Thursday, December 31, 2015

I wish...

All my classical music friends a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2016.
I hope you will all return to reading my humble blog, to read all about the music we all love.

In all lives and families many things happen that are not really welcome, but are not to be avoided. Therefore I am glad that the balance is always on the positive side.
I am grateful for every one of you.
Peace on earth...this is my most fervent wish.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I had some spare time to order a few things...

The Weckmann twofar is a bargain, and almost a ultimate interpretation.

The Schubert is self recommending, it came at a good price.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

No listening or reviewing.

Due to some serious issues with my wife's health has me temporarily abstained from listening..
I will resume as soon as I possibly can.
Hope you understand.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Fourth helping of Christmas music

This box with four cd's have always been a joy for me.

CD 1. Festive Music from Europe and America.
CD 2. Nine Centuries of seasonable Music.
CD 3. The Carol Album I. Seven centuries of Christmas Music.
CD 4. The Carol Album II. Seven Centuries of Christmas Music.

Just in time a few cd's came in which I did not expect before Christmas.....

Three excellent composers and recordings on the label Naxos.
Another instalment with music by the much underrated Eugene Zador. I have the first two in my collection, and they are much appreciated. Finally another instalment of the SQ by Taneyev, a series that I highly appreciate. So far not a weak moment in what they already recorded.
And finally the second instalment with works by the unknown composer Joachim Nikolas Eggert. He surprised me highly with the first release, and I expect great things from the present CD.

Will be released next year...... ordered.

This box ( 8 cd's) will be released in 2016, probably around January the 22. Two fine Harpsichordists.

Third helping of Christmas music.

Three titles from my collection. Christmas Cheer!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Second helping to some Christmas music from my collection.

Christmas cheer!

Playing Christmas music from my collection.

I have added almost no Christmas music to my collection for a few years, so I play all the oldies over and over again.
The first three of them.

Alberti, Domenico. (1710-1740) The complete Keyboard music. Disc 2. Compositions for Fortepiano.

New acquisition.
Bought in December 2015.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 2 from 4.
Recording dates: January 2014.
Recording venue: In the city Treviso, Italy.
Recording engineer: Manuel Tomadin.
Running time: 61:42.
Classical relevance: Interesting but mainly entertainment music.

Performed by:
Manuel Tomadin on a copy by Paul McNulty of Anton Walter (1792)

The recording and instrument are superb, and as far as the playing goes it could not be bettered. The music is entertaining but do not expect deepness of thought or inspiration. It trots on in a lively pace, but it's hardly memorable. Typical morning coffee music, it did the trick for me, and prepared me for some more demanding music. Manuel Tomadin is an excellent keyboard player, and also a good sound engineer. It merely of curiosity value, and good to know and being able to better understand the Zeitgeist.
Sample before you buy.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Viana da Mota, Jose. (1868-1948) Complete Orchestral Works, World premiere recordings.

Second rerun.

I would not want to subscribe to the hyperbole Naxos wrote about the composer on the backside of the jewel box, but I have good feeling with this music, that does not open up right away, you have to invest some time in it, to get the maximum out of the content. But there is enough to harvest, for the discernable listener. Maybe not first rank compositions but very close!
See first review with all details.

Poulenc, Francis. (1899-1963) Orchestral Works.

New acquisition.
Bought in December 2015.
First listen.
Label: Alpha.
CD 5 from 5.
Recording dates: March/April 2009.
Recording venue: Concertgebouw Brugge, Belgium.
Recording engineer: Markus Heiland.
Running time: 58:24.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed: 
Concerto for two Erard pianos and Orchestra. (1932)
Suite Francaise, (1935)
Concert Champetre (1927-28)

Performed by:
Anima Eterna Brugge, Jos van Immerseel.

Soloists on the Erard pianos:
Jos van Immerseel & Claire Chevallier.

