Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mahler: Das klagende Lied - Studer, Meier, Goldberg, Allen, Sinopoli

Gustav Mahler
Das klagende Lied
Cheryl Studer, Waltraud Meier
Reiner Goldberg, Thomas Allen

Philarmonia Orchestra, Giuseppe Sinopoli

Deutsche Grammophon CD 463 216-2

For my first post I choose a "minor" listening among Mahler's works.
Surely not to compete with the later "Das Lied von der Erde" for intensity, but worth hearing as the first steps of the great M. in shaping his musical world...
Sinopoli, even if not the best in sound recording, with his passionate and precise direction, and joined by four great soloists, makes Mahler's music (as always) a truly wonderful experience.

(FLAC + cue + cover)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Berg: 3 Orchesterstücke Op. 6, Lulu-Suite - Efraty, Gatti (2008)

Alban Berg
Drei Orchesterstücke Op. 6
Symphonische Stücke aus der Oper "Lulu"
Anat Efraty
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Daniele Gatti
RCO Live 8004

„Meinem Lehrer und Freunde Arnold Schönberg in unermeßlicher
Dankbarkeit und Liebe“

- reads Alban Berg's dedication of his Three Pieces for Orchestra Op. 6, the pinnacle of the late romantic orchestral output; according to some. "Mahler's 11th", as I sometimes call it, or rather the first mature work of a genial innovator? Berg's music always defies labels and speaks to us with its unmistakable fondness and unsurpassed sensuality.

And where sensuality itself becomes "music", then we are in the magic world of Lulu...
One of the highest dramatic masterpieces of the last century, combining perfect complex musical structures with the most natural, sweet and human listening experience.
Some 20 years after Berg had composed his Pieces Op. 6, and at the end of his brief life, the Viennese master adapted some magnificent symphonic excerpts from his second drama into a famous Suite.
Opening with the tragic, lustful and desperate Alwa's love hymn in the magic first piece, and ending with the eternal love's vow from the dying Countess Geschwitz - both, like the many fallen heroes of Pandora's Box, Lulu's victims and executioners alike.

In this RCO release, our beloved Milanese Maestro, Daniele Gatti is leading the glowing Concertgebouw not only with heart but also with precision, as a true apostle of Berg's music (I still recall his touching Lulu at La Scala back in 2010), joined by the Israeli soprano Anat Efraty (Lulu at the Massimo of Palermo in 2001), who shines in the fiendish Lied, and also takes on Geschwitz's final lines, although she certainly is no match for the divine Margaret Price in Abbado's classic recording from 1970.

FLACs and Cover (Front Cover is all I got 4 years ago from a very mean, world renowned digital store... sorry!)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Wassenaer: Concerti Armonici 1-6 - ASMF, Neville Marriner

Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer
Concerti Armonici 1-6
Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Neville Marriner
Argo 410 205-2

Marriner and the ASMF give the impression of having sought, and found, the music's special vein of nobility and spaciousness, and its exalted poetic nature.

A reminder about the background of these magnificent concertos, whose mystery was cleared up two years ago by the Dutch scholar Albert Dunning, might be in order. They were published anonymously in the eighteenth century, with a dedication to Count Bentinck by Carlo Bacciccia Ricciotti, which says they were the work of "an illustrious hand." Those familiar with the period have always suspected that the authorship of a nobleman was implied, but various composers have been nominated, on circumstantial or stylistic grounds, or sometimes on no grounds at all--certainly this last applies to the best-known attribution, to Pergolesi (on the strength of a manuscript note on a late copy in Washington). Others nominated include Handel, J. A. Birkenstock, Fortunato Chelleri, Willem de Fesch and Ricciotti himself. Dr. Dunning has solved the problem in the best possible way, by finding the autograph, which is the work of Unico Wilhelm, Count van Wassenaer. Here and there a clumsy progression betrays the hand of an amateur contrapuntist, but set against the originality, the textural richness and the nobility of diction of these fine works it scarcely matters... Michael Talbot...rightly points out that they belong not in the Vivaldian, north Italian tradition but in a Roman and southern one of four-movement works with fuller textures and fugal writing--there are several formal fugues, and contrapuntal thinking permeates the music. The style is conservative for the date, as one usually finds with an amateur composer (the concertos belong to the years 1725-40).

