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 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:32 am

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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!

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

Post by jserraglio » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:05 am

maestrob wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:56 am
Thanks for your contribution.
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

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:53 am

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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!

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

Post by John F » Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:16 am

maestrob wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:32 am
Bach's Orchestral Suites are favorite listening, notably by Trevor Pinnock.
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.
John Francis

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

Post by maestrob » Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:19 am

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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!

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

Post by John F » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:26 pm

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.
John Francis

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

Post by maestrob » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:45 pm

John F wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:26 pm
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.
Agreed!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:04 am

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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. :D

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

Post by maestrob » Sun Jul 21, 2019 11:59 am

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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.

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

Post by maestrob » Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:38 am

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Following Jansons's excellent set of Beethoven Symphonies, here is his take with the same forces (Chor und Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks) on the C minor Mass, coupled with a first-rate Leonore III. Jansons has always been a favorite European conductor of yours truly, and he lives up to his reputation here with a stunningly sung Mass, with finesse and fire, beautifully recorded with ample space and clarity of texture. Soloists Genia Kuhmeier, Gerhild Romberger, Maximilian Schmitt and Luca Pisaroni add first-class touches to this moving performance, while the orchestra is simply not to be taken for granted. This is a live recording, but you could hear a pin drop during the quieter moments, so deep in the concentration of the audience. Magnificent! Five stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:34 pm

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Bruce Hungerford in his last recital plays a variety of works by Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven with depth and concentration that rivals better-known pianists, reminding this reviewer of Alfred Brendel. The Mozart sings with a beautiful tone, as do the Schubert Waltzes and Landler. The highlight of the program for me, however, is a stunning Beethoven Op. 111, delivered with a concentrated electricity and accuracy that is offset by a deep sensitivity to color. For pianophiles, this is a must-have set, offered at the price of a single CD. Five stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:33 am

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Kirill Karabits is a conductor I've been watching since his very successful Prokofiev cycle of a few years ago. I wondered if he had the chops to excel in other than Russian music, and the Liszt disc pictured above gave me a chance to find out. Liszt's orchestral music, IMHO, is nowhere as innovative and exciting to the ear as his piano music, yet this disc of Liszt's Mazeppa and his opera Sardanapalo makes a strong case to these ears for Liszt as a composer of larger forms, ably abetted by the winning soprano of Joyce El-Khoury, who is the real star here. Karabits leads with passion, fire and dignity, bringing out the best in his forces in this first recording (TMK) of the opera. The Staatskapelle Weimar respond with discipline and clarity, revealing the depths of the music. A major release, then. Five stars.

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

Post by John F » Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:31 pm

There's a good reason why I never heard of "Sardanapalo." Liszt never finished it. All that he wrote is the short score of the first act (of three), composed in his mid-30s at the same time as Wagner's "Tannhäuser." According to Wikipedia, the sketch was completed by the British musicologist David Trippett, who made no attempt to compose the rest of it; the premiere was a year ago. The snippets on YouTube make no strong impression on me, but maybe there's more to it.

As for Liszt's orchestral works, several of them matter to me, from the Faust Symphony to "From the Cradle to the Grave." "Les Preludes" is imprinted on me from the Lone Ranger radio show, and there are others I'm glad to hear. Sorry, "Mazeppa" isn't one of them - sounds to me like claptrap, but there it is. Toscanini conducted several of them and not just the obvious ones; here's his 1941 broadcast of "From the Cradle to the Grave."


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHIwwqKsL0o
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maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:54 am

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Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has had a very successful career so far, with well-received recordings of Debussy and Haydn to his credit, among others. This Mozart disc (his second so far of the concerti) heralds a new chapter in his career, ably accompanied by the Manchester Camerata led by Gabor Takacs-Nagy. The two concerti contained herein are examples of Mozart's most popular work (Nos. 20 &21): here they receive performances as fresh and illuminating as any I've heard. Bavouzet likes to ornament, especially the slow movement of #21 (Elvira Madigan), and occasionally purposely drags behind the beat, which at first I found annoying, but as I caught on to his style began to sound fresh and interesting. All in all, a successful outing. 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 Aug 12, 2019 10:47 am