I can say nothing else as that these performances are fabulous, and which in my ears cannot be equalled by anything I heard so far. Therefor I consider this complete box as an essential part of anyone's collection. All the works performed give a better understanding of the score and the music. All 5 CD'S are State of the Art recordings of an amazing clarity and detail. Markus Heiland scores high on my list of favourite sound engineers. The erard is a perfect vehicle for delivering music from that time. Their authentic sounds makes the music even of more interest. So why wait, order it for just 20 euro's including a fine comprehensive booklet.

Bought this morning at Amazon de this incredible bargain.....

The complete Organ Works by J.S.Bach, for just 19,00 euro's.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Ravel, Maurice. (1875-1937) Orchestral Works.

New acquisition.
Bought in December 2015.
First listen.
Label: Alpha
CD 4 from 5.
Recording dates: October 2005.
Recording venue: Concertgebouw Brugge, Belgium.
Recording engineers: Markus Heiland & Martin Nagorni.
Running time: 72:05.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Pavane pour une infante defunte.
Concerto pour la main Gauche.
Rhapsodie espagnole.
La Valse.

Performed by:
Anima Eterna Brugge, Jos van Immerseel.

Well I can say that after the fourth CD in this box that Immerseel is redefining the music, and well known music at that. I never liked the Bolero much, thinking it an empty and puffy thing, but Immerseel made me rethink, although Ravel discarded the work as a mere trifle. This conductor is getting the music back in proportion, and highlights all the details in the scoring of Ravel. Things you often never hear, although when played in the right way you will hear them. And I heard them. There is a definitive authentic ring to these interpretations, and this impression strengthens through the complete box. On top of that these recordings are all state of the art, the sound is fabulous. I wholeheartedly recommend this set, and elevate it to one of my Best Buys 2015  list.

CD 4 from 5

Rode, Pierre. (1774-1830) Violin Concertos, Volume 4.

Second rerun.

Rode is certainly a composer that surprised me this year with his beautiful Violin Concertos, and of course the superb performances of them. Its a pleasure to hear these ambitious works.

See previous review with all details.

First review of this CD.

Cirri, Ignazio. (1711-1787) 12 Sonatas for Organ, opus 1.

Second listen.
Worst buy 2015.

My first review was rather damning and I will even add to the weight of that first review.

The performer must have been on a hefty dose of Valium, for the playing is so slow that it almost stops in its tracks. The outlook of the interpretation is so unimaginative, that I have to think of a whole range of Degas pictures to get some pleasure out of it. 
Having trouble sleeping? Two movements of this music will sent you forthwith into deep slumbers. But hark! In an instance or two the playing suddenly gets livelier, that it made me positively fall out of my chair, due to the deep slumber I was in.
This is not a CD I will return to, and I consider this CD as one of the worst buys 2015.

See my first review for all details regarding instrument and works. Not a pretty read, mind you! :)

First review of this disc, read at your own peril

The Baroque Lute.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
CD 34 from 85.
Recording dates: December 1971 & March/June 1972.
Recording venue: Casino Zogernitz, Vienna, Austria.
Recording engineer: Dieter Thomsen.
Running time: 69:06.
Classical relevance: Only sentimental value.

Works and composers:
David Kellner. (c.1670-1748)
2 Fantasias.

J.S. Bach.
BWV 995 & 998.

Johann Gottfried Conradi. ( first quarter 18th century)
Suite in C major.

Silvius Leopold Weiss. 
Tombeau sur la mort de M. Comte de Logy.

Performed by:
Eugen M. Dombois on a Baroque Lute by Nico van der Waals, after models from c. 1700.

Do not expect to be awed by what is on this CD. The playing is down to earth and rigorously straightforward. One volume throughout. No subtleties in this interpretations, but it is almost roughly done, with none of the fineries in shading and accents, just the mere playing of the notes. There is no charm in the playing, and it has a stark outlook. If you're new to the music this may not apply, but for those that have a long history in hearing such music it must be of necessity not worth much attention.
Its uneventful, and devoid of a musical message. Added to this I did not like the instrument built by Nico van der Waals, in fact it sounded like a harpsichord, strummed by forceful fingers. I cannot really recommend it, but it all depends of what you make of it. The recording is good and a little forward. My advice would be, look further, there is much on the market, to tell a story complete, pas vrai? 

