Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by George P, May 29, 2015.
Now enjoying this fine CD.
The time has finally come: I've started playing some Christmas music. As I outlined in an article--oh, gee, five years ago now ([Vintage Corner] Christmas music ), with an eye/ear toward keeping them fresh, I jealously guard a few favorites against too much play, and tonight I decided we've gotten close enough to the day that I could break out two of them: Karolju by Christopher Rouse and the Czech Christmas Mass of Jakub Jan Ryba. Both are relief from the endless repetition of the same old same old. Listening to the Ryba, however, I had a thought that had not occurred to me before. Specifically, the choral parts sound very high to my ear. I'll need to consult with my daughter, who's done a fair amount of choral singing by this point.
Now, still a bit early for the Merry Christmas to all part, but definitely time to say "and to all a good night."
Out of many performances of both works that one is in my top three.
I am awake way too early this morning. Starting my listening with this CD from the Sony Franz Liszt box set which was issued a few years ago. This CD features the Symphonic Poems-Hamlet, Tasso: Lamento e Trionto, Les Preludes and Orpheus. The first and last feature Mehta conducting Berliner Philharmoniker. The third is Bernstein conducting NYP and the second is Zoltan Pesko conducting SWF-Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden.
And now CD 1 from this box. Concertos for Piano and Orchestra 9,15-Mozart. Karl Munchinger, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester and members of Orchestra de la Susie’s Romande( 1953 recordings).
An iconic recording from 1960. CD 1 from this box set:
I am quoting myself to correct the iPhone AI spelling dictator: Suisse not Susie’s. Technology is so good…….
One of my quibbles about Presto is the spellcheck in the search engine. These are names (generally) not words. I feel like I have to correct the "correction" more than half the time.
Very well done. Enjoyable. My three disc set has an old Penguin Rosette sticker on the cover.
Handel: Concerti grossi, Op.6
I Musici de Montreal
Yuli Turovsky, conductor
An iconic recording this morning:
Spinning- Piston Symphony 4
Another Reiner/CSO iconic recording. 1958.
I was disappointed in this CD set. Many times there was not enough life in the performances. The HIP sound of the violin is tiresome, squawky and mean.
The sound from Skywalker studio is less than ideal.
I wish someone like James Ehnes would record Op 5
Corelli: Violin Sonatas, Op 5
Harmonia Mundi, 2002
I've not been around here much of late, partly because of the December madness (family b'day and Christmas in close succession) and partly because I've been playing with my new toy (detailed elsewhere After Action Report 2021: What Equipment Did You Get? , but here's a photo):
Yesterday, for the first time since before the pandemic hit, I had the pleasure of spending a few hours with a friend just listening to records, mostly played on this machine. We started, though, with a few 78s of "Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schon" from Mozart's Die Zauberflote, as my friend is interested in comparing performances. From my collection, the choices were Jacques Urlus (played on an Edison diamond disc phonograph), Julius Patzak (Polydor) and Peter Anders (Capitol-Telefunken), and Heddle Nash (in English, English Columbia). The Urlus dated to 1915; the others were probably from the 1930s. All were beautifully sung in their own ways, although none took an interpretational choice that my friend hoped to hear (described in regards to yet another recording that he hasn't been able to track down). Later, we came back to that aria in a recording from the '40s by James Melton, also in English; we both agreed that one wasn't up to the others.
From there, we did a somewhat random walk through my collection of Pathe records (the exception: Leo Slezak singing "E Lucevan le stelle" from Tosca on an Edison cylinder). Among the singers represented were Caruso (two of his three Pathe sides, originally recorded for the Anglo-Italian Commerce Co.), Slezak again, Agustorello Affre, Jean Note, Celestina Boninsegna (several of hers; my friend is a fan, and I'm becoming one), Tita Ruffo, Aristodemo Giorgini, Henri Albers...and on and on. One interesting novelty was a record of music played by a cor de chasse ensemble.
My friend was especially interested in that one, as he plays French horn. Could this record have been the earliest of valveless horns? I don't know, but there can't have been too many before it, I would think. One thing is certain: it's a very loud recording! Anyhow, it was a nice way to round out, a bit early, an uneven year.
I am sorry to follow that great post above with this mundane one-but someone had to be the next poster! I am greatly enjoying the 70s Brahms symphony cycle from theKarajan mega box as I traverse the box set in my journey from the beginning to the end -disc by disc. I bought the darn thing and I will listen to it!( actually-not a chore to listen to it-just a dedication).
aw, shucks! Thanks for the kind words!
I just heard, for the first time, something I found interesting: Schumann's so-called "Geistervariationen," or, more formally, Theme and Variations in E-Flat, WoO 24. It's a set of 5 variations for piano, and it was the last piece Schumann wrote before his commitment to the asylum where his life would end two years later. According to Wikipedia, the story is that Schumann believed he was surrounded by spirits who played him music both "wonderful" and "hideous" and offered him "most magnificent revelations" but also threatened to send him to Hell. Believing angels had just given him a theme he in fact had already written sometime before, he sketched out the variation set, then got up, went out, and jumped off a bridge into the Rhine. Rescued by fishermen and returned home, he completed the score and sent it to Clara, who had left home on advice of his doctors. (With doctors like that....) The next day he was put in the mental hospital. Clara, I expect for obvious reasons, suppressed it, just as she and Joachim did the violin concerto, and it saw publication only sometime in the 1930s. Nonetheless, Brahms quoted the piano work in his own op. 23 set of variations for piano, four hands. (I'll need to chase that one down and give it a listen.) And here's an oddity: apparently a quotation also crops up in a song by Tori Amos. Whoda thunkitt?
