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

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

Post by slofstra » Wed Dec 02, 2020 11:38 am

maestrob wrote:
Wed Dec 02, 2020 11:22 am
Rach3 wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 3:30 pm
maestrob wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:13 pm
Vadym Kholodenko won the coveted Gold Medal in the Van Cliburn 2013 piano competition, and I'm only now catching up to him on CD.
A pianist I follow, often as you note original insights. After I heard in real time , or shortly after, his very first solo recital at the 2013 Cliburn ,I remarked to others that if he continued to play that well, he might very well be the winner. His Rachmaninov Piano Sonatas are great, and I agree with you about the second Medtner.In fact I find almost all the Medtner piano sonatas wonderful, eg.Opa. 5 and 30.Remarkable Kholodenko was able to continue after his family tragedy.
Indeed. I had read about that when it happened, just after he won the Cliburn. I don't know anyone who has not been affected by some sort of tragedy in life, but OMG! nothing like this horror:

https://www.star-telegram.com/news/loca ... 55220.html

Thankfully, with much love and support from his current partner in life, he has been able to continue his career. We can only wish him well.
How terrible. I can't read more than the byline and a paragraph of this story right now. We had a case of infanticide/ attempted suicide in our city, recently, and our daughter was working in the hospital where the mother was brought in. The entire hospital staff was very upset and depressed by the situation, and they do see and cope reasonably adequately with quite a lot. I mention this because it happens more often than we think.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Dec 07, 2020 12:18 pm

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Alexandre Kantorow, son of the well-established conductor Jean-Jacques Kantorow, became the first French pianist to win the Tchaikovsky Competition in 2019, and recorded this disc of Saint-Saens Concertos III, IV & V that same year with his proud father leading the Tapiola Sinfonietta. This is not Kantorow's first appearance on CD. He has recorded Liszt and French repertoire quite successfully prior to this, all on discs that have been well-received. Happily, I detect a new level of confidence and subtlety in his playing with this latest release. Kantorow displays delicate sensitivity and grace in Saint-Saens, and quite obviously is in love with his music, inspiring the Tapiola Sinfonietta to equal charm and flexibility in their playing. Certainly there are other successful recordings of this repertoire you will not want to be without, but this fine new disc (hopefully presaging a companion disc of other two concerti) deserves to rank with the best available. Five stars.

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

Post by Rach3 » Mon Dec 07, 2020 3:25 pm

maestrob wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 12:18 pm
Alexandre Kantorow, son of the well-established conductor Jean-Jacques Kantorow, became the first French pianist to win the Tchaikovsky Competition in 2019...
I was fortunate to hear in real time his 2019 Tchaikovsky Competition Finals.He played the Tchaikovsky 2nd PC ( uncut version) followed by the Brahms 2nd PC with about 10 minutes between. A solo recital or 2 since have been also excellent.

I also witnessed this disaster at the 2019,accurately set forth by Wiki:
On 25 June 2019, at the final round of the piano category, Chinese competitor Tianxu An was supposed to play Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 followed by Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. However, the scores on the orchestra's and conductor's stands were placed in reversed order and the Rachmaninoff piece was announced first, different from what the pianist requested. Since An didn't understand Russian, he was unaware of the situation. With the piano entry in the Rachmaninoff almost immediate, the performance "began with a failure". Following the incident, jury chair Denis Matsuev invited him to perform the program again, but An declined. The competition made an official apology and the orchestra administration suspended the responsible staff after the event. An was eventually awarded a "special prize" for his confidence and courage.

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

Post by slofstra » Tue Dec 08, 2020 12:08 am

With the piano entry in the Rachmaninoff almost immediate, the performance "began with a failure".
I don't quite get what this means. Oh, wait. I think it means a very short tutti, then An began playing the Tchaikovsky? Yikes. Then what happened. Did they regroup after the false start? The article is a bit vague.
Have you seen the famous clip of Pires realizing that she prepared for the wrong Mozart concerto? It's quite impressive.

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

Post by jserraglio » Tue Dec 08, 2020 8:22 am

. . . not added to my collection but purchased as a Christmas gift for a friend: Alisa Weilerstein plays Bach’s Cello Suites on PentaTone (2020).

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

Post by Rach3 » Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:31 am

slofstra wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 12:08 am
The article is a bit vague.
Here is the tragedy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOUSFNgEy7c

The announcer initially stated the correct order when advising what pieces would be played, but then apparently said the Rach would be played first,which appeared to surprise Petrenko who obviously assumed An knew that fact,too. An was late on the opening 2 Rach chords, but a miracle he could play at all.He then had to follow with the PIT # 1 about 10 minutes after completing the Rach.

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

Post by slofstra » Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:00 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:31 am
slofstra wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 12:08 am
The article is a bit vague.
Here is the tragedy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOUSFNgEy7c

The announcer initially stated the correct order when advising what pieces would be played, but then apparently said the Rach would be played first,which appeared to surprise Petrenko who obviously assumed An knew that fact,too. An was late on the opening 2 Rach chords, but a miracle he could play at all.He then had to follow with the PIT # 1 about 10 minutes after completing the Rach.
I gotta say, he handled that extremely well. Imagine being all primed to play one major piece and having to change gears in a matter of seconds. I don't play piano, but I know that just to focus on what my wife is saying when I am posting here on the forum requires a major recalibration of mental effort. As someone who does, what did you think of it? Heroic?

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

Post by Rach3 » Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:23 pm

slofstra wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:00 pm
As someone who does, what did you think of it? Heroic?
I certainly never played piano at anywhere near that level.Heroic, indeed,especially as apparently some of the most technically difficult parts of the Rach Rhapsody come early in the work.I wonder if he thought later he may be should have stopped the performance so the problem could be sorted out, but he perhaps felt at the time it was his mistake.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Dec 14, 2020 10:29 am

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Bach's Brandenburg Concertos have been recorded by probably every major conductor and ensemble in existence, all while performance styles have been updated and refined greatly since Pablo Casals first began to popularize them on the Columbia label, both on the 78RPM set I grew up with of #5 and on LP with a set from the Marlboro Festival in 1960. Trevor Pinnock issued one of the first complete sets on original instruments in 1989, and that set has been in my stereo ever since. Recently, I was gifted Jonathan Butt's remarkably vibrant and deeply researched 2018 recording, played with A=392, a much lower pitch than we use today (A=440 or thereabouts), and, while it took some getting used to at first, these ears found a new warmth and ease in the playing of his superbly recorded Dunedin Ensemble, especially in the valveless trumpet and recorders, but also in the lower strings, which sing out in the bass line that supports everyone else. The sparkling Fourth is still a personal favorite, and Butt's harpsichord playing in the Fifth sounds as if he's inventing the music and improvising as he goes along. Nothing here sounds tired or ordinary: each bar feels like a new discovery. Five glorious stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Dec 14, 2020 11:43 am