CD 34 from 85.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Rodrigo, Joaquin. (1901-1999) The Joaquin Rodrigo Edition. Complete Works.

Second rerun.
CD 4.

In the last days of the month December, I try to get through 3 or 4 boxes that were waiting for me for a second hearing, but I am not sure I will make it before the end of the year, but what the heck, I might try, right?
This Rodrigo box is of of them, only 14 CD's in this box, the rest I took out, for vocal works are not my thing, especially not from this era.
On the first 3 cd's in this set, Rodrigo's style is very recognizable, but on CD 4 that is not the case at all. The colours have changed due to a different scoring and the use of instruments. The mood  has gone to contemplative magic, musing as it were in unclear waters, but it is a welcome addition.

See first review with all details.

First review of this disc.

The Heritage of Frescobaldi Vol II.

Third rerun.

Absolutely top notch. See my first review with all details.

First review of this disc.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Bruhns, Nicolaus. (1665-1697) Schildt, Melchior. (c.1592-1667) Complete Organ Works.

Third rerun.

Joseph Kelemen is playing on the Arp Schnitger Organ (1692) in Ludgeri Kirche, Norden.
It's one of the best Organ discs I bought this year.
See first review with all details and pictures of the instrument.

First review of this disc.

Eggert, Joachim Nicolas. (1779-1813) Orchestral Works Volume I.

Second rerun.

Do not make the mistake of underestimating this composer, for he should be considered one of the more important composers of his era. His large scale first Symphony will prove this abundantly.
See first review!

First review of this disc with all details.

Ravel, Maurice. (1875-1937) Mussorgsky, Modest. (1839-1881) Orchestral Works.

New acquisition.
Bought in November 2015.
First listen.
Label: Alpha.
CD 3 from 5.
Recording dates: January 2013.
Recording venue: Concertgebouw Brugge, Belgium.
Recording engineer: Markus Heiland.
Running time: 48:12.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Ma mere l'oye, cinq pieces enfantines. Suite-1911-12.

Tableaux d'une exposition. 
Orchestration: Ravel.

Performed by: Anima Eterna Brugge, Jos van Immerseel.

We all known the works on this CD, in fact we all know all the works in this box, they are as familiar as tea in the morning for an Englishman. So what makes them so special that made me go directly to my internet shop and order it? It's the performance of these pieces, they are exceptional!  Immerseel's tempi's are slower, sometimes much slower, but that is all with a reason. For the orchestral picture is so open, that you literally hear details previously unknown. Honestly, Mussorgsky's piece sounds different from anything you ever heard, but then that goes for all composers recorded in this box. Immerseel goes back to the original scores and makes them sound fresh as a daisy. You can wander through all desks even when the orchestra goes full blast or to a ppp. There is a true ring in it all, that makes it for me truly unique. I would say, you all need this box in your collection and be stunned. No matter what your favourite is, this one will fit in nicely. And what is also a fact that all recordings are State of the Art. I am frequently blown away into raptures playing it on my reference system. I do hope that Alpha collects another 5 cd's in a box for a giveaway price, I'll be the first to order it.
Firmly recommended.

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works. The Weinberger collection. CD 11.

Third rerun.

The Gottfried Silbermann organ in the village church of Panitz (1737) in one of the finest organs built by his hands. The Principal Bass and Posaunen Bass both 16, makes the sound so impressive yet very much controlled. Weinberger plays magnificently on the instrument, and knows all the strengths it has.
See previous review.

First review of this disc.

CD 11 from 22

Scarlatti, Domenico. (1685-1757) Harpsichord Sonatas.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
CD 33 .
Recording dates: September 1978.
Recording venue: Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem, the Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Dieter Thomsen.
Running time: 48:36.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed by:
Gustav Leonhardt.
Martin Skowroneck, Bremen, after J.D. Dulcken, Antwerp, 1962.

