Thursday, September 29, 2016

Escenas Argentinas. A Symphonic Anthology. Second rerun

From my collection.
Bought in September 2015.
First listen: 18-9-2015.
Second listen: 29-9-2016.
Label: Chandos.
Recording dates: June 1999.
Recording venue: Teatro Municipal, Parana, Provincia de Entre Rios, Argentina.
Recording engineer: Reinhard Geller.
Running time: 58:49.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works  and composers:

Carlos Lopez Buchardo. (1881-1948)

Premiere recording on CD.
Escenas Argentinas in three movements.

Julian Aguirre. (1868-1924)

Orchestrated by Ernest Ansermet and published as
Due danze Argentine.

Astor Piazzolla. (1921-1992)

Tangazo: Variations on Buenos Aires.

Luis Gianneo. (1897-1968)

El Tarco en Flor., Symphonic Poem.

Carlos Guastavino. (1912-2000)

premiere recording in this version.
Las Ninas, No. 1 from Tres Romances Argentinos.

Oscar Giudice. (1906-1974)

premiere recording
Salmo al Parana.

Performed by:

Orquesta Sinfonica de Entre Rios, Gabriel Castagna.

Another welcome addition to my classical collection. I did not know what to expect exactly, but I was more than pleasantly surprised. Of course this music has strong nationalistic tendencies, but that is to be expected and in this case very welcome. For it shows clearly the character and culture of the Argentine nation in all their gorgeous colours. And although many names are unknown on this CD, the music is of a high standard, and very well performed by an orchestra I did not know, but boy do they swing this music.

Buchardo begins this CD with very well scored music, in which the folkloristic element is pre eminent. As if every note is literally soaked in folklore. Nothing but praise here, the music makes your heart leap.
Aguirre is like Buchardo an excellent orchestrator and has the same tools to make the music shine. Two short pieces but really powerful in its expression.
Normally I am not a great fan of Piazzolla, but in this case I must bow to this wonderful piece. I did not know he had this in him, but I thoroughly enjoyed what I heard. I am not a great fan of Tango music, which is primarily his aim, but this is a exception on the rule, almost none of that.
Gianneo writes music that has a very atmospheric tinge to it, almost a spiritual element pops up at the oddest moments. Melancholy too, even sentimental, but a fine open scoring.
Guastavino is a world apart. This fellow is a thoroughbred romantic of the sweetest kind, Afterwards you need to go to the dentist to fill all the holes in your moles. A bit too sweet for me, but nicely done. I cannot imagine a whole CD full with his music, you will have no teeth left after that.
Giudice composed something that lingers for quite a while. It's a fine but short piece.
The excellent scoring was preeminent amongst all Argentine composers, in the sense that I was constantly awed, not having that many composers of that country in my collection. A real find and well recorded too. Its recommended by me without reservation.

Dances with the winds. Third rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in September 2015.
First and second listen: 17 and 18 of September 2015.
Third listen: 29-9-2016.
Label: Chandos.
Recording dates: May 2004.
Recording venue: New broadcasting House Manchester, England.
Recording engineer: Don Hartridge.
Running time: 69:08.
Classical relevance: The wind enthusiasts essential, other might like it too.

Works performed:

Kenneth Hesketh. (B. 1968)
Danceries in four movements.

Nikos Skalkottas. (1904-1949)

Nine Greek Dances.

John Corigliano. (B. 1938)

Gazebo Dances.

Adam Gorb. (B. 1958)

Yiddish Dances.

Performed by:

Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra, Clark Rundell.

Whatever you may think about music for wind instruments, this release is clearly one to have and to hold. Not only do you get some new composers, but also excellent arrangements or original compositions for a Wind band. And those instruments are versatile, believe me. This disc makes that abundantly clear.

No matter what composer on this disc you listen too, they all have something to say that is truly unique, and at times revelatory. Even in our times music is allowed to be beautiful and above all tonal. That does not mean that the notes or the chords are not a little bit bended, but always in a tasteful way. Hesketh with which this cd starts is a point in case. He gives titles to his dances that awaken your interest  and rightly so for "Lull me beyond thee"or "Catching of Quails" not to mention Quadling Delight"  are descriptive titles that covers the musical expression to a T.. Very funny and at the same time truly magical.
Now Nikos Skalkottas was seen as a musical extremist being a scholar from Schoenberg, and therefore not much liked by his own people or for that matter also in the rest of the world. So what ever the poor chap did, apart from dying to young, his reworking of the Orchestral Dances into Nine Greek dances for Wind instruments, show nothing of the extremist in him, he's rather a huggable pussy, in producing the finest jewels for these instruments. I really enjoyed them very much.
John Corigliano's Gazebo Dances are in the same order, very beautifully scored, in such an effective way that I had to listen twice before I fully grasped the rich melodic content. I did not expect such melodic works by his hands. Kudos!
But the piece de la resistance must be the Yiddish Dances by Adam Gorb. it is so well scored, Yiddish music is extremely suited to wind instruments, that I revelled in ecstasy every minute that this music lasted. Especially two Romanian dances, Doina, ( girls name) and Hora, (A dance). The scoring is marvelous and gets to a climax in Freylach's hilariously funny Dance, like a whirlwind to feet cannot stop tapping along, or sit still at any given point in the music.
The performances are sublime, hats off for their abilities, and the recording does ample justice to the music. In the very best Chandos manner.

