Friday, September 30, 2016

Wilms, Johann Wilhelm. (1772-1847) Orchestral Works

From my collection.
Bought in 2011.
First listen: 31-3-2011.
Second listen: 2-4-2015.
Third listen: 30-9-2016.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates:April 2004 & August 2005.
Recording venue: Grosser Sendesaal des Landesfunkhauses Niedersachsen des NDR, Hannover.
Recording supervisor: Frank Lipp.
Running time: 65:13.
Classical relevance: As such interesting

Works performed:
Symphony No. 1, opus 9 in C major & No. 4, opus 23 in C minor.
Overture in D major.

Performed by:

NDR Radiophilharmonie, Howard Griffiths.

It was rotten luck for Wilms, that he lived during the time that Beethoven started to dominate the musical scene, and accounts for today's obscurity of him as a composer and his works. And that is not deserving of a musician that wrote some works near to the quality of say Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven, and of which you find traces throughout his work.  Not in such a way that it overshadows his complete oeuvre, but still there are parts of his music that contain direct quotes from both composers mentioned. Fine balanced works, with creative melodic turns and narrative drive, and it gives a fair stab at his contemporaries. Detail is everywhere and of interest, scoring is always lucid and logical. All firmly in the classical tradition.  Works that keep you alert through the many orchestral details. Griffiths gives us excellent performances with a reduced orchestra, as to get the balance right, and he did. Spirited well paced interpretations, with observance of all felicitous details there are. He certainly gets the most out of these works, despite the modern instruments. The recording is very good, but there is a slight difference in sound between the first and fourth symphony. No. 1 is near state of the art, No. 4 tends to obscure some details among timpani, basses and celli. Not much but I noticed it.

Schubert, Franz. The complete Symphonies. Symphony No 1 in D major.

From my collection. 
Bought in January 2016.
First listen: 13-1-2016.
Second listen: 30-9-2016.
Label: ZigZag territoires.
Recording dates: January 1997.
Recording venue: Concertzaal, Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Bert van der Wolf.
Classical relevance: Mildly interesting.

Works performed:

See heading.

Performed by:

Anima Eterna Brugge, Jos van Immerseel.

If you doctor to long with a score to get it right as it could be in Schubert times, you might err two ways. The first error could be the size of the orchestra, the second error could be the use of dynamics and accents. I think in what I know and heard so far that at least in the first Symphony Immerseel did more harm than good.
I applaud the articulation and detail he brings up, most of it unheard for decades, but the artistic decisions Immerseel made are in most instances disastrous.  You may hear this especially in the first and third movement, where lacklustre is the first name, and accents underplayed, almost non existent. In some ways it has to do with the venue and the recording engineer. I know the concert hall in Tilburg, good for detailing, but the sound clogs up when fff is played. The timpani placed in the middle of the orchestra or so it sounds, is obscuring with its playing all adjacent accents and dynamics. The thunderous thumping is painful for the ears and disaster for the harmony of the music. Every roll of the drums makes me cringe, and powering down the volume. Funny enough Immerseel claims greater clarity and balance in Schubert's works, reached after careful and sometimes painful study and subsequent decision making, coming to a result that is far from satisfactory.  I think this a poor representation of Schubert's work. Quick comparison with Marriner and Goodman told me that I was right in my assessment.  I would say that I disagree with all the decisions made by Immerseel. I was led to believe after the successful Alpha box which was an eclatant success, that Schubert was also done in a similar way, but boy did I arrive home. I sincerely hope that the following works will be better but somehow I doubt that. I will keep his Beethoven box on hold for now.
I cannot make more of it my friends, sorry. But then I am only a one man's opinion, so thats a comfort to ya all.
Sound is decent with just enough details. The acoustics are not used to its advantage.

Note added on 30-9-2016.
A new piece of equipment gave me a better image, better spatial separation, a deeper soundstage, timpani are more clear, strings are better audible as a separate entity as before. But as to Immerseel's artistic decisions I still stand skeptical. But I enjoyed it a tad more. That's progress.

Tchaikovsky, Piotr ilyich. Orchestral Works. Third rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in 2009.
First listen: 20-12-2009.
Second listen: 2-4-2015.
Third listen: 30-9-2016.
Label: ZigZag.
No booklet with this cd!
Recording dates: September 2000.
Recording venue: Palace of the Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium.
Recording engineer: Markus Heiland. 
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:

Symphony No. 4.
Nutcracker Suite.
Danses Caracteristiques.
Valse des Fleurs.

Works performed by:
Anima Eterna, Jos van Immerseel.

Little did I know what I would encounter with a period performance of Tchaikovsky's music and neither did I expect that it would come from this band of musicians, for they always cruised along the lines of baroque and early classical. So you can imagine what a surprise this recording was and still is after 6 years of lying in my backlog pile. I can remember that I was stupefied at what came out of my speakers, and today I experienced the same sensation all over again. Spine tingling it is. Now I have a lot of complete sets of his Symphonies, he being my prime composer, and have come to expect a certain sound and practice of performance, knowing, or so I thought, were the accents should be placed, how to handle dynamics, and apply the right tempi in the whole procedure. I could not have been more at fault in regard to a performance on period instruments, for that is a totally different ballgame. Everything that was in my head had to go, and by Jove, I never heard such an open approach towards the works on this cd. So many details, obscured  before, so many accents applied in places I could not even remember, rhythms that had no connection with what was playing in my mind. And the sheer volume of the winds , Timpani and Glockenspiel amazed me no end. A familiar work became a new discovery in the most literal sense. I was jumping on and off my chair especially in the last movement of the Symphony. It has a drive and push that had me in its grip. Tchaikovsky must have heard a similar effect, for these were the instruments it was composed for, and well they do it. The discipline of this orchestra is near perfection, and Immerseel's brilliant mastery of the score is phenomenal. And the sound is near State of the Art. I simply wished that Immerseel would have recorded them all! The Nutcracker Suite had a new guise too, simply more details, accents that worked better, and dynamics that had a relation to the accents.
Wow, that was a treat today!
Recommended for all Tchaikovsky enthusiasts!

Ole Olsen. (1850-1927) Orchestral Works.

From my collection.
Bought August 2015.
First listen: 17-8-2015.
Second listen: 16-92015.
Third listen: 30-9-2016.
Label: Sterling.
Recording dates: July 2009.
Recording venue: Reforma Baznika Riga, Latvia.
Recording engineer: Arne Akselberg.
Running time: 68:31.
Classical relevance: I think well worth anyone's while.

Works performed:

Asgaardsreien, Symphonic Tone picture, opus 10.
Symphony in G major, opus 5.
Suite for String Orchestra, opus 60.
(From Nordahl-Rolfsen's fairy tale comedy Svein Urdæd)

Works performed by:

Latvian National SO, Terje Mikkelsen.

Never heard of this composer, never read anything about him. Never saw him mentioned anywhere. Totally unknown, and yet Sterling found it in their stride to record music from this composer born in Norway, and thereby filling a large gap in the musical understanding of that country.

