Tuesday, January 30, 2018

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

From my collection.
New release.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 9-11-2017.
Second listen: 29-1-2018.
Third listen: 28-3-2018.
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.

Vask, Pēteris. (1946-) Symphony No. 2 & Violin Concerto Tālā Gaisma. (Distant Light)

New acquisition.
Purchase date: 2017.
First listen: 29-1-2018.
Label: Ondine.
Recording dates are not mentioned.
Venue: Tampere Hall and Art Centre Kaustinen. Finland.
Engineer: Enno Mäemets.
Time: 73:21.

Works on this CD:
See heading.

Performed by:
Tampere PO, John Storgårds. (Symphony)

Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, Juha Kangas.
Violin: John Storgårds.

Last year I bought about 11 CD'S with music from Vask, but did not get around playing them. But today I decided to go ahead with them starting with the orchestral works and violin concerto. 
This performance is a mixed bag for me, and I am sure that it is not the last word in interpretation.
The Symphony form is not Vasks strongest point. There are many climaxes that resemble the one before, and are pretty complex in character, thus the moments in which one recognizes the world of Vasks are far and wide between.  The coherence and gripping power is for me nowhere to be found, for it is more about a technical feat as about music that should communicate. It's all rather rough in the emotional department, and does not give enough points to bind oneself to the context of the work. There are great moments of all encompassing greatness, but as a complete work it rather eludes me, I am sorry to say. It is a confident performance, with forward drive, but it is not able to communicate, at least not for me. The violin concerto is a work I greatly admire and know well by other performances, but this one also suffers from the same ailments as the symphony. The Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra gives a riveting account but rather hard driven and not only by them, but John Storgårds is not a very sensitive violin player nor conductor. He treats his bow like a saw, almost cutting the strings to little pieces and creates a nasty sounding volume, that battered my ears to such an extent, that I have to turn down the volume considerably. There is no emotion lost on him, but only a show of his virtuosity, not paying attention in what the composer intended. And grunting is also part of his performance, which put me off too.
The sound is state of the art, and for me that is the only virtue of this performance.

Hoffmeister, Franz Anton. (1754-1812. Symphonies. (Second Rerun)

From my collection.
Date of purchase: September 2017.
First listen: 17-10-2017.
Second listen: 29-1-2018.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: August 2012.
Venue: Auditorio RSI, Lugano, Switzerland.
Sound engineer: Wolfgang Müller.
Total time: 53:58.

Works on this disc:

Overture from the opera, "Der Königssohn aus Ithaka".
Symphony in C major & D major.

Performed by:
Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Howard Griffiths.

Not to long ago I bought a disc with 2 viola concertos and 12 pieces for solo viola by the same composer. I was quite impressed by the music, so on the basis of that CD I bought the present one, and I was not disappointed. We get a well drilled orchestra led by Howard Griffiths, a very versatile conductor, who makes of almost every recording a success. I would be hard pressed to find one that does not fulfill these words I am sure. Griffiths navigates through the symphonies with care and patience, achieving a real sense of focus. You do not often find this supernal transparency in music offered by this orchestra. The expressive charge is invigorating, and the profundity of Hoffmeister's creativity does not know an end either. Highly original in the shaping of his melodies, bubbling along nicely, with speedy finales. He is a child of his times and fits in quality and quantity. Great orchestral detail too, especially in the communicative overture, inspirational and invigorating, judiciously prepared it seems. Combustible spontaneity!
Great sound.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Today in the second rerun 5 recordings..

See first review 9-11-2017

See first review 14-11-2017.

See first review  13-11-2017

See first review 22-11-2017.

See first review 13-11-2017.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Fête du Ballet. A Compendium of Ballet Rarities. CD III. The Art of the Prima Ballerina.

From my collection.
Bought in 2012.
Label: Decca.
CD 3 from 10.
First listen: 5-3-2014.
Second listen: 26-1-2018.
Recording dates: November 1962.
Recording venue: Decca Studio 3. West Hampstead, London.
Recording engineer: Not mentioned.
Running time: 73:31 


1) La Bayadere by Leon Minkus.*
2) Pas de Trois by Riccardo Drigo.*
3 + 4) Danses des Vignerons-Pas Seul-Passant Pas de Deux, [Giselle, Act 1]. Grand Pas de Deux, [Giselle, Act II] by Adolphe Adam. (Simon Streatfeild, Violin)
5) Pas de Deux, La Sylphide, by Hermann Lovenskjold.*
6) Pas de Deux: The Black Swan, Swan Lake, act I, by Tchaikovsky.*
7) Bolero 1830, Trad, arr. James O'Turner.
8) Pas de Quartre, by Cesare Pugni, arr. William McDermott.*


Erich Gruenberg, Violin*.
London SO, Richard Bonynge.

