Saturday, September 30, 2017

Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann. (1710-1784) Complete Harpsichord music. CD 5. first listen.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: August 2017.
First listen: 30-9-2017.
Second listen: 11-11-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 5 from 6.
Recording dates: November 2016.
Venue: Radio-Kapelle Benedictine Monastery of Muri-Gries, Bolzano, Italy.
Sound engineer: Matteo Costa.
Total time: 65:02

Works on this CD:
Suite in G minor.
8 Fugues.
7 Short pieces.
Polonaise & Trio in C.
Fantasia in G.

Performed by:
Claudio Astronio.

Instrument used:
Keith Hill 1984, after Johannes Petrus Bull, Germany 1778.

A wonderful instrument this Hill from 1984. Sonorous and warm, yet detailed. And Astronio yet again meets the standards of extraordinary good in expressing the geniality of Bach. The music is varied, covering a whole scala of emotions. As to the artistic worth I already said enough. In effect that means that this set is recommendable in every aspect. I greatly enjoy my traversal through this box. It did not disappoint in any way.



Friday, September 29, 2017

Cabezón, Antonio de. (1510-1566). Obras de Musica, Complete Edition. CD 3.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: October 2012.
First listen: 30-10-2012.
Second listen: 23-11-2012.
Third listen: 29-9-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
Licensed from Stradivarius.
CD 3 from 7.
Recording dates: 1997.
Venues: Chiesa del Borgo di Presule, Bolzano. Museo del Convento di S. Giuseppe da Copertino, Osimo, Ancono, Convento di S. Magno, Amelia, Terri, Chiesa Evangelica di Bolzano..
Sound engineer: Michael Seberich.
Total time: 64:25.

Works on this CD:

    Comiençan los hymnos

  1. Ave maris stella (winds)
  2. Ave maris stella (organ)
  3. Ave maris stella (winds)
  4. Ave maris stella (organ)
  5. Veni creator (regal)
  6. Christe redemptor (organ)
  7. Ut queant laxis (strings)
  8. Christe redemptor (organ)
  9. Pange lingua (strings)
  10. Otra pange lingua (harpsichord)
  11. Pange lingua de Urreda (organ)
  12. Motetes de a cuatro II

  13. Osana de la missa del home arme (organ)
  14. Benedictus de la missa del home arme Jusquin (regal)
  15. Avemaristela (strings)
  16. Beata viscera Mariae (organ)
  17. Cum sancto spiritu de Beata Virgine (organ)
  18. Comiençan quatro Kiries de cada tono

  19. Quatro Kiryes de nuestra Señora (winds)
  20. Quatro Kiryes del primer tono (organ)
  21. Quatro Kiryes del segundo tono (regal)
  22. Quatro Kiryes del tercer tono (organ)
  23. Quatro Kiryes del cuarto tono (strings)
  24. Quatro Kiryes del sexto tono (organ)
  25. Quatro Kiryes del séptimo tono (regal)
  26. Quatro Kiryes del quinto tono (organ)
Performed by:
Harmonices Mundi / La Moranda - Claudio Astronio.

Alessandro Ciccolini (violin), Patrizio Focardi (violin), Vania Pedronetto (viola), Rosario Di Meglio (tenor viola), Wally Pituello (cello), Claudio Astronio (organ, regal, harpsichord), Marie Garnier (cornets), Paco Rubio (cornet), Stefan Legée (sackbut), Jean-Marie Bonche (sackbut), Pascal Gonzales (sackbut)

I keep on admiring the sheer diversity and quality of the music, as well as the excellence of the performers, and the wonderful recording by Michael Seberich. This music always leaves a great impression on me due to a more than excellent performances. The organ in this recording is not named sadly, but it sounds like a very old one in pristine condition, played by a fine organist Claudio Astronio. I know him from several other recordings I have of him, most recently a box with harpsichord music by WF Bach. The concerts for wind instruments are gorgeously done.
A excellent box to revisit.


Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 7.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 28-9-2017.
Label: La Dolce Volta.
CD 7 from 15.
Recording year: 1988.
Venue: The church in Saint Cyprien en Perigord, France.
Sound engineers: Igor Kirkwood and Andre Isoir.
Total time: 64:22.

Works on this disc:
BWV :
593/754/594/578/596/563/592/588/595.

Performed by:
Andre Isoir.

Instrument:

Gerhard Grenzing, 17th century-1982.

The Concertos are lightweight in character but by no means slight compositions. Isoir plays them with great delicacy and very much aware of the dynamics involved. Play them to loud and you ruin all details and connectivity, play them too soft you will loose rhythmic coherence and expression. But it is done to great perfection, and the brittle lines that Isoir keeps in the air delight at every stage. Frankly, I never heard those concertos like this before, so it was a complete new discovery. Mixed with a very unusual rendering of "Liebster Jesu, wir sind da", BWV 754, and a wonderful Fantasia con imitazione BWV 563, that brought a broad grin on my face, a Fugue in G minor BWV 578, A Canzona in D minor, BWV 588, all gorgeous gems, performed on a fabulous organ with a wonderful disposition which makes it such a good choice for Bach.
The recording is State of the Art.  
This set is very recommendable.


Rheinberger, Josef Gabriel. (1839-1901) Complete Piano Works (solo) CD 6.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: May 2016.
First listen: 29-9-2017.
Label: Carus.
CD 6 from 10.
Recording dates: May/July 2002.
Venue:Auditorium of the Kantonsschule Sargans, Switzerland. 
Sound engineer: Hansjürg Meier.
Total time: 77:35.

Works on this CD:
Drei Stücke für das Pianoforte, opus 78.
Pianoforte Studien für die Linke hand allein, oder auch zwei Hände, opus 113.
Zwölf Vortragsstudien, opus 183.

Performed by:
Jürg Hanselmann.

Instrument:
Steinway Konzertflügel D 530 303.

This is a continuous pleasure to listen too, and I can well understand why so many people like his piano music. It is warm, committed and filled with passion but also romantic elegance of bygone times. You can imagine yourself transported back in a world that had so much natural beauty of expression. I feel this music to be so pure that it is clinging to my soul, and resonates many feelings which I thought I did not have. Such is the power of expression through the hands of Hanselmann.  Wherever you enter this music it always has the full scope and musical measure Rheinberger put it to it.  The recording is State of the Art.
This is addictive to say the least.


Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 6.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 28-9-2017.
Label: La Dolce Volta.
CD 6 from 15.
Recording year: 1988.
Venue: Basilica, Weingarten, Germany.
Sound engineers: Igor Kirkwood and Andre Isoir.
Total time: 67:07.

Works on this disc:

BWV :
565/564/538/587/542/583/542/540

Performed by:
Andre Isoir.

Instrument:

Joseph Gabler organ, 1750.
Unequal temperament was "defused" to make possible a broader repertory.

