Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dora Pejačević - Symphony in F sharp minor, Op. 41 (1918)

Josef Rheinberger Chamber music, Volume 6, the last disc.

First listen.
Bought in 2011.
Label: Thorofon, Box, 6 discs.
Running time 74:40.
Engineer: Stefan Schiske, Uwe Ruscher.
Recording dates 1989.

  • Sonata No 1 and 2 for Violin and piano, opus 77 & 105
  • Hans Maile Violin, Horst Gobel, Piano.

  • Sextett, opus 191b, for Piano, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, & Horn.
  • Orchester Akademie des Berliner Philharmonischen Orchesters.

As with most discs in this box, these are wonderful performances and recordings. There is a lot of effort and creativity in this venture, and its a small wonder that Horst Gobel almost single handedly, brought this project to a successful end. Both the opus 77 and 105 are mature works, that carry lovely melodies, and shows clearly what a master he was in creating fine music, sometimes as profound as Brahms to which he is compared very often.  And it will give you as much pleasure, for somehow they are very akin. He keeps my mind busy, and I revel in his sumptuous harmonies. This is a box which I can recommend safely, it will not disappoint you.

New Acquisition. Dora Pejacevic, Orchestral Works.

First listen.
Bought in June 2013. Price 7,99 euros at JPCde.
CPO 777-418-2.
Recorded in 2008.
Running time: 62:42.
Engineer: Stefan Reh.
Video of the complete Symphony added.

  • Symphony opus 41 in F sharp minor.
  • Phantasie Concertante opus 48, for Piano & Orchestra in D minor.

Volker Banfield, Piano.
Deutsche Staatphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Ari Rasilainen.

I will not come as a surprise, that after my praise for her chamber music, my hopes were very high for the orchestral music, and I am happy to report that I was not disappointed. What a original voice and overflowing creativity. She is virtually bubbling like champagne, energetic, powerful, focused, precise, and emphatic. By all accounts she should have been as well known as any given composer that made it until now to the surface. For she has something to say! 
As in the chamber works, she couples creativity to the most wonderful harmonies, and strives to reach a balance that makes me bow down in admiration. Her scoring for all desks is superb, all instruments have their hands full, in creating a sound picture, that delights and inspires. She writes so well for strings and brass, that frequently I felt Bruckner in the background, with the heaven storming crescendos, in which Pejacevic excels, be it in another way. The Symphony is a bold work, it emits a voice that knows exactly where it wants to go. And the same goes for the second work on this disc, in which Banfield makes a convincing statement in a open and detailed way. A boisterous and modern work, that couples stark contrasts with poetic loveliness of ethereal beauty. Its a outright winner on all counts. The performance and sound is again superb. More of this please!

Adrien Francois Servais. Works for Cello and Orchestra.

Second listen.
Bought in June 2013.
CPO, recorded in 2009.
Engineer: Torsten Schreier.
See also earlier review for more details about the performance.
Video posted.

  • Souvenir de Spa, opus 2.
  • Fantasie et Variations brilliantes sur la Valse de Schubert, opus 4.
  • Le Barbier de Seville opus 6.
  • Cello concerto in B minor opus 5.

Wen-Sinn Yang, Cello.
Munchner Rundfunkorchester, Terje Mikkelsen.

As I said before, brilliant performances, and very well written music. the orchestral parts are not much in terms of creativity, but its tailored around the cello, who has, and this is clear from the start the main part in the proceedings. Well recorded, and it has to be said again Yang is a very able cellist.
For those that like flashy music, this is the way to go. Servais knew a thing or two about a catchy melody.

Friday, June 21, 2013

New acquisition. "Ludovit Rajter".

Second listen.
Bought in April 2013.
CPO 777-574-2.
Recorded in 2009. 
Engineer: Jaroslav Stranavsky.
Running time: 75:41.
Four videos posted earlier in this blog.
See also first review.

  • Divertimento for Orchestra, composed in 1932.
  • Suite Symphonique, composed in 1933.
  • Suite from the Ballet "Pozsonyi Majalis", Das Pressburger Manifest, composed in 1938-1954.
  • Sinfonietta per Grande Orchestra, composed in 1993.
  • Impressioni rapsodiche, composed in 1995.
Janacek PO, David Porcelijn.

After the second hearing I am sure about my thoughts concerning this composer. He is a great 20th century composer, that has to do, with only one modern CD, filled with works, from 1932 till 1995. I have to stress this a little in order to make clear, that his artistry and creativity did not abate, on the contrary, although he adopted some modernism in his music, he stays refreshingly tonal and melodic. I really enjoy his works, from the Hungarian swing in the ballet ( Czardas and Verbunk) to the utterly moving in Memoriam movement from the Sinfonietta, for whom it was I don't know. His music is addictive, and installs in me a longing for more of his music, so hopefully CPO will pick this up, and we may hear soon more works of his hands. The recording is as so often with CPO, "State of the Art" in the most literal way. Very impressive.

Andrzej Panufnik - Autumn Music (1962) (1/2)

The recording is from 1962, so bear with me about the sound, after all it has to give you a impression of the music.

New Acquisition. Andrzej Panufnik, volume III.

First listen
New acquisition, June 2013.
Label CPO 777-498-2.
Recorded 2009.
Engineers: Gabriela Blicharz & Lech Dudzik.

