View Poll Results: Karajan - Hero or Hype?

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Thread: Karajan - Hero or Hype?

  1. #121
    Andante
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    It was my understanding that Handel intended the Messiah for a small vocal and instrument ensemble , It was only after his death that it was re written for larger orchestras and choirs, I think WAM had a go at a grand and massive arrangement but I don’t know the details. IMO it is a marvelous work and the best of his oratorios.

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    ^^There were several versions done by Handel himself, I said 6 before, but I think a new one for male voices only has been unearthed recently (& done on Naxos label).

    It's a bit like Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610, it can be performed in different ways, with different numbers of musicians. It's flexible.

    But I agree with what you said earlier, the gist of it. I would not be interested in von Karajan's "take" on this work, had or had he not recorded it...

  3. #123
    Senior Member Xaltotun's Avatar
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    I have no qualms calling him a HERO. He isn't the best conductor for all composers, but for the ones for whom he is good, he is HEROICLY GOOD.
    Wäre das Faktum wahr, – wäre der außerordentliche Fall wirklich eingetreten, daß die politische Gesetzgebung der Vernunft übertragen, der Mensch als Selbstzweck respektiert und behandelt, das Gesetz auf den Thron erhoben, und wahre Freiheit zur Grundlage des Staatsgebäudes gemacht worden, so wollte ich auf ewig von den Musen Abschied nehmen, und dem herrlichsten aller Kunstwerke, der Monarchie der Vernunft, alle meine Thätigkeit widmen.

  4. #124
    Senior Member Lukecash12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarpsichordConcerto View Post
    A great conductor but not "hero" nor "hype" to me. Anycase, he was one who many would have spent much time listening to at least when first getting into classical music, or so that appears with folks whom I know in the real world. Although I don't have that much of Karajan CDs, I admit my first exposure to some of the big name symphonies were under his baton. I recall listening to Mozart's #39 over and over under him (until I discovered period instrument interpretations by Christopher Hogwood that put Karajan aside for that piece). A grand maestro from the 20th century German conducting school? Fair description or flawed one? He is certainly in the history books for respect.
    We should start calling you Hogwood... Looking back at this thread, I think now about how my interests in Classical and Romance period music, along with those Romantic conductors from the early 20th century, have waned quite a bit. And it's not because they aren't sensational, it's precisely because they are so sensational.

    My favorite periods in philosophy are the Enlightenment, and then the 20th century. So, it makes sense to me that I would prefer Serialism and the Baroque over some overly sensational performance by one of the "old greats". Their performances aren't as attractive to me from the standpoint of musicology any more, and I'd rather dabble in the hard intellect of the Enlightenment or something intellectually provocative like Scriabin's theosophy, as opposed to this touchy stuff in between.
    There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.
    Nahj ul-Balāgha by Ali bin Abu-Talib

  5. #125
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    One of the Karajan quarks that has bothered me over and over against is his preference for strings over everything else, oftentimes to the detriment to the music.



    When one first approaches a Karajan recording one notices that the phrases are delicately strung together, and that the strings are very beautiful, that there is a smoothness that you don't hear in mother recordings. Even when he has a great orchestra at his command, he avoids cacophony at all costs, and tries to make the music un-cacaphonous unless the music is so cacaphonous it would be unthinkable not to.



    Where the strings reign, Karajan is King, but strings don't always reign. Karajan's recordings often times receives tremendously high ratings from Amazon, and if Amazon reviews are representative, and I don't know any other mass social indicator, than it is my opinion that Karajan is one of the most overhyped maestros of all time.



    The most accurate praise I could give to Karajan is that his music, most of the time, sounds the best when you're not paying that much attention, and sacrifices, many, too many times, drama for beauty, and that beauty is oftentimes a homophonic beauty, the luscious strings working in unison, the cri de coeur of the a solo brass, etc. Above all, there never must be any obtrusive sound, everything is streamlined and together in a perfect sphere.



    Initially I had dismissed his “bad reputation” among certain critics as just politics, but the more I listen the more I find the stereotype to be accurate.



    A reviewer, in a four star review of Solti’s Ring, one said that there will always be “Karajan’s box of chocolates”.




