Friday, January 31, 2014

Maurice, Pierre. (1868-1936) Orchestral works.

Bought in 2012.
Label: Sterling CDS 1053-2.
First listen.
Recording dates: January 2003.
Recording venue: Mosfilm Studios Moscow, Russia.
Recording engineer: Vitaly Ivanov.
Running time: 78:17.

Works.
1) La Nuit tous les chats sont gris. Overture, opus 35. (1924)
2) Pecheur d'Islande. Impressions musicales d'apres Pierre Loti, opus 8. (1895).
3) Francesca da Rimini, Poeme Symphonique d'apres Dante, opus 6. (1899).
4) Daphne, Prelude pour Orchestre, opus 2 bis. (1894-97)
5) Persephone, Suite pour Orchestre, opus 38. (1930)
6) Fugue pour instruments a Cordes, opus 20. (1901)

Performers.
Moscow SO, Adriano.

Again a composer that should not have been forgotten, for he can easily stand next to Debussy and all akin composers. He paints a dreamlike landscape in many of his works, impressionistic and colourful. Some filigree detail makes this an intimate experience, like a satin veil falling over you, which allows you to hear all the detail that is unfolding before your ears and eyes. For this composer is a tone painter, very assured brushstrokes, never hesitating which colour to use, or to fill in the idea itself. I am very impressed by his artistry, and am heartily happy that Sterling allows us so many insights into composers we normally would never see or hear. His teachers were Massenet, Faure, Lavignac, and  Gedalge, so no wonder that his music is so imbued with the French school, although being born in  Switzerland .  He spend a lot of his live in Germany, almost 20 years, and that left spores behind in his music, which is essentially late romantic. Gustav Mahler was a staunch supporter of his orchestral music,  praise from a master indeed. One could say that his inspiration was universal, he composed  beautiful and sensitive music, with an extraordinary and remarkable orchestral palette. 
And it must be said, that the conductor understands all this, and steers the Moscow SO, safely and balanced through this music. The recording is excellent. Another pearl in the crown of Sterling records. The booklet is exemplary, containing a lot of info on the music, as it should be.




Noskowski, Zygmunt. (1846-1909) Orchestral Works, Volume II.

Bought in 2012.
First listen.
Label: Sterling CDS 1093-2.
Recording dates: March 2009.
Recording venue: Polish Radio, Warsaw, Lutoslawski Concert Studio.
Recording engineer: Lech Dudzik & Gabriela Blicharz.
Running time: 52:57.

Works.
Symphony No. 2 in C minor. "Elegijna". (1875-79)
Commemorative Sounds. (1904-05)
Variations in E minor on an original theme, ( before 1883)

Performers.
Polish Radio Orchestra, Lukasz Borowicz.

This is a composer worth to be explored. The Symphony No. 2 makes a grand entrance with its well built structures, abound with powerful messages and ditto melodies. Its well crafted in the Romantic mould, and full of fine music, that delight and surprise at the same time. However the message behind this music was the anti Tsarist January uprising (1863) and this you hear back in all the movements, thats the powerful side, the way in which it is incorporated into the music, shows his craftsmanship. A composer that clearly knows how to orchestrate in a economic and forceful way. A excellent work, that deserves repeated listening. The Commemorative Sounds are truly what they say a showcase as there ever was with march themes that are on the same par as what Johann Strauss wrote, but in this case its more symphonically written into the work. It also shows better and more tight orchestration as what Strauss did. The Variations is a masterwork, and can be used as a personal advertisement for his compositional abilities. The delicacy it displays again proves what a creative composer he really was. I will look out for the recording of the first Symphony, when it comes along for the right price. And as the cream on the pudding we get Lukasz Borowicz as a conductor, who has recorded the excellent Panufnik series on CPO, and his qualities are on clear display on this CD. He leads the orchestra in a efficient way, and keeps the reins tight.  A muscular and rhythmical sensation. Very good sound too. Recommended. 



Thursday, January 30, 2014

A found another title that I missed in JPC sale, corrected that :)








Thieriot, Ferdinand. (1836-1919) Chamber Music, Volume I.

Bought in 2012.
Label: Toccata Classic, TOCC 0080.
First listen.
Recording dates: September 2007.
Recording venue: Tymmo-Kirche, Lutjensee, near Hamburg, Germany.
Recording engineer: David Lefeber.
Running time: 77:56.

Works.
1) Piano Quintet in D major, opus 20
2) Theme and Variations, opus 29, for two Cellos and Piano.
3) String sextet in D major.

Performers: Hamburg Chamber Players.

Yes he composes in the tradition of Johannes Brahms, but do not think he is slavishly copying him. Thieriot is very much his own man, and if anything its a worthy follow up, on this great master. He studied with the same mentor as Brahms did, namely Eduard Marxsen. And he studied under Rheinberger a considerable composer himself. Thieriot is a master in harmony: well he almost lived for it, by what I hear. His works are demanding, the musicians must be on a high level to pull of his music successfully, otherwise it gets chaos all over the place. Sweet lovely music, made to please even the highest aesthetics of the public. But he is completely forgotten, and that has all to do with the fact that the Red Army when in Germany (1943) confiscated all the manuscripts with the works of Thieriot and shipped them to Leningrad, and stored them in some basement. During a flooding in 1983, a worker found them, and in the nick of time rescued them before they were totally destroyed, All returned to Hamburg in 1991, but a lot of it was seriously damaged, but they are still working on that. I really look forward to the 10 Symphonies he wrote, by the sound of the chamber music, that should prove to be very interesting. In the mean time, forgotten he may be, but remember he is considered every bit as good as Johannes Brahms, and as we know he was no bad composer either. ( A grin on my face) So by all means try this composer, he is worth your attention and money.
The performances are very good, as is the recording. Wonderful!




Klughardt, August. (1847-1902) and Gernsheim, Friedrich. (1839-1916) Orchestral works.

Bought in 2012.
Label: Sterling CDS 1096-2.
First listen.
Recording dates: October 2002, Klughardt. (Live recording) July 1995, Gernsheim.
Recording venue: Not named. (Klughardt) Kaiserslautern Studio, Germany,(Gernsheim)
Recording engineer: Karl Heinz Albinsky, (Klughardt)  Sigurd Krumpfer. (Gernsheim)
Running time: 51:07.

Works.
Klughardt: "Lenore" Symphonic Poem in four movements. (Symphony No 2, opus 27)
Gernsheim: Zu einem drama. Tone Poem for large orchestra, opus 82.

Performers.
Klughardt: 
Anhaltische Philharmonie, Manfred Mayrhofer.

Gernsheim:
SWR Radiofunkorchester, Kaiserslautern, Klaus Arp.


