Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Before the year is over, this fine recording has gone in the order list...as a last farewell to 2014.



I want to thank all visitors that read my blog over the last two years, I am delighted with the steady increase of readers. What I do may be imperfect in many respects, but I hope you can read in my reviews the love I have for classical music. As long as you will visit my blog, I will keep writing reviews.
Therefore "I wish all a good and peaceful change into the New Year 2015", be healthy and prosperous, and above all, enjoy classical music.

Harry

Saturday, December 27, 2014

From my collection. (2004) Rosenmuller, Johann. (c.1619-1684) Weihnachtshistorie. Eight listen.

From my collection.
Bought in 2004.
Listening dates: Many years at Christmas.
Label: Harmonia Mundi.
Recording dates: June 2004.
Recording venue: Eglise St. Onsdag, Neustadt-Mandelsloh, Germany.
Recording engineer: Christian Starke.
Running time: 77:20.

Works performed:

History of the Nativity.

Performed by: 
Cantus Colln.
Concerto Palatino, Konrad Junghanel.

This cd belongs to my firm favourite Christmas cd's, which I try to play each year. The performance is in all respects perfect, and the recording is very good.





Ordered today, before it gets OOP.................

Some recordings I already have, but there are many I have not, so before this box disappears from the radar, and gets OOP I managed to order it at a good price.








Friday, December 26, 2014

From my collection. (October 2007) Rossi, Solomone. (ca. 1570-1630) Purcell, Henry, (1659-1695) & Campra, Andre, (1660-1744) Vocal & Instrumental Music. Disc 3. Second listen.

From my collection.
Bought in October 2007.
Listening dates: 15-10-2007.
Second listen.
Label: Brilliant.
Licensed from Tactus.
Digi-pack with 3 cd's.
Booklet with useful info in English, and song text only in Italian.
Recording dates: 2003.
Recording venue: Chartreuse de Valbonne, Gard, France.
Recording engineer: Not mentioned.
Running time: 73:00.
Classical relevance: Instrumental parts, recommended, vocal parts a non starter.

Works performed:

Solomone Rossi.
Canti di Salomone in 3 parts.

Henry Purcell.
Sonata and Psalms.

Andre Campra.
Domine, Dominus noster. ( Psalm 8)

Performed by:

Ensemble Hypothesis on period instruments, Leopoldo d'Agustino.
Sigurd van Bommel, Countertenor.

All the instrumental parts are superb, but what degrades this cd massively is the contribution by the countertenor who is subpar, and I am friendly in that respect when saying subpar. This is really far below what can be delivered by a technically well educated singer. So for the voice I would not advise to buy this, unless you want to attract a massive headache. Its for the instrumental parts you should go on cd 3, and just skip the vocal parts, which is most of the content of this cd, I am afraid. This set is not a set one should want to acquire, for even for the little money you pay its too much. The first CD of this set has also some superficial singing by a subpar mezzo.
Sound is good.









Wednesday, December 24, 2014

From my collection. (October 2009) The Forqueray Family, CD 2. Third listen.

From my collection.
Bought in October 2009.
Listening dates: 3-10-2009 & 14-10-2009.
Third listen.
Digi-pack with 2 cd's.
Label: Brilliant.
Recording dates: July 2008 & March 2009.
Recording venue: Castello di Montisi, Italy.
Recording engineer: Giovanni Caruso.
Running time: 59:27.
Classical relevance: If you like the period, Essential".

Works performed:
Antoine Forqueray.
Allemande.
La Marella.
La d'Aubonne-Sarabande.
Suite in C minor.

Jean Baptiste Forqueray (1699-1782).
La Angrave.
La du Vancel.
La Morangis ou la Phissay-Chaconne.

Michel Forqueray.
Le Papillon et La Rose.


Performed by:

Magdalena Malec, Harpsichord (solo) after Michael Mietke, by Bruce Kennedy, 1997.
Christoph Urbanetz, Viola da Gamba, (Carlo Chiesa, 2000).
Sara Ruiz Martinez, Viola da Gamba, (Carlo Chiesa, 2008)
Soetkin Elbers, Soprano.
Pitch a = 400 Herz, according to the pitch of the French Harpsichord.



Almost 5 years ago this set came into my possession, and I had fond memories of it, thus at rehearing I was not disappointed. This set is a original Brilliant recording with some very good musicians. The whole family is represented here with some fine works, sometimes aided by a sweet soprano.. The instruments sound top notch, as if you're traveling backwards in time. Some mighty fine composers this family holds, and therefore you may expect excellence.  A informative booklet with pictures of the musicians, makes this a very attractive package of music. If you google a bit, you'll find a fair amount of info about this family.
The sound is excellent.



Jingle Bells - guitar, pencils and skarpety by pARTyzant

From my collection. (November 2014) Bach, J.S. The Complete Organ Works. (Aeolus Edition) Disc 7. First listen.

From my collection.
Bought in November 2014.
First listen.
Label: Aeolus, Box with 19 cd's.
Price: 100 euros.
Booklet is excellent, but alas the stops of the organs are not mentioned.
Recording dates: April 2008.
Recording venue: Protestant Church, Bouxwiller, France.
Recording engineer: Christoph Martin Frommen.
Instrument: Johann-Andreas Silbermann organ, 1778.
Running time: 76:54.
Classical relevance: Essential recordings.

Works performed:

Praeludium BWV 545.
Largo, BWV 529.
Fuge, BWV 454.

Leipziger Chorale
BWV 651-661.

Performed by:
Ewald Kooiman. (1938-2009)

To know how essential these recordings are just sample the Largo, BWV 529 and the Fuga BWV 545, both will put your finger on the trigger to order. I will not often say this, but this set is in all respects essential to one's understanding of Bach's Organ works. It gives you a unique insight into Ewald Kooiman's art and genius, lets you hear the Silbermann organs in all glory, and brings you much closer to Bach as almost any other set. That is not to say that there are no other worthy sets, no, not at all, but this one is really special. One piece of the Leipziger chorale, "Komm, heiliger Geist, BWV 651, is so gloriously done, that I get goosebumps just listening to it.
And as a bonus this is a State of the Art recording, I never heard a better sound from organs as this one, puts you right in the middle of the instrument.




