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  »  New  Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique” Symphony..  Tchaikovsky 6th and my first meeting with LPO...  Musical Discussions  Forum     2  11999  10-14-2007
  »  New  The "new" Shostakovich 10th symphony..  Another good play of the Symphony No. 10...  Musical Discussions  Forum     22  88159  10-21-2007
04-30-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,283
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 2359
Reply to: 2359
Nicolai Golovanov

Golovanov Musical Portrait
by Olga Fyodorova

…In 1948 the Bolshoi Opera was rehearsing Modest Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov with Nikolai Golovanov steering the orchestra through the difficult score of this operatic evergreen…

   “Louder! Louder!!! Come on, give me all you’ve got! It’s not music, it’s some lifeless hiss!! Louder!!! Crank it up! Louder! Just go for it!  …Stop! Are you trying to sabotage this whole thing? What a shame!!!”

   “Maestro, the composer had in mind some very subtle nuances here, don’t you think?”

   “And I’m telling you to give me all you’ve got! Notes are just small little signs on paper, nothing more. They can’t show you the sky is blue, the sun is hot, the meat is juicy and the wine is going right into your head, can they? Music cannot be dull and uninspiring, neither can life itself!”

   Hard driven and impassioned, Golovanov savored life’s every single color, the whole Universe! His superhuman energy was simply irresistible and the very moment he picked up the baton, he was God and he was the Devil making even the impossible happening…

   It was by sheer chance that he landed the job of a Bolshoi theatre conductor. Once, just minutes before show time, the conductor fell ill and it turned out that Golovanov, then the theater’s young choirmaster knew the whole score by heart and so they let him try his luck.  And try he did with such resounding success that they asked him to conduct other operas too.  His authority was growing fast and, a few years later, Nikolai Golovanov was appointed the chief conductor of Russia’s oldest opera theater.

   The Bolshoi old-timers say that working with Golovanov was exciting but never easy because he had a very special vision of things he worked on.

    All his ideas and hard-thought nuances he painstakingly scribbled down in red and blue into his scorebook. His friends often saw him crawling over pages of notational paper strewn all around his apartment.

   He came to rehearsals well ahead of time and, crouching on a tall stool in front of his stand, sifted through his papers, humming under his nose and, suddenly raising his arms, started conducting. Knowing full well the maestro’s brisk temper, the musicians made sure to show up at least half an hour before it all started.  

   In everyday life Golovanov was a different man, amiable and noble-mannered, affable and always ready to help his colleagues and sort out conflicts...

   With the baton, he was a despot. As if hating to fall victim to his inborn kindness, he often went way too far snapping commands, in no uncertain terms, to his musicians and everyone around him. During those occasional outbursts he spared no one, even the Bolshoi’s big names. 

   They responded in kind twice putting his very job on the line.  Rattled as he was by those occasional pitfalls, Golovanov kept working venting his bubbling energy conducting symphony and Conservatory orchestras, and providing piano accompaniment for his great wife, Antonina Nezhdanova, for whom he wrote several love songs.
 
    His dismissals never lasted long, though, because none of his replacements could measure up to the great maestro… People quickly forgot their hard feelings smiling at Golovanov’s dictatorial ways, acutely missing his drive and passion…

   Golovanov too just couldn’t live on without the stage and the passions it inspired in people, always happy to oblige when they invited him back. For a week or two everything went swell, but the moment they took up a new opera, Golovanov relapsed into his dictatorial matter burning for something that was larger-than-life, something no one had ever done before him… 

   “On the outside, every art form that is in your face may seem rowdy,” he said, “but its force simply overwhelms you – which, after all, is what the Russian heart and soul is all about…” 

   He was very impartial to Russian art and, a real connoisseur, boasted an excellent collection of Russian paintings. He could spend hours listening to a church choir where he once sung himself, first as a choirboy and, after finishing a Synodal music academy, as a precentor. Like we said, he began his stint at the Bolshoi as a choirmaster.

