Friday, 11 May 2018

Goerne and Brendel in Die Winterreise

Frequently, there are advantages to live recordings: the added frisson of playing before a real audience can add that extra 10% over even a good studio recording, with its many re-takes. The main disadvantage of live recordings is audience noise: clapping, coughing, mobile phone sounds, whatever. I settled back to listen to Matthias Goerne and Alfred Brendel in Schubert's Die Winterreise song cycle. For some inexplicable reason, the work started with audience applause — not even on a separate track. So every time you wished to enter the world of Die Winterreise, you had to have a burst of audience applause to set the atmosphere. Even worse: the sound engineers had miscalculated the dynamics. In order to hear the recorded pianissimos, you had to turn the volume up. When the next song featured a fortissimo, you were blasted out of your socks. After the fourth or fifth song in the cycle, I gave up. The CD is on the pile destined for a charity shop.

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