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CLASSICAL  March 2001

CLASSICAL March 2001

Subject:

Re: Wanted - Tips for HIPs

From:

William Hong <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 6 Mar 2001 16:34:27 -0500

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text/plain

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I've been avoiding this topic during a time when other of life's
distractions have been getting in the way.  But I couldn't let it go
without a couple of thoughts, hopefully without re-doing other arguments
in the thread.

Originally, Richard Tsuyuki wrote:

>In the interest of learning more about period performances, I am seeking
>recommendations.  Specifically, I was wondering if anyone would care to
>recommend *two* recordings of the *same* work, one period and one modern.
>Ideally, the piece would be something one would want to own and listen to
>anyway (i.e., as opposed to obscure and hard to get to know; be gentle with
>me), and both performances would be of roughly equal merit, in their own
>genres.

And then there's the apparent contradiction that a Beethoven symphony, for
example, recorded by Gardiner in the 1990s would be "period" while one by
Furtwaengler in the 1940s would be "modern".....

As has already been hinted at in other postings, what's considered period
or HIP has changed over the decades, due to new musicological discoveries,
and (in some cases) better performance abilities over that time.  The
recordings using period instruments by Concentus Musicus or the Collegium
Aureum in the 1960s have definitely been superceded in many ways by later
groups and recordings, but that doesn't mean the older ones don't have
their own artistic merits, or that people can't enjoy them because of newer
scholarship.  So there's HIP, and there's HIP.  That said, I might suggest
the following:

Bach's Brandenburg Concertos: Benjamin Britten's recording with the
English Chamber Orchestra (late 60s), versus that led by Gustav Leonhardt
from ca.  1976, or Pinnock's from a few years later, contrasted perhaps by
a more "modern" HIP (X-treme HIP?) by Giardino Armonico or Musica Antiqua
Cologne/Goebel.

How about some Monteverdi? I'd think that the Raymond Leppard/Glyndebourne
sets of both "Poppea" and the Book VIII Madrigals are an interesting
comparison to the Poppeas by Gardiner (recent HIP) and Harnoncourt (hoary
old HIP).  As for the Madrigals, compare Leppard's with some of Gardiner's
early 80s versions, vs.  the Consort of Musick's versions (early 90s HIP)
and the Concerto Italiano's very recent and wonderful versions.

Biber's "Mystery" (or Rosary) Sonatas for violin and continuo: the
earliest recording I know is still available is the Lautenbacher (early
60s), compared to the Holloway (early 90s HIP) or the Letzbor (later 90s
HIP).  However, the more I listen to the Lautenbacher, I think it is really
a HIP recording for that time, so you can get a good feel for how much
things have changed in the past 35 years or so with regard to period
performance.

Purcell's Fairy Queen: Would go for either the Anthony Lewis or
Benjamin Britten versions from the 50s/60s, compared to either Gardiner's
80s version or Christie's 90s version.  As for "Dido and Aeneas", Tore
Steenslid has already mentioned Janet Baker/Lewis, compared to the
wonderfully theatrical version by Veronique Gens/Christie (except for
the odd French accent here and there in the latter).

Handel's Opus 6 Concerti Grossi: Not sure if it's available, but Menuhin's
Bath Festival Orchestra version, or the new Orpheus Chamber Orch.  is worth
comparing side by side with Pinnock's (80s HIP) or Manze's (late 90s HIP)
ones.

Handel's Water Music/Fireworks Music: Menuhin or Leppard for versions on
modern instruments (with Mackerras for modern windband Fireworks versions)
versus the Usual HIP Suspects (Hogwood/Pinnock/Gardiner).  Maybe King for
the HIP windband Fireworks version.

Handel's Messiah: No contest here--Beecham!  and perhaps Hogwood as the
HIP alternative.

Bill H.

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