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06-21-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,104
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 1
Post ID: 7641
Reply to: 7641
More Gieseking!
I Love this guy!

Here is (was) Walter Gieseking, playing his amazingly articulated tone with Alceo Galliera leading the Philharmonia Orchestra off in his own direction, at least at first; This is Beethoven's PC #5, Seraphim 60069 ("stereo", so either a re-master or dubbed from an archived original).

The band seems confused for a while, then they settle in, somewhat resigned to Galliera's plan, and they go from choppy to strong beat/measure phrases.  I'm not sure how at this point, but Galliera somehow gets his idea of this odd tempo-driven thing working better, until he finally gives over to Gieseking at the popular "Emperor" theme in the Adagio.  No "A" for the orchestra, but the piece works, somehow.

I love Gieseking's incisive and yet incredibly nuanced touch and tone; the total opposite of "suasage fingers".  Here he plays, I think, a better instrument than that giant, clunky antique I usually associate with him (and which I also love...).

Electricity was shit, sound started out from a coffee can; didn't matter.  Sound got better, Gieseking rose above and stayed great.

Paul S
06-22-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,486
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 7644
Reply to: 7641
The great Gieseking
Ye, Walter Gieseking was one of the greatest pianists of his time. It is too sad that the stupid American propaganda machine screwed up the Gieseking’s reputation. Have you already heard his Debussy and Ravel? It is like nothing else.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
06-22-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,104
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 3
Post ID: 7651
Reply to: 7644
Beethoven PS 7 (O 10, #3) & 11 (O 22)

I happen to prefer the 7th piano sonata to the 11th, as music; but in this case there is enough "performance bleed through" to +/- homoginize these two not-entirely-dissimilar sonatas on this record, Angel 35653.  One might get the best of this disk by just listening to one or the other at a sitting.

Here, Gieseking plays an incredible old clunker of some sort, and he can still get tone out of it.  And "dynamics" in G's case does not mean just loud (which he can certainly do), but rather he has an amazing "range" of dynamics; he seems always to be able to find "differences", no matter how narrow the range in terms of rote SPL.   Although I cannot hear "pedals", it must be that G uses them freely and easily, as a regular part of his play; something's got to explain his total control over the range and sound of the piano.

Anyway, G really takes off out of the gate here, like Gould/Bach or something, and still the music, both the melodies/harmonies and the interwoven themes, are completely intelligible.  He has an easy mastery that makes me "comfortable" as a listener and that allows me (or does not prevent me) from forgetting about the rote aspects of play to enter into the piece as musical communion.

No, this is probably not Gieseking's "best"; but when you're talking about this kind of ability, it's all "educational', at the very least.

My grandfather had Gieseking's Beethoven PS 7 on 78s.  Is it just nostalgia that I remember it sounding at least as good then as it does now on my $$$$ "modern" hi-fi, off a +/- "modern" LP?

I will keep an eye peeled for the Ravel and Debussey.

Paul S

06-24-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,486
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 7670
Reply to: 7651
Gieseking and audio
Ironically the more interesting from my point of view in Gieseking is not his music but the way how he approached musical pieces, the way how he practiced. If to look deeper then you will see some similarity between that Gieseking’s rehearsal ceremony and the basic rules how I feel a playback might be constructed.

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
06-27-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
RonyWeissman
Lyon, France
Posts 138
Joined on 05-29-2004

Post #: 5
Post ID: 7679
Reply to: 7644
Oh la la (the joys of france)
I have his ravel and debussy, amongst other treasures on LP. The debussy is a 5LP mono collection on EMI that is one of the few discs I keep at all times in my listening room (otherwise my LP collection is in another room as I share the listening room with the kids).

Paul S if you really have trouble finding the debussy or ravel I can look for you next time I am up in paris, I think my record guy has lots of these and he's very inexpensive.

R Weissman
06-27-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,104
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 6
Post ID: 7680
Reply to: 7679
The LPs of Gieseking
Thank you so much, Rony, but I have just purchased a few LPs that will get here eventually, I suppose.  I have also seen the boxed sets, but I want to get my bearings first, learn some more about both performances and recordings.  The EMI sets look good, all right.  It has been my understanding that the owner of EMI went way out of his way to get WG's pre-war and war-time masters to press after the war.

