What I listened to today

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RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:04 pm


On Sunday, 25 FEB 2018, I listened to 9 CDs.
 
 
1) Franz Schubert (1797-1828): Symphony 9* in C Major, D. 944 "The Great" (57'35)--Jos Van Immerseel, cond., Anima Eterna Brugge--rec. 25-27 JAN 1997 Tilburg Conzertzaal. CD 4 of a 4 CD Outhere set of the complete Schubert symphonies by this ensemble.
 
A few housekeeping notes. *An asterik is after the # 9 above because the conductor of this ensemble has chosen to call the Unfinished symphony # 7 and the Great C Major Symphony # 8. I have chosen to continue with the commonly understood numbering system in my notes.
 

The Brugge referred to in the name of the ensemble is the Dutch spelling of the city of Bruges, Belgium, the host city of the ensemble. Per Wikipedia, "Bruges (/bruːʒ/; Dutch: Brugge [ˈbrʏɣə]; French: Bruges [bʁyːʒ]) is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium, in the northwest of the country." In fact, West Flanders is the only Belgian province which is on the English Channel, as checking Wikipedia will reveal. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruges .

 

Per Wikipedia, "Tilburg ([ˈtɪlbɵr(ə)x] (/wiki/File:227_Tilburg.ogg/wiki/File:227_Tilburg.ogg listen)) is a city in the Netherlands, in the southern province of North Brabant. With a population of 214,157 (April 30, 2017), it is the second largest municipality in North Brabant, and the sixth largest in the Netherlands." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilburg .

 
The accompanying booklet contains exhaustive notes on performance practice and this conductor's deviations from the standard. The English language notes extend from pages 31-52. They are even more difficult to read than the usual liner notes because the print is a light gray against a white background, and the contrast between the print and the background is not as great as it usually is in more conventionally printed materials. Usually, with this size type face, I can read without a magnifying glass, but I need one for this booklet because the lack of sufficient color contrast keeps me from being able to read it without a magnifier. Among other things, the notes indicate they have settled on A = 440 for ths set, which is higher than usual and results in making many of the symphonies take on a darker tone than usual. In many ways, this set cannot be compared to others, because the interpretive approach of the conductor is so different from the norm, even that of Neville Marriner, another scholar cum conductor, who chose, for example, to perform an orchestrated version of Schubert's 7th symphony, which we have in the composer's hand only in a piano sketch, though a complete one. For completeness, Marriner is indispensible, but for attention to Schubert's intentions and contemporary practice, the present set is indispensible as well.
 
 
2) Louis Pelosi (b, 1947): Thirty-Seven Inventions, Canons, and Fugues: Variations on a Single Motif For Piano (37 tracks, TT: 77'42)--Donald Isler, piano. Rec. 18 FEB, 12 AUG 2009, and 3 MAR 2010. KASP Records, a label wholly owned by Donald Isler.
 
The accompanying booklet contains extensive notes both by the composer and by the pianist. Pelosi writes, "[This work] is the sequel to my Thirteen Preludes and Fugues (2000-3)....It is in five parts. The first four comprise nine pieces each ; the fifth is the finale....Inventions predominate at the beginning, fugues at the end. Whereas these proceed in inverse proportion to one another in terms of frequency of appearance, the canons--all strict--maintain a steady presence in each of the four parts. Each form wends its way through the 12 tones of the scale, as much as possible mirroring the structure of the motif itself. Metronome markings are fixed proportions as well.."
"Except for the finale, all inventions are essentially in two voices, with occasional parts or tones added for melodic or harmonic emphasis. All canons of Parts One and Two are likewise two-voice, those of Parts Three and Four three-voice. Fugues progress from two-voice in Part Two, three-voice in Part Three, and four-voice in Part Four. Part Five intermingles three-part invention, double canon (twice two-part) and five-part fughetta. Thus the composition moves in the direction of greater formal complexity."

"Like its predecessor, [this work]...is envisioned ideally as a concert-long event (although any one piece can be played as an entirety alone) with pauses after each section and a suggested intermission after No. 22. Despite its strictness of character, it should be played with (great) feeling throughout, and the neccessary freedom such communication requires. My wife [Rosemarie] died during its writing [12 DEC 2007, see obituary @ http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nytime ... d=99653842 ] ; it is everywhere permeated with her presence...and my unbridgeable loss."

The booklet also contains a full page of notes on the work by Donald Isler, which concludes with the sentence, "There is much more to this work, a great achievement by a contemporary composer using old form than what I have described here, and I hope the listener will enjoy exploring it further."
In that spirit, I have a few comments to make. First of all, although thi work times out at 77'42, it is divided into 37 tracks. The shortest of them is # 28 at 0'51; in fact a total of 4 tracks are under a minute apiece. The longest track by far is Part V, Track 37, which is 9'33. The next longest is # 36 at 3'25. All together, 19 tracks are between 1'00 and 1'59, 8 are between 2'00 and 2'59, and 5 are between 3'00 and 3'25. Nevertheless, one should not get the idea that this is simple, uncomplicated music. It is, on the contrary, a highly complex work.
I had the feeling that I had heard music something like this before, so, to refresh my memory and make comparisons, I listened to about 3/4 of the Etudes of Claude Debussy as performed by Walter Gieseking. I found the tonality and the structures of many of the present pieces to be strikingly similar to Debussy's Etudes. Not, certainly, to the point of plagiarism, mind you, but similar, in the same way that Dvorak's music inspired by American spirituals are composed in the same spirit, but do not plagiarize or quote.
 
 
3) N. Miaskovsky (1881-1950): Tr. 1, Symphony 21 in F Sharp Minor, Op. 31 (1940) (18'15) |Tr. 2-4, Sinfonietta in A Major, Op. 10 (1911) (20'11) |Tr. 5, Silence in F Minor, Op. 9 (1909) (21'26) |Tr. 6-8, Serenade 1, Op. 32 (1920) (17'19)--Evgeny Svetlanov, cond., Russian Federation Symphony Orch., CD 14 of a 16 CD set of all the Miaskovsky symphonies + some selected other orchestral works by these forces Rec. 1991-3 in the Large Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Moscow. Issued by Warner Records.
 

Symphony # 21 was commissioned by Frederick Stock, music director of the Chicago Symphony for 37 years (1905-42) as one of the new works to be performed in celebration of the CSO's 50th anniversary. It is in one movement marked Andante sostenuto. Leon Botstein, Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra, has written on their website of this symphony. See http://americansymphony.org/symphony-no ... nor-op-51/ I really do urge you to look at this, because it is a masterful explanation of the symphony and its place in the history of the CSO and in the history of the composer's life and purpose.

Now, on to the Sinfonietta in A Major, Op. 10. Miaskovsky wrote this in 1911, three years after Prokofiev wrote his Sinfonietta in the same key! I know a little more about that work than most general classical music lovers, because it was a favorite of the late Dieter Kober (died 1 OCT 2015 in Dresden, Germany at age 95), longtime (61 years) music director of the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, which was in the business of giving free public concerts at various locations around Chicago. I was at a concert once where he performed the Sinfonietta, and in his remarks before the performance, he expressed the opinion that it is a great work, too little appreciated. Miaskovsky and Prokofiev are known to have been friends as students. I wonder if his Sinfonietta in the same key was inspired by his older colleague.
Per notes at the NAXOS webite, "Miaskovsky wrote his First Symphony in 1908, while still a student at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. The following year he wrote the symphonic poem Silence, based on the poem The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe. First performed in 1911 in Moscow, the work was followed by a Second Symphonic Poem, this time based on Shelley’s Alastor. [that work is the last work on the last CD (#16) in this set] In Poe’s famous work the poet sits in his study on a bleak December night, remembering his lost beloved Lenore. There is a tapping at the window, and a black raven steps in, with its one word, an ominous message, "Nevermore", the only answer to the despairing cries of the poet. Nevermore shall he see Lenore and nevermore shall the shadow of the bird of ill-omen cease to fall on him, depriving him of all hope."
 
 
4-5) Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901): Messe da Requiem (86'07) |Quattro Pezzi Sacri (Four Sacred Pieces) (39'20)--Emil Tabakov, cond., Sofia Philharmonic Orch., Bulgarian National Choir, Georgi Robev, Chorus Master, Olga Romanko, soprano, Stefania Toczyska, mezzo-soprano, Vicente Ombuena, tenor, Franco e Grandis, bass. 2 CD Capriccio set. No information is given on recording dates or venue, but the set was published in 1995.
 

Despite the lack of elementary information on recording dates and venues, the notes that come with this set are, in other respects, extensive, not at all what you would call "bare bones." English language notes on the works themselves extend from p 8-12, and bios of the performers are on p. 18-20. The booklet includes complete texts of both works in Latin, German, English, and French, in that order. CD 1 is 58'36 long and extends through the Offertorio of the Requiem. CD 2 begins with the Sanctus and proceeds through the Agnus Dei, the Lux Aeterna, and the Libera Me. Then, we get the 39'20 Four Sacred Pieces. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Requiem_(Verdi) and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quattro_pezzi_sacri The article on the Four Sacred Pieces is especially important if you are unfamiliar with this work, because it was actually assembled in 1898 by Verdi's publisher and published together as an integrated work for the first time, though Verdi had composed them separately. The decision to make one work of them was his publisher's idea, not Verdi's.

 
 
6) CD 9 of the 14 CD RCA set "Leopold Stokowski: The Stereo Collection, 1954-75." |Tr. 1-4, P.I. Tchaikovsky (1840-93): Symphony 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 "Pathetique" (47'10) |Tr. 5, George Enescu (1881-1955): Romanian Rhapsody 1 in A Major, Op. 11/1 (11'34) |Tr. 6, Franz Liszt (1811-86): Hungarian Rhapsody 2 in C Minor (8'40)--London Symphony Orch. (Tr. 1-4), rec. Walthamstow Town Hall, London, 5-7 OCT 1973, RCA Victor Symphony Orch. (Tr. 5-6), rec. Manhattan Center, NYC, 7, 18 FEB 1960.
 
I must say I was favorably surprised by this performance of the Pathetique. I was anticipating a fairly routine run through, and what I found was a truly masterful performance, one that is at least the equal of any I have ever heard, and vastly superior to most. Stokowski always had a cheerful, upbeat personality, and I found it difficult to believe that he would have the empathy for the kind of depression and despair that one must communicate in this work if it is to be a fully successful performance. But he went beyond my expectations. KUDOS! The other works on this CD are similary well performed, but neither has the depth that the Pathetique does.
 
 
7) F.J. Haydn (1732-1809): Tr. 1-4, Symphony 101 in D Major "Clock" (29'34) |Tr. 5-8, Symphony 102 in B Flat Major "The Miracle"* (26'41)--Adam Fischer, cond., Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orch., rec. 1987-1988 Haydnsaal, Esterhazy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria. This is CD 32 of a 33 CD Brilliant set of all the Haydn symphonies by these forces. Licensed from Nimbus Records.
 

*I always thought Symphony 96 was the one with the appellation "The Miracle," though I never knew why, until now. In fact, I labelled it The Miracle symphony in my recent report of listening to it, even though the CD itself did not list it as such. Now, I look at this CD with "The Miracle" attached to it. Surely, this is a sloppy mistake on the part of the record company, I thought. Then, I looked it up on Wikipedia, and the mist was withdrawn from my eyes. Here's what they say: "It was completed in 1794. It is now believed by many scholars to be the symphony at the premiere of which a chandelier fell from the ceiling of the concert hall in which it was performed. Fortunately, the audience escaped unharmed, supposedly because they had rushed the stage. It was long believed that this 'Miracle' event took place at the premiere of his Symphony No. 96. " So, Symphony 96 USED to be the "Miracle" symphony, but it no longer is; now, its 102. I am chagrined.

In any case, it seems that the quality of the performances has picked up a bit with these last 12, and especially the last 6 symphonies. These are truly very fine performances.
 
 
8 ) CD 18 of the 23 CD + 1 DVD set of all the recordings British pianist Clifford Curzon made for DECCA is devoted to music of Johannes Brahms (1833-97). |Tr. 1-3, Piano Concerto 1 in D Minor, Op. 15 (1858) (50'03)--George Szell, cond., London Symphony Orch.--rec. in Kingsway Hall, London, 30 MAY-1 JUN 1962 |Tr. 4-21, Liebeslieder-Walzer for vocal quartet & piano 4 hands, Op. 52 Text: Daumer (1870) (23'50) |Tr. 22, Neue Liebeslieder-Walzer for vocal quartet and piano 4 hands, Op. 65c: # 15, Zum Schluss Text: Goethe. (2'32)--Hans Gal, 2nd piano, Irmgard Seefried, soprano, Kathleen Ferrier, contralto, Julius Patzak, tenor, Horst Guenther, bass-baritone. Rec. in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2 SEP 1952.
 
The Brahms First Piano Concerto has always mystified me. Until now, I have never been able to see much in it. I know this brands me as a knave and a bounder; all the people whose opinions I respect on such matters tell me this is a great work, and I absolutely know that the failure is mine, not that of Johnannes Brahms. But, nevertheless, there you have it. But this is the third recording of this work in this set, and I have heard this particular recording before, because I had it as a single long before I got this box, more because I am a George Szell fanboy than because of Curzon. So now, for the first time, after such frequent repetition, I am beginning to see what others have seen all this time.
 
The vocal quartet in the lieder is extraordinary. I had a friend in Chicago named Ted Seifert was was such a fan of Irmgard Seefried that he named his firstborn daughter Irmgard Seefried Seifert, and because of this, I have paid attention to her performances more than I would have. And, of course, the pair of Kathleen Ferrier and Julius Patzak, so well known to me as a pair who did Das Lied von der Erde with Bruno Walter when Ferrier was dying of cancer, is a real attention grabber. But these recordings were apparently not taped, even though tape technology was well established by 1952. It sounds like these transfers were made from an LP with lots of hiss. The extraordinary musicianship of these performers still comes through, but the quality of the reproduction makes this something of a disappointment nevertheless.
 
 
9) Robert Schumann (1810-56): CD 6 of a 7 CD Brilliant Classics set of the complete Robert Schumann chamber music. |Tr. 1-2, Adagio & Allegro, Op. 70 (9'02) |Tr. 3-5 Drei Romanzen, Op. 94 (11'07) |Tr. 6-8, Fantasiestuecke, Op. 73 (11'18) |Tr 9-13, 5 Stuecke im Volkston, [Studies in Folk Music], Op. 102 (15'45)--Marck Jerie, cello, Ivan Klansky, piano. Rec. JUN 1985 Kirche Blumenstein, Stockental, Bern, Switzerland. Licensed from Bayer Records, Germany.
 
Bayer Records is a better record company than CRD, the one which recorded all the previous volumes in this series. The quality of these performances is quite a bit higher than it was in previous volumes. These are excellent performances.
Last edited by RebLem on Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:25 pm, 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.

John F
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by John F » Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:29 am

RebLem wrote:the conductor of this ensemble has chosen to call the Unfinished symphony # 7 and the Great C Major Symphony # 8. I have chosen to continue with the commonly understood numbering system in my notes.
And rightly so. The unfinished symphony in E major is conventionally numbered 7 and has been for many years; there have been at least two completions by other hands. The famous unfinished symphony in B minor was always No. 8 because it was wrongly believed to have followed the Great C Major symphony, which used to be No. 7 but now is rightly No. 9. There's really no need to know all that, and Immerseel's practice merely confuses the issue.
John Francis

david johnson
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:46 am

Today begins with a revisit to some Niklas Eklund/Naxos trumpet recordings. Right now it's: The Art of Baroque Trumpet Vol. 4
Last edited by david johnson on Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:26 am


On Monday, 26 FEB 2018, I listened to 2 CDs. Not going to do better Tuesday, either, because I have a medical appointment in the morning, then I am going grocery shopping after a restaurant brunch.
 
 
1) Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959): |Tr. 1-4, Symphony 1, Op. 112 "The Unexpected" * (1916) (26'06) |Tr. 5-8, Symphony 11 (1955)--Carl St. Clair, cond., SWR RSO Stuttgart--rec. 15-19 SEP 1997, Stadthalle, Sindelfingen. A cpo CD, Vol. 1 of a 7 CD set of the complete Villa-Lobos symphonies from these forces.
 
*The symphony is labelled "The Unexpected" on the CD, but Wikipedia's list of Villa-Lobos compositions labels it "The Unforseen." in Portuguese, it is "O Imprevisto." Babelfish agrees with Wikipedia. Ya pays your money and ya makes your choice.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_ ... lla-Lobos)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_ ... lla-Lobos)

Plenty to listen to here, and both are exciting, in some places, even bombastic. Its hard to absorb it all or to make sense of it at first listening, but the one thing I can say for certain is this CD will not bore you. The conductor, Carl St. Clair, is a native of Texas, but you shouldn't hold that against him. He is a very fine conductor.
 
 
2) Anatoly Lyadov (1855-1914): |Tr. 1-14, Biryul'ki (Spillikins), Op. 2 (1876) (13'10) |Tr. 15-17, Three Pieces, Op. 3a (1876) |Tr. 18-20, Three Mazurkas, Op. 3b (1877) (7'10) |Tr. 21-24, Arabesques, Op. 4 (1878) (12'35) |Tr. 25, Twenty-four Variations and Finale on a simple theme for piano 4 hands (in collaboration with Cui and Rimsky Korsakov (1878) (6'49) |Tr. 26-29, Four Paraphrases on a simple theme for piano four hands (1878-9) (6'12)--Marco Rapetti, piano, Akane Makita, piano II. Tr. 25 is a world premiere recording. CD 1 of a 5 CD Brilliant Classics set of Marco Rapetti performing Lyadov's complete solo piano music. Rec. 4-7 JAN & 12-15 DEC 2010 Villa Vespucci, Sasn Felice a Ema, Florence, Italy.
 
Yes, this is the same Anatoly Lyadov who was the bane of Prokofiev's existence (Myaskovsky's, too) at the St Petersburg Conservatory. Rapetti is an excellent pianist who has done yeoman work recording all the solo piano music of a number of composers, including Borodin, Dukas, and Debussy. Five of the six reviewers @ Amazon gave it 5 stars; the remaining one gave it 4, and even in that case, his only criticisms were of the worthiness of the composer, not the skill or competence of the pianist or recording engineer. The booklet which accompanies this release is the barest of bare bones. It consists ONLY of a listing of the works performed on each CD and information about recording dates and venues. No essays about the composer or the performers.
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 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:15 am

Wednesday, 2/28: The Art of the Baroque Trumpet, Vol. 3 - Virtuoso Music for Soprano and Trumpet/Niklas Eklund and Susanne Rydén/Naxos
Last edited by david johnson on Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:34 am


On Tuesday, 27 FEB 2018, I listened to only 1 CD. I had a lot of other things to do. I had a medical appointment with a diabetic counsellor @ a place called "Diabetes Self-Management," and got some good news. I am slowly losing some of my fat through better diet. Last two times I weighted myself, I was 283 lbs. I have weighed as much as 395 lbs, and just less than 5 years ago, my usual weight was around 365. During a hospital stay it got down into the high 320's. At home, I fairly rapidly got it down to about 313, but I hit a plateau at that level, and it wasn't for another 6-8 months that it started going down again. This time, I weighed 277.5 lbs., still, of course, grossly and morbidly obese, but going in the right direction. I wore a sweatshirt I bought at Costco. I had been able to buy clothes only at big-and-tall stores, where I usually got 4 and 5X clothing. This sweatshirt I got at Costco a couple months ago is a 2X. Its the first piece of clothing other than socks that I have gotten at a regular store in more than 30 years. Even my shoes come form a special kind of orthopedic shoe store. And I went out to eat a late breakfast (crabcakes benedict with a small fresh fruit cup and coffee), and then grocery shopping @ Albertson's. By the time I got home, it was very late afternoon.
 
 
So, the one CD I listened to was the penultimate CD in my box of the symphonies and some other orchestral works of N. Miaskovsky conducted by Evgeny Svetlanov.
 

