Thursday, November 30, 2017

Viotti, Giovanni Battista (1755-1824) Complete Violin Concertos. CD 7.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 30-11-2017.
Label: Dynamic.
CD 7 from 10.
Recording dates: March 1999.
Venue: Sala S. Antonio, Perugia. Italy.
Sound engineer: Pietro Mosetti Casaretto.
Total time: 70:33

Works on this CD:
Violin concertos:
No. 17 in D minor.
No. 15 in B flat major.
No. 9 in A major.

Performed by: 

Franco Mezzena, Violin & Conductor.
Symphonia Perusina.

I cannot say that the music is exciting or digging deep in the melodic content. The orchestral part is a middle of the road affair, nothing much happening there. Also in terms of tempi it can be rather boring. Not the kind of alertness I expected. All is very suave and unadventurous. 
However the parts written for violin are extraordinary fine. And there is the power of the music, the well crafted writing for this instrument. Another aspect is the excellent playing by Mezzena, but again he may be technical accomplished, but not even his playing infuses this music with the drive it needs. His phrasing is impeccable and he has a broad range of expression at his command, but he rarely uses it. Its elegant and polished to high gloss, but that's afraid all for me. A better orchestra and more drive to it all would have made this set indispensable, as it is however it is rather a question whether or not you want the music.  The sound is good enough.



Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) Complete Edition. Violin concertos IV and V. CD 11 & 12. Second rerun.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 5-9-2017.
Second rerun: 30-11-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 11 & 12 from 21.
Recording dates: CD 11, April 2013. CD 12, May 2013.
Venue: Westervestkerk, Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Peter Arts.
Total time: CD 11: 63:50. CD 12: 28:46.

Works on CD 11:
L'Arte del Violino.
Concertos for Violin, strings and BC, opus 3.
No. 10 in F, No. 11 in A. No. 12 in D, "Labirinto armonico".

Works on CD 12:
Violin concerto in A, and E.

Performed by:
Ensemble Violini Capricciosi, Igor Ruhadze.

I have said all I have to say in terms of praise about this Complete Edition. Both discs are perfect, and of a reference level. Everyone with a heart for Locatelli should have this box.



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685 -1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 5. Early Works influenced by Böhm & Buxtehude.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016.
First listen: 28-11-2017.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 5 from 20.
Recording dates: September 1999.
Venue: Petrus Kerk, Leens, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Mittermaier.
Time: 76:11.

Works on this CD:
BWV: 551/766/574/767/575/762/743/533/770/566.

Performed by:
Wolfgang Zerer.

Instrument:
Albertus Anthonie Hinsz, 1733.
Restored by Gebroeders van Vulpen, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 1968.

This was really a treat, both in musical display and as an excellent recording. The organ is much loved by me for its colour and openness. Zerer is a man of distinction if it comes to generating the right amount of expression out of almost all organs he plays on. He makes it a feast this time. His style of playing is curtailed to my needs. A commanding interpretation of Bach's early organ works. The poise and also dexterity with which Zerer moves around is spot on. All the movements are declamatory, colourful and he infuses the music with resonant warmth. He suavely navigates with a supple facility through all the regions of Bach's compositions. It's expansive, but not overly so, full bodied when needed, with a beautiful phrasing on every note.  The magisterial sustaining power Zerer displays keeps me on the top of my attention. What an expressive range he has. And what a winsome sensibility. 


Gossec, François Joseph. (1734-1829) Trois Grandes Symphonies, opus VIII.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 28-11-2017.
Second listen: 26-3-2018.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 2 from 7.
Recording dates: 2002-2007?
Venue: ?
Sound engineer: Jerome Lejeune.
Time: 79:29.

Works on this CD:
Symphonies No. 1/2/5.
Symphony concertante for Violin, Cello, & orchestra.
Sabinus. (Suite de Ballet)

Performed by:
Les Agrémens, Guy Van Waas.
Patrick Cohen Akenine, Violin.
François Poly, Cello.

Highly polished performances, well recorded, be it a little too much on the foreground. Dynamics can pop out quite suddenly from ppp situation. Apart from this it is detailed with plenty of air around the instruments, and fine orchestral playing. I am amazed at this level of orchestral excellence, as I am of the soloistic contribution by Violin and Cello.
Gossec is an underrated composer, but not as mediocre as some people want us to believe, on the contrary. His music is very accessible and creative in melodic content. There is introspection, complexity, warmth, tenderness and a huge suggestive power which is characteristic of this composer, as I learnt from previous recordings. Music with lasting value!.  There is a great clarity to support the structural basis of the music, it's organic and dynamic use of texture resulting in a pleasing energetic and sometimes breathtaking harmony. I especially like the Suite de Ballet with its continuous integration of different musical elements, very cleanly executed. Great interpretative ideas spring up in every movement and highlights the sheer ingenuity.
Recommended.




Thursday, November 23, 2017

Salvatore, Giovanni. (c.1610-1688) Works for Harpsichord and Organ, plus a Missa.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 22-11-2017.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates: October 1998 & June 1999.
Venue: Köln Studio, Funkhaus Saal 2 WDR, Germany. (Harpsichord)  Ponte in Valtellina, ( Madonna della Campagna, Italy. (Organ and Missa)
Sound engineer: Mark Hohn & Martin Andrae.
Time: 66:10.

Works on this CD:
Capriccios/ Corrente/ Toccata, for Harpsichord.
Missa della Domenica for Organ and Choir.
( Main source, Ricercari a quattro voci, Canzoni francesi,  toccata et versi per rispondere nelle Messe con l'Organo al choro, composte dal Giovanni Salvatore...Libro Primo, Naples 1641)

Francesco Lambardo.
Toccata for Harpsichord.

Don Carlo Gesualdo.
Canzon francese del Principe, for Harpsichord.

Performed by:
Fabio Bonizzoni, Harpsichord and Organ.
Schola Stirps Jesse, Enrico De Capitani. (Plainchant)

Instruments used:
A Harpsichord by: Luigi de Curli c. 1678. 415 Hz meantone temperament.
Organ by: Marco Antonio Bizarri-Antegnati (1519-1589)

A superb recording by Glossa to start with. The playing on both organ and harpsichord is nothing short of fabulous. The plainchant is perfectly sung and beautifully integrated into the sound of the organ. Salvatore was almost unknown to me, apart from some Harpsichord works, but I find him to be an excellent composer, much undervalued these days. He was named "teacher of teachers" with good reason, for he was highly respected in his long life and produced fine compositions as is proved by this recording.
A CD to have and cherish, for it is joy to the ear. I could say more clever things about the music, but my advice would be to buy this fine recording. 


Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon. (1562-1621) The Third Book of Psalms.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: December 2009.
First listen all three CD'S: 29-9 & 2/5-10-2011.
Second listen all three CD'S: 23/28-11-2017.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates: November 2006 & March 2009.
Venue: Nederlands Hervormde Kerk, Renswoude, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Stephan Schellmann.
Time: 75:14/58:40/66:01.

Works on all three discs:
Psalms, Organ fantasies (by Bernard Winsemius, Psalms 16& 19.
Oraison Dominicale.

Performed by:
Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam, Harry van der Kamp. 
Bernard Winsemius, Organ.

Instrument:

Transept organ, Oude Kerk, Amsterdam (1545, Hendrik Niehoff/ 1638 replaced by Hanswolf Schonat/ 1965 restored back to the original disposition by Ahrend & Brunzema.
Meantone temperament.

Absolutely gorgeous, the Sweelinck you cannot be without. This is perfect in every respect.




Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Riisager, Knudåge. (1897-1974) The Symphonic Edition, Volume I.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 21--11-2017.
Label: Dacapo.
Recording dates: September 2010 & February 2011.
Venue: Symphonic Hall, Musikhuset, Aarhus, Danmark.
Sound engineer: Claus Byrith.
Time: 64:52.

Works on this disc:
Overture for Erasmus Montanus, opus 1, Danish pictures No. 1.
Jack the Dullard, opus 18, No. 2.
Carnival, opus 20, No. 3.
Comedy opus 21, No. 4.
Symphony No. 1, opus 8.

Performed by:
Aarhus SO, Bo Holten.

I find all the reasons to love this composer in the works on this disc. The Danish pictures are gorgeous. The projections of these images into music is brilliantly done. I like the clusters of sound he builds up in the strings and brass in ascending steps. And the modernity in the music is invigorating and thrilling. The rhythmical muscular and haunting melodies are a treat. It has all the capacity for introspection and reflects the variety in Danish music.  The Symphony is a small miracle too.  It has a rustic jollity with its elegant chromatisms and frolicking variations. The melodic and harmonious invention lets you hear a range of expression, neatly crafted and expertly written. The expressive potential is wide and deep. He is a master of rhythm. And a combination of tenderness and exuberance, let's not forget that. The performance is first rate, as is the recording.




Steigleder, Johann Ulrich. (1593-1635) Complete Organ Works. Top recommendation.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 21-11-2017.
Second listen: 27-3-2018.
Label: Aeolus.
Digipack: 2 CD'S.
Recording dates:  May 2003.
Venue: Lüdingsworth, St. Jacobi, Germany.
Sound engineer: Christoph Martin Frommen.
Time: 79:57& 72:33.

Works on both CD'S:
Tabulatur Buch Darinnen Daß Vatter unser auff 2.3 und vier Stimmen.
Componirt und viertzig mal Varirt würd. (1626-27)

Ricercar "Tabulatura"(1624)

Performed by:
Léon Berben.

Instrument used:
A Antonius Wilde/Arp Schnitger organ (1598-1683)
Restored by Jürgen Ahrend (1981-82)
A= 460 Hz.
Meantone temperament.

Let me say one thing first...this is a fabulous organ, plus it is perfectly recorded by the organ coryfee Christoph Martin Frommen. Berben makes a feast of the performance in every respect. He treats the organ in just the right way to get a maximum of effect culminating into balm for your ears. The forty variations on this first disc made a huge impression on me, especially the first variation and the last one. The first was a Fantasia oder Fugen manier 4. Vocum, and the 40th a Variation auff Toccata manier, 4. It shows what this composer was capable of. Sweelinck came to mind several times. The sheer variation in the music blew me away several times, due also to the organ disposition and the sound. Berben plays in a very restrained manner, always  focusing on the music and the right amount of dynamics, and never on himself. This sensitive manner appeals hugely to me. The second disc that holds the Ricercar Tabulatura from 1624, brought Frescobaldi and Scheidt into my mind quite forcefully. The somewhat sober style used in these compositions felt like bare bones utterances of a time long gone. But it is exactly this aspect that I like. There is little warmth or colour in the ricercari, but I loved the subtle changes in the use of registrations and the spare use of ornamenting the music. Phrasing is delightful and at times it has a quasi improvisatory air. I feel like being thrusted into another and different world on the second disc. In the end I am utterly pleased with the result.
The sound is almost State of the Art. 




Monday, November 20, 2017

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

After listening to the fourth disc in this series on which Andrea Macon plays early works by Bach I decided to stop wasting my time with him. And that also goes for Kay Johansson. They are well represented in this box, but to my ears do no justice to Bach's organ works. At least they do not appeal to me. I have far better options as to sit and listening to what is to me not what I want or like. I love the organs used in this box, and that was the first impulse to get this set. I only payed 16 euro's for this box, so it's not a great loss to me, but I am disappointed and this counts much more in my book. After the disaster recording of Stefano Molardi I really believed this would not happen again to me, but it did!
I will however try all the other organists in this box, so maybe I will find some worthwhile interpretations.


Riisager, Knudåge. (1897-1974) Orchestral Works.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 20-11-2017.
Label: Dacapo.
Recording dates: June 1997. (Remastered 2010)
Venue: Concert House, Helsingborg, Sweden.
Sound engineer: Michael Petersen.
Time: 72:35.

Works on this CD.
Fool's Paradise Suite No 1&2 opus 33 for Orchestra. (1936&1940)
Six Dance from the Christian Andersen ballet opus 37 "Twelve by the mail". (1939)
Concertino for Trumpet and Strings opus 29, (1933)
Dances from the Fairytale play by Johannes Jensen, opus 32. (1935-36).

Performed by:
Helsingborg SO, Thomas Dausgaard.
Håkan Hardenberger, Trumpet.
Vocal Group Ars Nova.

