Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pejacevic, Dora. (1885-1923) Songs. ( Second Rerun)

Also a recent acquisition, and one I would normally not buy. That I did it anyway, has to do with the extraordinary quality of the music. In this case I call myself a fan of this female composer.
See previous review.


Praetorius, Johann. !1595-1660) Selected Organ Works. Second run.

After listening to this disc for the second time, I begin to appreciate the sound of this organ even more. And although I get a bit unsettled by the nervy playing of Flamme, I consider it a small price to pay, for the gains are making good a lot. 
See previous review for all details.


First listen. Strauss, Johann II. Complete Orchestral Works, CD 26.

Bought quite some time ago.
First listen.
Label Naxos.
Box with 52 cd's.
Recording dates: May 1991.
Recording venue: Concert Hall of the Austrian Radio.
Recording engineer: Anton Reininger.
Running time: 68:30.

Works performed:

Electrophorus, Quick Polka, opus 297.
Epigrams, Waltz, opus 1.
Child's play, Polka, opus 202.Industry Quadrille, opus 35.
Jurists Ball Dances, opus 177.
Respectable Citizenry, French Polka, opus 282.
Sophie's Quadrille, opus 75.
Artist's Life, Waltz, opus 316.
Little Louise, French Polka, opus 339.
It was so Wonderful, March, opus 467.
Pasman Polka, opus, not given
Pasman Waltz, opus not given.

Performed by: 
Austrian Radio SO, Peter Guth.

CD 26 is a highlight in this collection. Very good performances, very good recording. This for me unknown orchestra under Guth makes it a feast to listen to a few of Strauss his best scores, one of them Sophie Quadrille, which is gorgeous, as is his opus 1 Epigrams.  If you have to step in somewhere this would be the CD.

New Acquisition. First listen. Reger, Max. (1873-1916) Orchestral music.

New acquisition.
Bought in September 2014.
First listen.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: January 2011.
Recording venue: Munchen, BR Studio I, Germany.
Recording engineer: Winfried Messmer.
Running time: 61:24.

Works performed:

Violin Concerto, opus 101 in A major.
Aria for Violin and orchestra, opus 103a,3.

Performed by:

Ulf Wallin, Violin.
Munchner Rundfunkorchester, Ulf Schirmer.

In my collection.
Box with orchestral music by Reger, with 7 cd's.
Violin Concerto, opus 101.
Staatskapelle Dresden, Herbert Blomstedt.
Manfred Scherzer, Violin.
Berlin Records.

When browsing through my collection I see that I have quite a lot of music by his hand. Sampling through his organ music, I had the inclination to steer far away from it, having quite a dislike for it. His piano music, and other chamber music go well in my ears. And most orchestral works too. By accident I stumbled over this recording on CPO with the Violin concerto, which I like very much. But it does not replace the somewhat older recording I have with Scherzer as a soloist, for he is quite as good as Wallin. Recording wise both are good, but clearly the Staatskapelle Dresden under Blomstedt is a much better orchestra as the Munchner RFO. I recently remarked that this orchestra is not first tier, thus this very difficult concerto is quite a feat to bring off successfully, and its gets a better treatment by Blomstedt. That is not to say that the Munchners do not have their merits, for one Wallin is a fine violinist, and makes his mark quite forcefully mastering the difficult writing by Reger, who was never a man for simple scores. But the orchestra despite their best efforts are not really up to it. Some parts work, others less, still they manage to give a coherent performance, albeit missing are the finer details, especially in the strings, and less than steady tempo's. It has a somewhat bland outlook. Not bad but it can be done much better. The recording is good, though I do not always like what comes out of this studio, which clearly has issues with orchestral clarity. I noticed this before with the George Schumann recording from the same forces.

New acquisition. First listen. CD 5. Telemann, Georg Philipp. (1681-1767) Water Music and other works.

New acquisition.
Bought in September 2014.
First listen.
Label: Archiv-Eloquence.
Flimsy box with 10 cd's.
Recording year: 1984 & 1995.
No info further available.
Running time: 63:32.

Performed by:
Musica Antiqua Koln, Reinhard Goebel.

Works performed:

1-10) Overture in C major. (Hamburger Ebb und Fluth)
11-14) Concerto in B major.
15-18) Concerto in F major.
19-22) Concerto in A minor.
23-27) Concerto ( Septet) in e minor, for Oboe, Harpsichord & BC.

Let there be no doubt about the integrity of the music! This whole set of 10 cd's probably holds one of the best performances you can acquire on the market today on authentic instruments, far preferable over modern instruments. They are recorded in almost State of the Art sound, so there is a lot to enjoy too. Goebel is never stressing the argument, but lets the music speak for itself, pur sang!
Even if you have different performances, this set would be a great compliment to your collection.

