Monday, September 30, 2013

Repeat mode: Court Music Edition. Venetian Music at the Habsburg Court in the 17th century. CD VII.

Bought in July.
Second listen.
See previous review 30-7-2013, Video added!

As said in my previous review, this is a fine versatile disc, that is a pleasure to listen to. Especially when it is recorded in such a good way. As a extra I saw that Lee Santana and Stephen Stubbs are both playing in this ensemble.  Somewhat later in the evening this CD closes a day that has always the standard turmoil, but as a much earned upbeat comes music, that has nothing of the hectic of the day, but soothes your nerves. Wonderful. Please do read my first review.

Repeat mode. Court Music edition, Volume VI.Music at the Salzburg court, dedicated to Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau.

Bought in July 2013.
Second listen.
CD VI from this box of 10 CD'S.
See also previous review on 30 July 2013, Video added!

I read over my previous review, and there is actually nothing to add, all is said. So if you are interested its very easy to find this review back, and listen to the video, to get a impression of some of the music on this disc.

Rogers Covey - Crump "La voila la nacelle d'amour"

New Acquisition: Ancient Airs and Dances, 16th Century songs and Dances for Lute.

Bought in September 2013.
First listen.
Hyperion Helios CDH 55146.
Recording engineer: Anthony Howell.
Recording date and place: 28-29 August 1986. place of recording unknown.
Running time: 55:12.

Paul O'Dette, Lute, archlute, baroque guitar.
Rogers Covey Crump, Tenor.
John Holloway, Violin.
Nigel North, Bass lute.
Christel Thielmann, Bass viol.

Composers: Simone Molinaro, Vincenzo Galilei, Fabritio Caroso, Jean Baptiste Besard, Antoine Boesset, Bernardo Gianoncelli, Santino Garsi da Parma, Ludovico Roncalli.

What a delightful disc, and such genial music making, couched in a state of the art recording. The sound is natural, and lifelike. every detail comes to you in a pleasant way, Hats off for Anthony Howell. None of the composers I knew, and all have something to say, in a unique and creative way. O'Dette is making a festive meal of all offerings, helped by equally expert fellow musicians. The Bass lute is a fine instrument and Nigel North shows us the ropes alright!  
This is a CD to have, either be played in the background, or on the foreground, in both cases it will entertain and delight. Recommended.

Antoine Busnois: Missa l'Homme Armé 1. Kyrie (+playlist)

New Acquisition. Busnois-Domarto-Pullois, 15th century choir music.

Bought in September 2013.
First listen.
Hyperion Helios CDH 55288.
Recording engineer: Tony Faulkner.
Recording date and place:  19-21 June 2001, All Saints, Tooting, London.
Running time: 79:06.

Antoine Busnois, Missa L'homme arme.
Anima mea liquefacta est.
Gaude celestis domina.

Petrus de Domarto, Missa Spiritus almus.

Jean Pullois, Flos de spina.

The Binchois Consort, Andrew Kirkman.

Again a winner on all counts, well received by critics and music lovers alike. Many praises from different magazines on the cover. That's not always indicative of the quality, for a critics opinion is his own, and for many it might be different. That's why a review can never be entirely objective, if it can be that at all.  Busnois has the fame that he composed the first setting ever for Missa L'homme arme, and compared to all I have heard, this one tops easily all of them, such inventive writing and bold yet refined music, that delights and surprises your senses many a time. It is extremely beautiful, and that really goes a step up with the second piece by Busnois, Anima mea liquefacta est, it move me profoundly. The alto has a solo line here, with the bass as a continuo, almost reminiscent of Greek Orthodox singing. If gives you a wow experience, at least it did with me. The Missa by Domarto, has a deeply felt emotional strain to it, that has you spellbound by this intricate music. But really, this goes for all on this CD. I have been a admirer of this all male choir, and relish the fact that there are no women. Somehow my feeling is that they have no place in this kind of singing, and factually in the time of these composers not a woman sang such.  So there are no ear deafening  high notes by sopranos. That drove me ultimately away from the Tallis Scholars.
This Consort belongs to one of the best ensembles around, they have a harmony that is hard to resist, and their unity is pristine. As sung in heaven, so it is on earth!
The recording by Tony Faulkner is top notch. A good sense of space around the voices, 3 seconds echo, which is perfect, a warm yet very detailed sound picture, and a palpable depth. A very recommendable disc.
This is musicianship of a very high order, transcending specialisms.

