Grumiaux box

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

mikealdren
Posts: 363
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:40 am

Grumiaux box

Post by mikealdren » Mon Jan 25, 2021 5:36 am

Gramophone say there will be a complete Grumiaux Philips box (on Decca!) to mark his centenary (Mar 21st).
One of my all time favourite players and I will be very tempted by this 74 CD set although I already have so many of the recordings.

barney
Posts: 5710
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by barney » Mon Jan 25, 2021 6:39 am

mikealdren wrote:
Mon Jan 25, 2021 5:36 am
Gramophone say there will be a complete Grumiaux Philips box (on Decca!) to mark his centenary (Mar 21st).
One of my all time favourite players and I will be very tempted by this 74 CD set although I already have so many of the recordings.
Absolutely Mike. It will be a compulsory purchase for me. I probably have 50 Grumiaux CDs, but if there are 74 I will have to get the set. My favourite violinist, bar none. I'm delighted you alerted me to this; thanks.

maestrob
Posts: 11236
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:02 am

mikealdren wrote:
Mon Jan 25, 2021 5:36 am
Gramophone say there will be a complete Grumiaux Philips box (on Decca!) to mark his centenary (Mar 21st).
One of my all time favourite players and I will be very tempted by this 74 CD set although I already have so many of the recordings.
Hello, Mike!

Yes, I too am very interested. I have the box of Grumiaux's mono recordings issued a while back, so I'm wondering if this mega-box will be a duplication for me, or does it contain only his stereo recordings?

I guess we'll find out sooner or later.

mikealdren
Posts: 363
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:40 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by mikealdren » Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:47 pm

Hi Barney and Rob,
apparently it contains ALL his Philips recordings including multiple recordings of, for example, the Bruch No.1, Lalo symphony espagnole, Beethoven concerto etc. It also contains the Mozart adagio and rondo with Colin Davis that have never made it to CD previously.

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 19026
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by Lance » Mon Jan 25, 2021 1:47 pm

I show 71 CD entries in my Grumiaux CD catalogue, which also includes a number of issues with more than one disc (14 in one case). Already, there are many duplications. The new box will give us (again) his complete recordings with Clara Haskil, those with Klein, Sebok, and oh so much more. Grumiaux was also an accomplished pianist as well and even made some recordings playing both the violin and piano with overdubbing. Grumiaux, one of my favourite violinists as well but somewhere in this life, we have to ask ourselves whether to make these investments in the mega-boxes when we already have probably 90% or more. It will be most interesting to see the total layout of what Decca is issuing and what I am missing.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

barney
Posts: 5710
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by barney » Mon Jan 25, 2021 5:17 pm

Lance wrote:
Mon Jan 25, 2021 1:47 pm
I show 71 CD entries in my Grumiaux CD catalogue, which also includes a number of issues with more than one disc (14 in one case). Already, there are many duplications. The new box will give us (again) his complete recordings with Clara Haskil, those with Klein, Sebok, and oh so much more. Grumiaux was also an accomplished pianist as well and even made some recordings playing both the violin and piano with overdubbing. Grumiaux, one of my favourite violinists as well but somewhere in this life, we have to ask ourselves whether to make these investments in the mega-boxes when we already have probably 90% or more. It will be most interesting to see the total layout of what Decca is issuing and what I am missing.
Completely agree, Lance. Normally that is indeed my practice. But this time I am committed.

mikealdren
Posts: 363
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:40 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by mikealdren » Tue Jan 26, 2021 3:14 am

barney wrote:
Mon Jan 25, 2021 5:17 pm
Completely agree, Lance. Normally that is indeed my practice. But this time I am committed.
Me too, I suspect I'll have to list the duplicates on Ebay.

maestrob
Posts: 11236
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by maestrob » Tue Jan 26, 2021 9:36 am

mikealdren wrote:
Tue Jan 26, 2021 3:14 am
barney wrote:
Mon Jan 25, 2021 5:17 pm
Completely agree, Lance. Normally that is indeed my practice. But this time I am committed.
Me too, I suspect I'll have to list the duplicates on Ebay.
I will probably give away the mono box and order the complete set as well. I ordered it to have the Beethoven Sonatas with Clara Haskill, which I remember from LP days, but I just can't resist having ALL his recordings. Like Szeryng, another favorite who was overshadowed by RCA's relentless publicity machine for Heifetz here, I must have this box as well.

barney
Posts: 5710
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by barney » Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:01 pm

Szeryng was a beautiful player who certainly deserved a higher reputation. But the congnoscenti knew.

mikealdren
Posts: 363
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:40 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by mikealdren » Tue Jan 26, 2021 1:43 pm

barney wrote:
Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:01 pm
Szeryng was a beautiful player who certainly deserved a higher reputation. But the congnoscenti knew.
Yes he was good (I heard him several times) but I tend to agree with Perlman's oft quoted view that 'yes that was good, I wonder who it was - oh Szeryng'. Somhow it's all very well done but there's nothing in the Szeryng discography that I couldn't live without whereas Grumiaux made so many special recordings.
Having said all that, I never heard Grumiaux live and I have been told by some who did that he was better on record than live.

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 19026
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by Lance » Tue Jan 26, 2021 3:59 pm

Mike - not even the Szeryng/Artur Rubinstein collaborations on records [RCA]? Rubinstein thought the world of Szeryng. I do believe that Rubinstein's collaboration on records did much to enhance the career of Szeryng. Szeryng's discography is quite large. The 44-CD Decca set [483 4194] is worth having giving us his Decca, DGG and Philips recordings, and, along with his RCA recordings, the SWR CDs and many discs on other labels. While Szeryng didn't enjoy the super career like Heifetz, neither did Milstein, who was extra "special" as well and in many ways, preferable (to me) than Heifetz. Either way, it is grand to have so much available by so many great artists!
mikealdren wrote:
Tue Jan 26, 2021 1:43 pm
barney wrote:
Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:01 pm
Szeryng was a beautiful player who certainly deserved a higher reputation. But the congnoscenti knew.
Yes he was good (I heard him several times) but I tend to agree with Perlman's oft quoted view that 'yes that was good, I wonder who it was - oh Szeryng'. Somhow it's all very well done but there's nothing in the Szeryng discography that I couldn't live without whereas Grumiaux made so many special recordings.
Having said all that, I never heard Grumiaux live and I have been told by some who did that he was better on record than live.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

CharmNewton
Posts: 2030
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 9:10 pm

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by CharmNewton » Tue Jan 26, 2021 11:20 pm

mikealdren wrote:
Tue Jan 26, 2021 1:43 pm
barney wrote:
Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:01 pm
Szeryng was a beautiful player who certainly deserved a higher reputation. But the congnoscenti knew.
Yes he was good (I heard him several times) but I tend to agree with Perlman's oft quoted view that 'yes that was good, I wonder who it was - oh Szeryng'. Somhow it's all very well done but there's nothing in the Szeryng discography that I couldn't live without whereas Grumiaux made so many special recordings.
Having said all that, I never heard Grumiaux live and I have been told by some who did that he was better on record than live.
I've come to appreciate the playing of Szeryng more as I've gotten older (that is also true for Haydn, who I've come to love). Szeryng plays with beautiful tone, but he also plays with some intensity. I recently played his recoring of the Lalo Symphonie Espagnole that he made in Chicago and find it holds up very well to other recordings. And his recordings of Mozart and Beethoven sonatas with Ingrid Haebler (one of my favorite pianists) are terrific.