    I know this opinion is an unpopular one, so I'll support it with some of the most egregious examples.



    Schwules Gedunst - Das Rheingold - This time, he suppresses the strings and the harmony of the strings, the main melody, is all but lost.



    Die Walkure – Prelude to Act II – His version is spicier than Solti’s, but if you listen closely you find that the second brass line, which supports the same melodies as the strings around the 47 second mark, almost disappears!



    Siegfried's Rhein Journey – Gotterdammerung – The brass has been demoted to woodwinds.



    Zuruck vom Ring! – Gotterdammerng – It sounds like the orchestra is in a tunnel. Even his fans acknowledge that there’s something major missing here.



    Siegfried Idyll - (year - 198X) – Cheesecake drowned in chocolate sauce and syrup.



    Transformation Music Act I - Parsifal - The brass is barely audible when there are strings. The strings are luscious, but where's the brass? Muffled, almost silent.

    Tristan und Isolde – Prelude to Act III – The strings are toothless, there’s but an apparition.



    Transformation Music Act III – Parsifal – Knappertsbusch ’62 – A. Kubelik – B+. Solti – B. Karajan – C+.



    Tristan und Isolde - Mild und leise – There’s barely a grimace here. Of course one can’t blame Karajan, he didn’t have Nilsson and didn’t want to overpower his singer, but where’s the timpani at “Heller schallend”?



    There’s no need to speak of his forays into Baroque.



    I will not say that his method is not sometimes without greats success. His Mahler’s 6th and 9th are for the ages; he wields in the unwieldy while maintaining vision and drive; better than Bernstein.



    Oftentimes he records music that the other really great maestros ignore (he is quite industrious, that is one of his salient virtues), and he simply sweeps the competition, which is second rate. Sibelius is such an example. He's competing again, who? Colin Davis, Ashkenazy? Lorin Maazel? Also, Sibelius' emphasis on strings here is to Karajan's advantage. Who has recorded Honegger’s second and third symphony with a world class orchestra besides Karajan? Who else recorded Adam’s Giselle?



    I enjoy his Tchaikovsky ballet recordings, but again, the competition is paltry. His recordings of Brahms' violin concerto with Mutter tops my list, but most of the credit goes to the soloist.



    His Stravinsky is laughably bad. With Stravinsky, Ravel, and Debussy, and Bartok Boulez is decidedly superior. Where the field is tough, his works are often grotesquely overrated, and I feel that people who proclaim many of his recordings to be the best of work X 1. either hasn’t listened to enough recordings or 2. hasn’t listened carefully enough or 3. really loves luscious strings I guess.



    Parsifal - Knappertsbusch, Solti, Kubelik, all beat him by a mile, yet his Parsifal is the highest rated Parsifal on Amazon!



    His recordings of Aida and Otello are my first choice, but all the credit goes towards 1. the soloists 2. the studio (Decca) 3. the orchestra. I’m not sure how it would be any different if Solti, Jochum, or even Abbado.



    He was one of the greatest maestro of his generation, no doubt about that, miles ahead most of the stars alive today (I would consider only Boulez and perhaps Gardiner in his league, although Mehta is still alive), but to put him next to Knappertsbusch or Furtwangler is plain silly, and the constant disparagement of Solti by his fanboys is sickening.



    Of course, this machine isn’t without its successes. It works quite well for Sibelius, is decent for Brahms (I prefer Jochum’s, but no matter), and works OK with Mozart and Bruckner, but there are too many mistakes that are unforgivable, considering that he had the Berliners and that they were studio recordings. I’ve yet to listen to enough recordings of Strauss’ tone poems to make a decision.



    Karajan’s conducting has many virtues, and those virtues are so toweringly self-evident (indeed, I suspect his strongest detractors are those who were initially smitten but felt deceived after the honeymoon period was over) that they often times occlude his flaws from view. In the final analysis, in the rough survey of the aggregate appraisal of Karajan, he is decidedly overrated and overhyped.



    Some of my favorite Karajan recordings are the earlier stereo recordings; the DECCA Legendary Recordings 9CD set is excellent, made in the late 50s. He was already smooth then, but nothing like his recordings in the 80s.



