Beethoven symphonies

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Beethoven symphonies

Following the excellent article in this month's magazine, I listened to Norrington's First (on Spotify) and compared it to my Karajan version (my stand-by set) and ... enlightenment!  I'm looking forward to doing the same with each of the nine in turn.  Most interesting. 

In similar vein, that Touch Press iPad app I mentioned elsewhere, the Beethoven Ninth one, where you can switch between four DG versions at the tap of the screen, (as the score scrolls past below and screen insets show orchestra and conductor) is similarly revealing. 

I do find the technology amazing.  Using something call "Air Time" I can watch the iPad screen but send the sound to the audio system, getting the benefit of superb reproduction too. Great stuff - and a wonderful learning tool.

On to the Second

Michael McManus' feature in this month's magazine continues to delight and inform in equal measure.  Reading David Zinman on the Second, then hearing it (twice) on Spotify, was, to this listener, like hearing it afresh.  This, even more than Norrington's First, has compelled re-evaluation, and not a little restraint: I must buy his budget priced 1&2 (on Arte Nova, with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra)  but not his full set, because if this standard is maintained for the other seven, I shall fall into the "collector" trap.  But what an exciting journey of rediscovery this article has prompted.  Well done, GM! 

VicJayL wrote:

VicJayL wrote:

Michael McManus' feature in this month's magazine continues to delight and inform in equal measure.  Reading David Zinman on the Second, then hearing it (twice) on Spotify, was, to this listener, like hearing it afresh.  This, even more than Norrington's First, has compelled re-evaluation, and not a little restraint: I must buy his budget priced 1&2 (on Arte Nova, with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra)  but not his full set, because if this standard is maintained for the other seven, I shall fall into the "collector" trap.  But what an exciting journey of rediscovery this article has prompted.  Well done, GM!

Reading this makes me think again about the "collector trap". In this particular case - the symphonies of Beethoven - I think you really do need several decent sets. To think you have been stuck with Karajan all these years! Nothing wrong with Karajan (if you like that kind of thing) but there is so much to this music and you need other interpretations to bring this out. You say that hearing the Zinman was like hearing it afresh and that is exactly what happens when you "collect" versions of the great masterpieces. You get to hear it afresh as you grow older and try out new versions. If you were stuck with just Karajan, it would inevitably grow stale. Moreover, you would only have Karajan's view of the work; you would only hear what he wanted you to hear and notice what he wanted you to notice.

On the whole, as I have said, I think there are "dangers" in over-collecting, but here were are talking about the absolute peak of the repertoire. The real danger is getting stuck with one limiting, partial view of these monumental works.

Point taken, in full

Point taken, in full agreement, and with plastic poised Jane. 

Though Karajan's is my "home position" I do have, and listen to broadcast and live, other individual versions.  Of the Ninth I have Abbado, Klemperer, Gardener too, and two other BBC Mag cover discs; Kleiber's 5&7, and again, various BBC cover disc versions of the other 8, so I am aware of and appreciate variety of interpretation etc. as you describe.  It's the buying of full sets that I baulk at.

I have "collected" seven recommended versions of Saint Saens' Organ Symphony, have no settled preference for any one and enjoy each in its own way, never tiring of the piece at all.  Seven sets of the Beethoven symphonies would not only be financially prohibitive but a too potent reminder of time left to me to do them justice, given all the other stored music calling for my attention!

 

Fair enough. But if you are

Fair enough. But if you are worried about your "remaining" time, perhaps it would be better to get to know fewer works in depth, than many at a superficial level.........

As for prohibitive costs, I hardly ever buy anything anymore. I actually can't remember the last CD I bought. There are just so many more ways of getting these things - Spotify etc. Collecting, in terms of putting a box of CDs on my shelf, is really not something I do anymore. Nor, of course, is it something future generations will do. Thanks to the internet and digital forms of information, the concept of "ownership" and even "collection" is changing right before our eyes. Access is all that matters now.

"Access"...is really all that matters?

Jane, while I can fully subscribe to almost everything you wrote in your two last posts, I have to inform you that there is a (good) number of people who cannot possibly agree that "access is all that matters". In a thread, in the Audio section, called "the future of Classical Music", dealing with the future of how one can listen to Classical recordings, you can see that some seasoned and new members can see the difference between "access", storage, collection and ownership" in listening to existing recordings. Their reasoning is explained there quite well.

Having said that I can understand that, as long as someone is happy with "access" or "storage" only, there is no obvious reason to make him/her change his/her choice(s).

As for approaching Beethoven's Symphonies, your first post in this thread is perfectly articulated. The more you listen to different recordings the more you get deeper in these monumental works. We are also fortunate enough that, often, one can follow them in live concerts, since they are chosen to be included in quite a few programs of various Symphony Orchestras around the world.

Parla

Beethoven's Symphonies

parla wrote:

We are also fortunate enough that, often, one can follow them in live concerts, since they are chosen to be included in quite a few programs of various Symphony Orchestras around the world.

Parla

 

Really? Gosh, thanks for that.

 

 

Beethoven "live".

My point had to do with the fact that, apart from discs, one can rather easily follow these unique, in quite a few aspects, Symphonies in live performances too. That gives the added value to follow the details of form and instrumentation (at least) much better than in a mere recording (with some exception for the extremely well recorded discs, played in very good playback systems).

Parla

P.S.: Unfortunately, one has almost exclusively to rely on recordings in order to get to know and comprehend Haydn's Symphony no.73 or Mozart's 33 or Schubert's Second or even Bruckner's Second (picked up in random).

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