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Young Jan Liseicki is a pianist I have not heard until the above recording of Mendelssohn's two concerti and various solo pieces was recently released with accompaniment by the stellar Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Liseicki has a fine understanding of Mendelssohn's idiom, coupled with a deep respect for his music, as evidenced by the maturity and variety of color in the playing on this album. Not a single note is played without meaning and depth: those who think Mendelsohn's music is shallow should listen carefully to this disc and re-evaluate their opinions immediately. This is one of the finest piano discs of the year: highly recommended! Five stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:50 am

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Josef Suk's Asrael Symphony is a work new to these ears, ably led here by Jiri Belohlavek with the Czech Philharmonic. Worthy if not great music, the work has been recorded by Mackerras, Ancerl, Neumann, Pesek, even Talich, all of whom produced worthy renditions. Belohlavek stands out with a particular finesse, a lightness of touch where appropriate, while the orchestra can roar when called for. While a heavy subject, all is not doom and gloom in this superbly recorded version. For those who appreciate program music (i. e. R. Strauss), this is a release that will satisfy. One of Belohlavek's last recordings (issued posthumously), along with Ma Vlast, the Dvorak Stabat Mater and Janacek's Msa Glagolskaya, this is his third reading of the piece (also the third time for the Czech Philharmonic as well), and, I believe, his best. Podhaka (Fairy Tale) is included on a second disc, probably for the sake of completeness. Not a major piece, but I'm glad to have it. Five stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:32 pm

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Superb Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili has been having a fantastic career mostly in Europe since she debuted ca. 2006, and has here connected with Canadian conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin in a very fine album of Prokofiev's music for violin and orchestra. Including of course the two great concerti, we also find the Dance of the Knights from Romeo & Juliet, the Grand Waltz from Cinderella, and the Grand March from The Love for Three Oranges, all ably arranged by Tamas Batiashvili, her father. What a fine album! The Chamber Orchestra of Europe plays with depth and wisdom, following the sensitive direction of the enthusiastic Nezet-Seguin. Great playing from all concerned, this is an album to treasure. Five enthusiastic stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:01 am

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This is a great disc. Esa-Pekka Salonen (not my favorite conductor in the past) has matured into a sensitive and supportive accompanist. Lise Davidsen is the real deal, a great voice. As of now, she's not Brunhilde, but could definitely be an exquisite Sieglinde. Her voice is like no other, but she seems to fit comfortably in repertoire that would suit Jessye Norman. Davidsen has the tessitura to fit comfortably into R. Strauss's masterly Four Last Songs, yet she has the range for his "Es gibt ein Reich" from Ariadne auf Naxos: her low notes ring out clear as a bell. It's a perfect voice, with beauty and finesse in every note. I'm so glad to have heard her. She'll have a great career. This recording of the Four Last Songs takes pride of place next to Lucia Popp, Kirsten Flagstad and Gundula Janowitz in my collection. Five enthusiastic stars, and thanks to Lance and Barney who brought her to our attention.

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

Post by maestrob » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:38 am

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Andriss Nelsons has firmly established himself as the conductor of the moment, especially in regard to Shostakovich. This new release of Symphonies VI & VII has received accolades from critics, and is rated currently with 5 stars by 13 reviewers on amazon, but I am more cautious. The Sixth Symphony is one of the best in the series, and it deserves to be praised. The Seventh, however, is a tougher nut to crack, and Nelsons IMHO fails to keep up the necessary tension that both Bernstein and Svetlanov maintain. Examples of this include the quieter moments of the Third Movement, which goes slack at times, and the lead-in to the finale of the last movement. Nelsons is a capable conductor, and as he and his Boston Symphony have grown used to each other, their music-making has grown more confident. This is a fine rendition, but I still prefer Bernstein, either with NY or better still Chicago. Bernstein's second recording of Shostakovich VII was made during his maturity, and is one of the greatest recordings of anything (I heard it live here in NY.), so Nelsons is up against stiff competition. Four stars then for Nelsons/Boston, and I look forward to another recording from him of the same repertoire in twenty years!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:37 am

