Friday, April 21, 2017

Big Orchestra Sound (and past Gramophone Award winners) on Spotify

“Let there be no doubt, Franz Schmidt’s Fourth (1933) is one of the finest of 20th-century symphonies”, the Gramophone magazine wrote about the last of the four symphonies by the Austrian composer Franz Schmidt (1874-1939). When I was I Czechoslovakia, in the early 1990’s, I discovered the symphony cycle by conductor L'udovít Rajter on the Opus label (cheaper than a bottle of milk) and was mesmerized by the music. The recording by Franz Welser-Most and the London Philharmonic orchestra is even better and received a Gramophone award in 1995. 

“I could go on, but this is the finest of the Tennstedt cycle and one of the superlative Mahler performances on record.” said  the Gramophone magazine in 1987 about this CD. The recording by Tennstedt won also the Gramophone award that year. After the initial praise, the recording seems to be a bit forgotten. A fine rediscovery on Spotify. 

Hope you will enjoy these works as well! 

Franz Schmidt (1874-1939)
Track 01-04 Symphony no 4 in C major (1932-3)
Track 05-11 Variations on a Husar song (1930-1)
London Symphony Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
Track 12-29 Symphony no 8 in Eb major, “Symphonie der Tausend” (1906-7)
Elizabeth Connell (Soprano I),
 Edith Wiens (Soprano II), 
Felicity Lott (Soprano), 
Trudeliese Schmidt (Alt I), 
Nadine Denize (Alt II), 
Richard Versalle (Tenor), J
orma Hynninen (Bariton), 
Hans Sotin (Bass), 
Tiffin School Boys' Choir, 
London Philharmonic Choir, 
David Hill (Organ), 
London Philharmonic Orchestra, 
Klaus Tennstedt, conductor



(Webplayer link)











Monday, April 17, 2017

Gorgeous Baroque music recording by Jordi Savall on Spotify

So you want to have a bit of Baroque in exemplary performances? 
Well, here are 78 minutes of pure joy. I stumbled on the Teleman Viola da Gamba suite and was hooked. Later, I read the Classics Today, Gramophone magazine, Musica dei Dominum and Fanfare reviews and it seemed I was not alone in my praise for this recording.

Hope you will like it too! Enjoy :-)

Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713).
Track 01-06 Concerto Grosso in D major opus 6, no 4.

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767).
Track 07-13 Ouverture en suite in D majeur for Viola da Gamba, strings and continuo TWV 55: D6.
Jordi Savall, viola da gamba. 

Georg Philipp Telemann.
Track 14-17 Concerto in A minor TWV 52:a1 
Pierre Hamon, recorder. 
Jordi Savall, viola da gamba. 

Georg Philipp Telemann.
Track 18-24 Concerto Tafelmusik, Part 1: no 1, Overture for 2 Flutes, 2 Violins and Strings in E minor, TV 55

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764).
Track 25-30 Concerto Les Indes Galantes, Suites des Airs à Jouer.

Le Concert des Nations 
Jordi Savall, conductor






(Webplayer link)



Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Alexander Glazunov on Spotify

Alexander Glazunov is known for many things: First, he was one of the most gifted musical prodigies in history, comparable to Korngold and Mendelssohn-Bartoldy. Glazunov started relatively late at the piano and composed his first piece at the age of 13. But his development was so rapid, that one of his teachers, Rimsky-Korsakoff mentioned that he “not learned by the day, but by the hour". His first symphony was written at the age of 16. 
Second, Glazunov had one of the most amazing musical memories in history. Mozart could write Allegri’s 10 minute Miserere from memory, Glazunov is reported to write down a complete symphony from memory after just hearing it once. It came in handy when reconstructing Borodin’s Prince Igor after his death, Glazunov reconstructed it from memory, as the score was lost. 
Third, Glazunov was one of the most notorious drinkers in musical history. He ruined the premiere of Sergei Rachmaninov’s first symphony, sending Sergei in a depression for three years. Dimitri Shostakovich, like Nathan Milstein one of Glazunov’s pupils, remembered that during classes Glazunov always had a bottle of alcohol with him, zipping secretly once in a while.
But fourth, Glazunov composed some seriously fine music! 
In 1905 Glazunov became director of the St. Petersburg conservatory and composed his one and only violin concerto. For this occasion, he learned himself to play the violin in a couple of weeks. 

The 1959 recording by Erica Morini and Ferenc Fricsay is a real collectors item on vinyl, and one of the finest recordings I know of this piece. Proof of Alexander’s early mastery are the 5 novelettes for string quintet, written at the age of 16. It’s gathered on a recording by the fine arts quartet with the string quintet from 1891. A cd that I owned for years and made many rounds in my cd player. Glazunov composed two piano recordings of which I like the first the most. The form is somewhat original, two movements of which the last is a set of (very fine!) variations. The pianist is the winner of the 2003 Queen Elisabeth competition Severin von Eckardstein. 

Hope you will enjoy this playlist again!

Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936)
-Tracks 01-05 Concerto for violin and orchestra in a minor op 82 (1905)
Erica Morini, violin
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Ferenc Fricsay, conductor
Rec 1959

-Tracks 06-10 Five novelettes op 15 (1881)
-Tracks 11-14 String quintet in A major op 39 (1891)
Fine arts quartet 
Ralph Evans, violin
Efim Boico, violin
Yuri Gandelsman, viola
Wolfgang Laufer, cello
Nathaniel Rosen, (added) cello
Rec 2005

-Tracks 15-16 Concerto for Piano no 1 in F minor, Op. 92 (1910-11)
Severin von Eckardstein, piano
Belgian National Orchestra 
Walter Weller, conductor
Rec 2008




https://open.spotify.com/user/otterhouse/playlist/1QnW1xifu5l59Q44oRMzHX
(Webplayer link)


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Johann Sebastian Bach BWV 22 and BWV 23 plus Christoph Graupner playlist on Spotify

The joy of Spotify, you see  concert announcement (see poster below) and immediately you can imagine the concert already ;-) 
In this case a concert with music by Johann Sebastian Bach and a composer that was destined to get the job Bach had (Thomascantor in Leipzig), but did not get… I noticed that all works were written in 1723.
I sampled different version of the Bach cantatas BWV 22 and 23 and these versions by Philip Herreweghe received my preference. 
Hope you will enjoy this little concert! 

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Track 01-05: Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe, BWV 22 (1723) 
Track 06-09: Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn, BWV 23 (1723)

Dorothee Mields (soprano); 
Matthew White (alto), Jan Kobow (tenor), 
Peter Kooy (bass),
Collegium Vocale Gent
Philippe Herreweghe
Rec. November 2007, Stolberger Saal, Cologne, Germany.

Christoph Graupner (1683-1760)
Track 10-12 Aus der tiefe rufen wir (1723)

Marcus Ullmann (tenor), 
Lieven Termont (baritone), 
Damien Guillon (countertenor), 
Il Gardellino 
Marcel Ponseele (conductor)
Rec: Amuz, Antwerp, January 2010 




(Webplayer link)




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