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

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

Post by Wallingford » Fri Feb 12, 2021 6:26 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Fri Feb 12, 2021 6:07 pm
Wallingford wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:13 pm
More historical Grieg:
I can certainly recommend this Marston Records of 7 selections of Grieg's actual playing, not rolls ; perhaps you have it already:

https://www.marstonrecords.com/collecti ... dary-piano
Thanks for the referral. I hhaven't heard Marston's transfers, but Grieg's nine disc recordings have resided in my collection the last quarter century--as part of the Simax label's three-CD set of Grieg's and just about eve4ry other pre-1950s Grieg piano disc, by both luminaries and the obscure. The 3-CD box was issued in '93 to commemorate Grieg's sesquicentennial--that is, his 150th anniversary.

I have this, as well as Simax's companion triple-disc issue of early vocal Grieg recordings.
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

maestrob
Posts: 10149
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

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

Post by maestrob » Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:05 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Fri Feb 12, 2021 6:07 pm
Wallingford wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:13 pm
More historical Grieg:
I can certainly recommend this Marston Records of 7 selections of Grieg's actual playing, not rolls ; perhaps you have it already:

https://www.marstonrecords.com/collecti ... dary-piano
That certainly looks like a treasure I will want to acquire soon! :wink:

Wallingford
Posts: 4622
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:31 pm
Location: Brush, Colorado

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

Post by Wallingford » Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:19 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:05 pm
Rach3 wrote:
Fri Feb 12, 2021 6:07 pm
Wallingford wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:13 pm
More historical Grieg:
I can certainly recommend this Marston Records of 7 selections of Grieg's actual playing, not rolls ; perhaps you have it already:

https://www.marstonrecords.com/collecti ... dary-piano
That certainly looks like a treasure I will want to acquire soon! 😉
It does,and it should be a great revelation to hear Grieg's G&T sides with that unbearable flutter that label had back in the early part of the previous century (at least that's what I hope Marston achieved). But there's the barrier of shelling out forty smackaroonies for a 2-CD set......
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

maestrob
Posts: 10149
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Feb 15, 2021 12:12 pm

Image

This excellent CD of popular music by Ralph Vaughan-Williams features Andrew Manze and Canadian violinist James Ehnes in a beautifully recorded CD that captures the strings of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra with a new richness and depth of tone that your reviewer found quite satisfying. Ehnes plays the oft-recorded Lark Ascending with a beautiful, crystal-clear intonation that matches the orchestra that partners him, all while Andrew Manze leads each selection presented here with sensitivity and the requisite English depth of feeling that brings out every phrase, pacing the music exactly right without a hint of neglecting the meaning in every note. A fine CD, then, and well worth your listening time. I've not heard the orchestral version of the Serenade to Music before, while the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis receives one of its best readings on disc. Lovely. Five stars.

Rach3
Posts: 3299
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:17 am

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

Post by Rach3 » Mon Feb 15, 2021 12:34 pm

Wallingford wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:19 pm
It does,and it should be a great revelation to hear Grieg's G&T sides with that unbearable flutter that label had back in the early part of the previous century (at least that's what I hope Marston achieved).
From Marston's liner notes for the set:

"During 1902 and 1903 Grieg was on tour performing in Prague, Warsaw, and Paris.

At the age of 60, he was already in poor health from pulmonary disorders: a collapsed lung was the result of tuberculosis in 1860. Indeed, his weak constitution prevented him performing his Piano Concerto after 1889 and by 1905 he wrote that, “….it is becoming steadily clearer that I can no longer endure playing the piano. It isn’t that I only lack breath, but I just don’t have enough sheer physical strength when I come to a loud, fast-moving passage.” However, Grieg continued to perform as a conductor and it is fortunate that just before his powers failed, Grieg made a series of discs of piano solos for the Gramophone and Typewriter Company in Paris in May 1903.

Grieg, who had strong humanitarian principles, had spoken out against the French justice system over the Dreyfus Case, which exploded in 1894 and was not completely resolved until 1906. When asked by conductor Eduard Colonne to appear at one of his orchestral concerts in 1899, Grieg was unsure whether he wanted to set foot in France and his written reply to Colonne explaining the situation as he saw it was published in a German newspaper. Hostile feelings towards Grieg and his music immediately arose in France and at a concert he gave in April 1903 he was hissed off the stage. A month later, on 2 May 1903, he recorded nine, ten-inch sides for the Gramophone and Typewriter Company, probably not because of the controversy surrounding Grieg and the Dreyfus case, but more because here was one of the most beloved of composers whose health was obviously failing. It should also be noted that the record industry has never been slow to cash in on current circumstances, and it is enlightening to know that in its infancy was making huge profits—in the 1902–1903 financial year the UK’s Gramophone and Typewriter Company had a net profit of £252,285 (equivalent to £16 million in 2001). Also, Grieg’s piano pieces were known to millions throughout Europe and although the discs were expensive at the time and there were few homes that possessed a phonograph, no doubt the Gramophone Company saw an opportunity for securing a series of prestigious and saleable recordings for their catalogue.

After leaving Paris, Grieg wrote to his friend Julius Röntgen from Leipzig on 13 May 1903, “I was glad to say farewell to France, and especially Paris. It is said that Paris is a city of phonies. Everything: social relations, art, politics—is phoney!”

Fortunately, Grieg’s recordings show no sign of frailty or weakness on the part of the performer (except a noticeable hesitation in the Finale of the Piano Sonata, op. 7). The frailty is in the recorded sound, which is very dim and unstable due to the fact that these discs were apparently made on a faulty turntable, which affected the pitch.(Rach3: But , see further on here.) Also, the discs are extremely rare, and finding perfect copies of all of them is not an easy task. The recordings display all the characteristics of performance that reviewers of the time heard in Grieg’s live performances—a rhythmic vitality, energy, suppleness, a tastefulness eschewing virtuosic vulgarity, and an absence of excessive rubato. Indeed, Grieg had strong feelings on this last topic, writing in April 1901 to his friend Julius Röntgen, “It is remarkable that the most talented performers of our age fall victim to the terrible ‘rubato influenza’. [Anton] Rubinstein never did anything like that. Nor did Liszt. ‘Sensation’ is a serpent that threatens to devour great, genuine, noble art! Everyone conspires together—violinists, pianists, singers, and especially conductors. That damned ‘Let’s improve what the composer has written.’” On the evidence of these records it has been suggested that Grieg possessed a faulty metronome as his tempos are much faster than those noted in the published scores. This only goes to prove how dangerous it is to adhere strictly to a composer’s printed metronome mark, and that an artistic and flexible performance is far more important in conveying the intentions of the composer than slavishly adhering to a printed metronome mark.

The records presented here are of such rarity and importance that no archive or private collector possesses them all. The recording of Georgette Leblanc, accompanied by Jules Massenet, is a unique test pressing which was never intended for publication and its existence is practically unknown even within the record collecting community. Mary Garden’s four G&T discs, accompanied by Claude Debussy, and the four extant sides of Meyriane Héglon with Camille Saint-Saëns at the piano are so rare that only two of each have been offered for sale during the last 50 years. While not quite so scarce as the aforementioned discs, the solo piano recordings made by Grieg, Saint-Saëns, Pugno, and Diémer are also highly elusive and avidly sought by serious collectors worldwide.

Prized though they are, many of these recordings are disappointing to listen to since they suffer from severe pitch waver or “wow”, most likely caused by a defective governor or drive motor gear. This speed irregularity occurs at about 2.3 times the rotation speed of the turntable and is especially noticeable with piano recordings. Because of the fact that the piano produces steady tones without vibrato, even a slight fluctuation in turntable speed can cause the piano to sound sour and unpleasant. This conspicuous wow mars almost all G&T recordings made in Paris between 1902 and 1904 but is never evident on any G&T recordings made elsewhere. How this problem could have gone unnoticed for over two years is beyond understanding. One possible explanation is that G&T owned only a part of the French Gramophone Company and after 1901, Paris exercised a great deal of independence from the London head office. By the beginning of 1902, the Paris branch employed two fulltime recording experts and presumably, it maintained its own recording equipment. The London office controlled recording activities in most of the other European capitals but obviously, it did not keep a close enough eye or ear on quality control across the channel.

