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Re: [regsaudioforum] How to make a really bad record (Dvorak's cello concerto)

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  • Edward Mast
    P.S. This being the only recording I have of the Dvorak cello concerto (not something I often listen to, violin or piano concertos being more my preference),
    Message 1 of 10 , Jul 25, 2013
      P.S.  This being the only recording I have of the Dvorak cello concerto (not something I often listen to, violin or piano concertos being more my preference), I can't offer a comparison with other performances.
      Ned
    • Robert
      Maybe the impression was just something about my car radio! As to the genesis of the concerto--this is hardly fresh and new though there is some interest I
      Message 2 of 10 , Jul 25, 2013
        Maybe the impression was just something
        about my car radio!
        As to the genesis of the concerto--this is
        hardly "fresh and new" though there is some
        interest I suppose in having the songs
        in question right there. But it is extremely
        well known how the concerto came about, why
        there is no cadenza in the last movement etc.
        The story is very famous and widely documented.
        cf (chosen at random by googling)
        http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/?fuseaction=composition&composition_id=3746

        This is a typical trick of cheap advertising:
        take something that is well known and claim
        that the item advertised amounts to discovering it
        for the first time. Still, it is nice that
        the songs are there on the disc. And I suppose
        that they were desperate to try to sell the thing.

        Incidentally , might I suggest buying one
        of Starker's recordings of the work? Or one
        of the other great recordings(DuPre, Fournier,
        Navarra, Gendron, Walevska[one of my favorites]
        there are so many great ones!]) You might
        start listening to it! It is a really great piece
        in my view, one of the gems of the whole repertoire
        (for any instrument).

        REG





        --- In regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com, Edward Mast <nedmast2@...> wrote:
        >
        > I must have missed the original post mentioning this recording, but I do have it - done 12/6/2004 at Avery Fisher Hall, according to the booklet. It's not something I've listened to since purchasing it several years ago, but putting it on now I don't find it as awful as you found it on your car radio, Robert. At least sonically, that is. The cello seems to be given typical recorded prominence usually given a solo instrument with an orchestra, and the orchestra seems to me to be in the forefront when called for. But if you get the recording I will be ready to be corrected, Robert. As for the interpretation, I would agree that it's nothing special, though having its lovely moments (particularly in the slow movement).
        > The rationale for the recording is given on the back of the CD booklet: "Jan Vogler expleores the genesis of Dvorak's famous cello Concerto. His examination of the influences affecting the composer - including American music, Gypsy love songs, and illicit love - leads to a fresh interpretation of the Concerto." Included on the CD are two versions of "Lasst mich allein", Op.82, No. 1 - one vocal and one instrumental. Also included are cello/piano versions of Dvorak's "Ziegeunerlieder", Op. 55.
        > Ned
        >
      • Robert
        PS The trouble with overmiking the soloist in a concerto recording is that it ruins the music. The whole point of the way the Dvorak in particular is written
        Message 3 of 10 , Jul 25, 2013
          PS The trouble with overmiking the soloist
          in a concerto recording is that it ruins the music.
          The whole point of the way the Dvorak in
          particular is written is that the cello
          is not lost in the orchestral sound(when
          the piece is heard live). Dvorak worked
          on this--and he did it. If one overmikes
          the cello, it makes the piece sound
          wrongly composed--because the natural balance
          that is written in is destroyed. In effect,
          it makes the composer seem a little stupid(if
          one takes the situation at face value, if
          one took that for the balance that was
          really there--in reality,
          it makes the recording engineer seem stupid!).

          It is hard to find a naturally balanced concerto recording.
          And people are so used to this absrudly artificial
          sound that when they hear a concerto live
          they often feel that the soloist is not prominent
          enough.

          As is all too usual, the recording industry louses
          everything up. Recordings of solo piano say are
          not so bad because there is only one instrument,
          and hence no question of balance between instruments.
          But concerti are almost always just terrible as recordings
          of what is there in reality and ought to be there.
          Composers were not dummies. They wrote what
          they wanted people to hear. Recording engineers should
          leave it alone.