Grumiaux is pretty special, so I'm planning on getting this.

John

maestrob
Posts: 11236
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by maestrob » Wed Jan 27, 2021 9:35 am

Lance wrote:
Tue Jan 26, 2021 3:59 pm
Mike - not even the Szeryng/Artur Rubinstein collaborations on records [RCA]? Rubinstein thought the world of Szeryng. I do believe that Rubinstein's collaboration on records did much to enhance the career of Szeryng. Szeryng's discography is quite large. The 44-CD Decca set [483 4194] is worth having giving us his Decca, DGG and Philips recordings, and, along with his RCA recordings, the SWR CDs and many discs on other labels. While Szeryng didn't enjoy the super career like Heifetz, neither did Milstein, who was extra "special" as well and in many ways, preferable (to me) than Heifetz. Either way, it is grand to have so much available by so many great artists!
mikealdren wrote:
Tue Jan 26, 2021 1:43 pm
barney wrote:
Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:01 pm
Szeryng was a beautiful player who certainly deserved a higher reputation. But the congnoscenti knew.
Yes he was good (I heard him several times) but I tend to agree with Perlman's oft quoted view that 'yes that was good, I wonder who it was - oh Szeryng'. Somhow it's all very well done but there's nothing in the Szeryng discography that I couldn't live without whereas Grumiaux made so many special recordings.
Having said all that, I never heard Grumiaux live and I have been told by some who did that he was better on record than live.
Lance, I bought that Szeryng box and have played through it several times. I must say that I agree with your evaluation. When I was younger, I was impressed with the virtuosity of Jascha Heifetz, but, upon acquiring the box of his complete recordings when it was first offered, I realized that Heifetz, like Rubinstein, was under intense pressure to make record after record, particularly in the early LP era, and some of Heifetz's recordings can sound quite dry, especially the chamber recordings, Even though he never embarrasses himself, there are better sounding recorded versions of much of his repertoire (The Brahms Double Concerto comes immediately to mind.). From that same era I prefer Bruno Walter's recording for Columbia.

Szeryng, by contrast, always sounds elegant and, while his playing is more subtle than Heifetz, I've grown over the years to appreciate his style, especially in Mozart, which is thoughtful, elegant, and quite moving.

Be that as it may, I still find Heifetz absolutely glorious in his stereo recordings of the Beethoven, Brahms and Tchaikovsky Concertos. It took him 3 tries to get the Tchaikovsky absolutely right, and he does so with Reiner.

maestrob
Posts: 11236
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by maestrob » Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:30 am

Update:

Import CDs is now listing the Arthur Grumiaux Collection (74 CDs) as available for pre-order at $202, while amazon appears to be out of stock. (Available 3/26/21)

With the 10% coupon I just received from them, that means I'll be getting it for $180, plus tax and $2.99 shipping.

Seems to be the best deal around so far.

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 19026
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by Lance » Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:58 pm

Hmmm, I have several pre-orders with Import CDs (and paid for!) now awaiting deliveries. How does one go about getting the 10% coupon? I, too, will have to have this set despite having many/most of his recordings. I will eventually have to begin selling individual CDs over Amazon or eBay, something I have never done - yet.
maestrob wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:30 am
Update:

Import CDs is now listing the Arthur Grumiaux Collection (74 CDs) as available for pre-order at $202, while amazon appears to be out of stock. (Available 3/26/21)

With the 10% coupon I just received from them, that means I'll be getting it for $180, plus tax and $2.99 shipping.

Seems to be the best deal around so far.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

barney
Posts: 5710
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by barney » Wed Mar 03, 2021 5:21 pm

Hmmm. The only Australian outlet selling it, according to a Google search, is charging $756. I won't be buying at that price.

mikealdren
Posts: 363
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:40 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by mikealdren » Thu Mar 04, 2021 8:55 am

It's available for pre-order at Amazon UK at £134.

maestrob
Posts: 11236
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by maestrob » Thu Mar 04, 2021 9:38 am

Lance wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:58 pm
Hmmm, I have several pre-orders with Import CDs (and paid for!) now awaiting deliveries. How does one go about getting the 10% coupon? I, too, will have to have this set despite having many/most of his recordings. I will eventually have to begin selling individual CDs over Amazon or eBay, something I have never done - yet.
maestrob wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:30 am
Update:

Import CDs is now listing the Arthur Grumiaux Collection (74 CDs) as available for pre-order at $202, while amazon appears to be out of stock. (Available 3/26/21)

With the 10% coupon I just received from them, that means I'll be getting it for $180, plus tax and $2.99 shipping.

Seems to be the best deal around so far.
Good morning, Lance! :D

Getting 10% coupons from businesses online is an old trick of mine, but sometimes it only works once when you first sign up. I've learned to place rather large orders in my cart, and just leave without completing the order. Since I had given them my email address when filling out my cart, I expected this to trigger an automatic response of an email with a heading in my inbox the next day of something like, "Did you forget something?" Low and behold, I got the coupon good for 14 days in my inbox the next morning!

Not sure if this would work with them in the future, but it's worth trying, at least for large orders. 😉

I now plan on giving them an order soon for the Ormandy, Grumiaux and Rodzinski boxes as a reward for their generosity!

mikealdren
Posts: 363
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:40 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by mikealdren » Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:44 am

It arrived on Sunday and I've been revelling in the contents. I suspect there is no remastering (a shame in some cases) but the playing is wonderful throughout, in the Mozart duos for instance, Grumiaux's tone is glowingly incomparable.

