin} and '54 (Vienna), Jochum with the Berlin Phil., and Harnoncourt with the COE. Harnoncourt is just quirky, lots of lunging accents; Jochum is almost impossibly slow but does capture some of the vital pastoral mood/moods; both Furtwanglers edge close to the ideal but not close enough for me, both too slow for one thing, though not as slow as Jochum, and I find some of F's point-making a bit too "conductorial"; Bernstein is so fussy with dynamics that this pretty much becomes what the performance is about; Bohm, as the Brits say, is just po-faced.
And Monteux? A perfect flowing tempo for the first movement -- why doesn't anyone else capture what he does? -- and from then to the end I sit there stunned, absorbed, you name it. In particular, what a simple piece of music it seems in Monteux's hands up to a point, and then one feels (I feel) that it is in fact not simple at all.
Any other candidates for the "most difficult famous piece to get right?" Or candidates for a Sixth that surpasses Monteux's?
Larry Kart
- Not everything that is more difficult is more meritorious.

Thomas Aquinas
Lawrence Kart
2018-08-24 22:53:50 UTC
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Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by Lawrence Kart
I vote for the Beethoven Sixth.
I have one great recording (I won't say perfect, even though that's what I think) -- Monteux with the Vienna Philharmonic. Listening to to a set of Beethoven LPs I'd just purchased, Bohm with the Vienna Phil., I was dismayed, after enjoying Bohm's First, at how pedestrian his Sixth was. So I hauled out every Sixth I had around at the moment -- Bernstein, Vienna Phil., Furtwangler 1944 (Berlin} and '54 (Vienna), Jochum with the Berlin Phil., and Harnoncourt with the COE. Harnoncourt is just quirky, lots of lunging accents; Jochum is almost impossibly slow but does capture some of the vital pastoral mood/moods; both Furtwanglers edge close to the ideal but not close enough for me, both too slow for one thing, though not as slow as Jochum, and I find some of F's point-making a bit too "conductorial"; Bernstein is so fussy with dynamics that this pretty much becomes what the performance is about; Bohm, as the Brits say, is just po-faced.
And Monteux? A perfect flowing tempo for the first movement -- why doesn't anyone else capture what he does? -- and from then to the end I sit there stunned, absorbed, you name it. In particular, what a simple piece of music it seems in Monteux's hands up to a point, and then one feels (I feel) that it is in fact not simple at all.
Any other candidates for the "most difficult famous piece to get right?" Or candidates for a Sixth that surpasses Monteux's?
Larry Kart
- Not everything that is more difficult is more meritorious.
Thomas Aquinas
Did I say it was?
O
2018-08-25 17:38:53 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by Lawrence Kart
I vote for the Beethoven Sixth.
I have one great recording (I won't say perfect, even though that's what
I think) -- Monteux with the Vienna Philharmonic. Listening to to a set
of Beethoven LPs I'd just purchased, Bohm with the Vienna Phil., I was
dismayed, after enjoying Bohm's First, at how pedestrian his Sixth was.
So I hauled out every Sixth I had around at the moment -- Bernstein,
Vienna Phil., Furtwangler 1944 (Berlin} and '54 (Vienna), Jochum with
the Berlin Phil., and Harnoncourt with the COE. Harnoncourt is just
quirky, lots of lunging accents; Jochum is almost impossibly slow but
does capture some of the vital pastoral mood/moods; both Furtwanglers
edge close to the ideal but not close enough for me, both too slow for
one thing, though not as slow as Jochum, and I find some of F's
point-making a bit too "conductorial"; Bernstein is so fussy with
dynamics that this pretty much becomes what the performance is about;
Bohm, as the Brits say, is just po-faced.
And Monteux? A perfect flowing tempo for the first movement -- why
doesn't anyone else capture what he does? -- and from then to the end I
sit there stunned, absorbed, you name it. In particular, what a simple
piece of music it seems in Monteux's hands up to a point, and then one
feels (I feel) that it is in fact not simple at all.
Any other candidates for the "most difficult famous piece to get right?"
Or candidates for a Sixth that surpasses Monteux's?
Larry Kart
- Not everything that is more difficult is more meritorious.
Thomas Aquinas
Did I say it was?
How long has Thomas Aquinas been posting here?