Six of these sonatas are in the minor key and two in major, well this suits my mood and the weather. Leonhardt plays on a Dulcken copy, an instrument that is high on my list as preferable in this repertoire. Leonhardt brings a certain balance in the music, and plays the sonatas briskly and lively, with matching tempi. Not the galant style but sparkling and great fun to listen to. Scarlatti opens completely by this treatment, and therefore I consider this CD very worthwhile to have. The sound is exemplary, I only wished he recorded more of them. There was still plenty of room on this CD. 

CD 33 from 85.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hotteterre, Jacques Martin. (1674-1763) Premier et Deuxieme Livre de Pieces pour la Flute Traversiere avec la Basse. Part 2.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: Accent.
CD 3 of 11.
Recording dates: January and May 2000.
Recording venue: Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem, The Netherlands.
Recording engineers: Adelheid and Andreas Glatt.
Running time: 55:29.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Opus 2, Suite No. 2/3/4.
Opus 5, Suite No. 3.

Performed by:
Sigiswald Kuijken, Transverse Flute.
Robert Kohnen, Harpsichord.
Wieland Kuijken, Viola da Gamba.

Not to long ago I played the same concertos by almost the same performers, recorded on the label SEON. Older recordings which I found in A/B comparison slightly better as an interpretation, so my first impulse would be to recommend them in preference to the newer Accents. However the differences are if not marginal, at least considerable enough to warrant the acquirement of the Accent recordings. These are galant and sophisticated  interpretations. Mellow and very much an exponent of living long enough with them to hone them to perfection. And that factor makes them very special indeed. Each in their own way give me complete pleasure. For one, the soundworld of Hotteterre gets an extra dimension, in interpretation, and as to hear clearly the growth in the musicians performance over the years. Sublime.
This box from Accent is available for a low price, so why not get it.

Disc 3 of 11.

Debussy, Claude. (1862-1918) Orchestral Works.

New acquisition.
Bought in November 2015.
First listen.
Label: Alpha.
CD 2 of 5.
Recording dates: February 2012.
Recording venue: Concertgebouw Brugge, Belgium.
Recording engineer: Markus Heiland.
Running time: 76:53.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Prelude a'apres-midi d'faune.
La Mer.

Performed by:
Anima Eterna Brugge, Jos van Immerseel.

I cannot say that I have ever heard it better as on this CD. Such a myriad of details coming out of this state of the art recording, that I am utterly surprised by what is all hidden in other performances, and what Immerseel conjures up out of his orchestra. As for the interpretations of these well known works, it gives you a much deeper insight into the compositions by Debussy. These are truly revelatory images of Debussy sound world as I have never heard them before. The ebb and flow, the magic, it hangs as a gossamer curtain over this musical adventure, for that it honestly is.....The impressionism is a feature that comes naturally out of what you hear, unforced and spiritual to the very essence. Magnificent. Even if you already have prime recordings of this music, no matter, these ones you need too.
Recommended, of course!

Alberti, Domenico. (1710-1740) The Complete Keyboard Music. CD 1. Sonatas and Toccatas I.

New acquisition.
Bought in December 2015.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 1 from 4.
Recording dates: November 2013.
Recording venue: The Church Marano Lagunare, Udine, Italy.
Recording engineer: Manuel Tomadin.
Running time: 69:01.
Classical relevance: Very interesting.

Works performed:
9 Sonatas and Toccatas for Organ. (First recording)

Performed by:
Manuel Tomadin.

