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"Debussy La Mer/BPO analog" Is "BPO" Karajan/Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra?

There should be something with Callas and Benedetti Michelangeli or at least Horowitz or Gould. Hurwitz is not sufficiently interested in the really wild flamewars among opera buffs and pianophiles, that's why his list is lame. Who beyond high school cares about Sheherazade anyway?
 

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@ Brahmsianhorn: I am not an opera buff. I have only a few Callas recordings and the famous Tosca with De Sabata is IMO correctly rated extremely high.

o.k., drop "beyond high school" from the sentence about Sheherazade ;)

Like the Tchaikovsky b flat minor it's very hard to make the piece not entertaining and neither is subtle enough to make it very sensitive towards interpretations; there are plenty of good recordings.

I care deeply only about 3 pieces from Hurwitz' list (all the others are rather overrated regardless of conductor, IMO ;)). I think the Kleiber 5th is very good and might by favorite recording (although I was imprinted on it) but all of his recordings are a bit overrated because there are so few of them. The wartime 9th with Furtwängler is very special but it is also obviously not a standard recommendation because of historical live sound and exaggerated interpretation
And it's been ages that I heard but I was also not enthusiastic about the Walter/Patzak/Ferrier DLvdE (singers and sound are not great).
 

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The Kleiber Freischutz is certainly not overrated - though I'm not sure if that many great recordings of it exist (surprising for such an important opera)
Kleiber is great but the male lead, Schreier, is not the greatest choice and there are also better Kaspars than Adam. The women are very good although again, not necessarily the best.
I am a fan of Kleiber, and all of his recordings I have heard are highly recommendable (I have not heard any of his opera recordings except Freischütz, no R. Strauss and some stuff only on video or bootlegs, such as Brahms 2nd). But because there are so few of them, they virtually all have legendary status which is a bit exaggerated.
 

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I think the Kleiber is also very good in the second and third movements. There is a "più mosso" passage towards the end of the andante where I prefer him to everyone else, I think. The strong dynamic contrast with the C major outbreaks are also very effective.
And the 3rd movement has great horns without them dominating everything
The finale is good but not so good in sound and a bit opaque. Overall his father's early 1950s recording is actually more transparent in all movements but suffers from dryish mono sound and doesn't have the necessary impact, especially in the first movement.
 

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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."
I have only read bits and pieces of Hanslick but I think the one you quote is among the most colorful that's why it's always quoted. Hanslick was an eloquent writer, not as stuffy as others but also not as insulting and colorful as some others (like Mark Twain or Shaw or Mencken) or as has become more common in later times. Although Wagner was sufficiently annoyed with him that he originally wanted to name Beckmesser in Meistersinger "Hans Lich"...
 

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Hurwitz has said he covers mostly orchestral recordings because that's what most of his audience cares about. Hurwitz has championed the chamber music of Haydn, Mendelssohn, Brahms, and Dvorak in some videos. He actually thinks Dvorak was a greater chamber music composer than Brahms, but that most of Dvorak's chamber music isn't played. He also said in one video that he has a Mendelssohn piano quartet as his ringtone.

However, Hurwitz certainly has an anti-Baroque music bias.
I don't think that's true but he seems clearly most competent in orchestral music, roughly from Haydn to (not too avantgardist) modern music. Frankly, I wouldn't heed any advice of his beyond this field.
He has some interest in chamber music but for anything pre-Bach, anything piano and a lot of choral and opera beyond the most central warhorses both his interest and competence seems to drop sharply. To be fair, I think he has made at least some of these lacks of interest pretty clear (or one can read them between the lines).
 

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But this is an extremely common stance nowadays, just look around in this forum. There are long debates here shifted into "music and politics" that the main fault of classical music and its establishment is that it dares to take music, art and its contents and status seriously. That's stuffy elitism and the fault of pretentious 19th century German composers and philosophers. Elevating random personal preferences in music or other arts so that that artworks and artists acquire quasi-religious status. Pure self-aggrandizement of these eggheads. This is why CM is unpopular and deservedly so. If it admits that it is just like any other entertainment it could become popular and thrive and get rid of that horrible elitism, exclusion and pretention.
 

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I agree that the Passion narrative is worthless, and Parsifal's story is ridiculous. I agree that music is entertainment.
But you aren't a professional critic. If one not only ignores the intention of a composer, the content of a work and its context and background, but even has a basically opposite and downright hostile stance to all of this, and treating a Bach Passion and Parsifal like above is obviously such a case, one can hardly expect to be taken seriously as a critic. (And while these works might be rather extreme cases, such an attitude is opposed to intention, content and context of A LOT of classical music, not only explicitly sacred music or Bühnenweihfestspiele.)
I also doubt that one with such an attitude can hope to get even close to the aesthetic experience of a work that might be possible with a more open/charitable/humble stance. It's a mix between arrogance and (intentional) ignorance that does not seem conducive for experiencing art and even less for giving professional critical opinion and advice about it. If one thinks like that about certain pieces one should better abstain from critical commentary and reviewing them.
 

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But after more than 30 years of moderately funny books like "bluff your way trough/classical music /for dummies", even longer pedestal tumbling of anyone formerly considered to be "great" at something (except sports or popular culture) and 99% of the populace being unable to understand music or art as anything but entertainment, this seems like kicking against wide open doors.
 

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I don't think he is pretending. Nevertheless he is often strawmanning and exaggerating. E.g. hating on the musicologists unduly obsessed with different versions of Bruckner symphonies. Of course this can sometimes be a choice to have a chance as a career musicologist (one should note that there are very few decent jobs in this field, so people need any help they can get) but it's obviously also a real problem, not a totally made up one, even if occasionally overemphasized by people working in that field.
He also hates several early 20th century late romantics (like Pfitzner) with a vengeance despite harping for similar and more obscure music from the same time.
And I'd see the strawman that Brahms' music is often viewed as "boring but good for you" as a similar exaggeration to sharpen profile and have an easy to rebut strawman.
 
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