Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#261  Postby SafeAsMilk » Apr 24, 2017 9:05 pm

Shrunk wrote:
SafeAsMilk wrote:Finally, FINALLY (been trying forever) making some headway with Beethoven via his sonatas. Many are still meh, but some are incredible. I never really got the hullabaloo about Beethoven. His symphonies just never did much for me, I know they're not really bland but they somehow feel that way to me. There's incredible moments, but they seem few and far between.


I thought I had all the recordings of Beethoven's sonatas I could need, but when I heard Ronald Brautigam's I had to add them to the collection. He plays fortepianos built to specifications of instruments used in Beethoven's time. Whether or not that is the reason, I find a clarity to his playing that I don't hear from other pianists.


Plenty of clarity, for sure. Really lays bare his quick little tempo slow-downs though, makes them sound like mistakes. Seeing as you've got a collection, which would you say are the best performances and recordings? I've got the Arrau and Brendel versions. I like a lot of the performance in the Arrau version, but the recording isn't great and there's an annoying clicking throughout. I like the Brendel performance and the recording is decent (some cloudiness could be fixed with EQ), but neither really seem like "the one".
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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#262  Postby archibald » Apr 25, 2017 7:52 am

SafeAsMilk wrote:Oh yes...Love that one. His Etudes and Nocturnes are my favorite.

I have this guy's version of Bach's French Suites which I'm sorta on the fence about (the playing, not the pieces). Does this one quite nicely though.


I''m not familiar enough with 'classical' music to have favourite players, unfortunately. I aspire to it, but I never get around to it.

I have my favourite pieces, and that's about it. :)

You mentioned the Well Tempered Clavier.....



and here's a jazzy version....

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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#263  Postby Shrunk » Apr 25, 2017 4:52 pm

SafeAsMilk wrote:Plenty of clarity, for sure. Really lays bare his quick little tempo slow-downs though, makes them sound like mistakes. Seeing as you've got a collection, which would you say are the best performances and recordings? I've got the Arrau and Brendel versions. I like a lot of the performance in the Arrau version, but the recording isn't great and there's an annoying clicking throughout. I like the Brendel performance and the recording is decent (some cloudiness could be fixed with EQ), but neither really seem like "the one".


I think Brendel recorded the cycle three times. I have what I believe is his 2nd (first digital) on Decca:

Image

He strikes me as a "safe choice": Technically assured, nothing too risky interpretively, he brings out LvB's humour more than other aspects.

I have Gulda's 2nd cycle from the 1960's on vinyl from Amadeo, but haven't really given it a good listen. That seems to be a favourite of many people.

Then there's Schnabel, of course, long the gold standard being the first integral cycle recorded. Obviously not up to current standards in terms of sound or playing technique, but performances you have to hear at least once. What I get from him is his integrity of concept e.g. on the Hammerklavier he takes the opening movement at a tempo he can't quite pull off, but that's how he hears it should go, so he's just going to do the best he can. The pay off comes in the slow movement, which couldn't be finer.

My favourite might by another classic set, Wilhelm Kempff's from the 1950's. It's in mono, but that doesn't detract to any significant degree. There's a later stereo cycle that doesn't seem to be as highly regarded. If I had to make a desert island choice, it'd probably be between Kempff or Brautigam.

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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#264  Postby SafeAsMilk » May 18, 2017 2:18 pm

Thanks for the recommendations, Archibald and Shrunk! I'll have to return to Beethoven later, I've been on a Domenico Scarlatti kick lately. 555 sonatas, holy shit! I actually think he's more innovative and ahead of his time than Bach if that's possible, but I'm a pleb so what do I know :tongue: I can find recordings of handfulls of his sonatas on piano by different artists, but nobody's done a complete set except for harpsichord players.

