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 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:38 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:28 am
maestrob wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:23 am
Schumann’s Variations on a Theme by Beethoven, WoO.31 ( the funeral march fro
A wonderful find, Rach3, thank-you! The music was very interesting, although it ended in a surprisingly quiet way, and the pianist is worth investigating. I found two albums of Brahms available for listening on amazon, and will hear them soon.
I discovered that apparently Schumann did not complete the work which may explain its ending ?
OK, that explains it. Still, it's a wonderful fragment, and Boyde plays with conviction, so I'm extremely glad to have made a double discovery. :)

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

Post by maestrob » Tue Sep 29, 2020 9:28 am

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The conductor Oleg Caetani (son of composer/conductor Igor Markevitch) launched himself into a brief career with a respectable cycle of Shostakovich Symphonies (of which his live Fourth Symphony is the most compelling performance I've ever heard of the work), along with recordings of Wagner and Mahler's gargantuan Resurrection Symphony, which were less successful. He also made some interesting discs of obscure material during his recording career. This is one of them. Issued originally in 2007 by the Marco Polo label, the rights were transferred to Naxos in 2009, thus making this first recording of Ildebrando Pizzetti's works still available. Caetani's wife, the pianist Susanna Stefani Caetani, is the more than capable soloist in the intriguing Canti della stagioni alta, actually a lovely concerto-like piece for piano and orchestra. Baritone Boris Statsenko makes a brief but well-sung appearance in the Sinfonia del fuoco, music written for the 1914 silent film Cabiria, along with the Stadtischer Opernchor, Chemnitz. While none of this is great music, there are echoes of Respighi everywhere, and you can hear the Marco Polo release on amazon for free, if you're intrigued. Four stars.

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

Post by CharmNewton » Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:56 pm

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I had never heard of this pianist, but was curious. Australian Decca has reissued a number of long forgotten recordings by now unfamiliar artists. I listened to this set on Spotify (Amazon Prime members can also listen there) and really enjoyed it and decided to purchase it. The CDs sound even better.

The discs contain the three LPs she made for French Decca between 1955 through 1957 and consist of works by Liszt (Rhapsodie espagnole, Mephisto Waltz, 3 Paganini Etudes and other short pieces), Brahms (Handel Variations, Op. 24, Rhapsodies, Op. 79 and the Intermezzo OP. 119, No. 4) and works of Schumann (Intermezzo Op. 4, Toccata Op. 7, and Fantasiestücke, Op. 12). She is quite a discovery. She produces a rich sonority which for me is especially important in Brahms and especially Schumann, who can sound clunky when the pianist sounds spiky and detached. She has the technique to make the Liszt pieces as bright and sunny as Mendelssohn. Her Brahms is passionate and her Schumann has an interpretative seriousness that underline a young composer out to make his mark. Excellent notes round out a terrific release.

John

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 05, 2020 9:23 am

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Recorded in London then released on disc in 2018, this two-disc set is pianist James Kreiling's first release, based largely on his doctoral research on the music of Scriabin. May this be the first of many releases! Kreiling's playing is intimate, accurate to the score, and filled with beauty. Scriabin's late works (here from the last eight years of his life) can be hard to take all in one sitting, but Kreiling's respect and sensitivity make this an engaging experience that draws you into Scriabin's fantastic harmonic world. Very persuasive, and beautifully recorded piano sound, this compelling pair of CDs did much to inform my appreciation of Scriabin. Five stars.

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

Post by Rach3 » Mon Oct 05, 2020 9:40 am

Many thanks for the Kreiling tip , a pianist new to me.I love late Scriabin, especially the 9th and 10th Sonatas, "Vers la flamme " , and the Op. 65 Etudes.In ca. 2000-2003 I heard a complete cycle of the Sonatas live by University of Michigan professor and Scriabinist Arthur Greene,played over 2 consecutive evenings.On the second, he played Nos.6 -10 without interruption accompanied by a conservative light show.No encores after first evening Nos.1-5,but after No.10 played as encores "Vers" and the famous Op.8,# 12 Etude. He remarked in the green room afterwards that Scriabin sounds better live than recorded.

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

Post by maestrob » Wed Oct 07, 2020 12:33 pm

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This magnificent new release on DGG by Grigory Sokolov has received much attention world-wide, and deservedly so. The two CDs are available in America for free listening on amazon, while the third disc, a DVD, is not.

There is much magical and wonderful playing here, but, as with all great artists, Sokolov doesn't succeed in everything, at least IMHO. I have just two small criticisms, so while I loved the release as a whole, here they are.

1) Brahms has always been a difficult composer for Sokolov to master, for some reason. His earlier attempts at Brahms were coarse and overblown: quite hard for me to listen to, and I have not returned to them. Here, in renditions from Brahms's late Opp. 118 & 119, Sokolov shows new mastery of the intimate and tender moments in these works, but he spoils the effect by playing a few passages too loudly here and there. These pieces are meant to be an intimate conversation between us and the composer, much like Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs. I just feel that Sokolov makes them too dramatic in style for my taste. YMMV, of course.

2) On the DVD, the excellent live recital concludes with Beethoven's great Op. 111 Sonata. Sokolov is fine in the first movement, but he experiments with a too slow tempo in the second, something I have never heard before, an experiment that fails, at least for me. The music loses all tension, and refuses to generate the necessary electricity at its climax.

Still, I welcome and recommend this latest release and, in spite of the above caveats, award four and 1/2 stars. Sokolov is a great pianist, one of the finest in his generation, and we will all profit by hearing whatever he has to say.

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

Post by Rach3 » Sat Oct 10, 2020 3:03 pm

Sony Classical 1996 “Gould Edition” of Bach’s Two and Three Part Inventions, BWV 772-801, Gould’s 1963-64 studio recordings remastered.Wore out my Columbia lp.One of my fav works of Bach’s output.I even have the scores, but gave up years ago trying to play.Per the liner notes while Gould played some or all the Three Part in his live career , he never did so the Two Part.Per the notes the recording sessions were the ultimate trial for the recording team, requiring 10 recording days for the 50 minutes of music. Gould used his CD 318 1938-39 Steinway he purchased at Toronto’s Eaton’s ca. 1960-61, despite its occasional “hiccup”, Gould bringing the piano from Toronto to the NYC recording sessions.The remastering seems to have eliminated most all of the “hiccup” as well as most of Gould’s singing, which singing was noticeable on the lp.Gems . If ,as I had not, you have not heard these recently, recommended.

