What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

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maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:05 pm

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Manfred Honeck has, in the past several years, raised the standards of the Pittsburgh Symphony to wonderful new heights, indeed, IMHO, to international standards. He consistently brings a stupendous clear-headed energy and finesse to every recording I've heard, with fresh and inspiring details to his interpretations that never offend the ear. Your reviewer continues to be grateful to Reference Recordings for their stellar offerings in this series, of which this release is but one of a consistently fine example. Here we have an electrifying performance of Dvorak's Eighth Symphony, coupled with a symphonic suite from Janacek's powerful opera, Jenufa. Both are given equally fine treatment, and recorded in fine sound. Highly recommended. Five stars.

maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:33 am

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Thanks to mentions by both Lance and Rach3, I acquired this release of Ignaz Friedman's recordings from 1923-1941, recently issued by Danacord at a very reasonable price, also available on amazon for free listening for American Prime members. Friedman edited Chopin's music for publication in the early part of the last century, and, of the six discs in this set, his Chopin is the most personal and inventive, without ever being extravagant or offensive. Friedman's style is uniquely his own, yet he serves Chopin's spirit with great joy and passion. None of our present day soloists would dare to be this personal in their interpretations, yet Friedman's playing is a joy to the ear. Playing like this is gone forever, and, especially restored in such fine sound, thankfully we can still experience the character and deep personal involvement of such a great golden age artist.

The only work with orchestra that Friedman recorded was the Grieg Concerto, here given a fine, disciplined reading and restored in very good sound. The other discs feature works from Scarlatti to Weber, all in thoughtful and stimulating readings. I don't have the Naxos single disc issues at hand to make a sonic comparison, but having it all in one reasonably priced box is a great advantage. What a treasure this box is! Five gold stars!

maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:45 am

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There have been many good recordings of Paul Hindemith's Violin Concerto made since David Oistrakh's world premiere stereo reading conducted by the composer on DGG. Thankfully, this stands up to the best of them. Arabella Steinbacher has by now made quite a stunning reputation for herself on disc in wide-ranging repertoire. This disc of Britten and Hindemith Violin Concertos made with the Berlin Radio Orchestra led by Vladimir Jurowski takes pride of place as one of her best to date. Jurowki has a keen sense of balance between orchestra and soloist in both works, while Steinbacher adds a ravishing tone and sensitive playing to these twentieth century masterworks, bringing out beauty and warmth in her interpretation. Five stars!

Rach3
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by Rach3 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:05 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:33 am
... his Chopin is the most personal and inventive, without ever being extravagant or offensive. Friedman's style is uniquely his own, yet he serves Chopin's spirit with great joy and passion. None of our present day soloists would dare to be this personal in their interpretations, yet Friedman's playing is a joy to the ear. Playing like this is gone forever...
Well said.Friedman a sine qua non for pianophiles.At his Vienna debut in 1904, he played the Tchaikovsky 1st PC, the Brahms 1st PC, and the Liszt 1st PC.

In Sydney, June 25,1927, Friedman's programme was in this order (copyright 2009 by the late Allan Evans, from his Friedman biography, with Mr.Evans' permission):

Beethoven Sonata,Op.111
Scarlatti-Tausig Capriccio
Schumann "Papillons"; Symphonic Etudes
Chopin Waltz
Chopin Nocturne Op.62,#2; Impromptu Op.29;Scherzo Op.20
Gartner-Friedman Viennese Dance # 4
Szymanowski Prelude
Suk Minuet
Henselt-Godowsky Etude "If I Were a Bird"
Strauss-Godowsky "Fledermaus" Paraphrase
Encores Liszt: Liebestraume # 3 ; God Save the Queen

From 1946-47 student Patricia Rovik, in a 1988 interview (copyright 2009 by Allan Evans):

" He was a grand person.There was something of a mastery about him at the piano, a quietness; he was never grandiose and I always felt that he was communing with music, that he was a special gift to us from the God of Music himself. When he played the Revolutionary Etude one felt it it was an avalanche and any movable object would be removed from its path.He could be quite grand in the sonatas,too.I didn't hear him banging, in what was thought to be the tradition of the nineteenth century.There was a certain philosophical restfulness about him. He would make wonderful statements,especially with Chopin. I was just so in awe of the man and I still am to an extent after forty years. It was almost quite a breathless experience."

maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:36 pm

Rach3:

Thanks for all that information. Yes, Friedman was and still is a unique musical personality, like many in his era, both pianists and singers. We have lost so much of that personal stamp on music with the current emphasis on getting the notes right, neglecting the emotional content of the music. Of course there are great artists in the current generation that we can all admire and enjoy, but I miss the lost ability to personalize the music, which is simply not taught or even encouraged these days. Thank God for recordings like Friedman's, which preserve this great tradition.

Rach3
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by Rach3 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:51 am

maestrob wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:12 am
Bohuslav Martinu's mid-twentieth century music has always fascinated me, ever since I discovered his Symphony IV as a teenager.

Martinu's Double Concerto for Two String Orchestras,Piano and Percussion, powerful work, I suspect not heard live often.Video, approx. 20 minutes, at Maison Radio France, Paris, date (?),pre-pandemic:

François-Xavier Roth dirige l'Orchestre national de France et le pianiste Cédric Tiberghien dans le Double concerto pour deux orchestre à cordes, piano et timbales.

https://www.francemusique.fr/concert/in ... ales-h-271

maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:02 pm

Thanks, Rach3! I have loved that piece since I acquired the CD below some 25 years ago. Will listen to your posted concert with interest.....