-Owen
g***@gmail.com
2018-08-28 06:45:21 UTC
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Post by O
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by Lawrence Kart
I vote for the Beethoven Sixth.
I have one great recording (I won't say perfect, even though that's what
I think) -- Monteux with the Vienna Philharmonic. Listening to to a set
of Beethoven LPs I'd just purchased, Bohm with the Vienna Phil., I was
dismayed, after enjoying Bohm's First, at how pedestrian his Sixth was.
So I hauled out every Sixth I had around at the moment -- Bernstein,
Vienna Phil., Furtwangler 1944 (Berlin} and '54 (Vienna), Jochum with
the Berlin Phil., and Harnoncourt with the COE. Harnoncourt is just
quirky, lots of lunging accents; Jochum is almost impossibly slow but
does capture some of the vital pastoral mood/moods; both Furtwanglers
edge close to the ideal but not close enough for me, both too slow for
one thing, though not as slow as Jochum, and I find some of F's
point-making a bit too "conductorial"; Bernstein is so fussy with
dynamics that this pretty much becomes what the performance is about;
Bohm, as the Brits say, is just po-faced.
And Monteux? A perfect flowing tempo for the first movement -- why
doesn't anyone else capture what he does? -- and from then to the end I
sit there stunned, absorbed, you name it. In particular, what a simple
piece of music it seems in Monteux's hands up to a point, and then one
feels (I feel) that it is in fact not simple at all.
Any other candidates for the "most difficult famous piece to get right?"
Or candidates for a Sixth that surpasses Monteux's?
Larry Kart
- Not everything that is more difficult is more meritorious.
Thomas Aquinas
Did I say it was?
How long has Thomas Aquinas been posting here?
-Owen
Recent quiz on him:

https://blog.oup.com/2018/08/philosopher-of-the-month-thomas-aquinas-quiz/
weary flake
2018-08-25 16:01:42 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Kart
I vote for the Beethoven Sixth.
I have one great recording (I won't say perfect, even though that's
what I think) -- Monteux with the Vienna Philharmonic. Listening to to
a set of Beethoven LPs I'd just purchased, Bohm with the Vienna Phil.,
I was dismayed, after enjoying Bohm's First, at how pedestrian his
Sixth was. So I hauled out every Sixth I had around at the moment --
Bernstein, Vienna Phil., Furtwangler 1944 (Berlin} and '54 (Vienna),
Jochum with the Berlin Phil., and Harnoncourt with the COE.
Harnoncourt is just quirky, lots of lunging accents; Jochum is almost
impossibly slow but does capture some of the vital pastoral mood/moods;
both Furtwanglers edge close to the ideal but not close enough for me,
both too slow for one thing, though not as slow as Jochum, and I find
some of F's point-making a bit too "conductorial"; Bernstein is so
fussy with dynamics that this pretty much becomes what the performance
is about; Bohm, as the Brits say, is just po-faced.
And Monteux? A perfect flowing tempo for the first movement -- why
doesn't anyone else capture what he does? -- and from then to the end I
sit there stunned, absorbed, you name it. In particular, what a simple
piece of music it seems in Monteux's hands up to a point, and then one
feels (I feel) that it is in fact not simple at all.
Any other candidates for the "most difficult famous piece to get
right?" Or candidates for a Sixth that surpasses Monteux's?
Larry Kart
I'd say the most difficult pieces are the pieces that are so simple
that professionals are unable to play them, like the lovely simplest
pieces in Anna Magdalena Bach: every version I've heard recorded was
"embellished" by recording it too fast and/or using an instrument
like a clavichord or other instrument, played in an ugly manner,
whether harshly or without expression. So that's an example of
pieces so simple they are difficult to play correctly.
JohnGavin
2018-08-25 16:54:15 UTC
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Bach’s Art of Fugue. Why do the majority of interpretations choose numbingly slow tempos? 15 fugues with additional canons and this approach makes this great masterpiece such an ordeal to get through! Two exceptions among performers are Gould and Joanne Mac Gregor.

I’d look forward to hear what Andras Schiff does with Art of Fugue.
AB
2018-08-25 20:45:20 UTC
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Post by JohnGavin
Bach’s Art of Fugue. Why do the majority of interpretations choose numbingly slow tempos? 15 fugues with additional canons and this approach makes this great masterpiece such an ordeal to get through! Two exceptions among performers are Gould and Joanne Mac Gregor.
I’d look forward to hear what Andras Schiff does with Art of Fugue.
can't understand why so many people are enamored with Schiff...... Just heard a LvB Pathetique sonata. Mediocre at best......

