Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Haydn,Franz Joseph. (1732-1809) String Quartets, opus 20, No. 2 & 4.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2016.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
CD 61 from 85.
Recording dates:  September 1973.
Recording venue: Doopsgezinde Gemeente Amsterdam. The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Dieter Thomsen.
Running time: 44:04.
Classical relevance: Interesting, but cannot compete with newer authentic performances.

Works performed:
See heading.

Works performed by:
Quartetto Esterhazy, Amsterdam.

It did surprise me that after all those years this recording has still a validity that is out to impress. I liked the feel about this ensemble. They have clearly been thinking about accents, tempi, effect and more importantly dynamics. Their phrasing is impeccable, and their shaping of melodies almost impeccable. The melodies have colour, are brightly lit, and express warmth and commitment. Both concerti by Haydn belong to the very best he wrote, and the light that Quartetto Esterhazy brings on the surface can only be applauded. Sometimes the accents are emphasized to aggressively. Moments, short moments of to much stress on the strings that result sometimes in ugly sounds. But the detailing is amazing. As a performance I have compared it to others now on the market, and in this respect they have to bow to ensembles that enjoyed the knowledge of the past, and learned to do it better.  That does not mean that the present recording is bad, far from it, but its simply surpassed by new and better insights. The recording is clear and has a good acoustic, but Dieter Thomsen allowed the strings to sound quite sharp especially in the beginning of SQ No. 2, I had to put the volume down. Later on it is corrected although not to perfection.



Bach, CPE. (1714-1788) Works for Harpsichord, Fortepiano and Clavichord.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2016.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
CD 59&60 from 85.
Recording dates: May 1972.
Recording venue: Bremen, Germany & Haus Bartolotti, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Dieter Thomsen.
Running time: CD 1=41:28. CD 2=46:40.
Classical relevance: Mildly interesting.

Works performed.
March in D major.
Polonaise in G minor.
March in G major.
Polonaise in G minor.
Sonata in E major, B minor, D major.
Rondo in G major, E flat major, B flat major, C minor, E minor.
Fantasia in B flat major.
Freie fantasie furs Clavier in F sharp minor.

Performed by:
Gustav Leonhardt.


Nice enough music, but it has no staying power. Almost as if they are study pieces, without much expression or depth. It is not Leonhardt sober approach only that makes them uninteresting, but at fault are also the instruments and their shortcomings that limit the dynamics and of course expression. The fortepiano is an anonymous instrument made in Vienna around 1785, and a Anton Walter, Vienna 1787, that does not make it any better. So it is nice but it does not enlighten my musical horizon in any way. Will not play them again, once is quite enough.
Sound is okay.




Schmierer, Johann Abraham. (1661-after 1700) Zodiaci Musici (1698) Orchestral Suites. Second rerun, First review copied.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 1-8-2016.
Second listen: 31-8-2016.
Label: Accent.
Originally released: 2015.
Recording dates: November 2013.
Recording venue: Baroque Assembly Hall of Tyršův dům, Prague, Czech Republic.
Recording engineer: Jiři Gemrot.
Running time: 71:57.
Classical relevance: If you like for instance Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer or Johann Sigismund Kusser, Schmierer will be a worthy addition to your collection.

Works performed:
Suite 1-6 for different combinations of instruments.
In the major/minor key starting with major.

Performed by:
Ensemble Tourbillon, Petr Wagner.

>There are only a few composers who have vanished into a darkness of music history to the extent of Johann Abraham Schmierer< There is indeed very little known about him. Origins, education, career, all hazy or unknown. There is a lot of guessing involved with this composer. He was born in Augsburg in 1660 so much is clear. An appointment as descantist with the Augsburg Cathedral choir 1680. In 1682 he pops up again when he enters the Salzburg university to study law. He died somewhere after 1700. He being the composer of the Zodiaci Musici was establish in 1960, for under the score were the initials JAS, and was found by evaluating the historical fair catalogue of the 1699 Frankfurt Spring fair. The concertos are after the French model so he should be considered part of the German Lullists composers. The music despite its title has nothing to do with the Zodiac signs, and it is a guessing game why he titled them like this. The suites are fine music, with catchy dance movements, and an overall high standard. In German his name means scribbler, but that would not apply to him, for they are in line with the quality of better known composers as mentioned in classical relevance. But nevertheless no one knows him or heard his music before, so it is a lucky streak that this ensemble recorded it, and good it is. Sound and interpretation are top notch, so it is well worth acquiring for all baroque lovers alike. It will not disappoint.



Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Bach, J.S & Bach, CPE. Concertos for Harpsichord.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen: 30-8-2016.
Label: SEON.
CD 58 from 85.
Recording dates: November 1981.
Recording venue: Lutherse Kerk, Haarlem, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Stephan Schellmann.
Running time: 47:09.
Classical relevance: Only as a example of early authentic interpretations.

Works performed:
J.S. Bach.
Concerto No. 1 in D minor, BWV 1052, For Harpsichord, Violins, Viola, and BC.

CPE Bach.
Concerto in D minor, WO. 23, for Harpsichord, Violins, Viola, and BC.

Performed by:
A lot of famous instrumentalists without a ensemble name, led by Gustav Leonhardt.

I have to be honest about the performance of J.S. Bach's Harpsichord concerto. It's a dead duck, and bored the Dickens out of me. Too slow, to deliberate and academic, almost no expression to speak of, not inspiring, and frankly monotonous. In fact it sent me almost to sleep, had not a phone call woke me rather abruptly.  The Harpsichord playing is an example of the worst playing I encountered by Leonhardt. Even if one takes the date of recording 1981, the authentic world was out of the early stages of experimenting, it signifies for me as a ship without a steering wheel. The orchestra is not much of an inspiration either, it misses the punch and the detailing throughout the work.
At least the CPE Bach concerto gets a better performance, with inspired playing in the first and third movement from all participants and accents are faithfully reproduced. True enough the second movement Poco Andante comes almost to a standstill. It sounds to me like a long lamenting legato, that hits the pot to smithereens, and no tea is to be had after this. Even the harpsichord gets a grandma treatment, shivering and suffering from bouts of old age. There are 100 % better recordings to be had, this is one to count down and never to be played again. 47:00 minutes of boredom for me. Sound is a bit thin. 





Monday, August 29, 2016

Bach, J.S. (1685-1750) Musical offering BWV 1079.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen: 29-8-2016.
Label: SEON.
CD 57 from 85.
Recording dates: March 1974.
Recording venue: Doopsgezinde Kerk, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Dieter Thomsen.
Running time: 48:04.
Classical relevance: A very nice document of pasts time.


Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by:
Barthold Kuijken, Sigiswald Kuijken, Wieland Kuijken, Marie Leonhardt, Robert Kohnen, Gustav Leonhardt.

It goes at an easy pace, no hurry but very relaxed music making, with enough expression in all the solo parts to warrant interest. Not the most exciting interpretations around, but well enough considering the date of recording. There is enough of personality in the performers playing. Barthold Kuijken is really outstanding in his playing on the transverse flute. When the whole ensemble is playing they infect each other with enthusiasm, and so get a atmosphere of genial music making. Solo playing is less involving, especially the extreme soberness of Leonhardt Harpsichord playing. But by the by I am quite charmed by the music and playing.
The sound is surprisingly natural.


Saw this box for a very competitive price.

I have all the old recordings on EMI of the Hilliard ensemble, and when I saw this box released by Warner with newer interpretations, and liking the samples I jump to the pleasure. Six discs for only 13€ is almost too ridiculous for words. At JPC de gentlemen and gentlewomen of course. They have a Warner box sale going......






Finger, Gottfried. (c.1670, or much earlier-1730) Sonatae XII pro diversis instrumentis, opus 1. Second rerun. (First review)

From my collection.
Bought in July, 2016.
First listen: 1-8-2016.
Second listen: 29-8-2016.
Label: Accent.
Originally released: 2011.
Recording dates: March 2011.
Recording venue: Himmelfahrtskirche Munchen-Sendling, Germany.
Recording engineer: Uwe Walter.
Running time: 60:58.
Classical relevance: Well to my ears a CD to have and hold.

Works performed: 
See heading.

Works performed:
Echo du Danube, Christian Zincke. (On authentic instruments)

I fell with my nose in the butter when acquiring about 6 CD'S from the label Accent with little known Baroque composers. For all of them without exception are of a high quality in musical terms. And the recordings are also state of the art. 
Gottfried Finger you might ask? Who? Well exactly my sentiment also! I never even heard mention his name among the many composers I have from the Baroque era. So is he a catch? Yep I am sure of it. Finger was known for his excellence as a Gamba player, and so it is no surprise that the compositions on this disc shows you what can be done with this instrument, and this is much. Warm, rich of melodies, and a musical construction that works in every single note. >Tonal sensuousness you could call it, displaying experimental combinations in subtle shades never heard before, but also integrated elements of local folk music<He grew up in an environment of greats like, Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, Heinrich Schmelzer, Antonio Bertali, so no wonder then, that the outcome would be nothing short of sheer delight. You should really give this music a chance, you will be like me overwhelmed with admiration for this master on the gamba.



Bach, J.S. (1685-1750) Brandenburg Concertos complete.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
CD 55 & 56.
Recording dates: January/July/December 1976 & June/March 1977.
Recording venue: Lutherse Kerk, Haarlem, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Dieter Thomsen.
Running time: CD 55=44:58. CD 56=54:51.
Classical relevance: In the light of being pioneer recordings valuable, though not essential.

Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by:
A host of famous and not so famous performers, led by Gustav Leonhardt.

Lately I played a lot of Bach from the SEON box, and have been happy with them to a certain extent, but at closer hearing I notice that I have grown out of the early and pioneering recordings on authentic instruments. Do not get me wrong, I highly praise what people like the Kuijken brothers, Frans van Bruggen, Leonhardt, Bijlsma and many others did for the furtherance of authentic performances, but I find them to be rather bloodless, me getting older and maybe not wiser. I acknowledge the expert playing, the phrasing, the attention to dynamics, and the internal balance, but the emotional commitment is rather short in this music. After all Bach was a human with volatile emotions and passions! Here and there I enjoy what I hear, but listening to it in the context they fail me in totally and intrinsically savouring what is on offer. It jogs on in an even trot, but it does not challenge you in any way. I also miss the musical coherence in the proceedings, the geniality of Bach's music, the specialness so you will. I know there to be much more, by listening to other recordings, authentic and on modern instruments. The tempi are more or less in a minuet tempo which can bore me easily. Sure you get more time to hear all the details in the solo parts, but that will simply not do for me in the long run. I need more life in this music! I appreciate the gentleness in the playing though. So all in all excellent for its time, but for another hearing of these concertos I turn to more livelier performances. After all time is short, and I must make choices, however painful they are.
The recording is as good as can be expected. May I bring in one final point of criticism towards Sony music. The designer that had this idea about the cardboard sleeves should be boiled in his own pudding and eat it too. To get the cd's out of these sleeves is a tour de force which irritates me beyond believe.

>As an addendum let me add, that I loved the tempo of the third movement of Concerto No 3 in G major, as fast and lively as it should be, wish the whole first CD was like this.
Concerto No. 4 in G major in its entirety was exhilarating, especially the Allegro first movement, and the Presto, third movement. All in all the tempi of Concerto No. 4,5 and 6 were better as the first three concertos. Maybe the difference in recording dates? Anyways I really enjoyed the second disc, all was as it should be.<
  









Saturday, August 27, 2016

Atterberg, Kurt. (1887-1974) & Rangström Ture. (1884-1947) String Quartets.

New acquisition.
Bought in August 2016.
First listen.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: November 2009.
Recording venue: Petruskirche, Stockholm.
Recording engineer: Stephan Reh.
Running time: 61:56.
Classical relevance: Essential to have, especially when you like Atterberg's Symphonies.

Works performed:
Kurt Atterberg.
String Quartet opus 11.
String Quartet, opus 2/opus 39.

Ture Rangström.
String Quartet, Un notturno nella Maniera di E. TH. A Hoffmann


Performed by:
Stenhammar Quartet.

Well after many years of contemplating this part of Atterberg's oeuvre I finally bought this interpretation, for the sound samples made me more than curious after the whole result of the Stenhammar Quartet. And I must say I am pretty impressed, more so as I expected. I say from my standpoint these are reference recordings and near perfectly recorded. Tempi are well chosen, and every phrase has deep meaning to it. The way this Quartet colours the music is astonishing to say the least. Also the precision with which they execute every melody without fault is a feat of technical brilliance and leaves nothing to be desired whatsoever.  Atterberg at it's finest, a worthy addition to his orchestral works. Rangström is a man to to reckoned with also, his music is as mesmerizing as Atterberg's and has a deepness of thought that keeps lingering in your ears. Another kind of brilliance but as effective in portraying the musical argument.  A short work, but devastatingly beautiful.  Tonal music, a bit stretched but not too much so. Brilliantly conceived.
Recommended. No need to hold back, budget price and a no brainer really.




Bach, J.S. (1685-1750. The complete Sonatas and Partita for Flute.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen: 27-8-2016.
Label: Seon.
CD 53 & 54 from 85.
Recording dates: February/December 1975.
Recording venue: Doopsgezinde Kerk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Dieter Thomsen.
Running time CD 53: 46:11- CD 54: 50:55.
Classical relevance: Good and well recorded interpretations.

Works performed:
See heading.

Works performed:
Sigiswald Kuijken & Lucy van Dael, Violins.
Wieland Kuijken, Adelheid Glatt, Bass viols.
Anner Bijlsma, Cello.
Anthony Woodrow, Violone.
Gustav Leonhardt, Harpsichord.
Frans Bruggen, Transverse Flute.

