Sunday, December 29, 2013

Very authentic Beethoven on Spotify

Beethoven was a revolutionary composer. He composed music that searched the outer limits of instruments and musicians. In the 21st century, Ludwig van’s music is less of a challenge for professional symphony orchestra’s or Bechstein, Bösendorfer, Steinway and Fazoli players…

Luckily, there are a couple of recordings that give you a glimpse of the new and revolutionary in Beethoven’s works, where you hear that the instruments *had* to evolve, because the composers wanted more of them than they could give.

That feeling is what Alexander Lubimov gives on his recording of Beethoven’s „Waldstein” and „Moonlight” sonata. He uses a copy of an 1802 Erard pianoforte for this purpose and as Allmusic writes about this performance:

„Where one might expect power, smoothness, and a rich, rounded tone from a modern concert grand, the sound of this pianoforte is slightly muted in soft passages, clangorous at its loudest, and even a little buzzing in its overtones. Nowhere are these qualities more shocking than in the first movement of "Moonlight," where the music takes on a remote and antique quality, reminiscent perhaps of a cimbalom or harpsichord in certain notes”.

Finally, I picked the (in)famous recording of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony by Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations. Be prepared for a shock. Clanking drums and sharp attacks make this performance an auditive experience that makes this music sound fresh and exciting again…

Ludwig van Beethoven
-Piano sonata no 21 in C-major „Waldstein” op. 53
-Piano sonata no 14 in c sharp minor „quasi una fantasia” Moonlight sonata op. 27 no. 2
Alexander Lubimov, 1802 Erard (copy)
-Symphony no 3 in E-flat major „Eroica” op. 55
Le Concert des Nations, Jordi Savall, conductor.

(HTTP link)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Bach advent cantata and baroque Christmas with Emma Kirkby on Spotify

We are not quite blessed with the survival of Advent cantata’s by Johann Sebastian Bach.
The music of BWV 71a, 186a are lost, 147a we only know because some of the music was re-used in the famous BWV 147 cantata (for a completely different feast in July!) and BWV 141 was actually written by Georg Philip Telemann… Fortunately, the cantata that was written for the 4th Sunday in Advent and had it’s world premiere on December 22 1715, exactly 298 years ago…!
Combined it with a very fine Chrismas CD from Emma Kirkby. Besides two Chrstmas cantatas form Alessandro Scarlatti (yes, daddy of…) she sings a reconstructed aria from BWV 147a.
Hope you enjoy the music!

Johann Sebastian Bach, Cantata „Bereitet die Wege bereitet die 
Bahn” BWV 132 (1st performance: December 22, 1715 - Weimar)

Ingrid Schmithüsen, soprano 
Yoshikazu Mera, Counter-tenor:
Makoto Sakurada, tenor
Peter Kooy, bass
Bach Collegium Japan,
Masaaki Suzuki, conductor
(recorded 1997)

Philipp Friedrich Böddecker - Natus est Jesus (1651)
Alessandro Scarlatti - Non Sò Qual Più M'ingombra (1716)
Johann Pachelbel - Cannon & Gigue
Johann Sebastian Bach - Offne Dich Mein Ganzes Herze from BWV 61
Air from 3nd suite
Bereite Dir, Jesu noch ist so die Bahn from BWV 147a
Alessandro Scarlatti - O Di Betlemme, Altera Poverta Venturosa
Arcangelo Corelli - Concerto Grosso In G Minor, Op. 6 No. 8 ('Fatto Per La Notte Natale’, published 1714, one year after Corelli’s death)

Emma Kirkby, soprano
London Baroque
Charles Medlam, conductor

(recorded 2000)
(HTTP link)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Rise of the North Italian Violin Concerto: 1690-1740 - La Serenissima on Spotify

Here is a sexy project with the most un-sexy name possible:
"The rise of the North Italian violin concerto"...

Perhaps it's because the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded the research Adrian Chandler, leader of Baroque period group La Serenissima, to investigate the origins of the 18th century violin in the Northern cities of Italy. Especially with the change in violin making around Cremona in that period (Amati, Stradivarius, Guarneri) in mind.

Nevermind the rather academic title of this series, this is awesome music making, with an interesting selection of 17th and 18th century concerto's for violin and violin accompanied vocal works.
I've put all 3 CD's of this series in one playlist, which makes almost 4 hours of listening pleasure...

