Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Following Boris Tchaikovsky's works for Chamber Orchestra, O ordered his String Quartets, on the label Northern Flowers.

Looking forward to them.



Backlog listening. Tchaikovsky, Boris. Works for Chamber Orchestra, 3 of them World Premiere Recordings. Fourth rerun.

Backlog listening.
Bought in 2010.
Listening dates: 12-3-2010. 12-6-2012. 1-11-2012.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates: February & April 2009.
Recording venue: Mosfilm Studios, Moscow, Russia.
Recording engineers: Alexey Korolyov.
Running time: 56:51.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Four Preludes for Chamber Orchestra. (1984)
Suite: The Swineherd. (1954) *
Suite: Andersen Fairy Tales. (1955-56) *
Suite: Galoshes of Fortune (1958) *

* World Premiere Recordings.

Performed by:
Musica Viva Chamber Orchestra, Kirill Ershov.

Mstislav Rostropovich was right when he said that Boris Tchaikovsky is a genius. I consider him to be that too, emphatically so!
I can not praise this disc enough. In the first place for the brilliantly scored music, in the second place the excellent performance, and thirdly the state of the art recording. All things have worked perfectly together. There is so much to admire about the music, that I can only say, please listen to the disc, and hear what a fantastic composer he was, and that his neglect is a shame. For he belongs to the very top of 20th century composers, and wrote music that grew out of the musical tradition of Russia, and hugely influenced by some very famous composers with who he studied, Shostakovich among them. His writing is open, logical, lucid and a creative work of wonder. All works on this cd I consider masterworks, without exception. My soul still vibrates with this music. So much in it, so well said, a musical miracle this man was, he really was.
Recommended with passion.





Backlog! (2011) Ries, Ferdinand. Concert Overtures. Fourth rerun.

Backlog.
Bought in 2011.
Listening dates: 25-1-2011. 3-3-2011. 17-11-2012.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: November 2008.
Recording venue: Philharmonie Cologne, Germany.
Recording engineer: Mark Hahn.
Running time: 59:36.
Classical relevance: If you have already works by Ries and like them, essential.

Works performed:
Overtures:
Die Braut von Messina.
Don Carlos.
Grosse Fest ouverture und Siegesmarsch.
Bardique.
Dramatique, L'Apparition.

Performed by:
WDR Sinfonieorchester, Koln, Howard Griffiths.

Also a CD from my huge backlog. I can be rather short about this recording, if you like his Symphonies, you will enjoy these overtures also. For they are brilliantly written, and orchestrated in a genial way. Ries never sets a foot wrong and every note is effective to a T. So many melodies float out of his pen, that the sheer creative bubble must have been at its top when he composed it. Just sample the Braut of Messina, and you know what I mean. He is actually a very good orchestrator, more so as they normally think about him.
The recording is very good, and approaches almost State of the art quality.
Performance by orchestra and conductor is superb.




Backlog (2010) Cowen, Frederic Hymen. Orchestral Works. Fourth rerun

Listening dates: 23-11-2010: 14-12-2010: 5-4-2014.

I have been sorting out about 250 CD'S which I bought between 2008-2012, and only listened to them once, most of them, and about half of them twice. Just 7 of them I have listened 3 times, so I will play them for the last time before they disappear into my collection. I had to do something about them so I put them in two neat piles, and will listen to all of them at least 4 times, hopefully this year, along with all the new acquirements. 
One of them is this CD, of which I wrote a review in 2014, of which I give a link below. This review is one to which I still adhere, for make no mistake, this is in all respects a fabulous disc, even though its a Marco Polo production. On my reference system it sounded gorgeous.

A fine disc, and its first review.



Recent acquisition. Reznicek, Emil Nikolaus von. Symphony No 1 "Tragic" and Four Songs of prayer and Repentance after words of the Holy Scriptures. Second rerun.

Well, when I listen to these works  in December 2014, I had the impression that the music was really good, which I still think it is. My slight correction will be that there is at times a tad bombast throughout the first Symphony, in the sense that he is really fond of timpani, even if it overstays its welcome. Apart from that I stick to what I said in my earlier review.
See link with all the details and longer review.

First review of this disc.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

From my collection. Gal, Hans. CD 2. Symphony No. 3 & 4. Fourth rerun.

I can stay firmly with my previous reviews about all 4 Symphonies. They have grown on me. I finally begin to see the light in regard to meaning and intention and context of the music. Gal not being a total enigma anymore, but his music gets contours. 
See previous reviews.

In this link you will find review links of all four Symphonies.





Friday, March 27, 2015

From my collection. Gal, Hans. Symphony No 1 & 2. Fourth rerun. CD 1.

I will stick close to my earlier reviews, and add only this. These works have grown into my system, and I begin to comprehend the compositions. I ordered the book about him, and will increase my knowledge about the man and his life. He is a composer that deserves to be on the musical foreground, for his message is one of excellence, expressed in music, that has no comparison with what was before or after, but is an entity as such. Unique and deeply moving. I refer back to a few reviews I wrote already. It will not be the last time I play this works, there is still a lot for me to discover I am sure.

Review of Symphony No. 1 & 2
Review of the second time around of all Symphonies.



From my collection. Jadassohn, Salomon. (1831-1902) Symphonies No. 1-4. and two Cavatine for Violin & Cello. Third Rerun.