CD 15 of a 16 CD set. Tr. 1-3, Sinfonietta in B Minor, Op. 32 # 2 (1929) (17'05) |Tr. 4-7, Sinfonietta in A Minor, Op. 68 #2 (1946) (29'47) |Tr. 8-10, Concertino lirico in G Major, Op. 32 #3 (1929) (21'24)--Evgeny Svetlanov, cond., Russian Federation Symphony Orch. Rec. 1991-3 in the Large Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Moscow. Issued by Warner Records.

 
This box of CDs is a real mess, very poorly organized, One of the things which confuses a lot of issues is that fact that in 1929, Miaskovsky wrote a work called Diversions, Op. 32. For some perverse reason, only one conductor, Yevgeny Samoilov, performs this work as an integrated, cohesive whole, on an Olympia CD. Everyone else, including Svetlanov, records it as three separate works, two of which are on the present CD, and another of which was on CD 14 in this set. Each of these three constituent parts is itself a 3 movement work, and it goes like this: 1) Serenade for small orchestra, Op. 32 #1 (17'19), 2) Sinfonietta 2 in B Minor for string orchestra (17'05) on the present CD, and 3) Lirico Concertino for flute, clarinet, horn, bassoon, harp, and string orchestra in G Major (21'24). As an integrated whole, these three parts total 55'48. It is my view that they should always be recorded, though not necessarily always performed, as an integrated whole, but that is not the usual practice, which seems to me extraordinarily perverse and confusing.
 
The box is an organizational and documentary mess in other ways, too, but I will deal with that when I review the last CD in the set in a day or two or three. I do want to draw back a bit and give you a little overview of what the future of the next few days holds in store. I only have one more CD to go in this box, but I am currently going through some other boxes, too, and I have only one more CD in each of two other sets as well--one is the Adam Fischer Haydn symphonies box with only Vol 33 to go with Haydn's last two symphonies, 103 & 104, and the last is the 7 CD Brilliant box of the chamber music of Robert Schumann. After the Miaskovsky box, I have three indiviual CDs, one of 3 Gounod symphonies and 2 Havergal Brian CDs before I go into two other big boxes in the stack--an 11 CD set of the Shostakovich symphonies by Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Phil., and, below that, the Previn box of the Vaughan Williams symphonies. After the Fischer Haydn box, I intend to go to a stack of Mozart CDs--many individual CDs culminating in the Pinnock set of the complete Mozart Symphonies. And then after the Schumann chamber music box, a long succession of individual CDs of other chamber music by various composers. So, probably by the end of this week, three big boxes will be retired to my regular shelves of listened to CDs.
 
Another example of the mess that is the documentation on this CD is that the Sinfonietta, the 2nd work in the trinity that make up Diversions, is listed as in A Major, but with a lower case "a" in the booklet, which usually means a minor key. Actually, this work is in the key of B Minor. The annotator probably got confused by the fact that Miaskovsky wrote another Sinfonietta in the key of A Major in 1911, which is on CD 14. This booklet is riddled with lots of stupid little mistakes like this.
 
The music itself, however, is exceptional, and very well performed, in a rather old-fashioned late romantic style.
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 » Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:04 am


On Wednesday, 28 FEB 2018, I listened to 4 CDs.
 
 
1) Elie Siegmeister (1909-91): Tr. 1-6, Ways of Love (Six songs to texts by five American poets) (1983) (15'42) |Tr. 7-11, Langston Hughes Songs (5) (1984) (8'14) |Tr. 12-14, String Quartet 1 on Hebrew Themes (1973) (23'09) |Tr. 15-21, Madame to You, 7 songs to texts by Langston Hughes (1964) (13'57) |Tr. 22-26, The Face of War, 5 songs to texts by Langston Hughes (1966) (9'15)--Elizabeth Kirkpatrick, soprano (Tr. 1-6), Charles Williams, baritone (Tr. 7-11), The Washington Music Ensemble (Mary Findley, violin |Harriett Kaplan, cello |Jan Pompilo, flute |Charles Stier, clarinet |Rovert Lynn, percussion |Alan Mandel, piano, Artistic Director |Joel Lazar, conductor) (Tr. 1-11), Primavera String Quartet (Martha Caplin, Kathryn Caswell, violins, Diann Jezurski, viola, Melissa Meeli, cello) (Tr. 12-14), Esther Hinds, soprano, Alan Mandel, piano (Tr. 15-26). Tr. 12-26 rec. NYC 12/1978 & June, 1979. Tr. 1-11 rec. at the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Auditorium @ the Library of Congress , Washington, DC 4 SEP 1984. The two works in those tracks were commissioned by the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation. A CRI (Composers Recordings, Inc.) CD from material previously released on two CRI LPs.
 
Lets face it. CRI has always been known as a vanity publisher. You walk in with some money to make a record and they will make it. But it is a little higher toned than most such enterprises in book publishing. The people who take advantage of this service are usually not nobodies, and Siegmeister was a popular guy among the cognoscenti for many years. My opinion is that he was never as good as they thought, but he is good enough that he does not deserve the inattention that has been his lot for the last 35 years or so.
 
I actually like the string quartet. the only instrumental work on this CD. For some reason, I have always had more tolerance for dissonance in instrumental music than in vocal music. I love the Langston Hughes poems, but I am not very fond of what Siegmeister has done with them, and the five poets he chose for the Ways of Love are a mixed bag. Again, I liked Langston Hughes, and e. e. cummings. Lawrence Ferlinghetti is another matter, not too wild about him--he was one of the less talented beat poets.
 
BTW, the composer's surname is misspelled on the front cover of the booklet as Seigmeister, with the i and i after the first S transposed. on the back cover, the spine, inside the booklet and on the CD itself, his surname is correctly spelled.
 
 
2) CD 10 of a 14 CD RCA set, "Leopold Stokowski: The Stereo Collection, 1954-75"--Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908): |Tr. 1-4, Scheherazade, Symphonic Suite after 1001 Nights by Omar Khayyam, Op. 15 (44'13) |Tr. 5, Russian Easter Festival Concert Overture, Op. 38 (14'18)--Erich Gruenberg, violin, Royal Philharmonic Orch. (Tr. 1-4), Chicago Symphony Orch. (Tr. 5). Tr. 1-4 rec. EMI Studios, London, 26/28 FEB & 3 MAR 1975. Tr. 5 rec. Medinah Temple, Chicago, 20/21 FEB 1968.
 
Good recordings, all at a fairly low audio level relative to other CDs in this set. Not among my favorites of either work. The Russian Easter Overture is the better of the two performances here, it seems to me.
 
 
3) F.J. Haydn (1732-1809): Tr. 1-4. Symphony 103 in E Flat Major "Drumroll" (30'17) |Tr. 5-8, Symphony 104 in D Major "London" (29'12)--Adam Fischer, cond., Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orch., rec. 1987 & 1989 Haydnsaal, Esterhazy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria. This is CD 33 of a 33 CD Brilliant Classics set of the complete Haydn symphonies by these forces. Licensed from Nimbus Records.
 
The final couple of movements of the London Symphony are very energetic, but otherwise, this CD is not as good as the others of the performances of Symphonies 99-102, in my opinion.
 
 
4) CD 18 of a 23 CD + 1 DVD set of all pianist Clifford Curzon's recordings for DECCA. |Tr. 1-5, Franz Schubert (1797-1828): Piano Quintet in A Major, D. 667 "Trout" (35'18) |Benjamin Britten (1913-76): Tr. 6, Introduction and Rondo alla burlesca, Op. 23 #1 (8'55), Tr. 7, Mazurka elegiaca, Op. 23 #2 (7'34) |Tr. 8, Willem Pijper (1894-1947): Symphony 3 (13'46)--Clifford Curzon appears in all these, of course; he plays piano obligatto in the symphony. Other performers: Tr. 1-5, Wiener Oktett Members (Willi Boskovsky, violin, Gunter Breitenbach, viola, Nikolaus Huebner, cello, Johann Krump, double bass--rec. Sofiensaal, Vienna, OCT 1967. Tr. 6, 7 are both for piano four hands; Curzon's duo pianist in these tracks is Benjamin Britten, rec. @ Decca Studios, Broadhurst Gardens, West Hampstead, London 5 JAN 1944. Tr. 5 performed by Eduard van Beinum, cond., Concertgebouw Orch., rec. in Grote Zaal, the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, May 1953.
 
Of course, the Schubert and the Pijper works are the major works here. Truly superb playing in both cases. Pijper is, I would say, a spiritual cousin of Janacek and Szymanowski. If you like them, and I most certainly do, you'll like Pijper, too.
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 John F » Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:48 am

RebLem wrote: CRI has always been known as a vanity publisher. You walk in with some money to make a record and they will make it.
That is indeed a description of vanity publishing, but it is not a description of CRI. They were founded by the reputable composers Otto Luening, Douglas Moore, and Oliver Daniel, and were not indiscriminate in what music by their colleagues they recorded and published, as the partial list of composers on Wikipedia shows. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Composers ... _composers)

CRI was the foremost recorder of contemporary American music of their time, though New World Records has now outstripped them, partly by absorbing the whole CRI catalogue in 2006. This reissue of some of their recordings by the Coolidge Foundation - whatever you think of the music in them - endorses CRI's judgment in making those recordings in the first place. Where the funding for those recordings came from, CRI being a not-for-profit enterprise and having no cash cows in their catalog, is really neither here nor there.
John Francis

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by Belle » Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:07 pm

Listening to this Praetorius from the early baroque. I absolutely love it!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01i4hrXZcVk

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by John F » Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:09 pm

Praetorius's Terpsichore is some of my favorite pre-Baroque music. When in college I picked up the DG Archiv LP of selected dances performed by the Collegium Terpsichore conducted by Fritz Neumeyer - what a colorful arrangement! Here's some of it:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmHR6GWQOWU
John Francis

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:06 am


On Thursday, 1 MAR 2018, I listened to 3 CDs.
 
 
1) Robert Schumann (1810-56): |Tr. 1-3, Violin Sonata 1 in A Minor, Op. 105 (18'06) |Tr. 4-7, Violin Sonata 2 in D Minor, Op. 121 (32'58) |Tr. 8-11, Violin onata 3 in A Minor, Op. posth. (20'56)--Ara Malikian, violin, Serouj Kradjian, piano--Rec. OCT 1988 Tonstudio Vagnsson, Hanover, Germany. CD 7 of a 7 CD Brilliant Classics set of the complete Schumann chamber music. Licensed from hanssler CLASSIC.
 
These performances are better and much more committed than many of the earlier performances in this box. These are excellent performances passionately played.
 
I reviewed this whole set @ Amazon, giving it 3 of 5 stars, as follows:

If I could, I'd give this 3 1/2 stars. All the performances are at least competent. Nothing here is absolutely awful. But the first 4 CDs, featuring performances by the Alberni Quartet and the Israel Piano Trio are routine run throughs, without passion or commitment. The last three CDs are much better and meet the highest standard. CD 5 features some lesser known works performed by the Nash Ensemble, one of the really top notch chamber music groups around. CDs 6 & 7 feature less well known, but excellent players. So, if you already have the string quartets, the piano trios, and the Piano Quintet and the Piano Quartet in other versions, and you just need to fill out your collection with recordings of the other pieces of chamber music Schumann composed, this is a good deal. But not if you are looking for a first and/or only recording of all of it.
 
 
2) Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959): Tr. 1-4, Symphony 2 "Ascension" (51'08) |Tr. 5, New York Skyline Melody (2'51)--Carl St Clair, cond., RSO Stuttgart des SWR. cpo CD 2 of a 7 CD set of the complete symphonies of Villa-Lobos. Rec. Stadthalle, Singlfingen, 16-19 FEB 1998 (Tr. 1-4), & 17-18 APR 2000 (Tr. 5).
 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_ ... lla-Lobos)

Here is how David Hurwitz @ Classics Today reviews this CD, as quoted @ ArchivMusic.com:
The Second Symphony, for some reason subtitled "Ascension", is 50 minutes of gorgeous texture, with an unusually definable shape (at least in its inner movements). The opening, with its splashing fountains of harp and chirping woodwinds, tells us exactly who the composer must be. Even for Villa-Lobos this work is unusually generous in melody, and not just the obviously Brazilian kind. The second movement, a sort of scherzo, features a memorable slow waltz--decorated by rapid figurations in the winds and strings--that may well stay with you long after the symphony ends. The work does have a bit of a "finale problem", to the extent that the ending seems a bit unmotivated--but really, so does Brahms' First.



New York Skyline Melody is just what the title implies: a shy three minutes of a tune created by taking an outline of the skyline in question and transcribing its shape as notes on music paper. Villa-Lobos designed his entire Sixth Symphony in such a fashion, and the result is about what you might expect: a curiosity. The performances, as with other issues in this series, are excellent, the strings really doing themselves proud in what are some very difficult parts. German radio engineers remain among the best in the business, and the only remaining question is why we had to wait so long for this 1998 recording (of the symphony) to see the light of day.
 
 
3) Anatoly Lyadov (1855-1914): CD 2 of a 5 CD Brilliant Classics set of the complete solo piano music of Anatoly Lyadov. |Tr. 1, Etude in A Flat, Op. 5 (1881) (2'52) |Tr. 2, Impromptu in D, Op. 6 (1881) (1'32) |Tr. 3-4, Two Intermezzi, Op. 7 (1881) (5'22) |Tr. 5-6, Two Intermezzi, Op. 8 (1883) (5'26) |Tr. 7-8, Two Pieces, Op. 9 (1883) (4'54) |Tr. 9-11, Three Pieces, Op. 10 (1884) (6'46) |Tr. 12-14, Three Pieces, Op. 11 (1885) (8'26) |Tr. 15, Etude in F, Op. 12* (1886) (2'01) |Tr. 16, Velichaniye (Song of Praise), for piano four hands*, (1887) (3'49) |Tr. 17-20, Four Preludes, Op. 13 (1887) (6'17) |Tr. 21--22, Two Maxzurkas, Op. 15 (1887) (2'30) |Tr. 23-24, Two Nabroska (Sketches), Op. 17 (1887) (3'40) |Tr. 25, Novinka (Novelette), Op. 20* (1882-9) (2'54)--Marco Rapetti, piano, Akane Mikita, 2nd piano (Tr. 16). Rec, 4-7 JAN & 12-15 DEC 2010 Villa Vespucci, San Felice a Ema, Florence, Italy. * World premiere recordings
 
These are all exceptional 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 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:10 am

John F wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:48 am
RebLem wrote: CRI has always been known as a vanity publisher. You walk in with some money to make a record and they will make it.
That is indeed a description of vanity publishing, but it is not a description of CRI. They were founded by the reputable composers Otto Luening, Douglas Moore, and Oliver Daniel, and were not indiscriminate in what music by their colleagues they recorded and published, as the partial list of composers on Wikipedia shows. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Composers ... _composers)

CRI was the foremost recorder of contemporary American music of their time, though New World Records has now outstripped them, partly by absorbing the whole CRI catalogue in 2006. This reissue of some of their recordings by the Coolidge Foundation - whatever you think of the music in them - endorses CRI's judgment in making those recordings in the first place. Where the funding for those recordings came from, CRI being a not-for-profit enterprise and having no cash cows in their catalog, is really neither here nor there.
TY for the correction. Its good to know someone is actually reading my posts.
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 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 1:44 am

John F wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:09 pm
Praetorius's Terpsichore is some of my favorite pre-Baroque music. When in college I picked up the DG Archiv LP of selected dances performed by the Collegium Terpsichore conducted by Fritz Neumeyer - what a colorful arrangement! Here's some of it:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmHR6GWQOWU
And I've just discovered this wonderful Christmas music by Praetorius, John!! Highly recommended:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wb9lIMxq2yE

Right: our music group is going to get this in our 2nd semester this year.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by david johnson » Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:31 am

thus far today: Gabrieli Music for Brass, Vol. 3 & 2/London Symphony Brass/Naxos

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sat Mar 03, 2018 3:23 am


On Friday, 2 MAR 2018, I listened to 3 CDs.
 
 

1) N Miaskovsky (1881-1950): |Tr. 1-6, Suite for Orchestra, Op. 65 "Links" (1945) (25'48) |Tr. 7-9, Divertissement for small orch., Op. 80 (1948) (25'49) |Tr. 10, Poeme after Shelley in C Minor, Op. 14 "Alastor" (1913) (25'16)--Evgeny Svetlanov, cond., Russian Federation Symphony Orchestra. Rec. 1991-3 in the Large Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Moscow. Issued by Warner Records.

 
"Links" starts off with a 3'42 first movement marked "Largo pesante," full of anxious forboding. I had a mental picture of stone age men huddled around a fire, full of fear of the wild animals only a couple score yards away. But after that, it breaks out into a cheerfully tuneful romp, as if the dawn has broken, all the members of the tribe have awakened, and people are going about their daily waking lives with a measure of confidence and amity. It is light-hearted, upbeat music.
A reviewer named "G.D." @ Amazon describes the Divertissement: "The late Divertissement (1948) was written under the rather repressive official artistic guidelines of the time, but Myaskovsky nevertheless manages to construct a rather original work out of it. It is tuneful and superficially jolly, but Myaskovsky incorporates plenty of surprises and touches of depth, and despite its overall buoyant melodiousness there is something compellingly elusive about it."
"Alastor" is a purely instrumental work inspired by Shelley's poem of the same name. The same reviewer, "G.D." describes it like this: The symphonic poem Alastor (1912) followed a year after the symphonic poem Silence, and they bear a strong kinship, especially in terms of overall atmosphere. This is Myaskovsky at his most Tchaikovskian, and it is a dark, bleak work of deep tragedy and concentrated energy. There isn't much light in it, but Myaskovsky's themes and developments are rather stirring and the ending is magnificent. Overall it is a very fine, impressive work, though it may be slightly too long for its material, and I do have to say that it is in the end probably inferior to the stirring Silence [inspired by "The Raven" bt Edgar Alan Poe]."
 
 
2) Leo Smit (1921-99): 33 Songs on Poems of Emily Dickinson in Three Cycles: |Tr. 1-14, Cycle I, Childe Emile: 14 songs about memories & fantasies of childhood (1989) (29'42) |Tr. 15-26, Cycle II, The Celestial Thrush: 12 songs about music & birds (1988) (23'17) |Tr. 27-33, Cycle VI, The White Diadem, 7 songs about poets & poetry (1989) (11'35)--Rosalind Res, soprano, Leo Smit, piano. (TT: 64'48) Bridge Records. Rec. JUL 1997 @ Mastersound, Astoria.*
 
First of all, I find @ Wikipedia two composers named Leo Smit. One is this one, an American born in Philadelphia. The other was a Dutch composer who, in 1943, became a victim of the Holocaust. The poems by Emily Dickinson are wonderful, the songs less so, though the singing is exceptional and the composer is a superb pianist. I am just not that fond of the music. But you shoud buy this CD even if its just for the wonderful, delightful, charming, funny short essay Smit has written on the course of his life and the people he met, and a little something on what each of them contributed to what he became. Just a sample, from the end of this essay, which goes about 3 lines past one full page: "...Leonard Bernstein, who set a high jump record while conducting the climax of my Second Symphony; Mary Goodwin and her friends from the Taos pueblo--singing, dancing, and drumming under the New Mexican night sky filled with infinity of cold, clear star; and Emily Dickinson, who has been running my life for the past ten years and inspiring me to write songs to eighty-three of her stupendous poems." Along the way, he has unfailingly funny takes on Dmitri Kabalevsky, Isabella Vengerova , Nicolas Nabakov, George Balanchine, Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok, British astronomer Fred Hoyle, and many others, not to mention the Chinese laundry over which his family lived at the beginning of his rich and productive life.
* Astoria is, apparently, the name of David Gilmour's recording studio/houseboat.
 
