Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Mozart's Piano Concerto n.20, The First desks from Wiener Philharmoniker are the elite reduced orchestra. Buchbinder conducts from the soloist spot.
Mozart, Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus
(yes, that's him. at baptism at least.)
Piano Concerto No. 20, K. 466
Rudolf Buchbinder, conductor & piano
Groﬂer Musikvereinssaal, Vienna (Austria) 2008-02-04
The sharply delineated arpeggios! The jumpy, wink of th' eye ensemble dances! And the floor-hugging softness at the other dynamic extreme: wow. Mozart doesn't get this treatment often enough. This is just lots of fun.
Throw your door wide open for new year with a stance akin to the attitude in this performance and we're in for a great start!
from fadoze, again a bauble from the treasury...
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Four Messiaen compositions in live broadcast versions, giving some idea of the orchestral range of his soundworld...
Allright then. Some Messiaen is just modern day soul food, I feel; so here's a quadriplex of broadcast performances that give the range, to me at least, of what I love about Monsieur Messiaen's ouevre. There's always that calm at the heart of the pieces, a la Arvo Part, yet they are shot through with the coruscating faith-haunted digressions of later Pendereski. So, with some words by the original uploaders, we advance:
Trois petites Liturgies de la prÈsence divine
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Seiji Ozawa, conductor
Peter Serkin: piano
Takashi Harada: Ondes Martenot
Tanglewood Festival Women's Chorus
live at Symphony Hall.
Boston, Massachusetts USA
November 29, 2008
FM radio broadcast
Our uploading host, Zootype excerpted from the BSO program notes, that "Former Boston Symphony Orchestra Artistic Director Seiji Ozawa conducts the BSO for the first time in about six years...
During the Second World War, after he was released from a prison camp in Silesia, Messiaenís next major orchestral work was the "Three Short Liturgies of the Divine Presence". Messiaen wrote the text for Liturgies himself at the same time as the music and declared that it had no literary pretensions, despite the obvious influence of writers such as Paul …luard and Pierre Reverdy. He wanted to express theological truths about God and composed three movements each dedicated to an aspect of the presence - God present in us, present in himself, and present in all things. Messiaen was clear that these inexpressible ideas were not directly expressed in the music but that they remain "on the level of a dazzlement of colors."
01 I Antienne de la conversation intÈrieure 10:20
Anthem of the Interior (God present in us...)
02 II Sequence du verbe, cantique divin 7:02
Sequence of the Word, divine hymn (God present in himself...)
03 III Psalmodie de l'ubiquitÈ par amour 15:45
Psalmody of ubiquity through love (God present in all things...)
Benjamin, George; Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Pierre Laurent Aimard, piano
05 dec 2008
Amidst a conversation about Messiaen, Gerald Levinson recalls an experience with Mr. Aimard, by the way: "...And so the concert ended at 1:15 a.m. with Pierre-Laurent playing. The technicians got mad and dimmed the lights about 1:00 o’clock in the middle of the [Cinq] Danses rituelles. And Pierre-Laurent didn’t miss a beat. Now he’s a great master. Everybody knows Pierre-Laurent Aimard now. He was seventeen then, and an amazing prodigy. I asked him afterwards, ‘How did you keep playing when all those lights went out?’ And he said, ‘The lights went out?’ That to me was a real lesson about what a real master performer does..."
Gatti, Daniele; Orchestre National de France
Theatre des Champs-Elysees
18 sept 2008
Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Myung-Whun Chung - conductor
Olivier Latry - organ
Royal Albert Hall, London (UK)
21 july 2008
These last 3 Thanks to fadoze, who I am hoping will not come o'er and poke me right in the eye for transmogrifying these treasures to the dreaded MP3 format! It does get to more folks easier as such.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Intense, Singing Strings (and some other stuff)
at the service of Eotvos and Vaughn Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams
The Lark Ascending
(Never played in England before)
Susanne Mälkki - conductor
Akiko Suwanaï - violin
from the Proms 2008 concert
Royal Albert Hall, London, England
27 August 2008
The 2008 Proms 55 included one of those new compositions that caught me immediately, like some of Kurtag's work does, even though this is longer. Peter Eotvos' "Seven" thus runs the usual danger for me of longer pieces where I drift off a bit, yet the instrumental and ensemble lines that emerge are perenially compelling and sometimes transporting one to another plane (more on why that may be below.) Seven can be thought of as a sort of violin concerto.
