Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bowen, York. (1884-1961) String Quartets No. 2 & 3. and Phantasy-Quintet. [Second Rerun]

The second time around, and this disc also is positively addictive to me. The music haunts me in a positive way, and I hear more details as before, and the beautiful lines, that keeps your attention firmly fixed on the musical content. There is much to discover in this easy approachable music, romantic at the core, with some mild modernities sprinkled over the music to spice it up. Never out of tune with tonality, this chamber music belongs to the best a British composer produced, though he is not recognized as such. Which is not fair, just sample this music, and no doubt you will agree with me. Everything stands with a good performance and ditto recording, and in this respect all is as it should be. No wishes open, apart from more music recorded by this master, that would be fine.
See previous review also for details.

Arnell, Richard. Orchestral Works. Symphony No. 4 & 5. [Second rerun]

How delighted I am with Richard Arnell's music. It was one of the single big finds in my lifetime, involved in classical music, and trodding on unknown paths and lives from composers that never got anywhere. That happens maybe only a few times, and sometimes listeners never travel further as the top ten of composers that are played and recorded over and over again, much to the delight of them, but it chagrined me and countless others. In this time and age, it has changed a bit, but only in what is recorded, through the undiminishing efforts of small record labels, and the people behind it. Just think Sterling, Hyperion, Dutton, Toccata, Chandos, Naxos, And many others. And here I am, bought all the relevant Dutton recordings, those that matter to me, and beyond that there is Stanley Bate, another forgotten composer who is linked in recordings with Arnell's. I bought all what was recorded of him, far less as Arnell, but that's how it is. Anyways, if you want to sample music by Arnell the fifth symphony is the one to go by. Especially the second movement is haunting in its beauty. The recording is pristine as is the performance.
See previous review for more details.

Myaskovsky & Kabalevsky. Cello Sonatas. [Second Rerun]

The second time it even gets better. These are wonderfully felt performances, played with great sensitivity and care. Both composers are on on line in their musical approach, and the result is satisfying to a point that I think it cannot be done much better. This music you hear almost never, so a recording of the cello sonatas is always most welcome. As a interpretation goes, this is very good, and will let your heart leap, the recording is a bit rough at times, but always detailed, and never disappointing. Late romantic music with a high emotional density. No chance you're not going to like this music.
See previous review for details.

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works. Disc 10.

Bought in 2014.
First listen.
Label: CPO. Box with 22 cd's. Booklet in English only. 165 pages.
Recording dates and recording engineer not stated.
Recording venue: Kirche>>Zu Gotteshilfe<< Waltershausen. Germany.
Running time:68:22.

Instrument used:
Heinrich Gottfried Trost Organ, (1724-30)
Ton hohe: a'=466.8 Hz.
Stimmung: Wohltemperierte Ausnahmestimmung, ( stark gemilderte Variante der modifiziert mitteltonigen Temperatur)

Works performed:
1-2) Praeludium et Fuga in c, BWV 547.
3-12) Orgelchorale aus der Leipziger Orginalhandschrift. BWV, (659/660/661/662/663/664/665/666/667)
13-14) Praeludium et Fuga in h, BWV 544.

Performed by:
Gerhard Weinberger.

This box has been nothing short than revelatory and musically satisfying. Not a single disc I have listen to, disappointed me in any way. The sheer variety of different organs, plus the excellent playing by Weinberger can do nothing else than even satisfy the most demanding listener to Bach's organ works.
Every work on this cd delighted me, especially the chorales, which always determine for me, whether an organist is any good or not.  Weinberger is a man of great erudition and learning. He clearly invested a lot of thought and consideration into this composer and it paid great dividends in terms of creativity and his approach to every single piece how small or great it is.
The recording is excellent as always. Looking forward to disc 11. 

Haydn, Joseph. String Quartets. Opus 76, No. 2/3/6. Quatuor Mosaiques. Disc 9.

Well I have said my bit about these performances. If you want to know, the search box will give you enough hits from all discs in this box. Enjoy reading them. I will try to get the rest of the SQ by this group on another label. Problem is though that they are all highly expensive, so it has to come in small portions. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Haydn, Joseph. Divertimentos for Wind. Disc 2, [Second rerun] Consortium Classicum

Could not resist to play the second disc in this box after the first one, such is the quality of performance and the excellence of the music, that it was unavoidable.
Its a firm recommendation. It is sold for a mere pittance.
See previous review.

Haydn, Joseph, Divertimentos for Winds. CD 1. [Second rerun}

Back again after a year to listen a second time to the music in this box. Fabulous performances by Consortium Classicum. Maybe not authentic, but top notch anyways. Recording is pristine.
See link for details of my previous review (11-4-2013)

Arnell, Richard. Orchestral works. Symphony No. 3, etc. Second rerun.

Getting at all my Arnell discs for the second time. Please read the previous review for all details

J.G. GRAUN, Concerto for Violin and Viola da Gamba in C minor, Ensemble ...

