Sunday, May 31, 2015

New acquisition. Bach, J.S. Reconstructed Concertos, Disc 1. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2015.
First listen.
Label: Phoenix Edition.
Licensed by Capriccio.
Recording year: 1985.
Recording venue: Paul Gerhard Kirche, Leipzig, Germany.
Recording engineers: Claus Strubben, Eberhard Richter, Urs Metzger. 
Musicological advisor: Dr. Hans Joachim Schulze. (Bach Archiv, Leipzig)
Running time: 45:08.
Classical relevance: Essential, music and performance.

Works performed:
Concerto for Organ, Oboes, Strings and continuo in D minor, after BWV 146/1 & 2. BWV 188/1.
Concerto for Violin, Strings and continuo in G minor, after BWV 1056/1 & 3.
Concerto for Oboe, Strings and continuo, in D minor, after BWV 35/1 & 5. BWV 156/1, BWV 1056/2, BWV 1059.

Performed by:
Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum Leipzig, Max Pommer.
Soloists:
Christine Schornsheim, Organ.
Karl Suske, Violin.
Burkhard Glaetzner, Oboe.

This first cd was really a surprise to me in many way. Being works I know in a different guise, it was an adventurous travel through known territory, yet with a different landscape. But ever so exciting though.  It is a interpretative delight to hear Schornsheim on the organ, and the renown Karl Suske on the Violin, not to mention the famous oboist Glaetzner. They blend so well together as if they were just one body playing. Suske has such a fine tone, and his playing is so imaginative, that it captured my imagination in these reconstructed Concertos. The first D minor concerto, is taken rather slow, but I did not mind, because so much detail emerged from this that I totally forgot the tempi. Such a serenity and inward balance is hard to find these days. The G minor has Suske as the soloist and he is pretty amazing on all counts. Faster but not overly so, he manages to bedazzle your senses with delight, for he is a wizard that conjures magic on his instrument. The second D minor concerto with Glaetzner as a soloist gives you a silky tone, and a depth in his interpretation that makes you admire both composer and musician for creating a master work as a composition and interpretation.
I thoroughly enjoyed what I hear. Very good recording too.
Recommended. It's only 3 euros for three cd's you know!




New acquisition. Kuhnau, Johann. (1660-1722) Complete Organ Music. CD I. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2015.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
Box with 3 cd's.
Booklet is excellent and written by Stefano Molardi.
Recording dates: May 2014.
Recording venue: Freiberger Dom & Marienkirche Rotha, Germany.
Recording engineer:Simone Bellucci.
Running time: 69:56.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Biblische Sonaten 1-4.
Ciacona in F minor.
Prelude in A minor.

Works performed by:
Stefano Molardi.

Instruments:
Gottfried Silbermann organ (1714) Freiberg.
Gottfried Silbermann organ. (1722) Rotha.

Finally I would say, Johann Kuhnau's organ work completely recorded on three discs. A composer that always lived in the shadow of the great Bach, which is a pity really, for he is well up to what was composed before and during his career. He is a composer that embraced the various trends and musical inventions that developed in Europe between the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century. Kuhnau was an expert organ tuner, testing Silbermann organs in Freiburg and Rotha, so it is very fitting that Stefano Molardi chose these instruments on all three cd's.  And despite his greatness and his artistic excellence, he had a hard time to sustain his integrity, when Telemann and Fasch pushed him out of business with the speed of lightning. Yet Kuhnau played a pivotal role in the evolution of music in central Germany, which is easily overlooked even to this day. There was a refinement in his melodies, and a friendly elegance in his narrative, that made it extremely hard not to like his music. And out of this was born the Biblische Sonaten,  6 of them, masterworks in which Kuhnau depicts biblical scenes from the old testament in such vivid and picturesque colours, that the scenes really translate themselves in a very natural way through his music. Stefano Molardi unlike in his complete recording of J.S. Bach's Organ works, found in Kuhnau the right amount of balance to create a very sophisticated, yet an almost daring approach towards the sonorities of this music, and where Kuhnau paints with its notes, Molardi gives full justice to the music by painting the compositions of Kuhnau on the organ, an organ Kuhnau's knew as no other. I would go so far as to say that there is a kind of symbiosis between composer and performer. Well, better I could not say it me thinks. A small matter of remark about both the Ciacona in F minor, and the Prelude in A minor, both remarkable and colour rich compositions, but boy the Ciacona is really played at a slow tempo, that despite the quality of the music, it almost falls apart, and the structural integrity is at question. Only due to Molardi's fabulous technique the music keeps a tiny amount of unity, but to my taste its far too slow.
And finally I come to the recording. I have listened on my reference equipment, and found some odd anomalies which can only be explained by carelessness, deliberate or not, ( not likely) or by choice, which is hard to imagine, but which did disappoint me a little. I know the sound of this Silbermann organ in Freiburg very well, and was somewhat surprised to find that the first 3 sonatas sounded a bit muffled in the upper and lower region of the instrument. Sure there is ample detail, and it's not a bad recording, on the contrary, but I missed the lucidity of the instrument, which I heard in other recordings. But Lo and Behold, in the 4th Sonata this was suddenly corrected, the image lost its muffled veil, and I recognized the acoustics again, plus the sonorities of the organ. The last two pieces were recorded on the Silbermann organ in Rotha, and that sounded fine.
This however should not distract you from this fabulous interpretation, for that it is, but on the contrary you should get this box pronto. The price is low, and the chance of finding better interpretations at the moment is not likely to happen.
Recommended.




New acquisition. Haydn, Michael. Organ Concerto, and Three Symphonies. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2015.
First listen.
Label: Phoenix Edition.
Recording dates: April 1972, February 1973, and February 1975.
Recording venue: Bielefeld, Oetkerhalle, Germany.
Recording engineers: Not mentioned.
Running time: 69:30.
Classical relevance: Essential music to have, if possible get them in better sound.

Works performed:
Symphony in G major, Perger 27.
In B flat major, Perger 9.
In A major, Perger 33.
Concerto in C major for Organ, Viola, Strings and continuo..

Works performed:
Cappella Coloniensis, Wilfried Boetticher.
Franz Lehrndorfer, Organ.
Ulrich Koch, Viola.