 
3) CD 11 of a 14 CD RCA set, "Leopold Stokowski: The Stereo Collection, 1954-75." Tr. 1-8, A liberal selection of Leopold Stokowski's inimitable transcriptions for full modern symphony orchestra of works of J.S. Bach in a display which I choose to call "Glorious Gaucherie," as follows: |Tr. 1, Partita for Solo Violin 2 in D Minor, S. 1004: Chaccone (17'52) |Tr. 2, Partito for Solo Violin 3 in E Major, S. 1006: Preludio (3'53) |Tr. 3, Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (2'58) |Tr. 4, Orchestral Suite (Overture) 3 in D Major, S. 1068: Air on the G String (5'54) |Tr. 5, Fugue in G Minor, S. 578 (3'28) |Tr. 6, Cantata "Ich steh mit einem Fuss im Grabe," S. 156: Sinfonia (Arioso) (6'15) |Tr. 7, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, S. 645 (4'35) |Tr. 8, Komm, suesser Tod, S. 478 (4'30). |Tr. 9-13, G. F. Handel (1685-1759): Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351 (selections) (21'09): |Tr. 9, Ouverture (10'17) |Tr. 10, Bourree (1'30) |Tr. 11, La Paix. Largo alla Siciliana (4'10) |Tr. 12, La Rejouissance: Allegro (2'43) |Tr. 13, Menuets I & II (2'29) (with fireworks)--London Symphony Orch. (Tr. 1-8)--rec. St. Giles Church, Cripplegate, London, 18-19 APR 1974. RCA Victor Symphony Orch. (Tr. 9-13), rec. Manhattan Center, NYC, 24 APR 1961.
 
The Bach is all wrong. It is gauche. And its a hell of a lot of fun, too! You have the feeling this old man on the podium is having the time of his life. The Handel is gauche, too, but here the gaucherie is at least half Handel's. It, too, is fun to hear, but if you really want a more genuine performance, I recommend the 3 CD DGG set by the Orpheus Chamber Orch., which also features the Water Music and the Concerti grossi, Op. 6.
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 John F » Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:18 am

Stokowski began as an organist in London and New York and no doubt that has a lot to do with his involvement with Bach's music, especially the organ music. Bach unfortunately composed nothing for the modern symphony orchestra, so to include Bach's music in his programs Stokowski made his famous arrangements. (Bach himself was an inveterateSome years ago, new recordings of his arrangements with other conductors began to appear, but Stokey knew best how they ought to go.
John Francis

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sun Mar 04, 2018 2:12 am


On Saturday, 3 MAR 2018, I listened to 5 CDs.
 
 
1) Marcel Tyberg (1893-1944): Tr. 1-4, Symphony 3 (1943) (36'49)--JoAnnFalletta, cond., Buffalo Philharmonic Orch. |Tr. 5-7, Piano Trio in F Major (1936) (24'02)--Michael Young, violin, Roman Mekinulov, cello, Ya-Fei Chuang, piano--Rec. Kleinhans Music Hall, Buffalo, NY, 9-11 MAY 2008 (Tr. 1-4), 23-24 JAN 2009 (Tr. 5-7). A NAXOS CD.
 
Marcel Tyberg died 31 DEC 1944 @ Auschwitz-Birkenau because one of his great great grandfathers was a Jew. He himself was a devout Catholic, and, in fact, among his ouvre you will find two Masses and a Te Deum. He also wrote a Scherzo and Finale for Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. I really hope a completed Schubert-Tyberg Symphony # 8 is recorded sometime soon.
 
Tyberg wrote in a late Romantic style. His is an old-fashioned style for someone of his age. The liner notes say he was imbued with the spirit of Beethoven and Mendelssohn, but somehow I picture a cross between Johannes Brahms and Cesar Franck, if you can imagine such a thing. The symphony is a good demo record for a quality stereo system, because it has a solid deep bass rhythmic underlining, and the adagio middle movement of the Piano Trio has lots of notes at the high end of the violin's range.
 
 
2) CD 19 in a 23 CD + 1 DVD set of all pianist Clifford Curzon's recordings for DECCA. Franz Schubert (1797-1828): |Tr. 1, Impromptu in G Flat Major, D. 899, # 3 (5'24) |Tr. 2, Impromptu in A Flat Major, D 899 # 4 (7'31) |Tr. 3, Impromptu in A Flat Major, D. 935 #2 (7'47) |Tr. 4-9, Six Moments musicaux, D 780 (27'47) |Tr. 10-26, L. V. Beethoven (1770-1827): 15 Variations and Fugue in E Flat Major, Op. 30 "Eroica" (24'06)--Rec. Sofiensaal, Vienna, 11-18 JUN 1964 (Tr. 1-2), The Maltings, Snape, 4-7 JAN 1971 (Tr. 3-9), and 14-17 APR 1971 (Tr.10-26).
 
No one to credit or blame here except the pianist as this is a solo piano music CD. Curzon, of course, is thoroughly up to the challenge. Although none of these are profound works, Curzon finds in them a sense of beauty and melodic invention which sustains the listener's interest. A fine CD.
 
 
3-4) Mozart (1756-91): The Complete String Quintets--The Griller Quartet (Sidney Griller, violin I, Jack O'Brien, violin II, Philip Burton, viola, Colin Hampton, cello) + Wiliam Primrose, second viola.--A Musical Heritage CD, licensed from Vanguard. CD 1--Tr. 1-4, Qn. in G Minor, K. 516 (33'32) |Tr. 5-8, Qn. in D Major, K. 593 (24'30) |Tr. 9, Adagio & Fugue i C Minor, K. 546 (7'50). CD2--Tr. 1-4, Qn. in C Minor, K. 406 (19'49) |Tr. 5-8, Qn. in E Flat Minor, K. 614 (22'12) |Tr. 9-12, Qn. in C Major, K. 515 (32'56)--Rec. @ Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley,11-19 SEP 1959.
 
First of all, a word of caution. Not everyone is in agreement as to what is in a complete cycle of Mozart string quintets. Wikipedia, for example, lists 6 string quintets, including the early K. 174 n B Flat Major--but unlike the works on the present disc, it left out the cello and added a double bass. It is not included in this disc. Furthermore, the Adagio, K. 546, which is included here, is not included in most sets of the quintets.
 
If you go to Amazon and look @ the reviews of this 2 CD set, you will find reviews that pan it and give it two stars, and others which give it five. I have seldom seen such a wide range, such a diversity of opinion about any classical music recordings. You can count me firmly in the pro-Griller camp. These seem to me magnificent performances, maybe a bit too closely miked with little in the way of room ambience evident, but this is, to me, one of the greatest Mozart recordings ever made.
 
 
5) Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959): Tr. 1-4, Symphony 3 (1919) "A Guerra" (34'19) |Tr. 5-8, Symphony 9 (1952) (18'55) |Ouverture de l'Homme Tel (1952) (7'47)--Carl St. Clair, cond., RSO Stuttgart des SWR. A cpo CD, Volume 3 of a 7 CD set of the complete Villa-Lobos symphonies. Rec. Stadthalle, Sindelfingen, 19-20 MAR 1998 (Tr. 1-4), 8-10 JUL 1999 (Tr. 5-8), 17-18 APR 2000 (Tr. 9).
 
Villa-Lobos's Symphonies 3-5 all are programmatic symphonies about the subject of war, and specifically, the First World War. No. 3 is marked "A Guerra," ("The War"); # 4 "Victory," and #5 "Peace." Villa-Lobos composed two versions of this symphony--at first it was a three movement work, but he later added a fourth movement with an optional mixed chorus. What is performed here is the four movement version, but without the mixed chorus. It is a programmatic symphony, and the first movement is subtitled "Life and Work," invoking normal everyday life in a country at peace. The second movement is subtitled "Intrigues and Whispers," describing the unrest that led to war. The subtitle of the third movement is "Suffering," describing the fighting itself, and the fourth movement is "The Battle." Short, direct quotations of both the Brazilian and French national anthems are featured near the end of the fourth movement.
 
The Ninth Symphony was premiered by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra and is dedicated to Mindinha, the composer's wife. Both the first and last movements are in an ABCA form.
 
The Ouverture de 'Homme Tel exists in three forms. It was originally a work for soprano, baritone, & orchestra, later transcribed for voice and piano. In 1952, Villa-Lobos re-worked it as an orchestral overture, and that is the version performed here. It is written in a Parisian avant-garde style which was Villa-Lobos's milieu at the time before he found his Brazilian nationalistic voice.
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 » Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:15 am

Today begins with: Telemann for Trumpet/Stephen Burns/Dorian label

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by John F » Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:14 am

RebLem wrote:Not everyone is in agreement as to what is in a complete cycle of Mozart string quintets. Wikipedia, for example, lists 6 string quintets, including the early K. 174 n B Flat Major--but unlike the works on the present disc, it left out the cello and added a double bass. It is not included in this disc. Furthermore, the Adagio, K. 546, which is included here, is not included in most sets of the quintets.
Mozart composed six works for five string instruments. Surely there's no disagreement about that! Whatever Wikipedia may say.

K. 174 is listed in the Köchel catalog as for "2 Violinen, 2 Violen und Bass." But that edition of Köchel was published in 1964 and Mozart's autograph score wasn't then available. In "The Compleat Mozart" (1990), the note for this work by H.C. Robbins Landon gives the bass part to the cello without comment. In "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" and the wind serenade K.361, in which Mozart wants a double bass, Köchel and all other sources specify "Kontrabass." So I take K.174's "Bass" as a generic instruction, the part to be played on whatever low string instrument is available, and as a practical matter this is always a cello, which also sounds better.

K.546 is Mozart's adagio and fugue for strings, the fugue arranged from his version for 2 pianos. His own catalog says "a due violini, viola e basso," but at the end of the complete score Mozart divided the bass line into "Violoncelli" (plural) and "Contra Basso," which Köchel says "indicates that Mozart wrote the fugue for performance by a string orchestra." William Cowdery in his "Complete Mozart" note says the piece is more often played today by a string quartet than orchestra, but my experience is otherwise.
John Francis

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:33 pm


On Sunday, 4 MAR 2018, I listened to 5 CDs.
 
 
1) Anatoly Liadov (1855-1914): CD 3 of a 5 Brilliant Classics set of the complete solo piano music |Tr. 1, Shestviye (Procession) (1889) (1'24) |Tr. 2, Pro starinu (About Olden Times), Op. 21, Ballade (1889) (4'09) |Tr. 3, Bagatelle in D Flat, Op. 30 (1889) (2'07) |Tr. 4-6, Three Pieces, Op. 33 (1889) (4'53) |Tr. 7, No luzhayke, nabrosok (In the Glade, Sketch), Op. 23* (1890) (4'01) |Tr. 8-9, Two Pieces, Op. 24 (1890) (6'39) |Tr. 10-14, Shutka-Kadril (Quadrille-Joke) for piano 4 hands (1890)** (6'50) |Tr. 16, Idylle, Op. 25 (1891) (6'10) |Tr. 17, Malenkiy Val's (Little Waltz), Op. 26 (1891) (2'27) |Tr. 18-20, Three Preludes, Op. 27 (1891) (4'26) |Tr. 21, Kukolki (Marionettes), Op. 29 (1892) (5'39) |Tr. 22-23, Two Pieces, Op. 31 (1893) (6'47) |Tr. 24, Muzikal' naya tabakerka (A Musical Snuffbox), Op 32 (1893) (2'10)--Marco Rapetti, piano, *world premiere recording, **world premiere recording with second pianist, Akane Makita.
 
These are all wonderful miniatures. Track 2, About Olden Times, was a piece I found especially affecting.
 
 
2) Charles Gounod (1818-93): |Tr. 1-4, Symphony 1 in D Major (1855) (26'54) |Tr. 5-8, Symphony 2 in E Fllat Major (1855) (32'30) |Tr. 9-10, Symphony 3 in C Major (fragment--first recording) (8'21)--Oleg Caetani, cond., Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana. cpo CD. Rec. Auditorio RSI, Lugano, 17-20 MAY 2011 & 24 AUG 2012.
 
Gounod is known much more as a composer of songs, oratorios, motets, masses, and theater pieces than as a composer of purely instrumental music, but he did write some of that, too, and here are some of them. These works are in classical form and a conservative idiom, but in keeping with his time. Imagine Mendelssohn at his most serious or Schumann at his most sane and light-hearted. Somewhere along that axis, you will find these works.
 
Oleg Caetani is the son of famed Russian conductor Igor Markevitch. He has chosen to use his mother's maiden name as his own surname for professional purposes. He is best known for a cycle of the Shostakovich symphonies he has recorded, which I consider the best one available. It is certainly a sound spectacular, and has lots of good demo records, especially the 4th symphony. This Gounod record consists of absolutely exceptional performances. I highly recommend this CD.
 
 
3) Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924): |Tr. 1-5, Songs of the Fleet for baritone solo, chorus, and orchestra, Op. 117 (26'04) |Tr. 6-11, The Revenge: A Ballad of the Fleet, for chorus and orchestra, Op. 24 (25'17) |Tr. 12-16, Songs of the Sea for baritone, chorus, and orchestra, Op. 91 (18'00)--Gerald Finley, baritone, Richard Hickox, cond., BBC National Orch. & Cho. of Wales.--a CHANDOS SuperAudio SACD. Rec. Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, 6-8 JUL 2005.
 
It has long been the fashion to denigrate Stanford and a cold academic composer whose work is technically facile but devoid of human feeling and emotional import. And I find that to be the case in many of his instrumental works, but it is not always true in his vocal works, and this CD, especially the first and last of the three works here, is a prime example of Stanford at his very best. These are songs of the sea, and, more precisely, the British Navy, of risk, patriotism, death, grieving, and remembrance. Along the way, we do find some jingoism, as when the baritone sings of "...these Inquisition dogs and the devildoms of Spain," but mostly these songs are of sacrifice, sadness, and honoring those who have given their lives for their country. The first work, especially, ends in a quiet, gentle, peaceful way which I found enormously affecting. I highly recommend this CD.
 
 
4-5) CDs 12-13 of the 14 CD RCA set titled, "Leopold Stokowski: The Stereo Collection 1954-75." CD 12--Tr. 1-4, Johannes Brahms (1833-97): Symphony 4 in E Minor, Op. 98 (1885) (37'38) |CD 12, Tr. 5 & CD 13, Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): Symphony 2 in C Minor "Resurrection" (1894) (80'43)--Rec. Walthamstow Town Hall, London, New Philharmonia Orch. (CD 12, Tr. 1-4) 17-20 JUN 1974, London Symphony Orch. & Cho., Margaret Price, soprano, Brigitte Fassbaender, mezzo-soprano, rec. 22, 25, 27 JUL & 10-11, 14 AUG 1974 (Mahler).
 
The first three movements of the Brahms are very exciting and stirring. The third movement is perhaps a bit too fast, but it is nevertheless exciting and involving. The last movement is good, too, but its a bit of a letdown after the first three movements here.
 
Stokowski conducted these two CDs when he was 92 years old. This Resurrection is a serious candidate for the best ever recording of this work. I live Kubelik, Segerstam, Klemperer, and the Bernstein London Sony recordings too, but this one may very well be the best of them all. The Finale is absolutely orgasmic, as all the best performances of this work are. This is my favorite Mahler symphony, and I can guarantee that I will be returning to this performance many times in the future.
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 John F » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:46 am

Mention of Liadov reminds me of a piece I grew up with, his 8 Russian Folk Songs for orchestra, a real charmer. When and how my parents came across this music and decided they had to have it, I've no idea, and now it's too late to ask them. Stokowski recorded it with the Phila Orch, but the version on the shelf in our side porch was conducted by Alfred Coates (despite the name he was born in Russia). Maybe they chose it because thanks to Coates's typically fast tempos, there was room on side 4 for Liadov's "Musical Snuffbox" as orchestrated. YouTube doesn't have Coates but it does have Stokey:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjQJ_80TnnE


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weyfBFrOYCg
John Francis

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:12 am


On Monday, 5 MAR 2018, I listened to 2 CDs.

 
 
 

1) W.A. Mozart (1756-91): |Tr. 1-3, Symphony 28 in C Major, K. 200/189k (1773) (21'30) |Tr. 4-7, Symphony 35 in D Major, K. 384 "Haffner" (1782) (22'10) |Tr. 8, Der Schauspieldirektor (The Impresario), K. 486 (27'30)--Ferdinance Leitner, cond., Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Bavarion RSO), Barbara Kilduff, soprano (Madame Herz), Edith Wiens, soprano (Mademoiselle Silberkang), Deon van der Walt, tenor (Monsieur Vogelsang), Gwynne Howell, bass (Buff). Profil CD. Rec. Mozartfest, Wurzberg Residenz, Kaisersaal , 19 JUN 1989 (Tr. 1-7), 21 JUN 1989 (Tr. 8 ).

 
I have no idea why Leitner performs only the first three movements of the Symphony 28. The fourth movement, marked Presto, is absent. I find no justification for this in the liner notes, which actually mention the presto movement. I own 6 other recordings of this work, conducted by Mackerras, Hogwood, and Graf in their complete sets, as well as individual recordings by Ernst Bour, Gustav Kuhn, and Bruno Walter, all of which include the Presto.
 
What is performed here is done with Ferdinand Leitner's typical panache. These are very fine performances indeed, and the high soprano voices in the Shauspieldirektor will test the quality of your power amp and speakers.
 
 
2) CD 20 in the 23 CD + 1 DVD set of all pianist Clifford Curzon's recordings for DECCA. This CD is devoted solely to solo piano works. |Johannes Brahms (1833-97): |Tr. 1-5, Piano Sonata 3 in F Minor, Op. 5 (35'38) |Tr. 6, Intermezzo in E Flat Major, Op. 117 #1 (4'52) |Tr. 7, Intermezzo in C Major, Op. 119 #3 (1'40) |Tr. 8-11, Franz Schubert (1797-1828): Piano Sonata 21 in B Flat Major, D. 960 (34'45)--Rec. Sofiensaal, Vienna, 9-10 NOV 1962 (Tr. 1-7), and at The Maltings, Snape, 15-17 SEP 1970 & 17-19 NOV 1972.
 
Obviously, the two sonatas ar the major works here. It was a nice, poetic touch for the compilers of this album to put the two intermezzi between them. The Brahms seems to me by far the more substantial work. It is more complex than the Schubert, and requires greater skill on the part of the pianist. Most of the Schubert is written at a level easily performable by an intermediate student, it seems to me, though a few brief passages of trills, mostly, require more. Even for a skilled pianist, I suppose shifting from one mode to the other can be a tad tricky, or at least, so I, a non-player, imagine. I would be interested in reading the comments of skilled pianists on this assertion.
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 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:45 am


On Tuesday, 6 MAR 2018, I listened to only one CD.
 
Louis Pelosi (b 1947): |Tr. 1-2, Piano Trio (2009-10) (27'30)--Monika Wilinska-Tarcholik, piano, Piotr Tarcholik, violin, Lukasz Frant, cello--rec. 10-12 JAN 2011 |Tr. 3-5, Woodwind Quartet (2005-6) (14'50)--Joanna Dziewor, flute, Arkadiusz Krupa, oboe, Aleksander Tesaczyk, clarinet, Krzysztof Fiedukiewicz, bassoon, rec. 1-2 SEP 2010 |Tr. 6, Elegy for Brass Quintet (Revisited) (2009) (9'13)--Stanislaw Dziewor, trumpet, Benedykt Matusik, trumpet, Tadeusz Tomaszewski, French horn, Michal Mazurkiewicz, trombone, Jakub Urbanczyk, tuba--rec. 20-22 MAY 2010 |Tr. 7-10, String Quartet 3 (2008-10) (27'13)--Piotr Tarcholik, violin, Kinga Tomaszewska, violin, Darinsz Korcz, viola, Zdzislaw Lapinski, cello--rec. 15-17 FEB 2011--A KASP Records CD.
 
The Piano Trio is in two movements, the second almost twice as long as the first. Both are double fugues in the key of D, but the second movement begins a half step lower, and works its way to D. Like the other works on this CD, it constitutes a remembrance of his late wife, and includes a quotation from #26 in his Inventions, Canons, and Fugues, on which he was working when his wife died.
 
