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Wednesday, 29 January 2014


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As one of the Beatles generation, names like Led Zeppelin and Cream, resonate in the same way that modern bands are hailed by teenagers but are totally unknown to me. I think they all must have happened when I dozed off one afternoon in the early seventies and woke up late the next day. It is not a ignorance of which I boast but it does puzzle me as to how I missed them. Incidentally I did see the Beatles perform at what was then the Hammersmith Odeon. I only saw them as the noise from screaming girls drowned out their music.

Hmmm, I already have a two disk Led Zep set from 1990 titled 'Remasters'.

Remastering is not necessarily a good thing. Like HDR or excessive sharpening in digital photography, the 'improvements' may please only some, and be execrable to others.

'Remastering' is an old marketing game, present since the introduction of digital music in the form of CDs. Frequently, it is just a pretext for compressing dynamic range and increasing loudness, to the detriment of fine detail in the music and the mood created by having a mix of soft and loud passages.

With contemporary modes of distribution of music such as mp3s, Spotify and other streaming music, and the like, the temptation to pump up the volume to increase the wow factor of classic rock music for newer, younger listeners is very great indeed.

I will remain skeptical, at least until I hear these new Led Zep remasters.

Thank you for introducing me to her music-- I'd not heard of her-- there are too many great musicians and artists out there---I'd spend all my waking hours if I followed more than one or two. But you've got me in.... My somewhat weird collection, (your older readers will identify) includes Canned Heat, Pink Floyd, (of course) Deep Purple, Emmerson Lake and Palmer, but now I get off on Youtube with BIG headphones and full screen, with artists like Valentina Lisitsa (pianist extraordinaire) . Who have thunk we'd be in paradise with our choice now, only twenty years ago.... Thank you for alerting me to Imogen. And now we're about to be assailed by the GREATEST OF THE LOT at Hanging Rock, Victoria, Australia..... drum roll..... deep voice.... The Rolling Stones!!!! I live not far away, and will be taking more than a few pix.... Bruce

Mike, time spent listening to Led Zeppelin was not misspent - to the contrary, it would seem that you had an excellent year (and youth). Bear.

IH piece you linked to reminds me of the formidable skills of Juana Molina whom I discovered on RadioLab a few years ago:

You can mention Ms. Heap as many times as you like, Mike. I'd never heard of her (some of us are slow to catch on), so you've done me, at least, a huge favour. She's amazing.

The first time I heard Led Zep was as a teen. I was ushered into the bedroom of the extended families goodie goodie, sat down to listen to this new band and told to keep my mouth shut about said goodie goodie shooting up heroin. The weekend visit got even weirder as time went on.

Blimey. Somebody else who likes both On The Beach AND Appartment Life. AND photography!!!

but then I'm self educated, which makes me an "ignoramus visited with arrogance."

As someone self-educated in several fields I greeted your quotation with laughter and rueful self-recognition.

The Oxford Book of Quotations, Google, and Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary all failed to give me a source. O.K. Mike, who are you quoting?

[Myself! (g) From an old essay on autodidacts. Glad you appreciated the humor, as that's how it's intended. --Mike]

Really good performance with Beck and Heap. Beck is quite masterful at complementing her vocals. And I've added Imogen Heap to my listening que, thanks for that (finally upgraded my amplifier and I've been in music bliss for the last few days).

Regarding miss-spent youth, I always find it incredible just how healthy and centered my daughter is compared to how I was at her age. I'm not sure what is going on, but something is better.

Classical lover reporting to duty, sir!
No doubt Mr. Denk is a gifted musician and a fine performer, but J. S. Bach was a baroque composer. Mr Denk plays the Goldberg variations as if they were composed by Chopin - to which Mr. Denk adds a slight 'pop' flavour. You'd be better off listening to Glenn Gould, AndrĂ¡s Schiff, Murray Perahia and especially the God Of The Piano, Maurizio Pollini. No, they don't add pep to the pieces like Mr. Denk does, but Bach probably wouldn't intend them to. In fact I believe he'd be a bit upset by Mr. Denk's interpretation of his music.
We should all bear in mind that the pianoforte, which preceded the piano, had not been invented at the time J. S. Bach composed his 'Klavier' pieces; they were intended for the harpsichord. The piano transcriptions should be played accordingly, which Mr. Denk stubbornly strays away from.
Incidentally, Jeremy Denk has an american equivalent at the cello: Lynn Harrrell. Although the latter's interpretation of J. S. Bach's Cello Suites is among the finest I've ever heard, almost on a par with Rostropovitch and Pieter Wispelwey, Mr. Harrell doesn't resist the temptation of introducing some bizarre dynamic swings here and there that evoke the language of Rock music. It doesn't spoil the pieces, however, and doesn't detract from his playing. Not at all.

When I saw the title of this post and began reading the part about Jimmy Page, I thought you were going to take it in a very different direction. I was friends with Imogen Cunningham's grandson in high school who related to me how much trouble his father, Rondal, had sometimes making reprints of his grandmother's negatives as they would be covered with fingerprints (some of them Rondal's own from helping her in the darkroom as a child), etc... But thank you for where you took it, as the music links are wonderful.

Just shows where my head was this morning, I guess...

I really liked Denk taking it to the streets with the Holga equivalent piano in decorated orange. I found his comments worthy, and think his music interpretations also interesting and enjoyable, but will stick with Could for Bach on piano.

Led Zep sounded great on Vinyl.

I couldn't really enjoy them on CD until the recent remastering on CD of Mothership.

In general, I don't subscribe to the "Vinyl was better" myth, but it did seem to work better for them - possibly the large variation between loud and quiet passages - sort of "tonal range".


I listened to the pianists you mentioned, and they are all brilliant. I have listened to Gould, and recently Vsiatoslav Richter. Your recommendations plays wonderfully, and subtly different from them. So much to discover. Thanks!


Another worthy version of "Hide and Seek" is the one Ms. Heap contributed to Songs for Tibet.

Hi Manuel,
Let's see, Goldbergs...I have three versions on harpsichord (Trevor Pinnock, Gustav Leonhardt, and Wanda Landowska); both Goulds; Jacques Loussier's jazz version; Rosalyn Tureck; Simone Dinnerstein; Ragna Schirmer; got rid of Bernard Lagace on organ; and a version for strings by Sitkovetsky and the NES Orchestra (which is in some ways easiest to listen to--it's on YouTube:


So much easier to follow the lines). So I don't really lack for other versions...although I should get Perahia, I love him. Oh and don't forget Dan Tepfer's Goldberg Variations Variations!

Similarly I have a handful of Cello Suites recordings, including Heinrich Schiff, Janos Starker on Sefel Records, and Anner Bylsma, but my favorite is Yo-Yo Ma's second set. Not a very original choice, but I love that one.


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