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Everything posted by Ernee

  1. Sergiu Luca did record the set on a Baroque violin, but he had not come across the Seraphin until a few years after that. (I did hear him on that fiddle in Wigmore Hall, doing the whole cycle.) Can't remember what the other instrument was.
  2. The Boston Pops-ish suite that youth orchestras always drag out is lame. But the Symphonic Dances are pretty hot. Lots of material, and brilliantly focused.
  3. Put the Strad in a double case with a Sanctus Serafin. It will defer theft by looking to outsiders like a viola.
  4. Actually, it is comparable in many ways. Scotland and England have had the same monarch ever since James I/VI, and while they were once nominally separate kingdoms, Scotland signed the Act of Union in 1707, which allowed most of the money and responsibility to be sent down to Westminster in London. To the government of the now-United Kingdom. A bit of power has gone back north of the border recently, but there is still an element of the federalism (i.e., government divided between national and regional) that we have in the US. By which I mean that individual states have a certain amount of autonomy but surrendered most of the big stuff to Washington DC when they joined the United States. FWIW, I spend some time in the UK, and when people ask where I am from, I usually give them my state name if we've spoken long enough that they can guess I am American. Not because I am a secessionist, but it saves the second question that most informed people ask after you say you're from the US. (Travel tip: if anyone asks you what state you're from on the street in China, they're probably up to no good. There is probably a trade school for thieves and hookers where they teach how to say those words.)
  5. Back to topic, a little... I tried three or four Luis & Clark violins at the maker’s house once. One was pretty good. That said, it still offered little support for tone production. Especially on lower strings, you had to work for everything). If I really needed a carbon fiber instrument, that would have been a good choice, but it was overpriced vs a lot of wooden instruments. Bows are totally different. Cleveland Violins was selling a line from China for $500, and the best of those sound and behave remarkably well. JonPaul is another source people praise, although I haven’t done a direct comparison.
  6. The other question is who made the Lady Blunt? Two peas in a pod.
  7. One good use for ForScore-- or, at least iPad pros.
  8. Anyone looking for references, the appendix to this PhD thesis has some very good tables. Beethoven, Czerny, Moscheles. https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/files/54586757/FULL_TEXT.PDF Also of interest (potentially)-- marks for the late quartets by Karl Holz. He was Schuppanzigh's second violinist.
  9. True enough. But when we get direct advice from the composer, who was also one of the most gifted performers of his time, it is worth paying more attention than most people do. Here is an interesting illustration of benefits of doing with, and without heeding that particular instruction:
  10. And yet, Beethoven stated quite firmly that the only reason his 9th succeeded in Berlin was observation of the metronome marks. One can be faithful to tempo without being mechanical. And while the metronomic pulse might not be sufficient to communicate composer's intent, it does make possible a range of outcomes that will probably change if the tempo is changed. Brahms could be a bit-- flexible in his own performances, perhaps depending on his consumption of coffee or wine that day. And yet, his (deleted) marks for the German Requiem show completely different proportions and expression than what has become common now. One of the few to latch onto the original tempi without needing the numbers for reference was Anton Webern-- not a clueless interpreter. (And Webern was quite cognizant of rhetoric, and the use of rubato within a tempo category.)
  11. I haven't dug too deeply into the Hofmann research. Many reviewers do make similar points about Hamburg, and I don't know if they are all just taking his article as gospel or if other scholars have verified and expanded on those findings. It does seem odd, though, that the biggest port on the North Sea would not have a red-light district. And the presence of many laws against things like minors going into bars doesn't suggest that it was never a problem. Legislatures don't usually outlaw things that have never existed. Also, our own times should make it quite clear that lower-middle-class families with aspirations have many of their own insecurities. So for all of that, I will cut Swafford some slack. As to whether we can take literally that this was all the source of his problem with women, that is an interesting question. I am not inclined to be a revisionist here, but I suspect that somebody needs to have another crack at the argument.
  12. He got raked over the coals (somewhat unjustly, perhaps) for his early insistence on the Brahms family's poverty. If you search around, you may find a dialogue in the press about that. I gather he made some amendments to the second edition without admitting that it was a great idea. Otherwise, that was a very good read, even if (I believe-- not sure) he was relying a lot on published texts and not so much using primary sources. And while there was a lot of interest in the Beethoven biography, he let slip in a completely lazy and ignorant remark about LvB's interest in the metronome. When I saw him personally and asked him about that, he went into some incoherent rant about recent recordings of the B-Minor Mass that he hated. A pity-- he had some interesting perspective on the importance of Bonn, which is often glided over. And he had great empathy for Beethoven's marketing of himself as a composer.
