Sunday, February 28, 2016

Muffat, Georg. (1653-1704) Apparatus Musico Organisticus, 1690.

Third rerun.

Absolute top notch recording.
See first review of disc I.

First review

Facco, Giacomo. (1676-1753) Pensieri Adriarmonici, Volume II.

New acquisition.
Bought in February 2016.
First listen.
Label: Toccata.
Recording dates: July 2014.
Recording venue: Studio Cale Monterrey, Mexico.
Recording engineer: Pedro Wood.
Running time: 56:00.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
See heading.

Works performed by:
Mexican Baroque Orchestra, Miguel Lawrence.
Manuel Zogbi, Violin.

In this second volume there is some bitter and some sweet. First of all the violin is to forwardly placed, and this makes this modern violin at times harsh and to confronting ruining the delicacy of the string writing in this fine music. The sheer volume it can produce is not always easy for the ear. While editing somebody has been sleeping for I counted at least two places where the music was taped badly together, which should have been noticed and corrected.
But the music is beautiful, and since there are no other performances, we have to do with them. And that is no punishment.

See review first disc too with some more details.

Review of the first volume

Kinsella, John. (b.1932) Orchestral Works.

New acquisition.
Bought in February 2016.
First listen.
Label: Toccata.
Recording dates: February 1994 & February 2012.
Recording venue: National Concert Hall, Dublin & Royal Dublin Society Concert Hall.
Recording engineer: Anton Timoney.
Running time: 67:32.
Classical relevance: If you like the vocal contributions in No. 5 very much recommended.

Symphony No. 5, The 1916 Poets. (1992)
Symphony No. 10. (2010)

Performed by: 
RTE National SO, Colman Pearce.
Irish Chamber Orchestra, Gabor Takacs Nagy.

I knew it was something of a gamble for me, so yes personally I was disappointed in No. 5, precisely because of the vocal contributions, which I disliked heartily, but I am utterly delighted with No 10. Understand me in the right way. I love the orchestral contributions in Symphony No 5, but I cannot stomach what is done by a speaker and Baritone. No 10 is a colourful work, and very tightly constructed. I like the shift in moods, dark and pastoral on one side, energetic and fierce on the other. The tone painting is quite remarkable. Mysticism too, and although his tonal palette is stretched on all sides, the 10th Symphony is definitively a keeper for me, and I look forward to more of his orchestral compositions.
The recording is very good, as is the performance, but again the booklet was a technical tour de force, hardly understandable by the majority of people. 

Goldmark, Karl. (1830-1915) Orchestral music.

New acquisition.
Gifted: January 2016.
First listen.
Label: CPO
Recording dates: September 2010.
Recording venue: Lukaskirche Dresden, Germany.
Recording engineer: Stephan Reh.
Running time: 58:36.
Classical relevance: Well worth your consideration.

Works performed:
Overture, opus 38, "Der gefesselte Prometheus".
Symphony, opus 26, "Landliche Hochzeit".

Performed by:
Robert Schumann Philharmonie, Frank Beermann.

Little what the conductor Frank Beermann touches goes wrong, and so it is with this recording of the well known Symphony and the lesser know Overture. We get very spirited performances, with brisk tempi, lots of orchestral details, and a plethora of new insights in both works. I have heard details I never heard before, enjoyed the Symphony more as with other performances, so I consider this one on top of my list. This orchestra is passing my collection not that often, but what I have is always very good. This recording surpasses all what I had expected. The recording makes you even more enthusiastic, very natural and open. Goldmark as he should be heard.

Kuhnau, Johann. (1660-1722) The Complete Organ Music.

Second rerun of disc 1.

I will say it again, this is a composer not to be underestimated. His oeuvre belongs high on your list, and you cannot afford to be without it. Stefano Molardi plays on a beautiful instrument, and he does that with his customary sensitivity. Recommended.

See first review for all details.

First review of this disc. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Gouvy, Theodore. (1819-1898) Serenades for Flute and Strings.

