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Discussion: Bartók: Violin Sonatas - Annar Follesø

Posts: 16
Page: 1 2 next

Post by Beagle January 26, 2006 (1 of 16)
Here is some more info about this disc -- in addition to the fact that the cover art is truly alarming (2L has another disc, not SACD, with a demented French hornist on the cover...).

http://www.greenmanreview.com/cd/cd_bartok_vsonata2_1_06.html

PS: it is easier to buy a disc from China than Norway.

Post by Beagle February 22, 2006 (2 of 16)
Non-psychotic photo of Follesø:

Post by Beagle February 22, 2006 (3 of 16)
Night-thoughts on Listening to Bartók

This is about music, and therefore not in my Review. It is a doomed exercise, namely an attempt to convert non-Bartók-listeners into Bartók fans. Why bother? Only because Bartók's genius deserves better from you.

I sincerely DO like Bartók, i.e. I'm not faking an enthusiasm for personal-image sake. Granted, I have abnormal taste in music. But the fate of those poor blighters who are cursed with 'normal taste in music' makes me laugh, cry and run away. Fortunately, most of us on this site have escaped their fate. I have not always listened to Bartók, and I am sorry to say that I can't remember whether I liked it at first-listen, or if it grew. I do remember NOT liking Bach or Mozart (there's still plenty of Mozart I can live without).

What do I hear in Bartók? Firstly, I DON'T hear 'fingernails-on-chalkboard', and you won't either. Nor will you hear randomly generated rows of notes. I DO hear a melodic, singing music, sung in a language which is at once 'older than time' and 'thoroughly modern'. It is neither capital-K Classical nor capital-R Romantic, and yet it has a classic-like structure and a romantic-like lyricism.

Sometimes I mutter to myself au français, especially around food. Sometimes I mutter to myself auf Deutsch, especially if disgusted by something. I wish I could converse with myself in Hungarian, especially when I feel like drowning myself in Pure Music.

Post by Windsurfer February 22, 2006 (4 of 16)
Beagle said:

Night-thoughts on Listening to Bartók

This is about music, and therefore not in my Review. It is a doomed exercise, namely an attempt to convert non-Bartók-listeners into Bartók fans. Why bother? Only because Bartók's genius deserves better from you.

I sincerely DO like Bartók, i.e. I'm not faking an enthusiasm for personal-image sake. Granted, I have abnormal taste in music. But the fate of those poor blighters who are cursed with 'normal taste in music' makes me laugh, cry and run away. Fortunately, most of us on this site have escaped their fate. I have not always listened to Bartók, and I am sorry to say that I can't remember whether I liked it at first-listen, or if it grew. I do remember NOT liking Bach or Mozart (there's still plenty of Mozart I can live without).

What do I hear in Bartók? Firstly, I DON'T hear 'fingernails-on-chalkboard', and you won't either. Nor will you hear randomly generated rows of notes. I DO hear a melodic, singing music, sung in a language which is at once 'older than time' and 'thoroughly modern'. It is neither capital-K Classical nor capital-R Romantic, and yet it has a classic-like structure and a romantic-like lyricism.

Sometimes I mutter to myself au français, especially around food. Sometimes I mutter to myself auf Deutsch, especially if disgusted by something. I wish I could converse with myself in Hungarian, especially when I feel like drowning myself in Pure Music.

How would you like to do some of us a big favor, we who would already have purchased this if it were available from Amazon.com or CD Universe or JPC, and provide step by step ordering instructions. Some of us are more senile than others!

Post by Beagle February 22, 2006 (5 of 16)
Windsurfer said:
How would you like to do some of us a big favor ... and provide step by step ordering instructions. Some of us are more senile than others!

Only one of you? I thought there were at least two....

Okay, here goes another exercise perhaps doomed to failure (I've been labouring under a cold-influenza virus for several days, which attacks the ability to think methodically -- they chased me away from the data-system at work today).

1. Get yourself into a stubborn damn-the-torpedoes mood
2. Stop worrying about money transfers via the web
3. Go to the website: http://www.2l.no/2L.htm
4. DO NOT click on the psychotic violinist cover art (that slowly loads big pic)
5. Click on MusicOnLine, just to the right of 2L28 SACD
6. Click Order the CD (DO NOT click Buy all tracks for download)
7. Click on Show Cart
8. Click on Proceed to Checkout
9. Click on Click HERE to register, and Register
10.Choose payment method... (at this point I believe I encountered difficulties using my credit card, so I opened a Payex account -- after 4 weeks, senility has hidden the details from me, sorry).

The rest is pretty standard stuff: shipping address etc.
Oh yeah, then WAIT....

Post by Windsurfer February 22, 2006 (6 of 16)
Beagle said:

Only one of you? I thought there were at least two....

Thanks for the instructions,
Bruce

Post by ramesh February 23, 2006 (7 of 16)
Beagle,
How does the solo violin sonata sound compared to the recent Skride hybrid SACD from Sony, which I presume you'll have? The Sony disc is a Deutschland Radio recording. She's recorded close up, with an intense but rather flat recording, as though the violin is in a straight line between the speakers.
NB Jelly d'Aranyi may be a buddess.

