Lebrecht CD of the Week. This page contain Norman Lebrecht's CDs of the Week from February 1. March 4, 2. 01. 4. For the latest. Lebrecht Weekly, visit here. March 3, 2. 01. 4Mieczyslaw Weinberg/Kremerata Baltica(ECM)****Living in the shadow of his close friend and neighbour Dmitri Shostakovich, the Polish refugee was little known in his lifetime (1. Soviet Russia. But a revival has been stirring these past few years with European and US productions of his Auschwitz survivors’ opera The Passenger and sporadic recordings of variable quality of his instrumental works, among them 2. Some consider him the third great Soviet composer, after Prokofiev and Shostakovich.
Gidon Kremer has no doubts of his genius. He opens this set with a solo violin sonata, austere and melancholic.
Skip that, and you enter a frisky 1. Tchaikovsky winner, Daniil Trifonov. Written under Stalin’s second Terror Wave in which members of Weinberg’s family were murdered, the works wear a fixed smile and a ferocious concentration. The listener dare not relax. A 1. 94. 8 concertino for violin and string orchestra is altogether more ingratiating, with an arresting opening melody and busy interplay between soloist and ensemble. It’s a retro near- masterpiece of 1.
The tenth symphony, which wraps up the album, is a post- tonal experiment of the late 1. The playing quality is top drawer. Weinberg always leaves me wanting to hear more.> Buy this CD at Amazon. February 4, 2. 01. The Westminster Legacy(DG)*****In the golden age of orchestral recording – the 1. American labels piled into London and Vienna after an aggressive union priced their own musicians out of work. At Abbey Road, players worked thirty days on the trot, three sessions a day, to feed a burgeoning market for classical music.
In Vienna, the Philharmonic (exclusively contracted to Decca) performed under six different names for other labels. Westminster was one of the busiest of these producers and its arhives have been virtually unavailable for the past quarter- century, since the digital dawn. This overdue compilation of 4. CDs is filled with uncollected glories, some half- remembered, others unknown. A Vienna Mozart Requiem conducted by the cerebral Hermann Scherchen, with Sena Jurinac as soloist; Clara Haskil playing the Mozart D minor concerto and the very young Daniel Barenboim the E- flat major: treasures beyond the stuff of dreams.
Pierre Monteux leading Beethoven’s ninth in London with Elisabeth Soderstrom and Jon Vickers; Adrian Boult conducting The Planets in Vienna; Hans Knappertsbusch interpreting Bruckner; debut discs by the Amadeus Quartet and Julian Bream; the two best Czech quartets coming together in Mendelssohn’s Octet. This is fantasy casting of an almost unimaginable pedigree and few today are aware that these recordings even exist. There are, inevitably, a few period duds in the box, but even these mishits – Scherchen Conducts Music for Multiple Orchestras – proclaim an idealism that we’d write off as quixotic if we didn’t, finally, blessedly, have proof of their existence. Where on earth to begin?> Buy this CD at Amazon.
January 6, 2. 01. André Tchaikovsky: Piano concerto(Toccata)****We now have piano concertos by three composers called Tchaikovsky. The first is written in B flat minor, a dark key that others mostly shunned. The second is by Boris Tchaikovsky, a student and kindred spirit of Dmitri Shostakovich. The third is like nothing you’ve ever heard before. In the first place, its composer’s name is not really Tchaikovsky. That was a name picked by his grandmother to pluck him from the Warsaw Ghetto and keep him alive, hidden in a closet, until the Nazis were defeated.
This page contain Norman Lebrecht's CDs of the Week from February 19, 2007 to March 4, 2014. For the latest Lebrecht Weekly, visit here.
The boy, a pianist and composer, was an unsettled soul who lived mostly in England until his death of cancer, aged 4. For many years he was known as the man who left his skull to the Royal Shakespeare Company for use in the gravediggers’ scene in Hamlet. Last summer, however, his opera The Merchant of Venice received a triumphant premiere at the Bregenz Festival and the third Tchaikovsky (too late to change the name) is now firmly back in play.
