Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Acquisition. Giya Kancheli. (b. 1935)

Bought in July 2013.
First listen.
Chandos CHAN 10297.
Recorded in 2004.
Engineer: Igor Veprintsev.
Running time:( 64:59)
See video posted on 1-8-2013.

  • Simi, bleak reflections for Cello and Orchestra.
  • Mourned by the Wind,
  • Liturgy in memoriam Givi Ordzhonikidze, for Symphony Orchestra and Solo Cello.
Alexander Ivashkin, Cello.
Russian State SO, Valeri Polyansky.

I consider Giya Kancheli one of the best 20th century composers. No matter what work I listen to from his oeuvre, they always touch me profoundly in a spiritual way, with more than a religious tinge to it. Every composition of Kancheli is drenched in a deeply felt balance, and needs to be, of his religious background. That makes every work a liturgy in my ears. The two works on this disc are no exception. Masterworks!  He comes close to Part foremost, and sometimes Tavener, and there are a few more composers that travel on the same path. They are tonal, with sudden outbursts of emotional cries, that go through you like a knife, and brings home how utterly devastating a loss of human life can be. After this my listening had to stop for the rest of the day, so I may process it. 
State of the Art Sound, and pristine performances.

New acquisition. Balkan Spirit............

Bought in June 2013.
First listen.
AliaVox AVSA 9898.
Recorded in 2012-2013
Running time: 79:15.
Engineer: Manuel Mohino.
SACD/Hybrid recording.

What a surprise it was for us all when Jordi Savall decided to do something totally different from classical music, and dive into the world of Folk music from the past and sometimes present. From far away or nearby.  It started with "Orient-Occident" a stunner, and then "Istanbul" another wonderful journey, followed by "Celtic Music for Viol, part 1 & 2, " and then the leap to " Armenian Spirit" right through the present disc, "Balkan Spirit". Jordi Savall delivered with every one of them, a masterwork on CD, reviving long forgotten music and traditions, but also bringing together many different musicians from all over the world, to unite and play music in the same spirit. Believe me I enjoyed everyone of them immensely. the fusion of so many styles attracts me like bees to honey.  The music on this CD, holds music from the Balkan and that is a wide area. From Bulgaria to Hungary, from Gypsies to the Ottomane, from Macedonia to Roumania, from there to Serbia, all in a perfect harmony. The playing is gorgeous, the recording stunning, the music invigorating. And a absolute stunning booklet of almost 400 pages, goes with it, with lots of info and beautiful pictures of the musicians. This is a absolute must buy recommendation. 

New Acquisition. Artur, Eugen and Villem Kapp. Orchestral works.

Bought in July 2013.
First listen.
Chandos 10441.
Recorded in 2001 & 2005.
Engineer: Stephen Rinker.
Running time: 63:34.

  • Artur Kapp. ( 1878-1952)
  • Don Carlos, Dramatic Overture after Friedrich Schiller.

  • Eugen Kapp. ( 1908-1996)
  • Kalevipoeg Ballet Suite.

  • Villem Kapp. ( 1913-1964)
  • Symphony No. 2 in C minor. Dedicated to the conductor Roman Matsov.

BBC Philharmonic, Neeme Jarvi.

Neither of these pieces will blow your socks off, but they are worth to be heard, and will afford enough pleasure to warrant the purchase. Influences abound, to name a few: Kabalevsky, Glazunov, Tchaikovsky, Rimski-Korsakov, but all three Kapp's are distinct enough to distinguish themselves from these traces. You get melodious music, tonal, picturesque, with folk music reminiscences, , akin to Scandinavian music. It is more or less well orchestrated, with just a few awkward moments in the music of Eugen, and Villem, but nothing dramatic. Fine music to listen to. The recording and performance do the music justice. Try it, you might like it. Estonian music.

New Acquisition. Thomas Tallis, The complete English Anthems.

Bought on July 2013.
First and second listen.
Gimell 454 907-2.
Recorded in 1986.
Engineer: Mike Clements.
Running time: 38:05.
Secondhand: Bought at Zoverstocks, England.

I have never been a fan of the Tallis Scholars, mainly because I thought that the use of high sopranos is inappropriate to the music, and secondly because their top is painful to my ears. And thirdly, four of them in a choir can be quite devastating. The artistry of these singers is beyond doubt, they are well trained and dedicated, but for me is, and will always be, the problem of screeching sopranos that spoils my fun and appreciation. I have listened to most of their recordings, so I know it recurs on all of them.
The English Anthems is one of their very first recordings, and the problem only emerges in the last bars of the last title on this disc, "Blessed are those that be undefiled". A few moments of vocal outburst that made my ears grinch.  Still I think, that this is the best recording ever made of the English Anthems, and also well recorded too. It is a pleasure to hear these masterworks of a composer I really admire, and only delayed buying it for full price, because of the ungenerous playing time of this CD. When I saw it on Zoverstocks for a little over two pounds, I  ordered it

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

G. Priuli-Canzon Prima

New Acquisition. Venetian Music at the Habsburg Court, in the 17th Century.

First listen.
Bought in July 2013.
Label: DHM
Recorded in 1989.
Engineer: Unknown.
Running time: 62:38.
Super Budget-Price.
CD 7, from 10.

See reviews from CD 1, 22/7, CD 2, 25/7, CD3 & 4, 26/7, CD 5, 29/7, CD 6, 30/7-2013.
Video posted: 22/7 & 30/7-2013.

Composers on this disc.

  • Massimiliano Neri ( 1615-1666)
  • Giovanni Battista Buonamente ( died in 1643)
  • Antonio Bertali. ( 1605-1669)
  • Giovanni Valentini. ( 1582-1649)
  • Giovanni Priuli. ( 1575-1629)

Performers: Musica Fiata, Roland Wilson.

