Search found 18494 matches

by John F
Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:37 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Norma Called the Everest of Opera
Replies: 17
Views: 123

Re: Norma Called the Everest of Opera

Another source (Opera News) claims she said that doing a single performance of Norma was harder work than singing all three Brünnhildes in a row. I wonder what she actually said, whether she meant it literally, and if so then what she meant by "harder work."
by John F
Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:03 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: English National Opera C.E.O. to Step Down
Replies: 2
Views: 25

Re: English National Opera C.E.O. to Step Down

Not interested. She wasn't hired for her opinions on artistic matters but to get ENO in better financial shape, which she has done at considerable cost to the company's artistic work. Now she's leaving after only two seasons. Good riddance.
by John F
Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:53 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Norma Called the Everest of Opera
Replies: 17
Views: 123

Re: Norma Called the Everest of Opera

I cannot explain it further, John. Sorry. We can throw all Bel Canto out the door with little loss, and of course Mozart wrote a number of masterpieces of opera, but only The Magic Flute is magic. Just the fact that he set a Protestant chorale, Ach Gott, von Himmel sie darein, near the end of the o...
by John F
Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:10 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120
Replies: 20
Views: 228

Re: Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120

Who says Brahms wrote this music with the intent of expressing his own personal anger about something or toward someone? I certainly didn't, and we couldn't know any such thing unless Brahms himself told us. What I am saying is that this music is emotionally expressive, very much so, and in my view ...
by John F
Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:57 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Schubert Piano Sonatas
Replies: 9
Views: 159

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

It's a total joy! Total. I have Richter playing this but the sound quality is so bad I hardly ever listen to it. Richter and others take the first movement at too moderato a pace for me and lay on too much rubato too early for this music. Ashkenazy doesn't over-interpret it in this way, and neither...
by John F
Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:23 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120
Replies: 20
Views: 228

Re: Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120

I'd say that "power of expression" can be a musical quality, as long as we're clear about what music does or can express. The philosopher Peter Kivy has gone into this in several books, and concludes that while musical expression can and often does entail what he calls the common and garden variety ...
by John F
Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:22 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120
Replies: 20
Views: 228

Re: Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120

I wonder what you think of this quote, which I've just turned up in Swafford: " In sheer ambition, tenacity of purpose, and power of expression , what Brahms achieved in the 44 minutes of the C Minor Symphony (No. 1) rivals Wagners' achievements in the 12 hours of The Ring "(p.412). I think it's no...
by John F
Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:08 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Norma Called the Everest of Opera
Replies: 17
Views: 123

Re: Norma Called the Everest of Opera

As I've posted before, an opera can be no greater than its music. That's a truism, isn't it? But it begs the question of what constitutes great operatic music, and how its greatness is to be measured. I won't debate your ranking "Magic Flute" so high, though I couldn't disagree more; you're entitle...
by John F
Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:34 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Norma Called the Everest of Opera
Replies: 17
Views: 123

Re: Norma Called the Everest of Opera

When Renata Scotto called Norma "the Everest of opera," she was talking about the role of Norma, not the opera as a whole, though the writer of the headline mistakenly added quotation marks. And she was speaking either out of ignorance of the operatic repertoire - there are, of course, far more chal...
by John F
Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:40 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: figaro gets a divorce
Replies: 1
Views: 55

Re: figaro gets a divorce

There's already been an opera with that title, "Figaro lässt sich scheiden," by Giselher Klebe, premiered in 1963 after which it sank out of sight. It was based on a 1936 play by Ödön von Horváth, whose fortunes outside Germany have been no better. Why Elena Langer (who I don't know) thought this wo...
by John F
Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:31 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Schubert Piano Sonatas
Replies: 9
Views: 159

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Most of Schubert's piano sonatas were hardly played at all in concert until after World War II, though a few important pianists such as Artur Schnabel took them up. Rachmaninoff said as late as the 1930s that he wasn't aware Schubert had written any piano sonatas at all. Those who play Schubert nowa...
by John F
Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:11 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Dinu Lipatti Collection on Hanssler 12 CDs
Replies: 1
Views: 73

Re: Dinu Lipatti Collection on Hanssler 12 CDs

For what it's worth, here's as much repertoire info as Hänssler has put on the box: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71pye3A1p0L._SL1200_.jpg I can't tell from this whether there's anything I don't already have, and I've tried to get all there is. All the EMI studio recordings and th...
by John F
Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:42 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120
Replies: 20
Views: 228

