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  »  New  Opera “Boris Godunov” ..  Boris Suites by Stokowski?...  Musical Discussions  Forum     8  55174  10-09-2004
03-12-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,301
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 2192
Reply to: 2192
How Mussorgsky should sound!

Last week I did not have a change to play music home but during this weekend I eventually had a change to spin some records. I bought last week a record that I was hunting for a while and was eagerly expected to hear it. It was Nicolay Golovanov’s performance of Mussorgsky “Night on Bald Mountain”. Whoever knows Golovanov’s craziness would understand my expectations…

Unfortunately my expectations were not fulfilled. The Golovanov’s “Night…” was melodic and musical, almost like the Stokovsky version… Knowing quite a few good performances of the “Night…” and deeply inside considering Mussorgsky as one of the greatest natural-gifted composer ever was born, I wondering if I ever will be able to find a good performance of the Rimksy-Korsakov’s orchestrated Mussorgsky “Night on Bald Mountain”.

I think the person who broke my virginity about the Mussorgsky “Night on Bald Mountain” was Claudio Abbado, and since I head what he did with this work any other interpretations of the “Night…” become too bored to me.

I remember how it started.  It was 1999; summer, Sunday and I stooped by in Cambridge’s “The Stereo Jack” – a wonderful jazz record shop. I picked the few records and a CD “Claudio Abbado conducting Mussorgsky” with LSO. At that time I has a wonderful car playback (Utopia speakers, very properly installed and vacuum tube amplification – everything very nicely sounding). While I was maneuvering out of the parking lot I put the Abbado’s CD in and … was shocked from the very first accords how phenomenally different and insultingly wonderful it was. Abbado was crashing through very complex for performing Mussorgsky’s choral peaces with a force of a good size tornado and with a genteelness and confidence of mama-lion who knows that she has no natural enemies in Serengeti. The London’s Symphony Chorus was phenomenal as well, it is shame that Russian can’t sing so “interestingly”.

I tell you that it was so good that I parked my car back and spent the entire hour sitting in my car, listening the Abbado’s Mussorgsky. However, the biggest hit was the cut with “Night on Bald Mountain”. At that time I did not read the CD’s notes (hate listening and reading) and did not know that Abbado performed the original, not edited by Rimksy-Korsakov version. I thought that it was juts an idiosyncratic Abbado’s interpretation and I was listening keeping admitting for myself not brilliant and smart it was. Eventually I learned way tit was, got the LPs of this CD and few of them (including a sealed one) permanently lent on my shelf with the best performances ever.

So, how Mussorgsky should sound? Get Richter’s performance of the “Pictures” in Sofia for piano music. If you want to hear the symphonic Mussorgsky then get Abbado with LSO. Make it loud! It is an amassing ride!

Rgs,
Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
04-13-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,301
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 2308
Reply to: 2192
Mussorgsky: the funny diabolical forces

The WHRB juts broadcasted the Esa-Pekka Salonen’s debut with San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Esa-Pekka Salone is musical director of Las Angeles and he brought, among other things, his own composition “Insomnia”. The Insomnia was very nicely performed, in fact very-very nicely! Ironically the nice performance of the Insomnia, from my point of view was due to squashed sound of orchestra’s bass and the drum section completely imbedded into the inner-sound of mid night hallucinations.

However in the first section the very same orchestra tried to run over the Mussorgsky “Night on Bald Mountain”. It was kind of desirers as the dense and condensed bass of the Insomnia-tunes SFO (Wager's tubas?) was completely wrong for the Mussorgsky’s work . However, the big big big however….

The San Francisco Symphony this time played the original Mussorgsky score, not the Rimsky-Korsakov alternation. No mater how “organish” the SFO sounded but still… what a phenomenal music the original score is!!!

I do not know what king Spirits of Darkness and Witches and the other reps of the dark forces Mussorgsky meant but I am laughing to healing this music like crazy. I find the original scores of the Mussorgsky “Night on Bald Mountain” extremely happy and gloriously joyful. It is not the celebratory joyful. It is not in the “Master and Margarita’s” ways, not in the Faust, answered by Mephistopheles: "'I am part of that power which eternally wills evil and eternally works good.” I feel that “Night on Bald Mountain” is superbly happy itself with any references to any reasoning. The more “hard” and “menacing” the “Night on Bald Mountain” tries to be the more reassuringly cheerful it sounds to me. Mussorgsky does it always. In his “Hat of Baba Yaga” Mussorgsky try to be “dark” but I find it incredibly blissful, not to say mockeshly cheerful music.

Listen the Mussorgsky’s original score and you might discover a new sounding of in the “Dark Forces”

Rgs,
Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
04-14-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
clarkjohnsen
Boston, MA, US
Posts 289
Joined on 06-02-2004

Post #: 3
Post ID: 2309
Reply to: 2308
I listened too
While I had heard the original scoring before, it never made the impression on me that last night's broadcast did. Powerfully good!

