Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.
Bach's Orchestral Suites are favorite listening, notably by Trevor Pinnock. This superb disc by the Boston Baroque led by Martin Pearlman has lain unopened on my shelves since its publication in 2004, and I deeply regret my neglect of 15 years. What an outstanding performance: crisp, clean, energetic, Pearlman's reading stands with the best. It has received 12 five-star reviews on amazon, and remains in print to this day. Performed on period instruments and in period style, this disc opened my ears finally to the Boston Baroque. Not all the best HIP music is being made in Europe. Five enthusiastic stars!
Nothing like actual listening. The entire Gergiev cycle (Karabits too) is being streamed via YT:
Gergiev/LSO Prokofiev Symphony Cycle Playlist:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=O ... doBvUsUI3o
Karabits/Bournemouth SO Prokofiev Symphony Cycle Playlists:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=O ... iy-y_7BbX0
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=O ... 36nMYBBrFw
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=O ... qnumbe7554
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=O ... tvrgNfZQzE
Boris Giltburg is fast becoming my favorite pianist of the new generation. His solo recordings have been consistently excellent in repertoire ranging from Bach and Beethoven to Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev, now with Liszt's magnificent Transcendental Etudes thrown in for good measure. This new disc fits Giltburg like a kidskin glove, with technique, sensitivity and depth of feeling that make the music flow off his fingers like a waterfall, a cascade of sound. Don't miss this! Five enthusiastic stars!
Time was when Eduard van Beinum and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra recorded those suites, all four of them. It's those recordings from which I learned the music, and though they are not musicologically correct - no double-dotting in the overtures - I haven't felt the need to supplement or replace them. The curious can hear all of these recordings on YouTube.
Handel's opera, Serse, has had many good recordings since the advent of HIP; this is the finest I've heard. Franco Fagioli is simply a force of nature, equal in talent to the superb Bartoli, and may be her heir in this repertoire. Powerful, sensitive singing here not just from Fagioli, but the other members of the cast, including the great mezzo Vivica Genaux. All seem inspired by the electricity that runs through all the participants, ably supported by the crack ensemble Il Pomo d'Oro, led from the keyboard by Maxim Emelyanychev, a conductor new to me. Magnificent sound only enhances the drama and depth of ideas expressed musically in every passage. Handel would have been proud. Five enthusiastic stars!
What a pity that Lorraine Hunt Lieberson wasn't recorded in the title role, which she sang at New York City Opera. A treasurable artist, much missed.
Well now, back to Prokofiev. These early recordings by Jean Martinon for Decca (1959/60) with the Orchestre de la Societe des Concerts du Conservatoire show off Decca's sound world at the time, but I suspect that this CD was not made from the original master, as there is distortion at critical moments that would not have passed muster in the studio. That said, these are rip-roaring readings where Martinon challenges his orchestra with youthful vigor and tempi that are occasionally a bit too fast. Frankly, Bernstein's NY is better in V (as are Ormandy's Philadelphians), Rozhdestvensky's Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra (1965-67), also HVK's Berlin on DGG. Gergiev's contemporary set with the London Symphony is just too lush for my ears, while Ozawa is simply out of the running due to his inability to inspire his orchestra to play with discipline and fire. All in all, this recording is a distunguished one, notable for being the only one from its era to use the "happy" ending of VII demanded by Stalin (only Ormandy in 1953 used that ending, and he, of course, was recorded in mono). Four stars.
Thanks are due to jserraglio who alerted me to this disc! I'm glad to have it in my collection.
Robin Johannsen appeared in my competition as a Semifinalist in the Spring of 2001 in Carnegie Hall. She was immediately snapped up by management and whisked away to Bayreuth where she appeared as the Forest Bird in Siegfried that Summer. She has had quite a successful career in Europe, specializing in early music, which showcases her brilliant silvery sound at its best. Johannsen has made more than a few fine recordings, of which the above is her latest star turn. Here is a review quoted from amazon of this, her latest disc:
The Neapolitan school, with its exceptional depth of varied musical talent, provides rich pickings for brilliant performers as well as enthusiasts of Italian baroque music. This is well illustrated by the present programme which brings us a nicely varied selection of arias from opera, cantata and oratorio by composers both well-known – such as Pergolesi and Alessandro Scarlatti – and less so. The selection proves a fine vehicle for the lovely soprano voice of Robin Johannsen, accompanied in spirited and stylish fashion by the period instruments of Teatro del Mondo directed by Andreas Küppers.The first item is an aria from Pergolesi’s cantata ‘Orfeo’; this is an impassioned piece, beautifully showing off the singer’s incisive, accurate high notes, lovely tone in the lower registers and great range of expressive qualities, further enhanced by the rich, silky string tone of the instrumental passages. Other vocal works are from Domenico Sarro, Giacomo Sellitto, Leonardo Vinci, Johann Adolph Hasse, Gaetano Latilla and Cristofaro Caresana, every one of them expressive, graceful in melodic line and sometimes with mesmerising instrumental parts as in Vinci’s beautiful ‘Come, o Dio’ from the oratorio ‘Maria dolorata’. The da capo arias, such as Sellitto’s ‘In te spero’, are graced with finely embellished closing sections.A handful of instrumental works, no doubt included for extra variety, are a bit more of a mixture. The anonymous recorder concerto (tracks 4-6) is fairly mediocre, but is rendered enjoyable by some spirited and evocative playing. On the other hand the cello concerto by Dominico Lanzetti (10-12) is an attractive and tuneful work with a bold solo part, superbly played here by Lea Rahel Bader and with a colourful accompaniment from the other instruments including two horns. After a couple more arias, a short Largo movement from a concerto by Scarlatti is an odd choice for the programme’s conclusion; there are several rousing and rumbustious pieces in this programme and one of these would surely have made for a more satisfying finish.The contents of the booklet are interesting and informative on the nature and development of the Neapolitan musical tradition, but the layout is a bit confusing; we could also have done with more information on the lesser-known composers represented here. There’s a detailed account of Robin Johannsen’s performance experience, though not necessarily in the right order. Texts and translations are supplied, but somehow the English translations got mixed up; so, for example, the English translation of item 8 is shown as item 2; 9 as 8; 14 as 9; 2 as 13; and 13 as 14.Recorded sound is excellent, and the above reservations about the booklet don’t detract at all from a fascinating and extremely enjoyable recital of outstanding quality. The soprano has already brought us several fine recordings of lesser-known baroque music including the superb Caldara selection ‘In dolce amore’, and the present programme is just as welcome. Enthusiasts of baroque vocal music, or of fine singing in general, need not hesitate.
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