Monday, June 30, 2014

New Acquisition. Galuppi Baldassare. (1706-1785) 25 Harpsichord Sonatas. CD II, No. 7-11.

See for all technical info review 28-6-2014.

I was told that the quality of the sonatas would increase after disc I, and that was indeed the truth. I found the first 6 sonatas already outstanding, but 7-11 are even improving upon the first set. What is also a joy is the expert performance by Ilario Gregoletto. I do not know how exactly to put this, but all falls in place when he starts playing. Its a real treat to hear a musician so devoted and into the music. And to know that still 2 discs are following the second. Add to that the low price of the set and the deal is a no brainer really. The sound is very good, the harpsichord placed in an intimate surrounding with a warm but not fuzzy bloom. If this period and instrument appeal to you, then this is a wise choice. After all the music by Galuppi is not recorded that often.

Haydn SQ, opus 33, No. 6/1/4. Quatuor Mosaiques.

Second rerun. CD IV.
Excellent performances, for me definitive!

Il Ballarino, Italian Dances c. 1600.. Fourth Rerun.

See my review 27-9-2013, of this fine disc. Click on the link.

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works, Volume II.

New Acquisition.
Bought in June 2014.
First listen.
Label CPO, Box with 22 cd's and 166 page booklet in English.
Recording dates: Between 1997-2008.
Recording venue: Church of St Petri, Freiberg, Germany.
Recording engineer/supervisor: Werner Czesla.
Running time: 72:42.

Gottfried Silbermann Organ St Petri, Freiberg, 1734-35.
a' =438,5 Hz.

Performed by: Gerhard Weinberger.

Works performed:
Praeludium et Fuga in G, BWV 541, and in c, BWV 546.
Orgel Chorale aus der Leipziger Original Handschrift (1).

Again a fabulous sounding Silbermann organ, and well recorded too. I love what I hear. Weinberger takes his time, and places the accents in all the right places. As to the explanation of the works I refer to internet. Much is written about these pieces, including video's of the instrument. So why should I repeat that in my inadequate way, when it is much better done. Enjoy, as I do this performance.

Silbermann organ in Freiberg (Saxony)

New Acquisition. German, Edward. (1862-1936) Orchestral Works.

New Acquisition.
Bought in June 2014.
First listen.
Label: Dutton.
Recording dates: June 2007.
Recording venue: The Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford.
Recording engineer: Dexter Newman.
Running time: 77:40.

Works performed:
March Rhapsody on Original Themes. (1897-1902)
Symphonic Suite in D minor. ( The Leeds Suite) (1895)
Symphony No. 2 in A minor. ( The Norwich) 1893.

Performed by:
BBC Concert Orchestra, John Wilson.

Three important works by this composer that will show you his skill as a composer who made a path for Edward Elgar. This composer did not come from nowhere but had its musical roots in Edward German. And they are equal in quality and skills. German is forgotten while Elgar survived, not fair but true! Now then, the works on this CD, it starts with a rather attractive March that is in some ways a celebration of the Victorian era. It enjoyed a certain measure of success, and the reason is easy to hear, for there are some very attractive melodies, and a fine rhythm. It has a brilliance which makes it distinctive of all other music composed at the time, and in a certain way predating Elgar's brand of Pomp and Circumstance. Its joyful, ablaze of unbridled orchestral splendour.
The Symphonic Suite is a truly wonderful piece, that has such a light touch, couched into myriads of little musical strands, tiptoeing as lightly as fairy's over the water. It was written for the Leeds festival of 1895, so that's the reason the work bears that name. Arthur Sullivan and Stanford were very impressed with it, and was performed by MacKenzie and Parry. It adds creative validity to the work, and is an affirmative, regarding the quality of the work. To my ears its one of the very best things he wrote.
The Symphony No 2 has a special place in my heart, for such is the work that I put it there.
Not to long ago I played a different interpretation released by the label Marco Polo, with the National SO of Ireland, led by Andrew Penny and recorded by Chris Craker. I wrote a review on 14-2-2014. See link.
Despite the fact that all involved are of a highly respectable calibre, the end result did not give me what I needed of this music. German's music needs the very best to get the very best. Its not simple to play, it needs concentration and effort, and above all, recognizing the worth of this composer. In the last thing the Marco Polo release was short in measure. Along comes the Dutton recording and redresses all that was missing from the previous release. The sound is first rate, a fabulous playing orchestra, that gets out every detail and nuance in German's music, and so lets you hear the absolute genius of this composer. I can easily say that if you want this music, this is the recording to go for. The link I put in earlier will tell you of my musical impressions, as for the technical issues of the Dutton my thumbs are up, both of them.