The downside: the packaging is awful. The CD are arranged in a square box around a central space so that the resulting box won't fit on a CD shelf. Within the box, the CDs are held in cardboard envelopes, the single and double CDs are ok but with sets of 3 and 4 CDs it's difficult to extract the CDs from the packaging. A standard 'long box' with individual envelopes would have been far better, the only positive from the packaging is the larger format booklet, really more of a book in this case.

maestrob
Posts: 11236
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by maestrob » Tue Mar 23, 2021 10:28 am

mikealdren wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:44 am
It arrived on Sunday and I've been revelling in the contents. I suspect there is no remastering (a shame in some cases) but the playing is wonderful throughout, in the Mozart duos for instance, Grumiaux's tone is glowingly incomparable.

The downside: the packaging is awful. The CD are arranged in a square box around a central space so that the resulting box won't fit on a CD shelf. Within the box, the CDs are held in cardboard envelopes, the single and double CDs are ok but with sets of 3 and 4 CDs it's difficult to extract the CDs from the packaging. A standard 'long box' with individual envelopes would have been far better, the only positive from the packaging is the larger format booklet, really more of a book in this case.
Thanks for the report, Mike. My copy is on order from importCDs, and is scheduled to be shipped in early April. Glad you got yours early.

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 19026
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by Lance » Tue Mar 23, 2021 1:22 pm

Good to hear you got your copy. Like Brian, mine is also on order from Import CDs - along with the Ormandy box and the Rodzinski set from Sony. I eagerly await these items. Too bad about the packaging. These manufacturers should all agree to have the sizes to fit a shelf normally made to fit CDs.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

mikealdren
Posts: 363
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:40 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by mikealdren » Wed Mar 24, 2021 10:50 am

Initial results show some variations in transfers between my older CDs and the new box. Vieuxtemps 4 was much better than the older Philips version I have, others seem the same as Eloquence releases. I have 2 versions the Berg and they both sound the same, disappointingly the version in the new box has a lot of tape hiss.

I've got a lot of listening to do now...

maestrob
Posts: 11236
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by maestrob » Wed Mar 24, 2021 11:32 am

Lance wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 1:22 pm
Good to hear you got your copy. Like Brian, mine is also on order from Import CDs - along with the Ormandy box and the Rodzinski set from Sony. I eagerly await these items. Too bad about the packaging. These manufacturers should all agree to have the sizes to fit a shelf normally made to fit CDs.
Delightful coincidence! I ordered those boxes by Rodzinski and Ormandy from them as well along with a copy of the Ansermet Russian box. Not sure if the latter will become available again, but I'm willing to take a chance.

Next month, the French Ansermet box and perhaps the EMI/Previn. We certainly live in a wonderful time when such a cornucopia of great music can be added to our libraries so cheaply.

We should all live long enough to hear all of this many times, don't you think? :wink:

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 19026
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by Lance » Wed Mar 24, 2021 2:17 pm

Brian, yes, I truly THINK so, but you know what is inevitable!!! If all we could do was sit and listen to music 24 hours a day, eat - no sleep needed since we spend about one-third of our lives sleeping, we might get bored to some degree and then - maybe not! Give me music, great books, old movies, good food, and I could get heavy enough (i.e. FAT) so I couldn't even get up out of a chair! Did you know I have a prolific imagination?

Regarding IMPORT CDs, I truly wonder why they immediately charge your credit card prior to shipping actual product, which Amazon and others don't do. What happens if they go bankrupt? I have some good funds at IMPORT CDs.
maestrob wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 11:32 am
We should all live long enough to hear all of this many times, don't you think? 😉
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

mikealdren
Posts: 363
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:40 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by mikealdren » Thu Mar 25, 2021 3:06 am

Hi Lance,
not sure about the USA but in the UK (and the EU), if you pay with a credit card, the card company is liable.

maestrob
Posts: 11236
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by maestrob » Thu Mar 25, 2021 7:23 am

Lance wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 2:17 pm
Brian, yes, I truly THINK so, but you know what is inevitable!!! If all we could do was sit and listen to music 24 hours a day, eat - no sleep needed since we spend about one-third of our lives sleeping, we might get bored to some degree and then - maybe not! Give me music, great books, old movies, good food, and I could get heavy enough (i.e. FAT) so I couldn't even get up out of a chair! Did you know I have a prolific imagination?

Regarding IMPORT CDs, I truly wonder why they immediately charge your credit card prior to shipping actual product, which Amazon and others don't do. What happens if they go bankrupt? I have some good funds at IMPORT CDs.
maestrob wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 11:32 am
We should all live long enough to hear all of this many times, don't you think? 😉
Interesting that you should bring this up, Lance!

I've only ordered from them this once for the four boxes, and all are on backorder. When they accepted the order, Importcds sent a charge to my credit card, but it stayed in the "pending" column for a few days, then it went away. I've checked both my card and importcds.com regularly, and, although my order is still on file now that I've provided them with my email and password, they haven't yet re-billed my credit card, so I'm just assuming that they will do so as each item is shipped. I'll keep everyone posted as that happens, but for now, I'm quite happy with them.

ayevey
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:45 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by ayevey » Mon May 03, 2021 1:51 pm

Hi everyone,

I am huge Grumiaux fan and have been ever since I first discovered him via his non pareil Mozart and Beethoven collaborations with the marvelous Clara Haskil.

While this box is highly tempting, the price tag of upwards of $200 seems exorbitant to me, considering that other boxes with similar and even greater disc counts have been available for significantly less in recent years. Indeed, I have noticed a sort of "pump and dump" trend with the seemingly endless releases of mega box sets compiling most or all of an artist or orchestra's recorded œuvre in the sense that few copies are produced and prices rise sharply within a short time of release date. And all of this is happening, as many here have pointed out, even when the production is shoddy or, worse yet, minimalist (i.e., no remastering, original jackets, etc.).

Basically, these conglomerate record companies (really subsidiaries of larger media companies without the dedicated focus and passion standalone record companies traditionally have had) know there are still a few of us crazies left who love classical music and will be happy to have all this great music as is, considering what it used to cost to buy the contents piecemeal, so why should they bother investing any more than the bare minimum in the project? What lost opportunities to truly do justice to great artists!

There are some notable exceptions, of course, such as the Debussy, Ravel, and Berlioz boxes put out by Warner, which were exceptional in production value and generally in musical taste, as well. Nevertheless, I find it sad that we should have to pay through the nose for releases that were just put out on the market due to what is clearly an intentional marketing strategy characterizing by the issue of few copies and subsequent jacking up of the price as soon as availability wanes slightly. And in the case of the Grumiaux box, this is true even with a known defect to the set, which has yet to be remedied. You would expect to see the price drop over this, not rise.