Graun, Johann Gottlieb and Graun, Carl Heinrich. Concerti, Second rerun.

As I already stated in my previous review, a wonderful disc well played and full with interesting music by both brothers. Artistically they are a match for each other. Wonderful music making.

Pejacevic, Dora. (1885-1923) Chamber Music. (Chamber Music disc of the year 2014) Second rerun. Disc 1 and 2.

Little can I add to the already complimentary previous review on my blog. This music makes me happy. Its such a revelation to hear what must belong to the ultimate top of music making. She is by far my favourite female composer, and she tops many a male composer. Recommended.

See all reviews of her music including the one above.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Haydn, Joseph. String Quartets., opus 76, No. 1/4/5. Performed by the Quatuor Mosaiques. Disc 8.

By now you all know that this box is highly treasured by me. For all the obvious reasons, but mostly because I think these are definitive recordings of Haydn's SQ on period instruments. You can find all the necessary reviews on this blog in the search function, there are many of them. Recommended for sheer enjoyment.

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

New Acquisition.
Bought in August 2014.
First listen.
Label: Dutton. ( Full price)
Recording dates: 2009.
Recording venue: The Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford, England.
Recording engineer: Dexter Newman.
Running time: 77:05.

Works performed:
Punch and the Child, opus 49. (1947)
Harlequin in April, opus 63. (1951)*
Concerto Capriccioso for Violin and Orchestra, opus 70. (1954)* 

* World premiere recordings.

Performed by:
Lorraine McAslan, Violin.
BBC Concert Orchestra, Martin Yates.

This afternoon this disc send from the States fell on my doormat. It was the only one in the series which is almost OOP, I ordered it in England, it came from the US. It completes my survey into the music of this composer. Apart from the SQ which I did not buy I have all. The String Quartets could not charm me at all, but that might well have to do with recording and performance. Anyways, this last CD is a winner for me for it contains to my ears three important works, about which I read a lot, and was almost lyrical when I heard the samples. I am happy to report that it conforms to all my expectations . Two ballets recorded complete, and a Violin concerto, all top Arnell works. Opus 49 was commissioned by the American impresario Lincoln Kirstein's Ballet caravan with Fred Danielli's choreography and decor and costumes by Horace Armistead. It was performed under Balanchine's direction, although not in its completeness.  The ballet Suite was performed often, but the ballet in its entirety almost never. The scenario was based on Cruikshank's English Classic "Punch and Judy". The humour is at times violent, but never in a tasteless way, and the children loved it, because of the innocent naughtiness. And I liked it too, scored so well and effective, a beautiful ballet. Opus 63 was commissioned by the Arts Council of Great Britain for the 1951 Festival of Britain, and it was produced immediately at Sadler's Wells by the same ballet, and it remained for quite a long time in their repertoire. It has been performed on tour in the States and Canada in 1951-52. The choreography and book were by John Cranko, the decor and costumes by John Piper. Its a piece of genius, a very remarkable ballet, very well scored, made into a effective dancing extravaganza. The Violin concerto was first performed in Canada in April 1959! It was never played in England until this recording was made, which is a bloody shame, and the Brits should be ashamed of themselves for this. It is a very beautifully written concerto that moved me very much. That such excellence is completely ignored is a great offence to classical music and to this composer. This piece has a enormous impact on me, such deeply felt is the emotional content. Very much recommended. The recording is state of the art.

Young, William. An Englishman abroad, Works for Viola da Gamba. [Second Rerun]

After the second hearing I can only endorse the conclusions in my first review. Its a wonderful disc.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Pasquini, Bernardo. (1637-1710) Sonatas for Harpsichord. [Third Rerun]

A wonderful disc, musical, and melodious, and so well played. A real winner on all counts.
See previous review with all details.

Agony and Ecstasy A Year with English National Ballet. Episode.1.

You Can't Dance Forever

Humperdinck, Engelbert. (1854-1921) Chamber Music. [Second Rerun]

I never knew before I bought this disc, that Humperdinck even wrote Chamber music, such unknown is this part of his composing personality. He became famous with a vocal ditty, and afterwards no one saw that he had a more serious vein. This disc assembles some of his chamber works together in most excellent performances and recording. I was surprised to find such beauty in his String Quartet in C major, but there it is, the man wrote beautiful chamber music too. And that really goes for all what is on this disc, almost 80 minutes of it. The Diogenes Quartett treat the music with the utmost respect, and makes you wonder many a time. The recording is first rate too. See for all works and technical details my first review.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dora Pejacevic - Piano Quintet in B minor, op. 40 (1/2)

New Acquisition. Pejacevic, Dora. (1885-1923) Chamber Works. Volume 1 & II. Best buy 2014.

New Acquisition.
Bought in August 2014.
First listen.
Label: CPO, 2 cd's.
Recording dates: September 2009.
Recording venue: Alte Kirche Boswil, (CH)
Recording engineer: Andreas Fleck.
Running time both cd's: 90:54.