Both composers on this disc are relatively well known, especially Gernsheim, followed by Klughardt who is still in and on the programs of live performances in Germany. Both composers are balanced in quality of music, and creativity. Klughardt's  work, which is actually his second Symphony, but renamed because his friend the composer Joachim Raff, had just finished his third Symphony called Lenore, and he was a bit embarrassed that people might have seen this as copying him. Be it as it may, its a fantastic work, very well written, and all what I expected, when remembering the CPO recordings I already own from this composer. Klughardt is a craftsman who knows how to orchestrate for a large orchestra, and writes fantastic melodies, and is capable of building up explosive crescendos, in carefully constructed music. Late romantic, with some modern ideas woven into the structure. A gorgeous work. The recording from 2002 is an oddity. Its live, and there is little noise from the audience, which is a huge plus, considering the second slow movement. After every movement the sound is turned off in a split second after the last note blows out of your speaker, which sounds really odd, and disconnects you from the impression of the music. Of course they wanted to avoid the noise of the public, but this could have been better edited as it is. At the end of the fourth movement, the applause goes on for 3 seconds and again the sound is turned off, not really a wise editing decision. The sound is actually very good, enormous depth, good reverb, detailed, but every movement sounds different, so the engineer fiddled around after every movement. Not very professional conduct either. And some criticism towards the orchestra, although it was well played, there was nevertheless some sloppy ensemble playing here and there in this symphony, I think it was a bit under rehearsed, for were it a studio recording, those moments would have been done again.

Gernsheim's  composition is a grandiose work, marvelously constructed, with memorable moments, and as a whole a fine piece of music, that had me attentive all the time, a worthy companion to the Klughardt symphony. There is some excellent writing for brass, and the climaxes are well dosed, and perfectly applied within the orchestral framework. This work is also a firm favorite of mine, and gets a marvelous performance and recording.





Cliffe, Frederic. (1857-1931) Symphony No. 1 and Orchestral picture: Cloud and Sunshine.

Bought in 2012.
Label: Sterling CDS 1055-2.
First listen.
Recording dates: May 2003.
Recording venue: St. Johannes Church, Malmo, Sweden.
Recording engineer: Sylve Sjoberg.
Running time: 57:54.

Works.
1) Symphony No. 1 in C minor, opus 1. (1889)
2) Orchestral Picture: Cloud and Sunshine. (1890)

Performers.
Malmo Opera Orchestra, Christopher Fifield.

When this Symphony hit the market, it was instantly called a masterwork, a jewel in the crown of a British composer. The reviews were there abundantly and full of praise, and very high hopes were invested in this composer who created a masterwork, as its first opus. But amid all this praise, he had to deal with a highly competitive environment of aspiring composers, and the performances of his first Symphony wanned and disappeared from the stage altogether, and up came Delius, Stanford, (who disliked Cliffe enormously)  Parry, and many more that were around. Cliffe was found to be old fashioned, which is a gross overrated opinion, for this work is as fresh and strong as a composition, pointing towards what was to come, and of course was written in a romantic fashion, but innovative in its conception. It is not at all defendable that this work is forgotten, and this revival will convince anyone with good ears what a fine artist he was. The Symphony is extremely well written, melodic and never wavering in exploiting sound ideas. every desk in the orchestra has a lot to do, and what emerges is as fine a work as anything that came after him. Disparaging him for being old fashioned, is a grotesque lie,   helped into the musical world by jealous fellow composers, and from ones I would not have expected it. Well, well.
Cloud and Sunshine is composed in the same way and is a glorious piece, with some beautiful writing for harp, and a melodious pandora box full of goodies. Absolutely brilliant music.
As a critical sound note I would like to add, that I am beyond understanding why this was recorded in a church with a reverberation of more than 6 seconds, blowing the loudest passages into Kingdom come. That it still sounds detailed and within bounds has a lot to do with the engineer, but this must have been a nightmare to him, at certain passages it was for me.  The producer Bo Hyttner is a innovative thinking guy, but this was not one of his better decisions. As a message to him, don't do that again.


Shebalin, Vissarion. (1902-1963) Orchestral Music, Suite No. 1 and 2. First recordings.

Bought in 2012.
Label: Toccata Classics. TOCC 0136.
First listen.
Recording dates: April-June 2012.
Recording venue: Omsk Philharmonic Hall.
Recording engineer: Sergei Zhiganov.
Running time: 62:19.


Works.
1) Orchestral Suite No. 1, opus 18. (1934-36)
2) Orchestral Suite No. 2, opus 22. (1962)

Performers.
Siberian SO, Dmitry Vasiliev.

Quite a few things are recorded of this widely unknown composer, but most of it is not available anymore. He was held in great esteem by his fellow composer friends, amongst Shostakovich, Miaskovsky, etc. He and Shostakovich share many similarities in their musical tastes. But there is a certain something which is wholly Shebalin, and which also draws a thin line between their approach towards thematic material. The Suites are comical and ironical at the same time. Their is some absurdity in his composition which is highlighted in many instances. But what is also clear is that Shebalin is a excellent orchestrator, which can be heard with great effect in the last movement of the first suite, everything comes together.   Suite No. 2 goes on in that vein. Slightly off track music. I like it a lot. The recording is very good, and I think that the performance graces the music.




Hermann, Robert. (1869-1912) Symphonies No 1 & 2.

Bought in 2012.
Label: Sterling CDS 1081-2.
First listen.
Recording dates: May, 2008, Symph. 1 and February 2009, Symp. No. 2.
Recording venue: Not named.
Recording engineers:  Holger Busse, Symph. No. 1. Michael Silberhorn, Symph. No. 2.
Running time: 74:42.

Works.
1) Symphony No. 1 in C major, opus 7. (1895)
2) Symphony No. 2 in B minor, opus 11. (1905)

Performers.
Wurttembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen, Christopher Fifield.

As stated in the excellent booklet, Hermann was already forgotten when he was alive, in fact he made no impression at all, as the article states written in 1909 by Walter Niemann, a fervent admirer of this composer, and I have to admit he is right to do so, and the musical establishment should be heartily ashamed of themselves to ignore, what is to me and Niemann one of the most original composers of his time.  Niemann writes that he is different as all the others around him, and this is true to the letter, he is. The music is sweet, without being sentimental, weighty without Wagnerian drama, rich in melody, without slavishly copying his compeers. In fact it will be pretty hard to find comparisons in regards to his musical style. Nothing in both symphonies is a blunt statement, rather it emphasizes all the moods we humans know, and much more. Overbearing the music is never, its carefully dosed, as if the composer knew by heart how far pain and happiness would go. His reference towards this is sound and uncluttered, and he gives us sublimely composed evocations of his sound world, and yes its different in every aspect. I am mightily impressed I can tell you. I was not at all prepared of finding such an original voice, that speaks to every aspect of life and love, you cannot but admire his approachable loveliness, yes that's the word, that caress your senses. This is something you ought to have, and my reference for this kind of music will be Robert Hermann. 
The performance by this orchestra is exemplary, guided by a sensitive conductor, and a good recording. Everything worked perfectly together, and Sterling is to be applauded for giving us this composer. Bravo!



