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 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:04 pm

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Casella's Symphony II is a new work to these ears, my only previous exposure to this composer being Scarlattiana, here ably played by one of England's finest pianists, Martin Roscoe. Gianandrea Noseda ably leads the BBC Philharmonic in these Italian romantic works. Casella, like Martucci, preferred to write symphonic music and not follow the operatic tendencies of his contemporary Respighi. The Second Symphony utilizes many chimes and other percussion, and is original enough to hold this listener's attention. I plan on getting more of Casella's recordings based on the success of this disc. Five enthusiastic stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:28 pm

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Tatiana Nikolayeva became well-known for playing Shostakovich, yet her other concert repertoire deserves more attention, as this 1989 Athens recital attests. Her Bach is attentive to serious detail, her Schumann Symphonic Etudes are outstanding, as is her Ravel and Scriabin. My point is that this is a truly successful recital disc, with wide-ranging repertoire. Enthusiastically recommended with five stars.

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

Post by Lance » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:23 pm

Yes, got this one immediately and treasure it. Wonderful pianist in every respect.
maestrob wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:28 pm
Tatiana Nikolayeva became well-known for playing Shostakovich, yet her other concert repertoire deserves more attention, as this 1989 Athens recital attests. Her Bach is attentive to serious detail, her Schumann Symphonic Etudes are outstanding, as is her Ravel and Scriabin. My point is that this is a truly successful recital disc, with wide-ranging repertoire. Enthusiastically recommended with five stars.
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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maestrob
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Re: What NEW discs/music are you adding to your collection?

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:17 am

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Martyn Brabbins has recently begun a project of recording Vaughan-Williams, and this is his first disc of rare material, aptly entitled "Discoveries." Each of the vocal pieces is a gem, with Jennifer Johnston (mezzo) and Roderick Williams both in fine form. Brabbins is a fine conductor, leading the BBC Philharmonic while producing exemplary lush sounds that will please anglophiles everywhere in such unknown and rare gems as "A Road All Paved with Stars" and "Stricken Peninsula." Brabbins own recording of the more popular "London" Symphony will be released later this month, and I for one look forward to owning it. This is a superb disc in excellent sound. Five stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:39 am

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Boris Giltburg has been reviewed favorably in these pages before, and this latest release (recorded in 2015) shows he has not lost that magic he displayed earlier. Though still young, Giltburg displays an unusual maturity coupled with a technique to die for, needed in some of Rachmaninov's most demanding works. Giltburg has ideas, lots of them, that fill these rarely performed sets (the Op. 39 Etudes-tableaux and the Moments musicaux) with concentrated meaning and depth. Congratulations are in order for yet another five star release by a great artist!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:54 am

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Ivan Fischer with his Budapest Festival Orchestra seem to be on a slow-motion
mission to record Mahler's Symphonies, and that's fine by me! His recent Mahler
IV was exquisitely crafted, and so is this new III, served up on two discs.
Tempi are just right, and the orchestra plays with finesse to spare. My only
objection to Ivan Fischer's style is that he lacks the wattage to deliver in
some of the bombastic moments of the score that are present in Solti &
Bernstein. Fischer's more pastoral vision does win me over, however: his
delicate attention to detail is inspiring in Mahler's most nature-oriented
symphony, and the clarity and transparency of the recording itself is
awe-inspiring. Four and 1/2 stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:25 pm

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Rafal Blechacz is an artist new to these ears, and what a treat this album is! Devoted entirely to Bach, the disc includes many popular pieces, such as the Italian Concerto and the First Partita, played with sensitivity and panache, with tempi feeling just right. The piano sound is full yet captures the inner voices and delicate moments with feeling and depth. A hearty recommendation then for lovers of Bach on the piano, this is an ideal disc for release on vinyl, which I see by amazon's listings has already been done. Five enthusiastic stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:47 am

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George Antheil, like other film composers of his generation (Korngold, Herrmann, Rosza, etc.) had concert hall ambitions. He wrote six good symphonies that have largely been neglected; he even withdrew two of them from publication. His Ballet Mechanique is more widely known, of course. Now Chandos is embarking on a new series with John Storgards and the BBC Orchestra, the first of which is the above issue, with others already available. Storgards restores all the "wrong" notes that had been annoyingly corrected in a previous incarnation on disc, thus preserving thankfully Antheil's rather quirky style. These performances are excellent, with good attention to detail and excellent playing by the BBC forces. Five stars for a first-rate effort.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:20 pm

