Thursday, November 26, 2015

Free delivery JPC so I ordered a few ones.

 I must admit that I never heard of this composer, but these late romantic String quartets are really beautiful.


 I have already one disc in this box, but the rest is worthwhile enough, certainly if you consider the low price.


I never ever heard of this composer either, but he seems to have been quite a figure in his time, and was influenced by Haydn, just to name one. Musically this is an interesting find. Four CD'S with solo works for Organ, Harpsichord, and Fortepiano. The samples sounded interesting, the price just 15 euros, I will not be much disabled by it, if this backfires. Still I have high hopes. The interpreter is unknown to me too, but the fact that he put a lot of research into this composer makes me curious.

Rodrigo, Joaquin. (1901-1999) Orchestral Works. CD 3.

Second rerun.

First review says all. You find all the details there also.

First review of CD 3


CD 3 of 14.

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works. The Weinberger Edition. CD 9.

 Third rerun.

This disc is one of the very best in this set. Three different organs used, all of them superb. Weinberger clearly has a great love for the works on this CD, for they emerge with a lot of restrained passion, and clearheaded logic. Yes, those two go together!
See first review with pictures of the organs and details about the works.


First review of CD 9.


CD 9 from 22.

Couperin, Francois. (1668-1733) Instrumental Concert entitled Apotheosis, composed to the immortal memory of the incomparable Monsieur de Lully.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
CD 25 from 85.
Recording dates: January 1973 & February 1975.
Recording venue: Doopsgezinde Kerk, Amsterdam. The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Dieter Thomsen.
Running time time: 65:05.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
See heading &
La Sultane
La Superbe
La Steinquerque.

Performed by:
Sigiswald Kuijken & Lucy van Dael, Violins.
Wieland Kuijken, Bass Viol and Cello.
Barthold Kuijken & Oswald van Olmen, Transverse Flute and Recorders.
Bruce Haynes, Paul Dombrecht, Baroque Oboes.
Hansjurg Lange, Bassoon.
Robert Kohnen, Harpsichord and Narrator.
Adelheid Glatt, Bass viol.

I cannot say something else as beautiful performances of well known music, often performed,  but as gorgeous as this interpretation, hardly! These are simply hard to beat recordings.
The sound is superb. 



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A few new orders....

They looked interesting to me....





Willaert, Adrian. (c.1490-1562) The Petrarca Madrigals. CD 1.

Third rerun.

For me this choir is one of the best we have in Europe, and these two discs are an example of how good they actually are.

See first review with all details.

First review.


CD 1 from 2.

The Heritage of Frescobaldi, Volume I.

Third and last listen.

A wonderful disc in every respect.

See first review with all details.

First review of this disc.



Couperin, Francois. (1668-1733) Concertos Royaux 1-4.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
CD 24 from 85.
Recording dates: April 1971.
Recording venue: Doopsgezinde Kerk, Amsterdam. The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Dieter Thomsen.
Running time: 68:05.
Classical relevance: Interesting performance wise.

Performed by:
Barthold Kuijken & Frans Bruggen: Transverse Flutes.
Jurg Schaeftlein, Oboe.
Milan Turkovic, Bassoon.
Sigiswald and Wieland Kuijken, Bass Viols.
Sigiswald Kuijken, Treble Viol, Violin.
Janine Rubinlicht, Violin.
Robert Kohnen, Harpsichord.

The interpretation overall is very good. Technically they are top notch, but they do take their time! Do not expect virtuosic gyro practices, that will not happen. They are simply not in a hurry,  it's all very relaxed. So there is plenty of time to feed on the many details, all nuances, vibrato, etc. There is of course a real danger of falling instantly in a deep sleep, so it's best played around your bedtime.  Do not understand me wrong, I am not saying this is boring, I rather love what I hear, that is, for as long as I keep my eyes open and my mind alert.



CD 24 from 85.





Monday, November 23, 2015

Dutch Delight. Organ music from the Golden Age in the Netherlands.

Third and final rerun.

After three times listening to this CD I more or less stick to what I wrote in my first review, but with some minor additions, which I feel must be mentioned.
Havinga may be well educated, but on this CD he is short in expression, and although some pieces have a good tempo, a lot of them are lethargic and really too slow for comfort. As a production and interpretation, this is not a high flyer, but of interest because of the unique instrument and composers.


First review of this CD.



Willaert, Adrian. (c.1490-1562) Musica Nova. The Petrarca Madrigals.

Second rerun.
CD II.

Utter perfection.
See first review.

First review of CD II.



Homilius, Gottfried August. (1714-1785) Complete Organ Chorales.

Second rerun.
CD II.

This is really special, and every organ lover should have this CD. 

See first review.

First review of CD I & II.



