Sunday, February 14, 2016

Antonio Salieri opera on Spotify - Better than Mozart?

To my surprise, the recovery of the lost collaboration by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri, the cantata “Per la ricuperata salute di Ofelia”, hardly made any world news. The cantata, mentioned in several sources and even with an own KV number, KV477a, was discovered in a library in Prague, as the Mozarteum announced January 19th of this year. 
In 1785 Antonio Salieri eclipsed Mozart as most popular opera composer in Vienna. His two act opera comica “La Grotta di Trofonio”, with the same soprano in the leading female role as KV477a, Nancy Storace, was the succes of the decade. 

What caught my eye was that present-day English newspaper the Spector called the opera “Better than Mozart”. But then again the Spectator says more silly things ;-) No, it may be not in the same league as Mozart, but it certainly is a very fine opera, that deserves more attention. 

Tim Ashley, from the Guardian wrote about this piece:
"Antonio Salieri, as everyone knows, was one of Mozart's great rivals and La Grotta di Trofonio, first performed in Vienna in 1785, has certain similarities to Cosi Fan Tutte, which was premiered five years later. Both operas deal with the sexual uncertainties of two sisters when faced with lovers who are in some sense transformed - in Salieri's case by the magician Trofonio, in whose eponymous grotto the two men magically exchange personalities." 

|in 2005 Christophe Rousset recorded the opera with a fine ensemble of voices and it gives us the opportunity to hear the drive and admirable feeling for orchestration Salieri had in this period.
Hope you will enjoy this opera as much as I did on Spotify…! 

Antonio Salieri  (1750-1825)
La Grotta di Trofonio (1785)
Dori: Marie Arnet, soprano; 
Ofelia: Raffaella Milanesi, soprano; 
Trofonio: Carlo Lepore, bass; 
Artemidoro: Nikolaï Schukoff, tenor; 
Aristone: Olivier Lallouette, baritone; 
Plistene: Tobias Rapp, tenor
Les Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset, conductor
(HTTP link)

Nancy Storace

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Hin damit - Paul Hindemith on Spotify

Hin damit! (Away with it) was a word pun that composer Paul Hindemith haters (prominent NAZI leaders systematically!) used against the music he composed. Hindemith has a reputation for composing dry and academic works, but as I tried some of the compositions in this fine list from Classical Net
the lyrical and soft side of Hindemith also became evident to me. 
But just start with the wonderful Viola sonata from 1919, what a fine and alluring work this is! 
Jane Atkins is a convincing advocate for this work.

Hope you will enjoy the playlist!

Paul Hindemith (1895-1963)

-Viola Sonata, Op. 11, No. 4:
Jane Atkins, Viola
Pamela Lidiard, piano
Rec 1991

-Symphony Mathis Der Maler
Berliner Philharmoniker,
Herbert von Karajan,
Rec 1961

Geraldine Walther, viola
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
Herbert Blomstedt
rec 1987

 -Here! coffin that slowly passes, from:
 When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd (Requiem for those we love), for mezzo-soprano, baritone, chorus & orchestra
Stephen Salters, Baritone
De Munt symphony orchestra,
Marc Soustrot, conductor
rec 1996 during the 1996 Queen Elisabeth competition

-Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber
New York Philharmonic Orchestra
Leonard Bernstein
Rec 1967

(HTTP link)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Jaap van Zweden on Spotify Part Two - The Dallas connection

Jaap does Dallas... 

To many peoples surprise, Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden will be the Chief Conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Questions were raised; is he up to the job? Will the orchestra members get along with him? Is he at home in contemporary repertoire? To start with the last question, maybe not in Dallas, where he conducts the Dallas Symphony orchestra, but he certainly is in the Netherlands, where he conducts many contemporary orchestra works. Check this archive page of the Dutch PBS Radio 4. (scroll below for the concert archive)
Is he up to the job? In an earlier blog page, I made a spotify list of Jaap van Zweden with a fine Bruckner 6 and a magnificent Mahler 5, but wondered if he could pull the same quality from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Not always, as Beethoven 5 and Mahler 6 were just nog my taste, but I did find some other recordings I would like to share that gave me confidence for his New York job. 
Sweeping opening chords and firery last movements in Beethoven 7, Willful winds and sweet toned strings in Tchaikovsky 5, from the same composer the Mozertiana suite (not so well known), first two movements bit underplayed but followed by glorious “Ave Verum” and big variations movements and as last on the playlist the most recent recording, a warm Dvorak 9. 

Hope you will enjoy the recordings selected below!

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1828)
-Symphony no 7 in A-Major op 92
Dallas Symphony Orchestra,
Jaap van Zweden, conductor
First recording of Jaap van Zweden with the Dallas Symphony orchestra, November 2007, Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, one year before his appointment as Chief conductor of that orchestra

Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
-Symphony no 5 in e-minor op 64
Dallas Symphony Orchestra,
Jaap van Zweden, conductor
Live January 2009 Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center

-Suite for Orchestra no 4 in G major, Op. 61 "Mozartiana" 
Dallas Symphony Orchestra,
Jaap van Zweden, conductor
Live September 2010 Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center

Antonin Dvorak (1941-1904)
-Symphony in e minor op 95 “from the new world” 
Dallas Symphony Orchestra,
Jaap van Zweden, conductor
Live January 2014 Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center
(HTTP link)