Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Young, snobbish classical loiterers

Found this cartoon and had a good laugh…

(Click for larger image)

Well, it is horrible to hear Beethoven over a pair of crappy Tanoy speakers outside, but what do young snobbish classical loiterers listen to? To op 101, the sophisticated A-Major sonate by Richard Goode? The highlight of his complete sonatas set! 

Or the ultimate vintage vinyl of the 1944 Furtwangler Eroica on Urania? One of the holy grails for classical collectors. Issued in 1953, but drawn from the market when Furtwangler found out this radio recording was issued without his consent. One of the most intense Eroica’s ever produced. 

Maybe they go for one of the finest recent Beethoven 4th piano concerto recordings, Pierre-Laurent Aimard with “the father of all Hipsters” Nikolaus Harnoncourt? 

You tell me! :-)

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1828)

Tracks 01-03 Piano sonata no 28 in A-Major op 101. 
Richard Goode, piano

Tracks 04-07 Symphony No.3 E-flat major
Wilhelm Furtwängler and Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
December 1944, Musikverin Saal, Vienna

Tracks 08-10 Concerto for Piano no 4 in G major, Op. 58 
Pierre-Laurent Aimard 
Chamber Orchestra of Europe,
Nikolaus Harnoncourt, conductor
(Webplayer link)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

You want to hear organ music on the Dutch radio? Well, forget it, buy a CD...!!

It was around 2004 when one of the most anti-radio verdicts was stated by then Avro program manager Ad ’s-Gravesande. After banning organ music from the classical PBS station radio 4 he was asked where organ lovers should go to after the ban he replied: “let them buy a CD” …

Weird, because “Dutch organ culture” was the winner of a public query in the search of the penultimate Dutch music culture. I remembered this ban, just after I heard one of the finest organ players of the Netherlands, Piet Kee, had died at the age of 90, last week

In the 1990’s he recorded a couple of splendid organ CD’s for the Chandos Chaconne label. The one I always liked best was the one with the 1743/1750 Weingarten organ. An organ filled with myths, stories and unique stops, as can be heard in the last two tracks of this CD. 

As a tribute to Piet Kee, this playlist:

Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)

1. Ciacona d-moll
2. Präludium d-moll
3. Fantasie g-moll
4. Ciacona f-moll

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

5. Prelude in f-minor BWV 534
6. Fuge in f-minor BWV 534

Johann Gottfried Walther (1684-1748)

7. Jesu, meine Freude (Variationen)

Johann Michael Bach (1648-94)

8. In dulci jubilo

Nicolas Antoine Lebègue (1631-1702)

9. Les cloches

Franz Xaver Murschhauser (1663-1738)

10. Variations on Laßt uns das Kindlein wiegen

Piet Kee, Organ
(webplayer link)

Friday, June 8, 2018

The early days of the Marco Polo label

Belgian composer Charles Auguste de Bériot had a successful career, but a rather sad life. After difficulties getting his new style of violin playing accepted in the 1820’s, he enjoyed succes with his many violin concerto’s. He declined an offer to lecture in Paris, but started to teach in Brussels, where he founded the Belgian violin school, where his pupil Henri Vieuxtemps and Eugene Ysaye are the best known examples of. After a couple of years he lost his eyesight and became blind. His left arm was paralyzed and cut off (!) to relief him from the pain. Brrr….
Of his concerto’s, no 7 and no 9 are played most often, but I have a weak spot for no 8, composed in 1856. 

Anton Rubinstein (no relation to the pianist) was one of the most important Russian composers and pianists, according to the 19th century critics. Yet he was outshined by his pupil Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky. Both men had a rocky relationship, but always stayed in touch, or went to parties together, as this unique 1890 phonograph recording shows. Nope, not a hoax, in the house of Julius Block Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky can be heard speaking and whistling (!).
Anton Rubinstein’s last symphony, his Symphony no 6 was written in 1886. 

Alexander Borodin wrote his piano quintet in Italy, 1862, when his fiancee, the pianist Yekaterina Protopopova, was there for the recovery of a disease. The 28 year composer would meet with Balakirev soon after the couple returned and this fine quintet was the last work of his early period. 

Charles-Auguste de Bériot (1802-1870)
Tracks 01-02 Violin Concerto No. 8 in D major, Op. 99 (1856)

Takako Nishizaki, violin
RTBF Symphony Orchestra; Alfred Walter; 
Rec: 14 to 19 July 1986;

Anton Rubinstein (1824- 1894)
Tracks 03-06 Symphony No. 6 in A Minor, Op. 111 (1886)

Philharmonic Hungarica
Gilbert Varga, conductor
Recorded in Marl, FRG from 16th to 18th July, 1986

Alexander Borodin (1833-1887)
Tracks 07-09 Quintet in C Minor for Two Violins, Viola, Cello and Piano (1862)
Ilona Prunyi, piano
New Budapest Quartet
Recorded 1991
(Webplayer link)