Is it senseless to have multiple performances on CD?

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Lance
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Is it senseless to have multiple performances on CD?

Post by Lance » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:21 pm

I deal with this mentally all the time. Anybody with 150+ "Emperor" concertos of Beethoven (as I have) could be considered losing his marbles. But when you are tuned in to performing artists, such as moi, it is very important. How many times will I play all 150+ of them? Like most, I have my favourites and could probably live with about 10-15 of them total, maybe even less. But I learn much about interpretation (say nothing of new cadenzas coming forth), and it piques the brain about ideas in interpretation and performance. If we live to be 100 and manage to keep our good ears, are some of us overdoing it with regard to being a "collector?" [Is it some kind of sickness?] How many Elijahs, Beethoven, Mozart or Haydn symphonies do we really need? It all comes back to the performing artist, singer, or conductor. Why is it necessary to have everything recorded by Schnabel, Horowitz, Rubinstein, Callas, Caballé, etc.? No, I'm not a rich man (except in recorded music and that has value only to me), but I'm not a gambler, bar-sitter/drinker, in the worst sense of those words. But I do think of people that are homeless, have no food or water and sometimes feel guilty, though I do also assist those in need. [Hey, what brings Lance to this new kick on this forum?]
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John F
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Re: Is it senseless to have multiple performances on CD?

Post by John F » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:33 pm

I don't have 150 recordings of anything, but I do have about 20 of Beethoven's 4th concerto (among other works). The reason is that I collect quite a few artists in depth, and I want to hear how each of them plays that piece and whatever else they play. The result may not always be very enlightening; Josef Hofmann's 1938 broadcast performance with Eugene Ormandy is mostly rather matter-of-fact, though his cadenzas are remarkable - but I had to buy the LP from the International Piano Library to find that out, and having bought it, I kept it.

If YouTube had existed in the 1970s and 1980s, and been so rich in classical music content, I could have found that out and satisfied my curiosity for free without taking up 1/8" on my shelf. And it's thanks to YouTube that I can now give my entire record collection away with only a little nostalgic regret.
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Re: Is it senseless to have multiple performances on CD?

Post by maestrob » Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:22 am

Having collected since being a teenager, I have multiple interpretations of many pieces, but only several favorites of each title. For example, in the Beethoven Sonatas, I have complete sets from Kempff (the only one in mono), Brendel (all 3), Arrau, Annie Fisher, Barenboim (DGG), Steven Bishop), Richard Goode, Paul Lewis, Russell Sherman and Gieseking. I like all of them (except Lewis (He's not quite ready), Goode (too brittle; he doesn't understand that eighth notes have length, and are not just staccato attacks on the piano!) and Gieseking (decidedly too hard and harsh, unlike his Debussy)) for different reasons, and never tire of listening to them. I'm also inclined to purchase Igor Levitt soon.

Yes, I know, I should have Schnabel, and he's on my want list too.

I enjoy comparing current recordings to past treasures, and am occasionally pleasantly surprised when I find a new "best" recording among modern performances (Abbado's Lucerne Mahler II, Gergiev's Scheherezade, Paul Lewis's Beethoven Concerti, etc.). I believe we are all in search of great performances as the Holy Grail of music, and that there's nothing wrong with continuing that search among current recordings, even if it means duplicating repertoire in our collections.

barney
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Re: Is it senseless to have multiple performances on CD?

Post by barney » Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:55 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:22 am
Having collected since being a teenager, I have multiple interpretations of many pieces, but only several favorites of each title. For example, in the Beethoven Sonatas, I have complete sets from Kempff (the only one in mono), Brendel (all 3), Arrau, Annie Fisher, Barenboim (DGG), Steven Bishop), Richard Goode, Paul Lewis, Russell Sherman and Gieseking. I like all of them (except Lewis (He's not quite ready), Goode (too brittle; he doesn't understand that eighth notes have length, and are not just staccato attacks on the piano!) and Gieseking (decidedly too hard and harsh, unlike his Debussy)) for different reasons, and never tire of listening to them. I'm also inclined to purchase Igor Levitt soon.

Yes, I know, I should have Schnabel, and he's on my want list too.