Michael Haydn is not a composer often recorded, especially not the concert in C major, so this was a no brainer too for me, for just under 2 euros a bargain.
Its a widely known fact that Michael loved the wine bottle (who not) and frequented the tavern for many pints of beer, thus he was always a bit shaken in his demeanor and performing style, but according to Mozart who is a keen judge of dance music, found the menuets composed by Michael Haydn irresistible. Haydn liked drinking on the job, and it's also know that after every Litany he swilled a quart of wine. I cannot blame him for that, and I praise him for his music, for an unsteady hand in writing produced wonderful music, as one can hear on this cd. Tensile energetic works, very well scored, the Symphonies are a joy to listen too, not at all less as the ones of his brother. I found them almost to be addictive, but this I knew already, remembering the CPO recordings I have of many of his Symphonies.
But the real gem for me is his C major concerto for Organ, Viola and Strings. Such a lovely work. One of his very best compositions, this one made me blink with my eyes, and flapping with my ears. The musical dialogue between Organ and Viola is amazing. One must be almost be grateful for the fact that Haydn drank when he was thirsty, otherwise his surviving works might have been as parched and boringly sober as some of the routine compositions by 18th century mediocrities.
But there is always a catch....these are old fashioned performances, the old school so to say, a bit square, staccato playing like a well drilled company of soldiers, not as playful and animated as could be, as is done these days. Historically informed ?, yes of course this orchestra is, but apart from that expect nothing more. The Symphonies are in decent sound, but the C major concerto is a disaster. They should hang this engineer upside down on his ears above the orchestra pit, and perform ( with the Silesian orchestra of Fire Fighters) the entire Ring by Wagner, that should teach him. Ouchhh.
The sound is shrill, out of focus, microphones placed at the wrong angle, as if recorded in a bathtub, only the organ is crystal clear, but the Viola will hurt your ears, so keep the volume down. But, the music is top notch, and this I heard quite clearly. I will return to this disc, despite!




New acquisition. Stamitz, Carl. (1745-1801) & Stamitz, Johann. (1717-1757. Clarinet Concertos and Orchestral Quartet. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2015.
First listen.
Label: Phoenix Edition.
Licensed by Capriccio.
Recording dates: February 1982 & February 1983.
Recording venue: Lindlar Kulturzentrum.
Recording engineer: Not mentioned.
Running time: 48:22.
Classical relevance: Especially Carl Stamitz is essential listening material.

Works performed:
Carl Stamitz.
Concerto No. 4 for 2 Clarinets and Orchestra in B flat major.
Orchestral Quartet in G major for Strings.

Johann Stamitz.
Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra in B flat major.

Performed by:
Cappella Coloniensis, Gabriele Ferro & Ulf Bjorlin.
Soloists:
Hans Deinzer & Jann Engel, Clarinets.

Johann Stamitz has been a very important composer, and innovator. Being the Kapellmeister in Mannheim he introduced many new thoughts and practices into the orchestra, sort of revolutionized the language of music, and thereby making Mannheim the capital of Avantgarde. And of course I was interested in this concert, which I knew, but not really that much, so this was a fine opportunity  for little money to get deeper into this work. You hear Bohemian folk music incorporated ever so subtle into the fabric of the music, albeit not that much that it would make you sit up, like I said subtle.  Its still a three movement work, with a heroic first movement, followed by a more feminine sighing motive. The Adagio reminds me a bit of the Baroque thematic structure, and a lively third movement less formal and more alert. I could not say that I was hugely impressed by what I heard, nice music and very well performed, but not really exciting in the end.
Actually Johann's son Carl provided the fireworks in this respect with two compositions that are in my opinion much better. A tighter structure, gripping melodies, exhilarating writing in the strings, and much more coherence in connecting motives. It has a virtuosic element, and a very lively discourse among all instruments.  The pulsation and pressure behind the music makes you into an attentive listener.
Both orchestra and soloists make a very convincing statement, in good sound, with a good front to back soundstage, and an abundance of details.



Friday, May 29, 2015

Recent acquisition. Haydn, Joseph. The Keyboard sonatas. Volume VII. First listen.

Recent acquisition.
Bought in March 2015.
First listen.
Label: Profil, Edition Hassler.
Box with 9 cd's.
Recording dates: 1999. 2001 (Live) 2002. 2008.
Recording venue: Either Studios 3, (Kammermusikstudio) or Grosser Sendesaal des Saarlaendischer Rundfunk statt.
Recording engineers: Thomas Becher, Manfred Jungmann, Ralf Schnellbach.
Running time: 74:48.
Classical relevance: If you're into hearing Haydn's sonatas on a modern grand, this is essential.

Works performed:
 Six Sonatas Hob. XVI No. 32/35/36/37/38/39.
Dedicated to Count Nicolaus Esterhazy. Sonata No. 32. (1776)
Dedicated to the Auenbrugger sisters. Sonatas No. 35-39. (1777-1779)

Works performed by:
Ekaterina Derzhavina, Piano.

I really love and appreciate these performances. I can truly say, that the interpretations are the best I ever heard so far. Even Buchbinder is no match for her, in my humble opinion. The sound of the instrument is always captured in a very natural way, and are always close to State of the Art.  I read recently a book about Haydn and his work by a Dutch writer called Clemens Romijn, published by Brilliant in 2003. I had it all that time, but somehow never got to reading it. I have learned a lot of this book about Haydn, his life, his works. A fascinating composer. The sonatas in question, especially No. 37 has a smashing first movement,as well as a haunting second movement, well captured by Derzhavina. I find all the sonatas dedicated to the Auenbrugger sisters a fascinating set.
Recommended to all Haydn admirers.








New acquisition. Bach, J.S. Cantatas Vol, 52, Leipzig 1730-40. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2014.
First listen.
Label: BIS.
Box with 15 cd's, with the original booklets for each volume.
Recording dates: September 2011.
Recording venue: Kobe Shoin Women's University Chapel, Japan.
Recording engineer: Thore Brinkmann.
Running time: 63:38.
Classical relevance: Essential recordings.

Works performed:
Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140.
Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt, BWV 112.
Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir, BWV 29.

Works performed by:
Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki.
Hana Blazikova, Soprano.
Gerd Turk, Tenor.
Robin Blaze, Countertenor.
Peter Kooij, Bass.

Another volume of Bach's excellence if it comes to cantatas. Being performed by such dedicated musicians makes this an indispensable complete set .
Only one quibble with the recording.  In BWV 140, choir and a corno are too close to each other and that gives an unpleasant sound. Furthermore Blazikova's voice is rather crudely miked, even shrill, and no air around the voice, it is corrected in the second cantata on this cd, but it rather shocked my equilibrium. Tenor voice the same, to closely miked, but less so as the soprano. Not corrected in the following cantatas.



New acquisition. Cirri, Ignazio. (1711-1787) 12 Sonatas for Organ, opus 1. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2015.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
Recording dates: August 2014.
Recording venue: Chiesa Parrocchiale di San Bononio, Puzzengo, Italy.
Recording engineer: Federico Savio.
Running time:69:40.
Classical relevance: Mildly interesting.