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

Post by Rach3 » Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:22 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 3:03 pm
Gems . If ,as I had not, you have not heard these recently, recommended.
A nearly unequaled freedom and expressiveness.Probably near blasphemy to say , but may be the one Bach solo keyboard work I'd take if get just one , provided it's the Gould recording:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jcI0EG ... FU&index=1

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:55 am

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Louis Lortie has been recording a wide range of repertoire for Chandos for nearly 30 years, including some wonderful Chopin discs that have won acclaim. The disc pictured above is the second in what your reviewer hopes will be complete survey of Faure's unjustly neglected piano works. Lortie possesses a particularly sensitive and poetic touch that is suited to French music, and his now mature and thoughtful talent brings these neglected gems to light with admirable insight. This disc is, at least to this Francophile, a gentle delight from beginning to end, ending with Lortie's own arrangement for piano of the "In Paradisum" movement from Faure's own well-known Requiem. Five stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 12, 2020 9:56 am

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Just opened this magnificent CD of remarkable singing by Javier Camarena, in florid virtuoso repertoire in rare arias in three languages: Italian, French, and not surprisingly, Spanish, including two world premiere recordings. Camarena displays not only a fine technique, but depth and sensitivity without a hint of strain anywhere in his remarkable range. His delivery of the text is both clear and nuanced, each aria bringing new and astonishing feats of remarkable ease and flexibility. You've simply got to hear this consistently fine singer to experience the heights of great singing that are available today. The great mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli joins Camarena in a wonderful duet from Rossini's Armida. Conductor Gianluca Capuana and Les Musicians du Prince Monaco also deserve great credit for providing immaculate support. All-in-all, this is a wildly successful disc, one of the finest vocal recitals available today! Five stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:18 am

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The Skride Piano Quartet (Balba Skride, violin/Lisa Berthaud, viola/Harriet Krijgh/cello, and Lauma Skride on piano) is a recently formed group that has been concertizing (before the pandemic) throughout Europe, and this is their first CD. Their tone and deep expressiveness have been well captured by Orfeo's excellent engineers, with a full, rich tone quality that especially suits the Romantic compositions of Mahler and Brahms. Mahler's rarely done quartet movement (marked "Nicht zu schnell") dates from 1876/8, and I have consistently regretted that this great composer did not pursue his project further. The Mozart K478 is also that composer's first effort in that genre, and is winningly played here as well, but the true gem on this disc is the passionate and fully Romantic interpretation of Brahms's great Piano Quartet No. 1. Here, there is beauty, electricity and committed playing in every passage. All listeners can revel in the enjoyment and involvement of this fine group that puts full meaning into every note. So, this fine debut disc earns a hearty five stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 19, 2020 9:22 am

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Not being a fan of completions of Bruckner's last, great Symphony IX, I put off buying this disc until I heard it recently on Music Choice. That hearing inspired me to acquire Rattle's 2012 release with the Berlin Philharmonic, as I judged it to be the most persuasive rendering of Bruckner's sketches for the fourth movement that I had heard, coupled with Rattle's fine reading of the first three movements, one of the best recordings IMHO he has made with the Berlin Philharmonic. Not always a fan of this famous conductor in Romantic repertoire, I found his reading of Bruckner IX to be deeply thoughtful without any mannerisms that I could criticize. The orchestra is beautifully recorded by EMI, with excellent dynamics and rich tonal quality. All-in-all, much more than just a curiosity, this is a disc worthy of a five star rating.

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

Post by slofstra » Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:33 pm

I like Rattle's Mahler. In one interview he stated (paraphrased) that Mahler's compositions are like chamber music, but for a large instrumental force. I certainly find that in Rattle's approach: every nuance of orchestration is carefully teased out, perhaps at the expense of the wash of crescendoes and big chords. And not that you can't have those, but I do like the BPO's crisply articulated approach.

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

Post by maestrob » Wed Oct 21, 2020 8:08 am

slofstra wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:33 pm
I like Rattle's Mahler. In one interview he stated (paraphrased) that Mahler's compositions are like chamber music, but for a large instrumental force. I certainly find that in Rattle's approach: every nuance of orchestration is carefully teased out, perhaps at the expense of the wash of crescendoes and big chords. And not that you can't have those, but I do like the BPO's crisply articulated approach.
Hello, Henry!

My criticisms of rattle in Mahler amount to nitpicking, but they are important nits, at least to me. IMHO, Rattle doesn't quite manage his tempo properly in at least one or two (sometimes more) crucial musical ideas: sometimes too fast, sometimes too slow. It's not grossly mis-managed, but it happens enough to annoy me and make me not want to hear the recording again.

Abbado at Lucerne is my go-to Mahler right now, except for IX, because I prefer his live Berlin CD. His hand-picked orchestra in Lucerne is far better than Bernstein/NY or Bernstein/Vienna (on DVD from the 1970's, originally issued on Pioneer's 12" video discs), while Solti/Chicago is quite uneven, although V is good and his II recorded in London is far better than his Chicago remake.

Bernstein's reading of II in 1970's Vienna is decidedly not to my taste, especially in the first movement: I don't agree with his tempo choices at all!

That said, while Barbirolli's opening tempo in VI is too slow, he leads one of the great recordings of that symphony that I still turn to occasionally.

To return to the subject of Sir Simon:

Rattle has a wonderful feel for XXth century music: his clear delineation of orchestral texture works wonders for my ears. While he's quite competent in Beethoven and Brahms, I don't get the feeling that he's as committed to Romantic literature as he is to solving the complex puzzles posed by later composers. That's OK. All musicians have music that they relate to best. Even in the Bruckner IX I reviewed above, Rattle takes a slight liberty before the recapitulation of the main theme by rushing the tempo slightly, not an idea exclusive to Rattle, but it's not marked in the score and, to give one famous example, Bruno Walter didn't do that. Gunter Wand, another famous Bruckner interpreter, sometimes did that, but on other recordings he did not. It's a small point, and I let it go for this review, simply because the Berlin Philharmonic sounds so glorious and Rattle is quite disciplined everywhere else.

That said, I have not yet heard his Beethoven IX, recorded in Vienna in 2002, which was highly thought of, so I'll have to give that a listen.

So, those are my impressions of Sir Simon so far. :D

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 26, 2020 9:47 am

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First, let me state at the outset, that Die Frau ohne Schatten is not my favorite Strauss opera (That would be Der Rosenkavalier or Arabella). This release of a live, thankfully uncut, performance from Vienna led by Christian Thielemann includes a stellar cast of today's first-rank singers, including Steven Gould as the Kaiser, Camilla Nylund as his wife, and the effervescent Nina Stemme as Die Farbein, along with Wolfgang Koch as Barak, and Ryan Speedo Green (who was recently profiled on 60 Minutes) as Der Einaugige. Despite Gould's slight straining here and there, this is an interesting performance. Thielemann reins in the orchestra so that his singers can be easily heard, compared to Solti's magnificent but more bombastic reading of the same uncut score with Domingo, Behrens and Von Dam, which was recorded sporadically over a 3 year period. Unfortunately, this is not the Vienna Philharmonic of past years, so the orchestra today lacks the magnificent color range of its earlier recordings, including the 1955 stereo set made with Karl Bohm, Rysanek and Hopf, now sadly OOP and available only in download form. (I've heard that everyone who made the recording did so without a fee because they all wanted to participate in the project so much!).

All that said, this is a fine performance that I enjoyed hearing: Thielemann has the full measure of the score, and his singers are the best available today, even in minor roles. It should be noted that Orfeo has finally embraced the cardboard fold, rather than the traditional plastic case. Four and 1/2 stars.

P. S. Decca has also issued Solti's recordings of the Strauss operas in a budget-priced 15CD box, priced around $50 U. S. (See below)

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

Post by maestrob » Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:17 pm

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Just discovered and listened to this wonderful CD featuring the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra on amazon today, by your home town band, Barney! James Ehnes is, of course, a fine violinist, and the Melbourne Symphony is truly energized by Maestro Wigglesworth in the Khachaturian. Ehnes has put together a first-rate quartet of string players who are not named on amazon's website, but their involvement in both Shostakovich Quartets (VII & VIII) is exemplary. Amazon reviewers rate the disc at five stars across the board, and I agree! A truly first-rate recording, I'm adding it to my collection post-haste. Issued in 2014. Five stars.

