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Stefan A

Second Unit
Joined
May 27, 2001
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397
Well, I do like Solti's Mahler. I agree that Solti's interpretations can be a bit bombastic, but it is still enjoyable to me. I heard NYP with Mehta live doing the 3rd and totally enjoyed it. Very musical. I enjoy Tenstedt's 1st with the CSO. Solti's 2 and 3 with CSO. Barenboim's 5th w/ CSO.

When I listen, I probably listen for different things then a lot of you. For what I like, Solti is perfect. It doesn't mean it's not good.

Also, I think we tend to like the recordings that we have. Once you are used to a particular orchestra or interpretation, it is hard to get into others.
 

Seth_S

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 12, 2001
Messages
335
Justin Doring,

Out of the hundred some Mahler recordings I own, only maybe 20% are digital recordings. Despite all the recordings that are being turned out today (who isn't recording a cycle right now?), many of them remain unintersting. In my opinion, the recordings by Walter, Barbirolli, Kubelik, Klemperer, Haitink, Szell and Bernstein remain unsurpassed.

Stefan A,

I pretty much think that Solti's career was one big smoke and mirrors act.
 

Dave Gorman

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 22, 1999
Messages
538
In my opinion, the recordings by Walter, Barbirolli, Kubelik, Klemperer, Haitink, Szell and Bernstein remain unsurpassed.
Kubelik? Maybe I'll have to give him another spin. I became familiar with his 3rd & 8th several years ago and thought they were atrocious.
 

Zen Butler

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Jan 24, 2002
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Zen K. Butler
StephenR said :

How does it happen that so many people seem to be rigorously discussing multiple different things, amazing four pages of posts in a mere two weeks, and then, BLAM, everyone just halts? Was this thread moved somewhere?
Stephen, this thread was "a coming out party" for classical fans (paraphrasing a Jack Briggs quote). We also branched off into a Romantic Era thread also, but it never went much further. I think we were trying to break up the different eras for easier discussion. When your discussing/covering 800 +(?) years of music the threads tend to get watered down. e.g have you heard________(enter composer and piece)? , oh yeah, well I prefer_____________(enter composer and piece)? This was a very quaint and friendly thread. I'm glad you resurrected it. If even for a short period.

Oh yes, I long for the day I would consider Respighi, a guilty pleasure. Damn, that is still funny to me months later. I thought I was deep , because of my fondness of the tone poem
 

Seth_S

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 12, 2001
Messages
335


Strangley, Kubelik remains an overlooked Mahler conductor (probably because of the poor sound quality of his DG cycle and that his cycle has largely only been available in the UK and Japan).

Putting opinion aside, from a critical/analytical standpoint, his recording of the 1st Symphony has yet to be surpassed - no one has even come close to his 4th mvt coda. This is also the general consensus among listeners and critics. I have yet to read any kind of CD buying guide/review where his first wasn't declared perfection.

Other highlights from his DG Cycle include his 2nd, 4th and 8th. As for the 8th, I really don't like the symphony, but Kubelik's handling sits better with me then many others.

In the recently released Cycle from Audite, highlights include the 1st, 5th and 9th.
 

DanaA

Screenwriter
Joined
Nov 21, 2001
Messages
1,843


First of all, I do second good recordings of The Planets and Charles Ives. For Ives, although I certainly am far from hearing all his recordings, the one I really like is An American Journey with the San FRancisco Symphony Orchestra let by Michael Tilson Thomas.

I'd also recommend Moussourgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Night on Bald Mountain with the Cleveland Orchestra. But, my biggest, and perhaps most controversial, recommendation is to listen to Henryk Gorecki's Symphony No.3 with David Zinman conducting the London Symphony and Dawn Upshaw as soprano. This thing tears my heart out - it's so beautiful. Just my heart and opinion though.
 

Dave Gorman

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 22, 1999
Messages
538
Come on now doesn't anybody have any unusual recommendations or does everybody only listen to core repertoire?
I don't know if he would be considered "non-core", but I've recently become acquainted with and thoroughly enjoy the 6 symphonies of Carl Nielsen.
 

DanaA

Screenwriter
Joined
Nov 21, 2001
Messages
1,843
Dave,

Here are some listener reviews on Amazon. My classical music afficiando friend has related that this recording is very controversial in people's reactions to it. My own reaction mirrors the comments below:

After listening to this piece for the first time(and playing Terry Riley's In C with a chamber ensemble, within a few weeks of each other this spring) I fell in love with minimalism. Though I still cling fiercely to my lavishly ornamented Bach and Rossini, I have found no other single piece to be so evocative of emotion. Dawn Upshaw's vocals are, no doubt, stunning, all the more so when you read the program notes to find out what she's actually saying. (It's all in Polish: a poem written by a young P.O.W.; an anguished mother's prayer, etc.) But the defining moment of this piece is its first movement, when a repeated motive in the strings builds into the most wonderful harmony I've ever heard. I have yet to find the perfect adjective - luminous? ethereal? otherworldly? but the first time you listen, it will most likely change the way you see late-20th-century music.


