Search found 570 matches

by Istvan
Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:09 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Comparing Goldbergs
Replies: 63
Views: 7882

Re: Comparing Goldbergs

Murray Perahia without hesitation. Gould is far too slow at the start and this gets one off on a wrong footing. I find Perahia in general more flowing and lyrical, his sound more beautiful and his playing has greater profundity and sense of timelessness. Gould got nearer to this in a performance at...
by Istvan
Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:02 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Igor Great News
Replies: 8
Views: 1317

Re: Igor Great News

"Astrology" is definitely a misprint for "astronomy" in Varèse's case - see "Arcana", for instance.
by Istvan
Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:30 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Solti - The Ring Cycle - Deluxe Limited Edition + more Ring
Replies: 54
Views: 7026

Re: Solti - The Ring Cycle - Deluxe Limited Edition + more R

Hats off to Vickers the singer; two hats on to the man!
by Istvan
Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:25 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Solti - The Ring Cycle - Deluxe Limited Edition + more Ring
Replies: 54
Views: 7026

Re: Solti - The Ring Cycle - Deluxe Limited Edition + more R

"Jon Vickers also had differences with Solti during the recording of Aida. They never worked together again." The "Aida" recording was made before the Covent Garden performances of "Die Walküre", Vickers's last appearances with Solti. Solti wrote Vickers a courteous letter regretting that the tenor...
by Istvan
Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:25 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Solti - The Ring Cycle - Deluxe Limited Edition + more Ring
Replies: 54
Views: 7026

Re: Solti - The Ring Cycle - Deluxe Limited Edition + more R

"Jon Vickers also had differences with Solti during the recording of Aida. They never worked together again." True but Vickers could be very difficult and obstinate. His favourite line was, "I've sung this part more often than you've conducted it." Some conductors, including Solti, felt that knowin...
by Istvan
Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:16 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Classical musicians born in the YEAR OF THE HORSE!
Replies: 6
Views: 2327

Re: Classical musicians born in the YEAR OF THE HORSE!

Also born in 1942: Maurizio Pollini. (Though this Chinese stuff means nothing at all to me, any more than horoscopes or zodiac signs do).
by Istvan
Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:30 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Solti - The Ring Cycle - Deluxe Limited Edition + more Ring
Replies: 54
Views: 7026

Re: Solti - The Ring Cycle - Deluxe Limited Edition + more R

A good, thorough answer, as so often, from John Francis. I would say the clash of personalities (and the VPO's notorious anti-semitism) created a fruitful tension musically. In Chicago, for instance, where there was mutual respect, it sometimes happened, partly because the orchestra was so good, th...
by Istvan
Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:56 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Solti - The Ring Cycle - Deluxe Limited Edition + more Ring
Replies: 54
Views: 7026

Re: Solti - The Ring Cycle - Deluxe Limited Edition + more R

I'm afraid to say that the idea that the Solti "Ring" is made by the orchestra and soloists rather than the conductor seems utter nonsense to me, going against Wagner's whole conception of his work, i.e. that the orchestra is the chief protagonist, and you can't have great orchestral playing withou...
by Istvan
Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:08 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Solti - The Ring Cycle - Deluxe Limited Edition + more Ring
Replies: 54
Views: 7026

Re: Solti - The Ring Cycle - Deluxe Limited Edition + more R

It isn't written in stone tablets that the Solti recording can never ever be equaled or surpassed. It couldn't be today, because while we have a few conductors who are at least the equal of Solti himself, we lack a Birgit Nilsson (or Kirsten Flagstad or Frida Leider) to sing Brünnhilde, for starter...
by Istvan
Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:02 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: LIPATTI Biography
Replies: 13
Views: 2238

Re: LIPATTI Biography

You've lost me. A few messages ago, you wrote, "I thought quite seriously about translating the Haskil book from the original French but in view of the market for classical music books today decided it was highly unlikely I would ever find a publisher." Now you seem to be dismissing it as worse tha...
by Istvan
Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:58 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: LIPATTI Biography
Replies: 13
Views: 2238

Re: LIPATTI Biography

Thank you again, John, though I'm not sure it is all that good a book. Decently written but not very profound with very little on what made her playing special. Still, better than nothing, right? Well, not really. Lance's quotes from the book give an inkling of why I think one's money would be bett...
by Istvan
Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:22 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: David Starkey, "Music and Monarchy"
Replies: 21
Views: 2295