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

Post by Handelian » Fri Oct 30, 2020 3:48 pm

Got a deal on Pollini’s legendary performances of modern music which arrived today. Tremendous performances of Stravinsky and Prokofiev. Not sure about Webern and Boulez but one has to admire the technique!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:51 am

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After listening to this 1969 all-Beethoven concert by the Vienna Philharmonic led by George Szell, featuring the great Emil Gilels in the Concerto III, I fully understand why, after all these years, Orfeo decided to issue this well-recorded live CD. George Szell was one of the greatest conductors of his generation, a man who possessed a deep understanding of and respect for Beethoven's music. Of the four (!) recordings of Beethoven V I own by Szell (including a DVD), this performance is the outstanding leader of the pack. No doubt Szell was thrilled at having a chance to lead the Vienna Philharmonic, and his enthusiasm shows in every note and phrase of this electrifying concert. Szell, of course, made great music whenever he was on the podium, but this event is very special. The Egmont Overture III sizzles and is perfectly shaped with its internal drama, while Beethoven V is easily the finest, most thrilling performance of that warhorse in my collection. Szell sometimes had difficulty with the transition in tempo from the Scherzo to the final movement: here, everything (Like his studio recording with the Cleveland Orchestra) is seamless. Likewise, Gilels in the Third Concerto plays his heart out in a ravishingly beautiful performance of a concerto not so popular in 1969.

What a wonderful night this must have been to be in the audience! Five enthusiastic stars!

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

Post by slofstra » Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:49 am

maestrob wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:17 pm
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Just discovered and listened to this wonderful CD featuring the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra on amazon today, by your home town band, Barney! James Ehnes is, of course, a fine violinist, and the Melbourne Symphony is truly energized by Maestro Wigglesworth in the Khachaturian. Ehnes has put together a first-rate quartet of string players who are not named on amazon's website, but their involvement in both Shostakovich Quartets (VII & VIII) is exemplary. Amazon reviewers rate the disc at five stars across the board, and I agree! A truly first-rate recording, I'm adding it to my collection post-haste. Issued in 2014. Five stars.
Anything with Ehnes name on it is a buy, IMO. Well, let me qualify that. Single new CDs can now cost $30 here in the great white north. On a streaming service, the net variable cost is zero. Let me check.
https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list ... ZDbq7h0iaQ
Youtube Music has it and the Allegro of the Khatchaturian Violin Concerto is pouring out of my stereo's speakers.

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

Post by Handelian » Mon Nov 02, 2020 3:27 pm

Bought Handel’s Tamerlano with Gardiner and Serse with McGegan.
I’ve suspended my cinema membership due to the epidemic so indulging in a few discs

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

Post by Rach3 » Mon Nov 02, 2020 4:37 pm

Handelian wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 3:48 pm
Got a deal on Pollini’s legendary performances of modern music which arrived today. Tremendous performances of Stravinsky and Prokofiev. Not sure about Webern and Boulez but one has to admire the technique!

The Boulez piano sonatas remain inscrutable to me if one on your recording.Several years ago Pollini had the courage to end , yes , end his Carnegie recital with Boulez’ 2nd sonata !!

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

Post by Rach3 » Tue Nov 03, 2020 1:56 pm

A 320kbps mp3 download from Presto of Ernst Chausson’s Op.3 Piano Trio played by the Beaux Arts Trio, from a 1985 Phillips cd, a wonderful work I heard for first time yesterday. The cd also had the Ravel Trio, but I have already 3 recordings of the Ravel. I enjoy this Chausson Trio and his Op.21 Concert much more than his ubiquitous “ Poeme “ for violin and orchestra.

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

Post by Handelian » Wed Nov 04, 2020 2:11 am

Rach3 wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 4:37 pm
Handelian wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 3:48 pm
Got a deal on Pollini’s legendary performances of modern music which arrived today. Tremendous performances of Stravinsky and Prokofiev. Not sure about Webern and Boulez but one has to admire the technique!

The Boulez piano sonatas remain inscrutable to me if one on your recording.Several years ago Pollini had the courage to end , yes , end his Carnegie recital with Boulez’ 2nd sonata !!
Well at least no one can tell if he’s playing wrong notes! 😁

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

Post by Rach3 » Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:14 pm

Handelian wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 2:11 am
Well at least no one can tell if he’s playing wrong notes! 😁
2 marks !! LOL.

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

Post by maestrob » Tue Nov 10, 2020 9:16 am

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For lovers of Richard Strauss's music, this bargain two-disc set by Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic (his 29th release with that orchestra already!) is a must-have. Manfred Honeck recently issued a fine disc from Pittsburg that included an arrangement from Elektra that I've praised in these pages, now we are lucky to find here another ravishing 47 minute suite of excerpts from one of Strauss's least-performed operas, Die Frau ohne Schatten. My favorite recording of that work dates from 1955 with a cast that includes Rysanek in the title role with the Vienna Philharmonic led by Karl Bohm in Decca's pioneering stereo. Hopefully, Jurowski's (who has led the complete opera at the MET to great acclaim) arrangement will encourage listeners to explore Strauss's fantastical score in full.

Strauss's well-known Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome receives a fiery reading here, as does the great Alpine Symphony. Jurowski's ear for orchestral balance has matured into a remarkable sensitivity in this music: every texture is played with the utmost clarity without undermining the full impact of the orchestra. While there are many fine performances of this great work that have been issued since by Von Karajan, et al, I grew up with Rudolf Kempe's extraordinary LP of the work with the Royal Philharmonic, released here on RCA, and later acquired the complete set of his Strauss recordings from Dresden on EMI CDs when they were issued decades ago. Thankfully, Warner has just republished that complete 9CD set for $20 this year, so do grab that, but don't let that purchase discourage you from acquiring these live performances from London with Jurowski, which earn five enthusiastic stars from your reviewer!

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

Post by maestrob » Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:06 am

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Thanks to an alert by Lance a while back, I acquired this fine box of Steinberg's Beethoven cycle, finally given its due in a superb restoration of the 35mm magnetic film stereo recordings made for Command Classics in the 1960's with the Pittsburgh Symphony. That technology was introduced by Mercury records in the 1950's, and also was used by the long-defunct Everest label (including in Copland's 1959 recording of his own Third Symphony with the London Symphony). 35mm magnetic film technology offered many improvements in sound quality (lower noise floor, superior wow and flutter, etc.) when it was introduced in studios in 1959, but it was superseded when Dolby A professional noise reduction for standard 30ips magnetic tape was marketed for professional recording studios in 1965.*

When Enoch Light founded his audiophile label in 1959 using 35mm magnetic film technology, he made some outstanding records with Steinberg's Pittsburgh Symphony, including the outstanding Beethoven cycle finally made available here by DGG. The cover of the Ninth Symphony indicates that the original tapes for the last movement had deteriorated to the point that they were unplayable, but the restoration from a pristine LP pressing has literally zero distortion or any other discernable flaws. As well, Steinberg uses Mahler's re-orchestration of the Ninth Symphony, and doubles some instruments in some of the others in an attempt to restore proper balance with the modern strings.