CD 7 from the box below.

This disc gives pleasure in a calm way, due to the contemplative way it is performed. The brass sounds deliciously, and the authentic performance is what you may expect from these dedicated musicians. They do not put a foot wrong, and the composers have written some pretty fine music in this period. The brass sounds wonderful, and the music evokes court life in colourful images. Cannot go wrong with the music. I read Pisemki's, "Thousand Souls", while playing, gorgeous combination, I might add.

Vagn Holmboe-Quartetto Sereno, op.197 (op. Posth.)-The Kontra Quartet

A example of Holmboe's SQ writing.

New Acquisition. Vagn Holmboe's Complete String Quartets.

Bought in July 2013.
First listen.
Dacapo 8.207001. 7 CD'S.
Recorded in 1992.Engineer: Eyvind Rafn.
Running time: 75:54.
Video posted.

CD 1

  • String quartet No. 1, opus 46, opus 16. ( 1949)
  • No. 3 opus 48. (1949)
  • No 4 opus 47. ( 1954)
Performed by the Kontra Quartet.

The first thing that hits your ears is the calm and balance the music emits, even when the riding gets rough. The complete harmony of utterance is perfectly embedded in a underlying intellectual and emotional content. All the perfectly sustained notes and the long tension laden lines, creates a off-worldly atmosphere that contains a whole cosmos of its own. You are going off-world so to say. Every note has its own place, and none of them you could do without. He is applying a certain economic  and creative rigidness in his writing, but one that has a unusual flexibility. This music is gripping, and will not let you go, before you immersed yourself completely. I notice this reaction already when I listened to his Symphonies, and the very addictiveness astounded me. His SQ tell a seamless story from beginning to end, so every review should use the same words, for its one complete story, one journey, but with different views which all merge into one. Oneness is the key to his works. I noticed particularly folksong influences in the first SQ, no doubt inspired by his Romanian wife Meta Graf, and yes Bartok comes also to mind, but ultimately Holmboe as a composer is a unique figure, which has no one behind him, and no one to surpass him.
The Kontra ensemble is well known by me, and they deliver a first rate job. The recording is stunning.

Théodore Gouvy: Fantaisie Symphonique - III Alla breve

A example from the 4th Symphony.

New Acquisition. Louis Theodore Gouvy. Symphonies.

Bought in July 2013.
First listen.
CPO 777.381.2.
Running time: 63:23.
Recorded: 2008.
Engineer: Thomas Becher.

  • Symphony No. 1 & 2.

Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrucken Kaiserslautern, Jacques Mercier.

Already having in my possession the first two volumes of his Symphonies, I knew what I could expect in terms of musicality and performance, and I was not disappointed. Gouvy's music is something special, and although it took the French quite some time to really see his genius, they finally came round as the Germans did much earlier. Well, some ears are better attuned as others, let us say!
The first Symphony is influenced by Schumann and Mendelssohn. not really much, but there are traces in the music, which gave you the aha moment. Very cleverly weaved into the orchestral writing, he continues in his own unique vein. Music that is invigorating, melodious, with beautifully singing strings, glorious brass, and all intertwined in a most harmonious way, The first and second movement are very much inspired, because Gouvy wanted to prove his worth as a composer, so he composed irresistible notes that keep dancing around and upon your noise so incessantly that you quickly give in to their charm. 
The second Symphony did away with the above mentioned composers, and instead you meet Beethoven in the first half of the first movement, and again very cleverly hidden in the strings and woodwinds. It was in his time his most played Symphony, and it is easily understandable why. It has a friendly and infectious outlook, and its out to please, and charm your pants off.  The writing is assured and clever, and shows what he can do what others have lain aside. Out of the poorest assembly of notes he makes a tasty meal, and gives you on top a delicious dessert in the finale. Yummy.
The performance and recording is first rate. A wonderful series.

Leone Leoni- Angelus Domini

Court Music Edition, Volume 6, "Music at the Salzburg Court".

First listen
Bought in July 2013.
Recorded in 1987.
Engineer: Hannes Eichmann ORF.
Running time: 48:51.
See also previous reviews of disc 1, 22/7, CD 2 25/7, CD 3 & 4, 26/7, Disc 5 29/7/2013.
Video posted: 22/7/2013. CD 1.
Video posted on 30/7, with some music of Leone Leoni.

Music at the Salzburg Court. ( 1587-1612)

Disc 6 from the box below.


  • Leone Leoni ( c. 1560-1627)
  • Orazio Vecchi, ( 1550-1605)
  • Agostino Agazzari, ( 1578-1640)
  • Johann Stadlmayr, ( c. 1575-1648)
  • Tiburtio Massaini, ( before 1550, after 1609)

I did not know any of these composers, and was surprised about the quality of the music. This is a fine performance and really well recorded.  Both choir and instrumentalist play and sing perfectly, and in good harmony, there is a almost symbiotic agreement between the participants, and the conductor, Howard Arman brought them together in a flawless way. However you get the impression after a few compositions, that being pretty in sound and interpretation does not spell success as a natural cause. Sameness is the word, no risks being taken, one could almost say that the music has a flat outpouring of beautiful legato lines, seamlessly sung, with the utmost care for detail, and avoiding getting upset by some dynamic shadings, and that makes it rather boring. Pretty...boring though. But I am glad that I did get the opportunity to listen to these composers, that makes me wonder what other goodies they composed. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Julius Röntgen - Piano concerto in D major op. 18, 1st movement (Allegro)

New Acquisition, Julius Rontgen, Piano Concertos.

Bought in July 2013.
First listen.
CPO 777.398-2
Running time: 59:24.
Engineer: Martin Lohmann,
Recorded in 2008.
Video posted.