Second Rerun. Luzzasco Luzzaschi. (1545-1607) Complete Keyboard Music. [World Premiere Recordings]

See my first review of this disc 25-6-2014. Search box, top left.
A wonderful recording.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Borgia Dynasty, Church and Power in the Renaissance, from the turbulent reign of Alexander VI to the spiritual triumph of St Francis Borgia (1510-1671)

The last CD in this set which I have played for the second time. I cannot stress enough how beautiful the set is, for me almost a collectors item. Please invest some time and effort in it, Jordi Savall and his musicians deserve this.
See my review 7-6-2014, search box top left.

Haydn String Quartets, opus 33, No. 2,3,5. performed by Quatuor Mosaiques. Second Rerun.

I declare again that this is the best set of Haydn's SQ I ever heard. Period. And that also goes for the sound. Its simply amazing.
See my review 6-3-2014. Search box top left.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

New Acquisition. Galuppi, Baldassare. (1706-1785) 25 Harpsichord Sonatas

New Acquisition.
Bought in June, 2014.
First listen.
Label: Newton Classics.
Box with 4 cd's.
CD 1. Running time: 57:12.
Recording dates: 1990.
Recording venue: Centro Studi claviere, Vittorio Veneto, Treviso, Italy.
Recording engineer: P, Correr.

Instrument used:
Dual-Manual "Pierre Donzelague: Harpsichord, copied by Malcolm Rose, (415 Hz.)

Works performed:
Manuscript Sonatas for Harpsichord, 1-6.

Performed by: Ilario Gregoletto.

A delightful instrument. Played on with style and elegance, and in a lively fashion. Well recorded too.
Almost everyone will recognize the 6th sonata in C, )Torrefranca No. 27. Its very famous and a melodic marvel. And this could be said of all the sonatas in this box. Galuppi was ranked higher as say Vivaldi, and he was hugely popular to boot. He had all in all a very successful career. I love his harmonic language, and he is no way way comparable to say Domenico Scarlatti, although as the booklet says you could easily do that. I find both incomparable. I am surprised about the quality of the sonatas, that good! It also has to do with the brilliancy of playing by Gregoletto. He keeps the notes open and never lets it slip into a mass of combined notes that come out all at the same time. I really enjoyed the first disc and look forwards to the next. Thanks Que for recommending it. Spot on!

New Acquisition. Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works. Vol. I

New Acquisition.
Bought in June 2014.
First listen.
Label: CPO. Box with 22 CD'S. 
Booklet only in English 167 pages long with good information.
Recording supervisor: Werner Czesla.
Recording dates are between 1997-2008.
Recording venue: Dom St Marien, Freiberg, Germany.
Running time 72:00.

Gottfried Silbermann Organ, build between 1711-14, brought back into the original state, between 1981-83.
a'= 476 Hz.

Performed by:
Gerhard Weinberger.

Works performed:
Praeludium and Fuga in C minor, BWV 549,  in C major, BWV 531, in E minor, BWV 533, in A minor, BWV 551.
Orgelchorale der Kirnberger Sammlung.

The Organ sounds fantastic. It is such a miracle to actual hear an organ that Bach would have played, and a sound he would have recognized. The recording is a delight.
I loved the Kirnberger pieces, they are a balm to my ears, and are performed in a way I did not hear before. Weinberger brings a balance into it, that seems so right. The Praeludiums are done in the same way, never overbearing. I think this will be a very interesting journey.
Much is written about Bach's organ music and can be found on internet, so I refrain from doing that all over again, and keep to performance and recording, which are both excellent.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

New Acquisition. Chadwick, George W. (1854-1931) Orchestral Works.

New Acquisition.
Bought in June 2014.
First listen.
Label: Dutton.
Recording dates:  2012.
Recording venue: The Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford.
Recording engineer: Dexter Newman.
Running time: 68:46.

Works performed:
Adonais: Elegiac Overture. (1889)*
Cleopatra: Symphonic Poem. (1904)*
A Pastoral Prelude for Orchestra. (1890)*
Sinfonietta in D major. (1904)**

*   World premiere recordings.
** First digital recording.

BBC Concert Orchestra, Keith Lockhart.