Friday, November 20, 2015

Couperin, Francois. (1668-1733) Chamber music.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
Disc 22 from 85.
Recording dates: January 1973.
Recording venue: Doopsgezinde Kerk, Amsterdam. The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Dieter Thomsen.
Running time: 53:49.
Classical relevance: Essential really.


Works performed:
Nouveau Concert No. 8 & 13. Le Gout Theatral. (Les Gouts reunis)
Le Parnasse ou l'Apotheose de Corelli. Grande Sonate en trio.

Works performed by: 
Sigiswald Kuijken, Lucy van Dael, Violins. Barthold Kuijken & Oswald van Olmen, Transverse Flutes. Bruce Haynes & Paul Dombrecht, Oboes. Wieland Kuijken, Viola da Gamba. Hansjurg Lange, Bassoon. Robert Kohnen, Harpsichord and Speaker.

Really very good performances, the best of their day and our day. What genuine pleasure they give, being a blast from the past. It sounds fresh and there is some committed playing of the highest order. This ensemble leaves no wishes open, truly a highlight in this box. The sound is superb and very detailed.



CD 22 from 85.


Muffat, Georg. (1653-1704) Apparatus Musico organisticus 1690.

 From my collection.
Second rerun
CD 2.

I said in my earlier reviews of both discs enough and it still holds. Please click the link, you'll find pictures of the organs and other details.

First review of disc 2 included review of disc 1.


Disc 2 of 2.

Willaert, Adrian. (c.1490-1562) Motets. Best Buy 2015, Vocal music from the Renaissance.

From my collection.
Third rerun.
CD III.

This box is a marvel to me, from beginning to end. And all because of the quality of the voices and a superb interpretation.  As I said before, not often do I hear a choir with such a control over phrasing and dynamics. Willaert would have been equally amazed if he could have heard this, there is no doubt in my mind about it. I will soon relisten the equally excellent recordings of the Petrarca Madrigals by the same ensemble and composer. It's on my listening table, so soon....
See first review also.

First review of disc 3.

Disc 3 from 3.





Walther, Johann Gottfried. (1684-1748) Complete Organ Music. Chorale settings I.

New acquisition.
Bought in November 2015.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 2 from 12.
Recording dates: April/May/November 2013.
Recording venue: Church of Sant'Antonio, Abate, Padua, Italy.
Recording engineer: Alessandro Simonetto.
Running time: 67:36.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Ach Gott, erhor mein seufzen und wehklagen.
Ach Gott, tu dich erbarmen.

Ach Gott und Herr, Versus 1-7.
Ach Gott, vom Himmel sich darein. Versus 1-2.
Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid.
Ach Schonster Jesu, mein Verlangen, Versus 1-2.
Ach, was soll ich Sunder machen. Versus 1-5.
Allein Gott in der Hoh sei Ehr. Versus 1-8.
Allein Gott in der Hoh sei Ehr. II
Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ. Versus 1-3.
Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ. II.

Performed by:
Simone Stella, of the Francesco Zanin Organ (2006)

What you immediately notice, is the rest in the music. Stella chooses sensible dynamics and delicate phrasing as the basis. Tempi are well chosen, there is no haste but neither lethargy, it's simply in balance and perfect harmony. Stella's expression of the music is detailed and deeply spiritual, but then the Choral settings are simply gorgeous. And best of all there is more to come. The Organ sounds fantastic, I have no other words for it. All registers are well defined and individually heard. Let me put it this way; I never heard Walther in such a good performances or sound. Really pleased I am.
Recommended.


CD 2 from 12.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Willaert, Adrian. (c.1490-1562) Motets. [Best Buy vocal music from the Renaissance 2015]

Third listen.
CD II.

The striking aspect of this interpretation is the vocal balance they achieve. [Calmness and harmony are the very hallmarks of Willaert's music. There are almost no agitated gestures which could disturb your contemplation.] Dynamics are well applied, the shading of the melodies is gorgeous,  and as such the music is sheer perfection. [I always thought that I knew what harmony is all about, but Willaert showed me the true path towards it. If you only take the free play of melodic lines...] A spiritual journey of the highest magnitude, and this is why for me this is a best buy 2015.
The recording is most excellent. And a better performance of these works is impossible to find.
See also the first review with all details.

First review of disc 2




CD 2 from 3.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Prokofiev, Sergei. Romeo and Juliet. "Ballet Masterpieces".

From my collection.
Bought in March 2010.
Second listen.
Label: DECCA.
CD 19 & 20 from 35.
Recording dates: June 1973.
Recording venue: Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland Ohio.
Recording engineer: Colin Moorfoot.
Running time: Disc 19) 71:48. Disc 20) 68:53.
Classical relevance: Essential for ballet lovers.

Performed by:
The Cleveland Orchestra, Lorin Maazel.