The authentic world in the seventies had a very pronounced idea how music should be performed on original instruments. It should be undone from all excessive emotions, vibrato, embellishments which were alien to what the experts thought was not done. That has resulted in sometimes bloodless results with a very academic outcome. So the other side of the scale as it were. Throwing the baby away with the bathwater maybe? In this case yes but in the majority of recordings I heard all is good. Luckily enough the more they understood of authentic performance style the better the interpretations became, but in the seventies that was not clear enough. A few CD'S in the SEON box suffer badly in that respect. Lately I heard the French Suites performed by Gustav Leonhardt, and the Bach Cello sonatas performed by Anner Bijlsma. There was no joy, no emotional commitment in their interpretations, not even minor embellishments, so it sounded like the sermon of a very strict Lutheranian vicar, no deviation from the straight path of so called truth.
So where does that leave these interpretations on CD 53 & 54. Somewhere between almost there and better. The tone is more relaxed, certainly there were Bruggen comes in. There are nice embellishments, even allowing for some emotional input, and a view that is changing from rigid to slightly opening a broader view on the performance style. My opinion is that Leonhardt and Bijlsma play better and freer when part of a ensemble, which is the case here. I have no qualms about their input, its good and playful. Bach wrote quite some fun in the music with fine contrapunt and overall you can hear that. So all in all I got more out of this interpretations as I expected. Whether you like this or not is a question of sampling some soundbites.
It's is well recorded, but when Bruggen blows quite loudly it results in a nasty tone. That is the only downpoint as far as I am concerned.
Recommended with caution.




Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Bach. J.S Cello Suites complete.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
CD 51&52.
Recording date: April-May 1979.
Recording venue: Kirche Eching, Bavaria, Germany.
Recording engineer: Dieter Thomsen.
Running time: CD1=55:04. CD 2=68:53.
Classical relevance: If you like bare boned Bach, this is a recording to consider.

Works performed:
Cello Suites No. 1-6.

Performed by:
Anner Bijlsma, Cello.

I find myself listening and just mildly interested, and I wonder how come? It sounds for me almost matter of fact playing, playing fastly over so many highlights, with not much depth to the proceedings, as if these are mere study exercises. Now Anner Bijlsma is a good cellist and he recorded these works a few times, and that must have been for a reason I gather. I have heard two versions of him, but non can touch Paul Fournier on his DG recording, a reference recording for me, even after all those years in which I saw and heard many interpretations coming by.
Anner Bijlsma leaves me orphaned and totally alone in the emotional department. Now I do not need tears and passion in extremis, but I would have liked a bit more warmth and thought. For me it is uninvolved Bach. A way to play his music, but to my ears not a congenial one. I will return to his interpretation but with totally altered expectations. But then there is no arguing about personal taste, is there? The tempi are all okay with me as is the recorded sound.



Bach, J.S. Italian Concerto, Toccatas, Fugues, Fantasias 2 Suites and a Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
CD 49&50.
Originally released in 1978
Recording dates: December 1976/July 1977/April 1979.
Recording venue: Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany.
Recording engineers: Dieter Thomson & Teije van Geest.
Running time: CD 1=51:12. CD 2=54:17.
Classical relevance: Well worth investigating, but not essential.

Works performed:
Italian Concerto in F major, BWV 971.
Toccata in D major, BWV 912; in D minor, BWV 913.
Fugue in A minor, BWV 944.
Fantasia in C minor, BWV 906.
Suite in E flat major, after Cello suite No. 4, BWV 1010.
Suite in C minor, after Lute Suite in G minor, BWV 995.
Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in D minor, BWV 903.

Performed by:
Gustav Leonhardt.
Instrument:
Christian Zell, Hamburg (1728)

With Leonhardt I find these days that not everything that comes from his hands is Sacrosanct. Sometimes his measured and philosophic stance bores me beyond endurance, although I always accept his mastery in Bach. I almost feel guilty to criticize him, but then I comfort myself that it is only my view, which is of little consequence. To name but a few movements that gave me a feeling of that it felt not right. For instance: the first movement of BWV 971, extremely slow, and deliberate, thought he was missing the point here entirely, almost dead on the spot, but the Fuga in the Toccata in D major, BWV 912 is ravishing, as is the first movement of BWV in D minor, which is well balanced with a good measure.  But all to often he lingers to long on a phrase, or almost comes to a standstill, his philosophical pondering brings the music to a standstill more as I would like to encounter. There is enough to enjoy, but I get more critical these days if it comes to expression.  A hit and miss in these works throughout both CD'S. I do not want my attention to wander, but this is what is happening. The recorded sound is good.







Janitsch, Johann Gottlieb. (1708-1763) Sonata da Chiesa e da Camera. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 24-7-2016.
Second listen: 23-8-2016.
Label: CPO.
Originally released in 2014.
Recording dates: December 2010.
Recording venue: Deutschlandfunk Kammermusiksaal Köln, Germany.
Recording engineer: Hans Martin Renz.
Running time: 73:03.
Classical relevance: A must have disc, no doubt about it.

Works performed:
In F major, for Oboe, 2 Violins & bc.
In E flat major, for Oboe, Violin & bc.
In F major, for Oboe, Violin, Viola & bc.
In D major for Viola and Harpsichord.
In D minor for 2 Violins & bc.
In G minor for Oboe, Violin & bc.

Performed by:
Epoca Barocca on authentic instruments.

Truly a gem which I missed somehow when it was originally released. This music is truly of a high level. A composer I saw in the Austrian baroque box done by Letzbor, but I forgot which work he recorded. Anyway encountering such a fine performance of these sonatas is a treat. For it is a fact that Epoca Barocca is one of the best ensembles from Germany, and I have certainly a dozen or more recordings from them. Such as the music is presented on this disc I never heard it before, a novelty so to say. He was know as a fine contrapuntalist, and as a consequence his String Quartets were praised for this. Very little is know about his life, and we only know of his existence through the Berlin music publicist Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg who in 1754 wrote a few facts down about him. The booklet is a paragon of understandability. Not often we get that from CPO. Almost always dry exercises which puts my attention quickly down the drain. Not so with this disc.
He was a well respected composer, and why this is you will clearly hear in the Sonatas da Chiesa e da Camera. All concertos come with a different instrumentation. He gets that way the maximum of effect, and it keeps you firmly at attention. Such beautiful melodies, and perfect performances. A lucid and detailed recording it is. Recommended.



Monday, August 22, 2016

Some things that went in my order list..

Due to the fact that I have listened to Alexander Ernst Fesca, and liking it enormously, I was alerted to his father Friedrich Fesca, also a well respected composer of his time. I had some works by him, the Symphonies No. 2 & 3, but not the first, so I ordered that with some addition.

 As a compliment to Symphonies 2 and 3, No. 1


Three cd's for a very low price, and the samples sounded very good!


More as a curiosity I ordered these too, after all the Linos Ensemble is a top ensemble.