Imagine while driving your car, your listening to 96.3FM in New York, and you hear a voice that stops you in your tracks. That is what happened to me. I heard this wonderful music while driving and then came the voice. I'm talking about Dawn Upshaw who is the soprano for this album. I heard her angelic voice and had to stop the car and literally wait 20 minutes until the Symphony was over so I could hear the name of this woman and the name of the symphony she was so graciously singing. I love classical music, but never have I heard this symphony. I immediately purchased this CD and it is now a part of my all time favorite list. You must listen to this Symphony w/Dawn Upshaw from beginning to end without interruption to truly feel the experience. GORECKI'S SYMPHONY ACCOMPANIED BY DAWN UPSHAWS VOICE IS BREATHTAKING!


I never play this CD...It's too good. After years of listening to it, nearly weeping every time, trying to understand what made it SO GOOD, I realized that I never would understand. So I put it away, and I'm waiting for the right time to play it. It's been almost two years now.
 

ThomasC

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Dec 15, 2001
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Thomas
"One rant: How does Hans Zimmer get away with it?"

I have NO clue! Zimmer, although a seemingly nice guy based on his interview on the Gladiator DVD, is talentless! What's especially disturbing is that I think he is the, if not one of the, highest paid composers in Hollywood! Only Williams and Horner possibly demand higher salaries. Horner is a hack, but at least he knows who to steal from. Also unlike Zimmer, at least Horner can read and compose music without the help of his computer, and Horner's dramatic instinct is superb.
Sorry to bump up this topic, but as a big Zimmer fan, I'm curious: Who does he "steal" from and why is it so bad? Is all of his music a ripoff of someone else's composition? Who do you consider to be the most original soundtrack composer?
 

Seth_S

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 12, 2001
Messages
335


The Theme from Gladiator was pretty much lifted note for note from Holst's The Planets.

Best original soundtrack composer? Sergey Prokofiev or Bernard Herrmann.
 

ThomasC

Senior HTF Member
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Dec 15, 2001
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Thomas
Is it just with Gladiator, or do some of his other works rip off other music as well?
 

DanaA

Screenwriter
Joined
Nov 21, 2001
Messages
1,843
While the classical thread is up and running again, two questions:

1. What about opera? Any recommendations here?

2. Anyone listen to Quartetto Gelato?
 

Seth_S

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 12, 2001
Messages
335
ThomasC,



That's a bit of a broad question. What did you have in mind? Baroque Opera? 19 C? Italian? German? Comic? Serious?
 

DanaA

Screenwriter
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Nov 21, 2001
Messages
1,843
I've only started listening to opera recently. My favorites thus far are the Wachter/Sutherland/Schwarzkopf Don Giovanni and the Rotherberger/Moser/ Scheer/Berry Magic Flute. The only other ones I own are the Callas, Di Stefano, Gobbi Tosca, the Sutherland/ Pavarotti/Milnes Rigoletto, and the Tebaldi/Bergonzi/D'Angelo La Boheme.

I always thought I hated opera, but have found that I really love it with a decent system. Now, when I listen and read the lyrics, it seems much rewarding like reading a good novel. I don't think it's a passive pastime at all. But, drained as I am after listening/reading for the first time, I find it quite fulfilling - like a new arena has opened its doorway. Or, perhaps, I'm just mellowing with age.

I really hope this thread keeps on going for the somewhat uninitiated masses like myself. By the way, I love the Quartetto Gelatto. A classical music buff friend of mine picked up a couple of CD's for me and they are a joy to listen to. I used to play clarinet in high school orchestra and, not only do I find the oboist EXTREMELY sexy and seductive, her technique and skills are amazing, as is the case with the other three musicians. Most of all though, they seem to just love playing together. I highly recommend them.
 

Sathyan

Second Unit
Joined
Jun 17, 2002
Messages
298
I realize this is the Music forum but I never get feedback on DVD forum...
Thoughts on Opera DVD's ???
I've been buying from Decca's Unitel label and have been quite pleased with Tosca and Rigoletto
 

Seth_S

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 12, 2001
Messages
335
Sathyan,

Bad news on opera DVDs:

Unitel's parenty company Kirch Media has filed for bankruptcy, and Universal Music (DG, Decca and Philips) chose not to renew their licensing contract with them, so we probably won't see Unitel's vast catalogue of opera and orchestral recordings for a long time. Furthermore, current released Unitel/Universal DVDs will be out of print in the next year.

Universal also has a large number of their own video recordings which for some reason, they're just not releasing.

Anyway, they're are a large number of very good opera DVDs. My only complaint is that the labels are too quick to recycle old LD transfers.
 