I am a great fan of the composer Riisager, since I bought a record with the ballet Benzin a long time ago. I have purchased in total 4 discs with his music in November 2017, and this is the first in line. The disc starts with the Fool's Paradise suites, orchestrated to perfection in so many colours and filled with so much mystical details, you almost need a double set of ears to get it all in. Both are demonstration class Riisager. So whenever you need a sample of his music these suites are the ones to go for. And his genius wanders easily through the Six dances opus 37 to the opus 32. Both works are filled with an abundance of details, and a wall of colours that will dazzle your ears. The Concertino is a work of great genius but it did not touch me on the same level as the other works.
The performance is top notch and that goes for all participants. The vocal contribution in the opus 32 are terrific, adding some fear into this mystical score, especially in the "Dust storm", and the "Women's Dance".
Hardenberger is a fine musician, who plays with a sense for dynamics and accents that puts him easily in the top of his trade. The orchestra is excellent. Dausgaard makes the music come very close to utter perfection.
The sound is demonstration class. The remastering did the original recording of 1997 a great service.


Henriques, Fini. (1867-1940) Orchestral Works.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 20-11-2017.
Label: Dacapo.
Recording dates: September 2000& May 2001.
Venue: Helsingborg Concert hall, Sweden.
Sound engineer: Preben Iwan & Hans Nielsen.
Time: 54:17.

Works on this CD:
Romance opus 12 (1894) for Violin and orchestra.
Myggedans opus 20, No. 5 (1899) for Violin and orchestra arranged by Svend Schultz (1986)
Djævledans (1920) for Violin and orchestra, arranged by Launy Grøndal (1940).
Tata, Czardas 1&2. (1932)
Volund Smed, Suite (1896)
Suite in F major, opus 12 for Oboe and Strings (1894)
From: Den lille Havfrue (1909)

Performed by:
Christina Åstrand, violin.
Max Artved, Oboe.
Helsingborg SO, Giordano Bellincampi.

This is the first CD I own with music from Fini Henriques. I loved the samples I heard, so ordered it right away. This is full blown romantic music, with no hints towards modernism. Easy going and well scored music to please, and to aim at your emotional instincts in quick tempo. He writes marvelously in all departments of the orchestra, with fine contributions for the Violin and Oboe. I really connected to the music, but that was about all. First of all the orchestra is one of the best in Sweden, and I have many excellent recordings with them, but the choice of Dacapo to let Bellincampi conduct is a bad example of management by those that should have known better. He blows the music into regions where detail is totally gone out of the window, with added dynamics and accents that murders the rest of the music. Bellincampi doesn't understand this music and thinks it to be Verdi. The sound engineers made quite a shambles of it too. Violin and Oboe are so forwardly recorded that it pains my ears, dynamics so loud that all detail is lost, accents placed totally outside the context of the music. I know Preben Iwan to be a fine engineer, but this time he totally misfired, as did Hans Nielsen. O, well at least the music is good, be it wrongly represented.



Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon. (1562-1621) The Second Book of Psalms.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: December 2009.
First listen all three CD'S: 26/27/29-12-2009.
Second listen all three CD'S: 8/8/10-2010.
Third listen all three CD'S: 20-11-2017.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates: November 2006 & March 2009.
Venue: Nederlands Hervormde Kerk, Renswoude, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Stephan Schellmann.
Tme: 49:46-61:30-54:23.

Works on all three discs:
Psalms, Organ fantasies (by Bernard Winsemius, Psalms 11/12/28)

Performed by:
Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam, Harry van der Kamp. 
Bernard Winsemius, Organ.

I can be quite short about the Second book, it is as perfect as the first book. Try what I may, I cannot find fault in performance or recording. This is simply the best you can get. I consider this mandatory in every classical collection. Sweelinck was one of the greatest renaissance- early baroque masters we ever had in the Netherlands.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764. The Complete Edition. CD 10, opus 3. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: october 2016.
First listen: 1-9-2017.
Second listen: 18-11-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 10 from 21.
Recording dates: January 2013.
Venue: Westvestkerk, Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Peter Arts.
Total time: 61:08.

Works on this CD:
Concertos for Violin, strings and BC, opus 3.
No. 7 in B flat.
No. 8 in E minor.
No. 9 in G.

Performed by: 
Ensemble Violini Capricciosi,  Igor Ruhadze.


(Excerpt from my first review on 1-9-2017) 

"Perhaps the most structurally striking elements of the concertos are the technical accomplished contributions of Igor Ruhadze. Flashy fluid perfection, webs of double stopped complexities, he smoothly brings off Locatelli's occasional ferociously idiomatic modulations. It's a full house deliciousness by this varied palette of continuo colour display from his colleagues. The rich variety of Locatelli's music is so well portrayed that I come to the conclusion that this is a reference set par excellance"


Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) L'Arte del Violin. Concertos for Violin, strings and bc, opus 3. Complete Edition, CD 9. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 11-8-2017.
Second listen: 18-11-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 9 from 21.
Recording dates: November 2012.
Venue: Westervestkerk, Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Peter Arts.
Total time: 64:36.
Relevance: Essential.

Works on this disc:
Concerto No. 4 in E, No. 5 in C, No. 6 in G minor.

Performed by:
Ensemble Violini Capricciosi, Igor Ruhadze.

See full review on 11-8-2017.


Friday, November 17, 2017

Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) The Complete Edition. CD 8. L'Arte del Violino, opus 3. No. 1-3. Second rerun.

Second rerun.
Date of purchase: October 2016.
First listen: 8-8-2017.
Second listen: 17-11-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 8 from 21.
Recording dates: October 2012.
Recording venue: Westvestkerk Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Peter Arts.
Running time: 68:21.

Works performed:
Concertos for Violin, strings and BC, opus 3.
No 1 in D, No2 in C minor, No. 3 in F.

Works performed by:
Ensemble Violini Capricciosi, Igor Ruhadze.
Played on authentic instruments.

Excerpt from the original review. 8-8-2017.

"Ruhadze has an lightness in his playing with much colour, producing a freewheeling variety in all of Locatelli's compositions. His shaping of the melodies in the many cadenza's is phenomenal. There is a elegant lyricism and a touching vulnerability in all that he plays. Ecstatic yet restrained and superbly controlled  both dynamically and emotionally it is hard to imagine that this can be done better. The accomplished duetting with the wonderful BC players has a synergy  that is amazing throughout. Impeccable it is. Artfully poised!"


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

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2016,
First listen: 16-11-2017.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 3 from 20.
Recording dates: June 1999.
Venue: Church of Muri, Aargau, Switzerland.
Sound engineer: Pere Casulleras.
Time: 55:26.

