Thursday, November 28, 2013

Claudio Monteverdi. Vespro della beata vergine da concerto. Composto sopra canti fermi. ( Venezia 1610) nuova trascrizione di Rinaldo Alessandrini.

Bought in November 2013.
First listen.
Label Naive.
Recording dates: April 2004.
Recording venue: Palazzo Farnese, Rome,  Italy.
Recording engineer: Pierre-Antoine Signoret..
Running time: 2 CD'S  95:00.

I have heard in my life many performances of this work, and there are certainly interpretations I prefer to this one, but that said, I think this is a very worthwhile performance. Alessandrini and his singers have an established style, in the way they sing and apply dynamics. This you either like or dislike, there is no middle way in this. Although I dislike some of the dynamics in the singing, especially if they function as a choir, the magic in this work comes out clearly enough. And in the end the pluses add up more as the things that have my thumb down. Its also Monteverdi's strong composition, that makes it hard to ruin it totally, unless you are using a children choir from some village in a far away country. So it is with pleasure that I listen to this release, for the dueting is at times extremely beautiful, and the structural unity is something to be marveled at.  The recording is clear, and suits the style of Concerto Italiano. A tad forward, and certain dynamics are quite frontal. But there is depth, and detail a plenty. 






Stefano Landi. ( circa 1586-1639) Homo fugit velut umbra.

Bought in November 2013.
First listen.
Label: Alpha.
Recording dates: June 2001.
Recording venue: Not mentioned.
Country and town of recording. France, Paris.
Recording engineer: Hugues Deschaux.
Running time: 54:56.
Box with 6 CD'S.
CD II.


Into the second CD of this box, and meeting aural and musical satisfaction. Let me say this, if you want to explore this music, this is a disc to go for. The singing is at its peak in creativity, and at a height in vocal perfection. Johanette Zomer, a Dutch soprano, who works primarily in France, is a gem amongst the soprano's I know so far. She blends in fantastically with the other participants, so the duetting is nothing short of a sumptuous delight. The instrumental pieces do not leave anything to be desired. In short this bodes well for the rest of the set. You could wake me in the middle of the night for this. The sound is state of the art.




Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger. (1580-1651) La Villanella.

Bought in November 2013.
First listen.
Label Alpha.
Recording dates: June 2000.
Recording venue: Not mentioned.
Running time: 63:08.
Recorded in Paris.
Recording engineer: Hugues Deschaux.
CD I from VÎ.

The first of six CD's in this very inexpensive box, are all six CD'S Christina Pluhar made for the label Alpha. There is a certainty of quality you can expect with Pluhar, and this is what you get, highly polished and distinguished recordings of some fine music, beginning with the one above. I must admit I enjoyed this more as I thought, having previously heard some things I did not much like, but this Kapsberger CD has all you can get from this music. Drama in fine lines, passion in hefty strides, contemplation in waves of intimacy, its all there for grabs. The singing of the solo team is excellent, and their awareness of the text is exemplary, coupled with a state of the art recording, and methinks you should run to the nearby shop and buy this beauty, without thinking. Its gone before you know it.



CD I from the box below.


Joseph Haydn. String Quartets, opus 20, No. 1/5/6.

Bought in November 2013.
First listen.
Label Naive.
Recording dates: Not mentioned.
Recording venue: Not mentioned.
Recording engineer: Not mentioned.
Running time: Not mentioned.
( As a sideline I must remark, that omitting all these technicalities is a serious omission from this label. And unnecessary.)

CD 1.

My first period instruments set of Haydn's SQ, and its bullseye all the way. What a joy to hear these works finally on period instruments, for previous undetected details afloat all the time. Almost every movement is a new discovery for me, so I will not single one out, for I single all out. The Mosaiques are a fabulous body of musicians, that get every ounce of music out of it what's in it. Even Haydn would revel in it. Just the Adagio and Finale from Quartet No. 5 are breathtaking, but that really goes for all. Wonderful start of this set. We would like much more of this. The sound is pristine, as lucid as a waterdrop. The booklet has a chaotic set up, but has all the info needed. Definitively a WOW factor.


Josef Bohuslav Foerster. Complete Solo Piano Music.

Bought in November 2013.
First listen.
Recording dates, 2010-2013.
Recording venue: Sound Studio HAMU, Prague.
Recording engineer: Ondrej Urban.
Running time: 73:41.
Label: Brilliant.
Box with 4 CD'S.
CD 1.

Works:

Dreaming, opus 47, 1898.
Roses of remembrance, opus 49, 1902.
Evening music, opus 79, 1904.
Charcoal sketches, opus 136, 1927.
Impressions, opus 73, 1908-09.


