Thursday, April 28, 2016

Enescu-Schnittke-Strauss. Works for Violin and Piano.

New acquisition.
Bought in Februari 2016.
First listen.
Release date: 2008.
Label: NCA
Recording dates: September 2007.
Recording venue: Not mentioned.
Recording engineer: Maria Suschke.
Running time: 74:30.
Classical relevance: For fans of all three composers very worthwhile.

Works performed:
George Enescu. (1881-1955)
Impressions d'Enfance, opus 18.

Alfred Schnittke. (1934-1998)
Sonata No. 1.

Richard Strauss. (1864-1949)
Sonata for Violin and Piano in E flat major, opus 18.

Performed by:
Andreas Buschatz, Violin.
Tahmina Feinstein, Piano.

All three works are of a major kind, and well fitted together. Enescu's wonderful and magical world, at times a bit eerie, in which you may lose yourself very easily. The details that this couple bring out of the music is amazingly bright and beautiful.
The Schnittke piece is extremely well done. One of his works that keeps the extremes in a certain boundary.  Its a free floating piece that wanders through quite some modulations, but also has some deeply moving moments.
Strauss his opus 18 is a fine late romantic work, brilliantly conceived and composed and performed. The emotional sweep is broad and far reaching. The performance certainly holds you in its grip.
Sound is state of the art.

Walther, Johann Gottfried. (1684-1748) Complete Organ Music, CD 4.

New acquisition.
Bought in November 2015.
Released in 2015.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 4 from 12.
Recording dates: April/May 2013.
Recording venue: Church of Sant'Antonio Abate, Padua, Italy.
Recording engineer: Alessandro Simonetto.
Running time: 66:06.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Work performed:
Chorale settings III.

Performed by:
Simone Stella.

Francesco Zanin 2006.
Unequal temperament
Pitch: A=440 Hz.
Mechanical transmission.

Since the first disc in this box I am enjoying the music of Walther enormously. The Organ sounds fantastic, the recording is near perfect, Stella's interpretation is sublime. For me it is a eclatant success. Walther's music is so varied and melodious, possessing a sensitivity that completely astounds me. Of course he is one of the greats of his time, fully worthy to share the fame with J.S. Bach, just to name one. There is not a single weakness in his music, nor on this set of 12 cd's. As far as I am concerned this is a box one should have.

Carolus Maximus. Music in the life of Charles V. (1500-1558)

New acquisition.
Bought in February 2016.
First listen.
Released in 2000.
Label: Glissando.
Recording dates: November and December 1999.
Recording venues: Ascension Roman Catholic Church, New York, USA. Pfarrkirche St Katharina, Obertunding, Germany.
Recording engineer: Christoph Classen.
Running time: 72:34.
Classical relevance: In my book essential.

Composers on this disc.
Orlando de Lassus.
Nicolas Gombert.
Josquin Desprez.
Luys de Narvaez.
Christobal de Morales.
Thomas Crecquillon.

Performed by:
Pomerium, Alexander Blachly.
Dolores Costoyas, Vihuela.

Let one thing be clear, this choir is absolute top notch!
Their internal balance is perfect, the singers are well integrated as a whole, never overbearing in expression, but rather a complete aural harmony. There is no stress on any of the voices, and they well consider dynamics and tempi, and have a considerate ear for  the appliance of volume. There is a complete and invigorating expression in all they do, so I am truly happy with what I hear, and this in all respects. To take a few pieces to the foreground which struck me as perfect examples of this choir's excellence.
Josquin Desprez "Mille regretz"  and certainly Nicolas Gombert's "Kyrie, Missa sur tous regretz" are virtually highlights for me. But let's not forget the deeply moving "Agnus Dei, missa pro defunctis" composed by Christobal de Morales. It is a masterwork and so well sung. This repressed tension and the intrinsic emotional strength is amazing and to be admired.
The sound is just perfect in both venue's. Very much recommended.

