Sunday, February 4, 2018

Lifelong friend of van Beethoven, Antonin Reicha (1770-1836)

Recently I have heard two CD’s from the “little” composer Antonín Rejcha (also known als Anton Reicha of Antoine Reicha 1770-1836, “lifelong friend of van Beethoven”) that took me by surprise. One with chamber music and one with piano works. Fine and original music, reminding me of Carl Philip Emanuel Bach in the keyboard works. The Quintet and quartet are part of a 3 CD box, with different performers, of which the first CD with Quartor Girard stands out. Coupled them together and *just listen*, I would say.
The music and performances gave me much pleasure :-)  

Antonín Rejcha (1770-1836)

-Tracks 01-04 String Quintet (with two violas) in F Major, Op. 92 No. 1 (c 1819)

Quatuor Girard
Hugues Girard : Violin
Agathe Girard : Violin
Odon Girard : Viola
Lucie Girard : Cello 
Tanguy Parisot (viola)

Antonín Rejcha (1770-1836)

-Track 05 Harmonie No.20 from Practische Beispiele (1803)
(Adagio Fantaisie 1. Un poco allegretto - Fantaisie 2. Allegro - Fantaisie 3. Allegretto - Fantaisie 4. Allegro vivace - Fantaisie 5. Adagio di molto - Fantaisie 6. Allegro)

-Tracks 06-08 Grande Sonate (c.1805) in C major

-Track 09 Capriccio No.7 from Practische Beispiele (1803) 
(Allegro assai - Un poco più lento - Tempo I - Un poco più lento - Tempo I)

-Track 10-12 Sonata on a Theme of Mozart (c.1805) in F major 
(Variations sur la 'Marche des Prêtres' du Second Acte de La Flûte enchantée de Mozart)

-Track 13 Fantaisie sur un seul accord
No.4 from Practische Beispiele (1803) Allegro - Presto - Tempo I - Tempo II

-Track 14 Étude, Op.97 No.1 in E minor 
(from Étude dans le genre fugué pour le piano-forte [...] à l'usage des jeunes compositeurs (?1815-17))

Ivan Ilic piano

Antonín Rejcha (1770-1836)

-Tracks 15-18 String Quartet in E Major, Op. 95 No. 1 (1824)

Quatuor Girard

(Webplayer link)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Lost Generation composers from the Netherlands (1944-1967)

The joy of Spotify, finding, at random, a CD you heard on the radio many years ago and now can re-listen. Dutch “lost generation” composers, too modern for the pre- WW2 audience, too “not avant-garde” for the post-WW2 audience.  Hendrik Andriessen (1892-1983) is the father of better known composer Louis Andriessen. Henk Badings (1907-1987) was, although never a serialist, also a pioneer on electronic music. Léon Orthel (1905 - 1985) was a student of Paul Juon and Curt Sachs, was for 30 years piano teacher at the Royal conservatory in the Hague and composition teacher in Amsterdam. Marius Flothuis (1914-2001) was, besides composer, also a world famous musicologist and from 1955 to 1974 artistic leader of the Concertgebouworchestra, Amsterdam. Hope you will enjoy it! 
“nicked” the tracklist from the Discogs website.

Concerto Per Organo E Orchestra (1950)
Composed By – Hendrik Andriessen
Organ – François-Henri Houbart

1 I Introductie En Passacaglia
2 II Toccata

Concert Voor Harp En Klein Symphonieorkest (1967)
Composed By – Henk Badings
Harp – Ellen Versney

3 I Lento
4 II Grave
5 II Presto

Scherzo Per Orchestra, Opus 38 (1957)
Composed By – Léon Orthel (so not Flothuis, as is stated on the Spotify playlist!)
6 Scherzo Per Orchestra, Opus 38 (1957)

Concert Voor Fluit En Orkest, Opus 19 (1944)
Composed By – Marius Flothuis
Flute – Raymond Delnoye

7 I Introduzione, Tango E Walzer
8 II Rondo
9 III Variazioni

Het Brabants Orkest
Marc Soustrot, conductor
Recorded 1999

(Webplayer link)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

An amazing color photo of Franz Liszt plus Beethoven on his favorite instruments

A playlist of a remarkable series of Beethoven Symphonies transcribed by Franz Liszt, played on a 1837 Erard and 1867 Blüthner piano, two of Franz Liszt favorite piano’s. 

But first a photo of Franz Liszt a few months before his death in 1886, enhanced and colored by Brazilian computer wizard Marina Amaral. Franz Liszt has never come closer to me, suddenly he looks me in the eyes and the composer becomes a real *person*.

As a worthy complementary, the above mentioned series on authentic Liszt pianos. The series a received “good, with some reservation” review on Classics Today and Classical Net, and ravingly positive reviews on the Classical MusicGuardian and the Gramophone
Well, here for you to try… 
Hope you will enjoy it!