Works performed:
See heading.

Works performed by: Massimo Gabba.

Instrument:
Neapolitan probably  the work of the Liborio Grisante School.
Coupler: Man/Ped.
Manual compass: C-D-E-f''' (50 keys)
Pedal compass: C-D-E-e (13 keys)
Meantone temperament.

I really had high hopes of this recording, but I am sorry to say that I consider this recording out of the range in terms of performing style by Massimo Gabba. By his own admission he is specialized in the romantic repertoire, and this you can hear all to clearly in his interpretation of Cirri's Music. It is true that his music is not fashionable as Gabba tells us, being in a rather correct style, and makes only for pleasant listening. This is doing the music short by a mile. His counterpoint is to be admired for a start, but that does not mean that his works reach a level of complexity that will astound you listening to it. The music can stand on its own two feet, but it can not stomach the way Gabba is performing this. He may be a good organist, but in my opinion Cirri eludes him. What you hear is a romanticized Cirri, with long legato lines, zero animation, lethargic tempi, and the tendency to bore the hell out of you. The organ would do well in the hands of an organist who is used to historical performance style, but Gabba is better of in the field in which he excels. A missed chance therefore. I will look out for other performances.
The sound is good.




New Acquisition. Boccherini, Luigi. (1743-1805) Symphonies, Opus 37, No. 1/3/4. CD 1 of 2. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2015.
First listen.
Label: Phoenix Edition.
License from Capriccio.
Recording dates:  June 1992.
Recording venue: Funkhaus Berlin, Germany.
Recording engineer: Claus Seyfahrt.
Running time CD 1: 51:34.
Classical relevance: Relevant to have these performances.

Works performed:
See heading.
No. 1 in C major.
No. 3 in D minor.
No. 4 in A major.

Performed by: 
Neues Berliner Kammerorchester, Michael Erxleben.

Maybe not an orchestra that plays on authentic instruments, but their approach is certainly couched in a historical performance style. The orchestra has an agility that makes the music fun to listen at. Never overplaying their hands, or seeking effect at the cost of the music itself, but well contained, and interpretative strong interpretations. Now I always was of the opinion that Boccherini was hugely underestimated. He composed a lot, true, but Haydn did too, and no one will say therefore his output is less interesting, right? So where to put the musical creativity Boccherini is displaying throughout these Symphonies? In my ears they belong to the very best of his time, and can stand well, and hold up its excellence in comparison with other luminaries of his time. In the Journal des Savants of 20 March 1798 it was said, "The symphonies of Boccherini, whose melody is so pure and harmony so perfect, in turn sombre, tender, heart rending, gracious, and even at times, very gay", or  a quote from Jean Baptiste Cartier: "If God wanted to speak to mankind through music, he would do it through the works of Haydn, but if he wanted to listen to music himself, the choice would be Boccherini". I would rather agree with that if you don't mind.
I would say that the characteristics of Boccherini's music are, an extreme transparency with many fine soloistic passages, and they show an independence characteristic of scarcely any other composer of the time. I certainly rate his Symphonies as good of those of Haydn.
The sound of the first CD is very good.






New acquisition. Flute Concertos. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2015.
First listen.
Label: Phoenix Edition.
Licensed from Capriccio.
Recording dates: July 1978, August 1985, May 1988.
Recording venues: Lindlar, Kulturzentrum and Bielefeld, Oetkerhalle, Germany.
Recording engineers: Not mentioned.
Running time: 48:34.
Classical relevance: Mildly interesting.

Works performed:
Friedrich II "Der Grosse" (1712-1786)
Concerto No. 3 in C major, For Transverse flute, Strings and BC.

Georg Philipp Telemann. (1681-1767)
Concerto in E minor for Recorder, Transverse flute, Strings and BC.
Concerto in E minor for 2 Transverse flutes, Strings Bassoon and BC.

Johann Friedrich Fasch. (1688-1758)
Concerto in G major, for Transverse flute, Oboe, Strings and BC.

Works performed by:
Cappella Coloniensis.
Conducted by:
Ulf Bjorlin, Georg Fischer, Hans Martin Linde.

Soloists:
Konrad Hunteler, Gunther Holler, Christoph Huntgeburth, Transverse flutes, Recorder.
Helmut Hucke, Oboe.

I would say for 2 euros this is a great deal. The concerti were recorded from 1978 till 1988, in decent sound, and in fine performances, which could not be otherwise considering the soloists of name and reputation. The 1978 recording is a little less in detail, but the interpretation is topnotch. They are roughly from the same era, and in style they match each other. The historical performance practice gives the music a distinct character of being perfectly in proportion. Not a performance of Pomp and Circumstance, but unobtrusive and well played. There is a lot of attention given to soloistic details and the orchestra shares in this delight by very attentive conductors, all three of them. I found Friedrich's concerto in C major a delight, lively, creative and an impressive third movement, and of course Telemann is always a delight, the first E major for recorder has a beautiful third movement too. I was looking forward to the Fasch concerto, since I did not hear that one very often. The clear melody lines insure musical visibility at a maximum, there is a clear cut  logic in the proceedings that keeps the musical content flowing. Again there is a ravishing third movement, that made quite an impression. The second E minor concerto by Telemann is a fun work, with an invigorating second movement, in which some soloistic content of the orchestra is added to great effect.
So these are well behaved but by no means unemotional performances, there is actually a lot to admire here, not least the music to start with.
Recommended.





Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New acquisition. Krommer, Franz (1759-1831) Chamber Music. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2015.
First listen.
Label Phoenix Edition.
Recording dates: January 2007.
Recording venue: Studio 2, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Munich, Germany.
Recording engineer: Annerose Unger.
Running time: 65:39.
Classical relevance. Krommer is an important composer, worth your while.

Works performed:

Divertimento for String Trio, in F major, opus 96.
Piano Quartet in E flat major, opus 95.

Performed by: 

Kontraste Koln.
Sylvie Kraus, Violin.
Christian Gooses, Viola.
Werner Matzke, Cello.
Alexander Puliaev, Fortepiano.

