Friday, April 26, 2013

Miaskovsky Complete Symphonies.

CD 11 from this set.

  • Symphony No, 16, opus 39.
  • Symphony No. 8, opus 42.
  • Hulpigung's Overture, opus 4.
State Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Federation, Evgeny Svetlanov.

See also reviews of this box in previous postings.

I can say and mean it, that Miaskovsky is one of the great Symphonists of his age, and I know for sure that many a composer of his time would confirm this, especially Shostakovich which was not a small entity in his time. His word was gold. I could repeat all the words I have said over his music, but frankly that would be repeating myself over and over again. So for this you have to read my earlier reviews. All three works are top notch, the best this composer can produce, and marvelously performed and recorded. There are not many composers that give me so much pleasure, so I cherish this set as the crown jewels of England. Very much recommended.

Tchaikovsky "The Sleeping Beauty".

The Sleeping Beauty.
National PO, Richard Bonynge.

See also reviews of CD 26 & 27 of this box, for more info.

Today I played the last CD of this ballet, the second part of act III. A beautiful close to this performance. I much admire the approach of this orchestra and conductor, in that they follow the true heritage of ballet performance. 

New Acquisition: Heinrich Kaspar Schmid. (1874-1953)

Late Chamber Works. ( New Acquisition)

  • Trio for clarinet, Viola & Piano, opus 114.
  • Sonata for Flute & Piano, opus 106.
  • Allegretto for Clarinet & Piano, opus 34/2.
  • Sonata for Viola & Piano, opus 111.
  • Capriccio for Flute & Piano, opus 34/5.

Nils Monkemeyer, Viola.
Johannes Zurl, Clarinet.
Pirmin Grehl, Flute.
Nicholas Rimmer, Piano.
Recorded: 2007-08.

Now to be totally honest, I never heard of this composer, which in retrospect is not that strange, for there are many I do not know, or will ever know. So why this composer? It was the price of this CPO disc, namely 3 euro's, which is as budget as it goes, and the samples I heard. Frankly I did not expect that much, and I pondered if the quality of the music was the cause of pricing this CD to the bottom. First I started to read the informative booklet, but the reading proved impossible in English, (very bad translation) but when I started with the German, I discovered that the read was a boring one, so I stopped that, and put the disc in the player, better to touch and to hear, to get a good feel for the music. I was not disappointed! First of all, it is well performed, and recorded, so a lot of attention went into that, and although the music will not shake your house, it is well written. It has a logical build up, very neat and proper, and you feel that every note is considered before inserted in the composition. What I mean is, that a lot of thought has gone into the music, and maybe that's the reason people are not reacting well to it. Too much though, and a tad short on emotions. Is it boring music then? No, absolutely not! Bad music? No! Its late romantic clean music that does not cling but makes quite an impression. Impressionistic, expressionistic, a fifty fifty balance, with some odd twist and nod to Poulenc, at least it made me think in that direction. There is some absurdity, and sarcasm in his work, on which I could not quite lay my fingers. and also some strokes of genius, especially in the opus 106, some quite amazing writing there. My advice is to take one piece per listening and not more, and play it more than one time, for multiple listenings will bring you closer to the heart of this music. For the price its a no brainer really. This CD was sponsored by Walter Homolka, archivaris and responsible for the heritage of this composer. To him goes the honour for reviving this composer. He died some years ago.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

New acquisition: Gernsheim:

And of course The Symphonies by Gernsheim! Although I have on Arte Nova the complete symphonies, the recording and performance leaves something to be desired, and this CPO release seems the answer to both counts.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Schubert's four hand piano sonatas.

Complete piano works for four hands.
CD 7, conclusion.
Recorded in 1995.

  • Fantasie in G major. D. 1, in G minor, D. 9, in C minor, D. 48.
  • Overture in G minor, D. 668.
  • Deutscher with two trios and two Landler, D. 618.
  • Four Landler, D. 814.
  • March in G major, D. 928. ( March for Children)
  • Allegro moderato and Andante, D. 968.
  • Fugue in E minor, D. 952.
Yaara Tal & Andrea Groethuysen, Piano.

Excellent conclusion of this set, sound and performance wise. As a whole the box has it drawbacks, but considering the price I paid, its well within acceptable parameters. 