Works performed:
Piano Quintet, opus 40 in B minor.
String Quartet, opus 58 in C major.
Piano Quartet, opus 25 in D minor,
Impromptu, opus 9.

Performed by Quatuor Sine Nomine.
Oliver Triendl, piano.

Stand up, and bow to genius, for what it is worth if I say this, this woman belongs to the greatest of composers. I have seldom heard such talent and musicality in a woman composer, and no doubt there are more, but for me at the moment Dora Pejacevic beats all and everyone. I knew this before having collected all recordings available, but my god this chamber music is beating me around my ears in such a way that I am almost drooling behind my speakers. I have heard a great amount of music from every walk of life, but this my friends is something very special. She should be high on a pedestal, and I am heartily glad that her birthday is still celebrated in her native country, and I am unspeakably sad that she died so young giving birth to a child. What greatness she might have reached, apart from the high level that she was already on, towering as a goddess. One of the very best fin de siecle composers I know. I could tell you of the wonders that happen in opus 40, but this you must hear yourself, I could tell about the opus 58, but again this you must hear yourself, I could tell about the piano Quartet and the impromptu, but again you must hear yourself.  This double CD will only cost you 8 euro's at JPC, but what a wealth of music you are getting is worth much more. The sound and performance is pristine. Believe me this is something you do not want to miss. I am so hooked on this music, tis desert island stuff, essential listening. Go and buy this!

New Acquisition. Myaskovsky, Nikolay Yakovlevich. (1881-1950) & Kabalevsky, Dimitry Borisovich. (1904-1987) Chamber Music.

New Acquisition.
Bought in August 2014.
First listen.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates: January & April 2013.
Recording venue: Sach Hakol Studio, Jerusalem, Israel.
Recording engineer: David Jakobouvitch.
Running time: 73:39.

Works performed:
Cello Sonata No 1 in D major, opus 12. (1911)
Cello Sonata No 2 in A minor, opus 81. (1949)

Cello Sonata in B flat major, opus 71. (1962)

Performed by:
Ina-Esther Joost Ben-Sasson, Cello.
Allen Sternfield, Piano.

After Myaskovsky's complete Symphony box, I was utterly curious after his chamber music, and the chance came walking in with this CD, coupling it with a work from his pupil, Kabalevsky, so in a sense my wishes were heard. And what a fine discovery it has been. Both composers write in the same style, and the age difference is barely hearable in these cello sonatas. Wonderful evocative works, brimful with emotion, passion, magical moments, intimate passages, and a wonderful sense of genius packed in such easy melodies and yet such an effective purpose behind it. This music sounds in my ears as perfectly conceived, with a crystal clear message, brought in with such deliberate force that the genius in it is not denied its rightful place, and the claim holds throughout the music. If you love Myakovsky's orchestral works, you're gonna love these cello sonatas and take Kabalevsky as a rightful follow up. Its all wonderfully played and there is a honest heartfelt drive behind it. Just go for it. The performance does full justice to the music and intentions of the composer.

New Acquisition. Skoryk, Myroslav. (b.1938) Orchestral Works.

New acquisition.
Bought in August 2014.
First listen.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates: November 2013.
Recording venue: Philharmonic Hall, Odessa, Ukraine.
Recording engineer: Tim Handley. ( Live Recordings)
Running time: 76:42.

Works performed:
Dytynstvo, ( Childhood), from the "Hutsul Triptych"(1965)
Diptych. (1993)
Caprice No. 19 from Paganini Caprices. (2003)*
Violin Concerto No. 7. (2009)*
Melody. (1981)*
Cello Concerto. (1983)*
Spanish Dance from "The Stone Host Suite"(1973)*
Carpathian Concerto for Orchestra. (1972)

* World premiere recordings.

Performed by:
Nazary Pilatyuk, Violin.
Valery Kazakov, Cello.
Odessa PO, Hobart Earle.

Someone at Naxos must have a nose for fine music, for they have yet again discovered a composer that is well worth our attention. Every piece on this CD has a unique character and is thoroughly interesting and even sometimes beautiful, in a spectacular way, like the Violin Concerto, Melody, or the Diptych. A very humorous caprice, done in a way that makes you laugh in a affirmative and positive way. A tonally stretched work like the Cello Concerto is making a huge impression, and shows the more modern side of Skoryk, which is by no means uninteresting. Needs a bit of adapting but is beautiful in its own right.  The Violin concerto is a very contemplative and concentrated work, gorgeously played by the soloist. The writing has a very open character and is very melodious in its expression. I am very curious about his other violin concertos after hearing this. The Spanish Dance has a unique flavour and is well within reach of being a crowd pleaser, Spanish indeed, with a Ukrainian whiff of folklore.  And this could be said of the Carpathian Concerto, which is more in the line of the Cello Concerto, modern, stretched in tonality, but not in an unpleasant way. It has desolate moments, and sort of a urgent eeriness. As if it cannot find focus, but is determined in making a statement. It does that in odd ways, almost a bit like Henze does this in his Symphonies, but without going that far in widened tonality. Fascinating though!
Its a kaleidoscope of his works, this newly released disc of Naxos, and in my eyes a winner. The recording is live, but there is no way of hearing this, its absolutely silent in all the works. The recording made by Tim Handley is first rate, as is to be expected from him. Needs a bit of volume though.