Works on this CD:

<Early works for the purposes of Study, written during his student days in Ohrdruf and Lüneburg as well from his time in Arnstadt where he had his first position as organist<
BWV:
569/deest/1085/1121/705/747/549/716/724/758/588/765/589.

Instrument used:
Organ of the Monastery church of Muri.
Built by Thomas Schott 1619-1630.
Altered by V.F. Bossart-1744.
Restored by Metzler, Edskes, Brühlmann-1966-1971.
Pitch =a' 440 Hz.
Wind pressure 78 mm.
Equal temperament. (Van Biezen)

Performed by:
Andrea Marcon.

I got this box really cheap some time ago, so I bought it for this reason, and the fact that most of the organs are historic, attached to it some pretty famous names in the performance department, enough to take the plunge. So far it has been a mild pleasure. I am not excited by what I hear, neither do I feel inspired to make haste with the listening. The first 2 cd's played by Kay Johannsen made me yawn several times. Technically they are good, but to my ears underpowered and a tad mechanical.  No real interpretive motivation behind it all. And while Andrea Marcon has more fire in his hands, and a bit more expression, it still is quite matter of fact to me. Rarely does he convince me of his take in Bach's early organ music, and I am certainly not moved by what I hear. Rhythmically it is uneven, with dynamics at odd places, accents missed, and melody lines blurred. No vision no lucidity, but serviceable yet uninspiring music making. I can live with it though, but for the wow factor I have to move elsewhere, and luckily for me I have these works in pristine performances. The organ is well recorded but the result is a bit flat and not so detailed as I have heard it before in much better sound.
Well 17 cd's to go, and I am sure I still may find some treasures in this set.
Fine booklet with lots of details but missing the registrations and the pitch and tuning info of the organs, which I think are necessary.



Lajtha, László. (1892-1963) Capriccio, opus 39-Suite de Ballet.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 16-11-2017.
Label: Naxos.
Previously released on Marco Polo.
Recording dates: May 1994.
Venue: Ferenc Liszt Concert Hall, Pécs, Hungary.
Sound engineer: László Dobos.
Time: 77:01.

Works on this CD:
See heading.

Performed by:
Pécs SO, Nicolás Pasquet.

In the past I already collected most of his symphonies on Marco Polo, and liked this composer enormously. A forgotten Hungarian master that should have been equal in standing with his more famous peers, like Bartók, Kodály and Dohnányi. This CD with Ballet music proves once again how good he really was. to start with, these are really radiant performances, with an orchestral transparency and fine string writing. It can be fiery, lean, energetic and very expressive. Detail is relished rather than glossed over, rhythmically alert, transparent and illuminated to a high polish. 
The swift propulsive effects are well shaped which makes the performance exquisite and superbly judged. The orchestration baffles me into admiration, but it also points out that is was composed with images in the mind of the composer as to the choreography and staging of the ballet. It is a very visual score that suffers because of the lack of images. This never materialized and the music was simply ignored as so often happened in those dark times. László. was not the only one to suffer from this negligence due to the powers in charge. Still I make the images in my head while listening, and that is a small consolation added to the brilliant music.
The recording is detailed and lucid.  As if recorded yesterday.
Recommended.


Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon. (1562-1621) First Book of Psalms David.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: December 2009.
First listen:  22/23/26-12-2009.
Second listen: 3/7/8-1-2010.
Third listen: 16-11-2017.
Label: Glossa.
3 CD's .
Recording dates: November 2006 & Maart 2009.
Venue: Nederlands Hervormde Kerk, Renswoude, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Stephan Schellmann.
Time: 70:44-68:22-67:59.

Works on CD1/2.3.

Psalms, Lute music and organ variations.

Performed by: 
Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam, Harry van der Kamp.
Lee Santana, Luit.
Bernard Winsemius, Organ. (No info about the organ)

It is really easy to listen all three CD'S in a row. The level of performance is so high that every minute is one minute to short. This monumental series recorded by the Gesualdo Consort is truly unique and was absolutely necessary to produce. It is a wonder that this project was brought to a successful end. And we listeners reap the fruits of all their efforts. The choir balance is one of world class, perfectly balanced, totally non vibrato, as the times and Sweelinck demanded, each voice blending into each other, no disparity between them resulting into the ultimate interpretation possible. Professionally polished,  with an elegant refinement and communicative delivery in all respects. There is a transparency very measured and sweetly moulded. This cannot get any better.
Diction is impeccable, dynamics well chosen, this will last a lifetime and longer. Sweelinck was an absolute master in all the genres he choose to be. The organ variations are played well and lucidly articulated. Lee Santana keeps for a moment his ego on hold, and lets the music speak.
The sound is top notch.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Pejačević, Dora.(1885-1923) The Complete Piano Works. CD 1& 2. Third rerun.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen CD 1: 19-10-2017.
Second listen: 10-11-2017.
Third listen: 15-11-2017.
First listen CD 2: 19-10-2017.
Second listen: 10-11-2017.
Third listen: 15-11-2017.
Label: CPO
CD 1 & 2.
Recording dates: June/July 2014.
Venue: SWR Stuttgart Kammermusikstudio, Germany.
Sound engineer: Burkhard Pfitzner-Landeck.
Total time CD 1: 78:22, CD 2: 78:22.

See first full reviews on 17-10-2017 and 19-10-2017.

Works on CD: 1

Blumenleben, opus 19.
Sonate opus 57.
Sechs fantasiestücke opus 17.
Blütenwirbel opus 45.
Zwei Nocturnes opus 50.
Vier Klavierstücke opus 32a. (Only three of them survived)
Impromptu opus 32b.
Valse de concert opus 21.
Erinnerung opus 24.
*
Works on CD: 2.

9 Walzer-Capricen opus 28.
Sonate opus 36 in B minor.
Berceuse opus 20 and opus 2.
Capriccio opus 47.
Zwei Klavierskizzen opus 44.
Zwei intermezzi opus 38.
Gondellied opus 4.
Chanson sans paroles opus 5& 10.
Menuett opus 7.
Impromptu opus 9a.
Trauermarsch opus 14.
Humoreske opus 54a.
Caprice opus 54b.

Lovely!


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

Second rerun. See first full review on 27-7-2017.
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.

"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. " Excerpt from the full review.

