Saturday, January 20, 2018

Fête du Ballet, A compendium of Ballet rarities. CD I second rerun.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: 2011.
First listen: 21-11-2013.
Second listen: 19-1-2018.
Label: Decca.
CD 1 from 10.
Recording dates: April 1974, March 1981 & April 1982.
Venue: Kingsway Hall, London.
Engineer: Not mentioned.
Running time: 81:16.

Gioachino Rossini, arr. Benjamin Britten.

Soirées musicales.
Matinées musicales.

Frederic Chopin, orch Roy Douglas.

Les Sylphides.

Johann Strauss I & II, Josef Strauss and Eduard Strauss.

Le Beau Danube.

National PO, Richard Bonynge.

It is an absolute delight to come back to Ballet music, which for me comes first in classical music.
But then I have a strong affinity and connection to the world of ballet.
This box I played some time ago, so I took it from my collection to be again charmed by the world of Ballet a constant source of pleasure.
The Soirées musicales and Matinées musicales by Gioachino Rossini, arranged by Benjamin Britten are a marvel. The pinpoint accuracy of the scoring and a matching orchestra, and the never failing ear of  Richard Bonynge make for a reference performance. Riveting!
Les Sylphides by Frederic Chopin,  and orchestrated Roy Douglas, has many fine points but tends to be a bit slow at places, with which you score points obviously, but the preludes and nocturnes suffer a tad in expression, and the natural light footedness suffers also in the bargain. Again the National PO and Richard Bonynge save the day by keeping the flow intact, and gets great effect by highlighting all the wonderful details. The tempi are adapted to the choreography of the ballet, so much is clear.
Le Beau Danube, by the Strauss family is a familiar confrontation with all the fine melodies they composed. It is a virtual delight to hear it, and concluding that it is eminently suitable for ballet. It was recorded as far back as in 1982, but the sound is State of the Art as all the recordings in this series on Decca. I am a bit miffed by the fact that the sound engineers are not named.
I look forward to the rest in this box.

Pachelbel, Johann Christoph.. (1653-1706) The Complete Organ Works, Volume II.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: End of 2017.
First listen: 19-1-2018.
2 CD'S.
Recording dates: October 2011 & August 2012.
Venue: Stephanskirche, Simmern, & Kilianskirche zu Bedheim, Germany.
Engineer: Gregor van den Boom.
Recording Assistant: Iris Duwensee.
Time:  48:39 & 68:42.

Works performed: 
Das Kirchenjahr: Christmas. CD 1.
Psalmlieder III. CD 2.

Organs used:
Gebruder Stumm 1782, restored in 2009 by Rainer Müller.
Stimmung in Cornetton a'=455 Hz.
Temperierung nach Bach-Kellner.

Caspar Schippel 1711 & Nicolaus Seeber 1721, restored by Alexander Schuke, Orgelbau, Potsdam.
Stimmtonhöhe g I =438 HZ.
Temperierung: Bach-Kellner.

Performed by: 
Jürgen Essl.
James David Christie.
Michael Belotti.

I am pleasantly surprised by the fact that we have here performances that are in technical matters perfect, and in musical matters leave little to desire. As to the recordings I think them State of the Art. This out of the way there are quite a few differences in interpretation and style between the 3 organists. But all are perfectly valid, so in that sense there is no real criticisms in regard of Volume II of the series. I have Volume I too, with 5 CD'S but those have yet to be listened by me. 
Lets begin with the first CD. In regards of Pachelbel's compositions, there is for me little to say, actually the only thing I have to say about his oeuvre is, that it is musically as satisfying as any other composers, high in everyones regard during his life and after. Pachelbel's name stands for quality, perfectly conceived. Period!
Jûrgen Essl, is a technical accomplished organist, with nimble fingers and a forward sense in expressing the music. The technical side is prime in his approach at the cost of warmth. The energetic drive is riveting, but needs some adjusting, for this playing bubbles literally with so much power that it can be a little tiring to the ears. But this said I love what I hear. He does not put a foot wrong, and is accomplished in such a way that you keep admiring the skills he displays so easily. Pachelbel gets a royal treatment here. The Stumm organ is a beautiful instrument, but is also very powerful, maybe a tad too much for me. But then the colours are varied and it has a gorgeous disposition.
CD II begins with Michael Belotti which is a new name for me but he seems to have quite a reputation for his knowledge regarding Buxtehude and Pachelbel. His approach is one of ease, and he turns every phrase twice in his head before he plays it.  Dynamics are beautifully realized, and he achieves a great balance in all the voices. His subtle colouring and well thought out approach makes this a refreshing and musically satisfying interpretation. The second part on CD II is played by James David Christie in much the same vein, in that sense they are well matched, Christie is also a thoughtful organist with perfect technical skills and a rare musical insight. Seamlessly Christie dives into the same structure as Belotti without me noticing it at first. There are small differences but you must have a well trained ear to hear that. 
All in all, I am very happy about this project.

Found another interesting Lute music CD, that is worth to take into my collection.

The Parisian Symphony Box. CD 7.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 19-1-2018.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 7 from 7.
Recording dates": 2008-2014.
Venue: Namur, Theatre Royal?
Engineer: Manuel Mohino.
Time: 69:15.

Composers on this disc:

Salieri *
JC Bach.

Performed by:
Les Agremens, Guy van Waas.

Jennifer Borghi, Soprano.

The composers with a star behind their name I actually listened to, the rest was not to my liking, not because the music was in any way inferior, but I heartily dislike the voice of Borghi, and the type of music is not something I like to listen to. This said there was precious little left to enjoy, but beggars can't be choosers. 
What made a huge impression on me however was Christoph Willibald Gluck's, "Ballet des Ombres heureuses" and "Air de Furie". The first movement might start as you are used to hear it, but the second movement is a power house of highly charged energy. Fast and extremely furious, van Waas, makes quite an entrance with it, by pulling out all the stops, charged the batteries to full level and hit you with riveting violins and some precise bowing, disciplined like a Prussian army unit. I never heard it faster or more captivating like this! Supercharged intensity
What I also enjoyed hugely was the fine rendition of Louis Ferdinand Herold's Symphony No 2. I already knew something of his music but this work was new to me. Melodically a fine composition and very well scored to boot. again this disciplined playing culture comes readily to the foreground.  The piece by Salieri "Les Danaides" was not a captivating composition. And the sound in the beginning was somewhat muffled, corrected later on in the music.  In my perspective one of the best authentic orchestras in  Europe. And the sound is superb too, after this small mishap of course.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 11-12-2017.
Second rerun: 17-1-2018.
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! Second rerun and being even more 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 know 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.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tartini, Giuseppe.(1692-1770) The Complete Violin Concertos. CD 13/14/15/16.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: 2017.
First listen: 16-1-2017.
Label: Dynamic.
CD 13/14/15/16 from 29.
Recording dates: March 2000/ February 2002/January 2003.
Venue: Villa Velo d'Astico, and Chiuppano/ Shiso, Chiesa di S. Francesco/Veggiano, Villa Tommasini, Italy.
Engineer: Marco Lincetto.
Time: 61:50/61:50/66:08/51:44.

Violin Concertos:

What I can say in this stadium of listening to these Violin concertos is, that the music gets better, the recording is almost perfect, and the performances tighter. What is not changed are the incessantly annoying slow tempi, played in a romantic manner. But all in all it is quite enjoyable. Tartini is a musical genius in his own right. That's why I could play 4 CD'S in a row, plus the fact that I am a bit under the weather with a flu that tries to win my soul, and Tartini's music is soothing. Ohhh Bugger!

L'Arte Dell 'Arco.

Fête du Ballet, A compendium of Ballet rarities. CD I second rerun.

From my collection. Date of purchase: 2011. First listen: 21-11-2013. Second listen: 19-1-2018. Label: Decca. CD 1 from 10. Recording ...