MEGA has deleted a lot of my files and it's hard for me to know which ones that need to be re-uploaded.
So, if you find an expired link and want a re-up, please leave a comment. Just not too many requests at once.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

SLOW DOWN

I got a new job and need some time to settle.
Will return blogging soon.
Thank you.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Various Composers - Russian Cello Sonatas (Truls Mørk)


Information

Composer: Sergei Rachmaninov; Nikolai Myaskovsky; Dmitri Shostakovich; Igor Stravinsky; Sergei Prokofiev

CD1:
  1. Rachmaninov - Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 19: I. Lento - Allegro moderato
  2. Rachmaninov - Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 19: II. Allegro scherzando
  3. Rachmaninov - Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 19: III. Andante
  4. Rachmaninov - Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 19: IV. Allegro mosso
  5. Rachmaninov - Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14
  6. Rachmaninov - Two Pieces for cello and piano, Op. 2: I. Prélude in F major (Comodo)
  7. Rachmaninov - Two Pieces for cello and piano, Op. 2: II. Danse orientale in A minor (Andante cantabile)
  8. Myaskovsky - Cello Sonata No. 1 in D major, Op. 12: I. Adagio - Andante
  9. Myaskovsky - Cello Sonata No. 1 in D major, Op. 12: II. Allegro passionato
CD2:
  1. Shostakovich - Cello Sonata No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40: I. Allegro non troppo
  2. Shostakovich - Cello Sonata No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40: II. Allegro
  3. Shostakovich - Cello Sonata No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40: III. Largo
  4. Shostakovich - Cello Sonata No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40: IV. Allegro
  5. Stravinsky - Suite Italienne for cello & piano: I. Introduzione
  6. Stravinsky - Suite Italienne for cello & piano: II. Serenata
  7. Stravinsky - Suite Italienne for cello & piano: III. Aria
  8. Stravinsky - Suite Italienne for cello & piano: IV. Tarentella
  9. Stravinsky - Suite Italienne for cello & piano: V. Minuetto e finale
  10. Prokofiev - Cello Sonata in C major, Op. 119: I. Andante grave
  11. Prokofiev - Cello Sonata in C major, Op. 119: II. Moderato
  12. Prokofiev - Cello Sonata in C major, Op. 119: III. Allegro, ma non troppo

Truls Mørk, cello
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano (CD1)
Lars Vogt, piano (CD2)
Date: 1994 (CD1), 1996 (CD2)
Label: Virgin

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Review

On first hearing this disk, one is struck by the beauty of the cello tone throughout. On second hearing, one notes that the Rachmaninov and Shostakovich works stand out clearly. On third hearing, this distinction evaporates and one realizes that the quality of all the works on the disk is first rate, that the Miaskovsky, Stravinsky, and Prokofiev works are equally worth the attention, and that the Shostakovich and Rachmaninov works are merely more familiar.

The Rachmaninov work was written at the time of the Second Concerto between the First and Second Symphonies, and is clearly, in my opinion, an unsuccessful sketch for a symphony. As Brahms before him did with his Op. 34, Rachmaninov turned a failed symphony into a successful chamber work. However, in the final analysis the work is a little too symphonic to be great chamber music just as it is not quite symphonic enough to be a great symphony. This performance is somewhat on the crisp side; the Harrell and especially the Ma performances, which are more lyrically Romantic, are more enjoyable in the slower movements, but this only further emphasizes the distance between the original symphonic concept and this sonata arrangement. Both approaches are valid, and the work is fine enough that you’ll want to hear it played several different ways.

Those who hold to the view that Stravinsky retired from composing in 1913 point to the ballet Pulcinella (1920) and the Suite Italienne arranged from it as proof, claiming that the work is not even an arrangement of music (purportedly) by Pergolesi, but simply Pergolesi copied out with wrong notes. What is most amazing is how durable and engaging the Stravinsky work is in its orchestral, cello and piano, violin and piano, and, eventually, violin and cello versions. I have several versions of the originals by Wassenaer, but I’d rather hear the Stravinsky versions any time, wrong notes or no.