AB
weary flake
2018-08-25 22:22:26 UTC
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Post by AB
Post by JohnGavin
Bach’s Art of Fugue. Why do the majority of interpretations choose
numbingly slow tempos? 15 fugues with additional canons and this
approach makes this great masterpiece such an ordeal to get through!
Two exceptions among performers are Gould and Joanne Mac Gregor.
I’d look forward to hear what Andras Schiff does with Art of Fugue.
can't understand why so many people are enamored with Schiff...... Just
heard a LvB Pathetique sonata. Mediocre at best......
Schiff does unusual things like playing the first movement of
the Moonlight sonata without dampers.
AB
2018-08-26 00:33:44 UTC
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Post by weary flake
Post by AB
Post by JohnGavin
Bach’s Art of Fugue. Why do the majority of interpretations choose
numbingly slow tempos? 15 fugues with additional canons and this
approach makes this great masterpiece such an ordeal to get through!
Two exceptions among performers are Gould and Joanne Mac Gregor.
I’d look forward to hear what Andras Schiff does with Art of Fugue.
can't understand why so many people are enamored with Schiff...... Just
heard a LvB Pathetique sonata. Mediocre at best......
Schiff does unusual things like playing the first movement of
the Moonlight sonata without dampers.
how does it sound?

AB
vhorowitz
2018-08-26 00:57:11 UTC
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I love Karel Sejna’s Supraphon Beethoven 6th.....Fresh and filled with beautiful sounds, and supremely unforced....neither impatient or mushy.
weary flake
2018-08-26 02:36:26 UTC
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Post by AB
Post by weary flake
Post by AB
Bach’s Art of Fugue. Why do the majority of interpretations choose> >>
numbingly slow tempos? 15 fugues with additional canons and this> >>
approach makes this great masterpiece such an ordeal to get through!
Two exceptions among performers are Gould and Joanne Mac Gregor.
I’d look forward to hear what Andras Schiff does with Art of Fugue.
can't understand why so many people are enamored with Schiff......
Just> > heard a LvB Pathetique sonata. Mediocre at best......
Schiff does unusual things like playing the first movement of
the Moonlight sonata without dampers.
how does it sound?
It sounds like how you'd expect it to sound, and you wouldn't like it.
It is my favorite version of the first movement of the moonlight
sonata played without dampers. I own every version of such on CD,
which there are two:

Schiff (2007): too fast
Gulda (1950s): too slow

I still await one more to my taste.
j***@gmail.com
2018-12-04 12:38:14 UTC
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Post by weary flake
It is my favorite version of the first movement of the moonlight
sonata played without dampers. I own every version of such on CD,
which there are two: > Schiff (2007): too fast / Gulda (1950s): too slow
Didn't Rodger Woodwood use to play it with right pedal down for the whole movement, without lifting ? Equally eccentric