Works played:

Navara: Sinfonia/Sonata à 5 in C
Anonymus: Laudate pueri Dominum à voce sola et 5 strumenti, RV Anh 30
Mhairi Lawson (soprano)
Legrenzi: 3 Balletti e Correnti à 5 from Op 16
Navara: Sinfonia/Sonata à 5 in a
Albinoni: Concerto Op. 2 No. 8 for 2 violins, 2 violas, cello & continuo in G major
Valentini: Concerto XI à 6 con quattro violini obligati in a, Op 7
Vivaldi: Concerto, Op. 3 No. 3 'Con Violino Solo obligato', RV 310
Concerto, Op. 3 No. 10 'Con quattro Violini e Violoncello obligato', RV 580
Concerto for violin, strings & continuo in Bb, RV370
Arias for soprano, strings & continuo from La costanza trionfante degl’amori e de gl’odii, RV706
Mhairi Lawson (soprano)
Concerto for violin, 2 violoncellos, strings & continuo in C, RV561
Concerto for strings in E minor, RV 134
Concerto senza cantin for violin, strings & continuo in D minor, RV243
Arias for soprano, strings & continuo from La fida ninfa, RV714 Mhairi Lawson (soprano)
Concerto for violin, strings & continuo in Eb, RV254
Locatelli: Concerto da chiesa in C, Op. 4, No. 11 Concerto in F major Op. 4 No. 12
Sammartini, G B: Concerto à più stromenti for 2 violins, 2 oboes, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, strings & continuo in Eb, J73
Tartini: Violin Concerto in Bb major, D117
Vivaldi: Concerto for Multiple Instruments in F RV569
Concerto for violin, 2 oboes, bassoon, 2 horns, timpani, strings & continuo in D, RV 562a

La Serenissima: Adrian Chandler (violin, director); Sarah Moffatt, Simon Kodurand, Jane Gordon, George Crawford, Emilia Benjamin (violin); Peter Collyer (alto viola); Alfonso Leal, Katherine McGillivray (tenor viola); Gareth Deats (violoncello); Peter McCarthy (double bass); Eligio Quinteiro (theorbo, baroque guitar); Robert Howarth (harpsichord, organ)
Recorded 2005 & 2006
(HTTP link)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Menahem Pressler goes solo again...

Before he formed the Beaux Arts trio in 1955, pianist Menahem Pressler had a solo and concerto career. Between 1950 and 1953, he recorded many LP’s for the American MGM label and one of them is Mendelssohn’s first piano concerto in g minor, opus 25. Conductor was the man who is more famous for the conductors he moulded, lectured and formed, than for his own conducting; Hans Swarowsky.
Oa. His pupils were (hold your breath): Claudio Abbado, Albert Rosen, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Bruno Weil, Mariss Jansons, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Zubin Mehta… The recording was issued in Europe on the subscription label Concert Hall MMS (see picture below)

Sixty(!) years later the now almost (december) 90 year old Pressler renews his solo career with two brand new CD’s on the BIS (sadly not on Spotify yet) and „La Dolce Volta” label. 
From that last CD I picked the six Beethoven Bagatelles from op. 126.
Hope you will enjoy them!

Mendelssohn: Piano concerto in g minor op. 25
Menahem Pressler, Piano
"Vienna opera orchestra"
Hans Swarowski, conductor
Beethoven: Six Bagatelles op. 126
Menahem Pressler, Piano
(HTTP link) 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Serendipity Mozart on Spotify; Miami String Quartet plays KV 387

Serendipity find… While searching for the much praised Miami String Quartet recording of Saint-Saens and Faure quartets (unfortunately not on Spotify yet), I found this unaffected „let-the-music-speak-for-itself” version of Mozart’s G major quartet KV 387. Perfect evening music!
Hope you will like this performance too…

Mozart: Sting Quartet no 14 in G Major, KV 387
Miami String Quartet
(HTTP link)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Classical Christmas music kick-off on Spotify....

Here is the kick-off for the classical Christmas period, with two recordings that hopefully will outshine Wham and Slade in your living room (pretentious elitist classical prick that I am :-)

-l'Enfance du Christ by Hector Berlioz (1850)

Anthony Rolfe-Johnson (Récitant), Anne Sofie von Otter (La Vierge Marie), Gilles Cachemaille (Joseph), José van Dam (Hérode), Jules Bastin (Le Père de Famille),
Monetverdi Choir,
Orchestre de l'Opera de Lyon, conducted by John Eliot Gardiner.
Recorded 1988

A 1970 Deutsche Grammophon recording of German and French (Adolphe Adam!) Christmas songs;
and a fine 1988 Erato recording of Hector Berlioz’s Christmas oratorio L’Enfance du Christ.

