Monday, November 30, 2015

York Bowen - Phantasy Quintet; Piano Trios; Clarinet Sonata (Robert Plane; Gould Piano Trio)


Information

Composer: York Bowen
  1. Clarinet Sonata in F minor, Op. 109: I. Allegro moderato
  2. Clarinet Sonata in F minor, Op. 109: II. Allegretto poco scherzando
  3. Clarinet Sonata in F minor, Op. 109: III. Finale. Allegro molto
  4. Rhapsody Trio in A minor, Op. 80
  5. Piano Trio in D minor (unfinished)
  6. Phantasy Quintet in D minor, for bass clarinet & string quartet, Op. 93
  7. Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 118: I. Grave - Allegro risoluto
  8. Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 118: II. Adagio
  9. Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 118: III. Quasi presto, alla tarantella

Robert Plane, clarinet (1-3), bass clarinet (6)
Gould Piano Trio
Lucy Gould, violin (4-9)
Alice Neary, cello (4-9)
Benjamin Frith, piano (1-5, 7-9)
with
Mia Cooper, violin (6)
David Adams, viola (6)
Date: 2013
Label: Chandos
http://chandos.net/details06.asp?CNumber=CHAN%2010805

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Review

The superbly crafted and imaginative music of York Bowen is given lively and imaginative performances here by the Gould Piano Trio (whose individual members are also heard separately in the various other pieces on this disc) with clarinetist Robert Plane. I was previously familiar with the Rhapsody Trio and Phantasy Quintet, but not with the clarinet sonata or the other two piano trios given here (one with an opus number of 118, the other an early, unfinished sketch from 1900 when the composer was only 16 years old). For those who have heard Bowen’s music—and like it (not necessarily the same people)—the excellence of his scores will need little introduction. For those who have not yet heard him, his music, though resolutely tonal and in a pre-Stravinsky and pre-serial style, is highly imaginative and extremely well developed. Bowen seemed incapable of writing anything banal, a quality that attracted even the normally churlish Kaikhosru Sorabji, who hailed his writing for piano as being among the very finest of his time (this was in the 1930s and 40s, by which point most of the world had stopped paying attention to Bowen). His music is “out there” in terms of sheer invention and imagination; he could create superb moods, and was often much better than such contemporaries as Vaughan Williams in sustaining them. I think that, perhaps, one reason why Bowen was marginalized (aside from his penchant for tonality) was the fact that he only wrote for piano, either alone or in chamber music situations and three concertos. 

Despite Chandos’s penchant for overly roomy sonics, this is a splendid disc, and in fact the piano is (thankfully, since it is the dominant voice in all of these works) well miked. This gives these performances bite and drive when called for, yet the spaciousness is there when atmosphere is required. And, frankly, I cannot say enough about the Gould Trio or their performances of this music. They are exultant, soaring, absolutely committed to bringing out the best in these scores and usually succeeding. I especially liked the “bite” of Lucy Gould’s violin in the Rhapsody Trio ; she manages to plunge the very soul of the music, and yet her tone never becomes shrill but, rather, sinks into a plangent mid-range beauty much like the playing of Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. Just listen, for instance, to the way this trio ebbs and flows in their presentation of the music; it practically takes wing and flies. Truthfully, it’s even better than the groundbreaking recording (on the Dutton label) by violinist Krysia Osostowicz, cellist Jane Salmon, and pianist Michael Dussek, and no, that is not intended as a slur on the latter trio’s abilities. The Gould Trio quite simply blows them away, but only because there is now a tradition for playing York Bowen while, in Osostowicz’s time, it was fairly new material to younger musicians. 

As it turns out, the early, unfinished piano trio from 1900 (of which this is the premiere recording) is a very fine piece. You’d have a difficult time guessing that it was written by a 16-year-old composition/piano student, so strong is its form and imaginative in scope, and once again the Gould Trio plays it with verve and style. As excellent as the performance of the Rhapsody Trio was, this version of the Phantasy Quintet is nearly as good, with bass clarinetist Plane digging deep into the sound of his instrument to contrast with and complement the four strings (Lucy Gould and Alice Neary from the trio along with guest violinist Mia Cooper and violist David Adams), creating tremendous atmosphere. In the second half of the piece, when the music becomes more energetic, this group is more than adequate for the challenge. They are, again, transcendent in their playing. The late (1946) piano trio is one of his greatest works, a subtly interwoven and tightly organic piece that repays close attention, and here the Gould Trio manages to combine lyrical subtlety with their usual exuberant energy.

If you have ever wondered about Bowen’s music but never previously taken the plunge, or if you have heard Bowen’s music previously and wondered what all the fuss was about, this is the disc that will “sell” you on it. Ten stars, easily. 

-- Lynn René Bayley, FANFARE

More reviews:
http://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/bowen-piano-trio-clarinet-sonata-rhapsody-trio
http://www.classical-music.com/review/bowen-clarinet-sonata
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2014/Jan14/Bowen_chamber_CHAN10805.htm
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2014/Apr14/Bowen_chamber_CHAN10805.htm
http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/jan/30/bowen-piano-trios-phantasy-quintet
http://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/Review/385749,bowen-chamber-works-gould-piano-trio.aspx
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bowen-Chamber-Works-Gould-Chandos/dp/B00HFEBYFO

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York Bowen (22 February 1884 – 23 November 1961) was an English composer and pianist. Bowen was also a talented conductor, organist, violist and horn player. Bowen’s musical career spanned more than fifty years during which time he wrote over 160 works. Bowen’s compositional style is widely considered as ‘Romantic’ and his works are often characterized by their rich harmonic language.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/York_Bowen

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Robert Plane is a British clarinettist. Plane won the Royal Overseas League Music Competition in London in 1992. He is the principal clarinetist of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (since 1999). He teaches clarinet at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Plane_(clarinettist)
http://www.robertplane.com/

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Gould Piano Trio was formed in 1987 and the members of the group are violinist Lucy Gould, cellist Alice Neary, and pianist Benjamin Frith. The ensemble often performs with other instrumentalists, including clarinetist Robert Plane, who is married to Gould. Their repertory is broad, and they also commissioned many important new works.
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/gould-piano-trio-mn0001800421
http://www.gouldpianotrio.com/

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Xaver Scharwenka - Chamber Music (Seta Tanyel)


Information

Composer: Xaver Scharwenka

CD1:
  • (01-04) Piano Trio No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1
  • (05-07) Violin Sonata in D minor, Op. 2
  • (08-10) Cello Sonata in E minor, Op. 46a
  • (11) Serenade for violin & piano, Op. 70: Andante con moto, molto espressivo
CD2:
  • (01-04) Piano Quartet in F major, Op. 37
  • (05-08) Piano Trio No. 2 in A minor, Op. 45

Seta Tanyel, piano
Lydia Mordkovitch, violin (CD1)
Colin Carr, cello (CD1)
Levon Chilingirian, violin (CD2)
Ivo-Jan Van Der Werff, viola (CD2)
Garbis Atmacayan, cello (CD2)
Date: 1994 (CD2), 1995 (CD1)
Label: Hyperion (originally issued on Collins Classics)
http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDD22046

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Review

The delicate and debonair romantic Piano Trio and Violin Sonata have the manners of early Beethoven (Septet, Second Piano Concerto, Second Symphony) and of Mendelssohn - not the last time I shall mention that composer. Scharwenka works happily within this idiom but displays a well turned skill as a fresh tune-smith who speaks of grace, playfulness and beauty. The First Trio has a gem of an andantino. Lydia Mordkovitch (on holiday from Chandos) with her plungingly eloquent febrile tone is a superb foil to Seta Tanyel's lively imagination and Florestan romance. Mordkovitch's delicate moonlight skills can also be heard in the Op. 70 Serenade. You should not expect scorching passion in the two early works (Opp. 1 and 2); Scharwenka has a much lighter touch though one that is far from inconsequential.

