Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Legendary Mahler 10th Performance That Started All The Fights and Nonsense

BBC's Illustrated Introduction to the Tenth Symphony
 with Deryck Cooke playing and speaking

Gustav Mahler 
Symphony No. 10
fragments and completions

Deryck Cooke, piano and lecture
Berthold Goldschmidt, conductor
Philharmonia Orchestra

December 19, 1960 broadcast

This is simply invaluable, essential Mahler stuff. If you're a fan, or just interested, then hear this through at least once before your own final hammer strokes resound... 

"...Deryck Cooke began work on his score in 1959 in connection
with the impending Mahler centenary, and on 19 December 1960,
Berthold Goldschmidt, who had assisted Cooke, conducted a partial
performance with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. This was a
lecture-demonstration for radio, but the objections of Mahler's widow,
Alma Mahler Werfel, to any sort of "completion" had to be overcome
before there could be a full performance..."

Excerpt from Michael Steinberg's "Symphony no.10 by Gustav Mahler",
found at

Thanks to Psanquin for this rarity.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Vadim Repin. Shostakovich First Violin Concerto. Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. 2006, live.

Repin plays the original intro to the burleske. This guy was never taught that humans generally can't play so brutally well. So he does.

Wiener Philharmoniker steps up to the plate and swings mightily, filling the room with an appropriately Francis Bacon-sounding backdrop at times,

 other times making the gentlest waves of soothe. If you're unfamiliar with Vadim Repin please change that now. This may not be the highest quality (192 kbps) recording as far as sound fidelity goes, but none of that matters- It just doesn't. Select the scherzo, pull up on the volume control a bit, get ready to smile.

Shostakovich, Dmitry

Opus No. (77) 99, Violin Concerto 1

Valery Gergiev, conductor
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Vadim Repin, soloist

from the Wiener Philharmoniker's 8th Subscription Concert 2006, April 23
from Musikverein, Large Hall (Vienna, Austria)

Thanks to Manuel for this.
his original links are also in the comments, which include an alternate recording, equally if not more powerful (with concomitantly worse sound, I lament!)

But remember. Your business is rejoicing. Your business is rejoicing. ;)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Mozart concerto & a Haydn symphonie: Uplifting, crash in a river and still walk away OK, renew your hope music

Let's have some sounds resplendent with hope, positivity and the constructive interrelations of the elements that get involved!

Franz Haydn
Symphony No. 83

Wolfgang Mozart
Sinfonia Concertante, K.364

Orchestra Of The Age Of Enlightenment
Ivan Fischer, conductor
Rachel Podger (violin)
Pavlo Beznosiuk (viola)

Wednesday 21 May 2008 
from a BBC RADIO 3 broadcast of the concert

Deft, vibrant beats from the Enlightenment crew make for a constantly rewarding experience. They have such a great name, too- fitting for the challenge around us.

A Haydn symphony to begin because, well, it's Haydn. All undertakings should perhaps begin with this sort of thing. Especially with a skewering  of overly serious and drama-heavy approaches, as happens in the first movement. The initial theme, with its big knotted brow, and dark, intent stride gets turned onto the "poultry-like waddling of the second subject", as David Hurwitz described it. 

Then, the usually period-obsessed violinist Rachel Podger, a personal favorite, is half the soloist team in the Mozart double concerto. Ever since her recording of the Bach Partitas and Sonatas, those pieces get competition in the listening cue, alongside recordings by Szeryng and Kremer (1980), some Grumiaux. 
The slow movement of K.364 always holds the most interest for me; here the interweavings of viola and violin create a tapestry of mindful discussion with some really emotionally naked digging in. 
Then, the finale! So dancy and bright, makes it all sound like just the beginning...

"Sinfonia Concertante"

01  Allegro Maestoso
02  Andante
03  Presto

Symphony No. 83

04 Allegro spiritoso ["Hens are like people, and their conflicts caricature       our own"- the composer]
05 Andante
06 Menuetto allegretto/Trio
07 Finale: Vivace

Some notes from the BBC website regarding its broadcast:
"...The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment turn the clock back to Paris on the eve of the French Revolution, in the last concert in their acclaimed The Age of Revolution series, recorded [May 21st, 2008] at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall.

...Haydn...visited pre-revolution Paris in 1785 and his Hen Symphony was one of the six Paris Symphonies he composed for public concerts in the city.

...This is the Paris where vibrant new ideas clashed with the stasis of the Ancien Regime, where philosophers rubbed shoulders with Catholic priests and encyclopaedists with noblemen. Into this environment came a young Mozart, and it was here that he received the impetus to compose his Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola..."

Allright then. On to it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Julia Fischer dances amidst Maazel's NYPO in Brahms' violin concerto, 2008 broadcast.*different than the studio recording with Kreizberg*

Johannes Brahms

Violin Concerto in D op. 77
NY Philharmonic
Lorin Maazel, Conductor. 
Julia Fischer, Violin.