His piano concerto, written for Radu Lupu in the late 1. Sixties London. Atonal and dramatic, it is austere only in its frugality – not a note out of place. A sultry mischief, alternately angry and amused, pervades the work. The music engages the listener with a powerful personality and an infectious musicality. We need to hear this concerto at the BBC Proms to sample its exciting potential. The performers here are Maciej Grzybowski and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, conductor Paul Daniel. André Tchaikovsky’s extraordinarily articulate diaries, also published this month by Toccata, recount a dauntless human odyssey.> Buy this CD at Amazon.
December 1. 6, 2. Antheil the futurist(Wergo)***The original American in Paris, George Antheil titled his best- selling memoirs Bad Boy of Music and tried hard to live up to his billing. Raised a Lutheran in Trenton, New Jersey, he went wild among artists and ladies, filling his apartment with new acquisitions – a Braque, a Picasso, a Leger, two Kubins, the paint still wet. Shuttling between 1. Paris and Berlin he finally headed to Hollywood, last refuge of the wannabe celebrity. In music as in books, his best writing is often the title – Airplane Sonata, Swell Music, Death of Machines.
This is a list of compositions by Bohuslav Martinů by category. The date and place after each work are the date and place of origin. The catalog numbers with the. PLEASE NOTE THESE VERY IMPORTANT DETAILS! This page shows an old, inactive catalog. Parnassus does not have these items. The information is presented here for. Shop bohuslav martinu sheet music, music books, music scores & more at Sheet Music Plus, the World's Largest Selection of Sheet Music. Intimate Letters - Janacek: String Quartets; Martinu: Madrigals / Emerson String Quartet Release Date: 05/19/2009 Label: Deutsche Grammophon.
The promise soon wears thin. Aiming to break sound barriers, he lands somewhere between honky- tonk and his all- time idol, Igor Stravinsky.
The solo piano music is entertaining enough in noisy spells. Guy Livingston, intermittently joined by two other pianists, hurls himself at the keyboard and spares no effort to make a case for an Antheil revival. No fault of his that the music is no more than a dinner plate shattered into period pieces.> Buy this CD at Amazon. December 9, 2. 01.
James Mac. Millan: Alpha & Omega(Linn)****Nobody does church like James Mac. Millan. Every year, as Christmas nears and a Mass or Magnificat of his lands on the deck, the composer contrives to surprise, bending the harmonic line out of the blue like David Beckham in his prime, while staying true throughout to a traditional sacred format. Mac. Millan himself directs his Missa Dunelmi, with Alan Tavener leading Capella Nova for the rest of the concert. It is recorded in the challenging acoustic of the Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling. The sound though, as you’d expect on a label run by a high- end hi- fi manufacturer, is exemplary – wondrously atmospheric and worth the album price on its own if you’ve got new speakers to show off to envious friends.
Madeleine Mitchell pops up with a stunning violin solo, which she plays more like country fiddler than concert soloist, filling in the harmonic hills and valleys while the vocals curl upwards into the roof beams. Mac. Millan is a champion virtuoso of church space.> Buy this CD at Amazon.
December 2, 2. 01. Splinters(Odradek)****The opening of György Kurtág’s Splinters suite sounds like the tuner has arrived and is giving your piano a workover.
Then the second phrase chimes in and you realise that you have never listened properly to a piano before. In one minute and seven seconds, a Hungarian composer takes off both your ears, gives them a rinse and polish and leaves them half a tone sharper than before.
This is a specialist service offered only by Hungarian composers and their interpreters. Few perform it better than Mariann Marczi, a teacher at Budapest’s Franz Liszt Academy. She follows austere Kurtág with an extended aphorism of György Ligeti’s and a meditation by Zoltan Kodaly, best known for exotic orchestral overtures but here measuring out each note like Bluebeard enumerating wives. An autumnal reflection by Laszlo Lajtha yearns for a Paris boulevard, while three Béla Bartók burlesques threaten to tip the piano totally off its casters. Two living composers, Zoltan Jeney and Gyula Csapó, round off an original album without a single superfluous note.
