Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Fête du Ballet. Homage to Pavlova part I . A compendium of Ballet Rarities. CD II.

From my collection
Purchase date: 2011.
First listen: 1-3-2014.
Second listen: 23-1-2018.
Label: Decca. 
CD 2 from 10.
Recording dates: December 1969.
Venue: Kingsway Hall, London, England.
Engineer: Not named.
Time : 75:49.


   1) The Swan, by Camille Saint Saens. Carnival of the Animals.
        (Jascha Silberstein, Cello & Marie Goossens, Harp)
   2) December: Christmas, The Seasons, opus 37b, by Tchaikovsky.
   3) Danses des Fiancees du Cachemire, by Anton Rubinstein.
   4) Love's Dream after the Ball, by Alphons Czibulka, arr. Gamley.
   5) The Dragonfly, by Fritz Kreisler, arr. Gamley.
   6) Melody, Souvenir d'un lieu cher, opus 42, No. 3, by Tchaikovsky.
        (John Georgiadis, Violin)
   7) Papillons by Boris Asafyev.
   8) Gavotte Pavlova : Glow-Worm Idyll" Lysistrata, by Paul Lincke.
   9) Intermezzo, Naila, by Leo Delibes.
10)  Danza delle ondine, Elda, by Alfredo Catalani.
11) Mazurka, Polish wedding, Trad. arr. by Krupinski.
12) Le Reveil de Flore, by Riccardo Drigo.
      (John Georgiadis, Violin & Osian Ellis, Harp)


London SO, Richard Bonynge.

And so I come back to music that is my primary basis in classical music. I am addicted to ballet music, and the world around it, always was, and in later life this only grew worse. But it's a satisfying addiction, and one that will not make you ill. I always crave for this music. When listening I have the image of the ballet before my eyes, or in this case Pavlova dancing, and she was such a beautiful and legendary dancer. Some of the pieces on this CD I knew quite well, but I was also surprised by a few I did not know. This brings me back in a nostalgic mood, for very personal reasons, some of you know, some not. For fans of ballet music this set is mandatory, Its utter bliss to have this music. The recordings from 1969 sound very good, and without question Bonynge is the man for ballet, a giant in this genre.
His tempi are those that are used when playing with the ballet dancers.

Riisager, Knudåge. (1897-1974) The Symphonic Edition, Volume II. World premiere recordings.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: Autumn 2017.
First listen: 23-1-2017.
Label: Dacapo.
Recording dates: June 2013.
Venue: Symphonic Hall, Musikhuset Aarhus, Danmark.
Engineer: Claus Byrith.
Time: 67:03.

Works on this CD:
T-DOXC Poème mécanique for orchestra, opus 13, 1926.
Symphony No. 2, opus 14, 1927.
Concerto for Orchestra opus 24, 1931.
Primavera, Concert Overture, opus 31, 1934.
Sinfonia (Symphony No. 3, opus 30, 1935.

Performed by:
Aarhus SO, Bo Holten.

By now I have a considerable amount of CD'S with Riisager's music, and he is still able to surprise me with every new piece I hear from him. That in itself I find a small miracle. He is never predictable in what he throws at me, and I am as eager as a an hungry pupil, to learn and listen.
All the works on this CD are new to me. Starting with this incredible evocative Poème mécanique, dedicated to a new generation of aeroplanes. There is a subdued ferocity in tandem with taut rhythmic control and avoids even the slightest bit of frenzy throughout. The same intensity and firmness of grip you find in the second symphony and there is an equally riveting sense of spontaneity to this work. The Concerto for orchestra has an expressive agility with an intricate air of melancholy that is deeply affecting, and an ever shifting kaleidoscope of tone colour!
Primavera is a rapturous piece with an element of playfulness and propulsive excitement.  You get unforced passagework and athletic leaps of  imagination. The third symphony altogether puts me back to the second. Again a healthy rhythmic snap in even the most luxuriant passages. Music with backbone, as well as romantic sentiment. It has an earnest insistence over it that I find hugely appealing. There is agility, brilliance even, and a flexible approach, with a perfect balance between head and heart. But where would we be with the music if there was not the Aarhus SO, given a powerful rendition of Riisager works. They are eminently suited to this soundworld, and Holten is in no doubt which path to choose. And a top notch recording to match the overall excellence of yet another disc with Riisager's music.

Nova mvsices organicæ Tabvlatvra. The Organ tabulatura by Johann Woltz.1617. (16th-17th Century.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 23-1-2018.
Label: Cornetto.
Recording dates: Not mentioned.
Venue: Warnfried Kirche, Osteel, Ostfriesland.
Engineer: Not mentioned.
Time: 52:55.

Works and composers:

Canzoni alla Francese.
Costanzo Antegnati.
Florentino Maschera.
Giovanni Gabrieli.

Motets and intabulations.
Giovanni Gabrieli.
Orlando di Lasso.
Franciscus Bianchardus.

Organ Works.
Simon Lohet.
Karol Luisson.