Which brings me to my rant about harpsichord guys...is there another section of classical music snobs that are more unnecessarily full of themselves? Every thread on every forum I go to looking for recommendations, there's always a couple of the "oh the only way to listen to this is on harpsichord, piano is so shitty" guys. Like, what the fuck are you talking about? Yeah I get it, that's all they had in baroque times and the pieces were written for them, and yeah the instrument's got its sound that makes you think of the period, but is there really any debate that harpsichord is an unambiguously inferior instrument to the piano? Half the recordings I hear sound like people stumbling through the performance because, since the instrument has no dynamics, you have to add these little delays for any kind of emphasis. No loud and quiet, no long and short sustain, no variation in tone. Faster pieces just sound like "plinka-plinka-plinka-plinka" for five minutes. I'm not saying the harpsichord can't be an enjoyable instrument, but seriously, what's with the superiority complex?

Anyway, Scarlatti's pretty much the only guy I've been able to enjoy on harpsichord so far. Tried going back to Bach on harpsichord, still don't like it. Richter's or Aschkenazy's WTC still kicks the shit out of any harpsi version I've heard. There's a Naxos series going through all the Scarlatti sonatas on piano that's maybe half way through the cycle, I'm hoping they'll eventually put them into an inexpensive box set because even though they're already cheap at 9 bucks, a complete cycle is something like 35 cds so that adds up.
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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#265  Postby SafeAsMilk » May 18, 2017 2:29 pm

archibald wrote:
I''m not familiar enough with 'classical' music to have favourite players, unfortunately. I aspire to it, but I never get around to it.

I have my favourite pieces, and that's about it. :)

It can definitely be tough when you have things like WTC that's 4+ hours by itself, let alone comparing versions! I've never really been much of a "favorite player" guy either, I mostly just want to find a decent version that sounds good (harder than you might think, there's some fantastic classical engineers out there but I'm amazed at how many recordings sound like they don't have a fucking clue what they're doing), isn't too generic and isn't too quirky -- I'm there to hear the composer's work first and foremost, after all. But lately, since this is all I've been listening to for most of a year by now, I've started finding certain names of popping up over and over again, which gives me the impression that I'm finding players that I like :)
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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#266  Postby SafeAsMilk » May 18, 2017 2:55 pm

Shrunk wrote:
I think Brendel recorded the cycle three times. I have what I believe is his 2nd (first digital) on Decca:

This is what I've read, unfortunately I don't see any way to differentiate between the versions I've seen available. I think the one you've mentioned is the one I see everywhere. I like Kempff's Schubert cycle, so maybe I'll give that a try.
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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#267  Postby Shrunk » May 24, 2017 12:36 am

SafeAsMilk wrote:Anyway, Scarlatti's pretty much the only guy I've been able to enjoy on harpsichord so far. Tried going back to Bach on harpsichord, still don't like it. Richter's or Aschkenazy's WTC still kicks the shit out of any harpsi version I've heard. There's a Naxos series going through all the Scarlatti sonatas on piano that's maybe half way through the cycle, I'm hoping they'll eventually put them into an inexpensive box set because even though they're already cheap at 9 bucks, a complete cycle is something like 35 cds so that adds up.


I love Scarlatti, too. Not least because, as a guitarist, his music translates quite well to the instrument. I'm working on K. 322 for my Grade 8 Royal Conservatory exam.

I note that Scott Ross' complete set on harpsichord is now selling for under US$60. Click that "Buy" button, now!

https://www.amazon.com/Scarlatti-Comple ... nskepti-20
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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#268  Postby SafeAsMilk » May 24, 2017 1:39 am

Shrunk wrote:
SafeAsMilk wrote:Anyway, Scarlatti's pretty much the only guy I've been able to enjoy on harpsichord so far. Tried going back to Bach on harpsichord, still don't like it. Richter's or Aschkenazy's WTC still kicks the shit out of any harpsi version I've heard. There's a Naxos series going through all the Scarlatti sonatas on piano that's maybe half way through the cycle, I'm hoping they'll eventually put them into an inexpensive box set because even though they're already cheap at 9 bucks, a complete cycle is something like 35 cds so that adds up.


I love Scarlatti, too. Not least because, as a guitarist, his music translates quite well to the instrument. I'm working on K. 322 for my Grade 8 Royal Conservatory exam.