The Lark Ascending is just plain beautiful music. This performance is wider reaching than most of the usual benchmark rec's under Sir Adrian Boult and, I think, Bryden Thompson.
Fiona Maddocks of London's "The Evening Standard" has more details about the performance, especially regarding Eotvos, who
"should have been at the Proms directing the UK premiere of Seven, his violin concerto commemorating the Columbia space shuttle astronauts who died in 2003. But illness prevented him and the fast-rising Finnish conductor, Susanna Mälkki, stepped in at short notice, drawing playing of flair and subtlety from the Philharmonia.
Eötvös’s two-movement elegy, with soloist Akiko Suwanai, launches straight in on high, with stratospheric violin textures offset by ensemble sounds so tantalising you have to scrutinise each player to work out how the effect is made. Since a keyboard sampler forms part of the mix, you often remain merely bewitched and bewildered.
Creating an unsettling impact, six violinists were positioned around the Albert Hall, their solo voices speaking in signal and response to Suwanai, who continued her journey of poetic rhapsody alone on stage. The sense of figures lost in space was only too vivid, and expertly performed by all.
Suwanai then brought her fluid, seemingly weightless playing to Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending. Judging by the large audience this season, Proms director Roger Wright is proving himself an ingenious programme maker. Whether the words “Classic FM” are ever said aloud within the walls of Radio 3 is doubtful, but it won’t have escaped anyone’s notice that The Lark Ascending heads that other station’s Hall of Fame list. To programme this glorious piece of English pastoral next to the Eötvös premiere was nifty, to say the least."
(the program that evening included Ravel's
Scheherazade (w/Sarah Connolly) and Daphnis et Chloe, and Debussy's Prelude a l'Apres-Midi d'un Faune.)
This thanks to fadoze, master of dimeadozen broadcasts, it forms part of his recording #FA2008-179.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Roger Norrington makes a "fascinating mess" as it should be, with the SWR Stuttgart forces
Sir Roger Norrington
SWR Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
05. September 2008
'Stuttgarter Liederhalle, Beethovensaal'
Aaah, just listen, With the volume knob set to "you destructive imbecile"
Mussorgsky's Pictures At An Exhibition in a vibrant broadcast take, even virulent (in it's image-mongering!)
Pictures From An Exhibition (orchestration by Maurice Ravel)
Georges Prêtre, conductor
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Recorded at the Philharmonie Berlin on 27.10.08
No talking. just Head (-bangingly glorious playing here). Hartmann's drawings through Modeste's notes, Ravel's coloring and Pretre's searing control and release, thanks to the Deutsche Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin.
(Program that evening included
Johannes Brahms Symphony Nr. 3 F-dur op. 90)
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
A Mahler Seventh that recalls its artistic muses Rembrandt and Mann through a fired-up Abbado-led Youth Orchestra!
Claudio Abbado, conductor
Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester
1999 Edinburgh Festival
Usher Hall, Edinburgh
August 17, 1999
Ah! the M7! My absolute favorite Mahler symphony -for the past 3 years at least...(before that i had protracted flings with the 2nd, 4th, forever the 9th of course, and a real time of it with 3...)
Rembrandt's "The Night Watch"( or "The Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch") is said to have been influential to the second movement। It fits wonderfully, as the cacophonous military breakdowns so common to this composer been seldom better served; pace Alphons Diepenbrock, who knew Mahler and is quoted as saying, "...It is not true that [Gustav Mahler] wanted actually to depict The Night Watch. He cited the painting only as a point of comparison. [The Nachtmusik I movement] is a walk at night, and he said himself that he thought of it as a patrol. Beyond that he said something different every time. What is certain is that it is a march, full of fantastic chiaroscuro — hence the Rembrandt parallel..."
And the Andante amoroso? A risky, engaging slant is enhanced by the youth orchestra's edgy feel under Abbado. it almost hearkens to the other cultural reference commonly stuck to this piece: that Adrian Leverkuhn's magnificent violin concerto's ending was really this penultimate movement. (This imaginary composer, Leverkuhn, from Thomas Mann's awesome novel "Doktor Faust", also wrote a "Faust" cantata which is supposedly based upon the second movement of the M7!)
