Monday, October 31, 2016

Gade, Niels W. (1817-1890) Orchestral Works.

From my collection.
Bought in January 2010.
First listen CD 1: 26-1-2010.
Second listen CD 1: 25-10-2010.
Third listen CD 1: 30-10-2016.
First listen CD 2: 2-2-2012.
Second listen CD 2: 23-3-2012.
Third listen CD2: 31-10-2016.
Label: BIS.
Recording dates: CD 1: June 1986 & December 1986.
Recording venue: Stockholm Concert Hall, Sweden.
Recording engineers: Robert von Bahr, Siegbert Ernst.
Running time CD 1: 58:08. CD 2: 56:27.
Classical relevance: Not a a absolute must to have, there are better performances and recordings.

Works performed.
Symphony No. 1 & 8 CD 1.
No. 2 & 7 CD 2.

Works performed by: Stockholm Sinfonietta, Neeme Järvi.

It was some time ago that I played these works, and was not really satisfied with the recording, so I found it time to reassess my thoughts about them. As performances they are in a sense excellent, and only sometimes disappointing, but the real let down in the Symphonies 1,8,2,7 is the sound. Now the BIS founders deliver almost always good recordings, so no doubt they have tried in this instance also to reach their high standard. But that is not what I hear, and no doubt the acoustics of the Stockholm Concert Hall is responsible for this. Why von Bahr and the more experienced Siegbert Ernst chose to go ahead with the unpleasant and unclear acoustics is a riddle to me. Be it as it may, you will lose much detail over it, and the lower instruments tend to muddle up, and have a boomy effect. And that in turn lowers your appreciation of Gade's excellent Symphonies. For they are full of beautiful melodies and filigree detail that needs to be heard to get a full view on what Gade has to offer. And then the insistent loudness of the timpani at times, makes its effect a mockery of that contribution. But the message of the music comes across be it somewhat crippled. Jarvi appreciates the value of this composer, but he has to fight the ambiance, as dry as a bone. And there is also the fact of unresponsive playing of this Stockholm Sinfonietta that can get on your nerves at times. Still I will keep them in my collection for there is enough reason for me to keep them, despite my criticism.




Tveitt, Niels Geirr. (1908-1981) Orchestral Works.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2016.
First listen: 30-10-2016.
Label: BIS.
Recording dates: June 200 & January/February 2001.
Recording venue: Stavanger Concert Hall, Norway.
Recording engineer: Stephan Reh.
Running time:74:07.
Classical relevance: Reference recording.

Works performed: 
A hundred Folk Tunes from Hardanger, opus 151.
Suite No. 4, Wedding Suite.
Suite No. 5 Troll Tunes.

Performed by:
Stavanger SO, Ole Kristian Ruud.

I always have been a admirer of Tveitt's music. I was introduced to him by the excellent recordings on Naxos which hold a special place in my heart. I was not aware of the fact that BIS released a long time ago the present recordings, but I saw them floating by in a BIS sale, and thought why not? This orchestra and conductor have a very good reputation, and most of the time BIS recordings are reference material. I knew this music pretty well, or so I thought, but what this recording delivers is no less than a sonic and interpretative miracle, that led to a new appraisal of these suites, at least to my ears. The recording is State of the Art, and I very much doubt you will find a better recording of these suites. And secondly, the suites as performed by this orchestra and led by Ruud, give a surplus of details and a creative depth to the music that I would term as miraculous. 
The well judged tempi, and dynamic boost it gets makes listening to these suites positively addictive. Every piece of music on this CD represent a world of magic and of an endless stream of fairytale colours. I sat on the edge of my seat, and was awesomely surprised how much more is in this music as the recordings with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Bjarte Engeset, good as they are, they are outclassed by the BIS recordings in all aspects. That is the reason why I also ordered the twin CD with the Suites 1 & 2 from the same performers, and hope that I can get hold of it.
An absolute must for this music.





Sunday, October 30, 2016

Ordered a disc that is soon to be OOP


Horneman, Christian Frederik Emil. (1840-1906) Theater Music.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2016.
First listen: 30-10-2016.
Label: BIS.
Recording dates: September 1995.
Recording venue: Aalborg Hall, Denmark.
Recording engineer: Ingo Petry.
Running time: 59:08.
Classical relevance: Well worth having.

Works performed:
Aladdin, Overture for Orchestra.
Ballet Music from act 3 of the opera Aladdin.
Melodrama Act 1 from Esther.
Kalanus, kalanus feverishs dreams.
The Struggle with the Muses, Suite.
Gurre Suite.

Performed by:
Aalborg SO, Owain Arwel Hughes.

Another unknown composer, which is a prime enjoyment in discovering new music. Sometimes that ends in a disappointment, but I am happy to say that it is not the case this time. Save for 2 works all are world premieres. Listening to the music, I am convinced that Horneman is a forgotten Danish master who deserves to be heard. He composes very much in the tradition as we know from other Danish composers of his time, but he manages to distill his own trademark and uniqueness. An able orchestrator, with an ear for intricate melodies. His music has drive, a fine dynamic, and a lot to discover. Not a moment of boredom, but at every corner a surprise. Why he is forgotten beats me. The only piece of music that did not touch me at all was Melodrama, its rather a insignificant piece of music, if taken out of the context makes no sense. The rest is pure bliss.
The recording is a bit darkish and details have a hard time to escape the orchestra, but we get an excellent performance.  For all that like a bit of adventure, this is very much recommended.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Weber, Carl Maria von. (1786-1826) Piano Works. CD 1.

From my collection.
Bought in September 2016.
First listen: 15-9-2016.
Second listen: 25-10-2016.
Label: Oehms.
CD 1 from 2.
Recording dates: January/February 2004.
Recording venue: Funkhaus Köln, KvB saal, Germany.
Recording engineer: Barbara Valentin.
Running time Disc 1: 76:31.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed on Disc 1:
Piano Sonatas No. 1-3.