Re: Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120

The Diabelli Variations are anything but comic. If one wants comic from Beethoven, who was capable of it, there is this much earlier set. Obviously the Diabelli Variations aren't a laff riot from beginning to end, but I agree with Brendel that the piece is essentially comic, in the sense that "Le N...
by John F
Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:48 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Dame Kiri retires
Replies: 24
Views: 417

Re: Dame Kiri retires

Typical American arrogance. No need to be rude about a genuine world competition when you have your own world series which features America, America and occasionally Canada. Look, I know about rugby football from the inside, having spent a year at a grammar school in Leeds where rugger was the main...
by John F
Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:23 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120
Replies: 20
Views: 228

Re: Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120

Alfred Brendel says the Diabelli Variations are essentially comic, and his performances reflect this view, from the way he plays the theme onward. In a Carnegie Hall talk he said he has an image in his mind before playing each variation to focus its character; the first variation, for him the march ...
by John F
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:55 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Dame Kiri retires
Replies: 24
Views: 417

Re: Dame Kiri retires

And I forgot Ernest Newman, also of the Manchester Guardian, who was the doyen of English music critics in his time.
by John F
Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:51 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: The Legend Of Faust
Replies: 13
Views: 358

Re: The Legend Of Faust

I'd say Berlioz and Boito come closer.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwupWUI-9Ps
by John F
Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:41 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: brenda lewis
Replies: 15
Views: 263

Re: brenda lewis

As I remember, Schreier's voice was pretty nasal, and while he kept getting cast in Mozart, no doubt because his voice wasn't up to anything heavier, I didn't care for what I was hearing. But when he sang the Evangelist in the Matthew Passion (New York Philharmonic, Kurt Masur), he was the most vivi...
by John F
Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:32 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Dame Kiri retires
Replies: 24
Views: 417

Re: Dame Kiri retires

The Guardian, previously the Manchester Guardian, used to have good writers about classical music - Edward Greenfield, Neville Cardus, Philip Hope-Wallace. But since Greenfield retired in '93, I don't know who they've got. Nobody much, it seems.
by John F
Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:45 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Dame Kiri retires
Replies: 24
Views: 417

Re: Dame Kiri retires

I thought she'd sung her last somewhat more than a year ago, certainly hadn't heard anything from her or about her for some time, but there it is. No doubt predictably, the Guardian's story is parochial about her rise to fame. It does not mention her breakthrough Metropolitan Opera debut in 1974, wh...
by John F
Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:33 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Exhibitions: Bernstein, Toscanini, Nutcracker
Replies: 1
Views: 94

Exhibitions: Bernstein, Toscanini, Nutcracker

In the next few months, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts will open three major exhibitions of possible interest here. Starting October 26, it will be "Winter Wonderland: George Balanchine's The Nutcracker ." This has been a Christmas-time perennial in New York for many decades; it...
by John F
Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:30 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Gould-berg Variations Madness
Replies: 10
Views: 252

Re: Gould-berg Variations Madness

jserraglio wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 6:53 pm
Why should listeners not be obsessed with the Gouldbergs since the artist clearly was mad about the Goldbergs?
Why should listeners be obsessed with Glenn Gould? When he evidently couldn't make up his mind how to play the piece.
by John F
Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:01 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Gould-berg Variations Madness
Replies: 10
Views: 252

Re: Gould-berg Variations Madness

Good heavens! For Glenn Gould obsessives only, and I'm definitely not one of them.
by John F
Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:23 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Maria Callas: on the 40th Anniversary of her death (16 September 1977)
Replies: 5
Views: 164

Re: Maria Callas: on the 40th Anniversary of her death (16 September 1977)

I would have thought the "original tapes" are in the archives of Radio Italiana, the original broadcaster of all these performances; if so, that would be the best source. But even if so, I doubt they would have given the tapes to Warner for free, any more than that Brazilian doctor.
by John F
Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:07 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: brenda lewis
Replies: 15
Views: 263

Re: brenda lewis

There was another diva with a ridiculous American name who adopted the completely fabricated name Alexandra Mark. I can't remember the details. Maybe you, John F, or Lenny can. That's Alessandra Marc. I wasn't aware that she had any other name, but I've looked her up in Wikipedia and it says she wa...
by John F
Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:43 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Anyone Know What This Piece Is
Replies: 4
Views: 171

