Does the "younger" set prefer new or older recordings?

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Lance
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Does the "younger" set prefer new or older recordings?

Post by Lance » Mon Apr 19, 2021 4:19 pm

In my work at the university, I find it difficult to believe that so many young artists (pianists and singers, especially) do not know certain great names of the past. Moiseiwitsch? Who's he? Solomon ... never heard of him. With so much available with major composers, complete editions of artists, etc., et al, you would think people would be interested as they develop their art. Yes, names like Horowitz still command attention, Rubinstein (to a degree but a great degree for me), Koussevitzky? Forget him. Stokowski? Maybe. So, each generation develops their interests in current-day artists, perhaps as it should be. And even I am vastly interested in young artists, but the "newbies" are missing so much by simply not knowing what preceded their time. Is there more focus on sound rather than artistry today? To agree or not to agree is the question. ♫
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barney
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Re: Does the "younger" set prefer new or older recordings?

Post by barney » Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:13 pm

Yes, I do feel that the younger generation(s) are less tolerant of poor sound quality in order to hear the greats. They've grown up with excellent sound quality, and when it's not there they find it obtrusive. Fair enough.
Of course at 65 I number myself among the younger generations! :lol:
As I've noted before, "old" is anyone 15 years older than you, whether you are 25 or 65.
But from my youth I loved to hear the greats of previous generations, and I still do. Cortot, Rachmaninov, Paderewski - who cares if the recordings are a bit scratchy?
You mentioned Koussevitzky, Lance. I may have mentioned my favourite anecdote. The Boston concertmaster in the 1920s, asked about the conductor's famously wavering beat and how they knew when to come in, replied: "When his baton reaches the third button of his waistcoat."

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Re: Does the "younger" set prefer new or older recordings?

Post by Lance » Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:19 pm

Love that quotation! Still, I'd love to have a complete edition of Koussevitzky's recordings, 78s and all. I don't think it would sell, however, to people other than dyed-in-the wool people like us. And age? It is ONLY a number, and a man-made number at that, just like the way we keep time. Ever think of that? You could be as old as Methuselah and not even be aware of it!!! :lol:
barney wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:13 pm

[ ... ... ... ] You mentioned Koussevitzky, Lance. I may have mentioned my favourite anecdote. The Boston concertmaster in the 1920s, asked about the conductor's famously wavering beat and how they knew when to come in, replied: "When his baton reaches the third button of his waistcoat."
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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barney
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Re: Does the "younger" set prefer new or older recordings?

Post by barney » Tue Apr 20, 2021 7:51 am

Lance wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:19 pm
Love that quotation! Still, I'd love to have a complete edition of Koussevitzky's recordings, 78s and all. I don't think it would sell, however, to people other than dyed-in-the wool people like us. And age? It is ONLY a number, and a man-made number at that, just like the way we keep time. Ever think of that? You could be as old as Methuselah and not even be aware of it!!! :lol:
barney wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:13 pm

[ ... ... ... ] You mentioned Koussevitzky, Lance. I may have mentioned my favourite anecdote. The Boston concertmaster in the 1920s, asked about the conductor's famously wavering beat and how they knew when to come in, replied: "When his baton reaches the third button of his waistcoat."
Yes, I don't have a lot of Koussevitzky - my loss. A contemporary I liked was Weingartner.
And Lance, I AM as old as Methuselah - or at least so my aches and pains tell me. :)

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Re: Does the "younger" set prefer new or older recordings?

Post by maestrob » Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:15 am

You both make an interesting point about how young people gravitate toward modern recordings.

When I was first discovering classical music (back before the Civil War!), I was seduced by stereo technology and thus, as it was first developing in those years, I kept buying new records in order to satisfy my new "addiction." Now, these are considered historical interpretations! The one exception to that rule was Toscanini, whose Beethoven really inspired me. Who'd have thought?

Furthermore, as my musicianship improved in my twenties & thirties, I began to explore historical performances of operas and pianists, a trend that accelerated into my 40's and '50's when I was producing my competition in Carnegie Hall, because I needed to inform myself with the performing history of the music I was coaching.

So I would suggest that, as today's youngsters mature, while they may at first be seduced by digital sound quality, as their perceptions become more refined, I'm sure that they will open up to the high quality of older performances, recordings of which now go back now nearly 120 years, as the first flat single-sided records were issued in the USA in 1903 by Columbia with arias recorded by MET stars.

Lance, I would welcome a Koussevitsky box as well. I grew up with his Sibelius II, an electrifying performance that i haven't heard for decades, even though it has been restored by Naxos from the original RCA 78's. Naxos has begun restoring his recordings, but progress is slow. I hope they are selling OK.

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Donald Isler
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Re: Does the "younger" set prefer new or older recordings?

Post by Donald Isler » Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:57 am

I don't know how representative this is, but there is interest in historic recordings, and classes about them at some important schools. Allan Evans used to give such talks at Mannes College, and other places, and Mark Ainley still does. Lisa Yui has a course about historic pianists at Manhattan School of Music, and I gave that class a lecture on Bruce Hungerford last year just before the pandemic. I was supposed to do a Hungerford lecture at Mannes, too, but that got cancelled, as did all other in-person events after mid-March.
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Re: Does the "younger" set prefer new or older recordings?