The Woodswind Quintet is organized into three movements, on a fast-slow-fast format. It, like most of Pelosi's works, is contrapuntal in nature, and has a driving force to it that symbolizes grief.
 
Originally composed in 1994 in remembrance of the delath of an eldely man important in his wife's life, Elegy for Brass Quintet (Revisited) now eulogizes her. It has been expanded and made more thematicaally unified.
 
The String Quartet 3 is mostly a morose work, filled with grief, but the lastt movement seems more cheerful and upbeat, as the composer decides to go on with his life.
 
This is beautiful music, filled with grief, remembrance, and, in the end, hope for the future. 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.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by Lance » Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:11 pm

An interesting CD with a diverse program. I've taken a fancy to Franz Danzi's piece for clarinet and piano that I mentioned here awhile ago and wanted to hear at least one other version. The one I selected appears on Clarinet Classics [CC 0015].

Program:
Norbert Burgmuller: Duo, Op. 15
Franz Danzi: Sonata Concertante
Anton Stadler: Three Caprices for Clarinet Solo
Carl Loewe: Scottish Pictures, Op. 112
Carl maria von Weber: Grand Duo Concertant, Op. 48

Colin Lawson, clarinet (copy of 1810 Grenser clarinet)
Neal Peres da Costa, piano (1826 Collard and Collard piano)

Very interesting program, well played and balanced. This is how these composers would have heard their own works.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:41 pm

Lance wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:11 pm
An interesting CD with a diverse program. I've taken a fancy to Franz Danzi's piece for clarinet and piano that I mentioned here awhile ago and wanted to hear at least one other version. The one I selected appears on Clarinet Classics [CC 0015].

Program:
Norbert Burgmuller: Duo, Op. 15
Franz Danzi: Sonata Concertante
Anton Stadler: Three Caprices for Clarinet Solo
Carl Loewe: Scottish Pictures, Op. 112
Carl maria von Weber: Grand Duo Concertant, Op. 48

Colin Lawson, clarinet (copy of 1810 Grenser clarinet)
Neal Peres da Costa, piano (1826 Collard and Collard piano)

Very interesting program, well played and balanced. This is how these composers would have heard their own works.
I'm glad to see you are listening to Norbert Burgmuller. Schumann once said his early death at age 26 was the second greatest tragedy to befall the music of the German-speaking peoples in his lifetime, after only the early death of Franz Schubert.
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 Mar 08, 2018 12:42 am


On Wednesday, 7 MAR 2018, I listened to 3 CDs.
 
 
1) Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959): |Tr. 1-4, Symphony 4 ) "Victory" (1919) (20'21) |Tr. 5-8, Symphony 12 (1957) (23'09)--Carl St Clair, cond., SWR RSO, Stuttgart--Rec. Stadthalle, Singelfingen21-25 JUL 1997. A cpo CD, Vol. 4 of a 7 CD set of the complete Villa-Lobos Symphonies.
 
The Fourth Symphony begins with a bang bigger than the Brahms First. It begins with a fanfare of bugles, cornets, horns, saxophones and trombones based on the first theme of the "Marseillaise." and this motive reappears in every movement of the symphony. The first three movements are strife-ridden, but the last and longest movement is a joyous romp.
 
The Symphony 12, Villa-Lobos's last symphony, was completed in 1957 when the composer was visitng NYC. It was premiered by Howard Mitchell and the National Symphony in DC and won immediate rave reviews. The first, third, and fourth movements are set in five-part rondo form, while the second movement, an adagio, is in a terniary design.
 
 
2) Anatoly Lyadov (1855-1914): Tr. 1, Slavleniya (Celebration), for piano 4 hands (1893) (1'10)* |Tr. 2-4, Three Canons, Op. 34 (1894) (3'17) |Tr. 5, Variations on a Theme by Glinka, Op. 35 (1894) (15'22) |Tr. 6, Prelude-Pastoorale in A (1894) (2'08) |Tr. 7-9, Three Preludes, Op. 36 (1895) (2'46) |Tr. 10, Etude in F, Op. 37 (1895) (1'36) |Tr. 11, Mazurka in F, Op. 38 (1895) (3'24) |Tr. 12-15, Four Preludes, Op. 39 (1895) (6'05) |Tr. 16, Sarabande in G Minor (1895) (3'15) |Tr. 17-18, Two Fugues, Op. 41 (1896) (4'47) |Tr. 19, Prelude in F, Op. posth. (1897) (0'39) |Tr. 20, Etude in C Sharp Minor, Op. 40a (1897) (2'01) |Tr. 21-23, Three Preludes, Op. 40b (1897) (4'09) |Tr. 24-25, Two Preludes, Op. 42 a (1898) (1'36), |Tr. 26, Mazurka on Polish Themes in A, Op. 42b (1898) (2'15) |Tr. 27, Barcarolle in F Sharp, Op. 44 (1898) (4'22)--Marco Rapetti, piano. *Akane Makita is duo pianist in Tr. 1. Tracks 2, 3, 4, 6, 11, & 16-19 are world premiere recordings. Ornamented repeats by Marco Rapetti in Tr. 16-- Rec. 4-7 JAN & 12-15 DEC 2010 Villa Vespucci, San Felice a Ema, Florence, Italy. CD 4 of a 5 CD Brilliant Classics set of Lyadov's complete solo piano music.
 
All these works are of the period when Lyadov lived--they are conservatively written late Romantic works.
 
 
3) Havergal Brian (1876-1972): |Tr. 1, Symphony 10 in C Minor (1954) (10'10) |Tr. 2-6, English Suite 3 (1919-21) (17'38) |Tr. 7, Concerto for Orchestra (1964) (15'42) |Tr. 8-9, Symphony 30 in B Flat Minor (1967) (14'54)--Martyn Brabbins, cond., Royal Scottish National Orch. David Bednall, organist, plays in the 4th movement of the English Suite.--Rec. RSNO Centre, Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow,15-16 SEP 2010. A Dutton Epoch CD.
 
All the performances on this CD except Track 1 are world premiere recordings. Reviewer ScottARC @ Amazon has this to say about this recording:

" His most difficult music can seem fragmented and jumpy, although it will make increasing sense as "musical development" over listens. Brian can also construct complex and extended tonal melodies, even pretty ones. In fact, consecutive Brian symphonies sometimes are contrasting in this respect, just as the moods and textures vary within one of his (15-20 minute) later symphonies. I'm impressed with the 30th, which admittedly is a tough nut, because of its contrast to the 31st and 32nd (both of which are more neo-classical). Both the 30th and Concerto for Orchestra are condensed pieces of music. However, they remain tonal. So at heart Brian has to be considered a classicist or romantic with a serious desire to be modern. Each of the late-period works on the CD last about 15 mins with ideas that seem short lived because a necessary flow of rapid development can't linger over them. However Brian does repeat motifs (e.g., the 30th opens with a repetitive base line in the cellos, something like Allan Pettersson). Further islands (or oasises) of conventionally recognizable (but very exotic sounding) melody will pop up to anchor surrounding episodes of musical development and transitions. While the music is hard to memorize, if you like it, you won't easily tire of it. The concerto comes from around the time of Symphony 22, another interesting Brian compression (e.g., like a Bruckner symphony lasting only 9+ mins). The concerto to my mind is just another later symphony, but this is only to say Brian's later symphonies often have "concerto for orchestra" moments. For instance, it is in the 30th's that the 2nd (and last) movement opens with a mellow "jam session" between percussion and flute/woodwinds, eventually joined by a solo violin. How concerto-for-orchestra is that? I've heard that no composer is quite like late Brian, but I would opine that Darius Milhaud (his last symphonies) would be the closest to a "bird of a feather" I have encountered. Both are symphonic colorists, both like solo interludes from the violin, woodwinds, and brass, and both are very generous with the percussion section. Although apparently Brian is not as polytonal (counterpoint in different keys) as Milhaud is. I am similarly impressed by the 10th, which is quite different from the 9th, 11th or 12th. This symphony reminds me, in an abstract way, of Elgar's "Enigma Variations". It has a heroic opening march/fanfare in the brass suitable for starting a Star Wars or Hobbit movie. As the symphony progresses, thematic elements seem to appear wildly transformed. So wildly in fact that the symphony isn't routinely described as a theme-and-variations structure; however, relative to Brian's other symphonies (with the exception of Brian's 8th, often described as a pair of warring variation themes) this description works for me. Brabbins plays all the notes with vigor and great articulation...."


Highly recommended by yours truly.
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 Mar 08, 2018 4:41 am

This morning: Torelli/complete trumpet works/Thomas Hammes, trumpet

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:26 am


On Thursday, 8 MAR 2018, I listened to 3 CDs.
 
 
1) Franz Schubert (1797-1828): Winterreise (Winter Journey), D. 911, a song-cycle to 24 poems by Wilhelm Mueller (1794-1827)--Mark Padmore, tenor, Paul Lewis, piano--harmonia mundi CD. Rec. 11 & 12/2008 @ Air Studios, Lyndhurst Hall, London.
 
Schubert composed this song cycle in 1827, in the year of the poet's death, and a year before his own. It is generally considered the greatest of Schubert's three song cycles. It was not immediately thought so, however, by many. Even some of Schubert's closest friends were dumbfounded at first by the general glumness of the music. But it is a cycle of remembrance and regret and love, of chances not taken, a perennial theme in the music of nearly every nation and period, and so it slowly gained an audience.
 
 
2) CD 14 of the 14 CD RCA set "Leopold Stokowski: The Stereo Collection, 1954-75." CD 14 is excerpts from Stokowski rehearsals with 3 orchestras. Tr. 1-5, J.S. Bach: Toccata & Fugue in D Minor, S. 565--1, Toccata (3'50), 2, Fugue (6'18) 3, Toccata (2'28), 4, Toccata & Fugue (13'53), 5, Fugue (5'19) |Richard Wagner: Rienzi Overture. Tr. 6, (10'48), Tr. 7, Alternative ending (0'17) |Beethoven: Sym. 6, Tr. 8 "Storm excerpt (0'41), Tr. 9, Storm excerpt (7'05) |Gustav Mahler: Resurrection Symphony rehearsal. Tr. 10, Mvt III, In ruhig fliessender Bewegung (4'36), Tr. 11, Mvt IV, Urlicht. Sehr feierlich, aber schlicht (3'45) Mvt. IV & V: Im Temp des Scherzos Wild herausfahrend (8'54)--London Symphony Orch. (Tr. 1-5, 10-12), Royal Philharmonic Orch. (Tr. 6,7), Members of the NBC Sym. Orch. (Tr. 8,9)--recording dates & venues are listed, but they are so long that I have chosen not to enter them all here. Obviously, they were all done before or on the dates the works themselves were recorded in earlier CDs in this series.
 
Stokowski seems to take the most time on the Bach excerpts, those of his own transcriptions, as the music--or at least the arrangement--was not necessarily familiar to the musicians in the orchesta. Its an interesting look into Stokowski's rehearsal process. He tends to want to correct mistakes right away, pause when he hears one, give more precise directions, then return to playing. He is unfailingly mild-mannered and seldom shows any temper.
 
 
3) Gyorgy LIgetti (1923-2006): Sony Ligeti Edition, Vol. 2--A Capella Choral Works--Terry Edwards, cond., London Sinfonietta Voices. 20 works on 37 tracks. TT: 75'29. Rec. 21-26 APR 1994 @ Evangelische Kirche Isselhorst, Guetersloh, Germany.
 
Some years ago, Sony issued a 7 CD series of works by Ligeti. Volume 1, which I listened to some years ago, is of the composer's string quartets and duos. For some reason, I did not proceed to the other 6, but I did buy them all together and am embarking on listening to volumes 2-7. I'll be damned if I am going to list every single work with track numbers for a disc that contains 20 works on 37 tracks, most of which have Hungarian titles, and some of which are pretty long, with English translations. That would take up a whole page. And then there's the fact that where the works are listed, they are all in white type on a black background, by track, with no totals for multiple movement works. Too much paperwork for me, my friends! Just not gonna happen. The earliest work is from 1945. 10 works are from the 1940's, 10 from the 1950's, 1 from the 1966, 1 from 1982, and another from 1983. So, these are mostly works from early in his career. He says in his own liner notes that in his youth, he was heavily influenced by Bartok, Kodaly, and Hungarian and Romanian folk music.
 
Ligeti tells an amusing story about one of his folksong arrangements. It was commissioned by Jozsef Gal, a piano teacher of note, for "his group." He didn't say what his group was. A few weeks later, he was summoned to the state security offices. He wondered what kind of trouble he had gotten himself into. But he went, with considerable dread, to the meeting, where he was ushered into an auditorium where a chorus of security officials in uniform sang his song! Apparently, secret police have hobbies, and sometimes their hobbies involve singing in an in house a capella choir! It builds cameraderie, don't you know.
 

Some more stats on the songs. Arrangements of traditional Hungarian folk songs (12), Songs to Hungarian folk poetry (11), Slovak folk poetry in Hungarian translation (2), Songs to poetry by Sándor Weöres (1913-89), a poem by Balint Balassa (1), a poem by Atilla Jozsef (1), a mystical 8'06 Lux Aeterna, which is the communion service from the Catholic Mass for the Dead, and 3 songs to poetry by German poet Friedrich Holderlin (1770-1843).
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 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:10 am


On Friday, 9 MAR 2018, I listened to 3 CDs. After listening to the first CD, I decided not to follow my usual routine, which is to take the top CD off the next stack and listen to it. That would be a chamber music CD, and then the next stack, which has 3 more CDs of Villa-Lobos symphonies. But I decided that I wanted to have a theme for the day--in this case, concentrating on British musicians. I decided that I wanted to listen to the Havergal Brian CD listed below, which would have ordinarily come up as the fourth record after the Curzon CD. And then, I decided to go through my stack of chamber music CDs, so I could have one of those so the day's listening would not consist solely of orchestral music. I dug down into the stack, and a few CDs down, I found the perfect candidate--some chamber music by British composer Robert Simpson. He was a close friend of Havegal Brian's, and encouraged him through the years when he was being neglected by the public, assuring him that his day would come if he continued composing. Simpson was a man of many talents. He was not only a composer, but an author of books about music (see his Wikipedia bio for details), and he was also a recording engineer. (In a few weeks, I will begin listening to the music of another composer cum recording engineer, Don Gillis, but that's another story altogether). One of the groups he recorded was the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra, which he persuaded to record the first available recording of two Havergal Brian symphonies for the Unicorn label. With that, here we go--


 
 
1) CD 21 of a 23 CD + 1 DVD set of all Clifford Curzon's recordings for DECCA. |W.A. Mozart (1756-91): |Tr. 1-3, Piano Concerto 20 in D Minor, K. 466 (1785) (32'58) |Tr. 4-6, Piano Concerto 27 in B Flat Major, K. 595 (1791) (32'02)--Benjamin Britten, cond., English Chamber Orch. Rec. in The Maltings, Snape, 24-25 SEP 1970.
 
In this box, Curzon has several other collaborators in Mozart. Of them all-Kertesz, Krips, and Szell, only Szell, in my opinion, understood Mozart as well as Britten did. That has a lot to do with why these performances are as extraordinary as they are. And Curzon and Szell did their collaboration with the Wiener Phil. I think the scaled down English Chamber Orch. is more adept in this repertoire, so these performances represent Curzon at his very, very best.
 
 
2) Havergal Brian (1876-1972): |Tr. 1, The Tinker's Wedding: Comedy Overture (1948) (6'40) |Tr. 2-4, Violin Concerto in C Major (1934-5) (36'35) |Tr. 5, Symphony 13 in C Major (1959) (16'04) |Tr. 6-14, English Suite 4 "Kindergarten" (1921) (12'18)--Martyn Brabbins, cond., Royal Scottish National Orch., Lorraine McAslan, violin (in VC). Rec 31 MAY & 1 JUN 2012 in RSNO Centre, Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, Scotland. A Dutton Epoch CD.
 

Joseph Stevenson, writing @ AllMusic, describes The Tinker's Wedding Overture: "After nearly a decade of creative silence, Havergal Brian returned to active musical composition in the late 1940s, at the age of over seventy years. Compelled to write music, even though he believed his scores were destined only "for the desk drawer, " he was stimulated by the plays of John M. Synge. First appeared the Sixth Symphony, inspired by "Dierdre of the Sorrows." Then came this "Comedy Overture, The Tinker's Wedding." It is an uncharacteristically good-humored work, including passages with clear English folk-music origins, and some brilliant writing for the trumpet. It is one of the most attractive of all works by Brian."


 

This CD contains the world premiere recording of the 13th Symphony. An unattributed blurb @ the PrestoClassical website says this about this CD: "Following up his previous Dutton Epoch CD devoted to Havergal Brian’s music (CDLX7267), Martyn Brabbins now turns his attention to a very varied second programme of Brian’s music in which Lorraine McAslan is the commanding soloist in Brian’s Violin Concerto. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra powerfully articulate the eloquent Thirteenth Symphony, and a revelatory recording of the Fourth English Suite unlocks this series of charming miniatures in Brian’s most approachable style from the early 1920s. The programme is completed by the scampering, tuneful, short overture The Tinker’s Wedding."

 
 
3) Robert Wilfred Levick Simpson (1921-97): |Tr. 1-2, Sonata for violin & piano (1984) (26'39) |Tr. 3-6, Trio for violin, cello, & piano (1988-9) (38'39)--Pauline Lowbury, violin, Christopher Green-Armytage, piano (Tr. 1-2), Lowbury Piano Trio (Pauline Lowbury, violin, Ursula Smith, cello, & Elizabeth Burley, piano) (Tr. 3-6). Rec. 4-6 OCT & 20-21 DEC 1993 Venue not listed on the CD, but the hyperion website says it was recorded @ Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London A hyperion CD.
 

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Simpson_(composer)

The edited, unattributed liner notes for this CD @ the hyperion webiste read:
"Sonata for violin and piano

The Violin Sonata is a fine example of the highly impressive two-movement design that has fascinated Robert Simpson, where a vigorous Allegro is followed by an extended second movement which combines the function of slow movement, scherzo and finale in a continuous increase of activity whilst the pulse remains largely unaltered. Other notable examples of his works which adhere to this procedure are the Third Symphony (1962) and the Horn Quartet (1977).

Both movements of the Violin Sonata are centred around G and are governed by the tensions released by interlocking major and minor thirds. Though not in strict sonata form, two distinct subjects are clearly identified in the opening Allegro: the first, announced on solo violin, a volatile flood of semiquavers, spanning a compass of the nearly three octaves. The second idea, heard shortly after, is a singing cantilena, introduced by piano and later joined by violin, where the interlocking thirds are particularly apparent. Much strenuous activity follows as both subjects are transformed into new ideas, and greater momentum is gained. But the ending is quiet — a strange 'double cadence' of G minor and G major, implying that the conflict is unresolved.

The Variations that open the second movement are amongst the most evocative, lyrical music in all Simpson. The bars expand from two to three beats for the final variation (predominantly quiet, but with a gentle current) which leads almost unnoticed into the Ricercare. Major and minor thirds are still prevalent, though the mood is very tender, despite being rigorously contrapuntal in texture. The gradual increase in energy is sustained with effortless control until a fierce Presto is reached, in a manner that recalls the final fugue of the Ninth Quartet (1982).
The dedicatees of the Violin Sonata are Pauline Lowbury and Christopher Green-Armytage, who gave the work its first performance in Wigmore Hall in February 1986.