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absinthe
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by absinthe » Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:49 am

Nielsen's 3rd Symphony / Erik Tuxsen / Radio Symphony Orchestra, Copenhagen.
Decca LXT 2697.
(Interesting because of voices used as instruments in 2nd Movement. Something I'm attempting in a current composition.)
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I can't paste an image directly (Attachment). If I post a link the target could disappear any time.
It's one of the old Decca ffrr series (in beautiful condition).

maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:16 am

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It's been a while since I've acquired a new set of Brahms Symphonies that rivals my personal favorite, which is Solti/Chicago. For instance, Andris Nelsons's new live set from Boston didn't make the grade; neither did Jaap Van Zweden's recent issue. That said, when I acquired the above CDs from the excellent Bamberger Symphony led by Jakub Hrusa, I certainly expected fine playing from these former Czech exiles, but what I heard was really superb Brahms, played with sensitivity, energy, and fine attention to detail, perfectly shaped and well-recorded. Hrusa's conducting serves both Brahms and Dvorak well, and deserves a place in the pantheon of first-rank interpretations. Disciplined yet warm, the sound of the strings is particularly fine, while the pacing and articulation in both Brahms and the Dvorak VIII are honed to perfection, standing up to Kertesz or Szell any day. The recorded sound is surely among the best I've heard as well. I look forward to hearing the rest of this series. Five stars!

Rach3
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by Rach3 » Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:10 am

Bernstein, “Age of Anxiety",Symphonic Dances from "West Side Story" and "Candide" Overture, perhaps his 3 top works, Jean Louis Steuerman, pianist,Florida Philharmonic under James Judd, a 2002 Naxos "American Classics" series cd.Heard "Age recently, discovered I did not have a recording, the pairings here very attractive as well.

maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:28 am

Rach3 wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:10 am
Bernstein, “Age of Anxiety",Symphonic Dances from "West Side Story" and "Candide" Overture, perhaps his 3 top works, Jean Louis Steuerman, pianist,Florida Philharmonic under James Judd, a 2002 Naxos "American Classics" series cd.Heard "Age recently, discovered I did not have a recording, the pairings here very attractive as well.
Have discovered I can hear this on amazon with my Prime membership. Up to now, I've been listening to both Lukas Foss (mono) or Philippe Entremont, composer conducting. This recent issue should be interesting. Thanks! :)

CharmNewton
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by CharmNewton » Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:55 pm

Lance wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 1:36 pm
Having enjoyed the COMMAND LP recordings of Beethoven's symphonies with the Pittsburgh Symphony under the baton of William Steinberg, I was happy to recently acquire the 5-CD boxed set from DGG 483 8344 giving us all the symphonies plus the third Leonore Overture. Unlike other sets of this music (not very well remastered from the original LPs from most reports), DGG uses the original sources from the 1960s. Regarding the Ninth Symphony, however, the originals were lost for only the last movement. DGG subsequently had to employ an original LP to add that movement to complete the work. I have not yet had an opportunity hear the final result, however, I'm sure, given DGG's technical expertise, we might not notice the difference.
I just finished listening to the new Steinberg re-issue. As a cycle, I rank it very high--as good as the other cycles of that era. I liked the string balances that brought the cellos and basses into sharp focus. The overall perspective of the orchestra is slightly more distant than one usually hears in American recordings, but similar to some of Reimer's last recordings in Chicago so perhaps that was a trend of that time (I recall reading criticism of exaggerated stereo effects in early stereo recordings). The recordings improve in sound with each year. I didn't detect any loss of quality in the Finale of the 9th. For those who collect cycles from the great conductors this is worth owning. BTW, the Leonore Overture No. 3 is also a winner here. I'm blown away by the originality and freshness of this work. The climax about 3 minutes in is roof-raising and the swirling strings at the conclusion are spectacular.

Reading about the fire at Universal Studios in 2008 left me wondering if the original session tapes were destroyed at that time. Between the claims of journalists and Universal's lawyers I'm more confused than enlightened. The Pittsburgh Symphony recordings aren't mentioned, but Enoch Light.so popular recordings are reported as destroyed (but not confirmed by Universal). There was contentious litigation surrounding this fire but it is reasonable to assume that Universal had a contingency plan for something like this--it's SOP in major organizations.

So much enjoyment here for its modest cost.

John

maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Mon Jul 13, 2020 12:10 pm

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To follow up on my review last week of Jakub Hrusa's excellent Brahms III and Dvorak VIII with the Bamberg Symphony, here is a review of his Brahms IV and Dvorak IX release with the same orchestra. Anticipating excellence in this case though led to disappointment. While the previous release shone with energy and depth, this one doesn't quite hit the mark. For example, Brahms IV starts off a tad too slowly, with the result that the first movement lacks energy and drive. The Scherzo is then a tad too fast, and the whole symphony lacks weight and presence. Certainly, this texture works for Brahms III, but IV demands more weight, and only Chicago, Berlin or NY can deliver in that department. Here, the Bamberg Symphony sound scaled-down, deliberately so. Thus, for this reviewer, the performance doesn't quite gel. In the Dvorak, the lighter texture works better, but still, there are moments when forward momentum in the first movement falters a bit. The beautiful Adagio is played well, and the Scherzo feels just right, but there are moments in the last movement that just feel slightly dull. All-in-all, these are good performances, but in no way do they live up to the standards of excellence in the previously reviewed release. With all my quibbles, this release deserves three and 1/2 stars.

maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Wed Jul 15, 2020 12:44 pm

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This album of Schubert piano sonatas by Krystian Zimmerman has been on my shelves unopened since I bought it 2 and 1/2 years ago, and I'm sorry I took so long to open it. Zimmerman has been an artist I have respected for many years, since I acquired his set of Beethoven Concertos, the later ones conducted by Leonard Bernstein on DGG. Wonderful music-making there, and Zimmerman has continued to please since then, so when I saw this release given five stars in a prominent publication, I snapped it up. True, there is incisive, deeply felt playing here, but Zimmerman is up against formidable competition in this repertoire (Kempff and Richter for example). That said, I enjoyed this recording tremendously, yet on further hearing, I noticed that Zimmerman's tempo in the magnificent slow movement of the second sonata on the disc (D960), one of the most moving melodies that Schubert wrote during his short life, was quite slow. Music should be like a flowing river, always moving forward with a sustaining energy, letting the notes speak for themselves. Here, by contrast, Zimmerman's emphasis on the individual notes was just a bit too heavy, too dramatic, which IMHO weighed down the melody which tended to gently plod along, rather than flow smoothly. Your mileage may vary, of course, but do hear this if you can before you buy. Despite my single caveat, this is still a remarkably effective release and a credit to Zimmerman's already remarkable legacy. It's also a bit longer than other versions. Four and 1/2 stars.

slofstra
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by slofstra » Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:53 am

CharmNewton wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:55 pm
Lance wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 1:36 pm
Having enjoyed the COMMAND LP recordings of Beethoven's symphonies with the Pittsburgh Symphony under the baton of William Steinberg, I was happy to recently acquire the 5-CD boxed set from DGG 483 8344 giving us all the symphonies plus the third Leonore Overture. Unlike other sets of this music (not very well remastered from the original LPs from most reports), DGG uses the original sources from the 1960s. Regarding the Ninth Symphony, however, the originals were lost for only the last movement. DGG subsequently had to employ an original LP to add that movement to complete the work. I have not yet had an opportunity hear the final result, however, I'm sure, given DGG's technical expertise, we might not notice the difference.
I just finished listening to the new Steinberg re-issue. As a cycle, I rank it very high--as good as the other cycles of that era. I liked the string balances that brought the cellos and basses into sharp focus. The overall perspective of the orchestra is slightly more distant than one usually hears in American recordings, but similar to some of Reimer's last recordings in Chicago so perhaps that was a trend of that time (I recall reading criticism of exaggerated stereo effects in early stereo recordings). The recordings improve in sound with each year. I didn't detect any loss of quality in the Finale of the 9th. For those who collect cycles from the great conductors this is worth owning. BTW, the Leonore Overture No. 3 is also a winner here. I'm blown away by the originality and freshness of this work. The climax about 3 minutes in is roof-raising and the swirling strings at the conclusion are spectacular.

Reading about the fire at Universal Studios in 2008 left me wondering if the original session tapes were destroyed at that time. Between the claims of journalists and Universal's lawyers I'm more confused than enlightened. The Pittsburgh Symphony recordings aren't mentioned, but Enoch Light.so popular recordings are reported as destroyed (but not confirmed by Universal). There was contentious litigation surrounding this fire but it is reasonable to assume that Universal had a contingency plan for something like this--it's SOP in major organizations.

So much enjoyment here for its modest cost.

John
Just purchased this. I see that DG just released this set in May of this year. In scanning my recordings catalogue I notice that my narrow selection of the Pittsburgh Symphony, numbering maybe a dozen or so recordings, is all of a good quality. Notable are various concertoes with Nathan Milstein and Steinberg as conductor. So at $30 CDN, how could I pass this up.

I went looking for a CD with Milstein on the cover, and was rather bummed out to see this. Nathan, is that really you? (Seriously though, what is the thinking here?)

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Rach3
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by Rach3 » Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:39 pm

slofstra wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:53 am
I went looking for a CD with Milstein on the cover, and was rather bummed out to see this. Nathan, is that really you? (Seriously though, what is the thinking here?)
There have been some allegations, whether true or not I do not know, that some Urania recordings are pirated.

Rach3
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by Rach3 » Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:51 pm

The 2 piano concertos of Herbert Howells (1892-1983 ), Howard Shelley,BBC Sym.,Richard Hickox, Chandos 2000 cd, # 1 from 1913-14, # 2 from 1925.Takes a few hearings to appreciate , but these are neglected gems, far superior to most late - Romantic piano concertos. Original, fresh, animated , unforced lyricism and flow belie their era, as relevant today as, for example, the Schumann Piano Concerto. Wonderful slow movs., # 1 amazing achievement by the then 22-year old Howells, # 2 more care-free yet more complex structure. I was attracted as I had earlier acquired the 1992 Metier cd of 3 of his string works from 1916-1918 and was impressed.Howells was a student of Stanford,Parry,Wood at London's RAM ca 1908-12.