I hope someone will record them before long on authentic instruments. For these sumptuous textures and expressive lines and harmonies seem to invite vibrato-laden playing and strong emotional feeling--and by goodness they receive them from Neville Marriner's superb group, who play them as warmly and tenderly as they would Siegfried Idyll. The result is in its way marvellous, a tour de force of supple, expressive and euphonious string playing; but I do not think it very closely corresponds to what the composer is likely to have intended... Yet the ASMF do seem to me to make much more of the particular character of these works. I Musici approach them just as they would Vivaldi or Albinoni or anyone else; the ASMF however give the impression of having sought, and found, the music's special vein of nobility and spaciousness, and its exalted poetic nature. This is reflected in their softer, warmer textures, their perhaps more careful selection of the tempo of each movement, their readiness not simply to play the music through at face value but to think a little deeper about its character. Listen for example to the richness of feeling in the Largo affettuoso of the second G major, or the management of the dynamics in those high repeated triplets in the finale of the F minor--I Musici make it a big climax, but the ASMF give it an altogether subtler shape and much more point, though they do take it very fast... Although this isn't really quite how I want to hear these concertos--I am curious to discover how a closer approximation to Wassenaer's intended sound would affect their expressive nature--it would take an austerer spirit than mine not to take delight in what is offered here.

Stanley Sadie, Gramophone Magazine

Friday, January 27, 2012

Schumann: Symphony No.2, Manfred Overture - Sinopoli, Wiener Philharmoniker

Robert Schumann
Symphony No.2, Manfred Overture
Giuseppe Sinopoli, Wiener Philharmoniker
I Grandi Interpreti della Musica Classica - DeAgostini (out of print)

This is a great Schumann 2nd. It is the first version of it I ever owned and I still love this febrile performance, which I think can stand up with dignity against any competitor. I loved this recording so much that I even provide complete scans. An effort that will undoubtedly earn me a place in heaven.

Torelli: Sonate, Sinfonie e Concerti - Ens. Seicentonovecento

Giuseppe Torelli
Sonate, Sinfonie e Concerti
Sandro Verzari, Ensemble Seicentonovecento, Flavio Colusso
Bongiovanni GB 10008-2

Considering the unexplainable and undeserved shortage of recordings of Torellis concertos and symphonies, this one belongs in any proper collection of baroque instrumental music. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dvorak: Cello Concerto; Tchaikovskij: Rococo Variations - Rostropovich, Karajan, Berliner Phil.

Antonin Dvorak: Cello Concerto;
Petr Tchaikovskij: Rococo Variations
Mstislav Rostropovich, Herbert Von Karajan,
Berliner Philharmoniker
Deutsche Grammophon CD

.ape + .cue + .log

Another great classic, with my favorite cello concerto. I'm sure there's plenty of reviews around, but I'll try to check later if I can found one. For the time being: just the music and the cover. I doubt you'd rather have it the other way around...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Musorgskij: Pictures at an Exhibition, Night on the Bald Mountain,... - Abbado, Berliner Phil.

Modest Musorgskij
Pictures at an Exhibition, Night on the Bald Mountain,
Sennacherib (Sankerib), Salamnbo, Oedipus, Joshua
Claudio Abbado, Berliner Philharmoniker
Deutsche Grammophon CD

.ape + .cue + .log

This recording was recently chosen by BBC Radio 3 as the chosen version for a library of classical recordings. The program is aptly called "Building a Library", and the few times I listened to it, I found their choices agreeable. There's even a piece dedicated to our beloved MIMIC's founder by Musorgskij the visionary, who must have had a premonition while on one of his zapoj's (запой).

