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ARSCLIST  September 2014

ARSCLIST September 2014

Subject:

Re: Records Ruin the Landscape

From:

Dave Burnham <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 25 Sep 2014 03:39:55 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (339 lines)

Dresden. I'm pretty sure I first had them on RCA LPs but they're on Eurodisc CDs. 

db

Sent from my iPhone

> On Sep 24, 2014, at 11:01 PM, John Haley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Hi, Dave.  There seem to be at least three Brahms Symphony cycles recorded
> by Sanderling--with Staatskapelle Dresden, Berlin Symphony and
> Philharmonia/London Philharmonia.  Which one are you referring to?
> 
> Thanks,
> John
> 
> 
>> On Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 9:32 PM, Dave Burnham <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>> I would love to hear your reaction. Anyone I've played it for has been
>> genuinely overwhelmed by it.
>> 
>> db
>> 
>> Sent from my iPhone
>> 
>>> On Sep 24, 2014, at 12:06 AM, John Haley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> 
>>> Thanks, Dave.  I guess I better hear that one (Sanderling's).  Sorry to
>> say
>>> that I haven't.
>>> 
>>> Best,
>>> John Haley
>>> 
>>>> On Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 4:11 PM, Dave Burnham <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> I don't think any Brahms cycle comes close to Kurt Sanderling's. This
>> set
>>>> is perfect in every way, including sound and performance. I can't even
>>>> think of what version would run a distant second.
>>>> 
>>>> db
>>>> 
>>>> Sent from my iPhone
>>>> 
>>>>> On Sep 23, 2014, at 12:41 PM, John Haley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>>> 
>>>>> Well, all the great conductors could be impatient with sloppy playing,
>>>> but
>>>>> that's not what happened as a routine matter with the world's great
>>>>> orchestras that Dorati conducted, and not even in very good regional
>>>>> orchestras like Dallas had.  All of the leading orchestras in that era
>>>> had
>>>>> no problem with delivering the goods and did not deserve abuse.  I have
>>>>> never heard anyone describe Dorati as "warm" and "liked."  Obviously he
>>>>> must have been very nice to the record company that was a major factor
>> in
>>>>> sustaining his career.
>>>>> 
>>>>> I also like Steinberg's Pittsburgh Brahms cycle, but Munch's Brahms
>>>>> symphonies (the RCA ones, not always the live ones) are also really
>>>> great,
>>>>> altho he never recorded the third symphony and there is no live one
>>>>> either.  Munch (who as a violinist had studied with Flesch had been
>>>>> Furtwangler's concertmaster) brought something of the sense of urgency
>>>> and
>>>>> orchestral phrasing to the Brahms Symphonies that we hear in great
>> older
>>>>> recordings, such as the superb Weingartner's, which can make "modern"
>>>>> recordings seem very pale by comparison, and RCA recorded Munch/BSO
>>>>> stunningly.  Reiner also "got it right" with Brahms, as he did with
>>>>> virtually everything he ever conducted.  His Brahms Third Symphony with
>>>> CSO
>>>>> is magnificent in every way.  And Walter's mono cycle with the NY Phil
>> is
>>>>> wonderful.  I guess everyone has favorites with staples like this.
>> With
>>>>> Dorati, things are correct but not inspired.  I never tire of the
>> Brahms
>>>>> symphonies.
>>>>> 
>>>>> Best,
>>>>> John Haley
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> On Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 11:48 AM, Tom Fine <
>> [log in to unmask]>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>> 
>>>>>> Hi John:
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Musicians who recieved Dorati's wrath, for sloppy playing or ill
>>>>>> preparation, tended to feed the "reports" of his alleged ill temper.
>> He
>>>>>> actually was a warm person, much liked by those who made recordings
>> with
>>>>>> him. He was also known to be generous and to take regional orchestras
>> to
>>>>>> very high levels of competence. I'm sure he battled hard with American
>>>>>> unions, and he got into quite a fight with unions and management when
>> he
>>>>>> was in Detroit late in his career. We very much disagree on his
>>>> recordings,
>>>>>> many of his are my favorites for various pieces (definitely at least
>>>> partly
>>>>>> a product of being brought up on those performances, but I have
>>>> listened to