Re: David Starkey, "Music and Monarchy"

I read somewhere that Prince Charles's valet even squeezes his toothpaste onto the toothbrush for him. Do you suppose that's true? I've read this too (in 'The Guardian') and can well believe it. He also has someone to lick his stamps for him and someone else to lick... well we don't want to offend ...
by Istvan
Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:43 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Farewell, Claudio ABBADO
Replies: 68
Views: 10579

Farewell, Claudio ABBADO

by Istvan
Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:41 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: LIPATTI Biography
Replies: 13
Views: 2238

Re: LIPATTI Biography

Thank you again, John, though I'm not sure it is all that good a book. Decently written but not very profound with very little on what made her playing special.
by Istvan
Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:52 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: LIPATTI Biography
Replies: 13
Views: 2238

Re: LIPATTI Biography

I thought quite seriously about translating the Haskil book from the original French but in view of the market for classical music books today decided it was highly unlikely I would ever find a publisher.
by Istvan
Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:49 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: LIPATTI Biography
Replies: 13
Views: 2238

Re: LIPATTI Biography

Thank you, John!
by Istvan
Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:50 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: LIPATTI Biography
Replies: 13
Views: 2238

LIPATTI Biography

Has anyone read the Dinu Lipatti biography by Tanasescu, preface by Menuhin? Is it well-written and worth buying?
by Istvan
Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:41 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: TITO GOBBI
Replies: 3
Views: 918

Re: TITO GOBBI

I was lucky enough to hear him at Covent Garden as Don Giovanni (to Geraint Evans's Leporello); as Iago (twice under Solti) and as Scarpia. His entrance in the latter I'll never forget: he seemed to float into the church. It was quite eerie.
by Istvan
Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:14 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: TITO GOBBI
Replies: 3
Views: 918

TITO GOBBI

Hey, we forgot Gobbi's centenary on 24th October! I can't think of a more beautiful and, when required, powerful and resonant baritone voice. And he was an oustanding actor both vocally and onstage.

by Istvan
Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:41 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: My first experience of "Das Rheingold"
Replies: 82
Views: 6635

Re: My first experience of "Das Rheingold"

@ Stenka Razin

Wagner, yes, of course but Olga Scheps is a lovely pianist both to listen to and look at yet she doesn't seem to be nearly as well known as she should be and her CDs can be hard to find.
by Istvan
Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:21 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: SAMSON FRANCOIS
Replies: 11
Views: 2224

Re: SAMSON FRANCOIS

There's a tragi-comic story about Samson François, told me by a reliable journalist, that he was found late at night in the streets of Manchester desperately searching for a teddy bear.
by Istvan
Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:04 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: SAMSON FRANCOIS
Replies: 11
Views: 2224

SAMSON FRANCOIS

What do you think of this pianist? Does anyone have the dates of his Chopin recordings? I would also be interested in his Debussy ones but these were made right at the end of his career when it would seem he was a mental and physical wreck.
by Istvan
Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:05 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years
Replies: 34
Views: 6334

Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

The 1940s produced most of our greatest living pianists: Barenboim, Pollini, Uchida, Lupu, Perahia, Argerich, Bishop Kovacevich. Extraordinary - and what is more they also produced me, the world's worst pianist.
by Istvan
Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:17 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Opera fights Hungary's rising antisemitism
Replies: 6
Views: 1224

Re: Opera fights Hungary's rising antisemitism

Victor Orban's change of orientation is puzzling as he was a leading light in the founding of the "House of Terror" museum in Budapest revealing the horrors of the Hungarian Arrow Cross and Communist regimes during and after WW2. A most fascinatingly conceived museum; also a very moving one.
by Istvan
Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:25 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Classical Music Biographies - Books
Replies: 56
Views: 7995

Re: Classical Music Biographies - Books

I'm afraid I can't give an expert answer but Cosima was obviously aware of her husband's greatness and became an ardent carrier of the flame after his death so these diaries were almost certainly written with posterity in mind.
by Istvan
Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:37 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Happy Birthday Giuseppe Verdi.
Replies: 7
Views: 1768

Re: Happy Birthday Giuseppe Verdi.

