Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sibelius 2: Barbirolli & Boston SO 1964 broadcast

Maestro Barbirolli in a '64 Sibelius Second, one to rival his well-known RPO & Halle accounts.

Jean Sibelius
Symphony Nr. 2, Opus 43

Boston Symphony Orchestra
John Barbirolli, conductor

30 October 1964 broadcast
Symphony Hall, Boston MA

Annie (short for Anonymous) sent me this, when I mentioned being an avowed Barbirolli groupie. Sir John Barbirolli never fails me. His recordings always exude a romantic impulse throughout, which the orchestras respond to quite audibly; such it is in this case as well. The expanses that open at around 6:00 into the first movement have turns on a dime, in ways that cannot be written into a score but must be felt and transmitted though the borderline-fictitious magic of conductorship. His footstamped grunts at 6:45 and 7:08 are the pockmarks, evidence of the presence of authentic leather, it happens.
The snowstorm of tension at 5:40 is a marvel of Boston Symphony string prowess. There are, few and far between to be sure, tiny bits of ensemble discombobulation but these come at times when they are at the service of a set-up for a larger swath of sonic narrative. The conductor sounds like he's taking a few risks and liberties that may not have been completely planned, and they feel right;
these are spurts or colors that add to the enjoyment of a deeply considered, living performance.

Overall, this Sibelius 2 is everything I look for -and so often find- in a Glorious John joint.

So I'm sentimental. I love Barbirolli for it.

The complete program of this concert was

[Berlioz: Carnaval romain, Overture
Delius: A Village Romeo and Juliet
Vaughan-Williams: Symphony Nº 6]
Sibelius: Symphony Nº 2

[++UPDATE: Hornsby's struck again! Progress Hornsby sent me the Delius and Vahugan-WIll
iams from the concert which I will soon post; we wonder if anyone out there has the Berlioz?]

Our generous source for this broadcast recording, who wishes anonymity, notes:
"...This tape has sat in a garage for over 30 years, but the sound is pretty good (a little bright and hissy)..."

Thanks, again, Annie. Sorry I couldn't offer this a few weeks earlier to catch Barbirolli's birthday, but here it is as a late present for that, and an early one for these holidays.

While the performance is, as usual, in the comments,
Joe was kind enough to put the info together into a nifty, ready to print covers inlay, available here:

Enjoy, play it loud and pay it forward!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mahler Symphony 5: World Orchestra For Peace, Gergiev, 2009 Sweden, Live broadcast rec.

A seasonal Offering; I hear alot of hope in this version!

Stockholm, Sweden
2nd September 2009 WOP Concert, part of the Baltic Festival

World Orchestra For Peace
Valery Gergiev, conductor

This concert was given at the invitation of Sveriges Radio/ Berwaldhallen as a part of the 2009 Baltic Sea Festival - marking the 70th anniversary of the start of World War 2 in the Baltic in 1939 and 200th anniversary of the peace treaty between Sweden and Finland.

Programme for this concert:
Track 1.
Krzysztof Penderecki
'Prelude for Peace'(WOP commission, Swedish premiere)
Tracks 2-5.
Gustav Mahler
Symphony No. 5 in C# minor

Penderecki's Prelude For Peace is short, in five minutes it achieves a broad swath of wonder to bask in and press 'repeat' immediately after.

The Mahler is a clean, positive-sounding reading that satisfies greatly. As usual with the Fifth, there are all these gorgeous musical structures spread to the skies only to be destroyed, and rebuilt, and again, the process moves forward thusly. Made up of a pick of crack top flight musicians, the World Orchestra For Peace shows its mettle navigating the big crashes without any undue muddiness of texture. It fits wonderfully for all us knit-browed 'serious music' junkies heading into a new decade!

for more info see

Thanks to "kurth.johansson" at concertarchive for originally getting this, enjoy and play it loud!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ivan Moravec, Philadelphia Orchestra with Keene: Grieg Piano Concerto live 1984

Sometimes I'm silly and try to stick words in here to describe or peddle or even vaguely reflect music.

unnecessary here.

Edvard Grieg

Piano Concerto

Ivan Moravec, piano

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Christopher Keene, conductor

live broadcast, October 19, 1984

I've no other info about this save that it is Ivan's debut with the Fabulous Philadelphians.

Links for this in comments, as customary; if you enjoy this, I must suggest

something that has given more enjoyment with each listen,

from the Czech recording company Supraphon's

collaboration with Mr. Moravec:

Live In Brussels

He plays the Beethoven Pastoral sonata, Some Chopin mazurki, nocturnes, the Scherzo in B minor and a few of his Brahms lagniappes, always twinkling with a watchmaker's focus and brilliance.

