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Todd
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The Emperor

[This was written earlier this year, but it seems appropriate even now.]

What makes Beethoven

Todd
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Re: The Emperor

ADDENDUM:

It

dcrowe
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Re: The Emperor

Todd,

Thank you for this interesting opinion and survey. Leonard Bernstein said that Beethoven's works had an inevitability, that is, each note was the only one that could possibly follow what went before. As a child (around 5 or 6 years old) there were a number of works by a number of composers that seemed somewhat predictable to me. That is, I could anticipate the next passage, at least approximately. Whether this was an actual mental resonance, or just conditioning to the music before I was old enough to recognize that it happened I cannot say. I can say that I had the naivete (not to mention nerve!) to think that some of the composers didn't quite get it right. Some music still strikes me that way after all these years. But I agree with Lenny (Bernstein) that Ludwig gets it right.

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Re: The Emperor

A query and a comment.

Where would you rank the Arrau/C.Davis/Dresden recording - presuming that you know it?

The Solomon/Menges version of the Emperor is the very first piece of classical music that I actively listened to, and I've never looked back. I was an immobilised (sport injury) 13 year-old with no musical background listening to my portable radio when a classical hour started up. I couldn't get to the radio to change the station so I was forced to listen. And I found myself enjoying it, finding that everything seemed to be making sense. I remembered who the pianist was because he only had one name, and in the intervening decades I've played this version more often than all the other Emperors I've owned combined. I owe a lifetime of pleasure and fascination to the start that Beethoven and Solomon gave me.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: The Emperor

Was hooked listening in mono on Reader's Digest mono compilaton recordings on a crap Delmonico/Western Auto console stereo. How awful. If the music hits you listening on this it is a testiment of the music's greatness.

I have 5 versions, 4 on vinyl and enjoy them all. His accomplishments in a hard life are remarkable. In addition the 32 piano Sonatas in the Stereophile boxed set are to die for. Worth every penny.

Thanks for the post and the insight.

pgraber
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Re: The Emperor

Congratulations on a great review. Although I have only three CD versions of the Emperor (I've heard it many times live at London's Royal Festival Hall), I've always considered the Pollini/Bohm an absolute classic. Strangely, the Penguin crowd have never rated it. I prefer it, for instance, to Perahia/Haitink, two artists I much admire, and much better reviewed, but I think they lack the essential heft for the work. Thanks for taking the time to produce this.

Todd
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Re: The Emperor


Quote:
Where would you rank the Arrau/C.Davis/Dresden recording - presuming that you know it?

Actually, I don't know it. I'm not a big Arrau fan and haven't investigated all of his Beethoven. Eventually I probably will, but first I think I'll pick up Radu Lupu's freshly reissued cycle.

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Re: The Emperor

Todd, thanks for the extensive and thoughtful discography of the Op. 73. I enjoyed reading it, perhaps in part because I share many of your preferences. I recently completed a review somewhat on the same scale as your own, and thought I'd post just the top-10 results, plus some close also-rans: 1. Fischer/Furtwaengler; 2) Serkin/Ormandy; 3. Kempff/Van Kempen; 4. Arrau/Galliera; 5. Casadesus/Mitropoulos; 6. Gilels/Ludwig; 7. Arrau/Haitink; 8. Fleischer/Szell; 9. Michelangeli/Celibidache; 10. Pollini/Boehm. Close also-rans include: Stephen Bishop Kovacevich/Davis, Curzon/Kubelik, and Serkin/Ozawa. (About a dozen others did not make the cut.) Since you did not mention the following recordings, you have reason to keep living, if only to eventually try to check them out: the two Arrau's, the Michelangeli with Celi, Bishop Kovacevich, Fleischer, Curzon/Kubelik, and Serkin/Ozawa (yes, RS was very old by then, and somewhat stiff, but the wisdom and depth in this performance simply must be heard!). I find it curious that my top five---all doubtless great performances---were all recorded in the 1950's. I wonder what can be inferred from that.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: The Emperor

My wife has found a site called freecycle.org and you can sign up in your county(s) for goods that people are looking to disgard for free. Some obviously is junk, but one man's junk is another man's treasure. It starts by state first. There may be some things that you may be thinking about taking to the landfill that might be used by someone else. My wife found cars that she donated to hurricane victims. Go figure.

I mention this as in my above post I acquired my classical music interest from a Reader's Digest boxed set of mono recordings. Since gone. My wife found a woman moving who had vinyl she wanted gone. Half was junk, but about 7 classical lps were mint, and in them was the Reader's Digest boxed set I had that was in near mint condition. The booklet was gone. The sentimental value was there. The recordings were not as good as I remembered. So much for long term sonic memory. At 58 I know that is true. What ever starts up a passion is still a good thing. After listening to some of these recordings I began wondering just why it is we audiophiles complain about our great audio systems? I think I am about to hit the road of "the glass is more than half full" in audio land. If you own gear that is at least Class C "Phile" you know it is true. ENJOY! I am listening to my wife's favortie Christmas CD, Kenny G, and thinking this IS some pretty music.

I will remind all that if you celebrate Christmas and need some excellent background music the John Mark's RGB (Red, Blue, Green tray cards) collection of "Rejoice" Vol 1,2,3 is excellent music making in Chamber Music style. If these were LPs I would have worn them out by now. www.jmrcds.com Click on catalog and the list comes up on the left col. Very nice as is both Cantus Comfort and Joy cds from Stereophile.

ariescaces
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Re: The Emperor

Thanks for the really nice survey. Btw, there will be two Emperor recordings coming soon that'll be worth listening to: Berezovsky/Dausgaard on Simax and Bronfman/Zinman on Arte Nova.

Where can I read your survey of Mozart's K.466?

Aries

Todd
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Re: The Emperor


Quote:
Where can I read your survey of Mozart's K.466?

I've now posted it to this forum. (I can't believe I hadn't already.)

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Re: The Emperor


Quote:

I've now posted it to this forum. (I can't believe I hadn't already.)

THANKS!
Aries

Todd
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Re: The Emperor

Time to revisit this one.

I started off this batch of four recordings with the best sounding recording of the Emperor I

Todd
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Re: The Emperor

Straight to the top tier goes Julius Katchen

Todd
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Re: The Emperor

Time for the latest installment in my on-going, one day to be 73 part series. When last I explored new recordings of this work, I was lucky enough to end up with three good recordings. This time I opted for six new versions, and while a 100% hit rate didn

Todd
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Re: The Emperor

At last! For years I

Todd
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Re: The Emperor

For some reason I got the bug to hear yet more versions of the Emperor. It hasn

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Re: The Emperor

Todd: Thanks for another interesting set of reviews. I guess we hear things differently sometimes, though. For example, I listened to much of Kissin's new set of the Beethoven concerti, and I thought that the orchestral ensemble was often sloppy and rhythmically slack. It was bad enough that I didn't care what Kissin did. In contrast, I like the Perahia/Concertgebouw reading. On a good system, you really feel the weight of the orchestra, which is conducted energetically by Haitink. I thought they did a beautiful job with the second movement, too.

For me, the Emperor was the disappointment of Bronfman's set with Zinman. It wasn't that it was bad, it was just that 3 & 4 were outstanding, so much that the others paled in comparison. And if you haven't heard the Zinman-conducted recording of the Triple Concerto, it's really worth seeking out, especially at the typical <$6 price for an Arte Nova CD.

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