My friends, if you like Classical composers, like Schubert, Schumann, Beethoven, Jadassohn is an absolute must. I would call his Symphonies the find of 2015, at least for me. After the third rerun I had trouble not shouting out bravo after every movement, and hoping that Jadassohn would hear me.  These are such fantastic works, that I hardly can contain myself in shouting in jubilant tones, Buy it Buy it, and wishing it would become a mantra in everybody's mind. Yes you hear all those composers I named in his work, but do not underestimate what Jadassohn is making out of all those influences. In my ears these are masterworks, scored in an almost perfect way. This orchestra under Griffiths is the perfect combo for this music.  Performance is topnotch as is the recording, as is the music.
Buy it, for my sake if for nothing else.
See previous review.

Review Symphony No 1 & 2.
Review Symphony No 3 & 4.




From my collection. Lubeck, Vincent. Complete Organ Works. Third rerun.

Could it be that most of the pieces on this CD are meant as study works, instead for public performance? I constantly have the feeling that what was composed for the manual sounds rather mechanical and stiff. I have no other words for it. Only when the pedal comes in things get better, a lot even. The booklet suggest that this could be the case, and I rather go with them in this respect. The Praeludium in C major is a majestic and authoritative work, and sets the tone on this cd. The Praeludium in G major makes more of an impression on me, for there is some fine scoring for the upper register. The most impressive piece for me however is the Praeludium in D minor, the pedal has a lot to do, and what I hear is very beautiful. So I am mildly interested in Lubeck as a composer in regard to the pieces recorded here, but to me they do not sound exceptional. The recorded sound is on the other hand exceptionally good, and Kelemen's performance leaves no wishes open.
See previous review, for all the details and picture of the organ.

First review of this disc.





From my collection. Renaissance am Rhein. Third rerun.

There is not a single cd done by Singer Pur, that will disappoint in terms of professionalism.  A well disciplined choir, never wavering from the excellence, and never putting themselves before the music.
The present CD is one of those gems, that should be in everyones collection, simply because the choice of composers, many rarities and never recorded before, is brilliant. A mix between the known and unknown, delivered in pristine interpretations. I know only of one comparison in terms of the same quality of singing, and thats Ensemble Plus Ultra under Michael Noone. They share the same internal balance, and an acute notion of dynamics and loudness. This CD is a sublime document, and I heartily recommend it. Christoph Martin Frommen made it almost a state of the art recording. You can easily separate the voices, and that's rather an unique experience.
See previous review with all the details about composers and works.

First review with all details.



Thursday, March 26, 2015

From my collection. Music for Compline, Music by Tallis, Byrd, Sheppard, WhiteAston. Third rerun.

When first hearing this disc, I was amazed about the quality of the voices in this choir, most of them would do well as solo voices. Together in a choir they have this rare balance between them, and so create in effect an unique sound. That is not so common as one might think, and it is not always perfect as we expect, but getting close to "ideal", is already quite a huge thing.  The composers on this disc are a good mix. My absolute favorite pieces on this disc, are John Sheppards works, but especially the Libera nos I & II. This counts in my books as the very best one can have from that time. I am a huge admirer of his music, and on this recording full perfection to him is paid handsomely.
Of course the Tallis and Byrd compositions are amazingly beautiful too, not least because they are sung so perfectly, with all the right dynamics at their place, and the loudness of the female singers within bounds. That cannot be said of one piece on this disc, and that happens to be one of my favourites too, and apart from all the things that go well, there are some issues to be taken with dynamics and loudness of singing. Hugh Aston's Gaude, Virgo mater Christi, is a piece of great beauty, and if sung well, you melt as snow before the hot sun, it has such fine modulations, vocal shadings, and a huge refinement, that it should be by rights a favourite in every classical music collection. Now Stile Antico does well, very well in all the pieces on this disc, and also in Aston's works, but O, boy, if those sopranos lash out it means war. Even my Avalon speakers protest, and they are usually very mild. The loudness and dynamics are such that it ruins the intimacy of the composition, and at those places where the effects of the composition should be reached by carefully applying dynamics and loudness, instead  you get an effect as if it should be heard loud and clear over many miles of wasteland. I take issue with this stance, and I am heartily sorry that they found it necessary to do so. I like most of what I hear in Aston's piece, but not all, and thats purely a volume problem, not the quality as a choir per se.
Sound and acoustics are superb, details are crystal clear, and the reverberation perfect.
See previous review too with all details.

First review of this disc.



From my collection. Arnell, Richard,. Punch and the Child, opus 49, Harlequin in April, opus 63 & Concerto Capriccio for Violin and Orchestra, opus 70. Third Rerun.

There is actually little I have to add to my original review. Richard Arnell is one of my favourite composers, and I have endeavoured to get all the recordings of him available, which I managed pretty well. Both Ballets on this disc belong to my Favourite repertoire, and the opus 70 is a very beautiful piece magnificently played by Lorraine McAslan.
The recording is state of the art.
See previous review.

First review of this disc with all the details.



From my collection. Gallagher, Jack. (b. 1947) Orchestral Works. Fourth and last rerun.

