Friday, October 20, 2017

The Leiden Choirbooks Volume III. (De Leidse Koorboeken) Second rerun.

A second rerun of Volume III. The Leiden Choirbooks. Disc 1 & 2.
As lovely as with the first hearing. You might read the first review I wrote on 11-8-2017.

Composers on both discs:
Jacobus Clemens non Papa.
Pierre Moulu.
Johannes Lupi.
Jheronimus Vinders.
Cornelis Canis.
Josquin des Prez.
Anonymous.


Röntgen, Julius. (1855-1932) Works for Violin & Piano. Volume I.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 19-10-2017.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: March 2011.
Venue: Deutschlandfunk Kammermusiksaal, Germany.
Sound engineer: Christoph Rieseberg.
Total time: 74:24.

Works on this disc:
Sonata opus 40 in E major.
Phantasy opus 24.
Sonata Trologica. (1915)
Seven Concert Pieces opus 89-Suite.

Performed by:
Christoph Schickedanz, Violin.
Ernst Breidenbach, Piano.

This CD reminds me again what a fine composer Röntgen was. We tend to ignore him in the Netherlands, as we do with all other composers born or working in the past. We do not have pride in them, apart from a very small group of music lovers. Why this is I have no idea.
Anyways, I am a huge fan of Röntgen's art, and try to get as much of his music as I can. The works for Violin and piano is a first volume, but it is hard to believe they will follow that up, since the recording is from 2011, although it was released in 2015. And that would be a pity, for most of his work was never published let alone recorded. He is almost treated in a casual way, as if he was never friends with Brahms, Grieg, to name a few, both of them admiring his music. O, well, I guess we must be glad that CPO already recorded a lot of his works. Judging the quality of the Chamber music I would love them to pursue that course too, for the music is amazingly creative and satisfying to the ear.
Every single work on this disc is surprisingly and wonderfully shaped into music of rare beauty. There is a seriousness in expression, and fluidity in rendering strings of emotions that gets to your heart quick and effectively.  But there is also a leaner and lighter aspect in this music, and it's also worth pointing out the many influences of folk music, that makes the opus 89 so effective.
It has also something of an elegant evening drawing room intellectualism, which is hugely appealing, especially in the opus 40, and opus 24. Röntgen brings up a fountain of fresh insights to the Sonata Trilogica, and it seems as it will never run dry! It is exuberant and shows a great sense  of fantasy. And I cannot fault the skill on display in performing this music, lovingly oiled artistic synergy is what you get. Needless to say I am very happy with this music and performance. It's time for Volume II.
A fine recording.


Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 15.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 19-10-2017.
Label: La Dolce Volta.
CD 15 from 15.
Recording year:  1988-1990.
Venue: Fère en Tardenois, France, & Weingarten, Germany.
Sound engineers: André Isoir and Georges Kisselhof.
Total time: 75:18.

Works on this disc:
The Leipzig Chorales (part II) arranged in the order of the Liturgical year.
Choralbearbeitungen, BWV 651/652/655/667/662-664/654/657/665/666/658/668.
Ricercare a 6 from The Musical offering.

Performed by:
André Isoir.

Instruments:

Georg Westenfelder, 1990.
Joseph Gabler 1750.

The last disc is well recorded and the performances are perfect again. CD 14 did not give me much hope in expecting better sonics and performance, but I am happy to say it's all good. Somehow Isoir delivered as usual, and disc 14 is simply the odd one out. But all in all I have enjoyed the ride, and discovered many things in Bach's music which were new to me. Another interpretation gives a fresh start in reevaluating the music as such, and in this Isoir gave me insightful suggestions in terms of dynamics, speed and colour. Also his easy communicative manner, and his direct approach opened up possibilities in Bach's organ music unheard by me. And that's the greatest compliment I can give to this master on the instrument. A wise acquisition.
Sound is really good.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

De Leidse Koorboeken. (The Leiden Choirbooks) Volume II. CD 1 & 2. Second rerun.

For the second time in quite a short period I will play the six volumes again. Since I got used to the voices of this choir, my impression deepens, and appreciation of this project more on the foreground. The second volume is in all respect a more perfected choir culture, in which I detect more coherence in all voices and as an ensemble.
My previous reviews you can read if so inclined. CD 1 was reviewed on 11-5-2017, CD 2 on 16-5-2017.


Pejačević, Dora.(1885-1923) The Complete Piano Works. CD 1.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 17-10-2017.
Label: CPO
CD 1 of two.
Recording dates: June/July 2014.
Venue: SWR Stuttgart Kammermusikstudio, Germany.
Sound engineer: Burkhard Pfitzner-Landeck.
Total time CD 1: 79:06.

Works on this CD:
Blumenleben, opus 19.
Sonate opus 57.
Sechs fantasiestücke opus 17.
Blütenwirbel opus 45.
Zwei Nocturnes opus 50.
Vier Klavierstücke opus 32a. (Only three of them survived)
Impromptu opus 32b.
Valse de concert opus 21.
Erinnerung opus 24.