Solo piano in Hungarian is a world unto itself, a world apart.> Buy this CD at Amazon. November 2. 5, 2. Beethoven- Bruckner- Hartmann- Holliger(ECM)***Karl Amadeus Hartmann, who lived all his life in Munich and died 5. Dec), went into inner exile during the Nazi regime. He refused to allow his music to be performed after January 1. After the War, he founded Musica Viva, a concert series that introduced Bavarians to all the new music they had missed under Hitler. His own music is a vital link in German cultural history and is played all too little abroad, or on record.
His second string quartet, begun in May 1. Alban Berg and his violin concerto. Like Berg, Hartmann weaves tonal into atonal and hints at sources in Bach. Like Berg, he conceals a lover in the work, the syllables of his wife’s name, Elisabeth. Like Berg he is, for all the cross- references, entirely himself. The music, intimate and intense, grips the ear with great force. It is played here by the Zehetmair Quartet in a context that is at once imaginative and ambitious.
The album opens with Beethoven’s final quartet, the opus 1. Next comes the Bruckner quartet (admit it: you never knew he wrote one), written in the composer’s early 4. Then the quartet play Hartmann and you grasp the coherence of the compilation. The final piece, commissioned by the Zehetmairs from the Swiss composer Heinz Holliger, is full of allusions to German literature, though lacking lacks a strong conclusion. That said, this is a bold and intelligent album, played with passion, a signature project.> Buy this CD at Amazon. November 1. 7, 2.
Natalie Dessay sings Michel Legrand(Erato)****When an opera singer turns to movies there is reason to suspect that the primary motives are not necessarily artistic. Less suspicion, perhaps, in the case of Natalie Dessay, who considers herself a singing actress rather than a diva and whose personal interests range above and beyond a stretch- limo ego and a high tessitura. What Ms Dessay sings here is, she says, the soundtrack of her life.
Intimate Letters - Janacek: String Quartets; Martinu: Madrigals / Emerson String Quartet. JANÁCEK Quartet No. The Kreutzer Sonata”; No. Intimate Letters.” MARTINU 3 Madrigals for Violin and Viola • Emerson Str Qrt • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4. The Emerson notes on the booklet’s back page: “We’ve championed the Janácek quartets for more than 2. It does have a very personal view of. Read more this music, squeezing more color and more spice from the score of “The Kreutzer Sonata” than I have heard from other groups.
It never hesitates to bear down hard on the strings, even to the extent that the sound turns harsh—an interpretive freedom that quartets of lesser reputation may feel they cannot afford to indulge in. The muscular attacks yet colorful tone, the clarity of individual lines yet solidity of ensemble, all under perfect control, are impossible paradoxes solved without the slightest suggestion of conquering obstacles; rather this is just the way the music should be, played as if there were no other way. I’ve heard the Emerson’s Janácek in concert, yet cannot recall a performance of “The Kreutzer Sonata” at this level. Philip Setzer and Lawrence Dutton play Martinu as an entr’acte. The Three Madrigals are a relaxing change from the two overpowering Janácek works, yet similar enough to maintain the mood: the harmonies, the brief melodic fragments, the incessant tremolos are Janácekian, but Martinu looks in other directions as well: the Renaissance, Bach, even Joplin. Three pieces in varying moods—Poco allegro, Poco andante, and Allegro—hint at Classical structure. The music and its performance are thoroughly winning; a wide left- right separation of the instruments adds not only to clarity but to a feeling of dialogue and response.
On disc and in recital, “Intimate Letters” has succeeded Dvorák’s “American” as the Czech quartet; it must have been on half such concerts I’ve attended over the past decade. One of its fascinations is that there are so many ways to interpret it, from a gentle romantic epistle to a wild psychotic outcry. The Emerson employs both ideas while avoiding either extreme—the music is always under control and never becomes bathetic. As with the First Quartet, the immediate impression is how strongly it captures Janácek’s unique sound world.
This is a marvelous performance, very much like one I heard the Emerson give in concert. Only a live performance by the Praћák has impressed me more, something that group could not repeat on disc. This CD joins Janácek recordings by the Smetana Quartet in 1.
Talich Quartet in 2. Calliope, at the top of my list. FANFARE: James H.