   The choir was his lifetime passion, but even here he gave full vent to his all-or-nothing attitude. He only went for very big choirs. 90-strong outfits just didn’t mean anything to him and even when he had a staggering 150 singers blaring his lungs out, he hollered: “Where’s everyone?! Why is the stage so empty?! I can’t hear a real-to-God choir here!”

   He loved overwhelming the audience with an unstoppable avalanche of sound and power, especially when it came to his interpretations of Sergei Rakhmaninoff’s music…

   By the way, Nikolai Golovanov was  the only conductor around who dared to play Rakhmaninoff after the composer left Soviet Russia – which was then tantamount to political death… Under Josef Stalin, Golovanov’s daring could cost him his freedom and even his life itself… 

   He also undertook to play Alexander Skryabin whom the Soviet critics dismissed as a “pleasure-seeking bourgeois composer”. Golovanov was at his most satisfying with Skryabin’s Poem of Ecstasy, which he built up to an overpowering crescendo that literally hoisted people out of their seats…

   Nikolai Golovanov died when he was only 62 years old.  Incinerated by his burning energy and, like a supernova, leaving a long afterglow in his wake...


Discography of Nicolai Golovanov
by Brendan Wehrung

“The "Russian Furtwaengler" remains almost entirely unknown to record collectors of the West. Vagaries of sound reproduction, political climate and record distribution confined his admirers to a relative handful until the advent of the compact disc. This listing is offered as partial remedy for his neglect; it is by no means complete, but consists of recordings discovered in a close reading of The World's Encyclopedia of Recorded Music, and what has appeared in digital format (researched on the Internet). Others exist in Russian catalogs and radio archives.”

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/pdf/golovanov.pdf

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
05-02-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
clarkjohnsen
Boston, MA, US
Posts 289
Joined on 06-02-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 2365
Reply to: 2359
Re: Nicolai Golovanov
All good, all good. Thank you!

clark
05-03-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Gregm
Greece
Posts 91
Joined on 02-16-2005

Post #: 3
Post ID: 2371
Reply to: 2365
Hopefully this weekend...
...I'll have a chance to listen to Tchai-6 & Mozart.
Never knew there was so much Golovanov available (OK, it;s not really that much -- but more than one Mussorgski I had). Now all I need is money to buy and availability of the titles
05-03-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,283
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 2372
Reply to: 2371
That strange Golovanov....

 Gregm wrote:
...I'll have a chance to listen to Tchai-6 & Mozart.
Never knew there was so much Golovanov available (OK, it;s not really that much -- but more than one Mussorgski I had). Now all I need is money to buy and availability of the titles

Gregm,

Be careful with Golovanov'd CDs. First of all he is notoriously bad pressed. The famous “Great Conductors of the Century series” has few CDs dedicated to Golovanov and all of them insultingly horrible. German company Gebhardt master and press Golovanov’s CD then they also very-very bad. The only company that does Golovanov’s recording very well, at least to the best of my knowledge, is Ester European Boheme Music. You might try them and you would have the wider Golovanov’s repertoire and the best quality you might get on CDs

I am not a big fun of the Golovanov’s Mozart; in fact I do not like it quite a lot. With the Golovanov’s Tchaikovsky Sixth is more complicated. I would suggest listening it only if you are well familiar with a classic interpretation of the Pathetique. In a way the Golovanov’s Pathetique is an insult of sense as what Golovanov’s does with this symphony is quite brutal. However, Golovanov’s has his reasons and his methods to do certain things and those certain things he very much does in his Tchaikovsky Sixth. Hey, where else you have heard Tchaikovsky without any sentimentalism or without any hysteria? I would say that Golovanov’s Pathetique is one of the most outrages interpretations I even heard, both in positive and in negative sense. However it is a phenomenal example how slightly altering the timing marks and holdoing the weepy stringsit is possible completely alter the meaning of the composition…

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
05-03-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Gregm
Greece
Posts 91
Joined on 02-16-2005

Post #: 5
Post ID: 2373
Reply to: 2372
Re: That strange Golovanov....
Thank you for the tips, Romy.