Fesca, Alexander Ernst. (1820-1849) Piano trios No. 2 & 5. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 23-7-2016.
Second rerun: 22-8-2016.
Originally released in 2014.
Label: CPO
Recording dates: June 2012.
Recording venue: Kammermusikstudio SWR Stuttgart, Germany.
Recording engineer: Friedemann Trumpp.
Running time: 64:54.
Classical relevance: A worthwhile addition to your collection.

Works performed:
Piano Trio No. 2, opus 12 in E minor& No. 5, opus 46 in B minor.

Performed by:
Trio Paian.

And yes, another composer that I knew by name, but whose music was unheard by me, which today is rectified by this recording.
Anyways Fesca was an unlucky fellow, he died at the age of 29 succumbed to tuberculosis, and therefore never fully developed  his talent, be it that these piano trios make you hear the ultimate promise of what might have become a fine composer. His father before him was a well known and respected composer, Friedrich Ernst Fesca (1789-1826) who died also young of the same disease.
He was of course a contemporary of Mendelssohn, Schumann and Brahmsian composers alive then. This old sod of a Robert Schumann thought that it was quite normal to burn down a composer who was still struggling to make his way into musical society by writing a very silly and stupid piece in this flimsy excuse of a magazine called "Neue zeitschrift für Musik". Without ever seeing the score, he said that it where all butterfly melodies for the ladies, which is all very pleasing but only for a little while. Butterfly nature indeed, and what the deuce is wrong with that? Schumann was not able to write butterflies in his music! Music for the mediocre is another horse on which Schumann rides prominently in this piece, as if he is the definition of what is mediocre and what not?!  Well he goes on in that vein for some time, but he must have been in a very somber mood, for he was dead wrong in his assessment, me saying this of course means that I am mediocre. Well let it be that then, better as to miss these wonderful piano trios. For a 20 year old composer these are near perfect in a romantic context.
So what to expect...O, dear yes, an abundance of melodies, tumbling over each other like a whole bunch of butterflies, and in pretty colours mind, just to please the ladies.....and this guy. Deeply romantic, passionate as is befitting of his time, and well written to boot. Period!
It's overflowing with a myriad of creatively written details, just one surprise after another, and cleverly done, mind you. So,.... was this temporarily demented reviewer wrong in his amateurish review? Of course he was! It would be, like me writing a review about a new model from Porsche, without ever driven in it, and damn it to kingdom come. 
This music will please the mediocre and the not so mediocre, in fact it will move many a heart. And rightly so, Fesca deserves to be heard and appreciated, I know I do.
The performance and sound are top notch. Yes I recommend it!





Fux, Johann Joseph. (1660-1741) Concentus musico instrumentalis. Baroque Chamber music at the Viennese Court. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2015.
First listen: 28-7-2016.
Second listen: 22-8-2016.
Label: Oehms.
Original release date: 2006.
Recording dates: May 2004.
Recording venue: WAR Studio Wien, Austria.
Recording engineers: Elisabeth & Wolfgang Reithofer.
Running time: 60:20.
Classical relevance: A fine addition to the Fux catalogue in my collection.

Works performed:
Overture à 4 from Concentus MI, No VI
Overture à 4 from Concentus MI, No. III.
Canzon à 3.
Parthia trio.
Partita à 3.
Synfonia à 3.

Works performed by:
Clemencic Consort, Rene Clemencic, on authentic instruments.

Certainly a surprise to see this ensemble on Oehms. A well known name from my past. I have quite a few CD'S in my collection in which this ensemble plays a role.  Fux is always a welcome guest in my house, so I was quite curious after this recording. It is well recorded to start with, and the music is up to expectations. It is warm and committed playing, a bit stiff in the loins, and a little playfulness would not be amiss, but on the whole this is a fine addition to my collection. Fux music is always inventive and never boring and the Clemencic Consort makes sure that attention does not wander. Most of the concerti on this disc I had not heard before, but I am glad I finally did. All of the instrumentalists are soloists and this you will hear. The colour and balance plus the close attention to felicitous details is to be applauded. A very good buy I would say, I only paid 2,99€ for this disc, so a no brainer.





Herzogenberg, Heinrich von. (1843-1900) Chamber music. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 24-7-2016.
Second listen: 22-8-2016.
Label: CPO.
First released in 2008.
Recording dates: January 2005.
Recording venue: Kammermusikstudio SWR Stuttgart, Germany.
Recording engineer: Burkhard Pitzer-Landeck.
Running time: 51:16.
Classical relevance: As being an Herzogen admirer essential, and for those that like good chamber music also a treat.

Works performed:
Quintet, opus 43 for Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, and piano.
Trio opus 61 for Oboe, Horn and piano.

Performed by:
Orsolino Quintett.
Oliver Triendl, Piano.

Slowly but surely I get all chamber music, and orchestral music together from this talented genius. I refrain from buying vocal works, or choir compositions, of which he wrote quite a bit.
On this CD a Quintett and Trio; works with a high quality level, happy works, when increasing health brought back the enjoyment in composing. This you can hear in the last movement of the Quintett, such a jubilant confirmation of life, easily my favourite movement. The giocoso designates the character, it's full of joy and brilliant writing. So many details in the work that delight and surprise. I think one of his best compositions.
The Trio opus 61 goes on in the same vein, with an almost pastoral first movement and a clear statement towards the intent of the work. As in opus 43 there is a lot of superb writing for all instruments, especially in this first movement, the way Oboe and Horn plus piano communicate with each other, almost a chattering session on a warm sunny afternoon in the midst of summer with butterflies darting through the garden and fighting for a place on the flowers. The happy ride continues until the end. Fine sound, and an perfect performance.





Bach, J.S. (1685-1750) The French Suites. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in:October 2015.
First listen: 22-8-2016.
Label: SEON.
Disc 48 from 85.
Originally released: 1975.
Recording dates: February/December 1975.
Recording venue: Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Dieter Thomsen.
Running time: 78:26.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
See heading.

Works performed by: 
Gustav Leonhardt, on a David Rubio, Oxford 1975, after Pascal Taskin, and a 1973 instrument of the same maker.


This is serious minded, with little playfulness. Well measured, strict tempi, not more colour as is strictly necessary. Typical Leonhardt, this well thought out approach, which you will hear immediately in the Suite No. 1 in D minor, BWV 812, and that sets the tone. If this is too heavy handed for you the rest will throw you in a depression. That is by no means a criticism in the negative way, its just how I perceive it.  At times it sounds laboured, to much work, and still bare boned. The Allemande of the second suite is almost a relief from the soberness of No. 1. And this walks through all the ranks of all suites. No my most favourite interpretations. The Taskin copies are exacerbating the mood. Recording is quite well, but could have used some more air around the instrument. 



Disc No. 48 from 85. The SEON Box.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Goetz, Hermann. (1840-1876) The complete Piano Works. CD 1. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in August 2016.
First listen: 19-8-2016.
Label: CPO. (2 cd's)
Recording dates: February 2011.
Recording venue: Kleiner Sendesaal des Landesfunkhaus NDR, Hannover.
Recording engineer: Bjorn Brigsne.
Running time CD 1: 61:58.
Classical relevance: In the context that I have all recorded work by this composer, essential for me.

