Music Banter - View Single Post - Classical Music Criticism
View Single Post
Old 11-14-2020, 07:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
ando here
Music Addict
ando here's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: NY, NY
Posts: 1,801

Originally Posted by OccultHawk View Post
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.

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.
That sounds good. What you described Carter of doing Beethoven certainly did with his piano works. He knew most pianists of his day would struggle with the early pieces he wrote which, because of their popularity, gave him an edge in performing them.

The string quartets: Yes, there are a lot of them. I've got the Budapest and Juilliard (early quartet) string box sets. Most of the Budapest versions and the Complete Juilliard are on Spotify. What's in your collection? I like the idea of dividing the quartets in to an early, middle and late period. David Hurwitz was on to something when he said that there is probably no one perfect complete recorded cycle as even the best quartets are better in one or two of the quartet periods than others. I'm stuck on the austere but vital sound of the Juilliard String Quartet but completely open to hear and evaluate other versions. Course, it should have a dedicated thread. If we keep this thread as a general springboard for ideas it may turn out some interesting spinoffs.
ando here is offline   Reply With Quote