A new release Of Brian's Symphonic output on Naxos.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tchaikovsky's "The Sleeping Beauty".

Today the second CD, of this ballet. T his music always makes me happy and quite sentimental. I am as it were transported back in time, and behind the stage curtain. A whole new scene is displayed right before my eyes, and I see dancers, musicians, choreographers, stagehands, carpenters, the whole hubbub of ballet. The performance at hand is a very good one, in terms of sound and interpretation. A ongoing story, soon CD 3 will enter my player, and again I will be far away.....

See also the review of CD 26

  • National PO, Richard Bonynge.
  • CD 27

Friday, April 19, 2013

Four hands on the belly of Schubert......

Franz Schubert..

Complete Piano music for four hands.
CD 6 from this set.

  • Eight Variations on a original Theme in A flat major. D. 813.
  • Sonata in B flat major. D. 617.
  • Trois Marches Militaires. D. 733.
  • Deux Marches caracteristique D. 968 (886)
Yaara Tal & Andreas Groethuysen, Piano.
Recorded in 1995

See also earlier reviews of this box.

I am happy to tell you, that CD 6 is wonderful. Its very much a stock market graph, it goes up and down all the time, so the dividends in musical appreciation also. But this time they got it all right, it flows like a river, and ticks like a perfect clock. But then D. 813 is really a perfect introduction into the world of Schubert. Sound is good too.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Lumieres Box, a virtual discovery....

The Lumieres Box.
CD 23.

Joseph Haydn.

  • Trio in C major, No. 43, Hob. XV:27.

  • Erich Hobarth, Violin.
  • Christophe Coin, Cello.
  • Patrick Cohen, Pianoforte.
  • Recorded in 2001.
I have a few interpretations of this piece, and am content with them, and this new one will enrich my knowledge of this music very much, for its a delightful interpretation that gave me much pleasure. so well played ina infectious manner, wishing me more of this. Fine sound too! Recommended.


  • Trio in G major, K. 496.
  • The Mozartian Players.
  • Stanley Ritchie, Violin.
  • Myron Lutzke, Cello.
  • Steve Lubin, Pianoforte.
  • Recorded in 1990.
Nothing then praise here, a ensemble perfectly matched to Mozart. It sound easy going, and rich with wonderful detail. Gorgeous. Fine sound too.

Ballet Music, My first and foremost love....

Ballet Music.
Label: Decca, 35 CD'S.
CD 26.

  • The Sleeping Beauty.
  • CD 1 of 3.
National Philharmonic Orchestra, Richard Bonynge.

We have together 2 top dogs in ballet music, to wit, Tchaikovsky the composer, and Bonynge the conductor. A fusion most beneficial to the cause of ballet music. For you can not find a better match as those two, made for each other as it were. This big ballet box holds many recordings with this conductor and rightly so, for being at CD 26, I did not hear one bad performance or sound recording for that matter. Its essential for all ballet buffs to have! And I really mean that! There is no need for other interpretations however good they are.
The Sleeping Beauty is detailed, inspired, warm and committed. A perfect performance.
The solo violin in "Variations d'Aurore" is done by Mincho Minchev, a moving interpretation. I look forward to part 2 and 3. 


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Nikolai Medtner, Piano Works.


  • Sonata Ballade in F sharp, opus 27.
  • Four Skazki, opus 34.
  • Sonata Romantica in B flat minor, opus 53, No. 1.
Hamish Milne, Piano.

Recorded in 1994. Disc 5 from this set.

See reviews from CD 1-4 in earlier postings.

Again a success story, marvellous performances, fine sound, this is the way to go with the gorgeous music by Medtner. Recommended.

Clementi's Sonatas for Piano, violin & cello.

Muzio Clementi.

Complete Sonatas.
CD 6. Recorded in 2007.

See also reviews of the first 5 discs.

  • Sonata in C major, opus 30, for Piano & Violin.
  • 3 Sonatas, opus 35, for Piano, Violin, & Cello.

Well as all discs before the sound is mediocre, but the music top level. The performance would benefit hugely from more dedicated musicians, for the musicians on this complete set miss the motivation, and integrity. Still its the only complete set, so I stick with it, until better things come along.

Vissarion Shebalin, Orchestral works. NEW Acquisition!!!

Vissarion Shebalin. (1902-1963)

Orchestral Works, Volume I.

