Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Das alte Jahr vergangen ist - last post of 2014 Samuel Scheidt Sacrae Cantiones on Spotify

Last day of the year. And I want to wish you all a happy new year! 
To finish the old year in style, I would like to be the last Spotifytrack on this page to be:
„Das alte Jahr vergangen ist” (the old year is over, freely translated :-) by a composer from the early 17th century, Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654). A German composer who studied with Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck in Amsterdam and who introduced the new, more homophonic choir style of the Italian renaissance in the Northern Countries. 
Really an excellent performance by Belgian ensemble Vox Luminis, of which the Gramophone magazine wrote: 'Vox Luminis' is already an ensemble of the finest calibre; their intonation, tuning and declamatory sensitivity for words are deeply impressive, and the consort singing always shows a keen affinity for emotive harmonic twists.”

See you in 2015! 

Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654), Sacrae Cantiones (published 1620)
Surrexit Christus hodie 
Richte mich Gott 
Sende dein Licht und deine Wahreit 
Ist nicht Ephraim mein teurer Sohn 
Lobet im Himmel den Herren  
Vater unser im Himmelreich  
Jauchzet Gott, alle Land  
Puer natus in Bethlehem  
Das alte Jahr vergangen ist

Sara Jäggi & Zsuzsi Tóth, sopranos
Helen Cassano, mezzo-soprano
Paulin Bündgen & Jan Kullmann, counter-tenors
Robert Buckland, Philippe Froeliger & Satoshi Mizukoshi, tenors
Bertrand Delvaux & Lionel Meunier, basses

Masato Suzuki, organ
Ricardo Rodríguez Miranda, viola da gamba
Benny Aghassi & Alain de Rijckere, bassoon
Conductor: Lionel Meunier
(HTTP link)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christof Graupner Ein Weihnachtsoratorium a Christmas oratorio on Spotify

Christof Graupner is remembered these days primarily because he was the second choice in getting the job for Thomaskantor in Leipzig in 1723. First choice Telemann used the offer to get better conditions and salary in Hamburg, and Graupner would have loved to fill the application if it weren't for his old boss, who would not let him go. The job then went to one JS Bach... In his day Graupner was a very well respected composer, who's legacy was a cause for many legal battles. therefore virtually nothing was issued of his music after his death. Odd enough, it's also the reason why almost all of his music is preserved. 

Thanks to a suggestion from the Classical Music Guide forum (yes classical music forums still exist :-) I was pointed at this CD. It’s not „really” one work, but a collection of 9 cantata’s by Graupner through different time periods. But how great to have heard them!
Sample for instance "Jauchzet ihr Himmel, erfreue dich Erde” for 1st Christmas day, if you have Jauchzet Frolocket enough, this is a fine substitute ! :-)

Hope you will enjoy these works! 

Christoph Graupner (1683-1760) „Ein Weihnachtsoratorium” 

"Die Nacht ist vergangen" GWV 1101 / 22; (1st advent)
"Heulet, denn des Herrn Tag ist nah" GWV 1102 / 26; (2nd advent)
"Wer da glaubet, dass Jesus sei der Christ" GWV 1103 / 40; (3rd advent)
"Tut Busse und lasse sich ein jeglicher taufen" GWV 1104 / 34; (4th advent)
"Wie bald hast Du gelitten" GWV 1109 / 14; (Feast of the circumcision)
"Jauchzet ihr Himmel, erfreue dich Erde" GWV 1105 / 53; (1st Christmas day)
"Sie eifern um Gott" GWV 1106 / 46; (2nd Christmas day)
"Gott sei uns gnädig" GWV 1109 / 41; (New Year)
"Merk auf, mein Herz" GWV1111 / 44 (For January 6th)
Amaryllis Dieltiens, Soprano
Elisabeth Scholl, Soprano
Lothar Blum, Tenor
Reinoud van Mechelen, Tenor
Stefan Geyer, bass
Ex Tempore, 
Mannheimer Hofkapelle,
Florian Heyerick, conductor
(HTTP link)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Baroque Christmas on Spotify Classical

The Ultimate Baroque Christmas playlist! :-)