  • Piano concerto No 2 & 4
  • NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, David Porcelijn
  • Matthias Kirschnereit, Piano.

Since I collect all the orchestral and chamber music on this label by Rontgen, this one was next on my list. In general I am not a big admirer of Piano concertos, do not know why really, but I bought this one nevertheless. The music of both concertos does not disappoint. Right in Roentgen's style, the music holds many surprises. somewhat based on the music of his hero, Johannes Brahms, Roentgen lets us hear a distinct and a uniquely molded piece of music, that makes clear that he was a outstanding composer, that needs to be recorded and performed much more as he is these days. You are never bored with, and I am always curious what comes next. In this sense I would recommend it. But....the recording and the soloist is another question. 
The Piano is very forwardly placed and really hard, loud, and ugly at times. Couple that with a relentless show of a soloist who thinks that forte is the norm and loud is the demand of the day, and so robs the music of its gentleness. He is at times more like a carpenter, hitting nails in the wall. The orchestra plays marvelously, albeit also forwardly placed, it lets you hear all the details, and there is a lot of depth. But this recording is simply not right, so my advice would be look somewhere else, or turn the volume down, that helps.

Court Music Edition

Bought in July 2013.
First listen.
Label DHM. Box 10 CD'S.
Recorded in 1974 in Germany.
Engineer: Paul Dery.
Running Time: 46:25.
Super Budget-Price.
See also reviews of previous discs: CD 1 22-7-2013. CD 2 25-7-2013. CD 3 & 4, 26-7-2013.
Video posted on 22-7-2013.

CD 5

From this box CD 5

  • Anonym: Graduale Sarisburiense, 15th century version
  • John Tavener, Missa sine nomine. ( The Meane Mass)
  • Osbert Parsley, Lamentations for 5 voices.
  • John Sheppard, Playnsong Mass for Meane.
Pro Cantione Antiqua, Bruno Turner.

This time I have nothing to complain about this groups performance, in fact it is a highlight in this box. The singing is well balanced with dynamics carefully observed, within the choir and composition.
In fact the music becomes free floating at times, as if music and time get separated.Even the unknown Countertenors do well and there is no shrillness despite the high writing. The fine recording makes you enjoy it even more. The pieces from Tavener and Sheppard are very good.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Havergal Brian, Symphonies 22/23/24. New Acquisition.

Bought in March 2013
First listen.
Naxos 8.572833.
Running time: 65:27.
Engineers: Alexsander Karasev, & Gennady Trabantov.
Recorded: 2012.

I must admit, that the most accessible piece on this CD is the English suite No. 1, opus 12, which was written between 1905 and 1906. It has such an infectious rhythm to it, and such good cheer, and none of the hard boiled approach, but this is not always what you get with Brian. Symphonies 22 & 23 & 24 are works written between 1964 & 1965 . 23 & 24 are world premieres no less.
Rhythm is predominantly paramount in these works, and a certain emotional hardness too. The emotional flux changes all the time, and that makes it sometimes hard to follow the argument in these works. It are compressed works in the sense that everything is packed in as little time as possible. But they are fine works, and need listen to more than once, plus you have to be in the mood for this. I am an admirer of Havergal Brian, and this CD enhances that in every way.
The performance misses some warmth at times, but the recording is really very good. 

"Adieu Madame"Music at the English Court ( c.1415-1530) New acquisition.

Bought in July 2013
First listen.
Label: DHM 88883744282. ( Box with 10 CD'S)
Recorded in 1975 CD 1 & 1978 CD 2.
CD 3 & 4 from this box.
Running time CD 1, 44:38 & CD 2 39:59.
Engineers: Mark Brown & Pete  Casulleras.
See review of the first two CD'S of this box, 22-7 & 25-7-2013.
Video posted on 22-7-2013.

  • Music at the English Court

CD 1, performers:
Pro Cantione Antiqua, Bruno Turner.
CD 2 Mark Brown is conducting.
Early Music Consort of London, David Munrow.
Complete direction, Bruno Turner.
Music transcribed and edited by Bruno Turner.

CD 3 & 4. The complete "Adieu Madame is divided over two CD'S.

From this box.

Now to say that I am a great fan of Pro Cantione Antiqua would be a gross overstatement, most of the time I find them harsh and aggressive in their approach. Despite the fact that some pretty big names are involved, voices which I like very much, but mostly outside PCA. Bruno Turner's vision so to say. I find that somewhat back in the Sixteen, led by Harry Christophers, the same aggressive approach albeit less extreme, it has its roots in Turner's vision. James Bowman, Paul Eswood, John Elwes, Michael George, David Thomas,  all are admired by me, and yet the first CD cannot charm me, in fact it sometimes annoyed me, by its very loud and pushy singing, as if they wanted to over shout themselves, it really sounds to my ears like that. I sing myself in a choir, and now how important matching harmonies are. Definitely not in demand here. Two songs stand out as above average and made me sit up, to name, "Woefully array'd," composed by John Browne and composed between 1490-1500, from the Fairfax ms, and "Ah, Robin, composed by William Cornyssh, composed c.1520. Both songs are done in a way that does justice to their intention, almost sung in whispers and delicate phrasing. So they can actually sing this way. Sure, I know that the first CD is filled with boisterous worldly songs, and that some freedom is allowed in expressing the sentiments, but that has a line, and that line is crossed several times. Anyways, it was worth listening, if only for those two songs.
CD 2 is a totally different kettle of fish altogether!  Voices only this time, and what delicate sung they are, actually listening to each other, and fair is fair, it comes out marvelously balanced with a sensitivity that belies the approach of CD 1. I thoroughly enjoyed this one

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Frederico de Freitas | Suite Medieval (IV - Cantar de Amigo)

Frederico de Freitas. Orchestral works. New acquisition.