Scharwenka's Cello Sonata is a deeper work that probes more demandingly and gazes at times into the early style of Rachmaninov. Colin Carr's singing resinous tone is memorable. For all that Scharwenka was a keyboard lion among Europe's pianistic pride he wrote generously and unselfishly for stringed instruments.

The second disc includes two substantial and ambitious works - a piano quartet and a piano trio - each approaching forty minutes duration. The Piano Quartet has a magically trilling first movement, flowingly Mendelssohnian and as striking as the andantino of the First Piano Trio. A hesitantly thoughtful adagio is followed by an allegro vivace which frames a delightfully rocking 'dream dance' with pushy and alert scherzo episodes. I was not quite so sure about the busy turbulent romance of the finale. There is quite a bit of Schumann in the piano writing here.

The Second Piano Trio is deeply immersed in the nineteenth century romantic melos and its roots are struck deep into Schumann territory. While there are no signs of originality in the language the flow and concentration is irresistible and well sustained even across such a substantial structure. While the second movement has the salon quality of a 'maiden's prayer' and the scherzo third infuses Mendelssohnian fleet-foot pacing into another sweet-toned lullaby picked out with the pizzicato equivalent of bone china.

Seta Tanyel is the strong and sensitive constant throughout all six pieces. There is little difference between the two recording venues. The second disc is distinguished by intakes of breath (not many) that I do not recall at all from the first disc. I did not find that a problem.

The notes and performing materials are all courtesy of Martin Eastick. It is too much to hope that Scharwenka's opera Mataswintha would be recorded but given Hyperion's superb disc of the two Bortkiewicz symphonies I wonder if they are thinking of coupling the Scharwenka symphony perhaps with one of Benjamin Godard's exotics. Seta Tanyel recorded the Scharwenka Second and Third Piano Concertos for Collins. Is there any chance of Hyperion acquiring the rights and reissuing this as part of the ever-expanding Romantic Piano Concerto series? While we are on the subject of neglected Slav piano concertos I rather hope that Hyperion will see the commercial symmetry of recording the second and third Bortkiewicz piano concertos as a follow-on to their recording of the two symphonies and the First Piano Concerto. Bortkiewicz was much more than the inconsequentiual note-spinner reputation that has been pinned to him.

Back to Scharwenka. This is all highly attractive romantic music caught in the web of lay-lines between Schumann and early Fauré. Prettiness and empty display are absent and Scharwenka shows himself to be a serious musician well able to sustain an equable instrumental balance without undue prominence to the heroic piano.

-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

More reviews:
http://www.amazon.com/Scharwenka-Complete-Chamber-Music-Xaver/dp/B00006RHQF
http://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/scharwenka-chamber-works-0
http://www.classical-music.com/review/scharwenka-3

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Xaver Scharwenka (6 January 1850 – 8 December 1924) was a German-Polish pianist, composer and teacher. Scharwenka's compositions include an opera (Mataswintha), a symphony, four piano concertos, chamber music (all with piano part) and numerous piano pieces. He was the brother of Philipp Scharwenka (1847–1917), who was also a composer and teacher of music.

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Seta Tanyel (born in Istanbul of Armenian parentage) is an Armenian/Turkish pianist. She has received critical accolades for her recordings on the Chandos, Collins Classics and Hyperion labels and her consistent championing of the works of lesser-known composers.

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Clarinet Quintet; Horn Quintet; Oboe Quartet (Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble)


Information

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  1. Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581 - "Stadler": 1. Allegro
  2. Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581 - "Stadler": 2. Larghetto
  3. Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581 - "Stadler": 3. Menuetto
  4. Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581 - "Stadler": 4. Allegretto con variazioni
  5. Horn Quintet in E flat major, K. 407 (K. 386c): 1. Allegro
  6. Horn Quintet in E flat major, K. 407 (K. 386c): 2. Andante
  7. Horn Quintet in E flat major, K. 407 (K. 386c): 3. Allegro
  8. Oboe Quartet in F major, K. 370 (K. 368b): 1. Allegro
  9. Oboe Quartet in F major, K. 370 (K. 368b): 2. Adagio
  10. Oboe Quartet in F major, K. 370 (K. 368b): 3. Rondeau (Allegro)

Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble
Antony Pay, clarinet
Timothy Brown, horn
Neil Black, oboe
Iona Brown, violin
Malcolm Latchen, violin II
Stephen Shingles, viola
Anthony Jenkins, viola II
Denis Vigay, cello
Date: 1979
Label: Philips

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Review

"... The performance of the Clarinet Quintet is on the romantic side tempo-wise and tonally, though not excessively so. Antony Pay makes a beautiful and expressive sound, not least in the Larghetto and the slow variation in the finale; only the slightly close recording detracts from delicacy. Timothy Brown is skilful and sensitive in the Horn Quintet and if his instrument seems placed a little forwardly, perhaps one should point out that it naturally has more weight than the strings. The Oboe Quartet is less than half as long as the one for clarinet, but the music is attractive and Neil Black plays it with intelligence as well as the firm, rich tone for which he is famous: this is the best performance among these three works, with an especially eloquent Adagio."

-- Christopher Headington, Gramophone

More reviews:
http://www.amazon.com/Mozart-Clarinet-Quintet-Academy-Ensemble/dp/B00000411T

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791) was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. Born in Salzburg, Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood and composed from the age of five. Till his death in Vienna, he composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, operatic, and choral music. Mozart is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers.

