Friday, July 31, 2015

Recent acquisition. Graupner, Christoph. (1683-1760) Concerti e Musica di Tavolo. Fourth and last rerun.

I said so in my first review and I say so again, this is by all standards a perfect disc. No Graupner fan can be without it.
See my first review 28-1-2015.

First review of this disc



Recent acquisition. Franck, Richard.(1858-1938) Works for Violin and Piano. Third listen.

Nice to hear this again. Reminded me of how much joy this music is giving me.
See first review with all details.

First review of this disc.



Recent acquisition. Le Chant de Byzance, Vol 1. La semaine Sainte. Third rerun.

Absolutely beautiful, and as it should be sung in the Orthodox tradition. I am very pleased with what I hear. All technical details plus first review in this link.

First review of this disc.



New acquisition. Gabrieli, Andrea. Complete Keyboard Works. CD 5.

New acquisition.
Bought: July 2015.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.  (Original brilliant recordings)
Jewel box with 6 discs, hard to get out!
Booklet, on the whole informative, could be better.
Recording dates: October 2014.
(It seems that the organ works were all recorded in one month!)
Recording venue: Duomo Valvasone, Italy, (Organ)
Recording venue: Fabio Framba.
Running time: 54:20.
Classical relevance: Essential.

[Additional info regarding recording]
It must be said that the recording had me worried, and still worries me. For me it is quite clear that Fabio Framba did not get a good grip on the acoustics. It started with disc 1. Too forward and too loud. No air around the instrument, and the upper pipes at times made my head spin. On a regular basis there is distortion in the speakers, due to resonance. This is a close miking problem, and it occurs at several places, this disc being one of them. Track 2 especially, and track 3 at the end. this pops up at different places. Enough to irritate me. I had to take the volume really down to make the loudness acceptable. And I mean drastically down.  But it is a fact, this organ is a fantastic instrument, not treated well by Frambo. All discs suffer from this treatment.
Artistically there are some issues too. Loreggian is a master on this instrument, but most of the works are played as in a hurry. The contemplative element is lost, there is no place of rest, a continuous pushing forward, that makes it at most times unpleasant. Maybe the fact that is was all recorded in a month, made it necessary to speed things up. I still recommend this set, but with this caution added. Needless to say I will be looking out for better performances and recordings.

Works recorded:
Canzoni alla francese et ricercari ariosi. (Venice 1605)
Tracks 1-12.
Anonymous attr. Gabrieli.
Track 13-14.
Sanctus alternatim.
Agnus Dei alternatim.

Works performed:
Schola Gregoriana Scriptoria, Don Nicola Bellinazzo.
Roberto Loreggian, Organ. (Vincenzo Colombi 1532-33)

I think the music fantastic and Loreggian professionalism admirable, but I still think this box is going in my collection after one total listen. I will try one disc on my reference system to see what it does there, but I have no high hopes.






Thursday, July 30, 2015

Recent acquisition. Boccherini, Luigi. Symphonies. Disc 2, first listen.

Recent acquisition.
First listen.
Bought: May 2015.
CD 2 of this set.
Label: Phoenix.
Licensed from Capriccio.
Recording dates: June 1992.
Recording venue: Funkhaus Berlin, Germany.
Recording engineer: Claus Seyfarth.
Running time: 56:29.
Classical relevance: Absolute wonderful performances.

Works performed:
Symphony N. 17 in C minor, opus 41. G. 519. (1788)
Symphony No. 18 in D major, opus 42. G. 520. (1789)
Symphony No. 19, (Overture) in D major, opus 43. G. 521. (1790)
Symphony No. 20 in D minor, opus 45. G. 522.

Performed by:
Neues Berliner Kammerorchester, Michael Erxleben.


Absolute ravishing performances of Boccherini's superb Symphonies. Never would have thought that this very inexpensive twofar would produce so much quality in all departments. The enormous burst of creativity astounds me, but then it is in all works by this composer. He barely delivered a bad work, at least I know of no one. Recommended.





Recent acquisition. Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon. Complete Organ works. CD 2. Second rerun.

So if I would have to make a choice, which of the discs would be my favourite in the box, it would be this CD. Brimful with the works I love, and so magnificently played and recorded.
See previous review.

First review of CD 2



Recent acquisition. Klughardt, August. (1847-1902) Chamber Music. Second rerun.

It must be said, Klughardt wrote some fantastic chamber music. Both Quintets on this disc are superb. What a wealth of colours, executed by a fantastic ensemble in glorious sound. I find myself deeply immersed in the music.
See first review.

First review of this disc.



New acquisition. Gabrieli, Andrea. (1532/33-1585) Complete Keyboard Music, with or without Vocal accompaniment. Disc 4.

New acquisition.
Bought: July 2015.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant. (Original brilliant recordings)
Recording dates: October 2014.
Recording venue: Duomo di Valvasone, Italy.
Recording engineer: Fabio Framba.
Running time: 62:15.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Missa de Beata Virgine in Four movements.
Missa Apostolorum in Four movements.

Performed by:
Schola Gregoriana Scriptora, Don Nicola Bellinazzo.
Organ: Roberto Loreggian.
Vincenzo Colombi organ, (1532-33) Restored: 1999.


As expected these are well balanced performances. I like the vocal contributions very much, they bring rest in the composition. The contemplative element is considerable. The parts for organ are seamlessly integrated into the music, and the blend is harmony. The organ is a fine instrument.
Sound is good. There is more air around voices and organ.





Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Recent acquisition. Boccherini, Luigi. Symphonies, CD 1. Second rerun.

Really superb performances and very well recorded. An unknow orchestra to me, led by a conductor scarcely known by me, but what I hear is magnificent. Its a worthwhile set to have, certainly for the price for which it is sold, a mere giveaway. 
If you love your Boccherini, go buy this.

See previous review.

First review of disc 1. Boccherini.



Ordered today, 1 new and one of them I ordered again.

A retailer told me a week ago that this set was not available anymore, but I saw it just a few minutes ago, so I am going to try for a second time.
Krebs Organ music.