    Of course, that doesn’t detract him our apprecation of him. Anything can be overhyped, Harold Bloom proved that with Shakespeare.

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  7. #126
    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    BRIANWALKER.
    Some people might call much of what you have said nonsense--but of course I'm far too polite to do that .You started off so well describing exactly the problem with the Karajan sound. But then you disappear off into the land of the fairies.
    Sibelius. Sir Colin Davis' Sibelius has been highly acclaimed. The following were or are better Sibelius exponents and their recordings are available. Barbirolli, Paavo Berglund, Beecham, Stokowski, Neeme Jarvi, Horenstein,Dorati Szell's 2nd symphony with the Concertgebouw is the best I've ever heard.( Not available but I'm sure soon will be).
    Violin concerto, a number of versions by Ida Haendel--magnificent,Ivry Gitlis, Ginette Niveau, David Oisrakh,Heifetz and a number more.
    Tchaikovsky. your comments here are probably the most amusing. Antal Dorati and Ernest Ansermet were both directors of Diaghilev's Ballet Russe and their recordings have set the standard for a long time
    Adam "Giselle". Richard Bonynge and the Covent Garden Orchestra have done a very fine version.

  8. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by moody View Post
    BRIANWALKER.
    Some people might call much of what you have said nonsense--but of course I'm far too polite to do that .You started off so well describing exactly the problem with the Karajan sound. But then you disappear off into the land of the fairies.
    Sibelius. Sir Colin Davis' Sibelius has been highly acclaimed. The following were or are better Sibelius exponents and their recordings are available. Barbirolli, Paavo Berglund, Beecham, Stokowski, Neeme Jarvi, Horenstein,Dorati Szell's 2nd symphony with the Concertgebouw is the best I've ever heard.( Not available but I'm sure soon will be).
    Violin concerto, a number of versions by Ida Haendel--magnificent,Ivry Gitlis, Ginette Niveau, David Oisrakh,Heifetz and a number more.
    Tchaikovsky. your comments here are probably the most amusing. Antal Dorati and Ernest Ansermet were both directors of Diaghilev's Ballet Russe and their recordings have set the standard for a long time
    Adam "Giselle". Richard Bonynge and the Covent Garden Orchestra have done a very fine version.
    I stand corrected with regards to the facts that you have mentioned in your post.

  9. #128
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    The quirky balances you cite may in fact be more the fault of the engineering than the conductor, or possibly even your equipment . I don't recall Karajan ever suppressing the magnificent Berlin brass on recordings;
    they just never produce an ugly or strident sound, unlike some other orchestras, for example, the NY Phil. brass under Bernstein,Mitropoulos , or the NBC symphony brass, which could sound downright crude under Toscanini, especially the appallingly coarse trumpets. The brass in Russian orchestras tend to be rather raucous,too, but it's appropriate in Russian music .
    If any one was guilty of excessive smoothness, it was Ormandy. The Philadelphia orchestra under him also had incredibly lush strings, but Ormandy tended to turn the orchestral texture into a kind of bland,homogenized goo. Karajan could in fact be very incisive at times, when the music called for it.
    But his BPO always had a kind of magnificent dark, woody, pungent sound. The Berlin woodwind under him were
    delightfully pungent, while the Philly woodwinds were bland and oily . The Philly brass were very good players technically, but comparitively thin-sounding compared tot he dark, weighty Berlin brass.

  10. #129
    Senior Member jalex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianwalker View Post
    He was one of the greatest maestro of his generation, no doubt about that, miles ahead most of the stars alive today (I would consider only Boulez and perhaps Gardiner in his league, although Mehta is still alive), but to put him next to Knappertsbusch or Furtwangler is plain silly, and the constant disparagement of Solti by his fanboys is sickening.
    This attitude sounds a lot like what Hurwitz calls 'historicism': "These people believe that standards of interpretation have steadily declined since some mythical "golden age," generally represented by dreadful sounding mono radio broadcasts, remastered 78s, and pirate "live" recordings given by dead conductors of varying greatness, from (at the top) Toscanini and Furtwängler, to (in the middle) Walter and Mengelberg, to (at the bottom) anyone alive and in front of a microphone in the days before the LP...". What's wrong with today's conductors? What made the oldies so great?
    Last edited by jalex; Feb-16-2012 at 20:17.