From my collection. (October 2007) Rossi, Salomone. (ca.1570-1630) Madrigaletti, opus 13 & Six Madrigals for a single voice and Theorbo. Disc 2.

From my collection. 
Bought in October 2007.
First listen: 15-10-2007.
Label: Brilliant.
Licensed from Tactus Records.
Digi-pack with 3 cd's.
Recording dates: 1999.
Recording venue: Chiesa di Pizzo Fontanelle, Parma, Italy.
Recording engineer: Not mentioned.
Running time: 60:24.
Excellent booklet with useful info only in English, and song text only in Italian.
Classical relevance: Disc 2 is on the whole good to have, but not essential.

Works performed:
See heading of this review.

Works performed by:

L'Aura Soave on period instruments.
Antonella Tatulli & Diana Peligatti, Sopranos.
Susanna Bortolamei, Alto.
Rolf Ehlers and Peter de Laurentis, Tenors.
Leonardo Morini, Spinet.
Marco Frezzato, Cello.
Diego Cantalupi, Theorbo.

Well, if there is a sub-par recording in this set, this one is not. Its not perfect at all, some rough singing at times, they make at certain moments bad decisions in the amount of volume of voice, but overall makes a very enjoyable disc, with plenty of beautiful singing. No undue vibrato, sopranos are clear as a bell, instrumentalist are definitively good in what they do. The recording is fine too, just the right amount of distance , with some realistic depth, and space around the voices. The six Madrigals for solo voice are on the whole successful, but I would wish they would control the volume of voice, these delicate songs need a delicate approach. That goes for male and female. 






Tuesday, December 23, 2014

From my collection. (June 2014) Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works. CPO edition. Disc 3. Third complete listen.

Classical relevance: Essential recordings of Bach's organ works.

I have little to add to my previous review, were all the details plus pictures of the organ are. Link below.
Orgelbuchlein are amazing works, and they sound magnificent on the Joachim Wagner Organ.

First review of this disc.





From my collection. (August 2014.) Arnell, Richard. Orchestral Music. Violin Concerto & Punch and the Child & Harlequin in April, Ballets. Second listen.

Classical relevance: For lovers of British Symphonists essential.

Little to add to my first review, apart from the fact that the sound is truly stunning.
See previous review.

First review of this disc.




From my collection. (September 2014) Reger, Max. Violin Concerto, opus 101 in A major and Aria for Violin and Orchestra, opus 103a,3. Second listen.

Classical relevance: Good but not outstanding.

Playing it again, I stay close to my first review, with the added information that Ulf Wallin, has a excellent bowing technique, and the softest ppp's have a delicacy almost out of this world.

First review of this disc.




Monday, December 22, 2014

From my collection. (October 2009) The Forqueray Family. Chamber Music for Harpsichord and Viola da Gamba. CD 1. Third listen.

From my collection.
Bought in October 2009.
Listening dates: 2-10-2009 & 13-10-2009.
Third listen.
Digi-pack with 2 cd's.
Label: Brilliant.
Recording dates: July 2008 & March 2009.
Recording venue: Castello di Montisi, Italy.
Recording engineer: Giovanni Caruso.
Running time: 46:57. ( Again a ridiculous short playing time)
Classical relevance: If you like the period, Essential".

Works performed:

Michel Forqueray. (1681-1757)
Prelude de Forcroy.
Musette"N'espere plus, jeune Lisette".

Antoine Forqueray. (1672-1745)
Suite in D minor & G.

Performed by:

Magdalena Malec, Harpsichord (solo) after Michael Mietke, by Bruce Kennedy, 1997.
Christoph Urbanetz, Viola da Gamba, (Carlo Chiesa, 2000).
Sara Ruiz Martinez, Viola da Gamba, (Carlo Chiesa, 2008)
Soetkin Elbers, Soprano.
Pitch a = 400 Herz, according to the pitch of the French Harpsichord.

Almost 5 years ago this set came into my possession, and I had fond memories of it, thus at rehearing I was not disappointed. This set is a original Brilliant recording with some very good musicians. The whole family is represented here with some fine works, sometimes aided by a sweet soprano.. The instruments sound top notch, as if you're traveling backwards in time. Some mighty fine composers this family holds, and therefore you may expect excellence.  A informative booklet with pictures of the musicians, makes this a very attractive package of music. If you google a bit, you'll find a fair amount of info about this family.
The sound is excellent.






















From my collection. (October 2007) Rossi, Salomone. (ca.1570-1630) Vocal Works, CD 1, Second listen.

From my collection.
Bought in October 2007.
Listening dates: 15-10-2007.
Second listen.
Label: Brilliant.
Licensed from Tactus.
Digi pack with 3 cd's.
CD 1.
Recording dates: 1999.
Recording venue: Oratorio di S. Niccolo del Ceppo, Florence, Italy.
Recording engineer: Not mentioned.
Running time: 46:00. ( Ridiculously short playing time)
Classical relevance: Only for those really interested in this genre.

Works performed:
First Book of Madrigals for 4 Voices. (Venice 1614)
Arias for a single Voice, from the first Book of Madrigals for 5 Voices.

Performed by:
Ut Musica Poesis Ensemble on period instruments.
Santina Tomasello & Lucia Focardi, Soprano.
Contanza Redini & Lucia Sciannimanico, Contra Altos.
Paolo Fanciullacci & Valerio Vieri, Tenors.
Marcello Vargetto & Romano Martinuzzi, Basses.
Stefano Bozolo, conducting from the Harpsichord.

