DOWNLOAD NEWS 2016/3 By Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan
Reviews are by Brian Wilson unless otherwise stated
at the end of the review.
DL News 2016/2 is here
and the Index of earlier editions is here.
Im sorry to return to an old theme this month: the cost of downloads
relative to the equivalent CDs and SACDs. I really cannot believe that
providing a download costs more than producing the physical equivalent
but it often does come more expensively, even from the same provider.
Ive reviewed the Linn recording of Bach Violin Concertos, for
example, in 16-bit even though I had free press access to the 24-bit
because I believe the latter to be grossly over-priced at £18
from both Linn and Hyperion when the SACD can be found for around £12.75
or £11.50 as a special offer from one dealer.
Similarly theclassicalshop.net offer their own Chandos releases in studio-surround
sound for a whopping £19.99 when the equivalent SACD can usually
be found for much less usually £11.50 from Chandos themselves.
I appreciate that the cost of the blank discs, cases and booklets is
minimal for large quantities, but its not zero. Can the cost of
providing the download really be 66% greater?
I can see even less logic in another case: 7digital.com were offering
the Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky Piano Concertos in the new Warner recording
(below) when I checked for £8.99 in mp3, £9.03 in 24-bit
and £12.49 in 16-bit. It seems most illogical to charge considerably
more for 16-bit than for the superior-quality 24-bit. At least that
download comes with a booklet another recurring grumble in Download
News concerns those who dont but even the mp3 is more expensive
than the £8.50 being quoted for the CD by one dealer and £8.98
by another neither marked as a special limited offer at
the time of writing.
At first sight emusic.coms per-track charging policy £0.42
in the UK seems fair and it often means that a recording with
a few long tracks can be bought very inexpensively: several have featured
in DL News as bargains. On the other hand, a recording with many short
tracks can work out twice or even three times the price of the CD or
the download from another supplier, yet I often see such grossly expensive
offerings listed among in their most popular category, suggesting
that many buyers are not being at all savvy.
Hyperion offer a logical pricing policy for their own downloads: £8.99
for mp3 and 16-bit and £13.50 for 24-bit, with some shorter recordings
at £7.99 and £10.10 or £12.00 respectively. For other
labels they are presumably bound by the prices set by those labels,
varying from £5.99 (16-bit) and £9.00 (24-bit) for the recent
Signum release Only a singing Bird (SIGCD440) to the £18.00
for 24-bit Linn to which Ive referred.
BACH Violin Concertos_Linn
St Mark Passion_Rondeau BIBER etc. Music from the Minoritenkonvent manuscript_Muso_Pan
Classics BRITTEN, KORNGOLD Violin Concertos_Warner BRUHNS Organ Works (+ SCHEIDEMANN)_Dacapo
Cantatas_Harmonia Mundi BYRD 5-part Mass and modern works inspired by Byrd (Upheld
by Stillness)_Harmonia Mundi CACCINI, PERILi Due Orfei_Alpha
Il Giardino di Giulio Caccini_Alpha COOKE Symphonies 4 and 5_Lyrita DUTILLEUXLe Loup; La Fille du Diable, etc._BIS DVOŘÁK Overtures_Pentatone HANDELLa Resurrezione_Decca_Harmonia Mundi
Duetti e terzetti_Glossa HANSON Symphonies, etc._Mercury
Symphonies 4 and 5_Naxos HORKÝ Symphony No.3; Fateful Preludes_Supraphon JANÁČEK Glagolitic Mass, etc._Chandos KORNGOLD Violin Concerto see BRITTEN LALO Cello Concerto; Namouna_BIS
Piano Trios 1-3_Hyperion MENDELSSOHN Piano Trios 1 and 2_Resonus MOZART Piano Concertos Nos. I-III, 5 and 6_BIS PARRY Symphony No.1; From Death to Life_Nimbus
The Souls Ransom; The Lotos-Eaters; Blest pair of Sirens;
I was glad_Chandos PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No.2 (+ TCHAIKOVSKY)_Warner
Piano Concerto No.2; Piano Concerto No.5_Harmonia Mundi SCHEIDEMANN, BRUHNS Organ Works_Dacapo SCHOENBERG Chamber Symphonies_Dissonances SCHUBERT Symphony No.9_Signum SIBELIUSScaramouche_Naxos STRAUSS Family_Wiener Symphoniker TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No.1 (+ PROKOFIEV)_Warner VASKS String Quartets 2, 3 and 5_Wergo_Caprice VIVALDILEstro Armonico, Op.3_Chandos
Concertos Op.7 and Op.8_Brilliant Classics
The Seasons old and new_Signum WIDOR Organ Symphonies 5 and 6_Signum
Great European Organs Volume 95_Priory Narciso Yepes Complete Concerto Recordings_DG see Late
News Orford Six Pianos Volume 2_Atma Upheld by Stillness see BYRD
Appendix: contents of Decca Baroque Era Volume 1 (25 CDs)
Upheld by stillness: Renaissance gems and
their reflections Volume 1: Byrd
Philippe de MONTE (1521-1603)Super flumina Babylonis [4:46]
William BYRD (c.1540-1623)Quomodo cantabimus [7:02]
Mass for Five Voices [23:08] Roxanna PANUFNIK (b.1968) Kyrie after Byrd * [3:44] Francis POTT (b.1957) Laudate Dominum * [6:00] Alexander LESTRANGE (b.1974) Show me, deare Christ * [13:10]
Owain PARK (b.1993) Upheld by stillness * [6:54] Charlotte BRAY (b.1982)Agnus Dei * [4:40] William BYRDAve verum corpus [3:34] Roderick WILLIAMS (b.1965) Ave verum corpus re-imagined
* Work commissioned by ORA and world premiere recording
rec. St Albans, Holborn, London, 16-18 February 2015. DDD
Texts and translations included HARMONIA MUNDI HMW906102 [78:44] from eclassical.com
(mp3, 16 and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet)
Only those lovers of Byrd for whom mingling the old and new is anathema
can fail to be impressed by this new recording. Others should not hesitate.
I hope that this album succeeds as it deserves to do and look forward
with interest to the forthcoming sequels. Please see my full review.
Li Due Orfei Giulio CACCINI (1551-1618)
From Le nuove musiche (Florence 1602)
From Nuove musiche e nuova maniera di scriverle (Florence 1614);
British Library, MS Add. 30491.3 JACOPO PERI (1561-1633)
From Le varie musiche (Florence 1609)
Marc Mauillon (baritone); Angélique Mauillon (double harp)
rec. Polish Radio Witold Lutoslawski Concert Studio, Warsaw, 20-23 February
Texts and translations included. ALPHA A393 [57:12] – from Qobuz: stream
(for subscribers) or download
(16- and 24-bit lossless), with pdf booklet. Due for release on CD
on 18 March 2016.
and Peri vie for the honours of producing the first opera, both entitled
L’Euridice: one performed first, the other published first, but
this is not, as it might at first appear, a recording of those two works.
Rather it is a selection of the music for solo voice and accompaniment
which both composers – here billed as the ‘Orpheuses of their time’
– composed and, especially in the case of Caccini, sang.
It’s very enjoyable, even if it’s not what I was expecting and maybe
not what the title led you to believe. Marc Mauillon, listed in the
booklet simply as canto, has a wide-ranging and attractive baritone
voice, here used mainly in its upper tenor-like register. He’s accompanied
by his sister Angélique Mauillon on a harp strung in two rows, such
an instrument as is known to have been introduced from Spain to Italy
around 1600: one is specified in the score of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo
to represent the lyre of Orpheus.
To date I have been able to hear only the mp3 press preview but that’s
good enough to convince me that the finished article will sound fine.
The booklet contains some very helpful notes, including an explanation
of the title, chosen as a tribute to a founding text on renaissance
music: Nino Pirrotta’s Li due Orfei. Da Poliziano a Monteverdi,
1975, 1981, Giulio Einaudi editore spa, Torino.
one work by Caccini and other music by his contemporaries for voice
and double harp – plus theorbo in some pieces – on an attractive Resonus
recording La Lira di Orfeo (RES10124 – DL
On an earlier Alpha release Il Giardino di Giulio Caccini offers
a programme of music by Giulio and Francesca Caccini and contemporaries
sung by Horvat Marco (mainly) and Olga Pitcarch and accompanied on theorbo,
guitar, baroque guitar, percussion and lirone – and on the harp by none
other than Angélique Mauillon. (Alpha 043: some tracks also included
on RIC107 – review).
Download from eclassical.com (mp3 and lossless) albeit without the all-important
booklet of texts. Subscribers can stream
from Qobuz and it can also be purchased there, but still without
RECORDING OF THE MONTH Heinrich SCHEIDEMANN (c.1595-1663) Præambulum in G, WV73 [5:58] Jesus Christus, unser Heiland I, WV10 [11:08] Dic nobis Maria, WV51 [6:27] Fuga in d minor, WV42 [3:17]
Toccata in G, WV43 [8:53] Nicolaus BRUHNS (1665-1697) Præludium in e (Little) [5:25] Præludium in G [9:54] Adagio (ex D) [3:00] Præludium in g [4:49] Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland [10:51] Præludium in e (Great) [9:34]
Bine Katrine Bryndorf (Raphaëlis baroque organ)
rec. Roskilde Cathedral, Denmark, 10-13 January 2014. DDD/DSD DACAPO 6.220636 [79:18] – from eclassical.com
(mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless with pdf booklet).
Subscribers stream from Naxos
Music Library (mp3, NO booklet) or
classicsonlinehd.com (NO booklet) or Qobuz
(with booklet). NB: see review for pricing anomalies.
Also available as SACD.
was toying with the idea of making this a Recording of the Month
when Dan Morgan’s review arrived with the accolade awarded – see below
– so that clinched it.
I reviewed several of Bine Bryndorf’s recordings of Buxtehude for Dacapo,
now gathered together as a 6-CD set 8.206005, for around £28.
I enjoyed those which I heard – review
of Volume 6 – and this recording of two other important North German
contemporaries of Buxtehude and predecessors of Bach is also recommendable.
