Friday, November 19, 2010

Gubaidulina's Glorious Percussion, Berlin Phil under Dudamel. Live in-house/broadcast 2009

Absolutely well named. Drummers, strap it on.

Sofia Gubaidulina
Glorious Percussion

Berliner Philharmoniker
Glorious Percussion Ensemble (Anders Haag, Robyn Schulkowsky, Anders Loguin, Mika Takehara & Eirik Raude)
Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

Two independent sources of the same event
(1) in-house audience member's recording and (2) live broadcast recording of Musikfest Berlin 09

September 17, 2009
Berliner Philharmonie, Berlin, DE

I prefer, as usual, the bootleg from the seat in the audience. I feel this music especially benefits from this perspective, which is near enough to make out a depth of soundstage that is more detailed than the broadcast version. Maybe the compression to the radio signal does me in, either way me dispiace.
What pleases me so is just the adventure this whole thing takes you on. It lets an unforced myriad of possibilities flow, all based on beating things to get them to make sound. Make no mistake, beat things the 5 soloists do. Sometimes you feel it was almost too hard, then letting the items ring if they can- the air is often rife with delicious overtones, enough to make the most fervent Arvo Part freak drool.

The music never even approaches roteland or unfocussedstan. I am not faint praise-damning, it's just that we are dealing with a new piece of music and there are no boring or obtuse parts! Despite all the recent compositions out there that also share these gifts, this one lets everything happen with an added feel of inevitability as opposed to being pushed forth. Some passages flit way past even the most cynical expectations, like the buildup and release at 23 minutes. It is joy.

And I will add this completely-unnecessary-but-oh-so-gratifying observation:
These visceral, accessible but unflinching sounds were composed this century, but a very much living composer, who is female and is kicking everyone's butt.

Thanks to Messrs. Anonymous for the in-house recording, Thank you Thank You.

Here's a great article chronicling the September 18th performance in Berlin

which includes this passage about the music:

"...There are allusions to Jazz, marching bands, classical development and all but unfiltered episodes of pure sound. Frictions between primitive, playful, primordial noises and equally refined and complex textures. Tensions between agitated sequences and almost static passages. Nuances between almost complete silence and furious climactic outbursts of condensed power. „Glorious Percussion“ is the result of a philosophic quest: Gubaidulina has gone back to the origins of music, virtually traveling in time to the point where it all began. To her, the drum is the seed. She is not interested in analysing its sonic potential, even though there is a naive exploratory zest behind some of the events and techniques (such as Loguin throwing a shaker in the air and catching it full-flight). ..."

As Ictus 75 points out, "You can watch the whole performance here:"
and/or download the audio mp3's from the comments section below, as usual.



Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bruckner 6th, Horenstein/LSO 1963 broadcast

*This is arguably a better sounding recording than the one available elsewhere*

Bruckner, Anton
Symphony No.6

London Symphony Orchestra
Jascha Horenstein, conductor

live broadcast
November 21, 1963 [please see information below, concerning date]

This is a bit of housekeeping, as this recording was contributed by State Worker GP49 by being posted to the comments section- Thank you GP for this and so many other treasured performances! It lay there in comments limbo for far too long, and so it has it's own post now as it is much deserving of the attention. Again, I must disclose that this is a recording of a night which is available elsewhere but never in this fine a quality of sound.

I just listened to the adagio for the umpteenth time with my infant son, who is staring placidly off into the wild blue yonder. We both were, really. Then the scherzo arrives with it's swooping brass (hints of portamento?), with the satisfying mash of the strident sections. It all brings to mind Billie Holiday's intoning a few words about how, "... the tunes I request aren't always the best, but the ones where the trumpets blare!"

Interesting to note, this symphony was premiered by the Wiener Philharmoniker under Gustav Mahler's baton.

The contributor advises us that, "There is some issue about the orchestra and date, but it has been confirmed that the orchestra is the LSO, not the LPO as some have said; and that the 1964 date often attributed is the BBC broadcast date, not the performance date. The remaining dispute is whether this is from a concert on Nov. 21, 1963 or Nov. 21, 1961. Horenstein's assistant Joel Lazar could not help, but he was only with the conductor from 1970 on.

Included in this download is a bonus spoken-word track, by composer Robert Simpson in 1973 in honor of Jascha Horenstein after his death that year.