For me, one of the penultima Christmas concerto’s is the F major concerto by Johan Christoph Pez  (1664-1716). Unique about this concerto is, that it was not originally intended for a church service, but for a „Christmas music at home” play, with shepherds and shepherdess in an arcadian and rather erotic mode…
Arcangelo Corelli’s (1653-1713) groundbreaking Christmas  concerto in g-minor was composed for Christmas night (“Fatto per la notte di Natale“). Corelli probably wrote this concerto in 1690 for the young Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni and was played at a special service at Christmas eve. The performance by the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra under Nicholas Mc Gegan is swift and fresh, completely ripped of the grave undertones normally connected to this piece. 
Finally, a fine Christmas concerto from Torelli pupil Francesco Manfredini (1684-1762) in C major, probably written around 1718, “per il Santissimo Natale” and probably written for a service at Christmas eve concludes the playlist.
I hope you will enjoy the music, and I with you a Merry Christmas!

Johan Christoph Pez  (1664-1716): Concerto Pastorale in F-Major for 2 recorders, violin, 2 celli and Basso Continuo. 
Günther Höller, Manfred Peters, recorders
Collegium Aureum (on authentic instruments)
Fransjozef Maier, conductor

Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) Concerto Grosso in g-minor “Fatto per la notte di Natale“ op 6 no 8
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (on authentic instruments)
Nicholas Mc Gegan, conductor

Francesco Manfredini (1684-1762) Concerto in C Major “per il Santissimo Natale” op 3 no 12
Il Gardino Armonico (on authentic instruments)
(HTTP link)


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Jaap van Zweden on Spotify

A fine and critically acclaimed Bruckner 6, superb partnership in Beethoven’s Spring sonata, a we-have-to-get-in-to-it-but-then-sparkle Brahms horn-trio and a Magnificent Mahler 5 is what we have for you, this time. Central figure in these performances is Violinist and Conductor Jaap van Zweden.

He started his career with a remarkable step; in 1979, at the age of 19, he became the youngest concertmaster ever of the Concertgebouworchestra. While performing this function, he also maintained a soloist and chamber music career. In 1986, van Zweden put his first outings as a conductor on record which *in short* led him to his present day partnership with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

The Arts desk wrote about the performance of the Brucker 6 recording:
Listen to this disc several times and you’ll fall in love with this symphony…
Seconded. this is a fine version of Bruckner’s most accessible symphony. 

Ronald Brautigam is now a renown fortepiano player, but don’t forget he’s an excellent „modern” pianist as well. His 1980’s partnership with Jaap van Zweden is shown here in a recording of Beethoven’s Spring sonata, where the joy of playing chamber music together jumps out of every page the play. 

Jacob Slagter was the principle horn player of the Concertgebouworchestra from 1985 till 2007 and he joins in with van Zweden and Brautigam in Brahms’ horn trio. After a cautious start, the performance starts to shine at the end of the first movement, and really takes off in the Scherzo. 
They keep that energy till the end of the work…

Last but not least a magnificent live Mahler 5, recorded in the Royal festival hall, 2008. An outstanding Mahler Fifth in a field crowded with great ones!

Anton Bruckner - Symphony no 6 in A major.
Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra, Jaap van Zweden, conductor.

Ludwig van Beethoven - Sonata for piano and violin no 5 in F major „Spring”
Jaap van Zweden, violin
Ronald Brautigam, piano

Johannes Brahms - Horn trio in  op. 40
Jacob Slagter, Horn
Jaap van Zweden, violin
Ronald Brautigam, piano

Gustav Mahler - Symphony no 5 in c# minor
London Philharmonic orchestra, Jaap van Zweden, conductor
Live 2008
(HTTP link)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Kamerkoor Jip Camber Choir concert spotify

Last weekend, Dutch chamber choir JIP gave a concert in Amsterdam and Utrecht. As I don't have too much choral music on this blog, I thought it was a nice idea to re-create that concert on Spotify. The two Dutch items are not on the list alas (although youtube has the Shakespeare Sonnet 43 by Jurriaan Andriessen, yes, brother òf...), but the rest is there, and makes a fine playlist :-)

