Saturday, January 20, 2018

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 dates: April 1974, March 1981 & April 1982.
Venue: Kingsway Hall, London.
Engineer: Not mentioned.
Running time: 81:16.

Gioachino Rossini, arr. Benjamin Britten.

Soirées musicales.
Matinées musicales.

Frederic Chopin, orch Roy Douglas.

Les Sylphides.

Johann Strauss I & II, Josef Strauss and Eduard Strauss.

Le Beau Danube.

National PO, Richard Bonynge.

It is an absolute delight to come back to Ballet music, which for me comes first in classical music.
But then I have a strong affinity and connection to the world of ballet.
This box I played some time ago, so I took it from my collection to be again charmed by the world of Ballet a constant source of pleasure.
The Soirées musicales and Matinées musicales by Gioachino Rossini, arranged by Benjamin Britten are a marvel. The pinpoint accuracy of the scoring and a matching orchestra, and the never failing ear of  Richard Bonynge make for a reference performance. Riveting!
Les Sylphides by Frederic Chopin,  and orchestrated Roy Douglas, has many fine points but tends to be a bit slow at places, with which you score points obviously, but the preludes and nocturnes suffer a tad in expression, and the natural light footedness suffers also in the bargain. Again the National PO and Richard Bonynge save the day by keeping the flow intact, and gets great effect by highlighting all the wonderful details. The tempi are adapted to the choreography of the ballet, so much is clear.
Le Beau Danube, by the Strauss family is a familiar confrontation with all the fine melodies they composed. It is a virtual delight to hear it, and concluding that it is eminently suitable for ballet. It was recorded as far back as in 1982, but the sound is State of the Art as all the recordings in this series on Decca. I am a bit miffed by the fact that the sound engineers are not named.
I look forward to the rest in this box.

Pachelbel, Johann Christoph.. (1653-1706) The Complete Organ Works, Volume II.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: End of 2017.
First listen: 19-1-2018.
2 CD'S.
Recording dates: October 2011 & August 2012.
Venue: Stephanskirche, Simmern, & Kilianskirche zu Bedheim, Germany.
Engineer: Gregor van den Boom.
Recording Assistant: Iris Duwensee.
Time:  48:39 & 68:42.

Works performed: 
Das Kirchenjahr: Christmas. CD 1.
Psalmlieder III. CD 2.

Organs used:
Gebruder Stumm 1782, restored in 2009 by Rainer Müller.
Stimmung in Cornetton a'=455 Hz.
Temperierung nach Bach-Kellner.

Caspar Schippel 1711 & Nicolaus Seeber 1721, restored by Alexander Schuke, Orgelbau, Potsdam.
Stimmtonhöhe g I =438 HZ.
Temperierung: Bach-Kellner.

Performed by: 
Jürgen Essl.
James David Christie.
Michael Belotti.

I am pleasantly surprised by the fact that we have here performances that are in technical matters perfect, and in musical matters leave little to desire. As to the recordings I think them State of the Art. This out of the way there are quite a few differences in interpretation and style between the 3 organists. But all are perfectly valid, so in that sense there is no real criticisms in regard of Volume II of the series. I have Volume I too, with 5 CD'S but those have yet to be listened by me. 
Lets begin with the first CD. In regards of Pachelbel's compositions, there is for me little to say, actually the only thing I have to say about his oeuvre is, that it is musically as satisfying as any other composers, high in everyones regard during his life and after. Pachelbel's name stands for quality, perfectly conceived. Period!
Jûrgen Essl, is a technical accomplished organist, with nimble fingers and a forward sense in expressing the music. The technical side is prime in his approach at the cost of warmth. The energetic drive is riveting, but needs some adjusting, for this playing bubbles literally with so much power that it can be a little tiring to the ears. But this said I love what I hear. He does not put a foot wrong, and is accomplished in such a way that you keep admiring the skills he displays so easily. Pachelbel gets a royal treatment here. The Stumm organ is a beautiful instrument, but is also very powerful, maybe a tad too much for me. But then the colours are varied and it has a gorgeous disposition.
CD II begins with Michael Belotti which is a new name for me but he seems to have quite a reputation for his knowledge regarding Buxtehude and Pachelbel. His approach is one of ease, and he turns every phrase twice in his head before he plays it.  Dynamics are beautifully realized, and he achieves a great balance in all the voices. His subtle colouring and well thought out approach makes this a refreshing and musically satisfying interpretation. The second part on CD II is played by James David Christie in much the same vein, in that sense they are well matched, Christie is also a thoughtful organist with perfect technical skills and a rare musical insight. Seamlessly Christie dives into the same structure as Belotti without me noticing it at first. There are small differences but you must have a well trained ear to hear that. 
All in all, I am very happy about this project.