This box came today with other goodies by post, brought by a overtaxed postwoman, who complained I got too many packages with CD'S. :)
This box with music by Foerster was totally financed by crowdfunding, for in essence nobody was interested in recording these works, which were never recorded before. After hearing the first CD, I am glad that this project came to light, by a group of supporters that saw the value of these forgotten gems. Foerster's piano works are characterized overwhelmingly by lyricism and by colourful, sometimes idiosyncratic harmonic progressions with touches of free counterpoint. The music-passionate while never self indulgent-is often fluid in tempo and dynamics, and is unfailingly melodic. The melodies flow like a calm river, never upsetting your boat, but caress you constantly with beautiful strokes of musical affability. Hugging music in the strongest sense. I cannot for the life of me, imagine why these works are never recorded. True its not virtuosic, but that does not mean its easy music. For me they are jewels of the finest colour. The pianist is very good,,and she makes quite a case for these compositions. The recording is good too, but I would have liked a bit more body to the lower regions of the instrument. It will not bother most, but I found this sometimes to be taking away the final touch of aural perfection. Very much recommended, for she and her backers need to be supported for this heroic effort. and because the music is really worthwhile your time and effort. Enjoy.




Thursday, November 21, 2013

Something from my Youth, yes I was young once too.....such memories.

I was the first one in my city who could buy this LP, it was number one fresh from the press. Now I have a high res CD, and I enjoy every minute of it!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Christian Sinding. Symphony No. 3, opus 121 in F major. & No. 4-Rhapsody for Orchestra.

From my collection.
Bought May 2007.
Label: CPO
First listen: 29-3-2007.
Second listen: 21-10-2013. See listening notes.
Third listen: 31-10-2013. See listening notes.
Recording dates: December 2001 & November 2002.
Recording venue: NDR Grosse Sendesaal, Germany.
Recording engineer:  Helge Martensen.
Running time: 76:36.

This is the last time I play this disc, before it goes in my collection. I have listen to Sinding with the utmost pleasure, because the music is of a class that fascinates me, and the performances are the best you could wish for. Sinding has all the ingredients in his creativity to make you aware of the beauty mankind can reach if challenged by what they see, feel, and experience, and put this into music. A romantic by heart, a painter of nature as only Scandinavians can muster, the magic in the writing, Sinding is adept at this, and this comes quite naturally, without force, or hammering it out of his hands. He has a knack for beautiful melodies, and keeps them just long enough on the forefront, to make a devastating impression. I never heard that before, but since I dived into this sound world, I fell from one surprise into another. This note knitting in such a way, that there is no space left, to add, or retract anything, just being perfect utterings of a very bright light in our musical heritage. Lets not waste our time, lets spend it on Christian Sinding, amongst other luminaries.



Tinto. Los Otros

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 18-10-2013. See listening notes.
Label: DHM.
Recording dates: July 2002.
Recording venue: Colnrade church, Germany.
Recording engineer: John Hadden.
Running time: 69:08.

Compositions altered by performers.
Hilde Perl, Lee Santana, Steve Player.

Works by:

Santiago de Murcia
Antonio Martin Y Coll.
Francesco Corbetta.
Angelo Notari.
Girolamo Kapsberger.
Bartolomeo de Selma Y Salaverde.


The music on this CD can be involving or not, depending on your mood. It will serve as fine background music, but also being in front of all. Los Otros have their own particular style in performing attitudes, and that may be not to everyones liking. Together with their particular brand of philosophy which is also lurking just behind the notes, it is definitely an acquired taste. You either like it, or hate it. I am caught in the middle, and still not sure which way the grenade will fall. I simply have to play it a lot of times. Its certainly highly personal music making in which the musicians have an unequal say in altering the compositions in many places, well the composers cannot protest anymore......The recording is good, but some amplification decisions made by Hadden, are not in line with good recording practices. And as funny as it may sound after this mild diatribe, I still can enjoy what I hear.



Ernest Bloch. Symphony in C sharp minor. & Poems of the Sea,

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 13-9-2013. See listening notes.
Second listen: 6-11-2013. See listening notes.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates: November 2011.
Recording venue: Abbey Road, Studio 1, London, England.
Recording engineer: Arne Akselberg.
Running time: 68:26.

 Two works of a composer of which there is not much in my collection, but I am glad I have them, for with every playing these works get better all the time. Multi layered the works are, which needs concentrated listening, for its secrets will only be revealed for those that take time and effort to explore them. They can be big boned, or deeply mysterious, intimate or brash, gentle or rough, colours, or B&W, the compass is turning full circle with Ernest Bloch. Everyone will find something in it what is recognizable, or akin to one's perceptions. The works have a quality that deepens with every hearing. Of hand they may sound rather superficial, and thats the tragic of these compositions, but keep heart, just try it several times, and the musical content will blossom. Good sound and performance.




Dora Pejacevic. Symphony, opus 41, in F sharp minor. & Phantasie Concertante, opus 48, for Piano & orchestra in D minor.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 26-6-2013. See listening notes.
Second listen: See listening notes.
Label: CPO
Recording dates: June 2008.
Recording venue: Ludwigshafen, Philharmonie, Germany.
Recording engineer: Stephan Reh.
Running time: 62:42.


Don't think for a moment that this is music for the soft hearted amongst you. Pejacevic is a very passionate composer, who writes in enormous surges of powerful emotions. There is constant pressure and stress on getting the message abroad. And it goes pretty deep at times, out of nowhere a clear statement comes crashing in, that has the capability to get at your throat and heart. This is a woman that has the musical masculinity of a lion with sharp teeth, and a huge appetite to splash out her claws. Every time this CD lands in my player I hear yet another layer of music, that eluded me the first time. Such a pity that she died so terribly young. What might not have emerged from her hands had she lived. Very good performance and recording.






Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Howard Hanson. Orchestral Works.

Bought in 2012.
From my collection.
First listen: 8-6-2012.
Recording dates: January & May 1992.
Recording venue: Not mentioned in the info.
Recording engineer: John Eargle.
Running time: 67:51.

Works:

Mosaics (1958)
Piano Concerto in G major. (1948)
Symphony No. 5, "Sinfonia Sacra" (1954)
Symphony No. 7,  "A sea Symphony". (1977)

I played it long ago, once, and then left it to gather dust. My old review is somewhere in the faults of GMG, and hard to find, another reason for this blog, so I begin afresh with this CD. This is typical Hanson, who has its roots clearly in Scandinavian woods. Two works made an impression right away,  Mosaics and Symphony No. 5, but where Mosaics was a constant work of great purpose, the 5th symphony runs a bit out of the rail, the music has the speed and urgency of a fast train, and rather defeats the title of the work, nothing Sacred about it. Its a work of great insistence and quite unsettling. I am not sure wether I like it or not. The Piano concerto has its moments, certainly, but for me its not a outstanding work, it stands on too many legs, without making a choice.
The 7th Symphony, well let me put it like this, I really dislike the first Symphony of VW, so this one is going down bad too. The orchestral parts are at times very beautiful, but Choral singing is a no no go for me. Therefore I have no opinion about this work, apart from the fact that I personally dislike it.
The sound throughout is good and detailed.


Marcel Tyberg, Symphony No. 2 & Piano sonata, No. 2.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 7-8-2013. See listening notes.
Second listen: 5-11-2013. See listening notes.
Recording dates. May-April 2011 & April 2012.
Recording venues: Kleinhans Music Hall, Buffalo, New York & Grosses Funkstudio SWR Stuttgart, Germany.
Recording engineers: Tim Handley & Oliver Curdt.
Running time: 74:57.

I have said in previous reviews what there was to say, please read them back.
In all respects a wonderful disc. Recommended.





Julius Rontgen. Piano Concertos No. 2 & 4.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 29-7-2013. See listening notes.
Second listen: 7-11-2013. See updated listening notes.
Video posted: 29-7-2013.
Recording dates: May 2008.
Recording venue: Grosser Sendesaal, NDR Hannover.
Recording engineer: Martin Lohmann.
Running time: 59:24.


All what has been going through my ears is written in both previous reviews. Its another pearl in the crown of Rontgen. I am grateful to CPO for recording the music by Rontgen, and hope much more is to come.




Sunday, November 17, 2013

Spanish Gypsies. Celtic and Spanish music in Shakespeare's England.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 13-9-2013. See listening notes.
Second listen: 21-9-2013. See listening notes.
Recording dates: April 1999.
Recording venue: St George's Cambridge.
Recording engineer: John Hadden.
Running time: 71:12.


One of the best discs I heard from this ensemble. Wrote all I had to say in previous reviews. (See above)
Its a great pleasure to listen to it again.


Frederico de Freitas. Orchestral Works.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 25-7-2013. See listening notes.
Video posted on: 25-7-2013.
Second listen: 7-11-2013. See listening notes.
Recording dates: August 2012.
Recording venue: Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland.
Recording engineer: Phil Rowlands.
Running time: 70:15.

Freitas is a expert orchestrator, and one that sets your heart at a jolly beat.
See my previous reviews.









Vagn Holmboe. Concertos for Viola, Violin. Concerto for Orchestra.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 1-8-2013. Video posted. See listening notes.
Second listen: 6-11-2013. See listening notes.
Recording dates: June 2011.
Recording venue: De Geerhallen, Norrkoping.
Recording engineer: Preben Iwan.
Running time: 59:28.

Sunday evening fare. Wrote a lot in my first and second review about this disc.
One of the best CD'S I heard this year, and a absolute favorite.  The recording is stunning.
And the music, well it stretched my imagination, and enriched me with sumptuous rewards. 
Buy it,  the music will embrace you.




A Marriage of England and Burgundy.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 10-10-2013. See listening notes.
Recording dates: August 1999 & January 2000.
Recording venue: St Andrew's Church, Toddington, Gloucestershire, England.
Recording engineer: Tony Faulkner.
Running time: 74:48.

Anonymous. ( Walter Frye (d 1474) ?
Missa Sine Nomine.
Missa Summe Trinitati.

Antoine Busnois ( c 1430-1492)
Regina Coeli I and II.

Anonymous ( Busnois) 
O, pulcherrima mulierum/Girum coeli circuivi.
Incomprehensibilia firme/Praeter rerum ordinem.


A wonderful disc from this ensemble, played late Saturday evening, with some strong beers inside, made a perfect close of the evening. The singing is near perfect as is the interpretation. Sound is very realistic. Recommended.


Louis Theodore Gouvy. Orchestral Works. Symphonies, No. 1 & 2.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 30-7-2013. Video posted. See listening notes.
Second listen: 11-11-2013. See listening notes.
Recording dates: October 2008.
Recording venue: Funkhaus Halberg, Musik studio 1.
Recording engineer: Thomas Becher.

