Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 48

Thread: Historical recordings

  1. #1
    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Samobor, Croatia
    Posts
    705
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Historical recordings

    Do you like or even prefer historical recordings to newer ones?

    I enjoy hearing a famous soloist or conductor performing, makes me feel like I'm travelling through time.

    However, the thing is that the sound is never very good on such recordings, at least in my personal experience. Because of the quite different recording techniques, the orchestra sounds somewhat strange, for example the strings, the sound of which feels as though I'm watching an old movie such is 'Gone With The Wind' or something. You know, revial and too screaming.
    ''Oh, the String Quartet - oh, the Divine Scratching!''

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    26
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    With historical recordings, I also feel that I'm traveling back in time. And the ancient sound just magnifies the effect. Solo recordings are the easiest to accept for the sound, but I don't tend to have any problem with orchestral recordings either.

    Just yesterday I was listening to Giesking's Kreisleriana; it's fantastic. Giesking is a wild man in conveying Schumann's alter-ego Florestan, and Eusebius receives highly lyrical and poignant treatments. When the two get together (as in the interludes), Giesking gives both their full measure. It would be a shame for anyone to reject this performance because of less than sterling sonics.

  3. #3
    Mango
    Guest

    Default

    Nothing puts me off music more than record hiss, clicks, and a lot of audience noise. It is possible to get rid of it up to a point with suitable audio filtering, but the finished product sounds dull and lacking in treble. For piano solo works I would normally prefer a more modern recording and suffer a slight loss in virtuosity compared with the likes of Schnabel and Giesking. Rather than go completely modern, often a good compromise is use of other outstanding pianists like Richter, Horowitz and Rubinstein whose recordings are generally a lot better technically because they are more modern. For full orchestral pieces, I agree with the first poster that the really old material of 60-70 years ago can sound pretty awful. I'm thinking of a lot of Toscanini, for example. I have a Beethoven symphony set by Toscanini and the sound is kind of strange with a distorted mid-range and poor bass, just like an old movie theme. I used to be able to tolerate this kind of sound out of respect for the old conducting master, but I can't do so any more as I find the sound so tiring. Some later orchestral material by other conductors from the 1960's (when stereo came in) onwards has been improved substantially, for example the Klemperer recordings of Beethoven symphonies were mastered in the 1990s to a very high quality level. More generally, I am quite happy to migrate to recent renditions of various works as I believe quality levels are steadily improving across the piece. I find by far the best source of information on good recordings to be the BBC Radio 3 broadcasts in the morning periods when recorded material only is played. The very high quality of their commentary leaves most message board chat looking very simple and naive. I seldom trust reviews by unknown contributors on internet sales platforms, as one tends to get idiosyncratic viewpoints.
    Last edited by Mango; May-18-2007 at 06:02.

  4. #4
    Junior Member Kesiak's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kosice, Slovakia
    Posts
    15
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I love historical recordings. As mentioned Richter, Rubinstein... but also Heifetz is putting me to another world. I can excuse poorer sound quality if the perfomance is exceptional, but for example Toscanini's Beethoven cycle from 1939 with NBC Symphony orchestra suffers too much from bad sound quality, although the performances are brilliant.
    When talking about Liszt, I like his piano concertos played by Richter (Kondrashin, London symphony orchestra), where the poorer sonic is just nothing to performance quality.
    Truly there would be reason to go mad were it not for music.
    Tchaikovsky

  5. #5
    Senior Member Frasier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    415
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    When interested in particular performers, one doesn't have much choice. Fond of Bel Canto, I love voices like Tetrazzini, Marchesi, Nezhdanova, Sobinov, Caruso, etc. Thankfully, minds have been put to restoring these with some success. A case of better to have them in an imperfect state than not at all.

    In the semi-modern orchestra sphere I've found myself more engaged by interpreters who actually knew the composers. Beecham with Delius; Barbirolli with Bax and Vaughan Williams, Boult with numerous British composers. And a similar list from America. They often do better than the composers themselves. However, this doesn't mean that more recent recorded performances are inferior, just a preference if it's there.

  6. Likes Figleaf liked this post
  7. #6
    Senior Member Mark Harwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Isle of Arran, Scotland.
    Posts
    284
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I listen to a lot of old (pre-WW2) jazz, and, like Don, I find the quaint sound quality to be part of the experience, and it doesn't annoy me.
    On the other hand, old (1940s) Segovia solo recordings sound harsh and lack warmth, and I don't listen to them as much as more modern recordings of the solo classical guitar.
    "Music is a social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is."
    - Malcolm Arnold.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Keemun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    130
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I'm growing to like some historic recordings. I like listening to the virtuoso violinists and pianists of the the past, and historic recordings are the only way to do so.

    I generally don't care for historic recordings of symphonies (or other non-soloist orchestral pieces) because I don't find that the performance/interpretation compensates for the poor sound quality. An exception is Furtwangler's (in)famous 1951 performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony at Bayreuth. Perhaps in time I will find other remarkable historic performances, but for now I try to stick to recordings from the 1960s onward.

    Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.
    - Ludwig van Beethoven

  9. #8
    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Samobor, Croatia
    Posts
    705
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Speaking of sound quality, would you reccomend me to buy an EMI records CD with Elgar himself conducting the Enigma Variations and the Violin Concerto with Menuhin as soloist?