Ralph Vaughan Williams – Come away, death
Ralph Vaughan Williams – Silence and Music 
Quink vocal ensemble
Hubert Parry – Music, when soft voices die
Canzonetta Chamber Choir, Jeffry Wynn Davies
Camille Saint-Saëns – Calme des nuits Op. 68 no. 1
Camille Saint-Saëns – Les fleurs et les arbres Op. 68 no. 2
Monteverdi Choir, John Elliot Gardiner
Johannes Brahms – Fünf gesänge Op. 104
Capella Amsterdam, Daniel Reuss
Charles.V. Stanford – Blue Bird
Choir of new College Oxford, Edward Higginbottom
Edward Elgar – My love dwelt in a Northern land
Musica Intima
(HTTP link)
JIP Chamber Choir

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Johann Franz Xavier Sterkel Muziekdragerij Spotify

Guilt. As said earlier, you have those feelings sometimes… Especially when you walk into such a nice environment as „De Muziekdragerij”, Dordrecht, the Netherlands. If you ever come to visit the Netherlands, don’t *only go* to Amsterdam or Rotterdam; it’s cities like Leiden and Dordrecht are sò much more interesting, as many of our foreign friends endorse… 
But, guilt… The Muziekdragerij is one of those shops that once made your heart make a leap when you entered; music, posters, and a selection of CD’s that offered more than the Cecilia Bartoli-only-section… Early music, small labels, the-things-you-loved-on-the-big-labels, to cut short, the classical CD shop you always wanted. And then came Spotify. 
Availability over quality, no info over well written booklets *well, most of the time, that is*, cold hearted delivery over a fine conversation in a nice environment, but accessible with a mouse click and horn of plenty abundance in music choice. 
Yes, ladies and gentleman, guilt… 
Luckily, the Muziekdragerij has a nice selection of vintage vinyl and the early stereo Supraphon’s want to make me come back for more exploration. And I hope with this story I will have cultivated enough interest to make you come to the Voorstraat’s finest shop. Then why the guilt? The Muziekdragerij also has a Facebook page, and on that I read about this wonderful new Deutsche Harmonia Mundi CD, with a composer, early music band and conductor I never heard of.
And I enjoyed it. 
On Spotify… 

Johann Franz Xavier Sterkel (1750-1817)
“Once you’ve heard Sterkel, you can understand Beethoven’s early works better,”  (Werner Ehhardt)
-Symphony no 1 in D-major op 35.1 (1800)
-Symphony no 2 in Bb-major op 35.2 (1800)
-Overture a grande orchestre.

L’Arte del Mondo
Werner Ehhardt, conductor
(HTTP link)

Muziekdragerij interior. Photo by Joop Schilp

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Wiener Symphoniker Karel Ancerl Dvorak 9 on Spotify

Arguably the best recording the Wiener Symphoniker - nope,  it’s not the better known Philharmoniker...! - ever made was the 9th symphony of Antonin Dvorak with Karl Ancerl as conductor. Recorded in the „Grosser saal” of the Vienna Musikverein, February 1958, it was one of the first issues on the Fontana label, the budget label of Philips. Where later on Epic, Philips and Mercury records were re-issued on Fontana, this is one of the few recordings that immediately was released (and re- and- re and- re- issued) on LP. Odd enough, although this is a very fine interpretation of Dvorak’s „American” symphony, it never made it officially on CD, exempt for a Universal Japan (of course, I would say ;-) version. Could not find the LP on youtube either, so I was glad to find out the bibliothèque nationale de France had transferred their vinyl copy on Spotify (earning some nice extra income from this copyright free recording, I suppose) so I can share this performance with you. If you were to sample just one movement, try the third. The drive, the individual character of the soloist passages and the sheer joy of playing is awesome there. 
As an extra, there is the „Moldau” movement from Smetana’s Ma Vlast, which was also featured on the original Fontana issue.

Hope you will enjoy this performance!