Bought in March 2013.
First listen.
Naxos 8.573095.
Recorded in 2012.
Engineer: Phil Rowlands.
Producer: Tim Handley.
Running time: 70:15.
Video posted.

This is yet another instalment in the ongoing Naxos series dedicated to this composer, and a very successful venture so far it has been. Artistically there is nothing to complain. Alvaro Cassuto is a dedicated conductor, and a champion for the composer. His thoughts as a compatriot of Freitas, is one of symbiotic nature I would say, so far his understanding goes of the works here performed. And he is helped by a "State of the Art" recording, made by this genius Phil Rowland. What comes out of his hands is almost always a masterwork in the recording history. Enormous depth, sonorous basses clear and articulate, the tiniest detail is heard. gorgeous!
The first item on this disc is "The Silly Girl's Dance" a ballet, but in this case the orchestral version is played, which seems to divert in the instrumentation used, and that also goes for the second work, "The Wall of Love". I would love to hear these versions too, although in this case the tempi were according to the metre of ballet. The first ballet is a real gem, and one that shows that Freitas knew how to score a ballet, for the artistry is beyond doubt and the inventiveness knows no bounds. The second ballet has its moments, but is in my ears a ballet that knows some weak places, although that is really a minor quibble, being a ballet nut myself, I tend to be very critical.
"The Medieval Suite" is a nice piece, and it had my attention through the myriad of fine details, but it could not keep my attention all the time, and that really goes for "Ribatejo"also. That has to do with the fact that the CD begins with the best work, and after that the expectations are too high.
But that said, this is a must have CD, certainly if you collect Freitas, but also for people who are new in this case, a good CD to start with.

Luigi Mancinelli - Scene Veneziane & Cleopatra Naxos CD 8573074

Luigi Mancinelli, Orchestral Works. New Acquisition.

Bought in March 2013.
First listen.
Naxos 8.573074.
Running Time: 57:37.
Recorded in 2011.
Engineer: Piero Schiavoni.
Video posted.

Mancinelli was famous for being a very good conductor, but as a composer he is completely forgotten, even in his homeland Italy. Partly due to the minimal compositorial output, and by a certain amount of ridicule amongst classical music lovers. Here and there I see remarks about his music, as instantly forgettable, light music ala Mantovani, and what not. Is this deserved? Emphatically no! To begin with, he was a master at orchestration, "Scene Veneziana" will convince you in a moment what a dab hand he was at writing orchestral scores. Tis nothing short than amazing, and a constant joy to hear the intricate lines he weaves with apparent ease. Its complexity is astounding, and each of the 5 movements a gem. Take the third movement "Fuga degli amanti a Chioggia" a virtual wonder in putting together most effectively wonderful melodic creativity. Or the gorgeous movement "Cerimonia a Danza di Nozze" with a religious tinge to it, that lifts it up from earth, and with spiritual waves climbs the clouds towards heaven.
Cleopatra-Sei intermezzi sinfonici, is much more complex in structure, and has a balance that keeps the whole work in suspense between being a great work, in something that rises far above that. The intro of the second intermezzi "Battaglia di Azio" is breathtaking and thoroughly convincing in its message.
The Orchestra and conductor clearly relishes in this all, for they play magnificently. The recording is pristine, and has a very good front to back image.

Trouveres Part II from the Court Music Edition.

Part II  of Courtly Love Songs from Northern France.

See review of CD 1 ( 22-7-2013) Video added on the same day, for all info concerning artists & label.
Running time: 63:33.

  • Composers on CD II.
  • Adam de la Hale ( ca.1288)
  • Jehannot de Lescurel ( died 1304)
  • Petrus de Cruce ( late 13th century)

I might add that CD II sounds wonderful, and the performance is still wonderful.

From this box CD II.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gluck-Symphony in G major-L'Orfeo Barockorchester

New Acquisition. Christoph Willibald Gluck, Symphonies.

Bought in July 2013.
First listen.
CPO 777 411-2.
Running time: 57:18.
Recorded in 2007.
Engineer: Martin Vogele.
Played on authentic instruments.
Video posted.

Five Symphonies from this composer, and I have to be honest, I never knew he wrote them, and were it not for Michi Gaigg and her musicians, this would never have seen the light of day. I always thought that Gluck's interest lay somewhere else, but no, he actually wrote these Symphonies. 
I was very curious to say the least, but no fear, these are wonderful compositions. Sprightly lively, melodious, full of quirky details, original ideas, and some fine writing in general. They can hold their trousers up against such giants as Joseph Haydn, and that says a lot methinks. The excellent performance and recording help enormously with the enjoyment of this disc, so it gets a hearty recommendation from me. Very cheaply to be had! 

New Acquisition; Piano Concerti by Anton Eberl. (1765-1807)

Bought in July 2013.
First listen.
CPO 777 354-2
Recorded in 2008, running time 62:03.
Engineer: Hanns Martin Renz.
Played on Authentic instruments.

Die Kolner Akademie, Michael Alexander Willens.
Fortepiano's: Paolo Giacometti, opus 40 & Riko Fukuda, opus 32.

Fortepiano, Matthias Muller, viena ca 1810.
The case in Mahogany, the Keyboard compass 6 octaves: FF-f4; four pedals: una-corda, bassoon moderator, forte. 

