What I listened to today

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RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sat Mar 24, 2018 2:26 am

maestrob wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:35 am
RebLem:

I have that Petrenko Shostakovich V, and I must say that it's my least favorite: over-the-top bombastic, with a too slow third movement, and so on. I've only heard it once or twice, and I think it's just too sarcastic and way overdone. I just tried listening to it again, and frankly I want to throw the disc away, my negative reaction was just so strong. That said, let me list recordings that I enjoy: Bernstein/NY (both the digital release and the 1959/NY; Rozhdestvensky (from the complete set), Mravinsky/Leningrad (live, using Bernstein's tempo for the final movement); Barshai/NDR. There are others, but you get the idea. I'm flexible about the tempo for the last movement, both can be effective.
You may note that I didn't comment myself on either symphony, except very briefly on the 9th, mostly out of laziness and my desire to get the post completed. I must say now, though, I was not particularly enamoured of either performance myself, though I thought his comment on the 9th was very interesting; he seems to acknowledge that his view of the Ninth is a bit more dour than most others.
Unlike you, I have never been particularly enamoured of Bernstein's way with the Fifth, though I do like his Ninth a lot. My favorite set is the one by Oleg Caetani. Have you heard it? My second favorite set is the one with the Prague Symphony by Maxim Shostakovich, and I also share your appreciation for the Barshai performance. The Maxim set didn't get great reviews, though I do note that the redoubtable Karl Henning likes it even more than I do. I like Barshai's complete set, too; its my third favorite.
Another recording of the Fifth I like a lot is one that few people seem to be aware even exists. It is one by Klaus Tennstedt with the Munchner Philharmoniker coupled with Leos Janacek's 4 Lachnian Dances. Its on a label called WEITBLICK, and the symphony was recorded on 20-21 MAR 1975 in a Munich recording studio.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

John F
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by John F » Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:22 am

Speaking of interpretive ideas involving Brahms's horn parts, there's a startling moment in Klemperer's recording of the German Requiem in which essentially harmonic writing becomes a solo, as if it were the last trump summoning all to the Last Judgment - at 2:20 in the clip and when the passage returns at 7:45:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBAtf5o9er8

For me this is the greatest German Requiem I've heard, among the fastest and most dramatic on records as in the second section of this excerpt.

The first time I heard this music was at a Munch/Boston Symphony performance at Tanglewood in 1958 - soloists Donald Gramm and Hilde Gueden. I remember nothing about it except that it felt like a very long evening. :) But I see the broadcast of that performance has been uploaded to YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6_RTnbvx48, so maybe I should listen to it again.

P.S. Now I have. The first section is very fine, not routine or uninvolved as I've complained about other Munch performances in another thread. But after that, tempos are all over the place and the orchestral balances are sometimes coarse (slam-bang timpani). In short, it's a characteristic Munch performance. The last section returns to his way with the first, but it's too late. A pity. But I guess this trip in the time machine back to my teens has been worth it, not only in itself but to show how far I've come in the 60 years since then. (Unbelievable!)
John Francis

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:27 am

John F wrote:
Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:22 am
Speaking of interpretive ideas involving Brahms's horn parts, there's a startling moment in Klemperer's recording of the German Requiem in which essentially harmonic writing becomes a solo, as if it were the last trump summoning all to the Last Judgment - at 2:20 in the clip and when the passage returns at 7:45:

For me this is the greatest German Requiem I've heard, among the fastest and most dramatic on records as in the second section of this excerpt
Its my favorite in stereo; I also have the Barenboim/CSO and the Sawallisch/VPO, but my #1 all time favorite is the Mengelberg which I have in a 5 CD Archipel set with the symphonies, the Violin Concerto, and three overtures, two by Wagner, one by Weber. Its from 7 NOV 1940, and the soloists are Jo Vincent and Max Kloos.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

maestrob
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by maestrob » Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:27 am

RebLem wrote:
Sat Mar 24, 2018 2:26 am
maestrob wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:35 am
RebLem:

I have that Petrenko Shostakovich V, and I must say that it's my least favorite: over-the-top bombastic, with a too slow third movement, and so on. I've only heard it once or twice, and I think it's just too sarcastic and way overdone. I just tried listening to it again, and frankly I want to throw the disc away, my negative reaction was just so strong. That said, let me list recordings that I enjoy: Bernstein/NY (both the digital release and the 1959/NY; Rozhdestvensky (from the complete set), Mravinsky/Leningrad (live, using Bernstein's tempo for the final movement); Barshai/NDR. There are others, but you get the idea. I'm flexible about the tempo for the last movement, both can be effective.
You may note that I didn't comment myself on either symphony, except very briefly on the 9th, mostly out of laziness and my desire to get the post completed. I must say now, though, I was not particularly enamoured of either performance myself, though I thought his comment on the 9th was very interesting; he seems to acknowledge that his view of the Ninth is a bit more dour than most others.
Unlike you, I have never been particularly enamoured of Bernstein's way with the Fifth, though I do like his Ninth a lot. My favorite set is the one by Oleg Caetani. Have you heard it? My second favorite set is the one with the Prague Symphony by Maxim Shostakovich, and I also share your appreciation for the Barshai performance. The Maxim set didn't get great reviews, though I do note that the redoubtable Karl Henning likes it even more than I do. I like Barshai's complete set, too; its my third favorite.
Another recording of the Fifth I like a lot is one that few people seem to be aware even exists. It is one by Klaus Tennstedt with the Munchner Philharmoniker coupled with Leos Janacek's 4 Lachnian Dances. Its on a label called WEITBLICK, and the symphony was recorded on 20-21 MAR 1975 in a Munich recording studio.
I have heard some of Oleg Caetani's work, and have been quite impressed. My only problem with him is that he's been recording with less than stellar orchestras. Even so, the results he gets are quite good. Unfortunately, his set of the Shostakovich symphonies sells for $100 or more, and his competition is quite stiff, so I can't persuade myself to take the plunge. :) That said, I must clarify that aside from the Fifth Symphony, I find Petrenko's Shostakovich cycle excellent. Thanks for the Tennstedt recommendation. I'll be glad to check it out.

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:18 am


On Saturday, 24 MAR 2018, I listened to 4 CDs.
 
 
1) Gyorgy Ligeti (1923-2006): Volume 7 and last of the 7 CD SONY survey of Ligeti's oevre, this one devoted to chamber music. |Tr. 1-4, Trio for Horn, violin, & Piano (1982) (22'43) |Tr. 5-14, Ten Pieces for Wind Quintet (1968) (12'56) |Tr. 15-20, Six Bagatelles for Wind Quintet (1953) (11'39) |Tr. 21-26, Sonata for solo viola (1991-94) (23'29)--Marie-Luise Neunecker, horn (Tr. 1-4), Saschko Gawriloff, violin (Tr. 1-4), Lierre-Laurent Aimard, piano (Tr. 1-4), London Winds (Philippa Davies, flute, Gareth Hulse, oboe, Michael Collins, clarinet, Robin O'Neill, bassoon, Richard Watkins, horn) (Tr. 5-20), Tabea Zimmermann, viola (Tr. 21-26). Rec in Switzerland 9-10 MAY 1996 (Tr. 1-4), England, 10-11 MAR 1995 (Tr. 5-20), & Germany, 20-22 NOV 1994 (Tr. 21-26).
 

Now that we have come to the end of this SONY Ligeti series, it is important that we get an overall view of his work. Such was provided in 2012 by an article in TheGuardian, which I suggest all who are interested read: https://www.theguardian.com/music/tomse ... usic-guide

 
 
2) W.A. Mozart (1756-91): |Tr. 1-3, Piano Concerto 24 in C Minor, K. 491 (1785) (30'28) |Tr. 4-6, Piano Concerto 27 in B Flat Major, K. 595 (1791) (29'14)--Annie Fischer, piano, Efrem Kurtz, cond., New Philharmonia Orch.--Rec MAY & JUN 1966 Abbey Rd Studio 1. This is CD 3 of the 8 CD Warner Classics set titled "Annie Fischer: The Complete London Studio Recordings."
 
Annie Fischer. Mozart. What else needs saying?
 
 
3) Rick Sowash (b. 1950): |Tr. 1-6, Anecdotes & Reflections for clarinet, violin, cello, & piano (1989) (38'39) |Tr. 7-16, Street Suite, for violin & clarinet (1976) (12'17) |Tr. 17-19, Daweswood: The Bud, the Blossom, & the Berry, a Suite for clarinet, violin, cello, & piano (1980) (15'38)--Craig Olzenak, clarinet, Mirecourt Trio (Kenneth Goldsmith, violin, Terry King, cello, John Jensen, piano)--No recording dates or venues provided. CD published 1991 by GASPARO Co.
 
Per the liner notes, Anecdotes is a concertino commissioned by Chamber Music in Yellow Springs, Inc. (Yellow Springs is a town in Rick Sowash's native Ohio, north of Cincinnati and is the home of Antioch College, and hometown of Dave Chapelle and John Lithgow, among other notables) to commemorate the life of Louie Betcher, one of its founding members. She had written an autobiography called "Anecdotes & Reflections," from which this work takes its title. It was conceived as three sets of two movements each; each section has an "Anecdotes" movement and a "Reflections" movement. Thus the Eastern European and Klezmer gestures of the first movement flower into the Gershwinesques tunefulness of the second; the syncopations of the third movement are given broader expression in the fourth and the disparate Pavan and Tin Pan Alley derivations of the fifth movement are apothesized in the March finale.
The unifying motif in this eclectic work is a descending four note musical shape--A-G-E-E Flat stated initially by the clarinet. This shape (also in its retrograde and inverted forms) pervades the piece, providing a constant touchstone to which the listener can return at virtually any moment throughout the nearly forty minutes of the work.
"Street Suite," says Sowash, " portrays ten streets in Mansfield, Ohio, the town where I was born and reared. It was writen for a Mansfield couple, Larry & Clarissa Kramer, both fine musicians and long active in the Mansfield Symphony. The tone of the piece is playful and affectionate....."
"Daeswood...." was composed whem Sowash was artist-in-residence @ the Dawes Arboretum near Newark, Ohio, and describes three stages in the life of a plant.
 
All of these works are charming and delightful. If I had to sum it up, I'd say he is to Ohio, and especially southwestern Ohio, what Don Gillis is to north Texas. These are delightful works which are bound to stir most any American heart.
 
 
4) D. Shostakovich (1906-75): |Tr. 1-4, Symphony 5 in D Minor, Op. 47 (1937) (44'12) |Leos Janacek (1854-1928): Four Lachnian Dances (1924) (12'53)--Klaus Tennstedt, cond., Munchner Philharmoniker--Rec. Bavarian Radio Studio 1, 20-21 MAR 1975 (Tr. 1-4), 22 MAR 1975 (Tr. 5-8). A Weitblick CD.
 
This is not a new CD, and its not even new to my collection. I have gotten involved in some discussions about the V Petrenko recording of the Shostakovich Fifth, and I wanted to re-listen to this CD so I could refresh my memory and report on it again.
 
In my opinion, this is, with the possible exception of the Oleg Caetani recording, the best recorded performance of the Shostakovich Fifth I have ever heard. And I have a dozen or more recordings of it. It is more closely miked than most performances, and it has a verve and energy and insistent force that is quite uncommon. The same is true of the Janacek, but, of course, the Shostakovich is the main work here. I urge everyone to go out and buy it.
 
This CD is no longer available from ArchivMusic, Amazon, or HBDirect, the three major US internet sellers of CDs in current release. It is, apparently, OOP. However, I found that it is still available from Berkshire Record Outlet for the measly sum of $7.99 + tax and shipping. Of course, they won't let you order less than $15, so you'll have to buy something else, too. But this CD is well worth it.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:23 am

maestrob wrote:
Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:27 am
I have heard some of Oleg Caetani's work, and have been quite impressed. My only problem with him is that he's been recording with less than stellar orchestras. Even so, the results he gets are quite good. Unfortunately, his set of the Shostakovich symphonies sells for $100 or more, and his competition is quite stiff, so I can't persuade myself to take the plunge. :) That said, I must clarify that aside from the Fifth Symphony, I find Petrenko's Shostakovich cycle excellent. Thanks for the Tennstedt recommendation. I'll be glad to check it out.
The orchestra Caetani uses for the Shostakovich cycle is the La Scala Opera Orchestra reconstituted as a symphony orchestra. I consider that quite a stellar ensemble indeed. Its expensive not only because its good, but the whole set consists of sonic spectaculars. Especially outstanding, in that respect, I think, is the 4th symphony.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

maestrob
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by maestrob » Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:36 am

RebLem wrote:
Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:23 am
maestrob wrote:
Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:27 am
I have heard some of Oleg Caetani's work, and have been quite impressed. My only problem with him is that he's been recording with less than stellar orchestras. Even so, the results he gets are quite good. Unfortunately, his set of the Shostakovich symphonies sells for $100 or more, and his competition is quite stiff, so I can't persuade myself to take the plunge. :) That said, I must clarify that aside from the Fifth Symphony, I find Petrenko's Shostakovich cycle excellent. Thanks for the Tennstedt recommendation. I'll be glad to check it out.
The orchestra Caetani uses for the Shostakovich cycle is the La Scala Opera Orchestra reconstituted as a symphony orchestra. I consider that quite a stellar ensemble indeed. Its expensive not only because its good, but the whole set consists of sonic spectaculars. Especially outstanding, in that respect, I think, is the 4th symphony.
Shostakovich IV is probably my favorite Shostakovich. It looks like you've persuaded me to take the plunge and get the set before it disappears. Thanks. :)

Unfortunately the Tennstedt Shostakovich V is OOP, and available on amazon for a mere $54 or so. Thus, I'll have to pass on that one, good as it may be. I think that Tennstedt is a vastly underrated conductor: he had a very distinctive sound and knew how to make the London Symphony sound like a German orchestra (lots of ethereal pianissimos, coupled with an overall lushness that's very pleasing to these ears).

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sun Mar 25, 2018 2:36 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:36 am

Shostakovich IV is probably my favorite Shostakovich. It looks like you've persuaded me to take the plunge and get the set before it disappears. Thanks. :)

Unfortunately the Tennstedt Shostakovich V is OOP, and available on amazon for a mere $54 or so. Thus, I'll have to pass on that one, good as it may be. I think that Tennstedt is a vastly underrated conductor: he had a very distinctive sound and knew how to make the London Symphony sound like a German orchestra (lots of ethereal pianissimos, coupled with an overall lushness that's very pleasing to these ears).
The Tennstedt is available for $7.99 + tax & shipping from Berkshire Record Outlet. Of course, they won't accept an order for less than $15, so you'll have to order something else, too, but its a long way from $54.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

jbuck919
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 4:33 pm

RebLem wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:59 am

On Friday, December 14, 2017, I listened to the following--
 
Buxtehude (1637-1707): Eight sacred cantatas, arias, and miscelllaneous pieces (73'17)Ton Koopman, cond., Amsterdam Baroque Orch & Choir. Vocal works 3, CD 2. 4th CD from the last of this 29 CD set, the way I have reordered them. Challenge Classics.
 
Beethoven: Piano Concerto 5 in E Flat Major, Op. 73 "Emperor" (43'01) |Fantasia in C Minor for piano, chorus, and orchestra, Op. 80--Daniel Barenboim, piano, Otto Klemperer, cond., New Philharmonia Orch. + John Alldis Choir in Op. 80. CD 3 of a 3 CD set of the Beethoven Piano Concerti. EMI.
 
Saint-Saens (1835-1921): String Quartet 1 in E Minor, Op. 113 (1899) (29'13) |String Quartet 2 in G Major, Op. 153 (1918) (25'15)--Quator Joachim (Zbigniew Kornowicz, violin, Joanna Rezler, violin, Marie-Claire Mereaux, cello, Laurent Rannou, cello)--Phaia Music CD. Rec. 2007.
 
Beethoven: Sym. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" (44'49)--rec. Sofiensaal, Vienna, Sep. 1974 |Leonore Overture # Op. 72c (13'59--rec. Krannert Ctr., Univ of ILL, May 1972 )--Georg Solti, cond. Chicago Sym. Orch.
The symphony is one of the best recordings in this set.
Rob can guess what my listening for the day will be the next time I have a full day off. It might be Thursday, since I don't have a service until 7:00 p.m. and I refuse to substitute teach (an increasingly tiring activity) on a day when I also have evening duties. It's been a long time since I spent the better part of a day listening and devoting my attention entirely to the program. Thanks, Rob.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:16 am


On Sunday, 25 MAR 2018, I listened to 1 CD.
 
 
1) Don Gillis (1912-78): |Tr. 1, Paul Bunyan: An Overture to a Legend (1964) (6'50) |Tr. 2-5, Symphony 6: Mid-Century USA (1948) (27'31) |Tr. 6-8, Symphony 5: In Memoriam (1945) (31'42)--Ian Hobson, cond., Sinfonia Varsovia--Rec. 6-7 NOV 2004 in Polish Radio Studio 1. An Albany Records CD.
 
The three works on this CD are presented, for some goofy reason, in reverse chronological order. David Hurwitz @ Classics Today, as reported @ ArchivMusic.com has this to say of this album:
 

The two symphonies on this disc show Don Gillis in a more serious mode than previous releases in this terrific series. Both works are major statements, original both in form and content. They reflect the jazzy, popular idiom of Gillis' lighter works and contain the same high level of craftsmanship and melodic appeal--but the tone is more sober, the instrumental coloration a bit darker. This is particularly true of Symphony No. 5, subtitled "In Memoriam", a post-war tribute that makes its points with touching simplicity and heartfelt sincerity. Certainly it must be accounted one of the finer works of its kind, a far cry from either the "nationalist bombast" or "expressionist war-is-hell" approach to its subject.