Monday, January 23, 2012

Muffat: Armonico Tributo - Ensemble 415, Banchini, Christensen

Georg Muffat
Armonico Tributo
Ensemble 415, Chiara Banchini, Jesper Christensen

Excellent take on Armonico Tributo, the highlight of Georg Muffats composing career performed by baroque superstar Chiara Banchini and with always solid Jesper Christensen on Harpsichord. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Zavateri: Concerti da Chiesa e da Camera - Freiburger BO, Goltz

Lorenzo Gaetano Zavateri
Concerti da Chiesa e da Camera
Freiburger Barockorchester, Gottfried von der Goltz
DHM 05472 77352 2

Music with a well-refined intelligence
from a forgotten Baroque master.

Now here is a name that will almost certainly be new to every collector of baroque music on CD. Lorenzo Zavateri was a Bolognese composer and one-time pupil of Giuseppe Torelli. Zavateri became elected a member of the famous Accademia Filarmonica in 1717 and joined the almost equally esteemed orchestra of San Petronio in Bologna during the mid 1720s. Little of his music was published, but among that which was is his set of 12 Concerti da chiesa e da camera, Op. 1. The set was issued in 1735 and was praised by the celebrated Padre Martini for “a well-refined intelligence”.

There is less differentiation here between ‘church’ and ‘chamber’ styles than occurs in Corelli’s Op. 6, for instance, though several of Zavateri’s concertos contain illustrative or quasi-illustrative titles. Concertos Nos. 7 and 9, for example, are termed “Teatrale” – his almost exact contemporary, Locatelli, published six Introduttioni Teatrali in the same year, which are, like Zavateri’s pieces, concerti grossi in the three-movement form of the Italian opera sinfonia – while the tenth Concerto is “a Pastorale” and the twelfth “a Tempesta di mare”; the first work is perhaps rather unnecessarily subtitled “Introducione”, though via the heading Zavateri declares a cohesive purpose.

Dedicated to his pupil and patron, Count Cornelio Pepoli Musotti, the 12 concertos contain enough individual gestures and a sufficient diversity of ideas to hold our attention without difficulty. But perhaps it is those readers with a taste for stylistic pluralism, whose ears savour that Janus-like stance characteristic of vocabulary which draws upon the obsolescent and the new, who will derive the most constant pleasure from the music. There is little in the way of set formulae.

Four of the works are ripieno concertos while two others, as I have mentioned, are opera sinfonias in character and layout. The remaining six occupy a middle ground between concerto grosso and solo violin concerto – one of them, No. 10, is for two violins – and it is these which, on balance, make a deeper impression. There is frequently a contrapuntal interest in Zavateri’s concertos, sometimes an element of dazzling, if short-winded virtuosity, and at other times an affecting expressive intimacy. Like so many Italian composers of his generation and earlier, Zavateri embraces a tradition of including a 12/8 “Pastorale” movement within the set. Perhaps the tradition began with his teacher Torelli who included such a movement among the concertos of his Op. 8 (1709). Yet though not at that time published, it may have been Corelli’s well-known Christmas Concerto (Op. 6 No. 8) which set the trend. Zavateri’s “Pastorale” is an altogether more galant affair than those of his fellow Italians, airier in character, with trio episodes for two solo violins and continuo, and containing some striking key shifts. Of a completely different character is the splendidly vibrant Tempesta di mare which concludes the set. There are some telling contrasts here with rhythmically undulating passages juxtaposed with thrashing waves depicted chordally. Following a lyrical binary Adagio – the boat in calm waters – the tempest is unleashed with only modest ferocity.

Almost all is played with imagination and finesse by the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra under their leader and solo violinist Gottfried von der Goltz. A fascinating release and one to which I am eager to return.

Nicholas Anderson, Gramophone

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mahler: Symphony No.1 - Abbado, Berliner Philharmoniker

Gustav Mahler
Symphony No.1
Claudio Abbado, Berliner Philharmoniker
Deutsche Grammophon CD

.flac + .cue + .log

No Bubba Hurwitz ain't ever gonna have me believe the BPO and Abbado ain't worth my buck on Mahler. Sorry Bubba.

Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde - Jerusalem, Norman, Levine (1998)

Gustav Mahler
"Das Lied von der Erde"
Siegfried Jerusalem
Jessye Norman
Berliner Philharmoniker
James Levine
DGG 439 948-2

FLACs & Covers

"Die liebe Erde allüberall
blüht auf im Lenz und grünt
Aufs neu! Allüberall und ewig
blauen licht die Fernen!
Ewig... ewig...".

... what could we add to those last lines? Mahler's sublime vocal farewell to life (the symphonic only being of course His 9th) is here presented in a rare DG output, generally thought to be one of the best in our libraries. How many "Lied von der Erde" would I love to share? More than a few... I'll make sure the Giulini BP (and WP for Orfeo), the old Davis (Vickers & Norman), the Maazel in Munich and a very rare one in Venice I've got (with singers Richard Lewis and Kerstine Meyer), the Oue Minnesota and the Salonen, the Sinopoli of course will find some day pride of place on these friendly pages.

But now it's Jimmy Levine and the Berlin Philharmonic, with our beloved Siegfried Jerusalem's most inspired singing, and Jessye Norman, adding her glorious vocal art to those peonies redolent, wistful otherworldly chant of Love which "Der Abschied" is.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit, Sonatine, Valses Nobles... - Argerich

Maurice Ravel
Gaspard de la Nuit, Sonatine, Valses Nobles et Sentimentales
Martha Argerich
I Grandi Interpreti della Musica Classica - DeAgostini (out of print)

I picked this one up during my last trip back home. It's part of the first classical collection on CD I ever purchased (my first classical recordings were on LP). DeAgostini made a terrific job back then, assembling a collection of not-so-obvious masterpieces by first-rate performers. Their being not-so-obvious made me look at the collection with some suspicion back then. My appreciation of Ravel's piano works has only blossomed now, approximately 20 years after purchasing the CD in question. And together with it, I have come to a better appreciation of that wonderful collection.
This is a milestone of Ravel's and Martha Argerich's discography, with the Argentinian still at the apex of her virtuosity, so there's no need for an endorsement review.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Locatelli: Concerti a 4, Op.7 - Ensemble Baroque de Nice, Bezzina

Pietro Locatelli
Concerti a Quattro Op.7 (complete)
Ensemble Baroque de Nice, Gilbert Bezzina
ADDA 581118

Pretty rare recording though recommendable for it's high quality far more than for its rarity. May you all enjoy it as much as I have.
- Sankerib

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Brahms: Klavierstuecke Op.116-119 - Angelich

Johannes Brahms:
Klavierstuecke Op.116-119
Nicholas Angelich
Virgin Classics CD
.flac + .cue + .log

I didn't have time to find a suitable review. Although maybe not the very best, it is indeed pretty good.
Update: Rana provided a review (she actually provided three of them, but I only post the most enthusiastic among them hehehe!)
Update 2: the Maestro Sank has also provided another review

BBC Music Magazine, 03/2007, performance: *****, sound: *****
"Steering a balanced course between imaginative vitality and warmth on one side and resigned melancholy on the other can be difficult, but Nicholas Angelich manages it with a kind of panache. He takes you to the brink of inconsolable sadness one moment, only to put a refreshing spring in the step of a dance movement the next. The balancing extends in other directions. Brahms's piano writing can sound thrick and heavy-booted on modern pianos, but Angelich manages to keep the melody lines fluid and shapely, and brings light to the textures without emasculating that rich bass sound so typical of Brahms. The climax of the E flat minor Intermezzo (No. 6 of op. 118) sounds as deep and sonorous as Rachmaninov, yet how quickly Angelich recovers the piece's original delicacy in the music that follows - beautiful pedalling, too. For all his respect for tone weight, Angelich can also make Brahms sound deliciously light and transparent; the E major Intermezzo (No. 4 of op. 116) is virtually a sustained demonstration of this 'gossamer' Brahms, yet at no point does it feel as though Angelich has imposed a partisan view on the music - the colours and textures all seem to emerge quite naturally from the printed notes. The recording is round-toned and very clear, full and ripe in fortissimos, and just attentive enough to lead the ear inside the most fragile pianissimo. Very impressive all round."
- Stephen Johnson