New acquisition.
Bought: February 2016.
First listen.
Label: Toccata.
Recording dates: October 2012 & January 2013.
Recording venue: Grosser Sendesaal, Saarlandischer Rundfunk, Saarbrucken, Germany.
Recording engineers: Manfred Jungmann & Thomas Becher.
Running time: 61:42.
Classical relevance: Essential for Gouvy fans.

Works performed:
Serenade in D minor, opus Posth. (1891)
Serenade No 1 in G major, opus 82. (1888) & No, 2 in F major, opus 84. (1889)
Introduction et Polonaise for Flute and Piano. (1890)
Danse Suedoise for Flute and Piano. (1879)
(Arr from the Wind Octet, opus 71, by Markus Bronnimann)

Performed by:
Kreisler Quartet.
Markus Bronnimann, Flute.
Ilka Emmert, Double Bass.
Michael Kleiser, Piano.

Gouvy is in my book a composer that has <a charming melodic language which clearly shows his craftsmanship. The three serenades were recently discovered, in fact are commissioned works by the Philharmonic Club of New York> Brilliant compositions, and great fun to listen to. They keep your attention firmly on the music, such is the impact of the melodic gifts Gouvy so abundantly distributes  among his scores. Scintillating music, alert and energetic, but also with a poetic strain. The bright romantic melodies are a balm to your soul.  It's well balanced and certainly belonging to the best of his chamber music. The to me unknown ensemble and added soloists perform well, and are fully up to the task. Sound is good, just enough air around the instruments, perfect.

< What is not so perfect is the booklet. You have to be a professor in musical matters, preferably summa cum laude, to understand the technical details in the booklet. An elitist work meant for the cognoscenti, but for the middle of the road classical music lover, absolutely incomprehensible.
Toccata as a label should know better, the writer Olivier Schmitt should step of his high horse, and write what is expected of him, and that is to bring classical music closer to the listener.>

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Weckman, Matthias. (1616-1674) The complete Organ works. CD 2.

New acquisition
Bought in January 2016.
First listen.
Label: Motette.
Recording dates: November 1990.\
Recording venue: Ludgeri Kirche, Norden. Germany.
Recording engineer: Erik Sikkema.
Running time: 78:16.
Classical relevance: Reference recording.

Works performed:
Praeludium A 5, Vocum in G
Fuga ex D ped, primi Toni.
Canzon in C and c.
Toccata in a.
Kom heiliger Geist, Herre Gott, 3 verses.
Ach wir arme sunder, 3 verses.
Gelobet seystu Jesu Christ II. 3 verses.
Es ist das heyl uns kommen her. 7 verses.

Performed by:
Hans Davidsson at the Arp Schnittger Organ, Norden.

Every label globally should take an example of the booklet made by Motette, also a reference booklet. It is an extensive essay about all we need to know about Weckman, and his music, and cultural context. To be frank, this is the best performance I ever heard of Weckman's organ works, and will be so bold as to say, that it will not be surpassed in the sheer quality of interpretation. State of the art recording too. Believe me if I say that the Quintadena 16' and the Trommet 16' in das Werck, and the Principal 16', and Posaun 16' in the pedal are thundering from my speakers loud and clear, as if you have the organ in your home. 
Strongly recommended.

Facco, Giacomo. (1676-1753. Pensieri Adriarmonici, Volume I. No. 1-6

New acquisition.
Bought in February 2016.
First listen.
Label: Toccata.
Recording dates: April 2013.
Recording venue: DMY Studio, Monterrey, Mexico.
Recording engineer: Pedro Wood.
Running time: 51:48.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by: 
Mexican Baroque Orchestra, Miguel Lawrence.
Manuel Zogbi, Violin.

