Monday, September 25, 2017

Baroque Bass Cantatas from the Mügeln Archive.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 25-9-2017.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: December 2010.
Venue: Gemeindesaal der Ev-Luth Trinitatiskirchgemeinde Chemnitz-Hilbersdorf, in collaboration with Mitteldeutschen Barockmusik in Sachsen-Anhalt und Thüringen, Germany.
Sound engineer: Eckhard Glauche.
Total time: 74:15.

Composers and works on this CD:

*Johann Theodor Roemhildt. (1684-1756)
Nichts soll mich von Jesu Scheiden.
*Georg Philipp Telemann. (1681-1767)
Spricht treuer Himmel: Ja!.
Der Herr ist König.
*Christian Wolff. (1705-1773)
Ihr Sorgen laßet mich zufrieden.
Meinens bleibens ist nicht hier.
*Liebhold (died around 1730)
Mein gantzes Wißen soll Jesus Seÿn.
Des Menschen Sohn ist kommen.

Performed by:
Klaus Mertens, Bass.
Accademia Daniel, Shalev Ad-El.

I am not really into cantatas for solo voice and orchestra, but for Klaus Mertens I make an exception. After so many years of singing his voice is still as fresh as the first time I heard him singing in Brockes Passion on the label Hungaroton. That surely must count as a extraordinary fact that he is still going strong.
Well this CD is highly recommendable for hearing his art, well suited to all the composers on this CD. His diction is impeccable. The way he colours the text and brings out the appropriate expression is remarkably clean of mannerisms or an excess of drama. And that counts in my book!
There are three composers I never heard of, to know: Roemhildt, Wolff, Liebhold. The quality of their works are equal to Telemann in expression and content. A very enjoyable journey through lesser known cantatas from the 17th and 18th century.
Highly recommendable.

Alep Eternelle. Syrian Byzantine Chant. ( Sacred melkite chants) Second rerun.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: August 2017.
First listen: 21-8-2017.
Second listen: 25-9-2017.
Label: Psalmus.
Recording dates: 2007-2010.
Venue: ?
Sound engineer: ?
Total time: 65:41.

Works on  this CD:
See heading.

Performed by:
Maximos Fahmé, Cantor.
Les Solistes de la Musique Byzantine, Frédéric Tavernier Vellas.

I already have two other CD'S from the same group, so the third one released this year was for me a absolute must. Vellas and his fellow singers, belong to the very best there is. They are so immersed in this music, in that I can safely say that they enter into the very heart of this music. Maximos Fahmé is also one of the best cantors I ever heard in my life. So this is an essential purchase for all that cherish this kind of music, which I do. The music quickly puts you in a trance, and engulfs you quite readily and in stealth mode. For me this music is bread and butter, thus it enters my soul quickly. Ther performers sing and chant in a mesmerizing way. The meditative pace and sometimes darkening light of a prayer explains the very essence of this choir and music. They are highlighting every little nuance, as if it are all prayers that have traveled throughout the world for centuries, which of course it did. The music's directness and sincerity sets it really apart from all the other recordings I ever heard.
The recording is superb. On another note however I am greatly disappointed about the lack of info. No booklet to explain the music and its origins. No names of the singers, recording dates, place of recording, just two glamour pictures, and that's all.  It is a full price disc so you might expect  a good booklet, but no. I have send them a email on their English site, but it was bounced, and my French is nil, so no way to reach them. On their site they praise themselves on the info they provide with their CD'S but in this case they failed majorly. That's a bummer!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

L'Orgue Classique Français 1650-1800. 150 ans de musique du Grand Siècle à la Révolution Française.CD 2.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: 2016.
First listen: 20-9-2017.
Label: Ligia.
CD 2 from 10.
Recording dates: 2007/2000
Venues: See below instruments used.
Recording and remastering: Eric Baratin. (2015)
Total time: 80:22.

Composers and works on this disc:

Francois Couperin.
Messe a l'usage ordinaire des Paroisses pour les Festes  Solennelles., 1690.
Reconstitution d'un office solennel  pour la fête de saint Louis , Roi de France, Graduale Parisiense 1687. 

Gilles Jullien.
Cromorne en taille,  Premier Livre d'orgue.1690.

Louis Marchand.
Grand dialogue, Troisième Livre d'Orgue, 1696.

Instruments used:
Orgue Levasseur  (1640) de La Chapelle Saint Louis du Prytanée Militaire de la Flèche.
a=392 Hz, at 16 C.
Unequal temperament. 

Jean André Silbermann-1750 de Eglise Saint Maurice de Soultz.

