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Hi all,

I also think Bernstein became a little less mannered and a better
interpreter as he grew older.  I saw him and the VPO in Washington in the
mid-1980s (Mozart 40, Mahler 4) and I enjoyed it much more than a lot of
his NYPO recordings, which I thought tended toward "too much Bernstein, not
enough composer".

Gene

On Thu, May 8, 2014 at 9:37 AM, Mark Jenkins <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> I'm not a fan of his Haydn performances either, but I'll chime in on
> Bernstein and the VPO.  I saw him conduct them live in Chicago doing the
> Mozart 29th Symphony, and he also utilized his "look Ma no hands" approach
> for the whole first section of the work.  And, of course, the VPO really
> didn't need him to conduct them in Mozart, but he was absolutely brilliant
> at staying out of the way and letting them do what they do best.   Then,
> when it came to Shostakovich 7th and the CSO live a few years later, he was
> just as brilliant, but in the opposite manner.  Everyone knows his faults,
> and he had many of them, but he was probably one of the most exciting
> conductors to witness that I was fortunate to see live.
>
> Mark Jenkins
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
> [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Alex McGehee
> Sent: May-08-14 7:37 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mitrop[olous was Dora Labbette, Soprano with
> string quartette:
>
> Sorry for the delay, was working on deadline for another project. The
> Bernstein performances have been widely praised, held up as models, etc.,
> but I can't board that train. The string playing is sloppy, intonation
> questionable at times, especially in the "Paris" cycle. Now please don't
> ask me for specifics because I gave my sets away years ago. Unable to make
> the connection many others have made with the late Haydn symphonies
> conducted by Bernstein, I jotted down a few notes and was glad to have the
> empty shelf space open up. Sections in the outer movements were on occasion
> especially egregious for poor ensemble.
>
> My favorite Bernstein/Haydn performance is on YouTube (don't have the link
> but it's easy to find) where Bernstein uses only his facial gestures to
> conduct the VPO in the final movement of no. 88 in G major. It's a "look Ma
> no hands" moment of priceless peacock-ary, and of course the orchestra can
> play the piece superbly even with blindfolds on. Bernstein was truly a
> great man and he would have been the first to tell you so. I apologize in
> advance to his many fans for being a little harsh here, and on checking see
> that I still have his DG performances of 88 and 92.
>
> On May 6, 2014, at 5:33 PM, Carl Pultz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > Alex, I'm curious how you feel about Bernstein's Haydn performances.
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> > [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Alex McGehee
> > Sent: Tuesday, May 06, 2014 9:45 AM
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mitrop[olous was Dora Labbette, Soprano with
> > string
> > quartette:
> >
> > Hi guys,
> >
> > The Haydn literature is replete with spurious timpani parts and over
> > the years they've gained a large group of devotees, never mind that
> > Haydn never wrote them and had the resources available to do so. Maybe
> > Haydn played the drums and that would cool off this simmering musical
> > brew of yes-he-did, no-he-didn't continuo crowd led by James Webster of
> Cornell.
> >
> > The German authorities (who must be obeyed): at the Joseph Haydn
> > Institute in Köln, responsible for the complete edition of Haydn's
> > work that got underway in the late 1950's. Why it's taken so long I
> > can't go into detail here, but it's almost done, give or take another
> > seven years. A scholar there has laid down a serious argument for
> > several symphonies that don't really have high alt horns. I kind of
> > like the symphonies that way and so did H. C. Robbins Landon (he had a
> passion about them).
> >
> > The credo (within reason) must alway aim at the composer's original
> > intentions which do include later revisions and authorized
> > arrangements (like the flute and string instruments Johann Peter
> > Solomon wrote out from Haydn's symphony scores). I enjoy the playing
> > of the BPO with Karajan at times, but it's not Haydn. (And Landon
> > thought it the gold standard)The wind and string parts are all out of
> > balance and the timpani part (so important to Haydn when he actually
> > wrote one) has trouble getting through. I'm not a cat gut wing-nut,
> > just someone who likes these works served up with true balance and not
> > overly controlled with spot mics. And don't get me started on
> Harnoncourt. Yikes!
> >
> > Alex McGehee
>