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Sergei Rachmaninov; Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Piano Concertos (Sviatoslav Richter)


Information

Composer: Sergei Rachmaninov; Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  1. Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18: 1. Moderato
  2. Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18: 2. Adagio sostenuto
  3. Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18: 3. Allegro scherzando
  4. Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23: 1. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso - Allegro con spirito
  5. Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23: 2. Andantino semplice - Prestissimo - Tempo I
  6. Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23: 3. Allegro con fuoco

Sviatoslav Richter, piano
Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Stanislaw Wislocki (1-3)
Vienna Symphony Orchestra, cond, Herbert von Karajan (4-6)
Date: 1959, 1962
Label: Deutsche Grammophone
http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/en/cat/4474202

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Review

Although the late Sviatoslav Richter spent his later years concentrating on Bach, Beethoven, and Haydn, he never completely abandoned the music of his native country. His reading of Rachmaninov's most popular concerto, captured in fine late-'50s stereo, is one of the most glorious ever recorded. Richter's amazing technique is completely up to the demands of Rachmaninov's difficult writing, and he plays the heart-on-sleeve melodies with such refined intensity that they never sound sentimental. This performance is a truly amazing example of great pianism, very strongly supported by the fine orchestra and its little-known conductor. Unfortunately, the accompanying Tchaikovsky is a dud. Karajan and Richter recorded this work together as a favor to a record-company executive, but they don't seem to be in sympathy. The conductor's excessive refinement holds the pianist back, and the result is much too restrained for the music. Never mind. The Rachmaninov alone is easily worth the price of this disc.

-- Leslie Gerber

More reviews:
http://www.amazon.com/Rachmaninov-Piano-Concerto-No-Tchaikovsky/dp/B000001GQD
http://www.allmusic.com/album/sergey-rachmaninov-piano-concerto-no-2-tchaikovsky-piano-concerto-no-1-mw0001822093
http://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/rachmaninovprokofiev-piano-concertos

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Sergei Rachmaninov (1 April [O.S. 20 March] 1873 – 28 March 1943) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. He is widely considered as one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music. His style is notable for its song-like melodicism, expressiveness and his use of rich orchestral colors. The piano is featured prominently in Rachmaninoff's compositional output, and through his own skills as a performer he explored the expressive possibilities of the instrument.

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Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (25 April/7 May 1840 – 25 October/6 November 1893) was a Russian composer who wrote some of the most popular music in the classical repertoire. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally. Despite his many popular successes, Tchaikovsky's life was punctuated by personal crises and depression. His homosexuality considered a major factor.

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Sviatoslav Richter (March 20 [O.S. March 7] 1915 – August 1, 1997) was a Soviet pianist known for the depth of his interpretations, virtuoso technique, and vast repertoire. He is considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. Richter probably had the largest discography but he disliked the recording process, and most of Richter's recordings originate from live performances.

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Various Composers - British Light Music Classics Vol. 1 (Ronald Corp)


Information

  1. Coates - Calling All Workers
  2. Toye - The Haunted Ballrom
  3. Collins - Vanity Fair
  4. Farnon - Jumping Bean
  5. Baynes - Destiny
  6. Curzon - The Boulevadier
  7. Lutz - Pas de quatre
  8. Binge -The Watermill
  9. Williams - The Devil's Galop
  10. Gibbs - Dusk
  11. White - Puffin' Billy
  12. Ketèlbey - Bells across the Meadows
  13. Williams - The Old Clockmaker
  14. Joyce - Dreaming
  15. Binge - Elizabethan Serenade
  16. Ellis - Coronation Scot
  17. Ancliffe - Nights of Gladness

Ruth Scott, oboe (8)
New London Orchestra
Ronald Corp, conductor
Date: 1995
Label: Hyperion
http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDA66868

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Review

For those who suppose that the Marco Polo series has said all there is to be said about British Light Music, this splendid Hyperion collection emphatically proves otherwise. Here are 17 numbers whose melodies may be familiar even if their titles and composers are not, ranging from theatre music of the 1890s to radio theme tunes of the 1950s. The most obviously similar collection is Ernest Tomlinson’s “Miniatures”, though only five items are in fact common to both, with several others appearing on Marco Polo discs devoted to individual composers.

Wherever the comparison may be, this Hyperion disc adds an extra dimension. That Corp takes significantly longer over numbers such as Dreaming, Dusk, Destiny and Nights of Gladness is due in part to slower tempos and in part to scrupulous observance of repeats; but in every case the stature of the music is enhanced thereby, thanks to the security of the playing, sympathetic phrasing and intelligent use of dynamics and rubato. The comparison is particularly pronounced in the case of The Boulevardier, where Corp not only captures the impression of a strutting man-about-Paris that Adrian Leaper conspicuously misses but adds the important saxophone colouring that helps to catch the Parisian ambience. The collection is welcome for the inclusion of Meyer Lutz’s Pas de quatre – crudely orchestrated, perhaps, but most engaging and not recorded for many a year. The recorded sound throughout is exemplary. For light music specialist and general music lover alike, this collection should prove pure delight.

-- Andrew Lamb, Gramophone

More reviews:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/British-Light-Music-Classics-Vol-1/dp/B000002ZXS
http://www.amazon.com/British-Light-Music-Classics-1/dp/B000002ZXS
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2006/oct06/British_Light_Music_CDS442614.htm

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Ronald Corp (born 4 January 1951) is a composer, conductor and Church of England priest. He is founder and Artistic Director of the New London Orchestra (NLO) and the New London Children's Choir. Corp is Musical Director of the London Chorus, a position he took up in 1994, and is also Musical Director of the Highgate Choral Society.

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Clarinet Concerto; Oboe Concerto (Antony Pay; Michel Piguet)


Information

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  1. Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622: 1. Allegro
  2. Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622: 2. Adagio
  3. Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622: 3. Rondo (Allegro)
  4. Oboe Concerto in C major, K. 314: 1. Allegro aperto
  5. Oboe Concerto in C major, K. 314: 2. Adagio non troppo
  6. Oboe Concerto in C major, K. 314: 3. Rondo (Allegretto)

Antony Pay, clarinet
Michel Piguet, oboe
Academy of Ancient Music
Christopher Hogwood, conductor
Date: 1984
Label: Decca
http://www.deccaclassics.com/us/cat/4143392

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Review

As RF was saying in March, the time must be near when only basset versions of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto are acceptable at public concerts. For record collectors, I think that moment has arrived. Dr Fiske was praising Thea King's Hyperion recording of the Concerto (and the Quintet) on an instrument recently made for her by Selmer of Paris which I understand is now commercially available. Jeffrey Tate and the English Chamber Orchestra were her excellent accompanists, whereas the two new recordings I've been listening to are with 'period' bands and in each instance the Concerto is paired with the Oboe Concerto. Antony Pay's version attempts to recover the character of K622 as completely as possible through a reconstruction of the kind of Viennese instrument Mozart's original soloist (Anton Stadler) must have played on. The disc comes with an informative leaflet which includes photographs not only of the instrument Antony Pay plays but of the German oboe of 1783 Michel Piguet uses. So, if you're still thinking of the basset as a clarinet with a rather doleful expression, long floppy ears and a lower ground clearance than the normal model, you can now see what it actually looks like. No pictures of the Selmer instrument from Hyperion, but there is an article by Alec Hyatt King—a short survey of Mozart and the clarinet family as Mozart knew it and wrote for it, plus a history of the text of his Concerto, and for clarity and readability this couldn't be bettered. Dr Hyatt King, in telling a fascinating story, makes it clear why it has been so important in our own day for someone to re-invent the basset. The Deutsche Harmonia Mundi record is rather poorly presented from this point of view and tells us only that the wind instruments are originals or copies of old examples.