Broadcast date: 2007-05-03

I can only offer that I found this to be great. I am already a fan of Julia Fischer's Mozart concerto playing, liking how she unobtrusively infuses the music with life. It reminds me of Pierre Fournier's Bach suite recordings in how the artists balance the injection of personal flair with adherence to the strict written texts. 
Maazel starts the journey at an unsurprisingly standard tempo, but the whole affair picks up speed and momentum with a satisfying surety, while letting some romantic impulses nudge and breathe at times. See the last 30 seconds of the First movement for example. The finale is a rollicking good time, and the main reason I thought to make this performance available here.
Ms. Fischer's encore, a clean gorgeous Andante from the Bach Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, BWV 1003, is included.

1  I.  Allegro non troppo 24:21
2 II.  Adagio 10:22
3 III. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace - Poco piu presto 8:11
Bach: Solo Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Minor BWV 1003 
4 III. Andante 4:17

These recordings were originally offered by DIME's "Antimudshark"        
Guilty of transferring to mp3 & manufacturing artwork: Guillermo

Monday, January 12, 2009

Siegfried's Idyll. Wagner unguarded. Kubelik live with his Bayerischen forces in 1973.

Brings to mind the Tagore quote, "God's great power is in the gentle breeze, not in the storm"

Richard Wagner
Siegfried's Idyll

Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Kubelik, Rafael, conductor
Munich 7 December 1973

In this offering, a somewhat complex plea for cease-fire. The Idyll was a birthday present to Wagner's wife, after the birth of their son, here interpreted by my perenially favorite conductor, Rafael Kubelik. His readings never lack warmth to me.
Some key bits from his Wikipedia article:
In 1939, Rafael Kubelík became music director of the Brno Opera, a position he held until the Nazis shut the company down on November 12, 1941. The Nazis allowed the Czech Philharmonic to continue operating, and Kubelík became its principal conductor. (He had first conducted the Czech Philharmonic in 1934 when he was 20 years old.) In 1944, after various incidents, including one in which he declined to greet the Nazi Reich-Protector with a Hitler salute — along with his refusal to conduct Wagner during the War — Kubelík "deemed it advisable to disappear from Prague and to spend a few months undercover in the countryside so as not to fall into the clutches of the SS or Gestapo" (Albert Scharf, in Rafael Kubelík: His Life and Achievement, p. 114).
Kubelík conducted the orchestra's first post-war concert in May, 1945. In 1946, he helped found the Prague Spring Festival, and conducted its opening concert. But after the Communist coup of February 1948, Kubelík left Czechoslovakia, vowing not to return until the country was liberated. "I had lived through one form of bestial tyranny, Nazism," he told an interviewer, "As a matter of principle I was not going to live through another."

Maybe the killing of many persons by other persons, under the excuse of one state against another, ends the violence between them all, as it is claimed by whoever starts it. Rarely so. 
Palestine and Israel. Iraq and the US. 
I think Barenboim leads the better path forward, with his orchestras that bring together people from opposite sides of the imaginary fence, while they are young. He also reclaimed Wagner, stubbornly and pointedly.
But I am here, in a safe and complacent environment, spreading pirated broadcast recordings...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Kurtag: a random sampling of spare, deep beauty. Three in-concert recordings.

 Gyorgy Kurtag   (b.1926):"I keep coming back to the realization that one note is almost enough"

01-06 Six moments musicaux op.44 (1999-2005) (14:04)

Arditti String Quartet
Palais des FÍtes
26 sept 2008 
Festival Musica

fm (France Musique, 26 dec 2008), Uploaded by Uncle Meat (DIME)

07-08 Tre pezzi per violino e pianoforte Op. 14e (7:49)

Patricia Kopatchinskaja - violin
Mihaela Ursuleasa - piano
Conservatoire, Bruxelles (BE)
3 december 2007

uploaded by fadoze (DIME also)


09-14 Messages For Orchestra Op. 34

Cambreling, Sylvain, conductor
Staatskapelle Dresden
Live performance; date, place & provenance unknown (to me!?!)


the txt file includes extended Comments by J. R. Robinson (whose eloquence illustrates feelings I share regarding this wonderful musicmaker), excerpted here :

"...Kurtág is a composer steeped in tradition without himself being traditional... He bares his soul with a [Romantic] sense of drama, but everything expressed is distilled to its essence. Every note is telling, every silence is ripe with anticipation. His uncanny sense of time and proportion and his affinity with the silence between notes allow him to generate and maintain tension with the utmost economy of means. 

Aside from the sheer concentration of it all, Kurtág's music communicates in a powerfully direct, speech-like way. It's not analogous to Janacek's overt use of Moravian speech patterns or anything so tangible; it's a subtle, sublimated communication in Kurtág's own uniquely expressive musical language -- a universal language spoken with a Hungarian accent. 

You often get the impression that the music is speaking directly to you in an intimate, almost confessional way. 

Ligeti once described Kurtág as "intelligent, sincere, and simple in a highly complex way." That description could just as well apply to his friend's music..."

Also, you'll find, in there, a primer on what to buy to hear more Kurtag!