Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Riisager, Knudåge. (1897-1974) The Symphonic Edition, Volume I.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 21--11-2017.
Label: Dacapo.
Recording dates: September 2010 & February 2011.
Venue: Symphonic Hall, Musikhuset, Aarhus, Danmark.
Sound engineer: Claus Byrith.
Time: 64:52.

Works on this disc:
Overture for Erasmus Montanus, opus 1, Danish pictures No. 1.
Jack the Dullard, opus 18, No. 2.
Carnival, opus 20, No. 3.
Comedy opus 21, No. 4.
Symphony No. 1, opus 8.

Performed by:
Aarhus SO, Bo Holten.

I find all the reasons to love this composer in the works on this disc. The Danish pictures are gorgeous. The projections of these images into music is brilliantly done. I like the clusters of sound he builds up in the strings and brass in ascending steps. And the modernity in the music is invigorating and thrilling. The rhythmical muscular and haunting melodies are a treat. It has all the capacity for introspection and reflects the variety in Danish music.  The Symphony is a small miracle too.  It has a rustic jollity with its elegant chromatisms and frolicking variations. The melodic and harmonious invention lets you hear a range of expression, neatly crafted and expertly written. The expressive potential is wide and deep. He is a master of rhythm. And a combination of tenderness and exuberance, let's not forget that. The performance is first rate, as is the recording.

Steigleder, Johann Ulrich. (1593-1635) Complete Organ Works. Top recommendation.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 21-11-2017.
Label: Aeolus.
Digipack: 2 CD'S.
Recording dates:  May 2003.
Venue: Lüdingsworth, St. Jacobi, Germany.
Sound engineer: Christoph Martin Frommen.
Time: 79:57& 72:33.

Works on both CD'S:
Tabulatur Buch Darinnen Daß Vatter unser auff 2.3 und vier Stimmen.
Componirt und viertzig mal Varirt würd. (1626-27)

Ricercar "Tabulatura"(1624)

Performed by:
Léon Berben.

Instrument used:
A Antonius Wilde/Arp Schnitger organ (1598-1683)
Restored by Jürgen Ahrend (1981-82)
A= 460 Hz.
Meantone temperament.

Let me say one thing first...this is a fabulous organ, plus it is perfectly recorded by the organ coryfee Christoph Martin Frommen. Berben makes a feast of the performance in every respect. He treats the organ in just the right way to get a maximum of effect culminating into balm for your ears. The forty variations on this first disc made a huge impression on me, especially the first variation and the last one one. The first was a Fantasia oder Fugen manier 4. Vocum, and the 40th a Variation auff Toccata manier, 4. It shows what this composer was capable of. Sweelinck came to mind several times. The sheer variation in the music blew me away several times, due also to the organ disposition and the sound. Berben plays in a very restrained manner, always  focusing on the music and the right amount of dynamics, and never on himself. This sensitive manner appeals hugely to me. The second disc that holds the Ricercar Tabulatura from 1624, brought Frescobaldi and Scheidt into my mind quite forcefully. The somewhat sober style used in these compositions felt like bare bones utterances of a time long gone. But it is exactly this aspect that I like. There is little warmth or colour in the ricercari, but I loved the subtle changes in the use of registrations and the spare use of ornamenting the music. Phrasing is delightful and at times it has a quasi improvisatory air. I feel like being thrusted into another and different world on the second disc. In the end I am utterly pleased with the result.
The sound is almost State of the Art. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Bach, Johann Sebastian (1685-1750) The Complete Organ Works. Hanssler Edition. (CD 4)

After listening to the fourth disc in this series on which Andrea Macon plays early works by Bach I decided to stop wasting my time with him. And that also goes for Kay Johansson. They are well represented in this box, but to my ears do no justice to Bach's organ works. At least they do not appeal to me. I have far better options as to sit and listening to what is to me not what I want or like. I love the organs used in this box, and that was the first impulse to get this set. I only payed 16 euro's for this box, so it's not a great loss to me, but I am disappointed and this counts much more in my book. After the disaster recording of Stefano Molardi I really believed this would not happen again to me, but it did!
I will however try all the other organists in this box, so maybe I will find some worthwhile interpretations.

Riisager, Knudåge. (1897-1974) Orchestral Works.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 20-11-2017.
Label: Dacapo.
Recording dates: June 1997. (Remastered 2010)
Venue: Concert House, Helsingborg, Sweden.
Sound engineer: Michael Petersen.
Time: 72:35.

Works on this CD.
Fool's Paradise Suite No 1&2 opus 33 for Orchestra. (1936&1940)
Six Dance from the Christian Andersen ballet opus 37 "Twelve by the mail". (1939)
Concertino for Trumpet and Strings opus 29, (1933)
Dances from the Fairytale play by Johannes Jensen, opus 32. (1935-36).

Performed by:
Helsingborg SO, Thomas Dausgaard.
Håkan Hardenberger, Trumpet.
Vocal Group Ars Nova.