Bruhns, whose music was admired in JS Bach’s circle, whence all the
copies of his few extant organ works stem, was a pupil of Scheidemann
(and of Buxtehude) so their music – five pieces by the master, six by
the pupil – goes very well together on this well-filled album.
The Roskilde organ is ideal for the music, dating back in part to 1554/55,
added to over the years, and restored to its mid-17th-century
state by Marcussen and Son in 1991. The performances are excellent
and the recording very good, especially in 24-bit format.
Price, as so often with downloads, is an issue: the SACD retails for
less than £13*, so why does the classicsonlinehd.com 24-bit cost £15.99
and why did it come without booklet when I checked? Even the eclassical.com
24-bit at $21.40, though slightly less than £15.99 at current exchange
rates, seems overpriced. Best value for 16-bit is from classicsonlinehd.com
at £7.99, but unless the booklet has been added since I checked, that
comes with a caution. I should also add as another example of illogical
pricing that Presto charge £28.50 for the 6-CD Naxos set of Buxtehude
and £57.51 for the lossless download. Here classicsonlinehd.com are
more reasonably priced at £47.99 but that’s still almost twice the cost
of the CDs.
The booklet which Qobuz provide seems to be lacking some pages, including
the important organ specification which the eclassical.com booklet does
contain. There’s also a link for the registrations of individual works
on the DaCapo website.
There’s actually more Bruhns here than on the ‘complete’ recording of
his organ music from Helmut Winter on Harmonia Mundi, where it’s also
combined with works by Scheidemann (HMX290799). I reviewed that
together with the Naxos complete organ works of Scheidmann in DL
News 2013/12 alongside two recordings of Bruhns’ cantatas – see
below. At $16.59 the eclassical.com download of the Harmonia Mundi
is rather steep for what used to be a budget-price CD: at £8.49 Qobuz
is more reasonable – stream
(for subscribers) or purchase.
No booklet from any source.
also offer an attractive selection of Bruhns’ German Cantatas performed
by Cantus Cölln and directed by Konrad Junghänel – well worth streaming
for subscribers, albeit without the all-important texts, but costing
more as a download, at £12.24, than the budget-price CD (HMA1951752).
offer the CD for £6.75 and downloads for £4.98 (mp3) and £5.98 (lossless);
the least expensive lossless download, however, comes from Qobuz
at £4.29. The eclassical.com download, also devoid of booklet, is seriously
over-priced at $16.59 – it’s actually gone up since I commented unfavourably
on the price in reviewing this download in 2013/12.
The Ricercar collection of Bruhns cantatas which I reviewed at the same
time remains available in mp3 from 7digital.com:
two and a half hours of music and the pdf booklet.
Dan Morgan has also reviewed this recording:
The Danish organist and pedagogue Bine Bryndorf came to my attention
via Stuart Sillitoe’s glowing review
of her recent Buxtehude box. Now it’s the turn of Heinrich Scheidemann
and Nicolaus Bruhns, both members of the so-called North German School.
Bryndorf plays the Raphaelis organ of Roskilde Cathedral, which dates
back to 1554-1555. Marcussen & Son’s restoration was completed in
1991. As one would expect from Dacapo the booklet – with excellent notes
by Bryndorf herself – also devotes a page to the organ’s impressive
And what a gorgeous, woody sound those distinctive pedals make. Reverberation
isn’t a problem here, so articulation and detail aren’t compromised
at all. True, the music isn’t out of the top drawer, but when it’s played
with such affection and sensitivity that hardly matters. The recording
– in its 24/44.1 incarnation at least – is clear but never bright, and
there’s a glow to the sound that’s most appealing. I usually prefer
organ music of the 19th and 20th centuries, but on special occasions
– and this is one of them – I’m more than happy to stray.
Glorious music, beautifully played and handsomely recorded; as usual
with Dacapo the highest production values prevail.
Minoritenkonvent: Manuscript XIV/726 from the Convent
of the Minorites, Vienna Heinrich Ignaz BIBER (1644-1704) Sonata No.84 in E: Adagio;
Anonymous: Sonata No.77 in A [8:14] Anonymous Sonata No.87 in f minor [6:58]
Sonata No.4 in D [5:32] Giovanni Buonaventura VIVIANI (1638-c.1693) Sonata No.90 in a
minor [8:24] Anonymous Sonata No.75 in c minor [9:10] Jan Ignac František VOJTA (c.1660-c.1723) Sonata No.70 in b minor:
tuning: B F-flat B E [8:37] Nikolaus FABER (?-1673?) Sonata nr. 2 in E: tuning: B E B E [5:49]
Heinrich BIBER Sonata No.11 in e minor [11:12], Johann Caspar TEUBNER (before 1661-1697) Toccata No.94 in a minor;
Sonata No.88 in d minor [8:31]
Stéphanie Paulet (violin)
Elisabeth Geiger (André Silbermann organ of Haguenau 1730) MUSO MU008 [72:31] – from
emusic.com (mp3); subscribers
stream from Qobuz; purchase for download (16- and 24-bit lossless).
NO booklet from either source.
XIV/726 in the library of the convent of the Minorite order in Vienna
contains a wealth of violin music by Biber, Schmelzer and lesser-known
contemporaries, many of them anonymous.
I’m really not sure why the image on the cover is split – it seems to
be a Muso trademark: there’s nothing broken or unfocused about the music
or the performances but it is a great shame that we don’t have the booklet
from either of the sources listed. Two of the sonatas are in scordatura,
i.e. with the violin strings unconventionally tuned, creating a striking
effect as in Biber’s Mystery or Rosary Sonatas.
There are two other recordings of sonatas from MS XIV/726 on the Pan
Classics label, containing Nos.1, 2, 6, 72, 70, 89 and 71 and a most
impressive piece entitled Victori der Christen, depicting the
over the Turks at the siege of Vienna and modelled on Biber’s Rosary
Sonata No.10. The performers are Gunar Letzbor (violin) and Ars Antiqua
Austria (PC10322: Scordato: Habsburg Violin Music –
subscribers stream or download
from classicsonlinehd.com, NO booklet). On another album entitled
Anonymus (sic), they perform Sonata No.94, Sonatas No.87, 74,
4, 77, 73 plus Musikalisch Urwerck in A and Das Post-horn
in B (PC10310: review. Subscribers
stream or download
from classicsonlinehd.com: with pdf booklet).
Letzbor is a lively and very accomplished soloist, perhaps even with
an edge on Geiger, and he’s very well supported but the continuo provided
by Ars Antiqua sounds a little conventional – I don’t mean dull – by
comparison with the wonderful chamber organ on the Muso recording.
You don’t, however, have to choose between them: there’s only a little
overlap between the Muso and the two Pan albums.
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concertos for violin or oboe, Op.7/1-12
Pier Luigi Fabretti (oboe: Nos. 1 and 8)
LArte dellArco/Federico Guglielmo (violin: Nos. 2-7, 9-12)
Released September 2015. BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95044BR [1:29:40] subscribers
stream from Qobuz; purchase
download (16-bit lossless) No booklet.
RECORDING OF THE MONTH Il Cimento dellarmonia e dellinventione, Op.8/1-12
(including The Four Seasons, Op.8/1-4)
Pier Luigi Fabretti (oboe)
LArte dellArco/Federico Guglielmo (violin)
rec. Abbazia di Carceri dEste, Padua, Italy, 19-21 and 25-27 June,
2014. DDD BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95045BR [1:48:29] from Qobuz: subscribers
stream or purchase
download (16-bit lossless) NO booklet. Please see my review
of the 2-CD set.
LEstro Armonico, Op.3 (1711)
Federico Gugliemo (violin)
LArte dellArco/Christopher Hogwood
rec. March 2002, Sala della Musica, Villa San Fermo, Lonigo, Italy. CHANDOS CHAN0689(2) [103:18] from the classicalshop.net
(mp3 and lossless with pdf booklet)
For full details see review
by Kirk McElhearn.
Its some time since I reviewed the Brilliant Classics 40-CD box
of Vivaldi which contained some very decent but hardly outstanding recordings
of the best-known sets of concertos, Opp.3, 4, 8 and 9 (94056
Now Brilliant Classics are gradually replacing these older recordings
with separate releases performed by LArte dellArco, who
contributed just the mandolin and lute concertos (CD10) and the concerti
con organo obbligato (CD12) to the earlier box. They are also adding
the less well-known sets, including this 2-CD recording of Op.7.
the disappearance of the I Musici and AAM recordings of Opp.1-12, except
as part of a 28-CD box containing the latter, this is the only available
version of Op.7. For completists that 40-CD box has been replaced by
a 66-CD set which includes all the Op.1 to Op.12 concertos and sonatas
from LArte dellArco (94840BR, target price around
£67). If you just want the Opp.1-12 concertos and sonatas, they
are in a 20-CD box (95200BR) but at a target price of around
£48, though a real bargain, thats not much less expensive
than its big brother. Qobuz have split the 20-CD set in two, with each
half costing £10.79, as have Amazon (£7.99 + £9.59)
but with no booklet and RV numbers only on the tracks none of
the more familiar Op. numbers its hard to tell which concerto
Even though some of the Op.7 concertos, released in Amsterdam as a pirate
edition, are of doubtful authenticity especially the two for
oboe the music is all very enjoyable and its very well
performed vigorous and forthright, though not to excess
and recorded. Its much better than the old I Musici version. I
particularly enjoyed hearing a trace of the continuo on both of these
recordings it used to be too prominent on some early LPs but
its too reticent on many modern CDs.
new recording of the Op.8 set is advertised as strip[ping] the
Four Seasons of centuries of misuse, romantic veneer and tasteless embellishments,
going back to the roots of the music, and discovering the essential
power and originality. Yes, but other recent period performances
aim to do the same, dating right back to the DG Archiv recorded by Simon
Standage, Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert, still one of my favourites
(DG Originals E4746162, with RV548 and RV516). The Brilliant
Classics blurb may be over-egging the pudding but theres plenty
of pudding to enjoy here from LArte dellArco: I streamed
their recording from Qobuz
(for subscribers) and enjoyed it so much that I was tempted to download
it at the absurdly cheap price of £6.47, despite the lack of a
booklet, until I received the 2-CD set please see full review.