Trio for violin, cello and piano

Simpson's Piano Trio, completed in January 1989, was commissioned by the Da Vinci Ensemble with funds provided by the Southern Arts Association. It has four movements in all, is played without a break, and lasts almost forty minutes. The London premiere of the work was given by The Lowbury Piano Trio in Wigmore Hall, London, in September 1993.
Like so much of Simpson's later music, the Trio opens with a phrase that generates the course of the entire work: a simple, unaccompanied violin melody which explores ever-decreasing intervals within the span of the initial perfect fifth, G sharp - D sharp. As the composer himself once commented, '… the texture is mostly light and transparent, and often in four parts, like a quartet for the two stringed instruments, and the two hands of the pianist'. After a brief but turbulent climax featuring superimposed grinding dominant sevenths on the piano (a highly characteristic Simpson fingerprint which also occurs in the Violin Sonata), the tempo relaxes for a calm, evocative coda, where the violin and cello, sempre pianissimo, present a new transformation of the opening violin tune.
The next movement is a Scherzo in fast duple time. Here the intervals gradually expand outwards from minor seconds to perfect fifths. Again the texture is light, though there are outbursts of sustained ferocity in the latter stages. The cello introduces the slow movement, Adagio: a set of increasingly elaborate variations on a very eloquent, simple melody, with gentle asides from the piano. Despite mounting activity, the dynamics are deliberately repressed until the penultimate variation (Più mosso), a vigorous confrontation between the piano and strings, whereas the last variation contains some of the most deeply contemplative music in the whole Trio.
The piano launches the final, a fugue of great muscular strength which becomes less strictly contrapuntal as it progresses. After a final trenchant climax there is a mysterious coda; everything is dispersed into fragments (a device also chosen in the closing bars of the Eleventh Symphony), until the work finally cadences on C.
Undoubtedly one of Simpson's most uncompromising chamber works, the Piano Trio nonetheless displays the supreme powers of his compositional strength and integrity, and one of the most closely argued single spans in his oeuvre."
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 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:47 am


On Saturday, 10 MAR 2018, I listened to 7 CDs.
 
 
1) Anatoly Lyadov (1855-1914): CD 5 of a 5 CD Brilliant Classics set of the complete solo piano music of Anatoly Lyadov. |Tr. 1-9, Variations on a Russian Folk Theme (1899) (10'39) |Tr. 10-13, Four Preludes, Op. 46 (1899) (4'09) |Tr. 14, Slava (Glory), Op. 47 for two pianos, 8 hands (1899) (2'05) |Tr. 15, Etude in AA, Op. 48a (1899) (2'23) |Tr. 16, Canzonetta in B Flat, Op. 48b (1899) (2'21) |Tr. 17, Prelude in D Flat, Op. 57 # 1 (1900) (2'20) |Tr. 18, Variations on a Polish Folk Theme, Op. 51 (1901) (12'06) |Tr. 19-21, Three Baletnikh nomera (Ballet numbers), Op. 52 (1901) (6'09) |Tr. 22-24. Three Bagatelles, Op. 53 (1903) (2'12) |Tr. 25, Valse in E, Op. 57 # 2 (1905) (1'53) |Tr. 26, Mazurka in F Minor, Op. 57 # 3 (1905) (1'21) |Tr. 27-30, Four Pieces, Op. 64 (1909) (5'30) |Tr. 31, Tanets Komara (Mosquito's Dance), Russian folksong (1911) (0'49) |Tr. 32, Ten Detskikh pesen (Children's Songs), Op. posth, for piano 4 and 2 hands (3'21) |Tr. 33, Scherzo (Choirus) in B Minor, Op. posth. (0'46) |Tr. 34, Fuga on LA-DO-FA, Op. posth. (1913) (0'44)--Marco Rapetti, piano. Akane Makita, secondo (Tr. 14, 32), Gaimpaolo Nuti & Daniela de Santis, pianists (in Tr. 14). Re. 4-7 JAN & 12-15 DEC 2010, Villa Vespucci, San Felice a Ema, Florence, Italy.
 
First, a few housekeeping details. World premiere recordings on this CD: Tr. 1-9, 14-16, 19-21, 31-34. Secondly, Tracks 1-9 were not all written by Lyadov. This "Variations" is really a "theme and variations" collaborative work of a number of Russian composers. Only Tr. 1, the Theme, and Variations 6 & 7 (Trs. 7 & 8) are actually by Lyadov.
 
All these works are written in a late romantic style, with hints of impressionism.
 
 

2) Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959): |Tr. 1-4, Symphony No. 6, Sobre a linha das montanhas do Brasil (On the Outline of the Mountains of Brazil) (1944) (25'48) |Tr. 5-8, Symphony 8 (1950) (25'31) |Tr. 9-11, Suite pour Cordes (Suite for Strings) (1912-13) (17'41)--Carl St. Clair, cond., SWR RSO, Stuttgart. Rc. Stadthalle, Singelfingen, 17-21 FEB 1991 (Tr. 1-8) & 18 APR 2000 (Tr. 9-11). A cpo CD, Vol. 5 of a 7 CD set of all the Villa-Lobos symphonies, plus selected other orchestral works by these forces.
 
Per Wikipedia, "The main theme of...[Sym. 6] was devised by projecting the outline of mountains at Belo Horizonte, Brazil, onto graph paper and transcribing the result as a melody. Villa-Lobos called this technique milimetrazação (graphing), sometimes rendered in English as "millimetrization.".... A harmonized version of this melody for piano, together with a similar treatment titled New York Skyline, [the 2'51 orchestral version of which is recorded on CD 2 of this set] was initially published in the October 1942 issue of New Music, devoted to works by Brazilian composers....
The first movement is in a slightly unconventional sonata-allegro form which, according to the composer's usual methods, omits the second theme from the recapitulation. The overall tonal centre is on C, with secondary key areas on D and G....
In the second movement, Villa-Lobos utilizes a technique of drawing attention to a pitch through its exclusion, in an arguably atonal passage in b. 33–47 where a clarinet solo weaves a long melody repeatedly using eleven chromatic notes, with the omission of the note G. This pitch is then introduced emphatically in the viola entrance at bar 47...."
 
"Villa-Lobos composed his Eighth Symphony in Rio de Janeiro in 1950. It was first performed at Carnegie Hall in New York on 14 January 1955 by the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by the composer.... The score is dedicated to the New York Times music critic Olin Downes.
The symphony has four movements



Andante
Lento (assai)
Allegretto scherzando
Allegro (giusto)



This is according to Villa-Lobos, sua obra 2009, 45, and Latin American Music Center n.d. The liner card and electronic track listing for the CPO CD of the work (CPO 999 517-2) gives:



Andante – Allegro – Tempo I
Lento assai
Allegro giusto
Molto allegro



With the exception of the expanded listing of the first movement, however, the booklet accompanying the CD agrees with the two Villa-Lobos catalogues. Enyart 1984, 271 gives a slightly different version, with the Portuguese spelling, justo, in place of the Italian giusto in the last movement:



Andante – Allegro
Lento
Allegretto scherzando
Allegro justo"



This is really weird. I quote it because I am dumbfounded and don't know quite what to make of it. The liner notes give no clue as to why this might be. This is especially strange, because the liner notes take great pains to correct an impression held by some: "The first theme, which has been erroneously identified by some as a quotation of the first theme of Schubert's Ninth Symphony, is actually made up of two different melodic otives, supported by a long-held quartal chord (D-G-C-F-B Flat). In the allegro section, the composer manipulates the thematic material with such classical techniques as motivic permutations, argumentation, diminution, and sequential treatment. Rhythmic alterations of the theme and contrapuntal texture appear in sections 3 and 4."
 
The fact that the liner notes do not even deal with the issue raised by Wikipedia is doubly strange because the liner notes then go on to a detailed discussion as to why the Suite pour Cordes even has that title. The liner notes indicate that it was originally published as "Characteristic Suite for String Instruments." "The third edition of the catalogue of Villa-Lobos's works actually gives the title as 'Suite for Double String Quintet.' Considering the fact that each of the five instruments appears divided at one point or another throughout the three movements, the work ends up indeed representing a double string quintet, which can of course be performed by a chamber string orchestra." Weird, weird. Doubly Quintessentially Weird.
 
 
3) CD 1 of a 10 CD SONY set entitled "Leopold Stokowski: The Columbia Stereo Recordings." |Tr. 1-13, Manuel de Falla (1876-1946): El amor brujo (Love, the Magician) (26'51) |Tr. 14, Richard Wagner (1813-83): Tristan und Isolde: Liebesmusik (Love Music) from Acts II & III (26'03)--The Philadelphia Orchestra, Shirley Verrett, mezzo-soprano (Falla)--Rec. Broadwood Hotel, Philadelphia, 25 FEB 1960.
 
You thought you were through hearing from me about Leopold Stokowski for a while, didn't you? Not on your life! Here we start on a 10 CD set which contains all of Stokowski's stereo recordings for Columbia. CD 9 of this set consists of the two works that were on his very last recording for any company, made 3 1/2 months before his death, of the Bizet Symphony in C and the Mendelssohn Italian Symphony. He was 95 when he did that and he died in Hampshire, England in a little village called Nether Wallop (I am NOT kidding. Really. Nether Wallop.)
 
Stokowski plays the orchestral part of the de Falla "El amor brujo" well. Unfortunately, though she is note-perfect, Shirley Verrett is just not up to the appropriate phrasing. The standard here is, of course, Victoria de los Angeles in her recording of this work with Carlo Maria Giulini, which is part of a 2 CD EMI set of Falla and other Spanish works. At least, that's the incarnation in which I have it. I have checked @ Amazon and find that all the Falla performances in that 2 CD set are still available, though not in the same 2 CD format I have.
 
The Wagner bleeding chunks are exceptionally well performed, as they always were by Stokowski. No singing here, though.
 
 
4) John Woolrich,(b. 1954): |Tr. 1, Ulysses Awakes (after Monteverdi) (d) (1989) (7'39) |Tr. 2-12, It is midnight, Dr. Schweitzer (1992) (14'32) |Tr. 13, The Theater represents a garden: Night (after Mozart) (1991) (19'17) |Tr. 14, A leap in the dark (21 pieces for strings) (1994) (10'52) |Tr. 15-18, Four concert arias (1994) (13'37): 15, It was at night (c) (3'00), 16, A Hymn to the Night (a) (3'08), 17, Through the dark leaves (abc) (2'26), 18, Donna Anna (b) (5'03)--John Lubbock, cond. Orchestra of St John's, Smith Square. Soloists: Eileen Hulse, soprano (a), Adele Elkenes, soprano (b), Christine Cairns, mezzo-soprano (c), Jane Atkins, viola solo (d). An ASV recording. Tr. 12 rec. St Joihn's Smith Square, London, 19 FEB 1998. All others rec. @ Angel Studios, London, 27 JAN & 3 APR 1998.
 
John Woolrich seems to be one of those eminently agreeable and convivial British musicians who enjoys working with other musicians and composers. He has helped found and/or direct a number of musical groups, including The Composers Ensemble, which he founded with Mary Wiegold. He has had a long association with the Darlington Summer School and has been a teacher and programmer for the Orchestra of St John's, Smith Square, and has done much work to promote not only his own compositions, but those of others as well. He has the same sort of practical sense as G. F. Handel, in that he often tailors what he is writing specifically for an available ensemble rather than writing pie-in-the-sky venturesome works with little prospect of their getting performed. Born in 1954, he is still with us, but he was a late starter as a musician.
Ulysses Awakens is inspired by Monteverdi's 1640 opera, "Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria." It is imitative, played by viola and ten solo strings. Jane Atkins is the violist here.
"It is midnight, Dr. Schweitzer" is a work of 11 short pieceseach based around one of the eleven intervals between a minor second and a major seventh. Each piece takes its title from one of the surreal scrap metal sculptures of Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely.
"The Theater represents a garden: Night" was Woolrich's contribution to a festival of music meant to commemorate the bicentennary of Mozart's death in 1991. It is scored for a classical orchestra of woodwinds, horns, and strings, and like the Monteverdi piece, is imitative, with references to the Magic Flute and The Marrriage of Figaro.
The music of A Leap in the Dark is scored as a single melody divided between the instruments that add up to 22 short pieces in just short of 11 minutes.
The Four concert arias are exactly what they say they are--the 1st, 2nd, and 4th of them are for 3 solo voices and ensemble, and the 3rd is for a trio.
Altogether, this is a CD that consists entirely of world premiere performances recorded in the presence of the composer in very good sound. Highly recommended.
 
 
5) Gyorgy Ligeti (1923-2006): |Tr. 1-6, Etudes for piano, Book I (1985) (19'31) |Tr. 7-14, Etudes for piano, Book II (1988-94) (23'16) |Tr. 15-25, Musica ricercata (1951-53) (28'03) |Tr. 26, Etudes for piano, Book III: (extract) # 15 "White on White (1995) (3'52)--Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano. A SONY Classical CD, Vol 3 in a 7 CD survey of Ligeti works. Rec. @ Salle de Musique, La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland 6-9 DEC 1995 (Tr. 1-25), & 9-10 MAY 1996 (Tr. 26).
 
In his liner notes, Ligeti talks about his influences, and exactly why he wrote these pieces. One, he said, was because of his own inadequate piano technique. He could not persuade his parents to buy a piano in his youth, and he did not begin learning to play until his teens, too late to ever become a virtuoso performer. He plays adequately, but only for himself and to help in the composition process. So he wanted to write etudes to help himself and people in the same sort of situation learn to play. Another influence was jazz, he says, especially Thelonius Monk and Bill Evans. Another was African music, in which, he notes, rhythms are seldom played, but are danced. He also sees analogues and inspiration in various visual artists, especially Cezanne, Maurits Escher, and the Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi, and also Conlon Nancarrow and a number of ethno-musicologists who have written on the subject of sub-Saharan African musics.
 
 
6) CD 22 of a 23 CD + 1 DVD set of all Clifford Curzon's recordings for DECCA. |Tr. 1, Beethoven: Alla ingharese qualsi un capriccio in G Major, Op. 129 (5'16) |Tr. 2, Nikolai Medtner: Szazka (Fairy Tale) in F Minor, Op., 26 # 3 (2'27) |Tr. 3, Liszt: Sonetto 104 del Petrarca from Annees de peperinage deuxieme annee, Italie, S. 161 # 5 (6'48) |Brahms: |Tr. 4, Capriccio in B Minor, Op. 76 # 2 (7'51) |Tr. 5, Intermezzo in C Major, Op. 119 # 3 (1'22) |Tr. 6, Intermezzo in E Flkat Minor, Op. 118 # 6 (4'52) |Tr. 7, Rhapsody in G Minor, Op. 79 # 2 (4'23) |Tr. 8, Intermezzo in E Flat Major, Op. 117 # 1 (4'55) |Liszt: |Tr. 9, Mephisto Waltz # 1, S 514 (10'13) |Tr. 10, Liebestraum # 3, S 541 (4'53) |Tr. 11, Chopin: Nocturne in C # Mino, Op. posth. (4'18) |Tr. 12-14, Manuel de Falla: Noches en los jardines de Espana (Nights in the Gardens of Spain) (23'00)--These are all solo piano works except Tr. 12-14. Enrique Jorda, cond., New Symphony Orch (Tr. 12-14), rec. Kingsway Hall, London, 26 SEP 1945. All others rec. @ Decca Studios, Broadhurst Gardens,West Hampstead, London. Tr. 1-3 rec. 29 OCT 1942, Tr. 4-8 rec. 26 NOV 1943, Tr. 9-10 rec. 9 SEP 1947, Tr. 11 rec. 21 JUL 1949. Tr. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 11 published here for the first time. All these recordings are, of course, in MONOAURAL sound. The first 8 tracks are in very scratchy sound as they were transferred from worn masters.
 
Most of these pieces, all of them before the Mephisto Waltz 1, are little bon bon excerpts from larger works. The de Falla is an excellent performance.
 
 
7) Franz Schubert (1797-1828): Tr. 1-6, Octet for Strings and Winds in F Major, Op. 166, D. 803 (61'36)--Ensemble Carl Stamitz ( Yuriko Naganuma, Violin I, Catherine Arnoux, Violin 2, Michel Falconnat, Viola, Paul Broutin, Cello. Dominique Guerouet, double bass, Jean-Louis Sajot, clarinet, Regis Poulin, bassoon, Jean-Michel Vinit, horn). A PIERRE VARNAY CD, rec. 3-4 JAN 1990 Recording venue not listed.
 
This is a simple, carefree, rather repetitive work. Unlike many of Schubert's songs, it is joyous, cheerful, carefree and upbeat, but without a lot of depth or substance. The performance is exceptionally good, as is the recorded sound.
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 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:16 am

This morning I am finishing the Brilliant Classics box of Telemann trumpet concertos and overtures, Otto Sauter & Franz Wagnermeyer trumpets

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:45 pm


On Sunday, 11 MAR 2018, I listened to 3 CDs.
 
 

1) Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959): |Tr. 1-4, Symphony No. 7, Odisséia da paz (Peace Odyssey) (1945) (36'02) |Tr. 5-7, Sinfonietta 1 "In memory of Mozart" (1916) (21'19)--Carl St. Clair, cond., RSO Stuttgart des SWR. Rec. Stadthalle Singelfingen, 3, 7 SEP 1998 (Tr. 1-4) & 17-18 APR 2000 (Tr. 5-7). A cpo CD, Vol. 6 of a 7 CD set of the complete Villa-Lobos symphonies.

 

Per Wikipedia, "Villa-Lobos composed his Seventh Symphony in Rio de Janeiro in 1945 for a competition in Detroit. As required by the rules of the competition, it was submitted anonymously, using the pseudonym A. Caramurú. It was not awarded a prize in the competition. It was first performed in London on 27 March 1949 by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the composer (Villa-Lobos, sua obra 2009, 45).


The symphony, written shortly after the surrender of Germany on 7 May 1945, is subtitled "Odisséia da paz" (Peace Odyssey) (Appleby 2002, 149). The second edition of the official Villa-Lobos catalogue, however, at one place gives "Odisséia de uma raça" (the title of an unrelated symphonic poem from 1953), together with a short programmatic description (Villa-Lobos, sua obra 1972, 243):


A tidal wave splits up part of the Earth. Hills and mountains appeared, uncovering to human eyes a tortuous and irregular perspective, similar to the path of life across the centuries.

As long as there are hills and mountains on earth, people will seek peace. The hills and mountains, firm and solid, planted on earth, defend mankind from whomever wishes, in vain to destroy and mimic them."
"The Sinfonietta 1 is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, timpani, & strings. The first two movements were first performed in Sao Paolo in 1922, but the whole score was not performed until 1955, in Vienna. The 7th Symphony is from 1945, just after VL had finished the Bachianas Brasileiras series. It's interesting to see Bachianas-type themes poured into more-or-less symphonic forms. This is a big work, with important-sounding themes.
The first Sinfonietta, from 1916, is a neo-classical work which pays hommage to Mozart. I don't believe Mozart's music really resonated with Villa-Lobos, but this is a really charming work. It's closer in spirit to the first three string quartets (from 1915 and 1916) than to the blockbuster works of 1917, Amazonas and Uirapuru."--per the Indiana University Villa-Lobos website.
 
 
2) CD 1 of a 24 CD SONY set of the complete RCA & Columbia albums of pianist Gary Graffman. |Tr. 1-4, Franz Schubert (1797-1828): Fantasy in C Major, D 760 "Wanderer" (19'41) |Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953): |Tr. 5-8, Piano Sonata 2 in D Minor, Op. 14 (16'21) |Tr. 9, Piano Sonata 3 in A Minor, Op. 28 "From Old Notebooks" (6'45)--Rec. Webster Hall, NYC 31 OCT 1955 (Tr. 1-3), 31 OCT & 1 NOV 1955 (Tr. 4), 1 NOV 1955 (Tr. 5-8), 27 APR 1956 (Tr. 9).
 
Let me give you a bit of a preview of the style of this production, because its a massive box. First of all, the use of the word "albums" in the above headnote is deliberate. I thought at first it might be limiting, that he might have made some singles or little 45's or something that were not included. In fact, its just the opposite--its expansive. This box contains performances of works in which Gary Graffman does not appear at all, just because they were included on an album that included another performance by Graffman. For example, CD 2 consists of two works by the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Enrique Jorda. One is the Prokofiev Third Piano Concerto, but the other is Prokofiev's Classical Symphony, in which Graffman does not play at all. I'm not going to go through the whole box and list every case here--that will come as I report on the contents over the coming weeks. But you get the idea.
 
