Posted by Geoff Diggines on February 6, 2019, 1:37 pm
There are many conundrums in classical music, I have just been listening to Mitsuko Uchida's lack of rapport with Simon Rattle in her latest recording of the Beethoven Piano Concerto's. Uchida, predictably, is in splendid form, but Rattle's phrasing is lumpy, with plenty of distorting rubato - poor Uchida wants to move on, her phrasing and rhythms are mercurial and crisp, the opposite of Rattle. Why did she consent to this??? |
But I want to move on to a conundrum that has bothered me for some time. Klemperer was a great conductor, his Bruckner was especially distinctive, with a granitic hold the music's structure, its contour and shape. At the end of his conducting career he made huge cuts in his recording, and concerts Bruckner's 8th, last movement. I am not automatically against cuts; the cut Toscanini made in Tchaikovsky's Manfred symphony last movement' it could be argued' is an improvement, also the composer loathed the movement. But the cuts Klemperer made in the Bruckner are much more damaging. He cuts the massive C minor fff chord just before the mysterious beginning of the coda proper. This cut ruins the whole logic of the symphony which had been building up to this massive raw C minor chord from the beginning, its final release of a blazing C minor. There is a recording ( hard to get hold of) of Klemperer's Bruckner 8 from the Festival hall in 1964 with the Phiharmonia in the full Hass edition, and it is over-whelming, the greatest I have heard, but it was never recorded by EMI. Was this terrible cut just the work of an eccentric old man???. He wrote in programme note that 'Bruckner went too far in his musical invention'. But he regularly conducted the 5th Symphony, right up to the end of his conducting career, which is arguably more complex and long, with more musical invention than the 8th!. I suppose it will remain another, rather painful, classical music conundrum???