Good-sounding mono; four movements plus the Simpson track: five FLACs"

GP posted more about this recording (which certainly deserves a more prominent position in the public eye) :
"...[GP49's] friend ...generously provided the original, dubbed from cassette tape. It's been edited and "freshened"; most dropouts and extraneous noises, some of which sounded like the microphone got bumped, have been repaired or at least ameliorated. In addition, the original sounded like some kind of dynamic range expander had been switched ON during the first minutes of the first movement, then was shut off resulting in an abrupt change in volume. That had to be addressed, so that the "join" would not be audibly evident..."

Great fun for all.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bruckner 3 Horenstein/BBC Northern SO, 1963 broadcast

Anton Bruckner
Symphony No 3 (1877)

BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra
Jascha Horenstein, conductor

Cheltenham July 3, 1963

Who knew? Until now the Bruckner Symphony 3 to me was a little like the Sibelius, Brian and Shostakovich 3rds: worthy of a polite listen, but I was really waiting for the next numbered one to get played.
This recording brings the symphony into focus for me. The B3 is now in my top five Bruckners for what Horenstein does with it here. He clears up the sonic arguments by making some key voicings come to the fore in a logical, progressive way. It simplifies the large scale connect-the-dots puzzle that most Bruckner symphonies can be made of.
I have a similar debt to Barbirolli, whose Mahler 7th BBC Legends recording (with some of the same forces!!) made the structure of that symphony clear in such a way that it has been my fave by that composer ever since.

It is Horenstein, after all, so expect impetuous surges. His work here and elsewhere frequently deserves the label 'volcanic', but with a firm lower register unity when needed- none of that overdone sfumato in the bass regions. Sometimes Bruckner's tonal world is well served by softer attacks, and those disappear into the fabric without undue attention, but overall this is a performance of the awake, tautly involved sort.

EDIT: My enthusiasm got the better of me here again. I listened a few times, got crazy and did not check the availability. Though my admiration for the BBC Legends series is boundless, lately I've not kept up on the releases.
This is available from BBC Legends, although the recording downloadable here is an alternate broadcast source (as evidenced by the partial announcements) and is in any case too good to miss. Please, anyone interested, use this one as an appetizer before getting the official release!

In any case, thanks to Iodekka for procuring this one and making it available.

Keep sharing, free.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Maria João Pires plays Nocturnes live, July 21 2010 in London

Frédéric Chopin

Nocturnes (selection)

Maria João Pires, piano

Pic Thanks to

July 21, 2010

Royal Albert Hall

London UK

BBC broadcast of Proms 2010: Prom 7

Op. 9, Nos. 1-3

Op. 15, Nos. 1-3

Op. 27, Nos. 1 and 2

Op. 62, Nos. 1 and 2

Op. 71 (Posthumous) Lento con gran espresione

Op.72 No.1.mp3

Op. 37 No.1

I hold this music closest to my heart, having listened to them from birth- in Ivan Moravec's recordings from the 60's. One day I will procure a Chopin recital by him and place it here.

Now Maria João Pires is to me the pianist whose recording of the Nocturnes holds equal stature with Moravec's, while mining such different emotional terrain with them; when I saw she had played the Proms this year I flipped out.

So here is the sound. Sit up straight for this music, listen close. Please

Some of The Telegraph's review:

"... unexpected intimacy accounts for some of the intensity of Maria Joao Pires’s recital of Chopin Nocturnes on Wednesday. But it would have counted for nothing without her special poetry. She’s a tiny, almost bird-like figure, and she seemed even smaller in that huge space, which was packed with more people than I’ve ever seen for a late-night Prom. It must be daunting for a pianist, but Pires seemed perfectly at ease, as if she was playing for a few friends at home.

That gives her performances an air of total sincerity. Usually in Chopin performance you can tell that expressivity is being mingled with sheer sensuous pleasure in playing the piano, and a relish for the delicious sparkly sounds that result. There’s nothing wrong with that – Chopin performance doesn’t have to be purist. But there is something compelling about a pianist who just doesn’t care about those things. Pires wants to get at the poetic heart of the music, and here she did that time after time.

The word Nocturne implies something dreamy and indistinct, but Pires’ performances reminded us that the expressive range of Chopin’s pieces is much bigger than that. There was the total rapt stillness of the early Bb minor Nocturne, uncannily clear, like a moonlit landscape. There was the fascinating uncertainty of the G major Nocturne Op. 15, which she poised so perfectly on the cusp between hesitancy and impetuous ardour. The late Nocturne in E major suddenly becomes stormy at its mid-point, but Pires managed to project this while suggesting it was only a momentary flurry – maybe only a dream – while the night-time stillness was still continuing, somewhere beyond our hearing. That is artistry of a very special order."