I found this recording in my collection, flabbergasted at the fact that I only played this set once, and then put it in my collection. Listening to the first disc there was absolutely no reason to do this. But then I had so much to listen in those days, and still do, that I probably popped it into my collection out of sheer shortage of time to listen all. Nevertheless, I have mostly orchestral works at hand, and nothing soothing to the mind on a small scale, so hence the lifting out of my phonotecia. 
These are fine recordings of Rossi's Madrigals, a bit closely recorded, and not always top voices. The alto Contanza Redini, has a somewhat hollow sound, at times a bit harsh even, it certainly misses the fine tuning to make the text special. But as a whole I think these performances worthwhile, for we do not hear that many recordings of Rossi's Madrigali. I would not, by hearing songs from Book 1, put them on the same level as Monteverdi of D'India, but they are pleasant melodies, and when properly sung a pleasure to listen to. Its a good try, but I am convinced that it can be done better.
Sound is good, be it a little forward.








Saturday, December 20, 2014

From my collection. (January 2008) Tallis, Thomas. Complete Works. CD 9 & 10 The Instrumental Music and Songs 1, and 2... Third complete listen of this set.

From my collection.
Bought in January 2008.
Listening dates: 6-2-2008 & 26-2-2008.
Third listen.
Label: Brilliant.
Licensed from Signum Records Ltd.
Box with 10 cd's.
Price approx: 25,00 euros.
Classical relevance: Essential recordings.
Recording dates:  May 2004 & August 2004. Disc 10: 1999
Recording venues: St. Andrew's Church, Toddington & Fenton House, Hampstead, & The Chapel of Knole House, England.
Recording engineers: Mike Hatch & Simon Eadon.
Running time: 75:15 and 26:44.

Works recorded: 
See heading.

Performed by:
Chapelle du Roi, Alistair Dixon.
Charivari Agreable & Lynda Sayce, Lutes.
Laurence Cummings, Virginals, Harpsichords.
Andrew Benson Wilson, Organ, on CD 9 and 10.
Stephen Taylor, Countertenor.

This almost instrumental disc is a marvel in performance and sound, and is a fine balance after all the vocal compositions. The music making is on a very high level, and there is obviously a lot of "Spielfreude". The recordings are very good and the instruments used sound superb.








Friday, December 19, 2014

Something I stumbled over and looks like a very good deal. ordered!

If somebody could enlighten me about this box with 10 cd's I would be grateful, it looks like an interesting mix of many unknown composers, by performers that promise quality.



From my collection. (October 2014) Mann, Johan Gottfried Hendrik. Orchestral Works. Second rerun.

About this disc I can be quite clear, it should be in your collection, for you will be the poorer for it, if you have not. I realize that this Dutch master is totally forgotten, yes, even in the Netherlands, but that I consider him one of the very best Holland has to offer. And what is on offer, is nothing short as fenomenal good music. As so often the gems in life are hard to find due to the negligence of people who should know, but don't really.  A stroke of luck that CPO saw the worth of this composer  when nobody in my country did and recorded some of his best works in very good performances and very good sound. Its budget priced, so what holds you back. See my previous review with all details.

First review of this disc with all details.







From my collection. (December2014) Hill, Alfred. String Quartets, Volume 5. No. 12, 13 & 14.Third listen.

Alfred Hill was born in Australia, but spend most of his youth in New Zealand, after which he embarked towards Leipzig, where he actually met, Brahms, Dvorak and Tchaikovsky, imagine that, almost impossible to comprehend. So of course many influences are to be found in his SQ, especially Dvorak and Tchaikovsky. His music is literally drenched with it, but has his own characteristics, his own identity so to say. And this voice is very original, for yes he took in all influences willingly and readily, but he made it into his own idiom. You may know where Hill is going with his SQ by just listening to the first movement of SQ 12, "Adagio-Allegro", and the following "Humoreske-Allegretto". It defines Hill as a composer, and it tells you all about his music. This is the fifth volume, and another one will come after this, completing all the SQ. I have them all, and I can tell you that it is a immense pleasure to listen to such genial music, with almost always a friendly outlook. Alfred Hill is an underrated composer, who deserves to be known for his music.
The sound is state of the art. A natural ambiance, intimate and warm, with all the detail you could wish for. If you like Dvorak, this music is essential to have in my opinion. Alone for the fact that he met such great composers in his lifetime, composers I admire immensely, it would be worth dipping into his music.
See previous review.
First and second review of this disc.







From my collection. (October 2014) Malipiero, Gian Francesco. Fantasie di Ogni Giorno. Passacaglie. Concerti. Second listen.

For those that are collecting this series from Naxos, I would say this is an essential buy. But if you are new to his works, you should not start with this CD. Malipiero's modernity can be a bit harsh, especially in the first two works, and that might put you off, which would be a shame. Start with his early Symphonies also on Naxos, that way you will grow into his idiom. That said is is a wonderful disc, a worthy follow up of all the other releases. The sound is very good.
See previous review.

Previous review of this disc.






From my collection. (October 2014) Kaminski, Heinrich. The Complete Organ Works. Second rerun.

Classical relevance of this CD: For Organ lovers, essential.

A little update on the sound is in order. Played on a normal set it already sounds good, on a reference system it sounds spectacular. GU 32 is audible from your toes upwards without end. Fine music from a forgotten master.
See previous review.

First review of this disc with all details.



From my collection.(January 2008) Tallis, Thomas. The Complete Works. CD 8. The Lamentations and Contrafacta. Third complete listen.

From my collection.
Bought in January 2008.
Listening dates: 1-2-2008 & 25-2-2008.
Label: Brilliant.
Licensed from: Signum Records, Ltd.
Box with 10 cd's. The newer release has different artwork.
No booklet, but CD-ROM with all text and info.
Price: Around 25,00 euros.
Recording dates disc 8: September 2002.
Recording venue: All Hallows Church, Gospel Oak.
Recording engineer: Mike Hatch.
Running time: 63:22.

Works performed:
See above.