Performed by: 
Michael Endres.

I am admiring Endres ever since he recorded Schubert's sonatas and those from Mozart. They were showered with critical acclaim, and this with good reason. He might not be a household name, but he sure is one of the best pianists we have. And this is apparent with the fine music on this disc, not readily associated with Weber. Precious few people heard this side of Weber. These are highly dramatic piano works, and still in the shadow of his opera works. A colourful romanticism, that can be heard throughout these very virtuosic works. Endres who wrote also the concise booklet tells us that he thinks the Weber's piano works deserve a place next to Schubert, despite the fact that they are totally different, and I am inclined to agree with him. These works took me by surprise by their sheer virtuosity and an overflow of musical ideas, brilliantly worked out in these powerful sonatas. They are in dire need of a renaissance!
Audacious and pianistically challenging, these works make a profound impact on me, and no doubt on more people who take the effort to listen to them. A composer that has the key to shadow and brighten every single note into brilliancy, never stepping into the mediocre, but heightening these sonatas with every breath his creative journey into superb works of art.
I am duly impressed with the performances, they are highly polished but played with such force, that it leaves me breathless at his flawless technique. This man is a magician. 
Barbara Valentin made state of the art recordings! Two cd's for 4 euros, this everyone can afford. Its you best spend 4 euros this year, take my word for it!




Ockeghem, Johannes. (c. 1410-1497) Missa Caput. Parisian Machicotage for the Mandatum Ritual.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2016.
First listen: 25-10-2016.
Label: Glossa,
Recording dates: August 2004.
Recording venue: Sint Pauluskerk, Antwerp, Belgium.
Recording engineer: Jo Cops.
Running time: 58:52.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by:
Graindelavoix, Björn Schmelzer.

Unusual is the first thing that comes to mind. Fascinating is the second predominant feeling. Sung by professional and semi professional singers, and creating a very authentic sound, probably a very common performing practice in Ockeghem's time. However that may have been, to hear this music brought to the foreground by Graindelavoix is a revelation to me, and the truth of this very organic interpretation rings in my ears with every note. The Byzantine background is very audible.
It has a raw tinge to it all, musicality is more important as the technical perfection of every note, and that suits me fine. The meaning and intent of the Missa Caput has never been more clear to me, thus with eyes closed one steps into a world long forgotten but becomes so real when listening to Graindelavoix. In all respects Schmelzer is a valuable musician, driven and highly motivated to get every ounce of discovery out of the music for centuries hidden. For me this one counts as a reference interpretation. As for the recording that is nearly State of the Art. All wishes fulfilled, I am waiting with eagerness on the Cypriot Vespers by Jean Hanelle of the same ensemble which I ordered some days ago. It's hard to understand the technical essay by Schmelzer in the booklet, added the fact that all the French is not translated, and the Dutch text is a classic textbook disaster, one quickly gets lost in a labyrinth of intellectual humbug. Better read some excellent essays on the internet, which will lead to a better understanding.

Recommended.



Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) Complete Edition. CD 2. Trio Sonatas.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2016.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 2 fro, 21.
Recording dates: November 2011 & January 2012.
Recording venue: Westvestkerk, Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Peter Arts.
Running time: 45:39.
Classical relevance: So far it is really good, well worth investigating.

Works performed:
Trio sonata opus 8, No. 7-10.

7-9 for two violins and BC.
10 for Violin, cello and BC.

Performed by:
Ensemble Violini Capricciosi.

The second CD from this box, and my admiration for this ensemble grows considerably. Again this amazing BC, so present and a constant drive for the music. Infectious playing, and musically as satisfying as a wee dram of single malt. There is so much to discover of which I was oblivious. I have plenty of Locatelli in my collection every bit as good, but this ensemble adds something new. As if unearthing compositions never heard before. The technical standard is impeccable, and the unison amongst the musicians is near perfect. And what fun the opus 8 are!
The recording fits around it all, with a warm and detailed ambiance. I start to be very content with this box.


English Renaissance Madrigals. CD 2 from this box.

From my collection.
Bought in September 2016.
First listen: 5-9-2016.
Second listen: 25-10-2016.
Label: ERATO
CD 2 from 6.
Recording dates: May 1987.
Recording venue: Abbey Road Studio, London, England.
Recording engineer: Mark Vigars.
Running time: 55:19.
Classical relevance: For me essential, highly recommended.

Composers on disc 2.
Thomas Morley.
Thomas Weelkes.
John Wilbye.
John Bennet.
Orlando Gibbons.
Thomas Tomkins.
John Ward.
Thomas Vautor.

Performed by:
The Hilliard Ensemble.

Absolutely wonderful singing. A choir to hug tightly. Such a shame that it does not exist anymore with the present singers, for it was an unique combination. It some ways it goes unchallenged to the present day. The booklet is not much of a addition, composers and works mentioned, and a short but well informed essay by Simon Heighes. He managed to squeeze all relevant information into a few pages. I could say much about the music and how it is performed, but I rather invite you to listen to them. The price for the set will not set you back one inch but will make you richer beyond expectation.
The sound is excellent and captures the choir well. Well focused and detailed.





Friday, October 21, 2016

Vanhal, Johann Baptist. String Quartets. Second and last rerun.

From my collection
Bought in October 2106.
First listen: 18-10-2016.
Second listen: 21-10-2016.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: March 2009.
Recording venue: Kammermusikstudio des SWR Stuttgart, Germany.
Recording engineer: Friedemann Trumpp.
Running time: 78:34.
Classical relevance: A nice add on when you like the Haydn Quartets.

Works performed:
SQ in C minor, opus 1, No.4.
In G major.
In A major, opus 33, No. 2.
In E flat major.

Performed by:
Lotus String Quartet.