Re: Anyone Know What This Piece Is

Trust me, the music in your clip is what I said it is. I'll leave it to you to find it in the Venusberg bacchanale music if you want to. No need to be embarrassed - that music is in a more advanced style than the overture (it was composed later) and many performances and recordings don't include it,...
by John F
Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:53 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Former Paris Opera czar dies
Replies: 2
Views: 159

Re: Former Paris Opera czar dies

As the story says, Bergé was best known for firing Daniel Barenboim as the music director at the newly built Opéra-Bastille, six months before it opened and before Barenboim had conducted a note of music there. Barenboim planned a measured start-up in the new house with the newly organized orchestra...
by John F
Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:40 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Anyone Know What This Piece Is
Replies: 4
Views: 171

Re: Anyone Know What This Piece Is

It's from the overture and Venusberg bacchanale that Wagner wrote for the Paris production of "Tannhäuser." Strange music for viewing a sedate Connecticut garden, or maybe there was more going on up there than the video shows? :)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9CmUMb02QI
by John F
Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:09 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Peter Hall RIP
Replies: 1
Views: 170

Re: Peter Hall RIP

When Georg Solti agreed to conduct the Ring cycle at Bayreuth, he chose Peter Hall as the stage director, based on their collaboration at Covent Garden. Perhaps the most important of these was the British premiere of Schoenberg's "Moses und Aron"; among other features was the use of striptease dance...
by John F
Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:53 pm
Forum: Corner Pub
Topic: Peter Hall RIP
Replies: 4
Views: 112

Re: Peter Hall RIP

If you look at the actual listings, you'll see that almost none of those "hits" are for Peter Hall. Many are for the costume designer Peter J. Hall and for other Peters such as Peter Brook. Hall's only Met productions were Verdi's Macbeth, which nobody liked and didn't last long, and Bizet's Carmen,...
by John F
Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:23 am
Forum: Corner Pub
Topic: Peter Hall RIP
Replies: 4
Views: 112

Re: Peter Hall RIP

Peter Hall was mainly a theatre director - a founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company - so he belongs in both places. He did a fair amount of opera, but wasn't nearly as good at it as with spoken drama, from Shakespeare to Harold Pinter. The last of his productions that I saw was "Waiting for Godot"...
by John F
Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:49 am
Forum: Films & Movies & Their Music
Topic: Jerry Lewis and the French
Replies: 14
Views: 862

Re: Jerry Lewis and the French

I think Poe is one of our great writers. For me his stories are marvelous imaginative achievements. Dubious claims by the literati aside, English teachers not presumptuous enough to steer students into the narrow stalls of handpicked good authors are to be commended. Including those who steer stude...
by John F
Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:27 am
Forum: Films & Movies & Their Music
Topic: Jerry Lewis and the French
Replies: 14
Views: 862

Re: Jerry Lewis and the French

What a perfect setup for one of my favorite ridiculous records: a recitation of "The Raven" by the Australian baritone Percy Hemus, with piano accompaniment - yes! - by Gladys Craven, rhymes with "raven." The YouTube clip is provided by another oddball who calls himself the Colonel and shows the 78 ...
by John F
Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:52 pm
Forum: Corner Pub
Topic: The "original" Sound of Music
Replies: 5
Views: 163

Re: The "original" Sound of Music

I suppose it had to happen. :roll:
by John F
Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:44 am
Forum: Corner Pub
Topic: The "original" Sound of Music
Replies: 5
Views: 163

Re: The "original" Sound of Music

I've just found out that Franz Wasner, the bass and conductor, was originally the Trapps' priest and acted as their musical advisor, arranger, etc. for over 20 years, beginning before they left Austria. He was a composer too. The family ensemble may well have begun with folksongs but when they went ...
by John F
Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:07 pm
Forum: Corner Pub
Topic: The "original" Sound of Music
Replies: 5
Views: 163

Re: The "original" Sound of Music

When I was 8 years old, the Trapp Family came to Lancaster for a Christmas concert, probably in the Community Concert series. They were: Agatha Trapp, Elonor Trapp, first sopranos Maria Trapp, second soprano Mailina Trapp, Hedwig Trapp, first altos Mailina Augusta Trapp, second alto Werner Trapp, te...
by John F
Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:05 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: ‘La Fanciulla del West’ at New York City Opera
Replies: 6
Views: 187

Re: ‘La Fanciulla del West’ at New York City Opera

You can play "Suor Angelica" all you like, as long as I can't hear it. :mrgreen:
by John F
Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:15 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: The more I hear the classical clarinet ...
Replies: 25
Views: 755

Re: The more I hear the classical clarinet ...

