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WAYLTL - November 2020
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number_six
2020-11-05 19:06:12 UTC
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Mozart - piano music for 4 hands (Decca)
George Malcolm /Andras Schiff

Hovhaness - Lady of Light, Avak the Healer (Crystal)
in Lady, singers and RPO conducted by the composer;
in Avak, Crystal CO conducted by Ernest Gold with soloists Marni Nixon (soprano) and Thomas Stevens (trumpet)
sci.space
2020-11-06 13:37:06 UTC
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Pachelbel keyboard works played by Andrus Madsen, various organs, harpsichord and clavichord, Raven OAR-919. found in a used book store for $2.
Lawrence Chalmers
2020-11-06 15:59:36 UTC
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Post by number_six
Mozart - piano music for 4 hands (Decca)
George Malcolm /Andras Schiff
Hovhaness - Lady of Light, Avak the Healer (Crystal)
in Lady, singers and RPO conducted by the composer;
in Avak, Crystal CO conducted by Ernest Gold with soloists Marni Nixon (soprano) and Thomas Stevens (trumpet)
The Louis Fremaux Icon box with the CBSO of mostly French music. Enjoyable and I am really impressed with the sound quality.
Dirge
2020-11-10 23:16:01 UTC
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Rebecca CLARKE (1886–1979)

Viola Sonata (1919)
:: Nisbeth & Forsberg [BIS ’16]

Piano Trio (1921)
:: Lincoln Trio [Cedille ’15]

Passacaglia On an Old English Tune (1941) for viola & piano
:: Dukes & Rahman [Naxos ’04]

“I’ll bid my heart be still” (1944) for viola & piano
:: Dukes & Rahman [Naxos ’04]

Superficially, the music of the Sonata and the Trio sounds like an amalgam of Debussy, Ravel, Bartók, Vaughan Williams, Bridge, Szymanowski, and Bloch, but everything has been subsumed/assimilated into an original if eclectic whole for the most part. Clarke seems out of her element in the superficially happy/festive/upbeat music (of the second movement of the Sonata and the final movement of the Trio), which often sounds contrived and out of place, but the rest of the music is generally to my liking.

The Sonata is more consistent in style and consistently lovely than the Trio, but it’s also less interesting in the long run. Still, lovely is lovely, and the outer movements of Sonata are easy to like. The fleet & nimble little middle movement sounds like an étude that was thrown in to satisfy the conventional need for a fast movement/scherzo; for me, it more detracts from the outer movements than adds to the whole. Apparently, Clarke’s Sonata has become the most popular chamber work for viola since its reintroduction to the public with the composer’s “rediscovery” very late in life (triggered by a 1976 WQXR radio interview).

The Trio has a lot going on, and Clarke manages to incorporate everything in a satisfying way in the first two movements, but the final movement is an all-too-conspicuous hodgepodge that doesn’t quite come off … and some of the more festive sections are a bit treacly besides. Throughout the work, Clarke incorporates brief recurring “bugle calls” on the piano in much the same way that Debussy incorporates “La Marseillaise” quotations in the second movement of En blanc et noir (1915). The first movement is redolent of Bloch’s Piano Quintet (1923), but Clarke tends to introduce and juggle more and more varied musical material than does the exceedingly frugal Bloch, who tends to obsessively work out a relatively small amount of material to the bitter end. The beautiful Andante molto semplice second movement has a sad lullaby/song-without-words quality about it that has an atmosphere reminiscent of Vaughan Williams’s “Bredon Hill” (1909) distilled to trio. The third/final movement sounds like a pastoral hoedown that keeps getting interrupted by somber and serious matters stemming from the first two movements, concluding with a victorious final bugle call that gives way to a grievous theme that’s brusquely cutoff by a brief closing celebration—it’s all very postwar expressionist in effect, but it’s too blatantly multifarious and disjunct for my taste.

None of Clarke’s other major works have won me over, but a couple of her minor works have, particularly her simple but sublime setting for viola & piano of the Scottish border tune “I’ll bid my heart be still.” Passacaglia On an Old English Tune, also for viola & piano, is rather formal, stilted, and heavy, but it’s intriguing and perversely likable for that.