Ballet music which I cannot resist. I will always play it at any time of the day, so you might say that ballet music is my lifeblood, without it I should be drained.
What could I say about the music, which is not already told a thousand times over? Everybody who loves ballet music knows the story. The best work Prokofiev wrote in my opinion.
The performance is an outright winner on all counts. Maazel keeps a tight grip on the proceedings, and never indulges into too much drama, although the story is a serious one. Not dripping with sentiment, the dosage is perfect for this music. Orchestral details are clear and he avoids bombast in the louder parts. A myriad of details comes out of Maazel's hands, so he must have loved the music dearly, how else could he deliver such beauty. The recording doesn't make you miss any of the many details. A good old ADD Decca recording with lots of warmth and a tangible  commitment from all involved in this project.
Of course it's recommended.








Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Music. The Weinberger collection.

Third rerun.

On this CD are two of my favourite works. The Fantasia and Fugue in c, BWV 537 and BWV 1121.
Nice to hear them yet again on the organ in my birthplace.
See for first review, pictures and details the following link.


First review of disc 8.


CD 8 from 22.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Willaert, Adrian. (c.1490-1562) The Motets. Best Buy Vocal music from the Renaissance 2015.

Third rerun.

My admiration has not changed. Superb performances. I have to correct my first review slightly, in regards of sound. On my reference system it sounded perfect, and the blending in of some added singers is harmonious too. So what I heard at that time was due to my somewhat lesser balanced second system.
See previous review with all details.


First review with all details.


CD 1 from 3.



Vasks, Peteris. Cello Concerto and other Cello works.

New acquisition.
Bought in November 2015.
First listen.
Label: SONY.
Recording dates: November 2009, July 2015.
Recording venues: Konserthus DR Byen, Copenhagen, Denmark. Evangelische Kirche, Niedereggenen, Germany. Stadsgehoorzaal, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Recording engineers: Lars Christensen, Peter Laenger, Jared Sacks.
Running time: 60:35.
Classical relevance: Interesting.

Works performed:
Klatbutne-Presence.
Cello Concerto No. 2.
Musique du Soit, for Cello and Organ.
Gramata Cellam, The Book, for Cello solo.

Performed by:
Sol Gabetta, Cello.
Irene Timacheff Gabetta, Organ.
Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Candida Thompson.

In my quest of getting the music together by this composer, my eye fell on this Sony recording, with a dedicated cello concerto on it written for Sol Gabetta. It is my first CD with her, never been much of an admirer of what she produced so far. I dislike her need for expressing herself as an extra add on of what the composer actually wrote. What I have heard of her strengthened me in this personal opinion. To fiercely for the likes of me. I am not doubting her technical excellence on the instrument though. I saw her a few times in German talk shows, and had a taste how she expresses herself in speech and playing. Nothing that charmed me, apart from her being a good looking woman, very small in stature. So how is she performing Vasks to my ears. I took the plunge of buying it and risking a disappointment. Well it's a bit of both worlds, delight and huge disappointment. Vasks liked what he heard of her, and no doubt he was charmed of his socks by Gabetta, for he did some things in two compositions that struck me as wholly inappropriate and downright unnecessary and not even contributing to the music, but bringing down the excellence of Vasks works. Gabetta asked for the inclusion of the Human Voice, her voice as a matter of fact. No doubt Vasks succumbed, willingly or not, but that ruined for me the impact of the works on this CD apart from Musique du Soit.
The Cello concerto is a fine work, until you get at the last movement almost at the end when Gabetta with an unsteady voice hums a tune, that left me in complete shock, and if that is not enough, she returns with a vengeance in Gramata Cellam, second movement and tortures me again. Now for me I cannot find any logical or musical reason for adding something to the music that takes the flow out of the composition. Such a pity, so totally unnecessary, totally. I loved the piece for Cello and Organ, in fact I liked the cello concerto too, and Sol Gabetta's playing, but....
I found the first movement of Gramata more of a technical exercise, showing off the possibilities of the cello, well played but it did not move me. The second movement fares a little better, for some episodes were really beautiful, that is until her voice comes in.
Well, well....
Sound is excellent, performances too, but it had a bitter taste for me. At least I know which parts to avoid. Try before you buy.





A Cello Concerto with a vengeance.

Homilius, Gottfried August. (1714-1785) Complete Organ Chorales.

Second rerun. Disc 1.

For me Homilius is at the same level as J.S. Bach. And sometimes I even like him more, for his narrative is always softly spoken, well tempered, no fierceness or undue dynamics, just more proportional. My mind always rests in a blissful slumber and my body takes all in like a dry sponge. I cannot praise Felix Marangoni enough for given us reference recordings of this neglected composer. Like Simone Stella, he is one of my favourite organist from Italy. Francesco Zanin's organ has never sounded better as on this recording. Not to have this music is depriving yourself of beauty supreme.
See first review with all details.

First review of disc 1 and 2.