Locatelli, Pietro Antonio. (1695-1764) Violin Sonatas, CD 7. Violin Sonatas V. Second rerun.

Bought in October 2016.
First listen: 8-3-2017.
Second listen: 15-11-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 7 from 21.
Recording dates: CD 7, October/November 2011 & January 2012. 
Recording venue: Westvestkerk, Schiedam, The Netherlands.
Recording engineer: Peter Arts.
Running time: 50:30.

Works performed:

CD 7.
Opus 8, No. 4/5/6.

Performed by:

Igor Ruhadze, Violin.
Mark Dupere, Cello.
Vaughan Schlepp, Harpsichord.

See full review of CD 7 on 8-3-2017.

Second time around and still as strong in expression and brilliance as the first time.
For me this is a reference set all 21 CD'S long.



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Grétry, André Modeste. (1741-1813) Miscellaneous works.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 14-11-2017.
Second listen: 26-3-2018.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 1 from 7.
Recording dates: 2002-2007.
Venue: ?
Sound engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 77:22.

Works on this CD:
Céphale et Procris. (Airs de L'Aurore)
Les Deux Avares. (Airs de Henriette)
Anacréon chez Polycrate. Air de Anais)
La Caravane du Caire. (Air de l'esclave Italienne)
Concerto in D major for Flute and Orchestra.

Performed by:
Les Agrémens, Guy Van Waas.
Sophie Karthäuser, Soprano.
Jan de Winne, Flute.

Much recommended by my musical friends I finally bought this box. It is filled with interesting music and excellent performances, although for me that is not always the case. As per usual I take issue with the soprano featuring in this recording. In essence she has a fine voice, but can add some artificial vibrato to the proceedings which does not tickle my fancy. Furthermore she can lash out forcefully with her voice and so get a metal grinding quality, that did shake my nerves quite a bit.  Seven items therefore I had to ban from this recording, so all in all this became for me a quite a pleasant disc, but thankfully without the soprano. I was not born to withstand such aural attacks, simple as that.
Grétry is an excellent composer, which you can hear through the expert hands of Gus van Waas and his orchestra. Sometimes tempi are taken too leisurely which I noticed to my chagrin, but the expression was fabulous, so that does a lot of good in my book Nothing but good things about Jan de Winne on his flute, he is quite an artist on the Flute.
Recording is excellent too, very natural, and well proportioned.
Onwards to disc 2 I say.



Zarlino, Gioseffo. (c.1517-1590) Canticum Canticorum Salomonis & selected motets.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 14-11-2017.
Recording dates: May 2005.
Venue: St. Peter in Chains, London, England.
Sound engineer: Adrian Hunter.
Time: 78:56.

Works performed on this disc:
See heading.

Performed by: 
Ensemble Plus Ultra, Michael Noone.

The composer on this CD I already knew in an other recording I have, (Singer Pur) so in that sense I expected a different performance, and this is what I got. Not at all comparable with each other, and almost no overlap in music. The voices and intonation, the flexibility,  colouring, diction, everything is different.  Plus Ultra  sings more academic, and the diction is at times a bit fuzzy, but they add great warmth and commitment to Zarlino's master work. I have a slight preference for Singer Pur as it comes to the choir culture, but am quite as happy with the newcomer. I have recordings with other composers by Plus Ultra, and none of them ever disappointed me. They have excellent soloists, and a choir culture that is at its highest level. With Singer Pur I could listen without pause, but the somewhat warmer busier performance by Plus Ultra makes the 78 minutes of music a long stretch to listen to.
Nevertheless I would not like to be without this interpretation.
The sound is quite good.



Le Jeune, Claude. (1528-1600) The Treasures of Claude Le Jeune.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 13-11-2017.
Second listen: 22-3-2018.
Label: DHM.
Recording dates: July 2013.
Venue: Eglise d'Écoyeux, France.
Sound engineer: Markus Heiland.
Playing Time: 55:18.

Works on this disc:
Selected treasures.

Performed by:
Huelgas Ensemble, Paul van Nevel.

A Franco Flemish composer and a influential composer but much undervalued indeed. This renaissance master's music is of a very high level. The chromatic elements and the counterpoint Le Jeune added to his works, are largely responsible for its warmth and immediacy. Him being fond of experimentation is another spice to the music. These are all encompassing performances in which the Huelgas ensemble hit the right tone and phrasing. The ensemble is so tightly bound together, that there is a mild explosion of colour and intimate involvement. There is also a measured transparency and finely balanced and sweetly moulded choral phrasing that hit base in a good way. Also the textural clarity and poeticism plus the breath of vocal colours makes this a breathtaking performance. Lovely.
Sound is superb and is the performance and recording.



Contreparties, Music for plucked string instruments 1640-1690) for Two Lutes.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 13-11-2017.
Label: Cornetto.
Recording dates: October 2014.
Venue: Kirche St. Johannes M. Vianney, Stuttgart, Germany.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Schäfer.
Time: 50:02.

Composers on this disc:
Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger.
Francesco Corbetta.
Denis Gaultier.
Henri François de Gallot.
Nicolas Derosier.
Pierre Dubut le fils.
Johan Gumprecht.
Ennemond Gaultier.
François Dufaut.
Jean Mercure.
Pierre Dubut le père.
Robert de Visee.
Valentin Strobel.

(Angel Villoldo, El Choclo, Tango 1903) as a bonus)

Performed by:
Jean Marie Poirier & Thierry Meunier.

Instruments:
Baroque guitar, Theorbo,  Baroque Lute.

A fine and well recorded journey through the 17th century, played on stringed instruments by expert musicians and recorded in crystal clear sound. As a bonus is added a modern work of great fun.
Many composers were unknown to me, yet all have the same high standard of composition. Well crafted in an effective way to please and delight the listeners of their time, and still in our time, can do the same. Perfect to play in the late evening with a glass of good wine and good company.




Badings, Henk. (1907-1987. Symphonies No. 4 & 5.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2007.
First listen: 13-11-2017.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: August 2012.
Venue: Ruhr Congress, Bochum, Germany.
Sound engineer: Holger Urbach.
Time: 61:31.

Works on this CD:
Symphony No. 4 & 5.

Performed by:
Bochumer Symphoniker, David Porcelijn.