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710 - 1736) wrote one sensationally popular opera, then fell ill from consumption. While in hospital he wrote his well known Stabat Mater and then died at the age of 26. To satisfy the market for his scant repertoire of original music, some marvelous sonatas by an amateur musician, one Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer, published anonymously in Holland after being performed by the violinist Carlo Ricciotti, were ascribed by an Italian publisher to Pergolesi. They sold very well, and only recently has their complicated genesis come to light. Hence, Pulcinella and the Suite Italienne are in fact after Wassenaer, not Pergolesi. The rumor that Suite Italienne was commissioned by Gregor Piatigorsky is, so far as I can discover, not correct.

Prokofiev’s sonata is one of his last works in which his style became very introverted and ruminative. This change in style led to charges that others were writing his music for him, as those who did not understand the music felt it was of lower quality. Due to diminishing energy, Prokofiev relied on students and friends to copy out full scores from his shorthand musical notes, but the power and originality of the music are all Prokofiev. The route to understanding late Prokofiev lies through Mahler.

The Shostakovich work on the other hand is a very early work, melodic and accessible, rich with his pre-war optimism, but not his abrasive quirkiness. From its first performance it was acclaimed a masterpiece, and was even recorded on 78 RPM records, an all-but-unheard of honor for a modern chamber work at the time. In contrast, the Sonata No. 1 was never heard outside Russia.

The composer-approved Rostropovich versions of the Prokofiev and Shostakovich works are in old Soviet-era analogue sound and it is a pleasure to have these excellent digital versions as well.

Prokofiev met Miaskovsky in school and the two men remained fast friends for life. Their music diverged considerably in style with Miaskovsky writing more conservatively, but with an individual flavor. Their music also diverged in quality, with the starkly original Prokofiev clearly the greater talent. Miaskovsky’s music in general suffers from probably unconscious borrowings from other music he has heard, but when he has enough original material, as here, the result is a fine work that can hold its own in this concert, certainly well worth hearing.

-- Paul Shoemaker, MusicWeb International

More reviews:
http://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/rachmaninovmiaskovsky-cello-sonatas
http://www.classical-music.com/review/rachmaninovmiaskovsky
http://www.classical-music.com/review/shostakovichstravinskyprokofiev

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Truls Mørk (born 25 April 1961 in Bergen) is a Norwegian cellist. Mørk's discography includes an award-winning recordings of the Shostakovich Cello Concertos and of Bach's Suites for Solo Cello. He has recorded for such labels as Virgin Classics and Harmonia Mundi. He performs on a rare Domenico Montagnana cello (Venice, 1723), whose scroll was made by Stradivarius.

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Various Composers - Virtuoso French Organ Music (Jennifer Bate)


Information

  1. Léon Boëllmann - Suite gothique, Op. 25: I. Introduction - Choral
  2. Léon Boëllmann - Suite gothique, Op. 25: II. Menuet gothique
  3. Léon Boëllmann - Suite gothique, Op. 25: III. Prière à Notre-Dame
  4. Léon Boëllmann - Suite gothique, Op. 25: IV. Toccata
  5. Alexandre Guilmant - Cantilène pastorale, Op. 15 No. 3
  6. Alexandre Guilmant - Marche religieuse, Op. 15 No. 2
  7. Camille Saint-Saëns - Improvisation, Op. 150 No. 7
  8. Louis Vierne - Impromptu, Op. 54 No. 2
  9. Louis Vierne - Clair de Lune, Op. 53 No. 5
  10. Louis Vierne - Divertissement, Op. 31 No. 11
  11. Louis Vierne - Carillon de Longpont, Op. 31 No. 21
  12. Jean Langlais - Triptyque: I. Melody
  13. Jean Langlais - Triptyque: II. Trio
  14. Jean Langlais - Triptyque: III. Final
  15. Eugène Gigout - Toccata in B minor
  16. Eugène Gigout - Scherzo
  17. Eugène Gigout - Grand chœur dialogué

Jennifer Bate, organ
Date: 1982
Label: Regis (licensed from Unicorn-Kanchana)

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Review

The French organ school between the middle of the 19th century and the end of the 20th century is amongst the most memorable. During this period many French organist-composers flourished and influenced each other. This CD presents the ‘junior contemporaries of Franck’ as the well-presented booklet informs us. From Saint-Saëns to Langlais there are close links from one generation to the next. Boellmann was a pupil of Gigout. Guilmant was a co-student with Widor, another significant organist-composer, who introduced the later Vierne to the tradition of the French symphonic organ school. More recently, Langlais, a co-student with Messiaen, successfully continued the long French tradition. These composers were influenced by the organs of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, built in many significant churches in Paris. These include Notre-Dame, Saint-Trinité and Saint Clotilde.

The restored organ by Danion-Gonzalez with a further 11 new stops has the characteristic rich and ‘round’ sound of a French romantic organ, blending with the ‘delicate sonorities’ of the past centuries. The big and wonderful acoustics of the Cathedral ‘enhances the sounds without impairing their color or clarity throughout the vast building, which contains the highest nave in Europe’.

The Suite Gothique remains the most famous work of Boellmann especially the concluding Toccata - brilliant though not technically difficult.. The Cantilène Pastorale is dedicated to Guilmant’s father. The March on ‘Lift up your Heads’ uses the same title-theme from Handel’s Messiah. The Improvisation in A minor is the last piece of the seven improvisations Op.150, dedicated to Gigout. Vierne’s Impromptu is a scherzo piece that asks for sort of the fluidity associated with pianistic technique and blended successfully with the organ colors. Clair de Lune is dedicated to the American organ-builder Ernest Skinner and presents a nice vocal melody. The Divertissement is a fluid Allegro dedicated to Joseph Bonnet, organist and composer and the Carillon de Longpont is the ‘earliest of several bell pieces by Vierne, based on the chime of the bells of the chapel at the Chateau of Longpont’. The pieces contained in Op.31 are marked for ‘organ or harmonium’ but there is a given organ registration for manuals and pedal. The Triptyque is dedicated to another significant French composer, Maurice Duruflé with each of the three pieces thematically independent. Gigout’s Toccata in B minor can stand among similar compositions by Widor or Boellmann. The Scherzo, from the same collection of Ten pieces, is more picturesque. The Grand Choeur Dialogue is a piece that produces the effect of two organs in antiphonal conversation.

The recorded sound is well balanced and extremely detailed in spite of the big acoustics of the cathedral and its four minute reverberation. As a result Bate offers the listener a kaleidoscope of warm sounds and color. All the works are performed with confidence and virtuosic precision. The shaping is well handled with all necessary breathing and musicality. What is extremely impressive in this CD is the control of rhythm and tempos giving the feeling of an orchestra playing. Thus the symphonic character of some of the pieces comes out perfectly. The sound is fresh although these recordings date from the early 1980s. It is hugely enjoyable and highly recommended.

-- Christina Antoniadou, MusicWeb International

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Jennifer Bate (born 11 November 1944 in London) is a British concert organist. Bate has a broad repertory spanning several centuries, also having recorded much English organ music, the complete organ works of César Franck and the complete organ music of Felix Mendelssohn. She is especially regarded as an authority on the organ music of Messiaen, having befriended him within the last twenty years of his life as his organist of choice.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Bate

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Various Composers - Organ Festival (Arturo Sacchetti)


Information

  1. Johann Pachelbel - Canon in D major with 30 Variations on an Basso Ostinato
  2. Johann Sebastian Bach - Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
  3. Johann Sebastian Bach - Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068: II. Air (arr. Sigfrid Karg-Elert)
  4. Johann Sebastian Bach - Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004: V. Chaconne (arr. Ulisse Matthey)
  5. Franz Liszt - Prelude and Fugue on the name B-A-C-H, S. 260
  6. Vincenzo Bellini - Sonata in Sol Maggiore
  7. Charles-Marie Widor - Organ Symphony No. 5, Op. 42 No. 1: V. Toccata
  8. Léon Boëllmann - Suite gothique, Op. 25: IV. Toccata
  9. Marco Enrico Bossi - Chant du soir, Op. 92 No. 1
  10. Jehan Alain - Litanies
  11. Louis Vierne - Pièces de fantaisie - Suite No. 3, Op. 54: VI. Carillon de Westminster

Arturo Sacchetti, organ
Date: 1990 (compilation), released in 1995
Label: ARTS Music
http://www.artsmusic.de/Organ_Festival/topic/redline/shop_art_id/74/tpl/artsmusic_article_detail