Naxos order list.

Lets see if this recording is better as the ones I know...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Repeat mode. Flying horse, Music from the ML Lutebook.

Bought in September 2013.
Second listen.
Hyperion CDA 67776. Full-Price.
Recording date and place: 1-3 December 2008.
Recording engineer: Julian Millard.
Running time: 70:50.
See previous review 27-9-2013.

What to add more, what I did not already say in my first review. If you like/love Lute music, I would say this disc is pretty essential to have. The fine ambient around her and her instrument, makes this a pretty intimate recording.

In the repeat mode. Heinrich Schutz Edition. Symphoniae Sacrae I. 2 CD'S.

Bought in August 2013.
Second listen.
Recording date and place:  Live: 2-5 February 2009, in the Aufsessaal  Germanishes Nationalmuseum, Nurnberg, Germany.
Recording engineer: Klaus Brand.
Running time CD I: 47:22 & CD II: 39:13.
See previous review on 7-8-2013 for more info and my thoughts. Video posted.

Musica Fiata, Roland Wilson.

No words more, than this is a very good interpretation, well sung & recorded. Very much recommendable. Cheap and top of the bill music making.

In the repeat mode. A must buy! Top 5 best acquisition 2013.

Bought in August 2013.
Second listen.
Recording date and place: 24-29 August 2005, Church of the Ascension of the mother of God, in Hallstatt, Austria.
Recording engineer:  Michael Bernstein & Anne Decoville.
Running time: 68:15.
See complete review of this disc: 13-8-2013. for all info and thoughts.

Ars Antiqua Austria, Gunar Letzbor.

This Arcana disc was for a brief time just 7 euro's, which I understood right away as a pricing error. So I jump to the chance and ordered a few, of which I only received the above one, of course they found out about this. It has been a golden catch, for this CD goes right away to my top 5 of best buys of 2013. For the music is extraordinary beautiful, the performance is a dream, so listening is a joy time and time again. For this music written in total isolation from what going on outside his world, has an impact that goes up high in your senses, and distances it from all what was around it. Its truly unique music that has no equal before, during and after his life. A must buy in my ears.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

In the Repeat Mode. Heinrich Schutz Edition. CD I. Il Primo libro de Madrigali, Venezia 1611.

Bought in August 2013.
Second complete listen.
Recording date and place:  1985, Cedersaal Schloss Kirchheim. Germany.
Recording engineer: Paul Dery.
Running time: 53:20.
Se previous review on 6-8-2013.

The consort of Musicke, Anthony Rooley.

This CD counts as the highlight in this collection, and is worth the price alone, at least for me. The musicians and singers are the very best there ever was, and for me these performances will never be surpassed. As far as I am concerned these people were standing at the cradle of authentic music making, and shaped and formed its development decidedly. And for this I am deeply grateful.

Friday, September 27, 2013

New Acquisition: Il Ballarino, Italian Dances C. 1600

Bought in September 2013.
First listen.
Recording date and place: June 1986, in the Meeting House, Frenchay, Bristol, England.
Recording engineer: David Wilkins.
Running time: 58:23.
Hyperion Helios, budget-Price.