En fin, the youth orchestra plays hard and to win. The bite is there at all times, even in the slower sections. They are nervously present and it sounds as if they refuse to let the performance fall into a rote exercise, even if for the barest moment.
From a broadcast, so it is somewhat hissy. Have a fit then, if you seek purely audiophile quality; just know that the performance gods have waved their magic fingers at this, Through Claudio Abbado. He has commercially released 2 other performances of the Mahler Symphony no.7 , one in 1984 and again in 2001 (Chicago SO and Berlin Phil, respectively). I prefer this one to those as well as to [most!] of the 21 other recordings of this work I, unreasonably and ridiculously enough, own
It is, worth it.
**Mil gracias to albanberg at dimeadozen for this!**
Friday, December 5, 2008
Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta.
Kirill Kondrashin, conductor
Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra.
This recording is beyond worth it; just listen a tiny bit past the noise that the intruding years present, and a raucous performance emerges to drag you around by the "classical music is nice sleepytime music" hairs. The taper, Alan, stated:
"This stereo broadcast is undated, and is sourced from my own cassette
taped from NYC radio station WNCN on February 17, 1982. The tape is a
bit hissy, which is probably due to the comparatively wide dynamic
range of WNCN at the time. "
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Estonian maestro Neeme Jarvi (I mention his nationality to suggest his familiarity with Soviet-era abuses and frustrations... and well OK because that's half my bloodline as well- REPRESENT in KALEVI POIG!!!) leads the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
Broadcast From performances May 16-18, 2008
Prudential Hall, New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC)
On the banks of the stolid Passaic River in Newark, New Jersey, USA
That Program also offered:
Bach/Busoni/Steinberg: Chaconne in D minor (orchestration of Partita
for Violin Solo No. 2, BMV 1004)
Haydn: Symphony No. 99 in E-flat major, H 1/९९
Check out the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra when they're in your town!
Keep them going! Although their siblings the New York Philharmonic courted disaster openly (they were slated originally to play on the Titanic, but couldn't go), the NJSO has also had miraculous comebacks time and time again from random and timely donations...
Just so satisfying when played loud, this version, it must have made the much-maligned and industrially mistreated Passaic River chuckle contentedly for the hour it was played near its banks that night.
Thanks to Michael for this recording from KUAT
Friday, November 28, 2008
check out the slowdown and subsequent incisive tone of the brass around 1:50 in the Second movement!
The Third movement is taken a bit longer than most in a (practically useless) time comparison, yet manages to do better at keeping a sense of purpose, resisting the loss of power that can infect stretches of many respected performances of this always-beautiful piece of dead white european male composition.
The opener to this broadcast was The Beethoven Piano Concerto with Lang Lang on percussion.
Some of The New York Times' Steve Smith review of the November 7th concert, "The Flame of Beethoven, Calibrated" is copied here:
Bruckner’s unfinished Symphony No. 9 followed intermission. Mr. Eschenbach, a compelling Bruckner interpreter, brought a sense of structure and proportion to the music without diminishing the qualities of humility and awe that make it so gripping. His tempos were broad but never leisurely, his instrumental balances impeccable; the orchestra responded with playing of striking power and commitment."
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Symphony Number 4 in F Minor
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Sir Colin Davis, principal guest conductor
Careening from one emotional pole to another, This performance is not 'background music'; Rachmaninoff would have you sit up straight for it's duration.
Maestro Vaughan Williams himself famously said of it " I don't know whether I like it, but it's what I meant।"
from the Boston Symphony Orchestra's "Broadcast Archives 12 CD Box Set",
available from the Orchestra's website (www.bso.org) at
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Symphony no.5 in C Minor, Opus 67
Live broadcast June 24th, 2007
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
The original uploader (Scalepet's) comments say what you may need to know:
"...recorded in the course of Harnoncourt's annual music festival, the Styriarte, in 2007, and broadcast just once: Despite the performance getting rave reviews from the press, it was never officially released on disk. Every of the performers got a recording of the concert...
