What is your favorite period orchestra
In your opinion, which orchestra that practices period performance is the best in terms of their delivery of the pieces, historical accurateness and overall quality of sound. I want to know your opinion because there are a lot out there such as the OAE, ORR, Anima Eterna, Orchestra of the 18th Century and Philharmonia Baroque. These are the more well known ones.
My favourite period orchestra is probably the LSO. They play music from all "periods" but play in the 21st century on instruments that have evolved from their primitive roots. This enables them to play with greater dynamic range and richer tone colours.
I dont know, if I hear Bach Cantatas on modern instruments I walk away. Last week Vivaldi Gloria in D on modern instruments, meh. Violin e strings from our time simply dont belong to that kind of music imo.
Marc. I would walk away from Bach Cantatas sung and/or played badly whether on sudo baroque instruments or modern. At best HIP are based on guess work.
I agree that its some wild guessing on interpretation but the modern e string is a complete killer of this kind of music.
Don't get me started on HIP! Doesn't it stand for "Having Intonation Problems?" ;-)
The only one of these I have seen live is the local Philharmonia Baroque and great as they are what impressed me most was the wind instrument, the bass Ophicleide (check it out on Wikipedia a brass instrument valved like a saxophone). It is surely one of the most beautiful sounding brass instruments I have ever heard - invented in the early 19th century and mostly replaced over time by tubas and euphoniums. As I understand it they were tuned for specific keys - which might account for its purity of tone. One of the pieces played at that concert was Mendelssohn's incidental music for Midsummer Night's Dream which is in the proper key for the specific Ophicleide their player owns. In a pre-concert lecture he told us he had bought it in Paris (was it a t a flea market?). Since I had played baritone horn (euphonium) in high school band for 4 years (and our son played trumpet for about 10 years) I still have some interest in the buzzy-lip instruments - especially ones that sound good. (Our HS music director "invited" all the male violinists in the school orchestra to play baritone in the school band - and we all did, except for Zeke, who played Sousaphone/tuba -- or band of 100 was great and won trophies, our orchestra sucked!)
Someone said (can't think who) that we need HIP replacements. Perhaps he/she meant "replaced by proper players ...") (wink)
I like HIP a great deal, but for live music I'll take modern instruments with HIP-style musicality any day of the week (baroque bows on modern instruments is a nice compromise, and you can go further with gut strings of course). For a recording, sure HIP is great, but it the versatility of modern instruments means they will remain much more common.
HIP style musicality? That's a new one! What is it?
Peter. First you play out of tune. Bulge on every note. Then have no sense of line or legato.
Re gut E strings, I heard once there was a major German orchestra between the World Wars where it was written into the violinists' contracts that they were required to use gut E strings. This is understandable because of the difference in orchestral tone between a single steel string and the three gut strings. Further, there would have been many musicians in the nineteen-twenties and thirties who would remember hearing, or even playing in, 19th-century orchestras at a time when the steel E was as yet unknown.
Clearly you guys still live in the nineteen eighties. Have fun!
I remember the nineteen eighties well. I could sense early retirement as a real possibility within the next few years - and it came to pass.
If people want to play on "period instruments" for audiences who want to hear that, fine with me. It's kind of like doubling on viola (or didgeridoo) so you can get more gigs. I can even listen to it for a time but please, I don't want to see them "swaying gaily like minstrels of yore."
To add to Rocky's list, any Bach from the Kuijken brothers have always been an inspiration and shows their thoughtfulness in their preparation and work.
Not an "orchestra" but AWESOME renaissance music on period instruments: the Elm City Consort!
Peter and Carlo: you're right, Klemperer sounds like Marriner.
Nothing wrong with the 80s except perhaps the hairstyles. I studied baroque violin myself in the 90s whilst at university. It was only when I was working professionally that I realised that the HIP program was an attempt at brainwashing based largely on guesswork.
"For those who make fun of HIP, I dare you to install pue gut strings, get a baroque bow and give it a try. You will keep laughing, but from completely different reasons. You may even shed a tear of joy in discovering that violin was there before Evah Pirazzi!"
Wasn't the A=415 (a half-tone below A=440, btw) chosen so that a piano or harpsichord with the appropriate engineering could move the entire keyboard together with its hammer mechanisms a half-tone sideways relative to the strings, thereby effecting an instantaneous half-tone transposition a la HIP?
Mr Klayman, all those facts are of course true and should be considered in every HIP environment.
Yes, and another important one I forgot to mention:
People also castrated boys for singing and didn't have indoor plumbing and didn't have pencils.
Boston Baroque is an excellent group. Washington Bach Consort is also very good.
