Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by George P, May 29, 2015.
I have dipped into the Ormandy box this morning-CD 56.
There's definitely less of a difference between the one used here and modern pianos vs. early 19th and 18th-century fortepianos, but the sound is still noticeably distinct. My understanding is that American pianos began to resemble modern-day pianos starting in the middle of the 18th century, but European pianos lagged behind. The notes say the bass strings are parallel strung.
Not bad for someone who isn't a full-time pianist. (Qobuz)
Nezet-Seguin seems to be turning into the Neeme Jaarvi of the 2020s--I never heard of him until a couple of years ago, since when his name has been popping up everywhere. A true Java sparrow.
By the way, if you want a not-a-full-time-pianist who is far more than "not bad," try this guy:
Adoptive Australian David Stanhope is a composer (esp. known for music for brass band but also has written at least one opera, on Dracula of all things), conductor (was principal conductor of the Sydney Opera for some years), wind player (French horn, trombone), film arranger/conductor (led the music for Babe, among other things; I think he also was the "hand double" in a film about Liszt or someone)--a true musical polymath. As the notes in one or another of the CDs wryly have it, "Occasionally he finds time to practice the piano." The man has--or had, the newest of these recordings has been out for a decade or more--chops to burn. Makes a specialty of ferocious knucklebusters, and he plays them fast--he is among the few I've heard to rival Barere in the Schumann Toccata--and yet his performances generally are more than mere technical display. I think it helps that he brings a composer's insight to other men's work.
He's made a specialty of the Godowsky arrangements of Chopin's etudes. Another specialty is the music of Percy Grainger, and he has recorded some of it, I think for EMI--what I know to exist is some four-hands or two-piano music with I-forget-who. That's a recording on the back burner of my "get it sometime down the line" list.
For those interested in exotic pianos, he's recorded on a massive Stuart & Son grand, a ca. 11-foot monster with something like an extra octave's worth of keys, the only grand piano ever completely designed and constructed in Australia. The recording in question is the second pictured above, which has a picture of the instrument on the cover.
Unfortunately, Tall Poppies, the label of most of his recordings, is hard to get in the United States and generally expensive when it is available, but I'd say he's worth the effort and tariff for pianophiles.
I was being a bit facetious by saying he's "not bad." I checked out some of Stanhope's YT videos--very impressive. Thanks for the recommendation.
This fellow is a full-time barrister and one amazing pianist:
I guess there's no shortage of polymaths!
Now enjoying the D946 Impromptus from the above set, which was dedicated to Sviatoslav Richter.
Another pianist with a different day-time job is Fredrik Ullén (also on BIS), who is "active as a neuroscientist, leading a research group at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm."
Beethoven Day 2021
Six months after the end of 2020, which marked the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven's birth, all nine of his symphonies are performed by nine prestigious European orchestras and conductors. A musical feast to be enjoyed, for the most part, live, from Strasbourg, Vienna, Bonn, Dublin, Helsinki, Luxembourg, Prague, Lugano and Delphi.
