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Thread: Really weird question re: Beethoven's Op. 130 quartet.

  1. #16
    Senior Member Baron Scarpia's Avatar
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    It is apparent that many listeners live in a fantasy world where a Beethoven Symphony, Piano Concerto, Piano Sonata, movement is recorded in one continuous "take." That doesn't happen. Any modern recording is assembled from many different takes.

    Here's a story I read about a recording of Mozart Concerto No 23 by Abbado/Grimaud. Grimaud prepared for the recording using the Busoni cadenza. They recorded it that way. At the end of the session Abbado insisted that the Mozart cadenza is superior. He bullied her into trying it even though she had not prepared it. She went to her dressing room to practice it and came out and did two run throughs. Unknown to her the engineers had the microphones on. She left with the agreement that the Busoni cadenza should be used. Later, Abbado contacted DG and instructed them to produce the final master with the Busoni cadenza (without Grimaud's knowledge). Only after they had done this did Grimaud find out, and she vetoed the release of the recording and canceled all future collaboration with Abbado.

    Two lessons:

    1) Abbado, in addition to being talentless, was a sociopathic piece of trash.
    2) Modern classical recordings are assembled on a digital editing console like a jigsaw puzzle.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/31/a...s.html?_r=1&hp
    Last edited by Baron Scarpia; Sep-04-2019 at 18:46.

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  3. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Open Book View Post
    Not that you are wrong, but such a perfectionist listener would likely also note an exact duplicate of a passage. Which is worse?
    Depends upon whether it was my wife or not. :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkW View Post
    ...the Quartet could have played it through straight, but later, as the producer and engineers were preparing the master tape, they became aware of an all but unnoticeable flaw in the performance...[and] faked a solution
    Or a recording glitch/damage to the tape, perhaps? Seems feasible to me.

    (I've done something similar with a recording of one of Handel's Organ Concertos, where there was a glitch in the orchestral introduction, so I patched it with a copy of a repeat.)

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    Senior Member isorhythm's Avatar
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    If it's to cover some flaw in the repeat they played, why wouldn't they just splice over the part with the flaw, not the whole thing?

    It makes no sense to me that anyone would do this, as exposition repeats are optional - if including the repeat were an artistic choice, then the artists would play it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by isorhythm View Post
    If it's to cover some flaw in the repeat they played, why wouldn't they just splice over the part with the flaw, not the whole thing?

    It makes no sense to me that anyone would do this, as exposition repeats are optional - if including the repeat were an artistic choice, then the artists would play it.
    'Again, I'm not advocating that this is what happened. Only that to my ear the two sections are note-wise, phrase-wise, balance-wise, and interpretivley identical. Which may be no problem to a good professional ensemble, but it did beg the question. No harm in asking. :-)

  7. #21
    Senior Member Open Book's Avatar
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    When you traverse a passage repeatedly, it makes artistic sense to want to have subtle differences between the instances. Not the exact same thing each time. A sense of "Yes, we've been here before, but now I/we see it slightly differently".

    But I can picture engineers inserting an exact repeat to meet a schedule because time matters, time is money.
    "No one chooses the tuba" - Alexander von Puttkamer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Scarpia View Post
    It is apparent that many listeners live in a fantasy world where a Beethoven Symphony, Piano Concerto, Piano Sonata, movement is recorded in one continuous "take." That doesn't happen. Any modern recording is assembled from many different takes.

    Here's a story I read about a recording of Mozart Concerto No 23 by Abbado/Grimaud. Grimaud prepared for the recording using the Busoni cadenza. They recorded it that way. At the end of the session Abbado insisted that the Mozart cadenza is superior. He bullied her into trying it even though she had not prepared it. She went to her dressing room to practice it and came out and did two run throughs. Unknown to her the engineers had the microphones on. She left with the agreement that the Busoni cadenza should be used. Later, Abbado contacted DG and instructed them to produce the final master with the Busoni cadenza (without Grimaud's knowledge). Only after they had done this did Grimaud find out, and she vetoed the release of the recording and canceled all future collaboration with Abbado.

    Two lessons:

    1) Abbado, in addition to being talentless, was a sociopathic piece of trash.
    2) Modern classical recordings are assembled on a digital editing console like a jigsaw puzzle.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/31/a...s.html?_r=1&hp
    Abbado was certainly a control freak, and there are many stories about this. However, I certainly wouldn’t describe him as “talentless “.

  9. #23
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    During the era of 78 r.p.m. recordings each side of a shellac disc could only approximate about four minutes of music, and purchased recordings could be quite bulky for the consumer as well as as nerve wracking for musicians to record in short intervals. It was therefore common to not record the repeats, but instead the notes for the purchaser would instruct them to play a previous side before moving on. Modern digital restorations of these recordings usually add the side so that the listener doesn’t have to

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkW View Post
    .....Now, I don't know that is ever done or has ever been done (recording engineers can be crafty buggers), but this instance always, to me, prompts the question. Anyone with better ears than me know the recording well enough to assure me that because of ________ they are clearly circling through the section twice? And anyone know if something like that has ever been faked in the editing room?
    They used to do this in the 78 rpm days - esp with ABA form scherzi....play A section, then the B Trio section, then put on the A disc again for the A section repeat!!...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Open Book View Post
    I hate to think of studio recordings being done in takes though I know it happens. It seems like real fraud to re-insert the first section as a repeat.
    Some conductors and performers do all short takes and paste it together....Ormandy was famous for this...his musicians hated it, but they liked the $$ for royalties!! "10 measures and stop, 10 measures and stop" ad nauseam....then they'd paste the whole thing together....advantage is that most little blurps and flaws can be eliminated, the downside, you don't get the musical flow, the ongoing drama and current of the performance...
    other conductors - ie - Toscanini, Reiner - liked to record in whole chunks, big sections...let it flow, and get it recorded...
    there are some famous Reiner single take recordings - his 1960 Don Juan [Chicago], '56 Till Eulenspiegel [VPO], and the final mvts of Scheherazade and Pines of Rome [CSO]

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  14. #26
    Senior Member Open Book's Avatar
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    What's disturbing about short takes is that the musicians have to turn their feelings on and off on cue. How can they build up to anything that way? Somehow they usually manage. They're pros.
    "No one chooses the tuba" - Alexander von Puttkamer

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