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Which concert was better, Vienna or Berlin?


bollemanneke
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Vienna Vs. Berlin, which one was better?  

36 members have voted

  1. 1. The Program

  2. 2. John Williams' Speeches

  3. 3. The Performances

  4. 4. Flubs, Timing Issues and Lacklustre Renditions



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Yeah, we're all just glowing with excitement.

Vienna was amazing too, and I think maybe their CE3K was better than Berlin's, but Berlin was just so passionate.  Vienna had grandeur, Berlin felt like a night of vindication.    

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5 hours ago, Biodome said:

I have a feeling that, looking purely quantitatively, Berlin had more technical errors throughout the three concerts. 

Can you name some specific errors?

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13 minutes ago, Steve said:

Can you name some specific errors?

I'll have to listen to the recordings to give you an exact answer, but I do remember there were some slip-ups in the brass and woodwind sections, as well as problems in the percussion. A quite obvious one yesterday was during the Theme from Jurassic Park, when the timpani came in way too early with the roll.

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1 minute ago, Biodome said:

I'll have to listen to the recordings to give you an exact answer, but I do remember there were some slip-ups in the brass and woodwind sections, as well as problems in the percussion. A quite obvious one yesterday was during the Theme from Jurassic Park, when the timpani came in way too early with the roll.

Yes, there were some too early entrances from the percussion (a problem in every orchestra). But overall a spectacular performance. 

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1 hour ago, Steve said:

Can you name some specific errors?


One of the violas dropped his sheet music at one point when turning the page - mid performance - the lady viola next to him really smiled! 

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2 hours ago, Fabulin said:

One note on the final applause in Berlin: at nearly 14 minutes, it was closer to the 20 minutes long ovation at the premiere of Mahler's 8th symphony than to a typical applause after even a good concert. 

Should've stood for 6 more minutes and set a new record

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I’d say this is an impossible toss up to be decided here on JAfan, we are too close too it, and I suspect that there are too many subjective opinions.

 

Who was at the actual concert-bias, are the voters comparing attending a performance with a recorded concert, preference in program over performance or vice-versa, etc.

 

I guess time will tell.

 

I attended both, and enjoyed both, that much I can say.

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14 hours ago, Fabulin said:

Everybody seems to have forgotten how awesome Vienna was, in terms of the musicians (instrument signing session, asking to play the Imperial March, all those happy strings players, the mighty horns..., Anne-Sophie Mutter joining for Raiders, commissioning of a new Ball processional...), the perfection of CE3K, Dartmoor, Devil's Dance, and the now legendary rendition of the Imperial March at the end. The audience was just about the same as in Berlin, standing up after every other piece, hollering, thumping and so on. It was the proper continental debut that generated nearly 4000 comments in its thread, and had an awesome feel of a second chance after the 2018 health fiasco. I am not saying one concert is better than the other, but looking at this poll, it seems strangely lopsided.

 

It will make more sense to compare albums released once we get the Berlin one.

 

I haven't forgotten how sluggishly they manoeuvered through the music (I only really get back to CE3K which indeed does sound spectacular) and how it is gloriously preserved by DG in many editions.

 

I loved attending both concerts, but there is no question to me which orchestra was better suited for the material and better rehearsed.

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20 minutes ago, Remco said:

instrument signing session, asking to play the Imperial March, all those happy strings players, the mighty horns..., Anne-Sophie Mutter joining for Raiders, commissioning of a new Ball processional...

 

Yes, their PR machinery worked well.

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You can hardly compare. Vienna is the temple of classical music. I think Williams getting invited to Vienna was a bit more special from a historical perspective. Both orchestras have a huge history. Why can't we just appreciate both performances? Surely all concerts have been special for everyone attending and each person will have his own preference. 

I enjoyed them both! Emotionally Vienna was a bit more intense for me.

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For my own thoughts on Vienna vs Berlin (or rather, Vienna and Berlin), see my post in the concert thread:

 

 

11 hours ago, Steve said:
11 hours ago, Biodome said:

I'll have to listen to the recordings to give you an exact answer, but I do remember there were some slip-ups in the brass and woodwind sections, as well as problems in the percussion. A quite obvious one yesterday was during the Theme from Jurassic Park, when the timpani came in way too early with the roll.

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Yes, there were some too early entrances from the percussion (a problem in every orchestra). But overall a spectacular performance. 

 

The moment mentioned by Biodome wasn't a rhythmic inaccuracy though - the timpanist just came in a measure too early (and thus reached the tonic earlier than the rest of the orchestra).

 

There was also a moment in throne room where the timpani (or percussion?) and/or low brass had a moment of doubt on their first syncopation and were very hesitant to play it at all (but played their followup notes with full force as written).

 

10 hours ago, GlastoEls said:

One of the violas dropped his sheet music at one point when turning the page - mid performance - the lady viola next to him really smiled! 

 

The violist himself was gleefully grinning through the entire concert (and laughing when he dropped the sheet music). I also noticed on Thursday that at least one of the percussionists was grinning from ear to ear and almost dancing along to the rhythms whenever he wasn't playing himself. And of course Sarah Willis was happily smiling all the way as well.

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Something about this Berlin performance is lacking for me. There is less electricity than Vienna. Maybe it is the night I heard. Especially the upper brass doesn't seem too interested in being anything other than functional and dialed-in. There is an an enormous world of difference between Berlin's JP and Vienna's.

 

Maybe I need more time with Berlin but it is a bit too close to Dudamel's LA performance for my liking. That is just in terms of enthusiasm. The tone of Berlin is gorgeous, no doubting that.