In terms of what you might expect, think Edvard Grieg, a touch of Sibelius, some dreamy Mahlerian moments, also Stenhammar comes to mind, but still Olsen has its own way of writing which sets him apart. His roots are firmly embedded in his country, folklore and legends, you will hear that especially in Asgaardsreien a beautiful written tone picture, which will produce some pretty lively images along the way. At some moments you might think Grieg walks through the door, but Olsen turns such snippets of melodies quickly into his own language. The Symphony is a well written orchestral work that got grip on my imagination fairly quickly into the first movement, and did hold my attention throughout. Every single movement has a drive to it, that underlines his melodic gifts to the full. He is a tone painter that carefully applies the colours with great detail. Impressive it is.
The Suite for String Orchestra, is as fine as any work I heard throughout the years, and certainly underlines the fact that Olsen is unjustly forgotten.
If it comes to the recording it's a big letdown! I exclude the opus 60 from this criticism, but as for the rest....
It is loud and rough, even though there is detail and punch, but too much of the last thing.. The finer details are blown away by what I term a hollow soundstage. Due to the loudness of the recording there is barely any nuance in the dynamics between instruments, it all sounds loud. A constant pressure that is after a while quite disturbing. Constant push and rush. So all the fine music is reduced to irritation for your ears. Now, I am used to the peculiar recordings by Sterling, but this one beats many a recording I have heard from them. So I cannot in all conscience recommend the recording, but I do recommend the music. 

Raff, Joseph Joachim. (1822-1882). Violin Concertos. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in February 2016.
First listen: 22-3-2016.
Second listen: 30-9-2016.
Label: Tudor.
Recording dates: May 2999.
Recording venue: Sinfonie an der Regnitz, Bamberg, Germany.
Recording engineer: Herbert Fruhbauer.
Running time: 70:07.
Classical relevance: Essential for all Raff enthusiasts. 

Works performed:

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No 1, opus 161, in B minor (1870/71) 
No. 2, opus 206. (1877) in A minor.
Cavatina for Violin and Orchestra, opus 85, No. 3. (1859)
Ungarischer for Violin and Orchestra, opus 203. (1876)

Performed by:

Michaela Paetsch, Violin.
Bamberger Symphoniker, Hans Stadlmair.

Another Tudor recording of Raff's music that was missing in my collection, redressed now by a fine offer which I could not resist.

>There is only a limited number of great Violin concertos, particularly of the Romantic era . Raff's Violin concertos certainly deserve a place beside those of his contemporaries. At the time, Raff was actually considered one of Germany's greatest living composers. Hearing the music on this disc one wonders why his music has been so forgotten, like all his other music by the way. Raff's voice has a moving resonance,not always very deep perhaps, but original and unique. Raff's idiom has a natural elegance, his orchestration is always skillful and his orchestral colours creatively varied. In the background is always the romantic inspiration, which is full of noble expression and features virtuosity and lyricism< Both Violin concertos are ravishingly beautiful as are both the small added works on this CD. The second Violin concerto has a short story to it, for it was dedicated to Pablo de Sarasate, and was scheduled to be premiered by him, but to the composer's great chagrin he wriggled out of it. Probably too difficult for him!
The recording made it Regnitz is full and warm, at the end of the orchestra it is a bit diffused, probably a venue problem. Still detail is clear and plentiful!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Escenas Argentinas. A Symphonic Anthology. Second rerun

From my collection.
Bought in September 2015.
First listen: 18-9-2015.
Second listen: 29-9-2016.
Label: Chandos.
Recording dates: June 1999.
Recording venue: Teatro Municipal, Parana, Provincia de Entre Rios, Argentina.
Recording engineer: Reinhard Geller.
Running time: 58:49.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works  and composers:

Carlos Lopez Buchardo. (1881-1948)

Premiere recording on CD.
Escenas Argentinas in three movements.

Julian Aguirre. (1868-1924)

Orchestrated by Ernest Ansermet and published as
Due danze Argentine.

Astor Piazzolla. (1921-1992)

Tangazo: Variations on Buenos Aires.

Luis Gianneo. (1897-1968)

El Tarco en Flor., Symphonic Poem.

Carlos Guastavino. (1912-2000)

premiere recording in this version.
Las Ninas, No. 1 from Tres Romances Argentinos.

Oscar Giudice. (1906-1974)

premiere recording
Salmo al Parana.

Performed by:

Orquesta Sinfonica de Entre Rios, Gabriel Castagna.

Another welcome addition to my classical collection. I did not know what to expect exactly, but I was more than pleasantly surprised. Of course this music has strong nationalistic tendencies, but that is to be expected and in this case very welcome. For it shows clearly the character and culture of the Argentine nation in all their gorgeous colours. And although many names are unknown on this CD, the music is of a high standard, and very well performed by an orchestra I did not know, but boy do they swing this music.

Buchardo begins this CD with very well scored music, in which the folkloristic element is pre eminent. As if every note is literally soaked in folklore. Nothing but praise here, the music makes your heart leap.
Aguirre is like Buchardo an excellent orchestrator and has the same tools to make the music shine. Two short pieces but really powerful in its expression.
Normally I am not a great fan of Piazzolla, but in this case I must bow to this wonderful piece. I did not know he had this in him, but I thoroughly enjoyed what I heard. I am not a great fan of Tango music, which is primarily his aim, but this is a exception on the rule, almost none of that.
Gianneo writes music that has a very atmospheric tinge to it, almost a spiritual element pops up at the oddest moments. Melancholy too, even sentimental, but a fine open scoring.
Guastavino is a world apart. This fellow is a thoroughbred romantic of the sweetest kind, Afterwards you need to go to the dentist to fill all the holes in your moles. A bit too sweet for me, but nicely done. I cannot imagine a whole CD full with his music, you will have no teeth left after that.
Giudice composed something that lingers for quite a while. It's a fine but short piece.
The excellent scoring was preeminent amongst all Argentine composers, in the sense that I was constantly awed, not having that many composers of that country in my collection. A real find and well recorded too. Its recommended by me without reservation.

Dances with the winds. Third rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in September 2015.
First and second listen: 17 and 18 of September 2015.
Third listen: 29-9-2016.
Label: Chandos.
Recording dates: May 2004.
Recording venue: New broadcasting House Manchester, England.
Recording engineer: Don Hartridge.
Running time: 69:08.
Classical relevance: The wind enthusiasts essential, other might like it too.

Works performed:

Kenneth Hesketh. (B. 1968)
Danceries in four movements.

Nikos Skalkottas. (1904-1949)

Nine Greek Dances.

John Corigliano. (B. 1938)

Gazebo Dances.

Adam Gorb. (B. 1958)

Yiddish Dances.

Performed by:

Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra, Clark Rundell.

Whatever you may think about music for wind instruments, this release is clearly one to have and to hold. Not only do you get some new composers, but also excellent arrangements or original compositions for a Wind band. And those instruments are versatile, believe me. This disc makes that abundantly clear.

No matter what composer on this disc you listen too, they all have something to say that is truly unique, and at times revelatory. Even in our times music is allowed to be beautiful and above all tonal. That does not mean that the notes or the chords are not a little bit bended, but always in a tasteful way. Hesketh with which this cd starts is a point in case. He gives titles to his dances that awaken your interest  and rightly so for "Lull me beyond thee"or "Catching of Quails" not to mention Quadling Delight"  are descriptive titles that covers the musical expression to a T.. Very funny and at the same time truly magical.
Now Nikos Skalkottas was seen as a musical extremist being a scholar from Schoenberg, and therefore not much liked by his own people or for that matter also in the rest of the world. So what ever the poor chap did, apart from dying to young, his reworking of the Orchestral Dances into Nine Greek dances for Wind instruments, show nothing of the extremist in him, he's rather a huggable pussy, in producing the finest jewels for these instruments. I really enjoyed them very much.
John Corigliano's Gazebo Dances are in the same order, very beautifully scored, in such an effective way that I had to listen twice before I fully grasped the rich melodic content. I did not expect such melodic works by his hands. Kudos!
But the piece de la resistance must be the Yiddish Dances by Adam Gorb. It is so well scored, Yiddish music is extremely suited to wind instruments, that I revelled in ecstasy every minute that this music lasted. Especially two Romanian dances, Doina, ( girls name) and Hora, (A dance). The scoring is marvelous and gets to a climax in Freylach's hilariously funny Dance, like a whirlwind, your feet cannot stop tapping along, or sit still at any given point in the music.
The performances are sublime, hats off for their abilities, and the recording does ample justice to the music. In the very best Chandos manner.

