Monday, December 18, 2017

Telemann, Georg Philipp. (1681-1767) A Portrait. CD 5. Works for Alto recorder and BC.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 18-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 5 from 7.
Recording dates: October 1996 & April 1988.
Venue: Bolland, Eglise Saint Apollinaire & Stavelot, Ancienne Abbaye.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 78:09.

Works on CD 5:
1) Sonata in C major, For Alto recorder and BC. (Bass viol & Harpsichord) Essercizii Musici.
2) Sonata VI in G major-transposed to B major for Voice flute & BC. (Bass viol, organ, archlute.
   (Methodische Sonaten)
3) Sonata in G major for Soprano recorder and BC, as 2.
4) Sonata in B major for 2 Alto recorders. (Der getreue musikmeister) 
5) Sonata in F major for Alto recorder and BC (Archlute & Organ) (Der getreue musikmeister) 
6) Sonata in D minor for Alto recorder and BC, as 1. Essercizii Musici.

Performed by:
La Pastorella.
Frederic de Roos, Patrick Denecker. Recorders



7) Sonata in C major for Alto recorder and BC (Bass viol & Organ) Der getreue musikmeister.
8) Sixieme Concert in A minor for Voice flute, Harpsichord & Cello. (VI Concerts & VI Suite.
9) Concerto in F major for Alto recorder , Horn and BC, as 1.

Performed by:
Ricercar Consort.
Frederic de Roos,  Recorder.

As much as I love the music I did not particularly warm towards these interpretations at all. Well played they are, there is no doubt about it, but I missed the involvement,  a found it to be a bit distanced even. It had its moments but they far and wide between. What did not help was the frontal character of the recording in regards to the Recorders. Sharp sometimes, blowing with unnecessary force on the instruments and getting peak moments of sounds that could easily cause a migraine. Lejeune did not have his moment in October 1996. The 1988 recording by the Ricercar Consort is also very frontal but has less piping and is more rewarding in performance and sound.
I have better recordings and interpretations as the present ones. When you play it keep the volume down, then it gets acceptable.


The Heritage of Claudio Monteverdi. CD 5. Per il Santissimo Natale. (Vocal and instrumental Works)

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 18=12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 5 from 7.
Recording dates: March 1998.
Venue: Mormont, Belgium, Eglise Saint Michel.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 69:05.

Composers on this disc:
Ignazio Donati.
Maurizio Cazzati.
Claudio Monteverdi.
Adriano Banchieri.
Bernardo Storace.
Antonio Cifra.
Orazio Tarditi.
Giovanni Picchi.
Giuseppe Scarani.
Tarquino Merula.
Francesco Flamengo.
Girolamo Frescobaldi.
Giovanni A. Rigatti.

Performed by:
La Fenice, Jean Tubery.
with the participation of:
Maria Cristina Kiehr, Soprano.
Kathelijne Van Laethem, Mezzo.
John Elwes, Tenor.

Organ used: After Italian models of the 17th century.
Made by: Thomas Ster Francorchamps 1994.

In all respects a beautiful disc, well sung by all, and instrumental excellence to match. A complete and satisfying picture. Many of the composers were unknown to me, so this is an exciting journey through uncharted territory. Both Soprano and Mezzo fit well together and harmonize beautifully. John Elwes can be a bit overbearing but his expression tells the story. All pieces are sung with an exceptional combination of clarity and weight, that marks the total impression and balance between soloists and instrumental ensemble. The music is delivered with such unaffected simplicity and instinctive flow,... the heart of a programme that celebrates a lived musical culture as much as a historic document. As a whole this performance has an aesthetic directness that is very appealing to me.
The recording is top notch. 



Friday, December 15, 2017

Love, revelry and the dance in Mediæval music, CD 5. Danza, Instrumental music and virtuoso performance in the Middle Ages and today.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 15-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 5 from 7.
Recording dates: April 2007.
Venue: Eglise Notre-Dame de Centeilles, France.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 68:38.

Music on CD 5:
See heading.

Performed by:
Millenarium.

The music on this disc is well represented by this group. There is a real sense of improvisation and many colourful instruments to support that. It sounds authentic and perfect to my ears. Almost smooth and very assured. They are not encumbered by any external pressures it seems, for apart from the improvisatory music making it is also very relaxed.  They give every indication of enjoying the musical challenge. There is no limit to the colourful range of expression. in all they do. So very worthwhile to explore. Sound is state of the art.



The Parisian Symphony. CD 4.Miscellaneous works.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 15-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 4 from 7.
Recording dates: Between 2002-2007.
Venue: Not mentioned.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 71:20.

Works and composers on this disc:

1) Dieudonné Pascal Pieltain. (1754-1833)
     Troisième Concerto en si Bémol majeur, pour Violon et Orchestre.

2) Antoine Fredéric Gresnick. (1755-1799)
     Symphonie concertante en si Bémol majeur, pour Clarinette, basson et orchestre.

3) Ludwig August Lebrun. (1752-1790)
    Concerto en do majeur pour Hautbois et orchestre.

4) Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
     Symphonie B Dur, HOB 1:85 "La Reine".

Performed by:
Les Agrémens, Gut Van Waas.
Patrick Cohen Akenine, Violin.
Eric Hoeprich, Clarinet.
Benoit Laurent, Oboe.
Jane Gower, Bassoon.

Two composers on this disc were totally unknown to me, being Pieltain and Gresnick. Strange but true. I knew Lebrun but did not hear his Concert for Oboe and orchestra before. So all in all this was a discovery. For I liked both the Violin concerto of Pieltain and the Clarinet concerto by Gresnick. The musical content has a high quality of creativity, and are by no means second rate works. Lebrun's Oboe concerto is a jewel, detailed and melodious in expression. The Haydn was also a nice surprise, so totally different from say Hogwood ( a reference to me) but with its own distinctive validity. Very well shaped in form and expression, with familiar sounds coming out in a totally different guise as I was used to. The whole CD is an fine example of art that conceals art, with a formidable constructive and harmonic ingenuity. In all a pinpoint articulation and stylistically apt tonal gradations. Remarkable bursts of speed, yet the sound of the soloists remain deft and elegant. The orchestra has a cultured sound and provide easeful balm for difficult moments. A recording to match this perfection.