Polish RSO, Lukasz Borowicz.
Solo Flute: Lukasz Dlugosh.

I bought the first two volumes of this composer some time ago, when CPO lowered the price to budget, and was impressed by what I heard, so when the third volume came for the same price I immediately bought it too. I guess it will go this way with the following ongoing volumes too.
Since the first 2 volumes were reviewed by me on GMG, I will tell a little of my impressions they made on me and then go post haste into the third volume. They were primarily filled with works with a strong melodic imprint, the early works, tonal, mysterious and harmonious. Modernism was peeping out of the corners of some works, but not in an immediate way. Well orchestrated, and emotionally close to the composer. Panufnik is a philosophic and intellectual composer, and sees music in the same line as architecture, in which I agree partly with him, if it comes to the build up of a work, but reading his technical stance behind his compositions, I perceive all of this as a lot of crap and dare I say it "Humbug". For him music is a mathematical issue, which he does not imprint with emotion, but rather with the outcome of his calculations. Be it as it may, I will completely ignore that aspect and let the music do its work. Well now, this disc is filled with music of a true 20th century composer, who will stretch tonality to its limits and sometimes cross it, but never in a offending way I  may add. The Sinfonia Mistica, ( Symphony No. 6)  is a thoroughly modern work in six movements divided in slow/fast groupings of two movements at a time. The mystery is there, but some hard edged dissonances too, well orchestrated, and with a maximum of rhythmical effect, which comes in measured doses and in a deliberate way. Its getting used too, but I will get the hang of it soon. "Autumn Music" belies its title, for there is nothing autumnal in it, but hard hitting winter storms is something closer to home. In the same vein as the previous work.
Now "Hommage a Chopin"  which is a piece in 5 movements for Flute and Orchestra, eases up a little bit on the hard hitting notes, and something like warm and vibrant notes get a chance to have its say, through all the whirlwind of the Orchestra, Very likeable, and well played by the soloist.
The "Rhapsody" begins with some beautiful notes in a Molto rubato style, but soon picks up, and hooks to the previous pieces on this CD.
Technically these are very good pieces, but if you ever warm to them is another kettle of fish altogether. Me...., well I will stick to the end with him, for what he writes fascinates me.
The performance is top notch, a good combination of artistry, and very dedicated musicians to boot.
Sound is State of the Art, a lot of depth, excellent front to back, extremely well detailed, and the dynamics are awesome.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Heinrich Kaspar Schmid. (1874-1953)

Fourth listen. Last time.
New acquisition, April 2013.
Recorded in 2007-2008.
Engineer: Torsten Schreier.
Running time: 79:58.
Label: CPO.
Budget-price 3,00 euro's at JPCde.

  • 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.

After the fourth time listening to this CD, I have come to the conclusion that it is initially difficult music to approach, and only gives rewards when listened to more as once. In my case it took me some time before I understood where Schmid headed with his quasi Brahmsian music. His structures are modern, but it can sound as forlorn as some of Brahms music. His expression is complex, in that you have to closely listen to this music, in order not to lose direction and purpose. He is clearly a man from the late romantic period, well, very late in some instances, and that is probably the reason why he fell into oblivion. This CD with chamber music gives you a excellent idea what he is made off, and he may counts his lucky stars by getting such good musicians to perform these works. It is well recorded too, and my guess is if you like Brahms with some extra 20th century spice, go for it.

John Dowland~Flow my teares (Emma Kirkby)

From my collection, The Collected Works of John Dowland, volume 1. (1563-1626)

From my collection.
Bought in 1997.
Listened to the complete set twice, in 1997 & 2000-2001.
Disc 1. Running time 76:04.
Label: L'oiseau-Lyre. Box 12 CD'S.
Recorded: 1976-1980.
Released as a box in 1997.

The consort of Musicke, Anthony Rooley.
Emma Kirkby, Glenda Simpson, Sopranos.
John York Skinner, Countertenor.
Martyn Hill, Tenor.
David Thomas, Bass.

  • First Booke of Songes 1597.

  • Unquiet thoughts.
  • Who ever thinks or hopes of love.
  • My thoughts are wing'd with hopes.
  • If my complaints could passions move.
  • Can she excuse my wrongs.
  • Now, O, now I needs must part.
  • Dear, if you change.
  • Burst forth my tears.
  • Go crystal tears.
  • Think'st thou then by thy feigning.
  • Come away, come sweet love.
  • Rest awhile, you cruel cares.
  • Sleep, wayward thoughts.
  • All ye, whom Love or Fortune hath betray'd.
  • Wilt thou unkind thus reave me.
  • Would my conceit.
  • Come again: sweet love doth now invite.
  • His golden locks.
  • Awake, sweet love.
  • Come heavy sleep.
  • Away with these self loving lads.

