last night at the Met

1 view
Skip to first unread message

Braden Mechley

unread,
Sep 28, 1993, 3:03:42 PM9/28/93
to
I was exceptionally surprised to log on and find no comments posted on
last night's broadcast -- so I'll attempt to start (I presume) the ball
rolling here, however briefly. Act One of DIE WALKURE found Levine
moving a bit too slowly for his singers at times -- Meier and Domingo could
both be heard rushing him along at points -- but mostly in good form.
Waltraud Meier's Sieglinde reminded me rather of Mechthild (sp?)
Gessendorf's broadcast performance of this past season; both singers
sounded just lovely in their lines before the act's final scene but went
to pieces somewhat when the Gs and As started to fly. Meier was worse
than Gessendorf in this regard, actually; I wondered at times if she was
going to make it. Domingo, some linguistic fumbles aside, sounded
gorgeous as Siegmund, really milking "Walse! Walse!" and other high-note
opportunities but generally contributing the warmly lyrical performance
we'd expect from him. Hans Sotin was the excellent Hunding.

The star of the first act of OTELLO was the Met chorus, as lively,
incisive and characterful as I've heard them (in broadcast) in a while.
The crisp diction was quite welcome, especially in "Fuoco di gioia!"
(The men of the chorus returned in excellent form in Act Three of IL
TROVATORE; see below.) Pavarotti sounded as fine as he has in some time;
I heard no vocal worries anywhere, no real strain or pushing. That said,
he of course couldn't match the great Otellos past and present for
detailed inflection, but his commanding delivery and often sweet singing
were far more than just acceptable. (I wonder how he *looked* in the
part, but that's a wholly different matter, isn't it?) Kallen Esperian
was an adequate Desdemona; the part's not hard to sing, but she refused
to anything special with it. We want floating, soft top notes and ampler
legato than she contributed. Sherrill Milnes was still very much on top
of Jago's music, right up to the quick As of his drinking song, and Mark
Baker was very fine as Cassio. Levine was more dramatic, more committed
here too.

IL TROVATORE, an unabashedly gala opera, elicited gala performance from
the company. As I suggested above, the chorus was very exciting indeed
in the celebrated Soldiers' Chorus, and we also got Dolora Zajick,
Vladimir Chernov and Paul Plishka in top form for the first scene of the
act. The second scene's only drawback was Esperian's faceless Leonora;
Domingo's suitably ardent "Ah, si, ben mio" and Pavarotti's surprisingly
snappy "Di quella pira," top Cs (of course) and all, were quite rousing.
Levine and the Met orchestra really bit into things for this grand finale.

Other opinions? I really enjoyed the broadcast! Not the subtlest
affair, perhaps, but very gala indeed.

Braden Mechley
Department of Classics
University of Washington

Braden Mechley

unread,
Sep 28, 1993, 3:22:35 PM9/28/93
to
In article <28a2or$t...@mizar.usc.edu> adol...@mizar.usc.edu (adolphson) writes:
>I didn't hear the broadcast, but I wonder if
>they really were Cs? Pavarotti started transposing
>everything down almost a decade ago. (When I worked
>at Tower in the late '70s, one of my co-workers started
>calling him Lubiano.) According to Diana Soviero,
>Pavarotti insisted that an entire scene in BOHEME be
>transposed down so that he'd have an easiert time
>hitting the (unwritten) high C. High Cs usually *are*
>easier to hit when they're B-flats.

Well, Domingo did join him on whatever it was, making transposition seem
increasingly likely; that said, they sounded fairly high to me! I'll
check my tapes of the broadcast and see ...

Keith Moulton

unread,
Sep 28, 1993, 6:20:26 PM9/28/93
to
In article <28a1qe$3...@news.u.washington.edu>,

Braden Mechley <ele...@carson.u.washington.edu> wrote:
>I was exceptionally surprised to log on and find no comments posted on
>last night's broadcast -- so I'll attempt to start (I presume) the ball
>rolling here, however briefly.

I was a bit surprised myself, but I didn't want to jump in first
and then be flamed to death because I was impressed with Luciano's singing
(as well as Domingo's, of course! :-).

> Act One of DIE WALKURE found Levine
>moving a bit too slowly for his singers at times -- Meier and Domingo could
>both be heard rushing him along at points -- but mostly in good form.
>Waltraud Meier's Sieglinde reminded me rather of Mechthild (sp?)
>Gessendorf's broadcast performance of this past season; both singers
>sounded just lovely in their lines before the act's final scene but went
>to pieces somewhat when the Gs and As started to fly. Meier was worse
>than Gessendorf in this regard, actually; I wondered at times if she was
>going to make it. Domingo, some linguistic fumbles aside, sounded
>gorgeous as Siegmund, really milking "Walse! Walse!" and other high-note
>opportunities but generally contributing the warmly lyrical performance
>we'd expect from him. Hans Sotin was the excellent Hunding.

I thought Domingo was terrific, but I have to say that I heard a
recording of the same scene from Vienna and I thought he was better then.
It sounded to me as if Domingo was trying a little *too* hard to convince
us of his ability to sing Wagner. The "Walse's" did blow me away, however!



>The star of the first act of OTELLO was the Met chorus, as lively,
>incisive and characterful as I've heard them (in broadcast) in a while.
>The crisp diction was quite welcome, especially in "Fuoco di gioia!"

Well I guess I would agree with "lively" and little else...
It would have helped if members of the same section had sung the
same notes at the same times. There was so many wavering vibratos you
could have driven a fleet of trucks through them. ;-)



>(The men of the chorus returned in excellent form in Act Three of IL
>TROVATORE; see below.) Pavarotti sounded as fine as he has in some time;
>I heard no vocal worries anywhere, no real strain or pushing. That said,
>he of course couldn't match the great Otellos past and present for
>detailed inflection, but his commanding delivery and often sweet singing
>were far more than just acceptable.

Edward Rothstein of the Times was less generous to Luciano's
attempt at Otello: "Mr. Pavarotti's attempt...was less fortunate.
...vocal reserves just didn't seem to lie behind Mr. Pavarotti's exclamation
[of the "Esultate"]. He tended to thrust into notes for emphasis, sometimes
sliding up and disturbing the line: the gossamer texture of the love duet
(ably sustained by Kallen Esperian as Desdemona [What?!!!]) was unsettled
by his lack of ease."
Needless to say, I disagree wholeheartedly. (Of course in the final
analysis I would have to defer to Mr. Rothstein as he was actually there,
while I could only listen on the radio and I have to regard the live
performance as definitive.) I found Mr. Pavarotti's interpretation very
fresh, with lots of vocal colors and *diction* for days! Of course,
Domingo/Del Monaco/Martinelli have had more heroic voices, but I always
find theirs monochromatic and a bit dull after a while. And Esperian
was simply dreadful in the love duet with poor intonation (anywhere but
there!).

> (I wonder how he *looked* in the
>part, but that's a wholly different matter, isn't it?) Kallen Esperian
>was an adequate Desdemona; the part's not hard to sing, but she refused
>to anything special with it. We want floating, soft top notes and ampler
>legato than she contributed. Sherrill Milnes was still very much on top
>of Jago's music, right up to the quick As of his drinking song, and Mark
>Baker was very fine as Cassio. Levine was more dramatic, more committed
>here too.
>
>IL TROVATORE, an unabashedly gala opera, elicited gala performance from
>the company. As I suggested above, the chorus was very exciting indeed
>in the celebrated Soldiers' Chorus, and we also got Dolora Zajick,
>Vladimir Chernov and Paul Plishka in top form for the first scene of the
>act. The second scene's only drawback was Esperian's faceless Leonora;
>Domingo's suitably ardent "Ah, si, ben mio" and Pavarotti's surprisingly
>snappy "Di quella pira," top Cs (of course) and all, were quite rousing.
>Levine and the Met orchestra really bit into things for this grand finale.

Actually, they were high B naturals, which is OK in my book, and
in fact, I'm a little puzzled as to what the real pitch is "supposed"
to be. Can anyone enlighten? I have a copy of the aria which shows
them to be Bflats, although it's not from the full score. I always
thought that when someone talked about the high C at the end of Di Quella
Pira they were talking about an interpolation--not a transposition!

>
>Other opinions? I really enjoyed the broadcast! Not the subtlest
>affair, perhaps, but very gala indeed.

I thoroughly enjoyed it also, and thought that Domingo and Pavarotti
amply showed that they are, indeed, in a class of their own.

Keith Moulton.

Gareth Morrell

unread,
Sep 28, 1993, 9:11:49 PM9/28/93
to

>I always
>thought that when someone talked about the high C at the end of Di Quella
>Pira they were talking about an interpolation--not a transposition!

The high C's commonly heard in "Di quella pira" are indeed an interpolation
which Verdi didn't want, but were incorporated pretty early on and became
traditional. No self respecting tenor can avoid them these days, though
most international tenors sing the aria transposed down a half-step. The
end of Act I of La Boheme is the other most common transposition in Italian
Opera, though my heart always sinks when I hear the awkard harmonic change
at the point where the transposition takes effect (again down a half-step).
Transposition in the works of bel-canto composers is very common, and was
frequently authorized by the composers, who were much less bothered by such
things than we are today.
--
Gareth Morrell do...@cleveland.freenet.edu

Braden Mechley

unread,
Sep 29, 1993, 3:10:41 PM9/29/93
to
In article <28adba$9...@apakabar.cc.columbia.edu> km...@merhaba.cc.columbia.edu (Keith Moulton) writes:
>In article <28a1qe$3...@news.u.washington.edu>,
>Braden Mechley <ele...@carson.u.washington.edu> wrote:
>>I was exceptionally surprised to log on and find no comments posted on
>>last night's broadcast -- so I'll attempt to start (I presume) the ball
>>rolling here, however briefly.
>
> I was a bit surprised myself, but I didn't want to jump in first
>and then be flamed to death because I was impressed with Luciano's singing
>(as well as Domingo's, of course! :-).

My fear as well, I must confess, but (obviously) I swallowed my
reservations and plunged on in ... :)

>>The star of the first act of OTELLO was the Met chorus, as lively,
>>incisive and characterful as I've heard them (in broadcast) in a while.
>>The crisp diction was quite welcome, especially in "Fuoco di gioia!"
>
> Well I guess I would agree with "lively" and little else...
>It would have helped if members of the same section had sung the
>same notes at the same times. There was so many wavering vibratos you
>could have driven a fleet of trucks through them. ;-)

The women of the Met chorus often have vibrato trouble, but I didn't
notice problems with the men.

[re: my mention of top Cs in "Di quella pira"]

> Actually, they were high B naturals, which is OK in my book, and
>in fact, I'm a little puzzled as to what the real pitch is "supposed"
>to be. Can anyone enlighten? I have a copy of the aria which shows
>them to be Bflats, although it's not from the full score. I always
>thought that when someone talked about the high C at the end of Di Quella
>Pira they were talking about an interpolation--not a transposition!

It's an interpolation. The cabaletta is in the key of C, properly, so an
untransposed-but-with-interpolations performance offers a high C (or two
or three, depending). Untransposed-without-interpolations would feature
Gs where Cs are often added.

Francois R. Velde

unread,
Sep 30, 1993, 12:43:03 PM9/30/93
to
km...@merhaba.cc.columbia.edu (Keith Moulton) writes:

|Braden Mechley <ele...@carson.u.washington.edu> wrote:
|>Domingo's suitably ardent "Ah, si, ben mio" and Pavarotti's surprisingly
|>snappy "Di quella pira," top Cs (of course) and all, were quite rousing.
|
| Actually, they were high B naturals, which is OK in my book, and
|in fact, I'm a little puzzled as to what the real pitch is "supposed"
|to be.

I don't have the exact text of Edward Rothstein's review, but he was
apparently convinced that they were high C's, and even made a comment
to the effect that belching out high C's is what competing tenors are
all about.

My question is: did this distinguished critic not notice he was being
cheated? If this distinguished critic did not notice, who does (aside
from Keith :-) and how much does it matter? (Keith says it's OK with
him).

--

Francois Velde


Pat

unread,
Oct 1, 1993, 3:51:36 PM10/1/93
to
In article <28f2an...@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu>,
> Francois Velde

They were definitely B's, unless my piano (which was tuned last month)
has developed a serious malfunction.

It seems to me that the distinguished critic was more enamored with
witty verbiage ("belching out") than accuracy. Perhaps the rest of
his review should be taken with a grain of salt.

I agree with Keith. It's Ok with me too. I enjoyed the evening.

Pat


Keith Moulton

unread,
Oct 1, 1993, 6:23:28 PM10/1/93
to
In article <28f2an...@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu>,
Francois R. Velde <ve...@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu> wrote:
>km...@merhaba.cc.columbia.edu (Keith Moulton) writes:
>|Braden Mechley <ele...@carson.u.washington.edu> wrote:
>
>I don't have the exact text of Edward Rothstein's review, but he was
>apparently convinced that they were high C's, and even made a comment
>to the effect that belching out high C's is what competing tenors are
>all about.

Well, what's kind of surprising about it is that Domingo
has publically admitted that he "does not have a serviceable high C."
Of course Rothstein knows this, but in the interest of brevity (and
personal prejudice against L.P., IMHO) called the B natural a C.
In all fairness though, a high B natural and a C sound very similar
in most tenor's voices and IMHO convey the same excitement and energy,
as well as being at a similar level of difficulty. The difference between a
Bflat and a B natural is a different story, however, with a considerable
difference in timbre. Thus in consideration of this case, I don't think
anyone should feel cheated. I mean, the subjective difference to the
audience is really so small. If we consistently measure performers
in such miniscule increments, then I worry about opera's organic vitality
having the life snipped out of it by mistake.
Salut,
Keith Moulton.
>
> Francois Velde
>
>


Rob Holzel

unread,
Sep 30, 1993, 7:35:22 AM9/30/93
to
ele...@carson.u.washington.edu (Braden Mechley) writes:

>In article <28a2or$t...@mizar.usc.edu> adol...@mizar.usc.edu (adolphson) writes:
>>I didn't hear the broadcast, but I wonder if
>>they really were Cs?

>Well, Domingo did join him on whatever it was, making transposition seem

>increasingly likely; that said, they sounded fairly high to me!

The review in the NY Times at least said they were C's. Also mentioned
the good humor in the way the two tenors shared the same role on-stage
at the same time.

In all it sounded like a rousing good time, even to a seasoned Pavarotti
skeptic like myself.

Rob

Rob Holzel

unread,
Sep 30, 1993, 10:14:45 AM9/30/93
to
km...@merhaba.cc.columbia.edu (Keith Moulton) writes:

> I didn't want to jump in first
>and then be flamed to death because I was impressed with Luciano's singing

Keith, I think you and I are opposite sides of the same coin: me the
avowed nay-sayer, you the hearty promoter. Probably neither of us could
be accused of objectivity.

For what it's worth, the extract from Pavarotti's Central Park concert that
was shown during the Sixty Minutes profile showed Luciano belting away at
"Nessun Dorma" and sounding quite fine.

The NY Times review that you mention included an interesting comparison
of Domingo's and Pavarotti's respective careers. Domingo is clearly
more versatile and, as Pavarotti himself would likely agree, less lazy
when it comes to expanding his repertoire. As for Domingo's possibly
wanting to sing his lungs out in the "Walkure" in order to prove to the
world that he is indeed a Wagnerian, I think he already convinced most of us
of that with his "Parsifal" a couple of years back. Much more likely is
the idea that the gala occasion inspired and excited him, as well it should.

And if you think Domingo is a comparatively monochromatic performer, then
what in the world do you have to say about Pavarotti? Considerations
of technique aside, I've always thought it was an accepted truism that
Placido's acting ability (namely his ability to sing in character) leave
Luciano's in the dust.


Rob

Keith Moulton

unread,
Oct 5, 1993, 3:08:30 PM10/5/93
to
In article <1993Sep30.1...@progress.com>,

Rob Holzel <hol...@progress.COM> wrote:
>km...@merhaba.cc.columbia.edu (Keith Moulton) writes:
>
>> I didn't want to jump in first
>>and then be flamed to death because I was impressed with Luciano's singing
>
>Keith, I think you and I are opposite sides of the same coin: me the
>avowed nay-sayer, you the hearty promoter. Probably neither of us could
>be accused of objectivity.

True enough :-)


>For what it's worth, the extract from Pavarotti's Central Park concert that
>was shown during the Sixty Minutes profile showed Luciano belting away at
>"Nessun Dorma" and sounding quite fine.

Oh my god, I thinking I'm actually going to agree with everything
you say:

>The NY Times review that you mention included an interesting comparison
>of Domingo's and Pavarotti's respective careers. Domingo is clearly
>more versatile and, as Pavarotti himself would likely agree, less lazy
>when it comes to expanding his repertoire. As for Domingo's possibly
>wanting to sing his lungs out in the "Walkure" in order to prove to the
>world that he is indeed a Wagnerian, I think he already convinced most of us
>of that with his "Parsifal" a couple of years back. Much more likely is
>the idea that the gala occasion inspired and excited him, as well it should.
>
>And if you think Domingo is a comparatively monochromatic performer, then
>what in the world do you have to say about Pavarotti? Considerations
>of technique aside, I've always thought it was an accepted truism that
>Placido's acting ability (namely his ability to sing in character) leave
>Luciano's in the dust.
>Rob

When I said Domingo is a bit monochromatic, I meant it in terms of
different vocal colors and dynamics, but certainly not in respect to his
acting/performance overall, which is terrific.
I would even go so far as to say that if, some night, I had to
choose between going to two operas being presented, one with Domingo and
the other with Pavarotti, I would go to the one with Domingo all things
being equal. Luckily, I have never had to make that choice though!
Domingo is a superb musician and actor who almost always brings his part to
life and I have always been moved by him at live performances. But, for
me, singing is as an essential part of opera as dancing is to ballet. And
in terms of purely vocal means of expression, Luciano is IMHO wonderful.
Thus, if I had to make a choice between buying a recording of the same
opera with Domingo, or with Pavarotti, I would go with Luciano's if all
other things were equal :-). Which they never are, of course. I guess I
might venture to say that our differing tastes are as irreconcilable as
the age-old disagreement over whether opera is drama or music.

All the best,
Keith Moulton.

Michael Wolverton

unread,
Oct 5, 1993, 3:28:20 PM10/5/93
to

Could someone recommend a recording of the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas?
I'd prefer clarinet performances, but if you know of a great viola
performance, I'd love to hear about that too. Post or e-mail to me;
I'll summarize any e-mail recommendations I get to the net.

Thanks,

Michael
--
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Michael Wolverton "Is that clear?"
m...@cs.stanford.edu "No, but it's consistent!"
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Francois Velde

unread,
Oct 5, 1993, 5:18:05 PM10/5/93
to
m...@Xenon.Stanford.EDU (Michael Wolverton) writes:
>Could someone recommend a recording of the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas?

Karl Leister and Gerhard Oppitz on Orfeo (1984). Beautifully recorded
IMHO, marvelous sound, sensitive playing. G. Oppitz does Brahms' solo piano
music very well too.

Now you've done it: I'll be humming Brahms all evening :-)

--
Francois Velde

Jacob Feldman

unread,
Oct 5, 1993, 7:13:14 PM10/5/93
to
m...@Xenon.Stanford.EDU (Michael Wolverton) writes:

>Could someone recommend a recording of the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas?

I will enrage clarinet purists by recommending Stoltzman and Goode on
RCA. Yes, he vibrates. So sue me. He's very expressive when it's
needed, but also dry when that's what's needed, which is often in
these pieces. Goode is one of the best pianists recording today, and
his touch is just right for these late Brahms, in my book.

-jacob

B7QL

unread,
Oct 5, 1993, 8:23:05 PM10/5/93
to
In article <28soad...@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu> vel...@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu (Francois Velde) writes:
>m...@Xenon.Stanford.EDU (Michael Wolverton) writes:
>>Could someone recommend a recording of the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas?
>
>Karl Leister and Gerhard Oppitz on Orfeo (1984). Beautifully recorded
>IMHO, marvelous sound, sensitive playing. G. Oppitz does Brahms' solo piano
>music very well too.

On record, perhaps. I saw Oppitz last week in Montreal; he played
Schubert's G major piano sonata in the first half, and then
Brahms' Rhapsodies op. 79 and Haendel variations in the second
half. I found the Brahms rushed and unclear, especially the
variations.

-Andy

Dan Koren

unread,
Oct 5, 1993, 8:50:13 PM10/5/93
to
In article <05OCT93.20...@VM1.MCGILL.CA> B7QL <B7...@MUSICB.MCGILL.CA> writes:
>In article <28soad...@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu> vel...@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu (Francois Velde) writes:
>>m...@Xenon.Stanford.EDU (Michael Wolverton) writes:
>>>Could someone recommend a recording of the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas?

My top choice would be Gervase de Peyer, whom I believe was accompanied
by Gweneth Pryor (spelling?), on EMI.

>>Karl Leister and Gerhard Oppitz on Orfeo (1984). Beautifully recorded
>>IMHO, marvelous sound, sensitive playing. G. Oppitz does Brahms' solo
>>piano music very well too.

According to whom? The reviews of his Brahms cycle were rather mixed,
and many concluded his set was no challenge to Julius Katchen's.

>On record, perhaps. I saw Oppitz last week in Montreal; he played
>Schubert's G major piano sonata in the first half, and then Brahms'
>Rhapsodies op. 79 and Haendel variations in the second half. I found
>the Brahms rushed and unclear, especially the variations.

I heard Oppitz a lot during the Rubinstein Competition he won, and
generally did not like him. A lot of people did not think any of the
competitors deserved a First Prize, and felt unhappy about the jury's
decision.

>-Andy

dk

Linda Cool

unread,
Oct 6, 1993, 2:38:48 AM10/6/93
to
In <1993Sep30.1...@progress.com> hol...@progress.COM (Rob Holzel) writes:
>THE GOod humor in the way the two tenors shared the same role on-stage
>at the same time.

>In all it sounded like a rousing good time, even to a seasoned Pavarotti
>skeptic like myself.

Well, at the least, it became easier to understand how Azucena threw
the wrong baby in the fire!

Linda


Josh Stern

unread,
Oct 6, 1993, 5:51:02 AM10/6/93
to
Michael Wolverton <m...@Xenon.Stanford.EDU> wrote:

>Could someone recommend a recording of the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas?

>I'd prefer clarinet performances, but if you know of a great viola
>performance, I'd love to hear about that too. Post or e-mail to me;
>I'll summarize any e-mail recommendations I get to the net.

Zukerman and Barenboim (DG, mid-price) is "a great viola performance"
(really).


- Josh


Rob Holzel

unread,
Oct 6, 1993, 12:42:18 PM10/6/93
to
km...@konichiwa.cc.columbia.edu (Keith Moulton) writes:

> I would even go so far as to say that if, some night, I had to
>choose between going to two operas being presented, one with Domingo and
>the other with Pavarotti, I would go to the one with Domingo all things
>being equal. Luckily, I have never had to make that choice though!

Or, one could say, too bad we've never had such a wonderful choice placed
before us. As long as we're admitting our inconsistencies, fwiw, even *I*
was eager to see Pavarotti when I was in Paris last year and tickets
were on sale for, I believe, Verdi's "Masked Ball." (And I'm not even
a Verdi fan.) Too bad, not even the concierge could come to the
rescue in this matter. :-(

>our differing tastes are as irreconcilable as
>the age-old disagreement over whether opera is drama or music.

But, isn't it both? (Posed like a true Wagnerian...) :-)


Rob

Andrew Pinkowitz

unread,
Oct 7, 1993, 2:12:49 AM10/7/93
to
in article <1993Oct5.1...@CSD-NewsHost.Stanford.EDU>, m...@Xenon.Stanford.EDU (Michael Wolverton) says:
>
>
> Could someone recommend a recording of the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas?

David Shifrin (Cl) & Carol Rosenberger (P) on a collection entitled
"A BRAHMS/SCHUMANN SOIREE At the home of Clara Schumann Frankfort -
November 13, 1894" DELOS D/CD3025

Contains opus 120 1 & 2 AND opus 73 Fantasiestucke.

arp (hisself)

Alan McConnell

unread,
Oct 7, 1993, 9:34:18 AM10/7/93
to
m...@Xenon.Stanford.EDU (Michael Wolverton) writes:


>Could someone recommend a recording of the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas?
>I'd prefer clarinet performances, but if you know of a great viola
>performance, I'd love to hear about that too. Post or e-mail to me;

One of the few viola jokes that tickles _me_: How do you tell
a violist? Ans. When a pianist starts playing his part of one
of the Brahms Op 120s, the violist is the one who rushes over to
the piano and starts singing.
Regards to all, Alan McConnell
--
Alan McConnell "Commit random kindnesses, and sporadic
Pixel Analysis acts of beauty."
(al...@highlite.gotham.com)

Rob Holzel

unread,
Oct 7, 1993, 3:30:03 PM10/7/93
to
d...@netcom.com (Dan Koren) writes:

>In article <05OCT93.20...@VM1.MCGILL.CA> B7QL <B7...@MUSICB.MCGILL.CA> writes:
>>In article <28soad...@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu> vel...@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu (Francois Velde) writes:
>>>m...@Xenon.Stanford.EDU (Michael Wolverton) writes:
>>>>Could someone recommend a recording of the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas?

>My top choice would be Gervase de Peyer, whom I believe was accompanied
>by Gweneth Pryor (spelling?), on EMI.

A very skilled clarinet-player friend of mine (heads up, Dan!) reviles this
recording. But, since reed players tend to differentiate between a German
and a French sound, and since my friend prefers the German sound and
Gervase (being Gervase) is French, perhaps this accounts for the difference
of opinion. (Well, it certainly couldn't be because Dan is "wrong.") :-)


Rob

Dan Koren

unread,
Oct 8, 1993, 1:53:59 PM10/8/93
to
In article <1993Oct7.1...@progress.com> hol...@progress.COM (Rob Holzel) writes:
>d...@netcom.com (Dan Koren) writes:
>
>>In article <05OCT93.20...@VM1.MCGILL.CA> B7QL <B7...@MUSICB.MCGILL.CA> writes:
>>>In article <28soad...@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu> vel...@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu (Francois Velde) writes:
>>>>m...@Xenon.Stanford.EDU (Michael Wolverton) writes:
>>>>>Could someone recommend a recording of the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas?
>
>>My top choice would be Gervase de Peyer, whom I believe was accompanied
>>by Gweneth Pryor (spelling?), on EMI.
>
>A very skilled clarinet-player friend of mine (heads up, Dan!) reviles this
>recording. But, since reed players tend to differentiate between a German
>and a French sound,

No kidding! ;-)) Listeners too.

BTW, you should find out what does your friend think of Yona Ettlinger.
Does he belong to the German school, the French school, or the Yidish
school ?!? ;-))

> and since my friend prefers the German sound and
>Gervase (being Gervase) is French, perhaps this accounts for the difference
>of opinion. (Well, it certainly couldn't be because Dan is "wrong.") :-)

I profoundly dislike Karl Leister, if that answers your question.
Or the german school of wind playing, for that matter. Have you
noticed how many of the great wind players *did* not come from
German countries, and *did* not follow the German school.

Oppitz doesn't win any accolades from me, either.

>Rob

dk


Michael Wolverton

unread,
Oct 10, 1993, 8:23:10 PM10/10/93
to
Here's a summary of the recommendations I received for recordings of
the Brahms clarinet sonatas. The responses certainly didn't reflect
any kind of consensus about one or two recordings which are generally
rated above others, but I get the feeling after reading all the
responses that there are many recordings of these pieces that are
quite good.

Only two recordings received multiple recommendations: Karl Leister
and Gerhard Oppitz on Orfeo, and Gervase de Peyer and Gweneth Pryor on
Chandos. Each received two strong recommendations from netters, but
each also received a single recommendation against it. Mike Kong's
recollection was that the sound in the Leister/Oppitz CD was sub-par,
especially the piano sound. And Rob Holzel has a clarinetist friend
who hates the de Peyer/Pryor recording, perhaps due to de Peyer's
"French" clarinet sound. For what it's worth, the Penguin Guide raves
about the de Peyer/Pryor performance, and the Stevenson Guide lists a
couple of strong reviews of the Leister/Oppitz release.

Other clarinet performances received one recommendation each:

Harold Wright (pianist Goldsmith?) on Musical Heritage Society

Pieterson/ H. Menuhin on Philips

Michel Portal on EMI import (Steven Chung hasn't heard it, but
points to a good Gramophone review and a good Brahms clarinet
quintet recording by Portal)

Stoltzman/Goode on RCA Gold Seal (Jacob Feldman doesn't mind
Stolzman's occasional use of vibrato, and says he responds
well to the demands of the music)

Shifrin/Rosenberger on Delos

I also got a few recommendations for good viola performances of these
works. Two netters were enthusiastic about the Zukerman/Barenboim
release on DG/Galleria. Ed Zalta likes the Michael Tree / Richard
Goode performance (label unknown), pointing out that Tree uses an
18 inch viola that sounds "almost as deep as a cello". And Chris
Bonds likes the Primrose performance of the Eb sonata on Biddulph.

Thanks very much to everyone who replied: Todd McComb, Ed Zalta,
Steven Chung, Chris Bonds, Mike Kong, Francois Velde, Jacob Feldman,
Josh Stern, Andrew Pinkowitz, Dan Koren, and Rob Holzel.

-Michael

I. Neill Reid

unread,
Oct 10, 1993, 11:37:00 PM10/10/93
to
In article <1993Oct5.1...@CSD-NewsHost.Stanford.EDU>,
m...@Xenon.Stanford.EDU (Michael Wolverton) writes...

>
>Could someone recommend a recording of the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas?
>I'd prefer clarinet performances, but if you know of a great viola
>performance, I'd love to hear about that too.