A recording of Chadwick's music, that gets a royal treatment. The music is approached with due reverence and professionalism, which in the past was not always the case. And three works previously not recorded at all, which gives a special colour to the Dutton recording. Cleopatra a monumental work for a very large orchestra, is a bit like Richard Strauss tone poems, it certainly has the same grandeur and weight, but is totally different in character and musically not as strong as Strauss, but nevertheless a very near approach to the modernism of Richard Strauss and the first large scale work by Chadwick. It is scored with some ingenuity and creativity for it gets you in the mood for what it tries to tell. Although it sits a bit awkward in between the lighter works on this CD. So my advice is, listen to it without directly playing the other pieces.
Adonais was an ode to a good friend of him who died suddenly. It is a very intimate piece, that encompasses grief, anger and returns to accepting, closing in E minor, in a strikingly soft way.
A pastoral prelude is a happy piece and was written when all things went well for Chadwick. Its a lively somewhat idyllic and bright piece with rustic elements and overall a chattering composition altogether. Peaceful yet jubilant.  I like it very much.
The sinfonietta is a work he wrote to expose a variety of creative modernisms, but contrary to this its couched in affable and recognisable melodies, very unlike modernisms. Its a mixture of melodic simplicity and ingenuity and fun to listen at.
The performance is first rate, and the recording is very good.

New Acquisition. Bach, C.P.E. (1714-1788) Complete Organ Music.

New Acquisition.
Bought in June 2014.
First listen.
CD 1 from 2.
Label: Brilliant.
Recording dates: November 2013.
Recording venue: Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta, Vigliano, Biellese, Italy.
Recording engineer: Luigi Faggi Grigioni.
Running time CD 1: 60:17.

Built by Bottega Organara Dell'Orto & Lanzini, ( Dormelletto, Novara) in 2007. The instrument comprises 24 stops distributed over 2 manuals and a pedalboard.
The instrument has an all mechanical action system. The action system is made of brass, pivoted on supports in hornbeam.
Pitch: a' 440 Hz at 18 c.
Tuning: modified Kirnberger temperament.

Sonata in D, No. 5, in F, No. 3, I G minor, No. 6.
Fugue in D minor, No. 2, in F, No. 3, and G minor, No. 5.

Performed by: Luca Scandali.

The Organ built in 2007 sounds gorgeous. A clean well articulated instrument with a fine upper range, and a well defined lower register. As a whole this organ sounds well balanced, and Scandali is a renown organist with a excellent background in research and performance practice. 
The sonatas by CPE Bach are marked by the Sturm und Drang era. Dynamic pieces, that has little time to rest in ease. The Adagios are short but have a powerful effect. It gives you the much needed rest in the music. And you are able to hear how sweet this organ sounds, also the fact that it is built in 2007, does not distract from Bach's music, but rather enhances all the qualities of this composer, who must have been, according to the difficulty of the scores have been an excellent organist himself. The sound fits the era, and that tells me how well it is build. The Fuga's are a marvel, and I can only stress, that it is a shame that he did not compose more, but that may have to do with the fact, that the instrument had fallen from grace. Listening to the music, I somehow have the feeling that the period Sturm und Drang and the organ are no natural partners. Anyway the recording is absolutely pristine as is the performance.

[Note] I could not find a picture or link of this particular organ, nor the church in which it is situated.
[Note update]  A link for the organ used was send by some very friendly people.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New Acquisition. Bruhns, Nicolaus. (1665-1697) Complete Organ Works. Additional composers are: Sweelinck, Scheidemann, Scheidt, Buxtehude.

New Acquisition.
Bought in June 2014.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
Recording dates: 2013.
Recording venue: Chiesa di San Giorgio, Ferrara, Italy.
Recording engineer: Luca Ricci.
Organ tuner: Claudio Pinchi.
Running time: 70:10.
Performed on the Pinchi Organ.

Works performed:

Praeludium in E minor, great, E minor, Small, in G, and G minor.
Adagio in D.
Chorale Fantasia, "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland".

Jan Pieterzoon Sweelinck (1562-1621)
Fantasia Chromatica.

Heinrich Scheidemann. (1595-1663)
Galliarda ex D.

Samuel Scheidt. (1587-1654)
Variation over the Dutch song: Ach du feiner reiter.

Dietrich Buxtehude. (1637-1707)
Praeludium in G minor.

Performed by:
Adriano Falcioni.