Instrument used:
A Francesco Dacci (1773) restored by Franz Zanin in 1980.
[The Principal rank features 27 Flue pipes, with shield shaped upper lips. Two 45 note manuals, each beginning with a short octave (C1-C5). 17 pedals beginning with a short octave (C1-G2 real notes) always coupled to the manual]

Alberti had but a short life but according to his music he had at least a lot of fun. In his time he was well known as a professional singer, and an amateur composer, which was his own opinion too. Whilst this is not entirely true, in essence he is a capable composer, and has a capacity to write fun and good cheer into his music, with catchy melodies and tunes that have a humming character, long after you finished with this CD. And the scoring is always decently done. Whether or not this music will appeal to you, is a question of listening to the samples as I did. Hearing, that he may not be a first rank composer, but nevertheless worthwhile to have, made me buy it. It displays a Zeitgeist, which is not unimportant to me.
Manuel Tomadin was a great unknown to me, but according to his bio in the booklet, he is quite a figure in the musical scene, and has many prestigious prizes to his name. In the organ pieces he gives the music ample opportunity to develop into little miniatures, giving instant pleasure. He does not add effects but plays without undue embellishments, which suits this music well. The organ sounds fantastic and is recorded in the same way. It is a good thing that Brilliant also takes lesser famous or talented composers into their recording schedule. We all owe them a bundle!
Sample before purchase. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Rode, Pierre. Complete Violin Concertos, Volume 3. Violin concertos No. 1/5/9.

Second rerun.
First listen: 27-10-2015.

I have sung many praises of all 5 volumes of Rode's Violin concertos. He wrote 13 in total. They are well worth all accolades they received so far, and mine is just a tiny contribution, nevertheless, I have my say. Virtuosic and artistically strong works, aesthetically crafted to perfection. A much underestimated composer, who, thanks to Naxos and Eichhorn saw the light again in superb performances. Rode is almost on the same level as Paganini, and that in itself is high praise for the virtuosic side of the music, but Rode's adds well scored melodies which are in themselves miniature symphonies. It's a joy to distinguish all groups in the orchestra doing something else as their neighbours, for you can easily piece together all the musical strands that float around to one comprehensive whole. I think it is a privilege to listen to Rode's music. 

See first review of this disc for all details and additional thoughts.

First review of this disc.

Volume 3 from 5.

Buxheimer Orgelbuch. (c. 1460)

Third rerun.
First listen: 9-2-2015.
Second listen: 24-2-2015.

This CD starts with Church Bells made June 24, 1307. After the short intro 00:44 seconds the music begins. That is a novel and unique way to get the music going. 
A fantastic CD in all respects.
See first review.

First review with all details concerning organs and works.

Vivaldi-Marcello-Platti, concertos for Winds.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
CD 31 from 85.
Recording dates: January 1979.
Recording venue: Evangelische-Lutherse Kerk, Haarlem, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Teije van Geest.
Running time: 78:02.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:

Antonio Vivaldi.
Concerti a Flauto, Archi e basso continuo, opus 10.

Alessandro Marcello. (1684-1750)
Concerto per Oboe, archi e Clavicembalo in D minor.

Giovanni Platti. (1697-1763)
Concerto per Oboe, archi e clavicembalo in G major.

Performed by:
Members of the orchestra of the 18th century, Baroque Orchestra, Frans Bruggen.
Soloists: Frans Bruggen, Recorder in f,  Transverse Flute and Bruce Haynes, Oboe.

This performance is like a warm embrace. The tone is almost romantic, and it's elegantly played, by all concerned. The sound is fantastic, as if recorded yesterday. 
Ensemble and soloists leave no wish open. Tempi are fitting, detail is abundantly observed. All members are soloists on their own right, many carry a famous name throughout the classical world, like Bob van Asperen, Anner Bijlsma, Bruce Haynes, Danny Bond, etc. One could say that all things worked well together
I will not play disc 32, from this box, because I have no desire to pollute my ears with Rene Jacobs as a counter tenor.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Berlioz, Hector (1803-1869) Symphonie Fantastique & Le Carnaval Romain.

Second listen.