And a re release on which I waited for some time, 4 cd's for a budget price



Recent acquisition. Sweelinck, Complete Organ Works. CD 1. Second rerun.

For me it is confirmed again, that Berben is a great Sweelinck interpreter, of of the best actually. Retracing my steps, and starting with this set anew, gives me even more insight in his playing style, less conservative, more practical intellectualism applied, and a very lucid spiritual line throughout.
See first review also.

First review of CD 1.



Recent acquisition. Romberg, Andreas. String Quartets, Volume 2.

A few of the finest SQ I ever heard. These works are firmly rooted in my heart.
See first review.

First review of these works.





New acquisition. Pleyel, Ignace Joseph. (1757-1831) Symphonies. Premiere recordings. The Contemporaries of Mozart series on Chandos.

New acquisition.
Bought: July 2015.
First listen.
Label: Chandos.
Recording dates: November 1995.
Recording venue: St. Jude's Church, London.
Recording engineer: Ben Connellan.
Running time:  70:27.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Symphony in C major, opus 66. B. 154
In C major, opus 68. B. 156.
In D minor. B. 147.

Performed by:
London Mozart Players, Matthias Bamert.

Well if you're looking for a composer equal to his teacher, Pleyel would be the candidate. Being a pupil of Joseph Haydn he produced the same high level in his Symphonies. I am quite astounded by this fact, and it is a fact, the present recording prove that in a most convincing way. He works out beautiful melodies and brings a harmony and balance in all of it, that makes me smile many a time at his inventions. Every bit as good as Haydn. I cannot even single out one of them as special because they are all of them special. He was a hugely popular composer in Western Europe. I mean if you have all your works published, (two thousand editions by 250 publishers in over fifty cities in England and North America) it must mean something right? At least 41 Symphonies he wrote, ( what bliss) and many chamber works. I have bits and bobs of this composer, but these symphonies I did not have. You may be pretty sure they are now on my menu! In many other areas Pleyel played a very important role as many of you may know, and if not, just Google his name.
I think that Bamert's interpretation is absolutely top notch, as it is a wonderful recording.




Recent acquisition. Reinecke, Carl. Complete Cello Sonatas. Second rerun.

The second time around and I even enjoy them more. This music quickly gets under your skin, with its passionate drive, and so expertly performed and recorded.
See first review of this disc.

First review of this disc.


New acquisition. Gabrieli, Andrea. The Complete Keyboard Works. CD 3.

New acquisition.
Bought: July 2015.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
Jewel box with 6 cd's.
Recording dates: October 2014, Organ, & January 2015, Harpsichord.
Recording venues: Duomo di Valvasone, Italy, Organ. Abbazia di Santa Maria delle Carceri d'Este, Padua, Italy. Harpsichord.
Recording engineer: Fabio Framba.
Running time: 55:40.
Classical relevance: Essential.
Budget-price = 17, euros for 6 cd's! 

Works performed:
Il Terzo libro de ricercari. (Venice 1596)
Tracks 1-7. Organ.
Tracks 8-12. Harpsichord.

Anonymous, arrr. to Gabrieli.
Canzon primo tono
Toccata sexti toni.
Both for Harpsichord.

Performed by:
Roberto Loreggian, Organ and Harpsichord.

Instruments used:
Vincenzo Colomi organ, built between 1532-33.
F. Gazzola, Harpsichord, 1990, after Domenico da Pesaro.

Apart from the forward recording, that needs you to take the volume back in your system, this is a very worthwhile release, that gives me much pleasure. Never heard the complete works for keyboard by this composer, but now I do. I think that a wonderful experience. Loreggian is a master on the organ as well on the Harpsichord. He is taking you in the booklet through all essential details concerning cultural background, and the place of the music in its time. Extensive details about the organ are also provided. The Harpsichord is a marvel too, no further details though!
Artistically this is a resounding success, but I wished for a different recording for the organ. Framba made the wrong choices. That is my personal opinion. This however, and I said this before, should not detract you in any way out of buying this set, on the contrary. Just take the sound level back and all will be fine.





Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New acquisition. Gabrieli, Andrea. Complete Keyboard Music. CD 2.

New acquisition.
Bought: July 2015.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
Jewel box with 6 cd's.!
Recording dates: October 2014.
Recording venue: Duomo di Valvasone, Italy.
Recording engineer: Fabio Framba.
Running time: 59:51.
Classical relevance: For me essential.

Works performed:
Ricercari: Libro Secondo. (Venice 1595)
Missa Dominicalis.
Credo Alternatim.

Performed by:
Roberto Loreggian, Organ.

Schola Gregoriana Scriptoria, Don Nicola Bellinazzo.

The second cd in this box, and as far as the music goes this is fantastic. I only wish Framba would not have changed the sound settings, for the organ is rather forward, clear as a bell, but also tiring for your ears. Loreggian has a brisk tempo, so there is no abating of the pressure on your ears. And I furthermore detected some distortion in del sesto tono, and only there, not disturbing but noticeable.
So what to do with this performance which is artistically beyond reproach.  Do not play it too loud, do not play the whole Libro secondo in one go, and then you should be fine. Contemplative moments are not to be found here, for this Loreggian simply plays too fast for my taste.  Still I would not be without this set, although I wished myself a slightly better recording, more air around the instrument. Now I have the impression that the sound cannot disperse.
Let this review however not withhold you of buying this box. Its in all respect a milestone in my classical library. 




 

Recent acquisition. Spohr, Louis. Symphonies No. 4 and 5. Second rerun.

A wonderful account of these Symphonies, and I even warm up more to the fifth symphony, and see more clear the melodic lines and hear the narrative in a better perspective, and so with appreciate the work more.
See first review of this disc.

First review of this disc.



New acquisition. Vieuxtemps, Henri. (1820-1881) Complete Concertos for Violin and Orchestra. CD 1.