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Sergei Rachmaninoff was one of the XXth Century's finest composers, writing in a late Romantic style. These trios (the second composed on the death of Tchaikovsky) are two of his finest compositions, yet they are rarely performed due to the difficulty of the piano parts (Rachmaninoff had a reach of a major tenth with his massive hands!). This recording with the Borodin Trio (including the previously unknown to me Luba Edlina on piano) is outstanding, with fine tempi and an attention to detail that bring out many subtle points in the music. Five stars for a glorious effort.

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

Post by absinthe » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:11 am

Fleming / Calleja doing La Traviata

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Very nice acting on behalf of Renée Fleming although her vibrato is a bit overdone for me. Helps when she doesn't quite hit the hight ones. I'm happier with Beverly Sills doing Violetta and first listened on an early 70s LP set with Nicolai Gedda. (Also have the 1976 DVD with Price / Rudel (conductor) but simply don't like the production). Fleming is the better actress, Sills, the better voice.

and Don Gregorio: Paolo Bordogna / Elizaveta Martirosyan

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Very little to compare it with - it's unlikely ever to be seen in the UK in the near future so I went along with the DVD. Very good performance and the humour brought off well.

I'm a great fan of Donizetti.
The performance of La Traviata reminds me of how boring Verdi's music actually is. Nothing adventurous and it seemed to go on for ages. Just my impression. I'm ok with Italian opera otherwise up to Puccini: a bit slushy but the music is gorgeous...well, mostly!
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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 Oct 25, 2017 1:16 pm

"La Traviata" certainly doesn't bore me, though I didn't connect with it for quite a while. But then I'd never rate Beverly Sills's Violetta as highly as you do. The key to the role is Act 2 scene 1, the confrontation with Germont père and then the parting from Alfredo. As might be expected, Maria Callas had the vocal color and emotional penetration to make both scenes almost intolerably moving. In the La Scala performance conducted by Giulini with Di Stefano and Bastianini she is at her most intense; no doubt the stage production by Luchino Visconti had its effect on the musical side, and I wish it had been filmed.

As for Renée Fleming, I saw her Violetta at the Met (with Ramon Vargas and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Valery Gergiev conducting) and agree that she was a persuasive and moving actress in the role. One striking moment came in Act 1 when, alone, she waited a very long time, as if rapt in thought, before singing "E strano!" (The orchestra is silent at that point so the timing is up to the soprano.) And her singing of the role had more depth than I expected. All in all, it was a great Tuesday night at the opera. Haven't seen or heard the Covent Garden DVD so have no comment on it.
John Francis

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:21 am

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Simply put, this is great music-making. Sokolov doesn't do concertos any more, so these gems from Mozart & Rachmaninov must serve to satisfy our need to hear the great pianist recorded live in such repertoire. The Mozart #23 with Trevor Pinnock is completely satisfying, even though the accompaniment is HIP, they make it work, with delicacy and panache. As for Rachmaninov III, there is no finer modern version of the complete score on disc TMK: Yan Pascal Tortelier turns out to have an excellent sympathy for Rachmaninov, and the BBC and Sokolov (as expected) play up a storm. Five enthusiastic stars: Don't miss this!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:15 pm

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Alexander Melnikov is not just another Russian pianist that is in great demand throughout the world. He is a consummate artist with depth and feeling few pianists of today can muster. This, his first recording, dating from January 1996, is unfortunately available only in Japan, but is worth every red cent. The real gem here is a complete recording of the fiendishly difficult "Visions fugitives" by Prokofiev, which have also been successfully arranged for string orchestra. Melnikov makes it all sound easy, all while projecting the mysterious otherworldly atmosphere the music calls for. This is a true masterpiece of a recording, a hidden triumph, with a Mozart Sonata (K. 332) as a bonus. Four and 1/2 stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:41 am

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Franz Konwitschny founded the Eterna record label in the late 1950's to record and issue his interpretations of Brahms, Beethoven and Schumann in the then technologically advances stereo format. This Brahms I is one of his most successful recordings, and we await other issues with great anticipation. This Brahms is definitely "old-style," lush and full of warmth, yet not without energy and discipline. Solti/Chicago is a bit more forward-moving and transparent to my ears, but this is a well thought-through interpretation with the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester. Very rewarding and in superb sound, I'm glad to see this finally on CD. Now, if we could only have the Schumann.....Four 1/2 stars.