This disc is filled with Toccatas and some miscellaneous works. They are played with so much musical insight that it took my breath away several times. Isoir always finds the right temperament for every piece. His tempi are impeccable, and his shading is so sensitive, that the tiniest detail is audible. It really doesn't matter which part of this CD you take, for me this is Bach as we ought to hear him, and that places him at the top with several other performances treasured by me. I constantly want to return to several compositions, just to hear them again, in case I missed something. But Isoir's detailing is so lucid with a luminous shine over it, that you will miss nothing, but still I want to rehear, and this marks a good interpretation in my book. The Toccatas in D minor/C major, D minor(Dorian), and F major are virtual highlights for me. Breathtaking.
The Gabler instrument is a wonderful organ, with a huge disposition. But when Isoir is playing, he lets you hear that this organ is very versatile in expression, and with his great knowledge of this instrument he uses the registrations to great advantage to the music.
State of the Art recording.




Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) Concerto Grosso opus 4. No. 8-12. CD 16. The Complete edition.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 28-9-2017.
Second listen: 2-12-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 16 of 21.
Recording dates: June 2013 & January 2014.
Venue: Westvestkerk, Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Peter Arts.
Total time: 61:49.
Reference set.

Works on this CD:
See heading.

Performed by:
Ensemble Capricciosi, Igor Ruhadze.
Performed on authentic instruments.

Well I keep on the same track of profound admiration for this set. Ruhadze's sensitive style, his hushed playing, and innate feel to the right tempi, shading and dynamics makes this a pleasure to listen to. I will return to this set as a reference.






L'Orgue Classique Français 1650-1800. 150 ans de musique du Grand Siècle à la Révolution Française.CD 3.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: 2016.
First listen: 28-9-2017.
Label: Ligia.
CD 3 from 10.
Recording dates:  May 2003.
Venues: De Saint Antoine l'Abbaye, France.
Remastering: Eric Baratin. (2015)
Total time: 70:30.

 Composer & Works on this CD:

Nicolas de Grigny. (1672-1703)
Premier Livre d'Orgue contenant une messe et les Hymnes des principales festes de l'année, messe Cunctipotens Genitor-Deus 1699.

Instrument used:
Samson Scherrer  1630-1748, de Saint Antoine l'Abbaye, France.
Tempérament: Mésotonique modifié au 1/5 de comma, inspiré de Schlick (1511) et Rameau )1726)
Diapason a=415 Hz.

Olivier Vernet, Organ.
Ensemble Jacques Moderne, Jean-Yves Hameline.

This is a long work, and while I found the plainchant beautiful, my interest was mainly occupied with the contribution of the organ. I found the flow of the music badly hampered by the plainchant, so for me it was a question of sit tight and go with the flow. And Grigny's music for organ is truly revelatory and highly satisfying. No wonder that Walther and J.S Bach copied his work and used much of its technique and melodies in their own compositions. Sample for instance BWV 562, the C minor Fantasia, and the central movement (Gravement) of the G major Fantasia, BWV 572. You will hear it immediately. This composer who died incredibly young was an absolute master on this instrument, and it can be heard to perfection on this CD. I was utterly amazed by all the melody lines, the counterpoint, the polyphonic flow, the dynamics, so utterly and perfectly played by Vernet, who is a master in his own right. And this Scherrer organ is a pure marvel, with an amazing disposition. And how well Vernet is displaying the registrations, on this organ with a pitch of 415 Hz, balanced and truly good for your ears. There is not a lot that Grigny composed, but what came out of his hands is top notch. One could not wish any better. We should treasure him immensely. Well I do.
The sound is State of the Art.



d'India, Sigismondo. (c.1582-c.1629) Primo Libro del Madrigali, 1606. CD 7.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2016.
First listen: 28-9-2017.
Second listen: 8-11-2017.
Label: Glossa.
CD 7 from 9.
Recording dates: December 2000.
Venue: Chiesa della BV Maria del Monte Carmelo al Colletto Roletto, Italy.
Sound engineer: Davide Ficco.
Total time: 49:11.

Works on this CD:
See heading.

Performed by: 
La Venexiana, Claudio Cavina.

As to the ensemble I can only repeat what I said before, perfect in every sense. And the sound is top notch too. I have already a considerable amount of this composer's Madrigali, and find this to be a worthy addition. d'India writes in a very sensual way, with delicately suppressed passion, but nevertheless very clear in its expression. There is much suggestion and innuendo, consistently inspired and superbly controlled. Lots of thrills and ornamentations always appealing to the ear, it charms its way into your senses. There is dramatic flair, sensitively coloured singing, lively and naturally paced.  The melodic fertility makes this music an instant pleaser.
A CD to come back too many times.



Fux, Johann Joseph. (1660-1741) Complete Music for Harpsichord. CD 1. Partitas No 1-4

From my collection,
Date of purchase: August 2017.
First listen: 8-8-2017.
Second listen: 29-9-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 1 from 2.
Recording dates: September 2016.
Venue: House Puricelli, Galliano of Eupilio, Italy.
Sound engineer: Raffaele Cacciola.
Total time: 61:04.

Works on this CD:
See heading.

Performed by:
Filippo Emanuele Ravizzi.

Instrument used:
A copy of Joannes Daniel Dulcken 1745.

Once you ear adapts to the bright sound of this harpsichord the music unfolds in all its colours. The music almost bursts with rhythmic vitality, sort of bristling in your face impudence. Ravizzi clearly draws from a stylistic arsenal, resources of touch and dynamics variety. He nonchalantly peels the music of Fux like an egg, and displays flavours and textures often overlooked in this brilliant composer.  And in this he reaches a clarity and immediacy of a snapshot with a aphoristic succinctness. The result is an appealing musical experience that both nourishes and satisfies.
I for one head into the direction of finding this performance quite good. Ravizzi is a man of imagination who creates in this music what is otherwise overlooked.
The Harpsichord is a fine instrument. Recording is top notch.



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Rheinberger, Josef Gabriel. (1839-1901) Complete Piano Works (solo) CD 5.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: May 2016.
First listen: 27-9-2017.
Label: Carus.
CD 5 from 10.
Recording dates: February/March 2002.
Venue:Auditorium of the Kantonsschule Sargans, Switzerland. 
Sound engineer: Hansjürg Meier.
Total time: 69:00.

Works on this CD:
Sechs tonstücke in Fugierter form, opus 39.
Sechs tonstücke in Furnierter form, opus 68.
Fantasiestück, : Hoch geht die See" opus 23.
Capriccio giocoso, opus 43.

Performed by:
Jürg Hanselmann.

Instrument:
Steinway Konzertflügel D 530 303.

My praise from disc 4 is also valid for CD 5. The Fugierter Tonstücke are absolutely amazing, so well constructed and eloquently performed. His creativity in finding beautiful melodies is without end.  State of the art recording.

Rheinberger, Josef Gabriel. (1839-1901) Complete Piano Works (solo) CD 4.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: May 2016.
First listen: 27-9-2017.
Second listen: 15-11-2017.
Label: Carus.
CD 4 from 10.
Recording dates: January 2001.
Venue: Pianohaus Probst Chur, Switzerland.
Sound engineer: Hansjürg Meier.
Total time: 69:10.

