Friday, March 24, 2017

A working day worth of classical music on Spotify

The freedom of choice on Spotify can be overwhelming and intimidating. Here is a helping hand in browsing you though some fine classical recordings, new and somewhat older, through a couple of classical music playlists. Behind every highlighted link is also the metadata, performers, works and sometimes composition and recording date. 

Here is the playlist of  concert I attended by concerto Copenhagen in 2013. The concert, with music by Bach and Vivaldi, is recreated here

Often, a classical symphony concert is programmed in “the sandwich” formula, an overture, a concerto and a symphony. I have made a French playlist with this formula with works by Saint-saens, Lalo and Chausson

If you think authentic performances only imply for Baroque works, here is a surprise; this playlist features Beethoven, Strauss (!), Ravel(!!) and Samuel Barber (!!!) on authentic instruments. 

Ever heard of the Miami string quartet? I did not, but they recorded a fine and fresh sounding Sting Quartet no 14 in G Major, KV 387 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Another concert recreation is that of the Szymanowski quartet, with works by Szymanowski, Weinberg and Lutoslawski, and one with works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Sibelius. 

If you are not paying for Spotify and you want long tracks without commercials, check this playlist.


Hope you will enjoy the selections! :-)


Music while you work. 1942, actually...

Friday, March 17, 2017

Quartetto Italiano early recordings 1946 1952 Italian quartet Debussy Boccherini Beethoven Mozart Haydn

Last year, in the same week as David Bowie, the last founder of the famous Italian Quartet “Quartetto Italiano” died; Elisa Pegreff, at the age of 93. Married to the first violinist (and rumored to have had an affair with all the other members) she stayed in the quartet from it’s formation in 1945 till disbandment in 1980. I was curious what the first recording of the quartet was and stumbled upon a box with the earliest recordings of the quartet. Even the 1946 78rpm set with “the reason” the quartet started in the first place, Debussy’s string quartet. 

The sound of the earliest recordings is a bit harsh, but just sample track 07, the 1948 slow movement of the Luigi Boccherini quartet in D; what a breathtaking beauty in that recording. The metadata was (of course) not there on Spotify, so I gathered the recording information from several websites with discographical information. Enjoy the exploration of the early recordings of the Quartetto Italiano…!

-Track 01-04: Claude Debussy: String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10
Conservatorio G.Verdi, Milano (Italia) - 14-20 march 1946
Issued on Telefunken 78rpm’s 1946

-Track 05: Leonardo Vinci: Gavotta da 6 Antiche Danze (from «12 Soli per Violino e Arpicordo»)
Conservatorio G.Verdi, Milano (Italia) 4 mai 1946
Issued on Telefunken 78rpm 1946

Lionello Forzanti plays the viola here, he was replaced by Piero Farulli in 1947

-Track 06-08: Luigi Boccherini: String Quartet in D major, Op. 8 No. 1, G 165
Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Roma (Italia) - 11 & 20 november 1948
Issued on Decca LXT 2680 in 1952

-Track 09-12: Franz Joseph Haydn: String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 64 No. 6 (Hob. III:64)
Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Roma (Italia) - 11 november 1948
Issued on Decca LXT 2680 in 1952

-Track 13-16: Ludwig van Beethoven: String Quartet in C major, Op. 59 No. 3 «Rasumovsky No. 3»
West Hampstead Studios, London - 28 november 1949
Issued on Decca LXT 2679 in 1952

-Track 17: Franz Schubert: Quartettsatz in C minor, D 703
West Hampstead Studios, London - 28 e 29 november 1949
Issued on Decca LXT 2679 in 1952

-Track 18-21: Robert Schumann: String Quartet in F major, Op. 41 No. 2
West Hampstead Studios, London - 27-29 november 1950
Issued on Decca LXT 2691 in 1952

-Track 22-25: Giuseppe Verdi: String Quartet in E minor
West Hampstead Studios, London - 24, 27-29 november 1950
Issued on Decca LXT 2691 in 1952

-Track 26-28: Giuseppe Tartini: Sonata a quattro in G major
Recorded live, Teatro Eliseo, Roma (Italia) - 29 gennaio 1951

-Track 29-32: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Clarinet Quintet in A major, K 581
Antoine de Bavier, Clarinet
West Hampstead Studios, London - 8-20 & 22 February 1952
Issued on Decca LXT 2698 in 1952