It is always a great pleasure and sensation to return to ballet music. Especially if you get such good performances as on this CD.  A great assembly of beautiful short pieces.
For ballet lovers this box is essential.

Bach, J.S. (1685-1750) The Complete Organ Works. (Foccroulle Edition) CD 2. The Early Works. Choräle der Neumeister Sammlung and Choräle der Ruddorf Sammlung.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: 2017.
First listen: 26-1-2018.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 2 from 16.
Recording dates:  November 1995.
Venue: Kirche zum Heiligen Kreuz in Bettenhause, Germany.
Engineer: Frederic Briant.
Time: 78:36.

Works on this CD.


Performed by: Bernard Foccroulle.

Organ used: 
Döring Organ.

I could not find info about this organ, nothing relevant. Maybe one of my blog visitors could provide me as much as possible, or send me a link to the info. 

The second disc from this box, and I must say that it did not move me emotionally, but on a technical level I was impressed. Foccroulle is a steady performer, which at times can be to fast which then sits in the way of unfolding a piece to get the maximum effect, and a tendency to push the loudness a tad to much. That gives too much pressure and in effect makes my mind wander. The recording in this case is a mixed bag. Frederic Briant is a good engineer but the first part of this CD suffers somewhat under a hard hitting upper range, and is only corrected quite far in the recording. Details are sharp and incisive and therefore clear as a bell. The total result is more than satisfying but I have heard better performances of the Neumeister Choräle. 
The organ sounds fine to my ears, but I am a bit disappointed in the fact that it can also sound anonymous and dare I say it bland. In my opinion there is more colour to be had from this instrument as Foccroulle gets out.

Reussner, Esaias. (1639-1679) Erfreuliche Lauten lust. 1697) CD 2.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2018.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 2 from 2.
Recording date: October 2016.
Venue: Miramar Chapel near Valls, Catalonia, Spain.
Engineer: Germa Rull.
Time: 61:04

Works on CD 1.
Suites in C minor/E flat/E minor/A flat/G minor.

Performed by: 

William Waters.
11 course Lute by Cesar Arias made in 2015 after an instrument by Hans Frei (Bologna circa 1540).

As an addition to my review of CD 1, I have to add, that Reussner was a man of leisure, and so his music unfolds best in a relaxed way of playing. Despite that, Waters keeps it flowing at a steady pace, and  it never feels slow or dragging. I cherish this music and the way it is performed.
Sound is really very good, and the instrument sounds like a dream.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Reussner, Esaias. (1639-1679) Erfreuliche Lauten lust. 1697) CD 1.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: January 2018.
Label: Brilliant.
CD 1 from 2.
Recording date: October 2016.
Venue: Miramar Chapel near Valls, Catalonia, Spain.
Engineer: Germa Rull.
Time: 60:48.

Works on CD 1.
Suites in G minor/C/B minor/B flat/F minor.

Performed by: 

William Waters.
11 course Lute by Cesar Arias made in 2015 after an instrument by Hans Frei (Bologna circa 1540).

Reusner was a virtuoso on the lute, which this recording amply proves. Not easy to play it lacks nevertheless virtuosic display. "There are no stunning scales, conspicuous chromatisms, rigorous rhythms, trepidatious tempi or cunningly complicated  counterpoint. He himself states in his introduction to Delitiae Testudinis that he has ever been drawn to the most quiet of musical expressions..."
<And the result is magical to say the least. It is undoubtedly true that Reussner wrote some of the finest music ever written for any plucked instruments in any period of history. He is also very relevant as the first German to write for the French 11 course lute in D minor tuning and in the style Brise. <
William Waters was unknown to me but he is a virtuoso on the lute. The pensive atmosphere looming over this recording, and the rest that emits from the music is captivating, and involves you deeply in the silence and meaning of the music. It flows like a small stream unobtrusive and without resistance. Absolute gorgeous music, and as an interpretation in deserves to be in your collection. The sound is state of the art.