I shall be playing this alongside my other favourite recordings: Standage
and Pinnock (above), Europa Galante and Fabio Biondi (Virgin 6025032,
2 CDs: Op.8, or 6484082, 4 CDs: Op.3 and Op.8, both at budget
and Alan Loveday with the ASMF and Neville Marriner (Decca Originals
4757531, for a very fine performance of The Seasons on
modern instruments, with RV535, RV498 and RV443). All these have something
different and exciting to say about these concertos the Marriner
can throw up some new aspects even after all these years of familiarity
but the new recording is outstandingly good and may even come
to oust the Biondi from top place in my affections.
One grumble about both these albums as downloads: they come without
a booklet, so I cant give timings or recording details and dates
for Op.7. It would have been better, too, to have interspersed the violin
and oboe concertos instead of leaving the latter to the end of the Op.8
also included the older Chandos recording of LEstro
armonico, Op.3, which again features Guglielmo and LArte dellArco,
but with Christopher Hogwood directing. On its own Op.3 is rather short
value as spread across two CDs but the download price partly compensates:
£10.00 for mp3 and £11.99 for lossless and the download
comes with booklet. By comparison with the Brilliant Classics recordings
the recording sounds brighter and leaner but I was less troubled by
this than Kirk McElhearn review.
This is one of the best recordings of the brilliant Op.3 collection
to set alongside Hogwoods earlier recording with the AAM (Decca
4580782, 2 CDs at budget price, with the Flute Concertos, Op.10),
Fabio Biondi (the 4-CD set above or Erato Veritas 2564619520,
2 CDs at budget price) or Rachel Podger with Brecon Baroque (CCSSA36515,
2 CDs for the price of one) or, for modern instruments, Neville Marriner
and the ASMF (Decca 4434762, 2 CDs at budget price,
with 4 concertos for wind instruments).
For a more detailed look at various recordings of The Four Seasons,
see Seasons Old and New in DL
News 2014/7. The Signum recording which I reviewed then in mp3 only
is now available in mp3, 16 and 24-bit lossless from hyperion-records.co.uk,
with pdf booklet and the rather short playing time [41:27] means that
its available for just £4.99 (mp3 and 16-bit) or £7.50
(24-bit); why would you want to follow the iTunes link to pay considerably
more ($9.99 or £7.99) for a less than full bit-rate mp3? (SIGCD377:
Kati Debretzeni with the OAE). Just dont ask me what the cover
image is all about.
RECORDING OF THE MONTH
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Duetti e Terzetti italiani Quel fior che allalba ride (Duetto XV) [7:00] Giù nei Tartarei regni vandrem madonna, HWV187 [5:46] Quando in calma ride il mare, HWV191 [4:10] Amor gioie mi porge [6:41] Caro autor di mia doglia (Arcadian duet), HWV182b [8:02] Che vai pensando, HWV184 [4:56] Va, speme infida pur, HWV199 [6:54]
Italian Duet No 10, Tacete, ohimè tacete, HWV196 [9:17] Se tu non lasci amore, HWV201 [8:24]
Invernizzi (soprano), Silvia Frigato (soprano), Krystian Adam (tenor),
Thomas E. Bauer (baritone)
La Risonanza (Caterina DellAgnello [violoncello], Evangelina Mascardi
[theorbo])/Fabio Bonizzoni (harpsichord)
rec. Abbaye de Saint-Michel en Thiérache, France, 24-27 June
Texts and translations included. GLOSSA GCD921517 [61:10] from eclassical.com
(mp3 16 and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet, and from dealers
on CD). Subscribers stream in 16 or 24-bit sound from classicsonlinehd.com
(with pdf booklet).
This is the latest volume in a very fine series of recordings of music
that ought to be much better known. The Recording of the Month
accolade is awarded for the whole series. Please see my full review.
Easter Music recommendation George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) La Resurrezione (The Resurrection) HWV47 (1708) [109:18]
Emma Kirkby, Patrizia Kwella, Carolyn Watkinson, Ian Partridge, Paul
Elliott and David Thomas
The Academy of Ancient Music/Christopher Hogwood DECCA COLLECTORS EDITION 4756731 (8 CDs) – download from Presto
(mp3 and lossless NO booklet) or as part of BAROQUE ERA 4786753
(50CDs, with booklet) or BAROQUE ERA 1 (4787094 25 CDs,
25 hours+: download only) – from Presto
(mp3 and lossless) subscribers stream from Qobuz
(NO booklet from either).
Lisa Saffer, Judith Nelson, Patricia Spence, Jeffrey Thomas, Michael
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra/Nicholas McGegan HARMONIA MUNDI HMC907027/28 [106:29] – from eclassical.com
(mp3 and lossless, NO booklet)
the various recordings of this Easter cantata, composed in Rome, three
have fallen into the download-only category – Nicholas McGegan (Harmonia
Mundi), Emmanuelle Haïm (EMI – review),
Mark Minkowski (DG Archiv) – and the Decca Oiseau-Lyre directed by Christopher
Hogwood is available only in a box set, with Athalia, Esther
and Messiah (E4756731) or in an even larger, albeit budget-price
50-CD box: Baroque Era or half of that set as a 25-CD-equivalent
download (see above). The other currently available recordings come
with Ton Koopman at the helm (budget-price Warner Apex), with Marco
Vitale directing (budget-price Brilliant Classics – review
– also in the 65-CD Handel Edition), John Eliot Gardiner and EBS (budget-price
Warner, with Semele, Israel in Egypt, The Ways of Zion do mourn,
Zadok the Priest and Dixit Dominus, 6 CDs) and on a live
recording directed by Jan Willem de Vriend (Challenge Classics).
The Hogwood recording forms part of the Baroque Era set
which I recommended back
in 2014. If you followed my advice and obtained either the 50-CD
box or Baroque Era 1 as a download, you already have a very good
recording of this work. Both the box and the download of Volume 1 remain
available, albeit that the latter is more expensive than it used to
be: the Presto price is the most attractive that I could find and still
very reasonable at £39.22 (mp3) or £49.03 (lossless). The Qobuz download
now costs just over £50, but that’s still excellent value for over 25
hours of wonderful music mostly in performances at or very near the
top of my recommendations. There’s no libretto but the online
programme for a 2009 Barbican performance provides all that you
want. Incidentally, Baroque Era 2 is no longer separately available,
so if you want the first half it might be a good idea to snap it up
in case it, too, disappears. I didn’t give a list of contents, so I’ve
included one as an appendix to this DL News.
I couldn’t possibly fail to recommend any recording with Emma Kirkby
and I see that I’m not alone: several of my colleagues, reviewing other
recordings, have noted their preference for this Hogwood recording and
for her part in it in particular. If you hear any of the Emma Kirkby
recital CDs with extracts from this recording, you are likely to go
for the whole work. This is the version to have: all the soloists are
splendid, though my own preference would not have included Ian Partridge,
the direction just right and the recording good.
If you don’t want to go for either of the big sets, Qobuz have just
La Resurrezione alone – subscribers
stream here, purchase
here – but the cost of £14.03 represents almost a quarter of having
the whole 25-CD set. If you also want the Kirkby/Hogwood Messiah,
another work originally for Easter performance – and you could do a
lot worse – that costs another £16 or so to download or £23 on CD, so
the two together cost almost half of the 25-CD box, which also includes
Messiah. 24-bit enthusiasts will find a recent (2014) re-mastering
of the Hogwood Messiah
on 2 CDs plus blu-ray (4788160 – target price £27.50).
McGegan, too, makes a very strong case for La Resurrzione.
He has a very good set of soloists, with Judith Nelson and Michael George
especially effective, and they are all well recorded.
The eclassical.com download of the McGegan recording is quite expensive
for what was until recently a budget-price set (HMA prefix), especially
when it comes without the booklet of words. (See above for a source).
At $23.96 it works out slightly more than the Qobuz price for the Hogwood.
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Concerto for oboe, violin and strings, BWV1060R [12:59]
Violin Concerto No.2 in E, BWV1042 [15:52]
Cantata BWV21 Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis: Sinfonia [2:41]
Violin Concerto No.1 in a minor, BWV1041 [13:26]
Concerto for two violins in d minor, BWV1043 [14:31]
Cecilia Bernardini (violin), with Alfredo Bernardini (oboe, BWV1060R)
and Huw Daniel (violin, BWV1043)
Dunedin Consort/John Butt
rec. Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, 17-20 November 2014. DDD/DSD LINN CKD519 [59:29] – from hyperion-records.co.uk
(mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet) or linnrecords.com
(as above plus 24/192 and SACD).
Violin Concertos’ can mean many different things: in this case the two
solo concertos and the double with the reconstructed violin-and-oboe
version of BWV1060. That exactly matches the programme on the classic
Arthur Grumiaux recording, with Herman Krebbers in the Double Concerto
and Heinz Holliger in BWV1060R, still a clear recommendation among modern-instrument
versions. (Decca 4207002, mid-price).
Cecilia Bernardini may not be famous. She’s the leader of the Dunedin
Consort and leads and directs other modern- and period-instrument groups,
rather than a well-known soloist, but that’s not necessarily a disadvantage
in performing the Bach concertos where the soloist is more a first among
equals than a showy virtuoso. I very much enjoyed hearing her contribution
to this recording and I need hardly add that she receives first- rate
support from John Butt and the other members of the Consort and from
her partners in the two double concertos.
I’m slightly less bowled over than by the Dunedin Consort recordings
of the Magnificat and Christmas Cantata (CKD469: Recording
of the Month – review
review: also one of myRecordings of the Year), the
b-minor Mass (CKD354 – DL
Roundup July 2010) and the St John Passion (CKD419: Recording
of the Month – review)
but not by much. The only reason why I have not considered this for
Recording of the Month is that it doesn’t cast quite as much new light
on the music as those earlier Linn releases or the new Brilliant Classics
Vivaldi Op.8 (above).