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works. Disc 1. [Second Rerun]

I am happy that I can start this complete set anew for the second time. I refer back to my previous review of this disc.


New Acquisition. [First listen] Disc 8.. Settimo Libro dei Madrigali 1619. ( Concerto) Part II.

New acquisition. 
Bought in September 2014.
First listen.
Label: Glossa.
Box with 12 discs. Disc 12 has a PDF file with all the original books and texts.
Recording dates: January and September 1998.
Recording venue: Chiesa della BV Maria del Carmelo al Colletto, Roletto, Italy.
Recording engineer: Davide Ficco.
Running time: 70:51

Performed by:
La Venexiana, Claudio Cavina.

The recording is good, in comparison to CD 7 the first part of this cycle. And the performance leaves absolutely no wishes open. This is one of the best sets of Monteverdi's Madrigali on the market. You can buy this without hesitation. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

New Acquisition. [First listen] Schumann, Georg. (1866-1952) Orchestral Works.

New Acquisition.
Bought in September 2014.
First listen.
Label: CPO
Recording dates: March 2009.
Recording venue: Munchen, BR Studio I, Germany.
Recording engineer: Mechthild Homburg.
Running Time: 73:32.

Works performed:
Symphony in B minor. ( Prize winning Symphony)
A serenade for Large Orchestra, opus 34.

Performed by:
Munchner Rundfunkorchester, Christoph Gedschold.

A few days ago I listen to 2 piano trios by Schumann which made quite some impression on me. Today some orchestral music by his hand, and the net result is equally pleasing to ears and heart. Schumann will not cause a musical earthquake, but pleasant convulsions are a possibility, for he writes beautiful melodies, fed by his cultural background and based on what other composers did before him. He is a romantic and writes in this way. Taken on his own merit he can hold its ground. Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Mendelssohn, they all pass the revue, but Georg adds his own flavour nevertheless. You best start with the opus 34, and thoroughly romantic work, with some beautiful writing for strings and wind. The piece has 5 movements, of which the second movement Nachtliger Spuk, brings back Mendelssohn but on a equal level, very attractive, as the Third and Fourth movement, Standchen and Intermezzo. The impression is one of friendliness and life affirming energy.
I can imagine that a first tier orchestra could make the performance much better, with what I want to say, that the performance is good, rather than excellent. The opus 34 gets a better treatment. The sound is good too, but could have done with a bit more clarity, sometimes the denser parts of the score got lost in some blurriness, which is caused by microphones not placed carefully, which is odd considering that this is a studio recording. My near field monitors are very sensitive to this.

New acquisition. [First listen] Haim-Ben, Paul. (1897-1984) Orchestral Works.

New Acquisition.
Bought in September 2014.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: June 2008.
Recording venue: Grosser Sendesaal, NDR, Hannover, Germany.
Recording engineer: Helge Martensen.
Running time: 57:37.

Works performed:
Symphony No. 1.
Fanfare to Israel.
Symphonic Metamorphoses on a Bach Chorale, "Wer nun den lieben Gott lasst walten".

Performed by:
NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Israel Yinon.

I saw the name pop up here and there, but never actually followed it up, by listening to the music. When I was browsing through a list of cheap cd's this one popped up, so I thought lets give it a chance. The samples were promising, and I am glad that the investment paid off. And I mean in a musical sense, for the physical cd was already very cheap. Its not so easy after a first hearing to define the music, in other words, its difficult to describe. The booklet refers to Mahler, but frankly apart from some technical similarities there is hardly anything that makes me turn in that direction. The work was premiered in 1941, at the beginning of WWII, with atrocities already happening, so of course you can hear the anxiety in the music about this. That said, the music is tonal, with some modernity in the way of writing, and my impression is that it represents, at least for me, a musical prayer, with long lines of deep contemplation, but also some horrifying moments, often hammered out by timpani, in quite a forceful way, interlaced with moments of deep serenity, To my ears this is a Romantic work, with a profound message. The tonal palette is one that comes close to some other composers I know, yet it is also markedly different. You get quickly aware of this by the way he connects the subject matter together, and moulding it into a melodic outburst that is truly unique. I guess in the following replays I will have more to say about this work.
I like the way in which the climax builds up in Fanfare to Israel, very cleverly done. The Symphonic Metamorphosen is a work that is carefully positioned, considering the base material. He really handles the Chorale with respect, and yet makes it his own, and turns it into a wonderfully conceived work. I am certainly going further in my exploration of this composer. The performance is very good, as expected with such a fine conductor. The recording is fine, but it needed a lot of volume, to get good results. And I mean a lot!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Monteverdi, Claudio. Settimo Libro dei Madrigali 1619 (Concerto) CD 7.