The cd here :
https://tinyurl.com/yy84xpfr

At YT as well to sample : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wwBFlL ... LuPzFlC4OI

maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Sun Jul 19, 2020 2:20 pm

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Abdel Rachman El-Bacha is a pianist previously unknown to me, but thanks to Rach3, he has come to my attention on this forum. The above recording features a Belgian orchestra (Orchestre Symphonique de Monnaie), a Japanese conductor (Kazushi Ono) and Lebanese pianist El-Bacha in stunning live recordings of Prokofiev's second and fifth concertos, issued 6 years ago. This recording captures true international music-making, where Prokofiev's music gels extremely well with true electricity and virtuosity. Amazon U.S., though, has some nerve asking for $32 plus shipping for a single disc which is available elsewhere for $11, especially when amazon is asking $34 on another page for a complete set of these concertos by the same artists! At any rate, these are fine performances, fully equal to other better-known artists. I've ordered the complete set from Presto for $24! Four and 1/2 stars.

maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:39 pm

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Conductor John Wilson is mainly known for his excellent recordings of film music and pops pieces, along with some very good Copland. Lately, he's taken to exploring the music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, including a very fine recent disc of Korngold's Symphony in F, reviewed elsewhere in these pages. Kormgold's Violin Concerto, first recorded by Heifetz in the late 1940's, was really owned by that violinist for decades: neither Stern nor Oistrakh ever attempted it, although Perlman did with fine results. Thus, the piece was quite neglected for decades, rarely showing up in the concert hall. Thankfully, during the past 10-15 years, Korngold's challenging work has sparked new interest among the latest generation of virtuosos looking for repertoire, so more than a dozen new recordings have surfaced lately. This fine outing by violinist Andrew Haveron is among them, ably and excitingly accompanied by John Wilson and the RTE Concert Orchestra. The disc is completed by a sympathetic and tuneful rendering of Korngold's early (Op. 10) String Sextet from 1917, played by the Sinfonia of London Chamber Ensemble. The recorded sound by Chandos is quite excellent, as expected. Five stars.

maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:23 am

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Martyn Brabbins's Vaughan-Williams recording project with the BBC Symphony Orchestra seems to go from strength. Here, in the latest release, Brabbins presents the Third and Fourth Symphonies, a sharp contrast indeed. Not since Sir Adrian's definitive cycles has Vaughan-Williams received such energetic yet sensitive playing, although there are individual versions that stand out in my mind, most notably Barbirolli in III and Bernstein in IV. This nicely-filled disc presents first-rate Hyperion sonics as well, with thundering chords in IV and gentle breezes in III, expertly shaped and shaded by the BBC players. I expect to enjoy this disc for years to come, and look forward to more issues in this superb series. Five stars!

maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:28 am

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There are so many fine recordings being made by artists I've never heard of now emerging on the concert scene, and this is one of them. Mark Bebbington plays Poulenc's Piano music with true French panache in his new disc, ably accompanied by conductor Jan Latham-Koenig leading the Royal Philharmonic. The Concert Champetre was written in 1928, IIRC, for harpsichordist Wanda Landowska, to be played on her own instrument. It also exists in a version for piano & orchestra (with slight changes to the keyboard writing), and that is the version presented here, along with the Piano Concerto FP 146. There are also highly idiomatic performances of both the Trio for Oboe, Bassoon & Piano, and the Oboe Sonata, still ably partnered by the fleet fingers of Mark Babbington, with oboist John Roberts and bassoonist Jonathan Davies. Truly remarkably incise and persuasive playing from all concerned. Some of the contents are available for streaming on amazon, but not all. Fine, clear and open recorded sound, just right for this music. Five stars!

maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:00 am

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Ingrid Fliter is a force to be reckoned with, an amazing talent that, so far, has not disappointed me with a single note I've heard from her since her debut roughly 15 years ago. I've reviewed her recital DVD and Chopin Concerti disc elsewhere in these pages. Now it's time to highlight her recent set of the complete Chopin Nocturnes. Frankly, I've not heard such sensitive yet robust playing in a complete set since Rubinstein or (a personal favorite) Guiomar Novaes. Fliter was born to play Chopin, as her EMI releases have demonstrated amply, and here we are with depth and clarity to rival the greatest interpreters of the past. Not a single passage feels wrong, and there is meaning in every note. With Fliter, her maturity and depth carry over into every composer she touches, including her Beethoven and Haydn, but in this release her playing is extra-special. I do hope this great artist makes a project of recording Chopin's complete output, the way Bavouzet did for Debussy. Five gold stars!

maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Mon Aug 10, 2020 11:10 am

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This 2-disc set, issued at a bargain price by Orfeo, includes a magnificent live performance of Beethoven's great Missa Solemnis, a work that I've never performed but have admired more and more throughout my life. This performance was beautifully recorded in stereo in 1977 by the Bavarian Radio, led by Rafael Kubelik, and includes soloists Helen Donath, Brigitte Fassbender, Peter Schreier and John Shirley-Quirk, all renowned in their day and in peak form here. Frankly, this performance ranks with the best on modern instruments (take your pick: Klemperer, Bernstein's two recordings, Von Karajan or, yes, Ormandy). Kubelik's pacing is flawless, his soloists and choir magnificent, with an orchestra that plays their hearts out. All participants obviously realize that they are part of a great performance, and it shows in their deeply committed music-making. I'll review the Ninth Symphony when I hear it later, but for sure this has to be one of Kubelik's finest moments. I'm deeply grateful to have this in my collection. Five enthusiastic stars!

The Beethoven IX that completes the set is also an excellent reading with the same forces. Kubelik was known for his fidelity to the score, and this performance is no exception. I miss the incisiveness of Toscanini's first movement, and the Adagio is a bit slow by today's standards, while the soloists and choir give their all and inspired several chills down my spine. Thus, a deeply felt respectful reading of the score. Kubelik's set of the complete symphonies is now sadly (hopefully temporarily) OOP, in spite of many five-star reviews on amazon, probably to encourage sales of the Maestro's Complete Symphonies box, now cheaply available (See picture below.). Thus, I feel confident in awarding this performance 4 1/2 stars, with especial kudos for the choir and soloists.

