Re-recording Warhorses: Influence on Classical Music?

January 6, 2006 at 08:17 PM · I have notice (correct me if I am wrong) the trend of making a second recording of a previously recorded works seems to be more popular then ever ( Joshua Bell's new Tchaikovsky with MTT and Berlin Phil., Anne-Sophie Mutter's new Mozart violin concerti, etc). From a fan's point-of-view, a second recording offers insight to the artist musical development, perhaps better sound quality, etc, but to the general public, do you think this instagnation of recording well-known works instead of new, contemporary music stifles the development of Classical music?

Replies (102)

January 6, 2006 at 09:40 PM · Hi, Nick: Are you being ignored. Well, let me add my two cents worth (and that may be all it's worth).

The differences between now and then include technical advancements in recording (an incentive to re-record), marketing something because it's "new," and other factors (whatever they are) that may have little to do with an artistic decision.

I know that one of my favorite recordings (the Beethoven Concerto with Francescatti and Ormandy) was made in 1950 just prior to the stereo era, and was never published again (until last year by Biddulph). In the meantime, his stereo recording a few years later (with Bruno Walter), which in my opinion is not quite as good a performance, has been on the market ever since it came out.

There are so many good violinists recording so much today that I think the market is getting flooded. Have Maximum Vengerov or Itzakh Perlman or Hillary Hahn changed that much that they would need to have multiple recordings of the same pieces?

Just a thought.

Cordially, Sandy Marcus

January 6, 2006 at 11:09 PM · I think it is safer to record things that are familiar rather than not. It is the same reason why the film studios a lot of the time prefer to make Re-Makes (such as King Kong, The Producers etc) than try original scripts :)

January 6, 2006 at 11:13 PM · Absolutely.

January 7, 2006 at 07:51 AM · I agree- and many artists seem to feel unfulfilled by not playing their "best" in a recording or not doing what they would like to have done. I guess that's the beauty of music- you never achieve perfection.

However, I do need to add a comment. The remake of "The Producers" was done by the same man (Mel Brooks) and has gone from a movie to a musical. That may not seem like it would be much of a differece but it changes the movie entirely- the sets, the costumes, the feel, the types of filming techniques and everything. It's still a remake, but at least it's going into a different genre! (Sorry for the rant, I've seen the movies 3 time since Christmas and I've loved the soundtrack from the Broadway production since 2001!)

January 7, 2006 at 09:45 AM · It is terrible. Good (and a little bit lazy) violinists are wasting their time with a second recording to show their development or they think commercial, because a well known violinconcerto will sell better than a modern unrecorded piece or an unrecorded piece of a forgotten composer or composition, who is sometimes second rank, but often not. And of course it is easier to record a piece you know very well. It is easier than to record a new piece or an unrecorded piece, because there is no example of how the piece sounds. Often it is more difficult to get the sheetmusic of rarities. Some “warhorses” have never been recorded (see below). I doubt whether Joshua Bell will ever record some of these.

Second Queen Elisabeth price winner Albrecht Breuninger is a good exception. After recording the 2th,3th and 4th violinconcerto of Lipinski (the Polish Paganini, second Wieniawski) he will soon release (around april for cpo) the first violinconcerto op.14 of Lipinski (here one my list) and a posthumus violinconcerto of Ysaye, made by Jacques Ysaye, and some other pieces for violin and orchestra.

I have now the sheetmusic for soloviolin of the unrecorded first violinconcerto of Jospeh Joachim (obscure name for you?) and N. Joesoeppov, a pupil of Vieuxtemps. I can sent it to you if you are interested. I think I can better sent it to Albrecht Breununger or Antal Szalai than to Joshua Bell or Repin (although he had recorded the violinconcerto of Myaskovsky). Someone like Anne-Sophie Mutter even don’t react. I dislike this sort of violinist, this Mozart-KingKongremakegirl. Why no recording of her of Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Siant-Georges, the black Mozart? Has she ever heard of it or is she afraid it won’t sell? Anne-Sophie Mutter is not the pioneer like Albrecht Breuninger, Louis Kaufmann, Aaron Rosand, Takako Nishizaki, my hero’s of the rarities.


The Dutch composer Willem Pijper has written a violinconcerto in 1939, which is also never recorded on cd. On this Dutch site they mentioned this violinconcerto:

The first violinconcerto of Karol Josef Lipinski (1790-1861)

The first violinconcerto of Joseph Joachim (1831-1907)

The second violinconcerto of Karl Goldmark (1830-1915)

First part of the 8th violinconcerto of Henri Vieuxtemps (1820-1881) than V than Vieuxtemps (that is my source)

The violinconcerto of Nikolaj Borisovitsj Yoessoepov (1827-1891) (a pupil of Vieuxtemps)

The 2 violinconcerto's of Ole Bull (1810-1880) (one slow part of these 2 has been recorded by Naxos on the cd "Norwegian violin favorites")

The 2 violinconcerto's of Camillo Sivori (1815-1894) (pupil of Paganini)

The 9 violinconcerto's of Pierre Baillot (1771-1842)

violinconcerto's 2-7,10 of Charles Auguste de Beriot (1802-1870) (I have the 7th from Naxos of Maud Powell violin/piano recorded in 1915, but there is no version of violin/orchestra)

-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----

Van: Leah M Morris []

Verzonden: maandag 4 oktober 2004 22:54

Aan: 'Bram Heemskerk'

Onderwerp: RE: rare never recorded virtuoso romantic violinconcerto's I miss and which I want to buy

Dear Bram,

Joshua thanks you for the information about the music for these rare concertos. He hopes to do an album of rare concertos in the next few years. If this project happens, he will definitely use the sources you so graciously provided.

All the best,


-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----

Van: Leah M Morris []

Verzonden: maandag 26 juli 2004 15:35

Aan: 'Bram Heemskerk'

Onderwerp: RE: rare never recorded virtuoso romantic violinconcerto's I miss and which I want to buy

Dear Mr. Heemskerk,

My name is Leah Morris and I am Joshua’s personal assistant. Joshua reads all of his email, but he rarely has time to reply. He asked me to respond on his behalf.

Joshua truly appreciates your suggestions about the rare violin concertos. He has been thinking about doing such a project for a number of months. His recordings for the next few years are already planned out. However, he will keep your list in mind if he is able to fulfill his dream of recording rare concertos.

Warmest regards,


-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----

Van: Eleanor Hope []

Verzonden: dinsdag 13 juli 2004 20:54

Aan: Bram Heemskerk

Onderwerp: rare violinconcerto's I miss and which I want to buy

Dear Mr Heemskerk

Thank you for taking the time to write your very interesting mail - I have

forwarded it to Vadim Repin.

All good wishes

Eleanor Hope

-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----

Van: Eleanor Hope []

Verzonden: dinsdag 23 december 2003 18:33

Aan: Bram Heemskerk

Onderwerp: rare violinconcertos I miss

Dear Mr Heemskerk

Thank you so much for taking the time to write at such length to Mr Repin.

I have sent your mail on to him, but he is travelling at present and it might take a while before he gets to see it.