Brun, Fritz. (1878-1959) Symphony No. 3 in D minor. (1919)

Bought in 2012.
Label Sterling CDS 1059-2.
First listen.
Recording dates: August 2003.
Recording venue: Mosfilm Studios, Moscow, Russia.
Recording engineer: Vitaly Ivanov.
Running time: 60:55.

I was always an admirer of Fritz Brun's music. A pretty amount of his Symphonies, and some chamber music are recorded by the same team and label  But those discs are expensive. This one came to me as a budget priced CD, so I bought it. And even though it took me some time to listen, when the first notes were entering my ears I knew that this will be a lasting fascination, with the magical realism of this composer. He is a fine orchestrator, and very well aware of the possibilities of the instruments. Some things he takes to the limit, but the result is fascinating. The Symphony lasts 60 minutes, but not a moment of boredom, he keeps your attention firmly fixed, by his clever writing. Late Romantic music, which carries many influences, without you being able to pinpoint a definitive influence. The mix is a concoction of Brun, and so with puts his very personal stamp on the proceedings. The music is worthwhile, and deserves to be recorded. Adriano did well, and the Moscow SO is very responsive and understanding of the work. The detailing is amazing as well as all the accents being observed.  This time Vitaly Ivanov made a good recording, no fiddling around with acoustics or buttons. A fine front to back stage, and detailed recording. Recommended if you love late Romantic music. This music is a class of its own. 



von Bertouch, Georg. (1168-1743) Trio Sonatas and pieces from The Music Book of Jacob Mestmacher. First recordings.

Bought in 2012.
Second listen.
First listen: 16-4-2013.
Label: Toccata Classics. TOCC 0006.
Recording dates:  September 2001 & June 2003.
Recording venue: Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, Bergen, Norway.
Recording engineer: Gunnar Herleif Nilsen.
Running time: 65:50.

Works.
1) Sonata No. 8 in G major.
2) March, No. 106.
3) Aria, No 248, with variations by Bergen Barokk.
4) Sonata No. 15.
5) Paspie de la Compertanje. No. 75.
6) Sonata No. 11.
7) Menuetto, No. 13
8) Gavotte alternativement, No. 53.
9) Sonata No. 21/17/12/14.
10) Allegro e Trio. No. 166.

Performers.
Bergen Barokk.


This composer combined two trades which are at first sight incompatible, he was a soldier and took part in more than 22 battles and ended his career as a Commandant  of Akershus Castle, and he was a very distinguished composer, who wrote pretty nifty music. Its rich in melodies, and actually well put together, with such delicacy and surprising gentleness, that this soldier/composer connection is pretty unbelievable. As a musician he was active as a conductor, violinist and composer of cantatas and sonatas. Stylistically Bertouch's trios are comparable with those in the sonata-collections from Northern Germany. He must have been aware of the Corelli style, and with the galant style as promoted by Telemann. In any way, the quality of these sonatas will surprise you, for Bertouch has actually something to say, that will make quite an impression. Little was recorded of this composer, and he is forgotten, so this revival is long overdue, although I am afraid, judging by the rest of his compositions, as yet unpublished and recorded, that he will not be remembered, even though we have such a wonderful recording of his Trio sonatas. The recording and performance is first class.






Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jadassohn, Salomon. (1831-1902) Piano Trios, No.1-3

Bought in 2012.
Label: Toccata Classics TOCC 0107.
First listen.
Recording dates: March 2009.
Recording venue: Champs Hill, Coldwaltham, England.
Recording engineer: Michael Ponder.
Running time: 62:02.

Works. First recordings.
1) No. 1 in F major, opus 16. (1858)
2) No. 2 in E major. opus 20. (1860)
3) No. 3 in C minor, opus 59. (1880)

Performers.
Syrius Trio.

The fact that I never heard from this composer is because he was totally forgotten. I stumbled over him when some of the titles of this label were at budget-price. The samples sounded good, and some research into Jadassohn soon learned me, that he was a well respected composer, and a good craftsman in this trade. For these piano trios are extraordinarily beautiful. Sunny, well written, open minded and life affirming music, that sits well next the Mendelssohn, Schumann, Schubert fused together, and alike composers, and holds this place with distinction. Very economically constructed with considerable skill and ingenuity. As a revered teacher at the Leipzig Conservatory his students included, Busoni, Delius, and Grieg, Albeniz, Alfano, Bortkiewicz, Chadwick, Ciurlionis, Fibich, Kajanus, Karg Elert, Reznicek, Sinding, Weingartner and many others. Stunning sonics and music in the German romantic tradition. It's beyond beautiful, its divine! Lets not forget him again!




Zweers, Bernard. (1854-1924) de Lange, Daniel. (1841-1918) Orchestral works.

Bought in 2012.
Label: Sterling CDS 1068-2
Recording dates: December 1994, ( Zweers) August 2001, ( de Lange)
Recording venues: Vredenburg, Utrecht, The Netherlands. (Zweers) Studio MCO, Hilversum, The Netherlands. ( de Lange)
Recording engineers: Jan Stellingwerf, (Zweers) Oscar Meijer, (de Lange)
Running time 57:11.

Works.
Zweers: Symphony No. 1 in D major. (1881) ( live recording)
de Lange: Symphony No. 1 in C minor, opus 4. (1868)

Performers.
Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, Ed Spanjaard, ( Zweers) Anthony Halstead, ( de Lange)


Bernard Zweers first symphony got his inspiration from old masters, and he brought some fantastic ideas together. It is a work that bursts with spontaneity, and sounds as fresh as a daisy. Invigorating and bubbling with new and exciting ideas, this is a work of joy and very much life affirming. and in a way a very nationalistic work, in many respects.  Not in the least because it gets a fantastic performance, from an orchestra I would not readily associate with the excellence I hear, and a conductor that almost has no name outside of the Netherlands. But maybe I am too critical of my own countrymen. It also gets a fine recording, with lots of detail and a good front to back image. Really well done.
And another Dutch composer gets his say also on this disc, albeit not as nationalistic as Zweers, his work feels more comfortable in the French school, but shares the same spontaneity and bubbling character as Zweers. Daniel de Lange is yet another exponent of the Dutch music culture, which we like to deny we have. We are primarily concerned with the art of the Golden Age, our paintings, and some famous wars we fought. But music always has been the stepchild in the scene. But, this disc proves that music can also be a part of that heritage to be proud on. When I listen to the first movement, the ideas are hammered out in a firm language, that nevertheless creates also a haven for sweet melodies that touch your heart. And to what fine effect the percussion is used in this movement. I love both works, excellent works. Anthony Halstead finds all the right buttons and makes it a world class performance and ditto recording. Well one of the next discs will be the third Symphony by Zweers, famous by its reputation, but said to be so different from his first one.. And I wish more works were recorded of de Lange, for by Jove, by the measure of his first, he should have more surprises in his sleeve. 





Magi, Ester. ( born1922) Orchestral Music.