<Giacomo Facco, born near Venice, was active in Southern Italy as violinist, choirmaster and teacher, before his appointment to the Spanish royal court around 1720. Although highly esteemed in his own time, particularly as a composer of vocal music, Facco had disappeared from musical history, until a set of his twelve Pensieri- concertos for three violins, viola, cello and BC were discovered in a Mexican library in 1960. Bright and buoyant, they have music in common with the music of Vivaldi, Albinoni, Marcello and Facco's other Venetian contemporaries-but are here given a distinct twist with the BC of Vihuela and Guitarron as they might have been performed in 18th century Mexico>

Facco is in fact a missing link in the history of music, so much is clear listening to these concertos. But that he had to wait for 250 years before he was recorded is bitter for the composer, and a sad fact for music lovers. The scores found were not entirely complete, so they had to been reconstructed in part by Uberto Zanolli. 
Facco was in fact in his time a very important composer, and you could say, that these concerti opus 1, are his magnum opus, They are lively, melodically fine compositions, well scored by a capable hand, and perfectly fitting in the Venetian tradition. The booklet is an excellent piece of explanation, and tells you all you have to know about Facco's background. Performances are polished, but I am a bit sad that it is played on modern instruments. Some of the colours are missing, and the necessary intimacy is clearly absent. The ensemble sound is a bit too fat at times. Rubato and legato are in session, and in this they sound a bit like the ASMF in the olden days, only on a smaller scale. Still a joy to listen to these works, and I would not want to miss them at any price, for the music is fabulous. The recording is straightforward and complimentary to this ensemble.  

Gernsheim, Friedrich. (1839-1916) Piano Quintet No. 1 & 2.

New acquisition.
Bought in February 2016.
First listen.
Label: Toccata.
Recording dates: January 2009.
Recording venue: Studio Piano, Vilnius.
Recording engineer: Laura Jurgelionite.
Running time: 65:00.
Classical relevance: For Gernsheim fans, essential.

Works performed: 
Piano Quintet No. 1 in D minor, opus 35. (1875-76)
No. 2 in B minor, opus 63. (1896)

Performed by:
Art Vio SQ,
Edouard Oganessian, Piano.

<Friedrich Gernsheim's music is revealing him as one of the finest composers of his age. His two piano quintets are tightly constructed, powerfully argued, and full of rhythmic energy, and also abound with memorable tunes, They are in fact both masterpieces, among the very best of German romantic chamber music, ranking alongside the Brahms and Schumann works>.
There is a lot of stylistic consistency and a high quality of ideas in Gernsheim's music. This he has in common with his friend Johannes Brahms. They respected each other as composers, and it is clear that Brahms heard what Gernsheim was able to do. Brahms of course had a great influence on all composers in his periphery. Gernsheim enhanced the musical idiom started by Brahms and Schumann. Both piano quintets have a strong passionate undercurrent, which is expressed in quite powerful notes, deeply emotional. You could argue that both works are conservative and so it may be, but I do not see the harm in that. They are truly masterworks, and clearly show what Gernsheim was capable of. < The first quintet in D minor, show clear traces of Brahms opus 34 in it, but never overwhelmingly so. The B minor is more mature, and proceeds in a more serious tone. There are some tonal side slips towards Richard Strauss, and some chromatic complexities which you find often in the works of Max Reger.> The quintets will satisfy any need for intellectual and emotional stimulus in an abundant way. Its simply gorgeous music, not to be missed.   
I never heard of the performers, but they do well. This SQ was founded in 2003, and although they are really very good, I still feel that as the years go by, they will mature. It is especially needed in terms of refinement and concentration. They have a clear aptitude for this composer, for I enjoyed it immensely.
The overall sound is good, although the first movement of the D minor is somewhat muffled. In the second movement it was corrected, but the ultimate clarity needed was sadly absent.
Recommend for the geniality of the music, and a performance that will touch you.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Rontgen, Julius. (1855-1932) Chamber Music, Volume 1.

New acquisition.
Bought in February 2016.
First listen.
Label: Toccata. TOCC 0024.
Recording dates: March 2008.
Recording venue: The Music Room, Champs Hill, Pulborough, Sussex. England.
Recording engineer: Alexander van Ingen.
Running time: 80:13.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:

Romanze in G minor. 1920.
Sonata in E major, opus 40. 1900.
Phantasie for Solo Violin. 1921.
Aus Jotunheim. 1892.
Sonata Trilogica. 1925.