The Symphonies :
13:00 : Bonn: Symphony n°1 : Daniel Harding, Mahler Chamber Orchestra
14:00 Dublin: Symphony n°2 : Jaime Martín, RTÉ National Symphonic Orchestra
15:00 Helsinki: Symphony n°3 : Nicolas Collon, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
16:00 Luxembourg: Symphoni n°4 : Gustavo Gimeno, Orchestre philharmonique du Luxembourg, Sylvia Camarda
17:00 Prague: Symphony n°5 : Steven Mercurio, Czech National Symphony Orchestra
18:00 Lugano: Symphony n°6 : Diego Fasolis, I Barocchisti
19:00 Delphi : Symphony n°7 : Teodor Currentzis , MusicAeterna, Sasha Waltz
20:15: Strasbourg : Symphony n°8 : Marko Letonja, Orchestre philharmonique de Strasbourg
21:00 Vienna : Symphony n°9 : Karina Canellakis, Wiener Symphoniker
Sssshhhh--don't tell Mozart, but I went and had a little fling with Wagner in the past couple of days. Specifically, Wagner's Symphony in C, a work he composed shortly before turning 19 years old. Not, perhaps, up to the level of Bizet's similarly youthful effort in the same key, he said, dryly. Nonetheless, I have three recordings of it, all on LP, and realizing it was not represented on my server, I went ahead and copied all, curious about how they would compare. The records:
Gerhard Pfluger, SO of Radio Leipzig (1954)--Urania URLP 7116 (mono) and US 57116 (fake stereo); coupled with Polonia Overture (Adolf Fritz Guhl, Berlin RSO)
Otto Gerdes, Bamberger Symphoniker (i.e., Bamberg SO)--DG 2530 194; coupled with Eine Faust-Ouverture and overture to Rienzi [Discogs has this record as a 1972 release, but Wikipedia indicates Gerdes was dismissed from DG in the mid-1960s after offending Karajan. Make of that what you will.]
Heinz Rogner, Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin (i.e, Berlin Radio SO; 1978)--Eterna 8 27 441; coupled with Siegfried Idyll
OK, I know what everyone is going to expect: "Oh, it's drh; he'll automatically go into raptures about the antique in mono and dump on the ones that actually sound good." Ha! Fooled you! I actually like Gerdes best of the lot. It has good, brisk pacing (see a bit later) and excellent recorded quality (ditto), presenting a nice orchestral image in an attractive (albeit unidentified) space. I think he makes about as good a case for this bit of esoterica as anyone could.
Pfluger is my second choice. Recorded sound is not good; harsh and in-your-face in the mono issue, and the fake stereo is a fine example of why we all avoid fake stereo. I found that the mono record sounded noticeably better with the simple elliptical profile stylus of my Shure M97xe cartridge than with the sophisticated microridge of the Shure V15Vx-MR. I've had similar experiences with issues of the old Remington label; don't know why, and this probably isn't the place to speculate. Be that as it may, the performance is good, and I think I actually like the scherzo here a bit better than in the Gerdes outing, but the first movement doesn't get the "con brio" marking nearly as well.
Rogner is a distant third. The good: his recorded sound, Eterna's noisy surfaces notwithstanding, may be the most attractive of the lot. Unlike the others, this record specifies the recording venue, Studo Christuskirche, Berlin; it's a reverberant space that gives the orchestra a big sound, and the overall tonal balance is richly appealing. Yet another example of why I think Eterna was the best, technically, of the labels from the old Eastern Bloc. The bad: Unfortunately, the tempos are mostly just too slow, and the last thing this, uh, not-entirely-first-rate work needs is to be dragged out. The second movement, in particular, was torture at Rogner's tempo; it's a repetitive exercise built on a distinctive figure (maybe the leitmotiv concept in embryonic form?), and by the end in this recording I was moaning, "Oh, no, here it is again" every time it recurred. Rogner's last mvt. is in line with the others, but by then it's too late--irreversible auditory stupor has set in. Here are the timings:
First mvt, Sostenuto e maestoso-allegro con brio--Gerdes 11:01, Pfluger 11:35, Rogner 13:26
Second mvt, Andante ma non troppo, un poco maestoso--Gerdes 10:41, Pfluger 10:36, Rogner 12:27
Third mvt, Allegro assai--Gerdes 5:54, Pfluger 5:49, Rogner 7:48
Fourth mvt, allegro molto e vivace--Gerdes 6:11, Pfluger 7:11, Rogner 7:00
I played/dubbed all the couplings except Rogner's Siegfried Idyll; I'm not especially fond of the piece to begin with, and given what he did with the sym. I wasn't in a mood to explore. A word about Pfluger's is in order, however, as it's definitely a rarity. The Polonia Overture is another youthful piece, composed beginning in 1832 when Wagner encountered refugees from a failed 1831 Polish uprising against the ruling Austrians. If you credit Urania's album notes, he spent the rest of his life in futile efforts to persuade somebody, anybody to give it a performance. On the evidence of this recording, that failure was understandable: the thing is your basic pot-boiler, a mildly interesting but not terribly satisfying appendix to the composer's catalogue. Worth hearing once if the opportunity arises, but no great loss if you miss it.