It needs some adjusting, this modern organ, on which works are played from a long time ago. But it is not so difficult to stomach as one might think, for the instrument sounds magnificent, and not at all out of proportion. (Follow the link I provided about church and organ.)
Its the first recording I bought with Bruhns complete organ music, which amounts to almost nothing, for he died too young. But despite this he left us some pretty awesome music behind, that did hold a promise to more excellence. Alas not that he was given the time, dead came rather sudden, and his career was cut short.  The link I provided about him will give you all the info you need about life, career and music.
Falcioni is a very able organist, who had the guts to play all the music on a modern organ. Normally I would not go for that, but in this case I made an exception. Its has a clear cut sound, sweet in the upper range, without getting overbearing, and the lower register is tight and profound. The overall sound is pleasing, and just the smallest hint of its modernity, for it sounds perfect. I rather like it.
The recording and tuning is perfect.

NEW ACQUISITION. Holland, Peter Crossley (1916-2001) Goossens, Eugene. (1893-1962) Ireland, John. (1879-1962) Orchestral Works. [All except track 9, World Premiere Recordings]

New Acquisition.
Bought in June 2014.
First listen.
Label: Dutton.
Recording dates: 2008.
Recording venue: Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow.
Recording engineer: Dexter Newman.
Assistant engineer: Dillon Gallagher.
Running time: 72:03.

Works performed:

Symphony in D. (1988-1994)

Variations on "Cadet Rousselle" (1919, orch 1930)

Orchestrated works.

Justine Watts, Violin.
Lorraine McAslan, Violin.
Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Martin Yates.

Holland was a composer virtually unknown to me, and of what I read to many. He was more acknowledged as an ethnomusicologist and his outstanding research. He was a pupil of Ireland and Rubbra. Despite the late date of his symphony its a romantic work, no modernity here. You could say that this symphony is a summation of Holland life as a ethnomusicologist and composer. Elements of this are to be found not only in the movement titles, like, Vision/Pilgrimage/In the stream of life/Offering, but also in the musical styles used, like Welsh and Gaelic elements, the
occasional appearance of small melodic figures redolent of Tibetan and Chinese music, very tastefully done. It makes me like this work enormously. It may not be great music, but always intrinsically interesting. Its indeed a spiritual journey, which cast a certain influence over you while listening. There is little in the way of comparing him with other composers save for Aaron Avshalomoff,  who comes near in terms of chinese influences.

Goossens short piece is a fun orchestration,  which was in its original guise a piece for voice and piano, but Goossens scored in 1930 to the present work

Ireland's music is melodic, and very much written in a pastoral style. The music on this disc comes mostly from various short piano and organ pieces, skilfully orchestrated by others as Ireland's hands. Charming and peaceful works, very much liked in his days, but very much appreciated in my time, by me amongst many others. What I did not know that Geoffrey Bush,
 was a pupil from Ireland, also an interesting composer of which I have a few recordings.

 The recordings and performances are excellent. 

NEW ACQUISITION. Luzzaschi, Luzzasco. (c.1545-1607) Complete Keyboard Music. [World Premiere Recordings]

New Acquisition.
Bought in June 2014.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
Recording dates: August September 2011.
Recording venues: Santuario di Santa Maria di Valverde, Marano di Valpolicella, ( Verona & Basilica di San Martino Maggiore, Bologna.
Recording engineer: Michael Seberich.
Running time: 72:00.

Instruments used: 
Italian Harpsichord built by Barthelemy Formentelli, after anonymous, (attributed to Honofrio Guarracino, Naples).
Italian Harpsichord built by Romain Legros, after anonymous instrument preserved in the Ca"Rezzonico museum, Venice.
Italian Harpsichord built by Romain Legros after an anonymous Neapolitan instrument.

Built by Romain Legros, copy after Honofrio Guarracino.

Built by Giovanni Cipri of Ferrara (1556), Basilica di San Martino Maggiore in Bologna, Enlarged by Filippo and Francesco Gatti )1752-55) and Vincenzo Mazzetti (1817), restored by Franz Zanin (1979-1995)

Works performed:
Toccata del quarto tuono *
Il secondo Libro de Ricercari a quattro voci (1578)
2 Ricercare *
Canto Fermo a 4 Sopra la Spagna.
Canto Fermo a quattro sopra "Ave Maris Stella ( attribution)

* from Il Transilvano by Girolamo Diruta. (1554-1612)

Performed on all instruments by:
Matteo Messori.

This is a gem of a recording, no doubt about it. Its the first disc of this composer in my collection, and frankly I did not know him, until I was alerted to this CD issued ny Brilliant, which I kind of missed seeing on being released some time ago. Anyways is spinning its rounds in my player, and I am very happy with it. First of all for the rather gorgeous music, secondly the fine instruments he uses, and a fine organ built in 1556, and last but not least the able fingers of Messori, a major talent. Added to this the excellent recording, and the outcome must be superb, which it is. The booklet is good, but rather sketchy as it comes to the background of this composer. Nothing whatsoever about the composers life, merely info about the music he composed of which much is lost. So for this one has to search on internet.
The music is to die for. I thoroughly enjoyed what I heard, and would welcome more of this from Brilliant, attracting such talents and composers that are virtually unknown to mankind, except for scholars who knew about him all the time.  
Absolutely recommended. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

German, Edward. Orchestral Works, Volume II. [Marco Polo recording] Second Rerun.

In preparation for the Dutton recording which I will receive this week if all things go according to schedule, I am listening again to the MP recording. Good as it is, I have to admit that what I heard of the Dutton it is far superior in almost all respects, but is was a good intro into the music of Edward German, a unjustly forgotten master. I wrote a review regarding the MP recording on 14-2-2014, for those interested. [Search box top left]

Saturday, June 21, 2014

After a lot of thinking and listening, I decided to order this box

It took me quite some time what extra set to add to my collection. I have the BIS recording with Hans Fagius, and I needed a supplement on him. My first choice would have been Christopher Herrick on Hyperion, but alas this set is OOP for quite some time now. Maybe later on in time they will re-release it, for it got rave reviews, and is very good.
I am listening to samples of the MP 3, and its truly wonderful!
Gerhard Weinberger is a very able organist, with a sober yet precise articulation, not prone to excessive behaviour, or romanticizing the music. Its the most complete set on the market, and played on fine organs, especially the one in my Birth Town, Groningen. And to add to this, the excellent sound, also a major factor.  I know he is a scholar, and his approach is somewhat intellectual, but rather this as anything else. In many ways his playing has similarities with Harald Vogel, also a man of intellect and a scholastic approach, although I only heard him in Buxtehude.
I have been listening through all available sets, but the CPO box drew me in every time, when I listened to it. I hope it will satisfy my needs in the music by Bach, and in the mean time look out for the re-release of Herrick's set. Anyone who sees it, new or secondhand for a reasonable price, let me know please. All discussion about Bach organ music is welcomed.

Busnois, Domarto, Pullois. Third Rerun

See review on 30-9-2013. Search box top left.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Borgia Dynasty. Church and Power in the Renaissance. Part Two. [Second Rerun]

See review through the search box of this blog, Top left of the page.
A truly wonderful journey. Join me, and tell me your impressions.

1) The culmination and end of a dream.
2) The Age of upheavals and Humanism: The Sybil and the Prophecies of the Book of Revelation.

Eugene Goosens, (1893-1962) Orchestral works, Volume I. [Second listen]

This is a composer I admire very much, and hope he gets to be known better in time, but I doubt that.

See my review of this set of three discs through the search function. 26-2-2014.

Works on this CD.

Symphony No. 1.
Oboe Concerto.
Tam O'Shanter.
Concert piece.

David Compper. (b.1954) Second Rerun.

This will not be everybody's cup of tea, but I happen to like the logic of the music, plus some fabulous performances and a State of the Art recording made by this wizard called Mike Clements.

See my first review on this blog 13-2-2014, through the search box top left.

Guillaume Dufay, Mass for Saint James the Greater. Third Rerun.

Good morning all!
See the review of this disc through my search box top left. 20-1-2014.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Gouvy, Louis Theodore. (1819-1898) Symphony No. 6, opus 87 in G minor & Sinfonietta, opus 80 in D major. [Second Rerun]

See my review from 19-2-2014.  Search box top left.

I think he is a very fine composer, whatever opinions exist about him.

Garofalo, Carlo Giorgio. (1886-1962) Violin concerto & Romantic Symphony. [World Premiere Recordings]

See my review on this blog 14-2-2014. Top left search box.

Arnell, Richard. (1917-2009) The unnumbered Symphonies.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2014.
First listen.
Label: Dutton.
Recording dates: August 2012.
Recording venue: Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
Recording engineer: Dexter Newman.
Assistant engineer: Dillon Gallagher.
Running time: 78:20.

Works performed:    [All World Premiere Recordings.]
Overture "1940", opus 6.
Sinfonia. (1938) Edited by Martin Yates 2012.
Dagenham Symphony-from the film "Opus 65". (1952)
Landscapes and Figures, opus 78. (1956)

Performed by Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Martin Yates.
Catherine Edwards, Piano.
Alun Darbyshire, Guest principal Oboe.

The last CD in a series dedicated to this composer, and pretty much covering all orchestral works he ever composed. Two are underway, one with his Violin Concertos, and a CD on which one piece of Arnell is recorded. Both are in backorder, no idea how long that will take. It is not enough that I say I am happy with the music, that would be understating it. I am utterly delighted to be part of this listening time I have with him. The horror not to have known this composer would be a painful point in my listening history. Thank God for Dutton, we owe these guys for their innovative and brave recording of Arnell's works, and many others, which I am currently exploring. They will pop up in this blog ever so often. I will turn my attention now to the label Albany, especially for the Symphonies of George Lloyd, but they are not widely available, and to be honest rather expensive, so my journey through them will be much slower as with Dutton. Anyone that can keep me up to date with bargains from that quarter is appreciated. But I am getting of the track!
The unnumbered Symphonies, is a fine close to the oeuvre of Arnell. The Sinfonia was thought lost, but in 2009 when Jessie Page, Arnell's first daughter arrived from the USA to attend the funeral, she announced that she had the score, which had come to light on the death of her mother the previous year. She gave it to Martin Yates, and he found out it was composed when Arnell was 21 years old, which makes it an astonishing mature work for his age. This is the first time that it is played and recorded. The Third movement is excruciatingly beautiful, the contemplative element is one to marvel at. The part was written for solo Oboe and strings. It has such a overflow of beauty and youthful vigour. Definitively one of my favourites. 
Dagenham, was music for a documentary commissioned by the Ford motor company celebrating their Dagenham works. It is telling in images and music the history of the success of the Ford automobile. Its in six movements and is a bit reminiscent of Malcolm Arnold no less. A fascinating journey into the realm of film. He was urge by Bernard Herrmann to take up this challenge, and he was up to the task, listening to this music. I did not see the documentary, but by what I hear I can well imagine it.
Landscapes is a piece with many moods, and a palette full of colours, which are applied with a free flowing gesture. Its lyrical and immediately communicative music.  That's all for now I have to say about it.
The overture is dedicated to a psychiatrist, for Arnell had an interest in parapsychology. Nothing is said about the music, so I add my piece to understanding it.  Its like a sprinkling of light rain, refreshing and clearing up your vision, and to behold, or rather hear a piece of contemplative and meditative music. Its just a finger exercise, but brilliantly done.
Great sound and performances throughout.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Gouvy, Louis Theodore. (1819-1898) Symphonies No. 3 & 5.

From my collection.
Bought in 2011.
First listen: 5-4-2011.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: February 2007.
Recording venue: Musikstudio 1 des SR, Grosser Sendesaal. Germany.
Recording engineer: Manfred Jungmann.
Running time: 55:23.

Works performed:

Symphony No. 3 opus 20 in C major.
Symphony No. 5 opus 30, in B flat major.

Performed by:
Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrucken Kaiserslautern, Jacques Mercier.

Always a joy to return to the music by this composer. I know that he bores the shit out of some people, but this is only because they often pay too little attention to the score, and the excellent writing of this composer. His writing is on par with all the greats around him, and yes there is no denying that Mendelssohn is a composer that comes to mind more than once, but so what. We often find traces of other composers in much of the music we listen too, like hearing Beethoven in Schubert and vice versa. Doesn't bother me, as long as the music is good, and that it certainly is. He scores in a remarkable way, and it needs a very good orchestra and conductor to bring out the genius, and in the present recording all prerequisites are on the table. The music is full of finely defined ideas, and brimful with excellent contrasts. He does not shy from experiments, he delights in it, and plays with it in a very creative way. Firmly recommended, all his orchestral works!

Branco, Luis de Freitas. (1890-1955) Orchestral Works, Volume 4.

From my collection.
Bought in 2010.
First listen: 4-12-2010.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates: April 2010.
Recording venue: National Concert Hall Dublin, Ireland.
Recording engineer: Phil Rowlands.
Running time: 76:23.

Works performed:
Symphony No. 4. (1944-52)
Valthek-Symphonic Poem in the form of Variations on a Oriental Theme. (1913)

Performed by: RTE National SO, Alvaro Cassuto.