>>>>>> the other "consensus favorites" for most works). He was interested in
>>>>>> making precise and exciting recordings, but less coldly precise than
>>>> Szell
>>>>>> (who I also like very much). Dorati, especially in his Mercury era,
>>>> rarely
>>>>>> turned out dull moments. His later work on Haydn, both the symphonies
>>>> and
>>>>>> the operas, is still considered "the canon." I find it interesting
>> that
>>>> he
>>>>>> was so good with Haydn but also with Stravinsky and Copland. I happen
>> to
>>>>>> agree that his Brahms cycle is OK but not great, to my taste. I'm not
>> a
>>>>>> huge fan of Brahms in the first place, so I'm picky. I think that's a
>>>> case
>>>>>> where the Szell treatment is quite good, but I really like what
>>>> Steinberg
>>>>>> did with Pittsburgh (again, probably because that's what I was brought
>>>> up
>>>>>> on), and also Solti/Chicago (which surprised me because I usually
>> don't
>>>>>> consider Solti "the best" at any symphonic recordings but never "the
>>>> worst"
>>>>>> -- Solti/Chicago also made a surpringly excellent "Rite of Spring"
>>>>>> recording, more furious than you'd ever expect). Anyway, Dorati was
>> very
>>>>>> much liked and admired by the Mercury team, despite the occasional
>>>> meltdown
>>>>>> when the orchestra wasn't getting it right. His approach to music
>>>> matched
>>>>>> their approach to recording (get it right, overcome all obstacles,
>> have
>>>> no
>>>>>> patience for sloppiness, do things boldly and with great intensity, be
>>>>>> ambitious and optimistic).
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "John Haley" <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>>> Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 10:47 AM
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Records Ruin the Landscape
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Re Tom's comments on Dorati.  Dorati was the conductor in Dallas for a
>>>>>>> while, and he left behind him there a reputation as a particularly
>>>> nasty
>>>>>>> character, personally, to work for or with, and I recall having seen
>>>>>>> elsewhere some comments that orchestral musicians generally disliked
>>>> him
>>>>>>> very much.  Of course he was not alone in that.  The Mercury CD's of
>>>> his
>>>>>>> Brahms Symphony cycle are all in stereo, and it is very good, not
>>>> great.
>>>>>>> Try as I might, I have never been able to "fall in love" with his
>>>> records.
>>>>>>> Extreme competence as a conductor, but not the heart that other great
>>>>>>> ones brought to the task, including the three other great Hungarians
>>>> who
>>>>>>> preceded him with leading conducting careers in the US, Reiner,
>> Ormandy
>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>> Szell, all of whom made greater records (musically) than Dorati.  I
>> am
>>>>>>> sure
>>>>>>> Dorati must have his great fans; I am just not one of them.
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> Best,
>>>>>>> John Haley
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> On Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 9:40 AM, Dennis Rooney <
>>>> [log in to unmask]>
>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> À propos the above comments, it was Doráti who conducted the MSO in
>> the
>>>>>>>> local premiere of Mahler's Third (I believe the year was 1953), but
>>>>>>>> Mitropoulos had earlier recorded the First and Ormandy did an
>>>> important
>>>>>>>> "Resurrection" there, recorded in concert by Victor in 1935. Steve
>>>>>>>> Smolian's recollection of academic opposition to Mahler is important
>>>> to
>>>>>>>> note; however, Mahler was played by the larger U.S. orchestras,
>>>>>>>> sporadically but regularly from the teens on. Ernst Kunwald led a
>>>>>>>> performance of the Third in Cincinnati (May Festival) in 1913.
>>>>>>>> Unquestionably, Mahler was a beneficiary of the long-playing record,
>>>> even
>>>>>>>> before stereo, with important recordings by Scherchen, Adler,
>> Rosbaud,
>>>>>>>> etc.
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> DDR
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> On Mon, Sep 22, 2014 at 2:24 PM, Tom Fine <
>>>> [log in to unmask]>
>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> Hi Don:
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> Mercury didn't adhere to any "standard canon of classical music"
>>>> except
>>>>>>>> in
>>>>>>>>> that Paray and Dorati both liked Beethoven and Dorati liked Brahms
>>>> and