Played on Saturday evening, and I can only say read my previous reviews.
I enjoy this composer very much. There are many influences, especially Mendelssohn, but somehow he keeps his own musical imprint intact. Very much worth your while.





Saturday, November 16, 2013

Julius Rontgen. Violin Concertos.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 19-6-2013. See listening notes.
Second listen: 24-10-2013.
Recording dates: April 2009.
Recording venue: Ludwigshafen, Philharmonie, Germany.
Recording engineer: Holger Urbach. ( Not sure about him)
Running time: 73:26.

Violin Concerto in A minor & F sharp minor.
Ballad for Violin & Orchestra.

I wrote quite extensively about these Violin concertos and recording, so I will refrain from repeating this. This is for me one of the top discs of 2013, from a much underrated Dutch composer. In the Violin literature these concertos are on elysian heights. Possible the finest examples of their time.
One word! "BUY"


Friday, November 15, 2013

Alessandro Melani. ( 1639-1703) Mottetti par Luca della libera.

Bought in November 2013.
First listen.
Disc 1 of a set of 7.
Budget-price.
Label: Naive.
Recording dates: October 2006.
Recording venue: Not mentioned. 
Country of recording: Italy, Rome.
Recording engineer: Jean Pierre Loisil.
Running time: 67:00.

Concerto Italiano, Rinaldo Alessandrini, (Organ and conductor.)

Arrived today this box with 7 CD'S from the label Naive, a respectable firm, that delivers high quality interpretations. I was very surprised that Naive released this box, for its dead cheap, and I always saw that those CD'S are sold at full-price, almost never any discount. So lets hope more is to come.
And yes I am aware that quite a few budget boxes of this label came on the market, but often with music I had already. This box contains some known and unknown masters, and the first one I took out was the CD with the Mottetti by a composer named Melani, of which I knew a few snippets of music, but not really that much. I am pleasantly surprised by the melodiousness of the music, and the warmth with which it is sung. Technically this is near perfect. I could have done with somewhat softer singing, but that is really a minor protest. Soprano's have no added vibrato, and give us very clean singing. The choir is nicely differentiated, and all voices are heard to full effect. Melani was a man driven by a religious passion that permeates all of his compositions on this disc. He gives every line grace, brings over the message in a convincing way. Recording is a bit forward, so you have to dose this with your volume button. Clean recording though.

From this box



This CD.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

This box is a real bargain, so I ordered it.

6 Alpha recordings for 24,95 euro's at JPC de. Grab it before it is gone.




Frank Bridge, Orchestral Works. The Collector's Edition. The Hickox Legacy.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 28-8-2013. See listening notes.
Recording dates: September 2001 and May 2003.
Recording venue: Brangwyn Hall, Swansea.
Recording engineer: Ralph Couzens.
Running time: 69:51.

Works:

Coronation March.
Summer, Tone poem.
Phantasm,  for piano and orchestra.
There is a willow Grows aslant a brook, for small orchestra.
Vignettes de danse, for small orchestra.
Sir Roger de Coverley, ( A Christmas dance) for large orchestra.

I remember that I have listened to this disc, but was so intoxicated by the music that I forgot to write a review I think, or write down a date. ( Found it, yay, see above) Anyways I have been since long an admirer of Bridge his music, so quintessential English, that this could not come from anywhere else. He is in many ways a traditionalist, but not adverse to some modern streaks of light, which can penetrate quite forcefully. As in Phantasm, a fine work, but not a work you warm instantly to, although you admire the man's technical ability to score very precise, to great affect. For this music gets to you vehemently. Summer on the other hand is a typical dreamlike work, that makes you sink into a gratifying relaxation, feeling very safe in this balloon, until the next piece that is. But predominantly this disc is great fun, and easy to approach, with the cherry on the cake in the form of a the masterly orchestrated Sir Roger Coverley.  You will hear how great a master he actually is, and so underrated by the musical establishment. Not by me though, or by Hickox, who makes a feast of listening to this disc. Sadly enough he is not among us anymore, and I consider this a great loss. But at least we have his musical legacy right? Great sound, great performances.



 Disc three from the box below.




Johannes Brahms, Complete solo piano works. Volume IX.

From my collection.
First listen: I have no recollection.
When bought?: Not sure.
Disc 9.
Second listen.
Video posted on 19-9-2013.
Recording dates: 1992.
Recording venue: Clara Wieck Auditorium, Heidelberg, Germany.
Recording engineers: Martin Sauer, Tracks 1-11. Gunther Appenheimer, Tracks 12-14.
Running time: 53:40.

Works:

Theme and variation in D minor.
Gavotte in A major.
Sarabande in A minor.
Gigue in A minor.
Sarabande in B minor.
Gigue in B minor.
Klavierstuck in B flat major.
Canon in F minor.
Canon. ( inverted)
Rakoczy March.
Sarabande in A minor.
Impromptu D 899/2 by Franz Schubert.
Landler D 814, by Franz Schubert.
Scherzo from Piano Quintet by Robert Schumann, opus 44.