With best wishes for the holidays

Eleanor Hope

-----Original Message-----

From: Marat Bisengaliev []

Sent: Sunday, 04 January 2004 19:47


Cc: Mikel Toms; Martin Anderson

Subject: from Marat Bisengaliev

Dear Bram,

I was very interested to read your email with suggestions of rare concertos. In fact I do try to record them as much as it's possible. I have recorded from the list you mentioned the d minor Mendelssohn concerto together with his double cobcerto with piano on Naxos. I have recorded some concertos by Charles de Beriot which are still not released. There is a great concerto by Havergal Brian an English composer (on Marco Polo) who did write in neoromantic stile. Very soon I am going to record the Elgar concerto. Also in my plans to record Myslivecek and Shumann concertos. It would be great to record such concertos as Gldmark, Vieuxtemps, Joachim, Spohr and other concertos which I do like very much but sometimes it is very difficult to persuade the recording companies to release them.

Anyway I am very grateful for the information and will keep you in touch about my new releases.

With best regards,


January 7, 2006 at 05:17 PM · Christina,

The first movie version of "The Producers" with Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel came out (1968), I am sure it is available in your neighborhood video-dvd store. Hence the phrase Re-Make :)

January 7, 2006 at 06:13 PM · Brahm - maybe the squeaky wheel will get the grease.

January 7, 2006 at 07:16 PM · Hi Bram...check out a set called "Belgian Violin School" de Beriot 2, 5, 6, & 7 are recorded there in full...the de Beriot #2 (The Russian Concerto) of course being the most amazing...I have had these records digitized to CD but am unsure of sharing rights.

January 7, 2006 at 10:42 PM · I think all the rare concertos should be forwarded to the chaps at Hyperion where they have a Romantic Violin Concerto series. They are innovative and will try anything that the main companies think will not sell. They have come out with the St Saens, Hubay (2 sets, C-Taylor/Somervell, Stanford, Moszkowski & Karlowicz series (6 volumes). Another CD series which is interesting is what Rachel Barton-Pine. She has a series out on Cedille (Scottish Fantasies) as well as a Brahms/Joachim VC double CD (priced as one). We can approach these 2 companies to issue our rare VCs onto CD.

January 7, 2006 at 10:59 PM · There was also an unusual VC by Lvov (an early Russian composer/violinist). A friend from UK sent me this CDR but I do not know who the violinist was.

January 7, 2006 at 11:29 PM · Have an Olympia with Glazunov 9th.sym., Kabalevsky Romeo an J. and Lvov v.c. Solist was Sergei Stadler

January 7, 2006 at 11:39 PM · Thank you Gennady, I happen to own the movie (as well as owning all Gene Wilder films, I'm a huge fan). Although I was meaning to point out that it was not "just" a remake and that it was actually a different genre, not just new actors and better special effects. I prefer to consider this an adaptation anyway, although I am well aware of what the definition of "remake" is. :)

January 7, 2006 at 11:42 PM · I also would like to see some recordings of newer pieces and a general acceptance of the newer "classical" music sounds. This is why things like the Silk Road project are so amazing (Yo-Yo Ma himself is just incredible.) I think some people are afraid of doing poorly in the sales department and a lot of production companies aren't willing to take a chance. We are, in some ways unfortunately, a business and there are a lot of people who play the "safe routes". I think it's a shame that some musicians aren't afraid to push the boundaries anyway. I think it's important for all of us to somehow do something- programming a new work on a recital, supporting an orchestra that plays a modern work, or just by listening to more of it. If we can change some people's minds about it then maybe one day it will filter up to the people who play on and make the recordings. And for those who are interested in people that are doing something to really make a difference in this area, look up Mark Haimovitz. He's taking the Bach cello suites on tour- to nightclubs and bars, as well as other larger venues too. He plays Bach and Jimi Hendrix on the same night- quite an amazing guy!

January 8, 2006 at 01:28 AM · Christina,

Although it is a silly point to argue, I believe you are the one who tried to clarify my point when I said that The Producers was a Re-Make...which it is, and it is done so by the same director Mel Brooks. It was a re-make in the theaters as well, with a whole new cast. I do notice you have changed your initial post (your updated time entry shows 2hr 45min later than my reply to your original post - funny that ?! :)

Anyway, recordings is one thing but there is no shortage of superb musicians premiering new fantastic music. In fact we in Seattle were involved with Yo Yo Ma's Silk Road Festival.

It was great.

My quartet (odeonquartet) also premieres a lot of great new music. Wayne Horvitz (one of todays Jazz Giants), has been commissioned to write a piece for us which we will be premiering shortly.

The Seattle Chamber Players also premiere a lot of new music from all over. Their ICEBREAKER festival has now been imitated all around the country.

Feel free to check out:


January 8, 2006 at 02:23 AM · Though performers usually record the popular works most often, many performers couple an unfamiliar work with a famous one. Hilary Hahn did this with her Barber/Meyer cd as well as her Beethoven/Bernstein (not to mention her new Elgar). Perlman did it (sort of) with a cd that had Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, as well as Bruch's 2nd violin concerto (when was the last time you heard that one?). Rachel Barton-Pine did it with her Brahms/Joachim concertos cd. I can go on and on about other people who've done this. I think this is a great idea, because it gives audiences what they want while also doing something less known and interesting. Also, new, rising stars need to record the poplular works or else audiences have no comparison between the new guy vs. the old guy. I don't think Hilary Hahn would have risen to fame so quickly had she initally recorded the Conus concerto for example. But now that she has recorded Brahms, Beethoven etc., I've heard that she'll be recording a Spohr concerto. I think once people establish a reputation, they can begin to challange themselves and their audiences with lesser known pieces. You have to find a nice ballance.

p.s. just to defend Anne-Sofie Mutter, she has recorded a lot of modern works, including a very recent recording of a brand new piece by Dutilleux. Re-recording the mozart concertos is most likely for Mozart's 250th birthday. Why not?

January 8, 2006 at 02:44 AM · Ah hello David Ormai, I'm glad to see that you have joined hope you had a great holiday! OH yes (and this is an edited addition, I accidentally pushed submit message)- Mutter's Mozart is for the 250th anniversary. I believe she is recording all of the Mozart sonatas as well! I'm not terribly fond of her interpretation, particularly in slow movements, but at least it's, um, "new".

January 8, 2006 at 05:03 AM · There's so much to marvel at in the first movement of Beethoven alone that I really don't miss Googoolagoo's Concerto in W flat minor or whatever for violin and kazoo. I'm a glass half full type of person with the current repertoire. To me, the stuff is so great that for now I'd be perfectly content listening to all the "same" stuff.

January 8, 2006 at 05:21 AM · I think it's funny that these pieces are being recorded over and over again...shows a great lack of creativity and a lack of interest on the part of the performer in exploring classical music.

And writing your own cadenza doesn't make the concerto more intersting...especially if your cadenzas are dreadful...I just love the liner notes to Joshua Bells Mendellsohn Album (horrible recording by the way, don't buy it)...he says something to the effect of finding out that Ferdinand David might have written the cadenza to the concerto....I got a laugh out of that one...if you would like to hear a concerto performed like this, go to any studio class in America ;-)

January 8, 2006 at 05:32 AM · Thanks Carlos - So Sergei Stadler was the violinist in the Lvov! You really have a very big collection!

