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)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Gustav Mahler Symphony no 14 (1950) “Quickening” Spotify

"When the 89-year-old Gustav Mahler attended a performance of Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony, the old man was moved by the energy and spirit of the young French symphonic composer. Mahler's own 11th, were 12th and 13th symphony, in retrospect, an artistic disappointment, despite the approval and popularity that these backward-looking works gained. Mahler was so inspired by Messiaen that he, having virtually nothing composed for twenty years, picked up his pen once more and wrote his 14th symphony. Mahler reverted hereby to his 10th symphony, which he, after having recovered from serious heart problems, premiered in 1911. The dissonant chord stacks and slender treatment of the opening movement, were combined with the rhythm and lyricism he had heard at the Turangalîla. Mahler already had worked with children's choirs (3rd) and Latin texts (8th) in his symphonies and also in his 14th symphony those were used to give the serenity that he wanted to express in the late 1940’s.
Where the 10th symphony is a cry of despair to the world, the 14th Symphony is a conclusion of a new beginning. Mahler nicknamed his 14th symphony “Quickening". The title,” Mahler explained, “refers explicitly to the instant of conception, ‘the quickening of seed that will become ripe grain’ – or the moment that a woman first feels her baby kick.” Eventually Gustav Mahler wrote with his 14th symphony a worthy farewell to a series of symphonies which gave him a seat of honor between the 20th century composers.”

Ok, just dream on with me ;-)
But this is what came in to my mind when I first heard Quickening by the Scottisch composer James MacMillan. Mahler who already could hear Messiaen…

Gustav Mahler (1860-1951)
Symphony no 10 (1911) 
Bournemouth symphony orchestra
Simon Rattle, conductor

Olivier Messiaen (1908-1991)
Turangalîla symphony (1946-48)
Peter Donohoe, Piano
Tristan Murail, Ondes Martenot
City of Birmingham orchestra
Simon Rattle, conductor

Gustav Mahler (1860-1951)
Symphony no 14 (1950) “Quickening”
(James MacMillan, b 1959, Quickening (1998))
Hilliard Ensemble
City of Birmingham orchestra
James MacMillan, conductor

(Webplayer link)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Birthday Arthur Schoonderwoerd!

Today is the birthday of Dutch musicologist and fortepiano player Arthur Schoonderwoerd.
For many years he made thought provoking records of 18th century keyboard music.
I haven’t heard anyone else ever say anything but „I really love” or „I really hate” his rendering of Beethoven 4th pianoconcerto (included in the playlist), always a good sign ;-)

He is also an ambassador of lesser known Dutch composers from the early 19th century. Always spirited, Schoonderwoerd always *dives into the music* from his keyboard without any fear, thoroughly informed in the 18th century music practice….
So… Let’s give him a Birthday present and listen to:

and give him about $0.005 of every track play :-)
Happy birthday, Arthur!

Carolus Antonius Fodor (1768-1846)
Sonata In F Sharp Opus 2 Nr. 2 (1793)

Carolus Emanuel Fodor (1759-c.1799)
From: Petits Airs Connus Variés Pour Le Clavecin Ou Le Pianoforte, Opus 3
Air Du Tonnelier, Tempo di Menuetto (1782-c.1784)

Carolus Antonius Fodor (1768-1846)
Sonata In F Major Opus 2 Nr. 1 (1793)

Johann Wilhelm Wilms (1772-1847)
Rondo-Polonaise Pour Le Pianoforte In D Major (1809)

Henri Messemaeckers Jr. (1824-?)
Grande Marche Funèbre Pour Le Piano Composée à la Mémoire de S.A.R. Monseigneur Le Prince Alexandre Des Pays-Bas (1848)

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1828)

Piano Concerto No.4 in G major Op.58
Piano Concerto No.5 in Eb major Op.73
Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor Op.37
Piano Concerto No.6 in D major Op.61a (reworking by Beethoven!)
Piano Concerto No.1 in C major Op.15
Piano Concerto No.2 in Bb major Op.19

Arthur Schoonderwoerd, Fortepiano
Ensemble Christofori

(Webplayer link)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Early morning classical music program Spotify

Early morning classical music program’s… Is it worldwide, or just a local Dutch phenomenon that these programs are filled with short fragments of larger classical music pieces? Some of the programs are quite nice, such as “voor de dag” (before the day) on the Dutch national radio. No nonsense classical music with the only drawback that… it are all fragments they play. So what would happen if you took the playlist and filled the blanks in? So, here is a very nice playlist of a morning program, where fragments have been replaced by the complete works. Hope you will enjoy this playlist! 