As it is an official release, very reasonably priced and relatively available,

here is the link to see it and buy it if you wish

With that, I have no other comment than I love Ivan Moravec.


Jack brought the Grieg concerto to symphonyshare, and I couldn't but share- A thousand thanks Jack!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mahler 6th: Sir Mark Elder and the Russian National Orchestra dig in

Mahler's Sixth Symphony. A broadcast recording of a performance that's just really enjoyable.

Gustav Mahler

Symphony No. 6

Russian National Orchestra

Sir Mark Elder, conductor

Live broadcast from Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Moscow

April 17, 2009

After the choices offered on the StateWork blog so far in Mahler symphonies, the specific performance for the Sixth was presenting a greater challenge. There isn't excessive repetition of pieces here, although admittedly there are 'other' recordings of #s 9 and 3 planned for the near future.

Then a few weeks ago this crossed the speakers at State Work, and so here it is. I really love the care with which the orchestra negotiates the myriad turns and expanses of this work. For example, at 6:47 in the Scherzo there is a molar-rattling slowdown and drag though the mud like no other; the strings aren't shy to dig in throughout the performance, when called for. It brings to mind a Barbirolli rehearsal recording where he goads the low strings into really pushing it near the beginning of a Bruckner 7th, repeatedly. I think what Maestro Elder and the Russian National Orchestra achieve here would make Sir John proud- the affinities between the two conductors are more than just a few.

The cover was made from a "...Mark Elder and the Russian National Orchestra rehearsing at the Moscow State Conservatory named after Pyotr Tchaikovsky" photo by Vladimir Vyatkin, STF

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bruckner's 4th in a beautiful, haunting in-house 1993 recording

If you've already heard some performances of Bruckner 4th symphonies,
 please consider pretending you never did. Then press play.

Anton Bruckner
Symphony No. 4 in E-flat "Romantic"

Munchner Philharmoniker
Sergiu Celibidache, conductor

Live in-house recording from Symphony Hall, Osaka, Japan 
20 April 1993, shared by Ray (who also made up the art!)

I Allegro molto moderato (Bewegt, nicht zu schnell) 
II Andante, quasi allegretto
III Scherzo: Bewegt
IV Finale: Bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell 

Ever since I came across this recording, I've been haunted by it. Maybe it's an early Halloween celebration as such. What I mean is it keeps reminding me of some detail or weighting of textures that I want to hear again, then again a week later. It helped to rediscover an already favorite symphony.What I mean in the comment about pretending not have ever known a Bruckner 4th before listening to this one, is to incorporate a bit of Zen philosophy, known to be dear to Maestro Celibidache:

"..Not knowing immediately opens into endless possibilities. When you know, you’re very limited. As Suzuki Roshi says, the beginner’s mind has countless possibilities. The mind of the expert is very small. It shows an unwillingness to really hear anything..."

Ray boils it down:
"...Even for Celibidache, the tempo for the coda of the Finale is glacial 
but somehow it becomes almost hypnotic.  To my ears it works but you 
really must clear your mind of every other performance of the Bruckner 
Four you have ever heard and take this one on its own terms. 

But shouldn't you really do that with any performance? "

Right on.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Schoenberg: Pelleas and Melisande, with Alan Gilbert's talk. New York Phil, live Sept 25, 2009

A great performance, with preconcert walkthough of 
Arnold Schoenberg's Opus 5.

"My music is not modern, it is merely badly played."- A. Schoenberg

Arnold Schoenberg
Opus 5, Pelleas Und Melisande

Johannes Brahms
Opus 77, violin concerto

Alan Gilbert, conductor
New York Philharmonic
Frank Peter Zimmermann, soloist (Brahms)

Avery Fisher Hall, NYC
September 25, 2009

Wondrously placed stereo In-house recording
(coughing humans fall silent quickly enough)

This is my rapproachement with Schoenberg, in the recognition that he always sounds detached to me, somewhat alien. Some performances bring him in though, close, a stark wee-hours stare into the bathroom mirror, if you will. Last time I felt Schoenberg was with the Arditti Quartet's take on the second and third string quartets, and before that his Starry Night (an easy entryway to this composer).
The real reason, besides the performance and the front row acoustic feel, is the inclusion of one of first few talks that Alan Gilbert is giving during the performances- immediately before, not an hour before curtain. You may know that he is the young new mainstay for the New York Philharmonic, and where its previous head honcho, "...Lorin Maazel had no interest in using the Philharmonic music director’s platform as a teaching tool. Mr. Gilbert is good at it...", as The New York Times opined.
It's a great talk and made me feel good to hear an involved maestro and audience here. So I had to share.

the whole NY Times article about this performance is here:

also included is the rest of the program that morning, the Brahms violin concerto. Frank Peter Zimmermann played Joseph Joachim's cadenza.