Giovanni Bassano.
Girolamo Dalla Casa.

Performed by:
Martin Lubenow, Organ.
Bernd Schleyer, Zink.

Organ used:
Ernst Evers 1616.
Restored by Jurgen Ahrend 1994-95.
Tonhohe: 440 Hz.
Stimmung: Erweitert mitteltönig. 
Wind pressure: 70 mm/WS.

This beautiful organ built in the early 17th century, and being the second oldest organ in Ostfriesland, has many ornamentations from the Renaissance. The pipes Evers made are of a high tonal quality and this you will certainly hear.  He also used in all probability pipes from a Andreas de Mare organ built around 1566/67.  And this amongst other details makes this organ so special. In the years to follow this organ escaped total destruction, was neglected when pipes were needed for the war. And after many ruinous repairs and or modifications, Ahrend came to the rescue and restored this gorgeous organ back to its original state as much as possible. Some things could not be corrected anymore, and the modifications stayed in. In sound this organ is certainly brought back to the beginnings, so from an historic perspective this restoration was successful.  It is one of the most important organs in the world. A beautiful Quintadena 16 (p) Hauptwerk, a fine sounding Mixtur IV,  a Krummhorn 8 (o)/++, that fills out the sound of this instrument.
Organ works solo and with the accompaniment of the Zink. That works well, and the compositions on offer are a tight fit to this organ. It is an absolute treat and privilege to hear this Evers Organ.
The recording is top notch, as are the performances.
Very much recommended.  

Franconian Organ Music from the 17th and 18th Century.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 23-1-2018.
Label: Cornetto.
Recording dates: July 2001.
Venue: Former Monastery Church, Pappenheim, (Mittelfranken).
Engineer: Not mentioned.
Time: 73:39.

Composers on this disc:

Valentin Dretzel (1578-1658)
Johann Staden (1581-1634)
Johann Erasmus Kindermann (1616-1655)
Bartholomäus Weissthoma (1639-1721)
Georg Caspar Wecker (1632-1695)
Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)
Wilhelm Hieronymus Pachelbel (1686-1764)
Valentin Rathgeber (1682-1750)
Johann Jacob de Neufville (1684-1712)
Michael Scheuenstuhl (1705-1770)
Anonymous around 1700.

Organ used:
Most probably build by Johann Christoph Crapp 1722.
Temperierung= Werckmeister III.
Stimmhöhe:  a'=476 Hz at 17 degrees celsius.
Wind pressure: 60 mm WS.
One manual, pedals and 11 stops.
Pipes are mostly original ones, as is the case.

Some additional info about the organ.

There is no clear documentation concerning the organ builder but it is most certainly build by Crapp. He stayed for a prolonged period in Pappenheim 1719-1722.
It has been unplayable for decades and was eventually restored very carefully by G.F. Steinmeyer, Oettingen.

Performed by:
Raimund Schächer, organ.

Most of the composers on this disc are unknown to me, and so are their compositions. It is a mix of Organ works and Vocal works. About the vocal works I can be quite short. They are of mediocre  quality, decently sung by Silke Schebits, but with little or no expression. She is not cut out for soloistic work. Vibrato is non existent so that's good, but the recording of her voice is below par to say the least. So that part is forgettable. The organ works however are top notch. Compositions are all up to scratch and their musical worth should be rated highly. Schächer is a fine organist, and displays all the wonderful colours of this magnificent Crapp organ. I love the sound of the instrument very much which is so lovingly restored. It makes it a marvel of its time. It has a lovely Quintadena 8, and a Sub-bass 16, plus a Violin bass 8, both in the pedal. This gives the organ a fine basis and involving sound.
The recording gives ample scoop to the instrument.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon. (1562-1621) Cantiones Sacrae, quinque vocum 1619, Canons and Motets.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: December 2009.
First listen: 19-10-2011.
Second listen: 22-1-2018.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates: May/July 2009.
Venue: Nederlands Hervormde Kerk, Renswoude, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Stephan Schellmann.
Time: 68:37 & 78:11.

Works on both CD's
See heading.

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

Organ used:
Transept organ, Oude Kerk, Amsterdam (1545, Hendrik Niehoff/ 1638 replaced by Hanswolf Schonat/ 1965 restored back to the original disposition by Ahrend & Brunzema.
Meantone temperament.

It is only the second time since 2011 that I have put the whole series in my player. Which is actually an outrage if you consider the ultimate excellence of the set. I blame the onslaught of many new CD'S that were released over the years. But I rectified it at least now with a second hearing of the whole set. 
It will be impossible in my opinion to find a match in performance. This is the only complete version and so it should be. I have sung praises enough of this set, and the present CD'S are no exception, they are utterly perfect. No blemish to be found. The books, only in the Dutch language, will inform you intrinsically of Sweelinck's life, culture, and music, and will put everything in an understandable context. 
Very much recommended.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Fête du Ballet, A compendium of Ballet rarities. CD I second rerun.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: 2011.
First listen: 21-11-2013.
Second listen: 19-1-2018.
Label: Decca.
CD 1 from 10.
Recording dates: April 1974, March 1981 & April 1982.
Venue: Kingsway Hall, London.
Engineer: Not mentioned.
Running time: 81:16.

