A Mind Blowing Performance


I stopped paying much attention to Beethoven in 1981, after having a quasi-religious experience while listening to Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor. I never stopped listening; I simply stopped listening properly. I now glory in his rediscovery. I bought the Hogwood/Lubin/AAM PC box set in 1990 out of  a sense of duty. It’s an astonishing achievement. Here is the 1st movement of No. 5 in Eb major. What I most like about this performance is the total abandonment of restraint within a set of broadly Mozartian assumptions.

For the Symphonies, though, Mrs Gabb has bought me the 1963 Karajan set. John Kersey recommends it; and, while she won’t let me remove the cellophane wrapping until Christmas Eve, and will then nag me about the state of my hearing whenever I play the disks, the YouTube previews sound very exciting.

Next year, I may give up on torturing my women with the flute, and take to the piano.

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2 responses to “A Mind Blowing Performance

  1. Sounds like a pub piano to me. This practice of playing Beethoven on period instruments is useful only for demonstrating what the poor man had to put up with. He would have chopped his contemporary Broadwood up for firewood in exchange for a modern concert grand – and the Broadwood was a powerful instrument compared to the lightweight contemporary Viennese Graf instruments. In fact, you can date many of Beethoven’s piano works just by looking at the highest note in the score – he always wanted to extend the instrument to its limits and beyond, and as the range of the piano extended over time, the range of his sonatas expanded correspondingly.
    When you referred to ‘number 5 in Eb major’ I thought you were being clever and referring to the 5th symphony (in C minor), the opening chords of which are an aural ‘trompe d’oeuil’ (anybody know the French for that?) which trick you into thinking you are in Eb major. The trick only works the first time you hear it though.
    And how dare you mention Mozart and Beethoven in the same sentence? Mozart was a mere tunesmith. A very skilled one, granted, but a tunesmith nonetheless.
    What are ‘broadly Mozartian assumptions’ by the way?
    And ‘torturing my women with a flute’? The mind boggles!