Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Strauss, Johann II. (1825-1899) The Complete Orchestral Edition. CD 51 & 52

New acquisition.
Purchase date: I do not remember.
First listen: 21-2-2018.
Label: Naxos.
CD 51 & 52 from 52.
Recording dates: April 1990, April 1996
Venue: Concert Hall of the Slovak Radio, Bratislava
Engineer: Gejza Toperczer, Hubert Geschwanter.
Time: 56:28 & 71:39.

Works on both CD'S:
Too many to name.

Performed by:

CD 51:
Slovak Radio SO, Jerome Cohen.
Slovak Philharmonic Choir.

CD 52:
Slovak Radio SO, Johannes Wildner & Gerhard Track.

I can be very brief about the last two CD'S, not my cup of tea. Most of the orchestral works are accompanied by choir or soloists. In itself okay, but I simply cannot stomach it. The recordings and performances are decent, not in any way exceptional. 
But for now I am ready with this mega box and it will rest for a while in my collection, before I get it out again for re-listening.


Strauss, Johann II. (1825-1899) The Complete Orchestral Edition. CD 49 & 50

New acquisition.
Purchase date: I do not remember.
First listen: 20-2-2018.
Label: Naxos.
CD 49 & 50 from 52.
Recording dates: February 1993 & june 1990, May & December 1994,
Venue: House of Arts, Košice, Poland, and Concert Hall of the Slovak Radio.
Engineer: Gejza Toperczer, Hubert Geschwanter.
Time: 56:28 & 71:39.

Works on both CD'S:
Too many to name.

Performed by:

Slovak State PO Košice, Alfred Walter. CD 49.
Slovak Radio SO,  Christian Pollack. CD 50.

On CD 50: 
Marilyn Hill Smith, Soprano.

Cd 49 filled with Overtures is a pleasure throughout. Alfred Walter makes a feast out of it, and there is many a fine melody floating by. The CD ends with the Cinderella Quadrille, that makes your heart leap with joy. CD 50 is a dud for me I am afraid. Smith features a vibrato that starts in Prague and ends in Timboektoe. Fine coloratura sopranos are rare in this world, and I wish back the times as with Erika Koth to name one. Anyways she ruins all the works on this CD, and that makes it a non starter.
The performances and recordings are decent.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Bach, Johann Sebastian.(1685-1750) The Complete Organ Works. CD III. The Foccroulle edition.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: 2017.
First listen: 19-2-2018.
Label: Ricercar.
Recording dates: May 1996.
Venue: Blasii Kirche in Zella Mehlis & The Martini Church in Groningen, The Netherlands.
Engineer: Jerome Lejeune.
Time: 70:55.

Works on this CD:
BWV: 561/743/571/758/569/947/770/566/1128.
and Chorales from the Ruddorf collection.

Instruments used:
Johann Caspar Rommel organ, 1778-1779.
Restored 1988-1990 by Schuke Potsdam.
Pitch: a'=488 HZ , 15 degrees, after Georg Andreas Sorge.
Wind pressure: 70 mm Ws.

Arp Schnitger organ, 1692.
Pitch: a'=465Hz.
Temperature: Variant of Neihardt.

An absolute gem of a disc. The Rommel organ sounds fantastic, Foccroulle's playing is sublime and without faults. I am all admiration.
The last item on this disc is recorded in the Martini church in Groningen. A difficult acoustic to record, and in this instant the lower registers get somewhat blurred.
I have written in previous complete recordings of Bach's organ music in detail, so I will suffice to say that if interested in this particular recording let me know, and I will fill you in in as many details as possible. Otherwise rummage my database in this blog, you will find a lot of reviews.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Strauss, Johann II. (1825-1899) The Complete Orchestral Edition. CD 47 & 48.

New acquisition.
Purchase date: I do not remember.
First listen: 17-2-2018.
Label: Naxos.
CD 47 & 48 from 52.
Recording dates: February 1994 & September 1989/February 1993.
Venue: House of Arts, Košice, Poland, and Concert Hall of the Slovak Radio.
Engineer: Gejza Toperczer, Hubert Geschwanter, & Otto Nopp.
Time: 66:25 & 66:58.
Works on both CD'S:
Too many to name.

Performed by:
Slovak Radio SO,  Johannes Wildner, CD 47.
Slovak State PO Košice, Alfred Walter. CD 48.