In 1903, the Paris branch of G&T made its first solo piano recordings: nine sides played by Edvard Grieg and 18 by Raoul Pugno. Within the first few months of 1904, the company recorded five sides of pianist, Louis Diémer, and four sides of soprano, Mary Garden, accompanied by Claude Debussy. Sadly, all of these recordings have serious wow problems which makes them difficult to enjoy. For years, I had hoped that someday, computer technology would be able to make these early primitive piano recordings listenable, and now, it has finally happened. Audio engineering consultant, Dimitri Antsos, has developed proprietary software for analyzing and correcting pitch aberrations in recordings. Each recording must be taken as an individual case and the entire process is quite time consuming. Mr. Antsos has taken a great deal of care to restore all of the pitch-defective recordings heard here and the results he has achieved are astonishing. We are most grateful for his skill and diligence.

In June of 1904, the Gramophone Company in London engaged composer-pianist, Camille Saint-Saëns to record a group of solo sides and another group accompanying mezzo-soprano, Meyriane Héglon. The recording session was held in Paris, and because of the celebrity of the artists, the London office decided to dispatch Fred Gaisberg, the company’s chief recording expert, along with newly improved recording equipment, to make these important records. One wonders why the company had not sent Gaisberg over to Paris the previous year to make Grieg’s records. Certainly Grieg’s reputation was equal to that of Saint-Saëns and he should have deserved the same attention. In any case, the Saint-Saëns recordings turned out extremely well with no pitch fluctuation in the piano tone.

Fred Gaisberg left Paris after only a few days and almost certainly took his new recording equipment with him since the French Gramophone Company resumed recording using the faulty turntable. By the beginning of 1905, however, new recording equipment must have been installed in the Paris studio because the wow problem disappears at about this time.

Fifteen years after Saint-Saëns made his G&T discs, he again made records for the Gramophone Company, four solo sides and two sides accompanying violinist, Gabriel Willaume. The piano is well-recorded here and the solo sides especially show the 84 year-old pianist in complete command of his technique. One year and two days later, Saint-Saëns made his final recording playing his “Havanaise, op. 83,” again accompanying M. Willaume. The violin is given more prominence than the piano which sounds quite distant. Yet, Saint-Saëns’s pearly tone and decisive touch are easily discernable. This record was published only in France with no label credit being given to Saint-Saëns’s as accompanist. An examination of the HMV recording sheets shows, however, that the composer did indeed make this recording.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Feb 15, 2021 1:48 pm

What wonderful, detailed research, Rach3! Thank you for posting this. I absolutely must have that CD now! :D

You made my day with this!

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

Post by Wallingford » Wed Feb 17, 2021 6:16 pm

My latest shipment:

Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov……Christoff, Cluytens et al. (Angel S-3633)
Symphony of the Air—Formerly the NBC Symphony….(Symphony’s own label, ‘54)w/o conductor
Roussel’s The Spider’s Feast & The Sandman…Leibowitz (Esoteric ES-511)
Copland conducts his The Tender Land…..Clements, Turner, et al w/NYP (Columbia MS-6814)
A Conductor’s Tour de Force: Rozhdestvensky conducts Mozart, Ives, Bellini, Schoeck, Webern et al. …….(Westminster/Melodiya WGS-8338)
Sir Thomas Beecham In Rehearsal………(High Fidelity magazine, ‘58)
Mozart Piano Concertos #15 & #17……Bernstein (Columbia ML-5145)
C.P.E. Bach Concertos…..Schippers plays & Conducts NYP, w/Blegen (Columbia MS-7428)
Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite….Stark, Graunke Sym.Orch. (Disneyland STER-4019)
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

slofstra
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Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:23 pm
Location: Waterloo, ON, Canada
Contact:

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

Post by slofstra » Thu Feb 18, 2021 7:25 am

maestrob wrote:
Mon Feb 15, 2021 12:12 pm
Image

This excellent CD of popular music by Ralph Vaughan-Williams features Andrew Manze and Canadian violinist James Ehnes in a beautifully recorded CD that captures the strings of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra with a new richness and depth of tone that your reviewer found quite satisfying. Ehnes plays the oft-recorded Lark Ascending with a beautiful, crystal-clear intonation that matches the orchestra that partners him, all while Andrew Manze leads each selection presented here with sensitivity and the requisite English depth of feeling that brings out every phrase, pacing the music exactly right without a hint of neglecting the meaning in every note. A fine CD, then, and well worth your listening time. I've not heard the orchestral version of the Serenade to Music before, while the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis receives one of its best readings on disc. Lovely. Five stars.
One more of these can't hurt. Of course, if it involves James Ehnes, I have to hear it.
Have you heard the recent collaboration of Ehnes and this orchestra in the Beethoven Violin Concerto. I'd be interested in knowing what you thought of it.

maestrob
Posts: 10149
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

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

Post by maestrob » Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:55 am

slofstra wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 7:25 am
maestrob wrote:
Mon Feb 15, 2021 12:12 pm
Image

This excellent CD of popular music by Ralph Vaughan-Williams features Andrew Manze and Canadian violinist James Ehnes in a beautifully recorded CD that captures the strings of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra with a new richness and depth of tone that your reviewer found quite satisfying. Ehnes plays the oft-recorded Lark Ascending with a beautiful, crystal-clear intonation that matches the orchestra that partners him, all while Andrew Manze leads each selection presented here with sensitivity and the requisite English depth of feeling that brings out every phrase, pacing the music exactly right without a hint of neglecting the meaning in every note. A fine CD, then, and well worth your listening time. I've not heard the orchestral version of the Serenade to Music before, while the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis receives one of its best readings on disc. Lovely. Five stars.
One more of these can't hurt. Of course, if it involves James Ehnes, I have to hear it.
Have you heard the recent collaboration of Ehnes and this orchestra in the Beethoven Violin Concerto. I'd be interested in knowing what you thought of it.
Sorry, Henry, but I haven't heard Ehnes's Beethoven Violin Concerto, as it's not available for streaming anywhere so far. I have heard some of his Violin Sonatas, recorded recently (2017-2920) with Andrew Armstrong, and what I've heard is exceptional. Don't know why the cycle hasn't received more publicity, but there you are. :wink:

maestrob
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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

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

Post by maestrob » Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:33 am

Wallingford wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 6:16 pm
My latest shipment:

Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov……Christoff, Cluytens et al. (Angel S-3633)
Symphony of the Air—Formerly the NBC Symphony….(Symphony’s own label, ‘54)w/o conductor
Roussel’s The Spider’s Feast & The Sandman…Leibowitz (Esoteric ES-511)
Copland conducts his The Tender Land…..Clements, Turner, et al w/NYP (Columbia MS-6814)
A Conductor’s Tour de Force: Rozhdestvensky conducts Mozart, Ives, Bellini, Schoeck, Webern et al. …….(Westminster/Melodiya WGS-8338)
Sir Thomas Beecham In Rehearsal………(High Fidelity magazine, ‘58)
Mozart Piano Concertos #15 & #17……Bernstein (Columbia ML-5145)
C.P.E. Bach Concertos…..Schippers plays & Conducts NYP, w/Blegen (Columbia MS-7428)
Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite….Stark, Graunke Sym.Orch. (Disneyland STER-4019)
I'm very familiar with the two opera recordings you've put in that list, Wallingford! The Boris Godunov with Christoff (stereo version w/ Cluytens) was my second LP set of this, my favorite opera. He recorded the same opera in mono in 1952 in Paris, also for HMV, with the young Nikolai Gedda as the pretender Dmitri, and sang all three bass roles himself using different microphones so his voice would sound slightly different in each role. The stereo version also features Evelyn Lear as the Polish princess Marina, who, along with her husband, Thomas Stewart, was a client of mine in the 1980's. My first recording of Boris Godunov was made in Russia by Columbia Records, and featured George London, the first American to sing the role of Boris at the Bolshoi. I still love this opera in its various guises: two versions by Moussorgsky (1869 and, when he added Marina as a love interest for Dmitri, in 1872), and, of course, Rimsky-Korsakov's re-orchestration which saved it from oblivion for for 100 years, as well as versions by Igor Buketoff and Shostakovich, the former produced at the MET in recent decades. Christoff, along with Chaliapin, remains an astounding Boris, and I'm very glad you have bought this set. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