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This is one of the finest discs of Mendelssohn's music I have heard, featuring South African pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout with the Freiburger Barockorchester under Pablo Heras-Casado. As befitting the youthful nature of the music, Heras-Casado conducts with an exuberance and joy that sparkles throughout, while the well-known orchestra plays with an electricity that fulfills the promise of the young composer in the First Symphony, written when Mendelssohn was barely 15. A stunning disc this: the fortepiano used in the concerto was built in the year of the Second Concerto's composition (1837), so this is surely how Mendelssohn would have liked to hear his music. Five gold stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:26 am

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Gianandrea Noseda is now the Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, and as such has taken on the project of recording Tchaikovsky's 3 late symphonies. This disc of Tchaikovsky IV and Ravel's orchestration of Moussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is the first release in the series, and it's very fine. The sound quality is excellent for a live performance (no applause at the end of each work), while Noseda's interpretations are, to these ears, spot-on, worthy of comparison to Mengelberg or Mravinsky in the Tchaikovsky, and Reiner in Moussorgsky. The LSO plays with fire and commitment, with no flaws in tempo or tuning. Five stars!

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

Post by John F » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:11 pm

Noseda studied with Valery Gergiev and then became his principal guest conductor at the Mariinsky Opera, so doubtless he knows the Russian repertoire specially well.
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:43 am

John F wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:11 pm
Noseda studied with Valery Gergiev and then became his principal guest conductor at the Mariinsky Opera, so doubtless he knows the Russian repertoire specially well.
Gergiev's Tchaikovsky IV w/Vienna is particularly fine, and Noseda's matches it here with excellent attention to detail and perfect tempi. It's one of Gergiev's finest recordings, and he seems to have taught Noseda well. I haven't heard Gergiev's Pictures, but Noseda's reading is quite excellent in this complex piece.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:42 am

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Dmitri Borisovich Kabalevsky was one of Russia's great composers, and is often ignored in the West, except for his Colas Breugnon Overture (recorded by Reiner) and the ever-present suite from The Comedians. He also wrote and recorded a magnificent Requiem with Leningrad forces, issued here on Angel/Melodiya LPs and later on Melodiya CDs (a few copies are available used on amazon: I urge you to explore!). This current CD is of his more uplifting music, including Piano Concerti II & III and the aforementioned orchestral pieces, very ably played by Kathryn Stott and the BBC Philharmonic led by Vassily Sinaisky. Kabalevsky's music is given a bright and sensitive treatment here, with a glow and urgent attention to detail. Five stars.

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

Post by John F » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:51 am

Toscanini conducted Kabalevsky's second symphony several times, giving its American premiere, and often conducted the Colas Breugnon overture.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCExc3xZQq4
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Tue Sep 24, 2019 10:21 am

Thanks, John. I hadn't heard that.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:17 am

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Karen Cargill is the star of this recording! Her French is well-nigh perfect (only one liason gets lost in the shuffle), while who would expect the Scottish Chamber Orchestra to have such a French sound, thanks to Robin Ticciati's superb preparation. Cargill's is a voice to reckon with. Sensitive, nuanced and with depth of expression to spare, she rivals Crespin in my estimation in Nuits d'ete. The scene from Romeo and Juliette stands out as a model interpretation by Ticciati, while the Nuits d'ete is absolutely sublime. Cleopatra's Death is performed with the same high level of expression in the orchestra. All-in-all, this is a must-have disc for Francophiles, one that I deeply regret not opening sooner (It was issued in 2013.). Five stars.

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

Post by Lance » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:51 pm

Decca 11-CDs 476 8589 - "Great Performances: Jean Sibelius" - Many illustrious and historical artists in mono and stereo - including Flagstad, Nilsson, Anthony Collins (complete Sibelius symphonies), Oivin Fjeldstad, Monteux, Ruggiero Ricci, Hans Rosbaud, Thomas Jensen, Erik Tuxen, Jan Damen, Van Beinum, Alexander Gibson, Charles Mackerras.

Chandos 10093 - Medtner "Goethe Lieder" with Susan Gritton, soprano; Geoffrey Tozer, piano.