I’ve been able to listen to a good number of recordings of these works (mostly via the excellent but expensive Naxos Music Library) and have come away favoring those listed up top.
Al Eisner
2020-11-23 05:04:35 UTC
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On medici.tv, Vilde Frang in an impressive performance of the Stravinsky
Violin Concerto, with Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra.
Also on the program (recorded a few days ago with no audience) were
Enesco (you know what, but lots of fun and very well played, with
standout woodwinds) and Prokofiev #5 (much of which seened a bit
stoday and lacking in transparency).

I'm curious about Frang (my first hearing). A CD of Britten #1 and
the Enecsu Octet (I'm not familiar with either( was higly praised
here a couple of months ago. I see at Amazon there is also a CD
of sonatas by Gried, Strauss and Bartók (solo), and a concerto CD
of Sibelis and Prokofiev #1 (I'd expect from her Stravinsky she
would do the latter well, but I'm not familiar with the conductor),
among others. Any particular recommendations to investigate?
--
Al Eisner
Lawrence Chalmers
2020-11-23 23:53:04 UTC
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Post by Al Eisner
On medici.tv, Vilde Frang in an impressive performance of the Stravinsky
Violin Concerto, with Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra.
Also on the program (recorded a few days ago with no audience) were
Enesco (you know what, but lots of fun and very well played, with
standout woodwinds) and Prokofiev #5 (much of which seened a bit
stoday and lacking in transparency).
I'm curious about Frang (my first hearing). A CD of Britten #1 and
the Enecsu Octet (I'm not familiar with either( was higly praised
here a couple of months ago. I see at Amazon there is also a CD
of sonatas by Gried, Strauss and Bartók (solo), and a concerto CD
of Sibelis and Prokofiev #1 (I'd expect from her Stravinsky she
would do the latter well, but I'm not familiar with the conductor),
among others. Any particular recommendations to investigate?
--
Al Eisner
This month I have listened to the 5 symphonies and shorter works of Christopher Rouse. Very interesting with colorful orchestration and drama' deeply felt. And after Dave Hurwitz introduced me to 'Hekkla" by John Leifs, I explored the other nature works (Geysir, Dettifloss, Hekkla, all on BIS. Interesting composer who can compose the loudest music, I'd love to see what the score to Hekkla looks like.
Al Eisner
2020-11-30 02:17:06 UTC
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Two box sets which are no doubt familiar to many here.

Mravinsky, Erato box (11 or 12 CDs):

A few years ago, Mravinsky seemed to be highly regarded here,
in particular from some whose opinions I trusted. I picked up
two sets, this Erato and a Scribendum set of Moscow concerts.
I never got around to listening until now, ironically after a
recent largely-negative thread on the conductor. Anyway, I've
heard 6 CDs so far.
- Shostakovitch 5 and 12: 5 is IMO a great performance, while 12
seems more effective/attractive than in others I've heard.
- Shorter Russian works, including a terrific Francesca da Rimini.
- Beethoven 1, 3, 5 and 7: while 1 is fine, the others are rather
relentless, perhaps okay in 5, but it didn't work for me in 7,
and the beauty of quieter sections (especially the wondrous middle
part of the Eroica's funeral march) seems to get lost.
- Mozart 33 and 39: after the LvB I was surprised at how graceful
and attractive these were.

Hagen Quartet, complete Mozart quartets (7 CDs)

- First 3 CDs, the early works, starting with the familiar and
delightful Divertimenti K136-138 (well performed, although I
found the finale of K136 too fast), and then the (unfamiliar-to-me)
first 13 quartets. While the first 7 had some undistinguished
movements, many movements (especially the sllow ones, starting
right out with K80) were interesting and effective. And most
of K168-173 were winners in my book (even if not up to the
near-contemporaneous Op. 20 by the much older Haydn). A very
pleasant surprise. Performances were a good match to the music.
--
Al Eisner
JohnGavin
2020-12-01 01:28:10 UTC
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Bach - Partitas 1 - 6 Ralph Kirkpatrick (Archive) rec 1958

I was never a fan of Kirkpatrick’s playing, but was happy to find this exception. Imaginative colorful performances, remastered by Boston Skyline. Early Stereo is quite excellent. Performed on a beautiful large Neupert harpsichord with 7 pedal stops - he makes the most of the instrument’s resources. This gets my vote as the best harpsichord recording of the Partitas.
Todd Michel McComb
2020-12-01 02:32:10 UTC
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In continuing work on my Cage project, I've recently focused on
Cage's late great Number Piece, _Four6_ -- which is a half hour
work, FYI.