Simonsen, Rudolph. (1889-1947) Orchestral works.

From my collection.
Bought in April 2011.
First listen: 5-4-2011.
Second listen: 29-9-2016.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: September 2006.
Recording venue: Sønderborg, Danmark.
Recording engineer: Stephan Reh.
Running time: 70:52.
Classical relevance: That is very much a personal choice..

Works performed:
Overture in G minor.
Symphony No. 1 "Zion".
Symphony No. 2 "Hellas".

Performed by:
South Jutland SO, Israel Yinon.

A few days ago I stumbled over a pile of CD'S and while searching for something else, I found this composer, a cd once played in 2011 and then somehow not played anymore. Not unusual with so many CD'S to listen, that happens more as I really want.  Anyway it was bought pre blog, so no review with my thoughts about this one. Maybe on a classical forum? I have no memory of what my impressions were, so it was as if playing a new acquisition.
Looking through my database I found the composer! In 2013 I bought a box with 10 cd's with the title "Spirales" containing a lot of Scandinavian composers, from late romantic to ultra modern. Amongst them a Clarinet Quintet and two SQ, performed by Henry Lindner on the clarinet, and the Kontra Quartet, which I reviewed on favourably. ( Music and performance) So I began my journey with quite some enthusiasm. But well into the playing of this disc, things started to go a totally different way, one I did not expect at all. If anything it was a total surprise. When the Overture starts you get a late romantic work, tightly written, with some inventive brass and string writing in it, and puts you on the wrong foot altogether. Much as his chamber works actually. But when the first symphony starts a totally different composer makes himself known. Still late romantic but stretched to the limit, with a sound world that is hardly to match to other composers. There is also modernity very much Simonsen's language, and in this form not heard by me before. What comes close is Sibelius, Bruckner, Wagner and Nielsen but he is not greatly influenced by any of them. He simply borrows small pieces of their idiom and cooks them into his own soup. So it's truly an unique voice so far as I am concerned.  Really advance counterpoint (superb), and a dramatic expression that is suffused with a deep intensity. In his second Symphony you will hear Neo classical polyphony very much used by Carl Nielsen, but applied by Simonsen in a different way. And although I admire the technical abilities of him, I find him a tough nut to crack, in fact I will not crack, for most of his music leaves me stone cold. I must also say that there are moments of great beauty in his music like the second movement in the second symphony, which has a very clean tone and a beautifully crafted melody line. And overall great writing for strings and brass, but the music is often aimlessly wandering around without reaching an apotheosis. Every time when I expected something the duck was drowned completely by an excess of Bruckner brass, which does Simonsen no good.  But try it by all means, you might react totally different from me.
Nevertheless he is totally forgotten, and CPO did not go through the motions of the third and fourth symphonies. This is the only disc on CPO featuring this composer. A pity nevertheless. 
The orchestra under Yinon does a great job! The recording is also first rate, with all detail clearly heard, and a wide soundstage with good depth.   

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works, Disc 16. Third rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in June 2014.
First listen: 16-9-2014.
Second listen: 10-11-2014.
Third listen: 29-9-2016.
Label: CPO. Box with 22 cd's.
Recording dates and engineer: Not mentioned.
Recording venue: St. Wenzel Naumburg, Germany.
Running time: 68:29.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Instrument used:

Zacharias Hildebrandt Organ, St. Wenzel Naumburg, Germany. 1743-46.

Works performed:
1) Piece d'Orgue in G, BWV 572.
2-4) Sonata No. 3 in d, BWV 527.
5) Fuga in g, BWV 542/2.
6) Orgelchoral "Jesus, meine Zuversicht", manualiter, BWV 728.
7-9) Sonata No. 6 in G, BWV 530.
10-11) Praeludium et Fuga in A, BWV 536.
12-16) Kanonische Veränderungen über "Von Himmel hoch, da komm ich her", BWV 769a.
(Autographe Fassung)

Performed by: Gerhard Weinberger.

Again such a fine organ, and excellent interpretations all around. BWV 728 may be a short work, it has a devastating impact. Genius packed in barely 2 minutes. The second movement of BWV 527, Adagio e dolce, is a fine example of the more contemplative side, and so well played. BWV 769a in 5 movements is very beautiful, almost a see through composition. It has weight in lightness so to say. 

I must admit that the compositions from Bach that belong to his Free works not always impress me.
BWV 572 is a work that is technically flawlessly composed, although the French influence eludes me, that gives me an impression of as loud as possible, amidst one melody line, and not much else. BWV 536 is of little consequence to my ears, I like it, but my attention wanders. The recording this time as opposed to CD 15 with the same organ, is distanced in most works, which gives enough detail and more air around the instrument, but makes it also a tad detached in emotional input. Funny enough many times during the recording, sound settings are changed. Something which I have encountered more often as I would like in this set.. Still, full marks for the artistic merit, and the somewhat unbalance recording technique.