"...Tchaikovsky with any sentimentalism or without any hysteria?where else you have heard Tchaikovsky with any sentimentalism or without any hysteria?"

Actually I'll be looking forward to that (after Mravinski, Rozhdestvenski, Karajan, Rostropovich, Furt, Fricsay + others I have forgotten)!

Cheers
05-03-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,283
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 6
Post ID: 2375
Reply to: 2373
Golovanov’s Pathetique is Tchaikovsky on LCD

 Gregm wrote:
"...Tchaikovsky with any sentimentalism or without any hysteria?where else you have heard Tchaikovsky with any sentimentalism or without any hysteria?"

Actually I'll be looking forward to that (after Mravinski, Rozhdestvenski, Karajan, Rostropovich, Furt, Fricsay + others I have forgotten)!
First of all I mistyped above and it should be read: “where else you have heard Tchaikovsky without any sentimentalism or without any hysteria”

The Golovanov’s Pathetique was VERY controversial in Russia. I head that even the musicians who play it almost when to strike because they refused to played it THAT way. I kind of agree and when I heard it for a first time I kind of was lost. The interesting things that whatever Golovanov did in that Pathetique he implemented at very very very high live of accomplishment, and the orchestra sound phenomenally. That, although I was in disagreement witch the Golovanov’s presentation made me to listen it again and again. Eventually it begin to grow on me that Golovanov’s in his reading, converts a personal frenzy drama of a suicidal composer into a global drama of a generic mankind. The Golovanov’s Pathetique is very none-specific and I would say that it is has little to do with the Tchaikovsky’s impressionism. It rather sound like a very different work with very different massage. I would still do not call the Golovanov’s Pathetique is the best Pathetique ever. However, among the best Pathetiques the Golovanov’s version stay very much aside from anything else. The Golovanov’s version is hardly Tchaikovsky’s symphony but rather Golovanov’s own re-composition…

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
05-03-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
clarkjohnsen
Boston, MA, US
Posts 289
Joined on 06-02-2004

Post #: 7
Post ID: 2377
Reply to: 2375
Excellent points.
I agreed with everything until it got to, "The Golovanov’s version is hardly Tchaikovsky’s symphony but rather Golovanov’s own re-composition…"

Yet not a note was changed! (Was it?...)

Therefore what Golovanov did was shuck decades of sentamentalism to give us the basic Thcaikovsky! If I recall correctly, the 1936 Furtwaengler also is unsentimental, although less, ah, wayward.

clark
05-03-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,283
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 8
Post ID: 2378
Reply to: 2377
Waiting it's time to completely understand

 clarkjohnsen wrote:
Yet not a note was changed! (Was it?...)

 Yes, it reminds me that old story about a Russian emperor who in 19 century decided to excurse some political prisoners and signed their petition:  Execute prohibit, pardon. Ironically he put a comma in the wrong place and it turned out to be: Execute, prohibit pardon. I do not think that Golovanov did anything different with the Pathetique...

 clarkjohnsen wrote:
… what Golovanov did was shuck decades of sentamentalism to give us the basic Thcaikovsky! If I recall correctly, the 1936 Furtwaengler also is unsentimental, although less, ah, wayward.

I would leave the Furtwaengler’s Pathetique alone, although I think it was 1938-39 not the 1936. I ma not a big fan of that performance and I hardly understand what it was about.