Because the Linn recording runs for less than an hour, £18 for the 24-bit
download is surely rather over the top when the equivalent SACD is likely
to sell for £13 from Linn, or less from some dealers. That’s why I
downloaded it in the 16-bit format, though I could easily have obtained
the 24-bit as a review copy. The 16-bit sounds fine and is reasonably
priced at £10. All of which takes us back to my point about pricing
at the start of this DL News.
Because I felt that this recording warranted a longer review than usual
in DL News, you’ll find an expanded version on the main MusicWeb International
Johann Sebastian BACH Markus-Passion (St Mark Passion, BWV247, 1731: reconstructed
by Dr Simon Heighes)
Veronika Winter (soprano); Anne Bierwirth (alto); Achim Kleinlein (tenor);
Michael Jäckel, Albrecht Pöhl (bass)
Hannoversche Hofkapelle/Jörg Breiding
Text and translation included RONDEAU ROP7015/6 [53:44 + 49:30] – from eclassical.com
(mp3 and lossless, with pdf booklet)
have been several more or less successful attempts to reconstruct Bach’s
lost St Mark Passion. We have it on the authority of CPE Bach that
he composed such a work and the libretto, adapted from Homilius’s older
setting of the text, exists. Most surprisingly, Rondeau have two recordings:
this of the 1731, recorded in 2013 and another, reconstructing the 1744
revision, recorded a year later (ROP6090/1). Simon Thompson
recommended the latter, though without too much enthusiasm – review
– and I listened to it as streamed from Qobuz, where it can also be
purchased, with booklet, for £11.99.
Simon Thompson’s main problem with ROP6090/1 lay with the boys’ choir,
whom he thought ‘windy’ and lacking focus. I don’t know what the boys
sounded like in Bach’s day but I had no such problems with the Hannover
Knabenchor on ROP7015/6. I was less troubled than ST about their Basel
counterparts but spot checks between the two left me much in favour
of the Hannover performance in all respects including a more focused
I also listened to the Carus recording with the Kölner Akademie and
Alexander Willens from classicsonlinehd.com,
where it’s available, with booklet, for just £7.99. I liked the performance
but if the lengthy recitatives are a problem on the other recordings
– less so from Hannover than from Basel – the idea of speaking them
on Carus is even more off-putting, though it allows Carus to fit the
whole work on one CD. (83.244 – review)
Both Qobuz and eclassical.com include the booklets but the English translation
– the same in both – is less than idiomatic at times: the opening Chorale
Geh, Jesu, geh zu deiner Pein! / Ich will so lange dich beweinen,
/ bis mir dein Trost wird wieder scheinen, / da ich versöhnet werde
is translated ‘Go, Jesus, go unto thy pain! / I will unceasingly lament
thee / till me thy comfort reappeareth, /when I am reconciled with thee.’
But the German word Pein is much stronger than its English cognate
– more like ‘torment’ or ‘torture’ – and what on earth is the third
line supposed to mean? (recte ‘Until thy comfort, or consolation,
shines again upon me’.) I suppose it’s meant for singing but the concept
of an English performance of this reconstruction seems bizarre. Even
more bizarrely, the Carus recording uses the same stilted English text.
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Concerto No.5 in D, K175 (1773) [19:21]
Piano Concerto No.6 in B flat, K238 (1776) [18:43]
Three Concertos after J. C. Bach, K107:
I in D [12:27]
II in G [9:19]
III in E flat [8:01]
Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano)
Die Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens
(fortepiano and chamber ensemble in K107)
rec. December 2014, Deutschlandfunk Kammermusiksaal, Cologne, Germany.
DDD/DSD BIS BIS-SACD-2084 [69:30] – from eclassical.com
(mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet)
series is now approaching its conclusion – just one more volume to go
– with these first two concertos which were not pastiches of sonatas
by other composers, together with three of the short concertos which
were modelled on music by the ‘London’ Bach, whom Mozart met on his
visit to England and whose style he admired.
If you have been collecting the rest of the series there is no reason
to be put off by the fact that these are early works. The early concertos
are more interesting than the early symphonies but those new to the
series should start with the recordings of some of the more mature concertos.
I enjoyed this album as much as the earlier volumes: only inveterate
haters of the fortepiano need to stay clear. The 24-bit download sounds
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Symphony No.9 in C (‘Great’) [59:04]
Philharmonia Orchestra/Sir Charles Mackerras rec.
live Royal Festival Hall, London, 10 June 2006. DDD SIGNUM SIGCD133 [59:04] – from hyperion-records.co.uk
(mp3 and lossless with pdf booklet)
When I recommended this in DL
Roundup October 2008 it was in mp3 format from classicsonline.com.
That’s no longer available though it can be obtained from the successor
but, at £6.99, with booklet, the Hyperion download is a better bargain.
The live performance may be slightly rough around the edges but it’s
still one of my favourites – a modern-instrument interpretation with
many of the qualities of Mackerras’ earlier Virgin recording with the
period-instrument Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Piano Trio No.1 in d minor, Op. 49 (1839) [29:26]
Piano Trio No.2 in c minor, Op. 66 (1846) [29:53]
Fournier Trio (Sulki Yu [violin]; Pei-Jee Ng [cello]; Chiao-Ying Chang
rec. St John the Evangelist, Oxford (SJE Arts), 28-30 July 2014. DDD.
RESONUS RES10161 [59:25] – from resonusclassics.com
(mp3, aac, 16- and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet, and CD).
Hyperion CDA67485 Trio No.1 [26:51]; Trio No.2 [26:54]
The Florestan Trio [53:45] – from hyperion-records.co.uk
(mp3 and lossless, with pdf booklet). ‘Very strongly recommended indeed’.
by Colin Clarke and DL
Roundup August 2010. The download is now slightly more expensive
but still very good value at £6.99.
Champs Hill CHRCD088 Trio No.1 [27:52]; Trio No.2 [28:22]
Gould Piano Trio (with Albumblatt and Song without Words in D,
Op.109) [72:33] – see review.
three recordings listed for comparison set the benchmark very high indeed,
especially the classic recording from Rubinstein and friends, referred
to at the time by RCA Victor as the million dollar trio. Their recording
still sounds well for its age – released in the US in 1951 and in the
UK in 1952 – albeit a touch dry and shrill. By comparison the Florestan
Trio sound a little understated but both they and the Gould Trio cohere
better as a group than the three soloists on RCA who tend to make the
music sound more of a showpiece, especially for the violin and piano.
The very first release on the Resonus label was a ground-breaking recording
of Mendelssohn: the original version of the Octet, which I found very
impressive. (RES10101 – DL
Roundup March 2011/2) Could their new release repeat the trick?
They certainly start by making a strong first impression in the opening
movement of the first trio: more dramatic than the Florestan Trio and,
because of the modern recording, more so than even the ‘million dollar’
team whose recording I found needed to be played at slightly lower volume
than normal if it is not to sound a tad too shrill, yet also responding
to the lyrical moments. Thus they keep in balance what has been aptly
described as the unease of this movement.
The slow movement receives some winningly lyrical playing, especially
from the violinist. All these recordings are pretty well in agreement
about the scherzo and my only reservation about the finale is
that the Gould Trio make it sound more like the inspiration for the
Tchaikovsky Piano Trio than either the Resonus or the Hyperion team.
The Fournier Trio tend to take their time in both trios – a whole three
minutes longer than the Florestan Trio in both works – but there is
never a moment in either when I thought them too slow. In both cases
I liked the way that they bring extra gravitas to the opening
movements, fully responding to the energico e con fuoco marking
in the case of the second. The slow movement of the second is espressivo
without being dragged – only seconds slower than the Florestans in this
case. Overall I’m happy to concur with the Resonus publicity description
of these performances as ‘fresh and exciting’ and ‘bring[ing] life and
vitality to [the] music’.
The 24-bit download is very good. If the cello sounds slightly like
the junior supporter underpinning the group, that tends to happen with
most recordings. Of the rivals only Julia Fischer et al on Pentatone
PTC5186085 come in 24-bit format but the Champs Hill CD and the
Hyperion lossless download are hardly far behind.
Resonus download prices are pretty well in line with what you would
expect to pay at full-price: £7.99 (mp3 or aac), £9.99 (16-bit lossless)
and a not exorbitant £12.99 for 24-bit, the same price as for the CD,
and they come with full documentation.
Édouard LALO (1823-1892)
Cello Concerto in d minor (1876) [25:57]
Symphony in g minor (1886) [26:17] Namouna, Music from the ballet (1881) [21:24]
(Prélude (Andante) [5:29]; Sérénade (Allegro) [1:37];
Pas des cymbals (Moderato) [2:58]; Danses marocaines (vivace)
[2:29]; Dolce far niente (allegretto) [5:09]; Fête
foraine (presto-danse) [3:15])
Torleif Thedéen (cello)
Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra/Kees Bakels
rec. Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS Hall, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November
2002 (Concerto, Namouna); and December 2001 (Symphony) BIS BIS-CD-1296 [74:51] – from eclassical.com
(mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet)
‘Overall … this is a very exciting disc of music that should be heard
more often’. See review
by William Kreindler.
Overture Le Roi d’Ys [11:32]
Violin Concerto in F, Op. 20* [24:44]
Scherzo in d minor [4:14] Concerto russe, Op.29* [31:04]
Olivier Charlier (violin)*
BBC Philharmonic/Yan Pascal Tortelier
rec. New Broadcasting House, Manchester, 9–10 February 1998. DDD. CHANDOS CHAN9758 [71:49] – from theclassicalshop.net
(mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet)
Piano Trio No.1 in c minor, Op.7 (c. 1850) [21:09]
Piano Trio No.2 in b minor (c.1852) [28:53]
Piano Trio No.3 in a minor, Op.26 (1880) [29:12]
Leonore Piano Trio
rec. December 2014, Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth HYPERION CDA68113 [79:16] – from hyperion-records.co.uk
(mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet, and on CD)
music generally seems not to be as popular as it once was: the Ansermet
Decca recording of excerpts from Namouna, for example, reissued
as part of an Eloquence 2-CD set, still has little competition. (4800049,
2 CDs, Lalo and Chabrier – review).
Two recent recordings feature excerpts: the BIS recording listed above
and a more complete 55-minute selection performed by the Monte-Carlo
Orchestra and David Robertson on Naïve V4907, first released
in 1994, also available from eclassical.com
(mp3 and lossless, NO booklet). With the music well performed in the
order of the complete ballet, not of the suites, there’s much to enjoy
there. The playing time is short but the eclassical.com per-second
price policy compensates.