          REG
          --- In regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com, "Robert" <regtas43@...> wrote:
          >
          > Maybe the impression was just something
          > about my car radio!
          > As to the genesis of the concerto--this is
          > hardly "fresh and new" though there is some
          > interest I suppose in having the songs
          > in question right there. But it is extremely
          > well known how the concerto came about, why
          > there is no cadenza in the last movement etc.
          > The story is very famous and widely documented.
          > cf (chosen at random by googling)
          > http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/?fuseaction=composition&composition_id=3746
          >
          > This is a typical trick of cheap advertising:
          > take something that is well known and claim
          > that the item advertised amounts to discovering it
          > for the first time. Still, it is nice that
          > the songs are there on the disc. And I suppose
          > that they were desperate to try to sell the thing.
          >
          > Incidentally , might I suggest buying one
          > of Starker's recordings of the work? Or one
          > of the other great recordings(DuPre, Fournier,
          > Navarra, Gendron, Walevska[one of my favorites]
          > there are so many great ones!]) You might
          > start listening to it! It is a really great piece
          > in my view, one of the gems of the whole repertoire
          > (for any instrument).
          >
          > REG
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > --- In regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com, Edward Mast <nedmast2@> wrote:
          > >
          > > I must have missed the original post mentioning this recording, but I do have it - done 12/6/2004 at Avery Fisher Hall, according to the booklet. It's not something I've listened to since purchasing it several years ago, but putting it on now I don't find it as awful as you found it on your car radio, Robert. At least sonically, that is. The cello seems to be given typical recorded prominence usually given a solo instrument with an orchestra, and the orchestra seems to me to be in the forefront when called for. But if you get the recording I will be ready to be corrected, Robert. As for the interpretation, I would agree that it's nothing special, though having its lovely moments (particularly in the slow movement).
          > > The rationale for the recording is given on the back of the CD booklet: "Jan Vogler expleores the genesis of Dvorak's famous cello Concerto. His examination of the influences affecting the composer - including American music, Gypsy love songs, and illicit love - leads to a fresh interpretation of the Concerto." Included on the CD are two versions of "Lasst mich allein", Op.82, No. 1 - one vocal and one instrumental. Also included are cello/piano versions of Dvorak's "Ziegeunerlieder", Op. 55.
          > > Ned
          > >
          >
        • Peter
          I agree with you that most concerto recordings are just plain wrong.   That said, I ve never heard a Tony Faulkner-engineered concerto that sounded wrong.  
          Message 4 of 10 , Jul 25, 2013
            I agree with you that most concerto recordings are just plain wrong.
             
            That said, I've never heard a Tony Faulkner-engineered concerto that sounded wrong.
             

            From: Robert <regtas43@...>
            To: regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Thursday, July 25, 2013 12:41 PM
            Subject: [regsaudioforum] Re: How to make a really bad record (Dvorak's cello concerto)
             
            PS The trouble with overmiking the soloist
            in a concerto recording is that it ruins the music.
            The whole point of the way the Dvorak in
            particular is written is that the cello
            is not lost in the orchestral sound(when
            the piece is heard live). Dvorak worked
            on this--and he did it. If one overmikes
            the cello, it makes the piece sound
            wrongly composed--because the natural balance
            that is written in is destroyed. In effect,
            it makes the composer seem a little stupid(if
            one takes the situation at face value, if
            one took that for the balance that was
            really there--in reality,
            it makes the recording engineer seem stupid!).

            It is hard to find a naturally balanced concerto recording.
            And people are so used to this absrudly artificial
            sound that when they hear a concerto live
            they often feel that the soloist is not prominent
            enough.