Works performed:
CD 1.
Genrebilder-6 Piano works, opus 13.
Waldmärchen-for Piano. (1863)
Zwei Sonatinen für den Clavierunterricht, opus 8, Sonatine opus 8, No. 1 & 2.
Alwinen Polka. (1859)
Es ist bestimmt in Gottes Rath. (Von Mendelssohn ein Lied Transcription. (Fragment completed by Christof Keymer)

Performed by:
Christof Keymer. 

The post woman delivered a packet today, amongst the content these piano works by Hermann Goetz.
In the past I have bought all of Goetz recordings made by CPO, consisting of the Complete Orchestral Works & Concertos, Symphony opus 9, his beautiful Violin Concerto, and the Piano Chamber music. Considering he did no live long, ( died of tuberculosis) he wrote a lot nevertheless. From the start I recognized the huge amount of hidden talent in him, which shows through all I have heard so far.  I for one would like to see him more listen to, and that people start to buy this unknown treasures, mostly had for a song at CPO. An important composer for me, maybe not to the world, but I could not care less about that sentiment. But at least give him a chance, he deserves that. He is deeply into the same vein as Robert Schumann, and  Heinrich von Herzogenberg, even some Brahmsian tones in the more serious pieces. The piano works were unknown territory for me, which is not so strange for there is almost no available sheet music to be had, therefore these works were forgotten and afterwards not performed or recorded in our days. So this is the first time that these works are presented to the world. Due to Christof Keymer's research this music got to see the light of the day again, and by what I hear it fully deserves that. Pain stacking was the reconstruction of some of the pieces, and he completed a few compositions that were left in the middle of it by Goetz. He did that in the same vein as the existing music, and it is a compliment to Keymer that you hardly notice these additions.
Goetz as many of his colleagues gained some recognition during his lifetime, but was unable in the long run to maintain a firm place in music life. The key factor for this was his bad health, so he had no time, for he came late into composing, to bloom and deepening and maturing his art. He was a pupil of the famous Hans von Bülow, the premier teacher of the piano. Later Bülow wrote to him: "You were one of the few that I was happy and proud to have taught". That must mean something for Bülow was not the person to boost without reason.
The works are always melodious, and rich in imagination, and so well performed and recorded. I cannot put enough stress on these two things. So all in all I am happy to conclude that Goetz does not disappoint, far from it, it is a premier delight! Wonderful, wonderful music. Recommended.



Herzogenberg, Heinrich. (1843-1900) Chamber works. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen:28-7-2016.
Second listen: 19-8-2016
Label: CPO
Originally released in 2009.
Recording dates: December 2005 & January 2008.
Recording venue: Kammermusikstudio SWR Stuttgart, Germany.
Recording engineers: Burkhard Pitzer-Landeck & Roland Winger.
Running time: 56:22.
Classical relevance: For Herzogenberg admirers, essential, for all others it may well be of interest.

Works performed: 

Piano Quartet, opus 17 in C major.
String Quartet, opus 63 in F major.

Performed by:
Minguet Quartett.
Oliver Triendl, Piano.

You know right from the start that these two works written by Heinrich von Herzogenberg belong to the best he ever wrote. They are of a considerable quality not often encountered and a great compliment for this man's unbounded talent. Might he have lived longer, there is no end to what as a composer he would be able to have done.  And for that matter also his wife, Elisabeth von Herzogenberg who was at least as talented as her husband. She died also too young! Both compositions on this disc are full blooded romantic works, with all the passion and deeply felt emotions conceivable. It is so well written, contrapunt is amazing, the creative genius out of which springs like the gulfs of a waterfall, one bright idea after another, keeps amazing me. Such music makes him a true connoisseur of outstanding musical food for mind and body. For me he ranks alongside Brahms, and is worthy of a shared place. None of the music would have worked if we did not have such good performances. An ensemble that plays with passion and unquenchable fire, giving full emotional due to the notes. All is perfect. The sound does full credit to the music.
Firmly recommended.




Thursday, August 18, 2016

Forqueray, Jean Baptiste & Antoine. (1699-1782) Pieces de Viole avec la basse continuë. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 28-7-2016.
Second listen: 18-8-2016.
Originally released in 1995.
Label: Glossa Cabinet.
Digipack with 2 CD'S.
CD 2.
Recording dates: February 1994 and April 1995.
Recording venue: Montevarchi di Arezzo, Italy.
Recording engineers: Luciano Contini and Valter Neri.
Running time: 71:06.
Classical relevance: Reference recording.

Works performed:
Suites 3 & 4.

Performed by:
Paolo Pandolfo, Guido Balestracci, Viola da Gamba.
Rolf Lislevand, Eduardo Egüez, Theorbo &  Baroque Guitars.
Guido Morini, Harpsichord.

This is a well presented recording of Jean Baptiste Forqueray's Gamba sonatas. so much so that they strike me as one of the best interpretations on the market. I heard them before of course, but was never convinced by what I heard so far. Now I am. I think Pandolfo and Balestracci are on the top of their game, and together they make these works a joy to hear.  Another virtuoso of his time, Marin Marais delivers the same quality, be it that were Forqueray is all virtuoso, Marais is more of an elegant character and quieter. With him you relax, but Forqueray makes you sit up.
Virtuosity and a fine sense of dynamics and shadings, makes this a prime choice in my opinion. The sound is natural and involves you in the music right at the start until the end. Fascinating stuff. The booklet is an example of lucid writing.
Recommended.


Forqueray, Antoine. (1672-1745) Pieces de Viole. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 24-7-2016.
Second listen: 18-8-2016.
Originally released in 1995.
Label: Glossa Cabinet.
Digipack with 2 CD'S.
CD 1.
Recording dates: February 1994 and April 1995.
Recording venue: Montevarchi di Arezzo, Italy.
Recording engineers: Luciano Contini and Valter Neri.
Running time: 75:30.
Classical relevance: Reference recording.

Works performed:
Suites 1-3.

Performed by:
Paolo Pandolfo, Guido Balestracci, Viola da Gamba.
Rolf Lislevand, Eduardo Egüez, Theorbo &  Baroque Guitars.
Guido Morini, Harpsichord.

This is a well presented recording of Forqueray's Gamba sonatas. so much so that they strike me as one of the best interpretations on the market. I heard them before of course, but was never convinced by what I heard so far. Now I am. I think Pandolfo and Balestracci are on the top of their game, and together they make these works a joy to hear.  Another virtuoso of his time, Marin Marais delivers the same quality, be it that were Forqueray is all virtuoso, Marais is more of an elegant character and quieter. With him you relax, but Forqueray makes you sit up.
Virtuosity and a fine sense of dynamics and shadings, makes this a prime choice in my opinion. The sound is natural and involves you in the music right at the start until the end. Fascinating stuff. The booklet is an example of lucid writing, and has an interesting story to tell about Forqueray as a private character. One wonders that he had time at all to write such fine work.....considering.
Recommended.





Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Northern German dance Suites from the 17th Century. Works by: Flor, Christian. (1626-1697) & Becker, Dietrich. (c.1623-c.1679)

From my collection.
Bought in June 2016.
First listen: 6-7-2016.
Second listen: 17-8-2016.
Originally released in 2009.
Label: Challenge Records.
Recording dates: October 2008.
Recording venue: Onder de Linden, Valthermond, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Daan van Aalst.
Running time: 61:13.
Classical relevance: Firmly recommended. Interesting music well presented.
6 works on this disc are World premiere recordings.

Works performed:

Becker.
1) Sonata and Suite in G.
2) Sonata in G.

Some info on the composer Dietrich Becker.

Flor.
1) Suite in d for Harpsichord.
2) Suite in C for Harpsichord.
3) Suite in G  "  " " " " 
4) Auf horet meine Sinnen for Soprano and BC.

Some info on the composer Christian Flor. (Only in German)

Anonymous.
1) Suite No II in e.
                                 } around 1700.
2) Suite No I in e.

Performed by: 
Musica Poetica, Jörn Boysen.

I never heard of both composers on this disc, and therefore it was a surprise to discover this fine music, a pleasurable journey into the realms of relatively unknown composers. I am always curious to discover what was forgotten for a long time. Most of the time that works out just fine as with this disc. By chance seen, and a lucky stroke that I bought it. The music is diverting and highly creative, with enough interest to keep your attention going. Relaxed music in which German composers combined all the best influences of all nations, and put them into notes. French and Italian styles dominate the works of both Flor and Becker.
The performance is excellent as is the recording.



Somis, Giovanni Battista. (1686-1763) Violin Sonatas, opus 1. Amsterdam 1717. World premiere recordings.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 5-7-2016.
Second listen: 17-8-2016.
Originally released in 2014.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates:  November 2013.
Recording venue: Dorfkirche Rahnsdorf, Berlin, Germany.
Recording engineer: Maria Suschke.
Running time: 73:46.
Classical relevance: Strongly recommended.

Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by:
Kreeta Maria Kentala, Violin.
Lauri Pulakka, Cello.
Mitzi Meyerson, Harpsichord.

Again an opus 1 set of music by a composer I did not know, apart from seeing his name floating by on Google.  This recording goes without any criticism, and is applauded very loudly for its excellence in all quarters. For I find not even a tiny fault in this music and performance. Why on earth this composer is largely forgotten beats me. For these Violin sonatas are very well written, with fine melodic lines, and a consistency being a opus 1, that you actually got the feeling that all concertos belong together. Uniformly structured is the term I would use for this music, but the variety of musical expression is enormous. Galant in its expression it combines Italian and French features in a artistic manner.  There are many virtues in this music, amongst them geniality, harmony, consonance, temperament and all in perfect concord. With you get a sublime interpretation and excellent sound. 
Highly recommended.



Treasury of a Saint. A varied selection of Pieces composed during the 17th Century.

From my collection.
Bought in June 2016.
First listen: 5-7-2016.
Second listen: 17-8-2016.
Originally released in 2006.
Label:  Challenge Records.
Recording dates: November 2005.
Recording venue: Pieterskerk Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Daniël van Horssen.
Running time: 75:19.
Classical relevance: Essential music.

Works performed:
  • Works by: Salaverde, Sweelinck, Buchner, Bertoli, Fontana, Nicolai, Cima, Cesare, Rosenmüller, Böddecker, Cabanilles, Bovicelli, Rore, Ferro, Rognoni, Palestrina, Padbrue, Hollanders


Performed by:
Caecilia Concert.

As with all the other CD'S I have listened to by this ensemble, it awes me. Such expression in this interpretation and such wonderful playing, that it takes my breath away several times. This collection of known and unknown music is a wise decision to record, for the variety wets the appetite considerably. Many were written for other combinations, and were re-written especially for the instruments used on this recording. As the booklet says the composers were also the performers, so in that sense they knew how to turn the original music into workable pieces for wind instruments. It is a joy from beginning to end and thus I consider this an essential purchase. The recording is state of the art. A good way to spend your money and a wise investment.



Saturday, August 13, 2016

Vaet, Jacobus. (c.1529-1567) Te Deum Laudamus, Motets, Magnificat, Missa Quodibetica.

From my collection
Bought in March 2016.
First listen: 23-3-2016.
Second listen: 9-8-2016.
Third listen: 13-8-2016.
Label: Ars Musici.
Recording dates: January 2004.
Recording venue: Evangelical Church Wolfenweiler, Germany.
Recording engineer: Manual Braun.
Running time: 57:48.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:

See heading.

Works performed by:

Dufay Ensemble.

This is the second disc of the Dufay ensemble, and the music of Jacobus Vaet I am listening too. The first impression I had from Volume 1 was overpowering for the sheer novelty of Vaet's brilliantly composed music. And in that respect this second volume only enhances that impression. The ensemble and music are a perfectly fitted body, and can only bring as a result vocal perfection. The only quibble I have again as in the first volume is the countertenor Alain Ebert. The quality of his voice is without question really very good. He reaches top notes seemingly without problems, and there are no hints of distortions in his voice,, just clean as a whistle. My problem has to do with the balance of the voices in the choir. There is a impressive array of tenors through baritone and bass in this choir that makes the lower regions positively magical and distinctive, so no problems there, only plaudits, but the conductor thinks, that the countertenor should come on top quite forcefully at times, and so the choir balance gets interrupted by a voice that is pregnant with too much volume. It could easily be less and still distinctive enough to make a mark, but without interrupting the flow of the rest of the choir, that at least is my impression, and the reason for instance why I avoid the Sixteen choir under Harry Christopher albeit be it for the high pitching sopranos, as with the Tallis scholars being forcefully overcooked by Peter Philips. In both cases a choir balance I abhor.

The quality of the Dufay ensemble is impressive despite, and because of that I will pledge my allegiance to their efforts, and silently hope they could adapt the countertenor a bit more toward a global harmony. Of course I realize this sound is a choice of choir and director, or so I hope, so I am merely stating my own preference.
The gregorian chanting in the Missa is impressive, very well spaced and with a perfect declamation, which is an aspect of all what is sung on this CD.
As to Vaet, I am at a loss why this great master was so shamefully neglected, although it is a common practice with many composers as I well know from my long listening experience. Well at least his music is starting to get recorded, and I silently hope, that the Singer Pur choir might find space or generosity to dab also in the musical pool of Jacobus Vaet, without dismissing the Dufay ensemble, for they are quite valuable too, and deserve their place in the musical pantheon of greats.
Sound is good, and the performance apart from my personal quibble is excellent, although there is no material yet to compare.





Free shipping from JPC de so I ordered a few CD'S.