What is the fuss about? Well, the basset-clarinet was and is a distinctive instrument, with a range down to a (written) low C, sounding A in the lowest space of the bass clef, and it is the instrument for which Mozart wrote his Concerto. Four extra semitone steps were available to him at the bottom of the compass, therefore, as compared to the range of the modern A clarinet. All versions on the clarinet are corrupt to the extent that they are obliged to adopt alterations of his text in order to avoid the lowest four notes of his original; he made no such alterations himself. As dr Hyatt King puts it: the Concerto exploits the diversity of the basset-clarinet's full range and timbre, and ''the lower extension of the notes in the basset register enriches and darkens much of the tonal spectrum''. If you haven't already experienced a performance of the Concerto with a 'restored' form of the solo part, you have a delight in store.

Thea King has been a distinguished exponent of the work for many years, but the new L'Oiseau-Lyre, as a production, seems to me of a quite special excellence. The sound is beautiful, on LP particularly—I found the CD a touch edgier and was more conscious there of what recording engineers call extraneous noises—and even if the 'period' ethic is not to your taste, I think you are bound to agree that the Academy of Ancient Music have never sounded better. Christopher Hogwood has added a fortepiano in a discreet continuo role, and similarly a harpsichord in the Oboe Concerto, and the balance and quality of the orchestral sound make a lovely setting for the soloists. I wondered at first whether the acoustic in K622 was very slightly over-resonant—and then forgot about it. The performances are all of a piece. I have enjoyed them more and more. The soloists are strong musical personalities, as they need to be, n ot just expert players, and Antony Pay's performance strikes me as outstanding: spontaneous in character, rich in detailed inflexion, and at the same time projected with a long-range musical thinking that makes for a satisfying reading one is glad to return to. Pay is a soloist who picks you up at the beginning of the Concerto and puts you down only at the very end; and you feel that the orchestra have responded to him in that way too. Having played the Adagio as slowly as he dares, he brings a touch of urgency to the finale which I particularly like, giving that movement a sharper character than we often hear and making it a livelier foil to what has gone before. His ritenuto at the end of the Adagio is the only feature of his performance I don't care for.

Nicholas Shackleton writes interestingly in the Oiseau-Lyre leaflet about the characteristics of the late eighteenth-century Viennese instruments of the clarinet family. Peculiar to them, he says, is a better tone in the chalumeau register than contemporary instruments elsewhere possess, and he surmises that Stadler's basset-clarinet would almost certainly have had several of the extra keys that are such an aid to fluency and intonation in the basset register. The basset heard on this record was constructed according to these principles. It seems to me a triumphant success, and in respect of the intonation and firmness of its lowest notes demonstrably superior to what we hear on the Deutsche Harmonia Mundi and Hyperion recordings. On the Harmonia Mundi the quality is sometimes fog-horny, and I sense that the player is cautious about the low notes, as if they were difficult to control.

Hans Deinzer is agreeable to listen to, though a less personable soloist than Pay or King. He deserved a better accompaniment, which is rarely better than routine and often less than that. So did Helmut Hucke, the accomplished oboist on the other side. As with many of the Collegium Aureum's productions, I sense an unsatisfactory compromise and a lack of focus: the instrument may have 'authentic' tickets but the attempt to recover a style of playing appropriate to them is half-hearted. These performances are at something close to modern pitch, for a start. On the Oiseau-Lyre, on the other hand, Michel Piguet's account of the Oboe Concerto is the work of a remarkable scholar-performer. It draws strength from a throughgoing reconsideration of the text and of various aspects of the classical style—articulation, tempo, cadenzas, the performance of decorative appoggiaturas—and it deserves more comment than I can now give it. But it is not, I think, quite so successful a performance as that of the Clarinet Concerto. Though beautifully played, on a powerful instrument made five years after Mozart composed the piece, there is an air of deliberation about some of the detailing which suggests to me a seeker still going about this quest—or perhaps scholar trying to prove something. Uncommonly interesting listening none the less, and by no means a disappointment after the other side.

-- Stephen Plaistow, Gramophone

More reviews:
http://www.amazon.com/Mozart-Clarinet-Concerto-Oboe/dp/B000004CXE

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791) was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. Born in Salzburg, Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood and composed from the age of five. Till his death in Vienna, he composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, operatic, and choral music. Mozart is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers.

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Antony Pay (born 21 February 1945 in London) is a classical clarinetist. He was principal clarinetist of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (1968-1978), London Sinfonietta (1968-1983) and Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields (1976-1986). He was also a member of Nash Ensemble, the Tuckwell Wind Quintet, the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Ensemble, and Hausmusik.

***

Michel Piguet (1932-2004) was a Baroque oboist and recorder player. He was one of the first to revive the Baroque oboe, and his Harmonia Mundi recording was an inspiration to many to take up the instrument. He played an oboe built by the renowned maker Josef Hyacinth Rottenburgh (1672–1765), which was to accompany him throughout his entire professional life.

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Vincent d'Indy - Orchestral Works Vol. 6 (Rumon Gamba)


Information

Composer: Vincent d'Indy
  1. Wallenstein, Op. 12 - Première Partie. Le Camp di Wallenstein: Allegro giusto
  2. Wallenstein, Op. 12 - Première Partie. Le Camp di Wallenstein: Allegretto moderato e giocoso
  3. Wallenstein, Op. 12 - Deuxième Partie. Max et Thécla (Les Piccolomini): Andante
  4. Wallenstein, Op. 12 - Deuxième Partie. Max et Thécla (Les Piccolomini): Allegro risoluto
  5. Wallenstein, Op. 12 - Deuxième Partie. Max et Thécla (Les Piccolomini): Andante tranquillo
  6. Wallenstein, Op. 12 - Deuxième Partie. Max et Thécla (Les Piccolomini): Maestoso
  7. Wallenstein, Op. 12 - Troisième Partie. La Mort de Wallenstein: Très large
  8. Wallenstein, Op. 12 - Troisième Partie. La Mort de Wallenstein: Allegro
  9. Wallenstein, Op. 12 - Troisième Partie. La Mort de Wallenstein: Andante tranquillo
  10. Wallenstein, Op. 12 - Troisième Partie. La Mort de Wallenstein: Maestoso (Tempo I)
  11. Fervaal, opera, Op. 40: Prelude to Act III
  12. Lied for cello & orchestra, Op. 19
  13. Suite dans le style ancien in D major, Op. 24: I. Prélude. Lent
  14. Suite dans le style ancien in D major, Op. 24: II. Entrée. Gai et modéré
  15. Suite dans le style ancien in D major, Op. 24: III. Sarabande. Lent
  16. Suite dans le style ancien in D major, Op. 24: IV. Menuet. Animé
  17. Suite dans le style ancien in D major, Op. 24: V. Ronde francaise. Assez animé
  18. Sérénade et Valse for orchestra, Op. 28: Sérénade. Allegretto giocoso (orch. from Op. 16 No. 1)
  19. Sérénade et Valse for orchestra, Op. 28: Valse. Allegro molto moderato (orch. from Op. 17 No. 1)