On one hearing, I can't claim to have digested the piece anything like fully, but I'd say that, like the violin concerto, it deserves treatment better than it has received. The theme really is heavenly, like a heartfelt hymn. Of the variations, a couple are pretty much what one would expect of Schumann, but some of the others struck me as almost like duets, with the two hands singing independently rather than blending into an integrated whole--but not in the sense of, say, Bach polyphony. Maybe a touch more like Ives? So a little odd, a little disconcerting on first acquaintance, but I think likely to prove effective in the long term.
My recorded performance is by Michael Lewin, like the variations new to me, in a CD recital of mostly obscure, mostly brief "ghost" pieces (Sono Luminus DSL-92168; Sono Luminus is the successor to the old Dorian label). I've played only one other short work besides the ghost vars., but I'm happy to report that he "gets" Schumann's delicate sound world in a way that eludes, say, Vladimir Ashkenazy, for some unaccountable reason the "go-to" artist for Schumann on our local public radio affiliate. I'm also happy to report that Sono Luminus has continued Dorian's tradition of exemplary recording quality. Excellent program notes by the performer, too.
Always a pleasure to make a new discovery from a beloved composer!
Here are the album cover and track list. Note that many or most of the short pieces are excerpts from collections or suites, not always fully credited in the notes; to cite one example, the Niemann is one movement from his Hamburg Suite, op. 107 (he must have been a busy composer!). The Lyapunov is one of a set of "transcendental etudes" designed as a companion to Liszt's set of 12 under the same title, adding works in the 12 keys Liszt never got around to including. Lewin speaks highly of them (the Lyapunov set, that is) as great works unjustly neglected. On my "listen to" liszt, er, list, but yet to be played by me.
Prokofiev is always so much fun!
Happy new year, everybody!
Tonight, while waiting for midnight to roll 'round, I sampled the first LP I've ever bought through Discogs:
(Photo from Discogs; my copy doesn't have the ugly magic marker X or the price sticker.) I've been wanting this record ever since I made the mistake of leaving a copy at a record sale years ago, confusing it with Wuhrer's of the 3d cto., which I did already have; my occasional eBay checks over the years have been fruitless, and only within the past month did the thought occur that Discogs hosts third party sellers and maybe it would be available that way. Sure enough, there it was, and I bought it.
I'd meant to play the Friedrich Wuhrer account of the Prokofiev 2d cto., but, not being familiar with the work, I inadvertently set up the side with only its last mvt. and the Andor Foldes Prokofiev First instead. Then the cat settled down on me for about an hour, and that was that. I liked what I heard of the Wuhrer; maybe I'm ready for this piece now. I'm fairly sure the only other time I've heard it was years ago when I had just bought the Beroff/Leipzig Gewandhaus-Masur LP, and I don't remember much caring for it then--I must not have, as I haven't returned to it since. Well, the full Wuhrer recording will be another day's project. As to the Foldes, I found the performance pretty flabby in comparison to Beroff (same LP as his account of the 2d cto.) or Sviatoslav Richter in either of his recordings in my collection (Prague SO/Ancerl and Moscow Youth SO/Kondrashin, both mono LPs). Moreover, the sound quality was distinctly sub-par. This was a very early LP recording; the cover admits my pressing is a 1962 reissue of one originally released in 1950. Even by 1950 standards, the sound wasn't good, and compared to its diskmate it was noticeably poorer than Wuhrer. (Sorry, couldn't resist that one. ) Naturally, it fell short of Beroff's fine stereo recording, and I'd say even the drab Soviet sonics bestowed on Richter were marginally better, or at least no worse.
That's it for this new year's eve. Here's wishing all my friends at the CMC a happy and harmonious 2022!
Happy new year to @drh and all of my Classical Music Corner homies!
Now enjoying this superb recording/performance of the Rachmaninov Paganini Rhapsody:
Now enjoying this great master class. While not loved, I have always liked Perahia's playing. When listened to next to this student, his tone and expression are quite impressive.
And now this superb master class by Barenboim on my favorite Beethoven sonata.
I've just discovered both this amazing music and label, on vinyl. Wouldn't you say the recording quality (especially of the voice) is simply stunning?
For listening at the beginning of the New Year, pride of place goes to the 2021 disc of Nikolai Kapustin on the Capriccio label.
This Russian composer is new to me. The jazz inflected works on this disc are wonderful. The execution is incredible on everyone's part. The sound and engineering is great. The sounds that Frank Dupree makes on the Steinway are so right, IMO. This chamber orchestra led by Case Scaglione in the two concertos is first-class, along with the violinist Rosanne Philippens in the Double Concerto.
Piano Concerto No. 4
Frank Dupree, piano and conductor of the Chamber Symphony
Rosanne Philippens, violin
Wurttembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn
We used to have a piano tuner (he retired from private practice to work in-house for a piano store) who was a big Kapustin fan and would play bits and pieces to check his tunings. That's my full exposure to this composer, I'm afraid.
On the Kapustin disc above, credit must also be given to the percussionist--Meinhard 'Obe' Jenne. I don't think the Kapustin performance would have been as successful without him. He is given full credit inside the booklet with two pages.
Separate names with a comma.