Friday, December 15, 2017

Love, revelry and the dance in Mediæval music, CD 5. Danza, Instrumental music and virtuoso performance in the Middle Ages and today.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 15-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 5 from 7.
Recording dates: April 2007.
Venue: Eglise Notre-Dame de Centeilles, France.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 68:38.

Music on CD 5:
See heading.

Performed by:
Millenarium.

The music on this disc is well represented by this group. There is a real sense of improvisation and many colourful instruments to support that. It sounds authentic and perfect to my ears. Almost smooth and very assured. They are not encumbered by any external pressures it seems, for apart from the improvisatory music making it is also very relaxed.  They give every indication of enjoying the musical challenge. There is no limit to the colourful range of expression. in all they do. So very worthwhile to explore. Sound is state of the art.



The Parisian Symphony. CD 4.Miscellaneous works.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 15-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 4 from 7.
Recording dates: Between 2002-2007.
Venue: Not mentioned.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 71:20.

Works and composers on this disc:

1) Dieudonné Pascal Pieltain. (1754-1833)
     Troisième Concerto en si Bémol majeur, pour Violon et Orchestre.

2) Antoine Fredéric Gresnick. (1755-1799)
     Symphonie concertante en si Bémol majeur, pour Clarinette, basson et orchestre.

3) Ludwig August Lebrun. (1752-1790)
    Concerto en do majeur pour Hautbois et orchestre.

4) Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
     Symphonie B Dur, HOB 1:85 "La Reine".

Performed by:
Les Agrémens, Gut Van Waas.
Patrick Cohen Akenine, Violin.
Eric Hoeprich, Clarinet.
Benoit Laurent, Oboe.
Jane Gower, Bassoon.

Two composers on this disc were totally unknown to me, being Pieltain and Gresnick. Strange but true. I knew Lebrun but did not hear his Concert for Oboe and orchestra before. So all in all this was a discovery. For I liked both the Violin concerto of Pieltain and the Clarinet concerto by Gresnick. The musical content has a high quality of creativity, and are by no means second rate works. Lebrun's Oboe concerto is a jewel, detailed and melodious in expression. The Haydn was also a nice surprise, so totally different from say Hogwood ( a reference to me) but with its own distinctive validity. Very well shaped in form and expression, with familiar sounds coming out in a totally different guise as I was used to. The whole CD is an fine example of art that conceals art, with a formidable constructive and harmonic ingenuity. In all a pinpoint articulation and stylistically apt tonal gradations. Remarkable bursts of speed, yet the sound of the soloists remain deft and elegant. The orchestra has a cultured sound and provide easeful balm for difficult moments. A recording to match this perfection.




The Parisian Symphony. CD 3. "Gossec, Stamitz", Kraus. Grand Symphonies.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 15-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
Recording dates: Between 2002-2007.
Venue: Unknown.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time 77:45.

Works and composers:
1) Francois Joseph Gossec. (1734-1829)
     Symphony opus 12 No. 1,3 & 5.

2) Johann Stamitz (1717-1757).
     Concert for Clarinet and Orchestra in B flat major.

3) Joseph Martin Kraus. (1756-1792)
     Symphony in D major.

Performed: by:
Les Agrémens, Guy Van Waas,  Clarinet and Conductor.

These performances are an excellent choice to learn about the music. Played on authentic instruments, the dynamics and phrasing causing the subsequent emerging of the fine colouring, is the raison d'etre to get this in your collection.  The detailing is absolute top notch, and the pureness of tone is something to relish. All three composers deliver highly contrasting works, bubbling with creative vitality, and Sturm und Drang, pushing the tempi to the limits. This orchestra gets the last ounce of grandeur and weight out of the works on this CD. There is an virility in these compositions, and plenty of swagger. Thrillingly precise, characterized by a real momentum and Schwung. Also clarity, control, and impeccable orchestral discipline.
Sound is forward but lucid, with plenty of depth and also air around the instruments.




The Heritage of Claudio Monteverdi, Castello, Dario. (?1621-?1658) CD 4 In Stil Moderno.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 15-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 4 from 7.
Recording dates: January 1995.
Venue: Boswell, Switzerland, Alte Kirche.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 54:02.

Concerti for diverse instruments.

Cornet, Mute cornet, Violin, Viola da Braccio, Violino, Violone, Trombone, Bassoon, Theorbo, Triple Harp, Chitarrone, Harpsichord, organ, regal.

Performed by:
La Fenice, Jean Tubery.

(There is no biographical information about Castello. Even his birth and death dates are unknown. It is thought he may possibly have died during the great plague of 1630; certainly, he published no new music after this date)

"Of his music, 29 separate compositions survive. Castello's music is inventive and technically challenging. Strictly worked polyphonic sections alternate with dramatic recitatives over basso continuo, in keeping with the title of the publications "in stil moderno"; however he also uses some of the older canzona technique, which uses short sections of highly contrasting texture, and active rather than lyrical melodic lines. Unusually for the time, Castello often specifies the instruments for each part, calling for cornettiviolinssackbuts (Baroque trombone) and dulcians. That these works were still being reprinted in the 1650s attests to Castello's influence". 

I am duly impressed by Dario Castello's music as well as the fine performance by the instrumentalists of La Fenice. Dario Castello's music is highly inventive and well thought out. It is grander in design, brisker in expression, and speaking of a musical intelligence beyond my expectations. There is lightness, transparency and a directness that yields marvelous poetic results. He builds up a musical architecture that is quite impressive. The music has an uncommon distinction, gallantry is even part of the total sum. There is a subtle textural interplay and expressive variety that appeals hugely to me. Its simple glorious music and well recorded too.