The music comes mainly from four Italian dance treatises of the late 16th and early 17th century: Two by Fabritio Caroso, and one each by Cesare Negri and Livio Lupi. Also included are dances for Harpsichord from publications by Antonio Gardane, Antonio Valente, Giovanni Maria Radino, and Giovanni Picchi, arrangements of ensemble pieces by Giorgio Mainerio, and a arrangement of a vocal piece by Giovanni Gastoldi. A highly variable and enjoyable anthology of dance music that is excellently played on historical instruments, and in good sound, if maybe a tad dry, but therefore it holds plenty of detail in front of you, you would not like to miss. Elegantly played and well presented this gives 58 minutes of joy. The dance masters were also highly skilled musicians and composers to boot. Dancing in those times was a highly complicated business on which your social status depended, at least when you were rich or belonging to the nobility. 

New Acquisition: 17 Hyperion CD'S came today by post, this is the first one I play from this bunch. Music from the ML Lutebook. "Flying Horse".

Bought in September 2013.
First listen.
Recording date: 1-3 December 2008, Concert Hall Wyastone Estate Monmouth, England.
Recording engineer: Julian Millard.
Running Time: 70:50.

Amongst such luminaries as Dowland, Holborne, Johnson, & Ballard, are many fabulous anonymous compositions, that equal the mastery of these great masters, which are presented by a nimble fingered Lute player, that has pure artistry in her fingers and genes. The ease and tranquility she brings to the music is awe inspiring, and a balm for the soul. Whatever the state of your nerves, she will untangle them with her playing. 70 minutes of fine Lute playing, which for me may have gone on for another hour or so! Beautifully recorded too, very intimate, with a natural ambient around her.

In the repeat mode. Music of the Tudor period.

Second listen.
Bought in July 2013.
Recording date and place:  18-21 June 1974, Pfarrkirche des Fuggerschlosses, Kirchheim, Schwaben, Germany.
Recording engineer: Paul Dery.
Running time: 46:25.

Anonym: Graduale Sarisburiense, 15th century version. Kyrie "Orbis factor". ( Cum versibus)
John Tavener: Missa sine nomini, ( The Meane mass) for 5 voices.
Osbert Parsley: Lamentations for 5 voices.
John Sheppard, "Playnsong Mass for a meane, for 4 voices.

Pro Cantione Antiqua, Bruno Turner.

Without a doubt another very successful recording in this box. Such sensitive singing and careful phrasing, such fine articulation and well shaded dynamics, a pearl in their repertoire. I am not always impressed by what this group has recorded in the past, but this one belongs easily to the best performances they have delivered in their long career. And for 1974 this recording beats many a modern one. The soundstage is impressive, with enough air around the voices to give it a real feel for the venue where it was recorded. A pity that this playing time is so short.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Adieu Madame Part II. Music at the English Court (c.1415-1530) Court Music Edition.

Second listen.
Bought in July 2013.
Second listen.
Recording date: 17-18 August 1978, St. Trudpert.
Recording engineer: Pere Casulleras.
Running time: 39:59.
See also previous review, 26-7-2013.

Pro Cantione Antiqua, Mark Brown.

This is really a most beautiful disc, one of the best I ever heard from this group. The singing is divine, and the structural balance in the choir is beyond amazing. Textual clear, with a divine sense of the intrinsic merit of the music. In every respect a disc I can safely recommend. Its worth the price of 10 CD'S. So you'll never lose out on the deal. Recording is crystal clear, with a fine ambient feel. 

In the repeat mode: Johann Baptist Vanhal, Symphonies. Concerto Koln Box. CD IV.

Fourth complete listen.
See review for all the info and my thoughts about the music. 19-9 -2013.

Vigorous, energetic, well articulated performances in pristine sound.

CD 4 from this box.

Heinrich Schutz Edition. Weihnachtshistorie. CD 10 from this box.

Bought in august 2013.
First listen.
Recording date: 18-19 December 1998, Bilbao and 21 December 1998, Las Palmas.
Recording engineer: Jesus Gago.
Running time: 67:35.
CD 10.

Vocal & Instrumental Ensemble, "La Petite Bande", Sigiswald Kuijken.