Simonsen, Rudolph. (1889-1947) Orchestral works.

From my collection.
Bought in April 2011.
First listen: 5-4-2011.
Second listen: 29-9-2016.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: September 2006.
Recording venue: Sønderborg, Danmark.
Recording engineer: Stephan Reh.
Running time: 70:52.
Classical relevance: That is very much a personal choice..

Works performed:
Overture in G minor.
Symphony No. 1 "Zion".
Symphony No. 2 "Hellas".

Performed by:
South Jutland SO, Israel Yinon.

A few days ago I stumbled over a pile of CD'S and while searching for something else, I found this composer, a cd once played in 2011 and then somehow not played anymore. Not unusual with so many CD'S to listen, that happens more as I really want.  Anyway it was bought pre blog, so no review with my thoughts about this one. Maybe on a classical forum? I have no memory of what my impressions were, so it was as if playing a new acquisition.
Looking through my database I found the composer! In 2013 I bought a box with 10 cd's with the title "Spirales" containing a lot of Scandinavian composers, from late romantic to ultra modern. Amongst them a Clarinet Quintet and two SQ, performed by Henry Lindner on the clarinet, and the Kontra Quartet, which I reviewed on favourably. ( Music and performance) So I began my journey with quite some enthusiasm. But well into the playing of this disc, things started to go a totally different way, one I did not expect at all. If anything it was a total surprise. When the Overture starts you get a late romantic work, tightly written, with some inventive brass and string writing in it, and puts you on the wrong foot altogether. Much as his chamber works actually. But when the first symphony starts a totally different composer makes himself known. Still late romantic but stretched to the limit, with a sound world that is hardly to match to other composers. There is also modernity very much Simonsen's language, and in this form not heard by me before. What comes close is Sibelius, Bruckner, Wagner and Nielsen but he is not greatly influenced by any of them. He simply borrows small pieces of their idiom and cooks them into his own soup. So it's truly an unique voice so far as I am concerned.  Really advance counterpoint (superb), and a dramatic expression that is suffused with a deep intensity. In his second Symphony you will hear Neo classical polyphony very much used by Carl Nielsen, but applied by Simonsen in a different way. And although I admire the technical abilities of him, I find him a tough nut to crack, in fact I will not crack, for most of his music leaves me stone cold. I must also say that there are moments of great beauty in his music like the second movement in the second symphony, which has a very clean tone and a beautifully crafted melody line. And overall great writing for strings and brass, but the music is often aimlessly wandering around without reaching an apotheosis. Every time when I expected something the duck was drowned completely by an excess of Bruckner brass, which does Simonsen no good.  But try it by all means, you might react totally different from me.
Nevertheless he is totally forgotten, and CPO did not go through the motions of the third and fourth symphonies. This is the only disc on CPO featuring this composer. A pity nevertheless. 
The orchestra under Yinon does a great job! The recording is also first rate, with all detail clearly heard, and a wide soundstage with good depth.   

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works, Disc 16. Third rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in June 2014.
First listen: 16-9-2014.
Second listen: 10-11-2014.
Third listen: 29-9-2016.
Label: CPO. Box with 22 cd's.
Recording dates and engineer: Not mentioned.
Recording venue: St. Wenzel Naumburg, Germany.
Running time: 68:29.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Instrument used:

Zacharias Hildebrandt Organ, St. Wenzel Naumburg, Germany. 1743-46.

Works performed:
1) Piece d'Orgue in G, BWV 572.
2-4) Sonata No. 3 in d, BWV 527.
5) Fuga in g, BWV 542/2.
6) Orgelchoral "Jesus, meine Zuversicht", manualiter, BWV 728.
7-9) Sonata No. 6 in G, BWV 530.
10-11) Praeludium et Fuga in A, BWV 536.
12-16) Kanonische Veränderungen über "Von Himmel hoch, da komm ich her", BWV 769a.
(Autographe Fassung)

Performed by: Gerhard Weinberger.

Again such a fine organ, and excellent interpretations all around. BWV 728 may be a short work, it has a devastating impact. Genius packed in barely 2 minutes. The second movement of BWV 527, Adagio e dolce, is a fine example of the more contemplative side, and so well played. BWV 769a in 5 movements is very beautiful, almost a see through composition. It has weight in lightness so to say. 

I must admit that the compositions from Bach that belong to his Free works not always impress me.
BWV 572 is a work that is technically flawlessly composed, although the French influence eludes me, that gives me an impression of as loud as possible, amidst one melody line, and not much else. BWV 536 is of little consequence to my ears, I like it, but my attention wanders. The recording this time as opposed to CD 15 with the same organ, is distanced in most works, which gives enough detail and more air around the instrument, but makes it also a tad detached in emotional input. Funny enough many times during the recording, sound settings are changed. Something which I have encountered more often as I would like in this set.. Still, full marks for the artistic merit, and the somewhat unbalance recording technique.

Binchois, Gilles de Bins dit. (d.1460) Les Plaintes de Gilles de Bins dit Binchois. Third rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 9-7-2016.
Second listen: 3-8-2016.
Third listen: 29-9-2016.
Second listen.
Originally released in 2007.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates: October 2006.
Recording venue: Èglise de Franc-Waret, Belgium.
Recording engineer: Manuel Mohino.
Running time: 73:52.
Classical relevance: Essential. Reference recording. State of the Art recording.

Works performed:
See heading.
Lamentations by Binchois.

Performed by:
Graindelavoix, Bjorn Schmelzer.
7 singers and 4 instrumentalists.

This is the second CD of Graindelavoix I bought this year. For me they are a perfect ensemble. Their choir culture is extraordinarily balanced, and the rhythmic drive is remarkable in the sense that the music evolutionized through perfect synthesis into a deeply intrinsic experience. That does not happen to often, but this second CD in my collection of them repeats the perfect impression I had from the first one I bought. I cannot find fault in this production, for all is as it should. The lamentations are a perfect example of how suffering is translated in music and text, that can comfort or make you more miserable, depending on the stance you take, or the mood you are in. In both cases you get what you expect. The recording captures the wailings and longings in a sonic extravaganza as can be expected from Mohino.  State of the art recording.
Needless to say, but I say it anyway, heartily recommended.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works, Discs 15. Weinberger Edition.

From my collection.
Bought in 2014.
First listen: 10-9-2014.
Second listen: 10-11-2014.
Third listen: 28-9-2016.
Label: CPO, box with 22 discs.
Recording supervisor: Werner Czesla.
No recording dates mentioned.
Running time disc 15) 62:26.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:

Transcriptions Part II.
1-3) Concerto in G, BWV 592.
4-9) Sechs Chorale von verschiedener Art. ( Schubler-Chorale) BWV, (645-650)
10-13) Concerto in d, BWV 596.
14-16) Concerto in a, BWV 593.
17) Aria in F, BWV 587.
18) Ricercar in c a 6 voci, aus dem musikalischen Opfer, BWV 1079/5.

Instrument used:

Zacharias Hildebrandt Organ, St. Wenzel Naumburg, 1734-46.
Tonhohe: a'=464 Hz, bei 15 Grad celsius.
Stimmung Neidhardt I (1724)

Performed by, Gerhard Weinberger.

The Hildebrandt organ is tuned at 464 Hz, which makes it a weighty instrument, it's fine chiseled sound is mesmerizing and totally unique in character. One of the best organs I heard so far. There are not many original organs made by Hildebrandt left in Europe, so we should treasure this one. Bach inspected and accepted this organ as did Silbermann, and that is a compliment well deserved. Hildebrandt was a pupil from Trost and Friderici, both famous organ builders, and he showed himself to be a master equal to his teachers. As many organs of its time, it was severely damaged by modern restorations, The one that brought it back to the original concept, started in 1976 and ended in the Bach year 2000, and then could be heard in all its splendor. This recording is a great compliment to the organ. The sound is truly magnificent. All registers are clearly audible and discernable. A great job by the engineer, whoever that might have been. What you can hear, at least I do, that thrice during the recording session, the settings were changed, resulting in three different ambients. I find that a bit too much for comfort. In itself all sounds very good, but at one point one needs to adjust the volume, to prevent being blown away. I loved all the works on this CD although I must admit that BWV 1079/5 is not a piece that warms my heart. I think it rather a noisy piece. But that's very personal I might add, before the Bach connoisseurs all fall over me like angry fleas,  

Finger, Gottfried. (c.1670, or much earlier-1730) Sonatae XII pro diversis instrumentis, opus 1. Third rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July, 2016.
First listen: 1-8-2016.
Second listen: 29-8-2016.
Third listen: 28-9-2016
Label: Accent.
Originally released: 2011.
Recording dates: March 2011.
Recording venue: Himmelfahrtskirche München-Sendling, Germany.
Recording engineer: Uwe Walter.
Running time: 60:58.
Classical relevance: Well to my ears a CD to have and hold.

Works performed: 
See heading.

Works performed:
Echo du Danube, Christian Zincke. (On authentic instruments)

I fell with my nose in the butter when acquiring about 6 CD'S from the label Accent with little known Baroque composers. For all of them without exception are of a high quality in musical terms. And the recordings are also state of the art. 
Gottfried Finger you might ask? Who? Well exactly my sentiment also! I never even heard mention his name among the many composers I have from the Baroque era. So is he a catch? Yep I am sure of it. Finger was known for his excellence as a Gamba player, and so it is no surprise that the compositions on this disc shows you what can be done with this instrument, and this is much. Warm, rich of melodies, and a musical construction that works in every single note. >Tonal sensuousness you could call it, displaying experimental combinations in subtle shades never heard before, but also integrated elements of local folk music<He grew up in an environment of greats like, Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, Heinrich Schmelzer, Antonio Bertali, so no wonder then, that the outcome would be nothing short of sheer delight. You should really give this music a chance, you will be like me overwhelmed with admiration for this master on the gamba.

Bouteiller, Pierre. (c.1655-c.1717) Missa pro defunctis. * Brossard, Sebastian de. (1655-1730. Stabat Mater. Third listen

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen:6-7-2016.
Second listen: 12-8-2016.
Third listen: 28-9-2016.
Originally released in 2010.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates:  February 2010.
Recording venue: Église de Notre Dame du Liban, Paris, France.
Recording engineer: Manuel Mohino & Harry Charlier.
Running time: 62:11.
Classical relevance. An unusual but very rewarding recording. Recommended.

Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by:
Le Concert Spiritual, Herve Niquet.

Bouteiller is a composer unknown to me, Brossard is represented in my collection with a few works. Bouteiller is in the same musical vein as Brossard. They were very good friends and respected each other.  I like what I hear, warm and committed music making. The choir sounds big without overpowering the text with an excess of volume. 12 singers in total and 7 instrumentalists. The acoustics adds warmth without obscuring the details. Quality of voices is most excellent, especially the counter tenors which are not an obtrusive element but blend well. This kind of singing reminded me of the great Michel Corboz. As to the music by Bouteiller and Brossard. It feels like a warm blanket, with a clear bottom melody, which let you flow quite easily into the meaning of the text, unhurried and quite relaxed. It takes you by the hand and lets you immerse into a spiritual bath. It is well written and perfectly balanced by the choices Niquet made in assembling the music together, as was custom in the time of both composers. He did that rather well, by inserting instrumental music by composers like, Henri Frémart, Charpentier, Pierre Hugard and Louis le Prince. Brossard's Stabat Mater, has no instrumental parts inserted by other composers.
The instrumental part are filled in excellently, and the recording is first class.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fux, Johann Joseph. (1660-1741) Concentus musico instrumentalis. Baroque Chamber music at the Viennese Court. Third rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2015.
First listen: 28-7-2016.
Second listen: 22-8-2016.
Third listen: 27-9-2016.
Label: Oehms.
Original release date: 2006.
Recording dates: May 2004.
Recording venue: WAR Studio Wien, Austria.
Recording engineers: Elisabeth & Wolfgang Reithofer.
Running time: 60:20.
Classical relevance: A fine addition to the Fux catalogue in my collection.

Works performed:
Overture à 4 from Concentus MI, No VI
Overture à 4 from Concentus MI, No. III.
Canzon à 3.
Parthia trio.
Partita à 3.
Synfonia à 3.

Works performed by:
Clemencic Consort, Rene Clemencic, on authentic instruments.

Certainly a surprise to see this ensemble on Oehms. A well known name from my past. I have quite a few CD'S in my collection in which this ensemble plays a role.  Fux is always a welcome guest in my house, so I was quite curious after this recording. It is well recorded to start with, and the music is up to expectations. It is warm and committed playing, a bit stiff in the loins, and a little playfulness would not be amiss, but on the whole this is a fine addition to my collection. Fux music is always inventive and never boring and the Clemencic Consort makes sure that attention does not wander. Most of the concerti on this disc I had not heard before, but I am glad I finally did. All of the instrumentalists are soloists and this you will hear. The colour and balance plus the close attention to felicitous details is to be applauded. A very good buy I would say, I only paid 2,99€ for this disc, so a no brainer.

De Wert, Giaches. (1535-1596) L'Arte del Madrigali. CD 1.

New acquisition.
Bought in September 2016.
First listen: 27-9-2016.
Label: Glossa.
CD 1 from 9.
Recording dates: April 2002.
Recording venue: Chiesa della BV Maria del Monte Carmelo al Colletto, Roletto, Italy.
Recording engineer: Davide Ficco.
Running time: 58:33.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Tracks 1-7, are pieces from the Ottavo Libro de Madrigali 1586.
Text from La Gerusalemme Liberata. (Torquato Tasso)
Track 8 is an instrumental version for 2 lutes, from Giunto alla tomba, Libro VII.

Tracks 9-12 are pieces from the Libro XI.
Texts from Il pastor fido. (Battista Guarini)

Performed by:
La Venexiana.

This is a beautiful recording, the spatial image is pinpoint sharp! There is just the right ambiance in an acoustically perfect venue. The individual voices are in perfect balance and so create a well controlled choir. Very impressive indeed. My view is, that if you want music by this composer, this recording would be the way to go. I am anyway! The Ebb and Flow of the music is perfectly captured by the engineer. There is passion and spiritual depth and an almost sublime coherence in this interpretation. I deem this a good start for this box. Be aware that when you reach the Madrigal "Forsennata  Gridave: O tu che porte" right at the start there is an outburst of volume that might startle you, as it did me! They all sing at full blast, so if you are unaware that might give you some heart palpitations.  The same happens in the last track on this CD, "Udite lagrimosi spirti d'averno" only somewhat later in the madrigal, so not right in the beginning, as with the previous madrigal.
State of the art recording.

Note: On CD 1, all the original booklets in PDF files are available. That means including all texts. Good news I think!

Bach, J.S. The Complete Organ Music. CD 14. Third rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in June 2014.
First listen: 10-9-2014.
Second listen: 7-11-2014.
Third listen: 27-9-2016.
Label: CPO.
Recording info: Not mentioned.
Running time: 59:02.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
Concerto in C, BWV 594.
Trio in h, BWV 790.
In G, BWV 586..
Fuga in g, BWV 131a.
Trio in c, BWV 585. Praeludium et Fuga in d, BWV 539.
Sonata in G, BWV 1027a.
Concerto in C, BWV 595.

Performed by:
Gerhard Weinberger.

Joachim Wagner Organ Dom St. Peter und Paul, Brandenburg(1723)
Tuning: Werckmeister III
a'=442,5 Hz, at 15 degrees celsius (Charton)

This CD starts with the amazing Concerto in C BWV 594. The melody lines, the finely pointed rhythms, the recitativo in the second movement, it all takes my breath away.. 
The last piece on this CD, Sonata in G, BWV 1027a /anhang II 46, first movement Adagio, can it get any better, especially if it dives in a Allegro ma non tanto, with glorious steps.   The trio's makes your heart jump with joy. 
The magnificent organ is well recorded, thus all registers are clearly audible. I sat shaking in my chair many a time, when the 3-16 pipes on the pedal made their presence felt. One of my favourite recordings from this box.

Treasury of a Saint. A varied selection of Pieces composed during the 17th Century.. Third listen.

From my collection.
Bought in June 2016.
First listen: 5-7-2016.
Second listen: 17-8-2016.
Third listen: 27-9-2016.
Originally released in 2006.
Label:  Challenge Records.
Recording dates: November 2005.
Recording venue: Pieterskerk Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Daniël van Horssen.
Running time: 75:19.
Classical relevance: Essential music.

Works performed:
  • Works by: Salaverde, Sweelinck, Buchner, Bertoli, Fontana, Nicolai, Cima, Cesare, Rosenmüller, Böddecker, Cabanilles, Bovicelli, Rore, Ferro, Rognoni, Palestrina, Padbrue, Hollanders

Performed by:
Caecilia Concert.

As with all the other CD'S I have listened to by this ensemble, it awes me. Such expression in this interpretation and such wonderful playing, that it takes my breath away several times. This collection of known and unknown music is a wise decision to record, for the variety wets the appetite considerably. Many were written for other combinations, and were re-written especially for the instruments used on this recording. As the booklet says the composers were also the performers, so in that sense they knew how to turn the original music into workable pieces for wind instruments. It is a joy from beginning to end and thus I consider this an essential purchase. The recording is state of the art. A good way to spend your money and a wise investment.

Eggert, Joachim Nikolas. (1779-1813) Symphonies. Volume 2. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in January 2016.
First listen: 19-1-2016.
Second listen: 27-9-2016.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates: March 2014.
Recording venue: Gavle Concert Hall, Sweden.
Recording engineer: Sean Lewis.
Running time: 65:26.
Classical relevance: Essential as a link between Haydn, Schubert and Beethoven.

Works performed:

Symphony No. 2 in G minor.
Symphony No. 4 in C minor.
Alternative Second movement to Symphony No. 4: Largo.

Performed by:

Gavle SO, Gerard Korsten.

As the booklet says: "He is one of the more forward looking Swedish composers of his age".

I would wholeheartedly agree with that, for under all his fine melodies there is a vein of excellence. The fact that he was totally forgotten is a riddle to me, for he does not fall below the standard of the composers I named under classical relevance. Be it as it may, this is the first time that all four Symphonies were recorded, which was about time. A revival that hopefully lasts, although my expectations are low in that respect.
Symphony No 4 was written in c.1810, so composed amidst military turmoil in Europe. This fact is musically incorporated into the Fourth symphony. The scoring is as always excellent with Eggert, a creative orchestrator and far ahead of his time. In matters of influences Franz Schubert reigns supreme. Not that Eggert is slavishly following him, but the music reminds often of Schubert in terms of dynamics, scoring for wind instruments, and the structure of the movements. The last movement of this work starts with a fugue, like in his previous Symphony No. 3, and it clearly shows what a dab hand he was in this kind of writing. He also wrote an alternative movement for the Fourth symphony-Largo- which is very impressive in structure and gravitas, to say the least.
Symphony No. 2 written in 1806, has Beethoven as its main influence, but it is less interesting as the fourth by far. Here and there are flashes of genius, but they are far and wide between. As such it's a interesting work, but your attentions wanders quickly. And what is more, the tempi Korsten is using, especially the second and third movements are way to slow. In the case of the Andante it almost comes to a standstill. The following minuet and trio, falls structurally apart at certain moments. It is strange, that after hearing a very alert performance of the Fourth, the second falls short in that respect.
The performances are superb, alert orchestra, conductor marks all accents in an adequate way.
The sound is good. The Fourth has a better detailing as the second. Nothing to worry about, but I noticed.

Italian Renaissance Madrigals. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in September 2016.
First listen: 4-9-2016.
Second listen: 27-9-2016.
Label: Erato.
CD 1 from 6.
Recording dates:  April 1991.
Recording venue: Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London, England.
Recording engineer: Simon Rhodes.
Running time: 71:18.
Classical relevance: For me personally, essential.

Works from:
Giovanni Giacomo Gastoldi.
Antonio Caprioli.
Loyset Compere.
Philippe Verdelot.
Jacques Arcaldet.
Francesco Patavino.
Maddalena Casulana.
Luca Marenzio.
Cipriano de Rore.
Giovan Domenico da Nola.
Adrian Willaert.
Vincenzio Bell'Haver.
Orlando di Lasso.

Performed by:
The Hilliard Ensemble.

A blast from the past, truly. This box with 6 CD'S was recently released for a price of a cheap lunch. But the music and performances are not cheap, on the contrary, these recordings are to me quite valuable. The Hilliard as an ensemble have a reputation of producing first grade products, what else I would say, with such renown singers on board. Everyone of them is a soloist, but blended perfectly into a recognizable choir style, that has made quite an impression over the many years that I enjoyed their singing. There is a perfect balance in this choir, voices are matching, and they create a timbre that is quite unique. Note perfect, dynamics under control, and aware of the appropriate rhythm in every single piece. It is a virtual feast to listen to the Italian renaissance madrigals. Highly atmospheric and presented with enough but never too much warmth and emotion, thus spiritually far reaching. The sound is perfectly couched in an acoustically fine studio. It is not far from State of the Art. Highly recommended.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Von Schacht, Theodor. (1748-1823) Orchestral Works, Volume I.

From my collection
Bought in January 2016.
First listen: 10-2-2016.
Second listen: 26-9-2016.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: March 2012.
Recording venue: Keelung City Cultural Center, Taipei, Taiwan.
Recording engineer: Micky Yang.
Running time: 79:33.
Classical relevance: Well worth having.

Works performed:

Sinfonia in C.
In E flat major.
Sinfonia con eco in E flat major..

Performed by:

Evergreen SO, Gernot Schmalfuss.

I must admit that the name of the orchestra made me almost turn down this composer, for Evergreen is associated for me with something else as classical music. But then again, the fact that Schmalfuss was its conductor, made me decide for it, for I know him to be a very conscientious musician, and the thorough repetitor of orchestras.  And I was right, for this orchestra sounds good, a bit mechanical at times, but for what it is worth quite good.  Certainly good enough to play the works of this unknown composer, and that is a compliment, for these compositions are by no means easy works. Their contrapunt is one of excellence, their harmonies and melodies well crafted, and the artistic level quite high, coming close to Haydn. This is more than clear in the Sinfonia in C, and also a bit in the E flat major work, although in that work Beethoven is also foreshadowed.  There is a lot of inner detail that had me gasping, captivating melodies, with some inbuilt creativity that can only produce good things. Not a bread writer, but a good composer who is simply forgotten. The last E flat major work is written for a festive occasion, and the listeners must have been pleased for it's a gorgeous work. There are many soloistic contributions from the orchestra and that adds to the overall glow of the music. It's a winner on every count. So, if you like Haydn, this composer is a must.

Sound is excellent, and the tempi are well judged, it never gets sluggish anywhere. Even the Menuetto's have a good speed about them. O, and for those who like to know details, he was a Baron.......:)
The sound is excellent, all detail and soloistic contribution are well heard.

Raff, Joseph Joachim. (1822-1882) Cello Concertos. Second listen.

From my collection 
Bought in February 2016.
First listen: 10-2-2016.
Second listen: 26-9-2016.
Label: Tudor.
Recording dates: June/December 2003, January 2004.
Recording venues: Sinfonie an der Regnitz, Joseph Keilberth Saal, Bamberg & Bayerischen Rundfunk Studio 2, Munich, Germany.
Recording engineer: Bernhard Albrecht.
Running time: 76:26.
Classical relevance: Reference recording, therefore essential.

Works performed:

Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, No. 1, opus 193 in D minor.
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, No. 2, opus posth.
Begegnung, Phantasie stuck for Cello and Piano, opus 86, No. 1.
Duo for Cello and Piano, opus 59 in A major.

Performed by:

Daniel Muller Schott, Cello.
Robert Kulek, Piano.
Bamberger Symphoniker, Hans Stadlmair.

This morning a whole bunch of new CD'S came in, this is the first one of 3 Raff CD'S I bought.

I know his symphonies quite well and admire him enormously, so now I have the cello concertos with the same orchestra. And what a surprise it was to find out that all the works on this CD belong to the very best I heard from Raff so far. Certainly the Cello concertos which I think to be masterworks, no less! They get a ravishing interpretation from Schott, an unknown cellist for me. The D minor was written in 1874, and that was at the height of Raff's career. Cello concertos were by no means thick on the ground, so it was quite a novelty that Raff wrote them. The D minor is a brilliant and melodious concerto that is written for a remarkable virtuoso. A fact is that this concerto stayed in the repertoire until the beginning of WW I, and had plenty of performances. The second concerto which is even more beautiful as the first had a strange destiny. It was intended for the virtuosic David Popper who wanted to play it and waited for the score, which never came. It is unknown why Raff did not sent it to him, but it is sure there was no dedication to Popper and the work was never performed in Raff's lifetime. It's first performance was in 1997!!! It is a brilliant piece, so brimful with musicality that it taste like a touch of heaven, also a masterwork

Both pieces for Cello/Piano are the icing on the cake, in all their virtuosity they capture your heart in an instant. They are passionate deeply dramatic, and fiercely intense. It is tumultuous in a virtuosic way both in expression and technique. This is no salon music.
The performances are perfect in every sense. As to the recording I have to be a bit more critical. In general the sound is very good, but not everywhere. When it is good its almost state of the art, but for instances in the Cello concerto No. 1, first two movements, the sound hardens up in the crescendos, the third movement sounds perfect. The chamber works are fine, but the second Cello concerto suffers the same fate in the first movement, although not all the way. The engineer is fiddling around with the buttons all the time, I can clearly hear this, even during the recording. Still in those places you have to get the volume a little lower and that will obliterate the pressure.
I will however recommend this recording for artistically it's a peach.

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works, CD 13. Third part of the Clavierubung.

From my collection.
Bought in 2014.
First listen: 9-9-2014.
Second listen: 5-11-2014.
Third listen: 26-9-2016.
Label: CPO, box with 22 cd's. Booklet in English only, 165 pages full of useful academic info.
Recording dates and recording engineer not named.
Recording venue: Monastery Grauhof, Germany.
Running time: 72:02.
Classical relevance: Essential.
See for instrument previous review of cd 6, with all technical info about the instrument.

Instrument used: Christoph Treutmann Organ, 1734-37.

Works performed:

1-12, Dritter teil der Clavierubung.
BWV: 552,1/669/670/671/676/678/680/682/684/686/689/552,2.

Performed by Gerhard Weinberger.

A perfect performance and interpretation.  As to the instrument, well it's definitively a big organ with a matching big sound. No real intimacy, but always very present. How big it actually sounds you will hear right away in the first Praeludium BWV 552, thundering out all the voices together. The recording is good, but when it is at full blast all the pipes are one big blur and you have to listen really well to get out the underlying melody. One piece that always fascinated me by its strangeness is "Vater unser in Himmelreich", for two manuals and pedal e canto fermo in Canone. At times it sounds as if it was composed in the 19th century. There is a meandering in this work, restless almost, that is confusing me. Fascinating though. Weinberger is a performer who has my utmost respect. Recording is a bit distant, though every detail is audible. It was a choice by necessity I think, recording such a big sound would be distorted if too closely miked. 


Schmelzer & Co. Music at the Habsburg Court. Third rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in June 2016.
First listen: 1-7-2016.
Second listen: 13-8-2016.
Third listen: 26-9-2016.
Original release: 2009.
Label: Challenge Classics.
Recording dates: January 2009.
Recording venue: Laurentius Church, Mijnsheerenland, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Daniël van Horssen.
Running time: 75:53.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works for: Dulcian, Trombone, Cornetto, Violin, Viola, Harpsichord and Organ.

Massimiliano Neri. (c.1621-1666 or after 1670)
Sonata Sesta à 5.

Johann Heinrich Schmelzer. (c.1620/23-1680)
Sonata à 2, à 3 & à 3. Sonata La Carolietta à 5.

Marco Antonio Ferro. (d.1662)
Sonata 11 à 4.

Johann Joseph Fux. (1660-1741)
Sonata à 4.

Antonio Bertali. (1605-1669)
Sonata à 3, 2 violins, dulcian, bc.
Sonata à 3, 2 violins, trombone, bc.
Sonata à 3, " " "

Giovanni Battista Buonamente. (c.1595-1642)
Ballo del Gran Duca à 3.

Bartolomeo de Selma Y Salaverde. (fl. 1638)
Vestiva i colli Passeggiato, à 2.

Georg Muffat. (1653-1704)
Passacaglia, Solo Harpsichord.

Performed by:
Caecilia Concert.

I was pleasantly surprised to see an veteran on old instruments Bruce Dickey ( Cornetto), which I know of so many recordings, especially the renown EMI Reflexe series. Hopefully all these recordings will be re-released for a decent price. Anyways to add to these words that this CD is fabulous. If you like this music and its instruments as I do, this is a treat par excellance. The compositions brought together by the Caecilia Concert are of a very high level, and such a joy to listen too. This team of musicians is a perfect match. The music making comes over so naturally that you forget the recording totally and feel an organic part of the proceedings.  The recording which is State of the Art, certainly helps enormously. The booklet is a miracle of clearheadedness and well understood. For me this CD is an absolute must, no doubt about it.
Ordering you to buy forthwith.....:):):) Go on, what are you waiting for.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Fesca, Friedrich Ernst. (1789-1826) Orchestral Works.

New acquisition.
Bought in September 2016.
First listen.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: March/May/July 2002.
Recording venue: Großer Sendesaal, Germany.
Recording engineer: Björn Brigsne.
Running time: 55:49.
Classical relevance: Well worth your time and money.

Works performed:
Symphony No. 1, opus 6 in E flat major.
Overture, opus 41 in D major.
Overture, opus 43 in C major.
Omar & Leila Overture.

Performed by:
NDR Radiophilharmonie, Frank Beermann.

I have collected most of the CPO recordings with Fesca's music, this disc I bought recently, having all the other Symphonies. I rather would have seen a smaller sized orchestra as the NDR orchestra, for it sounds a tad to big for the classical period, but that said, Beermann keeps the dynamics pretty good in balance, and is respectfully to the score. The playing does not sound overblown, but on the contrary, the notes are cleanly delivered, with enough punch, and all within the context of the authentic performance style. Fesca's music is fascinating. Not a moment of boredom, he keeps the music interesting at all times, and his melodies are creative and fascinating at the same time. I simply adore his overtures! He is a much better composer as many think. Fesca fits in his time, and has more than enough to say to warrant a place in the musical pantheon. True the music is not mindblowing but always interesting and well worth my time and money. The recording is really good. Plenty of details, and a walk through the desks can be arranged. Everything is audible with a fine acoustic and plenty of air around the instruments. I makes you notice all the layers of melodies Fesca weaves.

Bruch, Max. (1838-1920) Complete Works for Violin & Orchestra, Volume I.

From my collection.
Bought in February 2016.
First listen: 23-3-2016.
Second listen: 25-9-2016.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: June 2013.
Recording venue: Grosser Sendesaal, NDR Hannover, Germany.
Recording engineer: Daniel Kemper.
Running time: 70:20
Classical relevance: Should be high on your list.

Works performed:

Violin Concerto No. 2, opus 44.
Scottish Fantasy, opus 46.
Adagio Appassionato, opus 57.

Works performed by:

Antje Weithaas, Violin.
NDR Radiophilharmonie, Hermann Bäumer.

When I saw this release I thought blimey another recording of the Violin works of Bruch of which there are a thousand commercial recordings already, and some of them very good. The last set I bought were on the label Hyperion, and I found them to be pretty good. But listening to the samples of the CPO recording something stuck me as unique, sort of a novelty hidden under the surface, but for attentive ears immediately noticeable. So my reasoning was, that for that kind of surprise I am willing to dip into the overcrowded pool. Weithaas is no doubt one of the greatest violinists Germany brought forth. She may be not that well known globally, but that does not mean anything, for connoisseurs will instantly sense what kind of a novelty she is, and how much she is contributing to the success of this recording. Her approach is one of awareness towards Bruch's underlying melodies, not only the top layer, but all the layers beneath the surface, which Weithaas makes us aware of by her sensitive and noble interpretation. And in the process keeps all the other balls in the air, by seamlessly interweaving the prime melody line with all the other notes Bruch wrote in his Violin concertos, but which are most of the time neglected by other performers. Not all mind. Weithaas does that in such a way that I felt listening to a completely new concert. No doubt helped by an orchestra that not only accompanies her in every turn and twist, but keeps the concert afloat by a very nuanced approach toward the scoring, which Bruch made special too. It is on an equal footing with the notes written for the violin. Equal partners, equals perfection. For me it is a first time, that I hear actually all what Bruch meant us to hear. At least that is my assessment. Romanticism at its very best, in fact it does not come better as this. The tempi could be a bit more faster in my opinion, but the extra intensity compensates for that.

Bäumer and orchestra did an excellent job, so I will give these recordings preference above the others I have, and look forward to the second volume.
The recording is almost State of the Art with tons of details and multi layered.

Weinberg, Mieczyslaw. (1919-1996) Orchestral Works. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in 2012.
Label Chandos.
First listen: 28-2-2014.
Second listen: 25-9-2016.
Recording dates: August 2009 and August 2010.
Recording venue: Concert Hall, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Recording engineer: Torbjorn Samuelsson.
Running time: 49:53. ( Plenty of room for another work of 30 minutes!!!)
Classical relevance: Essential for Weinberg fans.


Symphony No. 3, opus 45. (1949-50, revised 1959)
Suite No. 4 from "The Golden Key", opus 55d. (1954-64)


Gothenburg SO, Thord Svedlund.

Both works belong to a period, in which Weinberg's thoughts were more approachable.  The third Symphony is one of my favourites especially the third movement which must be the best Weinberg ever wrote. Almost too beautiful to describe. The work as a whole has a translucence that amazes me every time I hear it. It keeps the work flowing. Its full with the gimmicks that Weinberg always had in its sleeve. You hear this back in the final movement, very well done.

The Suite No. 4 has always been a been a firm favourite of mine, ever since I first heard this composer. Its such a balletic work, danceable, and so much opportunities to make a perfect ballet out of it. From beginning to end....Yummy! absolutely adorable, just sample the second movement, it will melt your heart.
Superb recording, amazing detail, and performance.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Romberg, Bernhard. (1767-1841) Orchestral Works. (Played on historical instruments) Forgotten treasures Volume 5.

New acquisition.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen:6-7-2016.
Second listen: 24-9-2016.
Originally released in 2007.
World premiere recordings.
Label: Ars production.
Recording dates:  2006-2007.
Recording venue: Immanuelskirche Wuppertal, Germany.
Recording engineer: Holger Siedler.
Running time: 80:58
Classical relevance: Essential to all that love historical instrument performances. This is an absolute reference mark.  Highly recommended.

Works performed:

Symphony No 1, opus 23,  in remembrance of Queen Louise von Preussen, wife of Friedrich III at the age of 34.

Symphony No 2, in E flat major opus 28. (c. 1813)

Symphony No. 3, in C major opus 53. (c.1830)

Performed by:
Kölner Akademie, Michael Alexander Willens.

I must confess that I knew this composer, the brother of Andreas Romberg, only by association and the mention of him in the booklets of Andreas music. But seldom heard some works by his hands.
So...3 Symphonies by Bernhard Romberg. Presumably he wrote 5 Symphonies, but the last two have not be identified as yet. By what I hear of this CD, I think it essential that they come to light also. For this composer is bursting with creativity, and has an excellent ear for well rounded melodies. His rhythmic sense is extraordinary, a drive that propels the music in a whirlwind of exhilarating melodies. And do those instruments sound spectacular!!! As if one hears the music in a totally new way. Light Footed and lucid writing (Symphony No 2 and 3) and a solemn statement in the first Symphony. The first movement is devastatingly beautiful in its expression, as is the following Adagio non troppo, tumbling in an Allegro Scherzando.  Elsewhere you hear the great strength of Romberg, clearheaded, but with an intrinsic awareness of coherence and internal balance. I rate him very highly, and can easily match famous contemporaries. A special mention must be made of the historical instruments. If you want to hear them as they originally must have sounded to the ears of Romberg this is most assuredly the recording to play. I got the sense of a new discovery in the colours meant to be. Willens and his orchestra put down a reference recording of great beauty, which I highly recommend.  But a warning should be in place! The tempi are really to slow in most movements, and this goes as far as losing coherence in the musical structure. And another problem is, never listen all three symphonies at the same time, for than boredom sneaks in. One symphony at the time and my review is correct, listen to all three and it gets invalid. The sound is good but not ideal.

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works. Disc 12. Third rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in 2014.
First listen: 3-9-2014.
Second listen: 4-11-2014.
Third listen: 24-9-2016.
Label: CPO. Box 22 discs.
Disc 12 from 22.
Recording dates, and recording engineer not named.
Recording venue: St, Walpurgis Grossengottern, Germany.
Running time: 68:04.

Works performed.

1-3) Sonata No. 1 in Es, BWV 525.

4) Praeludium et Fuga, (Toccata) in c, BWV 566.
5-18) Orgelchorale der Neumeister Sammlung. ( BWV 1108-1120 and BWV 957.
19-21) Sonata No. 4 in e, BWV 528.

Instrument used:

Heinrich Gottfried Trost Organ 1712-16.
Tonhohe: a'=464 Hz.
Stimmung: Wohltemperiert nach A. Werckmeister. ( Generalbass-Unterweisung)

Performed by Gerhard Weinberger.

Another Organ that has my votes. A lovely instrument well restored to the original situation, and a king amongst kings. It has a grave character so well suited to Bach's music. An openness and lucidity that is astounding in its soft passages, and warm and tender when all stops are used. The Neumeister Chorale belong to my favourite choice if it comes to Bach's music, and are played with authority and well dosed academic purpose. Never boring but creative in exploring the colours of the instrument, and give enough emotional ballast to it to make the sound picture a positive tonic. Excellent recording.

Herzogenberg, Heinrich von. (1843-1900) Chamber music. Third rerun.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 24-7-2016.
Second listen: 22-8-2016.
Third listen: 24-9-2016.
Label: CPO.
First released in 2008.
Recording dates: January 2005.
Recording venue: Kammermusikstudio SWR Stuttgart, Germany.
Recording engineer: Burkhard Pitzer-Landeck.
Running time: 51:16.
Classical relevance: As being an Herzogen admirer essential, and for those that like good chamber music also a treat.

Works performed:
Quintet, opus 43 for Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, and piano.
Trio opus 61 for Oboe, Horn and piano.

Performed by:
Orsolino Quintett.
Oliver Triendl, Piano.

Slowly but surely I get all chamber music, and orchestral music together from this talented genius. I refrain from buying vocal works, or choir compositions, of which he wrote quite a bit.
On this CD a Quintett and Trio; works with a high quality level, happy works, when increasing health brought back the enjoyment in composing. This you can hear in the last movement of the Quintett, such a jubilant confirmation of life, easily my favourite movement. The giocoso designates the character, it's full of joy and brilliant writing. So many details in the work that delight and surprise. I think one of his best compositions.
The Trio opus 61 goes on in the same vein, with an almost pastoral first movement and a clear statement towards the intent of the work. As in opus 43 there is a lot of superb writing for all instruments, especially in this first movement, the way Oboe and Horn plus piano communicate with each other, almost a chattering session on a warm sunny afternoon in the midst of summer with butterflies darting through the garden and fighting for a place on the flowers. The happy ride continues until the end. Fine well balanced sound, and an perfect performance.

Brescianello, Giuseppe Antonio. (1690-1758) Concerti. Sinfonie. Overture. Opus 1. Amsterdam 1738.

From my collection.
Bought in July 2016.
First listen: 9-7-2016.
Second listen: 4-8-2016.
Third listen: 24-9-2016.
Originally released: 2004.
Label: Glossa-Note 1 Music.
Recording dates: September 2002.
Recording venue: Catholic Church Seewen (Solothurn, Switzerland.
Recording engineer: Tritonus Music Production, Stuttgart, Germany.
Running time: 64:33.
Classical relevance: For all Baroque fans this CD is essential. A reference recording and performance.

Works performed:
Sinfonia in F major, for 2 Violins, Viola and BC.
Concerto in G minor, for Violin, Oboe, Strings and BC.
Concerto in F minor, for Violin Strings and BC.
Overture in G minor, for 2 Oboes, 2 Violins, Viola and BC.
Sinfonia in D major, for 2 Violins, Viola and BC.
Concerto in B flat major, for Violin, Bassoon, Strings and BC.
Chaconne in A major, for 2 Violins, 2 Violas, and BC.

Performed by:
La Cetra
Barockorchester Basel, David Plantier and Vaclav Luks.

And yet again an unknown composer to me. To my great joy, they are still released, and even more pleasure it is to find out, that you have a truly talented composer, who does not fall beneath the likes of say, Telemann, J.S. Bach, Handel, Rameau. Vivaldi was born half a generation before. This gives you a pretty good idea how creative he was in terms of the quality of his compositions. He therefore grew up in a environment of musical excellence, influenced by French and Italian styles, and in both an expert. In these concertos you hear what a perfection he reached which is considerable. >Brescianello belonged to a large group of Italian musicians who left their mark on music particularly in the German speaking areas.< It is a sad thing that not many of his compositions have reached our time, being lost or not found yet. The opus 1 is his only published set of music.>His music is a mix of older and newer elements of Italian and French tradition, full of melodic elegance and rhythmic vitality.  The orchestral timbre is remarkable, and gives you a perfect insight into the new musical language of the mid eighteenth century. We know virtually nothing about this composer as a few mere facts about his whereabouts. He worked and lived mostly in South western Germany.<
I have given an link to some info about this composer.

As to this recording it is truly a reference recording and performance.
The music is perfectly executed, and the recording could not be better. I so enjoyed what I heard, that I am truly sorry so little of his music survived the time. The more we should be grateful for the opus 1 publication. Miscellaneous concerti, very colourful, with some perfect writing for solo instruments, especially the B flat major concerti, with a gorgeous Bassoon humming through the music. It would be a wise decision for all Baroque lovers to buy this inexpensive Glossa disc, for such quality in music making is rare.

Follow this link for:
Some info about Brescianello.

Why not, uniformly good performances for a small price...ordered.

Vanhal wrote more than 60 SO, so I do not need them all, but this disc shows its excellence next to Haydn, and that is always worth exploring.

Sure I have most of it in other recordings, but there are some opus numbers missing, which this box contains. The performances are on a high level, and for the price of 2 euro a CD a real bargain. Will do good as morning music, before the big complex orchestral works. I always like to start with something mild, and Locatelli will do nicely.

Friday, September 23, 2016

A few items I ordered today.......

I have Karajan's take on all the Bruckner Symphonies, but admired Chailly's vision too. I saw this complete set very cheaply, so I finally ordered it.

This is a very inexpensive CD from the label Claves, with some very impressive performances.

Tartini, Giuseppe.(1692-1770) The Complete Violin Concertos. CD 20-29.

New acquisition. (2017) First listen: 18-20-4-2018 Label: Dynamic. CD 20-29 from 29. Recording dates: 2004/2005/2006/2007/2008.2009/2010...