Make no mistake, this composer has staying power. A composer with a lot of poetry in his music. The delicacy alone with which the symphony is scored, narrates of great imagination. Modern music without being modern! How's that for a definition? Firmly in the tonal range, despite the wideness of the music. Sure a lot of things are stretched, but in a pleasant way. Modernity that does not end in ugliness. 
The first movement called "Boldly" you hear a lot of quotes towards Beethoven, sometime literal, which is great fun, for its build into the work structure quite cleverly. And a few other classical composers run through the notes, so quickly, that you almost think they are fleas hopping around. The second movement "Playfully" is an apt description of the music. Very rhythmically, with many percussive elements, fascinating stuff!
The Third movement, "Slowly" is most of the time meditative, has spiritual depths, all in a great balance of harmonies. Layer after layer it dives deeper into the emotional crevices of the mind. It almost has an intellectual status in its narration. Evenness and balance as in a Zen garden.
The Fourth movement is packed with different moods and tempi, a kaleidoscope of colours, bright and subdued, mysterious and spiritual, brutal and gentle, frugal but also rich in texture. wonderful.

Quiet reflections is to my ears a masterpiece. Again I associate the music with a Zen Garden, the inner and outer balance expressed in music. It has a calming effect, and lets us wander in mysterious realms. I love this piece.
I for one wish that Gallagher keeps writing such works, for they are for me a telling example that a composer can still write music that will engender such enthusiasm as mine.
Kuddos to the engineer Phil Rowlands, he delivered yet again, a state of the art recording. This orchestra under Falletta is superb. I expect to hear a lot more from her.

See previous review.

First short review of this disc.






From my collection. Kerll, Johann Caspar. Complete Free Organ Works. Third rerun.

To begin with: This is a state of the Art recording by Oehms. Its played on a magnificent Egedacher organ built in 1708, and played by one of the top organist in our days. So what else? I could say all the works on this cd belong to the very top of Organ literature, which in my opinion is true, and singling out on quality is nonsense, which it is, I will nevertheless tell which works got to me most at this third rerun. The last track on this cd is a Passacaglia of great beauty, major piece, it had me in its musical grasp after the first notes,  The Toccata sesta per il Pedale, Track 6, has a class of its own, and more of the same with the Toccata quarta Cromatica con Durezze e ligature, Track 11, for spiritual depth the Canzone seconda, Track 13, and Toccata terza, Track 14, will amply provide, and the Canzone Quinta, Track 15, displays great beauty, very poetic in its narration, closely followed by the Toccata settima, Track 16, the Battaglia, Track 17, has you awake in no time after the slumber of Toccata settima, and is great fun, perfectly played by the way.
Recommended?, O, yes it is.
See previous review, with all the details of the works and instruments, plus a picture of the organ itself.

First review of this disc.





From my collection.Bereketis, Petros. Theotoke Parthene. Second rerun.

In the wee hours of the morning I have played this fabulous interpretation of the Theotoke Parthene again. Its such uplifting spiritual food, that a diet on this alone would suffice to sustain myself through the holy week. As I said before, this is the real thing if it comes to interpretation. This morning playing it on my reference system again, it made clear to me, that this music is composed by a messenger on Gods earth.

See previous review.

First encounter with this CD. Theotoke Parthene



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

New Acquisition. Bereketis, Petros. (1665-1725) Theotoke Parthene. Byzantine Music Volume 2.

New acquisition.
Bought in March 2015.
First listen.
Label: Psalmus. (DSD recording)
Recording dates: June 2010.
Recording venue: The Church at Venerque, Gironde.
Recording engineer: Marian van Hemel.
Running time: 46:37. Yes, again a Psalmus CD with under 50 minutes playing time.
Classical/Religious relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by:
Les Solistes de la Musique Byzantine
Frederic Tavernier Vellas, Chant.
Paraphonists (ison or Bourdon):
Malcolm Bothwell, Jean Christophe Candau, and Antoine Sicot.

Again, this is how far authenticity goes, in the sense, that for this music this is the recording to have. I have written about the background of these performers in the first volume of this series a few days ago. They come with the best credentials one could wish. I know this music well, and know the background, the performance practice, and the way of singing is very akin to me, and not unlike what I do in my church choir at times when we sing music from that tradition. I have the role of one of the Paraphonists, albeit not near as good as what we hear on this CD. I wish I had such a good voice, and as steady. Sigh.
The sound is topnotch, and there could not be any possible criticism, for all is as it should be.
I consider this recording essential for all that have a interest in Byzantine music. It doesn't get better as this.




From my collection. Fourth and last rerun. Hovhaness, Alan. Orchestral Works.

The music of Hovhannes is special to me. It always was, and always will be. A truly unique 20th century composer, who against all musical fashion of the day kept composing music with emotion, and always tonal. A man that heard music all the time in his head, and whose grasp of counterpoint was phenomenal. Just listen to the first piece on this CD, Prelude and Quadruple Fugue, opus 128, and you will like I, gasp at this marvelous piece of music. The thoroughly romantic Concerto for Soprano saxophone opus 344 is as such beautiful, especially the last movement "Let the Living and the Celestial Sing", that has my imagination going in no time, but I do not really like the soprano saxophone, so although the music is beautiful, its not something I would like to hear on a monthly basis. The Symphony No. 48, is as I know Hovhaness, imaginative, hugely creative, a steady flow of ideas, that reach to the highest form possible, pure music. No frills or undue attention notes, but only the necessary with maximum effect. I simply love this work. Just the fun of it, and the journey into. All movements have a message, a mysterious pathway into the spiritual world. I expect more of Hovhaness from Naxos. Who else will record his work huh?
The recording is very good, a lucid front to back recording, with excellent spatial separation in all desks, including the basses and celli and timpani for that matter. See, it can be done!

