Thursday, August 17, 2017

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 take on Coronata will be entering the market again....you never know­čśŐ


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann. (1710-1784) Complete Harpsichord Music, CD 2.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: August 2017.
First listen: 16-8-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 2 from 6.
Recording dates: March 2015.
Venue: Villa Scalea, Palermo, Italy.
Sound engineer: Marco Casiglia.
Total time: 79:24.

Works on this CD.
Sonata in C, F, E minor, C, D, E flat, C.

Works performed by:
Claudio Astronio.

Instrument used:
Ugo Casiglia (2014) after Johann Adolph Specken. Germany 1748.

I am a happy man after listening to CD 2, and reached the conclusion that this journey through Friedemann's works is highly satisfying. Astronio has a pleasing clarity of voicing and plays with great delicacy. Boldness when needed, the textures are always considered in sensitivity, so at all times his playing is substantial. His technique is always in the service of the music, which makes his performance lithe and transparent. His embellishments are idiomatic, and he offers delicacies that epicureans will wish to savour on. Irrepressible moods, in which he delivers rapturous passage work. I am content. A worthwhile set, this release is mandatory.  The recording is an example of pure clarity.



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Haydn, Joseph. (1732-1809) The almost Complete Symphonies. CD 22. Symphony No.50 & 54.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: April 2013.
Gift from an American friend.
First listen: 4-6-2014.
Second listen: 15-8-2017.
Label: L'oiseau-Lyre.
CD 22 from 32.
Recording dates: June/July 1993 & November 1994.
Venue: Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London, England.
Sound engineer: ?
Total time: 56:59.
Reference set.

Works on this disc:
Symphony No. 50 in C major.
No. 54 in G major, first version.

Works performed by:
The academy of Ancient Music, Christopher Hogwood.
Played on Authentic instruments.

Both works are high on my list for the likability award, with the beautiful second movement of No. 50, and the ravishing finale, and the No. 54 for its long second movement which never outstays its welcome. And the last finale in C major, a Prestissimo almost flies out of its tracks. He would surely get a speed ticket for going too fast­čśÇ  The playing and recording is impeccable.
Recommended.


Walther, Johann Gottfried. (1684-1748) Complete Organ Music. Concerto transcriptions I. CD 11.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2015.
First listen: 15-8-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 11 from 12.
Recording dates: April/May/November 2013.
Venue: Church of Sant'Antonio, Abate, Padua, Italy.
Sound engineer: Alessandro Simonetto.
Total time: 58:18.

Works on this CD.
Concerto del Signor Albinoni in F & B flat.
Blamont in A.
Gentili in A.
Gregori in B flat.
Mancia in G minor.
Meck in C.

Performed by:
Simone Stella.

Instrument used: 
Francesco Zanin 2006.

Well written transcriptions, but of a totally different kind compared with the Chorale settings, which are the greatest part of this box. One has to re-attune his ears to the worldly concertos, which took me some time. But they are fun and substantial.  They have a less inward frame, but a pleasing clarity of voicing which is a plus too. Unshowy playing it is, but then it does not need a fireworks approach. The textures are light and pleasing and all is wonderfully transparent.  Sound is back to it's usual high standard after a lapse with disc 10.


The Leiden Choirbooks Volume IV. ( De Leiden Koorboeken)

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: April 2017.
First listen: 15-8-2017.
Label: Etcetera.
Recording dates: January/ February 2013.
Venue: Laurentiuskerk, Mijnsheerenland, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Tom Dunnebier.
Total time: 57:31 & 48:08.

Composers on both discs:
Thomas Crecquillon.
Johannes Lupi.
Jacobus Clemens non Papa.
Johannes Richafort.
Philippe Verdelot.
Goessen Jonckers.*
Nicolas Payen.*
Ciprianus de Rore.
Johannes Flamingus.*
Estacius Barbion.*
Franciscus Ijsenbaert.*

Performed by:
Egidius Kwartet & College, Peter de Groot.

All the composers marked with an * were unknown to me, and it was indeed a pleasant surprise to hear these works for the first time. It is already the Fourth volume in this series. A very successful venture, of which Volume 4 is almost perfect in the way it is sung, aided by an almost State of the Art recording. Some slight intonation problems on the first disc, and at certain moments one of the sopranos pushed out her notes to loud and so producing a disharmonious sound. But really minor points. I have enjoyed both discs in one go. The sound of this choir is becoming a cultivated one, with a winning purity that offers a lucid outlook into the realm of the spiritual.  They sing with a touching grace, with, it must be said again, careful dynamic gradations. They clearly listen to each other more carefully as before, and so come closer to being an top ensemble. From a starting point of just every voice for its own, they now have an integrated sound in which every voice is important but the the sum of all is the illuminating factor in success. For then the superb finesse will emerge.
The music is beautifully executed, and there is no trace of an overly manicured interpretation, but a choir that sings naturally and unforced. Pure enchantment!




Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon. (1562-1621) The complete Keyboard Works. CD 1.


From my collection.
Date of purchase: March 2015.
First listen: 18-3-2015.
Second listen: 29-7-2015.
Third listen: 15-8-2017.
Label: Aeolus.
CD 1 from 6.
Booklet gives dates, stops, some info about Sweelinck, some thoughts of Berben, pictures of the organ plus history, no registrations, but no explanations about the music at all.  
Recording dates: October 2009.
Recording venue: St Stephanus Church, Tangermunde.
Recording engineers: Christoph Martin Frommen.
Running time: 74:36.

Works performed: 
Fantasia a 4 d2, SwWV 259.
Fantasia a 4 Echo d3. SwWV 260.
Fantasia g1. SwWV 270.
Allein zu dir Herr Jesu Christ. SwWV 300.
Ich ruf zu dir Herr Jesu Christ. SwWV 305.
Jesus Christus unser Heiland. SwWV 306.
Psalm 23, Mein Huter und mein Hirt. SwWV 310.
Fantasia auf die Manier eines Echo C1. SwWV 253.

Performed by:

Leon Berben.

Instrument used:
Hans Scherer jr, organ (1624)
a1=486 Hz (15C)
Stimmungsart: Mittelt├Ânig.
Winddruck: 75 mm WS.

In contrast with the NM classic box which holds nine cd's, there are only six in the Aeolus box. It must be said that NM classics also included the works of which the provenance is not satisfactorily proved, or at least doubtful, and that means 3 cd's less. 

I have the NM classic box also next to me to make comparisons, if not of all works, then of significant  compositions such as SwWV 260, 253, 270 and 300. I could tell a long story about all the differences but that would defeat the object of my observations and neither here nor there. The main difference is in tempi, the use of registrations, the manner of playing, and the amount of research that Berben put in. I have the distinct feeling that Berben adds something which is missing in the the performances of the NM classics set. And to my surprise not one of them is on the same technical level as Berben, apart maybe from Leo van Doeselaar and Stef Tuinstra. It does not mean that the NM classics set is not less than excellent, it is, but as far as the music goes Berben puts it on a higher level, with a clear cut approach, lucid playing, and above all a spiritual dimension that is not always found in the other set. He is more alert and less sluggish as his counterparts on NM classics, plus the fact that his articulation is beyond par. This is Sweelinck in pure form, at least to my ears. Berben is one of the top organists in the world, and this you will easily hear.  The influence of his teachers, Leonhardt and Kooiman is evident. In short this interpretation ticks more buttons as the NM classic set. And as a bonus you get State of the Art sound.




Monday, August 14, 2017

Bach, J.S (1685-1750).The Complete Organ Works. (The Aeolus Edition) CD 8. Top recommendation.

From my collection.
Bought in November 2014.
First listen: 7-1-2015.
Second listen: 14-8-2017.
Label: Aeolus.
CD 8 from 19.
Extensive booklet 251 pages, with pictures of the organs, 
Recording dates: April 2008.
Venue: Protestant Church Bouxwiller, France.
Sound engineer: Christoph Martin Frommen.
Total time: 62:53.
Reference performance.
State of the Art sound.

Works on this CD:

Leipziger Chorale, BWV 661-668.
Partite diverse sopra : Sei gegrusset Jesu gutig", BWV 768.

Instrument used:
The Johann-Andreas Silbermann organ (1778) by Ewald Kooiman.

This box is an ongoing pleasure, for Bach's music is presented in a formidable way, that proves this set to be an touchstone if it comes to authenticity. I have heard many sets with the complete recordings of Bach's organ works, the last one being by Gerhard Weinberger on CPO, which is also an authoritative set but on North German organs, but that gives a totally different musical picture. The Silbermann organs sound as if they are made for Bach's music. Ewald Kooiman is a dedicated and passionate organist, who has many things to say. He puts just the right amount of balance in his playing, and never accentuates more as there is in the score, so you get the feeling that it cannot be done otherwise. The disposition of this organ is unbelievably beautiful. If I hear the registrations in the Partite diverse sopra, and the colours drench my ears, I count myself lucky being able to participate in it's lustre. 

This cd marks the last recording Kooiman did, dying a year later. What an immense loss this was, you can hear in the first 8 cd's.


Froberger, Johann Jacob. (1616-1667) Complete music for Harpsichord and Organ. CD 15.