Nicholas Angelich pulled a fast one on Virgin here. Or rather, a slow one. Let me explain. Brahms’s wonderful farewell to the piano, the twenty pieces making up his opp.116-119, were too long for a single disc in the LP era, but on CD the habit has grown of grouping them all together. A record purporting to be by Joyce Hatto takes a comfortable 72:40. A few minor repeats are omitted, but I doubt if they’d have added more than a couple of minutes to the length. On Brilliant, the slightly more expansive Håkon Austbø nevertheless comes in at 77:09 (see review). I have the famous Julius Katchen performances on LP, but his opp.117-119 take about ten minutes less than Angelich’s so there is plenty of space left for op.116 on CD. I note that DG have issued Wilhelm Kempff’s performances of all twenty pieces on a single disc. So when Virgin booked Angelich to record the series, no doubt they reckoned on getting a CD’s worth. The trouble is, his performances spread to 85 minutes …

Their solution is to issue a “twofer”, in which the short CD dedicated to just op.116 is described as a “bonus disc”. This brings the issue in line with other full price single-disc competitors. The trouble is, from Brilliant you get another “twofer”, with opp.116-119 on one disc and the other containing opp.10, 76 and 79. However, for reasons I will explain later, I personally wouldn’t consider Austbø acceptable at any price.

There’s always the risk, when a disc presents unusual features, of “reviewing” it before hearing it. When requesting these records from our Webmaster I added some such phrase as “with misgivings about the two CDs since one should be enough if the music is played at the proper tempo”. But of course, you can’t really pre-review musical performances in accordance with some mathematical principle. My misgivings were pretty well allayed as soon as the record started playing – I started from op.117, by the way. It’s true that in virtually every case Angelich opts for the slowest possible interpretation of Brahms’s directions. But only the slowest possible one. I found no case where he actually goes below the bottom line. By this I mean that there is no case where his tempo is so slow that his combination of clear phrasing and naturally warm tone cannot hold the listener. The music never falls apart, as it sometimes could in Glenn Gould’s curious takes on a selection of these pieces. He came closest to losing me in the F major Romance (op.118/5), but several of his competitors are rather heavy here too. I heard some appallingly personalized Brahms from Alexander Mogilevsky a while back (EMI CDM 5 67934 2) and was a little afraid I might be getting more of the same. But in terms of phrasing and dynamics these performances are generally faithful to the score and free of exaggerations.

What the cumulative effect of Angelich’s slowish tempi does do is to explore quite specifically – but never sentimentally – the more melancholy, tragic aspects of the slower pieces, and the more stoic aspects of the faster ones. If you turn to “Joyce Hatto” you will find in opp.117-119 a warmer-hearted, more equably tempered Brahms. One can imagine that this is how Clara Schumann might have illustrated these pieces to her pupils. In a centrally satisfying way, the pianist concerned plays these pieces rather as Sir Adrian Boult conducted the symphonies. As basic Brahms, you can hardly go wrong.

I should perhaps say that I began this review some time ago since I was sent a white label advance copy of the records. The Hatto scandal had not yet burst. I was partially tempted to expunge all references to this recording – which you will obviously not be able to obtain in that form – from the present review. On the other hand, when the pianist has been identified the comparisons will remain valid (see review). Note that I say opp.117-119, though. Listening to op.116, I get the idea it’s a composite version. No. 5 receives just about the most exquisitely poised performance you can imagine, sheer perfection. No.6 is out of line with the rest of the disc in being extraordinarily slow – slower than Angelich, though there is a rugged conviction to it. No.7 is tossed off almighty fast, and all three have a different acoustic. Rereading my original review was a little disconcerting. I find that I had duly noted all these signals, yet was unable or unwilling to see where they led.

