Krips Beethoven symphonies.

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Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby dai bread » Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:04 am

Well, my set arrived this afternoon. It's the tin can set, tin made in China, as is the booklet about Beethoven that came with it. Unfortunately there's nothing about the recordings or the remastering. At £13 for the set, (NZD 40) it's probably all made in China. [CD Universe has this set for $9, presumably U.S., so if I'd looked harder I could have got it for less]. At any of these figures, this has to be the bargain of the century.

Thank you, Shap, for pointing me in this direction.

I've played Symphonies 1 & 3 (disk 1) and am listening to Symphony #2 (disk 2) now. (The other symphony on this disk is #6).

I am impressed so far. The remastering is excellent to my ears. Possibly a little fuzzy in tutti passages and some of the full-throttle brass work, but I'd need to compare it to a modern recording (Simon Rattle's, for instance) to be sure. I find I quibble a little about Krips' tempi here and there, but only for a bar or two. By the time I've realised I'm quibbling he's moved on and I'm happy with what he's doing. Symphony #1, for instance, opened rather slowly I think, but once the introduction was out of the way the tempo sped up and the interpretation was excellent. Krips brings out aspects of the works that weren't apparent in other versions I've heard. An emphasis on individual sections here & there, where others let them all merge.

The tempo if the first two movements of #6 is a bit slower than I'm used to, but I find a leisurely walk in the countryside quite refreshing. Krip's storm is excellent, and the last movement is spot-on IMO. On my old stereo, which I have attached to my computer and its players, a small amount of needle rumble is apparent that I didn't hear on my TV, which serves as my new stereo, via its DVD players. Oddly enough, I had to turn up the computer quite loud to get decent volume through the stereo for disk 2. The TV and its player handled disk 1 quite happily.

I'll post reviews of the other symphonies as I play them. So far, so excellent. Again, thanks Shap.
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby Shapley » Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:17 am

No problem. I hope you enjoy them all. I was particulary fond of his interpretation of the Ninth. But, then again, there is that 'first love' factor. :)
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby dai bread » Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:15 am

Intrigued by your comment above, Shap, I played disk 5, the 9th Symphony.

I think the original was cheaply recorded. The dynamic range of the symphony exceeds that of the recording equipment pretty well anywhere there's more that 2 fortes in the score, and the remastering hasn't fixed that. Assuming it can, of course.

I listened very carefully, and thought, as the music progressed, that there must be a quibble I can find. Yes there is, but it took until about 15 minutes into the last movement to find it. There's one spot in the chorus where there's a word per beat, and the emphatic rhythm that Krips uses gives a jerky effect which I don't like. However, like my quibbles about the earlier symphonies, a few bars later, it's all gone and Krips & I are back in sync.

Krips' tempi are faster than the ones Klemperer uses on the LP set I have, but the symphony is none the worse for that. IMO Beethoven's music should be played faster rather than slower, and I have no argument whatever with Krips' tempi. He varies them more than Klemperer too, which gives additional interest.

I should re-play my Klemperer. I remember the recording quality as being better, and it was done about the same time as the Krips. It was for Columbia, though, and I think that made the difference.

All in all, I agree with you, Shap. Despite the technical warts, this is a great recording.
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby dai bread » Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:44 am

I'm playing the Klemperer. The recording quality is definitely better on the Columbia disks.

Unfortunately my turntable is on its last legs. I'll have to buy a new one. Oaths and damnations!

Maybe I should just ditch the vinyl. It means replacing a lot of records though. 14CDs for the "Ring" for a start. I do have it on one disk, but it won't play on anything but a computer. The two Klemperer Beethovens I just started to play will go on one CD. I think I'll stick to the Krips, though I might try Simon Rattle's recording. Decisions, decisions!
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby OperaTenor » Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:15 am

I say don't ditch the vinyl! Too bad we're not neighbors; I have an extra turntable, not to mention the USB turntable with which I have yet to commence converting my vinyl to digital.
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby Shapley » Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:40 am

I've got three turntables, but don't have one set up right now. I have a very nice Kenwood I got when I was in the Navy, an excellent Garrard, and that LP-to-CD converter that I received for Christmas a couple years ago.

My wife's been after me to get rid of my vinyl collection, but I haven't the heart to do it. They are like old friends. Crazy old friends I have to keep locked up the basement, but friends, nonetheless. ;)

Do I understand that you have the complete Ring cycle on LP? Is that the Furtwangler recordings? I've never been able to handle large doses of Wagner, myself.
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby dai bread » Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:36 pm

Yes I do. It's Solti's set that he recorded for Decca many years ago, and I gather it's still the gold standard for that work, though I'm open to correction as I don't follow audiophile matters.

Large doses of Wagner require, absolutely REQUIRE, a libretto. Either that, or a good knowledge of German. I must know what is going on. Otherwise the music is meaningless.
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby jamiebk » Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:06 pm

dai bread wrote:Yes I do. It's Solti's set that he recorded for Decca many years ago, and I gather it's still the gold standard for that work, though I'm open to correction as I don't follow audiophile matters.