New acquisition.
Purchased: October 2016.
First listen: 14-8-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 15 of 16.
Recording dates: October 2015.
Venue: Basilica della Annunziata, Florence, Italy.
Sound engineer: Alessandro Simonetto.
Total time: 55:13.

Works on this CD:
12 Toccatas FbWV 113-125.

Performed by:
Simone Stella.

Instrument used:
Domenico Di Lorenzo da Lucca organ, 1521.
Temperament: Meantone 1/4.
Pitch: A='446,5 Hz.

Almost at the end of this box, and having the pleasure of listening to these fine Toccatas and this gorgeous organ. A renaissance organ with a superb sound and wonderfully restored. I recently was at a live concert in Krewerd, listening to a Renaissance organ build somewhere around 1531, with pipes that were much older. It has not changed much since the time it was build, so I was able to compare both organs and they sounded so much alike. The disposition is slightly different of course, but the sound had distinctive similarities. I had a long talk with the organist in Krewerd about the instrument, being up at its works and watching him play. Learned a lot. And we talked about Froberger, but also Scheidemann, and Bohm.
But back to Simone Stella. I honestly think that it will be a hard job to find better interpretations as the present ones. Of course there will be differences in how to play, or different organs, but for me everything what I like about Froberger comes at the surface in this complete box.
Recommended.







Hans Nomen a very good organist/Harpsichordist, playing on the organ in Krewerd 13-8-2015.
I made the picture.



Haydn, Joseph. (1732-1809) The almost complete Symphonies. CD 21. Symphonies No. 52 & 64. The Hogwood Edition.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: April 2013.
A present from an American friend.
First listen: 15-5-2014.
Second listen: 14-8-2017.
Label: L'oiseau-Lyre.
CD 21 from 32.
Recording dates: July/August 1993.
Venue: Abbey Road, studio 1, London, England.
Sound engineer: ?
Total time: 51:19.

Works on this CD:
Symphony No. 52 in C minor.
No. 64 in A major, "Tempora mutantur".

Performed by:
The Academy of Ancient Music, Christopher Hogwood.
Played on Authentic instruments.

Performance and recording are top notch, on a reference level actually. No 52, has a very long second movement of a full 12:00 minutes, melodically very strong in which Haydn takes his time to unfold his well balanced answer to all that rush through live. Nevertheless, I would have liked it a bit faster played. No. 62 is altogether a different kettle of fish, with a steady moving Largo, and an invigorating Finale. He had other thoughts when composing this work. And that's the beauty of Haydn symphonies he carries his emotions on his sleeve. I have already said all I could possibly say about the quality of this complete box, so trust me, this is the first set to go for.


Krebs, Johann Ludwig. (1713-1780) Complete Works for Organ, Volume 4, CD 4.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: August 2017.
First listen: 14-8-2017.
Label: Querstand.
CD 4 from 13.
Recording dates: October 1998.
Venue: St Walpurgiskirche, Gro├čengottern, Germany.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang M├╝ller.
Total time: 59:07.

Works on this disc:
Praeludiums, Choralebeartbeitungen, Trios, 2 Canononishe Chralbeartbeitungen.

Performed by:
Felix Friedrich.

Instrument used:
Trost organ, Gro├čengottern, 1730. 
Stimmungsart: Werkmeister, (Generalba├č-Unterweisung)
Stimmtonh├Âhe: Chorton.

This organ is an absolute gem. It's quite large, but it never overpowers you. Sound is very sweet, open and well balanced. It has a excellent disposition, and as per usual Friedrich uses the registrations in a proportional manner. The result is absolutely dazzling, and he really leaves no wishes open. I never heard Krebs music better as on this recording. Especially impressed by the 2 Canonische  Choralbearbeitungen, and a tuneful Fantasia ├á gusto Italiano, that made me smile.
The first piece on this disc is a very short Praeludium, but effective nevertheless. And the disc is closed with a Fugue in D major, that again sums up Krebs his genius. You should not hold back if you want his organ music, it doesn't come any better as this. Sound is State of the Art.






Saturday, August 12, 2017

Walther, Johann Gottfried. (1684-1748) Complete Organ music. CD 10. Chorale settings IX.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2015.
First listen: 11-8-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 10 from 12.
Recording dates: April/May/November 2013.
Venue: Church of Sant'Antonio, Abate, Padua, Italy.
Sound engineer: Alessandro Simonetto.
Total time: 53:00.
Relevance: Essential.

Works on this disc:
See heading.

Performed by:
Simone Stella.

Instruments used:
Francesco Zanin organ. 2006.

As to the music I am finished praising it, for I said all good there is to say. Walther is one of my heroes. Stella and his organ are the cream on the cake. I could not wish for a better interpretation or organ. In the matter of recording there is unfortunately something wrong, in the sense that it is vastly different from the previous 9 volumes. As I would say that they are all State of the Art recordings, so after the first 2 tracks on disc 10, with perfect sound,  from track 3 to 22 the sound is a tad muffled, missing the colours, the highs are subdued and the volume went down, it almost sounded like a lame instrument. Even the 16f pipes did not have power anymore. I distinctly felt that the microphones were placed much further away and thus obscuring the sound. That is very unfortunate, and I am puzzled why Simonetto did this. After track 23 everything seemed to be normal again. I am a bit pissed of because of my favourite piece suffered in this occurrence, namely "Wie soll ich dich Empfangen, Versus 1-10. I adore that composition and was looking forward to it. O, well, its the music that counts I guess. I hope they do not do this again.





The Leiden Choirbooks Volume III. (De Leidse Koorboeken)

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: 2017.
First listen: 11-8-2017.
Label: Etcetera.
CD 1 and 2.
Recording dates: January & February 2012.
Venue: Laurentiuskerk Mijnsheerenland, The Netherlands, Christuskirche Obersch├Âneweide, Berlin, Germany.
Sound engineer: Tom Dunnebier, Christoph Drescher.
Total time: 62:10 & 77:22.
Relevance: Essential.

Composers on both discs:
Jacobus Clemens non Papa.
Pierre Moulu.
Johannes Lupi.
Jheronimus Vinders.
Cornelis Canis.
Josquin des Prez.
Anonymous.

Performed by:
Egidius kwartet & College.

It took me sometime to get to this volume due to an excess of things I wanted to hear, but finally I made a successful attempt and have listened to both discs of volume III. As expected, it was a journey of marvel and a few critical notes, but at the end a deeply satisfied mind. For there is no doubt about the uniqueness of this set, or of the quality of performance. Pierre Moulu, Johannes Lupi, Jheronimus Vinders, Cornelis Canis, and the anonymous music, I almost or never heard from them, let alone that the music was known to me. The deepest impression was made, coming from disc 2, with Cornelius Canis his "Missa pastores loquebantur" and the anonymous, "Missa pro fidelibus defunctis". I was enraptured by the music and the balanced singing of this choir, which was again a step upwards compared to the previous volumes. The careful approach and the sensitivity of singing had me in feathers, in this they actually share a place with the best ensembles I heard. I have no idea who composed the "Missa pro fidelibus defunctis" but it is an absolute gem, and he surely must have been a very able composer, for the work is of a very high quality.
As to disc 1, I found them to be not lacking in creativity. They have an endearing touch of breathiness in their singing with a winning purity. The dynamic gradations are what I think not quite on the same level as in the previous volumes, or compared to the second disc of this set. It is both a problem of the choir and maybe the recording. While disc 2 had a near ideal sound, with air around the voices, and a careful watch on the volumes and dynamics, disc 1 was a touch more problematic. If you listen to the first track, a composition by Clemens non Papa, "Cum esset anna" you hear that that the female voices are given tonal prominence over the male voices and so disturb the balance between voices. I know they hold the melody line, but it should have been a tad softer in expression. I do not want to hear steel between their teeth. It is not really serious but I was a bit disappointed about that. It comes and goes in all the pieces, sometime less, sometimes more. However it did not distract from the eminent singing, although the acoustics is differently recorded. I should have thought that Tom Dunnebier by now should know where to place the choir and microphones. 
I especially enjoyed the lesser known pieces, like Jheronimus Vinders, "Magnificat" a 4, a real find for me. The choir provides a clean and crisply articulated performance, which propels you quickly into raptures, for they create by their singing an intimate sympathetic affection, and it lets you lean back in your seat perfectly content with the world and the music. Especially disc 2 is a spine tingler. A world weary quality pervades the music. So it's good.




Friday, August 11, 2017

Krebs, Johann Ludwig. (1713-1780) Complete Works for Organ, CD 3.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: August 2017.
First listen: 11-8-2017.
Label: Querstand.
CD 3 from 13.
Recording dates: May 1998.
Venue: Schlo├čkirche Altenburg, Germany.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang M├╝ller.
Total time: 64:31.
Relevance: Essential.

Works on this disc.
Solo pieces for Organ and accompanied by Baroque Oboe.

Performed by:
Felix Friedrich, Organ.
Norbert Kaschel, Oboe.

Instrument used:
Trost Organ, 1735 in the Castle Church of  Altenburg

This was a delightful disc with a good mix of compositions, well played and perfectly recorded. It was as if the Oboe was an extra pipe in the organ. Actually the blend was quite natural. In Krebs time it was a normal thing to use wind instruments together with the organ and he wrote some 20 pieces for this combination. And it works. Of course the organist has to adapt himself in volume to the Oboe, which is done to perfection, and together they create an interesting perspective. The performance is properly subordinate to the architecture of Krebs compositions. The solo pieces for organ are as per usual excellent, individual and distinctive. No need to hold back on this fine disc.






Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) L'Arte del Violin. Concertos for Violin, strings and bc, opus 3. Complete Edition, CD 9

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 11-8-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 9 from 21.
Recording dates: November 2012.
Venue: Westervestkerk, Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Peter Arts.
Total time: 64:36.
Relevance: Essential.

Works on this disc:
Concerto No. 4 in E, No. 5 in C, No. 6 in G minor.

Performed by:
Ensemble Violini Capricciosi, Igor Ruhadze.

As with the previous volumes, performance and recording is superb. Simply perfect interpretations, and valid as a reference. There are not many violinists around that can play all difficult caprices Locatelli wrote for the opus 3, but Ruhadze can. As such this is an unique document and well worth the modest price of this set.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Froberger, Johann Jacob. (1616-1667) Complete music for Harpsichord and Organ. CD 14.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 10-8-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 14 from 16.
Recording dates: March and June 2016.
Venue: Saletta Acustica Eric James, Pove del Grappa, Vicenza & Basilica di San Giorgio fuori le mura, Ferrara, Italy.
Sound engineer: Alessandro Simonetta.
Running time: 53:47.
Relevance to me: Essential.

Works on this disc:
Gigues, Partitas, Allemandes, Sarabandes, Praeludium.

Instruments used:
Harpsichord by William Horn after Ioannes Ruckers 1638.
Pinchi organ, Op. 446.

Performed by:
Simone Stella.

This set is already so much praised by me, that it eludes me what to say more as, try it.  You will find all the reviews in my blog by filling in the search option. Performance and recording is first rate. Not everyone will like his tempi, but he makes more than up for it in expression. I like this contemplative approach, this inward searching. The praeludium in G, the last piece on this disc is fabulous, played on a very fine organ.


Walther, Johann Gottfried. (1684-1748) Complete Organ Music. Chorale Settings VIII. CD 9.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2015.
First listen: 10-8-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 9 from 12.
Recording dates: April/May/November 2013.
Recording venue: Church of Sant'Antonio Abate, Padua, Italy.
Sound engineer: Alessandro Simonetto.
Running time: 55:12.
Relevance to me: Essential.
Reference performance.
State of the Art recording.
Top recommendation.

Works on this CD.
See heading.

Performed by:
Simone Stella.

Instrument used:
Francesco Zanin 2006.

I heaped praise on the previous 8 volumes and am out of words for praise. I will simply state again that this ought to be a reference choice when seeking out the music of this composer. For me Walther is a pivotal element from his time, nothing short of being a genius, so you can count me in as a real fan, a word I seldom use, but I am fanatic about him, so it fits the bill. Volume 9 is every bit as good as the 8 before it. Simone Stella is one of the best musicians from Italy that I know. Much of what he touches turns into gold.
A golden set then.......


Krebs, Johann Ludwig. (1713-1780) Complete works for Organ. CD 2.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: August 2017.
First listen: 10-8-2017.
Label: Querstand.
CD 2 from 13.
Recording dates: 1998.
Recording venue: Friedenskirche Ponitz, Germany.
Recording engineer: Wolfgang M├╝ller.
Running time: 60:32.
Relevance to me: Essential.

Works performed:
Praeludium and Fugue in C major, and F minor.
Trios in C minor/E sharp major/D minor.
Fugues in A minor/G minor.
Fantasia in F major.
Fantasia mit Fugenfragment, in G major.
Choralbearbeitungen.

Works performed by:
Felix Friedrich.

Instrument used:
Silbermann organ 1734.

If I have to be reminded why I love the music of Krebs, I only have to play the first item on this disc, Praeludium and Fugue in C major. All the ingredients that attract me are in the 8:21 minutes of superb counterpoint and polyphony excellence.
In organ literature I will not go further as Krebs, 1780 being my absolute line which I do not cross. Organ music after that year does not have my ear. Organs build after 1800 are also out of my picture.. So with this disc and music and instrument all the right boxes are fully ticked. I was never so happy as to discover this complete set. There is just one complete version, and a few versions with only the organ. In my box are also the works in combination with wind instruments, choir or solo voice. Loved by J.S. Bach, constantly reminding people of Krebs excellence and him being his favourite pupil, one readily understands this emotion when listening to the music of this composer. All the works on this disc are gorgeous, played on a beautiful Silbermann organ, by a superb organist. Friedrich always adds a vivid intensity to the music, a sincerity that is disarming, creating emotional landscapes, applying dynamic gradations with such sensitivity, beautifully executed, adding some but never too much brilliance, creating an enchantment that will quickly capture your imagination. The sound is state of the art.





