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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