Friday, October 20, 2017

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

A second rerun of Volume III. The Leiden Choirbooks. Disc 1 & 2.
As lovely as with the first hearing. You might read the first review I wrote on 11-8-2017.

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


Röntgen, Julius. (1855-1932) Works for Violin & Piano. Volume I.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 19-10-2017.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: March 2011.
Venue: Deutschlandfunk Kammermusiksaal, Germany.
Sound engineer: Christoph Rieseberg.
Total time: 74:24.

Works on this disc:
Sonata opus 40 in E major.
Phantasy opus 24.
Sonata Trologica. (1915)
Seven Concert Pieces opus 89-Suite.

Performed by:
Christoph Schickedanz, Violin.
Ernst Breidenbach, Piano.

This CD reminds me again what a fine composer Röntgen was. We tend to ignore him in the Netherlands, as we do with all other composers born or working in the past. We do not have pride in them, apart from a very small group of music lovers. Why this is I have no idea.
Anyways, I am a huge fan of Röntgen's art, and try to get as much of his music as I can. The works for Violin and piano is a first volume, but it is hard to believe they will follow that up, since the recording is from 2011, although it was released in 2015. And that would be a pity, for most of his work was never published let alone recorded. He is almost treated in a casual way, as if he was never friends with Brahms, Grieg, to name a few, both of them admiring his music. O, well, I guess we must be glad that CPO already recorded a lot of his works. Judging the quality of the Chamber music I would love them to pursue that course too, for the music is amazingly creative and satisfying to the ear.
Every single work on this disc is surprisingly and wonderfully shaped into music of rare beauty. There is a seriousness in expression, and fluidity in rendering strings of emotions that gets to your heart quick and effectively.  But there is also a leaner and lighter aspect in this music, and it's also worth pointing out the many influences of folk music, that makes the opus 89 so effective.
It has also something of an elegant evening drawing room intellectualism, which is hugely appealing, especially in the opus 40, and opus 24. Röntgen brings up a fountain of fresh insights to the Sonata Trilogica, and it seems as it will never run dry! It is exuberant and shows a great sense  of fantasy. And I cannot fault the skill on display in performing this music, lovingly oiled artistic synergy is what you get. Needless to say I am very happy with this music and performance. It's time for Volume II.
A fine recording.


Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 15.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 19-10-2017.
Label: La Dolce Volta.
CD 15 from 15.
Recording year:  1988-1990.
Venue: Fère en Tardenois, France, & Weingarten, Germany.
Sound engineers: André Isoir and Georges Kisselhof.
Total time: 75:18.

Works on this disc:
The Leipzig Chorales (part II) arranged in the order of the Liturgical year.
Choralbearbeitungen, BWV 651/652/655/667/662-664/654/657/665/666/658/668.
Ricercare a 6 from The Musical offering.

Performed by:
André Isoir.

Instruments:

Georg Westenfelder, 1990.
Joseph Gabler 1750.

The last disc is well recorded and the performances are perfect again. CD 14 did not give me much hope in expecting better sonics and performance, but I am happy to say it's all good. Somehow Isoir delivered as usual, and disc 14 is simply the odd one out. But all in all I have enjoyed the ride, and discovered many things in Bach's music which were new to me. Another interpretation gives a fresh start in reevaluating the music as such, and in this Isoir gave me insightful suggestions in terms of dynamics, speed and colour. Also his easy communicative manner, and his direct approach opened up possibilities in Bach's organ music unheard by me. And that's the greatest compliment I can give to this master on the instrument. A wise acquisition.
Sound is really good.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

De Leidse Koorboeken. (The Leiden Choirbooks) Volume II. CD 1 & 2. Second rerun.

For the second time in quite a short period I will play the six volumes again. Since I got used to the voices of this choir, my impression deepens, and appreciation of this project more on the foreground. The second volume is in all respect a more perfected choir culture, in which I detect more coherence in all voices and as an ensemble.
My previous reviews you can read if so inclined. CD 1 was reviewed on 11-5-2017, CD 2 on 16-5-2017.


Pejačević, Dora.(1885-1923) The Complete Piano Works. CD 1.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 17-10-2017.
Label: CPO
CD 1 of two.
Recording dates: June/July 2014.
Venue: SWR Stuttgart Kammermusikstudio, Germany.
Sound engineer: Burkhard Pfitzner-Landeck.
Total time CD 1: 79:06.

Works on this CD:
Blumenleben, opus 19.
Sonate opus 57.
Sechs fantasiestücke opus 17.
Blütenwirbel opus 45.
Zwei Nocturnes opus 50.
Vier Klavierstücke opus 32a. (Only three of them survived)
Impromptu opus 32b.
Valse de concert opus 21.
Erinnerung opus 24.

Performed by:
Nataša Veljković, piano.

This female composer in on top of my list. I have a great admiration for her music and as a person. Intelligent, well read, with a sharp mind, and as she said herself in a letter to a friend, "a little devil inside of me". All what is recorded of her on CPO I bought, and yes even the vocal pieces, which is something never done before in my collection, certainly not from this time. But her compositions are so unique, and appealing to the heart as well as to the mind, that is is quite impossible to ignore her uniqueness in all she does. That Nataša Veljković is able to bring this all out  is remarkable and tells me something of her deep involvement into the phenomenon Dora Pejačević was. The magic of the music and performance works on me, I am totally bowled over by the beauty of the music and it's intrinsic message. The impression of this interpretation is not one of hurry but neither of dragging along, rather a well paced and emotional and passionate account of the feelings felt by the composer. The pictorial nicknames are very telling in this respect. There are no insurmountable technical challenges, but the music is hugely appealing to all senses. It is an impression that keeps a hold on you when listening. You tumble quite quickly into the emotional world of Dora Pejačević, and it does not let you go. Even long after listening to this music it will linger in your mind for a long time. Nataša Veljković draws out all melodies to good effect with some richly coloured and quiet playing, and thus every note has a filigree that is clearly audible. She lets the music breathe with a compelling effect. Superb articulation too!  There is an inner power in this interpretation and an impressive clarity. What a treat and honour to be able to listen to this music.
I am trying to find the book that Dr Koraljka Kos wrote about Dora, "Das Leben und Werk" Zagreb 1986, but until now that was unsuccessful.  Maybe one of my readers might help out?
Anyway this is music to have and to hold. Recording is superb.


Hoffmeister, Franz Anton. (1754-1812. Symphonies.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 17-10-2017.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: August 2012.
Venue: Auditorio RSI, Lugano, Switzerland.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Müller.
Total time: 53:58.