From Eberl was said by critics and public alike, that he was as good as Mozart, his close friend and instructor when alive, and a solid support for Mozart's family after his death. He was also by the same said public and critics considered a far better composer as Beethoven, all of this based of course on unfathomable arguments and reasons, which do not cut wood either way. The notion of this composer is better as the other one is in my ears clear nonsense. You know, its like with wine, when it tastes good to you, whatever the price, its a good wine, and when its bad, you will condemn it with the same alacrity. All of that is very personal, and so it is in music. Objectivity is a commodity which never existed on earth, and it will never be so. So my opinion is my opinion, and you may heartily disagree with it at your pleasure. Well after this rather long introduction, I have a few things to say about the music. First of all these concerti are in the same mould as Mozart would write them, and taken on their own, they are pretty good, with many soloistic episodes which are remarkably well written, and leave us in no doubt that Eberl is a original composer, who has a lot more to say then we think. That he is so quickly forgotten, may have to do with his early death at scarlet fever, and so his output  of 3 Symphonies, 4 piano concerti, and some vocal works, amount to almost nothing. but the quality of at least these piano concerti are readily available for receptive ears, that will undoubtedly discriminate the many virtuosities that Eberl displays. Fine music indeed. the performance is no less than a example of how music should be performed from that time, in which the fortepiano has a star role. Its sounds marvelous and gets all the details above board for which Eberl was renowned.  The orchestra follows suit in the same genial way. The recording is exemplary 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New Acquisition. Ivan Karabits & Valentin Silvestrov

Bought in March 2013.
First listen.
Label: Naxos 8.572633.
Running time:59:26.
Engineer: Mike Clements.
Recorded in 2010.

In many ways this is a revelatory disc, with at least one unknown Ukrainian composer Ivan Karabits (1945-2002) & Valentin Silvestrov (1937-) who is more a name in classical music.
Both are modern composers, albeit in the works on this CD they never cross into atonality. Its true, tonality is stretched in the Karabits works, but Silvestrov gives us two works that are perfectly tonal in manner. But both compositions are in their way quite spectacular. The Concertos for Orchestra, three of them, are much influenced by Alfred Schnittke & Rodion Shchedrin, and less, if at all by Shostakovich or Mahler, as the booklet says. All the effects that Karabits is using, have a lot in common with Schnittke, and the orchestral influences come from Shchedrin. A unsual combination but one that works. From the applause and bell like instruments in Concerto No. 2, and other effects, the stamp of Schnittke is there, but in its own unique way, not merely a copy of it. Also a lot of timpani, not for the faint hearted I might add, many a clash rumbles over your head, but always with great vigour, telling of Shchedrin. Robust and cut clear in its message, the moments of magic are there too, most of the time in a stunning and effective way. I like them a lot to be honest. Karabits died much too young, and when he did his friend and fellow composer Silvestrov composed two works, to mourn his death. Both are intensely moving evocations of grief, mournings that go straight to heaven, melodies worthy for angels to carry to God. Amen to them. (They are world premieres by the way)
Mike Clements made as we are used from him, some top notch recordings, with a enormous front to back stage, that lets you hear every detail. A orchestra that plays well under the baton of their chief conductor Kirill Karabits.
Recommended without hesitation.

Nino Rota viola sonata

New Acquisition. Nino Rota.

Bought in March 2013.
First listen.
Label: Naxos 8.572778.
Recorded in 2010.
Engineer: Norbert Kraft.
Running time: 59:07.
Video posted on 23-7-2013

Rota is primarily known for his Film music, and one totally forgets that he was also a prolific classical composer, that could deliver the goods, in expertly written music, that would make most 20th century composers jealous. He is a 20th century composer, but listening to this music you quickly make a late romantic out of him, that has more to do with the times of Johannes Brahms, as with his own century. His writing is based on 19th century sensibilities and aesthetics. The influence, at least in the works on this CD, of the 20th century is almost nil.
He has a immediate approach towards expressing emotions, and nostalgia, good humour and optimism, is part and parcel of his music. He may be out of touch with the trend in music at his time, but he brought us timeless gems, that outshine many others in a split second. Enriching music, that has all recognizable elements of life in it. Take for instance the Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano from 1973, a fine introductory Allegro goes over in the most heart rendering Andante that can easily stand comparison with Brahms his works, intensely lyrical and with a enormous depth, and at the same time humour, that splashes out of the third movement Allegrissimo, in such a infectious way, that it makes you laugh with good cheer. All musicians involved are in the top of their trade, and special mention deserves the more than excellent cellist Winona Zelenka, who plays as before the Gods, with a beautiful tone, and a abundance of details, that took my breath away. She has a really fine instrument.
It is very well recorded. Heartily recommended.

Johann Friedrich Meister (c.1638-1697) - Il Giardino del Piacere (1695):...

New acquisition, Johann Friedrich Meister ( c. 1638-1697)

Bought in July 2013.
First listen.
Label: Berlin Classics. 0016732BC.
Running time: 66:40.
Engineer: Ingrid Waldeck.
Recorded in 2004.
Video posted on 23-7-2013

  • Il Giardino del Piacere.
  • overo Raccolta de diversi fiori musicali, come sonate, fughe, imitiatione, ciacone, passacaglie, allemande, correnti & c. ( Hamburg 1695)
  • Sonata 2/4/5/6/10/11.

Johann Friedrich Meister is a genius, a unknown genius, there can be no doubt about that, for you can hear this right at the beginning of this CD. He is so unique in his compositions, that you will not find one of his fellow composers of his timeline that will compare, and in the historical context he stand aloof and alone in this set of music. His seriousness and depth is incomparable too, for this music keeps your mind and soul occupied for the full 66 minutes, and my only regret in this is that not all of them were recorded. Meister delivers perfect and faultless compositions and it will challenge you at every turn. This is also his only set of instrumental works he ever composed, and that is a disaster on a major scale. Reinhard Goebel unearthed this composer, and rightly saw the worth of Meister, among the many so called discoveries and first recordings. A second observation on the booklet is in order, for this is the last recording of MAK, and easily one of the very best, a pity then that Goebel launches a bitter diatribe on the recording industry and its commercial aims, understandably maybe, but the bitterness is disconcerting to say the least, more so because this is going on for 3/4 of the info, and just a minor part is going into the explanation of this composer.
For me a disc of the year, outstanding in all respects. 
The sound is first rate, and the playing is on the highest level imaginable.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Some very interesting Chandos releases from the olden days for midprice

Lennox third symphony is a stunner, as is the disc from Kancheli, and Kapp sounds wonderful too. Bridge has some good tunes in his sleeve.....

