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Discussion: Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9 - Haitink

Posts: 48
Page: prev 1 2 3 4 5 next

Post by Windsurfer July 2, 2007 (21 of 48)
SnaggS said:

Given your comments, I passed my "mentor" a link to this thread. He doesn't get involved in internet forum discussions but said I could paste his comments if I wanted. I wish he would, since I've always found his comments to me incitefull.

------------

Daniel,

Is he listening to these as SACDs or only to the redbook layer? IF as SACDs does he get to hear the mch version or only the stereo version?

Just curious

Bruce

Post by SnaggS July 2, 2007 (22 of 48)
Windsurfer said:

Daniel,

If you are a regular reader of this forum, you will know that I have "gone head to head" with Edvin on more than one occasion. That said, I think I agree with him more than I disagree with him.

I heartily recommend the Haitink Beethoven, but with some reservations concerning the sound. Still, even where the sound "lets down the performance" I think each of these is worth having, even though none (except perhaps the Eroica) would be my choice for an "only" recording. Like Edvin in other circumstances, your "mentor" as regards these recordings is a little too impressed with his own opinion - not open to something new. That is why Edvin's advice as to your getting a new mentor seems not to be too far off the mark.

There is a certain thinness in most of these recordings that is (no doubt) a byproduct of recording live at the Barbican. It has nothing to do with the truly EXCELLENT London Symphony Orchestra! Haitink's interpretations are revelatory and it appears that your mentor is not ready for the revelation, or if listening in stereo, he can not get past the frequently aberrant nature of the sound.

I have all Nine and I enjoy them all - but my favorites (as of now) are the Eroica and the Fourth. In multi-channel, the sound is NOT something I can not get past and is actually mostly quite enjoyable.

If you want Beethoven and can afford these and recognize they will not be the only set you will want, by all means purchase them .... just recognize you might (and I emphasize that word "might") need to make some mental adjustments concerning the sound. For me its a recognition that something isn't quite the way it should be but I certainly do not let it get in the way of my considerable enjoyment of each of these performances.

There is a prevailing rightness to the wind timbres that I find very compelling. More compelling than any other Beethoven symphony performance I can remember hearing in more than 50 years of listening. The only exception I can think of is the Seventh wherein the Kleiber on Orfeo - not DG - is the one to have if you are limiting yourself to only one. I could never do that from the outset a little more than 50 years ago. People would shake their heads at all the Beethoven symphonies I collected on those big black 12 inch discs. But I would think to myself: "How could one possibly do with only one view of Beethoven?

Again the Eroica is simply superb!

Bruce

Well, he's actually said the same thing as you, and that is that the Eroica is pretty good, and you both agree on the wind sections. However, this review thread has been very one sided, and is a review of the BOX SET, and not just a single side of a disc.

Do you think there the entire set is solid? He has also told me that you need more than one version of beethoven. However, this isn't one of them. He recommended Abbado, Klemperer, Walter as giving 3 contrasting views, "all superb in their own way but not without faults".

I'll get him too post me the Haitink so I can see for myself, but I'm suprised he's the only afficiando on the planet who would not rave about the Haitink.

Daniel.

PS. 2 channel SACD version, not heard in 5.1
PSS. BPO Abbado

Post by Polly Nomial July 2, 2007 (23 of 48)
SnaggS said:

Do you think the entire set is solid?

Daniel.

That's doing a disservice to Haitink and the LSO! This set is marvellous - I challenge you (and anyone else for that matter) to listen to, say, the 5th and not come away astonished at the music; it is as if listening anew (except that there are no instrumental difficulties!)

Post by SnaggS July 2, 2007 (24 of 48)
Polly Nomial said:

That's doing a disservice to Haitink and the LSO! This set is marvellous - I challenge you (and anyone else for that matter) to listen to, say, the 5th and not come away astonished at the music; it is as if listening anew (except that there are no instrumental difficulties!)

What other conductors have you heard?

Daniel.

Post by Polly Nomial July 2, 2007 (25 of 48)
Amongst others (in completely random order):
Karajan, Klemperer, Nikisch, Furtwangler, Jochum, Davis, Monteux, Rattle, Abbado, Tennstedt, Mackerras, Norrington, Harnoncourt, Bohm, Kubelik, Bernstein, Vanska, Barenboim, Rajski, Toscanini, Wand, Solti, Masur, Szell, the Kleiber's, Herreweghe, Dohnanyi, Gardiner, Zinman & of course Haitink

There are probably many others that I've forgotten about (so they can't have been either very good or very bad!)

Post by Peter July 2, 2007 (26 of 48)
Weingartner, Cluytens..... I also have a soft spot for Kubelik's one orchestra per symphony cycle.

