Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Tudor 7188


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Les Préludes, Symphonic Poem after Lamartine (1848) [16:47]
Two Episodes after Lenau’s Faust: (before 1861): Procession by Night (otherwise known as The Night Ride) [15:19]
Dance at the Village Inn (Mephisto Waltz No. 1) [12:10]
Two Legends (1863): St Francis of Assisi’s sermon to the birds [12:17]; St Francis of Paola walking on water [8:42]
Rotterdam Philharmonisch Orkest/James Conlon
rec. Doelen, Rotterdam, November and December 1983
WARNER APEX 2564 66586-1 [65:28]

Experience Classicsonline



Les Préludes, probably Franz Liszt’s best-known and most popular symphonic poem has often been recorded. The score has a preface beginning – “What else is our life but a series of preludes to that unknown Hymn, the first and solemn note of which is intoned by Death? — Love is the glowing dawn of all existence; but what is the fate where the first delights of happiness are not interrupted by some storm ...” Lovers of Late Romanticism will revel in this unashamedly OTT indulgence – full of hedonistic sentimentality and thrills and what a towering climax. This Conlon reading is grand and imposing but rather underwhelming in its slower and quieter stretches. That said, the Rotterdam Orchestra’s playing, especially in its string section is quite luscious. For really edge-of-the-seat excitement, Karajan is hard to beat and the bargain Naxos reading of the Katowice Radio Orchestra impresses mightily too.

The atmospheric Two Episodes from Lenau’s Faust was inspired by the Austrian poet Lenau’s version of the Faust legend. Lenau was the pseudonym of Nikolaus Franz Niembsch a rather melancholy romantic. It is probably best to consider the two pieces in the chronological order of the story. In Lenau’s version Faust and Mephistopheles interrupt a wedding feast at an inn. Faust dances with the bride, seduces her and carries her off into the woods to spend her wedding night in wild debauchery. At the end, they are damned for eternity for their immorality. Above the ending, Liszt quotes Lenau’s last line – “and they drowned in an ocean of their lust”. Dance at the Village Inn (Mephisto Waltz No. 1) is much the better known of the two episodes. It has been recorded a number of times notably by Leopold Stokowski on a BBC mono issue - BBCL 4059-2 and by Fritz Reiner with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on RCA. Conlon’s version is crisp and thrilling and manically witty enough but it just falls short of Reiner’s tense and sexy reading. The Procession by Night is the much less well-known piece of the two. It is a beautiful nocturnal pastoral evocation with extraordinarily beautiful writing for strings and woodwinds. One can imagine the flight to the woods by the couple to the sounds of nature. It is intense and passionate too with a hint of supernatural menace and church bells. A note of piety serves as a contrast and perhaps as a warning. Conlon is on fine form here.

The most interesting work in this programme is Liszt’s Two Legends – worth acquiring this disc for them alone. They are among his less familiar works for orchestra. Some mystery continues to surround them. Those who know Liszt’s piano music will recognize them as orchestral versions of Liszt’s Two Legends for piano. At around the age of 50, Liszt suffered personal tragedy: two of his children died suddenly - Daniel at 20 and Blandine aged 27. He resigned his music director post at Weimar and found consolation in the Catholic Church. In 1861 he moved to Rome and in 1863 entered the Oratory of the Madonna del Rosario at Monte Mario. He took minor orders in the Church; he was known as Abbé Liszt. Much of Liszt’s music from this time onwards was based on religious themes. Not so well-known these days, these works include: oratorios and settings of the mass, requiem, psalms, and many other religious texts. Liszt composed these two pieces in the year he entered the Oratory. The Two Legends: St. Francis of Assisi: Sermon to the Birds and St. Francis of Paola Walking on the Waves, were inspired by events in the life of St. Francis of Assisi: The music exists in two versions - one for orchestra, the other for piano. It is not certain which came first.

The composer claimed that the first Legend, St Francis of Assisi’s sermon to the birds was inspired by a passage from the Little Flowers of St. Francis: “He lifted up his eyes and saw the trees which stood by the wayside filled with a countless multitude of birds; at which he marvelled, and said to his companions: ‘Wait a little for me in the road, and I will go and preach to my little brothers the birds.’ And he went into the field, and began to preach to the birds that were on the ground; and forthwith those which were in the trees came around him, and not one moved during the whole sermon; nor would they fly away until the Saint had given them his blessing.” Liszt uses a small orchestra comprising strings, woodwind and harp to create an impression of this story; the instruments in high register full of trills, runs and grace notes suggesting the trilling and fluttering of the little birds. Conversely the ‘Sermon’ episode uses a deeper register to indicate the solemnity of St Francis’s message. A climax is reached in passionate piety.

The second legend, St Francis of Paola walking on water, is a briefer but more dramatic tone poem requiring quite a large brass section. It was inspired by the story of the Saint walking over the sea to cross the Straits of Messina by using his cape and rod to emulate a sailing boat. The piece begins quietly with a mounting noble theme for the Saint in octaves before the music swells even further to suggest the swirling and pitching and tossing of the waves. A huge chordal climax thunders out the opening theme.

The serene and gentle St Francis of Assisi’s sermon to the birds music, so evocative of the story is given an exquisite beatific reading by Conlon and he invests great dignity and fervour in his reading of St Francis of Paola walking on water.

The standard documentation for this Apex reissue is dismal. It is a mere four-page leaflet with just the works’ titles and no notes whatsoever.

Good performances but in the case of Les Préludes there is major competition around – even at budget prices. However this CD is worth investigating for the gem that is the Two Legends

Ian Lace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.