Tuesday, April 24, 2018

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




Johann Pachelbel, Complete Organ works.
CD 3.



Thursday, April 19, 2018

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

New acquisition. (2017)
First listen: 18-20-4-2018
Label: Dynamic.
CD 20-29 from 29.
Recording dates: 2004/2005/2006/2007/2008.2009/2010.
Venue:  Sovizzo, Chiesa di S. Maria Annunziata/Borgoricco (PD) Teatro Aldo Rossi/Preganziol (TV) Studio Magister/Chiesa del Filippo e Giacomo, Italy.
Sound Engineer: Marco Lincetto.
Playing Time: 54:49/55:25/75:29/65:49/47:44/45:46/58:36/76:59/65:44/60:33.


Violin Concertos.

L'Arte dell 'Arco.

Decent performances and interpretations. I do not have the impression that I am listening to authentic performances. It's all too smooth and suave. I acknowledge Tartini's immense musical talent, and am aware that my negative reaction is only based on the performance. For me it sounds like the ASMF directed by Neville Marriner. And from this my resistance stems. Sound is reasonable.
The music serves as background music. I do only occasionally find musical surprises. But the music serves a purpose, and that is to amuse me, not to challenge me. But it should! My opinion is that these concertos sound rather uninterested, and are missing significant depth. But just occasionally this ensemble hits all the right notes in the right tempi, but these happenings are far and wide between. Somehow the music does not stick in my memory and it tends to sound all the same. It will go into my collection unloved, and will not be played by me again. I would have loved authentic performances from the specialists in the field, but it is not very likely that these concertos will be recorded complete, for let's be honest, 29 CD'S are only acceptable if you get top performances.  So in regard to this complete set, Tartini deserves better.
I have finished this box and drunk my cup until the last CD ended.
Only for Tartini addicts.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1680-1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 18.

New acquisition. (2016)
First listen: 16-4-2018.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 18 from 20.
Recording dates: September 1998.
Venue: St. Katharinen Church, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Mittermaier.
Playing time: 79:10

Works on this CD:
Late Works of the Leipzig period.
BWV: 544/562/548/1079a/668.


Instrument used:
Built by Rieger orgelbau, Schwarzach/Vorarlberg, Austria 1990.
Pitch: a'= 440 Hz.
Temperament: ?

Performed by:
Martin Lücker.

Verbatim from CD 6 with the same performer.

This is a romantic organ, no doubt about it, and it sounds quite nice, with a stabile lower register and an open sound in the top registers. Pleasant it is, but it did not much appeal to me. Too anonymous. And that has all to do with the uninspired playing by Martin Lücker. His tempi are predominantly slow and the notes he is producing have little or no expression.  Utterly boring performances. This is not an organ on which Bach should be performed, and  Lücker should keep with romantic composers. I have listened to this CD, but hardly registered what he was playing, that bored I was. Of all organists in this box, he is the epitome of bad taste.  Definitively not recommended. Sound is okay.


Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1680-1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 19 & 20

New acquisition. (2016)
First listen: 11-4-2018.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 19&20 from 20.
Recording dates: October 1998.
Venue: St. Wilhadi  Church Stade, Germany.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Mittermaier.
Playing time:  47:00 & 53:44.

Works on this CD 19 & 20.
Clavier Ubung, Third part.
BWV: 669-689.
Duetto 1-4. BWV 802-805.
Fuga a 5 con pedale pro Organo pleno BWV 552/5


Instrument used:
Organ built by Erasmus Bielfeldt 1731-1736.
Restored and returned to its original condition by Jurgen Ahrend 1987-1990.
Registers that were lost due to conversion or war damages have been replaced according to historical sources and adjusted to the old existing pipework.
Mechanical transmission.
Pitch: a'= 473 Hz.
Temperament: Werckmeister II.

More info about the organ click on link:
Organ Erasmus Bielfeldt in Stade

Performed by: 
Kay Johannsen.

A beautiful organ.  I did not care that much about Johannsen's performance. True there are moments of beauty, but also boring moments, which seems to be my experience with him during my journey through Bach's organ music. He is not a bad organist, but for me he would not be a prime choice.
There are some fine works on this CD. Many pieces of the Clavier ubung did appeal to me performance wise. Johannsen seems to be more at ease with the contemplative side of Bach, and on this CD he has all the opportunity to show his talent in this. The Duetto's are played a bit matter of fact . The Fuga did not engender much enthusiasm with me. The Praeludium pro organo pleno BWV 552/1 was very tightly played with a good tempo. I liked it very much.



Saturday, April 14, 2018

Melartin, Erkki (1875-1937) The Solo piano Works. CD 1 & 2.

New acquisition. (2018)
First listen: 14-4-2018.
Second listen: 20-4-2018.
Label: Crystal Classics.
Recording dates: November 2008 & Juli 2009.
Recording venue: Studio Gärtnerstraße,  Germany.
Sound engineer: Henri Thaon.
Playing time:  CD 1) 69:07  CD 2) 66:51.


Works on CD 1 and 2:

Chips I , opus 7. Six Pieces for piano.
The Legend II opus 12.
The Melancholy Garden opus 52.
Lyric pieces for piano opus 59.
The Mysterious Forest, opus 118. Sic pieces for piano.
Six pieces for piano, opus 123.
24 Preludes opus 85.
Impressions opus 87.
The Legend opus 6.
Sonata I opus 111, Fantasia.

Performed by:
Maria Lettberg.

The music can compare itself with the best of the late romantic composers. Most of his music are clever mood pieces. Common virtuosity and great gestures are strangers to Melartin. Janacek came to mind a few times, but  Melartin is very much his own man. Dreamlike moments, contemplative, diving deep into all possible emotions, life is passing through his music in perfectly adaptable sequences.  This music is addictive, very addictive. Maria Lettberg is a great pianist, her engagement, and her careful approach, faithfully following the style of the music,... it is as if she is tumbling down in the music and becomes one with it. Always treads lightly, but with great sovereignty, and works her magic, lingering at the end of a phrase long enough to capture the poetry, before preparing the next gesture. The air of introspection is telling of the preparation Lettberg brought towards these works. It's simply lovely playing and shows that she is a clearly a musician of taste and intelligence. 
The piano is well recorded, and I can recommend the performance without reserve. Once you start playing the music there is no way stopping it. I know, it happened to me.




Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1680-1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 17.

New acquisition. (2016)
First listen: 11-4-2018.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 17 from 20.
Recording dates: March 1997.
Venue: Municipal Church of Stein am Rhein, Switzerland.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Mittermaier.
Playing time: 78:33

Works on this CD:
Six sonatas BWV: 525-539.