Works performed by:
Chapelle du Roi, Alistair Dixon.

I always found the Lamentations and Contrafacta a gorgeous set of songs. And then especially the Lamentations of Jeremiah 1 & 2. A finer introduction to this disc you could not wish, especially when the choir is singing them so beautifully. The art of the finer balance is this choir is extraordinary. Voices are never overbearing, because they keep listening to each other and thereby never losing the line. The structural coherence is one to admire, for I do not encounter this phenomenon very often. These Brits sing with feeling and a compassionate urge, not encountered often amongst this nation of singers, at least not on this level. Just listen to Wipe away my Sins, the third track on this disc, and you will know what I am talking about.
Mike Hatch made a beautiful recording.





Thursday, December 18, 2014

From my collection. Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works. (CPO Edition) CD 2. Third complete listen.

*Classical relevance: Essential recordings*  

CD 2 features the Gottfried Silbermann organ in Freiburg at St. Petri, built between 1734-1735. Its a magnificent instrument with in the Pedal a GU 32, that shakes my house when powered out of my speakers, it really goes low, very low.Especially in the Praeludium et Fuga BWV 546, A thunderous work. My Avalons clearly liked their work out.

See previous review.

First review of this disc.


From my collection. (June 2014) Bate, Stanley, Symphony No. 4, & Arnell, Richard, Symphony No. 7, "Mandela".

I already wrote a review about this recording, for which I will give a link, but listening over my reference system I heard something which moved my heart profoundly. I am talking about the second movement "Andante serioso" about half way, had my eyes closed so, a barren landscape, above a sustained string chord a horn comes in, this lyrical line of the strings with two timpani, a conversation at an insistent pulse, sorrowful, beautiful. I changed my view on the Arnell Symphony, second time around it gets much closer. Sound and performance is superb.  
See my earlier review.

First review of this disc, Stanley Bate.

First review Arnell.



From my collection. (January 2008) Tallis, Thomas. The Complete Works. Music for Queen Elizabeth. CD 7. Third listen.

From my collection.
Bought in January 2008.
Third complete listen.
Label: Brilliant.
Licensed from: Signum Records Ltd.
Price: around 25,00 euros.
Box with 10 cd's, no booklet, but a CD-ROM with all info.
Recording dates CD 7: November 2000.
Recording venue: St. Jude's Hampstead, England.
Recording engineer: Limo Hearn.
Running time: 62:45.

Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by:
Chapelle du Roi, Alistair Dixon.

For this cd the forces have been tripled for, but not only Spem in Alium. This in itself is understandable, but for me its a bit harder to stomach, for a lot of sopranos are added and they pipe above all other voices in such a way that the music is a bit robbed of the intimacy, which distinguished the other 6 discs before. So for me the volume goes down. There is nothing seriously going wrong, for they are all well behaved, but I simply dislike massive choir works, and the music for Queen Elizabeth is just that. And then, Spem in Alium, is a difficult work to sing, and I really did not hear a performance ever that charmed me out of my shoes, so neither does the version we get here. I am a hard master to please I guess. Its all above board and that, but still, it should have been for 12 voices instead of 40 as on this recording. So a fine disc which fits perfectly in the spectrum of this choir. The recording is most excellent.




Wednesday, December 17, 2014

From my collection. (November 2014) Johann Sebastian Bach. The Complete Organ Works. Aeolus edition. CD 1. Second rerun

There is no doubt about it, it is by far the best recording I heard so far from Bach's Organ works. And as a interpretation goes, it ranks high too. Ewald Kooiman is a master on this instrument.
Highly detailed, no blurring, the acoustics are smashing. Frommen is an engineer who knows how to record a organ. The colours are gorgeous. What a pleasure to hear Bach on Silbermann organs. 
See previous review.

First review of this disc


From my collection. (June 2014) CPE Bach. Complete Organ works. CD 2. Third rerun.

Played on my reference system.

The sound is spectacular good, spatial, detailed. The lower pipes do not blur in this recording, which is state of the Art.
See previous review.

First review of this disc.



From my collection. (June 2014) German, Edward. Orchestral Works, Second listen.

Played over my reference system.
Classical relevance: Nice to have.

 
The sound is good, it has an open structure, and only in the lower strings at fortes its is blurring a little. Every piece on this disc sounds different in that respect, sometimes very good, sometimes less so. 
See previous review.



From my collection. (June 2014) Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works. CD 1. The CPO set. Third complete listen.

I selected quite a few single  cd's and complete collection to be played over my reference system, instead of my review system. And yes I have different systems. The Reference system is State of the Art, so I am able to determine how good or bad the sound actually is, and enjoy the music more at the same time.
Gerhard Weinberger is one of those sets, and of course I started with the first cd. Now I will give the link to my first review, which was done on my review system. I therefore will limit myself here to the sound.
The sound of the North German Organ is majestic and somewhat distanced, formal if you like. In this case the upper and middle pipes sound magnificent with much detail. The lower pipes tend to blur a little bit when played loud and different stops come together.  The total image is nevertheless glorious and colourful, as far as that is possible on this organ. ( Gottfried Silbermann organ, Dom St. Marien, Freiberg) There is enough power in this instrument, and is one of my favourites.

First review of this disc.





From my collection. (January 2008) Tallis, Thomas. Complete Works. CD 6. Music for a Reformed Church. Third listen.

From my collection.
Bought in January 2008.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
Licensed from Signum Records Ltd.
Box with 10 cd's.
Price approx. 25,00 euros.
No booklet, but CD-ROM.
Recording dates: July 2000.
Recording venue: St. Jude's, Hampstead, England.
Recording engineer: Limo Hearn.
Running time: 77:53.
Classical relevance: Essential recordings of Thomas Tallis.

Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by:

Chapelle du Roi, Alistair Dixon.

Another fine example of how good Tallis his music can sound. I am in a constant state of amazement concerning these performances. So little attention it gets. Dixon has put Tallis firmly on the map, with the reference recordings he has given us. The beauty of the compositions are brought out fully by this choir, and the fine sound enhances it all. Don't try before you buy, just buy!




