Sunday, July 3, 2011

Raff - Symphonies · Suites · Overtures - Schneider & Friedmann







Naxos appear to have followed the lead of Tudor and produced a box set bringing together all 11 symphonies and some of the smaller orchestral works. As well as the symphonies, the "set" feature two of the Shakespeare Preludes: Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet, the Concert, Jubilee, Dame Kobold and Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott Overtures and the Fest-Marsch. The recordings are superb. From the first symphony to the last, this neglected romantic repertoire is very well presented here. Urs Schneider and the Slovak State Philharmonic along with Samuel Friedmann and the Rhenish Philharmonic are brilliant. They offer very Joachim Raff dynamic performances and the sound recording by Marco Polo is a pure delight. Raff's orchestral writing will remind you mainly of Mendelssohn, but his own musical personality is very present. The last 4 symphonies refers to the 4 seasons with all the panache and orchestral pageantry one would expect from a romantic composer. This boxed set offers many hours of elegant, well written and well recorded romantic symphonic works.


flac, booklets, thank you Martin!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Schubert - Mass in E-flat Major D 950 - Abbado, Vienna Philharmonic







This is a magical performance. Recording it live seems to have been a good decision. There is real electricity throughout, while the recorded sound is beautifully full and well balanced. As such, it seems rather incredible that it took as long as it did for large-scale works of Schubert's like this Mass to become seriously well-known, a revelation made all the more apparent by listening to this live recording from November 1986 by the Vienna State Opera Chorus and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, under long-time Viennese favorite Claudio Abbado. Featuring five world-class vocal soloists (Marjana Lipovsek; Jerry Hadley; Karita Mattila; Jorge Antonio Pita; Robert Holl) and recorded at Vienna'sFranz Schubert famed Singverein, the performance on hand shows not only how great a composer Schubert was, but the potential that would have been shown to the world had he not passed on at such an early age. Abbado has a particularly fine feel for the sound of the choral passages. His chorus sings with superlative balances, and their overall sound is warm--if not especially luscious. There is a fine feeling of momentum throughout the performance. At close to an hour in length, it is an immense work on the spiritual level of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis.


flac, scans

Friday, July 1, 2011

Chopin - Complete Nocturnes - Michele Boegner







Calliope has done everyone who loves the beautiful Chopin Nocturnes a genuine favor in recording Ms.Boegner with the Pleyel piano! First, the performances are Michèle Boegner, 2010 flawless, gracious,and thoughtfully played. Obviously this performer knows the heart of Chopin; to me she certainly wears her heart on her sleeve with the gorgeous nocturnes. I can think of no one that plays these better than Boegner. Second, the mechanism and soundboard of the Pleyel piano is far less resonant than the modern Steinway and Boesendorfer pianos. As a result, the line of the music can flow out more clearly and inner voices are heard far better. If you have never heard this music with this vintage piano, you certainly owe it to yourself to hear it!


flac, scans


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