Bryndís Halla Gylfadóttir, cello (12)
Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Rumon Gamba, conductor
Date: 2014
Label: Chandos
http://chandos.net/details06.asp?CNumber=CHSA%205157

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Review

Rumon Gamba’s d’Indy series – this is the final instalment – has done much to illuminate the complexities surrounding one of fin de siècle music’s more controversial figures. D’Indy, like Wagner, was both progressive and reactionary, and our image of the forward-looking teacher – his pupils included Roussel, Albéniz, Varèse and Cole Porter – still squares uneasily with the reality of the right-wing anti-Dreyfusard ideologue, obsessed with ideas of national identity and ethnic superiority. Influential in his lifetime, his music has an eclectic, pivotal feel, overtly synthesising influences in order to explore new possibilities.

The main work here is Wallenstein, completed in 1879, a symphonic trilogy based on Schiller, usually described as a response to The Ring, which d’Indy heard at Bayreuth in 1876. A variant of Wagner’s sword motif characterises the titular hero, a treacherous army officer trapped Wotan-like in schemes of his own devising. Yet the melodic contours suggest the predominant influence of Berlioz; the cyclic form derives from Franck; and a weird chordal sequence depicting the superstitious Wallenstein’s astrological consultations startlingly prefigures the Nietzsche setting in Mahler’s Third Symphony.

Elsewhere, we find comparable links and overtones. The 1897 opera Fervaal is indebted to Parsifal, its Act 3 Prelude pivoting back to Klingsor’s incantations and forward to Pelléas. Suite dans le style ancien is not so much a work of Rococo pastiche as an astringent intimation of 20th-century neo-classicism. The beautiful Lied for cello and orchestra invites comparisons with Massenet, a rival of whom d’Indy was not particularly fond.

Gamba’s conducting evinces the care and thought characteristic of the retrospective as a whole. There’s an admirable awareness of the crafted sensuousness of d’Indy’s textures, the slightly studied novelty of his compositional style. The Iceland Symphony Orchestra’s brass glare a bit, though the playing is judiciously honed. Cellist Bryndís Halla Gylfadóttir sounds very svelte in the Lied. D’Indy’s reabsorption into the mainstream is a questionable prospect at best. But the series forcefully reminds us of his achievement and importance.

-- Tim Ashley, Gramophone

More reviews:
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2015/June/Indy_orchestral_v6_CHSA5157.htm
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2015/Jul/Indy_orchestral_v6_CHSA5157.htm
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2015/Aug/Indy_orchestral_v6_CHSA5157.htm
http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_cd_review.php?id=13189
http://www.amazon.com/Vincent-dIndy-Orchestral-Works-Vol/dp/B00UUXSVA8

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Vincent d'Indy (27 March 1851 – 2 December 1931) was a French composer and teacher. Few of d'Indy's works are performed regularly today. His best known pieces are probably the 'Symphony on a French Mountain Air'. D'Indy founded the Schola Cantorum de Paris in 1894 with Charles Bordes and Alexandre Guilmant. His students included Isaac Albéniz, Arthur Honegger, Albéric Magnard, Darius Milhaud, Albert Roussel, Erik Satie and many more.

***

Rumon Gamba (born 24 November 1972), is an English conductor. He studied conducting with Colin Metters, George Hurst and Sir Colin Davis at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Gamba was Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra from 2002 to 2010. He is currently chief conductor and music director of NorrlandsOperan and the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra.

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Various Composers - Favorites Works (Andrés Segovia)


Information

  1. Albéniz - Suite Española No. 1, Op. 47: Sevilla (Sevillanas)
  2. Albéniz - Suite Española No. 1, Op. 47: Granada (Serenata)
  3. Albéniz - Suite Española No. 2, Op. 97: 4. Zambra granadina
  4. Tórroba - Piezas caracteristicas
  5. Sor - Estudios (Nos. 10, 15, 19 & 6)
  6. Tárrega - Recuerdos de la Alhambra
  7. Granados - Tonadillas al estilo antiguo, H. 136: 8. La maja de Goya
  8. Albéniz - Suite Española No. 1, Op. 47: Asturias (Leyenda) (Op. 232/1)
  9. Turina - Sevillana, Op. 29
  10. Castelnuovo-Tedesco - Capricho diabolico (Homage to Paganini), Op. 85a

Andrés Segovia, guitar
Date: 1988 (compilation)
Label: MCA

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Review

As part of the grandiose Segovia Collection, this volume compiles some of the favorite works of the great guitarist, as chosen not long before his death. The composers are largely Spanish, as fits his exceptional classical guitar skills (these were largely guitar compositions, as opposed to the many Bach pieces Segovia transcribed for guitar later). The choices are to some degree not surprising (aside from a lack of Bach, that is), with the standards of Spanish classical guitar represented -- Sor, Torroba, Tárrega, Albéniz. And, of course, the music is performed divinely by Segovia, as one would expect from the hands of the master when performing anything, but in particular songs of special import to him. Classical guitar, while somewhat more rare than many other classical endeavors, and rarely found in an amazing quality, dependent as it is upon the quality of the performer more so than many other classical instrumental forms, has beauty accessible even to those not attuned to classical music generally. In the hands of Segovia, that accessibility is enhanced further, and this album, being his own selections, is an excellent starting point for newcomers to the genre, as well as a wonderful album for any fans who had missed it.

-- Adam Greenberg, AllMusic

More reviews:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Legendary-Andr%C3%A9s-Segovia-Favorite/dp/B000002PGU

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Andrés Segovia (Spanish: [anˈdɾes seˈɣoβja ˈtores]) (21 February 1893 – 2 June 1987) was a virtuoso Spanish classical guitarist from Linares, Spain. Regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, he is seen as the grandfather of the classical guitar. Many professional classical guitarists today are students of Segovia, or students of his students. Segovia's contribution to the modern-romantic repertoire not only included commissions but also his own transcriptions of classical or baroque works.