This is a near perfect performance of the Weihnachtshistorie, ( Christmas Works).  Kuijken has a excellent lineup of singers, amongst them the soprano Midori Suzuki, &  Bass, Harry van der Kamp. A authentic performance, fine sounding instruments, and voices without the cursed vibrato, which I loath extremely. Natural vibrato okay, but this artificial vibrato, just to boost a bad voice, no way!
And yes I know Christmas is still a few months away, but the enjoyment of the work is not less. And also special mention has to go to the brass and organ playing on this recording, which charmed my ears no end. A good front to back stage, all details are well heard without in any way disturb the flow of the music.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Revisiting. Nicolo Zingarelli (1752-1837) The Milanese Symphonies. Volume I. Archivo della sinfonia milanese Volume III.

Bought in September 2013,
Second listen.
See for all the info my previous review, 17-7-2013.

I more or less stay with what I said about this performance and have little to add, apart from the fact that it is certainly fine music to listen too, but I still have my socks on after I finished this recording. Moretto takes a leisurely approach, like don't shake the folks too much, lets be very solemn about the music.....Its my opinion of course. The sound is pleasant enough with lots of inner detail, and a fine definition of the sound stage.

Heinrich Schutz Edition. Psalms-Motets-Concertos. Part 1 & II. CD 8 & 9 of this box.

Bought in August 2013.
First listen.
Recording dates: October 31-November 6, 1989,  at St. Osdag, Mandelsloh, Germany.
Recording engineer: Not clear, not mentioned.
Playing time: CD I: 58:41. CD II: 47:40.

Cantus Colln, Konrad Junghanel.
Musica Fiata, Roland Wilson.
Knabenchor Hannover, Heinz Hennig.

As a whole this is a very good performance, from all that participate, and the recording is at times a bit diffuse especially when the choir sings out loud. But it is perfectly fine for me. I love these work, and feel a great affinity towards them, but my personal opinion is, that in this configuration or setup, the Knabenchor Hannover has no place. They are without a doubt a good choir, but they spoil the pudding for me too many times, simply by falling below par compare with the other participants on this recording. For me they sound the odd one out. I am none too fond of  boy trebles, and this tells me again in loud protestations that I should keep away from them. Alas, I have this recording and I am 80% satisfied with it, so I have to chew 20% down with a mischievous look on my face. I can do that I think. But the 80% sound gorgeous though! 

CD VII & VIII from this box

Revisiting: Nicola Fiorenza & Emanuele Barbella, -I virtuosi del Violino- CD III

From my collection.
Bought in 2007.
Third complete listen.
Recording date: 2000 at the Chiesa di S. Barbara dei Librari. Italy. Rome.
Recording engineer: Piero Schiavoni.
Playing time: 70:13.
See also previous review 9-9-2013.

Nicola Fiorenza. (died 1764)
Concerto di tre Violini e basso in A major.
Sinfonia fugata a tre violini e basso, in F minor.
In G major.
Sinfonia a quattro violini e basso in C minor.

Emanuelle Barbella. (1718-1777)
Concerto a quattro, fugato sul stile di Chiesa in D minor.
Concerto per Violino, con violini, viola, e basso, in D major.

Played on authentic instruments.

A wonderful set in all respects with composers that were unknown to me. It was a journey full of surprises at the level of creativity displayed in these compositions. The playing leaves nothing to be desired, and due to their enthusiasm this project can be deemed as a success. Sound is superb.

From my collection, revisiting "Spirales, snapshots of contemporary classical music." Disc I. Vagn Holmboe.

See my previous review of CD I, 17-8-2013. for more info and some thoughts about Holmboe's music.

Vagn Holmboe ( 1906-1996)

  • Fanfare opus 121.
  • Notturno, opus 19.
  • Notater, opus 140.
  • Quartetto Medico, opus 70.
  • Concerto for brass, opus 157.
  • Egilskvad, opus 185.

