The Furtwangler thing

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Light and Dark.

Of course not. That's why Beethoven's Fifth can make its mark even to the "ignorant or prejudiced". However, to comprehend and appreciate Furtwangler's way of conducting Beethoven's Ninth (for example) needs more than a mere listening from a second rate recording.

Parla

Igorance and prejudice are

Igorance and prejudice are one thing, cultural foundations quite another........

Perhaps you don't quite understand what is left when culture is removed. Perhaps you believe there is something innate in us all which responds to eighteenth century art.......

Cultural foundations and great Art.

I don't think I said anything against "cultural foundations" or about "removing culture"...However, when a five year old child or an illiterate African man can be moved by Mozart's 40th is something going beyond cultural foundations...

Parla

The Furtwangler thing

I'm surprised to read the lukewarm response to Furtwangler. I discovered his recordings in my youth (long ago) without prior knowledge of him and was immediately captivated by the sheer endless tension and intensity of the performances. I vividly remember first hearing the Schumann 4 recording by him, absolutely breathtaking! Furtwangler has an amazing ability to let the orchestra play freely (not to the beat like Toscanini) and thereby give an apparent spontaneity, the impression that the work was being created and crafted at that very moment of it being played. Karajan never came close, his polished performances had none of that. I guess you either like that way of music making or you don't. The two, Furtwangler and Karajan, couldn't be more different! Furtwangler's modern-era heir who continued that music making was Celibidache. 

 

My top Furtwangler recordings are probably the Schumann 4, Beethoven 6 & 9 (the latter from Bayreuth), the complete Meistersinger, Walküre and Tristan recordings. These all have remarkably good mono sound.

 

Apart from music-making, Furtwangler was of course active as a composer (some very fine pieces, eg the piano concerto) and as a writer of highly fascinating books about music. As a musicologist he was very interesting and I have certainly learned a lot from reading his books and conversations about music. 

Lukewarm?

Ganymede, thanks so much for your contribution. I think this is what I'm looking for, an explanation as to what is so captivating about Furtwangler's music making. Klemperer was obvious to me from my first recordings, Beethoven of course, and then some of the same qualities in Mozart, Bach, Brahms. In his autobiography, Und Dafur Wird Man Noch Bezahlt, Otto Strasser points to Furtwangler as the most influential music maker for the Vienna Phil - my surprise, that I couldn't hear it on those recordings. Schwarzkopf says the same thing in On and Off the Record,Of course, I'm not totally deaf, Furtwanglers Gran Partita I always found captivating. But he never gave me the aha experience. Schumann 4, for example, Szell has even more of the same intensity. Karajans grip on Meistersinger in 1951, I find vastly superior. 

 

And, Parla, I think the only think you need to appreciate music is your ears.

The ears thing.

I think, HMV, that if you think that the only thing you need to appreciate music is your ears, you ran the obvious risk to fail...since the limitations in the listening experience are enough and beyond our control, particularly if we talk about playback music and -most particularly- about music produced in times of mediocre or even inferior quality of recording music. However, it's your call. If you wish to rely on your ears, you have to be prepared for anything your ears...define and..."dictate". 

By the way, Ganymede's post was quite enlightening and informative. The man was a very influencial, quite respected and passionate conductor as well as a significant musician, composer and not only. If the poor recordings of his era can not do full justice to his Art, it is not he to blame.

Parla

??????

parla wrote:

I think, HMV, that if you think that the only thing you need to appreciate music is your ears, you ran the obvious risk to fail...

I am struggling to understand your position here, Para. You are saying that a seasoned listener of classical music cannot rely on his ears, but that:

parla wrote:

an illiterate African man can be moved by Mozart's 40th

.......?

?!?!?!

HMV mentioned that he relied only on his ears for appreciating (not simply enjoying or listening) music. What I pinpoint is that, particularly in playback music, it could easily be misleading to rely only on your ears with a view to appreciating the art of a performer, since what you hear is the result, first, of the engineer and the producer and, then, of the performer(s). A poor recording, cannot do any true justice to the actual performance, while a less impressive performance can be "enhanced" accordingly and sound much more pleasant, impressive etc. Even in live performances, we encounter similar problems based on the venue, the seat we managed to get etc. However, in the live ones there is the unique experience of the communication between the performer(s) and the audience, which makes a huge and almost defining difference vis a vis playback music.

As for the "illiterate African", he/she/they were simply "moved" by the work of Mozart. Besides, they listened to it in live performances and not from recordings.

Parla

SACDs in Rorke's Drift

parla wrote:

As for the "illiterate African", he/she/they were simply "moved" by the work of Mozart. Besides, they listened to it in live performances.......

That's a relief. I was beginning to think that this "illiterate African" had been subjected to a second-rate recording.

Removes the most stubborn stains, promotes hair growth .....

Claims made for the 'Mozart Effect' make interesting, often hilarious reading. I'd be curious to hear details of your particular reference, Parla. Place, time, K number, orchestra etc.? Cairns cites something similar in one of his books on Mozart's operas, except we're in the jungles of Brazil this time and using a gramophone.

Whatever, the amazing potential of the man's music has hardly begun to be tapped. There exists claims for the power of K448 to combat epilepsy and a German sewage treatment plant apparently plays his music to enhance waste breakdown. I'm off to give my current laundry load a dose of K491, help get those blueberry stains out of the tablecloth. 

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