Bought in September 2014.
First listen.
Label: Glossa, Box with 12 cd's.
Recording dates: January and September 1998.
Recording venue: Chiesa della BV Monte Carmelo al Colletto, Roletto, Italy.
Recording engineer: Davide Ficco.
Running time:

Performed by:
La venexiana, Claudio Cavina. 

The first CD in this box I have some issues with. The first is with the recording. Previous recording in the same venue proved to be very good, but this one is not, at least not for the voices. It is distantly recorded at least the first part. It gets better half way through the recording though. Secondly I have some problems with the female voices here, especially with the Alto, Gloria Banditelli. A voice strained and uneasy. She is sometimes irritatingly edgy. All three sopranos sound a bit edgy and strained as if under rehearsed. Guys are okay. But anyways the music stays heavenly. 

In the order list. My newest discovery Heinrich Kaminski.

Most of the recordings by this composer are OOP, or very expensive secondhand. I am not going for the madness, but this Organ CD on an unknown label called Mitra from 1981, is by what I heard of the samples fabulous. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Jenkins, John. (1592-1678) Fantasies Suites. Third listen

Again a delightful encounter with some fabulous music that is well performed and recorded.
See for all info my first review.


New acquisition. Nielsen, Carl. (1865-1931, Complete Organ Works, & Langgaard, Rued. (1893-1952) Selected Organ Works.

New Acquisition.
Bought in September 2014.
First listen.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: May 2008.
Recording venue: Stiftskirche zu Bad Gandersheim, Germany.
Recording engineer: Iris Duwensee.
Running time: 67:40.

Works performed.
Carl Nielsen.

1) Festival Prelude to the New Century.
2-30) 29 Short Preludes.
31-32) Two posthumous Preludes.
33) Melody.
34) Commotio, opus 58.

Rued Langgaard.

35) Ascension day.
36) Buried, First Sunday after Trinity.
37) Harvest Prelude
38) At the Funeral of Axel Gade.
39) Wedding March.

Instruments used.

Muhleisen Organ (2000) Bad Gandersheim.

Track 33 on the Lorentz Organ Sct. Maria Kirke at Helsingor, Danmark

Played by Friedrich Flamme.

Flamme is better suited to these works as what I have heard lately from him, namely the Praetorius CD recently reviewed. Somehow he is more in his element with slightly more modern works, albeit my opinion is based on 2 cd's I have heard from him so far, composers from the 17th century. 
I was not aware of both composers having written organ music, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised, by both of them. First of all both organs in this recording sound fantastic, and the recording is first rate too. But I did not expect such tonal music from Langgaard, or so little modernity from Nielsen. Especially the 29 preludes were a revelation for me, such Bachian works, such tranquility and balance. I am still utterly amazed at what I have heard. And that goes for Langgaard too, for although I have orchestral music by him, and some miscellaneous chamber music, I was never aware that he wrote for this mighty instrument too, and well he wrote. So altogether this cd made me look further into the latter composer in regard to other works for organ, since we have on this cd a selected choice for the instrument, so there must be more. Well investigate.
A inexpensive disc with such fantastic music is a recommendation in itself.

New Acquisition. Kaminski, Heinrich. (1886-1946) Orchestral works.

New acquisition.
Bought in September 2014.
First listen.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: February 2010.
Recording venue: Robert-Schumann Saal, Dusseldorf, Germany.
Recording engineer: Stephan Reh.
Running time: 53:22.

Works performed:
Orchestral version of the String Quintet in F sharp major.
(Arr. Reinhard Schwarz-Schilling.)

Performed by:
Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss, Lavard Skou Larsen.



Well, well, even more forgotten, than many a composer I encountered. I just stumbled by accident on this cd, and thought that the samples warranted the purchase, and I was not wrong, not wrong at all. Now there is actually a lot to tell about this composer, and the booklet offers a detailed account written by Eckhardt van den Hoogen, which is excellently translated into english by Susan Marie Praeder in 10 pages, which I am unable to reproduce in a concise review, too much is crammed into these pages. But I can tell you about the music. The F sharp major quintet is simply said a masterpiece, overlooked and ignored as so often with works that threaten the order of what connaisseurs tell you what should be remembered and what not. A pupil of Kaminski orchestrated the piece for String orchestra and that was non other as Schwarz-Schilling, a composer that is high on my list as one of the top 20th century composers. (Two Naxos cd's with his music are available).
Schwarz-Schilling put definitely his own stamp on the music, and very successful it is. Its a work of rare beauty and cogency of expression. There are some cantabile lines that are breathtaking. Brightly coloured pictures emerge, its almost a Concerto Grosso, a gripping work, carefully avoiding tonal dissonances. The source of energy of this music is less in the rhythmic element, but more so in the melodic content. It was in its time well received, and in this time it is well received by me. He was twice forgotten, the third time around with this recording, and he will sink into oblivion again, but not without me having listened to this masterwork.
A fine performance and recording.