Disc one is at once the raison d'etre of buying this box with 10 CD'S at all, for its a winner on all counts. If you love Holmboe's music, you cannot do without this one, especially when you know that the box will set you back for only 10 euro's. After I have listen to the whole box I threw away CD 5/6 & 10. Simply because for me  it was no music to keep. Others may think its worthwhile anyways. I simply have not the critical knowledge for modern music and their worth. But every piece on this CD warrants the price of the box as the rest of the CD'S do. Very well performed and recorded. (See for artists and what the music is scored for my first review)

Adieu Madame, Music at the English Court (c.1415-1530) Part I.

From my collection, recent acquisition, 2013.
Second listen.
Recording date 1975.
Recording engineer: Mark Brown.
Playing time: 44:38.
See also previous review with more info: 26-7-2013.

Boisterous, loud at times, which is normal, if you look what function these songs had. some Christmas songs also, which is a bit awkward in October, a way of singing that had its time. It sounds a bit dated and is clearly the vision of a jolly group of singers. I heard better informed interpretations, but what the heck, they bring a grin on my face. The sound is considering its age acceptable, a bit foggy when they all start to sing at once. Do not expect refinement here, but go for the hell for leather approach.

Trouveres part II

See for all info the posting on 24-9-2013,

As beautiful as disc I.

In my JPC order list for October. A composer I admire since a few years.

New Naxos release. Hope they will do more with this composer.......

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

From my collection. Court Music edition.

Second listen.
CD 1.
Set bought in June 2013.
See also first review on 22-7-2013. Video added.
Recording date: December 1982, St Petruskirche, Blasingen.
Recording engineer: Klaus L. Neumann.
Playing time: 70:27.

  • Trouveres, Courtly love songs from Northern France c. 1175-1300. Part I.
  • Chansons, Motets, Chansons de toile, Estampie, Jeu parti, Rondeaux.
Performers Sequentia, Ensemble for Medieval Music.
with participation of: Jill Feldman, Guillemette Laurens, Candace Smith, Josep Benet, Wendy Gillespie.

A fascinating journey into this musical world, and it is well done, the music brings the time back, you get a real sense of musical medieval times. The performance is immaculate, and the recording as if it was made yesterday. More to this recording in my first review of this disc 22-7-2013.

From this box CD 1.

Mannheim: The Golden Age, Cannabich,Carl & Johann Stamitz, Anton Fils, Ignaz Franzl

From my collection.
Bought in 2008.
Fourth time listen to the complete set.
CD 3.
Recording date: 1999.
Recording engineer: Eberhard Sengpiel.
Playing time: 66:49.

See previous review of this disc: 24-8-2013 

Christian Cannabich, Sinfonia in E flat major.
Carl Stamitz, Cello Concerto No. 4 in C major.
Anton Fils, Sinfonia in G minor.
Johann Stamitz, Sinfonia in G major.
Ignaz Franzl, Sinfonia No. 5 in C major.

A virtual explosion of energy and creativity, regarding the compositions on this disc, and a breathtaking performance by soloists from Concerto Koln. Nothing short of sonic and artistic perfection.

Johannes Brahms. The Complete Solo Piano Works, and the Piano Concertos.

From my collection.
Bought in 1997.
Recording date: November 1989. Tonstudio van Geest Heidelberg, Germany.
Recording engineer: Martin Sauer.
Playing time: 70:32.
Disc VIII.

See previous reviews from 13-8-2013 till 19-9-2013.

  • Variations on a theme by Schumann in F sharp minor, opus 9.
  • Variations and fugue on a theme by Handel in B flat major, opus 24.
  • Variations on a theme by Paganini in A minor, opus 35, Book 1 & Book II.
Idil Biret, Piano.

Everyone that loves his Brahms will know these works, and that they often defy description. Sheer beauty in this case warrants silence, and encourages to open your heart, there it will speak. Opus 9 is a case in point, such a gorgeous composition, that goes straight to your heart without fail. This whole disc is a miracle in the sense that we get superb readings from Biret, did not hear them any better or more poetic, and the recording is state of the art. What is there more to wish, as more of this? For those that start out with Brahms, this box is a safe buy, cheap also in price, but valuable in musical content.

Some bargains from Hyperion, much of it, was for a long time on my wishlist.

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 ...