We haven't forgotten Richard Stoltzman, for sure; at least two of us have mentioned him in this thread. I wonder how he's been able to make ends meet through solo gigs and record royalties alone. A unique playing style is not necessarily a bar to playing in an orchestra; Reginald Kell was Beecham's ...
by John F
Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:08 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: ‘La Fanciulla del West’ at New York City Opera
Replies: 6
Views: 187

Re: ‘La Fanciulla del West’ at New York City Opera

"Tosca" takes place in Rome. As for "Trittico," I'd say that while "Suor Angelica" is musically below par for Puccini, and needs a great singing actress like Teresa Stratas to save it from shameless sentimentality, "Gianni Schicchi" scores high. Like Verdi, Puccini had an unsuspected gift for comic ...
by John F
Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:18 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?
Replies: 3748
Views: 237319

Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Yuri Bashmet has been an unappreciated star in my firmament for some years now. Not in mine! I've long thought he's the finest violist alive, and the performances and recordings I've heard from him have only increased my admiration. As a conductor I think he's less special. _-BrOGirXh4 https://www....
by John F
Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:56 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: The Legend Of Faust
Replies: 13
Views: 358

Re: The Legend Of Faust

The president of Harvard University is named Drew Faust. No musical connection there that I'm aware of...
by John F
Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:46 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: A Fall Season of Debuts, Returns and Farewells
Replies: 2
Views: 182

Re: A Fall Season of Debuts, Returns and Farewells

Seems a little sparse to me. Regards, Len It's intended to be. A complete listing of all operatic events of the coming season would completely fill the newspaper, and maybe a couple more issues besides. The most useful part of this article is the links to opera houses' web sites, where you can pres...
by John F
Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:39 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Surprising Work Performed by a Conductor
Replies: 10
Views: 428

Re: Surprising Work Performed by a Conductor

Mossolov's "Iron Foundry" conducted by Arturo Toscanini. He included it in two 1933 concerts with the New York Philharmonic. It wasn't broadcast so I'll never hear it.
by John F
Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:34 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: The Legend Of Faust
Replies: 13
Views: 358

Re: The Legend Of Faust

There are also works which aren't "settings of the Faust legend" but related, like Alkan's piano piece "Quasi-Faust." And still others with an allegorical relationship such as Stravinsky's "L'histoire du soldat," though its story is supposedly taken from a Russian folk tale. The answer is, "Many." M...
by John F
Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:15 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: The gigantic SERKIN box is here!
Replies: 21
Views: 842

Re: The gigantic SERKIN box is here!

From the contents listing, this set includes many CDs that are nowhere near full - a waste of collectors' shelf space.
by John F
Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:00 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: NY Times Article Oliver Mears
Replies: 2
Views: 195

Re: NY Times Article Oliver Mears

I'd say that is a very weak appointment, despite the attempts to justify it reported in the article. The director of the Royal Opera has to attract the world's top-flight singers, conductors, and stage directors to the house, and most of them will never have heard of him, or think much of his track ...
by John F
Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:30 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?
Replies: 3748
Views: 237319

Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Boult's 1954 recording of "Job," with the London Philharmonic in mono for Decca/London, was said to have been made in the presence of the composer, if I remember rightly. (If that matters.)
by John F
Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:26 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: The gigantic SERKIN box is here!
Replies: 21
Views: 842

Re: The gigantic SERKIN box is here!

I remember those reissues. In a way, offering Reiner and the Pittsburgh Symphony at cut price might have been thought in Columbia's back rooms as a way to devalue them in the market, now that they were making new recordings for rival labels. But that's unknowable.
by John F
Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:21 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Beethoven's 32: Stephen Kovacevich
Replies: 8
Views: 383

Re: Beethoven's 32: Stephen Kovacevich

I've some of his recordings as Stephen Bishop, mainly concertos with Colin Davis but also Beethoven Sonatas 30 and 31 as recorded in the '60s by EMI. Very lyrical playing, I like it very much. Whether he still plays that way, I've no idea; Murray Perahia's style became more assertive and virtuosic i...
by John F
Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:11 pm
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: There is no excuse for untuned pianos on discs!
Replies: 1
Views: 212

Re: There is no excuse for untuned pianos on discs!

Especially in her later years, Birgit Nilsson did have a tendency to sing sharp. (Unusual - most singers as they age tend to go flat.) As for pianos, Lance's ear is much better than mine, and the only recordings that make me cringe in that respect are some of Sofronitsky's live performances in the S...