Couperin, Francois. (1668-1733). Nouveaux Concerts from the Les Gouts Reunis.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
Disc 21 and 22 form 85.
Recording dates: January 1972 & November 1974.
Recording venue: Doopsgezinde Kerk, Amsterdam. The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Dieter Thomsen.
Running time CD 21. 64:00. CD 22, 49:57.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Concerts No. 5,6,7,9,10,11,12,14. See heading.

Performed by:
Barthold Kuijken, Transverse flute.
Bruce Haynes, Oboe.
Sigiswald Kuijken, Violin and Bass viol.
Wieland Kuijken, Bass viol.
Robert Kohnen, Harpsichord.
Janine Rubinlicht, Violin.

The recording is excellent but a tad forward.
The performances are superb, considering the dates of the recording. It's just the way I like them and as I remember them to be in the early stages of authentic performances. Bruce Haynes tone on the Oboe is enchanting. Tempi are spot on, phrasing is ideal, and the narration a pleasure. Nothing to dislike, everything to love.
Recommended.


CD 21 and 22 from the SEON box.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works. The Weinberger edition.

From my collection.
Third rerun.

A big instrument this Heinrich Gottfried Trost Organ, where in the Hauptwerk a Gross Quintadena 16' and a Flauto travers, 16' reign supreme, and in the Pedal no less than 6, 16' feet pipes and a thunderous 32'. Two of the 16' pipes are a transmission from the Hauptwerk. Very impressive sound, intimate yet going like a thunderbolt if necessary. The recording is marvelous, this you may hear in the first three Orgel Chorale, BWV 736/718/726.  Weinberger makes this organ sing, especially in BWV 718.

See first review with all details, links and pictures.

First review of this disc.


Glazunov, Alexander. The Seasons. Ballet Music.

From my collection.
Bought in March 2010.
Second listen.
Label: Decca.
CD 18 from 35.
Recording dates: October/November 1989.
Recording venue: Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London.
Recording engineer: John Dunkerley.
Running time: 41:00
Classical relevance: Essential for Ballet lovers.

Works performed:
The Seasons.
Winter-Spring-Summer-Autumn.

Performed by:
Royal PO, Vladimir Ashkenazy.

State of the Art recording, and a magnificent performance. Unfortunately Glazunov's ballet the Seasons is neglected by most ballet companies, so it is seldom performed, which is a pity, for it belongs to the best ballet music ever written. A gorgeous work with many spine chilling moments, due to the fine scoring. The imagery he conjures is truly magical, which shows in the amazing writing for strings and woodwinds. For me this is a great work, and makes me happy, as ballet music always does.

CD 18 from 35.




Rodrigo, Joaquin. Orchestral Works.

Second rerun.

Works:
Concierto Madrigal.
Concierto de Estio.
Concierto de Aranjuez.

I still love the Concierto de Estio for Violin and orchestra best.
See first review of this disc.

First review with all details.

Cd 2 of 14.

Corelli, Arcangelo. (1653-1713) Sonatas opus 5.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
CD 20 from 85.
Recording dates: August 1979 and March 1980.
Recording venue: Lutherse Kerk, Haarlem, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Teije van Geest.
Running time: 53:31.
Classical relevance: Interesting.

Works performed:

Sonatas for Recorder/Violin/Harpsichord, Opus 5, No.7/8/9/10/11/12.

Performed by:
Frans Bruggen, Recorder.
Anner Bijlsma, Cello.
Gustav Leonhardt, Harpsichord.

I like what I hear. Energized, alert, detailed, driven, and musically very rewarding. I have no complaints. I noticed some exaggerated vibrato in Bruggen's playing the recorder, but mostly in the slow movements. Tempi are spot on though. In fact all on this disc are in great form. Sound is superb.



Blow, John. (1649-1708) Vocal works.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
Disc 19 from 85.
Recording dates: January 1973.
Recording venue: Doopsgezinde Church, Amsterdam. The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Dieter Thomsen.
Running time: 48:35.
Classical relevance: Interesting.

Works performed:
An Ode, on the death of Mr Henry Purcell.
Songs from Amphion Anglicus.

Performed by:
Nobuko Yamamoto, Nelly van der Speek, Sopranos.
Rene Jacobs, James Bowman, countertenors.
Marius van Altena, Tenor.
Max van Egmond, Bass.
Ricardo Kanji,  Marion Verbruggen, Recorders.
Marie Leonhardt, Baroque violin.
Antoinette van den Hombergh, Baroque violin.
Anner Bijlsma, Cello.
Gustav Leonhardt, Harpsichord and direction.