As I said in my earlier reviews sprawled over the entire existence of my blog, so from March 2013 onwards, I extolled this box excellence. Hardly anybody knows how good she really is in Brahms, for I never see mention of her or her recordings, and she will never come up as a serious contender on the crowded market. So she is a well kept secret, but a regrettable one, for this set should be wider known. Let me say right away, that for me this box is number one in my estimate of Brahms his solo piano work. I have heard much, which is almost equally good, but never as close as Idil Biret comes to the true nexus of this composer. Be it as it may, disc 9 is a real pleasure, with all these miscellaneous works. Lucid , luminous, fairy touch where needed, robust hammering when needed, deep emotion when asked for. She has all this magic in her fingers. The recording is first rate.


Howard Hanson, Orchestral Works, Volume II. Symphony No. 3 and 6. Fantasy Variations on a Theme of Youth.

From my collection.
Bought in 2011.
Label: Delos.
First listen: 18-5-2011. Listening notes on GMG.
Second listen: 14-5-2013. Listening notes on this blog.
Recording dates: Symphony No. 3, May 1990.
Recording venue: Seattle Opera House.
Recording engineer: Andrew Dawson.

Recording dates: Variations, March, 1990.
Recording venue: BMG Studio A, New York City.
Recording engineer: John Eargle.

Recording dates: Symphony No. 6, October 1989.
Recording venue: Seattle Opera House.
Recording engineer: John Eargle.

Running time: 68:35.


In my previous review I have written quite extensively about the music of Hanson, and particularly this CD.  His music is easy to listen to, and yet not easily understood. Romantically unto the bone, Hanson writes beautiful melodies, that hits a nerve with almost everybody, yet at the same time is elusive in its expression. For behind this easy accessible music is a deeper message, that can be overlooked/heard, if you take the music at face value. Its a yearning for what is behind life, and a plea towards ye Gods that seem to have all the answers, but will not speak. Hanson's music is like a warm embrace as a comfort for the silence of the powers or power that steers the world, and as such he succeeded in my opinion. Hanson is a man that wears his emotions on his sleeve, and has powerful answers to ease the pain of the world. A warm romantic sweep of powerful emotions will be your share if you indulge in this music. And yes it comforts, and opens possible answers to your questions. I know I run a little philosophical, even religious in this, but this music has the elements of both. The readings are exemplary, Gerard Schwarz knows exactly where and how to steer this music to the centre of what this composer is. The recordings, as almost always from Delos are pristine. This music is a no brainer really. This reissue is a box with four CD's, the complete Symphonies with some orchestral compositions added.


From this box:


This CD.







J.S. Bach, Organ Cornucopia. Christopher Herrick on the Metzler organ of Pfarrkirche St. Michael, Kaisten, Switzerland.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 9-9-2013. See extensive listening notes.
Video posted on this blog: 9-9-2013.
Recording dates: April 1999.
Recording engineer: Paul Niederberger.
Running time: 75:20.

I have to admit that my predilection to choose for Herrick if it comes to the music of Bach, is overwhelming. And this CD affirms for me yet again why. His masterly sense for bringing to life even the tiniest of organ compositions Bach wrote, well thats an understatement, for nothing is tiny when it comes to Bach, casts a spell over me. I wrote extensively about this CD in my first review, so please go there if you want to know more and also listen to this CD.
On another note, when I wanted to buy the complete recording of Bach's organ music I quickly found out that it was OOP. So I wrote a email to Hyperion, and they informed me, that they had a copy still lying in their storage which was there for almost 2 years, unwrapped but brandnew as Hyperion told me. I could have it for 80 English pounds. Wondering why it lay unattended for so long in their storage, I had to decline, for my finances stretches only so far, and this was too far, bearing in mind that I already have 3 of the 16 discs contained in this box. So I have to wait for a cheap reissue of this box, or find it somewhere at the right price. Anyways I thought I share this with you all, maybe somehow..........
Wonderfully recorded, this organ gives you a sense of Bach's time.






The Spirits of England & France, Volume IV. Missa Caput. an anonymous English Mass setting from c. 1440, interspersed with the story of the Salve Regina.

Bought in 2013.
First listen.
Recording dates: July 1996.
Recording venue: Not mentioned.
Recording engineer: Tony Faulkner.
Running time: 68:02.

It was a few months ago, that I bought in one sweep 16 Helios Hyperion CD'S. The more you bought, made the discount increase. And since there was the need to catch up, with the old music section in that respect, I finally decided to browse their Helios catalogue. This CD is one of them I bought.
As in the previous instalment with this series, there is not a blemish to be found, but lots of praise to be heaped. Gothic Voices, assembled a slightly different group of singers for Volume IV, but without compromising the harmony in the choir, which is a good thing for the continuity of one's impression.
This anonymous Mass is a fine evocation of its time, mixed with the story of the Salve Regina, tastefully done. One has to remember that it was the most revered mass in the 15th century, and has survived in more than seven manuscripts. This work had a massive influence on composers like Ockeghem and Obrecht, and was used as a model for their own masses. And as a added bonus we get some 15th century carols no less, which are done is a very genial and friendly way. You can not go wrong with this series, for it is well performed and recorded, and a massive enrichment for your collection. Recommended with some vehemence.