Sony 08779 - JS Bach: Violin Concertos 1/2 and others w/Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Joshua Bell, violinist.
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by John F » Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:42 pm

Anthony Collins's greatest success was as a composer of movie music. Other than that he was a serious musician, but that doesn't explain his many recordings. I believe that had to do with Decca's late start in classical recordings, after other established labels (HMV, Columbia, RCA Victor, etc.) had the celebrity conductors under contract.

Decca's one celebrity, as I remember, was Ernest Ansermet with his merely adequate Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, but Ansermet had no use for Sibelius, leaving the field clear for Collins. Decca also recorded Eduard van Beinum extensively, a fine conductor but he didn't do much Sibelius either.

A particular favorite of mine is the 5th symphony with Alexander Gibson conducting the LondonSymphony Orchestra. He later recorded a complete Sibelius cycle with his Scottish orchestra but they were certainly not the equal of the LSO.
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:38 am

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This is a rather understated Zarathustra by Vasily Petrenko and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, but it impresses this reviewer with 1000 details and nuances, rather than its power and virtuosity. I would not be without Reiner's two recordings, or Von Karajan/Berlin, or Ormandy/Philadelphia, yet Petrenko's well thought out approach has its own merits, namely a deep respect for the music itself, rather than bombast. It's an approach that works well in this recording, while Ein Heldenleben benefits even more from Petrenko's detailed and sensitive approach. Four and 1/2 stars.

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

Post by John F » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:06 am

Strauss's own recordings of his music tend toward understatement, though how he conducted that music when it wasw new we can't tell. The Strauss recordings are informative and I respect them but I don't often listen to them.
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:16 am

John F wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:06 am
Strauss's own recordings of his music tend toward understatement, though how he conducted that music when it wasw new we can't tell. The Strauss recordings are informative and I respect them but I don't often listen to them.
Yes, that's true for me also. I wonder how much R. Strauss's mild-mannered conducting had to do with the limits of sound reproducing technology at the time, vs. Reiner et al who were able to capitalize on the newer stereo technology used to record them? At any rate, Petrenko does indeed eschew the bombast, and IMHO that style works for him in this recording. We'll see how he does in London with a better, fuller orchestra.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:27 am

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While Robin Ticciati's Bruckner is on solid ground here, with fine attention to dynamics and orchestral detail, there is no way the Symphonie-Orchester Berlin can match Solti's blazing brass or Klemperer's profundity in this unjustly neglected symphony, the second by Bruckner to stand as he first wrote it without later revisions. I must say that I prefer Barenboim's recent video with the Staatskapelle Berlin, but this disc is a worthy contender, much better to these ears than depicted in the long-winded and rather cranky review uploaded to the amazon website. Four stars.

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

Post by John F » Mon Oct 14, 2019 2:20 pm

maestrob wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:16 am
I wonder how much R. Strauss's mild-mannered conducting had to do with the limits of sound reproducing technology at the time, vs. Reiner et al who were able to capitalize on the newer stereo technology used to record them?
Not at all. In 1928, Willem Mengelberg and the New York Phlharmonic recorded an uncompromising, full-blooded "Heldenleben" which, in a good transfer from the 78s, has what it takes sonically. It's possible that the recording engineers at Polydor requested and Strauss agreed to a somewhat reduced orchestra for some of his recordngs in the 1920s, but if so, that doesn't apply to the Vienna Philharmonic radio recordings of the 1940s. No, it's just the way he conducted it.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1j8W3eFkFW0&t=115s

When I listen to "En Heldenleben" (not often), it's always in this recording.
John Francis

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

Post by maestrob » Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:14 am

Thanks for that, John. I have heard the Pearl release, but have this 1941 recording in my collection. The reviewers on amazon prefer it to the 1928: frankly, I like both. Hledenleben is not a piece I listen to often, but my preferred stereo versiona are Kempe or Reiner.