In any event, I would like to call on the collective knowledge and wisdom of the forum members here to help me in suggesting your favorite recordings by Grumiaux to pad out my collection, as I will not be acquiring this set unless it becomes available at a price under $200.

The following is what I own as of now:

1. Mozart selected violin sonatas with Haskil (as part of the Clara Haskil Edition)
2. LvB complete violin sonatas with Haskil (as part of the Clara Haskil Edition)
3. Sonatas and other pieces for violin and piano by Fauré, Debussy, Franck, Lekeu, Ysayë, and Vieuxtemps (Australian Eloquence 2-CD issue)
4. Bach complete partitas and sonatas for violin solo
5. Bach complete accompanied violin sonatas with Christiane Jaccottet
6. Bach complete violin concerti with Les Solistes Romands
7. Beethoven concerto with Davis, romances with de Waart
8. Brahms horn trio with Francis Orval and György Sebők
9. Mozart flute, oboe, and clarinet quintets and Schubert string quintet (Australian Eloquence 2-cd issue)
10. Mozart complete string quintets and divertimenti
11. Mozart complete string trios and duos
12. Mozart complete violin concerti with Davis
13. Schubert complete string trios

Thanks to all in advance for helping on this!

Cheers,
David Diamond

barney
Posts: 5710
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by barney » Tue May 04, 2021 7:50 am

Unless you are a lunatic completist like some on this site - me, for example, and perhaps Lance - you have the basis of a very fine collection there, David. There's a few quirky favourites of mine, such as the Mozart violin-viola duos, and some encore discs, but you have a really fine selection that gives you ample insight into Grumiaux's special genius. concertos, chamber, solo: perfect.

Oops - just noticed you do have the duos. Is that in the Philips box that was part of the complete Mozart, probably 1991?

PPS, in my view the Beethoven concerto conducted by Galliera is also an essential.

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 19026
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by Lance » Tue May 04, 2021 10:26 pm

Barney how'd you guess that I was a completist when it comes to performing artists? And yes, it looks like Ayevey has some truly representative works of Grumiaux. He may like Grumiaux so much, however, that he will surely want to invest in the superb Grumiaux Decca box. I have discovered that sometimes long after some of those mega-boxes disappeared I was angry with myself. But by now, I have the preponderance of those I really wanted. And, I eagerly await to see what is coming around the corner with more! The newest include Ormandy, Grumiaux and the complete of Szigeti of only 17 CDs. But I'll take 'em.
barney wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 7:50 am
Unless you are a lunatic completist like some on this site - me, for example, and perhaps Lance - you have the basis of a very fine collection there, David. There's a few quirky favourites of mine, such as the Mozart violin-viola duos, and some encore discs, but you have a really fine selection that gives you ample insight into Grumiaux's special genius. concertos, chamber, solo: perfect.

Oops - just noticed you do have the duos. Is that in the Philips box that was part of the complete Mozart, probably 1991?

PPS, in my view the Beethoven concerto conducted by Galliera is also an essential.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

barney
Posts: 5710
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by barney » Tue May 04, 2021 10:34 pm

Lance wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 10:26 pm
Barney how'd you guess that I was a completist when it comes to performing artists? And yes, it looks like Ayevey has some truly representative works of Grumiaux. He may like Grumiaux so much, however, that he will surely want to invest in the superb Grumiaux Decca box. I have discovered that sometimes long after some of those mega-boxes disappeared I was angry with myself. But by now, I have the preponderance of those I really wanted. And, I eagerly await to see what is coming around the corner with more! The newest include Ormandy, Grumiaux and the complete of Szigeti of only 17 CDs. But I'll take 'em.
barney wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 7:50 am
Unless you are a lunatic completist like some on this site - me, for example, and perhaps Lance - you have the basis of a very fine collection there, David. There's a few quirky favourites of mine, such as the Mozart violin-viola duos, and some encore discs, but you have a really fine selection that gives you ample insight into Grumiaux's special genius. concertos, chamber, solo: perfect.

Oops - just noticed you do have the duos. Is that in the Philips box that was part of the complete Mozart, probably 1991?

PPS, in my view the Beethoven concerto conducted by Galliera is also an essential.
Quite right, Lance. Given your profession, it may be that (like me) you are peculiarly susceptible to pianists. But violinists are not far behind!

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 19026
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by Lance » Tue May 04, 2021 10:35 pm

Barney, what time did you write that in Australia? It is 11:35pm here in New York state at the moment.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

ayevey
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:45 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by ayevey » Wed May 05, 2021 11:08 am

Thanks, both Barney and Lance, for your comments.

The price just dropped a smidge below $200, and I jumped on it. Lance, of course, is right in pointing out that I would surely regret passing on this one, which is clearly selling out quickly.

Barney, the Mozart string trios and duos I have is from a Philips Classics double CD issue, the ones that have the awful low-fi computerized cover art on a white background. But, as the saying goes (slightly modified), don't judge a CD by its cover art.

Lance, I am curious as to which box sets you've let slip by. You seem to be a mega-collector like myself.

In any event, I am highly excited about the Grumiaux box. I decided to write him a bit of a tribute in celebration/anticipation.


I decided to buy the Grumiaux box, even though I've already made several other serious purchases over recent months. These include a great Bruckner box set from Profil/Hänssler, big survey Brilliant boxes for Haydn, Alkan, and Hummel, as well as one called Russian Chamber Music and another being a classical guitar anthology. All of these are providing me with endless hours of enjoyment and respite during these times of lockdown. Nevertheless, when I saw this complete set of Grumiaux's Philips recordings, as well as the discussion about here, I had to remind myself of his magic.

I am right now listening to his 1974 recording of the Beethoven concerto with the Concergebouw under Sir Colin Davis. The description I'd give it is noble, even regal. Grumiaux sounds entirely like the poet-hero I always imagine Beethoven to have had in mind in so much of his œuvre, particularly in his middle period. Grumiaux, Davis, et al are in perfect company, with a singular vision of the work that gels in the most transparent textures and a seamless interplay between soloist and orchestra, as well as between orchestra sections. The cadenza is magisterial and life-affirming, so crisp and bold.

The horns that open the Larghetto, the oboe, and Grumiaux himself all make it sound as if they are praying together, such is the peace and tranquility of the space they create, loyal, I am sure, to Beethoven's intentions. It is a sacred, reflective space, carved apart from the nobility of the first movement and the rejoicing of the third. The strings absolutely glow when the orchestra comes in to reprise the main theme. And again, the brass and woodwinds ring out with a refined pungency, aided greatly by the Congertgebouw's acoustic and the excellent Philips recording engineers.