Hey, what about me? My recordings of the early operas - which my colleague hasn't deigned to perform, apart from "Macbeth", of which my version is much to be preferred - are pretty good. And how about my new "Otello"?
by Istvan
Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:29 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Classical Music Biographies - Books
Replies: 56
Views: 7995

Re: Classical Music Biographies - Books

The Cosima Wagner Diaries should never go out of the catalogue but I bet they have. They certainly don't deal in trivia: the couple's mealtime conversation was on the highest level, discussing the great philosophers, world affairs, politics and the arts. We learn a great deal about their individual...
by Istvan
Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:05 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Classical Music Biographies - Books
Replies: 56
Views: 7995

Re: Classical Music Biographies - Books

Oh, no, Ernest Newman's biography of Wagner isn't boring at all - I found it compelling reading. On the way, one can check up on facts in one of the smaller, more matter-of-fact tomes available.
by Istvan
Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:38 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Classical Music Biographies - Books
Replies: 56
Views: 7995

Re: Classical Music Biographies - Books

. Ernest Newman's 3-volume life of Wagner. One of the best-written and readable of composer biographies but on the expensive side.

For Liszt, unhesitatingly, Alan Walker's 3-volume life, unlikely to be surpassed for many years.
by Istvan
Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:38 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Verdi vs Wagner
Replies: 47
Views: 4238

Re: Verdi vs Wagner

Aren't Telramund and Ortrud psychologically disturbed? - and Beckmesser too, for that matter.
by Istvan
Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:36 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Do you still use CASSETTES?
Replies: 13
Views: 2030

Re: Do you still use CASSETTES?

No, because the sound quality isn't good enough. I used to buy musicassettes in the 1970s and early 80s but the quality, with a few exceptions such as "Decca", was not really acceptable. First they often jammed after a few playings because of warped hubs, which were fiddly to replace. Then the leve...
by Istvan
Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:04 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Bayreuth: Wieland Wagner
Replies: 29
Views: 5480

Re: Bayreuth: Wieland Wagner

From curtain rise in "Das Rheingold," where the Rhine maidens frolicking in the river are replaced by prostitutes (talk about mundane!) plying their trade atop a hydroelectric dam, Chéreau and Peduzzi set their production against the story. Myself, I have never seen prostitutes plying their trade or...
by Istvan
Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:40 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Bayreuth: Wieland Wagner
Replies: 29
Views: 5480

Re: Bayreuth: Wieland Wagner

Of course this kind of dramatic production is not easy on some members of the audience, maybe many members, who are perhaps made uncomfortable by such a great disparity with the real, mundane world outside the theatre. That's too bad for them. But genius (yes, I mean that word) does not always acco...
by Istvan
Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:26 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Bayreuth: Wieland Wagner
Replies: 29
Views: 5480

Re: Bayreuth: Wieland Wagner

"But the breakthrough to what we now know as Eurotrash came in 1976 , celebrated with a new "Ring" cycle to mark the centennial of the opening of the Festspielhaus with the first complete "Ring."" Would you really call Chéreau's production trash, John? I can't make a proper judgement having only se...
by Istvan
Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:37 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Bayreuth: Wieland Wagner
Replies: 29
Views: 5480

Re: Bayreuth: Wieland Wagner

"But the breakthrough to what we now know as Eurotrash came in 1976 , celebrated with a new "Ring" cycle to mark the centennial of the opening of the Festspielhaus with the first complete "Ring."" Would you really call Chéreau's production trash, John? I can't make a proper judgement having only se...
by Istvan
Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:50 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Those contentious Wagners
Replies: 8
Views: 1249

Re: Those contentious Wagners

What excellent writing! I presume you are/were in publishing or journalism or something in that line?
by Istvan
Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:16 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Not going deaf yet (computer speakers)
Replies: 22
Views: 3551

Re: Not going deaf yet (computer speakers)

If you decide to buy new speakers and want a combination of small size with good sound, then SoundScience's QSB model gives remarkable results from small cubes of very solid build with plenty of power, including bass. They connect to a USB port and cost around £50 (they cost me nearly double that l...
by Istvan
Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:27 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: What Conductor do you most identify with?
Replies: 49
Views: 4632

Re: What Conductor do you most identify with?

