/ St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
J Brown - on 02 Nov 2017
I don't know much about classical music - but last week I saw the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra play a concert, and it really opened my eyes (and ears)...

https://dynamicstasis.blog/2017/10/29/the-orchestra/
cb294 - on 02 Nov 2017
In reply to J Brown:

So what is the best recording of the Pathetique? Haven't listened to it in years, but will tonight.

CB
J Brown - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to cb294:

I don’t know what the best recording is, but if you do please say - as I mentioned I’m no expert by any means, but I’d love to track down a good version on CD.

Thanks!
ena sharples - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to cb294:

this is, of course, a subjective matter but to my mind this is about as good as it gets- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRoa-j7CGj0
cb294 - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to J Brown:

Ok, here is the result of my in depth youtube research:

I liked this one best, Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqrGkYarIJY

Jansons is a well known Tchaikowsky expert, and he has recordings with various orchestras that are on youtube.

Thanks for the thread, I will definitely listen to some more Tchaikowsky in the next weeks!

CB
Gordon Stainforth - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to ena sharples:

Great that you should mention that; because Tchaikovsky's Pathetique is one of those absolutely perfect pieces of music in history that simply could not be improved upon. Completely authentic in the Sartrean sense. I don't think anything more desolate has ever been written than the last movement, and it's all the more chilling once you find out what he was going through personally at the time.
ena sharples - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

genuine desolation is strangely rare in so-called classical music-1st movement of Shostakovich 10 or last movement of Sibelius 4 come close to Tchiak 6
Gordon Stainforth - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to ena sharples:

Yes, Shostakovich is so authentic, so psychologically 'true' regarding all the horrors he/his country lived through, that there's virtually nothing of his that I can listen to with any pleasure, while respecting it hugely as artistic truth. Sibelius, yes, but I'll have to listen to that symphony again to see what you mean.
ena sharples - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I didn't get Sibelius, at all, until my 40's-don't know of a totally convincing recording, but this is worth a listen-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGbwKdcR6No
Gordon Stainforth - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to ena sharples:

Thanks, I'll have to listen to it. I went through quite a big Sibelius phase in my early twenties but have scarcely listened to him since. I still find the mystery of his last 30 years quite unsettling, that he suddenly stopped composing and never wrote another serious note. Weird.
ena sharples - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

given how much of a major league boozer he was, I amazed he had a last 30 years at all. I believe he said at various times that he had said all he had to say, the rest being silence. There are a few similar examples I can think of, in particular, Charles Ives. For what it's worth I also think both Mahler and Beethoven checked out comparitively early because they had said all they had to-cannot think of a composer producing their best work into old age-extreme or otherwise (the exception being Verdi)
Gordon Stainforth - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to ena sharples:

Beethoven ... you're completely wrong. He kept writing right up to the end (ill for quite a time with a mystery disease ['dropsy'] that may or may not have been venereal). The last movement of his last quartet, op. 135 (above which he wrote 'Must it be? It must be!') was about his own death. [Going by memory:] Completed just a few weeks before he died in March 1827.
ena sharples - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I cannot prove any of this, but think that was literally his last word-hard to see where he could go after that (but, being one of the few to whom the term genius can be applied without qualification, you could have said that after "Eroica" and any number of other works) I keep coming back to the Heligenstadt Testament where he says, in terms, he would have comitted suicide long since if he did not feel he had completed what he was put on earth to express.
Gordon Stainforth - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to ena sharples:

The H Testament he wrote at the end of his 'First Period' (as historians say) - he'd scarcely begun ... 3, 4, 5, 6th symphonies and last three piano concertos (all his now most famous pieces) still to write! Then there was the incredible Third Period of the Choral Symphony, Missa Solemnis, the last quartets (some musicians rate these as among the greatest musical works ever written) and the truly amazing final sonatas and Diabelli Variations ...
ena sharples - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

The point about the Testament is that he spells out in the depths of despair the extent to which he could only find a reason to be via music (not that one could not tell that from the work alone, even so) and in terms of depth of expression he is very much a slow burn in terms of development-had he died at the same age as Mozart he would have remained one of the great might-have -beens. After the late piano sonatas, the late quartets, the Bagatelles (never mind all the earlier work)-I think he is literally burned out.
Gordon Stainforth - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to ena sharples:

Well, yes, immediately after the late quartets and bagatelles, he died!

OK, what you're saying is that we get no sense, when Beethoven died, that we have been robbed of possibly more great works (as we definitely do with Mozart and Schubert). I.e. he just managed to run his full musical course before he snuffed it.