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Nelson Freire's career has built slowly from good to great over his lifetime. Last year, I bought the Sony box of his complete early recordings for that label, and revisited many of his very solidly played repertoire from that label. At the time I had first heard them, I thought that here was a good but not very deep interpreter of Chopin, Brahms, and other romantics. So, I left him alone for a while, hoping he'd mature and acquire new confidence and depth. Sure enough, Freire made a duet recording of Rachmaninoff, Lutoslawski and Ravel that blew past his previous limitations in 1990 on the Phillips label, as well as a disc of Bartok with Argerich led by David Zinman, also for Phillips, and I watched him gain new confidence from there. When he switched labels to Decca and began recording Chopin, his new maturity and confidence had grown to an amazing level of depth and virtuosity as evidenced in the disc I just opened above that has lain on my shelves, sadly unopened for more than a decade. Freire, in this 2005 release, is fully equal to Kissin in his depth of insight and sensitivity into Chopin's world. There is not a single note or phrase here that lacks meaning. Tempi are spot-on, and the music flows naturally from phrase to phrase. This is truly a must-have for piano lovers not only for Freire's great interpretive abilities, but for Decca's impeccable piano sound. My only regret is that I didn't open this sooner. Five stars.

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

Post by Rach3 » Wed Dec 16, 2020 4:34 pm

This BIS cd of Carl Nielsen's Violin Concerto and Symphony No.5. I have not connected well with either his Flute or Clarinet Concertos, or Symphony No.4,but these works I do connect and needed in recorded form in my collection:
https://www.amazon.com/Nielsen-Symphony ... ic&sr=1-18
Last edited by Rach3 on Wed Dec 16, 2020 5:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Post by Rach3 » Wed Dec 16, 2020 4:58 pm

maestrob wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 11:43 am
This is truly a must-have for piano lovers not only for Freire's great interpretive abilities, but for Decca's impeccable piano sound. My only regret is that I didn't open this sooner. Five stars.

Agree with you about the mature Freire, one of the great ones. His cd of solo piano music of Villa-Lobos is one I can also highly recommend,as is his Brahms 2nd PC.

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

Post by maestrob » Thu Dec 17, 2020 8:41 am

Rach3 wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 4:34 pm
This BIS cd of Carl Nielsen's Violin Concerto and Symphony No.5. I have not connected well with either his Flute or Clarinet Concertos, or Symphony No.4,but these works I do connect and needed in recorded form in my collection:
https://www.amazon.com/Nielsen-Symphony ... ic&sr=1-18
Yes, I think I have that somewhere in my collection from long ago. IIRC, it got great reviews when it came out in 1995 or so. I'll have to pull it out and give it a listen soon. Myung-Wha Chung is a conductor that I agree with often, as he also finished his studies with Jean Morel at Juilliard, the MET maestro who taught my Maestro, Vincent La Selva. At any rate, Chung has had a terrific career so far, leading the Paris Opera at one point, and has made some truly great recordings. This is one of them.

As far as the other Nielsen Concerti are concerned, have you tried Bernstein's New York versions yet? They're included in the Sony box of his complete Nielsen recordings.

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As for Nielsen IV, my personal favorite is Barbirolli's electrifying recording with the Halle, one of his top 10 recordings. There's a copy available today on amazon for $2.99 if you're interested. I wore out my original LP!

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Did you get any snow out your way? If so, how's your power situation?

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

Post by Rach3 » Thu Dec 17, 2020 9:52 am

maestrob wrote:
Thu Dec 17, 2020 8:41 am
Did you get any snow out your way? If so, how's your power situation?
Thanks for asking. Just a dusting of snow, cold, but no problems, other than out of control pandemic. For the East Coast, how awful, trying to distribute vaccine and mail and packages in a storm during an uncontrolled pandemic.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Dec 21, 2020 11:39 am

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Charles Gounod is best known for his two famous operas, Faust and Romeo & Juliette, but he also wrote a steady output of quite good music in other forms as well. In this release, Yan-Pascal Tortelier, son of the famed cellist Paul Tortelier and a violinist himself, who has recently completed his contract with the Iceland Symphony, leads that orchestra in winning interpretations of Gounod's rarely-heard two completed symphonies. Gounod did begin work on a third, the sketches of which have been recorded by conductor Oleg Caetani, a friend of the Gounod family. Here, the Iceland Symphony plays with wonderful Gallic refinement in these lighthearted works, composed back-to-back in the 1850's, which inspired Bizet to write his own symphony soon after. This is a marvelously uplifting disc of French music that will brighten your spirits. Five stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Sun Dec 27, 2020 12:34 pm

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Jaap Van Zweden's Gotterdammerung is a resounding success. It is also a major achievement for an Asian orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Of course, in order to produce an authentic German choral sound, Naxos and Van Zweden had to bring the Bamberg Symphony Chorus and the Latvian State Choir to the concert hall for this recording, along with an outstanding cast of internationally known singers, but the result is the culmination of a first-rank Ring cycle that has earned the right to be measured by world standards next to the best on CD, including Barenboim, Solti, Bohm, Knappertsbusch and Levine.

The only singer in this cast that I had heard before is the great Michelle DeYoung as Kundry, so I had to research the Brunnhilde (Gun-Brit Barkmin) and the extraordinarily youthful and vigorous Siegfried, Daniel Brenna, both of whom have popped up recently as first-rank Wagnerian voices. Both are extraordinarily gifted singers who convey their respective roles with commanding presence and deeply thought-out characterizations with their wonderfully suited vocal gifts. Bass eric Halfvarson plunges into the depths of Hagen's evil scheming with abandon, while Peter Kalman coveys Alberich's greed with admirable richness of sound. The other members of the cast are equally fine, with not a single weak moment in their singing. All are captured with remarkable clarity and depth by the Naxos recording team, so much so, in fact, that the entire cycle has been issued on Blu-ray audio as well as conventional CD.

This entire cycle marks a great achievement in Jaap Van Zweden's conducting career, and establishes him as a great Wagner conductor for all time. In addition, this entire Ring cycle has now been released in a single Naxos box for less than the cost of a good restaurant meal. I urge you to hear this, and release yourself from any prejudice you may have about Asian orchestras, as the Hong Kong Philharmonic plays here with ultimate authority and immense depth. Five enthusiastic stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 04, 2021 11:44 am

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Having acquired this well-received CD some time ago, your reviewer took the plunge today and finally heard it this morning, with outstanding results. Both John Ogden and the Takacs Quartet have built fine reputations, Ogden with his complete Chopin box for Hyperion, and the Takacs Quartet with their recent set of Beethoven Quartets as examples of their fine artistry. This excellent release from Hyperion pairs two relatively obscure works, Elgar's late Piano Quintet Op. 84, from which the slow movement breaks my heart every time I hear it, and Amy Beach's Op. A Minor Piano Quintet Op. 84, composed about a decade earlier, in very much the same idiom. Both works are played with great sensitivity and respect. This was my first hearing of the Beach Quintet, and I am glad to say that I found her work a very suitable companion to the Elgar, and was glad to hear it. This disc will be played and replayed and deserves easily its five-star rating!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:33 pm