Bought in 2012.
Label: Toccata Classics.
First listen.
Recording dates:  1992-1995-2000-2002. 
Recording venues: Estonia concert Hall, Estonian Radio recordings.
Recording engineers: Maido Maadik, Mati Brauer, Maris Laanemets, Tanel Klesment.
Running time: 64:44.

Works.
1) Vesper. ( 1990, arr.1998)  Live recording October 2000.
2) Piano concerto. (1953)
3) Bukolika. (1983) Live recording: February 1995.
4) Variations for Piano, Clarinet and Chamber orchestra. (1972) Live recording:  January 2002.
5) Symphony. (1968) Live recording January 2002.

Performers.
Ada Kuuseoks, piano. Piano Concerto.
Mati Mikalai, piano. Variations.
Tarmo Pajusaar, Clarinet. Variations.
Estonian National SO, Arvo Volmer, and Mihkel Kutson.

Its my first encounter with this Estonian female composer, and by what I hear, I consider this a pleasant one. Her music is very approachable and tonal, with some modern streaks, especially in the Variations, and Symphony which tend to be more percussive of character. Opposite of this is the contemplative Vesper, a soothing piece very well written, but then this is true of all the works on this CD. But she is no modernist, far from it. You get a well balanced kind of music, which at times reminded me off Hindemith of all composers, especially in the second movement of the Symphony. As yet its difficult for me where to lay the emphasis in this music. I like it very much, but it will take me several listenings, before I crack the Variations and the Symphony, although easy enough to listen too, there is more as my ears register now. Another considerable criticism are the live recordings. There is a lot of coughing going on, which disturbs the music greatly. The soloists are good, but at times they were not up to the difficult scores. The Estonian orchestra performs well, I recognized the orchestra Jarvi conducted in music by the Kapp family on Chandos, which I reviewed in 2013. 




Rontgen, Julius. (1855-1932) Orchestral works.

Bought in January 2014.
First listen.
Label CPO 777-310-2.
Recording dates: June-July 2008.
Recording venue: Enschede Muziek centrum, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Stephan Reh.
Running time: 61:32.

Works.
1) Symphony No. 6, "Rijck God, wie sal ic claghen".
2) Symphony No. 19, "B.A.C.H. ".
3) Symphony No 5, "Schnitter Tod".

Performers. 
Consensus Vocalis, ( Semi professional choir) Symphony No. 5 and 6.
Marcel Beekman, Tenor. Symphony No. 5.
Netherlands SO, David Porcelijn.

Another successful instalment in the ongoing Rontgen series at CPO. So far his music never disappoints, on the contrary, its always a joy to hear his compositions.
The sixth Symphony aided by Consensus Vocalis, is a beautifully crafted work, wholly in the tradition of his other works. The choir is a bit unsteady and at loud passages gets a tad untidy, and they lose focus. But on the whole it works well. In the fifth symphony we have a excellent tenor, with a perfect diction, and presentation, and a choir that performs better as in the sixth. A melancholy work, a bit wayward, sad in its demeanor. The allegretto movement is at times a bit too slow, and loses momentum, especially around 7:50 till 8:40, and for my sense of tempi if falls a bit apart, not seriously so, but I clearly had a moment of losing interest. Symphony No.19 is a masterwork, I enjoyed every moment of it, again well crafted. The recording is excellent, as is the performance. Recommended.




Graener, Paul. (1872-1944) Orchestral works.

Bought in January, 2014.
First listen.
Label: Sterling CDS-1090-2.
Recording dates: March, 2009.
Recording venue: Konzertsaal der Buhnen der Stadt Gera, Germany.
Recording engineer: Holger Busse.
Running time: 72:34.

Works.
1) Wiener Sinfonie, opus 110.
2) Die Flote von Sanssouci, Suite for Flute and Chamber orchestra, opus 88.
3) Turmwachterlied, opus 107.
4) Flotenkonzert, opus 116.

Performers.
Andreas Knoop, Flute, opus 88.
Cornelia Grohmann, Flute, opus 116.
Philharmonisches Orchester Altenburg-Gera, Eric Solen.

Not to long ago, I listen to a disc from the label CPO, with the first volume of Graener's complete Orchestral music, Volume I, and I was mightily impressed. Today I play a few of his most famous works, to note, the opus 110 and 88. And I must admit, I am totally convinced that we have a forgotten master here, for I am almost salivating listening to the opus 110, what a mighty and thoroughly fine work this is, full with impressive melodies, and musical surprises along the way, that I did not expect, and delighted me so much that I am heartily glad I picked up this composer. And it does not end there, for the opus 88 hammers the nail right through my heart, and I am even more impressed. He should really be on top of your list of interest, for finer music from that period is hard to come by. The opus 107 is in its concept a bit more weightier and less carefree, with some Wagnerian touches, but nevertheless very much Graener. The opus 116, was finished amid the horrors of war in 1944 Germany. The last movement is called "Freut euch des Lebens" a bit anachronistic when the bombs are falling around you, but there it is, a happy carefree work, well written. Eric Solen is primarily an opera conductor, but he did well here, with an orchestra that impressed me, with a excellent performance of all works, 3 of them World premieres. The sound is beyond my expectations, very good indeed.
Paul Graener is now firmly on my radar, and will remain there. I think him a most impressive composer, who deserves a place in musical history, despite his wrong headed decisions regarding the Nazi regime. If the Germans can work this out, and start recording his music again, we as listeners should do the same. And apart from that, we might not know what we would have decided ourselves in such a dire situation.  Firmly recommended.



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Glazunov, Alexander. (1865-1936) and Schoeck, Othmar. (1886-1957) Works for Violin and orchestra.

Bought in January 2014..
Label Hyperion.
First listen.
Recording dates: October 2011.
Recording venue: Auditorio Stelio Molo, Lugano, Switzerland.
Recording engineer: Ben Connellan.
Running time: 69:11.

Works.
 Glazunov. 
1) Violin Concerto in A minor, opus 82.
2) Meditation in D major, opus 32.
3) Mazurka-oberek in D major, (1917)

4) Schoeck.
1) Concerto quasi una fantasia in B flat major, opus 21.

Performers.
Chloe Hanslip, Violin.
Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Alexander Vedernikov.

Well if you ever are in need for these works, this is surely the CD to go for, for apart from this beautiful recording, you get as a bonus most excellent performances, with a fabulous playing Hanslip, that digs deep into both works, with lucid lines, and a fine bowing technique.  I heard many interpretations of the violin concerto by Glazunov, but this one tops them all. That has in part to do with the tone of the violin, that has a range to encompass all emotions quite accurately. She finds in it, treats that I never heard that prominent, but that will contribute to the appreciation of the work itself. 
Schoeck's is a work that we do not find that often recorded, but is nevertheless a very worthwhile piece of music to have. I have enjoyed it immensely. The orchestra is well led, and makes it a complete feast. Ben Connellan did a fine job recording this.  Easily recommendable. Currently to have for 6 euro's at JPC de.



van Gilse, Jan. (1881-1944). Symphony No 3,

Bought in January 2014.
Label CPO.
First listen.
Recording dates: July 2009.
Recording venue: Enschede, Muziek centrum, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Stephan Reh.
Running time: 63:02.