New Acquisition. Bowen, York. (1884-1961) Chamber Music.

New acquisition.
Bought in August 2014.
First listen.
Label Naxos, licensed from BMS.
Recording dates: December 2001.
Recording venue: Recital Room, Tonbridge School, Kent, England.
Recording engineer: Mike Skeet.
Running time: 70:22.

Works performed:     [World Premiere Recordings]
String Quartet No. 2 in D minor, opus 41, (c.1918)
String Quartet No. 3 in G major, opus 46, (b) (1919)
Phantasy Quintet for Bass Clarinet and String quartet, opus 93. (1932)

Performed by:
Timothy Lines, Bass Clarinet.
Archaeus Quartet.

I have always been an admirer of York's music, and was very surprised to see this recording re-issued by Naxos. I knew of its existence but was aware that it was OOP for some time. The reviews I read were more than good, so I am happy that I can confirm the excellence of these works. Both SQ are based on clear cut classical models, and therefore very palatable for anyone. And they are by no means easy works to perform, for York's predilection for virtuosic writing is very much at work here.  Its brilliant in style, and a bit of a romanticist comes to the fore, with leanings towards impressionism. They are not overly modern and stay firmly in the tonal ways of expressing. I have a slight preference for the third SQ, because its more intimate, personal, concise and deeper in its expression being more introverted as No. 2. The first movement "Allegro moderato e semplice" is a case in point, so concentrated and warm, and emotional.  A quintet for Bass clarinet is unusual. I do not have it in my collection and this is therefore a first. But then I could not find a composition especially written for this beautiful instrument. And gorgeous it is. Why York wrote for this instrument is not known, but I am heartily glad he did. 
Saint Saens thought him to be the most remarkable composer of the younger British generation, and thats a fine judgement and very true. 
The performances are all one could wish for, and the recording is first class too. The booklet written by John Talbot is informative.  I like the cover by John O'Connor, (1830-1889) "Evening in Ludgate Hill".

Graun, Johann Gottlieb. (1702/3-1771) & Graun, Carl Heinrich. (ca.1703-1759) Concerti. [New Acquisition]

New acquisition.
Bought in August 2014.
First listen.
Label: CPO
Recording dates: February 2007.
Recording venue: Hochschule fur Musik und darstellende kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Recording engineer: Uwe Walter. (Not certain)
Running time: 62:55

Works performed.
Symphony for Strings and BC in B flat major.
Concerto for Violin, Viola, Strings and BC in C minor.
Concerto for Bassoon, Strings and BC in F major.
Concerto for Recorder, Violin, Strings and BC in C major.
Concerto for Transverse Flute, 2 Violins and BC in E minor.

Performed by:
Michael Schneider, Recorder.
Karl Kaiser, Transverse Flute.
Christian Beuse, Bassoon.
Capella Academica Frankfurt.

A surprise it is, the music, the excellent performance and fine recording. I must confess that I had little music from either composer, and I was quick in the decision when I saw this disc to order it. They are brothers and composed much in the same vein, and did not really bother to ascribe the works they composed, so its very unclear who composed what, not that it matters that much, for all is uniformly good, and great fun to listen at. The booklet holds a lot of info about the fact that it is difficult to say who composed what, but little or almost nothing is said about the music. It is high baroque music in the best possible way, with the Bassoon concerto standing out as a pinnacle of their works. The music making is of a high standard too. Being a budget release, this is a no brainer really.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Young, William. (c.1610-1662) Works for Viola da Gamba. [New Acquisition]

New acquisition.
Bought in August 2014.
First listen.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: March 2009.
Recording venue: Siemens Villa, Berlin-Lichterfelde, Germany.
Recording engineer: Eberhard Hinz. ( Not sure)
Running time: 72:44.

Works performed: 
Works for Viola da Gamba.
Sonatas, Suites, Fantasies, Dances.

Performed by:
Hamburger Ratsmusik, Simone Eckert.

What a pleasant surprise to meet such a unknown composer who composed in such a galant style. Its a surprise to me, and he must have been a excellent gamba player, for such is the quality of the works. Little is known of him, apart from the fact that he probably had to flee England, due to his catholicism. At that time it was not appreciated in his country of birth. He was highly esteemed by fellow musicians and instrument makers. William Young was the most important composer in England and abroad, prior to Purcell, Jenkins and Lawes. He is a brilliant composer. His music is really a lasting monument to him, for he keeps popping up in anthologies after his death. His music was copied to a large extent, and fellow composers also linked themselves to him personally. Such is fame, to be forgotten so quickly, 
These are absolutely brilliant performances and a ditto recording. Its budget-priced, so what are you waiting for?