Jonathan Dunsby
c***@gmail.com
2018-12-04 19:38:29 UTC
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Post by j***@gmail.com
Post by weary flake
It is my favorite version of the first movement of the moonlight
sonata played without dampers. I own every version of such on CD,
which there are two: > Schiff (2007): too fast / Gulda (1950s): too slow
Didn't Rodger Woodwood use to play it with right pedal down for the whole movement, without lifting ? Equally eccentric
Jonathan Dunsby
He did this because Beethoven's marking "senza sordini" theoretically means this ("without dampers") and maybe on the pianos of Beethoven's day (like the long pedal at the beginning of the Waldstein last movement) it worked. On a modern piano it's difficult to stop it sounding a mess, I suppose some cunning vibrato pedalling might be tried as opposed to completely clean changes
AB
2018-12-05 20:27:14 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by j***@gmail.com
Post by weary flake
It is my favorite version of the first movement of the moonlight
sonata played without dampers. I own every version of such on CD,
which there are two: > Schiff (2007): too fast / Gulda (1950s): too slow
Didn't Rodger Woodwood use to play it with right pedal down for the whole movement, without lifting ? Equally eccentric
Jonathan Dunsby
He did this because Beethoven's marking "senza sordini" theoretically means this ("without dampers") and maybe on the pianos of Beethoven's day (like the long pedal at the beginning of the Waldstein last movement) it worked. On a modern piano it's difficult to stop it sounding a mess, I suppose some cunning vibrato pedalling might be tried as opposed to completely clean changes
what is 'vibrato pedaling'?
AB
c***@gmail.com
2018-12-06 06:49:47 UTC
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Post by AB
Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by j***@gmail.com
Post by weary flake
It is my favorite version of the first movement of the moonlight
sonata played without dampers. I own every version of such on CD,
which there are two: > Schiff (2007): too fast / Gulda (1950s): too slow
Didn't Rodger Woodwood use to play it with right pedal down for the whole movement, without lifting ? Equally eccentric
Jonathan Dunsby
He did this because Beethoven's marking "senza sordini" theoretically means this ("without dampers") and maybe on the pianos of Beethoven's day (like the long pedal at the beginning of the Waldstein last movement) it worked. On a modern piano it's difficult to stop it sounding a mess, I suppose some cunning vibrato pedalling might be tried as opposed to completely clean changes
what is 'vibrato pedaling'?
AB
Quick and continuous half-pedalling which aims to hold some of the sound but not all of it
AB
2018-12-06 17:01:28 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by AB
Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by j***@gmail.com
Post by weary flake
It is my favorite version of the first movement of the moonlight
sonata played without dampers. I own every version of such on CD,
which there are two: > Schiff (2007): too fast / Gulda (1950s): too slow
Didn't Rodger Woodwood use to play it with right pedal down for the whole movement, without lifting ? Equally eccentric
Jonathan Dunsby
He did this because Beethoven's marking "senza sordini" theoretically means this ("without dampers") and maybe on the pianos of Beethoven's day (like the long pedal at the beginning of the Waldstein last movement) it worked. On a modern piano it's difficult to stop it sounding a mess, I suppose some cunning vibrato pedalling might be tried as opposed to completely clean changes
what is 'vibrato pedaling'?
AB
Quick and continuous half-pedalling which aims to hold some of the sound but not all of it
you know any recordings where this method is used? Which pianists do this?

AB
JohnGavin
2018-12-06 19:35:34 UTC
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you know any recordings where this method is used? Which pianists do this?

AB

Anton Kuerti
dk
2018-12-07 17:24:52 UTC
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Post by AB
Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by AB
Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by j***@gmail.com
Post by weary flake
It is my favorite version of the first
movement of the moonlight sonata played
without dampers. I own every version of
such on CD, which there are two: Schiff
(2007): too fast / Gulda (1950s): too slow
Didn't Rodger Woodwood use to play it with
right pedal down for the whole movement,
without lifting ? Equally eccentric
He did this because Beethoven's marking
"senza sordini" theoretically means this
("without dampers") and maybe on the pianos
of Beethoven's day (like the long pedal at
the beginning of the Waldstein last movement)
it worked. On a modern piano it's difficult
to stop it sounding a mess, I suppose some
cunning vibrato pedalling might be tried as
opposed to completely clean changes
what is 'vibrato pedaling'?
Quick and continuous half-pedalling which
aims to hold some of the sound but not all
of it
you know any recordings where this method is
used? Which pianists do this?
All the pianists with Parkinson's! ;-)

dk
Herman
2018-12-06 07:28:15 UTC
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Post by AB
what is 'vibrato pedaling'?
AB
it's the new and all-clean detergent!