Works performed by:

Olivier Vernet, Organs.
Ensemble Jacques Moderne, Jean-Yves Hameline,

Again a delightful 80 minutes of music, well performed and excellently recorded, like the first disc of this set. The vocal part is well sung, with great feeling. Vernet is his usual self, perfect.
The Levasseur organ sounds beautifully, as the Silbermann. The first organ I never heard before, and for me this is an fantastic instrument. Well balanced with a full round sound.
I have nothing more to say about this recording, all is simply well. If you like French organ music from this period don't hold back in acquiring this set.

Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) Concerto Grosso, opus 1, No. 7-11. (CD 14)

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 20-9-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 14 of 21.
Recording dates: June 2013 & January 2014.
Venue: Westvestkerk, Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Peter Arts.
Total time: 67:32.
Reference set.

Works on this CD:
See heading.

Performed by:
Ensemble Capricciosi, Igor Ruhadze.
Performed on authentic instruments.

The second disc with concertos 7-11 from opus 1. All perfect, all possible praise awarded.
Sound is State of the Art. All the previous volumes from this set are full with my appreciation, there is nothing more to add, as a firm advice to purchase the set.

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 3.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 20-9-2017.
Label: La Dolce Volta.
CD 3 from 15.
Recording year: 1991.
Venue: Fère en Tardenois, France.
Sound engineers: Igor Kirkwood and Andre Isoir.
Total time: 65:47.

Works on this disc:


Performed by:
Andre Isoir.


Georg Westenfelder Organ (1990)

Flexibility of phrasing, perfect clarity of touch and imaginative registration unquestionably contributes to the success of this complete set. This is how his playing is described and I concur in this. CD 3 is a good example of Isoir's art. I enjoy his Bach enormously, for he always pushes the right buttons if it comes to colourful expression, excellent fingerwork, and also being adept in pedal handling, and always well balanced in his personal input. This said, I have to say that although I like this modern organ very much, I rather have the Grenzing organ featuring on CD 1 & 2, and further on on other discs in this box.
For one I could clearly hear it was newly build instrument, for it sounds clean and at times clinical. It does not draw you into the music but keeps you firmly at the surface. The result is less colour and involvement. At times my mind started wandering. A pity I think that he decided to play on this admittingly famous organ, thus I have to force my ears a bit to keep track of the proceedings and not getting occasionally bored.
I take issue however with the breakneck speed of BWV 734, that was quite unnecessary and ugly to boot.
The recording is excellent.

Marenzio, Luca. (c.1555-1599) Nono Libro de Madrigali. CD 5. (L'Arte del Madrigale)

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2016.
First listen: 20-9-2017.
Label: Glossa.
CD 5 from 9.
Recording dates: April 1999.
Venue: Chiesa della BV Maria del Monte Carmelo al colletto , Roletto, Italy.
Sound engineer: Davide Ficco.
Total time: 62:40.

Works on this CD:
See heading.

Performed by:
La Venexiana, Claudio Cavina.

Marenzio is a versatile composer. His music is passionate, vigorous in expression,  insistent with a boisterous dynamic to it. The music very closely follows the words in a rhythmical tempo. The performances catch your ear quite quickly and draws you in this whirlwind of emotions, so perfectly performed. The flair with which these singers utter the thoughts and feelings of Marenzio captures the very spirit of its meaning.  This combination of a poignant selection of music allied to crisp, exciting performance makes all the difference whether you enjoy this or not. Well in this case this disc is an outstanding success. And well recorded too! 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 2.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 19-9-2017.
Label: La Dolce Volta.
CD 2 from 15.
Recording year: 1990.
Venue: The church in Saint Cyprien en Perigord, France.
Sound engineers: Igor Kirkwood and Andre Isoir.
Total time: 63:44

Works on this disc:


Performed by:
Andre Isoir.


Gerhard Grenzing, 17th century-1982.

I was so impressed what I heard on the first CD that I decided to pop in another one. The same organ, and Isoir playing like a God. The recording is again State of the Art, and I have no complaints whatever about the interpretation. He sits well with his thoughts between Weinberger and Vernet and possibly Foccroulle.  He has a fiery but fluent technique so unlike anyone I heard before. Great integrity and and delicacy which is utterly captivating. He is very stable in what he does, and keeps the music clear as a bell, spatial, and defines his purpose rather well. You simply get the full measure of Andre Isoir and his famous luminous tone. Spirit and spontaneity in abundance. I like every single composition on this disc, and where it not for lack of time I would have started the third and fourth disc today. But that is for later alas.

Baroque Bass Cantatas from the Mügeln Archive.

New acquisition. Date of purchase: September 2017. First listen: 25-9-2017. Label: CPO. Recording dates: December 2010. Venue: Gemeinde...