View Poll Results: Which Beethoven interpreter would you pick

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  • Brendel

    16 66.67%
  • Barenboim

    8 33.33%
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Thread: Brendel vs. Barenboim

  1. #1
    Senior Member Sonata's Avatar
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    Default Brendel vs. Barenboim

    I apologize for a touch of redundancy....but just want to do a head to head battle in the Brendel Beethoven sonata cycle versus Barenboim. I know Barenboim had more than one recording (maybe Brendel too, I'm not sure). But pick the best of the best between just these two. (And there's WAY too many B's in this post)

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    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    Barenboim as a pianist... and often as a conductor... has the ability to bore the living hell out of me. I picked up a Barenboim cycle of the complete Beethoven piano concertos... and ended up giving it away to a friend not quite as picky as I am with regard to classical music.
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  5. #3
    MacLeod
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    So, SLGO, would you pick the Brendel?

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    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    The earlier Barenboim was mostly incredibly slow in the Beethoven concerti with Klemperer (EMI); the later concerto set is most likely different, since he seems to have boosted a romantically committed approach in the later decades and his playing style is generally faster.

    Similarly, the early EMI sonata set is very different from the most recent sonata recordings.

    Brendel has 3 sets; the early Vox sonatas are often slender and lack contrasts. The middle set of the sonatas and the concertos with Haitink (philips) are often considered the best.

    Overall, I´d personally go for the late Barenboim set.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Oct-21-2012 at 17:21.

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    Senior Member Turangalîla's Avatar
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    Late Barenboim set is the best!
    "In my entire career, I sang the way I wanted to six times. The rest of the time I just did the best I could."
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    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    I would not waste my money on either,it is possible to do much,much better.
    In any case why do you want to do head to head battle--and why drag us into it?
    Which have you bought and why?
    Fools talk because they have to say something, wise men talk because they have something to say.

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    Senior Member Sonata's Avatar
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    "Drag you into it"

    Wow, that's kind of hostile wording, especially given that other people have done head-to-head polls. Perhaps you're sick of them...I understand that, but then just ignore it.

    I had a VERY specific reasoning for doing a head-to-head battle. Because I had decided on purchasing two sets of the sonatas and I had already decided on Gilels. Barenboim and Brendel were the other two finalists for ME. Hence the head to head. And yes, I know I should sample them for myself, and I have and will. But I have received good recommendations from my friends here at TalkClassical before, so I thought I'd get some input.

    I have not bought either of them yet. I am currently saving up some money to buy a piano and pay some medical bills, but hope to buy a set or two in the springtime.

  11. #8
    MacLeod
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    Quote Originally Posted by moody View Post
    I would not waste my money on either,it is possible to do much,much better.
    Waste? That's rather dismissive, isn't it? So, what would you waste your money on then?

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod View Post
    Waste? That's rather dismissive, isn't it? So, what would you waste your money on then?
    Considering the quality of the performances available by the masters, Both subject pianists make merely competent contributions. I can think of no reason to settle for either of them. Well, wait... there is, I suppose, some value in experiencing mediocrity - it improves one's judgement of quality.

    [So you see, it is possible to raise moody's 'dismissive'. It just requires a few more words.]
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  14. #10
    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod View Post
    Waste? That's rather dismissive, isn't it? So, what would you waste your money on then?
    -I have many versions of all the main Beethoven sonatas and that is the right thing to do,but I realise that some people do not have the inclination or the money to do this. It has taken me years and years to build my collection and I think i must know every note of every sonata.but of one thing I am convinced and that is buying boxed sets of one performer is the wrong way to go.
    For instance Horowitz made a version of the "Appassionata" in the early 60's which is quite the most extraordinary version I have heard,but normally i would not turn to him for Beethoven sonatas.
    The great and I do mean great performers that I enjoy include Annie fischer,Denis Matthews,Artur Schnabel,Yes Nat,Robert Casadesus,Hans Richter-Haaser,Wilhelm Backhaus,Rudolf Serkin,Charles Rosen,Elly Ney and Wilhelm Kempf.
    All of these are superior to Brendel and Barenboim.
    Fools talk because they have to say something, wise men talk because they have something to say.

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    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonata View Post
    "Drag you into it"

    Wow, that's kind of hostile wording, especially given that other people have done head-to-head polls. Perhaps you're sick of them...I understand that, but then just ignore it.

    I had a VERY specific reasoning for doing a head-to-head battle. Because I had decided on purchasing two sets of the sonatas and I had already decided on Gilels. Barenboim and Brendel were the other two finalists for ME. Hence the head to head. And yes, I know I should sample them for myself, and I have and will. But I have received good recommendations from my friends here at TalkClassical before, so I thought I'd get some input.

    I have not bought either of them yet. I am currently saving up some money to buy a piano and pay some medical bills, but hope to buy a set or two in the springtime.
    I agree it was the wrong choice of words.
    Fools talk because they have to say something, wise men talk because they have something to say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonata View Post
    I apologize for a touch of redundancy....but just want to do a head to head battle in the Brendel Beethoven sonata cycle versus Barenboim. I know Barenboim had more than one recording (maybe Brendel too, I'm not sure). But pick the best of the best between just these two. (And there's WAY too many B's in this post)
    Brendel's digital set (1990's). A fitting testimony from this legend. Entertaining, educational, in so good piano sound.

    Attachment 9161

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Listening to Rudolph Serkin's 1952 recording of the Waldstein. Sound is rather bright and tinny, but the playing is phenomenal!

  18. #14
    MacLeod
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaneyes View Post
    Can't take him seriously - he reminds me of Roy Hudd

    Last edited by MacLeod; Oct-22-2012 at 07:47.

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  20. #15
    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    The poll results so far show me I am not alone in opinion -- I don't even think there is anything near 'a contest' between the two, Brendel being one for the category of 'top tier of all time'

    Barenboim - to me, always a rather shapeless and characterless pianist - nothing I've heard has ever held me, let alone commanded my attention and held me rapt. Feel rather the same about his conducting and very similar results there.

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