Works.
Symphony No 3. "Elevation". in D major, with soprano solo. Movements,  3 and 5.

Performers.
Netherlands SO, David Porcelijn.

Another forgotten and neglected composer, even at his lifetime, he was often forced to conduct his own works at his own expenses. His works were almost not published, and he hardly got a job as conductor, and if, only for a short time. As a Jew he lived in dangerous times, and consequently suffered much, losing both his sons in WW II. He died in 1944, and was buried under a false name, only attended by a few friends. His life was not a happy one. It is therefore to be applauded that CPO decided to make his works more known to the world which started with the excellent first and second symphonies, and now I am listening to the third. This works owes his allegiance to Wagner and foremost to Richard Strauss, which influences are all over the place. Its even derivative in certain moments. But it is nevertheless a fine work, which has a contribution of a soprano in the movements 3 and 5, which could have been written by Strauss, such is the resemblance. Unfortunately the soprano Aile Asszonyi is not suited to the high writing, she is virtually squeezing out the notes and it all sounds ghastly. I have listen to this but will not do that again, and keep to the purely instrumental parts, which are fine and artistically rewarding. The sound is good, as is the playing of this orchestra, but be prepared for the soprano.






Wetzler, Hermann Hans. ( 1870-1943) Orchestral works.

Bought in January 2014.
Label CPO.
Recording dates 2008.
Recording venue: Lukaskirche Dresden, Germany.
Recording engineer: Stephan Reh.
Running time: 54:32.

Works.
Visionen, opus 12, in six movements.
Assisi. Legend for Orchestra, opus 13, in six movements.

Performers.
Robert Schumann Philharmonie, Frank Beermann.

This is without doubt another tremendous discovery for me. Never before did I see this composer mentioned, and some research into him showed that hardly anything is recorded from his compositions, worse he is wholly unknown, and forgotten. His voice is one that has an entirely new sound, tonal, but totally different to what I heard so far, and believe me, it is much what passed my ears. He is a painter in sound, and evokes so much of what he has seen, in such wondrous melodies, which encompass a imagination that was wholly unknown to me. Sure, you hear remnants of Richard Strauss in his music, but so cleverly disguised that you only hear the slightest hint of it. You have constantly the colourful brushes from his tonal palette that gets you into a world, which holds and keep you in astonishment. A orchestrator pur sang, he puts all the accents where they should be, and does not set a foot wrong. The WOW factor is clearly on call all the time. Try it yourself and be convinced. The orchestra was totally unknown to me too, although it was founded as far away as 1833. Good it is though, and Beermann clearly studied the scores, for it is carefully executed, with astonishing attention to detail and structure. It is well recorded too. So this CD gets my 1000% recommendation. Its currently at mid-price to have at JPC de.




Bengtsson, Gustaf. (1886-1965) Violin and Cello concertos.

Bought in January 2014.
Label: Sterling.
First listen.
Recording dates: June 2004.
Recording venue: Palladium, Malmo, Sweden.
Recording engineer: Sylve Sjoberg.
Running time: 59:42.

Works.
1) Violin Concerto in B minor. (1941)
2) Cello Concerto in A minor. (1932)

Performers.
Tobias Ringborg, Violin.
Mats Rondin, Cello.
Malmo Opera Orchestra, Mats Rondin, Violin concerto. Tobias Ringborg, Cello Concerto.

This composer was unknown to me, yet he seemed to have been quite a celebrity in his time and country. He is foremost a Romantic composer, who does not step out of this idiom in both works, albeit at the time when the Cello concerto was composed (1932), they accused him of modernity, which is a farce, for its steeped in the romantic tradition. Both concertos are very pleasant works, they will not shake your equilibrium, but they are without question fine works. Both soloists and also conductors are well up to the job, for they give passionate interpretations. Both names are new to me, but they are virtuosos in their own right, and give the best possible performance this composer could wish. The orchestra was founded in 1991, and displays some sloppy ensemble playing, at certain places, that does not take out the pleasure of hearing the works. The recording is lucid and has enough depth and let you hear all the detail. I am happy to add this composer to my collection, and in time I will procure another disc on Sterling with the second symphony amongst other works.





Monday, January 27, 2014

Graener, Paul. (1872-1944) Orchestral Works, Volume I.

Bought in January 2014.
Label: CPO.
First listen.
Recording dates: January 2009.
Recording venue: Grosser Sendesaal, NDR Hannover, Germany.
Recording engineer: Martin Lohmann.
Running time: 66:29.

Works on this CD.

1) Comedietta, opus 82.
2) Variationen uber ein Russisches Volkslied, opus 55.
3) Musik am Abend, opus 44.
4) Sinfonia breve, opus 96.

Performers.
NDR Radiophilharmonie, Hannover, Werner Andreas Albert.

Paul Graener is a composer largely forgotten, not because his works are bad, but because of his political choices during WW II, even though he distanced himself from the regime. He had a British passport, of which the Germans had no knowledge. The fact that he helped and supported many Jews to survive was not acknowledged afterwards, they only saw his participation in the regime as a cultural music attache. And thus he was shunned by society. I am not going to say whether that was right or wrong, but his music should not suffer this neglect. 
I think that his music well received internationally is very worthwhile to listen to. In fact I would say that were there not his unfortunate choices in life, he might have been a tower of musical history, for his works certainly are of a very high level. So give him a chance, his music is worth the time you spend with it. There was not a moment that my attention wavered from what I heard, on the contrary I found a composer that will give me a great amount of joy, and I am happy CPO decided to record his orchestral work, already in the second volume, They also released a disc with chamber music too. 
The music is tonal, and late romantic in tone, and has a unique musical voice, that I did not encounter before. The CD is very well recorded by a fine orchestra, that clearly enjoys what they are playing, under the guidance by a very good conductor. All is right, and I will acquire the second volume soon. I urge you to do the same.




Dalcroze, Emile Jaques. (1865-1950) Orchestral Works.

Bought January 2014.
First listen.
Label: Sterling.
Recording dates: August 2003.
Recording venue: Mosfilm Studios, Moscow.
Recording engineer: Vitaly Ivanov.
Running time: 60:04.