Found another interesting Lute music CD, that is worth to take into my collection.

The Parisian Symphony Box. CD 7.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 19-1-2018.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 7 from 7.
Recording dates": 2008-2014.
Venue: Namur, Theatre Royal?
Engineer: Manuel Mohino.
Time: 69:15.

Composers on this disc:

Salieri *
JC Bach.

Performed by:
Les Agremens, Guy van Waas.

Jennifer Borghi, Soprano.

The composers with a star behind their name I actually listened to, the rest was not to my liking, not because the music was in any way inferior, but I heartily dislike the voice of Borghi, and the type of music is not something I like to listen to. This said there was precious little left to enjoy, but beggars can't be choosers. 
What made a huge impression on me however was Christoph Willibald Gluck's, "Ballet des Ombres heureuses" and "Air de Furie". The first movement might start as you are used to hear it, but the second movement is a power house of highly charged energy. Fast and extremely furious, van Waas, makes quite an entrance with it, by pulling out all the stops, charged the batteries to full level and hit you with riveting violins and some precise bowing, disciplined like a Prussian army unit. I never heard it faster or more captivating like this! Supercharged intensity
What I also enjoyed hugely was the fine rendition of Louis Ferdinand Herold's Symphony No 2. I already knew something of his music but this work was new to me. Melodically a fine composition and very well scored to boot. again this disciplined playing culture comes readily to the foreground.  The piece by Salieri "Les Danaides" was not a captivating composition. And the sound in the beginning was somewhat muffled, corrected later on in the music.  In my perspective one of the best authentic orchestras in  Europe. And the sound is superb too, after this small mishap of course.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Heritage of Claudio Monteverdi. CD I. Dialoghi Venetiani. Second rerun.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 11-12-2017.
Second rerun: 17-1-2018.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 1 from 7.
Recording dates: January 1995.
Venue: Boswill , Switzerland, Alte Kirche.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 61:53.

Instrumental works from:
Giuseppe Scarani.
Giovanni Picchi.
Biagio Marini.
Girolamo Kapsberger.
Francesco Cavalli.
Dario Castello.
Marco Uccellini.
Claudio Monteverdi.
Alessandro Piccinini.
Salomone Rossi.
Tarquinio Merula.

Performed by:
La Fenice, Jean Tubery.

Listen and be amazed! Second rerun and being even more amazed.
This is superb playing of the first order, and wonderful music to boot. Add to that a State of the Art recording and the picture is complete. There are excellent contributions from all musicians in La Fenice. Many of the composers I did not know or just from one piece or another in a collection I have. So this is doubly welcome. Sonatas Passamezzos, Bergamasco's , Passagaglios, Arias, Toccatas, Chiacconas, it's all there in huge quantities and quality.  Resourcefulness of scoring,  magnificent gestures, and plenty of colour, fastidious attention to detail, thus the music encompasses desire, love and yes also intimations of mortality. It has me in raptures anyway. Cleanly and gracefully executed in a most luscious way.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tartini, Giuseppe.(1692-1770) The Complete Violin Concertos. CD 13/14/15/16.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: 2017.
First listen: 16-1-2017.
Label: Dynamic.
CD 13/14/15/16 from 29.
Recording dates: March 2000/ February 2002/January 2003.
Venue: Villa Velo d'Astico, and Chiuppano/ Shiso, Chiesa di S. Francesco/Veggiano, Villa Tommasini, Italy.
Engineer: Marco Lincetto.
Time: 61:50/61:50/66:08/51:44.

