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

C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 19, 2017  |  0 comments
This is the Alpha label debut of Belgian tenor van Mechelen and his period instrument group A Nocte Temporis (flute, organ, cello), set up in 2016. He’s devised a thematically related sequence of eight arias from cantatas by Bach, interspersed with chorale preludes and movements from instrumental works to create a 70m ‘little concert for a Sunday afternoon’ [see the trailer here], which they are touring this year. Be warned: it’s all unremittingly serious stuff! The recording was made last May at the Sainte Aurélie Church, Strasbourg, where the organ is a restored 1718 Silbermann. The performers are each close-set (presumably because of the generous ambient setting).
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 05, 2017  |  0 comments
Jubilo is, says Balsom, ‘a celebration’ of early music by Bach, Corelli (a concerto grosso), Fasch (a concerto) and Torelli (a trumpet sonata with strings and continuo), where she plays both a natural and a modern trumpet. The Corelli is a new arrangement of the ‘Christmas Concerto’ (to which purists might take exception, though somehow the baroque trumpet seems to ‘fit’), while the eight Bach tracks include pieces with organ – ‘In dulci jubilo’, ‘Wachet auf’, ‘Kommst du nun’, etc, from the Schübler Chorales – and with the Cambridge Choir, ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’, sounding a bit rushed here. About half of the programme was recorded at King’s College, and half in the more intimate acoustic of St Jude on the Hill, London. Alison Balsom’s legato lines, varied dynamics and overall technique make this a really enjoyable issue, and one that’s been well produced too.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 22, 2017  |  0 comments
This is the fourth dance-related Pentatone programme with the youthful-looking Yamada (now 37), principal guest conductor with the Suisse Romande. Its founder, Ernest Ansermet, made the imaginative orchestrations here for Debussy’s Épigraphes (two-piano originals). These come as a breath of fresh air after the elaborate scoring of the Roussel, although the Suisse Romande players certainly respond to its challenges. Les Biches is heard in the five-movement Suite adapted from the frothy 1924 ballet, and Yamada brings an ideal light touch to this music – where, incidentally, you hear a theme duplicated in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 01, 2017  |  0 comments
Making his (Schumann) recording debut in 1973, Murray Perahia has always stayed with CBS/Sony, but has now signed to Deutsche Grammophon starting with this mid-2013 Berlin studio set of the six French Suites. His producer Andreas Neubronner was also responsible for the 1997-8 Perahia/Sony English Suites. We get all the repeats, because Perahia says he likes to introduce variation there, adding ornamentation, etc. And of course he’s long preferred his Steinway to any harpsichord (which he studied for four years).
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 25, 2017  |  0 comments
96kHz/24-bit, FLAC; Chandos CHSA5175 (supplied by www. chandos. net) The BBC Symphony for Vivaldi? Well, Tasmin Little says she prefers a ‘big sound’ for ‘The Four Seasons’, and Chandos provides a warm cohesive balance with clear continuo. To my mind, harpsichordist David Wright is the star of the show, coming into his own in ‘Autumn’ with a linking cadenza and a virtual Doppelgänger shadowing the violin.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 05, 2017  |  0 comments
96kHz/24-bit, FLAC; CDA68133 (supplied by www. hyperion-records. co. uk) Vol 1 in this survey of the major solo piano works was my Sep ’16 Album Choice.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Mar 15, 2017  |  0 comments
Apart from the Roman trilogy – ‘Pines’, ‘Fountains’ and ‘Festivals’ – The Birds and the Ancient Airs And Dances arrangements (these two popular Dorati/Mercury recordings), Respighi’s music is pretty much a closed book to most collectors. This fourth Neschling/BIS programme brings a late-romantic, shrewdly orchestrated symphony, seen as too Germanic when premiered in 1915, and a characterful overture derived from music for an unsuccessful opera (although recorded by Hungaroton). Although overwrought in parts and certainly overlong for what it has to say, Sinfonia Drammatica proves a likeable piece and it certainly sounds lush in the spacious Liège concert hall. About 8m into (ii) you get a foretaste of ‘Pines Of Rome’.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Mar 10, 2017  |  0 comments
Glazunov’s romantic concerto provides a balm after the terrors and intensity of the Shostakovich: held back from performance until Stalin’s dictatorship was over. There was far slighter music by that composer – ‘Romance’ from The Gadfly – in Benedetti’s 2012 Decca collaboration with the Bournemouth Orchestra and its Ukranian chief conductor, The Silver Violin. Here, she rises to the challenges of music written for Oistrakh, whose 1955 New York benchmark recording is now on Sony. There’s something of a Heifetzian concentration in her playing (and the coupling sounds even more like a live performance) so it’s a shame she’s given full stage width for the long cadenza and we briefly get a ‘wrong end of a telescope’ effect as the Burlesque opens, although the ear quickly adapts.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Feb 10, 2017  |  0 comments
Available in various formats, with sample tracks at www. 2l. no, this Mozart album has featured as a reference in more than one HFN hardware review, and was this year remastered in conjunction with Bob Stuart using MQA technology. It is certainly a fine production with stable balances, an intimate scale, realistic string timbres and just a hint of decay as movements end.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Feb 05, 2017  |  0 comments
This is a programme for the adventurous listener: three works for string quartet all written when the composers were young (respectively 23, 20 and 21). Adès’s seven-movement Arcadiana has a lot of sliding up the notes with simultaneous pizzicati and bowing. This independence of the string parts it has in common with the 10 Preludes by the Danish composer Nørgård. He is of an earlier generation (born 1932) and in fact Hans Abrahamsen was a pupil of his.