Monteverdi La mia turca - Pera Ensemble

Troubadours, trouvères, Minnesänger & musica antica (playlist)

New acquisition, The Court Music Edition on DHM.

Bought in July 2013.
First listen.
Label: DHM  88883744282. ( 10 CD'S)
CD 1. Running time: 70: 27.
Engineer: Klaus L. Neumann.
Recording date: December 1982, Germany.
Super-Budget release.
Video added on 22-7-2013.

Courtly love songs from Northern France C. 1175-1300.
Chansons, Motets, Chansons de Toile, Estampie, Jeu-Parti, Rondeux


Sequentia, Ensemble for Medieval Music, with participation of;

Jill Feldman, Guillemette Laurens, Candace Smith, Josep Benet, Wendy Gillespie.

I nearly forgot how beautiful this music actually is. When this recording was released, I heard it of course, but at that time my interest was purely Chamber music and Orchestral works. I did not have the patience then to absorb this kind of content. But now somewhat later I have the patience and time to indulge in this beautiful age of medieval times and its music. It is rich music, for it speaks greatly of its time, and being recorded in a church, you close your eyes and suddenly you are in a French castle, and eyeing the damsels in distress, and admire their beauty, Such is the quality of the compositions, that you are easily drawn in, especially when you get such good performances and such good sound. There is not a blemish to be found, and the great thing it about it is, that you can get in dirt cheap. Recommended.

From this box CD 1

New acquisition, Baroque Oriental.....

Bought in July 2013.
First listen.
Label: Berlin Classics 0300275BC
Running time: 63:57
Engineer: Markus Brandle.
Recording date: May, 2010.
Video added 22-7-2013.

Pera Ensemble, Mehmet C. Yesilcay.
Counter Tenor, Valer Barna Sabadus.
All tracks are arranged by the conductor of this ensemble.

Baroque meets the Orient, or Ottoman music meets baroque! Two cultures, two religions and philosophies come face to face here. Is that at all possible? I would say yes! And although they seem at first sight incompatible, in this case it works quite wonderfully and seamlessly. This is a disc that gives joy and surprise. Surprising it gets when seemingly familiar music by Monteverdi or Rossi, or for that matter Caccini and many others, merges and emerges as something totally new, yet familiar. Impossible combinations? Well I would have thought this merger incongruous, but I am proven wrong on all counts. We get a well balanced selection of music, carefully improvised upon, which in the times of Baroque was not uncommon, we simply lost the art in these days, to implement what was done in that time. On the basis of what I hear I could not agree more on the sentence in the booklet, Orient and Occident/Cannot be separated.
The only small drawback is that the countertenor is too forwardly  placed, and since he has quite some volume, that may be at times uneasy. Small quibble though!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

New orders at Zoverstocks very cheapo!

The Tallis with 48 minutes is short playing time for 20 euros at JPC, zoverstock had it for 2,62 pounds, used but in good condition. Lets see.

The Nardini is a follow up, on the label Brilliant, the first release was pretty awesome; so also for 3,31.!

Royer is a new composer for me, but the samples sounded good!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New Acquisition. Andrea Zani, Cello Concerti.

Bought in July 2013.
First Listen.
Label: Capriccio C5145. ( 2 CD'S)
Engineer: Uwe Walter.
Recorded in 2012.
CD 1.
World Premiere Recordings.

  • Cello Concerti "Concerti per Camera"
  • From the Musical Library of the Counts of Schonborn-Wiesentheid.
  • Concerti 2/3/5/6/8/10.

If you search on Google you may find some info about this composer, but I must confess that when I saw this recording, it was also the first time I saw this name. It seems that these compositions were lying around in some dusty library of a German count, and nobody knew about that. Until a clever girl found them, when she was writing a thesis,, saw the potential and ringed a bell. Sure enough it was picked up by musicians who were starved for some new material, especially if the content can be as highly rated as the compositions by the Red Priest.. For although the concerti follow the same pattern in tempi, Fast-Slow-Fast, every concerti is unique in itself, no repetition of ideas, but a abundance of original ones for every concerti. a amazing find, and in musical terms very important. We get ravishing performances by the soloist, who was also unknown by me. Sound is very good. Recommended.

The service of venus and mars - Gothic Voices

New Acquisition. The Service of Venus and Mars.

New acquisition, bought in July 2013,
First listen.
Label: Hyperion GAW 21238,
Engineer: Tony Faulkner. 
Recorded in 1986.
Running time:49:44
Super Budget-Price.
Gramophone Early Music Award 1988.
Video posted

  • Music for the Knights of the Carter. ( 1340-1440)

Gothic Voices, Christopher Page,
Andrew Lawrence King, Medieval Harp

This is in all respects a gorgeous disc, the singing is top notch, the recording gives us a beautiful soundstage, and above all the Gothic Voices deliver a near perfect performance. We are treated by some fine composers as there are: Philippe de Vitry, Pierre des Molins, Pycard, Leonal Power, Franchois Lebertoul, John Pyamour, John Dunstable, Soursby, Richard Loqueville, and a few anonymous contributors, all are a delight to hear. The ebb and flow of this interpretation mesmerizes quite a bit, and the depth of the recording has you immersed in no time. Such is the beauty, that I had to keep myself from pushing the repeat button. I have more recordings of the Gothic's so the quality comes as no surprise.

New Acquisition, Biedermeier Sonatas, Richter, Wilms & Muller.

