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What are you listening to right now ?

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Posted on 11 Jun 2012 19:28:39 BDT
Piso, I must leave you to your enthusiasm for Freddy Kempf. I had the misfortune to hear him play the "Emperor" Concerto once, and it lost - his performance was shallow, showy and altogether gravely disappointing. He was again in town recently playing the Goldbergs, and I love that piece, but I didn't dare go for genuine fear of what he might do to them. Reviews afterwards suggest my concerns were not misplaced.

Posted on 11 Jun 2012 19:30:12 BDT
Robert Brook says:
Wagner: Tristan und Isolde - Dernesch/Vickers/Ludwig/Berry/BPO/Karajan

Posted on 11 Jun 2012 21:40:11 BDT
Malx says:
Mahler - Das Lied von der Erde - Cologne RSO, Bertini: a decent recording with Ben Heppner in good voice.
Earlier: Four Last Songs - Studer/Sinopoli, one of the very best imo.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2012 22:32:25 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Jun 2012 01:07:33 BDT
Edgar Self says:
Harry, I understand completely. There are just two recordings of the "Emperor" concerto that I can listen to, and neither is by Freddy Kempf. I also have avoided concerts with it, but the few I've seen were disappointing, including one by Michelangeli. I am a cautious optimist, and try to give young pianists the benefit of the doubt, but discretion is the better part.

I've seen the "Goldbergs" played live just once, a disaster, by Geoffrey Douglas Madge at half tempo with every repeat. It's probably still going on at Northwestern unless the piano slunk off on its own in shame. Thank God for records!

Posted on 11 Jun 2012 22:37:15 BDT
Malx says:
Piso: "It's probably still going on at the Northwestern unless the piano slunk off in shame" - priceless!

Posted on 12 Jun 2012 14:44:08 BDT
At least 18 different recordings (CD and DVD) of 'La clemenza di Tito', of course not simultaneously.

Posted on 12 Jun 2012 23:20:57 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jun 2012 02:01:41 BDT
Edgar Self says:
A new arrival from England, bought through Amazon.UK, a Naxos CD of Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony in Sibelius's "Pojhola's Daughter", an excerpt from "Swanwhite", and "Tapiola". With it is a live BBC performance of the Seventh Symphony from 1933, all in amazingly good sound. HOW do they do it? Mark Obert-Thorne's transfers are virtually without surface noise and with fantastic orchestral detail that I would not have thought possible. I last heard this "Tapiola" on 78s but always remembered it as one of the best. It compares very well with the Maazel/VPO and Beecham/RPO versions I heard recently

The last track is Grieg's "Vaaren ... "The Last Spring" ... in an orchestral transcription. It was the last side of a 78-rpm set of Vivaldi's concerto grosso No. 11 in D-minor from "L'Estro armonico" by Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony. I think it was the first thing of Vivaldi's I heard until Concert Hall's 10-inch LP of the Concerto for two trumpets. Much later I learned there was a keyboard transcription of Vivaldi's D-minor concerto grosso by Bach-Stradal-Liszt-Cortot. Brailowsky and Cortot recorded it ... Cortot for some reason omitting the fugue and substituting another iece on the last side ... and more recently by Valery Kuleshov. It's, er, engrossing.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 06:51:27 BDT
John Ruggeri says:
Evgeny Mravinsky, 1959 (Live) Scriabine, The Poem of Ecstasy (Le Počme de l'extase) op. 54
Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra -Evgeny Mravinsky, conductor
Recording Live, April 21, 1959 -Grand Hall of Moscow Conservatory.

Posted on 13 Jun 2012 21:05:36 BDT
Robert Brook says:
Trying today to get back into Sibelius' Symphonies. Hallé/Barbirolli. I really do struggle with Sibelius. Not sure why!

Posted on 14 Jun 2012 01:32:31 BDT
km.ord says:
It's because Sibelius is overrated; and bland.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2012 08:45:30 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Jun 2012 08:47:36 BDT
You and I live parallel lives Robert - at least musically. I have a set of Sibelius symphonies (Bernstein, NYPO), the Ashkenazy recordings with the Philharmonia from the 1980s of Nos. 1 and 7 as well as two different versions of many of the tone poems (which are fantastic) - Karajan and Ashkenazy in Tapiola and Karelia Suite, Karajan in the others (Finlandia, Tuonela, etc).

So an 'okay' start. Yet, I have never really been a massive devotee. I love the tone poems, sure. But I just haven't got around to listening to the symphonies in any great detail.

Currently listening to nothing. Earlier (yesterday) it was Richard Strauss: Tod und Verklarung (BPO/Karajan) and Vier Letzte Lieder (Janowitz/BPO/Karajan). One of my first vocal discs - still beautiful, but eclipsed by Norman, te Kanawa and Auger for me now.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2012 16:19:25 BDT
Edgar Self says:
Janowitz/Karajan on Richard Strauss's "Four Last Songs" is a winner, athough I like Elisabeth Schwarzkopf even more. And Lisa della Casa, who made the first commercial recording with Karl Boehm and the Vienna Philharmonic. Beautiful kettledrumstroke on the first note of "Abendrot" for a glorious sunset and afterglow. I've seen Jessye Norman sing them, soaring above the orchestra as few others do, always excepting Flagstad, but no words.