Schmelzer & Co. Music at the Habsburg Court. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in June 2016.
First listen: 1-7-2016.
Second listen: 13-8-2016.
Original release: 2009.
Label: Challenge Classics.
Recording dates: January 2009.
Recording venue: Laurentius Church, Mijnsheerenland, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Daniël van Horssen.
Running time: 75:53.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Composers:
Works for: Dulcian, Trombone, Cornetto, Violin, Viola, Harpsichord and Organ.

Massimiliano Neri. (c.1621-1666 or after 1670)
Sonata Sesta à 5.

Johann Heinrich Schmelzer. (c.1620/23-1680)
Sonata à 2, à 3 & à 3. Sonata La Carolietta à 5.

Marco Antonio Ferro. (d.1662)
Sonata 11 à 4.

Johann Joseph Fux. (1660-1741)
Sonata à 4.

Antonio Bertali. (1605-1669)
Sonata à 3, 2 violins, dulcian, bc.
Sonata à 3, 2 violins, trombone, bc.
Sonata à 3, " " "

Giovanni Battista Buonamente. (c.1595-1642)
Ballo del Gran Duca à 3.

Bartolomeo de Selma Y Salaverde. (fl. 1638)
Vestiva i colli Passeggiato, à 2.

Georg Muffat. (1653-1704)
Passacaglia, Solo Harpsichord.

Performed by:
Caecilia Concert.

I was pleasantly surprised to see an veteran on old instruments Bruce Dickey ( Cornetto), which I know of so many recordings, especially the renown EMI Reflexe series. Hopefully all these recordings will be re-released for a decent price. Anyways to add to these words that this CD is fabulous. If you like this music and its instruments as I do, this is a treat par excellance. The compositions brought together by the Caecilia Concert are of a very high level, and such a joy to listen too. This team of musicians is a perfect match. The music making comes over so naturally that you forget the recording totally and feel an organic part of the proceedings.  The recording which is State of the Art, certainly helps enormously. The booklet is a miracle of clearheadedness and well understood. For me this CD is an absolute must, no doubt about it.
Ordering you to buy forthwith.....:):):) Go on, what are you waiting for.



Vaet, Jacobus. (c.1529-1567) Magnificat. CD 4 .Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 10-7-2016.
Second listen: 13-8-2016.
Originally released in 2008.
Label: Brilliant, licensed by Ars Musici.
Jewel Box with 4 CD'S.
CD 4.
Recording dates: 2007.
Recording venue: Not mentioned in the booklet.
Recording engineer: Manuel Braun.
Running time: 60:07.
Classical relevance: Since there are no other recordings, essential.

Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by Dufay Ensemble, Eckehard Kiem.

The last CD in this box, and what I conclude is that they are consistent in the way they perform this music. What is however, at least for me a serious drawback, is the countertenor. More as on the previous CD'S, this recording is so pregnant with his voice, in that it blocks out completely the contribution of the other singers. Apart from this, after 15 minutes of listening you put the volume down, for this high pitched voice is penetrating your bones, and gives me a headache. As I said before it is a choice they made together, but as to liking it....no, emphatically so!
The artistic merit, and the fact that Vaet is recorded for the first time makes all these quibbles superfluous, but it nevertheless diminishes my pleasure in listening. The first three CD'S are better blended in voices and recording. The magnificat has too much drive, and loses its impact on the way. They could have done with better listening to each other, singing less loud, and let the music unfold in a more natural way. Loudness and the control of it in a choir is all. I know by experience. So on the one hand I applaud the complete box, on the other hand I am a bit sad about this countertenor, and the disruptive element he brings into the balance of the choir.
The recording is a bit to close for comfort. I can well imagine that others have less problems with what I am complaining about. I recommend this box anyway.



Friday, August 12, 2016

Gentili, Giorgio. (c.1669-c.1737) Trio Sonatas for 2 Violins, Cello and BC, Opus 1 (Venice 1701)

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 5-7-2016.
Second listen: 12-8-2016.
New release 2016.
Label: Brilliant.
Box with 2 CD'S.
Recording dates: January 2015.
Recording venue:La Confraternita di San Francesco, Poverino, Firenze, Italy.
Recording engineer: Giovanni Caruso.
Running time of both discs: 83:00. ( Rather short measure for your money)
Classical relevance: Of mild interest, purely in an historical musical context.

Music performed:
See heading.

Performed by:
Soavi Affetti.
On authentic instruments.

 He is unknown to the musical world at large, for I could find little or no recordings of his music. I am happy that dedicated musicians still dig up compositions that fit in the tradition at that time, and could have some impact of how one perceives music from his famous colleges around him. Just to know that Vivaldi was a pupil of his, makes you expect rather a lot. And that is a wrong assumption in Gentili's case. One has to consider that the opus 1 is his first publication, and not so well put together as one might expect. True enough, you get pleasant music, but rather devoid of clear melodic lines, a lot of fugues, almost every second movement, and all concerti are islands, there is no unity in them. They all sound like short episodes in a rather matter of fact context, in the sense that they will not disappoint you, but neither make you a particularly interested listener. His contrapuntal idiom is generally unconcerned. The music is not really subtle. It is not my place to dismiss this composer as a mere historical figure, but to claim that he rocks my socks off.....well no. Will it captivate you...hardly, can he stand comparison with his more famous compeers....hardly. His music knows some deficiencies, as the booklet says, a lack of artistic individuality, his lack of melodic input, expression in the music rather poorly, and some other points. Be it as it may, the music is a pleasant ride, but will hardly elicit a cry of enthusiasm. The lack of creative artistry handicapped the whole experience. And another point of criticism that weighs even more in my perception is the fact that the musicians play every Grave, or Adagio so slow that the music literally comes to a standstill, and this is hampering the flow in such a way, that you might lose interest. Do not get me wrong, I think them a fantastic ensemble, one of the best Italy has, but to my ears this was a wrong choice. The other movements might have gained in strength if played a bit more pointy with more drive. As it is, I strongly advise you to sample well, before buying. The recording starts of with a lot of resonance, being recorded in a hall. It gets better after some time. But all detail is well registered even if the echo comes bouncing back at you. Short measure of playing time, not an ideal performance, or recording, not music that is interesting enough to keep your attention throughout, I would say consider well, before leaping to your retailer.





Buxtehude & Co. Krieger-Weckmann-Becker-Theile. Chaconnes, Sonatas. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in June 2016.
First listen:29-6-2016.
Second listen: 12-8-2016.
Original release date: 2007.
Label: Challenge Classics.
Recording dates: November 2006.
Recording venue: Laurentius Church, Mijnsheerenland, NL.
Recording engineer: Daniël van Horssen.
Running time: 76:18.
Classical relevance: Very seductive music, well worth having.

Works performed:
Works for Trombone, Dulcian, Harpsichord/Organ, Violin.