If it comes to my collection, I can honestly say that it is filled with some beautiful music, which I want to listen too, every minute of my life. Alas, this could never be, for one has to work, eat, sleep, make merry and whatnot, all waking time you cannot not or will not spend on listening to music. And that means that much of my collection has to wait for a long time before it enters my CD player again, as the present gorgeous set, which is still a milestone in the history of recorded classical music. This box is truly legendary amongst the real lovers of this composer. Many will find it a dull experience wandering through the oeuvre of John Dowland, but not for me, and many with me. It was all recorded in the heydays of this unique label, that single handedly promoted music being played according to authentic practices.  I applaud these years and still reap the fruits from it. We are in debt with all those forerunners., amongst Emma Kirkby is the first, followed by David Thomas, this mighty bass, and not to forget the instigator of this project, Anthony Rooley, a great connoisseur if it comes to his choice of music and women, for once he was married to Emma Kirkby.. 
So in all its magnificence this first disc begins with a multitude of songs about love, and rightly so, be it lament or rejoice, all love is welcome, in such good performances and excellent sound. I am truly happy that I stumbled today over this box, while perusing my collection.

Röntgen, Julius violin concerto no.3

New Acquisition, Julius Rontgen's Violin Concertos.

New Acquisition June 2013.
First listen.
Label CPO.
Recording date 2009.
Engineer: Holger Urbach.
Running time: 73:26.
First listen.

  • Violin Concerto in A minor and F sharp minor.
  • Ballad for Violin & Orchestra (1918)

Liza Ferschtman, Violin.
Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, David Porcelijn.

I have been buying so far all the releases of this composer. For I consider him one of the best of the 20th century, and easily outruns many a great composer in the same era. True he is no modern composer, being a romantic by heart, but he adopted many new techniques and brought them skilfully into his compositions.  Yesterday the Violin concertos were the highlight of the day, for I think them nothing short than fabulous. Comparable to no other composer, these are masterly compositions, and from now on they rank very high on my list of favourite compositions. Ferschtman is a Dutch violinist from russian parents, and a very skilled musician, who gives all and more, in combination with this orchestra and conductor. Sound is absolute state of the Art. A perfect balance.

Josef Rheinberger Horn Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 178, Mov.I, Mov.II

Josef Rheinberger's Chamber music, Volume 5.

First listen.
Recent acquisition, September 2012.
Volume 5.
Label: Thorofon.
Recording dates 1989-1990.

  • Piano Quartet in E flat major, opus 38.*
  • Sonata for Cello and Piano, opus 92.**
  • Sonata for Horn and Piano, opus 178.***

Zoltan Almasi, Violin.
Sally Clarke, Viola.
David Cofre, Cello.
Horst Gobel, Piano.

Thomas Ruge, Cello.
Horst Gobel, Piano.

Berhard Krug, Horn.
Horst Gobel, Piano.

The recordings from 1989 and 1990 are very good, but then all the recordings so far I have heard from this label are good to very good. As to the music, it is good to know that Rheinberger can hold its own against greats like Brahms and any other composer in the wake of him. He writes inventive and fabulous music, that keeps you attention firmly in place. So in the artistic sense this complete set is a outright winner, for the musicians involved are superb, but I have some issues with the recording.
Not that they are bad, but the Quartet sounds like a whole orchestra, and the opus 92 sounds like a Quartet. Only opus 178 has the right balance. Horst Gobel as a producer has a hand in this me thinks, and he should think again, for the balance between the instruments is down the drain, when the dynamics is murdering the picture.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New Acquisition, Louis Spohr, Complete Symphonies, Volume II.

New Acquisition, June 2013.
First listen.
Label CPO. SACD recording.
Recorded in 2006-2007
Engineer: Bjorn Brigsne.
Running time: 68:46.

  • Symphony No. 2, opus 49 in D minor.
  • Symphony No. 8, opus 137 in G major.
  • Concert Overture "Im Ernsten Stil", opus 126 in D major.

NDR Radiophilharmonie, Howard Griffiths.

First all I must state again, how extraordinary beautiful these recordings are. State of the Art in every way.
All three works are scored in such a way that ones has to admire his craftsmanship, whether you want to or not. No. 2, in the first two movements lets you hear the influence of Beethoven, and that goes quite far, but in a unique way, not simply copying, but ingenious reworking of the material. That will not work without considerable effort and creativity. Spohr has that in abundance, it oozes out of him. The first movement works on a beautiful leitmotiv, that reappears in a different form, every 3 minutes or so. Normally he hops from idea to idea, but at times he turns his nose the other way, just to show that he can. the third movement holds two trios carefully worked out for maximum effect. No 8 has a gorgeous second movement, that digs fairly deep into the emotional fabric of the composer. The D major overture "Im Ernsten Stil" has a moving Lento grave intro, much more serious as Spohr normally is, which I consider to date one of his best works. The orchestra and conductor have a symbiotic working relation that pays huge dividends in commitment. Recommended. 

Vivaldi's complete Sacred Music, Volume 6, part two.

From my collection, 
Second listen.
Volume 6, last three works.
Recorded in 1998. 
Engineer: Philip Hobbs.

  • O qui caeli terraeque serenitas RV 631, for Soprano and Strings.
  • Susan Gritton, Soprano.
Another fine work, very well sung this time by Gritton, much more in her voice as with RV 627 also on this CD. High notes are easily done, and a lucid well defined diction. gorgeous.

  • Deus tuorum militum RV 612, for Contralto, Tenor, Strings, and Oboes.
  • Jean Rigby, Contralto, Charles Daniels, Tenor, Alexandra Bellamy & Hilary Stock, Oboes.