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

Post by John F » Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:09 pm

I don't think that's right. Konwitschny often recorded for Eterna because he was based in East Germany for much of his career, but the label was owned by the East German government, and at the time it was founded Konwitschny was music director in Hannover, West Germany. I've found this account, posted by the Berlin Classics label:
The year 1947 sees the birth in East Berlin, under Walter Felsenstein and with the help of the Soviet administration, of the Komische Oper. And that same year, a certain “Ernst” Albert Busch establishes a new record company, the Lied der Zeit Schallplatten-Gesellschaft mbH, also in the Soviet zone of occupation. A few years later, “Song of (the) Time” becomes VEB Deutsche Schallplatten Berlin. Within this state-owned company, Eterna is the label for classical music.
John Francis

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

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

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Not that I think this 2-disc set needs any further publicity from yours truly, but Trifonov is a wonder, full of sparkle and depth of meaning with technique to burn. This young man is indeed a star, easily comparable to, say, Bolet in this repertoire. If you haven't heard these, grab them: they should be made available on vinyl soon as well. The recording is clear as a bell. Five glorious stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:19 am

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Les Siecles and their founding conductor, Francois-Xavier Roth, have been deeply researching music and the performance practices of it from around the turn of the last century for some time now, and they have turned in some excellent readings of French music and Stravinsky, using urtexts and instruments from the period. Fascinating and well thought out, these discs have developed a following and are now eagerly anticipated. This Daphnis & Chloe (premiered in 1912) is one of them, this time a studio recording. The shimmering, light textures belie the massive forces involved (Ravel was a master craftsman), and Maestro Roth's fidelity to the score's tempi easily equals Dutoit's sense of the score. The recording is well-balanced and easy on the ears through headphones, while the atmosphere of the early XXth Century is preserved magnificently. Amazon's reviewer finds minor flaws: I think he's just showing off. Four 1/2 stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:45 am

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Renard Capucon (pronounced "Capusson) has a definite affinity for Brahms, as his recording of the Violin Concerto (reviewed earlier in these pages) has already shown. This disc of Brahms's exquisite String Sextets stands together with the best of this repertoire, including Pablo Casals and Isaac Stern/Yo-Yo Ma, both on Columbia. Happily, we get the added frisson of a live setting at the Aix-en-Provence Easter Festival in 2016, which brings out the best in the musicians involved. If you don't know this repertoire, grab this: you'll be deeply rewarded. If you do, buy it anyway as a documant of an exciting performance with depth and polish. Five stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:50 pm

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Pretty Yende is by now enjoying an international career and is a well-established star. This is her debut album, led by Marco Armaliato, who specializes in Rossini, Donizetti, Verdi and Bellini, i.e. music that demands exquisite and inventive musicianship from an era where there is a freedom of choice in ornamentation. Armaliato led a brilliant Trovatore at the MET in 2010 which was televised, and he shows the same brilliance here in working with Yende in repertoire that makes her shine as the star she obviously is, ranging from the Poison Aria from Romeo & Juliette (which needs no ornamentation) to a brilliant "Una voce poco fa.". The other repertoire on this highly successful disc delights, and Armaliato shows great inventiveness with his musical ideas, ideas that suit Yende's sturdy yet highly flexible instrument. This is an outstanding release that will receive many hearings in the days to come. Five enthusiastic stars!