-Track 33-36: Franz Joseph Haydn: String Quartet in G major, Op. 77 No. 1 (Hob. III:81)
Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Roma (Italia) - 1-10 July 1952
Issued on Decca LXT 2811 in 1954

-Track 37-39: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: - String Quartet in D major, K 155 
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma (Italia) - 1-10 July 1952
Issued on Decca LXT 2852 in 1954

-Track 40-41: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: - Adagio and Fugue in C minor for String Quartet, K 546
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma (Italia) - 1-10 July 1952
Issued on Decca LXT 2853 in 1954

-Track 42-45: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: - String Quartet in C major, K 465 
«Dissonances» 
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma (Italia) - 1-10 July 1952
Issued on Decca LXT 2853 in 1954

-Track 46-49: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: - String Quartet in F major, K 590
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma (Italia) - 1-10 July 1952
Issued on Decca LXT 2852 in 1954

-Track 50-53: Ludwig van Beethoven: - String Quartet in B flat major, Op. 18 No. 6 
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma (Italia) - 1-10 July 1952
Issued on Decca LXT 2811 in 1954

-Track 54-57: Ludwig van Beethoven: - String Quartet in F major, Op. 59 No. 1 «Rasumovsky No. 1»
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma (Italia) - 20-30 July 1952
Issued on Decca LXT 2856 in 1954

-Track 58-61: Franz Schubert: - String Quartet in B flat major, D 112 (Op. 168)
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma (Italia) - 20-30 July 1952
Issued on Decca LXT 2855 in 1954

-Track 62-65: Franz Schubert: - String Quartet in A minor, D 804 (Op. 29 No. 1) «Rosamunde»
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma (Italia) - 20-30 July 1952
Issued on Decca LXT 2854 in 1954

(Nuovo) Quartetto Italiano
Paolo Borciani, violino I
Elisa Pegreffi, violino II
Piero Faruli viola
Franco Rossi, violoncello




(WEBPLAYER LINK)


Quartetto Italiano

Friday, February 17, 2017

Bernard Haitink's Indian Summer...

This week, the 88 year old conductor Bernard Haitink returns to the Concertgebouw to conduct his 1500th live concert with the Concertgebouworchestra. Haitink and the Concertgebouw have a long history. In 1939 he was present when Willem Mengelberg conducted his famed St Matthew passion. If you hear Bernard cough, you might hear the first recording of him in the Concertgebouw :-) Read more about this concert, -> here <-
Since 1956 he was a guest conductor. Around that time he was the principle conductor of the Dutch radio philharmonic. A 1956 recording of Haitink with that orchestra can be heard -> here <-.
The Dutch NPR radio 4 has put one of the earliest recorded live concerts with Haitink and the Concertgebouworchestra online -> here <-, recorded in 1958. 
After becoming principle conductor of the Concertgebouw orchestra in 1961, he stayed there till 1988. The Royal opera house in London, the Chicago Symphony orchestra and the Staatskapelle Dresden were his next focus. About 10 years ago, Haitink surprised with a series of concerts and recordings that seems to “re-spark” and re-juvinate his conducting style. Beethoven and Shostakovich with fresh tempi, yet insightful and layered performances. The cycle of Beethoven symphonies that he conducted with the London Symphony Orchestra is a fine example of his Indian summer. As a bonus, an also fine version of Beethoven’s violin concerto with Frank Peter Zimmermann as soloist. Mind you, that season at the Staatskapelle Dresden was a last minute substitute for Haitink, as he replaced the then just deceased Giuseppe Sinopoli… 

Hope you will enjoy this playlist again! 

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1828)
Track 01-04 Symphony No 1 recorded live on 29 and 30 April 2006,         
Track 05-08 Symphony No 2 recorded live on 26 and 27 November 2005,        
Track 09-12 Symphony No 3 recorded live on 21 and 22 November 2005,        
Track 13-16 Symphony No 4 recorded live on 19 and 20 April 2006,      
Track 17-20 Symphony No 5 recorded live on 24 and 25 April 2006,      
Track 21-25 Symphony No 6 recorded live on 21 and 22 November 2005,        
Track 26-29 Symphony No 7 recorded live on 16 and 17 November 2005,        
Track 30-33 Symphony No 8 recorded live on 24 and 25 April 2006,        
Track 34-37 Symphony No 9 recorded live on 29 and 30 April 2006,  
All at the Barbican concert hall, London.

