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Re: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than Another One?

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  • wkasimer@comcast.net
    ... While I think that such an exercise is a great idea (why else would I be here), I m not sure how scientific it is. The winners would be those
    Message 1 of 26 , Jan 13, 2009
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      Dick writes:

      > In note #1, I offered an attempt at a scientific definition of how to
      > determine the "best" recordings (a jury of knowledgeable music-lovers
      > who can listen to all recordings repeatedly and discuss them, with
      > certain standards of consensus). The concept of discussion is very
      > important.

      While I think that such an exercise is a great idea (why else would I be here), I'm not sure how "scientific" it is. The "winners" would be those recordings with an eloquent and persuasive "champion". A more scientific (if far less enjoyable) method would be to give those same knowledgeable music-lovers ten recordings, give them plenty of time to digest them but forbid them to discuss them with others, and then ask them to rank them.

      And in any event, what defines "best"? Adherence to the written notes? Technical skill? Piano tone? Drama? Contrast? Uniqueness? I think that given enough time, I could probably determine which recording is best *for me*, but I suspect that my opinion would not be shared by a minority. I'm fairly confident that Dick wouldn't share it, though, since his list of favorite complete sets is largely populated by versions that I've heard and found not to my taste (FWIW, the ones that I've kept around are Gulda 2, Kovacevich, Nat, Heidsieck, Schnabel, Fischer, Schiff, Lucchesini, and incomplete cycles by Brautigam (ongoing), Gilels, Gould, and Gelber. I've kept Kempff's mono set around, not so much because I like it, but because it serves as a useful contrast to other things on my shelf. Kempff's stereo set was on its way out the door, but now I think that I'll keep it around for the purposes of this discussion.

      If nothing else, though, attempts to "rank" performances does serve to remind me of what features I particularly look for in Beethoven sonata performances. The hard part is finding the time to listen to a dozen recordings of a work enough times to rank them fairly. I've listened to all of the above in Op. 2 #1, plus a live Richter recording, and while I definitely have favorites (Gelber, Brautigam, Schnabel, Kovacevich, Schiff, and Heidsieck), I can't even begin to "rank" those without hearing them a few more times. And I don't think that I can ever rank Gould - his recording is so far outside of the "norm" that I can't decide if he's good or bad - all I know is that his recording really stood out for its quirkiness.

      > The question of a "best" recording is conceptually separate. I have
      > taken the position that I believe such a thing exists, but I have not
      > yet proven it to my own satisfaction. I'm happy to treat it as a
      > hypothesis, for the time being.

      I hope that your hypothesis is correct, because it might free up some shelf space :-).

      Looking forward to reading more discussion, and hoping that this exercise will proceed at a leisurely pace.

      Bill

      William D. Kasimer
      wkasimer@...
    • gperkins151
      Hey Dick, as I read your post, I couldn t help but think of all the records Kid Rock or Mariah Carey or Jay Z sold over the last 5 years. On a given night, you
      Message 2 of 26 , Jan 13, 2009
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        Hey Dick, as I read your post, I couldn't help but think of all the
        records Kid Rock or Mariah Carey or Jay Z sold over the last 5 years.
        On a given night, you might find 20,000 of their fans at one of their
        concerts, screaming in adoration. Does this make their music better
        than some indie band that can barely fill a hall of a few thousand?
        Not in my opinion.

        That so many people like Richter is not proof that he is better than
        some other pianist, it is just proof that he has a lot of fans. If on
        were to conclude that he is better than say Annie Fischer because he
        has so many fans who love his music, one would only be correct if one
        were stating an opinion and not a fact.

        To me this is one of things that makes discussing music so
        interesting. When it comes to who's good, better or best, it's all
        opinion, not fact. This way the discussion can go on forever without
        us reaching a point where we decide "this pianist is the best."

        When I first started listening. I loved Horowitz, then Argerich, then
        Annie Fischer, then R Serkin and now Richter. Even if I were to decide
        that ___________ was the best pianist or ___________ was the best
        performance of Op. 2 No. 1, it would only be the best one for me. I
        try not to do that though, as it closes the door for any pianist who
        may on day step forward and impress me a bit more.


        George




        --- In beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Mathisen"
        <richard.mathisen@...> wrote:
        >
        > KHI,
        >
        > You appear to be addressing the second topic of this meeting.
        >
        > The first topic is comparing specific recordings of Beethoven piano
        sonatas to each other to identify the "best" recordings, with "best"
        in quotation marks.
        >
        > The second topic is to discuss whether this is such a thing as a
        "best" recording.
        >
        > Before going further, let me mention that you seem to be using a
        longer computer line than Yahoo accepts, so the line-wrap is
        incorrect. (Other members may be able to tell you, off-line, what
        needs to be done to correct that.)
        >
        > You seem to be claiming that no recording of an individual piece of
        music is inherently better than any other recording of that piece of
        music. Any preference by an individual for one recording over another
        is just personal reaction, not connected to the inherent quality of
        the performance and recording.
        >
        > You also note your high regard for the recordings made by Sviatoslav
        Richter.
        >
        > Now, probably a majority of music-lovers agree with your high
        opinion of Richter's recordings. I personally love Richter's
        recordings. How do you explain the fact that so many people love
        Richter's recordings, if it's just individual preference and not
        something inherent in Richter's recordings?
        >
        > Isn't it possible that Richter's recording of a particular work
        might be "better" in some sense than other recordings of that work?
        Isn't it possible that there might be a general consensus among
        knowledgeable music-lovers regarding a particular Richter recording of
        a particular work of music?
        >
        > Dick Mathisen
        >
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: klavierneuling
        > To: beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:05 AM
        > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: COMPARE THESE TWO
        >
        >
        > --- In beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com, "johnd012033"
        <johnduffy@> wrote:
        > >
        > > Two of my current favorites are:
        > > Paul Lewis & Stephen Kovacevich.
        > > Both are very appealing to me, but
        > > they are different. How are they
        > > different? Can someone help me
        > > identify & define that difference?
        > > ...johnd012033
        > >
        > The following may not answer your question, John, but it is related:
        >
        > Music is a bit like food. Only my own tastebuds know what they
        like, and nobody can
        > convince them by talking. You can name all the ingredients, the
        conditions, the chef and
        > even the appliances used, but you won't be able to say why the
        result tastes splendid or
        > terrible or in between. Taste has no yardstick; it cannot be
        subject to analysis. Words,
        > therefore, have no access to the world of taste.
        >
        > Yes, this is why I think music critics are useless folks. By the
        same token, any attempt at
        > creating a ranking of the `best' performances must fail, as the
        sensation of music in the
        > ear is known only to the listener himself or herself. And since
        this sensation takes place in
        > the realm of taste, it cannot be expressed by way of words. Any
        critic can say it was loud,
        > fast, not according to the score here and there, etc.; that is
        easy and cheap. Why,
        > however, a certain performance tastes to me or you, or doesn't,
        will remain a secret.
        >
        > Of course, when there is an excessive amount or no salt at all in
        the mixture you have a
        > clear reason for concern. For example, after listening live to the
        police chasing Murray
        > Perahia through the second movement, `Romanze', of Mozart's piano
        concerto No. 20, K
        > 466, I decided not to pay attention to this pianist any longer. I
        can thus explain, why.
        >
        > On the other hand, I cannot explain why Glenn Gould's playing is
        making me nervous,
        > mainly. I know he is a giant. Neither can I put my finger on why I
        feel bored when
        > listening to Rudolf Serkin. And so on. None of this happens when I
        listen to Emil Gilels or
        > to Walter Gieseking, or to Jorge Bolet, if my tastebuds are in the
        mood for Liszt, for
        > example. These and other pianists touch me and I usually stop
        doing what I am doing
        > when they're on.
        >
        > And then there is Sviatoslav Richter. Nine out of ten times his
        playing tastes the best to
        > me, no matter who the composer. To some he may indeed be playing
        too fast, too slow,
        > too loud and at times not even according to the score - but I,
        after many decades of
        > listening and comparing, usually come back to the taste of his
        cooking, and I cannot put in
        > words, why.
        >
        > KHI
        >
      • NEIL WALKER
        I am really confused about all this. It looks like a new way of stating the relativist position, but some sentences leave me gawping! How can a
        Message 3 of 26 , Jan 14, 2009
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          I am really confused about all this. It looks like a new way of stating the relativist position, but some sentences leave me gawping! How can a proposition be 'guaranteed' correctness by our stipulating in advance that it is an opinion? Are all opinions correct, or are only facts correct? Is it not a fact that I hold certain opinions? As for avoiding having a favourite performance just in case some as-yet-unknown or later discovered performance might usurp our original choice, well that seems to me quite an extraordinary position to take. It's a bit like not going to Spain for a holiday this year because it might well have turned out, or later turn out that Portugal would be 'better'. With a bit of work, it can be decided which is better, but that will depend upon what defines a 'good' holiday, given what we look for in a holiday, as such - and if the parameters are well enough drawn, agreement can be reached. If, on a later holiday, we decide that Portugal is better, well, so what? What's lost?What we need, as I stated in an earlier posting, are criteria. If criteria can be agreed as to what we are looking for in a performance of this or that sonata, then they can be applied, and a list, of sorts, can be drawn up. Of course, there will still be dissenters, but I am sure that a measure of agreement, an impressive measure, is possible. The criteria will probably vary from sonata to sonata, even movement to movement, but so far we have no criteria at all, even for Op 2/1. Where writers have stated preferences, they have used terms like 'sturdy', 'robust', 'humorous' etc as if these are self-evidently qualities to be looked for in the movement under discussion. We are just floundering. That's why I think the idea to 'blind' listen to various performances of Op.49/2 is such a good one. From people's comments will emerge their unprejudiced ideas as to what constitute a good performance, and from all these comments, criteria should emerge which can be agreed upon. These can then be applied to 'new' performances we come across, as some sort of yardstick.
          Neil Walker 

          --- On Wed, 14/1/09, gperkins151 <gperkins151@...> wrote:
          From: gperkins151 <gperkins151@...>
          Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than Another One?
          To: beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Wednesday, 14 January, 2009, 4:15 AM


          Hey Dick, as I read your post, I couldn't help but think of all the
          records Kid Rock or Mariah Carey or Jay Z sold over the last 5 years.
          On a given night, you might find 20,000 of their fans at one of their
          concerts, screaming in adoration. Does this make their music better
          than some indie band that can barely fill a hall of a few thousand?
          Not in my opinion.

          That so many people like Richter is not proof that he is better than
          some other pianist, it is just proof that he has a lot of fans. If on
          were to conclude that he is better than say Annie Fischer because he
          has so many fans who love his music, one would only be correct if one
          were stating an opinion and not a fact.

          To me this is one of things that makes discussing music so
          interesting. When it comes to who's good, better or best, it's all
          opinion, not fact. This way the discussion can go on forever without
          us reaching a point where we decide "this pianist is the best."

          When I first started listening. I loved Horowitz, then Argerich, then
          Annie Fischer, then R Serkin and now Richter. Even if I were to decide
          that ___________ was the best pianist or ___________ was the best
          performance of Op. 2 No. 1, it would only be the best one for me. I
          try not to do that though, as it closes the door for any pianist who
          may on day step forward and impress me a bit more.

          George

          --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "Richard Mathisen"
          <richard.mathisen@ ...> wrote:
          >
          > KHI,
          >
          > You appear to be addressing the second topic of this meeting.
          >
          > The first topic is comparing specific recordings of Beethoven piano
          sonatas to each other to identify the "best" recordings, with "best"
          in quotation marks.
          >
          > The second topic is to discuss whether this is such a thing as a
          "best" recording.
          >
          > Before going further, let me mention that you seem to be using a
          longer computer line than Yahoo accepts, so the line-wrap is
          incorrect. (Other members may be able to tell you, off-line, what
          needs to be done to correct that.)
          >
          > You seem to be claiming that no recording of an individual piece of
          music is inherently better than any other recording of that piece of
          music. Any preference by an individual for one recording over another
          is just personal reaction, not connected to the inherent quality of
          the performance and recording.
          >
          > You also note your high regard for the recordings made by Sviatoslav
          Richter.
          >
          > Now, probably a majority of music-lovers agree with your high
          opinion of Richter's recordings. I personally love Richter's
          recordings. How do you explain the fact that so many people love
          Richter's recordings, if it's just individual preference and not
          something inherent in Richter's recordings?
          >
          > Isn't it possible that Richter's recording of a particular work
          might be "better" in some sense than other recordings of that work?
          Isn't it possible that there might be a general consensus among
          knowledgeable music-lovers regarding a particular Richter recording of
          a particular work of music?
          >
          > Dick Mathisen
          >
          > ----- Original Message -----
          > From: klavierneuling
          > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
          > Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:05 AM
          > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: COMPARE THESE TWO
          >
          >
          > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "johnd012033"
          <johnduffy@> wrote:
          > >
          > > Two of my current favorites are:
          > > Paul Lewis & Stephen Kovacevich.
          > > Both are very appealing to me, but
          > > they are different. How are they
          > > different? Can someone help me
          > > identify & define that difference?
          > > ...johnd012033
          > >
          > The following may not answer your question, John, but it is related:
          >
          > Music is a bit like food. Only my own tastebuds know what they
          like, and nobody can
          > convince them by talking. You can name all the ingredients, the
          conditions, the chef and
          > even the appliances used, but you won't be able to say why the
          result tastes splendid or
          > terrible or in between. Taste has no yardstick; it cannot be
          subject to analysis. Words,
          > therefore, have no access to the world of taste.
          >
          > Yes, this is why I think music critics are useless folks. By the
          same token, any attempt at
          > creating a ranking of the `best' performances must fail, as the
          sensation of music in the
          > ear is known only to the listener himself or herself. And since
          this sensation takes place in
          > the realm of taste, it cannot be expressed by way of words. Any
          critic can say it was loud,
          > fast, not according to the score here and there, etc.; that is
          easy and cheap. Why,
          > however, a certain performance tastes to me or you, or doesn't,
          will remain a secret.
          >
          > Of course, when there is an excessive amount or no salt at all in
          the mixture you have a
          > clear reason for concern. For example, after listening live to the
          police chasing Murray
          > Perahia through the second movement, `Romanze', of Mozart's piano
          concerto No. 20, K
          > 466, I decided not to pay attention to this pianist any longer. I
          can thus explain, why.
          >
          > On the other hand, I cannot explain why Glenn Gould's playing is
          making me nervous,
          > mainly. I know he is a giant. Neither can I put my finger on why I
          feel bored when
          > listening to Rudolf Serkin. And so on. None of this happens when I
          listen to Emil Gilels or
          > to Walter Gieseking, or to Jorge Bolet, if my tastebuds are in the
          mood for Liszt, for
          > example. These and other pianists touch me and I usually stop
          doing what I am doing
          > when they're on.
          >
          > And then there is Sviatoslav Richter. Nine out of ten times his
          playing tastes the best to
          > me, no matter who the composer. To some he may indeed be playing
          too fast, too slow,
          > too loud and at times not even according to the score - but I,
          after many decades of
          > listening and comparing, usually come back to the taste of his
          cooking, and I cannot put in
          > words, why.
          >
          > KHI
          >

        • Richard Mathisen
          Neil and George, I really don t want to get into a philosophical debate about relativism. I agree that it is a major underlying issue, but a group like this is
          Message 4 of 26 , Jan 14, 2009
          • 0 Attachment
            
            Neil and George,
             
            I really don't want to get into a philosophical debate about relativism. I agree that it is a major underlying issue, but a group like this is not capable of coming to any broad philosophical conclusions.
             
            I'd like to try to keep the discussion tethered to recordings of Beethoven piano sonatas.
             
            Dick Mathisen
            Moderator
             
            ----- Original Message -----
            Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 4:22 AM
            Subject: Re: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than Another One?

            I am really confused about all this. It looks like a new way of stating the relativist position, but some sentences leave me gawping! How can a proposition be 'guaranteed' correctness by our stipulating in advance that it is an opinion? Are all opinions correct, or are only facts correct? Is it not a fact that I hold certain opinions? As for avoiding having a favourite performance just in case some as-yet-unknown or later discovered performance might usurp our original choice, well that seems to me quite an extraordinary position to take. It's a bit like not going to Spain for a holiday this year because it might well have turned out, or later turn out that Portugal would be 'better'. With a bit of work, it can be decided which is better, but that will depend upon what defines a 'good' holiday, given what we look for in a holiday, as such - and if the parameters are well enough drawn, agreement can be reached. If, on a later holiday, we decide that Portugal is better, well, so what? What's lost?What we need, as I stated in an earlier posting, are criteria. If criteria can be agreed as to what we are looking for in a performance of this or that sonata, then they can be applied, and a list, of sorts, can be drawn up. Of course, there will still be dissenters, but I am sure that a measure of agreement, an impressive measure, is possible. The criteria will probably vary from sonata to sonata, even movement to movement, but so far we have no criteria at all, even for Op 2/1. Where writers have stated preferences, they have used terms like 'sturdy', 'robust', 'humorous' etc as if these are self-evidently qualities to be looked for in the movement under discussion. We are just floundering. That's why I think the idea to 'blind' listen to various performances of Op.49/2 is such a good one. From people's comments will emerge their unprejudiced ideas as to what constitute a good performance, and from all these comments, criteria should emerge which can be agreed upon. These can then be applied to 'new' performances we come across, as some sort of yardstick.
            Neil Walker 

            --- On Wed, 14/1/09, gperkins151 <gperkins151@ yahoo.com> wrote:
            From: gperkins151 <gperkins151@ yahoo.com>
            Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than Another One?
            To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
            Date: Wednesday, 14 January, 2009, 4:15 AM


            Hey Dick, as I read your post, I couldn't help but think of all the
            records Kid Rock or Mariah Carey or Jay Z sold over the last 5 years.
            On a given night, you might find 20,000 of their fans at one of their
            concerts, screaming in adoration. Does this make their music better
            than some indie band that can barely fill a hall of a few thousand?
            Not in my opinion.

            That so many people like Richter is not proof that he is better than
            some other pianist, it is just proof that he has a lot of fans. If on
            were to conclude that he is better than say Annie Fischer because he
            has so many fans who love his music, one would only be correct if one
            were stating an opinion and not a fact.

            To me this is one of things that makes discussing music so
            interesting. When it comes to who's good, better or best, it's all
            opinion, not fact. This way the discussion can go on forever without
            us reaching a point where we decide "this pianist is the best."

            When I first started listening. I loved Horowitz, then Argerich, then
            Annie Fischer, then R Serkin and now Richter. Even if I were to decide
            that ___________ was the best pianist or ___________ was the best
            performance of Op. 2 No. 1, it would only be the best one for me. I
            try not to do that though, as it closes the door for any pianist who
            may on day step forward and impress me a bit more.

            George

            --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "Richard Mathisen"
            <richard.mathisen@ ...> wrote:
            >
            > KHI,
            >
            > You appear to be addressing the second topic of this meeting.
            >
            > The first topic is comparing specific recordings of Beethoven piano
            sonatas to each other to identify the "best" recordings, with "best"
            in quotation marks.
            >
            > The second topic is to discuss whether this is such a thing as a
            "best" recording.
            >
            > Before going further, let me mention that you seem to be using a
            longer computer line than Yahoo accepts, so the line-wrap is
            incorrect. (Other members may be able to tell you, off-line, what
            needs to be done to correct that.)
            >
            > You seem to be claiming that no recording of an individual piece of
            music is inherently better than any other recording of that piece of
            music. Any preference by an individual for one recording over another
            is just personal reaction, not connected to the inherent quality of
            the performance and recording.
            >
            > You also note your high regard for the recordings made by Sviatoslav
            Richter.
            >
            > Now, probably a majority of music-lovers agree with your high
            opinion of Richter's recordings. I personally love Richter's
            recordings. How do you explain the fact that so many people love
            Richter's recordings, if it's just individual preference and not
            something inherent in Richter's recordings?
            >
            > Isn't it possible that Richter's recording of a particular work
            might be "better" in some sense than other recordings of that work?
            Isn't it possible that there might be a general consensus among
            knowledgeable music-lovers regarding a particular Richter recording of
            a particular work of music?
            >
            > Dick Mathisen
            >
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > From: klavierneuling
            > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
            > Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:05 AM
            > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: COMPARE THESE TWO
            >
            >
            > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "johnd012033"
            <johnduffy@> wrote:
            > >
            > > Two of my current favorites are:
            > > Paul Lewis & Stephen Kovacevich.
            > > Both are very appealing to me, but
            > > they are different. How are they
            > > different? Can someone help me
            > > identify & define that difference?
            > > ...johnd012033
            > >
            > The following may not answer your question, John, but it is related:
            >
            > Music is a bit like food. Only my own tastebuds know what they
            like, and nobody can
            > convince them by talking. You can name all the ingredients, the
            conditions, the chef and
            > even the appliances used, but you won't be able to say why the
            result tastes splendid or
            > terrible or in between. Taste has no yardstick; it cannot be
            subject to analysis. Words,
            > therefore, have no access to the world of taste.
            >
            > Yes, this is why I think music critics are useless folks. By the
            same token, any attempt at
            > creating a ranking of the `best' performances must fail, as the
            sensation of music in the
            > ear is known only to the listener himself or herself. And since
            this sensation takes place in
            > the realm of taste, it cannot be expressed by way of words. Any
            critic can say it was loud,
            > fast, not according to the score here and there, etc.; that is
            easy and cheap. Why,
            > however, a certain performance tastes to me or you, or doesn't,
            will remain a secret.
            >
            > Of course, when there is an excessive amount or no salt at all in
            the mixture you have a
            > clear reason for concern. For example, after listening live to the
            police chasing Murray
            > Perahia through the second movement, `Romanze', of Mozart's piano
            concerto No. 20, K
            > 466, I decided not to pay attention to this pianist any longer. I
            can thus explain, why.
            >
            > On the other hand, I cannot explain why Glenn Gould's playing is
            making me nervous,
            > mainly. I know he is a giant. Neither can I put my finger on why I
            feel bored when
            > listening to Rudolf Serkin. And so on. None of this happens when I
            listen to Emil Gilels or
            > to Walter Gieseking, or to Jorge Bolet, if my tastebuds are in the
            mood for Liszt, for
            > example. These and other pianists touch me and I usually stop
            doing what I am doing
            > when they're on.
            >
            > And then there is Sviatoslav Richter. Nine out of ten times his
            playing tastes the best to
            > me, no matter who the composer. To some he may indeed be playing
            too fast, too slow,
            > too loud and at times not even according to the score - but I,
            after many decades of
            > listening and comparing, usually come back to the taste of his
            cooking, and I cannot put in
            > words, why.
            >
            > KHI
            >

          • Richard Mathisen
            George, Let me drop the Richter issue, because I do not want to make any claim that one pianist is better than another. My claim, or hypothesis if you
            Message 5 of 26 , Jan 14, 2009
            • 0 Attachment
              George,
               
              Let me drop the Richter issue, because I do not want to make any claim that one pianist is "better" than another. My claim, or hypothesis if you prefer, is that one *recording* of a specific work can be judged to be "better" than another, by some measure of consensus.
               
              Let me pursue this a little further with regard to the Annie Fischer recording of Op 2-1.
               
              You and I both ranked the Annie Fischer recording of Op 2-1 in our Top 5 recordings of Op 2-1.
               
              Suppose 90% of all listeners who have the Annie Fischer recording and compare it to a substantial number of other recordings of Op 2-1 agree that her recording is in their Top 5. Would that still be merely personal preference? Suppose 95%?
               
              Is there any evidence that might convince you that the Annie Fischer recording is "better" than most other recordings of Op 2-1?
               
              Or is it always personal preference, regardless of any evidence of a more general consensus?
               
              Dick Mathisen
               
              ----- Original Message -----
              Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 11:15 PM
              Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than Another One?


              Hey Dick, as I read your post, I couldn't help but think of all the
              records Kid Rock or Mariah Carey or Jay Z sold over the last 5 years.
              On a given night, you might find 20,000 of their fans at one of their
              concerts, screaming in adoration. Does this make their music better
              than some indie band that can barely fill a hall of a few thousand?
              Not in my opinion.

              That so many people like Richter is not proof that he is better than
              some other pianist, it is just proof that he has a lot of fans. If on
              were to conclude that he is better than say Annie Fischer because he
              has so many fans who love his music, one would only be correct if one
              were stating an opinion and not a fact.

              To me this is one of things that makes discussing music so
              interesting. When it comes to who's good, better or best, it's all
              opinion, not fact. This way the discussion can go on forever without
              us reaching a point where we decide "this pianist is the best."

              When I first started listening. I loved Horowitz, then Argerich, then
              Annie Fischer, then R Serkin and now Richter. Even if I were to decide
              that ___________ was the best pianist or ___________ was the best
              performance of Op. 2 No. 1, it would only be the best one for me. I
              try not to do that though, as it closes the door for any pianist who
              may on day step forward and impress me a bit more.

              George

              --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "Richard Mathisen"
              <richard.mathisen@ ...> wrote:
              >
              > KHI,
              >
              > You appear to be addressing the second topic of this meeting.
              >
              > The first topic is comparing specific recordings of Beethoven piano
              sonatas to each other to identify the "best" recordings, with "best"
              in quotation marks.
              >
              > The second topic is to discuss whether this is such a thing as a
              "best" recording.
              >
              > Before going further, let me mention that you seem to be using a
              longer computer line than Yahoo accepts, so the line-wrap is
              incorrect. (Other members may be able to tell you, off-line, what
              needs to be done to correct that.)
              >
              > You seem to be claiming that no recording of an individual piece of
              music is inherently better than any other recording of that piece of
              music. Any preference by an individual for one recording over another
              is just personal reaction, not connected to the inherent quality of
              the performance and recording.
              >
              > You also note your high regard for the recordings made by Sviatoslav
              Richter.
              >
              > Now, probably a majority of music-lovers agree with your high
              opinion of Richter's recordings. I personally love Richter's
              recordings. How do you explain the fact that so many people love
              Richter's recordings, if it's just individual preference and not
              something inherent in Richter's recordings?
              >
              > Isn't it possible that Richter's recording of a particular work
              might be "better" in some sense than other recordings of that work?
              Isn't it possible that there might be a general consensus among
              knowledgeable music-lovers regarding a particular Richter recording of
              a particular work of music?
              >
              > Dick Mathisen
              >
              > ----- Original Message -----
              > From: klavierneuling
              > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
              > Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:05 AM
              > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: COMPARE THESE TWO
              >
              >
              > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "johnd012033"
              <johnduffy@> wrote:
              > >
              > > Two of my current favorites are:
              > > Paul Lewis & Stephen Kovacevich.
              > > Both are very appealing to me, but
              > > they are different. How are they
              > > different? Can someone help me
              > > identify & define that difference?
              > > ...johnd012033
              > >
              > The following may not answer your question, John, but it is related:
              >
              > Music is a bit like food. Only my own tastebuds know what they
              like, and nobody can
              > convince them by talking. You can name all the ingredients, the
              conditions, the chef and
              > even the appliances used, but you won't be able to say why the
              result tastes splendid or
              > terrible or in between. Taste has no yardstick; it cannot be
              subject to analysis. Words,
              > therefore, have no access to the world of taste.
              >
              > Yes, this is why I think music critics are useless folks. By the
              same token, any attempt at
              > creating a ranking of the `best' performances must fail, as the
              sensation of music in the
              > ear is known only to the listener himself or herself. And since
              this sensation takes place in
              > the realm of taste, it cannot be expressed by way of words. Any
              critic can say it was loud,
              > fast, not according to the score here and there, etc.; that is
              easy and cheap. Why,
              > however, a certain performance tastes to me or you, or doesn't,
              will remain a secret.
              >
              > Of course, when there is an excessive amount or no salt at all in
              the mixture you have a
              > clear reason for concern. For example, after listening live to the
              police chasing Murray
              > Perahia through the second movement, `Romanze', of Mozart's piano
              concerto No. 20, K
              > 466, I decided not to pay attention to this pianist any longer. I
              can thus explain, why.
              >
              > On the other hand, I cannot explain why Glenn Gould's playing is
              making me nervous,
              > mainly. I know he is a giant. Neither can I put my finger on why I
              feel bored when
              > listening to Rudolf Serkin. And so on. None of this happens when I
              listen to Emil Gilels or
              > to Walter Gieseking, or to Jorge Bolet, if my tastebuds are in the
              mood for Liszt, for
              > example. These and other pianists touch me and I usually stop
              doing what I am doing
              > when they're on.
              >
              > And then there is Sviatoslav Richter. Nine out of ten times his
              playing tastes the best to
              > me, no matter who the composer. To some he may indeed be playing
              too fast, too slow,
              > too loud and at times not even according to the score - but I,
              after many decades of
              > listening and comparing, usually come back to the taste of his
              cooking, and I cannot put in
              > words, why.
              >
              > KHI
              >

            • gperkins151
              Yes, if 90% of the people who own Annie Fischer s Op. 2 No. 1 love it and find it to be the best, that does not mean that she is the best for this sonata in
              Message 6 of 26 , Jan 14, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                Yes, if 90% of the people who own Annie Fischer's Op. 2 No. 1 love it
                and find it to be the best, that does not mean that she is "the best"
                for this sonata in an objective sense. 95% wouldn't change this either
                IMO. It's simply the collective opinions of the masses coincidentally
                preferring her over the others. Don't forget, that 5% still makes up
                make up a large number of listeners and they may not like Annie at
                all, nor might they even agree amongst themselves about who is "the
                best." Another example - Kempff's mono set is surely held in high
                regard for the vast majority of reviewers and listeners that I have
                come into contact with. However, I don't consider him one of the best
                at all, though.

                What matters to me is to find what the best performance of a given
                work is for me. I arrive at this most accurately by listening to those
                that are available and coming to my own conclusions. There are times
                that I have found performances that I adored by taking a suggestion of
                a friend who shares similar prefences (perhaps one that has made 90%
                recommedations that I have loved in the past), but that has never
                proven to be foolproof way to get a solid recommmendation, nor would I
                thionk it proves that there is one "best" out there.

                I guess I have grown to enjoy the search and prefer to simply listen
                and decide for myself which is my "best" or preferred Op. 2 No. 1.
                Even if someone has heard literally every performance of Beethoven's
                first sonata, live, studio, unreleased, this only makes him or her
                able to pick their favorite, their "best." If 100 people do this and
                90 agree on one, this is just their preferences lining up, it doesn't
                mean that one performance is the best for everybody. In fact, you
                already have 20 people who feel that at least one other performance is
                better and may not even like that one.

                But then all of the above is simply my opinion. It should not be the
                opinion of everybody. Even if 90% of the world agreed with me, it
                wouldn't make me right. It would just make me in agreement with the
                majority. It would not make my choice any more "right" for me. If it
                did, I would consider something to be wrong. Who could ever be a
                better judge of what I like than me?



                --- In beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Mathisen"
                <richard.mathisen@...> wrote:
                >
                > George,
                >
                > Let me drop the Richter issue, because I do not want to make any
                claim that one pianist is "better" than another. My claim, or
                hypothesis if you prefer, is that one *recording* of a specific work
                can be judged to be "better" than another, by some measure of consensus.
                >
                > Let me pursue this a little further with regard to the Annie Fischer
                recording of Op 2-1.
                >
                > You and I both ranked the Annie Fischer recording of Op 2-1 in our
                Top 5 recordings of Op 2-1.
                >
                > Suppose 90% of all listeners who have the Annie Fischer recording
                and compare it to a substantial number of other recordings of Op 2-1
                agree that her recording is in their Top 5. Would that still be merely
                personal preference? Suppose 95%?
                >
                > Is there any evidence that might convince you that the Annie Fischer
                recording is "better" than most other recordings of Op 2-1?
                >
                > Or is it always personal preference, regardless of any evidence of a
                more general consensus?
                >
                > Dick Mathisen
                >
                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: gperkins151
                > To: beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com
                > Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 11:15 PM
                > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than
                Another One?
                >
                >
                >
                > Hey Dick, as I read your post, I couldn't help but think of all the
                > records Kid Rock or Mariah Carey or Jay Z sold over the last 5 years.
                > On a given night, you might find 20,000 of their fans at one of their
                > concerts, screaming in adoration. Does this make their music better
                > than some indie band that can barely fill a hall of a few thousand?
                > Not in my opinion.
                >
                > That so many people like Richter is not proof that he is better than
                > some other pianist, it is just proof that he has a lot of fans. If on
                > were to conclude that he is better than say Annie Fischer because he
                > has so many fans who love his music, one would only be correct if one
                > were stating an opinion and not a fact.
                >
                > To me this is one of things that makes discussing music so
                > interesting. When it comes to who's good, better or best, it's all
                > opinion, not fact. This way the discussion can go on forever without
                > us reaching a point where we decide "this pianist is the best."
                >
                > When I first started listening. I loved Horowitz, then Argerich, then
                > Annie Fischer, then R Serkin and now Richter. Even if I were to decide
                > that ___________ was the best pianist or ___________ was the best
                > performance of Op. 2 No. 1, it would only be the best one for me. I
                > try not to do that though, as it closes the door for any pianist who
                > may on day step forward and impress me a bit more.
                >
                > George
                >
                > --- In beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Mathisen"
                > <richard.mathisen@> wrote:
                > >
                > > KHI,
                > >
                > > You appear to be addressing the second topic of this meeting.
                > >
                > > The first topic is comparing specific recordings of Beethoven piano
                > sonatas to each other to identify the "best" recordings, with "best"
                > in quotation marks.
                > >
                > > The second topic is to discuss whether this is such a thing as a
                > "best" recording.
                > >
                > > Before going further, let me mention that you seem to be using a
                > longer computer line than Yahoo accepts, so the line-wrap is
                > incorrect. (Other members may be able to tell you, off-line, what
                > needs to be done to correct that.)
                > >
                > > You seem to be claiming that no recording of an individual piece of
                > music is inherently better than any other recording of that piece of
                > music. Any preference by an individual for one recording over another
                > is just personal reaction, not connected to the inherent quality of
                > the performance and recording.
                > >
                > > You also note your high regard for the recordings made by Sviatoslav
                > Richter.
                > >
                > > Now, probably a majority of music-lovers agree with your high
                > opinion of Richter's recordings. I personally love Richter's
                > recordings. How do you explain the fact that so many people love
                > Richter's recordings, if it's just individual preference and not
                > something inherent in Richter's recordings?
                > >
                > > Isn't it possible that Richter's recording of a particular work
                > might be "better" in some sense than other recordings of that work?
                > Isn't it possible that there might be a general consensus among
                > knowledgeable music-lovers regarding a particular Richter recording of
                > a particular work of music?
                > >
                > > Dick Mathisen
                > >
                > > ----- Original Message -----
                > > From: klavierneuling
                > > To: beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com
                > > Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:05 AM
                > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: COMPARE THESE TWO
                > >
                > >
                > > --- In beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com, "johnd012033"
                > <johnduffy@> wrote:
                > > >
                > > > Two of my current favorites are:
                > > > Paul Lewis & Stephen Kovacevich.
                > > > Both are very appealing to me, but
                > > > they are different. How are they
                > > > different? Can someone help me
                > > > identify & define that difference?
                > > > ...johnd012033
                > > >
                > > The following may not answer your question, John, but it is related:
                > >
                > > Music is a bit like food. Only my own tastebuds know what they
                > like, and nobody can
                > > convince them by talking. You can name all the ingredients, the
                > conditions, the chef and
                > > even the appliances used, but you won't be able to say why the
                > result tastes splendid or
                > > terrible or in between. Taste has no yardstick; it cannot be
                > subject to analysis. Words,
                > > therefore, have no access to the world of taste.
                > >
                > > Yes, this is why I think music critics are useless folks. By the
                > same token, any attempt at
                > > creating a ranking of the `best' performances must fail, as the
                > sensation of music in the
                > > ear is known only to the listener himself or herself. And since
                > this sensation takes place in
                > > the realm of taste, it cannot be expressed by way of words. Any
                > critic can say it was loud,
                > > fast, not according to the score here and there, etc.; that is
                > easy and cheap. Why,
                > > however, a certain performance tastes to me or you, or doesn't,
                > will remain a secret.
                > >
                > > Of course, when there is an excessive amount or no salt at all in
                > the mixture you have a
                > > clear reason for concern. For example, after listening live to the
                > police chasing Murray
                > > Perahia through the second movement, `Romanze', of Mozart's piano
                > concerto No. 20, K
                > > 466, I decided not to pay attention to this pianist any longer. I
                > can thus explain, why.
                > >
                > > On the other hand, I cannot explain why Glenn Gould's playing is
                > making me nervous,
                > > mainly. I know he is a giant. Neither can I put my finger on why I
                > feel bored when
                > > listening to Rudolf Serkin. And so on. None of this happens when I
                > listen to Emil Gilels or
                > > to Walter Gieseking, or to Jorge Bolet, if my tastebuds are in the
                > mood for Liszt, for
                > > example. These and other pianists touch me and I usually stop
                > doing what I am doing
                > > when they're on.
                > >
                > > And then there is Sviatoslav Richter. Nine out of ten times his
                > playing tastes the best to
                > > me, no matter who the composer. To some he may indeed be playing
                > too fast, too slow,
                > > too loud and at times not even according to the score - but I,
                > after many decades of
                > > listening and comparing, usually come back to the taste of his
                > cooking, and I cannot put in
                > > words, why.
                > >
                > > KHI
                > >
                >
              • gperkins151
                I honestly see no way of discussing the question of can there be one Best? without getting into a philosophical debate. It is a philosophical question, after
                Message 7 of 26 , Jan 14, 2009
                • 0 Attachment
                  I honestly see no way of discussing the question of "can there be one
                  Best?" without getting into a philosophical debate. It is a
                  philosophical question, after all.

                  I think the best way for you to accomplish your goal of keeping the
                  discussion to the LvB sonatas is to simply end this discussion. It's a
                  big question and one that is sure interesting to discuss, but it
                  actually has nothing to do with Beethoven Soanatas, does it? It's
                  about discovering if there can be an objective best of anything.

                  I am very curious about one thing, though, why are you so interested
                  in this topic, Dick? If we were to somehow prove you hypothesis, what
                  would be gained by it? What would be done with that info? Do you
                  suppose people who don't believe in an absolute best would somehow
                  become convinced of our findings and change their mind?

                  George




                  --- In beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Mathisen"
                  <richard.mathisen@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Neil and George,
                  >
                  > I really don't want to get into a philosophical debate about
                  relativism. I agree that it is a major underlying issue, but a group
                  like this is not capable of coming to any broad philosophical conclusions.
                  >
                  > I'd like to try to keep the discussion tethered to recordings of
                  Beethoven piano sonatas.
                  >
                  > Dick Mathisen
                  > Moderator
                  >
                  > ----- Original Message -----
                  > From: NEIL WALKER
                  > To: beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com
                  > Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 4:22 AM
                  > Subject: Re: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than
                  Another One?
                  >
                  >
                  > I am really confused about all this. It looks like a new way
                  of stating the relativist position, but some sentences leave me
                  gawping! How can a proposition be 'guaranteed' correctness by our
                  stipulating in advance that it is an opinion? Are all opinions
                  correct, or are only facts correct? Is it not a fact that I hold
                  certain opinions? As for avoiding having a favourite performance just
                  in case some as-yet-unknown or later discovered performance might
                  usurp our original choice, well that seems to me quite an
                  extraordinary position to take. It's a bit like not going to Spain for
                  a holiday this year because it might well have turned out, or later
                  turn out that Portugal would be 'better'. With a bit of work, it can
                  be decided which is better, but that will depend upon what defines a
                  'good' holiday, given what we look for in a holiday, as such - and if
                  the parameters are well enough drawn, agreement can be reached. If, on
                  a later holiday, we decide that Portugal is better, well, so what?
                  What's lost?What we need, as I stated in an earlier posting, are
                  criteria. If criteria can be agreed as to what we are looking for in a
                  performance of this or that sonata, then they can be applied, and a
                  list, of sorts, can be drawn up. Of course, there will still be
                  dissenters, but I am sure that a measure of agreement, an impressive
                  measure, is possible. The criteria will probably vary from sonata to
                  sonata, even movement to movement, but so far we have no criteria at
                  all, even for Op 2/1. Where writers have stated preferences, they have
                  used terms like 'sturdy', 'robust', 'humorous' etc as if these are
                  self-evidently qualities to be looked for in the movement under
                  discussion. We are just floundering. That's why I think the idea to
                  'blind' listen to various performances of Op.49/2 is such a good one.
                  From people's comments will emerge their unprejudiced ideas as to what
                  constitute a good performance, and from all these comments, criteria
                  should emerge which can be agreed upon. These can then be applied to
                  'new' performances we come across, as some sort of yardstick.
                  > Neil Walker
                  >
                  > --- On Wed, 14/1/09, gperkins151 <gperkins151@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > From: gperkins151 <gperkins151@...>
                  > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better
                  than Another One?
                  > To: beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com
                  > Date: Wednesday, 14 January, 2009, 4:15 AM
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Hey Dick, as I read your post, I couldn't help but think
                  of all the
                  > records Kid Rock or Mariah Carey or Jay Z sold over the
                  last 5 years.
                  > On a given night, you might find 20,000 of their fans at
                  one of their
                  > concerts, screaming in adoration. Does this make their
                  music better
                  > than some indie band that can barely fill a hall of a few
                  thousand?
                  > Not in my opinion.
                  >
                  > That so many people like Richter is not proof that he is
                  better than
                  > some other pianist, it is just proof that he has a lot of
                  fans. If on
                  > were to conclude that he is better than say Annie Fischer
                  because he
                  > has so many fans who love his music, one would only be
                  correct if one
                  > were stating an opinion and not a fact.
                  >
                  > To me this is one of things that makes discussing music so
                  > interesting. When it comes to who's good, better or best,
                  it's all
                  > opinion, not fact. This way the discussion can go on
                  forever without
                  > us reaching a point where we decide "this pianist is the
                  best."
                  >
                  > When I first started listening. I loved Horowitz, then
                  Argerich, then
                  > Annie Fischer, then R Serkin and now Richter. Even if I
                  were to decide
                  > that ___________ was the best pianist or ___________ was
                  the best
                  > performance of Op. 2 No. 1, it would only be the best one
                  for me. I
                  > try not to do that though, as it closes the door for any
                  pianist who
                  > may on day step forward and impress me a bit more.
                  >
                  > George
                  >
                  > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "Richard Mathisen"
                  > <richard.mathisen@ ...> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > KHI,
                  > >
                  > > You appear to be addressing the second topic of this
                  meeting.
                  > >
                  > > The first topic is comparing specific recordings of
                  Beethoven piano
                  > sonatas to each other to identify the "best" recordings,
                  with "best"
                  > in quotation marks.
                  > >
                  > > The second topic is to discuss whether this is such a
                  thing as a
                  > "best" recording.
                  > >
                  > > Before going further, let me mention that you seem to be
                  using a
                  > longer computer line than Yahoo accepts, so the line-wrap is
                  > incorrect. (Other members may be able to tell you,
                  off-line, what
                  > needs to be done to correct that.)
                  > >
                  > > You seem to be claiming that no recording of an
                  individual piece of
                  > music is inherently better than any other recording of
                  that piece of
                  > music. Any preference by an individual for one recording
                  over another
                  > is just personal reaction, not connected to the inherent
                  quality of
                  > the performance and recording.
                  > >
                  > > You also note your high regard for the recordings made
                  by Sviatoslav
                  > Richter.
                  > >
                  > > Now, probably a majority of music-lovers agree with your
                  high
                  > opinion of Richter's recordings. I personally love Richter's
                  > recordings. How do you explain the fact that so many
                  people love
                  > Richter's recordings, if it's just individual preference
                  and not
                  > something inherent in Richter's recordings?
                  > >
                  > > Isn't it possible that Richter's recording of a
                  particular work
                  > might be "better" in some sense than other recordings of
                  that work?
                  > Isn't it possible that there might be a general consensus
                  among
                  > knowledgeable music-lovers regarding a particular Richter
                  recording of
                  > a particular work of music?
                  > >
                  > > Dick Mathisen
                  > >
                  > > ----- Original Message -----
                  > > From: klavierneuling
                  > > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                  > > Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:05 AM
                  > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: COMPARE THESE TWO
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "johnd012033"
                  > <johnduffy@> wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > > Two of my current favorites are:
                  > > > Paul Lewis & Stephen Kovacevich.
                  > > > Both are very appealing to me, but
                  > > > they are different. How are they
                  > > > different? Can someone help me
                  > > > identify & define that difference?
                  > > > ...johnd012033
                  > > >
                  > > The following may not answer your question, John, but it
                  is related:
                  > >
                  > > Music is a bit like food. Only my own tastebuds know
                  what they
                  > like, and nobody can
                  > > convince them by talking. You can name all the
                  ingredients, the
                  > conditions, the chef and
                  > > even the appliances used, but you won't be able to say
                  why the
                  > result tastes splendid or
                  > > terrible or in between. Taste has no yardstick; it cannot be
                  > subject to analysis. Words,
                  > > therefore, have no access to the world of taste.
                  > >
                  > > Yes, this is why I think music critics are useless
                  folks. By the
                  > same token, any attempt at
                  > > creating a ranking of the `best' performances must fail,
                  as the
                  > sensation of music in the
                  > > ear is known only to the listener himself or herself.
                  And since
                  > this sensation takes place in
                  > > the realm of taste, it cannot be expressed by way of
                  words. Any
                  > critic can say it was loud,
                  > > fast, not according to the score here and there, etc.;
                  that is
                  > easy and cheap. Why,
                  > > however, a certain performance tastes to me or you, or
                  doesn't,
                  > will remain a secret.
                  > >
                  > > Of course, when there is an excessive amount or no salt
                  at all in
                  > the mixture you have a
                  > > clear reason for concern. For example, after listening
                  live to the
                  > police chasing Murray
                  > > Perahia through the second movement, `Romanze', of
                  Mozart's piano
                  > concerto No. 20, K
                  > > 466, I decided not to pay attention to this pianist any
                  longer. I
                  > can thus explain, why.
                  > >
                  > > On the other hand, I cannot explain why Glenn Gould's
                  playing is
                  > making me nervous,
                  > > mainly. I know he is a giant. Neither can I put my
                  finger on why I
                  > feel bored when
                  > > listening to Rudolf Serkin. And so on. None of this
                  happens when I
                  > listen to Emil Gilels or
                  > > to Walter Gieseking, or to Jorge Bolet, if my tastebuds
                  are in the
                  > mood for Liszt, for
                  > > example. These and other pianists touch me and I usually
                  stop
                  > doing what I am doing
                  > > when they're on.
                  > >
                  > > And then there is Sviatoslav Richter. Nine out of ten
                  times his
                  > playing tastes the best to
                  > > me, no matter who the composer. To some he may indeed be
                  playing
                  > too fast, too slow,
                  > > too loud and at times not even according to the score -
                  but I,
                  > after many decades of
                  > > listening and comparing, usually come back to the taste
                  of his
                  > cooking, and I cannot put in
                  > > words, why.
                  > >
                  > > KHI
                  > >
                  >
                • gperkins151
                  In an indirect way, you are proving my point. The criteria you refer to is different for everybody, thus the reason we often have very different ideas about
                  Message 8 of 26 , Jan 14, 2009
                  • 0 Attachment
                    In an indirect way, you are proving my point. The criteria you refer
                    to is different for everybody, thus the reason we often have very
                    different ideas about what is best. It's a unique, personal criteria
                    for everybody. Having us all agree on one criteria thus seems not only
                    impossible, but rather inhuman.

                    George


                    --- In beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com, NEIL WALKER <joaobur@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > I am really confused about all this. It looks like a new way of
                    stating the relativist position, but some sentences leave me gawping!
                    How can a proposition be 'guaranteed' correctness by our stipulating
                    in advance that it is an opinion? Are all opinions correct, or are
                    only facts correct? Is it not a fact that I hold certain opinions? As
                    for avoiding having a favourite performance just in case some
                    as-yet-unknown or later discovered performance might usurp our
                    original choice, well that seems to me quite an extraordinary position
                    to take. It's a bit like not going to Spain for a holiday this
                    year because it might well have turned out, or later turn out that
                    Portugal would be 'better'. With a bit of work, it can be decided
                    which is better, but that will depend upon what defines a 'good'
                    holiday, given what we look for in a holiday, as such - and if the
                    parameters are well enough drawn, agreement can be reached. If, on a
                    later holiday, we decide that
                    > Portugal is better, well, so what? What's lost?What we need, as I
                    stated in an earlier posting, are criteria. If criteria can be agreed
                    as to what we are looking for in a performance of this or that sonata,
                    then they can be applied, and a list, of sorts, can be drawn up. Of
                    course, there will still be dissenters, but I am sure that a measure
                    of agreement, an impressive measure, is possible. The criteria will
                    probably vary from sonata to sonata, even movement to movement, but so
                    far we have no criteria at all, even for Op 2/1. Where writers have
                    stated preferences, they have used terms like 'sturdy', 'robust',
                    'humorous' etc as if these are self-evidently qualities to be looked
                    for in the movement under discussion. We are just floundering. That's
                    why I think the idea to 'blind' listen to various performances of
                    Op.49/2 is such a good one. From people's comments will emerge their
                    unprejudiced ideas as to what constitute a good performance, and from all
                    > these comments, criteria should emerge which can be agreed upon.
                    These can then be applied to 'new' performances we come across, as
                    some sort of yardstick.
                    > Neil Walker 
                    >
                    > --- On Wed, 14/1/09, gperkins151 <gperkins151@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > From: gperkins151 <gperkins151@...>
                    > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than Another
                    One?
                    > To: beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com
                    > Date: Wednesday, 14 January, 2009, 4:15 AM
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Hey Dick, as I read your post, I couldn't help but think of all the
                    > records Kid Rock or Mariah Carey or Jay Z sold over the last 5 years.
                    > On a given night, you might find 20,000 of their fans at one of their
                    > concerts, screaming in adoration. Does this make their music better
                    > than some indie band that can barely fill a hall of a few thousand?
                    > Not in my opinion.
                    >
                    > That so many people like Richter is not proof that he is better than
                    > some other pianist, it is just proof that he has a lot of fans. If on
                    > were to conclude that he is better than say Annie Fischer because he
                    > has so many fans who love his music, one would only be correct if one
                    > were stating an opinion and not a fact.
                    >
                    > To me this is one of things that makes discussing music so
                    > interesting. When it comes to who's good, better or best, it's all
                    > opinion, not fact. This way the discussion can go on forever without
                    > us reaching a point where we decide "this pianist is the best."
                    >
                    > When I first started listening. I loved Horowitz, then Argerich, then
                    > Annie Fischer, then R Serkin and now Richter. Even if I were to decide
                    > that ___________ was the best pianist or ___________ was the best
                    > performance of Op. 2 No. 1, it would only be the best one for me. I
                    > try not to do that though, as it closes the door for any pianist who
                    > may on day step forward and impress me a bit more.
                    >
                    > George
                    >
                    > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "Richard Mathisen"
                    > <richard.mathisen@ ...> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > KHI,
                    > >
                    > > You appear to be addressing the second topic of this meeting.
                    > >
                    > > The first topic is comparing specific recordings of Beethoven piano
                    > sonatas to each other to identify the "best" recordings, with "best"
                    > in quotation marks.
                    > >
                    > > The second topic is to discuss whether this is such a thing as a
                    > "best" recording.
                    > >
                    > > Before going further, let me mention that you seem to be using a
                    > longer computer line than Yahoo accepts, so the line-wrap is
                    > incorrect. (Other members may be able to tell you, off-line, what
                    > needs to be done to correct that.)
                    > >
                    > > You seem to be claiming that no recording of an individual piece of
                    > music is inherently better than any other recording of that piece of
                    > music. Any preference by an individual for one recording over another
                    > is just personal reaction, not connected to the inherent quality of
                    > the performance and recording.
                    > >
                    > > You also note your high regard for the recordings made by Sviatoslav
                    > Richter.
                    > >
                    > > Now, probably a majority of music-lovers agree with your high
                    > opinion of Richter's recordings. I personally love Richter's
                    > recordings. How do you explain the fact that so many people love
                    > Richter's recordings, if it's just individual preference and not
                    > something inherent in Richter's recordings?
                    > >
                    > > Isn't it possible that Richter's recording of a particular work
                    > might be "better" in some sense than other recordings of that work?
                    > Isn't it possible that there might be a general consensus among
                    > knowledgeable music-lovers regarding a particular Richter recording of
                    > a particular work of music?
                    > >
                    > > Dick Mathisen
                    > >
                    > > ----- Original Message -----
                    > > From: klavierneuling
                    > > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                    > > Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:05 AM
                    > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: COMPARE THESE TWO
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "johnd012033"
                    > <johnduffy@> wrote:
                    > > >
                    > > > Two of my current favorites are:
                    > > > Paul Lewis & Stephen Kovacevich.
                    > > > Both are very appealing to me, but
                    > > > they are different. How are they
                    > > > different? Can someone help me
                    > > > identify & define that difference?
                    > > > ...johnd012033
                    > > >
                    > > The following may not answer your question, John, but it is related:
                    > >
                    > > Music is a bit like food. Only my own tastebuds know what they
                    > like, and nobody can
                    > > convince them by talking. You can name all the ingredients, the
                    > conditions, the chef and
                    > > even the appliances used, but you won't be able to say why the
                    > result tastes splendid or
                    > > terrible or in between. Taste has no yardstick; it cannot be
                    > subject to analysis. Words,
                    > > therefore, have no access to the world of taste.
                    > >
                    > > Yes, this is why I think music critics are useless folks. By the
                    > same token, any attempt at
                    > > creating a ranking of the `best' performances must fail, as the
                    > sensation of music in the
                    > > ear is known only to the listener himself or herself. And since
                    > this sensation takes place in
                    > > the realm of taste, it cannot be expressed by way of words. Any
                    > critic can say it was loud,
                    > > fast, not according to the score here and there, etc.; that is
                    > easy and cheap. Why,
                    > > however, a certain performance tastes to me or you, or doesn't,
                    > will remain a secret.
                    > >
                    > > Of course, when there is an excessive amount or no salt at all in
                    > the mixture you have a
                    > > clear reason for concern. For example, after listening live to the
                    > police chasing Murray
                    > > Perahia through the second movement, `Romanze', of Mozart's piano
                    > concerto No. 20, K
                    > > 466, I decided not to pay attention to this pianist any longer. I
                    > can thus explain, why.
                    > >
                    > > On the other hand, I cannot explain why Glenn Gould's playing is
                    > making me nervous,
                    > > mainly. I know he is a giant. Neither can I put my finger on why I
                    > feel bored when
                    > > listening to Rudolf Serkin. And so on. None of this happens when I
                    > listen to Emil Gilels or
                    > > to Walter Gieseking, or to Jorge Bolet, if my tastebuds are in the
                    > mood for Liszt, for
                    > > example. These and other pianists touch me and I usually stop
                    > doing what I am doing
                    > > when they're on.
                    > >
                    > > And then there is Sviatoslav Richter. Nine out of ten times his
                    > playing tastes the best to
                    > > me, no matter who the composer. To some he may indeed be playing
                    > too fast, too slow,
                    > > too loud and at times not even according to the score - but I,
                    > after many decades of
                    > > listening and comparing, usually come back to the taste of his
                    > cooking, and I cannot put in
                    > > words, why.
                    > >
                    > > KHI
                    > >
                    >
                  • NEIL WALKER
                    I agree with George that any discussion of this kind is bound to be philosophical. However, Richard clearly does not want such a discussion, and to be fair to
                    Message 9 of 26 , Jan 16, 2009
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                      I agree with George that any discussion of this kind is bound to be philosophical. However, Richard clearly does not want such a discussion, and to be fair to him I think there is still mileage in the debate, though not towards any goal of deciding a 'best' performance of any of the sonatas. Consensus is not entirely irrelevant, but almost so.
                      Neil Walker.

                      --- On Wed, 14/1/09, gperkins151 <gperkins151@...> wrote:
                      From: gperkins151 <gperkins151@...>
                      Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than Another One?
                      To: beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com
                      Date: Wednesday, 14 January, 2009, 6:39 PM

                      I honestly see no way of discussing the question of "can there be one
                      Best?" without getting into a philosophical debate. It is a
                      philosophical question, after all.

                      I think the best way for you to accomplish your goal of keeping the
                      discussion to the LvB sonatas is to simply end this discussion. It's a
                      big question and one that is sure interesting to discuss, but it
                      actually has nothing to do with Beethoven Soanatas, does it? It's
                      about discovering if there can be an objective best of anything.

                      I am very curious about one thing, though, why are you so interested
                      in this topic, Dick? If we were to somehow prove you hypothesis, what
                      would be gained by it? What would be done with that info? Do you
                      suppose people who don't believe in an absolute best would somehow
                      become convinced of our findings and change their mind?

                      George

                      --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "Richard Mathisen"
                      <richard.mathisen@ ...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Neil and George,
                      >
                      > I really don't want to get into a philosophical debate about
                      relativism. I agree that it is a major underlying issue, but a group
                      like this is not capable of coming to any broad philosophical conclusions.
                      >
                      > I'd like to try to keep the discussion tethered to recordings of
                      Beethoven piano sonatas.
                      >
                      > Dick Mathisen
                      > Moderator
                      >
                      > ----- Original Message -----
                      > From: NEIL WALKER
                      > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                      > Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 4:22 AM
                      > Subject: Re: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than
                      Another One?
                      >
                      >
                      > I am really confused about all this. It looks like a new way
                      of stating the relativist position, but some sentences leave me
                      gawping! How can a proposition be 'guaranteed' correctness by our
                      stipulating in advance that it is an opinion? Are all opinions
                      correct, or are only facts correct? Is it not a fact that I hold
                      certain opinions? As for avoiding having a favourite performance just
                      in case some as-yet-unknown or later discovered performance might
                      usurp our original choice, well that seems to me quite an
                      extraordinary position to take. It's a bit like not going to Spain for
                      a holiday this year because it might well have turned out, or later
                      turn out that Portugal would be 'better'. With a bit of work, it can
                      be decided which is better, but that will depend upon what defines a
                      'good' holiday, given what we look for in a holiday, as such - and if
                      the parameters are well enough drawn, agreement can be reached. If, on
                      a later holiday, we decide that Portugal is better, well, so what?
                      What's lost?What we need, as I stated in an earlier posting, are
                      criteria. If criteria can be agreed as to what we are looking for in a
                      performance of this or that sonata, then they can be applied, and a
                      list, of sorts, can be drawn up. Of course, there will still be
                      dissenters, but I am sure that a measure of agreement, an impressive
                      measure, is possible. The criteria will probably vary from sonata to
                      sonata, even movement to movement, but so far we have no criteria at
                      all, even for Op 2/1. Where writers have stated preferences, they have
                      used terms like 'sturdy', 'robust', 'humorous' etc as if these are
                      self-evidently qualities to be looked for in the movement under
                      discussion. We are just floundering. That's why I think the idea to
                      'blind' listen to various performances of Op.49/2 is such a good one.
                      From people's comments will emerge their unprejudiced ideas as to what
                      constitute a good performance, and from all these comments, criteria
                      should emerge which can be agreed upon. These can then be applied to
                      'new' performances we come across, as some sort of yardstick.
                      > Neil Walker
                      >
                      > --- On Wed, 14/1/09, gperkins151 <gperkins151@ ...> wrote:
                      >
                      > From: gperkins151 <gperkins151@ ...>
                      > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better
                      than Another One?
                      > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                      > Date: Wednesday, 14 January, 2009, 4:15 AM
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Hey Dick, as I read your post, I couldn't help but think
                      of all the
                      > records Kid Rock or Mariah Carey or Jay Z sold over the
                      last 5 years.
                      > On a given night, you might find 20,000 of their fans at
                      one of their
                      > concerts, screaming in adoration. Does this make their
                      music better
                      > than some indie band that can barely fill a hall of a few
                      thousand?
                      > Not in my opinion.
                      >
                      > That so many people like Richter is not proof that he is
                      better than
                      > some other pianist, it is just proof that he has a lot of
                      fans. If on
                      > were to conclude that he is better than say Annie Fischer
                      because he
                      > has so many fans who love his music, one would only be
                      correct if one
                      > were stating an opinion and not a fact.
                      >
                      > To me this is one of things that makes discussing music so
                      > interesting. When it comes to who's good, better or best,
                      it's all
                      > opinion, not fact. This way the discussion can go on
                      forever without
                      > us reaching a point where we decide "this pianist is the
                      best."
                      >
                      > When I first started listening. I loved Horowitz, then
                      Argerich, then
                      > Annie Fischer, then R Serkin and now Richter. Even if I
                      were to decide
                      > that ___________ was the best pianist or ___________ was
                      the best
                      > performance of Op. 2 No. 1, it would only be the best one
                      for me. I
                      > try not to do that though, as it closes the door for any
                      pianist who
                      > may on day step forward and impress me a bit more.
                      >
                      > George
                      >
                      > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "Richard Mathisen"
                      > <richard.mathisen@ ...> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > KHI,
                      > >
                      > > You appear to be addressing the second topic of this
                      meeting.
                      > >
                      > > The first topic is comparing specific recordings of
                      Beethoven piano
                      > sonatas to each other to identify the "best" recordings,
                      with "best"
                      > in quotation marks.
                      > >
                      > > The second topic is to discuss whether this is such a
                      thing as a
                      > "best" recording.
                      > >
                      > > Before going further, let me mention that you seem to be
                      using a
                      > longer computer line than Yahoo accepts, so the line-wrap is
                      > incorrect. (Other members may be able to tell you,
                      off-line, what
                      > needs to be done to correct that.)
                      > >
                      > > You seem to be claiming that no recording of an
                      individual piece of
                      > music is inherently better than any other recording of
                      that piece of
                      > music. Any preference by an individual for one recording
                      over another
                      > is just personal reaction, not connected to the inherent
                      quality of
                      > the performance and recording.
                      > >
                      > > You also note your high regard for the recordings made
                      by Sviatoslav
                      > Richter.
                      > >
                      > > Now, probably a majority of music-lovers agree with your
                      high
                      > opinion of Richter's recordings. I personally love Richter's
                      > recordings. How do you explain the fact that so many
                      people love
                      > Richter's recordings, if it's just individual preference
                      and not
                      > something inherent in Richter's recordings?
                      > >
                      > > Isn't it possible that Richter's recording of a
                      particular work
                      > might be "better" in some sense than other recordings of
                      that work?
                      > Isn't it possible that there might be a general consensus
                      among
                      > knowledgeable music-lovers regarding a particular Richter
                      recording of
                      > a particular work of music?
                      > >
                      > > Dick Mathisen
                      > >
                      > > ----- Original Message -----
                      > > From: klavierneuling
                      > > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                      > > Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:05 AM
                      > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: COMPARE THESE TWO
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "johnd012033"
                      > <johnduffy@> wrote:
                      > > >
                      > > > Two of my current favorites are:
                      > > > Paul Lewis & Stephen Kovacevich.
                      > > > Both are very appealing to me, but
                      > > > they are different. How are they
                      > > > different? Can someone help me
                      > > > identify & define that difference?
                      > > > ...johnd012033
                      > > >
                      > > The following may not answer your question, John, but it
                      is related:
                      > >
                      > > Music is a bit like food. Only my own tastebuds know
                      what they
                      > like, and nobody can
                      > > convince them by talking. You can name all the
                      ingredients, the
                      > conditions, the chef and
                      > > even the appliances used, but you won't be able to say
                      why the
                      > result tastes splendid or
                      > > terrible or in between. Taste has no yardstick; it cannot be
                      > subject to analysis. Words,
                      > > therefore, have no access to the world of taste.
                      > >
                      > > Yes, this is why I think music critics are useless
                      folks. By the
                      > same token, any attempt at
                      > > creating a ranking of the `best' performances must fail,
                      as the
                      > sensation of music in the
                      > > ear is known only to the listener himself or herself.
                      And since
                      > this sensation takes place in
                      > > the realm of taste, it cannot be expressed by way of
                      words. Any
                      > critic can say it was loud,
                      > > fast, not according to the score here and there, etc.;
                      that is
                      > easy and cheap. Why,
                      > > however, a certain performance tastes to me or you, or
                      doesn't,
                      > will remain a secret.
                      > >
                      > > Of course, when there is an excessive amount or no salt
                      at all in
                      > the mixture you have a
                      > > clear reason for concern. For example, after listening
                      live to the
                      > police chasing Murray
                      > > Perahia through the second movement, `Romanze', of
                      Mozart's piano
                      > concerto No. 20, K
                      > > 466, I decided not to pay attention to this pianist any
                      longer. I
                      > can thus explain, why.
                      > >
                      > > On the other hand, I cannot explain why Glenn Gould's
                      playing is
                      > making me nervous,
                      > > mainly. I know he is a giant. Neither can I put my
                      finger on why I
                      > feel bored when
                      > > listening to Rudolf Serkin. And so on. None of this
                      happens when I
                      > listen to Emil Gilels or
                      > > to Walter Gieseking, or to Jorge Bolet, if my tastebuds
                      are in the
                      > mood for Liszt, for
                      > > example. These and other pianists touch me and I usually
                      stop
                      > doing what I am doing
                      > > when they're on.
                      > >
                      > > And then there is Sviatoslav Richter. Nine out of ten
                      times his
                      > playing tastes the best to
                      > > me, no matter who the composer. To some he may indeed be
                      playing
                      > too fast, too slow,
                      > > too loud and at times not even according to the score -
                      but I,
                      > after many decades of
                      > > listening and comparing, usually come back to the taste
                      of his
                      > cooking, and I cannot put in
                      > > words, why.
                      > >
                      > > KHI
                      > >
                      >

                    • NEIL WALKER
                      George,       You can agree criteria independently of any consideration of any sonata. Going along this road leads to what philosophers refer to, I
                      Message 10 of 26 , Jan 16, 2009
                      • 0 Attachment
                        George,
                              You can agree criteria independently of any consideration of any sonata. Going along this road leads to what philosophers refer to, I believe, as a 'reductio ad absurdum'. However, I do agree that arriving at any set of criteria must derive from consideration of many points of view and much debate. Thinking about and setting out why you like something helps to crystallize your own opinions and gut reactions, and can be helpful, making your attitudes more accessible to others. However, this site is Richard's 'baby', and I am happy to restrict my comments to what he considers acceptable.   
                        Neil Walker

                        --- On Wed, 14/1/09, gperkins151 <gperkins151@...> wrote:
                        From: gperkins151 <gperkins151@...>
                        Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than Another One?
                        To: beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com
                        Date: Wednesday, 14 January, 2009, 6:58 PM

                        In an indirect way, you are proving my point. The criteria you refer
                        to is different for everybody, thus the reason we often have very
                        different ideas about what is best. It's a unique, personal criteria
                        for everybody. Having us all agree on one criteria thus seems not only
                        impossible, but rather inhuman.

                        George


                        --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, NEIL WALKER <joaobur@... > wrote:
                        >
                        > I am really confused about all this. It looks like a new way of
                        stating the relativist position, but some sentences leave me gawping!
                        How can a proposition be 'guaranteed' correctness by our stipulating
                        in advance that it is an opinion? Are all opinions correct, or are
                        only facts correct? Is it not a fact that I hold certain opinions? As
                        for avoiding having a favourite performance just in case some
                        as-yet-unknown or later discovered performance might usurp our
                        original choice, well that seems to me quite an extraordinary position
                        to take. It's a bit like not going to Spain for a holiday this
                        year because it might well have turned out, or later turn out that
                        Portugal would be 'better'. With a bit of work, it can be decided
                        which is better, but that will depend upon what defines a 'good'
                        holiday, given what we look for in a holiday, as such - and if the
                        parameters are well enough drawn, agreement can be reached. If, on a
                        later holiday, we decide that
                        > Portugal is better, well, so what? What's lost?What we need, as I
                        stated in an earlier posting, are criteria. If criteria can be agreed
                        as to what we are looking for in a performance of this or that sonata,
                        then they can be applied, and a list, of sorts, can be drawn up. Of
                        course, there will still be dissenters, but I am sure that a measure
                        of agreement, an impressive measure, is possible. The criteria will
                        probably vary from sonata to sonata, even movement to movement, but so
                        far we have no criteria at all, even for Op 2/1. Where writers have
                        stated preferences, they have used terms like 'sturdy', 'robust',
                        'humorous' etc as if these are self-evidently qualities to be looked
                        for in the movement under discussion. We are just floundering. That's
                        why I think the idea to 'blind' listen to various performances of
                        Op.49/2 is such a good one. From people's comments will emerge their
                        unprejudiced ideas as to what constitute a good performance, and from all
                        > these comments, criteria should emerge which can be agreed upon.
                        These can then be applied to 'new' performances  we come across, as
                        some sort of yardstick.
                        > Neil Walker 
                        >
                        > --- On Wed, 14/1/09, gperkins151 <gperkins151@ ...> wrote:
                        >
                        > From: gperkins151 <gperkins151@ ...>
                        > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than Another
                        One?
                        > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                        > Date: Wednesday, 14 January, 2009, 4:15 AM
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Hey Dick, as I read your post, I couldn't help but think of all the
                        > records Kid Rock or Mariah Carey or Jay Z sold over the last 5 years.
                        > On a given night, you might find 20,000 of their fans at one of their
                        > concerts, screaming in adoration. Does this make their music better
                        > than some indie band that can barely fill a hall of a few thousand?
                        > Not in my opinion.
                        >
                        > That so many people like Richter is not proof that he is better than
                        > some other pianist, it is just proof that he has a lot of fans. If on
                        > were to conclude that he is better than say Annie Fischer because he
                        > has so many fans who love his music, one would only be correct if one
                        > were stating an opinion and not a fact.
                        >
                        > To me this is one of things that makes discussing music so
                        > interesting. When it comes to who's good, better or best, it's all
                        > opinion, not fact. This way the discussion can go on forever without
                        > us reaching a point where we decide "this pianist is the best."
                        >
                        > When I first started listening. I loved Horowitz, then Argerich, then
                        > Annie Fischer, then R Serkin and now Richter. Even if I were to decide
                        > that ___________ was the best pianist or ___________ was the best
                        > performance of Op. 2 No. 1, it would only be the best one for me. I
                        > try not to do that though, as it closes the door for any pianist who
                        > may on day step forward and impress me a bit more.
                        >
                        > George
                        >
                        > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "Richard Mathisen"
                        > <richard.mathisen@ ...> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > KHI,
                        > >
                        > > You appear to be addressing the second topic of this meeting.
                        > >
                        > > The first topic is comparing specific recordings of Beethoven piano
                        > sonatas to each other to identify the "best" recordings, with "best"
                        > in quotation marks.
                        > >
                        > > The second topic is to discuss whether this is such a thing as a
                        > "best" recording.
                        > >
                        > > Before going further, let me mention that you seem to be using a
                        > longer computer line than Yahoo accepts, so the line-wrap is
                        > incorrect. (Other members may be able to tell you, off-line, what
                        > needs to be done to correct that.)
                        > >
                        > > You seem to be claiming that no recording of an individual piece of
                        > music is inherently better than any other recording of that piece of
                        > music. Any preference by an individual for one recording over another
                        > is just personal reaction, not connected to the inherent quality of
                        > the performance and recording.
                        > >
                        > > You also note your high regard for the recordings made by Sviatoslav
                        > Richter.
                        > >
                        > > Now, probably a majority of music-lovers agree with your high
                        > opinion of Richter's recordings. I personally love Richter's
                        > recordings. How do you explain the fact that so many people love
                        > Richter's recordings, if it's just individual preference and not
                        > something inherent in Richter's recordings?
                        > >
                        > > Isn't it possible that Richter's recording of a particular work
                        > might be "better" in some sense than other recordings of that work?
                        > Isn't it possible that there might be a general consensus among
                        > knowledgeable music-lovers regarding a particular Richter recording of
                        > a particular work of music?
                        > >
                        > > Dick Mathisen
                        > >
                        > > ----- Original Message -----
                        > > From: klavierneuling
                        > > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                        > > Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:05 AM
                        > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: COMPARE THESE TWO
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "johnd012033"
                        > <johnduffy@> wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > > Two of my current favorites are:
                        > > > Paul Lewis & Stephen Kovacevich.
                        > > > Both are very appealing to me, but
                        > > > they are different. How are they
                        > > > different? Can someone help me
                        > > > identify & define that difference?
                        > > > ...johnd012033
                        > > >
                        > > The following may not answer your question, John, but it is related:
                        > >
                        > > Music is a bit like food. Only my own tastebuds know what they
                        > like, and nobody can
                        > > convince them by talking. You can name all the ingredients, the
                        > conditions, the chef and
                        > > even the appliances used, but you won't be able to say why the
                        > result tastes splendid or
                        > > terrible or in between. Taste has no yardstick; it cannot be
                        > subject to analysis. Words,
                        > > therefore, have no access to the world of taste.
                        > >
                        > > Yes, this is why I think music critics are useless folks. By the
                        > same token, any attempt at
                        > > creating a ranking of the `best' performances must fail, as the
                        > sensation of music in the
                        > > ear is known only to the listener himself or herself. And since
                        > this sensation takes place in
                        > > the realm of taste, it cannot be expressed by way of words. Any
                        > critic can say it was loud,
                        > > fast, not according to the score here and there, etc.; that is
                        > easy and cheap. Why,
                        > > however, a certain performance tastes to me or you, or doesn't,
                        > will remain a secret.
                        > >
                        > > Of course, when there is an excessive amount or no salt at all in
                        > the mixture you have a
                        > > clear reason for concern. For example, after listening live to the
                        > police chasing Murray
                        > > Perahia through the second movement, `Romanze', of Mozart's piano
                        > concerto No. 20, K
                        > > 466, I decided not to pay attention to this pianist any longer. I
                        > can thus explain, why.
                        > >
                        > > On the other hand, I cannot explain why Glenn Gould's playing is
                        > making me nervous,
                        > > mainly. I know he is a giant. Neither can I put my finger on why I
                        > feel bored when
                        > > listening to Rudolf Serkin. And so on. None of this happens when I
                        > listen to Emil Gilels or
                        > > to Walter Gieseking, or to Jorge Bolet, if my tastebuds are in the
                        > mood for Liszt, for
                        > > example. These and other pianists touch me and I usually stop
                        > doing what I am doing
                        > > when they're on.
                        > >
                        > > And then there is Sviatoslav Richter. Nine out of ten times his
                        > playing tastes the best to
                        > > me, no matter who the composer. To some he may indeed be playing
                        > too fast, too slow,
                        > > too loud and at times not even according to the score - but I,
                        > after many decades of
                        > > listening and comparing, usually come back to the taste of his
                        > cooking, and I cannot put in
                        > > words, why.
                        > >
                        > > KHI
                        > >
                        >

                      • richardmathisen
                        I agree we should shut down this discussion on the abstract topic of relativism. I am having trouble with my email ISP, so I have been forced to go to the
                        Message 11 of 26 , Jan 16, 2009
                        • 0 Attachment
                          I agree we should shut down this discussion on the abstract topic of
                          relativism.

                          I am having trouble with my email ISP, so I have been forced to go to
                          the Yahoo Groups website to post this note.

                          I remain interested in anyone's comments comparing one specific
                          recording of Op 2-1 with other recordings of Op 2-1.

                          Dick Mathisen

                          --- In beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com, NEIL WALKER <joaobur@...>
                          wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          > George,
                          >       You can agree criteria independently of any
                          consideration of any sonata. Going along this road leads to what
                          philosophers refer to, I believe, as a 'reductio ad absurdum'.
                          However, I do agree that arriving at any set of criteria must derive
                          from consideration of many points of view and much debate. Thinking
                          about and setting out why you like something helps to crystallize
                          your own opinions and gut reactions, and can be helpful, making your
                          attitudes more accessible to others. However, this site is
                          Richard's 'baby', and I am happy to restrict my comments to what he
                          considers acceptable.   
                          > Neil Walker
                          >
                          > --- On Wed, 14/1/09, gperkins151 <gperkins151@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > From: gperkins151 <gperkins151@...>
                          > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than
                          Another One?
                          > To: beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com
                          > Date: Wednesday, 14 January, 2009, 6:58 PM
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > In an indirect way, you are proving my point. The criteria you refer
                          > to is different for everybody, thus the reason we often have very
                          > different ideas about what is best. It's a unique, personal criteria
                          > for everybody. Having us all agree on one criteria thus seems not
                          only
                          > impossible, but rather inhuman.
                          >
                          > George
                          >
                          >
                          > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, NEIL WALKER <joaobur@ >
                          wrote:
                          > >
                          > > I am really confused about all this. It looks like a new way of
                          > stating the relativist position, but some sentences leave me
                          gawping!
                          > How can a proposition be 'guaranteed' correctness by our
                          stipulating
                          > in advance that it is an opinion? Are all opinions correct, or are
                          > only facts correct? Is it not a fact that I hold certain opinions?
                          As
                          > for avoiding having a favourite performance just in case some
                          > as-yet-unknown or later discovered performance might usurp our
                          > original choice, well that seems to me quite an extraordinary
                          position
                          > to take. It's a bit like not going to Spain for a holiday this
                          > year because it might well have turned out, or later turn out
                          that
                          > Portugal would be 'better'. With a bit of work, it can be decided
                          > which is better, but that will depend upon what defines a 'good'
                          > holiday, given what we look for in a holiday, as such - and if the
                          > parameters are well enough drawn, agreement can be reached. If,
                          on a
                          > later holiday, we decide that
                          > > Portugal is better, well, so what? What's lost?What we need, as I
                          > stated in an earlier posting, are criteria. If criteria can be
                          agreed
                          > as to what we are looking for in a performance of this or that
                          sonata,
                          > then they can be applied, and a list, of sorts, can be drawn up.
                          Of
                          > course, there will still be dissenters, but I am sure that a measure
                          > of agreement, an impressive measure, is possible. The criteria will
                          > probably vary from sonata to sonata, even movement to movement, but
                          so
                          > far we have no criteria at all, even for Op 2/1. Where writers have
                          > stated preferences, they have used terms like 'sturdy', 'robust',
                          > 'humorous' etc as if these are self-evidently qualities to be looked
                          > for in the movement under discussion. We are just floundering.
                          That's
                          > why I think the idea to 'blind' listen to various performances of
                          > Op.49/2 is such a good one. From people's comments will emerge their
                          > unprejudiced ideas as to what constitute a good performance, and
                          from all
                          > > these comments, criteria should emerge which can be agreed upon.
                          > These can then be applied to 'new' performances  we come across,
                          as
                          > some sort of yardstick.
                          > > Neil Walker 
                          > >
                          > > --- On Wed, 14/1/09, gperkins151 <gperkins151@ ...> wrote:
                          > >
                          > > From: gperkins151 <gperkins151@ ...>
                          > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than
                          Another
                          > One?
                          > > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                          > > Date: Wednesday, 14 January, 2009, 4:15 AM
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > Hey Dick, as I read your post, I couldn't help but think of all
                          the
                          > > records Kid Rock or Mariah Carey or Jay Z sold over the last 5
                          years.
                          > > On a given night, you might find 20,000 of their fans at one of
                          their
                          > > concerts, screaming in adoration. Does this make their music
                          better
                          > > than some indie band that can barely fill a hall of a few
                          thousand?
                          > > Not in my opinion.
                          > >
                          > > That so many people like Richter is not proof that he is better
                          than
                          > > some other pianist, it is just proof that he has a lot of fans.
                          If on
                          > > were to conclude that he is better than say Annie Fischer because
                          he
                          > > has so many fans who love his music, one would only be correct if
                          one
                          > > were stating an opinion and not a fact.
                          > >
                          > > To me this is one of things that makes discussing music so
                          > > interesting. When it comes to who's good, better or best, it's all
                          > > opinion, not fact. This way the discussion can go on forever
                          without
                          > > us reaching a point where we decide "this pianist is the best."
                          > >
                          > > When I first started listening. I loved Horowitz, then Argerich,
                          then
                          > > Annie Fischer, then R Serkin and now Richter. Even if I were to
                          decide
                          > > that ___________ was the best pianist or ___________ was the best
                          > > performance of Op. 2 No. 1, it would only be the best one for me.
                          I
                          > > try not to do that though, as it closes the door for any pianist
                          who
                          > > may on day step forward and impress me a bit more.
                          > >
                          > > George
                          > >
                          > > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "Richard Mathisen"
                          > > <richard.mathisen@ ...> wrote:
                          > > >
                          > > > KHI,
                          > > >
                          > > > You appear to be addressing the second topic of this meeting.
                          > > >
                          > > > The first topic is comparing specific recordings of Beethoven
                          piano
                          > > sonatas to each other to identify the "best" recordings,
                          with "best"
                          > > in quotation marks.
                          > > >
                          > > > The second topic is to discuss whether this is such a thing as a
                          > > "best" recording.
                          > > >
                          > > > Before going further, let me mention that you seem to be using a
                          > > longer computer line than Yahoo accepts, so the line-wrap is
                          > > incorrect. (Other members may be able to tell you, off-line, what
                          > > needs to be done to correct that.)
                          > > >
                          > > > You seem to be claiming that no recording of an individual
                          piece of
                          > > music is inherently better than any other recording of that piece
                          of
                          > > music. Any preference by an individual for one recording over
                          another
                          > > is just personal reaction, not connected to the inherent quality
                          of
                          > > the performance and recording.
                          > > >
                          > > > You also note your high regard for the recordings made by
                          Sviatoslav
                          > > Richter.
                          > > >
                          > > > Now, probably a majority of music-lovers agree with your high
                          > > opinion of Richter's recordings. I personally love Richter's
                          > > recordings. How do you explain the fact that so many people love
                          > > Richter's recordings, if it's just individual preference and not
                          > > something inherent in Richter's recordings?
                          > > >
                          > > > Isn't it possible that Richter's recording of a particular work
                          > > might be "better" in some sense than other recordings of that
                          work?
                          > > Isn't it possible that there might be a general consensus among
                          > > knowledgeable music-lovers regarding a particular Richter
                          recording of
                          > > a particular work of music?
                          > > >
                          > > > Dick Mathisen
                          > > >
                          > > > ----- Original Message -----
                          > > > From: klavierneuling
                          > > > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                          > > > Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:05 AM
                          > > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: COMPARE THESE TWO
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "johnd012033"
                          > > <johnduffy@> wrote:
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Two of my current favorites are:
                          > > > > Paul Lewis & Stephen Kovacevich.
                          > > > > Both are very appealing to me, but
                          > > > > they are different. How are they
                          > > > > different? Can someone help me
                          > > > > identify & define that difference?
                          > > > > ...johnd012033
                          > > > >
                          > > > The following may not answer your question, John, but it is
                          related:
                          > > >
                          > > > Music is a bit like food. Only my own tastebuds know what they
                          > > like, and nobody can
                          > > > convince them by talking. You can name all the ingredients, the
                          > > conditions, the chef and
                          > > > even the appliances used, but you won't be able to say why the
                          > > result tastes splendid or
                          > > > terrible or in between. Taste has no yardstick; it cannot be
                          > > subject to analysis. Words,
                          > > > therefore, have no access to the world of taste.
                          > > >
                          > > > Yes, this is why I think music critics are useless folks. By the
                          > > same token, any attempt at
                          > > > creating a ranking of the `best' performances must fail, as the
                          > > sensation of music in the
                          > > > ear is known only to the listener himself or herself. And since
                          > > this sensation takes place in
                          > > > the realm of taste, it cannot be expressed by way of words. Any
                          > > critic can say it was loud,
                          > > > fast, not according to the score here and there, etc.; that is
                          > > easy and cheap. Why,
                          > > > however, a certain performance tastes to me or you, or doesn't,
                          > > will remain a secret.
                          > > >
                          > > > Of course, when there is an excessive amount or no salt at all
                          in
                          > > the mixture you have a
                          > > > clear reason for concern. For example, after listening live to
                          the
                          > > police chasing Murray
                          > > > Perahia through the second movement, `Romanze', of Mozart's
                          piano
                          > > concerto No. 20, K
                          > > > 466, I decided not to pay attention to this pianist any longer.
                          I
                          > > can thus explain, why.
                          > > >
                          > > > On the other hand, I cannot explain why Glenn Gould's playing is
                          > > making me nervous,
                          > > > mainly. I know he is a giant. Neither can I put my finger on
                          why I
                          > > feel bored when
                          > > > listening to Rudolf Serkin. And so on. None of this happens
                          when I
                          > > listen to Emil Gilels or
                          > > > to Walter Gieseking, or to Jorge Bolet, if my tastebuds are in
                          the
                          > > mood for Liszt, for
                          > > > example. These and other pianists touch me and I usually stop
                          > > doing what I am doing
                          > > > when they're on.
                          > > >
                          > > > And then there is Sviatoslav Richter. Nine out of ten times his
                          > > playing tastes the best to
                          > > > me, no matter who the composer. To some he may indeed be playing
                          > > too fast, too slow,
                          > > > too loud and at times not even according to the score - but I,
                          > > after many decades of
                          > > > listening and comparing, usually come back to the taste of his
                          > > cooking, and I cannot put in
                          > > > words, why.
                          > > >
                          > > > KHI
                          > > >
                          > >
                          >
                        • Kirk McElhearn
                          ... Well, just a brief comment on tempo. I have 8 different recordings of this sonata, and just looking at the first movement, there are very large
                          Message 12 of 26 , Jan 16, 2009
                          • 0 Attachment
                            On Jan 16, 2009, at 2:37 PM, richardmathisen wrote:

                            > I remain interested in anyone's comments comparing one specific
                            > recording of Op 2-1 with other recordings of Op 2-1.

                            Well, just a brief comment on tempo. I have 8 different recordings of
                            this sonata, and just looking at the first movement, there are very
                            large differences, all of which affect the way the piece comes across.
                            For example, Lewis, at 4:32 gives a serious reading compared to
                            Brautigam, who's reading at 3:24 is much more Haydnesque. Barenboim's
                            second recording, at 3:46, somehow manages to capture both of these
                            tones, with shifting tempi throughout the movement. I find his
                            recordings are much less wedded to a fixed tempo than many others.
                            Kovacevich at 3:11 is faster than Brautigam, yet his tempo is more
                            flexible as well, giving it a suppler feeling. But in the faster parts
                            I feel like he's racing to get to the end in a hurry. Gulda at 3:33
                            doesn't feel rushed, even though he is playing fast.

                            What it all comes down to is that tempo can hide many other elements.
                            Brautigam's recording feels more rigid because his tempi are less
                            flexible, as though he's trying to play this work like a baroque
                            piece, and Lewis, at the other extreme, seems like he's trying to play
                            it too much as a romantic piece. Since it straddles the line between
                            the two, perhaps neither approach is ideal?



                            Kirk
                            Co-author of: Podcasting Pocket Guide
                            http://www.mcelhearn.com/ppg.html
                            - - - - - -
                            Read my blog: Kirkville -- http://www.mcelhearn.com
                            Musings, Opinion and Miscellanea, on Macs, iPods and more
                          • Kirk McElhearn
                            ... Oh, I forgot Gould - that makes nine. His reading is, of course, idiosyncratic, combining his own flourishes and embellishments with a strict tempo that is
                            Message 13 of 26 , Jan 16, 2009
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                              On Jan 16, 2009, at 2:54 PM, Kirk McElhearn wrote:

                              >> I remain interested in anyone's comments comparing one specific
                              >> recording of Op 2-1 with other recordings of Op 2-1.
                              >
                              > Well, just a brief comment on tempo. I have 8 different recordings of
                              > this sonata, and just looking at the first movement, there are very
                              > large differences, all of which affect the way the piece comes across.
                              > For example, Lewis, at 4:32 gives a serious reading compared to
                              > Brautigam, who's reading at 3:24 is much more Haydnesque. Barenboim's
                              > second recording, at 3:46, somehow manages to capture both of these
                              > tones, with shifting tempi throughout the movement. I find his
                              > recordings are much less wedded to a fixed tempo than many others.
                              > Kovacevich at 3:11 is faster than Brautigam, yet his tempo is more
                              > flexible as well, giving it a suppler feeling. But in the faster parts
                              > I feel like he's racing to get to the end in a hurry. Gulda at 3:33
                              > doesn't feel rushed, even though he is playing fast.
                              >
                              > What it all comes down to is that tempo can hide many other elements.
                              > Brautigam's recording feels more rigid because his tempi are less
                              > flexible, as though he's trying to play this work like a baroque
                              > piece, and Lewis, at the other extreme, seems like he's trying to play
                              > it too much as a romantic piece. Since it straddles the line between
                              > the two, perhaps neither approach is ideal?

                              Oh, I forgot Gould - that makes nine. His reading is, of course,
                              idiosyncratic, combining his own flourishes and embellishments with a
                              strict tempo that is almost Bachian. I love what Gould does with this
                              sonata; he brings out the bass voice, he ornaments the music, and he
                              transforms it completely. But that's Gould for you...


                              Kirk
                              Author of: Take Control of Customizing Microsoft Office
                              http://www.mcelhearn.com/tcoo.html
                              - - - - - -
                              Read my blog: Kirkville -- http://www.mcelhearn.com
                              Musings, Opinion and Miscellanea, on Macs, iPods and more
                            • gperkins151
                              Is it abstract? I thought you wanted to know if one performance of one specific sonata could be considered the best? This seems to me a very concrete thing. I
                              Message 14 of 26 , Jan 16, 2009
                              • 0 Attachment
                                Is it abstract? I thought you wanted to know if one performance of one
                                specific sonata could be considered the best? This seems to me a very
                                concrete thing. I guess I should have just said, yes, one performance
                                of one sonatas can be the best for you, or for me, or him, her, etc,
                                just not for everyone.

                                George



                                --- In beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com, "richardmathisen"
                                <richard.mathisen@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > I agree we should shut down this discussion on the abstract topic of
                                > relativism.
                                >
                                > I am having trouble with my email ISP, so I have been forced to go to
                                > the Yahoo Groups website to post this note.
                                >
                                > I remain interested in anyone's comments comparing one specific
                                > recording of Op 2-1 with other recordings of Op 2-1.
                                >
                                > Dick Mathisen
                                >
                                > --- In beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com, NEIL WALKER <joaobur@>
                                > wrote:
                                > >
                                > >
                                > > George,
                                > >       You can agree criteria independently of any
                                > consideration of any sonata. Going along this road leads to what
                                > philosophers refer to, I believe, as a 'reductio ad absurdum'.
                                > However, I do agree that arriving at any set of criteria must derive
                                > from consideration of many points of view and much debate. Thinking
                                > about and setting out why you like something helps to crystallize
                                > your own opinions and gut reactions, and can be helpful, making your
                                > attitudes more accessible to others. However, this site is
                                > Richard's 'baby', and I am happy to restrict my comments to what he
                                > considers acceptable.   
                                > > Neil Walker
                                > >
                                > > --- On Wed, 14/1/09, gperkins151 <gperkins151@> wrote:
                                > >
                                > > From: gperkins151 <gperkins151@>
                                > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than
                                > Another One?
                                > > To: beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com
                                > > Date: Wednesday, 14 January, 2009, 6:58 PM
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > > In an indirect way, you are proving my point. The criteria you refer
                                > > to is different for everybody, thus the reason we often have very
                                > > different ideas about what is best. It's a unique, personal criteria
                                > > for everybody. Having us all agree on one criteria thus seems not
                                > only
                                > > impossible, but rather inhuman.
                                > >
                                > > George
                                > >
                                > >
                                > > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, NEIL WALKER <joaobur@ >
                                > wrote:
                                > > >
                                > > > I am really confused about all this. It looks like a new way of
                                > > stating the relativist position, but some sentences leave me
                                > gawping!
                                > > How can a proposition be 'guaranteed' correctness by our
                                > stipulating
                                > > in advance that it is an opinion? Are all opinions correct, or are
                                > > only facts correct? Is it not a fact that I hold certain opinions?
                                > As
                                > > for avoiding having a favourite performance just in case some
                                > > as-yet-unknown or later discovered performance might usurp our
                                > > original choice, well that seems to me quite an extraordinary
                                > position
                                > > to take. It's a bit like not going to Spain for a holiday this
                                > > year because it might well have turned out, or later turn out
                                > that
                                > > Portugal would be 'better'. With a bit of work, it can be decided
                                > > which is better, but that will depend upon what defines a 'good'
                                > > holiday, given what we look for in a holiday, as such - and if the
                                > > parameters are well enough drawn, agreement can be reached. If,
                                > on a
                                > > later holiday, we decide that
                                > > > Portugal is better, well, so what? What's lost?What we need, as I
                                > > stated in an earlier posting, are criteria. If criteria can be
                                > agreed
                                > > as to what we are looking for in a performance of this or that
                                > sonata,
                                > > then they can be applied, and a list, of sorts, can be drawn up.
                                > Of
                                > > course, there will still be dissenters, but I am sure that a measure
                                > > of agreement, an impressive measure, is possible. The criteria will
                                > > probably vary from sonata to sonata, even movement to movement, but
                                > so
                                > > far we have no criteria at all, even for Op 2/1. Where writers have
                                > > stated preferences, they have used terms like 'sturdy', 'robust',
                                > > 'humorous' etc as if these are self-evidently qualities to be looked
                                > > for in the movement under discussion. We are just floundering.
                                > That's
                                > > why I think the idea to 'blind' listen to various performances of
                                > > Op.49/2 is such a good one. From people's comments will emerge their
                                > > unprejudiced ideas as to what constitute a good performance, and
                                > from all
                                > > > these comments, criteria should emerge which can be agreed upon.
                                > > These can then be applied to 'new' performances  we come across,
                                > as
                                > > some sort of yardstick.
                                > > > Neil Walker 
                                > > >
                                > > > --- On Wed, 14/1/09, gperkins151 <gperkins151@ ...> wrote:
                                > > >
                                > > > From: gperkins151 <gperkins151@ ...>
                                > > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than
                                > Another
                                > > One?
                                > > > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                                > > > Date: Wednesday, 14 January, 2009, 4:15 AM
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > > > Hey Dick, as I read your post, I couldn't help but think of all
                                > the
                                > > > records Kid Rock or Mariah Carey or Jay Z sold over the last 5
                                > years.
                                > > > On a given night, you might find 20,000 of their fans at one of
                                > their
                                > > > concerts, screaming in adoration. Does this make their music
                                > better
                                > > > than some indie band that can barely fill a hall of a few
                                > thousand?
                                > > > Not in my opinion.
                                > > >
                                > > > That so many people like Richter is not proof that he is better
                                > than
                                > > > some other pianist, it is just proof that he has a lot of fans.
                                > If on
                                > > > were to conclude that he is better than say Annie Fischer because
                                > he
                                > > > has so many fans who love his music, one would only be correct if
                                > one
                                > > > were stating an opinion and not a fact.
                                > > >
                                > > > To me this is one of things that makes discussing music so
                                > > > interesting. When it comes to who's good, better or best, it's all
                                > > > opinion, not fact. This way the discussion can go on forever
                                > without
                                > > > us reaching a point where we decide "this pianist is the best."
                                > > >
                                > > > When I first started listening. I loved Horowitz, then Argerich,
                                > then
                                > > > Annie Fischer, then R Serkin and now Richter. Even if I were to
                                > decide
                                > > > that ___________ was the best pianist or ___________ was the best
                                > > > performance of Op. 2 No. 1, it would only be the best one for me.
                                > I
                                > > > try not to do that though, as it closes the door for any pianist
                                > who
                                > > > may on day step forward and impress me a bit more.
                                > > >
                                > > > George
                                > > >
                                > > > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "Richard Mathisen"
                                > > > <richard.mathisen@ ...> wrote:
                                > > > >
                                > > > > KHI,
                                > > > >
                                > > > > You appear to be addressing the second topic of this meeting.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > The first topic is comparing specific recordings of Beethoven
                                > piano
                                > > > sonatas to each other to identify the "best" recordings,
                                > with "best"
                                > > > in quotation marks.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > The second topic is to discuss whether this is such a thing as a
                                > > > "best" recording.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Before going further, let me mention that you seem to be using a
                                > > > longer computer line than Yahoo accepts, so the line-wrap is
                                > > > incorrect. (Other members may be able to tell you, off-line, what
                                > > > needs to be done to correct that.)
                                > > > >
                                > > > > You seem to be claiming that no recording of an individual
                                > piece of
                                > > > music is inherently better than any other recording of that piece
                                > of
                                > > > music. Any preference by an individual for one recording over
                                > another
                                > > > is just personal reaction, not connected to the inherent quality
                                > of
                                > > > the performance and recording.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > You also note your high regard for the recordings made by
                                > Sviatoslav
                                > > > Richter.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Now, probably a majority of music-lovers agree with your high
                                > > > opinion of Richter's recordings. I personally love Richter's
                                > > > recordings. How do you explain the fact that so many people love
                                > > > Richter's recordings, if it's just individual preference and not
                                > > > something inherent in Richter's recordings?
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Isn't it possible that Richter's recording of a particular work
                                > > > might be "better" in some sense than other recordings of that
                                > work?
                                > > > Isn't it possible that there might be a general consensus among
                                > > > knowledgeable music-lovers regarding a particular Richter
                                > recording of
                                > > > a particular work of music?
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Dick Mathisen
                                > > > >
                                > > > > ----- Original Message -----
                                > > > > From: klavierneuling
                                > > > > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                                > > > > Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:05 AM
                                > > > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: COMPARE THESE TWO
                                > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > > > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "johnd012033"
                                > > > <johnduffy@> wrote:
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Two of my current favorites are:
                                > > > > > Paul Lewis & Stephen Kovacevich.
                                > > > > > Both are very appealing to me, but
                                > > > > > they are different. How are they
                                > > > > > different? Can someone help me
                                > > > > > identify & define that difference?
                                > > > > > ...johnd012033
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > The following may not answer your question, John, but it is
                                > related:
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Music is a bit like food. Only my own tastebuds know what they
                                > > > like, and nobody can
                                > > > > convince them by talking. You can name all the ingredients, the
                                > > > conditions, the chef and
                                > > > > even the appliances used, but you won't be able to say why the
                                > > > result tastes splendid or
                                > > > > terrible or in between. Taste has no yardstick; it cannot be
                                > > > subject to analysis. Words,
                                > > > > therefore, have no access to the world of taste.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Yes, this is why I think music critics are useless folks. By the
                                > > > same token, any attempt at
                                > > > > creating a ranking of the `best' performances must fail, as the
                                > > > sensation of music in the
                                > > > > ear is known only to the listener himself or herself. And since
                                > > > this sensation takes place in
                                > > > > the realm of taste, it cannot be expressed by way of words. Any
                                > > > critic can say it was loud,
                                > > > > fast, not according to the score here and there, etc.; that is
                                > > > easy and cheap. Why,
                                > > > > however, a certain performance tastes to me or you, or doesn't,
                                > > > will remain a secret.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Of course, when there is an excessive amount or no salt at all
                                > in
                                > > > the mixture you have a
                                > > > > clear reason for concern. For example, after listening live to
                                > the
                                > > > police chasing Murray
                                > > > > Perahia through the second movement, `Romanze', of Mozart's
                                > piano
                                > > > concerto No. 20, K
                                > > > > 466, I decided not to pay attention to this pianist any longer.
                                > I
                                > > > can thus explain, why.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > On the other hand, I cannot explain why Glenn Gould's playing is
                                > > > making me nervous,
                                > > > > mainly. I know he is a giant. Neither can I put my finger on
                                > why I
                                > > > feel bored when
                                > > > > listening to Rudolf Serkin. And so on. None of this happens
                                > when I
                                > > > listen to Emil Gilels or
                                > > > > to Walter Gieseking, or to Jorge Bolet, if my tastebuds are in
                                > the
                                > > > mood for Liszt, for
                                > > > > example. These and other pianists touch me and I usually stop
                                > > > doing what I am doing
                                > > > > when they're on.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > And then there is Sviatoslav Richter. Nine out of ten times his
                                > > > playing tastes the best to
                                > > > > me, no matter who the composer. To some he may indeed be playing
                                > > > too fast, too slow,
                                > > > > too loud and at times not even according to the score - but I,
                                > > > after many decades of
                                > > > > listening and comparing, usually come back to the taste of his
                                > > > cooking, and I cannot put in
                                > > > > words, why.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > KHI
                                > > > >
                                > > >
                                > >
                                >
                              • Richard Mathisen
                                George, I perceived you and Neil as moving in the direction of an abstract philosophical discussion of relativism. While Neil may have moved into philosophy
                                Message 15 of 26 , Jan 17, 2009
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  George,
                                   
                                  I perceived you and Neil as moving in the direction of an abstract philosophical discussion of relativism. While Neil may have moved into philosophy more than you did, I suspect his comments were triggered by your absolutist statements about relativism.
                                   
                                  In answer to Neil's question, yes, any philosophical discussion about relativism is shut down. This group is about discussion of recordings of Beethoven piano sonatas and I intend to try to keep it as close to that topic as I can!
                                   
                                  Dick Mathisen
                                   
                                  ----- Original Message -----
                                  Sent: Friday, January 16, 2009 8:34 PM
                                  Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than Another One?

                                  Is it abstract? I thought you wanted to know if one performance of one
                                  specific sonata could be considered the best? This seems to me a very
                                  concrete thing. I guess I should have just said, yes, one performance
                                  of one sonatas can be the best for you, or for me, or him, her, etc,
                                  just not for everyone.

                                  George

                                  --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "richardmathisen"
                                  <richard.mathisen@ ...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > I agree we should shut down this discussion on the abstract topic of
                                  > relativism.
                                  >
                                  > I am having trouble with my email ISP, so I have been forced to go to
                                  > the Yahoo Groups website to post this note.
                                  >
                                  > I remain interested in anyone's comments comparing one specific
                                  > recording of Op 2-1 with other recordings of Op 2-1.
                                  >
                                  > Dick Mathisen
                                  >
                                  > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, NEIL WALKER <joaobur@>
                                  > wrote:
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > > George,
                                  > >       You can agree criteria independently of any
                                  > consideration of any sonata. Going along this road leads to what
                                  > philosophers refer to, I believe, as a 'reductio ad absurdum'.
                                  > However, I do agree that arriving at any set of criteria must derive
                                  > from consideration of many points of view and much debate. Thinking
                                  > about and setting out why you like something helps to crystallize
                                  > your own opinions and gut reactions, and can be helpful, making your
                                  > attitudes more accessible to others. However, this site is
                                  > Richard's 'baby', and I am happy to restrict my comments to what he
                                  > considers acceptable.   
                                  > > Neil Walker
                                  > >
                                  > > --- On Wed, 14/1/09, gperkins151 <gperkins151@ > wrote:
                                  > >
                                  > > From: gperkins151 <gperkins151@ >
                                  > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than
                                  > Another One?
                                  > > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                                  > > Date: Wednesday, 14 January, 2009, 6:58 PM
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > > In an indirect way, you are proving my point. The criteria you refer
                                  > > to is different for everybody, thus the reason we often have very
                                  > > different ideas about what is best. It's a unique, personal criteria
                                  > > for everybody. Having us all agree on one criteria thus seems not
                                  > only
                                  > > impossible, but rather inhuman.
                                  > >
                                  > > George
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, NEIL WALKER <joaobur@ >
                                  > wrote:
                                  > > >
                                  > > > I am really confused about all this. It looks like a new way of
                                  > > stating the relativist position, but some sentences leave me
                                  > gawping!
                                  > > How can a proposition be 'guaranteed' correctness by our
                                  > stipulating
                                  > > in advance that it is an opinion? Are all opinions correct, or are
                                  > > only facts correct? Is it not a fact that I hold certain opinions?
                                  > As
                                  > > for avoiding having a favourite performance just in case some
                                  > > as-yet-unknown or later discovered performance might usurp our
                                  > > original choice, well that seems to me quite an extraordinary
                                  > position
                                  > > to take. It's a bit like not going to Spain for a holiday this
                                  > > year because it might well have turned out, or later turn out
                                  > that
                                  > > Portugal would be 'better'. With a bit of work, it can be decided
                                  > > which is better, but that will depend upon what defines a 'good'
                                  > > holiday, given what we look for in a holiday, as such - and if the
                                  > > parameters are well enough drawn, agreement can be reached. If,
                                  > on a
                                  > > later holiday, we decide that
                                  > > > Portugal is better, well, so what? What's lost?What we need, as I
                                  > > stated in an earlier posting, are criteria. If criteria can be
                                  > agreed
                                  > > as to what we are looking for in a performance of this or that
                                  > sonata,
                                  > > then they can be applied, and a list, of sorts, can be drawn up.
                                  > Of
                                  > > course, there will still be dissenters, but I am sure that a measure
                                  > > of agreement, an impressive measure, is possible. The criteria will
                                  > > probably vary from sonata to sonata, even movement to movement, but
                                  > so
                                  > > far we have no criteria at all, even for Op 2/1. Where writers have
                                  > > stated preferences, they have used terms like 'sturdy', 'robust',
                                  > > 'humorous' etc as if these are self-evidently qualities to be looked
                                  > > for in the movement under discussion. We are just floundering.
                                  > That's
                                  > > why I think the idea to 'blind' listen to various performances of
                                  > > Op.49/2 is such a good one. From people's comments will emerge their
                                  > > unprejudiced ideas as to what constitute a good performance, and
                                  > from all
                                  > > > these comments, criteria should emerge which can be agreed upon.
                                  > > These can then be applied to 'new' performances  we come across,
                                  > as
                                  > > some sort of yardstick.
                                  > > > Neil Walker 
                                  > > >
                                  > > > --- On Wed, 14/1/09, gperkins151 <gperkins151@ ...> wrote:
                                  > > >
                                  > > > From: gperkins151 <gperkins151@ ...>
                                  > > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than
                                  > Another
                                  > > One?
                                  > > > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                                  > > > Date: Wednesday, 14 January, 2009, 4:15 AM
                                  > > >
                                  > > >
                                  > > >
                                  > > >
                                  > > >
                                  > > >
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Hey Dick, as I read your post, I couldn't help but think of all
                                  > the
                                  > > > records Kid Rock or Mariah Carey or Jay Z sold over the last 5
                                  > years.
                                  > > > On a given night, you might find 20,000 of their fans at one of
                                  > their
                                  > > > concerts, screaming in adoration. Does this make their music
                                  > better
                                  > > > than some indie band that can barely fill a hall of a few
                                  > thousand?
                                  > > > Not in my opinion.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > That so many people like Richter is not proof that he is better
                                  > than
                                  > > > some other pianist, it is just proof that he has a lot of fans.
                                  > If on
                                  > > > were to conclude that he is better than say Annie Fischer because
                                  > he
                                  > > > has so many fans who love his music, one would only be correct if
                                  > one
                                  > > > were stating an opinion and not a fact.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > To me this is one of things that makes discussing music so
                                  > > > interesting. When it comes to who's good, better or best, it's all
                                  > > > opinion, not fact. This way the discussion can go on forever
                                  > without
                                  > > > us reaching a point where we decide "this pianist is the best."
                                  > > >
                                  > > > When I first started listening. I loved Horowitz, then Argerich,
                                  > then
                                  > > > Annie Fischer, then R Serkin and now Richter. Even if I were to
                                  > decide
                                  > > > that ___________ was the best pianist or ___________ was the best
                                  > > > performance of Op. 2 No. 1, it would only be the best one for me.
                                  > I
                                  > > > try not to do that though, as it closes the door for any pianist
                                  > who
                                  > > > may on day step forward and impress me a bit more.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > George
                                  > > >
                                  > > > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "Richard Mathisen"
                                  > > > <richard.mathisen@ ...> wrote:
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > KHI,
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > You appear to be addressing the second topic of this meeting.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > The first topic is comparing specific recordings of Beethoven
                                  > piano
                                  > > > sonatas to each other to identify the "best" recordings,
                                  > with "best"
                                  > > > in quotation marks.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > The second topic is to discuss whether this is such a thing as a
                                  > > > "best" recording.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > Before going further, let me mention that you seem to be using a
                                  > > > longer computer line than Yahoo accepts, so the line-wrap is
                                  > > > incorrect. (Other members may be able to tell you, off-line, what
                                  > > > needs to be done to correct that.)
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > You seem to be claiming that no recording of an individual
                                  > piece of
                                  > > > music is inherently better than any other recording of that piece
                                  > of
                                  > > > music. Any preference by an individual for one recording over
                                  > another
                                  > > > is just personal reaction, not connected to the inherent quality
                                  > of
                                  > > > the performance and recording.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > You also note your high regard for the recordings made by
                                  > Sviatoslav
                                  > > > Richter.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > Now, probably a majority of music-lovers agree with your high
                                  > > > opinion of Richter's recordings. I personally love Richter's
                                  > > > recordings. How do you explain the fact that so many people love
                                  > > > Richter's recordings, if it's just individual preference and not
                                  > > > something inherent in Richter's recordings?
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > Isn't it possible that Richter's recording of a particular work
                                  > > > might be "better" in some sense than other recordings of that
                                  > work?
                                  > > > Isn't it possible that there might be a general consensus among
                                  > > > knowledgeable music-lovers regarding a particular Richter
                                  > recording of
                                  > > > a particular work of music?
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > Dick Mathisen
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > ----- Original Message -----
                                  > > > > From: klavierneuling
                                  > > > > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                                  > > > > Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:05 AM
                                  > > > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: COMPARE THESE TWO
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "johnd012033"
                                  > > > <johnduffy@> wrote:
                                  > > > > >
                                  > > > > > Two of my current favorites are:
                                  > > > > > Paul Lewis & Stephen Kovacevich.
                                  > > > > > Both are very appealing to me, but
                                  > > > > > they are different. How are they
                                  > > > > > different? Can someone help me
                                  > > > > > identify & define that difference?
                                  > > > > > ...johnd012033
                                  > > > > >
                                  > > > > The following may not answer your question, John, but it is
                                  > related:
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > Music is a bit like food. Only my own tastebuds know what they
                                  > > > like, and nobody can
                                  > > > > convince them by talking. You can name all the ingredients, the
                                  > > > conditions, the chef and
                                  > > > > even the appliances used, but you won't be able to say why the
                                  > > > result tastes splendid or
                                  > > > > terrible or in between. Taste has no yardstick; it cannot be
                                  > > > subject to analysis. Words,
                                  > > > > therefore, have no access to the world of taste.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > Yes, this is why I think music critics are useless folks. By the
                                  > > > same token, any attempt at
                                  > > > > creating a ranking of the `best' performances must fail, as the
                                  > > > sensation of music in the
                                  > > > > ear is known only to the listener himself or herself. And since
                                  > > > this sensation takes place in
                                  > > > > the realm of taste, it cannot be expressed by way of words. Any
                                  > > > critic can say it was loud,
                                  > > > > fast, not according to the score here and there, etc.; that is
                                  > > > easy and cheap. Why,
                                  > > > > however, a certain performance tastes to me or you, or doesn't,
                                  > > > will remain a secret.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > Of course, when there is an excessive amount or no salt at all
                                  > in
                                  > > > the mixture you have a
                                  > > > > clear reason for concern. For example, after listening live to
                                  > the
                                  > > > police chasing Murray
                                  > > > > Perahia through the second movement, `Romanze', of Mozart's
                                  > piano
                                  > > > concerto No. 20, K
                                  > > > > 466, I decided not to pay attention to this pianist any longer.
                                  > I
                                  > > > can thus explain, why.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > On the other hand, I cannot explain why Glenn Gould's playing is
                                  > > > making me nervous,
                                  > > > > mainly. I know he is a giant. Neither can I put my finger on
                                  > why I
                                  > > > feel bored when
                                  > > > > listening to Rudolf Serkin. And so on. None of this happens
                                  > when I
                                  > > > listen to Emil Gilels or
                                  > > > > to Walter Gieseking, or to Jorge Bolet, if my tastebuds are in
                                  > the
                                  > > > mood for Liszt, for
                                  > > > > example. These and other pianists touch me and I usually stop
                                  > > > doing what I am doing
                                  > > > > when they're on.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > And then there is Sviatoslav Richter. Nine out of ten times his
                                  > > > playing tastes the best to
                                  > > > > me, no matter who the composer. To some he may indeed be playing
                                  > > > too fast, too slow,
                                  > > > > too loud and at times not even according to the score - but I,
                                  > > > after many decades of
                                  > > > > listening and comparing, usually come back to the taste of his
                                  > > > cooking, and I cannot put in
                                  > > > > words, why.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > KHI
                                  > > > >
                                  > > >
                                  > >
                                  >

                                • NEIL WALKER
                                  Richard,      That s fine. You seem happy for us now to have a debate about terminology which probably boils down to much the same thing, but so song as
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Jan 17, 2009
                                  • 0 Attachment

                                    Richard,
                                         That's fine. You seem happy for us now to have a debate about 'terminology' which probably boils down to much the same thing, but so song as we all know what we're about, as I said. the group is your 'baby', not ours.
                                    Neil
                                    --- On Sat, 17/1/09, Richard Mathisen <richard.mathisen@...> wrote:
                                    From: Richard Mathisen <richard.mathisen@...>
                                    Subject: Re: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than Another One?
                                    To: beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com
                                    Date: Saturday, 17 January, 2009, 1:27 PM

                                    George,
                                     
                                    I perceived you and Neil as moving in the direction of an abstract philosophical discussion of relativism. While Neil may have moved into philosophy more than you did, I suspect his comments were triggered by your absolutist statements about relativism.
                                     
                                    In answer to Neil's question, yes, any philosophical discussion about relativism is shut down. This group is about discussion of recordings of Beethoven piano sonatas and I intend to try to keep it as close to that topic as I can!
                                     
                                    Dick Mathisen
                                     
                                    ----- Original Message -----
                                    Sent: Friday, January 16, 2009 8:34 PM
                                    Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than Another One?

                                    Is it abstract? I thought you wanted to know if one performance of one
                                    specific sonata could be considered the best? This seems to me a very
                                    concrete thing. I guess I should have just said, yes, one performance
                                    of one sonatas can be the best for you, or for me, or him, her, etc,
                                    just not for everyone.

                                    George

                                    --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "richardmathisen"
                                    <richard.mathisen@ ...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > I agree we should shut down this discussion on the abstract topic of
                                    > relativism.
                                    >
                                    > I am having trouble with my email ISP, so I have been forced to go to
                                    > the Yahoo Groups website to post this note.
                                    >
                                    > I remain interested in anyone's comments comparing one specific
                                    > recording of Op 2-1 with other recordings of Op 2-1.
                                    >
                                    > Dick Mathisen
                                    >
                                    > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, NEIL WALKER <joaobur@>
                                    > wrote:
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > George,
                                    > >       You can agree criteria independently of any
                                    > consideration of any sonata. Going along this road leads to what
                                    > philosophers refer to, I believe, as a 'reductio ad absurdum'.
                                    > However, I do agree that arriving at any set of criteria must derive
                                    > from consideration of many points of view and much debate. Thinking
                                    > about and setting out why you like something helps to crystallize
                                    > your own opinions and gut reactions, and can be helpful, making your
                                    > attitudes more accessible to others. However, this site is
                                    > Richard's 'baby', and I am happy to restrict my comments to what he
                                    > considers acceptable.   
                                    > > Neil Walker
                                    > >
                                    > > --- On Wed, 14/1/09, gperkins151 <gperkins151@ > wrote:
                                    > >
                                    > > From: gperkins151 <gperkins151@ >
                                    > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than
                                    > Another One?
                                    > > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                                    > > Date: Wednesday, 14 January, 2009, 6:58 PM
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > In an indirect way, you are proving my point. The criteria you refer
                                    > > to is different for everybody, thus the reason we often have very
                                    > > different ideas about what is best. It's a unique, personal criteria
                                    > > for everybody. Having us all agree on one criteria thus seems not
                                    > only
                                    > > impossible, but rather inhuman.
                                    > >
                                    > > George
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, NEIL WALKER <joaobur@ >
                                    > wrote:
                                    > > >
                                    > > > I am really confused about all this. It looks like a new way of
                                    > > stating the relativist position, but some sentences leave me
                                    > gawping!
                                    > > How can a proposition be 'guaranteed' correctness by our
                                    > stipulating
                                    > > in advance that it is an opinion? Are all opinions correct, or are
                                    > > only facts correct? Is it not a fact that I hold certain opinions?
                                    > As
                                    > > for avoiding having a favourite performance just in case some
                                    > > as-yet-unknown or later discovered performance might usurp our
                                    > > original choice, well that seems to me quite an extraordinary
                                    > position
                                    > > to take. It's a bit like not going to Spain for a holiday this
                                    > > year because it might well have turned out, or later turn out
                                    > that
                                    > > Portugal would be 'better'. With a bit of work, it can be decided
                                    > > which is better, but that will depend upon what defines a 'good'
                                    > > holiday, given what we look for in a holiday, as such - and if the
                                    > > parameters are well enough drawn, agreement can be reached. If,
                                    > on a
                                    > > later holiday, we decide that
                                    > > > Portugal is better, well, so what? What's lost?What we need, as I
                                    > > stated in an earlier posting, are criteria. If criteria can be
                                    > agreed
                                    > > as to what we are looking for in a performance of this or that
                                    > sonata,
                                    > > then they can be applied, and a list, of sorts, can be drawn up.
                                    > Of
                                    > > course, there will still be dissenters, but I am sure that a measure
                                    > > of agreement, an impressive measure, is possible. The criteria will
                                    > > probably vary from sonata to sonata, even movement to movement, but
                                    > so
                                    > > far we have no criteria at all, even for Op 2/1. Where writers have
                                    > > stated preferences, they have used terms like 'sturdy', 'robust',
                                    > > 'humorous' etc as if these are self-evidently qualities to be looked
                                    > > for in the movement under discussion. We are just floundering.
                                    > That's
                                    > > why I think the idea to 'blind' listen to various performances of
                                    > > Op.49/2 is such a good one. From people's comments will emerge their
                                    > > unprejudiced ideas as to what constitute a good performance, and
                                    > from all
                                    > > > these comments, criteria should emerge which can be agreed upon.
                                    > > These can then be applied to 'new' performances  we come across,
                                    > as
                                    > > some sort of yardstick.
                                    > > > Neil Walker 
                                    > > >
                                    > > > --- On Wed, 14/1/09, gperkins151 <gperkins151@ ...> wrote:
                                    > > >
                                    > > > From: gperkins151 <gperkins151@ ...>
                                    > > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than
                                    > Another
                                    > > One?
                                    > > > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                                    > > > Date: Wednesday, 14 January, 2009, 4:15 AM
                                    > > >
                                    > > >
                                    > > >
                                    > > >
                                    > > >
                                    > > >
                                    > > >
                                    > > > Hey Dick, as I read your post, I couldn't help but think of all
                                    > the
                                    > > > records Kid Rock or Mariah Carey or Jay Z sold over the last 5
                                    > years.
                                    > > > On a given night, you might find 20,000 of their fans at one of
                                    > their
                                    > > > concerts, screaming in adoration. Does this make their music
                                    > better
                                    > > > than some indie band that can barely fill a hall of a few
                                    > thousand?
                                    > > > Not in my opinion.
                                    > > >
                                    > > > That so many people like Richter is not proof that he is better
                                    > than
                                    > > > some other pianist, it is just proof that he has a lot of fans.
                                    > If on
                                    > > > were to conclude that he is better than say Annie Fischer because
                                    > he
                                    > > > has so many fans who love his music, one would only be correct if
                                    > one
                                    > > > were stating an opinion and not a fact.
                                    > > >
                                    > > > To me this is one of things that makes discussing music so
                                    > > > interesting. When it comes to who's good, better or best, it's all
                                    > > > opinion, not fact. This way the discussion can go on forever
                                    > without
                                    > > > us reaching a point where we decide "this pianist is the best."
                                    > > >
                                    > > > When I first started listening. I loved Horowitz, then Argerich,
                                    > then
                                    > > > Annie Fischer, then R Serkin and now Richter. Even if I were to
                                    > decide
                                    > > > that ___________ was the best pianist or ___________ was the best
                                    > > > performance of Op. 2 No. 1, it would only be the best one for me.
                                    > I
                                    > > > try not to do that though, as it closes the door for any pianist
                                    > who
                                    > > > may on day step forward and impress me a bit more.
                                    > > >
                                    > > > George
                                    > > >
                                    > > > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "Richard Mathisen"
                                    > > > <richard.mathisen@ ...> wrote:
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > KHI,
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > You appear to be addressing the second topic of this meeting.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > The first topic is comparing specific recordings of Beethoven
                                    > piano
                                    > > > sonatas to each other to identify the "best" recordings,
                                    > with "best"
                                    > > > in quotation marks.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > The second topic is to discuss whether this is such a thing as a
                                    > > > "best" recording.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > Before going further, let me mention that you seem to be using a
                                    > > > longer computer line than Yahoo accepts, so the line-wrap is
                                    > > > incorrect. (Other members may be able to tell you, off-line, what
                                    > > > needs to be done to correct that.)
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > You seem to be claiming that no recording of an individual
                                    > piece of
                                    > > > music is inherently better than any other recording of that piece
                                    > of
                                    > > > music. Any preference by an individual for one recording over
                                    > another
                                    > > > is just personal reaction, not connected to the inherent quality
                                    > of
                                    > > > the performance and recording.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > You also note your high regard for the recordings made by
                                    > Sviatoslav
                                    > > > Richter.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > Now, probably a majority of music-lovers agree with your high
                                    > > > opinion of Richter's recordings. I personally love Richter's
                                    > > > recordings. How do you explain the fact that so many people love
                                    > > > Richter's recordings, if it's just individual preference and not
                                    > > > something inherent in Richter's recordings?
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > Isn't it possible that Richter's recording of a particular work
                                    > > > might be "better" in some sense than other recordings of that
                                    > work?
                                    > > > Isn't it possible that there might be a general consensus among
                                    > > > knowledgeable music-lovers regarding a particular Richter
                                    > recording of
                                    > > > a particular work of music?
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > Dick Mathisen
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > ----- Original Message -----
                                    > > > > From: klavierneuling
                                    > > > > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                                    > > > > Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:05 AM
                                    > > > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: COMPARE THESE TWO
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "johnd012033"
                                    > > > <johnduffy@> wrote:
                                    > > > > >
                                    > > > > > Two of my current favorites are:
                                    > > > > > Paul Lewis & Stephen Kovacevich.
                                    > > > > > Both are very appealing to me, but
                                    > > > > > they are different. How are they
                                    > > > > > different? Can someone help me
                                    > > > > > identify & define that difference?
                                    > > > > > ...johnd012033
                                    > > > > >
                                    > > > > The following may not answer your question, John, but it is
                                    > related:
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > Music is a bit like food. Only my own tastebuds know what they
                                    > > > like, and nobody can
                                    > > > > convince them by talking. You can name all the ingredients, the
                                    > > > conditions, the chef and
                                    > > > > even the appliances used, but you won't be able to say why the
                                    > > > result tastes splendid or
                                    > > > > terrible or in between. Taste has no yardstick; it cannot be
                                    > > > subject to analysis. Words,
                                    > > > > therefore, have no access to the world of taste.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > Yes, this is why I think music critics are useless folks. By the
                                    > > > same token, any attempt at
                                    > > > > creating a ranking of the `best' performances must fail, as the
                                    > > > sensation of music in the
                                    > > > > ear is known only to the listener himself or herself. And since
                                    > > > this sensation takes place in
                                    > > > > the realm of taste, it cannot be expressed by way of words. Any
                                    > > > critic can say it was loud,
                                    > > > > fast, not according to the score here and there, etc.; that is
                                    > > > easy and cheap. Why,
                                    > > > > however, a certain performance tastes to me or you, or doesn't,
                                    > > > will remain a secret.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > Of course, when there is an excessive amount or no salt at all
                                    > in
                                    > > > the mixture you have a
                                    > > > > clear reason for concern. For example, after listening live to
                                    > the
                                    > > > police chasing Murray
                                    > > > > Perahia through the second movement, `Romanze', of Mozart's
                                    > piano
                                    > > > concerto No. 20, K
                                    > > > > 466, I decided not to pay attention to this pianist any longer.
                                    > I
                                    > > > can thus explain, why.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > On the other hand, I cannot explain why Glenn Gould's playing is
                                    > > > making me nervous,
                                    > > > > mainly. I know he is a giant. Neither can I put my finger on
                                    > why I
                                    > > > feel bored when
                                    > > > > listening to Rudolf Serkin. And so on. None of this happens
                                    > when I
                                    > > > listen to Emil Gilels or
                                    > > > > to Walter Gieseking, or to Jorge Bolet, if my tastebuds are in
                                    > the
                                    > > > mood for Liszt, for
                                    > > > > example. These and other pianists touch me and I usually stop
                                    > > > doing what I am doing
                                    > > > > when they're on.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > And then there is Sviatoslav Richter. Nine out of ten times his
                                    > > > playing tastes the best to
                                    > > > > me, no matter who the composer. To some he may indeed be playing
                                    > > > too fast, too slow,
                                    > > > > too loud and at times not even according to the score - but I,
                                    > > > after many decades of
                                    > > > > listening and comparing, usually come back to the taste of his
                                    > > > cooking, and I cannot put in
                                    > > > > words, why.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > KHI
                                    > > > >
                                    > > >
                                    > >
                                    >

                                  • klavierneuling
                                    Good evening (from Europe) to all! Please carry on, Richard. Differences in opinion are normal; they are the spice in any discussion! Since truth, facts,
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Jan 17, 2009
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      Good evening (from Europe) to all!

                                      Please carry on, Richard. Differences in opinion are normal; they are
                                      the spice in any discussion!

                                      Since truth, facts, beauty and quality, etc., are no democratic issues,
                                      "X% of all people" is not going to do the job for us either.
                                      What's more, beyond the obvious contents of the written score there
                                      exist no generally accepted criteria, there is no objective yardstick
                                      against which to measure the quality of a certain interpretation
                                      (music critics think otherwise, I know).

                                      Can't we just look for (the many) 'great' recordings instead, and let the
                                      opinions vary? Why can't we just share our preferences by trying to put
                                      them in words as best we can? We may not end up with the 'best'
                                      recording, we might not even reach a conclusion, but we might succeed
                                      in giving each other hints we would otherwise not have had access to.

                                      One word on complete sets: We all know they are the exception. Many
                                      of the best pianists of the past century : Richter, Gilels, Michelangeli,
                                      Vedernikov, Gieseking ... never did all 32 sonatas, but the ones they did
                                      record are perhaps among the most highly regarded. Maybe we should
                                      focus a bit more on these folks!

                                      Regards KHI








                                      --- In beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Mathisen" <richard.mathisen@...>
                                      wrote:
                                      >
                                      > George,
                                      >
                                      > I perceived you and Neil as moving in the direction of an abstract philosophical
                                      discussion of relativism. While Neil may have moved into philosophy more than you did, I
                                      suspect his comments were triggered by your absolutist statements about relativism.
                                      >
                                      > In answer to Neil's question, yes, any philosophical discussion about relativism is shut
                                      down. This group is about discussion of recordings of Beethoven piano sonatas and I
                                      intend to try to keep it as close to that topic as I can!
                                      >
                                      > Dick Mathisen
                                      >
                                      > ----- Original Message -----
                                      > From: gperkins151
                                      > To: beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com
                                      > Sent: Friday, January 16, 2009 8:34 PM
                                      > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than Another One?
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > Is it abstract? I thought you wanted to know if one performance of one
                                      > specific sonata could be considered the best? This seems to me a very
                                      > concrete thing. I guess I should have just said, yes, one performance
                                      > of one sonatas can be the best for you, or for me, or him, her, etc,
                                      > just not for everyone.
                                      >
                                      > George
                                      >
                                      > --- In beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com, "richardmathisen"
                                      > <richard.mathisen@> wrote:
                                      > >
                                      > > I agree we should shut down this discussion on the abstract topic of
                                      > > relativism.
                                      > >
                                      > > I am having trouble with my email ISP, so I have been forced to go to
                                      > > the Yahoo Groups website to post this note.
                                      > >
                                      > > I remain interested in anyone's comments comparing one specific
                                      > > recording of Op 2-1 with other recordings of Op 2-1.
                                      > >
                                      > > Dick Mathisen
                                      > >
                                      > > --- In beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com, NEIL WALKER <joaobur@>
                                      > > wrote:
                                      > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > > > George,
                                      > > > Â Â Â Â Â You can agree criteria independently of any
                                      > > consideration of any sonata. Going along this road leads to what
                                      > > philosophers refer to, I believe, as a 'reductio ad absurdum'.
                                      > > However, I do agree that arriving at any set of criteria must derive
                                      > > from consideration of many points of view and much debate. Thinking
                                      > > about and setting out why you like something helps to crystallize
                                      > > your own opinions and gut reactions, and can be helpful, making your
                                      > > attitudes more accessible to others. However, this site is
                                      > > Richard's 'baby', and I am happy to restrict my comments to what he
                                      > > considers acceptable.  Â
                                      > > > Neil Walker
                                      > > >
                                      > > > --- On Wed, 14/1/09, gperkins151 <gperkins151@> wrote:
                                      > > >
                                      > > > From: gperkins151 <gperkins151@>
                                      > > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than
                                      > > Another One?
                                      > > > To: beethovensonatas@yahoogroups.com
                                      > > > Date: Wednesday, 14 January, 2009, 6:58 PM
                                      > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > > > In an indirect way, you are proving my point. The criteria you refer
                                      > > > to is different for everybody, thus the reason we often have very
                                      > > > different ideas about what is best. It's a unique, personal criteria
                                      > > > for everybody. Having us all agree on one criteria thus seems not
                                      > > only
                                      > > > impossible, but rather inhuman.
                                      > > >
                                      > > > George
                                      > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > > > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, NEIL WALKER <joaobur@ >
                                      > > wrote:
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > > I am really confused about all this. It looks like a new way of
                                      > > > stating the relativist position, but some sentences leave me
                                      > > gawping!
                                      > > > How canÃ, a propositionÃ, be 'guaranteed' correctness by our
                                      > > stipulating
                                      > > > in advance that it is an opinion? Are all opinions correct, or are
                                      > > > only facts correct? Is it not a fact that I hold certain opinions?
                                      > > As
                                      > > > forÃ, avoiding having a favourite performance just in case some
                                      > > > as-yet-unknown or later discovered performance might usurp our
                                      > > > original choice, well that seems to me quite an extraordinary
                                      > > position
                                      > > > to take. It's a bit like not going to Spain for a holiday this
                                      > > > yearÃ, because it might well have turned out, or later turn out
                                      > > that
                                      > > > Portugal would be 'better'.Ã, With a bit of work, it can be decided
                                      > > > which is better, but that will depend upon what defines a 'good'
                                      > > > holiday, given what we look for in a holiday, as such - and if the
                                      > > > parameters are well enough drawn, agreement can be reached.Ã, If,
                                      > > on a
                                      > > > later holiday, we decide that
                                      > > > > Portugal is better, well, so what? What's lost?What we need, as I
                                      > > > stated in an earlier posting, are criteria. If criteria can be
                                      > > agreed
                                      > > > as to what we are looking for in a performance of this or that
                                      > > sonata,
                                      > > > then they can be applied, and a list, of sorts,Ã, can be drawn up.
                                      > > Of
                                      > > > course, there will still be dissenters, but I am sure that a measure
                                      > > > of agreement, an impressive measure, is possible. The criteria will
                                      > > > probably vary from sonata to sonata, even movement to movement, but
                                      > > so
                                      > > > far we have no criteria at all, even for Op 2/1. Where writers have
                                      > > > stated preferences, they have used terms like 'sturdy', 'robust',
                                      > > > 'humorous' etc as if these are self-evidently qualities to be looked
                                      > > > for in the movement under discussion. We are just floundering.
                                      > > That's
                                      > > > why I think the idea to 'blind' listen to various performances of
                                      > > > Op.49/2 is such a good one. From people's comments will emerge their
                                      > > > unprejudiced ideas as to what constitute a good performance, and
                                      > > from all
                                      > > > > these comments, criteria should emerge which can be agreed upon.
                                      > > > These can then be applied to 'new' performancesÃ, we come across,
                                      > > as
                                      > > > some sort of yardstick.
                                      > > > > Neil WalkerÃ,Â
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > > --- On Wed, 14/1/09, gperkins151 <gperkins151@ ...> wrote:
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > > From: gperkins151 <gperkins151@ ...>
                                      > > > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: Is One Recording Better than
                                      > > Another
                                      > > > One?
                                      > > > > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                                      > > > > Date: Wednesday, 14 January, 2009, 4:15 AM
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > > Hey Dick, as I read your post, I couldn't help but think of all
                                      > > the
                                      > > > > records Kid Rock or Mariah Carey or Jay Z sold over the last 5
                                      > > years.
                                      > > > > On a given night, you might find 20,000 of their fans at one of
                                      > > their
                                      > > > > concerts, screaming in adoration. Does this make their music
                                      > > better
                                      > > > > than some indie band that can barely fill a hall of a few
                                      > > thousand?
                                      > > > > Not in my opinion.
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > > That so many people like Richter is not proof that he is better
                                      > > than
                                      > > > > some other pianist, it is just proof that he has a lot of fans.
                                      > > If on
                                      > > > > were to conclude that he is better than say Annie Fischer because
                                      > > he
                                      > > > > has so many fans who love his music, one would only be correct if
                                      > > one
                                      > > > > were stating an opinion and not a fact.
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > > To me this is one of things that makes discussing music so
                                      > > > > interesting. When it comes to who's good, better or best, it's all
                                      > > > > opinion, not fact. This way the discussion can go on forever
                                      > > without
                                      > > > > us reaching a point where we decide "this pianist is the best."
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > > When I first started listening. I loved Horowitz, then Argerich,
                                      > > then
                                      > > > > Annie Fischer, then R Serkin and now Richter. Even if I were to
                                      > > decide
                                      > > > > that ___________ was the best pianist or ___________ was the best
                                      > > > > performance of Op. 2 No. 1, it would only be the best one for me.
                                      > > I
                                      > > > > try not to do that though, as it closes the door for any pianist
                                      > > who
                                      > > > > may on day step forward and impress me a bit more.
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > > George
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "Richard Mathisen"
                                      > > > > <richard.mathisen@ ...> wrote:
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > KHI,
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > You appear to be addressing the second topic of this meeting.
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > The first topic is comparing specific recordings of Beethoven
                                      > > piano
                                      > > > > sonatas to each other to identify the "best" recordings,
                                      > > with "best"
                                      > > > > in quotation marks.
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > The second topic is to discuss whether this is such a thing as a
                                      > > > > "best" recording.
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > Before going further, let me mention that you seem to be using a
                                      > > > > longer computer line than Yahoo accepts, so the line-wrap is
                                      > > > > incorrect. (Other members may be able to tell you, off-line, what
                                      > > > > needs to be done to correct that.)
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > You seem to be claiming that no recording of an individual
                                      > > piece of
                                      > > > > music is inherently better than any other recording of that piece
                                      > > of
                                      > > > > music. Any preference by an individual for one recording over
                                      > > another
                                      > > > > is just personal reaction, not connected to the inherent quality
                                      > > of
                                      > > > > the performance and recording.
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > You also note your high regard for the recordings made by
                                      > > Sviatoslav
                                      > > > > Richter.
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > Now, probably a majority of music-lovers agree with your high
                                      > > > > opinion of Richter's recordings. I personally love Richter's
                                      > > > > recordings. How do you explain the fact that so many people love
                                      > > > > Richter's recordings, if it's just individual preference and not
                                      > > > > something inherent in Richter's recordings?
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > Isn't it possible that Richter's recording of a particular work
                                      > > > > might be "better" in some sense than other recordings of that
                                      > > work?
                                      > > > > Isn't it possible that there might be a general consensus among
                                      > > > > knowledgeable music-lovers regarding a particular Richter
                                      > > recording of
                                      > > > > a particular work of music?
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > Dick Mathisen
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > ----- Original Message -----
                                      > > > > > From: klavierneuling
                                      > > > > > To: beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com
                                      > > > > > Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:05 AM
                                      > > > > > Subject: [beethovensonatas] Re: COMPARE THESE TWO
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > --- In beethovensonatas@ yahoogroups. com, "johnd012033"
                                      > > > > <johnduffy@> wrote:
                                      > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > Two of my current favorites are:
                                      > > > > > > Paul Lewis & Stephen Kovacevich.
                                      > > > > > > Both are very appealing to me, but
                                      > > > > > > they are different. How are they
                                      > > > > > > different? Can someone help me
                                      > > > > > > identify & define that difference?
                                      > > > > > > ...johnd012033
                                      > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > The following may not answer your question, John, but it is
                                      > > related:
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > Music is a bit like food. Only my own tastebuds know what they
                                      > > > > like, and nobody can
                                      > > > > > convince them by talking. You can name all the ingredients, the
                                      > > > > conditions, the chef and
                                      > > > > > even the appliances used, but you won't be able to say why the
                                      > > > > result tastes splendid or
                                      > > > > > terrible or in between. Taste has no yardstick; it cannot be
                                      > > > > subject to analysis. Words,
                                      > > > > > therefore, have no access to the world of taste.
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > Yes, this is why I think music critics are useless folks. By the
                                      > > > > same token, any attempt at
                                      > > > > > creating a ranking of the `best' performances must fail, as the
                                      > > > > sensation of music in the
                                      > > > > > ear is known only to the listener himself or herself. And since
                                      > > > > this sensation takes place in
                                      > > > > > the realm of taste, it cannot be expressed by way of words. Any
                                      > > > > critic can say it was loud,
                                      > > > > > fast, not according to the score here and there, etc.; that is
                                      > > > > easy and cheap. Why,
                                      > > > > > however, a certain performance tastes to me or you, or doesn't,
                                      > > > > will remain a secret.
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > Of course, when there is an excessive amount or no salt at all
                                      > > in
                                      > > > > the mixture you have a
                                      > > > > > clear reason for concern. For example, after listening live to
                                      > > the
                                      > > > > police chasing Murray
                                      > > > > > Perahia through the second movement, `Romanze', of Mozart's
                                      > > piano
                                      > > > > concerto No. 20, K
                                      > > > > > 466, I decided not to pay attention to this pianist any longer.
                                      > > I
                                      > > > > can thus explain, why.
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > On the other hand, I cannot explain why Glenn Gould's playing is
                                      > > > > making me nervous,
                                      > > > > > mainly. I know he is a giant. Neither can I put my finger on
                                      > > why I
                                      > > > > feel bored when
                                      > > > > > listening to Rudolf Serkin. And so on. None of this happens
                                      > > when I
                                      > > > > listen to Emil Gilels or
                                      > > > > > to Walter Gieseking, or to Jorge Bolet, if my tastebuds are in
                                      > > the
                                      > > > > mood for Liszt, for
                                      > > > > > example. These and other pianists touch me and I usually stop
                                      > > > > doing what I am doing
                                      > > > > > when they're on.
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > And then there is Sviatoslav Richter. Nine out of ten times his
                                      > > > > playing tastes the best to
                                      > > > > > me, no matter who the composer. To some he may indeed be playing
                                      > > > > too fast, too slow,
                                      > > > > > too loud and at times not even according to the score - but I,
                                      > > > > after many decades of
                                      > > > > > listening and comparing, usually come back to the taste of his
                                      > > > > cooking, and I cannot put in
                                      > > > > > words, why.
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > KHI
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > >
                                      >
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