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

William Walton - Collected Works


Information

Composer: William Walton

CD1:
  1. Symphony No. 1 in B flat minor: I. Allegro assai
  2. Symphony No. 1 in B flat minor: II. Presto, con malizia
  3. Symphony No. 1 in B flat minor: III. Andante con malinconia
  4. Symphony No. 1 in B flat minor: IV. Maestoso - Brioso ed ardentemente - Vivacissimo - Maestoso
  5. Violin Concerto in B minor: I. Andante tranquillo
  6. Violin Concerto in B minor: II. Presto capriccioso alla Napolitana
  7. Violin Concerto in B minor: III. Vivace
CD2:
  1. Cello Concerto: I. Moderato
  2. Cello Concerto: II. Allegro appassionato
  3. Cello Concerto: III. Tema ed improvisazioni. Lento - Allegro moderato
  4. Viola Concerto in A minor: I. Andante comodo
  5. Viola Concerto in A minor: II. Vivo, con molto preciso
  6. Viola Concerto in A minor: III. Allegro moderato
  7. Sinfonia concertante for orchestra with piano obbligato: I. Maestoso
  8. Sinfonia concertante for orchestra with piano obbligato: II. Andante comodo
  9. Sinfonia concertante for orchestra with piano obbligato: III. Allegro molto - Molto maestoso

London Symphony Orchestra, cond. André Previn (CD1 1-4)
Jascha Heifetz (violin), Philharmonia Orchestra, cond. William Walton (CD1 5-7)
Gregor Piatigorsky (cello), Boston Symphony Orchestra, cond. Charles Münch (CD2 1-3)
Yuri Bashmet (viola), London Symphony Orchestra, cond. André Previn (CD2 4-6)
Kathryn Stott (piano), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Vernon Handley (CD2 (7-9)

Date: 1950-1994
Label: BMG-RCA

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Review

Reference Recording: RCA’s Walton Collection

The album title for this two CD set, “Sir William Walton: Collected Works,” is odd. Yes, the music is by Walton, and the works are “collected,” but there’s no pretense to completeness, obviously. What you get is a set containing the First Symphony and the four concertante pieces–concertos for violin, viola, cello, and the Sinfonia Concertante for piano and orchestra. These are, one and all, major works, and it’s certainly good to have them gathered together in one inexpensive package.

The most important fact about this set is that Previn’s legendary LSO account of the First Symphony, never available for long in the U.S., returns to the active catalog, at least for now. Here is a stunning performance that richly deserves its “classic” status, and it still sounds marvelous (sound clip). There is no finer version, period. All three concerto performances are also outstanding. Heifetz, you will recall, actually commissioned the Violin Concerto, and this version with the composer conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra, captured in decent mono, has never been bettered. 

Previn is back with the LSO for Bashmet’s captivating version of the Viola Concerto, while the Cello Concerto was written for Piatigorsky and premiered by him with these forces. It doesn’t get more “authentic” than that. Finally, we have Kathryn Stott’s ebullient romp through the dense orchestral thickets of the Sinfonia Concertante in its original version (it first appeared on Conifer). If you think you may be interested in Walton’s music but don’t know where to begin, this is the place. Get it while you can. 

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday

More reviews:
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2002/Apr02/waltonrca.htm
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2002/Jun02/Walton_collected.htm
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sir-William-Walton-Collected-Works/dp/B0000630UV
http://www.amazon.com/Sir-William-Walton-Collected-Works/dp/B0000630UV

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William Walton (29 March 1902 – 8 March 1983) was an English composer. During a sixty-year career, he wrote music in several classical genres and styles, from film scores to opera. His best-known works include Façade, the cantata Belshazzar's Feast, the Viola Concerto and the First Symphony. Walton was a slow worker, painstakingly perfectionist, and his complete body of work across his long career is not large.

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Vincent d'Indy - Orchestral Works Vol. 5 (Rumon Gamba)


Information

Composer: Vincent d'Indy
  1. Symphonie sur un chant montagnard français, Op. 25: I. Assez lent - Modérément animé
  2. Symphonie sur un chant montagnard français, Op. 25: II. Assez modéré, mais sans lenteur
  3. Symphonie sur un chant montagnard français, Op. 25: III. Animé
  4. Fervaal, opera, Op. 40: Prelude to Act I
  5. Saugefleurie, Op. 21: Assez lent et calme -
  6. Saugefleurie, Op. 21: Gaîment, mais modéré -
  7. Saugefleurie, Op. 21: Assez lent et calme -
  8. Saugefleurie, Op. 21: Tempo I (un peu plus vite)
  9. Médée, Op. 47: I. Prélude. Très lent
  10. Médée, Op. 47: II. Pantomime. Assez lent
  11. Médée, Op. 47: III. L'Attente de Médée. Très lent
  12. Médée, Op. 47: IV. Médée et Jason. Modérément animé
  13. Médée, Op. 47: V. Le Triomphe Auroral. Très lent

Louis Lortie, piano (1-3)
Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Rumon Gamba, conductor
Date: 2012
Label: Chandos
http://chandos.net/details06.asp?CNumber=CHAN%2010760

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Review

After a hiatus, latest d’Indy from the Icelandic orchestra

The Iceland Symphony Orchestra’s invaluable survey of d’Indy’s orchestral scores here reaches Vol 5 and one of those few works that keep his name alive, albeit only just. The Symphonie sur un chant montagnard français is a typical, and beguiling, example of the way d’Indy managed to mix the formal discipline that he inherited from César Franck with the imagery of nature that proved to be a fertile source of inspiration. The symphony was completed in 1886, two years before Franck’s in D minor, but the central slow movement attests to d’Indy’s debt to his mentor in certain melodic and harmonic procedures, as does the cyclic treatment of material in the symphony as a whole. But d’Indy is his own man, conjuring up fragrant atmosphere from his mountain theme and generating a good deal of healthy vigour in the finale. All this is potently communicated by the orchestral playing and by Louis Lortie’s scintillating fluency in the piano obbligato.

The hushed prelude to the opera Fervaal shows that he was no less susceptible to the influence of Wagner than were other composers of his generation (think Parsifal), and the symphonic poem Saugefleurie indicates that he knew The Ring and Tristan, as do the serpentine harmonies and rich orchestral textures in parts of the suite Médée, drawn from incidental music for Catulle Mendès’s play. But d’Indy brings to it an individual accent, which these performances interpret purposefully and with a vital romantic sweep.

-- Geoffrey Norris, Gramophone

More reviews:
http://www.classical-music.com/review/iindy-orchestral-works-vol-5
http://www.allmusic.com/album/vincent-dindy-orchestral-works-vol-5-mw0002498253

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Vincent d'Indy (27 March 1851 – 2 December 1931) was a French composer and teacher. Few of d'Indy's works are performed regularly today. His best known pieces are probably the 'Symphony on a French Mountain Air'. D'Indy founded the Schola Cantorum de Paris in 1894 with Charles Bordes and Alexandre Guilmant. His students included Isaac Albéniz, Arthur Honegger, Albéric Magnard, Darius Milhaud, Albert Roussel, Erik Satie and many more.

***

Rumon Gamba (born 24 November 1972), is an English conductor. He studied conducting with Colin Metters, George Hurst and Sir Colin Davis at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Gamba was Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra from 2002 to 2010. He is currently chief conductor and music director of NorrlandsOperan and the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra.