Wonder if anyone recorded it?...

clark
04-14-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,301
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 2311
Reply to: 2309
The tune of the orchestra was changing....
I recorded the whole thing, including the Procofiev’s concerto and the Bartók ballet. The sound of the orchestra was interestingly changing as I fell that they change the “tuning” after the intermission. The Bartók: “The Miraculous Mandarin” was very very good for this orchestra….

The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
03-29-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,301
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 5
Post ID: 4098
Reply to: 2192
The day #4 in my “Mussorgsky Week”.

The peoples who know me know that I “secretly” consider Mussorgsky as one of the most gifted natural composures even lived. To me listening Mussorgsky, in his original orchestration, is absolutely devilish fun.

In my own listening habits I usually from time to time (now for instance) dive into the “Mussorgsky week” when I listen only Mussorgsky’s sound. The Mussorgsky’s sound, once again: if it was not “brushed” by Rimsky-Korsakov or anyone else, is absolutely unique. I has very little resemblance to any other composers and it has more to do with “sound” of the prime tribes in Africa or the “sound” of the animals “prime scream”…

I love to be in my Mussorgsky Week. Usually during this period I develop affinity for unshaved women, walking instead of driving, eating a lot of sensual sushi and drink the things with a lot of unfiltered pulp…. 

The famed music critic of the end of 19 century Herman Laroche once was bitching that during the premier of Boris Godunov the audiences were not able to distinct the wrong notes played by orchestra from the wrong notes that were intentionally composed by Mussorgsky… As far as I concern it is one the greatest compliment to the composers…

Rgs, Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
03-29-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Michaelz
Posts 38
Joined on 03-01-2007

Post #: 6
Post ID: 4104
Reply to: 4098
"sensual sushi"
I like that, especially when the fish flesh is cold and fresh.
04-01-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
mats
Chicago
Posts 74
Joined on 09-18-2005

Post #: 7
Post ID: 4122
Reply to: 4104
More Moussorgksy
Good to hear about your week with Moussorgsky Romy.  I came upon a mono Leibowitz / RPO RCA the other day.  It has its moments IMHO.  There seems also to be a new HMV Richter Sofia recital cd from HMV:

  http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/1887441

So, what did you like this week?  Any rivals to Abbado?

Mats
04-01-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,301
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 8
Post ID: 4123
Reply to: 4122
Could it ever be too much Mussorgsky ?

 mats wrote:
Good to hear about your week with Mussorgsky Romy.  I came upon a mono Leibowitz / RPO RCA the other day.  It has its moments IMHO.  There seems also to be a new HMV Richter Sofia recital cd from HMV:

  http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/1887441

So, what did you like this week?  Any rivals to Abbado?

Well, the Richter’s Sofia recital is one of the greatest recordings of 20 century and it would not be shame to own any single released of them. I do not own that “Japanese Sourced” disc, I defiantly should. I have a dozen or so LPs of the Sofia concert and a regular Philips CD release. I know Philips “pressed” the CD a number of times but I did not which one was better or worse – I head only one – it was not as good as should be but it was what it was. I hope the Japanese “pressed” it better.

I did not relay look for “any” rivals to the young Abbado. There was not a lot of Mussorgsky recorded in his own “unabashed” version. Mussorgsky mostly played edited by Rimsky-Korsakov. The Rimsky-Korsakov is fine himself but they are really are different composers. Mussorgsky always resented Rimsky-Korsakov's preoccupations with “techniques” and Mussorgsky sound has a lot of row energy that are not necessary compatible with conventional “techniques” of orchestration and rules of harmony.

So, this week I ridded over decent Mussorgsky. It was the Richter’s Sofia, Prague and Moscow consorts. It was Horowitz 1949 and 1951 recordings, it was Abbado (including his Mussorgsky with BPO –not available in US- freaking shame!!!), Svetlanov, Melik-Pashaev, Lloyd-Jones, some Mussorgsky operas… It is also same that no one have written any suites around the Boris Gobunov’s music – it this it a phenomenal material for a good suites collection.

In the end, I have privilege to understand Russian language and I adore Mussorgsky songs, particularly if they are performed properly (that pretty much eliminates Visnavskay and Rostropovich). I paled quite a lot of them: the “historical”  Boris Christoff, the surprisingly pleasant Sergei Leiferkus, the sensational contralto Ewa Podless, the spectacular Koslovsky, the insulting Chaliapin… so others

Mussorgsky composed 67 songs and his songs are superbly important as Mussorgsky mimic with sound phonetics of the Russian language.  It is like the Janacek’s songs… the length his instrumental phrases was deeply bound with phonics of Czech pronunciation and take his songs in Gorman or English for instance they instantly stop making any sense.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
04-04-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,301
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 9
Post ID: 4152
Reply to: 4098
Some good “Pictures at an Exhibition”…