Bach did not sell early pianos, in fact he only had brief exposure to Silbermann's fortepianos on two occasions, at first he criticized them, SIlbermann made some modifications and on his second visit Bach supposedly saw promise in them, mind you they had more in common with the contemporary harpsichord than the modern piano.
In general I would endorse Raphael's comments, particularly in relation to a 'big' sound for Mozart. Mozart's main complaint about orchestras seems to have been that they were usually too small.
I personally think that "hate" is far too strong a word to use when describing preferences away from HIP. A lot of what has been said was somewhat tongue in cheek.
Modern classical interpretations of Bach on modern instruments are like muzak versions of the Beatles, sounds similar but definitely not authentic.
Rocky, quite a thoughtful post, and interesting views.
From an excellent online article by Linda Gleason, PhD in musicology, called "Did Bach hate the Piano?" I'll just excerpt this much and invite anyone interested to look for it:
Rocky, I'd surely like to try to play a gut-strung violin with a baroque bow. I think that would be fun for an hour or so and possibly quite enlightening. But for someone like me who is still struggling just to learn how to play one sort of violin properly, trying also to learn to manage a different bow and different strings so that I can play Bach "authentically" (even though it might not be entirely or even mostly in tune) seems like a futile dilution of my available effort. When I hear fully trained violinists who can effortlessly play such things as the Bach S&P saying that we should be playing baroque with different bows and strings, I detect a whiff of "Let them eat cake."
Getting back to answering the original question, "What is your favourite period orchestra?" My answer is simply "from the 21st century", when I live.
Getting back to the
"The violin and bow have EVOLVED and IMPROVED over time. Why turn the clock back? And why make up a set of rules based on guesswork on how to play outdated and backward instruments?"
Jeewon - I believe that I had also recommended I Solisti Veneti, although I'm not too crazy about this particular performance - not on HIP vs non-HIP grounds, just as such.
FYI historical players don't use a chin rest or shoulder rest because they didn't exist in the 1700s and before. Neither did modern strings, neither did the modern piano. Some people here seem to be unaware of this.
Yes Raphael, I know I Solisti Veneti was on your list. But I personally would not recommend the other three groups on your list as examples of good intonation either, or ensemble.
" I don't know any symphony players who are that obsessed with the quality of their work ('cause they think they can get away with it.)"
You probably get real bent out of shape when period movies have horse and buggies instead of modern cars, too. To each his own.
Yes, real bent. Especially I wouldn't want to use a horse and buggy when I'm in a hurry to catch a period performance concert!
So you're perfectly happy to mangle Bach with your modern performance practices, spare me having to listen to it!!
Cleaned up above post for clarification.
Voices of Music. Listen to their Vivaldi!
Jeewon, In my opinion, your attitude as a site policeman, could also be described as trolling. Please stick to the subject at hand, and please don't point the finger at others. Raphael's contribution to this site is invaluable and his comments are refreshing coming, as they do for a change, from a serious professional musician.
Carlo you're one of many trolling this thread, The OP asked what were you're favourite HIP performers, since you don't have any I suggest you and Raphael etc etc stay out of the discussion, ridiculing HIP is definitely trolling with regard the OPs intent.
You're not going to have a thread on period orchestras without HIP vs anti-HIP, SR vs restless, etc. What we really should be debating is rosin or e-strings.
Lyndon, the LSO is a period orchestra, the period in question being the 21st century. My favourite!
To get back to the original question, here are my favorites:
Ignoring the debate above:
Jeewan, I forced myself to listen to the recording of the Bach violin concerto you recommended in your post. Awful! Thin tone lacking in line, and yes, no legato and plenty of bulges. The intonation was reasonable but the vegan tone produced by the sock and sandal wearers was intolerable.
Ignorance of HIP is bliss!!
All orchestras, even those using evolved instruments, have a strong awareness of period style. Please give me an example of a 21st century orchestra that plays Bach in a similar fashion to schostakovich. You can't! We are all HIP players in a sense but those who use evolved instruments have all the advantages in tone and colour.
My, my! I take a break for about a day or so and... Where to start and where to end?
Now, drum roll please... I think I'll express a few more thoughts and then end my contributions here. I'm tiring of this thread and maybe this thread is tiring of me! (A bit more humor. Apparently I need to hold up a sign. I really do get lots of laughs in person!) But seriously...
The next important question to consider is what was the overall attitude to music in the 18th century? It's a broad question, but my research has shown me that they wanted the next new thing. This is a major aspect of why Bach, Vivaldi, Haydn, and Mozart were so prolific. What, Haydn's symphony no. 43 again? That was so 5 minutes ago! The idea of going back to the past and trying to reproduce it as closely as possible was absolutely foreign in the 18th century! Mozart thought nothing of adding clarinets to the score of Handel's "Messiah". I don't happen to like it - not on "authenticity" grounds but as a matter of personal taste. But that's just me. So if we are concerned to a reactionary degree to reproduce 18th cent. music to the last possible degree, we are actually foisting a late 20th and early 21st cent. sensibility onto 18th cent. music!