Franz Krommer is a composer one should not ignore, for this thoroughly classical composer is a important link and connection to composers like, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, not to mention Schubert, and in his piano parts there are even some colours of Chopin. Bohemian Folk music is a part of his compositions to, which you might hear in the second minuetto of the String trio, very subtle though. His writing for the instruments is genial, and very creative. The harmony he achieves among the instrumentalists is remarkable. Late classical works, they show many influences. Franz Krommer was a greatly esteemed composer, and his works where printed and reprinted in many countries throughout the world.
I think the String trio a work of great beauty with lots of solo writing that makes you gasp with admiration.  The Piano Quartet has a gorgeous Largo. To get to the point, this is a worthwhile recording. The musicians on this disc needed some time to get the swing of the music. They got there in the third movement, "Adagio", and from there on it runs like clockwork.
The Violin which is used by Sylvie Kraus is not always well tuned, peanuts maybe, not many will hear it, but I do.
The sound is good, without being remarkable. The interpretations are for the most part good to excellent. I heard Alexander Puliaev for the first time, and was curious after him, being taught by such luminaries like, Anneke Uittenbosch and Stanley Hoogland. He does not disappoint.





New acquisition. Bach, CPE. Sonatas for Clavichord. First listen.

New acquistion.
Bought in May 2015.
First listen.
Label: Phoenix Edition.
Licensed from Capriccio.
Recording dates: February 1988.
Recording venue: Forde Abbey, Dorset, Great Hall.
Recording engineer: Paul Dery.
Running time: 63:53.
Classical relevance: Only for specialists.

Works performed:
Six Sonatas for Clavichord mit "Veranderten Reprisen". Berlin 1760.
Short and easy Clavichord pieces, mit "Veranderten Reprisen und beygefugter fingersetzung for Anfanger", Vol. 1 & II. Berlin 1765/66 and 1767/68.

Performed by:
Linda Nicholson.
Clavichord: Johann Adolph Hass, Hamburg 1767.
Pitch a'=415 Hz.

This must be the most intriguing and strange performances I ever heard of these works. The Clavichord is an original, but it sounds as it is not up to the job. Nicholson has a style of playing that is at least quite eccentric and then I am mild in what I hear. She literally has to hammer the notes out, but the Sturm und Drang effect makes me grin at times, especially when she tries to play things faster as the mechanics of the instrument can handle. Subtlety is not her middle name, her cookery is more erratic, as balanced. Somehow ones gets the feeling that something is wrong, but it's difficult to lay the finger on the sore place.  There is no animation, no stamp of personality, not a definable expression which one would recognize, yet it will keep you involved. The pieces on this disc do not belong to the best of this composer, bearing in mind that most of these works were meant for beginners, that's understandable. Curiosity value then. Nicholsons playing style is not one I could easily adapt too. She is so concentrated to get the music out of the instrument that interpretative it's going on two lame legs.
The first movement of the Sonata in A minor, has some technical problems recording wise, which should have been re-recorded. Sound is direct but not overbearingly so.





Friday, May 22, 2015

Backlog. (2011) Schnittke, Alfred. Sketches. Second listen.

Backlog listening.
Bought in 2011.
First listen: 21-4-2011.
Label: Brilliant.
Licensed by: National Music Publishers, Russian Federation.
Recording dates: January 1996.
Recording venue: Mosfilm Studios, Moscow.
Recording engineer: Vadim Ivanov & Vitaly Ivanov.
Running time: 52:10.
Classical relevance: For Schnittke admirers and first time listeners: Essential.

Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by:
Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra, Andrey Chistiakov.

If you're not sure about Schnittke as a composer, this would be the disc to begin with. Its a strange mixture of music, instruments, and styles. A bit of everything, but nothing to shake your equilibrium, might you not like the works, if will do no harm. You get a lot of literal quotes from other composer, in the likes of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, all cleverly weaved into the structure of the music. Some strange instruments for a classical orchestra are added too, like electric guitars, ( Solo and Bass) a flexatone, a prepared piano with coins introduced between the strings, and what not! But we get an exceptionally original and colourful score as a reward, at least. In the music the writings of Gogol take an important role, and after listening carefully I find many references to different books from his hands. He paints the world of this writer scaringly original. The sheer imaginativeness of the orchestral score is at least amazing, and even if you do not buy anything else by this composer, this disc will serve you well, for it's a discovery every time you listen to it
The performance is actually very good as is the recording. Almost reference I would say.






New acquisition. Waghalter. (1881-1949) Orchestral Works, Volume II. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2015.
First listen.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates: November 2013.
Recording venue: Studio 5, Russian State TV & Radio Company, Kultura, Moscow.
Recording engineers: Alexsander Karasev & Gennady Trabantov.
Running time: 53:26.
Classical relevance: In the light of no recordings of this composer: Essential.

Works performed:

Mandragola-Opera (1914.
Overture and Intermezzo.

New World Suite. (Reconstructed by Alexander Walker) 1939/2013.

Masaryk's Peace March. (1935)

World Premiere Recordings.

Performed by:
New Russia State SO, Alexander Walker.

The second cd by this composer that Naxos released. The first volume I missed when released, so when I bought the second volume I redressed that.
Waghalter is an original and very able composer whose neglect riddles me no end.  Yes he is tonal, with no modernities in his music, but does that matter? His music is fabulous, and makes listening a feast.  A composer that was praised by such luminaries, as Richard Strauss, Joseph Joachim, Friedrich Gernsheim, Ferrucio Busoni and Engelbert Humperdinck, and many more. That must mean something, and it means something. You know it at the latest when you start listening to his music.
The kaleidoscopic character of his music that captures almost all moments of real time experience, his inexhaustible imagination for melody, his compositional technique, which makes his scoring a joy to hear, his acute awareness as a Jew of the world around him, his reaction to the anti semitism which confronted him everywhere, and to which he took a stance wherever that was necessary, all this and more, made him the unique composer he is. And as a logical follow up, his music was drenched with his voice against oppression and ethnicity. Be it in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, the U.S.A. he always expressed his displeasure in his music and well he did it. No matter where he performed, he was loved for his music in all places that he travelled through. He filled prestigious posts as conductor, was sought for his compositions, yet after his death, his music died too. People have short lived memories. 
Mandragola is a very good introduction to his work, and shows his brilliancy in scoring and melody.
The New World Suite is a very special piece. It was written in the States to which he fled when the Nazi's gained power. He was drawn to the growing movement against racial discrimination in the States towards African American artists. Its a long story and worthwhile to know, but too much for me to write down. He wrote an autobiography "Out of the Ghetto into Freedom" which I will try to get.
This composition contains all musical influences he met on his road to the States, and he picked up readily enough what was the predominant musical trend in the U.S.A. And that results in a fascinating piece. 
Masaryk's Peace March is no ordinary March, but a cleverly put together of themes in a devilish fine work. It was written for the official celebration of the 85 year old President of Czechoslovakia, upon his retirement in 1935. One of the best Marches I ever heard.
It's very forwardly recorded, all the detail and depth is there, but quite frontal. So you have to adjust the volume and then its fine.
The performance leaves nothing to be desired.