Instrument used:

Built by Metzler, Dietikon, Switzerland 1992.
Pitch: a'=440 Hz. ?
Unequal tuning?

No further information known to me.

Performed by: 
Kay Johannsen.

I rather like this organ. It sounds clear as a bell, and it helps to hear all the polyphonic lines in these six sonatas. And hear them you do! There are no complaints to that effect. Furthermore he refrains from glissandos, or for that matter over the top gestures as Christopher Herrick is prone to use also on a Metzler organ. When I heard the Herrick recording I did not really dislike his playing, but you must know that Johannsen is quite the opposite of Herrick in this respect.  Johannsen disc is distinguished by uniformly stylish, immaculately tailored readings of the Trio sonatas. I think this is a fine interpretation overall, and well recorded too.



Tartini, Giuseppe.(1692-1770) The Complete Violin Concertos. CD 19.

New acquisition. (2017)
First listen: 11-4-2018
Label: Dynamic.
CD 19 from 29.
Recording dates: March 2004.
Venue:  Sovizzo, Chiesa di S. Maria Annunziata Italy.
Sound Engineer: Marco Lincetto.
Playing Time: 67:01.


Violin Concertos.

In A major/E major/B flat major/G major/C major.

L'Arte dell 'Arco.

Decent performances and interpretations. Sound is reasonable.
The music serves as background music. I do only occasionally find musical surprises. But the music serves a purpose, and that is to amuse me. My opinion is that these concertos sound rather bland, first caused by matter of fact interpretations, (straightforward?) in which I find little authenticity, and secondly by the sound of the recordings. No state of the art equipment is used.
Only for Tartini addicts.


Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1680-1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 16.

New acquisition. (2016)
First listen: 11-4-2018.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 16 from 20.
Recording dates: January 1999.
Venue: Garrison Church, Copenhagen.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Mittermaier.
Playing time: 72:18.

Works on this CD:
Influences of Cantate, Concerto and Chamber Music.
BWV: 546/731/583/712/713/717/734/591/645-650/540.


Instrument used:
Reconstruction of a Danish Baroque organ by Carsten Lund 1995, of the Lambert Daniel Kastens organ from 1724. 
Original case  from 1724.
Pitch: a'= 440 Hz.
Temperament: Unequal after F.C. Schnitger.
(Info about the organ submitted by a well informed organ lover, thank you Premont)

Performed by: 
Bine Katrine Bryndorf.

The review I wrote about previous discs recorded with Bryndorf can be taken verbatim for CD 16 too. Again on this disc there are many examples of her style of playing. Take for instance  "Das kleines Harmonisches Labyrinth" BWV 591, a short piece but full of the expression which is her trademark. But also "Liebster Jesu wir sind hier" BWV 731, she carries this piece right into the spiritual realm. "Meine Seele erhebt den Herren" BWV 648, has such a restrained intensity, and yet a clear tonal balance, which is captivating. Her clear headedness shows in "Kommst du nun Jesu vom Himmel herunter" BWV 650, a gorgeous presentation of this virtuosic work.
The organ is a fine instrument and sounds as a genuine Baroque organ.



Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works. (1685-1750) The Olivier Vernet Edition. CD 6.

New acquisition. (2016)
First listen: 10-4-2018.
Label: Ligia.
CD 6 from 20.
Recording dates: September/November 1996.
Venue: l'église Saint Martin de Vertus, Marne, France.
Sound engineer: Eric Baratin.
Playing time: 71:41.

Works on this CD:
BWV: 564/709/736/653a/572/711/717/662a/663a/664a/664b/667b/537.

Instrument used: 
Bernard Aubertin, 1996.
Pitch: a'=440 Hz.
Temperament: Young, 6 pure fifths and 6 temperate fifths.

More info about the organ

Bernard Aubertin organ, 1996, Marne, France.

Performed by:
Olivier Vernet.

Olivier Vernet yet again uses a magnificent instrument built by Bernard Aubertin in 1996. I think one of the finest he made. It is a warm yet open instrument, that fits Bach like a glove. The 32 feet in the pedal sounds amazing, as does the 16' Principal, and the Buzene 16', they give a firm basis to many of the works on this CD. Also the Quintaton 16' in the Hauptwerk has an amazing sonority. I really like this instrument, much!
As to the performance of Vernet I have nothing but good words.  He starts with the Toccata Adagio et Fuga in C major. BWV 564, magnificently done, as both versions of "An Wasserflussen Babylon"alio modo a 4 parti con 2 tastiere e pedale semplice, Weimarer Fassung, BWV 653a. Fast and furious but played with a steady hand, very open an lucidly played, And BWV 653b, for 5 parti con 2 tastiere e pedale doppio, Weimarer Fassung, with the needed contemplative drive behind it, and a good tempo. All versions of "Allein Gott in der Hoh sei Ehr" are gorgeously done. The CD comes at a close with Fantasia et Fuga in C minor BWV 537, and thus leaves a strong impression of this artistically well conceived disc.
The recording is State of the Art.


Monday, April 9, 2018

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1680-1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 14 & 15.

New acquisition. (2016)
First listen: 9-4-2018.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 14 & 15 from 20.
Recording dates: October 1999.
Venue: Nidaros Cathedral Trondheim, Norway.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Mittermaier.
Playing time: 45:41 & 38:37

Works on this CD:
Leipzig Chorales BWV 651-667.

Instrument used:

Organ built by Joachim Wagner, Berlin 1738/39.
Altered by Claus Jensen 1860.
Taken out of its casing for storage in 1930.
Restored by Jurgen Ahrends 1993/94.
Pitch a'=453 Hz at 17.5 celsius.
Temperament: Werckmeister II, restored by Jurgen Ahrend to its original temperament (1994)
Wind pressure 85 ww Ws.


Additional info about the organ.:  

Wagner organ.

Performed by: 
Bine Katrine Bryndorf.

Took the review of disc 13 with the same organist verbatim for 14&15.
I really love Bryndorf's interpretations.

I think the sound of this Wagner organ is sublime, and I did not expect it, but I find the performance excellent. Not terribly exciting in a virtuosic way but very reliable, straight forward  clear in expression without frills and dramatizations. Many of the works played here left me stunned and speechless from the first notes, and of some of them I am still recovering in the positive sense. She commands a transcendental technique and possesses and unflappable sonority that refuses to splinter or fall apart in any way. The textural diversity needed to bring this composer demanding keyboard idiom to life, is a talent Bryndorf possesses. So yes I am quite impressed. The recording is excellent.




The Strauss Family, Johann Strauss II, Josef Strauss and Eduard Strauss. Overtures/Waltzes/Polkas. CD 5 & 6.