            As is all too usual, the recording industry louses
            everything up. Recordings of solo piano say are
            not so bad because there is only one instrument,
            and hence no question of balance between instruments.
            But concerti are almost always just terrible as recordings
            of what is there in reality and ought to be there.
            Composers were not dummies. They wrote what
            they wanted people to hear. Recording engineers should
            leave it alone.

            REG
            --- In mailto:regsaudioforum%40yahoogroups.com, "Robert" <regtas43@...> wrote:
            >
            > Maybe the impression was just something
            > about my car radio!
            > As to the genesis of the concerto--this is
            > hardly "fresh and new" though there is some
            > interest I suppose in having the songs
            > in question right there. But it is extremely
            > well known how the concerto came about, why
            > there is no cadenza in the last movement etc.
            > The story is very famous and widely documented.
            > cf (chosen at random by googling)
            > http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/?fuseaction=composition&composition_id=3746
            >
            > This is a typical trick of cheap advertising:
            > take something that is well known and claim
            > that the item advertised amounts to discovering it
            > for the first time. Still, it is nice that
            > the songs are there on the disc. And I suppose
            > that they were desperate to try to sell the thing.
            >
            > Incidentally , might I suggest buying one
            > of Starker's recordings of the work? Or one
            > of the other great recordings(DuPre, Fournier,
            > Navarra, Gendron, Walevska[one of my favorites]
            > there are so many great ones!]) You might
            > start listening to it! It is a really great piece
            > in my view, one of the gems of the whole repertoire
            > (for any instrument).
            >
            > REG
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > --- In mailto:regsaudioforum%40yahoogroups.com, Edward Mast <nedmast2@> wrote:
            > >
            > > I must have missed the original post mentioning this recording, but I do have it - done 12/6/2004 at Avery Fisher Hall, according to the booklet. It's not something I've listened to since purchasing it several years ago, but putting it on now I don't find it as awful as you found it on your car radio, Robert. At least sonically, that is. The cello seems to be given typical recorded prominence usually given a solo instrument with an orchestra, and the orchestra seems to me to be in the forefront when called for. But if you get the recording I will be ready to be corrected, Robert. As for the interpretation, I would agree that it's nothing special, though having its lovely moments (particularly in the slow movement).
            > > The rationale for the recording is given on the back of the CD booklet: "Jan Vogler expleores the genesis of Dvorak's famous cello Concerto. His examination of the influences affecting the composer - including American music, Gypsy love songs, and illicit love - leads to a fresh interpretation of the Concerto." Included on the CD are two versions of "Lasst mich allein", Op.82, No. 1 - one vocal and one instrumental. Also included are cello/piano versions of Dvorak's "Ziegeunerlieder", Op. 55.
            > > Ned
            > >
            >

          • Tom Mallin
            I agree that concerto recordings most always overly highlight the solo instrument. In comparison with reality, the difference is greatest with lower pitched
            Message 5 of 10 , Jul 25, 2013
              I agree that concerto recordings most always overly highlight the solo instrument.  In comparison with reality, the difference is greatest with lower pitched instruments like those in cello concertos, however.  With violin and trumpet concertos, on the other hand, the combination of high (and perhaps somewhat piercing) pitch of the soloist plus the fact that the soloist is out in front of the ensemble does create more than a bit of natural prominence for the solo instrument.  High pitched instruments, as with tenors and soprano singers as soloists, "cut through" orchestral fabric more easily live and unamplified, even when the orchestra is not further reduced in relative volume and made warmer sounding by putting the orchestra in a pit, as with operas.

              Then, of course, there is often the exercise of "star power" which persuades the producer to highlight the soloist a bit more yet.  Either the marketers believe people want to hear the soloist clearly at all times because the soloist is the headliner on the recording (and may well be prominently pictured in the artwork for the recording's release), or the soloist wants that, or both.