See my previous review.

First review of the Hovhaness disc.



From my collection. Fourth and last rerun. Berger, Wilhelm Georg. (1929-1993) Orchestral Works.

A Romanian composer that sunk into obscurity and was totally forgotten, even though this disc was recorded, and shows us a composer of great potential. The Viola Concerto and his Fourth Symphony are ample proof of this. I for one was surprised and delighted at the same time by what I have heard, and mourn the fact that nothing else of this composer I could find. We have to thank CPO for this excellent recording, with the Romanian conductor Horia Andreescu, who seems to have this music under his skin, and with this Berlin Orchestra makes a topnotch entree.
I stay close to my first review, only adding that the recording is very good, but I would have like a tad more definition and spatial differentiation in the lower strings versus timpani. 

See previous review with all details.




Tedesco, Castelnuovo Mario. Concertos for Violin and Orchestra. Fourth and last rerun.

I cannot understand my first initial reaction to this music. I was lukewarm towards what I heard, but I turned 180 degrees and find myself on the other end of that scale. From mild liking I have gone to finding it fabulous. It probably took me some time to adapt to his sound world, after hearing disappointing performances of the Shakespearean overtures also recording by Naxos which I found utterly boring.
Yang is a world class artist that gets always the maximum out of the music she plays, and this orchestra under de Boer accompanies faithfully, in both concertos, which in retrospect I find absolutely fascinating.
The opus 31 with its beautiful second movement "Arioso" breathtakingly played is one of the finest music I ever heard. There are moments that almost stopped my heart. The Violin and orchestra are an equal match in the goodies they get from Tedesco to play. 
The perspective of Violin and orchestra in opus 31 is ideal, be it that the basses and celli are clogging up at fortes, and details there are lost. A broad orchestral spectrum with enough depth and details.
The intro of the Violin concerto opus 66, is a pictorial blast, the Grave e meditativo is establishing a sacred moment of great spiritual beauty. The second movement Espressivo e dolente, is as a whole a jewel of a piece, almost the same impact as the second movement from the opus 31.
The sound is different to start with, for Ute Hesse likes fiddling with the recording buttons, and I actually hear that all the time. The Violin is placed more forward, and her upper strings tend to sharpen up in fortes. Celli and basses sound even more congested, and then in a wink of a moment balance is restored to ideal when they launch out of the first movement into the second movement.
Some pre recording would have resulted in a overall better result. Most of you will probably not hear this, but then my ears are exceptionally fine tuned to these kind of things.
Very much recommended never the less.
See previous somewhat negative review and note the change:)

First review of this disc.





From my collection. Flemish Rhapsodies. Fourth and last listen.

Six composers on this disc, and more or less a match to each other. In composition style and quality of the works they are close in creativity and scoring. I just wished this orchestra under Rahbari was better disciplined. At times the results are wonderful, but also sluggishness enters the game, added to it some pretty unevenness in certain desks. It would be nice if the musicians in the orchestra start at the same time, and that they realize that the music deserves an orchestra that plays up to scratch.
Of all the composers represented here, first price for dense scoring must go to Michel Brusselmans. He squeezes so many notes into his score, that I am truly amazed that you actually are able to follow all. Maurice Schoemaker is a close second in this. The most creative must be Marinus de Jong. His scoring is imaginative and picturesque, added with a lot of local colour.  Debussy is never far away. Beautiful melodies, I liked this one best.
Roussell is never an easy composer for me, and in this piece he jumps from the doom laden, to over the top jocularity. Admittedly he is the best orchestrator on this disc. And somehow I feel they had enough rehearsal time with this piece, for it comes out rather well.
Jean Absil's  work is a lucid and refined Rhapsody, technically perfect, with lots of filigree colour.
And the short piece by August de Boeck deserves praise. For it is powerful, creative and melodious. This work had me by the throat immediately, a good work.
The recording is good, but in detail it can be overbearing, like the clogged basses, which pounds like a hammer that is too big for the job. That happens occasionally. When the scoring gets thick, the microphones tend to give it up, and lets you in the dark what is happening.
Still I am happy with this music, after my initial negative thoughts at first hearing. 
First review, with all the details.

First review of the Flemish Rhapsodies





New Acquisition. The Akathist of the Mother of God, and some parts of the Office of Annunciation. Irmos from the Office of the Virgin's Nativity. In the Syrian Orthodox Tradition.

New Acquisition.
Bought in March 2015.
First listen.
Label: Psalmus.
Recording dates: November 2011 & August 2012.
Recording venue: The Church de la Reole, Gironde, France.
Recording engineer: Marian Van Hemel.
Running time: 45:59! ( This is not fair. They could have easily recorded many more pieces of the offices.)
Classical/Religious relevance: Essential.

Performed by:
Maximos Fahme, Chant.
Les Solistes de la Musique Byzantine.
Jean Christophe Candau, Antoine Sicot, Frederic Tavernier Vellas.