Antonin Dvorak, Symphony no 9 in e minor, "from the new world"
Bedrich Smetana, Moldau movement from Ma Vlast suite
Wiener Symphoniker, Karel Ancerl, conductor
Recorded February 8-10 1958
(HTTP link)

(love the "9" posted over the original "5"... ;-)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Edison klassiek 2014 Spotify

Last week, the nominations for the Dutch Edison Awards (read all about the Awards here), were announced. I made a playlist of the nominees:
48 hours of music… 

Two CD’s were not on Spotify.

Hope you will enjoy the music!

(on playlist part 1)

-Steven Isserlis, Robert Levin (Beethoven – Complete Cello Sonatas) – Hyperion

(hyperion, so not on Spotify )

-Quatuor Ebene (Mendelssohn – Felix & Fanny) – Warner Classics

-Goeyvaerts String Trio (Pärt, Moody – Stabat Matar, Simeron) – Challenge Records International

-Arcadi Volodos (Mompou – Volodos plays Mompou) – Sony Classical

-Carolin Widmann (Feldman  – Violin and Orchestra) – Challenge Records International
Sadly, not on spotify, but here is a link about this recording on youtube:
-Patricia Kopatchinskaja (Prokofiev, Stravinsky – Violin concertos) – Harmonia Mundi


Solo Vocal:

-Matthias Goerne (Eisler – Ernste Gesänge) – Harmonia Mundi

-Jonas Kaufmann (Wagner – Wagner) – Universal Music

-Florian Boesch (Schubert – Die Schöne Mullerin) – Harmonia Mundi



-Sabine Devieilhe (Rameau – Le Grand Theatre de l’Amour) – Warner Classics
-Denis Kozhukhin (Prokofiev – The War Sonatas Nos. 6, 7 & 8) – Harmonia Mundi

-Igor Levit (Beethoven – The Late Piano Sonatas) – Sony Classical

-Budapest Festival Orchestra o.l.v. Ivan Fischer (Bruckner – Symphony no. 7) – Channel Classics

-Barbara Hannigan, Anssi Karttunen, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France o.l.v. Esa-Pekka Salonen (Dutileux – Correspondances) – Universal Music

-Budapest Festival Orchestra o.l.v. Ivan Fischer (Mahler – Symphony no. 5) – Channel Classics

(on playlist part 2)
-Monteverdi Choir o.l.v. John Eliot Gardiner (Philips, White, Tallis, e.a. – Vigilate!) – Harmonia Mundi

-Stile Antico (Div. composers – The Phoenix Rising) – Harmonia Mundi

-Conspirare o.l.v. Craig Hella Johnson (Gretchaninov, Kastalsky, e.a. – The Sacred Spirit of Russia) – Harmonia Mundi

-De Nationale Opera o.l.v. Marc Albrecht (Trojahn – Orest) – Challenge Records International

-Musicaeterna o.l.v. Teodor Currentzis (Mozart – Le Nozze di Figaro) – Sony Classical

-De Nationale Opera o.l.v. Marc Albrecht (Schreker – Der Schatzgräber) – Challenge Records International


(On playlist part 3)
-London Symphony Orchestra o.l.v. Sir Colin Davis (div. composers – Sir Colin Davis Anthology) – Challenge Records International

-Boulez – Oeuvres Completes – Universal Music

-Theo Olof, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, e.a.  (Kox, De Leeuw, Van Delden, e.a.– Theo Olof - Violinist) 

(HTTP Links)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Stephan Beneking on Spotify

A new feature on this blog, the introduction of a guest writer…! In this case the German composer and pianist Stephan Beneking. From his large collection of atmospherical piano pieces I selected a couple of personal favorites. Stephan has written comments about these piano pieces. Hope you will enjoy the selection…! Otterhouse Rolf

"Dance on icy waters" is a classical piano Trilogy composed in 2012. Part 1 describes a couple dancing on a freshly frozen lake. In part 2 the thin ice is cracking, but the couple still continues dancing on the icy water. In the final part "Don´t dance on icy Waters" the ice breaks, and the couple slowly drowns in the lake. Pianist Brad Hill, USA, combined the three pieces into a Suite, with a reprise of the 1st part at the end.