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Sergei Rachmaninov - Symphony No. 2; Vocalise; Intermezzo & Dance from Aleko (André Previn)


Information

Composer: Sergei Rachmaninov
  1. Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op.27: I. Largo - Allegro Moderato
  2. Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op.27: II. Scherzo (Allegro molto)
  3. Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op.27: III. Adagio
  4. Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op.27: IV. Finale (Allegro vivace)
  5. Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14
  6. Aleko, opera: Intermezzo
  7. Aleko, opera: Women's Dance

London Symphony Orchestra
André Previn, conductor
Date: 1972
Label: EMI

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Review

This was a hallmark recording in 1973 in that the symphony was played in its complete version without the disfiguring cuts that even Rachmaninov had sanctioned (although according to Previn he only really approved a small cut in the finale - in a previous LSO recording for RCA LSO Previn had made all the usual cuts). It makes for a long work (nearly an hour) and that has been said to be too long for a composer of such limited ability. Well I think I can answer that simply by pointing to Schubert's 9th symphony or Elgar's second without having to invoke Mahler or Bruckner. What matter is not the length but the invention. The reference to limited ability is that Rachmaninov appeared to constantly worked mine the same vein without ever developing and it was surely the Previn series of Rachmaninov recordings that helped to dispel that belief too, followed eventually by a re-evaluation in the more louring Ashkenazy series for Decca which reached a peak with his performance of the Isle of the Dead.

Previn and the LSO were at their peak and had toured this symphony internationally before setting it on record. Previn has said 'one of the most unforgettable events of my musical life was seeing members of the Moscow audience, openly and unabashedly weeping during the performance. After the concert had ended, the orchestra and I came out of the stage door into the icy street, where people were still waiting for us. A young woman came forward, and , in a mixture of broken English and French, thanked us for the Rachmaninov. Then she gave me a gift, a token of her gratitude to Rachmaninov: one orange, for which she had, without a doubt, queued quite a time that afternoon.'

Rachmaninov writes a good tune and all praise to him. He also writes orgasmically for soaring and cascading strings and it might be the association with Mantovani that causes critics to sneer. A composer of good tunes who is 'Popular' will never do and those Paganini Variations!. Well, of course, I am playing the Devil's advocate because I love Rachmaninov. He is not only the ultimate romantic composer but can also be extraordinarily powerful (Isle of the Dead or the Symphonic Dances). To me his appeal is limitless rather than limited and I look back with nostalgia at this recording. It is well known that Rachmaninov's first symphony was a disaster at its first performance and instituted a creative block in the composer that lasted several years until his confidence was restored by the success of his second Piano concerto. The second symphony was completed in 1907; 12 years after the first and found the appreciation he craved.

From the very opening one is immediately aware of the performance Previn will produce. The symphony opens with a motto theme in the double basses and cellos that occurs throughout the symphony making it a unified whole. Violins and woodwinds have two more motto themes and they all play an important part in all movements of the symphony. Straight away we are into those swaying, cascading strings that remain for ever in the memory. Not that many symphonies have such a memorable opening, one that immediately makes one want to dance and to sing. It is important not to rush this and Previn's gently elongated approach serves Rachmaninov well (in the later Telarc recording Previn takes even longer over this movement). There is a feeling of one-ness between orchestra and conductor which is the hallmark of a great recording. But it is surely the adagio that will convert the listener with Jack Brymer's clarinet weaving a hypnotic melody over lush strings that will eventually soar into a very Tchaikovskian climax

The symphony has appeared in different formats on CD. Its initial CD release was a Japanese-Toshiba pressing and was greeted with horror by Ivan March who complained that the warm opulence of the strings had become dehydrated and even shrill, quite unlike the original LP sound. I was particularly interested to hear this re-mastered CD in the Great recordings of the Century series because I posses that original Japanese CD pressing. I undertook a comparative listening session with interesting results. In spite of laudatory comments in the past I suspect that this never was a particularly good recording and EMI's engineers have had to struggle with it ever since. The sound is hard as if the microphones were placed too close, particularly to the strings. The new CD is cut at a higher level than the Japanese pressing which constitutes a problem when trying to switch between the two for comparative purposes. There is tape hiss and this has become more obvious in the remastering in spite of "Abbey Road Technology". The bass is firm and the string sound is definitely warmer in the original in spite of Ivan March bemoaning a loss of warmth. What would he think of the remastered version where the basses are drier and the strings have acquired a buzzy edge? But all is not in favour of the Japanese pressing because the louder passages are definitely less congested in the remastered version, probably to do with sucking out the bass. So not a total success and I suspect we will have to wait for one of the audiophile companies to obtain the rights to this tape to hear it reveal its true qualities.

Nevertheless the performance is overpoweringly convincing and worth every penny of the mid-price demanded. A further advantage of the reissue is that the symphony is now joined by Vocalise and the Intermezzo and Women's Dance from Aleko making a very full disc.

-- Len Mullenger, MusicWeb International

More reviews:
http://www.gramophone.co.uk/feature/rachmaninov-symphony-no-2-which-recording-is-best
http://www.gramophone.co.uk/editorial/rachmaninovs-symphonies-nos-1-3
http://www.classical-music.com/review/rachmaninov-35
http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/e/emi66997a.php
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rachmaninov-Symphony-No-2-Sergei/dp/B00002DG75
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rachmaninov-Symphony-No-EMI-Masters/dp/B005FVFW9S
http://www.amazon.com/Rachmaninov-Symphony-Vocalise-Intermezzo-Recordings/dp/B00000K4FI

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Sergei Rachmaninov (1 April [O.S. 20 March] 1873 – 28 March 1943) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. He is widely considered as one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music. His style is notable for its song-like melodicism, expressiveness and his use of rich orchestral colors. The piano is featured prominently in Rachmaninoff's compositional output, and through his own skills as a performer he explored the expressive possibilities of the instrument.

***

André Previn (born April 6, 1929) is a German-American pianist, conductor, and composer. He is considered one of the most versatile musicians in the world and is the winner of four Academy Awards for his film work and ten Grammy Awards for his recordings (and one more for his Lifetime Achievement). Previn's discography contains hundreds of recordings in film, jazz, classical music and contemporary classical music.

