Thursday, October 31, 2013

Anton Eberl. Piano concertos opus 40 & 32.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 24-7-2013.
Second listen: 19-10-2013.
Both reviews have listening notes.
Recording dates: 2008.
Recording venue: Deutschlandfunk Kammermusiksaal, Koln.
Recording engineer: Hanns Martin Renz.
Running time: 62:03.

Paolo Giacometti & Riko Fukuda, Fortepianos.
Die Kolner Akademie, Michael Alexander Willens.
Played on authentic instruments.

In previous reviews I said what there was to say. Simply wonderful.
For info about composer and works, click this link.

Louis Spohr. Symphonies No. 3 and 10. Overture WoO 1. Volume 1.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 14 & 15-6-2013.
Second listen: 16-7-2013.
Third listen: 8-10-2013.
All three reviews have listening notes.
Recording dates: February 2006 & March 2007.
Recording venue: Grosser Sendesaal des NDR Landesfunkhauses.
Recording engineer: Bjorn Brigsne.
Running time: 62:32.

Well all what I had to say about the Symphonies of Louis Spohr, I said in previous reviews, so if interested you may easily find them. What I can add is, that I am constantly aware of the greatness of this composer, and the sad thing is that we keep underestimating him. He is as great a composer as Beethoven, but it takes some time to sink in.

Antonio Bertali. Prothimia Suavissima, parte seconda.

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 13-8-2013. See review.
Second listen: 29-9-2013. See review.
Label: Arcana A 340.
Recording dates: 24-29 April 2005.
Recording venue: Léglise de l'Assomption a Hallstatt, Austria.
Recording engineer: Michel Bernstein & Anne Decoville
Coproduction Arcana/Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR 3) Koln.
Running time: 68:15.

Prothimia Suavissima ovvero XII Sonate a tre o quattro strumenti e basso, parte seconda.

Without any doubt in my mind, this CD is in my list one of the best acquisitions in 2013. I do enjoy Baroque music very much, and this one is head and heels above anything  I have heard so far, but is sharing this place with Berlin Classics recording of Johann Friedrich Meister's  Il giardino del piacere, Not often do we get such outstanding recordings in one year, but there you have it. The Arcana was priced wrongly so I got it cheaply, and it rewarded me with rich music.  It grabs you, the melodies are wrapping you in a warm blanket, and make you sigh with amazement. If anything I want more of this! But not much is recorded by Antonio Bertali. The Oxford Companion to classical music, or the dictionary does not even mention him. But "Der Grosse Musikfuhrer" from the Kiesel Verlag (1981), has something about him. It seems that he lived most of his life in Vienna where he became Court musician, and was a active participant of the musical life. He wrote a lot of sacred vocal music. Also a bit more info here:
Not much though, but you get a pretty good picture of man and music.

The picture of Bertali shows him when he was 59.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Service of Venus and Mars, Music for the knights of the Garter. (1340-1440)

Bought in 2013.
First listen: 17-7-2013. See review.
Second listen: 30-8-2013. See review.
Recordings dates: 30 September, 1 October 1986.
Recording venue: St Jude's Church, Golders Green, London.
Recording engineer: Tony Faulkner.
Running time: 49:44.

Music by: Philippe de Vitry, Pierre des Molins, Pycard, Leonel Power, Franchois Lebertoul, John Pyamour, John Dunstable, Soursby, Richard Loqueville.

Singers: Gothic Voices, Christopher Page.
Margaret Philpot, Alto.
Rogers Covey Crump, John Mark Ainsley, Leigh Nixon, Tenors.
Peter Harvey, Colin Mason, Baritones.
Andrew Lawrence King, Medieval Harp.

Little needs to be said what I already did not say in my previous reviews. Actually one can make a review as long as one likes, but what the sense in that. I give musical opinions, not technical informed ones. Find them to be rather boring to read and to write. So my own feelings I have with what I hear is what you get. This is a disc that can hardly disappoint. The music is a revelation, the performance well informed, and perfectly sung, the recording as always on Hyperion top notch, a booklet well and understandably written, and a good mix of music under the diverse Kings that graced, or did not, the shores of England. Recommended.

Foerster, Complete piano works. Ordered.

This is a interesting release. Foerster is a composer that has my attention, so this box came as a surprise, issued no less by Brilliant. Let see how this works out. See here how this project came to light.

And here you have a lot of info about the composer and his works.

Christoph Willibald Gluck. Symphonies.

Bought in 2013.
Fourth listen.
Previous review: 24-7-2013, video added.
Extra reviews: 4-9 & 14-10-2013.
Recording dates: 29-31, October 2007.
Recording venue: Funkstudio des SWR Stuttgart, Germany.
Recording engineer: Martin Vogele.
Running time: 57:18

As I already said in my first review, these are amazing works by a composer who primarily wrote opera's, and at a very late date these works were discovered, and probably written by him. Before that, no one knew about these symphonies. They are well worth your attention. Ingeniously constructed, melodiously rich, and bold in its approach. Some really fine writing for brass here.
Its the last time I play this disc, and after this he will disappear into my collection, maybe never to be heard ever by me, who knows. Many other discs are waiting for my attention, so I must press on.
This disc is recommended, it will give you joy in abundance.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Joseph Joachim Raff. String Quartets No. 1, opus 77 & No. 7, opus 192, No. 2.

