yes, a baroque bow.
never been a big fan of vengerov, but I assume this recording was made after the accident as to my mind he could play it better.
He is one of the more commercially successful artists and I appreciate he's trying to use a baroque bow to 'historically re-create' the baroque style but I wonder why then is he using synthetic strings, a shoulder rest and chin rest, and tuning to A440?
I have to agree with Nate.
A-440 the big non baroque tuning or is it not. Authentic Baroque 8imho) has nothing to do with the shape of the violin, or the strings for that matter,it has all to do with bowing style and dynamics and a bit with the vibrato. Back then they tune from as low as 415 and sometimes up to 460, yes you heard it right 460. It all depended on the venue. Sometimes from one county to the other they would tune at a diferent frequency as to prevent (for example) brass unstrument from one county to take jobs away from their own resident musicians. So much for 415. Also the bowing styles were diferent. In Italy and France they were more similar and germans totally diferent. Musicians in the Baroque period were much more flexible then we are today...just my very very small .02
So - it was a barrock bow! You would think that a performer like Vengerov would get decent enough fees to be able to afford a proper bow!! (wink).
I find the previous post (Claude Roumain) very interesting, saying that things were much more varied than these days, back in the barrock times. I can certainly see that would be the case, after all their mobile phones (cell phones to some) would have been using old chips and would never cover more than a few hundred yards so communication would have been difficult.
And so I bet their electronic tuners must have been unreliable too ... (wink)
i've seen some people using a baroque period bow on a modern violin setup. why should it be objectionable?
but also, what do you guys think of his performance of the piece? i also find it interesting that he has performed this piece after coming back and having changed his playing style, as he says himself (see the v.com interview with mr vengerov).
I don't think anyone objected. Maybe you mis-interpreted my humour, if it was me you thought of.
no Peter, not your post. i'm assuming that Nate's post expresses some lack of support for the incompatibility of baroque bow with modern setup in principle (should there be a such a principle?)...anyway...the music...:o)
I think he does a fine job on the piece. It is a clean performance and he brings out the different voices in the music. One thing I noticed though, his left hand is quite inefficient. When the fingers are not pressing the string they are flying in the air. Somehow he is talented enough to pull it together and make it work.
For those of you that did not care for the performance what specifically did you not like?
Yes, I noticed that too. (Left hand). I may be going to a masterclass soon that he's giving so I will monitor that, and maybe ask him about the bow if I get the chance.
Hi Smiley -
To answer your one question about the flying fingers, my first viola instructor wanted me to "hammer" the strings, and so I developed the very same technique. Now, my current instructor wants me to completely unlearn that method, which I'm trying to do.
Haha, don't you love it when teachers don't agree? Who are you supposed to believe?
BTW, Vengerov looks a lot more relaxed than before. They say bad things happen to prevent something even worse from happening. Perhaps the shoulder injury suffered by Vengerov helped him in the long run.
He also used to keep his head pointed way to the left, especially in his childhood videos, he had his head pointed straight down the fingerboard. That has to be hard on the body. He still rotates his head pretty significantly to the left, but it is a lot better than before. Hilary and Josh do the same thing. It looks uncomfortable and I personally find it hard to watch.
OTOH, You can watch me play and everything looks great, but the moment you take out the ear plugs, that's where the pain begins :-)
I have seen some professional players that lay their head down almost to one side as they play. When I play, I don't move at all - except for my bow arm and the fingers of my left hand. My body is pretty still. It's how I was originally taught. I don't see MV moving in the video either. So in looking at him play, I can relate to his style.
And yet, when I go to my violin lessons, my teacher wants me to move - to "sway" with the music. Right now, I'm finding that almost impossible to do, and it's driving my instructor crazy.
The baroque bow is a gimmique! This is Good, Solid Russian-Style Romantic Bach.
Adrian - I'll tell him that if I get a chance at a masterclass next month ... you won't mind if I quote you?
But even if the A string goes a bit flat one can still play in tune, as I believe he did (I thought I heard it to the end ...)
Personally I like my Bach a little romantic and I'm not a great lover of austere politically correct cold Bach interpretions. (Where's that air raid shelter ...?)
I had another listen on a better computer and changed my mind a bit.
This is not "Good, Solid Russian-Style Romantic Bach" in my view: the vibrato here is used very sparingly and there are no glissandos, no staying-away from open strings and first position play.
There is a lot in the performance that i really like. The rubatos and breaths in the frasing are a bit romantic but sound overall good to me. Baroque players use those as well; differently but sometimes very freely.
The opening chords and chords in other places are to me played in a too romantic style. A bit like Tchaikovsky - almost attacking.
Despite the violin being a bit out of tune Vengerov plays remarkably in tune.
Is his shoulder still bothering him?
mm, i was puzzled by your first post hendrik. does't sound specifically romantic playing to my ears. there is a clear pulse, no wide vibrato, no extreme dynamics, the steady pulse is independent of the dynamics (if i can say that), at moments the way some phrases are shaped puts me in the mind of baroque playing (i dont know how to describe this properly but the end of the phrases are left to resonate). very subtle and sparse vibrato (milstein's, as a counter example, has much more vibrato..actually, he has a beautiful array of varied vibrato ...what a musician -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFdbQtu2A4Q)
i think a very good romantic trap would be between (i think) bars 81 and 87...that, for me, is an extraordinary plaintive part...but he handles it in a very cool way..with no dynamic exaggeration and adds slight vibrato to give it a slight lilt...he gives it dignity, it becomes a sort of prayer instead of being a cry.
Good review tammuz of Vengerov's Bach. It is very different to Milstein - both are valid in my view. (I've always loved Milstein's Bach).
Agree good review Tammuz. I shouldn't start to comment too quickly. It's all in the careful listening.
(BTW how was your visit to Ottawa?)
i really admire mr vengerov. aside from being such a great performer, he is so symthpathetic to the music he performs and the music turns out expressive and generous. at least my opinion.
it went very well thanks; i got to fix my violin ay guy harrison's who was really nice and helpful. visited montreal as well...but thankfully well before the subzero temperatures. but i expect to suffer it next year :o)
Vengerov boring us all to tears as usual..
It's on kanal ROSSIYA, so he must know all the right people!
us all? why how many persons are you?
Well I hope I am not alone.
You mean to say you find this badly phrased unrhythmic, unmusical, shapeless mess beautiful?
Where is the rigour or architecture you find in a real musician like Richter or Kagan?
Completely absent in modern Russia?
yeah sure i like it otherwise why would i say what i said above? and yes, i find it rythmical, beautifully played and well nuanced.
i find no justification for your opinion on the music and rather than throw your grand opinion in condescending manner, you could have been more specific in your criticism, more interesting,display more substance and less attitude.
i dont see much reason for comparing (or actually bashing) vengerov with richter or kagan. i love oistrach's playing more than vengerov's, ...but i dont see the point of bashing vengerov with oistrakh. we're not trying to create monotheism within the musical arena as well, are we?
No, but it begs the question.
How come Russians can't play Bach?
Can you actually hear a phrase in Vengerov's playing?
I mean one that starts in one place and leads to another, or has this art completely gone out the window?
Has he ever bothered to listen to his fellow Russian musicians?
Ie. His great Russian SINGERS?
All violinists should go to singing classes.
I simply cannot understand how Russians can produce the greatest singers in the world, yet a violinist that plays as badly as this.
Go watch/listen to the Heifetz masterclass on this.
Yes he was Lithuanian and what? (!)
You can see the current of the MUSIC that is being worked on,and you can see how Heifetz loved THE MUSIC.
Now go and watch/listen to this clown playing.
You have go to be kidding.
The guy doesn't even come close to breathing like a singer.
"Tell me a story".
Don't give your latest & greatest interpretation of the great Bach!
"Don't play notes PLAY MUSIC".
People are full of themselves today.
Now, just go back to the 17th & 18th centuries & their beliefs, and let's have humility back.
Bach is greater than this, he can speak for himself & this 21st century arrogance of,-
"I will show you how to interpret Bach on TV" is mildly obscene, because it's not even musical.
"How come Russians can't play Bach?"
"Now go and watch/listen to this clown playing."
"People are full of themselves today.
Now, just go back to the 17th & 18th centuries & their beliefs, and let's have humility back."
So you still don't get it?
In the same month we have....
"I've been on a journey with the Bach Chaconne since I was 15 years old, and it's been a very important part of my life," .. "Through it, I can trace my development as a human being"..
I know we live in the "trash" age where you have to appear naked on Facebook or Google+ or any other of the completely time wasting junk our lives are full of..
And this is the point...
In Bach's time, they HAD TIME.
It meant something different..going in horse driven carriages...waiting for the next virus to kill you..
(usually syphilis as the great scourge would have it, or famine from 1693 on....)
Now in our "precious" age we have no time for what matters. We have squeezed out all that is of depth into this miserable, shallow existence which you call "superior", and you can't even die with dignity any more.
Everything has to be packaged, managed, communicated, insured, carefully edited, politically correct, not offend, and NEVER think for yourself.
Artists are now full of it.
This is a world of chlorophormed sensibilities where people talk superficial mediocre rubbish all day long...
-,then, small wonder they play in this contrived way too.
Do I really give a monkey, what "development as human being" an artist is claiming.
Would you need this from Thibaud or Casals, or dare I say to take the most flagrant example HASSID?
Of course not, but in our "internet age" we seem to think this poorly hidden "PR" is progress.
This playing is just PR, just like 90% of performances from Valery Gergiev, who "plays the game and walks the walk" that's why it's on russian TV.
Real artists out of the "star system" wouldn't get a chance.
You simply don't get my point.
That, in an of itself is scary.
Thank you, Gareth, I have re-dicovered the pleasure of disagreeing with an entire post!
Does anyone know what instrument he is playing in this performance?
It appears to be a bass balalaika.
He must be a virtuoso, only clever people play them standing up.
Peter: he appears to be using his concert instrument, the Kreutzer Strad.
Does it matter?
There's not one person in the audience could tell the difference anyway.
Next thing, people will be telling what rosin they use to get extra "projection".
Some of us can still hear quite well!
personally, i don't care for style over substance. i wish gareth would actually go deeper and elaborate as opposed to revert to insults to the person of the performer ("clown") and suffice with vague claims. for myself, i see directions in his music, i see phrasing, i see intonation, i see expressivity...if we are arguing about degree of all those in comparison to one's own superheros...i see that as a destructive and monological approach. the man clearly is talented and has accolades in a tough and competitive field. he is well loved and admired. just reverting to paranoic "consipiracy" theories about how much influence he has over the russian tv for allowing him to perform as a soloist is just ridiculous given that the man plays at the global level where he has to be that good or just to not be there in the first place - even if he does not, based on your judgement, compete with the uber-superlatives.
and again, if you enjoy someone bashing someone else by calling him a "clown", you're only falling for a brash attitude. a crow, is that it?
Actually the term "clown" didn't come from me.
It was from someone else in the profession, far better qualified.
It's quite common in Russia when referring to Vengerov.
I'm sure it would be far more interesting to hear Cristophe Boulier or Vinh Pham play this, but I'll bet you've never heard of them?
As for the "TV" sound, of course Russian TV gave the guy no favours at all.
They simply DON'T have the slightest clue in Russia about recording or sound.
This is very sad, after the Melodia/Kondrashin era, but of course they don't train anyone any more in Russia, and it shows.
The only place this is actually worse is China, but why not?
After they are all BRIC countries.
"Developing" being the key word.
China I don't have a right to comment or I may never get another visa (get it? how far we have progressed today?)
Developing into WHAT we might ask?
The Russia of today resembles closest the early days of Mussolini's republic.
The 2014 olympic games now 10x over budget will be very much like Munich of 1936.
A showcase for Putin's Russia.
Seeking legitimacy, wasteful, extravagant, totally corrupted, & becoming more and more superficial, and with strong fascist tendencies.
Russia just spent their last dime making a new generation of nuclear weapons & submarines, instead of investing in lasting values and their hospitals & schools, never mind teaching music, and making a future for the young.
Ever tried to play in an orchestra or teach in Russia as a foreigner? Good luck!
Indeed apart from the ultra nationalism and the revival of the glorification of Stalin, just last week, what more have we got to expect of Russia today?
It's the annversary of Vladimir Vissotski
At least he had something to say, and he had guts.
I don't believe any more that these classical musicians have anything in their guts any more, let alone move the soul.
Artists when they cease to interpret, fight, rebel & become commercial have lost their whole raison d'etre and sold their souls.
These "star system talents" are all corrupted up to their eyeballs in shed loads of money.
All you're getting here with Correntzis, Spivakov, Gergiev & Vengerov is PR.
Shame on you for falling for it!
It shows how much cleverer they are than you.
Poet's have the last word
"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more.
It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Gentle answers may be asking too much and in any case they make Stalin turn in his grave. He's turned so many times he's now unrecognisable, but he can still hear Shostakovich having the last laugh.
It has of course become fashionable (when was it not!) to bash all the top players who appear before us in videos and on CD's and other recording media. And sure, we can all find a little fault here and there - but maybe we should be prepared to put ourselves in the firing line occasionally and see what happens. I'm not about to make that mistake - I'm finding plenty of faults myself with my own playing and I don't need others tearing it apart as well!
So let's admit we have preferences and leave it at that. There are players of course who I do not favour, but I would rather talk about the players I admire, from both the past and present.
"It has of course become fashionable ...to bash all the top players who appear before us in videos and on CD's and other recording media"
Actually I'm fully aware it was a virulent criticism.
It's nothing to do with fashion or bashing, it's to do with something very fundamental.
What is that magic "ingredient"?
I invite you to look at some of the greatest musicians of the past.
Take Toscanini who appeared to have some sort of BDSM relationship with his orchestra...and the complete opposite with Ferenc Fricsay.
What have these sometimes temperaments in common?
An obsession with MUSICAL DIALOGUE.
Listen to Tod und Verklarung under Toscanini and you feel like you are going through the very final moments of the dying person into transfiguration.
That is authentic, which is why his orchestra always forgave his excesses.
What about the REALLY DYING Fricsay, conducting Ma Vlast?
Doesn't it make the shivers run up your back?
Does Vengerov do that?
Of course not.
He's content to make just a NICE SOUND.
The great trios Thibaud, Cortot, Casals, or the Stern - Estomin, or the Heifetz, Rubinstein, Piatogorski ALL have this in common....and yet some of them had solo careers which more than brilliant.
When they play together, they PLAY TOGETHER.
Thanks to the ravages of the recording industry, we have become influenced to complete perversion by the sound fascists behind their forests of microphones, and mixing desks..
I can take a DIRECT comparison, and believe me, it's take a long time to put in words, why I simply DETEST this new fashionable way of "making music", because it is obscene.
Now go and watch this new Saint Peterburg school of music making at work.
It could not have achieved a finer expression than in the hands of Ilya Musin, who "codified" manual expression, in much the same way as Zakar Bron has "codified" how to be an instant violin success.
The problem with this pervasive influence is, it PERFECTLY follows, imitates and at the same time manipulates our already destroyed hearing.
I mean when was the last time you took a train and didn't see 40 zombies with earplugs destroying their hearing with digital music?
That is MASS manipulation of the senses, just as mpeg audio has emptied the music of it's most valuable elements by doing away with what it deemed redundant.
Who asked Fraunhofer to destroy what little was left from the disastrous digital audio which Menuhin (who couldn't understand it technically) was able to hear at a glance.
It all behaves very much like the guy behind the mixer, followed by the audio compressor, then the digital compressor again:-
except the musician is doing the same with the music...distorting it finally destroying it and emptying it of any form or content, just as the engineer is "boosting", "filtering", "voicing" and generally screwing around with everything.
It's high time this started to be pointed out, rather than the fawning and platitudes that pass for criticism.
Menuhin AT LEAST had the guts to say he wasn't happy, but then everybody fawned on Menuhin, stuck him in the house of Lords and stuck him on the shelf saying what a wonderful humanist and artist he was...
There is no limit to the obsequious in all this.
My mother had a very good illustration.
Her teacher (from the great Mariinski ballet, which became ballet russe) would come down like a ton of bricks on a dancer making extravagant gestures and throwing their arms high over their heads with the other low down.
(would have to see it to understand).
She simply said..."that has no place in the classical ballet, it's circus. If you want to be in the circus go and join a circus, but don't ever think of doing that again here".
Unfortunately today, everyone is doing it....(!)from the ballet, to the conductor to the violinists.
You can't look at youtube for 2 seconds without being turned off by the facial gesticulations of such as Janine Jansen, and there are so many others.
Give me Heifetz any day!
They think this REALLY is art, in the same way one hears Gergiev's badly rehearsed Mariinski orchstra destroy its way through Stravinski pieces they must know by heart.
By this same token, you have Musin's people's who all maintain their master was a genius..
..MANIPULATING in a GROSS way what ends up being endless searing crescendos, utilising sections of the orchestra one after the other as a series of SOLOS, but NEVER EVER playing together.
In fact the mere IDEA of ensemble playing is completely foreign to these "music PR" people.
They are proud their music making is elitist and never for the people, which of course is why it's played this way, and why in the main they are totally incapable of playing pianissimo any more.
Then people like sheep give a standing ovation!
Gergiev, Corentzis, Temirkanov all work like this, and they influence an entire generation by their very "success".
But this success comes at a price.
As the years go by, the radios compress & broadcast their stuff in "wonderful digital", a few of us rebel against this disgraceful flood of mediocrity while the rest get "dumbed down" to accept that art should by neccessity be junk, & this is the way it always was.
Vengerov is the perfect representative of the russian "art is junk" school.
It involves a certain cynicism, which I have no doubt troubles many genuine and sensitive artists, who haven't joined the star system.
Even string quartets are playing in this poisoned way today.
The fashionable words are "projection" "big sound", and again a total absence of ensemble playing.
In fact I can remember when I last heard great chamber music playing.
'scuse me for repeating this, but it was Gitlis with Itamar Golan, and again Gitlis in the Schumann piano quintet.
When was the last time you heard a perfomance that you remember 10, 20 years later?
Well, it wasn't always this way.
I'm very pessimistic about the future.
When I see the completely mute inability to reason here (on a violin forum after all), it makes me lose all hope.
When 90% of the orchestras even in Germany face bankrupcy in the next 20 years, there maybe a search to go back to roots.
For now all we have is this "pseudo music, which passes for "great playing" and lots of very bad taste.
Gareth, my parents admired the singers and players of their youth, and found that those of my generation were "missing something". I too prefer those of around my age (64) or more: somehow the more recent ones are just a little superficial..
But all this is just the belly-acheing of us digruntled old men, yearning for the sound of 78's or mono LPs. Yes the MP3 format is an insult to our ears, but the rest of your moaning is utter nonsense. Stellar players have always been promoted like footballers, and to find todays players lacking is just not justified.
Intelligence? I find many intelligent qeries and solutions on v.com, and bigotted ranting is not a symptom of intelligence in my book.
"all this is just the belly-acheing of us digruntled old men, yearning for the sound of 78's or mono LPs"
I'm sorry to see you speak for yourself.
I'm still working.
You have a right to express your opinion, but you haven't "BEEN THERE".
If you heard the cacaphonie that I recorded of the Mariinski orchestra under Gergiev in 24-96 LIVE, and were able to watch the entire rehearsals in disbelief...
I played it back to a well known singer I met on a ferry one day.
His jaw dropped! (but not for the usual reasons).
I just love watching rehearsals, then of course the Russian TV were busy interviewing their star Gergiev on the day I describe, weren't they?
Much the same could be written about the "highly acclaimed acoustics" of many concert halls.
A Mozart requiem in this new "MEGA" concert hall with "amazing acoustic" was well..
..no wonder the old ladies next to me started scoffing sweets in the middle...the acoustic and presence was just CR ...P.
(I could be ruder, but I won't).
However here is the press writing the usual BS..
Heard of PR?
It's invaded everything and music is corporatised, sanitised and packaged.
Back to today?
Now who was it of the current generation that impressed me most?
I'll tell you.
Zacharias, because HE LISTENED.
I watch pianists with interest, because so few have that ability to play chamber music.
(In fact I saw a Shostakovich trio in Russia recently, where the pianist was clearly incapable of understanding she was drowning out both the violin and cello. sigh!)
I don't need LPs or Vinyl, I'm invariably there doing the recording that one day, you might just be listening to.
Whilst I do find some well known contemporary soloists to be pretty unsatifactory, there are some who I find pretty marvellous. The pianist Sokalov for example, and James Ehenes on violin, are in my view quite wonderful. I won't mention the people I don't like - I will leave that up to you. And while I also admire Heifetz and many others from the past I do realise that they represent the past and not the present or the future.
As far as sound recording goes, very good digital is about as good as it gets, but of course the interference by engineers or balancers as they used to be called, is often a major degradation. So too are some forms of MP3 and I would agree that broadcast sound has generally become pretty dire. (TV and radio).
I don't think that my comment was really that savage, when compared to some of your remarks. But then maybe others will agree with you.
"As far as sound recording goes, very good digital is about as good as it gets".
No it's not.
Recording in Russia is about as bad as you will ever get anywhere.
The engineers are actually FORCED to ADD the acoustics of Carnegie hall onto the acoustic of a certain opera house because the acoustics are so cr..p.
But of course everbody PRETENDS, and the opera house keeps making this stuff up, in an acoustic THEY RUINED.
This happened a mere 2 weeks ago to record a Mozart opera I know of, and they called SONY music 3000 miles specially to do it.
Don't you like me to blow the whistle on what's going on in your precious music world?
Digital is, as Menuhin heard (but couldn't express it), a stupid idiotic way of chopping up sound into tiny litle bits.
Menuhin had good enough ears to tell he was being conned.
He couldn't explain that the main aggravation of digital is the truncating of the reverb,(because it hasn't enough resolution) but sure as anything he could hear it.
Any decent engineer will tell you a CD is rubbish, but it was Philips and Sony who decided this stuff.
Go several stages down the line to DAB (oh horror), or FM stereo with its diabolically reduced S:N ratio, and we are going backwards faster and faster.
If you read papers from a true innovator like Michael Gerzon, he came up with several interesting ideas.
One of the most interesting was that multi microphone recording was so unrealistic and so poor, that it would ultimately damage classical music and destroy it.
He has proved to be correct, but in ways he only hinted at,- the crucial interraction with the musician.
Tony Faulkner, summed this up so nicely and cynically recently.....
(If you don't turn up with 60 DPA microphones on the day no-one will take you seriously and the musicians won't be encouraged to play well).
That is FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH!
Ah, but this man is responsible for the debacle we have now, so he would engineer this disaster the best way he can, n'est pas?
Co-incident techniques are the ONLY way, but Gerzon's second conclusion if it can be justly summarised in so few words was that:-
You can never fully resolve the dichotomy in surround sound between:-
"We are there"
"They are here"
My preference has always been for the former, and this is brutally honest...."warts and all".
I prefer to say it like it really is.
Most of the stuff going on in classical music today is PR and b...ll..x.
I find it entirely logical that HMV who fostered this as much as anyone, has gone to the wall.
They even make believe they're selling more CDs in 3 years than I could turn out with my notebook in a day on my own CD writer.
"When was the last time you heard a perfomance that you remember 10, 20 years later?"
Definitely some. The old Borodin Quartet for a start, in about 1985. But I've heard recent performances that also qualify in my opinion. Gregory Sokalov in recital and on DVD, James Ehnes in live recital, the Takacs Quartet live, the Alban Berg Quartet live and on CD, the Kodaly Quartet live and on CD, the Pacifica Quartet live and on CD.
Rubbish them if you like but it won't change my opinion.
"One of the most interesting was that multi microphone recording was so unrealistic and so poor, that it would ultimately damage classical music and destroy it.
He has proved to be correct, but in ways he only hinted at,- the crucial interraction with the musician.
Tony Faulkner, summed this up so nicely and cynically recently.....
(If you don't turn up with 60 DPA microphones on the day no-one will take you seriously and the musicians won't be encouraged to play well)."
OK, I would agree with most of that. But some people produce excellent digital sound, as I also can do, using 24 bits and some nice mics and a good mic pre.
But I suppose there will always be some people who hanker after the old ways of recording, using tape and vinyl with all its surface noise, poor signal to noise, and restricted frequency response. Having said that though I often use mics that run out at about 16 or 17 KHertz.
But yes, Faulkner's simple two mic stereo setup works very well, and is probably at it's best with chamber music.
I notice that you have been a member of this forum since 2006 but as far as I can see you have only become active since January 2013? Just a passing thought, nothing wrong with that.
I think your reference to James Ehnes, made exactly the point I have been saying all along on the theme of this discussion.
On top of that many people were starting to discuss instruments, bows etc, when the main question is THE MUSIC.
He appears to speak a remarkable amount of common sense, but I don't share the optimism.
" I have confidence in the future of music.
It is too important for too many people and it will always be important enough to survive.
The responsibility lies with the performers.”
I'm sure Marsick would have agreed.
(Professor at the Paris Conservatory, where his students included Carl Flesch, Jacques Thibaud, and George Enescu.)
"I'm sure Marsick would have agreed.
(Professor at the Paris Conservatory, where his students included Carl Flesch, Jacques Thibaud, and George Enescu.)"
Hence the Marsick Strad which James Ehnes has on loan!
But yes, making music is the most important thing, and we do talk about rosin and such things far too much.
Incidently, my fiddle teacher at the RAM studied with Flesch way back. But I don't claim to know much about fiddle playing I just muddle along ...
"On top of that many people were starting to discuss instruments, bows etc, when the main question is THE MUSIC"
yes, i agree that it is all secondary and that THE MUSIC should be what is discussed. however, Gareth, much of what you yourself are saying is besides the point as well. please dont focus on recording technologies and which is better...this is a completely different subject. you may or may not have a point but introduce a dedicated thread for it.
secondly, although i don't like this corporate world either , yet again...you choose to foreground this over and above a discussion of the clip above from which you may derive your conclusions. please show us how, in details and in relation to the clip above in comparison to others the validity of your criticism...not by zooming out so fast that your criticism seems to be apriori to anything else. thirdly, please dont lecture us in this pedantic and vitriolic manner - about how stupid or silly we are to fall for whatever...you are not a messiah nor are you a prophet of doom and gloom. i would like to know how you illustrate your points vide the clip above in a specific way and not in a general claim that there is no phrasing ...no, please tell how so...otherwise its just a drama queen attitude. fourthly, please do not introduce other individuals (gergiev for instance) until such a point that you have clearly reinforced your accusations against the primary figure (vengerov) and afterwhich you can draw parallels.
fifthly, stop calling people -even when you think them not credibly talented- idiots and clowns. seriously...plus he's not doing his physical antics here anymore. but even when he was, i didnt care. thats not what is important. glenn gould looked bizzare but who cares...thus, again, you bring forth irrelevant things upfront.
otherwise, its just nonsensical conflation anywhre but in your own head. are you only here to exorcise your demons only?
How do you discuss music online?
I don't think you read most of what I said.
The fact is, this is a very limited medium for discussion, you can only say..."look it's like this, or, it's not like that and try to give examples of what you mean and why.."
Eg. I can't PLAY what I mean online!
I tried to illustrate what I mean, by examples such as ones I gave.
I think it's incredibly relevant to the subject to quote other musicians in particular and how they deal with making music.
I did after all refer you to the most well known videos of Fricsay and Toscanini.
These are the summits of the mountain ranges.
You don't have to point to Everest to get the message over what is climbing a mountain.
The Bach chaconne is one of those awesome mountains to scale and it has peaks and valleys before you get to the top.
If you listen to Celibidache in Brucker,you don't get lost half way up or lose your concentration.
You start the piece and it HOLDS YOU in its grip of this concentration for the next 50 minutes.
I remember many violin classes dealing with exactly this...."tell me a story"...that was the line..
...it can be told like this, or told like that...
(BUT SHOULD NEVER be told full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.)
You have this innate feeling that what Celibidache or Martha Argerich are doing makes MUSICAL SENSE.
That is GREAT ART.
SC didn't ever even intend you to hear it any other way than LIVE, so what you are getting, (as he always pointed out) recorded was already remote and second hand.
("you are there? or "they are here" all over again.)
He even had his own theories about tempo and propagation of sound and ensemble colour.
If you want to learn "What is musical interpretation" how on earth are going to do it, apart from going to say a conducting course with a master like Celibidache, who studied at the side of Furtwangler?
(who are of course all dead)
Who would you go to today?
I had EXACTLY this discussion with a flautist a few weeks ago who studied with Galway, and she just said she was LUCKY to have done all that at that time, then gone to another teacher who worked on technique.
I mean the examples & references also have to be CREDIBLE!
Sorry, but I do think certain outstanding conductors qualify as musicians, and luckily they were filmed in precisely the circumstances that help to understand what is thing called music! (?)
In all the work I do, I try to think of posterity, and how it's possible to teach and transfer this understanding of "WHAT IS MUSIC"??
It's not obvious at all.
I think it's also most relevant to point out how we live in a digital age.
More, usually means less,
Otherwise what are you doing reading this at all,
watching the distorted recording of someone online in the worst format known to man, recorded with TV sound.
That's not fair either.
Sorry, it DOES matter.
Also, as it was pointed out, the very format (remember those 60 microphones!) and audience influences the playing of an artist very strongly.
Remember the famous Heifetz Chaconne video and recording done in ONE TAKE?
It was done in a studio with ZERO audience.
How would that be live?
If you have seen Milstein or Heifetz play live, then you may judge.
Many violinists are incapable of giving their best live, and others vice versa.
I think Ruggerio Ricci was typical of a musician who played poorly live.
We're told that Kogan struggled all his life too, though you wouldn't know it.
I think it highly unlikely in these circumstances that Vengerov gave his best.
I happen to be one of those that doesn't like Vengerov's playing because I find it singularly unattractive, & incredibly boring.
I would not go to listen to Vengerov if you paid me, and I certainly would hate to be in an orchestra accompanying him.
There are plenty of others that fit this category as well.
I never ever said anything other than Vengerov is clearly one of the most highly talented individuals of a generation that includes Kissin.
I mean he just plays fantastic, but that again is a completely different matter.
"If you have seen Milstein or Heifetz play live, then you may judge."
Yes, I have heard both of them live. So I'm a judge given your criteria.
I've also had a colleague who studied with Milstein, amongst several other teachers.
You are not responding to questions and statements, but merely repeating your own opinions.
And personally, I would not cite Galway as a great teacher or musician.(And I have worked with him).
So what was the question I'm not supposed to have answered?
Why I find this playing boring?
Why I find the recording awful?
How I would do it differently?
Where I would chose to do it?
Who would be responsible for the changes?
What would be the point?
I think this conversation for me at any rate has become a waste of time and rather pointless so I'm not reading any more of this thread.
Take care, don't slip on the odd snowflake in London.
Gareth, there are one or two, maybe three valid points in your mile-long posts, but they are buried in a quagmire of mindless ranting, which makes them difficult to discern. Pity.
I'm glad you are still working. So am I, in my very modest way. Your credentials and name-dropping are impressive. But do you really need to SHOUT in every sentence, and VOMIT your opinions?
I can be proud of the "mindless ranting" then.
Let me just remind you of my last post which not a single one of you answered.
"Why I find this playing boring?
Why I find the recording awful?
How I would do it differently?
Where I would chose to do it?
Who would be responsible for the changes?
What would be the point?"
This is pragmatism, because it's problems I have to solve on a daily basis.
It brings lots of conflicts, but pragmatism must rule those too.
I'm not in the least interested in "name dropping" or "credentials".
I'm just another ordinary manual worker, with a certain skill set.
My ears are just better than yours.
Well let's do some more "vomiting" and more if it takes people back to "inventing" & creativity again.
Maybe that's what it takes, instead of all this superficial "pseudo" music and "PR" which passes as music today.
Every time I brought one of those recordings in to my prof friend in Strasbourg, he always said,-
"It's an awful lot easier to work, when it's with REAL musicians". There's nothing to edit or do.
It just speaks for itself."
It strikes me, from what I read in this thread, no-one knows the difference any more.
"It strikes me, from what I read in this thread, no-one knows the difference any more."
It strikes me that this must be one of the most arrogant statements I've read on here.
I have not seen you answering some of my and others points either, so it seems you have the same problems.
But I'm out of here, so don't bother.
Pick a few sections you don't like then demonstrate how you would do it differently. Maybe that would help illustrate your point.
"I listened properly and I can see why Gareth is so unhappy"
Gareth's point is not even about the individuality of this performance but rather how it belongs to a mythical class of modern musician performances. one may dislike parts of this, sure, why not...but thats not even Gareth's point. he's making a more 'religious' point voiding it of elements that you have not agreed on and explained. you might associate a part with the villa lobos choochoo and thus deem it trivial in that part...why not? others might say it brings a little lightness into the heaviness of the piece. but, in essence, there IS an expression and a direction and phrasing (which you might dislike) that seems very deliberate. Gareth is not even saying this. advised to read carefully. not to pack for him his underwear with yours. you have different underwear...silly underwear but still different silly
i second smiley's suggestion. even if it wont be conclusive, at least it will be more interesting and discursive...less opinionated and associative. but i think gareth's last couple of posts were very telling. they are not willing to delve at the deeper end. and let me also say, about the recording quality ... it is a somewhat irrelevant topic ... simply because this is waht is available to us here cyberly for cross reference (youtube) and there is a certain democracy in that, no? they, performers, will all suck equally-ish on youtube if they suffer its quality :o) . of course, i not only prefer good recordings...i prefer live..and not even in a concert hall, i prefer within a medium sized room so i can really pick up on everything they do. but thats something else, again irrelevant. stop bringing recording up...its a given that its bad quality...move on.
personally, i am interested in hearing what others have to say, especially people on the level of recognizing how good or not this performance is. it would be more educational for the rest of us. Peter, why would you ignore a thread if you may actually contribute aside from addressing Gareth's point? i'm interested to hear what your own evaluation is, for one (not taht i'm pressing you to afford one :o)
part of the reason why this video was posted was because i personally havent come across vengerov playing bach before.
i fib, actually i prefer listening to someone playing violin pretty close to them so i get to observe and to understand what the sound is like when its that close to you to know how (hopefully) to reproduce it.
"Peter, why would you ignore a thread if you may actually contribute aside from addressing Gareth's point? i'm interested to hear what your own evaluation is, for one (not taht i'm pressing you to afford one"
You are right that I can address the thread which is the playing of Bach by Vengerov. I just found the conversation with Gareth was getting knowhere and it became a pointless waste of time.
I've never been a great fan of Vengerov although I can see that he has a lot of ability and talent and I've enjoyed his masterclasses. To give any sort of performance of the Bach Chaconne which is recogniseable takes a lot of ability, and this performance was pretty accurate and with good intonation. I do have some problems with his sound and personally I gravitate more to the sort of sound that I hear from players like Milstein.
I would say it was a competent performance which was a little on the romantic side and was pretty rock solid, even though his left hand "looks" a little strange at times, with a lot of fingers in the air.
I certainly do not think it deserves the vitriolic attack that we have seen on this messageboard. It will for me remain a good performance that fails in certain areas when compared with some of the great performances I have heard.
The talk about digital sound is really a distraction on this thread, as we know some sound is bad, and others good. (When has it been any different? I would agree that we hear more badly made recordings than we used to).
again i fib, i stumbled on this and recall watching it before.
the acoustic conditions are very different and i think the dramatic effect is more ...the newer one has more beauty of sound, more delicately nuanced and is more elegant in my opinion irrespective of the primary's honourable intention. this is irrespective of recording or acoustic conditions...just the way the notes are phrased. there are more parts in the earlier recording that sound much more impetuous at the expense of a greater and more measured belonging to the piece if that makes sense.
Peter, i also like very much milstein's tone...he has a silvery tone, more slender instance than oistrakh's golden tone that sounds more like a flat pappardelle pasta where milsteins is more like spaghetti or even capellini . milstein's is a lithe tone that can slip in strangely shaped cracks like a cat. and like a cat that always falls on its feet. its wonderful how artists like these can marry the individuality of their sound with their musical phrasing.
I'm afraid that the performance in the concentration camp made some time ago was in my opinion pretty awful. (The sound was dreadful for a start). The recent performance was a big improvement, in my opinion.
I'm afraid you still don't get it.
I can only give examples.
Make of them what you will.
Michelangeli playing Beethoven with Celibidache.
Or living people?
Gitlis playing almost anything from Kreisler, & a wonderful recording I have of him playing Paganini "Cantabile" live (at age 80).
"Rubato is the art of playing in time he says cheerfully!"
So good to hear that.
Argerich with Gitlis or Maisky.
One could cite so many more like this.
The main thrust of all this?
People like this play music
IT MAKES SENSE.
There is something innately obvious about where the music is coming from and going to, and very often the tempo is ABSOLUTELY metronomic.
(Instead of being pulled hither and thither in all directions like Vengerov does here all the time.)
How can this possibly be?
It's called something very unfashionable these days.
Watch Celibidache or Toscanini or Furtwangler, or Fricsay conduct.
Watch them rehearse.
The pulse is there, always present.
It's Rigour, and respects the composer.
Funnily enough all those people's concerts I just cited were sold out many many times over and never enough room in the halls.
What's the secret?
Funnily enough the man in the street understands this better then you violinists.
He understands accessible music and hard work better than you imagine.
He understands a gypsy fiddler on a street corner has probably got a lot more charm & often more music than some overpaid star busking to show he can in a metro station.
After all, the gypsy HAS to, or tomorrow there's no bread.
The international solist star merely can AFFORD to, because the PR machine is already rolling, with a bulging flock of agents all earning from advertising, festivals, summer teaching seminars, masterclasses and the razzmataz of international competitions to getting hold of a Guarnerius.
That is why almost the entire classical music world is light years out of touch with the common man, and can't fill the concert halls with anything but people of the same kind.
Pompous elitist grey haired wealthy old fogeys mostly, with a mix of slightly curious people who were farmed out "smooth classics" from that arch cynic SIR,'scuse me call me LORD RICHARD BRANSON on the way home in their SUV.
The working class bloke with a family wouldn't give the brand new concert hall down the road a second thought, because he couldn't even afford to bring his kids to watch the concert, and if he did, they would be bored out of their brains.
You think they want to go and hear Andre Previn give another boring repetition of Tchaikovski 4th, or ear splitting Mahler from Gergiev, or what's the difference in the end between all that and Katherine Jenkins?
If you are brutally honest. Not a lot really.
It's all inflated, manipulated and pushed out on the endless PR bubble.
You only have to hear this verbal diaorrhia from the BBC proms commentators to understand the dumbing down and where we are all going to.
A total absence of Rigour.
Maybe so in some respects, but you are also an equal of the people you hate, because you are a real B-S'er too.
(And you can keep Toscanini - a totally unmusical idiot as far as I'm concerned - quite accurately described by Shostakovich as a bandmaster and nothing more).
"A total absence of Rigour."
Rigor Mortis more like!
I really enjoy Vengerov's playing.
not at all John. stop assuming on my behalf please. Gareth made no clear points related to the clip - in my opinion, he's only expressing a religious belief based on his own myths. and really you exposed your logical fallicies in trying to relate to Gareth where in fact he has totally other issues.
why would i seek praise for someone else's performance? :o) I dont have superheros, really. for my own person, i would really enjoy someone to tell me that this was a bad performance based on discrepancies with text or based on wrong choices of intonation and in what way, where....this way we can all learn from each other. this will be more valuable than praise. what you gave, John, was an opinion that actually contrasts with Gareths although you might not see it. i did not attack your opinion by the way. again, read careful. you are not a very subtle thinker and you have rather bad intentions.
anyway, waiting for more goodness. i agree with you peter; i also prefer the first and not for acoustics really which is a consequence of the conditions. must run...or fly...
Violinistically, it's played very well. No doubt. And now my very private and subjective opinion (and nothing else): I also find this interpretation very boring. It does not touch my heart and I don't know why. I believe it's not a matter of rhythm, dynamics, intonation or anything measurable. I wonder whether he was bored himself deep in his heart while playing the piece. Would not surprise me. It feels somehow superficial to me. But maybe everything was fine for him. I suppose I am biased from Vengerov live concerts where I had similar impressions in the past, which I regard as more valid than impressions from a video (although I know moving videos of musical performances). Finally again: That's my very private opinion and I respect everybody who is moved by his playing. I could not provide logical arguments. I think there is no single truth. I do not want to bash anyone. There are few living musicians who deeply impressed me (and who may have left others cold).
I think that is a very considered and fair minded approach, and not too far at all from my opinion.
This thread certainly is an interesting mix from the vicious to the eloquent... As I am taking a rare break from the large pile of music on my stand, I have to say that I find it personally sad to see accomplished modern artists put down, some of which like Vengerov, give interviews for this site and may read this thread. I have performed the D minor partita several times myself (I know that the Chaconne video of Vengerov posted here is part of a complete performance of the d minor partita) and have to say that I find it to be one of the most difficult things, as you are basically playing without rest for the last 15 minutes of a 30 minute work! To play it on such a high level as Vengerov does attracts only my admiration. I appreciate what it takes to get there and to consistently remain there as Maxim Vengerov has. It takes a lot!
Christian, I honestly feel deepest respect for the talent and accomplishments of Maxim Vengerov. And I fully appreciate what it takes to play like this. However, I wrote about my very personal reaction to his playing, for which there can not be any justification. It is as it is. Isn't it normal that no artist reaches everybody's heart? That's the fate of every artist and should not be a problem.
