Monday, December 18, 2017

Telemann, Georg Philipp. (1681-1767) A Portrait. CD 5. Works for Alto recorder and BC.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 18-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 5 from 7.
Recording dates: October 1996 & April 1988.
Venue: Bolland, Eglise Saint Apollinaire & Stavelot, Ancienne Abbaye.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 78:09.

Works on CD 5:
1) Sonata in C major, For Alto recorder and BC. (Bass viol & Harpsichord) Essercizii Musici.
2) Sonata VI in G major-transposed to B major for Voice flute & BC. (Bass viol, organ, archlute.
   (Methodische Sonaten)
3) Sonata in G major for Soprano recorder and BC, as 2.
4) Sonata in B major for 2 Alto recorders. (Der getreue musikmeister) 
5) Sonata in F major for Alto recorder and BC (Archlute & Organ) (Der getreue musikmeister) 
6) Sonata in D minor for Alto recorder and BC, as 1. Essercizii Musici.

Performed by:
La Pastorella.
Frederic de Roos, Patrick Denecker. Recorders



7) Sonata in C major for Alto recorder and BC (Bass viol & Organ) Der getreue musikmeister.
8) Sixieme Concert in A minor for Voice flute, Harpsichord & Cello. (VI Concerts & VI Suite.
9) Concerto in F major for Alto recorder , Horn and BC, as 1.

Performed by:
Ricercar Consort.
Frederic de Roos,  Recorder.

As much as I love the music I did not particularly warm towards these interpretations at all. Well played they are, there is no doubt about it, but I missed the involvement,  a found it to be a bit distanced even. It had its moments but they far and wide between. What did not help was the frontal character of the recording in regards to the Recorders. Sharp sometimes, blowing with unnecessary force on the instruments and getting peak moments of sounds that could easily cause a migraine. Lejeune did not have his moment in October 1996. The 1988 recording by the Ricercar Consort is also very frontal but has less piping and is more rewarding in performance and sound.
I have better recordings and interpretations as the present ones. When you play it keep the volume down, then it gets acceptable.


The Heritage of Claudio Monteverdi. CD 5. Per il Santissimo Natale. (Vocal and instrumental Works)

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 18=12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 5 from 7.
Recording dates: March 1998.
Venue: Mormont, Belgium, Eglise Saint Michel.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 69:05.

Composers on this disc:
Ignazio Donati.
Maurizio Cazzati.
Claudio Monteverdi.
Adriano Banchieri.
Bernardo Storace.
Antonio Cifra.
Orazio Tarditi.
Giovanni Picchi.
Giuseppe Scarani.
Tarquino Merula.
Francesco Flamengo.
Girolamo Frescobaldi.
Giovanni A. Rigatti.

Performed by:
La Fenice, Jean Tubery.
with the participation of:
Maria Cristina Kiehr, Soprano.
Kathelijne Van Laethem, Mezzo.
John Elwes, Tenor.

Organ used: After Italian models of the 17th century.
Made by: Thomas Ster Francorchamps 1994.

In all respects a beautiful disc, well sung by all, and instrumental excellence to match. A complete and satisfying picture. Many of the composers were unknown to me, so this is an exciting journey through uncharted territory. Both Soprano and Mezzo fit well together and harmonize beautifully. John Elwes can be a bit overbearing but his expression tells the story. All pieces are sung with an exceptional combination of clarity and weight, that marks the total impression and balance between soloists and instrumental ensemble. The music is delivered with such unaffected simplicity and instinctive flow,... the heart of a programme that celebrates a lived musical culture as much as a historic document. As a whole this performance has an aesthetic directness that is very appealing to me.
The recording is top notch. 



Friday, December 15, 2017

Love, revelry and the dance in Mediæval music, CD 5. Danza, Instrumental music and virtuoso performance in the Middle Ages and today.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 15-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 5 from 7.
Recording dates: April 2007.
Venue: Eglise Notre-Dame de Centeilles, France.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 68:38.

Music on CD 5:
See heading.

Performed by:
Millenarium.

The music on this disc is well represented by this group. There is a real sense of improvisation and many colourful instruments to support that. It sounds authentic and perfect to my ears. Almost smooth and very assured. They are not encumbered by any external pressures it seems, for apart from the improvisatory music making it is also very relaxed.  They give every indication of enjoying the musical challenge. There is no limit to the colourful range of expression. in all they do. So very worthwhile to explore. Sound is state of the art.



The Parisian Symphony. CD 4.Miscellaneous works.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 15-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 4 from 7.
Recording dates: Between 2002-2007.
Venue: Not mentioned.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 71:20.

Works and composers on this disc:

1) Dieudonné Pascal Pieltain. (1754-1833)
     Troisième Concerto en si Bémol majeur, pour Violon et Orchestre.

2) Antoine Fredéric Gresnick. (1755-1799)
     Symphonie concertante en si Bémol majeur, pour Clarinette, basson et orchestre.

3) Ludwig August Lebrun. (1752-1790)
    Concerto en do majeur pour Hautbois et orchestre.

4) Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
     Symphonie B Dur, HOB 1:85 "La Reine".

Performed by:
Les Agrémens, Gut Van Waas.
Patrick Cohen Akenine, Violin.
Eric Hoeprich, Clarinet.
Benoit Laurent, Oboe.
Jane Gower, Bassoon.