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The great soprano Margaret Price did not travel far from home because of severely disabling pain in her legs, making her home first in England in the 1970's and then in Germany, where she worked extensively with Wolfgang Sawallisch, then director of the Bavarian State opera, and the pianist in the magnificent Strauss songs on this recording. Made at the height of her powers, these are deeply authoritative readings, along with the set of five Liszt songs recorded a decade earlier with James Lockhart at the keyboard. EMI's studio sound suits Price's wonderfully expressive vocalism perfectly. As a lover of Strauss's extensive lieder output, I cannot recommend this disc more highly: each phrase is given rapt attention by Price and Sawallisch. This is one of the finest recordings of lieder by both composers you can own. Hopefully, Warner will reissue this great recording soon. My only regret is that I didn't open this sooner. As it is, we'll have to make do with used copies if they can be found. Five enthusiastic stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Fri Jan 08, 2021 12:23 pm

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There are so many, many versions of Mozart's great Violin Concertos on disc that I've lost count. Every great violinist has recorded them, and with great success, that it's impossible to name favorites, but Szeryng, Grumiaux, Perlman, Heifetz and Oistrakh are all regularly playing in my house. Until now, though, I've not heard an HIP performance that has really caught my attention enough to add it to my collection. That is why I was so entranced when hearing the above 2 CD set today by newcomer Christoph Koncz, with his courageous first major recording playing and leading Les Musiciens du Louvre, just recently released a few months ago. This recording is so brilliantly fresh, a totally and seriously informed approach to Mozart in phrasing and every subtle detail that left me breathless with its charm and elegance. Koncz is a master of refined detail without ever being fussy or getting in the way of the music. His total approach is so deeply thought-through to the point where his every decision highlights the best qualities of his chosen instrument, Mozart's personal violin, on which he played these concerti when he performed them, an early 18th century Klotz that was passed on to Mozart's sister Nannerl, eventually winding up in the hands of the International Mozart Foundation in 1956. Unlike most violins of the period, it did not receive a 19th century upgrade, so what we hear is exactly what Mozart's audience heard when he played it. (Koncz usually plays the "Brüstlein" Stradivarius of 1707 on generous loan by the National Bank of Austria.) I simply cannot praise this beautifully recorded release enough, along with the superb Musiciens du Louvre, and award it five enthusiastic gold stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:49 am

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The Minnesota Orchestra (formerly the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra) has been one of the best-kept secrets in the American musical landscape. Eugene Ormandy started his conducting career on RCA records there in the 1934 & '35 during the height of the Great Depression after moving there from the podium of the orchestra at the Capitol theater in New York, introducing the orchestra to Mahler's massive Second Symphony in it's first complete recording and Rachmaninoff's carefully cut Second Symphony, which Ormandy prepared with the composer. Since then, the Minnesotans have recorded extensively, most recently with Scrowaczewski in a set of DBX-encoded LPs with fantastic sound quality (later released on CD) for Vox, and now with their current conductor, Osmo Vanska, who has recorded many best-selling CDs including a fine traversal of Beethoven's 9 Symphonies and, of course, Sibelius. Vanska is now embarked on a Mahler cycle with this great orchestra, and the latest release of Symphony VII is pictured above. In spite of the five-star reception on amazon's website, I have a few bones to pick here, notably the opening bars, where Vanska simply fails to establish a firm tempo from the first bar, which starts off weakly and then accelerates to the proper tempo. Why? He had the same weakness in the accelerando to the finale of the first movement of Mahler IV as well. In both instances, this effect undermined the musical tension for me. The orchestra plays exceedingly well here, but they cannot even begin to compete with Abbado's Lucerne forces on DVD, or even the Berlin Philharmonic led by the same conductor. So let me just say that this is a remarkably good recording for an American orchestra, but they lack the electricity of Bernstein's N. Y. Philharmonic and the sensitive but telling details of Abaddo's great live performance from Lucerne. Four stars, with an A for effort.

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

Post by maestrob » Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:37 pm

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After posting about my slight disappointment with the two CDs in Grigory Sokolov's most recent release from DGG earlier, I have hesitated since viewing the DVD contained in the same set to post my views until I had the chance to see the recital contained therein for a second time to confirm my initial reaction, which was even more negative. Having been a fan of this enormously talented pianist since I was gifted an electrifying DVD by a fellow member here, I have carefully acquired each subsequent release and enjoyed nearly everything he has allowed to be issued on CD, including a 10 CD box of excerpts of live recitals on the Naive label. So far, so good.

The DVD presented here as a bonus with the two CDs reviewed earlier, which presents a recital recorded at a recital in Turin and played on an Italian Steinway in 2017, presented me with a dilemma. How should I convey my disappointment with Sokolov's interpretations of Mozart & Beethoven without disparaging the sincerity of his thinking? Just to state the facts would be too easy, but I must start there, so here goes. My experience of his Mozart (K 545 Sonata and K475 & 457, the Fantasia and Sonata in C Minor) is that they both sounded too heavy, more like Beethoven than Mozart and, when hearing Sokolov's approach to Beethoven's Op. 90, the Sonata No. 27 in E minor, which went quite well, I thought upon second hearing, I could not discern a difference in his playing from one composer to the next. The final piece in the official program was Beethoven's Op. 111, his final major work for the piano. Sokolov's approach to this masterpiece was entirely too slow, and the reading of the second movement seemed to drag on interminably. Slowness in Beethoven can often be misunderstood as profundity, but I never expected such a miscalculation from such a great artist as Sokolov, who is now at the stage of his career when he is near to making final statements on the works he performs.

The official program was followed by a generous helping of encores, with which Sokolov redeemed himself from his earlier meanderings by acquitting himself with sparkle in Rameau and much tenderness in Chopin 7 Schumann, among other gems. His audience responded with well-deserved enthusiasm after each piece.

Overall, for the entire set, the best I can award is four stars, with the many caveats expressed above and in my previous review of the two CDs posted earlier. Sokolov has produced much great music elsewhere that deserves to be heard even with its flaws, but this release, I must conclude, does not live up to his earlier efforts. I would caution readers to stream the two CDs on Amazon before buying, and to avoid the DVD unless you are a die-hard fan.

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

Post by maestrob » Sun Jan 17, 2021 10:15 am

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More than six years after the above pictured performance of Eugene Onegin, starring Anna Netrebko, Mariusz Kwiecen and Poitr Beczala with Valery Gergiev on the podium at the MET, was broadcast on PBS in 2014, I just cannot remember what kept me from viewing that Great Performances telecast. Having sung and coached much of the roles of Onegin and Tatiana myself with Gergiev's former Assistant Conductor at the Kirov who was my pianist in my vocal competition in Carnegie Hall, as well as Lensky's famous aria, this is surely my favorite Russian opera. Of course I had seen and greatly admired Renee Fleming's and Dmitri Hvorostovsky's broadcast in 2007 with all the leaves and little else for a set, but this new production with more furniture and actual walls is clearly superior.

