Having enjoyed my prior surveys, I figured I ought to do another. After all, some recordings in my collection have been collecting dust for a while so they would be somewhat fresh upon relistening. But I wanted to do a big work, not in length or scale, necessarily, but in stature and (or) popularity. That naturally leads one to a mere handful of names, and so I settled on something by Mozart. But which work? Well, I
Very nice overview. I dont know all the versions you listed, but I share your admiration of Fischer Annie/Boult for an old-fashioned but still very engaging reading. What I miss from you list is the newer recordings with authentic instruments. I think you really should hear the Malcolm Bilson/Gardiner version. A completly different reading than most of you listed. They are not only using a smaller orchestra, fortepiano but also adopting the legato technique instead of the romantic singing so characteristics of most of the recording you mentioned. Once you hear that version, it is very difficult to go back to older recodings, although you may still enjoy romanticism "traditional" recordings.
How is Brendel "quirky"? Since "quirks" are, by definition, personal deviations from some generally accepted norm, whose norm? What ARE the Mozart norms? Who established them? Did you copy someone else's norms, or, ahem, somewhat "quirkesquely" make them up yourself? Could anyone ever have been more "quirky" than Mozart himself? He left numerous gaps in his published notations, assuming performers would fill them as their wit, imaginations, and technical skill would allow. This sounds suspiciously like someone else's "fashionable" judgment. After all, what IS a generally accepted norm, other than the consensus of mediocre minds accruing over time? What are YOUR criteria for "quirks" and how do you earn authority for the generally accepted practice from which said "quirks" stray, in the negative sense? Do YOU know more about Mozart than Brendel? If so, I would like to hear your more accepted, definitive performance, at the keyboard AND on the liner notes. Since Brendel is a Mozart scholar, I would also be interested in any demonstration of yours that trumps Brendel in THIS impoverished arena.
You missed an important performance. Since I do not recognize "quirks" or the assumed general aesthetic criteria against which they rebel, I can only state that it is more musically satisfying than any you mention. It is Clifford Curzon's magnificent reading in collaberation with Benjamin Britten and the English Chamber Orchestra. London, #CS 7251. Of course, you may find this "quirky," Curzon and Britten being original geniuses of the highest order.
I'm with you...who cares about quirky? Was Glenn Gould quirky? Absolutely, but man could the guy play. To me greatness gets a free pass on quirky from me.
If any of you still have the free B & W DVD disc that came in a Stereophile issue a while back watch Brendel's performance on that disc. If you just listened you might even think it was four-handed playing, which it was not. It is great fun watching the playing and get an even greater sense of the genius at work. Wacky or not. It is even very entertaining to listen to him talk about reproducing sound. Most enjoyable.
Kudos to B & W for this disc. I will buy a pair of their speakers in the next year. Very smart marketing folks. Even better speaker designers and builders.
Yo, Jim --
Do you have the Brendel C-minor (#24)? It has been reissued on a Philips CD (ADD), I believe. It is absolutely breathless. If this is "quirky," then Brendel is consistent -- I heard him play the piece live about 15 years ago, with Rattle and the BPO here in LA. It had the same technical perfection and relentless forward propulsion (call it "drama") that has been captured on the recording. If you can't get it, let me know, and I'll send you the vinyl so you can record it and send it back. You must have this disc. Cheers, Clifton
Thanks for the kind offer. I have been very good lately so I think I will give myself a present of this disc. If I can't find it anywhere I'll let you know.
Do YOU know more about Mozart than Brendel?
Goodness me, so many questions and such an attitude. You are aware that I posted opinions, not the definitive truth?
The caps denote awe. I seek enlightenment. "Quirky," in your context, is a judgment, not a mere opinion. Goodness me, explain yourself when you pass judgment, that's all.
The caps denote awe. I seek enlightenment. "Quirky," in your context, is a judgment, not a mere opinion.
Sorry, it is a mere opinion. Apparently, you take what I write far more seriously than I do. How silly of you.
Sometimes credibility demands that opinions be defended, even casual ones. The sheer volume of your reviews suggests expertise, and opinions that pretend to expertise do, indeed, assume the status of judgments, particularly in the name of your muse, Marcus Aurelius, who was only too anxious to defend his. Instead of being cute and evasive, you might at least explain your terms. What are the norms in Mozart criticism, who defines them, and when does deviation from those norms become "quirky"? That doesn't seem like much to ask. I do know it has become accepted practice, for instance, for many Mozart interpreters to use Beethoven cadenzas, most notably in the case of the D-Minor and C-minor concertos. Is this now a "norm," even though it was common practice in Mozart's day for the performer to write his own cadenzas, to thus seize an opportunity to express the strengths of his own virtuosity within the fabric of the performance? I find Brendel's cadenzas to be little critical essays on the music, rather than gratuitous showmanship, for example, and wonder how they can be "opined" or "judged" as examples of quirkiness. But then again, perhaps all the spilled ink in this corner of the forum is merely intended as finger-strengthening exercises.