New Acquisition. Schumann, Georg. (1866-1952) Piano Trio No. 1 & 2.

New acquisition.
Bought in September 2014.
First listen.
Label CPO.
Recording dates: November 2010.
Recording venue: Studio Gartnerstrasse, Berlin, Germany.
Recording engineer: Bernd Friebel.
Running time: 71:42.

Works performed:

Piano Trio No. 1, opus 25 in F major. (1899)
Piano Trio No. 2, opus 62 in F major. (1916)

Performed by:
Munchner Klaviertrio.

I have to admit that I never heard of this composer, and while no family from Robert Schumann, he certainly emerged from the same cultural ground. Schumann came from a very musical family and was a brilliant pianist. Considered a bright composer, and was well respected by his compeers and public alike. You can best describe him as a late romantic, writing his first trio in a perfect romantic style, so near to Brahms and on the same level, it is a beautifully crafted work, and will charm anyone, despite the same melodic vein as many around him. However, being totally unique in his way of scoring Schumann gets unexpected results melodically, as much in his first and more so in his second trio. Modifying his composing style in the opus 62 a little after hearing Reger, but he did not go that far as to abandon the romantic inclination. I enjoyed both trio immensely and look forward to a disc with orchestral music, which I also bought together with this one. The performance is one that will be hard to follow in quality of execution. And a very convincing recording to boot. Lets not ignore him, he is worth your attention. The fact that he is totally forgotten makes me sad.

New Acquisition. Pejacevic, Dora. (1885-1923) Lieder. [First listen]

New Acquisition.
Bought in September 2014.
First listen.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: November 2007.
Recording venue:Kammermusikstudio, SWR, Stuttgart, Germany.
Recording engineer: Burkhard Pitzer-Landeck.
Running time: 61:44.

Works performed:

Ein Lied, opus 11.
Warum?, opus 13.
Sieben lieder, opus 23.
Zwei lieder, opus 27.
Vier lieder, opus 30.
Verwandlung, opus 37.
Liebeslied, opus 39.
Madchengestalten, opus 42.
An eine Falte, opus 46.
Zwei Schmetterlingslied, opus 52.
Drei gesange, opus 53.
Zwei lieder, opus 55.

Performed by: Alt.
Cord Garben, Piano.

This came in this morning as part of 8 cd's. Music I would normally not acquire, but considering that I have all that is recorded of this female composer, and considering the extraordinary quality of the compositions, I made a exception on this rule. I am not a lieder fan at all, on the contrary, I can hardly stomach Schubert in this genre, and that is saying something, him being considered a great in the genre. But, and here is the thing. First of all it is sung by a Alt, as compared to a soprano, she keeps her vibrato within my set parameters, she sings with sensitivity to text, and adds an appropriate amount of warmth, just occasionally letting her volume full blast, but the cure for that is volume, just put it a few notches lower. But most of all its Pejacevic's music that has me spellbound. I consider her one of the greatest female composers that lived around this period, and I am so disappointed that almost no one,not even a few, noticed this, or God forgive did buy the records CPO made. I can only hammer again and again on the fact, that once you listen to her music you are sold, stock and barrel.
I am, and that is no easy thing to do, believe me. I am smitten by her music, and applaud her with as much noise as I can muster. Both musicians give due attention to the music, and the result is magical. The texts are from the composer and other writers, but the effect has the same impact.
Its cheap, as all the other cd's that were recorded. Sound is excellent.

New Acquisition. Praetorius, Johann. Selected Organ Works. [First listen]

New acquisition.
Bought in September 2014
First listen.
Label: CPO. 
Recording dates: May 2007.
Recording venue: Peter und Paul Kirche des Klostergutes Holthausen bei Buren.
Recording engineer: Gregor van den Boom. ( Recording producer)
Running time: 65:08.

Works performed:

Allein zu dir Herr, Jesu Christ, Versus 1.1-4.
Christe, qui lux es et dies, Variatio 2. 1-3
Da pacem Domine, Variatio, 3. 1-4.
Ich Ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, Variatio, 4. 1-4.
Jesus Christus, unser Heiland der von uns den Gotteszorn wandt. Variatio 5.1-4.
Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein. Variatio 6.1-3.
Puer nobis nascitur, Variatio, 7.1-4.
Vater unser in Himmelreich, Variatio, 8.1-2.
Psalm 116-Ich Lieb den Herren, Variatio, 9.1-4.
O, Gott du unser Vater, Variatio 10.1.
Mein Junges Leben hat ein end, Variatio, 11.1-6.