The Parisian Symphony. CD 3. "Gossec, Stamitz", Kraus. Grand Symphonies.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 15-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
Recording dates: Between 2002-2007.
Venue: Unknown.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time 77:45.

Works and composers:
1) Francois Joseph Gossec. (1734-1829)
     Symphony opus 12 No. 1,3 & 5.

2) Johann Stamitz (1717-1757).
     Concert for Clarinet and Orchestra in B flat major.

3) Joseph Martin Kraus. (1756-1792)
     Symphony in D major.

Performed: by:
Les Agrémens, Guy Van Waas,  Clarinet and Conductor.

These performances are an excellent choice to learn about the music. Played on authentic instruments, the dynamics and phrasing causing the subsequent emerging of the fine colouring, is the raison d'etre to get this in your collection.  The detailing is absolute top notch, and the pureness of tone is something to relish. All three composers deliver highly contrasting works, bubbling with creative vitality, and Sturm und Drang, pushing the tempi to the limits. This orchestra gets the last ounce of grandeur and weight out of the works on this CD. There is an virility in these compositions, and plenty of swagger. Thrillingly precise, characterized by a real momentum and Schwung. Also clarity, control, and impeccable orchestral discipline.
Sound is forward but lucid, with plenty of depth and also air around the instruments.




The Heritage of Claudio Monteverdi, Castello, Dario. (?1621-?1658) CD 4 In Stil Moderno.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 15-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 4 from 7.
Recording dates: January 1995.
Venue: Boswell, Switzerland, Alte Kirche.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 54:02.

Concerti for diverse instruments.

Cornet, Mute cornet, Violin, Viola da Braccio, Violino, Violone, Trombone, Bassoon, Theorbo, Triple Harp, Chitarrone, Harpsichord, organ, regal.

Performed by:
La Fenice, Jean Tubery.

(There is no biographical information about Castello. Even his birth and death dates are unknown. It is thought he may possibly have died during the great plague of 1630; certainly, he published no new music after this date)

"Of his music, 29 separate compositions survive. Castello's music is inventive and technically challenging. Strictly worked polyphonic sections alternate with dramatic recitatives over basso continuo, in keeping with the title of the publications "in stil moderno"; however he also uses some of the older canzona technique, which uses short sections of highly contrasting texture, and active rather than lyrical melodic lines. Unusually for the time, Castello often specifies the instruments for each part, calling for cornettiviolinssackbuts (Baroque trombone) and dulcians. That these works were still being reprinted in the 1650s attests to Castello's influence". 

I am duly impressed by Dario Castello's music as well as the fine performance by the instrumentalists of La Fenice. Dario Castello's music is highly inventive and well thought out. It is grander in design, brisker in expression, and speaking of a musical intelligence beyond my expectations. There is lightness, transparency and a directness that yields marvelous poetic results. He builds up a musical architecture that is quite impressive. The music has an uncommon distinction, gallantry is even part of the total sum. There is a subtle textural interplay and expressive variety that appeals hugely to me. Its simple glorious music and well recorded too.



Thursday, December 14, 2017

Haydn, Michael. (1737-1806) The Complete String Quintets.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 14-12-2017.
Label: CPO.
2 CD'S.
Recording dates: December 2013.
Venue: Palais Kuenburg, Salzburg.
Engineer: Stephan Reh.
Time: 76:58 & 59:04.

Works on CD 1 & 2.
See heading.

Performed by:
Salzburger Haydn Quintett.

It's a first these works from Michael Haydn for me. This music fits perfectly in it's time frame. Well constructed music, which does not make great demands on the listener. It flows easily, and is highly huggable. It has all the marks of  the Wienerische style. Waltzing it's way through time. The performance exudes confidence, revealing whatever there is in contrast and dynamics. No dazzling affair I am afraid, but very subtle at quiet dynamics. Reflective, wonderfully confiding in sweet melodies, and soulfulness. They carefully navigate through the music, perfectly articulated. Very fine afternoon music. The recording is perfect as is expected from Stephan Reh.



Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Telemann, Georg Philipp. (1681-1767) A Portrait. CD IV Miscellaneous concerti.

New acquisition.
Date of Purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 13-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 4 from 7.
Recording dates: October 2009, August 2010, July 2013.
Venue: Centeilles, Eglise Notre Dame, Beaufays, Eglise Saint Jean l'Evangéliste, France.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 74:49.

Works on CD 4:
1) Marche composed for "Das Stück-Schiessen" of the Artillery for 3 Oboes, 2 Horns, Bassoon & Drums.
2) Overture a 5 in F major, for 2 Oboes, 2 Horns & Bassoon.
3) Menuet a deux Cornes de Chasse. ( Der Getreue Music Meister), for 2 Horns.
4) Concerto in F major for 2 Oboes, bassoon.
5) Air de Trompette, for Trumpet & BC, (Bassoon and Harpsichord) from Der Getreue Music Meister.
6) Concerto in D major, for Trumpet, 2 Oboes & BC as No. 5.

Performed by:
Ensemble Eolus.
For the marche, with participation of:
Philippe Canguilhem, Oboe, & Jean Chamboux, Drums.
Recorded July 2013.

7) Sonata in F minor for Bassoon and BC, (Cello and Harpsichord) from the "Getreue Music Meister".
8) Trio sonata in A minor for Oboe, Alto recorder and BC as 5.
9) Trio sonata in B major for Violin, bassoon and BC, (Harpsichord)

Performed by:
Syntagma Amici.
Recorded, August 2010

10) Partite in C minor for 3 Oboes, taille de Hautbois, 2 Bassoons, and BC as 9, Kleine Cammer music, Anonymous setting for Oboe ensemble.

Performed by:
Lingua France.
Recorded, October 2009.