International Martini Organ Competition, Groningen, The Netherlands. 3-11 August 2017.

This competition is organized by Erwin Wiersinga, Leo van Doeselaar, Theo Jellema and Peter Westerbrink. As part of this festival 3 jury members gave a concert which I attended.

Daniel Zaretsky.
Music by Bruhns and Bohm.
I liked his playing and the choice of the composers. All was well articulated, and he was sparing in dynamic contrasts. Not glitter but a very detailed expression.

Jan Laukvik.
He played works by J.S. Bach and a ugly piece by himself.

Technical a good organist, but he likes punch and glitter. So you hear more Laukvik in the music as Bach.

Masaaki Suzuki.
He played works by Bach, and an ad hoc piece, which I could not identify. We were told but the guy forgot to use the microphone, so that was no good.
Again Masaaki is technically perfect, but I think he is not a organist that might interest me. I felt his performance lacking in substance and detail. He seemed more interested in playing as loud as he could on the organ, and not really interested in displaying Bach's true colours.
But then again I felt his first BIS recording with Bach's organ works not particularly good. I saw him and would have told him so, but he was surrounded by a lot of busybodies all chattering away like angry chickens, so I left the building. I heard a lot of dissent about Suzuki from divers people after his performance.



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Froberger, Johann Jacob. (1616-1667) Complete music for Harpsichord and Organ. CD 13. Partitas from the Berlin and Chigi Manuscripts


New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 8-8-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 13 from 16.
Recording dates: October 2015/March-June 2016.
Recording venue: Basilica della Santissima Annunziata Florence/Basilica di San Giorgio fuori le Mura, Ferrara/Saletta Acustica Eric James, Pove del Grappa, Vicenza, Italy.
Recording engineer: Alessandro Simonetto.
Running time: 57:48.
Relevance to me: Essential.

Works performed:
Partita "Die Hochst├Ądter Leuchte" in F minor.
"Das Nachtlager" in E flat.
"Der Naseweise Orgelprobierer" in E.

Tocacatas:
No. 1 in C, No. 2 in F, No. 3 in C minor.

Performed by:
Simone Stella.

Instruments used: 
Harpsichord by William Horn, after Ioannes Ruckers 1638.
Domenico Di Lorenzo da Lucca organ (1521)
Temperament: Meantone 1/4.
Pitch: a'=446,5 Hz.
Pinchi organ, Op.446.
Unequal temperament by Claudio Brizi.
Pitch: a'=465 Hz.

Simone Stella's playing flows with fluent ease! The rich tonal layering of all instruments used, especially the disposition of both organs is a real treat. Froberger gets an individual and distinctive treatment, in which the fundamental principle is always to display an harmonious balance. There is no unevenness or unsteadiness of line, but it tells of richness and a certain grandeur. At times it's remarkably tender, and at other times more intense, but never at the expense of the polyphonic lines. Clear and luminous is all what Stella touches, with great refinement and warmth of tone. The organs provide a clean crisply, and articulated expression. All is illuminated with superb finesse.This box has been a success story throughout, and holds almost no disappointments. Sound is superb.



Walther, Johann Gottfried. (1684-1748) Complete Organ Music. CD 8. Chorale Settings VII.


New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2015.
First listen: 8-8-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
Recording dates: April/May/November 2013.
Recording venue: Church of Sant'antonio Abate Padua, Italy.
Recording engineer: Alessandro Simonetto.
Running time: 57:57.
Relevance to me: Essential.

Works performed: 
See heading.

Works performed by:
Simone Stella.

Instrument used:
Francesco Zanin organ (2006)
Pitch: a=440 Hz, Unequal temperament, mechanical transmission. 

I simply love this instrument and its disposition. Based on North German examples it is a huge credit to its builder Francesco Zanin. My ears are caressed every time I listen to this instrument. Now I think Walther as a composer on the same height as J.S. Bach only in a different way. His works are musically satisfying and shows to great advantage all what an organ has to offer in colour and dynamics, not forgetting the spiritual intensity of it.  What I miss in the booklet is mention of the registrations used for each piece. I can define most of them, but in a few cases not, and that annoys me. For instance: what is happening in track 10, "Nun Lob mein Seel den Herren" in which I hear dissonants completely out of character. 
If you want to sample the beauty of this disc just listen to track 17 and 18, "O, Herre Gott dein g├Âttlich Wort", versus I and II, which is simply magnificent as music and performance. And track 19, Ciaccona sopra 'I canto fermo, "O, Jesu du edler Gabe", "O, Jesu meine lust" which is simply gorgeously done. Coupled with a state of the art performance, I make this a reference performance, on one of the finest modern instruments I know.