Works on this CD:
24 Präludien in Etüdenform, opus 14.
Fünf Tonbilder opus 11.

Performed by:
Jürg Hanselmann.

Instrument:
Steinway Konzertflügel D 530 303.

After some time off with this box I return and am totally bowled over by the beauty of the music. Rheinberger is on top of my list of favourite German composers and through this recording I am reminded of this quite forcibly. What a delight this music is. The Präludien are a miracle of finesse in style and melodiousness. The raffinesse of the intricate melody lines has me astounded every second of it. He was a brilliant composer in every aspect and it's a great joy to have this box full with his excellence.  There is a communicative urgency maintained throughout the music, an air of unrushed inevitability.  It's all earnestness! Rheinberger's playfulness, whether manifest in rhythmic emphasis, melodic contours or voice leading are relished without ostentation. Pensiness and longing are sensitively portrayed, all is refreshingly unaffected, but masculine, spontaneous and willing on occasion to speak ardently of love. And what more could one possibly want of music.
Hanselmann is the perfect musician for this, for all what I wrote I hear in his interpretation and more. This set is very recommendable. The sound is perfect. The Steinway sounds gorgeous.


Viotti, Giovanni Battista (1755-1824) Complete Violin Concertos. CD 2.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 26-9-2017.
Label: Dynamic.
CD 2 from 10.
Recording dates: May 1991.
Venue: Conegliani, Veneto, Italy.
Sound engineer: Pietro Mosetti Casaretto.
Total time: 72:19.

Works on this CD:
Violin concertos:
No 19 in G minor.
No. 1 in C major.
No. 2 in F major.

Works performed by:
Franco Mezzena, Violin.
Viotti Chamber Orchestra, Luciano Borin.

The second CD in this box holds as many good compositions as the first disc, with an outstanding and creative G minor concerto, No. 19, with a beautiful "Allegro Maestoso" introduction that sets the tone right away for the following music. He is a very able orchestrator and writes fabulously and quite natural for the violin. The music sounds so effortlessly in the hands of Mezzena and his orchestra that it feels like a warm blanket. True the tempi could be faster overall, which would give an urgency that is rather missing in these performances, but instead you get as rewarding, a intimacy and luminosity that unfolds quite colourfully. There is a lot of skill on display in the music and performance that sits well in the context of this interpretation. The expressive language is one of ease and relaxation, not buzzing with intensity, but it keeps moving forward. So if you do not need relentless energy in this music, but are interested in culminating moments when it suddenly yields up its musical secrets, than this performance will do for me and you.
The sound is good, but there is a lot of fiddling around in the control room. Every concerto sounds different from the other. Should not be like this.


Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 5.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 26-9-2017.
Label: La Dolce Volta.
CD 5 from 15.
Recording year: 1975.
Venue: Lambertikirche, Aurich, Germany.
Sound engineers: Igor Kirkwood and Andre Isoir.
Total time: 65:54.

Works on this disc:

BWV :
532/695/706a/696/534/703/694/765/535/698/562/699/697/714/713/anh.55/537.


Performed by:
Andre Isoir.

Instrument:

Jürgen Ahrend organ 1956.

One of the new organs Isoir is using, and I am happy to say that it sounds fabulous. Of course you hear that it is a fairly new instrument, but it sounds close to the 18th century idiom, which is fine by me. The disposition of this organ has enough body, and the registrations sound all perfect to my ears. It has an open character with warmth and brilliancy, but never flies into inappropriate territory. Authentic to a sound world now almost lost. Ahrend was a builder of the old style, with a mind of his own. This instrument is a great credit to him.
Bach simply sounds fantastic on this instrument. Just sample another version of "Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier", BWV 706 a, track 3, or the several Fughettas, and the brilliant exposure of the "Fantasia (prelude) & Fugue" in C minor, the last track on this disc. Isoir brings a wholeness into his playing that sounds utterly convincing. All the right colours, a scrupulous observance of the dynamics and an effective use of the registrations makes this disc a utter pleasure to listen to.



Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann. (1710-1784) Complete Harpsichord music. CD 4.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: August 2017.
First listen: 27-9-2017.
Second listen: 8-11-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 4 from 6.
Recording dates: March 2015.
Venue: Villa Scalea, Palermo, Italy.
Sound engineer: Marco Casiglia.
Total time: 56:56.

Works on this CD:
12 Polonaises.
Concerto in G for Solo Harpsichord.

Performed by:
Claudio Astronio.

Instrument used:
Ugo Casaglia (2014) after Johann Adolph Specken, Germany 1748)

As with the previous CD'S in this box, it keeps the high standard of performance of these very interesting works by Friedemann. Astronio is an very able communicator and an expert harpsichordist. He is surefooted and has an abundance of thought behind these brilliant interpretations. His tone is warm, yet not overbearingly so, and just the right amount of intimacy and sparkle, this music needs. Furthermore his openness and the luminosity he brings to this music is addictive. These are imaginative and absorbing compositions rendered here with great finesse.  There is clear progression in Friedemann's thoughts, thus the unity he creates  goes from the introverted Polonaises to the extrovert Concerto. He is very much into creating colours.
Superb, and recommended to all that have a heart for this son of the great Bach.



Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 4.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 26-9-2017.
Label: La Dolce Volta.
CD 4 from 15.
Recording year: 1989.
Venue: The church in Saint Cyprien en Perigord, France.
Sound engineers: Igor Kirkwood and Andre Isoir.
Total time: 65:13

Works on this disc:

BWV :
543/716/702/572/708/707a/707b/720/579/730/731/574/747/589/533/733.

Performed by:
Andre Isoir.

Instrument:

Gerhard Grenzing, 17th century-1982.

As to the sound and instrument I can be clear, top notch. The Grenzing organ is one of my favourites, and Isoir is getting the full measure of its colours and dynamic exuberance.
He is an organist who plays very natural and unaffected by undue mannerisms. No sentimentality or romantic gestures, but an open and lucid approach which makes for a direct line of communication that will carry you through the whole experience which Isoir surely is. You can not compare his style actually, he is a simply an entity on his own. I like his quick fingers in "Très vivement"  from the Fantasia in G major BWV 572. It literally sparkles with enthusiasm. Or the direct and very intimate versions of "Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier" (decorated & Alio modo) BWV 730/731.  And "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" BWV 720. Again this openness and his fine sense of dynamics. I really like his way of playing and understand his interpretations. 




Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) Concerto Grosso, opus 1, No. 12 & Introduzioni Teatrali, opus 4, No. 1-7. (CD 15)

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 26-9-2017.
Second listen: 2-12-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 15 of 21.
Recording dates: June 2013 & January 2014.
Venue: Westvestkerk, Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Peter Arts.
Total time: 61:25.
Reference set.

Works on this CD:
See heading.

Performed by:
Ensemble Capricciosi, Igor Ruhadze.
Performed on authentic instruments.