Tcherepnin, Alexander Nikolayevich. (1899-1977) Orchestral Works, CD II.

From my collection.
Bought in 2011.
Label: BIS. 
CD 2 from 4.
First listen: 8-3-2014.
Second listen: 25-1-2018.
Recording dates: January 1999.
Recording venue: Victoria Concert Hall, Singapore.
Recording engineer: Hans Kifner.
Running time: 79:45.
The piano concertos are also available on Brilliant, much cheaper, same recordings.


Symphony No. 3, in F sharp major, opus 83. (1952)
Symphony No. 4, in E major, opus 91. (1958-9)
Piano Concerto, No. 6, opus 99. (1965)


Noriko Ogawa, Piano.
Singapore SO, Lan Shui.

The second disc, and also a class on its own. The third symphony is in my ears a masterwork. I have not enough supply of words to describe the quality of this amazing composition, but then I would do no justice to it anyways.  Just listen to the amazing third movement, or the last measures of the fourth movement, magical. Such a neglected composer and at the same time absolutely sublime. The Piano Concerto has a dreamlike second movement, with matching orchestration. His expression is so powerful, and yet so soft and hazy, so logical and tightly scored, yet so free floating as a bird, modern, but with a romantic twist, curious yet assured. 

The Fourth Symphony is a marvel of imagination, in which all the qualities of this composer are combined in yet another sound picture, that has its own special character.  It's best to sample, but remember if you dip your toes in, in might well take your whole leg.
The sound is absolutely state of the art , but shrill, especially with the brass, at the beginning at the Third Symphony, something which I normally do not hear with BIS. In the second movement it is corrected.  The sound stage is extraordinary deep.

Bach, J.S. (1685-1750) The Complete Organ Works. (Foccroulle Edition) CD I. The Early Works.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: 2017.
First listen: 25-1-2018.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 1 from 16.
Recording dates:  1997.
Venue: Jacobi Kirche, Hamburg, Germany.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 78:36.

Works on this CD.
Free forms, Chorals, Te deum.
BWV numbers in this order:

Instrument specifications:
Arp Schnitger 1693.
New case installed 1961. (Was destroyed during WW II.) The pipes were stored safely away.
Restored by Jurgen Ahrend 1993.
Over 80% of the pipes are from 1693 or earlier. It has 4000 pipes, the oldest from 1512.
Pitch: a'=495 Hz by 18 degrees celsius. 
Tuning: Modified meantone.
Wind pressure: 80 mm/WS.

Performed by: Bernard Foccroulle.

Today I started with Bernard Foccroulle's take on Bach organ works. Having high expectations from the samples I heard and the reviews I read. I had some bad experiences with complete sets, so I try to avoid acquisitions that will disappoint in the end. Like Molardi, and the Hanssler box. I still have Vernet lying around, so he will be next.
I am happy to say that Foccroulle is very good. A straightforward and very precise organist, who keeps sentimentality at bay, and also avoids display of unhealthy ego in his interpretations. Tempi are always spot on, and he gets quite some colour out of the organs registrations.  A pity that the stops are not mentioned in the booklet, or info about the historic organs. Total timings are not to be found either. The first piece on this CD, "Praeludium und Fuge in D major, BWV 532, originally in C" started with a restricted sound image, almost no air around the organ. This is corrected from track 2 onwards. Lejeune clearly used this piece to set his microphones, but why not use a piece somewhat shorter as almost 11 minutes. Grumphhh!
From thereon the sound is open and has enough air around the instrument, and details are quite lucidly on display. Foccroulle is a committed and highly motivated musician, who wants to make his mark and does so with an integrity and pensiveness that clearly appeals to my sense of harmony and counterpoint. For all his earnestness Foccroulle's  reading is refreshingly unaffected, but masculine enough, spontaneous, and he has an informed awareness of Bach's music. The result is an appealing musical experience that both nourishes and satisfies.  I hope that this feeling will be present with the rest of the 15 discs.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Riisager, Knudåge. (1897-1974) The Symphonic Edition, Volume III. World premiere recordings.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: Autumn 2017.
First listen: 24-1-2017.
Label: Dacapo.
Recording dates: September/November 2012
Venue: Symphonic Hall, Musikhuset Aarhus, Danmark.
Engineer: Claus Byrith.
Time: 64:15

Works on this CD:

Summer Rhapsody (On Danish Folk melodies)  for orchestra, 1943.
Sinfonia concertante per strumenti ad arco, opus 34, 1937.
Sinfonia Gaia (Symphony No.4, opus 38, 1939-40.
Sinfonia Serena, (Symphony No. 5) for Strings and Timpani, opus 52, 1949-50.