Ordered today. A sale of the label Phoenix at JPC for small prices, and some new releases from Brilliant.























Wednesday, May 20, 2015

New acquisition. May 2015. Handel, Georg Friedrich. Water Music & Music for the Royal Fireworks.. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2015.
First listen.
Label: CPO. 
Recording dates: October 2004.
Recording venue: Auditorium di Chiuppano, (Vi) Italy.
Recording engineer: Marco Lincetto.
Running time: 66:05.
Classical relevance: As performance essential, even though you have other interpretations.

Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by:
L'Arte dell'Arco, Federico Guglielmo.
Pitch=415 Hz.
Temperament=Vallotti.
Performing editions by Federico Guglielmo and N. Reniero.
Christopher Hogwood contributed to this recording from his critical research into the performing practice, of both works.

Its really no matter you have other performances of these works, which you probably have, there is definitely room for this performance.  It is so thoroughly refreshing and new in its approach, that many surprises in terms of instrumentation will come your way. Its  a State of the Art recording. Artistically and musically this bears somehow the stamp of authenticity, more so as other interpretations I have heard. Its a wonderful ride with benefits.
Heartily recommended.



New acquisition, May 2015. Brusa, Elisabetta. Orchestral Works. The third CD in a series. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2015.
First listen.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates: August 2014.
Recording venue: Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, Scotland.
Recording engineer: Mike Clements.
Running time: 59:54.
Classical relevance: Only if already having 2 volumes of her music, otherwise sample first before you buy.

Works performed:
Symphony No. 1, opus 10. (1988-90)
Merlin. Symphonic Poem, opus 20. (2004)

Performed by:
Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Daniele Rustioni.

If you are new with this composer, start with the Symphonic Poem "Merlin", if not prepare yourself for a bumpy ride. The musical language is Neo-Tonal, and this is an elusive term for the kind of music that comes out of the speakers. Tonality is stretched in a different way as it is usually done, sort of a sound whirl with ever increasing circles of displacement feelings. The rhythms are tight, there is a lot of detail, too much so for comfort, so the imagery is a crowded place where one hardly gets any bearing. The music has a very powerful and incessant drive that can be quite overwhelming. It is clear from the onset that Brusa has a excellent command of orchestral colours and is using it cleverly, and her pallette of sounds is one of true originality. There is also a level headed logic in the notes which makes it comprehensible to a certain point. But, and this must be clear, all music needs a balance to cope with the  overwhelming impression of - sheer volume of sound, immense orchestration and monumental  instrumental blocks with contrasting moments of pure lyricism, and this is rather far away. Its fluctuating between intensifying the tumultuous soundscapes and soothing the emotional tension-.
The real downpoint about this music is, that there are no resting moments anywhere, to relax from the musical onslaught, and its constant drive at high speed and not taking prisoners attitude. This music will not love you, you have to learn to love it, for it will not be love at first sight. Brusa must have an emotional volcano inside her creativity, for I cannot explain this music otherwise. One long whirl of a frantic dance, for which I would excuse myself, and get the hell out of the dance hall. But I have the two earlier volumes of Brusa's music, so I knew what would await me. Therefore I will learn to love it, but not right away.
Merlin is an immediately accessible work, which has much more balance as the Symphony, and is actually likable from the start, with many orchestral surprises.
The conductor drives a hard bargain by taking all the movements too fast, never be deluded that an "Adagio"is an Adagio with him, rather prepare yourself on a much faster drive. I somehow have the idea, that this also contributed to the unrest in the music.
The performance is exemplary and the sound, of course also.
Be guarded and warned before you proceed.






New acquisition. Malipiero, Gian Francesco. Orchestral Works. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2015.
First listen.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates: July 2012.
Recording venue: Aristotle University Concert Hall, Thessaloniki, Greece.
Recording engineer: Fabian Frank.
Running time: 57:03.
Classical relevance: Essential if you are collecting this series.

Works performed:

Sinfonia degli eroi, Symphony of the Heroes. 1905.*
Ditirambo tragico. 1917.*
Armenia. 1917.*
Grottesco. 1918.
Dai sepolcri. 1904.*

* World Premiere Recordings.

Performed by:
Thessaloniki State SO, Amaury du Closel.

Believe it or not, these works were so called rejects by the composer. But instead of destroying them, he stored them in his cellar. Lucky for us, but to be honest if a composer stores his rejects instead of destroying them, he probably did not see them as bad compositions. Dug out of the dungeons of time and mould, all but one, are never recorded before, and by the sound of it thats a bloody shame. For there is no lack of quality in these works, neither a reason to chuck them into the bin. The guy must have been hypercritical or just insane, that a possibility too. All these compositions are on the same level as all previous works recorded on the label Naxos, so if you liked them you will love the present recording too. Malipiero is a painter of sorts, and draws beautiful images out of his mind, with some characteristic scoring so akin to his works. And this to me unknown orchestra really makes a swing at Malipiero's works with surprisingly good results I might add. Its not a first class orchestra, but in this case they come very close, helped by a good recording, which is a tad low on detail in the lower registers, but not disturbingly much. For me this is another pearl to the crown of the Naxos recordings. We should be thankful that they keep recording them unknown masters ehhhh?



New acquisition. Waghalter, Ignatz. (1881-1949) Orchestral and Chamber music. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2015.
First listen.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates: October 2010 & March 2011.
Recording venue: The Belgravia Centre, London.
Recording engineer: Mike Clements.
Running time: 59:33.
Classical relevance: Very interesting.

Works performed:

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, opus 15.
Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra, opus 9.

Sonata for Violin and Piano in F minor, opus 5.
Idyll for Violin and Piano, opus 19b.
Gestandnis, (Confession) for Violin and Piano.

Performed by:
Irmina Trynkos, Violin.
Giorgi Latsabidze, Piano.
Royal PO, Alexander Walker.