"Symphony No. 6, subtitled "Mid-Century U.S.A.", has four movements as opposed to No. 5's three, but it lasts about the same amount of time (just shy of half an hour). Its slow opening and third movement reveal Gillis as a master of reflective, lyrical expression as well as boisterous optimism. The Paul Bunyan Overture is a charming, curiously nostalgic piece, given its title, with a gentle, fairytale atmosphere that's eminently memorable. All three works receive excellent performances from the Sinfonia Varsovia under Ian Hobson.... Fine sonics reveal all the important details of Gillis' colorful textures. This is another winner in what is turning into a genuinely exciting voyage of discovery of a major composer.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:21 am

jbuck919 wrote:
Sun Mar 25, 2018 4:33 pm
RebLem wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:59 am

On Friday, December 14, 2017, I listened to the following--
 
Buxtehude (1637-1707): Eight sacred cantatas, arias, and miscelllaneous pieces (73'17)Ton Koopman, cond., Amsterdam Baroque Orch & Choir. Vocal works 3, CD 2. 4th CD from the last of this 29 CD set, the way I have reordered them. Challenge Classics.
 
Beethoven: Piano Concerto 5 in E Flat Major, Op. 73 "Emperor" (43'01) |Fantasia in C Minor for piano, chorus, and orchestra, Op. 80--Daniel Barenboim, piano, Otto Klemperer, cond., New Philharmonia Orch. + John Alldis Choir in Op. 80. CD 3 of a 3 CD set of the Beethoven Piano Concerti. EMI.
 
Saint-Saens (1835-1921): String Quartet 1 in E Minor, Op. 113 (1899) (29'13) |String Quartet 2 in G Major, Op. 153 (1918) (25'15)--Quator Joachim (Zbigniew Kornowicz, violin, Joanna Rezler, violin, Marie-Claire Mereaux, cello, Laurent Rannou, cello)--Phaia Music CD. Rec. 2007.
 
Beethoven: Sym. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" (44'49)--rec. Sofiensaal, Vienna, Sep. 1974 |Leonore Overture # Op. 72c (13'59--rec. Krannert Ctr., Univ of ILL, May 1972 )--Georg Solti, cond. Chicago Sym. Orch.
The symphony is one of the best recordings in this set.
Rob can guess what my listening for the day will be the next time I have a full day off. It might be Thursday, since I don't have a service until 7:00 p.m. and I refuse to substitute teach (an increasingly tiring activity) on a day when I also have evening duties. It's been a long time since I spent the better part of a day listening and devoting my attention entirely to the program. Thanks, Rob.
I'm not sure which you will listen to. But you are a practitioner of sacred music, so I suppose you might listen to some Buxtehude. And then, maybe the Saint-Saens?
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Mon Mar 26, 2018 4:12 am

This morning: Sound the Trumpet! - English Ceremonial Music for Trumpet, Organ and Percussion. Edward Carroll/William Neil/Newport Classic

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:13 am


On Monday, 26 MAR 2018, I listened to one CD.
 
 
CD 5 of the 24 CD SONY set titled "Gary Graffman: The Complete RCA & Columbia Album Collection." CD 5 is devoted to music by Frederic Chopin. Tr. 1-4, The Ballades: |Tr. 1, Ballade 1 in G Minor, Op. 23 (8'27) |Tr. 2, Ballade 2 in F Major, Op. 38 (6'35) |Tr. 3, Ballade 3 in A Flat Major, Op. 47 (6'40) |Tr. 4, Ballade 4 in F Minor, Op. 52 (10'18) |Tr. 5, Andante spianato in G Major & Grande Polonaise brillante in E Flat Major, Op. 22 (12'33). Rec. Town Hall NYC 14 APR 1958 (1,2), 16 APR 1958 (3,4), 22 APR 1958 (5). TT: 44'36.
 
The Andante spianato & Grande Polonaise is the heart of this album. It is unlike most of the performances you have heard. In the hands of an Artur Rubinstein, it is a showpiece, a frequently punctuated display of virtuosity. Graffman, on the other hand, is a humble servant of the music, letting it make its own lyrical points. Here we find nothing of Rubinstein's flash-bang approach, just a wonderful piece where the center of attention is the music and not the performer. All the notes are there, but Graffman wants the applause and attention to go to Chopin, and not to himself. Refreshing, and recommended.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

maestrob
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by maestrob » Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:38 pm

RebLem wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:13 am

On Monday, 26 MAR 2018, I listened to one CD.
 
 
CD 5 of the 24 CD SONY set titled "Gary Graffman: The Complete RCA & Columbia Album Collection." CD 5 is devoted to music by Frederic Chopin. Tr. 1-4, The Ballades: |Tr. 1, Ballade 1 in G Minor, Op. 23 (8'27) |Tr. 2, Ballade 2 in F Major, Op. 38 (6'35) |Tr. 3, Ballade 3 in A Flat Major, Op. 47 (6'40) |Tr. 4, Ballade 4 in F Minor, Op. 52 (10'18) |Tr. 5, Andante spianato in G Major & Grande Polonaise brillante in E Flat Major, Op. 22 (12'33). Rec. Town Hall NYC 14 APR 1958 (1,2), 16 APR 1958 (3,4), 22 APR 1958 (5). TT: 44'36.
 
The Andante spianato & Grande Polonaise is the heart of this album. It is unlike most of the performances you have heard. In the hands of an Artur Rubinstein, it is a showpiece, a frequently punctuated display of virtuosity. Graffman, on the other hand, is a humble servant of the music, letting it make its own lyrical points. Here we find nothing of Rubinstein's flash-bang approach, just a wonderful piece where the center of attention is the music and not the performer. All the notes are there, but Graffman wants the applause and attention to go to Chopin, and not to himself. Refreshing, and recommended.
Gary Graffman is one pianist I've neglected, except for his pioneering recording of Prokofiev I & III with George Szell. The set you're reviewing is now OOP, sadly: there's one copy slling on amazon for $700 & change. My loss, I'm sure.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:41 am


On Tuesday, 27 MAR 2018, I listened to 3 CDs.
 
 
1) Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-75): Tr. 1-3, Symphony 6 in B Minor, Op. 54 (1939) (32'48) |Tr. 4-7, Symphony 12 in D Minor, Op. 112 "The Year 1917" (1961) (34'50)--Vasily Petrenko, cond., Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orch. CD 5 of the 11 CD NAXOS set of all the Shostakovich symphonies by these forces. Rec. Liverpool Philharmonic Hall 28-29 JUL 2009 (Tr. 4-7), 23-24 JUN 2010 (Tr. 1-3).
 
Vasily Petrenko on Sym. 6:

"The Sixth has two big influences. Shostakovich's experiments with the symphonic form came from Mahler. Mussorgsky was the inspiration for the harmonic language, a language both of purity and extremity. His work on Boris Godunov and Khovanshchina


left its mark. The third movement presto is incredibly demanding--perhaps he was testing how far he could go back to the language of the Fourth Symphony at this point."
 

I checked out the statement about Boris Godunov and Khovanshchina, neither of which was completed by Mussorgsky, and which have been revised again and again by various people, often more concerned with political implications than with art. First, Boris. The best and most succinct explanation I could find is here: https://severalfourmany.wordpress.com/2 ... s-godunov/

Boris was a real historical character appointed by Ivan the Terrible as one of a troika of regents for his son Feodor. Feodor was feeble minded and feeble bodied. His is known as "Feodor the Bellringer," because he had a penchant for going around Moscow ringing church bells. In any event, Boris Godunov could have taught Machiavelli a thing or two about ruthlessness; he eventually got to be first, sole regent, and then Tsar in his own right after Feodor's death.
In any event, lots of people took a turn at completing and revising Boris. One of them was Shostakovich, in 1940. From the above article:
"1940 Shostakovich

Dmitri Shostakovich attempted a version in 1940 to "bring out, as far as possible, its affinity with the Soviet epoch." The public rejected the Soviet approach, finding the orchestration vulgar, strident and more reflective of Shostakovich than of Mussorgsky."
It is worth taking a look in some detail at the historical circumstances that led to Boris Godunov. Ivan the Terrible as born 1530. His father died 1533, and regents were appointed to govern Russia until his majority. He is the classic case of an abused child who became an abuser himself. All through his childhood, people plotted more or less openly around him, and his life was threatened at various points. Regents fought among themselves and the court was one of murderous intrigue. In 1547, Ivan assumed the throne in his own right. He was given to uncontrollable rages, during one of which he killed his eldest son Ivan, heir apparent to the throne, in 1581. He was capable not only of rage, but of deliberate, cold, calculated cruelty. St. Basil's Cathedral was built under his reign, and when completed, he asked the architect if he thought he might eventually, with this experience behind him, he might be able to design an even more beautiful church at some time in the future. When the architect replied that he thought he could, Ivan had his eyes poked out so that he would not be capable of doing so. That was the kind of man Ivan was--but remember that it had all begun with childhood trauma. But, because most of the people he killed were of the aristocracy, he was very popular with most commoners, who felt oppressed by the aristocracy. At one point, frustrated by intrigue at the palace, he actually piled many of his belongings on a sled and went to a villa east of Moscow and sent a message back to Moscow saying he was abdicating the throne. The Moscow bourgeoisie was very upset by this, and begged him to return. He agreed, but only on condition that he be given a free hand in dealing with the boyars, the aristocratic class who had been engaging in plots against him. They agreed, he returned, and an orgy of killings, hangings, and exhibition of heads on spikes that lasted a couple of weeks commenced.

In any event, Ivan died 1584, and Boris Godunov became a member of the troika appointed by Ivan to act as regents for Feodor, who was crowned Czar a few months after his father's death. The senior member of the troika died a few years later, and Feodor died in January, 1598, marking the end of the Rurikid dynasty. Godunov was of Tatar origin and had been a favorite of Ivan's oprichnik, a combination palace guard and secret police. He had strategically advanced his position by marrying a daughter of the head of the oprichnik.

And so, Boris assumed total power. His policy was generally pacific, though, and prudent. Despite the Machiavellian nature of the way he gained power, he ruled wisely, but his reign was relaively short, and he died in 1605, after which Russia descended into the Time of Troubles.
 

Obviously, this is a life which is a fit subject for grand opera. Despite the general failure of the Shostakovich revision of Boris, the work on the subject profoundly affected his outlook. Now, onto Khovanshchina. First, take a look @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khovanshchina

 
Apparently, Shostakovich was interested in the opera as early as the late 1930's. But he did not really revise it until 1959. This revision was much more critically accepted and of the many completions and revisions that have been done over the years, it is Shostakovich's version which is now the one generally performed when the opera is mounted.
 
Now, on to the 12th symphony. I have, until now, always thought of the 12th as Shostakovich's weakest symphony. But Petrenko, in his commentary, forced me to radically revise my view, as he points out important features of this work which I, because of my lack of sophistication in these matters, had been unaware. Petrenko writes,
"The Twelfth is probably the most cryptic of them all, and a big discovery for me. Its a hugely powerful piece, especially if you understand what's behind it. He makes use of the traditional 'People of Russia' from Mussorgsky. It has a three note them representing the people, while Lenin is heard in a two note theme (I subscribe to the view that he denotes a brutal leader or anti-human force in two note themes, and humanity in three note ones). You can hear how Lenin moves the people toward catastrophe in the first movement. He then follows Lenin to Rasliv in Finland, where he refelcts on his stragegy. We hear a theme from Sibelius's Lemminkainen in Tuonela whch deals with the hero's death, where he is cut into pieces and thrown in the river--later his mother pulls out the pieces and only by her tears is he restored again. The message is clear. Its one of the most clever calculations he made: firstly, to quote Sibelius--the necessary people would understand the message--and to put in the revolutionary songs as a cover. You can sense how songs start with a clear intention but are altered and warped.
"In the final part, 'The Dawn of Humanity,' he was raising a question for himself; if the 1905 revolution had been successful [the subject, let us recall, of the 11th symphony], would a parliamentary regime have been established?"
 
 

2) Erkki-Sven Tüür (born 16 October 1959): |Tr. 1, Symphony 4 for solo percussion & symphony orchestra "Magma" (2002) (31'06) |Tr. 2, Inquiétude du Fini for male chorus and chamber orchestra (1992); words by Tõnu Õnnepalu (18'29) |Tr. 3, Igavik (Eternity) for male chorus and chamber orchestra (2006); words by Doris Kareva (4'37) |Tr. 4, Rada ja jäljed (The Path and the Traces) for string orchestra (2005) (12'36). Dedications: Tr. 1--to Evelyn Glennie, Tr 3, in memoriam Lennart Meri, Tr. 4, dedicated to Arvo Pärt. Paavo Järvi, cond. (all), Estonain National Symphony Orch. (all), Estonain Philharmonic Chamber Choir (Tr. 2), Male singers from Estonian Philharmonic Camber Chor & Estonian National Male Choir (Tr. 3), Evelyn Glennie, percussionist (Tr. 1). TT: 67'23. Rec. Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn, 7-11 JUN 2006. A Virgin Classics CD.

 
The following is an edited version of the liner notes.
Tuur's principal composition teacher, Lepo Sumera (1950-2000) was one of a number of Estonian composers who had used the minimalist style derived from "regilaul," the ancient tradition of runic singing, as part of a symphonic synthesis that also took in elements of modernism.

In Tuurs early scores, that minimalist heritage was readily observable--but it was only part of his arsenal: Tuur had always enjoyed contrast, and Inquiétude du Fini, composed in 1992 and thus the earliest work on this disc, displays his fondness for juxtaposing dissimilar musical materials, often diatonic-triadic, rhythmically simple shapes and more complicated textures that are dense, atonal, even serial. Tuur had just received a commision from the Espoo Choral Festival in Finland, and, discussing the matter with his friend, the poet and writer Tõnu Õnnepalu, explained that he was looking for a text that expressed concern with the future of mankind and of the planet more generally, but in an oblique, poetic manner. Õnnepalu responded that he had already written such a text in French--one which, moreover, really needed music to bring it alive. Inquiétude du Fini, scored for mixed chorus, flute, clarinet, bassoon and strings, presents its building materials straightaway: sliding string clusters, dancing minimalist fragments, and the opening 'Qu' est-ce qui e passe?" of the chorus, with the music alternately swirling forward in confident rhythms and coming to rest on little islands of atonal calm.

Tuurs most recent music is concerned with integration, with breaking down rather than underlining contrasts, as his Fourth Symphony, Magma, completed in August 2002, commandingly confirms. The starting point of Magma came in the form of a request from Evelyn Glennie for a percussion concerto. As Tuur turned the idea over in his mind, he realized that he wanted to write a piece where the percussion soloist and the orchestra were much more deeply integrated than is possible in a concerto; the solution became a symphony with a percussion soloist--in front of the orchestra, not tucked away in the back, where the percussion is usually to be found. The title was suggested to Tuur because of the raw energy and inner power displayed by the material and its ability to burst out in different moods; magma can also take an infinite number of shapes and behave in different ways, flowing or turning to stone.

Igavik (Eternity) was written for the 2006 funeral services of Lennart Meri, a friend of Tuur's, who was also the 2nd president of the independent Estonai (1992-2001), and an important filmmaker, linguist, and gerneral leader of the intellectual elite of Estonia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lennart_Meri Written to a text by Estonian poet Doris Kareva, it is intended as a musical portrait of Meri, who was an Estonian nationalist and yet an anti-isolationist whose books always sought to present Estonia in an international context. Much of his academic work had been in the field of linguistics. This arose out of his exile by the Soviet Union to Siberia during and after WWII, in which he associated with people who spoke other Finno-Ugric languages, and he became interested in the development of this whole family of languages. Talk about making lemonade when life gives you lemons! Tuur uses the rhythms and motifs of Estonia's 3000 year old shamanic tradition at the beginning of the piece, which becomes more sophisticated and textually complex as the music evolves. It is, Tuur says, "a short description of his life, full of struggles and transformations."

"The Path and the Traces," was written in 2005, when Tuur and his wife were vacationing on Crete. Tuur had occasion to attend a church ceremony there and he fell in love with Greek Orthodox plainchant. It inspired him to write this piece, which suggests the huge arches of the church as a framework, with the song which resonated below them, one element static, the other in constant flow. The score bears a dedication to Arvo Part, whose 70th birthday was approaching, and it as performed at a celebratory concert. The title refers to the path one follows in music, in life, and leaving traces with others may follow. Near the end of the piece, we hear fragments, traces, of Part's music, suggesting the Part is a good man in whose footsteps to follow. It is also an homage to the life of Tuur's father, which came to an end as he was writing the piece.
 
 
3) CD 6 of the 10 CD SONY set titled "Leopold Stokowski: The Columbia Stereo Recordings." The CD is entitled "Transcriptions by Leopold Stokowski." |Tr. 1, Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908) Flight of the Bumblebee (1'22) |Tr. 2, Claude Debussy (1862-1918): Clair de lune (4'48), Tr. 3, Frederic Chopin (1810-49): Mazurka in B Flat Minor, Op. 24/4 (2'37) |Tr. 4, Claude Debussy: La Soiree dans Grenade (6'10) |Tr. 5, Ottokar Novacek (1866-1900): Perpetuum mobile (3'36) |Tr. 6, P.I. Tchaikovsky (1840-93): Humoresque (1'54) |Tr. 7, Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909): Fete-Dieu a Seville (8'31) |Tr. 8, D. Shostakovich (1906-75): Prelude in E Flat Minor, Op. 87/14 (3'13) |Tr. 9, N. Rimsky-Korsakov: Ivan the Terrible: Prelude to Act III (4'08) |Tr. 10, F Chopin: Prelude in D Minor, Op. 28'24 (2'31)--National Philharmonic Orch.--Rec. West Ham Central Mission, London, 12-13, 16 JUL 1976.
 