Bought in June 2013.
First listen: 5-6-2013. See previous review.
Second listen: 14-6-2013. See previous review.

Basically I keep close to my previous reviews of the SQ by Raff. To my ears these are masterworks, small Symphonies in fact, very well scored, and performed at a high standard. Composer and musicians, are a perfect match. Tudor unfortunately stopped with recording the rest of Raff's SQ, and that makes me sad. Music that affords so much pleasure, need to be recorded.
This disc is heartily recommended, if you like his symphonies, you will adore the SQ.
Sound is very good.

J.S. Bach, The Neumeister Chorales. Works for Organ.

Bought in October 2013.
First and second listen! :)
Label: Hyperion.
Recording dates: 15-18 April 1999.
Recording venue: Stadtkirche Zofingen, Switzerland.
Instrument: Metzler Organ 1979.
Recording engineer: Paul Niederberger.
Running time: 79:30

This came by post today, and I hurried it into my player forthwith. Why? Because I was curious of course.

The source of this music, presumably written by Bach in his formative years, of which you can  find extensive info about on Google, if you are so inclined. My review will be about the music, and this will not be a long treatise. Quite honestly, I am flabbergasted at the quality of the music, no matter who wrote it. I enjoy Organ music in general, but this disc is really outstanding, shoots up in my estimation by no small degree. Foremost this is due to the writing, very elegant contemplative organ music, without any trace of bombast. And secondly the stunning sound of this organ, and thirdly Christopher Herrick, who makes this a feast to listen too. I am slowly starting collecting the Bach organ recordings by this artist, and so far he delighted me no end. This man has Bach in his blood. Just sit back and enjoy these organ works, for they tell the story better than I can. A safe investment my musical friends, do not hesitate.
Praise to the engineer, he is an artist too in his own right.

Guillaume Dufay & Loyset Compere.

Second listen
Bought in 2013.
See previous reviews, for more info and my thoughts.

The balance in this music is for me the fact that Dufay feels like a comfortable bed, and Compere represents for me the satin sheets and cover. Odd, not really, its the way my emotions come out with this music. Simply wonderful.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Johann Friedrich Meister. "Il giardino del piacere".

Bought in 2013.
Third listen.
Previous reviews: 23-7/1-10-2013. 

I have been written in detail in my previous reviews about this fantastic recording, and ditto composer. Nothing to add. Just wonderful. Buy it! :)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Antonio Vivaldi, Concertos for Strings. Anner Bijlsma, 70 years. -Limited Edition- Volume 11.

From my collection.
Bought in September 2007.
CD 11.
First listen: 13-9-2007.
Second listen.
Recording date: 1992.
Recording venue: Not mentioned on the cover.
Recording engineer: Wolf Erichson.
Running time: 66:21.

Concertos for Strings: RV 418/117/143/547/575/549/413/134/159.

Tafelmusik, on period instruments, Jeanne Lamon.

Absolute top notch performances, in very good sound. In this way Vivaldi becomes a feast, a joy to hear all the finer details in such clarity, due to the period instruments, and the excellent musicians. Wish I had the complete works in such performances and sound. This is the last disc from this box, and my resume is the following. One should avoid the first two disc, with the Cello suites by JS. Bach. To my ears those interpretations are not good, irritating actually, without much expression, a cellist that clearly did not know what he wanted with them. For me they are a no go area in regards to Anner Bijlsma. And I go even further in this. I think he is an absolute gem as a ensemble player, but what I have heard regarding works for solo instrument, he is clearly not in his element. You may not agree, but that is my feeling, after hearing several attempts by Bijlsma. But this disc as all the other 9 discs are marvelous stuff. Recommended.

Christian Sinding, Symphonies No. 1 & 2.

From my collection.
Bought in 2007.
First listen: 22-2-2007.
Previous reviews on this blog: 10-7 & 15-10-2013.
Fourth listen.
Recording date: 24-28 February 1997 & 13-17 September 1999.
Recording venue: Groser Sendesaal des Landesfunkhauses Hannover des NDR.
Running time: 70:42.

Symphony No. 1 opus 21 in D minor.
Symphony No. 2 opus 83 in D major.

Radio-Philharmonie Hannover des NDR, Thomas Dausgaard.

I am a bit on a Sinding crusade, for the more I listen to his compositions, the more I hear and understand. At first hearing Sinding may sound bland, but as with almost no other Scandinavian composer, you have to listen closely to all melody lines in his works, for they are the connecting factors in understanding his music. And this is not easy, certainly not for untrained ears. With Sibelius for instance you have clear lines, logical, clear headed, and easy to grasp, although his intellectual demands are far greater as those of Sinding. Sinding lies more in the lines of Niels Gade, or Berwald, composers that need the same treatment as Sinding. If you are able to get into the framework of these compositions the rewards are almost beyond belief. And with Sinding this is the case with me, the music sweeps me off my feet, no matter how often I have heard it. The performances are in general very good, the only place where Dausgaard lets me down, is the third movement of Symphony No 1, "Vivace". He takes it too slow, and at times the bottom falls out of the structure. Its a brisk Andante, and it does not keep the movement together. The Orchestra is a good one, and they clearly enjoy making this recording, their heart is in all you hear. Sound in general is good, but I would not have minded some more clarity overall. Sinding's scoring is dense, so it must be a open and lucid recording.