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Last edited by maestrob on Mon Aug 17, 2020 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Sun Aug 16, 2020 10:34 am

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As a dedicated Francophile, I have been entranced by Massenet's Werther since my teens when I first began to study the language of my ancestors. In those days, the role of Charlotte was personified by Victoria De Los Angels on Angel, with Nicolai Gedda as her Werther, the first complete recording of this great work in stereo, led by, who else, the great Georges Pretre. Soprano Ninon Vallin and tenor Georges Thill recorded the first complete version of Werther in 1931 to great acclaim, although I didn't hear this version until much later in life. Thus, it wasn't until the past few decades that leading mezzo-sopranos began to own this role, although Rita Gorr did appear as Charlotte during the 1960's, as did the MET's own Joann Grillo, appearing with the Washington Opera opposite Giuseppe Di Stefano (She later after retirement became a judge for my Carnegie Hall vocal competition).

Thus, the stage was set for the finest mezzos of our time to assume the role of Charlotte opposite the fine crop of superb tenors gracing our stages today. The release pictured above from a live 2002 performance, features the great operatic conducting of Anthony Pappano, who has made quite a few recordings of Werther, all with excellent casts. The star of this presentation is none other than Rolando Villazon at his ultimate peak. He sings with emotional abandon, but never strains on a single note: there is more passion in every bar than many others I've heard, and his French is absolutely perfect. Sophie Koch, in one of her rare recorded appearances, is not the most subtle Charlotte I've heard, but she portrays the tortured leading role with true conviction. Eri Nakamura as Sophie has some lovely moments as well (Mady Mesple would be my personal favorite in this role.).

Don't believe the naysayers on amazon. Instead, listen for yourself and let your heart be moved by this truly great performance, as was the enthusiastic audience in the theater. Five stars!

maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Mon Aug 17, 2020 10:07 am

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Simone Young's name recently came up in discussion on another thread thanks to Barney, which led me to investigate her rather limited discography on American Amazon available for listening. The above recording issued in 2008 of Bruckner's original thoughts on his Fourth Symphony is now, sadly, OOP, but a few used copies are available, so I listened with intense interest. Eliahu Inbal has also recorded this version, and there is another reading on Naxos still in my library, but neither disc made much of an impression. This one does, in spades. Young's incisive, detailed and carefully prepared interpretation presents Bruckner's original ideas, however awkward, at their very best, and finally persuaded me to respect both the music and Young's musicianship. The Maestra and her Hamburg forces give us a deeply-felt and respectful interpretation of the original score from 1874, and truthfully, I regret having passed up this release when it was first offered. She betters the competition by several miles, and with this recording, has established herself in my mind as a deeply serious and talented conductor of Bruckner. Five enthusiastic stars!

Rach3
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by Rach3 » Wed Aug 19, 2020 2:19 pm

The complete (3) Brahms String Quartets and his Piano Quintet,Emerson Quartet and the late Leon Fleisher, 2007 DGG 2-cd set just arrived from an Amazon seller in excellent condition and dirt cheap.Another oversight by me, discovered I had no recordings of the works.

Rach3
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by Rach3 » Fri Aug 21, 2020 4:06 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 2:19 pm
The complete (3) Brahms String Quartets and his Piano Quintet,Emerson Quartet and the late Leon Fleisher, 2007 DGG 2-cd set just arrived from an Amazon seller in excellent condition and dirt cheap.Another oversight by me, discovered I had no recordings of the works.
As I have no reference recordings, cant evaluate much,but seemed fine to me.I have read some concerns by critics the Emerson can be a bit " muscular " at times, perhaps were a bit here in the Quintet, but I also have their DGG of the complete Bartok quartets which I enjoy without qualification.Whatever their approach, certainly worked well in the Op.51,#1 C minor Quartet ( the one I liked best of the 3 Quartets ), a work which can certainly stand with the middle Beethoven quartets, even LvB late quartets.

maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:48 am

Rach3 wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 2:19 pm
The complete (3) Brahms String Quartets and his Piano Quintet,Emerson Quartet and the late Leon Fleisher, 2007 DGG 2-cd set just arrived from an Amazon seller in excellent condition and dirt cheap.Another oversight by me, discovered I had no recordings of the works.
Interesting project for Fleisher. I haven't heard, but will explore online. I have the Quartetto Italiano in the Quartets in their recent box, and love their warm, woody sound: just right for Brahms IMHO. As for the Piano Quintet, may I suggest Rubinstein? There is also a 2-piano arrangement of the work by Brahms himself, recorded by Argerich/Freire in Salzburg live. If you want the Piano Quartets, the most nuanced and fulfilling playing I've heard in those would be from Hamelin's fairly recent 2-CD set with the Leopold String Trio, which incidentally receives unanimous five-star reviews on amazon. All of the above are available for free listening on amazon, btw.

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Rach3
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by Rach3 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:13 am

maestrob wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:48 am
As for the Piano Quintet, may I suggest Rubinstein?
Thanks for the suggestions.I do have Rubinstein and the Guarneri Quartet in the Brahms Piano Quartets and Schumann Piano Quintet, mine the original RCA lp box.The Op.60 Piano Quartet is ,for me, one of Brahms' greatest works.