Steve Y

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 1, 2000
Messages
847
While we're on the subject of both Berlioz and orchestral song cycles (mentioned in relation to both Mahler and Goreski), I want to recommend Berlioz's cycle Les Nuits D'ete. My recording is Regine Crespin, it's a famous recording and quite good. Decca I believe? There are some other great recordings on this disc as well. It's very strikingly lush.
I too prefer Mahler's 7/8 as opposed to 9, which now gets the Aaron Copeland treatment (in its appropriation as "americana propaganda" - who else can't hear rodeo without thinking of Black Angus and all the sizzling beef?) ... it's like rhapsody in blue, which is only finally beginning to shake loose the image of an airplane flying in a sky of clouds and fine white print. (partly thanks to fantasia 2000, which replaced it with less offensive imagery)
There's that thing again - "imagery", ... thematic music tends to be very imagistic (not to be confused with impressionistic necessarily).. the popular works are those with a story... symphony fantastique's spurned lover/drug addict, beethoven's pastoral/storm, gorecki's sorrowful songs (the true stories behind the lyrics are wrenching) ..
I "grew up" (only figuratively) with Mahler in relation to his 1,2,4, and 6th symphonies. they are still my favorites. the others are still a little impenetrable to me but i'm still trying... (i do not respond well to bombastic, which would explain my dislike of wagner/etc.)
being a student of the piano my favorite works are keyboard works. Those who haven't should hear both books of the well-tempered klavier by Bach. (but don't be tempted to play them as background music, instead try to listen to every single note and where it goes.. it's overwhelming).. the preludes and fugues by Shostakovich are really great too. enjoy them as dessert if you get into the bach. I'll speak out in the minority and say that my favorite recording is by Vladamir Ashkenazy (in a smaller, more afforable, and better-recorded 2-disc edition).. the far more popular and acclaimed Wanda Landowska recordings are more expensive and though she knew the composer/etc., they're slightly overrated i think.
and i guess every piano student's best friends are the beethoven sonatas.. this is true! he wrote just over thirty but the range of expression is so varied that he expresses more in that amount than scarlatti (whom i admire) did in just over.. what, a million or so? but i must admit i have a hard time listening to the "moonlight" unless it's an intensely capable and professional pianist playing it... it's just too easy to slaughter (and i should know!).
i may have mentioned this early in the thread, or in another thread, but if you like the piano and are somewhat attuned to atonal music, please get a recording of Alban Berg's op. 1 piano sonata. sometimes the most compelling of atonal music (and i group all 12-tone/alternative tuning works into this term) is music that still retains a sense of what it means to be "tonal in the traditional sense" within the very same work. that way you can see the contrast.
listen to Alfred Schnittke's (K)ein Sommernachtstraum to get a very extreme sense of what I mean. it's a very humorous piece which takes an intensely lukewarm classical theme, pounds it into your head and then proceeds to ferociously tear it apart!
but if you want "straight atonal" (from the middle of the 20th-century school, that is), try out Schoenberg's Suite for Piano op. 25... now that's ferocity. i had to listen to this sort of music (which is very out of vogue now actually) for a long time before i got it. partly because i like melodies so much, and when you listen to music that has no melodies to remember (in the traditional sense) it's extremely hard to retain.
the most important thing about music is that we have certain memories and associations in our lives which accompany certain pieces.. that is ultimately what makes symphonyX or sonataY appealing to us... and beyond reproach actually. we need the stories of our lives to be the "program" to the music.. so in that way every piece is program music, in a sense. for example, if you listened to Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier in a thunderstorm while driving up the coast, then it will have that special association which sets it apart, even without the great story already in the music.
so to finish up my ramble, the pieces i have tried to integrate into my memory/life while in a vacuum (without any life going on around me) .. have never been retained in quite the same dramatic manner as those i learned when i was growing up, or which had special cirstumstances surrounding them...
I had beethoven's fourth piano concerto playing when i had my wisdom teeth out.. i fell asleep during the first movement and woke up during the third... and now whenever i hear it, i think (NO, not of intense tooth pain!) of that time of my life and how i went to the beach the next day and recovered without incident..!
oh, where was i?!! --
cheers! ~steve
 

Seth_S

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 12, 2001
Messages
335


Interesting. Those two Mahler Symphonies are my least favorite of his works. I find his writing in the 7th to be uninteresting, and no matter what conductors try to do, the banal bombastic finale is just totally out of place. As for the 8th, it strikes me as overblown. While it has its moments, it's just a lot of noise to me. Interestingly, in a recent BBC radio interview, Bernard Haitink went on a total rant about how much he loathes the 8th, calling it "a horrible pastiche", and saying that Philips forced him to record the 8th with Concertgebouw in the 70s so they would have a complete Mahler cycle from him and in their catalogue.

Anyway, I think that the 9th represents the summation of Mahler's style and career. For instance, the first movement has a tremendous sense of emotionally longing, and ranges from quiet, chamberesque moments, to full-blown tutties. The scherzo is easily Mahler's most ironic and grotesque one. Then there is the violent and fiery Rondo-Burleske where Mahler shows off how effortlessly he can dramatically change moods. Finally there is the finale where he peacefully accepts death, and at they very end has the music open up into eternity. The whole work contains his most vast range of textures, sounds and emotions. The ninth is my favorite along with the 5th and 6th.
 

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