    If I remember well from the cover (I saw the disk in a shop), it's from 1932.
    ''Oh, the String Quartet - oh, the Divine Scratching!''

  10. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    26
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mango View Post
    Nothing puts me off music more than record hiss, clicks, and a lot of audience noise. It is possible to get rid of it up to a point with suitable audio filtering, but the finished product sounds dull and lacking in treble. For piano solo works I would normally prefer a more modern recording and suffer a slight loss in virtuosity compared with the likes of Schnabel and Giesking.

    Virtuosity in itself has little appeal to me. What I love about many historical piano recordings is the greater emotional intensity, general tension and freedom of expression.

  11. Likes Figleaf liked this post
  12. #10
    Member Azathoth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    54
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Old recordings can be nice, but it seems that a lot of the time the sound quality either sucked in the first place or was lost as the recording medium deteriorated.

    If you lose half the notes, what's the point in listening?

    It seems like I might not understand what is meant by historical recordings, but I do, I just have a problem with insomnia.
    Last edited by Azathoth; May-19-2007 at 07:20. Reason: Beethoven made me do it.
    Weep not for little Leonie,
    Abducted by a French marquis!
    Though loss of honor was a wrench
    Just think how it's improved her French.

  13. #11
    Banned
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Córdoba. Argentina
    Posts
    946
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    For piano solo works I would normally prefer a more modern recording and suffer a slight loss in virtuosity compared with the likes of Schnabel and Giesking.
    I wish it was only virtuosity what was lost in the process... most of them were more into (please don't laugh at me for saying this) poetry.
    There are lots of pianists with solid technique nowadays, the can play really fast without missing a single note. And that's more that we can say about Alfred Cortot, just to name one. But his interpretations sound as natural as breathing, and poetical too. You will find lots of details on expression that many living pianists this days will ignore.

    I prefer the old recordings: Hoffman, Friedman, Cortot, Backhaus, Schnabel, Carreño et al.

    The same happens with violinists. The lyricism Kreisler and Heifetz had can not be surpassed by anyone. (Perhaps Sammons, but as we know, he was the english Kreisler ).

  14. Likes Figleaf liked this post
  15. #12
    Member cato's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Severance Hall
    Posts
    76
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Lisztfreak is right on about loving historical recordings!

    Yes, in some cases, I do prefer them over them over modern ones.

    And yes, I do feel as if I am being transported back in time when I listen to them.

    However, I have to disagree with Lisztfreak about the sound.

    I urge Lisztfreak and everyone to check out the recordings of the Cleveland Orchestra with George Szell conducting, that were recorded back in the 1950's and 1960's.

    Sony classical has cleaned up these recordings, so that the sound is even better, clearer then some modern recordings. No pops, no hisses, no scrtaches, just clean pure sound of the Cleveland Orchestra. And to top that off, all of the Sony Classical Cleveland Orchestra recordings with George Szell, are budget CD's, which cost around $10.00 (US) per CD. So you get a great sound in a historical recording, at a great price. (I collect Cleveland Orchestra recordings, both modern, and historical.)

    Almost all these recordings were recorded at Severance Hall in Cleveland, Ohio from around 1956 to 1969.

    I have been to Severance Hall many, many times, and the sound of that concert hall is excelent!

    They are the best historical recordings that I know of.
    Last edited by cato; May-20-2007 at 16:50.
    Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio.
    Home of The Cleveland Orchestra

  16. #13
    Banned
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Córdoba. Argentina
    Posts
    946
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I urge Lisztfreak and everyone to check out the recordings of the Cleveland Orchestra with George Szell conducting, that were recorded back in the 1950's and 1960's.
    Yep. But if you go back to more historical recordings, the sound can be really awful. Like in Sarasate acoustic's, or that japanese Mahler 4rd from the thirties (which happens to be the first complete recording of a Mahler symphony, I think).

  17. #14
    Senior Member opus67's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Madras/Chennai, India
    Posts
    1,538
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisztfreak View Post
    Speaking of sound quality, would you reccomend me to buy an EMI records CD with Elgar himself conducting the Enigma Variations and the Violin Concerto with Menuhin as soloist?

    If I remember well from the cover (I saw the disk in a shop), it's from 1932.
    JUST FYI

    I recently purchased an EMI CD with a few solo/duo pieces with Casals on the cello; I think it has been my worst purchase till now, based entirely on sound quality alone and nothing else. I don't think I can blame anyone, since those were recorded in 1930 and '38. Even the Menuhin-Furtwangler Mendelssohn concerto is somewhat bad, and that was from the early 50's. But if you ever want to know how Britten performed on the stage, then I think there is no other option than to get those old mono CDs.
    Last edited by opus67; May-20-2007 at 20:00.
    Regards,
    Navneeth

    Want a piece of classical music identified? Post a link or upload a clip here. Someone might have an answer.


    A quick and gentle introduction to audio formats and compression

    2009: It's the International Year of Astronomy
    http://www.astronomy2009.org/

  18. #15
    Mango
    Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by opus67 View Post

    I recently purchased an EMI CD with a few solo/duo pieces with Casals on the cello; I think it has been my worst purchase till now, based entirely on sound quality alone and nothing else. I)

    Never mind the lousy quality, feel the "poetry".

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 0
    Last Post: May-02-2006, 19:51

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •