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What a disappoinment, the BPO digital Conc. Hall

Posted on April 28, 2022 at 10:28:04

Posts: 147
Joined: August 16, 2013
I signed up for a one year subscription, but won't renew.
Sound quality in terms of orchestral balance is so-so, though I didn't expect it to be really great. I can hardly hear the oboes at all, which may be a good thing because their sound is so weak and reedy - strictly run-of-the-mill; no longer special as when Lothar Koch was there with his almost English horn sonority, nor the guy who came after him, I can't recall his name. But recorded sound quality is not the real issue. I don't think the group can be considered the best in the world any longer. It certainly does not sport a unique, easily-identifiable sound as they did under Furtwangler or Karajan. They still play hard, but seem to sound like most any other technically accomplished European ensemble, no more than that.
I think the fault lies with later conductors. Abbado always struck me as a competent kappellmeister (sp?) but nothing more, and Rattle's sound inconsistent in terms of balancing the orchestral choirs to gain any sort of balance between clarity, precision, and sonority, something Furtwangler and Karajan seemed to be able to do in just about any style or period of music. I think the word is uninspired.
Same for this guy Petrenko. And watching him is painful - he jumps around on the podium as if his pants were on fire. Some of the interviews with retired members seem often marked by a real regret and nostalgia for the "good old days". As for a unique sound, the Dresden orchestra sounds more individual in its sonority than the BPO nowadays, to my ears a better orchestra now (though they were never chopped liver.) IMHO both the VPO and the Concertbebouw are also better in terms of the elusive quality of individuality of sound and style. Maybe Petrenko will create a unique sound of his own, but I'm not holding my breath. Sic transit gloria.


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Yes - I've been saying that for years myself!, posted on April 28, 2022 at 11:48:31
Posts: 22846
Location: SF Bay Area
Joined: February 17, 2004
February 6, 2012
The BPO definitely lost their "sound" under Abbado and Rattle, although it's probably a world-wide phenomenon that orchestras are losing their individuality in terms of a special "sound". You're probably right about Dresden (SkD) retaining more individuality than other orchestras, but even they are not as readily identifiable anymore. I'd guess that the reason is because the auditions for all the big orchestras these days are open to anyone, the world over. I remember reading an interview with Kurt Masur, wherein he stated that the reason the Dresden and Leipzig orchestras had their own special, respective "sounds" was because those orchestras used to be "fed" almost exclusively by players from the local conservatories in those cities (with the string players having been trained in a certain way, etc.), and this "parochial" methodology of hiring new players resulted in a consistency of sound (a very identifiable sound!) which has been broken by the "open door" policies of the modern world. I understand how it's good to want fairness in the process of hiring new players in a given orchestra, but, like you, I still regret the loss of a special, identifiable sound which we used to get with certain orchestras. Well, maybe I don't regret it so much with French orchestras! But even in French repertoire, I enjoy recordings like the Cluytens Ravel set! ;-)


RE: What a disappoinment, the BPO digital Conc. Hall, posted on May 11, 2022 at 04:56:11

Posts: 65
Location: Florence
Joined: April 25, 2006
Many people would have placed the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra - under Mariss Jansons' tenure - at the pinnacle of German (and European) orchestras (
The winds are absolutely first rate, and the strings rival those of the Berlin Philharmonic such as they are to be heard in Karajan's 1962 Beethoven cycle or Boehm's 1960s Mozart recordings.
Of course, now that Rattle is about to take over the BRSO, we will have to wait and see what happens to the sound.
One big advantage with the BRSO is that their concerts can be heard live (and on demand) on Bayern Klassik, an internet radio channel:
There are also some video live streams.
The concerts are expertly recorded, in the excellent acoustics of the Herkulessaal (Munich Residenz) and the new Isarphilharmonie.


RE: What a disappoinment, the BPO digital Conc. Hall, posted on May 11, 2022 at 12:31:06
Industry Professional

Posts: 35
Location: Central NJ
Joined: March 2, 2011
I really have to disagree with this. The BPO is a fabulous orchestra. The playing on the Concert Hall site are all played with great musicality. They also improved the sound quality not long ago. Sounds mighty impressive on my system.



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