Waghalter came from a musical but very poor family in Warsaw, and was a Jew, who with many of his compatriots came to Vienna to further their careers. He studied with such luminaries as Friedrich Gernsheim and Joseph Joachim, and Scharwenka.
Then Wagner and his band of musical hooligans came and attacked many composers of Jewish origin in a vile way, amongst them Waghalter, for composing in a style that came straight of of the inheritance of Brahms, which was according to Wagner not the true German musical culture. Wagner was often provocative, racist and profoundly hateful, in regard to Jews, and for this alone he should be erased out of the musical annals. 
Waghalter is in every respect a much better composer as Wagner could ever be. And this cd is the proof of it, at least to my ears it is. The music is superior to Wagner and Sons, whose arrogance for thinking that he is the epitome of German music is astonishing. Waghalter's  music is neglected because certain modern upstarts were yelling louder.  I tend to think that the germs laid out then, caused the holocaust in WW II.
Anyways, all works on this disc are profoundly beautiful, the Violin concerto is a warm lyrical and romantic work, very well scored, with some very creative writing for the Violin, as is the following Rhapsody. The Chamber music surpassed all my expectations, and belongs truly to the group of composers that wrote in the same style, like his teacher Gernsheim, or Brahms, both of whom would have been very proud on what Waghalter produced. The performances could not have been better, it's truly magnificent. As to the recording, kuddos to Mike Clements, for its amazingly good.
Only the first movement of the Violin concerto was too closely miked, which was soon corrected in the second movement. Detail and depth is perfect, as is the orchestral balance.




New acquisition. Fasch, Johann Friedrich. (1688-1758) Overture and Concertos. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought: May 2015.
First listen.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: August 2002.
Recording venue: Evangelische Kirche Honrath, Germany.
Recording engineer: Holger Urbach.
Running time: 71:30.
Classical relevance: Essential for Fasch admirers.

Works performed:
Overture in G major & concertos in E flat major, and C minor for, 2 Oboes, 2 Violins, Viola, and BC.
Concerto in C major, for, Bassoon concertato, 2 Violins, Viola and Harpsichord.
Concerto in A major, for Violino obligato, 2 Violins, Viola and Bass.
Concerto in D minor for Bassoon concertato, 2 Violins and BC.

Works performed by:

La Stravaganza Koln.
Sergio Azzolini, Bassoon.
Veronika Skuplik, Violin.

How much Fasch ows to Telemann is obvious if you listen to the very long overture in G major. Hardly distinguishable from each other.  Fasch's music is very well scored and inventive, being mostly self taught this is something to be admired in a composer. As a whole I am very satisfied with all the concerti on this disc, for it is played with great expertise and dedication, and recorded in a very pleasing sound. What was a little strange for me is that it was not always as animated as expected. Especially where the movements are to be played Allegro, it often trickled down to Andante, thus losing its impetus, and thereby falling apart as a structure. This I especially noticed in the first movement of the C major concerto, so slow that it lost its melodic coherence. I have no idea why Azzolini played it almost Largo, for even though the bassoon asks for moderate tempi, being a difficult instrument to play fast, this could have been done faster without losing grip on the proceedings. The following Largo e staccato brought Vivaldi very vividly to mind, as you can imagine in the E staccato.
What is also missing a little bit in all concerti is the dance like quality of the pieces, it is well enough played but short on animation or liveliness. Expression is excellent though and the playing is nothing short of sublime.
Do not let this keep you from acquiring it, for its on all counts worth the modest investment.




Backlog. (2007) Veracini, Francesco Maria. (1690-1768) Overtures and Concerti. Second listen.

Backlog listening.
Bought in 2007.
First listen: 30-10-2007.
Label: NCA.
Recording dates: September/October 1999.
Recording venue: DLR Koln, Sendesaal, Germany.
Recording engineer: Martin Frobeen.
Running time: 66:09.
Classical relevance: This release is mildly interesting, not essential.

Works performed:
Overture nei Partenio, 1738.
Concerto a cinque [Stromenti], ca. 1730.
Concerto a otto stromenti, 1712.
Concerto a cinque stromenti, ca. 1736.
Overture No. 2, ca. 1715/16.

Works performed by:
Neue Dusseldorfer Hofmusik, Mary Utiger.


I took this cd from my collection to compare it with my recent acquirement on CPO with L'arte dell'arco, conducted and played by Federico Guglielmo. I must say that was quite a revelation to hear the many differences. There are some concerti in common, so I concentrated on them first and then the cd as a whole.
The Neue Dusseldorfer Hofmusik which was founded in 1995 by Mary Utiger is not a top ensemble. They play in a thoroughly professional way, without mistakes, but there is absolutely no soul in what I hear. The music sounds as flat as a pancake. In a very reserved and typical German style, we get a bare bones performances with the music shivering in the cold. There are no embellishments, only politeness, no fire, and a lack of animation. Stiff in the loins I would say. None of the composers eccentricities come at the surface, no expression. This straightforward performance has its moments in the Concerto a cinque stromenti ca. 1736 and the Second overture, but as a whole I consider this interpretation flawed, and certainly no match for Guglielmo's take.
Even the sound is polite.




Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Backlog. (2007) Stravinsky, Igor. Works for Violin and Piano. Second listen.

Backlog listening.
Bought: 2007.
First listen: 26-2-2007.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: July 1996 & February 1997.
Recording venue: Saarbrucken, SR. M3.
Recording engineers: Helmut Will & Winfried Gotzinger.
Running time: 55:06.
Classical relevance: A must for Stravinsky admirers.

Works performed:
Suite Italienne.
Divertimento.
Duo Concertant.

Works performed by: 
Dora Bratchikova, Violin.
Aldo Orvieto, Piano.
Violeta Popova, Piano.
Andreas Meyer Hermann, Piano.

This is an absolute stunner of a disc, with Stravinsky's works so convincingly performed, that at times it was absolutely jaw dropping to listen to the violinistic excellence of Dora Bratchikova. No matter how difficult, she manages to let it sound as if it is the easiest thing in the world. The pieces are exhilarating, full of life and drive, and so defines this composer, that not to have this music, amounts to musical treason. The sound is first rate, and the performances could not be better.



 



Backlog. (2010) Romantic Orchestral Music by Flemish Composers, Vol. 2. Second listen.

Backlog listening.
Bought: 2010.
First listen: 29-10-2010.
Label: Marco Polo.
Recording dates: April 1996.
Recording venue: Magdalenzaal, Brussels.
Recording engineer: Jo Tavenier.
Running time: 74:24.
Classical relevance: If interested in these composers, essential.

Composers and Works:

Jef van Hoof. (1886-1959)
Symphony No. 2 in A flat major.

Lodewijk Mortelmans. (1868-1952)
The Myth of Spring, Symphonic Poem.

Peter Benoit. (1834-1901)
In the Fields, Song for Oboe and String Orchestra.

Arthur Meulemans. (1884-1966)
Symphony No. 7 "Swan Fen" A Heathland Symphony.

Works performed by:
VRT PO, Silveer Van den Broeck.