If you're not set on recent performances, there's a great
performance (from 1954) of both of the sonatas by Reginald Kell
and Joel Rosen. The recording I have is on MCA - one of their
twofers, with the accompanying disk being a performance of
the sonatas on viola by Paul Doktor and Nadia Reisenberg.
(MCA d2-9837)

Neill Reid - i...@eccles.caltech.edu


David M. J. Saslav

unread,
Oct 11, 1993, 8:57:26 PM10/11/93
to
Michael Wolverton (m...@Xenon.Stanford.EDU) wrote:
[Material deleted]
: I also got a few recommendations for good viola performances of these

: works. Two netters were enthusiastic about the Zukerman/Barenboim
: release on DG/Galleria. Ed Zalta likes the Michael Tree / Richard
: Goode performance (label unknown), pointing out that Tree uses an
: 18 inch viola that sounds "almost as deep as a cello". And Chris
: Bonds likes the Primrose performance of the Eb sonata on Biddulph.

I vote for the Pasquier/Pennetier viola-piano op. 120 rendition on
harmonia mundi france (HMA 1901092). Perhaps my favorite viola
recording of any I own. Clarinet-wise, I second the Shifrin/
Rosenberger recommendation.

David Saslav
dm...@netcom.com

Ross A Fletcher

unread,
Oct 13, 1993, 1:20:56 AM10/13/93
to
In article <1993Oct7.1...@highlite.uucp> al...@highlite.uucp (Alan McConnell) writes:
>From: al...@highlite.uucp (Alan McConnell)
>Subject: Re: Brahms Clarinet Sonata Recs
>Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1993 13:34:18 GMT

>m...@Xenon.Stanford.EDU (Michael Wolverton) writes:
>
>
>>Could someone recommend a recording of the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas?
>>I'd prefer clarinet performances, but if you know of a great viola
>>performance, I'd love to hear about that too. Post or e-mail to me;

The Michael Collins/Mikhael Pletniev recording (ca. 1990) is excellent as is
the much older Gervase de Peyer/ Barenboim disk - which I only have on vinyl.

Rob Holzel

unread,
Oct 13, 1993, 7:35:57 AM10/13/93
to
m...@Xenon.Stanford.EDU (Michael Wolverton) writes:

>And Rob Holzel has a clarinetist friend
>who hates the de Peyer/Pryor recording, perhaps due to de Peyer's
>"French" clarinet sound. For what it's worth, the Penguin Guide raves
>about the de Peyer/Pryor performance

And this very same rave is what led us to investigate the CD in the
first place. Made our disappointment all the deeper. Perhaps in
reviewing reed performances, critics could try to note whether
a French "buzz" or German mellowness can be heard in the playing of
the soloist. (I suppose that Penguin Guide rave is yet another
example of an uninformative review.)

If you like your clarinet tone to be rounded and rich, avoid this
release. Of course, some people like the French sound. Not that there's
anything wrong with that. :-)

I wonder what kind of tone quality the other recommended performances
strive for.

Rob


Rob

Rob Holzel

unread,
Oct 13, 1993, 8:29:04 AM10/13/93
to
d...@netcom.com (Dan Koren) writes:

>In article <1993Oct7.1...@progress.com> hol...@progress.COM (Rob Holzel) writes:

>>A very skilled clarinet-player friend of mine (heads up, Dan!) reviles this
>>recording. But, since reed players tend to differentiate between a German

>>and a French sound, and since my friend prefers the German sound and

>>Gervase (being Gervase) is French, perhaps this accounts for the difference
>>of opinion. (Well, it certainly couldn't be because Dan is "wrong.") :-)

>Have you


>noticed how many of the great wind players *did* not come from
>German countries, and *did* not follow the German school.

Oh no -- I like the wrong players! I know only that my favorite recordings
of clarinet, oboe, and bassoon repertoire feature a round, rich sound,
as opposed to the squalking buzz of French reeds. This is not to
say that many reed players don't hold the French sound in high regard;
in fact I seem to remember my friend once commenting that he diverged
from instrumentally-correct opinion in that respect. (He was just happy
to find a teacher who would instruct him in the German method.) Fortunately
for him and for me, there are enough proponents of the German school
making recordings that we can enjoy.

You are welcome to the French sound, if that's what you like. I guess I'll
have to stick to those semi-great players, the ones who *really* know how to
coax some beauty from their instruments. :-)


Rob

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages