What I listened to today

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RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:10 am


On Saturday, 6 January, 2018, I listened to 9 CDs.
 
 
1) Louis Theodore Gouvy (1819-98): Tr. 1-4, Sym. 6 in G Minor, Op. 87 (29'45) |Tr. 5-8, Sinfonietta in D Major, Op. 80 (27'38)--Jacques Mercier, cond. Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbruecken-Kaiserslautern. Rec Musikstudio 1 des SR, Grosser Sendesaal, March, 2007. cop CD.
This is the last of my discs of Gouvy symphonies. Like most of the others in this series, Gouvy's music seems to identify more with the music of Scubert and Mendelssohn than it does with later composers. These are, as always, exceptional performances.
 
 
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Tr. 1-12, Gloria for soprano, alto, choir & orch., RV 589 (28'02) |Giuseppi Verdi (1813-1901): Quattro Pzzi Sacri (Four Sacred Pieces) (39'00) (1898)--Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, soprano, Ursula Boeze, alto [in Vivaldi only], , Carlo Maria Giulini, cond., Royal Concergebouw Orch. & Groot Koor NRU. Trc. @ Holland Festival 22 June 1960. Tahra CD
These are vigorous, exciting, closely miced performances.
 
 

Stravinsky (1882-1971): Tr. 1-3, Capriccio for Piano & Orch. (17'30)--Monique Haas, piano--MONO, rec. 26-27 SEP 1950 |Tr. 4-7, Divertimento from "The Fairy's Kiss" (23'38)--rec. MONO 27-28 SEP 1954 |Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826): Tr. 8, Invitation to the Dance, Op. 65 (10'26)--rec. STEREO 14 FEB 1961 |Tr. 9, Konzertstück in F minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 79, J. 282 (1821)--rec. STEREO 11-12 OCT 1960--Margrit Weber, piano. Berlin RSO, Ferenc Fricsay, cond. This is CD 39 in the 45 CD set of all Fricsay's orchestral recordings for DGG. Rec. Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin.

 
 
Haydn: Tr. 1-4, Sym. 34 in D Minor (17'00) |Tr. 5-8, Sym. 35 in B Flat Major (14'26) |Tr. 9-12, Sym. 36 in E Flat Major ((16'14) |Tr. 13-16, Sym. 37 in C Major (13'07)--Adam Fischer, cond., Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orch., rec 4,5/2001 Haydnsaal, Esterhazy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria. CD 9 of a 33 CD Brilliant set. Licensed from Nimbus Records.
 
 

Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937): Tr. 1-3, Violin Concerto 1, Op. 35 (1916) (26'59) |Tr. 4, Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921): Havanaise in E Major for Violin & Orch., Op. 83 (1887) |Tr. 5, Ernest Chausson (1855-99): Poème for Violin and Orch., Op. 25 (1896) (16'47) |Tr. 6, Jules Massenet (1842-1912): Méditation from Thaïs (5'37) |Tr. 7, Brahms (1833-97): Contemplation (Wie Melodien zieht es mir) (Arr. J Heiftetz, orch. Reynolds) (3'20) |Tr. 8, John Tavener (1944-2013): Fragment for the Virgin [world premiere recording] (4'30)--Nicola Benedetti, violin, Daniel Harding, cond., London Sym. Orch.--DGG recording released 1 June 2005. No information on recording dates or venues given.


The Tavener piece was composed specifically for the violinist, who plays a 1751 Petrus Guarnerius violin. Nicola Benedetti was born in West Kilbride, North Ayrshire, in the SW of Scotland 20 July 1987. These are excellent performances, highly recommended.

 
 
Ernest Bloch (1880-1959): Tr. 1-3, Piano Quintet 1 (1921-3) (34'09) |Tr. 4, Night, for string quartet (1923) (3'03) |Tr. 5-7, Paysages (Landscapes) for string quartet (1923) (6'47) |Tr. 8-9, Two Pieces for string quartet (1938-50) (7'28) |Tr. 10-13, Piano Quintet 2 (1957) (18'52)--Piers Lane, piano, Goldner String Quartet (Dene Olding, violin, Dimity Hall, violin, Irina Morozova, viola, Julian Smiles, cello)--Rec @ The Menuhin School, Stoke d'Abernon, Surrey, UK 26-28 FEB 2007. hyperion CD
This certainly is an international effort. The composer was born in Geneva, Switzerland, moved to the US in 1916, became a US citizen in 1924 and remained so for the rest of his llife. The musicians are Australians, and the recording was made by a British company in England.
Ernest Bloch is near the top of my list of unjustly neglected, underrated, and underperformed composers. These are all intresting works, and the Piano Quintet 2 is, IMO, a masterpiece. And these are well-recorded superb performances. You can't miss. Urgently recommended.
 
 
William Howard Schuman (1910-92): Tr. 1-3 (24'50) |Tr. 4, Orchestra Song (2'59) |Tr. 5, Circus Overture (7'53) |Tr. 6-8, Sym 9 "Le fosse ardeatine [The Ardeatine Caves]" (27'43)--Gerard Schwarz, cond., Seattle Sym.--NAXOS CD, part of a 5 disc set of Schuman's symphonies 3-10 (he withdrew his first two, written in 1935 and 1939). Rec. @ S Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA, from 9/2003-3/2004.
Of particular note is the 9th Symphony. Quote from the liner notes: "In the spring of 1967, Schuman and his wife were in Rome, intending to visit the Ardeatine Caves, the site of a horrific Nazi atrocity in 1944, when 335 innocent Italian men, women, and children were murdered in reprisal for an ambush by the Underground in which 32 German soldiers had been killed. In an effort to hide the slaughter, the Nazis bombed the bodies. A priest at the nearby Catacombs heard the reverberations from the explosion, and when the Nazis left the city (US General Mark Clark's forces took the city on D-Day; it has been said that was the most important event of the war that was reported below the fold in all American newspapers because the D-Day invasion was the big story that day), citizens visited the caves to see what had transpired. The site eventually became a shrine, known in part for its grand architecture. This symphony memorializes that atrocity and Schuman's reaction to it.
This is a well-recorded CD as are all those in this series so far. Recommended.
 
 
Rachmaninoff ((1873-1943): Tr. 1-11, Piano Sonata 2 in B Flat Minor, Op. 36 [revised version, 1931] (19'38) |Tr. 12-16, Morceaux de Fantaisie, Op. 3 (23'13) |Tr. 17-39, Variations on a theme of Chopin, Op. 3 (27'37)--Santiago Rodriguez, piano--Rec. 1 & 4/1993 @ John Addison Concert Hall, Fort Washington, Maryland. CD 4 of a 9 CD Brilliant set of Rachmaninoff's complete solo piano music. Licensed from Elan Recordings.
Excellent performances. Recommended.
 
 
Anton Bruckner (1824-96): 4 tracks representing 4 movements, Sym. 0 in D Minor (38'13)--Georg Solti, cond., Chicago Sym. Orch.--Rec. Orchestra Hall, Chicago, 10/1995. CD 1 of a 10 CD DECCA set of the Bruckner Symphonies by these forces.
Of course, a superb performance.
 
 

Arvo Pärt (born 11 September 1935): Tr. 1-8, Berliner Messe (25'11) |Tr. 9, The Beatitudes (7'01) |Tr. 10-16, Annum per Annum (11'58) |Tr. 17, Magnificat (7'04) |Tr. 18-24, Sieben Magnificat-Antiphonen (15'01) |Tr. 25, De profundis (7'19)--Polyphony, Andrew Lucas, Stephen Layton, cond.--helios CD. Helios is a hyperion label. Rec. in Romsey Abbey, Hampshire 10, 11 JAN 1997 (all tracks except 10-16) & St Paul's Cathedral, London, (tr. 10-16) 6 JAN 1998.

Arvo Pärt is an Estonian composer. Born into the Lutheran faith, he converted to Russian Orthodoxy sometime in the 1970's, and he has always written mostly, though not exclusively, sacred music for a number of traditions. In fact, though he is Orthodox, he is on sufficiently good terms with the Catholic Church to have been awarded a Ratzinger Prize in 2017. The prize was established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011, and the award includes a check for about $87K, and is intended to honor distinguished achievement in Sacred Scripture study, patristics and fundamental theology.

Many of the works at hand exist in more than one, even more than two, versions. Some exist in 3 versions--one for chorus and organ, one for soloists and organ, and one for soloists and/or chorus and orchestra. All the versions performed on this CD are for chorus and organ with no instrumentalists other than the organist, and no vocal soloists.

Per Wikipedia, "Berliner Messe (or Berlin Mass) is a mass setting by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Commissioned for the 90th Katholikentag in Berlin in 1990,[1] it was originally scored for SATB soloists and organ. It was first performed at St. Hedwig's Cathedral on 24 May 1990, the Feast of the Ascension."

Beatitudes was composed in 1990 and revised 1991. It is Pärt's first composition in English.

Annum per Annum is a work for solo organ whose parts correspond to the movements of a mass.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
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"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:41 am


On Sunday, 7 January 2018, I listened to 6 CDs.
 
 
Tchaikovsky (1840-93): Tr. 1-4, Sym. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36 (41'22) |Tr. 4-9, Suite from Swan Lake, Op. 20 (19'56) |Tr. 10, The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66: Waltz (4'28) |Tr. 11, The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a: Waltz of the Flowers (6'39) |Tr. 12, Eugene Onegin, Op. 24: Waltz (6'28)--Berlin RSO, Ferenc Fricsay, cond. CD 40 of a 45 CD set of the complete orchestral recordings on DGG of Ferenc Fricsay. Rec. Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, 9-10 SEP 1952 (1-4) & 10-12 SEP !957 MONO.
The Sym. 4 in a very exciting, committed performance, one of the best on record. Still, my favorites are Monteux and Mravinsky.
 
 
Haydn (1732-1809): Tr. 1-4, Sym. 38 in C Major "Echo" (15'55) |Tr. 5-8, Sym. 39 in G Minor (16'45) |Tr. 9-11, Symphony "A" in B Flat Major (12'58) |Tr. 12-15, Symphony "B" in B Flat Major (11'37)--Adam Fischer, cond., Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orch.--Rec 4,5/2001 (38, 39) 6/2000 (A&B) Haydnsaal, Esterhazy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria. CD 10 of a 33 CD Brilliant set of all the Haydn symphonies. Licensed from Nimbus Records.
 
 
Cyrill Scott (1879-1970): Tr. 1, Overture to Pelleas & Melisanda, Op. 5 (1900) (17'21) [Edited from the manuscript by Martin Yates] |Tr. 2-4, Concerto for Piano & orch. in D Major, Op. 10 (1900) [Realized & completed by Martin Yates] (30'35) |Tr. 5, Concerto for cello & orch., Op. 19 (1902) [Realized & completed by Martin Yates. Cello part edited by Raphael Wallfisch.] (20'52)--Peter Donohoe, piano (PC), Raphael Wallfisch, cello (CC), Martin Yates, cond. BBC Sym. Orch.--Produced in cooperation with BBC Radio 3. These are all world premiere recordings. Rec. @ Watford Colosseum, 26-28 November 2012. DUTTON EPOCH CD.

Like Ernest Bloch, Cyrill Scott is another composer who is high on my list of unjustly neglected composers. Go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyril_Scott to learn more in general about his life and work. His style is definitely influenced by the likes of Scriabin, Strauss, Debussy, and Ravel. To my way of thinking, the piano concerto is the weakest work on this CD. Often, it doesn't sound like a concerto. Its more like a symphony with the piano providing, for much of the work, a simple chordal baseline underlining for the work of the orchestra. The overture is so exciting, I would really love to hear the complete work. The cello concerto is much more substantial than the piano concerto, IMO. Scott's music is hard to describe, but I think it will reward your attention. Urgently and strongly recommended.

 
 
Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959): Tr. 1-3 Piano Quartet 1 (1942) (25'22)--Daniel Adni, piano, Isabelle von Keulen, violin, Rainer Moog, viola, Young-Chang Cho, cello |Tr. 4-5, Qartet for Oboe, Violin, Cello, & Piano (1947) (11'57)--Joel Marangello, oboe, Charmian Gadd, violin, Alexander Ivashkin, cello, Kathryn Selby, piano |Tr. 6-7, Sonata 1 for Viola & Piano (1955) (15'42)--Rainer Moog, viola, Daniel Adni, piano |Tr. 8-10, String Quintet for 2 Violins, 2 Violas, & Cello (1927) (19'15)--Charmian Gadd, Solomia Soroka, violins, Rainer Mood, Theodore Kuchar, violas, Young-Chang Cho, cello--Rec. @ Sir George KneippAuditorium, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia, 17-19 July 1994 as part of the 1994 Australian Festival of Chamber Music. NAXOS CD.
Martinu is another composer who has been unjustly underrated by concert programmers, but on recordings, at least, his work is enjoying a modest popularity. His music is definitely tonal, influenced by late romantics like Ravel and Debussy, it seems to me. His pretensions, though, are modest, and he is not given, in any of these works at least, to grand sweeping gestures, just good, well constructed chamber music.
 
 
William Howard Schuman (1910-92): Tr. 1, Sym. 6 (1948) (29'10) |Tr. 2, Prayer in a Time of War (1943) (15'35) |Tr. 3-5, New England Tryptych: Three Pieces for Orch. after William Billings (1938) (16'06)--Gerard Schwarz, cond., Seattle Symphony Orch.--Rec. @ the S Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA 10, 16 SEP 2008 (1), 7 SEP 2005 (2), & at Seattle Opera House, 24-25 SEP 1990 (3-5). NAXOS CD. This is part of a 5 CD set of Schuman's Syms. 3-10. Schuman withdrew his first two symphonies, composed in 1935 and 1939.

The Prayer in Time of War is an instrumental piece describing the composer's feelings about WWII. He had tried to enlist, and was disappointed when he was rejected for medical reasons, so he wrote this piece as his contribution to the war effort. The New England Tryptych is Schuman's most famous and most frequently performed work. Per Wikipedia, William Billings (October 7, 1746 – September 26, 1800, both in Boston, MA) is regarded as the first American choral composer. Virtually all of Billings' music was written for four-part chorus, singing a cappella. His many hymns and anthems were published mostly in book-length collections. He was mostly an auto-didact, as his father died when he was 14, stopping his formal education. He died in poverty, leaving a wife and 6 children.

 
 
Rachmaninoff (1873-1943): Tr. 1-6, Moments Musicaux, Op. 16 (31'20)--Alexander Ghindin, piano, rec 1996, licensed from National Music Co, LLC |Tr. 7-13, Morceaux de Salon, Op. 10 (34'40)--Michael Ponti, piano. Rec. 1974, Stuttgart, Germany, licensed from Vox Music. |Tr. 14, Polka de VR (3'30). Rec. 1995. Licensed from Challenge Classics. This is CD 5 in a 9 CD Brilliant set of all the Rachmaninoff solo piano music.
These are excellent and energetic, committed performances.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:52 pm


On Monday, 8 January 2018, I listened to 5 CDs.
 
 
1--Anton Bruckner (1825-96): 4 tracks, Sym. 1 in C Minor (Linz version, 1865-6) (47'04)--Georg Solti, cond., Chicago Sym. Orch. Rec. 2/1995, Orchestra Hall, Chicago. CD 2 of a 10 CD DECCA set of all the Bruckner symphonies by these forces.
 
This is a rousing and stirring recording. I cannot imagine why it is not more popular than it is.
 
 
2--Robert Schumann (1810-56): Das Paradies und Die Peri, Op. 50, an oratorio in 3 parts for soloists, choir, & orchestra. (95'56) Libretto from "Lalla Rookh," an epic poem by Irish poet Thomas Moore (1779-1852), translated to German by Emil Flechsig & Robert Schumann--Carlo Maria Giulini, cond., Orchestra Sinfonica RAI di Roma & Chorus (Roman Radio Sym. Orch. & Chorus)--Margaret Price, soprano (The Peri), Oliviera Miliakovic, soprano (Die Jungfrau--The Maiden), Anne Howells, alto, Marjorie Wright, mezzo-soprano, Werner Hollweg, tenor (The Angel), Carlo Gaifa, tenor, Wolfgang Brendel, baritone, Robert Amis el Hage, bass (Gazna), & Wolfgang Brendel, baritone (The Man)--Rec. 9 FEB 1974 Auditorium RAI, Rome, Italy. 2 CD ARTS ARCHUVES set.
 
I remember back in the 1970's, when I subcribed for a couple of years to a series of Thursday evening Chicago Symphony c oncerts, I attended a live performance of this work by the CSO, conducted by Giulini, who was without a doubt the most beloved conductor in Chicago who was never music director. It was an unforgettable experience. I had never heard of this work before, but it was obvious that Giulini loved it and his performance was exciting and committed, as this one is as well.
 

So, what is the story about? From Wikipedia: The work is based on a German translation (by Schumann and his friend Emil Flechsig) of a tale from Lalla-Rookh by Thomas Moore. The peri, a creature from Persian mythology, is the focus of the story, having been expelled from Paradise and trying to regain entrance by giving the gift that is most dear to heaven. Eventually the peri is admitted after bringing a tear from the cheek of a repentant old sinner who has seen a child praying.

 
I have done some additional reading on this and found out that other composers, including a Friederich Burgmuller (NOT Norbert Burgmuller) and French composer Paul Dukas have written stories on this legend. In one variation of the legend, the Peri is not a fallen angel, but the offspring of a fallen angel and a human. Other writers' and composers' Peris may be of this latter type.
 
Although this work is seldom performed in concert, it is well represented on records. In fact, I went to Amazon.com and put several other recordings of the work on my wants list. More than just 2 or 3, including the present one, have gotten a great many 5 star reviews on Amazon.
 
 
3--Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-93): Tr. 1-4, Sym. 5 in E Minor, Op 64 (43'32) |Tr. 5, 1812 Overture, Op. 49 (15'04) |Tr. 6-7, Eugene Onegin, Op 24 excerpts (12'03): Waltz (6'37), Promendade (5'26)--Ferenc Fricsay, cond., Berlin Phil. (Tr 1-4), Berlin RSO (Tr. 5-7). This is CD 41 of the 45 CD set of Ferenc Fricsay's complete orchestral recordings for DGG.
 
This is one of the most exciting performances of the 5th Symphony I have heard, though the Mravinsky, the Monteux and the Karajan also appeal greatly. The others are exceptional performances as well.
 
4--Haydn (1732-1809): Tr. 1-4, Sym. 40 in F Major (17'07) |Tr. 5-8, Sym. 41 in C Major (18'35) |Tr. 9-12, Sym. 42 in D Major (26'04)--Adam Fischer, cond., Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orch. Rec. 1991, 1994, 1995 Haydnsaal, Esterhazy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria. Vol. 11 of a 33 CD Brilliant set of all the Haydn syms by these forces. Licensed from Nimbus Records.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

david johnson
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:35 am

Today: my voyage through Wagner's Ring has begun. Janowski/Dresden Staatskapelle/RCA

jbuck919
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:59 am

Belle wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:14 am
John F wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:32 am
Kulaks were peasants wealthy enough to own a farm and hire labor. That is, they were wealthy until Stalin collectivized agriculture and took away their land.
This was the social strata from whence (is that an archaic word?)
It is not totally archaic, but if you use it with "from" it is redundant.

Into the universe, and why not knowing,
Nor whence, like water willy-nilly flowing.
Then out again as wind upon the plain,
I know not whither, willy-nilly blowing.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

John F
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by John F » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:32 am

Haydn's Symphony No. 39 in G minor is a wonder, isn't it? Not "Papa Haydn" at all.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb--y2XC3Ls

I first heard it on an old Haydn Society recording conducted by Jonathan Sternberg with a Vienna orchestra, produced by H.C. Robbins Landon (who may also have played continuo, somebody did). Long gone now, of course, but it was worthy of the music. So is this concert performance by the Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Kurt Sanderling, dating from 1996.
John Francis

Belle
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by Belle » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:59 am

John F wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:32 am
Haydn's Symphony No. 39 in G minor is a wonder, isn't it? Not "Papa Haydn" at all.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb--y2XC3Ls

I first heard it on an old Haydn Society recording conducted by Jonathan Sternberg with a Vienna orchestra, produced by H.C. Robbins Landon (who may also have played continuo, somebody did). Long gone now, of course, but it was worthy of the music. So is this concert performance by the Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Kurt Sanderling, dating from 1996.
Didn't Christa Landon play harpsichord? She was HC's first wife.

Belle
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by Belle » Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:10 pm

Why do you say that this "is not Papa Haydn at all"? The work seems splendid to me and I'm largely unfamiliar with Haydn's first 50 or so symphonies. Here's another version of it on period instruments where the tempo is faster and the texture thinner:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNjhvHBY-qc

John F
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by John F » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:13 pm

You misunderstand. "Papa Haydn" is the conventional and sometimes dismissive image of the elderly benevolent composer. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papa_Haydn) This symphony is unlike any of the later symphonies by which he is best known. Of course the symphony is splendid, I said it's a wonder, and that's why I've drawn attention to it.

Christa Landon was a solo harpsichordist and pianist - as far as I know she never played continuo - but it's Robbins Landon who is credited with the harpsichord continuo on several early Haydn Society recordings that I have. She was also an important musicologist and her major contribution to the Haydn Society was collaborating with her husband on scholarly editions of Haydn's music; she also edited Haydn's piano sonatas for Universal Edition. She was his wife from 1949 until she died in an airplane crash in 1977.
John Francis

jbuck919
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:28 pm

John F wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:13 pm
You misunderstand. "Papa Haydn" is the conventional image of the genial, senior composer. This symphony is unlike any of his best-known works.

Christa Landon was a harpsichordist and pianist, but it's Robbins Landon who is credited with the harpsichord continuo on several early Haydn Society recordings that I have. She was also an important musicologist and her major contribution to the Haydn Society was collaborating with her husband on scholarly editions of Haydn's music; she also edited Haydn's piano sonatas for Universal Edition. She was his wife from 1949 until she died in an airplane crash in 1977.
For once in a great while I have to differ with you, if only in a mild way. One of the joys of Haydn is that, though he had "periods" like other great composers, in the genres in which he excels he wrote masterpieces at least on and off from beginning to end, which is more than can be said of Mozart. I also, like Belle, do not know why you have singled out that symphony, which while excellent strikes me as entirely characteristic. I also do not know, so please enlighten me, how he picked up the silly nickname "Papa" Haydn, though I am aware of it as such. There is an old set of mnemonics about famous movements that uses that nickname for the theme from the "Surprise" Symphony slow movement, and I won't tell you what it does with the Mozart Symphony in G minor, because you would never get the words out of your head.

Incidentally, H.C. Robbins Landon had the reputation of keeping Haydn scholarship strictly to himself. He would offer no cooperation to anyone trying to supplement his major work. That may be one of the reasons why we still get biographies of other great composers but nothing recent about Haydn.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:37 am


On Tuesday, 9 January 2018, I listened to 5 CDs. Well, a little more, but that will be explained in the course of my tale.
 
 
1) Rachmaninoff: Corelli Variations, Op. 42 (15'39) |MacDowell: Six Fancies, Op. 7 (6'20) |MacDowell: Piano Sonata 4 in E Minor, Op. 59 "Keltic" (3 movements) (18'02) |Chopin: Ballade 4 in F Minor, Op. 52 (9'28), Ballade 3 in A Flat Major, Op. 47 (6'36), Ballade 2 in F Major, Op. 38 (5'47), Ballade 1 in G Minor, Op. 23 (8'23) |Gluck / Chasins: Melody from Orfeo (5'00) |Chasins: Rush Hour in Hong Kong (1'37) |MacDowell: To a Wild Rose, Op. 51, # 1 (1'45)--Constance Keene, piano, rec. live 15 JAN 1995 @ the 12 Annual International Piano Festival, Dudley Recital Hall, University of Houston's Moores School of Music. KASP Records.
 
KASP Records is owned, as some of you know, by one of my online friends on two fora, Donald Isler, who is a pianist, concertizer, educator, and record company entrepreneur in NYC. Constance Keene, whose pianism is featured on this CD, was one of his teachers. The liner notes with this release feature quotes of praise from a number of authoritative sources, including Vladimir Horowitz, Artur Rubinstein, and a number of review magazines, esp. American Record Guide. And, indeed, I find that my ears confirm, in large measure, the justice in this praise.
 
The first thing I note is that Ms. Keene plays, as a rule, faster than most others. Her Corelli Variations, for example, are a full and exact one minute faster than the version by Santiago Rodriquez I reported on a few days ago. And, I compared her timings for the Chopin Ballades with the three other versions I own--those of Vladimir Ashkenazy, Artur Rubinstein, and Samson Francois. I wish I knew how to present them in tabular form. My apologies for not being able to do so, but this is the best I can do:
 
Bal# Keene V.Ash A. Rub S Fra
1 8'33 9'47 9'17 7'40
2 5'47 7'38 7'15 6'49
3 6'36 7'29 7'15 7'03
4 9'28 11'20 10'42 9'20
 
As you can see, Samson Francois is actually faster than Keene in the 1st and 4th ballades, but Ashkenazy and Rubinstein, and Francois in the 2nd and 3rd ballades, are slower than Keene. I auditioned the Ashkenazy and Rubinstein recordings of Ballade 1 for comparison, and I think I can say that in the faster passages of the work, they are as fast as Keene, but they slow down more for their introduction and for about a minute half way through the development. I can assure you, however, that I find all of them intensely sensitive to the musical content.
 
The pieces of most intense interest here are the Chopin Ballades, the Rachmaninoff Corelli Variations, and the MacDowell sonata--this latter has a very Irish sound to it in certain sections in each movement, filled with the moodiness and sense of the cruelty of fate inherent in the Irish temperament (I am 3/8 Irish my own self, so don't give me any static on this).
 
All in all, I would say this is well worth acquiring. Highly recommended. I would like to ask Donald Isler a question, though. What was Keene's rationale for presenting the Chopin Ballades in reverse order? None of the other three pianists I have doing this work do this. It puzzles me.
 
 

2) John Nicholson Ireland (1879 –1962): Tr. 1-4, String Quartet 1 in D Minor (27'18) |Tr. 5, The Holy Boy (3'18) |Tr. 6-9, String Quartet 2 in C Minor (31'55)--Maggini Quartet (Laurence Jackson, violin 1, David Angel, violin 2, Martin Outram, viola, Michael Kaznowski, cello). NAXOS CD rec. in Potton Hall, Suffolk, UK, 21-23 JAN 2004.


 

John Nicholson Ireland was, despite his surname, of Scottish descent and born in England, specifically Bowdon, Chesire, UK and died in Rock Mill, Washington, Sussex, UK at age 82. His parents were an unusal couple--his father was 70 when he was born, and his mother was 30 years younger than he, but died when John was 14, his father a year later, so he had a rather sad and emotionally trying childhood which plagued him all his life despite his substantial material success.
 
From the blurb @ the top of the rear cover on this CD: ....Ireland drew his inspiration from his country's heritage, its poetry, and its landscapes. He emerged as a celebrated composer at the end of WWI, [having studied composition @ the Royal College of Music with Charles Villiers Stanford. He earned a substantial amount of his income as a church organist throughout his adult life.] By the end of WW I, he had destroyed almost all of his student works [other than the three compositions on this disc]. Both quartets are modelled on the late quartets of Beethoven and Brahms, and "The Holy Boy," one of Ireland's most popular works, was written on Christmas Day, 1913, and is here adapted for string quartet, one of several arrangements of the work by the composer.
 
The liner notes in the booklet contain the following statement, which answers a question about which I was curious: why would a group of English musicians known for championing British works: why the Italian name for the quartet? "The Maggini Quartet takes its name from the famous 16th century Brescian violin maker Giovanni Paolo Maggini, an example of whose work is played by David Angel, [the second violinist in the Quartet]."
 
 
3) William Howard Schuman (1910-92): Tr. 1-3, Sym. 8 (1962) (32'28) |Tr. 4, Night Journey (1947) (25'28) |Tr. 5, Charles Ives, arr. Schuman: Variations on "America" (1891/1964)--Gerard Schwarz, cond., Seattle Symphony Orch.--Rec. in the S Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA, 21 OCT 2008 (tr. 1-3), 3 OCT 2007 (tr. 4), & at Seattle Opera House on 15 OCT 1991 (tr. 5).
 
These works have a dour character about them which seems out of character with the earlier volumes in this Schuman series. Part of the reason can be seen in the subject of "Night Journey, the middle piece on this program: it "is based on Schuman's score for Martha Graham's ballet about Jocasta's tragic destiny as both mother and wife of Oedipus."
 
 
4) Rachmaninoff (1873-1943): ":Piano work transcriptions: Tr. 4-6, Suite from Partita in E for 46)Solo Violin by J.S. Bach (12'46). Obviously, the CD has 3 transcriptions before this, and the ones after it number from 7-17. They are mostly transcriptions of snippets from other composers' works, but 4 of them seem to be alternate versions of works or sections of works by Rachmaninoff himself. These are mostly short pieces and I'll be damned if I am going to spend my time listing them all! TT: 51'10--Garrick Ohlsson, piano. Rec. 1975, Abbey Rd. Studios, London. CD 6 of a 9 CD Brilliant box of Rachmaninoff's complete solo piano works. This volume licensed from EMI Classics.
 
 
5) Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky (1840-93): Tr. 1-4, Sym. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 "Pathetique" (42'15) |Tr. 5-7, Violin Concero in D Major, Op. 35 (29'48)--Yehudi Menuhin, violin (tr. 5-7),Ferenc Fricsay, cond. (all), Berlin Phil (1-4), Berrlin RSO (tr. 5-7). Rec. Berlin (all), Jesus-Christus-Kirche (tr. 1-4) 1-4 JUL 1953, Titania-Palast 24 SEP 1949 (tr. 5-7). MONO. This is CD 42 of the 45 CD set of Ferenc Fricsay's 45 CD set of all the conductor's orchestral recordings for DGG.
 
The vibrant sound on this CD amd most others in this series will astonish many who think old recordings like this from the age before stereo, much less before CDs or digital recording, were all poorly engineered. The truth is they were often very well recorded, but home reproduction equipment didn't keep up with advances by recording companies. And, in fact, at the low and mid-price points (say, under $3K for a CD player, preamp. power amp, and stereo speakers), they still don't.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

John F
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by John F » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:19 am

jbuck919 wrote:I also, like Belle, do not know why you have singled out that symphony, which while excellent strikes me as entirely characteristic. I also do not know, so please enlighten me, how he picked up the silly nickname "Papa" Haydn
If you read the Wikipedia article on "Papa Haydn" that I linked to in my post, you'll find out.

And how can you say that this stormy, angry symphony is "wholly characteristic" of the famous composer of the Paris and London symphonies? For a brief period in the 1760s, when he was in his 30s, Haydn composed several minor-key symphonies in a manner known as "Sturm und Drang" that is quite uncharacteristic of him before and afterwards. Others include #34 in D minor, #44 "Trauer," #45 "Farewell," and #49 "La Passione." I singled out the 39th symphony partly because it was one of those which RebLem had recently listened to and partly because it's one of my favorites - I'm bringing it to the attention of other CMG members who've never heard it.

Not only did Haydn not compose symphonies like these after the 1760s, he actually composed a symphony whose first movement uses that style to set up one of his funniest jokes, the Symphony #80. I'm not going to try to read his mind but will just "play" it for you now. Hint: the first movement isn't the only humorous surprise in the piece.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=immouf_kH9o&t

Having gotten that out of his system, he went on to compose the great symphonies for Paris and London which, for a long time, were the only Haydn symphonies ever performed. That the Haydn repertoire is much broader now we owe in large part to Robbins Landon, whose Haydn Society published many of the earlier symphonies that weren't previously available in usable scores.
John Francis

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:47 am


On Wednesday, 10 January 2018, I listened to only 3 CDs. I had a bit of grocery shopping to do, and a fair amount of DVRed TV shows to catch up on, and some laundry to do and a few other household tasks. I am also in the process of reorganizing my record collection. I had all the single composer records organized by nationality; I have decided to go by an alphabetical system, more or less. First cabinet is already reorganized. J.S. Bach still takes up the same 4 bottom shelves in a cabinet it has for years. Above that is five shelves of Beethoven, and above that is two shelves of Brahms. Above that is only one more shelf, and that is for "A" composers at one end, and 5 CDs of Bach sons records at the other end of the shlef. At least half of the A's are Antheil or Atterburg, by Abel, Stephen Albert, Malcolm Arnold, William Allwyn, and Juan Crisostomo Arriaga are represented as well. Next, it will be on to the other B names, which I have organized into 3 bins--one where the second letter is a-i, the next j-r, and the last s-z. I will be going through a few remaining shelves gathering other B names before I proceed. Anyway, here is today's listening:
 
 
1-2) Anton Bruckner (1824-96): Sym. 2 in C Minor (ed. Nowak) (55'34) |Sym. 5 in B Flat Major (79'29)--Georg Solti, cond., Chicago Sym. Orch., rec. 10/1991 Orchestra Hall, Chicago (#2), and 1/1980 @ Medinah Temple, Chicago (#5). CDs 3-4 of a 10 CD DECCA set of all the Bruckner Symphonies by these forces.
 
Solit makes a powerful case for these two works. In his hands, they seem to acquire a depth and a level of accomplishment I had not noticed before. But Decca has screwed up on the presentation. For some completely inexplicable reason, they decided to spread Symphony 5, which is 79'29 in length, over two CDs. CD 3 consists of the 55'34 Second Symphony and the 26'27 ist movement of the 5th, and then CD 4 consists of the 59'00 last 3 movements of the Fifth. They could have put each symphony on a separate disc, and I see no reason why they had to complicate things like this.
 
 
3) Kurt Weill (1900-50): A Song Collection from Kurt Weill's career on Broadway--Thomas Hampson, baritone, Elisabeth Futral, coloratura soprano, Jerry Hadley, tenor, Jeanne Lehman, singer/actress, London Sinfonietta & Chorus, John McGlinn, cond.--EMI CD TT: 76'25. Rec. 6/1994, Lyndhurst Hall, Air Studios, London.
 
Here we have a rarity--a crossover record in which Yo-Yo Ma is not involved. This album concentrates on some of Weill's less well known Broadway musicals and the songs from them:
1--Westwind from "One Touch of Venus," lyrics by Ogden Nash 1943 (3'38)
2-3--two songs from "Knickerbocker Holiday," lyrics by Maxwell Anderson 1938 |2--It Never Was You (5'37) |3--How Can You Tell an American? (3'31)
4-11--Music from "The Firebrand of Florence," lyrics by Ira Gershwin 1945--a fictionalized portrayal of the last days of Florentine goldsmith, sculptor, soldier, and bisexual sexual harrasser Benvenuto Cellini (1500-71). |4--Song of the Hangman (5'02) |5--Civic Song: Come to Florence (5'03) |6--My Lords and Ladies (1'16) |7--Farewell Song: There Was Life, There Was Love, There Was Laughter (7'17) |8--Love Song: You're Far Too Near Me (6'01) |9--Procession: Chant of Law and Order: The World is Full of Villains (4'07) |10--Trial By Music: You Have to do What You Do Do (5'41) |11--Love is My Enemy (4'12)
12-15--4 songs from "Love Life," lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner 12--Who Is Samuel Cooper? My Name is Samuel Cooper (6'13) |13--Here I'll Stay (6'44) |14--I Remember It Well (2'45) |15--This Is the Life (6'44)
16--Johnny's Song from "Johnny Johnson," lyrics by Paul Green, 1936 (3'22)
Thomas Hampson is a phenomenal baritone and actor, and the principal singer here. The most affecting songs, to me, were Westwind," "How Can Yoiu Tell an American?," "There was Life, There was Love, There Was Laughter," and "Who Is Samuel Cooper? My Name is Samuel Cooper." This CD is guaranteed to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:22 am


On Thursday, 11 January 2018 and into the wee hours of the 12th, I listened to 4 CDs.
 
 
Haydn (1732-1809): Tr. 1-4, Sym. 43 in E Flat Major "Mercury" (23'27) |Tr. 5-8, Sym. 44 in E Minor "Trauersympphonie" (22'56) |Tr. 9-12, Sym. 45 in F Sharp Minor "Farewell" (26'17)--Adam Fischer, cond., Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orch. Rec. 1988, 1994 Haydnsaal, Esterhazy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria. CD 12 of a 33 CD Brilliant set of the complete Haydn Syms. Licensed from Nimbus Records.
 
 
Brahms: Tr. 1-3, Piano Concerto 1 in D Minor, Op. 15 (43'40)--Karl Bohm, cond., Vienna Phil., rec. 1952 |Haydn: Tr. 4, Andante con Variozioni in F Minor (XVII No. 6) (9'15) |Tr. 5, Fantasia in C Najor (XVII, No. 4) (5'23), rec. Vienna Festival, 1959--Wilhelm Backhaus, piano (all)--CD 1 of a 2 CD Profil set.
 
Decent performance in the Brahms, excellent performances of the Haydn pieces.
 
 
Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924): Tr. 1-4, Piano Quintet in D Minor, Op. 25 (37'15) |Tr. 6-8, String Quintet 1 in F Major, Op. 85 (27'24)--Piers Lane, piano (in Op. 25), RTE [Irish Radio & Television] Vanbrugh Quartet (Gregory Ellis, violin, Keith Pascoe, violin, Simon Aspell, viola, Christopher Marwood, cello) + Garth Knox (2nd viola in string quintet)--Helios CD. Rec. 7-10 NOV 2004.
 
These are OK works, well constructed, but not what I would call emotionally or intellectually affecting.
 
 
William Howard Schuman (1910-92): Tr. 1-4, Sym. 7 (28'57) |Tr. 5-7, Sym. 10 "American Muse" (31'51)--Gerard Schwarz, cond., Seattle Sym.--Rec. @ the S Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, Benaroyal Hall, Seattle, WA 11/2003 (tr. 1-4), & 9/2004 (tr. 5-7). NAXOS CD. Part of a 5 CD set of the complete symphonies 3-10 of the composer. He withdrew his first two symphonies, written in 1935 & 1939.
 
These performances and the Haydn symphonies are the most exciting things I listend to this session.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by jserraglio » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:58 am

Digitized analog reel recordings of Robert Mann with the JSQ [TT: 11 hrs]:
____________________________________________________________________________________

Juilliard String Quartet - Live from the Library of Congress 1965-1991

1. 1965, December 17 & 18: Mozart Brahms Dvorák (December 17 edited for broadcast)
Mozart Quartet K.428
Brahms Piano Quartet in C minor
Dvorák Piano Quartet in Eb major
Isidore Cohen, 2nd violin (Earl Carlyss in all others except 1991)
Rudolf Firkusny, piano

2. 1966, November 3 & 4: Arriaga Bloch Dvorak
Arriaga String Quartet #1 in D minor
Bloch Piano Quintet #1
Dvorak Piano Quintet in A major
Gary Graffman, piano

3. 1966, November 10 & 11: Schubert
Schubert Quartet in Bb, Op.168

4. 1967, October 7: Haydn Mozart Schoenberg
Haydn Quartet Op.64 #6
Mozart Quintet in C major, K.515
Schoenberg Transfigured Night
Walter Trampler, viola
Leslie Parnas, cello

5. 1967, November 9 & 10: Haydn Schuman Smetana
Haydn Quartet Op.76 #3 "Emperor”
William Schuman Amaryllis (Carmen Balthrop, Anne Carter, Linden Maxwell: voices)
Smetana Quartet "From My Life"

6. 1970, October 23: Haydn Wolf Bartok
Haydn Quartet in F minor, Op.55 #2
Wolf Intermezzo
Wolf Italian Serenade
Bartok Quartet #1

7. 1978, Dec. 19: Mozart Rachmaninov Schubert
Mozart Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
Rachmaninov Cello Sonata

Schubert Trout Quintet
Joel Krosnick, cello
Donald Palma, bass
Jorge Bolet, piano

8. 1991, December: Harbison
John Harbison The Rewaking (poems by William Carlos Williams)
Benita Valente, soprano
Joel Smirnoff, 2nd violin

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:28 am

I'm listening through the Vaughn-Williams EMI box with Boult/various London groups. It is very good.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:00 am


On Friday, 12 JAN 2018, I listened to 5 CDs.
 
 
1--Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943): Tr. 1--Somg without words in D Minor: Lento (1'06) |Tr. 2-5--Four Pieces (1887-91) (13'04) |Tr. 6--Canon in E Minot: Andante (2'01) |Tr. 7-10--Suite in D Minor (1890-1) |Tr. 11--Prelude in F: Commodo.... (20 July -1 August 1891) (3'10) |Tr. 12-15--Four Improvisations on themes of Arensky, Glazunov, Taneyev, & Rachmaninoff (1896-7) (3'20) |Tr. 16--Moreceaux de fantaisie in G Minor: Liberamente (11-23 January 1899 (1'00) |Tr. 17--Fughetta in F: Moderato (4-16 February 1899) (2'23) |Tr. 18--Oriental Sketch in B Flat :....(14-27 November 1917) (1'52) |Tr. 19--Prelude in D Minor ....(14-27 November 1917) (2'30) |Tr. 20--Fragments in A Flat....(15-28 November 1917 (1'57) |Tr. 21--The Star Spangled Banner in B Flat (arr. Rachmaninoff) (15 December 1918) (1'24)--Nils Franke, piano. Rec. 1-3 August 2008 Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex, England. CD 7 of a 9 CD Brilliant set of Rachmininoff's complete solo piano music.
 
 
2--Anton Bruckner (1824-96): Tr. 1-4--Symphony 3 in D Minor (1877 vers., ed. Nowak) (59'33)--Georg Solti, cond., Chicago Sym. Orch. Rec. Orchestra Hall, Chicago, 11/1992. CD 5 of a 10 CD DECCA set of the complete Bruckner Symphonies.
 
 
3--Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644-1704) (77'34): Missa Christus resurgentis8 (1673-4)--Andrew Manze, cond., The Englkish Concert & Choir. Rec. 20-23 SEP 2004 @ The Temple Church, London. harmonia mundi CD.
At least that's the title of the album, but its a bit more complicated. It starts with a Fanfare, and instrumental music, not all by Biber, is played at various times, often interstitially with sections of the mass. It goes like this 1)Fanfare 4 a due from "Sanatae tam aris quam aulis servientes" (1676) (1'56) |2) Sonata (1'16) |3) Kyrie (3'11) |4) Gloria (8'57) |5) Sonata a 6 (c. 1673) for trumpet, 2 violins, 2 violas, & bass (7'10) |6) Credo (11'21) |7) Sonata XII from "Sacra-profanus concentus musicus (1662) by Johann Henrich Schmelzer (c. 1620-80) (4'40) |8) Sanctus (4'49) |9) Sonata XI from "Fidicinium sacro-profanum" (1682) (6'09) |10) Agnus Dei (4'15) |11) Fanfare 1 a due from "Sanatae tam aris quam aulis servientes" (1676) (1'32) |12-15) Fidicinium sacro-profanum (1672): Sonata I (7'37), Sonata V (3'59), Sonata III (5'09), Sonata VII (5'45).
Now, if you can make sense of that, you are a better--or perhaps just crazier--person than I.
 
 
4--Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-93): Tr. 1-4--Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48 (27'18) |Tr. 5-8--Symphony 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 "Pathetique" (50'37)--Ferenc Fricsay, cond. Berlin RSO. Rec., Berlin, Jesus-Christus-Kirche 14-15 OCT 1952 (1-4)--MONO, & 17-23 SEP 1959 (5-8)--STEREO. This is CD 43 of a 45 CD set of Fricsay's complete orchestral recordings for DGG.
 
Actually, the serenade was more interesting to me than the symphony. The Serenade was played light-heatedly and with lots of exuberant delight in the melodies. The Pathetique seemed excessively slow and lugubrious. I'd say this is one of Fricsay's few misses.
 
 
5) Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809): Tr. 1-4--Sym. 46 in B Major (16'56) |Tr. 5-8--Sym. 47 in G Major (20'17) |Tr. 9-12--Sym. 48 in C Major "Maria Theresia" (26'43)--Adam Fischer, cond., Austro-Humgarian Haydn Orchestra, rec. Haydnsaal, Esterhazy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria. This is CD 13 in a 33 CD Brilliant set of the complete Haydn symphonies by these forces. Licensed from Nimbus Records.
 
As always, these are committed, exciting performances, especially, it seemed to me, in Sym. 48.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:10 am

​On Saturday, 13 January 2018, and into the wee hours on 14 January, I listened to 8 CDs.

1) Wilhelm Backhaus, piano ((1884-1964) in two works: |a) Johannes Brahms (1833-97): Piano Concerto 2 in B Flat Major, Op. 83 (45'35)--Carl Schuricht, cond., Wiener Philharmoniker, rec. 1953. |b) Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809): Sonata 52 in E Flat Major (XVI Nr. 52)--rec. 1959, during the Vienna Festival. CD 2 of a 2 CD Profil set featuring performances of Wilhelm Backhaus in Brahms and Haydn.
The performance of the Brahms concerto is a great deal better and more committed than the one of the First Piano Concerto on CD 1 with Karl Bohm.

2) Aleksandr Tikhonovich Grechaninov (25 OCT 1864, Moscow, Russia--3 JAN 1956, NYC, USA): Tr. 1-3, Piano Trio 1 in C minor, Op. 38 (26'55) |Tr. 4-6, Cello Sonata in E Minor, Op. 113 (18'54) |Tr. 7-9, Piano Trio 2 in G Major, Op. 128 (18'05)--The Moscow Rachmaninov Trio (Viktor Yampolsky, piano, Mikhail Tsinman, violin, Natalia Savinova, cello)--Rec. in the State House of Broadcasting and Audio-Recording, Moscow, 10 & 14 OCT & 2 & 5 NOV 2000.
Someone who calls himself ( ? ) Hexameron wrote a review of this CD at Amazon giving it 3 stars and saying it was deficient in that it was not at all emotional or commtted--the works, that is, not the performance. I wrote and alternative review, which was moderated and has been approved and posted. Here it is:
I am moved to mild dissent from Hexameron's review. Its not that he's way off base. He isn't. His statement resonates with me in almost all particulars except when he says it isn't stirring and its pleasant background music for reading. No, to me, that sounds more like Chopin's Nocturnes, or maybe Charles Villiers Stanford's chamber music. This music is stirring. The question is, to what? That's a lot harder to answer. Maybe impossible. I just have a different reaction to this music. It certainly won't stir patriotic fervor in anyone. This is no national anthem of Sibelius Finlandia. Nor will it stir the kind of religious fervor that we find in, let's say, Handel's Messiah. Or anger at the cruelty of death as in Verdi's Requiem. It stirs, but to no particular end.
I can't quite say why, but I just react to the realities of this music in a bit more positive way than Hexameron does. Maybe its the fact that I was born on Grechaninov's 78th birthday. Or maybe I see evidence of a certain public awareness and political astuteness about him. In 1924, he emigrated from Russia to France, then in 1939 to the US. In other words, twice in his life he saw things he didn't like and apparently said to himself, "I'd better get out while the getting is good." If more people were like that, the history of the last hundred years could have been a great deal less tragic than it has been. And maybe that's what it stirs to: taking responsibility for your own fate. Don't have so much angst about the fools around you and the fate toward which they are heading. Just say no. Save yourself.
One thing Hexameron didn't talk about. The sound quality of this CD. It is excellent, of the highest standard. Perhaps Hexameron didn't mention that because we all know that helios is an hyperion label, and they are known for having the highest standards of recording quality, along with Harmonia Mundi, cpo, and Chandos. But that brings up another reason for buying this CD. Hyperion is a company with a conscience. They do good work. They have a pretty consistent record of recording adventursome repertoire, taking chances on particular composers and/or performers. They have worked for and earned our respect and admiration, and they deserve to be supported.

3) Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915): Tr. 1-6, Sym. 1 in E Major, Op. 26 (50'38)--Stefania Toczyska, mezzo-soprano (in Track 6), Michael Myers, tenor, Ticcardo Muti, cond., The Philadelphia Orch. & The Westminster Choir--Rec. 1986-91, Memorial Hall, Philadelphia. CD 1 of a 3 CD set of the Scriabin symphonies conducted by Maestro Muti.

Yes, we're back to Scriabin again! The finale here is a bit more exciting than the Ashkenazy, but then The Philadelphia Orchestra is better than the one Ashkenazy had. An excellent CD.

4) Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943): Works for piano duets and trios--a) Tr. 1-4, Fantaisie-Tableaux (Suite # 1) for 2 pianos, Op. 5 (22'23) |Tr. 5, Russian Rhapsody (9'02) |Tr. 6-11, Six Moreceaux for Piano Duet, Op. 11 (23'19) |Tr. 12-13: Two piec es for piano six-hands (1'09) & Romance (3'40) |Tr. 14, Polka italienne for piano duet (1'49)--Ingryd Thorson & Julian Thurber, duo pianists, with David Gardiner in tracks 12-13. Rec. 1985 in Paula's Recording Hall, Denmark. This is CD 8 of a 9 CD Brilliant set of Rachmaninoff's complete unaccompanied piano works. This CD licensed from Paula Records, Denmark.
These are excellent performances, continuing the high standard of this series.

Anton Bruckner (1824-96): Sym. 4 in E Flat Major (ed. Nowak) (63'07)--Georg Solti, cond., Chicago Sym. Orch.--Rec. 1/1981, Orchestra Hall, Chicago. CD 6 of a 10 CD DECCA set of the complete Bruckner symphonies by these forces.
This is a truly exceptional performance.

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963): Tr. 1-4, Secheresses (Locusts), cantata for mixed choir and orchestra (after a poem by Edward Jones) (16'47) |Tr. 5-11, Seven Responsories for Tenebrae (text from "Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae") for child soprano, men's chorus, children's chorus, and orch. (1961-2) (23'55) |Tr. 12-15, Four Motets for a Time of Penitence for Mixed Choir a capella (14'51)--Alexandre Carpentier, boy soprano (tr. 5-11), Catherine Resnel, soprano (tr. 15), Choirs of Radio France (tr. 1-4, 12-15), Women of La Sainte Chapelle, Petits Chanteurs de Chaillot, Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (tr. 1-11), George Pretre, cond.--This CD is from the now defunct Musical Heritage Society, but was licensed from EMI France. Rec. Salle Wagram, Paris, 22-23 DEC 1983 (tr. 1-11) & 3-5 SEP 1984 (tr. 12-15).
Go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenebrae for information on what Tenebrae meant and means. This work was commissioned by NYPO and Leonard Bernstein for the opening of Philharmonic Hall in Lincoln Center. It was one of Poulenc's last works, and its first performance was on 11 APR 1963, after the composer's death. Go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sept_r%C3 ... %C3%A8bres for a more complete explanation.

7) Excerpts from 8 operas: 3 from Verdi's Aida, 1 from Otello, the overtures to Nabucco, La Forza del destino, and I Vespri Siciliani, two preludes from La Traviata, 4 more exerpts from Aida, and The Dance of the Hours from Ponchielli's La Giaconda. This last, at 10'17, is the longest excerpt on the CD. Ferenc Fricsay cond. Berlin RSO, mostly in mono in the 1950's, but tracks 1-4 and 14 from 1960 are in stereo. This is CD 44 of the 45 CD set of Fricsay's complete orchestral recordings for DGG.

8) Haydn (1732-1809): Tr. 1-4, Sym. 49 in F Minor "La Passione" (21'56) |Tr. 5-8, Sym. 50 in C Major (17'44) |Tr. 9-12, Sym. 51 in B Flat Major (19'19)--Adam Fischer, cond., Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra. Rec. 1994, 1995 Haydnsaal, Esterhazy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria. This is CD 14 of a 33 CD Brilliant set of all the Haydn symphonies by these forces. Licensed from Numbus Records.
Excellent performances.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:10 am


On Sunday, 14 January 2018, I listened to 6 CDs.
 
 

1) Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904): Tr. 1-3, Cello Concerto in (37'09)--Maurice Gendron, cello, Rec. 16 JAN 1944 |Tr. 4, Tristan und Isolde: Prelude and Liebestod (15'30), rec. date unknown. |Tr. 5-8, Mahler (1860-1911): Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer) (1897) (17'26)--Hermann Schey, bass-baritone--rec. Thursday, 9 NOV 1939 @ the Concergebouwworkest |Tr. 9, Mozart (1756-1791): Magic Flute Overture (6'41)--Willem Mengelberg, cond. (all), Paris Radio Orchestra (tr. 1-3), Concertgebouw Orch. (Tr. 4-9)--Archive Documents label.

 
 
Archive Documents is a private label, which is the polite way of saying pirate label. Its documentation is sketchy. No singer is listed anywhere on the record for the Songs of a Wayfarer, though I clearly hear a bass-baritone voice. I did a little detective work online, and checked Willem Mengelberg's bio on Wikipedia. At the bottom of the article, where it refers the reader to other sources, I noticed that a discography was listed. I went there, and it had all Mengelberg's recordings listed there, including the ones issued on private labels, and in the private label category, it did list the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, so I clicked on that, and it identified Archive Documents as the issuing label, and said the singer was ":Hermann Shey," together with the other information listed in my headnote here. So, I went to Wikipedia again and entered that name, and it said, "Do you mean Hermann Schey?" I said yes, and BOOM! I saw an explosion of biographical information about Hermann Schey, and the fact that he seems to have been a favorite of Mengelberg's, because they made a number of other recordings together as well.
 
This CD was obviously made using a scratchly record, probably some old 78's, as masters. The recording quality is not the best, but these performances are listenable. They are pretty decent performances, but nothing here is in my top 10 recommendations for any of these works.
 
Do not misunderstand me. Mengelberg was a great conductor, and considering the fact that he went about as far as he could go in making it clear that he was not in agreement with Naziism without being arrested, I think the way he was treated after the war was a disgrace, especially considering all the German musicians that got away with so much more. The liner notes say they wre written by one Michael G Thomas. I checked on that name, and he seems to be a prominent British science fiction writer, not a classical musician or critic. At any rate, some of what he said, if true, is worthy of note, and here is a bleeding chunk of it:
 
"The Paris Radio Orchestra was set up for the Occupying Power by Jean Fournet, who became its principal conductor. It was official Nazi policy (at least in the beginning) to encourage indigenous culture. Hence the first recording of Debussy's "Pelleas" at the time. 'Armistice' was stressed rather than Defeat. Musicians in Paris recollect Mengelberg exhorting them, "Do not play like the vanquished!" They have rather different recollections of Von Karajan, who, as the musical arm of Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry, arrived to establish his own particular conquest resplendent in full Nazi uniform including jackboots, and barking out military-style commands to the Hall management."
 
 
2) George Onslow (1784-1853): Tr. 1-4, Nonet in A Minor for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, cello, & double bass, Op. 77 (33'16) |Tr. 5-8, Quintet 19 in C Minor for 2 violins, viola, cello, & double bass, Op. 44 (32'14)--Ma'alot Wind Quintet (Christina Fassbender, flute, Christian Wetzel, oboe, Ulf-Guido Schoefer, clarinet, Volker Grewel, horn, Voker Tessmann, bassoon) (in Op. 77 only) |Manderling Quartet (Sebastian Schmidt, violin, Nanette Schmidt, violin, Roland Glassl, violin, Bernhard Schmidt, cello), Wolfgang Guettler, double bass--Rec. 15-16 & 18-19 DEC 2003 @ Sendesaal Villa Berg, SWR-Stuttgart. A cpo CD.
 

Onslow was a French composer whose father was English. He was born and died in Clermont-Ferrand, a city and commune of France, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Today, it is a city of about 140,000. If you look it up on Wikipedia, you will find it lies just a tad south of the georgraphic center of France. He came from a very well-situated and prosperous family; his paternal grandfather was a British Earl. He lived in Clermont-Ferrand all his life, though he visited Paris and other cities often in the concert season when his works were being performed. He was very well known and respected during his lifetime, and, in fact, he succeeded Luigi Cherubini as a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1824, but people seem to have lost interest in his music with his passing. Interest in him has revived only in the late 20th century, aided by two websites devoted to his work, and the fact that the International Music Score Library Project now makes free scores of his music publicly available.

 
It is hard to compose music for brass and woodwinds that has any profound meaning, and the Nonet does not. It is, however, a pleasant and interesting piece; the quintet is more interesting, particularly in the last movement, which begins with a dirge-like figure in the double bass while the other strings work melodies around it. A sense of doom pervades. His family was threatened several times during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods, but disaster was avoided and the family's fortunes improved with the restoration of the Boutbons.
 
The Manderling Quartet is familiar to me from the set of the Shostakovich string quartets they did. They are capable performances, but not among my top recommendations for those works.
 
 
3) Vincent Persichetti (1915-87): The Four String Quartets--The Lydian String Quartet (Daniel Stepner & Judith Eisenberg, violins, Mary Ruth Ray, viola, and Joshua Gordon, cello). Rec. 2004-5 @ Slosberg Auditorium, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA. |Tr. 1-4, SQ 1, Op. 7 (1919) (13'31) |Tr. 5-7, SQ 2, Op. 24 (1944) (16'16) |Tr. 8, SQ 3, Op. 81 (1959) (22'52) |Tr. 9, SQ 4, Op. 122 "Parable X" (1972) (23'45).
 

Persichetti was a major American composer and pedagogue. He taught, at various times, at the Combs School of Music, where he was enrolled at the age of 5, the Philadelphia Conservatory, the Curtis School. and Julliard, to which he was recruited in 1947 by our friend William Schuman, whose symphonies I have reviewed over the last week or more. While at Juiliard School of Music, Persichetti was devoted to the wind band movement and encouraged William Schuman and Peter Mennin to compose pieces for wind band. Persichetti's students included Einojuhani Rautavaara, Leonardo Balada, Peter Schickele, and Philip Glass.

 
These pieces seem influenced, at first, by some of the more conservative modernists, like Bartok and Hindemith, but later, in the 1950's, he began to develop a style of his own that departed radically from his past. You can see this transition most markedly by comparing the 2nd quartet with the 3rd, and then you find that the last quartet is even more radical. He wrote in many forms, including a number of works on sacred subjects he called parables, one of which is the last string quartet.
 
 
4) Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943): Works for piano duet. Tr. 1-4, Suite 2 for 2 Pianos, Op. 17 (23'58) |Tr. 5-7, Symphonic Dances for 2 Pianos, Op 45 (32'44) |Tr. 8, Romance in G for piano duet (1'44) |Tr. 9, Prelude in C# Minor for 2 pianos (4'21)--Ingryd Thorson & Julian Thurber, piano duet. Rec. 1985 Paula's Recording Studio, Denmark. This is the 9th and last CD if a Brilliant set of the complete Rachmaninoff solo and duo piano music. This CD licensed from Paula Records, Denmark.
 
These are all dazzling virtuoso pieces any piano afficianado would enjoy.
 
 
5) Anton Bruckner (1824-96): Tr. 1-4, Sym. 6 in A Minor (61'15)--Georg Solti, cond., Chicago Sym. Orch. Rec 1 & 6/1979 Medinah Temple, Chicago. CD 7 of a 10 CD DECCA set of Bruckner's complete symphonies by these forces.
 
This is a magnificent, dazzling performance, but I feel Klemperer plumbs the depths of this work better than Solti.
 
 
6) Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915): Tr. 1-5, Sym 2 in C Minor, Op. 29 (47"55) |Tr. 6, Le Poeme de L'Extase, Op. 54 (20'02)--Ricardo Muti, cond., Philadelphia Orch., Frank Kaderabek, trumpet (tr. 6). Rec. 1986-91 Memorial Hall, Philadelphia. CD 2 of a 3 CD Brilliant set of the complete Scriabin symphonies. Licensed from EMI Records.
 
The are exciting, lush performances by one of the great orchestras of the world.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:18 am

Today begins with: Saint-Saens Sym 3/Barenboim/CSO/DG

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:23 am


On Martin Luther King Day, I only listened to one CD. I caught up on some sleep early in the day until about 9, then got up, had breakfast, and went back to bed to catch up some more. I woke up about 2 PM and by 3 pm was ready to go visit my next door neighbor, who had invited me over to watch a movie and to let our dogs have a play date. She as a little chihuahua named Felix. He must have something besides chihuahua in him, because he has a bit of a wire-haired terrier look to him. Anyway, we watched a movie that was part of a collection I had gotten her for Christmas: Mrs. Miniver (1942), which won a number of Academy Awards. In fact, it is known that Joseph Goebbels arranged for a private showing of the film at the Reichsministry in Berlin for a group of German filmmakers, and afterward, asked them why they couldn't make propaganda films as good as it.
 
 
Anyway, the CD I did listen to was the 45th and last CD in the set of Ferenc Fricsay's complete orchestral recordings for DGG. I thought it was to be a complete Smetana "Ma Vlast" (My Country), but in fact it was not. It was a rehearsal for a performance of just "The Moldau," one of the sections of Ma Vlast, which is often performed separately from the rest. The CD was of limited utility because it was all in German, and I do not undestand German. The orchestra is the Sinfonie Orchester des Suddedeutschen Rundfunks (South German Radio Symphony Orchestra). The timing of the actual performance says it is 11'02, but its actually only 10'30. Anyone can tell, though, that Fricsay had a good sense of humor because the players laugh at a number of times during the rehearsal, and it is evident from Fricsay's tone of voice that it was intended humor. And it is an excellent performance.
 
 
I am making some progress in reorganizing my CD collection, but I am in a quandry about what to do from here. I have gotten through the O's, and am starting to work of P, Q, and R. But I have already filled my three main record cabinets. They were made at an unfinished furniture store in Albuquerque which, however, went out of business a number of years ago, so I can't get any more. I do have three smaller cabinets. One is a double cabinet 12 shelves high which I got years ago by mail order while I was still in Chicago. The other two are about eight shelves high each and things I also got by mail order from a different company. They are not as good as the other two. The shelves are too close together, and they do not give enough headroom for many of my CDs, so in parts, they have to be stacked and put on their sides, which I don't like. A number of new furniture stores have opened in Albuquerque since I last bought a cabinet, so I plan to go out and look and see what I can find.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:54 am


On Tuesday, 16 January 2018, I only listened to one CD again. I also found that somehow, I have misplaced a few things--my recordings of some of the solo instrumental music of J.S. Bach, including all but one of my recordings of the cello suites and multiple recordings of the sonatas & partitas for solo violin are not where they should be. I will have to be on the lookout for them.
 
 

J. S. Bach (1685-1750): Tr. 1-12, Magnificat in D Major, BWV 243 (28'35) |Tr. 12-23, Cantata, BWV 21 "Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis" for 3rd Sunday after Trinity (43'56)--Nederlands Kamerkoor, La Petite Bande, Sigiswald Kuijken, cond., Greta de Reyghere, soprano, René Jacobs, alto, Christoph Prégardien, tenor, Peter Lika, bass.--Rec. 12/1988 @ Augustinuskerk (St Augustine Church), Amsterdam, The Netherlands.--Virgin Classics CD.

 
I am also the first to review this CD at Amazon.com., as follows:
The two works performed here are two that have never gone out of fashion, even in the days before the Bach revival, in the darkest times for his reputation, these works were recognized as masterworks and have never been out of the repertoire. La petite bande was founded by Sigiswald Kuijken in 1972. It is a period instruments ensemble which has come to be recognized as having the highest standard of performance in Bach and other composers as well. The ensemble has, for example, recorded all the Haydn symphonies from the Paris Symphonies (82-87) on to 104, and they are, in my judgment, among the very best performances available. Seeing the Sigisiwald Kuijken name on any recording has come to be a virtual guarantee of quality, and these two performances of these two works so central to Bach's choral repertoire are no exception. This is a must buy for any serious collector of the Music of the Baroque, and of Bach in particular. The vocal soloists are exceptional, and their voices blend well together.
 
 


 
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:44 am

This morning has begun with: Brahms, sym 1 & 2, Serenade #2, Variations on a theme by Haydn/Kertesz/VPO/London 2 cd

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:46 am


On Wednesday, 17 January 2018, I listened to 4 CDs.
 
 
1) F. J. Haydn (1732-1809): Tr. 1-4, Sym. 52 in C Minor (20'50) |Tr. 5-8, Sym. 53 in D Major "L'Imperiale" (22'23) |Tr. 9-12, Sym. 54 in G Major (24'38)--Adam Fisher, cond., Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orch. Rec. 1994-5 Haydnsaal, Esterhazy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria. This is CD 15 of a 33 CD Brilliant set of the complete Haydn Syms. by these forces. Licensed from Nimbus Records.
 
I found Sym. 53 to be especially affecting. Unlike most Haydn symphonies, it starts off with a largo, and has, at least in the beginning, a funereal aspect to it.
 
 
2) Bela Bartok (1881-1945): Tr. 1-3, Piano Concerto 1, Sz. 83 (1926) (23'24) |Tr. 4-6, Piano Concerto 2, Sz. 95 (1931) (28'28) |Tr. 7-9, Piano Concerto 3, Sz. 119 (1945) (24'12)--Andras Schiff, piano, Ivan Fischer, cond., Budapest Festival Orch. Rec. 4/1996 @ Italian Cultural Institute, Budapest. An Apex CD, which is a Teldec budget label.
 
 
These three works have been recorded by many fine pianists and orchestras. I first heard the First Concerto, my favorite of the three, from Rudolf Serkin and George Szell. Bartok's work was rather dissonant for his time, but his piano writing became progressively more conservative as time went on. Although he became a faculty member at the Royal Academy in Hungary in 1908, he never taught composition; he was always a professor of piano. Among his students were Fritz Reiner, Georg Solti, Gyorgy Sandor, and Lili Kraus. Although he wrote in many forms, including a truly great Violin Concerto (1938), the center of his compositional and musical life was definitely the piano. His Mikrokosmos is one of the two great courses in piano playing in the repertoire. (The other is Schumann's Fur Die Jungend). These concerti in may ways constitute the core of the 20th century piano concerto repertoire, and this series is among the very best, despite stiff and able competition from Sandor, Kovacevich, Bronfman, & Ashkenazy, and Pollini in the first two.
 
 

3) Neville Marriner and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields perfprming 3 20th century works for string orchestra: Tr. 1, Richard Strauss (1864-1949): Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings (1945) (26'06) |Tr. 2, Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951): Verklarte Nacht (Transfigured Night), Op. 4 (1899) (29'18) |Tr. 3-7, Anton Webern (1883-1945): Five Movements for string quartet, Op. 5 (1909): version for string orchestra (1929) (10'51). Rec. 1968 (Tr. 1), 1974 (Tr. 2-7). No information on recording venues.

 
4) Franco Mannino cond. the National Arts Centre Orch., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. No information on recording dates or venue except that it was in Canada. CD published 1996-CBC Enterprises. |Tr. 1-2, Franz Schubert (1797-1828): Sym. 8 in B Minor "Unfinished" (25'02) |Tr. 3, Richard Strauss (1864-1949): Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings (1945) (29'56).
 
Of the five performances in the two CDs above, the Schubert Unfinished is the least distinguished. Its pretty much a compentent, routine run-through, nothing special about it. And, I didn't find anything very inspiring about the Webern piece in the Marriner recording either, though that is more Webern's fault than Marriner's. The other works here, on both CDs, are very special indeed.
 
This Marriner performance of Verklarte Nacht was, in its previous LP incarnation, the first version of the work I ever heard, and still, to my way of thinking, the very best. I suppose Marriner did it just to show that the ASMF was not just a baroque and classical specialist ensemble, that they were versatile players whose repertoire was wider than people might suppose. Here, it has a sense of drama, a sense of a beginning, a middle, and an end that may other performances lack.
 
But the most important work on both discs is the Strauss. Generally speaking, interpretations of this work are like performances of the Marcia Funebre from Beethoven's Eroica Symphony in that two different approaches seem to predominate. In the Eroica, some conductors emphasize grief over the hero's passing, as in Klemperer and post-war Furtwangler readings, for example. Others choose to concentrate of celebrating the glories of the hero's life. Metamorphosen doesn't celebrate anything in any version. But conductors still divide over how to express the enormity of the tragedy, but concentrating on the inner life of the individual viewing it. Does one grieve over the tragedy of the destruction and death, or celebrate the triumph of the human spirit in the end through it all? Klemperer and Marriner, it seems to me, take the former view in their interpretations of this piece (Klemperer's interpretation is on a 2 CD set coupled with his Wagner Siegfried Idyll and his Mahler Ninth). Karajan and Kempe take the latter approach. I personally have always preferred the former. I learned to live the work from the Klemperer recording; it has long been a touchstone for me. Mannino seems to seek a synthesis between the two, which I find very appealing. Not enough to override my love for the Klemperer or Marriner recordings, you understand, but appealing nevertheless. Karajan and Kempe have always seemed to me bloated and overblown. But I think everyone who loves this piece should listen to the Mannino performance, too. It has much to offer.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:52 am

david johnson wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:44 am
This morning has begun with: Brahms, sym 1 & 2, Serenade #2, Variations on a theme by Haydn/Kertesz/VPO/London 2 cd
To the best of my knowledge--I would be pleased to learn of others--only three conductors have recorded all the Brahms symphonies and both of the serenades: Toscanini, Kertesz, and Adrian Boult. The Adrian Boult is my favorite of the three.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by Belle » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:30 am

Today, in preparation for my 2 programs later this year on the Beethoven Piano Sonatas (for our community music group) I listened to Op. 7 and Op. 26, 27 and 28. All stunning works where Beethoven pushed the envelope. I feel you can track Beethoven's evolution as a composer through this entire opus of piano sonatas. The second movement of this; what's not to love?!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN-z8ZQXEQw

Yesterday I had to deliver a preliminary talk to 30 or so people who've enrolled in various programs for our community learning project on all matter of topics and areas of interest, including languages. I had to provide them with reasons why they should enrol in our Music Appreciation course (for the whole year). There were some converts but when I discussed the forthcoming program on the String Quartets of Bela Bartok I did distinctly notice some ambivalence!! I reassured them that this program "won't be as dry as dust as might seem at first glance". Stony silence.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:09 am


On Thursday, 18 January 2018, I listened to one CD.
 
 
Arnold Rosner (1945-2013): Tr. 1, Of Numbers & of Bells, Op. 79 (1983) (15'18)--Timothy Hester & Nancy Weems, duo pianists |Tr. 2-4, Sonata for French Horn & Piano, Op. 71 (1979) (16'07)--Heidi Garson, French Horn, Yolanda Liepa, piano |Tr. 5-7, Sonata for Cello & Piano, Op. 41 (1968, rev. 1977) (18'49)--Maxine Neuman, cello, Joan Stein, piano |Tr. 8-10, "Nightstone," 3 Settings from "The Song of Songs," Op. 73 (1979) (15'27)--Randolph Lacy, tenor, Timothy Hester, piano. An Albany Records CD TT: 67'13. No information on recording dates. The CD was copyrighted 1995.
 
Anold Rosner was both born and died on November 8 in 1945 and 2013 respectively, so he lived exactly 68 years. Born NYC, died Brooklyn, NY. Now there's a man with wanderlust! His pic looks like he could have been a clone of Robert Bork circa 1970.
 
The most affecting work here is the cello sonata, but Of Numbers & of Bells is a close second. Ac pleasant record. Recommended.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:06 am

RebLem wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:52 am
david johnson wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:44 am
This morning has begun with: Brahms, sym 1 & 2, Serenade #2, Variations on a theme by Haydn/Kertesz/VPO/London 2 cd
To the best of my knowledge--I would be pleased to learn of others--only three conductors have recorded all the Brahms symphonies and both of the serenades: Toscanini, Kertesz, and Adrian Boult. The Adrian Boult is my favorite of the three.
I did not know that. I must try the Boult soon :)

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:08 am

Early morning today: R. Strauss/Mabeth & Alpine Symphony/Janowski/Pittsburgh Symphony/PentaTone

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:42 am


On Friday, 19 January,. 2018, I listened to one CD. Its one that arrived in the mail today.
 
 
Alberic Magnard (1865-1914): |Tr. 1-4, Sym. 2 in E Major, Op. 6 (1892-3) (39'50) |Tr. 5, Hymne a la Justice, Op. 14 (14'48) |Tr. 6, Overture, Op. 10 (12'20)--Michel Plasson, cond., Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse. Rec. 21-23 & 29 JULY 1987 Toulouse, Halle-aux-Grains. EMI.
 

Magnard was born into a prosperous bourgeois family in Paris. His father, Francois Magnard, was editor of Le Figaro. It is amazing that John Wayne never made a movie of his life. In 1914, at the beginning of World War I, Magnard sent his wife and two daughters to a safe hiding place while he stayed behind to guard the estate of "Manoir de Fontaines" at Baron, Oise. When German soldiers trespassed, he fired at them, killing one of them, and they fired back and set the house on fire. It is believed that Magnard died in the fire, but his body could not be identified in the remains. The fire destroyed Magnard's unpublished scores, such as the orchestral score of his early opera Yolande, the orchestral score of Guercoeur (the piano reduction had been published, and the orchestral score of the second act was extant) and a more recent song cycle. Guercoeur was reconstructed from memory by the conductor who conducted the world premiere performance, and it has been recorded by the present conductor, Michel Plason, and it is in my collection.

 
All these works are composed in a late Romantic style. The Hymne a la Justice was essentially protest music, written in support of the cause of Alfred Dreyfus.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:59 am

david johnson wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:06 am
RebLem wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:52 am
david johnson wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:44 am
This morning has begun with: Brahms, sym 1 & 2, Serenade #2, Variations on a theme by Haydn/Kertesz/VPO/London 2 cd
To the best of my knowledge--I would be pleased to learn of others--only three conductors have recorded all the Brahms symphonies and both of the serenades: Toscanini, Kertesz, and Adrian Boult. The Adrian Boult is my favorite of the three.
I did not know that. I must try the Boult soon :)
EMI produced an 11 CD set, which I have, of Boult conducting non-British music called "From Bach to Wagner." It contains, among other things, what I think is the best no compromises full traditional symphony orchestra recordings of all the Bach Brandenburg Concerti I have ever heard, and not only all the Brahms symphonies and serenades, but the Alto Rhapsody with Janet Baker. Lots of other goodies in it, too. See ​https://www.amazon.com/Sir-Adrian-Boult ... rian+Boult
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

david johnson
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:21 am

spinning now is: Von Suppé overtures/Sandor/Hungarian State Opera Orch.

John F
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by John F » Sat Jan 20, 2018 5:43 am

Toscanini occasionally conducted Brahms's Serenade No. 2, but almost always just a movement or two of the first serenade, usually the first movement, sometimes the fourth. He did conduct it complete but only once, with the New York Philharmonic in 1935 and never again. It's an uncomfortable length to fit into a program with two major works - 2 symphonies or a symphony and a concerto - and maybe that's why. The Philharmonic program paired the first serenade with Brahms's Symphony No. 4.
John Francis

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by jserraglio » Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:20 am

Daniel Harding Conducts Allan Pettersson: Symphony No. 7 (2017)

audio only of the Pettersson 7th.


video capture of complete concert: Schumann's Cello Concerto & Pettersson's Seventh.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1rOQpx ... hl_xXSBJd7

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:10 am

​On Saturday, 20 January 2018, I listened to 10 CDs.

Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915) Tr. 1-3, Sym. No. 3 in C minor, Op. 43 "Le Divin Poème" (48'23) |Tr. 4, Prometheus: The Poem of Fire, Op. 60 (1910) (20'47)--Dmitri Alexeev, piano (in Op. 60), Riccardo Muti, cond.(both), Philadelphia Orch.(both) & The Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia (in Op. 60). CD 3 of a 3 CD Brilliant set of the complete Scriabin Symphonies by Muti & The Philaelphia Orch. Licensed from EMI. Rec. 1986-91 in Memorial Hall, Philadelphia.
Per Wikipedia, Prometheus is a symphonic work for piano, orchestra, optional choir, and clavier à lumières or "Chromola" (a color organ invented by Preston Millar, in fact rarely featured in performances of the piece, including those during Scriabin's lifetime). Prometheus is only loosely based on the myth of Prometheus.
These are lush, extraordinarily well recorded performances by one of the great orchestras.

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963): Piano music, Tr. 1-3, Trois Mouvements perpétuels (1919), FP 14 (4'58) |Tr. 4-6, Trois novelettes (1927-1928, 1958), FP 47 (first two) and FP 173 (third) (6'49) |Tr. 7, Valse in C Major (1'48) |Tr. 8, Pastourelle (1927) (2'07) |Tr. 9-15, Suite francaise (11'37) |Tr. 16, Presto in B Flat (1'42) |Tr. 17-19, Sonata for Piano 4 hands (1918) (5'31) |Tr. 20, L'embarquement pour Cythère, valse-musette pour Deux Pianos (1951), FP 150 |Tr. 21-23, Suite in C Major (1920), FP 19 (5'25) |Tr. 24-26, Trois pièces (1918, 1928), FP 48 (8'32) |Tr. 27, Mélancolie (1940), FP 105 (5'39) |Tr. 28, Humoresque (1934), FP 72 (1'40) |Tr. 29-31, Trois intermezzi (1934, 1943), FP 71 (Nos. 1 & 2) and FP 118 (No. 3) (7'36) |Tr. 32-37, Villageoises, pièces enfantines pour piano (1933), FP 65 (4'01) |Tr. 38, Française, d'après Claude Gervaise (1939), FP 103 (1'33) |Tr. 39, Bourrée, au pavillon d'Auvergne (1937), FP 87 (1'33)--Gabriel Tacchino, piano (all), Jacques Février (in 4 hand pieces)--Rec. 1966-83 Salle Wagram, Paris. EMI.
This represents about a third of Poulenc's works for solo and duo piano. This music is light-hearted and cheerful, and they all seem composed as etudes, exercises for piano students to practice certain skills. Many of them are very simple, easily played pieces, others much more difficult. Most of these pieces have an almost Mozartean feel about them. But don't get me wrong; it is very pleasant music, even if they do have a certain bon-bon quality to them.

Anton Bruckner (1824-96): Sym. 7 in E Major (68'36)--Georg Solti, cond., Chicago Sym. Orch. Rec. !0/1986, Medinah Temple, Chicago. CD 8 of a 10 CD DECCA set of all the Bruckner Symphonies by these forces.
Superb performance.

Music for the Coronation of King George II (1727)--This is a 2 CD Hyperion set. It is subtitled "Handel's Coronation Anthems anc ceremonial music by Purcell, Blow, Tallis, Gibbons, Farmer, and Child, trumpet fanfares, drum processions, shouts of acclamation and pealing bells." And so it is! The King's Consort and Choir, Robert King, dir. Recorded in St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, including recordings of bells from 4 churches scattered around Britain. I couldn't find recording dates listed anywhere. TT: 100'47.

J.S. Bach (1685-1750): Der Kunst der Fuge, BWV 1080 (85'22)--CD 1 (69'17 + 16'05 of CD 2) |CD, Tr. 3, Willibald von Gluck (1714-87): Don Giovanni: Allegretto (1'00) |CD 2, Tr. 4-8, Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764): Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin (1726/27) – Suite in G (23'15) |Tr. 9-10, Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-87): Menuet et Arioso (5'14) |Tr. 11-13, Marin Marais (1656-1728): Three pieces for viole (5'43) |Henry Purcell (1659-95): Tr. 14, Fantasia for viols # 8 (3'55), Tr. 15, Fantasia for viols # 12 (3'47)--Rudolf Barshai, cond., Moscow Chamber Orch., Alexander Korneyev, flute (Tr. 8), Rudolf Barshai, viola (Tr. 9-10), Boris Dobrokhotov, Irina Morosova, violas da gamba (Tr.11-13). CDS 1-2 of a 10 CD Brilliant collection of performances by Barshai and the Moscow Chamber Orch. Rec. 19 June 1969. Licensed from Gostelradiofund, Russuan Federation.
As noted, these are the first two CDs of a 10 CD set. These are all live broadcast performances.

F.J. Haydn (1732-1809): Tr. 1-4, Sym. 55 in E Flat Major "Der Schulmeister" (20'30) |Tr. 5-8, Sym. 56 in C Major (24'37) |Tr. 9-12, Sym. 57 in D Major (22'55)--Adam Fischer, cond., Austro-Humgarain Haydn Orch.--Rec. 1996 Haydnsaal, Esterhazy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria. CD 16 of a 33 CD Brilliant set of the complete Haydn Symphonies by these forces. Licensed from Nimbus Records.
These performances are of a piece with the rest. Strong, idiomatic Haydn.

Beethoven (1770-1827): Piano Concerto 5 in E Flat Major, Op. 73 "Emperor" (38'08) |Tr. 4-6, Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto 1 in B Flat Minor, Op. 23 (33'00)--Clifford Curzon, piano, George Szell, cond., London Philharmonic Orch. (Beethoven)--rec. 12-13 SEP 1949. New Symphony Orchestra (Tchaikovsky)--rec. 5-7 & 9 SEP 1950. Both recorded in Kingsway Hall, London. CD 1 of a 23 CD + 1 DVD set of Clifford Curzon's complete recordings for DECCA.
The combination of Clifford Curzon and George Szell is a potent one. Although these are old MONO recordings, they have been restored to unbelievably high fidelity by the wizzards at DECCA.
The Beethoven is strong, idiomatic, and fairly dances with the lightness of a great ballet dancer over the most difficult passages with unerring accuracy and stylistic elan.
The Tchaikovsky starts off a bit stiff and metronomic to begin with, but became a little looser as the work went on. Still, some stiffness returns when the main themes are restated. Not as good a performance relative to the competition as the Beethoven.

Arnold Rosner (1945-2013): |Tr. 1, String Quartet 2 in A Minor, Op. 19 (1963) (17'35) |Tr. 2-4, String Quartet 3, Op. 32 (1965, rev. 1992) (24'29) |Tr. 5, String Quartet 5 in D Minor, Op. 66 (1977) (15'50) |Tr. 6, Duet for Violas, Op. 94 (1991) (8'09)--Ad Hoc String Quartet (Paul Vanderwerf, violin 1, David Belden, violin 2, Diedre Buckley, viola, James Fellenbaum, cello), Mark Ottesen, viola 2 in Duet.--An Albany Records CD, rec. 28-30 May 1994 in Northminster Prebyterian Church, Evanston, IL.
This is music with a much stronger and deeper emotional impact than Volume 1 in this series, which I recently heard and reviewed. It is helped by the fact that the same players are on the whole CD, so a unity of aesthetic view prevails. Highly recommended.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:06 am

​On Sunday, 21 January 2018, I listened to 5 CDs.

1) Robert Schumann (1810-56): Tr. 1-4, Sym. 1 in B Flat, Op. 38 "Spring" (35'28) |Tr. 5-8, Sym. 2 in C, Op. 81 (41'05)--Otto Klemperer, cond., New Philharmonia Orch. Rec. Abbey Road Studios, London, 10/1965 (# 1), 10/1968 (# 2)--CD 1 of a 2 CD EMI set of all four Schumann Symphonies + the Faust Overture.
These are stereotypical Klemperer performances. Slower than we are used to, sometimes even lugubrious, but it is an approach that clarifies textures in a way no other approach can. I checked to see if my perceptions were borne out by recording times. Here are the total timings for every version of these two symphonies in my collection:
Sym. 1 Sym. 2
35'28 41'05 Klemperer
33'23 42'41 Bernstein, VPO
30'02 37.29 Gardiner
32'00 35'50 Jordan
33'26 34'40 Konwitschny
30'51 37'09 Kubelik
30'48 33'24 Masur, LPO
32'14 37'35 Norrington
31'13 33'58 Paray
32'13 37'33 Sawallisch
30'31 36'22 Szell
29'17 35'51 Zinman
As you can see, Klemperer is the slowest of all, except in the 2nd, where Bernstein alone takes more time. And that is entirely due to their timings in the 3rd movement--Klemperer takes it at 8'34, while Bernstein stretches it out to 13'49--truly a monumental outlier.

2-3) Louis Pelosi (b. 1947): 13 Preludes & Fugues with Epiogue, for Piano (2000-3) (86'41)--Mateusz Borowiak, piano--Rec. 10-12 NOV 2011 & 22, 4-25 APR 2012 @ The Academy of Music, Katowice, Poland.--2 CD KASP Records set.
This is a very special recording for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that KASP Records is the recording company owned by my internet and FB friend, Donald Isler. And then there is the fact that Mateusz Borowiak is one of the finest up and coming pianists around today. He graduated from Girton College, Cambridge with double first class honors in 2009, and from the Karol Szymanowski School of Music in Katowice, Poland with highest honors in 2011. He has also won a number of important international music competitions.
Joel Flegler, the editor of Fanfare Magazine, has reviewed this release @ Amazon.com, and you can read it @ https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/ ... ewpoints=1 He gave it 5 stars, Amazon's highest rating. And it is not only the performance he praises, but the quality of the composer's work, a landmark piece, as well.

4) Anton Bruckner (1824-96): Sym. 8 in C Minor (1890 version, ed. Nowak) ( 74'15)--Georg Solti, cond., Chicago Sym. Orch., rec. NOV 1990 in the Great Hall of the Leningrad (St Petersburg) Philharmonic. CD 9 of a 10 CD DECCA set if the Bruckner symphonies by these forces.
A magnificent performance superbly recorded.

5) John Adams (b. 1947): Harmonium for large orchestra and chorus (1980) (32'14)--Edo de Waart, cond., San Francisco Sym. Orch. & Chorus--rec. JAN 1984, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA.--an ECM CD.
This is a work in two parts, set to 3 poems. Part 1 (10'31) is set to John Donne's poem "Negative Love," or "The Nothing." Part 2 (21'37) is set to two Emily Dickinson poems, "Because I could not stop for Death," and "Wild Nights--Wild Nights!" It was commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony to celebrate its first performing season in 1981 at the Louise M Davies Hall.
This is a moving and emotionally powerful work and the performance does it justice. 4 of the 5 reviews at Amazon give it 5 stars, and I concur with the majority. https://www.amazon.com/Adams-Francisco- ... merReviews
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:09 am

Listening to some more RVW this morning: Toward the Unknown Region, Norfolk Rhapsody #1, Tallis Fantasia, Five Variants, and Mendelssohn: Fingal's Cave/ Tjeknavorain/City of Birmingham Orchestra and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

John F
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by John F » Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:37 am

Loris Tjeknavorian had a brief career in the West, then pretty much disappeared back into Armenia and Iran. His recordings for RCA Victor with the London Symphony Orchestra got a lot of ballyhoo and, as I remember, were well received in The Gramophone, but he was never music director of a major orchestra, and according to the Wikipedia article - which reads like a puff piece by his press agent - he not only left the international scene in the '80s but has been most active as a composer and even an author of fiction. I bought a couple of his recordings in the '70s - OK, I was taken in by the publicity and reviews - but I haven't kept them.
John Francis

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:43 am

​On Monday, 22 January, 2018, I listened to 4 CDs.

F.J. Haydn (1732-1809): Tr. 1-3, Trumpet Concerto in E Flat (15'44)--rec. 21 DEC 1961 |Tr. 4-6, Keyboard Concerto 4 in G (21'56)--rec. 28 JUN 1974 |Tr. 7-10, Sym. 100 in G "Military" (25'56)--rec. 9 AUG 1973--Timofei Dokshitzer, trumpet (Tr. 1-3), Arthur Moreira Lima, piano (Tr. 4-6), Rudolf Barshai, cond., Moscow Chamber Orch.--CD 3 of a 10 CD Brillliant survey of the work of Rudolf Barshai and the Moscow Chamber Orch. Licensed from Gostelradfiofund, Russian Federation. No information on recording venues.


The Dokshitzer/Barshai recording is, quite simply, the greatest performance of the Haydn Trumpet Concerto I have ever heard. It swings. It is played with enthusiasm, verve, and elan. One has a sense of a group of musicians, especially soloist and conductor, having a really good time.


The keyboard concerto, although performed on a modern piano, is exciting and well played. I have never heard of Arthur Moreira Lima before, so I thought perhaps he was Cuban. I looked him up and found that he is Brazilian and is a quite prominent artist in his own country having recorded, among other things, the complete piano works of Chopin, and has recorded a number of Brazilian composers as well, especially Ernesto Nazareth.


The Military Symphony is my personal sentimental favorite of the Haydn symphonies. It is the first Haydn symphony I learned to love. When I first started getting interested in classical music in the late 1950's, it was one of the first three works I learned to love hearing. They actually would make a good symphony program today--the other two were Wagner's Tannhauser Overture and Venusberg Music and Stravinsky's Firebird. This is one of the most exciting performances of the Military symphony I have heard, though here the competition is stiffer. Overall, I prefer the Sigiswald Kuijken recording above all others, though I have heard many which I find meet a very high standard. This Barshai recording is one of them.


F.J. Haydn (1732-1809): Tr. 1-4, Sym. 58 in F Major (16'40) |Tr. 5-8, Sym. 59 in A Major "Feuersymphonie" (17'12) |Tr. 9-14, Sym. 60 in C Major "Il Distratto" (24'43)--Adam Fischer, cond., Austro-Humgarain Haydn Orch.--Rec. 1996 Haydnsaal, Esterhazy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria. CD 17 of a 33 CD Brilliant set of the complete Haydn symphonies by these forces. Licensed from Nimbus Records.


Franz Schubert (1797-1828): Tr. 1-4, Four Impromptus, D 935 (33'33) |Tr. 5-8, Piano Sonata in D Major, D 850 (35'45)--Clifford Curzon, piano. CD 2 of a 23 CD + 1 DVD set of Clifford Curzon's complete recordings for DECCA.


Arnold Rosner (1945-2013): Tr. 1-2, Sextet for Strings, Op. 47 (1970, rev. 1997) "Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland" (Now come, Saviour of the Heathens) (24'53)--Sestetto Agosto (Paul Vanderwerf, David Katz, violins, Terri Van Valkinburg, Claudia Lasareff-Mironoff, violas, Peter Szczepanek, Julie Zumsteg, cellos) |Tr. 3-8, Besos sin cuento (Kisses Without Number), 6 Spanish Songs, Op. 86 (25'50)--Pinotage (Julia Bently, voice, Janice McDonald, flute, Claudia Lasareff-Mironoff, viola, Alison Attar, harp) |Tr. 9-11, Sonata for Trombone & Piano, Op. 106 (17'08)--Gregory Erickson, trombone, Angelina Tallaj, piano. TT: 63'19. Rec. 15-16 AUG 1999 (Tr. 1-2), 12 JUN 2000 (Tr. 3-8), 1 DEC 2000 (Tr. 9-11), Northminster Presbyterian Church, Evanston, IL (Tr. 1-8), Patrych Sound Studios, Bronx, NY (Tr. 9-11).--Albany Records CD, Vol III in a series of CDs of Arnold Rosner's chamber music.


All of these works are strong, emotive, attention-grabbing works.


"Nunn komm' der Heiden Heiland" is a hymn written by Martin Luther in 1524 after a piece by St. Ambrose. Per Wikipedia, "The chorale was used as the prominent hymn for the first Sunday of Advent for centuries. It was used widely in organ settings by Protestant baroque composers, most notably Johann Sebastian Bach: he set it as the opening chorale prelude BWV 599 of Orgelbüchlein; and three times—as BWV 659 (one of his best known organ compositions), BWV 660 and BWV 661—in his Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes. Bach used the hymn in his chorale cantata Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 62 (1724) and in the opening chorale fantasia of his earlier cantata Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 61, BWV 61 (1714). Max Reger composed a chorale prelude as No. 29 of his 52 Chorale Preludes, Op. 67 in 1902." But in the liner notes, Rosner says he was influenced more by a setting by the mid-baroque composer Praetorius than by Bach. He also states that the revision he did in 1997 involved mostly the connective passages between movements rather than the main body of the work itself.


Rosner came to The Six Spanish Songs by a circuitous route. At first, he was interested in Sephardic poetry, but found that most of that that had survived had survived because it had already been set to music, so he abandoned that idea. But then he became interrested in Renaissance Spanish poetry, and found that much of it had not been set to music, so that is where he began. The two outer songs are the most complex. "No. 1 is in 5/8 meter and No. 6 is something of a rondo, where the "A" occur on different tonics each time. Movements 2 & 5 are more pensive slow movements, # 2 has a coda in 11/8 meter; No. 5 uses a drone, the middle movements are the true scherzi; No. 3 is a duet for voice and flute, No. 4 adds a tambourine."


Rosner decided in the 1990's that he wanted to write sonatas or concerti for all the orchestral instruments. He had already come close and decided to fill in the gaps. In this, he was consciously imitative of Nielsen and Hindemith. The Trombone sonata is "big-boned," he says, requiring a pianist who is co-equal with the trombonist, not a mere accompanist. "The first movement is largely in three-strand counterpoint and may suggest the quality of "ars antiqua" or even "organum" counterpoint; many of the harmonies are fifths, and there are some noticeable on-beat dissonances. The second is in a three part song design, but is in 7/8 meter throughout. The third movement is the most difficult to play, and has its share of gritty complexity, but is in fact the most traditional example of classical sonata form I have ever used, replete with a clear contrast between the two main themes, and all the 'correct' tonal relationships." Texts of the Spanish songs with English translations are included in the liner notes.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:27 am

​On Tuesday, 23 January 2018, I listened to 3 CDs.

1) Robert Schumann (1810-1856): Tr. 1-5, Sym. 3 in E Flat Major, Op. 97 "Rhenish" (38'35) |Tr. 6-9, Sym. 4 in D Major, Op. 120 (28'16) |Tr. 10, Szenen aus [Scenes from] "Faust": Overture (9'35)--Otto Klemperer, cond., New Philharmonia Orch. (Trs. 1-5, 10), rec. Abbey Rd. Studios, London, 2/1969, Philharmonia Orch. (Tr. 6-9), rec. Kingsway Hall, London, 5/1960--CD 2 of a 2 EMI set of the complete Schumann symphonies + the Overture to Scenes from "Faust."
First of all, let me clear up for the uninitiated this stuff about the orchestras. Classical music fans do not need this; most are familiar with the story. But many of my readers are not regular classical music fans and must be curious about what the difference is between the Philharmonia and the New Philharmonia Orchestras.
Walter Legge was a famous English record producer, mostly for EMI, beginning in 1927. His power within EMI increased substantially after WWII, specifically in 1953, when he married the Austrian soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, who was, all things considered, probably the greatest soprano of the middle third of the 20th century, certainly for breadth of repertoire, and also, for the sheer very high quality of all her work. He also was the founder of the Philharmonia Orchestra which was intended primarily as a recording orchestra, and, at some point, he hired Otto Klemperer to be its principal conductor. In 1964, in a fit of pique over a contract dispute and over what Legge felt were sagging standards of play, he disbanded the orchestra. The orchestra, however, refused to take this laying down, and reformed as a cooperative orchestra owned by the musicians, and hired Klemperer as their principal conductor. Because the name "Philarmonia Orchestra" was owned by Legge, they dubbed themselves the New Philharmonia Orchestra, and gave public concerts and made themselves available as a recording orchestra as well. Many years later, after Legge's death, they dropped the "New," and began calling themselves the Philharmonia Orchestra once again.
I am not going to do a tabular list of timings, but of all 12 recordings of the complete Schumann symphonies in my collection, Klemperer's of the Rhenish is the second slowest. The only slower one is Paul Paray's recording with the Detroit Symphony. His is 41'27, Klemperer's is 38'35. The Fourth Symphony is a different kettle of fish. At 28'16, Klemperer is almost in the middle of the pack. Bernstein (32'27), Jordan (31'09), Konwitschny (30'09), and Kubelik (29'34) are all slower. And it must be said that the Fourth is generally considered the star of this Klemperer set. Many consider it the greatest recording of the piece ever made. Everyone acknowledges it to be one of the very best, though some will prefer Furtwangler by a narrow margin. I also very much like the recording by Herman Abendroth, but I would certainly rate Klemperer no lower than third.

2) "Complete" piano recordings of Josef Lhévinne (13 December 1874 – 2 December 1944) on a Novello CD. Produced by Eric Wen, transfers from historical materials by Ward Marston IV. Published 1969. No information with the CD on original recording dates. I am not going to list every one of the 18 tracks on this record, but the first three , totalling 17'09 are the Mozart Sonata in D Major for 2 Pianos, K. 448, with his wife, Rosina Lhevinne, as the other pianist. The CD includes one piece by Schumann, 2 others by Schumann modified by others, 4 Chopin etudes, 2 Chopin preludes, and the Polonaise in A Flat, Op., 53 (6'05). Then we have an abbreviated Johann Strauss II Blue Danube Waltz (6'53), a Debussy-Ravel Fetes (5'41), Beethoven-Busoni Ecossaises (2'33), Tchaikovsky Trepak (3'15), and the Rachmaninoff Prelude in G Minor (3'16).
Per Wikipedia, "He left only a handful of recordings, some of which are considered to be examples of perfect technique and musical elegance. The discs of Chopin Etudes Op. 25. Nos. 6 and 11 and Schulz-Evler's arrangement of Johann Strauss II's Blue Danube Waltz are legendary among pianists and connoisseurs. His piano roll of Schumann's Papillons, Op. 2, is considered one of the definitive performances of that work. In the words of Harold Charles Schonberg: "His tone was like the morning stars singing together, his technique was flawless even if measured against the fingers of Hofmann and Rachmaninoff, and his musicianship was sensitive."[2] Lhévinne made a number of piano rolls in the 1920s for Ampico, a collection of which were recorded and released on the Argo label in 1966. Lhévinne also recorded three times for the Welte-Mignon reproducing piano."
The Schumann Papillons is NOT on this CD, so, despite the claims on the record, thise are not his complete recordings.

Anton Bruckner (1824-96): Tr. 1-3, Sym. 9 in D Minor (61'00)--Georg Solti, cond., Chicago Sym. Orch.--CD 10 of the 10 CD DECCA set of the Bruckner symphonies by these forces. Rec. 9 & 10/1985 Orchestra Hall, Chicago.
One of the better Ninths, but I prefer Klemperer.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
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Ricordanza
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by Ricordanza » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:56 am

RebLem wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:27 am
​First of all, let me clear up for the uninitiated this stuff about the orchestras. Classical music fans do not need this; most are familiar with the story. But many of my readers are not regular classical music fans and must be curious about what the difference is between the Philharmonia and the New Philharmonia Orchestras.....
Actually, I wasn't familiar with this story. Thanks for providing the information. Is the Philharmonia still being run as a cooperative?

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:49 am


On Wednesday, 24 January 2018, I listened to 5 CDs.
 
 
1) Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805): Arie accademiche for soprano & orchestra (7)--Tr. 1, Si, veramente io deggio [Yes, it is true...] in E Flat Major, G. 544 (10'29) |Tr. 2, Se non ti moro allato [If I cannot die by your side] in B Flat Major, G. 545 (11'02) |Tr. 3, De respirar lasciatemi [Ah! Let me breathe...] in G Major, G. 546 (12'30) |Tr. 4, Caro, son tua cosi [Dearest, I am yours so completely...] in A Major, G. 547 (8'30) |Tr. 5, Misera! Dove son? [Wretched one! Where am I?] in D Minor, G. 548 (7'30) |Tr. 6, Care luci, che regnate [Dear eyes, which reign...] in D Major, G. 549 (9'18) |Tr. 7, Infelice invan mi lagno [Unhappy, in vain I pity...] in E Flat Major, G. 550 (9'45)--Adelina Scarabelli, soprano, Sonorum Concentus Roma, Federico Amendola, cond. & harpsichord. Rec. 12/1993 Oratorio del Gonfalone, Rome, Italy. A Koch/Schwann CD.
 
Arie is the plural of aria, in case you were wondering. Sonorum Concentus is a chamber ensemble consisting of 4 first violins, 4 second violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos, a double bass, an oboe, a bassoon, and two horns plus, of course, the harpsichordist/conductor.
 
Ms. Scarabelli is not sufficiently well known yet to have a Wikipedia article about her, but you can find lots of references to her many recordings through a Google search, and she has a number of performances on YouTube. She has a strong soprano bel canto voice. These are fine performances of wonderfully vital works.
 
 
2) W. A. Mozart (1756-91): Tr. 1-4, Sym. 29 in A Major, K. 201 (27'37) |Tr. 5-10, Divertimento 17 in D Major, K. 334 (45'23)--Rudolf Barshai, cond., Moscow Chamber Orch.. Rec. live 14 OCT 1963 (Tr. 1-4), & 9 Apr 1968 (Tr. 5-10). This is CD 4 of a 10 CD Brilliant set of performances by these forces. Licensed from Gostelradiofund, Russian Federation.
 
These are good performances, but not quite up to the highest standard.
 
 
3) F. J. Haydn (1732-1809): Tr. 1-4, Sym. 61 in D Major (20'32) |Tr. 5-8, Sym. 82 in D Major (20'09) |Tr. 9-12, Sym. 63 in C Major "La Roxelane" (19'41)--Adam Fischer, cond., Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orch., rec. 1996/7 Haydnsaal, Esterhazy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria. This is CD 18 of a 33 CD Brilliant set of all the Haydn symphonies. Licensed from Nimbus Records.
 
Excellent performances.
 
 
4) Tr. 1-3, Mozart: Piano Concerto 23 in A Major, K. 488 |Tr. 4-6, Piano Concerto 27 in B Flat Major, K. 595--Clifford Curzon, George Szell, Wiener Philharmoniker. Rec. in the Sofiensaal, Vienna, 7-10 DEC 1964. CD 3 of a 23 CD + 1 DVD set of Curzon's complete recordings for DECCA.
 
These are strong, idiomatic performances by 2 of the great Mozarteans of the 20th century.
 
 
5) Tr. 1-9, Olivier Messiaen (1908-92): Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps [Quartet for the End of Time] for clarinet, violin, cello, & piano (1940) (46'49)--Ensemble Walter Boeykens (Walter Boeykens, clarinet, Marjeta Korosek, violin, Roel Dieltiens, cello, Robert Groslot, piano)--harmonia mundi CD.
 
Messiaen wrote this work while a POW in a camp in Silesia in 1940. He wrote it for this rather peculiar combination of instruments because that was what he had available among his fellow prisoners. The title is inspired by the statement in the Book of the Apocalypse (the Catholic term for what most Protestant bibles call The Book of Revelations that "There will be no more Time." It is, of course, a dour, somber meditation, beautifully performed by these players.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:16 am

My day has begun with Brahms: string quartets 2 & 3/Vegh Quartet/Decca

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:19 am


On Thursday, 25 January, 2018, I listened to only one CD. Today was a busy day. I had my house cleaners coming over at NOON; they finally arrived about 1 PM, but I had to make some preparations, like going out to eat breakfast, and then paying a dental bill by walking the check into the dentists' office. And some preliminary cleaining I had to do. So, after the cleaning, I went to Costco to get a few things, and then later at night to Smith's to get a few things like eggs I didn't get at Costco. Lots of stuff to do, no napping. So, after 9 PM, I finally got to listen to one CD.
 
 
Robert Schumann (1810-56): Tr. 1-4, Sym. 1 in B Flat Major, Op. 38 (32'00) |Tr. 5-8, Sym. 2 in C Major, Op. 61 (35'50)--Armin Jordan, cond., Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, rec. 1989-90, Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland. This is CD 1 of a 7 CD Cascavelle set featuring major works by Robert Schumann.
 
These performances are much more in keeping with mainstream thought and practice on how the Schumann symphonies ought to go than the Klemperer set was. Armin Jordan (1932-2006) was an important French speaking Swiss conductor.
Last edited by RebLem on Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:54 am

This morning I am continuing my Brahms/Vegh Quartet journey with string quartet #1 and the clarinet quintet, 1949 recordings from Archipel.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:24 pm


On Friday, 26 January 2018, I listened to 6 CDs.
 
 
1) George Gershwin (1898-1937): Complete Solo Piano Music (59'52)--Angela Brownridge, piano--helios CD, rec. 16-17 NOV 1989, venue not listed. This CD has 31 tracks, and I'll be damned if I'm going to list them! Some of the more memorable ones are Swanee, Fascinatin' Rhythm, 'S Wonderful, Strike Up the Band, I Got Rhythm, Overture to Lady Be Good, Merry Andrew, & Overture to Girl Crazy.
 
Angela Brownridge is a British pianist whose birth date is apparently a closely guarded secret. I checked at a number of websites, but they all have the same brief publicity blurb put out by her agent, and it doesn't mention where or when she was born. She was a scholarship student @ Edinburgh University where she earned a BMus (when is a mystery, as the nuns used to say), and did further study in London with Maria Curcio.
 
These are, by and large, idiomatic performances.
 
 
2) W.A. Mozart (1756-91): Tr. 1-3, Piano Concerto 23 in A Major, K. 488 (26'28) |Tr. 4-6, Piano Concerto 9 in E Flat Major, K. 271 (33'14)--John Browning, piano, Julius Rudel, cond., Orchestra of St Luke's. Rec. July 1994 @ SUNY, Purchase, NY. A Musical Heritage Society CD.
 
The liner notes begin with this statement, in boldface letters: "This recording is dedicated to the memory of Rudolph Firkusny [11 FEB 1912--19 JULY 1994]. His artistry served as a model for many of us and [he] will be sorely missed."
 
These are strong performances, more romantically oriented than is currently the fashion.
 
 
3) Nikolai Miaskovsky (1881-1950): Tr. 1-3, Symphony 1 in C Minor, Op. 3 (41'30) |Tr. 4-6. Symphony 25 in D Flat Major, Op. 69 (34'53)--Evgeny Svetlanov, cond., Russian Federation State Symphony Orch. This is CD 1 of a 16 CD collection of all of Miaskovsky's 27 symphonies and a number or other orchestral works as well, under the direction of Evgeny Svetlanov.
 

From Wikipedia: "Between 1991 and 1993 the conductor Yevgeny Svetlanov realized a massive project to record Myaskovsky's entire symphonic output and most of his other orchestral works on 16 CDs,[14] with the Symphony Orchestra of the USSR and the State Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Federation. In the chaotic conditions prevailing at the breakup of the USSR, Svetlanov is rumoured to have had to pay the orchestral musicians himself in order to undertake the sessions. The recordings began to be issued in the West by Olympia Records in 2001, but ceased after volume 10; the remaining volumes were issued by Alto Records starting in the first half of 2008. To complicate matters, in July 2008, Warner Music France issued the entire 16-CD set, boxed, as volume 35 of their 'Édition officielle Evgeny Svetlanov'.


"In a testimony printed in French and English in the accompanying booklet, Svetlanov describes Myaskovsky as "the founder of Soviet symphonism, the creator of the Soviet school of composition, the composer whose work has become the bridge between Russian classics and Soviet music ... Myaskovsky entered the history of music as a great toiler like Haydn, Mozart and Schubert. ... He invented his own style, his own intonations and manner while enriching and developing the glorious tradition of Russian music". Svetlanov also likens the current neglect of Myaskovsky's symphonies to the neglect formerly suffered by the symphonies of Gustav Mahler and Anton Bruckner."

 
These later musings seem to me rather fanciful. I found the two works on this CD at least to be rather boring. They seem to be endless reveries for strings, very little for the woodwinds or the brass or percussion to do here. Everyone seems to be wandering around in a somnolent romantic fog. If the rest of the symphonies are like this,its going to be torture getting through all 16 CDs.
 
 
4-5) Johannes Brahms (1833-97): Die schöne Magelone [The fair Magelone], Op. 33, a cycle of 15 songs after the novel 1797 novel by Ludwig Tieck (95'15)--Peter Schreier, tenor, Wolfgang Heinz, speaker,Peter Rösel, piano--2 CD Berlin Classics set. Music rec. 5/1981 Lukaskirche, Dresden, Germany. Speaker rec. 9/1981 Berlin.
 

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebesges ... n_Provence

This is a song cycle, but it features a speaker as well as two musicians. The speaker relates the tale between the songs--in German, of course. So much of the CDs is taken up with his narrative. The music is exceltionally well done and recorded.
 
 
6) W.A. Mozart (1756-91): Tr. 1-3, Divertimento in D Major, K. 136 (13'51)--rec. 10 APR 1968 |Tr. 4-6, Beethoven (1770-1827): Piano Concerto 2 in B Flat Major, Op. 19 (28'47)--rec. 1 JUL 1970 |Tr. 7-10, Symphony 8 in F Major, Op. 93 (25'38)--rec. 13 DEC 1967--John Lill, piano (Tr. 4-6), Rudolf Barshia, cond., Moscow Chamber Orch. CD 5 of a 10 CD Brilliant set of performances by these forces. Licensed from Gostelradiofund, Russian Federation.
 
A fortunately brief noodling exercise from Baby Boy Mozart is followed by more substantial fare. The Piano Concerto is recorded with more almost Mozartean restaint than is currently the fashion, but is nevertheless a fine performance, but the 8th is the best performance on this CD. Barshai captures the humorous self parody of the piece with exquisite elan.
 
Last edited by RebLem on Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
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"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:12 am


On Saturday, 27 January 2018, I listened to 4 CDs.
 
 
1) F.J. Haydn (1732-1809): Tr. 1-4, Sym. 64 in A Major "Tempore Mutantur" (18'29) |Tr. 5-8, Sym. 65 in A Major (17'01) |Tr. 9-12, Sym. 66 in B Flat Major (21'58)--Adam Fischer, cond., Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orch. Rec. 1997 Haydnsaal,Esterhazsy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria. CD 19 of a 33 CD Brilliant set of the complete Haydn Symphonies by these forces. Licensed from Nimbus Records.
 
 
2) Cesar Franck (1822-90): Tr. 1, Variations symphoniques (15'24) |Tr. 2, Henry Litolff (1818-91): Scherzo (Concerto symphoniquest No. 4, Op. 102) (7'25) |Tr. 3-5, Manuel De Falla (1876-1946): Noches en los jardines de Espana [Nights in the Gardens of Spain] (24'48) |Tr. 6-9, Alan Rawsthorne (1905-71): Piano Concerto 2 (27'31)--Clifford Curzon, piano (all), Adrian Boult, cond., London Philharmonic Orch. (Tr. 1-2), rec. 14-15 DEC 1955, Kingsway Hall, London (Tr. 1), rec. 14 DEC 1958 Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London (Tr. 2), Enrique Jorda, cond., New Symphony Orch. (Tr. 3-5), rec. 2 JUL 1951 Kingsway Hall, London, Malcolm Sargent, cond., London Sym. Orch. (Tr. 6-9), rec. 29-30 OCT 1951 Kingsway Hall, London. CD 4 of a 23 CD + 1 DVD set of all Clifford Curzon's recordings for DECCA.
 
The Manuel de Falla work is the biggest attraction here, along with the Franck. The Rawsthorne PC, in particular, seems to me just inconsequential noodling.
 
 
3) Olivier Messiaen (1908-92): Tr. 1-8, Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the end of time) (46'32)--Members of the Reykjavik Chamber Orch. (Gunnar Egilsson, clarinet, Rut Ingolfsdottir*, violin, Nina Flyer, cello, Porkell Sigurbjoernsson*, piano)--rec. live in concert, Reykjavik, Iceland FEB 1997. An ARSIS Classics CD.
*Spellings are approximate; spellings on the CD contain letter symbols that are not part of my keyboard, and I could find no internet vendor which listed this recording, so copying and pasting was not possible.
 
This is a strong, idiomatic performance. Highly recommended, if you can find it.
 
 
4) Robert Schumann (1810-56): Tr. 1-5, Symphony 3 in E Flat Major, Op. 97 "Rhenish" (32'07) |Tr. 6-9, Sym. 4 in D Minor, Op. 120 (31'09)--Armin Jordan, cond., Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Rec. 2 FEB 1990 Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland. CD 2 of a 7 CD Cascavelle Records set of major works by Robert Schumann labelled "Bicentenary Edition," to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the composer's birth.
 
This, coupled with CD 1 of the first two symphonies, represents one of the strongest set of performances of these symphonies I have heard. Highly recommended.
Last edited by RebLem on Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
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"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:44 pm


On Sunday, 28 January 2018, I listened to 9 CDs.
 
 
1) W.A. Mozart (1756-91): Tr. 1-3, Piano Sonata in F Major, K. 332 (19'42) |Tr. 4, Fantasie, K. 475 (12'14) |Piano Sonata in C Minor, K. 457 (18'48) |Tr. 9-10, Piano Sonata in F Major, K. 533 (24'36)--John Browning, piano--Musical Heritage Society CD. Published 2002, no information on recording dates or venues.
 
These are exquisite performances indeed. Browning's phrasing is very sensitive to the emotional import of the music.
 
 
2) Nikolai Miaskovsky (1881-1950): Tr. 1, Symphony 10 in E Minor, Op. 30 (16'43) |Tr. 2-4, Symphony 11 in B Minor, Op. 34 (34'29) |Tr. 5-8, Symphony 19 in E Flat Major, Op. 46 (23'31)--Evgeny Svatlanov, cond., Russian State Federation Sym. Orch., rec. in the Great Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Moscow., dates not given. This is CD 2 of a 16 CD Brilliant Records set of the complete symphonies (and other orchestral works) of Miaskovsky.
 
These works are a bit more exciting than those on CD 1, as they contain performances that involve the whole orchestra, not just, as it seemed on CD 1, the strings alone. But these are still mostly just blocks of chords. They don't seem to go anywhere. Several times, I did imagine them as film music, mostly for westerns.
 
 
3-4) Benjamin Britten (1913-76): CD 1--Tr. 1, Canticle II: Abraham & Isaac, Op. 51 (15'52)--Norma Proctor, contralto, Peter Pears, tenor, Benjamin Britten, piano, rec. 1957 |Tr. 2, Gemini Variations, Op. 72 (14'47)--Gabor & Zoltan Jeney, violin, flute, piano duet, rec. 1966 |Tr. 3, A Birthday Hansel, Op. 92 (16'17)--Peter Pears, tenor, Osian Ellis, harp, rec. 1976 |Tr. 4-9, Cantata Academica (Carment Basiliense), Op. 62 (20'51)--Jennifer Vyvyan, soprano, Helen Watts, contralto, Peter Pears, tenor, Owen Brannigan, bass, Harold Lester, piano, London Sym. Orch. & Chorus, George Malcolm, cond., rec. 1961 |Tr. 10, Russian Funeral (7'01)--Philips Jones Brass Ensemble, john Ivenson, director, rec. 1979 CD 2--Tr. 1, Cantata Misericordium, Op. 69 (19'45)--Peter Pears, tenor, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone, Benjamin Britten, cond., London Sym. Orch. & Chorus, rec. 1963-4 |Tr. 2, Children's Crusade, Op. 82 (18'55)--Mark Emney, The Leader |John Wojciechowski, The Little Jew |Raymond Hares & Stephen Daniels, The two brothers |Adrian Thompson, The boy from the Nazi legation |Colin Morris, The drummer boy |Graham Preston, the dog |Barnaby Jago, John Wojciechowski, The lovers |Ian Cobb, John Clegg, pianos |Jonathan Smith, organ |6 percussionists |Wandsworth School Boys' Choir, Russell Burgess, director, rec. 1970 |Benjamin Britten, cond. |Tr. 3-8, The Poet's Echo, Op. 76 (16'07)--Galina Vishnevskaya, soprano, Mstislav Rostropovich, piano, rec. 1969 |Tr. 9-14, Six Holderlin Fragments, Op. 61 (11'48)--Peter Pears, tenor, Benjamin Britten, piano, rec. 1962 |Two Insect Pieces for oboe & piano (5'31)--Heinz Holliger, oboe, Andras Schiff, piano, rec. 1991.
 