Not much to be said here except many of these transcriptions are gauche and tasteless and I love them.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by Belle » Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:49 am

Sorry, I just couldn't read all of that!!

It's nearly 11pm at my place - all quiet on the western front except for this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKpNfd7Ryf0

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by John F » Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:07 am

RebLem wrote:I checked out the statement about Boris Godunov and Khovanshchina, neither of which was completed by Mussorgsky
Musorgsky completed "Boris Godunov" twice, as the piece you linked to explains well enough. I think he goes off the rails, however, when he says, "Dmitri Shostakovich attempted a version in 1940 to 'bring out, as far as possible, its affinity with the Soviet epoch.'" If Shostakovich actually said that - maybe he did, I can't find it anywhere - it was doubtless in the wake of the "Lady Macbeth of Mzensk" debacle a few years earlier to placate the Soviet music commissars. His version improves on what most people then and now considered the original's weak orchestration, without touching any of the actual notes; midway in the 20th century, Musorgsky's original harmonic style no longer felt "wrong."

If the public rejected Shostakovich's version - which was not sung at the Bolshoi Theater though I believe it was at the Kirov in Leningrad - it wouldn't have been because its orchestration seemed to them "vulgar, strident and more reflective of Shostakovich than of Mussorgsky." Shostakovich's 5th symphony, three years previously, had been a tremendous success with the public, and besides, in 1940 they had never heard Musorgsky's orchestration, which had long been superseded by Rimsky-Korsakov's. Actually, I don't know how Shostakovich's version was received by the Soviet audience; maybe I can find out. I can well believe it was less liked than Rimsky's; personally, I like Rimsky's better.

Shostakovich acknowledged the powerful influence of Musorgsky's music on his own, and not just the 6th symphony. The prisoners' chorus at the beginning and end of the last act of "Lady Macbeth of Mzensk" seems to me an outright homage to Musorgsky, particularly the crowd scenes in "Boris Godunov"


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcIg-avkBCg
John Francis

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:15 am


On Wednesday, 28 MAR 2018, I listened to 2 CDs.
 
 
1) W.A. Mozart (1756-91): |Tr. 1-3, Symphony 1 in E Flat Major, K. 16 (13'57) |Tr. 4-6, Symphony in F Major, K. Anh. 223 (19a) (11'27) |Tr. 7-9, Symphony 4 in D Major, K. 19 (9'02) |Tr. 10-12, Symphony 5 in B Flat Major, K. 22 (6'41) |Tr. 13-15, Symphony in G Major, K. Anh. 221 (45a) "Old Lambach" (2nd vers.) (12'25) |Tr. 16-19, Symphony 6 in F Major, K. 43 (17'01)--Trevor Pinnock, cond., The English Concert. Rec. Henry Wood Hall, London, 1, 5, 6, 9/1992. CD 1 of an 11 CD ARCHIV set of the complete Mozart Symphonies by these forces.
 
The edition of Mozart's works used for these recordings are late 20th century ones with all the advantages of the latest scholarship. And, of course, Pinnock and The English Concert here fully justify their reputations as among the best and most conscientious and scholarly of musicians. These performances are excellent, but I still prefer the Hogwood edition for completeness, and performance standards as good as any and better than most.
 
 
2) L.V. Beethoven (1170-1827): |Tr. 1-3, Piano Sonata 8 in C Minor, Op. 13 "Pathetique" (18'48) |Tr. 4-6, Piano Sonata 14 in C Sharp Minor, Op. 27/2 "Moonlight" (15'54) |Tr. 7-10, Piano Sonata 18 in E Flat Major, Op. 31/3 (22'09) |Tr. 11-12, Piano Sonata 24 in F SHarp Minor, Op. 78 (7'28)--Annie Fischer, piano--Rec. Abbey Rd., Studio 3, 12-14 OCT 1958 (Tr. 1-3), 18-20 NOV 1958 & 5-6 FEB 1959 (Tr. 4-6), 14-17 JUN 1961 (Tr. 7-10), 14 OCT 1958 (Tr. 11-12). CD 4 in an 8 CD Warner Classics set titled "Annie Fischer: The Complete London Studio Recordings."
 
I noted just a few points at which Annie Fischer falters. The difficult, fast passages she does with superb, flawless elan. Its in a few slow or andante passages that she briefly hits a note just a little too early or late. It reminds me of a story I once heard about Ring Lardner, who was once assigned to write a statement as if it had been made by a not very bright professional athlete. When he turned it it, some of the words of moderate difficulty were misspelled, but all the long, complicated words were perfectly spelled and he was asked why. He replied that such people often have a false sense of security about their knowledge of how to spell most words, but look up the long, complicated ones to make sure they get the spelling right. Something like that seems to be happening here. Perhaps Fischer felt so confident in the slow and moderately paced music that she didn't practice as much as she should have, concentrating instead on doing the fast trills and really complicated passages well.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:37 am

I'm listening to: Mozart/London Serenades/Camerata Bern/Novalis

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:30 am

​On Thursday, 29 MAR 2018, I listened to 4 CDs.
1) Rick Sowash (b. 1950): |Tr. 1-3. Clarinet Trio 2 "Enchantment of April" (20'08) |Tr. 4-7. Clarinet Trio 1 "Voyage of the Spirit" (17'38) |Tr. 8-10. Clarinet Trio 3 "November Shadows" (15'20)--Les Gavottes Trio (Lucien Aubert, clarinet, Francois Adloff, cello, Jean Tatu, piano).
I could find no label name on this CD, although it does say "triosowash03" in several places. I don't know if that's a label name or not. Also, I could find no information on performance venues or dates, though the CD does indicate the three musicians have some association with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo. Thanks are given on the CD to two specific individuals associated with that orchestra, one Walter Coomans, and the other Madame Claude Adloff, probably a relative of some sort of the cellist in Les Gavottes, and this is one CD of Sowash's that has liner notes in French as well as in English.
For those interested in the composer, I suggest you read his resume on his website. He also sells all his CDs directly from his own website, which is how I bought this and other Sowash records, though some of them are available at ArchivMusic, Amazon, and HBDirect.
http://www.sowash.com/recordings/resume.html
From the liner notes, written by Sowash:
Trio 2--This work is...based on melodies from songs written for a superb mezzo who was a dear friend. The friendship ended and thus the melodies are revisited with feelings of sadness and loss but also with gratitude and a certain majesty. Many of the songs were about April, a majestic month. The middle movement was originally sung to words describing a magical moment when a mournful woman opens a window and discovers a new world of soothing beauty and spiritual calm. The scene occurs in Elizabeth von Arnim's novel, "Enchanted April." The final movement asserts the loveliness of springtime, even though shadows remain.
Trio 1--This work describes a spiritual journey in search of Certitude, of Joy, of God. The first movement is deeply sad, mysterious and empty, an expression of resigned yearning, but also awareness of the beauty of the world, of life. The second movement evokes our search for meaning through romantic love and nostalgia. A crisis is reached in the third movement, resolved only when the trill sounds high in the piano. The instruments intone an "Alleluia" which was an important part of the Lutheran liturgy in my boyhood church [Sowash is originally of French Huguenot heritage; the family name was originally Sauvage]. The music continues, without a pause, into the fourth movement, which is expected to be an exuberant, joyful finale. It begins that way, but doubt and mystery soon creep in again. The mysterious music of the first movement recurs; indeed, the music almost stops completely. Only the very slow, strange ruminations of the cello keep it alive. Thus Beauty, if not Certitude, is reaffirmed and the movement ends--not with a strong, positive gesture, but with a strong, positive gesture, but with a slowing, fading, rising gesture, ambiguously suggesting both resolution and non-resolution. The music ceases, our voyage continues.
Trio 3--The dark energy of Nature continues, uninterrupted and unimpressed by our little human stories of searchig and loss. This trio evokes the ambiguity of November. Seemingly, everything has died, yet everywhere there is evidence of life. The trees and hills are bare, yet their lively, underlying design is clearer than ever. The leaves are dead, yet every twig bears a bud, a hint of the spring to come. The final movement expresses the exuberance of Nature, at times almost vulgar. Being part of Nature ourselves, after all, we stretch our lims in November, warm ourselves at the fire, drink wine and laugh with our friends. The great god Pan never dies; the energy of life is forever reaffirmed.
I'd just like to comment that the composer's Lutheran heritage seems to be revealed in his Germanic penchant for capitalizing all sorts of words that are generally begin with lower case letters in English.
2) CD 6 of the 24 CD SONY box entitled "Gary Graffman: The Complete RCA & Columbia Album Collection." | L.V. Beethoven (1770-1827): Piano Concerto 3 in G Minor, Op. 37 (34'04)--Walter Hendl, cond., Chicago Symphony Orch. Rec. Orchestra Hall, Chicago, 5 MAY 1959.
A very knowledgeable reviewer named Hank Drake at Amazon wrote a long review of this whole box. Here's what he said specifically about this particular performance, with which I concur:
"Graffman's way with the Third Concerto is briskly dramatic, but far from dry. For example, Graffman plays the piano's three opening scales with a sense of upward direction, like an opera singer making a crescendo toward a high note - rather than as mere scales to be neatly executed. The Chicago Symphony under Hendl provides an able accompaniment."
3) CD 6 in the 11 CD Vasily Petrenko cycle of the Shostakovich symphonies for NAXOS. |Tr. 1-4. Symphony 7 in C Major, Op. 60 "Leningrad" (1941) (79'15)--Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orch.--Rec. @ Liverpool Philharmonic Hall 1-3 JUN 2012.
Petrenko writes:
"The people of Russia were caught between two evils: which would they prefer? Stalin was a murderer but gave them national identity; Nazism promised genocide. I feel here he was raging against all anti-human force. At the beginning, we are dealing with some of the most beautiful music ever written, which is then sytematically destroyed. You can hear that senseless, mechanical force in the motoric drums, the chilling banality of the march. You can hear his experience, too, of being a fire warden on the roofs of St Petersburg. He refused to leave for a long time, yet he was still evacuated before the really horrible things happened, before people started eating each other. What he had witnessed was the amazing strength of the human spirit, in defending each other and their city.
"He felt a responsibility to get as many musicians as possible back from the front line to play in the Leningrad performance. They were give food: that's why there were so many extra brass, harps, and woodwinds--he was literally saving lives. And so the Symphony is a memorial to the people of Leningrad. The live broadcast was a powerful symbol of resistance, for the country, and for the Allies."
4) William Walton (1902-83): |Tr. 1-10. Belshazzar's Feast, Cantata for baritone solo, double mixed choruses, semi-chorus, 2 brass bands, and symphony orchestra (1931) (35'33) |Tr. 13-16. The Wise Virgins ballet suite arranged from music by J.S. Bach (19'28) |Tr. 17. Siesta for small orchestra (1926) (5'16) |Tr. 18-19. Suite from Henry V (1963): 2 excerpts (5'22)--Performers for Tr. 1-10--John Pritchard, cond., BBC Symphony Orch., BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC Singers, London Philharmonic Choir, Stephen Roberts, baritone |Performers for Tr. 11-19. Charles Mackerras, cond., English Chamber Orch. Rec. dates and venues not listed. CD published 1995.
Synopsis of Belshazzar's Feast from Wikipedia, with interpolations by yours truly:
In the story of Belshazzar's Feast, the Jews are in exile in Babylon. After a feast at which Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, [son of Nebuchadnezzar] commits sacrilege by using the Jews' sacred vessels to praise the heathen gods, he is miraculously killed, the kingdom falls, and the Jews regain their freedom. [It is described in the Book of Daniel, and the text { https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belshazza ... t_(Walton) } is taken from that book and Psalm 137 (KJV), which corresponds to Psalm 136 in the Catholic Douay-Rheims edition].
Per Wikipedia, "The Wise Virgins is a one-act ballet based on the biblical Parable of the Ten Virgins [Matthew 25: 1-13 in both KJV & Douay-Rheims] It was created in 1940 with choreography by Frederick Ashton, to a score of music by Johann Sebastian Bach orchestrated by William Walton. A suite was arranged at a later time from the ballet, and that is what is played here, and usually. In fact, I checked at Amazon, and I see only one recording which clearly indicates it is of the complete ballet, but a dozen or more of the suite.
Per Wikipedia, "Suite from Henry V is a 1963 orchestral arrangement of William Walton's musical score from the 1944 film Henry V. The suite, arranged by Muir Mathieson, is in five movements, although the second and fourth movements had already appeared in string arrangement form in Walton's own Two Pieces for Strings from Henry V.
1. Overture: 1. The Globe Playhouse
2. Passacaglia: Death of 2. Falstaff
3. Charge and Battle
4. "Touch her soft lips and part"
5. Agincourt Song"
This performance is of two excerpts from the above--#s 2 and 4.
These are all very high quality performances. Recommended, especially for the first two works.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by karlhenning » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:19 am

It is, after all, the day.



Cheers,
~k.
Karl Henning, PhD
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http://www.luxnova.com/

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:40 am


On Friday, 30 MAR 2010, I listened to the following music, 1 YouTube vid and 3 CDs:
 
 

1) Karl Henning: Passion Op. 92 excerpt: Sine Nomine (7'30)-- Paul Cienniva, cond., St Mary's Cathedral Choir, Fall River, MA, 19 March 2010. From YouTube as posted at another website by the composer. ​https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8netMuAHFkI

 

Karl is a Boston-area based composer who has been an online friend of mine for a long time. Over @ http://www.classicalmusicguide.com/ we were the only two people who seemed to like the Maxim Shostakovich cycle of his father's symphonies, with the Prague Symphony Orch., the second orchestra in Prague, after the much more famous Czech Philharmonic. He likes it better than any other, I would now place it second or third, behind the Caetani set, and possibly the Barshai one, too. He composes mostly liturgical music for the Episcopalian liturgy, but I noted recently that he has another work of about a half hour's length, entitiled "Henry David Thoreau in the Concord Jail." I'm going to try to get around to listening to it soon.

 
 
2) CD 7 in the 10 CD Sony set entitled "Leopold Stokowski: The Columbia Stereo Recordings." Jean Sibelius (1865-1957): |Tr. 1-4. Symphony 1 in E Minor, Op. 39 (1900) (37'28) |Tr. 5. The Swan of Tuonela from the Lemminkainen Suite, Op. 22/3 (1895, rev. 1939) (8'14)--Michael Winfield, English horn (Tr. 5), National Philharmonic Orch. Rec. West Ham Central Mission, London, 2, 4-5 NOV 1976.
 
The First is my personal second favorite Sibelius symphony, after only the Second. I must say I find this performance uncharacteristically tame. I first fell in love with it from the Barbirolli recording, but I have heard many others in recent years, including both Colin Davis recordings, that surpass this one. Among those are two by Paavo Berglund, and another by Arvo Vollmer and the Adelaide (AU) Symphony--this last you can hear for free on YouTube, btw.
 
 
3) Don Gillis (1912-78): Tr. 1-5. Portrait of a Frontier Town (1947) (20'25) |Tr. 5, The Alamo (1949) (12'49) |Tr. 7-9. Symphony 7: Saga of a Prairie School (1948) (25'58)--Ian Hobson, Sinfonia Varsovia. Rec. Studio S1 of Polish Radio 23 MAR & 25 MAY 2005. An Albany Records CD.
 
Amazon.cxom's editorial review:
"By now you know that we at Albany Records really like Don Gillis’ music! And this release is especially important because it contains three of his most beloved works in their first commercial re-recordings since the classic 1950 LP’s conducted by the composer. All of these works have that wonderfully bracing, great-outdoors sound that fans of Gillis thrill to. The common theme of the Old West runs through the entire program. Each of these works abounds in the terrific melodies, spicy harmonies and a strong narrative drive which are all the musical fingerprints of this fine American composer. As in past releases, Ian Hobson and the Sinfonia Varsovia show a great affection for this music. If anything, Maestro Hobson matches Gillis’ own energetic performances and even finds a bit more emotional gravity in The Alamo. On top of this is the excellent SACD surround sound that really brings out the orchestral colors hidden in these scores."
 
This is all typical, tonal, exuberant, optimistic, prgrammatic Don Gillis Americana. The first work here is a paean to Fort Worth, TX, where Gillis spent his late childhood. Even before I read the liner notes, I thought, as I have of other Gillis works, "This sounds lot like Copland's 'Rodeo.'" The liner notes, I found out, make the same reference, except Gillis began work on this before the publication of the Copland work, around 1940, whereas the Copland ballet was premiered in 1942. But this was not completed until 1947, so its difficult to say whether Copland influenced him or not. And, of course, keep in mind that in the 1940's, Copland and Gillis were both part of the NYC mileu. He orignally intended to tilte it "Cowtown," Fort Worth's nicname. And, you should learn, if you haven't already, that part of the subtext here and in the victory of another Fort Worthian, Van Cliburn, is the fact that Fort Worth and Dallas are more or less twin cities, with Dallas having the patrician and Fort Worth the plebian aspects about them. So there's an element of the little guy against the big guy here, in both cases.
 