New acquisition. 2016.
First listen: 9-4-2018.
Label: EMI.
CD 5 & 6 from 6.
Recording dates: 1971-1986.
Venues: Somewhere in Munich and Vienna.
Sound engineers: Gulich/Rothe & Seebacher.
Playing time: 68:49 & 63:23.

Works on both CD'S:
See heading.

Performed, most probably by:
Wiener Johann Strauss Orchester, Willi Boskovsky.

Let me say this at least, if your are looking for authentic Strauss music, this is the address to go to. There is absolutely no question about that. Boskovsky was an original too. He knew as no other to create this Wienerische abenteuer der familie Strauss. He and his orchestra never set a foot wrong, whatever direction they go. All the joy and happiness this musical family created is the major ingredient in all you hear. And Boskovsky makes sure you stay firmly on top of the music. And another thing...never make the mistake to call this casual music or light music ala Andre Rieu, for that would be as far from the truth, as Delfzijl is next to Greenland.
The sound of all CD'S is superb. Recommended.




Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1680-1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 13.

New acquisition. (2016)
First listen: 9-4-2018.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 13 from 20.
Recording dates: June 1999.
Venue: Marien Church, Helsingør, Denmark.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Mittermaier.
Playing time: 59:16.


Works on this CD:
BWV: 537/590/696-699/703/704/539/691/753/728/573/735/547.

Instrument used:
Built by Johann Lorentz 1634-1640.
Altered by Hans Christoff Frietzsch  1662-63. (Pipes preserved in the Ruckwerk case)
New construction in the old casing 1997.
Temperament: Unequal.
Pitch: a'=435 Hz at 15 degrees Celsius.
Wind pressure: 66,3 mm Ws.

Additional info about the organ.:
The Marien church organ in Helsingør, Denmark

Performed by: 
Bine Katrine Bryndorf.

I think the sound of this organ is sublime, and I did not expect it, but I find the performance excellent. Not terribly exciting in a virtuosic way but very reliable, straight forward  clear in expression without frills and dramatizations. Many of the works played here left me stunned and speechless from the first notes, and of some of them I am still recovering in the positive sense. She commands a transcendental technique and possesses and unflappable sonority that refuses to splinter or fall apart in any way. The textural diversity needed to bring this composer demanding keyboard idiom to life, is a talent Bryndorf possesses. So yes I am quite impressed. The recording is excellent.



Sunday, April 8, 2018

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1680-1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 12.

New acquisition. (2016)
First listen: 8-4-2018.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 12 from 20.
Recording dates: October 1999.
Venue: St. Laurenskerk, Alkmaar, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Lien van der Poel
Playing time: 71:27.


Works on this CD:
Transcriptions of Works by Vivaldi/Johann Ernst/Telemann/ Fasch/Couperin.

Instrument used:
Built by Galtus van Hagerbeer together with his sons Germer and Jacobus, 1646.
Altered by Frans Caspar Schnitger (1722-25).
Restored by Orgelbau Flentrop ( 1982-86) to its 1725 form.
Equal temperament.
Pitch a'= 415 Hz.

Click on this link for extensive info.
History of the Hagerbeer/Schnitger organ.

Performed by: Pieter van Dijk.


Pieter van Dijk favours slow tempi, but he can allow this to himself for his presentation is crystal clear, with just enough movement to keep it all alive. He is very consequent in the projection of Bach's transcriptions, without falling into a kind of sameness. He allows the music to breath, and leaves the virtuosic element at home. No fireworks or ravishing tempi, but all has a more contemplative character. And I like it very much. Would have loved a bit more tempo but I can live with this performance quite easily. All concertos get the same treatment and thus the same result, which makes it a bit cumbersome to single out any concert. So this is clearly a well conceived performance. And added as a great bonus is this wonderful Hagerbeer organ, one of the most beautiful organs we have in the Netherlands, and is beautifully recorded. At a pitch of 415 Hz this instrument sounds very balanced and relaxed.


Friday, April 6, 2018

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1680-1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 11.

New acquisition. (2016)
First listen: 6-4-2018.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 11 from 20.
Recording dates: March 1999.
Venue: Martinikerk in Groningen, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Mittermaier.
Playing time: 57:35.

Works on this CD:
Orgelbuchlein.
BWV: 599-644.

Instrument used:
First organ by Master Johan of Appingedam (?1450/1482)
1542, extension.
1691/92 repair work and extension by Schnitger.
Restored by Jurgen Ahrend 1975-1984 to its 1740 form.

Click on this link for info.
Martini church Groningen
More info and pictures of the Schnitger organ and pictures.

Performed by:
Wolfgang Zerer.

Now if you really want to hear an organist that truly understands Bach his organ works, Wolfgang Zerer is the man. Compared to him there are few who understand what authentic performance means. In comparison to Kay Johannsen, Andrea Macon, Martin Lucker, he reigns high and mighty above them. He is simple a better organist, period!
He plays the Orgelbuchlein in a balanced way, and all the notes breath and can unfold in a graceful way. And for a change the Schnitger organ in this church is almost perfectly recorded, better as I heard it before, save maybe the BIS recording with Masaaki Suzuki, his Volume 1 of the complete organ works by Bach. Unfortunately I do not like the playing attitude of Suzuki.
This CD is truly one of the best of this Hanssler set. And that goes for all contributions from Zerer.
Very much recommended.



Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1680-1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 10.

New acquisition. (2016)
First listen: 6-4-2018.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 10 from 20.
Recording dates: May 1998.
Venue: Augustiner Chorherrenstift St. Georg, Grauhof, Germany.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Mittermaier.
Playing time: 57:35.

Works on this CD:
Masterpieces of the Weimar period.
BWV: 542/727/706/534/768/532.

Instrument used:

Christoph Treutmann organ (1734-1737.)
Restored by Orgelbauwerkstatt Gebruder Hillebrand, Altwarmbuchen, Germany (1989-1992)

Click for info.
Treutmann organ.

(I could not find the Pitch and Temperament of this organ) Anyone?


Performed by:
Kay Johannsen.

Now I am not adverse to the playing style by Kay Johannsen, but I can in all honesty not say that it makes quite such an impression on me, on the contrary. I might find specks of beauty and an occasional sighs of admiration escapes out of my soul, but on the whole I find nothing remarkable in his playing style. It can be bland and unmotivated to my ears, but not boring. I simply miss the spark that ignites my interest. What I found to be of interest is BWV 768, "Partite diverse sopra il Corale-
"Sei gegrüßet Jesu gütig" all the variations are very listenable and done with great taste. But the disinterested take on BWV 706, "Liebster Jesu wir sind hier" especially the Choral, disappoints by its lack of concentration. And the banging on the manuals in BWV 542, "Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, did nothing to endear me to him. There are certainly some points of fine playing, but again he is not the kind of organist I would ideally like when listening to the music by Bach. The Treutmann organ is well recorded.