Works on this disc:

Overture from the opera, "Der Königssohn aus Ithaka".
Symphony in C major & D major.

Performed by:
Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Howard Griffiths.

Not to long ago I bought a disc with 2 viola concertos and 12 pieces for solo viola by the same composer. I was quite impressed by the music, so on the basis of that CD I bought the present one, and I was not disappointed. We get a well drilled orchestra led by Howard Griffiths, a very versatile conductor, who makes of almost every recording a success. I would be hard pressed to find one that does not fulfill these words I am sure. Griffiths navigates through the symphonies with care and patience, achieving a real sense of focus. You do not often find this supernal transparency in music offered by this orchestra. The expressive charge is invigorating, and the profundity of Hoffmeister's creativity does not know an end either. Highly original in the shaping of his melodies, bubbling along nicely, with speedy finales. He is a child of his times and fits in quality and quantity. Great orchestral detail too, especially in the communicative overture, inspirational and invigorating, judiciously prepared it seems. Combustible spontaneity!
Great sound.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 14.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 17-10-2017.
Label: La Dolce Volta.
CD 14 from 15.
Recording year: 1990.
Venue: Fère en Tardenois, France, & Weingarten, Germany.
Sound engineers: André Isoir and Georges Kisselhof.
Total time: 66:17.

Works on this disc:
Third part of the Clavier Übung, Choralbearbeitungen, BWV 687-689.
Duet No. 1-4. BWV 802-805.
Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her, BWV 769, Canonic variations.
Fugue St Anne in E flat major, BWV 552b.
The Leipzig Chorales (part I) arranged in the order of the Liturgical year.
(BWV 659-661, 653a, 656.

Performed by:
André Isoir.

Instruments:

Georg Westenfelder, 1990.
Joseph Gabler 1750.

Coming near the end of this 15 CD box with Bach's organ works, I get a pretty clear idea of what I really want if it comes to performing style and the use of instruments. Isoir did almost all good, but he can lapse into sloppy playing, too much drive, and downright uninterested interpretations. Almost all recordings are very good, but some of them are not, and when sound and performance is combined in less than 70 minutes of laboured work then something is amiss. CD 14 is an good example when things go wrong with Isoir. Now the Westenfelder organs are not on my lists of favourite instruments, but when the recorded sound is fuzzy and unfocused, and the interpretation is giving a very unsatisfying result, my reaction was on the brink of stopping the CD altogether. As to the excessive drive just sample the Duet No. 4 in A minor, almost maniacal. Plus the bombast of this organ, and the aggressive approach of Isoir, enough to give it a cold shoulder. Things get better in the Leipzig Chorales, sound and performance wise, but I was not happy with the result overall, and perceive this CD to be not for repeated listening. Lets see what the last CD brings, alas with both the Gabler and Westenfelder instruments I have no high hopes. 


Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) The Complete Edition, CD 1. Trio Sonatas opus 5. No.1-6. (Violin version)

Started a rerun of this box, a daunting 21 CD monster.
CD 1 starting with the Violin version of opus 5.
Beautiful.
See review written on 10-10-2016.

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.



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

De Leidse Koorboeken, ( The Leiden Choirbooks) Volume I, CD 1 & 2. Second rerun.

Starting with the Leidse Choirbooks again.
You can read the reviews from CD 1 on 10-4-2017, and CD 2 on 18-4-2017.
I still find the interpretations highly satisfying, even though the voices can be quite penetrating at times, especially with the high pitched sopranos.  But the cultural worth is of prime importance.
Furtheron in the set things get so much better. The first track on CD I composed by Thomas Crecquillon, "Memento salutis auctor-Maria mater" has a beauty almost beyond this world, as track 3 from the same composer, "Recordare Domine-Propterea maestum". Soul enriching music.
Om the second CD is recorded a magnificent anonymous "Missa sancta Maria" that made a huge impression on me. it is really a sublime work composed on a high level, sung to perfection by this ensemble., only for male voices.






Monday, October 16, 2017

Viotti, Giovanni Battista (1755-1824) Complete Violin Concertos. CD 5.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 16-10-2017.
Label: Dynamic.
CD 5 from 10.
Recording dates: May 1998.
Venue: Sala S. Antonio, Perugia. Italy.
Sound engineer: Pietro Mosetti Casaretto.
Total time: 64:22.

Works on this CD:
Violin concertos:
No. 20 in D major.
No. 27 in C major.
No. 4 in D major.

Performed by: 

Franco Mezzena, Violin & Conductor.
Symphonia Perusina.


Beautiful music and well performed. Viotti was a brilliant writer for the violin, and in this there are not many surpassing him. In this lies the real value of his music, the violin. Orchestration is not always that adventurous, and the orchestra is not the best around, but France Mezzena is an excellent violinist, and that is the main factor. Recording is a bit restricted as to the acoustics, but the violin sounds fantastic.


Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) Trio Sonatas Opus 5, 1-6. CD21. The Complete edition.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 16-10-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 21 of 21.
Recording dates: 1995.
Venue: Maria Minor & Waalse kerk,  Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Jorn Mineur.
Total time: 62:48

Works on this CD:
Trio Sonatas
Opus 5. 1-6.
No 1 & 4 for Flauto Traverso violin & BC.
No 2,3 & 5 for Flauti traversi & BC.
No 6 for Flauto traverso, Violin & double BC.

Performed by:
Jed Wentz, traverso & Leader.
Musica ad Rhenum.

Absolute fabulous close of this set. Not one of the 21 CD'S disappointed me. All is performed and recorded to a very high standard. For me it is and stays a reference set. I am particularly happy about the caprices inserted in the concertos, long as they may be, they are superb crafted and performed.  And this last CD with Jed Wentz on the Flauto traverso, and Musica ad Rhenum as the BC, well the playing is beyond reproach.
Recommended!


Cabezon, Antonio de. (1510-1566) (Obras de música para tecla arpa y Vihuela) CD 5. Compiled and intabulated by Hernando de Cabezón. (Madrid 1578)

From my collection.
Purchase date: October 2012.
First listen: 5-11-2012.
Second listen: 9-1-2013
Third listen: 16-10-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
Licensed from: Stradivarius.
CD 5 from 7.
Recording dates: 1997.
Venues: Chiesa del borgo di Presule, 05/1997; Convento di S. Magno ad Amelia, 08/1997; Museo del convento di S. Giuseppe da Copertino ad Osimo, 08/1997; Chiesa Evangelica di Bolzano 09/1997.
Sound engineer: Michael Seberich.
Total time: 63:39.

Works on this disc:

Tientos.
Motets a cinco.
Canciones a cinco.