Esprit des Balkans,

Before the second instalment of the Orient series will arrive, "Syria Orient II" I wanted to listen for the last time to this Balkan spirit. Four times did this disc delight me no end, and I have no doubt that the following releases in this series will do the same. This is really a magnificent undertaking by Jordi Savall, that should be applauded, and furthermore it should be bought, for disc is so beautifully produced, with a book added that has no equal in the classical recording business.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Loves Alchymie.

Bought in 2013.
Third listen.
Previous reviews: 12-9/21-10-2013, for all info and thoughts.

Yes, I begin to like this CD more and more, you just have to play in the right time of the day, in my case later in the evening. The only quibble I have with this CD, is the fact that Dorothee Mields is too closely recorded, so one has to adjust the volume quite often. Apart from this, scrumptious! :)

Ivan Karabits & Valentin Silvestrov.

Bought in 2013.
Fourth listen.
Previous reviews 23-7/4-9/9-10-2013.

Well I have listen for the Fourth time to this CD, and it still fascinates me enormously. I love this exuberant music by Karabits, and Silvestrov's moving elegies written for the early death of his friend.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Guillaume de Machaut. "Le Vray remede d'amour".

Bought in October 2013.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant, licensed by Cantus records.
Box 3 CD'S, plus one CDROM, with full text in translations.
Recording dates: October 1988.
Recording venue: Eglise Saint-Martin de la Motte Ternant, Cote-d'Or.
Recording engineer: Dominique Matthieu.
Running time: 68:25.

Singers and instrumentalists:

Anne Marie Lablaude, Voice.
Brigitte Lesne, Voice, Harp,& percussion.
Dominique Vellard, Voice & Gittern.
Emmanuel Bonnardot, Voice & Fiddle.
Pierre Hamon, Recorders, Flute, & Bagpipes.
Randall Cook, Fiddle.
Jean Paul Racodon, Reader.

Again a very successful follow up of the first discs. Poems of Machaut, interspersed with music, a combination that worked well, apart from "Mon Cuer, ma soeur  which begins well", but some acted emotion overwhelmed the message of the poem, Racodon made this a huge disgrace for his trade by spoiling the last 10 lines with his drama queen behaviour. But apart from that, perfect,
Nothing but praise for all participants, a well thought out project, that pays huge dividends in musical terms. I like the text of Machaut's poems, a very passionate guy it seems, and he knew his way with words, as well as women, it seems. Very well recorded too.

Guillaume de Machaut. (c.1300-1377) Sacred and Secular Music.

Bought in October 2013.
First listen. (CD I)
Label: Brilliant, licensed from Cantus records.
Box: 3 CD'S & one CDROM with full text in English, German, French, Spanish.
Recording dates: September 1990.
Recording venue: Collegiale Saint-Martin de Champeaux, Seine et Marne, France.
Recording engineer: Dominique Matthieu.
Mass Transcription: Leo Schrade, revised by Dominique Vellard.
Plainchant transcriptions: Marie-Noel Colette.

Messe de Notre dame, with the Gregorian propers of the Mass of the Assumption, 14th cnetury.

Ensemble Gilles Binchois, Dominique Vellard.

Singers Mass:
Andreas Scholl, counter.
Gerd Turk, Tenor.
Emmanuel Bonnardot, Baritone.
Jacques Bona, Bass.

Singers propers:
Dominique Vellard Vellard, Tenor.
Herve Lamy, Tenor.
Philippe Balloy, Baritone.
Willem de Waal, Baritone.
Jacques Bona, Bass.

First thing I have to say is, that we have a excellent essay in the booklet about the music, the choices in recording that are made, and a thorough explanation about the historic background of the music. Well written, and understandable for all. Furthermore the CDROM contains full text, translated by Jose Carlos Cabello, who also wrote the booklet. Full marks for all this. In the booklet photo's of the main body of singers, and furthermore all the data you need. In this, Brilliant did a brilliant job, in making this reissue a success, and well they did. The Cantus recordings are perfect, and the performance will surprise you. I have heard some interpretations of this mass, but I can pretty much state without corroding the truth, that this performance is near perfect, at least to my ears.
It was written around 1360-62, and maybe this mass is used while King Charles was crowned on 19 May 1364. And for a tempo, which is very important, they took a moderate pace, which allows easy comprehension of the text and free movement of polyphonic lines, and which will make it simple to follow the rhythmic exchange between voices. The propers that were added makes this work complete and they fit well into the context, at least I enjoyed and understood this work better as in any other interpretation before.
As for the singers? Well I do not think there is any reason to complain, for Vellard assembled a body of singers, that give us a near pristine interpretations. I was charmed, impressed and frankly overwhelmed by what reached my ears. A resounding recommendation my friends!
The price will not break the bank, and its worth every penny.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Julius Rontgen. The Violin Concertos.

Bought in 2013.
Second listen.
Previous review: 19-6-2013. All the info regarding this disc is there and my thoughts.

If you want to be stunned out of countenance, listen to this disc. You have no idea what you're missing. Frankly these Violin concertos belong to the very top, and should be in every's violist repertoire.  The beauty of these compositions, makes it impossible to describe, you'll need a poet for this. This disc is number one in my top recommendations for this year.