In his long solo section five minutes or so into the movement, with only pizzicato strings backing him, Grumiaux's tone shimmers like a limpid stream in the broad light of day, and the slow rise toward the close of the movement is handled superbly, first-chair players and soloist truly listening and responding to one another.

Clearly, so much of Grumiaux's magic - though it comprises many diverse elements, to be sure - derives from his bowing and his incredibly focused and sparing vibrato. I have read, and YouTube videos confirm, that he used an impressive amount of bow, and you can really hear it in those beautiful long lines he can project.

As for the finale, there is not so much of a romp à la Bernstein in this account as a stately dance pulse fused with a vibrancy that feels like the breeze in your face when you just embark on a voyage out to sea, rounding the harbor and feeling that blast of cool, clean air swelling around you, enveloping you.

The rhythmic spring that Grumiaux and Davis, as well as his percussionist, achieve actually lends the triplets the feel of a galloping horse in some passages. The dialogue between violin and bassoon is dispatched with most crisply but all the while sensitively. In general, the dynamics of both Grumiaux and orchestra simply turn on a dime.

At no point in the entire recording does the electric energy and synergy of this account flag. There is no one way to play a great piece, but this is surely one of the most eloquent, well-conceived, and balanced interpretations in the catalog. The coda is so powerful that it simply swept me away, even though I had heard it many times before.

As to the magic of Grumiaux, it is not merely a matter of his ability to phrase so cleanly, singingly, and elegantly, not wearing his heart on his sleeve but rather emoting suavely, something I think is uniquely Gallic. What is more, Grumiaux's style and taste shine through in all the repertoire I've heard him play, from Bach to Debussy. He was a chameleon whose personality shined through even as it conformed to each style, musical time period, composer's Weltanschauung, etc. He had something akin to what George Szell achieved with the Cleveland Orchestra, that ability to transmit the voice of the composer with fidelity while nevertheless making a musical statement more than anything by virtue of a total commitment to excellence in both preparation and execution.

On the theme of George Szell, I recently watched a video of him teaching some wet-behind-the-ears would-be conductors, including a young James Levine. Szell tells them that music must always start before one hears it, inside the musician. This is absolutely how I experience Grumiaux. He clearly spent a great deal of time engaging with the works he played, forming a clear interpretive view of them that speaks to a deep understanding of their musical-historical context. While there is no lack of spontaneity in Grumiaux's playing, he was always in absolute control of every aspect of his playing, on par with Heifetz, Oistrakh, Milstein, etc.

One other aspect I greatly admire and enjoy about Grumiaux is that he was not a showman nor an artist of the type who places himself or herself above the composer, such as, say, a Hilary Hahn or a Lang Lang.

maestrob
Posts: 11236
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by maestrob » Wed May 05, 2021 1:14 pm

Greetings, ayevey, :)

I notice that you joined CMG in 2012, but this is the first chance I've had to speak to you, so welcome!

It looks like Barney & Lance have provided good answers to your initial question, and I agree with both, so I really don't have much to add here. I will say that Grumiaux was better-recorded than Heifetz, though, IMHO, so whatever CDs you may choose at random from the elegant box you ordered will quite probably sound better than most of Heifetz's mono recordings, as well restored as the Heifetz box may be. Of course, RCA began upgrading their equipment to stereo with a wider range in 1954, years before Phillips did, so from then on things got better, at least for the recordings with orchestra.

That said, I have yet to hear Grumiaux's recording of the Beethoven with Sir Colin, and I look forward to doing so.

I have also cherished his recordings of the Mozart Concerti for more years than I care to admit to!

Again, welcome, and I look forward to hearing more from you.

barney
Posts: 5710
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by barney » Wed May 05, 2021 6:13 pm

David, how beautifully you have described Grumiaux's playing, nearly as poetic as the man himself. I entirely agree. Those long bow strokes allow a sort of seamless pure beauty that is very rare, and he is always at the service of the music.

Did you know that Grumiaux was also something of a war hero. Apparently he defied Nazi orders to play for them and had to go into hiding.

Re Szell, my father, a conductor, thought him the finest conductor he'd encountered. When I was about 18 he played me a recording of Szell conducting Gershwin and pointed out a tricky rhythm that few conductors got right but Szell nailed perfectly. Alas, I no longer remember the work.

barney
Posts: 5710
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by barney » Wed May 05, 2021 6:16 pm

Lance wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 10:35 pm
Barney, what time did you write that in Australia? It is 11:35pm here in New York state at the moment.
Not sure, Lance. But I generally check in two or three times a day - the main one morning my time (ie now), a quick check before bed around midnight, and very often 3 or 4 am when I can't sleep and surf the net for a while. On that last one, I usually don't log in.
11.35 in NY is 1.35pm in Melbourne (the next day).

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 19026
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by Lance » Wed May 05, 2021 11:57 pm

Well, I was just curious why you were up, however, that is a broad time difference between us. Thanks for responding!
barney wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 6:16 pm
Lance wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 10:35 pm
Barney, what time did you write that in Australia? It is 11:35pm here in New York state at the moment.
Not sure, Lance. But I generally check in two or three times a day - the main one morning my time (ie now), a quick check before bed around midnight, and very often 3 or 4 am when I can't sleep and surf the net for a while. On that last one, I usually don't log in.
11.35 in NY is 1.35pm in Melbourne (the next day).
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

mikealdren
Posts: 363
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:40 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by mikealdren » Thu May 06, 2021 2:27 am

Interesting to hear the Davis Beethoven praised so highly ayevey, I agree completely. The Galliera version is very fine but the improved sound on the later recording brings huge rewards, it allows us to hear Grumiaux's fabulous sound. Similarly the de Waart version of the Romances is so much better than the earlier Haitink verion and the later Lamoureux recordings are better too.

The only area I disagree, and strongly, is around Hilary Hahn who I consider, in many ways, to be a similar player to Grumiaux. Her sound is elegant and refined, her technique peerless and, for me, she gets to the heart of the music without imposing her own personality. She also plays similar repertoire and her weakest recordings (Sibelius and Elgar) are in works that Grumiaux did not record - neither wears their heart on their sleeve. Again, a personal view, if you are looking for a violinist who imposes a personality on the music à la Lang Lang, a better example would be Joshua Bell.

ayevey
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:45 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by ayevey » Thu May 06, 2021 3:31 pm

Point well taken, Mike. Just to clarify, I was commenting more on how Hilary Hahn markets her CDs than on her artistry, which has never really grabbed me. But then my library stars giants like Grumiaux, Oistrakh, Kogan, Milstein, Stern, Szeryng, Francescatti, and Kreisler, among others. Due to life circumstances, I have not been to a live concert in some years, so I am comparing live (alive) performing artists' recordings with those of deceased artists. Perhaps this is unfair, but my general feeling is that most performing artists of our day have been trained for competitions and/or have missed out on actually living life, so monomaniacally have they committed their lives to their musical careers.

