Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Eduard Franck. (1817-1893) Piano Trios, in E minor, opus 11 & in D major, opus 58.

Bought in 2013.
Second listen.
First listen: 10-7-2013. See previous listening notes on this recording.

It is no secret that I admire the music of this composer very much, and can also heap much praise on this label, who took the risk of recording the music without knowing if it would sell, despite the high quality of the music. According to the steady stream of releases of Richard and Eduard Franck, it seems that the venture paid off. I am in the second row of acquiring it, when the price lowers a bit, for as remarked before, Audite is a very expensive label.
The piano trios are devastatingly beautiful, there is no other expression for it. This creative flow out of both brothers is somewhat of a miracle, that does not happen that often, but it seems that the time in which they lived was prosperous for them. The heritage they left behind will delight many listeners as it does me, being honest, I can not get enough of it, and I hope that I will be able to acquire more of the Audite recordings soon. We will see.
The performance as the recording could not be better. And is not this art work equally beautiful?

Orient-Occident II, Hommage to Syria.

Bought in 2013.
Third listen.
First listen: 1-11-2013. Second: 2-11-2013. See previous listening notes.

Without any doubt this CD is a highlight from 2013. Already very much impressed by previous issues in this series, this one came as a surprise after The Spirit of the Balkan, by its diversity in musical genres, and the sheer beauty of what is presented, not least the beautiful book that accompanies the release. There is not a label in the world that puts so much effort and creativity in its releases as Jordi Savall's own label, Alia Vox.
This CD starts with the song "Ahla Zahra", sung by Oumeima Khalil, and that sets the tone for the whole set. I cannot heap enough praise on what is happening here, but believe me its sheer magic.
Very good sound too.

To all my classical music friends, and the many unknown people that frequented my blog this year.

I wish all of you a very Happy and peaceful Christmas. Blessings to all of you and your beloved ones.
And may Christmas be filled with music and laughter.


Josquin des Pres, and his contemporaries, Nicolaes Craen & Adrian Willaert.

Bought in 2013.
Third listen.
First listen: 17-9-2013, Second: 21-9-2013. See previous listening notes.
Video posted on 17-9-2013.

Also a absolute winner in my book! Sublime performances. No glitches here, not a note wrong, perfectly recorded. The Binchois Consort prove once again, that they are masters in this field. I really enjoy this CD very much. A firm Christmas recommendation.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Johann Heinrich Rolle. ( 1716-1785) Christmas Oratorio.

Bought in 2008.
From my Christmas collection.
Fifth listening.
First listening: 16-6-2008, Second: 17-7-2008, Third: 24-12-2009, Fourth: 18-12-2012.
No reviews.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: March 1997.
Recording venue:  Not mentioned.
Recording engineers: Christian Ulrich & Hans Kaster.
Running time: 47:29.

Gundula Anders & Dorothea Mields, Sopranos.
Britta Schwarz, Alto.
Wilfried Jochens, Tenor.
Dirk Schmidt, Bass.
Kammerchor Michaelstein,
Telemann Kammerorchester Michaelstein, Ludger Remy.

Although this composer is not well know, his oratorio is a fine one, and should belong in every Christmas collection, for in this performance some fine voices come together, not in the least my much loved Dorothea Mields, and Gundula Anders.. And Ludger Remy will give you a very authentic performance anytime, for he is at the very top of conductors in this field. Choir, orchestra, solo voices are all in a symbiotic embrace, and the result is heavenly Christmas music, that will certainly bring you in the mood, and I know almost for certain that you never heard this music before, so it makes a nice change in your Christmas diet. The sound is pristine, with a very good depth.

Georg Philipp Telemann, Christmas Cantatas.

From my Christmas Collection.
Bought in ?
Probably 25 times listened to.
Label: Harmonia Mundi Plus, France. ( Series Quintana)
Recording dates: April 1991.
Recording venue: Savaria Museum, Szombathely, Hungary.
Recording engineer: Ferenc Pecsi & Rudolf Pechan.
Running time: 46:06.
Budget release 1994.

This will be our redemption
O, Jesus Christ, your little manger.
A child is born to us.