I never did get all the pernicious folderol surrounding the myth of the Alamo and the Texas struggle for independence from Mexico. They like to portray it as a fight for freedom, but actually, the real motivation was just the opposite. They wanted a government that would provide military and poltical support for the institution of slavery. Slavery was formally illegal under Mexican law, but in practice, they had a laizzez faire attitude about it. Texans could have slaves and Mexico would not interfere. But, if a slave ran away, and the slaveowner wanted the federales to help track him/her down, the Mexican government told them, "Nothing doing! You're on your own, bud!" And that's what the fight for Texas independence, and the fight at the Alamo, were all about. All this claptrap about "freedom" is so much malarkey.
 
As for Symphony 7: Saga of a Prairie School, a reviewer named G Studdard @ Amazon writes from personal experience:
"This recording is surprisingly close to the composer's original concept. As a music student at Texas Christian University in 1949, I played the premier performance of this work conducted by the composer, Don Gillis. The work was commissioned for the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the university. The tempi for many portions of the work were Prestissimo, a hallmark of Gillis' experience in college and dance bands. A side note...his brother, Lou Gillis, was also a member of the university symphony and later succeeded Don some years later as Band Director at TCU."
It should also be noted that TCU was Gillis's own undergraduate alma mater. And Gillis himself, as quoted in the liner notes, says,
"The program for the symphony follows a spiritual rather tha a realistic or historical approach, and its four movements, played without a pause, are: 'The Vision,' 'The People,' 'The Dedication,' and 'The Fulfillment.' 'The Vision' opens with a pastoral theme reflecting the land, the prayerful willingness of the founding fathers to devote their lives to a cause, from the spiritual theme the entire symphony is built."
 
 
4) CD 5 of the 8 CD Warner Classics set entitled "Annie Fischer: The Complete London Studio Recordings." L.V. Beethoven (1770-1827): |Tr. 1-3. Piano Sonata 21 in C Major, Op. 53 "Waldstein" (23'22) |Tr. 4-6. Piano Sonata 30 in E Major, Op. 109 (18'27) |Tr. 7-8. Piano Sonata 32 in C Minor, Op. 111 (25'11)--Rec. Abbey Rd Studio 3, 12-13 JUN 1957 (Tr. 1-3), 20-21 NOV 1958 (Tr. 4-6), 13-15 JUN 1961 (Tr. 7-8). Lic. from EMI.
 
Fischer's virtuosity reigns supreme on this CD. I detect none of the occasional awkwardness of phrasing I noted in CD 4 of this series. These are masterful performances as great as any on record.
Last edited by RebLem on Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:46 am

This morning I am finishing a DG2CD collection on Mozart symphonies with Fricsay/various orchestras.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sun Apr 01, 2018 5:40 am


On Saturday, 31 MAR 2018, I listened to 5 CDs.
 
 
1) Clarles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924): |Tr. 1-3. Violin Sonata 1 in D Major, Op. 11 (22'45) |Tr. 4. Caoine: "A Lament," Op. 54 #1 (6'58) |Tr. 5-9. Four Characteristic Pieces, Op. 93 (21'29) |Tr. 10-13. Violin Sonata 2 in A Minor, Op. 70 (26'40)--Paul Barritt, violin, Catherine Edwards, piano.--A helios CD, rec. 2-4 OCT & 8 FEB 1999.
 
First, a housekeeping note: I suspect that, because of the way it was written, the recording date ought to read 1998 after OCT, but, I swear, the above is exactly as it appears on the CD jacket, so what am I to do? Just be aware, if such things are important to you, that what is written may be inaccurate because of careless phrasing.
 
The booklet which comes with this CD is a masterpiece of musical elucidation. We learn a lot about Stanford's childhood musical experiences growing up in a bourgeois, musical academic household in Dublin. Famous musicians visited frequently, including Joseph Joachim, a close friend of his father's. The music has a pastoral feel about it, a feeling accentuated by the cover art, a painting called "Havesting Scene," by Howard Gull Stormont, which shows farmers baling hay onto a horse drawn wagon.
 
 
2) W.A. Mozart (1756-91): CD 2 in the 11 CD Archiv box of the complete Mozart symphonies. |Tr. 1-4. Sym. 7 in D Major, K. 45 (10'45) |Tr. 5-8. Sym. 8 in D Major, K. 48 (13'25) |Tr. 9-12. Sym. 9 in C Major, K. 73 (75a) (13'40) |Tr. 13-16. Sym. in F Major, K. 76 (42a) (14'42) |Tr. 17-20. Sym. in B Flat Major, K. Anh. 214 (45b) (13'24) |Tr. 21-23. Sym. in D Major, K. 81 (73l) (9'57)--Trevor Pinnock, cond., The English Concert. Rec. Henry Wood Hall, London, 1, 5, 6, & 9/1992.
 
Another CD of very early symphonies very well performed from urtexts published 1956-85.
 
 
3) CD 7, entitled "The Virtuoso Liszt," from the 24 CD SONY box titled "Gary Graffman: The Complete RCA & Columbia Album Collection." |Tr. 1. Liebestraum 3 in A Flat Major, S. 541/3 "O lieb, so langdu lieben kannst!" (4'35) |Tr. 2. Un sospiro--Etude de Concert in D Flat Major, S. 144/3 (5'01) |Tr. 3. Hungarian Rhapsody 11 in A Minor, S. 244/11 (5'43) |Tr. 4. Il penseroso in C Sharp Minor, S. 161/2 (4'04) |Tr. 5. Consolation 3 in D Flat Major, S. 172/3 (4'07) |Tr. 6-11. Grandes Etudes de Paganini, S. 141 (23'35). Rec. Webster Hall, NYC 14 APR 1960 (Tr. 1,4), 13 APR 1960 (Tr. 2,3,5), 28 MAY 1959 (Tr. 6), 28 MAY & 3-4 JUN 1959 (Tr. 7), 2-4 JUN 1959 (Tr. 8 ), 27 MAY 1959 (Tr. 9), 2 JUN 1959 (Tr. 10), 27 MAY & 4 JUN 1959 (Tr. 11).
 
These are, as the album title says, virtuoso pieces flawlessly performed.
 
 
4) D. Shostakovich (1906-75): Tr. 1-5. Symphony 8 in C Minor, Op. 65 (1943) (61'57)--Vasily Petrenko, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orch. Rec. Philharmonic Hall, Liverppo, 6-7 APR 2009. CD 7 of the 11 CD NAXOS set of the complete Shotakovich Symphonies by these forces.
 
Petrenko writes,
"By 1943, Rachmaninoff had written his "Ode to Victory," and people thought that the war was almost won. But the 8th Symphony wasn't a celebration; already he was asking, "At what cost? What's next?" The Eighth is a view of the underside of war, the contribution of people far from the front lines. Evacuated to the village of Ivanonva, he saw how the women suffered and struggled on.
"The ending is a requiem: that really bothered people. We find a sense of strain and exhaustion here, partly because he worked through gastric typhoid, but also he was reflecting the life of ordinary people, which was extremely hard. He was saying "we are doing this for our homeland, not for those bastards in power." In some ways, I find it the most patriotic of his symphonies."
The last movement does end in a dirge that seems a premonition of the ending of the Fifteenth Symphony. But in the Fifteenth, the dirge is mixed up with themes from the first movement, in which a child is playing with toys; our subject is remembering his whole life. Here in the Eighth, I hear just people who are very tired afer a day's very hard work falling readily to sleep.
 
 
5) Richard Yardumian (1917-85): |Tr. 1-7, Armenian Suite (13'52) |Tr. 8-9, Symphony 2 (23'12)--Varujan Kojian, cxond. Utah Symphony Orch., Lili Chookasian, contralto (Sym. 2). A Phoenix CD. NO recording dates or venues listed. CD published 1990.
 

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Yardumian for as complete a biography of the composer as you will find. The Yardumian family left Armenia and came to America in 1906, before the composer was born, to escape religious persecution: Armenia is mostly Catholic, and they were Protestants. He belonged to several denominations in his life, including a Congregational Church, in which his father was a minister, and he wrote a lot of music with religious themes, including a "Come, Creator Spirit" for a Catholic Church--but he later became a member of one of the three Swedenborgian denominations in the US. He was a deeply religious man. Although he was born and died in Pennsylvania, Yardumian was deeply influenced by Armenian folk music. Largely self-taught, he was nevetheless composer-in-residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra for 15 years (c. 1950-64) under the musical directorship of Eugene Ormandy.

 
Yardumian wrote a 6 movement Armenian Suite in 1937, but a 7th movement Finale was added in 1954, at the suggestion of Eugene Ormandy. And it is what it claims to be. All the movements are at least in the spirit of Armenian folk song and most are based on specifically identifiable songs.
 
Both movements of the symphony are based on Psalms. In fact, the first movement was originally a separate work, called "Psalm 130"[in Protestant bilbes; in the Douay-Rheims Catholic bible, it is Psalm 129). The second movement is also sung, but it seems to be an amalgam of a number of Psalms. The opening line is from Psalm 95/6 (KJV), and 94/6 in D-R. But after that it does not continue into the rest of that Psalm. I'll be damned if I'm going to enter every one of the 42 lines of Mvt 2 to find out where in Psalms it is. That's a project for someone who is writing a book on Yardumian, and I am not.
 
I can say that, like the Armenian Suite, this is tuneful music, but with an exotic ring to it. See the Wikipedia article for a description. Although it has some tone rows in it, its not a strict 12 tone composition.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:56 am

Monday begins with: Mozart sym 35, 40, & 41/Szell/Cleveland

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:03 am


On Sunday, April Fools Day, 2018, I listened to 5 complete CDs + one performance from another.
 
 
1) CD 8 in the 10 CD SONY set entitled "Leopold Stokowski: The Columbia Stereo Recordings." |Tr. 1-11. P.I. Tchaikovsky (1840-93): The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66 (1889): Aurora's Wedding (42'56)--National Philharmonic Orch., rec. West Ham Central Mission, London, 24-25, 27 MAY 1976.
 
This is grand, glorious music. Somehow, I could not escape feeling the ending couple movements would have made a great, alternate score for the scene at the end of one of the Star Wars movies where the three heroes are ushered into Princess Leia's throne room to be honored and decorated. It is grand and magisterial.
 
 
2) Don Gillis (1912-78): |Tr. 1. Twinkletoes (1956) (4'33) |Tr. 2. Rhapsody for Harp & orch. (1953) (14'56) |Tr. 3-5. Piano Concerto 1 "The Encore Concerto" (1956) (18'24) |Tr. 6. Short Overture to an Unwritten Opera (1945) (4'21) |Tr. 7. Rhapsody for Trumpet & Orch. (1970) (17'51)--Ian Hobson, cond. (& pianist in the concerto), Sinfonia Varsovia, Anna Sikorzak-Olek, harp (Tr. 2), Kryzsztof Bednarczyk, trumpet. An Albany Records CD. Rec, in Studio S1 of Polish Radio 6 JAN 2007 (Tr. 2), 7 JAN 2007 (Trs. 1, 3-6), & 21 APR 2007 (Tr. 7).
 
This is the last of my current stash of CDs of the music of Don Gillis. I may purchase others later, but this is it for the time being.
 
At some point, Gillis conceived of the idea of writing a ballet about a young, crippled girl whose dream of becoming a ballerina is brought to life by a new surgical procedure. He began work on it, but eventually thought that the plot was too unoriginal, and he abandoned the idea. But, he did gather together the music he had already written for it, and presented it as the present piece, "Twinkletoes." He intended it as a counterpoint to his cowboy related music in works like Shindig and Portrait of a Prairie Town, to show that he was capable of writing tender, introspective music, too. Gillis said that the idea came to him as a result of his travels as recording engineer on a Far Eastern tour with the Symphony of the Air, successor to the NBC Symphony. His ballerina idea involved the desire to travel the world as a big part of the girl's motivation.
 
Gillis wrote the harp rhapsody in 1953 and dedicated it to Edward Vito, the NBC Symphony's harpist. Gillis conducted it himself with the NBC Summer Symphony 20 JUN 1953 along with two others of his works. Critical opinion was divided. Harold C Schonberg in the NYT wrote that Gillis "has little to say but says it at great length and very loudly." Others disagreed.
 
A couple of anecdotes appear in the accompanying booklet explaining why Gillis wrote the first of his two piano concerti. They are, in some respects, contradictory, but they have some common elements: he heard pianists in casual conversation at dinner parties complaining of the dearth of short concerti that could be paired with a short Mozart concerto, so the pianist could play two short works instead of one long one, and still fill out half a symphony program. My mind immediately went to the Prokofiev 1, 3, 4, & 5, especially the 1st, which is the shortest of them, but it apparently did not occur to Gillis or his pianist friends. At any rate, he decided to write a short concerto to help meet these pianists' needs, but, he says, in one of the stories, "it was greeted with all the enthusiasm usually reserved for a slow trip to the gallows." And, if I may say so, it is no wonder why. This is the simplest, least complicated, least sophisticated, and most repetitive of the works on this disc. It is sprightly, and dumbly opitimistic and cheerful, but there is little here in the way of thematic development.
 
Even the liner notes here concede that the title of the "overture" is a joke. "With no hint of arias, love songs, or even comical turns to come, this piece clearly isn't, nor was it ever truly intended as, an opera overture. It is barely an overture at all, to anything. But, it is short. An unassuming ball of energy, it simply opens, closes, and gets perforated with a sassy Latin motif. An airy pastoral section, virtually lifted from the opening movement of Gillis's First Symphony, makes two brief appearances. And at the very end, a neat contrivance: a sudden hush, a slithery slide in the violins, than bang!--its over."
 

The Trumpet Rhapsody was written for Carl Hilding "Doc" Severinsen (born July 7, 1927)--yes, the same guy who was Johnny Carson's bandleader for many years. He premiered it with something called the Dal-Hi Symphony in Dallas on 23 MAY 1970.

 
This is much better than the two previous works. It is four linked episodes, which carry the trumpet into extremes of range and expressivity. It begins with a burst of energetic music that patches the episodes together, in accelerates from the langour of blues into a klezmer-ish C Minor quiickstep, transforms into pop lyricism, and ends with a blend of martial tattoos, Latin rhythms, and melismatic flashiness.
 
 
3) CD 6 of the 8 CD Warner Classics set entitled "Annie Fischer: The Complete London Studio Recordings." |Franz Schubert (1797-1828): |Tr. 1. Impromptu in A Flat, D. 935 # 2 (7'23) |Tr. 2. Impromptu in F Minor, D 935 # 4 (5'51) |Tr. 3-6. Piano Sonata in B Flat Major, D 960 (33'19) |Tr. 7-9. Robert Schumann (1810-56): Fantasy in C Major, Op. 17 (29'00).--Rec. Abbey Rd Studio 3, 12 NOV 1960 (Tr. 1-2), 30 MAY & 1-2 JUN 1960 (Tr. 3-6), 12 OCT 1958 & 5 FEB 1959 (Tr. 7-9). Lic. from EMI.
 
I went to Amazon to read the nine reviews there of this set, to try to find the words I needed to express my inchoate feelings about these peformances. I was not particularly successful; nothing I read quite captured the feeling I got from these performances. I felt, listening to this disc, like a small child in the hands of someone he knows loves him and has has and the composer's interests at heart, trying to introduce you to him, so you too can be a friend of the composer. Fischer just lets the music speak for itself, she opens it up for you, like a wonderful book by a very wise author. And we also feel a sense of intimate connection with Fischer, too, in whom we have supreme confidence and a sense of comfort brought on by the sense of collegiality she conveys, saying, "I am a personal friend of Schubert and Schumann, and I want to introduce you to them, because I just know we can all be close friends." She is a master, loving and embracing and warm.
 
 
4) Joan Tower (b. 1938): |Tr. 1. Night Fields (1994) (15'37)--The Muir String Quartet (Bayla Keyes, 1st violin, Peter Zazofsky, 2nd violin, Steven Ansell, viola, Michael Reynold, cello)
|Tr. 2. Snow Dreams (1983) (19'14)--Carol Wincenc, flute, Sharon Isbin, guitar.
|Tr. 3. Black Topaz (1976) (13'09)--Laura Flax, clarinet, Patricia Spencer, flute, Jonathan Haas, Deborah Moore, percussion, Stephen Gosling, piano, Mike Powell, trombone, Chris Gekker, trumpet.
|Tr. 4. Tres Lent (in memoriam Olivier Messiaen) (1994) (8'28)--Andre Emelianoff, cello, Joan Tower, piano.
|Tr. 5. Stepping Stones (1993) (19'04)--Double Edge (duo pianists Edmund Niemann & Nurit Tilles)
A New World Records CD rec. @ American Academy of Arts & Letters, NYC 26-28 SEP 1994.
 
I thought it might be interesting to let Joan Tower speak for herself, not particularly about these works, but about music in general, and her love of chamber music and chamber musicians in general. After the first talk, there is a commercial, and then another talk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrzVchdRdSY

 
 
5) W.A. Mozart (1756-91): Symphony 41 in C Major, K. 551 "Jupiter" (1788) (28'06)--Georg Solti, cond., Chicago Symphony Orch.. Live performance in Orchestra Hall, Chicago, 18 MAY 1978. From CD 2 of Vol. 6 in the CSO's limited edition "From the Archives" series. Vol 6 is devoted entirely to the music of Mozart.
 