Again messed up by a mediocre contralto, who is only kept in check by Charles Daniels, when duetting. In this piece again is proven beyond doubt, that she is a choir singer and not a soloist, certainly not in the authentic music scene. The piece itself is wonderful.

  • Confitebor tibi, Domini RV 596, for contralto, Tenor, Bass, Strings and Oboes.
  • Soloist as above, added Neal Davies Bass.
A fine piece, but again Rigby ruins it for me, with her hollow artificial vibrato, which overrules the other participants in this gorgeous piece.


Taneyev-String Quartet nº1 in B flat minor, op.4-Taneyev Quartet

Ordered today, New acquisition, Taneyev SQ Volume III, finally!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

01 VIVALDI - Beatus vir - Sacred music.wmv

Antonio Vivaldi, The Complete Sacred Music. Volume 6.

From my collection.
Bought in 2007.
Recorded in 1998.
Running time: 78:16.
CD 6.

  • In Turbato mare. RV. 627.
  • Susan Gritton, Soprano.
A fine piece, beautiful orchestrated by Vivaldi. Surprisingly Gritton has a nasal tone, and does not feel comfortable in this piece. She sings it well with a lot of feeling, but shrillness enters the game quite some times, and that puts me a little off. Not enough to stay away though.

  • Non in Pratis aut in Hortis. RV 641, for contralto and Strings.
  • Jean Rigby, Contralto.
Again a fine piece, but I am not a fan of Jean Rigby. She applies a irritating vibrato to the proceedings that ruins the piece. She is a good choir singer, but a mediocre soloist, and not a good choice. I keep wondering about the choice for her, by a man so experiences as Robert King.

  • Stabat Mater. RV 621 for Countertenor and Strings.
  • Robin Blaze Countertenor.
During these recordings Robin Blaze was a newcomer in the classical world, and his voice was not so affected by mannerisms as it is today. And thus this interpretation is a fine one, but not the best I ever heard, that is still the recording with James Bowman on L'oiseau-Lyre, under the baton of Hogwood.
Blaze his voice is steady and lucid. Pronunciation is excellent, and his soft singing is delicate and sensitive. Only in the Amen, I thought he treaded on slippery ground, but the rest was quite enjoyable.


From my Collection Jan Pieterzoon Sweelinck, Volume 8, Works for Harpsichord.

CD 8.
Second listen
Bought in 2007.
Recorded 2001.
Running time: 77:47.
Engineers: Jorn Mineur & Leo de Klerk.

  • 1) Wie schon leuchtet der Morgenstern.
  • 2) Pavana Philippi.
  • 3) Polish Allemande.
  • 4) Fantasia C1
  • 5) Toccata G1.
  • 6) Passamezzo moderno.
Menno van Delft. Johannes Ruckers Harpsichord ( 1640) Graf Landsberg-Velen. Germany.

The music is well presented, but there is a certain unrest in the approach of van Delft, which does not translate well to the instrument. He does not let the notes breath as it were, and therefore the harmonies come out twisted, in such a way that at times its almost aggressive. Not throughout all the tracks, but often enough. Pity, for the instrument is a beautiful one. Nevertheless I am happy enough with it.

  •  7) Toccata a2.
  •  8) Mein junges Leben hat ein end.
  •  9) Est-ce Mars.
  • 10) Puer nobis nascitur.
  • 11) Toccata a1.
  • 12) Fantasia F1.
Siebe Henstra plays on a Replica Andreas Ruckers (1637) by Herwil van Gelder ( 1993)

Excellent! Both interpretation and instrument are wonderful. van Gelder succeeded in creating a perfect instrument. Henstra does Sweelinck proud. Most entertaining indeed.

Eduard Franck - violin sonata No.1, Cm

New Acquisition, Eduard Franck. The Sonatas for Violin and Piano.

New acquisition June 2013.
First listen.
New composer to my collection.
Label: Audite. 2 CD'S.
Recording dates 2007, siemens Villa, Berlin Lankwitz.
Engineer: Henri Thaon.
CD 1. 51:22 minutes.

A fellow member on GMG, started with this series when I was still participating at this site, and his enthusiasm made me to put them on my list. When CPO made a few titles available for half price, I jumped at the opportunity, and bought a few things. Chamber works all of them. I am only sorry that Richard Franck  was not among the batch. Maybe another time.
But it must be said this is some wonderful music.

  • Violin Sonata in C minor, opus 19.
  • Violin Sonata in A major, opus 23.

Christiane Edinger, Violin.
James Tocco, Piano.

Tonal beauty and technical mastery sums up this composer, who had its roots in Mendelssohn. He is a good composer, writing in a light idiom, without becoming superficial, but on the contrary develops a sweet toned and silvery strain of happiness. It seems to come to him easily, and we listen to it easily. This music will not storm the heavens, or stun you with outward passion, but instead will delight you with finely balanced melody and harmony. Occasionally he makes some surprising rhythmical leaps, always at the right moments. This music is endearing, maybe not a great master, but worth hearing nevertheless. Edinger and Tocco are well suited to this music, and make the most of it. Recording is first rate too.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Christian Sinding: Humoresque No. 5 in E Flat Major Op. 89c

New Acquisition Christian Sinding, Violin concertos.

Second listening.
New acquisition: June 2013.
Video posted earlier this month.