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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:57 am

Rach3 wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:13 am
maestrob wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:48 am
As for the Piano Quintet, may I suggest Rubinstein?
Thanks for the suggestions.I do have Rubinstein and the Guarneri Quartet in the Brahms Piano Quartets and Schumann Piano Quintet, mine the original RCA lp box.The Op.60 Piano Quartet is ,for me, one of Brahms' greatest works.
Yes! I have loved that recording since LP days also. If you're interested in checking out how it sound remastered without pops and ticks, it's easily found on amazon. :)

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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by Lance » Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:06 pm

I just caught this and the picture on the Urania set. I'm sure it wasn't Nathan sitting on the chair, and I'm sure if he was still alive, he wouldn't have approved of this. Another gimmick to sell the Urania pirated recordings.
slofstra wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:53 am

I went looking for a CD with Milstein on the cover, and was rather bummed out to see this. Nathan, is that really you? (Seriously though, what is the thinking here?)

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Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by Rach3 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 5:03 pm

Lance wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:06 pm
Another gimmick to sell the Urania pirated recordings.
Appropriate cover picture for a......s ?

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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Sun Aug 23, 2020 9:02 am

Rach3 wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 5:03 pm
Lance wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:06 pm
Another gimmick to sell the Urania pirated recordings.
Appropriate cover picture for a......s ?
:D

Actually, there was a set of about 6-8 Urania CDs that appeared during the early 1990's that featured some running masters of very fine recordings from the collapsing Soviet bloc, including the best interpretation of the Khachaturian Piano Concerto (copies are available on amazon) that had been released on a Parliament LP during the 1960's with Antonin Jemelik, and several Mravinsky discs of Russian music in good mono sound among others. I acquired all of them. The Khachaturian was finally released from the master tapes on CD on Apex in superior sound, but that issue is sadly OOP. You can hear Khachaturian's own recordings of the Violin Concerto w/Oistrakh and the Piano Concerto with Nikolai Petrov from Melodiya, but only by streaming, as the CD is also OOP.

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Speaking of Piano Concerti, I'm now hearing Bernstein's recording of Bartok's II & III with Entremont for the first time, from the Big Box, and am mightily impressed, as I am by nearly everything the Great Maestro recorded in NY.

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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Mon Aug 24, 2020 11:05 am

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Massenet's opera Thais, composed on the heels of his great success with Werther, premiered in 1894, with mixed reviews. Massenet revised the work in 1898 for publication, and it is this more successful version that we hear today. Recorded by great sopranos in search of new repertoire near the end of their careers (Moffo, Sills, Fleming), this is not the case with soprano Erin Wall. Wall has recorded Mahler's gargantuan Eighth Symphony three times since 2009, with Tilson-Thomas, Boulez, and most recently Nezet-Seguin in Philadelphia, but has little else to her credit on CD besides a recent set of Peter Grimes with Gardner. I'm delighted to report that her Thais is a triumph with Andrew Davis and his Toronto forces on Chandos. Hopefully, this superb recording will lead to greater international recognition for this truly great soprano. Baritone Joshua Hopkins sings a revelatory Athanael, while tenor Andrew Staples sings an expressive Niclas. Concertmaster Jonathan Crow plays a sensitive violin in the famous Meditation, while Andrew Davis leads a deeply felt and finely nuanced reading of the score. While Thais is not as popular a work as either Manon or Werther, it is worthy of your attention and has many fine moments, particularly with Erin Wall's superbly crafted singing. Five stars.

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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:08 am

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Conductor Oleg Caetani (son of Igor Markevitch) recorded a truly fine set of Shostakovich Symphonies about a decade ago. The discs were issued in a deluxe box and singly, mostly recorded live in superb sound. Well-received at the time, the Fourth Symphony was, in my estimation, the most thrilling recording of that work I have yet to hear, and all the others were quite good. Caetani also tried his hand at Mahler and Wagner, but those discs were IMHO less successful: he just didn't quite have the right feel for the Ressurection Symphony in particular, so no more Mahler was issued. Fortunately, Caetani decided to explore the orchestral music of the unknown composer Rudi Stephan, who was tragically shot to death as young man on the front lines of WWI in 1915, long before he could realize his full potential as a composer. His single opera, Die erste Menschen, was recorded at last in a live performance in 2008 with Mikko Franck at the helm and released on CD (now sadly OOP, but some used copies can be found). Around the same time, Caetani was persuaded by Chandos to record the above disc of orchestral works with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and the result is quite impressive. Since this all happened more than a decade ago, why am I writing this review? Well, researching CMG I found a discussion of the opera, but nothing about this superb recording by Caetani, which is still available. Thus upon rehearing, thought highly of it and wanted to bring it to your attention. Five stars!

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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:57 am

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Vasily Petrenko has recently taken to recording the works of Edward Elgar with his Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and the results have been as well-received as his excellent cycle of Shostakovich Symphonies. This latest release in the series is also a clear winner, featuring mezzo Kathryn Ridge in both the Sea Pictures and with the fine chorus in The Music Makers. While not as sumptuous a tone as Dame Janet Baker in Barbirolli's famous recording of the former, Ridge has the range and sensitivity to deliver Elgar's text with clarity and feeling, and she excels in the high A natural in The Swimmer with not a hint of strain. Petrenko leads a thoroughly idiomatic performance of both works, full of British colonial pride and clarity of line. Entirely recommendable! Five stars.

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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Fri Sep 04, 2020 11:04 am

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Schubert led a tragically short life, but he produced a massive output of great music, from songs to symphonies. The above album cover is not actually for a CD set, but a release by the Bach Guild I've just discovered on American Amazon that's available for free listening or for mp3 download for, get this, 99 cents for about ten CDs (as far as I can judge) worth of first-rate artists performing Schubert's music. Included in this package are Peter Serkin's beloved recording of the Trout Quintet with Sasha Scheider (my personal favorite), a recital by Elly Ameling of some of Schubert's best-loved songs, and performances of the Symphony IX,by the great conductor Carl Schuricht, as well as the tragic C major Quintet. Fine listening for those who wish to explore Schubert's music, all in fine stereo performances from the 1960's. Five stars! Just search amazon for "Big Schubert Box." There are many other Big Boxes available for download and free listening as well for those who wish to explore great music inexpensively. Kudos to the Bach Guild for making these available!