And The Guardian:


The evening turned out to be a special one for piano fans. The Portuguese pianist Maria João Pires made a rare appearance with a generous selection of Chopin's nocturnes as the late-night event...

Pires's playing was unostentatious but commanding, controlled yet free-flying in its sensitivity to the fluidity of Chopin's lines, and in its responsiveness to the scope of pieces still sometimes marked down as delicate miniatures."

Play it loud and clear, spread it around.

Thank you so much to for the great live picture of Maria João.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ancerl/Boston SO, Smetana: Ma Vlast. 1969 broadcast, during a very audible thunderstorm!

I haven't posted any music for a while, and was in a quandary about what next.
The big pause (not only a lion specialty) only heightened the importance of making this selection.

For those who are interested, I've had a beautiful boy, now 2 months old in the while. He's our first. As I've been engaged with microburst volcanic eruptions and impressive blowouts of the rear chassis, thoughts of which and why and how have come up; choosing and posting has been on my mind just not on the schedule. I do have a ridiculous bunch of music on the mental cue however, and it will continue to be brought here.

[Insert Name Here] and an unnamed sonic cleanup collaborator brought this to the groups,
and I freaked out as usual. It concerns the most beloved work by Czech composer Bedrich Smetana. Here you go:

"A Tanglewood concert...soul-stirring Má vlast 
led by Karl Ancerl (the first complete performance by the BSO) ...[at] the Koussevitzky Music Shed..."

I hope you find this performance as moving as we have here.
Given the Heraclitean flow that my life has been awash in these past weeks, it seems appropriate. What with the fossil fuel-extraction disaster in the middle of the Americas' waters (which happened to white people this time, so the outrage is suddenly more newsworthy) and its possible upcoming climate change legislation effects, the evocative 'Vltava' is perfect.

Check the real thunder and lighting backing 'Bohemia's Woods and Fields' from outside the building, starting from 3:08 and onwards.
It speaks for itself.
The contributor has gotten some wonderful handed-down stories regarding this performance, especially about one of those who

"...attended this concert, and according to this person, members of the
orchestra were literally in tears at the conclusion of the work. You can tell this was a cathartic experience for all involved...", as well as other reports of folks who were, "...told by a friend that he and his wife left the concert in tears."

The sound of water sluicing gloriously at 12:43 is evidence of an all 'round aquavitae-soaked confluence of sound, emotion and nature. The Berkshire storm even enacts a curious reserve in the adagio moments.

I encourage you to look into conductor Karel Ancerl's history, which will further enrich your listening experience of this piece. It resonates still more upon remembering that when this was recorded the invasion and killings of 'Prague Spring' were still fresh in the Czech homeland.

Bedrich Smetana
Má Vlast (My Homeland)

Karel Ancerl
Boston Symphony Orchestra

August 1969
Live broadcast

1 Vyšehrad (The High Castle)
2 Vltava (The Moldau)
3 Šárka
4 Zčeských luhů a hájů (From Bohemia's Woods and Fields)
5 Tábor
6 Blaník

130.83 MB

Play it loud!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mahler's 9th, Giulini, The Fabulous Philadelphians in 1972: What a ride!

Statework is ridiculously proud to present (all thanks to Ray):

Gustav Mahler

Symphony # 9

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor

Alan places the recording from either the March 17

(Friday concert) or March 18 (Saturday evening concert)

Philadelphia, PA


Ray contributed this, "One of the great performances of this symphony. In excellent sound. "

In the crowded football field full of Mahler 9th recordings that exist in the world, here is a standout, a steal, a touchdown.

-Or, as some of my fellow broadcast freaks ahem, expert listeners have effused: "...a gem, indeed...", "As fine as his studio recording is, this is even better. Again, the situation of a live performance is just more tense and intense. Did I hear
Giulini's voice somewhere in the first movement? And forget about that
trumpet intonation at the start of III, the orchestra is flat out gorgeous..."

Tom V, a Statework member, remembers the concerts:

"I was there at the Saturday night concert, up in the $1.50 or $2 "nosebleed" seats in the amphitheatre of the Academy of Music. It was my first live performance of any Mahler symphony and "live" is an understatement.

Giulini's Chicago recording never matched my memories of the Phila concert. Now I know my memory is correct.

Three notes:
1.Giulini conducted the performance w/o a score.