New acquisition.
Bought: July 2015.
First listen.
Label: Fuga Libera.
Box with 3 cd's.
Recording dates: July 2010.
Recording venue: Salle Philharmonique, Liege, Belgium.
Recording engineer: Aline Blondiau.
Running time: 58:00.
Classical relevance: Violin concertos and performances very worthwhile to have.

Works performed:
Violin Concerto No. 1, opus 10.
No. 2, opus 19.

Works performed by:
Vineta Sareika, Violin, Concerto No. 1.
Hrachya Avanesyan, Violin, Concerto No. 2.
Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liege, Patrick Davin.

What a treat to have so many different young violinists to perform Vieuxtemps fabulous concertos. I own the Naxos recordings and they did not make me happy. Hearing the performance of No. 1 and 2 I know what the reason for this was. To start with the first concerto. Vieuxtemps violin concertos have enough fireworks incorporated into the notes, it does not need extra input from performers to make it even more spectacular as it is. Sareika plays with a beautiful clean tone, unaffected by too much sentimentality, or clogging of any kind. Hers is a detailed and careful approach, affectionate, alert to dynamic changes, never overplaying her hand, but adventurous enough to produce a beautiful account, just listen to the second movement, and you know what I mean. And the orchestra never pushes too much but is in synch with the soloist. Clear lines, uncluttered melodies, I think this concerto is superb done. For the first time I appreciate them even more as before. Sublime sound too.
Avanesyan is a more extrovert player, but again he never overdoes his accents, or making it a sticky affair, again open lines, uncluttered notes, fine dynamics, and he lets the music speak, giving a brilliant account of this concerto. Bowing is impeccable. The orchestra is a marvel throughout, so many details I never heard before. A warm and committed tone, and he creates an open picture, so the music unfolds naturally.  All tempi's are spot on in both concertos. Again just listen to the Andante movement, how finely chiseled thats done. Sound is again top notch.
I am very happy with the first disc.





New acquisition. Gabrieli, Andrea. (1532/3-1585) Complete Keyboard Music. CD 1.

New acquisition.
Bought: July 2015.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant. (Original recordings)
Jewel box with 6 cd's.
Adequate booklet.
Recording dates: October 2014.
Recording venue: Duomo di Valvasone, Italy.
Recording engineer: Fabio Framba.
CD 1.
Running time: 67:09.
Classical relevance: For me essential.

Works performed:
Intonatione d'organo: Libro primo. ( Venice 1593)
Tracks 1-14.

Tracks 15-18.
Four Organ pieces, Anonymous, attributed to Gabrieli.

Track 19-20. Vocal and Organ.
Missa Dominicalis.
Intro-Kyrie alternatim.
Gloria alternatim.

Works performed by:
Roberto Loreggian, Organ.
Schola Gregoriana Scriptoria, Don Nicola Bellinazzo.

Organ used:
Vincenzo Colombi, built between 1532-33. Restored and renovated by Francesco Zanin in 1999.
Tuning: Median tone temperament, 1/4 comma; Choir A=492.5 Hz at 22 celsius.
Wind pressure: 43 mm WC.

Gabrieli wrote about 60 works for keyboard, the booklet tells me, and this box is the complete recording of them, and that in turn makes me happy. I leave the technical details to Loreggian, who wrote a lucid essay, explaining these works in its time, cultural background and significance. Understandable to most. Gabrieli was a very important and creative composer. His works for Organ show that quite clearly, but also his vocal compositions coupled with the organ are of great beauty and invention. Loreggian certainly picked the right organ for the job, for it could sound gorgeous, but due to some very bad engineering it disappointed me no end. Zanin did a good job renovating this instrument, but this you cannot hear on the recording. The Schola is a force I heard before, and they fit in very well. Their singing has a restraint quite fitting to Gabrieli's music, and they harmonize well with Loreggian's organ playing. I like the first cd very much, in terms of the music. Gabrieli's music is the most important heritage for Keyboard of the entire Cinquecento, and so it is, these interpretations make you hear this quite definitively, as if nothing else.. The recording is not all what is should be, far from it, it saddens me really very much that such an opportunity to record all of Gabrieli's keyboard works, has gone so wrong. The........, but no, all 6 cd's sound as if they were recorded in a hurry, for Loreggian's playing is far from what it can be. Too hurried and in the working out of the music itself, there is hardly any redeeming feature to like what comes out of the speakers. 
My second quibble is with this F***ing jewel box, no doubt cheap to produce, but a crime to get the cd's out, I am quite pissed about that. And a more comprehensive booklet with more background from this composer would have been nice too. Sure the box is cheap, but I would love to have paid more for a different package and bigger booklet. Just for Brilliant to know! I am sure they will not like and agree to what I wrote about this recording, but then, many of their releases I praised into heaven, so I hope they forgive me for being contrary to what I normally write.











Monday, July 27, 2015

Recent acquisition. Second rerun. Stahle, Hugo & Dvorak, Antonin. Piano Quartets.

I am a great admirer if it comes to Hugo Stahle, however short his life was. He produced highly original music, with a passion that makes me gasp at times. Would he have grown to ripe old age, what might not have come from his hands. But we have to do with what is available and this is not much. This Piano quartet is an superb work, just listen to it. Is speaks for itself that Dvorak is high on my list too, so this coupling was doubly welcome. See first review.

First review of this disc.




New acquisition. Richter, Franz Xaver. (1709-1789) Symphonies. (Contemporaries of Mozart)

New acquisition.
Bought in July 2015.
First listen.
Label: Chandos.
Recording dates: April 2006.
Recording venue: St. Jude on the Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London.
Recording engineer: Jonathan Cooper.
Running time: 61:46.
Classical relevance: This series is essential.

Works performed:

Sinfonia in D major, No. 52. (Trumpet Symphony)
In D minor, No. 56.
In G minor (with fugue) No. 29.
In D major, No. 52.
In F minor, No. 43.

Performed by:

London Mozart Players, Matthias Bamert.