  11. #130
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    Brianwalker- One of the Karajan quarks that has bothered me over and over against is his preference for strings over everything else, oftentimes to the detriment to the music.

    When one first approaches a Karajan recording one notices that the phrases are delicately strung together, and that the strings are very beautiful, that there is a smoothness that you don't hear in mother recordings. Even when he has a great orchestra at his command, he avoids cacophony at all costs, and tries to make the music un-cacaphonous unless the music is so cacaphonous it would be unthinkable not to.

    Where the strings reign, Karajan is King, but strings don't always reign.


    superhorn- I don't recall Karajan ever suppressing the magnificent Berlin brass on recordings;
    they just never produce an ugly or strident sound, unlike some other orchestras, for example, the NY Phil. brass under Bernstein,Mitropoulos , or the NBC symphony brass, which could sound downright crude under Toscanini, especially the appallingly coarse trumpets. The brass in Russian orchestras tend to be rather raucous,too, but it's appropriate in Russian music .
    If any one was guilty of excessive smoothness, it was Ormandy. The Philadelphia orchestra under him also had incredibly lush strings, but Ormandy tended to turn the orchestral texture into a kind of bland,homogenized goo. Karajan could in fact be very incisive at times, when the music called for it.
    But his BPO always had a kind of magnificent dark, woody, pungent sound. The Berlin woodwind under him were
    delightfully pungent, while the Philly woodwinds were bland and oily . The Philly brass were very good players technically, but comparitively thin-sounding compared tot he dark, weighty Berlin brass.


    I must agree with superhorm. I have never noticed the supression of the brass in Karajan. This is certainly not so of his marvelous account of Shostkovitch' 10th (to name but a single obvious example). I also agree that different conductors and different orchestras are known for different sounds. Solti and the Chicago are known for their explosive brass. Szell with Clevelend were known for strings and woodwinds. Every performance of a work of music by a conductor and orchestra is an interpretation. Some are better than others. To suggest that your own personal preferences trumps the reputation garnered via endless other informed listeners is pretension in the extreme.

    I feel that people who proclaim many of his recordings to be the best of work X 1. either hasn’t listened to enough recordings or 2. hasn’t listened carefully enough or 3. really loves luscious strings I guess.

    So those who admire Karajan as a conductor simply haven't listened to enough recordings... or haven't listened closely enough... at least tey haven't listened to as much music as closely or a well as yourself. Of course this begs us to ask the question just who are you and what are your credentials that should lead us to consider your opinion over those who actually do like Karajan? According to the BBC Magazine poll of today's leading conductors, Karajan came in 4th among the conductors they most admire of all time:

    BBC Music Magazine's 20 greatest conductors of all time are:

    1. Carlos Kleiber (1930-2004) Austrian
    2. Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) American
    3. Claudio Abbado (b1933) Italian
    4. Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989) Austrian
    5. Nikolaus Harnoncourt (b1929) Austrian
    6. Sir Simon Rattle (b 1955) British
    7. Wilhelm Furtwängler (1896-1954)
    8. Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957) Italian
    9. Pierre Boulez (b1925) French
    10. Carlo Maria Giulini (1914-2005) Italian
    11. Sir John Eliot Gardiner (b1943) British
    12. Sir John Barbirolli (1899-1970) British
    13. Terenc Fricsay (1914-1963) Hungarian
    14. George Szell (1897-1970) Hungarian
    15. Bernard Haitink (b1929) Dutch
    16. Pierre Monteux (1875-1964) French
    17. Yevgeny Mravinsky (1903-1988) Russian
    18. Sir Colin Davis (b1927) British
    19. Sir Thomas Beecham (1879-1961) British
    20. Sir Charles Mackerras (1925-2010) Australian


    But perhaps Brianwalker presumes that he has listened to more music and in greater depth than the whole of this body of conductors. Lest one presume this poll was but a fluke one might Google "greatest conductors" and browse any number of results. Karajan regularly places among the top ten. Now there is no reason to follow the opinions of the "pack"... but with regard to the BBC poll, every member of this "pack" is quite likely more knowledgeable and experienced with regard to music than any one of us here.