I note that Scott Ross' complete set on harpsichord is now selling for under US$60. Click that "Buy" button, now!

https://www.amazon.com/Scarlatti-Comple ... nskepti-20

I'd been eyeballing that. Checked out a few other versions, but I like his harpsi sound best so far, even if there is all that low end noise. I have heard Scarlatti's great for guitar, I've got a few CD's of transcriptions on my list. I muchly like Kyuhee Park's playing of them.

Thanks for the recommendation for Kempff on Beethoven, by the way. I listened to some of the stereo set and enjoyed it (it's not especially stereo :lol: ), checked out the mono set and dug that too. It sounds pretty good for mono, the big sell is that great room sound. His playing of Beethoven makes the most sense to me of anyone so far -- his moonlight sonata is super intense! Just ordered.
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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#269  Postby Animavore » Oct 19, 2017 11:56 pm

I just found out this is a thing.

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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#270  Postby SafeAsMilk » Oct 20, 2017 12:22 am

When a tympani won't do :lol:
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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#271  Postby Animavore » Dec 04, 2017 1:46 pm

I was looking for a piece all weekend and I was using Google search words like "winter" and "Christmas" only to find that it isn't a Christmassy song at all.

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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#272  Postby SafeAsMilk » Jun 02, 2018 6:50 pm

Never thought I'd be into Beethoven on the clavichord, but there you go:



Didn't like second movement so much, but first and third are incredible.
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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#273  Postby Hermit » Jun 03, 2018 3:54 am

How the fuck have I missed this thread over all these years? Thanks, Thwoth. Thanks, everyone else who has contributed to it. You're helping me broaden my exposure beyond J.S..Bach, J.S..Bach and of course J.S..Bach.

A few weeks ago I stumbled across the music of Harry Partch via this piece:



The clip below explains some aspects of the 43 note scale he worked with, and the instruments he created.

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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#274  Postby Skinny Puppy » Jun 05, 2018 7:39 am

SafeAsMilk wrote:Never thought I'd be into Beethoven on the clavichord, but there you go:



Didn't like second movement so much, but first and third are incredible.


I'd never hear of him before so I looked him up. He interprets the 1st movement of Beethoven's 5th Symphony (transcribed by Liszt) using (apparently) the original metronome markings. I have the sheet music, but can't check it out right now. There's apparently some controversy as to its proper tempo.

I know that piece by heart having listened to it literally more times than I can count.

Originally I only had the Glenn Gould version of it on CD, then I bought the version by Konstantin Scherbakov. I now prefer Scherbakov over Gould.

I listened to Winters' version, but to be honest, it's painfully slow. The versions run as follows:

Gould = 5 min 56 sec
Scherbakov = 7 min 15 sec
Winters = 12 min 52 sec

Gould


Scherbakov


Winters
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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#275  Postby SafeAsMilk » Jun 06, 2018 4:58 am

Yeah, a lot of his stuff is way too slow for my taste. Could just be I'm used to a more brisk pace (big fan of Sviatoslav Richter ) but Wim did a prelude & fugue from Bach's WTC and I didn't even recognize it until almost a minute in. Just unbearable. Fortunately, he didn't do that with Pathetique.

In general his videos are really cool though, tons of info. Not sure why he doesn't have more subscribers.
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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#276  Postby Skinny Puppy » Jun 08, 2018 5:39 pm

SafeAsMilk wrote:Yeah, a lot of his stuff is way too slow for my taste. Could just be I'm used to a more brisk pace (big fan of Sviatoslav Richter ) but Wim did a prelude & fugue from Bach's WTC and I didn't even recognize it until almost a minute in. Just unbearable. Fortunately, he didn't do that with Pathetique.

In general his videos are really cool though, tons of info. Not sure why he doesn't have more subscribers.


I'm finding his interpretations to be very interesting and informative. He did a follow-up to the 5th a few days ago. I'm on my KIndle so I can't link to it, but I'll do that later.

I like Richter too. His Liszt Sonata in B is awesome!

I'm not familiar with Bach so all of his music is foreign to me. I should get around to it, but there,s just so much music out there, it can be hard to find the time.