New releases Highlight from Deutsche Harmonia Mundi

Gifted by JPC.
First listen.
Running time: 75:00.

26 tracks from new releases, of which a few stand out for me. Just letting you know which ones. That I did not like them all, is my personal decision, and does not say anything of the quality of those recordings.

Telemann, The Paris Quartets 1-3.
The Age of Passions.

From what I heard a fine interpretation in very good sound.

Sinfonie di Viole.
Liquide Perle.
Fine playing from what I heard, and well recorded.

Galan: Fire and Ice. Sacred Vocal Music.
Accentus Austria.
The sample of this album sounded stunning, excellent singing and sound.

The London Flute
Bart Coen, Per Flauto.
Very promising and fine Flute playing.

The Golden Viola da Gamba.
Made a very good impression.

Chamber Music.
Sounds like a fine collection of music.

Silent Cantata.
Burak Ozdemir.
Musica Sequenza.
Again very promising.

Music for Violin by Biber, Schmelzer & Fux.
This one had me sitting up, very unusual, very exciting indeed.

The Eton Choirbook.
Huelgas Ensemble.
A must buy, excellent performance.

Luther Cantatas.
Musica Fiata, La Capella Ducale, Roland Wilson.
Beautiful, strong contender too for me.

La Stellidaura Vendicante.
Academia Montis Regalis, Allesandro de Marchi.
Some very beautiful singing here, might investigate this further.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pablo Sarasate, Music for Violin and Orchestra, Volume 4.

Bought in October 2013.
First listen.
Recording dates, and venue: 9-13 November 2009, at the Baranain Concert Hall, Pamplona, Spain.
Recording engineer: Sean Lewis.
Running time: 67:08.

I was eagerly looking forward to the fourth and alas last volume of this series, and today it was delivered at my door. Sure enough it landed right away in my player, and am I impressed? You bet I am. Without exaggeration I can say that Tianwa Yang belongs to the very best violinists we have in the world. She is a force of nature, and a hugely accomplished violinist. What she does with her fingers is pure magic, it keeps your mouth open, believe me. Sarasate shows every violinist all the corners of the room with his technically very demanding compositions. There are many that attempt to play it, there are just a few that succeed, and Yang is one of them. She plays them as if it were no trouble at all. If you need a wow factor, well, here it is! The orchestra and conductor are a matching partner for her, couched in a state of the art recording. If you liked the first 3 volumes, this one will impress you the most, its a culmination of all she can accomplish. Beautiful music, perfect musicians, I would say this disc is a winner, and in my top 5 best releases 2013.

Ordered today at Hyperion, please buy me section. Bach, Organ Works

More and more I get into the recordings of Bach's Organ music performed by Herrick. Apart from the superb organ he plays on, there is also the perfect audio Hyperion is delivering. The Neumeister pieces drew me in immediately when I sampled them.

Louis Spohr, Symphonies No. 1 & 6, plus Concert overture in C minor.

Bought in June 2013
Second listen
Label: CPO 777 179-2
Engineer: Bjorn Brigsne. ( SACD)
Recorded: 2007-2009.
Running time: 62:09.

A reposting of my original review. My opinion has not altered.

  • Symphony No. 1, opus 20 in E flat major.
  • Symphony No. 6 opus 116 in G major. ( Historical Symphony in the Style and taste of four different Periods.)
  • Overture opus 12 in c minor.

NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Howard Griffiths.

The third Volume already, and so far I am rather pleased with it, soundwise as well as performance. This disc has no disappointments, all is well done, and this orchestra keeps their motivation and professionality at a high level, and so give us a thorough impression of what Spohr meant as a composer. The first Symphony is a Mendelssohnian delight, which a light texture, and approachable melodies. It makes you smile, and delight in the myriad sprinkling of fine details Spohr has composed into this music. Symphony No 6 was composed to give people at that time a impression of a bygone musical era directly connected to the time Spohr lived in. I understand this thinking, for people at that time knew little if at all anything of the music composed by the likes of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, so in that sense its a very good thought to compose this. However people at that time considered it a mocking towards those composers and reacted with disdain in the concert hall, making their dissent clear in whistles and shouting. Today music lovers are well aware of all those composers, so where does it place this work in the context of today. Well let me put it like this, its a mediocre work, not very well composed, in which we recognize little,  of the originality of the composer. Today this would be superfluous.  As a historical event it has its interest.
The concert overture is a very nice work, with a beautiful grave introduction.

Christian Sinding, Violin Concerto No. 2, Suite opus 10, Abendstimmung, opus 120

Bought in 2013.
Fourth Listen.
Previous reviews: 13-6/ 2-7/ 8-10-2013.
Video added: 8-102013.

There is a reason why I keep returning to the Violin concertos by Sinding, and will in the coming time play them again. The melodies are simply irresistible. So I have some more thought about the above mentioned works to share.

The first movement of the Violin concerto No. 2 has a leitmotiv that pops up every so often. A searing heart rending melody, that elate your heart in a instant. Its a virtuoso piece in which the violin shines brightly, backed up by some fine writing for all desks in the orchestra. The second movement is more a dialog. It begins with a hushed bass line, followed by discrete celli entering on the melody, and after a few bars the Violins enter very gently, and together they set up a intimate balance, culminating in a pastoral scene with vivid colours. The third movement is a boisterous affair, and almost at the end the leitmotiv of the first movement reappears, and so closing off this fine concerto.

