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I've discovered Hurwitz's Youtube channel recently, and I love it. I am a relative neophyte as regards recordings, and I hope to learn more about the discographies of my favorite works. However, so far I agree with this passage that vtpoet wrote a few months ago on this thread.

I enjoy watching Hurwitz, but I trust him less as a professional music critic/musicologist than as an entertaining amateur with an encyclopedic knowledge of recorded music.


I liked his video on the 1942 Furtwangler Beethoven 9, where he played awesome, intense passages to "prove" that the recording is terrible.
 

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I won't blindly following Hurwitz's recommendations.....for instance, he highly recommends Bernstein's Mahler which I don't feel that way. Nevertheless, Hurwitz does give some useful guides of classical music and appreciation. There are many shallow review and recommendation of classical music in magazines and internet.
Yeah, it's best to sample some of the recordings Hurwitz doesn't like, to see if they really are bad.
 

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There will always be people who don't hear or don't care about the artistic differences between various performances and recordings. As a friend once remarked to me, "I just want a good recording." Good sound, "normal" interpretation, and up to professional standards.

That's David Hurwitz's audience. Fine, no problem.

Why does he need to demonize the people who do hear and care about the differences?

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It probably gets Hurwitz clicks to call those people "demented."
 

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I doubt if the amount of money he earns from youtube is enough to get him chocolate bars, energy drinks
Hurwitz is clearly well-off, to have so many recordings including a bunch of box sets. He's been doing criticism for decades.

If he's poor, he can probably make a lot of money selling all those CDs.
 

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I wonder how many of those CDs were complimentary from the various recording companies. Almost makes me want to become a professional music critic.
He said that he's increasingly having to pay for recordings-- that record companies aren't sending him as many free recordings.
 

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Then if I were him, I wouldn't send THEM any free recordings either!
On the contrary, Hurwitz is calling attention to both recordings he praises and recordings he savages. It makes sense for companies to make sure Hurwitz gets their recordings, because there's no such thing as bad publicity. There are probably hardcore collectors spending thousands of dollars to buy the recordings Hurwitz reccommends.
 

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I can't say I know Norrington's Mahler (or need someone to warn me that it is not the best). I have heard his 9th a couple of times and felt lukewarm about it. It wasn't a travesty. As for Currentzis's Beethoven, my main problems with it are short measure (or high price) and that we are rather spoiled for choice in this repertoire, not least by Norrington's superb Stuttgart set. And his aversion to anything done for example (there are many others) by Horenstein seems just bizarre and singularly unhelpful. As for being entertaining, well if you like listening to aggressively opinionated and pompous men, and laughing with them rather than at them, then OK. But I don't. He might work as minor character in a sitcom or even a Jane Austen novel.
Here's an example of the horror show that is Currentzis' Beethoven.

 

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By the same token, people who love what he does will always praise what he does. I'm definitely more in the dislike (not hate) camp as I think he's nothing more than another *** with a YouTube channel. A troll is actually what he reminds me of more than anything.
He is a part-time troll, not a full-time troll. He sometimes gives reasons for his negative opinions, and more often than not he gives positive opinions. He gives what he considers to be the BEST and WORST recordings of works.

I am not a fanatic CD collector yet, so I cannot judge what he considers to be the BEST recordings. However, I do check out recordings he bashes on Youtube, and he's often right about them being terrible or mediocre (and of course, he's been wrong at least a couple times). They're low-hanging fruit.

His view on actual works is less reliable. He points to gems from Haydn, Dvorak, Handel, and Mendelssohn, but he says it took him TWENTY-FIVE years to understand the first half of the second movement of the German Requiem is great music. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying I loved that part on first listen.
 

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^ I'd heard it before. It's OK and not without stimulation. I can't really relate to calling music making like this a "horror show". Perhaps you've been infected by the condition that neurologists term "Hurwitz brain" which leads to people feeling that they can talk about a musical performance which many critics rate highly as if it was a war crime.
The movement is genius, but the genius is all Beethoven's. Currentiz's accomplishment was to nearly make me despise the Fifth and Seventh symphonies in part. He fiddles with the music. It's like he's trying to bury the ruby of Beethoven's genius in the ore of his own ego.

It would do if there was no good recording of Beethoven's Seventh available.
 