“Give us the basic Tchaikovsky…” It is certainly upon perception. I think Tchaikovsky was all about the way in which we’re accustomed to get him from the customary Mravinsky-like version.  Looking at the other Tchaikovsky works, reading in his dairies when he described that he spents couple hours a day for routine crying I do not feel that Mravinsky was too off. Tchaikovsky music, in a way a typical Russian music of 19 century – economically entertaining, weepy, overly touching, explicitly emotional, wide open… It reminds me answer that the “Sex and the city” character gave about her dated  Baryshnikov: “ I do not need to guess how he feels – he will tell me about it”…

I think Golovanov in his Pathetique did the Tchaikovsky’s program but with that Slave derisively of impressiveness. It is more Western way of dealing with impressionism and I do not think that Tchaikovsky was able to handle it. Interesting that playing the Pathetique Golovanov presented very much not Russion view but still he employed the very musically-Russian, brutal and vicious playing performing fashion. I think Golovanov’s Pathetique is still waiting it's time to be completely understood…

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
05-04-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Gregm
Greece
Posts 91
Joined on 02-16-2005

Post #: 9
Post ID: 2379
Reply to: 2378
Actually, I did pick up on the typo ("without" sentimentalism, etc)...
...but thanks anyhow. I remember listening to a performance by Mengelberg (during war II -- '41?/ German orch) which struck me as being very intense & powerful -- BUT that's from memory, so it may just be that I was differently impressionable at the time.
What I would like is: Russians playing the 6th, boldly + with passion but without the extra emotionality (say, a la Mravinski), as if there's no tomorrow. Like in King Lear: "the lowest and most dejected thing of fortune, stands still in esperance, lives not in fear". The first part of the quote may be Tchaikovski; the second part is for the players.

A rather obscure way of expressing myself, no Smile ?
05-08-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Gregm
Greece
Posts 91
Joined on 02-16-2005

Post #: 10
Post ID: 2391
Reply to: 2379
Golovanov's Tchik 6. The Boheme cd version from '48(?). Wow!

..."jaw dropping" as the audio moron (TM) would say.

Admittedly, a totally new musical experience -- and unexpected, despite Romy's descriptions.

Despite the less than ideal surroundings (3yr old playing in the room, average spl level, etc) I was amazed.

First impression: like driving a Ferrari without speed limits. Multi G acceleration, outstanding road-holding, excellent brakes -- and even so, some totally unexpected turns in the second & last parts...

I will look for a cd of my own and hopefully will get to "amalgamate" with this performance.

I expected a bit of Beethoven (maybe even Mahlerish viewpoint) -- but at the moment I can't really say that Golovanov gave a Beethovenian or Mahlerian Tchaikovski 6. It still sounded like Tchaikovski -- but refreshingly different.

(I'm also a sucker for musical dynamics)

Cheers

05-08-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,283
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 11
Post ID: 2392
Reply to: 2391
The Boheme cd version from '48(?). Wow!

 Gregm wrote:
First impression: like driving a Ferrari without speed limits. Multi G acceleration, outstanding road-holding, excellent brakes -- and even so, some totally unexpected turns in the second & last parts...
Well, in that CD, as far as I concern, is the most stunning the 1812 overture. I was kind of prepared to Pathetique when I head it for a first time as I heard a lot of Golovanov but the 1812 from that disk was totally out of this world. It is considering that the 1812 is very poor composition and that I generaly hate it. In fact I have written about it….

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/TreeItem.aspx?PostID=1137

Rgs,
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
10-16-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,283
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 12
Post ID: 2961
Reply to: 2359
That absolute tone of orchestra: Golovanov.

I admit tat I ma kind of a freak of nature in my pursuit to the abstract absolute tone of orchestra.  Attending life performances I practically never hear “tone” that satisfies me. In the Mecca of my tonal satisfaction there was 3 years ago a visit of the brilliant Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment but it they play, if I might say, “simple” music…

Anyhow, being familiar with whatever orchestras were ever recorded I very sincerely feel that no one orchestra even played with the “tone” of the USSR State Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra when it was lead by Nikolay Golovanov, and particularly in 1946-53. The Orchestra was known in that time as Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio…

Something that Golovanov does with that Orchestra is defends what is expected from orchestras. I admit I personally inclined to like sound of Orchestras that lead by conductors who use to play on bass instruments but Golovanov - being a singers couch - where THAT Sound came to him? Golovanov took the entire concept of “tone” way out there and the USSR Radio Orchesra never sounded like this nether before nor after….