The Suite is possibly one of the best works Sinding wrote. The Presto movement contains some of the finest music my ears ever heard. A Violin that floats in thin air, so delicately played, that it almost becomes ethereal.  And to my surprise I started to hear J.S. Bach in the music, for I tell you, there are definitive traces of a Fugue in it, that has me startled every time it made an appearance. The second movement is almost a Concerto for two Violins by the same Bach, polyphonic in its structure, which crossed seamlessly into the third movement, bringing strong inklings of a gigue/sarabande movement, from the Brandenburg Concertos. Now it might be that since Sinding was educated in Leipzig, that he was bitten by the Bach bug, who knows?  For me this is a masterwork pur sang.

Abendstimmung is a a mellow pastoral work of great beauty and sumptuous excellence.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Franz Schubert, String Quintet in C major. D. 956, & Rondo in A major for Violin and String Quintet. D. 438.

Bought in 2007.
First listen disc 10: 13-9-2007.
Second listen.
Recording year. 1991.
Recording engineer: Wolf Erichson.
Recording venue: Not named on this disc.

Anner Bijlsma-70 years-Limited edition.

The works are in the repertoire well know, and so need no introduction from me. Performance wise this is as near perfect you can get on authentic instruments. Tempis are well judged, and what Schubert wrote in to it, the musicians on this disc bring out in fine colours. Especially the shading they apply in the first movement is amazing, and the musical connection between participants makes this a top recommendation. I really enjoyed this one very much. Drawn into it immediately. Sound is pristine!

Pierre de La Rue. (1452-1518). Missa De Feria & Missa Sancta Dei genetrix.

Bought in 2013.
First listen.
Hyperion Helios CDH55296.
Recording dates: 14-16 September 1997.
Recording venue: Unknown.
Recording engineer: Philip Hobbs.
Running time: 65:35.

Gothic Voices, Christopher Page.
Catherine King Alto.
Steven Harrold, .Julian Podger ,Leigh Nixon, Tenors.
Stephen Charlesworth, Donald Greig, Baritones.

It happens not often that the Gothic Voices disappoint, so I was not afraid that this composer, not the easiest of the bunch to perform, would turn out bad. And it did not. The well balanced choir make it a feast, and my only regret is that I miss the bass line, I am fond of them in this kind of music. It lends weight and warmth to the compositions. But the two Baritones do fine, so it just a very personal thing I miss. Both piece on this disc are complex and a hard job for every singer, for these choir works are densely scored and not for the fainthearted.  The contrasts are great, and the running up and down the scales makes me dizzy sometimes. But marvelous performance and ditto sound. Another resounding success by the Gothic voices. Recommended. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Eduard Franck. The Sonatas for Violin and Piano.

Bought in 2013.
First listen CD I, 18-6-2013, CD II, 2-7-2013. See reviews and info there.
CD I & II.

Violin Sonata in C minor, opus 19.
In A major, opus 23.
In E major, opus 60.
In D major, opus posth. (1861)

Well I can be very short about it, for my previous reviews are quite extensive. I will add, that in my opinion, this is music that resides at the very top of its possibilities. I will collect in time all the music of the Franck brothers on this label, for the musicians are in a class on their own too. Well recorded.
A bit odd that the writer of the booklet tells us that this is not music that belongs to the top, but then, that's just one opinion, like mine, so what does it signify?

Loves Alchymie

Bought in 2013.
First listen & previous review: 12-9-2013. All the CD info plus my humble thoughts.

The second time around I think much better of this CD. Maybe the first time I was not in the mood, well, a couple of glasses of wine may have helped, who knows, but I found less fault with this project listening today. It is well recorded, played and sung, and all participants seem in accord with each other. Post Elizabethan music at its best, which is tranquil, flowing like a small stream, and delight simply by listening to it. 

Mozart, Divertimento KV 563 for Violin, Viola & Cello, 4 Adagios & Fugues after Bach. Anner Bijlsma, 70 years-Limited Edition. Volume IX.

From my collection.
First listen: 13-9-2007.
Second listen.
Sound engineer: Wolf Erichson.
Recorded in 2004.


The only problem in this box are the Bach, Cello Sonatas, which I think are highly unlikable. Harsh, spiritless, fiddling around.
But apart from that, this box is a gem, of which every CD is guaranteed to give the utmost pleasure, in performances that cannot be bettered. And that goes also for the sound, which is excellent throughout. 
The works on this CD are well played, a lively discourse with huge benefits.

Christian Sinding. Symphonies No. 3 and 4.

Second listen.
First listen: 26-29-3-2007.
Recording dates: December 2001 & November 2001.
Recording venue: NDR, Grosser Sendesaal, Germany.
Recording engineer: Helge Martensen.
Running time: 76:36.