What marks out the work of Dalcroze is spontaneity, an abundance of imagination, a fervour and a warmth that binds all together.  These were the words of Ernest Ansermet the conductor, and I tend to agree. Is it music that will shake your world? No, I don't think so. It is pleasant music, more than spectacular music. It has intimacy, beautiful shaped melodies, pompous Wagnerian outbursts, some remnants of Bruckner, with whom Dalcroze took lessons, and a sprinkling of German influences. Sometimes its densely written, as if Dalcroze could not get all his ideas at the same time on paper. As if he is simply trying too hard. The works on this CD pretty much covers what Dalcroze is capable off, and for me its enough to enjoy. Little of his compositions have survived, because of a bombardment in the second WW, and due to negligence of Dalcroze himself. He was taught by some well know names in the trade, amongst them  Anton Bruckner, Leo Delibes, Gabriel Faure, Robert Fuchs, and Hugo de Senger. Edvard Grieg liked his music very much, and I understand, for when his music is beautiful it is extra ordinary beautiful. 
And his music certainly deserved a better playing orchestra as the Moscow SO under Adriano. It is a rough and ready recording, it which the solo pieces come out well, but as a whole it misses out on details, careful shaping of dynamics, and a thorough understanding of Dalcroze's idiom. Vitaly Ivanov is a good engineer, but in this case he fiddled too much around with the buttons. The orchestra crescendo's thicken a little, and detail is smothered. No tight ensemble playing is the worst offender in this recording, and added the self taught conductor Adriano, who thinks he is a good conductor, but I take issue with that.
In the meantime it gives you an insight into the sound world of this composer, tonal every inch of the way, and pleasing in many instances. By all means buy it, but only if you can get it for a low price. There is little chance that a good orchestra plus conductor will pick this composer up, so go for it.





Friday, January 24, 2014

Taverner, John. (1944-2013) The Protecting Veil. ( The last sleep of the Virgin.)

New acquisition, January 24, 2014.
First listen.
Label: Telarc.
Recording dates:  September 1997.
Recording venue: Onze Lieve Vrouw, presentatiekerk, Gent Belgium.
Recording engineer: Jack Renner.
Running time: 60:07.

The protecting veil, for solo cello, and strings.
France Springuel, Cello.
The last sleep of the Virgin, a veneration for string orchestra and handbells.
Carlo Willems, Handbells.
Orchestrated by Rudolf Werthen.

This is truly a stunning work! I knew of its existence, but I never ventured into buying it. Now I did, and I am blown away by its sheer beauty and tranquility. I hear so many melodies from the Russian Orthodox liturgy, that the music falls perfectly in its place. The sheer depth and emotional wide, is such, that I listen to this work in sheer amazement. I am wandering about in a warm void, covered by a comfortable layer of mysticism. What a amazing work this is, the power of the Dormition of the Mother of God has me in deep meditation. The Lament of the Mother of God at the cross has me in deep sorrow for what is going on before her eyes and in her heart. I could go on like this hours on end, but I guess you get the message. How wonderful!
And what a concentrated performance this is, so akin to the intent of the music,  and well recorded too. Absolutely recommendable, in fact a must buy, this disc will heal you, whatever the pain.







Telemann Georg Philipp. (1681-1767) Complete Violin Concertos, Volume 4.

New Acquisition, January 24, 2014.
First listen.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: 2006.
Recording venue: Stift Seitenstetten, Germany.
Recording engineer: Stephan Reh.
Running time: 61:30.

I have the three previous recordings of this ensemble, and as far as I can hear, they are pretty consistent in what they produce. Do not expect fireworks, or innovating utterings from them. Its easy going Telemann, that will not shake your ears, neither will they offend them in any way. Just a bit middle of the road actually, but fine detail, and  played on authentic instruments. There are far better recordings on the market as this one, and apart from this side remark, they appeal to me, albeit not in the way good performances do. The orchestra is a good one, but it is as if Elizabeth Wallfisch does not inspire them or herself, her playing is stiff, and unrelenting at times, formal too, with no freedom in expression, and at times rather boring. I am a bit in two minds about this. But I certainly do not recommend them. Sample first before you spend your money.




Kreutzer, Rodolphe. (1766-1831) Violin Concertos No, 19/18/15.

New acquisition January 24, 2014.
Label CPO.
Recording dates: 2005-2006.
Recording venue: SWR Studio Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Recording engineer: Rainer Neumann.
Running time: 79:47.

I grabbed this CD when it was priced down, for although it contains two concertos I already have in a different performance, the samples sounded good enough to order this one too. And to be honest, this CD was a revelation to me.  In the style of the French violin school, we get some extraordinary fine concertos by the hand of Kreutzer, a celebrated composer in his time, honoured and revered, and rightly so. Together with Rode and Baillot he belonged to the famous three in that era that shaped the style of Violin concertos, not only by innovative composing, but also if furthering the range of the violin by extending the length of the neck of the Violin, which gave them a wider range. Rode was a natural virtuoso, who played solely and easily out of his body, without having to study that much. Kreutzer acquired his compositional skills solely through hard study, and this paid off, especially in the orchestral parts, which are perfectly interwoven with the violin, whereas with Rode and Baillot it is really the violin that steals the show, and a limpid orchestra that marches behind it. With Kreutzer the symbiosis is perfect. And so it comes to comparisons between Axel Strauss on the Violin, and the San Francisco Conservatory, led by Andrew Mogrelia, on Naxos 8570380, and the present recording. Naxos, with the Violin concertos 17/18/19, and CPO 18/19/ and 15.
The Naxos recording is fine, and has a good soloist, who gives us a very invigorating performance, with good detail, reasonably clear lines, a touch too much vibrato and rubato, and some romanticized influences. The orchestra does its utmost, but has intonation and tempo problems, but a good conductor on the helm, that is however more at home in ballet music, as with music from this era. The recording is a rough one at times, but nevertheless it gave me much pleasure.
The CPO disc however is far superior to the Naxos. Laurent Albrecht Breuninger is a excellent violinist that has made his mark many times, and good as Strauss is, he cannot stand in the shadow of Breuninger. Breuninger's lines are lucid and clean, his bowing is near perfect, not a hint of rubato or vibrato, his expression is logical and clear headed, every layer is discernible.  The orchestra is a faithful follower, that lets you hear the excellent orchestral writing in all detail. You can walk through the desks from the entire orchestra, and hear clearly what's there. Not missing a note. The recording has a natural depth, front to back image is near perfect. In every respect this recording outclasses the Naxos disc. So since the price is exactly the same, I would say go for the CPO.



Thursday, January 23, 2014

Schutz, Heinrich. (1585-1672) Weihnachtshistorie. Christmas Works.

Bought in 2013.
Second listen.
First listen: 26-9-2013. See review and for all participants.

And first before you all fall over me that Christmas is past history, and we have to wait until coming December, I respectfully decline the suggestion, for this music is from all times, despite the title of the work. I simply love what I hear, for the singing and playing is of a high standard, as is the recording.  I could listen to it in every situation of life, being one of the best compositions by Schutz.


Forgive the lame pic, could not find a better one.




From this box, CD 10


van Herzogenberg, Heinrich. (1843-1900) Complete Violin sonatas, Volume II. No. 3, opus 78, Phantasie, opus 15, Legenden, opus 62, for Viola and piano.

Bought in 2013.
Second listen.
First listen: 12-12-2013, See previous review and technical data.