New acquisition, bought in July 2913.
First listen.
Label: Dynamic S 2024. Series 2000.
Recorded: 1996.
Engineer: Valter Neri.
Running time: 72:41.
Super budget-price.

  • Wilhelm Richter ( First half of the 19th Century)
  • Duo Concertante in A minor, opus 10.

  • Johann Wilhelm Wilms ( 1772-1847)
  • Sonata in D major, opus 33.

  • August Eberhart Muller. ( 1767-1817)
  • Grande Sonata in C major, opus 38.

Francesca Pagnini, Flute.
Paolo Bidoli, Piano.

By the second half of the 19th century the Transverse Flute was a popular instrument, and the demand for compositions was very high, so consequently a lot of trash emerged from all quarters in Europe and beyond. The three composers on this disc however offer much more in terms of quality and are worthwhile to be heard. Carefully written works, that shows that they had a good understanding of the Transverse Flute, but also of the Fortepiano.  Pleasant works, melodious and very creative in their writing, it will give you many enjoyable moments, that will linger for quite a while in your head after you heard them. Alas it is not played on authentic instruments, and that means you get long legato lines on the flute, whereas the piano almost sounds like a fortepiano, for Bidoli keeps his foot firmly away from the pedals, and only uses them sparingly. Nevertheless I found much to be admired in these concertos.
Now Richter is a composer of which we do not know anything, nothing about his compositions or for that matter his life, neither do we know how he traversed through life. Absolutely no biografia, about this fella. The only thing we know for sure is that he died before 1864. And he was in service at the court of the Grand Duke of Mecklemburg Schwerin, and was appreciated as a flautist. His opus 10 is a delightful work, with a vivacious Rondo at the end that made me smile.

Wilms of course I do know, German born, turned Dutch, this colourful figure wrote many a Symphony I admire, and has some pretty brilliant chamber music to his name. His opus 33 is a mature and well written work, that keeps your attention throughout, and has many compositional surprises in its sleeve.

Muller, as heard in his opus 38, is a accomplished composer, who made quite a impression on me. Structurally he wrote the most coherent work on this disc, and it is a delight to go through the paces. True Biedermeier concerti, beautifully recorded, and well performed.
For the money this is a steal. For remember, you will not find a disc with works of Richter. This is the only one. All three works are first recordings.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Louis Spohr, Symphonies No 3 & 10. Volume 1.

New Acquisition, bought in June 2013.
Third listen, see reviews 14 & 15 of June.
Label: CPO 777 177-2. SACD/Hybrid.
Recorded in 2006-2007. Running time, 62:32.
Engineer: Bjorn Brigsne.
Video previously posted.

  • Symphony No. 3 opus 78 in E minor & No 10 WoO 8 in E flat major.
  • Overture WoO 1 in F major.

Spohr's reputation is not only build on his orchestral works, but he wrote also a lot of Chamber music, that can hold its own with his compeers. He is not merely a epigone from Beethoven, but he is a composer in his own right, with his own unique style. That said, the Symphonies are held in high regard by me, for its invention, creative writing, and the lyrical flow of his music. Spohr is never short on good melodies, and works them out quite good, so much so, that repeated listening bring actual rewards in terms of understanding the coherence and the intertwining of secondary subjects.
Real gems, shimmering, glistening, in short, sonic excellence!. He is a dynamic personality, and that comes out in these gorgeous recordings, the right orchestra and the right conductor. The most striking feature on this ongoing series is the power, incisiveness, and sense of purpose, that these recordings evoke. Absolutely recommendable.

The Complete Sacred Music of Vivaldi.....Volume 7.

From my collection, bought in c. 2009.
Second complete listen.
Label Hyperion CDS 44171/81
CD 7, running time: 62:56.
Engineer: Philip Hobbs.
Recording dates 2000.
Video posted previously. 
See also reviews CD'S 1-6

  • Beatus Vir, RV 795.
  • Salve Regina RV 617.
  • Laudate Dominum RV 606.
  • In exitu Israel RV 604.
  • Nisi Dominus RV 608.

I have always been a little critical with this set, and I do not mean in the quality of the music, that is without doubt top of the bill, but my criticism runs along the lines in the choice of soloists and the fierceness of the choir contributions. In this CD the strings are alluringly conversant, and the dialogues with the soloists are always ringing with interest and vitality. But, thats actually the good part. I think that the soloists on this CD more or less disappoint, and that has mainly to do with the fact that I think that Robert King sometimes loses his bearings, of what is permissible in authentic performance practice. Take for instance Susan Gritton, which finds most of the time favour in my ears, but in RV 795, makes a curious entrance in the  "Lucundus homo,"  a somewhat strained voice and some hollow vibrato. She is less than convincing overall, than one might have hoped, but she is never less than authoritative.  I think that clarity of annunciation plus non vibrato singing should have priority over extended tonal coloration. Another miss is the contralto Hilary Summers, who is rather insecure in her singing in the same piece, notably "Dispersit, dedit pauperibus & Peccator videbit." Again all the sweetness and innocence of it is gone down the drain by mediocre singing. Alexandra Gibson, who, is a alto out of the choir, gives us a boyish and gentle  Paratum cor eius, a real treat to hear this.
RV 608 is rather spoiled by the likes of Nathalie Stutzmann.  She has a pushing alto that is much too big for this kind of work. She misses the intimacy of voice that Vivaldi needs more often as not. Overbearing comes to mind, she dominates the beautiful RV 608 totally and so robs it of its genius.
Curiously enough she shows that she can sing as Vivaldi requires. For "Cum dederit" is magically done, and with a few steps out of line the "Gloria" does nicely too. I know of a few other performances that do a much better job. Certainly not my favourite interpretation.
I also noticed that recorded sound gets ugly and strained if the volume goes up to high, no doubt due to the venue.