Album covers below. The first is the fake stereo Urania.
I'm starting my day with this excellent recording.
I am really looking forward to this one. Their live simulcast of the Beethoven Cello Sonatas was one of the rare highlights from last year.
Coming Soon: New Beethoven Album with Emanuel Ax | Yo-Yo Ma
At some point I would like to hear that earlier Mathis. I like Ormandy's 1962 Mathis quite a bit.
Sorry wrong thread!
Now enjoying Abegg Variations and Kinderszenen
Now enjoying symphonies 36, 37 and 40 from this set.
(I've also posted this to the Richard Strauss appreciation thread; apologies to those who are seeing it twice)
Our local NPR affiliate let slip that today is R. Strauss's birthday. Then it gave us listeners a nice b'day gift: Hermann Baumann with Kurt Masur and the Gewandhausor. in the first horn cto. I'll confess, I wax hot and cold about this composer, but that work definitely falls into the "hot wax" category.
Tomaso Albinoni: the Collector's Edition
This 16 CD set is for the most part a collection of the 12 CDs of Albinoni performed by Claudio Scimone and I
Solisti Veneti. Plus, there are two discs of Albinoni Op. 6, 12 Sonatas for violin. These sonatas are performed by Piero Toso, who often played with I Solisti Veneti.
Two or three of these discs have a unique sound that I love. Later the label changed their recording technique and lost some of the magic. The notes writer includes a description of a recording venue from Harry Halbreich that was included on one of the original LPs:
"The Villa Contarini in Piazzola sul Brenta, is an architectural wonder set in the heart of beautiful parkland. It's a place of particular interest to musicians because of its 'Sala della chitarra' [Guitar room] -- a music room built with a wonderful understanding of acoustics. It is a space of modest dimensions, but its high ceiling opens into the room above, which becomes a real resonance chamber, giving the sound produced there a peerless warmth and richness. I Solisti Veneti were irresistibly drawn to this room's sublime musical traditions and magnificent resonance. Erato gave them the opportunity to make its walls echo, after two centuries of silence, with the music of Venice's golden age."
This is not a complete collection of Albinoni recorded for Erato which included some Maurice Andre concerto interpretations and the now infamous Adagio in G minor. "Our 'historically informed' strings have avoided the Adagio like the plague, seeing too much pathos and too little authentic Albinoni in Giazotto's pastiche." The Adagio, reconstructed by musicologist Remo Giazotto from a score of which only a manuscript fragment -- containing the figured bass and two thematic ideas -- had survived the bombing of Dresden..." To hear the Adagio for strings and organ I turned to the Paillard Box. One of the first recordings was there from 1959. It is an effective recording and was a bestseller for Erato.
Michael Gielen Volume 6: Mahler Complete Symphonies (2017, SWR Music) 17 CDs
Baden-Baden und Freiburg
Picked this up last week. Checking out Mahler's 9th on the supplemental DVD that comes with the set tonight. If you can get a copy do so. Fine package. Sample of Symphony No. 3 in D Minor (1st movement) above.
Happy Sunday! Now enjoying Op.76.
I enjoyed the three CDs encompassing the Bach keyboard concertos.
Bach: Les Douze Concertos Pour Clavecins et Orchestre
Robert Veyron-Lecroix, harpsichord
Orchestre de Chambre Jean-Francois Paillard
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 2 (original version)
Khachaturian: Piano Concerto
I didn't really care for the Tchaikovsky No. 2 Concerto, although it does take off a little in the last movement. And the sound was not very agreeable.
The Khachaturian concerto had very good sound and the interpretation was excellent.
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