Very remarkable and unusual music. As I hear it, it makes an impression on me as extraordinary finely written music, outside of the musical knowledge I have. It takes me off balance several times in practically all works, but especially in the F minor work. His harmonies, and melodies are knitted together in this otherworldly impression, that keeps haunting me throughout all works. And this is as close as I can get in explaining it. Charles Burney, the self appointed expert in Richters time in all things classical, pronounced him odd, and conventional. He must have had cauliflower in his ears I guess, because Richter is far from conventional.  His control of dynamics is remarkable and I mean really special. You can hear that especially in the writing for the strings. There is a precision, that makes goosebumps on my skin. Now, Richter wrote over 80 Symphonies, and most of them not recorded, but if the works on this cd is anything to go by, I would crave more of them. On his death in Strasbourg in 1789, Richter was succeeded by his assistant Ignaz Pleyel, and from this composer I have also a cd in this series, looking very much forward to it.

Recording is very good, and the performance is a match to that.
Recommended.





Recent acquirement. Boccherini, Luigi. String Quintets. First listen.

Recent acquisition.
Bought: June 2015.
First listen.
Label: Phoenix.
Licensed from: Capriccio.
Recording dates: December 1992.
Recording venue: Berlin, SFB, Hall III, Germany.
Recording engineer: Erdmann Muller.
Running time: 71:09.
Classical relevance: I think essential.

Works performed:
Quintet No. 15 in A major, opus 60, No. 3, G 393.
No. 23 in D major, opus 62, No. 5, G. 401.
No 62 in D major, opus 31, No. 2, G. 326.
No. 16 in D minor, opus 13, No. 4, G. 280.

Works performed by:
Petersen Quartet.
Additional players:
Ulrich Knorzer, Violin.
Guido Schiefen, Cello.

The performances are very good as is the recording, and the music, well, superb. Boccherini at its best. And then to think he wrote more than 140 String quintets of which only a fraction is recorded. Quantity and quality is my opinion. Its a fascinating abundant spectrum of ideas and forms and melodies. In one flowing movement this creativity shoots out with such genial energy, that one cannot do other then admire the guy. I am absolutely thrilled by Boccherini's compositions.
Recommended.





Recent acquisition. Second rerun. Glazunov, Alexander. String Quartets, Volume 3.

What a wonderful thing that finally all of Glazunov's SQ are recorded, and in such good performances. With every listen it gets better.
See first review.

First review of this disc.



Recent acquisition. Vivaldi, Antonio. Hogwood's Vivaldi recordings. Disc 12.

Recent acquisition.
Bought: June 2015.
First listen.
Label: Lóiseau-Lyre.
Box with 20 cd's.
Recording dates: November 1993.
Recording venue: EMI studio No. 1, Abbey Road, London.
Recording engineer: Stanley Goodall.
Running time: 52:39.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
6 Violin Concertos opus 12.

Performed by:
Pavlo Beznosiuk, Violin. (Hill workshop, London, 1760)
The Academy of Ancient Music, Christopher Hogwood.

Absolute top notch, recording and performance. I keep falling into the same praise every time I listen to one of these discs. My admiration for them stem from the actual recording dates, and that has not changed, if anything I even admire them more. An essential box to my ears. An English approach, true, but a very unique one, that was out to discover new ways of playing Vivaldi, and that makes these recordings so unique.


  

Saturday, July 25, 2015

New acquisition. Boccherini, Luigi. (1743-1805) Symphonies. From the Chandos series, (Contemporaries of Mozart)

New acquisition.
Bought: July 2015.
First listen.
Label: Chandos.
Recording dates: January 2009,
Recording venue: St. Jude on the Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London.
Recording engineer: Jonathan Cooper.
Running time: 65:55.

Works performed:

Symphony No. 3, G. 503. D major. (No. 1 of 6 Concerti a grande orchestra, opus 12)
Symphony No. 8. G. 508. A major (No. 6 of opus 12)
Symphony No. 21. G. 515. C major (No. 1 of 4 sinfonie a grande orchestra, opus 37)

Performed by:

London Mozart Players, Matthias Bamert.

A very pleasant performance of Symphonies I never heard before, in more or less very good performances. The only quibble I have are that the tempi are taken at leisure, and that robs them somehow of this little bit extra to make them perfect. On the other side, there is a wealth of details in this performance, as in the almost magical third symphony. Bamert is again weaving see through patterns in this music and treading lightly. It makes the music very special. I enjoyed this CD really very much. It is well recorded and performed.





Recent acquisition. Boccherini, Luigi. Opera con Tituli, String Quintets/Quartet.

Recent acquisition.
Bought: March 2015.
First listen.
Label: Phoenix.
Licensed from: Capriccio.
Recording dates: February 1993.
Recording venue: SFB, Berlin.
Recording engineer: Erdmann Muller.
Running time: 48:47
Classical relevance: Essential of course.

Wotks performed:
String Quintet No. 60 in C major, opus 30, No. 6, G. 324.
(La Musica Notturna delle strade di Madrid)
String Quartet No. 65 in G major, opus 44, No. 4. G. 223.
(La Tiranna)
Notturno (Duet) No. 7 in E flat major for two Violins. G. 62.
(La Bona notte)
String Quintet, No. 72 in F major, opus 36, No. 6. G. 336.
(Quintette della Scacciapensiero)

Performed by:
Mayumi Seiler, Iris Juda, Silvia Watch, Violins.
Diemut Poppen, Werner Bickel, Violas.
Richard Lester, Howard Penny, Cellos.

These works are by far the strangest works I ever heard by this composer. When the first String quintet starts, it's like listening to a 20th century composer, really weird. And you know what, that goes for every one of these works, strange but absolute works of a genius. This is really something you must hear. An assembly of music that makes you aware of the fact what a fine composer he was.
He quickly steams up to a favourite composer in my book, and I will start to collect even more works by his hand. The performance is first rate with a star violinist at work, (Mayumi Seiler) Why these recordings and interpretations have been neglected is beyond me, but at the good side, you can get them for 4 euros, 2 fine cd's.
The recording is very good.