Funny enough the vocal problems did not come from Rene Jacobs this time none of his quirks, I found him more than acceptable, but I had issues with both sopranos when they are duetting with each other and that does not sound comfortable at all. They have some mannerisms that irk my senses, like when on high notes a shrillness coupled with some added vibrato, that makes my toes curl. Yamamoto has a tendency to add vibrato at all places, but Van der Speek, has a fine voice when singing on her own aided by other vocalists.  A high and pure voice, no vibrato added. I did not know her though, in fact never heard of her, but it's a good voice. The place to hear this comes from Amphion Anglicus, "Shepherds, deck your Crooks" really perfectly enchanting. 
To say that this is a first rate CD filled with the music of Blow, would overestimating it. Decent is the word that comes to mind. There are along the road some nice things to hear, but it all is a bit mediocre. Instrumentalist and the rest of the vocalists perform well enough. Tempi are sometimes sluggish. Good sound.







Saturday, November 14, 2015

Korngold, Erich Wolfgang-Bloch, Ernest-Goldschmidt, Berthold. Cello Concertos.

New acquisition.
Bought in November 2015.
First listen.
Label: Avi Music.
Recording dates: June/October/November 2009.
Recording venue: Rhein-Mosel-Halle, Koblenz.
Recording engineer: Holger Urbach.
Running time: 54:03.
Classical relevance: Music essential, performance, check first by samples.

Works performed:
Erich Wolfgang Korngold. (1897-1957)
Concerto in one movement for Cello and Orchestra in C, opus 37. (1946)

Ernest Bloch. (1880-1959)
Schelomo, Rhapsodie hebraique pour Violincello et Grand Orchestra. (1916)

Berthold Goldschmidt. (1903-1996)
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, opus 23.

Works performed by:
Julian Steckel, Cello.
Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie, Daniel Raiskin.


Korngold's work is sublime and utterly pleasing, and even though it only last for 12 minutes, it is packed with a melancholy that is touching every fibre of my body.
Bloch is not a favourite with me, but this works grows on me, every time I hear it. This work has a lot to say and has a myriad of fine musical details.
Goldschmidt was a surprise to me, a pleasant one I must add. Such a force and such a clear voice, with sublime orchestration behind the the music. I found it utterly involving. Such a discovery one does not make every day, so I treasure it. All works are tonal, sometimes a wee bit stretched, but always within limits of what can be done. I heard some reservations about the performance being a bit middle of the road, but I could not find this to be the case. Steckel is a agile musician, who works himself through these composition with great ease, carefully handling the dynamics, and never stressing things that are so easily inviting to do that, but creating a clean somewhat detached sound. He does not make them into romantic works, but has a clear headed logical approach to all three works. The orchestra, well recorded has enough punch, but never walks out of the work as an entity on their own. There is a synergy between soloist and orchestra, that works well. I do think however that certain parts in the orchestral score sounded a bit anonymous under the hands of Raiskin, but that is a small criticism. Sound is excellent, but then Holgert Urbach is a fine engineer.







Viana da Mota, Jose . (1868-1948) Orchestral music.

New acquisition.
Bought in November 2015.
First listen.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates: April 2015.
Recording venue: The Friary, Liverpool, England.
Recording engineer: Phil Rowlands.
Running time: 67:23.
Classical relevance: Very interesting.

Works performed:
A Patria. (To the Homeland)- Sinfonia, opus 13. (1895)
Ines de Castro-Tone Poem (1886) 
Chula do Douro. (Orch. by Frederico de Freitas.)
Three Impromptus on Portuguese Popular Motifs.
Vito.

Performed by:
Royal Liverpool PO, Alvaro Cassuto.

What struck me right away  were some influences right through all his works. Of course Liszt and Wagner come to mind, but also some traces from Mahler and Tchaikovsky. Mahler for the dreamlike sequences, and Tchaikovsky because of the many balletic melodies. Lower the tempi a bit and you can make a danceable choreography in no time.Viana da Mota did not like the modernistic trends of his time the booklet tells us, and he stopped composing in 1910, which is a silly thing to do, for he could easily forget about the trends and compose in the same vein as the works on this CD, which  by the way consist of all his orchestral compositions, and that is with permission, not much, also considering that he was a highly gifted composer. What struck me as odd, that Wagner and Liszt are prime examples for him, yet he despises modernity, but he probably meant another modernity, right? I cannot imagine that Wagner would have liked this work. The first score , "To the Homeland", is a composition that lets you hear all what Viana da Mota is capable of. A sinfonia, well yes, but I really could not connect the four movements together as a whole, but see more as separate tone poems, with a beginning and a close. And that goes for all the works on this CD.  It is brilliantly written, so much one could say. He plays with the moods as if a bird fluttering from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other end. And again and again this balletic vein creeps through the music as a constant reminder of Tchaikovsky. It struck me to find so many of those instances in all his works, including a healthy dose of timpani involvement.  Ines the Castro is a fascinating work, in which I found a lot of Mahler. Colourful, atmospheric and utterly beguiling. What a pity he wrote so little.
Phil Rowland has given us a very detailed recording, as I am used to hear from him. Although the lower string instruments seem to thicken a little at fff.
Recommended.