Regards - Cheng

January 8, 2006 at 05:43 AM · I think both of Bell's recordings of Mendelssohn are wonderful.

January 8, 2006 at 10:27 AM · Plenty of contemporary composers commission first performances (they pay the performer!), especially of violin compositions where it's obvious they have no idea about the tonal range or technical possibilities of the instrument after a few bars already. Since no decent violinist would touch such score these first performance recordings are not worth a penny but get mailed around the world. I've got about 200 pages of scores here from a composer who explained to me he composes to destroy violinists. Not every noise is music, or is it? Sometimes I feel contemporary composers are about the only professionals in music who couldn't care less about the sheer quality of their output. "Asking for quality is killing my creativity!"

From another thread: "Isn't it one of the differentiating features of classical music to be composed for players and audiences to come, over and over again? Versus the use-and-discard 'music', gigantic marketing machineries try to stuff into our souls and heads in order to stuff their pockets? Like the fundamental difference between making money to be able to compose or to perform versus making money to give a return to stockholders who would otherwise invest into cigarette or weapons industries?"

The classical music outlook is not so much the issue of re-recording, it's the issue of frozen recordings versus live concerts. Even in this forum you'll find much more contributions influenced by recordings than by live performances. Recordings are cheaper and closer to go to than concerts. Therefore more and more violinists shape the future of classical music who "are better at recordings" than real music. Record companies shape our taste, create expectations, set prices for music "consumption"; not the artists through their direct performances. For the price of one concert ticket (even excluding travel cost) you may easily buy ten different recordings of the Beethoven concerto. Which leads into perverting music into an ice skating like competitive business. And everybody helps this perversion who listens to a recording not to experience the impact of it on soul, body, health but to just to compare it with another record. In doing this we are gradually loosing our ability to experience music as a very personal, deep exchange between the composer, performer and ourselves.

The violinist (and his record companies) who created by far most damage in this regard was Heifetz. Not because of the way he played or didn't play. Look for contributions about him in this forum and you will see: He is seen as THE competitive, best, unsurpassed violinist (most of the time). Deep in our heart we all know it's not true. Who doesn't believe it should just try to recall moments of his/her life where music has reached his/her very soul, overwhelming senses, giving strength and comfort. In 99% of these moments Heifetz was nowhere near, so what's the point? Heifetz took actively part in these efforts to turn music into an olympic discipline, he even tried to create a soloists' union in the late 40ties with the sole goal to prevent "foreigners" (what was he then?) from performing for money on US stages. I haven't reached a conclusion yet, whether he was just mean and reckless or only too limited to see what his approach does for (or against) classical music.

Our dependency on recordings goes even so far, that we need music for cars (meaning: no less than mezzoforte) and for elevators (meaning: no sforzato and nothing unknown). So we expect composers to create music and performers to play music for situations where we cannot really listen to it! BTW sforzati are even worse in kitchen music, you might cut your pinky off.

The future of classical music will depend on our firm will and success to kick the competitive "olympic ghost" out of music.


January 8, 2006 at 10:37 AM · Jonathan,

For the amount of criticism that you have metted out on this website, I should hope that your abilities in whatever you do are so fantastic, so mythical in greatness that it justifies your chronic degradation of well respected performing artists.

This certainly reminds me of a famous Einstein quote...

January 8, 2006 at 12:14 PM · Like it or not, the way in which the average person experiences music (ANY kind of music) has changed radically in the past 100 years as a result of the recording industry.

The traditional experience of music live in a concert hall or auditorium, in which you have the phenomenological immediacy of a performer connecting directly with real people who are experiencing this art together with others -- that is rightly considered the standard. Even technically, you can hear all of the overtones only in a live concert.

However, listening to "frozen" performances alone almost anywhere and under almost any circumstances (thanks to technology) may be considered a "substitute" for the concert experience. But I think it's actually a different experience with music. It is more private, internal, and (yes) distant from the immediacy of the live performance. The only analogy I can think of is that it is like visiting a museum, and I (for one) love visiting museums. It certainly cannot take the place of a live performance, but it is (like it or not) the way in which most people experience most music (popular as well as classical). It has its own reality and its own impact. It may not have the same richness of communication as a live concert, but the recording experience is certainly here to stay. And I think it is certainly a viable musical experience.

However, the competitive ("olympics") aspect of music is to me indeed ridiculous. This is an art, not a contest. Whether live or on a CD, you miss the entire spiritual and emotional impact of music if you listen to it or play it as a contest to see who is better. We all place much too much emphasis on competition in our society in general, and less indeed on the quality of what we experience. I think that the prevalence of sports (which is, of course, based on competitiveness) and money is responsible for a lot of that.

Anyway, let's hope this new year brings a little sanity to all of our lives.

Cordially, Sandy Marcus

January 8, 2006 at 01:26 PM · to get back to the point, recording the same concerts ever and ever is sometimes not the artist's choice;you make cd's to sell, record companies can't afford making cd's that would not sell, it's a general disaster let's admit; unless you're Kremer, Argerich, Yo-Yo, Perlman,you can't afford to risk.It's the same thing with filling a concert hall and of course the music doesn't develop, because there's practically no chance for young composers to affirm and prove their talent unless they pay a great name ,and who affords this? 10% of them maybe.About frozen music, for those who know him, there once was a conductor named Celibidache who didn't do commercial recordings because he thought music is a phenomenon and an experience who appears and dissapears in the concert hall, though cannot be re-created at home; partially right.He said making music alive( out from simple black singns on white paper) is dependent on may factors, and the interpretation can be modified according to the quality of the orchestra, the particularities of the musicians, the acoustics, the amount of public.He claimed that we have to do the maximum to make music live in perfect conditions;example-play the Bach Chaccone in a dry, small studio, in our appartments for example, and play it very slow;the result is useless,pure boredom, no sound, and then go in a church and play it super-fast;the same, catastrophy! and then add the orchestra, the style,orchestration and a lot of problems appear! we cannot re-create at home, in our sofa, the experience we have in a concert-hall;but then again, how do we learn? most of us don't have the possibility to hear today's masters live; so we buy CD's, but we listen carefully; ex.Heifetz's CD's ; we all know that sound, edgy, sometimes rough, sometimes acidic, he played like that to project in big halls, not to make special recordings, you are who you are!.Anybody who had the privilege to hear him live can prove there was not a hint of roughness, just pure sound. so we must listen carefully and be aware ; it's a tricky world, the world of recorded music; the real damage is that it all pushed us to perfection, a kind of technical perfection and we lost the Heart, where's Thibaud, Gitlis, Enescu, Kreisler and so on, with there imperfections but with the heart...........We won through CD's, that's sure but also we lost many things, that's the balance of life it's fate I guess.......