Well I am happy to say after the disappointment of Volume 1 in this series, this recording came as a welcome guest. Four distinctive composers together with some of their best works, played this time by a motivated orchestra, and a conductor who is more alert to the music. The recording is better too.
Van Hoof's Symphony fits perfectly in the musical tradition of its time, Nothing shocking is happening, but you get a nicely constructed work, with some beautiful melodies, that keeps you in a happy mood. Not a slight work, but one that has quality in its middle name. The first movement has a structure that flows with ease and is well balanced, the Scherzo is a joyous affair and very strong in its compositional structure. This movement tickles all my senses. The third movement is supposed to be grave, so the booklet says but there is no bitterness at all, although there is an unsuccessful attempt at some furious emotion which is halted after a few measures.  The fourth movement has a happy demeanor not unlike the second movement. I liked this work more as I expected.
Mortelmans's "The Myth of the Spring" is one of the better compositions by his hands. Of course the influence of Wagner is evident, but despite of this he manages to give this well composed work his own stamp. I think the scoring is phenomenal especially the Strings and Brass.
Peter Benoit's "In the Fields" is a miniature masterwork of barely 2 minutes.  Its a corker as ever there was one. The scoring brings a smile on my face, especially when the playful Oboe makes his entrance.
Arthur Meulemans's  Seventh Symphony is by far the weightiest composition on this disc, and as a composition has aspirations that puts it far ahead of the other composers on this disc.
He writes in a very descriptive way, the images come readily alive in his music. The colours and the imagery are of such quality, that I am tempted to say, that everyone should hear this. He is a composer that far outshines many composers of his own soil, and on the evidence of this Symphony I would say he belongs to be known.






Backlog listening. (2012) British Light Music Classics, Vol. 2. Second listening.

Backlog listening.
Bought: 2012.
First listen: 1-2-2012.
Label: Hyperion.
Recording dates: October 1996.
Recording venue: St. Jude on the Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London.
Recording engineer: Tony Faulkner.
Running time: 75:54.
Classical relevance: For those loving Light Classical Music; Essential.

Works of 20 different composers.

Performed by:
The New London Orchestra, Ronald Corp.

The second disc in this series delights as much as the first one, all participants are the same, and the result is utter excellence. The term light music, is not synonymous with sub par music, for in all respects this is high class stuff. Not one composer on this disc can be omitted from the list of necessary composers for such a compilation. I appreciate every one of them, and will gladly return to it any given time, that much I think about what I heard today. I take a few composers and their compositions into the limelight, because I thought they showed more potential. First of all it must be Benjamin Frankel's piece, "Carriage and Pair" which has more aspirations as merely being "light". Its easily discernable that Frankel had more in his musical pockets as this by no means beautiful work. His orchestral command is evident and admirable.
Then Haydn Wood's "The Horse Guards, Whitehall", is very well scored, and a fine piece as such.
Clive Richardson's "The Beachcomber" is a funny little piece that had me grinning from ear to ear.
But then again, all of them had their merits and smiling moments. The recording is State of the Art, as is to be expected with Tony Faulkner at the buttons.
Recommended.





From this box with 4 cd's.







Thursday, May 14, 2015

Backlog 2010. Weingartner, Felix. (1863-1942) Orchestral Works, Vol. 6. Second listen.

Backlog listening.
Bought: April 2010.
First listen: 23-4-2010.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates:  August 2006 & June 2007.
Recording venue: Casino Basel, Musiksaal.
Recording engineer: Andreas Werner, Jakob Handel.
Running timer: 57:30.
Classical relevance: In my view essential.

Works performed:
Fruhling ( Spring), Symphonic Poem, opus 80.
Symphony No 6, opus 74 in B minor, "La Tragica".

Performed by:
Sinfonieorchester Basel, Marko Letonja.

If I say that Felix Weingartner is one of the greatest 20th century composer, it would be an understatement, for praise cannot go enough to this man. One keeps wondering why such a composer who wrote so many wonderful works, could be so utterly forgotten. If it were not for producer Burkhard Schilgun from CPO, he would still be an unknown artist to most. So great was his believe in Weingartner that he recorded all of his Symphonies, String Quartets and other chamber music, and for this I for one am eternally grateful. For me he is easily in my top 5 of favourite composers.
I have all what is recorded by CPO, and am happy that I reacquainted myself with his music. They are all in my backlog pile. The above disc is one of great beauty, starting with the Symphonic Poem "Fruhling" which does not start on a happy note, because it's dark and brooding, wild and uncontrollable, barren, violent, and altogether he creates dramatic scenes almost taken literally from Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights". After some time into this work an inkling of the Spring arrives, born out of the darkness of winter, by the call of the cuckoo, not unlike in Mahler's first symphony. Still a melancholia sweeps over the happy notes of nature's call. The sky opens up, but not after a furious fight. Absolutely amazing work.
On the wall of shame for forgetting such a composer we can add another notch in it, for ignoring this symphony. This work defies any description, such is its greatness, that one stands in awe, when the music pours out of the speakers. The Adagio movement is as heavenly as any Bruckner movement. What can one write, if you encounter such glorious music, right, one has to listen.
Recording is State of the Art, and the performance could not be better.
Recommended, of course.




Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Coleridge Taylor, Samuel, Sowande, Fela, Still Grant, William. African Heritage Symphonic Series.

From my collection
Bought in February 2011.
First listen: 5-2-2011.
Second listen: 13-5-2015.
Third listen: 29-5-2017.
Label: Cedille Records.
Recording dates: May 2000.
Recording venue: Lund Auditorium at Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois.
Recording engineer: Bill Maylone.
Running time: 51:26.
Relevance to me: Essential.

Works performed:

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)
Danse Negre, from African Suite. (1898)
Petite Suite de Concert. (1910)

Fela Sowande. (1905-1987)

African Suite (Selections) (1930)

William Grant Still. (1895-1978)

Symphony No. 1 "Afro-American" (1930)

Performed by:

Chicago Sinfonietta, Paul Freeman.

I knew already that Coleridge Taylor was a fine composer and orchestrator, so this piece proves yet again what a master he was, and ups this status with both pieces on this disc. The Petite Suite is a masterwork, no doubt about that at all. It has four movements. Its an overall delight to listen to this work, exemplified by the first movement : La Caprice de Nannette" which is extremely well put together, but then, you know, all four pieces fill the shoes of that description. "Un Sonnet d'Amour" the third movement, is a delicate well structured filigree work, absolutely outstanding in every way. "La tarantelle Fretillante"  is an exuberant handful of musical joy, it has balletic elements, a march theme, even jubilant and rejoicing chattering goes on in the narrative. 