Every time when I start listening to this composer I think, why was he so utterly forgotten, for he is by all what I hear a master in his trade, who deserves his place amongst all the others, forgotten and remembered. What amazing music he has composed, something you will not expect, but will get, is being surprised by all what's on this disc. I have to admit, as used as I am to excellence, this composer is on the top of my list, and all on the basis of  what I have heard so far. All his recordings on Naxos I have, and await all what has yet to come my way. Reading the notes written by Cassuto will not give you any insight, unless you're a scholar, for its all technical blabla, and little in content that most of us will get. So what to expect? Tonal, with extremely fine writing for strings, some excellent brass parts, but above all melodic music, that will never bore you, or getting tired of it by listening this over and over again. For such is the nourishment of this music, that it completes your intellectual and spiritual inclinations.  As an orchestrator I rate him high too, for he paints multiple colours in one sweep, and joins it all together in the most complete picture you could possibly wish for. Certainly an easy choice if it comes whether to buy this or not. Do not deprive you of such gorgeous music. The performances are excellent, and the recording state of the art, well, what else to expect from Phil Rowlands. 

Arnell, Richard. (1917-2009) Symphonies No 4 & 5.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2014.
First listen.
Label Dutton.
Recording dates: May 2007.
Recording venue: Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow.
Recording engineer: Dexter Newman.
Assistant engineer: Dillon Gallagher.
Running time: 63:49.

Works performed:

Symphony No. 4, opus 52. (1948)
Symphony No. 5, opus 77. (1955-57)

Performed by:
Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Martin Yates.

The Fourth Symphony was written in America but finished in London. The score is dated 1948. At first it was often performed but after 1953, it was largely forgotten as all his works. The soundworld of this symphony deals with a post war world, one of bombsites and privation. The first movement is almost jubilant though as if elated at the fact that the war is over, but a certain grimness pervades it too, not in a obtrusive way, but still...its there. A wonderful introduction it is, a harmony that you do not easily forget. Timpani have a important role too, it gives you notice that the mood will change, a rather effective way of telling us. The second movement opens somewhat elegiac, there is some brooding woodwind underneath the tense violins, but it is so melancholy and well conceived, that it took my breath away. The intensity of it all builds itself up very slowly, and the climax is revelatory of the genius of Arnell. The third movement has a more urgent and vehement push, and is powerful in its melodic statements. Well articulates strings, with contrasted blocks of orchestral colours. It simple races to the end, and at the end is cut of by timpani, very effective and right close to this turbulent movement. Beautiful!
The Fifth Symphony was completed in 1957, and was performed many a time, it somehow being popular with conductors and audience alike. Not that it is less approachable as the other symphonies, so I am somewhat at a loss about this. The first movement has a very deliberate pace, and opens in a grand declamatory style, with long melodic lines, be it a turbulent expression, and after the cymbals clashes in, there is a pastoral pause, very effectively stated by the strings. The brass has a powerful influence throughout the work, almost a  domineering character. It closes of the movement, without opening up to a real conclusion. There is no denying that both symphonies are very actively scored, where brass and timpani have a lot to say. Its brimming with energy, and eloquently contrasted, although in the second movement a calming melody pops up, not for long, but still.
The last movement "Andante e serioso" is exactly that, but not without some breathtakingly beautiful melodies, that pop up at random, and lift the whole work to a higher level altogether. Glorious well conceived music, by a master I rever very much. The sound is top notch as is the performance.

Haydn SQ, opus 20, No. 2/4/3. Quatuor Mosaiques. CD II. [Second Rerun]

See review on this blog 4-3-2014. Top left search box.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Friday, June 13, 2014

Ginastera, Alberto. (1916-1983) Orchestral works. Third rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in 2010.
First and second listen: 16-8-2010.
Third listen.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates:  1997, 2001, 2006.
Recording venues: Abbey Road Studios, London, Jerusalem Theatre, Henry Crown Hall, Israel, BBC broadcasting House Llandaff, Cardiff, UK.
Recording engineers: Michael Fine, Simon Rhodes, Yisrael David, Tim Thorne & Paul Jenkins.
Running time: 72:51.

See cover for works and performers.