Netrebko is a perfect Tatiana, both as a young teenager with a mad crush on the more mature Onegin, and later as a married and thus more responsible and mature aristocrat who, despite her deep inner turmoil, knows she must spurn the man she truly loves still. Kwiecen is incredibly convincing as Onegin, as is Beczala as Onegin's best friend, Lenski, who loses his temper at Onegin's callous flirting with Olga, Lenski's true love, causing the duel in which Onegin kills him. Each moment from this brilliant Russian-speaking cast (Kwiecen and Beczala are both Polish), led by Gergiev who has Tchaikovsky's music and Pushkin's text deep in his heart and soul, is filled with intense meaning and drama: not a single note or glance is without substance. The addition of a passionate kiss between the two star-crossed lovers in the pause before Tatiana walks off stage, leaving her former love to proclaim his heartbreak, broke my heart as well. This could be the best Onegin ever. Five enthusiastic gold stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:30 am

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This is a magnificent recording of a major event in musical history, the 100th Anniversary of the American premiere of Mahler's massive Eighth Symphony, played by the orchestra that gave that premiere under the direction of Leopold Stokowski, both in the Academy of Music on Broad Street in Philadelphia and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1916. Led by Yannick Nezet-Seguin in the Philadelphia Orchestra's recently built new home, the Kimmel Center, with its magnificent organ, for the first time these forces can be heard on disc for the first time, assembled in Philadelphia as Mahler would have wanted. Angela Meade and Erin Wall (in her third recording of this symphony) are the lead sopranos, while Lisette Oropesa (soprano III), Elizabeth Bishop (contralto I), Mihoko Fujimura (contralto II), Anthony Dean Griffey (tenor), Markus Werba (baritone), and John Relyea (bass), make up the balance of the cast of first-rank soloists. The Westminster Symphonic Choir, The Choral Arts Society of Washington and The American Boychoir provide the massive double chorus necessary, while the renowned Michael Stairs (who spent his life in Bryn Mawr on the Main Line where I was born and sadly passed away just two years after this recording) plays the Kimmel Center organ.

What is there to say about this CD? It is a truly historical document of a great live performance, one of the finest readings of Mahler's masterpiece, fully equal to Bernstein's London Symphony recording for Columbia (or, for that matter, his great performance in Vienna in the 1970's), or Solti's great recording in Chicago. (Too bad Claudio Abbado was never able to assemble the forces necessary to produce his final statement on Mahler's Eighth in Lucerne.) Yet this one is even more of a special occasion, with not a hint of weakness anywhere. DGG has fully captured the sound of the great organ at the Kimmel Center, as well as each individual soloist and the massive choral forces involved. The Philadelphia Orchestra plays at a peak of excitement, thrilled to be involved in such a significant presentation, and inspired by the electrifying conducting of Yannick Nezet-Seguin. The massive wall of sound generated by these forces must be heard to be appreciated, while the more delicate moments of the excerpts from Goethe's Faust in the Second Movement are never lost in the balance. The explosion of applause at the finale will send a thrill up your spine, after an intense, reverent silence during the tender moments when you could hear a pin drop. Enough said. Buy this CD! Five enthusiastic gold stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:48 am

Wow!

Has anyone else noticed that we now have over a million and a half hits on this thread as of this morning?

Cause for celebration, I'd say! :D

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

Post by maestrob » Sun Jan 24, 2021 10:37 am

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So many fine recordings of Copland's stunning Third Symphony are available now that it's difficult to realize that not too long ago, his own excellent recording with the London Symphony (1959) made for the Everest label on 35mm magnetic tape, was the only one available. A few years later, his close friend and fellow composer Leonard Bernstein recorded it with the New York Philharmonic, a recording which Copland happily admitted was even better than his own effort. This recording remained the final statement for many decades.

In his last years, Copland's composing muse seemed to desert him, and he began a career of conducting and recording his own music around the world, mostly for Columbia Records. He revisited "The Tender Land" for Columbia, recording a cut version that I've produced several times myself in concert, in one of the finest examples of his conducting that fit nicely on one LP about ten years after the work's premiere with New York City Opera, as well as a then new chamber version of Appalachian Spring, along with his remarkable "Quiet City" for Columbia Special Products issued with a blue label and recorded, IIRC, in London. He also, being a fine pianist, recorded his own Piano Concerto with Leonard Bernstein for Columbia during this same period. He then recorded much of his ballet music written for Martha Graham's company, including El Salon Mexico, Billy the Kid, and much else. (He left the Organ Symphony to Bernstein's baton, and A Lincoln Portrait to Andre Kostelanetz however.) There is actually enough material to fill 6 CDs, but these examples (along with some songs recorded by William Warfield) are the standouts for me.

This brings me to the live concert CD above, recorded in Berlin in 1970, and just recently released by Testament. The concert includes, besides the aforementioned Third Symphony, his Clarinet Concerto (played winningly by Karl Leister), as well as an early composition by Carter (his Holiday Overture) and Ives (his Decoration Day). Happily, the great Berlin Philharmonic adapts quite well to the American idiom, then quite new to them. Copland's music, while couched in a popular and accessible idiom, could be fiendishly difficult, and the trumpets do lose their way for a couple of bars in the fugal development section of the Second Movement, but that's a tiny flaw and easily forgivable. Perhaps that's why this concert has been hidden away in the vaults for so many decades? At any rate, the 1970 sonics are truly excellent, even by today's standards, and it's quite astonishing to have another version of Copland conducting his own music at this late date. The audience response is warmly and openly enthusiastic. This is a great find for many reasons. Five enthusiastic stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Sun Jan 24, 2021 1:42 pm

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Copies of this rare CD, a 2002 recital by Polish-born Eva Podles in Warsaw partnered by the great pianist Garrick Ohlsson, have begun to appear again on amazon, thankfully. Recorded live and issued only in Poland, I've been craving to add anything by the great coloratura mezzo to my library and have finally done so with this acquisition. I luckily witnessed Podles make her astonishing MET debut opposite Marilyn Horne in Handel's Rinaldo in 1984, but strangely she has not appeared there since. (Did Horne feel threatened by her colleague's amazingly superior virtuosity in repertoire that Horne coveted?) Podles has since been on my radar, but has rarely received the recognition she has so richly deserved during her career.