Beethoven, Ludwig van. (1770-1827) Symphony No. 9 opus 125 in D minor.


New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2016.
First listen: 8-8-2017.
Label: Zig-Zag Territoires.
Recording dates: April 2007.
Recording venue: Concertgebouw Brugge, Belgium.
Recording engineer: Bert van der Wolf.
Running time: 65:22.
Relevance to me: Essential.

Works performed:
See heading.

Works performed by:
Anima Eterna, Jos van Immerseel.
Soloists:
Anna Kristiina Kaappola, Soprano.
Marianne Beate Kielland, Alto.
Markus Sch├Ąfer Tenor.
Thomas Bauer, Bass.

I am very happy with this Beethoven set with the complete symphonies. With the ninth I have structural problems situated in the choral and soloistic department. I have to be honest that as yet I do not know or have a performance that ticks all my buttons. In the case of Immerseel I think both last vocal movements are a disaster. First fact of discontent is that the choral and soloistic parts are recorded separately in a different acoustic. When the tenor starts singing there is a distinct bathtube echo, and that does not change. Second fact is that the vocal attack is horrendous, to the point that I find it utterly disgusting. All soloists approach the music in this way, and that is incomprehensible for me. The presentation is downright ugly. The choir is not doing any better, and the screaming soon starts to batter my eardrums in such a way that I turned it off. Why o why did Beethoven as he intended, not rewrite the last 2 movements into purely instrumental pieces. O, well I simply must forget about this and turn instead to the instrumental parts of this symphony, which are superbly done by Immerseel. Swift tempi, plenty of fantasy and versatility in musical articulation and mood, he delivers a rapturous performance. Rhythmical vigour aplenty, this orchestra breathe and moves like a single unified organism, without the usual mannerisms in so many other performances I know. The infinite variety of sensitive phrasings is phenomenal. So not a complete disappointment then. The sound is good.



Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) The Complete Edition. CD 8. L'Arte del Violino, opus 3. No. 1-3.


New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 8-8-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 8 from 21.
Recording dates: October 2012.
Recording venue: Westvestkerk Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Peter Arts.
Running time: 68:21.
Relevance to me: Essential.

Works performed:
Concertos for Violin, strings and BC, opus 3.
No 1 in D, No2 in C minor, No. 3 in F.

Works performed by:
Ensemble Violini Capricciosi, Igor Ruhadze.
Played on authentic instruments.

This set truly belong to be on everyone's shelf. Not only is it complete, but you get top interpretations plus sound that is natural and state of the art. Igor Ruhadze is a magician on the violin, and is supported by a team of wonderful BC players equally good.
Locatelli is a composer of great renown, thus in these concerti you will hear the refined instrumental commentary he offers throughout all the music. The is a remarkable freshness and sense of discovery in these interpretations, as if they are brand new and introduced for the first time.  Ruhadze has an lightness in his playing with much colour, producing a freewheeling variety in all of Locatelli's compositions. His shaping of the melodies in the many cadenza's is phenomenal. There is a elegant lyricism and a touching vulnerability in all that he plays. Ecstatic yet restrained and superbly controlled  both dynamically and emotionally it is hard to imagine that this can be done better. The accomplished duetting with the wonderful BC players has a synergy  that is amazing throughout. Impeccable it is. Artfully poised!


Organ Music from Sweelinck, Frescobaldi, Kerll, Erbach, Scheidemann, Froberger Scheidt.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: August 2016.
First listen: 8-8-2017.
Second listen: 9-8-2017.
Third listen: 16-8-2017.
Label: Orgel commissie Kantens.
Recording dates: 2014.
Recording venue: Antonius Church Kantens, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer:  Jan Willem van Willigen.
Running time: 65:44.
Relevance to me: Essential.

Composers on this disc:
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck.
Girolamo Frescobaldi.
Johann Caspar Kerll.
Christian Erbach.
Heinrich Scheidemann.
Johann Jakob Froberger.
Samuel Scheidt.

Works performed by:
Wolfgang Zerer.

Instrument used: Husz Organ.
Pitch: a'450,6 Hz by 15 degrees celsius. 
The instrument is tuned in pure "middentoontemperatuur" with eight reine tertsen.