Tuesday, December 16, 2014

From my collection. (June 2014) Bach, CPE. Complete Organ Music, CD 1. Third listen.

* Classical relevance: Very worthwhile to have.*

The third time around, and still feeling passionate about what I hear. This music was a surprise for me both in quantity and quality. 
See previous review.

First review of this disc.




From my collection (June 2014) Arnell, Richard. The unnumbered Symphonies. Second listen.

* Classical relevance: Essential to one's understanding of British music*

I am still totally blown away by this composer. How such a man could be forgotten is beyond me.
Anyways see previous review.

First review of this disc.




From my collection. (July 2007) German, Edward. Orchestral Works. Second listen.

* Classical relevance: Worthwhile music to have*

Into the second relisten of all my Dutton acquirements. The music was carefully chosen for its musical excellence and ditto performances. I think that Edward German is a much underrated composer.
See previous review.

First review of this disc.



Bach Toccata d minor BWV 913 played by Ewald Kooiman

Ewald Kooiman plays Johann Sebastian Bach

New Acquisition.(November 2014) Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works, (Aeolus Edition) CD 6. First listen.

New Acquisition.
Bought: November 2014.
First listen.
Label: Aeolus.
Box with 19 cd's, and extensive booklet.
Price: 99,00 euros. (At JPC)
Recording dates: October 2008.
Recording engineer: Christoph Martin Frommen.
Running time: 72:44.
Classical relevance: Essential recordings of Johann Sebastian Bach's Organ Works.

Works performed:
Praeludium and Fuge, BWV 533.

Chorale der Neumeister Sammlung.
BWV 1104-1120.

Chorale der Schubler Sammlung.
BWV 646/47/649.

Praeludium BWV 569.

Instrument played on.
Johann Andreas Silbermann Organ 1745, Wasselonne, France.
See for picture of this organ the review of disc 5. (Search function)

Played by Ewald Kooiman. (1938-2009)

I can only repeat what I have already said in the first 5 volumes out of this series, it's essential to have. No Bach lover can pass up these recordings. Do not deprive you of such excellence, you will be the poorer for it. The riches are enormous, your understanding of Bach will massively improve and so will your pleasure listening to it. Ewald Kooiman draws you into his world with such ease, that you almost become part of the instrument yourself. The Neumeister collection makes me always happy to hear, as the Schubler collection, such well written pieces.
The sound is spectacular.



From my collection. (2008) Tallis Thomas. Music for the Divine Office Part II. Third complete listen. CD 5.

From my collection.
Bought in 2008.
Listening dates: 28-1-2008 & 20-2-2008.
Third complete listen.
Label: Brilliant.
Licensed from Signum Records, Ltd.
Box with 10 cd's.
Price: About 25,00 euros.
The cover art of the box is different now.
Recording dates of disc 5: October 1998 & May 1999.
Recording venues: St. Jude's Hampstead & The Chapel, Knole House, England.
Recording engineers: Mike Clements & Simon Eadon.
Running time: 77:53.
Classical relevance: Essential recordings of Thomas Tallis works.

Works performed:
See headlines of this review.

Performed by: 

Chapelle du Roi, Alistair Dixon.
Andrew Wilson, Organ.

I can write a long elogium on these recordings, but by now you understood of my previous reviews that I think these recordings essential to any classical collection. The second part of the Divine office, is even a step further on the ladder of excellence, it had me deeply moved. The plainchant has a fine balance, and the organ bits make this an experience not lightly to forget.
The sound is very good. Never hesitate to invest in this set.




Monday, December 15, 2014

From my collection. (December 2007) D' India, Sigismondo and others. Madrigali e Canzonette. Third listen.

From my collection. (December 2007)
Listening dates: 10-12-2007 & 24-12-2007.
Third listen.
Label: Harmonia Mundi.
Recording dates: December 2001.
Recording venue: Sion, Studio Tibor Varga.
Recording engineer: Nicolas Bartholomee.
Running time: 64:57.
Classical relevance: Interesting to have.

Works performed.

Madrigali and Canzonettas by:
Sigismondo D'India. (ca.1582-1629)
Giovanni Maria Trabaci. (1575-1647)
Ascanio Mayone. (1565-1627)
Giovanni de Macque. (1548/50-1614)

Performed by:
Maria Cristina Kiehr, Soprano.
Concerto Soave, Jean Marc Aymes.

I took this out of my collection to get some more bearings on the composer D'India. It was some time ago that I have listened to this disc, so I am happy to say it has been an instructive one.
Kiehr is a soprano which I normally admire in all she does, but the first three songs on this cd were hard to stomach for me. It sounded forced and formalistic to me, in fact it nearly gave me a headache. It can be that her voice was not suited to the keys in which it was written, or that she had a bad day, but good it was not. I was relieved when Trabaci came in with an instrumental piece to cover the recent scares, a gentle Gagliarda played by the excellent Concerto Soave. Then three songs of D'India again, and that was as expected, well sung and none of that forced singing anymore.
This D'India is far and wide removed of the interpretation of the Consort of Musicke, led by Anthony Rooley, which had me flabbergasted by what I heard. Not that is was bad, but purely technical, aimed at precise singing and less of shaping the words and emotions behind the music. Now, it is not so that Kiehr is a perfect interpreter for India's music, far from it, but she comes much closer to what it actually should be, as Emma Kirkby or Evelyn Tube did on L'oiseau-Lyre. Somehow she also misses the beat of emotion, and also aims at singing all the notes perfectly. It itself laudable of course but its not what I seek. The recent Tactus recording  I reviewed this month, on which Kiehr also sings is an example of how it should be, so she is capable to sing with more feeling and still sound perfectly alright. Interesting to say the least. Let me be clear, I like what I hear apart from the first three songs, but she can do much better. All the instrumental pieces by Trabaci, Mayone and Macque are perfectly done, a balm to my ear. The recording is very good, but the voice is a bit closely recorded.