**Mil gracias to well, you know who you are, for this!**

You will not sell this at all anyway anywhat anyhow, but spread it far, wide and go to a (non-free) concert soon!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bartok and Gypsy music by Sebestyen, Muzsikas and Takacs Quartet

BARTOK: From The Fields To The Concert Hall
A live concert interspersing his compositions 
with the inspirational sources, 
including Bartok's own recordings 
of Roma Musicians 

Having always felt intimate with Bartok's as well as gypsy music of the roma, I've thoroughly enjoyed playing this recording, loud. It helps to have recently read "Bury Me Standing"- comes from the saying, 'Bury me standing, I've been on my knees all my life'.

"We have music, and if somebody doesn’t have music, then they’re nothing."
-Šelja Bajrami, Plemetina

"The acclaimed Takacs String Quartet joins the Hungarian folk ensemble Muzsikas (with singer Marta Sebestyen, whose inimitable voice you may recall haunting the soundtrack to "The English Patient") to celebrate Hungarian composer Bela Bartok...

When the members of the Takacs Quartet and Muzsikas combine for a concert, they delight in making clear the connections between Bartok's own music and his folk-music obsessions. For example, they alternate movements from some of Bartok's best-known pieces (Romanian Folk Dances, String Quartet No. 4) with the real village dances he collected in the field — both the actual old scratchy records and their own live versions thereof..."

The rest of the source material is on

May 6 2009
Jordan Hall, in Boston

Takacs String Quartet
Muzsikas with Marta Sebestyen
Bela Bartok's field recordings

Bartok: Violin Duos (with source tunes)

Track 01
- Torontal Dances (Muzsikas)
- "Ardeleana" (historic Bartok field recording)
- Duo No. 44

Track 02
- "Shoe of My Horse" (Marta Sebestyen)
- Duo No. 28
- Duo No. 32
- "Jocul Barbatesc" (Marta Sebestyen)

Track 03
Bartok: Sonatina (with traditional tunes)

- Bagpipes (Takacs Qt.)
- Bear Dance (Takacs Qt.)
- Bear Dance from Gyimes (Muzsikas)

Track 04
Traditional: Ballad of the Murdered Shepherd

Track 05
Bartok: Romanian Folk Dances (with source tunes)

- Bota es Invertita (Muzsikas)
- Stick Dance (Takacs Qt.)
- Waistband Dance (Takacs Qt.)
- "Pe Loc" (Muzsikas)
- Hornpipe Dance (Takacs Qt.)
- Romanian Polka (Takacs Qt.)

from NPR internet radio, rec. @256 kbps

Enjoy, spread far and wide, and please attend these performers' events when they're in town!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kondrashin and Moscow forces at the 1972 Munich Olympics play the Shostakovich Sym.#15

Shostakovich, Dmitry
Opus 141
Symphony no. 15

September 14, 1972

Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
Kirill Kondrashin, conductor

As you may note, this is different than the Melodyia recording made a few years later, and it certainly has a separate 'feel' to it.
The symphony was recorded live on September 14th, 1972 in the Kongresshalle, Munich, West Germany during the Summer Olympics there. The performance cannot be but impacted by the events just 9 days prior, when a group of humans calling themselves Black September snuck into the Olympic Village and attacked members of the Israeli Olympic team, eventually murdering 11 of their fellow humans. 

Shostakovich, Dmitry
Opus 99
Violin Concerto no. 1

November 27-28, 1964

Leonid Kogan, soloist
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Erich Leinsdorf, conductor

The source of these two tapings, Maestro Hornsby tells us,
" a filler I've included a dynamite performance of the 1st
VC with Leonid Kogan with Leinsdorf & the BSO from 1964..."

Some filler! The early movements of this performance take a few moments more than a later recording (1966, with the same forces) which surfaced from Soviet archives a decade ago. These moments run out to a minute more in the last two movements; I never felt any drag. Whatever was added is mordant and seething, as channeled through Leonid Kogan's alarming fluency in Shostakovich. 