Performed by Friedrich Flamme.

Technical info of the Organ:
Tuning: a'=465 Hz, at 15 grad celsius.
Temperament: Werckmeister III.

This morning 8 new cd's arrived at my doorstep, with some interesting music, at least for me. Eagerly unpacking them, as we all do when new arrivals appear, my morning music had to be Organ music by Johann Praetorius. Now about this composer there is little info about his person apart from the fact that he was born in 1595, one of seven children, of the organist Hieronymus Praetorius, who was one of the leading personalities in the early period of autochthonous Northern German organ artistry. We know that Johann studies with Sweelinck about 1609 till 1611, exact dates are unknown. His expert judgement in inspected organs was well known. It should be a normal thing for Johann to produce organ music, but until recently it was not possible to assign compositions to him, that were published under other names or anonymous. After careful study most of the works on this cd can be assumed to be by Praetorius. I consider these works as very important in the organ literature of that time, and enjoyed what I heard. A big part of that joy comes from the organ used. This organ is a assembly from bits and bobs from all over the place, and has only seven stops, which allows this instrument enough range to play all the works on this cd with due effect. They could find a date, 1764, but no info about the builder.  There are a lot of elements in this organ which are considerably older, and which came from another church, like the frame construction of the case, the front boards and a quite thick-walled Gedackt, with an exceptionally beautiful sound. Most of the panels and the carvings as well as the action components were constructed afresh when they were installed in the cloister church. A wind chest that originated somewhere else was used. So its build together of different parts, and yet they managed to get a lovely sound out of it, despite the 7 stops.
It was a great joy to hear it. I am not a great admirer of Flamme's way of playing, but I allowed him in on the basis of the music and organ. The SACD recording is favouring the higher register of this organ, so keep the volume down. That way the music gets its due effect, and the intimacy is covering your esthetic needs.
A few pictures of this fine organ.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works. Disc 22, last in the box.

Bought in 2014.
First listen.
Label:CPO. Box with 22 cd's.
Recording date and engineer are not mentioned in this release.
Recording supervisor: Werner Czesla.
Running time: 43:29.

Works recorded:
Contrapunctus inversus: 12.1 a 4/12.2 a 4/13.1 a 3/13.1 a 3.
Canon alla Ottava
Canon alla Decima in Contrapunto alla Terza
Canon alla Duodecima in Contrapunto all Quinta
Canon per Augmentationem in Contrario Motu.
Fuga a 3 Soggetti (Fragment)
Choral, "Wenn wir in hochsten Noten sein" BWV 668.

Instrument used:
Johannes Creutzburg Organ, Propsteikirche St. Cyriakus, Duderstadt, 1733-35.
(See for technical info and review cd 21, 25-9-2014)

Played by:
Gerhard Weinberger and Beatrice-Maria Weinberger.

A absolute gem of a disc, these Contrapunctus inversus compositions are da hammer! 
Did not hear them that often, but as played on this CD, it took my breath away, especially if they are played in such fashion, on a organ almost made for it. The canons are impressive too. A excellent close of the first run of this box, and I cannot wait to play them all over again. There is only one disc in the complete recording that disappointed me gravely, but to like 21 immensely is a good score any time. I can wholeheartedly recommend the CPO release, for it is hard to beat in completeness and interpretation, and the great wealth of different organs, this is truly a major issue in what Weinberger undertook. All the fine Organs in Thuringia, most of them known, inspected and played on by Bach, what more could one want?

Ballet Master Pieces. The world's favourite ballets and ballet Suites. Disc 6. Second rerun

Bought in 2010.
Second listen. (First listen, 5-3-2011)
Label: Decca. Box with 35 cd's.
Recording dates: March 1981.
Recording venue: Kingsway Hall, London.
Recording engineer: Stanley Goodall.
Running time: 63:42.

Works performed:
Gioachino Rossini, arr. Ottorino Respighi.
1) La Boutique Fantasque,
2-6) Soirees Musicales, arr. Benjamin Britten.
7-11) Matinees Musicales, arr. Benjamin Britten.

National PO, Richard Bonynge.

All the arrangement are superb done, especially the one done by Respighi, which is a absolutely fine score, which I admire very much. Britten is a different kettle of fish, but equally mesmerizing. They have left the music in its core intact and thats the great genius about these arrangements. It suits the choregraphies made for it. Wonderfull ballets that get a royal treatment here. Vintage Decca sound.

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works. Disc 21. First listen.

Bought in 2014.
First listen.
Label: CPO. Box with 22 cd's.
Recording dates: Not mentioned specifically.
Recording supervisor: Werner Czesla.
Running time:54:29.