To take up the threads from the paragraph above, just as I recognize that there are some listeners for whom Boult’s search for an ideal architectural balance swept some of the composer’s more troubled aspects under the carpet, so there will be listeners who find “Hatto” too comfortable. They might turn to Julius Katchen for a riveting exploration of Brahms’s exposed nerve-ends. When I first heard these performances years ago I resisted them, feeling they were so personalized as to be almost anarchic. In general, strongly personalized performances tend to lose their spell with repeated hearings, but in this case I have shifted my ground over the years. Every time I hear these performances I marvel anew at the way Katchen seemingly invents the works on the spot, while at the same time displaying such total sympathy with Brahms’s world that what would be aberrations in other hands sound like pure magic.

Other listeners again may well find Angelich’s deeply considered, expansive but not indulgent, performances their own point of entry into the world of late Brahms. At present the “Hatto” only proves that there are some more fine performances out there when we’ve found them. So Angelich can be warmly recommended, especially to those looking for sound a bit more modern than Katchen’s – or Kempff’s – early analogue stereo. I picked up the Austbø, encouraged by the very low price and also thinking, well you never know, it might be …. but it isn’t. Unfortunately he has a habit of playing chords slightly arpeggiated which I found quite intolerable. Its not just a question of left-hand-before-right, as many pianists of the old school used to do, quite often he seems to be playing a banjo not a piano. I didn’t get used to this as the disc went on, indeed, I found myself just waiting for each chord and asking “will he arpeggiate it or will he play it together?”. After a while, since I was not expected to review the disc, I gave up and just sampled here and there. If you don’t think this mannerism will worry you, his tempi and colouring are usually well chosen, though I did note a fast and rather insensitive op.116/6. And I must say I noted a few pieces, such as op.118/4, which perhaps do not lend themselves to his particular mannerism except occasionally, and emerge rather impressively.

I would like to offer now a few fairly random considerations.

I have already mentioned the beautiful “Hatto” performance of op.116/5. In op.118/4 the pianist attains a towering passion on the last page which I find unmatched elsewhere. His/her fierce steadiness in op.118/3 is also exceptional and I would rate him/her supreme in these three pieces.

In op.118/5 Julius Katchen attains a transparency of voicing and a liquid beauty which makes all the others sound a little lumpy. This Romance seems to belong to him alone.

In op.116/7 it is Angelich’s turn to stand above the others - but I haven’t heard Katchen in op.116 - with a massive, black, seething passion. He makes a real epic out of it and I hope to hear him in the op.79 Rhapsodies before too long.

Sviatoslav Richter’s op.119 is as intensely personal as Katchen’s, yet is achieved without the noddings and nudgings which make Katchen an acquired taste. If Katchen is exploratory, I would describe Richter as visionary. As ever, he is an artist of extremes, slower than anybody in nos. 1 and 3, faster than anybody in 2 and 4. The Richter recorded legacy of these three Brahms sets is the usual mix of abundance and frustration. Op.117 seems not to have interested him at all; scattered performances, some more official than others, exist of op.118 nos. 1, 3 and 6, plus all of op.119, usually singly, occasionally as a group. I personally listened to op.119 in an off-air taping of a broadcast recital he gave in Milan in 1965. This does not appear to have been published – maybe one of the several companies interested in Richter should be negotiating with RAI. The recital brings nothing new to the Richter discography – the other items are Beethoven op.31/3, Ravel Miroirs 2 and 3 and the Prokofiev 2nd Sonata – but neither of the other two complete performances of op.119 known to exist, both also from 1965, is available at the moment so it would fill a gap.