Friday, July 24, 2015

New acquisition. Vasks Peteris. (1946-) String Quartet No. 4.

New acquisition.
Bought: July 2015.
I have been listening three times at this CD, continuously.
Label: Nonesuch.
Recording dates: August 2002.
Recording venue: Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, CA.
Recording engineer:Leslie Ann Jones.
Running time: 32:10.
Classical relevance: For Vasks admirers essential.

Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by:
Kronos Quartet.

I am a great admirer of Peteris Vasks. Always was, always will be. For me he is one of the greatest modern living composers. Whatever he writes there is always that touch of Vasks which is utterly unique. Furthermore I stand behind his philosophy and opinion of the world and the people living in it. That makes his music even more understandable for me. He is a truly unique and original person, that translated his innermost thoughts directly into his compositions, pure, without undue glitter and superficial makeup in the structure of his notes. This Fourth SQ is exactly as I have written, and it runs deep in my veins, so much so, that it is hard not to play it over and over again. These are the reflections of a composer with real insight in the turmoil of the world but also generates intense compassion, who sees all the evil and at the same time endearing happenings that may give hope to the desolate. For me it's a constant musical prayer this work, may it turn like a tibetan prayer wheel forever.
Very good performance and recording! Yes the playing time is short, but the price was very low too.
Top recommendation.








New acquisition. Ivanov, Mikhail Ippolitov. (1859-1935) Orchestral Works.

New acquisition.
Bought: July 2015.
First listen.
Label: Naxos.
Originally released on Marco Polo.
Recording dates: January 1984.
Recording venue: Victoria Memorial Hall, Singapore.
Recording engineer: Teije van Geest.
Running time: 55:50.
Classical relevance: It being the only known recording of the Symphony: Essential.

Works performed:
Symphony No. 1 in E minor, opus 46.
Turkish Fragments, opus 62.
Turkish March, opus 55.

Works performed by:
Singapore SO, Choo Hoey.

I was happy to see this recording come out of the cellars of Marco Polo label and transferred to Naxos, and thus giving a work back to the public of which there is no other commercial recording, at least not to my knowledge. Ivanov was always a bit neglected, which was not what should have been. He is clearly educated by Rimski Korsakov, hence his fine orchestration of all works on this CD, and very much influenced by Tchaikovsky. You can hear that in many instances in his first Symphony.  He was a very good friend of Ivanov, and helped him any way he could. Not for nothing that he used the rather intimate term of "Golubchik" is his writings with Ivanov. Be it as it may, Ivanov is a very sensitive composer, not prone to big or loud statements, but very much a weaver of delicate notes, which music almost always is a bit of the ground so to speak. Filigree music, with a lot of melodic details, painted in a dreamlike landscape. I find his symphony to be an excellent example of his particular craft. The second movement, Scherzo Allegro, is very well written, and the dancing rhythms, are like Rimski Korsakov would write them, but it's unmistakably Ivanov. In the first movement of this Symphony, the Cymbal player misses his cue and comes in a beat to late, and on other places the playing is not so tight as it could be. But Hoey is getting a better grip a bit later on, and from there on the orchestra is playing remarkably well. These days this orchestra is a top ensemble, but in the eighties they were still growing towards that.
Both works with Turkish influences must be taken with a grain of salt. Sure there are some reminiscences of Turkish melodies, but all in all it bears little resemblance to what I know as Turkish music. Beautiful melodic works though, I like them very much.
As to the recording, the first movement sounds undernourished, no flesh on the bones so to say. Teije van Geest clearly did not make a test recording to hear if all equipment was at the right place, so the first 15 minutes are a bit awkward, from then on it's good!   




New acquisition. Fischer, Johann Caspar Ferdinand. (1656-1746) Vocal and instrumental Works.

New acquisition.
Bought: July 2015.
First listen.
Label: MDG.
Excellent booklet.
Recording dates: May 2007.
Recording place: St. Marien, Lemgo.
Recording engineer: Friedrich Rodding.
Running time: 68:10.
Classical relevance: In the light of this discs excellence I would say essential.

Works performed:

Suite No. 1 for Orchestra in C major, from Journal du Printemps.
Missa Sancti Michaelis Archangeli for Chorus, soloists and Orchestra.
Missa in Contrapuncto, for Chorus, Soloists and BC.

Works performed by:
Handel's Company.
Kammerchor der Marien Kantorei Lemgo.
Veronika Winter, Jenny Haecker, Sopranos.
Henning Vos, Alto.
Nils Giebelhausen, Tenor.
Matthias Gerchen, Bass.
Conducted by:
Rainer Johannes Homburg.

I am not easily convinced of performances featuring masses or other vocal works, but by the beard of Merlin, this is really magnificent. I like Fischer's instrumental music enormously, so when this disc appeared before my eyes I asked myself, will he match my expectations in vocal music? Well he exceeded it with a wide margin. The forces assembled on this disc are one by one, of a excellence I would wish myself in all other vocal works that I am neglecting, just because I miss this kind of interpretation. All soloists sing according to authentic notions of performance, as do choir and instrumentalists. No screaming or shrill sopranos, almost no vibrato or legato singing, a choir that is well drilled in respecting dynamics, clearly audible, never too loud, and well aware of the meaning of the text. Henning Vos by the way is a very good alto, so his voice has matured well.
 A rare but perfect balance between all forces is what the ear meets, couched in a perfect natural recording. I am well pleased, and frankly would call this a highlight in my collection so far (2015)
A great compliment for the conductor too!
I knew of course the orchestral suites, having the CPO recordings, which are by the way great too, but the masses were new to my ears, and are very welcome. I would like to convey my pleasure to all that are inclined to authentic performance practice, and those that are not, for this is a cd not to be missed.
Strongly recommended.



Recent acquisition. Boellmann, Leon. Chamber Music. Second rerun.

What pleasant music this is. It makes me happy just hearing. Anyways, see my first review.

First review of this disc.