Performed by:


Harmonices Mundi
Alessandro Ciccolini (violin), Patrizio Focardi (violin), Vania Pedronetto (viola alto), Rosario Di Meglio (viola tenore), Wally Pituello (cello), Claudio Astronio (organ, harpsichord, regal)

La Moranda
Marie Garnier (cornet), Paco Rubio (cornet), Stefan Legèe (alto sackbut), Jena-Marie Bonche (alto sackbut), Pascal Gonzalez (bass sackbut)
Claudio Astronio, Conductor.


This disc is a winner as all the other discs in this box. I heaped tons of praise already on the first four CD'S, and this one is no exception to that rule. Absolute bliss in terms of performance, instruments and recordings.


Music at the time of Louis XIV. CD 2. Comédies-Ballets, Tragédies en musique & Cantatas.

New acquisition.
Bought in September 2016.
First listen: 16-9-2016.
Second listen: 16-10-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
Music licensed from: Erato-Harmonia Mundi-Alpha.
Further technical info: Not mentioned.
Running time CD 2: 79:02

Composers on Disc 2:

Jean Baptiste Lully.
Marc Antoine Charpentier.
Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre.

Excerpt from:
Les Plaisirs de l'île Enchanté.
Le Malade Imaginaire.
Cadmus et Hermione.
Armide.
Atys.
Actéon.
Médée.
Le Sommeil d'Ulisse.

Performed by:
Les Musiciens du Louvre, Marc Minkowski.
Les Arts Florissants, William Christie.
Cafe Zimmermann, Pablo Valetti.
La Chapelle Royale, Philippe Herreweghe.
Ricercar Consort.
Henri Ledroit.
Les Voix Humaines.
Isabelle Desrochers.

Well this CD is exactly the reason why I keep to excerpts instead of the complete operas. Some excerpts I stopped listening to, for the declamatory style and the so called funny dialogue did not do one bit for me. Guillemette Laurens never was or will be a artist that I ever want to listen to again. 50 % of this disc I liked but that's about it. Not my genre! 


Music at the time of Louis XIV. Airs de cour & Ballets de cour. CD 1.

New acquisition.
Bought in September 2016.
First listen: 16-9-2016.
Second listen: 18-10-2017.
Label: Ricercar.  
Licensed from: Alpha-Warner-Zig-Zag Territories-Harmonia Mundi-Naxos.
CD 1 from 8.
Recording dates: Not mentioned.
Recording venues: Not mentioned.
Recording engineers: Not mentioned.
Running time CD 1: 79:11.

Composers on disc 1.
Louis XIV.
Gabriel Bataille.
Jean Boyer.
Étienne Mouliné.
Pierre Guédron.
Anthoine Boesset.
Michel Lambert.
Joseph Chambanceau.
Marc Antoine Charpentier.
Michaël Praetorius.
Jeen de Cambrefort.
Jean Baptiste Lully.
Anonymous

Performed by:  
Les Symphonistes.
Nigel Rogers, Anthony Bailes.
Olga Pirarch, Marc Mauillon.
Le Poème Harmonique, Vincent Dumestre.
Claire Lefilliâtre.
Lýriade.
Stephan Van Dyck, Stephen Stubbs.
Henry Ledroit.
La Bande des Violins du Ricercar Consort.
Les Arts Florissants, William Christie.
Ensembles Correspondances, Sébastien Daucé.
Aradia Baroque Ensemble, Kevin Mallon.


I bought this set because of the fact that it is a fine cross section of music of which I would not buy a complete recording, and if you are also inclined this way, you could do no better as to buy this box, for Jerome Lejeune put together really the best in the genre, and only with renowned ensembles or soloists, represented in brilliant recordings. Also with this box comes a well illustrated book, in English and French, that explains the era of Louis. It is well written and understandable to all. The whole package of this set is worthy of high praise, it's a joy for your eyes as the music is to your ears. Are there negative points, of course there are, not serious things but still, things like wacky wobbly counter tenors, high pitched sopranos, etc, but not really serious shortcomings. It's most likely that I am the only one who hears it.
There is no mention of recording venues, recording dates and recording engineers. No total timings of the CD'S,  and more importantly, no texts to the vocal works.
Is it worth the marginal investment, yes emphatically so.  You cannot go wrong with it.
Sound in general is very good. 


Friday, October 13, 2017

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 13.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 13-10-2017.
Label: La Dolce Volta.
CD 13 from 15.
Recording year: 1990.
Venue: The Dom in Weingarten
Sound engineers: André Isoir and Georges Kisselhof.
Total time: 65:34

Works on this disc:
Third part of the Clavier Übung, Choralbearbeitungen, BWV 669-686.
Prelude in E flat major BWV 552a.



Performed by:
André Isoir.

Instrument:

Organ by Joseph Gabler, 1750.

The Gabler organ is a magnificent and mighty instrument but very difficult to record. The reverb is considerable and the acoustics tend to produce a hard sound, that is neither warm nor really detailed. That the engineers were able to keep the sound as clean as possible is a small  miracle. All stops are for the ear to hear, but in loud passages it is rather unforgiving in its loudness, almost harsch I might add. After a while this incessant battering on my ears, it became so oppressive that I had to turn down the volume considerably. Isoir's interpretation suffers of course because of the acoustics, but within limits there is enough to enjoy. I can hear that the engineers tried to limit the reverb and are more or less successful in this, but it is not a smooth sailing.
So it worth your while to look for other performances on a different organ. As for what it is worth, I like Isoir's style, even though it can be rather difficult to do so, in this recording.




Music at the time of Louis XIV. CD 7 & 8. Instrumental music and the French Sonata.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2016.
First listen: 13-10-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 7 & 8 from 8.
Music licensed from: Blawète, , Alpha, Harmonia Mundi, Warner Classics, Ramée, Cyprès, Zig Zag Territoires, Accent, CMBV.
Recording dates: ?
Venues: ?
Sound engineers: ?
Total time: 73:27 & 74:58.

Composers on disc 7 & 8..

François Couperin.
Marc Antoine Charpentier.
Nicolas Hotman.
Monsieur Dubuisson, Demachy, de Sainte-Colombe, Degrinis, Mersenne.
Collection Philidor.
Marin Mersenne.
André Danican Philidor.
Charles Mouton.
Robert de Visée.
Jean Philippe Rameau.
Marin Marais.

Performed by:
Many renown soloists.
Ensemble de Trompettes Gilles Rapin.
La Symphonie de Marais, Hugo Reyne.
Les Divertissements du Roy.
Sophie Watillon.
Philippe Pierlot.
Anthony Bailes.
Vincent Dumestre.
Céline Frisch.
Etc, etc.

The last two CD'S were a delight from beginning to end. All superb recordings and performances.
And a very good selection of music brought together by Jerome Lejeune. Really recommendable on all counts. The Hardcover book is a fine one to see and to read, though many typing errors in it, but you learn all there is to learn about the period of this illustrious king who loved music as much as his life. He has seen and heard many changes in his lifetime and Lejeune wrote that down in such a way that he takes you by the hand in explaining the music and from what tradition it came, and the development after Louis's death, or the parallel musical tradition outside the influence of Versailles and Lully of course, who was so powerful that he protected by law his creativity.
Fascinating read.



Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 11 & 12.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 12-10-2017.
Label: La Dolce Volta.
CD 11 and 12 from 15.
Recording year: 1976-1979.
Venue: Lambertikirche Aurich, Germany. Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg.
Sound engineers: Georges Kisselhof & Mireille Landmann.
Total time: 70:40 & 70:51.

Works on this disc:
6 Trio Sonatas, BWV 525-530.
Prelude and Fugues, BWV 536/943/546/539.
Trio, BWV 1027.
And BWV 736/727/653b/728.

Performed by:
Andre Isoir.

Instruments:

Jürgen Ahrend, 1956.
Georg Westenfelder, 1977.

Both discs were a huge pleasure to listen to. I am not the greatest fan of the Westenfelder organ, but I got used to it. Isoir is a bit to creative in the Trios but also in the prelude BWV 539. The really slow introduction falls almost apart, and the speeding up later is somehow breaking the flow too.
But in general he delivers a very satisfying account of all the works on both CD'S. Very discreet in the use of the registrations, and never blows the music out of countenance. The colours he gets out both organs are ravishing, and the use of the pedal on the Westenfelder is exemplary. It is easy on this organ to make a lot of noise, but he has a tight grip on the possibilities of the instrument. What I can remark is that I will from now on only concentrate on Historic organs, and will rarely venture out of this realm. For me they sound closer to what I actually want to hear.
Sound throughout is very good.




Music at the time of Louis XIV. CD 5 & 6. Organ/Harpsichord/Lute/Instrumental music & Oratorio.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2016.
First listen: 12-10-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 5 & 6 from 8.
Music licensed from: Blawète, Fnac music, Alpha, Musique en Wallonie, Harmonia Mundi, Erato Warner Classics, Ramée.
Recording dates: ?
Venues: ?
Sound engineers: ?
Total time: 77:24 & 78:08.

Composers on disc 5 & 6.

Johan Titelouze.
Louis Couperin.
Guillaume Gabriel Nivers.
Nicolas Lebègue.
François Couperin.
Louis Marchand.
Nicolas de Grigny.
Marc Antoine Charpentier.
Henry du Mont.
Eustache Du Caurroy.
Étienne Moulinié.
François Roberday.
René Mésangeau.
Ennemond Gaultier.
Denis Gaultier.
Jacques Champion de Chambonnières.
Jean Henri d'Anglebert.

Music for organs: Performers:

Bernard Foccroulle, Liège, Eglise Saint Jacques after André Séverin 1602.
Jan Willem Jansen, Abbaye de Saint Michel en Thièrache. 
Frédéric Desenclos, Versailles, Chapelle Royale, Clicquot et Tribuot, 1710.
François Espinasse, Idem.
Michel Bouvard, Idem.
Frédéric Desenclos, Prytanée militaire de La Flèche.
Freddy Eichelberger.

Music for Harpsichord: Performers.
Philippe Grisvard,
Celine Frisch.
Gustav Leonhardt.

Music for Lute: Performers:
Anthony Bailes.

Music-Instrumental- vocal-Choir in combination with organ: Performers:
La Fenice.
Les Agrémens & Les Dominos.
Musica Favola.
Les Arts Florissants.
Mare Nostrum.
And many individual soloists.

A very enjoyable journey through the music at the time of Louis XIV.  Excerpts of the best of his time. Most of the performances are excellent, with here and there some minor quibbles about the quality of the voices or recording, but very minor indeed.
I heard music that I will explore further, music that I already have complete, and music where there is no need to return to the full package. I enjoyed all the Organ/Harpsichord music immensely, and the instrumental music was top notch. The choir/Vocal composition are good, although the soloists that William Christie is using are not always up to scratch but quite acceptable.
This is really a fine journey through Louis his time, and colours the picture bright and joyous.
For those that do not need a complete version of every work on these CD'S it is recommended. You get a hardback book with it, beautifully crafted that will guide you through the times in an easy but very informative way. Production values overall are exemplary.



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 10.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 10-10-2017.
Label: La Dolce Volta.
CD 10 from 15.
Recording year: 1976.
Venue: Lambertikirche Aurich, Germany.
Sound engineers: Georges Kisselhof & Mireille Landmann.
Total time: 70:04.

Works on this disc:
Preludes and Fugues, BWV 541/544/545/547/548.
Trio in D minor BWV 583.

Performed by:
Andre Isoir.

Instrument:

Jürgen Ahrend, 1956.

I think this organ by Ahrend is a small miracle in sound, despite the fact that it is a fairly new organ. Bach sounds really fine on this well tuned instrument, which has a decent disposition well suited to the likes of this composer. I have said quite a lot in recent reviews on earlier CD'S from this series. Isoir belongs to my favourite performers, simply because he has a very practical view, instead of losing himself in an intellectual debate. His aim is to make the works approachable for all, and in this he succeeds admirably. His clear edged performing style makes all lucid and overseeable. Detail is clear as a bell, and you can easily follow his direction. 
I think that the preludes and fugues get all the colour they need, and speak quite clearly to me.
The recorded sound is top notch.

L'Orgue Classique Français 1650-1800. 150 ans de musique du Grand Siècle à la Révolution Française.CD 5.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: 2016.
First listen: 11-10-2017.
Label: Ligia.
CD 5 from 10.
Recording dates:  ?
Venues: L'église Saint Maurice de Soultz, L'église Saint Martin de Seurre, Sainte Croix de Bordeaux, France.
Sound engineer: Eric Baratin.
Remastering: Eric Baratin. (2015)
Total time: 69:08.

 Composers & Works on this CD:

Jean Adam Guiilain. (1680-1739)
Pièces d'orgue pour le Magnificat/ Suite du second ton-1706.

Charles Piroye. (c.1668/1672-c.1730)
La Béatitude/Dialogue à deux Chœurs-1711.

Louis Nicolas Clérambault. (1676-1749)
Premier livre d'orgue/Suite du premier ton-1714-Suite du second ton.*

Bonus track:
*Suite du second ton. ( Live recording) Sainte Croix de Bordeaux, 29 april 2004.