get a free sample!
Mark Zimmer
2018-12-07 19:32:16 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by j***@gmail.com
Post by weary flake
It is my favorite version of the first movement of the moonlight
sonata played without dampers. I own every version of such on CD,
which there are two: > Schiff (2007): too fast / Gulda (1950s): too slow
Didn't Rodger Woodwood use to play it with right pedal down for the whole movement, without lifting ? Equally eccentric
Jonathan Dunsby
He did this because Beethoven's marking "senza sordini" theoretically means this ("without dampers") and maybe on the pianos of Beethoven's day (like the long pedal at the beginning of the Waldstein last movement) it worked. On a modern piano it's difficult to stop it sounding a mess, I suppose some cunning vibrato pedalling might be tried as opposed to completely clean changes
Yes, this works all right if you're playing a fortepiano. Not a pianoforte.
Tassilo
2018-11-23 00:36:23 UTC
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This doesn't justify slow tempi, but Art of the Fugue was never conceived as a concert piece. Nor was it conceived to be listened to in one sitting. It was really intended for the performer to use at home. -dg
Post by JohnGavin
Bach’s Art of Fugue. Why do the majority of interpretations choose numbingly slow tempos? 15 fugues with additional canons and this approach makes this great masterpiece such an ordeal to get through! Two exceptions among performers are Gould and Joanne Mac Gregor.
I’d look forward to hear what Andras Schiff does with Art of Fugue.
g***@gmail.com
2018-11-23 02:08:08 UTC
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Post by Tassilo
This doesn't justify slow tempi, but Art of the Fugue was never conceived as a concert piece. Nor was it conceived to be listened to in one sitting. It was really intended for the performer to use at home. -dg
Post by JohnGavin
Bach’s Art of Fugue. Why do the majority of interpretations choose numbingly slow tempos? 15 fugues with additional canons and this approach makes this great masterpiece such an ordeal to get through! Two exceptions among performers are Gould and Joanne Mac Gregor.
I’d look forward to hear what Andras Schiff does with Art of Fugue.
Isn't it true that very few of his works, if any, were meant to be performed in front of large audiences?
Tassilo
2018-11-23 23:04:44 UTC
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On Thursday, November 22, 2018 at 9:08:10 PM UTC-5, ***@gmail.com wrote:
Most of Bach's music falls into one of two categories: keyboard music for use at home (or in private lessons with students) and music for the Lutheran worship service. Much of the organ music was intended to be heard in the church, but the WTC is an anthology from which you select pieces to play at home. If you have a couple of friends over or a couple of family members at home, you may want to play for them, too. I'm not sure you had large audiences for anything in a provincial part of Germany in the first half of the 18th century.

-dg
On Thursday, November 22, 2018 at 2:36:26 PM UTC-10, Tassilo
Post by Tassilo
This doesn't justify slow tempi, but Art of the Fugue was never conceived as a concert piece. Nor was it conceived to be listened to in one sitting. It was really intended for the performer to use at home. -dg
Post by JohnGavin
Bach’s Art of Fugue. Why do the majority of interpretations choose numbingly slow tempos? 15 fugues with additional canons and this approach makes this great masterpiece such an ordeal to get through! Two exceptions among performers are Gould and Joanne Mac Gregor.
I’d look forward to hear what Andras Schiff does with Art of Fugue.
Isn't it true that very few of his works, if any, were meant to be performed in front of large audiences?
JohnGavin
2018-11-23 21:44:35 UTC
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This doesn't justify slow tempi, but Art of the Fugue was never conceived as a concert piece. Nor was it conceived to be listened to in one sitting.

_——————_—————————————————————————————

I can only speak personally, but nothing has conveyed the seemingly limitless genius of J.S. Bach more than listening to the Art of Fugue from beginning to end. The common subject shared by each fugue, whether stated plainly, inverted, in augmented or compressed rhythm gives the work an undeniable unity and a feeling of inevitable progression - it’s the progression that conveys the transcendent nature of this music. For me it is as unlikely as hearing one part of the Mass in B minor at a time.

What is the evidence that Bach didn’t intend the work to be read or heard from beginning to end? (which chillingly comes abruptly due to the composers death.)

I can easily accept that the 48 P & Fs were not intended to be heard in one sitting, or the Inventions or Sinfonias - but A of F makes far less sense heard piece by piece.
Tassilo
2018-11-23 23:11:21 UTC
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The Art of the Fugue is an anthology just like the WTC except that Bach has built the whole thing on a single subject. That doesn't mean that he didn't conceive it as in some sense a whole: he most certainly did, as the use of a single subject suggests. But that wholeness exists in an ideal realm, not in the day to day world of normal contemporary habit. You are one of those who happily enters that ideal realm. (Not even the Goldberg Variations was conceived as a concert piece to played straight through from beginning to end in one go.) For what it's worth, the public concert in the modern sense really evolved in the second half of the 18th century when Mozart rented space, hired musicians, and charged admission to performances of his own music. He didn't make much money doing it.