The boooklet contains a little one page forward by Lang Lang, one of Graffman's students. It is very personal and far from routine:
"I've known this extraordinary man since I was fourteen, when he invited me to audition in person at the Curtis Institute after hearing concert recordings of mine that were sent to him. My father and I met Mr. Graffman the day before the audition, and I was amazed at how he greeted us in Mandarin, and at the beautiful Chinese artwork filling his office. I began playing Beethoven, and he gently made suggestions, not commands, advising me to just relax and enjoy the music. The feeling was quite different from the culture I grew up with, where we were trained not so much to communicate as to compete. But Mr. Graffman is a genuine multi-culturalist. He understood my culture mor than I did, and helped me make the transition from East to West."
That's about half of Lang Lang's forward, right there, but you get the idea. It is a very personal story, intimate and revealing.
Graffman's Wanderer, at 19'41, is quite a bit brisker than Curzon's more expansive 21'23 rendering. I fear there is not much of the lazy afternoon wandering in a leisurely way through the Vienna woods in this performance. More like a fast, steadily-paced, no lingering to smell the flowers daily constitutional around your neighborhood.
I love Prokofiev, but somehow I have never been able to get into his solo piano works. Graffman knows these works, it seems, better than most. Perhaps it comes from having Russian-Jewish parents. Perhaps not. This can get wound up in all sorts of nasty little "biology is destiny" bunkumole, and one must take care to keep one's balance and perspective. But I think there is something to it, though not quite as much as some extremist determinists would suppose. I, for example, love Russian and Eastern European composers even though my genetic heritage is about half English, a little better than a third Irish, and the rest German. My mother used to express the view that that was because she frequently attended Grant Park concerts conducted by Nicolai Malko when she was pregnant with me. That may also be why I don't relate well to solo piano music--the Petrillo bandshell didn't feature much solo piano music! What do you think?
 
 
3) Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-75): |Tr. 1-4, Symphony 1 in F Minor, Op. 10 (1924-5) (32'23) |Tr. 5-10, Symphony 3 in E Flat Major, Op. 20 "The First of May" (1929) (31'10)--Vasily Petrenko, cond., Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orch. (& Choir [in Tr. 10])--Rec. @ Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, 28-29 JUL 2009 (Tr. 1-4), 22-23 JUN 2010 (Tr. 5-10). A NAXOS CD, CD 1 of an 11 CD set of all the Shostakovich symphonies by these forces.
 
The first thing that occurs to me about this CD is that the high quality of the performance of this very English choir in the lst movement of the Third Symphony is a reproach to determinist view of origins and destinies I duscussed in my last commentary. It is to a poem by Semyon Kirsanov (1906-72), who, as you can see, was a not quite exact contemporary of the composer's. Of course, they had a conductor who knew what he was talking about and insisted on excellence. That has something to do with it, too. The expectations we have of people are important. People tend to rise to a challenge, but seldom exceed expectations.
Documentation with this set is voluminous. The accompanying booklet, unusually well produced, is, including the front and back covers, 56 pages long, and its all in English except for the Russian texts of the words in the 2nd, 3rd, 13th, and 14th symphonies. The booklet goes from one symphony to the next, in order, and does not follow the order of the records in the set. Unfortunately, the booklet has no track listing--we only find those on the individual CD cardboard pouches. No fillers here. Its just the symphonies, nothing else. The notes are each in two parts--a short, italicized commentary by Vasily Petrenko himself, which are extracted from an interview he did with BBC Music Magazine about this production, followed by a longer descriptive text by, including the texts of the four works with sung texts in Latin alphabet versions of Russian together with English translations. Notes are by Richard Whitehouse.
Petrenko's note on the First Symphony: "...[It] is a formidably original student work, but you can trace the links. The orchestration owes a debt to Rimsky-Korsakov; Stravinsky is an inspiration in the first half, and Tchaikovsky can be felt in the slow movement. And, for all its maturity, I've come to see how the score was drilled and squared by his teachers, particularly Glazunov. You can sense how the work was being shaped: I don't think it just came out fully formed. The clue is that Glazunov knew it really well. Ironically, it was Glazunov who ruined Rachmaninoff's First Symphony by not learning it, conducting it drunk, and messing it up. But he conducted Shostakovich's First...well, and then sent it off with his official recommendation to 27 countries. That was how Shostakovich's music first became disseminated in the West."
And, on the Third: "The Second and Third...are very difficult to perform properly and it took me a long time to work out how to make them feel logical. They need to settle in your mind. Bt the Third, you feel that he's really starting to be very ironic about the text and about the message. The poetry he uses is banal, amateur, and he's mocking it--showing how absurd and empty the words were."
Ah, yes, Vasily Petrenko, the very model of the new Soviet man!
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 Mar 12, 2018 11:14 pm


On Monday, 12 MAR 2018, I listened to 3 CDs.
 
 
1) Hugo Wolf (1860-1903): Italienisches Liederbuch (Italian Songbook)--Janet Baker, mezzo-soprano, John Shirley-Quirk, baritone, Steuart Bedford, piano--An ICA Classics BBC recording. Rec. @ 1977 Aldeburgh Festival, 19 JUN 1977 Snape, Maltings.
 
Three incomparable artists here, and most especially Janet Baker, one of my favorite singers of all time. And its not because we have the same last name. Actually, I am not related to any British people with the surname Baker. That surname was adopted by a young man whose surname was Cox when he stowed away on board a Maine-bound ship in 1799. He was put in irons when they discovered him, but he managed to jump ship and escape after they docked. He changed his surname to Baker to make it harder for people to track him down. He came from Battle, England, which is the first town outside of Hastings on the road to London. William the Conqueror built an abbey there in 1066 to give thanks for his victory.
 
At any rate, these are wonderful performances, despite the fact that BBC recording technology is always about at least a decade behind the leading edge. They were still making monoaural recordings after everyone else had converted to stereo, including even Melodiya in the Soviet Union.
 
 

2) CD 2 of the 10 CD SONY set titled "Leopold Stokowski: The Complete Columbia Stereo Recordings." |J.S. Bach (1685-1750): |Tr. 1-3, Brandenburg Concerto 5 in D Major, S. 1050 (25'40) |Tr, 4-6, Three Chorale-Preludes (12'39): 4--Ich ruh zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (I call Thee, Lord Jesus Christ|, S. 639 (4'03), 5--Nun komm der Heiland (Now come, Saviour of the heathens [or gentiles]), S.599 (5'20), 6--Wir glauben all' an einen Gott (We all believe in one God), S. 680 (3'15)--The Philadelphia Orch., Fernanco Valenti, harpsichord (Tr. 1-3), Anshel Brusilow, violin (Tr. 1-3), William Kincaid, flute (Tr. 1-3)--Rec. Broadwood Hotel, Philadelphia, 25 FEB 1960.

 
I was pleasantly surprised by this performance of Brandeburg Concerto 5. Known as he was for outrageously bloated orchestral arrangements of Bach organ music, I was expecting something similar here. But, no, no, Stokowski surprises us once again. This is actually an historically informed performance, complete with harpsichord. I really prefer the Marriner recordings of the Brandenburgs above all others, but this is a wonderful recording, as are the chorale-preludes. If you want a traditional, no compromises full modern orchestra version of the Brandenburgs, I recommend the Adrian Boult set. Chailly is just too gross for me.
 
 

3) Gyorgy Ligeti (1923-2006): |Tr. 1-6, Nonsense Madrigals (13'21)--1. Two Dreams and Little Bat (1988) (2'14) (Text: William Brighty Rands & Lewis Carroll) 2. Cuckoo in the Pear Tree (1988) (1'33) (Text: William Brighty Rands). 3. The Alphabet (1988) (2'43). 4. Flying Robert (1988) (2'43) (Text: Heinrich Hoffmann [in English translation]). 5. The Lobster Quadrille (1989) (1'50) (Text: Lewis Carroll). 6. A Long, Sad Tale (1993) (1'28) (Text: Lewis Carroll)--The King's Singers (David Hurley, contertenor |Nigel Short, countertenor |Bob Chilcott, tenor |Bruce Russell, baritone |Philip Lawson, baritone |Stephen Connolly, bass) |Tr. 7, Mysteries of the Macabre (7'49)--Arrangement for coloratura soprano & instrumental ensemble by Elgar Howarth (b. 1935) of music from Ligeti's only opera, Le Grand Macabre (1974–77) |Tr. 8, Aventures (1962), Nonsense poetic text by G Ligeti (11'20) |Tr. 9-10, Nouvelle Aventures (1962-5) (10'32)--Esa-Pekka Salonen, cond., Philharmonia Orch. members (Tr. 7-10), Sibylle Ehlert, coloratura soprano (Tr. 7), Phyllis Bryn-Julson, soprano (Tr. 9-10), Rose Taylor, contralto (Tr. 9-10), Omar Ebrahim, baritone (Tr. 9-10) |Tr. 11, Der Sommer (1989) (3'12) (Text: Friedrich Holderlin (1770-1843)--Christiane Oelzse, soprano, Irina Kataeva, piano |Tr. 12-14, Three Songs to texts by Sándor Weöres (6'07) 12. The moon is dancing in a white robe (1'05) 13. A cluster of fruit, swayed by the wind (2'42) 14. A merchant has come with giant birds (2'10) |Tr. 15-19, Five Arany Songs by János Arany (1817-82)--15. Treacherous Ray of Sunlight (2'02). 16. The most beautiful flower (2'29). 17. From the quiet songs (0'52). 18. The Errant (3'16). 19. The devil has taken away the tax man (2'09) |Tr. 20-23, Four Hungarian Wedding Dances (adapted by Ligeti from Hungarian folksongs) (1950) (5'13)--20. A bride is a splendid flower (2'04) |21. A surrey arrived at the gate (0'40) |22. Hop on th duckboards, stay spic and span (1'16) |23. If my darling Uncle Lacl played me a nice tune (1'13)--Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano (Tr. 12-23), Rosemary Hardy, soprano (Tr. 12-23), Eva Wedlin, soprano, (Tr. 20-23), Malena Ernman, mezzo-soprano (Tr. 20-23). Rec. Whitfield Street Studios, London, 12-15 OCT 1995 (Tr. 1-6), Air Studios, Lyndhurst Hall, Hampstead, 2-4 DEC 1995 (Tr. 7-10), ORF Studio 3, Salzburg, 24 AUG 1996 (Tr. 11), Swedish Radio Studio 2, Stockholm, 27-28 AUG (Tr. 12-23)--CD 4 in a 7 CD SONY series on the music of Gyorgy Ligeti.

 
Phew! Its just taken me about 4 hours, working on and off, just to type up this damn headnote! Most of these songs have a light, frivolous air about them. It calls to mind a Carl Sandburg poem "Happiness"--
 
I asked the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell

me what is happiness.

And I went to famous executives who boss the work of

thousands of men.

They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though

I was trying to fool with them

And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along

the Desplaines river

And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with

their women and children and a keg of beer and an

accordion.
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 Mar 14, 2018 4:18 am


On Tuseday, 13 MAR 2018, I listened to 3 CDs.
 
 

1) CD 23 of the 23 CD + 1 DVD set of pianist Clifford Curzon's recordings for DECCA. The entire CD is divided into two large sections, both centering around conversations with interviewers. The first section, called "Desert Island discs," is with Roy Plomley, a critic, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 17 JUN 1978 pprovided by the BBC and EMI. That conversation can be found @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBTshRYyeUs and lasts 30'44. The other is a conversation with Alan Blyth recorded 18 SEP 1972, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 12 FEB 1973. It lasts 38'19. I could not find the whole conversation on YouTube, but 17'34 of it can be found @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqUki9GQuQQ This is the part of the conversation in which he talks about his two most important teachers, Wanda Landowska and Artur Schnabel. One of the interesting things about it was that Schnabel was a Communist sympathizer for a long time, and he often had to endure a political rant that lasted as long as 2 hours before his they started talking about piano. On one occasion, Schnabel's wife came in the room and looked down her nose at Schnabel and reminded him the Clifford had come for a piano lesson. He was, however, later disillussioned after two tours of the Soviet Union. Another interesting thing was that Landowska had a visceral dislike for Schnabel, and Schnabel had a more nuanced, but still critical, view of Landowska. Its a very interesting conversation. I recommend it.

 
 
2) Louis Pelosi (b. 1947): |Tr. 1-4, String Quartet 1 (1997-2000) (33'43) |Tr. 5, Prayer Suite (2005-6) (11'03) |Tr. 6, I Weave You A Shroud for a capella sextet to a text by T. P. Perrin (2005) (14'15) |Tr. 7, String Quartet 2 (18'33)--Piotr Tarcholik, violin I (Tr. 1-5 & 7), Kinga Tomaszewska, Violin II (Tr. 1-4 & 7), Darinsz Korcz, viola (Tr. 1-4), Beata Raszewska, viola (Tr. 7), Zdzislaw Lipinski, cello (Tr. 1-4 & 7), Monika Willinska-Tarcholik, piano (Tr. 5), and, in Tr. 6 only, the following musicians: New York Virtuoso Singers, Harold Rosenbaum, cond., Elena Williamson, soprano, Nancy Wertsch, mezzo-soprano, Mary Marathe, alto, Michael Steinberger, tenor, Frank Barr, baritone, Hayes Biggs, bass. Piotr Tarcholik, violin, and the members of his quartet are all members of the National Polish RSO. Tr. 6 rec. in the Pelosi home in NYC 12 NOV 2006. All other tracks rec. in Poland, venue(s) not listed. Rec. 27-29 OCT 2008 (Tr. 1-4), Tr. 5 rec. 12 NOV 2008, Tr. 7 rec. 12-13 SEP 2009. A KASP Records CD.
 
This album is entitled, "A Triptych Memorial to My Rosemarie, Part I." Pelosi's notes say, "Aside from my music, the central events of my life are two: meeting my future wife...and losing her to cancer. In every possible sense of the word, she filled my world: in her creative vitality and brilliance, her discipline in the service of an absolutley uncompromising spirtual focus and integrity, and her love of nature and humanity--her love for me. What remains after her death is my music, and the tortuous passage of time. Hence this album." His wife, Rosemarie Koczy, died 12 DEC 2007 of cancer.
 

Louis Pelosi has his own website, and at that site he includes some reviews, including interviews with reviewers from Fanfare Magazine, to which I subscribe--a magazine that does 6 issues a year and makes a serious attempt to review nearly every classical CD issued in the USA. Pelosi has reprinted some of this material at his website and you can read it @ http://louis-pelosi-composer.com/critical-commentary/ It reviews this CD, and others of his work.

 
 

3) Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959): Symphony No. 10, Sumé pater patrium: Sinfonia ameríndia com coros (Oratorio) (1952-3) (73'30)--Carl St. Clair, cond., RSO Stuttgart des SWR, Members of the Staatsopernchor Stuttgart, SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart, Lothar Odinius, tenor, Henryk Bohm, baritone, Jurgen Linn, bass-baritone. Rec. Stadthalle Singelfingen, 29 NOV--10 DEC 1999. A cpo CD, CD 7 of a 7 CD cpo set of the complete symphonies of Villa-Lobos.

 
As you can see by the headnote, the whole CD, unlike all the others in the series, consists entirely of one work which is, by far, Villa Lobos's longest symphony. It is really a symphony-oratorio, as the headnote indicates. It should also be noted that this performance is, at 73'30, somewhat more expansive than the world premiere radio broadcast of the work, conducted by Villa-Lobos, was just over 67 minutes long. He wrote it to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the city of Sao Paolo. But he finished work on it in NYC, and the world premiere performance, under his baton, was in Paris on 4 APR 1957. It is scored for tenor, baritone, and bass soloists, mixed choir, and an orchestra consisting of 2 piccolos, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 3 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, tuba, timpani, tam-tam, cymbals, chocalho, coconut hulls, lion's roar, bells, gong, sleigh bells, small frame drum, bass drum, xylophone, marimba, celesta, 2 harps, piano, organ, and strings.

Per Wikipedia, "The first movement is for the orchestra alone, and serves as an overture to the four remaining movements, which feature the vocal soloists and choirs. The movement is in sectional form, dominated by a principal melodic motif consisting of an upper-neighbour note figure followed by an upward leap. This motif is found in all five of the main sections of the movement, which are differentiated by tempo, key area (C, B♭, E, C, and C), instrumentation, rhythms, harmonies, and specific transformations of the main motif. The second theme of the first of these sections is the only one not derived from the core motif. Quasi-tonal quartal harmonies are especially evident, but alternate with polychords in dense ostinato textures and more thinly orchestrated tonal passages. The fourth section, which is developmental, begins with an abrupt change of tempo and a short tonal fugato in the strings (Enyart 1984, 330, 332–33, 337, 340–41)."

I can tell you that this symphony is overwhelming in its emotional impact. It is to Villa Lobos's ouvre what the Ninth Symphony and the Missa Solemnis are to Beethoven, what the Resurrection symphony is to Mahler.
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 Mar 14, 2018 11:48 pm


On Wednesday, 14 MAR 2018, I listened to one CD.
 
 
CD 2 in a 24 CD SONY box of all the RCA & Columbia recordings on which pianist Gary Graffman appeared. Not all of the performances presented here include Gary Graffman. It is enough that a particullar work was on an LP or CD that Graffman also appeared on. This CD is an example. | Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953): Tr. 1-3, Piano Concerto 3 in G major. Op. 26 (26'09) |Tr. 4-7, Symphony 1 in D Major, Op. 25 "Classical" (13'34)--Enrique Jorda, cond., San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Gary Graffman, piano (Tr. 1-3 only). Rec. San Francisco Opera House 16 FEB 1957 (Tr. 1-3) |Unknown location, 18 FEB 1957 (Tr. 4-7).
 
The Prokofiev 1st and 3rd piano concerti were perennials in Graffman's repertoire. He later recorded both of them with George Szell and the Cleveland Orch. Boith of these performances by conductor Jorda, though, are masterful recordings, two of the best ever made. I have other preferences in both works, but these performances really crackle.
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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Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 1:06 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM, USA 87112, 2 blocks west of the Breaking Bad carwash.
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:57 pm


On Thursday, 15 MAR 2018, I listened to 3 CDs.
 
 
1) Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-75): |Tr. 1-3, Symphony 2 in B Major, Op. 14 (1927) "To October" (18'28) |Tr. 4-7, Symphony 15 in A Major, Op. 141 (1971) (48'35)--Vasily Petrenko, cond., Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orch. (& Choir, In Tr. 3 only)--CD 2 in a NAXOS 11 CD set of the Shostakovich symphonies--Rec. Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, 14 JUN 2011 (Tr. 1-3), and 26-27 OCT 2010 (Tr. 4-7)
 

I do not speak Russian, but to me, it seems a marvel that Petrenko is able to get such seemingly idiomatic Russian out of this very British choir in the Second Symphony. The text, by Alexander Bezymensky is potboiler Leninist agitprop poetry. It and the whole work itself belongs more to the genre of the Soviet Futurism of the 1920's than to the later Stalinist "socialist realism" imperative. Having said that, I must say that despite the wretched poetry, I like this symphony more than most critics do. It has a certain ordered dissonance about it that I find appealing, similar in effect to the music of Karol Szymanowski.

 

The Fifteenth is my personal favorite of the Shostakovich symphonies. It is a musical depiction of Shostakovich's own life. The first movement suggests a child playing with his toys, complete with quotations for Rossini's Willaim Tell Overture. It opens with two chimes on the glockenspiel, which continues to play a prominent role throughout the symphony. Read the Analysis section @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_ ... stakovich) The last two minutes of the symphony is a dirge, gradually diminishing in intensity as life fades away, with only the glockenspiel and celesta doing a duo, and then, in the last few seconds, even the celesta fades away, and only very soft, almost inaudible notes in the glockenspiel remain. It is like the organs of a human body shutting down one by one and just fading away.