Kreutzer, Rodolphe. (1766-1831) Violin Concertos. [Second Rerun]

Possibly one of the best Violin concerto cd's in my possession, in terms of composition and performance and sound. This is wonderful disc. Kreutzer is a composer almost unknown, ( tell me something new) but wrote some superb concertos, that get a royal treatment by all involved. See my first review for more details. Its brimful with things to know! There is nothing I can add to this!

Goossens, Eugene. (1893-1962) Orchestral Works, Disc 3. [Second Rerun]

As I said yesterday Goossens is forgotten almost totally, despite the fact that some of his works are recorded. Hardly anyone knows him or his compositions. I have settled with the idea that a lot of what I like is not much appreciated, so at least I give it a chance and very often it benefits me greatly. This composer learned me a thing or two, as to better understand the gaps between some composers that are famous. Goossens is one that should fit in between some of them, but by some freakish turn of fate was erradiated  almost totally. With him I understand the development of musical strands better, because I always had the feeling that some links were missing, but then again Richard Arnell, or Stanley Bate, also filled some of these gaps. And I could go on for quite some time. On the one hand its a blessing to have such a wide interest in the field of classical music, but also a curse, for I will never be able to hear all, and that saddens me profoundly.  Anyways for technical details of this CD and my first review see link.

Telemann, Georg Philipp. (1681-1767) Violin Concertos Volume 4. Second Rerun.

As all the volumes before, this kind of Telemann does not convince me. I think the performance rather boring, and as flat as a pancake. This is so much better done. Sure from the technical standpoint its all done wonderfully perfect, but there is no soul in the music. Telemann needs good advocacy, and this in my ears obviously is not, so I stop with buying from this series.  It will do as wallpaper performances but thats about all.  The orchestra is a good one, in fact they can do much better under a different conductor. Wallfisch is not suited in temperament to give Telemann the necessary boost. See first review.

Storace, Bernardo. Works for Harpsichord & Organ. Selection from "Selve di varie compositioni d intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo) . [Third Rerun]

When I bought this disc in January 2014, I was very enthusiastic about it, ( I will post the reviews with all technical info about instruments plus my thoughts after this review) and the third time around, it made me even more happy. The music the instruments, the way Jorg Halubek is playing it all. I saw little follow up with my classical friends, despite the fact that is was dead cheap. And this is a pity for your missing out a lot if you like music from this period, from a composer that is little recorded as it is. The use of instruments is remarkable too as you will see in earlier reviews. Sound is pristine.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Galuppi, Baldassare. (1706-1785) Manuscript sonatas for Harpsichord. Disc 4. Sonatas No. 17-25. [Third Rerun]

I close my listening day off with the last disc in this box, and then it will go in my collection. Maybe I will listen to it again in the years to come. For now my conclusion is that this is an indispensable box. I would not like to be without it, and it is head and shoulders above many a famous name, that composed in the same vein. I have not enjoyed a set so much for a long time. Excellent performances and recordings. Superb.
See previous reviews on this blog.

Andriessen, Hendrik. (1892-1981) Orchestral Works. [Second Rerun]

Hendrik Andriessen is one of those Dutch composers that is better known here and abroad. The reason for this escapes me a bit, why he should be favoured above lets say van Gilse or Zweers.  This said, I can say that in terms of musicality and creativity, I have a slight notch towards Andriessen, but thats because he is less matter of fact (read conservative) but experiencing along the lines of tonality with surprising outcomes. He is a composer that clearly likes the mystery in the notes, and has some of this sensibility of say Sibelius, especially in his first Symphony. He has a wide scope in moods and travels along untrodden paths, just listen to the fabulous ballet suite. And that makes him so interesting. I will explore the following volumes of his music, and no doubt will be surprised many a time.  See also the previous review of this disc, with more details.

Gilse, Jan van. (1881-1944) Orchestral works. ( Second Rerun)

A Dutch composer that did not have much of an outing in the Dutch classical world, and who does not seem to do well internationally either. It cannot be the quality of his beautiful tonal works, for it is sound for its time, and brimful with good melodic ideas, that are properly worked out. There are influences, notably by Mahler and Brahms, but as a whole van Gilse's own stamp is domineering the music.  Its thoroughly late romantic with no modernisms of its time, so a conservative but nevertheless a welcome addition to classical music. CPO is recording his orchestral music, and so far I almost have all, and will continue to get them all as they come along. The sound and performance is good, See also previous reviews for more details.

Goossens, Eugene. (1893-1962) Orchestral Works. Volume II. Second Reun.