I don't believe Bach sold pianos, no. Your source is presumably suspect as is most of your opinion on early music. The idea that we don't know exactly how they played then so we shouldn't even try is ludicrous. Plus period performances just tend to sound better. Maybe you should stick to 20th century literature, and leave the rest to experts on their era.
If you're still around William, thanks for starting this thread. I've discovered some groups I'd not heard before.
To return to the original topic: I like Herreweghe's Bach the best out of them all; the St Matthew Passion discs may be my favorite album period. And, I think violin solo stuff is quite good.
@Jeewon, my turn to go off topic a bit, LOL
We know what Bach didn't do, he didn't use modern violins, he didn't use modern instruments, he didn't use pianos, he didn't use chinrests, shoulder rests or steel strings, he didn't use as much vibrato, his trills didn't start on the lower note, his orchestras weren't as big, he didn't use as much vibrato etc etc etc. To think none of this is important is the epitome of ignorance.
Mr Taylor - a simple question: Do you only sell violins/violas etc that are set up as Baroque instruments?
no, I cater to players of all eras, including modern, baroque and transitional.
I've restored quite a few baroque and transitional set up violins, although I've mostly wholesaled them to a top dealer in LA that has more customers for them than I do.
So you sell modern set up violins even though you hate the sound they make and the modern way of playing them. Is this not double standards?
I never said I hate modern violin music, I happen to love Stravinsky, but for baroque and renaissance music I prefer original instruments, I also like to hear classical era music on transitional instruments, no double standard, except perhaps by you.
I have no objection to people trying to discern how music was played in the distant past by means of scholarship and then to trying to replicate that. I only object when they insist I should do the same otherwise I'm playing it "incorrectly." Inauthentic is not automatically incorrect.
Hillary Hahn can't play 4 note chords with her modern bow.
I would be interested to hear a modern instrument with full gut and a baroque bow played side by side with a period instrument, by the same person. How much of a difference would there be? And really, same but with a modern bow on first instrument as well. I wonder how much of the tonal difference is mostly the strings and then the bow as well.
Modern bows DO play 4 note chords but in a different way to the old antique bows. We need to establish facts rather than just argue for arguments sake.
An arpeggio is not the same as a chord, peter.
How? I cant bow all 4 strings at the same time. You can of course hit the base than play the 3 higher, but thats not the same as playing a 4 note chord.
On a baroque violin the bridge curvature is usually less than the modern violin, though many hipsters ignore this when setting up their "baroque" violins. Then the bow bows slightly outwards but under hard pressure the bow bows out even more, effectively loosening the tension on the bow hair, (not tightening it like the modern violin) this allows the bow hairs to curve over the lower curve of the strings playing all four or three notes at once, a chord, not an arpeggio.
Reverting to the OP's original post I would mention the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra as being high on my list, based on their video of the 6 Brandenburgs. Also Il Giardino Armonico (mentioned before). Two different approaches, one Germanic, the other Italian, but both valid. I wouldn't forget Amandine Beyer (French), either.
Whilst I do agree about the bows and chords, of course playing two notes and then the top two in quick succession is not much different from a pianist rolling chords where they are too difficult, or too many notes to fit the hand, or people who have to do that because of small hands and lack of stretch.
Pray tell what possible reason would there be for a baroque violin to be deficient for legato and sustain, sustain of the notes after you stop bowing is not considered a plus for the violin.
Lyndon, of course I was talking about modern bows. Some theories even think of bows that get tension control by thumb to lessen the tension for chords with many strings.
For solo Bach I'll concede you the 4-note chords. But there are a lot of works that do not have any. You should, on the other hand, concede that Hilary Hahn does not need to saw off the last bit of the fingerboard on her Vuillaume play Corelli Sonatas passably.
I think this debate, while fascinating and going in multiple directions (and off the original topic) is simply not capable of resolution. My relative, Wanda Landowska, who was pretty much the popularizer of period performance/HIP, was at one end of the spectrum, telling Casals during a discussion of how to play a passage in Bach: "that's fine dear. You play Bach your way, and I'll play Bach his way." One the other end is my teacher who said once, "I have a hard time imagining Bach objecting to his music being played in any way that makes it sound beautiful."
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.... or in this case in the ear(s) of the listener.
Instead of going to all this trouble to justify your behaviour, why not just stop trolling in the first place, then we wouldn't have all these problems, you've been way off topic, and incendiary to those that are on topic, that's the definition of trolling, maybe you need to move over to Maestronet or something, they seem to love trolls.
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