This is not her only recorded appearance with Ohlsson. It includes her magnificent voice in songs by Chopin, Moussorgsky and Rachmaninoff, all sung with great authority and depth of feeling. She also graciously allows Ohlsson to play a fine set of Scriabin Etudes, which open the second half of the program. This rarity will, I'm sure, quickly disappear again, so I'm overjoyed to have bought a copy. What more can be said? Five stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 25, 2021 11:37 am

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This recent CD of assorted Mahler Lieder sung by Christaine Karg is my first exposure to her work, as well as my first hearing of her musical partner, pianist Malcolm Martineau. It seems I have been missing out on hearing a great pair of artists, judging by the contents of this beautifully recorded disc on the Harmonia Mundi label, so I will be investigating their many recordings in future. Mahler wrote much haunting vocal music, including his great orchestral song cycle "Das Lied von der Erde," so I won't go into great detail here about the well-known repertoire presented here which includes excerpts from Des Knaben Wunderhorn, the Ruckert Lieder and assorted other gems. Karg sings with tremendous expressive range and emotional sensitivity to the text, while Martineau makes himself a full partner in their deeply expressive recital.

What makes this disc quite special is that the last two songs, including the fourth movement of Mahler's exquisite Fourth Symphony, are accompanied by piano rolls of Mahler's own playing recorded, it sounds like, on the same piano as was used for the entire disc. Mahler's playing, while of course authentic, seems a bit awkward here and there, perhaps the fault of the piano roll technology, but it's enlightening to hear his pianistic ways in certain passages that rush a bit in ways no orchestra could master. Karg manages to squeeze out the words despite Mahler's tempos, making the music thoroughly convincing. Five stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Feb 01, 2021 10:24 am

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The live concert 2-CD set pictured above features two great artists appearing with the Vienna Philharmonic in 1962, famed conductor Istvan Kertesz who left us too early, drowning in 1976, and the great German soprano, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf in one of her signature song cycles, Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs. Kertesz does a fine job conducting Beethoven VIII (a bit slow, but this was Vienna in 1962) and Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, which had just been written less than 20 years before this concert and was therefore quite new to the orchestra. I was particularly interested in Schwarzkopf's Strauss recorded in her last public appearance singing the Four Last Songs.

Schwarzkopf made two recordings for this famous cycle for her husband's label, EMI, the first in excellent monaural sound 1953 with conductor Otto Ackerman, and the second in 1965 in Berlin with George Szell. Interestingly, Ackerman's tempi are a bit faster than Szell's, and Schwarzkopf's vocal production sounds much more solid: she easily negotiates Strauss's demanding long phrases, unlike the famed Norwegian soprano Kirsten Flagstad, who struggled with the high tessitura in both her premiere performance of the cycle in 1950 (a performance Strauss did not live to attend) and then again live in a concert taped in 1952 that was recorded in far better sound in Berlin with conductor Georges Sebastian. Szell's stereo studio rendering has slower tempi than Ackerman's, which is fine, but Schwarzkopf's vocal production sounds quite different, with pianissimi where the core completely drops out of her vocal production. This sounds really impressive in the studio, but she would not have been heard beyond the first few rows in a concert hall setting, leading me to suspect that she had ben rehearsing in a studio (perhaps with her husband, Walter Legge coaching her), and had been prepared to sing exclusively for the microphone. Also, because of all this, I have long wondered how she had negotiated Strauss's demanding long phrases without editing using this kind of vocal production.

Unfortunately, my suspicions were confirmed when I heard this CD. Thus, I was saddened and disappointed in hearing this, her final appearance singing the Four Last Songs live in 1962 (recorded in mono nonetheless). She struggles mightily to sing them, gasping for extra breaths and breaking up many of the longer phrases, all while suffering from occasional pitch problems on some high notes. It broke my heart to hear this, and, in fact, I resented that this performance had been released at all, staining her legacy thus. One can imagine what a mighty effort must have been made to edit the studio sessions with Szell made three years later, but I'm sure Legge was determined to present his lifetime partner in the best way possible, sparing no expense. Of course he succeeded, and that recording has stayed in print ever since its first release.

Thus, considering the historical importance of this release, I feel compelled to grant it four stars for the Beethoven and Bartok, with the above caveats about the disappointing Four Last Songs.

A footnote to the above: During the mid 1980's, when she was considering setting up shop in Manhattan as a voice teacher (She had given master classes at Juilliard in 1976 with her husband, Walter Legge.), Schwarzkopf sat in on lessons with my voice teacher, Dan Merriman, observing his quite successful and popular technique (Merriman had just been written up in the New York Times Magazine and had lectured extensively at Princeton), as she had been recommended to do so by Judith Raskin, who was studying with Merriman and teaching his technique at Manhattan School of music. During her days of observation, she said very little and was quite self-contained. On her final day, at the end, she asked one question, "What is this "chest voice?" unfortunately revealing that she had not grasped the technical aspects of how to put a malfunctioning instrument back together, as Merriman had done for Raskin and many other singers.

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

Post by Wallingford » Mon Feb 01, 2021 8:59 pm

….more LPs:
Schumann’s First & Fourth (Krips)………………London STS-15019
von Suppe: Overtures (H. Krips--his bro)………….Angel S-35427
Hugues Cuenod sings Schutz…..Westminster W-9607 (first time I’ll hear him sing in German)
Thomas Beveridge’s “One”: I.M. M.L.K. …..Turnabout TVS-34467 (Scribner,NSO)
Wagner Ring excerpts …..London CS-6970 (Dorati, NSO)
Rachmaninoff’s Sym. #3 ….London STS-15177 (Boult)
“Czech Classic Cantatas” (music of Dvorak, Smetana, etc.)….Supraphon 1121437 (Kosler, CPO, soloists)
Grieg’s Peer Gynt & Lyric Suites….Melodiya/Angel SR-40048 (Rozhdestvensky)
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

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

Post by Wallingford » Mon Feb 01, 2021 9:29 pm

A separate shipment:

Richard Crooks sings Stephen Foster…..RCA AVM1-1738
MacDowell piano music….Columbia AML-4372 (Kirkpatrick)
Franck’s D minor….Pickwick SPC-4012—fake stereo..yuk! (Golschmann)
A Music Box Christmas—from Rita Ford’s collection (Columbia CS-8498..very ubiquitous LP)
Bach’s Cantatas Nos. 26, 61, 130….MHS-516 (Werner, Schutz Chor. Of Heilbronn)
Saint-Saens Samson & Delila…ANGEL 3639 (Pretre, Gorr, Vickers, French Nat’l Opera)
Brahms PC#1….Columbia S-6304 (Serkin, Ormandy)
Saint-Saens PC#4, Faure Ballade….Columbia MS-6377 (Casadesus, Bernstein)
The Art of Paderewski….RCA Camden CAL-310
Bizet’s Carmen & L’Arlesienne Suites….Mercury SRW-18074 (Paray)
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

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

Post by maestrob » Tue Feb 02, 2021 9:26 am

Wallingford wrote:
Mon Feb 01, 2021 9:29 pm
A separate shipment:

Richard Crooks sings Stephen Foster…..RCA AVM1-1738
MacDowell piano music….Columbia AML-4372 (Kirkpatrick)
Franck’s D minor….Pickwick SPC-4012—fake stereo..yuk! (Golschmann)
A Music Box Christmas—from Rita Ford’s collection (Columbia CS-8498..very ubiquitous LP)
Bach’s Cantatas Nos. 26, 61, 130….MHS-516 (Werner, Schutz Chor. Of Heilbronn)
Saint-Saens Samson & Delila…ANGEL 3639 (Pretre, Gorr, Vickers, French Nat’l Opera)
Brahms PC#1….Columbia S-6304 (Serkin, Ormandy)
Saint-Saens PC#4, Faure Ballade….Columbia MS-6377 (Casadesus, Bernstein)
The Art of Paderewski….RCA Camden CAL-310
Bizet’s Carmen & L’Arlesienne Suites….Mercury SRW-18074 (Paray)


Good morning, Wallingford! :D

What a great way to spend a snow day! Some interesting choices there.