In a steady stream Badings Symphonies are released by CPO, and I am always excited to hear yet again a work by this illustrious Dutch composer, who is much underrated and almost completely forgotten. That this is not how it should be proved these excellent Symphonies. Magical realism, deep images of hazy perceptions, filigree and detailed accents, and the so important dynamics, scrupulously observed by Porcelijn. Not observing them would be a catastrophe for both compositions, for it plays an all important role. There is a lot of commitment in the performances by the Bochumer Symphoniker. Thrilling quickness when needed, with a superb controlled beauty on the strings. The artistic response is magnificent. Profound sadness is an element of the music, in which all is tenderly phrased and articulated. In the end this performance has the supreme power to console. This is how committed it is.
Sound is superb.



Byrd, William. (c.1543-?1623) Clarifica Me. Music for the Organ.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 13-11-2017.
Second listen: 26-3-2018.
Label: Ramée.
Recording dates:  May 2007.
Venue: Grote Kerk, Oosthuizen, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Rainer Arndt.
Time: 74:06.

Works on this CD:
See heading.

Performed by: 
Léon Berben.

Instrument:
Historical Renaissance organ (c.1521)
Mean tone temperament a"= 465 Hz.

This is the one of a few Renaissance organs still playable in the Netherlands. And how well it sounds. Despite the few stops it has, it will produce in the right hands enough punch and colour to delight with every tone. I am heartily glad for the Bourdon 16 and the Prestant 8, for they provide the warm basis of this organ. Byrd sounds particularly well on this instrument. Berben as per usual excels on this instrument and never tries to get out more as what the organ can give. Perfectly adapted to its possibilities, he makes it shine and blossom to a extraordinary complimentary level.  And Byrd too, for I did not hear his music so well as on this instrument.
A great addition to my collection.



Valls, Francesc. (1665-1747) Tonos divinos Españoles. Popular sacred music from the Spanish Baroque.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 13-11-2017.
Label: Pan Classics.
Recording dates: January 2004.
Venue: Eglise Saint Laurent, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Sound engineer: Sigrid Lee & Roberto Meo.
Total time: 67:03.

Works on this CD.
See heading.

Additional composers:

Pablo Bruna. (1611-1679)
Obras de Falsas de Sexto tono.
Obra de Medio registro de tiple de primer tono.
*
Joan Cabanilles. (1644-1712)
Tiento XII de Falsas.
*
Anonymous. (17th century)
Passacalles de primer tono.

Performed by:
A Corte Musical, Rogério Gonçalves.
Corien de Jong, Organ.
No mention which organ is used.

First and foremost this is well composed music, in excellent performances and well recorded. A fine pastime and entertaining to boot. It gives a impression of popular Spanish baroque music, which was very colourful and invigorating. I especially liked the organ pieces. There is a sort of forceful push behind it but not overly much. Corien de Jong plays the pieces rhythmically precise, well aware of the technical possibilities.  The voices on this disc are matched to the background of these compositions, which is popular and sacred music mixed. It works, but I was not really able to keep my attention span intact during the 67 minutes which it lasts. No matter, perfect background music with added artistic quality.





Saturday, November 11, 2017

Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann. (1710-1784) Complete Harpsichord music. CD 5 & 6. Second rerun.

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 5.
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.
****


Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 11-10-2017.
Second listen: 11-11-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 6 from 6.
Recording dates: November 2016 & February 2017.
Venue: Abbazia Santa Maria delle Carceri, Carceri, Padua (Harpsichord. Track 1-24.
             Radio Kapelle-Benedictine Monastery of Muri-Gries, Bolzano. (Organ) Track 25-28.
Sound engineer: Alberto Vedovato.
Total time: 54:27.

Works on this disc 6.
Various pieces from the Vilnius manuscript.

Performed by:
Claudio Astronio.

Instruments used:
Harpsichord: Keith Hill, 2001, after anonymous, German 1710.
Organ: Johannes Rohlff 2008.

It is really a treat to hear these works again. A creative success, and perfectly performed.
Sound is superb on all 6 discs.
Recommended.

See full review CD 5 on 30-9-2017.
CD 6, 11-10-2017.


Friday, November 10, 2017

d' India, Sigismundo. (c.1582-c.1629)Terzo libro de Madrigali, 1616. Second rerun.

Date of purchase: September 2016.
First listen: 6-10-2017.
Second listen: 10-11-2017.
Label: Glossa.
CD 9 from 9.
Recording dates: November 1997.
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 I noted before in the other CD reviews, playing them for the second time, they are much more appreciated. A superb set.
See full review 6-10-2017.


Röntgen, Julius. (1855-1932) Works for Violin & Piano. Volume I. Third rerun.

See first review for all the info. (19-10-2017)
*
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 19-10-2017.
Second listen: 31-10-2017.
Third listen: 10-11-2017.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: March 2011.
Venue: Deutschlandfunk Kammermusiksaal, Germany.
Sound engineer: Christoph Rieseberg.
Total time: 74:24.
*
Works on this disc:

Sonata opus 40 in E major.
Phantasy opus 24.
Sonata Trologica. (1915)
Seven Concert Pieces opus 89-Suite.

Performed by:
Christoph Schickedanz, Violin.
Ernst Breidenbach, Piano.

Gorgeous music, every listen I get more out of it.


Pejačević, Dora.(1885-1923) The Complete Piano Works. CD 1& 2. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen CD 1: 19-10-2017.
Second listen: 10-11-2017.
Third listen: 15-11-2017.
First listen CD 2: 19-10-2017.
Second listen: 10-11-2017.
Third listen: 15-11-2017.
Label: CPO
CD 1 & 2.
Recording dates: June/July 2014.
Venue: SWR Stuttgart Kammermusikstudio, Germany.
Sound engineer: Burkhard Pfitzner-Landeck.
Total time CD 1: 78:22, CD 2: 78:22.

See first full reviews on 17-10-2017 and 19-10-2017.

Works on CD: 1

Blumenleben, opus 19.
Sonate opus 57.
Sechs fantasiestücke opus 17.
Blütenwirbel opus 45.
Zwei Nocturnes opus 50.
Vier Klavierstücke opus 32a. (Only three of them survived)
Impromptu opus 32b.
Valse de concert opus 21.
Erinnerung opus 24.
*
Works on CD: 2.