  • Violin Concerto No. 3, opus 119 in A minor.
  • Legende, opus 46 in B flat major.
  • Romanze opus 100, in D major.
  • Violin Concerto No 1, opus 45 in A major.

NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Frank Beermann.
Andrej Bielow, Violin.

Well I have written about this CD before, and there is not much I would care to add. The orchestral parts suffer in quality as they do for instance with the Violin concertos by Paganini, but the music as a whole is gorgeous. The writing for the Violin is done with great taste and skill. The recording is a tad diffuse in the lower region, but all details can be heard. The Violinist is a force to be reckoned with. 

Raff Die schöne Müllerin String Quartet

Sorry about the quality of the video, I could not find a better one!

New Acquisition Joseph Joachim Raff's String Quartets.

New acquisition, June 2013.
Second listen
Video posted, sorry about the quality

  • String Quartet No. 1, opus 77 in d Minor. (1855)
  • No. 7, opus 192 No. 2 in D major. (1874) "Die Schome Mullerin".

Quartetto di Milano.

Well the second time convinced me of the fact that these Quartets are masterworks, believe it or not. Even more than his Symphonies, the SQ are going much further in grooming them to little pearls in his musical crown. More than once did I gasp at its sheer beauty and ingenuity. The writing is phenomenal, and rich in ideas that fully bloom at every stroke of the strings. And these musicians, well all I can say WOW. These are benchmark recordings, and the recording is too. Its a bloody shame Tudor stopped with this project, for I am sure there is still a lot to discover. In the meantime though, buy this disc! A romantic journey into the most gorgeous surroundings you can imagine.

Friedrich Gernsheim: Symphony No.1 4th Movement

New Acquisition Friedrich Gernsheim, Symphonies.

New acquisition June 2013.
Second listen.
Video posted

Symphony No 1, opus 32 in G minor.

Philharmonishes Staatsorchester Mainz, Hermann Baumer.

With every hearing this work gets better, and a myriad in details emerges through this fine recording, which were obscure to me for all the years that I had the Arte Nova recordings. He is a excellent orchestrator and frankly on par with Johannes Brahms, although on first hearing that may not be clear. It really needs some thorough listening, before you see the light, these works are not easily won over. but when finally immersed into this romantic sweep, you flow easily with it. It could not be in better hands as the present orchestra and conductor.

New acquisition, Louis Spohr's Symphonies, Volume I.

First listen.
New Acquisition June 2013.
See review of the Symphony No 3 and Overture too.
Video posted!

  • Symphony No. 10 WoO 8 in E flat major.

NDR Radiophilharmonie, Howard Griffiths.

It must be said before I say anything else, that these performances and recordings are superb. Spohr gets a fine treatment by all involved, and it makes the difference in appreciation, or not. Spohr can sound mediocre if in the wrong hands, but in this case all things work perfectly together.
And CPO plans to do them all! I bought three volumes for a budget price, so I was well pleased with it, for the full price was a bit too much for my budget.
Yesterday evening I popped in the 10th Symphony! And a wonderful piece of music it is. Spohr is known for his quicksilvery movements, never stops too long at a idea, and pops up another one, sniffs a bit and then to the next tree. But I am happy to report that he stops at a single idea in this Symphony, and works on it in different guises for almost 6 minutes. Its the third movement "Scherzo. Allegretto". I was so amazed he did this that I played it a second time, just to be sure! Wonderful.
I am looking forward to the next instalments. Recommended.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dora Pejačević - Piano Trio in C, Op. 29

New acquisition Dora Pejacevic, chambermusic.

Dora Pejacevic. ( 1885-1923) Born in  Hungary, died in Munich.

Bought in June 2013. First listen.
New composer to my collection.

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

Andrej Bielow, Violin.
Christian Poltera, Cello.
Oliver Triendl, Piano.

Video added!

Label: CPO, recorded in 2008.

Dora Pejacevic was born in Budapest on the 10 of September 1885. Her father Count Theodor Pejacevic and her mother Countess Lilla Vay de Vaya.
Now Dora Pejacevic was a extremely beautiful woman, in fact a stunning female, for she had brains and beauty combined in the highest and purest form imaginable. But was she a good composer? I would say yes, a unique voice, although thoroughly attached to tradition and never abandoned tonality, she belonged to the circle of the Fin de siecle adding a voice that contributed greatly in so short a time. She was a very cultivated woman and had a personal charisma that made her attractive to all around her.  She was also well read, and an excellent musician, that played the Violin and Piano almost to perfection, as many that knew her said. 
She married in 1921, and gave birth to a son in 1923, but this was also her deathbed, for she died of kidney failure, during childbirth. She was buried outside the family vault in Nasice, following her wishes.
One could say that it was a tragic day for the musical world, and for all that knew her, for she had a lot of promise, and could have become one of the very greats, if she would have lived long enough. Her music carries a magical sphere into very luminous notes, that exhume an intrinsic understanding of emotions that drives a person in this world. All what she wrote she wrote well, a continuous flow of beauty framed in the most wonderful melodies and harmonies. Yes there definitely was a lot of promise, a flower that was cut down in the middle of her flowering. The performance is a good one, with excellent sound, a labour of love, clearly.
I downloaded a video with her music, by all means take some time to listen to it.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Louis Spohr - Symphony No . 3 Op. 78 I. Andante - Grave Allegro (1/4)

New Acquisition, Louis Spohr's Symphonies, Volume 1.