This disc faithfully represents the singing in the Syrian Orthodox Church. Maximos Fahme who does the Chant is an excellent singer, and a great teacher. I envy the man for his voice, and his great knowledge of his tradition. What I regret is that Psalmus obviously thought 46 minutes of this enough, and that at full price. Still I would not miss it for the world, for much is recorded, and little is as close to tradition as the present recording. The balance in his voice, and his background of 3 excellent performers behind him, inspires awe, and deep respect for what they have achieved. This is again a top recommendation if you are really serious about that kind of religious music. You cannot get it better as what we have here. The recording gives you the breath of a church, and a sacred environment, with echos coming and going, which gives a perfect resonance to what is sung. Sublime!



  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

From my collection. German, Edward. Orchestral works. Volume 2. Third rerun

Another composer that is largely forgotten for no apparent reason either, being as good as Elgar, he should have had a place amongst those that are wider known and appreciated. But time and people are never good customers to deal with, so in the bin with him. What I hear is a extremely good orchestrator, just sample the Symphonic Suite in D minor, ( The Leeds Suite) and you will hear clearly what he is capable of. But any of his compositions show great care in scoring, and he has a dab hand in fine melodies. Intricate figures painted with such skill, not an empty space anywhere, but brimful with things that make you wonder about his obscurity. Dutton made two wonderful recordings and I treasure them. Marco Polo also has works of him recorded, but despite good efforts, it can not reach the quality of the Dutton recordings.
See previous review.

First review of this disc with all details.


From my collection. Bate, Stanley and Arnell, Richard. Orchestral works. Symphony No. 4, (Bate) And No. 7 (Arnell) Third rerun.

What is hard to understand for me is, that both composers on this disc are totally forgotten. Were it not for the label Dutton, nothing would have been recorded by these masters. It cannot be a lack of quality in the music, for it is on a very high level, both Bate and Arnell belong to my top composers, and I have bought almost all their recordings. Both are complex works, not easy to grasp, especially the 7th by Arnell, for this was put together and added too by the conductor of this recording. Not entirely an Arnell Symphony, but one with his thoughts made out of sketches he left behind after his death. On itself its a commendable work, once grasping the knowledge of its birth, but I am curious what he would have made of it.  The second movement "Andante serioso has some very moving episodes, that had me in raptures. Also the writing throughout the work for percussion is rather impressive.
Stanley Bate's his 4th, is also a work with amazing moments, and really well put together, a little different from the rest of his compositions, but it sits comfortably in its context.
See previous review.

 First Review of Stanley Bate's 4th Symphony
Stanley Bate 4th.

First review of Arnell's 7th. 

First review of Arnell's 7th Symphony




From my collection. Mann, Gottfried Hendrik. (1858-1904) Orchestral Works. Third rerun.

I have been telling in my reviews about this composer, that he is in my ears one of the best we had in the Netherlands. Totally forgotten, not because his music is sub par, on the contrary, but simply because he was not fashionable anymore. Did he write good music, yes of course he did, you must be a total blunderhead not to hear that. But as so many good composers he simply faded into nothingness, despite many efforts to raise him out of obscurity. This cd will probably the only one that CPO will release, for a bestseller it was not, but in my ears it was a stroke of genius to believe in him. I love all what I hear, but the ultimate composition is the "Troisieme Suite", opus 98, a true work of genius. In this you hear what the man is capable off, and that is much. Especially the second and third movements had me in raptures. However a note of criticism is on its place , in regard to the recording. Stephan Reh is an experienced engineer, but in the case of the Clarinet concerto on this disc, he ignored the fact that if you record the instrument to close to the microphone, you will get a headache of the high notes this instrument is producing. When the dynamics are high and the loudness increases it goes through your soul and eardrums. Most of the time its good, but when not its rather ugly what comes out of the top end of the Clarinet. 
See previous review.


First review of this disc.



New Acquisition. Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon, The Complete Keyboard Works. CD 2. First listen.

New Acquisition.
Bought in March 2015.
First listen.
CD 2.
Label: Aeolus.
Box with 6 cd's.
Not much of a booklet added.
Recording dates: October 2009.
Recording venue: St. Stephanskirche, Tangermunde, Germany.
Recording engineer: Christoph Martin Frommen.
Running time: 73:07.
Classical relevance: Essential recordings of Sweelincks Keyboard Works.

Works performed:
Fantasia Crommatica a 4 d1. SwWV 258.
Fantasia a 2,3; et 4 vocem a2. SwWV 274.
Toccata a 4 Voc. a3. SwWV 298.
Fantasia a 4 C2. SwWV 254.
Erbarm dich mein O, Herre Gott, SwWV 303.
Vater unser im Himmelreich ( Sweelinck?)
Canticum Sacrum: Vater unser im Himmelreich. (Sweelinck?) SwWV 309.
O, Gott du unser Vater bist. SwWV  308.
Puer nobis nascitur. SwWV 315.
Wie Schon leucht uns der Morgenstern (Dirk Janszoon Sweelinck 1591-1652?.)
Ricercar del nono tono a1. SwWV 280.

Performed by:
Leon Berben, on a Hans Scherer (the younger) Organ. 1624.

What I said about the first disc, can be copied in this instance. Of all the performances I have heard from Sweelinck music, Leon Berben brings this extra layer of class, distinction and refinement in his interpretation. I know of no other as just Berben that gets so much more out of the music of Sweelinck, more as I held for possible. It starts with the right dynamics. He never obscures a melody, but instead you hear simultaneous all what is going on between pedal and manual. You never miss a note, or notes that you must hear in order to understand the melody as a whole. He way of projecting the content is remarkable, and a lucid narration that is unique to my ears. His touche is as light as a feather if needed, and as firm as a hammer if needs arise.  Quite extraordinary in its message, this is for me a reference performance. The recording helps also, for Frommen is famous for recording organs in the best possible way, as he has proven many times.
Another step to greatness for a musician still so young, but already very accomplished.
Recommended.