I suppose the CSO chose to issue this particular box to counter the usual perception that the CSO is fine with the late romantics, but a little slack when it comes to anything before Beethoven. And many have the same perception of Solti, associated, as he is, with the music of Wagner and Strauss. But let us remember that The Marriage of Figaro was the very first work he ever conducted anywhere, that he has recorded 4 of the last 5 Mozart operas, and others as well, as well as a Mozart chamber music record on which he serves as pianist. And he also recorded all the Haydn London Symphonies, though not with the CSO.
 
I find this to be a fine, elegant, and masterful performance.
 
 
6) W.A. Mozart (1756-91): Tr. 1-4. Sym. in D Major, K. 97 (73m) (10'42) |Tr. 5-8. Sym. in D Major (73n) (11'46) |Tr. 9-11. Sym. 11 in D Major, K. 84 (74q) (9'27) |Tr. 12-15. Sym. in B Flat Major, K. Anh. 216 (C11.03) (13'53) |Tr. 16-19. Sym. in F Major, K. 75 (14'16) |Tr. 20-23. Sym. in C Major, K. 96 (111b) (14'04)--Trevor Pinnock, cond., The English Concert. Rec. Henry Wood Hall, London, 1, 5, 6, & 9/1992.
 
More stylish noodling. You know, I wish more conductors would just stay away from complete sets of things unless they make sense. The Hogwood set, which is more complete than any and is a real work of scholarship, which contains everything that even smelled a little like a fragment of a symphony, is something every Mozart lover should have as a reference set--and they're damn good performances, in the bargain. But all these other sets, which purport to be complete, but aren't quite if you get down to the little niggling bits, are really not necessary. This Pinnock set at least is very stylish, but if you listen to the Mackerras set for example, which I bought mostly because his 1966 recording of Handel's Messiah strikes me as the greatest recording ever made of that work, seems perverse to me. Every little piece has a certain sense of urgency about it, as if every musician in the orchestra were trying to hold back a strong desire to pee.
 
This applies to lots of other composers, too. How many people, for example, are really interested in buying complete sets of the Dvorak symphonies that include the first four? Why don't more conductors just record the last five, the ones people really like, the ones written after Dvorak had found his voice?
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:26 am


On Monday, 2 APR 2018, I listened to one CD.
 
CD 8 of a 24 CD SONY set entitled "Gary Graffman: The Complete RCA abd Columbia Album Collection." |Tr. 1-3. Frederic Chopin (1810-49): Piano Concerto 1 in Minor, Op. 11 (37'12) |Tr. 4. Felix Mendelssohn (1809-47): Capriccio brillantin B Minor, Op. 22 (10'25)--Charles Munch, cond., Boston Symphony Orch. Rec. Symphony Hall, Boston, 14 MAR 1960.
 
Found @ Archiv Music.com:

"...I can't remember having heard Graffman in Chopin and I found I kept jotting down notes about how extraordinarily well he plays this concerto... Graffman produces some marvellous pianism and I was left full of admiration for his playing. In the Mendelssohn he plays with great style and with the brilliance this agreeable, if not very remarkable, piece wants.



-- Gramophone [4/1966, reviewing the original LP release]"
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:24 am

April 4 begins with: Haydn Syms. 94 & 101/Monteux/VPO

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:25 pm


On Wednesday, 4 APR 2018, I listened to 2 CDs.
 
 
1) D. Shostakovich (1906-75): Tr. 1-4. Symphony 10 in E Minor, Op. 93 (1953) (52'11)--Vasily Petrenko, cond., Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orch. Rec. Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, 11-12 SEP 2009. CD 8 of the 11 CD NAXOS set of the complete Shostakovich symphonies by these forces.
 
Vasily Petrenko writes:
"No. 10 is the most compact of all the conventional symphonies. The form and contrapuntal writing are perfect. Like the Fifth, its a response to criticism, this time all the protest he received for his Symphonies 8 & 9. It wasn't until the 1990's that the link between this symphony and his Azerbaijani composition pupil Elmira Nazirova came to light, when she opened her archive. Its just one example of many personal things that are probably woven into other works. In the third movement, the horns call out her name, answered by Shostakovich's initials. We know she was his muse, but its impossible to tell from the letters how far the relationship went. His writing is disputed territory, too: complex, poetic--is he using metaphor or referring to actual events? He was 47--this was his mid-life crisis. His own mortality was becoming real to himL he'd seen Prokofieve, Myaskovsky, Shebalin all die, and he was feeling the effects of his own illness.
 
 
2) Marian Anderson (1897--1993) recordings on a (pirate?) label called "Austro Mechana Historic Recordings" published 2006. It is labelled "Marian Anderson II" I don't know what was on Marian Anderson I or if there were additional volumes in the series. At any rate, here's the contents:
1. J Brahms: Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53--Fritz Reiner, cond., RCA Victor Sym. Orch., Robert Shaw, cond., Robert Shaw Chorale of Men's Voices--rec. 1951, venue not stated.
2. G. Mahler: Kindertotenlider (Songs on the Death of Children) (1904) (22'10)--Pierre Monteux, cond., San Francisco Sym. Orch., rec. by RCA 1951. Venue not stated.

3. F Schubert: 11 songs. Franz Rupp, piano. 7) Liebesbotschaft [Love's Message] (2'44) 8) Erlkönig (The Erl King) (4'01) 9) Ständchen (Serenade) (4'18 |10) Gretchen am Spinnrade (Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel) (3'26) |11) Der Tod und das Mädchen (Death and the Maiden) (2'47) |12) Die Forelle (The Trout) (2'07) |13) Ave Maria (5'25) |14) Der Doppelgänger (3'52) |15) Der Jüngling und der Tod (The youth and death) )4'01) |16) Morgen! (Morning!) (3'20) |17) Befreit (Released, or Liberated) (4'36)--Trs. 7-13 rec. 1951. Trs. 14-17 rec. 16 DEC 1947.

 
Given their age, and the rather poor recording even for the period, these performances are not as enjoyable as they might be. That's strictly the fault of the recording engineers, not the performers. Perhaps that was inevitable in the tracks from 1947, but it was not by 1951, when all but the last 4 tracks were recorded.
 
If you don't know about Kindertotenlieder, this article will bring you up to speed:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindertotenlieder

 
Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this disc.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:52 pm


On Thursday, 5 APR 2018, I listened to one CD.
 
 
CD 9 in the 10 CD SONY box entitled, "Leopold Stokowski: The Columbia Stereo Recordings." |Tr. 1-4. F Mendelssohn (1809-47): Symphony 4 in A Major, Op. 90 "Italian" (1833) (29'28) |Tr. 5-8. Georges Bizet (1838-75): Symphony in C Major (1855) (27'02)--National Philharmonic Orch., David Theodore, oboe, (Tr. 6)--Rec. EMI Studios, London, 31 MAY & 3-4 JUN 1977.
 
This is the penultimate CD in this set. The last one is an all-Brahms CD with the Second Symphony and the Tragic Overture. The CDs are presented in the order in which the original LPs were released. However, the present disc is the last one which was recorded. This CD consists of the last performances Stokowski ever conducted, in May and June 1977. He died at the age of 95 on 13 SEP 1977, just three months and ten days after these last recordings.
 
This CD is a fitting cap to a great career. These performances are as full of life and spirit as anything Stokowski ever conducted. I stand in awe at a life so well lived. This Italian symphony is one of my three favorites of this work, along with those of George Szell/Cleveland and Kurt Masur/Gewandhausorchester. I find Masur to be, generally, a dull conductor, but his Mendelssohn--all of it--is the great exception.
 
This is one of my two favorite recordings of the Bizet, the other being that of Thomas Beecham.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:07 pm


On Friday, 6 APR 2018, I listened to 4 CDs.
 
 
1) Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904): |Tr. 1-4. Symphony 5 in F Major, Op. 76 (1875) (37'43) |Tr. 5. Othello Overture, Op. 93 (1892) (13'42) |Tr. 6. Scherzo capriccioso, Op. 66 (1883) (12'41)--Mariss Jansons, cond., Oslo Philharmonic Orch. Rec. Konserthaus, Oslo, 30 AUG & 2 SEP 1989. CD 1 of a 3 CD Musical Heritage Society set, licesned from EMI.
 
Per Wikipedia,

"Dvořák composed his fifth symphony in the summer months in June and July 1875. The opus number is actually incorrect. The autograph was marked with opus number 24, but the publisher Simrock (ignoring the protests of the composer) gave this symphony a high number of 76. It is considered largely pastoral in style, similar to Symphony No. 6 which he wrote about five years later.


 

"The concert overture Othello (Czech: Othello, koncertní ouvertura), Op. 93, B. 174, was written...in 1892 as the third part of a trilogy of overtures called "Nature, Life and Love". The first two parts of the trilogy are In Nature's Realm, Op. 91 ("Nature") and the Carnival Overture, Op. 92 ("Life")."

 
Per Blair Johnston, writing @ AllMusic,

"Antonín Dvorák's 1883 Scherzo capriccioso for orchestra, Op. 66, is one of the most thoroughly enjoyable musical sweetmeats -- in the best sense of that word -- to have graced the world's concert halls over the last century-and-a-quarter. These were the years of Dvorák's first real international fame, and the joy of once and for all escaping poverty can be heard throughout this happy-go-lucky orchestral showpiece. Dvorák wrote the Scherzo capriccioso during April and early May 1883, and it was given its Prague premiere already during the latter month; a much more noteworthy performance came about the following year when Dvorák himself conducted the Scherzo capriccioso during his first visit to London.

"There (sic!) really is a great deal of capriciousness to Op. 66. At the very start of the piece the solo horn playfully begins the main tune in the "wrong" key -- B flat -- and it is up to the rest of the orchestra to find the way over to the real home base: D flat major. The main tune is an almost circus-like affair; a second melody arrives in the guise of a waltz. During the middle of the Scherzo the cor anglais manages, on the strength of simple melodic beauty, to temporarily substitute a little calm D major for the energetic playfulness that has thus far been the work's focus. A horn duet begins the Scherzo's coda, which then proceeds to afford the harpist a chance to make a Nutcracker-like arpeggio solo; a rousing climax is drawn after the solo horn once again chides the orchestra to action."
 
 
2) CD 7 of the 8 CD Warner Classics set titled "Annie Fischer: The Complete London Studio Recordings." |Robert Schumann (1810-56): |Tr. 1-21. Carnaval, Op. 9 (1834-5) (25'29) |Tr. 22-34. Kinderszenen, Op. 15 (18'25) |Tr. 35-42. Kreisleriana, Op. 16 (30'27)--Rec. Abbey Rd Studio 3, 1 JUN 1957 (Tr. 1-21) |Rec. Vienna 14-17 DEC 1964 (Tr. 22-42). Licensed from EMI.
 
Don't you dare ask me what the justification is for titling a collection which contains performances recorded in Vienna "The Complete London Recordings." This conundrum is for someone other than your gentle reporter.
 
Per Wikipedia, with a few interpolations from yours truly--

"Carnaval, Op. 9, is a work by Robert Schumann for piano solo, written in 1834–1835, and subtitled Scènes mignonnes sur quatre notes (Little Scenes on Four Notes). It consists of 21 short pieces representing masked revelers at Carnival, a festival before Lent. Schumann gives musical expression to himself, his friends and colleagues, and characters from improvised Italian comedy (commedia dell'arte).


"Carnaval is one of Schumann's most characteristic piano works. Schumann begins nearly every section of Carnaval with a musical cryptogram, the musical notes signified in German by the letters that spell Asch (A, E-flat, C, and B, or alternatively A-flat, C, and B; in German these are A, Es, C and H, and As, C and H respectively), the Bohemian town in which Ernestine was born, and the notes are also the musical letters in Schumann's own name. Eusebius and Florestan, the imaginary figures appearing so often in his critical writings, also appear, alongside brilliant imitations of Chopin and Paganini. The work comes to a close with a march of the Davidsbündler – the league of King David's men against the Philistines – in which may be heard the clear accents of truth in contest with the dull clamour of falsehood embodied in a quotation from the seventeenth century Grandfather's Dance. The march, a step nearly always in duple meter, is here in 3/4 time (triple meter). The work ends in joy and a degree of mock-triumph. In Carnaval, Schumann went further than in Papillons, by conceiving the story as well as the musical representation (and also displaying a maturation of compositional resource)."

 

Kinderszenen, Op. 15, completed in 1838 and a favourite of Schumann's piano works, depicts the innocence and playfulness of childhood. The "Träumerei" in F major, No. 7 of the set, is one of the most famous piano pieces ever written, which has been performed in myriad forms and transcriptions. It has been the favourite encore of several great pianists, including Vladimir Horowitz. I remember when I reported on his complete Carnegie Hall concert recordings that Truamerei was the most frequently heard work in the set; he also played it at his famous Moscow concert in 1986. Melodic and deceptively simple, the piece has been described as "complex" in its harmonic structure. Kinderszenen is my own personal favorite of alll Schumann's solo piano works. It is noteworthy that he composed it in 1834-8, beginning in the immediate aftermath of the first manifestations of his mental illness in 1833. I hear a yearning for the simplicity of a childhood free of the pressures of adult life.

 

Kreisleriana, Op. 16 (1838), considered one of Schumann's greatest works, carried his fantasy and emotional range deeper. Johannes Kreisler was a fictional musician created by poet E. T. A. Hoffmann, and characterized as a "romantic brought into contact with reality". Schumann used the figure to express emotional states in music that is "fantastic and mad." According to Hutcheson ("The Literature of the Piano"), this work is "among the finest efforts of Schumann's genius. He never surpassed the searching beauty of the slow movements (Nos. 2, 4, 6) or the urgent passion of others (Nos. 1, 3, 5, 7) […] To appreciate it a high level of aesthetic intelligence is required […] This is no facile music, there is severity alike in its beauty and its passion."

 
 
3) Patrick Zimmerli (b. 23 JUL 1968, Bronxville, NY): |Tr. 1-4. Piano Trio 1 (2003) (30'30) |Tr. 4-8. Piano Trio 2 (2003) (31'53)--John Novacek, piano, Scott Yoo, violin, Michael Mermagen, cello--Rec. @ Performing Arts Center Recital Hall, SUNY Purchase College 30 NOV--2 DEC 2004. An Arabesque Records CD.
 
From the liner notes:
"Trio #1 Mvt 1--Allegro--A traditional sonata form, with the opening motto developing into an extended melody. The second theme, first heard in the cello, has an ominous, eastern quality.
Mvt 2--Semplice. An exploration of jazz harmony. The movement is...an extended chaconne, in that its basic harmonic progression repeats twice, with different melodic materials each time through. These two main sections are set off by a contrasting triplet theme over an ostinato that returns toward the conclusion of the movement.
Mvt 3--Energico. A fast rondo with an off-kilter, uneven rhythmic character.
Mvt 4--Molto Rubato-Largo-Presto. Returns to the melodic material of the first movement, interspersed with fantasia-like cadenzas for each of the instruments. A faster middle section is recapitulated in the coda, which builds to a climatic frenzy.
Trio #2 Mvt 1--Allegro-Vivace. After a slow introduction, the main theme enters, a songlike 6/8 passage set to classical harmonies but decidedly extraclassical rhythms. Like the opening of the first trio, this movement is in sonata form.
Mvt 2--Andante. An exploration of devices often found in experimental music, here expropriated into a conservative musical context. Extended techniques such as plucked strings inside the piano, bouncing bows, and left-had pizzicatos are coopted in the service of traditional melody and harmony. The contrasting middle section is a pastoral theme in a lilting 7/4.
Mvt 3--Presto. A scherzo movement showcasing the many virtuosic possibilities of the violin. After an interlude wherein the cello takes the lead, the violin plays ideas of increasing complexity over a repeating vamp in a manner reminiscent of a jazz solo.
Mvt. 4--Allegro Moderato. The concluding movement strives for a pure lyricism, a sense of continuously unfolding melody. The middle section features a scalar theme first heard in the violin; it is followed by a very simple chorale melody in the cello that provides the basis for the movements grand finale. "
I could find no information on either Wikipedia or at his own website about the composer's family background, which is a bit of a shame. He was born in Bronxville, NY, which is one of the 8 most prosperous municipalities in the US, per various demographic indicators. At any rate, in addition to being a composer, he is a saxophonist and recording engineer. These two works were composed for and premiered at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival.
 
 
4) W.A. Mozart (1756-91): CD 4 of the 11 CD Archiv set of the complete Mozart Symphonies conducted by Trevor Pinnock with The English Concert. |Tr. 1-3. Symphony 10 in G Major, K. 74 (7'39) |Tr. 4-7. Symphony 12 in G Major, K. 110 (75b) (17'06) |Tr. 8-11. Symphony 13 in F Major, K. 112 (15'21) |Tr. 12-15. Symphony 14 in A Major, K. 114 (20'46) |Tr. 16-19. Symphony 15 in G Major, K. 124 (15'40). Rec. Henry Wood Hall, London, 1, 5, 6, 7/1992.
 
What to say? These are unfailingly stylish and tasteful, and sometimes even viscerally exciting, committed performances. This CD is a rebuke to those who think that all the Mozart symphonies before #25 or so are juvenilia. These are already mature, exciting works, even though they were all composed by the adolescent Wolfgang 1770-1772, ages 14-16. More precisely, # 10 is from 1770, # 15 from 1772, the three in the middle from 1771. And since he was born on January 27, we don't have to do a lot of calculation to determine how old he was when we know the year of composition.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Sat Apr 07, 2018 3:56 am

Saturday early: Shostakovich Sym 5/Maazel/Cleveland. Reblem, I, too, had some Maxim Shostakovich leading his dad's music and found it very fine.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sun Apr 08, 2018 4:17 am


On Saturday, 7 APR 2018, I listened to 4 CDs.