Incidentally, this was Metropolitan Opera tenor Richard Kness's debut on records, a recording I have long wished to add to my collection, as Richard was an enthusiastic member of my vocal competition board and a judge in Carnegie Hall during the 1990's. He sings his heart out here, and should have made more recordings, as the voice works very well in the studio. Also, the mezzo-soprano who sings in the Ninth Symphony was Joanna Simon (sister to Carly and daughter of the founder of the publishing house Simon & Schuster): she studied with my voice teacher, Dan Merriman, during the 1980's. Thus I have a double personal connection to this recording.

Be that as it may, this is an impressive cycle and beautifully restored from the original 35mm magnetic films (no mean feat) by DGG. Steinberg was a first-rank conductor, which was why he was invited to be the Music director of the Boston Symphony where he ended his all-to-brief career. His Beethoven is, naturally, modeled after Toscanini's approach and, while the Pittsburgh strings are not quite as sweet-sounding as Berlin's for Von Karajan, the rest of the orchestra plays with great energy and passion, clearly articulating each passage with deep insight and some beautiful playing from the winds and brass in the more lyrical moments. Steinberg has an excellent sense of balance and tempo, keeping things well under control throughout. His Seventh Symphony is one of the finest I've heard, and his Ninth rivals the best on the market with modern forces. There is not a single bar in the entire set that undermines Beethoven's keen sense of architecture.

This is an historic release that was long overdue. Kudos to DGG for undertaking the project, and for offering this important cycle at such a bargain price. Five stars.

*35mm film with a magnetic coating was used as early as 1947 in double-system recording for motion picture production, where the sound for a film is recorded separately from the picture. This process used 35mm film with a magnetic coating across the full width of the tape (‘fullcoat’ film).

Its first use purely for audio production was in 1959 by by Everest records.

Because 35mm film was much wider than the ½ or ¼-inch magnetic tape normally used for audio recording at the time, it had a much better signal to noise ratio. It was also much thicker than tape and so reduced the chance of ‘print-through’ and the possibility of tape stretch. Being sprocket driven also meant less chance of ‘wow and flutter’.

Three tracks were used, each one only slightly smaller than the entire width of ¼-inch tape.

Everest closed in 1960, but several companies continued to use 35mm magnetic film for the audiophile market, including Mercury, Command, Cameo/Parkway and Project 3. LP records using 35mm film proudly proclaimed this on their covers.

https://obsoletemedia.org/35mm-magnetic ... 20picture.
Last edited by maestrob on Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

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

Post by slofstra » Wed Nov 11, 2020 4:23 pm

maestrob wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:06 am
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Thanks to an alert by Lance a while back, I acquired this fine box of Steinberg's Beethoven cycle, finally given its due in a superb restoration of the 35mm magnetic film stereo recordings made for Command Classics in the 1960's with the Pittsburgh Symphony. That technology was introduced by Mercury records in the 1950's, and also was used by the long-defunct Everest label (including in Copland's 1957 recording of his own Third Symphony with the London Symphony). When Enoch Light founded his audiophile label in 1959, he made some outstanding records with Steinberg's Pittsburgh Symphony, including the outstanding Beethoven cycle finally made available here by DGG. The cover of the Ninth Symphony indicates that the original tapes had deteriorated to the point that they were unplayable, but the restoration from a pristine LP pressing has literally zero distortion or any other discernable flaws. Incidentally, this was Metropolitan Opera tenor Richard Kness's debut on records, a recording I have long wished to add to my collection, as Richard was an enthusiastic member of my vocal competition board and a judge in Carnegie Hall during the 1990's. He sings his heart out here, and should have made more recordings, as the voice works very well in the studio.

Be that as it may, this is an impressive cycle and beautifully restored from the original 35mm magnetic films (no mean feat) by DGG. Steinberg was a first-rank conductor, which was why he was invited to be the Music director of the Boston Symphony where he ended his all-to-brief career. His Beethoven is, naturally, modeled after Toscanini's approach and, while the Pittsburgh strings are not quite as sweet-sounding as Berlin's for Von Karajan, the rest of the orchestra plays with great energy and passion, clearly articulating each passage with deep insight and some beautiful playing from the winds and brass in the more lyrical moments. Steinberg has an excellent sense of balance and tempo, keeping things well under control throughout. His Seventh Symphony is one of the finest I've heard, and his Ninth rivals the best on the market with modern forces. There is not a single bar in the entire set that undermines Beethoven's keen sense of architecture.

This is an historic release that was long overdue. Kudos to DGG for undertaking the project, and for offering this important cycle at such a bargain price. Five stars.
I also purchased this when it was reviewed here on CMG, and agree that it's one of the finest sets of Beethoven symphonies available. I have not played the Ninth at this point, but the other eight symphonies are all superb.
Now to put you on the spot, Brian. Better than von Karajan's 1963 run through? I think it is.

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

Post by maestrob » Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:01 am

Good morning, Henry! :D

To answer your question directly, I would say that HvK's Berliners are a far better orchestra, especially in the strings, which have many more colors available to them than Pittsburgh's, which, by comparison, are a bit monochromatic. Steinberg's tempi are spot-on, and his sense of discipline in the ensemble playing is truly excellent. His winds and brass are quite good, but again, not up to the refinement of the Berliners.

That said, in my brief review above I didn't go into the details of what went on with the recording of the Ninth Symphony, in which Steinberg uses Mahler's re-orchestration of the Ninth. As well, I see upon re-reading that I said that the entire Ninth Symphony was remastered from an LP pressing: this is not the case, as the tapes from the all but the last movement were indeed usable, thus only the final movement was remastered from an LP (I will edit my original post to correct it.). Since Enoch Light originally marketed Command Classics issues as an audiophile label, DGG was able to restore the original sound from what was obviously an excellent copy.

So, from an informative reviewer on amazon, here are some of the details on the Mahler re-orchestration:
MAHLER’S TUBA:

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was first performed in 1824.Beethoven’s score calls for pairs of woodwinds, one piccolo, one contrabassoon, 2 trumpets, 4 horns, 3 trombones and timpani.

By 1900, the number of strings in the Vienna Philharmonic had greatly increased, and Gustav Mahler set out to restore the balance.Mahler re-scored the Ninth for quadruple woodwinds, 2 piccolos, 2 contrabassoons, one E-Flat clarinet, 4 trumpets, 8 horns, 6 trombones, one tuba, and 2 sets of timpani.Mahler referred to his efforts as “retuschen” (retouches).The doubling of winds and brass became commonplace in the 20th Century (less so in the 21st), but in 1966 William Steinberg became the first conductor to record the Ninth Symphony while observing almost all of Mahler’s retuschen.*

DG’s booklet makes no mention of Mahler, but I am old enough to remember when the original LPs came out.Steinberg’s use of Mahler’s retuschen was a hot topic in musical publications.Everything is just bigger and more dramatic here, but there are two specific changes that stand out:--- Double Timpani:In the first movement (only) Mahler adds a second set of timpani.Heightens the drama, but I wish they were placed farther apart in the sound stage.--- Mahler’s Tuba:In addition to doubling existing instruments, Mahler also added two new instruments to the score.I didn’t really notice the E-Flat clarinet, but can clearly hear the tuba player oompahing his heart out from 9:20 to 9:56 of the first movement.I can’t recall ever seeing a tuba player on stage during a performance of the Ninth.Steinberg also makes use of wind and brass doublings in the other symphonies, without specifically using Mahler’s retuschen.*

Steinberg ignored one of Mahler’s retuschen - Mahler suggested that the “Turkish March” preceding the tenor solo in the finale should begin quietly offstage (sort of like the march that begins Wellington’s Victory).Probably just as well that Steinberg ignored this one.
Thus, in my memory, this makes the Steinberg the only complete set available with Mahler's retouches of Beethoven's Ninth and his own amendments to the other scores, although Kristjan Jarvi has recently recorded the Ninth in a very fine release pictured below, which can be streamed on American amazon if you're interested:

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Thus, while Steinberg's set is quite unique and very good, I would not compare it favorably to Von Karajan's 1963 set, which still is my benchmark when considering stereo recordings with modern instruments.