The BIS recording contains a shorter selection from Namouna
but the Symphony and Cello Concerto are strong attractions here. With
Beecham’s magic recording of the Symphony available only in a 6-CD box
set, ominously out of stock from some dealers, BIS offer a very good
alternative. (Qobuz have the single-disc Beecham recording of the Franck
and Lalo symphonies – stream
(for subscribers) or download for £9.09. Their price for the 6-CD
set is more than for the discs when available.)
CHAN9758: the two violin works recorded here may not be as well-known
as the Cello Concerto but this would make an excellent next move after
the BIS recording.
There are rival recordings of the three Piano Trios on Meridian
and MDG Gold, which I haven’t heard, but I doubt if either outclasses
the new Hyperion. I’m in accord with Jonathan Woolf’s assessment: ‘Benjamin
Nabarro, Gemma Rosefield and Tim Horton make a very convincing case
for this trio of trios and the production – recording, notes, and design
– is up to Hyperion’s high standards’ – review.
The 24-bit download sounds fine.
Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
Ouvertüre zur Operette Der Zigeunerbaron [7:49] Josef STRAUSS (1827-1870)
Die Libelle, Polka mazur, Op. 204 [5:11] Johann STRAUSS II
Furioso, Polka quasi Galopp, Op. 260 [2:15] Eduard STRAUSS (1835-1916)
Die Biene, Polka française, Op. 54 [3:53] Josef STRAUSS
Dorfschwalben aus Österreich, Walzer, Op. 164 [8:27] Johann STRAUSS II
Im Krapfenwaldl, Polka française, Op. 336 [4:02]
Auf der Jagd, Polka schnell, Op. 373 [2:03]
Rosen aus dem Süden, Walzer, Op. 388 [8:20]
Tritsch-Tratsch, Polka schnell, Op. 214 [2:27] Josef STRAUSS
Feuerfest!, Polka française, Op. 269 [3:07] Johann STRAUSS II
Frühlingsstimmen, Walzer, Op. 410 [7:01]
Unter Donner und Blitz, Polka schnell, Op. 324 [2:50]
Wiener Symphoniker/Manfred Honeck
rec. 15-17 January 2014, Großes Festspielhaus, Salzburg, Austria
Pdf booklet included WIENER SYMPHONIKER WS005 [57:35] – from eClassical
(mp3 & 16-bit lossless)
that this conductor is such a hit in Pittsburgh – his recent recording
of Beethoven’s 5th and 7th Symphonies has been particularly well received
– I decided to sample his Strauss. Michael Cookson thought highly of
this collection (review).
An Austrian conductor and a Viennese band, what could possibly go wrong?
Well, the performances are decent, but the unvaried programme is just
too brisk and efficient for my taste. Also, the bass is somewhat boomy,
and that makes the timps sound dull and diffuse at times. Not what one
wants to hear in such light and wonderfully mobile music. Highlights?
Die Libelle (The Butterfly) and the witty little French polka
Feuerfest! Alas, Honeck’s no match for Boskovsky et al;
and while the members of the Symphoniker play well enough they’re overshadowed
by their distinguished colleagues at the Philharmoniker.
Entertaining, if a little unsmiling at times; unfocused sound.
[Don’t forget this year’s New Year’s Day concert from Vienna – review.
RECORDING OF THE MONTH Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841–1904)
Overtures: Nature, Life and Love (Príroda, život a láska)
In Nature’s Realm (V prírode), Op.91, B168 [14:49]
Carnival (Karneval) Overture, Op.92, B169 [9:38] Othello Overture, Op.93, B174 [14:35]
My Home (Muj domov), Op.62, B125a [10:07]
Hussite (Husitská) Overture, Op.67, B132 [13:38]
PKF - Prague Philharmonia/Jakub Hrůša
rec. live Forum Karlin, Prague, January 2015. DDD PENTATONE PTC5186532 [63:14] – from eclassical.com
(mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless with pdf booklet)
can’t think of any more life-enhancing music than these overtures and
they receive performances here to match, as good as any that I have
ever heard, including those of Karel Ančerl (Op.91 and Op.93 with
Symphony No.9 SU36622; Op.62, Op.67 and Op.92 with Symphony No.9
SU36792) and Sir Charles Mackerras (Op.91 in Life with Czech
Music SU40412, 6 CDs), two of the giants of recorded Czech
music. Not that I was surprised: I’ve heard and enjoyed Jakub Hrůša
with the Prague Philharmonia in the repertoire of his native composers
before. (Dvořák American Suite; Suk Serenade and
Fantastic Scherzo, Supraphon SU38822). After a less-than-inspiring
start to In Nature’s Realm – a little too tentative and over-affectionate
for me and maybe a bit sloppy for others – the rest of the programme
One considerable advantage in favour of the new recording is the inclusion
of Op.91 to Op.93 together in one programme, as the composer intended
and as on a Supraphon collection of vintage Vaclav Talich recordings
from 1940 to 1952 (SU38312). Vernon Handley also combined those
three overtures with Scherzo Capricioso on a 1985 recording with
the Ulster Orchestra, now download only but one which would be well
worth considering were Chandos to reissue it at a lower price. I enjoyed
hearing it but at £8.99 for the lossless download and playing for just
52:20 it’s not really competitive. (CHAN8453 – from theclassicalshop.net,
mp3 and lossless).
With excellent recording to match, especially in 24-bit, this new recording
doesn’t mean that I shall not be listening with affection to Ančerl
or Mackerras, the former still sounding very acceptable for 1960s Supraphon,
the latter better still.
For a radically different view of
this recording please seen Dan Morgan's
Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937)
Organ Symphony No.6, Op.42/2 (1879) [37:54]
Organ Symphony No.5, Op.42/1 (1879) [40:50]
Joseph Nolan (organ)
rec. 18-24 May 2011, L’Église de la Madeleine, Paris. DDD SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD292 [72:35] – from hyperion-records.co.uk
(mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet)
impending release of Volume 5 of this series, containing Symphonies
Nos. 9 and 10 (SIGCD347) reminds me that I have not yet reviewed
Volume 1, containing the two best-known, Nos. 5 and 6, including the
Toccata, which Dominy Clements thought ‘amongst the top rank for these
great works’ – review
– and William Kreindler believed ‘could rival Ben van Oosten as the
standard’ – review.
Both had some reservations about the recording quality.
I thoroughly concur with my colleagues about the quality of the performances
but was less troubled than them about the recording – perhaps because
the 24-bit download brings greater clarity.
The Marie Claire Alain Warner Apex recording of excerpts from Nos. 1-3
plus Nos. 4-6 and 9 is now download only – from Presto
(mp3 and lossless) albeit without booklet and more expensive than when
it was on CD.
Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Orchestral Works, Vol. 3
Glagolitic Mass, JWIII/9 (126/27) [39:26]
Adagio for Orchestra, JWVI/5 (1890?) [5:47] Zdrávas Maria (Ave Maria) JWII/14 (1904) [4:13] Otce náš (Our Father) JWIV/29 [14:36]
Sara Jakubiak (soprano); Susan Bickley (mezzo); Stuart Skelton (tenor);
Gábor Bretz (bass)
David Stewart (violin); Johannes Wik (harp); Thomas Trotter, Karstein
Bergen Philharmonic Choir; Choir of Collegiûm Mûsicûm; Edvard Grieg
Kor; Bergen Cathedral Choir
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra/Edward Gardner
rec. Grieghallen (Glagolitic Mass, Adagio) and Bergen
Cathedral (Otce náš, Zdrávas Maria,
organ part of the Glagolitic Mass), Bergen, Norway; 17–20 August
2015. DDD/DSD CHANDOS CHAN5165 [63:22] – from theclassicalshop.net
(mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet)
Also available on SACD as CHSA5165
are several surprises here: that three choral works should feature in
a series entitled ‘Orchestral Works’, that Chandos should choose to
release a rival to their earlier recording of the Glagolitic Mass
with Sir Charles Mackerras, and that the new recording should stand
up so well to the competition from that earlier Mackerras version and
the classic Karel Ancerl, from which I got to know the work on a 17/6
(£0.87) Supraphon LP. The Mackerras is coupled with Kodály’s Psalmus
Hungaricus (CHAN9310) and the Ancerl with Taras Bulba
on Supraphon SU36672 and Beulah 1PD66.
I’ve praised Mackerras’s recording of the original version many times
since I reviewed it alongside Antoni Wit’s recording (Naxos) in December
2011/1 and it and the Supraphon remain my benchmarks. Mackerras
was almost as honoured an interpreter of Czech music, especially of
Janácek, as Talich and Ancerl. The Psalmus Hungaricus is a more
substantial work than any of the couplings on the new Gardner recording
but there’s plenty of energy from Gardner and his team and the new recording,
especially wide- ranging, is also available in 24-bit and surround formats.
If you haven’t yet discovered the powerful Glagolitic Mass, now
is your chance to do so: as well as the recordings discussed above you’ll
find a recent Supraphon recording of the final version and an ArcoDiva
of the original, both also well worth considering, in DL
I have to make the usual observation about the new Chandos that the
mp3 (£7.99) and 16-bit (£9.99) are reasonably priced but the 24-bit
(£13.99) and the surround version (£19.99) cost more than the SACD and
to ask why, yet again. Maybe if I keep hammering on your behalf on
that door …
RECORDING OF THE MONTH Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Piano Concerto No.2 in g minor, Op.16 (1912-1913) [35:42] Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Piano Concerto No.1 in b flat minor, Op.23 (1874) [34:58]
Beatrice Rana (piano)
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Antonio Pappano
WARNER CLASSICS 0825646009091 [70:40] Subscribers stream from
(Wrong booklet provided). For download see below.
recording has been so universally praised that it’s almost enough simply
to give you the details. The vigorous performance of the Prokofiev
provides an antidote to the too-luscious treatment meted out by Kholodenko
(below). My only reservation concerns the incongruity of the coupling:
surely the Prokofiev Fifth Piano Concerto, as on Harmonia Mundi, would
have been more logical but I can’t complain when this is one of the
most potent performances of both works I’ve ever heard.