Two composers on this disc were totally unknown to me, being Pieltain and Gresnick. Strange but true. I knew Lebrun but did not hear his Concert for Oboe and orchestra before. So all in all this was a discovery. For I liked both the Violin concerto of Pieltain and the Clarinet concerto by Gresnick. The musical content has a high quality of creativity, and are by no means second rate works. Lebrun's Oboe concerto is a jewel, detailed and melodious in expression. The Haydn was also a nice surprise, so totally different from say Hogwood ( a reference to me) but with its own distinctive validity. Very well shaped in form and expression, with familiar sounds coming out in a totally different guise as I was used to. The whole CD is an fine example of art that conceals art, with a formidable constructive and harmonic ingenuity. In all a pinpoint articulation and stylistically apt tonal gradations. Remarkable bursts of speed, yet the sound of the soloists remain deft and elegant. The orchestra has a cultured sound and provide easeful balm for difficult moments. A recording to match this perfection.




The Parisian Symphony. CD 3. "Gossec, Stamitz", Kraus. Grand Symphonies.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 15-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
Recording dates: Between 2002-2007.
Venue: Unknown.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time 77:45.

Works and composers:
1) Francois Joseph Gossec. (1734-1829)
     Symphony opus 12 No. 1,3 & 5.

2) Johann Stamitz (1717-1757).
     Concert for Clarinet and Orchestra in B flat major.

3) Joseph Martin Kraus. (1756-1792)
     Symphony in D major.

Performed: by:
Les Agrémens, Guy Van Waas,  Clarinet and Conductor.

These performances are an excellent choice to learn about the music. Played on authentic instruments, the dynamics and phrasing causing the subsequent emerging of the fine colouring, is the raison d'etre to get this in your collection.  The detailing is absolute top notch, and the pureness of tone is something to relish. All three composers deliver highly contrasting works, bubbling with creative vitality, and Sturm und Drang, pushing the tempi to the limits. This orchestra gets the last ounce of grandeur and weight out of the works on this CD. There is an virility in these compositions, and plenty of swagger. Thrillingly precise, characterized by a real momentum and Schwung. Also clarity, control, and impeccable orchestral discipline.
Sound is forward but lucid, with plenty of depth and also air around the instruments.




The Heritage of Claudio Monteverdi, Castello, Dario. (?1621-?1658) CD 4 In Stil Moderno.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 15-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 4 from 7.
Recording dates: January 1995.
Venue: Boswell, Switzerland, Alte Kirche.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 54:02.

Concerti for diverse instruments.

Cornet, Mute cornet, Violin, Viola da Braccio, Violino, Violone, Trombone, Bassoon, Theorbo, Triple Harp, Chitarrone, Harpsichord, organ, regal.

Performed by:
La Fenice, Jean Tubery.

(There is no biographical information about Castello. Even his birth and death dates are unknown. It is thought he may possibly have died during the great plague of 1630; certainly, he published no new music after this date)

"Of his music, 29 separate compositions survive. Castello's music is inventive and technically challenging. Strictly worked polyphonic sections alternate with dramatic recitatives over basso continuo, in keeping with the title of the publications "in stil moderno"; however he also uses some of the older canzona technique, which uses short sections of highly contrasting texture, and active rather than lyrical melodic lines. Unusually for the time, Castello often specifies the instruments for each part, calling for cornettiviolinssackbuts (Baroque trombone) and dulcians. That these works were still being reprinted in the 1650s attests to Castello's influence". 

I am duly impressed by Dario Castello's music as well as the fine performance by the instrumentalists of La Fenice. Dario Castello's music is highly inventive and well thought out. It is grander in design, brisker in expression, and speaking of a musical intelligence beyond my expectations. There is lightness, transparency and a directness that yields marvelous poetic results. He builds up a musical architecture that is quite impressive. The music has an uncommon distinction, gallantry is even part of the total sum. There is a subtle textural interplay and expressive variety that appeals hugely to me. Its simple glorious music and well recorded too.



Thursday, December 14, 2017

Haydn, Michael. (1737-1806) The Complete String Quintets.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 14-12-2017.
Label: CPO.
2 CD'S.
Recording dates: December 2013.
Venue: Palais Kuenburg, Salzburg.
Engineer: Stephan Reh.
Time: 76:58 & 59:04.

Works on CD 1 & 2.
See heading.

Performed by:
Salzburger Haydn Quintett.

It's a first these works from Michael Haydn for me. This music fits perfectly in it's time frame. Well constructed music, which does not make great demands on the listener. It flows easily, and is highly huggable. It has all the marks of  the Wienerische style. Waltzing it's way through time. The performance exudes confidence, revealing whatever there is in contrast and dynamics. No dazzling affair I am afraid, but very subtle at quiet dynamics. Reflective, wonderfully confiding in sweet melodies, and soulfulness. They carefully navigate through the music, perfectly articulated. Very fine afternoon music. The recording is perfect as is expected from Stephan Reh.



Telemann, Georg Philipp. (1681-1767) A Portrait. CD 5. Works for Alto recorder and BC.

New acquisition. Date of purchase: October 2017. First listen: 18-12-2017. Label: Ricercar. CD 5 from 7. Recording dates: October 1996 ...