-dg
Post by Tassilo
This doesn't justify slow tempi, but Art of the Fugue was never conceived as a concert piece. Nor was it conceived to be listened to in one sitting.
_——————_—————————————————————————————
I can only speak personally, but nothing has conveyed the seemingly limitless genius of J.S. Bach more than listening to the Art of Fugue from beginning to end. The common subject shared by each fugue, whether stated plainly, inverted, in augmented or compressed rhythm gives the work an undeniable unity and a feeling of inevitable progression - it’s the progression that conveys the transcendent nature of this music. For me it is as unlikely as hearing one part of the Mass in B minor at a time.
What is the evidence that Bach didn’t intend the work to be read or heard from beginning to end? (which chillingly comes abruptly due to the composers death.)
I can easily accept that the 48 P & Fs were not intended to be heard in one sitting, or the Inventions or Sinfonias - but A of F makes far less sense heard piece by piece.
Mark Zimmer
2018-11-27 16:11:37 UTC
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Post by Tassilo
This doesn't justify slow tempi, but Art of the Fugue was never conceived as a concert piece. Nor was it conceived to be listened to in one sitting.
_——————_—————————————————————————————
I can only speak personally, but nothing has conveyed the seemingly limitless genius of J.S. Bach more than listening to the Art of Fugue from beginning to end. The common subject shared by each fugue, whether stated plainly, inverted, in augmented or compressed rhythm gives the work an undeniable unity and a feeling of inevitable progression - it’s the progression that conveys the transcendent nature of this music. For me it is as unlikely as hearing one part of the Mass in B minor at a time.
What is the evidence that Bach didn’t intend the work to be read or heard from beginning to end? (which chillingly comes abruptly due to the composers death.)
I can easily accept that the 48 P & Fs were not intended to be heard in one sitting, or the Inventions or Sinfonias - but A of F makes far less sense heard piece by piece.
Re: " (which chillingly comes abruptly due to the composers death.)" Doesn't Wolff suggest that this was intentional, as an exercise left to the reader? That makes some sense because I think the tools are all there for the reader to do so.
Haydn House CD
2018-08-28 17:57:00 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Kart
I vote for the Beethoven Sixth.
I have one great recording (I won't say perfect, even though that's what I think) -- Monteux with the Vienna Philharmonic. Listening to to a set of Beethoven LPs I'd just purchased, Bohm with the Vienna Phil., I was dismayed, after enjoying Bohm's First, at how pedestrian his Sixth was. So I hauled out every Sixth I had around at the moment -- Bernstein, Vienna Phil., Furtwangler 1944 (Berlin} and '54 (Vienna), Jochum with the Berlin Phil., and Harnoncourt with the COE. Harnoncourt is just quirky, lots of lunging accents; Jochum is almost impossibly slow but does capture some of the vital pastoral mood/moods; both Furtwanglers edge close to the ideal but not close enough for me, both too slow for one thing, though not as slow as Jochum, and I find some of F's point-making a bit too "conductorial"; Bernstein is so fussy with dynamics that this pretty much becomes what the performance is about; Bohm, as the Brits say, is just po-faced.
And Monteux? A perfect flowing tempo for the first movement -- why doesn't anyone else capture what he does? -- and from then to the end I sit there stunned, absorbed, you name it. In particular, what a simple piece of music it seems in Monteux's hands up to a point, and then one feels (I feel) that it is in fact not simple at all.
Any other candidates for the "most difficult famous piece to get right?" Or candidates for a Sixth that surpasses Monteux's?
Larry Kart
Ditto re the Monteux / VPO recording! The Paul Kletzki / Czech Philharmonic / Beethoven 6th is very good and deserve attention. All 9 Beethoven Symphonies with Kletzki are on Supraphon CD.
Al Eisner
2018-08-28 20:14:41 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Kart
I vote for the Beethoven Sixth.
I have one great recording (I won't say perfect, even though that's what I think) -- Monteux with the Vienna Philharmonic. Listening to to a set of Beethoven LPs I'd just purchased, Bohm with the Vienna Phil., I was dismayed, after enjoying Bohm's First, at how pedestrian his Sixth was. So I hauled out every Sixth I had around at the moment -- Bernstein, Vienna Phil., Furtwangler 1944 (Berlin} and '54 (Vienna), Jochum with the Berlin Phil., and Harnoncourt with the COE. Harnoncourt is just quirky, lots of lunging accents; Jochum is almost impossibly slow but does capture some of the vital pastoral mood/moods; both Furtwanglers edge close to the ideal but not close enough for me, both too slow for one thing, though not as slow as Jochum, and I find some of F's point-making a bit too "conductorial"; Bernstein is so fussy with dynamics that this pretty much becomes what the performance is about; Bohm, as the Brits say, is just po-faced.
And Monteux? A perfect flowing tempo for the first movement -- why doesn't anyone else capture what he does? -- and from then to the end I sit there stunned, absorbed, you name it. In particular, what a simple piece of music it seems in Monteux's hands up to a point, and then one feels (I feel) that it is in fact not simple at all.
Any other candidates for the "most difficult famous piece to get right?" Or candidates for a Sixth that surpasses Monteux's?
Larry Kart
The "Pastoral" is not a work I listen to a lot, and I may well have not
heard the Monteux (I guess I should), but among what I've heard I strongly
urge you to check out Erich Kleiber. There are two performances on
Decca (Universal) re-releases; I'm pretty sure that the one with the
Concertgebouw is the greater of them (although I don't recall this
for sure).