Four interpretations to recommend:

Zeitkratzer self-released:
https://zeitkratzer.bandcamp.com/album/john-cage-old-school-2

English Improvisors on a more general album, Decentered:
https://anothertimbre.bandcamp.com/album/decentred

Ulrich Krieger, et al. in the Mode Cage Edition:
https://cageedition.bandcamp.com/album/complete-john-cage-edition-42-a-cage-of-saxophones-3-4-mode222-223

The Barton Workshop in their wildest Cage classic:
https://www.discogs.com/John-Cage-The-Barton-Workshop-Thirteen-Four%E2%81%B6-Four%C2%B3/release/7576257
dk
2020-11-24 06:08:04 UTC
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Overdosing on Alexis Weissenberg live performances on YT.

dk
dk
2020-11-24 07:36:00 UTC
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Rachmaninov Corelli Variations verticals.

dk
Ricardo Jimenez
2020-11-24 17:34:39 UTC
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Post by dk
Overdosing on Alexis Weissenberg live performances on YT.
dk
How does he compare to the many contemporary pianists who also bang
away at high velocity?
dk
2020-11-24 18:26:38 UTC
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Post by Ricardo Jimenez
Post by dk
Overdosing on Alexis Weissenberg live performances on YT.
How does he compare to the many contemporary pianists
who also bang away at high velocity?
Having heard Sigi live many times, I would not say he "banged".

The tendency towards a more steely sound comes from the
instruments he played while touring -- random brainfucked
resident Stoneways --, close recording practically imposed
by the large venues, and the need to play loud enough for
large halls seating 2000-3000 sandbags.

Otherwise, Sigi's approach to the keyboard was similar to
that of other mainstream pianistic giants of the past
century: Richter, Berman, Rachmaninov. High power
applied to relatively straightforward and emotionally
restrained readings -- like driving on the Autobahn.

dk
number_six
2020-11-27 21:40:37 UTC
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Glenn Gould Beethoven box (Sony)
John Hood
2020-11-28 00:56:11 UTC
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Post by number_six
Glenn Gould Beethoven box (Sony)
Good luck with that. I couldn't comprehend it thirty years ago...

JH
Owen
2020-11-28 06:27:24 UTC
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Post by John Hood
Post by number_six
Glenn Gould Beethoven box (Sony)
Good luck with that. I couldn't comprehend it thirty years ago...
Myself, like many another budding pianist, heard Gould and said to
myself "so that's how you're supposed to play it!"

I've relented from my Rush to Asceticism since then, and no longer think
of him as a role model.

-Owen
number_six
2020-11-28 19:11:22 UTC
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Post by Owen
Post by John Hood
Post by number_six
Glenn Gould Beethoven box (Sony)
Good luck with that. I couldn't comprehend it thirty years ago...
Myself, like many another budding pianist, heard Gould and said to
myself "so that's how you're supposed to play it!"
I've relented from my Rush to Asceticism since then, and no longer think
of him as a role model.
-Owen
For me, Gould remains a go-to guy for some Bach (e.g. French Suites). Beethoven, not so much.
number_six
2020-11-28 19:06:29 UTC
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Post by John Hood
Post by number_six
Glenn Gould Beethoven box (Sony)
Good luck with that. I couldn't comprehend it thirty years ago...
JH
I had not heard any of this in a long time.

Turns out I prefer his treatment of the concertos (especially 3 and 5) to his treatment of the selected sonatas.

For me, the Pathetique fell flat and lifeless.
Henk vT
2020-11-28 09:45:55 UTC
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Post by number_six
Glenn Gould Beethoven box (Sony)
Still interesting - in small doses.

Henk
number_six
2020-11-28 19:14:59 UTC
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Post by Henk vT
Post by number_six
Glenn Gould Beethoven box (Sony)
Still interesting - in small doses.
Henk
Good point. Probably would've been better to play this box over a longer time, leavened with other stuff in between.
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