New Acquisition. Le Chant de Byzance. Hymnes La Semaine Sainte. Liturgy for the Holy Week. Volume 1. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in March 2015.
First listen.
Label Psalmus.
Recording dates: May 2009.
Recording venue: Venerque, (Haute Garonne)
Recording engineer: UImit Ceyhan.
Running time: 56:00.
Classical relevance: Essential for those that like this music. I consider this recording one of the best I ever heard.

Works performed:
Alleluia.
Behold, the Bridegroom who comes.
The holy Passion.
Your Bridal room.
As he approached his Passion, the Lord.
The Board of Impiety, Saviour.
The Prostitute approached you.
Lord, the Woman who had Fallen.
They tore my Clothes.
On this day, is suspended from the Cross.
Joyful Light.

Performed by:
Frederic Tavernier Vellas, Chant.
Malcolm Bothwell, Jean Christophe Candau, Antoine Sicot. Paraphonistes.

I can be quite straightforward about this recording, it belongs at the very top of your list if it comes to Orthodox Music.  Vellas is not a small entity in this world, being educated by luminaries like, Father Joakim Grillis at Patmos, Maximos Fahme of Aleppo, and of one of the masters in this field Lycourgos Angelopoulos. Under his direction he received his diploma in Byzantine music at Philippos Nakas Conservatory in Athens. A versatile musician, who definitely will make his mark with this recording, for to my ears its perfect in every sense. Vellas has a good voice well suited to the Byzantine singing traditions, as are his excellent partners on this cd. Directly from the start you know, this is it. I have a long experience in singing and listening to this music and am well aware if something sits comfortably in the Orthodox tradition, and this my friends does. It will be my treat for all the holy weeks to come, and even more often, for its too beautiful to play only in preparation to Easter. The recording is very lifelike, recorded in a church with a perfect acoustic. The only quibble I have is that 56:00 minutes is rather short playing time. And be aware after the last number on this CD, "Joyful Light, the voices get no chance to fade into the distance, its cute off drastically by an engineer, who clearly did not understand what he was doing. Apart from all this, buy it, for with Psalmus you never know how long it will be on the market.




Monday, March 23, 2015

Arnell, Richard. The unnumbered Symphonies. Third rerun.

Bold, powerful, innovative, disturbing, ferocious, the music on this CD is all of that and more. I have almost all the recordings with Arnell's music, but this one stands out, "as the odd one out". As if Arnell let his hair down, and for once expressed all the thoughts in his mind, which he compressed in a smashing language, of hard hitting notes, in the sense of no prisoners taken when captured. It is only with the works on this cd that Arnell steps so much out of line with his other works. That does not mean there is no relenting in his hurried pace, but the soothing moments are far and wide between. Its a drive at high speed, never taking one step back, but he keeps driving at this frantic pace.But the music is without a doubt exhilarating in the extreme. And that suits me, albeit I have to chose the moments carefully when and how to play this disc.
Earlier listening dates are: 18-6-2014 & 16-12-2014.
See previous review.




       



German, Edward. Orchestral Works, Vol. 1. Third rerun.

Everytime when I come back to the music by Edward German, I get all worked up in a positive sense about his delightful art of orchestrating his music. Not merely what the routine demands, but highly skilled art, made into melodious clusters of sound, very effectively placed alongside the road. Just sample the intro with the muted basses in Hamlet, or the gaiety of The Tempter, the light and shade effects in Romeo and Juliet, the sheer loveliness of the Willow Song, or the excellent Firsts Symphony, again so skilfully orchestrated. I like the scoring for the Brass in Hamlet and the Symphony. First there was German, and then.....Elgar. Its incomprehensible for me, why this composer is forgotten.
See first review also.

[Previous listening dates: 1-7-2014 & 16-12-2014.]

First review of this disc.



Reger, Max. Violin Concerto, opus 101 & Aria for Violin & Orchestra, opus 103a,3. Third rerun.

Reger's music is painstakingly composed and polished until all was as perfect as Reger thought it must be. This long Violin concerto (56:26) can not be faulted on the charge of firework display to highlight all kind of felicitous details. No, Reger stays away from all that, instead his scoring of all desks makes an devastating impression, and hardly any instrument will sit by idly. His intricate writing is at such a level, that one moment of inattention, makes you miss a myriad of notes, and leaves a hole in your perception of the work, such is the logic, that if you miss a certain phrase, or inflection, the coherence must be restored by going back to that exact place where you missed the beat or melody. He is a composer of pure music, and only this. Just listen into the second movement when a leitmotiv is created out of the first Violins, and then later on in the same movement it comes back so gently into the musical framework, that it made me gasp with admiration. Not a note to long, at least for me. What a shame that he is so ignored in the concert hall these days, although not on CD, for my collection covers quite a large amount of Reger's music. 
The performance could have use a bit more push at times, but the Violinist is near perfect. Sound is very good too.
See first review too.

First review of Reger's Violin Concerto.





Sunday, March 22, 2015

To CD'S third reruns. Peter Crossley Holland, Eugene Goossens, John Ireland. Gian Francesco Malipiero. Orchestral works.