I cannot only go on heaping praise on this complete set. The Introduzione opus 4 was totally unknown to me, and what beauties are hidden there! Melodically they are sumptuous in their expression, clear headed in the shaping of harmonies, undefeatable creative in cooking up exciting melodies. But in the end it all boils down to the performers, and in this case you got the best. I never heard Locatelli in such precise and well phrased performances. You can wait until you weigh an ounce, but Ruhadze and his ensemble will never set a foot in the wrong corner. For me his interpretation will be the the cornerstone of my collection.
Sound is State of the Art.





Luzzaschi, Luzzasco. (c.1545-1607) Concerto delle Dame. Madrigali per cantare et sonare a 1,2,3 Soprani, 1601.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2016.
First listen: 26-9-2017.
Second listen: 7-11-2017.
Label: Glossa.
CD 6 from 9.
Recording dates: August 2009.
Venue: Pinerolo ( Chiesa di S. Giovanni) Italy.
Sound engineer: Matteo Costa.
Total time: 53:42.

Works on this CD:
See heading.

Performed by: 
La Venexiana, Claudio Cavina.

Another fine disc from this box. I find Luzzaschi's music more sensual as with the other composers in this box. The expression of text and music is cleaner in execution. This approach is undeniably effective. There is a intimacy about this music that grips you right away, even more, it has almost a physical presence in the singing of all three sopranos and I mean that most literal.  There is a energized forward driving phrasing that gives the music a very athletic quality.  A firm sense of harmonic balance, clarity and depth, plus the voices have a attractive warmth. And what is even better, the three sopranos give no cause for complaints. The recording is excellent, albeit the first track has a long reverberance, that is corrected after that.


Monday, September 25, 2017

Baroque Bass Cantatas from the Mügeln Archive.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 25-9-2017.
Second listen: 31-10-2017.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: December 2010.
Venue: Gemeindesaal der Ev-Luth Trinitatiskirchgemeinde Chemnitz-Hilbersdorf, in collaboration with Mitteldeutschen Barockmusik in Sachsen-Anhalt und Thüringen, Germany.
Sound engineer: Eckhard Glauche.
Total time: 74:15.

Composers and works on this CD:

*Johann Theodor Roemhildt. (1684-1756)
Nichts soll mich von Jesu Scheiden.
*Georg Philipp Telemann. (1681-1767)
Spricht treuer Himmel: Ja!.
Der Herr ist König.
*Christian Wolff. (1705-1773)
Ihr Sorgen laßet mich zufrieden.
Meinens bleibens ist nicht hier.
*Liebhold (died around 1730)
Mein gantzes Wißen soll Jesus Seÿn.
Des Menschen Sohn ist kommen.

Performed by:
Klaus Mertens, Bass.
Accademia Daniel, Shalev Ad-El.

I am not really into cantatas for solo voice and orchestra, but for Klaus Mertens I make an exception. After so many years of singing his voice is still as fresh as the first time I heard him singing in Brockes Passion on the label Hungaroton. That surely must count as a extraordinary fact that he is still going strong.
Well this CD is highly recommendable for hearing his art, well suited to all the composers on this CD. His diction is impeccable. The way he colours the text and brings out the appropriate expression is remarkably clean of mannerisms or an excess of drama. And that counts in my book!
There are three composers I never heard of, to know: Roemhildt, Wolff, Liebhold. The quality of their works are equal to Telemann in expression and content. A very enjoyable journey through lesser known cantatas from the 17th and 18th century.
Highly recommendable.



Alep Eternelle. Syrian Byzantine Chant. ( Sacred melkite chants) Second rerun.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: August 2017.
First listen: 21-8-2017.
Second listen: 25-9-2017.
Third listen: 9-10-2017.
Fourth listen: 16-10-2017.
Label: Psalmus.
Recording dates: 2007-2010.
Venue: ?
Sound engineer: ?
Total time: 65:41.

Works on  this CD:
See heading.

Performed by:
Maximos Fahmé, Cantor.
Les Solistes de la Musique Byzantine, Frédéric Tavernier Vellas.

I already have two other CD'S from the same group, so the third one released this year was for me a absolute must. Vellas and his fellow singers, belong to the very best there is. They are so immersed in this music, in that I can safely say that they enter into the very heart of this music. Maximos Fahmé is also one of the best cantors I ever heard in my life. So this is an essential purchase for all that cherish this kind of music, which I do. The music quickly puts you in a trance, and engulfs you quite readily and in stealth mode. For me this music is bread and butter, thus it enters my soul quickly. Ther performers sing and chant in a mesmerizing way. The meditative pace and sometimes darkening light of a prayer explains the very essence of this choir and music. They are highlighting every little nuance, as if it are all prayers that have traveled throughout the world for centuries, which of course it did. The music's directness and sincerity sets it really apart from all the other recordings I ever heard.
The recording is superb. On another note however I am greatly disappointed about the lack of info. No booklet to explain the music and its origins. No names of the singers, recording dates, place of recording, just two glamour pictures, and that's all.  It is a full price disc so you might expect  a good booklet, but no. I have send them a email on their English site, but it was bounced, and my French is nil, so no way to reach them. On their site they praise themselves on the info they provide with their CD'S but in this case they failed majorly. That's a bummer!




Wednesday, September 20, 2017

L'Orgue Classique Français 1650-1800. 150 ans de musique du Grand Siècle à la Révolution Française.CD 2.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: 2016.
First listen: 20-9-2017.
Label: Ligia.
CD 2 from 10.
Recording dates: 2007/2000
Venues: See below instruments used.
Recording and remastering: Eric Baratin. (2015)
Total time: 80:22.

Composers and works on this disc:

Francois Couperin.
Messe a l'usage ordinaire des Paroisses pour les Festes  Solennelles., 1690.
Reconstitution d'un office solennel  pour la fête de saint Louis , Roi de France, Graduale Parisiense 1687. 

Gilles Jullien.
Cromorne en taille,  Premier Livre d'orgue.1690.

Louis Marchand.
Grand dialogue, Troisième Livre d'Orgue, 1696.


Instruments used:
Orgue Levasseur  (1640) de La Chapelle Saint Louis du Prytanée Militaire de la Flèche.
a=392 Hz, at 16 C.
Unequal temperament. 

Jean André Silbermann-1750 de Eglise Saint Maurice de Soultz.


Works performed by:

Olivier Vernet, Organs.
Ensemble Jacques Moderne, Jean-Yves Hameline,

Again a delightful 80 minutes of music, well performed and excellently recorded, like the first disc of this set. The vocal part is well sung, with great feeling. Vernet is his usual self, perfect.
The Levasseur organ sounds beautifully, as the Silbermann. The first organ I never heard before, and for me this is an fantastic instrument. Well balanced with a full round sound.
I have nothing more to say about this recording, all is simply well. If you like French organ music from this period don't hold back in acquiring this set.



Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) Concerto Grosso, opus 1, No. 7-11. (CD 14)

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 20-9-2017.
Second rerun: 1-12-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 14 of 21.
Recording dates: June 2013 & January 2014.
Venue: Westvestkerk, Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Peter Arts.
Total time: 67:32.


Works on this CD:
See heading.

Performed by:
Ensemble Capricciosi, Igor Ruhadze.
Performed on authentic instruments.

The second disc with concertos 7-11 from opus 1. All perfect, all possible praise awarded.
Sound is State of the Art. All the previous volumes from this set are full with my appreciation, there is nothing more to add, as a firm advice to purchase the set.



Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 3.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 20-9-2017.
Label: La Dolce Volta.
CD 3 from 15.
Recording year: 1991.
Venue: Fère en Tardenois, France.
Sound engineers: Igor Kirkwood and Andre Isoir.
Total time: 65:47.

Works on this disc:

BWV :
904/590/767/1085a/1085b/734/770/735/1091/550.

Performed by:
Andre Isoir.

Instrument:

Georg Westenfelder Organ (1990)

Flexibility of phrasing, perfect clarity of touch and imaginative registration unquestionably contributes to the success of this complete set. This is how his playing is described and I concur in this. CD 3 is a good example of Isoir's art. I enjoy his Bach enormously, for he always pushes the right buttons if it comes to colourful expression, excellent fingerwork, and also being adept in pedal handling, and always well balanced in his personal input. This said, I have to say that although I like this modern organ very much, I rather have the Grenzing organ featuring on CD 1 & 2, and further on on other discs in this box.
For one I could clearly hear it was newly build instrument, for it sounds clean and at times clinical. It does not draw you into the music but keeps you firmly at the surface. The result is less colour and involvement. At times my mind started wandering. A pity I think that he decided to play on this admittingly famous organ, thus I have to force my ears a bit to keep track of the proceedings and not getting occasionally bored.
I take issue however with the breakneck speed of BWV 734, that was quite unnecessary and ugly to boot.
The recording is excellent.


Marenzio, Luca. (c.1555-1599) Nono Libro de Madrigali. CD 5. (L'Arte del Madrigale)

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2016.
First listen: 20-9-2017.
Label: Glossa.
CD 5 from 9.
Recording dates: April 1999.
Venue: Chiesa della BV Maria del Monte Carmelo al colletto , Roletto, Italy.
Sound engineer: Davide Ficco.
Total time: 62:40.

Works on this CD:
See heading.

Performed by:
La Venexiana, Claudio Cavina.

Marenzio is a versatile composer. His music is passionate, vigorous in expression,  insistent with a boisterous dynamic to it. The music very closely follows the words in a rhythmical tempo. The performances catch your ear quite quickly and draws you in this whirlwind of emotions, so perfectly performed. The flair with which these singers utter the thoughts and feelings of Marenzio captures the very spirit of its meaning.  This combination of a poignant selection of music allied to crisp, exciting performance makes all the difference whether you enjoy this or not. Well in this case this disc is an outstanding success. And well recorded too! 


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 2.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 19-9-2017.
Label: La Dolce Volta.
CD 2 from 15.
Recording year: 1990.
Venue: The church in Saint Cyprien en Perigord, France.
Sound engineers: Igor Kirkwood and Andre Isoir.
Total time: 63:44

Works on this disc:

BWV :
577/721/1090/729/575/744a/717/1105/711/549/738.131a/751/741/551/766/566.

Performed by:
Andre Isoir.

Instrument:

Gerhard Grenzing, 17th century-1982.

I was so impressed what I heard on the first CD that I decided to pop in another one. The same organ, and Isoir playing like a God. The recording is again State of the Art, and I have no complaints whatever about the interpretation. He sits well with his thoughts between Weinberger and Vernet and possibly Foccroulle.  He has a fiery but fluent technique so unlike anyone I heard before. Great integrity and and delicacy which is utterly captivating. He is very stable in what he does, and keeps the music clear as a bell, spatial, and defines his purpose rather well. You simply get the full measure of Andre Isoir and his famous luminous tone. Spirit and spontaneity in abundance. I like every single composition on this disc, and where it not for lack of time I would have started the third and fourth disc today. But that is for later alas.



Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 1.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 19-1-2016.
Second listen: 19-9-2017.
Label: La Dolce Volta.
CD 1 from 15.
Recording year: 1991.
Venue: The church in Saint Cyprien en Perigord, France.
Sound engineers: Igor Kirkwood and Andre Isoir.
Total time: 65:21.

Works on this disc:

BWV 531/742/715/1093/732/1094/561/737/762/726/718/722/744b/568/576/1096/1110/739/598/569/724/Anh 90.

Performed by:

Andre Isoir.

Instrument:

Gerhard Grenzing, 17th century-1982.


Today I made a start with this box that I bought in 2016, and was long overdue to be played.I had high expectations of this box, for I liked the samples enormously, so with trembling hands I put CD 1 in the player, and said to myself, whatever may come, I will be flabbergasted, and thus this situation occurred. Let me first start about the sound. These original Calliope recordings were remastered by Francois Eckert (Sonomaitre) in 2014. I can safely report that the first disc sounds State of the Art. Not often one hears such good remastered recordings as the present one, but by this alone I am hugely impressed.
I heard a lot of good and bad reports about Isoir's way of playing, and was prepared to go both ways, but believe it or not, I think what he does on the first CD is gorgeous. I could not even say I dislike things, no, all what I hear is sublime and right into my realm of excellence. Whether he plays the Prelude & Fugue in C major, or Wie schön leucht uns der Morgenstern, or the Fugue in G major, it does not matter, it's all of the same high level. This self made organist has so many qualities, among them not being a scholar, but a man that works primarily with his emotions, is able to give a very lucid clear view on Bach, without it being cluttered all up by undue ornamentations. His tempi are energized by a spatial openness that begs the question, is he one of the best around? If I would have to decide on the basis of one disc I would say yes. This was for me 65 minutes of pure bliss, and if the rest is like this I will be the happiest collector around in the Northern hemisphere.
The Gerhard Grenzing organ is a marvel in sound, a very crafty machine, with very clear registers.
I am duly impressed.



L'Orgue Classique Français 1650-1800. 150 ans de musique du Grand Siècle à la Révolution Française.CD 1.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: 2016.
First listen: 19-9-2017.
Label: Ligia.
CD 1 from 10.
Recording dates: 1995/2003/2004. (The recordings dates are a utter chaos)
Venues: See below instruments used.
Recording and remastering: Eric Baratin. (2015)
Total time: 80:23.

Composers on this disc:
Solo works for Organ.
Louis Couperin.
Henry du Mont.
Jean Baptiste Lully.
Nicolas Antoine Lebègue.

Francois Couperin.
Messe propre pour les Convents de Religieux et religieuses-1690.

Instruments used:
Jean André Silbermann-1750 de Eglise Saint Maurice de Soultz.
Orgue anonyme du XVIII siècle de Saint Ouen, Les Vignes.
Orgue Samson Scherrer, 1630/1748 de Saint Antoine L'Abbaye.
Orgue Dom Bedos de Celles, 1744/1750, de l'abbatiale Sainte Croix de Bordeaux.
Orgue Jean Pierre Cavaillé, 1782/1789- de l' Abbaye de Gellone de Saint Guilhem le Desert.
All organs are in France.

Works performed by:
Olivier Vernet.
Anne Marie Lasla, Viole de Gambe.
Schola Grégorienne la Fidelissima, Josep Cabre,  Baryton and direction.

As you will understand this box is an compilation of many different recordings, and as much organs and performers which is highly confusing. All comes with an extensive booklet with very tiny letters, and relevant info chaotically arranged. So I had to use a magnifying glass to be able to read it at all. 
Furthermore you should be aware that although they give you the impression that it is all about organs, it isn't. The are many choral/organ works spread out on several discs. That in itself is no problem to me, but you cannot see this info on the box.
So far this part. The other part, namely the recordings and performances are all top notch. There are no disappointments in any of the works on this CD. Olivier Vernet seldom lets you down. Here he is his vigorous personality in full flight as we all know him. Precise in his fingerwork, a well balanced use of the registrations, finding the right colours, and never outclass any of the organs in their capabilities. He always finds the right amount of respect and awareness in using these old instruments with care. As to the music he performs I can only say that every composition is admired by me. A glorious feast of colour, and creativity in abundance. The Gregorian chants combined with the organ are sublimely portrayed. All possess a clear sense of coherence. There is a clear progression from the introverted to the extroverted, all delicately executed.  The Schola under Cabre performs well, the voices being clear as a bell and well recorded. A resounding success then. 



da Venosa, Carlo Gesualdo. (1566-1613) Quarto libro de Madrigali, 1596. (L'Arte del Madrigale) CD 4.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2016.
First listen: 19-9-2017.
Label: Glossa.
CD 4 from 9.
Recording dates: March 2000.
Venue: Chiesa della BV Maria del Monte Carmelo al colletto , Roletto, Italy.
Sound engineer: Davide Ficco & Giuseppe Maletto.
Total time: 67:22.

Works on this CD:
See heading.

Performed by:
La Venexiana, Claudio Cavina.

Utter perfection, vocal bliss. Apart from finding Venosa a true representative at the birth of the madrigali, he also managed to write down some extraordinary fine examples of the art.
All the voices combine a burst of glittering vocal explosions that shatters its bright shards in all directions with wonderful results. Highly perfumed harmonies take us in the realms of a world long lost, but the utterance of the music is like a live painting of its era. Whole rays of light break through the music and unfold themselves in intricate colours, which delight at every turn. A fascinating journey into the cultural influences on Italian madrigal music, it presents itself with many aural surprises. Venosa is a gripping communicator running a huge range of emotions through his wonderful compositions. La Venexiana is in all respects an ensemble that landed at the top in expression and colouring. Well paced, applying at the right moments appropriate dynamics, balanced and versatile as a whole.
I would have preferred the choir a little further away from the microphones but the ear adapts quickly. This is hugely enjoyable. 



Monday, September 18, 2017

Haydn, Joseph. (1732-1809) The almost Complete Symphonies. CD 30-32. The Hogwood Edition. Symphonies No. 74/75/94/96/100/104.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: April 2013.
Gifted most graciously by an American friend.
First listen: 18-19-9-2014.
Second listen: 18-9-2017.
Label: L'oiseau-Lyre.
CD's 30-32 from 32.
Recording dates:  March 1995, No. 75. September 1995, No. 74. August 1994, No. 94 & 96. September & November 1983, No. 100 & 104.
Venues: Walthamstow Assembly Hall London, ( No. 74 & 75) St Barnabas Church, London, ( No. 94 & 96) Kingsway Hall, London, ( No. 100 & 104)
Sound engineers: Not specifically named throughout the recordings.
Total time:  CD 30: 47:40. CD 31: 49:05. CD 32: 50:54.

Works on all three CD'S.
Symphony No. 74 in E flat major.
No. 75 in D major.
No. 96 in D major.
No. 94 in G major. "Mit dem Paukenschlag".
No. 100 in G major, "Military".
No. 104 in D major, "London".

Performed on authentic instruments by:
The Academy of Ancient Music, Christopher Hogwood.

Haydn certainly leaves with a big bang through the Military symphony, a grandiose extravaganza that charms you ears and dazzles your senses. But then that really is valid for all the symphonies he wrote. Still, playing three discs in succession makes you acutely aware of the genius that Haydn was, and the unique place in musical history that he can lay claim on. There was never a composer quite like him. For if you are able to write more than 100 symphonies, yet managing with ease to make them sound all different, and with a plethora of fresh ideas and insights into every work that he composed, you deserve a status aparte. He does not duplicate himself, never really, and that is by no means a normal circumstance. In this he is also truly unique. And even if he would have written another hundred symphonies, I have no doubt that they all would be delightful individuals.
But I have come at an end with this reference box, for make no mistake, it is! I say this most emphatically and with great respect, that Christopher Hogwood was a visionary in how to perform Haydn as he should be understood. Hogwood as no other, put a quarter of his life into researching the music to a depth that does not find his equal. And the result is painstakingly precise and revelatory.  The tapestry that made Hogwood's interpretation is a testament to his genius, and in this he was truly unique too. To him we owe an immense gratitude for putting Haydn on the map in a way as we should understand this composer. Antal Dorati made the first step in his complete survey of Haydn, but he is now outclassed by Hogwood, and that is normal growth, and I accepted this. For it is the box, I will return to in the years to come.
The body of musicians are soloists in their own right, for they deliver with such precision the music that sparkles endlessly through their hands. The fast tempi's are done as easily as the slow ones. so much expression and well dosed emotion is rarely met.  They can be sublimely serene, crystalline in the detailing of the solo parts,  shot through with gentle wit, unexpected dramatic heights, pure lyricism in equal measures, phenomenally articulate, unstoppable musical impulses, ebullient in the realisation of producing the best possible musical result.
Every one of the 32 CD's, are immaculately recorded by the DECCA engineers. I would have wished that they would have put the names of the engineers behind every recording. And be aware of the absolute shameful publication of the accompanying booklet, that gives not info about the music. Other than that, big kuddos to Hogwood. May he play the works in heaven with as good an orchestra as the one we have down here.




Krebs, Johann Ludwig. (1713-1780) The Complete Organ Works. Volume 11: CD 1 & 2.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: August 2017.
First listen: 18-9-2017.
Label: Querstand.
CD 1 & 2 from Volume 11.
Recording dates: June 2011.
Venue: The Dom in Zeitz, Germany.
Sound engineer: Klaus-Jürgen Kamprad.
Total time:  54:48 & 51:35.

Works on this CD:
See back cover CD.

Performed by:
Felix Friedrich.

Instrument used:
Eule Organ 1999-2001.
Stimmtonhöhe: 439 Hz bei 16 C.
Stimmungsart: Andreas Werckmeister, Generalbaß Unterweisung (1698)
Klaviaturumfang: C-f'/g''' .

This modern organ is a miracle in sound and expression with a wonderful disposition, on which Friedrichs is applying the registrations provided by Krebs with great expertise. I am amazed by the fact that this instrument sounds like one from the past, so more like the beginning of the 18th century. And that is the best compliment one could give to an modern organ builder. The company who build this instrument using some of the old pipes of the original organ, is to be applauded for this unique instrument.
Thus the musical journey through this big box has been a pleasure from beginning to end, minus a few hiccups, which I expect would happen. But that is more a personal issue. I was not enamoured of the discs with contributions from the natural trumpet, or a choir that was not up to standard, or a Alto/Soprano that did not meet my expectations, but as I said that is strictly personal. 95 % of the music was A okay. The last two discs, I am happy to say are quite wonderful. Not all works are authenticated without doubt, but that does not lead away from the fact that whoever composed them, delivered quality. None of the works on both discs did displease me, but even better, delighted me in every possible way. From the Choralbeartbeitungen over to the Fugues and an route to the Six sonatas, it all came in pristine quality. Played on this fantastic organ by one of the greats in this field makes the pleasure a lasting one. This man has a consummate taste and understanding of the music by Krebs. He simply observes scrumptiously every tiny detail in the score, and adds the colour from the instrument to the music. A sovereign mastery of the organ pays huge dividends in terms of expression, and this you get plenty. Even when the notes are flying his quick technique always gives him time to let them sing. His sense of timing and innate feeling for shaping grand impulsive gestures effectively accentuates Krebs creativity.  And that's what I call  intelligent musicianship.  
And of course I am a huge fan of this composer's music, and this box made me even more so.
The sound is State of the Art.















Friday, September 15, 2017

Viotti, Giovanni Battista (1755-1824) Complete Violin Concertos. CD 1.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 15-9-2017.
Label: Dynamic.
CD 1 from 10.
Recording dates: May 1990.
Venue: S. Silvestro's Church Costa di Conegliano, Veneto, Italy.
Sound engineer: Pietro Mosetti Casaretto.
Total time: 67:14.

Works on this CD:
Violin concerto No. 8 in D major.
No. 11 in A major.
No. 12 in B flat major.

Works performed by:
Franco Mezzena, Violin.
Viotti Chamber Orchestra, Luciano Borin.

Despite that I have a few Violin concertos in my collection of this composer, the bulk of his compositions for this instrument remained unknown to me, until now that is. This box contains all the 29 concertos he composed, by for me unknown performers. It is regrettably not played on authentic instruments, although Mezzena plays on a Stradivarius from 1685, and a copy of the same instrument made by Giovanni Osvaldo Fiori from Treviso. First impression is that these concertos are pleasantly recorded and performed.  The Orchestra has a nice open sound, and vibrato is kept to a minimum. There is a good balance and rapport between soloist and the members of the Viotti orchestra. It is not stated which instrument he is using on this CD, but it sounds lovely.
These are virtuosic concertos, in which a good deal of creative writing has gone to the violin, aided in no less a genial way by the orchestra. If this CD tells the story of the other 9 CD'S then I will be more than satisfied by what I hear. I can easily understand what a stir Viotti caused when visiting Paris, and proclaimed a great virtuosic, by the public and critics alike.
The sound is crystal clear, and well defined,



Krebs, Johann Ludwig. (1730-1780) Complete Organ Works. CD 10.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: August 2017.
First listen: 15-9-2017.
Label: Querstand.
CD 10 from 12.
Recording dates: August 2001.
Venue: St. Wenzelskirche, Naumburg, Germany.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Müller. 
Total time: 69:01.

Works on this CD: 
See back cover also posted.

Performed by: Felix Friedrich.

Instrument used:
Hildebrandt Organ 1746.
Pitch a'=464 Hz/15C.
Temperament: Neidhardt I (1724)


Wind pressure Man.74 mm.

This is an mighty 3 manual organ, with a lot of 8/16 f pipes, and a 32 f in the pedal. The works on this CD were meant for this kind of organ. Mighty it sounds, powerful, full of colours, and a lot of reserve to fill this church to the brim. And difficult to record for Wolfgang Muller who until now has done a very good job in recording all the beautiful organs in this box. I am afraid that although the sound is as clear as a bell, it is a bit of a swimming affair. Loud and dynamic, which makes it impossible for me to listen in one go. It can be very bright too given the pipes used, certainly at this high pitch. I guess it must be difficult to record in this church. The performances are top notch though. Some unidentified pieces on this disc, in that it is not sure if they are by the hand of Krebs. I am quite sure that the Fantasia "Eine nachahmung der Nachtigall auf der orgel" is not by Krebs, it is simply devoid of the quality, one could expect of Krebs. Of the others I am as unsure as the musicologists. Still very listable. Apart from the wrong acoustical tendencies of this church I admire the Hildebrandt organ, and the wonderful performances. 





Haydn, Joseph. (1732-1809) The almost complete Symphonies. CD 29. Symphonies No. 71 & 73. The Hogwood Edition.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: April 2013.
Gifted by an American friend.
First listen: 18-9-2014.
Second listen: 15-9-2017.
Label: L'oiseau-Lyre.
CD 29 from 32.
Recording dates: March/September 1995.
Venue: Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London, England.
Sound engineer: ?
Total time: 55:41.

Works on this CD:
Symphony No. 71 in B flat major.
No 73 in D major : La Chasse"

Performed on authentic instruments by:
The Academy of Ancient music, Christopher Hogwood.

Excellently recorded and performed. No 71, second movement is a miracle of thought and creativity. With an even pace he churns out so many highlights, that you keep wondering where all his ideas came from. And the last movement from "La Chasse" is of course ravishing. Did not expect anything else. Fine examples of Hogwood's art and Haydn's genius.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) Concerto Grosso, opus 1, No. 1-6. (CD 13)

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 14-9-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 13 of 21.
Recording dates: June 2013 & January 2014.
Venue: Westvestkerk, Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Peter Arts.
Total time: 64:00.

Works on this CD:
See heading.

Performed by:
Ensemble Capricciosi, Igor Ruhadze.
Performed on authentic instruments.

This is simply an ongoing success story. Already at disc 13 and still the same high standard as in the beginning. Sometimes the feeling creeps up my spine that most people do not realize how valuable this set is. Complete and performed on such a high standard, that I sometimes listen in unbelieve. I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that Brilliant produced a set with the best musicians available in the Netherlands. I will say this until the last CD, that it is a reference set from beginning to end. No only if it comes to interpretation but also in terms of the sound recording.



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Krebs, Johann Ludwig. (1730-1780) The Complete Organ Works. CD 9.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: August 2017.
First listen: 13-9-2017.
Label: Querstand.
CD 9 from 12.
Recording dates: October 2001.
Venue: Stadtkirche St. Otto zur Wechselburg, Germany.
Sound engineer: Thomas Ratzak Brandis.
Total time: 67:07.

Works on this CD:
Vier Choralbearbeitungen.
Fantasia in D major for pedal.
Sech Sonatinas for Organ.

Instrument used:
Schramm organ 1763-1761.
Stimmhöhe:  Chorton.
Stimmungsart: Gleichstufig.

Performed by:
Felix Friedrich.


There are also two Choir/Organ works on this disc amounting to 16 minutes which I did not listen to. I think the quality of the choir below par. 
As to the organ works there is all to enjoy and admire. First of all is the fact that despite it is a large organ with an impressive disposition, it has a distinct house organ intimacy. Especially the joyful sonatinas come out impressively. The Fantasia for pedal is an equally fine composition, well performed. The Four Choralbearbeitungen are every bit as interesting as the previous ones I heard. In fact I am totally converted to the brilliant pupil of Johannes Sebastian Bach, and I would go as far as to say, that Krebs his music is obligatory, for in many ways he follows in the footsteps of his teacher. And that is especially meant in the direction of his compositions.  Friedrich's playing is exemplary in every way, so far he never disappointed me in any way. His narrative is always crystal clear, tempi steady in speed and consistency, use of the registrations spot on, and always letting the music have it's say.  I am over the moon in possessing this complete survey of Krebs music by his hands. The recording is of a brilliancy that exceeds anything I have heard so far. Recommended.





Haydn, Joseph. (1732-1809) The almost complete Symphonies. CD 28. No. 62/63/70. The Hogwood Edition.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: April 2013.
Gifted by an American friend.
First listen: 17-9-2014,
Second listen: 13-9-2017.
Label: L'oiseau-Lyre.
CD 28 from 32.
Recording dates: September 1995.
Venue: Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London, England.
Sound engineer: ?
Total time: 66:31.

Works on this CD:
Symphony No 62 in D major.
No. 63 in C major, : La Roxelane"
No. 70 in D major.

Performed by:
The Academy of Ancient Music, Christopher Hogwood.
Played on Authentic instruments.

Three wonderful Symphonies! With the usual musical surprises in every work. The intricate scoring is a marvel, every time anew. Never routine, but always creative energy aplenty.
My admiration is still in place and will be so in the time to come. A set to have and to treasure.






Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon. (1562-1621). Keyboard music Volume 6 for Organ

From my collection.
Date of purchase: May 2002.
First listen: May 2002.
Second listen: 4-6-2013.
Third listen: 13-9-2017.
Label: NM Classics.
CD 6 from 9.
Recording dates: May/June 2000.
Venues: Grote Kerk Wijk bij Duurstede,  Netherlands, Hervormde Kerk, Blessum, Netherlands, Hervormde kerk Sassenheim, Netherlands, Kreuzkirche Pilsum, Germany.
Sound engineer: Ad Vink. 
Total time: 69:16.

Works on this CD:
Track 1-4.
Ricercare d2.
Psalm 60. 
Toccata a1.
Psalm 36.

Grotian Organ (1694) Kreuzkirche Pilsum, Germany.
Played by Vincent van Laar.

Track 5-8.
Wir glauben all an einem Gott, var. 1.
Fantasia  d4.
Toccata C3.
Jesus Christus, unser Heiland.

Kiespenning Organ ( ca 1615) Grote Kerk Wijk bij Duurstede,  Netherlands.

Track 9-12.
Vater unser in Himmelreich.
Es spricht der unweisen Mund wohl.
Pavana Hispanica (Sweelinck/Scheidt)
Toccata a 3.

Meijnerts Organ ( 1659) Hervormde Kerk, Blessum, Netherlands.

Track 13-17.
Fantasia G3.
Psalm 5 & 24.
Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns halt.
Fantasia F2.

Goltfus Organ ( 1657) Hervormde kerk Sassenheim, Netherlands.
Tracks 5-17 played by Peter van Dijk.

I simply love the choice of the organs. It goes to show how many fine organs we have in the Netherlands. And on this CD no less that four of the finest, one of them being in Germany. I did not hear before the last three organs on this disc, and that was my loss, corrected today in all its glory. I have heard all these works before by the hands of Leon Berben, and must conclude that he is better in interpretation, and sound wise on the Aeolus box. The NM classics box has great value also, if it was only for the many organs on display and the far superior booklet compared to the flimsy affair of the Aeolus release.
Vincent van Laar opens this disc playing on the Grotian organ (1694) which is well recorded, and certainly well performed. Van Laar is the positive element when he is behind the manuals. He certainly has the right feel for the music of Sweelinck, and I regret that he did not record more of this composer in the present release.
Regrettably, the rest of this CD is played by Peter van Dijk. Needless to say I do not like his raw and boisterous approach. To outspoken and too much ego, is a combination that does not sit well with Sweelinck.  There are moments of beauty were the composition almost forces you to play it in a certain way, and Van Dijk has to submit to that pressure, whether he likes it or not, like for instance in the Pavana Hispanica.
The Organs are a treasure, and I enjoyed every minute in their company. All is reasonably well recorded. If you want an interpretation that follows the true nature of Sweelinck, go for the Leon Berben set, and add this box as a compendium of fine organs, and fine performances by Vincent van Laar, Freddy Eichelberger,  Reinhard Jaud.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Bach, J.S. (1685-1750) Complete Organ Works. CD 19. The Aeolus Edition.

From my collection.
Bought in November 2014,
First listen: 1-2-2015.
Second listen: 12-9-2017.
Label Aeolus.
CD 19 from 19.
Recording dates: October 2010.
Venue: Arlesheim, Dom.
Sound engineer: Christoph Martin Frommen.
Running time: 81:36.

Works performed:
Toccata and Fuga BWV 540, 564, 538.
Passacaglia, BWV 582.
Fuga, BWV 578.

From the Orgelbuchlein:


BWV 635-644.


Performed by:

Bernhard Klapprott on a Johann Andreas Silbermann organ. (1761)

A worthy close of this box. I think that Klapprott has enough of Kooiman's legacy to be called a true follower, yet with his own bias. Klapprott is more energetic and less contemplative, but that brings its rewards in other ways. The virtuosic element is more on the foreground. This touch in him to show off, will wear with the years I think, and mellow. When that happens he will have the possibility to grow into a performer who will plunge a bit deeper into the spiritual world of Bach. As an example of his art one should listen to the Fugue, BWV 564, and as a contrast BWV 578. Both Fugues will show you all the sides of Klapprott that come into play.

The sound is as always fantastic. How wonderful this Silbermann organ sounds. So apart of the Geuchen recordings which need time from anyone to get used to, this box certainly deserves to be on top of any list. A strange thing is that the second disc Geuchen recorded is absolutely wonderful, but so out of sync with the other three, that it has me wondering. 
But in the end I am happy that I bought this box.

Fête du Ballet, A compendium of Ballet rarities. CD I second rerun.

From my collection. Date of purchase: 2011. First listen: 21-11-2013. Second listen: 19-1-2018. Label: Decca. CD 1 from 10. Recording ...