Symphony No. 3, opus 121 in F major.
Symphony No. 4, Rhapsody for Orchestra. ( Frost and Spring)

When I bought this in 2007, I played them once and put it in my collection. That was because I had so many CD'S to listen, that once in my player was all I could manage, which is of course idiotic, and will not give you in terms of musical satisfaction what you crave for. So one by one I pull a few out of my collection, to mingle with the new ones, and this course is giving me what I need, being able to make a good assessment of the recording and music. After I played the Violin Concertos by Sinding, which I bought recently, I felt the need to replay his Symphonies too. And this time his last 2 Symphonies. Highly complex works, densely scored, melodious, but they need careful attention, if you want to come to grips with them. Easy listen means missing most of the fun, you almost need a score to follow all the intricate details Sinding puts in the structure of each work. In that respect the Violin Concertos are very easy to follow. The Fourth Symphony is split up in 7 movements, and each movement is almost a Symphony on its own, The careful phrasing, and knitting together of sound patterns intrigues me, and I understand that I have to go through them more often to find the true North of this work. But they are fun to listen to, and if you have a hunger for romantic sweeps, and want to wallow in it, put this disc in your player, it fulfills all what it promises. David Porcelijn keeps the music flowing, never sagging in tempo, alert to the many felicities in the score, and a inward capacity to get out what is in the music. Sound could have been better miked at certain desks in the orchestra. When the orchestra plays at full blast you hear the depth and detail amazingly well, but at softer moments, the winds and second Violins, as the celli are not enough audible, to hear all what is played. But that is a minor quibble really. Recommended.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Magister Leoninus. Leonin. (fl 1150s, dc 1201) Sacred Music from 12th century Paris.

Bought in 2013.
Second listen.
Previous review, 14-10-2013.
Video of the complete CD posted: 14-10-2103.

By all measures this is a near perfect CD, filled with music that is unearthly beautiful. It reminded me of Greek Orthodox chanting, and singing, which I like enormously. To hear music from the 12th century is amazing in itself, but if we get such good performances, its almost a miracle as such. Hyperion did a great service to all us music lovers, by giving us 2 volumes of this music. The second volume is awaiting sampling, but first I wanted to hear the first Volume again. The sound from the Grote Kerk in Naarden is state of the art. Julian Millard did a great job, by using this acoustic to great advantage. Recommended.

Anton Eberl, Piano Concertos, opus 40 & 32.

Bought in 2013.
Second listen.
See previous review 24-7-2013, for all details and review.

And we were always thinking that Beethoven was a entity that grew out of nothing to greatness, but guess what, he grew out of Eberl. O, yes lots of his inspiration came from this source, and out of this he became the composer we know. Eberl, is as fine a composer as Beethoven is. His compositions match in style and orchestral genius that of the more famous master, but in all honesty, Eberl needs recognition, in connection with Beethoven. He died young, that did not help, he would have reached as high a top as B, of that I am sure. Listen to the Vivace assai of opus 32, and you will hear why I rave about him. Not too long ago I played some of his symphonies, that blew me literally out of my shoes, and frankly, I listened to him, not making a musical connection to Beethoven. Eberl can stand on his musical heritage quite alone, next to the man we made great. The performances on authentic instruments are a jewel in my collection. And the sound is great too. Recommended.

Mendelssohn & Niels Gade. Octets. Anner Bylsma, 70 years limited edition.

From my collection, bought in 2007.
Second listen.
Recorded in 2004.
Recording engineer: Wolf Erichson. 
Recording venue unknown.
Running time: 59:08.

Octet, opus 20.

Niels Gade.
Octet, opus 17.

L'Archibudelli & Smithsonian Chamber Players.

I can be frank and straightforward about this recording, you will hardly find better performances of these works, for to my ears they are perfect. Tempis are well judged, dynamics well placed, details observed to the letter, a perfect symbiosis between all participants. The recording deserves all praise! 
A natural surrounding gives a near perfect sound picture.

Heinrich Schutz Edition. Symphoniae Sacrae III. ( Part II)

Bought in 2013.
Second listen.
Previous detailed review with all technical info, 6-8-2013.

In terms of praise I have nothing to add, these performances are to my ears aesthetically a balm for senses and ears. Sure there are some patches of rough singing, and intonations may falter here and there, but in the grand scheme, that signifies nothing. I get the right sense of equilibrium when listening to this interpretation, which will sit well next to a few others I have. Sound is excellent, enough depth, and space around the singers, and dynamics are well judged.
A no brainer actually.


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

Bought in September 2013.
First listen.
DHM recording.
Recording dates: 11-15 August 1998.
Recording venue: Alexanderkirche, Wildeshausen, Germany.
Recording engineer: John Hadden.
Running time: 62:56.

Works by:
Claudio Monteverdi.
Girolamo Dalla Casa.
Diego Ortiz.
Richardo Rogniono.
Cipriano de Rore.
Angelo Notari.
Giovanni Maria Trabaci.
Bartolomeo de Selma.
Adrian Willaert.
Vincenzo Bonnizzi.
Giovanni Antonio Terzi.

Performers: Hille Perl, Lee Santana, Robert Sagasser, Martina Rothbauer, Paulina van Laarhoven, Matthias Muller, Andrew Lawrence King.

This CD featuring Hille Perl, is much better as the last one I heard with her, which was "Tinto"by Los Otros. Being undecided about the quality of that disc, the present one makes a much better impression on me. Less fiddling around with the scores, less unwanted improvisations along the way. Playing as a rule is better controlled, and there are no sudden bursts of sound emanating out of the blue. A long list of fine composers, with music that you do not hear that often. True, the interpretation is a very subjective and personal choice, and knows its eccentricities, which are common out of their philosophical thinking, but the mood is quietly contemplative, and the music making genuine. They mean well, but that works not always for me. In this case I am more than happy with the result. The sound is excellent throughout, within an intimate feel to it.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Los Otros, Tinto. Spanish Instrumental Music from the 16th-18th Century, for Strings.