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Joseph Haydn, Complete ( well almost) Symphonies. Volume VIII.

Bought in 2013.
First listen.
Recording dates: April 1990 & March 1991.
Recording venue: Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London, England.
Recording engineer: Not specified.
Running time: 52:27.

Symphonies No. 9/12/13.

Well compared with CD 7 from this box, this is a major improvement in ensemble playing. Its more tighter as before, and the tempi are somehow more to the point, details emerge more lucidly. So did not need coffee to stay awake.




Nikolai Miaskovsky, Complete Symphonies and other orchestral Works. Volume 16.

From my collection.
Bought in 2009.
First listen: 22-3-2012.
Recording dates: Unknown.
Recording venue: Unknown.
Recording engineer: Unknown.
Running time: 77:37.

Links, opus 65.
Divertissement, opus 80.
Alastor. Poeme d'apres Shelley, opus 14.

Well as expected I have played this box for the second time in less than 12 months, which is something of a record, considering that the last time took me almost 4 years to complete. Beginning with CD 1 on 18-5-2009, and ending on the 22-3-2012 with CD 16. I am certainly going to play it a third time beginning this year, into 2014, for there is much what I still need to discover about this composer, and his music. It is far too complex to grasp the essence of Miaskovsky in just 2 complete hearings of all his Symphonies. This I realized already in an early stage. The man has a complex personality, and his music reflects it, by giving us many riddles, in the form of compositions hard to define, such is its uniqueness.  The CD starts with one of my favorite pieces of this composer, namely Links, a work that has a lightheartedness almost foreign to his oeuvre, but it is not light in quality, for the piece is wonderfully put together, with many a mesmerizing detail, that covers all your curiosity about what is to come. The opus 80 is a more robust work, with a fine Adagio in it, that opens a fiesta undefined but wonderfully assembled.
Alastor, is a very sinister piece of work that catches the writings of Shelley admirably, and at some places is captivating and gruesome at the same time. Well written!
It is played with all the vehemence Svetlanov can muster from this orchestra, aided by good sound.
A fine close. Soon CD 1 again!





Joseph Haydn, String Quartets, on authentic instruments, by Quatuor Mosaiques.

I saw this box coming by, and since I wanted a performance of these quartets on authentic instruments, and seeing the performers who got rave reviews all around, and 10 CD'S for a budget price I thought why not. I would like to invite some advice in this, you can email me too about this.




Louis Spohr, Symphonic Works, Volume III.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 2-7-2013. See listening notes.
Second listen: 23-10-2013.
Recording dates: November 2007 and December 2009.
Recording venue: Grosser Sendesaal des NDR Landesfunkhauses. Germany.
Recording engineer: Bjorn Brigsne.
Running time: 62:09.

Symphony No. 1, opus 20 in E flat major.
No. 6, opus 116 in G major, Historical Symphony, in the style and taste of four different periods.
Concert overture, opus 12 in C minor.

I think I said all I had to say about this CD in my first review, and a little added in the second. The first Symphony and the Concert overture are both fine works, but the 6th Symphony is hopelessly outdated, and not of a very good quality to sustain repeated listening. But that may be for others differently. You must take in account the story behind the writing of this work. The performance and sound are very good. Its budget price at the moment and therefore well worth the small investment for the opus 20 & opus 12.




Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Joseph Haydn. Symphonies, complete. No 6-8. Volume VII.

Bought in 2013.
First listen.
Recording dates: October 1990.
Recording venue: Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London.
Recording engineer: Is not specified.
Running time: 75:57.

Symphony No 6 in D major.
No.7 in C major.
No. 8 in G major.

Despite the fact that all is well recorded and perfectly performed, my eyes are constantly fighting to stay open. That's because the music is performed in a slow going hypnotic fashion, which has huge benefits, but I like my Haydn a bit more faster as this. I know that many will disagree with me, and thats okay. But I want to have fun and rock from my seat, when listening to these works, without being confronted with a performing style, that has a gentlemen's grandeur and alas a matching tempo. The menuetto's are a point in case, many perform it in a old man's trot, Hogwood not excepted, and the allegro's could use some extra fire too. So you see, with me its all about tempo, and promoting all those little felicities Haydn builds in these symphonies. Both are more or less too little on the foreground. That is not to say that all tempi's are slow, not at all, the Finale of No 7, or the first movement of No. 8, is an example that I should like to hear more often. But with Hogwood a Allegro could mean many things. Its really a hit or miss thing here.
So yes this box is well worth hearing, but for me that means a few cups of strong coffee added to the pleasure.







Johann Strauss II, The Complete Orchestral Edition. Volume 19,

Bought in 2011.
First listen.
Recording dates: 16-18 September 1989.
Recording venue: House of Arts, Kosice.
Recording engineer:Gejza Toperczer.
Running time: 63:56.
CD No. 19 from 52.