All Thanks to Progress Hornsby for these recordings, fine artwork, uploading of flacs and generosity.

even includes traycard!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Mahler 1. If you're new to the music of Gustav Mahler, start here: Runnicles, DSO Berlin 2009 live

Mahler, Gustav

Symphony number 1

Donald Runnicles, conductor

Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin

January 18, 2009

Live broadcast from Berlin Philharmonie, Grosser Saal

If you're new to the music of Gustav Mahler, start here.

If not, there is still more previously unnoticed detail to cull from his first symphony, as Runnicles brings out in a tight, bounding playpen of cacophony from the DSO Berlin. 

After running around between a dozen other contenders for a favorite broadcast Mahler 1, this one beat out the pack. Barenboim's East-West youth assault had some great frisson, but so does this and with more focussed string textures to boot. Overall, the clarity of the interacting lines of sound impressed and delighted here; I hope you find as much in this interpretation as I have.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Prokofiev series by Gergiev/LSO live 2009 at Lincoln Center: Russian Dreams II


And the last two nights of this mostly outstanding series (Volumes 3 & 4, continued from previous post):

Vol. 3/4:
March 29, 2009 

in house recording
Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall
"Russian Dreams: The Music of Sergei Prokofiev"

Sergei Prokofiev
Symphony No.3 in C minor, Op.44 (1928)
  • Moderato
  • Andante
  • Allegro agitato--Allegretto
  • Andante mosso--Allegro agitato

Piano Concerto No.4 in B-flat major, Op.53 (1931)
  • Vivace
  • Andante
  • Moderato
  • Vivace

Encore Alexei Volodin

Symphony No. 4 in C major, Op.112
(revised version) (1947)
  • Andante assai--Allegro eroico--Allegretto
  • Andante tranquillo
  • Moderato, quasi allegretto
  • Allegro risoluto

Encore: Dance of the Knights from
Romeo and Juliet

Vol. 4/4:
March 30, 2009

Sergei Prokofiev
Symphony No.4 in C major, Op.47
(original version) (1929-30)
  • Andante assai--Allegro eroico
  • Andante tranquillo
  • Moderato, quasi allegretto
  • Allegro risoluto

Violin Concerto No.2 in G minor, Op. 63 (1935)
  • Allegro moderato
  • Andante assai
  • Allegro, ben marcato

Vadim Repin and Andrew Haveron

Symphony No.5 in B-flat major, Op.100 (1944)
  • Andante
  • Allegro marcato
  • Adagio
  • Allegro giocoso

Encore: March from the Love of Three Oranges

London Symphony Orchestra
Valery Gergiev, conductor
Andrew Haveron, guest leader
Vadim Repin, violin
Alexei Volodin, piano

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Prokofiev series by Gergiev/LSO live 2009 at Lincoln Center: Russian Dreams

PART ONE: March 23 & 24, 2009

The whole Lincoln Center "Russian Dreams" Series is so ridiculously embarrassing in it's overflow of vividly performed riches that here it is:

A miniseries with almost all of it (what I could find, at least)...

Try this one through some good headphones; it's worth it, being a from-the middle-of-the-audience soundpoint!

 in house recordings
Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall

London Symphony Orchestra
Valery Gergiev, conductor

"Russian Dreams: The Music of Sergei Prokofiev"

Vol. 1/4: 
March 23, 2009

Sergei Prokofiev
1-4 Symphony No.1 "Classcial"
5-7 Piano Concerto no.2

Johannes Sebastian Bach (trans. Alexander Siloti)
8 Prelude in B minor, BWV 855a

Vladimir Feltsman, soloist

Vol. 2/4: 
March 24, 2009
Sergei Prokofiev
1-2 Symphony No.2
3-5 Violin Concerto no.2

8 Scherzo from Violin Concerto no.2

9-11 Symphony no.7

12 March from "Love For Three Oranges"

Vadim Repin, soloist


The last two concerts from this series coming soon...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mahler Symphony 2, Dudamel y la Sinfonica dlJ Venezolana, Septiembre 9 del 2008

Mahler, Gustav

Symphony no.2

Orquesta Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana
Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

Janice Watson, Soprano
Jane Henschel, Alto

Chor der Staatlichen Hochschule fur Musik und Darstellende Kunst Mannheim
Landesjugendchor Rheinland-Pfalz

Live broadcast recording of September 9, 2008
from the Friedrich-Ebert-Halle, Ludwigshafen, Germany

A youthful, edge-pushing conductor for a symphony with similar characteristics. This sounds like fun, and just in time for spring.