2. I don't recall a dog barking during Saturday's performance, so this must be Friday.

3. The announcer is probably from the late lamented WFLN, which was heavily involved in the production of the Orchestra's radio series for many years..."

My own scribbling from a third hearing (many more have passed since then!) include '...incisive attacks-surging, oceanic but opposite of schmaltz-then a clearing, a respite...3:47 Giulinian stomping ensues-'

Please listen closely to this recording for what you will, not least of which may include the oddball, "...And I thought there was a dog bark in the last movement! Sounded like a little lap thing who woke up in her master's purse"

En fin, a must-have. If it happens to be your first brush with the Mahler 9th or Mahler 's work (gasp!) in general, you couldn't have come across a finer first date. And before this I thought I was taking a Mahler vacation...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tchaikovsky's WarHorse Cometh: 1st Piano Concerto with Hough, Vänskä & The Marvelous Minnesotans: Oct 3, 2009

Pyotr Illych Tchaikovsky
Piano Concerto No.1

Minnesota Orchestra

Osmo Vänskä, conductor

Stephen Hough, soloist

October 3, 2009


[Wagner Siegfried Idyll- available but not in this post]

Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1

including Siloti's de-arrangement of the slow movement as an encore

[Bartok The Miraculous Mandarin- unrecorded]

Hyperion Records (UK)

will offer this recording (mixed in, I imagine, with a few other nights' efforts) officially as a CD in March, but this is a sneak peek in decidedly inferior sound. Huge fun.

Yes, I still love the warhorses. So what. I can enjoy the weirdo, off beaten pathway modern composers deeply, but you've got to get silly and wave your arms around to a tried-and-true stonker every so often as well. Here is the Tchaikovsky First, and if it is your first version of it, you are in for it.

There's a small leap in the sound continuity right in the beginning, but none of it can detract from the happening captured here.

I admit to being an impatient listener to yet another new Tchaikovsky First, usually going straight to the Third Movement's hustle and sprint to see what the pairing of orchestra and soloist is up to by then. No disappointments at all there, and the whole affair holds more delights, even upon repeated listening- what more to ask?

The take is a rip-snort, plunge-taking, ace-at-the-controls barnstorm that brings to mind the epic 1940 Carnegie Hall battle between the young Horowitz and Barbirolli, abetted by a whipsmart New York Philharmonic in that instance.

Though more controlled and cooperative here, the give and take of the Minnesotans and Hough is something I can't wait to hear in high quality sound on official release!

enjoy, best heard at unconscionable volume and with a generous nature towards lo-fi...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mahler 3: Jansons/Royal Concertgebouw, Fink. 2010 broadcast of a great performance

Gustav Mahler

Symphony No.3

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Mariss Jansons, conductor

Bart Claessen (trombone), Liviu Prunaru (violin), Frits Damrow (Trumpet)

Bernarda Fink, mezzosoprano

Boyschoir Rijnmond, Sacramentskoor Breda

Groot Omroepkoor

February 5th, 2010

Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

169.91 MB in a .zip folder containing four mp3 files, 'art' and text with information inside. See comments.

This thanks to an upload by Epicóndilo, of the foroactivo Mahler tribe

I think I can make up for the excising of Martinon's Mahler 3 links now.

This Mahler Symphony no. 3 is worth strapping good sound on for (even though the 192 kbps original bitrate does little to support that thought), in part for the detail that Jansons has been able to bring to surface and for the tempos he sustains. How the thing is kept moving so inexorably forward, with that special sense of occasion that marks great performances, is a feat that can only be properly explained in the doing. It is done here. Press play & listen, read no more. But if you must-

Jens Laurson of musicweb has a review of the live event which shows unhappiness with this crew, panning the performance from the night before, Feb 4. The present mp3s record a different night, and a different story. The last of a triumvirate of M3 offerings, I think the Concertgebouw was back in fighting shape for this one, if the musicweb reviewer was right about an off-night just 24 hours earlier.

There's a sequence, a set piece in the final movement which is particularly telling, that came though the headphones at 3AM the first time I listened carefully to this recording. It had not been apparent to me before! [This may be just a confession of heathenness] The movement, which is originally named "What Love Tells Me", has within it a solo violin phrase which blooms supported by the orchestra, is repeated by its cohorts, then again by a larger swath of orchestral textures against the evolving backdrop. The phrase comes back beautifully in various guises thereafter, but I had not been as struck by the concerto-like moment of the soloist until now. This is true even though the violin is sonically set back quite a bit here, and ends up having more room (reverb) around it; it ended up highlighting the experience to me.