...one of the fieriest, fastest and best performances I've ever heard of this piece, the first movement is barely 6:34 long - with repeat. The phrasing, accents and dynamic contrasts are intense when they need to be, it's remarkably driven, always moving forward with a positive sense of nervousness. But despite the breakneck speed Harnoncourt has total control over the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (who play on modern instruments, only the trumpets and timpani are period instruments), his conducting is firm, but not stiff, there's a terrific sense of chamber musical organization among the musicians, especially in the slow movement. Orchestral color, secondary voices, stereophony - all exceptional, which is why I opted for FLAC this time - you may discover details in the 5th you didn't notice before..."
YES! and then some, este es uno para poner a todo dar, a ver que tanto aguante el sistema de sonido!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Faure's Requiem Mass, the NY Philharmonic led for the first time by a woman (who had "gotten over the initial astonishment" of being one.)
Mass for Bruno Walter in NY 17 Feb 1962
Reni Grist (sop); Don Gramm (bar); Vernon deTar (organ); The Choral
New York Philharmonic
Nadia Boulanger, conductor
mp3, avg.131 kbps
Nadia Boulanger was one of Gabriel Faure's more noted students.
This is an excerpt from "Time" magazine of February 23, 1962:
"[ On a triumphal 75th birthday trip to the U.S., Nadia Boulanger, Paris' matriarch of modern music, became the first woman ever to conduct a full concert by The New York Philharmonic. Borrowing the podium of one of the few notable American composers who was never her pupil, mercurial Maestro Leonard Bernstein, the "tender tyrant" led the orchestra through psalms by her late sister, Lili, A Solemn Music by Disciple Virgil Thomson, and the Requiem Mass of Gabriel Faure with an authority that convinced the New York Times that "she could hold up her end of the baton with most of her male colleagues." Tactfully shrugging off this bit of male chauvinism, Mme. Boulanger refrained from repeating her response to a similar comment when she led the Boston Symphony in 1938: "I have been a woman for a little over 50 years and have gotten over my initial astonishment." ]"
and, incidentally, OT but further reading from that issue:
"[ Out of rural Berkshire to London's Hospital for Sick Children whooshed a police-escorted ambulance bearing the football captain and choir leader of Britain's Cheam School: His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, 13. Following a post-midnight appendectomy, the robust Charles recuperated rapidly, was expected to be sprung this week from the TV-equipped private room for which the royal family, which does not take-advantage of the National Health Service, was paying $14 a day." ]
Times the're a changing, no?
Enjoy the tunes. This recording was released commercially as part of a (to my budget and everyone I know) crazily expensive New York Philharmonic Anniversary Box Set, called
"The greatest historical release of them all!" by Robert Cowan, Gramophone. It (the whole set AND this particular bit of it) really is full of wondrous and unexpected depths of performance history galore.
The box set is still available here:
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Jean Martinon leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a performance which does justice to the myriad moods and tempos you expect to have a Mahler Symphony no.3; that is such a relative phenomenon, since the M3 is one of the most philosophically, temporally and sonically ambitious of symphonies in general!
This excerpt about the recording is from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra website, from which you may purchase the incredible box set containing this performance (in better sound) and a host of other rarities:
"The Chicago Symphony Orchestra's first subscription concert performances of Mahler's Third Symphony were given at Orchestra Hall on March 23, 24, and 25, 1967, with Regina Resnik, Women of the Chicago Symphony Chorus (Margaret Hillis, director), the Chicago Children's Choir (Christopher Moore, director), and Jean Martinon conducting."
The sound is broadcast quality, Pre-FM.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
The very rarely heard and recorded "General William Booth Enters Into Heaven" was
the other Ives piece from the 2004 Alan Gilbert/NY Phil program which ended with Symphony No. 4, posted below.
General Booth is the founder of The Salvation Army. The piece is a characteristically ambitious Ivesian challenge, built around the sung text of Vachel Lindsay's 1912 poem. I've copied some of it below, and think it an appropriate mechanism to countenance the fears of, frankly, the worst case scenario of our economic reality; the music is simply a very stirring piece:
General William Booth Enters into Heaven
by Vachel Lindsay
To be administered at full volume as tonic and rejuvenative conduit, esp. as one walk out the door to do one's election-related duty! Artwork is the same because it was on the same bill. sorry about the non-inclusion of that text on the cover.