What contemporary artist, for example, can bring the depth of emotion to his or her interpretations of a Grumiaux, who had lived through a war in which he defied the Nazis/Vichy or Oistrakh, who lived through the Soviet revolutions and oppressions, as well as the horrors of Russia during World War II. I don't think living through tragedy is a requisite to developing true emotional depth, but living a life rich in experience of some kind seems to me to be necessary to understand composers whose own lives were thus lived. Whatever the case may be, I find a shallowness in much of young artists' playing, with some notable exceptions. For instance, I heard Augustin Hadelich play the Beethoven concerto with the Orchestra of St. Luke's under Bernard Labadie at Carnegie Hall a couple of years ago, and it was nothing less than magical. I did not feel or see any overt showmanship in the performance, but rather the deepest and most sensitive collaboration between soloist, conductor, and orchestra that resulted in something transcendental - all clearly in service of the music rather than the artist.

To be honest, it bothers me quite a bit that so many album covers feature photos of the performers rather than something related to the composer(s) or a work of visual art, etc. Seems like putting the cart before the horse to me. It is even worse with female artists, who are so often objectified, clad in revealing garb, somehow pornographizing the music. I simply don't get it. I would love to cut out all the ego from this industry, but, of course, I know it has been baked into it since Liszt and Paganini. But at least those fellows left us great musical literature, whereas I doubt the Batiashvilis and Wangs would bother baring the better part of their bosoms if they were sufficiently focused on the music and on keeping their audiences focused on the same. But then, I am a loony moralist and always have been. I suppose I should have been born in Victorian England.

To return to my main point, I suspect that the overarching problem is that music has been increasingly rendered a matter of competition, more akin to sports than to art, since the advent of recording, due to which - as I recall hearing Arthur Rubinstein point out in an interview - performing artists are now inevitably compared to all their peers on record. This is only natural, but I think it's gone too far in focusing on virtuosity for its own sake rather than the general musical statement an artist has to make. Rubinstein also said that great musicians are not better or worse than each other but personalities whose individual qualities should be welcome, with different interpretations shedding light from different angles on the same music. There is no one right way to play a great piece (even if there are definitely wrong ones) because the greatness of the works, in communication with great musical interpreters' minds, yield a universe of results worth hearing. As my favorite literature professor use to tell us, great works of art raise more questions than they answer, so it is natural that each artist should give us her or his own answers.

The issue vis-à-vis Rubinstein's comment is that the way many musicians are groomed these days often denies them the opportunity to even develop a personality in the first place, or so it would seem. I am not myself a highly trained musician (just a lowly ex-musicology minor and an avid and obsessive collector of recordings and reader of musical history); I am merely expressing what I hear and experience as a member of the audience. There is a certain uniformity and flatness to so many young players' art. Maybe they need to practice less and live more. Maybe the competition scene needs reform. I wonder how the Covid situation will affect things, for better or worse, going forward. In any event, I would be glad to hear others' views here on the points I've made.


By the way, I have a funny anecdote regarding Joshua Bell. While still at school in Jerusalem, I attended a concert of his there. Shortly before curtain, I was waiting with a friend in the lobby of the Henry Crown Symphony Hall, incidentally, one of the worst acoustically designed spaces in which I have ever heard music performed. The space, apparently, was not originally designed for music but for political rallies, or so I have been told. In any case, I suddenly caught sight of Mr. Bell through the glass doors of the building, looking rather lost as he came up to the rear entrance. I have no idea why - perhaps we made knowing eye contact - but he made a beeline right for us and asked us if we knew where the artists' dressing rooms were. We gladly directed him there, and his performance of the Bruch Scottish Fantasy was delightful. We were able to say hello during the intermission. He is definitely a sweet guy with a very amicable personality, so if that is what he superimposes on the music, I'd like to hear him play Haydn.


Cheers to all.

David

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 19026
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by Lance » Thu May 06, 2021 11:40 pm

David/Ayevey ... what an uplifting and thought-provoking post! We welcome you to CMG and look forward to your writings. I love your references to Arthur Rubinstein, who for me, remains the King of Pianists. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting and talking with him. We took a photo together, which I cherish. You and I share many of the same thoughts. I would like to communicate with you more about artists and recordings.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 19026
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by Lance » Thu May 06, 2021 11:58 pm

Well David, perhaps I sold myself short on what I have amassed. Let us just say I let the André Previn box slip by, a fine musician in every sense, conductor, pianist, accompanist, classical, jazz, etc., but I already have many of his CDs and don't put him on a plateau with Szell, Toscanini, Bernstein, or other conductors and can't really give a good reason why. Also, I did not acquire the Juilliard String Quartet boxes though I love them dearly, especially when a piano is involved. I have the huge Menuhin LP-sized CD edition, and just about every pianist who has been produced in a mega-edition; and singers abound also, except, much as I love her work, I did not acquire the Birgit Nilsson sets. Also, I have acquired all the Brilliant "Russian" boxes that came out of the great artists, two versions of the Rubinstein recordings editions, anything and everything of Horowitz, and am eagerly anticipating (one day) for a Serge Koussevitzky edition, that I'm sure will never appear. Anyway, I could go on and on, but collecting great music is as important to me as all the other requirements of daily living! With about 75,000 CD titles including mega-boxes, and some 70,000 classical LPs, it has been very much a life worth living. ♫
ayevey wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 11:08 am
Thanks, both Barney and Lance, for your comments.

[...]
Lance, I am curious as to which box sets you've let slip by. You seem to be a mega-collector like myself.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

mikealdren
Posts: 363
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:40 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by mikealdren » Fri May 07, 2021 2:48 am

Avevey, I think we have a lot in common although I am less of a fan of Stern and always found Szeryng a bit bland ( I heard them both live a few times as well as on numerous LPs/CDs).

However I also think we are in a golden age of violinists at the moment with players of great individuality as well as unprecedented technical skills. Just looking at European ladies, we have Batiashvili, Benedetti, Fischer, Frang, Ibragimova, Jansen, Kopatchinskaja, Pike, Skride and Tianwa Yang, Chinese born but European trained. We have such variety of style and interpretations and there are many others not in my list; has there ever been a more original and thought provoking player than Kopatchinskaja. Few of these players took part in competitions. In Oistrakh's day that was the way to become well known but there are now too many competitions and the top players often bypass them progressing by reputations alone. Competition winners often end up leading orchestras.


