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

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

Post by Belle » Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:54 am

Thanks so much for your thoughts. I'm grappling with this idea of "greatness" because somebody is bound to ask me to explain and I've already had a friend say, about the "Tristan" recording, "I can't hear any difference". He's a musicologist himself (and has written a book) and, true to form, he's sure to put me on the spot on the day of my presentation.

Many people have said Carlos had qualities that Erich did not - in the sense that he had an easy rapport with the orchestra and was able to provide intense visual images to inspire the orchestra. That's all part of what you've said yourself and speaks to his ability to get the best out of the musicians. But it's also said he had an astounding knowledge of the scores, hearing in his head exactly how each phrase should sound and wedded to a perfectionist mindset which, I'm sure, drove musicians mad!! (It certainly created much anxiety for Kleiber himself.) You'll often hear people talk about the generally faster tempos in a Kleiber recording, and also an element of excitement which you don't hear from others. Richter spoke about Kleiber's "Tristan" at Bayreuth as the very best he'd ever heard. But there's a expression I used from my years of English teaching when I was teaching students how to write narrative, "SHOW ME; don't TELL me". There's often a disconnect between what people SAY about a conductor and what people actually HEAR from him (in this case).

I guess as long as I've done my homework and seem to be across the brief all should be OK.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Feb 06, 2017 12:19 pm

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This is a fine disc of little-known music by Finnish composer Erkki Melartin (1875-1937). Soile Isokoski is her usual radiant self in the second selection (Mariatta, Op. 79), while conductor Hannu Lintu (new to me) leads the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in exquisitely played performances of Traumgesicht (op. 70) and music from the ballet The Blue Pearl, which runs just shy of 1/2 hour. This recording is excellent, with transparent sonics that match the finely tuned orchestra. For those who like to explore early XXth century Romantics, I highly recommend this first-rate CD. Five enthusiastic stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:26 pm

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This is a Forza to be reckoned with. Sadly, the production values are pure Eurotrash (see amazon for details), but the singing is magnificent, from every member of the cast. On top of that, the conducting is superb! The music-making here, Italian opera in a German house with an international cast, is faultlessly stitched together. Anja Harteros (new to me) makes an astounding Leonora, while Jonas Kaufmann sings his heart out as Alvaro. Forza premiered in St. Petersburg: that's not the version we get here, but we still get an opera written for a pitch that was 1/2 tone lower than was usual in those days, thus very special voices are needed for the roles in this opera, which reads with high notes on B natural instead of Bb, for instance. For tenors it's even worse, with pitches on F and F# and G, which are tough to navigate. At any rate, Kaufmann and Harteros, along with Renato Girolami as Fra Melitone and Nadia Krasteva as a top-notch Perziosilla, make for a first-rate cast, with everything under control by conductor Asher Fisch (nw to me). Don't bother watching this video if you're not sympathetic to modern productions, but don't miss this glorious music-making just because of that! Five stars plus for music, 2 stars for the directing.

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

Post by Len_Z » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:40 pm

I am yet to see this production of Forza, but yesterday I have just watched the excellent concert Harteros, Kaufmann, Gubanova and Trefel had sung at Baden-Baden. No revelations, but highly entertaining and enjoyable imho.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:24 pm

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Issued last year direct from Moscow, this is a collection of Melodiya's idea of best recordings of Shostakovich's oeuvre issued in a deluxe box. All except VIII (Mravinsky, 1961) are in stereo, and all have been remastered from studio tapes in very good sound from the 60's and 70's. Each interpretation is exceptionally good: Svetlanov in V & VII, and Ivanov in XI stand out in my mind. The reason to get this set (available from MDT but not yet on amazon) is really Maksim Shostakovich's reading of his father's XV, his first recording made in 1975 and released here on Angel LP at the time. The tape was deemed destroyed for decades when Maksim defected to the west in the 80's, but somebody very wise decided to hang on to it secretly. We are lucky now to have its first appearance on CD in excellent remastered sound. The accompanying booklet to the set includes notes in Russian with an atrocious English translation (Bolshoi is always translated as "Big," rather than Great or Grand, etc.).

This set is a must-have for Russophiles. You must not pass this up!

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

Post by Lance » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:11 pm

Actually, far too many new discs since about the first of the year. No doubt last year and this year (so far) has been a tremendous banner year for collectors who grew up largely on LPs and have adapted to the CD format nicely. The mega-boxes from nearly all labels make not wanting to grab some new issue impossible.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:04 pm

Lance,

May I try to convince you? With the Kondrashin set now selling new on amazon for $900, and the Rozhdestvensky set also a rarely seen collectors' item, now is the time for the collector in you to break out and grab the above set while it's still available! Even at $900 I wouldn't part with my Kondrashin set: these are historical treasures, never before available on CD and not likely to be offered again in the future by Melodiya, particularly considering the political tensions between us and Russia. The sound quality is remastered to a T. Please don't pass this up.

The set pictured below is now offered at roughly $900 on amazon, and will soon disappear!

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

Post by John F » Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:01 pm

The thing is, Lance already owns everything, so he probably has at least one release of the Kondrashin recordings. For myself, I'm not buying records any more, but if I were, I have a half dozen of these symphonies conducted by Mravinsky as well as other versions that do more for me than Kondrashin's, going back to Markevitch's exciting #1 for EMI, so I have all the Shostakovich I need.
John Francis

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

Post by maestrob » Thu Mar 02, 2017 7:43 am

John, I meant to refer in my post to the set I reviewed above, not to the Kondrashin set, which I'm sure Lance has. The set I reviewed contains gems by Svetlanov, Ivanov, and a XV by Maksim, which is a first release on CD TMK. It's a glorious set in outstanding sound listed on MDT for less than $90, and it will soon disappear, I fear, as did the Rozhdestvensky and Kondrashin sets. Sorry to hear that you don't buy CDs any more: there's so much great new stuff happening, but I understand your point of view completely (I have another friend who has made the same decision.).