thanks to Maddrax (of the DIME tribe) for this!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Xenakis: The Total Immersion concert 2, London, March 7 2009

Total Immersion:

Xenakis, Iannis (1922-2001)

Tracées 7'
Anastenaria 23'
Sea-Nymphs* 8'
Mists 12'
Nuits* 9'
Troorkh 16'
Antikhthon 19'

Christian Lindberg, trombone
Rolf Hind, piano
BBC Singers
Men of the BBC Symphony Chorus

BBC Symphony Orchestra
Martyn Brabbins, conductor
Stephen Betteridge, conductor*

Broadcast live Saturday 7 March 2009 on BBC Radio 3
Barbican Hall, London

These are drop-dead gorgeous sounds to revel in from the Greek master, like some mashup of Tibetan Buddhist Temple music and, I don't know. Everything. If Mahler wanted a symphony to encapsulate the world, this is an alternate approach to that impulse.

Andrew Maisel of gives a review of the performance (a complete version is included in the info file):

"There couldn’t be a more mind-blowing introduction to Xenakis’s music than the opening juggernaut of a work, Tracées...
Christian Lindberg commissioned Troorkh, a concerto for trombone and orchestra. ... After close on 20 years, Troorkh seems no easier for Lindberg, requiring superhuman levels of stamina to get through the rapid-fire glissandos and writhing complexities, accents frequently pushed to a full three-and-half octaves. Watching Lindberg in action is an event in itself. In between passages he would be limbering up, sucking in large amounts of air ready for the next assault. A Herculean effort, too, from the trombonists of the BBCSO, pushed almost to the same extremes in passages mirroring the soloist....Full marks though to Martyn Brabbins and the BBC forces who continually displayed their versatility, discipline and sheer staying power over this very long evening."

from  the archives (CA1327) originally, all thanks to Maestro Greene there.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Prokofiev 2nd PianoConcerto, Bronfman and Gergiev, Vienna Philharmonic live in Carnegie Hall, 2008

Bronfman in rip-roaring slowburn concerto mode,
backed by some of Vienna's finest

I never indicated a preference for squeaky clean cd quality recordings. Although this was digitally taped recently, it is the performance behind the occasional pops and deep-in-the-audience perspective that commands involvement.

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

Piano Concerto No.2 in G Minor, Op. 16 (1912-13)
1. Andantino--Allegretto--Tempo 1
2. Scherzo: Vivaca
3. Intermezzo:Allegro moderato
4. Allegro temperstoso--Meno mosso--Allegro tempestoso

Encore: Scarlatti Sonata K.11 in C minor (Thanks for the info on that, Alfonso)

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Valery Gergiev, Conductor
Yefim Bronfman, Piano

The recording attendee (thank you!!!) notes, "Another beautiful concert with the Vienna Phil...The audience was stunned into silence at the end and
did not begin to applaud until the maestro turned around to face us."

In-house recording
March 1, 2008
Carnegie Hall

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Poulenc: en su Gloria, con Concertos. rec.2008-1961

Poulenc in vital broadcast performances, including a World Premiere!

If you haven't listened to much Poulenc, these are the mp3's to begin to remedy that with!

Here is a folder containing three live performances of Francis Poulenc's work. The version of Gloria is its 1961 World Premiere, with the composer attending, after having played his concerto there. He obviously had to have been hanging around to hear this, too, as the announcer (included in the sound files) relates to us that he is in the venue. Thanks to Ray for this, it is a great moment of music as well as a relevant historical document.
The Concerto for Two Pianos is given a characteristically mischievous run at the hands of the Labecque Sisters, egged on without remorse by Antonio Pappano who was debuting with the New York Phil that night.
And then the Organ Concerto; it is a wild, weird piece. I find it too complex to describe, other than the admonition that you just cannot play it as background music.

This is music that is fun and bright while never becoming vacant or emotionally uncommitted.  

Tracks 1-3:
Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in D minor (composed 1932)

Antonio Pappano, conductor
New York Philharmonic
Katya & Maria Labecque, pianos

Recorded from the WQXR-FM NYC broadcast by Statework
February 19, 2004 


Tracks 4-6:
Concerto for Organ, Strings and Timpani in G minor (composed 1938)

Mariss Jansons, conductor
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Leo van Doeselaar, organ

Recorded from the Philharmonie, Berlin, DE 
September 2008

from fadoze's "FA2008-197" recording of the broadcast


Tracks 7-9:
Gloria (World Premiere; composed 1959) 

Charles Munch, conductor
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Adele Addison, soprano 
Chorus Pro Musica 

Recorded Symphony Hall, Boston MA 
on 21 January 1961 

"Nice sound, discreet remastering by...Ray" 


Play it loud!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Beethoven Sym. 8 by Paavo Jarvi & The DKP Bremen, 2009 at the Alice Tully Hall reopening festival

 A Spirited Symphony Eight, to say the least!

