2020-04-02 01:57:05 UTC
Yesterday: a two-CD (mostly-) Beethoven set on Harmonia Mundi, with
Andreas Staier (fortepiano), Daniel Sepec (violin) and Jean-Guihen
Queyras (cello). The first CD, for violin and piano, includes Sonatas
4 and 7 and Variations on Se vuol ballare. The gimmick here is that
the violin is said to have bben owned by Beethoven - to me it sounds
thin and sometimes harsh. the fortepiano is by Graf - I find it too
tinkly in the higher regisgters. The second CD has LvB trios 3 and 5,
plus a trio by Hummel. The instruments are different (Staier uses
a 20th century fortepiano "after Graf", and sound more "normal" to me,
although recorded sound seems a bit harsh. #3 is quite good (IMO the
best thing in the set). In #5 the second movement is suitably
ghostly, but the outer movements seem overly aggressive. The
Hummel, a pleasant work, is performed pleasantly.
I don't really understand why the above received special recognition
from BBC magazine and Radio-3. Since I had just downloaded the Big
KLH Trio Box, I listened today to their "Ghost". I found the MP3 sound
preferable to that on the Harmonia Mundi CD above. The perforkance is
excellent; I prefer it in almost all aspects to the Staier et al. The
middle movement takes 3 minutes longer in KLR, not only ghostly, but
also intense - the way I like it. My one regret is that the first
movement is considerably shorter, omitting repeats (I think), The
finale is refreshing.
Also today: my second venture into the daily Met opera showings,
"The Barber of Seville". Great fun, generally good staging (the comic
ensembles were somewhat botched) and a uniformly very good cast.
Joyce di Donato is perfect. (From 2007.) Did anyone else catch this?