This whole 2 CD set is entitled "BENJAMIN BRITTEN--THE RARITIES." A complete text is included for Abraham & Isaac, but no documentation or explanation whatever, except for years of recordings and names of performers is given for the other works, so I had to look elsewhere. The irony is that the story of Abraham & Isaac is so well known, it is the only one which really needs no documentation. So I have had to look elsewhere for explanations. Fortunately, the BBC has a website devoted to Britten with some explanation for each of these pieces. Some of that information, together with citations is included here. But note that if you click on the links, you will find much more information than I have chosen to convey here, including information on the critical reception for most of them.
 

Gemini Variations, Op.73 – Twelve variations and fugue on an epigram of Kodály. Quartet for two (or four) players: flute, violin and piano 4 hands (5 March 1963, Britten aged 49)


https://goodmorningbritten.wordpress.co ... ons-op-73/

A Birthday Hansel, Op.92 – for high voice and harp (21 March 1975, Britten aged 61)

1 Birthday song

2 My early walk

3 Wee Willie Gray

4 My hoggie

5 Afton water

6 The winter

7 Leezie Lindsay
Dedication These songs were written at the special wish of Her Majesty The Queen for her mother’s seventy-fifth birthday, August 4th 1975

Text Robert Burns

Language Scottish dialect


https://goodmorningbritten.wordpress.co ... sel-op-92/

Cantata Academica, Carmen Basiliense, Op.62 – for soprano, contralto, tenor and bass solos, chorus and orchestra (September 1959, Britten aged 45)

Part 1

1 Corale

2 Alla rovesco

3 Recitativo (tenor and piano)

4 Arioso (bass, orchestra)

5 Duettino (soprano, contralto and orchestra)

6 Recitativo (tenor and piano)

7 Scherzo
Part 2

8 Tema seriale con fuga

9 Soli e duetto (contralto, bass and orchestra)

10 Arioso con canto popolare (soprano, tenor, bass and orchestra)

11 Recitativo (tenor and piano)

12 Canone ed istinato

13 Corale con canto
Dedication Composuit Universitati Basiliensi, sollemnia saecularia quinta celebranti, dedicavit Benjamin Britten MCMLX

Text University charter, orations in praise of Basel (Bernhard Wyss)

Language Latin


https://goodmorningbritten.wordpress.co ... nse-op-62/

Russian Funeral – known also by Britten as War and death, an impression for brass orchestra – for 4 horns (‘ad lib’), 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba and percussion (24 February – 2 March 1936, Britten aged 22)


Russian Funeral is the first work we encounter that explicitly lays Britten’s pacifist beliefs on the table, expressing his increasingly worried state about the political climate in Europe. It is also one of very few works that he wrote for brass ensemble, though in larger scale performances we find that he was a very skilled writer for brass instruments.
This straight-faced utterance was written for the London Labour Choral Union, receiving its first performance in Westminster Theatre from the South London Brass Orchestra on 8 March 1936, under the baton of fellow-composer Alan Bush. It then lay unpublished in Britten’s lifetime, dormant until resurrected in the early 1980s. Britten was learning the first piano concerto of Shostakovich at the time, which may well explain the close stylistic parallels, and also his choice of source material, as the march is based on a Russian funeral melody that Shostakovich later used in his Symphony no.11.

https://goodmorningbritten.wordpress.co ... n-funeral/

Cantata misericordium, Op.69 for tenor and baritone solos, small chorus and string quartet, string orchestra, piano, harp and timpani (ca July 1963, Britten aged 49)
Dedication In honorem Societatis Crucis Rubrae kalendis septembribus A.S. MCMLXIII sollemnia saecularia Genave celebrantis hoc opus compositum illo primum die auditum est’ ‘To Fidelity Cranbrook

Text Patrick Wilkinson

Language Latin


The Cantata misericordium is often seen as a substantial postscript to the War Requiem, for two reasons – firstly because it reunited Peter Pears and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in familiar roles, and secondly because its subject matter is remarkably similar, being an adaptation of the Parable of the Good Samaritan, as told by Jesus in the New Testament. This in itself is a look forward, however, to Britten’s own church parables, which are imminent in his output.


https://goodmorningbritten.wordpress.co ... ium-op-69/

A Children’s Crusade, Op.82 – a ballad for children’s voices and orchestra (a large array of percussion, two pianos and electronic or chamber organ) (January 1969, Britten aged 53)

Dedication To Hans Werner Henze Also, Written for the members of Wandsworth School Choir (director Russell Burgess) to perform on the 50th Anniversary of The Save The Children Fund at St. Paul’s Cathedral, May 19th 1969

Text Bertolt Brecht

Language German


https://goodmorningbritten.wordpress.co ... ade-op-82/

The Poet’s Echo, Op.76 – for high voice and piano (August 1965, Britten aged 51)

1 Echo

2 My heart…

3 Angel

4 The nightingale and the rose

5 Epigram

6 Lines written during a sleepless night
Dedication For Galya and Slava (Galina Vishnevskaya and husband Mstislav Rostropovich

Text Alexander Pushkin

Language Russian


https://goodmorningbritten.wordpress.co ... cho-op-76/

Sechs Hölderlin-Fragmente, Op.61, for voice and piano (Summer 1958, Britten aged 44)
1 Menschenbeifall (The Applause of Men)

2 Die Heimat (Home)

3 Sokrates und Alcibiadesii (Socrates and Alcibiades)

4 Die Jugend (Youth)

5 Hälfte des Lebens (The Middle of Life)

6 Die Linien des Lebens (Lines of Life)
Dedication ‘Meinem Freund, dem Prinzen Ludwig von Hessen und bei Rhein, zum fünfzigsten Geburtstag’ (‘My friend, Prince Ludwig of Hess and the Rhine, on his fiftieth birthday’)

Text Friedrich Hölderlin

Language German


https://goodmorningbritten.wordpress.co ... nte-op-61/

Two Insect Pieces for oboe and piano (5 – 21 April 1935, Britten aged 21)

1 The Grasshopper

2 The Wasp
Dedication Sylvia Spencer, English oboist


These two short pieces are the first in a projected series of five, for Britten was preparing a suite for oboe and piano. The other three movements, also insects, only reached the sketching stage. This surviving pair were dedicated to a friend of the composer’s, the oboist Sylvia Spencer, but she appears never to have performed them in public.

https://goodmorningbritten.wordpress.co ... ct-pieces/

 
 
5) F. J. Haydn (1732-1809): Tr. 1-4 Sym. 67 in F Major (28'06) |Tr. 5-8, Sym. 68 in B Flat Major (22'46) |Tr. 9-12, Sym. 69 in C Major "Laudon" (20'22)--Adam Fischer, cond., Austro-Hungarain Haydn Orch. Rec. 1997 Haydnsaal, Esterhazy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria. This is CD 20 of a 33 CD Brilliant Records set of all the Haydn Symphonies by these forces. Licensed from Nimbus Records.
 

These are fine, energetic performances, especially of the Sym. 69. The brief Wikipedia article on this symphony is worth viewing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._69_(Haydn) Suffice it to say that the symphony is dedicated to Field Marshall Ernst Gideon Freiherr von Laudon, who defeated the Turks in an important battle.

 
 

6) Tr. 1, Claude Debussy (1862-1918): Children's Corner: The Little Shepherd (3'20)--Alexander Korneyev, flute |Tr. 2, Francis Poulenc (1899-1963): Album des Six: No. 5, Waltz (2'01) |Tr. 3-4, Sing und Spielmusiken für Liebhaber und Musikfreunde, Op. 45 (1928/29): # 3 (of 5): "Ein Jäger aus Kurpfalz", for strings and woodwinds (4'26) |Tr. 5-7, Bohuslav Jan Martinů (1890-1959): Serenade 4 (Divertimento) for Violin, Viola and Chamber Orchestra, H. 215 (1932) |Tr. 8-10, Béla Bartók (1881-1945): Divertimento for string orchestra (1939) Sz. 113, BB 118 (22'46) |Tr. 11-20, For Children [orchestrated by Leo Weiner] (8'33) |Tr. 21-24, Benjamin Britten (1913-76): A Simple Symphony, Op. 4 (15'27)--Rudolf Barshai, cond., Moscow Chamber Orch. Rec. 25 SEP 1956 (1-2), 27 NOV 1959 (3-7), 3 DEC 1960 (8-20), 3 MAR 1962 (21-24). This is CD 6 of a 10 CD Brilliant set of performances by these forces. Licensed from Gostelradiofund, Russian Federation.

 
I am not a fan of playing and recording excerpts from larger works except in rare circumstances, and the first 4 tracks here are not exceptions to that general rule. Taking these tidbits out of context does violence, I think, to the composers' works. The rest is pretty good, especially the Britten. Barshai finds depths of meaning in A Simple Symphony that even Britten himself did not plumb in his recording of the work, and that is high praise, indeed.
 
 
7) CD 5 of 23 of Clifford Curzon's complete recordings for DECCA. Tr. 1-4, Franz Schubert (1797-1828) (arr. bt Franz Liszt (1811-86): "Wanderer" Fantasy (19'52)--Henry Wood, cond., Queen's Hall Orch., rec. Thames St Studios, London 1 APR 1937 |Tr. 5-7, Mozart: Piano Quartet 1 in G Minor, K. 478 (23'09) |Tr. 8-10, Piano Quartet 2 in E Flat Major, K. 493 (23'25)--with members of the Amadeus Quartet (Norbert Brainin, violin, Peter Schidlof, viola, Martin Lovett, cello)--rec. 9-11 SEP 1952 Decca Studios, Broadhurst Gardens, West Hampstead, London.
 
I could have done without the orchestrated Wanderer Fantasy, but I suppose if you're going for completeness, it had to be included. The two Mpzart pieces are masterfully performed and recorded well. I only have one other recording of the piano quartets, by the Beaux Arts Trio with violist Bruno Giuranna. These are good enough works, though, that I feel I should have some other performances as well. I am going to check into that. I have checked at ArchivMusic and it is te Beaux Arts version which they have marked as their primary recommendation for these works. But the present recording by Curzon is also on their recommended list.
 
 
8) Easley Blackwood, Jr. (born April 21, 1933): Tr. 1-5, Viola Sonata 2, Op. 43 (2001) (24'09) |Tr, 6-8, Violin Sonata 1, Op. 7 (1960) (16'39) |Tr. 9-11, Piano Trio, Op. 22 (1968) (16'35) |Tr. 12-14, Viola Sonata 1 (1953) (13'57)--Easley Blackwood, Jr., piano (all), Charles Pickler, violin (Op. 7, 22), viola (Op. 1, 43), Gary Stucka, cello (Op. 22)--a Cedille Records CD. Rec. at WFMT Studios, Chicago, 2-3 FEB (Op. 43), 28 APR (Op. 1), 4 SEP (Op. 7) 2002, & 4 DEC 2004 (Op. 22).
 

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easley_Blackwood_Jr. for biographical information on the composer. Born in Indianapolis, he studied @ Yale University and in Paris with the likes of Olivier Messiaen, Paul Hindemith, and Nadia Boulanger, but from 1958-97, he taught music at the University of Chicago, and is still Professor Emeritus there and still teaches classes. In addition to being a composer, he is a major theoretician, and has written several scholarly books on tunings, tonality and atonality. His works were atonal up to 1981, when he started writing tonal compositions. He is also a superb practical performing pianist, known for his ability to tackle works of transcendental difficulty with skill and aplomb.

 
 
9) Robert Schumann (1810-56): |Tr. 1-3, Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54 (30'12)--Wilhelm Kempff, piano, Ernest Ansermet, cond.--rec 18 FEB 1959. |Tr. 4-6, Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 129 (24'34)--Pierre Fournier, cello, Ferenc Fricsay, cond., Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.--rec. 6 FEB 1957 Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland--CD 3 of a 7 CD Cascavelle release of major works by Schumann in celebration of the bicentennial anniversary of his birth.
 
I have the Perahia, Serkin, and Richter/Rowicki recordings of the Piano Concerto, but the one I like the most is another recording by French pianist Samson Francois. He recorded it twice--the better one, IMO, is the one with Paul Kletzki & the French National Radio Orch. (1958), not the 1957 one with the same orchestra under Charles Munch. The present recording by Kempff is a very good one, too, but not quite up to the standard of Francois/Kletzki, IMO.
 
I have several other recordings of the cello concerto, but I confess I do not know them well enough to make a comparative judgment call. This performance is definitely an excellent one, though.
Last edited by RebLem on Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

david johnson
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:59 am

My Monday has begun with Ivry Gitlis/VSO/(Horenstein and Swarowsky, conductors) playing Violin Concertos by: Tchaikovsky, Bruch, Sibelius, Mendelssohn, Bartok (also Bartok Sonata for Solo Violin)/Vox Legends

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:47 am


On Monday, 29 January 2018, I listened to 4 CDs.
 
 
1-2) Jules Massenet (1842-1912): CD 1--Tr. 1-3, Piano Concerto (29'52)--Sylvain Cambreling, cond, Orchestre National de l'Opera de Monte-Carlo |Tr. 4-5, Deux Pieces (3'46) |Tr. 6-7 Deux Impromptus (4'45) |Tr. 8, Toccata (1'50) |Tr. 9, Musique pou Bercer les petits enfants ( 1'51) |Tr. 10-19, Dix Pieces de genre, Op. 10 (9'00) |Tr. 20-26, Sept Improvisations (5'47) CD 2--Tr. 1, Valse folle (2'26) |Tr. 2, Valse tres lente (3'35) |Tr. 3, Devant la Madonne (4'03) |Tr. 4-6 Annee passee I (Apres-midi d'ete) (6'55) |Tr. 7-9, Annee passee II (Jours d'automne) (7'24) |Tr. 10-12, Annee passee III (Soirs d'hiver) (6'18) |Tr. 13-15, Annee passee IV (Matins de printemps) (6'33), |Tr. 16-21, Six Danses (10'05) |Tr. 22-24, Trois Marches (12'58) |Tr. 25, La ViergeL Danse galileenne (2'33) |Tr. 26-28, Premiere Suite, Op. 11 (7'03) |Tr. 2930, Deux Berceuses (5'17)--Aldo Ciccolini, piano.
 
Yes, Massenet, who composed no fewer than 25 operas, including Manon, Werther, and Thais, also composed for the piano. In fact, in his earliest days, he was known primarily as a pianist--it was his insrument. These are delightful pieces. Not much depth to them, you understand, but pleasant enough, and cheerful and uplifting. The concerto is a piece that is relatively easy to play--not a virtuoso work, so an intermediate student should be able to do well with it.
 
 
3) Nikolai Miaskovsky (1881-1950): CD 3 of a 16 CD Brilliant set of all the composer's symphonies and a number of other orchestral pieces as well. |Tr. 1-4, Sym. 9 in E Minor, Op. 38 (1927) (41'20) |Tr. 5-9, Sym. 14 in C Major, Op. 37 (1933) (36'51)--Evgeny Svetlanov, cond., Russian Federation State Sym. Orch. Rec. 1993-97 in the Great Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow.
 
It is hard to describe these two works. It seems like Miaskovsky was a true believer in the Soviet system. One imagines some never never land in which workers and peasants go to work enthusastically every day eager to participate in the creation of the Worker State. The music has a heroic tinge to it that is difficult to describe. Just keep in mind that Miaskovsky won five Stalin Prizes for his work, more than any other Soviet composer.
 
 
4) W.A. Mozart (1756-91): Requiem in D Minor, K. 626 (46'09) with new completion by Robert Levin. Premiere recording on period instruments.--Martin Pearlman, director, Boston Baroque, Ruth Ziesak, soprano, Nancy Maultsby, mezzo-soprano, Richard Croft, tenor, David Arnold, baritone. Recorded in Campion Center, Weston, Mass, 2-3 NOV 1994. A Telarc CD.
 
This is one of the most deeply moving performances of this work I have ever heard. It moves to the top of the list. This is the preferred recording of this work that all lovers of Mozart ought to have.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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