Works performed:

World First Recordings.

1) Fantasia sopra il Chorale, "Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns halt"BWV 1128.
2-12) Die Kunst der Fuge, BWV 1080. ( Spatere Fassung des Orginaldruckes, Leipzig 1751.

Instrument used:
Johannes Creutzburg Organ, Propsteikirche St. Cyriakus, Duderstadt. (1733-35)
Tonhohe: a'=471,2 Hz bei 15 Grad celsius.
Stimmung: Neidhardt 2 (1724)

Performed by:
Gerhard Weinberger.

Again a fine organ used in this recording, beautifully restored back to its original guise, with some additions in the following years that have been preserved. It was restored and taken into service in 2006. In is one of the most outstanding organs in Thuringia and on the same level as the instruments by Trost and Treutmann among many others. Its a instrument with a fine Untersatz 32 (Eh, Eu) [Pedal] it gives the instrument a lot of body A warm sound, with much detail.
I thoroughly enjoyed the works on this CD many of them I did not hear before, but such is the completeness in this box, that all available scores were taken into consideration, much to my pleasure. BWV 1128 was a great surprise to me, being most certainly by Bach, a wonderful secure work. BWV 1080 was a great learning moment for me, in that I more or less understand this work better as in the past. This organ makes them a mighty bunch to be reckoned with.

Johannes Creutzburg Organ, Propsteikirche St. Cyriakus, Duderstadt. (1733-35)

Telemann, Georg Philipp. (1681-1767) Tafelmusik Part 3. Disc 4. First listen.

Bought in September 2014.
First listen.
Label: Archiv, Eloquence. Box with 10 cd's.
Recording year: 1989.
Running time: 67:45.
No other info available.

Works performed:

1-7) Overture-Suite in B major.
8-11) Quatuor in e minor.
12-15) Concerto in E flat major.
16-19) Trio in D major.
20-24) Solo in g minor.
25) Conclusion in B major.

Performed by:
Musica Antiqua Koln, Reinhard Goebel.

I have nothing else to say about these well known works, as they are perfect in their interpretation. It will not disappoint anyone out for the best, this is the best! Sound is state of the Art. A safe buy, and for a friendly price to boot.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Monteverdi, Claudio. Sesto libro dei Madrigali, 1614. Disc 6. First listen.

Bought in September 2014.
First listen.
Label: Glossa. Box with 12 cd's.
Recording dates: June 2004.
Recording venue: Chiesa della BV Maria del Monte Carmelo al Colletto, Roletto, Italy.
Recording engineer: Davide Ficco.
Running time: 71:58.

Performed by:
La Venexiana, Claudio Cavina.

Absolutely marvelous, a intrinsic experience. It opens up emotions that will heighten the music to spheres hitherto unknown when listening to the Madrigals in other performances. Disc 6 is a good example of what this group is capable of. I also found it fitting as a remembrance to Christopher Hogwood who died today.

Telemann, Georg Philipp. (1681-1767) Tafelmusik, Part 2. Disc 3. First listen.

Bought in September 2014.
First listen.
Label: Archiv, Eloquence. Box with 10 cd's.
Recording year: 1989.
Running time: 55:41.
No further technical info.

Works performed:

Quatuor in d minor.
Concerto in F major.
Trio in e minor.
Sonata in a major.
Conclusion in D major.

Performed by:
Musica Antiqua Koln, Reinhard Goebel.

We have some magnificent Telemann here, which is well worth the little money you have to spend to get this. Attractive playing in which all the joy shines through in performances that are no less than superior in level. Throw in for good measure an almost state of the art recording and you have excellence for your ears. True you get some terrible packaging, but that can be overcome, albeit for me that was difficult being a sucker for good booklets and appropriate info. No booklet or info here.
Still I am glad I have them.

Rodrigo, Joaquin. (1901-1999) The JR Edition. Disc 2. First listen.

Bought in September 2014.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant. Disc 2 is licensed from EMI.
Recording dates: 1980-1985. Not specified.
Recording venue: Mexico-London. Not specified.
Recording engineer: Brian Culverhouse.
Running time: 75:48.

Works performed:
1-10) Concierto Madrigal.
Alfonso Moreno & Deborah Mariotti, Guitars.

11-13) Concerto de Estio.
Agustin Leon Ara, Violin.

Concierto de Aranjuez.
Alfonso Moreno, Guitar.

London SO, Enrique Batiz.

The first two works were new to me, and the last concerto of course not, obviously. I can say that I am mightily impressed by the high standard of performance in all three works. The Concerto is a magical work in 10 movements, that encompass a lot of moods and images, and is brilliantly scored, played by two artists that reach a symbiosis that is remarkable to say the least. They get to the heart of the music is such detail, that the picture is divided into many detailed soundscapes, that all have a powerful message, be it not in volume but in a picturesque scaping of the notes.
But what blew me out of my socks was the Violin Concerto. I never heard it before, at least to my knowledge, it is such a powerful statement of Rodrigo's talent, that if you ever need a work to showcase it would be surely this concerto, that will do the trick. Ara is a fantastic violinist that clearly grasps the essence of the work, and manages to squeeze out every ounce of genius that Rodrigo wrote into it. Every one of the three movements had me on edge, being a lover of Violin concertos I was particularly curious about it.  Its fantastic, and this statement comes easily from my heart. Just sample some soundbites and be convinced.
De Aranjuez concerto is of course well known, and I am happy to say that Moreno is not indulging in a super sweet interpretation, but he rather keeps to the score, adds warmth but never too much, is sparingly in vibrato, and in his legato. Just clearly delineating all what is on offer, and mould it into a concerto that has all the power of expression, and little on the gossiping range of the matter. You'll love this as an antidote to all the syrupy interpretations.  The orchestra under the late lamented Batiz is a marvel in sound and an able partner, never overstating their influence but rather add with precision and feeling the final perfect touch.
Culverhouse delivered a State of the Art recording.

Ballet Masterpieces, The world;s favourite ballets and ballet suites. Disc 5. Second rerun.

Bought in March 2010.
Second listen. (First listen, 2-3-2010, no review of that)
Label: Decca. Box with 35 cd's.
Recording dates.1972, 1974, 1975, 1982, 1985
Recording venue: Kingsway Hall, London.
Recording engineer: Stanley Goodall, James Lock, Kenneth Wilkinson
Running time: 74:12.

Works performed:
Carl Maria von Weber, Orchestration, Hector Berlioz.
1) Invitation a la valse.

Frederic Chopin, Orchestration, Roy Douglass.
2-9) Les Sylpides.

Josef and Johann Strauss, I & II, arr and orch, Douglas Gamley.
Bal de Vienne, Die Fledermaus, Act II.

Alexandre Luigini. *
Ballet Egyptien, Part I & II.

National PO, and London SO*, Richard Bonynge.

For me ballet music will always be special, for it changes the world around me, and whirles me around in a totally different surrounding, automatically. Four ballets on this disc, all good music to dance to. I may not always be content about the different arrangements, like what Douglass is doing in Les Sylphides, or in Bal de Vienne done by Gamley, but essentially its fine music to dance too. Although the recordings are from different periods, its always excellent as of course is the performance under Bonynge.

Bach, J.S. Complete organ Works, Disc 20.

Bought in  June 2014.
First listen.
Label: CPO. Box with 22 discs.
Recording date: Not mentioned.
Recording supervisor: Werner Czesla.
Running time: 58:43.

Works performed:

Works of doubtful authenticity Part III.

1-8) Acht kleine Praludien und Fugen, BWV 553-560, in C, d, e, F, G, g, a, B.
9) Orgelchoral in Dulci Jubilo, BWV 751.
10-14) Funf Choraltrios a 2 clav. et pedal aus der Sammlung Hahn.
15-17) Orgelchorale aus der Sammelhandschrift Yale LM 4843.
18-19) Orgelchorale aus der Sammlung Korner.
20) Orgelchoral Das alte Jahr vergangen ist, BWV deest/Choral BWV 288.

Instruments used in this recording:

Carl Christian Hofmann, Organ, St Marien Mechterstadt, 1770.
Tonhohe: a'=2 halbtone uber normal.
Stimmung: nach GA Sorge, 1764.

Georg Christoph Stertzing Organ, St. Petri Bussleben, 1702.
Tonhohe: a'=3 halbtone uber 440 Hz.
Stimmung: mitteltonig, nach Praetorius.

Performed by:
Gerhard Weinberger.

I am sorry about the poor quality of the pictures, but I could not find better ones:(

So, after a discomforting travail  through disc 19, which I found utterly disappointing on grounds of the recording, imagine my ultimate pleasure of disc 20, with 2 sublimely sounding organs in very good sound. This is the complete meal as in the heydays of Hogwarts. And to add, there is not a single work on this CD, but had me all in feathers and tetters. Of doubtful authenticity or not, all the works are on the same creative level as if its actually composed by Bach. And to hear it in such mouthwatering sound! If I had to single out one CD of this set as being a prime example of the quality of music and performance and instruments, this would be it.
Bach was fully aware of both organs, and he certainly played on them, and put his seal of approval on it. Although the Hofmann organ could not be entirely brought back to its origins, ( in its dispositions) still the result is nothing short of stunning!
The Stertzing organ is a jewel too, and if only a few of its technical components are still extant, the wind chest and the pipework offer an extensive inventory from the period of the first building. And its the only extant organ of this builder in the world. It has a very close relation with the Bach family and is therefore a very important instrument.with a authentic sound from Bach's early period. The Qu 16 and P 16 sound absolutely gorgeous.