Post by Beagle February 24, 2006 (8 of 16)
ramesh said:
How does the solo violin sonata sound compared to the recent Skride...?
NB Jelly d'Aranyi may be a buddess.

Sorry, I don't have the Skride (yet?). A year ago, I would've fallen over myself to get it, but now I am drowning in an embarrassment of sacd purchase options. I prefer a one-composer-per-disc program to a mixed-bag compilation, hence the Follesø.

Should I take your comments about the Skride as a NON-recommendation? The Follesø violin is also centre-stage, but I would not call it 'flat', or even 'intense'. But, I am in love with this recording, and lovers are uncritical.

And thank you for the sex-change for Arányi, Groves only says "... the Hungarian-born violinist Jelly Arányi, to whom he dedicated both violin sonatas". Should'a known (I've always warned my daughter about Hungarian males).

Post by ramesh February 26, 2006 (9 of 16)
Dear Beagle,
Skride's recording on Sony also has the Bach D minor partita. The PentaTone sound is luscious and airy, yet without blurring any details. Utterly different to the Sony recording. 'Gramophone' gave a thumbs up to the Skride for all three performances, and didn't complain about the sonics. Anyone who likes the Fischer Bach might be interested in the Skride in terms of how different the recording is, for modern digital. I wonder whether it was recorded by a radio station, on behalf of Sony; could be another Howard Stringer cost-cutting measure. One would think it would be a relatively simple matter to record a small solo instrument like the violin, without any of the balance problems of multi-instrument works. The close up sound gives a remorselessness to the presentation of the Bartók, which might be construed as being idiomatic.

I hope some UK correspondent will correct me if I'm wrong on details. Some years ago, I saw a BBC TV film on Elgar and his violin sonata. The schematic plot went along the lines that the old codger had lost his mojo after the Mrs died in 1917, and what better to get the juices flowing down the old pecker than a bit of Hungarian crumpet? Enter Ms JellyÖ

I have no idea as to the historical authenticity, because the Elgar violin sonata was dedicated to a deceased female friend. Elgar, despite being a fiddler, enlisted the help of the same chap who'd advised him on the technical details to his violin concerto. Perhaps the BBC wanted some Merchant-Ivory entertainment with a deckchairs-on-the-Titanic soundtrack. There was, however, a very jarring scene in the screenplay, where the aged Elgar made a blatant pass at the female violinist in the presence of other gentlemen. I remember one letter of dissent about this scene in the press. It just seemed out of keeping with the times, inexcusible even if the man was blind drunk, and even if the woman was, in the hierarchy of the day, a 'loose actress'.

That being said, one wonders whether self-censorship at the time cut out many interesting plot details in literature and opera. The behaviour of the 'cultivated classes' may have been eye popping but kept out of bounds. Case in point is an interesting anecdote from the American writer Henry James, on the occasion of his calling upon his older French counterpart, Guy de Maupassant, for lunch at the latter's maison. Apparently, de Maupassant had a companion, namely, a naked young lady wearing a mask. Maupassant explained this person was neither a prostitute nor actress, but someone with legitimate social standing. James apparently was in raptures over this French sophistication. However, no scenes remotely resembling this are extant in pre-World War 1 European nor English literature.

Post by Beagle February 27, 2006 (10 of 16)
ramesh said:
a bit of Hungarian crumpet? Enter Ms JellyÖ

As a gentleman I will not comment on de Maupassants choice of furnishings, but Groves does have more to say about Ms Jelly Eva Arányi de Hunyadvar, but it's shockingly unscandalous -- except for the nudge-nudge, wink-wink note on 'vivid personality' and 'gypsy fire':

"(b Budapest, 30 May 1893; d Florence, 30 March 1966). British violinist of Hungarian birth. She was the younger sister of Adila Fachiri and great-niece of Joachim. She started to learn the piano, but in 1903 went to the Hungarian National Royal Academy in Budapest as a violinist, studying with Grunfeld and later Hubay. Her career began in 1908 with a series of joint recitals, in Vienna and elsewere, in partnership with her sister. In 1909 they played in England and settled there four years later, becoming well known for their performance of Bachís Double Violin Concerto, which they recorded. Jelly was a vivid personality and a born violinist, with fine technique and a good measure of gypsy fire. The warmth and freedom of her playing found full scope in a work such as the Brahms Concerto; but her rhapsodic style was equally suited to Bartókís two violin and piano sonatas and Ravelís Tzigane, which were written for and dedicated to her. Other works she inspired were a concerto by Röntgen, Ethel Smythís Concerto for violin and horn, and Vaughan Williamsís Concerto accademico; the Double Concerto of Holst was composed for both sisters. In 1938 she gave the first British performance of Schumannís Concerto, after much controversy (she claimed that the composerís spirit had appeared to her in a séance) and despite Joachimís wish. She formed a piano trio with Suggia and Fanny Davies in 1914; she played later with Felix Salmond and with Myra Hess, who was also her duo partner for over 20 years, and recorded with them Schubertís B flat Trio."

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