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

Post by slofstra » Thu Nov 12, 2020 3:23 pm

I will look forward to that tuba!

Now as far as 1963 Hvk as a benchmark. Do you find it better than the 1977 version? That would be the benchmark for me.
Also, as a footnote the entire 1963 set is available on a single Blu-Ray set. Pop into your Blu-ray player and you have Beethoven for the day.

Also from my notes on the Steinberg/ PSO/ Beethoven set.
Top marks for symphonies 3, 2, 4, 5 and 6.
One quibble with symphony 6 is that the opening movement is too brisk at times.
Symphony 1, top marks, considering that it is symphony 1.
Symphony 7, only fair. It does not dance the way that symphony should.
And of course, symphony 9 is still unplayed.

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

Post by maestrob » Fri Nov 13, 2020 10:01 am

Now as far as 1963 Hvk as a benchmark. Do you find it better than the 1977 version?
AS far as the 1977 set is concerned, it's been so long since I've heard it, it's impossible to remember details, honestly. All I can remember is that the sound of the orchestra was too homogenized for my ears, but I've never heard it on CD, so maybe that's been corrected.

Here are two interesting reviews from amazon about the 1977 cycle reissued and remastered on CD (with typos!):
In the back of the boxset there is a citation from a review which says "No mere re-run of the Nine, ..." making reference that, compared with the 60's cycle this is a new reading of the symphonies. And I admit it's true. But, unluckly, for the worse. In this cycle Karajan seems to be more woried about his mannierisms than in the previous cycle. Sound is more "round", but I feel that some fire, some passion is lost from the previous cycle.Of course that I consider that Karajan is one of he greatest Beethoven's interpreters, but I don't think this cycle to merit five stars. In general the executions are good, but not superb, with the exception, perhaps, of the 7th, which sounds great and very powerfull, in my opinion.Definitely, if you choose Karajan for Beethoven, the 60's cycle is THE choice.
As we all know, 90% of listeners prefer the 1963 cycle, relegating the likes of me to the Minority. Here is my Apologia for the '77 cycle. Please note: this set has been remastered elsewhere and superlatively so. Skip this offering.1 - The 1977 Ninth is considered to be among the greatest recordings of all time - it's the Transit of Jupiter set to music. In the very least, it is the equal of its predecessor as a performance and the choir do not sound as if they were recorded underwater. As others have noted, Herbie red-lines himself at the end of the symphony and this is a rarity for such a controlled conductor. The ferocity of the first movement is sui generis (with apologies to Toscanini). When comparing cycles, the better Nine must surely carry weight.2 - The Pastoral is a more relaxed affair than the tense 1963 performance and the key repeat in the scherzo is observed. Many people are not convinced by Herbie's reading of the Pastoral per se: again, I'm in the Minority. This 1976 performance, IMO, is the best actualisation of his approach. For instance, the Brucknerian blaze-ups in the finale are 'Affirmations of Being' - how they resonate!3. Again, as others have noted, the October 1976 performance of the Seventh is a once-off. It might seem too 'stringy' to modern ears but what strings they are. The 1963 performance is superlative but there's something about its successor that is inexplicable and thus all the more electrifying. The opening of the slow movement is the Oresteia set to music.4. Herbie excelled in the Eroica. Indeed, even the 1984 'Karajan Gold' performance has strong claims on a collector (along with the superlative 8). I concede the excellence of the 1963 alternative but again, the first movement of the 1977 Eroica is a once off. The Penguin Guide was right to highlight its peculiar nature but errant in their choice of words. Far from being edgy, it's akin to the young Napoleon scaling the Alps like Hannibal in search of destiny. To my mind it has no peer - and the other three movements are comparable.5. Unlike the 'Gold' performance of the Fourth from 1984, Karajan observes the second half repeat in the Scherzo: how delightful it is. The later performance is also marred by tension (Herbie and the Berliners were warring at the time). Here, the playing of the orchestra is ferocious in its joie de vivre.6. The other symphonies - 1, 2, 5, and 8 - to my ears do not differ greatly from their '63 predecessors with one exception: the Berlin Philharmonic itself. The orchestra evolved over time (and under Herbie's tutelage)to become a near-infallible ensemble by the mid-1970s when these recordings were made (infallible in terms of its core repertoire, not, say, Bach or Stravinsky). Most of its recordings from the '70s radiate self-confidence if not wagger, married to virtuosity of the highest order. To use a cliche, they play as if their lives depend upon it - such could be the epithet of these leonine performances.Make no mistake: this cycle is Beethoven writ large - a Colossus who bestrides the earth - whereas at his feet lie the puny creations of Norrington, Jeggy, Abbado ( x 3), Harnoncourt, Rattle, Zinman, all of whom are infected by Hogwood-itis to varying degrees. Longevity is not theirs; the ignoble grave beckons.As demonstrated by a once-off release of 5, 6 & 9, the entire 1976/77 cycle could benefit from a remastering ( Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5, 6 & 9 ). And indeed, this has actually occurred:Beethoven: the 9 Symphonies OverturesGood as they are, you no longer have to endure the remasterings from the mid-'80s. I've lived with those "Gallerias" for over twenty years - and this new set is like chalk and cheese, even on standard equipment. Consider the Eroica disc with its timpani throughout the Funeral March; the brass at the apotheosis of its finale and the Overture "Leonore No.3", Op.72b per se: there's greater warmth and detail. Indeed, the sound is sumptuous. This was worth the wait.Do not look past this cycle in its refurbished state. Rejoice in dissent.

The fact is, Henry, I "imprinted" on the 1963 cycle, and, while I've grown to admire several HIP performances, including Van Immerseel's recent set, Toscanini's box issued on LPs in the early 1950's is what I grew up with, and HvK's 1963 set remain my favorites in their present incarnations on CD, even though Toscanini did change the trumpet scoring slightly in the first movement of the Eroica.

I suppose I'll have to find what I can of the 1977 HvK set on amazon for streaming to see if I like it better! :D

Do tell me what it is about the 1977 cycle that you find superior? Inquiring minds want to know!

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

Post by maestrob » Fri Nov 13, 2020 12:55 pm

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Bought this magnificent and inexpensive 10CD box a while back, and am now able to say with certainty that this has to be one of the finest bargains in Baroque music on the market for a little over $22 on amazon. Each CD is a delight! Beautifully recorded, the Freiburger Barockorchester (founded in 1987) has established a fine reputation over the years, excelling in both opera and instrumental music. Frankly, I found no weak points in any of the 10 CDs included here (See contents above.) CD5 allowed me to discover Zelenka and Pisandel, two new composers to my ears, and CDs 7 & 8 opened my ears to Zavateri's inventive and highly original music. The Freiburger Barockorchester, (led by Thomas Hengelbrock and Gottfried von der Goltz in this box) has been invited to play at the Berlin State Opera house in Europe for productions of Baroque operas, so fine is their reputation. They are often led by well-known guest conductors as well (Pablo Heras Casado's 2020 release of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony has received high marks.), in music ranging from the Baroque to Beethoven and even contemporary music. If you love the Baroque as I do, don't miss this uplifting bargain! Five enthusiastic stars (also available for streaming on American amazon)!