I start to appreciate this disc more and more. Some gems are assembled here that you do not hear very often. The quality of the music warrants the expenditure.
See previous review.
First review of this fine disc.



It took me some time to get to the bottom of these particular works by Malipiero, but I cracked the nut very effectively today. I admire this composer enormously.
See previous review.
First review of the Malipiero disc.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Zarlino, Gioseffo. Modulationes sex Vocum, 1566. Third rerun.

Very fine performance of gorgeous music.
See previous review.

First review of this disc.



New Acquisition. Haydn, Joseph. The Piano Sonatas. CD 2.

New acquisition.
Bought in March 2015.
First listen.
Label: Profil, Edition Hanssler.
Box with 9 cd's.
Scanty booklet.
Recording years: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005.
Recording venue: See CD 1.
Recording engineers: See CD 1.
Running time:71:22.
Classical relevance: If a Grand piano you want for Haydn's works, this is the set to go for.

Works performed:
Nine early Sonatas.
No. 8 and 9.
Nine small early sonatas.
No. 1-7, Hob, XVI: 1/7/8/9/10. G1,  Hob: XVII: D1

Works performed by:
Ekaterina Derzhavina.

As with CD 1, this is a joy to my ears. As far as playing on a grand piano goes, this is ultimate perfection, in very good sound. At budget price this is near unbeatable.



Ahle, Johann Rudolf. (1626-1673) "Neu-geplanzte Thuringische Lust-Garten" Selected Vocal Music. Second rerun.

I think this disc one of the best Suzuki and his team made, and the music is on a very high level. Its a pure enjoyment moment 56:00 minutes.
See previous review.

First review of this disc.



Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon. Complete Organ Works. (NM Classics Edition) CD 1. Third Complete Listen.

From my collection.
Third complete listen.
Listening dates: May/June 2002, the whole set, & 1-4-2013, CD 1.
Label: NM Classics.
Box with 9 cd's.
Outstanding booklet. (Hardcover)
Recording dates: September/October 1999.
Recording venue: Pieterskerk, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Ad Vink.
Running time: 76:24.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Fantasia, C3.
Psalm 23.
Toccata d3.
Christe qui lux es et dies 34.
Toccata G3.
De Tien Geboden Gods 41a.
Fantasia g1.
Allein zu dir Herr Jesu Christ. 33.
Played by: Leo van Doeselaar.

Praeludium pedaliter 76.
Vater unser in Himmelreich 78/79.
Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ 84.
Capriccio a1.
Malle Sijmen 70.
Toccata F1.
Played by: Peter van Dijk.

Instrument used.
Van Hagerbeer Organ (1643)

Since I started with the newly released Aeolus Box, also with the works of Sweelinck, I felt the need to compare it with the NM classic set since 2002 in my possession. And in many ways that is a revelation. Not in the choice of instruments for in both sets thats uniformly good.  Rather in the choice of organists, and the choice of registrations, and the quality of recording. In general one can say, that the NM classic set is less refined, can be quite unbalanced in the quality it offers, but not as a constant. Good things are in the majority, but still there is a good reason to get the Aeolus set too. Leon Berben, the principal organist on this set, shows himself to be the better organists of all the ones featured on the NM classic set, and that is no small statement, but in my ears that happens to be true. In a pure technical sense Berben is the one that excels, in his registrations and style of playing too. And he has the good fortune of having Christoph Martin Frommen as an engineer.
The first disc in the NM classic set is revealing, ideal comparison material. Not always in the same choice of works, but more in what the complete set will tell you. The narrative has a less wider perspective, the breath is shorter, and the score has a narrower scope. You get the feeling that not all the potential of the music is revealed. With the Aeolus set there is no doubt of that.
The first part of this disc, played by Leo van Doeselaar is a mixed blessing, the tone is muddled at times, the narrative rather careless, and I keep missing details at places where I should hear them. A grainy sound, clogged in the higher registers, and missing the balance in the lower pipes. I have heard this organ to better effect. The engineer is good, but he was not able to record the full potential of this organ. The toccatas can sound rather coarse, but the Psalm on the other hands is played to perfection, as is Christe qui lux es et dies. There is enough to enjoy, but also enough to take issue with.
Peter van Dijk shows himself the better organist on this occasion, his narrative is clear, lucid registrations, a tight rhythmic line, and a forward trust that keeps all in balance. But the Toccata F1 is done in a rather vulgar way, he bounces up and down the keys like someone with a maniacal urge to play as hard and loud as he can.  But all in all I enjoyed it very much.
The recording is merely good, not outstanding.
The booklet by NM classics is superior to the silly one Aeolus set gives you. In that respect Aeolus is square and fair beaten.







Van Hagerbeer Organ (1643), Leiden, The Netherlands

Thursday, March 19, 2015

In the second and Third rerun today. J.S. Bach, Goldberg variations, CPE Bach, Cello concertos. Vivaldi, Concerti per Flauto. Hans Gal, Symphonies 1-4. J.S Bach, Diverse concertos.

Today in the second rerun some BIS releases.



See previous review of this most excellent disc.
First review of the Bach Goldberg variations


Also a disc I enjoyed very much.
See previous review.
First review of CPE Bach's Cello concertos



Much to my surprise I liked this recording too, having faint memories of it when it was released of not liking it at all. But there you go:)
See first review of this disc.
First review of the Vivaldi works.