Performed by:
Atsuko Shara, Violin.
John Lenehan, Piano.

Whatever I heard of this composer, there was never any reason to doubt his musical integrity or his geniality. Rontgen is a great master and will always be. I think it utterly shameful that he was forgotten for such a long time by the Dutch, to say nothing about the Germans. I sometimes wonder what this neglect says about the musical comprehension in the classical world. A composer as great as Brahms, and even surpassing him in many of his compositions, pushed out of the limelight. A romantic composer who turns every piece of music in aural bliss through his< craftsmanship and exquisite sense of melody, balancing skills and spontaneity>. This CD is brimful with it, a volume 1, that never got a follow up. In that sense we have to be grateful for the label CPO. They have released a lot of his orchestral works, plus some chamber music over the years, and keep at it. As to why Toccata stopped recording the chamber music by Rontgen I don't know.
The music on this disc is wonderfully performed, and get a good explanation in the booklet, which is essential reading. I could not say which work I liked best, for they are all good, but what I can tell that the Romanze in G minor is quite an impressive youthful statement. I also was much taken to the Sonata Trilogica which contain some unusual music by the likes of Rontgen.< It has a very different orientation compared to the E major sonata, and has some experimental touches that surprise and delight. He throws the classical decorum to the winds, and powers this work by a strong emotional impulse, and is full of unexpected shifts and changes of direction. The impression he gives is one of conflicting emotions, but eventually achieves clarity and quietness through polyphonic pacification in the finale.> It stands quite apart from all the other sunny works. This piece in three movement has two of them in Moderato, and in the middle a Allegro con Fuoco. Also unusual.
The recording is excellent as are the performances. Would have loved more from this team.

Farkas, Ferenc. (1905-2000) Orchestral Works, Volume I.

New acquisition.
Bought in February 2016.
First listen.
<New composer in my collection.>
Label: Toccata. TOCC 0176
Recording dates: January & September 2013.
Recording venue: Hungarian Radio, Budapest.
Recording engineer: Zoltan Pecze.
Running time: 80:00
Classical relevance: As far as Neo classical music goes, Essential.

Works performed:
Divertimento for Orchestra. 1936
Concertino all'antica for Cello and String orchestra. 1964.
Lavotta Suite for Chamber orchestra. 1951.
Maschere for Chamber orchestra. 1983.
Trittico concertato for Cello and String orchestra. 1964.
March Suite for Chamber orchestra. 1947.

Performed by:
Miklos Perenyi, Cello.
MAV SO, Peter Csaba.

A new composer in my collection, a master in the Neo classical field, and one at that, who should be heard. His music is firmly rooted in the music from olden times, and  thus effectively, creates an organic connection, which is very much alive and kicking in Farkas compositions. Catchy tunes, transparent scoring, buoyant rhythms and a decided fondness for Baroque forms and Hungarian folk dances. That description is about right! He is a very creative composer, a master in this form.
And that tells all about the music really. The booklet explains the music lucidly.
Just have to mention the second movement from the Trittico concertato, a Passacaglia con dedica,with an impressive basso ostinato on 11 notes, repeating itself in a very effective way under the Cello and string orchestra. Cleverly done. Kudos to the performers, they give an example of dedicated musicianship. The recording does full justice to the music. 

Haydn, Joseph. (1732-1809) Organ Concertos No. 1,2 & 6.

New acquisition.
Bought in February 2016.
First listen.
Label: Ligia LIG 2044100.
Recording dates:  May 2001.
Recording venue: St. Loup/Thouet, France.
Recording engineer: Eric Baratin.
Running time: 66:32.
Classical relevance: Reference recording.

Works performed:
Organ concerto No 1 in C major. Hob: XVIII.
No. 2 in D major. Hob: XVIII.
No. 6 in F major. Hob:XVIII, for Violin and Organ.

Performed by:
Olivier Vernet, Organ.
Stephanie Marie Degand, Violin.
Les Sauvages, Jeremie Rhorer.

Bernard Aubertin (1998)
Tuning = 440 Hz.
Temperament: Tartini-Vallotti.