January 8, 2006 at 01:36 PM · "How do we learn", yes that's the point. Bach himself walked! several times over 300 miles to meet and listen to masters of his period. He hadn't have the choice of playing a CD, obviously. So are we right in assuming we need frozen recordings for music education? Do we have more capable composers and musicians today than at Bach's or Brahms' times because of CDs or DVDs? Do frozen recordings REALLY help us performing better? Or do they rather help us to become better frozen recording makers?


January 8, 2006 at 01:59 PM · While I'm never disappointed by another Beethoven or Mozart album (let's face it, it's like the Beatles of the classical world- it will NEVER be outdated)- it does seem like many of these performances aren't offering anything new to the art (I will not cite certain artists or examples). The funny thing is that the people who buy classical albums are classical music lovers, rarely the up-and-coming teens and young adults who listen to rap, rock, and pop more than anything else. So what we need to do is get our peers to start buying the newer albums. I'll admit that I am more likely to buy a Brahms symphony than a Gorecki- maybe we should all go out and buy a new music CD in the next month. I certainly should! However, I think if we're going to continue with our art and moving it forward, we have to do it in the concerts. We need to remind many devout "classical-CD-lovers-but-too-busy-to-go-to-an-expensive-concert" music lovers that a concert is the true experience. Even if a person only goes to see the few pieces that they already know, at least they will be seeing something new all the time. It's sad to see concert halls so empty and yet Yo-Yo Ma's, Perlman's, and Mutter's CDs almost always sell immediately after release!

I think the answer is:

1) We need to buy the new music CDs (there are quite a few of them out there, even by people like Mutter who definitely rerecords the warhorses as well).

2) Get people to come to our concerts!!!!! And play an old warhorse and a new piece- maybe we can convince our audiences too!

(I do realize it isn't that easy and that it sound like a classical utopia that we'll probably never have, but we should really get out there and do something about it as well as discuss it!)

January 8, 2006 at 02:19 PM · Hi,


Heifetz set the technical standards and the consistency that all artists show today... What is wrong with that?

All great artists have recorded the major works more than once. Peoplle learn things as they go, change their approaches even if slightly. So, what is wrong with a second discing since the the disc is a permanent record of one specific performance?

Strangely puzzled by some comments made above,


January 8, 2006 at 03:51 PM · Good question! The answer to your Heifetz question actually lies in the question itself: You deliberately did not mention Heifetz as setting the musical standard. So in modern times one can become the most famous and admired and consistent and best paid violinist being the TECHNICAL standard. This I call deterioraton of classical music. And how can "consistency" even become part of musical terminology? Isn't every performance (and therefore hopefully every rerecording) the birth of a new artistic event, based on a worthwile score? The more consistent, "reliable" a performer is the more he/she will fulfill predefined expectations instead of opening up new horizons. Isn't it inherent to music that noone can set a "musical standard"? Because a "musical standard" would little by little eliminate the human aspect of music, therefore the music itself.

So re-recordings are just fine if they are not consistent and do not try to set any kind of standard. Even when they are just recordings, nothing more.


January 8, 2006 at 04:40 PM · FMF, the person setting the technical standard is something people can agree on more or less with a little prodding. Musical tastes are more varied. You're saying some insightful things, but they don't mean what you think.

You might be doing a bit of the same when you talk about the perfect position in the Suzuki thread. And personally I don't like Heifetz recordings at all.

I would go out on a limb even further than you, and say in 99% of those moments classical music was nowhere to be found. How do you like them apples?

January 8, 2006 at 04:28 PM · OT:

Apparently some of you have forgotten that Joshua Bell recorded the Nicholas Maw concerto, and do not know that he will be recording the Corgliano Red Violin Concerto. Yes, the latter may be based on a soundtrack to a movie, but nevertheless it's still a new concerto, and he's been performing it relatively regularly. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I also believe that the Goldmark concerto (on the Siblieus/Goldmark CD), while it may not be considered as much of a "rarity" as some of you have been putting out, I wouldn't consider it one that violinists are prone to rerecord. I haven't been able to find very many recordings of it, especially in comparison to such concerti as the Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, and Beethoven.


Personally, I think it's perfectly fine to have a balance. I wouldn't like violinists to record solely unknown concerti, but at the same time recording nothing but standard repetoire would get a little boring. If you don't like it, don't buy it. Simple as that. I know I'm not very knowledgable on this topic, nor am I very opinionated, especially when it comes to which whatever do I like better, so this is about the only input I'll be able to put up.

January 8, 2006 at 04:36 PM · "How do you like them apples": Sorry, Jim, English is only my third language so I am not sure I am getting the sense of this phrase. I'd be grateful if you could explain it to me a bit further.

About the "right" position: Ofcourse I do not mean a rigid, non-adaptible way of handling the tools. If my comments created this impression then: sorry.

And as I stated earlier I hesitate to "review" performances for obvious reasons. However, how can somebody be "technically" perfect for you when you do not like his recordings? Technique has to serve the music. If you feel the music is wrong how can the technique be right? Maybe his technique prevents him to make convincing music for you? Messy, isn't it?


January 8, 2006 at 05:06 PM · FMF how do you like them apples means what do you think about that. I'm asking do you agree with that statement?

No contradiction. To me personally H. doesn't set a technical standard except maybe in a historical sense. I just don't like his recordings. Lots of people comment about how great he looks, which I don't care about per se either.

January 8, 2006 at 05:00 PM · Thanks for your explanation, Jim. No, when talking about these moments I meant exactly the ones where classical music performances have such a deep impact on us (happens to me as a listener about once per day or so, I listen a lot while cutting and editing live recordings), thus classical music has to be around for that purpose. And it does not need a specific performer to achieve this effect, "just" one who understands and produces music as one of the strongest ties between humans.


January 8, 2006 at 05:24 PM · FMF, once per day is good. I need a job like that.

I hear a lot of talk about technique. I also hear a lot of great performances. I suspect it isn't coming from the same people. Some of the most interesting things I hear only in short snippets as filler music between segments on the radio. Very frustrating to never be able to hear the whole thing or even have it identified. This is new "classcial music" that is as good as anything written by Beethoven or Brahms, and which speaks to me more.

January 8, 2006 at 06:02 PM · Piotr, its very immature for you to say something like don't need to be a Heifetz to detect basic playing.

January 8, 2006 at 09:58 PM · Julia: of the traditional concertos (Beet.Mend.Brahms etc) there are between one and two hundred recordings each. From Goldmark, I know only six; 2 by Milstein, Ricci, Gimpel,Rybar and Perlman. I have it all and my favorite is Milstein's studio recording. Is a real pity, because IMHO, Goldmark's first is one of the most

beautiful romantic v.c.ever written

January 8, 2006 at 10:20 PM · Johnathan,

My name is Pieter. I am not russian.

First you say Perlman is overated, then you diss Joshua Bell. I don't like Bell's playing, but I take exception to a banner waving fanboy calling out people of far greater abilities than themselves.

It's one thing to politely disagree with someone's artistic approach, and it's another thing altogether to say it in a way that I equate to a 300lb man sitting on his couch, covered in Cheezies, criticizing a top athlete for losing or making a bad play, when the man sitting on the couch could probably not do a lap around the field without having a heart attack.

