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Old 11-14-2020, 05:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I was thinking of mentioning George Szell since those recordings represent a kind of gold standard.

I’ve mentioned a few times that my favorite composer is Elliott Carter. I was recently reading an interview with him where he was describing attending performances of his work and a compositional strategy he would employ would be for the musician playing the most difficult passages to play louder and the others softer. Not exactly a revolutionary idea, I know, it’s the backbone of the concerto, but he was talking about symphonies and chamber works without a clear specified soloist so the conductor and the musicians had to be a little more cognizant of what was expected of them. The complexity of his compositions can require in his words “virtuoso” level of skill of any member of the ensemble- so these musicians have to work hard af to play this music. Anyway, he said that he would see them ****ing up his music and then members of the orchestra would talk to him afterward pissed off. But he was also saying that he understood that some musicians simply weren’t capable of doing much more than getting through the notes.

He died in 2012 - it’s hard to believe 8 years have passed it seems so recent. But I’d probably have to live to be a 1000 to be a keen enough of a listener to be able to pick that stuff out without having it spoon fed to me. I love his music but I just accept the recordings as they are. If there’s anywhere I have an honest preference it’s only the sonatas. Even with the quartets that kind of astute ear is way way beyond me. Honestly, I’m pretty sure that I’ve only heard the Juilliard versions anyway.

It could be a personal challenge to be able to compare to the Pacifica Quartet (for example) but it would be at the expense of a lot of other listening.

On the other hand I do remember noticing differences in the Beethoven String Quartets. Obviously there’s ****loads of versions to choose from.

The Beethoven String Quartets could be a good place to start the discussion or whatever - the Cleveland symphony thing too. I’m up for giving it a go.

Being on Spotify is almost mandatory for me these days.

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