Beethoven, Ludwig van
Opus 93, Symphony no. 8 in F major

The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
Paavo Jarvi, Conductor

March 2, 2009 at 7:30 (& 10:30)
Alice Tully Hall, NYC
Opening Nights Festival

Thanks to A. ( last name Nonymous) for the in-house recording

The Beethoven Symphonies have to be brought out now. Great performances are being tossed about and you've got to hear them! Here's a Symphony Eight, in a living, breathing, rousting version by The Deutche KammerPhilharmonie Bremen led by Estonian conductor Paavo Jarvi, who has CDs available now of these symphonies in must-get studio versions, recorded around 2006. The link (click this) takes you to the orchestra's own page to purchase in Euros, though the cycle is widely available elsewhere.

Mr. Jarvi, as in the studio and evidenced here (although in lesser sound quality), "...clearly prizes highly charged music making, often at top speed, with thoughtful phrasing and sharply punched accents. And the use of valveless trumpets; woodwinds with a bright, astringent sound; and hard timpani mallets, combined with a reduced string section, yielded unusual balances that revealed each score’s inner workings, usually without unreasonably skewing the balance between theme and accompaniment.

When the orchestra plays at its best, these qualities yield refreshing, powerful performances. That was consistently the case in the late-night concert, when the orchestra played hardest, perhaps in the vain hope of coaxing some reverberation from the hall..."

The reviewer goes on to describe the other symphonies played in this manner,- which describes the Eighth presented here as well- as

"... weaving threads of rustic playfulness into an overwhelmingly courtly fabric. But Mr. Jarvi and his players reconsidered that balance, making vehemence and drive absolute values and letting the courtly charm fend for itself. It was a risky approach, but it worked."
from The New York Times review of this concert,'The Mainstream Flows Into Alice Tully Hall and Is Hushed', by Allan Kozinn

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Maria Joao Pires plays Chopin 11/25/2008 in Chile

Chopin Piano Concerto 2 & cello sonata


Piano Concerto N° 2:

1. Maestoso (14:01)

2. Larghetto (8:25)

3. Allegro vivace (8:39)

Etude op. 25 N° 7 (arr. for cello & piano by Glazunov) (5:31)

Sonata for cello and piano

1. Allegro moderato (16:55)

2. Scherzo. Allegro con brio (5:31)

3. Largo (3:50)

4. Finale. Allegro (7:24)

Pau Casals: Traditional catalan piece for cello & piano (2:54)

Please check out El Corsario's wonderful blog for this recording he made of Maria Joao Pires and the Camarata Universidad under Santiago Meza, playing Chopin's Piano concerto no.2:

Click here for the link, which is on El Corsario's blog "Aires Chilenos"

He also puts the download info in the comments section under the post, in case you don't grok Spanish (either way music is universal)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Beethoven 9th , Charles Munch & his Boston SO, 1958 broadcast: Op.125 as it should sound more often.(?)

Self-recommending. A unique, fiery night in Boston is preserved here,
with some of the 1958 broadcaster's announcements included. *This is a different performance from the "Great Conductors..." CDs*

Beethoven, Ludwig van
Opus 125, Symphony no. 9

Leontyne Price, soprano ; Maureen Forrester, contralto 

David Poleri, tenor ; Giorgio Tozzi, baritone
New England Conservatory Chorus 

Boston Symphony Orchestra
Charles Munch, conductor

Recorded Symphony Hall, Boston, MA 
20 December 1958

Ray said,"I found this 10" open reel in my library..."

Thanks Ray for the recording, and Constantine Manos for the "Charles Munch conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra" photo (cover).