Instruments used:
Jean Andre Silbermann 1750.

Julien Tribuot 1699.
Diapason: la = 398 Hz.
Tempérament mésotonique modifié au 1/5 de coma pythagoricien

Olivier Vernet, Organ.

Wonderful compositions, and played to perfection by Vernet, who always finds the perfect tone and dynamics. His discreet use of the disposition in both organs is exemplary and without fault. Piroye and Guillain are not unknown to me but unheard they are. Both composers are not well known and almost nothing is clear about their lives. Of both versions of Louis Nicolas Clérambault's "Suite du second ton" on this CD, I found the first the best. Simply because it was better recorded on an organ that was more suited. The live version missed the grip Vernet usually has, it all sounded a bit unfocused. 
Apart from the live recording the sound was perfect.


Music at the Time of Louis XIV. Sacred Music I & II. CD 3 and 4.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2016.
First listen: 10-10-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 3 and 4 from 8.
Recording dates: ?
Venue: ?
Sound engineers: ?
Total time: 77:16 & 76:48.

Composers on disc 3 and 4:
Nicolas Formé.
Guillaume Bouzignac.
Henry de Mont.
Jean Baptiste Lully.
Marc Antoine Charpentier.
Jean Gilles.
Francois Couperin.
Gregorian.

Performed by:
Les Pages & Les Chantres du centre de Musique baroque de Versailles, Olivier Schneebeli.
Chœur de Chambre de Namur-Les Solistes.
Ricercar Consort.
Les Arts Florissants.
Le Poème Harmonique, Capella Cracoviensis, Vincent Dumestre.
Ensemble Pierre Robert, Frédéric Desenclos.
Les Agreméns. 
Le Concert Spirituel, Hervé Niquet.
Chœur et Orchestre de La Chapelle Royale, Philippe Herreweghe.
Ensemble Organum, Marcel Pérès.
And many soloists.

Labels from which the recordings were licensed:
Alpha, Harmonia Mundi, Naxos.

Series compiled by Jérôme Lejeune.

If by any chance you do not want all the works in this compilation complete but would enjoy the highlights from some compositions, then this is an absolute must. The selections are carefully chosen and with great taste, and with absolute top notch excerpts from quality labels, with ensembles and soloists renown. The hardcover book is a dream for all that need extensive explanation about time music and composers. Again all is tastefully done, and the production values could not been bettered.
Some of the compositions in this series I have complete, some not, and a large amount of them I heard for the first time, which prompts me to get them complete. That is the power of these samples of a work. The recordings are all of them excellent, and I could not really complain about the ensembles and soloists, except, but this is personal,  Soprano Hasnaa Bennani, and Mezzo Isabelle Druet in a composition by Francois Couperin, "Troisième leçon du Mercredy". I found both voices rather ugly and not fitting together. 
Very much recommended.




Rheinberger, Josef Gabriel. (1839-1901) The Complete Piano works, Volume 2.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2016.
First listen: 6-9-2016.
Second listen: 11-10-2017.
Label: CARUS.
CD 2 from 10.
Recording dates:December 1998 & May 1999.
Recording venue: Vaduzer Saal, Vaduz, Chur, Eschen and Sargans.
Recording engineer: Hansjörg Meier? (He did also the mastering) correct me if I am wrong.
Running time: 75:17.

Works performed:
Sinfonische Sonate, opus 47.
Sonate, opus 99.
Präludium und Fuga zum Konzertvortrag, opus 33.
Etüde und Fugato, opus 42.
Drei kleine Konzertstücke, opus 5.

Performed by:
Jürg Hanselmann.

Instrument:
Steinway D 476 750.

Many reviewers think, because I read them, that the piano works of Rheinberger are nice but not remarkable. I beg to differ. For if reviewers write such stuff, they clearly did not listen. The works are far from mediocre, in fact they are highly accessible and expertly written,, but you only hear this if you take the trouble to immerse yourself soul and body in the story behind the music. This, his life and driving motivation, is all explained  in the excellent booklet added to the box. There is not a single composition that does not move me, such is the emotional and intellectual content! In my opinion Rheinberger was a genius, but in his time one thought him out of fashion, ridiculous of course, but such was music judged, by fashion. And therefor he was not played or performed in the concert halls. Rheinberger's piano music is full of passion. Just sampled the Sonata opus 47, first movement, and forth movement, and in the in between movements you find deep poetry, and emotional expression that encompass the whole spectrum of feelings we can possibly have. The beautiful introduction of opus 99, "Non troppo mosso, with its romantic tinkling of notes trickling down, and spreading all over the place, so magnificently bright and lucid  is an intrinsic experience not to be missed.  The third movement, "Finale" is like running through a field of summer flowers, it's sprightly, and joy is dancing at its own will and direction. Magnificent. The Fuga in opus 33 is worthy of Bach. Straightforward and a path clear ahead without undue obstacles. Superb. Opus 5 are three pieces brilliantly written, so alive and with a dynamic that gives the music wings. The Fugato from opus 42 has to heard to be believed, it left me breathless. The sound is more than excellent. Highly recommended.


Rheinberger and his beautiful wife Fanny.



Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann. (1710-1784) Complete Harpsichord music. CD 6.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 11-10-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 6 from 6.
Recording dates: November 2016 & February 2017.
Venue: Abbazia Santa Maria delle Carceri, Carceri, Padua (Harpsichord. Track 1-24.
             Radio Kapelle-Benedictine Monastery of Muri-Gries, Bolzano. (Organ) Track 25-28.
Sound engineer: Alberto Vedovato.
Total time: 54:27.

Works on this disc:
Various pieces from the Vilnius manuscript.

Performed by:
Claudio Astronio.

Instruments used:
Harpsichord: Keith Hill, 2001, after anonymous, German 1710.
Organ: Johannes Rohlff 2008.

I can be very clear about this box. It is in all respect the maximum one could expect from such an expert in the field like Astronio. I have quite a lot of recordings by him in my collection, and none of them did ever disappoint me. Six CD'S with the harpsichord music of Friedemann Bach is in his hands a treat. Your ears are virtually caressed.
The last CD with miscellaneous works starts with a beautiful  "Overture in E flat" a pleaser as there ever was, but so well constructed. A minuet in G with 13 variations shows how versatile he actually was, brilliant and sizzling with bright ideas. The CD closes with 4 Chorale preludes for organ on an instrument I never heard before. Not a fine organ, a bit ordinary actually. But the chorales though beautiful music last only a few minutes. Would have liked the producers to have chosen a different instrument. The recording is excellent.



Monday, October 9, 2017

Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) Opus 2. 7-12. CD20.. The Complete edition.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 9-10-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 20 of 21.
Recording dates: 1995.
Venue: Maria Minor & Waalse kerk,  Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Jorn Mineur.
Total time: 73:45

Works on this CD:
Sonatas
Opus 2. 7-12

No. 7 in A for FlautoBassetto and Harpsichord.
No. 8 in F, for Flauto traverso, bassoon and Harpsichord.
No. 9 in E for Flauto traverso, and Organ.
No. 10 in G for Flauto traverso, Cello, and Harpsichord.
No 11 in D for Flauto traverso, Bassoon and Organ.
No. 12 in G 2 for Flauti traversi, Cello, Bassetto and Harpsichord.

Performed by:
Jed Wentz, traverso & Leader.
Musica ad Rhenum.

Recorded way back in 1995 these concertos sound as fresh as if recorded today, and artistically are on a very high level. The musicians are all specialists in their field and you hear that especially in the detailing of these beautiful sonatas. The combination of instruments is also a point to be happy about, for the colours you are able to produce are gorgeous. A lovely disc that will satisfy all ears.



Rheinberger, Josef Gabriel. (1839-1901) The Complete Piano Works. CD 1.

New acquisition.
Bought in April 2016.
First listen: 18-5-2016.
Second listen: 9-10-2017.
Original released on the label Prezioso, between 1990-2004.
Label: Carus.
CD 1 from 10.
Recording dates:  April 1990 and March 2006.
Venue: Vaduzer Saal, and the Auditorium of the Kantonsschule Sargans, Switzerland.
Recording: Tonstudio für Klassische Musik.
Total time: 71:26.

Works performed:
Sonata, in E flat major. opus 35.
Romantic Sonata in F sharp minor, opus 184.
Toccatina in G minor. opus 19.
Toccata in C minor. opus 115.

Performed by:
Jorg Hanselmann.

Instruments used:
Steinway Konzertflügel D 476 -750 and on a Steinway D 530 -303.

First of all it is a small miracle that Rheinberger is recorded at all these days, after all his music was thoroughly forgotten. That the most important part of his oeuvre, namely his solo piano works, are recorded complete nowadays is a small miracle. For all the compositional skill he possessed, has gone into these works, technical and artistically the best music he composed. Rheinberger expressed himself best through the piano. Closely followed by his chamber music.  In that respect the piano works take an important place in the music literature of his time, and for our understanding of the era, this is essential listening material,  Right from the start in the opus 135 we hear what to expect later. Virtuosic at times, but never too much, creative and evocative, Rheinberger writes of what he feels in the most gorgeous melodies. The intricate details are brought to the daylight in a lucid way by Hanselmann, who keeps the emotional intensity in perfect balance.
It took me some time to get used to his playing, although I do not know exactly why. Anyway he certainly brings out the genius of Rheinberger. 
The sound and instruments used are superb, although in the first movement of the opus 135 the sound was a bit unsettling and thin, soon corrected though.


Friday, October 6, 2017

Rheinberger, Josef Gabriel. (1839-1901) Complete Piano Works (solo) CD 10.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: May 2016.
First listen: 6-10-2017.
Label: Carus.
CD 10 from 10.
Recording dates: April 1993.
Venue: Vaduzer Saal, Switzerland. 
Sound engineer: Hansjürg Meier.
Total time: 63:01.

Works on this CD:

Tarantella in B major für Klavier zu vier Händen, opus 13.
Große Sonate in C minor, idem, opus 122.
Fantasie in E flat minor, idem, opus 79.
Duo in A minor für zwei Klaviere, opus 15.


Performed by:
Jürg Hanselmann & Sandra Hanselmann Kästli.

Instrument:
Steinway Konzertflügel D 530 303 & Steinway D 476-750.

An absolute fabulous close of this box when Hanselmann is joined by his wife. The music composed for four hands is adventurous and well settled in a very romantic mood. The synergy between husband and wife is perfect. The sound surrounds you with thoughts of days gone by, and the elegance that is lost.  It reminded me of a box with the piano music by Foerster, recorded by Patricia Goodson. 
This box has been an immense pleasure to me, and am heartily glad that is was recorded at all. I will return many a time to this music.

Tartini, Giuseppe. (1692-1770) The complete Violin Concertos. CD 1 & 2.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 6-10-2017.
Label: Dynamic.
CD 1&2 from 29.
Recording dates:  February 1996.
Venue: Villa Cordellina, Altavilla Italy.
Sound engineer: Pietro Mosetti Casaretto.
Total time: 63:01 & 53:39.

Works on CD 1 and 2.
Violin concertos, opus 1. 1-8.

Performed alternately by:
Giovanni & Federico Guglielmo and Carlo Lazari, Violins.
L'Arte Dell'Arco.
On authentic instruments.

It is a real treat if you have all of Tartini's violin concertos together in one box, something that will hardly be repeated in my lifetime. And then also played on authentic instruments makes it an even better bargain. The reviews on the back of this box are ecstatic, and I agree with them as far as it being a novelty "all concertos recorded", but I have some nuts to crack about recording and performance. The music is beautiful and well written no doubt about it. I immediately recognized the sound from the Viotti violin concertos which I listen too at the same time, but in a different venue. The fact that it has more or less the same cavernous ambiance tells me that the same engineer is not really a good one in the business.  Especially in the lower string you hear this bouncing back of a metallic echo, exactly as in the Viotti concertos.  You get the impression of a very small room. It makes the sound frontal, detailed but also a bit unnatural.  So the venue does not play a role in the recording, he seems to record everything in the same way. This I regret. But I can live with that. Tempi are in general well judged, but the second movement of Violin concerto No. 2, "Largo" is lethargic and falls apart at it seams. This is really not done. It reminds me of the impossible slow movements of the ASMF in Vivaldi's the Seasons under Marriner.  That also happens in No. 7 second movement, lethargic to a point in which it starts to disintegrate, and only saved by the sensitive playing of Giovanni Guglielmo,  still, it should be on a faster track. Laboured you can call it too. Detailing overall is good, but the playing can be a bit square at times. You may not have refined playing all the time, but I am glad I have this music. And by the way you can hear the age difference of the violinists, the older they get the slower the movements. Old school on authentic instruments.
I am not condemning these recordings, but simply point a few things out that bothered me.



Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 9.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 6-10-2017.
Label: La Dolce Volta.
CD 9 from 15.
Recording year: 1988.
Venue: Cantate Domino Church, Frankfurt, Germany.
Sound engineers: Georges Kisselhof & Mireille Landmann.
Total time: 78:36

Works on this disc:
Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644)

Performed by:
Andre Isoir.

