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Barber Violin Concerto


NickyWong

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Is Robert Gerle's recording available in an archive CD yet? I wince at the thought that the third movement has to be played faster to be better. The first recorded version (that I know of) wasn't as fast as today, but you could hear more of the notes that were on the paper. Pet peeve of mine- music isn't an Olympic event. If it's crystal clear with every note, fast is OK. If it all sails by as a blur, accurate or not, what's the point of the speed? That said, I think that the Tchaik. can take a beat-the-horses tempo easier than the Barber. JMO

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Pet peeve of mine- music isn't an Olympic event.


Amen! The "faster is better" approach to music is missing the point.

My favorite Barber is by Elmar Oliviera (this has been asked in the past and is probably in the archives somewhere). A very musical friend recommended Robert MacDuffie (not sure if that's how his name is spelled - sorry), but I haven't had time to check his recording out yet.

I haven't studied the Tchaik, and I studied the Bruch and Barber at different times in my life, but I'd say that the first two movements of the Barber were easier technically than the first movement of the Bruch -- maybe it's just that I felt more affinity with Barber than with Bruch. The last movement of the Barber was technically harder than the Bruch (for me anyway), but was musically easier (if that makes sense).

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Thanks for the recording suggestions! I'll look into it. I agree too that faster does not neccessarily equal better. However, with the criticism from the man who Barber is writing the concerto to complaining that the first two movement being too lyrical and not enough virtuosic, Barber did intend to make up by writing a much more technical challenging third movement, in which the virtuosic element is speed. Anyway, personally I find the third movement to be more exciting if it can be played at a even more break-neck tempo, of course anything played at this tempo without any musical sense will be just boring...like a static performance of Paganini's Moto Perpetual. (But I find the third movement of Barber to have so much more musical content compared to Paganini anyway, IMO).

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Is Robert Gerle's recording available in an archive CD yet? I wince at the thought that the third movement has to be played faster to be better.


As far as I know, it has not been transferred to CD yet.

As for the speed, Hahn is probably the fastest (among the recordings I have), though "faster the better" thing never really interests me much, no matter what the piece is. I feel that it is a sort of musical immaturity. I am far more interested in what musicians do in their respective tempi. Heifetz and Toscanini for example, tended to prefer faster tempi than others, but what they were capable of doing musically within their tempi were astonishing.

Back to Barber. My favorite is still the old Louis Kaufman recording. He plays (and I feel quite rightly so!) as if this was written by Korngold. He treats the concerto as a lush, late-Romantic concerto. His "singing" violin never fails to impress me, and his superbly applied glissandi are simply gorgeous to listen to.

T.

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Vieuxtempts, thanks for bringing Ysaye's quote to my knowlegde. Of course I understand playing everything faster does not always mean more virtuosic, but may I ask, do you think the Barber 3rd movement is virtuosic? Well I do. What makes it require great skill? The notes doesn't seem very difficult, IMO the prime virtuosic aspect is speed.

Anyway the first recording of the Barber I've heard was Hilary Hahn, and compared to Perlman's and Gil Shaham's, Hahn seems to me to be more livlier. JMO anyway.

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The main problem is NOT the speed issue first in this movment.

Have anyone of you that disagrees actully played this?

If it was just speed, most violinist play this triplets in 132-160/pr beat wheras a lot of pieces use a lot higher tempo and more notes a beat.

If you play the 3 movment in 150 bpm you play 7.5 notes/second (the triplets) and just a contrast, Heifetz plays Paganini's Moto Perpetuo in 208, an that makes 13.8 notes/sec. Almost twice the speed.

But I still claims that the Barber is harder. But not on behalf of the number of notes par second.

Anyone cares to disagree?

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Ann, I absolutely agree with your too. If a faster tempo compromises the quality of notes, it totally misses the point. Anyway when I was asking if there are any faster recordings of the Barber 3rd movement, I had in mind that artists that were privileged to record it in an album will have excellent technique and not ruin it by playing it show off-y quick tempo with a bad sound.

Er, Fiolmattias, pardon me, I don't really understand your point...Isn't the tempo marking of the Barber 3rd movement 198 = quarter note?

Oh, and speaking of Heifetz and his predilection of playing things fast, did he ever record the Barber?

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