 

1) CD 9 of a 24 CD SONY set titled "Gary Graffman: The Comlete RCA & Columbia Collection." |Tr. 1-4. Gabriel Faure (1845-1924): Sonata for Violin & Piano 1 in A Major, Op. 13 (1876) (25'17) |Tr. 5-7. Claude Debussy (1862-1918): Sonata for Violin & Piano in G Minor (1917) (12'31)--Berl Senofsky, violin. Rec. Webster Hall, NYC, 16 OCT 1959.

 

Actually, the note in the booklet says the recording date of the Faure is unknown. Sloppy, sloppy. I got out my magnifying glass and checked the liner notes of the original LP release on the back of the CD jacket. The narrative clearly says they recorded both these sonatas on the same day--the Faure in the morning and the Debussy in the afternoon.

 

Joseph Stevenson, quoted from All Music on the Faure:

"Each movement has at least one achingly lovely lyrical theme. The passionate first theme is shared by both instruments (piano and violin are treated as partners throughout the work, rather than as soloist and accompaniment). The second movement, Andante, is reticent, almost shy, in character, with a fine melody for violin. The Scherzo is light-hearted in its outer sections, but lyricism returns in its central section, or "trio." Finally, the last movement is dramatic and emotional, yet even here there is an interlude with a lovely romantic theme."


 

And Blair Johnston, also quoted at All Music, on the Debussy:

" Debussy's Sonata for violin and piano, third in a projected series of six chamber sonatas, was the last work the composer completed before his death in 1918. Progress on the sonata caused Debussy a great deal of frustration; in the end, he felt that it never really came together the way he had originally intended. Nevertheless, the work remains a powerful, forward-looking effort that manages to fuse elements of mainstream concert tradition with a wholehearted affinity for gypsy violin playing.

The sonata unfolds in three movements: Allegro vivo, Intermède (Fantasque et léger), and Finale (Très animé). A broadly melodic flavor informs the first movement, enough so that Debussy clearly felt no need to include the separate slow movement typical of traditional sonatas. Indeed, the extremely legato gestures, frequent hemiolas, and generally long note values belie the movement's Allegro vivo indication, which, rather than reflecting the surface detail of the music, seems calculated to prompt the performers to provide a constant undercurrent of urgency. More active are the piano's arpeggio figurations as the music moves through several keys in preparation for the reprise of the opening material; even these, however, are marked pianissimo.

Of the three movements the Intermède is the most "fantastic," moving with ease between music marked scherzando and that of a more improvisatory nature. A wonderful chromatic melody, marked "expressif et sans rigueur," enters midway through the movement and is repeated just before the return of the opening material (now recast in a fuller, less rhapsodic fashion). A burst of energy from the violin is quickly extinguished as the movement dies away into nothingness.

Debussy had the most difficulty with the sonata's final movement. The opening theme of the first movement returns in the violin, accompanied by the piano in figuration that recalls the composer's Les estampes (1903). After this introductory gesture, the finale proper begins with an explosion of unaccompanied activity in the violin. This almost incessant stream of sixteenth notes is suspended on only a few occasions, each marking vital structural points; in one particuarly striking instance, the movement's main motive sounds pianissimo against a static, B flat major background. Unusually for Debussy, the work ends with a staunch fortissimo affirmation of the home key of G major.

In his last few compositions Debussy began to move away from the kind of pictorial, sensual music that had driven his work for the previous 15 or 20 years. Indeed, the Sonata for violin and piano provides a glimpse of what purely abstract musical wonders the composer might have wrought had he not succumbed to cancer at the age of 55."
 

2) D Shostakovich (1906-75): Tr. 1-4. Symphony 11 in G Minor, Op. 103 (1957) "The Year 1905" (57'37)--Vasily Petrenko, cond., Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orch. CD 9 of an 11 CD NAXOS set of the complete Shostakovich symphonies by these forces.

 

Petrenko writes:
"Shostakovich's own grandfather took part in the 1905 uprising--he was one of the Winter Palace rebels. He survived and was involved in other events. He was a real revolutionary, a hero to the composer. Its not certain exactly what happened that day on 9 January 1905. Some say the tragedy could have been avoided if events had taken a slightly different turn. The people asked for the Tsar to open up his food stores as they were starving. The intention at the beginning was to have a dialogue. Shostakovich, I think, was asking, "What if?"
One of the first pieces by Shostakovich I performed was the Ten Choruses on texts by Revolutionary Poets, which I sang as a chorister. So, I have a voice in my head reciting the events when I hear this symphony. The use of so many popular songs makes it very meaningful to Russians. Its a brilliant setting: the feeling of chill he achieves at the start, the sense of apprehension, are remarkable. Its been seen as a veiled response to the 1956 Hungarian uprising, but I'm ot sure. I think he conceived it before he knew; remember, there was no truthful reporting at the time."

I highly recommend the reading, in its entirety, of the Wikipedia article on this work @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_ ... stakovich) It is unusually informative, both as to its musical content, and its sub rosa political meaning, import, and context.
 

3-4) Edvard Hagerup Grieg (1843-1907): Peer Gynt—Ole Kristian Ruud, cond., Bergen Philharmonic Orch., KorVest (Begen Vocal Ensemble), Hakon Matti Skrede, Chorus Master, Actors: Svein Sturla Hungnes, Peer Gynt, Kari Simonsen, Ase, Peer's mother. Vocalists: Hakan Hagegard, Peer Gynt, Ingebjorg Kosmo, ,mezzo-soprano. Marita Solberg portrays Solveig as both an actress and soprano. This studio recording follows the semi-staged concert version ppresented in Bergen in 2003. It purports to be the whole play by Ibsen together with the complete incidental music by Grieg, but it does not have all the music to be found in the Per Dreier recording. A 2 CD BIS recording. TT: 112'42. Rec. June, 2003 Grieg Hall, Bergen, Norway.

 

The first thing to note about this recording is that it is a viscerally exciting one in a way that the more detached and objective Per Dreier recording is not. That's partly due to the inclusion of spoken dialogue (in Norwegian, but with a complete Norwegian text and English translation in the accompanying booklet. I think someone should do it in English, too. It has been produced in French for French audiences, and I see no reason why it can't be done in English. But the excitement of this version vis a vis the Dreier is also to to much closer micing. The singers on both recordings are equally good, but this one sounds better because of the recording engineers.

 

This is a recording of the whole play with incidental music. Although it purports to contain the complete incidental music, a considerable amount of music contained on the Per Dreier recording for Unicorn-Kanchana is not found here. The three Norwegian Dances that follow "In the Hall of the Mountain King" in Act II, and which total 12'44 of music in the Dreier recording, are not to be found in the Ruud version, and the orchestral version of Solveig's Song which immediately precedes the death of Ase (Peer's mother) is in the Dreier version but absent from Ruud. Numerous other omissions could be noted as well, but you get the idea.

 

I think both these recordings are essential for Grieg lovers. But I certainly hope someone will come up with a recording that combines the best features of both, is truly complete, and, perhaps, with spoken dialogue in English.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by Belle » Sun Apr 08, 2018 4:22 am

"Hammerklavier" Sokolov. This 4th movement as a demonstration of how awful is this performance!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XEY2ej_U0I

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:06 am


On Sunday, 8 APR 2018, I listened to 3 CDs.
 
 
1) J. Brahms (1833-97): Tr. 1-4. Symphony 2 in D Major, Op. 73 (43'55) |Tr. 5. Tragic Overture, Op. 81 (11'37)--Leopold Stokowski, cond., National Philharmonic Orch., rec. 4-5, 9 APR 1977. CD 10 of a 10 CD SONY set titled "Leopold Stokowski: The Columbia Stereo Recordings."
 
This is, of course, the last CD in this box, and the penultimate recording of Stokowski's long and storied career. His very last was CD 9 in this box, which consisted of the Mendelssohn Italian Symphony and the Bizet Symphony in C Major.
 
This is idiomatic Brahms. I note no real interpretive departures from the MOR norm. These two works are a contrast in their demands on a conductor. The symphony seems to invite the loving caress, while the overture challenges conductors to displays of formal rigor. Stokowski meets both challenges magnificently.
 
2) Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904): |Tr. 1-4. Symphony 7 in D Minor, Op. 70 (37'03) |Tr. 5-8. Symphony 8 in G Major, Op. 88 (37'42)--Mariss Jansons, cond., Oslo Philharmonic Orch. Rec. Konserthaus, Oslo, 22-27 JAN 1992. CD 2 of a 3 CD EMI set of the Dvorak Symphonies 5 & 7-9.
 
As the liner notes intimate, but do not quite say, the Seventh is Dvorak's most tightly argued and rigorously developed symphony. Although it has plenty of inspiration from Czech folk idioms, it is also a true classical symphony. It was written on a commssion from the London Philharmonic, and was, therefore, the first bit of evidence that his fame and reputation were beginning to spread far and wide, and Dvorak was eager to make a favorable impression. He met the challenge. This is a good, but not great performance. Two of the best recordings of this symphony and, indeed, all of the last three, come from the Cleveland Orchestra, one with George Szell, and the other with Christoph von Dohnanyi. Kubelik would be another favorite, and that is my choice for a complete survey set of all the Dvorak symphonies.
The Eighth Symphony was, apparently, George Szell's favorite of the Dvorak symphonies. He is known to have programmed it twice as often as he did the New World, and its the only one he recorded twice with them--once for Columbia, and then, toward the end of his life, with EMI. I have often thought I would like to have the trumpet fanfare at the beginning of the last movement as a doorbell ring! Here, in this recording, it sounds muted and disappointing; not so with Szell or Kubelik.
 
3) CD 8 of the 8 CD Warner Classics set titled "Annie Fischer: The London Studio Recordings." |Tr. 1-3. Robert Schumann (1810-56): Piano Concerto on A Minor, Op. 54 (32'17) |Tr. 4-7. Franz Liszt (1811-86): Piano Concerto 1 in E Flat (22'41) |Tr. 8-10. Bela Bartok (1881-1945): Piano Concerto 3 (24'11)--Otto Klemperer, cond., Philharmonia Orch. (Tr. 1-7), Igor Markevitch, cond., London Symphony Orch. (Tr. 8-10). Rec. in Abbey Rd. Studio 1, 22-24 MAY & 16 SEP 1962 (Tr. 1-3), 14 MAY 1960 & 10 MAY 1962 (Tr. 4-7), 14-15 NOV 1955 (Tr. 8-10). Liecensed from EMI.
 
Although I have praised most of Annie Fischer's recordings in this box, I fear I cannot give top honors to any of the present recordings. They are all pretty good, especially the Schumann and Liszt, but I like others better. Samson Francois also recorded each of these concerti--the Bartok once with David Zinman and the ORTF, the Schumann twice with Paul Kletzki (the preferred one) and Charles Munch, both with the ORTF, and the Liszt no less than three times, with Constantin Silvestri and the Philharmonia (the preferred one), Georges Tzipane and the Paris Conservatory Orch, and Masasi Ueda and the Tokyo Symphony Orch. His Bartok isn't that good, but his Schumann and Lizst are lots of others are better than Fischer's--Bronfman/Salonen/LA Phil, Ashkenazy/Solti/LPO, Grimaud/Boulez/LSO, Sandor/A. Fischer/Hungarian State Orch., Schiff/I Fischer, Budapest Festival Orch.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:28 pm


On Tuesday, 10 APR 2018, I listened to 3 CDS.
 
 
1) Rick Sowash (B. 1950): |Tr. 1. Harvest Hymn & Harvest Dance: Homage to Willa Cather , for cello & piano (1980 (5'57) |Tr. 2-6. A Little Breakfast Music for oboe, clarinet, and 2 violins (1976) (23'38) |Tr. 7. The Cliffs Above the Clear Fork for cello & piano (1980) (6'35) |Tr. 8 . Une Pavane Americaine: Homage a Ravel for flute & piano (1990) (7'24) |Tr. 9-12. Cape May Suite for oboe, violin, cello, & piano (1993) (22'56). (TT: 66'42)--Terry King, cello, John Jensen, piano (Tr. 1, 7), Barb Sink, flute, Phil Amalong, piano (Tr. 8 ), The West End Chamber Ensemble (Robert Franz, 0boe (Tr. 2-6, 9-12), Brandon Christensen, violin (Te. 2-6, 9-12), Phoenix Malek, clarinet (Tr. 2-6), Corinne Cook, violin(Tr. 2-6), Carl Donakowski, cello (Tr. 9-12), Adrienne Kim, piano (Tr. 9-12) ) No information on recording dates or venues. CD published 2000 by Rick Sowash Publishing Co.
 
The Homage to Willa Cather, is, as you might expect, a pastoral work. One gets a musical picture of good, honest American yeomen bringing in the harvest, and having a little fun after work.
A Little Breakfast Musiic has 5 movements Orange Juice (1'44), French Toast (5'30), Eggs & Bacon (3'07), Honey on English Muffins (7'22), and A Variety of Herb Teas (5'53). Movements 1, 2, & 4 are a little too sweet for my diabetic sensibilities! Sowash says its a twist on Mozart's A Little Night Music, written for the morning after, and written for two couples he knew when he lived in Mansfield, Ohio, all four of whom played one or another of the instruments in this piece. It is a humorous piece, says Sowash, because he knows this is a BIG breakfast, and nothing about it is "Little."
"The Cliffs Above the Clear Fork" refers to the heights above the town of Bellville, Ohio, where Sowash also lived for a number of years. It was reserved by the town founders for the town cemetery,and it overlooks the Clear Fork of the Mohican River, which winds through rich, Ohio farmland. It was his favorite place to take a walk during the years he lived there.
The Pavane "borrows the formal structure of...{Ravel's] Pavane for a Dead Princess."
The Cape May Suite is a musical reminiscence of a family vacation the Sowash's took @ Cape May, New Jersey.
 
2) CD 5 of the 11 CD Archiv Produktion set "Mozart: The Symphonies, performed by Trevor Pinnock conducting The English Concert. |Tr, 1-3. Sym. 16 in C Major, K. 128 (11'45) |Tr. 4-6. Sym. 17 in G Major, K. 129 (15'58) |Tr. 7-10. Sym. 18 in F Major, K. 130 (19'36) |Tr. 11-14. Sym. 19 in E Flat Major, K. 132 (18'21) |Tr. 15-17. Sym. 26 in E Flat Major, K. 184 (161a) (8'11). Rec. Henry Wood Hall, London, JAN 1993. (TT: 73'51).
 
3) CD 10 in the 24 CD SONY set entitled "Gary Graffman: The Comlete RCA & Columbia Album Collection." |Tr. 1-15. Modest Mussorgsky (1839-81): Pictures at an Exhibition (33'26) |Tr. 16. Mily Balakirev (1837-1910): Islamey: Oriental Fantasy (8'14)--Rec. Columbia 30th St. Studio, NYC, 23-25 JUL 1962. (TT: 41'40).
 
Excellent performances, esp. of the Balakirev. I also own the Byron Janis recording of the Mussorgsky which is coupled with the orchestral version from Antal Dorati and the Minneapolis Symphony, which will give you an idea how old it is.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

John F
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by John F » Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:33 pm

How does Graffman's "Islamey" compare with Simon Barere's? This is pretty much the ultimate in pianistic brinksmanship.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4aO7RYij2I
John Francis

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:55 pm


On Wednesday, 11 APR 2018, I listened to 3 CDs.
 
 
1) D Shostakovich (1906-75): Tr. 1-5. Symphony 13 in B Flat Minor, Op. 113 (1962) "Babi Yar" (59'39)--Vasily Petrenko, cond., Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orch. and Mens Voices from the RLPO Choir & Huddersfield Choral Society, Alexander Vinogradov, bass solo. Rec. Liverpool Philharmonic Hall 27-29 SEP 2013. CD 10 of the 11 CD NAXOS cycle of the Shostakovich Symphonies by these forces.
 
As most of you who will choose to read this already know, this symphony was based on the poem "Babi Yar" by Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, and a complete text in both a Latin alphabet version of Russian with English translation are included in the excellent accompanying booklet. The article on this symphony in that booklet begins about 40% down the first column on page 28 and continues to page 37, where it occupies a little more than a half page. Exclusive of the text, the article explaining the symphony goes from p 28-30. So it is quite detailed, and scholarly. NAXOS did not stint on this. Kudos to them!
Petrenko writes,
"...[This work] has an interesting relationship with Schoenberg's 'A Survivor from Warsaw,' ...I believe he knew the work. The end if very painful: in the poem 'Career,' the poet says I'm fulfilling my caeer by not doing it. The less attention you gave to the formal, public part of your career, the better you will be remembered. That's why the final waltz leads us up to the stratosphere. He had confidence that when he died, he would be remembered; he knew he had not wasted his life."

For those totally uninitiated, who may be reading this without knowing what I am talking about, please read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babi_Yar

 
 
2) Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971): |Tr, 1-3. Symphony in Three Movements (1945) (22'23) |Tr. 4-7. Symphony in C (1840) (28'10) |Tr. 8-10. Symphony of Psalms (1930, rev. 1948) (21'08)--Georg Solti, cond., Chicago Symphony Orch. & Chorus (in Tr. 8-10), Duain Wolfe, Chorus dir., Glenn Ellyn Children's Chorus, Emily Elsworth, Chorus dir.--rec. Orchestra Hall, Chicago, 2 NOV 1993 (Tr. 1-3), 14-29 MAR 1997 (Tr. 4-10).
 