    Certainly we might all have personal preferences and dislike specific performers in spite of their merits. But when we disagree with the vast majority of those who are well informed music lovers perhaps we shouldn't be so quick to try and prove that our personal opinion is something akin to objective fact. The reality is that it proves rather something of the reverse... that the individual is somewhat whacked. I'm admittedly not overly fond of Joan Sutherland... in spite of my love of opera. I fully recognize her abilities as a singer and recognize that she has few peers... but quite often... especially in her later recordings... there is something about her voice that just irritates me. In spite of this I'm not about to attempt to convince others that Joan Sutherland was grossly flawed or that she paled before Maria Callas or Elizabeth Schwarzkopf.


    Oftentimes he records music that the other really great maestros ignore (he is quite industrious, that is one of his salient virtues), and he simply sweeps the competition, which is second rate. Sibelius is such an example. He's competing again, who? Colin Davis, Ashkenazy? Lorin Maazel? Also, Sibelius' emphasis on strings here is to Karajan's advantage. Who has recorded Honegger’s second and third symphony with a world class orchestra besides Karajan? Who else recorded Adam’s Giselle?

    This is lovely attempt to damn through faint praise... but how true is this assertion? I seem to recall that Karajan's 1963 Beethoven cycle is almost universally recognized as being among the finest. So Beethoven's symphonies are an obscure repertoire lacking in alternative recordings of any merit? What of his Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Schubert? Tchaikovsky? Certainly there are alternatives of equal merit. My favorite Brahms are Gardiner and Walter, and Kleiber's 4th... but Karajan's cycle is certainly among the finest. I might turn more frequently to Wand, Jochum, or Celibidache for Bruckner... but again Karajan's efforts are among the finest... especially his magnificent 7th and the great 8th with the Vienna Philharmonic. The reality is that in most instances it comes down to personal taste as to whether an individual prefers conductor X or conductor Y for a given work when both conductors work at such a consistent high level of achievement.

    But then there's Wagner... whom you would have us believe was completely marred by Karajan. I suspect that most any Wagnerian recognizes that there is no "perfect" recording of the Ring. Generally there are about 6 or so recordings that are recognized as being among the finest: Joseph Keilberth, Clemens Krauss, Hans Knappertsbusch, George Solti, Herbert von Karajan, and Karl Bohm. All have strengths and weaknesses. Solti has been faulted as excessively bombastic, Keilberth, Krauss, and Knappertsbusch are limited by the recording technology of the time... but are generally acknowledged as having the greatest singers at the height of the abilities at their disposal. Karajan's interpretation has been called a "chamber music" interpretation... stripped down or down-played. His Tristan und Isolde and Parsifal are even more commonly recognized as being among the first choices for these operas. One may prefer Furtwangler's Tristan or Knappertsbusch' Parsifal... but there is no way to prove these are objectively the greater performances.

    And then there's Richard Strauss. Is there any real alternative that has surpassed Karajan's recordings of the tone poems, the Alpine Symphonie, Der Rosenkavalier, Ariadne auf Naxos, Die Frau Ohne Schatten, etc...?

    This brings us to the category of opera as a whole where Karajan truly excelled:













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    Are these all the greatest recordings of the given work without question? Certainly not. No work of music worthy of recognition as a "masterpiece" can be thought to have been fully realized in any single interpretation... no matter how fine. Even Kleiber's magnificent recording of Beethoven's 5th has alternatives that offer something different. I think especailly of Gardiner's muscular HIP recording.

    Is Karajan over-rated? If he were presented as the unrivaled maestro, then certainly yes. If, as is the fact, he were seen as one of many great conductors including Kleiber, Solti, Furtwangler, Boult, Barbirolli, Bernstein, Boulez, Bohm, Knappertsbusch, Keilberth, etc.. etc... then certainly not.