Johann Philipp Krieger. (1649-1725)
Matthias Weckmann. (c.1619-1674)
Dieterich Buxtehude. (1637-1707)
Dietrich Becker. (1623-1671)
Johann Theile. (1646-1724)


Performed by:
Caecilia Concert
(Played on authentic instruments or copies)


This excellent disc holds pristine interpretations of concertos written for Cornetto, Tenor trombone and Dulcian. The tone and sound is attractive as is the music. The music making is relaxed, attentive to even the smallest detail, all captured in a warm yet lucid recording. It's a rich musical world that is presented here. All composers were active as Kapellmeister and wrote music especially to be performed during the concerts known as "Abendmusiken". And by the sound of it, enervating and satisfying concertos that must have been.  Technically demanding for the players, but if well performed a balm to your ears, and a joy for your heart. Especially the virtuosic writing by Matthias Weckmann is amazing, and frankly almost impossible to imagine that it is possible to play at such a speed especially for the trombone with enormous intervals. But it is done here with ease, which shows the excellence of the musicians, of the Caecilia Concert. Well for me to add also that the booklet is excellent, information about composers, works, be it sparse, but understandable for most.




Bouteiller, Pierre. (c.1655-c.1717) Missa pro defunctis. * Brossard, Sebastian de. (1655-1730. Stabat Mater. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen:6-7-2016.
Second listen: 12-8-2016.
Originally released in 2010.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates:  February 2010.
Recording venue: Église de Notre Dame du Liban, Paris, France.
Recording engineer: Manuel Mohino & Harry Charlier.
Running time: 62:11.
Classical relevance. An unusual but very rewarding recording. Recommended.

Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by:
Le Concert Spiritual, Herve Niquet.

Bouteiller is a composer unknown to me, Brossard is represented in my collection with a few works. Bouteiller is in the same musical vein as Brossard. They were very good friends and respected each other.  I like what I hear, warm and committed music making. The choir sounds big without overpowering the text with an excess of volume. 12 singers in total and 7 instrumentalists. The acoustics adds warmth without obscuring the details. Quality of voices is most excellent, especially the counter tenors which are not an obtrusive element but blend well. This kind of singing reminded me of the great Michel Corboz. As to the music by Bouteiller and Brossard. It feels like a warm blanket, with a pregnant bottom melody, which let you flow quite easily into the meaning of the text, unhurried and quite relaxed. It takes you by the hand and lets you immerse into a spiritual bath. It is well written and perfectly balanced by the choices Niquet made in assembling the music together, as was custom in the time of both composers. He did that rather well, by inserting instrumental music by composers like, Henri Frémart, Charpentier, Pierre Hugard and Louis le Prince. Brossard's Stabat Mater, has no instrumental parts inserted by other composers.
The instrumental part are filled in excellently, and the recording is first class.



Thursday, August 11, 2016

Mediterraneum. Ancient worlds of improvisation between Oriënt and Occident. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 5-7-2016.
Second listen: 11-8-2016.
Originally released in 2010.
Label: DHM.
Recording dates: October 2009.
Recording venue: Deutschlandfunk Kammermusiksaal, Cologne, Germany.
Recording engineer: Michael Morawietz.
Running time: 64:12.
Classical relevance: If you like this kind of music I consider this essential.

Works performed:
See backside image of the CD.

Performed by:

Ensemble Oni Wytars.

 I always had a liking towards music that bordered  between Orient and Occident. In fact I have a lot of music in the same vein. And this one fits in perfectly. For not only have we dedicated musicians performing, but especially the excellent singing by Belinda Sykes, a woman specialized in classical and traditional singing styles, (Hungary, Bulgaria, Syria, Jordan Israel, Morocco and Indian). So you may expect some authentic singing. But that really goes for all musicians, people that are highly involved in what they are doing, and this you hear in this thoroughly enjoyable compilation. It's a magical world but also very real, sounds interacting, from many countries and times.
The recording is near state of the art. Very fine acoustics, highly detailed and blending together.





The Mystery of Sign, Mouthon. (1626-c.1699) 10 Concerti a '5. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 10-7-2016.
Second listen: 11-8-2016.
Originally released in 2010.
Label: Challenge Records.
Recording dates: April 2009.
Recording venue: Ivanka pri Dunaji, Castle, Slovakia.
Live recording.
Recording engineer: Martin Kleban.
Running time: 59:40.
Classical relevance: Well worth your attention.

Concerto I-10.

Performed by:
Ars Antiqua Austria, Gunar Letzbor.

Another great unknown to me, this music surprised me by its sheer musical elasticity and being rich in melodies, with a rhythmic drive that gives the music a positive boost. French and Italian influences predominantly, and very well written at that. The booklet is a litany by Letzbor of how gorgeous Austrian baroque music is, and well he is a bit full of himself actually, because the way he describes it goes many times over the top, instead of dedicating his time and effort on the composer of which he and his comrades play the music. Apart from this he is an musician who likes to put himself on the foreground by his sometimes funny gyropractics and forgets that the music is a team effort.  Most of the time it is within bounds, but many times his personal stamp speaks louder as the music on this disc. Some will see that as an interpretation, but I see it as egocentrism. If you are okay with this that this disc is certainly a recommendation. I can stomach about 80% which is a nice score, and for this you get some adventurous music within bounds well projected, which makes you curious after more, and yes even if Letzbor is playing.
The recording is live but you never notice that. The sound as almost always on Challenge is excellent.





Boccherini, Luigi (1743-1805) Symphonies. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought: July 2015.
First listen: 25-7-2015.
Second listen: 11-8-2016.
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.





Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Muffat, Georg. (1653-1704) Florilegium Primum 1695. Second rerun

From my collection.
Bought in June 2016.
First listen: 29-6-2016.
Second listen: 10-8-2016.
Original release date: 2015.
Label: Challenge Classics.
Recording dates: April 2015.
Recording venue: Festsaal Städt, Musikschule München, Germany.
Recording engineer: Simon Böckenhoff.
Running time: 70:42.
Classical relevance: Essential to my ears.

Works performed:
See heading.

Works performed by:
Ensemble Salzburg Barock.

I never heard these compositions by Muffat before. Needless to say that it is of a very good quality. Each of the compositions on this disc are a delight in sound and content. I must add of course that I hardly heard anything by Muffat that did not bear this stamp of geniality. There is much to admire in the music, and it certainly lingers on, after hearing all.
> Florilegium primum consist of fifty individual flowers, ( mostly dance movements) making up seven flower bushes, ( fascicles, suites) combining into a bouquet, (florilegium)<  The result is colourful and every fasciculus has an individual character. It's magical and very well put together, some of the best music I heard from his hand. Performance wise, this is amazing and impressive. Goes to show how many fine ensembles are around these days. It is well recorded, and the booklet is informative and to the point. A very successful performance and recommended.






Koechlin, Charles. (1867-1950) Piano Works Volume I. ....des Jardins enchantés.

New acquisition. Bought in June 2017. First listen: 27-6-2017. Label: Hanssler Classics. Recording dates: December 2007. Recording venu...