Haitink/LSO is really excellent, Daniel, though you may very well prefer Karajan or Masur if you like a more upholstered sound. Note that K's isn't MC.

I haven't heard a cycle (and I've heard a fair few) I haven't enjoyed a lot; at the moment it's Haitink's which gives me most pleasure. So refreshing in approach.

Good joke, though, about the LSO and German music.....

Post by Arthur July 2, 2007 (27 of 48)
Daniel:

To me there seems to be a fundamental error in your thinking: there is no BEST. There are only different, and which different is better is merely a matter of opinion. You seem caught up in not trying anything that doesn't pass muster with your mentor. But what makes your mentor's opinion any more valid than your own? With a work of art you have to use your own ears, your own brain and your own heart to make a decision whether or not a work or a performance is right for you. You can't not listen because you're afraid of making a mistake! (Well, I suppose you can, but the loss will be yours!) Of course there's a financial outlay to consider. But if you're seriously into the music, that's simply a price you're going to have to pay over the years.

I once knew a man with a lot of money, but no wealth: he always wanted the "primo". Anything else was a waste of money. So if we went to a baseball game he had to have "the primo seats". (He missed the game of course because we had to "beat the traffic".) You went to his home and he had one $10,000 sofa and no other furniture: he had to wait until the "primo" furniture was avialable, etc. He was all about winning, but in the end he was the biggest loser of all: one of the poorest, most closed-minded, least experienced individuals I ever knew!

Another friend of mine has made it a point over the years to buy recordings by major artists that have gotten panned by the critics. His point? This musician has been playing and studying for years. Did he all of a sudden lose his talent? Or perhaps the critics who are listening to dozens of recordings maybe just aren't taking the time to try to truly understand what the artist is doing. And again and again I have listened to works with this friend and we have listened and discussed and finally come to realize that the musician is trying to lead us in a new direction. And almost inevitably, we are richer for making the journey with him.

My point? Explore! Buy something, listen to it, DON'T JUDGE IT, try to understand what the composer meant and what the musicians were trying to communicate. After you've done that all the "second rate orchestra for German music" discussions will become meaningless.

Bret

Post by flyingdutchman July 2, 2007 (28 of 48)
Arthur said:

Daniel:

To me there seems to be a fundamental error in your thinking: there is no BEST. There are only different, and which different is better is merely a matter of opinion. You seem caught up in not trying anything that doesn't pass muster with your mentor. But what makes your mentor's opinion any more valid than your own? With a work of art you have to use your own ears, your own brain and your own heart to make a decision whether or not a work or a performance is right for you. You can't not listen because you're afraid of making a mistake! (Well, I suppose you can, but the loss will be yours!) Of course there's a financial outlay to consider. But if you're seriously into the music, that's simply a price you're going to have to pay over the years.

I once knew a man with a lot of money, but no wealth: he always wanted the "primo". Anything else was a waste of money. So if we went to a baseball game he had to have "the primo seats". (He missed the game of course because we had to "beat the traffic".) You went to his home and he had one $10,000 sofa and no other furniture: he had to wait until the "primo" furniture was avialable, etc. He was all about winning, but in the end he was the biggest loser of all: one of the poorest, most closed-minded, least experienced individuals I ever knew!

Another friend of mine has made it a point over the years to buy recordings by major artists that have gotten panned by the critics. His point? This musician has been playing and studying for years. Did he all of a sudden lose his talent? Or perhaps the critics who are listening to dozens of recordings maybe just aren't taking the time to try to truly understand what the artist is doing. And again and again I have listened to works with this friend and we have listened and discussed and finally come to realize that the musician is trying to lead us in a new direction. And almost inevitably, we are richer for making the journey with him.

My point? Explore! Buy something, listen to it, DON'T JUDGE IT, try to understand what the composer meant and what the musicians were trying to communicate. After you've done that all the "second rate orchestra for German music" discussions will become meaningless.

Bret

Completely agree. I once spent so much time reading reviews and getting only what the reviewers viewed as the best recordings. I hardly read reviews any more and spend my time getting what I would like to hear because of the conductor and the innovative new things that he/she might bring to the music.

Post by Windsurfer July 2, 2007 (29 of 48)
Bret:

YES!, Yes! yes and yes!

Each of your paragraphs is right on the money!

BTW I decided to take a break from sanding dry wall compound in our slowly evolving addition to listen to the Haitink 5th as per PollyNomial. Haitink doesn't displace my Kleiber sacd but it is a great companion to it!

Flying Dutchman is right on as well!

Post by brenda July 2, 2007 (30 of 48)
SnaggS said:

What other conductors have you heard?

Daniel.

Daniel, F. Dutchman and Bret are spot on. Listen to them - and yourself - instead of your "mentor". Brenda

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