Thursday, April 5, 2018

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1680-1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 9.

New acquisition. (2016)
First listen: 5-4-2018.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 9 from 20.
Recording dates: April 2000.
Venue: Monastery Church of Muri, Aargau, Switzerland.
Sound engineer: Pere Casulleras.
Playing time: 60:38.

Works on this CD:
Weimar period.
BWV: 582/709/730/545/695/711/541/1027/1/538

Instrument used:

Click for info.
Thomas Schott organ

The organ was restored by Metzler, Edskes, Bruhlmann (1966-1971)

Performed by:
Andrea Marcon.


This organ is brightly recorded in some pieces and rather loud but that's a question of volume on your equipment. I simply love this instrument and have many recordings in my collection featuring this instrument.
Andrea Marcon is an able organist, and he plays Bach, if not in an aimable way, then at least in a straightforward manner, and in an somewhat romantic manner. He likes grand expressions, but that treat leaves me rather cold. It is not as if I reject him as a Bach interpreter, but he is not an favourite on my list. His expression tends to be detailed but he decidedly misses points in the music that should have been addressed. Too fast and only skin deep, never plunging in the deeper meaning of the piece, and that really goes for the rest too. Able but not my kind of organist, at least not on this CD either..
Still I did not stop it but listen to it the whole length without being irritated by the music, but on the other hand it did not make me happy either.
I had the same impression of a previous CD by him No.7, so I took this review verbatim for No. 9.
The recording is slightly better.


Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1680-1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 8.

New acquisition. (2016)
First listen: 5-4-2018.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 8 from 20.
Recording dates: September 1998.
Venue: St. Katharinen Church, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Mittermaier.
Playing time: 58:47.

Works on this CD:
Weimar period. Toccata style works and strict fugues.
BWV: 553-560/579/564.

Instrument used:
Built by Rieger orgelbau, Schwarzach/Vorarlberg, Austria 1990.
Pitch: a'= 440 Hz.
Temperament: ?

Performed by:
Martin Lücker.

This is a romantic organ, no doubt about it, and it sounds quite nice, with a stabile lower register and an open sound in the top registers. Pleasant it is, but it did not much appeal to me. And that has all to do with the uninspired playing by Martin Lücker. His tempi are predominantly slow and the notes he is producing have little or no expression. This is not an organ on which Bach should be performed, and  Lücker should keep with romantic composers. I have listened to this CD, but hardly registered what he was playing, that bored I was. Definitively not recommended. Sound is okay.



Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Reruns today.

CD 7  from 7, the last disc. Second rerun


CD 7-10 Ballet music by Offenbach, Burgmuller and Auber, Drigo, Massenet. Second rerun

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1680-1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 7.

New acquisition. (2016)
First listen: 4-4-2018.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 7 from 20.
Recording dates: June 1999.
Venue: Monastery Church of Muri, Aargau, Switzerland.
Sound engineer: Pere Casulleras.
Playing time: 62:42

Works on this CD:
Weimar period.
BWV: 543/754/694/571/653b/733/536/736/572.

Instrument used:

Click for info.
Thomas Schott organ

The organ was restored by Metzler, Edskes, Bruhlmann (1966-1971)

Performed by:
Andrea Marcon.

This organ is brightly recorded in some pieces and rather loud but that's a question of volume on your equipment. I simply love this instrument and have many recordings in my collection featuring this instrument.
Andrea Marcon is an able organist, and he plays Bach, if not in an aimable way, then at least in a straightforward manner, and in an somewhat romantic manner. He likes grand expressions, but that treat leaves me rather cold. It is not as if I reject him as a Bach interpreter, but he is not an favourite on my list. His expression tends to be detailed but he decidedly misses points in the music that should have been addressed.  Like for instance in the gorgeous "An wasserflussen Babylon" allo modo BWV 653b. Too fast and only skin deep, never plunging in the deeper meaning of the piece, and that really goes for the rest too. Able but not my kind of organist, at least not on this CD.
Still I did not stop it but listen to it the whole length without being irritated by the music, but on the other hand it did not make me happy either.


Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1680-1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Hanssler Edition. CD 6.

New acquisition. (2016)
First listen: 4-4-2018.
Label: Hanssler.
CD 6 from 20.
Recording dates: March 1999.
Venue: Protestant-Lutheran Church of Cappel, Wursten, Germany. 
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Mittermaier.
Playing time: 70:56.

Works on this CD:
The Young Bach.
BWV 550/715/726/563/720/739/718/578/690/721/737/568/722/738/729/732/577/725/565.

Instrument used:
Built in 1679/80 for St John's Church in Hamburg by Arp Schnitger, using registers of an older Scheerer organ, (mid 16th century) Set up in the church of Cappel in 1816 by Johann Georg Wilhelmy. Restored by Rudolf von Beckerath in 1976/77.
The organ is still tuned in the choir pitch of the baroque period, (which is half a pitch sharp compared with the present day standard pitch)
Temperament: Equally tuned.

 For some background info about this organ click the link.

http://www.arpschnitger.nl/scappel.html

Performed by:
Kay Johannsen.

The first thing that struck me favourably was the beautiful sound of this organ. It is obviously well restored and perfectly tuned. It's elegant and well balanced, and a balm for your ears. Mittermeier recorded this organ superb.
As to the performance I am positive. Johannsen struck a chord with me, by his thoughtful and well projected vision on these Bach works. This impression starts with the first piece on this CD "Prelude and Fugue"in C major BWV 550, but also "Fantasia con imitazione in B minor BWV 563, well paced beautifully expressed. But boy if "Erbarm dich mein O, Herre Gott" BWV 721 emerge out of my speakers it is as the doors of heaven open in all its wide. It clinched the deal for me. Also a very good performance of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565, much better as what I heard from Olivier Vernet some time ago. I find his playing imaginative  and to my ears valid. In other words this performance is an incisive  and diversely characterized interpretation. Flexible and transparent, this is a true picture of Bach's fountain of Youth.
Recommended.





Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Second reruns today.






CD 5 & 6 from this set with Symphonies by Joseph Haydn, and Beethoven No. 2.

Monday, April 2, 2018

On my order list.

His piano music has magic too, and in the hands of Maria Lettberg, who did a fantastic job with the piano music by Scrabin it sounds like a bowl full of loveliness. 

I fell in love with the music by Melartin. His ballet music "The Blue Pearl" is gorgeous. Not to mention "Traumgesicht" which has a quality out of this world.