The first Volume of 3 I bought recently, with the Symphonies of Louis Spohr (1784-1859)

First listen.
Recent acquisition. June 2013.
Label CPO, recorded in  2006-2007. (SACD recording Hybrid)

  • Symphony No, 3, opus 78, in E minor.
  • Overture WoO 1 in F major.

NDR Radiophilharmonie, Howard Griffiths.

Now after Beethoven's death, Spohr was regarded as the greatest living composer among large segments of the European public interested in music. I think they had good taste, but its besides the truth, and to be honest Spohr thought the same. Still he was very popular, that is very clear. I would go as far as to say that technically he is on par with Beethoven. Spohr's writing is magnificent, and he clearly knew how to score, for he composed many amazing things, that makes many composer of his time stand well into the shadow. I would compare him with the likes of Ferdinand Ries. Spohr has always many balls into the air, but he misses the gift for a melody that keeps lingering in your mind. That is not to say that there are no melodies, but he never stays long enough in one place, to get hold of it, Ries suffers the same handicap. But that said, the first movement of the Third Symphony opens magnificently, with a lot of sustained grandeur, and in which he proves that when he sets his mind to it, he can make it work, and that also goes for the Adagio intro of the overture, really beautifully done. But all this does not distract the fact that it is beautiful music, very entertaining, to keep your spirits up and running. The recording is superb, lots of depth and detail, and the performance is all what one wishes for. A resounding success. 

Jean Xavier Lefevre, Quartets for Clarinet and String Trio.

Second listen.
Recent acquisition 2013.
See also review first listen.

Well I wrote about this performance in my first listen, and i have little to add, this is marvellous stuff, and very well written music.

Christian Sinding - Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Major Op. 45 (1898)

Christian Sindings Violin concertos.

First listen.
Recent acquisition, 2013.

CD II of this set.
Recorded in 2005.
See also previous review of CD 1.

  • Violin concerto No. 2 opus 60 in d major.
  • Suite opus 10 in A minor.
  • Abendstimmung, opus 120 in g major.

NDR Radiophilharmonie, Frank Beermann.
Andrej Bielow, Violin.

If it comes to beautiful tunes on the Violin Sinding can be trusted with it, and there is ample proof of this on this two far, released by CPO for a budget price. Bielow is by all means a very good fiddler, that gets everything out Sinding put in. Now in the case of the second Violin concerto, the Violin has a star role, and Sinding does not let a moment pass without stunning us out of countenance. Where he disappoints me a little in in the orchestral writing which I think is adequate but rather mediocre, like the background for Chopin's piano concertos. Some clumsy writing for brass there too.  The suite is a stunning work and stunningly played as is opus 120, with very good orchestral background I must add. As a whole this is a very rewarding set and I am glad I bought it. Sound is good, but it could have been more open on the orchestral side, sometimes its a bit muffled, not much though.

Last disc from the Lumieres Box, Beethoven SQ

Well finally I made it to the last discs with music, No 30 has only text and other info about the 29 recordings. Yes I arrived at disc 29, filled with some of Beethoven's most famous String Quartets.

  • In B flat major, No. 13, opus 130
  • In F major No. 16, opus 135.

Tokyo String Quartet.
Recorded 2007-2008.
First listen.

Well all I can say, is that these performances belong to the very best that is on offer. A marvellous ensemble, technically top notch, with a warm yet detailed interpretation, and a very good recording.
My only minor quibble is with the "Grosse Fuge, opus 133", its a bit rough and loses coherence a couple of times, not many will be bothered by it, but I had to mention it.

Monday, June 10, 2013

JP Sweelinck Fantasia,Pieter Dirksen Harpsichord after Ruckers

Jan Pieterzoon Sweelinck, Keyboard Works Volume 7.

Already far over half of this box, which I took out of my collection, and enjoying every minute of listening to it. When I bought it in 2007, I listened once to it, and for some unknown reason stored it out of sight. That's not what I normally do, but there you go, it happened.

I landed at the pieces for Harpsichord, that would be CD 7-9.

Pieter Dirksen is playing on a Johannes Ruckers replica ( 1620) made by Sebastian Nunez (1999)
Recorded in 2001

The instrument sounds fine, but a little cold, and thats not normally a issue with replicas of a Ruckers  original. It is however a see through sound, very much segmented, and open. The playing by Dirksen can be a little brusque, but he keeps enough integrity to hold all together.

The second half of this CD is done by:  Bob van Asperen, on a orginal Ruckers (1640) situated in Graf Landsberg-Velen.
Now van Asperen is a name when it comes to harpsichord playing, and this recording lets you hear that in detail. The instrument is warm albeit a bit fuzzy, not such clear imagery as with the Nunez instrument, but preferable to the modern replica. 
Recorded in 2001.

See also previous reviews of this box.

Ballet Masterpieces, The Finale!