Well I closely followed the first CD with the second CD of this set, because I found the music to be so beautiful, that I simply wanted more of the same, which was in abundance present. Its a culmination of what Herzogenberg can do and did, excellent compositions, telling us what a fine composer he was. Deeply felt and romantic works, that appeal to all your senses with ease. You cannot do else as admire the man and the composer. The performances are breathtakingly beautiful.



A very promising start! Brilliant is releasing the first 4 CD'S, with the complete Organ works, by J.S. Bach

Wow, the samples sound very good, on a very fine Trost organ. What I heard excites me in that the musical content is so fresh, and different. Well maybe a start into a successful low budget release of all of Bach's organ works.



von Herzogenberg, Heinrich. (1843-1900) Complete Violin sonatas. Volume I. No. 1, opus 32 & No. 2, opus 54.

Bought in 2013.
Second listen.
First listen: 28-8-2013. See also previous review and technical data.

A couple of years ago, I never heard from this composer at all. By now I have a lot of his music, and enjoyed all what he had to offer so far. A composer that has a place next to Brahms, and these Violin sonatas prove it once and for all time, what a fine composer he was. Its easy to sink away next to more famous compeers, which he did, but CPO made a end to that obscurity by releasing a lot of his chamber music, in very good performances like this twofar. Both musicians thoroughly enjoy what they have on offer, and this "Spiel Freude", is clearly apparent in this recording. Very well recorded too! If you love Brahms, Herzogenberg will add to that pleasure.






Schutz, Heinrich, (1585-1672) Psalms-Motets-Concertos. 2 CD'S.

Bought in 2013.
Second listen.
First listen: 25-9-2013. See review and technical data, as well as participants.
CD 8 and 9 from this box.

These are actually very fine performances. The Knabenchor Hannover, paired together with Cantus Colln, and Musica Fiata, may be called a resounding success. I enjoyed all I heard, especially because of the excellent soloists, like Johanna Koslowsky, and Maria Cristina Kiehr, and many more. The sound is pristine, a very good depth and stage image, well detailed, and spatial separation.
This I can safely recommend.






Sorry for the bad image, could not find a better one.

The Spirits of England and France, Volume 5. Missa Veterem hominem and other Fifteenth-century English music.

Bought in 2013.
Second listen.
First listen: 3-1-2014. See review and technical data.


The last one in this series, that Hyperion released, and a very successful undertaking it was. Honestly, I have been mightily impressed by the quality of singing and compositions presented on all five discs. At first I was a bit skeptical, because essentially I bought the first volume for full price, and abandoned the whole thought of follow up in an instant. To this day I still do not know why.  So I took my changes and bought the whole series when released on the Helios label, and am very happy with them. Its in my ears essential to have, for it increases your understanding of culture and music of the fifteenth century enormously. They are all well recorded, and never a voice gets out of line. So my appreciation of the Gothic Voices have rocketed sky high too. Recommended, all five volumes. Budget price, remember!






Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Nikolai Miaskovsky. (1881-1950) The Complete Symphonies, and other Orchestral works. Volume 1.

From my collection.
Bought in 2009.
Label: Warner Records.
Recording dates are not accurate, but roughly from 1963-1994.
Recording venue: The great hall at the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire.  
Recording engineers: Not mentioned.
Running time: 76:46.
Third listen.
First listen: 18-5-2009.
Second listen: 29-3-2012.
From both listens no review on my blog, but probably on GMG.

Symphony No. 1, opus 3.
Symphony No. 25, opus 69.

One thing that has to be said right away, that the booklet is a shame to the memory of Evgeny Svetlanov and composer Miaskovsky alike. Useless information, not worth the paper written on, and therefore a big blot on the reputation of Warner. I would, and others too, gladly paid a little extra for some useful info about the works in this box. As it is we have to do without.
What is beyond any criticism are the interpretations and  sound recordings, they are without exception first class, this I know, for it is the third time I will go through this cycle.
Miaskovsky's Symphonies are grand works, full with longings, full with all the emotions of the composer, and highly personal. I doubt that there is a composer that shows more of his soul as Miaskovsky does, save maybe Tchaikovsky . You feel that every note has meaning, drenched in all layers of life. The second movement of the first Symphony is a point in case, it moves me greatly, it touches me, deep, and with profound effect. And what is said about the first really goes for all his symphonies. They all touch me profoundly. Highly romantic, introverted and at the same time extroverted, covering the whole gamut of Human toil. His music is as rich as a sky full of stars, that on a very dark night light your path, and at the same time you have to admire the vast expanse of its luminosity. Miaskovsky belongs in my estimation to the top composers that ever lived, together with Bruckner, also a composer of great stature, both odd ones out, but essential to our understanding how far music can reach. Embrace Miaskovsky, it will last you a lifetime. 



Niels Viggo Bentzon. (1919-2000. Chamber music for Brass instruments. CD 2 from this box.

Bought in 2013.
Second listen.
First listen 19-8-2013. See for all detail and technical info review. I put down my thoughts about this recording too. Also all works are listed there. Just type the composers name in the search box.


I asked myself last year, werther I like this music or not, finding it a tad technical and distanced. I was not sure if this music would connect with me, but listening to it now I hear things that eluded me the first time. What is grabbing me now about the music is the sheer stark landscape and depth that is unfolding before my mind. Long legato lines, almost dreamlike played, sort of a friendly nightmare, but one that gives me interesting thrills. The music is slightly hovering above the ground, and never touching reality. Expectancy what comes next is a thought that keeps coming at me. Yes definitely my cup of tea. But one has to be in the mood for it. I was this time. Beautiful music.






Girolamo Frescobaldi. (1583-1643) Il Primo libro delle Canzoni a una due tre e quattro voci per sonare con ogni sorte di stromenti (1628)

Bought in 2014.
Label: Brilliant. Box, 15 CD'S. CDROM with text.
First listen.
CD III.
Running time: 65:24.
Recording dates: 2007.
Recording venues and instruments are the same as in the first two CD'S, see the reviews for this, on10-1-2014 & 17-1-2014.
Recording engineers: The same as on CD 1 & 2.



Ensemble ConSerto Musico, Roberto Loreggian.

This is certainly a highlight of this box. Infectious playing, well articulated, clear headed interpretations on authentic instruments. It flows in a natural unforced way, and the music is filled with well wrought melodies, that keeps your attention firmly to the music.  I never knew that this part of Frescobaldi's compositions were so interesting, but they are. It was a pleasure to listen to them, and they are very well recorded too.




Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bridge, Frank. (1879-1941) Orchestral works, Volume 4.

Bought in 2013.
First listen.
Label: Chandos.
Recording dates: December 2003.
Recording venue: Brangwyn Hall, Swansea..
Recording engineer: Ralph Couzens.
Running time: 77:01.

Rebus, 1940. Overture for Orchestra.
Oration. Concerto Elegiaco, 1929-30, for solo cello and orchestra.
Allegro moderato, 1940-41. Fragment of a Symphony for String orchestra. (Edited by Anthony Pople)
Lament, 1915, for String orchestra, dedicated to Catherine, age 9, "Lusitania"1915.
A prayer, 1916-18. for Chorus and orchestra.