Performed by:
Aarhus SO, Bo Holten.

I think the Summer Rhapsody one of the best works I heard from Riisager. All the unifying characteristics of this composer are present in this orchestral work, emphasizing the returning elements throughout his oeuvre. The gathering intensity broadening into an kaleidoscope of originality and genius. 
All three symphonic works show a development  in rhythms and original percussive sonorities, particularly in the Fifth symphony. Symphony No 4, is a thrilling expansive composition brimming with terrific ideas, with a fearless virtuosity, and clearly inspired. But in all works there is an unifying principle, namely accessible emotionally direct music in abundance, appealing to head and heart. As a composer he is unique, as a human versatile in all he approached. His music to me is Shade and Light at the same time. I love his expressive and riveting intensity.
The recording is top notch.   

Muffat, Gottlieb. (1690-1770) Toccatas-Capriccios-Canzonas-Ricercars for Organ.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: Autumn 2017.
First listen: 24-1-2018.
Second listen: 29-3-2018.
Label: Pan Classics.
Recording dates: July 2009.
Venue: Klosterkirche Muri, Switzerland.
Engineer: Jens Jamin.
Time: 73:31.

Works on this CD:
See heading.

Organs used:

Large Organ:

A Thomas Schott, 1619, Restoration, Metzler/Edskes/Brühlmann, 1966-1971. Historic pipes.
Well tempered, Pitch: a'=440 Hz.

Epistle Organ:

Joseph and Victor Ferdinand Bossard 1743. Restoration, Metzler and Brühlmann 1961-62.
Inventory and partial restoration Edskes 1991-92.
Modified meantone, Pitch: a'=425 Hz.

Evangelist Organ:

Joseph and Victor Ferdinand Bossard 1743. Restoration, Metzler and Brühlmann 1961-62.
Inventory and partial restoration Edskes 1991-92.
Modified meantone, Pitch: a'=425 Hz.

Performed by:

Jörg Andreas Bötticher.

Three organs in the same church and all of an outstanding quality, yet different in tone and disposition. It is an utter delight to hear them one after another. In my view this is an organ disc to have and to treasure. Bötticher plays the works with an understated charm and elegance. For me this is a rather conventional yet convincing interpretation. But his thoughtful interpretation makes it also a bit tame. Yet he elevates all the details in an almost spiritual way but then it sounds also cluttered at places. I also wished for clearer articulation and translucency.  Climaxes and dynamics are a bit low in the shop, and while it is animating, and cultivated, it does not draw me in completely. However the musical perspective he creates is satisfying any time. I love Muffat's music and this recording has a grateful receiver in me.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Fête du Ballet. Homage to Pavlova part I . A compendium of Ballet Rarities. CD II.

From my collection
Purchase date: 2011.
First listen: 1-3-2014.
Second listen: 23-1-2018.
Label: Decca. 
CD 2 from 10.
Recording dates: December 1969.
Venue: Kingsway Hall, London, England.
Engineer: Not named.
Time : 75:49.


   1) The Swan, by Camille Saint Saens. Carnival of the Animals.
        (Jascha Silberstein, Cello & Marie Goossens, Harp)
   2) December: Christmas, The Seasons, opus 37b, by Tchaikovsky.
   3) Danses des Fiancees du Cachemire, by Anton Rubinstein.
   4) Love's Dream after the Ball, by Alphons Czibulka, arr. Gamley.
   5) The Dragonfly, by Fritz Kreisler, arr. Gamley.
   6) Melody, Souvenir d'un lieu cher, opus 42, No. 3, by Tchaikovsky.
        (John Georgiadis, Violin)
   7) Papillons by Boris Asafyev.
   8) Gavotte Pavlova : Glow-Worm Idyll" Lysistrata, by Paul Lincke.
   9) Intermezzo, Naila, by Leo Delibes.
10)  Danza delle ondine, Elda, by Alfredo Catalani.
11) Mazurka, Polish wedding, Trad. arr. by Krupinski.
12) Le Reveil de Flore, by Riccardo Drigo.
      (John Georgiadis, Violin & Osian Ellis, Harp)


London SO, Richard Bonynge.

And so I come back to music that is my primary basis in classical music. I am addicted to ballet music, and the world around it, always was, and in later life this only grew worse. But it's a satisfying addiction, and one that will not make you ill. I always crave for this music. When listening I have the image of the ballet before my eyes, or in this case Pavlova dancing, and she was such a beautiful and legendary dancer. Some of the pieces on this CD I knew quite well, but I was also surprised by a few I did not know. This brings me back in a nostalgic mood, for very personal reasons, some of you know, some not. For fans of ballet music this set is mandatory, Its utter bliss to have this music. The recordings from 1969 sound very good, and without question Bonynge is the man for ballet, a giant in this genre.
His tempi are those that are used when playing with the ballet dancers.

Riisager, Knudåge. (1897-1974) The Symphonic Edition, Volume II. World premiere recordings.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: Autumn 2017.
First listen: 23-1-2017.
Label: Dacapo.
Recording dates: June 2013.
Venue: Symphonic Hall, Musikhuset Aarhus, Danmark.
Engineer: Claus Byrith.
Time: 67:03.

Works on this CD:
T-DOXC Poème mécanique for orchestra, opus 13, 1926.
Symphony No. 2, opus 14, 1927.
Concerto for Orchestra opus 24, 1931.
Primavera, Concert Overture, opus 31, 1934.
Sinfonia (Symphony No. 3, opus 30, 1935.

Performed by:
Aarhus SO, Bo Holten.

By now I have a considerable amount of CD'S with Riisager's music, and he is still able to surprise me with every new piece I hear from him. That in itself I find a small miracle. He is never predictable in what he throws at me, and I am as eager as a an hungry pupil, to learn and listen.
All the works on this CD are new to me. Starting with this incredible evocative Poème mécanique, dedicated to a new generation of aeroplanes. There is a subdued ferocity in tandem with taut rhythmic control and avoids even the slightest bit of frenzy throughout. The same intensity and firmness of grip you find in the second symphony and there is an equally riveting sense of spontaneity to this work. The Concerto for orchestra has an expressive agility with an intricate air of melancholy that is deeply affecting, and an ever shifting kaleidoscope of tone colour!
Primavera is a rapturous piece with an element of playfulness and propulsive excitement.  You get unforced passagework and athletic leaps of  imagination. The third symphony altogether puts me back to the second. Again a healthy rhythmic snap in even the most luxuriant passages. Music with backbone, as well as romantic sentiment. It has an earnest insistence over it that I find hugely appealing. There is agility, brilliance even, and a flexible approach, with a perfect balance between head and heart. But where would we be with the music if there was not the Aarhus SO, given a powerful rendition of Riisager works. They are eminently suited to this soundworld, and Holten is in no doubt which path to choose. And a top notch recording to match the overall excellence of yet another disc with Riisager's music.

Nova mvsices organicæ Tabvlatvra. The Organ tabulatura by Johann Woltz.1617. (16th-17th Century.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 23-1-2018.
Label: Cornetto.
Recording dates: Not mentioned.
Venue: Warnfried Kirche, Osteel, Ostfriesland.
Engineer: Not mentioned.
Time: 52:55.

Works and composers:

Canzoni alla Francese.
Costanzo Antegnati.
Florentino Maschera.
Giovanni Gabrieli.

Motets and intabulations.
Giovanni Gabrieli.
Orlando di Lasso.
Franciscus Bianchardus.

Organ Works.
Simon Lohet.
Karol Luisson.

Giovanni Bassano.
Girolamo Dalla Casa.

Performed by:
Martin Lubenow, Organ.
Bernd Schleyer, Zink.

Organ used:
Ernst Evers 1616.
Restored by Jurgen Ahrend 1994-95.
Tonhohe: 440 Hz.
Stimmung: Erweitert mitteltönig. 
Wind pressure: 70 mm/WS.