Others here have difficulty answering the question at all - instead they answer other questions that haven't been asked. Variety is the spice of good conversation! It is in any case a difficult question as one generally doesn't seek to identify with people like oneself since one sees in them one's ...
by Istvan
Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:05 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: What Conductor do you most identify with?
Replies: 49
Views: 4632

Re: What Conductor do you most identify with?

Another I should have included on my list is Sir John Barbirolli. The warmth of his sound and the passion of his music making is reflected in what seems to have been a very warm-hearted and kind personality, without the slightest pretentiousness; he also had a great sense of humour. On the other ha...
by Istvan
Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:19 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: What Conductor do you most identify with?
Replies: 49
Views: 4632

Re: What Conductor do you most identify with?

What John says about Barenboim as a man is absolutely true but can he be considered a serious contender for the title of the world's greatest living conductor, as the "Guardian" journalist's remarks imply?
by Istvan
Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:54 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: What Conductor do you most identify with?
Replies: 49
Views: 4632

Re: What Conductor do you most identify with?

It is conductors I can't identify with, against popular opinion, which puzzle me most . For instance, I read the following in today's "Guardian" about Barenboim: "The 70-year-old conductor-pianist certainly remains the most exciting and authoritative musical superstar in a congested firmament. His ...
by Istvan
Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:22 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Mahler Was More a Romantic Than Scholars Thought
Replies: 5
Views: 1120

Re: Mahler Was More a Romantic Than Scholars Thought

"Purple prose" or "wishful thinking"?
by Istvan
Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:31 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: What Conductor do you most identify with?
Replies: 49
Views: 4632

Re: What Conductor do you most identify with?

"Carlos Kleiber, that deeply unhappy man." A friend of mine, usually very reliable on such background, told me that Kleiber had several nervous breakdowns and had to be hospitalized. I haven't read his biography (still available only in German) but if it is true I can only sympathize but wouldn't w...
by Istvan
Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:38 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: What Conductor do you most identify with?
Replies: 49
Views: 4632

Re: What Conductor do you most identify with?

It depends what is meant by "identify with". Does this mean from a musical point of view or from that of the conductor's personality? From the past, I would choose Solti and from today's maestros, Muti. For their superb command of the orchestra and the excitement of their music making, which does n...
by Istvan
Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:06 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Met admits to wiring singers
Replies: 5
Views: 944

Re: Met admits to wiring singers

Amplification is fine for pop music as it helps cover up all its weaknesses but for good music it is awful. I went not long ago to a weekend festival at the Cziffra Foundation in Senlis, held in a church. It began with an arrangement for 13 wind instruments of the Liszt B minor Sonata; such was the...
by Istvan
Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:57 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Wagner Year: The great Wagner recordings.
Replies: 168
Views: 27778

Re: Wagner Year: The great Wagner recordings.

According to the biography by Jeannie Williams (now extremely expensive) Vickers's condemnation of Tannhäuser's character was a pretext. He didn't want to admit that his voice was no longer up to the role. Some journalists didn't fail to point out that he had already portrayed on stage a paedophile...
by Istvan
Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:07 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: An Story That Makes Me Very Unhappy
Replies: 10
Views: 1794

Re: An Story That Makes Me Very Unhappy

Mary Jane Philips-Matz's big biography of Verdi

It's a magnificent work, based on minute research and also very readable - but only available second hand.
by Istvan
Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:37 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: Which are the best Hearing Aids for Music?
Replies: 12
Views: 5940

Re: Which are the best Hearing Aids for Music?

My hearing starts to decline at 4kHz and drops fast after 8kHz. As one's hearing declines tinnitus increases because without any outside input or stimulation the brain, acting like an amplifier, "turns up the volume" to compensate and the tinnitus becomes more intrusive. However, people's hearing or...
by Istvan
Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:22 am
Forum: Classical Music Chatterbox
Topic: An Story That Makes Me Very Unhappy
Replies: 10
Views: 1794

Re: An Story That Makes Me Very Unhappy

In Sibelius's house "Ainola', near Järvenpää north of Helsinki, is the green-tiled stove in which he burnt the manuscript of the 8th Symphony, to the eternal regret of his admirers. He suffered all his adult life from acute anxiety, assuaging this with doses of whisky which would have killed most o...