New acquisition. Rosetti, Antonio. Real name was Franz Anton Rosler. (c. 1750-1792) Symphonies. ( Premiere Recordings)

New acquisition.
Bought: July 2015.
First listen.
Label: Chandos. (The Contemporaries of Mozart series)
Recording dates: October 1996.
Recording venue: St. Jude's Church, London.
Recording engineer: Ben Connellan.
Running time: 66:40.
Classical relevance: For me essential.

Works performed:
Symphony A12/K112 in D major.
A40/K122 in G major.
A9/K121 in C major.
A33/K124 in F major.

Performed by:
London Mozart Players, Matthias Bamert.

Little is known about Rosetti, apart from the fact that he was born in Bohemia, (Litomerice) around 1750. Musical training came from the Jesuits, and he was in the employment of two Royals in Germany. By the proof of these symphonies he was a very able composer. I say this of course on the basis of the wonderful works on this CD. I really love those Symphonies for the melodic invention, the sheer energy generated, the detailed scoring for all instruments, and above all the talented composer he was. Fact is that not much in recorded of him, and even these Symphonies were premiere material. We have only 5 of them on this disc, and by what I hear I would like plenty more. He wrote at least 51 of them beauties and just a few are recorded. And also a lot, and I mean really a lot, of Chamber music. 
The London Mozart players performed with a lot of zest and energy, and are well up to the job of putting this music in perspective of its time and the composer in his periphery, like Haydn for instance.
Sound is excellent. Plenty of detail, and air around the instruments. 












Thursday, July 23, 2015

New acquisition. Pichl, Vaclav. (1741-1805) Five Symphonies. Contemporaries of Mozart series.

New acquisition.
Bought: July 2015
First listen.
Label: Chandos.
Recording dates: March 1998.
Recording venue: All Saints  Church Tooting, London.
Recording engineer: Jonathan Cooper.
Running time: 68:07.
Classical relevance. Essential as a contrast to Mozart.

Works performed:
Symphony Z 23 in B flat major.
Z 24 in E flat major.
Z 22 in G major. Flute solo in the second movement: Michael Cox.
Z 21 in C major
Z 16 in D major. (Nickname "Diana".

Performed by:
London Mozart Players, Matthias Bamert. 

A pleasant start in this series of which I bought all the issues that were still missing in my collection. A fascinating trip listening in the periphery of Mozart. He being somewhat the measure of what a Symphony should be, it is revelatory to hear other composers who actually did as well as Amadeus. By what I hear of Pichl, he is not far beside the mark of excellence. His Symphonies are highly engaging, and sound really fresh and vigorous. Alert, fine narration between all desks, and brisk performance style by this ensemble. Dittersdorf admired him, although that may not count with some of my classical friends, but for me it does. The man wrote no less than 89 Symphonies, which are never performed let alone recorded, so we have to do with what is actually on disc. The works on this disc all date from between 1769-70. Not all what is ascribed to him he actually composed, but then this happened all the time in the classical world of that time. As long as the music is worthwhile, and that it certainly is. True the Andantes and Largos may be a bit slow, but always just on the right side from going wrong. The fast movements are just that, and the lightness of touch the Mozart players display is admirable. The recording is detailed, with enough space around all instruments, and a nice bloom to the sound. Recommended.





Recent acquirement. Vivaldi, Antonio. 6 Concertos opus 11. CD 11 from the Christopher Hogwood box.

Recent acquirement.
Bought: May 2015.
First listen.
Label: Lóiseau-Lyre.
Box with 20 cd's.
A sorry excuse of a booklet provided.
Recording dates: July 1991.
Recording venue: Abbey Road Studios, London.
Recording engineer: Simon Eadon.
Running time:67:11.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
See heading.

Works performed by:
The Academy of Ancient Music, Christopher Hogwood.
Soloists:
Stanley Ritchie, Violin. (Jacobus Stainer c. 1670)
Frank de Bruine, Oboe. Toshiyuki Hasegawa, The Hague, 1980, after J.C. Denner, Nuremberg c. 1710.


Absolute top notch performances and super recording. It will be hard to find better recordings of opus 11. The Stainer Violin Ritchie is using sounds fantastic, nothing less. One could argue about some very slow tempi, but I won't, for the expression is of a high level, and every detail got its due thricefold. The flexibility of both soloists and orchestra makes this a very interesting ride, and I would not for the riches of the world want to miss it. So far this box has been an outstanding success for me personally, and I can urge everyone who wants to hear pure Vivaldi to buy this box.







Recent acquisition. Bach, J.S. Reconstructed Solo Concertos. Disc 3. Second rerun.

So why not do the third disc from this box also? I did!
See previous review of the last disc in this box.

First review of disc 3.



Recent acquisition. Bach, J.S. Reconstructed Solo Concertos. Disc 2. Second Rerun.

The second disc in a fine box, also very enjoyable.
See review of disc 2.

First review of disc 2 of this box.





Recent acquisition. Bach, J.S. Reconstructed Solo Concertos, CD 1. Second rerun.

Well this box did give me pleasure. The musicians involved are a loving bunch, for the music is played with great affection and care for detail. Not rushed, but neither boring slow, I heard quite many details I had not heard before. Christine Schornsheim, plays magnificently on a fine sounding organ, and Karl Suske on Violin is a dream. Plenty of reasons to have this set me thinks.
See first review of this disc.

First review of this disc.  




Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Recent acquisition. The Music of the Habsburg Empire. The Austrian sound of the Baroque Era. Disc 5. Bohemia.

Recent acquisition.
Bought: January 2015.
First listen.
Label: Pan Classics.
Box with 10 CD'S.
Booklet is not adequate.
Recording dates: April 2004, live recording.
Recording venue: Museum Behnhaus Lubeck, Germany.
Recording engineer: Ulrich Loss.
Running time: 64:37.
Classical relevance: To my ears essential.

Works and composers:
Horn Solo, composed around 1700. St Hubert Song.
Anonymous, Sonate a 3

Gottfried Heinrich Stolzel. (1690-1749)
Enharmonische Sonata in c minor, for Harpsichord.