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

Post by Ted Quanrud » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:00 pm

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The earlier version of Bach's well-known Magnificat in D. It includes four Christmas interpolations, known as "laudes" and has been recorded before, most notably last year by John Butt's Dunedin Consort. This new CD, IMO, is preferable by a thin margin. Glad to have both.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:44 am

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Veronique Gens is now an artist at the top of her form, as this recently new disc amply demostrates. Who would have imagined such an operatic masterpiece decades ago, with French conductor Herve Niquet collaborating with the Munich Radio Orchestra in a serious and deeply felt recording of French masterpieces, ranging from Alfred Bruneau, Louis Niedermeyer and Felicien David to the more familiar Bizet, Saint-Saens and Massenet? This is a triumph for all involved: Gens brings out the deep subtleties in this music, moving from gem to gem seamlessly. This Francophile loved every moment. Five enthusiastic stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:33 pm

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This is Benjamin Grosvenor's second recital disc, and a great one it is, ranging from Bach to Gould in its repertoire. Grosvenor has, as always, a magically musical touch. He's never boring, always with something to say without distorting the music. His Bach is particularly fine, but he also captures the Spanish flavor of Albeniz and Granados with just the right amount of flair. I enjoyed this album immensely. Five enthusiastic stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:17 pm

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Edward Gardner has shown himself to be a fine conductor in previous releases, and at last has been given the chance to record Elgar with the BBC, the Introduction & Allegro, and the First Symphony (a personal favorite of this Anglophile). Gardner has both the shaping and the momentum of his performances just right, although I wish there had been a tad more energy. I enjoyed this recording a great deal on first hearing (Kudos to the Doric String Quartet in the Introduction & Allegro.). A fine disc, then. Four & 1/2 stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:58 pm

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Julia Lezhneva is a star on the way to a heavenly career. I am a conductor who has worked with many fine young talents in Carnegie Hall, and am delighted and amazed at this truly outstanding recording. I do not agree with or accept the negativity expressed in some reviews on amazon. While Lezhneva is young, her voice is mature, flexible and accurate in pitch and articulation. Her runs and trills are spot-on. I adore this album, and I adore her and her singing. This is the third Lezhneva album I have purchased (Thanks to Lance, who introduced me to her Handel recording.), and it will not be the last. No wonder she has studied with Dame Kiri and other notable singers of the previous generation. Kudos to the Naive label for outstanding sound, and to Marc Minkowski for stellar preparation and conducting. Five enthusiastic stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:22 pm

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This Rachmaninov disc, entitled Preghiera, features performances of Rachmaninov's two Elegiac Trios for violin (Gidon Kremer), cello (Dirvanauskaite) and piano (Trifonov). Outstanding, sensitive playing from all three musicians, this disc is selling on amazon for less than $10, and is beautifully recorded by DGG as of Spring of 2017 in a celebration of Kremer's 70th birthday. It includes Fritz Kreisler's Preghiera, an arrangement of themes from Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto. All in all, this is a fine disc, worthy of your time, especially for lovers of chamber music. Five stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:55 pm

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Boris Giltburg's debut recital album on EMI has eluded me for a decade, having gone out of print along with the demise of EMI as an independent label, but I had a stroke of good luck in finding a used copy on amazon recently. Immensely rewarding, this disc includes the finest version of Moussorgky's Pictures since the days of Horowitz and Richter, along with the rarely performed Scriabin Second Sonata and the better-known Prokofiev Eighth Sonata. Giltburg has technique to burn (every note is articulated cleanly), but he also has a great depth of feeling for the music he plays. He has releases that include Schumann and Beethoven: can't wait to explore them. If you can find a used copy of this somewhere, grab it! Five respectfully enthusiastic stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:29 pm

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The Faust Symphony of Franz Liszt is here presented in a piano transcription arranged by his pupil Carl Tausig, in a sensitively and well thought out interpretation by Istvan Lajko. The piano tone is impeccable, as is Lajko's reading: not bombastic or heavy-handed at all, but with depth and understanding, as though Lajko had thoroughly studied the orchestral score. Liszt's intention was always to make the piano sound like an orchestra, as he showed in his transcriptions of the Beethoven symphonies, and Tausig duly lives up to that expectation in his transcription here as well. Five stars. Pianophiles will love this!

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

Post by maestrob » Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:15 am

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Nikolai Kapustin wrote jazzy, virtuoso piano pieces in a style reminiscent of Morton Gould toward the end of the previous century; this is my first exposure to them. Marc-Andre Hamelin has an outstanding talent for resurrecting unknown gems from obscurity, and he has done so with panache and flair in this 2003 release. This outstanding disc has been laying unopened on my shelves since it was first issued (yes, I too have a backlog of unopened treasures), and I regret every moment that I've ignored it. Hamelin brings these fascinating morsels of music to life with a style that suites both the virtuoso writing of the more energetic examples, while not neglecting the more pensive repertoire. Five enthusiastic stars!