No doubt Paris is a better source of such things than San Diego.  I love that city!

If I come up empty, I will gratefully accept your offer.

Best regards,
Paul S
06-30-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
JANDL100


Forest of Dean, UK
Posts 71
Joined on 09-27-2007

Post #: 7
Post ID: 7697
Reply to: 7680
Gieseking CD recommendations?
To my shame, I don't think I've ever heard any of his recordings.

I tend to be put off by 'old sound quality' .... but can someone recommend a good CD or two of Gieseking?


Jerry
06-30-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,486
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 8
Post ID: 7698
Reply to: 7697
Many shadows of Gieseking…

Well, Jerry, I can pitch you some CDs. They would be from US resellers but I am sure you can found your local UK equivalent. Be advised that I have none of the Gieseking’s CD only LPs, so I have no idea how good sound transfer was made to CD.  Generally you shell found in UK more Gieseking possibilities as in US he was a victim of Nazi Witch Hunt that US practice afar WWII  and for a long time Gieseking was in US media as a Persona non Grata

I would stick with EMI pressings and would get the Gieseking Debussy. His Debussy is mandatory in my view.

http://www.amazon.com/Walter-Gieseking-Performs-Debussy-Claude/dp/B0001HAHCI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1214823807&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Walter-Gieseking-plays-Debussy-Claude/dp/B000003LL3/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1214823881&sr=1-3

Gieseking’s Revel is phenomenal. BTW, if I am not mistaken Gieseking was French-born, but Germany-leaving…

http://www.amazon.com/Ravel-Complete-Works-Solo-Piano/dp/B00005ONOX/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1214823932&sr=1-6

One recording I feel is also a huge “must”: Gieseking’s Rachmaninoff Third.

http://www.amazon.com/Gieseking-Late-Romantics-Claude-Debussy/dp/B00005RTH8/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1214824222&sr=1-4

This recording never was available on CD and this it the only that I have found. Ths recording is with my beloved John Barbirolli and New York Philharmonic with Rachmaninoff in presence, where Rachmaninoff admitted to Gieseking that also it was different then he originally intended but if he himself would play the concerto nowadays (it was 1939 I believe) then he would play it exactly how Gieseking did it. Do not we put off by many dirty mistakes that Gieseking does – they are irrelevant. Gieseking stress the idea of visualized play here he practiced very little but rather practiced in his mind believing that if he has a clear consciousness how to play then his fingers would render his intentions. Sometimes if did amazingly good and sometimes it was less glorious. For instance a couple months before or after plying the Rachmaninoff Third with NY and Barbirolli Gieseking took the same Concerto with Concertgebouw and Willem Mengelberg. The Gieseking/Mengelberg’s Rach 3 is absolutely the most revolting performance of the prices that I ever heard – do not buy it under any circumstances.

http://www.amazon.com/Rachmaninov-Piano-Concertos-2-3/dp/B00008DVCV/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1214824135&sr=1-11

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
06-30-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
JANDL100


Forest of Dean, UK
Posts 71
Joined on 09-27-2007

Post #: 9
Post ID: 7700
Reply to: 7698
OK - 2 Gieseking CDs purchased ...
Thanks for the recommendations, Romy.  And for the warning about the Mengelberg Rach3 - several of those are available cheap!

One composer you have not mentioned is Beethoven ..... so I have bought 1 CD of early sonatas and 1 CD of late sonatas.   :-)   About £2 ($4) each, inc delivery.

I'm not that 'into' Debussy or Ravel, so I thought some Beethoven sonatas might give me a better idea of his playing to start off with.   One CD (the early sonatas) on EMI Seraphim, the other on EMI "Great Performances".

I'll let you know how I get on.


Jerry
06-30-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,486
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 10
Post ID: 7706
Reply to: 7700
Gieseking’s Mozart and Beethoven

 JANDL100 wrote:
I'm not that 'into' Debussy or Ravel, so I thought some Beethoven sonatas might give me a better idea of his playing to start off with.  