To sign out, here's a bit (first 10 variations) of his very late Diabelli Variations. Just a reminder Once it gets to about variation 3 it enters the realm of the uncanny.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdyZFK7sPsQ
Post edited at 00:47
ena sharples - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

er, no-I am only musing on one possibility amongst several -what the actual truth is, I have no idea. What I do know though, is that no one ever wrote anything like this, either before or since- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbAoCjQdKYg
felt - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to ena sharples:
Re Sibelius, I've always liked the comment by Richard Strauss: "I have more skill, but he is greater." How true this is of many composers and performers -- excellent technique but not the very, very best, yet undoubtedly great: Menuhin, Hendrix, Page, Bonham, Starr. Then there are all the flashy whizz kids that lack nothing in skill but just leave you cold: Liszt, Vai, Peart.

In reply to cb294:
Good call re Jansons. I saw him once conducting the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra at the RFH in a Wagner programme and he truly was a force of nature. I took a rather grainy picture of his signature baton clench:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariss_Jansons#/media/File:Mariss_jansons.jpg

cb294 - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to ena sharples:

Yes, this is quite good! I listened to Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius a lot in my early 20s, but have since then almost completely switched to Baroque composers.

Time to dig up the old records, even though still having a record player would help!

CB
Pero - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to J Brown:

You perhaps can't go wrong with Ashkenazy conducting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-y_T-Yo09SE

The CD I have is with the Philharmonia Orchestra on Decca.

I saw it live (nearly 10 years ago) with Jurowski and the London Philharmonic, which was a stunning performance.
Andy Clarke - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to ena sharples:

> genuine desolation is strangely rare in so-called classical music

I guess the closest Beethoven comes is probably the opening of the 14th quartet - that’s as despairing as anything I can think of, and obviously relevant to the discussion in this thread. Marvellous though that quartet is, my favourite will always be the 15th, for the sublime Heiliger Dankgesang.
Gordon Stainforth - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to Pero:

Yes, great performance. T's masterstroke, IMHO, comes at the very end with that chilling gong/cymbal, or whatever it is, at 7:26. That's the final nail in the coffin, as it were.
Gordon Stainforth - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to Andy Clarke:

Yes, agreed with Heilige Dankesang. Even greater than the Cavatina. Used it in my film school biopic of Ludwig (You can see clips of it, or the whole thing, on my website).
Andy Clarke - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Yes I've watched your biopic and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Gordon Stainforth - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to Andy Clarke:

Thanks. Of course it has huge weaknesses, and suffered a bit from the fashion then: to avoid conventional narrative at all costs ;) But done on shoestring, and Tony Britton was marvellous. He was actually in a play in the West End at the time, and would come over for a few hours in the morning when he wasn't doing a matinée. Peter Ormrod's mock candlelight in the dinner scene was very clever.
MusicalMountaineer - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to cb294:

Mravinsky- his Tchaikovsky is fantastic.
MusicalMountaineer - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to cb294:

Strange how things change. I did exactly the same (although I do still love Beethoven, Wagner, Mahler, Bruckner etc.), once I began specialising in period performance (pre 1800), my taste for slushy romanticism seemed to leave me!
cb294 - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to MusicalMountaineer:

That is what ena sharples recommended above. Just listened to it once on my office headphones, and it does indeed sound excellent.

CB
cb294 - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to MusicalMountaineer:

Never got Wagner, Mahler or Bruckner. Give me Brahms any day..

CB
Robert Durran - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to Andy Clarke:

> I guess the closest Beethoven comes is probably the opening of the 14th quartet - that’s as despairing as anything I can think of.

A tenuous climbing connection. In Stephen Venables' book "Ollie" about his son who died in childhood, he describes movingly how he went home after his death and listened to this quartet.

> My favourite will always be the 15th, for the sublime Heiliger Dankgesang.

Having read Strephen's book, I bought a CD of the quartets and yes, this is extraordinary. Raw desolation.



J Brown - on 05 Nov 2017
In reply to cb294:

Thanks so much for that link. I listened this morning and it’s wonderful - it brought back great memories of the concert I heard.
Rob Davies - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to MusicalMountaineer:

Agree on Mravinsky - his performances with the Leningrad Philharmonic are probably the most consistently recommended versions of the Pathétique. I think there were two recordings that they made with DG, one from the 50s and one from 60s.

A favourite of mine is by Bernstein with the Vienna Philharmonic, but you have to be able to live with his extraordinarily slow speeds, especially in the last movement.

Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony are also good, but listening to this requires a lot of tolerance due to the old recording. Likewise various versions conducted by Furtwängler.
cb294 - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Rob Davies and everyone else:

I just ordered the Jansons and Mavrinsky versions for comparison. As much as I despise Google and Amazon (business model and tax behaviour), listening to stuff on youtube and then ordering used CDs via Amazon is my regular act of hypocrisy.