Alban Gerhardt, Cello.
BBC National Orchestra and  Chorus of Wales, Richard Hickox.

Rebus is a finely chiseled and structured work, with an abundance of beautiful melodies, that has a infectious tilt to it. Top Bridge.
The Oration, is at times a very dark work, passionately played by Gerhardt, that occasionally jumps out of the gloomy surroundings, but has a sort of desperate urgency to it, that makes it very deeply felt.  It is again extremely well written, emphasizing the genius of this master. It had me spellbound to my speakers.
The Allegro is a clever reworking by Pople, and its essential a dark work, very wayward and has a whiff of magical mystic over it.
The Lament is a melancholy piece, like a fairy fleeting over the calm sea, a finite answer to a tragedy, but one that has also peace inside that heals. Beautifully done.   Short but quite powerful.
A prayer, has a fine orchestral colour that is very appealing, which is gradually building up towards heaven, Ethereal almost, very moving. And contrary to most choral works, I liked this very much, for the singing never over rules the orchestral parts, the message is unified.
A successful disc from this box, and very well recorded.




Haydn, Joseph. Symphonies No. 24/28/29. Volume 11 from the almost complete set of Symphonies.

Gifted in 2013, by a good friend.
First listen.
Running time: 62:36.
CD 11.

Symphony No. 24 in D major.
No. 28 in A major.
No. 29 in E major.

Once used to the style of Hogwood's conducting, which took me 9 CD'S to accept, what I have to say is this, its the ultimate answer in refinement, and orchestral polishing. A authentic orchestra never sounded better as under Hogwood. He also did thorough research into all compositions, and that makes this project a success. What to me was a major drawback were his tempi, still are as a matter of fact, but if you accept this for me shortcoming, its actually quite a good set. I have to set my ingrained feel for tempi apart, and take a slow trod along the lines of Hogwood's way of thinking. Sure there will be lingering too long around certain places, and I have to do other things besides listening, but I will be able to get through this with a straight face. I really love the symphonies, and could not do without them, so instead of resisting these interpretations, and will gladly embraces them now, and enjoy the ride. The recording as always is exemplary.










Magister Leoninus II. Leonin, (fl.1150s-d c1201) Christmas/Easter/Pentecost.

Bought in 2013.
First listen.
Label: Hyperion Helios.
Recording dates: April 2001.
Recording venue: St. Alban's Church, Holborn, London.
Recording engineer: Julian Millard.
Running time: 74:33

As with the first disc from this ensemble, it is a resounding success, and hardly anything from which you will ever hear a new recording, let alone one that will pass muster compared to the excellence of what is given to us with the present recording. Let me be clear, if this music lies in your interest field, it is mandatory to have them. I know that I was thoroughly enchanted with the first volume, and the second instalment does exactly the same to me. The singing in a great acoustic is mesmerizing, and draws you in, the moment you push play.  There is not much from that time on CD, and what we have here could be well the definitive recording on the subject, for I hardly see room for betterment. Its a pity that Red Byrd did not record further in this area as these two instalments. Both recording shoot straight up my top 10 for this year. Sticky's I would say, all time favourites. Get them while you can. Already in the Helios series, you might never know when they are gone. Especially in the difficult circumstance Hyperion is, to keep their heads above the water. 




Bernardo Storace. (c.1637-1707) Works for Harpsichord and Organ. Selection from: Selva di varie compositioni d'intavalatura per cimbalo ed organo.

Bought in 2014.
Second listen.
First listen: 10-1-2014. See for technical info about instruments, and my previous thoughts.

This recording and interpretation never stood a chance, it was drowned in a plethora of other recordings, and lets be honest, who is interested in a composer such as Storace, which by all accounts is held to be a minor talent.  Well......I am! In my ears he is not minor at all, but instead is offering us a rich palette of musical colors, that in its actual concept are able to convince in a grand way, that what you hear has meaning and substance. Music that makes your heart leap in a joyous way. Whatever Storace is throwing at you whether it be a miniature melody, or a grand gesture, all is equally well poised. Truly fine music that fits in its time, and sits comfortably with some of the big wigs. Another shameful thing is that Jorg Halubek as a an musician is overlooked too. You will be surprised how much this talented guy has to offer. He had me sit up right at the start, for his nimble fingers take you all over the ground, and will show you every crevice you could possibly see. Is this a recommendation, yeah you bet it is. Currently cheaply to be had at JPC de. Grab it! The recording is sublime.



Monday, January 20, 2014

Haydn, Joseph. (1732-1809) Complete Symphonies, (well almost). No. 21, 22 & 23.

Bought in 2013.
First listen.
Label: L'oiseau-Lyre.
CD 10.
Running time: 57:55

Symphony No. 21 in A major.
Symphony No. 22 in E flat major. ( The philosopher")
Symphony No. 23 in G major.

I must say No 21 and 22 get a class treatment, among the best interpretations I have heard so far. Lovely strings and brass, and well judged tempi this time. Still think that there could be more zest into the proceedings, but there is no denying that something quite wonderful happens here. The Adagio of the philosopher is a case in point. The superb poise of the winds are to be applauded. 
This is how I like my Haydn. The recording is near perfect.



Weinberg, Mieczyslaw, (1919-1996) String Quartets Volume V. No. 1,3,10.

Bought in 2013.
Second listen.
First listen: 12-12-2013. See also review for more thoughts, and technical info.


SQ No. 1, opus 2/141.
SQ No. 3, opus 14.
SQ No. 10, opus 85.
Capriccio, opus 11.
Aria, opus 9.

Brooding, deeply depressive music, with almost not a ray of light, very insistent in being forlorn, and barren in outlook.  You will not get happy from this music, but its brilliant music never the less. Fine recording and performance.


Guillaume Dufay. (1397-1474) Mass for Saint James the Greater.

Bought in 2013.
First listen.
Label Hyperion Helios.
Recording dates: July 1997.
Recording venue: Rickmansworth Masonic School Chapel.
Recording engineer: Tony Faulkner.
Running time: 66:53.

This is easily one of the best Dufay CD'S I heard to date. I never before encountered this Mass before, but it was an adventurous journey. The excellent singing by the The Binchois Consort makes it a fascinating foray into the 15th century musical culture, Dufay being an exponent of that time. The story around this mass is a interesting one, which you can find back at the Hyperion site, a insightful read. You may put this mass by Dufay in the very top of his genius. He brought all the musical knowledge at that time, and his own talent into composing this masterwork. Its excellently recorded, and be sure, that this is a CD you need. Many other recordings will pale in the face of this performance.


Koechlin, Charles. (1867-1950) Piano Works Volume I. ....des Jardins enchantés.

New acquisition. Bought in June 2017. First listen: 27-6-2017. Label: Hanssler Classics. Recording dates: December 2007. Recording venu...