-Schlaf wohl, du Himmelsknabe du, by Daniel Schubart (1786)
-Weihnachtslied "Es senkt sich hehr und leise", WoO 73 by Carl Reinecke (1880)
-Minuit, Chrétiens "O holy night" by Adolphe Adam (1847)
-Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248: no 59, Ich steh an deiner krippen hier by Johann Sebastian Bach (1734-1735)
-Ich steh' an deiner Krippen hier, BWV 469, by Johann Sebastian Bach (1736)
-An das Christkind "Nun zieht mit seinem hellen Schein," EHWV 131 by Engelbert Humperdinck (1905)
-Sacred Songs (12), Op. 137: no 3, Uns ist geboren ein Kindelein by Max Reger (1914)
-Sacred Songs (12), Op. 137: no 10, Christkindleins Wiegenlied by Max Reger (1914)
-Neue Kinderlieder (5), Op. 142: no 3, Maria am Rosenstrausch by Max Reger (1915)
-Marien Kind im stalle, by Armin Knab  (around 1910)
-Krippenlieder, Op. 49: no 3, O Seht das liebe Kind, by Joseph Haas (around 1920)
-Vater unser (9), Op. 2: Zu uns komme dein Reich, by Peter Cornelius (1853/5)
-Euch ist heute der Heiland geboren, by Hermann Reutter (1955)
-Geistliche Gesänge (10), Op. 22, Book 1: no 3, Der Hirten Lied am Krippelein, by Carl Loewe (1828)

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Baritone
Jörg Demus, Piano.
Recorded 1970

Spotify player below:
Http link above… :-)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Tribute to Tatiana Tchekina

Yesterday I heard the sad news that pianist Tatiana Tchekina had died in a car crash. Her husband an music partner violinist Oleh Krysa, survived the crash with minor, physical, injuries…

They recorded several, preliminary 20th century, works together, of which I have made this small selection:

Erwin Schulhoff: Allegro Impetuoso
Erwin Schulhoff: Violin sonata op. 7
Karol Szymanowski: Three Caprices of Paganini (20, 21, 24) op. 40
Alfred Schnittke: Trio for violin, cello and Piano (with Torleif Thedéen on cello)

Spotify HTTP Link:
(fifty-five minutes)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Spotify music player and Boris Gilburg

Here it is. It’s big, it’s bold, it’s ugly, but it’s also functional,
the Spotify music player…

Let’s be frank, I don’t like this massive design. In my original post’s I only used Spotify HTTP links and thought that was sufficient, but eating my own dogfood I noticed that these links did not always work smoothy. So, from now on I’m going to use the Double Dutch approach and give you both the HTTP link and Spotify widget to share music.

Like this new recording of 2013 Queen Elisabeth competition winner Boris Giltburg. This pianist already had put out some fine CD’s, but the new one surpasses them al in the core (Rachmaninov, Liszt) and not-so-core (Grieg) repertoire. Giltburg dashes through:

Rachmaninov - Piano sonata no 2 in b-flat minor op 36 (1931 revision)
Grieg - Piano sonata in e minor op 7
Liszt - Piano sonata in B minor.

on the new „Orchid classics” label.

For the people who want the HTTP link, here is is:
(one hour twelve minutes dashing piano playing)

And hope you will like Giltburg's playing too! :-)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Forgotten CDs Shanghai Quartet and Chung Trio

There have been *so* many fine CD’s been produced the last three decades, and still so many *are* being produced, it’s logical older CD’s tend to be a bit forgotten. Like these two CD’s from 1994 and 1995 respectively.
The Shanghai quartet finest CD was the Delos recording with the a minor quartet of Mendelssohn and a very fine performance of the only finished quartet by Edward Grieg, the g minor quartet op 27.
It pairs well with a CD from an other Asian based chamber music ensemble, the Chung trio.
Featuring star violinist Kyung-wha, pianist/conductor Myung-whun and cellist Myung-wha, they rarely perform together, but when they do, they make a first class ensemble. The CD contains the first piano trio’s by Mendelssohn and Brahms, the latter in the composer’s later reworking.
Enjoy them again! :-)

                          (two hours and eight minutes chamber music on the highest level…)