Bought in 2013.
First listen.
Recorded on 9-12 July 2002, in the Colnrade Church, Germany.
Recording engineer: John Hadden.
Running time: 69:08.

Works by:
Santiago de Murcia, Antonio Martín Y Coll, Francesco Corbetta, Angelo Notari, Girolamo Kapsberger, Bartolomeo de Selma Y Salaverde. 

Los Otros:
Hille Perl, Lee Santana, Steve Player.

When buying music made by this ensemble one must realize they do not walk the way of conventions. They feel themselves free to improvise on the music when they feel like it, and that may not always be after your taste. With them it is, either you like them or not, there is no middle way. I am kind of in the middle. Reading the booklet, they have a very philosophical view on the world at large, and are eager to explain this. Two thirds of the booklet covers their story, and just a few words are spilled on the composers. I found their playing to be very good, except for a few things at which I raised my eyebrows. Usually at places where the improvisations began, and the deviation from the written notes were apparent. Some rough playing and harsh dynamics made me grip my chair, and eventually lowering the volume. As a whole this CD left me with doubts, for I perceive this more as a very personal interpretation over the intentions of the composers. This said, I enjoyed most of the stuff on this CD, but less as all the other CD'S I bought from them recently. The sound is okay, but these sudden surges of loudness, could not charm me. Be prepared for them. If I would start with this ensemble, this would not be the CD to begin with.

Nino Rota. Chamber music.

Repeat mode.
Third listen.
Previous reviews: 23-7 & 30-8-2013.

Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano. (1973)
Improvviso in D minor, for Violin and piano. (1947)
Toccata for Bassoon and Piano. (1974)
Sonata in D major, for Clarinet and Piano. (1945)

Everyone of these works are gems to my ears. Always a pleasure to put this in your player, and as a side effect your mood will change for the better. Its is well performed and excellently recorded. No hesitation here to recommend this.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Anton Eberl, Symphonies.

Fourth listen.
Previous review: 20-9-2013.

Symphony in C major Wo0 7.
In E flat major, opus 33.
In D minor, opus 34.

From all six CD'S in this box I find the Eberl disc the best, not to say that the others are bad, far from it, but this music hugely appeals to me, and I consider him on the same level as Beethoven. He is overlooked as a composer and thats a pity, but this disc and performance make him a firm dot on the map again. Specially this performance, riveting and driven, makes you realize what a genius he was. 78:00 minutes of pure joy. Great sound too.

Luigi Mancinelli, Orchestral music.

From my collection.
Third listen.
Previous reviews: 25-7 & 5-9-2013.
Video posted: 25-7-2013.

The third time I play this CD, and it gets better every time. I never heard of him before, and judging from the music on this CD, that was a loss for me. He is a excellent composer, his scoring is far above average. The way he writes for brass and strings made me aware of Bruckner, which you might indeed hear in the 5th movement of Scene Veneziane, with a literal quote out of a Symphony.
And that is high praise indeed.  Highly melodious, and approachable, this amazing orchestrator makes a feast of listening to his music. Makes me yearn for more. Such a pity that he did not write much more, being more concerned with conducting as composing, and that again is our loss.
Pristine sound, and near perfect performances of this band and conductor.

Leopold Kozeluch. Symphonies. Volume V. From my collection.

Bought in 2008.
Fourth complete listen.
See previous reviews 20-9-2013, for all available info.

In C major, Postolka 1:6
In A major, a la Francaise. P. 1:10
In D major. P. 1:1
In B flat major, L'irresoluto. P. 1:11.

When yesterday listening to the Haydn Symphonies, I wished myself the speed of  Concerto Koln, especially those for the Menuettos. Concerto Koln knew how to keep a work flowing and interesting, and Kozeluch is no exception in this thinking. Drive, and dedication to the score, speeds that are sensible and very adequate, and bring considerable joy, at least to me. Somehow they push all the right buttons. Lively and never boring, not for a moment. 
Kozeluch Symphonies belong to the very best one can get from that period, with its finely detailed framework of musical surprises.  
Excellent sound too.

Music in Sanssouci. Court Music Edition, Volume X. Flute Sonatas.

Bought in 2013.
Second listen. 
First listen: 22-7-2013, See also this review.

Music by:
Friedrich der Grosse, CPE Bach, Georg Benda, and J.J. Quantz.

Although this performance was taped in 1961, it has not lost one ounce of its valuable message. Its highly musical and has the air of discovery about it. Back then it was not a normal occurrence to record Flute sonatas from the above mentioned composers. Its sounds as fresh as a daisy, and they are surprisingly well performed by the musicians that were at the forefront of authentic music making.  I enjoyed this one! Its the last CD in this box, so for now I will put it in my collection, and maybe at a later date I will replay it.
Sound is excellent.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Howard Hanson, Orchestral works, Volume III

Bought in 2011.
First listen 1-6-2011. Review on GMG.
Recording dates, 1990, 1991.
Running time: 75:07.
Recording venues: 92nd Street Y. New York City, Seattle Opera House.