  • Orchestral Suite No. 1, opus 18. (1934-36)
  • First recording.
  • New acquisition ( April 2013)
  • Label: Toccata.
  • Recorded in 2012.

  • Siberian Symphony Orchestra, Dimitry Vasiliev.

This composer was unknown to me, and there was nothing in my vast collection of classical music that could boost even one note of his music. This Toccata CD is the first in a series of the complete Orchestral works of this composer, and I hope they can fulfill their promise, for what I hear makes me more than curious after the rest of his compositions. First of all he was a close friend and colleague of Dmitry Shostakovich, and was hugely respected by him, often listening to his advice concerning his music. Like Shostakovich he was educated entirely under the Communistic regime, and of course much of his music was affected directly by it, in terms of hardship, denunciation, not unlike many others at the same time. And despite of that he managed to produce music on par with Shostakovich, and that is no small compliment. He was also a Teacher for many a famous composer, and was widely respected for his knowledge friendliness, and honesty. When Shebalin died on the 29 of May 1963, Shostakovich wrote the following obituary:

Shebalin was a outstanding man. His kindness, honesty, and absolute adherence to principle always amazed me. His enormous talent and great mastery immediately earned him burning love and authority with friends and musical community. Such great masters as Myaskovsky and Prokofiev and others attentively listened  to his comments on their works. Shebalin's beautiful music must sound as often as possible in concerts and on the radio. This would be the best preservation of his memory.

I started today with his first Suite, which belongs to the lighter side of this composer's output. It was written first as incidental music, its colourful inventive and highly enjoyable. Its brilliantly orchestrated and very melodious. I was amazed how much of his music was in the same vein as Shostakovich yet very different in its construction. Full of surprises, very well written, a genuine discovery. I look forward to the second Suite which I will play soon.
The Orchestra is a provincial one, (in fact Shebalins hometown orchestra, Omsk) meaning that the music does not sound necessarily at its best. There is some sloppy intonation in the strings, not enough energy in it, a bit lifeless, ensemble is not as tight as it should be, and as a whole it sounds very much underplayed. The conductor is to blame for this partly. Shebalin deserves better. Much is made of their new Hall, which seems if I have to believe the notes, a almost perfectly attuned place for excellent recordings. Sure, but then, you need a engineer who understands how to make that come out, which he did not, obviously. The sound is detailed, but I miss the front to back depth, its a bit one dimensional, and when the orchestra plays ffff, the brass positively hurts your ears, by becoming glaring and blaring, and makes you immediately aware of the fact that the brass section is a underpowered entity too. Tempi are often undernourished, without punch. A pity!
But does that mean you should not buy this? Of course you should buy it, for despite the somewhat crappy performance and recording, the music rewards you with every note. In that sense it's highly recommended. The booklet is excellent.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

New acquisition! Joseph Haydn's Divertimentos for Wind.

Joseph Haydn.
Divertimentos for Wind instruments.
Consortium Classicum.

  • Parthia in E flat major, Hob. Deest.
  • Divertimento ( Feld Parthie) in C major, HobII:7.
  • Parthia in E flat major, Hob II:Es16.
  • 12 Notturnos, Hob. II:D5.
  • Feld parthie in F major, Hob II:44.
  • Suite in E flat major, Hob II:Es17.
  • Divertimento ( Parthia) in F major, Hob II:23.
See also review of CD 1, with more details.

You can say about Haydn whatever you please, but you will never find low quality music by his hands.  
These divertimentos are a pleasure for ears and mind, and very well written. It draws you in, with very attractive melodies, and excellent writing for all the instruments. He gives everyone enough to do on a equal basis, and the harmony is at time flabbergasting.  Very much worth your while, especially if you get them in such fine performances, with matching sound. Haydn wrote a considerable amount of music for Wind instruments, and I know this ensemble recorded much more in the olden days, so lets hope Warner will release more of them in the budget range.