The series "Valses melancoliques" (composed in 2012) consists of 10 classical piano waltzes in melancholic style. It is my most successful piano series so far, many pianists all over the world have performed these pieces.
"Valse melancolique No. VIII - le desir eternel" won the 1st prize in the international Free-Scores Classical Piano contest 2013.

"Time" is the main theme of the series "A la recherche du temps perdu", inspired by the amazing book "In search of the lost time" by Marcel Proust.
We live in "fast times", we are "stressed", and we all are longing for the "temps perdu", when life was slower, more down tempo. So the pieces in this series, called after the chapter titles of Proust´s book, are very slow, very accentuated, very expressive.
Both listeners and pianists should take their time, to play and listen. In fact, I would like to encourage both listeners and pianists to appreciate these works as "a short break" from "normal times"...

The series "Valkyries" consists of 12 works in minor tonality, ranging from C minor to B minor; the pieces are very dramatic and mystical,  inspired by the mystic 12 "Valkyrie" figures in Northern mythology: a valkyrie (from Old Norse valkyrja "chooser of the slain") is one of a host of female figures who decide which soldiers die in battle and which live. Selecting among half of those who die in battle (the other half go to the goddess Freyja's afterlife field Fólkvangr), the valkyries bring their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, Valhalla, ruled over by the god Odin. There, the deceased warriors become einherjar. When the einherjar are not preparing for the events of Ragnarök, the valkyries bear them mead. Valkyries also appear as lovers of heroes and other mortals, where they are sometimes described as the daughters of royalty, sometimes accompanied by ravens, and sometimes connected to swans or horses. (Source: Wikipedia)
Stephan Beneking
(HTTP link)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Concert doelen Rotterdam: Hawijch Elders - Igor Gruppman

Sunday October 5th, 2014 there will be a concert by the Codarts Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Igor Gruppman, with 15 year old violin talent Hawijch Elders (following a long line of female violinists from the Netherlands such as Emmy Verheij, Isabella van Keulen, Simone Lamsma and Janine Jansen). The concert is played at the Doelen concert hall in Rotterdam, and starts at 16.00 hs. I’ve spotified the program of that afternoon, as much as possible with recordings of Chamber orchestras.
Enjoy the program…!

Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony nr.1 in C-major op 21
Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, conductor

Dimitri Sjostakovitsj/Rudolf Barshai - Chamber Symphony in F op.73a (arrangement of String quartet nr.3)
Tapiola Sinfonietta, Jean-Jaques Kantorow, conductor

Jean Sibelius - Valse triste
Chamber orchestra of Philadelphia, Randall Craig Fischer, conductor

Felix Mendelssohn - Violin concerto in d minor (1822, second version)
Isabella van Keulen, violin
Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Lev Markiz, conductor
(HTTP link)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Janacek intimate letters with Lada Valesova on Spotify

Lada Valesovà was an unknown name to me, but came my way via this tweet. That Dumka recording is not on spottily yet (hèllo Avie…!), but it made me listen to the cd below, called Intimate Letters.  Lada studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London, where she now lectures. In the past she won the admiration of artists like Georg Solti and Mstislav Rostropovich and performed @ Wigmore hall in London.
The first item from the Janáček „in the mist cycle” passed by with a gentle nod, but the second and third caught my attention. Active, crisp phrasing and a clear feeling for the idiom of this music. Second Janáček cycle on the recording is the posthumus „Intimate studies”, a collection of short pieces ranging from 1876 till 1928.

The remainder of the recording is filled by works of other Tsjech composers; the tragically short lives Pavel Haas (classy suite), Bohuslav Martinu (short hommages to popular culture) and the son-in-law of Antonin Dvorak, Josef Suk (hyper-romantic in the cycle „spring”), all played with panache and guts.

Hope you will enjoy this recording as well!

Leoš Janáček (1854 – 1928)
-In the Mist, piano cycle in four movements (1911/1912)
-Intimate Studies (1876/1928)
Pavel Haas (1899 – 1944)
-Suite for Piano Op. 13 (1935)
-Allegro moderato (1938)
Bohuslav Martinů (1890 – 1959)
-Film en Miniature H.148 (1925)
-Spring (1921)
Josef Suk (1874 – 1935)
-Spring, piano cycle in five movements (1902)

Lada Valešová - Piano
(HTTP link)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

RIP Christopher Hogwood...