Symphony No. 4, opus 34, "Requiem".
Serenade for Flute, and Harp, and Strings, opus 35.
The Lament of Beowolf, opus 25.
Pastorale for Oboe, Harp, and Strings, opus 38.
Suite from the Opera "Merry Mount" , opus 31.

Seattle SO and Chorale.
New York Chamber Symphony, Gerald Schwarz.

I admire Hanson Symphonies. They are highly original works, full of life's drama and joy, well written. Melodious, deeply committed to the Romantic era, despite some dips into the more modern style. tonal colourful pictures, as I described them in previous reviews, to be found at different dates in my blog. In them I said all I had to say, in terms of what he means to me, so I will restrict myself to the present CD.
The Fourth Symphony is a Requiem for his father and as such deeply moving. I could relate to it, and understood the meaning of each movement, as it was pointed out in the booklet. What he meant to say came across, fair enough. This is for me a moving testament to someone he deeply loved. Beautiful.
As to the other works on this CD, I have a somewhat different stance, the opus 35 and 38 as well as 31, do not strike me as great works. Well enough written, but it could not hold my attention for long. Beowolf has impressive orchestral writing in it, which I enjoyed enormously, but the choir contribution ruined this work for me. Opus 31, is a derivative work, in which Hanson loaned some of his music from other works, and its aim to impress, missed me completely. The arrow landed far away from the target. Mind you, this is my personal opinion, and you might react differently. 
The sound is good, but there are awkward moments throughout this CD.  The playing is good too, but there were some weak moments, especially with the NYCS.


Nikolai Miaskovsky, Orchestral works, Volume 14.

Bought in 2009.
First listen 16-11-2011. No review, this blog started in 2013. GMG might still have it somewhere.
Recorded in Moskou, date unknown, recording engineer, unknown.
Running time: 77:45.

Symphony No. 21, opus 51.
Sinfonietta, opus 10.
Silence, opus 9.
Serenade No. 1, opus 32.

Spread over 2013 you may find a respectable amount of reviews from this box. The first time I completed this set it took me 4 years, well into 2012. The second complete listening is nearly over, and it took me from 29-3-2012 till now, playing disc 14 of 16 total, so I might safely assume that I will finish it this year. Why it took so long the first time, I have no idea, to be honest, but it might be that due to the fact that Miaskovsky is a acquired taste, and one that insists total dedication when listen to, that the root of the problem might lay there. It certainly is not a lack of quality in his music, for this composer has a unique voice, that has no equal, in composition style, save maybe for Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky. 
You cannot really compare him with any other composer, he is an island on its own. I have written in great detail about his music in previous reviews, and I do not want to repeat myself, or say the same things over and over again. So be kind enough to search for them, its easy enough on this blog, just takes some time. Every work on this CD spans the width of Miaskovsky's genius, and also its unfathomable essence. Its a composer you must experience, and let the waves of his emotions cover you, and maybe you feel/find the connection I have with his music. For me he belongs to the very best composers I have in my collection. The sound is excellent, as is the performance.

The Spirits of England and France, Volume III.

Bought in September 2013.
First listen.
Hyperion Helios  CDH 55283.
Recording date: 23-25 March 1995.
Recording venue not named.
Recording engineer: Philip Hobbs. 
Running time: 66:42.

Binchois and his contemporaries. 

Catherine King, Margaret Philpot, Rogers Covey Crump, Paul Agnew, ao.

Its actually a normal thing to praise the efforts of the Hyperion label. For there are not many classical music companies that so conscientiously follow the path of excellence, in the choosing of artists, engineers, venues, music, all packed in a ethical credo, never to succumb to mediocrity.
And yes this CD can be lined up in the same praise, for praise is due to Volume III in this series.
I was delighted to see that Shirley Rumsey and Christopher Wilson were also part in this recording, both fine musicians in their own right.
I loved all the music presented here, many composer I did not hear before, and only one track I found to be quite overpowering in the singing was Leonel Power's  "Gloria". The sheer volume the singers produced fell raw on my ears. Gothic Voices, maintain a flow in their singing, that cuts seamlessly into the music itself, as if they embody what they sing. Being one with the music, means that it will sound effortlessly and so it does. The dynamics within a group of singers has to be in balance, I cannot stress that enough, otherwise it gets a fuzzy chaos, that will neither produce clarity of line, or a correct rhythm to match. The sound is absolutely gorgeous, with just enough air around the voices, that almost makes it, as if they are floating in mid-air. 


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Christian Sinding. Symphonies No. 1 & 2.

Repeat mode.
Third listen. 
First listen: 22-2-2007.
Previous review 10-7-2013.
Radio-Philharmonic Hannover des NDR, Thomas Dausgaard.

Reading back my previous review, I have only to add, that these performances belong high on your list. For not only are they well recorded, the performance is one to be savoured too. I did not often hear this glorious brass writing sounding so well as on these CPO CD'S. Firm tempi, fine front to back stage, in all density of the scoring, you can easily hear all secondary and third melody lines clearly, so you will not miss a note, that is if you have some proper gear to listen too.

Tartini, Giuseppe.(1692-1770) The Complete Violin Concertos. CD 20-29.

New acquisition. (2017) First listen: 18-20-4-2018 Label: Dynamic. CD 20-29 from 29. Recording dates: 2004/2005/2006/2007/2008.2009/2010...