When I started listening to this box, I never in my life imagined that it would take me from 2009 till now, to get through this fantastic enterprise. And when I look back, I see that I have gone through a lot of extraordinary situations, personal issues, moving house, gaining and losing people I love, and many more things that have been at least traumatic to me. Such a short time, so many things happening. One of those things must have been that my long term association with the GMG site had to come at a end. And although many of them visit my blog, there is no interaction, as there was hardly on GMG, so in this it did not change, but at least I have my reviews together, and no threat that it will dissolve into nothingness, as happens at GMG. that issue was for me another reason to leave GMG, despite the fact that I am missing my friends.
This fabulous box, first run through, CD 35, filled with the following works.

  • Auber.
  • Pas Classique.
  • Les Rendez-vous.( Arr. Constant Lambert)

  • Riccardi Drigo. ( Arr, Peter March)
  • Pas de Deux. Diane et Acteon.

  • Domenico Scarlatti, Arr. Vincenzo Tommasini.
  • The Good Humoured Ladies.

  • Ambroise Thomas.
  • Francoise de Rimini.

English Chamber Orchestra, Richard Bonynge.

Nice enough stuff, not the best, but they give enough pleasure, these roundups. It is well performed, and recorded.
See also previous reviews of this box.

Telemann - Sonata Prima in A-Major, TWV 43:A1

The Lumieres Box, CD 27 and 28

I am nearing the end of the first run through of this box containing 30 discs in all, with the last one filled with all the texts and info about the recordings. So only 29 to do, which is also dedicated to the String Quartet.
Both CD'S contain excellent interpretations and matching recordings. Although I have many other recordings of the works on both discs, nevertheless I am very happy with them. Straightforward lucidly played, with a fine sense of purpose, and a clear road cut ahead of them. Not a nuances is lost in the process, and all of them belong to the top of what is available on the classical market.

CD 27 and 28.

  • Telemann.
  • Sonata prima in A major, for Flute, Violin, Cello and BC.
  • Freiburger Barockconsort.
  • Recorded in 2010.

  • Mozart.
  • String quartet in C major, No. 4. K. 157.
  • String quartet in B flat major, No. 17. K. 458.
  • Jerusalem Quartet.
  • Recorded in 2008-2010.

  • Haydn.
  • String Quartet in c major, opus 33.3.
  • String Quartet in D minor, opus 76, No. 2.
  • Jerusalem Quartet.
  • Recorded in 2003-2006.

  • Beethoven.
  • String Quartet in B flat major, opus 18, No. 6.
  • Tokyo String Quartet.
  • Recorded in 2006.

  • Carl Stamitz.
  • Oboe Quartet in D major, opus 8.
  • Paul Goodwin, Oboe.
  • Terzetto.
  • Recorded in 1996.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Ballet Melissa Martins Copelia full hd

Swan Lake - Melissa Hamilton and Dawid Trzensimiech in Monica Loughman's...

Schubert's SQ, volume 5

  • SQ D 87 in E flat major, and D 74 in D major.
  • Quartet movement D. 103, (Fragment) in c minor.

See also previous reviews from this box.

This set must be one of the best performances around, for I cannot find fault in them. Performance, sound and interpretation are all one could wish for. And of course I could fall into a revelry about all its virtues, but I rather urge you to listen at samples. So I posted one were this ensemble is playing in Japan. It says it all me thinks.

Leipzig string quartet, Schubert d-minor D 810

Rachmaninov Solo piano works, volume 4

Preludes, opus 32.
Prelude in f major 1891.
Prelude in D minor 1917

Howard Shelley, Piano.
Recorded in 1982-83.

CD 4 from this box.

See also previous reviews from this box.

These preludes always crack me up, that beautiful they are. The care and attention that went into composing them is perfectly expressed. The performance is a match to that, as is the sound.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Ballet Masterpieces Volume 34, miscellaneous ..

CD 34 from 35. See also previous reviews of this box.

  • Leon Minkus
  • Grand Pas Paquita, Arr. Peter March.
  • Pas de Deux, Don Quixote, Arr Peter March.

  • Cesare Pugni, Arr, Peter March
  • Pas de Quatre.

  • Jacques Offenbach.
  • Le Papillon.

  • Riccardo Drigo, Arr, John Lanchbery.
  • Pas de Deux, Le Corsaire.

English Chamber Orchestra, Richard Bonynge.

Delightful little gems, perfectly played in the right tempo for a ballet performance, something I came to expect from the likes of Bonynge. It is well conceived, but I did not always like the arrangements by March, a bit of a vulgar touch now and again, mixed with some brilliant ideas. O, well one can't have all the cake I suppose. Sound is excellent.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

From the Lumieres box, CD 26, the Classical sonata, Beethoven

From the Lumieres box CD 26.

The Classical Sonata.

  • Beethoven.
Sonata in F minor No. 1, opus 2, No. 1.
In D minor, No. 17, "The Tempest", opus 31, No. 2.
In E flat major, No. 21, "Waldstein", opus 53.

Paul Lewis, Piano.
Recorded in 2005-06.

I do not know on which instrument it is played, for this was not in the booklet, or on the sleeve, but it sounds bloody marvellous. Funny enough I did not expect it to be artistically a success, but it rather is. A lucid and clear interpretation, which occasionally was driven too hard, simply going too fast for comfort. There is no lingering in the faster movements, but all slow movements, the second movement of the Walstein for instance is exceptionally well done, this deliberate yet flowing and lucid playing is brought to perfection in this recording. I would say that apart from the outer movements that can be a bit too hard driven, this is a performance that will sits comfortably in my collection.