Friday, March 6, 2009

Isabelle Faust plays Mendelssohn's violin concerto live: Feb 24, 2009

Marek Janowski leads Isabelle Faust and the RSO Berlin

From the first sounds of this recording, it has it. 
I think it can be called "the grain of the voice", as Barthes referred to the peculiar ability of some artists to create meaning in voice itself,  in this case though Ms. Faust's fingers, soundboard, chin, whatever and however it happens. It's been explained by Robin Markowitz that 
..."Every rare voice that has a grain is socially subversive by nature. Although it stands apart from mere representation, it is implicated in whatever social context within which it's produced and received. Its very physical realness forces everyone in its presence to experience whatever truths the grain reveals..."
Having been a fan of Isabelle Faust since her Bartok duets CDs, she's been a powerful presence, eschewing bombast and trickery in favor of something urgent and clean. Yet she doesn't shy away from Jimmy Page-style hearty dirt and grime when the whole show is careening forward at speed. 
The support structure of the RSO Berlin and Janowski are light footed, responsive partners, giving no undue heft to the proceedings, making it a delicious juxtaposition of depth and grace. 

Felix Mendelssohn
Op. 64 Violin concerto

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
Marek Janowski, conductor

Isabelle Faust, soloist

Live broadcast
from the Philharmonie Berlin
February 24, 2009

Thanks to Wolfgang for the original radio recording and upload

Friday, February 27, 2009

Kurtag: Akhmatova Poems, Splinters, Troussova Messages live from Carnegie Hall Jan 31, 2009

If you're not familiar with Gyorgy Kurtag, 
Hurry Up Please Its Time .

Eotvos Conducts Kurtag at
 Carnegie Hall, 2009

Peter Eötvös,conductor
Natalia Zagorinskaya, soprano 
Katalin Károlyi, mezzo-soprano
Ildikó Vékony, cimbalom
Miklós Perényi, cello 
UMZE Ensemble
Amadinda Percussion Group

Zankel Hall, New York City

(alt. art thanks to Arno)

January 31st, 2009

MR3 Bartók Radio internet stream 320 kbit/s
recorded and uploaded by KaKa (thank for the good s.. uh, stuff)
The concert included Ligeti performances, which KaKa has linked in the comments.

Messages of the Late R.V. Troussova, Op. 17

Splinters, Op. 6c

Four Poems by Anna Akhmatova, Op. 41- World Premiere:

  • I. Pushkin (1997) pour soprano solo, dédié à Natalia Melnikova.
  • II. Alexandru Bloku (1997) pour soprano solo.
  • III. Plach - Prichitanie (1997), pour soprano et instruments, dédié à Márta Papp.
  • IV. Voronezh (in progress), pour soprano et ensemble.

Kurtag's music is mostly super short pieces, linked together by many levels of connective tissue. Perfect for the ADHD set hungry for depth. Any given piece feels like an emotional snapshot; it gives some mechanism of my inner life expression in a quick, immediate and faithful language. It feels right.

Bruce Hodges from MusicWeb International's site had some illuminating comments on this concert. Calling the first part "uncompromising", He writes about "Messages of the Late R. V. Troussova, a 21-song cycle using wrenching, hallucinatory texts by Rimma Dalos, a Russian poet living in Hungary.  When soprano Natalia Zagorinskaya began "Odinochestvo" ("Loneliness"), her voice seemed a bit small for the job.  But then it turned out that her wan tone, capped with a desolate glissando at the end, was merely her strategy for the opening, rather than revealing all of Kurtág's colors at once. 

The cycle grows progressively stranger, with a cumulative effect that is harrowing.  The introduction to "Chastushka" (which begins, "Bite me on the head, bite me on the breast!") sounds like a deranged marching band.  The composer sets "Great misery—that's love.  Is there any greater happiness?" with delicate cimbalom strokes, as if the words would somehow be comforting.  "Kameshki" ("Pebbles") uses kaleidoscopic instrumental colors to depict the stones, and in "Tonkaia igla" ("A slender needle"), the effect is piercing, like glass breaking.  Ms. Zagorinskaya was in complete control of Kurtág's unconventional meldings of music and text, and the UMZE Ensemble provided exquisitely calibrated touches of sound—truly, sometimes that's all they were—to assist her.

In what may have been the night's sleeper hit, Ildikó Vékony gave a virtuoso performance of Splinters, originally conceived for guitar and adapted for cimbalom.  In four compact movements totaling seven minutes, it covers a huge array of textures, before reaching a haunting ending with a low D, repeated softly as it fades into the distance.  Ms. Vékony's concentration on the instrument was almost supernatural.  Only after a respectful silence at the end did the audience break out into whoops of delight.  As she took her curtain calls she seemed slightly stunned, as if she didn't quite know what she had accomplished.

Ms. Zagorinskaya and the UMZE musicians returned for the world premiere of Four Poems by Anna Akhmatova, written over the span of a decade.  It is brief, gossamer and adds a huge array of percussion instruments to the chamber ensembl
e.  The final song, "Voronezh," incorporates a whip and a siren to evoke "…a whole town…encased in ice…Trees, walls, snow, as if under glass."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Rafal Blechacz toca Chopin en el Festival Klara, Bruselas, 2007: Una Transmisión Maravillosa.