This unknown Quartet has three Japanese ladies, and for good measure a second violinist from German origin. The list of prizes is impressive, as is their list of quartets with which they studied, amongst them the Melos Quartet, Amadeus Quartet, LaSalle Quartet, and with Rainer Schmidt of the Hagen Quartet. Apart from the music, their way of playing is analytical and clear headed, with very precise playing, and some beautiful phrasing. Their bowing technique is impressive, and the sound they produce seductive, but rather anaemic, bleak, with little warmth. This precise technical playing leaves almost no room for emotions, and as a consequence a sameness in all the quartets is emerging, resulting in unconcentrated listening. at my side of the speaker. This is a pity, for Vanhal's music is by all standards as fine as Joseph Haydn is wont to produce, although in this present recording you might not hear this, for it needs more creative and devil dare playing as this Quartet is producing, and not such a polite interpretation as this. The performance has it's merits, certainly, but I cannot escape the thought that it can be done much better.  The recording is well balanced save one aspect. The first violinist is a tad to prominently placed, and the tone can be a bit grating. I have listened to this recording on my near field monitors, and they are quite critical in terms of balance, and the total picture. This recording favours the high frequencies too much to be pleasant on the ear.   





Gesualdo, Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa. (1566-1613) Terzo Libro di Madrigali, a cinque voci, 1595.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2016.
First listen.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates: September/October/November 2015.
Recording venue: Chiesa della BV al Colletto, Roletto, Italy.
Recording engineer: Giuseppe Maletto.
Running time: 63:31.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
See heading, plus bonus tracks.

Scipione Stella: Sento dentr'al cor mio.
Luzzasco Luzzaschi: Dolorosi martir.
Alfonso Fontanelli: Colei che già si bella.

Works performed by:
La Compagnia del Madrigale.

I have the same praise to offer as with the previous issue I played from the same composer and performers. The recording is a bit more balanced but still suffers from loud bursts of singing, which will necessitate to keep a close watch on your volume level. It's partly the way of singing and applied technique as a recording that does not fit comfortably on and in this approach. The music is fantastic though, and apart from this quibble as above mentioned, the performance does full justice to the difficult works of Gesualdo. Despite, I recommend it wholeheartedly. 




Froberger, Johann Jacob. (1616-1667) Complete Music for Harpsichord and Organ. Libro Quarto 1656. CD 4.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2016.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 4 from 16.
Recording dates: October 2015 & March 2016.
Recording venue: Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, Florence & Saletta Acustica "Eric James", Pove del Grappa, Vicenza, Italy.
Recording engineer: Alessandro Simonetto.
Running time: 70:14.
Classical relevance: For Froberger enthusiasts, essential, others might want to sample first.

Works performed:
Terza & Quarta parte.
Partita  1-5.

Performed by:
Simone Stella.

Instruments used:
Domenico Di Lorenzo da Lucca organ, 1521.
Harpsichord: William Horn, after Ioannes Ruckers (1638)

Stella is consistent in his playing of both the harpsichord works as well as the Organ works.
He does not hurry on any of the instruments, and his rather contemplative approach wins many details from the music, unheard when played too fast. The music unfolds naturally without haste in expression or colouring. Furthermore Stella is very precise as too meaning of the music, not literal, but strict as to what Froberger has written. He allows some interpretation, but keeps things sober, and at times rather melancholy. It suits Froberger's music well, and one savours the fruits of this in the playfully expressed melodies. The organ does not allow for splashing and jubilant tones, but mention must be made of the excellent top registers, pure and well tuned. You can hear that right at the start of this CD in the Terza parte-Capriccio in F  (twice) and A minor.
The harpsichord has a somewhat dark hue over it, that is very becoming as to the music. Well played it is too, but do not expect too much jollity in his playing, his approach is serious and rather measured. For those that like this way of playing Froberger's music, this set could well be your cup of tea. It certainly is mine, and I claim the whole pot.
The recording fits the mood of the music. Clear as a bell, with plenty of air around the instruments and barely 3 seconds echo. Perfect.
Recommended.




Thursday, October 20, 2016

Gesualdo. Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa. (1566-1613. Sesto libro di Madrigali, 1611.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2016.
First listen.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates: June/July 2012.
Recording venue: Chiesa della BV al Colletto, Roletto, Italy.
Recording engineer: Giuseppe Maletto.
Running time: 77:55.
Classical relevance: As far as Gesualdo goes this is pretty essential.

Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by: 
La Compagnia del Madrigale.

A new ensemble, founded recently the booklet says, but gives no date as to the beginning. But whatever, the voices on this disc are experienced and suited to the music of Gesualdo. He did not write easy music, far from it. As a renaissance composer his polyphonic writing is complicated, and a tour de force for singers. But also your ears might suffer if it is badly performed. And I must say that I heard more bad as good recordings of his music.  A Sei voci is an ensemble I appreciate much. It is by no means easy music to approach, but some think it is, judging by bad interpretations that came my way.
I bought two volumes of this group, the present one and  Terza libro, the second instalment as far as I know in this series. As far as the singing is going I have nothing but praise to add. The voices are well blended, the female singers do not scream your ears of, and the male voices are admirable in their expression. You can hear that in every item on this disc. Thus, there is only one quibble I have, not an inconsiderable one. The recording is clear as a bell, and the ambiance in which they sing is perfectly suited for their voices. The air around them will produce a very natural recording, so in that sense all is as it should but....
Start the music in your normal listening modus, and you might find yourself blown away by the sudden outbursts of volume. If they sing in a steady volume all is well, but o, boy if they up their volume, you run for the volume button. My near field monitors were unforgiving as my reference system also, so it's a recording decision, despite the circumstance that the engineer must have heard this over his headphones, and found no harm in it, which to me is almost unbelievable. I have heard this done otherwise, without the painful outbursts. That dampens my enthusiasm a bit. There is no other way as to listen at a lower volume, and this I will do, for artistically they are top notch.





