Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Bach. J.S Cello Suites complete.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
CD 51&52.
Recording date: April-May 1979.
Recording venue: Kirche Eching, Bavaria, Germany.
Recording engineer: Dieter Thomsen.
Running time: CD1=55:04. CD 2=68:53.
Classical relevance: If you like bare boned Bach, this is a recording to consider.

Works performed:
Cello Suites No. 1-6.

Performed by:
Anner Bijlsma, Cello.

I find myself listening and just mildly interested, and I wonder how come? It sounds for me almost matter of fact playing, playing fastly over so many highlights, with not much depth to the proceedings, as if these are mere study exercises. Now Anner Bijlsma is a good cellist and he recorded these works a few times, and that must have been for a reason I gather. I have heard two versions of him, but non can touch Paul Fournier on his DG recording, a reference recording for me, even after all those years in which I saw and heard many interpretations coming by.
Anner Bijlsma leaves me orphaned and totally alone in the emotional department. Now I do not need tears and passion in extremis, but I would have liked a bit more warmth and thought. For me it is uninvolved Bach. A way to play his music, but to my ears not a congenial one. I will return to his interpretation but with totally altered expectations. But then there is no arguing about personal taste, is there? The tempi are all okay with me as is the recorded sound.

Bach, J.S. Italian Concerto, Toccatas, Fugues, Fantasias 2 Suites and a Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
CD 49&50.
Originally released in 1978
Recording dates: December 1976/July 1977/April 1979.
Recording venue: Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany.
Recording engineers: Dieter Thomson & Teije van Geest.
Running time: CD 1=51:12. CD 2=54:17.
Classical relevance: Well worth investigating, but not essential.

Works performed:
Italian Concerto in F major, BWV 971.
Toccata in D major, BWV 912; in D minor, BWV 913.
Fugue in A minor, BWV 944.
Fantasia in C minor, BWV 906.
Suite in E flat major, after Cello suite No. 4, BWV 1010.
Suite in C minor, after Lute Suite in G minor, BWV 995.
Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in D minor, BWV 903.

Performed by:
Gustav Leonhardt.
Christian Zell, Hamburg (1728)

With Leonhardt I find these days that not everything that comes from his hands is Sacrosanct. Sometimes his measured and philosophic stance bores me beyond endurance, although I always accept his mastery in Bach. I almost feel guilty to criticize him, but then I comfort myself that it is only my view, which is of little consequence. To name but a few movements that gave me a feeling of that it felt not right. For instance: the first movement of BWV 971, extremely slow, and deliberate, thought he was missing the point here entirely, almost dead on the spot, but the Fuga in the Toccata in D major, BWV 912 is ravishing, as is the first movement of BWV in D minor, which is well balanced with a good measure.  But all to often he lingers to long on a phrase, or almost comes to a standstill, his philosophical pondering brings the music to a standstill more as I would like to encounter. There is enough to enjoy, but I get more critical these days if it comes to expression.  A hit and miss in these works throughout both CD'S. I do not want my attention to wander, but this is what is happening. The recorded sound is good.

Janitsch, Johann Gottlieb. (1708-1763) Sonata da Chiesa e da Camera. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 24-7-2016.
Second listen: 23-8-2016.
Label: CPO.
Originally released in 2014.
Recording dates: December 2010.
Recording venue: Deutschlandfunk Kammermusiksaal Köln, Germany.
Recording engineer: Hans Martin Renz.
Running time: 73:03.
Classical relevance: A must have disc, no doubt about it.

Works performed:
In F major, for Oboe, 2 Violins & bc.
In E flat major, for Oboe, Violin & bc.
In F major, for Oboe, Violin, Viola & bc.
In D major for Viola and Harpsichord.
In D minor for 2 Violins & bc.
In G minor for Oboe, Violin & bc.

Performed by:
Epoca Barocca on authentic instruments.

Truly a gem which I missed somehow when it was originally released. This music is truly of a high level. A composer I saw in the Austrian baroque box done by Letzbor, but I forgot which work he recorded. Anyway encountering such a fine performance of these sonatas is a treat. For it is a fact that Epoca Barocca is one of the best ensembles from Germany, and I have certainly a dozen or more recordings from them. Such as the music is presented on this disc I never heard it before, a novelty so to say. He was know as a fine contrapuntalist, and as a consequence his String Quartets were praised for this. Very little is know about his life, and we only know of his existence through the Berlin music publicist Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg who in 1754 wrote a few facts down about him. The booklet is a paragon of understandability. Not often we get that from CPO. Almost always dry exercises which puts my attention quickly down the drain. Not so with this disc.
He was a well respected composer, and why this is you will clearly hear in the Sonatas da Chiesa e da Camera. All concertos come with a different instrumentation. He gets that way the maximum of effect, and it keeps you firmly at attention. Such beautiful melodies, and perfect performances. A lucid and detailed recording it is. Recommended.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Some things that went in my order list..

Due to the fact that I have listened to Alexander Ernst Fesca, and liking it enormously, I was alerted to his father Friedrich Fesca, also a well respected composer of his time. I had some works by him, the Symphonies No. 2 & 3, but not the first, so I ordered that with some addition.

 As a compliment to Symphonies 2 and 3, No. 1

Three cd's for a very low price, and the samples sounded very good!

More as a curiosity I ordered these too, after all the Linos Ensemble is a top ensemble.