That is kind of funny as I am not 'into' the Gieseking’s Beethoven– I like Beethoven sonatas from others. The Beethoven sonatas however are a whole bid would and it hard to give them all to one person – I have a half dozen of pianists go up and gown in my scale, the scale that changes with times…

The Gieseking’s Debussy or Ravel however I feel was very much ‘special’. The Gieseking’s Mozart was very interesting as well but since I "discovered" it I got then hooked on somebody else Mozart, then on somebody else again and again … and as a result I do not remember Gieseking’s Mozart anymore….

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
07-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,104
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 11
Post ID: 7741
Reply to: 7706
Debussy; Angel 35065
A while back, during a discussion about music, a friend sat down and played for me a "Romantic" rendition of Debussy that literally had me in tears.  Afterward, she +/- dismissed it as a "parlor trick", saying that to play Debussy "correctly" is another matter altogether.

Here is Gieseking, with not the best of instruments, IMO, playing soem "break-out" Debussy as natural chroma, in what is for me a revelatory style.  Chords and de-constructed cords alike are rendered with more color and dynamic variation that one would think possible, without sacrificing the piece entire to the technique.  G is at once incisive and incredibly sensitive to both critical differences and the unusual "thematic" "threads" that keep Debussy's "sound paintings" from being just interesting (or annoying) noise.  No way anyone could play like this without either profound insight into this music or the ability to "channel" someone who does have it.

The recording must be "bi-naural"; the soundfield/ambience are very nice in "stereo".  It is plenty good enough, albeit with the usual Angel vinyl/surface noise, which on my copy is soft enough to disappear when absorbed, listening, which the performances ensure.

If you have ever walked out on a Debussy recital (Lord knows, I have...), you owe it to yourself to hear how Gieseking does it.

Bravo.

Paul S
07-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,486
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 12
Post ID: 7744
Reply to: 7741
If you are developing affinity to Debussy
Then you shell try also Alfred Cortot and Michelangeli. They are different then Gieseking and it is exactly why they are interesting. Michelangeli is particularly special…

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
07-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,104
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 13
Post ID: 7745
Reply to: 7744
Finding something unique in the composition
I have some Cortot and some Michelangeli - somewhere -  but I am not sure if it includes Debussy, because I have not been able to stay in the room with most of the "Images"-type of Debussy rendered by most artists, most of the time, so I have not really tried much to listen to it.  Or, there have been cases like Rubinstein (see the post), where I "like" what he is doing, but then it all starts smearing together, so listening sessions are short.

What I appreciate about Gieseking is the way he uses color and light for his Images, like a fine Impressionist painter, and he is deft enough that each piece is distinct, even to me, with my limited experience and awareness of Impressionist music.  I often find corolaries between the science, art, literature, music and philosophy (and politics...) of a given period, but I do not like to get stuck with a predisposition toward an art work, preferring to let the work take its own course, as much as I can, and accepting differences at different times, as well.  Still, I admit that  I come back to some strong works just to get a particular "Fix" that I enjoy again and again, fairly often.  I am pleased that the number of works I plan to revisit soon has grown substantially over the last few months, including Gieseking's Debussay.

Best regards,
Paul S
07-06-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
JANDL100


Forest of Dean, UK
Posts 71
Joined on 09-27-2007

Post #: 14
Post ID: 7752
Reply to: 7745
Gieseking in Beethoven - not what I expected!
Well, my Great Recordings of the Century EMI CD has arrived of the Opp 53, 57, 109 & 110 piano sonatas by G.   It's almost reversed what I expected to hear in that, from what I have heard of his reputation, I would have expected him to excel in the Waldstein (op53), be too weak in the Appassionata (op57) and skim over the surface in the late sonatas.

Not so!

I am left baffled by the Waldstein.  After a couple of playings it still sounds clunky and lacking in fluidity.  I just don't hear/understand what he was trying to achieve.

The Appassionata is wonderfully fluid and surprisingly powerful.   OK, if you want HUGE and jaw-dropping, then listen to Richter, but G is well worth a listen as well.  He has something to bring to this enigmatic work that others that I have heard do not project.  There's a fluid momentum here that is quite compelling.

The late sonatas are not obviously 'profound', but they kept my attention 100%+.   There's an 'art that conceals art' here.  Quite entrancing playing with a depth beneath the fluid surface that seems quite entrancing to me.