Froberger, Johann Jacob. (1616-1667) Complete music for Harpsichord and Organ. Libro Quarto 1656. CD 3.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2016.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 3 from 16.
Recording dates: October 2015.
Recording venue: Basilica Della Santissima Annunziata, Florence, Italy.
Recording engineer: Alessandro Simonetto.
Running time: 66:33.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Libro Quarto 1656.
Prima/Seconda/Terza parte.

Performed by:
Simone Stella.

Instrument:
Domenica Di Lorenzo da Lucca organ. (1521) Basilica della Santissima Annunziato, Florence.

The third disc does not disappoint. First of all the organ from 1521 is a wonderful instrument, intimate, and clear as a bell. Stella is a bit  faster overall in his tempi, and also more agility in his movements, less contemplative and more forward in what he has to say. But whatever his expression it's never less than excellent.  A musician with his background is almost always a guarantee that you are confronted with the best abilities the organist has to offer. Stella has a reputation for researching a composer thoroughly, and my feeling is that he did so in depth with Froberger. The E minor Toccata  da sonarsi alla Levatione is an example to go by, thoughtful and deeply felt, you get a very authentic sound that makes you feel that it is exactly as the composer meant it to be. No greater compliment possible methinks. The Toccata in A minor clinched the deal for me, this is Froberger as I like to hear it. Never overbearing in its expression and never wanting in musicality, always into creative solutions, and never stepping out of these boundaries. Consistent and therefore magnificent. The recording is good.





Rheinberger, Josef Gabriel. (1839-1901) Complete Piano works, CD 3.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2016.
First listen.
Label: Carus.
CD 3 from 10.
Recording dates: April, June, March 2000.
Recording venues: Pianohaus Probst Chur, Peter Kaiser-Saal Eschen. Vaduz. 
Recording engineer: Prezioso Adamek, Töntrager-verlag.
Running time: 78:27.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Jagd-Szene WoO 1.
Vier Klavierstücke opus 1.
Waldmärchen, opus 8, (Fassung 1866)
Waldmärchen, opus 8. (Fassung 1897)
Humoresken, opus 28.
Toccata in e minor, opus 104.
Zwei klaviervorträge, opus 53.


Performed by:
Jürg Hanselmann.

Instruments used:
Steinway Konzertflügel D 530-303. Tracks 1-11.
Bösendorfer Flügel, Modell 225. Tracks 12-16.
Rheinberger Flügel Blüthner, Modell 190, 1898, owned by Barbara Rheinberger. Track 17.

So far this box proved successful. I enjoyed immensely the first 2 discs, and the third is a marvel too. I am a great admirer of Josef Rheinberger, and this box is just confirming my faith in him. There is not a single work that I find lacking in musical content. Rich in expression, well written piano music of the highest caliber. To describe one piece of music is saying all about the rest. Romantic, at times deeply emotional,  but also moments of great joy, and sorrow. All is covered... I loved the third movement of the opus 53, so special!
Jörg Hanselmann's performance is outstanding. It's fascinating to hear the tonal differences between the Steinway and Bösendorfer. The recording of both instruments is exemplary.
It is also quite a treat to hear a Blüthner Flügel owned by Barbara Rheinberger. A blast from the past so to say. I always loved the sound a Blüthner can produce, and this instrument is no exception. It's clear in expression, but you have to accept a little wear and tear in the reproduction of sound. The high register sounds well, but the body as a whole is a bit thin, with a hollow tinge to it. But that is how good they could make them in 1898. A Steinway that has been on a diet.
This disc is recommended as is the box with all 10 cd's.


Rota, Nino. (1911-1979) Respighi, Ottorino. (1879-1936) Malipiero, Gian Francesco. (1882-1973) Italian String Quartets.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2016.
First listen.
Label: Claves.
Recording dates:  June 1996.
Recording venue: Villa Medici, Briosco, Italy.
Recording engineer: Teije van Geest.
Running time: 61:23.
Classical relevance: For me this is an essential interpretation of these works.

Works performed: 

Nino Rota.
String Quartet (1948-1954)

Ottorino Respighi.
String Quartet in D major. (1907)

Gian Francesco Malipiero.
String Quartet No. 3 (1931) "Cantari alla Madrigalesca".

Performed by:
Nuovo Quartetto Italiano.

Without doubt, this ensemble is one of the best around, listening at their technical perfection, and a perfectly balanced sound. They are clearly well integrated and have been together for a while. In that sense all is okay. The harmonic flow is remarkable, but they raised it to a high level. The recording is good, it has a warm ambiance, without missing any detail. 
As for the works performed I can with confidence say that it will be hard to match for any other ensemble. The Rota work I never heard before, but since I am more or less on a discovery tour with this composer, it is a welcome addition to the works that are already in my possession. It is a well written work, with a beautiful second movement, and some gorgeous writing.
Respighi's SQ starts with a fine first movement, played with warmth and genuine affection. It draws you in quickly, and moves one profoundly by its beauty. Not in the least because is played with such concentration.
I bought some time ago orchestral works by Malipiero, on the label Marco Polo, but only listened once to them. But they impressed me nevertheless, and so I was curious if his SQ would match my expectations. It is in one movement. Neo classical, tonally stretched but not much. The writing has a clarity and determent focus. The melodies are worked into clear lines, with a melodic purpose emulating a musical picture, of an emotional spectrum that can be quite unsettling but also reaffirming of life. But it wanders in strange places, and sometimes gets lost in a magical conundrum of colours that puts a mist over its meaning. I have to hear this several times, before I can get this into a context. Fascinating it is though. 




Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Goetz, Hermann. (1840-1876) The complete Piano Works. CD 1 & 2.