Georg von Bertouch. ( 1668-1743)

  • Trio Sonatas.
  • From the music book of Jacob Mestmacher. ( 1753-1810)
  • First recordings.
  • No. 8/11/12/13/14/15/17/21
  • Label: Toccata Classics. Recorded in 2001-2003.
  • 1 CD

A composer I never encountered before and came as a surprise, a welcome one that is. Toccata had a sale on JPCde, and this was one of the deal. Its a label that is not often scaling down the price of their CD'S, so of course I took the opportunity. 
This man has two opposites in his life, for first of all he was a military man with 22 battles on his name, ending as a commander of a castle, he was a German born Norwegian, and was also a leading composer of his day, who had dealings with the likes of Bach no less. You could say that his music betrays the knowledge of Italian music after the likes of Corelli, but he is very much his own man in what he does. He will not shake your house, but offers some pretty music, that has enough quality to warrant the purchase. His music has a tendency to be fresh, almost of a innocent character, and spontaneous with a infectious appeal. The Sonatas are interspersed with music from the Music book of Jacob Mestmacher, all of unknown composers, which was used in domestic music making in Baroque Bergen and not without its quality I might add. He was a local merchant who was in the possession of this beautiful bound book, and contains 261 pieces for different instruments.  Even something of Telemann is to be found!
So, most of the Bertouch trios proves him to be a well educated musician, and it is a pity that many of the movements are unfinished. The reason for that is unknown. However in the ones that are complete, one recognizes Bertouch's skill and inventiveness. 
The Bergen Barokk, is a ensemble that plays on authentic  instruments, and do that in a excellent way, helped by a equally excellent recording. Recommended.

Franz Schubert's piano music for four hands.

Franz Schubert.
Complete piano music for four hands.
CD 5. Recorded in 1995.

  • Sonata in C major, D 812 "Grand Duo.
  • Grand marche funebre, D 859 in C minor.
  • Grand marche heroique D. 885, in A minor.
Yaara Tal & Andreas Groethuysen Piano.

See also the reviews of previous discs 1/2/3/4.

The performances on this CD'S comes close to the hardness of the first CD. I was not happy about that as you may have read. CD 5 gives me the same feelings. Distant, hard hitting, aggressive even. There are moments of beauty here and there, but as a whole it disappointed me. Sound is forward  which also contributes to the loudness of it all.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Lumieres box

Music of the Enlightment

Label: Harmonia Mundi, Box, 30 CD'S.

Divers composers and artists.

CD 21 & 22.

When I bought this box in 2012, for a very low price, I knew that some of the recordings would be doubled in my collection for I already had them, and as to the Baroque operas, well, those would be as well obsolete, because I dislike opera in general. Still there is enough to enjoy, considering the price I paid of course. I was well on my way with this gigantic undertaking when I started this blog, and so I came to CD 21 & 22 filled with miscellaneous works, by different composers, which makes it interesting, because to constant change in music wets the appetite, certainly if we have such well performed and recorded compositions. Well known and less known composers, and that makes it doubly interesting.
Lets start with CD 21

  • Antonio Vivaldi, Sonata in C minor, RV 53 for, Oboe, cello, harpsichord & archilute.
  • Georg Philipp Telemann, Sonata in A minor, from "Der getreue Music-Meister".
  • Performed by: Paul Goodwin, Oboe, Nigel North, Archilute, Susan Sheppard, Cello, John Toll, Harpsichord.
  • Recorded in 1992-1995.

Well played, in the case of Vivaldi with a touch of robustness which gives the music just that extra bite, and tempi, fine writing in equal measure for all soloists. The Telemann is somewhat gentler, and is allowed more breathing space, without tempi getting compromised. Extremely detailed, and lucid. f
Full marks here for the recording.

  • Johann Sebastian Bach, Sonata Sopr 'il Soggetto Reale, from the Musical Offering BWV 1079.
  • Performed by: Janet See, Flute, John Holloway, Violin, Jaap ter Linden, Cello, Davitt Moroney, Harpsichord.
  • Recorded in 1987.

A gentle Bach, detailed, and concentrated playing, which allows a breathing that reveals all the minutiae, that Bach was famous for. A few inconsistencies with Janet See, minor though, faulty intonations, or too much stress on a few notes, apart from that, perfect. Very good sound.

  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.
  • Sonata in F major, for Two Violins & BC.
  • Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach.
  • Sonata in A major, for Two Violins & BC.
  • Performed by London Baroque.
  • Recorded in 1994.

Both concerti are extremely well played, with well judged tempi, and some gorgeous ensemble interaction. Could not wish for better interpretations. Well recorded too.

  • Johann Schobert.
  • Sonata in F major, for Fortepiano, Violin, & cello.
  • Chiara Banchini & Veronique Mejean, Violins, Philipp Bosbach, Cello, Luciano Sgrizzi, Fortepiano ( Fritz, Vienna Ca 1820)

This work I already possessed, but it was a long time ago I had it in my player. A welcome surprise to hear how good the music and performance is. Especially the beautiful sound of the Fritz pianoforte, and so well played, it was a joy to hear. No complains here. Sound is excellent.

CD 22 

  • Johann Kuhnau.
  • Frische Clavier Fruchte, for Harpsichord.
  • Played by John Butt.
  • Recorded in 1991.

Kuhnau is by no means a lesser composer as Bach, which these works prove in an instant. Elegant , well wrought compositions, which were on account of five reprintings his most popular works. And rightly so, for they are ear pleasers of a high level, certainly considering the more than excellent performance by John Butt, which makes them shine. Butt takes the approach of leisure, calm but well considerate tempi, which enhances all the qualities abundantly around. Good sound!

  • Jean Joseph Mondonville.
  • Pieces de Clavecin avec voix et Violin, opus 5.
  • Paratum cor meum.
  • In Domino Laudabitur.
  • Judith Nelson, soprano, Stanley Ritchie, Violin, William Christie, Harpsichord.
  • Recorded in 1980.

Well this was a real find, and much treasure after hearing. Judith Nelson, grand dame in the authentic world, delivers some excellent singing, and Ritchie's Violin playing takes some beating, his reputation is well deserved, gorgeous!  Good sound.

  • Mozart.
  • Sonata in F major and G major.
  • Chiara Banchini, Violin.
  • Temenuschka Vesselinova, Fortepiano.
  • Recorded in 1993.

About these recordings I am in two minds, to be honest. I do not like the unnecessary long legato lines Banchini is offering here, its almost romantic in a way that does not befit Mozart at all. Both sonatas suffer heavily from it. Vesselinova's playing in the F major is gorgeous, well detailed and crisp, but the first measures of the G major are butchered by her, with too deliberate tempi, it simply falls apart, and that's a pity.  Throughout the G major her performance ranges from sublime till mediocre. 
I have heard better performances. The sound in the F major is good, in the G major the pianoforte sounds muffled, or a different instrument was used. 


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Joseph Haydn Edition, Divertimentos for Wind.


Divertimentos for Wind instruments.
Label: Warner. (Haydn Edition)
Box with 4 CD'S Recorded 1979-1981.
CD 1.

  • Divertimento in E flat major, Hob. II:Es13.
  • Parthia in B flat major, Hob, Deest.
  • Divertimento (Parthia) in G major, Hob. II:3
  • Parthia No. 2 in E flat major, Hob. Deest.
  • Divertimento ( Parthia) in G major, Hob. Deest.
  • Divertimento (Parthia No. 4) in E flat major, Hob. II: Es 14.
Consortium Classicum.

Thanks to a tip of a fellow member of GMG, Naveeth, I acquire this set for a pittance.  These are by no means the complete works for Wind ensemble that Haydn composed, but its a start. I remember having this set a long time ago, but it consisted of more than 16 CD'S, so this is a selection. I lost the previous set when moving house.
I forgot actually how good these performances are, and how well recorded. And the music, well, Haydn put the usual excellence in these works you might expect, these are by no means mere trifles, penned down on a Sunday afternoon. I really enjoy listening to them, melodious, lyrical, full of witty gestures, and capable of quite some depth. Haydn knew perfectly well, how to write for wind instruments. Recommended.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Nikolai Medtner, Piano works.


Complete Sonatas and other works.
CD 4, recorded in 1989.
Hamish Milne, Piano.

  • Sonata in F minor, opus 5.
  • Second improvisation in variation form, opus 47.

Milne is tailored to this music. The sensitivity he brings to Medtner's piano music is astounding, thus exercising his authority in a totally believable way. He draws me into the music without fail, and the fiestas uncovered are amazingly colourful.
Good sound too.

Muzio Clementi, Sonatas for Piano, Violin, & Cello

Muzio Clementi,
Sonatas for Violin, Flute, Cello & Piano, Complete.

  • 3 Sonatas, opus 28, Nos. 1-2-3, In C major, E flat major, "Chasse", in G major.
  • 3 Sonatas, opus 29, Nos. 1-2-3. In C major, G major, D major.

See also earlier reviews from CD 1/2/3/4.
Recorded in 2007. CD 5 from this set.

The music without doubt is beautiful, and this time the recording is slightly better. Nothing distracts however from the fact that Clementi was a fine composer,  many a movement attest of this. It draws me in almost immediately, and charms itself quite a bit in my favour. 

Schubert, Piano works for four hands.


The Complete piano works for four hands.
CD 4..

  • Six Grandes Marches, D. 819.
  • Rondo in A major, D. 951.
Yaara Tal & Andreas Groethuysen, Piano.
Recorded in 1994.

See older reviews of CD 1/2/3.

I have nothing to add to the previous reviews, save the fact that the performances get much better the more I advance in this box. Sound quality is got much better on CD 2 and from there on, its "A"okay too. The music has a grandeur that is very inspiring, and the emotional depth is far greater as say on CD 1.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Next on my playing list

Nikolai Medtner, Piano works

Complete Piano sonatas, and other works.
Hamish Milne, piano. 
CD 3, recorded in 1989.

  • Sonata in G minor, opus 22.
  • Romantic Sketches for the young, opus 54.
  • Two Skazki, opus 8.
  • Three novelles, opus 17.
  • Sonata in A minor, opus 30.

See also the earlier reviews of CD 1 & 2.

I have no complains really, sound and performance are more than excellent. It doesn't get much better as this. I love his lucid writing, clear lines, and a clear goal in mind. It takes a good performer to get this out, and Milne does.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Schubert, Complete Music for four hands.

Franz Schubert.

Complete music for four hands.

  • Allegro in A minor, D. 947, "Storms of Life".
  • Four polonaises D 599.
  • Eight variations on a French song in E minor. D. 624.
  • Divertissement sur des motifs originaux francais, D. 823 in e minor.

Yaara Tal & Andreas Groethuysen, Piano.

CD 3 already from this box, and I find that the emotional involvement gets better with every CD. Where CD 1 chilled me into the antarctic, CD 3 is already warming me up to reasonable levels. All three works get a fine performance, nicely detailed and warmly recorded. This music has a lot of potential, and both performers get it out. Sound is getting better too.

Muzio Clementi, Sonatas for violin, piano & cello.

Muzio Clementi

Sonatas for Piano, violin 7 cello.

  • 3 Sonatas, opus 15, No. 3.
  • 3 sonatas, opus 27, Nos. 1-2-3.

Pietro Spada, Piano.
Vincenzo Bolognese, Violin.
Andrea Bergamelli, Cello.

See older reviews of CD 1/2/3.

My criticisms stay firmly in place regarding sound, the performance stays on level so far. Reasonable at best. The music however is beautiful, and that at least gives me great enjoyment.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Nikolai Medtner's Piano works

Nikolai Medtner.

Piano sonatas. ( Complete)
Piano Works.

CD 2 of this set.
Recorded in 1977.

  • Sonata Triad, opus 11.
  • Sonata in E minor, opus 25, No. 2. "The Night wind".

Hamish Milne, Piano.

Medtner's piano works are something special. Outstanding in their musical expression, creative to a very deep emotional point. It may sound light footed sometimes, but make no mistake, this is far beyond, what you might expect. Medtner is no household name, far from it, yet he deserves to be in everybody's collection, certainly if you like Rachmaninoff, Chopin,  and some others.

The Sonata Triad, is dedicated to the memory of Andrei Bratenschi, Medtner's brother in law, who committed suicide in 1908.
Its a lyrical quite elaborated work of great beauty, every notes illuminates the musical content.

The opus 25 sonata is an ambitious work,  a great work in fact, difficult to execute, which places great emotional demands on the player, from ferocious to contemplative, a whole range of feelings in between, its almost outside the scope of all but the most intrepid pianists.

The sound is beautifully captured by Bob Auger, an engineer I admire, for he always delivers the best sound possible. A former CRD recording.

Muzio Clementi's Sonatas for Piano and Violin

Muzio Clementi.
Complete Sonatas for Piano and Violin.
CD 3. Recorded in 2007.

  • 3 Sonatas, opus 13. Nos. 1-3.
  • 3 Sonatas, opus 15. Nos. 1-2

Pietro Spada, Piano.
Vincenzo Bolognese, Violin.

See also my reviews of CD 1 & 2.

The fact that he was born in 1752, and left this earth in 1832, gives you an idea that he lived amongst the greats, like Haydn and Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, and many more. so he was up to some fierce competition, and frankly he could never win this battle, for although he is a fine composer, and writes beautifully for the above combination, he is a promise that never fulfilled. Even when  listening to his Symphonies, I always have the feeling, that he is almost there, but not quite. And where does that leave us then? Well music well worth to listen too, for we cannot live all on the pinnacle of things, right? These sonatas have quite some gripping melody in them, and the writing is certainly up to scratch, in fact one can say written in a very professional way as a music pedagogue befits. Next question is should you buy this? Yes, because the music is worth the modest outlay, no, because the sound leaves something to be desired, for as I mentioned before, the engineer on this set was clearly taken from a nearby pizzeria, and so it sounds. Would I have known this before, I would still buy it, for recordings of this music are far and wide around. But I certainly keep an eye open for better interpretations and better recorded sound.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Igor Stravinsky's music for dancers?

  • Petrouchka
  • Tableau 1-4
  • The Rite of the Spring

Detroit SO, Antal Dorati.

CD 25 from this box.

I always had my severe doubts about the possibility to choreographing this music for dancers. And to be honest, non of what I saw did the music justice and vice versa. The music is absolutely brilliant, but I beg to differ when the dancing starts. So forgetting about that context, the music makes sense, and maybe at the time not well receive, the guy was a bloody genius, and I am happy most see it that way. Still the Rite of the Spring is not a easy piece to stomach. It needs your constant attention, with all the musical patterns that cross and counter cross all the time. Its not Tchaikovsky, so much is sure, and I think T would have gotten a serious migraine attack from the musical onslaught, that is going on. Still I think its a brilliant piece, and in this performance, with state of the art sound from Decca, it is a good choice. No need to hesitate.

Rheinberger, Josef. (1839-1901)

The Chamber music.
CD 4.
Label: Thorofon, box 6 CD'S.

  • Piano trio in A major, opus 112.
  • Performed by the Gobel trio Berlin.

  • Theme with variations for String Quartet, opus 93.
  • Performed by The Sonare Quartett.

  • Nonet, opus 139, for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Violin, Viola, Cello, Double bass.
  • Performed by The Bronx Arts Ensemble.

If you want to place Rheinberger as a composer, you can set him side to side with Johannes Brahms in terms of musicality, creativity and sheer genius. Both of them dig deep into your soul, and every note counts. Such is the impact of this composer on me, that I am flabbergasted to hear how fluently he writes, and how easily it seems to come to him. These are by no means fine melodies, or beautiful invention alone, no, this goes far beyond that which you come to expect from a composer of his time. When he wrote this music, he was already a dinosaur amongst many composers that completely overthrew what was at that time the given norm. Despite that he knew, he kept on writing in this very sophisticated way, and carried the music in such a noble way, that it places him directly in the pantheon of the very greats. A true master. I am of the opinion that you have to hear to believe, and therefore I recommend this music wholeheartedly.  If Brahms is your master, Rheinberger is a genius.

Vivaldi, The complete Sacred Music.
Choir of the King's Consort, and consort, Robert King.

CD 2 of this box.
See also earlier review of CD 1.

Pieces for solo voices and orchestra.
Soprano, contralto, Countertenor

  • In furore iustissimae irae, Sung by Deborah York.
  • Longe mala, umbrae terrores, Sung by Catherine Denley.
  • Clarae stellae, scintillate, Sung by James Bowman.
  • Canta in prato, ride in monto, Sung by Deborah York.
  • Filiae meastae Jerusalem, Sung by James Bowman.
  • Nulla in mundo pax sincera, Sung by Deborah York.

All the pieces on this CD belong to the very best Vivaldi was capable of, and the soloists do him credit in this recording. I am not that enthusiastic about the voice of Catherine Denley, ( contralto), but that's a very personal opinion. Deborah York, ( Soprano) can swing both ways, either she is good, or merely mediocre, and in this instance she's good, a bell like voice with a minimum of vibrato in her voice, save for the bubbling fast notes, but then they come out all natural, and that's after all what vibrato should be, natural.  James Bowman, (Countertenor) is still in good form in 1996, when this recording was made, and he nothing less as pleasurable to listen to, no sharp edges yet around his voice, as is the case 10 years later. The consort delivers excellent accompaniment, and the sound is excellent. 


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Carl Nielsen

Complete Symphonies, and other orchestral works.
Chamber music, and Piano solo.

CD 9. Recorded in 1992-1993.
Piano works.

  • Suite, opus 45.
  • Three piano pieces, opus 59.
  • Piano music for children and adults.
Anne Oland, Piano.

See also earlier reviews.

Anne Oland is a truly gifted musician. She has a poetic strain, as well as the power to command bolder works. Nielsen offers both, his piano compositions are intriguing.  They provoke a certain expectancy, quite uncommon from Scandinavian quarters, save maybe from Jean Sibelius. Although he is more refined in his sadly neglected piano works.
The sound is very good, and as to the interpretation, I have no complains.


Complete Symphonies, and other orchestral works.

  • CD 10.
  • Symphony No. 3, opus 15.
  • Symphonic Suite, opus 56.
State Symphony orchestra, Evgeny Svetlanov.

See also earlier reviews for more info.

What a mighty power you possess as a composer to command celestial music straight out of your heart, and then translate it for us all. And then to realize how underestimated he was and still is as a composer. A true force of nature, not hearing this, is like living in a musical desert. An awe inspiring man.
If you describe any given symphony of him, you have told for all others, safe for some exceptional writing for certain instruments, which grace every work. Both works on this CD, caught me at my throat right away, for both have in their first movement, this out of the world magic,  All what you will pass your ears: Absurdism, dark and desperate, rays of hope, and a chance of redemption, assurance that all will be right. Its all there, a armed peace, silence, with a storm looming nearby.
But sarcasm is never far away, a lure of fake feelings, beautiful but deceitful, the underlying current is always desperateness.  Where he gets all his ideas from I don't know, but they flow out, like hurried clouds.
The sound is by all means very good, and the performance is unbeatable. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

See what I bought today, on Amazon for 3 English pounds. Naveeth, a friend from GMG alerted me to it.

Monday, April 1, 2013


From my collection, bought and played in 2005.

  • The Complete Sacred Music.
  • Soloists, Choir of the King's Consort, The King's Consort, Robert King.
  • Label Hyperion, 11 CD'S.
  • CD 1.

Magnificat RV 610a.
Soloists: Susan Gritton, Soprano, Lisa Milne Soprano, Catherine Denley, Contralto, Lynton Atkinson, Tenor, Choir, String orchestra, two Oboes.

Lauda, Jerusalem. RV 609.
Susan Gritton, Lisa Milne, Double choir, double string orchestra.

Kyrie RV 587.
for: Double choir, Double string orchestra.

Credo RV 591.
for: Choir & Orchestra.

Dixit Dominus RV 594.
for: 2 Soprano's, Contralto, Tenor, David Wilson Johnson, Bass, Double Choir and string orchestra, two Oboes & two Trumpets.

Eight years ago I have listened for the last time to this gorgeous box, and that was 8 years too long, for this is a treasure trove for Vivaldi lovers. Its not without its tiny little faults but those are all minor quibbles. The musicians assembled for this monumental recording project, are belonging to the best in authentic performance practice at those days, and some of them still do. I have some slight problems with the compressed singing of Susan Gritton, and the somewhat funny vibrato Lisa Milne is giving us, but that would be about all I have to mention, in this case a personal issue. It must be said that Susan Gritton's  voice has matured since. Vivaldi writes in many layers, and of this you must be aware when listening. Not to concentrate only on the first melody, but to realize, that there are many other things going on, in the choir alone there may be 3 to 4 lines to follow, not to mention the choir and orchestra. It pays dividends to direct your attention to it all, for it makes the piece so much better, and complete. All the works on this CD belong to the very best Vivaldi wrote. The recording is superb, and frankly the performances can hardly be bettered.

"And let me also make a case for his Purcell box also on Hyperion, as beautiful as the Vivaldi."

Some press comments.

  • King's sterling service to the Vivaldian cause, one of his most important and satisfying recording projects to date

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 ...