I still await the CD of earlier sonatas I have ordered (the Pathetique and others).

Oh, and the sound is surprisingly good!   1953 and 56 mono.

I shall now invest in some of G's Debussy, having read some of the previous posts here!



Jerry
07-06-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,486
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 15
Post ID: 7753
Reply to: 7752
Gieseking discography....
http://my.dreamwiz.com/fischer/Gieseking/discography-gieseking-2.htm


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
07-11-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,486
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 16
Post ID: 7792
Reply to: 7752
Gieseking before and after.
 JANDL100 wrote:
Oh, and the sound is surprisingly good! 1953 and 56 mono.
Jerry, unfortunately you heard “wrong” Gieseking. The real Gieseking is the Gieseking before the WW2, in 20s and 30s. After the war the Gieseking’s play changed a lot…

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
07-11-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
JANDL100


Forest of Dean, UK
Posts 71
Joined on 09-27-2007

Post #: 17
Post ID: 7793
Reply to: 7792
Right or wrong? - or judge it on its own merits?
 Romy the Cat wrote:
 JANDL100 wrote:
Oh, and the sound is surprisingly good! 1953 and 56 mono.
Jerry, unfortunately you heard “wrong” Gieseking. The real Gieseking is the Gieseking before the WW2, in 20s and 30s. After the war the Gieseking’s play changed a lot…

The Cat


Well, I don't think I'd be prepared to put up with 1920/30 sound so I'm never likely to know!

But judging the 1950s performances on their own merits, they sound very good to me - definitely 'world class' playing in the Appassionata and 2 late sonatas, imo.

I've ordered a CD of some of G's Debussy - I've no idea when the recording was made, I will have to wait for it to arrive.


Jerry
07-13-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,104
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 18
Post ID: 7817
Reply to: 7793
Foo-foo Mozart PC 20 & 25 (Angel 35215)
Hans Rosbaud directing the Philharmonia Orchestra (more's the pity)

Re, K 503: Rosbaud should be blindfolded and tied to a chair, forced to listen to Paul Angerer/Pro Musica (Vienna), with Alfred Brendel (qv).

Here, R wants that over-the-top, fop-ish "courtly" sound, which lightens the piece to the point of degradation, IMO, and then G gives up after the 1st cadenza.

#20 (K 466) is a tiny bit "better", I suppose, but only because the minor key seems to thwart Rosbaud's intentions somewhat.

Is G just going through the motions here, or am I just so put off by Rosbaud that I am lumping them together?

I tried the Brendel K 503 and it is wonderful, as always.


Paul S
08-14-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
JANDL100


Forest of Dean, UK
Posts 71
Joined on 09-27-2007

Post #: 19
Post ID: 8038
Reply to: 7817
Debussy - to Gieseking or not .... ?
I've just spent a happy couple of hours listening to some Debussy solo piano - started off with Gieseking but after a while became a little impatient with the rather thin sound quality.   I switched to my complete set of Debussy piano by Gordon Fergus-Thompson.    Heresy, I know, but the Gieseking is on its way out ... eBay here it comes!   I much prefer not only the sound quality of the GF-T (an ASV recording from 1989 or so) but I also prefer his playing - somehow Gieseking sounds a bit 'clunky' in comparison; lacking fluidity.    Will this get me banned from the forum, Romy?   ;-)   Or maybe I should get my hearing tested!


Jerry
01-18-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,104
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 20
Post ID: 9457
Reply to: 8038
Fresh Debussy
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Etudes D'un Cahier d'Esquisse; Angel 35250 (mono)

G changes up here from the mostly-chromatic approach he used in the Images, mentioned above.  In this case, he also manages incredibly organic timing and dynamics to play these "exercises" as though he is inventing them as he plays.  I think without analyzing it too much that he does some sort of "hesitation", as though "waiting" for the notes to come to him, as though he were "channeling" them.  Anyway, it is not at all gimicky but very fresh, and I find the effect quite rewarding in musical terms.

I often wish G would find and use a better piano, and the recording is not that great; but G is on his game here with an original approach that simply vivifies these pieces.

After all these years, I owe to Geiseking this interest in recorded Debussy.

Paul S
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