And if you think the surprises are over, Fela Sowande walks in, who knows him?, and delivers an equally genial piece as Taylor. Its an absolute fantastic work in three beautiful movements, with a warm and embracing quality to it. The second movement called "Nostalgia" is a knockout piece, it captures human life in just over 4 minutes. I got a wow feeling and goosebumps listening to it. Akila, the third movement is a exercise in perfect scoring for strings, really amazing!
And then Grant-Still comes in with his multifaceted first Symphony. All the musical styles from the time of composition (1930) can be found in this amazing work. And I mean literally all, worked in the score so cleverly, that I listened with amazement at almost every note. There are so many images presenting themselves, that you hardly know what to grasp first and what last, an almost impossible task. The performances are topnotch, and the recording close to State of the Art.
Highly recommendable.




Backlog listen (2012) British Light Music Classics Volume I. Second listen.

Backlog listening.
First listen: 28-1-2012.
Bought: January 2012.
Label: Hyperion.
Recording dates: November/December 1995.
Recording venue: St. Jude on the Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London.
Recording engineer: Tony Faulkner.
Running time: 77:33.
Classical relevance: The very best of British light music, performance and sound wise.

Works performed:
16 composers in all.

Performed by:
The New London Orchestra, Ronald Corp.

Sonics are State of the Art, well what else with Faulkner at the buttons. This orchestra is a well rehearsed group of musicians, that clearly love playing this music, and they do it extremely well. All of the composers are outstanding in their own way, there is not a bad egg amongst them. You get exactly what you may expect, a joyful ride on the train of light music, but some have more serious aspirations. I will single out a few that made some kind of impression on me, due to some fine scoring of the music. To start with Vanity Fair, composed by Anthony Collins, a work that goes beyond light, Jumping Bean by Robert Farnon had me grin from ear to ear, The Boulevardier by Frederic Curzon is a remarkable funny work, well scored and very amusing in its expression. The Watermill by Ronald Binge is a well orchestrated work and some fine writing for the oboe, a work beyond the term light, and Elizabethan Serenade which is known to almost everyone, a delightful performance. Coronation Scot by Vivian Ellis is so effectively scored, that I actually saw the train pass me in a broad landscape. Very enjoyable, I look forward to the other 3 volumes from the box Hyperion released some time ago.




New acquisition. The Vivaldi recordings. Concertos, Sonatas, Sacred Music, Cantatas. CD 7. Il Cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione, 12 Concerti opus 8. No. 7-12. First listen.

New Acquisition.
Bought in May 2015.
First listen.
Label: L'oiseau-Lyre.
Box with 20 cd's.
Running time: 54:20.
The booklet deserves no mention.
Classical relevance: Essential.
See for technical details the review of Concerti No 1-6.

First review of the first part of opus 8

My first review concerning the first 6 concerti of opus 8 covers all what I could say about it. But I have to mention the fine contribution by Michel Piguet, who plays the Oboe in Concerto No. 9 and 12, and wonderful it is.   Catherine Mackintosh, Monica Huggett,Christopher Hirons, are the soloists of the rest of the concerti, and well they perform.




Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Recent acquisition. Rossi, Michelangelo. Toccate e Correnti. Third listen

I can be very short about this recording, it goes straight to the top of my list concerning these works. Riccardo Castagnetti is an unknown performer for me, but this disc is an excellent introduction to his art. Music and performer, a perfect match. Vartolo is to be removed from my collection.
See previous review.

First review of this disc.



Recent acquisition. Madetoja, Leevi. Complete Orchestral Works, Volume 5. Second listen.

As in contrast to the first listen I like the Okun Fuoko Suite much better as the first time. The recording is good, but I clearly noticed on my reference system, that the lower part of the orchestra fills up very quickly, in that the details are hardly noticeable, a big blob of sound, where timpani, basses and cello should be. A pity, for the soundstage is pretty good.
See first review of this disc.

First review of this disc.



New acquisition. Brian, Havergal. Orchestral Works, First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2015.
First listen.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates: May 2014.
Recording venue: Studio 5, Russian State TV & Radio Company, Kultura, Moscow.
Recording engineers: Alexsander Karasev & Gennady Trabantov.
Running time: 69:51.
Classical relevance: As to complete the orchestra music by this composer, essential.

Works performed:
Symphony No. 6, Sinfonia Tragica. (1948)
No. 28, Sinfonia in C minor. (1967)
No. 29, in E flat major. (1967)
No. 31. (1968)

Works performed by:
New Russia State SO, Alexander Walker.

In No 6 we meet a lot of forms of expression, all tightly packed together, and creating a broad vision on moods and technical skill of the composer. You will meet many thoughts and colours in this work, from exuberant to serene, from pastoral melodies, into magical spheres, celestial bliss in the wood winds, powerful statements ( Timpani and Brass) In almost 20 minutes a lot of things happen and this orchestra makes sure you hear all. A wonderful work.
I wish I could say that of No 28/29/31, but they left me stone cold. I admire the technical skill Brian displays, which is actually brilliant, but apart from some beautiful fragments in all three symphonies, for me these are works of high technical merit, but utterly devoid of feeling or compassion. It is by no means a nay, but a warning to all that expect the same as in Symphony No. 6. Far from it, you land from kind spheres into a world of technical handicraft, genial as it may be, it's not enough to win me over. The recording is first class as is the performance, no complaints there.





Recent acquisition. The Renaissance Keyboard. Antico, Andrea & Cavazzoni, Marco Antonio. Complete Keyboard Works. Second listen.

It get better after a second rerun. At the moment this is one of my favourite Brilliant releases. I played it through my reference system, and it could more than hold its position, in terms of sound, balance, air around the organ and Harpsichord, and above all the brilliant interpretation by Fabio Antonio Falcone. He did well, and the engineer also. A perfect release of virtually unknown music.
See earlier review.

First review of this disc.




Saturday, May 9, 2015

New acquisitions, ordered today.

 The ongoing series on Naxos, this disc is really impressive



 A composer I did not encounter before but shows a lot of promise, two discs well worth hearing I think.


 This one is the latest release by Naxos, the samples were really good.



Of course Brusa is something special, at least for me.


 Another Fasch will not hurt, and I did not have this particular music. 




Since I was very much impressed by the Veracini disc by this band and soloist, I ordered this one too. Sure enough I have quite a few recordings of both works, but it was budget and attractive.

Telemann, Georg Philipp. (1681-1767) A Portrait. CD 5. Works for Alto recorder and BC.

New acquisition. Date of purchase: October 2017. First listen: 18-12-2017. Label: Ricercar. CD 5 from 7. Recording dates: October 1996 ...