My point is that these Russian releases are instant collectors' items, based on limited availability and current pricing. My policy is: Grab them while you can!

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

Post by John F » Thu Mar 02, 2017 6:17 pm

Well, I have the M. Shostakovich #15 on LP, I don't think as highly of Svetlanov's Shostakovich as perhaps you do, and as for Konstantin Ivanov, he just isn't in their league, from those of his recordings I've heard. "Collectors' items?" Only if you collect everything, I'd say.

As for me, I'm 75 and disposing of my record collection rather than adding to it, to simplify things for my executor when the time comes. The collection has served me well across six decades, and I'm sorry to see it go, but with so many of my recordings now on YouTube, and living in New York where there's so much live music all around, I can do without it.
John Francis

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

Post by maestrob » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:27 pm

Generally, I agree with you about Ivanov, but I have a superb Tchaikovsky V from him, and this Shostakovich XI is a knockout. Even mediocre conductors have the right to come up with an idea now and then that works, and Ivanov decided to do the first movement in 2. It sounds a little rushed compared to Stokowski's 4, but the tension is electric, and carries over into the rest of the symphony like a battering ram. The transients, typical of Soviet engineering of the era, are sharp and piercing. It's a fine performance, and I'm glad to have discovered it.

As for Maksim's XV, I've been waiting for over 40 years to get rid of the pops and ticks of the Angel/Melodiya LP edition, and I'm delighted to finally have it on CD. At last! This alone makes the set worth the price paid.

Svetlanov, like every conductor, had his good and bad days. The recordings featured in this set, especially VII, are among his best, IMHO. Even Temirkanov, who is not among my favorite maestros, delivers a magnificent X.

All in all this is a first-rate compilation of carefully chosen recordings that satisfy immensely.

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

Post by maestrob » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:49 am

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Pavel Kolesnikov is a pianist new to me (There are so many these days!). The obvious comparison in this repertoire is Rubinstein, and I find Kolesnikov more thoughtful, exploring depths of meaning in his interpretations with such a wide dynamic range that Rubinstein's more literal approach, while not disappointing, now leaves me wanting more Chopin from Kolesnikov. These interpretations show a much more thoughtful and intimate approach, as if played for himself rather than for an audience in Carnegie Hall. Five enthusiastic stars.

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

Post by Ted Quanrud » Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:38 pm

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Dutch fortepianist Ronald Brautigam has completed his survey of the complete piano works of Beethoven. Devoted mostly to the Diabelli Variations, this new CD upholds the excellence of previous volumes.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:14 pm

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This is a lovely recording, and I'm glad it's been made. Goldmark wrote pleasant music, and although not great, it should be heard. Die Konigin von Saba has its moments of beauty, but is ultimately not great music, but a pleasant way to pass the time if you're curious about obscure repertoire. Not an impressive work, but a pleasing one. Nevertheless, I'll probably not be returning to these discs. Three stars, with an A for effort.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:58 am

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Andrew Litton has made himself into a well-respected Prokofiev conductor, with well-received recording in Bergen of V & VI. His latest is of the 1947 revision of IV (done after Prokofiev wrote VI), and a successful performance it is. Not since Ormandy have I heard such cohesion and accuracy in the playing. VII is a different matter, conceived as a simpler, less complex work, it attempts to recapture innocence, but can't avoid being a more masterful and heavier symphony than I. Litton phrases beautifully, and the Bergen players are well up to the task. Certainly this is a welcome addition to the catalogue, as modern versions of VII are rare as hen's teeth, and it is a worthy symphony. Five stars, with a recommendation that you should buy Ormandy for comparison, as he recorded the original Stalin-inspired ending in 1953. Here, Litton conducts a bonus track with Stalin's preferred ending, while preserving the original last movement as Prokofiev wrote it, so we get two tracks marked Vivace.
Last edited by maestrob on Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by John F » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:06 pm

Though born American, Andrew Litton has a Russian family background, and I think he's at his best in Russian music. He made a good recording of Shostakovich's 10th, and his Metropolitan Opera debut was in 1989 conducting "Eugene Onegin."

There's quite a story behind that. Just before the performance Litton was hit with appendicitis, but managed to conduct the whole opera, with his mother attending him in the dressing room between the acts. Not knowing that, I thought it was a good performance. The rest of the run was conducted by James Levine, and Litton hasn't returned to the Met since then.
John Francis

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:57 pm

John F wrote:
Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:06 pm
Though born American, Andrew Litton has a Russian family background, and I think he's at his best in Russian music. He made a good recording of Shostakovich's 10th, and his Metropolitan Opera debut was in 1989 conducting "Eugene Onegin."

There's quite a story behind that. Just before the performance Litton was hit with appendicitis, but managed to conduct the whole opera, with his mother attending him in the dressing room between the acts. Not knowing that, I thought it was a good performance. The rest of the run was conducted by James Levine, and Litton hasn't returned to the Met since then.
That's very interesting, John, thank you. Litton is one of the more famous students of Jean Morel, who was teaching at Juilliard at the time Litton was studying there. The others were James Conlon, Leonard Slatkin (also of Russian extraction), Myung-Whun Chung, and, of course, James Levine, not to mention Vincent La Selva.

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