Works:
Hail Austria, March, opus 371.
Village Tales, Waltz in Landler Style, opus 47.
Electromagnetic Polka, opus 110.
Legal Amendments, Waltz, opus 146. * Novellen.
Languishing Admirers Quadrille, opus 48. * Seladon-Quadrille.
Students Joy, Waltz, opus 285.
Episode, French Polka, opus 296.
Roses from the South, Waltz, opus 388.
Student Travels, French Polka, opus 389.
The first day of Happiness, opera by DFE Auber, Quadrille, opus 327.
Be Embraced Ye Millions, opus 443.

Slovak State PO, Kosice, Alfred Walter.

I have used the English translation of the German titles of the pieces to make it easier to understand it for English speaking people, although in some cases the title was totally different from the original, as noted with an asterisk. *
This set was gathering dust in my listening room, and it took me rather long to get to disc 19, and this is not because the music is bad, no, not at all, but a box with 52 CD'S is daunting to say the least, so somehow it stopped being played some months ago. So I took it to the office, and will try to play the rest on a regular basis.
A lot of enjoyable music, as you might expect from a composer that loved to spread around him good cheer, and impress the multitude of ladies swarming around him.  Opus 388 and 443 are well known to lovers of his music, and the rest is rather unknown to most. Of them I enjoyed the opus 48 very much for its quirky rhythm.  Its all high grade stuff from the Waltz king, and so will please you mightily as it did me! The performances are good, but do not expect high level playing, for this is not a top grade orchestra, and doesn't pretend to be that either. What I noticed is that the further we get into this set the playing gets better every time, so they go and they learn, also a unique process to follow I think. Alfred Walter who is conducting CD 19, is a very experienced conductor, he died a couple of years ago, and he gets quite good playing out of the old boys of this orchestra. Tempi are good, and everything flows beautifully along. The sound is more than adequate.  Enjoy!






Louis Spohr, Symphonies Volume II.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 19-6-2013. See listening notes.
Second listen: 15-10-2013.
Recording dates: February 2006 and August-November 2007.
Recording venue: Grosser Sendesaal des NDR Landesfunkhauses, Germany.
Recording engineer: Bjorn Brigsne.
Running time: 68:46.

Symphony No. 2 opus 49, in D minor.
Symphony No. 8 opus 137, in G major.
Concert overture, "Im ernsten Stil, opus 126, in D major.

Its wonderful to have the Symphonies of Spohr in such good sound and performances. He was long neglected, shunned even by the classical music connoisseurs, who thought it was beneath their dignity to listen to a derivative of Beethoven. Such stupidity we see more often, there are examples aplenty.
Symphony No. 2 has certainly pointers towards Beethoven, or is it the other way around? Spohr has its own unique and highly original approach, and it is but normal that he incorporates influences from around his cultural circle. That does not mean he is derivative as a composer, far from it. The music on this disc is well written, and there's not a single boring moment in it. You just have to attune your ears to his idiom, and all will be well above and overboard, spilled like ripe cherries. Enjoy them.





Monday, November 11, 2013

Artur, Eugen & Villem Kapp, Orchestral Works.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 31-7-2013.
Second listen: 2-10-2013.
Third listen: 1-11-2013.
See for listening notes and technical details any one of the dates mentioned above.


This is the Fourth time that I play this disc, and for now it will be the last time, after this is will go into my collection. I have written in my previous reviews how much I admire this music, and regret there is not much more of these high quality recordings of either of the Kapp family, so I guess we must be thankful to have at least this Chandos disc. You can not really go wrong with the music or performance so indulge yourself.


Andrzej Panufnik. Symphonic Works, Volume 4.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 13-8-2013.
Recording dates: April-October 2010.
Recording venue:  Not mentioned on the disc.
Recording engineer: Hajo Seiler.
Running time: 62:09.

Sinfonia Elegiaca. ( Symphony No. 2)
Sinfonia Sacra. ( Symphony No. 3)
Symphony No. 10.

I wrote in detail about this recording and I stick to every word of that. This is so far the best disc I heard from this composer, the works on it profoundly move me. These compositions are so akin to what I see as the ultimate expression of emotions into music, that it nearly brings me to the verge of phenomenal bliss.
Panufnik is a master of extreme contrasts, from the contemplative, to stark expressions on percussion, its all there, but in such a innovative way, that it is deadly effective in its message. Another pearl in my musical top CD'S 2013. He is definitively a composer that made me rethink musical values, and in the process found music that will stay with me forever. The recording is state of the art, and the performance will hardly be bettered any time soon. 




Louis Theodore Gouvy. Symphonies No. 1 & 2.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 30-7-2013. See listening notes.
Video posted: 30-7-2013.
Recording dates: 20-24 October, 2008.
Recording venue: Funkhaus Halberg, Musikstudio 1, Saarbrucken, Germany.
Recording engineer: Thomas Becher.
Running time: 63:23.

Symphony No. 1 opus 9, in E flat major.
Symphony No. 2, opus 12, in F major.


Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrucken Kaiserslautern, Jacques Mercier.

Highly melodious, friendly music, that is well defined, and has beautiful treats along the way, in the form of well scored, and musical interesting details. You will never be bored, and always put a sunny smile upon your face. That said, this music demands your close attention, otherwise you will loose interest. Not that it is bad music, but your mind quickly starts wandering along those melodic lines, and before you know it you're lost along those lines, for they tend to merge into a concentrated package of beauty. Compare it to a warm summer day in the rural country of France, a field full a yellow corn, waving, heat shimmering above the field, you lazy laying on your back looking at the sharp blue sky, heat making you drowsy, that sort of thing. It is well performed and recorded, no blemish there. I really like his music, for giving me such imagery. 