Schenck, Johannes
Track 01 Sonata Sexta in E Major: Vivace-Allegro-Adagio-Allegro
La suave melodia
Chopin, Frédéric
Track 02 Waltz for piano nr.1, op.18 in Eb major, "Grande valse brillante”
Perahia, Murray, piano
Wassenaar (graaf), Unico van (form attrib to Pergolesi)
Tracks 03-06 Concert for orchestra nr.1 in G Major,  "Concerto armonico”
Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
Koopman, Ton
Danzi, Franz
Tracks 07-10 windquintet, op.56 nr.1 in Bb Major,  
Michael Thompson Wind Quintet
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
Tracks 11-13 Sonata for piano nr.6, KV.284 (205b) in D Major, "Durnitz" 
Uchida, Mitsuko, piano
Falconiero, Andrea
Track 14 Folias
Pluhar, Christina
Gade, Niels
Tracks 15-18 Symphony nr.1, op.5 in c minor  “Paa Sjølunds fagre Sletter”
Stockholm Sinfonietta
Järvi, Neeme
Handel, Georg Friedrich
Tracks 19-21 Concerto for organ (harp) en orchestra nr.6, HWV.294, op.4 nr.6 in Bes 
Lamon, Jeanne
Eilander, Maxine, harp 
Martin, Frank
Tracks 22-23 Ouverture et foxtrot for 2 piano’s
Duo Beer-Shiva
Dvorak, Antonin
Tracks 24-28 Serenade for woodwind, 3 horns, cello & double bass, op.44 in d minor
Oslo Wind Philharmonic Soloists
Albinoni, Tomaso
Tracks 28-30 Concert for hobo and string orchestra, op.9 nr.2 in d minor
English Concert
Pinnock, Trevor
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
Tracks 31-33 Sonate for piano nr.8, KV.310 (300d) in a minor
Lipatti, Dinu
Anderson, Leroy
Track 34 Jazz Pizzicato (1938)
BBC Concert Orchestra
Slatkin, Leonard
Hummel, Johann Nepomuk
Tracks 35-37 Pianotrio nr.6, op.93 in Es Major,  
Trio Parnassus
Rossini, Gioachino
Tracks 38-49 Mis, 1869, "Petite messe solennelle" 
Choir & Orchestra of The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
Marriner, Neville
Purcell, Henry
Track 50 Come, ye sons of art, away, sound the trumpet. 
Accademia Bizantina
Montanari, Stefano
Scholl, Andreas, countertenor 
Dumaux, Christophe, countertenor
Majo, Giuseppe de
Track 51 Lo finto laccheo ; Lo villano che 'na chianca
Track 52 Lo finto laccheo ; Gia' che 'sto bello sole
Pino de Vittorio, Tenor
Cappella della Pietà de' Turchini
Antonio Florio, conductor
Bach, Johann Christian
Tracks 53-54 Sonate, op.17 nr.5 in A Major, 
Wong, See Siang, piano
Tárrega, Francisco
Track 55 Mazurka for guitar, “Marieta"
Yepes, Narciso, guitar 

(Spotify web player link)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Koeckert quartet on Spotify Bruckner Wolf Dvorak and Egk

For many years now I go sheep shaving in the eastern part of the Netherlands. In a village called Rheden there is a market with shavers, crafts and second hand stuff. On that market (note, fully dressed in shavers clothing) I found this LP on the market; the German Koeckert quartet on the Deutsche Gramophon label . It was a fascinating 1952 performance, one of the first recordings of this piece. To my surprise, DG also uploaded a transfer on Spotify, so you can also enjoy this performance, together with a couple of other recordings of the Koeckert Quartet that are on-line. 
Enjoy the selection! 

Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)
String quintet in F-major WAB 112 (1878-79)
with Georg Schmid on viola
Recorded 1952

Hugo Wolf (1860-1903)
Italian Serenade (1887)
Recorded 1951, issued on 45 RPM single

Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904)
String quartet in F major op 96 “American” (1893)
Recorded 1953

Werner Egk: (1901-1983)
La Tentation de Saint Antoine (1945)
This work is written after 18th Century verses and tunes set for Contralto, String Quartet and String orchestra.
Janet Baker, Contralto
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Werner Egk, Conductor
Recorded 1965

Rudolf Koeckert (1913-2005), violin
Willi Buchner (1910-1965), violin
Oskar Riedl (1912-2008), viola
Josef Merz (1911-Still alive??) cello

(Spotify Webplayer link)