New acquisition, Raff's String Quartets

Joseph Joachim Raff.

  • String Quartet No. 1, opus 77 in D minor.
  • String Quartet N0. 7, opus 192, No. 2 in D major. ( Die Schone Mullerin)
Quartetto di Milano.

Label: Tudor, recorded in 1998.

First listen.

Life is sometimes simple! If you like the Symphonies by this composer,, you will adore his String Quartets, factually  a condensed Symphony. Everything you hear in the symphonies is in the SQ. Simple huh? Highly romantical, full of infectious melodies, creative in its writing, never boring, simply have to have music. You hear that he draws some ideas from Mendelssohn's genius, but predominantly puts his own stamp on it, with some Brahms added. The musicians are top notch, could not been better, and the sound is intimate warm and very detailed, almost a state of the art recording, as so often with Tudor.

And again the artwork is beautiful, Arnold Bocklin's "Liebespaar vor Buschwerk" um 1866. Gorgeous.

Vivaldi's sacred Choral music Volume 4 and 5

Juditha Triumphans, devicta Holofernes barbarie. RV 644.

  • Ann Murray, Susan Bickley, Sarah Connolly, Jean Rigby, Mezzo-sopranos.
  • Maria Cristina Kiehr, Soprano.
  • Choir of the King's Consort and Consort, Robert King.
Recorded in 1997.

Of all the works Vivaldi wrote in this genre RV 644 does not do much for me. That has nothing to do with the quality of the composition, but merely with the the fact that I dislike musical narrative in this style. That said, I think this performance is a very good one, and I listen to it while reading Gogol, and that works fine for me. Robert King's ensemble is doing a great job, and apart from some minor quibbles I have, this is a performance to have and to hold, for the pro's outshine my quibbles. Nevertheless the one I have, is in my ears, a serious one, and the offender is Jean Rigby as "Ozias". A unstable voice, with some nasty vibrato to it, she literally detonates in this ensemble. She has some register changes that made me cringe, several times. Most will overcome this, but I rather skip the contributions of her. King should have been more critical. Sound is top notch, as is to be expected of Hyperion.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Psalm 23 - Jan Pzn. Sweelinck - Huys-organ Kantens (1660/1668)

Ballet Masterpieces, Volume 33, Verdi's attempts at ballet.

  • Otello-Ballet music.
  • Don Carlos-La Peregrina. (Solo Violin Giovanni Adamo).
  • Aida-Marcia e Ballabile.
  • Macbeth-Ballet music.
  • I Vespri Siciliani-Le Quattro Stagioni. ( Guido Toschi, Oboe, Giovanni Tedeschi, Clarinet.

Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Ricardo Chailly.

CD 33 from this box.

I am not entirely convinced of Verdi's attempt in writing ballet music, well maybe for peasants that hop around, but I doubt that you can stage this properly and turn it into a ballet that does not hurt your sensitivities. I could not get the imagery clear before my eyes. What Verdi calls ballet music, sounds more like overtures and marches and introductions to his operas, and what not. So if I forget about ballet, and take this robust music for what it is, thoroughly likeable music, then it starts to make sense of what I expect from the likes of this composer. Well written extravaganzas with all the impact it has to have. And I like them very much, which resulted years ago in buying a Chandos release with I think four CD'S full of this kind of music in very good performances, and sound.
Well then Chailly is your man in this music, he drives them into tempi that are at times slightly over the top, and no dancer could keep up with it, but he makes it sound exhilarating and keeps the fire red hot. The recording has a lot of depth and detail, and should be considered as very good, made in 1989.


Haydn's Symphonies, Volume 4.

  • No. 3 in G major.
  • No. 14 in A major.
  • No 15 in D major.

See previous reviews.

Three fine Symphonies all in the major key, give as per usual a lot of pleasure in these performances. I would like to single out the beautiful introduction of the D major "Adagio".  When you hear it you recognize it, until its taken over and flows into a Allegro con brio, but not without a few recapitulations along the way.


Franz Anton Hoffmeister's Quintets

Recent acquisition, second listen.

  • Quintets 1/2/4/5/6. for Oboe, Violin, Two Violas, Horn, and  Bassoon.
See for details the previous review.

Absolutely breathtaking. Performance and sound are top notch. Everything else I said already.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Schubert's String Quartets, and other works.....

String Quartet D 810, in D minor, Der Tod und das Madchen.
Menuett D 86 in D major.
Menuette und Deutsche D 89.

What could I possibly add then saying again, marvellous! It is you know!

Some exciting new acquisitions...

Rachmaninov, Piano music Solo, volume III

  • Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, ( Original version 1913)
  • Morceau de fantasie in G minor.
  • Song without words.
  • Piece in D minor.
  • Fughetta in f major.
  • Fragments.
  • Oriental Sketch.
  • Three nocturnes.
  • Four pieces.
Howard Shelley, Piano.
Recorded in 1985.

Absolutely stunning, the non allegro from sonata No 2 is a exercise in musical beauty. He and Rachmaninov's keeps impressing me deeply. The melancholy which permeates this music is rather special.., but then the whole range of the emotional gamut is address here.

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 ...