Julian Bream - Live!

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LukeMarsden
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Julian Bream - Live!

Post by LukeMarsden » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:38 pm

Hi all,

I was too young to ever see Julian Bream live....but I keep hearing and seeing people say that he wasn't very good live?????

What do people mean, was he a bit sloppy - was he hit and miss so to speak?

Can someone here who saw him live more an once explain what they mean....

thanks

Gary Macleod
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Re: Julian Bream - Live!

Post by Gary Macleod » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:56 pm

I saw him in Aberdeen around 1995-6 , he played the 3rd cello suite plus various Albeniz etc, very different to when I've seen Williams,Barrueco and Russell. I enjoyed it but yes it was messy, lots of buzzy notes and mistakes compared to the other guitarists I mentioned.

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Denian Arcoleo
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Re: Julian Bream - Live!

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:06 pm

I heard him a couple of times in the 80's. As Gary says, he wasn't technically perfect, but there were stretches of music-making that were sublime and reached heights few players are capable of. He was younger when I saw him too...

Adrian Allan
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Re: Julian Bream - Live!

Post by Adrian Allan » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:12 pm

I saw Bream on three occasions from the 1990s onwards. On all occasions he did make occasional mistakes, but in one instance, his playing was inspired and highly musical. He seems to be a musician who can excel when he is in the right frame of mind.

In addition, I only saw him at the end of his career. I have many copies of the BMG magazine from the 1950s onwards, and it is clear that he played thousands of concerts over the course of his life, and I imagine that many were brilliant.

Whether he would have made it as a soloist in today's highly competitive world of young whiz-kids is a point worth thinking about. I suspect not, but the same could be said for Segovia (but not Williams, whose technique is still considered as perfect as humanly possible).

Also, I get the feeling that Bream is a much more rounded musician than most of youngsters today. He played the cello at music college and I believe he is also a good pianist. It is this broader knowledge of music that informed the depth of his interpretations.

Kevin Cowen
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Re: Julian Bream - Live!

Post by Kevin Cowen » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:01 pm

He's "live" every time I hear him.
And every time I hear him he's flawless.

cliffbryant
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Re: Julian Bream - Live!

Post by cliffbryant » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:10 pm

I saw Bream play with Williams in Oct. 1978 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. They sounded marvelous! They each played a few solo pieces as well. In Bream's case he played four pieces by Villa Lobos. He was spot on. I also heard JB play a couple of times in the 1980's as a soloist and he was excellent.

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David_Norton
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Re: Julian Bream - Live!

Post by David_Norton » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:07 pm

Yes, JB could be very hit-and-miss in concerts. I saw him maybe 7 or 8 times in Los Angeles over the years. That 1979 performance of "La Catedral"? I was sitting right behind Richard Stover, who face-palmed the performance. His sadly wry comment afterward was "That must've been Bream's tribute to all the cathedrals that were bombed out during the War."

In fairness, the players of "that era" generally did NOT focus on nor possess the same technical armory that is common nowadays. I heard Segovia, Yepes, Pepe Romero, Celedonio Romero, Chris Parkening ALL have troubled performances and memory slips of one sort or another. Segovia's late-career glitches are well known, but I heard Pepe come to a dead stop in the middle of a Giuliani piece where he forgot where he was. He rewound to a section beginning and carried through. Yepes dropped out an entire movement of a JSB lute suite. Eliot Fisk played "[Derailed freight train in] Sevilla" once.... It happens. Not so much these days, but it's not that uncommon. We're used to Recorded Perfection in this era, and players who can pretty much deliver this on stage as well.
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tubeman
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Re: Julian Bream - Live!

Post by tubeman » Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:29 am

I've seen him 3 times in concert. Only one was disappointing and was shortly after he recovered from his car accident. Lots of missed notes, wrong notes, memory lapses, etc. He did miss a few notes here and there during the other two, but who doesn't? (Even John Williams did the two times I saw him, but they were probably not noticeable to a non-guitarist.)
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LukeMarsden
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Re: Julian Bream - Live!

Post by LukeMarsden » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:50 am

Kevin Cowen wrote:He's "live" every time I hear him.
And every time I hear him he's flawless.
im afraid not, his records are edited within an inch of their life - you can hear to edits clicks all over - but i still love it.

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norban
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Re: Julian Bream - Live!

Post by norban » Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:28 am

Heard him a couple of times in Berlin. He played guitar in the first part and lute in the second part. The renditions were breathtaking, only his mimicry was a bit disturbing. :wink:
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muirtan
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Re: Julian Bream - Live!

Post by muirtan » Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:50 am

I saw him in Liverpool in the late 60s. I'd only been playing the guitar for about a year so couldn't really comment on the technical side but his playing inspired me. He really did seem to care about the music.

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pogmoor
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Re: Julian Bream - Live!

Post by pogmoor » Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:51 am

norban wrote:...He played guitar in the first part and lute in the second part.The renditions were breathtaking...
I heard one of those concerts in Oxford in the mid 60s. Breathtaking is a good word; it was one of the high points in my concert-going career! I saw him many years later (late 90s I think) at a concert at Claydon House in Buckinghamshire, when his playing was distinctly lacklustre.
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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Julian Bream - Live!

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:07 am

Its certainly true to say that at least by the second half of his (long, but not of Segovian proportions) performing career there could be some elements of unpredictability. One of the CG reviewers (Paul Fowles) commented that he could die happy now he'd actually heard JB at his best live in concert, given that earlier experiences had not been quite at his best.
I saw him live probably half a dozen times and there were no disasters, and many marvels; though he did drop his guitar cushion loudly onto the stage of the Wigmore Hall in the recital where he premiered the first Brouwer Sonata (which produced a few titters) and in a recital I read about, the music for Sor Fantaisie Elegiaque fell off the stand (there was probably rather a lot of it, the piece is about 16 minutes).
I think I only got to write one CG magazine review of JB, when he played the Malcolm Arnold Concerto on the South Bank. There's a very fast bit in the slow movement ... I don't think he got any of it. I probably glossed over that rather.
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LukeMarsden
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Re: Julian Bream - Live!

Post by LukeMarsden » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:58 am

really interesting - you see for me i'd rather have a passionate player that makes mistakes rather than perfect performance.

julian bream is so much more than the music, he seems to be a personality, like segovia, so it so much more than just the notes.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Julian Bream - Live!

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:10 am

LukeMarsden wrote:really interesting - you see for me i'd rather have a passionate player that makes mistakes rather than perfect performance.

julian bream is so much more than the music, he seems to be a personality, like segovia, so it so much more than just the notes.
I'm sure most everybody would agree. Ideally both passion and perfection of course! I once attended a recital that was as far as I could tell completely without mistakes, and it was terribly terribly dull. But that was because the player was playing very safe, and had so impressed the venue with his previous recital that he'd been re-booked rather too soon and in seeking new repertoire was doing fairly easy things without engaging with the pieces.
In other words, whether we play with passion and commitment or detachment, with risks and mistakes or lots of planning and few - it all depends.
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