 
 
2) Johannes Verhulst (1816-91): 25 songs--Annegeer Stumpfius, soprano |Nico van der Meel, tenor |Leo van Doeselaar, period 1845 Rosenberger fortepiano--NM Classics. Rec. Raphaelkerk, Amsterdam 9, 11 OCT 1002.
 
NM Classics is the joint label of CNM Centre Netherlands Music & Radio Netherlands International.
 
Verhulst was a composer and conductor. Although he wrote in many forms, he is best known for his songs. The first person of any note to encourage him was J.L . Lubeck, who introduced him to Felix Mendelssohn when the later was on vacation in Holland, and Mendelssohn took him on as a pupil, and Verhulst thus moved to Leipzig for a time, where he also formed a friendship with Robert Schumann, who dedicated his Overture, Scherzo & Finale in E Major, Op. 52 (1841) to Verhulst. He eventually returned to Holland and, for a time, became an important conductor. He headed what would eventually become the Rotterdam Philharmonic for a time, but his conservative tastes (he abhorred Wagner) got him in trouble with developing tastes, and in his later years, his reputation and opportunities suffered on that account. A Catholic, Verhulst also wrote 3 Masses. Although he was mostly a songwriter, his other compositions include 3 string quartets, and one Symphony in E Minor, Op. 46. His songs are mostly written in the styles of Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann.
 
Although Nico van der Meel is a very fine tenor, the stars here are Doeselaar and Stumpfius, whose piercing, high soprano voice commands attention.
 
 
3) L V Beethoven (1770-1827): Piano Concerto 5 in E Flat Major, Op. 73 "Emperor" (1811) (42'36)--Leopold Stokowski, cond., American Symphony Orch., Glenn Gould, piano. Rec. Manhattan Center, 1-4 MAR 1966, CD 3 in the 10 CD set titled "Leopold Stokowski: The complete Columbia Stereo Recordings."
 

What can one say about the Emperor that has not already been said? For that matter, what can be said about Glenn Gould, the brilliant, but erratic pianist, that hasn't been said, or of the remarkably good natured relationship Stokowski had with him? This is the stuff of legend, and if you know nothing about it, go exploring on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/results?search_ ... +Stokowski
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 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:35 pm


On Friday, 16 MAR 2018, I listened to 3 CDs.
 

1) Gyorgy Ligeti (1923-2006): Volume 5 of the 7 CD SONY series survey of some of Ligeti's work. Vol. 5 is devoted to Mechanical Music. I am not going to do a track listing here. If you want that, go to https://www.amazon.com/Ligeti-Works-Bar ... merReviews This is mostly music Ligeti wrote for other media which have been adaped for barrel organ (6), or player piano (6 etudes + one other). Then there is another piece called Poeme Symphonique for 100 Metronomes (1962) (19'56), which is just the sound of 100 metrnomes set off at the same time. The piece sounds like crickets with bass-baritone sounds, gradually diminishing as the metronomes wear down. The whole CD goes on for an excruciating 75'18 TT. I listened to it so you won't have to. I hop you appreciate what I do for you.

 
2) CD 1 of an 8 CD Warner Classics set called "Annie Fischer: The Complete London Studio Recordings." W.A. Mozart (1756-91): |Tr. 1-3, Piano Concerto 20 in D Minor, K. 466 (31'31) |Tr. 4-6, Piano Concerto 23 in A Major, K. 488 (26'01)--Adrian Boult, cond., Philharmonia Orch. Rec. 13-15 FEB & 22 APR 1959 Abbey Rd. Studio 1.
 

Here we have two of Mozart's finest and most popular concerti (21 & 22 are on CD 2 and 24 & 27 on CD 3, so you have a set of PCs 20-24 + 27 here) performed by one of the twentieth century's premiere Mozarteans, Annie Fischer (1914-95). Here is a reminscence I found, written in 2014, the centennary of her birth: https://www.spectator.co.uk/2014/08/ash ... lise-this/ The Schumann Fantasy in C referred to there is in this set on CD 6. Annie Fischer does indeed belong in the top 10 pianists of the 20th century.

 
3) Vincent Pershichetti (1915-87): |Tr. 1-6, Divertimento for Band, Op. 42 (11'35) |Tr. 7, Masquerade for Band, Op. 102 (11'02) |Tr. 8, Pageant for Band, Op. (7'48) |Tr. 9-12, Symphony 6, for Band, Op. 69 (15'43) |Tr. 13, Psalm for Band, Op. 53 (7'45) |Tr. 14, Parable IX, Op. 121 (16'06)--Stephen K Steele, cond., Illinois State University Wind Symphony. An Albany Records CD. No information found on recording dates or venues.
 
These works are all vigorous, assertive music. From the liner notes, "The six movements of this piece [Divertimento] can be thought of as two trios: the sequence of Prologue-Song-Dance followed by the Burlesque-Sililoquy-March creates two smaller arches supporting the overall structure of the piece.
The Masquerade for Band is Persichetti's only band work in a theme and variations form. From the Univ. Of Maryland website program notes for its band's recording of this work:

"Masquerade, a theme and set of ten variations, is a realization of examples and exercises that can be found in Persichetti’s book, Twentieth Century Harmony. Reflecting his ever-present sense of humor, Persichetti did not reveal the relationship between the book and the composition until long after its publication, later referring to the piece as "a masquerade of the harmony book." It was written for and premiered by the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory (Berea, OH) Symphonic Band in 1966. The formal structure of Masquerade is that of a theme and variations, but not in the traditional sense; while Persichetti does extract a theme (more of a brief motto) from his book, most of the variations can be traced, not back to this theme, but instead directly to materials from the text. Persichetti culls material from almost every chapter; individual variations embody such various harmonic principles as: octatonicism, pentatonicism, polytonality, modality, parallelism, whole-tone harmonies, quartal harmony, pedal-points, and ending with 12-tone aggregates. While Masquerade could have been a dry litany of 20th-century compositional techniques, the music instead moves between the composer’s polar stylistic descriptions of "gracious" and "gritty," all the while sparkling with Persichetti’s wit, enthusiasm and musical creativity—a fitting end to a concert that is a tribute not only to the American composer-teacher Vincent Persichetti, but also to the myriad musical relationships between mentor and protégé, teacher and student."

 
A for Pageant, I found this quote, which is reputed to be in the score, @ windliterature.org :

"Pageant, commissioned by the American Bandmasters’ Association, was completed in January, 1953, and was [Persichetti’s] third band work. It opens in slow tempo with a motive in the horn that is used throughout both sections of the piece.. The slow chordal section is succeeded by a lively "parade" section introduced by the snare drum. In the final portion of the work the principal subjects are developed simultaneously to a lively climax."
 
I got this on the Symphony for Band @ the University of Maryland School of Music website, and they atttribute it to the University of Alabama @ Birmington:
"The four movements (Adagio allegro, Adagio sostenuto, Allegretto, and Vivace) have forms with traditional implications. The opening horn call and a following scale-wise passage in the slow introduction become the two principal themes (in reverse order) in the subsequent Allegro. The standard exposition, development, and recapitulation of sonata form are in the Allegro, although the traditional key relationships are not completely retained. The slow second movement is based on "Round Me Falls the Night," from the composer’s Hymns and Responses for the Church Year. The third movement, in trio form, serves as the traditional dance movement and is followed by a finale in free rondo form, which draws thematic material from the preceding movements and concludes with a chord containing all 12 tones of the scale."
 
I found, again at windliterature.org a description of the Pslam written by Persichetti and atrributed in the article to the Oklahoma City University Program Note Resource for Band Directors on the work:

The composer supplied the following note on the score: "Psalm for Band is a piece constructed from a single germinating harmonic idea. There are three distinct sections — a sustained chordal mood, a forward-moving chorale, followed by a Paean culmination of the materials. Extensive use is made of separate choirs of instruments supported by thematic rhythms in the tenor and bass drums."

Finally, as to Parable IX, I found this @ GIA Publications, a publisher of band literature in their description of the work:

"Parable IX is crafted in nine segments, or "parables," many related by tempo, style, or theme.
Throughout the work, solo instruments challenge entire sections of the ensemble, set against a dramatic percussive commentary.
Lyricism of melodic line contrasts with a vigor of rhythm, and solo or soli instruments link each of the parables with combinations of sophisticated beauty and crude enthusiasm.

Parable IX begins and ends with trombone statements of the "threat motif," a dark and macabre pattern dominating the texture.
Poignantly, while the work constantly explores the contradistinction between good and evil, it is good which ultimately prevails."
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 » Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:34 am

Today: Beethoven/Missa Solemnis/Robert Shaw/ASO

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:47 pm

On Saturday, 17 MAR 2018, I listened to 3 CDs.

1) Don Gillis (1912-78): |Tr. 1-3, Symphony 1 (1941) "An American Symphony" (31'41) |Tr. 4-6, Symphony 2 (1942) "A Symphony of Faith" (31'29) |Tr. 7-10, Symphony 5 1/2 (1947) "A Symphony of Fun" (15'15)--Ian Hobson, cond., Sinfonia Varsovia--An Albany Records CD--Rec. Studio S1 of Polish Radio, 16-17 NOV 2005.

Gillis was an American composer who was also, for a time, the recording engineer for Arturo Toscanini's NBC Symphony broadcasts. He was born in Cameron, MO in NW Missouri, but his family moved to Fort Worth, Texas when he was a young child, and that is where he mostly grew up, and went to college.
In the runup to WWII, Gillis was, apparently, one of the few Americans who favored US entry into the war, and, in many ways, his Firs Symphony is about that. It is filled with fanfares, especially in the outer movements. In the first movement, the fanfare is first stated in the English horn. It is a fairly simply constructed, one might even say, naive symphony.
The Second Symphony was written after US entry into the war, and continues the same optimistic tone, anticipating victory and exuding patriotism.
Gillis called the last symphony on this disc the Symphony 5 1/2 for, apparently, two reasons. First, it was composed after his Fifth Symphony, but while he was still putting the finishing touches on what he had already decided to call his Sixth Symphony. Although it is shorter than the other two symphonies on this CD, it is the only one of the three which is composed in the traditional four movement form. To me, it recalls to mind Aaron Copland's "Rodeo," and is more infused with the spirit of jazz than the other two symphonies.
This CD is recorded in state of the art sound, and it makes a good demonstration record for high end audio.

2) CD 3 in the 24 CD set entitled "Gary Graffman: The Complete RCA & Columbia Album Collection." Robert Schumann (1810-56): |Tr. 1-4, Piano Sonata 2 in G Minor, Op. 22 (17'25) |Tr. 5, Romance in G Sharp Major, Op. 28/2 (4'12) |Tr. 6-18 Symphonid Etudes in C Sharp Minor, Op. 13 (23'48)--Rec. NYC, Town Tall, 20 DEC 1956 (Tr. 1,2), 20-21 DEC 1956 (Tr. 3), 21 DEC 1956 (Tr. 4), Webster Hall, 26 APR 1957 (Tr. 5-18).

Excellent pianism, but I can't say much beyond that. These are not works I relate to well.

3) Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-75): Symphony 4 in C Minor, Op. 43 (1935-6) (64'59)--Vasily Petrenko, cond., Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orch. CD 3 of the 11 CD NAXOS Petrenko set of the complete Shostakovich Symphonies--Rec. Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, 9-10 FEB 2013.

Petrenko's note:
"Its so clear from the Fourth that Shostakovich had immersed himself in Mahler, studying instrumentation, an extended type of orchestration. Its the most amazing work, the way he creates the textrure and noise of industrialization; you can hear the machines, the effort of the labor. Then he unleashes a terrifying, frenzied brutality and, at the end, spiritual devestation which leads toward a complete unknown. The finale is like some kind of surrealist nightmare: we can hear clearly the Party at work, the circus, crazy officials, drunk policemen and people confessing to crimes they haven't committed--the insanity and alienation of the time. Then comes the coda and we arrive in C Major, the tonality of the dead. But it moves into C Minor: that means (to me) that he was not ready to die yet, but there might be no future. I think the Fourth is actually a masterpiece, and competes with the Fourteenth as his best."
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 John F » Sun Mar 18, 2018 12:31 am

Toscanini conducted the premiere of Gillis's Symphony No. 5½ in the NBC Symphony broadcast of September 21, 1947, no doubt with the composer in the sound booth. A broadcast transcription is in the Toscanini Legacy Archive at the NYPL performing arts library.
John Francis

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:22 am

​On Sunday, 18 MAR 2018, I listened to one CD. I had planned on listening to many more, but we had a terrific wind storm here in Albuquerque today, and for a brief second in the early afternoon, it knocked out my power. Everything came back up immediately, but it shut down my stereo, and I felt I had to give it a rest. So I did, and spent some time catching up on DVRed things instead and sleeping. My kidney function is down to 20% now, and it makes me want to sleep almost as much as a baby. Anyway, what I listened to was this:


CD 4 of the 10 CD SONY set named "Leopold Stokowski: The Complete Columbia Stereo Recordings." Charles Edward Ives (1874-1954): Tr. 1-4, Symphony 4 (1916) (30'47) |Tr. 5, Robert Browning Overture (1914, rev. 1942) (23'01) |Tr. 6-9, Four Songs for Chorus & Orchestra (15'54): 6, Majority, or, The Masses (1921) (4'29), 7, They are There (A War Song March) (3'11), 8, Election (It Strikes Me That) (4'07), 9, Lincoln, the Great Commoner (4'07)--American Symphony Orch., Members of the Schola Cantorum, NY, Hugh Ross, dir. (Tr. 4), Gregg Smith Singers & Ithaca College Concert Choir (Tr. 6-9)--Rec. Manhattan Center, NYC, 29-30 APR 1965 (Tr. 1-4), 21 DEC 1966 (Tr. 5), 18 OCT 1967 (Tr. 6-9).


The most radically dissonant work here is the Robert Browning Overture, the songs are the most conventional. The Symphony is somewhere in between. It has been a long time since I heard this Symphony. My first recording of it was this performance in another incarnation, as an LP. I have and have listened to others, too, including the Michael Tilson Thomas recording. It seemed just radical and off the wall when I first heard it, but now, after listening to dissonant music from many composers, it seems closer to the mainstream to me. It is filled with many references to various anthems and patriotic songs, as much of Ives' music is.


For the Robert Browning Overture, see http://www.musicweb-international.com/… ... t_Browning_…


At first, I thought the catchall title "Four Songs for Chorus & Orchestra" was a separate work consisting of four songs. They are not. They are just individual songs which the editors of this disc have chosen to group together and give a title. They are listed as individual works in Ives catalogue. All of these songs are about our common space as a nation. They are about democracy and the American political system, with an optimistic edge to them. The second one, a so called war anthem, while its words confirm the subject, have more of an air of a college football fight song that a war march. Lincoln, the Great Commoner, is a poem by Edwin Markham. The three others are songs to texts by Ives himself:


Majority (The Masses)


The Masses! The Masses! The Masses have toiled,
Behold the works of the World!
The Masses are thinking,
Whence comes the thought of the World!
The Masses are singing,
Whence comes the Art of the World!
The Masses are yearning,
Whence comes the hope of the World.
The Masses are dreaming,
Whence comes the visions of God!
God's in His Heaven,
All will be well with the World!


They Are There, A War Song March


There's a time in many a life,
When it's do though facing death
And our soldier boys will do their part
That people can live in a world where all will have a say.
They're conscious always of their country's aim,
Which is Liberty for all.
Hip hip hooray you'll hear them say
As they go to the fighting front.
Brave boys are now in action
They are there, they will help to free the world
They are fighting for the right
But when it comes to might,
They are there, they are there, they are there,
As the Allies beat up all the warhogs,
The boys'll be there fighting hard
A-a-and then the world will shout
The battle cry of Freedom.
Tenting on a new camp ground.
When we're through this cursed war,
All started by a sneaking gouger,
Making slaves of men
Then let all the people rise,
And stand together in brave, kind Humanity.
Most wars are made by small stupid
Selfish bossing groups
While the people have no say.
But there'll come a day
Hip hip Hooray
When they'll smash all dictators to the wall.
Then it's build a people's world nation Hooray
Ev'ry honest country free to live its own native life.
They will stand for the right,
But if it comes to might,
They are there, they are there, they are there.
Then the people, not just politicians
Will rule their own lands and lives.
Then you'll hear the whole universe
Shouting the battle cry of Freedom.
Tenting on a new camp ground.
Tenting on a new camp ground


The Election (It Strikes Me That)


"It strikes me that some men and women got tired of a big job;
but, over there our men did not quit.
They fought and died that better things might be!
Perhaps some who stayed at home are beginning to forget and to quit.
The pocketbook and certain little things talked loud and noble,
And got in the way; too many readers go by the headlines,
party men will muddle up the facts,
So a good many citizens voted as grandpa always did,
or thought a change for the sake of change seemed natural enough.
"It's raining, lets throw out the weather man,
Kick him out! Kick him out! Kick him out! Kick him out! Kick him!"
Prejudice and politics, and the stand-patters came in strong,
and yelled, "Slide back! Now you're safe, that's the easy way!"
Then the timid smiled and looked relieved,
"We've got enough to eat, to hell with ideals!"
All the old women, male and female, had [their] day today,
and the hog-heart came out of his hole,
But he won't stay out long, God always drives him back!
Oh Captain, my Captain!
a heritage we've thrown away;
But we'll find it again, my Captain, Captain, oh my Captain!"


Lincoln, the Great Commoner


And so he came from the prairie cabin to the Capitol,
One fair ideal led our chieftain on,
He built the rail pile as he built the State,
The conscience testing every stroke,
To make his deed the measure of the man . . .
So came our Captain with the mighty heart;
And when the step of earthquake shook the house,
Wrenching rafters from their ancient hold,
He held the ridgepole
up
And spiked again the rafters of the Home.
He held his place
He held the long purpose like a growing tree,
Held on thro’ blame and faltered not at praise,
And when he fell in whirlwind,
He went down as when a Kingly Cedar green with boughs
Goes down with a great shout, upon the hills!
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 Mar 19, 2018 3:55 am

early this morning - Sibelius/Four Legends/Vanska/Lahti SO

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:12 am

​On Monday, 19 MAR 2018, I listened to only one CD. I had an appointment today to have my car serviced @ a local Toyota dealership for 11:30 AM. I got a late start; I wasn't dressed and out at my car until ablut 10'35 or so, and I had intended to go to a local restaurant called the Owl Cafe for breakfast. Then, I found out my battery was dead, and I had to call for Roadside Assistance. I found out I had neglected to rejoin and pay dues for that service so had spent an hour on the phone just straightening that out and getting a car to come out and give me a jump. In the meantime, I gobbled down a half a banana as my breakfast, a half left over from a couple days ago. So, by the time I got to Toyota without anything more for breakfast, I was about 15 minutes late. They worked on it all afternoon, and I didn't get out of there until almost 5 PM. Much costlier than I had anticipated.


So, then, I went to the Owl Cafe, finally, but for dinner, not breakfast, and had their turkey dinner with stuffing and potatoes and plenty of gravy, a generous bowl of mixed vegetables, and the tiniest dinner roll I have ever seen in my life, about half the size of a White Castle slider bun. Then, finally, home by a little before 6 PM.


So, with other things I had to do, only an hour left for listening. So, here it is:


Eduard Tubin (1905-82): Tr. 1-5, Requiem for Fallen Soldiers (1979) (33'25) |Tr. 6, Symphony 10 (1973) (25'21)--Gothenburg Symphony Orch. (Tr. 6), Neeme Jarvi, cond. (all tracks), Kersten Lundin, alto (Tr. 3), Roland Rydell, baritone (Tr. 4), Peter Wallin, drum, Hakan Nardenberger, trumpet, Folke Bobkin, choirmaster, Lund's Student Choral Society, Janake Larson, organ.(Requiem).--BIS CD. Rec. 11 MAY 1985, Allhelgona Church, Sweden (Requiem), 31 OCT 1986 @ Gothenburg Concert Hall (Symphony).