Large doses of Wagner require, absolutely REQUIRE, a libretto. Either that, or a good knowledge of German. I must know what is going on. Otherwise the music is meaningless.


A few stiff drinks help too.
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby Shapley » Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:07 pm

I didn't even know that Solti had recorded the complete cycle.

I have heard part of the Furtwangler set, but that is all. The recording I heard was the 1953 studio recording. I'm told the 1950 live recording was better, both in performance and engineering. It was actually my first hearing of any Wagner at length (if you discount Bugs Bunny), and 'at length' was the way I described it. ;) It seemed to go on, and on, and on...

It took me a long time before I would listen to another opera. Fortunately, it was Bizet's Pearl Fishers. I enjoyed it. I think if it had been more Wagner, I'd have sworn off opera for good. :crazy:
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby dai bread » Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:48 am

What's the quote?

"Wagner has some sublime moments."

"Yes, and long half-hours".

Bernard Shaw?

I agree, actually. That's why a libretto is essential, seeing I don't speak German. The Solti version dates from 1958 - 1960 or so. It was recorded over a period, and with different casts for each opera.

Herewith another review of the Krips tin can set. This time, disk 3, symphonies 5 & 7.

The dynamics of these symphonies are more within the range of the recording gear, so the remastering is fine. Also, I tweaked my equaliser to get rid of some of the low-frequency fuzz, and to supplement the treble that had been reduced by noise reduction somewhere, probably in making the original tapes.

I am hard pressed to quibble. I feel uncomfortable at awarding 100%, but I really should. I particularly like Krips' treatment of the creepy drum & string part at the end of the third movement of #5, where it segues into the 4th movement. He swings the finale along beautifully, too. Good attacks both in strings and brass. Lovely stuff.

I've realised that the version of the 7th I have on LP is lacking. Krips' version makes more sense, and is embellished nicely by not only changes of tempo but of volume as well. Piano means piano, and forte means forte, and they're not equalised out in the recording either. Full marks to the engineer. Krips even manages to make some sense of the last movement. It's one of Beethoven's off moments, IMO, but Krips manages to make it less off, even if it's still not really on.

It's not 9pm yet. I think I'll put on the 4th disk.
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby dai bread » Fri Oct 09, 2009 4:19 am

Symphonies #4 & 8.

At last I have found something that I think is done better by someone else! The slow movement of #4 is better on Eugen Jocum's recording for Deutsche Grammophon. Slower, and more ethereal. Alright, I said Beethoven's music should be played faster rather than slower, but there's always an exception and this is it. The rest of the symphony gets another 100% mark for Josef Krips.

As for #8, I wonder who's copying whom, Krips or Ansermet. My LP is by Ansermet and L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and is really worn out. I should dump it. My Private Trumpeter borrowed it for his conducting class and commented then that it had had it, and it's only had more wear since. But I could not tell the difference between the versions, and with my turntable u/s I can't refresh my memory about the Ansermet. Therefore Krips gets another 100%. See, it's easy to award high marks once you start. I really should find a quibble somewhere. Maybe next time.

My turntable belt has stretched beyond redemption. I'll try to find another next week, but I don't like my chances. The repair company I went to in Auckland last year couldn't get one. The set is about 30 years old. Maybe there's something that fits and works. Rubber bands fit, but don't work.
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby Shapley » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:53 am

dai bread wrote:I've realised that the version of the 7th I have on LP is lacking. Krips' version makes more sense, and is embellished nicely by not only changes of tempo but of volume as well. Piano means piano, and forte means forte, and they're not equalised out in the recording either. Full marks to the engineer. Krips even manages to make some sense of the last movement. It's one of Beethoven's off moments, IMO, but Krips manages to make it less off, even if it's still not really on.


Oh! I can't believe you would quibble with the 7th. I think it is the most beautiful symphony yet written, including the last movement. To me the only thing wrong with the last movement is that it is last, I really wanted the symphony to continue, but I guess it has to end somehow, sometime... :)
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby jamiebk » Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:32 am

[quote="dai bread"My turntable belt has stretched beyond redemption. I'll try to find another next week, but I don't like my chances. The repair company I went to in Auckland last year couldn't get one. The set is about 30 years old. Maybe there's something that fits and works. Rubber bands fit, but don't work.[/quote]

Dai...try these guys:

http://www.vintage-electronics.cc/vttbelt.html

http://www.vintage-electronics.cc/vprbbelts.html
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby dai bread » Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:34 pm

One belt duly ordered. Thanks Jamie. They had the exact model of turntable listed, so I didn't muck about. I just ordered it. Credit cards are useful.
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby shostakovich » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:17 pm

I'm enjoying this thread. I, too, have a very hard time getting rid of vinyl. I've been weeding, but some of the art and notes on the jackets are precious.