I enjoy comparing current recordings to past treasures, and am occasionally pleasantly surprised when I find a new "best" recording among modern performances (Abbado's Lucerne Mahler II, Gergiev's Scheherezade, Paul Lewis's Beethoven Concerti, etc.). I believe we are all in search of great performances as the Holy Grail of music, and that there's nothing wrong with continuing that search among current recordings, even if it means duplicating repertoire in our collections.
Very well put. There are dozens of works of which I have 40+ recordings. In many cases it is because they are part of wider sets which I acquired not necessarily for those works. Some of them I will never listen to again. But I deeply appreciate the vast richness of different interpretations by great players, and both the archives and new performances continue to offer new riches.

Rach3
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Re: Is it senseless to have multiple performances on CD?

Post by Rach3 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:51 am

As to Schnabel, he does have competition in the later sonatas, but even with the recorded sound issues, his early LvB sonatas are nearly incomparable for me, thru Op.31(#18).

Lance
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Re: Is it senseless to have multiple performances on CD?

Post by Lance » Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:13 pm

Artur Schnabel holds a very special place insofar as pianists are concerned. I would not want to be without his 32 Beethoven sonatas, but his Schubert, in many ways, is even more special. I always find I learn from Schnabel in his interpretations. His piano tone in the EMI/Warner recordings is exquisite for this music. He much preferred the German Bechstein piano and it is obvious to see why in listening to his recordings … it is a truly "golden" sound without ever stridency (Edwin Fischer had a similar quality in his tonal qualities.) Schnabel always felt the Steinway piano had too much personality of its own. Still, he played Steinways, particularly in the USA.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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maestrob
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Re: Is it senseless to have multiple performances on CD?

Post by maestrob » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:08 pm

Lance wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:13 pm
Artur Schnabel holds a very special place insofar as pianists are concerned. I would not want to be without his 32 Beethoven sonatas, but his Schubert, in many ways, is even more special. I always find I learn from Schnabel in his interpretations. His piano tone in the EMI/Warner recordings is exquisite for this music. He much preferred the German Bechstein piano and it is obvious to see why in listening to his recordings … it is a truly "golden" sound without ever stridency (Edwin Fischer had a similar quality in his tonal qualities.) Schnabel always felt the Steinway piano had too much personality of its own. Still, he played Steinways, particularly in the USA.
Kempff (1960's recording) is my preferred pianist for Schubert's sonatas, but I must admit that despite the dated sound, Schnabel's tone quality is very special. Some of the finest piano recordings were made in the years between the wars, including Cortot's Chopin. At this level of greatness, it seems pointless, even quite impossible, to pick the best. One can simply have favorites, as we all do. Let's be thankful that we have such an abundance of sonic riches.

THEHORN
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Re: Is it senseless to have multiple performances on CD?

Post by THEHORN » Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:43 pm

Unfortunately, if you keep adding Beethoven symphony cycles to your collection constantly, you can miss out on getting recordings of so many interesting lesser known symphonies etc by composers such as Berwald, Balakirev, Bax, Enescu, Glazunov, Roussel, Dukas, Taneyev, Mysakovsky , Stenhammar, Szymanowski, Anton Rubinstein, Martinu , Weber, Zemlinsky,, Robert Simpson, Alberic Magnard, George Whitefield Chadwick, Rimsky-Korsakov, Vassily Kallinikov, E.J. Moeran , and so many others .
There is a wider variety of classical music available on CD etc than ever before . Why not take advantage of this ?

Lance
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Re: Is it senseless to have multiple performances on CD?

Post by Lance » Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:19 pm

Hah! That's the problem! I have most all the works of those composers you named as well! It is a wonderful sickness to have (and collect) so much available. Musical riches for sure as maestrob has said, and, of course, I'm delighted by it all. I would just like to add another 100 years to my lifespan to truly enjoy it all the more!
THEHORN wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:43 pm
Unfortunately, if you keep adding Beethoven symphony cycles to your collection constantly, you can miss out on getting recordings of so many interesting lesser known symphonies etc by composers such as Berwald, Balakirev, Bax, Enescu, Glazunov, Roussel, Dukas, Taneyev, Mysakovsky , Stenhammar, Szymanowski, Anton Rubinstein, Martinu , Weber, Zemlinsky,, Robert Simpson, Alberic Magnard, George Whitefield Chadwick, Rimsky-Korsakov, Vassily Kallinikov, E.J. Moeran , and so many others .
There is a wider variety of classical music available on CD etc than ever before . Why not take advantage of this ?
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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