C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)

C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jan 22, 2018  |  0 comments
Rarely heard live today, these colourful scores by Manuel de Falla have been ‘demonstration disc’ material, right from the early days of LP. Indeed, classic versions were recorded under Ernest Ansermet – his Three-Cornered Hat is still on Speakers Corner 180g vinyl. Falla described Nights (one of Arthur Rubinstein’s favourites) as ‘symphonic impressions’, a better way to think of it than as a piano concerto. The pianist here (married to Kent Nagano) is set rather forward, but so was de Larrocha [Decca].
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 25, 2017  |  0 comments
Still thriving, Bologna’s Accademia Filharmonica was opened in 1666: a magnet for aspiring composers and performers. This (appropriately) 66m selection of unfamiliar concertos and sinfonias spans from primarily vocal 17th-century composers – Colonna, Perti – to followers whose music was exclusively instrumental. Director Julia Schröder proves well able to meet the technical demands of the ornate decoration in the violin concertos, and while a lot of this music will only interest the specialist collector, works such as Zavateri’s ‘A tempesta di mare’ or the dramatic first section of Perti’s Sinfonia ‘Gesù al sepolcro’ are worth investigating. As are Laurenti’s four-movement Violin Concerto and the anonymous galant tribute to Bologna’s patron saint Petronius.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 18, 2017  |  0 comments
96kHz & 192kHz/24-bit, ALAC/FLAC*; Linn CKD552 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) The previous UK Soldier’s Tale with an actress narrating (Glenda Jackson) was disastrously cast with Nureyev as the Soldier. Here Harriet Walter does a terrific job of the Flanders/Black English translation while composers Harrison Birtwistle and George Benjamin play respectively the Soldier and Devil.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 30, 2017  |  0 comments
Recorded live in March 2016 at the Art Tower Mito concert hall, this has a Beethoven Fifth notable above all for fidelity to dynamic markings. The first-movement repeat is given but not that in the finale – where the Piu allegro leading to final Presto is especially well judged and where the piccolo player articulates his tricky phrases without a fluff. There’s wild applause after both works but it’s possible that the Concerto is soloist-directed (there’s no booklet PDF but the Mito concert listings say Ozawa only conducted a part of the programme). One-time Philadelphia principal Ricardo Morales has a reedy sounding clarinet and he makes neat dynamic distinctions piano/mf but it’s all very traditional, whereas the BIS download with Martin Frost is in an altogether more relevant class for today’s listeners.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 23, 2017  |  0 comments
This new coupling faces serious competition from my Jan ’14 ‘Album Choice’ Queyras/Harmonia Mundi – Dvorák fillers there, and with Pentatone the Pezzo Capriccioso and two other short Tchaikovsky transcriptions. One important difference, however, is that Moser plays the original Rococo Variations rather than the Fitzenhagen version which so angered the composer. Moser won a special prize at the 2002 Tchaikovsky Competition for his interpretation. He seems to repeat his success here and there’s much charm in the short pieces too.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 11, 2017  |  0 comments
This is an intended celebration of the music of Clara Schumann – five pieces – and the Schumanns’ relationship with the young Brahms, represented here by his Op. 9 Variations (where Sasaki is quite outclassed by Barry Douglas on Chandos). So why is the young Japanese-American pianist’s debut recital entitled Obsidian? Because it includes a seven-part dramatic piece, Obsidian Liturgy, composed for her last year by Max Grafe – 2016 marking 140th/160th anniversaries of the Schumanns’ deaths. As a private gesture, fine, but 10.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 04, 2017  |  0 comments
A couple of years ago I heard this young German-Canadian cellist playing the Rachmaninov Cello Sonata at the Festival Hall in partnership with the composer – it was a pianola recital, I hasten to add! Here he’s with a congenial Russian pianist and they complete their sonatas programme with three transcriptions: Vocalise, a movement from Cinderella and a Scriabin Romance originally for horn. Prokofiev’s sonata met with state sanction and was premiered by Rostropovich/Richter in 1950 (EMI 5 720162 2 has that recording). It gets a fine reading here, as does the Rachmaninov, although Isserlis and Hough on Hyperion are even more inside the soul of the music. The Pentatone recording gives a rich cello sound, set forward and left of centre, with the piano just a little too distantly balanced to the right.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 14, 2017  |  0 comments
Arguably better known for her classical operatic roles (though her farewell stage performance was in 2013), French soprano Natalie Dessay here chooses 11 jazz standards and well-worn – nearly all intimate – songs from musicals. A Deluxe Edition (limited territories only) has a second part where she acts as narrator for sparse musical equivalents composed by Graciane Finzi to eight paintings by Edward Hopper. That version ends with Barber’s Adagio and which, since WW2, has remained an emblematic piece for America. You don’t get, or need the words here, for Dessay’s American is completely idiomatic.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 07, 2017  |  0 comments
‘Shavings from the master’s work bench. ’ The Argentinian pianist kicks this cliché into touch and his account of the last set of Bagatelles, beautifully timed to highlight every facet, is perhaps the best we’ve had. You wonder if Beethoven pondered their suitability for expansion – this was his last piano opus. Goerner’s Hammerklavier impresses in its outer movements, with majesty in the first (repeat taken) and torrential in the 238 risoluto bars of finale counterpoint.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 10, 2017  |  0 comments
192kHz/24-bit, ALAC, FLAC; Linn CKD521 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) Robin Ticciati’s R&J or the Andrew Davis/Chandos [HFN Feb ’17]? The Swedish brass is leaner than the BBC SO’s and Chandos made more of the antiphonally set second violins. But the Linn has more dramatic light and shade, and a natural concert hall balance.