As to difficult works, I would suggest LvB Op. 130/133: I can't recall
a performance which gets *all* of it "right" to my ears.
--
Al Eisner
g***@gmail.com
2018-09-04 04:47:58 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Kart
I vote for the Beethoven Sixth.
I have one great recording (I won't say perfect, even though that's what I think) -- Monteux with the Vienna Philharmonic. Listening to to a set of Beethoven LPs I'd just purchased, Bohm with the Vienna Phil., I was dismayed, after enjoying Bohm's First, at how pedestrian his Sixth was. So I hauled out every Sixth I had around at the moment -- Bernstein, Vienna Phil., Furtwangler 1944 (Berlin} and '54 (Vienna), Jochum with the Berlin Phil., and Harnoncourt with the COE. Harnoncourt is just quirky, lots of lunging accents; Jochum is almost impossibly slow but does capture some of the vital pastoral mood/moods; both Furtwanglers edge close to the ideal but not close enough for me, both too slow for one thing, though not as slow as Jochum, and I find some of F's point-making a bit too "conductorial"; Bernstein is so fussy with dynamics that this pretty much becomes what the performance is about; Bohm, as the Brits say, is just po-faced.
And Monteux? A perfect flowing tempo for the first movement -- why doesn't anyone else capture what he does? -- and from then to the end I sit there stunned, absorbed, you name it. In particular, what a simple piece of music it seems in Monteux's hands up to a point, and then one feels (I feel) that it is in fact not simple at all.
Any other candidates for the "most difficult famous piece to get right?" Or candidates for a Sixth that surpasses Monteux's?
Larry Kart
http://www.classical-music.com/article/10-impossible-classical-masterpieces
g***@gmail.com
2018-11-21 16:18:51 UTC
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Post by Lawrence Kart
I vote for the Beethoven Sixth.
I have one great recording (I won't say perfect, even though that's what I think) -- Monteux with the Vienna Philharmonic. Listening to to a set of Beethoven LPs I'd just purchased, Bohm with the Vienna Phil., I was dismayed, after enjoying Bohm's First, at how pedestrian his Sixth was. So I hauled out every Sixth I had around at the moment -- Bernstein, Vienna Phil., Furtwangler 1944 (Berlin} and '54 (Vienna), Jochum with the Berlin Phil., and Harnoncourt with the COE. Harnoncourt is just quirky, lots of lunging accents; Jochum is almost impossibly slow but does capture some of the vital pastoral mood/moods; both Furtwanglers edge close to the ideal but not close enough for me, both too slow for one thing, though not as slow as Jochum, and I find some of F's point-making a bit too "conductorial"; Bernstein is so fussy with dynamics that this pretty much becomes what the performance is about; Bohm, as the Brits say, is just po-faced.
And Monteux? A perfect flowing tempo for the first movement -- why doesn't anyone else capture what he does? -- and from then to the end I sit there stunned, absorbed, you name it. In particular, what a simple piece of music it seems in Monteux's hands up to a point, and then one feels (I feel) that it is in fact not simple at all.
Any other candidates for the "most difficult famous piece to get right?" Or candidates for a Sixth that surpasses Monteux's?
Larry Kart
Most difficult violin pieces:

https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/instruments/violin/hardest-pieces-for-violin/
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