A lot has been written about these concertos, whether they were scored for organ or harpsichord, and if yes or no all the orchestral writing is by Haydn or not, but that has been answered by people knowing far more about this. A good thing that the booklet explains all. It's detailed in all matters. This time a good turnout from Ligia.
I have been disatisfied for a long time concerning these concertos. Not in the sense of the music, that is as beautiful as Haydn can write, no, it's about the many interpretations that gave none of what I thought was the right approach. Some came close, but most of them fail to interest me. And purely by chance I stumbled over the present recording, and guess what, this is it! A WOW effect at the first note of the C major concerto, and thinking can this be it, is what follows as good? Yes, absolutely, after listening to the whole CD I can say, this is what I expect of these works. First of all the tempi are spot on, Vernet, never a slow mover picked with Jeremie Rhorer the approach that made me very happy. Coupled with Degand, who plays the stars from heaven, including the planets and Les Sauvages, a top ensemble, that made me privileged in being able to hear them. Imagine that  after O, 30 years I finally get what I want. That's pretty amazing.
Add to this a State of the Art recording, and the circle closes. I so enjoyed the F major concerto in which the Violin versus organ plays such an important role in getting the harmony right, that hearing this symbiosis work, makes for a far better understanding what fine works these concertos are that Haydn wrote. Especially the second movement, never heard it better, it's almost an aural orgasm for the ear.
This CD will be played very often, believe me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Zador, Eugene. (1894-1977) Orchestral Works, Volume III.

New acquisition.
Bought in January 2016.
First listen.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates: September 2014.
Recording venue: Studio 6 of the Hungarian Radio, Budapest, Hungary.
Recording engineer: Zoltan Peeze.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Festival Overture. (1963).
Variations on a Hungarian Folksong. (1919)
Dance Symphony (Symp No. 3) 1936.

Performed by:
Budapest SO, Mariusz Smolij.

I am happy that this series has yet again a follow up. And many to go I hope. Zador is and was for a long time missing in the catalogues of the labels globally, and now Naxos has dedicated themselves to it, and created another disc with great music. For that it is. Those that know the first two volumes will want to have No, III too.
The CD begins with a Festival overture, that could actually fit in with all movies concerning heroes of historical date. It's a very cinematic piece of music, great fun, but did not appeal much to me. How different that is when getting at the Variations, where Zador shows himself again a native of Hungary.. The music is suffused with longing for, and homesickness. He has a deep awareness of his musical and cultural roots. His orchestration and his mastery in contrapunt is amazing. If it comes to Hungarian flavour, Variation No. 8 with a boisterous quasi Csardas tempo is the one to go for, which is brilliantly scored. Variation 6 has some lively jazzy influences, (Tempo di Foxtrot) All in all 10 fine variations the last one a double fugato-stretta movement, very impressive. Variation No. 9 however holds for me a haunting forlorn melody, that made quite an entrance, suffused with subdued strings and brass.
Symphony No. 3 shows again Zador's immense aptitude for contrapunt and orchestration. The way he is putting different melodies together and holding them all in the air is truly amazing. The first movement is a good example. The second movement is a see through filigree piece kept afloat by a beautiful clarinet against divided strings, with a culminating of what sounds like pulsating strings as if by heartbeats. A nice scherzo follows, with some contrapuntal development and played in counterpoint to lyrical lines, most of the time in the lower strings and horns. In the last movement the clarinet motive from the second movement returns. It opens with rich polychordal strings, mixed up with the clarinet, and at the end a formidable fortississimo closing. What a treat. Really good sound too, and the performance could not be better.

Stradella, Alessandro. (1639-1682) Complete String Sinfonias.

New acquisition.
Bought in February 2016.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
Recording dates: May/June 2015.
Recording venue: Refectory room of the Franciscan Convent, Lustra Cilento, Italy.
Recording engineer: Luca Ricci.
Running time: 72:23.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
As mentioned in the heading.
All written for  two Violins and BC, apart from the D minor, No. 1 which is for one Violin and BC.

Performed by: (On authentic instruments)
Ensemble Arte Musica, Francesco Cera.