Fesca, Alexander Ernst. (1820-1849) Piano trios No. 2 & 5. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 23-7-2016.
Second rerun: 22-8-2016.
Originally released in 2014.
Label: CPO
Recording dates: June 2012.
Recording venue: Kammermusikstudio SWR Stuttgart, Germany.
Recording engineer: Friedemann Trumpp.
Running time: 64:54.
Classical relevance: A worthwhile addition to your collection.

Works performed:
Piano Trio No. 2, opus 12 in E minor& No. 5, opus 46 in B minor.

Performed by:
Trio Paian.

And yes, another composer that I knew by name, but whose music was unheard by me, which today is rectified by this recording.
Anyways Fesca was an unlucky fellow, he died at the age of 29 succumbed to tuberculosis, and therefore never fully developed  his talent, be it that these piano trios make you hear the ultimate promise of what might have become a fine composer. His father before him was a well known and respected composer, Friedrich Ernst Fesca (1789-1826) who died also young of the same disease.
He was of course a contemporary of Mendelssohn, Schumann and Brahmsian composers alive then. This old sod of a Robert Schumann thought that it was quite normal to burn down a composer who was still struggling to make his way into musical society by writing a very silly and stupid piece in this flimsy excuse of a magazine called "Neue zeitschrift für Musik". Without ever seeing the score, he said that it where all butterfly melodies for the ladies, which is all very pleasing but only for a little while. Butterfly nature indeed, and what the deuce is wrong with that? Schumann was not able to write butterflies in his music! Music for the mediocre is another horse on which Schumann rides prominently in this piece, as if he is the definition of what is mediocre and what not?!  Well he goes on in that vein for some time, but he must have been in a very somber mood, for he was dead wrong in his assessment, me saying this of course means that I am mediocre. Well let it be that then, better as to miss these wonderful piano trios. For a 20 year old composer these are near perfect in a romantic context.
So what to expect...O, dear yes, an abundance of melodies, tumbling over each other like a whole bunch of butterflies, and in pretty colours mind, just to please the ladies.....and this guy. Deeply romantic, passionate as is befitting of his time, and well written to boot. Period!
It's overflowing with a myriad of creatively written details, just one surprise after another, and cleverly done, mind you. So,.... was this temporarily demented reviewer wrong in his amateurish review? Of course he was! It would be, like me writing a review about a new model from Porsche, without ever driven in it, and damn it to kingdom come. 
This music will please the mediocre and the not so mediocre, in fact it will move many a heart. And rightly so, Fesca deserves to be heard and appreciated, I know I do.
The performance and sound are top notch. Yes I recommend it!

Fux, Johann Joseph. (1660-1741) Concentus musico instrumentalis. Baroque Chamber music at the Viennese Court. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2015.
First listen: 28-7-2016.
Second listen: 22-8-2016.
Label: Oehms.
Original release date: 2006.
Recording dates: May 2004.
Recording venue: WAR Studio Wien, Austria.
Recording engineers: Elisabeth & Wolfgang Reithofer.
Running time: 60:20.
Classical relevance: A fine addition to the Fux catalogue in my collection.

Works performed:
Overture à 4 from Concentus MI, No VI
Overture à 4 from Concentus MI, No. III.
Canzon à 3.
Parthia trio.
Partita à 3.
Synfonia à 3.

Works performed by:
Clemencic Consort, Rene Clemencic, on authentic instruments.

Certainly a surprise to see this ensemble on Oehms. A well known name from my past. I have quite a few CD'S in my collection in which this ensemble plays a role.  Fux is always a welcome guest in my house, so I was quite curious after this recording. It is well recorded to start with, and the music is up to expectations. It is warm and committed playing, a bit stiff in the loins, and a little playfulness would not be amiss, but on the whole this is a fine addition to my collection. Fux music is always inventive and never boring and the Clemencic Consort makes sure that attention does not wander. Most of the concerti on this disc I had not heard before, but I am glad I finally did. All of the instrumentalists are soloists and this you will hear. The colour and balance plus the close attention to felicitous details is to be applauded. A very good buy I would say, I only paid 2,99€ for this disc, so a no brainer.

Herzogenberg, Heinrich von. (1843-1900) Chamber music. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 24-7-2016.
Second listen: 22-8-2016.
Label: CPO.
First released in 2008.
Recording dates: January 2005.
Recording venue: Kammermusikstudio SWR Stuttgart, Germany.
Recording engineer: Burkhard Pitzer-Landeck.
Running time: 51:16.
Classical relevance: As being an Herzogen admirer essential, and for those that like good chamber music also a treat.

Works performed:
Quintet, opus 43 for Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, and piano.
Trio opus 61 for Oboe, Horn and piano.

Performed by:
Orsolino Quintett.
Oliver Triendl, Piano.

Slowly but surely I get all chamber music, and orchestral music together from this talented genius. I refrain from buying vocal works, or choir compositions, of which he wrote quite a bit.
On this CD a Quintett and Trio; works with a high quality level, happy works, when increasing health brought back the enjoyment in composing. This you can hear in the last movement of the Quintett, such a jubilant confirmation of life, easily my favourite movement. The giocoso designates the character, it's full of joy and brilliant writing. So many details in the work that delight and surprise. I think one of his best compositions.
The Trio opus 61 goes on in the same vein, with an almost pastoral first movement and a clear statement towards the intent of the work. As in opus 43 there is a lot of superb writing for all instruments, especially in this first movement, the way Oboe and Horn plus piano communicate with each other, almost a chattering session on a warm sunny afternoon in the midst of summer with butterflies darting through the garden and fighting for a place on the flowers. The happy ride continues until the end. Fine sound, and an perfect performance.