              On Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 11:41 AM, Robert <regtas43@...> wrote:
               

              PS The trouble with overmiking the soloist
              in a concerto recording is that it ruins the music.
              The whole point of the way the Dvorak in
              particular is written is that the cello
              is not lost in the orchestral sound(when
              the piece is heard live). Dvorak worked
              on this--and he did it. If one overmikes
              the cello, it makes the piece sound
              wrongly composed--because the natural balance
              that is written in is destroyed. In effect,
              it makes the composer seem a little stupid(if
              one takes the situation at face value, if
              one took that for the balance that was
              really there--in reality,
              it makes the recording engineer seem stupid!).

              It is hard to find a naturally balanced concerto recording.
              And people are so used to this absrudly artificial
              sound that when they hear a concerto live
              they often feel that the soloist is not prominent
              enough.

              As is all too usual, the recording industry louses
              everything up. Recordings of solo piano say are
              not so bad because there is only one instrument,
              and hence no question of balance between instruments.
              But concerti are almost always just terrible as recordings
              of what is there in reality and ought to be there.
              Composers were not dummies. They wrote what
              they wanted people to hear. Recording engineers should
              leave it alone.

              REG
              --- In regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com, "Robert" <regtas43@...> wrote:
              >
              > Maybe the impression was just something
              > about my car radio!
              > As to the genesis of the concerto--this is
              > hardly "fresh and new" though there is some
              > interest I suppose in having the songs
              > in question right there. But it is extremely
              > well known how the concerto came about, why
              > there is no cadenza in the last movement etc.
              > The story is very famous and widely documented.
              > cf (chosen at random by googling)
              > http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/?fuseaction=composition&composition_id=3746
              >
              > This is a typical trick of cheap advertising:
              > take something that is well known and claim
              > that the item advertised amounts to discovering it
              > for the first time. Still, it is nice that
              > the songs are there on the disc. And I suppose
              > that they were desperate to try to sell the thing.
              >
              > Incidentally , might I suggest buying one
              > of Starker's recordings of the work? Or one
              > of the other great recordings(DuPre, Fournier,
              > Navarra, Gendron, Walevska[one of my favorites]
              > there are so many great ones!]) You might
              > start listening to it! It is a really great piece
              > in my view, one of the gems of the whole repertoire
              > (for any instrument).
              >
              > REG
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > --- In regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com, Edward Mast <nedmast2@> wrote:
              > >
              > > I must have missed the original post mentioning this recording, but I do have it - done 12/6/2004 at Avery Fisher Hall, according to the booklet. It's not something I've listened to since purchasing it several years ago, but putting it on now I don't find it as awful as you found it on your car radio, Robert. At least sonically, that is. The cello seems to be given typical recorded prominence usually given a solo instrument with an orchestra, and the orchestra seems to me to be in the forefront when called for. But if you get the recording I will be ready to be corrected, Robert. As for the interpretation, I would agree that it's nothing special, though having its lovely moments (particularly in the slow movement).
              > > The rationale for the recording is given on the back of the CD booklet: "Jan Vogler expleores the genesis of Dvorak's famous cello Concerto. His examination of the influences affecting the composer - including American music, Gypsy love songs, and illicit love - leads to a fresh interpretation of the Concerto." Included on the CD are two versions of "Lasst mich allein", Op.82, No. 1 - one vocal and one instrumental. Also included are cello/piano versions of Dvorak's "Ziegeunerlieder", Op. 55.
              > > Ned
              > >
              >


            • Robert
              I have to admit that it is not always the producer or engineer. I recall reading a statement from Perlman to the effect that he thought his fans wanted to hear
              Message 6 of 10 , Jul 25, 2013
                I have to admit that it is not always the
                producer or engineer. I recall reading
                a statement from Perlman to the effect
                that he thought his fans wanted to hear him,
                not the orchestra and hence he over-rode the
                views of the engineer that they should
                have a natural balance.

                It is alarming to think that the listeners
                are so debased by generations of over-miking
                that this is what they really do want to hear
                but it might be true.

                REG

                PS I agree. Tony Faulkner is one of the good
                people!