Walther, Johann Gottfried. (1684-1748) Complete Organ Music. Free Organ Works.

New acquisition.
Bought in November 2015.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 1 from 12.
Recording dates:  April, May, November 2013.
Recording venue: Church of Sant'Antonio Abate, Padua, Italy.
Recording engineer: Alessandro Simonetta.
Running time: 52:21.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Toccata con Fuga in C.
Alcuni Variationi sopr'un Basso continuo del Signor Corelli.
Preludio con Fuga in G and C and D and A.
Concerto in G.

Performed by:
Simone Stella on the Francesco Zanin Organ. (2006)

If this CD is anything to go by, it will be a resounding success. For the first disc out of this box is to my ears a walk into music Walhalla. I am so glad that finally all of Walthers works for as far they are known, are recorded by nobody less than Simone Stella, a organist who is high on my list in this repertoire. I waited long for this box, and by what I hear this wait has been worthwhile every minute!
In the Toccata in C the magnificent, Pedal- Subbass 16' and the Hauptwerk-Bordone 16'  let you hear how fine this organ sounds if used to full capacity, not forgetting the Pedal-Trombone 16'. It is a gorgeous organ, but this I said before of other recordings. Stella excels himself in his musicality and the fine touch of his hands. For he is getting out of Walther's work, what I sorely missed in the few recordings I have. He puts this composer in the right proportional frame, and carefully applies dynamics and thereby keeps the narration lucid, straightforward, but with just enough emotional input, without overdoing it, or overstretching the music by too much weight. I can hear every small detail, even if the volume gets up, and can follow the score note by note. That has all to do with the sublime recording. Simonetta captured the organ to perfection, and is well placed into the perspective of this church. Enough air around the instrument, and an ideal reverb. Mechanical noise is at a minimum. At the first note of Walther's music I sunk away into this magical organ music, to awake with a great shock, when the music was over. If the rest of the CD'S are like the first, we have a reference set on our hands. 



CD 1 from 12.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Music from the Weinberger Edition. CD 6 from 22.

Third rerun.

I have said all in my first review. 

First review with all details.


CD 6 from 22.

Mazak, Alberich. (1609-1661) Music from Holy Cross Monastery, Choir with added instruments.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
Disc 18 from 85.
Recording dates: June 1983.
Recording venue: Monastery Niederaltaich, Bavaria.
Recording engineer: Stephan Schellmann.
Running time: 47:59.
Classical relevance: Interesting.

Performed by:
Niederaltaicher Scholaren, Konrad Ruhland.

Instruments used: (Added by special request of a reader of this blog)
Baroque violins/cello/lute/bassoon, Viola da Gamba, Recorders, Organ, Chest organ, Spinet.

A composer that is new in my collection and newness is always in essence interesting. This music is typical of its time, and not really top drawer stuff. Pretty straightforward choir singing, with some solo parts added, and well written instrumental parts. There are some fine melodies and harmonies throughout the music, but nothing what could hold my attention for long. It did not tickle my senses, and I found not much merit. But nice enough music anyway, and from a composer which name I saw for the first time. The participants perform admirably. The sound is good.



Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Prokofiev, Sergey. "Cinderella" Ballet Masterpieces.

From my collection.
Bought in March 2010.
Second listen.
Label: Decca.
Disc 17 and partly 18 from 35.
Recording dates: March 1983.
Recording venue: Masonic Auditorium Cleveland Ohio.
Recording engineer: Colin Moorfoot.
Running time: CD 17, 76:10. CD 18 about 34:00.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed by:
The Cleveland Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy.

First of all, this is a State of the Art recording, absolutely stunning engineering.
A gorgeous performance in the hands of Ashkenazy, but then I did not hear him do many bad things in interpretation or performance. He feels at ease with Prokofiev, and gets all the stunning details out of the work, with finely judged dynamics and an intrinsic understanding of the score. This ballet can give so much pleasure, being one of the unique scores this composer put together. This orchestra and conductor are surefooted in this repertoire, giving them a brilliant insight into this colourful work. For me this is quality time.






Te Deum Laudamus, German Renaissance Choir.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First and last listen.
Label: SEON.
Disc 17 from 85.
Recording dates: April 1979 and January 1980.
Recording venue: Eching bei Landshut, Bavaria.
Recording engineer: Gunter Appenheimer.
Running time: 67:44.
Classical relevance: None.

Composers:
Christian Erbach, Augustin Plattner, Georg Poss, Hans Leo Hassler, Orlando di Lasso, Lambert de Sayve, Johannes Heugel, Jacobus Gallus, Gregor Aichinger, Bernardino Borlasca. 
(1510-1636)

Instruments used: (Added by request)

Renaissance recorder, Cornet/Zink, Alto/Tenor/Bass sackbut, Baroque Violin, Treble Viols, Bass Viols, Tenor Violin, Regal, Cabinet Organ.