Frydryk Chopin

Rafal Blechacz - piano

Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles (Klara Festival) 12 Sept 2007

This is simply a gorgeous recital. Chopin, played in such a way that dissolves the tightrope act of balancing a subjective interpretation with the replaying of oft-retreaded notes. Rafal Blechacz reminds me of early Ivan Moravec in this. The ungainly, dissonant, stranger side of the works is neither slighted nor paraded, and I feel nary a trace of schmaltzy moping. What is left is a great recital, clean and confident. 
The radio announcer (in french, appropriately enough) is there but you can program her out, if you wish. 
This concert includes my personal favorite Chopin composition: Barcarolle, opus 60, and a complete, unbroken stream of  what James Huneker considers "...Chopin's claim to immortality. Such range, such vision, such humanity! All shades of feeling are divined, all depth and altitudes of passion explored. If all Chopin, all music, were to be destroyed I should plead for the Preludes"...

Barcarolle en fa dièse majeur opus 60
Deux Nocturnes opus 62 (1846)
Trois Mazurkas opus 50 (1841-2)
Polonaise en la bémol majeur opus 53 (1842)
24 Préludes opus 28 (1836-9)
Mazurka en mi mineur opus 17/II (1832-3)
Valse en do mineur opus 64/II (1846-7)

Thanks to fadoze, music (and this artwork) from his torrent "FA2008-154"
fadoze! don't stab me for converting this to the dreaded lossy mp3! Had to spread the wealth...

Monday, February 16, 2009

1942 premiere of the Shostakovich Symphony 7: Toscanini, NBC SO, thunderstorm raging outside

Toscanini: "I conducted that? I must have been crazy!"
When the going gets wierd the wierd turn pro,
  how to keep people's hope alive while not forgetting
 how messed up things are and need change;
And that the last time we successfully exited a Depression, it included this.

Dmitry Shostakovich
Opus 60, Symphony No. 7, "Leningrad"

Arturo Toscanini, conductor
NBC Symphony Orchestra, augmented with
15 additional musicians

July 19, 1942
Studio 8-H
NBC Radio City Studios
New York City, NY

Western Premiere performance broadcast, includes extensive interviews and announcements which were given before and immediately after the event.

This recording places most of the elements together which make Shostakovich's Symphony 7 such a cultural touchstone of our human race. 
I hope it is enough to relive the event through these mp3s to avoid having to invoke starvation and industrialized murder for such a response.

It is the broadcast of the first time it was played in the West, after unyielding hope and unity made the initial performances in the destroyed halls of the Soviet Union such reaffirmations of life. Dmitry Shostakovich wrote it in between the days spent working as a fire warden, watching his city receive destruction.
The heightened emotional pitch of the times- mid World War -  is easily felt though this document. Although the work itself has since undergone critical downgrading (as if!), that sort of thinking missed the point; its relevance as " about terror, slavery, and oppression of the spirit..." will continue indefinitely.

The composer also mused about it in terms of questioning, which Leningrad does it refer to?Apparently it is not just about the city under Hitler's physical attack but also the city he remembers as it was before the destructive rule of his government, before Stalin's political empowerment.

As Robert Nylund remembers, this was broadcast live on NBC,"... only to have the radio signals on the New York station nearly obliterated by a severe thunderstorm. Fortunately, the storm did not interfere with the recording that was finally issued by RCA Victor in 1967..."

A good sense of what this is about is from Michael Jones' book, "Leningrad: A State Of Siege", where he tells that it was not just armies that liberated the city finally, but " the people of Leningrad found the resources within themselves to endure and to survive...The greatest symbol of this defiance was an extraordinary orchestral concert. On 9 August 1942 the besieged city put on a performance of Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony....The symbolic importance of this concert was enormous...The Germans had boasted that they would capture the city on 9 August and hold a victory celebration at Leningrad's Astoria Hotel. The date for the Seventh Symphony's premiere was thus deliberately chosen...Many years after the war [the conductor] was approached by a group of German tourists, who said that they had come to the city especially to see him. They had been in the besieging army outside the city, so close that they were able to intercept Leningrad's radio signals, and hear the broadcast of Shostakovich's Seventh. Now these veterans said: "It had a slow but powerful effect on us. The realisation began to dawn that we would never take Leningrad."...