David Harbin <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>I find it amazing that Gramophone 'experts' did not spot the fake orchestra
>and conductor, neither of which, to my mind, made any recordings in the
>past. Also the fact that major talents were ripped off and not spotted
>(eg Haitink ...)
I don't know as though I would fault them on that count...there is plenty
enough to fault some of those "experts" when they thought it was a so
so recording when originally released and then "great" when it was
For me, there was a time when each orchestra had a "sound." How could
one mistake the trumpet playing of a Roger Voisin with the Boston
Symphony...I loved his playing, while others hated it.
It was also difficult not to notice the sound of the various recording
engineers. You could tell a Layton recording, or a Fine recording.
Sometimes the acoustic of the recording venue would give you some
indication of identity of the performers.
To me, the sound quality of the orchestras, and the playing are both
so anonymous these days. Yesterday I was tranferring an unlabeled reel
of wire. Within a few measures I recognized the sound of the Boston
Symphony-Koussevitzky conducting...a rehearsal of the Faust Symphony.
I am reminded of a book on Hollywood, "They had faces then." I don't
say all of today's musicians have less personality, I just don't find
personalities coming through as much these days.
And, as for the critics...all due respects, I believe it is rare when
you find a critic that knows the recorded history of a given bit of
repertoire. On the other hand, how many of us have heard all of the
130+ recordings ever made of the Rachmaninoff Third Concerto. I know
one guy who has heard them all, done a discography and rated them all.
On the subject of the power of persuation...last night I was at a
recital where the pianist was introduced as a "major concert artist,"
with recordings, concerto performances, etc. Ok, he is was a technically
fine player...he taught at the school where I did ny graduate studies...as
he played I remembered his playing of years ago (I hadn't heard him in
over 30 years). It was technically good but, for me, dull. For me, he
got a standing ovation...well here in Austin a standing ovation means
little...Entremont recently got a standing ovation for getting about 60%
of the notes in the Tchaikovsky First...maybe they were cheering him as
a piece of history, which indeed he is...but I wonder if the pianist
last night got a standing ovation because of his white hair and having
been introduced as something of a "legend." Or, do people like dull
playing? While I don't know how I would do on a "Pepsi/Coke challenge,"
sometimes our preferences change over the years...but I believe the Hatto
experience does indeed tell us so very much about the notions of how we
evaluate performance, and, create our "legendary" performers.
Karl (who gave up his subscriptions to the major record review journals
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