Organ by anonymous (Neapolitan School) 1772) Bellows are hand operated.
Harpsichord by Formentelli 1987, after Cristofori c. 1690.

All musicians on this CD have an impressive background in the authentic music world, and have been educated by the best in the trade. Italy has plenty of good authentic ensemble and Arte Musica is certainly one of them. Stradella is getting a bit more in the picture, and in this we are indebted to Brilliant in the case of consistently releasing compositions by Stradella.
And now the String sinfonias, which are of a very high quality,  amongst them jewels. They were never intended as a group of compositions, but merely put together on this CD. Cera has written a comprehensive essay about music and it's origins, and this is a huge plus in my books. One could say that Stradella embodied a synthesis of all that was in the air at that time. I thought that there was a marked degree of individuality in his music, which sets him apart from all contemporaries. You could not put him in a specific Italian school, he is dancing on too many threads. But that is precisely the interesting thing about his music. So I am glad to report, that the whole venture is a eclatant success. The music is a pleasure, and very alertly played. The recording and performance emulate in a perfect synthesis.  Stradella writes good music, so much is clear.
A good recording it is too. Highly recommended.

Suddeutsche Orgelmeister, Volume III. Organ music by Bach-Muffat-Zipoli-Kerll-Froberger.

New acquisition.
Bought in February 2016.
First listen.
Label: Oehms.
Recording dates: April 2005.
Recording venue: Church of St. Jodok, Landshut, Germany.
Recording engineer: Stefan Briegel.
Running time: 63:29.
Classical relevance: Interesting for the Ahrend Organ first and the music second.

Works performed:
J.S. Bach.
Concerto in D minor, BWV 974. (Marcello)
Concerto in D major, BWV 972. (Vivaldi)

Georg Muffat.
Partita in D minor.
Toccata 12, from the Apparatus musico organisticus.

Johann Kaspar Kerll.
Capriccio sopra il Cucu.

Domenico Zipoli.
Four pieces for Organ.

Johann Jacob Froberger.
Lamento sopra la dolorosa perdita.

Performed by: 
Heidrun Hensel.

Ahrend Organ built in 1997.
Two manuals, 15 stops.
Choir organ, especially built to play music of old masters on it.
Pedal has a Sub bass 16'  and Trompet 8'.

The organ has a elegant and gentle tone, sounds primarily like an Italian organ early 17th century.
The booklet gives no info about the organ or composers on this disc, but instead a silly interview with Hensel, so on all accounts it's a useless booklet. But then again I got this CD for only 2,99€, so I should be happy, which I am in regard to music and a bit less about the performance, but not so much to spoil all the fun. Hensel has a soft touch, in other words a very balanced approach but at times to gentle. If you sample Muffat you'll know what I mean. It's a pretty amazing organ, that generates plenty of colours, added by a powerful 16' Sub bass. Still the sound is at times light as a feather, and that for me is special. Hensel could have been more playful and less strict in her narrative, but apart from this I enjoyed the way she played. The performances may not add new insights in the music, but it's a perfect vehicle for the Ahrend organ.
The recording is topnotch.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Handel, Georg frideric. (1685-1759) The Complete Harpsichord Music CD 4.

New acquisition.
Bought in February 2016.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 4 from 8.
Recording dates: April/May 2015.
Recording venue: Abbazia di Santa Maria delle Carceri d' este, Padua, Italy.
Recording engineer: Fabio Framba.
Running time: 55:38.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Work performed:
To many different works as to list all.
Suites, Allemandes, Gigues, Sonatinas, Preludes, Airs, Lessons, Partitas.
Some works for two Harpsichords.

Performed by:
Roberto Loreggian and Elisa Fanchini.

Italian Harpsichord by Frezzato Di Mattia, Este Padua 2014, after Giovanni Battista Giusti.

As the three volumes before, excellent music and superb playing on a gorgeous Giusto copy, and expertly recorded. The joy this music gives is immeasurable. There is a obvious pleasure in the music that is highly contagious for both players and listeners. A lot has to do with Loreggian's and Fanchini's way of colouring the music. Never boring, but full of inventive turns and twists, this music get the better of your mood in no time at all. What a good decision by Brilliant to let Loreggian record the missing parts and align it to Borgstede's earlier recordings on the same label. Those who bought that box with 4 CD'S are now standing before a tough decision, to double up to get Loreggian's part or not. As for me I would gladly double it up and sell the Borgstede box forthwith.  It's worth the trouble for you are rewarded more than double for that decision. The present box will cost you 19,95€. 

Charpentier, Marc Antoine. (1643-1704) ....pour un Reposoir.

Second rerun.

Another go at this fantastic disc.
See first review.

First review of this disc.

L'Orgue au Nouveau Monde. Andahuaylillas-Arsenal de Metz.

New acquisition.
Bought in February 2016.
First listen.
Label: K617.
Recording dates: September 2011.
Recording venue: Grande Salle de l'arsenal de Metz, France.
Recording engineer: Jean Olivares.
Running time: 65:12.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Composers on this disc.
All born between 1400- 1738.

Francisco de Penalosa. c.1470-1528.
Diego Fernandez. 14??-1551.
Alonso Avila. Active around 1495.
Juan Bermudo. c. 1510-1565.
Antonio de Cabez√≥n. c. 1510-1566.
Alonso Mudarra. c.1510-1580.
Hernando Franco. 1532-1585.
Francisco Guerrero. 1528-1599.
Estacio Lacerna. c.1570-1616.
Jeronimo Peraza. c.1550=1617.
Francisco Correa de Arauxo. 1584-1654.
Jose de Torres Martinez Bravo. c.1670-1738.
And many anonymous works. (c.1550 and 1700)

Performed by:
Norberto Broggini.

The first quite annoying fact of this release is that the text in the booklet is only French or Portuguese. And that makes it impossible to learn about the composers, instrument and motivation of the performer. Maybe this disc was never intended outside both countries named, but it landed on my doorstep nevertheless. I am somewhat appeased by the fact that it cost me only 3€, but since I am a stickler for info it irritates me much. So little I can tell about the music apart from my own impressions, and they are all good. The majority of them are unknown to me apart from Cabezon and Guerrero, but unknown means not unloved. These pieces have everything in them to win you over, for the music is of high quality, played on a really fantastic organ, in sound and build. Norberto Broggini was a great unknown musician for me, but by what I hear he is a enthusiast and plays with great aplomb. Since all is in in language which I do not understand some things I must guess. The instrument is new and build by Jean Francois Dupont after a original build in 1610?  Tuning is 440Hz, Meantone temperament. Whatever the original might have sounded like, this is utterly fantastic.
Every Organ enthusiast should have this in his collection.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Larsson, Lars Erik. (1908-1986) Orchestral Works, Volume 1.

New acquisition.
Bought in February 2016.
First listen.
Label: CPO
Recording dates: January 2011.
Recording venue: Konserthuset, Helsingborg, Sweden.
Recording engineer: Lennart Dehn.
Running time: 76:06.
Classical relevance: For those seeking a complete set of music from this composer: Essential.

Works performed:
Symphony No. 1, opus 2.
Four Vignettes to Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale.
Music for Orchestra.
Pastoral for small orchestra.
Lyric Fantasy for small orchestra.

Performed by:
Helsingborg SO, Andrew Manze.

Yes you may hear a little bit of Sibelius and Nielsen in Larsson's first Symphony, written when he was just 20, and in that context a very good attempt in creating a name for himself. It must be said that after the successful premiere he rewrote the work entirely, so we have his second thoughts on this one, and not the original where it all started with. A pity actually. It's lyrical, melodious, with some excellent counterpoint that colours the work in a fantastic way. It is beautiful music, but you will have difficulty keeping your attention throughout the work. Nevertheless, his orchestral mastery is already evident in this youthful work. The Fourth movement is the most impressive, despite some crude moments where he changes the key in a rather harsh way, as in the closing measures of the fourth movement.

Four Vignettes.
Beautiful melodious music, scored effectively, to produce some inventive and creative ideas. In fact they tumble over each other in quick succession. A more mature work.

Music for Orchestra.
Well some may get a severe shock here, for this is a Larsson from the other side of his talent, very seldom displayed, but this dissonant work will shake your nerves considerably. No doubt the temporary influence of one of his teachers, Alban Berg. It is in all accounts a very modern work, unlike all other works Larsson composed. All the movements have unsettling dissonances, and dark moods prevails, it is certainly always an undercurrent in this piece.  The best term one can use is that it is rather forbidding, especially the semitone clashes are unsettling. Sure, it is well thought out music, energetic too, clear cut certainly, but ultimately, this is detached music pur sang.
One of the darkest pieces I ever heard from Larsson, but fascinating nevertheless.

This piece is Sibelius in disguise, and walks boldly through the front door with a grin on his face. You could easily mistake this for an early Sibelius work. Well written though.

Lyric Fantasy.
A pastoral piece, imitating nature and making it beautiful in a different way. It simply flows romantically along nature's realm, and creating thereby so many lovely images, that you are rather drowned in this opulence. There is a hint of Debussy's world in this work. The magic is mesmerizing anyway.

The recording is good, but I could have wished for more detail. It has a sort of closed in feel to it.
The performance is very good, no complaints there.

Charpentier, Marc Antoine. (1643-1704) Pour un Reposoir, Dialogues et Elevations

New acquisition.
Bought in February 2016.
First listen.
Label: Ligia.
Recording dates: 2003?
Recording venue: Saint Antoine l'Abbaye, France.
Recording engineer: Not named.
Running time: 69:55.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Nicolas De Grigny (1672-1703)
Louis Couperin (1626-1161)

Works performed:
Pieces for Viola da Gamba, Organ and solo voices.
Solo pieces for Organ.

Works performed by: Ore Mel.
Edwige Parat, Noemi Rime, Sopranos.
Francois Bazola, Bass/Baritone.
J.L. Charbonnier, Viola da Gamba.

The first thing that comes to mind, hearing this music but especially the performances is a name. Michel Corboz. Remember his Monteverdi recordings on Erato, Selva Morale, spread over 6 discs? For me still a reference interpretation. Hearing this present disc is hearing exactly what Corboz did with Monteverdi. In one word, superb. Assembled are two highly specialized sopranos when it comes to old music, they sing with a little vibrato and added warmth,but never obtrusive, that makes the music so accessible, in that it will cover you with a comforting embrace. The Bass/baritone is a fine weight to both women, and the organ as well as the Viola da gamba create a sound symbiotic the the vocal contributions. Add to this the almost state of the art recording, and you have a firm recommendation, an essential disc to have, so you will. The music itself is gorgeous, deeply spiritual and simply a beautiful experience from beginning to end. Uplifting for the soul, and a balm to caress.
All that are involved give a maximum performance, each role united in a whole that creates magic.

As a side note, that has nothing to do with the performance, but more with what French labels think about language in general, and how to treat European countries outside their borders.
First of all the translations from French into English are at times abominable, and sometimes the translations are wrongheaded. Ligia thinks that the buyers outside France are not entitled to know the biographies of the soloists, because they are only in French. Furthermore, a lot of the technical data is absent. I noticed that the labels K617 and Ligia are absolute champions in thinking purely French. A huge annoyance for me!
Despite this I recommend this disc for the music, and the lucky bastards that can actually read French.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Handel, Georg Friedrich. (1685-1759) Water music & Music for the Royal Fireworks.

Second rerun.

My original review stands on the same level after this second rerun. It's a reference performance.
Follow the link to the first review, which is short but definitive.

First review of this disc.

A monumental book about J.S. Bach bought today

Today I purchased in my own language this fine book, which is praised by Gustav Leonhardt, Isaac Stern and many others.
I invite you to tell me what you may think of it, and if you actually bought it too.

Toccata sale at JPC de, massively reduced prices, and a lot to choose from....

I made a cross selection, for not all was interesting to me. Below the titles that were!

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 ...