                --- In regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com, Tom Mallin <tmallin4@...> wrote:
                >
                > I agree that concerto recordings most always overly highlight the solo
                > instrument. In comparison with reality, the difference is greatest with
                > lower pitched instruments like those in cello concertos, however. With
                > violin and trumpet concertos, on the other hand, the combination of high
                > (and perhaps somewhat piercing) pitch of the soloist plus the fact that the
                > soloist is out in front of the ensemble does create more than a bit of
                > natural prominence for the solo instrument. High pitched instruments, as
                > with tenors and soprano singers as soloists, "cut through" orchestral
                > fabric more easily live and unamplified, even when the orchestra is not
                > further reduced in relative volume and made warmer sounding by putting the
                > orchestra in a pit, as with operas.
                >
                > Then, of course, there is often the exercise of "star power" which
                > persuades the producer to highlight the soloist a bit more yet. Either the
                > marketers believe people want to hear the soloist clearly at all times
                > because the soloist is the headliner on the recording (and may well be
                > prominently pictured in the artwork for the recording's release), or the
                > soloist wants that, or both.
                >
                >
                > On Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 11:41 AM, Robert <regtas43@...> wrote:
                >
                > > **
                > >
                > >
                > > PS The trouble with overmiking the soloist
                > > in a concerto recording is that it ruins the music.
                > > The whole point of the way the Dvorak in
                > > particular is written is that the cello
                > > is not lost in the orchestral sound(when
                > > the piece is heard live). Dvorak worked
                > > on this--and he did it. If one overmikes
                > > the cello, it makes the piece sound
                > > wrongly composed--because the natural balance
                > > that is written in is destroyed. In effect,
                > > it makes the composer seem a little stupid(if
                > > one takes the situation at face value, if
                > > one took that for the balance that was
                > > really there--in reality,
                > > it makes the recording engineer seem stupid!).
                > >
                > > It is hard to find a naturally balanced concerto recording.
                > > And people are so used to this absrudly artificial
                > > sound that when they hear a concerto live
                > > they often feel that the soloist is not prominent
                > > enough.
                > >
                > > As is all too usual, the recording industry louses
                > > everything up. Recordings of solo piano say are
                > > not so bad because there is only one instrument,
                > > and hence no question of balance between instruments.
                > > But concerti are almost always just terrible as recordings
                > > of what is there in reality and ought to be there.
                > > Composers were not dummies. They wrote what
                > > they wanted people to hear. Recording engineers should
                > > leave it alone.
                > >
                > > REG
                > > --- In regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com, "Robert" <regtas43@> wrote:
                > > >
                > > > Maybe the impression was just something
                > > > about my car radio!
                > > > As to the genesis of the concerto--this is
                > > > hardly "fresh and new" though there is some
                > > > interest I suppose in having the songs
                > > > in question right there. But it is extremely
                > > > well known how the concerto came about, why
                > > > there is no cadenza in the last movement etc.
                > > > The story is very famous and widely documented.
                > > > cf (chosen at random by googling)
                > > >
                > > http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/?fuseaction=composition&composition_id=3746
                > > >
                > > > This is a typical trick of cheap advertising:
                > > > take something that is well known and claim
                > > > that the item advertised amounts to discovering it
                > > > for the first time. Still, it is nice that
                > > > the songs are there on the disc. And I suppose
                > > > that they were desperate to try to sell the thing.
                > > >
                > > > Incidentally , might I suggest buying one
                > > > of Starker's recordings of the work? Or one
                > > > of the other great recordings(DuPre, Fournier,
                > > > Navarra, Gendron, Walevska[one of my favorites]
                > > > there are so many great ones!]) You might
                > > > start listening to it! It is a really great piece
                > > > in my view, one of the gems of the whole repertoire
                > > > (for any instrument).
                > > >
                > > > REG
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > --- In regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com, Edward Mast <nedmast2@> wrote:
                > > > >
                > > > > I must have missed the original post mentioning this recording, but I
                > > do have it - done 12/6/2004 at Avery Fisher Hall, according to the booklet.
                > > It's not something I've listened to since purchasing it several years ago,
                > > but putting it on now I don't find it as awful as you found it on your car
                > > radio, Robert. At least sonically, that is. The cello seems to be given
                > > typical recorded prominence usually given a solo instrument with an
                > > orchestra, and the orchestra seems to me to be in the forefront when called
                > > for. But if you get the recording I will be ready to be corrected, Robert.
                > > As for the interpretation, I would agree that it's nothing special, though
                > > having its lovely moments (particularly in the slow movement).
                > > > > The rationale for the recording is given on the back of the CD
                > > booklet: "Jan Vogler expleores the genesis of Dvorak's famous cello
                > > Concerto. His examination of the influences affecting the composer -
                > > including American music, Gypsy love songs, and illicit love - leads to a
                > > fresh interpretation of the Concerto." Included on the CD are two versions
                > > of "Lasst mich allein", Op.82, No. 1 - one vocal and one instrumental. Also
                > > included are cello/piano versions of Dvorak's "Ziegeunerlieder", Op. 55.
                > > > > Ned
                > > > >
                > > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                >
              • Edward Mast
                I agree with all you ve said about the Dvorak, Robert, and of course when I say the recording sounds typical for a concerto recording, I don t mean I would
                Message 7 of 10 , Jul 25, 2013
                  I agree with all you've said about the Dvorak, Robert, and of course when I say the recording sounds typical for a concerto recording, I don't mean I would expect to hear the cello so prominent at a live performance.
                  I will try one of your suggested recordings.  If not Starker then perhaps Walevska, since I've enjoyed her Haydn concerto recordings.
                  Ned
                  On Jul 25, 2013, at 12:19 PM, Robert wrote:

