Kurt Schneewies - spanish guitar collection

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
Smudger5150
Posts: 116
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:18 pm

Kurt Schneewies - spanish guitar collection

Post by Smudger5150 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:48 pm

Hi there.

Hope I'm not contravening any rules by wanting to ask about a CD that I've been listening too - I'm sure you moderators will let me know if I am....

I've been listening to a CD by a German guitarist called Kurt-Schneeweiß and I was a bit frustrated with the 1st few listens in that he plays unusual versions of some of the pieces that are well known, especially Asturias, where he seems to be improvising around the piece, or, he has come up with an alternative way of playing it.

I listened to it a few years ago a couple of times and have resumed listen to it recently (revisiting all my CG CDs) and I have found a lot of nice pieces on the CD but these are ones that I'm not familiar with.
I think the sound quality on some tracks isn't great which doesn't help but a lot of the recordings seem ok. Maybe most, if not all, is recorded live.
Also, a quick look at some of the reviews of his other CDs suggest that his approach to playing well-known pieces by playing an interpretation of a piece rather than playing it note-for-note seems to be polarising opinion. A 1 star review sitting next to a 4 or 5 star review etc.

So i wondered 2 things:-

i. Is anyone familiar with his work and what do you think?
ii. What do you think to interpreting pieces that may verge on improvising? (Although he doesn't appear to have gone for a complete jazz-style complete improv).

I seen other threads about players from the previous centuries ad-libbing in their performances but I'm not aware of it being done much outside of jazz, and to a lesser extent, rock and blues (jams etc).

Rasputin
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: Kurt Schneewies - spanish guitar collection

Post by Rasputin » Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:53 pm

Smudger5150 wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:48 pm
So i wondered 2 things:-

i. Is anyone familiar with his work and what do you think?
I wasn't, but after reading your post I had a quick listen (the album is available on my streaming service). I thought it was annoying.
ii. What do you think to interpreting pieces that may verge on improvising? (Although he doesn't appear to have gone for a complete jazz-style complete improv).
I don't have a problem with it really. If someone wants to add bells and whistles to somebody else's tune it's up to them - it's not as though I have to listen to it.

I suppose if you put a famous piece on your concert programme or track listing, then play a version of it that is very much your own, you have misled the punters a little - but then if you go to a concert or buy an album without knowing much about the performer, it's in a spirit of discovery anyway, and I suspect that anyone who does know about this guy will be well aware that he likes to put his own stamp on things.

Can you return the CD on the basis that the tracks on it don't count as recordings of the pieces listed?

No, but it would be funny to watch...

Altophile
Posts: 365
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2016 3:36 pm
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: Kurt Schneewies - spanish guitar collection

Post by Altophile » Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:49 pm

Smudger5150 wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:48 pm
Hi there.

Hope I'm not contravening any rules by wanting to ask about a CD that I've been listening too - I'm sure you moderators will let me know if I am....

I've been listening to a CD by a German guitarist called Kurt-Schneeweiß and I was a bit frustrated with the 1st few listens in that he plays unusual versions of some of the pieces that are well known, especially Asturias, where he seems to be improvising around the piece, or, he has come up with an alternative way of playing it.

I listened to it a few years ago a couple of times and have resumed listen to it recently (revisiting all my CG CDs) and I have found a lot of nice pieces on the CD but these are ones that I'm not familiar with.
I think the sound quality on some tracks isn't great which doesn't help but a lot of the recordings seem ok. Maybe most, if not all, is recorded live.
Also, a quick look at some of the reviews of his other CDs suggest that his approach to playing well-known pieces by playing an interpretation of a piece rather than playing it note-for-note seems to be polarising opinion. A 1 star review sitting next to a 4 or 5 star review etc.

So i wondered 2 things:-

i. Is anyone familiar with his work and what do you think?
ii. What do you think to interpreting pieces that may verge on improvising? (Although he doesn't appear to have gone for a complete jazz-style complete improv).

I seen other threads about players from the previous centuries ad-libbing in their performances but I'm not aware of it being done much outside of jazz, and to a lesser extent, rock and blues (jams etc).
This seems to be Kurt Schneeweiss' trademark practice, which wouldn't be a problem if he would make sure that it's clearly spelled out on the CD covers that he has taken liberties, sometimes GREAT liberties, with the work of composers whose music he claims to be playing. However, he doesn't do that.

For example, he recorded a multi-CD collection that was offered to the public as arrangements of the work of Sylvius Leopold Weiss. I'm a huge Weiss' fan, and I have lamented for years that Weiss is so underrepresented by the great guitarists. So you can image how thrilled I was to find a guitarist who had purportedly arranged and performed no less than 10 of Weiss' suites on the modern six string guitar. Unfortunately, once I received the collection and began to listen I found that what Schneeweiss actually did was offer a collection of his own improvisations based on the music of Weiss, but he hadn't in fact offered performances of Weiss' music. They stray so radically from the original that they are essentially his own compositions.

~Sean

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tubeman
Posts: 211
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 9:59 pm

Re: Kurt Schneewies - spanish guitar collection

Post by tubeman » Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:20 pm

Schneeweiss, if that is indeed his real name, has made some truly horrid recordings, including the aforementioned Weiss. I have no intention of ever listening to him again after getting burned by one of his Weiss CDs. I can't imagine that he does even remote justice to Spanish repertoire or any pieces.
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