I also had the Rita Ford Music Box Christmas LP, and was glad to replace it with the Columbia CD which was re-recorded in much better sound with even more selections. It's one of my favorite Christmas recordings.

The Angel LPs of Rita Gorr and Jon Vickers led by Georges Pretre in Samson & Dalila is still my go-to recording of Saint-Saens's great opera. Pretre is the only conductor who so far has dared question the tempo marking of (72) for the finale of the duet between the High Priest and Dalila, which makes that part of the duet unsingable: you just can't get the words out. Pretre, intelligently observing that the tempo is marked in parenthesis and thus is therefore from the editor rather than from Saint-Saens himself, dials back to a pulse of 68, making the words intelligible. I've sung that duet several times with different partners, so I know this to be correct. Vickers is, of course, far superior to all of the tenors I've heard as Samson in later recordings. The great Rita Gorr, who had a magnificent career, has sadly been quite forgotten today.

I remember hearing Serkin play the Brahms I with Ormandy at the Academy of Music live, but, after hearing Van Cliburn/Leinsdorf, preferred that recording to Serkin's. Don't remember why exactly. It's been a while, and I haven't heard the Serkin/Ormandy since.

The Casadesus/Bernstein recording, which I now have on CD in the Bernstein Concertos Box, simply has no equal. Dutoit comes close with Pascal Roge, but he can't quite match Bernstein's intensity nor the sheer authenticity of Casadesus.

Many of Paderewski's early acoustical records were brilliantly restored for the Great Pianists series: I have those and truly admire his early playing. The electrical recordings he made for RCA Victor after he returned to concertizing from politics (He became Prime Minister of Poland and was a signer of the Treaty of Versailles that ended WWI.) in the 1930's were made just to make money, and they are far inferior. Incidentally, his opera Manru is still the only opera by a Polish composer to be performed at the MET.

The great French conductor Paul Paray, largely forgotten today, made consistently fine records for the Mercury label: I love all of them, mono & stereo, but especially those recorded on 35mm magnetic film.

Thanks for a great trip down memory lane! :wink:

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

Post by Wallingford » Tue Feb 02, 2021 12:16 pm

maestrob--

One Brahms PC#1 I prefer to Serkin/Ormandy is a live Tanglewood concert performance, August '69, of Cliburn with Leinsdorf conducting--one of his final concerts as BSO music director....and the next (previous?) day he did the Second with Andre Watts. Both smashing performances that need bow to no others.
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

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

Post by maestrob » Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:31 pm

Wallingford wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 12:16 pm
maestrob--

One Brahms PC#1 I prefer to Serkin/Ormandy is a live Tanglewood concert performance, August '69, of Cliburn with Leinsdorf conducting--one of his final concerts as BSO music director....and the next (previous?) day he did the Second with Andre Watts. Both smashing performances that need bow to no others.
That would have been four years after Van Cliburn made his studio recording with Leinsdorf in Boston. Although criticized by some, I find it still a great recording after all these years, and it's never been out of print since it was made.

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

Post by maestrob » Wed Feb 03, 2021 12:06 pm

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Just found this 2019 release of 10CDs while browsing on amazon, by the renowned cellist Emanuel Feuermann, whose life was so tragically cut short in 1942 at age 39, by complications during surgery. He had made his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic at age 11, playing one of the Haydn Cello Concertos. An astonishing talent, I have waited many decades for such a collection.

Must have this! :D

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

Post by Wallingford » Wed Feb 03, 2021 1:48 pm

https://www.pristineclassical.com/products/pasc461

I just purchased for download this welcome addition to the Beecham reissue catalogue. I ;would SO like to get a hold of his Alto Rhapsody with Janet Baker, where he leads the CBS Symphony....this way, I could collect his recordings with every American network orchestra (I also have his one and only recordeing of Brahms' Third, with the Symphony of the Air).

It's part of a multi-disc set of all of Beecham's "ABC Symphony" broadcast concerts; the volumes can be ordered separately, though this being a British site, I'm guessing the shipping of actual physical media would be steep.

Marring the listening experience somewhat would be the "ambient stereo" mixing of these recordings. I just cannot withstand hearing recordings of the pre-stereo era with surface noise, piped in thru separate stereo channels; for me this entails hooking two extra plugs to my Koss Pro4AA headphones, to get rid of the "stereophonic scratch." The sound still has an oozing quality to it, though now not quite as pronounced. It is now mixed down the middle as it should be.

Performances on this volume have the necessary tempestuousness of a Beecham concert, with his howls, heaves and grunts all there in the climaxes, especially in the concluding Delius and Strauss numbers. Announcements between selections are from the unmistakable Milton Cross.
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

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

Post by maestrob » Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:53 pm

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Just opened this remarkable 2018 CD from Andrew Davis and the Melbourne Symphony, and I must congratulate Maestro Davis and his orchestra on what may be their finest recording to date. The hall's just-right acoustics are brilliantly captured by the ABC label's team of engineers in some of the best sound I've heard on CD, especially in a live recording where you can hear a pin drop in the quieter moments. But that's not all. Every musical detail in the score of Strauss's massive Alpine Symphony is captured in perfect balance, while the concertmaster who plays in the opening work, Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, certainly navigates the most sensitive passages with the utmost sensitivity and grace. In short, it sounds here like Maestro Davis has raised the Melbourne Symphony's sound to an extraordinarily high level, able to stand comparison with the great orchestras of the world in other famous recordings of these works. The enthusiastic explosion of applause from the audience after the tender and delicate diminuendo at the end of the Alpine Symphony certainly validates my opinion that this is a CD and performance of the highest quality. Five enthusiastic stars!