                   

                  Maybe the impression was just something
                  about my car radio!
                  As to the genesis of the concerto--this is
                  hardly "fresh and new" though there is some
                  interest I suppose in having the songs
                  in question right there. But it is extremely
                  well known how the concerto came about, why
                  there is no cadenza in the last movement etc.
                  The story is very famous and widely documented.
                  cf (chosen at random by googling)
                  http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/?fuseaction=composition&composition_id=3746

                  This is a typical trick of cheap advertising:
                  take something that is well known and claim
                  that the item advertised amounts to discovering it
                  for the first time. Still, it is nice that
                  the songs are there on the disc. And I suppose
                  that they were desperate to try to sell the thing.

                  Incidentally , might I suggest buying one
                  of Starker's recordings of the work? Or one
                  of the other great recordings(DuPre, Fournier,
                  Navarra, Gendron, Walevska[one of my favorites]
                  there are so many great ones!]) You might
                  start listening to it! It is a really great piece
                  in my view, one of the gems of the whole repertoire
                  (for any instrument).

                  REG

                  --- In regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com, Edward Mast <nedmast2@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > I must have missed the original post mentioning this recording, but I do have it - done 12/6/2004 at Avery Fisher Hall, according to the booklet. It's not something I've listened to since purchasing it several years ago, but putting it on now I don't find it as awful as you found it on your car radio, Robert. At least sonically, that is. The cello seems to be given typical recorded prominence usually given a solo instrument with an orchestra, and the orchestra seems to me to be in the forefront when called for. But if you get the recording I will be ready to be corrected, Robert. As for the interpretation, I would agree that it's nothing special, though having its lovely moments (particularly in the slow movement).
                  > The rationale for the recording is given on the back of the CD booklet: "Jan Vogler expleores the genesis of Dvorak's famous cello Concerto. His examination of the influences affecting the composer - including American music, Gypsy love songs, and illicit love - leads to a fresh interpretation of the Concerto." Included on the CD are two versions of "Lasst mich allein", Op.82, No. 1 - one vocal and one instrumental. Also included are cello/piano versions of Dvorak's "Ziegeunerlieder", Op. 55.
                  > Ned
                  >


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