RIP Christopher Hogwood.

For me, the man of this recording, complete Mozart Symphonies, first complete recording on authentic instruments...

Complete track list: -->Click Here <--
(Complete Symphonies of WA Mozart)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dordrecht Bach festival piano and violin sonatas BWV 1014 - BWV 1019

This week, the Bach festival Dordrecht started, with numerous concerts devoted to Johann Sebastian and his sons divided all over the beautiful 17th century inner city of Dordrecht, in the Netherlands. Numerous shops in the city participate in this festival, including Chocolate shop N’Joy, who produced a special set of chocolates for this festival (see picture below :-)

Not as populair as the solo sonatas and partitas for violin, are Bach’s sonatas for Harpsichord and violin. Not „violin and harpsichord” as two of the three voices are for harpsichord, and in fact these works are actually triosonatas-for-two-instruments.
That these works can also can be played on piano and violin, show pianist Enrico Pace and violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann, who recorded this fine set in 1995.


Johann Sebastian Bach
Sonata No. 1 in B minor, for violin and piano, BWV 1014
Sonata No. 2 in A major, for violin and piano, BWV 1015
Sonata No. 3 in E major, for violin and piano, BWV 1016
Sonata No. 4 in C minor, for violin and piano, BWV 1017
Sonata No. 5 in F minor, for violin and piano, BWV 1018
Sonata No. 6 in G major, for violin and piano, BWV 1019

Enrico Pace, Piano
Frank Peter Zimmermann, Violin
(HTTP link)
Bach Chocolates from N'Joy

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Early 20th century masterpieces on Spotify

Dutch Avro radio program „Licht op 4” (light at 4, four being the National classical music channel in the Netherlands) just completed „the week of the starting listener”. Aimed at the starting classical music lover, they played „easy” classical music (bits, of course :-) and with the audience made a Spotify play list (bits, of course :-) for those who wanted to hear the music again.  What I would love is that the Avro will take this up and will continue this concept with the „not so easy” playlist, or even the „this will acquire some hardship” playlist…  As a follow up for the easy list I made the „Ietwat Lastige Lijst”, (the somewhat difficult list), with early 20th century works by Mahler, Schönberg, Szymanowski and Prokofiev. Tho bits, and two complete pieces… 

One of my composition teachers, Henk Alkema, once told me that he heard the Adagio of Mahler’s 10th symphony played on his car stereo and he had to pull his car from the road, because he was so emotionally charged that he could not get himself driving safely with this music on the speakers… 

Schönberg’s small piano pieces op. 11, written in 1908 were the first compositions that had no tonal basics. Pianist/composer Ferrucio Busoni „reconstructed" the second of the three piano pieces, making it audible that however faint, some tonality could be found back in these piece again…

Karol Szymanowski was a Polish composer who around world war one made beautiful colorful compositions. His first violin concerto from 1916 almost seems to defy the fact a terrible war was going on.

One war later, Sergei Prokofiev actually did the opposite, and wrote a symphony with drum rolls and marches, very much a „war symphony” with overtones of a victory (premiere was in januari 1945) to come.

So, hope you will like this selection… :-)

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) Symphony no 10 in f#minor (1911 completed by Derreck Cooke in 1960)
Movement 1, Adagio
Berliner Philharmoniker, Sir Simon Rattle, conductor

Arnold Schönberg (1874-1951) Piano piece op. 11 no 2 (1908), arranged by Ferrucio Busoni (1910)
Daniel Barenboim, piano

Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) Violin concerto No 1 op. 35 (1916)
Nicola Benedetti, violin
London Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Harding, conductor.