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

Post by slofstra » Fri Feb 05, 2021 3:16 pm

maestrob wrote:
Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:53 pm
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Just opened this remarkable 2018 CD from Andrew Davis and the Melbourne Symphony, and I must congratulate Maestro Davis and his orchestra on what may be their finest recording to date. The hall's just-right acoustics are brilliantly captured by the ABC label's team of engineers in some of the best sound I've heard on CD, especially in a live recording where you can hear a pin drop in the quieter moments. But that's not all. Every musical detail in the score of Strauss's massive Alpine Symphony is captured in perfect balance, while the concertmaster who plays in the opening work, Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, certainly navigates the most sensitive passages with the utmost sensitivity and grace. In short, it sounds here like Maestro Davis has raised the Melbourne Symphony's sound to an extraordinarily high level, able to stand comparison with the great orchestras of the world in other famous recordings of these works. The enthusiastic explosion of applause from the audience after the tender and delicate diminuendo at the end of the Alpine Symphony certainly validates my opinion that this is a CD and performance of the highest quality. Five enthusiastic stars!
Do you have a preference between 'Ein Alpensinfonie' and 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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

Post by maestrob » Sat Feb 06, 2021 8:22 am

Do you have a preference between 'Ein Alpensinfonie' and 'Ein Heldenleben'?
Good morning! Interesting question, Henry. :D

For me it's a no-brainer.

When I was a teenager, I fell head-over-heels in love with Rudolf Kempe's first recording of Richard Strauss's Alpine Symphony with the Royal Philharmonic, released in the U. S. on the RCA label. Kempe's complete traversal of Straus's orchestral music with the Dresden Philharmonic has been released in a CD box for about $21.00. I also have versions by Mehta (L. A. Philharmonic and Berlin), Von Karajan/Berlin, Jurowski/London, Luisi/Dresden, and perhaps one or two more (not forgetting the composer's own recording, of course).

IMHO, it's a far superior work to Ein Heldenleben, which I don't listen to that often. I even bought the conductors' score, which I have buried somewhere.

Here's the cover of the original LP which started my whole relationship with Ein Alpensifonie (It was finally remastered and reissued by Testament in 2009, although I haven't heard it yet in that format.):

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As far as I'm concerned, the Melbourne Symphony release conducted by Andrew Davis reviewed above from 2018 can stand proudly next to any of these, and is better even than some of them.

And here's the cover of the currently available box of Kempe's Dresden complete set of R. Strauss:

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

Post by slofstra » Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:47 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sat Feb 06, 2021 8:22 am
Do you have a preference between 'Ein Alpensinfonie' and 'Ein Heldenleben'?
Good morning! Interesting question, Henry. :D

For me it's a no-brainer.

When I was a teenager, I fell head-over-heels in love with Rudolf Kempe's first recording of Richard Strauss's Alpine Symphony with the Royal Philharmonic, released in the U. S. on the RCA label. Kempe's complete traversal of Straus's orchestral music with the Dresden Philharmonic has been released in a CD box for about $21.00. I also have versions by Mehta (L. A. Philharmonic and Berlin), Von Karajan/Berlin, Jurowski/London, Luisi/Dresden, and perhaps one or two more (not forgetting the composer's own recording, of course).

IMHO, it's a far superior work to Ein Heldenleben, which I don't listen to that often. I even bought the conductors' score, which I have buried somewhere.

Here's the cover of the original LP which started my whole relationship with Ein Alpensifonie (It was finally remastered and reissued by Testament in 2009, although I haven't heard it yet in that format.):

Image

As far as I'm concerned, the Melbourne Symphony release conducted by Andrew Davis reviewed above from 2018 can stand proudly next to any of these, and is better even than some of them.

And here's the cover of the currently available box of Kempe's Dresden complete set of R. Strauss:

Image
I wholeheartedly agree. In looking at jpc.de and arkivmusic, I see that 'Ein Heldenleben' has an edge in number of recordings, and it seems to be a bit more prominent.
But I find 'Ein Alpensinfonie' is cleaner in conception and structure. I much more prefer listening to it.
It may surprise you to learn that my recording of choice is Bernard Haitink on SACD from LSO's private label. And for 'Ein Heldenleben' it's an SACD release from the CSO with, uh, Bernard Haitink conducting.
I won't make any kind of claim about either one, other than they both sound glorious in the SACD format. I have 2 or 3 other recordings of each buried in some multi-CD boxes, which I should take for a spin, but then again, I could just listen to the Haitink performances one more time.

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

Post by maestrob » Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:51 pm

I have 2 or 3 other recordings of each buried in some multi-CD boxes, which I should take for a spin, but then again, I could just listen to the Haitink performances one more time.
Naturally, I'll have to give Haitink a hearing one of these days. 😉

I just checked, and his new LSO Live recording can be streamed on amazon USA, so that will happen soon.


Incidentally, Kempe's complete wonderful box with the Dresden orchestra is available for streaming here on amazon, and might be so for you in Canada as well.

Happy listening!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Feb 08, 2021 10:02 am

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Conductor John Wilson has made quite a name for himself as a sort of orchestral "pops" conductor with lots of CDs of film music, but he's also an intensely serious musician when he puts his mind to it, as with more recent CDs of music by Copland, Eric Coates, Bennett and the well-known Respighi Trilogy. This current CD of mostly popular French music from Debussy, Massenet, Saint-Saens and Ravel, is lighter than my usual fare, but considering its massive number of five star reviews, I was determined to hear it, along with a CD just released of English music for string orchestra, equally well-received. So, while Maestro Wilson does tend to push his tempo a bit at the climactic finale of Ibert's "Escales," and Chabrier's 'Espagna" was not quite as relaxed as I'd like, this was a quite satisfying SACD, with good sound and beautiful playing from leader Andrew Haveron's violin solo in Massenet's "Meditation." I would wish for a bit more bloom in the sound from Chandos, but this is a minor quibble about a very satisfying disc. Four and 1/2 stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:22 am

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A few months ago, diegobueno and I had a wonderful discussion here in a thread about contemporary composers, during which he posted some very interesting examples of recent music on youtube. One of the composers I determined to follow up on was Michael Torke, whose early works, while enjoyable, seemed a bit superficial to me when I heard them decades ago. Diegobueno proceeded to disinthrall me from my earlier prejudice by posting a more recent example of Torke's music, so in response I purchased the CD above, Tahiti, released in 2011. It contains a single 52-minute cycle of 9 movements, each written for a chamber ensemble (here billed as the 10/10 Ensemble of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic) of extremely virtuosic players led by conductor Mark Rundell. I found this music, while filled with wonderful sonic possibilities and intriguing complicated time signatures, quite easy on the ears without being shallow or facile. Very original in conception, the work as a whole did evoke the tropics and the joys of sunshine, beaches and just plain relaxing with a coco-loco under palm trees. A joyful listen in these troubled times. Five stars.