9 Walzer-Capricen opus 28.
Sonate opus 36 in B minor.
Berceuse opus 20 and opus 2.
Capriccio opus 47.
Zwei Klavierskizzen opus 44.
Zwei intermezzi opus 38.
Gondellied opus 4.
Chanson sans paroles opus 5& 10.
Menuett opus 7.
Impromptu opus 9a.
Trauermarsch opus 14.
Humoreske opus 54a.
Caprice opus 54b.

This music has a profound emotional impact on me.
She is my top female composer at large.   




Rore, Cipriano de. (c.1525-1565) Portrait of the artist as a starved dog. Madrigals. (TOP RECOMMENDATION)

New acquisition.
New release.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 9-11-2017.
Second listen: 29-1-2018.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates: June 2016.
Venue: Église de Saint Jean l'Evangéliste, Belgium.
Sound engineer: Alexandre Fostier.
Time: 75:22.

Works on this CD:
Works of two composers added on this disc.
Philippe Verdelot & Guillaume Morlaye. 

Performed by:
Graindelavoix, Björn Schmelzer.
Lluis Coll i Trulls, Cornetto.
Floris De Rycker, Cetarone, lute, and guitar.

If you have enjoyed Graindelavoix before, there is no need to hesitate, for what you know you get. I felt blasted away at such gorgeous singing and their fresh approach in tackling such a great renaissance master. In his excellent essay Schmelzer explains every detail and I go along with his reasoning. It is such a treat to wander through this music and be flabbergasted at every turn in the road. That makes for exhilarating listening. He knocks every conceivable notion you have from  renaissance music out of countenance, and succeeds in surprising you with what he thinks is the right approach. The sheer beauty of "Convien ch'ovunque sua sempre cortese", or "Mentre lumi maggior", makes me gasp with admiration. What a fresh and invigorating wind is blowing with Graindelavoix. The music bursts into your ear, a glittering explosion of sound that scatters its bright rays of light in all directions with wonderful abandon.  I think that Graindelavoix has build up an impressive discography over the past few years and established them at the pinnacle of excellence. This new release is again a confirmation in that it represents a different look on the music of old, and can unleash such beauty. Their performance has a distinctive fluidity with grace and conviction, and always flows in the right direction.
State of the Art recording.



Larsson, Lars Erik. (1908-1986. Orchestral Works Volume 2. First listen.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 9-11-2017.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: April 2011.
Venue: Konserthuset, Helsingborg, Sweden.
Sound engineer: Lennart Dehn or Torbjörn Samuelsson.
Time: 69:53.

Works on this CD:
Symphony No. 2, opus 17 in E minor. (1937)
Variations for Orchestra opus 50. (1962)
Barococo, Suite for Orchestra opus 64. (1973)

Performed by:
Helsingborg SO, Andrew Manze.

I was quite impressed about the first volume in this complete series, so a logical step was to take volume 2 also. Larsson as a Swede is very much his own man. As a composer he shares some musical roots with Sibelius, which you can hear in the Symphony,  and Nielsen in his later works. But those musical remnants are hazy and hard to define. Larsson has created a new idiom in his musical language which is very appealing to me. When you cross the road from the late romantic symphony to his more modern works it does put you off, but organically takes you by the hand, for he mixes the old with the new in such a way that it becomes perfectly understandable. And fascinating! The melodies come easily to him, and his expression is one of ease, but vigorous in its demeanor . The colouring and detail he evokes is mesmerizing to a point of exaltation, but in a pastoral form. This orchestra has access to a tonal range which runs the gamut from orchestral brilliance to a rich mellow sonority. No doubt because of the influence of Andrew Manze. They give him a community of strings gathering around in comforting support. He is so lucky in that. As a recording this represents perfection, and as a record of an extraordinary performance.
The sound is top notch. Recommended.



Il Diario di Chiara-Music from La Pietà in Venice in the 18th Century.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 10-11-2017.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates: August 2013.
Venue: Reggio Emilia (Chiesa di San Filippo, Italy.
Sound engineer: Simon Lanz.
Time: 72:30.

Works and composers on this disc:
Antonio Vivaldi: 
Sinfonia for Strings in G major, RV 149, : Il Coro delle Muse".
Concerto for Violin in B flat major, RV 372, "Per la S.ra Chiara".
*
Giovanni Porta:
Sinfonia for Strings in D major.
*
Nicola Porpora:
Sinfonia a tre in G major.
*
Antonio Martinelli:
Concerto for Viola d'Amore and strings in D major "Per la S.ra Chiaretta"
Concerto for Violin in E major, "dedicato all S.ra Chiara"
*
Gaetano Latilla: 
Sinfonia in G major.
*
Fulgenso Perotti:
Grave for Violin and Organ in G minor.
*
Andrea Bernasconi:
Sinfonia for Strings in D major.

Performed by:
Europa Galante, Fabio Biondi.

(Includes bonus DVD, 32 minutes, Il Diario di Chiara, a film by Lucrezia Le Moli and Fabio Biondi)

All concerti on this disc are performed to the highest technical level and as such are perfectly recorded.  But it left me a bit unmoved. There are no surprises but just good playing. Apart from Vivaldi I did not know much about the other composers, and this was the main reason for buying it, plus the bonus DVD of course, for the story of Chiara needed to be told. All these composers taught the girls at the Pietà, music, composing and performing just as the talents would go. Vivaldi started it all, and he was very taken by the woman Chaira was, and the huge amount of talent she had in playing and composing. Many of the concerts on this disc are dedicated to her. So she must have made quite an impression. The difficulty of the works dedicated to her are, without question, not easy to play. It requires quite an amount of talent to bring them off, and she seems to have done that. As said the performance is quite good, but I would have liked a bit more emotional input. Still I am happy to have all these concerti.


Daquin, Louis-Claude. (1694-1772) Nouveau Livre de Noëls. TOP-RECOMMENDATION.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 10-11-2017.
Second listen: 3-4-2018.
Label: Brilliant.
Recording dates: July 2017.
Venue: l'abbaye de Gellone à St. Guilhem-le Désert, (Hérault) France.
Sound engineer: ?
Time: 71:01.
State of the art recording.


Works on this CD:
See heading.

Instrument used:
Jean-Pierre Cavaillé, 1782-1789.
Positif dorsal pipework installed by Alain Sals in 1984.
Tempérament mésotonique a 6 tierces justus d'après Dom Bedos.
Pitch: a'415 Hz environ.
Three manuals and French style pedalboard.

