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Thread: Angela Hewitt Your Thoughts?

  1. #76
    Senior Member philoctetes's Avatar
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    I'm one of those who wants to like harpsichords, but many of them have timbre that put me off. So I welcome pianists who can play baroque on piano effectively without sounding like Richter, Gould, or Horowitz. Marcelle Meyer is a good example....

    I've heard Scarlatti by both Horowitz and Hewitt and know that I far prefer the latter, who sounds more like my old fave Dubravka Tomsic than anybody else I've heard.

    The market for keyboard players, soloists in general, is always open to hype. Hyperion has a number of pianists in their stable, recording under extended contracts, who owe more success to hype than Hewitt.

    In a way, Hyperion is the ECM of classical labels, with a polished cultural identity, product image, and sonic values of its own. Never excessive, tastefully Brit, flirting with blandness. And like ECM the approach pays off sometimes, and actually creates a synergy between artist, music, and product.

    As for emphasizing certain lines or patterns in the music, well, that's what musicians do, or so I thought, and that's why we keep buying music and going to concerts. Seems this is especially the art of being a successful soloist, that you can play how you want and it doesn't kill your career. Artistic immunity is a reward for hard work.

    Nobody paid me to write that, and no hype was standing over my shoulder.
    Last edited by philoctetes; Oct-12-2018 at 20:09.

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  3. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
    I'll certainly admit that I can be influenced by marketing concerning a wide array of products, but music ain't one of them.
    You may be right of course, I am with wine, which I guess is a bit like music (complex product with a culture of connoisseurship etc)

  4. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by philoctetes View Post
    The market for keyboard players, soloists in general, is always open to hype. Hyperion has a number of pianists in their stable, recording under extended contracts, who owe more success to hype than Hewitt.
    If Hamelin ever reads that I can see his eyes roll -- he once said that he thought that Hewitt got too much of the Hyperion PR budget -- which gave her a star status which (at the time, 10 years ago now) he felt he merited but was unable to grasp.

    Quote Originally Posted by philoctetes View Post



    The market for keyboard players, soloists in general, is always open to hype. Hyperion has a number of pianists in their stable, recording under extended contracts, who owe more success to hype than Hewitt.

    The market for piano music seems really interesting because it seems close to the world of opera, that's to say there are a handful of pianists who have big budget glamour and a sort of groupie fan base. I've not studied the market by the way, but my intuition is that piano is a real good area for using marketing to boost revenue.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Oct-12-2018 at 20:13.

  5. #79
    Senior Member philoctetes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    If Hamelin ever reads that I can see his eyes roll -- he once said that he thought that Hewitt got too much of the Hyperion PR budget -- which gave her a star status which (at the time, 10 years ago now) he felt he merited but was unable to grasp.
    Let em roll. That stuff is about egos. Their repertory hardly overlaps at all.

    Weren't you ripping Hamelin's Feldman not long ago? Or did you change your mind about that too?
    Last edited by philoctetes; Oct-12-2018 at 20:16.

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    Quote Originally Posted by philoctetes View Post
    In a way, Hyperion is the ECM of classical labels, with a polished cultural identity, product image, and sonic values of its own. Never excessive, tastefully Brit, flirting with blandness. And like ECM the approach pays off sometimes, and actually creates a synergy between artist, music, and product.
    You are right about Hyperion, which has a distinct brand identity. "Flirting with blandness" captures it perfectly.

    It has something to do with the sonic values (always a natural concerto hall perspective, never an in-your-face sound stage) and a stable of artists who seem to have in common a certain sense of decorum. The Alfred Brendel type.

  7. #81
    Senior Member philoctetes's Avatar
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    "the Alfred Brendel type"

    I wouldn't say that about the Florestan Trio, they are more like the von Karajan of piano trios... everything sounds the same, hard, fast, and loud, a different kind of blandness. Same for Domus and Takacs...

    I've had good luck with the Nash Ensemble, going back to the CDR stuff, but I guess I can tolerate their "sameness" a bit more, they make up for it with variety of repertory and ensemble mix...
    Last edited by philoctetes; Oct-12-2018 at 20:34.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Scarpia View Post
    ...and a stable of artists who seem to have in common a certain sense of decorum. The Alfred Brendel type.
    Really? I prefer the “L”s, people like Liszt or Litolff. The latter lived a wild life, running from country to country and changing wives more often than some people change their underwear. He taught piano to Hans von Bulow and once escaped prison with the help of the jailer’s daughter.

    Now there’s a musician with star power! Too bad all of his music is forgotten except for one movement, and even that is often mistaken for Saint-Saens by casual listeners.


  9. #83
    Senior Member philoctetes's Avatar
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    It's the V's for me. Varese, Villa-Lobos, and of course, the long-forgotten Vaughan Otter,,,

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    Quote Originally Posted by philoctetes View Post
    "the Alfred Brendel type"

    I wouldn't say that about the Florestan Trio, they are more like the von Karajan of piano trios... everything sounds the same, hard, fast, and loud, a different kind of blandness. Same for Domus and Takacs...

    I've had good luck with the Nash Ensemble, going back to the CDR stuff, but I guess I can tolerate their "sameness" a bit more, they make up for it with variety of repertory and ensemble mix...
    I'll overlook the Karajan dis'.

    The Florestan personifies Hyperion, but I would not have characterized them as "hard, fast and loud." I mainly like them for Susan Tomes, but not in everything. Their Brahms is my favorite, but I didn't like the Faure much (when she called it Domus), tend to like the Mozart. Also the Raphael Ensemble, the epitome of Hyperion. And of course Hamelin. I don't know what he's complaining about. He's their Hewitt of romantic piano music.

  11. #85
    Senior Member philoctetes's Avatar
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    I like the Raphael too, it's a great corner of the repertory and they do it well.

    I also agree on the Florestan's Brahms, they are surprisingly gentle with it. Mozart's not bad either. Exceptions are the rule today.

    I think it's common with British performance, a little soft with Germanic stuff, and just off-base with French music much of the time.

    Due to the low prices on Hyperion and Helios from Berkshire Record Outlet, I've ordered a lot of their duds... a bit like buying from Naxos, they have a rather low expected shelf life...
    Last edited by philoctetes; Oct-12-2018 at 20:54.

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