This beautiful organ built in the early 17th century, and being the second oldest organ in Ostfriesland, has many ornamentations from the Renaissance. The pipes Evers made are of a high tonal quality and this you will certainly hear.  He also used in all probability pipes from a Andreas de Mare organ built around 1566/67.  And this amongst other details makes this organ so special. In the years to follow this organ escaped total destruction, was neglected when pipes were needed for the war. And after many ruinous repairs and or modifications, Ahrend came to the rescue and restored this gorgeous organ back to its original state as much as possible. Some things could not be corrected anymore, and the modifications stayed in. In sound this organ is certainly brought back to the beginnings, so from an historic perspective this restoration was successful.  It is one of the most important organs in the world. A beautiful Quintadena 16 (p) Hauptwerk, a fine sounding Mixtur IV,  a Krummhorn 8 (o)/++, that fills out the sound of this instrument.
Organ works solo and with the accompaniment of the Zink. That works well, and the compositions on offer are a tight fit to this organ. It is an absolute treat and privilege to hear this Evers Organ.
The recording is top notch, as are the performances.
Very much recommended.  

Franconian Organ Music from the 17th and 18th Century.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: November 2017.
First listen: 23-1-2018.
Label: Cornetto.
Recording dates: July 2001.
Venue: Former Monastery Church, Pappenheim, (Mittelfranken).
Engineer: Not mentioned.
Time: 73:39.

Composers on this disc:

Valentin Dretzel (1578-1658)
Johann Staden (1581-1634)
Johann Erasmus Kindermann (1616-1655)
Bartholomäus Weissthoma (1639-1721)
Georg Caspar Wecker (1632-1695)
Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)
Wilhelm Hieronymus Pachelbel (1686-1764)
Valentin Rathgeber (1682-1750)
Johann Jacob de Neufville (1684-1712)
Michael Scheuenstuhl (1705-1770)
Anonymous around 1700.

Organ used:
Most probably build by Johann Christoph Crapp 1722.
Temperierung= Werckmeister III.
Stimmhöhe:  a'=476 Hz at 17 degrees celsius.
Wind pressure: 60 mm WS.
One manual, pedals and 11 stops.
Pipes are mostly original ones, as is the case.

Some additional info about the organ.

There is no clear documentation concerning the organ builder but it is most certainly build by Crapp. He stayed for a prolonged period in Pappenheim 1719-1722.
It has been unplayable for decades and was eventually restored very carefully by G.F. Steinmeyer, Oettingen.

Performed by:
Raimund Schächer, organ.

Most of the composers on this disc are unknown to me, and so are their compositions. It is a mix of Organ works and Vocal works. About the vocal works I can be quite short. They are of mediocre  quality, decently sung by Silke Schebits, but with little or no expression. She is not cut out for soloistic work. Vibrato is non existent so that's good, but the recording of her voice is below par to say the least. So that part is forgettable. The organ works however are top notch. Compositions are all up to scratch and their musical worth should be rated highly. Schächer is a fine organist, and displays all the wonderful colours of this magnificent Crapp organ. I love the sound of the instrument very much which is so lovingly restored. It makes it a marvel of its time. It has a lovely Quintadena 8, and a Sub-bass 16, plus a Violin bass 8, both in the pedal. This gives the organ a fine basis and involving sound.
The recording gives ample scoop to the instrument.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon. (1562-1621) Cantiones Sacrae, quinque vocum 1619, Canons and Motets.

From my collection.
Date of purchase: December 2009.
First listen: 19-10-2011.
Second listen: 22-1-2018.
Label: Glossa.
Recording dates: May/July 2009.
Venue: Nederlands Hervormde Kerk, Renswoude, The Netherlands.
Sound engineer: Stephan Schellmann.
Time: 68:37 & 78:11.

Works on both CD's
See heading.

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

Organ used:
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.

It is only the second time since 2011 that I have put the whole series in my player. Which is actually an outrage if you consider the ultimate excellence of the set. I blame the onslaught of many new CD'S that were released over the years. But I rectified it at least now with a second hearing of the whole set. 
It will be impossible in my opinion to find a match in performance. This is the only complete version and so it should be. I have sung praises enough of this set, and the present CD'S are no exception, they are utterly perfect. No blemish to be found. The books, only in the Dutch language, will inform you intrinsically of Sweelinck's life, culture, and music, and will put everything in an understandable context. 
Very much recommended.

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. CD 1 & 2.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: End of 2017.
First listen: 19-1-2018.
Second listen: 4-3-2018.
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.
Second listen: 4-4-2018.
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
Second listen: 6-3-2018
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.

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 ...