From my collection
Bought in August 2016.
First listen: 19-8-2016. CD 1.
Second listen: 19-10-2016. CD 1.
First listen: 2-9-2016. CD 2.
Second listen: 19-10-2016. CD 2.
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. CD 2: 53:37.
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)


Works performed:
CD 2.
Fantasie in D minor.
Scherzo in F major.
Kommt ein Vogel geflogen.
Einleitung zum zweiten Akt der Oper "Der widerspenstigen Zähmung".
Sonatensatz. ( Fragment completed by Keymer.)
Lose Blätter-9 Piano pieces opus 7.

Performed by:
Christof Keymer. 

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 the musical hubbub. The key factor for this was his bad health, so he had not enough time, and he came too 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. 






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

From my collection.
Bought in August 2016.
First listen: 27-8-2016.
Second listen: 19-10-2016.
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.



Fesca, Friedrich Ernst. (1789-1826) Flute Quartets.

From my collection.
Bought in September 2016.
First listen: 4-9-2016.
Second listen: 19-10-2016.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: April 2005.
Recording venue: Kammermusikstudio, Stuttgart des WDR, Germany.
Recording engineer: Friedemann Trumpp.
Running time: 69:04.
Classical relevance: Very worthwhile.

Works performed:
Flute Quartet opus 37 in D major.
Opus 38 in G major.
Opus 40 in F major.

Works performed by:
Linos Ensemble.
Kersten McCall, Flute.

I had already some music from this composer and his son in my collection, and through a classical friend of mine who alerted me to the father while I was playing the music of the son, I bought some additions which I did not have. This is such melodious and harmonious music! It has a flow quite unobtrusive, and the musicians play it with such suppleness that it becomes a pleasure to listen to this fine chamber music. It is well written too, not for the mere amusement of amateur musicians but meant for people that needed to bring considerably skills. The parts for the flute are by no means easy to play, and the tight ensemble you need, is also a prerequisite of well trained people. In the case of the Linos ensemble and Kersten McCall we have them. Classical concertos with content that delights and will generate a surplus of pleasure to boot. Excellent recordings!



Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Weber, Carl Maria von. (1786-1826) Pianoworks.

New acquisition.
Bought in September 2016.
First listen.
Label: Oehms.
CD 2 from 2.
Recording dates: January/February 2004.
Recording venue: Funkhaus Köln, KvB saal, Germany.
Recording engineer: Barbara Valentin.
Running time Disc 2: 74:40
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed on Disc 2.
Piano sonata No 4 in E minor, opus 70.
Seven variations in F major, opus 9.
Seven Variations on the aria : "Vien qua dorina bella" opus 7.
Grande polonaise.
Aufforderung zum Tanz, opus 65.
Six Favorite Waltzes.
Max Walzer.


Performed by: 
Michael Endres.

I am admiring Endres ever since he recorded Schubert's sonatas and those from Mozart. They were showered with critical acclaim, and this with good reason. He might not be a household name, but he sure is one of the best pianists we have. And this is apparent with the fine music on this disc, not readily associated with Weber. Precious few people heard this side of Weber. These are highly dramatic piano works, and still in the shadow of his opera works. A colourful romanticism, that can be heard throughout these very virtuosic works. Endres who wrote also the concise booklet tells us that he thinks the Weber's piano works deserve a place next to Schubert, despite the fact that they are totally different, and I am inclined to agree with him. These works took me by surprise by their sheer virtuosity and an overflow of musical ideas, brilliantly worked out in these powerful sonatas. They are in dire need of a renaissance!
Audacious and pianistically challenging, these works make a profound impact on me, and no doubt on more people who take the effort to listen to them. A composer that has the key to shadow and brighten every single note into brilliancy, never stepping into the mediocre, but heightening these sonatas with every breath his creative journey into superb works of art.
I am duly impressed with the performances, they are highly polished but played with such force, that it leaves me breathless at his flawless technique. This man is a magician. 
Barbara Valentin made state of the art recordings! Two cd's for 4 euros, this everyone can afford. Its you best spend 4 euros this year, take my word for it!





Vanhal, Johann Baptist. String Quartets.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2106.
First listen.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: March 2009.
Recording venue: Kammermusikstudio des SWR Stuttgart, Germany.
Recording engineer: Friedemann Trumpp.
Running time: 78:34.
Classical relevance: A nice add on when you like the Haydn Quartets.

Works performed:
SQ in C minor, opus 1, No.4.
In G major.
In A major, opus 33, No. 2.
In E flat major.

Performed by:
Lotus String Quartet.

This unknown Quartet has three Japanese ladies, and for good measure a second violinist from German origin. The list of prizes is impressive, as is their list of quartets with which they studied, amongst them the Melos Quartet, Amadeus Quartet, LaSalle Quartet, and with Rainer Schmidt of the Hagen Quartet. Apart from the music, their way of playing is analytical and clear headed, with very precise playing, and some beautiful phrasing. Their bowing technique is impressive, and the sound they produce seductive, but rather anaemic, bleak, with little warmth. This precise technical playing leaves almost no room for emotions, and as a consequence a sameness in all the quartets is emerging, resulting in unconcentrated listening. at my side of the speaker. This is a pity, for Vanhal's music is by all standards as fine as Joseph Haydn is wont to produce, although in this present recording you might not hear this, for it needs more creative and devil dare playing as this Quartet is producing, and not such a polite interpretation as this. The performance has it's merits, certainly, but I cannot escape the thought that it can be done much better.  The recording is well balanced save one aspect. The first violinist is a tad to prominently placed, and the tone can be a bit grating. I have listened to this recording on my near field monitors, and they are quite critical in terms of balance, and the total picture.



Friday, October 14, 2016

Found a few goodies in the BIS sale that have some attractions to me.



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

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 23-7-2016.
Second rerun: 22-8-2016.
Third rerun: 14-10-2016.
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.


Fesca was an unlucky fellow, he died at the age of 29, succumbing 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. 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 have 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!




