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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for specific examples of recordings on major labels by world-class musicians (ie not the Yale Cellos or something) from about 1965 until now where a performer noticeably plays the wrong note or makes some other blatant mistake - the cellos come in a beat too late or something. Not just a case where you disagree with the way that it is played because in your opinion it ought to be played, say, faster or slower or louder or softer or with more or less vibrato or whatever - but straightforward actual undeniable errors, precise and specific mistakes.

If you care to, you can also say how you feel about the recording in question.
 

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I could hardly imagine a whole lot of studio recodings with mistakes in them. Live recordings, sure. But in the studio, I'd think they'd at least make sure they've got the notes right.

Only thing I remember is Bach's Italian Concerto by Sviatoslav Richter, where Richter used to play a wrong note. Here's what Wikipedia says:

Similarly, after Richter realized that he had been playing a wrong note in Bach's Italian Concerto for decades, he insisted that the following disclaimer/apology be printed on a CD containing a performance thereof: "Just now Sviatoslav Richter realized, much to his regret, that he always made a mistake in the third measure before the end of the second part of the 'Italian Concerto'. As a matter of fact, through forty years -- and no musician or technician ever pointed it out to him -- he played 'F-sharp' rather than 'F'. The same mistake can be found in the previous recording made by Maestro Richter in the fifties."
 

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Objectively, some recordings have had wrong cuts or edits ...

At least one edition of Karajan´s digital DG Peer Gynt suites and one of Walter´s Decca Das Lied with Ferrier were cut too early at the end, some notes therefore left out. In one of Berglund´s Nielsen symphony cycle cds, they made wrong cuts and had to take back the whole issue. In Sergio Fiorentino´s "Appassionata" sonata LP on Saga, the editor wasn´t familiar enough with the piece, and as a result you hear extra notes in the introduction, to quite a hilarious effect.

A funny case of "orchestral collapse" is Scherchen/Badura-Skoda´s Westminster studio recording of Beethoven´s 3rd Concerto, where in the Finale´s last bar, the interplay breaks down and you hear some rather chaotic orchestral voices.

Overall, I don´t mind such details, as long as the enthusiasm for the music is there - and mostly Scherchen has that above average.
 

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Not so much an error but an oddity, perhaps - on the von Karajan recording of Pagliacci the bass drum was struck so hard at the beginning of act one that the skin was torn on the last couple of strikes. No-one seemed unduly dissatisfied with the effect so it was left as it was.
 

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Some recordings of Mendelssohn's violin concerto have the allegretto as part of the 2nd movement, whether this is a mistake I don't know as it seems many recordings do the same thing. Can anyone comment on this?
 

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One of my favorite wrong notes is an obvious "F" that is immediately changed to "F#" by a trombone player near the end of the finale of Walter / Columbia's Mahler 1. Apparently the trombonist forgot the shift to major had occurred and just missed the key signature.
 

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In the Karajan/Freni/Pavarotti La Boheme on Decca , there is a blatant trumpet clam at the very end of the 2nd act which was somehow not edited out . Otherwise, the BPO plays gorgeously .
I have a live Mahler 6th from Amsterdam with Hartmut Haenchem , an underrated German conductor
leading the Netherlands Philharmonic . In the finale , there is a glaring wrong entrance by the principal trumpet
late in the finale. Otherwise, ther performance is very well played . It's on the budget Laserlght label .
I also habve a live Mahler 6th with Mitropoulos and the Cologne radio orchestra where the trumpet messes up the very beginning of the symphony .
Not to mention a live Beethoven Missa Solemnis with Toscanini and the N.B.C. symphony where there is a blatant screw up by the tronbones at the beginning of the Credo section . Toscanini must have blown his top after the performance !
Brass players tend to be accident prone . I know it from many years of playing the horn !
 

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The people who created the "Zenph re-performance" of Glenn Gould's Goldberg Variations claim that Gould played wrong notes in his 1955 recording, though they didn't specify any. (They chose not to correct them in order to preserve the original performance.)
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Can you tell us why you are looking for flaws, science? You are normally more upbeat.
In response to a thread where it was claimed that it's hard to find recordings without such flaws. I suppose my intention is upbeat: I'm skeptical of that claim, so I want to see how many we can come up with.

I've really appreciated the examples given so far.
 

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Bach tends to throw occasional "strange" notes into his compositions. This concept ties into a recent thread where people were discussing mistakes in recordings, I actually think a well-placed mistake or 'wrong' note sounds great (obviously it depends the context - not all mistakes sound great). It seems like many composers from Bach to D. Scarlatti to Chopin, purposefully put in these kinds of "wrong" notes sometimes which in fact aren't wrong at all because they spice up a composition harmonically. I often notice players (and sometimes even transcriptions) "correct" these notes. I find that annoying. I can't think of any major recordings in which this happens, but I'm sure there are some. In this video of Bach's Chaconne transcribed for guitar, there is an occurrence of this, the G note that is played at around 1:43 of the video is supposed to be a G#. Playing it as a G actually sounds more "normal" the G# sounds strange, but I believe that note was Bach's intention.