London Symphony Orchestra

Bonus:
Track 38-40 Violin concerto in D major recorded live on 29-30 sept. & 2 okt. 2002, Kulturpalast, Dresden
Frank Peter Zimmermann (viool), Staatskapelle Dresden o.l.v. Bernard Haitink





(Spotify webplayer link)


Haitink in 2016 interview

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Mozart violin concerto's on authentic instruments

A while ago I encountered an exiting CD from Italian violinist and conductor Fabio Biondi on Spotify. Mozart’s first three violin concerto’s on authentic instruments, including continuo, a sparkling and tingling fortepiano! Fiery playing, also, noted in the reviews I found online from the Gramophone and Classicstoday website. Suddenly, Mozart’s strum und drang is not very far away from the Mannheimers like Stamitz, Richter or Mysliveček. For variety I have interwoven the concertos with several famous serenades, like the Nachtmusik and Musical joke, played by Jordi Savall and the Les concert des nations.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Tracks 01 to 04
Serenade In G, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik KV 525 
Les concert des nations, Jordi Savall, conductor

Tracks 05 to 07
Violin Concerto No.2 in D major K.211
Europa Galante, Fabio Bondi violinsolo and conductor

Tracks 08 to 11
Ein Musikalischer Spaß KV 522 
Les concert des nations, Jordi Savall, conductor

Tracks 12 to 14
Violin Concerto No.2 in D major K.211
Europa Galante, Fabio Bondi violinsolo and conductor

Tracks 15 to 17
Serenade In D, Serenata Notturna KV 239 
Les concert des nations, Jordi Savall, conductor

Tracks 18 to 20
Violin Concerto No.3 in G major K.216
Europa Galante, Fabio Bondi violinsolo and conductor

Tracks 20 to 23
Notturno In D Für Vier Orchester KV 286 
Les concert des nations, Jordi Savall, conductor





(Spotify webversion link)



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Benny Goodman plays Mozart, live 1956 Berkshire Festival and Copland

There was a mini-controversy this week in the Netherlands, when Dutch classical PBS Radio 4 asked listeners if they mind that some programs would now be playing Jazz within, or in stead of, classical music. A small social media storm was the consequence. In the end, the manager of Radio 4 announced on Twitter that around 50% was against, 25% was pro and 25% undecided.

I thought I would turn it around, this week. Here is a Jazz icon playing classical music;
Clarinetist Benny Goodman plays Mozart and Copeland, re-issued on the German “jube” label.

Enjoy! :-)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Clarinet quintet in A-Major, KV 581 (1789)
Boston Symphony string quartet:
1st Violine - Richard Burgin
2nd Violine - Alfred Krips
Viola - Joseph De Pasquale
Cello - Samuel Mayes
Clarinet - Benny Goodman

Recorded during Berkshire Festival 1956, program of that festival scanned and put online @ http://worldcat.org/digitalarchive/content/server15982.contentdm.oclc.org/BSYMO/PROG/TRUSVolume14/Pub412_1954-1956_TWD_1956_Con04.pdf 

Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Concerto For Clarinet And String Orchestra (With Piano & Harp, 1947 rev 1949)
Jacques Orchestra
Conductor - Aaron Copeland
Clarinet - Benny Goodman
Recorded May 31, 1951
Live on the festival of Britain 







The original program, July 11th, 1956



Sunday, January 8, 2017

Luther 2017 on Spotify, with a 1878 German oratorio by Ludwig Meinardus

Ever heard of the “Baader-Mainhoff phenomenon”, also called the “frequency illusion”?
I was searching for recordings of Italian cellist Enrico Mainardi on Spotify, but obviously misspelled his name, as the only *hit* was the German composer Ludwig Meinardus. CPO had recorded his oratorio “Luther in Worms” and I started to listen *and kept listening*. Although the style for 1878, the year it was composed, is a tad conservative, the music is fluent, dramatic and gripping. 