Sweelinck, The Complete Keyboard Works, Volume 9, the last CD in this box.

From my collection, bought in 2002.
Second complete listen.
CD 9, running time: 72:46.
Recording dates: 2001.
Label: NM classics 92119. ( 9 CD'S)
Engineers: Jorn Mineur & Leo de Klerk.
Video previously posted.
See also reviews CD 1-8.

Much can be said of this box, which has to include the fantastic sound, interpretation and historical significance of the project. Quite an undertaking to record, and difficult to keep standards constantly high. I may not have always agreed on some of the interpretations, but I value them nevertheless. Overall this box gave me pleasure beyond expectation.
The first part of the CD is performed by Glen Wilson, playing on a Johannes Ruckers harpsichord ( 1640) Graf Landsberg-Velen in Germany. And he does well, vigorous when called for, and insistently meditative if the music asks for this. Still there is always a nervous characteristic in his  playing, as if he never relents in driving the music forward. I enjoyed it enough, but when Pieter Jan Belder, played on the same instrument I knew that he found the true genius of the music, and how to handle the Ruckers harpsichord properly. Meditative with authority, forward with a totally believable pace, and a subtle awareness of the finer details, this is surely a crowning close of the set. Very much recommended. Buy it, before is disappears from the market altogether.

Monday, July 15, 2013

John Dowland, The Collected Works. Volume 6.

From my collection, bought in 1997.
Third complete listen.
Label: L'oiseau-Lyre 452 563-2. ( Box with 12 CD'S)
Recorded between 1976-1980.
Video posted previously.
See also reviews Disc 1-5.

  • Mr. Henry Noell Lamentations 1597.
  • Lachrimae 1604.

This disc gives us a particularly fine insight into the instrumental oeuvre of Dowland. There is a fine pace to the music, very meditative,and vivacious when called for. The musicians give it it a generous treatment that allows us to become an integral part of the times in which Dowland lived. The pictures flow out of my mind when listening, be it accurate or not what I see, but the atmosphere it creates leads me to believe I listen among the spectators of ere. Some of Dowland's songs and instrumental works have a quality of sadness, and neither is melancholy ever far away.  And what better a vehicle for the artistry of Dowland as the present performers, all hero's of my youth, when authenticity came to full bloom. The lyrical intensity of all the pieces is all encompassing, and you get covered in it pretty fast. Sound is as always in this set, excellent. 

Schubert, The Complete String Quartets, Volume 6.

From my collection, bought in 2006.
Second complete listen.
CD 8, running time 60:21.
Label: MDG  307 0600-2. ( 9 CD'S)
Recorded in 1997.
Video previously posted.
See also reviews disc 1-7.

  • Quartet movements D. 68 in B flat major.
  • SQ D. 46 in C major.
  • SQ  D. 68, in B flat major.
  • Vier Komische Landler D. 354 for 2 Violins in D major.

I pretty much summed up what the qualities of this set are, and how excellent the performances, so no need to repeat them. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mendelssohn, Complete Chamber Music, Volume 9.

From my Collection, bought in 2007.
Second listen.
Label: Brilliant, licensed from Erasmus Recordings. 10 CD box 99983.
Recorded in 1999.
Running time: 54:55
Also videos added previously.
See reviews Disc 1-8.

  • Piano Trio No 1 in D minor, opus 49. (Video posted) See below this review, its in HD.
  • Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, opus 66.

Klaviertrio Amsterdam.
  • Klara Wurtz, Piano.
  • Joan Berkhemer, Violin.
  • Nadia David, Cello.

Well, its a ongoing success story with this box, with these lovingly played Piano trios. Outer movements are vivacious and poised, and the slower movements combines tranquility with a unimpeded momentum. The effect is spontaneous and unstudied and all emerges with a clarity that gives detail in abundance, with all parts having a individual character, which in consequence gives a ideal balance. Mendelssohn is always close to your heart, and the Klaviertrio Amsterdam makes sure you stay close too. Fine sound. Recommended.

Mendelssohn - Piano Trio No 1 in D minor, Op 49 (playlist)

The complete Solo Piano Music of Sergei Rachmaninov. Volume 7.

From my collection, bought in 2010.
Third listen.
CD 7, running time: 51:42.
Label: Hyperion cds 44041/8.
Engineer: Caroline Dorey.
Recorded in 1978.
Video posted previously.
See also reviews of CD 1-6.

  • Variations on a theme of Chopin, opus 22.
  • Variations on a theme of Corelli, opus 42.
Howard Shelley, Piano.

Exquisite pieces! Such invigorating compositions, moulded into masterpieces by this very able pianist.
I could elaborate on that for a long time, but I will refrain from that, because listening will tell you all you need to know. I will say this however, that it will not be very likely you find better performances as the present ones. Sound is as always excellent too.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Some major ordering of new CD'S as in the olden days at JPC

The SQ by Holmboe, a mighty task, but one I will master with pleasure

The Viola and Violin Concertos are sublime, they amaze me!

Eberl is a contemporary from Beethoven, and these concerti let you hear, that he was as good.

Weinberg's SQ are by no means easy listening material, but the first two volumes told me of enough genius to go for it.

Believe it or not, but I had not one CD with his music in my collection, and these samples sounded marvelous.

Stenhammar his SQ were not yet in my collection, and since I like his music very much, this was the right chance.

I was always a firm admirer of Wolf Ferrari since I heard his Violin Concertos, and this disc is beautiful.

The first 3 Volumes amazed me, and this Volume will be no exception.

Juon, Paul, (1872-1940) The String Quartets, CD 1.

New acquisition. Purchase year: 2018. First listen: 17-3-2018. Label: CPO. CD 1 from 2. Recording dates: January 2014. Venue: Studio I...