Disappointing master pieces?

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RE: Disappointing master pieces?

You can hear part of 'Se Solen Sjunker', the folk song that Schubert borrowed here: http://www.classicalarchives.com/work/482227.html . But listening to this only emphasises the alchemical process Schubert managed in turning this basic material in golden music.

RE: Disappointing master pieces?

Arbutus wrote:

listening to this only emphasises the alchemical process Schubert managed in turning this basic material in golden music.

Indeed.

RE: Disappointing master pieces?

Thanks for the welcome back, Parla!

I've been thinking further about this fascination with the 'sacrosanct' nature of the scores of the great masters. As I suggested above this view was prominent amongst older teachers and older text books, but surprisingly this view went hand in hand with performances where conductors and others took great liberties with the scoring (and more) of these texts. Nowadays the situation seems to have been reversed: urtexts have become an obsession, but on the other hand critics and commentators are much more willing to criticise even major works of the great masters.  An odd paradox.

For example i've been reading reviews of many of the Prom concerts and many of them write as much about problems of the music (Bruckner, Shostakovich, Brahms, all should have done differently) as about the performances - whilst at the same time complaining about any deviations from the urtext!

Strange.

Chris

Chris A.Gnostic

RE: Disappointing master pieces?

Chris, what at least my professors and current friends, who are professional musicians (both in Orchestras and in Chamber Music), taught me is that one (whether musician or audience) may wonder (question) why the composer wanted this development or this recapitulation or this coda instead of another but he/she cannot come to the conclusion that the composer's choice was wrong. As one of of my friends said, the composition is a journey where the composer wishes us to follow a certain but specific route. Any deviation of this route will never take us to the destination. As also Bernstein stated, Classical Music is precise Music (it has to be played and listened as it was precisely written).

As for the riddling Finale of Chopin's "Funeral March" Sonata, a Pianist-friend claimed that Chopin, after having had explored in the previous movements some large scale forms of Piano writing, he chose to finish with a short moto perpetuo Etude. For him, the two great Sonatas by Chopin are superb statements for and of the instrument he served all his life rather than a narrative of great ideas or specific notions.

Camaron, I don't have any problem with Brahms' Op.8, particularly in his revised mature form. I do believe, however, that his earlier version is more than one can bear. It never reaches the level and musicality of the two unique Schubert's long Piano Trios and the equally long but brilliant "Archduke" Trio by Beethoven. That's why nearly all the performances and recordings resort to the revised, mature and making perfect sense version.

I don't know what you mean with a "more accessible" recording of the "original" trio. This very recent one, on Audite, is performed brilliantly and is recorded at a demonstration quality. It will not be a bad idea even if you have to purchase it. I never resort, for listening experience, to sources like Youtube or Spotify etc. So, I can tell you that only the Trio Parnassus (on MDG) and the Trio Abegg (on Tacet) have recorded it as well. Both are quite older recordings and I have no idea whether they are "more accessible" in the net.

Parla

RE: Disappointing master pieces?

Parla,

By accessible meant, not in SACD format, which Iḿ not familiar with and don't even know if it can be played on a normal cd player.

You didn’t answer my question though: what issue do you find with the finale from Brahms’ trio?

Did you mean that you didn’t like the original version that Brahms went on to transform or is it the final version you referred to? I personally have always referred to final version, which I assumed is what people listened to these days.

 

Chris,

That’s an interesting point. I personally think that the Romantics have a lot to answer for, and this towering figure of the Genius, Creator, Artist, Individual against Destiny, etc is not one of their finest moment: Human, all too human, borrowing from Nietzsche.

On the other hand, when you start focusing on the score as a text, you immediately are going to confront the historical production of such text: corrections by the composer, influences of the editors, disparities among different editions and so on; soon enough this sacrosanct text is going to start showing undefined lines and pretty big cracks in its unity.  So this is all very human too and the “religious” idea of the Untouchable and Timeless work of art gets pretty much blown away. No wonder that at this point people might start thinking things like: too much rhetorical development here, too little contrast there, and so on.

33lp,

Very nice excuse to re-listen to the whole sonata by Chopin. Personally, the impression this last movement gives me is that of a big question mark, in the sense that this was fully intended by Chopin.

RE: Disappointing master pieces?

The Gould Piano Trio recorded BOTH versions of the Brahms Op 8 trio in their 2009 3-CD box of the complete Brahms Trios on Quartz - which was well received by the British critics.

I also have a 2005 recording of the 'original' version' of Op 8 on a 2005 Ars Musici CD from the Trio Jean Paul (coupled with Steuermann's piano trio arrangement of Schoenberg's 'Verlaerte Nacht').

Alan

 

 

 

 

Alan C

RE: Disappointing master pieces?

Camaron, The Trio Testore, on Audite SACD, provide a very powerful, convincing and impressively recorded account of the Piano Trios by Brahms. Checking the actual copy I have, there is no indication whether it can be played on a "normal" CD player, but, normally, almost all the SACDs can be played on most of the CD players. If you like, you may visit and contact Audite at www.audite.de

Alan provided two more alternatives to the two I already gave you, namely the Trio Parnassus, on MDG, and the Trio Abegg, on Tacet. I have the last two, but I clearly prefer the Trio Testore. However, if you prefer one of the other four "normal CD" format recordings, I believe the Trio Gould (which I have in other Piano Trios and they sound fine but not that convincing, while their recordings in Quartz are not that impressive) can be obtainable, since their recording is more recent than the other three.

As I tried to explain, I have problem with the prolixity of the "first" version (not the "original", as you call it). The "second" and final one is a much more tight, mature and meaningful work, despite its difficulties with the odd key of B major, as the home key, and the use of it in all four movements (the first and third in major and the second and the fourth in the minor)! The Finale has "suffered" from quite a few changes, indicating how problematic or difficult was even for the composer to conform it. Particularly, the use of the minor mode to close the work provide us with a rather ambivalent and boisterous resolution.

Finally, if you wish Brahms' greatest statement of his Piano Trios, try the one in C major, Op.87. That is one of the supreme examples of some of the finest Chamber Music works.

Parla

 

RE: Disappointing master pieces?

..."sound better" in which way? Musically, technically?..

Please elaborate.

Parla

RE: Disappointing master pieces?

So, the big deal is a "better cadential potential". Well, you may print another new edition of a great deal of Classic masterworks with some "better potential" notes. However, the issue is that the composer wanted to create his own narrative, even if it might have some "weak" or "less effective" notes, rhythms, harmony etc., and this is that counts.

Parla

RE: Disappointing master pieces?

We have to accept the works of past composers as they have been given to us.  They are beautiful for all of their facets, including any imperfections that might be pointed out and, as they are the product of one person's inspiration and endeavours, they stand as a complete statement with no need for modification.

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