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amco

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A discount bargain from the Presto catalog, boxed set of LSO with Colin Davis: 8 SACDs 5.1 or 5.0, 4 CDs 2.0 of complete opera Les Troyens, and a DVD documentary all for $31
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amco

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BIS recorded two first-rate Sibelius cycles, this one and the Okka Kamu one (HRAudio.net - Sibelius: 7 Symphonies - Kamu), right around the same time, and issued both on SACD. I have a slight preference for Kamu's interpretation but the Minneapolis Orchestra plays better and I think the sound is better from Minnesota as well. And the Vanska cycle also includes the symphonic poem Kullervo, which Kamu does not.

If you haven't heard the Sibelius symphonies they're a revelation. The first and second are very influenced by Tchaikovsky, and the 2nd is probably his most popular piece. The later symphonies are increasingly astringent but still beautiful, in some ways even more so, especially the 5th with its famous "swan theme." My personal favorite is the third, even though many conductors don't care for it - it's a transitional piece but to my mind it keeps the romantic aspect of early Sibelius while adding in the aspects that makes later Sibelius so unique.
Also now on Presto discount: Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1-7
Monica Groop (mezzo), Peter Mattei (baritone)
London Symphony Chorus & London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Colin Davis
5 SACDs + Blu-ray Audio
($32.50) $26.00
Region: All
 

humprof

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Curious for your thoughts - I've really enjoyed his last two books.
Well, so far I've been impressed by the excerpt that was published in the magazine. (I also liked Ross's recent piece on white supremacism in classical music, which was anything but tendentious.) And his podcast conversation with David Remnick:

Otherwise...nothing detailed to say yet. I'm more of a "Cultural Studies" guy than a musicologist, though, so I'm glad the emphasis of the book is on what Ross calls Wagnerism--the cultural meanings that Wagner has acquired, the cultural influences he's had, and the cultural uses to which he's been put--rather than on Wagner and his music per se.
 
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ubertrout

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Also now on Presto discount: Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1-7
Monica Groop (mezzo), Peter Mattei (baritone)
London Symphony Chorus & London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Colin Davis
5 SACDs + Blu-ray Audio
($32.50) $26.00
Region: All
This is also a really good one, although the sound quality isn't ideal because of the recording venue (it's still darn good and also includes Kullervo).
 

Kal Rubinson

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This is also a really good one, although the sound quality isn't ideal because of the recording venue (it's still darn good and also includes Kullervo).
Yeah, it is but I'd sooner go with the Vanska set for both performance and sound quality.
 

gene_stl

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I have difficulty with the fact that Wagner was an especially vile Jew Hater, whose career was aided by a Jewish mentor (Meyerbier iirc) whom he stabbed in the back, and also was appropriated by the Nazis. And all that caterwauling.
 

Soundfield

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Another great sadness of the consequences of virus - no opportunity this year (or next, I'm sure) to enjoy the thrill and overwhelming beauty of a live performance of any of Wagner's sublime operas. At least I can fall back on my many recordings of the Ring Cycle (including one in quad!), but they all pale in comparison with the emotional sweep of just 'being there' at the re-creation of such a magnificent work of art.
 
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gene_stl

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Sublime caterwauling. Give me Italian , French or Mozart opera any day of the week. Too much Teutonic bullshit too.
It would be a duller world if we all enjoyed the same things.
 

Soundfield

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“A famous bon mot asserts that opinions are like arse-holes, in that everyone has one. There is great wisdom in this… but I would add that opinions differ significantly from arse-holes, in that yours should be constantly and thoroughly examined. We must think critically, and not just about the ideas of others. Be hard on your beliefs. Take them out onto the verandah and beat them with a cricket bat.... Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privilege.” (Tim Minchin)
 

ubertrout

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Man, the Wagner argument. Wagner as a man was a ass, and some of those he inspired far worse. The operas are also incredibly important, although they're not nearly as enjoyable recorded as compared to live, at least for me. But...I completely understand avoiding his music, or just not liking it much. Even at the time plenty felt similarly.
 

gene_stl

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I grew up in a very musically trained and active household. My mother was a soprano and my father a violinist. The Texaco opera perfomances from the Met played every week end. Even as a child I had the strong opinion that Wagner was way too noisy. Before I learned that he was a proto Nazi. (Hitler attended the Bayreuth festival in the company of his widow. Heil!)

Of course Soundfield is quite correct. Every asshole has an opinion.

My parents (run out of Vienna by the Nazis to the tune of Teutonic marches and Wagner) did listen to that garbage because they grew up with it "in Wien". Which was a very special location for live classical performance.
 
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windhoek

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I've only ever seen Wagner's Ring at home on blu ray (link), and although it's a monumental piece of work, no question about it, and has a lot of the right ingredients as far as my musical tastes go, I came to the conclusion that it wasn't for me; watching it right through (over a number of sittings) once is enough. Don't get me wrong, The Ring has certainly some great scenes and some great music, but like the veritable desert oasis, they're few and far between, according to my musical tastes.

I think it's okay to acknowledge that a person with great talent and skill such as Wagner isn't always the paragon of virtue we'd like them to be, or idealise them to be. I'm not one for wiping out great characters from history - that's the sort of aberration you'd normally associate with dictatorships or fanatical movements; Stalin, ISIS, North Korea - take your pick.