The 16-bit Qobuz
download is over-priced at £12.73 when one dealer has the disc for
£8.50, especially as the booklet provided when I checked was for another
recording completely, but 24-bit enthusiasts may be interested in obtaining
that for £14.69. By another crazy fluke of pricing, 7digital.com charge less for the 24-bit version – £9.03 when I checked
– than for 16-bit and only pence more than for mp3.
Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918)
Symphony No.1 in G [45:20]
From Death to Life (Mors et Vitæ) [18:34]
English Symphony Orchestra/William Boughton
rec. Great Hall, Birmingham University, 26-27 January 1991. DDD NIMBUS NI5296 [64:04] – from emusic.com
(mp3, NO booklet)
The Soul’s Ransom - A Psalm of the Poor (Sinfonia Sacra)
for soprano, bass, chorus and orchestra [47:04] The Lotos-Eaters, for soprano, chorus and orchestra [32:39] Blest pair of Sirens, an Ode by Milton [11:53]
Invocation to Music, an Ode (in Honour of Henry Purcell) by Robert Bridges
for soprano, tenor, bass, chorus and orchestra [54:57] I was glad, Anthem, with words from Psalm 122 [7:10]
Anne Dawson (soprano)
Della Jones (mezzo)
Arthur Davies (tenor)
Brian Rayner Cook, David Wilson-Johnson (baritone)
London Philharmonic Choir
London Symphony Chorus
Roderick Elms (organ)
London Philharmonic Orchestra/ Matthias Bamert
London Symphony Orchestra/Richard Hickox
rec. Watford Town Hall, Blackheath Concert Halls and All Saints, Church,
Tooting, 1988, 1991 and 1992. DDD.
Texts included. CHANDOS 2-FOR-1 241-31 [79:55 + 74:19] – from theclassicalshop.net
(mp3 and lossless, with pdf booklet). NB: avoid those download
sources (not theclassicalshop.net) who charge for this as if for two
This is one of the older downloads which emusic.com are gradually converting
from variable bit-rate to best-quality (for mp3) 320kbs. It’s also
something of a bargain for just £2.10, but it would be better still
if they were to start offering the booklet, perhaps as an optional extra
for a little more. For the booklet you need to obtain the CD – available
from Musicweb-International at a competitive price – see review
both with purchase button.
This was the world premiere recording, beating the Chandos by a couple
of years, though Chandos then went on to record the whole series – see
above. It would be hard to claim the youthful symphony as a neglected
masterpiece but the Brahmsian* From Death to Life is another
matter: this performance makes a good case for both and the download
sounds well, though still not as open as I presume that it would sound
in a lossless format.
When first released, the CD contained a picture of a youthful, sporting
Parry but presumably Nimbus felt that the public
were more at home with Parry the old duffer – which he isn’t.
If you are looking for a good inexpensive introduction to Parry’s vocal
and choral music, you should find just what you are looking for in the
Chandos set – but please note the price warning above. For those
seeking more recent recorded sound, in 24-bit, the Te Deum, Magnificat,
Jerusalem and other choral works are included on Chandos CHAN10740
review – DL
Roundup September 2012/2. Download from theclassicalshop.net
(mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless with pdf booklet).
* Rob Barnett mentions the Tragic Overture and I also hear echoes
of A German Requiem.
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Scaramouche, Op.71 [71:01]
Bendik Goldstein (viola), Roi Ruottinen (cello)
Turku Philharmonic Orchestra/Leif Segerstam
rec. 8-12 September 2014, Turku Concert Hall, Finland
Pdf booklet included NAXOS 8.573511 [71:01] - from Presto
(mp3, 16- & 24-bit lossless)
24/96 files were downloaded from Qobuz late last year, at about the
time the company changed hands. That hiatus resulted in a number of
releases vanishing from their site – this one included – so I’ll direct
listeners to Presto instead. Although Paul Corfield Godfrey enjoyed
the CD in terms of performance and sound he points out that the music
isn’t up to the composer’s usual standards (review).
Despite a few good moments this score lacks charm or serious invention;
indeed, I can’t imagine how it would work on stage, such is the music’s
safe, rather static nature.
However, listening to Neeme Järvi’s 1991 account with the Gothenburg
Symphony – available from eClassical
*– is quite instructive. He has a lighter touch and his rhythms are
more supple; also, he’s subtler and more colourful than Segerstam. The
16/44.1 BIS recording is good, but it’s nothing special; ditto the 24/96
Naxos one. In the latter case I’d opt for the cheaper 16-bit version.
Pushed to choose I’d probably plump for Järvi; that said, not even he
can improve what is essentially a sub-par piece.
Mildly diverting; of interest to die-hard Sibelians only.
also include it in the 6-CD Theatre Music collection, Volume
5 of the complete BIS Sibelius (BIS-CD-1912/14). At $41.77 that’s
less expensive than the CD set but Qobuz offer it, with booklet, for
even less, at £23.99. [BW]
Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951)
Chamber Symphony No.1, Op.9 (1905/6) [20:56]
Chamber Symphony No.2, Op.38 (1906-1939) [21:05]
Les Dissonances/David Grimal
rec. live Opéra de Dijon 13 February 13 2013 and Cité de la musique
- Philharmonie de Paris 21 October 2014. DDD. DISSONANCES RECORDS LD0082 [42:01] – from
emusic.com (mp3, NO booklet) or Presto
(mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet) NB: no CD equivalent
readers will be amazed to see Schoenberg among these reviews but, obdurately
resistant as I am to full-blown Schoenberg, his earlier output, with
the exception of Gurrelieder, is a very different matter. I’m
very happy with Verklärte Nacht and Pelleas und Melisande
and only slightly less so with the Violin Concerto and the Chamber Symphonies.
Chamber Symphony No.1 already represented a break with neo- romanticism;
the second, with its long gestation period, represented a late return
to tonality: neither is an easy listen but these performances convinced
me as much as any that I have heard.
42 minutes is short value – other recordings of the two Chamber Symphonies
add something substantial – but the emusic price of £1.26 for 320kb/s
mp3 compensates. Non-subscribers will find it not much more expensive
and with the important booklet, too.
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Piano Concerto No.2 in g minor, Op.16 (1913) [33:26]
Piano Concerto No.5 in G, Op.55 (1932) [23:30]
Vadym Kholodenko (piano)
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra/Miguel Harth-Bedoya
rec. October 2014 (No.2), March 2015 (No.5), Bass Performance Hall,
Fort Worth, Texas, USA. DDD/DSD.
Pdf booklet included HARMONIA MUNDI HMU807631 [56:55] – from eClassical
(mp3, 16- & 24-bit lossless)
Sergei Babayan’s new recording of the fifth concerto I had hoped Van
Cliburn Gold Medal winner Vadym Kholodenko would give his compatriot
a run for his money. That said, Brian Renhart wasn’t sold on his earlier
disc of solo Rachmaninov and Medtner (review).
As for this Texas band and conductor how would they respond to these
quirky, cosmopolitan scores?Minutes into the second concerto
I had my answer; these are soft edged and rather cautious readings of
works that require focus and brio if they’re to work at all. Kholodenko
copes well enough with the notes, but where’s the volatility, the verve?
Listening to the risk-taking Michel Béroff, Kurt Masur and the ‘old
style’ Leipzig Gewandhaus – a big, boisterous sound with fruity brass
– confirms how risk averse these new performances are. The orchestra
sounds pretty average, and their conductor doesn’t stand out either.
And while the piano is reasonably well caught the orchestra sounds diffuse,
with a lumpy bass. As a result vivifying detail is obscured at every
turn. Incidentally, eClassical list the sampling rate on the 24-bit
files as 96kHz; in fact it comes up on my DAC as 88.2khz.
Pedestrian Prokofiev in dull sound; doesn’t augur well for the rest
of the series.
Virgil THOMSON (1896-1989) The Plow that broke the Plains – Suite [16:02] Louisiana Story – Suite [20:37] Louisiana Story – Acadian Songs and Dances [14:58] Power among Men – Fugues and Cantilenas [16:09]
The New London Orchestra/Ronald Corp
rec. October 1991, All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London. DDD HYPERION HELIOS CDH55169 [67:46] – from hyperion-records.co.uk
(mp3 and lossless, with pdf booklet)
Please see 4-star
review of original release by Ian Lace: ‘A most appealing programme
played with dedication and enthusiasm’.
The Plow that broke the Plains – complete music (1936) [26:52]
The River (1937) [28:43]
PostClassical Ensemble/Angel Gil-Ordóñez
rec. Omega Recording Studios, Rockville, Maryland, USA, 11–12 June 2005.
DDD. NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559291 [55:43] – stream
(subscribers) or download
from classicsonlinehd.com (lossless, with pdf booklet)
‘Fine scores in such excellent sound’ – please see reviews by Bob
Briggs and Dan
Morgan: ‘this is a very desirable issue indeed’.
As much as the music of Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson’s film music evokes
the people and spaces of North America without either composer conforming
to the Hollywood Technicolor stereotype. The Hyperion recording offers
a good introduction to three prime examples but Thomson fans will also
want the Naxos recording of the whole music for The Plow that broke
the Plains and the only recording of the music for The River.
As I was closing this edition I received the download of a 3-CD set
of all Thomson’s Songs, promoted by the Virgil Thomson Foundation on
New World Records, which I plan to review next time.