I recently bought this box of 5 CD'S, in which I doubled up a CD I already had, gifted to me by a classical friend. And again I listen to it and am astounded by its beauty and originality. Berlioz requested two erard pianos for the bells in the last movement of the Symphonie, and it sure sounds devastatingly beautiful, much more so as the bells or anvils. In fact the symphonie sounds just as it must, at least in my view. State of the Art recording. I never heard so much detail in this work as with previous interpretations.My first favourite of the past conducted by Charles Munch, is replaced.

See previous review. The artwork is different
First review of this disc. 

Vivaldi, Antonio. (1678-1741) The Four Seasons, and Two Oboe Concertos.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
CD 30 of 85.
Recording dates: June 1979.
Recording venue: Lutherse Kerk, Haarlem, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Teije van Geest.
Running time: 64:42.
Classical relevance: Interesting.

Works performed and performers:

The Four Seasons.
La Petite Bande, Sigiswald Kuijken, conductor, and solo Violinist.

Two concertos for Oboe and Strings.
No 6 in C major, RV 447.
No 12 in F major, RV 457.

Orchestra of the 18th Century, Frans Bruggen.
Bruce Haynes, Oboe.

Do not expect fireworks or lightness of touch, for you will not find it in these mellow interpretations. As often with performances in this box, the tempi are relaxed, detail is clear, Allegros are almost always Andante, and Largos are dangerous for the ones that are sleepy. This said the Four Seasons is a mixed blessing. Kuijken is not a man that plays the brilliancy card, he is more a man of leisure, and controlled character, thus so are his interpretations. Here and there flashes of genius pop up but they are far and wide between. Sort of middle of the road authenticity. There are certainly better interpretations, especially more livelier. But as far as it goes, it's well done and played. Recorded sound is excellent.
The two concerti for Oboe and strings are far more interestingly done, due to the excellence of the oboist Bruce Haynes. He has a wonderful tone, and his breathing is top notch. I must not forget Danny Bond on Bassoon, for together they sound a match made in heaven. The music is full of melodic surprises, which we are so used to with Vivaldi. The orchestra gives ample support but again do not expect flashy interpretations. They are well paced, a tad too slow for me, and the emotional level hangs between low to average. There is warmth though. I prefer a bit more energy and personal input, but that said, these concerti will hardly disappoint, but I have performances in my collection that do more justice to my needs. Sound is excellent.

The Fourth volume of the Fitzwilliam book will be released soon...ordered it.

The previous releases were all of a high quality, so of course I am looking forward to it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hill, Alfred. (1869-1960) The complete String Quartets, Volume 6.

New acquisition.
Bought in November 2015.
First listen.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates: May/September 2014.
Recording venue: Park Road Post, Wellington, New Zealand.
Recording engineers: John Neill & Toby Lloyd.
Running time: 64:34.
Classical relevance: For those that collect this series, Essential.

Works performed:
String Quartet No. 15 in A minor. (1937)
String Quartet No. 16 in B flat major. "Celtic". (1938)
String Quartet No. 17 in C major. (1938)

Performed by:
Dominion String Quartet.

For those that are collecting this series it's a must to have it. The last volume of the series. All SQ are now recorded, and it has been a labour of love. This you can clearly hear in the performance.  There is emotional drive, passionate yearnings, clear cut answers, embracing and warm music, with the slightest hint of modernity creeping in from time to time. All done in great taste and with an extra dash of elegance befitting the late romantic era. Just imagine, Hill met Brahms, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, and Strauss, and probably many more luminaries while studying in Leipzig from 1887-1891. He lived until 1960, so what a rich life he must have had. Knowing all the composers we have learned to love. I am quite envious. Hill's music is unashamedly romantic, his music holds all the elements from that time, and you may hear reminiscences of many composers from that time, in No. 15 Schubert, in No 17 Tchaikovsky, in No 16 Brahms, and Hill made it into a highly   individual voice, totally unique in its expression. I really love his music. I think it's gripping and holds you in a compassionate embrace throughout.
The sound is superb as with all 5 previous volumes.
Highly recommended.

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 ...