I am a great fan of the composer Riisager, since I bought a record with the ballet Benzin a long time ago. I have purchased in total 4 discs with his music in November 2017, and this is the first in line. The disc starts with the Fool's Paradise suites, orchestrated to perfection in so many colours and filled with so much mystical details, you almost need a double set of ears to get it all in. Both are demonstration class Riisager. So whenever you need a sample of his music these suites are the ones to go for. And his genius wanders easily through the Six dances opus 37 to the opus 32. Both works are filled with an abundance of details, and a wall of colours that will dazzle your ears. The Concertino is a work of great genius but it did not touch me on the same level as the other works.
The performance is top notch and that goes for all participants. The vocal contribution in the opus 32 are terrific, adding some fear into this mystical score, especially in the "Dust storm", and the "Women's Dance".
Hardenberger is a fine musician, who plays with a sense for dynamics and accents that puts him easily in the top of his trade. The orchestra is excellent. Dausgaard makes the music come very close to utter perfection.
The sound is demonstration class. The remastering did the original recording of 1997 a great service.

Henriques, Fini. (1867-1940) Orchestral Works.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 20-11-2017.
Label: Dacapo.
Recording dates: September 2000& May 2001.
Venue: Helsingborg Concert hall, Sweden.
Sound engineer: Preben Iwan & Hans Nielsen.
Time: 54:17.

Works on this CD:
Romance opus 12 (1894) for Violin and orchestra.
Myggedans opus 20, No. 5 (1899) for Violin and orchestra arranged by Svend Schultz (1986)
Djævledans (1920) for Violin and orchestra, arranged by Launy Grøndal (1940).
Tata, Czardas 1&2. (1932)
Volund Smed, Suite (1896)
Suite in F major, opus 12 for Oboe and Strings (1894)
From: Den lille Havfrue (1909)

Performed by:
Christina Åstrand, violin.
Max Artved, Oboe.
Helsingborg SO, Giordano Bellincampi.

This is the first CD I own with music from Fini Henriques. I loved the samples I heard, so ordered it right away. This is full blown romantic music, with no hints towards modernism. Easy going and well scored music to please, and to aim at your emotional instincts in quick tempo. He writes marvelously in all departments of the orchestra, with fine contributions for the Violin and Oboe. I really connected to the music, but that was about all. First of all the orchestra is one of the best in Sweden, and I have many excellent recordings with them, but the choice of Dacapo to let Bellincampi conduct is a bad example of management by those that should have known better. He blows the music into regions where detail is totally gone out of the window, with added dynamics and accents that murders the rest of the music. Bellincampi doesn't understand this music and thinks it to be Verdi. The sound engineers made quite a shambles of it too. Violin and Oboe are so forwardly recorded that it pains my ears, dynamics so loud that all detail is lost, accents placed totally outside the context of the music. I know Preben Iwan to be a fine engineer, but this time he totally misfired, as did Hans Nielsen. O, well at least the music is good, be it wrongly represented.

Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon. (1562-1621) The Second Book of Psalms.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: December 2009.
First listen all three CD'S: 26/27/29-12-2009.
Second listen all three CD'S: 8/8/10-2010.
Third listen all three CD'S: 20-11-2017.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates: November 2006 & March 2009.
Venue: Nederlands Hervormde Kerk, Renswoude, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Stephan Schellmann.
Tme: 49:46-61:30-54:23.

Works on all three discs:
Psalms, Organ fantasies (by Bernard Winsemius, Psalms 11/12/28)

Performed by:
Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam, Harry van der Kamp. 
Bernard Winsemius, Organ.

I can be quite short about the Second book, it is as perfect as the first book. Try what I may, I cannot find fault in performance or recording. This is simply the best you can get. I consider this mandatory in every classical collection. Sweelinck was one of the greatest renaissance- early baroque masters we ever had in the Netherlands.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764. The Complete Edition. CD 10, opus 3. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: october 2016.
First listen: 1-9-2017.
Second listen: 18-11-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 10 from 21.
Recording dates: January 2013.
Venue: Westvestkerk, Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Peter Arts.
Total time: 61:08.

Works on this CD:
Concertos for Violin, strings and BC, opus 3.
No. 7 in B flat.
No. 8 in E minor.
No. 9 in G.

Performed by: 
Ensemble Violini Capricciosi,  Igor Ruhadze.

(Excerpt from my first review on 1-9-2017) 

"Perhaps the most structurally striking elements of the concertos are the technical accomplished contributions of Igor Ruhadze. Flashy fluid perfection, webs of double stopped complexities, he smoothly brings off Locatelli's occasional ferociously idiomatic modulations. It's a full house deliciousness by this varied palette of continuo colour display from his colleagues. The rich variety of Locatelli's music is so well portrayed that I come to the conclusion that this is a reference set par excellance"

Riisager, Knudåge. (1897-1974) The Symphonic Edition, Volume I.

New acquisition. Date of purchase: November 2017. First listen: 21--11-2017. Label: Dacapo. Recording dates: September 2010 & Februa...