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2 hours ago, Steve said:

You can hardly compare. Vienna is the temple of classical music. I think Williams getting invited to Vienna was a bit more special from a historical perspective. Both orchestras have a huge history. Why can't we just appreciate both performances? Surely all concerts have been special for everyone attending and each person will have his own preference. 

I enjoyed them both! Emotionally Vienna was a bit more intense for me.

But that's my main issue: Vienna was historical, so why, then, was the orchestra so badly prepared? When W fell ill in 2018, the whole event was cancelled immediately while London at least tried to pick up the pieces (and delivered spectacularly). Then, a year and a bit later, Vienna finally does go ahead and they STILL don't deliver. Surely that's saying something? Surely that means they just couldn't be bothered?

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1 hour ago, Fabulin said:

Yeah, in many places it sounded skilled but very by the book, indeed like a better cousin of the Dudamel recording. The Viennese took more risks, for both better and worse. But that's a bit like comparing Brahms and Tchaikovsky.

 

I'll take the LA Phil any day

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7 minutes ago, bollemanneke said:

Also, what printed error are you referring to?

 

A wrong chord base note somewhere I believe, possibly in Raider's March? I'll have to leave the details to those who see (and mentioned) these things.

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2 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

Haven't we gone over this multiple times already? The LSO are experienced sight-readers who do a lot of film music recordings, the Philharmoniker are not. If one concert gets cancelled (and before the first rehearsal, too), a rescheduling (and with a different programme, though that hardly matters) a year later won't mean any players would have looked at the sheet music during that time (let alone learn & practice it). I still believe that Williams, upon hearing the orchestra, thinking they can play everything already, and cutting the rehearsals short, and being used to American orchestras and the LSO, overestimated their sight reading skills and didn't expect some problematic moments to persist from rehearsal to performance. And ultimately, though there are flubs (and at least one of them apparently in the printed sheet music), not every imprecision is an error. The LSO's extreme precision is impressive, but it's not the only way to play music, and a more "organic" performance can have its own strengths. The Berliner these days seem closer to the LSO's precision than the Wiener's style in that regard.

 

Which mistake is in the printed sheet music?

 

EDIT: The E.T. chord?

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The Vienna performances sounded passionate and inspired to me, probably by the event that it all was. I personally thought it brought out the best in everyone involved. The mistakes sounded very sincere, if that makes any sense. I love that concert.

 

These Berlin performances seem much more tame. They are not as generic as the LA Phil. but still more restrained. I also personally hear a lot more errors. They really seemed to lean into the errors in Vienna (sort of the general sense of 'owning it' that I hear going on.) The errors in Berlin sound much more hesitant to my ears, therefore they stick out more to me. I also think anyone who complained about tempos in Vienna should be doing so even more now. I personally don't mind a stately take of anything, we always have the original. I just find it surprising that it isn't getting the hate the Vienna performance received.

 

This is overall feelings. That's very vibe-y and generalized. There are plenty of orchestral flourishes and touches that really shine. This is still a world-class orchestra. There are some very neat trumpet lines in the middle of Harry's Wondrous World. Nimbus 2000 comes across great, if maybe a little clinical; the soloists really getting a chance to shine in that one. The Adventures of Han is a stand-out with that orchestra at that tempo as well. Probably the highlight of the whole evening. Although, and I am not trying to be cynical, there aren't many performances to compare it to.

 

I am obviously going to continue to listen and form more opinions over time. I am sure the album release will improve my estimation of the concert since I have only had the pleasure of streaming one evening. With mastering and switching between nights, a lot of these more lethargic moments may be livened up. Especially by an opening night I haven't heard.

 

So far, it's not Vienna but it's alright.

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7 hours ago, blondheim said:

I also think anyone who complained about tempos in Vienna should be doing so even more now. I personally don't mind a stately take of anything, we always have the original. I just find it surprising that it isn't getting the hate the Vienna performance received.

 

This is indeed alarming.

 

14 hours ago, Steve said:

I think Williams getting invited to Vienna was a bit more special from a historical perspective. Both orchestras have a huge history.

 

It's a bit more special because the VPO is so extremely conservative, to the point of being outdated already several decades ago.

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23 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

This is indeed alarming.

 

 

It's a bit more special because the VPO is so extremely conservative, to the point of being outdated already several decades ago.

What do you mean, that some pieces in Berlin were too slow too? I would say only the Adventures of Han suffered, but it still kind of felt natural. I always feel Vienna slowed everything down to avoid more debacles.

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1 hour ago, bollemanneke said:

I always feel Vienna slowed everything down to avoid more debacles.

 

The Imperial March had the perfect tempo in Vienna. Jurassic Park was way too fast in Berlin. Aside from that, I liked most of the brisk Berliner tempi (especially for the action material), but keep in mind that the halls are very different. The Musikverein sounds great, but it has a lot of reverb. If you play too loud too fast, you'll just end up with one ugly loud chord.

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2 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

The Imperial March had the perfect tempo in Vienna. Jurassic Park was way too fast in Berlin. Aside from that, I liked most of the brisk Berliner tempi (especially for the action material), but keep in mind that the halls are very different. The Musikverein sounds great, but it has a lot of reverb. If you play too loud too fast, you'll just end up with one ugly loud chord.

 

Yes, the tempo in Jurassic Park was ridiculous!! I usually hate too slow tempos but that was too much, the piece lost its religious touch I think.

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