Telemann, Georg Philipp. (1681-1767) Tafelmusik Part I conclusion and begin part II. CD 2.

New acquisition.
Bought in September 2014.
First listen.
Label: Archiv-Eloquence.  Box with 10 cd's.
Recording year: 1989.
There is no info about, venue, engineer.
Running time: 57:50.

Works recorded:
Part I.

1-4) Trio in Es major.
5-8) Sonata in h minor.
9) Conclusion in  e minor.

Part II.

10-14) Overture Suite in D major.

Musica Antiqua, Koln, Reinhard Goebel.

If you look purely from the musical standpoint these recording are absolutely top notch, and if you can ignore the flimsy packaging which is actually an insult for the buyer and a disgrace for the quality label Archiv, this set will fulfill all your wishes regarding the music by Telemann. You get very alert and vibrant interpretations which have lost nothing of their validity over the years. Doesn't matter how much you already have of this music, Goebel's take should be part of your collection, if it isn't already. I send a email about this to Universal Records, but I doubt I get answers about this. It is clear to me that the people who brought this again to the market, have no interest in esthetics oe ethics but are only interested in financial gain. The sound is state of the art.

Monteverdi, Claudio. (1567-1643) The Complete Madrigali. CD 5. Quinto libro dei Madrigali, 1605.

Bought in September 2014.
First listen.
Label: Glossa. Box with 12 cd's.
Recording dates: May 2006.
Recording venue: Chiesa della BV Maria Carmelo al Colletto, Roletto Italy.
Recording engineer: Roberto Meo.
Running time: 66:29.

La Venexiana, Claudio Cavina.

Also in my collection:
[Complete and miscellaneous sets of the Madrigal books. ]

Consort of Musicke, Anthony Rooley.
Concerto Italiano, Rinaldo Alessandrini.
Cantus Koln, Konrad Junghanel.
Cappella Maurizina, Mario Valsecchi.
Ensemble Concerto, Roberto Gini.
Ensemble Arte Musica, Francesco Cera.

Until now this box with Monteverdi's madrigali fulfilled my every wish. Not a blemish to be found, all works wonderfully well with this group, and therefore I can add little apart from, worth your money and a necessary acquisition for everyone who is into this music.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ordered a few pearls, which others ignore.

I sifted through the CPO catalogue and found some worthies. A few of which I have none in my collection, and some things which I normally would not buy, but because of the extraordinary quality of the music I nevertheless did. Guess which one!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works. Disc 19. First listen.

Bought in 2014.
First listen.
Label: CPO. Box with 22 discs.
Recording dates, and engineer not mentioned.
Running time: 73:01.

Works performed:
Works zweifelhafter Echtheit, II.

1-2) Toccata et Fuga in d, BWV 565.
3-6) Orgelchorale, BWV 762/754/anhang II 67/anhang II, 59.
7) Fuga in c, BWV Anhang II, 90.
8-15) Partita "Herr Christ, der einig Gottes Sohn" BWV, anhang II, 77.
16-21) Orgelchorale BWV 747/757/anhang II, 55/deest/deest/anhang II 69.
22-28) Partita "Wenn wir in Hochsten Noten sein"anhang II, 78.
29) Fantasia et Fuga in a BWV 561

Instrument used:
Gottfried Silbermann Organ, Hofkirche Dresden 1750-55.

Performed by Gerhard Weinberger.

The last Organ Gottfried Silbermann build, even though he could not finish it, so his assistant Zacharias Hildebrandt and a nephew of Gottfried completed the task. Now I am sure it is a fine organ, but for the first time with this set I have to be critical and take issue with the recording, which is far from ideal, it ruined the compositions, and the organ sounded as a second hand barrel from the flea market. To start with this organ is a big one, not at all suited to the more intimate works on this CD, secondly the sound is swimming around the church with an almost unending echo, obscuring all details and coherence, thirdly it was recorded at a distance, ruining all the works from the finer details. There is some attempt halfway to correct the sound stage, but that did not make things much better. The first work to suffer is the beautiful Toccata et Fuga BWV 565, its sounds like a hollow cauldron full of Irish stew, you know that all the ingredients are tasty, but as a whole its a failure because of a cook that did not understand how to make it. It is beyond me that the sound engineer produced such a dud, after all those excellent recordings in this box, but there you go. Not a tasty meal then, what a pity!

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 ...