Johann Anton Losy. (c. 1650-1721)
Suite in G, for Lute.

Franticek Vaclav Habermann. (1706-1783)
Concerto in D,  for 2 Horns, 2 Violins and BC.

Hunters songs. (From the Koseticky Monastery Strukov Collection)
O, Diana and O, Zajickovi.

Horn Solo composed around 1700.

Antonin Reichenauer. (1694-1730)
Trio in D for 2 Violins and BC.

Antonio Vivaldi
Trio in g for Lute, Violin and BC, RV 85.

Coffee Music, Responsorium ad querelam Rustici.

Hunters songs.
(From the Koseticky Monastery Strukov Collection)
Eja chase.
O, Zajickovi.

Performed by:
Ars Antiqua Austria, Gunar Letzbor.
Soloists:
Vaclav Luks, Miroslav Rovensky, Horns.
Vaclav Luks, Harpsichord and voice.
Jan Krigovsky, Voice.
Hubert Hoffmann, Lute.
Ilia Korol, Violin

Very much a pleasure ride through countries and their music, which you might otherwise never hear. It is discovery after discovery, of composers that were totally new to me. Being a live recording not all goes well, especially in the intonation of the horns, which you will hear soon enough, and some of the singing is outright bad, but what the heck. But that does not really distract from what is on offer. It is well enough recorded, and the enthusiasm is dripping from every piece performed. What a unique document this is. For me this box is one of my top acquisitions in 2015. Go get it.















New acquisition. Gade, Niels Wilhelm. (1817-1890) Complete Piano Trios.

New acquisition.
Bought: July 2015.
First listen.
Label: MDG.
Recording dates: November 2009.
Recording venue: Ehemaliges Ackerhaus der Abtei Marienmuenster. 
Recording engineer: Werner Dabringhaus. 
Running time: 64:06.
Classical relevance: If you like this composer, well worth acquiring. 

Works performed:
Trio, opus 42 in F major.
First movement of a Piano Trio. (1839) in B flat major. Unfinished.
Novelettes, opus 29.
Discarded Finale to the Novelettes in A minor
Scherzo for Piano Quartet. (1836) in C sharp minor. (Unfinished)

Performed by:
Trio Parnassus.

I admit, this music will not give more as what's in it, but for those that do enjoy Niels Gade his music, there is plenty to get and to admire. The trio opus 42 is a very lively piece, that is constantly driving toward heights in expression, while the Novelettes belong to the much better part of his oeuvre. The rest of the music on this CD are fragments that tell us of what might be, but Gade never felt the urge to finish the idea, and making it into  complete trios. As such the fragments are very promising. But all in all, there is plenty for me to enjoy, for the sound and performance are first rate, and Gade's particular style is very pleasing to the ear.







Recent acquirement. Vivaldi, Antonio. Flute Concertos, opus 10. CD 10.

Recent acquirement.
Bought: June 2015.
First listen.
Label: L'oiseau-Lyre.
Box with 20 cd's.
Recording dates: Not mentioned.
Recording venue: Not mentioned.
Recording engineer: John Dunkerley.
Running time: 51:50.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
See heading.

Works performed by:
The Academy of Ancient Music, Christopher Hogwood.
Simon Preston, Flute.
Instrument:
Schuchart, beginning of the 18th century.

I was surprised after all those years how good this recording and performance actually is, and has lost nothing of its freshness and agility. Its still a top recommendation for the opus 10 works. The lightness and well chosen tempi, makes this a delight throughout, with all the dynamics in the right place, were the music speaks and musical professionalism is at the core of this successful recording. Apart from this, how well this music sounds on the Schuchart Flute. The music is still timeless to my ears, and belong to the very best Vivaldi composed. On ongoing pleasure, this fine box.




Recent acquisition. Boccherini, Luigi. (1743-1805) String Sextets, . CD 1.

Recent acquisition.
June 2015.
First listen.
Label: Phoenix Edition.
Licensed from Capriccio.
Recording dates: January 1992.
Recording venue/city: Berlin, Siemensvilla, Germany.
Recording engineer: Herbert Schluter.
Running time: 64:51.
Classical relevance: Very good recordings and interpretations, well worth having.

Works performed:
CD 1
String Sextet, opus 23, No. 4 in F minor. G. 457.
Opus 23, No. 1 in E flat major. G. 454.
Opus 23, No. 6 in F major. G. 459.
Opus 23, No. 3 in E major. G. 456.

Performed by:
Mayumi Seiler, Iris Juda, Violins.
Diemut Poppen, Werner Dickel, Violas.
Richard Lester, Howard Penny, Cellos.

I can think hardly of better interpretations as the present ones. I consider them top of the bill. Thoughtful musicians, that do not miss a detail, nuance, or fail to highlight the many goodies in this music. For Boccherini is a master, no doubt about it, no matter how belittled or neglected he is. His music is an ongoing creative treasure trove, in which originality is the master key, and melodic invention the royal door through which we wander when listening to these fantastic String sextets. I keep being in a state of constant amazement how much Boccherini has to tell us, and as to original music, he tops many a more famous name in his time. Divine music. The collection was written in 1776 for the Spanish infante Don Luis. The scoring of these sextets were a fascinating item for Louis Spohr, also a great composer, Johannes Brahms, Max Reger and even Arnold Schoenberg have echoes of Boccherini's scoring in their works. I think them among Boccherini's masterworks.
Great recording.













Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Recent acquirement. Bach, J.S. Reconstructed Solo Concertos. CD 3.

Recent acquirement.
Bought: April 2015.
First listen.
Label: Phoenix Edition.
Recording year: 1985.
Recording venue: Paul-Gerhardt Kirche, Leipzig, Germany.
Recording engineers: Claus Struben, Eberhard Richter, Urs Metzger.
Running time: 41:38. (Rather short measure)
Classical relevance: Very interesting performances on the verge of the old/new school.