Another composer in my collection, that is virtually forgotten. Despite the fact, that ABC and Chandos recorded some of his works, the spark did not attract that many classical listeners. It cannot be the quality of the performances, for on both labels that is excellent. I have the ABC recordings, which are artistically as good as they get. Great recordings that give insight into the complex nature of this composer. He should be on top with the rest according to what he wrote, but he is and probably will stay marginal in the minds of people. Nevertheless for me he is a composer that is able to conjure up a world that has all the good and bad sides of life in the music. He is a excellent orchestrator as you will hear. For the rest I would like you to look at the reviews of this set I wrote first time around.

Bach, J.S., Complete Organ Works. Volume 9.

Bought in 2014.
First listen.
Label: CPO. 22 cd's, and booklet of 165 pages in English only.
Recording dates and recording engineer not named.
Running time: 76:52.

Works performed.

1) Fuga in c, BWV 575.
2-13) Orgelchorale der Neumeister Sammlung.
14-20) Partite diverse sopra il Corale. ( Christe der du bist der helle Tag. BWV 766.)
21-30) Orgelchorale der Neumeister Sammlung
31) Fuga in G, BWV 577.

Instruments used:
Christoph Thielemann Organ, Dreifaltigkeitskirche, Graefenhain, Germany.  (1728-31) Trackes 1-6.
( Tonhohe: gis'=447 Hz.) Stimmung: modifiziert mitteltonig.
Johann Ernst Doring Organ (1747), Heiligkreuzkirche Bettenhausen, Germany. Tracks 7-20.
Tonhohe:a'=485 Hz. Stimmung: nach Bach/Kellner.
Franziskus Volckland Organ, Bonifatiuskirche Trachtelborn, ( 1758-67). Tracks 21-31.
Tonhohe: a'= 483Hz. Stimmung: nach Bach/Kellner.

Performed by, Gerhard Weinberger.

There is definitely a WOW factor with all three organs. The wealth of instruments used in this set was one of the reasons that I bought it. For I think its important to use as many instruments from Bach his time, or at least close to it. The interpretation by Weinberger in all works carries the stamp of authenticity. The Neumeister chorales are done magnificently. The fuga in c made a excellent impression, articulate and detailed. My musical sense tells me, that Bach would have rejoiced in what I hear now. The sound is pristine. Every Bach addict should have this inexpensive set. 

Galuppi, Baldassare. (1706-1785) Manuscript Sonatas for Harpsichord. CD III. Third Rerun.

Yes I know, this set is often in my picture, but thats because I consider it a first class composition, which should have a fixed place in the music literature, and alas it has not, for hardly anyone knows this, its a secret among classical music lovers. The ones I know with a considerable knowledge stand corrected about these sonatas. Even I. But luckily enough I saw, bought and listen and was conquered.   
See my earlier reviews for additional info.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Panufnik, Andrzej. Symphonic Works, Volume 5. [Third Rerun]

In my last review I told you all that I needed time with this volume by Panufnik, the fifth to be exact, and having it in the player for the third time, it finally dawns on me, and I see the greater picture of the music. At first I was put off by the somewhat bombastic introduction of Metasinfonia, with this thundering organ, but the logical fabric made me see the sense in the use of this mighty instrument. It will not get a front place in my admiration but, its along the lines in which Panufnik is thinking and composing, and since I am a declared admirer of his music, I must taste the sweet and the bitter. The Sinfonia Votiva & Concerto Festivo are both works that made me happy in musical and spiritual ways, although the composer is, in all three works, more extrovert as in any of the other releases. But that keeps me sharp, and backs me out of the way of complacency. So Volume five finally got its place on my ongoing survey of Panufnik, and i hope to acquire all the volumes as soon as possible. Full marks for recording and performance. See other reviews of different cd's in this series too, including earlier ones of volume five.

Arnell, Richard. Symphony No. 1 & 6 and other works.

Being all over this composer for the last few months, and gathering all that has been recorded of him, his Violin concerto just dispatched from Amazon UK, I can make the just assessment that he belongs to my top 10 favourite composers of all times. Why he deserved this place, his music will tell you, but so far I have heard nobody talk about it, after the many reviews I wrote. Meaning that either nobody took the trouble to get to know him, or if they did they have come to the conclusion that he is not worth any attention. But as I often saw happening is this. After some considerable time, someone comes to the surface and says, O, my look what I have heard now, etc, etc, quietly forgetting I had told them all along how good it is, well never mind me rambling along the known lines.
I restarted for the fourth time this cd with the first and his last symphony and a very early work, Sinfonia quasi Variazioni, opus 13. As good as any of his recordings on the label Dutton to start with. The first and the last symphony coupled together will give you a good insight into the musical changes he underwent during his long life. For me this disc was the start of a fantastic journey that will last me a lifetime of enjoyment. A shame that I cannot convince others to give Arnell a try, but then you know, one cannot force iron to bend with your bare hands, well at least I cannot. The sound is crystal clear, and the performance has all the punch this music needs.
See also all the other reviews including this one in the link.

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works, Volume 8.