The first thing to know about Tubin's Requiem is that , like Britten's War Requiem, it is not a sacred service or in any sense religious music. It is secular music set to texts by Henrik Visnapuu (1890-1951) and Marie Under (1883-1980), two of Tubin's Estonian contemporary poets. Unlike Britten's War Requiem, which is a pacificst's anthem about the tragedy and obscenity of war, Tubin's Requiem is a patriotic paean to the glory of sacrificing one's life, at a young age, so one's countrymen may be free. It is emotionally stirring music.
90% of what follows is my edited quotes from the liner notes. I make no pretense to originality for most of it.


The poem, "Greetings," by Visnapuuis the focus of Mvt. 1, written in 1919 during the Estonian war for independence. Organ and timpani begin the melancholy funeral music, and the choir sings, "How fine to die still young" because those who are left will live in freedom, and, indeed, Estonia became an independent country in 1920 and remained so until 1940 when it was overrun first by the Nazis and later by the Russians, under whose thrall it remained until the fall of Communism in that country in the late 1980's and early 1990's.


The second movement's "A Soldier's Funeral," also by Visnapuu, was written at, of course, a much less glorious time for the Estonian people. The music recalls the Dies irae.


The third movement, "The Soldier's Mother," is for solo contralto, to a text by Marie Under, and is from 1942. It is the most intimate of the pieces--a soldier's mother talks with her son, who is home on leave, but who must return to the front.


"Lilac," a 1919 poem by Visnapuu, is the basis of Mvt. 4. It contrasts boughs of lilacs with rifles and war.


Mvt. 5 begins with a lengthy trumpet solo and the choir repeats the text and music of the first movement, though in altered form. At the end, the trumpet plays some notes from the Estonian folksong, "Beneath the wise man's lodging," to symbolize the fact that a dying soldier's last thoughts are often of those who remain at home.


The 10th symphony was commissioned by the Gothenburg Symphony, and Tubin wrote it in three months in 1973. It is in one movement because "they were in a hurry," the composer said, half in jest, but it contains the elements of a four movement symphony fused into one. It begins with a melancholy string passage. It is interrupted by a horn call, which is used throughout the symphony to connect the different sections of the movement. The oboe, the second violins, and the violas present the third theme, then we go into the development section of the symphony, in which these themes are woven around one another. It is dramatic and emotionally intense music, but it ends quietly and peacefully.
This is very good music and very well performed. 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.

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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:23 pm


On Tuesday, 20 MAR 2018, I listened to 2 CDs.
 
 

1) György Ligeti.(1923-2006)--Vol 6 in a 7 CD Sony survey of Ligeti works. This volume is devoted to music for keyboard instruments of one kind or another. |Tr. 1, Induló (March) (1942) for piano four hands (2'05) |Tr. 2, Polifón etüd (Polyphonic Étude) (1943) for piano four hands (2'09) |Tr. 3-5, Három lakodalmi tánc (Three Wedding Dances) (1950) for piano four hands (2'38) |Tr. 6-8, Sonatina (1950) for piano four hands (4'10) |Tr. 9, Allegro (1943) for piano four hands (0'42) |Tr. 10, Capriccio 1 (1947) (2'33) |Tr. 11 Invention (1948) (1'12) |Tr. 12, Capriccio 2 (1947) (1'47) |Tr. 13-15, Three Pieces for Two Pianos (1976) (17'03) |Tr. 16, Passacaglia ungherese (1978) (5'02) |Tr. 17, Hungarian Rock (Chaconne) (1978) (5'08) |Tr. 18, Continuum (1968) (3'36) |Tr. 19, Ricercare – Omaggio a Girolamo Frescobaldi (1953) (4'34) |Tr. 20-21, Two Studies for Organ: 20, Harmonies (1967) (6'42) 21, Coulée (1969) (4'03) |Tr. 22, Volumina (1961-2) (14'41)--Irina Kataeva & Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano(s) (Tr. 1-9, 13-15). Irina Kataeva, solo piano (Tr. 10-12), Elisabeth Chojnacka, harpsichord (Tr. 16-18), Zsigmond Szathmáry, organ (Tr. 20-22). Tracks 3-5 & 19 are world premiere recordings. Tr. 1-18 rec. Friedrich-Ebert-Halle, Harburg, Germany, 24-27 FEB 1995, Tr. 19-22 rec. St. Martin Church, Olten, Switzerland 4-5 NOV 1995.

 

A few of these works sound like more or less normal music. Others are weird. Really wierd, especially the organ works near the end. Many of them sound more like a wind machine than an organ. I'm not sure I know how to make sense of it all. You might want to consult the numerous reviews @ Amazon, mostly positive, actually, to be found @ https://www.amazon.com/Ligeti-Kataeva-Z ... ll_reviews

 
2) CD 2 of 8 in the Warner Classics set titled "Annie Fischer: The Complete London Studio Recordings." W.A. Mozart (1756-91): |Tr. 1-3, Piano Concerto 21 in C Major, K. 467 (30'06) |Tr. 4-6, Piano Concerto 22 i E Flat Major, K. 482 )34'15)--Wolfgang Sawallisch, cond., Philharmonia Orch.--rec. Abbey Rd. Studio 1, 28 FEB & 1-2, 10 MAR 1958.
 
Five stars. Annie Fischer was certainly among the top Mozart pianists of the 20th century, along with, IMHO, Walter Gieseking, Lili Kraus, Ingrid Haebler, Robert Casadesus, Clifford Curzon, and Myra Hess. Her sense of structure is equalled only by Gieseking, She is masterful both in the overall design of performances, and in the little filligree details that make every moment exciting. This CD is quite simply awesomely joyous.
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 Mar 22, 2018 3:06 am


On Wednesday, 22 MAR 2018, I listened to one CD.
 
Robert Schumann (1810-56): |Tr. 1-4, Piano Quartet in E Flat Major, Op. 47 (1842) (26'39) |Tr. 5-8, Piano Quintet in E Flat Major, Op. 44 (1842) (29'04)--Quatuor Schumann (Tedi Papavrami, violin, Christoph Schiller, viola, Francois Guye, cello, Christian Favre, piano), Guyla Stuller, second violin in Op. 44. Rec. 10-13 JUN 2008, L'Huere bleue, La-Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. An aeon CD.
 
These two works, both involving piano and strings, and in the same key, have often been described as creative doubles. Per Wikipedia,

"John Daverio has argued that Schumann's piano quintet was influenced by Schubert's Piano Trio No. 2 in E-flat major, a work Schumann admired. Both works are in the key of E-flat, both feature a funeral march in the second movement, and both conclude with finales that dramatically resurrect earlier thematic material.


"By pairing the piano with string quartet, Schumann "virtually invented" a new genre.[4][6] Prior to Schumann, piano quintets were ordinarily composed for keyboard, violin, viola, cello, and double bass. (This is the instrumentation for Schubert's Trout Quintet, for example.)


"Schumann's choice to deviate from this model and pair the piano with a standard string quartet lineup reflects the changing technical capabilities and cultural importance, respectively, of these instruments. By 1842, the string quartet had come to be regarded as the most significant and prestigious chamber music ensemble, while advances in the design of the piano had increased its power and dynamic range. Bringing the piano and string quartet together, Schumann's Piano Quintet takes full advantage of the expressive possibilities of these forces in combination, alternating conversational passages between the five instruments with concertante passages in which the combined forces of the strings are massed against the piano. At a time when chamber music was moving out of the salon and into public concert halls, Schumann reimagines the piano quintet as a musical genre "suspended between private and public spheres" alternating between "quasi-symphonic and more properly chamber-like elements."

 
More importantly, these musicians understand this music. A few weeks ago, I reported on performances of all Schumann's chamber works in a set from Warner Classics, which most critics panned. After hearing these recordings, I understand why. As played by the Quatuor Schumann, this music reaches into your soul. It is deeply fulfilling in a way I find hard to describe. I can tell you this is a CD I will not just put on the shelf and forget about. I will return to it again and again.
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 Mar 23, 2018 1:10 am


On Thursday, 22 MAR 2018, I listened to 3 CDs.
 
 
1) Don Gillis (1912-78): |Tr. 1-4, Symphony X, Big D (1968) (13'18) |Tr. 5, Tulsa: A Symphonic Portrait in Oil (1950) (10'06) |Tr. 6-8, Symphony 3: A Symphony for Free Men (1942) (37'44)--Ian Hobson, cond., Sinfonia Varsovia--Rec. in Studio S1of Polish Radio, 8-9 FEB 2006.--An Albany Records CD.
 
As I have pointed out before, Don Gillis was an American composer, born in Caneron, MO, in NW Missouri, but reared near Fort Worth, Texas. He earned degrees in music, but he also became a recording engineer, and, in particular, the recording engineer for most of Toscanini's radio broadcasts in the 1940's and early 1950's. Toscanini liked him and at least one of his symphonies, and performed it with the NBC Symphony. For some reason, however, it is not part of the RCA Toscanini edition.
 
The "Big D" referred to, of course, is the city of Dallas, TX. This is mostly simple, optimistic, naive all American music. The first two works, especially, call to mind the early WWI era songs by Charles Ives I reported on a few days ago. The Third Symphony is a bit more melancholy, written, as it was, in the midst of WWII. J Scott Morrison, an Amazon reviewer, describes it thusly,

"The three-movement 'Symphony No. 3' is one of Gillis's wartime works. Written in 1942 it is subtitled 'A Symphony for Free Men'. Naïve as this may sound now, the work's fervently patriotic tone captures the temper of the times. It was premiered by Howard Hanson, a supporter of Gillis's work, and the Eastman-Rochester Symphony in 1945; its earlier premiere had been delayed by the exigencies of the War. Gillis apparently was later a bit embarrassed by the work and he discarded the full orchestral score. Conductor Ian Hobson reconstructed the work from orchestral parts. The symphony is more serious than many of Gillis's works and is laced with brass fanfares, brawny chorales based on American-sounding melodies, passages of plaintive self-reflection and undying fervency that somehow evoke faith in America and its ideals."


 
 
2) CD 4 in the 24 CD SONY set entitled "Gary Graffman: The Complete RCA & Columbia Album Collection." Johannes Brahms (1833-97): Piano Concerto 1 in D Minor, Op. 15 (44'08)--Charles Munch, cond., Boston SYmphony Orch.--Rec. Symphony Hall, Boston, 9 APR 1958.
 
This is an excellent performance. Here's what Jed Distler @ Classics Today had to say of the single disc of this performance:

"Critical consensus never ranked this 1959 Gary Graffman/Charles Munch Brahms D minor concerto on par with its reference 1950s and ’60s competitors (Fleisher/Szell, Serkin/Szell, Arrau/Giulini, Rubinstein/Reiner, and Katchen/Monteux), yet it’s an exciting, inherently musical interpretation. You won’t find Szell’s gaunt, amazingly regimented orchestral image, Reiner’s chamber-like dovetailing between winds and strings (the Rondo’s fugato, for instance), Rubinstein’s rounded, singing tone, Arrau’s bottom-to-top technical finish, or the nuanced nervous energy with which Serkin and Fleisher hold your attention. Still, I can’t think of any professional performer who wouldn’t be glad to claim Graffman’s tremendously solid, albeit simpler pianism. Indeed, Graffman’s sense of forward sweep and sustaining power within long, introspective passages score over what Van Cliburn halfheartedly delivered in his own recording with the Boston Symphony a few years later.


Call Munch’s subito fortes and frequent encouragement of the brass raw or just plain unsubtle if you have to, but at least credit him for bringing out details that other recordings rarely reveal. At measure 192, for example, how often do you hear the marcato motive that passes between the two horns, the violas, the second violins, and first violins so clearly projected–or similarly, the detail at measure 345, when the horns take up the main theme underneath the piano soloist’s descending triplet sequence in the recapitulation? Furthermore, Munch achieves this despite the dynamically constricted and inconsistently balanced engineering. Reissued through Arkivmusic.com’s "on demand" program, this disc is well worth hearing."


 
 
3) Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-75): Tr. 1-4, Symphony 5 in D Minor, Op. 47 (1937) (51'36) |Tr. 5-9, Symphony 9 in E Flat Major, Op. 70 (1945) (1945) (26'31)--Vasily Petrenko, cond., Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orch.--Rec. @ Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, 7-8 JUL 2008 (Tr. 1-4), & 29-30 JUL 2008 (Tr. 5-9). CD 4 of an 11 CD NAXOS set of all the Shostakovich symphonies by these forces.
 
Petrenko writes: "...We will always have that question: 'What if the Fourth had been premiered and accepted?' Would Shostakovich have left us the same symphonic legacy? Would he have gone further down the route of collage complexity into more radical territory. Years later, he probably saw that in this symphony (the 5th), he had found an answer to the problem that was not just political but artistic, too. The Fourth is what I call 'good coal,' but parts of the Fifth came to be diamonds. You can see it like a process of chemistry, a transformation brought about by extraordinary pressures. The problems of the Fifth Symphony are the problems of contemporary music today: ...just too many thoughts happening at the same time. They cannot all be heard. In the Fifth, he cristallised his thoughts. Its ambivalent, yes, but stark, and you can clearly hear two different ideas going on at the same time. The response to the Fifth Symphony was remarkable, from every one in the hall, becaise it spoke to them, and for them, so clearly.
For me, the finale expresses the glory of the human spirit. Of course, the celebration is being forced, but there's a sense that whatever you try to do with people, they will rise."
 
And, of the Ninth, "I've met a few people still alive who listened to all the first broadcasts of these war symphonies; they've told me how they were sitting in the kitchen, listening to the Seventh, and what a powerful emotional effect it had on them; the Eighth was more challenging, but they understood it; after the Ninth, they got up in silence and left the room. The message was so clear: we may have won the war, but the same guy is in charge."
And, indeed, I note that this version of the Ninth is not as joyous as most other interpretations.
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 » Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:16 am

I didn't know the Graffman/Munch Brahms existed, and Graffman was a good pianist, so I listened to this recording on YouTube. Among other things, I was curious about those details in the orchestral part that Distler makes so much of. Unfortunately I couldn't pin them down because my score doesn't have bar numbers, and the recorded sound in the original RCA Victor release is muddled so it's hard to hear details in tutti. (I do hear trumpeter Roger Voisin stick out of the ensemble in the opening ritornello - typical.) Toward the end of the opening tutti the tempo speeds up for no particularly good reason, and Graffman corrects it at his entry.

Szell in his accompaniments for Serkin and Fleisher is both more controlled and more exciting (and better recorded), with the horns standing out toward the end of the opening tutti at 2:48 in the clip. Making them audible is Szell's idea; Brahms marked their part f and the strings ff. Now that's creative conducting.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tHdavyycsE

Distler writes of "Graffman’s sense of forward sweep and sustaining power within long, introspective passages," but I don't hear this in the recording and am not sure I understand what in particular he's talking about, unless he's merely praising Graffman in comparison with Van Cliburn, which in this music is pretty faint praise.

The Graffman recordings I have and value most are Prokofiev concertos with Szell/Cleveland.
John Francis

maestrob
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by maestrob » Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:35 am

RebLem:

I have that Petrenko Shostakovich V, and I must say that it's my least favorite: over-the-top bombastic, with a too slow third movement, and so on. I've only heard it once or twice, and I think it's just too sarcastic and way overdone. I just tried listening to it again, and frankly I want to throw the disc away, my negative reaction was just so strong. That said, let me list recordings that I enjoy: Bernstein/NY (both the digital release and the 1959/NY; Rozhdestvensky (from the complete set), Mravinsky/Leningrad (live, using Bernstein's tempo for the final movement); Barshai/NDR. There are others, but you get the idea. I'm flexible about the tempo for the last movement, both can be effective.

RebLem
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Re: What I listened to today

Post by RebLem » Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:21 am


On Friday, 23 MAR 2018, I listened to 2 CDs.
 
 

1) Kurt Weill (1900-50): Tr. 1-9, Die sieben Todsünden (The Seven Deadly Sins) (1933) {Test: Bertolt Brecht] (33'57) |Tr. 10-15, Six Songs: 10. Complainte de la Seine (1934) (3'11) 11. Youkali, Tango Habanera (1935) (5'28) 12. Nanna's Lied (1939) (3'13) 13. Wie lange noch? (1944) (3'28) 14. Es regret (1933) (2'59) 15. Berlin im Licht-Song (1928) (1'53)--Cord Garden, cond., Radio-Philharmonie Hannover des NDR, Brigitte Fassbaender, mezzo-soprano, Karl-Heinz Brandt, Hans Sojer, tenors, Hidenori Komatsu, baritone, Ivan Urbas, bass. harmonia mundi CD.

 
I don't remember where I got this CD. It is no longer available on Amazon, HB Direct, or ArchivMusic. I have some CDs that I am just getting around to listening to that I have had for 3 years or more, but I resolved about 2 years ago to go through them and listen to them more or less systematically. I may have gotten it from Berkshire Record Outlet, I really don't remember.
 
In any event, the presence of Brigitte Fasbaender is a guarantee of quality, and this record does not disappoint. These are fine performances, recorded as flawlessly as we have come to expect from harmonia mundi.
 
 
2) CD 5 of the 10 CD Sony box titled "Leopold Stokowski: The Columbia Stereo Recordings." Georges Bizet (1838-75): |Tr. 1-6, Carmen Suite 1 (12'15) |Tr. 7-10, Carmen Suite 2 excerpts (15'31) |Tr. 11-14, L'Arlesienne Suite 1 (18'25) |Tr. 15-17, L'Arlesienne Suite 2 excerpts (9'35)--National Philharmonic Orch.--rec. West Ham Central Mission, London, 23, 25, 27 AUG 1976.
 
I do wish Stokowski hadn't done excerpts. I mean, the suites themsleves are already excerpts, so these are excerpts of excerpts. A tad tacky, in my view. But the music is glorious, of course, too familiar to need a lot of comment, except to say these are sonic spectaculars.
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 Mar 24, 2018 2:01 am

John F wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:16 am
I didn't know the Graffman/Munch Brahms existed, and Graffman was a good pianist, so I listened to this recording on YouTube. Among other things, I was curious about those details in the orchestral part that Distler makes so much of. Unfortunately I couldn't pin them down because my score doesn't have bar numbers, and the recorded sound in the original RCA Victor release is muddled so it's hard to hear details in tutti. (I do hear trumpeter Roger Voisin stick out of the ensemble in the opening ritornello - typical.) Toward the end of the opening tutti the tempo speeds up for no particularly good reason, and Graffman corrects it at his entry.

Szell in his accompaniments for Serkin and Fleisher is both more controlled and more exciting (and better recorded), with the horns standing out toward the end of the opening tutti at 2:48 in the clip. Making them audible is Szell's idea; Brahms marked their part f and the strings ff. Now that's creative conducting.

Distler writes of "Graffman’s sense of forward sweep and sustaining power within long, introspective passages," but I don't hear this in the recording and am not sure I understand what in particular he's talking about, unless he's merely praising Graffman in comparison with Van Cliburn, which in this music is pretty faint praise.

The Graffman recordings I have and value most are Prokofiev concertos with Szell/Cleveland.
I share your delight with the Szell recordings with Fleisher and Serkin. He also recorded the first with Clifford Curzon. Another set I like a lot are the ones by Maurizio Pollini.

The Graffman Prokofiev record was a favorite of mine, too, for a long time. It was my first recording of either work and I loved them on first hearing, especially the First, which remains my favorite of the Prokofiev concerti. But I have found others I like even more, especially the Ivan Moravec recording with Karel Ancerl and the Czech Philharmonic, which I have on a Praga CD. And the Third I like most is by French pianist Samson Francois. He recorded it twice, and I listened to both of them while preparing to respond to your post. He recorded it first with Cluytens and the Paris Conservatory Orch. in 1953, but by far the better recording is the one he did with Witold Rowicki and the Philharmonia Orch. @ Abbey Rd 27-29 JUN 1963. That performance is coupled with my favorite recording, by the same forces, of the Fifth Piano Concerto, and the CD begins with a performance of the Sonata # 7. Its on CD 30 of the 36 CD set of Samson Francois's complete recordings.
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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