 

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In the Karajan/Freni/Pavarotti La Boheme on Decca , there is a blatant trumpet clam at the very end of the 2nd act which was somehow not edited out . Otherwise, the BPO plays gorgeously .
I have a live Mahler 6th from Amsterdam with Hartmut Haenchem , an underrated German conductor
leading the Netherlands Philharmonic . In the finale , there is a glaring wrong entrance by the principal trumpet
late in the finale. Otherwise, ther performance is very well played . It's on the budget Laserlght label .
I also habve a live Mahler 6th with Mitropoulos and the Cologne radio orchestra where the trumpet messes up the very beginning of the symphony .
Not to mention a live Beethoven Missa Solemnis with Toscanini and the N.B.C. symphony where there is a blatant screw up by the tronbones at the beginning of the Credo section . Toscanini must have blown his top after the performance !
Brass players tend to be accident prone . I know it from many years of playing the horn !
I think there's a pattern here...only the brass messes up :) so my theory is correct, it's always the brass' fault! Woodwinds can do no wrong :rolleyes:
 

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I was just last week listening to a Spotify recording of Isaac Stern playing .... something.... where there was a quite noticeable wrong note in the first 15 seconds. It was a piece originally written for violin that a lot of classical guitarists have also recorded. I replayed it for my violinist wife and she said, "Oh, that is Isaac Stern playing a giant accidental left-hand pizzicato!" Sadly I don't remember what the piece was.

Personally I find it rather encouraging to know that even the greats make mistakes too.
 

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Another one for Maestro Karajan. I had his 1980's recording of Liszt's Les Preludes. The climactic cymbal clash was missing, probably due to issues to do with sound engineering. Maybe it was to faint, not loud enough, when in other recordings its VERY prominent. But I got rid of that cd - maybe its on youtube for people to check?

One that's well known is that some of the brass (trombones, I think?) don't come in at all during a passage of Mahler's 9th symphony as played by the Berlin Phil under Lenny. I have not heard this cd, I just read about this mistake.

But what people suggest above is true (joen-cph) that if these slips don't detract from the overall vibe of a performance, then so what? Since the 1960's there's been a movement to keep mistakes in a recording, rather than edit them out or splice corrections into them. Even many recording labelled 'live' where not really live, they where live plus 100 splicings. But this live movement is also happening in non-classical now. Many of the greats of the past (eg. Ray Charles in the early years) did songs now considered classics in one take. & non classical musos, some of them, are going back to this (despite the advances in technology) cos they think it conveys a more spontaneous and 'real' vibe to the performance. I see sense in this.
 

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There's a big trumpet fluff during the 1st movement of Khachaturian's 1st symphony on the ASV / Tjeknavorian recording. I've also got something where the timpani is way off key but I can't remember what it is just now.
 

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I just had an urge to listen to the Overture to The Magic Flute. I clicked the first result on Spotify, which was the London Philharmonic conducted by Alfred Scholz released in 2009. If you start listening at about 2m10s, there are three flute runs (bar 59) that start an eighth note after the beat. The first and third runs are fine, but the second seems to start right on the beat. Very jarring, but kudos to the orchestra for absorbing it.

This does not appear to be a live recording which is all the more surprising.

(After hearing this very noticeable error, I tried to find a reference to it or other similar errors and stumbled on this page.)
 

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Welcome to the site.

I've come across a number down through the years. My earliest LP of Beethoven's "Emperor" concerto had a noticeable flub by the French horns in the first movement, though the performance (allegedly by one Eric Silver and the Berlin Symphony Orch.conducted by someone named Alfred van Weth) had tremendous energy and the moment made little or no difference to my enjoyment. The recording was probably pirated from a live radio broadcast, which would explain what happened. Then years later I bought an LP of Haydn flute trios played by Rampal, Stern and Rostropovich, the last of whom hits a wrong note loud and proud on his cello in the closing bars of one of the trios.

The best example though is one I haven't actually heard, but read about in reviews at the time. Apparently Sergio Fiorentino was making a recording of the "Appassionata", mangled the opening, went back over it a few times, then proceeded to play the piece through, and the whole thing was included in the recording. I imagine one of those LPs would fetch a pretty penny if it were to be sold now!
 

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My favorite mistake is from Dietrich Fischer-Diskau's otherwise wonderful and flawless recording of Samuel Barber's beautiful Dover Beach for baritone and string quartet (poem by Matthew Arnold).

The lyric is supposed to be as follows:

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.


...but here is how DFD sings it:

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French TOAST the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.


Dietrich Fischer-Diskau:
Clothing Outerwear Coat Sleeve Art


Samuel Barber:
Watch Hand Gesture Finger Adaptation


Matthew Arnold:
Jaw Flash photography Sleeve Dress shirt Collar


French Toast:
Food Tableware Ingredient Plate Recipe


 

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At the end of the first act of the Beecham La Boheme duet the final high note is flat.

In Karajan’s recording of Strauss is domestic symphony the trumpets were out of tune but the conductor just waved it off and told them to press the recording as it was

Knappertsbusch once recorded a Haydn symphony for John Culshaw and half the orchestra didn’t observe the repeat and half did but at the end the conductor insisted that no one would notice anyway

In one of Furtwangler’s recordings he made for Decca he insisted on having the old microphone he was used to and it ruined the sound which was anything but ffrr
 

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Knappertsbusch once recorded a Haydn symphony for John Culshaw and half the orchestra didn't observe the repeat and half did but at the end the conductor insisted that no one would notice anyway
Kna, like Beecham and Munch, hated to rehearse...he was coerced to rehearse the minuet/trio in question....when the train wreck occurred, Kna's response was something like -
<<It wouldn't have happened except for that f---g rehearsal!!>>
 
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