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My point was really that there are competent critics and experienced music lovers who like what Currentzis does. You can dismiss them as morons (which Hurwitz tends to do) or accept that they feel differently to you and respect their right to do so.
Hurwitz would agree that critics have a right to like and defend garbage. But competent critics have a right to tell people that Currentzis' Beethoven is terrible and that Currentzis' CD notes are ridiculous (Hurwitz read excerpts-- Beethoven's Seventh is a union of beauty and spirit, like a church built over a ruin of an ancient Greek temple. Seriously, that is what Hurwitz read out)
 

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I wish I could agree with the him "giving his opinion and that's it" assertion. This simply isn't true. He once told me if I spent less time listening to dull, lifeless performances, I'd understand where he's coming from. I'm sorry, but this doesn't strike me as someone who simply gives an opinion and that's it. I genuinely believe that what he thinks is great is truly the best there is and if you disagree, then YOU are the one who is wrong. I don't buy into this kind of adolescent ****. He's free to like what he likes and I'm free to do the same, but don't tell me what I like isn't up to your high standards when we both have same standards. We're both classical listeners and we both have our own opinions of what we like and what we listen for --- one opinion isn't above another.
Hurwitz must be inconsistent, then. There have been times when Hurwitz said that what critics say don't matter, what he says don't matter, and the point of music is entertainment.

What perspective he has probably depends on his mood.
 

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About a year ago I read an interview on presto music with Alfred Brendel, and he also said you should separate the artist from the art. He said that he wish people knew as little about composers personal lives as we know about Shakespeare. Hurwitz is not the only one who thinks like this
I agree, particularly for artists who are dead.
 

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I don’t know why anyone would listen to this guy’s YouTube channel. He’s not good looking and talks in a whiney annoying voice and never appears (to my knowledge) to back up his opinions with musical examples. Absolutely hopeless. You might just as well save the trouble and read a review rather than listening to him blather on.
He has permission from the Naxos label to play their stuff. Even then, he gets whacked with copyright infringement claims from bots (which aren't that good at identifying specific performances of instrumental music, apparently.
 

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No, Hanslick was a stuffy 19th century intellectual, not entertaining if one expects clownesque hyperbole, I fear
I know of Hanslick describing Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto of all things as "music that stinks to the ear," and hoped that quote was representative of Hanslick's reviews. I compare it to one of Hurwitz's reviews: "[Gardiner's Brahms Third] is like a fan: it sucks and blows at the same time."
 

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Hurwitz is a somewhat rare figure in the CM realm but would be a familiar, nay, well-established figure in science - a populariser. It requires a special talent. David Berlinsky may not be the greatest scientist ever, but if a layman wishes to grasp the basics of string theory he is the one to read. If you are a CM beginner, who can you turn to, apart from Hurwitz, to explain the basics of Haydn symphonies in an easily digestible manner? I hesitate to name one. And he does so in a specifically American cheerful middle-brow way. However, after a while, one notices a very nasty, often vicious underlying streak to a good part of his presentations. For me, Hurwitz is a CM McDonald's - fun at first, especially if you are a teenager, but primitive and unhealthy in the end.
I am an inexperienced collector, expanding my CD collection and musical library after listening to much of the repertoire. Would experienced listeners benefit from his lists of THE BEST recordings to expand their collections? He has an absurd amount of CDs, and he doesn't give bad recommendations for his BEST, does he? Only steers the listener from both bad and well-regarded recordings.
 

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He is biased towards American orchestras and orchestral music in general, but to the extent he recommends several well-known recordings his videos can be informative. Unfortunately due to his ego he deletes many of the comments, which could provide additional sources of information for the beginner. So he not only presents a biased perspective but he also seeks to eliminate alternative viewpoints. That’s his worst trait. He pretends to speak for all of classical music when in reality he does not. He wants his truth to be seen as THE truth.
I don't see much of a problem with Hurwitz ruining classical music for the beginners, as long as he a) doesn't control all the CM information sources, and b) does not recommend crap recordings. Beginners who keep an interest would develop their own tastes over time. For example, in his relatively rare Baroque repertoire videos (and even in a couple Romantic repertoire videos) he recommends period instrument recordings. Many beginners who try out them might find they like the period instrument aesthetic.
 

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Nothing but love for Hurwitz. His straightforward takes are usually spot on. And anyone with intelligence and a modicum of taste can sort the astute judgements from his admitted biases. Kudos.
Well, there's the deliberately provocative Classical Music's Top Ten Dirtiest Secrets...
 
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