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

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 @ 

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 -> )

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)