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

Post by slofstra » Mon Feb 08, 2021 6:12 pm

maestrob wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:22 am
Image

A few months ago, diegobueno and I had a wonderful discussion here in a thread about contemporary composers, during which he posted some very interesting examples of recent music on youtube. One of the composers I determined to follow up on was Michael Torke, whose early works, while enjoyable, seemed a bit superficial to me when I heard them decades ago. Diegobueno proceeded to disinthrall me from my earlier prejudice by posting a more recent example of Torke's music, so in response I purchased the CD above, Tahiti, released in 2011. It contains a single 52-minute cycle of 9 movements, each written for a chamber ensemble (here billed as the 10/10 Ensemble of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic) of extremely virtuosic players led by conductor Mark Rundell. I found this music, while filled with wonderful sonic possibilities and intriguing complicated time signatures, quite easy on the ears without being shallow or facile. Very original in conception, the work as a whole did evoke the tropics and the joys of sunshine, beaches and just plain relaxing with a coco-loco under palm trees. A joyful listen in these troubled times. Five stars.
Okay, but what's with the $2 lawn chair and the old mattress? It looks like the young lady is sitting in the middle of a yard sale, not the tropics. Sheesh, you can get a stock photo of the actual island of Tahiti for a few bucks and do better.
Last edited by slofstra on Mon Feb 08, 2021 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by slofstra » Mon Feb 08, 2021 6:25 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:51 pm
I have 2 or 3 other recordings of each buried in some multi-CD boxes, which I should take for a spin, but then again, I could just listen to the Haitink performances one more time.
Naturally, I'll have to give Haitink a hearing one of these days. 😉

I just checked, and his new LSO Live recording can be streamed on amazon USA, so that will happen soon.


Incidentally, Kempe's complete wonderful box with the Dresden orchestra is available for streaming here on amazon, and might be so for you in Canada as well.

Happy listening!
I gave the Kempe a spin, and indeed it sounded most pleasurable. I had to bail out early, which I'll get back to. But I also played the Haitink recording with the LSO and I was shocked at the difference in approach. The tempo was much slower in general, and the opening much, much quieter, building slowly and evenly. Even the orchestra balance is different with the bass violins much more subdued. The Haitink recording is more contemplative and ethereal; Kempe's more dramatic. I would give the edge to Kempe's conception for now. However, the Dresden orchestra is not up to the smoothness of the LSO.

As far as bailing out early, the demand streaming (Youtube Music) inserts gaps between each of the 22 tracks and in this case I could only put up with that for a while. Really annoying.

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

Post by maestrob » Tue Feb 09, 2021 9:33 am

As far as bailing out early, the demand streaming (Youtube Music) inserts gaps between each of the 22 tracks and in this case I could only put up with that for a while. Really annoying.
Hello, Henry!

Your experience that I quoted above is precisely the reason why I still buy CDs, aside from the fact that my ears simply need better sound quality than even amazon HD can provide, although they've gotten much better in the past few years.

I agree with your assessment comparing the two recordings as well, but I should point out that in the years since Kempe made his excellent complete set with Dresden, the playing of that orchestra and others not in the first rank has improved remarkably. I happily refer you to Thielemann's recent live recording of the Verdi Requiem with Dresden, which I have recently reviewed in these pages, or Sir Andrew's fine CD of the Alpine Symphony with Melbourne which prompted our conversation.

Happy listening! :wink:

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

Post by slofstra » Tue Feb 09, 2021 11:08 am

maestrob wrote:
Tue Feb 09, 2021 9:33 am
As far as bailing out early, the demand streaming (Youtube Music) inserts gaps between each of the 22 tracks and in this case I could only put up with that for a while. Really annoying.
Hello, Henry!

Your experience that I quoted above is precisely the reason why I still buy CDs, aside from the fact that my ears simply need better sound quality than even amazon HD can provide, although they've gotten much better in the past few years.

I agree with your assessment comparing the two recordings as well, but I should point out that in the years since Kempe made his excellent complete set with Dresden, the playing of that orchestra and others not in the first rank has improved remarkably. I happily refer you to Thielemann's recent live recording of the Verdi Requiem with Dresden, which I have recently reviewed in these pages, or Sir Andrew's fine CD of the Alpine Symphony with Melbourne which prompted our conversation.

Happy listening! 😉
We had a discussion about streaming not long ago when I was testing HD streaming with less than stellar results. I've reverted to CDs and, even more so, BluRay Audio and SACD for my prime listening. I just play Youtube Music through an ordinary DAC now with reasonable results.

It turns out that the 9 CD Kempe/ Strauss box is only $39 CAD, and in stock at amazon.ca. I should have it tomorrow. Many thanks for the recommendation.
You can also buy those CDs individually for about $50 each. Crazy, irrational pricing these days.

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

Post by maestrob » Tue Feb 09, 2021 11:21 am

It turns out that the 9 CD Kempe/ Strauss box is only $39 CAD, and in stock at amazon.ca. I should have it tomorrow. Many thanks for the recommendation.You can also buy those CDs individually for about $50 each. Crazy, irrational pricing these days.
Great! I'm sure you'll enjoy every one of those 9 CDs. :D

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

Post by Wallingford » Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:13 pm

More historical Grieg:

It set me back by twenty-two bucks (ebay), but I just had to reinstate Eugen d'Albert's Welte piano roll of the Grieg Ballade, recorded in 1913. It was one of those rare Welte Legacy LPs of the 60s. It is said that his piano recordings were made at a time when his fortunes were declining as a composer, and he turned back to the piano totally out of practice. His disc recordings are supposed to be full of clinkers, but in those days of piano rolls, the manufacturer/engineer could correct all the mistakes for the master, so one can at least get a sense of concept in the interpretation. Godowsky made a very fine disc recording of the piece in the late 20s, and it's fascinating to see the work was a part of European virtuosos' repertory.

I can do without the rest of the LP--containing more standard repertoire which d'Albert gives perfunctory treatments--but the Ballade's now ripped to both of my laptops' music libraries, and the disc is now in the sell/donate pile.
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

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

Post by Wallingford » Fri Feb 12, 2021 4:14 pm

One of my recent purchases from the Discogs site was from a guy I don't patronize too frequently (he often overgrades a disc, giving a VG rating to LPs with water residue from the previous owner's homemade cleaning kit). But the guy in question sometimes redeems himself by throwing in an equivalent number of loose discs he can't or won't sell....and he did a pretty darn good job of guessing my tastes:

Franck’s D Minor…..Martinon (on MHS)
Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite…..Bernstein (Columbia)
Eileen Farrell & Richard Tucker singing Verdi duets (Columbia)
Ormandy’s second William Tell Overture album (Columbia, early 70s—contains some welcome repeats from the Fireworks! Album, but also the only recordings he ever did of Liszt’s “Grand galop chromatique,” Pierne’s “Entreance of the Little Fauns ” and Jarnefelt’s “Praeludium”)
Theodorakis’ soundtrack score to Z
Handel's complete Royal Fireworks Music.....Pailliard (again, MHS)

…..and a double-album from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir—won’t listen to it but I’ll use the jacket of this, and another Columbia double-album (this one missing a disc), to store a few LPs that have been “naked.”
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

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

Post by Rach3 » Fri Feb 12, 2021 6:07 pm

Wallingford wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:13 pm
More historical Grieg:
I can certainly recommend this Marston Records of 7 selections of Grieg's actual playing, not rolls ; perhaps you have it already:

https://www.marstonrecords.com/collecti ... dary-piano

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