The Columbia LP of Copland's 'The Tender Land" is, of course, heavily cut, but it preserves the best moments from the opera. IMHO it's one of Copland's best conducted recordings. I first heard it when I was invited to sing the choral number "Stomp Your Foot..." in the Pennsylvania All-State chorus with Robert Page at the tender age of 17 in Harrisburg (Don't drink the water there!). Exhilarating experience! I later studied the full score, and prepared a version for performance here in New York using Copland's cuts three times. Later on, when this was issued on CD, it turned out that Copland had actually recorded some bars that were cut from the LP issue, but were restored in the CD version, having been preserved on the original studio tapes. Personally, I think it's a wonderful work (New York City Opera first produced it in the early 1950's), and it's been recorded several times on CD, but none of those has the depth and authenticity of Copland's own recording. Again, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. The CD has sadly gone OOP, but here's the LP cover:

Image

Happy listening! :D

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

Post by slofstra » Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:42 am

maestrob wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:55 am
slofstra wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 7:25 am
maestrob wrote:
Mon Feb 15, 2021 12:12 pm
Image

This excellent CD of popular music by Ralph Vaughan-Williams features Andrew Manze and Canadian violinist James Ehnes in a beautifully recorded CD that captures the strings of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra with a new richness and depth of tone that your reviewer found quite satisfying. Ehnes plays the oft-recorded Lark Ascending with a beautiful, crystal-clear intonation that matches the orchestra that partners him, all while Andrew Manze leads each selection presented here with sensitivity and the requisite English depth of feeling that brings out every phrase, pacing the music exactly right without a hint of neglecting the meaning in every note. A fine CD, then, and well worth your listening time. I've not heard the orchestral version of the Serenade to Music before, while the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis receives one of its best readings on disc. Lovely. Five stars.
One more of these can't hurt. Of course, if it involves James Ehnes, I have to hear it.
Have you heard the recent collaboration of Ehnes and this orchestra in the Beethoven Violin Concerto. I'd be interested in knowing what you thought of it.
Sorry, Henry, but I haven't heard Ehnes's Beethoven Violin Concerto, as it's not available for streaming anywhere so far. I have heard some of his Violin Sonatas, recorded recently (2017-2920) with Andrew Armstrong, and what I've heard is exceptional. Don't know why the cycle hasn't received more publicity, but there you are. 😉
Youtube Premium has it, so I'd be surprised if Amazon doesn't. The sure fire way to tell is to bring up Ehnes as an artist and then look at 'All' albums. There are 41 Ehnes albums in Youtube Music.
Amazon indexing and track titling is awful and Youtube Music is not far behind.
The intonation and nuance of Ehnes' Beethoven VC is incredible; lots of subtlety without going all flibberty-jibbit like a Mozartian concerto.

maestrob
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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

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

Post by maestrob » Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:10 am

Sorry, Henry, but I've searched amazon USA thoroughly, and, while they do have downloads available, strangely they haven't made the album available for streaming, even though it's been there since 2017.

Unfortunately, I don't subscribe to youtube premium, and I'm not about to do so just to hear one disc. I'm definitely a follower of both Ehnes and Andrew Manze, for whom I have great respect, not to mention the Royal Liverpool, so it looks like I'll just have to put the CD on my wantlist! 😉

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

Post by slofstra » Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:20 am

maestrob wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:10 am
Sorry, Henry, but I've searched amazon USA thoroughly, and, while they do have downloads available, strangely they haven't made the album available for streaming, even though it's been there since 2017.

Unfortunately, I don't subscribe to youtube premium, and I'm not about to do so just to hear one disc. I'm definitely a follower of both Ehnes and Andrew Manze, for whom I have great respect, not to mention the Royal Liverpool, so it looks like I'll just have to put the CD on my wantlist! 😉
Oh, I wasn't pitching you to switch, that's for sure. But I have found that what's on one streaming service is usually on the others. The CD is at a premium price here in Canada, so I've been content to stream it, also. I'll pay $25+ for SACD or Bluray Audio or multiple CDs, but typically not for a single CD.

maestrob
Posts: 10149
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

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

Post by maestrob » Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:36 am

slofstra wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:20 am
maestrob wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:10 am
Sorry, Henry, but I've searched amazon USA thoroughly, and, while they do have downloads available, strangely they haven't made the album available for streaming, even though it's been there since 2017.

Unfortunately, I don't subscribe to youtube premium, and I'm not about to do so just to hear one disc. I'm definitely a follower of both Ehnes and Andrew Manze, for whom I have great respect, not to mention the Royal Liverpool, so it looks like I'll just have to put the CD on my wantlist! 😉
Oh, I wasn't pitching you to switch, that's for sure. But I have found that what's on one streaming service is usually on the others. The CD is at a premium price here in Canada, so I've been content to stream it, also. I'll pay $25+ for SACD or Bluray Audio or multiple CDs, but typically not for a single CD.
Sure, I got that. CDs are really quite expensive up your way, as they are for Barney in Australia, but I found a good used copy on Amazon for $11.00+ shipping, so it's now on its way to me. I'll let you know what I think when I hear it, but I'm quite sure it will be excellent. Thanks for the suggestion, as always!

maestrob
Posts: 10149
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

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

Post by maestrob » Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:14 pm

Image

Modest Moussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition has fascinated me since I first heard the Ravel orchestral version in a recording by Fritz Reiner as a young lad. Soon after, I discovered the piano version, and it was off to the races! Since then, I've acquired Stokowski's own version (originally on a London Phase 4 LP) along with several more orchestral recordings of the Ravel, all the while exploring as many piano versions (not all of them satisfactory) along the way. So far, I've found Horowitz (in a live Carnegie Hall recital from the early 1950's), Richter (Sofia 1958), Giltburg (EMI: OOP but used copies show up occasionally) and now this exciting new version by rising young star Behzod Abduraimov from Russia, who began his recording career just a decade ago to be the most rewarding versions I've heard. Moussorgsky's score poses many musical difficulties for even the most virtuosic of keyboard artists, but Abduraimov solves them all with superb musicality that never seems either awkward or egotistical. He serves the music well, and in both his Debussy and Chopin, his sensitive and deeply expressive technique shows great respect for even the simplest writing without ever being maudlin. There is great maturity to his every insight, and I enjoyed every note of this brand new release. So far every disc I've heard from this young star has been immensely satisfying and beautifully recorded. Five enthusiastic stars!

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

Post by slofstra » Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:31 pm

maestrob wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:14 pm
Image

Modest Moussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition has fascinated me since I first heard the Ravel orchestral version in a recording by Fritz Reiner as a young lad. Soon after, I discovered the piano version, and it was off to the races! Since then, I've acquired Stokowski's own version (originally on a London Phase 4 LP) along with several more orchestral recordings of the Ravel, all the while exploring as many piano versions (not all of them satisfactory) along the way. So far, I've found Horowitz (in a live Carnegie Hall recital from the early 1950's), Richter (Sofia 1958), Giltburg (EMI: OOP but used copies show up occasionally) and now this exciting new version by rising young star Behzod Abduraimov from Russia, who began his recording career just a decade ago to be the most rewarding versions I've heard. Moussorgsky's score poses many musical difficulties for even the most virtuosic of keyboard artists, but Abduraimov solves them all with superb musicality that never seems either awkward or egotistical. He serves the music well, and in both his Debussy and Chopin, his sensitive and deeply expressive technique shows great respect for even the simplest writing without ever being maudlin. There is great maturity to his every insight, and I enjoyed every note of this brand new release. So far every disc I've heard from this young star has been immensely satisfying and beautifully recorded. Five enthusiastic stars!
I think the Richter (Sofia) is the best piano version, although I can't say definitively. I have versions also by Ashkenazy, Berman and Kissin. I think the Kissin is quite good also (vaguely recollected). Also I have 2 recordings by William Kapell in a budget set of his RCA Red Seal output.
I've seen the orchestral version performed live numerous times - one time with Gergiev in Toronto - and it's always a sonic treat, guaranteed to garner a standing ovation. 'Pictures' and Dvorak's 'New World Symphony' are big two romantic pieces that are highly accessible to a new listener and make their concert experience a singularly irreproducible one.
Our local orchestra gives out large bundles of tickets once or twice a year to its biggest corporate sponsors, which then packs otherwise empty seats with first time attendees. These folks invariably indicate their presence by applauding between the movements. Usually by the last movement, there's still two or three people left clapping who haven't quite figured out the protocol. (I'm not suggesting there's anything really wrong with this). Anyway, if they can hear 'Pictures' on the occasion, I bet they come back; it's the perfect introductory experience to the orchestra.

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

Post by Rach3 » Fri Feb 19, 2021 4:12 pm

maestrob wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:14 pm
Modest Moussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition has fascinated me since I first heard the Ravel orchestral version in a recording by Fritz Reiner as a young lad.
I have a Vox Turnabout lp ( poor sound ) of Alfred Brendel playing "Pictures" recorded in the early '50's.The lp also has him playing " Islamey" and the "Petrushka" Suite.During this same period , he recorded Prokofieff's 5th Piano Concerto ! I believe some or all are at YT.

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

Post by maestrob » Sat Feb 20, 2021 8:41 am

Rach3 wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 4:12 pm
maestrob wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:14 pm
Modest Moussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition has fascinated me since I first heard the Ravel orchestral version in a recording by Fritz Reiner as a young lad.
I have a Vox Turnabout lp ( poor sound ) of Alfred Brendel playing "Pictures" recorded in the early '50's.The lp also has him playing " Islamey" and the "Petrushka" Suite.During this same period , he recorded Prokofieff's 5th Piano Concerto ! I believe some or all are at YT.
Yes, I have those in the box of Brendel's complete Vox recordings, but they are not the versions of that music I go to first. Brendel's Pictures on Phillips is still bland, but it's not really his thing, is it? IIRC, Brendel disowned his Vox records when he started recording on the Phillips label, and I don't blame him, especialy the Beethoven with orchestra, of which the only really good one is the Emperor which is conducted by a VERY young Zubin Mehta. Brendel's recording of the Choral Fantasy for Vox with an incredibly obscure conductor is quite a mess, as I recall.

Do try to stream the Aduraimov on amazon if you can. I've noticed recently that amazon is now streaming Giltburg's EMI CD, even though it's OOP and only used copies turn up occasionally. Warner really should reissue it posthaste!

Byron Janis on Mercury 35mm film was one of my earliest LPs, but even though he was Horowitz's protegee, his version lacks the cohesion and musical tension that comes so instinctively to Horowitz in 1951 (or Richter, for that matter), so I don't listen to Janis these days.

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

Post by slofstra » Sat Feb 20, 2021 10:31 am

maestrob wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 8:41 am
Rach3 wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 4:12 pm
maestrob wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:14 pm
Modest Moussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition has fascinated me since I first heard the Ravel orchestral version in a recording by Fritz Reiner as a young lad.
I have a Vox Turnabout lp ( poor sound ) of Alfred Brendel playing "Pictures" recorded in the early '50's.The lp also has him playing " Islamey" and the "Petrushka" Suite.During this same period , he recorded Prokofieff's 5th Piano Concerto ! I believe some or all are at YT.
Yes, I have those in the box of Brendel's complete Vox recordings, but they are not the versions of that music I go to first. Brendel's Pictures on Phillips is still bland, but it's not really his thing, is it? IIRC, Brendel disowned his Vox records when he started recording on the Phillips label, and I don't blame him, especialy the Beethoven with orchestra, of which the only really good one is the Emperor which is conducted by a VERY young Zubin Mehta. Brendel's recording of the Choral Fantasy for Vox with an incredibly obscure conductor is quite a mess, as I recall.

Do try to stream the Aduraimov on amazon if you can. I've noticed recently that amazon is now streaming Giltburg's EMI CD, even though it's OOP and only used copies turn up occasionally. Warner really should reissue it posthaste!

Byron Janis on Mercury 35mm film was one of my earliest LPs, but even though he was Horowitz's protegee, his version lacks the cohesion and musical tension that comes so instinctively to Horowitz in 1951 (or Richter, for that matter), so I don't listen to Janis these days.
Most definitely not Brendel's thing, although pianists can surprise sometimes. Brendel's Schubert work is top of the pyramid for me, both the compositions and the performance. In Youtube Premium I have one 2020 album for Abduraimov (three in total), but it's Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paginini. Do you have it on amazon?

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

Post by maestrob » Sat Feb 20, 2021 10:44 am

slofstra wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 10:31 am
maestrob wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 8:41 am
Rach3 wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 4:12 pm
maestrob wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:14 pm
Modest Moussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition has fascinated me since I first heard the Ravel orchestral version in a recording by Fritz Reiner as a young lad.
I have a Vox Turnabout lp ( poor sound ) of Alfred Brendel playing "Pictures" recorded in the early '50's.The lp also has him playing " Islamey" and the "Petrushka" Suite.During this same period , he recorded Prokofieff's 5th Piano Concerto ! I believe some or all are at YT.
Yes, I have those in the box of Brendel's complete Vox recordings, but they are not the versions of that music I go to first. Brendel's Pictures on Phillips is still bland, but it's not really his thing, is it? IIRC, Brendel disowned his Vox records when he started recording on the Phillips label, and I don't blame him, especialy the Beethoven with orchestra, of which the only really good one is the Emperor which is conducted by a VERY young Zubin Mehta. Brendel's recording of the Choral Fantasy for Vox with an incredibly obscure conductor is quite a mess, as I recall.

Do try to stream the Aduraimov on amazon if you can. I've noticed recently that amazon is now streaming Giltburg's EMI CD, even though it's OOP and only used copies turn up occasionally. Warner really should reissue it posthaste!

Byron Janis on Mercury 35mm film was one of my earliest LPs, but even though he was Horowitz's protegee, his version lacks the cohesion and musical tension that comes so instinctively to Horowitz in 1951 (or Richter, for that matter), so I don't listen to Janis these days.
Most definitely not Brendel's thing, although pianists can surprise sometimes. Brendel's Schubert work is top of the pyramid for me, both the compositions and the performance. In Youtube Premium I have one 2020 album for Abduraimov (three in total), but it's Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paginini. Do you have it on amazon?
Totally agree with you, henry, about Brendel's Schubert on Vox, particularly the Impromptus, which have never been equaled by anyone else I've heard. I play them quite often.

Yes, I have that Abduraimov Rachmaninoff album from Lucerne available, though I haven't heard it yet. It includes the Third Symphony, and I'm quite eager to hear it with an eye to a possible purchase. There is something very special about Abduraimov's playing that really draws me in, while the Lucerne Orchestra consists of some of the finest musicians in Europe. There are hard copies available here already for under $10.00, believe it or not! Here's the cover:

Image

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

Post by maestrob » Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:55 am

Just listened to the Rachmaninoff album pictured in my post from yesterday, and, although the Variations worked perfectly well for me (aside from the annoying track breaks every 30 seconds or so), I have to say that I was extremely disappointed in Gaffigen's interpretation of the Third Symphony. He simply has no clear idea of how to shape the music, let alone keep the musical tension going. There are moments when things almost come together, but I'll not be buying this disc, in spite of the superb orchestra: they are sadly mismanaged by Maestro James Gaffigen.

Instead, I continue to recommend Ormandy's stereo recording for Columbia, which has never been out of print. I find Ormandy's efforts even more cohesive and intense than Rachmaninoff's own, recorded with the same orchestra in the late 1930's for RCA Victor, although I have yet to hear Gergiev's digital one with the LSO, something I must do quite soon.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:46 am

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Uruguayan-born composer/maestro Jose Serebrier has had a long and distinguished career without breaking through as a director of a world-famous orchestra, in spite of his marriage to Metropolitan Opera soprano Carole Farley, who has since retired from the stage and now teaches in London. Despite multiple recordings with both the London Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic and an all-Gershwin CD with Leopold Godowsky III, along with studies in composition with Martinu and Copland, Serebrier's international career specialty has been to draw the best playing possible from less famous ensembles, mainly in the British Isles but also in Australia, which brings me to the present recording.

My library contains 19 recordings of Gustav Holst's "The Planets." This is a tricky work to conduct while balancing the orchestra properly, particularly the difficult rhythms in Jupiter and Saturn, so not every performance turns out well. In fact, only Boult in his analog version for EMI (he sounds terribly tired in the later digital version now in print), Steinberg/Boston, Von Karajan/Vienna, Previn's first recording with the London Symphony, Stokowski or Mehta/Los Angeles and Ormandy/Philadelphia rank well among studio recordings, while a live performance with Boult/BBC Philharmonic from the Proms in 1973 is also quite good. To this list, I'm happy to add Serebrier's fine studio recording with Australia's first-ranking Melbourne Symphony Orchestra from 1996. Serebrier's keen sense of tempo allows the orchestra to cleanly articulate the many tricky rhythms in "Jupiter" and "Saturn" with perfect clarity of ensemble, while his sensitive ability to balance the various sections lets every instrument have its moment without being overpowered by the brass or tympany. The gentle peace of 'Venus" shimmers in the strings and winds, who also gently but clearly play every note of "Mercury's" swift flight. All in all a reminder that under the right hands, Holst's most famous composition makes great music come forth from the farthest corners of the world with proper inspiration and guidance. Melbourne certainly has a very fine orchestra, and this is a demonstration-quality disc. Five stars.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:18 pm

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Recordings of operas by Handel and Vivaldi just keep getting better and better, don't they? This latest Handel offering from Joyce DiDonato, coinciding with her debut in the title role at the Metropolitan Opera last year, features the finest Baroque singers available today, including Franco Fragioli, Orlinski and others, with one of the top HIP orchestras, Il Pomo D'Oro, led in this 3 CD set by Maxim Emelyanechev, a rising star new to me. The recording itself is crystal-clear and perfectly balanced, revealing subtle touches both in the vocal and instrumental lines without burying the delicate sounds from the keyboard. While not as demanding vocally as some of Handel's later operas, this was his first hit production in Venice, followed by 27 consecutive performances, quite a feat. The music itself goes from strength to strength, with energy to spare. Joyce DiDonato shines, of course, pouring her supreme acting ability into every note, as she inspires her colleagues to a feast of inventive feats of vocalism. I would seriously recommend this fine performance as an introduction to Handel's operatic art, as Venice's audience surely did at its premiere on the day after Christmas in 1709. Five stars.

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

Post by Rach3 » Wed Feb 24, 2021 4:37 pm

The Naxos 2-cd set of Korngold's "Die Tote Stadt" arrived today, my first hearing.The cd is a Swedish Opera live production in 1996.My used copy from an Amazon seller is in great condition, complete with booklet, and I could not turn down the price: $2 cd,$4 s&h,total $6. Sound is a little distant at times, but I can live with it.

What a gorgeous work.When was the last time the Met presented it ? I could not find after a quick search.TIA.

Here is a NYT Joshua Barone review of a 2020 performance in Bavaria by notable performers:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/03/arts ... unich.html


Jan. 3, 2020 Munich — " On a recent evening at the Bavarian State Opera here, there wasn’t an empty seat in the house. Even if one had opened up, there were people waiting outside in the December chill, eager to fill it.

It was one of those nights that felt like the event of the year — a fact remarkable if only because the work being performed was Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s “Die Tote Stadt” (“The Dead City”), which had once all but disappeared from the world’s stages.

Popularity is a fickle thing in any art form. The works of Bach were long considered outdated, until a 19th-century resurgence established him as perhaps the essential composer. Grand operas by Meyerbeer are now treated as curiosities, yet during his lifetime they were ubiquitous.

You can count Korngold (1897-1957) among the artists whose fame has ebbed and flowed over the past century — swept up in the tides of academic taste, the rise and fall of governments, and the willingness of opera companies to think beyond familiar classics.

After early years as a Viennese prodigy — praised by the likes of Mahler and Strauss, and finding career-making success with “Die Tote Stadt” in 1920 — he became a Hollywood pioneer, with a symphonic approach to film scoring (“The Adventures of Robin Hood,” “The Sea Hawk”) that echoes today in the soundtracks of John Williams. And his Violin Concerto in D, despite being little more than a showcase for expressivity, is entrenched in the repertoire.

But Korngold was Jewish, and it’s no coincidence that “Die Tote Stadt” — according to the opera’s performance history kept by his publisher, Schott — basically vanished after 1931. His life would have been at risk, as well, but Hollywood work sheltered Korngold from the worst of the Holocaust, and helped him become an American citizen in the 1940s. Exiled artists played a key role in shaping the United States’s midcentury culture; Korngold’s contribution was his film scores.

Much of his European music, though, is overlooked, and “Die Tote Stadt” returned only glacially. After 1931, it didn’t appear again until the ’50s, according to Schott. Then it was staged only a handful of times each decade — until the ’90s, when it was given nearly 70 performances. But this year alone, it will have received about that many.

Why now? And who is responsible?

Leon Botstein, a conductor and the president of Bard College, dived deeply into Korngold’s music at the college’s SummerScape festival this year, argued in an interview that the opera has benefited from a broader reconsideration of 20th-century music in both academic circles and concert halls.

“I was brought up in a time when Korngold was considered a minor figure, a kind of lingering late Romantic who had an ambivalent or perhaps an even hostile sense of the modern,” Mr. Botstein said. “Nobody took this stuff seriously until recently.”

It’s a familiar tale with refugee composers — particularly Jewish ones — who had enjoyed popularity between the world wars. Korngold’s music was deemed degenerate by the Nazi party, suddenly grouped with more combatively modern works like Kurt Weill’s “The Threepenny Opera” and Ernst Krenek’s “Jonny Spielt Auf.”

Then Korngold’s music struggled to find a resurgence after the war. It had become unfashionable, especially compared with the Darmstadt School avant-garde of Pierre Boulez and Luciano Berio. Performances of “Die Tote Stadt” were more or less limited to excerpts, like the popular aria “Glück, das mir verlieb.” It wasn’t until tonality and a Romantic touch found new favor in the late 20th century that Korngold’s sound achieved more respect and recognition.

Of his operas, “Die Tote Stadt” may be the safest bet for programmers. Even at its lowest ebb of popularity, the work was still better known than, for example, his more sophisticated “Das Wunder der Heliane.” And the score is easy to love; like Puccini’s “Turandot,” also from the 1920s, it looks predominantly backward, with occasional glances toward modernism. Orchestrated with the lushness of Strauss, its melodies are heartwarming, though they require a fleet conductor’s baton to keep them from sliding into schmaltz.