Staying with the Russians, Gilels’ op.116 (DGG) is famous, but I know his interpretation only from an off-the-air version of a live performance he gave in Milan at about the same time as the recording. Assuming the interpretation remained broadly similar, he has a noble simplicity in the first four which leaves all the others standing, but I am a little puzzled by his treatment of the remaining three.

The young Hélène Grimaud’s op.118 (Brilliant 92117 – 5 CDs but cheap ones - see review) is not wholly outclassed by all this competition. Basically hers is a homely approach closest to “Hatto” - it isn’t the “Hatto” in case anybody’s wondering - with occasional hints that she has been listening to Katchen. Surprisingly I liked her more than anybody in no.6 – surprisingly because such an intensely introspective piece would logically be furthest from the grasp of a teenager. I hope she will return to this repertoire on disc ere long.

One of my own teachers, Ilonka Deckers-Küszler, trained in an early 20th century Central Europe where Brahms was still a living memory. She would have the Rhapsodie op.119/4 go no faster than Angelich’s broadly majestic account. This may provide some authority for his tempo. On the other hand, she had the op.119/3 Intermezzo skip along in a way none of the pianists discussed so far do. Interestingly, this interpretation is provided by two other pianists whose roots went back at least as far. Moiseiwitsch makes a real charmer of the piece. If he seems too capricious for Brahms, Kempff’s Schubertian lilt is less easily dismissed and for me his is the outstanding interpretation of this particular intermezzo. I am speaking now about a BBC Legends release which includes this and op.119/1. Unfortunately I don’t know his DG recording which, on this showing, ought to have a great deal to offer. In op.119/1 he is alone among the pianists here to believe that, since the time signature is 3/8 not 3/4, Brahms’s Adagio refers to the bar not the single three beats within it. He therefore provides a more free-flowing version, and logically he is right.

The debate on how to perform these inexhaustible pieces could go on for ever. No performance can embrace everything that is in this music but it should be clear by now that anyone seeking a version in fine modern sound will find in Angelich a consistent and powerful interpreter. By emphasizing the bleak, tragic aspects of the music he causes it to look forward towards Mahler rather backwards towards Schubert. A distinctive achievement.

Christopher Howell

Friday, January 13, 2012

Beethoven: Concerto for violin op61, Romanze op40, 50 - Accardo, Giulini, La Scala PO (1994)

Today's offering from Davide:

Here's the Violin Concerto, where Giulini is joined by our beloved virtuoso Salvatore Accardo (1994).

FLACs and covers

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Elgar: Symphony Nº 1 in A flat - Davis, BBC Symphony Orch (1985)

About this LP rip, Davide says:

Colin Davis's first recording of Elgar's 1st Symphony was in a 1985 rare LP that I recently found in my favourite shop in London. It's a first rate recording and performance, taken at the Royal Albert Hall in a gala event to raise funds for the Oxfam Aid of Famine Relief in Ethiopia and Sudan. The BBC Symphony simply glows in the splendour of the Albert Hall.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pergolesi: Symphonies - Orch. da Camera di Santa Cecilia, Vlad

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Orchestra da Camera di Santa Cecilia, Alessio Vlad
Arts 47347-2

I would not want to be without this unique recording of Pergolesi's little known symphonies so I thought... Why should you? Enjoy!
- Sankerib

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Beethoven: Symphonies nº 1 & 7 - Giulini, La Scala PO (1992)

From Davide, who says:

One very beautiful recording of the Giulini Scala Beethoven cycle, 1st and 7th (1992). Highly recommended for all the fans of the distinguished Italian Maestro, with his unique tempi and phrasing.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bartók: Kossuth, Concerto for Orchestra - Blomstedt, San Francisco Sym (1995)

Davide's first treat for 2012:

The first and last orchestral masterpieces by our beloved Béla Bartók in a splendid 1995 release from the Blomstedt decade at the wonderful, warm-toned San Francisco Symphony. The Swedish Maestro keeps the right approach through these two very different works of the Hungarian genius' immense art. A Gramophone reference.

Reviews at Gramophone
and ClassicsToday

FLACS and covers