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

Post by Lance » Sat Nov 14, 2020 12:35 am

1) Danacord 849: 2019 - Piano Music at Schloss vor Husum
includes Mark Viner, Cyprien Katsaris, Roland Pontinen

2) Nimbus 5996 - Julius Rontgen (composer) Volume 5: Music for Two Pianos with Mark Anderson and Michelle Mares

3) Hyperion 68302 - Johann Baptist Cramer: Piano Concertos 1, 3, and 6 with Howard Shelley, pianist/conductor - London Mozart Players (Classical Piano Concerto Series)

4) Guild 3504 - The First Recordings, Arturo Toscanini (1920-1926)

5) Signum 429 - Schubert Recital including Shepherd on the Rock, piano solos, songs with Julian Bliss, clarinet; Ailish Tynan, soprano; Christopher Glynn, piano

6) CRD 5006 (issued 2002) - Fauré: Complete solo piano music
___with Paul Crossley, piano [watched for this for a long time!]
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

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

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

Post by slofstra » Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:55 pm

maestrob wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 10:01 am
Now as far as 1963 Hvk as a benchmark. Do you find it better than the 1977 version?
AS far as the 1977 set is concerned, it's been so long since I've heard it, it's impossible to remember details, honestly. All I can remember is that the sound of the orchestra was too homogenized for my ears, but I've never heard it on CD, so maybe that's been corrected.

Here are two interesting reviews from amazon about the 1977 cycle reissued and remastered on CD (with typos!):

Do tell me what it is about the 1977 cycle that you find superior? Inquiring minds want to know!
Oh, I don't mean the entire 1977 HvK cycle, because I haven't heard it. Just the 9th. And I can't offer definitively that it's the very best 9th, because there are a number of very good performances, but it's among the very best for me.
It is the one time that HvK does not sound homogenized and the final movement is frantic. Both the playing and the singing are spine tingling. As far as the other movements, they're excellent, but it's the last movement and the singing that always makes the difference for me. That being said, the tympani's in the second movement and the general percussive sound are also remarkable in this performance.
I also have the 1984 HvK 9th, and it holds no particular charm for me. Not played very often in the decades I have had it. I have only had the 1963 set for a short time, so it's not definitive for me either. It does sound good, but I think both Steinberg (repeating myself) and Klemperer's sets are better, that is, in symphonies 1-8. Klemperer's 9th is awful and I haven't heard Steinberg yet.

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

Post by Lance » Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:16 am

For me, of all the HvK Beethoven complete sets, the 1963 DGG takes the prize - and for many of my symphonic collector friends and conductors who know these sets very well. Perhaps DGG's analogue recording process was at its best at this time. On the other hand, I am not the devoteé of HvK as I am to so many others. The best thing, of course, is that all of us are able to make our choices on how the music passes through our ears to the brain for consumption to give personal, elated feelings. One size will never fit everybody after all! :)
slofstra wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:55 pm
maestrob wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 10:01 am
Now as far as 1963 Hvk as a benchmark. Do you find it better than the 1977 version?
AS far as the 1977 set is concerned, it's been so long since I've heard it, it's impossible to remember details, honestly. All I can remember is that the sound of the orchestra was too homogenized for my ears, but I've never heard it on CD, so maybe that's been corrected.

Here are two interesting reviews from amazon about the 1977 cycle reissued and remastered on CD (with typos!):

Do tell me what it is about the 1977 cycle that you find superior? Inquiring minds want to know!
Oh, I don't mean the entire 1977 HvK cycle, because I haven't heard it. Just the 9th. And I can't offer definitively that it's the very best 9th, because there are a number of very good performances, but it's among the very best for me.
It is the one time that HvK does not sound homogenized and the final movement is frantic. Both the playing and the singing are spine tingling. As far as the other movements, they're excellent, but it's the last movement and the singing that always makes the difference for me. That being said, the tympani's in the second movement and the general percussive sound are also remarkable in this performance.
I also have the 1984 HvK 9th, and it holds no particular charm for me. Not played very often in the decades I have had it. I have only had the 1963 set for a short time, so it's not definitive for me either. It does sound good, but I think both Steinberg (repeating myself) and Klemperer's sets are better, that is, in symphonies 1-8. Klemperer's 9th is awful and I haven't heard Steinberg yet.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

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

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

Post by Handelian » Mon Nov 16, 2020 2:16 am

slofstra wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 3:23 pm
I will look forward to that tuba!

Now as far as 1963 Hvk as a benchmark. Do you find it better than the 1977 version? That would be the benchmark for me.
Also, as a footnote the entire 1963 set is available on a single Blu-Ray set. Pop into your Blu-ray player and you have Beethoven for the day.

Also from my notes on the Steinberg/ PSO/ Beethoven set.
Top marks for symphonies 3, 2, 4, 5 and 6.
One quibble with symphony 6 is that the opening movement is too brisk at times.
Symphony 1, top marks, considering that it is symphony 1.
Symphony 7, only fair. It does not dance the way that symphony should.
And of course, symphony 9 is still unplayed.
As far as Karajan’s 1977 performance of the ninth is concerned I still find it the greatest performance on disk all round. Quite astonishing. I know it’s not fashionable to like Karajan these days among the smug critics, who believed excellence was to be somehow deplored, but that does not cancel out the superb nature of his music making.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:29 am

Interesting take on Von Karajan's Beethoven from all! I must give that 1977 Ninth another hearing, as well as whatever else from that cycle I can find on amazon. :)

Henry, I do admire and appreciate how you challenge my opinions in such a gentlemanly way, probing the depths of my reasoning. It makes for interesting discussion, and I enjoy that.


As for Klemperer, well! I imprinted of Toscanini's ferocious and clearly-defined final take on Beethoven very early in life, so much so that I disdained even the cycle issued on Columbia by my hometown orchestra, the Philadelphia, led by Ormandy during the 1960's. When I finally heard Klemperer in my twenties for historical purposes, I was deeply disappointed, not only with his Ninth, which is a mess, but with his broader tempi throughout. Some call that approach majestic, I simply call it dull and stodgy. Frankly, I rarely enjoy what Klemperer does in any repertoire, with few exceptions: Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, the Brahms German Requiem, an old reel-to-reel tape of Mozart 40 & 41 that I nearly wore out, as well as recordings of Bruckner IV & VII. His cycle of Brahms Symphonies is quite erratic, especially his Fourth, with the many bizarre rubati in the Scherzo, for example. Not to my taste at all. I have yet to hear a Mahler recording by him that I can listen to all the way through.

But that's just me. I know he gets high marks from others. I just don't respond to his, to me, very erratic style. Maybe about 10% of the time! IMHO, Klemperer rarely understood how tempo should flow in music.