I will always order my books via my local independent bookstore, but unfortunately do not see a viable alternative for used CDs. Any suggestions?

CB
Bob Kemp - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Thanks, I'll have to listen to it. I went through quite a big Sibelius phase in my early twenties but have scarcely listened to him since. I still find the mystery of his last 30 years quite unsettling, that he suddenly stopped composing and never wrote another serious note. Weird.

I'd completely forgotten about Sibelius and his silence. Your comment provoked me to explore, and I found this excellent article that I think you'll enjoy - even if you don't agree with the suggested explanation:

https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2012/november/1351733081/mark-mckenna/who-stopped-music
Cheryl - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to J Brown:
I never expected to come on UKC and see a classical music thread
I'm a professional musician - I play in orchestras (no it doesn't really go with climbing ...!!) and I'm delighted you wrote this post. Live orchestral music is a mind-blowing experience. If you are ever in the Manchester area message me and I'll see if I can get you a free ticket for something.
Post edited at 16:40
J Brown - on 11 Nov 2017
In reply to Cheryl:

Thanks very much Cheryl, if I’m going to be in Manchester any time soon I’ll give you a shout!

I’ve been to a few classical concerts, but there was something about this one I found particularly compelling! ( https://dynamicstasis.blog/2017/10/29/the-orchestra/ ).

It’s been great to read all of the very well-informed commentary on the thread, although admittedly I’m unfamiliar with most of the references.

One of the impressions that has lingered with me from the concert was the kind of sonic marriage between the perceptible, specific, individual movements or actions of the musicians; alongside the phenomenal collective power of the ‘whole’ sound. It was just gobsmacking - a real eye (ear) opener for me.

We were saying afterwards that it must be good when a part of your job is accepting rapturous applause!
J Brown - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to ena sharples:

> this is, of course, a subjective matter but to my mind this is about as good as it gets- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRoa-j7CGj0

That’s just stunning!
Sean Kelly - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to cb294:
> Never got Wagner, Mahler or Bruckner. Give me Brahms any day..

> CB

Not like Mahler, try listening to this, blissful!
http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=mahler+symphony+number+4+ruhevoll%2c+poco+adagio&qpvt=mahler+sym...
and this Wagner is awesome
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXh5JprKqiU
Post edited at 17:24
cb294 - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Sean Kelly:

Thanks, but the Mahler is pretty much as I remembered, just not my cup of tea. In fact, last year I listened quite a bit to Mahler´s symphony Nr. 8, to prepare for a performance my son was participating in, but decided I did not like it and was in the end not too unhappy that work got in the way....

Will listen to the Wagner later, sounded quite good in a quick peek on my laptop. In any case, I recently did listen to another Wagner performance I liked, a recording from the Salzburg festival with Thielemann conducting, where for the first time I thought I get the idea behind the music. Much more transparent vocals, to begin with. Maybe the Bayreuth style of Wagner opera vocals has put me off his music more than it should.

CB
Sean Kelly - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to cb294:

Then again there is this. all so wonderful.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K3E1wZWSn0
ena sharples - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to J Brown:

I think so too-if I had to choose my favourite conductor it would be an agonising toss up between Mravinsky and Carlos Klieber-wildly different personalities and styles but both utterly compelling in everything they do.
jcw on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to ena sharples:
Shostakovitch, Total desolation. Altogether different but one of the most desolate pieces of music I know for its sadness and sheer beauty is the Mahler song Zu Strassbourg auf der Schanz: Fischer Diskau recording.
Post edited at 00:07
cb294 - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Sean Kelly:
This is quite good, but I raise you this, very much appropriate for a climbing forum:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ao5rVC1z91s

Richard Strauss, An Alpine Symphony, conducted by the composer himself in 1941, so the sound quality is not that great, but the instrumentation and mood appears almost perfect.

CB

edit: I assume that you know this already, but it may be of interest for others on this thread that this "tonal poem" is based on an ascent of Heimgarten, a mountain in the Bavarian Alps, in which the composer was caught in a thunderstorm as a kid.

Hence, the sections are named Night - Sunrise - The Ascent - Entering the Forest - Walking along the Stream - At the Cascade - Apparition - On flowery Meadows - On the Mountain Pasture - Bushwhacking - On the Glacier (not that there is glacier on this rather harmless peak next to Lake Kochel....) - Dangerous Moments - On the Summit - Vision - Fog is Rising - The Sun is Fading Slowly - Elegy - The Quiet before the Storm - Thunderstorm and Descent - Sunset- Night.

It is actually quite easy to realise where you are if you listen to the piece!
Post edited at 09:29

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.