Bought in 2014.
First listen.
Label: CPO, box with 22 cd's, and 165 page booklet in English only.
Recording venue: Martini Church in Groningen, The Netherlands.
Exact recording dates: Not mentioned.
Recording engineer: Not named.
Running time: 68:00

Instrument: Arp Schnitger organ.
In 1685 Jan Helman got the contract to repair and enlarge the organ, unfortunately he died in 1690 before the work was done, so in 1691 Arp Schnitger was commissioned to examine the instrument and to carry out the necessary repairs and additions. A year later the task was completed. During 1728-30 his son Franz Caspar Schnitger  again enlarged the instrument. When he died during that project, the work was completed by another famous organ builder, Albertus Anthoni Hinsz. During 1739-40 Hinsz introduced more changes. In the 19th century they virtually destroyed the character of this organ, but fortunately in extensive restorations 1975-76 and 1983-84 it was brought back to the sound picture of 1740.
Tonhohe: a'= 465 Hz.
Tuning: ungleichschwebend.

Works performed:
1) Toccate in F, BWV 540/1
2-3) Fantasia et Fuga in c, BWV 537.
4) Fantasia in c, BWV 570.
5)Fantasia in g, BWV 542/1
6) Fantasia et imitatio in h, BWV 563.
7-9) Toccata, Adagio et Fuga in C, BWV 564.
10) Fantasia in c, BWV 562.
11) Fantasia in c, BWV 1121.
12-13) Toccata et Fuga in d, BWV 538. 

The town in which I was born holds this famous organ, one of the finest in the world, considering all the famous organ builders that worked on it. The sound is unique too. Even Masaaki Suzuki, who recorded Bach on it recently for the label BIS, said so much. Impressed he was as never before, by any organ he played on. From him, that is a great compliment, and Weinberger emulates the same sentiments. I think that being in this church gives you a good impression and scope of this organ, in recordings it often does not fare well, and somehow its hard to register. Not that the recording is bad, but I know it sounds better when there. This said, I think that the Fantasias are well done, with just the right amount of tension and its contemplative intention. The Toccata's have a lot of breath, and are powerful in expression yet never overbearingly played. Weinberger always behaves prudently in the glittering department and rightly so. Never flashy interpretations but always well dosed effect and restraint.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Gouvy, Louis Theodore. (1819-1898) Orchestral Works. Symphony No. 6 & Sinfonietta opus 80. [Third Rerun]

Over the past 3 years I accumulated the recordings of Louis Theodore Gouvy that were released by CPO. Heartily glad that they picked up this composer that has gone on neglected too long. The other day I was annoyed by a remark of a broadcaster on the radio, that Gouvy was a watered down copy of Mendelssohn. I was never as close as to hitting someone with a classical encyclopedia, boxing his ears thoroughly. Only someone with the musical knowledge and size of a pea brain would be able to say such a thing. But then, what do these people know about music apart from the obvious popular composers, and aping what is said by others without having a opinion of themselves, nay are even able to have an informed opinion of the subject.
Anyways, although there are certainly inklings of Mendelssohn's influence, and the same could be said about Robert Schumann, Franz Schubert, Ludwig van Beethoven, and a host of other composers, influenced by one another, are they all watered down copies I wonder?
Gouvy is a composer that can stand well on his own feet, by being thoroughly original and authentic. Melodious and bright music, brimful with cheering details, sort of a filigree jewel from the Jugendstil time. Imagine the colours too use on them, the freedom of creativity, the fine lines, and what a short and glorious time it was for art in general, be it that it did not last long, but then some greatness passes quickly, not attracting attention from the crowd, but only from appreciative individuals. Both works on this disc emulate the great talent of the composer, and shows us a well trained professional that knows his way as assuredly as the compass points to the north. The recording and performance are pristine. Take a chance on Gouvy!
See also previous reviews of Gouvy's music on this blog.

Garofalo, Carlo Giorgio. (1886-1962) Orchestral Works. [Third Rerun]

And yet another composer that has been thoroughly forgotten and even ignored, despite this disc Naxos released some time ago. Not much is recorded of his work, and we may be grateful for the fact that Naxos at least did try to get him known to a wider public. Some time ago his son, Marcello Garofalo, a conductor himself contacted and informed me personally that there are still a lot of unpublished works waiting for release. On the basis of the Violin Concerto alone, which is on this disc, record companies should seriously investigate what is still lying on dusty shelves, to be recorded. They may contact his son for this, as he knows where the scores reside. There are also radio broadcasts of his work too. To get back at his music, the Violin concerto should be a classic and on every violinist repertoire. Its a romantic concerto to the core, and so well written, as if he put his whole heart in it. Sergei Stadler is a virtuoso, and he gives the music a good run for its money. What fine bowing and subtle fingering he shows. A true advocate to the music. The Romantic Symphony is a massive work, for a large orchestra, and its shows what a fine orchestrator Garofalo was, for although it is tightly scored, and may look quite dense, is nevertheless well spaced out, and every strand is lucid and logical.  Orchestra, recording engineers made this disc into a success, but above all, Garofalo's ability to communicate made it all possible. Please consider a hearing, and maybe it will give you the same pleasure as it did me. The Violin Concerto is an absolute must, and belongs to my top ten concertos for Violin. And by the way I send an email to Janine Jansen a Dutch Violinist, to listen to this fine concerto, and who knows........)
Excellent sound.
See also other reviews on this blog.