Many great Golovanov’s recordings still could be found on Boheme and Archipel labels (avoid EMI). In the few years the will be converted by the Morons to SACD and will lost for good for civilized listing. Get it now unit it is not too late. Get it now! Golovanov is the real High-End!!!

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
05-27-2010 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
perrew
Posts 30
Joined on 10-06-2009

Post #: 13
Post ID: 13629
Reply to: 2961
Good or Bad Golovanov Recording
fiogf49gjkf0d
Hi Romy,

trying to find the Boheme edition, is this the good one http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tchaikovsky-Sixth-Symphony-1812-Overture/dp/B00004Y6VI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1274969131&sr=8-1

Cheers P
05-27-2010 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
clarkjohnsen
Boston, MA, US
Posts 289
Joined on 06-02-2004

Post #: 14
Post ID: 13632
Reply to: 13629
Les Bohemes
fiogf49gjkf0d
That is the correct issue. I ordered a small quantity a while back so I'd have spares for friends, and believe I have that one inter alia. I recall paying something like $21 each, landed.

clark
05-27-2010 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
perrew
Posts 30
Joined on 10-06-2009

Post #: 15
Post ID: 13633
Reply to: 13632
Golovanov here we go.
fiogf49gjkf0d
Any chance I can paypal you for a copy?Cheers P
05-27-2010 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
tuga


Posts 172
Joined on 12-26-2007

Post #: 16
Post ID: 13634
Reply to: 13632
Amazon France
fiogf49gjkf0d
It's available at a lower price here: http://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/B00004S3PQ/sr=1-1/qid=1274979583/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&qid=1274979583&sr=1-1&seller=

Cheers,
Ric


"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira Pascoaes
05-27-2010 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
perrew
Posts 30
Joined on 10-06-2009

Post #: 17
Post ID: 13635
Reply to: 13634
Wrong Label?
fiogf49gjkf0d
But it says label: Coda, not Boheme, which according to Romy is very important?
05-27-2010 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,283
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 18
Post ID: 13636
Reply to: 13629
This Golovanov recording is very interesting.
fiogf49gjkf0d
The Sixth Symphony is very idiosyncratic and I would feel that it has interest only for aficionado of the Sixth Symphony who might look for very different reading of the work. The 1812 in another hand is one of the greatest 1812 even committed to recording media the best illustration of Russian orchestra to play at their best. The alternative version of ending that  Golovanov use is also very-very good, in a way is even better then original.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
05-27-2010 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
perrew
Posts 30
Joined on 10-06-2009

Post #: 19
Post ID: 13637
Reply to: 13636
1812 is what I look for
fiogf49gjkf0d
The 1812 is the reason for searching out this CD. Whenever I hear about a recording from someone, there are good comments to be found at the Goodsoundclub, one of the few audio site that has discussion about music and not only gear!
05-27-2010 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
clarkjohnsen
Boston, MA, US
Posts 289
Joined on 06-02-2004

Post #: 20
Post ID: 13639
Reply to: 13633
Golovanov here you go
fiogf49gjkf0d
Upon investigation I have several Bohemes of Golovanov. The list:   T6 + 1812 (2 copies)   Rach2 (2)   R3 + The Rock (unsealed)   Scriabin 1   Scriabin 2   Scriabin 3 + Poem of Ecstasy   All $22 ea + postage.   I do have a Paypal account but no VISA/MC on it.   FCFS   (First come first served.)

Get in line! This is great stuff.   clark
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  »  New  Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique” Symphony..  Tchaikovsky 6th and my first meeting with LPO...  Musical Discussions  Forum     2  11999  10-14-2007
  »  New  The "new" Shostakovich 10th symphony..  Another good play of the Symphony No. 10...  Musical Discussions  Forum     22  88159  10-21-2007
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