Yours and Peter's posts were eloquently expressed ones. Some of the other extremes are more difficult for me to understand.
And yes, attempting to connect with everyone (let alone the music!) on stage sure is one giant challenge for the performer!
Congrats on a great performance, Vengerov.
These recent posts are not only generous and fair minded but also have an understanding of the immense difficulty that performers face.
The people that deride others should put themselves up and prove that they can do better. But this of course never happens.
As musicians we should have sympathy and understanding for the people on the front line and realise the sheer guts it takes to stand there and perform.
Gareth seems to have dissapeared from this thread and I wonder if we have put him off?
I have to say that personally I don't mind people with strong views airing them on such a thread, but I think at least some expanations should come from him. In fact there are some things he says which I have a certain sympathy with. Nothing wrong about being outspoken, I am occasionally myself (you may have noticed this concerning conductors).
Apart from this I found Gareth quite entertaining and I would welcome more posts from him especially if they are going to be marginally less explosive!!
Peter, even the ramblings of a drunkard can contain some sense, which can be difficult to discern amongst all the dribble, sorry, drivel. Gareth's raving are not just a bit of silly humour, or a strong opinion, but vulgarity and abuse towards other posters. Even my own angelic patience and diplomacy has its limits!
I suppose you are right, and I'm being overly generous. But as he's my uncle and the black sheep of the family I sometimes feel obliged to support him.
"Vengerov gives a performance live after his injury so that must have created difficulties"
For goodness sakes this is becoming unbearable.
There's plenty of violinist (and other instrumentalists) had extremely serious even much more serious injuries...(ligaments in his right arm that had been injured from TORTURE- Georgy Cziffra).
Heifetz who was attacked by a lunatic after one of his concerts causing long term damage to his righ arm.
Bronislav Huberman career nearly ended as a result of an airplane accident in Sumatra in which his wrist and two fingers of his left hand were broken.
After intensive and painful retraining he was able to resume performing.....
Jacques Thibaut...had to rebuild his technique after being injured in World War I..
And so it goes on..do you hear about that stuff all the time??
Let's give it more PR chaps!
Did you hear Bronislav ever complain?
Now for my absence, let's make some PR for RZD shall we?
Some of them go 8000kms, the trip lasts 6 days, then the same staff go back again the other way for 6 days in all weathers.
They don't even slow down or stop when it snows.
NB:- I made my initial comments after listening with my admittedly extremely tiny speakers on my laptop. That was a little unfair.
When I tried this recording,(if you can call it that) on my Studio monitor system, it actually sounded many orders more disgusting.
Congratulations Kultura, you actually made such a revolting job of your TV sound!
let's finish with the famous quote from the Duke.
"“If it sounds good, it IS good.”
By the same token, if it sounds bad IT IS BAD.
I thought it was played nicely. Any defects were surely caused by playing with one of those Baroque bows.
We recently had one of the largest exhibition of bows in the Paris Conservatoire in November.
There was everything, all the different Tourte ideas, and prototypes.
It was all there, as were quite a few from the Rue De Rome, Millant etc etc.
I was extremely lucky to be given a guided tour by one of the best bow repairers in France.
It was an eye opener, and then could "test drive" the latest and greatest in another room on another floor.
Just a thought.
"Any defects were surely caused by playing with one of those Baroque bows."
Oh, I didn't realise that the bow was Baroquen ...
"I also find this interpretation very boring. It does not touch my heart and I don't know why. I believe it's not a matter of rhythm, dynamics, intonation or anything measurable.
.....I suppose I am biased from Vengerov live concerts where I had similar impressions in the past,
..... There are few living musicians who deeply impressed me"
Join the club then.
When you have heard real music you know the difference.
Every age has its excesses.
In a digital age, everything tends to a codification and standardisation, just like bar codes in a supermarket & the EU tend towards a standardisation of the apple. (A tasteless product like the golden delicious).
Zakar Bron has led to the standardisation of the violin and to a generation of soloists like Vengerov.
This hasn't yet touched the viola, where you have still a few soloists like Causse or Bashmet to fill the gap. Don't forget, these are already getting older!
Codification is leading to standardisation of the orchestral conductor.
It's already happened.
Would I bother to go to a concert today.
(That is a staggering admission for a recording engineer and musician!).
The question, which living violinist would I travel 5hrs on a plane to listen to today?
The last time I actually felt like going to hear a soloist specially, it was Ida Haendel.
Britten and Elgar concertos.
Would I go again.
YES, even today.
Most of the others...Garrett, Markov, spring to memory, would I go again?
Would I sit in a cafe in Romania, Bulgaria, Moldavia or Hungary where there was a gypsy orchestra playing & enjoy it?
and I would give them a tip.
"..... There are few living musicians who deeply impressed me"
Yes, Gareth - I sometimes feel the same - and it's because I think we are a bit long in the tooth - and we have heard all the greats and have decades of listening experience. Maybe as Adrian says it could also be that we are disgruntled old men. At the same time there are always posibilities that we may come across a young musician who can make us sit up and have an inspirational effect.
Of course there are lots of untalented idiots out there such as most conductors under the age of sixty, and most of them are pompous idiots. I saw one on TV recently from Germany who was spouting total rubbish and conducted Beethoven symphonies like a baboon. But what can one say?? He certainly fools the Viennese public with a fairly good band like the Vienna Phil.
I hate to admit it, but I quite agree about the Golden-so-called-Delicious!
"it's because I think we are a bit long in the tooth - and we have heard all the greats and have decades of listening experience".
I'm not, and I can't have people speaking "we" for when I'm not into a pigeon hole.
I hate being categorised, as you may have noticed, and age is what you have in your head.
Every day has to be invented, so has the music.
It must never be the same as last time especially when there's a :
Well you are rather Gareth, when it comes to your blanket condemnation of digital recording! Get into the 21st Century before its too late!
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Thomastik-Infeld's Dynamo Strings
Violinist.com Summer Music Programs Directory
ARIA International Summer Academy
Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine
January 29, 2013 at 03:48 PM · Anyone know when and where this was performed?
Interesting bow - not the usual bow - was it a period copy?