Violin Concertos:

What I can say in this stadium of listening to these Violin concertos is, that the music gets better, the recording is almost perfect, and the performances tighter. What is not changed are the incessantly annoying slow tempi, played in a romantic manner. But all in all it is quite enjoyable. Tartini is a musical genius in his own right. That's why I could play 4 CD'S in a row, plus the fact that I am a bit under the weather with a flu that tries to win my soul, and Tartini's music is soothing. Ohhh Bugger!

L'Arte Dell 'Arco.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Strauss Family, Waltzes Polkas and Overtures. CD 1,2 & 3.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: August 2009.
First listen: 11-1-2018.
Label: EMI
CD 1-3 from 6.
Recording dates: Between 1971 & 1985.
Venue: Munich and Vienna.
Engineers: Wolfgang Gülich, Ernst Rothe, Alfons Seebacher.
Time: 70:14, 73:50, 70:59.

Works by Johann Strauss I and II.

Performed by:
Wiener Johann Strauss Orchester.
Münchner Rundfunkorchester.
Wiener Symphoniker.
Willi Boskovsky.

Boskovsky is many times named the best conductor if it comes to the music of the Strauss family. In this he has no equal. And I agree. The way he understands the compositions gives way to the ultimate pleasure this music must show. The Schmalz and emotional connection is a prime part of his conducting, more so as the technical side of it. I never have any doubts about what I hear, and deplore the fact that he died in 1991. For me personally this was a great loss. Sure in Das Neujahr concert many a fine conductor makes their entrance, but they never will touch the true Wienerische sound so magnificently as Boskovsky did. The true genius of the Strauss family was never portrayed better as we can hear on the recordings by EMI. The music dances like a ballet, absolutely gorgeous. The sound is quite good, and the orchestras enjoy themselves with a conductor that is one of them, for he often played the violin during performances.
What flabbergasted me though was the fact that is was in my collection and never being played once. While culling my collection I stumbled over it and found no listening list in it. I cannot understand why this happened.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Organ and Claviorganum music from the 17th Century from the Zips, East Slovakia. Top recommendation.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: End of 2017.
First listen: 8-1-2018.
Label: Cornetta.
Recording dates: July 2001/July 2002/September 2002.
Venue: Former monastery Church of Pappenheim. St Michael, Wachau/Austria. Evangelische Christus kirche Wettelsheim/Mid Franconia.
Engineer: Not mentioned.
Time: 73:02.

Works on this CD:

Organ-und Claviermusik aus der Zips, aus Handschriften des 17 und 18 Jahrhunderts aus Leutshau und Kesmark in der Zips/Ostslowakei.

Samuelis Loysch, Sonata in G major (1790)
Instrument used:
Probably a Johann Christoph Crapp organ built in 1722.
Restored in 1997 by G.F. Steinmeyer, Oettingen.
Temperierung: Werckmeister III.
Stimmhöhe: a'= 476 Hz by 17 C. 
Wind pressure: 60 mm WS.

Leutschauer Tabulaturbuch (1676)
Instrument used:
Unknown builder, constructed in 1650.
Restored in 1985 and in part reconstructed by G. Hradetzky.
Temperierung: Mitteltönig. 
Stimmhöhe: c. 476 Hz.

Johann Schnur, "Musical Buchl" (1756)
Notenbuch des Johannes Marcus (1788)
Instruments used:
A Claviorganum, a small two manual combination instrument of the Renaissance and Baroque times that combines a tracker organ with a stringed keyboard instrument.  An Italian disposed organ of three ranks to an Italian Harpsichord of two ranks. No info regarding building dates.

Played by:
Raimund Schächer, Organ and Claviorganum.

This is really a gem of a disc, with which I am very happy. Not only do we hear totally unknow music from unknown composers/compilers, but we also get the chance to listen to three wonderful sounding instruments of great beauty. It is a revelatory insight in this period of time, and the composers that lived in this region. It is not demanding music, but it is highly melodious and close to one's heart. In some cases the music was compiled by gifted amateurs having only the soprano and bass lines to work from. This is 73:00 minutes of absolute joy.
The recording and sound of the instruments is superb.

Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon. (1562-1621) Vierde Boek van Psalmen. Fourth book of Psalms.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: December 2009.
First listen all three CD'S: 8-1-2018
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates: November 2006 & March 2009.
Venue: Nederlands Hervormde Kerk, Renswoude, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Stephan Schellmann.
Time: 55:57/59:14/61:46.

Works on all three discs:
Psalms, Organ and lute fantasies/Variations (by Bernard Winsemius, Organ, and Lee Santana, Lute.

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


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.

I found out that when I purchased the whole collection and started listening to it I forgot to listen to the Fourth Book of Psalms. Do not ask me why for I really don't know. Quite unlike me I might add. Anyways, 8 years after purchasing I finally listened to it and was as expected not disappointed in any way. This Consort keeps the ball high in the air, and never lapses anywhere in the music or recording. The voices are sublime and are a match to any other ensemble in the world. The uniqueness of Sweelinck's music comes to the fore quite forcefully, and leaves you in no doubt that he is a genius. Not many can follow in his footsteps. For he created a beauty in singing that has yet to find its equal. I have written quite a lot about the interpretative quality of this series, so I will refrain from repeating, but I would like to repeat my recommendation for the set.
Bernard Winsemius on organ and Lee santana on the lute are giving pristine readings. Recording is as always excellent. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Tartini, Giuseppe.(1692-1770) The Complete Violin Concertos. CD 11 & 12.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: 2017.
First listen: 5-1-2018.
Label: Dynamic.
CD 11 & 12 from 29.
Recording dates: May 2000 & December 2001.
Venue: Villa Velo d'Astico, and Chiuppano, Italy.
Engineer: Marco Lincetto.
Time: 71:17 & 61:50

Works on CD 11 & 12

Violin Concertos:
In D major/A major/E major/B flat major & Allegro (Anh III/D116a) CD 11.
In F major/D major/A major/B flat major/E major.

L'Arte Dell 'Arco.

I must admit that the music gets better and better with every following disc, which is a good thing of course, and in the same vein performance and sound gets better too. The ensemble display more discipline and they play a tight bow. Tempi alas live permanently in the same house, so do not expect exiting thrills and fireworks in that respect. But the music is fabulous. Tartine was not a second rate composer, on the contrary. For me to wish that a real HIP performance comes along and not a compromise as the Dynamic recordings. That is not to say that the violinists are bad, but they play in a rather old fashioned way, but I said that before. It's probably old age that lets me repeat over and over again what ails the performance.😀

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Tartini, Giuseppe.(1692-1770) The Complete Violin Concertos. CD 10.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: 2017.
First listen: 4-1-2018.
Label: Dynamic.
CD 10 from 29.
Recording dates: October 1999.
Venue: Villa Cordellina, Vincentia Italy.
Engineer:Marco Lincetto.
Time: 62:51.

Works on CD 9.

Violin Concertos:
E minor/D major/E major/G major.

L'Arte Dell 'Arco.

The music is sublime. The further I get the more I appreciate his genius. The performances seem to get better too, although the tempi are for my taste to low. Recording is good!
I enjoyed CD 10.

I wish all the readers of my Blog....

A very happy, healthy, loving and prosperous 2018. May all your wishes be fulfilled, especially the musical ones.
And I hope to see your visits to be continued on my blog.
If your a member of Google plus, you may leave comments on my reviews, plus I keep open to what I could do better, just let me know.


Tartini, Giuseppe.(1692-1770) The Complete Violin Concertos. CD 9.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: 2017.
First listen: 4-1-2018.
Label: Dynamic.
CD 9 from 29.
Recording dates: April 1999.
Venue: Villa Cordellina, Vincentia Italy.
Engineer:Marco Lincetto.
Time: 59:16.

Works on CD 8.
Violin Concertos:
Concerto in D minor ()mbra diletto...)
A major/G major/A major.

L'Arte Dell 'Arco.

The music gets more interesting the further I come into this box. Recording is good too now, after a very unpromising start with the first 7 cd's.  The acoustic is well captured on disc 9.
I seem to have a preference for Federico Guglielmo. His tone is most of the time steady, and his bowing is more precise as his fellow musicians. Loved the Concerto in D minor, a real beauty.

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 ...