Decent recordings and performances, with enough musical surprises to wet the appetite.
Starting with disc 47 in which Wildner gets quite good performances from his orchestra in more than acceptable sound. The "Entrance March from the Gypsy Baron" gets a decent drive and sounds really joyful and full of spirit. Followed by "Farewell to America" a most inspired piece. America was very much to the liking of Strauss. The "Romance from Faust" has a rather fine contribution from the trumpet soloist, who by the way is not name. A spirited March called "Tsar Alexander Homage" is well put together, and has some Russian folklore in it. Quite impressive. And of course I loved the Ballet music from "Indigo and the Forty Thieves". There is some cleverly written magic in it. Strauss was able to orchestrate on a high level, which this piece proves abundantly. The detailing is amazing. I bet not many people expect this from Johann Strauss, but it's there nevertheless. The "Coliseum Waltzes" are in many ways different from the normal waltzes you hear from Strauss, there is more of an attempt to fill it with attractive detailing. Like them very much. "Sounds from Boston" Waltzes is quite a creative exercise too, for it is brimful with so many brilliant ideas that it overflows the bucket several times. America most certainly inspired him to great heights.
Disc 48 is full of Overtures and starts with "Comedy Overture", which is a beautiful piece, well performed and reasonably recorded. Walter is in good form, and gets an incredible swung out of the Slovak State PO. Rich in details which are brought to the fore through all the ingenuity which Strauss possesses.  Everyone of these Overtures is a real gem, well worth exploring. They are orchestral masterpieces, just listen how incredibly beautiful the overture "Indigo and the Forty thieves" starts. Heart wrenching melodies, and so well written.  "Thousand and one Nights" is almost ballet music, or at least would be very well suited to it, many moments for a Pas de deux aplenty. And what joy emits from The "Carnival in Rome", really well portrayed. And who could forget the haunting melodies of the overture "Der Fledermaus"? Me not, that's for sure. There is excessive yearning towards a heavenly realm. Truly it shows how masterly Strauss mastered all the obstacles in the way of a composer, and has risen triumphantly. And who would not succumb to the lures of "Cagliostro in Vienna"  The many solistic contributions are awesome. It's a piece that always has me in raptures.  "Blind man's bluff" is also a lot of fun with some fine string writing in it, and a very convincing musical argument. Followed by the majestic overture "The Queen's Lace Handkerchief" a masterwork par excellance!  So full of optimistic thoughts, powerfully portrayed.
The disc with overtures is surely of of the best from this huge box, but then I enjoy Strauss so much. A desert Island disc. And if I was forced I would take all the ballet music and Strauss's oeuvre with me. That's all I need really.



Reussner, Esaias. (1639-1679) Erfreuliche Lauten lust. 1697) CD 1& 2. (Second rerun)

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2018.
First listen: 25/26-1-2018.
Second listen: 17-2-2018.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 1&2
Recording date: October 2016.
Venue: Miramar Chapel near Valls, Catalonia, Spain.
Engineer: Germa Rull.
Time: 60:48 & 61:04

Works on CD 1.
Suites in G minor/C/B minor/B flat/F minor.
Works on CD 2.
Suites in C minor/E flat/E minor/A flat/G minor.

Performed by: 

William Waters.
Instrument:
11 course Lute by Cesar Arias made in 2015 after an instrument by Hans Frei (Bologna circa 1540)

See first review dates for more info.
Second time around these recording are getting better and better.
For me they are reference performances, and State of the Art recordings.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Dresden Treasure, Anonymous-Six Concerti for Flauto, violino,violoncello,(Viola da Spalla),and BC.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: February 2018.
First listen: 16-2-2018.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: August 2012 & March 2015.
Venue: Sendesaal Radio Bremen, Germany.
Engineer: Klaus Schumann.
Time: 59:38.

Works on this CD.
See heading.
Some additional info.

Aus dem Schranck II der Sächsisches Landesbibliothek, Staats und Universitätsbibliothek , Dresden.
Concerto No. 5 in a/No 3 in D/No. 1 in g/No. 2 in G/No. 7 in D/No. 6 in D.

Performed by:
Les Amis de Philippe, Ludger Remy.

I also have the first volume in this series so I knew what to expect, but it exceeded even my expectations. The music "anonymous" is of great quality, and so well played with a convincing interpretation behind it, that I was well pleased with the total result, because you also get a State of the Art recording. Every one of the soloists is as convincing as the whole body of musicians.This ensemble exudes confidence, with beautifully applied contrasts and dynamics. The sheer control they have over the textures even at the quiet dynamics is amazing.  Confiding and unerringly paced is a fitting epitaph for all concerti on this disc, unfailingly imaginative. Its simply soulful.  There is plenty of colour and vitality and imagination. 
Recommended.



Gilse van, Jan. (1881-1944) Piano concerto and Variations for orchestra.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: February 2018.
First listen: 16-2-2018.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: May 2014.
Venue: Muziekcentrum Enschede,  The Netherlands.
Engineer: Holger Urbach.
Time: 63:26.

Works on this CD.
Piano Concerto "Drei Tanzskizzen".
Variations on a Saint Nicholas Song.

Performed by:
Netherlands SO, David Porcelijn.
Oliver Triendl, Piano.
Carla Leurs, Violin solo.
Rene Geesing, Cello solo.

I am a keen admirer of Jan van Gilse his music, a Dutch composer almost forgotten, if it was not for the label CPO to record his music. And they do on a regular basis, for Van Gilse is one of the best Holland brought forth. He has is own musical language, a mix of traditional and modernity but never in a distasteful way. His scoring is sublime at all times, and his expression clear and articulate. His piano concerto is to my ears a masterwork. It holds three very different movements and is a parody on diverse musical styles, like the second movement a "Hommage to Johann Strauss," very cleverly done, and the third movement "Quasi Jazz", not very much liked in his time, but I think it's brilliant and very well written. I guess people were not ready for this kind of music. The Netherlands SO, are expertly drilled by Porcelijn a man of all music, for they perform on top level. Very tight orchestral playing and passionate ferocity, that never gets ugly.
The Variations is music I am familiar with, and I think it's done in great taste, but apart from that, I did not warm that much to it.
The recording is State of the Art, as is the performance.


Strauss, Johann II. (1825-1899) The Complete Orchestral Edition. CD 51 & 52

New acquisition. Purchase date: I do not remember. First listen: 21-2-2018. Label: Naxos. CD 51 & 52 from 52. Recording dates: Apri...