Posted on 14 Jun 2012 16:20:46 BDT
Edgar Self says:
Last night I heard Celibidache's Bruckner Fourth straight throgh for the first time but disliked it so much that I resorted to Tintner and Scottish Nationals to wash the bad taste out. That does it for me. Celi's Fourth and Sixth are consigned to the dog pile.

Posted on 14 Jun 2012 17:10:46 BDT
[Mind boggles at the thought of Piso sitting in audience seeing La Norman soar above orchestra....]

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2012 18:37:56 BDT
Edgar Self says:
It was an awesome sight, Harry, and put great strain upon the stage cables. Also, she had to be brought on through a (fortunately) double rear stage-door used for kettledrums.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2012 21:24:10 BDT
John Ruggeri says:
Karel Ančerl, 1958 - Dvořák, Symphony No. 9 in E Minor "From the New World", Op. 95 [COMPLETE]
Wiener Symphoniker -- Recorded, 1958.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2012 23:20:53 BDT
Roasted Swan says:
Km - if Sibelius is bland which composer(s) are not? How do you define bland?

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jun 2012 03:48:47 BDT
John Ruggeri says:
Piso Mojado says:

It was an awesome sight, Harry, and put great strain upon the stage cables. Also, she had to be brought on through a (fortunately) double rear stage-door used for kettledrums.

Wow but MAMMA MIA but the great Lina Pagliughi was so encumbered by bodily decibels that she
had to sing an entire performance of "The Queen of the Night" SITTING in a chair.

I saw Jesse Norman twice in concert and was happily impressed by her voice and singing and she was at least able to stand up for the entirety of both concerts .

Cheers- Giovanni

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jun 2012 16:03:05 BDT
Edgar Self says:
John Ruggeri -- some other wide-bodied singers: the legendary Nina Koshetz also barely cleared a double door. She was pointed out to me at Jascha Heifetz's concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Wallenstein, with many from the movie colony in attendance, including Albert Bassermann and Orson Welles, no sylph himself, with his svelte new Italian wife.

Jane Eaglen could stand for just a few minutes before collapsing onto Tristan's death-bed, almost bouncing him onto the floor. I won't even mention Schumann-Heink or Tetrazini.

Beecham said Lina Pagliughi looked like a tea-cosy.

Posted on 15 Jun 2012 16:09:20 BDT
Lez Lee says:
Off topic:
It is said that a person with no sense of humour is one who can go into a room where there's a tea-cosy and not try it on.
Max Beerbohm said Holbein's Henry VIII looked like a hot-water-bottle cover.

Posted on 15 Jun 2012 16:10:24 BDT
Edgar Self says:
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli playing Beethoven's Op. 111 live in Bregenz in 1988, his 68th year. Some slight rhythmic instability unusual for him. Impassioned primo, eerie Arietta.

Eerie Arietta would make a nice song in French.

Posted on 15 Jun 2012 19:01:21 BDT
camstrings says:
Karajan's last Tchaikovsky 4th with VPO. The brass is so far forward in the finale, it's almost comical! Still love it though.
Mahler 1 with Mehta & NYPO. Less intense than most versions, but this symphony can take many approaches and still emerge triumphant.

Posted on 15 Jun 2012 22:19:19 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Jun 2012 22:19:54 BDT
Robert Brook says:
Ryan: I totally agree. The tone poems are superb. I may come back to the symphonies again later.

A lot of driving over the last 2 days has allowed more listening with only a rumble of tyre noise:

Mahler: Symphony No. 5/Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen/Des Knaben Wunderhorn - Saraste/Allen/Murray etc. (Picked up for a ridiculous price after seeing someone's recommendation here.)
Beethoven: Symphony No.9 Domingo/Milnes/Boston SO/Leinsdorf (still sampling the box set and struggling, although this is the best of the 9)

Then an urge to listen to 1980's Karajan recordings meant:

Bruckner: Symphony No.7 VPO
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.6 VPO
Beethoven: Symphony Nos.6 & 7 BPO

All very enjoyable.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jun 2012 22:52:43 BDT
Last edited by the author on 16 Jun 2012 03:10:37 BDT
John Ruggeri says:
Piso Mojado says:
Beecham said Lina Pagliughi looked like a tea-cosy.

STB was understating things as I think Lina resembeld a restaurant Coffee Urn
Music stuff:

But could Lina sing !!!!!

Lina Pagliughi - Bel raggio lusinghier - Semiramide Rossini
The 2 High E's, among other things, are stunning. I love the crystalline beauty of her voice and sensitive phrasing.


Posted on 16 Jun 2012 08:45:38 BDT
Malx says:
Robert: I'm interested in what you think of the Saraste Mahler. It was obviously a great bargain but what did you think of the performances?

Currently: Sibelius, Symphony No5 - Lahti SO Vanska.
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