The CD covers and booklets are far too personality driven but that's a sad reflection of the times and we can't really blame the artists; we look beyond that and listen.

The standards of performance are way in advance of those in my youth, live performances from yesteryear on film and recordings show technical fallibility that simply wouldn't be accepted nowadays.

Despite all this, I still love Oistrakh, Heifetz, Grumiaux, Kogan etc. and return to their recordings frequently.

barney
Posts: 5710
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by barney » Fri May 07, 2021 8:44 am

My Grumiaux box has arrived!!! Hallelujah!

maestrob
Posts: 11236
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by maestrob » Fri May 07, 2021 9:12 am

Good morning, David/aveyvey:

That was a marvelous and thoughtful post above. Thank you.

While I am one of those here who had a performing career and am a trained musician (Juilliard, 6 years, as you may know from lurking) your posts so far have reminded me that music is a magnificent and huge field, and each of us here, no matter our experience as listeners or performers, is constrained by the limits what we have done/heard. I liken this phenomenon to the fable about the three blind men trying to describe an elephant.

Mike, my own opinion is very close to yours, which is that today's artists and performances start from a baseline of much improved quality over the average performance from, say, even 30 years ago, and certainly from when we were first exposed to the music that we all love. That's not to say that there weren't many, many great performances. Of course there were, and we treasure our memories of them as well as the recordings we own by those artists. My point is that technical skills have improved remarkably, so that, for instance, orchestras from Norway, Australia, Pittsburg, Toronto and Nashville can now consistently compete with the more famous bands with a much longer international recording catalog. The same of course holds true for violinists, cellists and pianists, as you rightly point out.

I would point everyone who reads this to the remarkable recent recording of Mozart's Violin Concertos on Sony with Christoph Kontz, "Mozart's Violin," a remarkable achievement by the principal violinist of the Vienna Philharmonic, who plays on the very instrument that Mozart did when he performed his own remarkable compositions for the instrument.

Image

That said, even the finest technical skills cannot make up for a lack of depth in any musician, not to mention one who may have great skills and poor taste in using them, as becomes clear when listening to some famous performers who insist on injecting too much of their egos into the music rather than serving the composer. Maturity tends to tame these impulses, though, and I hold out some hope for those who exhibit too much youthful enthusiasm. Many others in the present younger generation show, to me at least, great depth and ability to communicate the profound meaning implicit in the great works that they can now perform with such ease. Do see my reviews for examples.

Speaking of the improvement in skills, American singers have by now taken their rightful place in the world by mastering multiple European languages and excelling in their European careers. I had many such pass through my competition in Carnegie Hall. The shift towards producing operas in the original language at the MET during the latter half of the past century provides ample demonstration of this, as does the flexibility of American-trained conductors who have so successfully led orchestras and opera companies around the world. Luckily, we have the recordings to prove this point!

In sum, as I have stated in these pages before, I believe that we are currently living in a Golden Age of classical music. It is impossible to hear every great performer, unlike during our younger years when record companies brought us only the very best, nowadays we have the internet and many independent labels, and it's quite impossible to keep up with all that's happening. It's also quite impossible to collect ALL these riches, as much as we would like to.

Don't quite know where I'm going with all the above, so I'll just say that we should feel extremely privileged to live in such a world with so much great music happening and so much inexpensive access to it that can fill our days with so much what we love to hear.

mikealdren
Posts: 363
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:40 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by mikealdren » Fri May 07, 2021 9:57 am

Let me just stretch the subject a little. I do feel that many performers nowadays start from an intellectual/musicological point of view with every detail carefully considered but they sometimes lose the overall shape and feel of the work. The need to be different and distinctive can lead to some rather odd interpretations.

maestrob
Posts: 11236
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by maestrob » Fri May 07, 2021 2:14 pm

mikealdren wrote:
Fri May 07, 2021 9:57 am
Let me just stretch the subject a little. I do feel that many performers nowadays start from an intellectual/musicological point of view with every detail carefully considered but they sometimes lose the overall shape and feel of the work. The need to be different and distinctive can lead to some rather odd interpretations.
Sure, no question. I've named some of the more egregious examples in these pages in previous posts.

When that happens, though, we are quite free to disengage and click elsewhere, something we couldn't do when we had to shell out our entire allowance for a heavily-promoted LP before hearing it! :wink:

ayevey
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:45 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by ayevey » Fri May 07, 2021 3:55 pm

It is a delight for me to engage in this conversation. The circumstances of my life in recent years have isolated me from anyone with any interest in, and certainly any serious knowledge about, classical music. (Incidentally, I hate that misnomer and prefer art music, but hey, as my father always say, one has to pick one's battles.) It is wonderful to hear from so many informed and passionate music lovers and remind myself that even if I am in the minority, with reguetón apparently being the world's most popular genre now, there are still others like me who appreciate music of an elevated character, music informed by and in dialogue with all of the cumulative wealth of repertoire of so many centuries, rather than commercialized cookie-cutter tunes using the same recycled bass lines and instrumentation, all manipulated electronically ad nauseum, pumped out endlessly to pollute the airwaves with the same song repeated over and over, only to be forgotten shortly later once the next hype comes along.

I found the comments above very enlightening, and they have convinced me that I need to seek out and pay more attention to the younger musicians who are doing things in a different context than the heavily-promoted LP era of yore, as maestrorob put it. I am aware of some musicians doing truly fantastic things, notable examples being Il Giardino Armonico, who are about the only group that can compel me to listen to the Four Seasons without wanting to rush for the door, these pieces having been so overdone and schmaltzified by so many for so long. Il Giardino Armonic bring these works a real understanding of Vivaldi's musical idiolect and the performance expectations of his time and milieu. You can actually hear teeth chattering in L'inverno. Federico Guglielmo is another musician of this sort, who really amazes me with the freshness of his interpretations and his overall Italianate cheer. Truly uplifting listening experiences, these. I guess you could consider these musicians as pertaining to the musicologist-performer trend, which is a wonderful development for so much music that was romanticized to the point of distortion.

I agree with mikealdren that there is today a much more elevated technical level of performance among violinists and other performance artists. I also agree wholeheartedly that one can now listen to some relatively minor orchestra (may God protect them through this pandemic) and be blown away by the quality and cohesion of playing. For instance, I have yet to hear a Finnish orchestra that doesn't just floor me for their excellence of execution. Perhaps there is a bigger problem with soloists, some (but of course not all) of whom seem overly focused on technical considerations and not enough on philosophical ones. I would even go so far as to say that because the bar is so high, many greats of yesteryear would probably never even have gotten a record contract or maybe even a major performance schedule had they been up against today's competition. Think of Schnabel or even Kempff (one of my all-time favorites). A missed or botched note was typical fare for them, but the depth of interpretation was never neglected one bit.