Thursday, December 14, 2017

Haydn, Michael. (1737-1806) The Complete String Quintets.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 14-12-2017.
Label: CPO.
2 CD'S.
Recording dates: December 2013.
Venue: Palais Kuenburg, Salzburg.
Engineer: Stephan Reh.
Time: 76:58 & 59:04.

Works on CD 1 & 2.
See heading.

Performed by:
Salzburger Haydn Quintett.

It's a first these works from Michael Haydn for me. This music fits perfectly in it's time frame. Well constructed music, which does not make great demands on the listener. It flows easily, and is highly huggable. It has all the marks of  the Wienerische style. Waltzing it's way through time. The performance exudes confidence, revealing whatever there is in contrast and dynamics. No dazzling affair I am afraid, but very subtle at quiet dynamics. Reflective, wonderfully confiding in sweet melodies, and soulfulness. They carefully navigate through the music, perfectly articulated. Very fine afternoon music. The recording is perfect as is expected from Stephan Reh.



Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Telemann, Georg Philipp. (1681-1767) A Portrait. CD IV Miscellaneous concerti.

New acquisition.
Date of Purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 13-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 4 from 7.
Recording dates: October 2009, August 2010, July 2013.
Venue: Centeilles, Eglise Notre Dame, Beaufays, Eglise Saint Jean l'Evangéliste, France.
Engineer: Jérôme Lejeune.
Time: 74:49.

Works on CD 4:
1) Marche composed for "Das Stück-Schiessen" of the Artillery for 3 Oboes, 2 Horns, Bassoon & Drums.
2) Overture a 5 in F major, for 2 Oboes, 2 Horns & Bassoon.
3) Menuet a deux Cornes de Chasse. ( Der Getreue Music Meister), for 2 Horns.
4) Concerto in F major for 2 Oboes, bassoon.
5) Air de Trompette, for Trumpet & BC, (Bassoon and Harpsichord) from Der Getreue Music Meister.
6) Concerto in D major, for Trumpet, 2 Oboes & BC as No. 5.

Performed by:
Ensemble Eolus.
For the marche, with participation of:
Philippe Canguilhem, Oboe, & Jean Chamboux, Drums.
Recorded July 2013.

7) Sonata in F minor for Bassoon and BC, (Cello and Harpsichord) from the "Getreue Music Meister".
8) Trio sonata in A minor for Oboe, Alto recorder and BC as 5.
9) Trio sonata in B major for Violin, bassoon and BC, (Harpsichord)

Performed by:
Syntagma Amici.
Recorded, August 2010

10) Partite in C minor for 3 Oboes, taille de Hautbois, 2 Bassoons, and BC as 9, Kleine Cammer music, Anonymous setting for Oboe ensemble.

Performed by:
Lingua France.
Recorded, October 2009.

This box turns out to be one of the best releases on CD of Telemann's works. In performance, interpretation and sound. There is virtual no slacking in the pace and quality of what is on offer, and musical integrity is high on the agenda of Ricercar. The musicians on the recordings are the creme de la creme in terms of authentic instruments, and their interpretation has great validity because of that aspect. Tempi throughout are well judged, and the artistic insight stays on the same high level as from the first 3 discs. In the music there is so much to enjoy, and so many details previous overheard that are now crystal clear delineated and finely segmented into highly approachable music, with the stamp and seal of authenticity. Their youthful elan is attractive in its expression, and distinguished as well. Sometimes fireworks ala Versailles, burst into the room like in the highly amusing "Marche composed for "Das Stück-Schiessen" of the Artillery for 3 Oboes, 2 Horns, Bassoon & Drums" or some melancholy strains in the slow movements.  Crisp articulation and an almost superior attention to details and dynamics is what you get.  The playfulness of the music as well as in the performance, works addictively and induces you to repeat many movements which is utterly convincing by its sheer creativity. The colouristic range of the music knows no bounds, and they charm you out of your socks in no time. Simply delightful.
Sound is superb.




Love, revelry and the dance in Mediæval music. CD 4. Carmina Burana, Officium Lusorum.

New acquisition.
Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 13-12-2017.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 4 from 7.
Recording dates: September 2005.
Venue: Eglise Saint Apollinaire de Bolland.
Sound: Philippe de Magnée.
Time: 77:04.

Works on CD 4:
See heading.

Performed by:
Millenarium. (The Jugglers)
Chœur de Chambre de Namur. (The Gollards)
Psallentes. (The Canons)
Chœur d'Enfants de l'école de musique de Forbach. (The Choirboys)

Quite a bit of spectacle, rough and unhewn. At times devastatingly beautiful, but also rawness that assaults the ear in more than one way. Do not look for sophisticated interpretations, for all the bad God allows is used to the full in this recording of the Carmina Burana. Some of the stuff I liked, but I also had moments of disgust. So it's a challenge and a tumultuous ride. All participants did their worse for the sake of the message I guess. So put on rags and do not wash yourself for a month, muddle around in dirt and try your vocals in this experiment. I am sure you will have feelings of disgust and joy at the same time. Sound is good.



Love, revelry and the dance in Mediæval music, CD 5. Danza, Instrumental music and virtuoso performance in the Middle Ages and today.

New acquisition. Date of purchase: October 2017. First listen: 15-12-2017. Label: Ricercar. CD 5 from 7. Recording dates: April 2007. ...