From my collection. (June 2014) Peter Crossley Holland, Eugene Goossens, John Ireland. Second listen.

Classical relevance: Nice to have. Pastoral tonal music.

Listening dates: 25-6-2014.

All the pieces are in the British pastoral vein, and very pleasant to listen to. This is quality music mind, not some everyday trash.
See previous review.

First review of this disc.



From my collection. (July 2014.) Stanley Bate, Richard Arnell, & Erik Chisholm. Orchestral works. Second listen.

Classical relevance: Essential for the advanced in classical music.

Listening date: 10-7-2014. 

Stanley Bate is a composer that gets better with every hearing. He is the least accessible from the three composers on this disc. But what a depth his music has, and highly strung emotions all boiled up, in every note he writes. A great amongst greats he is. 

See previous review.

First review of this disc.


From my collection. (June 2014) Chadwick, George W. (1854-1931) Orchestral Works.

Bought in June 2014.
Listening dates: 26-6-2014 & 9-7-2014.
Third listen.
Classical relevance: If interested in this composer, "Essential"

Chadwick has to be played by a good and motivated orchestra to hear the full potential of his genius. To often he is performed by mediocre orchestras, and conductors who are not interested. This Dutton is an exception on this rule. This production is in all respects perfect. Not a speck of criticism from me. This is Chadwick as it should be!

See previous review.




New Acquisition. Bach, J.S. The Complete Organ Works. Aeolus Edition. CD 5. First listen.

New acquisition.
First listen.
Label: Aeolus.
Box with 19 cd's.
Extensive booklet, with pictures of the organ, and thorough explanation of the works.
No stops mentioned from the organs.
Recording dates: October 2008.
Recording engineer: Christoph Martin Frommen.
Running time: 74:53.
Classical relevance of this recording: Essential.

Instrument used: Johann Silbermann organ (1745) Wasselonne, Protestant Church, France.

Works performed:
Praeludium in g-Moll, BWV 535.
Fuge in g-Moll, BWV 535.

Chorale der Neumeister Sammlung.
Der tag, der ist so freudenreich, BWV 719.
Wir Christenleut, BWV 1090.
Das alte Jahr vergangen, BWV 1091.
Herr Gott nun Schleuss den Himmel auf, BWV 1092.
Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen, BWV 1093.
O, Jesu, wie ist dein Gestalt, BWV 1094.
O, Lamm Gottes, unschuldig, BWV 1095
Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht, BWV 1096.
Ehre sei dir, Christe, BWZ 1097.
Wir glauben all an einen Gott, BWV 1098.
Aus tiefer not schrei ich zu dir, BWV 1099.
Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 1100.
Ach Gott, und Herr, BWV 714.
Ach Herr, mich armen Sunder, BWV. 742.
Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt, BWV 1101.
Du Friedefurst, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 1102.
Erhalt uns, Herr bei deinem Wort, BWV 1103.
Vater unser in Himmelreich, BWV 737.

Concerto BWV 571.
Durch Adams fall, BWV 705.

Performed by:
Ewald Kooiman.

Its is a utter delight to return to this box, for we get Bach in colours and shadings not often heard. We have an excellent Bach interpreter, we have the beautiful Silbermann Organs, we have Frommen as a engineer, and we have inspiration and dedication from all involved. The project will never be repeated by Kooiman for he died unexpectedly in 2009, and a great loss that is. For me these recordings are a bit of a home coming, be it in a different land with organs unfamiliar with, in the sense that I am used hearing Bach on North German organs, but the stamp of authenticity given by Kooiman is prevalent above all else. He has created the basis for this set, and his pupils followed it up in the same vein as projected by him.
I simply love the Chorals from the Neumeister collection, and they are done gorgeously. This is a set you should listen at, and I have very little to say as just that. It will change your view on Bach in a favourable way. 


Wasselonne. Silbermann Organ used in this recording





From my collection. (2008) D'India, Sigismondo. (ca.1580-1624) Music for a single voice, Fifth book. (Venice 1623) Third listen.

From my collection (2008)
Listening dates: 26-1-2008 & 30-1-2008.
Third listen.
Label: Brilliant.
Licensed from Tactus Records, Italy.
Availability: OOP.
Booklet with useful info in English only, and song text in Italian only.
Recording dates: 1998.
Recording venue: Teatro Communale Ruggieri, Guastalla, Italy.
Recording engineer: Marco Miari.
Running time: 51:06.
Classical relevance: Not essential.

Works performed:
See head text.

Performed by:

Maurizia Barazzoni, Soprano.
Sandro Volta, Arch lute, Chitarrone, Five course guitar.

From the three disc in this box this one is the less rewarding. Not that there is anything serious wrong with it, but I find the soprano to be almost and sometimes entirely a mezzo. This in itself would not be a serious problem, but for a composer as D'India, she puts too much drama in the music, plus some ugly vibrato at times, to lengthen the notes in a unsavoury way. Her voice is simply too big and more for opera as for such intimate songs as on offer. Apart from this, the voice is devoid of expression, in the right vein, and therefore the intent of the music, at least to my ears is lost.  Just sample the 10th song "Misera me, fia vero", and you know right away what I mean. Whether you can stomach it, is a question of taste, I could, but with difficulty. I had exactly the same reaction listening to this in 2008. Sandro Volta is a remarkable accompanist, loved his contributions, which are considerable. Sound is excellent, no complains there.





From my collection (2008) Tallis, Thomas. The complete Works. CD 4. Music for the Divine Office I. Third listen.

From my collection. (2008)
Listening dates: 28-1-2008 & 19-2-2008.
Third listen.
Label: Brilliant.
Recordings licensed from Signum Records Ltd.
Box with 10 cd's, plus CD-ROM for text and other info.
CD 4.
Recording dates: July 1998.
Recording venue: St. Jude's Church, Hampstead. England.
Recording engineer: Mike Clements.
Running time: 66:41.
Classical relevance: Essential recordings.

