25 March, 2009

Listening Log 25/03/09: Bach and Beyond

Listening Log 25/03/09: Bach and Beyond

Tatiana Nicolayeva's Moscow recordings that were previously issued on Olympia now fetch a good sum on the second-hand market. Fortunately REGIS has now issued all the Shostakovich and Bach. I listened to this potpouri of Bach's smaller pieces and was once again enthralled by the fully pianistic treatment they get from her. This is old fashioned sonority, powerful to the point of near-brutality at times, but tender when called for. Full bodied recording. You should grab all of her recordings on REGIS.

For those who prefer lighter "Bach", Gabriela Montero on EMI serves up solo Bach, but with improvisation. Although always tasteful and not carried to extremes, her improvisations feel freer than Jacques Loussiers', who otherwise has the advantage of the support of bass and percussion. This should appeal to both open-minded classical and jazz fans. Superbly recorded.

Vivaldi's Mandolin concerti are my favorites after the string ones. No one plays them better than ERATO's (now Warner) I Solisti Veneti under Claudio Scimone. This orchestra is more stylish than I Musici and yields nothing to the famous Italian chamber ensembles of our times (Europa Galante, Il Giardino Armonico, Concerto Italiano etc). The sound of the LP is stunning.

Moving on to Haydn. Alban Berg Quartet's EMI readings of Haydn's Op 76 are sadly oop. Too bad, Haydn reveals the ABQ at their finest and most polished, largely without the idosyncracies that sometimes mar their Mozart and Beethoven. Surprisingly, the Revox-sponsored Swiss Carmina Quartet on DENON in Haydn almost get up to their level in ensembleship. Why are they so little known? This morning I listened to the Carmina's Szymanowski quartets (coupled with a little early Webern). Superbly done and atmospheric. A little-known quartet playing music of a little-known composer, who died in absolute poverty.

The Beethoven 4th and Schumann piano concerti were played with incredible artistry by Wilhelm Kempff (BPO/Leitner and BRSO/Kubelik) on DG. I should have visited the Schumann (not to be confused with his earlier account) sooner. Schumann rarely sounds so free, or improvisatory. This is my favorite now, and it sounds great on LP; but it surprises me that this seems not to be available on single CD. In comparison, Richter's Beethoven 3rd (VSO/Sanderling) on the same label is a little too subdued.

A rare LONDON LP of OSR/Ansermet in Sibelius 4th is hughly satisfying. Ansermet's reading is not the darkest, but it's brooding enough and his structural grasp kept the waves coming and the listener is ultimtaley exhausted and overwhelmed by the grandeur. Another great recording by the great Ansermet. Shattering sonics. It is just now available on Australian Eloquence. You must grab it asap.

Lastly, 2 great RCA LPs showcase the synergy between Szeryng and Rubinstein. The Brahms sonstas are refined and the early Beethoven is energized.

I have always liked the works of Berthold Goldschmidt, a composer of Entartete Musik (degenerate music). His Cello concerto was played with fire by Yo-Yo Ma (Montreal/Dutoit) and the violin concerto was played beautifully by the dedicatee Chantal Juillet (PO/composer). Many supremely talented composers of those years either languished in obscurity or worked for Hollywood. A loss to music. Superb DECCA CD.

On BIS, Yevgeny Sudbin plays Scriabin with great clarity and beauty, yet with inevitability freuqently missing in Scriabin interpreters (particularly non-Russian ones). Mot much mist here, and some of the music, like the mazurkas, actually sound better that way! Very good recording.

No comments:

Post a Comment