  13. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by superhorn View Post
    The quirky balances you cite may in fact be more the fault of the engineering than the conductor, or possibly even your equipment . I don't recall Karajan ever suppressing the magnificent Berlin brass on recordings;
    they just never produce an ugly or strident sound, unlike some other orchestras, for example, the NY Phil. brass under Bernstein,Mitropoulos , or the NBC symphony brass, which could sound downright crude under Toscanini, especially the appallingly coarse trumpets. The brass in Russian orchestras tend to be rather raucous,too, but it's appropriate in Russian music .
    If any one was guilty of excessive smoothness, it was Ormandy. The Philadelphia orchestra under him also had incredibly lush strings, but Ormandy tended to turn the orchestral texture into a kind of bland,homogenized goo. Karajan could in fact be very incisive at times, when the music called for it.
    But his BPO always had a kind of magnificent dark, woody, pungent sound. The Berlin woodwind under him were
    delightfully pungent, while the Philly woodwinds were bland and oily . The Philly brass were very good players technically, but comparitively thin-sounding compared tot he dark, weighty Berlin brass.
    I tend to agree in general.

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    This attitude sounds a lot like what Hurwitz calls 'historicism': "These people believe that standards of interpretation have steadily declined since some mythical "golden age," generally represented by dreadful sounding mono radio broadcasts, remastered 78s, and pirate "live" recordings given by dead conductors of varying greatness, from (at the top) Toscanini and Furtwängler, to (in the middle) Walter and Mengelberg, to (at the bottom) anyone alive and in front of a microphone in the days before the LP...". What's wrong with today's conductors? What made the oldies so great?

    The answer to this is that either you can recognize a truly brilliant performance of a work of music... or you can't. The ability to recognize that there is something special about Glenn Gould's recording of the Goldberg Variations, Rostropovitch and Fournier's recordings of Bach's cello suites, Szeryng's recordings of Bach's partitas and sonatas, Rubinstein's performance of Chopin's Nocturnes, Maria Callas' Tosca etc... has nothing to do with historicism. It has everything to do with the ability to recognize a recording and a performance that is truly special.

    Contrary to Brianwalker's presumption of a steady decline in the performance and recording of classical music, there are brilliant performances and recordings being made today. John Eliot Gardiner is surely one of the leading conductors of our time. A good deal of the Baroque and earlier repertoire has never had finer performances than among recent performers and conductors: John Eliot Gardiner with the English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir, Ton Koopman, Philippe Herreweghe, Masaaki Suzuki, Emmanuelle Haïm, Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Jordi Savall, William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, Angela Hewitt, Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre, Veronique Gens, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, etc... I suspect that much of the finest work with regard to classical music recording is being undertaken within those areas long-ignored for the simple reason that one has to ask how many new recordings of Beethoven's symphonies do we need that really offer nothing new when we already have Karajan's, Bernstein's, Krip's etc...?

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    FWIW, I currently have 22 HvK recordings, and I don't see that changing much. I've listened to most of his recordings (even Wagner), and have settled in.

    The way I see it, "hero or hype" only matters to historians. I'm a listener.


    DG 457 861/2-2
    Beethoven Violin Concerto w. Mutter: 1980 BPO
    Beethoven Triple Concerto w. Mutter, Zeltser, Ma: 1980 BPO

    DG 477 7157
    Beethoven Symphony No. 3: 1963 BPO
    Beethoven Symphony No. 4: 1963 BPO

    DG 453 040-2
    Mahler Symphony No. 9: 1979-80 B.P.O.
    Mahler Lieder

    DG 477 7159
    Brahms Symphony No. 2 :1963 B.P.O.
    Brahms Symphony No. 3 :1963 B.P.O.

    DG 423 205-2
    Brahms Symphony No. 4: 1963 B.P.O.
    Brahms Tragic Overture: 1977 B.P.O.
    Brahms Variations on a Theme of Haydn: 1964 B.P.O.

    DG 423 222-2
    Strauss R. Death and Transfiguration :1972/3 B.P.O.
    Strauss R. Don Juan :1972 B.P.O.
    Strauss R. Salome Dance of the Seven Veils :1972 B.P.O.
    Strauss R. Till Eulenspiegel :1972 B.P.O.

    DG 457 760-2
    Webern Passacaglia for Orchestra :1974 B.P.O.
    Berg Three Pieces from the Lyric Suite: 1973 B.P.O.
    Berg Three Pieces for Orchestra: 1973 B.P.O.
    Schoenberg Variations for Orchestra :1974 B.P.O.