Performed by:
Capella Antiqua Munchen, and Niederaltaicher Scholaren, Konrad Ruhland.

What attracted me to this disc was the sheer amount of unknown composers, and I was anticipating some good music, but there are three things that prevented me enjoying this CD. The music: It's good but rather monotonous, and often devoid of expression. Secondly: This is not the finest disc this ensemble made. I expected excellence, after hearing a few that charmed my socks off, but this is not one of them. Dynamics are badly chosen, it all sounds a bit rough and ready, a performance less as it should be. I felt there was little preparation, and therefore all points suffered in the process. And thirdly, and this is the worst part of it all: The recording.
Gunter Appenheimer can do three things as a engineer: a) You get a cinematoscopic sound picture as wide as you can imagine,B) a cavernous acoustic, or C) some free experimenting with microphones and a penchant for adding sound effects. And once in awhile, if you get lucky a decent recording is even possible. For me this guy is a bad egg. I remember some Naxos recordings by his hands! So for this recording we may choose C!
Just listen what this guy does in the first four tracks, even an amateur engineer could do much better. He closes off the reverb of the left microphones and opens up the right, as to suggest a choir left and one right. He fiddles around with the dynamics, and blurs the diction ever so often. Perspective is eerie and placement quite odd. And yes there are at times things that sound decent, I could not listen to this disc longer as half way. It is a waste of my listening time.
Therefore not recommended.





Lawes, William. (1602-1645) The Royal Consort & Lute Songs.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
CD 16 from 85.
Recording dates: November 1978.
Recording venue: Lutherse Kerk, Haarlem, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Teije van Geest.
Running time 49:30.
Classical relevance: Interesting.

Works performed:
Suite No. 2 in D minor, for 2 Violins, 2 bass viols, and Theorbo.
No. 8 in D major, for Violin, Bass viol, and Organ.
No. 10, in G minor, for Violin, Bass viol, Theorbo and Harp.
6 Songs. (Neglected because of Rene Jacobs)

Performed by:
Sigiswald Kuijken, Lucy van Dael, Violins.
Wieland Kuijken, Bass viol.
Toyohiko Satoh, Theorbo.
Edward Witsenburg, Harp.
Gustav Leonhardt, Bass viol, Organ, and music director.

I knew Lawes music to be thoroughly nice and charming pieces. And so they are on this recording. All the veterans on this cd make this a pleasant entertainment, but it rises not above the level of excellence. For one, the tempi are slow, too slow for my taste, not falling asleep is difficult. The playing is a bit matter of fact, and it lacks depth. What is not helping but what has you awake in a instant is the nasal voice of Jacobs. I was slumbering and got almost a heart attack when his contribution barged into my speakers. Thank God for the remote control.
So all in all it's a nice try, but I heard far better recordings of these Suites. Sound is good without being exceptional.



Friday, November 6, 2015

Varietie of Lute Lessons, The Renaissance Lute. 16th Century Lute Music. From the SEON Box.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
CD 15 from 85.
Recording dates: December 1981.
Recording venue: Stuttgart, Germany.
Recording engineer: Stephan Schellmann.
Running time: 55:35.
Classical relevance: Well worth having.

Composers:
John Dowland, Laurenci da Roma, Moritz Landgraf von Hessen, Daniel Batchelor, Robert Dowland, Pierre Ballard, Rene Saman, Gregorio Huwet, Anthony Holborne.
All composers lived between 1550-1641)

Performed by:
Lutz Kirchhof,  on a 10 courses Lute after Sixt Rauwolf, Augsburg 1599, made by Helmut Bohr, Dernbach 1980.

No complaints here, a wonderful disc with ditto music, and a excellent recording. The performance leaves no wishes open, Kirchhof is simply a fine musician.



Disc 15 of 85.





Rodrigo, Joaquin. The complete Edition. CD 1.

Second rerun. CD I
Concierto Serenata for Harp and orchestra.
Concierto Pastoral for Flute and orchestra.
Concierto  Heroico for Piano and orchestra.

Finally I come back to this box with 21 cd's, of which I threw the last 7 cd's into the bin, mainly with vocal works that could not please me at all. The remaining 14 discs however are all
excellent, apart from one disc with piano music solo, a licensed recording from CPO, that has some external noises on it. Complained to Brilliant about this, and acknowledged that it was indeed a pressing problem, which could not be solved however. So, since I bought this box for just 20 euros, that did not really hurt me. 
I heard this disc as far back as 19-9-2014, and my notes were favourable. It still is, with a small addition. The Flute concerto is a beautiful work, but to record it in such a way that it will not hurt your ears, was even above the might of Brian Culverhouse. For when she put some energy into the instrument, it can be quite shrill, so keep your volume a bit down and all will be okay.