Ludwig van Beethoven, transcribed for piano by Franz Liszt 

Track 01-05 Symphony, S 464: no 6 in F major    
Track 06-09 Symphony, S 464: no 2 in D major    
Track 10-13 Symphony, S 464: no 7 in A major   
Track 14-17 Symphony, S 464: no 1 in C major    
Track 18-21 Symphony, S 464: no 3 in E flat major    
Track 22-25 Symphony, S 464: no 8 in F major    
Track 26-29 Symphony, S 464: no 4 in B flat major    
Track 30-33 Symphony, S 464: no 5 in C minor    
Track 34-37 Symphony, S 464: no 9 in D minor    

Yury Martynov, 
1837 Erard and 1867 Blüthner piano
(Webplayer link)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The best Christmas album ever on Spotify, Boston Pops Christmas Party

Ok, RCA Read Seal LSC 2329. *The* ultimate Christmas album. One of the best known albums, also by the Boston Pops Orchestra (more about them, here) and Arthur Fiedler. Not to many words now for this 1959 album, just enjoy the playlist ;-) For more detailed info (about soloists etc), click here

Track 01 A Christmas Festival
Track 02 White Christmas
Track 03 Sleigh Ride
Track 05 Winter Wonderland
Track 06 Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers
Track 07 Hansel And Gretel: Dream Pantomine
Track 08 Sleigh Ride
Track 09 The Nutcracker: Dance Of The Sugar-Plum Fairy
Track 10 Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Track 11 Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town
(Webplayer link)

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Beethoven Between the Boobs, the infamous Daniel Barenboim Westminister gold series LP

Dutch NPR radio 4 initiated a “vinylweek” november 25th till december 1st 2017. Classical music recordings, not yet on Spotify or CD, bargain finds for an euro and of course the cover art of classical LP’s. 

One of the most (in)famous classical music covers -and therefore very much sought after!!- is the 1970 re-issue of Daniel Barenboim’s performance of Beethoven’s 3rd piano concerto. The cover is known as the “Beethoven between the boobs” cover (see below the Spotify widget on this page)

The cover was designed by Christopher Whorf for the Westminister Gold series. Originally, the cover of the 1965 Lp was quite traditional, as can be seen here. Whorf managed to make it one of the most whimsical and silly coves ever to be produced on the classical market…

Interesting to know that Christopher Whorf actually did make magnificent record covers, as he has been nominated four times for a Grammy award for best sleeve design, and won the Grammy in 1974, for his design of Mason Proffit’s “Come and gone”. 

But, most interestingly, almost no one seem to know the music on this LP, a 22 year old Daniel Barenboim on the brink of an international break-trough. So, here is the chance, thanks to a fine transfer by Deutsche Grammophon (who bought te tapes of the Westminister label), to hear the performance on of the most infamous LP’s in classical music history. 


Ludwig van Beethoven 

Track 01-03 Concerto For Piano And Orchestra In no 3 C Minor, Op. 37
Track 04 Fantasia For Piano, Chorus And Orchestra, Op. 80

Daniel Barenboim, Piano
Vienna State opera orchestra
Laszlo Somogyi, conductor
Vienna Academy Chamber Choir
Recorded in Mozart Hall, Vienna, May 1964

(Spotify Webplayer link)

The Christoper Whorf design...

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Another Milstein on the violin… Maria Milstein

This recital stupefied me. I started with the Saint-Saens sonata (track 5, try it yourself!) and immediately I wondered if this was an underrated masterpiece or that I witnessed a miraculous performance. After hearing the complete CD, I think it is the latter. Glorious tone, spectacular accuracy and thoughtful, electrifying performances. And no, she is NOT related to Nathan Milstein, but the granddaughter of Yakov (Yaakov) Milstein, musicologist, professor at the Moscow conservatory and lecturer of oa Bella Davidovich and Elisabeth Leonskaja…

The “theme” of recital CD seems to be music that is attached to Marcel Proust’s recherche du temps perdu, although it’s hard to find how and why that has been established. Nevermind, the playing is awesome, the program original. She is accompanied by her sister, Nathalia Milstein. 

As an extra, an older recording by Maria Milstein and cellist Noelle Weidmann in rarely performed 1910 work by Saint-Saens. 

Tracks 01-03 Gabriel Pierné - Sonate pour violon et piano en ré mineur opus 36 (1900)
Tracks 04 Reynaldo Hahn - À Chloris (1916)
Tracks 05-08 Camille Saint-Saëns - Sonate pour violon et piano n°1 en ré mineur opus 75 (1885)
Track 09 Reynaldo Hahn - 7 Chansons grises, no 5,  L’Heure Exquise (1887-90)
Tracks 10-12 Claude Debussy - Sonate pour violon et piano (1916-7)
Maria Milstein, violin
Nathalia Milstein, piano
Rec 2017 

Track 13 Camille Saint-Saëns: La muse et le poète violon, cello e Orchestre in mi minor, Op. 132 (1910)
Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège
Christian Arming
Noelle Weidmann (cello), Maria Milstein (violin)
Rec 2013
(Webplayer link)

Nathalia and Maria Milstein

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Nils Gade by Christopher Hogwood and Ronald Brautigam

How joyful it is to rediscover a splendid cd… In a Dutch Facebook group someone posted a link to the 5th symphony by the Danish composer Niels Gade, in the 19th century a prominent composer.  I liked the work, but remembered that I heard an even more splashing performance, years ago. A quick search through the review sites revealed the Chandos recording. And yes, Christopher Hogwood and pianist Ronald Brautigam really shine in this “symphony with piano obbligato”. Recommended! 
As a bonus, the first symphony by Gade is added, a symphony that Felix Mendelssohn adored… 

Reviews of this CD can be read on the websites of Classical Net, The Gramophone and Musicweb International.

Hope you wil enjoy it as much as I did…! 

Niels Gade (1817-1890) 

Track 01-04 Symphony No. 5 in D minor Op.25 (1852)
Ronald Brautigam, piano
Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Christopher Hogwood, conductor

Track 05-05 Symphony No. 1 in C minor Op.5 (1842) 
Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Christopher Hogwood, conductor
Rec: Danish Radio Concert Hall, Copenhagen, November 2001
(Spotify web player link)