Restoration: Alain Sals, 2000.
Maintained since 2010 and renovated in 2014 by Michel Formentelli.


Performed by:
Adriano Falcioni.

I love the organ, it's one of my favourites. And then to have a State of the Art sound, plus a fabulous organist. I can safely say that I never heard a better performance of Daquin's "Livre de Noëls. Falcioni is in his element on this organ, and gets at such a height in creating a beautiful sound full of colours most exquisite, that I could play this the whole day without getting tired listening. And this organ, it has definitely a great WOW factor.
Recommended without reserve.



Caron, Firminus. (c.1440-after 1480) Twilight of the Middle Ages.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 9-11-2017.
Second listen: 14-3-2018.
Label: DHM.
Recording dates: July 2015.
Venue: Eglise St. Martin, Tourinnes la Grosse, Belgium.
Sound engineer: Markus Heiland.
Time: 54:39.

Works on this CD:
Secular and religious.

Performed by:
Huelgas Ensemble, Paul van Nevel.

This Franco-Flemish polyphonist  is a remarkable composer whose life is shrouded in mystery. Neither known or famous. Yet François Joseph Fétis (1784-1871) wrote:  "Caron is superior to Ockeghem and Busnois". That is quite a statement, but for me he is on level with them, but certainly not better. Caron deserves to be on the same height, so much is clear to me, after listening to his music. His technique is remarkable, with an outstanding talent for polyphonic lines, and for adding colour to it all. This music envelops you in a warm embrace, with a clear picture of words and meaning, in a secular as religious sense. Highly ornamented with a good structure to it. His melodies are refreshing and innovative. It all radiates a pure spirit of the late Gothic period.
The Huelgas ensemble has a perfect diction, and as a choir is well balanced. The voices melt together as one body and this increases the effect of the music enormously. But I found the performance distanced and a bit cold, not matter of fact mind! I missed a certain involvement in which emotions have a place of warmth. To me it sounded technical, be it without fault.
It is however a worthwhile addition to my collection, of this I am convinced.
The recording is superb.



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Gesualdo da Venosa., Carlo. (1566-1613) Quinto Libro de Madrigali, 1611. CD 8. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: September 2016.
First listen: 3-10-2017.
Second listen: 8-11-2017.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates: May 2003 & June 2004.
Venue: Chiesa di Cuceglio, Italy.
Sound engineer: Davide Ficco & Giuseppe Maletto.
Total time: 64:15.

Works on this CD:
See heading.

Performed by: 
La Venexiana, Claudio Cavina.

When the first track on this CD makes its entrance, with a firm but also brittle account of "Gioite voi col canto" you know with certainty that the journey will be a pleasant one. Gesualdo was a man that lived with passionate and almost aggressive emotions, which is at the basis of his music. Its expression is oppressive in a positive way, but I cannot forget the man behind it all and his traversal through life. He was capable in giving his passion a free reign, almost without limitations, and this I hear back in the music however harmonious it is, and with many gentle streaks. It is for these characteristics that I like his compositions, sometimes above all other excellent madrigali composers in this box. La Venexiana keeps the outbursts within limits, and create a perfect balance in their expressive singing. They are simply made for this music. In my opinion this box is essential listening material.
Sound is good. A minor quibble is in place in track 5, "O, Dolorosa gioia". In the beginning  a tenor that starts the song sounds in the first 10 seconds very muffled. Corrected moments later, but still. Sounded very odd.


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

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.


Second rerun.
It's a worthwhile journey through this box. Such fine performances.
See first review: 28-9-2017.




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

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)

Second rerun.
To my ears this music gets better and better after every hearing.
The performance is top notch and so is the recording.





Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann. (1710-1784) The complete Harpsichord Music. CD 3. Second rerun.

Go for the full review to 31-8-2017. Second rerun.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: August 2017.
First listen: 31-8-2017.
Second listen: 7-11-2017.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 3 from 6.
Recording dates: June 2016.
Venue: Palazzo Drago, Palermo, Italy.
Sound engineer: Marco Casiglia.
Total time: 78:00.

Works on this CD 3.
Sonata in A/F/E flat/D/G/B flat.

Works performed by:
Claudio Astronio.

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

I am still quite happy with what I hear.
Recommended.


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

From my collection
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.



Weinberg, Mieczyslaw. (1919-1996. Orchestral works.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 6-11-2017.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: February 2012 & January 2013.
Venue: Aula der Adam Mickiewicz University Posen, Poland.
Sound engineer: ?
Total time: 69:11.

Works on this CD:

Concertino opus 42 for Violin and String orchestra.
Rhapsody opus 47/3 on Moldavian themes.
Symphony No. 10 opus 98 for String orchestra.

Performed by:
Amadeus Chamber orchestra of the Polish Radio, Agnieszka Duczmal (opus 42 & 47/3) & Anna Duczmal Mróz. (opus 98)
Soloist:
Ewelina Nowicka, Violin, and arrangements of opus 47/3.

I must admit that I had no high hopes of these for me unknown performers, but once again I was punished by this assumption by getting pristine performances and recordings. The arrangement by Ewelina Nowicka in opus 47/3 is excellently done, and keeps all the character that it has in its original orchestral form. She is also a fabulously talented violinist as proves the Concertino opus 42. She navigates through this work with care and patience, achieving thereby a great sense of focus, with a transparency that has to be heard to be believed. She is a sure footed musician, who keeps rigorously to the score with great precision.  All these things can also be heard in the opus 42. Agnieszka Duczmal is a very able conductor and ensures a continuity  that underwrites the intricacies Weinberg inserted in the music. There is intimacy and inwardness a plenty, but also gaiety in abundance, especially in the opus 47/3.
The Symphony is a different animal in the context of this CD. It's modernity can hit you hard, and it's melancholy can make you depressed. There is a darkness in the score which makes you feel it's effects quite forcefully. To me this is no heartfelt music, but rather a brilliant technical exercise. At least that is what it communicates towards me. Its agile and expressive with a mastery of line and dynamics, but it does not touch on a personal level. Anna Duczmal Mróz is the daughter of Agnieszka Duczmal and just as talented as her mother. Her conducting fills me with admiration.




On my listening menu today (24-4-2018)

J.S. Bach. Complete organ works Olivier Vernet. CD 6. Erkki Melartin. Orchestral Works. Peteris Vasks Orchestral Works ...