Melartin, Erkki. (1875-1937: The Six Symphonies. CD 1. No. 1 & 3.

New acquisition. (2018)
First listen: 30-3-2018.
Label: Ondine.
Recording dates: May 1994.
Venue: Tampere Hall,  Finland. 
Recording engineer:  Enno Mäemets.
Playing time: 6054.

Works recorded on disc 1:
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, opus 30/1. (1902).
Symphony No. 3 in F major, opus 40. (1906-07).

Performed by:
Tampere PO, Leonid Grin.

In my collection I had only one work by this composer, namely the Festival March, which at the time of hearing impressed me mightily, but that was a very long time ago and I all forgot about him. Until this box was brought to my attention several times. When the price was right for me I ordered it, and I am again mightily impressed by both symphonies on disc 1. I detect in his music a bit of Jean Sibelius, Edvard Grieg, and even some Anton Bruckner, but all of it is marginal. Although I was certainly on my toes when I heard the Scherzo, third movement of No 1, with a Brucknerian build up of what I thought would lead to a culmination of some glorious brass, but ended almost in a subdued melody afterwards. That was great fun, this Austrian influence. Apart from this, Melartin is his own man, capable of scoring in a very creative way. I was mightily impressed by all the details written in both works, and the voice that emerged from it. Not really dark undercurrents to be found, but music that kept an optimistic tone. There is an almost improvisatory grace in what I hear, culminating in a  affectionate performance, led by Grin. It is to my ears a neo-romantic language expressed in a particularly strong way. The woodwinds charm, the strings have a crystal clear clarity, very intimate at times, and with a powerful delivery of some deft writing for timpani. There is a huge variety of orchestral colour, delicious, warming, and full of flavour. It is simply music on a high level, and so well orchestrated. The recording is excellent, and the performance leaves nothing to be desired.


British Symphonies. CD 2. Arnold Bax, Edmund Rubbra, Alan Rawsthorne.

New acquisition. (2018)
First listen: 30-3-2018.
Label: Lyrita.
Recording years: 1971/1977/1990.
Venues: Not mentioned.
Sound engineers: Not mentioned.
Playing time: 79:44.


Works and composers on this disc:

Arnold Bax. (1883-1953)
Symphony No. 1 in E flat major. (1921-22)
Performed by:
London PO, Myer Fredman.
Recording year: 1971.

I quite forgot how wonderful the symphonies by Bax were, but this fabulous performance made me passionate aware of the fact. Fredman is largely unknown to me, but he put down a definitive interpretation. The recording as per usual with Lyrita is so good that you hear virtually all the inner details and the melodies unfolded in an spectacular wide fiesta of masterly contrapunt, with a most excellent polyphonic grasp. There is a robust fluency with a great subtlety of touch and timing! A recommended version.

Edmund Rubbra. (1901-1986)
Symphony No. 4 opus 53. (1940-1942)
Performed by:
Philharmonic Orchestra, Norman Del Mar.
Recording year: 1990.

Rubbra has been on my list ever since Chandos started recording them all.  I have a few of them, and was delighted to see that in this box his Fourth was recorded by Norman Del Mar, and the PO, an orchestra disassembled since long and much missed. I would also put this performance down as a reference interpretation. Del Mar has a firm grasp on the proceedings, and keeps everything in perfect balance. Just listen at the gorgeous introduction "Con Moto". one of the most magical introductions I know of any piece of music. I never heard this work as good as in this performance, truly. It's brilliant and idiomatic. There is a mature mellowness over it that keeps the magic in the forefront at all times. The melodies have a singing expressiveness and many beautiful reflective moments. Gorgeous. Sound is State of the Art.

Alan Rawsthorne. (1905-1971)
Symphonic Studies. (1938)
Performed by:
London PO, John Pritchard.
Recording year: 1977.

I like the music composed by Rawsthorne, although at time it sounds aloof and distanced to my ears, well even a tad technical and too little emotion. But that's surface talk, for the music needs time to sink in, certainly after the music of Bax and Rubbra. For Rawsthorne is a different animal even though he was born in the same tradition. Once you grasped his idiom you will find many likable elements that connect to the British  Symphony as I understand it. It has traces of deep passionate emotions. But also what I would call a streamlined dynamism of his music that allows for all manner of detail to be spotlit and shaped. The music also has wistful qualities with a strong whiff of melancholy. This is in my view the sum total of this work. The recording is again State of the Art.


Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works. (1685-1750) The Olivier Vernet Edition. CD 5.

New acquisition.
Purchase year: 2016.
First listen: 30-3-2018
Label: Ligia.
CD 5 from 19.
Recording dates: June 1996.
Recording venue:  de l' Ancienne des Jésuites de Porrentruy, France.
Recording engineer: Eric Baratin.
Playing time: 69:13.


Works performed:

BWV : 541/690/691/727/706/730/737/543/656a/658a/659a/660a661a/768.


Instrument used:

Jurgen Ahrend 1985, after Gottfried Silbermann, Glauchau.
Pitch = a' 440 Hz.
Wohltemperiert. 


Performed by:
Olivier Vernet.

I always liked the Organs Jurgen Ahrend has put together, and this one build after a Silbermann example sounds fine indeed.
Some of the my favourite pieces by Bach are on this disc, like the three variations of "Liebster Jesu wir sind hier" or the "Fantasia super, Von Gott will ich nicht lassen", Weimarer fassung, but also the fabulous last piece on this CD "Partite diverse sopra il Corale, "Sei gegrüßet Jesu gütig ", and all of them superb played. I grow more and more into Vernet's idiom. My reaction is not always favourable but most of what he does appeals to me. CD 5 is again a great success.
The recording is detailed and the sound is warm and approachable. Tempi chosen are spot on.



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Pachelbel, Johann. (1653-1706) Complete Organ Works, Volume I. CD 2.

New acquisition.
Purchase year: 2017.
Label: CPO.
CD 2 from 5.
First listen: 27-3-2018.
Recording date: October 2009.
Venue: Klosterkirche Rheinau (Kanton Zürich)
Engineer: Gregor van den Boom.
Time: 53:53.

Works on this CD:
Psalm Lieder I.
Psalm 6/12/14.

Instruments used:
Large organ build by Johann Christoph Leu (1715).
Choir organ build by Johann Christoph Albrecht & Johann Konrad Speisegger. (1710-1746)

Performed by:
Christian Schmitt.