Friday, November 8, 2013

Sergei Ivanovich Taneyev. String Trios.

Bought in November 2013.
First listen.
Recording dates: 19-19 Januari 2008.
Recording venue: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England.
Recording engineer: Simon Eadon.
Running time: 67:29.

Works:

String Trio in E flat major, opus 31.
In B minor
In D major.

Came in by the post today, and decided to play this right away. And what a delight this disc is. Beautifully recorded,  they are reference recordings. It will be hard finding better performances of these trios. I could say a lot about what I hear, but believe me listening to them will give more rewards as all my words can.



Giya Kancheli. Orchestral Works.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 31-7-2013. See listening notes.
Video posted on 1-8-2013.
Recording dates.1-2 September 2004.
Recording venue: Grand Hall of Moscow Conservatory.
Recording engineer: Igor Veprintsev.
Running time: 64:59.

Giya Kancheli is for me one of the great master still living. A composer I admire enormously, and has earned my respect when I started listening to his Symphonies. This CD could on its own convince me of how great a composer he really is. This mix of melodiousness and extreme emotional outburst couched in harsh but a tonal idiom. True, he stretches tonality to its utmost, but in such a elegant way, that I cannot possibly protest. These long stretches of contemplative music, clusters of music, well defined within each group, very straightforward if it comes to the logic of these composition. In some ways he reminds me of Panufnik. "Simi" has as a description "Bleak reflections" and it really is, but very beautiful, very! "Mourned by the wind" written originally for Viola, is transposed to cello, and that works rather well, I even prefer this choice. "A Liturgy in Memoriam" well its just that, all emotions you can think of, that come to you when a person dies, that is well loved, you get it brutally honest and heart rendering, one of those compositions that go straight for your heart. One of my top CD'S 2013 for sure.
State of the art recording!




Thursday, November 7, 2013

Julius Rontgen. Piano concertos No. 2 & 4.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 29-7-2013. See listening notes.
Recording dates: May 2008.
Recording venue: Grosser Sendesaal, NDR, Hannover, Germany.
Recording engineer: Martin Lohmann.
Running time: 59:24.


Re-reading my listening notes of these Piano concertos I was rather harsh about the pianist, but in hindsight I might have been in the mood for gentle music and not for these Brahmsian powerhouses that made me write this way. O, well!
 I still think that the piano is too forwardly placed, nevertheless I did some background reading and looked on internet at samples of the scores, and sure enough it convinced me of the fact that how this is played is the right way, so I take back some unpleasant things I said about the pianist, for they were not in character. Brahms is the basis for expression of this music, powerful emotions, and bravura playing, virtuosic display, and showing off what Rontgen could accomplish, and so this recording fits with his thinking. The orchestra is in great form too, Porcelijn keeps the wind under the desks, and lets the music never slacken into a trickle. Very much aware of the fine scoring Rontgen provided. These concertos should be part of the performing music literature, but alas are not. Wonderful music, so much in line with anything else I have heard of this composer, a constant stream of high quality works.




Frederico de Freitas. Orchestral works.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 25-7-2013. See listening notes.
Recording dates: August 2012.
Recording venue: Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland.
Recording engineer: Phil Rowlands.
Running time: 70:15.

Works:
The Silly Girl's Dance.
The Wall of Love.
Medieval Suite.
Ribatejo.

This is a wonderful CD in all respects. Musical it's extremely rewarding, and we have a state of the art recording here, made by the reliable engineer, Phil Rowlands. The only quibble I have hear is that the tempi could have been a tad faster in certain places. But for the rest I stick to my earlier review.




Havergal Brian. Symphonies Nos. 22/23/24, and the English Suite, No. 1.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 26-7-2013. See listening notes.
Recording dates:26-31 of August 2012.
Recording venue: Studio 5, Russian State & Radio Company, Kultura, Moscow.
Recording engineers: Alexsander Karasev, Gennady Trabantov.
Running time: 65:27.


I read back my first review, and I more or less remain with what I penned down. Symphonies No 22/23/24 are not the easiest works to listen too. Rather hard boiled music, were little mercy is shown to your ears. Its volatile with insistent rhythms pounding your ears, with hardly respite, in which you might take a breath. Its really a concrete block of sound, in which it is hard to get some emotional warmth on the table. And its quite a technical meal, for the scoring is excellent, but do not get your hopes up, if you expect pretty music. Brian keeps that as a dessert in the form of the English Suite.
The music works well, if you had a couple of tins of Canon, thats a strong beer of 11%  made by Dutch brewers, which will knock you flat, so you will not be able to run away from the music. :)
I think the interpretation somewhat detached, albeit it is played very well. The sound is excellent.





I consider this my last integral set of Bach's complete Organ music, unless.......

My last integral set, unless Christopher Herrick's Hyperion set is re-released, which I think is doubtful, or finally Ewald Kooimans ...