  13. Interesting. Swafford has a really mixed record on his scholarship, IMO. But his best writing is very perceptive, largely due to his own career path as a composer.
  14. Marcia Davenport (OK-- not a pro, but the daughter of Alma Gluck) raved about the whole opera. But largely because Gustav Mahler conducted it at the Met. Eons ago, I saw Jon Vickers sing in it. I think that production is available on DVD from the Met, assuming they will touch anything with Levine's name on it now. Oh, and that Czech Philharmonic performance of the Overture is fantastic. I'd done some of the dances, I think, back in youth orchestra. But the Overture is several steps above, and they really nail it.
  15. Obviously, context counts. Acoustic space, quality of instruments, etc. Nevertheless, it is most instructive that when they had to put down numbers for a Mozart quartet or arrangement of Haydn symphony, they chose almost identical ones. Whether you think the minuet should be literally at 60 for dotted half notes for the entire movement is another question. But they had much the same notion of what was correct in their heads. And one of them, at least, knew the composer.
  16. Not only did they have preferences, but they passed them down. Hummel and Czerny each arranged or edited many of their works, and while doing so, they listed metronome marks that were largely identical to each other. So there was, at least a few decades after their deaths, at least one "right" way that was agreed upon by pupils and people in their circle.
  17. It's a curious business. I was just in the car for an hour and a half, and managed to catch, among other things, the 2nd Symphony by Mehul, followed by the horn/string quartet Serenade by LvB. If found in a library with no other information, the latter would almost certainly be found less interesting than the former. And yet, Mehul is completely forgotten today. One project I am picking away at is music of Florence Price. I really love the sound of her second string quartet. It's one of the best things of hers I have heard, and the sort of thing that Dvorak might happily have written if he were a black American. His own Op 96 actually offers something of a model for it. But as to how GOOD it is? Still working on that.
  18. No-- not that sort of syncopation. More of a dislocation of the line. The closing statement of the first movement of Op 74 is one example. The last time around is in bar 246. It is also an example of LvB's messing with semitones to adjust your sense of the pulse-- the a-flat and the g in this case.
  19. While we can never go back in toto to the composer's day, much less into his/her head, there are imaginative leaps one can make to close the gap. One thing I find helpful for Beethoven, for example, is to remember that a huge amount of his composition was based on the piano. Not that he necessarily needed it to hear what he was writing for other instruments, but much of his life was spent at keyboards in salons where you had to be assertive, and tickle their fancy of intelligent listeners by going just beyond what they were expecting. Creating the same effect today entails knowing what would have been their expectation-- of Beethoven, his predecessors, or his more conventional peers. Only then, when appropriate, one can emphasize the slight oddities to see what new things he was bringing to the party. A lot of LvB's music, for example, places accents on the second beat of the bar, and plays with semi-tones rocking back and forth. He does this in symphonies, piano concertos, and quartets. But if we're to make it come alive, we have to go past what is in our record collection and remember that he was the dude who would have tried out all of this on the piano, among friends, colleagues, and competitors. How did he grab their attention? And how did he keep it?
  20. I actually heard boos for the director at a Met premiere some 20 years ago. Trovatore, I think, with some genuinely silly ideas attached. It takes a lot to get the Met crowd worked up. At La Scala, complaining about opera is its own spectator sport. That said, I would not support the same treatment to Ms PK. She's got a good handle on the rhetoric of the concerto, and delivers her understanding of it most convincingly. I don't think one would say the same of every one of her performances, but she has done some remarkable work. As I said earlier, she has latched on to some older central/eastern European styles, and has found ways to make them quite relevant to Tchaikovsky.
  21. On a completely different line of reasoning, I like Andrew Manze's version (senza continuo). But the above post is quite delightful and I am glad to have discovered Leong.
  22. He has a few recordings on YouTube. Similar flavor on those I've tried.
  23. A while ago, I performed this with Denes Zsigmondy as the soloist. Much the same effect, and on the better of his two performances (he was quite old then, and exhausted on opening night), he wound up speaking directly to audience members in ways that someone doing the standard drill wouldn't have. I find in many places, this performance catches the spirit of the ballet quite beautifully. In other spots, it draws from a very old line of Hungarian playing. Not exactly what Joachim and Auer brought to their students, but was part of the background, I think. Anyway, thanks for posting this!
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