Binchois, Gilles de Bins dit. (d.1460) Les Plaintes de Gilles de Bins dit Binchois. Third rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 9-7-2016.
Second listen: 3-8-2016.
Third listen: 29-9-2016.
Second listen.
Originally released in 2007.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates: October 2006.
Recording venue: Èglise de Franc-Waret, Belgium.
Recording engineer: Manuel Mohino.
Running time: 73:52.
Classical relevance: Essential. Reference recording. State of the Art recording.

Works performed:
See heading.
Lamentations by Binchois.

Performed by:
Graindelavoix, Bjorn Schmelzer.
7 singers and 4 instrumentalists.

This is the second CD of Graindelavoix I bought this year. For me they are a perfect ensemble. Their choir culture is extraordinarily balanced, and the rhythmic drive is remarkable in the sense that the music evolutionized through perfect synthesis into a deeply intrinsic experience. That does not happen to often, but this second CD in my collection of them repeats the perfect impression I had from the first one I bought. I cannot find fault in this production, for all is as it should. The lamentations are a perfect example of how suffering is translated in music and text, that can comfort or make you more miserable, depending on the stance you take, or the mood you are in. In both cases you get what you expect. The recording captures the wailings and longings in a sonic extravaganza as can be expected from Mohino.  State of the art recording.
Needless to say, but I say it anyway, heartily recommended.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works, Discs 15. Weinberger Edition.

From my collection.
Bought in 2014.
First listen: 10-9-2014.
Second listen: 10-11-2014.
Third listen: 28-9-2016.
Label: CPO, box with 22 discs.
Recording supervisor: Werner Czesla.
No recording dates mentioned.
Running time disc 15) 62:26.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:

Transcriptions Part II.
1-3) Concerto in G, BWV 592.
4-9) Sechs Chorale von verschiedener Art. ( Schubler-Chorale) BWV, (645-650)
10-13) Concerto in d, BWV 596.
14-16) Concerto in a, BWV 593.
17) Aria in F, BWV 587.
18) Ricercar in c a 6 voci, aus dem musikalischen Opfer, BWV 1079/5.

Instrument used:

Zacharias Hildebrandt Organ, St. Wenzel Naumburg, 1734-46.
Tonhohe: a'=464 Hz, bei 15 Grad celsius.
Stimmung Neidhardt I (1724)

Performed by, Gerhard Weinberger.

The Hildebrandt organ is tuned at 464 Hz, which makes it a weighty instrument, it's fine chiseled sound is mesmerizing and totally unique in character. One of the best organs I heard so far. There are not many original organs made by Hildebrandt left in Europe, so we should treasure this one. Bach inspected and accepted this organ as did Silbermann, and that is a compliment well deserved. Hildebrandt was a pupil from Trost and Friderici, both famous organ builders, and he showed himself to be a master equal to his teachers. As many organs of its time, it was severely damaged by modern restorations, The one that brought it back to the original concept, started in 1976 and ended in the Bach year 2000, and then could be heard in all its splendor. This recording is a great compliment to the organ. The sound is truly magnificent. All registers are clearly audible and discernable. A great job by the engineer, whoever that might have been. What you can hear, at least I do, that thrice during the recording session, the settings were changed, resulting in three different ambients. I find that a bit too much for comfort. In itself all sounds very good, but at one point one needs to adjust the volume, to prevent being blown away. I loved all the works on this CD although I must admit that BWV 1079/5 is not a piece that warms my heart. I think it rather a noisy piece. But that's very personal I might add, before the Bach connoisseurs all fall over me like angry fleas,  

Finger, Gottfried. (c.1670, or much earlier-1730) Sonatae XII pro diversis instrumentis, opus 1. Third rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July, 2016.
First listen: 1-8-2016.
Second listen: 29-8-2016.
Third listen: 28-9-2016
Label: Accent.
Originally released: 2011.
Recording dates: March 2011.
Recording venue: Himmelfahrtskirche München-Sendling, Germany.
Recording engineer: Uwe Walter.
Running time: 60:58.
Classical relevance: Well to my ears a CD to have and hold.

Works performed: 
See heading.

Works performed:
Echo du Danube, Christian Zincke. (On authentic instruments)

I fell with my nose in the butter when acquiring about 6 CD'S from the label Accent with little known Baroque composers. For all of them without exception are of a high quality in musical terms. And the recordings are also state of the art. 
Gottfried Finger you might ask? Who? Well exactly my sentiment also! I never even heard mention his name among the many composers I have from the Baroque era. So is he a catch? Yep I am sure of it. Finger was known for his excellence as a Gamba player, and so it is no surprise that the compositions on this disc shows you what can be done with this instrument, and this is much. Warm, rich of melodies, and a musical construction that works in every single note. >Tonal sensuousness you could call it, displaying experimental combinations in subtle shades never heard before, but also integrated elements of local folk music<He grew up in an environment of greats like, Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, Heinrich Schmelzer, Antonio Bertali, so no wonder then, that the outcome would be nothing short of sheer delight. You should really give this music a chance, you will be like me overwhelmed with admiration for this master on the gamba.