Originally built in 1664 by Hendrick Husz, (hoofdwerk) expanded in 1668, (rugwerk) by Johannes Husz. Restoration by J├╝rgen Ahrend (1986) reconstruction of the (rugwerk) by Hendrik Ahrend (2007) in collaboration with Cor Edskes.



When I was at a live concert in Kantens I got a very good impression of this wonderful organ. There are not many organs in the Netherlands of these builders, so well restored and in a perfect playing condition. It has a beautiful disposition, and the registrations used are well suited to this organ. It has a 16f Bourdon in the Hoofdwerk, which gives it ample basis. The Holpipe 8f sound fluent and silk soft. Nothing to complain about the flutes either.
On this disc is a nice mix of well known works, played by Wolfgang Zerer. He knows how to handle this unique organ, and is a good judge of the capabilities of this instrument. A sensitive musician. I did not think that Frescobaldi was a good choice, for the colours were a bit muffled, as if the clarity was not enough to lift his music above the instrument, but all other composers are projected in accomplished and carefully blended performances.
The recording does full justice to the instrument. Recommended.



Monday, August 7, 2017

Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann. (1710-1784) Complete Harpsichord Music. CD 1.


New acquisition.
Date of purchase: August 2017.
First listen: 7-8-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 1 from 6.
Recording dates: November 2016.
Recording venue: Radio Kapelle-Benedictine Monastery of Muri-Gries, Bolzano, Italy.
Recording engineer: Matteo Costa.
Running time: 69:19.
Relevance to me: Well worth having.

Works performed:
Fantasias and Fugues.

Fantasias in A minor/in C/ D minor/E minor/C minor/D minor/ in D/E minor/C minor.
Fugues in C minor/in F.

Works performed by:
Claudio Astronio.

Instrument:
Keith Hill, 1984 after Johannes Peter Bull, Germany 1778.

Here and there I have some bits and bobs of Friedemann's harpsichord works, but not much. This box is a complete survey by Claudio Astronio a musician I never heard from but comes highly recommended. The music is well worth exploring, and Astronio does that in a creative and dynamic approach. He is no slouch, and his tempi are invigorating and brilliantly executed. He highlights all the fine details without overdoing them. There is plenty of fantasy and versatility in articulation and mood, and an infinite variety of phrasings. He delivers in a delightful rapturous way the music by Friedemann, with such rigorous and rhythmical vigour and exiting gutsiness, that you can not avoid being drawn into the music. Just sample the Fantasia in C minor F 15, and you know exactly what I mean. Playfulness is the key element in his performance. He moves through the music as a single unified organism without added mannerisms. The instrument sounds gorgeous and the recording is first rate.


Another two organ concertos which I heard this weekend. (5-8-2017.

Last Saturday I went to Kantens and Middelstum, to listen to a Husz and Petrus van Oeckelen organ. I never heard a Husz or Huis organ before so it was necessary to go there. I was very curious.
This organ in the Antonius church in Kantens was built by Hendrik Huis 1664, (Hoofdwerk) and expanded by Johannes Huis in 1668, (Rugwerk) The restoration of the Hoofdwerk was done by J├╝rgen Ahrend (1986) and the reconstruction of the Rugwerk by Hendrik Ahrend  (2007) both in collaboration with Cor Edskes. This organ is in its construction and its tonal concept absolutely unique. There is not a single comparable instrument of which the sound has not been greatly altered by the addition of nicking. Tuned: a'450,6 Hz by 15 degrees celsius. The instrument is tuned in "de zuivere middentoon temperatuur met acht reine tertsen". The builders of this organ are family of Arp Schnitger.
The instrument was played on this day by Leni Otte, she is the principal player on this organ also on Sunday services. It's a small organ with A bordon 16' and 3', 8 pipes in the Hoofdwerk, and Quintadena 8' and Regeal 8' in the Rugwerk.
On the program was: J.B. Bach, Ciacona in G, 25 variations, Georg B├Âhm, Froberger, and Buxtehude.
The organ sounds fantastic with a deep and warm sound, beautiful flutes and a Bordon that gives a wonderful basis to the music. The playing was adequate but not exceptional.  The Froberger was not really suited to this particular organ. Still a great joy to be there.
Afterwards I went to Middelstum to listen to a late 19th century van Oeckelen organ in Middelstum played by Kees Steketee. He was the best organist I heard in this series playing faultless.
I am not really interested in this organ builder. For one his organs sound flat to my ears with little colour or expression. Secondly I dislike the guy because he destroyed several Arp Schnitger organs, and changed dispositions of old organs lacking respect for builders before him. The program was not interesting, but this church is a beauty, so I feasted my eyes on it and largely ignoring the organ.

Kantens
Middelstum

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 ...