More difficult for audiences is the libretto, an adaptation by Korngold and his father of Georges Rodenbach’s novel “Bruges-la-Morte.” It’s often unsophisticated, with a dated perspective on the myth of the “eternal feminine” and an “it was all a dream” twist. Its psychology, while darkly intriguing — the protagonist is a man who, unable to recover from the death of his wife, falls in love with her doppelgänger — verges on overly simplistic.

“It’s an opera that can easily be terrible,” Nikolaus Bachler, the Bavarian State Opera’s director, said in an interview. “The music is not a masterpiece, and the tenor is an impossible role to sing.”

Yet it has increasingly been embraced, and by some of the world’s largest and most influential houses. Last season, the Teatro alla Scala in Milan staged it for the first time, conducted by Alan Gilbert and starring Klaus Florian Vogt and Asmik Grigorian.

And the work’s comeback may have reached its peak at the Bavarian State Opera. It’s difficult to imagine a better case for “Die Tote Stadt” than was made in Munich, with luxury casting in the tenor Jonas Kaufmann and the soprano Marlis Petersen; conducting by the company’s music director, Kirill Petrenko; and a sleekly cinematic staging by Simon Stone. (It was recorded for DVD release and will return for the Munich Opera Festival next summer.)

Mr. Petrenko milked the score’s modernism and led it with a propulsive energy that gave it more madness than sentimentality. He had long wanted to conduct this music, Mr. Bachler said, adding with a laugh that Mr. Petrenko once told him in a meeting, “I’ll do whatever you want, as long as I get to do ‘Tote Stadt.’”

At the public presentation of the Bavarian State Opera’s 2019-20 season in April, Mr. Petrenko expressed his affinity for the score. “For me, this music is this amalgamation of reality and dream,” he said. “It corresponds so much to this late Romantic period, with the interpretation of dreams in Vienna, which serves this whole Viennese sound spectrum beginning with late Mahler, early Berg, which Korngold certainly serves but absolutely proves his own individuality in every note.”

Few would argue that Korngold’s music — complimented by Mr. Botstein for its “perfumed beauty” — has the depth of Mahler and Berg. But Mr. Petrenko more or less redeemed the score, by teasing out every corner of that “Viennese sound spectrum” with exuberance and clarity.


His conducting also brought out a new ferocity in Mr. Kaufmann and Ms. Petersen, two longtime collaborators of Mr. Petrenko’s who had never before sung together in Munich, but who performed as if they’d been sharing a marquee for years.

Having sung Salome and Lulu at extremes of acidity and fragility, Ms. Petersen was especially well suited to the dual role of Marie and Marietta — the delicately voiced dead wife and her romping, youthful look-alike. Her Marietta was particularly frightening in its transformation from the heartfelt floating top notes of “Glück, das mir verlieb” to the barbed, animalistic intensity of the opera’s violent climax.

Mr. Kaufmann, his shadowy tenor pained and passionate, responded with uncharacteristic fearlessness. He has always had a matinee-idol appearance, but now gave a movie-star performance to match. In remembering Marie, his Paul was visibly tormented, with a voice occasionally made ugly by melancholy; and in chasing Marietta he was foolish and crazed, throwing himself over furniture in what amounted to a cardio workout atop heldentenor high notes.

Mr. Stone’s staging was characteristically hyper-realistic; the appliances of Paul’s handsomely modern home were plugged into the wall, and the kitchen cabinets were stocked. (The set design was by Ralph Myers.) “Die Tote Stadt” is a dream opera, though, and Mr. Stone peppered surrealism throughout each act, with reserve and to shocking effect.

The house was modular, and as Paul dissociated and dreamed, its rooms came apart — reconfiguring so that some doors opened to walls, as if it were the Winchester Mystery House, or stacking on one another to create a maze of towers. Never did Mr. Stone’s direction conflict with the libretto; his staging was smoothly effective, as balanced as Mr. Petrenko’s conducting. It was so tidy that, after Paul awoke from his chaotic nightmare, his home calmly returned to its initial shape, like a Rubik’s Cube snapping into place.

With a crowd-pleasing reprise of “Glück, das mir verlieb” at the end, it’s no surprise that “Die Tote Stadt” can so easily win over audiences. There may even come a time, if the opera’s popularity continues on its current path, when it becomes a true repertory staple. But what of Korngold’s other stage works, or those of his neglected contemporaries? They no longer face the political and academic barriers that forced them into obscurity, but if the history of “Die Tote Stadt” is any indication, their fates will be almost entirely reliant on the adventurousness of administrators — and the nudging of influential artists.

“It’s great that ‘Die Tote Stadt’ is making a comeback,” Mr. Botstein said. “But this represents just the tip of the operatic iceberg.”

I am a Korngold fan,having recordings of his piano sonatas,piano concerto, Op.23 Suite,violin concerto,and Sinfonia. Glad to have this opera. I also attended the College of Europe in Bruges,Belgium,Jan.-May, 1970, no "dead city" then .One of my professors was Zbigniew Brzezinski.

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

Post by maestrob » Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:38 pm

And the work’s comeback may have reached its peak at the Bavarian State Opera. It’s difficult to imagine a better case for “Die Tote Stadt” than was made in Munich, with luxury casting in the tenor Jonas Kaufmann and the soprano Marlis Petersen; conducting by the company’s music director, Kirill Petrenko; and a sleekly cinematic staging by Simon Stone. (It was recorded for DVD release and will return for the Munich Opera Festival next summer.)
So very happy that you like this opera, Rach3!

I would give my eye teeth to hear Kaufmann in the role of Paul, and will await the release of the DVD described above with bated breath. There are now at least four other DVD releases of this opera, but I'll wait to buy a DVD, as I'm an admirer of Petrenko's conducting as well as Kaufmann singing, especially since Petrenko loves this score so much.

I'm still urging you to hear the Leinsdorf world premiere CDs, in spite of all the above. 😉

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

Post by CharmNewton » Sat Feb 27, 2021 12:31 am

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Charles Colonne was one of the founders of the concert series which later became known as the Concerts Colonne with the orchestra bearing his name (Pierre Monteux played in the orchestra and may have participated in these recordings as a young violist).

Colonne (1838-1910) is probably the oldest major conductor to have made recordings. These were made for Pathé in 1906 (the notes mention rumors that Colonne also made cylinders around 1901, but none of those had surfaced at the time this CD was issued). Pathé had an interesting way of making recordings, employing a large cylinder to hold several master recordings and then using that master to make commercial masters to produce recordings in multiple formats. None of those master cylinders are known to survive. They sound pretty good for their age and were competitive with recordings issued by other companies (if any of these master cylinders were found, they'd probably create a sensation sound wise).

As they stand, they are historic documents and give us a glimpse into performance practices of that time. The performances themselves, 20 selections of light and shorter (and shortened) classical material, are often quite lively and held my interest musically. Those with an inclination should hop in the time machine if the material is available for streaming.

Thanks to Symposium for issuing this--they've made a point of issuing a number of very early and rare recordings. Had Colonne lived longer he may have recorded a larger work--as it stands Arthur Nikisch's recording of Beethoven's 5th Symphony from 1913 holds pride of place. I still enjoy it, even with its primitive sound (It was well transferred by Keith Hardwick in 1979 for a box commemorating the Berlin Philharmonic). There is also a good issue on Dutton. I believe Nikisch was one of Fritz Reiner's teachers (as well as Boult's)--going from memory here.

John

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

Post by maestrob » Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:26 am

Fascinating disc, John. It's astounding what can be found these days.

The only recordings I have from the first decade of the previous century are those made by Paderewski at his best, restored for the Great Pianists series. I may have to order Colonne's recordings as well.

I've heard of the Nikisch Beethoven V, but have been putting off acquiring it for too long.

Thanks for posting about Maestro Colonne.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:15 am

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Andrew Manze, it seems, has returned to recording the music of Beethoven in recent years, after putting an excellent Eroica Symphony on CD for Harmonia Mundi back in 2007. He has recorded the Piano Concerti with pianist Martin Helmschen in Berlin, and, thanks to Henry's bringing it to my attention, I've just heard the superb recording pictured above of Beethoven's Violin Concerto, recorded with the Liverpool Philharmonic with star soloist Canadian violinist James Ehnes. The disc is generously filled out with both Romances by Beethoven and, new to my ears, Schubert's D438 Rondo in A major for Violin and Orchestra. Both Maestro Manze and James Ehnes are obviously in love with Beethoven's music, and this recording rivals my two favorite historical versions, those in stereo by Heifetz and Szigeti, in its lyricism and glorious, singing tone from the violin, as well as its sustained musical energy. Both Ehnes and Manze pay close attention to tasteful, telling details in the orchestra and the phrasing of crucial passages for the violin, while the sound captures every beauty revealed. Certainly this CD deserves five enthusiastic stars, and a proud place beside those recordings of past greats as well.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:45 am

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Dear Gentle Readers, please don't go by the many five star reviews on Amazon for the recording of Mahler's Second Symphony by Osmo Vanska with the very fine Minnesota Orchestra, the orchestra that made the premiere recording of this symphony on records for RCA Victor in a massive set of 11 78 RPM shellac records weighing in at five pounds back in 1935 from a live performance by Eugene Ormandy at the podium.

As you know, I don't post about recordings that don't please me, but I must caution you to hear this before you buy. IMHO, and I deeply regret saying this, but this recording is quite awful. Vanska simply doesn't get how to maintain the musical tension that's needed to hold up Mahler's massive musical architecture. Not only that, Vanska holds back both the orchestra and the chorus so much that you can barely hear them in softer moments, which takes all the life out of their sounds, however beautiful. I won't go into further details here, bar by bar, but there are multiple moments of holding back the tempo that only sap the energy further out of this lifeless performance and make this an interminable listening experience. Having heard his mostly good Mahler IV and a rather passive Mahler VII recently, I had expected better. PLEASE, try to hear this before you buy.

This from a maestro that led such fine recorded cycles of both Beethoven and, of course, Sibelius, and many other fine recordings. It makes me very sad to rate this deeply disappointing recording at barely two and 1/2 stars, something I have never done before here.

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:18 am

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French-Canadian pianist Louis Lortie's nearly 50 albums recorded for Chandos have been much in my ears recently, so I was very pleased to audition the recent release pictured above, the second in a pair of CDs recorded with Edward Gardiner of Saint-Saens Piano Concertos that I've heard, this one including Concertos III & V along with the Allegro appassionato and the Rhapsodie d'Auvergne, two rarely recorded but entrancing works. Lortie's amazingly consistent good quality output has held my attention throughout, and this album is no exception. Lortie has chosen his conductors carefully to reflect his own fine musicianship, and Edward Gardner is a fine accompanist for Saint-Saens's delicate thoughts, particularly in the Fifth Concerto, which is a personal favorite. The sensitive BBC Philharmonic sound appropriately Gallic with their refined strings and tender woodwinds, appropriately paced by Maestro Gardner. Of course there are many other versions of this cycle available nowadays, but this new one stands up quite well to the best of them. Five stars.

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

Post by Seán » Wed Mar 10, 2021 6:24 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sun Sep 06, 2020 1:50 pm
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Although I haven't heard this entire box yet, I am certainly a follower of Isabelle Faust, Jean Guihen Queyras and Alexander Melnikov. I have heard the Beethoven Violin Sonatas, and can safely attest that there is much exquisite playing in those recordings, and I expect to hear the same from Queyras. The reason that I'm rushing this review to print is that American amazon is offering the above 7-CD box from Harmonia Mundi at a special per-order price of $29.00 with free shipping, a bargain from any label, and especially so from these fine artists in new recordings. Delivery is not until late October, but I am anticipating its arrival with bated breath, as these are sure to be extremely fine discs. Can't wait!
Hi Brian, Are you happy with this set? I have a copy of it in my jpc.de basket and I am very tempted to get it. I seem to remember that BombasticDarren was very fond of the Faust and Melnikov perfomances of the Beethoven sonatas.
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

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

Post by maestrob » Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:54 am

Seán wrote:
Wed Mar 10, 2021 6:24 pm
maestrob wrote:
Sun Sep 06, 2020 1:50 pm
Image

Although I haven't heard this entire box yet, I am certainly a follower of Isabelle Faust, Jean Guihen Queyras and Alexander Melnikov. I have heard the Beethoven Violin Sonatas, and can safely attest that there is much exquisite playing in those recordings, and I expect to hear the same from Queyras. The reason that I'm rushing this review to print is that American amazon is offering the above 7-CD box from Harmonia Mundi at a special per-order price of $29.00 with free shipping, a bargain from any label, and especially so from these fine artists in new recordings. Delivery is not until late October, but I am anticipating its arrival with bated breath, as these are sure to be extremely fine discs. Can't wait!
Hi Brian, Are you happy with this set? I have a copy of it in my jpc.de basket and I am very tempted to get it. I seem to remember that BombasticDarren was very fond of the Faust and Melnikov perfomances of the Beethoven sonatas.
Good morning, Sean! :D

I have by now heard this entire box, and, yes, I am very impressed by the refinement and energy in everything there. To my ears, there is wonderful depth and insight into these sometimes tossed-off works, and so I still highly recommend it.

Enjoy! :wink:

maestrob
Posts: 10149
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Mar 15, 2021 10:53 am

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Camille Saint-Saens wrote a total of 13 operas, from which only Samson et Dalila has entered the repertoire of opera houses worldwide. The others were quite successful in their time, including his first, Le Timbre d'argent, presented here on CD for the first time in its final revision from 1914, the first without spoken dialogue. Saint-Saens revised this delightful work 50(!) times, each version becoming slightly more sophisticated than the previous as his skills matured. Although continually frustrated with his first stage effort, he was drawn to it again and again throughout his career. This is actually the third of Saint-Saens' unknown operas presented by Francois-Xavier Roth and his acclaimed period instruments ensemble, Les Siecles, and it is beautifully recorded and sung by a cast of singers previously unknown to me. The standards of both vocalism and instrumental playing are of the highest order, proving to my ears at least that, while the libretto may have its weaknesses, musically this is a superior work that should be heard more often. Presented in a DVD-style slipcase with full libretto and a deluxe booklet, this is a must-have for opera collectors, even while it can be streamed in full on Amazon. Five stars!

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

Post by Rach3 » Tue Mar 16, 2021 7:33 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:51 am
Pianist Cora Irsen's WDR cd of the solo piano " 18 Pieces pour d'apres la lecture de Dante" ( 1894 ) by composer-pianist Marie Jaell (1846-1925) , refereed to here earlier in a separate topic,. Jaell was a friend of Liszt,Saint-Saens,and Brahms, studied with Henri Herz. i enjoyed her 2 piano concertos, cello concerto, and especially her cello sonata ( all at YT), but the "18 Pieces" the work I was willing to pay the cd price asked.Cd is at YT as well:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hOU-qX ... l214w1y__I
Marie Jaell was quite the pianist , composer, and physiologist, and married to piano virtuoso Alfred Jaell, who had quite a career himself in America and Europe. Alfred gets several paragraphs, Marie just a brief mention, in Harold Schonberg’s “The Great Pianists “ ( 1963).

More bio : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Jaëll

Her complete “Dante” suite is very unique sound world and style ,especially for her time, presaging Minimalism?

Here is an excellent quality, 4 minute video,from Radio France Musique, of one of those studies, a work rather rarely played I suspect :

Marie Jaëll : Dix-Huit Pièces pour piano d'après la lecture de Dante - IV. Dans les flammes

https://tinyurl.com/j8b8u86p

maestrob
Posts: 10149
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

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

Post by maestrob » Fri Mar 19, 2021 1:00 pm

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When two great Australian artists meet at the beginning of their careers, great music happens. The above disc of Richard Strauss lieder recorded in 1999 by tenor Steve Davislim and the State Orchestra of Victoria led by Maestra Simone Young demonstrates this maxim most elegantly. Here is a collection of German songs that touch one's soul with their sensitive and tender expressions of human emotion, all now beautifully remastered in 2008 and reissued in ravishingly beautiful SACD sound. Recorded in Australia, these tracks could easily have been laid down with the finest of German ensembles led by the most celebrated European maestro you can imagine. Simone Young has since, of course, demonstrated her magnificent musicianship in recordings of Wagner's Ring and Brucker's original thoughts from the premiere performances of his symphonies, but this is the recording that first demonstrated to all of us the magnificent obsession Simone Young has with great German music. Tenor Steve Davislam sings with a bright, full tone that is so secure and perfectly on pitch even during the tenderest passages that he will melt your heart. Five enthusiastic stars!

Wallingford
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Location: Brush, Colorado

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

Post by Wallingford » Fri Mar 19, 2021 1:14 pm

R.Strauss' Till and Rosenkavalir suite.....Dorati, Minn. (Mercury SRW-18072)
Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra....Dorati, Minn. (Mercury MG-50033)
Music of Ketelby & Herbert..........M.Gould, Rochester Pops (Columbia CL-560)-6
Nielsen Symphonies #4-6.....Blomstedt, DRSO (Seraphim SIB-6098)
Bach's 4 Orchestral Suites.....Sandor, Liszt Ferenc Chamb. Orch. (Supraphon SPXL-1178788)
Grand Tour.....Kostelanetz, NYP (Collumbia CL-981)
Starlight Encores.......Barnett, LAPO (Capitol P-8296)
Rossini-Respighi Boutique Fantasque, Ibert's Divertissement....Fiedler, Boston Pops (RCA VICS-1053)
The Blue Danube...../Szell, Cleveland (Odyssey Y-30053)
Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky....Schippers, , Westminster Choir, NYP (Odyssey Y-31014)
Gershwin Concerto & Rhapsody....Sanroma, Fiedler, Boston Pops (RCA Camden CAL-304)
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

maestrob
Posts: 10149
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

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

Post by maestrob » Sat Mar 20, 2021 12:02 pm

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This miraculous disc has just been offered to me by email from Presto, and, having just streamed it on Amazon, I will be adding it to my collection immediately. Sandrine Piau has never sounded so wonderful, and the Victor Hugo Orchestra led by conductor Jean-Francois Verdier (new to me) have the music well in hand in this beautifully recorded treasure of a CD. In fact, I've never heard the Berg Seven Early Songs sung/played with such beauty and conviction, while Piau introduces some extremely impressive longer phrases in the Strauss Four Last Songs that I've never heard before. The Zemlinsky work that opens her program is also new to me and a welcome discovery. This CD has rocketed immediately to my top 10 list of Best Vocal Recordings Ever. Five gold stars!

maestrob
Posts: 10149
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Mar 22, 2021 9:27 am

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While I don't entirely agree with the decision of the two fine musical partners on this superb recital disc by Elsa Dreisig and pianist Jonathan Ware (who may be a distant relative of mine!) to split up Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs here, I am still persuaded by the fine level of musicianship and nearly perfect linguistic ability displayed in this recital to recommend this album with high honors. The 2020 release above, entitled "Morgen" by the participants, follows on the success of their 2018 recital CD entitled "Mirrors." Both CDs showcase soprano Elsa Dreisig's lush and expressive soprano, along with the sensitive and nuanced playing of pianist Jonathan Ware, both with a mesmerizing ability to project the text in multiple languages offered here. I will return to this program many times in years to come. Happily, both excellent recitals can be streamed on Amazon as I write, but you should add both to your library posthaste. Five gold stars.

maestrob
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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:54 am

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What a fascinating disc of contemporary music this is! Inspired by Diegobueno's posting of Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra's "Fandagos," a work created for orchestra that was prompted by Soler's fiendishly difficult work for keyboard by the same name, I bought this 2012 CD recorded by the Nashville Symphony led by Venezuelan conductor Giancarlo Guerrero. Sierra's idiom is certainly Latin-flavored, which adds much interesting color to his imaginative orchestrations, here played to perfection and well-recorded by Nashville's first-rate orchestra on Naxos. Besides Fandangos, this 54 minute CD features the equally rewarding Sinfonia No. 4 and an inventive take on Carnaval, where Schumann is briefly quoted. Every bar of Sierra's music is extremely rewarding and inventive. Kudos to Naxos for promulgating this energetic and scintillating program, as well as for their other discs by Sierra which I plan to acquire shortly. Five stars!

maestrob
Posts: 10149
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:54 am

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Just heard this 2009 CD for the first time. While this was not my first exposure to the music of Joseph Marx (That would be his Piano Concerto, which was recommended to me by Jorge Bolet.), it was one of the finest CDs of his music I've heard so far, and I plan on expanding my listening in his direction. MET soprano Christine Brewer sings magnificently in the orchestral lieder, while the BBC Symphony Chorus, Trinity Boys Choir and the Apollo Voices all contribute their massed talents to the many choral works that fill out this stunningly beautiful and generous program. Jiri Belohlavek is the inspiration behind this remarkable Chandos recording, and he leads with full commitment and helps encourage the obvious and welcome clarity of text. This is a very welcome addition to my library and I plan on returning to it often. Five stars.

maestrob
Posts: 10149
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:15 am

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The 2020 release of Chopin's two youthful Concertos by Benjamin Grosvenor with well-chosen conductor Elim Chan is sure to sell many copies, and deservedly so. While Ingrid Fliter's 2014 traversal of these two great works with the same orchestra under a different conductor (reviewed elsewhere in these pages) may be slightly more subtle here and there, Grosvenor's realizations prove again that he is capable of much engrossing nuance and depth in his musical thinking. Grosvenor obviously relishes the youthful exuberance readily apparent in Chopin's two teenage works, yet he respects the depths of sentiment that motivated these popular and often tossed off compositions. In fact, Grosvenor's gentle nuances in the Romance, the second movement of the first published concerto (the second Chopin wrote) brought to mind the most beautifully played of all, that of Guiomar Novaes' late recording for Vox in stereo with the Bamberg Symphony, a track guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye. While Rubinstein's early stereo recordings for RCA have been a benchmark for many decades, the two releases by Grosvenor and Fliter have, I think, eclipsed even those great efforts, as Rubinstein's orchestra lacks the subtlety of the Royal Scottish players here. Five enthusiastic stars.

maestrob
Posts: 10149
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

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

Post by maestrob » Mon Apr 05, 2021 10:45 am

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This 1992 EMI release of two fascinating XXth Century violin concertos recorded live in Israel at an electrifying concert with Zubin Mehta conducting their Philharmonic and Itzakh Perlman contains 50+ minutes of wonderful music by Mario Castelnuova-Tedesco and Paul Ben-Haim. Both works are extremely inventive and yet tuneful. They should be in every violinists repertoire, yet I can find no other recordings of either work to stream on amazon. Luckily, both works from the above CD can be streamed on there, and I was able to find a reasonably-priced copy of it there to purchase. Warner should, IMHO, reissue this quickly before it disappears from view. Mehta had a better relationship with the Israel Philharmonic than he did here in New York, and both he and Perlman are quite obviously enjoying this music wholeheartedly. Five stars!

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