This box turns out to be one of the best releases on CD of Telemann's works. In performance, interpretation and sound. There is virtual no slacking in the pace and quality of what is on offer, and musical integrity is high on the agenda of Ricercar. The musicians on the recordings are the creme de la creme in terms of authentic instruments, and their interpretation has great validity because of that aspect. Tempi throughout are well judged, and the artistic insight stays on the same high level as from the first 3 discs. In the music there is so much to enjoy, and so many details previous overheard that are now crystal clear delineated and finely segmented into highly approachable music, with the stamp and seal of authenticity. Their youthful elan is attractive in its expression, and distinguished as well. Sometimes fireworks ala Versailles, burst into the room like in the highly amusing "Marche composed for "Das Stück-Schiessen" of the Artillery for 3 Oboes, 2 Horns, Bassoon & Drums" or some melancholy strains in the slow movements.  Crisp articulation and an almost superior attention to details and dynamics is what you get.  The playfulness of the music as well as in the performance, works addictively and induces you to repeat many movements which is utterly convincing by its sheer creativity. The colouristic range of the music knows no bounds, and they charm you out of your socks in no time. Simply delightful.
Sound is superb.




Love, revelry and the dance in Mediæval music. CD 4. Carmina Burana, Officium Lusorum.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 13-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 4 from 7.
Recording dates: September 2005.
Venue: Eglise Saint Apollinaire de Bolland.
Sound: Philippe de Magnée.
Time: 77:04.

Works on CD 4:
See heading.

Performed by:
Millenarium. (The Jugglers)
Chœur de Chambre de Namur. (The Gollards)
Psallentes. (The Canons)
Chœur d'Enfants de l'école de musique de Forbach. (The Choirboys)

Quite a bit of spectacle, rough and unhewn. At times devastatingly beautiful, but also rawness that assaults the ear in more than one way. Do not look for sophisticated interpretations, for all the bad God allows is used to the full in this recording of the Carmina Burana. Some of the stuff I liked, but I also had moments of disgust. So it's a challenge and a tumultuous ride. All participants did their worse for the sake of the message I guess. So put on rags and do not wash yourself for a month, muddle around in dirt and try your vocals in this experiment. I am sure you will have feelings of disgust and joy at the same time. Sound is good.



The Heritage of Claudio Monteverdi, A portrait. CD 3. Marini, Biagio. (1594-1663) Moderne e curiose Inventioni.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 13-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
Recording dates: July 1996.
Venue: Saint Michel en Thiérache, France, Eglise abbatiale.
Sound: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 54:31.

Works on CD 3:

Un Concerto a cása Soranzo.
Per la Cappella del Castello.
Lagrime di Davide sparse nel Miserere.

Performed by:
La Fenice, Jean Tubéry. 

With participation of:
Maria Cristina Kiehr, Soprano.
John Elwes, Tenor.
Ulrich Messthaler, Baritone.

CD 3 is a continuation of the excellence displayed from this boxed set of music. And there is a lot to explore in the trail of Claudio Monteverdi.  Refinement and elegant polished singing for instance. I have the tendency while listening to lift my eyes upwards to heaven and erase the darker thoughts from my soul.  The beautiful harmonies that come together in the music of Biagio Marini's music is grasping my soul out of the depths for salvation. The rapturous harmonic twists in the performance and its joyful exuberance peal like church bells to me. The wonderfully delicate almost fragile soaring soprano lines in the setting of "Grotto ombrose, madrigale in echo con Sinfonie" is a small miracle of magic. In short these compositions form a immaculate collection of gorgeous music that is both unrelentingly beautiful and fully captivating throughout.
Great sound too.



Telemann, Georg Philipp. (1681-1767) A Portrait. CD III Miscellaneous concerti.

New acquisition.
Date of Purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 13-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 3 from 7.
Recording dates: April 1991 & November 2010.
Venue: Filosofisch theologisch college van de Sociëteit van Jezus, Heverlee, Belgium, & Beaufays, Eglise Saint Jean l'Evangéliste, France.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 78:52.

Works on CD 3:
Concert in A minor, for Alto recorder, Oboe and Violin, BC.
Trio Sonata in F major, for Alto recorder, bass viol and BC. (Essercizii Musici)
Trio Sonata in C minor for Alto recorder and Oboe, and BC.  (Essercizii Musici)
Trio Sonata in A minor, for Alto recorder and Violin and BC.  (Essercizii Musici)
Trio Sonata in F major for 2 Alto recorders and BC.
Trio Sonata in D minor for Alto recorder and treble viol and BC.
Quartet in F major for Alto recorder, oboe, violin and BC.

Performed by:
Ricercar Consort.

Fantasia quarta in B major for Oboe.
Sonata in B major for Oboe and BC.  (Essercizii Musici)

Performed by:
Lingua France.

Outstanding in every respect. Both ensembles locate the soul of each piece through the most sophisticated and subtle use of embellishments you'll ever hear. This music making results in a fluency which develops when one grows into the music and thoroughly ingests its musical language and the artistic freedoms Telemann allowed himself.  The cd is filled with a beautiful compilation of what Telemann wrote over the years of his long life. Sometimes it has an abundance of melancholy notes, and then the sheer force of happiness comes to the surface. But above all the easy grace with which this man is writing his compositions makes for an intrinsic experience that tells you that he was indeed a great man and composer. And in a sense I am inclined to say that it is through sheer talent and a force of personality, that conveyed to me that what you are hearing belongs to the realm of the greatest music ever written during this era.
Superlative artistry is central in what comes out of his genius, perfectly displayed in the music and also by great performances of both ensembles.  The interpretation is balanced and even tempered, yet has a intensely reflective grace. The sound is superb.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Love, revelry and the Dance in Mediæval music. CD 3. Carmina Burana, Tempus transit.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 12-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
Recording dates:  April 2004.
Venue: Eglise Notre Dame de Centeilles, France.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 70:41.

Works on CD 3:
See heading.

Performed by:
Millenarium.

Sabine Lutzenberger, Voice and recorder.
Christophe Deslignes, Organetto.
Thierry Gomar, Percussions.
Philippe Malfeyt, Lute.
Baptiste Romain, Fiddle and Bagpipes.
Henri Tournier, Flutes.

It is a pleasant surprise that Millenarium replaced the soprano in this recording for she is truly a fine voice. She is German for a reason, for there are texts to be read, in this language, which is done perfectly.  Her voice has a restrained quality befitting the nature of the music, so there is a complete synergy between the text and the voice. The instrumentalists are supreme in what they do.
Those that are new to this music would do well to start here, for this is as original as it gets. It is a prime pleasure to hear ancient sounds.. Exquisite playing in which Sabine Lutzenberger is an gripping communicator, running a huge range of emotions and finding also a devastating stillness in the context of the music. It is really a celebration of the era in which it was composed, and this you hear. Suddenly sound and music exist in a single sonic continuum and its effect is exhilarating. The range of expression and responses between soloist and instrumentalists is striking. I think this disc will leave you bewildered in the best possible way, seduced by unfamiliar sounds. The recording is top notch.


The Heritage of Claudio Monteverdi. CD 2. Per la Settimana Santa.. (Vocal and instrumental works)

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 12-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 2 from 7.
Recording dates: November 1995.
Venue: Mormont, Belgium, Eglise Saint Michel.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 71:44.

Composers on CD 2:
Alessandro Grandi.
Francesco Turini.
Giovanni Paolo Cima.
Giovanni Salvatore.
Francesco Capello.
Giovanni Felice Sances.
Biagio Marini.
Alessandro Piccinini.
Domenico Mazzocchi.
Adriano Banchieri.
Claudio Monteverdi.
Bonifazio Graziani.
Maurizio Cazzati.
Michel Angelo Grancini.

Performed by:
La Fenice, Jean Tubery.
with the participation of:
Maria Cristina Kiehr, Soprano.
John Elwes, Tenor.
Ulrich Messthaler, Baritone.

Organ used, after an Italian model of the 17th century, made by Thomas Ster Francorchamps. 1994.

This is an assembly of composers that guarantee 70 minutes of musical pleasure and this is exactly what you get. The soloists and orchestra are renown in their field so there are absolutely no quarrels to settle. The music has a distinctively fluid grace, highlighting almost every detail quite vividly. We get spellbinding contributions from all vocal soloist, but truth be told the walls of this church in which it was recorded is not complimenting the voices. The reverb comes back to you in a rather unforgiving hard way, robbing the voices of their much needed intimacy. The continuo parts are not suffering from this, so I guess the placing of the voices was not successful. What rather irks me is that Lejeune must have heard this, yet made no attempt to correct the issue.
However this minor drawback can be controlled by the volume button, at least when they are singing, but for the instrumental parts you need more volume. A bit out of balance. In that sense the music could have been warmer and more involving, but as it stands you have to accept the loss of some commitment. The clarity and depth of the recording is without question good. The music is absolutely sublime, no question about that.





Telemann, Georg Philipp. (1681-1767) A Portrait. CD II Miscellaneous concerti.

New acquisition.
Date of Purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 12-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 2 from 7.
Recording dates: September 1999 & August 2010.
Venue: Bolland, Eglise Saint Apollinaire, France & Centeilles, Eglise Notre Dame, France.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 75:52.

Works on CD 2:
Quartet in G minor, for Oboe, violin, bass viol & BC.
Trio Sonata in A minor for Flute, bass viol & BC.
Trio Sonata in E minor for Oboe, flute & BC. (Musique de Table, Production II.
Trio Sonata in G minor for Violin, bass viol & BC. (Six sonates en trio)
Trio Sonata in D minor for Flute, Oboe, & BC. (Essercizii Musici)
Sonata in A minor for Oboe & BC. (Der Getreue Music-Meister)

Performed by:
Ricercar Consort.

Quartet in D minor for Bassoon. 2 Alto recorders, & BC, Cello and Harpsichord. (Musique de Table, Production II.
Trio in F major for Violin, Bassoon and BC. (Harpsichord) Six Sonates en Trio.

Performed by:
Syntagma Amici.

Absolute delightful performances. A fountain of fresh insights into familiar music. One cannot fault the skills of the performers, there is a lovingly oiled artistic synergy here, that breaks every rule in the book in terms of balance and phrasing. They simply lift it up much higher in detailing and projection as other performances I know.  The sheer sense of fantasy they bring into play is amazing and rewarding. They must have a powerful understanding of the music's structure, coupled to a superlative technical skill, and so reach  a much wider expressive picture of Telemann's music as I am used to. There are also visions of nocturnal stillness that gives such a rest to the music. This refinement coupled with a clean articulation makes me a positive addict to these interpretations.
Sound is superb too!



Love, Revelry and the Dance in Mediæl music. CD 2. Douce Amie, Trouvères Songs and Minstrels Dances.

New acquisition.
Date of Purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 12-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 2 from 7.
Recording dates:  November 2001.
Venus: Église Notre Dame de Centeilles, France.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 63:55.

Composers on CD 2:
Thibaut de Champagne.
After Cantiga de Santa Maria 10.
Chastelain de Couci.
After Lambert Ferri.
Moniot d'Arras.
After Arnautz Daniel.
Blanche de Castille.
Gautier d'Épinal.
After Richard Cœur de Lion.
Gace Brulé.
Anonymous.

Performed:
Millenarium:
Carole Marras, Voice and Harp.
Christophe Deslignes, Organetto.
Thierry Gomar, Percussions.

With participation of:
Dominique Regef, Fiddle & Rebec.
Henri Tournier, Flutes.

As successful as the first disc in this series, with a few exceptions. Carole Marras the soprano on this disc, has a tendency of wailing the text out, with some irritations to the ear. Now we all do not know how this was performed so it is a personal choice, and were in the first disc she held herself in check, it did not work out quite that well in CD 2. Especially in the second track with a composition of Thibaut de Champagne, "Dame, ensinc est" it is a constant high pitched lament of almost 9:32, and also elsewhere on this disc, this might pose a problem to others as well. Luckily the instrumental parts are sublime, and even some of the singing too, but I think she has too much prominence, as in a composition of Blanche de Castille, "Amours, ou trop tart me sui pris".
But I liked the best part of this CD, which is well recorded, but Lejeune should have placed her further away from the microphones.


Monday, December 11, 2017

The Heritage of Claudio Monteverdi. CD I. Dialoghi Venetiani.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 11-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 1 from 7.
Recording dates: January 1995.
Venue:Boswill , Switzerland, Alte Kirche.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 61:53.

Instrumental works from:
Giuseppe Scarani.
Giovanni Picchi.
Biagio Marini.
Girolamo Kapsberger.
Francesco Cavalli.
Dario Castello.
Marco Uccellini.
Claudio Monteverdi.
Alessandro Piccinini.
Salomone Rossi.
Tarquinio Merula.

Performed by:
La Fenice, Jean Tubery.

Listen and be amazed! This is superb playing of the first order, and wonderful music to boot. Add to that a State of the Art recording and the picture is complete. There are excellent contributions from all musicians in La Fenice. Many of the composers I did not known or just from one piece or another in a collection I have. So this is doubly welcome. Sonatas Passamezzos, Bergamasco's , Passagaglios, Arias, Toccatas, Chiacconas, it's all there in huge quantities and quality.  Resourcefulness of scoring,  magnificent gestures, and plenty of colour, fastidious attention to detail, thus the music encompasses desire, love and yes also intimations of mortality. It has me in raptures anyway. Cleanly and gracefully executed in a most luscious way.




Telemann, Georg Philipp. (1681-1767) A Portrait. CD 1. Miscellaneous concerti.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 11-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 1 from 7.
Recording dates: February 1988.
Venue: Stavelor, ancienne abbaye, France.
Sound engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 73:51.

Works on CD 1.

Concerto in A minor, for Alto recorder, bass viol, violin, viola and BC  ( cello, double bass, harpsichord).
Concerto in F major for  Alto recorder, bassoon, 2 violins, viola & BC (cello,  double bass, harpsichord)
Concerto in e minor for Alto recorder, flute, 2 violins, viola and BC (as above)
Suite in A minor, for Alto recorder, 2 violins, viola and BC (as above)


Performed by:
Frederic de Roos, Alto recorder.
Philippe Pierlot, Bass viol.
Marc Minkowski, Bassoon.
Patrick Beuckels, Flute.
Ricercar consort.

I knew all the concertos on this disc and I have diverse interpretation of them, but whatever you have this would be almost a necessary addition even if it is doubling up what you already have in excellent performances.
For Ricercar has assembled a body of musicians that bring true magic to the music. Masculine enough to make a permanent impression, fluid enough to make you melt, and such expert handling of the instruments that you almost forget that it is a recording.. Nothing is rushed, but neither is it drawn out into a standstill. It is simply perfect. Frederic de Roos is a deft musician on the Alto recorder, as is Marc Minkowski on the Bassoon. And a superb BC is adding the last detail to wonderful renderings of Telemann's genius. I enjoyed this so much.
Sound is almost State of the Art.




Love, Revelry and the Dance in Mediæval Music. CD 1, Troubadours Songs and jongleurs Dances..

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 11-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 1 from 7.
Recording dates: November 2000.
Venue: Église Notre Dame de Centeilles, France.
Sound engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 63:13.

Composers on this CD:
Anonymous.
Thibaut de Champagne.
Bernard de Ventadorn.
Gaucelm Faidit.
Berenguier de Palol.

Performed by:
Millenarium.

Carole Marras, Voice and Harp.
Christophe Deslignes, Organetto.
Thierry Gomar, Percussions.

The first CD is an absolute delight. The balance in this ensemble is near perfect, and the voice of Carole Marras fits nicely into this music. They aim as an ensemble to give a true representation of music of the Mediæval period, and for me they succeed admirably in this. None of the composers were known to me, at least I do not remember, but the music is pleasing for the ear. The vocal pieces have to do without the text, for apart for a synopsis of basic info, it is sadly missing. 
The recording is state of the art. I am looking forward to the rest of this calming music, especially fitting to the pre Christmas time.





Sunday, December 10, 2017

Tartini, Giuseppe. (1692-1770) The Complete Violin Concertos. CD 3.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 10-12-2017.
Label: Dynamic.
CD 3 from 29.
Recording dates: February 1996.
Venue: Villa Cerdonellina, Altavilla Vicentina, Italy.
Sound engineer: Pietro Mosetti Casaretto.
Time: 62:23.

Works on this CD:
Violin Concerto, opus 1.
No 9/10/11/12.

Performed by:
L'Arte dell "Arco.

After the complete Violin concertos by Viotti, also on the Dynamic label, I now continue with Tartini's violin concertos. Viotti did not make me happy, finding the interpretation and recording mediocre, I am in a lesser degree confronted with some annoying features in the present recordings.. The first is the sound engineer, who did not have at the time of the recording very good ears. Like in the Viotti concerti on which he also did the engineering, the tubby bass contribution and the somewhat frontal placing of the violin is identical. And although I appreciated the authentic instruments I found the tempi, especially the Largo's tedious and frankly old school, not really fitting in an authentic environment. The Violin playing is not always secure. And also too much legato at times. Sometimes it's rather rough and ready hewing and stressing the Violin. The finer details are missing, and the pressure on the strings as in the first movement of No 10 are disconcerting.  I am mildly pleased.


Friday, December 8, 2017

Viotti, Giovanni Battista (1755-1824) Complete Violin Concertos. CD 9 & 10.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 8-12-2017.-2017.
Label: Dynamic.
CD 9&10 from 10.
Recording dates: October 2002 & October 2004.
Venue: Sala S. Antonio, Perugia. Lissone (Milano) Italy.
Sound engineer: Pietro Mosetti Casaretto.
Total time: 78:15 & 53:26.

Works on this CD:
Violin concertos:
No. 22/24.28/29/21.


Performed by: 

Franco Mezzena, Violin & Conductor.
Symphonia Perusina & Orchestra da Camera Milano Classica.

I must say that the last 5 violin concertos on disc 9&10 had more flesh on their bones. The melodic input was much stronger and the movements were far better composed. I could for the first time keep my attention at the music and that was a first throughout this whole set. The recordings were  slightly better and the Milano orchestra sounded a tad more grown up. Let me be clear about one or two things. I think the music excellent but at times a bit boring, so listening in one go is not advisable, Franco Mezzena is a top notch violinist but his expression is too romantic by far. His bowing is impeccable. The recordings are sub standard, not good but neither bad. The production value is low, with better resources the outcome would have been much better. Take for example the orchestra that features prominently in all 10 recordings but two, the "Symphonia Perusina" and in two instances the "Viotti Chamber orchestra"  both are provincial musicians, were I could find not much merit apart from the fact that their playing was decent, no doubt influenced by the fact that a proper conductor was not employed, not even Luciano Borin could save the day on disc 1&2, so he was not an influence to be reckon with. The sum total is that I am glad to have Viotti's excellent violin concertos, but I wait for much better performances and recordings. A pity....