  

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

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen:28-7-2016.
Second listen: 19-8-2016.
Third listen: 14-10-2016.
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.




Fasch, Johann Friedrich. (1688-1758) Concerti from Dresden and Darmstadt.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 1-8-2016.
Second listen: 1-9-2016.
Third listen: 14-10-2016.
Label: Accent.
Original release date: 2008.
Recording dates:  June 2007.
Recording venue: Augustinus Church, Antwerp, Belgium.
Recording firm: MBM Musikproduktion, Darmstadt, Germany.
Running time: 61:52.
Classical relevance: Reference recording.

Works performed:
Concerto in D minor. (Two Flutes, two oboes, two bassoons, strings and BC)
Concerto in D minor. (Oboe, violin, strings and BC)
Concerto in A major. (Violin, strings and BC)
Concerto in D major. (Flute, oboe, strings and BC)
Concerto in G minor. (Oboe, strings and BC)
Concerto in D major. (Two flutes, two oboes, two bassoons, strings and BC)

Performed by:
Il Gardellino, on authentic instruments.

Absolute bliss this performance. This is how one wants to hear Fasch, alert, detailed, rhythmically balanced, all voices in the orchestra audible, and the pleasure in playing this music which is apparent in this performance. Of course I have other interpretations of Fasch music, and they all have something that is very appealing to me, but this Accent recording is really adding to what is possible with this music. Sweet, and all clear as a bell. Fine melodies, and pointed playing. It's a recording not to missed actually. The Concerto in D minor and D major, with the added Bassoons are devastatingly beautiful. The recording is very natural. Recommended.



Fasch, Johann Friedrich. (1688-1758) Concertos for various instruments. Third rerun.

From mu collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 1-8-2016.
Second listen: 3-9-2016.
Third rerun: 14-10-2016.
Label: Accent.
Originally released: 2010.
Recording dates: January 2011.
Recording venue: AMU/Antwerp, Belgium.
Recording engineer: Olaf Mielke.
Running time: 57:50.
Classical relevance: Fasch music in reference interpretations.

Works performed:

Concerto in D for 3 Trumpets, timpani, 2 oboes, bassoon, solo violin, strings & BC.
Concerto in b, for flute, oboe, strings & BC.
Concerto in G for 2 oboes da silva, 2 violas, 2 bassoons & BC.
Concerto in D for 2 flutes, strings & BC.
Concerto in c for bassoon solo, 2 oboes, strings  & BC.
Concerto in D for trumpet solo, 2 oboes, strings & BC.

Performed on authentic instruments by:
Il Gardellino.

I can hardly imagine that non of Fasch his music was published in his lifetime, being a important innovator by combining the Baroque and Classical styles into a new musical language by adding many modern elements. After all, his time was a transitional period. What strikes me most in his music is his timbre, the musical context so you will. The colours he creates and the seamlessly combining of  diverse solo instruments in highly unusual combinations. No wonder he was held in great esteem by his fellow composers and earned their respect. He was a skilfull and creative sound magician. So its good that most of his compositions survived, and we can hear his music in such good performances as the present one. Just sample the Concerto in G for 2 oboes da silva, 2 violas, 2 bassoons & BC. If that does not bust your ears into a delightful experience nothing will.
The sound is excellent, all the instruments sound natural, and the ambiance is near perfect.


Recommended.


Schmierer, Johann Abraham. (1661-after 1700) Zodiaci Musici (1698) Orchestral Suites.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 1-8-2016.
Second listen: 31-8-2016.
Third listen: 14-10-2016.
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.




Thursday, October 13, 2016

Rota, Nino. (1911-1979) Orchestral works.

New acquisition.
Bought in August 2016.
First listen: 12-1-2016.
Label: BIS
Recording dates: May 1998 & August 1999.
Recording venue: The De Geer Hall, Norrköping, Sweden.
Recording engineer: Jens Braun.
Running time: 60:00.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed: 
Symphony No. 3 in C major.
Concerto Festivo.
Le Molière imaginaire-Ballet Suite.


Works performed by:
Norrköping SO, Ole Kristian Ruud & Hannu Koivula.

Again I must start with with the sound. State of the Art, yet again. Another of those BIS engineers Jens Braun, made a sound picture that has to be heard to be believed. But BIS does not often disappoint in terms of recording quality.
As to the music, the only thing you can really do with Nino Rota is to admire him, for his geniality and the enormous talent he was. His legacy is a book with superlatives. Whatever he composed, it was always nothing short of the best a human can compose. You just have to hear these three works on this CD to fully comprehend this.
The first movement of the symphony sounds like a genuine marvel and weaves a tapestry of magic over the whole work as such. Again Neoclassical, though not in the purest form as with say Carl Nielsen, but already a more modern or let's say enhanced style of composing, outrunning the Neoclassical idea. The second movement dives much deeper and swarms out in a much broader way. It's a bit as walking on new ground. The third movement lets you hear reminiscences of Prokofiev's first classical symphony, with quite a creative touch of the balletic in it. The fourth movement is a true Vivace con Spirito. It goes at a vigorous tempo, and the playing is so tightly organized as a the drill of a military parade at it's best. Nobody puts a foot wrong, believe me. The melodic development is amazing.
The Concerto Festivo is closely written after the Third symphony and shares many characteristics in musical perspectives with that work. The first movement has a very determined rhythm and clear cut melodies. Sheer power of expression, really breathtaking. The writing for the wind instruments in the third movement is brilliant. 
La Molière imaginaire is a magnificent ballet, in the true tradition. A melodically perfectly written ballet, which I regard as a masterwork pur sang. It is a happy work, worthy of Tchaikovsky, and as good performed as Richard Bonynge would. do, and for me that is the greatest compliment I can give.
The recording has amazing detail, and a depth that is truly astounding. Front to back is perfect, with a very natural ambiance.
Recommended.