Beethoven's first, while never proclaimed a great symphony, is a gem to me. The last movement begins by building a theme before your very ears and then running with it. The last movement of Tchaikovsky's 2nd does the same thing. I've agreed with Shap before about Beethoven's 7th. To me it's the only "note-perfect" symphony. I've also aired my dismay with the 9th before. The first 3 movements are revolutionary, foreshadowing Stravinsky, Bruckner, and Wagner respectively (IMO). The theme of the last movement is commonplace to me. The sentiment in the words is wonderful, but Beethoven was poor in writing for the voice. This is no doubt a minority opinion. What little I've heard of Fidelio confirms it for me, though. The best parts of the opera are the 4 overtures. The last movement of the 9th begins cleverly by quoting the first 3 movements and then brushing them off. There is no need for the tenor to verbalize it. Once the voices come in, Beethoven is in uncomfortable territory, IMO. He was THE master of the orchestra, but treated voices like instruments too much (again IMO). Unfortunately, he was committed to Schiller's Ode to Joy. It does not belong in the symphony. A separate 15 - 20 minute work (without reference to earlier movements) would have made a noble stand-alone work. Oh, well, it's my problem, not his.

As for The Ring, I once came across this critique: Wagner was a great composer, but a mediocre librettist. That explains the distinction between the highlights and the interminable lowlights. Anna Russell's Ring deflates him nicely. I taped the Met presentations of the four music dramas long ago, complete with translations. I plan to copy them to disc, subject myself ONCE to the entire Ring, and make note of where the highlights come to learn the entire (ridiculous and repetitive) story, and then enjoy just the magnificent highlights thereafter.

Thanks for starting this thread, DB, and enjoy all the symphonies in spite of my commentary. :)
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby Shapley » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:03 pm

I enjoy Beethoven's First. The First and Second are great classical symphonies. Not particularly goundbreaking, but they gave him the credentials he needed to break the mould with the Third (I'm paraphrasing Schonberg here). That should be testament enough that they are good, if not great, works. They are merely overshadowed by all that came later.

If all of Beethoven's Symphonies had merely been as good as the First and Second, he would have been a great classical composer.

I can't claim to know enough about Beethoven's works for voice to offer much insight. I found the Missa Solemnis lacking. I've only heard a small amount of Fidelio and was underwhelmed. But, then again, I've still not found much of an ear for opera.
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby dai bread » Sat Oct 10, 2009 6:46 pm

Shos, your opinion of Beethoven's work for voice was shared by the man himself, I believe. That's why he wrote only one opera and not much else for voice. Some songs, a couple of Masses and the Choral Fantasy are about it. Like you, Shap, I've found Fidelio underwhelming, even with a libretto to follow.

My favourite LvB symphony is the Pastoral, followed closely by the light and joyful #8. I have never related #9 to joy, despite the title of Schiller's Ode. The Ode itself is a political piece, from what I've read in translation. Daughters of Elysium? Sounds like a bit more than just happiness. Beggars will be Princes' brothers? Likewise, the music doesn't have much happiness in it. I hear more rejoicing at a tyrant's downfall and a successful Peoples' Revolution than anything.

LvB didn't always get it right. There's a little piano piece called Faviori. My Private Pianist's music teacher told me it started life as the third movement of the Waldstein Sonata, but was taken out because pianists of the time thought it made the sonata far too long. It's a long sonata even in its present form. Faviori is a nice little piece, but it bears no resemblance to the Waldstein whatever. Having it in there would be like finding fish and chips at a banquet. I like fish and chips, but it's not banquet food.

I heard Anna Russell perform the "Ring" live, and skewer it she did. Beautifully. Seigfried, on seeing Brunnhilde: "This is no man!" "Well", says Anna, "you've got to remember he's spent his whole life up till now in the company of a male dwarf".

Anna: "...and you end up where you came in, 3 days, some hours and several minutes earlier". (I forget the numbers. Anna used exact figures and that gave greater impact).
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby Shapley » Sat Oct 10, 2009 9:00 pm

Whatever flaws may exist in the Ninth, Schonberg identifies it as the pinacle of Beethoven's work, and the official end of the Classical period. It was, according to Schonberg, the model which all the Romantics sought to copy. That's pretty high praise, IMHO.

Nonetheless, I still like the Seventh better. :)
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby jamiebk » Sun Oct 11, 2009 11:49 am

dai bread wrote:One belt duly ordered. Thanks Jamie. They had the exact model of turntable listed, so I didn't muck about. I just ordered it. Credit cards are useful.


Excellent!!
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Re: Krips Beethoven symphonies.

Postby Shapley » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:36 am

Dai,

Did you get a chance to listen to the Ninth? I've always thought Krips did a fine job with it. I know you said you were not a great fan of the symphony itself, but I was curious what your impression of Krips' handling of it would be.
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