Thursday, April 19, 2018

Tartini, Giuseppe.(1692-1770) The Complete Violin Concertos. CD 20-29.

New acquisition. (2017)
First listen: 18-20-4-2018
Label: Dynamic.
CD 20-29 from 29.
Recording dates: 2004/2005/2006/2007/2008.2009/2010.
Venue:  Sovizzo, Chiesa di S. Maria Annunziata/Borgoricco (PD) Teatro Aldo Rossi/Preganziol (TV) Studio Magister/Chiesa del Filippo e Giacomo, Italy.
Sound Engineer: Marco Lincetto.
Playing Time: 54:49/55:25/75:29/65:49/47:44/45:46/58:36/76:59/65:44/60:33.


Violin Concertos.

L'Arte dell 'Arco.

Decent performances and interpretations. I do not have the impression that I am listening to authentic performances. It's all too smooth and suave. I acknowledge Tartini's immense musical talent, and am aware that my negative reaction is only based on the performance. For me it sounds like the ASMF directed by Neville Marriner. And from this my resistance stems. Sound is reasonable.
The music serves as background music. I do only occasionally find musical surprises. But the music serves a purpose, and that is to amuse me, not to challenge me. But they should! My opinion is that these concertos sound rather uninterested, and are missing significant depth. But just occasionally this ensemble hits all the right notes in the right tempi, but these happenings are far and wide between. Somehow the music does not stick in my memory and it tends to sound all the same. It will go into my collection unloved, and will not be played by me again. I would have loved authentic performances from the specialists in the field, but it is not very likely that these concertos will be recorded complete, for let's be honest, 29 CD'S are only acceptable if you get top performances. Tartini deserves better.
I have finished this box and drunk my cup until the last CD ended.
Only for Tartini addicts.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1680-1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 18.

New acquisition. (2016)
First listen: 16-4-2018.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 18 from 20.
Recording dates: September 1998.
Venue: St. Katharinen Church, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Mittermaier.
Playing time: 79:10

Works on this CD:
Late Works of the Leipzig period.
BWV: 544/562/548/1079a/668.


Instrument used:
Built by Rieger orgelbau, Schwarzach/Vorarlberg, Austria 1990.
Pitch: a'= 440 Hz.
Temperament: ?

Performed by:
Martin Lücker.

Verbatim from CD 6 with the same performer.

This is a romantic organ, no doubt about it, and it sounds quite nice, with a stabile lower register and an open sound in the top registers. Pleasant it is, but it did not much appeal to me. Too anonymous. And that has all to do with the uninspired playing by Martin Lücker. His tempi are predominantly slow and the notes he is producing have little or no expression.  Utterly boring performances. This is not an organ on which Bach should be performed, and  Lücker should keep with romantic composers. I have listened to this CD, but hardly registered what he was playing, that bored I was. Of all organists in this box, he is the epitome of bad taste.  Definitively not recommended. Sound is okay.


Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1680-1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 19 & 20

New acquisition. (2016)
First listen: 11-4-2018.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 19&20 from 20.
Recording dates: October 1998.
Venue: St. Wilhadi  Church Stade, Germany.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Mittermaier.
Playing time:  47:00 & 53:44.

Works on this CD 19 & 20.
Clavier Ubung, Third part.
BWV: 669-689.
Duetto 1-4. BWV 802-805.
Fuga a 5 con pedale pro Organo pleno BWV 552/5


Instrument used:
Organ built by Erasmus Bielfeldt 1731-1736.
Restored and returned to its original condition by Jurgen Ahrend 1987-1990.
Registers that were lost due to conversion or war damages have been replaced according to historical sources and adjusted to the old existing pipework.
Mechanical transmission.
Pitch: a'= 473 Hz.
Temperament: Werckmeister II.

More info about the organ click on link:
Organ Erasmus Bielfeldt in Stade

Performed by: 
Kay Johannsen.

A beautiful organ.  I did not care that much about Johannsen's performance. True there are moments of beauty, but also boring moments, which seems to be my experience with him during my journey through Bach's organ music. He is not a bad organist, but for me he would not be a prime choice.
There are some fine works on this CD. Many pieces of the Clavier ubung did appeal to me performance wise. Johannsen seems to be more at ease with the contemplative side of Bach, and on this CD he has all the opportunity to show his talent in this. The Duetto's are played a bit matter of fact . The Fuga did not engender much enthusiasm with me. The Praeludium pro organo pleno BWV 552/1 was very tightly played with a good tempo. I liked it very much.



Saturday, April 14, 2018

Melartin, Erkki (1875-1937) The Solo piano Works. CD 1 & 2.

New acquisition. (2018)
First listen: 14-4-2018.
Label: Crystal Classics.
Recording dates: November 2008 & Juli 2009.
Recording venue: Studio Gärtnerstraße,  Germany.
Sound engineer: Henri Thaon.
Playing time:  CD 1) 69:07  CD 2) 66:51.