Howard HANSON (1896-1981) Merry Mount Suite (1933) [15:46]
Mosaics (1958) [12:45]
For the First Time (1962) [20:30]
Piano Concerto Op.36 (1948) [20:14] The Composer Talks - Howard Hanson discusses his music: Introduction
- the four orchestral colours [3:26]; Merry Mount Suite (1933) - How
does a composer write for orchestra; Pitch spectrum and the colours
of the orchestra [30:32]; Mosaics (1958) - How the colours of music
influence musical form in the composer’s mind [24:33]; For the First
Time (1962) - Musical sound. Using the tonal vocabulary of music to
describe the impression [19:55]
Symphony No.1 in E minor Op.21 (Nordic, 1923) [26:42]
Symphony No.2 Op.30 (Romantic, 1930) [27:54]
The Song of Democracy (1957) [12:04]
Symphony No.3 (1943) [33:12]
Elegy in Memory of My Friend Serge Koussevitzky, Op.44 (1956) [11:21]
The Lament for Beowulf (1925) [12:38]
Alfred Mouledous (piano)
Eastman School of Music Chorus;
Eastman Philharmonia; Eastman- rochester Orchestra/Howard Hanson
rec. Eastman Theatre Rochester, New York. 1957-1965. ADD. MERCURY 4756867 [4:35:48] – stream
purchase from Qobuz (16-bit lossless, No booklet: £21.70). Also
in mp3 (£15.99) from 7digital.com – but lossless at £24.49 is more expensive than from Qobuz.
Hanson is still an unjustly neglected composer. I have to admit that
I haven’t dug out my CDs of his music recently, though when I do I’m
completely convinced by his epic style, evoking the open spaces of America
as much as Aaron Copland and Virgil Thomson, and also capable of some
The only way now to obtain all these authoritative recordings on CD
is to purchase two monster box sets: Mercury Living Presence 2 (4785092,
55 CDs: the symphonies and Beowulf) and Mercury Living Presence
3 (4787896, 53 CDs: Colors, Merry Mount, Mosaics, First
Times). Otherwise Presto have released their own disc under licence
of some of these recordings:
4343022: Symphony No.3, Elegy, Lament for Beowulf – from
(CD and download). Subscribers can stream from Qobuz
but their download costs slightly more than that from Presto, who also
offer a less expensive mp3 version.
Qobuz also offer Symphony No.1, Symphony No.2 and Song of
Democracy, another Mercury recording deleted on CD: at £11.56 the
download is over-priced – it’s more than half their price for the complete
4-disc set, which is much better value – but subscribers can stream.
Of the 4-CD set Rob Barnett wrote that it contains ‘definitive performances
directed by the composer. This is a splendid and vibrantly played and
recorded collection for Hansonians everywhere’ – review.
I need add only that the streamed version sounds fine, if a trifle dry,
and that these composer-conducted recordings will for many be preferable
to the Naxos alternatives, though those receive a more recent recording.
I’m sorry that I missed that Naxos set on disc apart from Nos. 4 and
5 (below) probably because I was happy with the two Mercury CDs of Nos.
Hanson never recorded his Fourth Symphony (Requiem) in stereo
but Naxos Classical Archives have a decent, if shrill and dry, transfer
of his 1953 mono recording, coupled with Hanson conducting Roy Harris’s
Third Symphony (9.81162 –
DL News 2013/14). At $6.60 from eclassical.com
in mp3 or lossless, though with no booklet, it’s a bargain, too.
a more recent Fourth, coupled with the Fifth (Sinfonia sacra)
and the Elegy for Koussevitzky there’s the Seattle Symphony conducted
by Gerard Schwarz (Naxos 8.559703 – see DL
Roundup January 2012/2). If you find the earlier symphonies a little
too much like Technicolor movies – music for ET or Star Wars
long before its time, as it were – these two later, more spiritual,
works offer a corrective. Ignore the classicsonline.com link: subscribers
stream from classicsonlinehd.com where the album can be purchased
in lossless sound for £4.99, with booklet.
No.6 (Lumen in Christo) and No.7 (A Sea Symphony) are
coupled in performances from the Seattle team on Naxos 8.559704:Recording
of the Month – review
review – review.
That’s available to
stream (for subscribers) or to purchase
from classicsonlinehd.com (lossless download with pdf booklet).
I seem to have missed that when it was released but can confirm those
very positive reviews and note that the sound of the download is very
Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957)
Violin Concerto in D, Op.35 (1945) [25:36] Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976)
Violin Concerto in d minor Op.15 (1938-1939) [32:23]
Vilde Frang (violin)
Frankfurt Radio Symphony/James Gaffigan
Rec. 30 June-2 July and 28 August 2015, Hessischer Rundfunk, Frankfurt.
DDD WARNER CLASSICS 0825646009213 [58:12] – subscribers
stream from Qobuz with pdf booklet. NB: download from Qobuz
is more expensive than the CD.
would never have thought of these two concertos as likely companions:
the sticky-sweet Korngold and the ascetic Britten seem most unlikely
companions, even if they are Vilde Frang’s long-time favourites and
both were composed in America around the same time. Listen to her take
on the Korngold, however, and you begin to see the kinship which she
perceives between the two works. There’s all the beauty that other
performers find in the work but somehow the sweetness is less cloying
and the concerto seems to have a greater degree of inner strength.
The finale is positively bracing.
Conversely there is a touch more lyricism than usual in the Britten
without skimping the power and virtuosity. Ultimately she may not persuade
me that this is a logical coupling – the Britten Violin and Piano Concertos
on Chandos work better together* – but she certainly made me sit up
and take notice and I appreciated her performances of both works. With
very able support and very good recording, if the coupling appeals this
is a winner.
I enjoyed hearing the streamed version from Qobuz, to which I have given
a link, but baulked at paying £12.73 for the download of a disc currently
discounted by one dealer to £8.50 – and even their regular price of
£10.90 is less than the Qobuz download, as is another dealer’s regular
price of £8.99. 7digital.com are asking even more for a lossless download,
at £12.99: even their price of £8.99 for mp3 is not competitive, though
it comes with the pdf booklet.
* CHAN10764, Tasmin Little (violin); Howard Shelley (piano);
BBC Philharmonic/Edward Gardner – review:
Recording of the Month – DL
Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Gayaneh, Op. 50 (excerpts) (1943) (arr. Francis Perron) [12:46]
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Symphony No. 1 in D major, Op. 25 ‘Classical’ (1917) (arr. Olivier Godin)
[14:28] Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Romeo and Juliet – fantasy overture (1880 version, arr. Perron) [18:35]
Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)
St. John’s Night on Bald Mountain (1867) (arr. Louis Dominique Roy)
[10:48] Aram KHACHATURIAN Masquerade – suite, Op. 48a (arr. Perron) [16:55]
Orford Six Pianos (Sandra Murray, Claire Ouellet, Mariane Patenaude,
Francis Perron, Pamela Reimer, Louis Dominique Roy)
rec. May 2015, Salle Gilles Lefèbvre, Centre d’arts Orford, Québec,
Pdf booklet included ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD22733 [73:32] – from eClassical
(mp3, 16- & 24-bit lossless)
my regular trawl of eClassical’s new releases I spotted this and downloaded
it without delay. According to the extended booklet interview with Mariane
Patenaude, the group – made up of piano coaches at Quebec’s Orford Arts
Centre – envisaged this six-piano project as a bit of fun. I’ve yet
to hear the first volume in the series, but I’m delighted to report
that this one is hugely entertaining. And don’t be fooled; this isn’t
a case of pianistic overload, for these are fine arrangements played
with plenty of skill and a good feeling for idiom.
Khachaturian’s Gayaneh and Masquerade suites are virtuosic
vehicles that once launched are impossible to stop. Rhythms are infectious,
colours are vivid and the full, well-balanced recording ensures oodles
of nuance and detail. Yes, there are a few moments when textures get
a little too dense, but otherwise clarity is king. For me the Prokofiev
and Tchaikovsky pieces are the stand-outs; they’re sensitively done
and, in the Romeo and Juliet especially, the pianos’ sonorities
mirror those of the orchestral originals most beautifully. There’s also
a drive here – and a firm commitment to musical values – that’s just
Serious fun; next stop, Volume 1 (ACD22566). [CD or download
Arnold Atkinson COOKE (1906-2005)
Symphony No.4 in E flat (1974) [27:10]
Symphony No.5 in G (1979) [32:34]
Symphony Orchestra/John Pritchard (4)
BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra/Bernard Keeffe (5)
rec. live Royal Festival Hall, London, BBC Broadcast, 15 January 1975.
First performance. ADD mono (4)
BBC Broadcast, 17 July 1981. ADD mono (5) LYRITA REAM.1123 [59:44] from emusic.com
(mp3, NO booklet). Information and rear insert from wyastone.co.uk.
CD available for £9 from MusicWeb-International.
Full marks to Lyrita for filling two gaps in the catalogue with yet
another very valuable release please see my full review.
Karel HORKÝ (1909-1988)
Symphony No.3 (1969) [25:44] Osudová Preludia (Fateful Preludes) for piano and orchestra [20:50]
Dagmar Baloghová (piano)
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Václav Neumann
Rec. ? SUPRAPHON VT7551-2 [46:34] – from emusic.com
download from Qobuz
can give you very little information about Karel Horký or these two
works apart from what I have listed above. One website which I consulted
even appears not to have noticed that he died in 1988 and lists his
age as 107!
His Third Symphony is a powerful work and receives a performance to
match. The recording, which must have been made some time between 1969
and Václav Neumann’s death in 1995, does justice to the performances.
Though powerful, the symphony is perfectly accessible to anyone who
likes Bartók or Martinu but Fateful Preludes is a slightly tougher
nut to crack. Subscribers to Qobuz should give this a try and it can
be downloaded there for just £3.19. From emusic.com it’s an even more
attractive £1.68 and it comes at 320kb/s. Unfortunately, neither source
offers the booklet.