Now, I was never a great fan of Christian Schmitt, for he is known for his slow tempi, that seems to be sort of a trademark with him. Who does not remember the disastrous recordings of Handel's organ concertos on the label Brilliant. I fell several times asleep while listening to them. He is consequent, this you must allow him, he is still annoyingly slow in some of the pieces on this CD.  You have the urge to push him forward, but of course that does not work. Just sampled for the tempi  of the Bicinium and Fughetta from psalm 6, or the gorgeous Ciacona in d minor from psalm 12, and the equally appealing Ciacona in F major from psalm 14. Heart wrenching slow, it almost comes to a standstill, which is rather annoying. This said I find enough points that gives me pleasure listening to some of the pieces. And with this I must do, for recordings of Pachabels work are not thick on the ground.
I do not think the Choir organ a fine instrument, and it is rather closely recorded which exacerbates the process. The large organ on the other hand is gorgeous and is well recorded too.
Pitch and temperament are not mentioned in the booklet, which is annoying too.


British Symphonies. CD 1.

New acquisition, March 2018.
First listen: 27-3-2018.
Label: Lyrita.
CD 1 from 4.
Recording years: 1968, 1979, 2007.
Venues: Not mentioned.
Engineers: Not mentioned.
Playing time: 78:46.

Works on this CD:

William Sterndale Bennett. (1816-1875)
Symphony in G minor, opus 43. (1864-67)
Performed by:
London PO, Nicholas Braithwaite.
Recording year: 2007.

In all respects a wonderful work. I never heard it before and it blew me away by its sheer power, of a creative musical mind and a excellent orchestrator. There is simply not a boring moment, nor is he derivative, but a highly original mind. You have to be on your toes to keep up with his melodies and pace of it all. A romantic symphony but with no undue sentiment. It gets a marvelous performance, and is recorded in very good sound. A  firm recommendation.

Cyril Rootham. (1875-1938)
Symphony No. 1 in C minor (1932)
Performed by:
London PO, Vernon Handley.
Recording year: 1979.

I never heard a work from this composer before, but from what is performed here I consider that a huge miss on my side. I simply did not expect what was coming at me. An experimental creative and intellectual mind concocted together a work of great art and cunning. Tonality a tad widened but not much, he constantly surprises you by his gorgeous scoring and an endless array of ideas at hand. There are many moments of beauty, rapturously played by the fine orchestra under Vernon Handley. And a superb recording to I might add.

E.J. Moeran, (1894-1950)
Sinfonietta (1944)
Performed by:
London PO, Adrian Boult.
Recording year: 1968.

Moeran belongs to my top 10 of English composers, thus I knew this fine work well, but to hear it played by the London PO under Boult was a surprise for me. What a superb performance and sound recording. Boult was up to the spirit, for he gives a marvelous detailed account of one of the best works Moeran composed. If you are not blown away by the first movement, the second movement "Theme & Variations" will do that job with great ease. The detail Boult gets out of this work is amazing, thus I never heard a finer account as this atmospheric recording. Moeran is a through and through English composer, and all this you will hear in this composition. A recording you should not miss.


Foerster, Joseph Bohuslav. (1859-1951) Orchestral Works.

New acquisition,  March 2018.
First listen: 27-3-2018.
Label: Orfeo.
Recording dates:  December 1995 & December 1996.
Venues: Sendesaal des ORF Funkhauses, Vienna & Dvorak Hall, Rudolfinum, Prague, Czechia. 
Engineers: Josef Schulz & Jan Petrusek.
Playing time: 66:13.

Works on this CD:
Violin Concerto No. 1 in C minor, opus 88.
Cyrano de Bergerac, Symphonic Suite for large orchestra, opus 55.

Performed by:
Opus 88:
Andrea Duka Lowenstein, Violin.
Radio symphonieorchester, Wien, Gerd Albrecht.

Opus 55:
Czech Philharmonic, Gerd Albrecht.

I already had an recording of the Violin concerto, but listening to the samples of this CD I heard something which attracted me enormously. And now that I heard it I know exactly why I was enamoured by the performance of Lowenstein and the orchestra from Vienna. Her tone is sensual, detailed virtuosic and touched by a large amount of romance. She plays it as if she is in love with it. Every nuance is a clear indication of how far this dedication goes. She echoes the warmth of a long forgotten era, and thereby effectively connects herself to the orchestra, which is a perfect marriage in every respect. They perfectly capture the music's romantic spirit, never overdoing the sentiment. There is a sort of free flowing element in the whole proceeding that captured my heart immediately. And the recording is a match. 
Cyrano de Bergerac was new to me, I never heard that before, and since I am a great admirer of Foerster's music I welcomed it, with a lot of curiosity. And rewarded it was. Albrecht's interpretation comes straight from the heart, unsentimental but rich in sentiment. It's a dark and sombre work on the one side, but it can change in a minute to a work with plenty of charm. Many a movement rolls along at a portly gait, but there are also moments were the blood pressure runs high. Albrecht brings a strong sense of purpose to the performance and holds the structure together at every moment. And it must be said, the Czech orchestra took this work to their hearts too, for the woodwinds sound fantastic, and the strings are really engaging. Very characterful, with a keen sense of the parodistic elements.
In all there is a perfect synthesis between soloists and orchestra.
The sound is very good.



Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works. (1685-1750) The Olivier Vernet Edition. CD 4.

New acquisition.
Purchase year: 2016.
First listen: 27-3-2018
Label: Ligia.
CD 4 from 19.
Recording dates: December 1996.
Recording venue:  Eglise Saint Louis de Vichy (Allier) France.
Recording engineer: Eric Baratin.
Playing time: 68:01.


Works performed:

BWV :733/562/651a/652a/694/713/536/714/720/654a/666a/655a/695/712/734/534.

Instrument used:

Bernard Aubertin 1991.
Pitch: 440 HZ. 
Temperament: Kirnberger III.

Performed by:
Olivier Vernet.


After the third CD in this set I was a little bit apprehensive what would follow, but I did not need to worry about it as I did, for CD 4 tells a totally different story. The organ used sounds better to my ears, which has also to do with the recording that creates a better balance, and of course the temperament, Kirnberger III. Vernet seems more relaxed too, and lets the music unfold in a more natural way, Just sample BWV 562/720/654a/655a/734. In those particular selections you find the beauty which I expect from the music of Bach.




Monday, March 26, 2018

Bach, J.S. Complete Organ Works. ( The Ligia, Vernet, Edition) CD 3.

New acquisition.
Purchase year: 2016.
First listen: 26-3-2018
Label: Ligia digital.
CD 3 from 19.
Recording dates: January 1996.
Recording venue:  St. Vincent, Lyon, France.
Recording engineer: Eric Baratin.
Playing time: 65:54.


Works performed:

BWV :565/721/735/533/722/715/535/724/575/550/718/741/582.


Instrument used:

Bernard Aubertin/ Richard Freytag 1994.
Pitch: 440 HZ. 
Temperament: Unequal

Performed by:

Olivier Vernet.