Can you suggest a few pieces to get me started?
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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#277  Postby SafeAsMilk » Jun 08, 2018 6:24 pm

Man, that's tough! The thing that got me started was Richter's playing of The Well Tempered Clavier, which was a set of preludes and fugues in every key of the modern scale, which I understand was quite new at the time. If you can forgive the terrible sound (Richter apparently hated recording and didn't want the mics anywhere near him), I'd say try the first 7 preludes and fugues:



If you're a fan of Gould you may want to check out his rendition of the Well Tempered Clavier, it's a gold standard for many but not really my cup of tea. I do like his take on the partitas, though:



You can, of course, find Wim playing most of these on his period instruments. If you're looking for more of a group effort, I've been very much digging the Brandenburg Concertos lately:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ehbar90jHz8&t=3137s

I tried doing a Youtube link for this one, but it didn't work for some reason. Anyway, let me know if you're interested in more, but honestly I think Bach is one of those guys that once you've got the itch, it's all worth hearing!

I haven't listened to Richter's take on Liszt, or Liszt in general -- him and Brahms, though very different, have that kind of bashy thing going on that I haven't quite wrapped my head around yet :lol:
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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#278  Postby Skinny Puppy » Jun 08, 2018 10:44 pm

Here’s Winters’ follow-up post to his rendition of the 5th. He posted it just a couple of days ago. Very interesting to hear.



Thanks for the Bach starter kit. :cheers: I’ve heard of them by name, but never actually listened to them. I’ll start with them and let you know what I think of his music.

Here’s Richter’s Sonata in B. I don’t know if you can read sheet music or not, it’s included if you can. The sonata is very, very hard to understand upon 1st listening. Generally one has to listen to it 4-6 times to fully understand what Liszt was trying to convey with it. It’s an absolute masterpiece! It virtually takes you through every emotion one can think of. It was a colossal flop when Liszt wrote it and remained rather obscure for years. There’s a story (not sure if true or not) that Schuman took a young Brahms to meet Liszt and Liszt played this piece for Brahms… apparently Brahms fell asleep!



Probably the most overlooked composer is Charles Alkan. His music (and its difficulties) is on par with that of Liszt (he was a contemporary of Liszt’s, but did little to promote himself). It’s only been within the past 2 decades or so that pianists are now giving his music the credit that it deserves. His Opus 39 is in 12 parts.

1. Comme le Vent - 0:00
2. En rhytme Molossique - 4:06
3. Scherzo-diabolico - 12:23

- Symphony for solo piano -
4. First Movement - Allegro Moderato - 16:01
5. Second Movement - Marche funèbre (Andantino) - 26:47
6. Third Movement - Menuet - 32:40
7. Finale - Presto - 38:20

- Concerto for solo piano -
8. First Movement - Allegro Assai - 42:55
9. Second Movement - Adagio - 1:08:54
10. Third Movement - Allegretto alla barbaresca - 1:18:58

11. Overture (Maestoso-Lentement-Allegro) - 1:28:36
12. Le Festin d’Ésope - 1:41:15



The last piece, Le Festin d’Ésope is actually a set of variations. Jack Gibbons plays it to perfection.

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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#279  Postby SafeAsMilk » Jun 09, 2018 1:07 am

Thanks for those! I gave the Liszt a listen. I can read music enough to follow, but don't know a lot about theory and generally I don't get much out of how difficult something is to play. I enjoyed the quieter passages around 11 and 22 minutes, but the post-Beethoven bash the keyboard and running scales the full length of the piano parts don't do it for me :hide: It's part of why some of Chopin's stuff leaves me cold, but god those mellow passages in the nocturnes...



(sorry if I've posted this already :mrgreen: There's also a part in the middle that reminds me of Popol Vuh...)

Anyway, I'm looking forward to watching the Alkin vids, have always heard the name but don't know if I've heard anything yet!
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Re: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music

#280  Postby SafeAsMilk » Jun 09, 2018 1:20 am

Just went back and listened to the Brautigam Waldstein and it totally rocked me! I'll have to check out more :drunk:
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