Solti died 5 SEP 1997, less than 5 full months after the last of these recordings. I checked his discography, thinking these might be his very last recordings, but they were not. I think he may have had a premonition of his death, because two of the works he recorded after this were his Shostakovich Symphony 15 and Moussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death. For three of his last four recordings, he went back to his Hungarian roots and recorded works of Bela Bartok, Zoltan Kodaly, and Leo Weiner, but his very last recording was a live Mahler 5 with the Zurich Tonhalle Orch. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georg_Solti_discography

At any rate, with this CD, we have three of Stravinsky's four symphonies. HIs first was a work in E Flat Major, which was his Op. 1--his very first published work, from 1907.

The Symphony in Three Movements was composed on a commsion from the NYPO, and is the first major work he wrote after emigrating to the US. Although he rarely acknowledged any outside influence on his work, he called this his "war symphony," a response to the events of WWII. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_ ... _Movements

Although Stravinsky wrote most of the Symphony C in Europe, it was premiered by the Chicago Symphony 7 NOV 1940, and was his response to the deaths first of his daughter in Nov. 1938, and then his wife in MAR 1939, both of tuberculosis, and his own infection by the disease, and then the death of his mother in June 1939. It has not been frequently recorded by others, and when it is, it is usually done with the other two works on this program included.
The Symphony of Psalms is performed in Latin. The corresponding English versions are from 29: 12-13, 40: 1-3, and the entirety of Psalm 150. It should be noted that Stravinsky was always interested in religion, but became more religious as he got older. He was a devout Russian Orthodox Christian, but this is the earliest work on the CD, from 1930, written on commission from Serge Koussevitzky for the 50th Anniversary of the Boston symphony. He had in mind a purely orchestral work, but Stravinsky insisted on the choral symphony.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_of_Psalms

 
3) W.A. Mozart (1756-91): |Tr. 1-4. Symphony 35 in D Major, K. 385 "Haffner" (16'53) |Tr. 5-7. Symphony 38 in D Major, K. 504 "Prague" (23'05) |Tr. 8-11. Symphony 40 in G Minor, K. 550 (23'23) |Tr. 12. Die Zauberflote, K. 620: Dies Bildnes ist bezaubernd schoen (4'15) |Tr. 13. Aria for soprano & orch., K. 419 "No, no, che non sei capace" (8'53) |Tr. 14. La Nozze di Figaro, K. 492: Porgi amor, qualche ristoro (4'18)--Carl Schuricht, cond., RSO, Stuttgart, Fritz Wunderlich, tenor (Tr. 12), Ruth-Margret Puetz, soprano (Tr. 13), Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, soprano (Tr. 14). Live recordings marked with *. Re, 4 JUN 1956* Ludwigsburg (Tr. 1-7), 19 MAY 1961* Schwetzinger Festspiele (Tr. 8-11). 3 other recording dates, all from APR 1959 are listed, but without track attribution. The middle one, from 9 APR* is listed as being in Stuttgart Liederhalle, the other two, from 6 APR & 12 APR, are listed as having been done at Stuttgart Sendesaal Villa Berg, but are not listed as live recordings. A hanssler classic CD.
 
The first thing to note is that the last three track listings do not correspond to what is actually on the CD. To begin with, they are all approximately 4'20. None of them is 8'53. Secondly, The K. 419 (Ruth-Margret Puetz, sop.) is on Tr. 12, the K. 492 (Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, sop) is on Tr. 13, and the k. 620 (Fritz Wunderlich, tenor) is on Track 14. I have no idea how they got this screwed up. Hanssler classic is usually very careful about this sort of thing, but in this case, they were going to concert tapes made by the orchestra, not doing their own original recordings. That circumstance probably has something to do with it.
 
Carl Schuricht was a great conductor. I already have his set of the Beethoven Symphonies coupled with three Bruckner symphonies, and they are among the best available with the notable exception of the Beethoven Ninth, which is not up to his usual standard.
These recordings are excellent and stylish. I can't quite figure out why the Nazis allowed him to conduct in Germany. To begin with, he went to music school on a Felix Mendelssohn scholarship, and he was especially known for conducting Mendelssohn and Mahler before the Nazis came to power. He could no longer do that in Germany, but he continued to conduct Mahler outside Germany, even while continuing to work in Germany. On 5 OCT 1939, during the period of what the Brits called "The Phony War," and the Germans called "Der Sitzkrieg," he conducted Das Lied von der Erde with the Concergebouw in Amsterdam, and a woman heckler interrupted him with a shout of "'Deutschland uber Alles,' Herr Schurcht!" But he continued to conduct in Germany until October, 1944, when he got word that he was about to be arrested. He fled, like so many others of the intelligensia, to Switzerland, where he waited out the last few months of the war.
Above gleaned, and reworded in some instances, from Wikipedia,, except for Paragraph 1, which is entirely my own.
 
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:36 am

Thursday concludes the Vox 2-cd box, Debussy Complete Orchestral Works Vol. 1/Louis de Froment/Orchestra of Radio Luxembourg. Very enjoyable.

maestrob
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by maestrob » Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:05 pm

RebLem,

Carl Schuricht was a fine conductor, almost forgotten these days, yet Decca and EMI/Warner have both issued boxes of his complete recordings. His Bruckner VIII is outstanding (it fits on one disc), and, until Szell's Columbia reading w/Cleveland came along, was my preferred recording of the work as a young teenager.

Image

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:44 pm


On Thursday, 12 APR 2018, I listened to 2 CDs.
 
 
1) Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904): Tr. 1-4. Symphony 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 "From the New World" (40'18) |Bedrich Smetana (1824-84): Ma Vlast: Vltava (12'04)--Mariss Jansons, cond., Oslo Philharmonic Orch. Rec. in the Konserthaus, Oslo, NOV 1988. CD 3 of a 3 CD Musical Heritage Society set of the Dvorak Symphonies 5, 7, 8, & 9 + the Smetana excerpt. Licxensed from EMI.
 
A fairly routine performance of the New World Symphony until the last movement, which is one of the best I have ever heard of that movement.
 
2) Edward Elgar (1857-1934): |Tr. 1. Cockaigne (In London Town) Overture, Op. 40 (12'55) |Tr. 2-5. Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85 (26'19) |Tr. 6. Wand of Youth Suite 1, Op. 1a (19'00) |Tr. 7. Wand of Youth Suite 2, Op. 1b (16'04) |Tr. 8. Elegy for String Orchestra with Harp, Op. 58 (4'38)--Eduard Van Beinum, cond., London Philharmonic Orch.. Anthony Pini, cello (Tr. 2-5). All rec. Kingsway Hall, London, various dates in 1949-1950. Beulah label. Licensed from DECCA.
 
Despite the provenance and the dates involved, these are very well recorded performances and sound much more up-to-date than they are. Many of the tracks do have a lot of hiss, though.

Cockaigne was a land of plenty in medieval myth. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cockaigne Per Wikipedia,


"In its 15 minutes or so the overture gives a lively and colourful musical portrait of Edwardian London. 'Cockaigne' was a term used by moralists at that time as a metaphor for gluttony and drunkenness, while Britain adopted the name humorously for London. The work presents various aspects of turn-of-the-century London and Londoners. It begins with a quiet but bustling theme which leads into an unbroken sequence of snapshots: the cockneys, the church bells, the romantic couples, a slightly ragged brass band (perhaps the Salvation Army) and a contrastingly grand and imperious military band. The broad theme representing Londoners is, Michael Kennedy states, the first occurrence of Elgar’s trademark direction, 'nobilmente.' The work ends in a characteristically Elgarian blaze of orchestral sound, including a full organ."

The Cello Concerto is one of Elgar's most popular works, the last one of great importance he wrote. It has a pastoral and contemplative air about it, and Pini plays it superbly.
The Wand of Youth Suites were originally written as incidental music for a little play put on by the children in the Elgar family. Elgar didn't publish it at the time, but a few years later, he reworked the material in light of what he had learned in the interim, orchestrated them, and had them published.
The Elegy is a simple, quiet, pastoral work.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

Rach3
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by Rach3 » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:59 am

Pianist Eduardo Del Pueyo’s 1956 recording of Granados’ “ Goyescas” :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP4tiHHGRLc

Always enjoy the transparency, rhetoric of his playing even if his sound not as exotic as AdL.

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:07 am


On Friday, 13 APR 2018, I listened to 4 CDs.
 
 
1) Rick Sowash (b. 1950): Tr. 1-4. Mount Airy Wedding Suite for oboe, violin, & cello (1993, rev. 2001) (13'01) |Tr. 5-10. Spring Fever Suite for two cellos (1989) (21'18) |Tr. 11-13. Three Piquant Pieces for oboe, violin, viola, & cello (1977, rev 2001) (11'10) |Tr. 14. Picket Fence for oboe, violin, & piano (1977, rev. 2001, rescored 2010) (11'10) |Tr. 15-17. Three American Perrenials for woodwind quintet (1974, rev. 1996) (12'05)--Amy Dennison, oboe (Tr. 1-4, 11-14), Marian Peraza de Webb, violin (Tr. 1-4, 11-14), Katharine Cinelli, viola (Tr. 11-13), Ellen Shertzer, cello (Tr. 1-13), Naoko Tanaka, piano (Tr. 14), Theresa Villani, cello (Tr. 5-10), Aeolian Winds of Pittsburgh (Peggy Holleran Greb, flute, Laura Gershman, oboe, Alex K Jones, clarinet, Barbara Folb, horn, Steven M Ehrin, bassoon) (Tr. 15-17). Rec. Paul Oldack Studios, Tampa, FL JUL 2010 (Tr. 5-10), Watson Hall, Univ. of Cincinnati, Aug 2010 (Tr. 1-4), SEP 2010 (Tr. 11-13), FEB 2011 (Tr. 14), and Soundcolor Studios, Pittsburgh JUL 2011 (Tr. 15-17). CD published 2011 by Rick Sowash Publishing Co. (TT: 65'09).
 
Mount Airy is the name of a city park in Cincinnati where a friend's wedding took place, and this work was written for that occasion.
The peasant dance section of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony and "He shall reign forever and ever" from the Hallelujah Chorus of Handel's Messiah inspired the Spring Fever Suite.
The three piquant pieces--the first is a waltz, the second "an expression of religious feeling" and the third is a foray into central European idioms, which he explains as part of his roots--his maternal grandparents were of Germanic heritage from what is now Serbia, but they considered themselves Austro-Hungarian.
The title Picket Fence came to Sowash, he says, because at the time of its composition, he was building a picket fence around his front yard, and he noted certain similarities between its structure and the structure of the piece he was writing.
"American Perennials" is the title of the album as well as the last piece on this program. Mvt 1 is "Folk Dance (4'01), Mvt 2 is Sea Chantey (4'03), and Mvt 3 is Ragtime (4'01).
Oboist Amy Dennison is, to the best of my knowledge, no relation to David Dennison. ;)
 
 
2) W.A. Mozart (1756-91): |Tr. 1-4. Symphony 20 in D Major, K. 133 (22'36) |Tr. 5-8. Symphony 21 in A Maor, K. 134 (17'34) |Tr. 9-11. Symphony 22 in C Major, K. 162 (8'34) |Tr. 12-14. Symphony 23 in D Major, k. 181 (162b) (9'05) |Tr. 15-17. Symphony 27 in G Major, K. 199 (161b) (17'38)--Trevor Pinnock, cond., The English Concert. Rec. Henry Wood Hall, London, JAN 1993. CD 6 of an 11 CD Archiv Produktions set of the complete Mozart Symphonies by these forces.
 
More noodling.
 
 
3) CD 11 of the 24 CD set titled "Gary Graffman: The Complete RCA and Columbia Album Collection." CD 11 is of solo piano music by Prokofiev & Rachmaninoff. |Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953): |Tr. 1-4. Piano Sonata 2 in D Minor, Op. 14 (16'31) |Tr. 5. Piano Sonata 3 in A Minor, Op. 28 "From Old Notebooks" (7'03) |Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943): |Tr. 6. Etude-Tableaux in C Sharp Minor, Op. 33/9 (7'51) |Tr. 7. Barcarolle in G Minor, Op. 10/3 from 7 Morceaux de salon (4'12) |Tr. 8. Prelude in A Minor, Op. 32/8 (1'25) |Tr. 9. Prelude in G Sharp Minor, Op. 32/12 (2'41) |Tr. 10. Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23/5 (3'45) |Tr. 11. Elegie in E Flat Minor, Op. 3/1 (5 Morceaux de fantaisie) (5/53) |Tr. 12. Polichinelle in F Sharp Minor, Op. 3/4 (5 Morceaux de Fantaisie) (3'09)--Rec. Columbia 30th St. Studio, NYC 26 DEC 1962 (Tr. 1-4), 7 DEC 1962 (Tr. 5-6), 10 DEC 1962 (Tr. 7-12). Original LP issued 15 APR 1963.
 

I have a mental block about the Prokofiev Piano Sonatas. I have two complete sets, one by Ruth Laredo and the other by Frederic Chiu, and I have just added a third to my wants list, by one Matti Raekallio, because the reviewers at Amazon all say its the best one. My earliest encounter with them was one of the third sonata in a performance by Graffman, which is on a later CD in this set, coupled with his recordings of the First and Third Piano Concerti with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra. I keep trying. But somehow, I just don't get it. Sorry.

The Rachmaninoff pieces are another matter entirely. The problem with Rachmaninoff's solo work is that many of them are so technically demanding that many pianists get stuck in the weeds and think that's all there is to them, just opportunities for virtuosic display. Graffman does not fall into that trap. He seems to feel a deeper meaning within him, and is able to convey that by some mysterious process that I can't quite define precisely. In Graffman's hands, these are soulful pieces.
 
 
4) D Shostakovich (1906-75): CD 11 of the 11 CD NAXOS set of the Shostakovich Symphonies performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic conducted by Vasily Petrenko. |Tr. 1-11. Symphony 14, Op. 135 (1969) (49'36). Texts are Russian translations of works by 4 poets, none of them Russian: Federico Garcia-Lorca (Tr. 1-2), Guillaume Apollinaire (Tr. 3-8), Wilkhelm Kuchelbecker (Tr. 9), & Rainer Maria Rilke (Tr. 10-11). Gal James, soprano (Tr. 2-6, 10-11), Alexander Vinogradov, bass (Tr. 1, 3, 6-9, 11)--Rec. Royal Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, 4-5 MAY 2013.
 
Petrenko writes,
"For me, this is perhaps the composer's greatest work. By the time he wrote it, he'd had a heart attack, and it was a dark place. The piece is saying, when we die, that's it, there's nothing more. This utter nihilism offended some (like Solzhenitsyn) because there was no Christian sense of redemption. The only song which is different is 'O Delvig' [Mvt 9, by Kuckelbecker] about the poet who was shot by the police. This is a message about one's gift as an artist: you must not waste it, you must use it in a right and appropriate way. Human beings will always die, but Art will last forever. Hope exists, but not in the phsyical world. You have to remember that by now the space race is over: they've conquered space, and what did they find? To find paradise is now a mataphysical search. The end abruptly stops; its like an accelleration to the wall, a disappearance."
In other words, "Life's a bitch, and then you die."
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

John F
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by John F » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:29 am

I'd certainly agree that the 14th symphony - actually a song cycle - is one of Shostakovich's greatest works, and it has received several great recordings; the top of my list is Rostropovich with Vishnevskaya and Mark Reshetin. "Three Lilies" ("The Suicide") is devastating. Death had been one of Shostakovich's central themes for years; in 1962 he orchestrated Musorgsky's "Songs and Dances of Death."
John Francis

Rach3
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by Rach3 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:51 am

RebLem wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:07 am
​I have a mental block about the Prokofiev Piano Sonatas. The Rachmaninoff pieces are another matter entirely.
IF you are interested in additional recordings of the Prokofieffs, I'd respectfully suggest , as a set of the Prokofieff,Barbara Nissman if you can find.Perhaps can be sampled on YT despite sound limits. And Richter in the 3 War Sonatas #6-8, Gilels in # 3.Joseph Kalichstein plays # 9 on his debut Vanguard cd of some years back.

Additional Rachmaninoff might be John Ogdon in the Etudes on Testament,Richter again, and Constance Keene and Sergio Fiorentino in the Preludes.

I have Graffman's single Columbia lp of Prokofieff and Rachmaninoff, have heard Chiu.

Good listening to you.Thanks for the reviews.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:28 pm

​On Saturday, 14 APR 2018, I listened to 4 CDs.