I found the third CD in this a tad uninspired, beginning with the lukewarm approach of  the Toccata and Fugue, BWV 565. The beginning was sluggish and in the working out of the rest I found it to be lacking in inspiration. Partly due I think to the instrument which I did not find a organ that spoke to me. To me it sounded rather flat and inexpressive, even lacking in personality. That in turn influenced the rest of Bach's music too. Like in the Fugue in C minor BWV 575, a composition I rather like. It sounded pinched and devoid of warmth. "Ach Gott vom Himmel sieh darein" in Organo pleno, BWV 741 was also a disappointment. To say nothing of the Passacaglia in C minor BWV 582, a sluggish approach and only skin deep in interpretation. It can not all be good, it almost never is, so it is not likely that I will return often to CD 3 of this set. 
Sound is decent but not remarkable.



Friday, March 23, 2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Wordsworth, William. (1908-1988) Orchestral Works.

From my collection. (2010)
Purchase year: 2010.
First listen: 4-4-2010.
Second listen: 22-3-2018.
Label: Lyrita. SRCD 207.
Recording year: 1990.
Venue: Unknown.
Sound engineer: Unknown.
Playing time: 71:05.

Works on this CD:

Symphony No. 2 in D major. opus 34.
No. 3 in C major opus 48.

Performed by:
London PO, Nicholas Braithwaite.

Did I mention before the annoying habit of this label never to mention technical info about the recordings? O, well I did didn't I.
Wordsworth is a composer who was largely neglected in his lifetime and after his death he was completely forgotten, which happens to the best among them. In this sense he is not in bad company at all. Almost needless to say that he does not deserve this, but then again you have to have a musical mind to understand the music he has composed. Most of the people go for what others say is good, so such composers as Wordsworth never see the light of day.
Wordsworth composed two great works which are recorded on Lyrita, and believe me there is not much more, apart from a CD on which the composer conducts his first symphony among other orchestral works. Performance is good, but the sound is not so.
So if you want sound quality you have to do with the present recording, which is almost in State of the Art sound. Tonal, a tad widened but not much, the image of this music is at times a bit rugged, broad in sweeping melodies, and a decidedly sombre tone,  dark, serious, with a lot of drama but never oppressive. Both are great works, and deserve to be recorded and played all over the world, but that's wishful thinking. He is an excellent orchestrator and not at all predictable, but the musical arguments are long and hugely creative in tone. There is so much sensitivity in the slow movements and great subtlety in touch and timing. A robust fluency in the faster parts, thus this orchestra under its conductor show real imaginative engagement that proves this composers
talent for scoring very creatively.  There is also a more lighter more playful touch once in a while, but it does not escape the barrenness that keeps the dominant factor in what you hear. The sound is noble, the playing poetic, especially amongst the strings and woodwinds. Cries from the heart, thus this is how I feel this music. Everything rings as keenly at it should. There is no alternative on the market, so I can recommend this.



Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Prokofiev, Sergei. (1891-1953) Orchestral Works.

From my collection.
Purchase year:2010.
First listen: 10-11-2010.
Second listen: 21-3-2018.
Label: Hyperion.
Recording dates: September 2008.
Venue: Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway.
Sound engineer: Simon Eadon.
Playing time: 73:11.

Works on this CD:
Cello Concerto in E minor, opus 58.
Symphonic Concerto in E minor, opus 125 for Cello and orchestra.

Performed by:
Alban Gerhardt, Cello.
Bergen PO, Andrew Litton.

These are magnificent works, technically performed on the highest possible level, and comes in a state of the art recording, as so often with this label. Gerhardt is a fabulous cellist, and the Bergen SO is easily a match for him and the music, gorgeously conducted by Andrew Litton. He is a conductor I respect enormously, for he seldom butchers a recording, and always has a tight grip on the proceedings as with this performance. As a general he commands his troops and they follow faithfully....but.
It's all technical brilliance and frankly that is boring after a while. This is a highly powered performance and too much of the good thing. They outdo each other in virtuosity, and forget about the interpretation. There is not an ounce of feeling in all they do, so much are they entranced in the score and the notes. They play the notes but not the music. And I know other recordings that have this missing element, and sound so much more approachable. This for me is just a show off, however well meant. But....despite these shortcomings (my two cents) it is a brilliant display of the talent of all involved, thus the tightness in the playing and the driven tempi can charm me, but not for the whole 73 minutes. I have to devour it in parts. I was surprised by the outcome, but hey I am glad I have this recording for some odd reason. Have to figure out why though.



Tournemire, Charles. (1870-1939) Orchestral Works.

From my collection.
Purchase year: 2010.
First listen: 1-10-2010.
Second listen: 21-3-2018.
Label: Marco Polo.
Recording dates: April/May 1994.
Venue: Mosfilm Studio, Moscow, Russia.
Sound engineers: Edvard Shakhnazarian, & Vitaly Ivanov.
Playing time: 73:33.

Works on this CD:
Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, opus 36 "Quessant".
No. 4, opus 44, "Pages Symphoniques"

Performed by:
Moscow SO, Antonio de Almeida.

It was a long time ago that I have listen to this music, and frankly I could not remember anything from this composer. When listening to both symphonies I could not really lay my finger on it and relate it to other composers. The music reminded me of a field brimful with flowers, and so many colours that you could not fish out any particular flower, even if you listened for a long time. Spirituality is a major influence, but also philosophical tendencies. Every movement is a story told in great detail and in a very logical way. The music goes through all these stages and many more. It is not likely that the music will land immediately in the right place of your brain, for getting all the different strands together is no mean feat I tell you. The walk can be a relaxed undertaking with some occasional brisk upheaval. But for now the message behind all of this remains unclear to me. It's all finely detailed and orchestrated, but the music has a tendency to meander endlessly, and that takes its toll on your attention span. But there is also a constant agility in his writing, restless one could say with quick dynamic rises and falls, which makes it even harder to focus. The music is brilliant, but despite this fact, he is forgotten all the way. Which is a pity for he deserves far better recordings as the present one. That is not to say that the Moscow SO is a bad orchestra, far from it, for they get a lot of detail out of the music, and Almeida is a conductor that keeps the pulse flowing. The recording is quite decent too, with some amazing front to back image. It's difficult music to play at best, so all in all I am quite happy with the result. But to crack the music I probably have to listen more often to it.



Weingartner, Felix. (1863-1942) Symphonic Works Volume II.

From my collection.
Purchase year: 2009.
First listen: 10-9-2009.
Second listen: 21-3-2018.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: December 2005.
Venue: Casino Basel Musiksaal, Switzerland.
Sound engineer: Andreas Werner.
Playing time: 66:38.