Hans Gal, what a surprise this composer, so unpredictable, so unique, who keeps confusing me in a delightful way, so third rerun of these works, and many more to come I hope.
See previous reviews.
First review of CD 1
First review of CD 2.
Second rerun of all four symphonies, added review.



I largely stay with my opinion around my first review, nice but rather middle of the road, with some exceptions.
First review of this disc.


Alba label on Sale at JPC de. Never lasts long so get them. Just two in that collection interesting to me..

From the label Alba 2 releases that peaked my interest.





Wednesday, March 18, 2015






New Acquisition. Haydn, Joseph. The Piano Sonatas. Nine Early Sonatas (1-7) Hob. XVI: 2/5/6/12/13/14/16. CD 1.

New Acquisition.
Bought in March 2015.
First listen.
Label: Profil.
Box with nine cd's.
Booklet is inadequate.
Recording dates: 1997/2005/2006/2008.
Recording venue: Studio 3 & the Large Broadcasting Hall of the Saarlandischer Rundfunk Station.
[It is not clear from the booklet which venues are used for the different sonatas]
Recording engineers: Thomas Becher, Manfred Jungmann, Ralf Schnellbach.
[It is not clear from the booklet who is the dedicated engineer for each sonata]
Running time: 72:56.
Classical relevance: As a opposite to authentic instruments, this is a worthwhile set.

Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by Ekaterina Derzhavina.
[The instrument is not mentioned in the booklet]

Basically the sonatas are presented in chronological order on the cd's. That is a good thing, because that keeps a certain flow into the development of the sonata as Haydn perceived it.
What prompted me to buy this set was firstly the absurd price of 20 euros for nine cd's, but secondly and more important the fact that I really liked what I heard. True I have the sonatas also by Christine Schornsheim on authentic instruments, and in the olden days I had the complete set played by Rudolf Buchbinder on a modern instrument. Schornsheim is unbeatable in that respect, Buchbinder I gave away, for all in all it was an anemic performance, and far away from any emotional involvement. And from what I read Haydn loved a bit of sentiment in his music, and be it as it may, Haydn on a modern grand sounds, if played right full of gaiety.And this is exactly what comes to the surface with Derzhavina. Bubbly, intimate, very detailed, discrete use of the pedal and rubato, legato to a minimum, with a touch of sentiment, but never over romanticizing. All notes come out clear as a bell, and it has a real sense of discovery over it. The recording is crystal clear in all respects, with just enough air around the grand to make the experience very intimate. For me this first cd is a success. And for those that like the piano more in this repertoire I can heartily recommend this set. I wish the booklet had less pictures of Derzhavina, beautiful as she may be, and more usefull info about works and their background, but for this I have to get back to my books about this composer.





     

This CD came as a free gift with some other Aeolus discs I ordered. It contains samples of the catalogue of Aeolus.

This is not fair! Aeolus wants to promote with good reasons what they have in their collection, but it its murder for my credit card if I indulge, so I will keep away from them, until there is a good deal to be made.
The first half of this CD is dedicated to the excellent Bach set, which I bought for a fair price some time ago. The other half is filled with some delicious goodies. Composers like:
Johann Melchior Molter, an Overture in C, Main-Barockorchester Frankfurt, excellent stuff.
Louis Couperin Tombeau de Mr Blancrocher, played by Bob van Asperen, gorgeous.
Joan Cabanilles, Gaitilla on the Lorenzo de Arazola Organ, Ataun Iglesia San Martin, Leon Berben performing, absolutely topnotch.
Francesco Barsanti, Recorder music.
Georg Anton Benda, Horn Clavichord music.
Edouard Batiste, Organ music.
And to mention the Stabat Mater by Luigi Boccherini with the Soprano Capriola Di Gioia, never heard this work, but its so well sung, really beautiful. 
The Sweelinck box came in yesterday so soon I will be listening, and I took for comparison the NM classic box out of my collection. What I see immediately that this box contains 9 CD'S, and the Aeolus box just 6. Some research is in order here, unless someone could enlighten me in this?

No image available. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Four reruns. Third time around. Flemish Rhapsodies. Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Hovhaness. Gallagher.

I started with the Flemish Rhapsodies, which to my ears gets better and better, despite my first reaction. My opinion has altered towards finding it good in many ways.
See previous review.

First review, modified since then



Castelnuovo Tedesco's Violin concerto, has grown into my senses since the first time. I simply needed to adapt, and I agree with someone who said that this is actually pretty good for this composer.
See previous review.

First and second modified review
Second modified review.




Hovhaness ongoing series on Naxos keeps impressing me. Apart from the fact that I love his music, we get pretty good performances of his music by this label.
See first review of this CD.

First review of this disc.



And last not but by no means least, Jack Gallagher, a composer who makes quite an impression with his music, especially in such good performances as on Naxos.
See previous review.

First review of this disc.





Weiss, Silvius Leopold. The Complete London Manuscripts. CD 9. Second complete rerun.

After the first run I decided to go for a second time, such addictive music this is. Whatever your mood, whatever the time, Weiss by Cardin fits all possible mood swings.
See previous review of this disc with all details.

First review of this disc.



Browsing through a long list of new releases I saw this one, sounds promising.

Falcone is a fine musician and I trust he will give what is expected. Considering this composer(s) I should go well.




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

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