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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Sun Sep 06, 2020 1:50 pm

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Although I haven't heard this entire box yet, I am certainly a follower of Isabelle Faust, Jean Guihen Queyras and Alexander Melnikov. I have heard the Beethoven Violin Sonatas, and can safely attest that there is much exquisite playing in those recordings, and I expect to hear the same from Queyras. The reason that I'm rushing this review to print is that American amazon is offering the above 7-CD box from Harmonia Mundi at a special per-order price of $29.00 with free shipping, a bargain from any label, and especially so from these fine artists in new recordings. Delivery is not until late October, but I am anticipating its arrival with bated breath, as these are sure to be extremely fine discs. Can't wait!

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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:57 am

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In this, her latest CD, Nicola Benedetti's youthful and passionate playing in Elgar's Violin Concerto rivals that of Yehudi Menuhin's classic recording made with the composer when he was only 16 years old. Benedetti and Jurowski form a dynamic partnership in this elegant and passionate reading of Elgar's beloved music with the London Philharmonic Orchestra recorded just recently in sumptuous and detailed sound. Benedetti is one of the finest violinists around these days: Wynton Marsalis just wrote a fine concerto for her last year that she toured with and played to great acclaim at the Hollywood Bowl. The encores, with Peter Limonov on piano, are quite lovely. This is a five star issue!

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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Sat Sep 12, 2020 10:46 am

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This remarkable recital by Jean-Guihen Queyras and Alexandre Tharaud, recorded and released just months before Covid-19 shut down most musical activities, contains much remarkable music-making, featuringvirtuoso pieces that will be familiar to many listeners, as well as new arrangements of famous works for cello and piano. Queyras displays tremendous virtuosity on his chosen instrument, which reminds me of the wondrous playing of Heifetz on his extraordinary recital records of generations past. Tharaud is a remarkably sensitive partner who never fades into the background in this magical pairing of virtuosi, yet he never intrudes or overshadows Queyras, allowing the cellist to be the star of this musical outing. There are two strange tracks of Bach arranged for cello & saxophone, but don't let those put you off if that's not your thing. Every piece is a delectable bon-bon that rewards repeated listening. Five enthusiastic stars!

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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Mon Sep 14, 2020 11:53 am

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This two-disc set of live Rachmaninoff led by Paavo Jarvi with the Orchestre de Paris provides an intriguing contrast with Neeme Jarvi's superb recordings of the major pieces included here, the Third Symphony and the Symphonic Dances, recorded digitally in 1987 and 1991 with the London Symphony and the Philharmonia, respectively. Jarvi Sr. has under his baton two extremely fine ensembles that are, IMHO, superior to the thinner-sounding Paris Orchestra, but he makes one mistake in the Symphonic Dances, allowing the tam-tam to resonate fully and die out slowly, which Rachmaninoff specifically did not want. Otherwise, Jarvi Sr.'s account of both works features a richer, fuller sound that better reflects the sound world of Rachmaninoff's preferred orchestra in Philadelphia, where he recorded the Third Symphony but not the Symphonic Dances (He left that task to Ormandy.). That said, while the younger Jarvi interjects some rubati here and there in his rather weak interpretation of the Third Symphony, including a ritard in the final bars which simply does not belong and undermines the power of the finale, his reading of the Symphonic Dances clearly demonstrates his mastery of that score, and radiates electricity and confidence, fully demonstrating the virtuosity of the Orchestre de Paris and correcting the misreading of the tam-tam notation in the final bar that otherwise marred his father's excellent recording with the Philharmonia. The filler selections on this two CD set (Caprive Bohemirn, Vocalise 7 The Rock) are all well-played and recorded. Thus, 3 1/2 stars for the Third Symphony, and 5 stars for the Symphonic Dances and the rest.

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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by Rach3 » Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:48 pm

Schumann’s Variations on a Theme by Beethoven, WoO.31 ( the funeral march from the 7th Symphony),Andreas Boyde,pianist,Divine Arts cd. Neither pianist nor label known to me, but a very fine performance. Wanted just this 15-16 minute work, and thus found pricing unattractive for used cd’s paired with other works I had no interest in,and even downloads from some labels,artists too pricey ( some wanted $14-15 for a download of the Schumann work alone ! ) , but was able to acquire a 320 kbps mp3 from Presto Classical for $ 4, great for my purposes. Also fww, a great work I discovered just recently.

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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:29 am

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Conductor/composer Paul Kletzki's wide-ranging musical career has been the stuff of legend among musicians and record collectors. Not much has been available outside the British Isles for us to cherish, but now that gap has been filled with this beautifully restored 10CD set, with mostly live broadcast recordings spanning his post WWII career from 1946-61. Kletzki's early success as a composer in Germany brought him to the attention of Furtwangler, who invited him to lead the Berlin Philharmonic in 1932. When Hitler came to power, Kletzki, being of Polish-Jewish descent, had to abruptly leave Germany,. He fled first to Italy, then Switzerland, France, and finally to England and Israel, where he formed strong relationships with both the Philharmonia Orchestra beginning in 1946 and with the Isreal Philharmonic. His inspired, electrifying music-making became the stuff of legend, and it is these performances that are featured here.