The original recording had extra music on it. This I found out during a search on Google. Anyway, both releases, and the above was a budget release, are both OOP. Which is a pity, for it is a delightful recording, with Maria Zadori, one of my absolute favourite sopranos after Emma Kirkby, and Suzie LeBlanc. Zadori is partnered by Judith Nemeth an equally fine alto, well the whole team is a dreamcast. The recording is very truthful, and has a sublime perspective, and ideal depth and balance. Really a sublime Christmas CD, if you can find it, snap it up, it will give you lifelong pleasure. 

Kovács Nóri - Mária altatója - karácsonyi dalok

Andrzej Panufnik, (1914-1991) Symphony No. 2-3 & 10. Volume 4.

Bought in 2013.
Third listen.
First listen: 13-8-2013. Second listen: 11-11-2013. See extensive listening notes in backlog.

To be quite honest, Panufnik is one of the most important composers I discovered in 2012, and it follows me in 2013. Maybe three composers this year that had me gasping in admiration, which is Ludovit Rajter, Vagn Holmboe, and the present composer. Panufnik comes so close in what I conceive my spiritual being, and my musical center, it feels eerie at best ( in a positive sense), astounding always. As a composer I think he is hugely overlooked and neglected, like another greatness called Ludovit Rajter. You have to listen to this music with due attention and reference for the genius that went into their compositions. It opens a world far beyond what you conceived to be the very best you ever encountered. All three composers cross that magical line. All are master orchestrators.  And all are tonal, stretched sometimes, but always in a tasteful way. 
Panufnik is a spiritual composer that looks into the stillness in music, with majestic interruptions that clean your senses, and let you walk even further on the path of musical enlightenment. 
So far I collected all CPO releases, of which I have to play the first 2 volumes again, they were lost in the 2012 batch and await their second hearing soon.

Guillaume Dufay, Mass for St Anthony Abbot. ( attr.) (? 1397-1474) Gilles Binchois. (c.1400-1460) Domitor Hectoris, Kyrie "In simplici die", Sanctus, Agnus dei, Nove cantum melodie.

Bought in 2013.
Third listen.
First and second listen: 11-9-2013. See extensive listening notes.

For the last time in my player, and what a pleasure it has been to listen to this ensemble, easily one of the best around. There is a perfect balance between the singers, and the flow of the music is concentrated in such a way, that it keeps your attention firmly on what is going on. I have not heard Dufay nor Binchois so perfectly sung as on this disc. Recommended without reserve. You will like this.
If you need to know more about this disc and music, there is always the Hyperion website, were full notes are to be found.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Michael Praetorius. ( 1571-1621) Advent and Christmas Music.

From my collection of Christmas music.
Bought in 2007.
Second listen.
First listen: 6-12-2007.
Label CPO.
Recording dates: January 2007.
Recording venue: Stiftskirche Bassum, Germany.
Recording engineer: Gisela Kniemeyer.
Running time: 67:33.

Bremer Barock Consort, Manfred Cordes.

Well it was a long time ago that I have listen to this CD, but I played it finally. The compositions are of a high level, and its very enjoyable Christmas music. I have however slight problems with the fact that most pieces are sung by four sopranos, good voices, but the music is very high written, so this becomes quite quickly tiring to your ears, and my only regret is that there are not more voices in the lower register. Only in the last number on this disc, "A solis artu cardine"  a balance is emerging, when a Tenor and a Bass are added to the composition. The rest of the music sounds a bit out of joint so to say. So by all means have it in your player, but do not play the disc in one go, that would spoil your appetite, taken in small doses however will wet your appetite. The voices can be rather penetrating at times, but the recording is truthful. Recommended but with appropriate caution.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hille Perl, Doulce Memoire, Glosas, Passeggiati & Diminutions around 1600.

Bought in 2013.
Third listen.
First listen: 19-10-2013 & Second listen: 5-12-2013.
See full reviews on both dates, for all available info.

Well I have come at an end, in respect of all the CD'S I bought with Hille Perl, as the main feature, solo or in ensemble. And my final verdict is, that although she is an accomplished musician, and knows how to handle her instrument, its her inability to hold to the written notes that irks me. Its not that she gives an interpretation within the bounds of respecting the score, no, she is altering the music itself, either by writing or rewriting, or plays them in such a way, that the original composition is wafted out of the door. Some may like this approach, but somehow I feel uncomfortable with this practice. And reading the notes in the booklets, often written or inspired by Hille Perl, I grasp her motivation behind her thinking, but that does not make it right for me. This said, the present CD, I like, because of the music, not of the Perl's interpretation, just because the irritation level is less high. I guess for people not well versed into old music, and coming new to the medium, this sounds fabulous, but to a old dog in this environment, it does not appeal to me, I heard much better. Sound is good though.

Sir Lennox Berkeley, (1903-1989) & Michael Berkeley, ( b.1948) Orchestral works.

Bought in 2013.
Fourth listen.
First listen: 1-8-2013. Second listen: 6-8-2013. Third listen: 5-11-2013.
All dates have reviews and technical info.

I have almost all recordings by these composers made on the Chandos label, and my music collection is richer because of it. Granted it took me some time to get thoroughly infused into the idiom of Lennox Berkeley, but once there, the rich flavours of his orchestration gave me the full taste of some fine compositions, and therefore earns a prominent place in every collection. Michael Berkeley was much easier for me to relate to, although at present I have no idea why precisely. Anyways, in my previous reviews I tell more about the music and what I felt, so if you care to know, look up the dates, its pretty easy. Sound is as per usual with Chandos pristine.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Los Otros marañones de Aguirre.

Bought in 2013.
Third listen.
First listen: 18-9-2013 & Second listen: 21-9-2013.
Both listening dates have extensive notes about the music and technical info.

After quite some CD'S of this ensemble I cannot say that I am a great admirer of the way they approach music in general, and particularly I dislike their antics evenly distributed over all participants. Could one speak in terms of Narcissistic musicians, that never the less, strike a balance in their music making? Absorbed in their own thing and pushed in a submissive attitude by the other individuals.  Yes, yes, that's how I perceive what they are doing. All is so much devised, artificial, with a thin layer of spontaneity about it, which is also of a foreign making. The music, well, it flows on, without leaving much of an impression. Too much technicality, and little spirituality. This kind of performance is really a clear choice, you either like it, or dislike it, well I have a third choice..I am in the middle. :)
Sound is good. 

New World Symphonies. From Araujo to Zipolo: An A to Z of Latin American Baroque.

Bought in 2013.
Third listen.
First listen: 17-9-2013. Video added. Second listen: 5-12-2013.
Both listening dates have extensive listening notes, and technical data.

I am in two minds about the contents of this CD. First of all there are pieces that move me greatly, but also abrupt disappointment. When the Choir is singing PPP, or softer, the results are magical, and leave a long resonance in ears and heart, but when this Choir is going full blast, it gets rather harsh, and unfocused, and frankly rather bland too. The beauty is in the detail, and careful notions on how to apply dynamics and accentuations. And this is often not observed in divers compositions on this disc. The voice quality of this choir is in my ears not of the highest standard, or rather their interpretation is not to my liking. Jeffrey Skidmore is able conductor, but some of his artistic decisions are to me faulted, in such a degree, that I put the volume down at certain tracks, for it pains my ears. Mind you, this is a very personal opinion, for the critics raved about the result. Not me though.
Sound can be a tad diffuse, and details are muddy when the volume of the voices goes up.

J.S. Bach. (1685-1750) Organ Cornucopia. Unfinished pieces, miscellaneous.

Bought in 2013.
Third listen.
Previous listenings: 17-9-2013, video added. 5-12-2013.
On both dates extensive listening notes and technical data.

There is no doubt in my mind, that Christopher Herrick is a fine musician. Through several CD'S I heard of him, my mind is clearly resolved to buy more of his output, as they come along in budget price. The complete box is OOP, or you may buy it in Australia for an insane price.
This CD is filled with unfinished pieces and fragments, but each and everyone of them is a small jewel. The only regret for me is that the fragments can be rather short. Some of them are beautiful, and it leaves you with a certain emptiness as to what might have been.  But I am glad that I have at least what is left, because even the leftovers by Bach, are worth exploring.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Johannes Brahms, Complete solo piano works. Volume 10.

From my collection.
Second complete listen.
Recording dates: 1984.
Recording venue: Clara Wieck Auditorium, Heidelberg, Germany.
Recording engineer: Gunter Appenheimer.
Running time: 51:52.
All where reviewed in 2013, starting from 13-8-2013 onwards.

Four Song transcriptions from "Die Schone Magelone".
Waltzes, opus 39, second version.
And a bunch of small miscellaneous things.

Played by Idil Biret.

Almost at an end of this fascinating complete performance of Brahms his solo piano works, and what a pleasure this box proved to be. Not a moment was I bored, nor missed insights into his music. I admire her musicianship, and her nimble yet strong fingers, that give is pure poetry in music. Brahms would have basked in the rays of Biret's ability to let his music speak. As a complete set it has gone OOP, but several single discs are still available.

Dora Pejacevic. (1885-1923) Chamber music.

Bought in 2013.
Third listen.
Previous listenings: 14-6-2013 & 8-10-2013. See extensive listening notes and technical info.

Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano, opus 29 in C major.
Sonata for Cello and Piano, opus 35 in E minor.

Well a woman born in the 19th century, coming out of a family of nobility, growing into a beautiful woman, and out of that emerging a composer of such brilliancy, with a sharp brain and a intellectual capacity to produce a oeuvre of such devastating beauty, that we should weep tears for a long time and never stop, for had this woman had the time of life, which was a promise, but not a fact, she would have composed such fine music, that would, and I have no doubt, astonish the world, and made her as famous as any given master of that era. From what I have heard so far, she makes me gasp at every note she has written. It has a depth, not of this world, a emotional range, almost incomprehensible, and yet a message whose words are sweeter as honey, and streaming down your soul as little pearly drops, that heal a broken soul, and caress a wounded one. I wish I could convey my feelings, as I cruise along her music. I feel a guest, that is allowed by the graces to listen, and it pours into me, as balm. 
The musicians on this disc, bring the music to that height that it needs to blossom, and the recording adds greatly to this pleasure.

Sergey Ivanovich Taneyev. (1856-1915) String Quartets No, 7 & 5.

Bought in 2013.
Second listen.
First listen: 11-9-2013. ( See listening notes and technical info)

I heard some noise and criticism about this particular recording of both SQ, but with all due respect, that did not cut wood with me. Technically is all above board, and musically it's a delight to listen to. Sure there are some minor lapses, and I mean  minor, in intonation, but that is the price for the dedicated playing, and due to it one might slip here and there, as long as that does not hamper the performance, its okay with me, and a sign that real people are playing and not a bunch of Android robots to coin a phrase.  The lyricism, and sheer sensibility of the musicians is a treat any time.  They infuse Taneyev's SQ with some honest to God warmth, so much needed in this cold world, and some note pickers that fall over every inconsistency might turn to Siberia! :)
Excellent sound and performance, do not be afraid, go get it :)

Eduard Franck, String Quintets, opus 15 & 51.

Bought in 2013.
Second listen.
First listen: 11-10-2013, See extensive listening notes and technical info.

Actually this composer is self recommending, and he heaps praise upon his music by delivering us notes of perfect making. Largely ignored by the classical music scene, this guy is making its way quietly into the hearts of people that really care about what the heart of a composer can really say. On my way through classical music I encounter many a fine composer, but Franck goes a step further, by doing magic others largely ignore, or fail to get to an elevated path of expression.  Such are these String Quintets, pearls that shine,  and draw your ear towards sounds that charm your senses into reference. I am slowly gathering the music of this composer and his brother Richard into my collection, but I have to take into account that these discs are expensive, and my budget only allows the buying of these Audite CD'S when the price drops considerably. And that does not happen often. 
Anyway by now you realize that I think that this music should be in every classical collection, and I urge you to buy without discrimination the music of both brothers you can lay your hands on, well, when budget allows of course. :)
Sound is pristine as are the performances.

Music for Henry V and the House of Lancaster. The English Cyclic mass Quem malignus spiritus and ceremonial motets for Fifteenth century princely chapels.

Bought in 2013.
Third listen.
Previous listenings: 9-9-2013 & 22-9-2013. See extensive listening notes.

Third time around now with this CD, and very enthusiastic about it. Every listen brings new details & discoveries. That has all to do with the almost perfect performance by the Binchois consort, in which are employed perfect voices, at least to my ears, a trained ear I might add. :)
In terms of recording we get the full treatment, as per usual with Hyperion.
Of all the old "musicke" I bought this year, this one ranks high in my list.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Joseph Joachim Raff. (1822-1882) String Quartets 1 & 7.

Bought in 2013.
Fourth listen.
First listen: 5-6-2013. Second listen: 14-6-2013. Third listen: 29-10-2013. See listening notes.

Well I wrote as much as I could about this delightful disc, so I add only more praise on music, performance and recording. I urgently nudge towards Raff and his SQ, try them, you'll be surprised.

Joseph Nicolas Pancrace Royer. (c, 1705-1755) Premier Livre de Pieces pour Clavecin. (1746)

Bought in 2013.
Third listen.
(First listen: 6-8-2013, See listening notes and video posted)
(Second listen: 4-10-2013, See listening notes)

First of all the name of this composer is impressive and inspires interest, and secondly the music is different from what you usually hear from this period and country. It is bold music, with powerful statements, and no dilly dallying around graceful melodies.  That is not to say that there are no gentle periods, but the major part of this CD shows Royer as a composer with musical muscles which he powerfully employs, even to a point that it made me grin for a long time, for he must have been a showman in his time,  the visual presence of his playing must have been quite a sight for weary eyes. Yago Mahugo is no doubt a accomplished Harpsichordist, but the music has the disadvantage of not being the best introduction to a composer like Royer coming from a unknow musician, although some may see it as an adventure, it strikes me as a hit and miss journey. The 6th movement on this CD called L'Aimable, (Gracieux) is certainly that, and it is well done too, but ever so much will the following movements stun you into a certain, "What's this" attitude. I still have to find a way to adapt to these musical changes in mood and energetic writing. The instrument sounds fine to me, and the recording is well detailed, but can be frontal when the playing is getting louder. Not for sensitive souls though. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Wilhelm Stenhammar. (1871-1927) String Quartets No. 3-6.

Bought in 2013.
First listen.
Label: CPO. 2 discs.
Recording dates:  2006-2007.
Recording venue: Jar Kirke, Oslo, Norway.
Recording engineer: Geoff Miles.
Running time: 113:57.

I never knew Stenhammar's SQ before I bought this set. And after hearing them, I should be heartily ashamed of myself. Ignoring top notch SQ is not my style, and no style at all. They are romantic in mood, and as deep as the deepest point of the ocean. Every note is naturally polished to a shine that it easily outruns your expectations. For they are far better as you might imagine. Such are the ways of the world, that these works never rose out of their obscurity, until BIS and CPO started to record them, and even that is no guarantee that they will eventually rise to the status they should have. Well...they did it for me in these wonderful renditions by the Oslo SQ . They seem to have a natural feel for this music, and they emulate to the highest degree the genius Stenhammar was. Now to find a good recording of SQ No. 1 & 2 and No. 3 which is not complete.

Wilhelm Stenhammar - String Quartet No.4 II Adagio

Benedetto Marcello, Sonatas for Harpsichord, Part II.

Bought in 2013.
Second listen.
First listen disc II: 21-8-2013.

Yesterday I have listen to part I, and that tasted so good, that I had to play the second part today. See also my previous review of this disc. Chandos certainly does not record much Harpsichord music, but what is released is of high quality.  Go venture into this.

A Marriage of England and Burgundy.

Bought in 2013.
Third listen.
(First listen: 10-10-2013. Second listen: 16-11-2013.) See listening notes.

Missa Sine Nomine.

Anonymous, maybe Busnois?
O, pulcherrima mulierum/Girum coeli circuivi.
Incomprehensibilia firme/Praeter rerum ordinem.

Antoine Busnois. ( c. 1430=1492)
Regina Coeli I and II.

Walter Frye. ( d. 1474?)
Missa Summe trinitati.

Also a fine disc that was released by Hyperion of a group that is a absolute favourite in my book. The music on this disc is awe inspiring and gives a intimate insight into the musical world of that time. Really complicated compositions to sing.  Beautiful sound, depth and detail. Voices have the right ebb and flow of dynamics, never an unkind sound escapes from their mouths. Recommended. See for more info my previous reviews.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Benedetto Marcello. ( 1686-1739) Sonatas for Harpsichord, opus 3. Premiere recordings. CD I. Reconstruction and critical edition by Alexander Borin.

Bought in 2013.
Second listen.
First listen: CD I: 14-8-2013. CD II: 21-8-2013. See listening notes.

I can only emulate on my previous review, in that I think this is a virtual treasure that I have found in this music. It gives me enormous pleasure, and I marvel at the sheer novelty of the music and the wonderful interpretation by Roberto Loreggian on a harpsichord that is a reconstruction by Riccardo Pergolis based on the surviving harpsichords made by Giovanni Battista Giusti. (Lucca c. 1630-1693)  Also should be mentioned the fine tuning of the instrument by Pergolis, it sounds fantastic. Recommended without reserve.

Mieczyslaw Weinberg. (1919-1996) String Quartets, Volume V.

Bought in 2013.
First listen.
Label: CPO
Recording dates: 2007/2008/2009.
Recording venue: Koln, Germany, Studio Stolbergerstrasse.
Recording engineer: Arnd Coppers.
Running time: 77:18.

String Quartet, No. 1, opus 2/141 in C major.
String Quartet No. 3, opus 14 in D minor.
String Quartet No. 10, opus 85 in A minor.
Capriccio, opus 11.
Aria, opus 9.

Let me put it this way, never make the mistake that there is any musical connection between his friend Shostakovich and the music of Weinberg. Although they were in a friendly competition in regard to SQ, they engender such different results in their compositions, that I cannot for the life of me, find any artistic connection in style or intent. This of course is a very personal statement. Weinberg is not cheering you up in any way, so do not expect life affirming notions. He is at best quite bleak in his outpourings, although almost always tonal, he stretches the notes quite far. For some this music might prove too much of the good thing, so if approaching, do it carefully, one work at the time. I am quite familiar with his music, to stomach a CD of 77 minutes. I think his works highly analytical and cold as a Siberian icefield. Its a chilly affair at best, and some warmth might come up as quickly as it dies down, so be quick about nurturing yourself at this scanty fire. Sure I know works of him that come closer to recognizable human emotions, and they go quite deep too, but these are almost invisible  in his territory. That is not to say that Weinberg works are in any way defunct in musical quality, no, not at all, he is a master among masters, but an acquired taste nevertheless. The Danel Quartet bring up this soundworld in such glowing colours, that I think it is hardly to be bettered. They get the bleakness out in such a way, that I got the chills quite frequently. So if you are after this still interested, then by all means put on your woolly  shawl and cap, turn the heat on in the house and enjoy. For some warmth in his music turn to the second movement of SQ No. 3, especially the beginning is as close as you will come at this scanty fire....
Absolutely recommended. Pristine sound.

Heinrich von Herzogenberg. (1843-1900) Chamber Works, CD II.

Bought in 2013.
First listen.
Label CPO.
Recording dates:  2008/2009.
Recording venue: Studio Gartnerstrasse. Germany.
Recording engineer: Eckhard Glauche.
Running time: 52:46.

Violin Sonata No. 3, opus 78.
Phantasie, opus 15.
Legenden, opus 62.

Christian Altenburger, Violin & Viola.
Oliver Triendl, Piano.

I always held this composer in high regard, for his music tells of a dedicated musician, that could churn out his emotions at a steady rate, without falling into bleakness. He is close to what Brahms wrote, and this idiom you can expect when listening to him. The outcome is in many ways pleasantly surprising. For you can never settle for a certain formula, he writes always a bit in a direction you may not expect. The music does never offend your ears, or over burden your senses. This music fits in every conceivable mood, and enhances what you already feel. Fine music, never boring, highly inventive. The performances and recording are exemplary. A warm yet detailed sound. Recommended.

Eduard Franck. The Sonatas for Violin and piano. CD II. Sonata in E major & D major.

Bought in 2013.
Second listen.
Previous listenings:  CD I: 18-6-2013 & CD II: 2-7-2013. See also listening notes.

Eduard Franck is one of those composer that have actually something to say. In a simple but profound way he moves along the traditional lines and adding to the already existing oeuvre of great composers a element in music that is totally unique among its compeers. And for this I applaud him and even treasure his output. The balance and equilibrium that marks his music is of a sort that captures quite easily your imagination. Great performances and recording. In time I will acquire more of this composer, but since Audite is a label, very expensive, I have to wait for price drops in future before I may buy them.

A Scottish Lady Mass. Sacred Music from Medieval St. Andrews

Bought in 2013.
Third listen.
Previous listening dates: 10-9-2013 & 14-10-2013. See listening notes and additional info.

This is in all respect one of the best CD'S with medieval music I heard this year. Absolutely unique in performance, and artistically a highlight in musical literature.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Johann Strauss II. The Complete Orchestral Edition. CD 20.

From my collection.
First listen.
Label Naxos.
Recording dates: September 1989.
Recording venue: House of Arts, Kosice.
Recording engineer: Gejza Toperczer.
Running time: 72:19.

1) Aurora Ball Dances, Waltz, opus 87, composed for the Ball of the Viennese Artists and Writers Association, "Aurora".
2) Little hearts, Polka, opus 188, written for the people's Ball.
3) Dinorah Quadrille.
4) Raised Pulses, Waltz, opus 175. Dedicated to the medical students at Vienna University ball.
5) One heart, One mind, Polka, Mazurka, opus 323. For the committee of the Citizens ball.
6) Slavic Quadrille on Russian melodies, opus 338.Composed for the benefit concert of the orchestra.
7) Daydreams, Concert Waltz, opus 253, Dedicated to Anton Rubinstein. (1829-1894)
8) Lets dance, Quick Polka, opus 436.
9) Pamphlets, Waltz, opus 300. Written for the ball of the Vienna Authors and Journalists Association.
10) Fata Morgana, Polka-Mazurka, opus 330. Written for the Grand ball of the Vienna Artists association.
11) Fairy Tales from the Orient, opus 444. Dedicated to the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid Khan. (1842-1918)
12) Imperial Huntsmen March, opus 93. A tribute to the emperor Franz Josef Tyrolean Huntsmen's Regiment.

Slovak State PO, Kosice, Alfred Walter.

Excellent music, and recording.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Alessandro Scarlatti. (1660-1725) Magnificat- Dixit Dominus-Madrigali.

Bought in December 2013.
First listen.
Label: Naive.
Recording dates: February 2000.
Recording venue: PIM'S, Roma.
Recording engineer: Laurence Heym.
Running time: 58:35.

To fall with the door in the house, I think this recording is too direct, too frontal. Its a smack in the face perspective, that can be painful to your ears. Coupled with this group's approach, frontal loud singing, then extremely soft again, that denotes the way they perform, it makes for uneasy listening.. In this case both things coupled it gives some very aggressive  results, that are to say in mildly, not nice for your ears. That is not to say that this is constantly the case, but the Dixit Dominus was a ordeal to get through. The Madrigali was a relief, with a much softer approach altogether. So this may not be my most favourite performance of the works presented on this CD. 

Josef Bohuslav Foerster 1859-1951) Piano works, CD II.

Bought in December 2013.
First listen.
Previous review of CD I: 27-11-2013.
Recording dates: 2010-2013.
Recording venue: Sound Studio HAMU, Prague.
Recording engineer: Ondrej Urban.
Running time: 60:26.
The recording was made through Crowdfunding.

Works on CD II:
The Masks of Eros.
Osenice Suite.
Jicin Suite.
As with the first CD, the music of Foerster is very picturesque,  and  very easy going, what is not synoniem to lacking quality. This is music that will easily reach your heart, melodies that will lead ahead to the more romantic feelings in you. Many images float to the surface, and they all connect with my sensitivities.  And probably with yours too. This is by my knowledge the first commercial recordings of these works, which nobody considered worthwhile to record, until now. And I am heartily glad of it. Recording is atmospheric and detailed. The playing is more than adequate. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

My classical friends.

I have some private problems in my home, plus some considerable back pains. So listening has to be postponed. As soon as I am able I will return reviewing all the new CD'S that have arrived at my home.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

New World Symphonies. Baroque Music from Latin America.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 17-9-2013. See listening notes. Video added on the same date.

I will stay at my initial review. It has its moments, but for me this choir is too large, and the sound therefore to big. A very personal opinion!

Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari. Orchestral works.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: See listening notes.
Second listen: See listening notes.

Arabesken over a Aria by Ettore Tito.
Venetian Suite.

I have put down my opinion in previous reviews. Nothing to add, apart from the fact that I think Ferrari a forgotten master, and a highly recommendable composer.

Hille Perl, Doulce Memoire, Glosas Passeggiati & Diminutions around 1600.

Bought in 2013.
Second listen.
First listen: 19-10-2013. See listening notes.

This is one of the more enjoyable CD'S Hille Perl produced. I have written my comments plus all info in the previous review, and I stand by it more or less.  Its very contemplative all along. It will certainly not shake your musical senses, but rather add to your mood when relaxed already. For me Hille Perl is not a remarkable musician, rather a technical accomplished technician. Sound is good.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Antonio Vivaldi. Vespri Solenni per la Festa Dell'assunzione di Maria Vergine.

Bought in November 2013.
First listen.
Label: Naive. 2 CD'S.
Recording dates: July 2003.
Recording venue: Teatro Olimpico, Rome. Italy.
Recording engineer: Pierre-Antoine Signoret.
Running time: 152:69.

If you are accustomed to Alessandrini style of performance,  this interpretation will not come as a surprise. In certain places it is rather big boned, notably with the choir, but never in a offensive way. The alto's are at times a bit overwhelming, while here and there a soprano might not make the corner unscathed, but all in all it does nicely along the 152 minutes of delightful music by Vivaldi. Of some pieces I heard better performances, but all in all I am quite satisfied with what came out of my speakers.  An easy flow marks the proceedings, and a sure touch in the instrumental pieces can be overpowering in its musical beauty.  Vivaldi's music actually never disappoints, although his many operas are a no go zone for me, I think almost all baroque opera's boring without exception, and hardly can sit through 15 minutes of that.  But no criticism of the notes though. The sound is rather good, with a beautiful perspective. Much depth, and realistic sound stage.

Peteris Vasks. Flute Sonata* Aria e Danza* Landscape with birds.

Bought in December 2013.
First listen.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates: May 2010 & January 2012.
Recording venues: Hankasalmi Church, Jyvaskyla, Finland & The Loft, Wissmannstrasse, Cologne, Germany.
Recording engineers: Sean Lewis & Michael Peschko.
Running time: 64:55.

Peteris Vasks has been on my radar for quite some time, certainly after I have listened to some of his SQ, which were in their conception quite amazing. So when this disc was released I picked it up, for the samples certainly appealed to me. This disc contains some beautiful music, and virtuosic writing for Flute is part and parcel of it. Vasks can impress you mightily with his silent whispers, but also with intense slashes of sounds, by no means always pleasing to your ears. But both extremes are in balance I think. Contemplative and extrovert, on the border of tonality and crossing it at times.  You simply have to try whether you like this or not. I have some criticisms concerning the recording by both engineers, more so with Peschko as with Lewis, who is a engineer I respect, for he delivers good recordings most of the time. Both engineers, did not know the scores well, and in the case of Peschko, some ear damaging sounds come out of your speaker, because the flute is to closely recorded. Take care when you land in the second movement of the Sonata for Flute and Alto flute solo (1992). At around 4:00 a very high shriek comes out of the Flute, which is painful for your ears. Clearly this should have been better anticipated. When will engineers learn, that the flute is a piercing instrument and should be well away from the mics.  Otherwise the sound is good, but the shriek is still ringing in my ears.

On my order list.

Some interesting Naxos and Brilliant releases.

On my listening menu today (24-4-2018)

J.S. Bach. Complete organ works Olivier Vernet. CD 6. Erkki Melartin. Orchestral Works. Peteris Vasks Orchestral Works ...