As an aside, Werner Klemperer, the actor, was a client of mine at the New York Athletic Club for many years. Although we played classical music when he came in, we never discussed his famous father. Not once did he broach the subject. Of course Otto had many health difficulties during his late career, so perhaps that's why his illustrious son didn't want to open that door! He wanted to be known for his own success as an actor, I guess.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:13 am

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Edward Gardner recorded this album of Grieg's music with the composer's own orchestra in 2018, and I'm just getting to it now. The famous Concerto is played by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet in a rather routine manner, with little help from Gardner, who adds little presence to the proceedings, as if he's just going through the motions, rather than really believing in the music. So, in spite of the authenticity factor, I must rate this part of the CD with three stars. If you must have a recent release of this concerto, I would recommend Alice Sara Ott, although Rubinstein's excellent stereo remake is a must for your library.

Where Gardner becomes more involved is in the incidental music from Peer Gynt, which, interestingly, involves the participation of the chorus, vocal soloists (including the debut on records of the exquisite Lise Davidsen), and even some dialog that go with the music. This part of the disc is much better done (They were recorded two years apart in separate sessions), and Gardner seems much more involved, thus inspiring his forces to greater expression. Here I would award 4 1/2 stars.

So, with the authenticity factor, and the interesting and original take on the Peer Gynt material, altogether the disc rates four stars from your reviewer.

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

Post by maestrob » Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:08 pm

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Just ordered, finally, Thielemann's 2009 Bayreuth Ring. It's on sale from Presto for an amazing $55.50, and features my former contestant, Robin Johannsen in her debut role there as the Waldvogel. Other cast members include:

Das Rheingold:

Albert Dohmen (bass-baritone), Fionnuala McCarthy (mezzo-soprano), Simone Schroder (contralto), Hans-Peter König (bass), Ulrike Helzel (mezzo-soprano), Andrew Shore (bass), Kwangchul Youn (baritone), Christa Mayer (mezzo-soprano), Michelle Breedt (soprano), Ralf Lukas (bass), Edith Haller (soprano), Gerhard Siegel (tenor), Clemens Bieber (tenor), Arnold Bezuyen (tenor)

Die Walkure:

Kwangchul Youn (baritone), Martina Dike (mezzo-soprano), Michelle Breedt (soprano), Annette Kuttenbaum (mezzo-soprano), Sonja Muhleck (soprano), Eva-Maria Westbroek (soprano), Wilke te Brummelstroete (alto), Albert Dohmen (bass-baritone), Simone Schroder (contralto), Manuela Bress (mezzo-soprano), Edith Haller (soprano), Anna Gabler (soprano), Linda Watson (soprano), Endrik Wottrich (tenor)

Siegfried:

Gerhard Siegel (tenor), Stephen Gould (tenor), Albert Dohmen (bass-baritone), Hans-Peter König (bass), Christa Mayer (mezzo-soprano), Linda Watson (soprano), Andrew Shore (bass), Robin Johannsen (soprano)

Gotterdammerung:

Christa Mayer (mezzo-soprano), Ulrike Helzel (mezzo-soprano), Stephen Gould (tenor), Andrew Shore (bass), Simone Schroder (contralto), Ralf Lukas (bass), Fionnuala McCarthy (mezzo-soprano), Hans-Peter König (bass), Edith Haller (soprano), Linda Watson (soprano), Martina Dike (mezzo-soprano)

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

Post by slofstra » Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:11 am

maestrob wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:29 am
Interesting take on Von Karajan's Beethoven from all! I must give that 1977 Ninth another hearing, as well as whatever else from that cycle I can find on amazon. :)

Henry, I do admire and appreciate how you challenge my opinions in such a gentlemanly way, probing the depths of my reasoning. It makes for interesting discussion, and I enjoy that.


As for Klemperer, well! I imprinted of Toscanini's ferocious and clearly-defined final take on Beethoven very early in life, so much so that I disdained even the cycle issued on Columbia by my hometown orchestra, the Philadelphia, led by Ormandy during the 1960's. When I finally heard Klemperer in my twenties for historical purposes, I was deeply disappointed, not only with his Ninth, which is a mess, but with his broader tempi throughout. Some call that approach majestic, I simply call it dull and stodgy. Frankly, I rarely enjoy what Klemperer does in any repertoire, with few exceptions: Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, the Brahms German Requiem, an old reel-to-reel tape of Mozart 40 & 41 that I nearly wore out, as well as recordings of Bruckner IV & VII. His cycle of Brahms Symphonies is quite erratic, especially his Fourth, with the many bizarre rubati in the Scherzo, for example. Not to my taste at all. I have yet to hear a Mahler recording by him that I can listen to all the way through.

But that's just me. I know he gets high marks from others. I just don't respond to his, to me, very erratic style. Maybe about 10% of the time! IMHO, Klemperer rarely understood how tempo should flow in music.

As an aside, Werner Klemperer, the actor, was a client of mine at the New York Athletic Club for many years. Although we played classical music when he came in, we never discussed his famous father. Not once did he broach the subject. Of course Otto had many health difficulties during his late career, so perhaps that's why his illustrious son didn't want to open that door! He wanted to be known for his own success as an actor, I guess.
Forgive my delayed response, Brian. Every once in a while business presses. At this moment, I'm listening to Klemperer's majestic rendition of Beethoven's fourth. And "majestic" is absolutely the correct word for it. With Klemperer you climb the slopes and admire the view as you go, rather than a mad race to the top.
The Ninth in this set truly is a mess, but the rest, to my mind, excels and beats anything that HvK has done. I also adore the concertoes with Barenboim, included in the same set. I don't consider Barenboim top rank in the sonatas; I know some do. But the challenge in the concertoes is the integration with the orchestra, and too many pianists just play and let the conductor worry about the rest. I think this is why performer conducted concertoes are so successful because the performer is necessarily concerned with the overall shape of the sound. Barenboim also conducts and I think this is why the Barenboim/ Klemperer concertoes are such a triumph. Speculation on my part as to the reason, but the results do speak for themselves.

I had always thought that Werner was Otto's brother. Son, eh? I have warm memories of watching Hogan's Heroes with my father and three brothers on the old black and white. My parents lived through the Nazi occupation in northern Holland, so then why did my father have such a keen interest in this farcical program? People loved to laugh at Hitler, and the German dumbkopfs that served him, one of the few ways to get their comeuppance. Of course, the Nazi's were anything but, but it was nice for people like my Dad to have a slice of alternate reality on that subject. And I still hear him laughing across the years.
Someone showed me this, and I found it very funny. But it only makes sense if you are familiar with Hogan's Heroes. (One minute in length.)