As some of you know I do not like the orchestrated “Pictures”… There are a half dozen different orchestrated versions, including a concert version for a piano and orchestra but I prefer to say with a simple piano as properly performed it is more “impressive”. Here are some my selected pictures. They are not in the firm order but still in some kind of semi-rational order

Sviatoslav Richter 1958 and 1956
Vladimir Horowitz 1949 and 1951
William Kapell 1951
Maria Yudina 1967
Vladimir Ashkenazy 1976 only, not the recording form the end of the 90s
Nikolai Demidenko 1997

THe caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
04-09-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
mats
Chicago
Posts 74
Joined on 09-18-2005

Post #: 10
Post ID: 4195
Reply to: 4152
HMV at 40K'
The Richter Sofia HMV arrived just as I was leaving for Stockholm,  so somewhere over Newfoundland I got my first taste of what surely must have been a sanitorium concert.  Despite the audience's pneumatic suffering I was completely blown away by this increcible artistic achievement.  The lower register work had me jump in my seat, curtesy of Shure earphones and some bass boost. Before horns and Romy I listened mostly to chamber music.  Now after much more "content rich" orchestral music I was once again forced to ask myself if this kind of musical intensity and expression is even possible if there is an entire ensemble at work.  Perhaps instrumental music will always have a potential for greater artistic expression than its orchestrated counterpart.   
04-10-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
clarkjohnsen
Boston, MA, US
Posts 289
Joined on 06-02-2004

Post #: 11
Post ID: 4199
Reply to: 4195
The Sofia performance
That's always been known in my circle as the one with the tubercular audience.

Many find the Schubert and Liszt pieces even finer.

clark
04-10-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,301
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 12
Post ID: 4200
Reply to: 4199
I’m not a big Sviatoslav Richter’s fan, still....
... I had an interesting conversation a few weeks ago. The person I spoke with is a piano teacher here in Boston and she many years back, livening in Leningrad and working as pianist, was very common at Richter’s performances. So, according to her the Richter’s output, as we know it, and as it available on recordings is a very pitiable representation of what Richter was. She said that during numerous Richter’s concerts when the audiences walked away and Richter was found himself in semi-empty concert halls with literally a couple dozen audiences left he reportedly demonstrated some class of paying that is not typically associated with “typical Richter’s play”. Though I have to admit that what Richter did in Sofia was also not the “typical Richter’s play”….

BTW, It is would interesting to note that Richter himself did not like nether Sofia nor Moscow studio performance/recordings....

Regard the Schubert and Liszt, yes they are phenomenal but I did not think Richter ever ealse played Schubert or Liszt this way. It is like another Russian - Lazar Berman who did once stunning Liszt but never anything equally interesting before or after.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
04-19-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Ronnie
Stockholm
Posts 81
Joined on 06-30-2005

Post #: 13
Post ID: 4231
Reply to: 4200
Does he always sound like
Does all Mussorgsky music, operas included, sound like this: http://webzoom.freewebs.com/joshrogan/NOSBUCKET.png ?
I love it! :-)

I've been without Mussorgsky until today, when I picked up the Pictures (never liked them before for some reason) and the Mountain: http://bildarkiv.hififorum.nu/Ronnie_Ericsson/4lp.jpg


/Ronnie
04-19-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,301
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 14
Post ID: 4232
Reply to: 4231
If to convert Mussorgsky to visual image

Yes, in a way. To me, if to convert Mussorgsky to visual image it sounds like the Delacroix’s illustration to Goethe's Mephistopheles:

Anyhow, you might try to find the Pictures and the Mountain in their original version; I personally think the rearranged by others the Pictures and the Mountains are at big lost.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-10-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Ronnie
Stockholm
Posts 81
Joined on 06-30-2005

Post #: 15
Post ID: 6596
Reply to: 4232
Mussorgsky - Fight on the Bold Fountain?
Is it me, Mussorgsky or the Berliner Philharmoniker...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nQ6x31JVb0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLFyqmpreFA

This is the only original version I have heard, and the first time I got very very annoyed. After hearing it on YouTube this time, I feel very disoriented and quite angry!

I imagine this is what it would sound like if the Monty Python gang would be having a very bad day and trying to write a new Russian national anthem.
I hope I can blame the Berliner Philharmoniker, as I couldn't stand them doing  Beethovens Symphony #7 with Böhm.

Hm! I need to cheer up now somehow!
02-10-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,301
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 16
Post ID: 6601
Reply to: 6596
A lethargic play?
I have a recording of Abbado with Berlin. When I got it, it was invaluable in US and I remember I paid a lot of money for it. I do not like how this Berlin pays the piece; still it gives some idea about the Mussorgsky original version. I think the Berlin think that Mussorgsky is Berlioz … a but mistake! Also, the camera work is very moronic… Anyhow, I did not experience any annoyance rather boredom, in fact I did not finish to watch both clips… One more thing… the sound it too soft on my PC… this music should be played juts louder…

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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