1) S Rachmaninoff (1873-1943): |Tr. 1-4. The Bells, Op. 35 (1913) (36'53) |Tr. 5-7. Symphonic Dances, Op. 45 (1943) (35'59)--Semyon Bychkov, cond. (all), WDR Sinfonieorchester Koln (all), Rundfunchor Koln (1-4), Lege Artis Chamber Choir (1-4), Tatiana Pavlovskaya, soprano (1-4), Evgeny Akimov, tenor (1-4), Vladimir Vaneev, baritone (1-4). Rec. 9/2006 Koln Philharmonie. A Profil CD. Profil is a Hanssler Classics budget and reissue label.
Now, more than a century after the premiere of The Bells in pre-WWI Russia, we can look on this and marvel at the internationalism of it all. It was written by a Russian and premiered there and the text is a Russian translation. But the original poem was by Edgar Allen Poe, the work was dedicated to Willem Mengelberg and the Concergebouw Orch. of Amsterdam, was inspired by an anonymous note he received while on vacation in Italy, and is here performed by a Russian conductor with 3 Russian soloists, and a German orchestra and German choral ensembles for a German company.
I have heard other recordings of this work, but none with the clarity and enthusiasm of this one. Bychkov is an inspired conductor in both these works here, and he transmits that enthusiasm to his soloists and his players. I don't think modern people appreciate the importance of bells in history. They issue calls to worship. They are often clarions of approaching enemies. And, in Russian history, we have the simple minded son of Ivan the Terrible, Feodor the Bellringer, who enjoyed going around Moscow ringing church bells. When he decided to modernize Russia, Peter the Great angered the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church by demanding the surrender of all church bells to be melted down so they could be reconfigured into weapons. And outside Russia, in the wake of WWII, John Hersey wrote a novel, A Bell for Adano, which conveyed the simple message that man does not live by bread alone. Of course, this last was in the future when Rachmaninoff composed this work, but it can add to our appreciation of its importance.
The Symphonic Dances were Rachmaninoff's last work. He was working on a ballet based on the music from Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with Mikhai Fokin, which was produced in London in June, 1939, but additional work remained to be done to polish it. But then, Rachmaninoff moved to Beverly Hills in August, 1939, WWII began on September 1, 1939, and Rachmaininoff never returned to Europe. So, Rachmaninoff reworked the new material he had developed for the ballet and put it all in these Symphonic Dances. It begins with a Russian theme replaced by peasant dances. It moves on to quote his First Symphony, which had been a miserable failure at the box office despite its quality when it was premiered, and now he quotes it to say to the world, "Aha! I was right after all!" The central movement is a waltz, and the last movement quotes the "Dies Irae," which makes frequent appearances in Rachmaninoff's works, and ends with other Russian liturgical music for the dead.
Rachmaninoff himself was dying of cancer when he wrote this, and he died in Beverly Hills two and a half years later, too weak all that time to compose anything after this except a trifling paraphrase for piano of a Tchaikovky lullaby.

2) CD 1 of a 10 CD box titled "Carl Schuricht: The Complete Decca Recordings." |L.V. Beethoven (1770-1827): |Tr. 1-4. Symphony 1 in C Major, Op. 21 (26'01) |Tr. 5-8. Symphony 2 in D Major, Op. 36 (30'56)--Rec. Wiener Philharmoniker Greater Hall, Musikverein, Wien, 27-30 MAY 1952 (Tr. 1-4), L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Radio Studio, Geneva, 14-18 FEB 1947 (Tr. 5-8).
These are excellent performances, but not quite as good as his performances of these same works in the complete set of the Beethoven symphonies he did for EMI with the Paris Conservatory Orch. That set had sharper accents and a greater sense of electricity and excitement about them than these two performances, which are more relaxed and laid back.

3) L.V. Beethoven (1770-1827): |Tr. 1-4. Symphony 1 in C Major, Op. 21 (24'10) |Tr. 5-8. Symphony 3 in E Flat Major, Op. 55 (45'01)--Pierre Monteux, cond.(all), Wiener Philharmoniker (Tr. 1-4), rec. 20-24 APR 1960 Sofiensaal Wien Studio |Tr. 5-8. Boston Sym. Orch., rec. live 8 APR 1960 @ Tanglewood. CD 1 of a 5 CD set on the MEMORIES label.
The recording of the First Symphony is of the same performance that appears in Monteux's DECCA set of the Beethoven symphonies. However, this is the only recording that was cadged from that set. It is an exciting, committed performance in both sets. In the DECCA set, all the performances are with the Wiener Phil except the 9th, which is with the London Symphony. In the present memories set, most of the performances are with the Boston Symphony, with 4 exceptions, one of which is already noted. The 7th is with the NBC Symphony. It and the 8th, with the Los Angeles Phil, are the only two in mono. All the others are stereo. The 4th Symphony is with the NDRSO of Hamburg. This last is the main reason I bought this set. I remember hearing it on radio once many years ago and vowed to try to find it at a later time. I'll explain why later, when I report on the recording.
At any rate, I listened to the whole Eroica here, and snatches here and there of his Wiener Phil recording for comparative purposes. The Boston brass go about their usual blatting, and it weakens the performance, esp. in the last two movements, and the mourners have a hard time finding the gravesite toward the end of the Marcia funebre. The seem to get tangled in the woods.

4) A BBC Legends CD of the London Phiulharmonic Orch. conducted by Klaus Tennstedt (1926-98) |Tr. 1. Bedrich Smetana (1824-84): The Bartered Bride: Overture (7'18) |Tr. 2-5. Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904): Symphony 8 in G Major, Op. 88 (38'59) |Tr. 6-10. Leos Janacek (1854-1928): Sinfonietta (1926) (34'29). Rec.live Royal Festival Hall, London, 2 APR 1991.
Tennstedt rarely gave a routine performance, and he does not disappoint here. All three reviews @ Amazon give it five stars, and so do I. One even says the Dvorak is the very best performance of that work. It is certainly the best of Tennstedt's 3 recordings of it, and live concert recordings seldom are. I do personally give an edge to Kubelik in this work, but my library has many recordings of this work, and so should yours!
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:17 pm


On Sunday, 15 APR 2018, I listened to 3 CDs.
 
 
1) Rick Sowash (b, 1950): |Tr. 1. Trio 7 for clarinet, cello, & piano "The Philosopher Visits a Country Fair" (2003-4) (5'45) |Tr. 2-5. Trio 10 for clarinet, cello, & piano "Winds of May" (2003) (12'26) |Tr. 6-7. Trio 8 for clarinet, cello, & piano "Two Self-Portraits" (2003) (12'56) |Tr. 8-11. Trio 5 for clarinet, cello, & piano "In the Classical Style" (2002) (26'30)--Trio da Camera (Laurel Bennett, clarinet, Theresa Villani, cello, Carol Skinner Alexander, piano)--Rec. in Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Dunedin, FL, MAY 2010. Published 2010 by Rick Sowash Publishing Co.
 
Most of this review is gleaned from Rick Sowash's liner notes, except that I can verify the truths of the statements he makes insofar as one can hear them in the performances. Much of this is direct quotes, but in many places I have shortened and simplified the narrative.
Trio 5. After ranging wide stylistically in my first four trios...Sowash felt a need to return to a strict classical style, but with some humor. The first movement is funny because it is pompously serious, The second movement is a set of variations on an original hymn tune by Sowash, The pompus minuet is a parody, and the fourth movement reconciles and unites all the themes from the first three movements.
Trio 7. This trio is based on an anecdote from Isaac Walton's "The Compleat Angler": "One day, Diogenes walked with a friend to a country fair. And there he saw ribbons and snuff boxes and looking glasses and birdcages and all the other finimbruns that go to make up a country fair. And he said, "Lord, how many things there are in the world of which Diogenes has no need!"
The silly energy of the country fair is evoked in the opening measures, but soon contrasted with the serious, sober, sour Diogenes (represented by a hymn-like tune, first heard in the cello, and in the rest of the piece, the two things are slowly, but only partially reconciled with one another.
Trio 8. The two movements, says Sowash, represent two contrasting aspects of his personality. The first movement represents the foolish part of his nature, It opens with a self-pitying narrowly focused tune in E Flat Minor, a slavisly conforming four-part round. Then comes the middle section in C Major, full of fresh air and sunshine, in which the world around him tries to penetrate his funk. But if fails, and it falls back into the dour E Flat Minor tune.
The second movement, in the same two keys, makes a more serious attempt to reconcile the opposites of his personality, but it, too, falls back into the E Flat minor at the end.
 
Trio 10. Entitled "The Winds of May," this piece gives the whol album its title. It is programmatic music about May, fresh and immediately comprehensible. Sowash says it is deliberately simple, at least to the listener, though in spots it presents some difficulties to the performers. "Listeners cognizant of the charms of May mornings, reawakened forests, wildflowers and sunsets," Sowash writes, "will embrace this piece on first hearing. That is the simplicity I am after."
This CD is, like all the other Sowash CDs I have heard, well-produced and eminently listenable.
 
 
2) W.A. Mozart (1756-91): |Tr. 1-3. Symphony 24 in B Flat Major, K. 182 (173d A) (8'04) |Tr. 4-7. Symphony 25 in G Minor, K. 183 (173d B) (27'36) |Tr. 5-11. Symphony 30 in D Major, K. 202 (186b) (21'26) |Tr. 12-14. Symphony 31 in D Major, K. 297 (300a) "Paris" (16'57)--Trevor Pinnock, cond., The English Concert. Rec. Henry Wood Hall, London, (K. 182, MAY 1993, K. 113 & 297 SEP 1993, & K. 202 MAR 1994) This is CD 7 of the complete set of Mozart's symphonies by these forces.
 
The most noteworthy symphonies here are Nos. 25 abd 31. 25 is important partly because it and the Symphony 40 are the only two symphonies Mozart wrote in the key of G Minor. Back in the LP MONO era, Otto Klemperer recorded both of them on a single LP, and the #40 he did on that occasion is better than his later stereo remake. When EMI cam out with a box of Mozart Symphony performances by Klemperer, they left out the stereo # 40 in favor of this superior MONO one. This is one of the major pieces of evidence I have that someone at EMI is a serious music lover with very good taste.
Mozart left some evidence that the Symphony 31 was his own personal favorite of his symphonies. Composed in 1778, when he was 22 years old, he wrote it for a Paris orchestra while on an unsuccessful tour looking for regular employment and a patron. It called for a larger orchestra than Mozart had ever used before for a symphony, and it is often considered the symphony which marks his move from juvenilia to serious, mature adult symphonies.
 
 
3) CD 12 of the 24 CD SONY set titled "Gary Graffman: The Complete RCA & Columbia Album Collection." |Tr. 1-4. Johannes Brahms (1833-97): Trio for Piano, Violin, & Cello 2 in C Major, Op. 87 (28'32) |Tr. 5-17. L.V. Beethoven (1770-1827): Variations on "Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu," for piano, violin, & cello in G Major, Op. 121a (18'35)--Gary Graffman, piano, Berl Senofsky, cello, Shirley Trepel, cello. Rec. Webster Hall, NYC, 26 OCT 1959 (Tr. 1, 3-4), 27 OCT 1959 (Tr. 2), 11 JUL 1960 (Tr. 5-17).
 
The Brahms faces some stiff competition just from within my own CD collection. I have the classic DECCA recordings of the Piano Trios by Julius Katchen, Josef Suk, & Janos Starker. Then I have a DGG set of the complete Brahms Trios by the Trio di Trieste in the piano trios, and then I have two sets of the complete Brahms chamber music. One, on Philips, has the Beaux Arts Trio in the piano trios, and the other, on hyperion, my favorite, features the Florestan Trio in these works.
The present performance is pleasant, rather closely miked, and the musicians are good ensemble players. But, of course, every collector will want a set of all three, indeed, all of the Brahms chamber music.
The Kakadu Variations are a set of variations for piano trio Beethoven published in 1824, the last of his works for this combination of instruments to be published.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kakadu_Variations
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by John F » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:51 am

I see that No. 29 is missing from the list. On another CD? Mozart composed an alternate slow movement for No. 31 - does Pinnock include both, and which does he use in the context of the complete symphony?

Klemperer's monaural Philharmonia recordings of the 1950s are indeed generally better than the stereo remakes, which mostly are slower. His Jupiter Symphony includes the finale's exposition repeat, a rarity then and now.
John Francis

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:38 pm


On Monday, 16 APR 2018, I listened to 4 CDs.
 
 
1) Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958): |Tr. 1-4. A Sea Symphony (# 1) (1910) (65'43)--Andre Previn, cond., London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Heather Harper, soprano, John Shirley-Quirk, baritone. Text: Walt Whitman. ​This is CD 1 of a 6 CD RCA set of all 9 VW Symphonies + a number of other orchestral and concerted works by VW, with the LSO conducted by Previn.
 
Per Wikipedia,

"A Sea Symphony (1910), the only one of the series to include a part for full choir, differs from most earlier choral symphonies in that the choir sings in all the movements. The extent to which it is a true symphony has been debated; in a 2013 study, Alain Frogley describes it as a hybrid work, with elements of symphony, oratorio and cantata. Its sheer length—about eighty minutes—was unprecedented for an English symphonic work, and within its thoroughly tonal construction it contains harmonic dissonances that pre-echo the early works of Stravinsky which were soon to follow."

This work is one of Homeric proportions. It is so unrelievedly grand that it is diffucult to get a sense of drama out of it, a sense of a beginning, a middle, a climax, and a denouement. Although the chorus appears in all four movements, the two soloists are absent from the third movement, a scherzo.
 
 
2) Francis Poulenc (1899-1963): |Tr. 1-15. La Voix Humaine (The Human Voice), a one act monodrama (1959) (42'48). Text: Jean Cocteau--Jose Serebrier, cond., Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Carole Farley, soprano--Rec. SEP 1981 in ABC (Australian Broadcasting Co.) Studios, Adelaide--Phoenix Label, licensed from CHANDOS.
 
The story is ridiculously simple. A jilted woman, rejected by her lover in favor of another woman, desperately and unsuccessfully tries to win him back. The record jacket and the booklet call this a one act opera. It is also a one character opera. That is why Wikipedia, more properly, in my view, calls it a monodrama, which is why I have chosen to call it that the head note.
This is sung in the original French by Carole Farley, the featured performer on this release. Her name appears on the cover in larger type than any other name, and a picture of her in mid performance takes up about 3/4 of the front cover of the rather thick booklet. It had adequate information in it. A one page descriptive essay of the work is first, then 11 double pages of text, French on one side, English on the other, and then, on the second to last page, the last 4 lines of the text in both French and English, and on the inside back cover, advertising for other Phoenix Records releases. The back cover contains an essay on the career of Carole Farley. She is an American soprano who first came to public attention when she became the youngest lead soprano, at age 21, in the history of the Cologne Opera doing her debut in the extraordinarily demanding role of Lulu in Alban Berg's opera. She made her MET debut in that same role, and various critics commented that she performed as easily as if it had been written by Puccini. She is also married to Jose Serebrier, the conductor on this and many other productions.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to point out that Jose Serebrier was the conductor on what I consider the most important release thus far of the 21st century--the first recording ever, and so far, I believe, the only recording, of Shostakovich's complete ballet, The Golden Age (aka as The Age of Gold). The Suite from that ballet is well known, but not the whole ballet. Once you have heard the complete production, you will understand why. It is Commie agitprop which portrays ordinary white workers in capitalist countries as the spearhead of opposition to the evil racist depredations of the capitalist class. Anyone who thinks that's the way racism works is not living in the real world. Despite that, though, the ballet contains a lot of beautiful music and interesting action you don't get in the suite, and its addition to the catalogue was enormously important to me--and, I think, should be for you, too!
 
 
3) CD 2 of the 10 CD album entitled "Carl Schuricht: The Complete Decca Recordings." |L.V. Beethoven (1770-1827): ||Tr. 1-4. Symphony 5 in C Minor, Op. 67 (30'02) |Tr. 5. Coriolan Overture, Op. 62 (1807) (7'37)--Paris Conservatory Orch., rec. La Maison de la Mutualite, Paris, 10-12 JUN 1949 (Tr. 1-4), London Philhamonic Orch., Kingsway Hall, London, 11 JUL 1948 (Tr. 5).
 
The technicians here have done a wonderful job of presenting these productions from the late 1940's in a modern light with as close to modern sound as can be managed. Some hiss from degraded masters remains, but this is truly glorious sound for that period. And the Fifth Symphony is an easy symphony to get right. At least, I find that damn nearly everyone who tries gets it right enough to make it exciting. But I definitely prefer Schuricht's later stereo remake far better than this one.
 
 
4) L.V. Beethoven (1770-1827): CD 2 in the 5 CD Memories label set of the symphonies conducted by Pierre Monteux with various orchestras. |Tr. 1-4. Symphony 2 in D Major, Op. 36 (31'04)--Boston Symphony Orch., rec live @ Tanglewood 12 AUG 1960 |Tr. 5-8. Symphony 7 in A Major, Op. 92 (34'51)--NBC Symphony Orch., rec. live Studio 8H, NYC, 15 NOV 1953.
 
First of all, let me clear something up. I "made a mistook," as my mother would have said, when I wrote recently that Monteux's DECCA set of the Beethoven Symphonies was entirely with the Wiener Phil. except for the 9th which is with the London Symphony. A closer look reveals that only Symphonies 1, 3, 6, & 8 are with the Wiener Phil. All the others are with the LSO.
 
I hear a fair amount of hiss on these recordings, but other than that, the recording of the Second Symphony is reasonably good, though, I must say, not as good as the sound DECCA gets from Schuricht recordings of more thana decade earlier. And with the Seventh, we have a better orchestra, but a worse venue, the infamous Studio 8H, and seven years earlier to boot. The result is that the sound in the Seventh is significantly worse than that of the Second. And, it sounds a bit rushed at times. Not one of Monteux's better efforts, in short, but let us remember that Monteux never authorized their release, either.
Last edited by RebLem on Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:40 pm

John F wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:51 am
I see that No. 29 is missing from the list. On another CD? Mozart composed an alternate slow movement for No. 31 - does Pinnock include both, and which does he use in the context of the complete symphony?

Klemperer's monaural Philharmonia recordings of the 1950s are indeed generally better than the stereo remakes, which mostly are slower. His Jupiter Symphony includes the finale's exposition repeat, a rarity then and now.
No, Pinnock doesn't, but the Hogwood set does which is one of the reasons I consider the Hogwood set to be my reference standard.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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