[To be sung to the tune of `The Blood of the Lamb' with indicated instrument]
[Bass drum beaten loudly.]
Booth led boldly with his big bass drum --
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
The Saints smiled gravely and they said: "He's come."
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
Walking lepers followed, rank on rank,
Lurching bravoes from the ditches dank,
Drabs from the alleyways and drug fiends pale --
Minds still passion-ridden, soul-powers frail: --
Vermin-eaten saints with mouldy breath,
Unwashed legions with the ways of Death --
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
Every slum had sent its half-a-score
The round world over. (Booth had groaned for more.)
Every banner that the wide world flies
Bloomed with glory and transcendent dyes.
Big-voiced lasses made their banjos bang,
Tranced, fanatical they shrieked and sang: --
"Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?"
Hallelujah! It was queer to see
Bull-necked convicts with that land make free.
Loons with trumpets blowed a blare, blare, blare
On, on upward thro' the golden air!
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
[Bass drum slower and softer.]
Booth died blind and still by Faith he trod,
Eyes still dazzled by the ways of God.
Booth led boldly, and he looked the chief
Eagle countenance in sharp relief,
Beard a-flying, air of high command
Unabated in that holy land.
[Sweet flute music.]
Jesus came from out the court-house door,
Stretched his hands above the passing poor.
Booth saw not, but led his queer ones there
Round and round the mighty court-house square.
Yet in an instant all that blear review
Marched on spotless, clad in raiment new.
The lame were straightened, withered limbs uncurled
And blind eyes opened on a new, sweet world.
[Bass drum louder.][Grand chorus of all instruments. Tambourines to the foreground.]
Drabs and vixens in a flash made whole!
Gone was the weasel-head, the snout, the jowl!
Sages and sibyls now, and athletes clean,
Rulers of empires, and of forests green!
Friday, October 31, 2008
This duplicates the conductor/orchestra pairing for this work in the same year as an official release. Although it documents a different performance,
it is only an extra sweetener to enjoy the artistry of these workers. This straight to CD Recording of Live Broadcast on WQXR NYC does have a bit of hiss audible in the quieter moments. If you like the performance, please buy the official LSO live CD release, which has vastly better sound anyway;
The London Symphony Orchestra has its own website from which they sell their "LSO Live" CDs:
That said, this is still a blast to hear! That wierdo ending with the quintuple hangups is never tiring. The LSO and Sir Colin Davis seem to be welded to one another's thoughts sometimes, as evidenced in long stretches of -even for these pros- gorgeous ensemble work.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Charles Ives' raucous Fourth (and last) Symphony, live from Carnegie Hall to get the Estados Unidos folk in the voting mood!
I recorded it from a live WQXR broadcast, straight to cd... Great American Cacophony to rival the election season's cross'd streams of sameness (that simply means that reality is slightly below expectations; you still have the right to vote. Voting could be treated like a Victorian-era unruly child or bad tooth- Ignore it and it may go away.)
links for this in comments
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Gandador del Premio Gramophone en vivo:
Otro broadcast de ahora ultimo, como si estuviera renaciendo el arte! Could it be that the Far Eastern curse "may you live in interesting times" is also informing the depth of recent performances?
All thanks to christos e from DIME for this awesome recording of a digital FM Broadcast- DVB-S Radio, 256kb/s. He might poke me right in the eye for putting this up here. (hope not!)
The performance is a testament to Paul Lewis' gifts, so spread it while it's available. As such, it is more than ample argument for keeping his career triumphantly afloat by going to a concert or purchasing a CD of his!!! We are Medici! [sung to the sister sledge tune, in these art funding-starved times]; Please mention that if you Do spread this treasure.
viene con arte y texto informativo. comes with some more info and homebaked art (yea that up there.)
The actual studio release, winner of the 2008 Gramophone Award here
(live concert link in comments; as a zip file and, further down, in mp3s individually)
New York Philharmonic, Antonio Pappano - Guest conductor
Carnegie Hall, NYC, New York (USA)
19 Feb 2004
WQXR "New York Philharmonic live" broadcast recording
Viene con guia , seis minutos de buenisima informacion antes de escuchar esta obra.
Comes with a Listening guide to Shostakovich Symphony no. 10 (6:24)
It's in there!