Works performed:
Concerto for 3 Violins, strings and BC in D major after BWV 1064.
(Eberhard Palm, Roald Reinecke, Fred Roth, Violins)

Concerto movement (Sinfonia) for Violin, 3 trumpets, Timpani, 2 Oboes, Strings and BC in D major BWV 1045. (Fragment)
(Ludwig Guttler, Kurt Sandau, Heinz Stiefel, Trumpets)

Concerto for Oboe d'Amore, strings and BC in D major, after BWV 169/1 & 5, 49/1, 1053.
(Burkhard Glaetzner, Oboe d'Amore)

Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum Leipzig, Max Pommer.

As I said of the two cd's before, fine and balanced performances of these reconstructed Solo Concertos. All soloist involved belong more or less to the somewhat older school regarding performance style, and that is not a negative fact. The group as such balances on the verge of almost authentic interpretations, but take some of the old practice with them, which is not a bad thing at all. Suave interpretations, warm and full of expression, just the thing for a lazy morning. Fine quality music,played by some outstanding soloists: this will give many a listener pleasure. Good sound too.




New acquisition. Graupner, Christoph. (1683-1760) Orchestral and Chamber Music Volume III.

New acquisition.
Bought: July 2015.
First listen.
Label: MDG.
Recording dates: January 2004.
Recording venue: Furstliche Reitbahn, Bad Arolsen. Germany.
Recording engineer: Friedrich Rodding.
Running time: 60:51.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Canon all'unisono GWV 218 in B flat major, for 2 Oboes, Cello, and BC. (1736)
Sonata GWV 711 in G minor, for Harpsichord and Transverse Flute. (1740)
Sonata GWV 707 in G major, for Transverse Flute and BC. (Before 1710)
Overture GWV 447 in F major, for Recorder, 2 Violins, Viola and BC. (1740)

Performed by:
Nova Stravaganza (On period instruments) Siegbert Rampe.

I already had the first two volumes, but the third somehow escaped my attention, but in the end we found each other. Graupner is a great composer, every bit as good as the bigwigs of his time. It simply keeps amazing me how beautiful his melodies are, and how well he writes for all instruments. The first movement  "Grave"of the Canon GWV 218 blew me away. So unusual in it's construction, never heard that before, what a genius find! This is music on the highest level, and also performed that way. Siegbert Rampe leads an amazing ensemble, very dedicated and motivated. And the recording tops the cake, top notch!






Monday, July 20, 2015

I somehow missed this release, ordered.......

Volume 7 in this ongoing series.



New acquistion. Bonis, Mel. (Real name: Melanie Domange, nee Bonis) 1858-1937. Complete Piano Quartets.

New acquisition.
Bought: July 2015.
First listen.
Label: MDG.
Recording dates: January-February 2006.
Recording venue: Furstliche Reitbahn Bad Arolsen.
Recording engineer: Holger Schlegel.
Running time: 56:38.
Classical relevance: Very worthwhile to add to your collection.

Works performed:
Piano Quartet No. 1, opus 69 in B flat major.
No. 2, opus 124 in D major.
Soir, matin, opus 76, for Violin, Cello and Piano.

Works performed by:
Mozart Piano Quartet.

I must confess I never heard of this female composer, but then who knew. She was totally forgotten, not because her music was not good enough, but men thought that composing was not a woman's business, and so her parents repressed any career in music, despite the fact that Cesar Franck convinced her parents to sent her at least to the Conservatoire National de Musique in Paris. She was awarded prizes attesting to her brilliant successes as a student. She studied with Franck, piano and unofficially organ, composition under Ernest Guiraud. Gabriel Pierne and Claude Debussy were among her fellow students. She was talented indeed, but her parents cut this talent short, and married her off to a rich industrialist 21 years her senior, and so the composing was over. Not until her husband dies she started writing again, and boy is that a heaven send for us. She was a highly passionate woman, perfectly able to express all that energy into music, be it in the opus 69, from her first creative period, or opus 124 her musical testament. She belongs to the French post romantic generation, and you can fit her perfectly in with all the top composers of that time. Her music is sensuous, passionate, dreamlike, mysterious, with a hefty dose of drama. I do not know what to admire most, the beauty of the melodies, or the originality of the harmonic inventions. Bonis compositional technique is admirably, and believe me very unique. She was highly regarded by her fellow composers, like Saint Saens and Gounod, and in fact she is named in the same breath with, Franck, Pierne, d'Indy, Debussy. I fell deeply in love with her opus 124, such a gorgeous work. Quite a find she is. Hopefully more will be recorded of this woman.
A fine recording and performance.



Sunday, July 19, 2015

Recent acquisition. Haydn, Joseph, The Piano Sonatas. Volume 9.

Recent acquisition.
Bought in March 2015.
First listen.
Label: Profil.
Box with 9 cd's.
Recording years: 1996/2002/2003/2008.
Running time: 68:08.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Hoboken XVI 50/51.

Appendix.
Hob. XIV:5
XVI:47.
XVI:15
XVI:17.
XVI:11/II
XVI:11/III
Allegro Molto in D , Fragment.
Aria in F.
Menuetto in Fis, No. Hob.

Performed by:
Ekaterina Derzhavina.

Simply wonderful performances, all 9 cd's full of musical joy, in every respect. I have enjoyed this box immensely, and can recommend it safely. Haydn pur sang.




Recent acquisition. Second rerun. d'Albert, Eugen. (1864-1932) The String Quartets.

I got myself some gorgeous SQ, and I wrote in praising words about it in my first review. See link!

First review of this disc.




Recent acquisition. Second rerun. Bach, J.C. (1735-1782) Six Quintets opus 11, for Flute, Oboe, Violin, Viola & BC.

A delightful disc in every respect, and very recommendable.
See previous review.

First review of this disc.




Saturday, July 18, 2015

Ordered today...

Thank to some friends at GMG, (Classical forum) I was pointed towards better recordings of these Violin concertos. I have the Naxos recordings, but they suffer from bad sound, mediocre orchestras, and some interdisciplinary violin playing. The present set that also has the little played 6 and 7th Violin concerto was too good to let go. Budget price too. Super.





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

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