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

Post by maestrob » Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:49 am

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The above is 25-year-old Norwegian cellist Sandra Lied Haga's debut recording, released internationally, recorded with the Russian State Symphony Orchestra "Evgeny Svetlanov" under the direction of a conductor new to these ears, Terje Mikkelsen. Just released this past May, this fine-sounding disc has already received glowing reviews, so I had to hear it on Amazon, and found Haga's sensitive and nuanced playing of Dvorak and Tchaikovsky to be revelatory, easily as rewarding as, say Alisa Weilerstein (who made her debut on CD with Barenboim in his first recording of the Elgar Concerto since the beginning of his career with Jacqueline Dupre), or Jean-Guihen Queyras (2005). Haga's virtuosity and passion are equaled by her emotional depth and insight into Tchaikovsky's original version of his Op. 33 Variations on a Rococo Theme as well, with wonderfully elegant support from her conductor and orchestra. This is a brilliant find and I can't wait to hear more from her. Five enthusiastic stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:13 am

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Manfred Honeck has, since being appointed Music Director of the Pittsburg Symphony, been revitalizing that great orchestra on disc, who number among its many great past leaders such great maestros as Fritz Reiner and William Steinberg. This great American orchestra has quite a reputation on records, and a long association with the music of Shostakovich, having recorded I & VI with Reiner and VIII with Mariss Jansons, as well as assorted film music. Honeck has been challenging his orchestra with much of the core repertoire as well as excellent new arrangements of music from Janacek's and Richard Strauss's operas (reviewed elsewhere in these pages). Here, in this 2017 release, he raises the playing of the Pittsburg Symphony again to new heights of refinement, setting down a fine interpretation of Shostakovich V that ranks with the best. He solves the conundrum of tempo in the final movement quite sensibly with excellent dramatic results by using a quicker tempo in the initial development, while staying with Shostakovich's original tempo as marked in the score for the finale. Frankly, I find Honeck's approach more effective than Jansons's similar approach in the latter's recording with Vienna for EMI. The Barber Adagio also comes across well with tender passion, but nobody has yet equaled the depth and wonder of Ormandy's magnificent Philadelphia strings in this piece for me. Five stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 23, 2020 1:55 pm

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After growing up with "Sasha" Schneider's superb recordings of the Brahms Piano quartets on Vanguard LPs, it was a delight to see a few copies of these reissues on amazon available for about $5.00 on amazon recently, and to know that they are still available to collectors. Featuring the young Walter Trampler and Leslie Parnas, along with pianist Stephanie Brown (a student of Rudolf Serkin who went on to teach at Mannes and later Purchase), these fine young colleagues of Alexander Schneider perform Brahms with a sincerity and deep sensitivity that belie their youth at the time these recordings were made. Refreshing my memory after decades of neglecting them, I find that I am still impressed with their honesty, commitment and musicality. Vanguard has done a wonderful restoration of the original tapes as well. While there may be more finesse in Marc-Andre Hamelin's recent recordings with the Leopold String Trio, this Vanguard release radiates the deep tradition of music-making brought into the present by Sasha Schneider's long experience with excellent chamber music-making. Five stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:13 am

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Not being an expert on contemporary music, your reviewer recently had a very instructive conversation in a thread here with one of our composers-in-residence, diegobueno, who posted some quite wonderful youtube videos of 21st century music, much to my delight. One of the composers he recommended in that conversation was Christopher Rouse, who has composed 6 quite enthralling symphonies. The works recorded on the CD pictured above were composed and conducted by Alan Gilbert while Rouse was composer-in-residence with the New York Philharmonic in 2015, issued in 2016 just three years prior to the Rouse's untimely passing at the age of 70 last fall. The recording is a triumph for all involved. The Philharmonic, led by Gilbert, plays Rouse's complex orchestration with true ease, while the crystal-clear recording by Dacapo's engineers brings out each instrument in perfect balance. Gilbert obviously has a magnificent talent for leading contemporary music, and both Symphonies III and IV presented here offer many opportunities for the orchestra to offer its deeply committed virtuosity. The fillers, Odna Zhizn (One Life) and Prospero's Rooms, while a bit thorny for my taste in some passages, are also given stand-out performances. A fine legacy for all involved, this incredible disc earns five stars from your reviewer.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:45 pm

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The young and fiery talent of violinist Vilde Frang is definitely one to watch, especially after hearing her stunning recording of the Korngold Concerto reviewed elsewhere in these pages, and now this recent release of the First Violin Concerto by Bartok, a youthful work that was long neglected and did not receive its premiere until 1958 by Hansheinz Schneeberger, then first recorded by Isaac Stern with Ormandy in Philadelphia in 1961. Frang captures Bartok's youthful passion for violinist Stefi Geyer impeccably here, and displays her tremendous enthusiasm for Enescu's infrequently performed Octet for Strings, an equally youthful work by the composer who by chance was born in the same year as Bartok (1881). While the Bartok has gained acceptance in the core repertoire of the world's concert halls, the Enescu Octet has not, perhaps because of its difficulty, but certainly not for its lack of energy and quality. The Octet is a lovely work, quite advanced for its day, but still better-crafted than Korngold's chamber music of the same period, IMHO. This disc is also extremely well-recorded. Five enthusiastic stars.

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

Post by Rach3 » Mon Nov 30, 2020 9:55 pm

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The Ravel "Scarbo" from "Gaspard" and "Fourlane" from " Tombeau", Chopin Op.18 Waltz, and Debussy's " Feux d'artifice" Prelude the highlights for me from this selection of encores recorded 1956-1969 in studio in Paris, this single cd released apparently ca. 2007. ADD transfers mostly sound ok, but irritatingly exact recording dates are not given for any work.

Track listing: https://tinyurl.com/y2sgk499

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

Post by maestrob » Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:41 am

Well, Rach3, at least you're getting started with Samson Francois! :wink:

Now, about that complete box set....... 8)

I should point out for our readers, although you've probably researched this already, that his complete Chopin, Debussy and Ravel (including the concertos with Cluytens) are all available for streaming on amazon, along with a very fine 1960 recital.

Do avoid the Chopin First Concerto, which is quite weirdly interpreted. Don't know what possessed him. Like the Gould/Bernstein Brahms I, it's extremely odd IMHO.

Francois was definitely a star, and his tortured existence must have been terribly difficult to bear.

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

Post by slofstra » Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:07 am

maestrob wrote:
Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:45 pm
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The young and fiery talent of violinist Vilde Frang is definitely one to watch, especially after hearing her stunning recording of the Korngold Concerto reviewed elsewhere in these pages, and now this recent release of the First Violin Concerto by Bartok, a youthful work that was long neglected and did not receive its premiere until 1958 by Hansheinz Schneeberger, then first recorded by Isaac Stern with Ormandy in Philadelphia in 1961. Frang captures Bartok's youthful passion for violinist Stefi Geyer impeccably here, and displays her tremendous enthusiasm for Enescu's infrequently performed Octet for Strings, an equally youthful work by the composer who by chance was born in the same year as Bartok (1881). While the Bartok has gained acceptance in the core repertoire of the world's concert halls, the Enescu Octet has not, perhaps because of its difficulty, but certainly not for its lack of energy and quality. The Octet is a lovely work, quite advanced for its day, but still better-crafted than Korngold's chamber music of the same period, IMHO. This disc is also extremely well-recorded. Five enthusiastic stars.
One of the things I like about my BPO subscription is that you get to see almost every major contemporary performer in action. Who turns down a gig with the BPO?
There are two concerts with Frang as the featured soloist, but there is also an interview which might be of interest to the non-subscriber. (All interviews on the site are free to watch.)
https://www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/interview/51096-6

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

Post by maestrob » Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:13 pm

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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. Listening now to his new Prokofiev release of the Sonata VI and Visions Fugitives, I find I don't agree with him 100%, but his playing is quite compelling. The disc pictured above, featuring Medtner's rarely heard Second Sonata and a wonderful set of piano transcriptions by Rachmaninoff, shows Kholodenko at his virtuosic best and tags him as an artist to follow. The Medtner is particularly lyrical and a quite original piece, alone worth the price of the disc. When you include Kholodenko's winning interpretations of Rachmaninoff's inspiring transcriptions, this CD is definitely worth adding to your library. Happily, his three releases can be streamed on amazon, so you can form your own opinions before you buy. Five stars for this one for sure.

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

Post by Rach3 » 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.

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

Post by maestrob » 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.

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