Ginastera is certainly a fascinating and colourful Argentinian composer, very native in its expression, and reminding me at times at Stravinsky. Certainly in the first movement of Panambi, opus 1 in the "Dance of the warriors", unmistakingly so. Not a bad thing though. The works on this CD are a great contrast that spans his whole lifetime. You will travel from the absurd and grotesque, to the magical and breathtakingly beautiful melodies. Banality can be part of the mix too, but never in a tasteless way. He was a great orchestrator, just listen at the "Games of the water sprites", that is some awesome scoring that is! He is economical in his composing, and all the notes have a effectivity that is bordering on perfectionism. Not a note too many I can say. The range of moods is extraordinary too, you go from great silence into the magical, into elated spheres, and right atop of it war like rhythms, despair,  and punching attacks on your ears , when strings and percussion turn into timpanesque blows. Do not be surprised when strings straight from heaven descend on you, like in Dawn, thats the last movement of Panambi. Colours, endless colours, wide Fiestas of descriptive moods, music that makes you marvel and gasp at the same time. Great fun this music, and great performances. Let it be clear, orchestra and conductor have to be at the top of their game to play this music successfully, and all the parties fulfil this quest to perfection. Sound is very good too.

I ordered today a few items on my list.....

Superior recordings of Edward German his Symphonies. Although the Marco Polo recordings are not bad at all, the Dutton's are superior in every way.

The Chadwick was a surprise to me in terms of the strength of the compositions, and the excellent performance. Sound is superb too.

This CD completes my journey into the music of Richard Arnell, and Stanley Bate.

This box with four CD'S was added because of the recommendation of Que a member of GMG, because of the strength of the music and its low price.

And I reordered this one, for it was out of stock!

New Acquisition. Arnell, Richard. (1917-2009) Orchestral Works.

New Acquisition.
Bought in May 2014.
First listen.
Label: Dutton.
Recording dates: September 2005.
Recording venue: Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow.
Recording engineer: Dexter Newman.
Assistant engineer: Sam Okell.
Technical engineer: Mike Cox.
Running time: 72:10.

Works performed:
Symphony No. 3, opus 40. (1944-45)
The New Age-Overture, opus 2. (1939)

Performed by:
Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Martin Yates.

Its is no wonder that I like this composer very much, for frankly what is there not to like, if the music is as perfect as it is. I can say in all honesty that I have heard far more different composers as many a fanatical classical music lover, for my interest is wide and broad, and the path I walk is a crowded one. There are well known exceptions on what I am not listen to, but it still leaves more than enough to get at. More as I will be able to listen to in my lifetime. This is a great sorrow for me, but one I cannot avoid.
Richard Arnell is a forgotten composer, and as so many he does not deserve that, not by far, for his compositions are awe inspiring, for he explores new ground whilst totally understanding his musical heritage. He was 28 years old when writing the third Symphony, and yet he was writing with a fluency and ability of a man well beyond his years. This symphony shows in fact the true spirit of Arnell, an enormous work in its conception. Such undeniable beauty and simplicity of harmonies and melodic ideas, as you do not encounter often. There is always more underneath the music, that makes it so special. It is crafted with great expertise, and never superficial.  What  a great talent this man was. Just imagine the power he has to express his innermost feelings, and what tools he uses to get what is typical a Arnell work. He is unique in it, take my word for that.
The New Age was first performed on the 13th of January 1941, and it introduced the 23 year old composer to a American public not familiar with British music. A wonderful short work, brimming with the enthusiasm of youth. The recording and performance are first rate.

Magister Leoninus, Sacred Music from the 12th Century, Paris, Volume II.

See review of this fine disc on this blog: 21-1-2014.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Adam, Adolphe with additions by Leo Delibes. "Le Corsaire" 1867 version. Second Rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in March 2010.
First listen: 4-5-2010. ( 2 cd's)
Label: Decca.
Recording dates: 1987.
Recording venue: Chiesa di San Giorgio, Bologna.
Recording engineer:Stanley Goodall.
Running time CD 1) 61:22 and CD 2) 69:37.

Performed by: English Chamber Orchestra, Richard Bonynge.

A wonderful rendition of this ballet. Second time I hear this performance and I cannot find any blemishes in this interpretation. Bonynge keeps everything on track, and Goodall makes the best possible recording. I always get happy when listening to ballet music.

Busnois, Domarto and Pullois. Sacred Vocal Music. Second Rerun.

See review 30-9-2013. Top left search box.

Ancient Airs and Dances, 16th Century Songs and Dances for Lute, and BC. Third rerun.

See reviews 30-9-2013 and 9-10-2013. Top left search box will get you there.

Guillaume Dufay, Music for Saint Anthony of Padua. Second Rerun

See review of this disc 6-1-2014. Top corner search box.

Monday, June 9, 2014

I have this title on my order list but am as yet undecided whether to order it or not.

So help me decide. I already have the Belder set which I like very much, but Ross Scott has also his attractions. 

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 ...