Bloch, Ernest. (1880-1959) Orchestral works.

New acquisition.
Bought in August 2016.
First listen.
Label: BIS
Recording dates:  August 2000 & May 2001,
Recording venue: Malmö Concert Hall, Sweden.
Recording engineer: Stephan Reh & Rita Hermeyer.
Running time:71:12.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:

Symphony in E flat major.
Evocations, Symphonic Suite.
Trois Poèmes juifs, for large orchestra.

Performed by:
Malmö SO, Andrey Boreyko.

The first thing that will make a huge impression is the state of the art recording that Stephan Reh made. It's a see through affair and a free walk between all the desks, with even the tiniest detail audible, even if there is a lot of dynamic music, no matter, the triangle at P is to be heard. Amazing!
As for the performance, well, this is how I like to hear the music of Ernest Bloch. Dynamic, fast and furious, but also rest and contemplative moments as in the much inspired writing of the Evocations, a deeply spiritual sound picture. Such an amazing work. The Symphony is written in a Neo-classical style with absolute magical moments of great beauty. Bloch's music takes its time before it sinks in, but when at this stage, you find that he a is a truly gifted composer.  Versatile and a hugely creative mind. Trois poèmes juifs is a work that has the same contemplative strain as in Evocations and is marvelously scored. Both works put you in a tranquil mood and are works with which you close of your listening day. I did not, but that's another story.
As far as the performance and recording goes, I do not think you 
can do better as what Boreyko has to offer, and BIS has produced in the technical department. There is more Bloch on BIS which I will explore.
Recommended.




Schjelderup, Gerhard. (1859-1933) Orchestral Works. Second listen.

From my collection,
Bought in 2011.
Label: CPO.
First listen: 17-2-2014.
Second listen: 12-10-2016.
Recording dates: August 2007.
Recording venue: Trondheim, Olavshallen, August 2007.
Recording engineer: Stephan Reh.
Running time: 73:11.
Classical relevance: Quite important to know.

Works.

Brand, Symphonic Poem. 
Symphony No. 2, "To Norway", 

Performers.

Trondheim SO, Eivind Aadland.

For me this composer was a great unknown. So I was very much interested what he had to say, being born in a period, when a lot of them were confronted with drastic methods in thinking and composing music. This composer spend most of his adult life in Southern Germany, because the stifling atmosphere in Norway was considered by him a hindrance in his thinking and composing. Listening to his music, he takes a very intellectual stance in his works. 

As a composer he took a very modern position in the surrounding musical and intellectual world. And no wonder for not only introducing a whole new way of writing down music, but he found the psychological element to be an integral part of composition. His sound world is fascinating, although I am a bit hindered by some influence of Wagner, who Schjelderup adored as a God. Bruckner is never far away either in the writing for brass, but it is far from derivative, no, Schjelderup is very much his own man, and what comes out of my speakers I admire for it's originality and creative imagination. His melodies are fascinating and keep lingering. Grieg was his idol and this you can hear also throughout the music. But Schjelderup was in his expression less Norwegian and more oriented on continental Europe, and their lures.  We have Johan Halvorsen as a true and excellent musical follower of Grieg's  National romantic project. 
Both works on this CD are intense, and well orchestrated. Late Romantic music, tonally never really challenged, fine and beautiful melodies and sound clusters. There is never a boring moment in this highly original music. I was truly I must admit, fascinated by this composer, helped no doubt by the thoughtful performance of this orchestra, led by a conductor of whom I recently bought the complete orchestral music by Grieg. Quite a talented man.
The recording made by Stephan Reh, a excellent engineer, captured the ambiance of the Olavshallen admirably. The recording has punch, with good detailing, and an excellent front to back stage. There is enough air around the orchestra, and that makes it an easy task for your ears to capture all.




Sabata, Victor de. (1892-1967) Orchestral Works.

From my collection.
Bought in June 2010.
First listen: 12-6-2010.
Second listen: 12-10-2016.
Label: Hyperion.
Recording dates: December 2000.
Recording venue: Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London, England.
Recording engineer: Simon Eadon.
Running time: 62:57.
Classical relevance: Well worth trying.

Works performed:

La Notte di Plàton.
Gethsemani.
Juventus.

Performed by:
London PO, Aldo Ceccato.

There is some injustice that the music of Victor de Sabata is totally forgotten. Not that it is unusual, that happened to a lot of composers in his time. A whole generation of Italian composers are forgotten due to neglect and the inability of music lovers and critics alike to listen beyond their sometimes limited fantasy. In this sense it is fantastic that the Sabata's orchestral works are now recorded. As a side note it must be mentioned that this is almost all the orchestral music he wrote, and that again is a sad conclusion after reading about his history and background. There is not much recorded by him either.  All in all a welcome release, but a follow up is not one of the possibilities. I bought this CD in 2010, and due to a great influx of CD'S around that year I was unable to put it in my player again. But while testing and reviewing some equipment, I stumbled over it and thought, lets give it a try, for musical and technical reasons. Sabata is a very able orchestrator, with a creative strain that opens up whole fiestas of new sound images. His Neo-classical style, mixed with a magical realism, that captures your imagination quickly. That is not to say that he is easily approachable in terms of understanding the coherence in the music. Tonally is is a bit widened, but really not much, but the intricate message of the scoring is such that it needs undivided attention to grasp the essence of his music. Once you are accustomed to his soundworld, you get the intellectualism of his music on a plate. For me Gethsemane and Juventus made quite an impression, with their energy and dynamics so well capture in his notes,  while the poetical strain in La Notte di Plàton, had me in raptures due to its intricate weaving of filigree details into a tapestry of micro melodies. So yes it took me some time before I had the concept of his music in my mindframe, but once there, it opened all doors.
The recording of all three pieces is good, but Juventus opened up more in the upper frequencies. There is however always a dark hue over the complete recording, not missing details, but it sounded a bit congested at times. The front to back image was not as lucid as one would wish or expect from Hyperion. Simon Eadon is a good engineer, but I would have loved more openness in the dense scoring of Sabata's works. Recommended it is!