Instrument:

Jürgen Ahrend, 1975.

I am not surprised that I like this newly built organ by Ahrend. I already stated my feelings hearing the 1956 instrument in Aurich, Germany, as being of the old school and liking it very much. Although I can hear by its clean sound and less colour as an historical organ like the Gerhard Grenzing organ in France, that it is a modern instrument, it made some sort of an impression on me. Isoir knows exactly how to magic the sound out of it, that almost makes you believe you have an old instrument making its entrance. The performance of BWV 599-644 is quite a statement  for he lets me hear these works in a totally different light as I am used to. His detailing is truly unique, and the occasional embellishments are creative highlights. The flow and expression is alway intense in a dignified manner. The fact that he died in 2016 is a great loss to all and me. I came rather late in discovering his art. Nevertheless he has opened my eyes in a different way to Bach's genius. And that's at least quite a novelty if you can achieve that. I state my preference for the Grenzing organ from the 17th century, but I can easily live with this fine Ahrend organ. The disposition makes it highly huggable. Recording is perfect.




Not a nice looking organ

d' India, Sigismundo. (c.1582-c.1629)Terzo libro de Madrigali, 1616.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2016.
First listen: 6-10-2017.
Label: Glossa.
CD 9 from 9.
Recording dates: November 1997.
Venue: Chiesa della BV Maria del Monte Carmelo al Colletto Roletto, Italy.
Sound engineer: Davide Ficco.
Total time: 49:11.

Works on this CD:
See heading.

Performed by: 
La Venexiana, Claudio Cavina.

(Same review as CD 7)

As to the ensemble I can only repeat what I said before, perfect in every sense. And the sound is top notch too. I have already a considerable amount of this composer's Madrigali, and find this to be a worthy addition. d'India writes in a very sensual way, with delicately suppressed passion, but nevertheless very clear in its expression. There is much suggestion and innuendo, consistently inspired and superbly controlled. Lots of thrills and ornamentations always appealing to the ear, it charms its way into your senses. There is dramatic flair, sensitively coloured singing, lively and naturally paced.  The melodic fertility makes this music an instant pleaser.
A CD to come back too many times.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Viotti, Giovanni Battista (1755-1824) Complete Violin Concertos. CD 4.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 5-10-2017.
Label: Dynamic.
CD 4 from 10.
Recording dates: May 1997.
Venue: Sala S. Antonio, Perugia. Italy.
Sound engineer: Pietro Mosetti Casaretto.
Total time: 77:18

Works on this CD:
Violin concertos:
No. 18 in F minor.
No. 14 in A minor.
No. 3 in A major.

Works performed by:
Franco Mezzena, Violin & Conductor.
Symphonia Perusina.

I simply loved the second movement of Concerto No. 14, a "Siciliana" , which made quite an impression on me. The orchestral parts are not really demanding, and this orchestra plays them a little matter of fact, without infusing the music with spirit. This makes the excellently written parts for Violin a bit shallow as if disconnected from the rest. So the synergy is missing, thus the genius of Viotti's music goes down the drain, were it not for Mezzena's contribution which is a pleasure throughout. Intonation problems occurred in the first movement of No. 18, but afterwards I could not detect more. The overall balance is a bit unsteady, and the production values are still low, but I love the music. Sound is adequate but not good by any standards.



Cabezón, Antonio de. (1510-1566) Obras de Música, Complete Edition. CD 4,

From my collection.
Date of purchase: October 2012.
First listen: 2-11-2012.
Second listen: 4-12-2012.
Third listen:5-10--2017.
Label: Brilliant.
Licensed from Stradivarius.
CD 4 from 7.
Recording dates and sites: Chiesa del borgo di Presule [05/1997]; Convento di S. Magno ad Amelia [08/1997]; Museo del convento di S. giuseppe da Copertino ad Osimo [08/1997); Chiesa Evangelica di Bolzano [09/1997]
Sound engineer: Michael Seberich.
Total time: 62:29.

Works on this CD:


    Comiençan los motetes de a cinco
  1. Si bona suscepimus. Verdeloth (archi)
  2. Aspice Domie. Jaqueth (organo)

  3. Comiençan las canciones de a cinco
  4. Je fille quanile medona. Adrian Villart (la moranda)
  5. Pis ne me pul venir. Criquillon (organo)
  6. Aiule vos sola verdura. Lupus (cembalo)
  7. Ayme qui Voldra. Gomberth (archi)
  8. Durmendo un jorno. Verdeloth (organo)
  9. Triste de par. Gomberth (archi)
  10. Je suis ayme. Criquillon (organo)

  11. Comiençan los tientos
  12. Tiento del segundo tono (cembalo)
  13. Tiento del quarto tono (organo)
  14. Tiento del primer tono (organo)
  15. Tiento sobre qui la dira (cembalo)
  16. Tiento del segundo tono (regal)
  17. Tiento del tercer tono. Fugas al contrario (organo)

Performed by: 

Harmonices Mundi
Alessandro Ciccolini (violin), Patrizio Focardi (violin), Vania Pedronetto (viola alto), Rosario Di Meglio (viola tenore), Wally Pituello (cello), Claudio Astronio (organ, harpsichord, regal)

La Moranda
Marie Garnier (cornet), Paco Rubio (cornet), Stefan Legèe (alto sackbut), Jena-Marie Bonche (alto sackbut), Pascal Gonzalez (bass sackbut)
Claudio Astronio, Conductor.

I am amazed that after so many years it still makes a big impression on me. The variety and cultural significance is very much in the interpretation. It is from beginning to end a journey through the 16th century. It sounds authentic and the playing is exemplary. Especially Astronio needs mention here for his excellent keyboard playing on the organ, harpsichord and regal. His approach speaks of respect for the music and its time. Well recorded it is too!
Recommended.


Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) Opus 2. 1-6. CD19. The Complete edition.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 5-10-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 19 of 21.
Recording dates: 1995.
Venue: Maria Minor & Waalse kerk,  Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Jorn Mineur.
Total time: 58:33.
Reference set.

Works on this CD:
Sonatas
Opus 2. 1-6.

No. 1 in C, for Flauto traverso, cello and Harpsichord.
No. 2 in D, for Flauto traverso, bassoon and Organ.
No. 3 in B flat for Flauto traverso, bassetto and Harpsichord.
No. 4 in G for Flauto traverso and organ.
No 5 in D for Flauto traverso, cello and Harpsichord.
No. 6 in G minor for Flauto traverso, bassoon and Organ.