Ferrara, Franco. (1911-1985) Orchestral works. [Third Rerun]

A CD that got little exposure in the classical music magazines, probably because the name of this composer does not ring any bells, or that they found little what was original. I disagree with that assessment. More is recorded of this composer over the years, and the quality of this tonal music is such that it inspires me to investigate whatever comes on the market. Ferrera is a composer who is quiet and unobtrusive in its expression, and therefore little visible, to the world around him. He is a painter of subtile images, yet in such a refined ways, that it slowly gets into your system, and pretty quickly makes you sit up and wonder why he is so unknown. Its a connoisseur composer, you have to find him, instead of the other way around. His expression can go from a wide fiesta to a intimate micro cosmos. He is not a bright star, but more a lot of little stars that pierce in a gently way the fabric of your senses. He is in every respect deservant of you admiration and above all attention. Its easy to dismiss him, its a act of extreme privilege to be able to hear him. Do not slip him from your musical radar, you're doing yourself a disservice. La Vecchia is a sublime conductor, and together with his fine orchestra he gives you some unique insight into this erudite and excellent composer.
Sound is pristine. See also other reviews on this blog.

Haydn, Joseph. SQ opus 64, No. 2/4/5. Quatuor Mosaiques.

A box with SQ by Haydn. Many a time these past years a complete set passed my ears, and I declined after hearing samples. True it is not easy to satisfy my craving for ultimate performances, but I have been beaten by this recording, of some if not all SQ, for it is not complete. For me these interpretations are on top of all and everything I have heard so far. Of course there are excellent cycles already, and I have a few of them, but this set is topping them all by its sheer musicality. Its a perfect synergy between musicians, technicians, producers, and the creative input of the label. Its jaw dropping every time I put in a disc, the phrasing, articulation, the bowing, the dynamics, the tempi, the sound they create, all is sublime. Haydn would have been rocking on his chair by such perfection and yet natural playing. Today its disc 7, with the opus 64, No. 5 in D major The Lark, No. 2 in B minor, with its amazing Finale presto, and No. 4 in G major. So enjoyable, I must somehow see that the rest of this cycle is also landing on my doormat soon. Recommended. See other reviews also.

Galuppi, Baldassare. Manuscript Sonatas for Harpsichord. Disc II, Sonatas 7-11. [Third Rerun]

Not strictly a new runner up in my collection, but one that has enjoyed the inside of my player many a time, for the one and only reason because its so good.  It invites you constantly to get back at it, for me mainly because it can cheer up a gloomy day, or put your mind at rest when upheaval is domineering your daily routine, it fits all moods really. Galuppi delivered some fine pieces of music, that have a length and breadth, superseding all what I have heard previously. This good it is. Second disc third time around, and still surprised by its sheer ingenuity. What a creative composer Baldassare was. Go for this inexpensive set, it will brighten up your life considerably. See for technical info and previous review, earlier scribblings on this blog.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gouvy, Theodore. (1819-1898) Symphonies No. 3 & 5. [Third Rerun]

Another composer that has been promoted by CPO for a good reason, for he is a master in his own right, albeit a lot of people would say he is second tier. That's also a opinion, but those amongst you that did some work on his scores and read about his life, know that he was a well respected man, not the least for his well written music. People tend to look for similarities in other composer and then say, O, well he's is not as good as Mendelssohn, and Schumann, let alone Beethoven, as if that is the measure of all things, at which every composer is measured and if necessary condemned. In a sense Gouvy was measured and abandoned. At CPO they thought differently, and are recording a lot of his work. There is more to Gouvy as a first hearing will tell you, and those that persevere in listening to him, will find the pearls amongst his composition, and that in fact all he writes is life affirming and has an optimistic tendency. His writing for all desks is done out of the knowledge of every instrument, and often the works contain parts in which  the orchestra shines and be made to a polish that blinds your senses with delight. The recording and performance is excellent.
See previous review also.

Freitas Branco, Luis de. Orchestral Works Volume IV. [Third Rerun]

Let there be no doubt about it, Freitas Branco is a fabulous composer, very much undervalued, and little known. Which is a mystery to me, if you listen to his colourful orchestration, and fine architectural buildup of his scores, it is clear to me that we deal with a great composer. It really doesn't matter which volume you pick in the Naxos series its all excellence what the ear meets. None of his works so far disappointed me, on the contrary, they enhance my appreciation for his music.
Cassuto and the technical team of Naxos gives us a clear insight. Fine tonal works. Recommended!

See previous review

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 ...