Bull, John. (1562-3-1628) Works for Harpsichord from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, Volume 4.

New acquisition.
New release 2016.
Bought in February 2016.
First listen.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 2 from 2.
Recording dates: April 2015.
Recording venue: Chapel of the Capuchin Monastery , Velp, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Arts Music Recording.
Running time: 64:38.
Classical relevance: Essential for the collectors of this series.

Works performed by:
Pieter Jan Belder.

Harpsichords are by:
Cornelis Bom, Gerhard Boogaard and Titus Crijnen.

Bull is by all means a professional musician, with a degree of Doctor of music in his pocket. Furthermore he was active in the field of Organ building, and even build a few of them if not completely. He seemed to have a great talent for getting himself in serious trouble, well the usual sort of trouble a man gets himself in when his hormones are raging. He escaped England in 1613, never to return. He faced charges like incontinence, fornication, adultery and other grievous crimes, whatever that might have been. It was said of him that he had more music than honesty, and is as famous for marring virginity as he is for fingering of Organs and virginals. A colourful summation of a powerful character I would say, very British.
He music did not suffer however. On this cd that is amply proven. He may have been a man with a bad reputation, but that certainly did not apply to his music, which is excellently played by Belder. Sound is very good too!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

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

New acquisition.
Bought in April 2016.
First listen.
Originally released on the label Ars Musici.
Label Membran.
CD 2 from 10.
Recording date: May 1989.
Recording venue: Michaelerkirche Vienna.
Recording engineer: Othmar Eichinger.
Running time: 70:49.
Classical relevance: Not competitive.

Performed by:
Michael Radulescu.

Sieber Organ, 1714.
Restored to the original 1714 state in 1986.
40 stops, 32 original, 3 manuals/Pedal.

The recording is a bit recessed and one has to turn up the volume to get a full bodied sound out of this CD. It's not a flattering recording, and neither is it a very distinctive interpretation. Radulescu plays the music soberly in a conservative old style, devoid of much sensitivity for the brilliance of Muffat's compositions, and to be honest rather dull. Even the presentation does not invite attentive listening. I am missing tons of details, and am aware that his playing is rather out of focus. A broad general view, that will not give away any of the many details that makes Muffat such a good composer. He simply lingers too long on one note and squeezes the life blood out of the music. I prefer by a wide margin Joseph Kelemen's take on the label Oehms.
So I cannot really recommend this CD.

Machaut, de Guillaume. (c.1300-1370) Messe de Nostre Dame.

New acquisition.
New release 2016.
Bought in April 2016.
First listen.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates: March 2015.
Recording venue: Augustine's Church, Antwerp, Belgium.
Recording engineer: Alexandre Fostier.
Running time: 72:50.
Classical relevance: Reference recording.

Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by:
Graindelavoix, Bjorn Schmelzer.

Well well, if you want to be challenged by this familiar work by Machaut, this would be the recording to do so.
In this interpretation Schmelzer is putting all his creativity into the moulding of all the individual voices, every singer is an entity in itself, and has a distinct soloistic imprint.  Artistically this is very impressive, and for me this recording is immediately promoted to a first place among my other interpretations. The focus on individual voices gives a swing to the music, and that works just fine, with many Byzantine influences, it's almost as I hear parts of the Greek Orthodox liturgy. All the singers are at the top of their trade. This is not a easy way of singing, for Schmelzer is searching for individuality in the voices which for him is above homogene ensemble singing. That they all pull it off in such a perfect way is a small miracle indeed. It brings you much closer to the heart of Machaut's music. Thus a reference recording and very much recommended.
The sound is excellent.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Sound of Shakespeare, in the streets and theatres of London. CD 1 Green sleeves, Elizabethan Ballads & Theatre Music.

New acquisition.
New release 2016.
Bought in April 2016.
Original release dates: 1986-1993.
First listen.
Label: Erato.
CD 1 from 3.
Recording dates: May and June 1989.
Recording venue: Haberdasher's Aske's School, Hertfordshire, England.
Recording engineer: Martin Compton.
Running time: 65:47.
Classical relevance: Really worthwhile to have.

Edmund Kete.
John Johnson.
Robert Johnson.
Filippo Azzaiolo.
Clement Woodcocke.
Thomas Campion.
Anonymous works a plenty.

Performed by:
The Musicians of Swanne Alley, Paul O'Dette, Lyle Nordstrom.
Red Byrd, Vocals.
The consort consists of Violin, Flute or recorder, lute, bass-viol, cittern and pandora.

Very fine recordings and performances, cannot say anything else but sing praise. There is not a single thing that goes wrong on this recording. The music is highly entertaining, and full of zest and youthful joy. I am extremely happy with it. It must have been a jolly time in Shakespeare's England, apart from some nasty business too, of course.

Organs from Ostfriesland. Gothic-Renaissance-Baroque. CD 1.

New acquisition.
Bought in April 2016.
First listen.
Label: Membran. (Originally: Ars musici)
CD 1 from 10.
Recording dates: May/June 1989.
Recording places: 
Rysum (1457)
Uttum (c.16th century 1660)
Westerhusen (1642-1643)
Norden (1686-1694).
Marienhafe (1710-1713)
Weener (1710-1782
Recording engineer: Erik Sikkema.
Running time: 69:48.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Composers on this disc.
Dietrich Buxtehude.
Claude Goudimel.
Jan Pieterzoon Sweelinck.
Samuel Scheidt.
Conrad Paumann.
Adam Lliborgh.
Paul Hofheimer.
Heinrich Isaac.
Hans Leo Hassler.
Johann Sebastian Bach.
Georg Bohm.

Performed by Harald Vogel.

Music is partly from under recorded composers and therefore doubly welcome. Vogel makes all the music shine, and adds his supreme excellence to all composers. What a fabulous organist he is.
No booklet in this box, but most of the details are on the sleeve. A very good start of this box.
The sound is state of the art. All the organs are presented in the best possible way. Recommended.

Lully, Raimundo. (1232-1316) Chronicle of a medieval voyage, The first voyages. Peregrinatio. Els primers viatges. Second part.

New acquisition.
New release (2016)
Bought in April 2016.
First listen.
Ensemble and composer new in my collection.
Label: CdM 1638.
Recording dates: September 2015.
Recording venue: dbc studio, and the Dormitori del Centre del Carme, Valencia.
Recording engineer: Jorge Bastidas.
Running time: 64:19.
Classical relevance: Worthwhile.

Music performed:
See heading.

Music performed by:
Capella de Ministrers
Musica reservata Barcelona, Carles Magraner.

This is the second disc in a series of three, with music dedicated to Raimundo Lully, a composer totally unknown to me, and an interesting discovery. It is my first encounter with ensemble, conductor, composer,  and label.  I discovered that Magraner recorded quite a discography. Most of them very interesting to me. As for the artistic merit I find it to be flawless, as an interpretation doubt creeps in at a very early stadium. One of the things I heartily dislike are spoken texts, and on this disc there are about 10 minutes of it.  Secondly the music sounds academic to me, technically well done, but at times utterly boring. The enthusiasm is not of a spontaneous kind, but rather the product of extensive study, in which warmth and emotion had no place. The intimacy of some of the compositions are ruined by a sound that is simply too big, albeit very detailed. It is not a choice I would have made recording such music. It sounds too big and broad , and tends to get very loud at that. As if they are standing in a large cathedral with too much space. It may be to the liking of most, but for me it gets out of focus. The sound in all other respects is perfect, but the result is not appropriate to my ears. The ensemble and instrumentalist are beyond reproach, but if all the other discs in this series are like this, I will not explore further into their recordings, especially since they are quite expensive. The texts are beautifully written, but as a downpoint the booklet is rather scholarly. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Farnaby, Giles. (c.15631640) The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, Volume 4.

The Fourth volume already in this series, and every bit as good as the previous 3 volumes. The second rerun this is, and a pleasant journey through the music of Farnaby.
For those that have the first 3 volumes this is mandatory.
See first review.

First review of this disc.

Tombelle de la Fernand. (1854-1928) Chamber Music.

This is the Fourth time that I played this disc, in itself that says a lot with me, if a disc is so quickly pushed in my CD player after buying it. Something in this music draws me in, quite deeply.
It is well worth acquiring. A forgotten master.

See first review of this disc.

First review of this disc.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Bonis, Mel. (Melanie) (1858-1937) Piano Works, solo.

As I said in my previous review, utterly captivating, no use to resist this beautiful music. She belongs to my top female composers ever!
Second rerun.
See previous review.

First review of this disc.

Corrette, Michel. (1707-1795) Les Delices de la Solitude.

Second rerun of this fine disc. I stick to my original review. Its pleasing music well performed. A budget priced CD worth your money and attention.
See also first review.

First review of this CD.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Taneyev, Sergej. (1856=1915) Piano Chamber Music.

Second complete rerun of this fine chamber music by an underrated composer. His music is at times a hard nut to crack, but the effort to do so is rewarding, especially when you have such passionate performances as the present ones in my player. There are always some minor quibbles, but the end result is highly satisfying.
See review of both discs.

Review CD 1.
Review CD 2.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Herzogenberg von, Heinrich. (1843-1900) & Herzogenberg von, Elisabeth. (1847-1892) Complete Piano Music.

Second rerun of this box with 3 CD'S. Fascinating piano works. They rank very high on my list, and wholeheartedly recommend them. Especially at budget price this is a no brainer.
See previous reviews.

Review CD 1  
Review CD 2
Review CD 3.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Bach and Handel. Vocal and instrumental works.

This is the second rerun, and this disc grows on me. I certainly endorse my first review. This is quite a marvelous disc....anytime.

First review of this disc.

New releases at full price, but they are all worth it.

 All new and full price releases, but so beautiful that I had to order them!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Bach, J.S In Tempore Nativitatis.

The second rerun, and I keep liking it, despite some misgivings about the countertenor.
So I stick to my first review.

First review of this disc.

Rodrigo, Joaquin. The Rodrigo edition. CD 5.

This is the second rerun of this box, minus 6 CD'S with vocal works that I removed into the refusal bin, which was mainly his vocal/orchestral compositions, which I did not like at all. My first review however of disc 5 is still spot on. Second time around it could not really charm me. As said this music belongs to the production line, it has no real connection to the best this composer could compose. My two cents anyway. The performances are good, without being excellent. Sound is within reason too.

Bach, J.S. English Suites, complete.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2015.
First listen.
Label: SEON.
CD 46 & 47 from 85.
Recording dates:September 1973.
Recording venue: Doopsgezinde Kerk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Dieter Thomsen.
Running time: 68:08 & 76:02.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by:
Gustav Leonhardt.

D. Dulcken, Antwerp 1745 by Martin Skowroneck, Bremen, Germany.

Whatever performance you have in your collection, if this one is missing, go and get it. For Leonhardt excels in this performance. Sparkling, dancing rhythms all over the place, with a fine sense for detail and colour, and played with the sensitivity of a musician that knows the true worth of Bach in all aspects. I think we all can agree on the mastery of Leonhardt in the matters of Johann Sebastian Bach. Seldom did I hear an uninspired performance, or one that had not all the ingredients needed to see in the compositional depth of Bach. In his time Bach was one of the greatest composers living, maybe even the greatest, and this holds still true. What keeps me firmly in the music is the many tiny details that are often forgotten by other performers, who will linger at the surface in the melody line, but do not venture deeper into the intellectual concept of the music. But then not many are able to get at this juncture, which opens up what Bach locked away to the lesser performers. Leonhardt delivers. I am quite sure Bach would have liked him immensely.  The sound is very good. The instrument is a bit hard for my ears, but that's personal.

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 ...