Monday, October 10, 2016

Bruckner, Anton. (1824-1896) Orchestral Works. CD 1.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2016.
First listen.
Label: DECCA, Eloquence.
CD 1 from 10.
Recording dates: February 1988.
Recording venue: Jesus-Christus Kirche, Berlin, Germany.
Recording engineer:  Not mentioned on this cheap reissue.
Running time CD1=58:19.
Classical relevance: As a set that can be a good contrast to other performances: Essential.

Works performed:
Overture in g minor.
Symphony in d minor "Nullte"

Performed by:
Deutsches SO, Berlin, Riccardo Chailly.

As to the sound of this CD I have to let it pass for now, because my new player is still in the burning in phase, and therefore does not sound yet as it should.
But I know the DECCA recordings to be good in general and this I can hear. There is enormous weight in the sound and plenty of inner detail. The soundstage is excellent and the front to back image near perfect. There is enough air around the instruments, which is normal in one of the best recording venues in Germany. Herbert von Karajan regularly recorded there too.
The overture as well of the Nullte Symphony are first listenings ever for me. Well, Bruckner is a very recognizable composer, so his music is never mistakenly attributed to someone else. 
The overture is a fine piece of music with very subtle shadings and a detailed picture that showcases many second and third melody lines, almost filigree at times, but also fine moments of brass, blaring lustily out of the speakers. For me its still a bit hard now, but that will change over time.
I simply loved the third movement of the Nullte, Scherzo: Presto, such invigorating writing with yet so many subtle undertones. The string writing is especially to be commended, a thing that he will perfect to heavenly bliss especially in the 8th Symphony. The Finale: Moderato, has a drive to it, in which Chailly clearly shows that he has something special to say, for he has a tight command of this orchestra, who gives him very committed reply, and create a unity that prompted me to buy this set. I was not much familiar with the Concertgebouw orchestra recordings under his baton, but I certainly look forward to it.
There is no booklet, and the packaging is a flimsy affair, but it's cheap as compared to the still available original box of these works, which is double the price.



Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) The Complete Edition. CD 1.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2016.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 1 from 21.
Recording dates: November 2011 & January 2012.
Recording venue: Westvestkerk, Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Peter Arts.
Running time: 65:09.
Classical relevance: Well worth your consideration.

Works performed:
Trio Sonatas, opus 5. No. 1-6.
Sonatas No. 1/2/3/4, for 2 Violins, and BC.
No. 5 for Violin, Cello and BC.
No. 6 for 2 Violins & double BC.

Performed by:
Ensemble Violini Capricciosi, Igor Ruhadze.

It is quite an undertaking to buy such a big box with Baroque music from one composer, but such is the quality of music, that it is not a hard choice to make, especially for the prices Brilliant is asking. The stabil price factor is a great plus to keep investing in these large boxes. In this case 21 CD'S of Locatelli's music. I started today with the opus I concertos, which I never heard before. And I was in for two surprises. 1) the fine recording quality, 2) the excellent performances. Melodious music, that keeps you listening without fatigue, and is inviting to listen almost endlessly. I really found so many moments of pure bliss, in such subtle playing, that if this disc is anything to go by, I am in for a treat. The tempi are most sensible, phrasing is a telling story of excellence, and the BC is a marvel, and a cornerstone of this interpretation. This performance could easily be counted as one that can compete with others quite favourably. The Westvestkerk has an wonderful acoustic, in which the music sound intimate and close, with enough air around the instruments, and a perfect placing on the soundstage. Enthusiastic and committed, with a good sense for small details. There is a alert awareness never to out or overplay a fellow musician, but to create a perfect ensemble balance in which all have their voice in unity with others. It could not be better.
Recommended.
 


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Olsen, Ole. (1850-1927) ) Orchestral Works. First listen.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2016.
First listen.
Label: BIS.
Recording dates: February 2011.
Recording venue: Harstad Kulturhus, Norway.
Recording engineer: Matthias Spitzbarth.
Running time: 62:56.
Classical relevance: The best performance to have.

Works performed:

Asgaardsreien, opus 10.
Concerto in F major for Trombone and Orchestra, opus 48. (World premiere recording)
Symphony No. 1 in G major, opus 5.

Arctic PO,  Christian Lindberg, Soloist and conductor (Opus 10 & 5)
Opus 48 conducted by: Rune A. Halvorsen.

On the instigation of a classical friend I purchased this recording after I felt let down by a recording on the Sterling label, on which the Latvian National SO under Terje Mikkelsen played the opus 10 & 5. Sound wise it was horrible, which ruined whatever interpretation was in it.

*****

So this morning I tried the BIS recording and immediately it was clear to me, all parameters were in place. The perfect recording, the dynamics, the quality of the orchestra, the appliance of better tempi throughout all the works, but especially Asgaardreien.  Not only are the tempi slightly faster but the inner melodies lines move quicker, and internally work better in the whole structure of the music. There is now a sense of wholeness, a context that makes sense. The same goes for the symphony, lucid, straightforward, well chosen tempi, and a constant awareness of crescendo/diminuendo, not a  driven loudness that pains your ears but a constantly changing dynamic.  The Trombone concert did not do much for me, so that was a bonus with which I could have done without. Christian Lindberg as a conductor was a positive surprise for me. And because of it I simply fell in love with the music with which I could not connect on the Sterling record.  I will keep it for the Suite for String orchestra opus 60, which is good enough for me.
The ambients of the BIS recording are really good.  All's well that ends well.




I ordered book III, after being impressed my book VI.




Friday, October 7, 2016

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.
Third listen: 7-10-2016.
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.



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

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