I feel that today, the finger and memory slips one often hears with these sorts of artists might not be considered up to snuff. Is this a good thing? I don't know. I suppose it's a positive thing to have better standards, but I wonder what it does to musicians of that ilk, who see technique as secondary to conception, or whose technique may simply not be as great as their understanding and identification with the music on a philosophical/emotional level. What does it take to really understand a piece of music? Surely, that's a difficult question to answer and an impossible one to answer succinctly, but I'd reiterate my argument that it does require one actually live life. Being locked away from age six practicing eight hours a day does not allow for this, and I have always felt sorry for those Wunderkinder whose parents deny them a healthy childhood and adolescence (even if in Mozart's case we are all the richer for it).


What I do see as undoubtedly positive about today's music scene (although who knows how Covid and post-Covid will affect this) is that the Internet provides musicians ways to communicate their art with no need for record companies, agents, and so forth. I've heard many great musicians, both within the field of classical music and in other genres, who record straight for YouTube, which clearly allows them all the freedom they could wish for, subject as they are to no one in terms of which projects to pursue and how to pursue them. Here's one example (a jazz upright bassist named Adam Ben Ezra, from my homeland): https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pyUZh_Cbw6Q. Great music, and wonderfully recorded to boot. And I love that he has his dog right there beside him.


Going back to the classical realm, I loved the recommendation of those Mozart violin concerti by Koncz using Mozart's own violin. For someone like me, who loves Mozart so much I named my son after him, this is an obvious must-buy. Thanks for suggesting it, maestrorob!


Thank you, mikealdren, as well, for all of your recommendations. I would love to hear further suggestions as to musicians doing something different, be it circumventing the competition circuit, shedding new light on established repertoire through period instruments and/or practice, manuscript reevaluation, or whatever else. Thank you all for your viewpoints. It is a pleasure to be here on CMG.


By the way, Lance, Rubinstein is, of course, a towering figure in my musical life, a personality that brings joy and inspiration to me every time I return to his music. I even enjoy looking up interviews with him, particularly in different languages (being myself a linguist). I found one in Spanish not long ago, and his diction, grasp of idiom, and nuance were so incredibly authentic that even my wife, who is Mexican, was in disbelief that he was a Pole. My German is not terribly good, but I've heard from German friends of mine that the same can be said of Rubinstein's German. His English, of course, was impeccable, as I am sure most here know. It truly humbles me to think that what I do for a living was just a matter of course for him, a hobby or pastime secondary to his art. What a great artist and human being!

barney
Posts: 5710
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by barney » Fri May 07, 2021 5:43 pm

So much to reply to here, David. I largely very much agree, not least on Kempff and Rubinstein (though I was dismayed to learn that large chunks of his delightfully entertaining autobiographies were fiction). I named a dog after Kempff to general bemusement - I seldom bothered to explain. After all, anything can be a name today (though this was in the 80s). These two pianists are my "go-to" performers for many composers.

I agree we are in a golden age, though the pandemic has dented it badly. I agree that the emphasis on technical perfection so emphasised by competitions can lead to soulless performance (or exaggerated ones, as Mike avers above), but this is also belied by the wonderful musical instincts of so many young musicians (eg, I have just reviewed Benjamin Grosvenor's new Liszt CD, and am about to tackle Trifonov's double CD set of Russian composers). I too will follow up Brian's recommendation on the Mozart violin concerti.

Got to walk the dogs now, so more later.

barney
Posts: 5710
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by barney » Sat May 08, 2021 8:28 pm

So I began with the Schubert sonatas, thinking I didn't have acouple of them. I recognised the interpretation so I checked again - they were in my catalogue under sonatina. So then I went on to Corelli, which I definitely did not have. Blissful.

ayevey
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:45 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by ayevey » Wed May 19, 2021 4:47 pm

Hi all,

I am greatly enjoying my lovely Grumiaux box. He truly had the Midas touch. Haven't come across a dud yet, nor do I expect to.

I was wondering if anyone here has any idea how to get in touch with Universal Music regarding the duplicate disc. Also, if anyone has heard a response to them as to their (hopefully) plans to remedy this oversight, could you please fill me in as to what you've heard?

Thanks and cheers!

David

maestrob
Posts: 11236
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Grumiaux box

Post by maestrob » Thu May 20, 2021 8:42 am

ayevey wrote:
Wed May 19, 2021 4:47 pm
Hi all,

I am greatly enjoying my lovely Grumiaux box. He truly had the Midas touch. Haven't come across a dud yet, nor do I expect to.

I was wondering if anyone here has any idea how to get in touch with Universal Music regarding the duplicate disc. Also, if anyone has heard a response to them as to their (hopefully) plans to remedy this oversight, could you please fill me in as to what you've heard?

Thanks and cheers!

David
Good morning, David! Glad you're enjoying your Grumiaux box, as we all are.

Actually, Lance, mikaldren and I all received replies from Universal within a couple of days of emailing them. Mike posted the email address in the "Is importcds on the up-and-up" thread, and we all got replies from a customer service guy named Ron who was very concerned and said that they were aware of the problem and were working on it. Here's what Lance said:
I received a very kind response from someone named "Jon," who said Decca was very much aware of the problem and are considering how to make it right with buyers. He said he would keep me up to date. No doubt this will be a "big thing" for Decca/Universal to fix as the sales for this item must be spectacular across the whole globe. Right from the beginning of my collecting days of LPs, Grumiaux was a "must have." It seems he remains in the memory of others.
And here's what I said a few days later:
You'll be happy to know that I just got an email response in my inbox this morning, also from "Jon Moyes." Here's the complete text below:

Hello Brian,

Thanks for your email and I am very sorry about this.Decca are aware of the problem and are currently discussing a process going forward in order to rectify for customers. I will come back to you as soon as we hear more from Decca on how they propose to resolve this

Many thanks,Jon Moyes

Customer Service Manager
The email address to write to Universal from what Mike posted is:
I rang the UK phone number for Universal and they sent me an Email address to which I sent my details for a replacement CD.The address was: mk.customerservices@umusic.com
Hope this helps! I know how important it is to get this right before the set goes OOP. You should get a response within a few days. :wink:

Brian

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], Bing [Bot] and 51 guests