Works performed:
Music for the Divine Office I.

Performed by:
Chapelle du Roi, Alistair Dixon.

What to write, if the only thing that comes to mind is the word perfect? Perfect in every respect. Of course one could write a laudio of 10 pages if that would make understanding the music better. Instead I say buy and listen. It will not rob you from food necessary to keep your body together, but it it will be food for your soul to listen. Its worth it.



Saturday, December 13, 2014

From my collection. (1995) D'India, Sigismondo. Eighth Book of Madrigals for 5 voices & Solo Madrigals and Chamber Duets.

From my collection.
Bought in 1995.
No listening dates.
Label: L'oiseau-Lyre. (Florilegium series.)
Recording dates: 1980, 1981, 1983.
Recording venues: Not mentioned.
Recording engineers: Simon Eadon, Track 1-12. Martin Haskell, Track 13-18.
Running time: 66:34.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
See headlines.

Works performed by:
Track 1-12.
The Consort of Musicke, Anthony Rooley.
Emma Kirkby & Evelyn Tubb, Sopranos.
Mary Nichols, Alto.
Joseph Cornwell, Andrew King, Tenors.
Richard Wistreich, Bass.

Tracks, 13-18.
Emma Kirkby & Judith Nelson, Sopranos.
Martin Hill, Tenor.
David Thomas, Bass.
Anthony Rooley, Trevor Jones, Lutes
Trevor Jones & Alison Crum, Bass viols.

I took this cd from my collection to have some additional music from D'India to listen too, be it from a very different era, and definitively different style of performances, in comparison with the Italian performance style. I am referring to the Brilliant box, currently in my listening que. 
If you would play both sets after each other you would fall from your stool, no doubt about that. Were subtle passion and emotional commitment on a microscale prove to be totally effective in this music as with the Brilliant interpretation, with the English approach you get technical perfect performances, and the passion and emotion British performers are capable of. Which in contrast is very little. You come to admire the voices, and the perfect diction, the balance of the voices together, but to say that it moved me, no I cannot say that, I admire and acknowledge, but there is no emotional surge from these performers, no even on a tiny level. Its all technical. This said I bought the disc because of this technical excellence of the performers, for in this they have almost no equal to this day. So in this sense its essential to have. It was after 19 years I came back to these recordings, and the experience has been very revealing. My taste has changed, and my notion of the music itself too. Now there are more options to chose, in and around 1980 there was not. Still I am glad to have them, if only for my favorite sopranos of all times, Emma Kirkby and Judith Nelson.
The recordings are still state of the art.






From my collection. (November 2014) Duphly, Jacques. (1715-1789) The Complete Works for Harpsichord. Disc 4. Second Rerun.

Classical relevance: Worthwhile to have. (Reference set)

For now this set will go into my fixed collection. My listening to this music has been intensive, and gave me many insights in the excellence of this composer, one you should not ignore. I marveled at every piece, never knowing what worth there is in his compositions. This set is a good way to learn about the music, and for me this is even a reference set. There are a few cd's spread around many previous years, and most of them are good to very good, but this box put them all together, and thats a huge plus, at least for me, and I guess for others too.
Enjoy.

See previous review with all details.

First review of this disc.



Friday, December 12, 2014

From my collection. (October 2014) Beethoven, Ludwig van. Piano Concertos No. 4 & 5. Second listen. Second rerun.

Classical relevance (Music) Essential. (Performance) not recommended.

Although I would have loved this performance to be the authentic interpretation per se, I have to conclude after two reruns, that the orchestra is fabulous, recording and performance wise, but Lubin's contribution is dead wood for me, with here and there a small spark of what could have been. His Forte piano is simply not delivering. It has no power, the sound is as dry as a chinese wood stick, tuning is more or less adequate, but its simply the wrong instrument for the job. If they would only have used a Bosendorfer even a modern one, and this would have been a success. I think that even Beethoven would have complained incessantly about the instrument, but marveled at Hogwoods orchestra. Sometimes you have to be able to say, no, to an instrument that is clearly ruining the total picture.
Its my personal conclusion of course, and you may conclude exactly the opposite. Just try before you buy.

See previous review.





From my collection (December 2014) Cilea, Francesco. (1866-1950) Chamber Music.

* Classical relevance: Worthwhile to have/Essential.

Cilea is a romanticus pur sang. Lovely endearing melodies, perfect harmonies, excellent balance between instruments, and for all of them he wrote gorgeous parts, no one has the lead, it's an effort of all. For me this music is essential, and I am sure after listening to it, you will feel the same. Good sound and idiomatic performances. Absolutely recommended.

See previous review.

First review of this disc.




Duphly, Jacques. (1715-1789) Works for Harpsichord, Disc 3. Second rerun.

*Classical relevance: Well worth exploring.

For me there is no doubt about this music. Happy, vigorous in its appetite for fine melodies, and played with warmth and attention to detail.
See previous review.

First review of disc 3.



New acquisition. Bridge, Frank. (1879-1942) Phantasm-Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra. (1931) Disc 2 of this set.

New Acquisition.
Bought in September 2014.
First listen.
Label: Lyrita, box with 4 cd's.
Recordings are printed on CD-ROMS with a 35 year guarantee on proper playback.
This is not mentioned anywhere.
Recording year: 1977.
Recording engineer and venue: Not mentioned.
Running time: 27:24.
Classical relevance: Good to have, but its an acquired taste, so sample before buying.

Work performed:
She heading of this review.

Performed by:
Peter Wallfisch, Piano.
London PO, Nicholas Braithwaite.