Apparently, Bertrand Russell wasn't a great man in the real world by any means. But his contribution to philosophy was immense. Michael Jackson may have been very inappropriate around kids (I've no idea whether he did or didn't do anything of a sexual nature with a minor), but I love his album Thriller, plus a good number of his songs. from his other albums And then there's Wagner.

Each of us can choose to enjoy or discard the product of any artist's work, whether for artistic reasons or those concerned with morality. After all, to be human is to... be human.


 

bluelightning

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I've only ever seen Wagner's Ring at home on blu ray (link), and although it's a monumental piece of work, no question about it, and has a lot of the right ingredients as far as my musical tastes go, I came to the conclusion that it wasn't for me; watching it right through (over a number of sittings) once is enough. Don't get me wrong, The Ring has certainly some great scenes and some great music, but like the veritable desert oasis, they're few and far between, according to my musical tastes.

I think it's okay to acknowledge that a person with great talent and skill such as Wagner isn't always the paragon of virtue we'd like them to be, or idealise them to be. I'm not one for wiping out great characters from history - that's the sort of aberration you'd normally associate with dictatorships or fanatical movements; Stalin, ISIS, North Korea - take your pick.

Apparently, Bertrand Russell wasn't a great man in the real world by any means. But his contribution to philosophy was immense. Michael Jackson may have been very inappropriate around kids (I've no idea whether he did or didn't do anything of a sexual nature with a minor), but I love his album Thriller, plus a good number of his songs. from his other albums And then there's Wagner.

Each of us can choose to enjoy or discard the product of any artist's work, whether for artistic reasons or those concerned with morality. After all, to be human is to... be human.


Very well stated!
 

ubertrout

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I've only ever seen Wagner's Ring at home on blu ray (link), and although it's a monumental piece of work, no question about it, and has a lot of the right ingredients as far as my musical tastes go, I came to the conclusion that it wasn't for me; watching it right through (over a number of sittings) once is enough. Don't get me wrong, The Ring has certainly some great scenes and some great music, but like the veritable desert oasis, they're few and far between, according to my musical tastes.

I think it's okay to acknowledge that a person with great talent and skill such as Wagner isn't always the paragon of virtue we'd like them to be, or idealise them to be. I'm not one for wiping out great characters from history - that's the sort of aberration you'd normally associate with dictatorships or fanatical movements; Stalin, ISIS, North Korea - take your pick.

Apparently, Bertrand Russell wasn't a great man in the real world by any means. But his contribution to philosophy was immense. Michael Jackson may have been very inappropriate around kids (I've no idea whether he did or didn't do anything of a sexual nature with a minor), but I love his album Thriller, plus a good number of his songs. from his other albums And then there's Wagner.

Each of us can choose to enjoy or discard the product of any artist's work, whether for artistic reasons or those concerned with morality. After all, to be human is to... be human.


I think with Wagner there's something a little more pernicious going on - it wasn't just that he was a jerk with a problematic personal life - although he was that too, but rather that there's a through line from the anti-semitism that pervades his work and is part of a through line that leads you to the Nazis. And you can't entirely separate it either - the Ring cycle features a dwarf intentionally set to be a Jewish caricature who steals the gold from the Rhine maidens and forges a ring of ultimate power, setting in motion the events which ultimately lead to the destruction of the Gods and Valhalla. The unfinished (and seemingly endless at 6 hours) final opera Parsifal's plot can be seen as an attempt to cleanse the Judaic influence from Christianity. There have been people who tried to argue that these are coincidences or false readings, but these readings were certainly popularized once Wagner's descendants became enthusiastic Nazis.

That said, if that's all his operas are, they'd have been consigned to the dustbin long ago. There's much more going on, and it's possible to push this element to the side and enjoy a creation that's never quite been equaled in certain respects. I saw Valkyrie at the Met and it was really something inspiring and beautiful, for instance.

Incidentally, for those who want to hear it in surround, the Berkshire Record Outlet will sell you Marek Janowski's Ring cycle recorded for Pentatone in the deluxe edition for $65: Wagner, Der Ring des Nibelungen – Berkshire Record Outlet
 

humprof

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Anybody heard the 5.1 version of Shostakovich's "Jazz Suites"? Thinking of giving some business to Academy Records in New York. The one review I could find made the suites sound like an eccentric curiosity--and didn't say anything about the surround mix.

The RBCD got Audiophile Audition's "Best Disc of the Year."

 

humprof

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Gramophone's take on the "50 Best Mahler Recordings":


This kind of thing is always fraught, but I can never resist. (And besides, I'm too much of a dilettante to argue.) Not a lot of surround recordings on the list, but some, including a couple each by Rattle, MTT, Fischer, and select LSOs, plus de Vriend's 1st (1893 ver.) and Thomas Dausgaard's 10th. I'm sure I'm missing a few...
 

4-earredwonder

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Anybody heard the 5.1 version of Shostakovich's "Jazz Suites"? Thinking of giving some business to Academy Records in New York. The one review I could find made the suites sound like an eccentric curiosity--and didn't say anything about the surround mix.

The RBCD got Audiophile Audition's "Best Disc of the Year."

I Agree with KAL ....QUITE, QUITE DELIGHTFUL!
 

humprof

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Stile Antico, who have done quite a few immersive (and beautifully recorded) albums on Harmonia Mundi--including a couple of Christmas-themed albums--are set to record two albums in Atmos over the next few years:


Interesting that they're moving to Decca--and that Decca are going Atmos!
 
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