Works on this CD:
Das Gefilde der Seligen, opus 21. (Symphonic Poem)
Symphony No. 2, opus 29 in E flat major.

Performed by:
Sinfonieorchester Basel, Marko Letonja.

Let's be honest, despite CPO recordings of all his SQ and Symphonies and some other chamber music, he is forgotten for a second time. Neglected and utterly crossed out of music's history. It could not be the quality of the compositions, for they are superb in every way. But the recordings are on the scrapheap of sell out budget price, and after that I doubt any company will ever re record his works or all the other music which was never recorded. But again in all honesty, that would not be be necessary for both the complete SQ and Symphony recordings are top notch in interpretation and sound, nothing to add there in my opinion. Weingartner is a romantic pur sang, plus he never ventures into gruesome modern experiments, always melodious and harmonious.
Weingartner is heavily indebted to Richard Strauss, Anton Bruckner, and Ludwig van Beethoven.
He is mixing all those influences into his cauldron and gets a wholesome concoction out of it. In this he is so original that ideas tumble over each other like ants on flight. All the notes have deep meaning. The prove of the pudding is his masterly orchestration, and the many solo parts he writes into his scores. In this his musical stamp is unique. If your ears are attuned to it, you might find many hidden treasures. Do not compare but listen to the result of his creativity.
I am absolute besotted with his music. So you know.



Bach, Johann Sebastian.(1685-1750) The Complete Organ Works. The Foccroulle edition. CD 15 & 16.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: 2017.
First listen: 20-3-2018.
Label: Ricercar.
Recording dates: July 1992, August 1992, June 1997.
Venue: Ponitz, Abtei Neresheim, and Leffe.
Engineer: Jerome Lejeune.
Time: 69:32 & 76:33, 


Works on this CD 15:
Leipziger Period- Trio Sonatas I, and Free forms.


Works on CD 16:
Leipziger Period, Trio Sonatas II, Works attributed to Bach.
Acht kleine Präludien und Fugen.


Instrument used:
Silbermann  Organ in Ponitz.
Holzay Organ, Neresheim.
Orgue Thomas de l'Abbaye de Leffe.

Performed by:
Bernard Foccroulle.

The last two CD'S of this set were a delight in performance and recording. Although Ponitz and Neresheim are know for their difficult acoustics, Lejeune managed to keep everything in proportion. I have grown to like Foccroulle for his particular way of interpreting the works by Bach. He is fast, but lucid, logical and straightforward, but without sentimentality, almost but not wholly devoid of emotions or warmth, but in all his ways and habits he has a firm control over the context, dynamics and colouring. All the organs he played fared well under his hands, and was only hampered by the occasional missteps of the engineers. But as a whole this set is not only useful but worth having. My only major quibble is with the chaotic booklet, omitting all the technical details of the organs, including the so important pitch and temperament and wind pressure, and also the history of the instruments. For me that is a major down! Registrations for the pieces would have been nice too, as in the excellent Aeolus set by Ewald Kooiman and pupils.
Both CD 15 & 16 hold some of my favourite pieces like the Sonatas, and the, Acht kleine Präludien und Fugen. Absolutely amazing how he finally gets the balance of ratio and emotio in the configuration and delivers warmth and compassion be it sparse. But the way he plays the notes so open and razor sharp has its attraction for me.
A valuable set, be it that it will not top Ewald Kooiman for me. So over to the set played by Olivier Vernet. I look forward to that.



Monday, March 19, 2018

Howells, Herbert. (1892-1983) Orchestral Works.

From my collection. (2010)
Purchase year: 2010.
First listen: 3-9-2010.
Second listen: 19-3-2018.
Label: Hyperion.
Recording date: February 1991 & March 1992.
Venue: Philharmonic Hall Liverpool, England.
Engineer: Tony Faulkner.
Playing time: 69:19.

Works on this CD:
Concerto for String orchestra 1938.
Three Dances for Violin and Orchestra 1915.
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor 1925.

Performed by:
Kathryn Stott, Piano.
Malcolm Stewart, Violin.
Royal Liverpool PO, Vernon Handley.

Howells is since my early classical beginnings a favourite composer. This mix of late romantic with blends of the twenties music was always very appealing to me. The typical English treats are all to have with Howells. Pastoral yearnings, glorifying the English landscape and traditions, mellow to a fault, but also suave in expressing his feelings. Quite a English gentleman in the good British sense. His music is all encompassing, reaching every nook in the emotional palette of a human being, very individually expressed. There is not quite such an composer as Howells, he was always a bit apart from the rest. There is no need to muster yourself for outbreaks of frenzy, for Howells is a well balanced composer who simply writes very beautiful music excellently scored as you might hear in all the concertos on this disc. Kathryn Stott is a small marvel on the piano in playing this fiendishly difficult concerto. She plays it with such authority and elegance that it took my breath away several times during her playing. But the piece of resistance for me are the three Dances for Violin and orchestra. I simply adore this work, warm and super romantic, so colourfully displayed by Stewart, that I cannot imagine a better performance of this concerto. All the details that flow out of his hands, the excellent bowing, and a real sense for Howells needs is astounding. He captures all what Howells wrote in this piece, and is partnered by Handley and the Liverpool musicians in an appropriate manner. This is an also perfectly knitted team of dedicated musicians, glorifying this music to a lonely top.
Tony Faulkner delivered a true State of the Art recording, like he only can.




Martinů, Bohuslav. (1890-1959) Violin Concertos. Volume 4.

From my collection (2010)
Purchase year: 2010.
First listen: 12-4-2010.
Second listen: 19-3-2018.
Label: Hyperion.
Recording dates: May 2001 & June 2004.
Venue: Dvorak Hall, Rudolfinum, Prague Czech Republic.
Engineer: Tomas Zikmund.
Playing time: 54:10

Works on this CD:
Violin Concerto No. 1 & 2.

Performed by:
Bohuslav Matoušek, Violin.
Czech PO, Christopher Hogwood.

Apart from his Symphonies, the Violin concertos are for me 2 of his best works. For the romantic in Martinů finds a lot of space to express these characteristics to the full. Warm embracing music, with so many hints to the late romantic ideals that I got all fuzzy in my head, when all these feelings were thrown at me. It is some measure of Matousek professionalism that he brings out all the difficult violin parts without stress and with an ease that astounds me. A great violinist indeed.
He and Hogwood make a perfect team in which nothing is missed in expression or weight, all is perfectly balanced. In this series volume 4 affects me most, in terms of connecting so easily to the context. This is how I like my bit of Martinů, which is also one his ways to express himself. More of this  is very welcome at my door.
State of the Art recording.



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 ...