Henri DUTILLEUX (1916-2013) Le Loup – Complete ballet (1953) [29:18] La Fille du Diable – Extracts from the film score (1945-1946)
[11:00] Trois Sonnets de Jean Cassou [9:50] Quatre Mélodies, for voice and orchestra (1941-1943) [11:06]
Trois Tableaux symphoniques – For a stage version of Wuthering
Heights (1944-1946) [11:37]
Vincent Le Texier – baritone (Sonnets, Mélodies)
Valérie Hartmann-Claverie – ondes martenot (Diable, Trois Tableaux)
Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire/Pascal Rophé
rec. July 2015, Auditorium Brigitte Engerer, Lycée Mandela, Nantes,
Pdf booklet includes sung texts and translations BIS BIS-SACD -1651 [74:20] – from eClassical
(mp3, 16- & 24-bit lossless)
the centenary of Dutilleux’s birth, so I imagine this collection of
his less-familiar output is just a taste of what’s to come. I last
heard Pascal Rophé in a rather fine coupling of Jongen’s Symphonie
Concertante and Saint-Saëns’ ‘Organ’ Symphony with Olivier Latry
at the console (review).
This new release, much praised by Hubert Culot (review),
starts with a fine account of the ballet Le Loup (The Wolf).
There’s jazz and street music here, all folded into a score that reminds
me of Malcolm Arnold at his balletic best. Stravinsky isn’t too far
The vocal items are comparatively disappointing, but that has more to
do with the plaintive, vibrato-laden delivery of baritone Vincent Le
Texier than the music itself. The excerpts from Dutilleux’s score for
Henri Decoin’s 1946 film La Fille du Diable (The Devil’s Daughter)is curious, not least because it features the strange, sinuous tones
of the ondes martenot. It certainly has plenty of drive and imagination,
not to mention lush moments à la Korngold. Franz Waxman’s score
for the 1935 film The Bride of Frankenstein – which also uses
the ondes to brilliant effect – comes to mind as well.
Great fun, but those snippets are more than enough for me. Ditto the
Trois Tableaux symphoniques, intended to accompany a stage performance
of Wuthering Heights. At times the music for the latter seems
better suited to a James Whale monster flick from the 1930s, although
one could argue that Brontë’s darkly obsessive tale does invite the
Unusual fare, attractively presented and recorded; worth it for the
those happy with excerpts from Le Loup, the three Fragments
Symphoniques, about half the work, are available on a 2-CD EMI/Warner
20th Century Classics set, 2068792 – review – also containing the cello concerto Tout un Monde Lointain
(Mstislav Rostropovich), the violin concerto L’Arbre des Songes
(René Capuçon), Symphony No.2, etc. It was until recently an attractive
bargain on disc and remains available as a download from Presto
or for streaming
for subscribers from Qobuz. Some dealers are asking an exorbitant
£24+ for the discs.
The alternative Lynn Harrell recording of Tout un Monde, also
with L’Arbre des Songes (Pierre Amoyal) and conducted by Charles
Dutoit is a real bargain for £5.44 from 7music.com or from sainsburysentertainment.co.uk (Decca 4443892, both mp3).
Eclassical.com also have the Seattle Symphony recording of Tout un
Monde, with Symphony No.1 and Shadows of Time, which I reviewed
I also mentioned then the highly regarded Chandos recording of Symphonies
Nos. 1 and 2 from the BBC Philharmonic/Yan Pascal Tortelier on CHAN9194
[59:47] which can be downloaded from theclassicalshop.net
in mp3 and lossless sound with pdf booklet. [BW]
DISCOVERY OF THE MONTH David STOCK (1939-2015) Concierto Cubano (2000) [18:59] Oborama (2010) [19:53]
Percussion Concerto (2007) [21:15]
Andrés Cárdenes (violin)
Alex Klein (oboes)
Lisa Pegher (percussion)
Boston Modern Orchestra Project/Gil Rose
rec. 30 May, 2012 (Concierto Cubano), 31 May, 2013 (Oborama)
Distler Performance Hall,
Medford, MA; 1 July, 2014 at Jordan Hall, Boston, MA (Percussion Concerto).
BMOP SOUND 1047 [60:08] – reviewed from .wav press access files.
Yet another release from the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP)
featuring unrecorded music and it’s yet another which bucks the trend
of so much contemporary music to pass over the heads of or to annoy
traditionalists like myself. There’s nothing here to take exception
to: nothing harder to fathom than the Schoenberg Chamber Symphonies
(above). While I don’t expect these three concertos ever to bring the
same kind of fame to their composer as Schoenberg received, there’s
so much here that I enjoyed that I intend to chase up some of the other
available recordings of his music, including a whole CD in the Naxos
Milken Archive series (8.559422 – review).
The enthusiasm of all the performers is clear and the recording, to
which I listened in CD-quality wav sound, does the
music and them full justice. Sadly the composer passed in 2015, before
the album was released but he would have been able to hear these recordings
and he wrote an introductory piece for the booklet which, most regrettably,
is not included with the Qobuz download.
Much of Stock’s music is available in the UK as downloads only: you’ll
find a more complete representation at Arkivmusic.com,
including a collection entitled American Accents and containing
the work of that name plus the Viola Concerto (Susan Gulkis Assadi,
viola) and Symphony No.2. The Seattle Symphony Orchestra is conducted
by the composer and Gerard Schwarz (Innova 586 [58:59]). I downloaded
American Accents from eclassical.com
(mp3 and lossless, no booklet) and enjoyed that, too. Don’t be put
off by the bare tree on the cover: it’s not representative of the music.
Pēteris VASKS (b.1946)
String Quartet No.5 (2004)* [23:32]
String Quartet No.2 (Vasaras dziedajumi, Sommerweisen:
Summer Melodies) (1984) [26:33]
Spikeru String Quartet
rec. Sesava Lutheran Church, August 2013 (Quartet No.5), City of Rezekne
Concert Hall GORS, May 2014 (Quartet No.2). DDD
* First European performance and first recording worldwide. WERGO WER73292 [50:05] – from emusic.com
(mp3, NO booklet)
made a recording of Pēteris Vasks’ music on the Wergo label my
Bargain of the Month in 2015/9
(Sala, Musica, Credo: WER73232), along with
the Hyperion recording of his and Kurt Weill’s violin concertos (CDA67496)*.
The emusic.com download of the two string quartets is only a little
more expensive, at £2.10, and it comes at the full 320 kb/s which I’m
pleased to see is now their norm.
Emusic.com also offer the Caprice recording for £2.95 but it’s a variable-bit-rate
download so I recommend paying a little more for the eclassical.com,
in full mp3 and lossless. Neither of these recordings is available
to download with booklet.
Vasks’ music is not an easy listen – rather harder going than that of
Arvo Pärt whose intensity it shares – but I find it rewarding to make
the effort. Both these recordings present idiomatic and convincing
performances but the Wergo contains the only available version of No.5
– a premiere, I think, though not so claimed.
* My thanks to M.V. who reminded me via the Message
Board, that Vasks is Latvian. Not all modern composers from Baltic
countries come from Estonia! Latvian is actually an ‘easier’ language
European Organs Volume 95
Rudolf Müller (Steinmeyer Organ)
rec. Monastery Church, Mariannhill, Würzburg, September 2013. DDD. PRIORY PRCD1127 [69:41] – from Presto
(mp3 and lossless, NO booklet)
Please see my full review:
With idiomatic performances on a versatile organ, very good recording
and Priory’s usual detailed documentation, this is a worthy successor
to the many fine albums in this series. The apparent lack of the booklet
from any download source that I can find makes me recommend the CD rather
than the download, though Qobuz
subscribers may wish to stream it.
recently reviewed the Pentatone SACD reissue of Narciso Yepes
1977 and 1979 recordings of Joaquín Rodrigos Concierto
de Aranjuez, Fantasía para un gentihombre and Concierto
madrigal, with the Philharmonia and ECO conducted by Garcia Navarro
and with Godelieve Monden as second guitar in Concierto madrigal.
Made in quadraphonic sound, an SACD release of this and several other
DG and Philips quad recordings was a natural. I purchased the SACD and
was very pleased, not least at the attractive price of £10.75
Now that recording has been reissued by DG as part of a budget-price
5-CD set of all Yepes concerto recordings, from his first shots
at Rodrigo with Alonso (1969) via Vivaldi conducted by Kuenz (1971),
Giuliani (1977), Bacarisse and Halffter with Alonso (1972), Ohana and
Ruiz-Pipo with Frühbeck de Burgos (1975), Villa-Lobos and Castelnuovo-Tedesco
with Navarro (1976) and concluding with the three Rodrigo works as per
the Pentatone release. That means having two different versions of Aranjuez
and the Fantasía but the set is competitively priced at
around £24 currently £19.20 from Presto
and their download is even more attractively priced at £6.34
(mp3) or £7.93 (lossless), complete with booklet (4795457).
Thats even less expensive than Qobuzs £8.18 but Qobuz
subscribers can stream here.
Appendix: Baroque Era 1 contents
CD1 Thomas ARNE Overtures CD2 William BOYCE Symphonies CD2-3 John BLOWVenus and Adonis CD4 Henry PURCELL Incidental Music CD5 Henry PURCELLThe Indian Queen CD6 John BLOW, Henry PURCELL, etc.: Vocal music CD7 George Frideric HANDEL Water Music Suite No.1; Fireworks
Music CD8-9 George Frideric HANDEL Concerti Grossi, Op.6/1-12 CD10 George Frideric HANDEL, etc.: Emma Kirkby recital CD11 George Frideric HANDEL, etc.: Emma Kirkby and Patrizia Kwella
recital CD12-13 George Frideric HANDELMessiah CD14-15 George Frideric HANDELLa Resurrezione CD16-18 George Frideric HANDELOrlando CD19 Johann Sebastian BACH Goldberg Variations (Christophe Rousset) CD20-21 Johann Sebastian BACH Brandenburg Concertos (New London
Consort) CD22 Johann Sebastian BACH Concertos for 3 and 4 harpsichords;
Antonio Vivaldi Concerto Op.3/10 CD23 Johann Sebastian BACH Cantatas Nos.8, 78 and 99 (Joshua
Rifkin) CD24 Johann Sebastian BACH Coffee and Peasant
Cantatas (Emma Kirkby, etc.) CD25 Carl Philipp Emmanuel BACH Sinfonias, Wq182/1-6
All with The Academy of Ancient Music/Christopher Hogwood except where
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