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

Post by maestrob » Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:33 am

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Handel's Queens is a new release by London Early Opera, featuring the superb musicianship of conductor/harpsichordist Bridget Cunningham, with sopranos Mary Bevan and Lucy Crowe, who sing with clever abandon. The two-disc set is often quite understated, even overly perfect, yet this reviewer was eventually persuaded to write a favorable review after several hearings. Cunningham's attention to clever details in ornamentation and orchestral inflection impressed me greatly, as did the transparent recorded sound. These women make Handel sound effortless, which as we know is not so. Tempi are sensitive to the singers' needs, and exquisitely thought out. I just wish there had been a bit more enthusiasm and a bit less perfection in the music-making. Quite an extra-ordinary release, then. Four and 1/2 stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:37 am

BTW: Has anyone else noticed that we now have reached over one million hits on this thread? 8)

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:36 am

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This deeply fulfilling two-disc set of Handel's Italian Cantatas features electrifying conducting by Emmanuelle Haim leading Le Concert d'Astree coupled with stunning singing by Sabine Devieilhe and Lea Dasandre. Both singers are well up to Handelian pyrotechnics, while conveying tenderness and pathos in the quieter moments. The playing of the orchestral ensemble never drags, and is full of brio throughout. Truly an excellent musical journey, one I will treasure for years to come. Grab this if you love Handel! Five gold stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:44 am

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Chausson's perfect Symphonie is given a fine outing here by the Orchestre National de Lille, led by their new music director Alexandre Bloch. Bloch takes a broader approach to the symphony than is usual, reveling in the sound of his excellent orchestra, but the musical tension never lags and his fine players are well up to the demands of Bloch's approach. Veronique Gens provides the perfect voice for Chausson's equally compelling Poeme de l'amour et de la mer, again well-paced and full of drama. Chausson was a slow composer who produced little output, but the quality of what he produced was exquisite, as this recording shows in every detail. Unlike the cautious and crabby reviews on amazon, I'm happy to give this disc five stars, especially for the recorded sound.

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

Post by Lance » Mon Oct 28, 2019 3:35 pm

I've had my eye on this 15-CD set for some time. The price was very right and even with some duplication of some items in my collection, I think it is still well worth it.

I speak of "The Gounod Edition" on Warner Classics 56488. You get a lot here, much from the Erato label, now owned by Warner Classics.

FAUST w/Domingo, Freni, Ghiaurov / Pretre conducting (3 CDs)
MARARETHE (Faust) Highights w/Gedda, Moser, Moll, Fischer-Dieskau / Patane conducting {1 CD)
ROMEO ET JULIETTE w/A. Kraus, Malfitano / Plasson conducting (3 CDs)
MIREILLE w/Freni, Vanzo / Plasson conducting (2 CDs)
Opera arias/songs w/Crespin B. Hendricks, Horne, Lott, Villazon,
____Carreras, Souzay, Van Dam (2 CDs)
MESSE CHORALE w/Corboz conducting and many songs w/Souzay, Maurane, Lott,
___Murray, Hendricks; G. Johnson, G. Sebok, Baldwin, and others as pianists
SAINT CECILIA MASS w/Lorengar, Hoppe, Crass / Hartemann conducting (1 CD)
MORS ET VITA w/B. Henddricks Denize, J. Aler, Van Dam w/Plasson conducting (2 CDs)
SYMPHONIES 1 and 2 / Plasson conducting
PETITE SYMPHONY FOR WIND INSTRUMENTS / Barbirolli conducting

Very happy to see such diversity in the song repertoire. Sturdy box and cardboard inserts with booklet, of course. $$$ well spent!
Lance G. Hill
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by Lance » Mon Oct 28, 2019 3:39 pm

Over one million hits on this thread! Who says CMG doesn't help to sell recordings? And many of us don't list new acquisitions (I'm guilty of this).
Lance G. Hill
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:15 pm

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Ivan Fischer's new Mahler VII is quite good, on a par with his IV. This problematic symphony offers many puzzles to solve, not least of which is the opening tempo, along with a problem bar in the Scherzo where the cymbal crashes are. Bernstein and Solti both made excellent recordings of this symphony in the 1960's when LPs were all the rage, and Fischer's rendition with the Budapest Festival Orchestra shows an equal attention to detail. There is depth here and careful preparation, while the recorded sound is quite full and resonant; perfect for Mahler. Some conductors find this music problematic, not so Fischer, who weaves an impressive sonic tapestry. Five stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:52 am

