Friday, April 21, 2017

Big Orchestra Sound (and past Gramophone Award winners) on Spotify

“Let there be no doubt, Franz Schmidt’s Fourth (1933) is one of the finest of 20th-century symphonies”, the Gramophone magazine wrote about the last of the four symphonies by the Austrian composer Franz Schmidt (1874-1939). When I was I Czechoslovakia, in the early 1990’s, I discovered the symphony cycle by conductor L'udovít Rajter on the Opus label (cheaper than a bottle of milk) and was mesmerized by the music. The recording by Franz Welser-Most and the London Philharmonic orchestra is even better and received a Gramophone award in 1995. 

“I could go on, but this is the finest of the Tennstedt cycle and one of the superlative Mahler performances on record.” said  the Gramophone magazine in 1987 about this CD. The recording by Tennstedt won also the Gramophone award that year. After the initial praise, the recording seems to be a bit forgotten. A fine rediscovery on Spotify. 

Hope you will enjoy these works as well! 

Franz Schmidt (1874-1939)
Track 01-04 Symphony no 4 in C major (1932-3)
Track 05-11 Variations on a Husar song (1930-1)
London Symphony Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
Track 12-29 Symphony no 8 in Eb major, “Symphonie der Tausend” (1906-7)
Elizabeth Connell (Soprano I),
 Edith Wiens (Soprano II), 
Felicity Lott (Soprano), 
Trudeliese Schmidt (Alt I), 
Nadine Denize (Alt II), 
Richard Versalle (Tenor), J
orma Hynninen (Bariton), 
Hans Sotin (Bass), 
Tiffin School Boys' Choir, 
London Philharmonic Choir, 
David Hill (Organ), 
London Philharmonic Orchestra, 
Klaus Tennstedt, conductor

(Webplayer link)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Gorgeous Baroque music recording by Jordi Savall on Spotify

So you want to have a bit of Baroque in exemplary performances? 
Well, here are 78 minutes of pure joy. I stumbled on the Teleman Viola da Gamba suite and was hooked. Later, I read the Classics Today, Gramophone magazine, Musica dei Dominum and Fanfare reviews and it seemed I was not alone in my praise for this recording.

Hope you will like it too! Enjoy :-)

Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713).
Track 01-06 Concerto Grosso in D major opus 6, no 4.

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767).
Track 07-13 Ouverture en suite in D majeur for Viola da Gamba, strings and continuo TWV 55: D6.
Jordi Savall, viola da gamba. 

Georg Philipp Telemann.
Track 14-17 Concerto in A minor TWV 52:a1 
Pierre Hamon, recorder. 
Jordi Savall, viola da gamba. 

Georg Philipp Telemann.
Track 18-24 Concerto Tafelmusik, Part 1: no 1, Overture for 2 Flutes, 2 Violins and Strings in E minor, TV 55

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764).
Track 25-30 Concerto Les Indes Galantes, Suites des Airs à Jouer.

Le Concert des Nations 
Jordi Savall, conductor

(Webplayer link)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Alexander Glazunov on Spotify

Alexander Glazunov is known for many things: First, he was one of the most gifted musical prodigies in history, comparable to Korngold and Mendelssohn-Bartoldy. Glazunov started relatively late at the piano and composed his first piece at the age of 13. But his development was so rapid, that one of his teachers, Rimsky-Korsakoff mentioned that he “not learned by the day, but by the hour". His first symphony was written at the age of 16. 
Second, Glazunov had one of the most amazing musical memories in history. Mozart could write Allegri’s 10 minute Miserere from memory, Glazunov is reported to write down a complete symphony from memory after just hearing it once. It came in handy when reconstructing Borodin’s Prince Igor after his death, Glazunov reconstructed it from memory, as the score was lost. 
Third, Glazunov was one of the most notorious drinkers in musical history. He ruined the premiere of Sergei Rachmaninov’s first symphony, sending Sergei in a depression for three years. Dimitri Shostakovich, like Nathan Milstein one of Glazunov’s pupils, remembered that during classes Glazunov always had a bottle of alcohol with him, zipping secretly once in a while.
But fourth, Glazunov composed some seriously fine music! 
In 1905 Glazunov became director of the St. Petersburg conservatory and composed his one and only violin concerto. For this occasion, he learned himself to play the violin in a couple of weeks. 

The 1959 recording by Erica Morini and Ferenc Fricsay is a real collectors item on vinyl, and one of the finest recordings I know of this piece. Proof of Alexander’s early mastery are the 5 novelettes for string quintet, written at the age of 16. It’s gathered on a recording by the fine arts quartet with the string quintet from 1891. A cd that I owned for years and made many rounds in my cd player. Glazunov composed two piano recordings of which I like the first the most. The form is somewhat original, two movements of which the last is a set of (very fine!) variations. The pianist is the winner of the 2003 Queen Elisabeth competition Severin von Eckardstein. 

Hope you will enjoy this playlist again!

Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936)
-Tracks 01-05 Concerto for violin and orchestra in a minor op 82 (1905)
Erica Morini, violin
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Ferenc Fricsay, conductor
Rec 1959

-Tracks 06-10 Five novelettes op 15 (1881)
-Tracks 11-14 String quintet in A major op 39 (1891)
Fine arts quartet 
Ralph Evans, violin
Efim Boico, violin
Yuri Gandelsman, viola
Wolfgang Laufer, cello
Nathaniel Rosen, (added) cello
Rec 2005

-Tracks 15-16 Concerto for Piano no 1 in F minor, Op. 92 (1910-11)
Severin von Eckardstein, piano
Belgian National Orchestra 
Walter Weller, conductor
Rec 2008
(Webplayer link)