Again, these are fantastic pieces of music. Artists who have the ability to play them well love these pieces, and as they grow, so does their understanding of the world, and thus their understanding of the piece. There's nothing irresponsible or short sighted about rerecording great music. If it was crap, then I'd see the point being made here, but I think musicians have got it real good.

January 8, 2006 at 10:57 PM · Pieter, I agree with you. I really do like hearing rerecordings, especially if they are original. However, I feel that more could be done to record new compositions or those that are older and have never been recorded. I think a good mix of all is a good idea and most major artists have been or are starting to mix it up a bit. Oh, and I may not like Joshua Bell's musicality always and he's definitely not my favorite, but he can play teh Sibelius concerto and I can't and he has some very good recordings out there. And I would give anything to be as musical as Perlman (and to have such a sweet, juicy sound)!

January 8, 2006 at 11:25 PM · I didn't "diss" anyone...I called out an individual recording that just happens to be a piece of crap...I'm sure I'll do it again in the future, so be ready with your little smartass scenarios Pieter :-)

January 8, 2006 at 11:58 PM · John, I'm guessing that you can't play the violin to save your life. Therefore on those grounds, never speak of Joshua Bell again unless you want to talk about his abilities in running an indi record label or being a sleezy A&R...

January 8, 2006 at 11:55 PM · There's nothing wrong with recording warhorses--one should not ignore new repertoire in the process also. Regarding the "dissing" of professionals, I have a rule. Don't diss them, unless you're a superior performer than they. :)

January 9, 2006 at 12:19 AM · Hi again Pieter...I will comment on bad recordings as I hear them, as well I will comment on good recordings. If his next recording is as bad as this, I'll comment the same...don't you love opinions?

I'm not even going to comment on whatever hogwash you are talking about with A&R, I'll leave that alone for you and your little world. On that note I am done with Pieter and this particular thread.

January 9, 2006 at 12:19 AM · There is no idealism at all with the notion that people shouldn't be so quick to criticize what they cannot even hope to do.

Johnathan, opinions come in many different shades of colors. Don't expect to get a bouquet of white roses and lillies if you're spewing fire.

January 9, 2006 at 12:22 AM · Sounds like you have a letter writing campaign to get in order! Many many critics will be waiting by their mailboxes for your letter! (sorry, couldn't resist, now I'm gone ;-)

January 9, 2006 at 12:23 AM · Girls! Stop it!

January 9, 2006 at 12:23 AM · Johnathan, what I have to say about wannabes like you and critics are exactly the same.

I'm sitting in the smallest room in the house....

January 9, 2006 at 12:25 AM · Now I'm a "wannabe" pot legal up there in Canada? Are you smoking lots of it? What on Gods green earth are you talking about?

Joshua Bells recording of the Mendellsohn is a piece of crap...I didn't say Joshua Bell was a piece of crap. It is true that I would recommend that someone go to a masterclass and hear a similar performance for free before dropping however much on this disc.

Would you like to twist this around some? You seem very good at it.

January 9, 2006 at 01:04 AM · Jonathan,

If you said that Bell's recording of the Mendelssohn is not to your taste, and better yet, listed reasons why, then I wouldn't think you're a schmuck. Instead, you trash talk as if you're Terrell Owens or Allen Iverson... trash talk doesn't belong in classical music, but if you must talk trash and call a great player's recording "crap", then you better be prepared to get on the stage and saw one out that puts his to shame. You and I both know that the chance of you playing a C major scale half as well as him is about as likely as Vanessa Mae recording the Egge.

So, put up or shut up.

January 9, 2006 at 01:43 AM · The Egge is a horrible concerto...I don't recommend that being recorded by anyone, let alone Mae :-)

January 9, 2006 at 01:54 AM · To FMF,

abot the "frozen" recordings, wich we left a little behind, of course you' right, Bach walked a lot to get informed, Menuhin followed Enesco everywhere, and of course living in a big european center helps a lot; but what about the ones who can't?

and let's say, for example I have a kid or a student what am I going to do with his musical education? should I not show him what Thibaud sounded like, what was the Heifetz phenomenon, who is Ivry Gitlis and what was so special about Josef Hassid....what's going on today, what are the influences, the "trend", what does a 2006 superstar sound like and why; i think it's all about culture, philosophers read other philosophers, it's all in my optimistic oppinion a matter of evolution. I am also studying conducting, and when I start Beethoven Symhony or any other work after really knowing the piece I think I have, out of respect , to listen to what Klemperer did, or Furtwangler, or any other great master I didn't have the chance to see live. So I think we need frozen music from the past at least, and as a violinist I can tell it from the sound of the person who plays if he\she has done her homework with the old masters, at least out of informations or respect

January 9, 2006 at 02:12 AM · hey everybody,

just out of curiosity, does anyone think Heifetz's techique is actually serving the music he plays?

just a question, no tricks, i'd like to hear some voices about this


January 9, 2006 at 02:14 AM · P.S. to FMF,


don't you think one might get inspired from a frozen recording? could happen, right?

someone like Kremer, or Mullova, or Zimmermann, I don't know, I'm asking....

January 9, 2006 at 03:28 AM · Ofcourse you can. The question is: how does this inspiration compare to inspirations drawn from live performances? As I had the honor of travelling on several tours with Celibidache (Japan, Vienna, Sofia, Spain) I am really biased towards live performances as the life blood of classical music. He proved it every single time when on stage.

Eugen, I just realized you won the 2003 Enesco Competition: congratulations! Certainly through live performances, I hope ;-)


January 9, 2006 at 03:46 AM · Is that one of those efforts to turn music into an olympic discipline you were talking about?

About H's 'technique serving the music he plays,' is it not just a matter of personal preference really, including H's?.

January 9, 2006 at 03:23 AM · I just would like to add my two cents to the banter between Jonathan and Pieter. Famous violinists are artists and entertainers and are solely supported by an adoring and interested public. If one is interested enough to attend concerts, buy albums, and join, I would assume he hs a right to diss or praise any famous violinist that pleases him. Obviously another artists criticism could be more relevant as far as understanding the process and intricacies involved in interpreting music. One doesn't have to be a chef in order to appreciate or comment about a restaurant however. To a large extent passion and controversy are what fuels the music industry. It is important to note that the reason people diss or praise Joshua Bell is because he is a star. If people didn't bother his career would be over.

January 9, 2006 at 04:10 AM · Yes, Jim, it's one of those efforts. And unfortunately one of the preferred ways of getting gigs. Many presenters miss the ability to judge for themselves, they not trust their ears, so they (ab)use this competition vehicle. Interestingly enough, presenters rarely trust frozen records when deciding on a first booking.


January 9, 2006 at 06:58 AM · Michael, no one said that people of all levels aren't allowed to have their own opinions.

However, if some yokel who can make nothing more than Kraft Dinner and Shake N' Bake is telling a chef that his obviously more complex creation is "crap", or uses another derogatory term that is similar, then doesn't the critique lose its value? It's ok for the man to say that he prefers something else, but to say something like that to a person who obviously spent a great deal of time training and has a lot of skill, well that just isn't civilized, is it.

January 9, 2006 at 09:30 AM · ...and yet the soul of all gourmet cuisine was stolen off some poor man's table.

January 9, 2006 at 09:35 AM · Yes, and Beethoven evolved from naked troglodytes banging on skin membranes with thigh bones. What's your point?

January 9, 2006 at 10:49 AM · Dear FMF,

of course there's no comparison; that's why I have so much trouble with people telling me they hate Celi 'cause it's too slow...makes me crazy.I know that those who experienced a live concert with him were "stigmatized"for life. UNfortunately, I was only 10 when he came to Bucharest with the Munich Phil, more interested in Lego's than in Bruckner 7th, and later, to poor to go see him in know, east Europe things. So I have to satisfy myself with his frozen recordings as much as he hated and I hate it. And from those frozen recordings I learned more about music than with any teacher I had.but that's me....


January 9, 2006 at 10:59 AM · No point, just wanted to join the clawing and hair pulling. It's pretty boring at my place this evening.

Just spare me the cooking analogies, please, that's all.

January 9, 2006 at 04:46 PM · Pieter--I don't have to be a great filmmaker to have an opinion (and express it) about a movie. This attitude of "you must be a great player to criticize (whomever)" is a common knee-jerk response which has been around forever. The answer is "no, I'm just a listener with tastes and opinions which I am entitled to express."

January 9, 2006 at 04:48 PM · I think all Pieter is trying to say is he didn't like Jonathan's choice of words. While crap was a bit harsh, I imagine Pieter would have perferred a different approach. Saying something is crap seems to be a sort of cop-out for not being able to fully describe exactly what it is that you don't like. I can act like I know something about photography and say something is crap, but the person who actually understands photography will point out certain details and be able to analyze the picture. Perhaps Pieter wasn't getting the in-depth critique he wanted from Jonathan's word. Yes, Jonathan has every right to critizize who ever he wants as much as he wants, but the point of a forum is to discuss things. You can't really discuss "crap."

January 9, 2006 at 05:51 PM · Mike:

Thanks for making a point that I was tempted to make. The argument you are criticizing has been around for centuries. Its basis is that no one has the right to criticize anyone unless he possesses comparable technical ability. Implicit in that is the view that technical experitise implies critical expertise/lack of technical expertise means lack of critical expertise. It's pretty well accepted that this is a logical fallacy. Certainly it's an argument that has not been found convincing, since such criticisms go on every day and in every business imaginable. Try being an NFL head coach. If Jonathan feels strongly that Bell's Mendelssohn is crap, then let him say so. I find the experession of such attitudes refreshing.

January 9, 2006 at 06:25 PM · I suggest that many of you return to grade 5 for reading comprehension lessons.

Nowhere did I ever state that a person isn't entitled to his/her opinion. What I am saying is that destructive comments are out of place, especially when not accompanied by any logical explanation. If you are going to make scathing remarks, it helps to be good at what you're talking about.

Again, reading lessons for the lot of you.

January 9, 2006 at 06:21 PM · More flame wars are started on this site simply because one person or another doesn't understand local idioms or takes undue offense at words they attach much more vehemence to than warranted.

If you can't accept an opinion from someone like "I think that song is crap" without a 15 minute exposition on why they feel that way then the problem is yours. Obviously he doesn't like it - how hard is that to figure out? Just because it threatens your own opinion of the work doesn't mean you can dismiss his opinion for lack of a fully annotated sheet of references to support his point of view.

Destructive (or any other) comments are not out of place. Freedom of speech is a bitch.

January 9, 2006 at 06:39 PM · .........just say:

"Let's Agree to Disagree" :)

January 9, 2006 at 06:41 PM · Well, Tichindeleanu passed the humility test. I'd go see him.

January 9, 2006 at 06:58 PM · "Freedom of speech" is good for politicians, for lawyers, for artists. But it's a nonsense fiction for discussions and disputes since freedom of speech clearly must mean freedom of opinion plus freedom of opinion on an opinion plus freedom of opinion on an opinion about an opinion ... should I go any further?

In discussions "freedom of opinion" is just another term for "Why do I need to know what I am talking about?" Or in still other words: It's illegal to demand from someone to earn the right for freedom of speech first before opening his/her mouth.

The easiest way to turn any forum into a ridiculous absurdity is making "freedom of speech" its top guiding principle.


January 9, 2006 at 07:19 PM · Freedom of speech - "it's a nonsense fiction for discussions and disputes"

That's about the stupidest thing I've ever read, but I'm glad you were free to write it.

January 9, 2006 at 07:25 PM · You see, and so are you free to give your free speech and now I am free to say the greatest nonsense I have ever read is your opinion about my opinion and we can go on one after another up to infity. Is there a more striking way to prove how useless this "principle" is? :-)


January 9, 2006 at 07:28 PM · Eric, what he's saying is that a lot of very stupid, assinine comments are often wrapped up in the banner of "Freedom of Speech".

January 9, 2006 at 07:32 PM · Yes, thankfully 'freedom' does not imply prerequisites.

January 9, 2006 at 07:40 PM · But this is just your opinion, so why care? ;-) Will your speech bring us closer to the truth? How can it be when your guiding principle is abstract "freedom of speech" instead of responsible "ability to contribute"?


January 9, 2006 at 07:43 PM · "Freedom of speech" is an inherent, God-given right and opportunity of every human being on earth. Any one of us is free at any time to say whatever we want under any circumstances and in any situation.

What none of us is free of, however, are the reactions of others, certain legal restrictions (e.g., you can get arrested for saying you have a bomb on an airplane), and an endless list of social and interpersonal expectations, sanctions, prohibitions, and conventions.

We all weigh these factors every time we choose to say something. But what does this have to do with the impact of the influence of re-recording on classical music?

January 9, 2006 at 07:57 PM · Has to do with the ability for people to discuss it without getting their sh*t jumped by someone who feels threatened by what they read and don't agree with.

January 9, 2006 at 08:00 PM · Eric, I certainly don't feel threatened by anyone here. I just think it's rude to diss someone who is really, really talented. If you hate his playing, say it in a nicer way.. that's all I'm asking.

January 9, 2006 at 08:03 PM · Let me know if you figure out how to get people to say things only in the way you'd like to hear them. I've been looking for something like that for decades, and so far all I've found are a bunch of history books covering the rise and fall of a few less than popular social systems.

January 9, 2006 at 08:13 PM · Truth is relative unless you have a nice dictator or minister to decide truth for you ;-)

January 9, 2006 at 08:15 PM · Eric,

Just like it is his opinion that Bell's recording is crap, it is my opinion that the way in which he communicates is crude and unecessary. I never said that I want to challenge free speech.

If someone says something very stupid to your face, are you going to forgive him/her because he had the constitutional right to say it? You're basically implying that I'm a facist for wanting people on this site to at least consider a more calculated approach to saying how you hate something. Free speech is a bedrock of a democratic society, but so is discretion and civility. Although one has every right to cuss and burn flags, I believe that the world is a better place if one doesn't abuse your rights, otherwise it loses its meaning.

When The Who did "Who Are You", it meant A LOT more then, when Daultry said "Who the **** are you", then now, when the word is used about as often as "the".

January 9, 2006 at 09:08 PM · Everybody should remember one thing. "Freedom of speech" protects ONLY "stupid" speech, and whatever other speech you might disagree with. :)

January 9, 2006 at 09:14 PM · Someone said that the obscene is the only thing that needs to be protected.

I agree, but when there is no rhyme or reason, then there is no need. Jonathan Frohen isn't Johnny Rotten....

January 9, 2006 at 09:17 PM · Jim,

what was the humility test I passed?

Just curious.....


January 9, 2006 at 09:59 PM · Order! Order! Order on! Please get back to the topic at hand. Otherwise, baliff please escort the trouble-makers off!

January 9, 2006 at 10:06 PM · Well now I guess we know whose head was stuck in a toilet bowl during at least one period a day in high school....

January 10, 2006 at 12:08 AM · Tichindeleanu - there was subtle dissing of competitions started by someone's mention of your winning the Enesco, an achievement representing a lot of hard work of course. You didn't react which is cool, therefore you passed the humility test. On the other hand if you didn't notice that, you didn't necessarily pass the test. But that would mean you did fail the reading for comprehension test :) Not that I put that much attention into it either...

January 10, 2006 at 03:54 AM · Hmmm...

This has taken an interesting turn... Ouch! 1st amendment issues are difficult...

Just on a side note, it's funny that all the famous violinists that I know personally are always kind and respectful of their colleagues and what they do... Oh well; food for thought.


January 10, 2006 at 12:20 AM · While we are not allowed to persecute someone on the basis of their opinions, we can judge someone on their level of respect for others, their willingness to contribute positively to discussion, their prorities in decision making, etc. So while an opinion in itself is not bad or wrong, the process by which that opinion is arrived at is certainly open to scrutiny. Using the word "crap" instead of words like "inconsistent", "badly recorded", etc, creates the impression that the opinion was arrived at with no good reason. That it is in fact superficial and unqualified. Surely you don't expect respect for it, Jonathon.

January 10, 2006 at 12:36 AM · No, Jim, I didn't react because I forgot about that prize!It didn't mean anything and I don't think competitions mean anything nowadays.On the other hand, about feedom of speech, what's the point of a forum then? everybody's free to have a humble oppinion about any given topic; unless of courseyou have no idea about what's going around and you mess up the discussions because you're smart and you want everyone to see that you can actually write.People should share thoughts not try to impose them, and be aware of the fact that at some point they might look like they own the truth ,wich is absurd.

January 10, 2006 at 01:13 AM · Whoa. You forgot about it. That's even cooler.

January 10, 2006 at 03:12 AM · I do believe that this thread is supposed to discuss music, not the first amendment of the United States Constitution.

Now, I just want to offer my humble opinion. I don't mind artists re-recording pieces as long as their renditions are not exactly the same for both times. Artists may re-record things because they feel that they have grown musically. However, I do like the suggestion that they put a popular piece and a not-so-well-known piece on the same CD.

I think this is like saying that even the most accomplished violinists sometimes need to go back to pieces that they have learned earlier (maybe as a child or before college) and re-learn it. As we all know, no one can really "finish" learning a piece. So I think it is important for artists to go back and re-visit once in a while.

January 10, 2006 at 03:27 AM · I agree with that statement. Very few people will complain about Milstein recording Bach more than once or Perlman recording Beethoven more than once. It's nice to see how your favorite artist has grown. Listening to Perlman's earlier recording makes me wonder what I'll sound like in 10 years (not like Perlman most likely, but it's nice to dream!)

January 10, 2006 at 04:02 AM · Back to re-recording war horses: I don't like the term "war horses" because I love many of those old and frequently recorded pieces. I believe that there is virtue to violin stars making more than one recording of a given piece. The second recording may be quite different but beautiful in its own way. This is especially true of concertos played with different orchestras and different conductors. I also like the idea of hearing less frequently played works, but I'm not sure whether I'd buy a CD of one of them unless I could listen to it first. Classical music stations on the radio and the Internet could do us a great service by airing more of these recordings.

January 11, 2006 at 10:32 PM · Milstein's first Bach has wrong notes in it which were in editions of the time.

Most people know his Kreutzer sonata from the Last Recital album which is fine, but his old studio recording on Capitol is very different and just unreal. I think it's available on CD. At least was; I've seen it.

January 12, 2006 at 11:12 AM · First of all, I read somewhere that there's no such thing as a "humble" opinion. It struck me then - as it does now - that this is quite true. For me, those opinions which I hold vehemently enough to voice and defend are neither humble nor, necessarily, mine. Sometimes they're the assimilated, digested, and combined result of the opinions of others infinitely better informed than myself. In others, they're positions at which I arrived through chance, reason and debate. In neither case do I have the right - unless I'm a more pompous fool than I ever blamed myself for being - to claim exclusivity or possession. Thus, the opinion is no more "mine" than "My God" is a claim to possession of deity. And if the opinion in which I claim membership is so meek and humble...then why am I shouting it from rooftops and coming to blows over it?

As for the Pieter/Jonathan debate, I think it's safe to say that freedom of speech isn't the issue, don't you? Neither side would claim to DENY such a basic right. The DEFINITION of the extent of that right is what's being debated - and a fascinating and useful debate I think it to be, too.

But it may be worthwhile to note that sometimes, when voicing a silly opinion - which one is certainly free to do - one makes oneself, and not the object of one's contempt, look like a veritable jackass. So no, one needn't be Heifetz to critique Heifetz; that's a position that I, for one, have always argued against.

But one does need to be able to hear well, have a basis for criticism, understanding of violin playing from the technical and musical perspective in order for one's opinion to be perceived as anything other than arbitrary. Or just plain silly. In short, while one needn't earn the RIGHT to speak, one does need to earn respect FOR one's speech. Otherwise, it just backfires and what you get is the H.C. Anderson-esque chickens criticizing the swan for its long neck and pure-white wings. Or some cart-pusher on an Athenian street criticizing Socrates for not backing up his theories with his fists.

(And yes, I've also never heard any worldclass player denigrate or trash-talk a colleague. Could it be because they've nothing to prove? Or because they realize that even if a competitor is acknowledged, it doesn't demean them in the slightest. And that if a competitor is ridiculed, their own stock doesn't necessarily rise as a result.)

January 12, 2006 at 10:26 AM · Emil,

so great to see your message; hope everything's cool. Let me know what's up, ok?

waiting for news


January 12, 2006 at 11:08 AM · I also forgot to point out how much I agree with Pieter's comment about rarely recorded works. First of all, it's shortsighted in the extreme to say that a work often played has been wrung dry. The reason it has survived the centuries is because it is more or less infinite in its potential variety. On the other hand, if one plays it the same way every has only oneself to blame. But to say that we need to stop playing well-known works BECAUSE we know their notes is like saying we need to stop staging Hamlet because we know the plot. The act of SAYING such a thing reveals the speaker to be too shallow to have his or her opinion considered at all.

Second, it's a mistake to assume that audiences stay away from concerts, or refrain from buying a CD BECAUSE they've heard a given piece, or BECAUSE a program is familiar. Experience has shown that, in fact, people go to concerts either to hear precisely the music they KNOW, which gives them a sense of familiarity and comfort, or to hear a specific performer about whom they've been hearing (mainly, I suspect, so they can then talk of having heard the Flavor of the Month at the next cocktail party).

Let's examine this point a bit more closely. If contemporary works, or rediscoveries, meant full halls does anyone SERIOUSLY doubt that money-hungry presenters wouldn't demand such things on a regular basis? In the course of the last three centuries, there have been a hundred works written for every one work that's a staple of contemporary concert programs. There is no SHORTAGE of neglected works. There are also hundreds of composers, of dizzyingly diverse quality, genre, stylistic nuance and so forth. If audiences wanted such things, it would be a matter of extreme ease for presenters to book performers who offered the demanded product. But the most one can do is to COAX presenters into ALLOWING one to program a single work or two that may be less than familiar on an otherwise "comforting" program. Why? Because the box office told them to do it that way. And who told the box office? We all did - everyone on this site, and far beyond. Exhibit A in the argument against contemporary compositions being a draw would be the famous instance of Boulez as music director of the New York Philharmonic, way back when. In response to his daring to offer all-modern programs, NY Phil audiences didn't just stay away. They cancelled their subscriptions in droves. They wrote angry letters to the NY Times. And this is in the Jaded Cultural Capitol of the World. Think of how it would play in, say, Omaha.

And don't forget, when considering the pros and cons of neglected repertoire, to factor in the orchestral works. A given concert of a professional orchestra does NOT have infinite rehearsals. And Googoogole's W Flat Minor concerto is not learn-able in three rehearsals, especially when there's a symphony and an overture (or even ::gasp!:: TWO non-symphonic scope works) to also prepare. The soloist wants to play Bruckner's long-lost violin concerto in twelve movements (all of them played in non-stop tremolo)? Well and good. Is he or she prepared to pay for the overtime in extra rehearsals? Or willing to take a chance on sounding like an incompetent when the concert goes poorly due to unfamiliarity with the piece?

And finally, I'll admit that history has a lot to answer for in terms of unjustly overlooking people and works of merit. But it is equally true that this tends to happen in artists' lifetimes. Mozart dies a pauper and his grave is lost to history (maybe!), but two years after his death his music begins a resurgence that continues unabated to this day. Bach dies and is forgotten for fifty years. And then Mendelssohn comes along and, with ONE concert he revives the Leipzig Master. Please note, that's ONE concert; it doesn't take non-stop, vitriolic proselytizing. It doesn't NEED that. But someone like Hummel or Salieri dies still dead. Naturally, there are the occasional recording or performance. But does anyone honestly think people go to hear a work of Salieri's because of the work's inherent quality? Or is it rather due to curiosity - which is usually sated with one hearing - and that this curiosity is exclusively due to Schaffer's "Amadeus"? How many works by some less-infamous contemporary get stage or recording time?

So while I certainly will not be the one to ascribe to historians - or to the passage of time - an infallibility of which they are undeserving...(deep breath)...forgotten music is VERY OFTEN forgotten for a reason. Not always, I rush to add! But in Bram's wholesale acceptance of all that is unfamiliar I am not led to trust his judgment and discriminating taste. I have the feeling, in short, that I'm being served baby AND bathwater. AND other unmentionables. So while I, for one, am grateful for the LISTING of works as a resource, I would no more consider programming any of them without having heard them or read through them. And, quite often, having done that I find myself saying that I quite see why history rendered this or that piece - or composer - as unfit for anything other than a dustbin.

January 12, 2006 at 11:09 AM · Yes,OK,fine. But I, not a player but a musical listener and record collector for 45 years,did not went to a live public concert in the last 30, because I´m sick and tired of the same works done

over and over again. And I dont buy recordings of

any of the traditional works, except on extremely rare historical versions. Do you know that there are between one a two hundred recordings of the big v.c.?. For what?

January 12, 2006 at 11:38 AM · And finally when dining out who would seriously consider to refrain from an item of the menue, just because we know the taste of it when we had it last time? Especially when knowing there is high chance of having a much improved quality this time? ;-)

And Carlos, clearly as we have got plenty of different ways and styles to perform a piece we have certainly also plenty of different ways and styles to listen to it. Ofcourse there are listening styles that produce exactly your frustration. And there are seminars, course, even schools, where you can broaden or improve your listening style. Also some radio and tv shows might help you in that. How about giving it a try?

We should strive for a not too simplistic approach to music. A light which does not fit our sight we will run away from, a chair which does not fit our body proportions we might not buy, a vegetable making us parking leopards we will not put into our meals. JUST the ears are supposed to consume everything happily and with patience and tolerance. Just because we cannot SEE the ugliness und missing suitability of some "noise and sound mixture" does not mean it is suitable for our ear and soul. Composers should know about this or change their company to "Noise and Sound Inc.". Simple as that.


January 12, 2006 at 11:37 AM · Carlos, your case is different. For one thing, your being a serious collector makes you one of a very select, elite few. In short, you don't represent the majority of the audience. And while it may be musically laudable to cater to you, it's not financially feasible since you and your ideological brethren are not responsible for a majority of record sales, purely numerically.

And, even disregarding all I said about audience tastes, even assuming that enough people like you could be found, we've still got the problem of works with orchestra which demand extra rehearsals - not to mention soloists and conductors needing to find time between concerts to LEARN new material. Which isn't to say that no new music, or rediscovered music, should be recorded. Just that it should be done with pieces which will win over audiences from a single or double hearing, without needing to mount some advertising blitzkrieg for a work that ends up just scaring them off even further.

And I hasten to add that, based on our discussions over the past two years I'd be more willing to give a listen to one of your recommendations than someone whose blogs and posts lead me to suspect that he listens, rather than hears. Just to reiterate:

James Merrill


Bix to Buxtehude to Boulez,

The little white dog on the Victor label

Listens long and hard as he is able.

It's all in a day's work, whatever plays.

From judgment, it would seem, he has refrained.

He even listens earnestly to Bloch,

Then builds a church upon our acid rock.

He's man's - no - he's the Leirmann's best friend,

Or would be if hearing and listening were the same.

DOES he hear?...

January 12, 2006 at 11:37 AM · :-)

January 12, 2006 at 11:37 AM · Is curious your reference to radio programs, because I've one on FM Radio Nacional Clásica of

Buenos Aires,called "Rarezas" (rarities).I put the recorded material and very short comments (to be read for a professional speacker). It last about 90',and I select 3 works for program. First is an

unknown piece by and unknown or forgotten composer (like Hermann Scherchen SQ 0p.1 or a Leo Weiner v.s.). Second, an unknown or forgotten work by a famous composer (like Dvorak's first

cello concerto). And Third, a very well known and famous work, but on very rare historical version (like Prokofieff third him, or Brahms Renardy-Munch). I do my best to educated

the ignorant and extremely conservative public.

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