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Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - The Seasons (Đặng Thái Sơn)


Information

Composer: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  1. The Seasons, Op. 37a: 1. January: At the hearth
  2. The Seasons, Op. 37a: 2. February: Carnival
  3. The Seasons, Op. 37a: 3. March: Song of the lark
  4. The Seasons, Op. 37a: 4. April: Snowdrops
  5. The Seasons, Op. 37a: 5. May: Midnight sun
  6. The Seasons, Op. 37a: 6. June: Barcarole
  7. The Seasons, Op. 37a: 7. July: Song of the reapers
  8. The Seasons, Op. 37a: 8. August: Harvest song
  9. The Seasons, Op. 37a: 9. September: The hunt
  10. The Seasons, Op. 37a: 10. October: Autumn song
  11. The Seasons, Op. 37a: 11. November: Troika
  12. The Seasons, Op. 37a: 12. December: Christmas week
  13. Romance, Op. 5
  14. Un poco di Chopin, Op. 72 No. 15
  15. Dumka, Op. 59

Đặng Thái Sơn, piano
Date: 2007
Label: PNFilm (licensed by Victor Entertainment - JVC)

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Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (25 April/7 May 1840 – 25 October/6 November 1893) was a Russian composer who wrote some of the most popular music in the classical repertoire. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally. Despite his many popular successes, Tchaikovsky's life was punctuated by personal crises and depression. His homosexuality considered a major factor.

***

Đặng Thái Sơn (born July 2, 1958 in Hanoi, Vietnam) is a Vietnamese classical pianist. He was the Gold Medalist of the Tenth International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland in 1980. It was the first time that a top international competition was won by an Asian pianist. Dang has received particular acclaim for the sonority and poetry in his interpretations of music of Chopin and the French repertoire.

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Various Composers - Baroque Guitar (Andrés Segovia)


Information

  1. Purcell - Prelude
  2. Purcell - Minuet
  3. Purcell - A New Irish Tune ("Lilliburlero"), Z. 646
  4. Purcell - Jig
  5. Purcell - Rondo
  6. Scarlatti - Keyboard Sonata in A major, K. 322 (L. 483)
  7. Handel - Sonata in D minor
  8. Handel - Fughette
  9. Handel - Menuet
  10. Handel - Air
  11. Handel - Passepied
  12. Frescobaldi - Passacaglia
  13. Frescobaldi - Corrente
  14. Weiss - Fantasie
  15. Weiss - "Tombeau sur la mort de Monsieur Comte de Logy", in B flat minor, Smith 210
  16. Weiss - 2 Minuets
  17. Bach - Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007: Prelude
  18. Bach - Cello Suite No. 6 in D major, BWV 1012: Gavotte
  19. Bach - Lute Suite in E minor, BWV 996: Bourée
  20. Bach - Violin Partita No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002: Bourée
  21. Bach - Cello Suite No. 3 in C major, BWV 1009: Courante
  22. Handel - Allegretto Grazioso
  23. Handel - Gavotte
  24. Handel - Minuet
  25. Handel - Sarabande
  26. Scarlatti - Keyboard Sonata in G major, K. 391 (L. 79)

Andrés Segovia, guitar
Date: 1952-1969
Label: MCA

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Review

This charming collection of Baroque favorites consists largely of transcriptions of keyboard music by Bach, Handel, Scarlatti, and Purcell as well as some original lute works. During the Baroque period it was common to arrange the same music to suit different instruments as necessary, so there's nothing unusual in Segovia's practice here. The Scarlatti pieces are particularly brilliant, with Segovia demonstrating just how Spanish the great Italian composer really became after years as private tutor to the Queen of Spain. The entire recital makes for one of the most satisfying of Segovia's many Baroque compilations and a great way to get to know this great artist.

-- David Hurwitz

More reviews:
http://www.amazon.com/Segovia-Collection-Vol-4/dp/B000002PGW

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Andrés Segovia (Spanish: [anˈdɾes seˈɣoβja ˈtores]) (21 February 1893 – 2 June 1987) was a virtuoso Spanish classical guitarist from Linares, Spain. Regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, he is seen as the grandfather of the classical guitar. Many professional classical guitarists today are students of Segovia, or students of his students. Segovia's contribution to the modern-romantic repertoire not only included commissions but also his own transcriptions of classical or baroque works.

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Wilhelm Stenhammar - Symphony No. 2; Excelsior (Neeme Järvi)


Information

Composer: Wilhelm Stenhammar
  1. Excelsior!, Op. 13
  2. Symphony No. 2 in G minor, Op. 34: 1. Allegro energico
  3. Symphony No. 2 in G minor, Op. 34: 2. Andante
  4. Symphony No. 2 in G minor, Op. 34: 3. Scherzo. Allegro, ma non troppo presto
  5. Symphony No. 2 in G minor, Op. 34: 4. Finale. Sostenuto - Allegro vivace

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Järvi, conductor
Date: 1984
Label: BIS
http://www.bis.se/index.php?op=album&aID=BIS-CD-251

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Review

For devotees of the fin de siècle Scandinavian symphonies, Neeme Järvi and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra's 1979 world-premiere recording of Wilhelm Stenhammar's First Symphony was incredibly exciting. For one thing, the work itself, while not great, illuminated a previously unknown phase in the composer's career. And for another, given Järvi's already pronounced proclivity to record complete symphonic cycles, his recording of the youthful First promised a recording of the mature Second, one of the glories of its time and place. That promise was fulfilled in this 1983 recording of the Second coupled with the Overture Excelsior! While the Overture, like the First Symphony, is worth hearing for its exuberance and enthusiasm, the Second is mandatory listening for any listener who reveres the symphonies of Sibelius and Nielsen. Like his contemporaries, the Swedish composer's youthful romanticism had grown into a more direct and austere art, and in his four-movement Second, Stenhammar's harmonic language is nearly modal, his textures scrupulously clean, his colors strong and primary, his formal construction brilliantly masterful, his drama utterly compelling, and his tone exalted and idealistic. Järvi and the Gothenburg turn in a performance of exemplary power and control, with persuasive conducting and skillful playing, and if their recording didn't eclipse Stig Westerberg and the Stockholm Philharmonic's monumental 1978 recording or Tor Mann and the Stockholm's magnificent 1950 recording, it did introduce a new digital audience to a great piece of music, always a good and useful thing to do.

Back when digital sound was still a novel technology, some labels put warnings on the covers of their discs alerting listeners of potential harm to their stereo systems if they weren't up to the latest advances at either extreme of the frequency range. BIS' warning for this disc was especially extreme: "Contrary to established practice this recording retains the staggering dynamics of the ORIGINAL performance. This may damage your loudspeakers, but given first-rate playback equipment you are guaranteed a truly remarkable musical and audio experience. Good luck!" What can one add save that they're not kidding: the sound on this disc is truly staggering, though, some might argue, not necessarily more realistic or more enjoyable than earlier stereo or monaural recordings' sound.

-- James Leonard, AllMusic

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Wilhelm Stenhammar (February 7, 1871 – November 20, 1927) was a Swedish composer, conductor and pianist. An admirer of German music, particularly that of Richard Wagner and Anton Bruckner, he subsequently sought to emancipate himself and write in a more "Nordic" style, looking to Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius for guidance.

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Neeme Järvi (born June 7, 1937) is an Estonian conductor. He made over 400 recordings for labels such as BIS, Chandos and Deutsche Grammophon and best known for his interpretations of Romantic and 20th century classical music. Järvi is currently the artistic and musical director of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.

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