    DG 447 408-2
    Brahms Symphony No. 1 :1963 B.P.O.
    Schumann Symphony No. 1 :1971 B.P.O.

    DG 437 253-2
    Prokofiev Symphony No. 1 :1981 B.P.O.
    Prokofiev Symphony No. 5 :1968 B.P.O.

    DG 439 016-2
    Strauss R. Also Sprach Zarathustra :1983 B.P.O.
    Strauss R. Don Juan :1983 B.P.O.

    DG 423 214-2
    Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures At An Exhibition: 1965/66 B.P.O.
    Stravinsky Le Sacre du Printemps: 1963/64 B.P.O.

    DG 477 5909
    Shostakovich Symphony No. 10 :1981 B.P.O.

    DG 439 037-2
    Bruckner Symphony No. 7 : 1989 V.P.O.

    DG 423 242-2
    Honegger Symphony No. 2 :1969 B.P.O.
    Honegger Symphony No. 3 :1969 B.P.O.

    DG 431289-2
    Mozart Don Giovanni: 1985 B.P.O.

    DG 453046-2
    Mozart Symphony Nos. 35 - 41: 1975-1977 B.P.O.

    DG 477 7163
    Opera Intermezzi: 1967 B.P.O.

    DG 415 091-2
    Verdi Requiem 1984 VPO

    EMI CDM5 66599-2
    Sibelius Symphony No. 2: 1960 Philharmonia
    Sibelius Symphony No. 5: 1960 Philharmonia

    EMI 74858-2
    Sibelius Symphony No. 1: 1981 B.P.O.
    Sibelius Symphony No. 4: 1976 B.P.O.
    Sibelius Symphony No. 5: 1976 B.P.O.
    Sibelius Symphony No. 6: 1980 B.P.O.

    EMI CDM7 63113-2
    Rossini Barber of Seville Overture :1960 Philharmonia
    Rossini La gazza ladra Overture :1960 Philharmonia
    Rossini La scala di seta Overture :1960 Philharmonia
    Rossini L'Italiana in Algeri Overture :1960 Philharmonia
    Rossini Semiramide Overture :1960 Philharmonia
    Rossini William Tell Ballet Music :1958 Philharmonia
    Rossini William Tell Overture :1960 Philharmonia

    EMI CDM 76860-2
    Ravel Alborada del gracioso :1971 Orchestre de Paris
    Ravel La Valse :1971 Orchestre de Paris
    Ravel Rapsodie espagnole :1971 Orchestre de Paris
    Ravel Tombeau de Couperin :1971 Orchestre de Paris
    Ravel Bolero: 1977 B.P.O.
    Last edited by Vaneyes; Feb-16-2012 at 22:18.

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    Senior Member jalex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StlukesguildOhio View Post
    The answer to this is that either you can recognize a truly brilliant performance of a work of music... or you can't. The ability to recognize that there is something special about Glenn Gould's recording of the Goldberg Variations, Rostropovitch and Fournier's recordings of Bach's cello suites, Szeryng's recordings of Bach's partitas and sonatas, Rubinstein's performance of Chopin's Nocturnes, Maria Callas' Tosca etc... has nothing to do with historicism. It has everything to do with the ability to recognize a recording and a performance that is truly special.
    I'm not questioning the excellence of certain old performances, just the idea that there has been a general downward trend from the early recordings by the likes of Furtwangler and Knappertsbusch to today even in the traditional repertoire aside from HIP. Barenboim's Beethoven cycle is broadly in the tradition of Furtwangler and his recordings stand up very well to the Furtwangler ones I've heard; some venerate the Busch's late Beethoven above all others, but I'd say the Alban Bergs (among others) give them a run for their money; Rattle's best recordings (Mahler #2, Brahms' German Requiem etc) are generally agreed to be of the highest quality despite lots of derision coming from certain quarters. Why, he even made number 6 on that Best Conductors list!

    To me it just looks like the same 'sanctify the old, decry the new' attitude which turns up just about everywhere. By all means we should recognise a great old recording when we hear one, but we should also recognise great new ones (even if it is just another Beethoven cycle).
    Last edited by jalex; Feb-16-2012 at 23:47.

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