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Brazilian composer Alberto Nepomuceno (1864-1920) was a prolific and passionate advocate for new music in his day, including the 12-tone system of Schoenberg, Berg, et al. Don't let that reputation put you off. The contents of this disc were all written under the influence of Brahms, but are full of Brazilian ideas and rhythms; the Scherzo of the Symphony in G minor (1893) is particularly impressive. Energetically interpreted by conductor Fabio Mechetti and the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra, the two extended works on this disc (The other is the 1891 Brazilian Suite) offer a tantalizing glimpse into the vibrant turn-of-the-last-century music scene. This is the first of a projected series from Naxos exploring Brazilian music, and if this release is an example of what's in store, I eagerly await further issues. Five stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:10 am

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Juan Crisostomo de Arriaga (1806-1826) barely survived 19 years, but as a child prodigy composed his first opera at 14, and was sent to Paris to study music soon after. Only fragments of that work survive today, including the Overture to "Los esclavos felices which open this excellent CD, with the BBC Philharmonic led by Juanjo Mena. Mena also leads soprano Berit Norbakken Solset in two ravishing arias from the cantata Herminie and the opera Medee, both exquisitely sung. The major piece on this disc is the Symphonie a grand orchestre from 1824, performed with panache by Mena and the BBC players, reminding this reviewer of Mozart with a dash of early Schumann, yet very much in Arriaga's own voice. This is a brilliant program, well worth your while, even if all you've heard by this sadly short-lived composer is his often-recorded quartets. Five stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:11 am

maestrob wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:10 am
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Juan Crisostomo de Arriaga (1806-1826) barely survived 19 years, but as a child prodigy composed his first opera at 14, and was sent to Paris to study music soon after. Only fragments of that work survive today, including the Overture to "Los esclavos felices" which open this excellent CD, with the BBC Philharmonic led by Juanjo Mena. Mena also leads soprano Berit Norbakken Solset in two ravishing arias from the cantata Herminie and the opera Medee, both exquisitely sung. The major piece on this disc is the Symphonie a grand orchestre from 1824, performed with panache by Mena and the BBC players, reminding this reviewer of Mozart with a dash of early Schumann, yet very much in Arriaga's own voice. This is a brilliant program, well worth your while, even if all you've heard by this sadly short-lived composer is his often-recorded quartets. Five stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:27 am

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It took over five years for this magnificent live concert version of Verdi's extraordinary Requiem to be released on CD. Let me state at the outset that this performance fully equals those of Toscanini, Reiner, Giulini, Shaw or, for that matter, Pappano & Dudamel. Recorded in 2014 on the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden (an annual tradition since 1951), this awesome performance features great vocalism from Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano), Marina Prudenskaja (mezzo), Charles Castronovo (tenor) and Georg Zeppenfeld (bass). Each soloist contributes their own magical moment(s) to the proceeding, ably accompanied by the finely disciplined Dresden Staatskapelle orchestra and chorus, all led by the inimitable Christian Thielemann. The recording quality is transparent and conveys the depth of feeling in Verdi's masterwork. Having sung this great work three time during my career (twice in Carnegie Hall and once in Central Park), I believe I am qualified to award this recording five enthusiastic gold stars. Don't pass this up!
Last edited by maestrob on Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Belle » Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:11 pm

This is a work which has largely passed me by in my musical life, but based on what you've written I'll chase it up. The wonderful Dresden Staatskapelle I have seen twice in Vienna but not with Thielemann - who conducted the Wiener Philharmoniker the 2 or 3 times I've seen him. (I must try and find my old tickets and documentation on who I saw with what orchestra!)

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

Post by maestrob » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:19 am

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This is not a new recording, but it is new to these ears, so here goes. Respighi's Sinfonia Drammatica, while not nearly at the quality level of his three famous tone poems (Pines, Fountains & Festivals), is in some passages a worthy attempt at a symphony. I've lived with another version of this work on Marco Polo by Donald Nazareth and the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra since it was released on CD, and find this version more polite than Nazareth's, which can be quite bombastic, appropriately enough. Edward Downes and the BBC trim the sails of Respighi's symphony, toning down the rhetoric to the point that I found certain sections quite bland. Not a recording I would recommend, in spite of its favorable rating from amazon reviewers. Three stars.

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