>>>>>>>>> Tchaikovsky so those composers were well represented. Otherwise,
>>>> Dorati
>>>>>>>>> made plenty of records of Hungarian, Russian, Czech and other
>> Eastern
>>>>>>>>> European composers, plus an on-going series of well-received
>> American
>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>>> European modern-classical composers. Paray usually stuck to French
>>>>>>>> music
>>>>>>>>> and Romantic era classical. Hanson was all about modern American
>>>> music,
>>>>>>>> for
>>>>>>>>> the most part. Fennell was into a variety of things from marches to
>>>>>>>> "pops"
>>>>>>>>> to wind arrangements of symphonic music. None of this was "standard
>>>>>>>> canon,"
>>>>>>>>> and it was Mercury's main point of difference (note that there is
>>>> not a
>>>>>>>>> complete Beethoven cycle on Mercury Living Presence, never a 9th
>>>>>>>> recorded
>>>>>>>>> and no released stereo 4th or 8th; if I recall correctly one of
>>>>>>>> Dorati's
>>>>>>>>> Brahms symphonies was mono-only too). I would say the reason no
>>>> Mahler
>>>>>>>> was
>>>>>>>>> recorded was that none of Mercury's conductors or orchestras
>>>> performed
>>>>>>>> or
>>>>>>>>> advocated Mahler, the exception being Barbirolli (who was actually
>>>>>>>> under
>>>>>>>>> contract with Pye). It's also worth noting that Walter and
>> Bernstein
>>>>>>>>> started making well-received Mahler recordings in the "golden era"
>>>>>>>> (late
>>>>>>>>> mono/early stereo LP era). No sane record producer would spend very
>>>>>>>> many
>>>>>>>>> resources competing with Columbia's Bernstein publicity machine.
>>>>>>>> Columbia
>>>>>>>>> and RCA were much more obsessed with recording every note of every
>>>>>>>> piece
>>>>>>>>> from Beethoven to the 20th century, "standard canon" material,
>>>> usually
>>>>>>>> by
>>>>>>>>> multiple conductors and orchestras. Finally, it's worth noting that
>>>>>>>> Dorati
>>>>>>>>> brought forth a lot of new-to-recordings material from Tchaikovsky
>>>> like
>>>>>>>>> original scoring for the ballets, first recording of "1812" as it
>> was
>>>>>>>>> originally conceived, first recording of the complete Suites.
>> Dorati
>>>>>>>> also
>>>>>>>>> premiere-recorded several modern pieces. Hanson's recording tally
>> is
>>>>>>>> full
>>>>>>>>> of premieres by the very nature of his American Music Festivals.
>>>>>>>> Fennell
>>>>>>>>> hunted down original band music never recorded and not heard since
>>>> the
>>>>>>>>> original bands, including Confederate sheet music found in attics
>> for
>>>>>>>> "The
>>>>>>>>> Civil War" albums. None of this is "standard canon of classical
>>>> music"
>>>>>>>> by
>>>>>>>>> any stretch. Mercury buyers were not wanting the Reader's Digest
>>>> Guide
>>>>>>>> To
>>>>>>>>> Great Music, but Mercury made sure not to get so out there on every
>>>>>>>> release
>>>>>>>>> that they couldn't sell records. This was part of what doomed
>> Everest
>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>>>> too much stuff that no one had heard of, no matter how well
>> recorded.
>>>>>>>> The
>>>>>>>>> last thing they did, as they were in the midst of shutting down,
>> was
>>>> a
>>>>>>>>> mediocre Beethoven cycle with Krips.
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> To part of your point, it's doubtful that Mahler symphonies were
>>>> being
>>>>>>>>> performed out in places like Minneapolis or Detroit in that period,
>>>> or
>>>>>>>> that
>>>>>>>>> audiences were demanding it. But, I think if you checked concert
>>>>>>>> repertoire
>>>>>>>>> around the US, they were being performed here and there through the
>>>>>>>> years.
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Don Cox" <
>> [log in to unmask]>
>>>>>>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>>>>>> Sent: Monday, September 22, 2014 2:47 PM
>>>>>>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Records Ruin the Landscape
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> <snip>
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> There are no Mercury recordings of any of these (or of Mahler),
>> which
>>>>>>>>>> shows they were not in the standard canon of classical music in
>> the
>>>>>>>>>> 1950s.
>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>> Regards
>>>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>>>>> Don Cox
>>>>>>>>>> [log in to unmask]
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>>> 1006 Langer Way
>>>>>>>> Delray Beach, FL 33483
>>>>>>>> 212.874.9626
>> 

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