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

Post by Lance » Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:20 am

Right on! Got this one when released. Agree, Hamelin really digs into finding interesting repertoire. I guess this isn't a big seller, but I latch on to practically every one of his recordings. Strangely, I find him much more convincing in the unknown works rather than standard repertoire.
maestrob wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:15 am
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Nikolai Kapustin wrote jazzy, virtuoso piano pieces in a style reminiscent of Morton Gould toward the end of the previous century; this is my first exposure to them. Marc-Andre Hamelin has an outstanding talent for resurrecting unknown gems from obscurity, and he has done so with panache and flair in this 2003 release. This outstanding disc has been laying unopened on my shelves since it was first issued (yes, I too have a backlog of unopened treasures), and I regret every moment that I've ignored it. Hamelin brings these fascinating morsels of music to life with a style that suites both the virtuoso writing of the more energetic examples, while not neglecting the more pensive repertoire. Five enthusiastic stars!
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 &*$#@+#]

Image

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

Post by John F » Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:53 am

I trust Hamelin when he digs up obscure or unknown composers, and so apparently do his record companies. In standard repertoire he's less compelling, certainly less unique, but worth hearing anyway.
John Francis

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

Post by maestrob » Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:02 pm

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The financially struggling Detroit Symphony sure doesn't sound like it's struggling in this
fine release in Slatkin's Copland series. The Third Symphony is a hard nut to
crack: even Copland himself didn't get it right in his own reading with the
London Symphony (on Everest 35mm). Slatkin whips up his crack ensemble into a
magical mixture of Americana and virtuoso playing that has only been equaled by
Bernstein/NY in that conductor's two recordings (The first, for Columbia, was
praised by Copland as better than his own.). Finally, Slatkin Knocks off the 3
Latin American Sketches with panache and a truly Latin American style. This is,
in short, a remarkable recording, both technically and musically, and it
receives five enthusiastic stars from this reviewer!

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:45 am

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Martin Yates is a conductor new to me, and I found his work on the music to Ralph Vaughan Williams's complete score to the movie Scott of the Antarctic, with Sir John Mills in the title role, excellent and well-researched. I've long wanted a disc of the complete score, as the music is excellent, and have had to settle for Vaughan Williams's Symphony No. 7, led by either Boult or Previn. This world premiere recording with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra is very fine indeed, and includes even music that was left on the cutting room floor. Five stars, both for effort and execution. This is an historic project, for sure.

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

Post by maestrob » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:26 pm

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My first impression of this disc was unfavorable: I found the music of the Octet and Quintets to be thick-textured and very unlike the sextets of Brahms (whom Bruch admired and emulated) and the great melodic nature of Bruch's violin concerti. As I have listened repeatedly, however, determined to give this music a chance, new melodies have emerged, skillfully brought out by members of the Nash Ensemble, and I have grown to admire this new repertoire to my ears. For those who love string music, this fine disc will bring great pleasure, and it comes highly recommended by yours truly. Four and 1/2 stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:25 pm

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Alexandre Tansman, while unofficially the seventh member of Les Six, never received the attention due his excellent music. These two ballet scores (recorded eight years apart) lack nothing in entertainment value, and challenge the ear in the same manner as Poulenc or Britten. Finally released this past Spring, it will not be available for long, and comes highly recommended, and not just by me. Tansman emigrated to America, where he (like Korngold) wrote film scores which have been neglected on disc, and an excellent Violin Concerto. This recording is a must have for lovers of XXth century ballet and orchestral music: there's not a weak bar in these scores. Five stars!

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

Post by maestrob » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:43 am

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This excellent recording by Till Fellner of Beethoven's Piano Concerti IV & V has been sitting on my shelf unopened for many years: it's about time I opened it, wouldn't you agree? :) When it was first issued, reviews were excellent, so I bought it on that basis. Amazon still has excellent reviews online, and I agree that Kent Nagano makes a superb accompanist to Fellner's superb pianism. Listening for the first time, I find nothing distinctive about either the playing or the accompaniment: both are very good, and certainly equal to the best of other performances out there. Highly recommended, then, and I look forward to other recordings by Fellner, a former student of Alfred Brendel. Four stars.

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