Post by Wallingford » Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:37 pm

Two decades back, when I was an assistant in classical at the Bellevue, WA Tower store, I had my share of frustrating dealings for which I got the short end. A youth was sent to me with a complaint about a volume in the Cortot's Great Pianists of the Century on Philips. He had a permanent frown and was ultra-POd, presumably because of the dated sound...or the old-fashioned style? Anyway, I could only advance him to checkout and get a credit. I also dealt with an older guy who was very curious about the reissue of the Horowitz/Toscanini Tchaikovsky First Concerto (he was about to get his first taste of Toscanini), and I continually tried steering him in the right direction by warning him he'll have to put up with outdated sound. So, he won, me & the store lost, everyone involved unhappy.
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
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Re: Does the "younger" set prefer new or older recordings?

Post by Lance » Tue Apr 20, 2021 5:32 pm

There were two RCA recordings of my favourite Sibelius symphony (No. 2) by Koussevitzky/Boston Symphony. Pearl [9408] and Naxos [8.110870] both issued Koussie's 1935 recording. [Naxos transfer was stunning, Pearl, too noisy.] It was the 1950 recording of Sibelius's 2nd that captured me, recorded just before he passed away. I had it on a British Victrola LP pressing that was outstanding. Otherwise, on CD, Sound Dynamic Associates [110] also issued the 1950 performance as did United Archives [022, 4 CD set]. While RCA issued several Koussevitzky recordings on CDs, the Sibelius 1950 2nd Symphony, near as I can determine, was never reissued. It should have been. Naxos, Biddulph, and Music & Arts has been rather good about reissuing Koussevitzky, including live performances. The best set of CDs preserving Koussevitzky's art appeared on the AS Disc label, all live performances, which is a treasure-trove. Fortunately, I believe I have them all, which is close to thirty (30) individual CDs.
maestrob wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:15 am
You both make an interesting point about how young people gravitate toward modern recordings. [... ... ...]

Lance, I would welcome a Koussevitsky box as well. I grew up with his Sibelius II, an electrifying performance that i haven't heard for decades, even though it has been restored by Naxos from the original RCA 78's. Naxos has begun restoring his recordings, but progress is slow. I hope they are selling OK.
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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barney
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Re: Does the "younger" set prefer new or older recordings?

Post by barney » Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:18 pm

Donald Isler wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:57 am
I don't know how representative this is, but there is interest in historic recordings, and classes about them at some important schools. Allan Evans used to give such talks at Mannes College, and other places, and Mark Ainley still does. Lisa Yui has a course about historic pianists at Manhattan School of Music, and I gave that class a lecture on Bruce Hungerford last year just before the pandemic. I was supposed to do a Hungerford lecture at Mannes, too, but that got cancelled, as did all other in-person events after mid-March.
That's encouraging, but it is also singing to the choir - these students are already interested in classical music. Still, you are all keeping the flame alive, and that's important.

barney
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Re: Does the "younger" set prefer new or older recordings?

Post by barney » Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:19 pm

Wallingford wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:37 pm
Two decades back, when I was an assistant in classical at the Bellevue, WA Tower store, I had my share of frustrating dealings for which I got the short end. A youth was sent to me with a complaint about a volume in the Cortot's Great Pianists of the Century on Philips. He had a permanent frown and was ultra-POd, presumably because of the dated sound...or the old-fashioned style? Anyway, I could only advance him to checkout and get a credit. I also dealt with an older guy who was very curious about the reissue of the Horowitz/Toscanini Tchaikovsky First Concerto (he was about to get his first taste of Toscanini), and I continually tried steering him in the right direction by warning him he'll have to put up with outdated sound. So, he won, me & the store lost, everyone involved unhappy.
How incredibly annoying! Well done on keeping your temper in these situations.

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Re: Does the "younger" set prefer new or older recordings?

Post by maestrob » Wed Apr 21, 2021 7:52 am

Wallingford wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:37 pm
Two decades back, when I was an assistant in classical at the Bellevue, WA Tower store, I had my share of frustrating dealings for which I got the short end. A youth was sent to me with a complaint about a volume in the Cortot's Great Pianists of the Century on Philips. He had a permanent frown and was ultra-POd, presumably because of the dated sound...or the old-fashioned style? Anyway, I could only advance him to checkout and get a credit. I also dealt with an older guy who was very curious about the reissue of the Horowitz/Toscanini Tchaikovsky First Concerto (he was about to get his first taste of Toscanini), and I continually tried steering him in the right direction by warning him he'll have to put up with outdated sound. So, he won, me & the store lost, everyone involved unhappy.
Yikes!

That Toscanini/Horowitz performance of Tchaikovsky I Concerto is one that I return to often. It features one of the great moments in the performance history of that concerto: Horowitz's electrifying run-up to the finale of the third movement has never again been equaled, although Argerich left her own magnificent stamp on that same passage (as well as her delightful sparkle in the middle section of the second movement) in her recording with Kirill Kondrashin for Phillips. Both are desert island discs for me, as well as Gilels' live performance in Russia with Kondrashin.

As for Cortot, I couldn't exist now without his 1930's Chopin.

All that said, like many here, I came to these late in life, as my tastes matured and restoration technology improved.

When I was a kid, I grew up with Toscanini's Beethoven, Rubinstein's assorted core repertoire concertos & Chopin, Ormandy's Rachmaninoff, the Budapest Quartet's Debussy & early Beethoven on 78's and other assorted wonders of classical music, not forgetting to mention Stokowski's Petrushka on RCA, but as sound quality improve so rapidly in those years, I soon abandoned all but Toscanini's Beethoven (even though I admired HvK's 1963 Beethoven Symphonies as well) in favor of LPs in stereo.

It has been a joy to rediscover so many older recordings during my later years in properly restored sound, opera & orchestral as well as quartets and solo piano.

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