Works on CD 1 and 2:

Chips I , opus 7. Six Pieces for piano.
The Legend II opus 12.
The Melancholy Garden opus 52.
Lyric pieces for piano opus 59.
The Mysterious Forest, opus 118. Sic pieces for piano.
Six pieces for piano, opus 123.
24 Preludes opus 85.
Impressions opus 87.
The Legend opus 6.
Sonata I opus 111, Fantasia.

Performed by:
Maria Lettberg.

The music can compare itself with the best of the late romantic composers. Most of his music are clever mood pieces. Common virtuosity and great gestures are strangers to Melartin. Janacek came to mind a few times, but  Melartin is very much his own man. Dreamlike moments, contemplative, diving deep into all possible emotions, life is passing through his music in perfectly adaptable sequences.  This music is addictive, very addictive. Maria Lettberg is a great pianist, her engagement, and her careful approach, faithfully following the style of the music,... it is as if she is tumbling down in the music and becomes one with it. Always treads lightly, but with great sovereignty, and works her magic, lingering at the end of a phrase long enough to capture the poetry, before preparing the next gesture. The air of introspection is telling of the preparation Lettberg brought towards these works. It's simply lovely playing and shows that she is a clearly a musician of taste and intelligence. 
The piano is well recorded, and I can recommend the performance without reserve. Once you start playing the music there is no way stopping it. I know, it happened to me.




Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1680-1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 17.

New acquisition. (2016)
First listen: 11-4-2018.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 17 from 20.
Recording dates: March 1997.
Venue: Municipal Church of Stein am Rhein, Switzerland.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Mittermaier.
Playing time: 78:33

Works on this CD:
Six sonatas BWV: 525-539.

Instrument used:

Built by Metzler, Dietikon, Switzerland 1992.
Pitch: a'=440 Hz. ?
Unequal tuning?

No further information known to me.

Performed by: 
Kay Johannsen.

I rather like this organ. It sounds clear as a bell, and it helps to hear all the polyphonic lines in these six sonatas. And hear them you do! There are no complaints to that effect. Furthermore he refrains from glissandos, or for that matter over the top gestures as Christopher Herrick is prone to use also on a Metzler organ. When I heard the Herrick recording I did not really dislike his playing, but you must know that Johannsen is quite the opposite of Herrick in this respect.  Johannsen disc is distinguished by uniformly stylish, immaculately tailored readings of the Trio sonatas. I think this is a fine interpretation overall, and well recorded too.



Tartini, Giuseppe.(1692-1770) The Complete Violin Concertos. CD 19.

New acquisition. (2017)
First listen: 11-4-2018
Label: Dynamic.
CD 19 from 29.
Recording dates: March 2004.
Venue:  Sovizzo, Chiesa di S. Maria Annunziata Italy.
Sound Engineer: Marco Lincetto.
Playing Time: 67:01.


Violin Concertos.

In A major/E major/B flat major/G major/C major.

L'Arte dell 'Arco.

Decent performances and interpretations. Sound is reasonable.
The music serves as background music. I do only occasionally find musical surprises. But the music serves a purpose, and that is to amuse me. My opinion is that these concertos sound rather bland, first caused by matter of fact interpretations, (straightforward?) in which I find little authenticity, and secondly by the sound of the recordings. No state of the art equipment is used.
Only for Tartini addicts.


Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1680-1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 16.

New acquisition. (2016)
First listen: 11-4-2018.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 16 from 20.
Recording dates: January 1999.
Venue: Garrison Church, Copenhagen.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Mittermaier.
Playing time: 72:18.

Works on this CD:
Influences of Cantate, Concerto and Chamber Music.
BWV: 546/731/583/712/713/717/734/591/645-650/540.


Instrument used:
Reconstruction of a Danish Baroque organ by Carsten Lund 1995, of the Lambert Daniel Kastens organ from 1724. 
Original case  from 1724.
Pitch: a'= 440 Hz.
Temperament: Unequal after F.C. Schnitger.
(Info about the organ submitted by a well informed organ lover, thank you Premont)

Performed by: 
Bine Katrine Bryndorf.

The review I wrote about previous discs recorded with Bryndorf can be taken verbatim for CD 16 too. Again on this disc there are many examples of her style of playing. Take for instance  "Das kleines Harmonisches Labyrinth" BWV 591, a short piece but full of the expression which is her trademark. But also "Liebster Jesu wir sind hier" BWV 731, she carries this piece right into the spiritual realm. "Meine Seele erhebt den Herren" BWV 648, has such a restrained intensity, and yet a clear tonal balance, which is captivating. Her clear headedness shows in "Kommst du nun Jesu vom Himmel herunter" BWV 650, a gorgeous presentation of this virtuosic work.
The organ is a fine instrument and sounds as a genuine Baroque organ.



Tartini, Giuseppe.(1692-1770) The Complete Violin Concertos. CD 20-29.

New acquisition. (2017) First listen: 18-20-4-2018 Label: Dynamic. CD 20-29 from 29. Recording dates: 2004/2005/2006/2007/2008.2009/2010...