Then, suddenly, almost every magazine I opened had some sort of advertisement for an activity of 
“2017, the Marten Luther year” and it seemed the frequency illusion was doing it’s job :-) 

The JPC website wrote about this recording:

The Magnificently Scored Oratorio »Luther in Worms«

The Reformer Martin Luther is being honored in numerous events and publications during the Luther Decade and in preparation for the celebration of the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. So this month cpo too is presenting the oratorio Luther in Worms by Ludwig Meinardus in a recording from the Twenty-Second Knechtsteden Festival. Hermann Max performs Meinardus' lavishly scored and operatic principal work with the renowned Concerto Köln orchestra and a choice ensemble of vocalists. After Ludwig Meinardus had prevailed against his parents' opposition to his pursuit of a musician's career and had been harshly rebuffed by judgments pronounced by Schumann and Mendelssohn, he joined a pietistic revival movement in which nationalism went hand in hand with Protestantism. Nevertheless, his principal work does not go over into empty bombast and heroic posing but holds in store many musical refinements, including those characterizing Luther's person in particular. Meinardus himself termed his work an »ideal drama, « by which he meant a strongly operatic design including spatial effects (fanfares sounding from towers, knights approaching on horseback, and proclamations shouted by imperial heralds). The oratorio is divided into two parts; the first is entitled »The Journey to Worms« and the second »Before the Emperor and the Empire.« Following the performance klassik. com wrote: »Meinardus calls for considerable performance forces. Along with a full orchestra, these are seven soloists, a mixed choir in various formations extending to a double choir, and (actually) a boys' choir. The Rheinische Kantorei rose to the challenge in a mixed choir, ensembles for women and men, and a formation extending to a triple choir and thus once again conveyed to the eyes and the ears what an ideal choral sound should be with respect to balance and articulation. Hermann Max sovereignly guided the greatly expanded Concerto Köln with brisk tempi through all the difficulties of the score.

Hope you will like this serendipity found recording just as interesting as I did :-)


Ludwig Meinardus (1827-1896)

Luther In Worms, Oratorio, written in 1878
Act 1: Die Fahrt Nach Worms
Act 2: Vor Kaiser Und Reich

Soprano   [Katarina] – Catalina Bertucci
Tenor   [Justus Jonas] – Clemens Löschmann
Tenor   [Kaiser Karl V.] – Corby Welch
Alto [Marta] – Annette Gutjahr
Bass  [Georg Von Frundsberg] – Ansgar Eimann
Bass [Glapio / Kurfürst Friedrich Der Weise] – Markus Flaig
Bass   [Luther] – Matthias Vieweg
Bass   [Ulrich Von Hutten] – Clemens Heidrich
Chorus – Rheinische Kantorei
Conductor – Hermann Max
Orchestra – Concerto Köln




(Spotify Webplayer link)




Friday, December 23, 2016

Alt-Christmas Oratorio :-)

In the time of Alt-Right and Alt-Truth, there is a quite more positive “alt” actually and that is Ton Koopman’s “Alt-Weinachtsoratorium”. A collection of Christmas cantata’s by Johann Sebastian Bach, that was performed live, December 16, 2016 and was recorded by the Dutch radio (mp3’s still audible here -> http://www.radio4.nl/luister-concerten/concerten/6467/avrotros-vrijdagconcert-kerst-met-koopman )

Nice to be able to compare these live recordings with the studio recordings Koopman recorded with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra last decade.

Merry christmas and I hope you will enjoy these Christmas Cantata’s…!

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Cantate BWV.182, "Himmelskönig, sei willkommen” (1714)
Barbara Schlick - soprano
Kai Wessel - Alt
Christoph Prégardien - Tenor
Klaus Mertens - Bass

Cantate BWV.62, "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland” (1724)
Dorothea Röschmann - SoprNO
Elisabeth von Magnus, Bogna Bertosz - Alt
Jörg Dürmüller - Tenor
Klaus Mertens - Bass

Cantate BWV.40, "Darzu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes” (1723)
Bogna Bartosz - Alt 
Jörg Dürmüller - Tenor 
Klaus Mertens - Bass

Cantate BWV.65, "Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen” (1724)
Dorothea Röschmann - SoprNO
Elisabeth von Magnus, Bogna Bertosz - Alt
Jörg Dürmüller - Tenor
Klaus Mertens - Bass




(Webplayer link)