Do not think for a moment that this work will be an easy ride, for it is a very dark work, suffused with dark moods, in other words, it has not a happy demeanor. This starts right away in the first movement, an Allegro moderato, that is slightly off edge, producing rhythms that are bouncing against each other, and furious interchanging attacks among the desks. Quite energetic and with more than a tinge of aggressiveness. manifesting in pounding out the notes on the piano. Almost the work of a young angry man. Well it makes quite an impression. Not a work that finds its way to your heart, or at least not easily. Uneven and unbalanced, but composed with a vehemence that clearly proves its goal, the composer knew exactly where to go, on this very turbulent ride. No, not easy, as is the humming pianist, and yes out of tune! Why an engineer is not saying anything of this is beyond me. You could summon up this work like: A world of dreams/nightmares, spectres and passing apparitions. The shadowy character is unsettling throughout the whole work. At times its even martial in its expression, and I guess its a warlord you do not want to meet. Its covered in half lights, maybe some ectoplasmic figures flitting by, in what is basically a barren soundscape. There is some beauty in this terror stricken music, but you have the constant feeling as if you're listening to a story of supernatural happenings. Votes are out whether I like this or not. The sound is first rate, as is the performance.








New Acquisition. Foulds, John. (1880-1939) Dynamic Triptych for Piano & Orchestra, opus 88. First listen. Disc 1.

New Acquisition.
Bought in September 2014.
First listen.
Label: Lyrita, box with 4 cd's.
Recordings are printed on CD-ROMS with a 35 year guarantee on proper playback.
This is not mentioned anywhere.
Recording year: 1984.
Recording engineer and venue: Not mentioned.
Running time: 29:14.
Classical relevance: Good to have, but its an acquired taste, so sample before buying.

Work performed: 
See heading of this review.

Performed by:
Howard Shelley, Piano.
Royal PO, Vernon Handley.

To begin with, the recording sounds fantastic, and the performance is first rate. Both Shelley and Handley are in good form, and they clearly enjoy what they are doing.
Foulds is not entirely new to me, but as to this date I shied away from his compositions, not really conscious of this fact. I think however this composition is a terrific piece, dynamic, with energized magic all over the place, and an orchestra that keeps all lines crystal clear, they play with great discipline, and keep the rhythms very tight. One cannot say that Foulds works are easy, but they are easy accessible. An odd note here and there to slam you out of balance, and some disconcerting harmonies into the bargain too, but that only heightens my curiosity.  Its all tonal mind, with once in a while a dip into lets say modernity, but nothing to worry you, beyond a slight frown. Think eclectic and you have the music by its very core. The impulsivity of the work is a addictive factor, quite a powerful character on its own. It urges me to go search for more works of John Foulds. Certainly a winner for me!





From my collection. (2008) D'India, Sigismondo. (ca.1580-1629) CD 2. Madrigals, Arias and Dances-Cori di Marinari nella Favola d'Arione. Third complete listen.

From my collection.
Bought in 2008.
Listening dates: 26-1-2008 & 29-1-2008.
Third listening.
Label: Brilliant.
Licensed from Tactus Records.
Box with 3 cd's. (Slimline)
A booklet with very adequate info,( English only) and full text, though only in Italian 
Availability: OOP.
Recording dates: 1990.
Recording venue: Sala del Vasari, Bologna, Italy.
Recording engineer: Marco Miari.
Running time:64:13.
Classical relevance:  As essential as Claudio Monteverdi.

Works performed:
See heading of this review.

Works performed by:
Maria Cristina Kiehr and Nadia Ragni, Sopranos.
Claudio Cavina, Countertenor.
Pietro Valguarnera, Tenor.
Josep Cabre, Baritone.
Daniele Carnovich, Bass.
Ensemble Elyma, Gabriel Garrido.

* Polyphony and Monody*  

This disc is certainly a surprise in offering some high quality music in most excellent performances. I quite forgot about this, but then seeing the names of the singers is enough to almost guarantee top notch interpretations. And so it is, the singing as well as the instrumental accompaniment is gorgeous. You hear without a doubt that D'India and Monteverdi are on one line, they are well matched in their creativity. So no need to belittle D'India in favour of Monteverdi, which is often done, and without proof and substance I might add. No one in his right mind can think this after hearing the recording on offer. You might just snatch it up somewhere on the net. Brilliant shows OOP, but I saw it here and there on Amazon, for good prices.
Warm, committed well thought out performances, textually clear as a bell, fine diction, and a spatial recording that allows you to listen to every voice on an individual basis. Certainly the highlight in this set.
Go get it. :)




From my Collection (2008. Tallis, Thomas. The Complete Works. CD 3, Music for Queen Mary. Third complete listening.

From my collection.
Bought in 2008.
Listening dates: 27-1-2008 & 13-2-2008.
Third listen.
Label: Brilliant.
Licensed from Signum Records Ltd.
Box with 10 cd's. No booklet, but CD-ROM with full text.
The latest release has different artwork, this was the first release.
Price: Around 25,00 euros.
Recording dates: May, 1997.
Recording venus: St. Jude's Church, Hampstead, England.
Recording engineer: Mike Clements.
Running time: 64:37.
Classical relevance: Essential recordings.

Works performed:

Beati immaculati
Introit: Puer natus est Nobis.
Kyrie: Deus Creator.

Mass: Puer natus est Nobis.
Gloria-Gradual: Viderunt omnes-Alleluia: Dies sanctificatus-Sequence: Celeste organum-Sanctus-Benedictus-Agnus dei-Communion: Viderunt omnes-Suscipe quaeso-Gaude gloriosa.

Performed by:
Chapelle du Roi, Alistair Dixon.

As with the 2 previous discs the pleasure of listening to these performances is immense. I cannot stress this enough. such a cheap way of getting the complete works by Thomas Tallis together is a God send. Never hesitate to acquire this, it will last you a lifetime in enjoyment.
Very well recorded.






The Leiden Choirbooks Volume III. (De Leidse Koorboeken) Second rerun.

A second rerun of Volume III. The Leiden Choirbooks. Disc 1 & 2. As lovely as with the first hearing. You might read the first review I...