Viotti, Giovanni Battista (1755-1824) Complete Violin Concertos. CD 8.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 8-12-2017.-2017.
Label: Dynamic.
CD 8 from 10.
Recording dates: July 2000
Venue: Sala S. Antonio, Perugia. Italy.
Sound engineer: Pietro Mosetti Casaretto.
Total time: 72:44.

Works on this CD:
Violin concertos:
No. 25 in A major.
No. 26 in B flat major.
No. 10 in B flat major.

Performed by: 

Franco Mezzena, Violin & Conductor.
Symphonia Perusina.

Nice music and competent performances. But ultimately I think it would have been much better on authentic instruments, with a better orchestra or a conductor who would have a better command on the proceedings. The combined conductor soloist does not work.
The timpani sounds like being recorded in a bathtube. The overall sound is adequate.




Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Pejačević, Dora.(1885-1923) The Complete Piano Works. CD 1& 2. Fourth rerun.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen CD 1: 19-10-2017.
Second listen: 10-11-2017.
Third listen: 15-11-2017.
First listen CD 2: 19-10-2017.
Second listen: 10-11-2017.
Third listen: 15-11-2017.
Fourth listen: 6-12-2017.
Label: CPO
CD 1 & 2.
Recording dates: June/July 2014.
Venue: SWR Stuttgart Kammermusikstudio, Germany.
Sound engineer: Burkhard Pfitzner-Landeck.
Total time CD 1: 78:22, CD 2: 78:22.

See first full reviews on 17-10-2017 and 19-10-2017.

Works on CD: 1

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.
*
Works on CD: 2.

9 Walzer-Capricen opus 28.
Sonate opus 36 in B minor.
Berceuse opus 20 and opus 2.
Capriccio opus 47.
Zwei Klavierskizzen opus 44.
Zwei intermezzi opus 38.
Gondellied opus 4.
Chanson sans paroles opus 5& 10.
Menuett opus 7.
Impromptu opus 9a.
Trauermarsch opus 14.
Humoreske opus 54a.
Caprice opus 54b.

An absolute necessity to have in my book. Timeless and highly emphatic. 
She is my top female composer!


Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) The Complete edition. CD 18-21. Second complete rerun.

CD 18:

Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 4-10-2017.
Second listen: 5-12-2017.
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.


Works on CD 18:
Concerto Grosso opus 7.  No. 5-6 
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.

CD 19:

Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 5-10-2017.
Second listen: 5-12-2017.
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.

Works on CD 19:
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.

CD: 20:


Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 9-10-2017.
Second listen: 6-12-2017.
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 CD 20:
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.

CD 21:

Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 16-10-2017.
Second listen: 6-12-2017.
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 CD 21:
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 marvelous set. I have been attentively listening in a detailed way, and my admiration even grew proportionate with every disc following. A second rerun and a well earned place in my collection.
See full reviews  on the first listening dates.



Rheinberger, Josef Gabriel. (1839-1901) Complete Piano Works (solo) CD 8-10. Second rerun.

CD 8:
Date of purchase: May 2016.
First listen: 4-10-2017.
Second listen: 5-12-2017.
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 CD 8:
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.
*
CD 9:
Date of purchase: May 2016.
First listen: 5-10-2017.
Second listen: 5-12-2017.
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 CD 9.
Thema mit Veränderungen, opus 61.
Toccata in G minor, opus 12.
Drei Vortragsstudien, opus 101.
Aus den Ferientagen, opus 72.

CD 10:
Date of purchase: May 2016.
First listen: 6-10-2017.
Second listen: 6-12-2017.
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.

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

During a couple of days I did some extensive reruns, and getting the full measure and impact of this for me fabulous music. It is truly venerated by me, and will always stay in the forefront of my listening diet. He comes in on the same level as Chopin.
See for full reviews the dates of first listenings.



Monday, December 4, 2017

Rheinberger, Josef Gabriel. (1839-1901) Complete Piano Works (solo) CD 5-7. Second rerun.

Date of purchase: May 2016.
First listen: 27-9-2017.
Second listen: 4-12-2017.
Label: Carus.
CD 5 from 10.
Recording dates: February/March 2002.
Venue:Auditorium of the Kantonsschule Sargans, Switzerland. 
Sound engineer: Hansjürg Meier.
Total time: 69:00.

Works on this CD 5:
Sechs tonstücke in Fugierter form, opus 39.
Sechs tonstücke in Furnierter form, opus 68.
Fantasiestück, : Hoch geht die See" opus 23.
Capriccio giocoso, opus 43.

*

First listen: 29-9-2017.
Second listen: 4-12-2017.
CD 6 from 10.
Recording dates: May/July 2002.
Venue:Auditorium of the Kantonsschule Sargans, Switzerland. 
Sound engineer: Hansjürg Meier.
Total time: 77:35.

Works on CD: 6.
Drei Stücke für das Pianoforte, opus 78.
Pianoforte Studien für die Linke hand allein, oder auch zwei Hände, opus 113.
Zwölf Vortragsstudien, opus 183.

*

First listen: 2-10-2017.
Second listen: 4-12-2017.
CD 7 from 10.
Recording dates: July 2002 & January/March 2003
Venue: Auditorium of the Kantonsschule Sargans, Switzerland. 
Sound engineer: Hansjürg Meier.
Total time: 67:07..

Works on this CD:

Improvisation über Motive aus der Zauberflöte, opus 51.
Drei Studien, opus 6.
Drei Characterstüche opus 7.
Aus Italien, opus 29.
Sechs Charakteristische Stücke, opus 67.



Performed by:
Jürg Hanselmann.

Instrument:
Steinway Konzertflügel D 530 303.

Simply marvelous.
Full reviews you may find following the dates of first listening.



Sunday, December 3, 2017

Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) Concerto Grosso opus 7. No. 1-4 CD 17. The Complete edition. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 3-10-2017.
Second listen: 2-12-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 17 of 21.
Recording dates: June 2013 & January 2014.
Venue: Westvestkerk, Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Peter Arts.
Total time: 60:51

Works on this CD:
See heading.

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

An ongoing pleasure.




Saturday, December 2, 2017

Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) Concerto Grosso, opus 1, No. 12 & Introduzioni Teatrali, opus 4, No. 1-7. (CD 15) & CD 16: Concerto Grosso opus 4. No. 8-12. Second listen.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 26-9-2017. CD 15.
Second listen: 2-12-2017 CD 15.
First listen: 28-9-2017. CD 16.
Second listen: 2-12-2017. CD 16.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 15 & 16 of 21.
Recording dates: June 2013 & January 2014.
Venue: Westvestkerk, Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Peter Arts.
Total time: 61:25& 61:49.


Works on this CD:
See heading.

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

I cannot get enough of these wonderful performances.



Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) Concerto Grosso, opus 1, No. 1-11.. (CD 13 & 14. Second rerun.

From my collection. 
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 14-9-2017.
Second listen: 1-12-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 13 & 14 of 21.
Recording dates: June 2013 & January 2014.
Venue: Westvestkerk, Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Peter Arts.
Total time: 64:00 & 67:32

Works on this CD:
See heading.

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

A delight to return to the opus 1 concerti.






Thursday, November 30, 2017

Viotti, Giovanni Battista (1755-1824) Complete Violin Concertos. CD 7.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 30-11-2017.
Label: Dynamic.
CD 7 from 10.
Recording dates: March 1999.
Venue: Sala S. Antonio, Perugia. Italy.
Sound engineer: Pietro Mosetti Casaretto.
Total time: 70:33

Works on this CD:
Violin concertos:
No. 17 in D minor.
No. 15 in B flat major.
No. 9 in A major.

Performed by: 

Franco Mezzena, Violin & Conductor.
Symphonia Perusina.

I cannot say that the music is exciting or digging deep in the melodic content. The orchestral part is a middle of the road affair, nothing much happening there. Also in terms of tempi it can be rather boring. Not the kind of alertness I expected. All is very suave and unadventurous. 
However the parts written for violin are extraordinary fine. And there is the power of the music, the well crafted writing for this instrument. Another aspect is the excellent playing by Mezzena, but again he may be technical accomplished, but not even his playing infuses this music with the drive it needs. His phrasing is impeccable and he has a broad range of expression at his command, but he rarely uses it. Its elegant and polished to high gloss, but that's afraid all for me. A better orchestra and more drive to it all would have made this set indispensable, as it is however it is rather a question whether or not you want the music.  The sound is good enough.



Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) Complete Edition. Violin concertos IV and V. CD 11 & 12. Second rerun.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 5-9-2017.
Second rerun: 30-11-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 11 & 12 from 21.
Recording dates: CD 11, April 2013. CD 12, May 2013.
Venue: Westervestkerk, Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Peter Arts.
Total time: CD 11: 63:50. CD 12: 28:46.

Works on CD 11:
L'Arte del Violino.
Concertos for Violin, strings and BC, opus 3.
No. 10 in F, No. 11 in A. No. 12 in D, "Labirinto armonico".

Works on CD 12:
Violin concerto in A, and E.

Performed by:
Ensemble Violini Capricciosi, Igor Ruhadze.

I have said all I have to say in terms of praise about this Complete Edition. Both discs are perfect, and of a reference level. Everyone with a heart for Locatelli should have this box.



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685 -1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 5. Early Works influenced by Böhm & Buxtehude.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 28-11-2017.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 5 from 20.
Recording dates: September 1999.
Venue: Petrus Kerk, Leens, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Mittermaier.
Time: 76:11.

Works on this CD:
BWV: 551/766/574/767/575/762/743/533/770/566.

Performed by:
Wolfgang Zerer.

Instrument:
Albertus Anthonie Hinsz, 1733.
Restored by Gebroeders van Vulpen, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 1968.

This was really a treat, both in musical display and as an excellent recording. The organ is much loved by me for its colour and openness. Zerer is a man of distinction if it comes to generating the right amount of expression out of almost all organs he plays on. He makes it a feast this time. His style of playing is curtailed to my needs. A commanding interpretation of Bach's early organ works. The poise and also dexterity with which Zerer moves around is spot on. All the movements are declamatory, colourful and he infuses the music with resonant warmth. He suavely navigates with a supple facility through all the regions of Bach's compositions. It's expansive, but not overly so, full bodied when needed, with a beautiful phrasing on every note.  The magisterial sustaining power Zerer displays keeps me on the top of my attention. What an expressive range he has. And what a winsome sensibility. 


Gossec, François Joseph. (1734-1829) Trois Grandes Symphonies, opus VIII.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 28-11-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 2 from 7.
Recording dates: 2002-2007?
Venue: ?
Sound engineer: Jerome Lejeune.
Time: 79:29.

Works on this CD:
Symphonies No. 1/2/5.
Symphony concertante for Violin, Cello, & orchestra.
Sabinus. (Suite de Ballet)

Performed by:
Les Agrémens, Guy Van Waas.
Patrick Cohen Akenine, Violin.
François Poly, Cello.

Highly polished performances, well recorded, be it a little too much on the foreground. Dynamics can pop out quite suddenly from ppp situation. Apart from this it is detailed with plenty of air around the instruments, and fine orchestral playing. I am amazed at this level of orchestral excellence, as I am of the soloistic contribution by Violin and Cello.
Gossec is an underrated composer, but not as mediocre as some people wants us to believe, on the contrary. His music is very accessible and creative in melodic content. There is introspection, complexity, warmth, tenderness and a huge suggestive power which is characteristic of this composer, as I learnt from previous recordings. Music with lasting value!.  There is a great clarity to support the structural basis of the music, it's organic and dynamic use of texture resulting in a pleasing energetic and sometimes breathtaking harmony. I especially like the Suite de Ballet with its continuous integration of different musical elements, very cleanly executed. Great interpretative ideas spring up in every movement and highlights the sheer ingenuity.
Recommended.



Thursday, November 23, 2017

Salvatore, Giovanni. (c.1610-1688) Works for Harpsichord and Organ, plus a Missa.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 22-11-2017.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates: October 1998 & June 1999.
Venue: Köln Studio, Funkhaus Saal 2 WDR, Germany. (Harpsichord)  Ponte in Valtellina, ( Madonna della Campagna, Italy. (Organ and Missa)
Sound engineer: Mark Hohn & Martin Andrae.
Time: 66:10.

Works on this CD:
Capriccios/ Corrente/ Toccata, for Harpsichord.
Missa della Domenica for Organ and Choir.
( Main source, Ricercari a quattro voci, Canzoni francesi,  toccata et versi per rispondere nelle Messe con l'Organo al choro, composte dal Giovanni Salvatore...Libro Primo, Naples 1641)

Francesco Lambardo.
Toccata for Harpsichord.

Don Carlo Gesualdo.
Canzon francese del Principe, for Harpsichord.

Performed by:
Fabio Bonizzoni, Harpsichord and Organ.
Schola Stirps Jesse, Enrico De Capitani. (Plainchant)

Instruments used:
A Harpsichord by: Luigi de Curli c. 1678. 415 Hz meantone temperament.
Organ by: Marco Antonio Bizarri-Antegnati (1519-1589)

A superb recording by Glossa to start with. The playing on both organ and harpsichord is nothing short of fabulous. The plainchant is perfectly sung and beautifully integrated into the sound of the organ. Salvatore was almost unknown to me, apart from some Harpsichord works, but I find him to be an excellent composer, much undervalued these days. He was named "teacher of teachers" with good reason, for he was highly respected in his long life and produced fine compositions as is proved by this recording.
A CD to have and cherish, for it is joy to the ear. I could say more clever things about the music, but my advice would be to buy this fine recording. 


Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon. (1562-1621) The Third Book of Psalms.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: December 2009.
First listen all three CD'S: 29-9 & 2/5-10-2011.
Second listen all three CD'S: 23/28-11-2017.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates: November 2006 & March 2009.
Venue: Nederlands Hervormde Kerk, Renswoude, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Stephan Schellmann.
Time: 75:14/58:40/66:01.

Works on all three discs:
Psalms, Organ fantasies (by Bernard Winsemius, Psalms 16& 19.
Oraison Dominicale.

Performed by:
Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam, Harry van der Kamp. 
Bernard Winsemius, Organ.

Instrument:

Transept organ, Oude Kerk, Amsterdam (1545, Hendrik Niehoff/ 1638 replaced by Hanswolf Schonat/ 1965 restored back to the original disposition by Ahrend & Brunzema.
Meantone temperament.

Absolutely gorgeous, the Sweelinck you cannot be without. This is perfect in every respect.




Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Riisager, Knudåge. (1897-1974) The Symphonic Edition, Volume I.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 21--11-2017.
Label: Dacapo.
Recording dates: September 2010 & February 2011.
Venue: Symphonic Hall, Musikhuset, Aarhus, Danmark.
Sound engineer: Claus Byrith.
Time: 64:52.

Works on this disc:
Overture for Erasmus Montanus, opus 1, Danish pictures No. 1.
Jack the Dullard, opus 18, No. 2.
Carnival, opus 20, No. 3.
Comedy opus 21, No. 4.
Symphony No. 1, opus 8.

Performed by:
Aarhus SO, Bo Holten.

I find all the reasons to love this composer in the works on this disc. The Danish pictures are gorgeous. The projections of these images into music is brilliantly done. I like the clusters of sound he builds up in the strings and brass in ascending steps. And the modernity in the music is invigorating and thrilling. The rhythmical muscular and haunting melodies are a treat. It has all the capacity for introspection and reflects the variety in Danish music.  The Symphony is a small miracle too.  It has a rustic jollity with its elegant chromatisms and frolicking variations. The melodic and harmonious invention lets you hear a range of expression, neatly crafted and expertly written. The expressive potential is wide and deep. He is a master of rhythm. And a combination of tenderness and exuberance, let's not forget that. The performance is first rate, as is the recording.




Steigleder, Johann Ulrich. (1593-1635) Complete Organ Works. Top recommendation.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 21-11-2017.
Label: Aeolus.
Digipack: 2 CD'S.
Recording dates:  May 2003.
Venue: Lüdingsworth, St. Jacobi, Germany.
Sound engineer: Christoph Martin Frommen.
Time: 79:57& 72:33.

Works on both CD'S:
Tabulatur Buch Darinnen Daß Vatter unser auff 2.3 und vier Stimmen.
Componirt und viertzig mal Varirt würd. (1626-27)

Ricercar "Tabulatura"(1624)

Performed by:
Léon Berben.

Instrument used:
A Antonius Wilde/Arp Schnitger organ (1598-1683)
Restored by Jürgen Ahrend (1981-82)
A= 460 Hz.
Meantone temperament.

Let me say one thing first...this is a fabulous organ, plus it is perfectly recorded by the organ coryfee Christoph Martin Frommen. Berben makes a feast of the performance in every respect. He treats the organ in just the right way to get a maximum of effect culminating into balm for your ears. The forty variations on this first disc made a huge impression on me, especially the first variation and the last one one. The first was a Fantasia oder Fugen manier 4. Vocum, and the 40th a Variation auff Toccata manier, 4. It shows what this composer was capable of. Sweelinck came to mind several times. The sheer variation in the music blew me away several times, due also to the organ disposition and the sound. Berben plays in a very restrained manner, always  focusing on the music and the right amount of dynamics, and never on himself. This sensitive manner appeals hugely to me. The second disc that holds the Ricercar Tabulatura from 1624, brought Frescobaldi and Scheidt into my mind quite forcefully. The somewhat sober style used in these compositions felt like bare bones utterances of a time long gone. But it is exactly this aspect that I like. There is little warmth or colour in the ricercari, but I loved the subtle changes in the use of registrations and the spare use of ornamenting the music. Phrasing is delightful and at times it has a quasi improvisatory air. I feel like being thrusted into another and different world on the second disc. In the end I am utterly pleased with the result.
The sound is almost State of the Art. 



Telemann, Georg Philipp. (1681-1767) A Portrait. CD 5. Works for Alto recorder and BC.

New acquisition. Date of purchase: October 2017. First listen: 18-12-2017. Label: Ricercar. CD 5 from 7. Recording dates: October 1996 ...