Performed by:
Jed Wentz, traverso & Leader.
Musica ad Rhenum.

Recorded way back in 1995 these concertos sound as fresh as if recorded today, and artistically are on a very high level. The musicians are all specialists in their field and you hear that especially in the detailing of these beautiful sonatas. The combination of instruments is also a point to be happy about, for the colours you are able to produce are gorgeous. A lovely disc that will satisfy all ears.



Rheinberger, Josef Gabriel. (1839-1901) Complete Piano Works (solo) CD 9.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: May 2016.
First listen: 5-10-2017.
Label: Carus.
CD 9 from 10.
Recording dates: April 1993 & January/April 2004.
Venue: Auditorium of the Kantonsschule Sargans, & Vaduzer Saal, Switzerland. 
Sound engineer: Hansjürg Meier.
Total time: 62:44

Works on this CD:

Thema mit Veränderungen, opus 61.
Toccata in G minor, opus 12.
Drei Vortragsstudien, opus 101.
Aus den Ferientagen, opus 72.


Performed by:
Jürg Hanselmann.

Instrument:
Steinway Konzertflügel D 530 303 & Steinway D 476-750.

Exceptionally and impressive music, perfectly performed and recorded.
See other reviews of this box in which all praise is heaped on the music of this composer.
I especially enjoyed the opus 72, such majestic and refined music.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) Concerto Grosso opus 7. No. 5-6 & Sinfonia Funebre in F minor CD 18. The Complete edition.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 4-10-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 18 of 21.
Recording dates: June 2013 & January 2014.
Venue: Westvestkerk, Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Peter Arts.
Total time: 50:42.
Reference set.

Works on this CD:
See heading.

Additional to the opus 7 concerti;
Sinfonia Funebre in F minor,
Composta per le esequie della sua Donna che si celebrarono in Roma.

Performed by:
Ensemble Capricciosi, Igor Ruhadze.
Performed on authentic instruments.

I expect nothing more than a perfect performance from this ensemble, and this is what I get. The F minor concerto was unknown to me, but what beautiful sounds!
Every cd in this box is a delight upon a delight, including all endless Caprices.😝 lol.



Rheinberger, Josef Gabriel. (1839-1901) Complete Piano Works (solo) CD 8.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: May 2016.
First listen: 4-10-2017.
Label: Carus.
CD 8 from 10.
Recording dates: May/November 2003.
Venue: Auditorium of the Kantonsschule Sargans, Switzerland. 
Sound engineer: Hansjürg Meier.
Total time: 75:21.

Works on this CD:
Etüde in D minor aus Zwölf Charakterstücke für's neue Clavier, rhWV deest.
Etüde in G flat minor, WoO 28.
Fünf Vortragsstudien, opus 9.
Zum Abschied, opus 59.
Drei Vortragsstudien, opus 66.
Zwölf Charakterstücke in kanonischer Form, opus 180.

Performed by:
Jürg Hanselmann.

Instrument:
Steinway Konzertflügel D 530 303.

This box with music by Rheinberger is an ongoing pleasure, and satisfies all the musical needs I have in hearing romantic music from this period. Hanselmann is a very able pianist who clearly put a lot of effort and study in this composer's piano music. And this you hear with every note.
I love the 5 pieces opus 9, with is gorgeous second movement "Melodie" but also the fourth, Träumen". Or the short but very effective "Etude" in D minor for the new piano. And most devastatingly beautiful of all must be "Zum Abschied"opus 59. Very moving. But anything Rheinberger composed is of the same quality with no exception on that rule. Perfectly recorded on a perfect instrument.  I recommend this set with all my heart. Essential listening actually. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 8.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 3-10-2017.
Label: La Dolce Volta.
CD 8 from 15.
Recording year: 1988.
Venue: Basilica, Weingarten, Germany.
Sound engineers: Igor Kirkwood and Andre Isoir.
Total time: 67:34
Works on this disc:

BWV :
582/709/704/690/691/705/768/701/584/645-50.

Performed by:
Andre Isoir.

Instrument:

Joseph Gabler organ, 1750.

This is the first disc in this box that disappointed me almost in every respect. To start with the recording. Unlike disc 6 which was recorded on the same organ, the balance is totally out of the window. Microphones are further away, reverb is up to almost 9 seconds, it sounds diffused as through a haze, and I am missing several melody lines, which are lost in the reverb or because of the microphone distance. And as to the playing, well it all sounds terribly laboured and heavy handed, with lethargic tempi, squarely measured almost. Even the Schubler Chorales lost their shine by this sound picture. I so not expected this. Isoir's playing style is very much in the performance, but somehow he did not have his day. BWV 650, "Kommst du nun, Jesu, von Himmel herunter" gave me a bit more, because the recording opened up, and a clear sound emerged. Tempi were well judged but only here. But that does not save the day. I will not get back to CD 8, for I have better options. Still already 7 CD'S which are the best I heard, is a good total, so I accept the bad egg. There is a very sloppy edit in BWV 768, around the 6:00 marking, slight but I heard it.


Viotti, Giovanni Battista (1755-1824) Complete Violin Concertos. CD 3.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 3-10-2017.
Label: Dynamic.
CD 3 from 10.
Recording dates: May 1996.
Venue: Sala S. Antonio, Perugia. Italy.
Sound engineer: Pietro Mosetti Casaretto.
Total time: 68:11.

Works on this CD:
Violin concertos:
No. 7 in B flat major.
No. 13 in A major.
No. 16 in E minor.

Works performed by:
Franco Mezzena, Violin & Conductor.
Symphonia Perusina.

The music is as per usual melodious and well written. Especially the part for Violin is by means easy to play, but Mezzana clearly knew the score well, for his part is excellent. The orchestra unknown to me, play the notes, but as for enthusiasm for the music, I could not really detect it. They perform dutifully with here and there a instrument out of tune, like the horns in the second movement of No. 7, or the violins and celli in the third movement But there are more instances of bad tuning. Mezzana is not always well tuned either. Many instances of that too.That worries me a bit, as the rest of the discs are with these musicians in which Mezzana has two hats on. Crisp tempi's, are not on the menu in the Andante movements, but the Maestoso introduction of No. 7 is also a bit ponderous. I take the geniality of the music and try to forget about the consistently false intonations or slow tempi. After all Viotti can not be held accountable for this orchestra. Even though the performances are below the quality the music needs, I love the music nevertheless. Sound swims a bit in this venue, somewhat hollow with a lot of echo. especially in No. 13. Every concerto sounds different though! In that respect the third disc is altogether not the best one so far.



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