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) Symphony no. 5 in Bb-Major op. 100
Los Angeles Philadelphia Orchestra, André Previn, conductor.
(HTTP link)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Franz Berwald Sixten Ehrling on Spotify

Studying musicology, one of the absolute joy’s of the Utrecht University was the library’s record collection. While CD’s already replaced LP as the core carrier of canned music, there were still a large amount of recordings that only could be found in the vinyl format. Browsing through the collection I found a Decca record with a composer and conductor never before heard of; 
„The Sinfonie Singulière (1845) composed by Franz Berwald (1796-1868), played by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sixten Ehrling”. Performance en composition amazed me. Was this a symphony from the 1840’s? Original and daring harmonies, structural novices and fines orchestration flowed through my headphones, and the rendition by Ehrling was superb. I tried to find to record on CD, but to my amazement it was not re-issued yet. Shortly after finding this record, the Gramophone magazine had a top 10 list of „LP’s that should be put on CD”, and guess what, this record peaked at no 1…
Finally not Decca, but a tiny label called „Bluebell” issued this LP on CD, and recently I was glad to find out they also made this record available on Spotify. Give this remarkable symphony a listen…!

Franz Berwald (1796-1868)

Symphony no 3 in C-Major, Sinfonie Singulière (1845)
Symphony no 4 in Eb-Major, Sinfonie Naïve (1845)

London Symphony Orchestra, Sixten Ehrling
(HTTP link)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Anna Clyne Night ferry and Mason Bates Alternative Energy on Spotify

„Modern music” is sometimes still applied for compositions of the 1960’s or 70’s… 
But what is really „modern” is the sense of music from *now*, this period, the 2010’s? 
A youtube video let me listen to this production; two young composers who are composers-in-residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and each got one of their works recorded by, no less, conductor Riccardo Muti.
The two works are very different. „Night Ferry” by Anna Clyne (b. 1980, London) is a well written 22 minute orchestral piece with literary references, that are not literally audible in the piece. She discusses the background of this composition in this excellent article. 
The „Alternative energy” by Mason Bates (b. 1977, Richmond) on the other hand is a *very* literal description of energy's recent history and future, spanning four movements and hundreds of years. Modern music gone Disney, was my first thought, but even if the first movement is Copland meets John Adams in the wrong era, the last two movements contains a well woven combination of electronics (mixed at Skywalker studio’s…!) and orchestra, that intrigue enough to give it an extra listen. More about the piece, here.

Anna Clyne (b. 1980) Night Ferry, for orchestra (2012)
Mason Bates (b. 1977) Alternative Energy, for orchestra and electronics (2011)

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Riccardo Muti, conductor
(HTTP link)

Anna Clyne & Mason Bates

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cor de Groot Beethoven piano concerto no 5 and others on Spotify

Together with Hans Henkemans, Cor de Groot was the finest Dutch pianist of the 1950’s.
Below is an article that appeared on now defunct Andante label, which could be traced back on

'Now that I have heard Cor de Groot, I can die in peace', Emil von Sauer is reported to have said after hearing de Groot in the final stages of the 1936 Vienna Piano Competition. The apparently effortless technical command and scrupulous attention to phrasing and sonority in the present performances are certainly indicative of a major artist. Although he built an impressive career after the Second World War, appearing in concert throughout the world as well as recording extensively for Philips, de Groot was forced to withdraw from the concert platform in 1959 due to a paralysis in his right hand attributable to what would later become identified as repetitive strain injury. His hand did subsequently recover and he made periodic radio appearances until 1989, one of which, an appropriately brooding and dark-hued performance of the Dohnányi F sharp minor Rhapsody, has already been released on APR and provides ample evidence of de Groot's undiminished powers. While out of action, he devoted his attention to composition, including works for the left hand alone - other composers, such as Jan Felderhof and Maurice Karkoff, also wrote pieces for the left hand with de Groot in mind - as well as teaching and working for the Dutch Broadcasting Corporation. In fact, he was instrumental in setting up a sound archive for the corporation, of which many of his own performances, along with those of Mengelberg, form a significant part.

Masculine performances, recorded by Philips in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in a timespan between 1950 and 1954. As a bonus, the famous live recording Cor de Groot made with Willem Mengelberg in Beethoven’s 5th piano concerto, this time with the Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Hope you will enjoy the performances! 