Performed by:
Nataša Veljković, piano.

This female composer in on top of my list. I have a great admiration for her music and as a person. Intelligent, well read, with a sharp mind, and as she said herself in a letter to a friend, "a little devil inside of me". All what is recorded of her on CPO I bought, and yes even the vocal pieces, which is something never done before in my collection, certainly not from this time. But her compositions are so unique, and appealing to the heart as well as to the mind, that is is quite impossible to ignore her uniqueness in all she does. That Nataša Veljković is able to bring this all out  is remarkable and tells me something of her deep involvement into the phenomenon Dora Pejačević was. The magic of the music and performance works on me, I am totally bowled over by the beauty of the music and it's intrinsic message. The impression of this interpretation is not one of hurry but neither of dragging along, rather a well paced and emotional and passionate account of the feelings felt by the composer. The pictorial nicknames are very telling in this respect. There are no insurmountable technical challenges, but the music is hugely appealing to all senses. It is an impression that keeps a hold on you when listening. You tumble quite quickly into the emotional world of Dora Pejačević, and it does not let you go. Even long after listening to this music it will linger in your mind for a long time. Nataša Veljković draws out all melodies to good effect with some richly coloured and quiet playing, and thus every note has a filigree that is clearly audible. She lets the music breathe with a compelling effect. Superb articulation too!  There is an inner power in this interpretation and an impressive clarity. What a treat and honour to be able to listen to this music.
I am trying to find the book that Dr Koraljka Kos wrote about Dora, "Das Leben und Werk" Zagreb 1986, but until now that was unsuccessful.  Maybe one of my readers might help out?
Anyway this is music to have and to hold. Recording is superb.


Hoffmeister, Franz Anton. (1754-1812. Symphonies.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 17-10-2017.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: August 2012.
Venue: Auditorio RSI, Lugano, Switzerland.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Müller.
Total time: 53:58.

Works on this disc:

Overture from the opera, "Der Königssohn aus Ithaka".
Symphony in C major & D major.

Performed by:
Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Howard Griffiths.

Not to long ago I bought a disc with 2 viola concertos and 12 pieces for solo viola by the same composer. I was quite impressed by the music, so on the basis of that CD I bought the present one, and I was not disappointed. We get a well drilled orchestra led by Howard Griffiths, a very versatile conductor, who makes of almost every recording a success. I would be hard pressed to find one that does not fulfill these words I am sure. Griffiths navigates through the symphonies with care and patience, achieving a real sense of focus. You do not often find this supernal transparency in music offered by this orchestra. The expressive charge is invigorating, and the profundity of Hoffmeister's creativity does not know an end either. Highly original in the shaping of his melodies, bubbling along nicely, with speedy finales. He is a child of his times and fits in quality and quantity. Great orchestral detail too, especially in the communicative overture, inspirational and invigorating, judiciously prepared it seems. Combustible spontaneity!
Great sound.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 14.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 17-10-2017.
Label: La Dolce Volta.
CD 14 from 15.
Recording year: 1990.
Venue: Fère en Tardenois, France, & Weingarten, Germany.
Sound engineers: André Isoir and Georges Kisselhof.
Total time: 66:17.

Works on this disc:
Third part of the Clavier Übung, Choralbearbeitungen, BWV 687-689.
Duet No. 1-4. BWV 802-805.
Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her, BWV 769, Canonic variations.
Fugue St Anne in E flat major, BWV 552b.
The Leipzig Chorales (part I) arranged in the order of the Liturgical year.
(BWV 659-661, 653a, 656.

Performed by:
André Isoir.

Instruments:

Georg Westenfelder, 1990.
Joseph Gabler 1750.

Coming near the end of this 15 CD box with Bach's organ works, I get a pretty clear idea of what I really want if it comes to performing style and the use of instruments. Isoir did almost all good, but he can lapse into sloppy playing, too much drive, and downright uninterested interpretations. Almost all recordings are very good, but some of them are not, and when sound and performance is combined in less than 70 minutes of laboured work then something is amiss. CD 14 is an good example when things go wrong with Isoir. Now the Westenfelder organs are not on my lists of favourite instruments, but when the recorded sound is fuzzy and unfocused, and the interpretation is giving a very unsatisfying result, my reaction was on the brink of stopping the CD altogether. As to the excessive drive just sample the Duet No. 4 in A minor, almost maniacal. Plus the bombast of this organ, and the aggressive approach of Isoir, enough to give it a cold shoulder. Things get better in the Leipzig Chorales, sound and performance wise, but I was not happy with the result overall, and perceive this CD to be not for repeated listening. Lets see what the last CD brings, alas with both the Gabler and Westenfelder instruments I have no high hopes. 


The Leiden Choirbooks Volume III. (De Leidse Koorboeken) Second rerun.

A second rerun of Volume III. The Leiden Choirbooks. Disc 1 & 2. As lovely as with the first hearing. You might read the first review I...