Gioachino Rossini, arr. Benjamin Britten.

Soirées musicales.
Matinées musicales.

Frederic Chopin, orch Roy Douglas.

Les Sylphides.

Johann Strauss I & II, Josef Strauss and Eduard Strauss.

Le Beau Danube.

National PO, Richard Bonynge.

It is an absolute delight to come back to Ballet music, which for me comes first in classical music.
But then I have a strong affinity and connection to the world of ballet.
This box I played some time ago, so I took it from my collection to be again charmed by the world of Ballet a constant source of pleasure.
The Soirées musicales and Matinées musicales by Gioachino Rossini, arranged by Benjamin Britten are a marvel. The pinpoint accuracy of the scoring and a matching orchestra, and the never failing ear of  Richard Bonynge make for a reference performance. Riveting!
Les Sylphides by Frederic Chopin,  and orchestrated Roy Douglas, has many fine points but tends to be a bit slow at places, with which you score points obviously, but the preludes and nocturnes suffer a tad in expression, and the natural light footedness suffers also in the bargain. Again the National PO and Richard Bonynge save the day by keeping the flow intact, and gets great effect by highlighting all the wonderful details. The tempi are adapted to the choreography of the ballet, so much is clear.
Le Beau Danube, by the Strauss family is a familiar confrontation with all the fine melodies they composed. It is a virtual delight to hear it, and concluding that it is eminently suitable for ballet. It was recorded as far back as in 1982, but the sound is State of the Art as all the recordings in this series on Decca. I am a bit miffed by the fact that the sound engineers are not named.
I look forward to the rest in this box.

Pachelbel, Johann Christoph.. (1653-1706) The Complete Organ Works, Volume II.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: End of 2017.
First listen: 19-1-2018.
2 CD'S.
Recording dates: October 2011 & August 2012.
Venue: Stephanskirche, Simmern, & Kilianskirche zu Bedheim, Germany.
Engineer: Gregor van den Boom.
Recording Assistant: Iris Duwensee.
Time:  48:39 & 68:42.

Works performed: 
Das Kirchenjahr: Christmas. CD 1.
Psalmlieder III. CD 2.

Organs used:
Gebruder Stumm 1782, restored in 2009 by Rainer Müller.
Stimmung in Cornetton a'=455 Hz.
Temperierung nach Bach-Kellner.

Caspar Schippel 1711 & Nicolaus Seeber 1721, restored by Alexander Schuke, Orgelbau, Potsdam.
Stimmtonhöhe g I =438 HZ.
Temperierung: Bach-Kellner.

Performed by: 
Jürgen Essl.
James David Christie.
Michael Belotti.

I am pleasantly surprised by the fact that we have here performances that are in technical matters perfect, and in musical matters leave little to desire. As to the recordings I think them State of the Art. This out of the way there are quite a few differences in interpretation and style between the 3 organists. But all are perfectly valid, so in that sense there is no real criticisms in regard of Volume II of the series. I have Volume I too, with 5 CD'S but those have yet to be listened by me. 
Lets begin with the first CD. In regards of Pachelbel's compositions, there is for me little to say, actually the only thing I have to say about his oeuvre is, that it is musically as satisfying as any other composers, high in everyones regard during his life and after. Pachelbel's name stands for quality, perfectly conceived. Period!
Jûrgen Essl, is a technical accomplished organist, with nimble fingers and a forward sense in expressing the music. The technical side is prime in his approach at the cost of warmth. The energetic drive is riveting, but needs some adjusting, for this playing bubbles literally with so much power that it can be a little tiring to the ears. But this said I love what I hear. He does not put a foot wrong, and is accomplished in such a way that you keep admiring the skills he displays so easily. Pachelbel gets a royal treatment here. The Stumm organ is a beautiful instrument, but is also very powerful, maybe a tad too much for me. But then the colours are varied and it has a gorgeous disposition.
CD II begins with Michael Belotti which is a new name for me but he seems to have quite a reputation for his knowledge regarding Buxtehude and Pachelbel. His approach is one of ease, and he turns every phrase twice in his head before he plays it.  Dynamics are beautifully realized, and he achieves a great balance in all the voices. His subtle colouring and well thought out approach makes this a refreshing and musically satisfying interpretation. The second part on CD II is played by James David Christie in much the same vein, in that sense they are well matched, Christie is also a thoughtful organist with perfect technical skills and a rare musical insight. Seamlessly Christie dives into the same structure as Belotti without me noticing it at first. There are small differences but you must have a well trained ear to hear that. 
All in all, I am very happy about this project.

Fête du Ballet. Homage to Pavlova part I . A compendium of Ballet Rarities. CD II.

From my collection Purchase date: 2011. First listen: 1-3-2014. Second listen: 23-1-2018. Label: Decca.  CD 2 from 10. Recording dates...