First review.





CD 1 from 14.

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works. The Weinberger Collection. CD 5.

Third complete rerun.

I had to recover after the Monteverdi Madrigals from the SEON box, so Bach looked to me the right antidote, and sure enough it was in the hands of Gerhard Weinberger, playing on a beautiful organ.
See first review of disc 5.


First review of disc 5.



Monteverdi, Claudio. (1567-1643) Madrigali from the Books 6/7/8/9.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First and last listen.
Label: SEON.
Disc 14 from 85.
Recording dates:September 1979.
Recording venue: Lutherse Kerk, Haarlem. The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Teije van Geest.
Running time: 45:22.
Classical relevance: None. (A first in my career)

Works performed:
She heading.

Works performed by:

Marjanne Kweksilber, Rene Jacobs, Marius van Altena, Michiel the Houte de Lange, Floris Rommerts, Gustav Leonhardt.

As worse as it can come, this CD is one of them. Seldom did I hear such ill matched performers as on this disc. And if that is not enough, they also produce peculiarities so unlike at least for one performer, (Gustav Leonhardt)  that after a run through of the contents of this CD I gave up. The singers are sub par, add all kinds of inappropriate embellishments, and apply strange dynamics, have no sense of ensemble singing, and intonation is sometimes far off, and disharmonic.  Kweksilber seems to like vibrato, added as the mood takes her, Rene Jacobs is the most terrible counter I ever heard, if, than I would rather choose Alfred Deller over him anytime, although truth be told,  I cannot stand Deller, so that says something. All other voices are not worth mentioning, and it is a fact that none of these singers made a name of remembrance in the authentic world. And that should be as it is. Monteverdi music is important to me, and luckily I have a lot of recordings far better performed as this. What is also a fact is that Gustav Leonhardt does not have his finest hour. His slow deliberate, almost staccato playing sounds odd and out of place. I never heard him perform in such a strange way, so unlike what I came to expect of him. There is no merit in this recording, and should best be forgotten. ( Take note however, that this is my very personal opinion)
The sound is unpleasant, sharpish on the voices and rough for the Harpsichord.


Early Italian Madrigals. Vocal and Instrumental Works.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
Disc 13 from 85.
Recording dates: April 1976 and January 1977.
Recording venues: Church in Eching, Bavaria and The Lutherse Kerk, Haarlem, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Dieter Thomsen.
Running time: 74:00.
Classical relevance: Very interesting.

Composers:
Cipriano de Rore, (1516-1565). Antonio Gardano. (1538-1569). Thomas Mancinus. (1550-c.1612). Giovanni Battista Spadi, (Could not find dates.) Vincentio Galilei. (1520-1591). Balduin Hoyout. (1548-1594). Jacob Arcadelt. (c.1505-1568). Vincenzio Ruffo. (c.1510-1587). Diego Ortiz. (c.1510-1570). Horatio Vecchi. (1550-1605). Steffano Bernardi. (c.1576-1635). Philippe Verdelt. (c.1480-1552).

Performed by:
Capella Antiqua Munchen, Konrad Ruhland.
Elisabeth Ruhland, Gustav Leonhardt, Harpsichords.
Frans Bruggen, Recorder.
Michel Schaffer, Lute.
Wieland kuijken, Descant Viol.

CD 13 from the SEON box is quite a mixed bag, but full of pleasant surprises. Vocal and instrumental works in accomplished performances, save a few odd things. In some pieces by Cipriano de Rore and Jacob Arcadelt, sings a high voice, whether it be a woman, counter or boy treble, I cannot define, that irks my senses and creates an unpleasant feeling. Nasal, shrill at times and devoid of expression. But this is a small blemish on the otherwise perfect disc. I especially enjoyed the fact of hearing so many unknown composers, just two of them I knew, and the rest drew a complete blank on me. I am pleased to hear that it enriches my knowledge of music from that period, and brought some unknown links above board which makes the chain of understanding the musical culture brighter and more complete. A fine disc that is worth checking out. The sound is exemplary.




Thursday, November 5, 2015

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ works, CD 4. The Weinberger edition.

Third rerun of the complete set.

It took me a while to continue with this set, being preoccupied with the Aeolus set, which I bought shortly after the Weinberger set. CD 3 I heard in December 2014, so now I continue listening to this set, which is still high in my favourite lists.

See my first review from 2014, with all details from works, pictures of the organs and technical details.

First review of CD 4.


CD 4 from 22.




Rosetti, , Antonio. (c.1750-1792) Symphonies. (Contemporaries of Mozart series)

Second rerun.

Delightful works, a bit conventional, but worth listening too.
See previous review with all details.

First review of this disc.



Some things on my order list this week.

Ordered today.






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 ...