Ludwig van Beethoven:

Piano Concerto No.5 in Eb major Op.73
Hague Philharmonic Orchestra, Willem van Otterloo, Conductor
(rec. november 23, 1953 Concertgebouw, Amsterdam)

Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor Op.37
Piano Concerto No.1 in C major Op.15
Piano Concerto No.2 in Bb major Op.19
Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Willem van Otterloo, Conductor

Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor Op.31/2 Tempest
Piano Sonata No. 18 in Eb major Op.31/3

Piano Concerto No.4 in G major Op.58
Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Willem van Otterloo, Conductor
(rec between 1950 and 1954)

Piano Concerto No.5 in Eb major Op.73
Concertgebouwouworchestra, Willem Mengelberg, Conductor
Live Concertgebouw, May 9, 1942 
(HTTP link for four hours and eight minutes music...)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Emmy Verhey and the Beethoven violin sonatas on spotify

About ten years ago, I bought two live sets of violin sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven; one by the renown artist Anne-Sophie Mutter, and one by Dutch violinist Emmy Verhey, known in the Netherlands, but not so much outside the Low Countries. Mutter had a perfect intonation, soothing sounds and her fingers dazzled around the strings. Verhey obviously had more trouble with the material, struggling more with the demands than Mutter. But… where Mutter used the music to show off everything she had, ripping the music apart along the way, Verhey used the score to make *music*, something coherent and, in the end, a series of performance I want to come back to, opposed to the Anne-Sophie Mutter versions.

Recently, news came through that, at the age of 65, Emmy Verhey retires from stage, concentrating on education. I wish her the very best on this career and hope you will enjoy the Denon set of the Beethoven sonatas just as much as I did. As the first sonata is not an ideal place to start, I’ve put it at the bottom of the list. But it’s there… :-)
(HTTP link)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hyperion artists on Spotify Marc-Andre Hamelin

Hyperion has a strict policy on the availability of their recordings on youtube and spotify.


Which also means that some artists are not, or hard, to find on both these media platforms.
Maybe not the best idea if you want to promote yourself as an artist these days, but that’s the responsibility of Hyperion and the choice of the artists performing on that label. One of these artists that is under-represented on spotify is the Canadian piano virtuoso Marc-André Hamelin, who made some splendid recordings for Hyperion, ranging from Haydn to Busoni and even some fine compositions of his own. It’s interesting to see and hear earlier recordings on other (or live) labels on spotify.

To start with, a recording of Hamelin as a… harpsichordist! A somewhat forgotten but attractive piece of chamber music by the Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu. Then, a more recent, live, recording of Saint-Saens 5th piano-concerto, reflecting the composers travels through northern-Africa, and after that 1990’s recordings of composers he is closely connected to Hamelin, Liszt, Godowsky and Alkan.
Last items are recent live recordings again, Liszt’s Totentanz and Hamelin’s own arrangement of Bert Kaempfert’s song Strangers in the night. 
Hope you will enjoy this selection!

Bohuslav Martinu: Promenades for flute, violin and harpsichord H 274 (1939)
Recorded 1993

Camille Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 5 in F major, Op. 103 (1896)
Bochum Sinfoniker, Steven Sloane, conductor
Recorded live Klavier-Festival Ruhr 2007

Franz Liszt: Réminiscences de "Don Juan" de Mozart – Grande fantaisie S. 418 (1841)
Recorded 1991

Leopold Godowsky, studies after Chopin (1894–1914)
No. 7 in G♭ major after Op. 10 No. 5
No. 8 in C major after Op. 10 No. 5
No. 19 in D major after Op. 10 No. 10
No. 31 in A minor after Op. 25 No. 4
No. 45 in E major after Nouvelle étude No. 2
Recorded 1988 (Hamelin’s debut record)

Charles-Valentin Alkan: Concerto for piano solo (Nos. 8-10 from Douze Études dans tous les tons mineurs, Op. 39, 1857)

Franz Liszt: Totentanz - Paraphrase über "Dies irae", S.126 (1849-1859)
Bochum Sinfoniker, Steven Sloane, conductor
Recorded live Klavier-Festival Ruhr 2007

Bert Kaempfert: Strangers in the night (arr Hamelin)
Rarities of Piano Music at 'Schloss vor Husum' Festival 2011 - Live
(HTTP link)