Up to now I had only heard some of his riveting Beethoven, issued by Musical Heritage Society during the 1970's on LP. That was enough to burn his musical presence into my memory, and make me grab this box recently. Everything Kletzki touched turns to fiery gold, from Brahms to Sibelius, but some discs stand out as milestones. In 1954, Kletzki travelled to Israel, where modern full-range recording equipment had just been delivered to make the first post-war recording of Mahler's great Ninth Symphony with the Isreal Philharmonic, a recording that answers the question: "What if Toscanini had conducted Mahler?" Kletzki's powerful reading tests the virtuosity and passionate committment to Mahler's music of Europe's best Jewish musicians, particularly in the Scherzo, which had me on the edge of my seat! Kletzki's interpretations of Brahms III & IV, may have inspired Toscanini to appear with the Philharmonia orchestra leading a complete cycle (with Dennis Brain playing the crucial French horn) in the summer of 1952. Also, a live 1955 Stockholm performance of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with David Oistrakh leaves no doubt of the famed violinist's virtuoso abilities, unlike his Melodiya recording of the same piece made a few years later which tended to relax the tempo in more difficult passages. Kletzki, by contrast, gives Oistrakh no quarter, and the result is both exhilarating and terrifying!


I could go on, but you get the idea! There is more, much more, to cherish in this set of beautifully restored recordings, all from original tapes. Don't miss this monumental glimpse into the art of a great, but not forgotten, conductor. Five enthusiastic gold stars!

Rach3
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by Rach3 » Sat Sep 19, 2020 2:30 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 10:46 am
This remarkable recital by Jean-Guihen Queyras and Alexandre Tharaud, recorded and released just months before Covid-19 shut down most musical activities, containenthusiastic stars!
Not on your cd, but I just downloaded a 320kbps Harmonia Mundi mp3 of Queyras,Tharaud playing the wonderful Poulenc Cello Sonata. All of Poulenc's various sonatas are wonderful, eg. clarinet, flute,oboe.

maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Sun Sep 20, 2020 8:29 am

Rach3 wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 2:30 pm
maestrob wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 10:46 am
This remarkable recital by Jean-Guihen Queyras and Alexandre Tharaud, recorded and released just months before Covid-19 shut down most musical activities, containenthusiastic stars!
Not on your cd, but I just downloaded a 320kbps Harmonia Mundi mp3 of Queyras,Tharaud playing the wonderful Poulenc Cello Sonata. All of Poulenc's various sonatas are wonderful, eg. clarinet, flute,oboe.
Good morning!

Yes, that's been discontinued as a hard disc, but FLAC downloads are available from Presto and amazon has a few copies at very high prices, which I won't pay. I've heard the disc on amazon, and his playing in both the Debussy and Poulenc Sonatas is sensitive and worthy of praise. Original release date: 2008. Lance actually was the first to bring up Queyras here, and I'm sold! :)

Rach3
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by Rach3 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:51 am

Pianist Cora Irsen's WDR cd of the solo piano " 18 Pieces pour d'apres la lecture de Dante" ( 1894 ) by composer-pianist Marie Jaell (1846-1925) , refereed to here earlier in a separate topic,. Jaell was a friend of Liszt,Saint-Saens,and Brahms, studied with Henri Herz. i enjoyed her 2 piano concertos, cello concerto, and especially her cello sonata ( all at YT), but the "18 Pieces" the work I was willing to pay the cd price asked.Cd is at YT as well:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hOU-qX ... l214w1y__I

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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:02 am

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Ildebrando Pizzetti's Symphony in A, interestingly, was commissioned by the Japanese government (along with Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem, which was rejected) in 1940, just a year before the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, to commemorate the 2600th anniversary of the founding of the Japanese Empire. Pizzetti's rather somber work, unlike Britten's, did not make the transition into the standard repertoire that he wished, and TMK remained unrecorded until this 2017 Naxos release with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nationale della RAI, led by conductor Damian Iorio. This recording makes a compelling case for Pizzetti's music, along with the sunnier Harp Concerto (1950), played to perfection by harpist Margherita Bassani. These are minor works, now of merely historical interest, but they make for comfortable listening, and are well-played and recorded. Four stars.

Rach3
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by Rach3 » Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:38 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:48 pm
Schumann’s Variations on a Theme by Beethoven, WoO.31 ( the funeral march from the 7th Symphony),Andreas Boyde,pianist,Divine Arts cd... Also fww, a great work I discovered just recently.
Here is that recording I acquired. 15 minutes, worth a hear:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QO38ipxlWTw

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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:23 am

Rach3 wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:38 pm
Rach3 wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:48 pm
Schumann’s Variations on a Theme by Beethoven, WoO.31 ( the funeral march from the 7th Symphony),Andreas Boyde,pianist,Divine Arts cd... Also fww, a great work I discovered just recently.
Here is that recording I acquired. 15 minutes, worth a hear:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QO38ipxlWTw
A wonderful find, Rach3, thank-you! The music was very interesting, although it ended in a surprisingly quiet way, and the pianist is worth investigating. I found two albums of Brahms available for listening on amazon, and will hear them soon.

Rach3
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by Rach3 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:28 am

maestrob wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:23 am
Schumann’s Variations on a Theme by Beethoven, WoO.31 ( the funeral march fro
A wonderful find, Rach3, thank-you! The music was very interesting, although it ended in a surprisingly quiet way, and the pianist is worth investigating. I found two albums of Brahms available for listening on amazon, and will hear them soon.
I discovered that apparently Schumann did not complete the work which may explain its ending ?

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