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Arturo Sacchetti (born January 9, 1941 in Santhià, near Vercelli) is an Italian organist, conductor and musicologist. He studied at the Conservatorio di Milano. Sacchetti has given over 2,300 concerts and performed in public the complete works of J. S. Bach, Buxtehude, Mozart, Telemann, and others. He has made 150 recordings, on LP as well as CD.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arturo_Sacchetti

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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Various Composers - Stokowski's Encores (Matthias Bamert)


Information

  1. Handel - Overture in D minor (from Chandos Anthem No. 2)
  2. Gabrieli - Sonata Pian e Forte (from Sacre Symphoniae)
  3. Clarke - Trumpet Prelude (The Prince of Denmark's March)
  4. Mattheson - Air (from Harpsichord Suite No. 5)
  5. Mozart - Turkish March (from Piano Sonata No. 11)
  6. Beethoven - Adagio (from Moonlight Sonata)
  7. Schubert - Serenade (from Schwanengesang, D. 957)
  8. Franck - Panis Angelicus
  9. Chopin - Marche funèbre (from Piano Sonata No. 2)
  10. Debussy - The Girl with the Flaxen Hair (from Préludes - Book 1)
  11. Ippolitov-Ivanov - In the Manger
  12. Shostakovich - United Nations March
  13. Tchaikovsky - Andante Cantabile (from String Quartet No. 1)
  14. Albéniz - Festival Seville (from Iberia - Book 1)
  15. Sousa - The Stars and Stripes Forever

BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Matthias Bamert, conductor
Date: 1994
Label: Chandos
http://chandos.net/details06.asp?CNumber=CHAN%209349

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Leopold Stokowski (18 April 1882 – 13 September 1977) was a British conductor of Polish and Irish descent. One of the leading conductors of the early and mid-20th Century, he is best known for his long association with the Philadelphia Orchestra and for appearing in the film Fantasia. He was especially noted for his ability to obtain a characteristically sumptuous sound from the orchestras he directed.

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Matthias Bamert (born July 5, 1942 in Ersigen, Canton of Bern) is a Swiss composer and conductor. Bamert studied music in Darmstadt and in Paris, with Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Bamert's conducting career began in North America as an apprentice to George Szell and later as Assistant Conductor to Leopold Stokowski, and Resident Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra under Lorin Maazel. He made over 60 recordings, most of them for Chandos.

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Various Composers - Invitation to the Dance (Herbert von Karajan)


Information

Composer: Carl Maria von Weber; Hector Berlioz; Franz Liszt; Bedřich Smetana; Alexander Borodin; Giuseppe Verdi; Amilcare Ponchielli
  1. Weber - Invitation to the Dance (Aufforderung zum Tanze), Op. 65 (orch. Hector Berlioz): Moderato - Allegro vivace - Vivace - Moderato
  2. Berlioz - La Damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Part 2. Ballet des Sylphes
  3. Berlioz - La Damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Part 3. Menuet des Follets
  4. Liszt - Mephisto Waltz No. 1, S. 110 No. 2 "The Dance in the Village Inn" (after Lenau)
  5. Smetana - The Bartered Bride: Act 1. Polka
  6. Smetana - The Bartered Bride: Act 2. Furiant
  7. Smetana - The Bartered Bride: Act 3. Dance of the Comedians
  8. Borodin - Prince Igor: Dance of the Polovtsian Maidens
  9. Borodin - Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances - Introduzione. Andantino
  10. Borodin - Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances - Allegro Vivo
  11. Borodin - Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances - Allegro
  12. Borodin - Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances - Presto
  13. Borodin - Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances - Moderato alla Breve
  14. Borodin - Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances - Presto
  15. Borodin - Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances - Allegro con Cpirito
  16. Verdi - Otello: Act 3. Ballet Music
  17. Ponchielli - La Gioconda: Act 3. Dance of the Hours

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Herbert von Karajan, conductor
Date: 1971
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/en/cat/4746172

More info & reviews:
http://www.amazon.com/Weber-Invitation-Dance-Berlioz-Smetana/dp/B0000B09Z1

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Herbert von Karajan (5 April 1908 – 16 July 1989) was an Austrian conductor. He was principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic for 35 years. He is generally regarded as one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century. He made a large number of recordings and was the top-selling classical music recording artist of all time, having sold an estimated 200 million records. He was admired and also criticized for his over polished sound of the orchestras he conducted.

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