View RSS Feed

Pierre's Tuesday Blog

La Chronique du disque (September 2012)

Rate this Entry
En français

The rules will be kept simple: here’s what I found, here’s where I found it, here’s a couple of sentences about it and (possibly) some opinions.

Not unlike Olympic Figure Skating, I will provide two sets of marks (letters A to D) on sound quality (SQ) and on overall impression (OI). These grades are entirely subjective, but here are some guidelines:

  • About “sound quality”: my point of reference is my iPod (160 GB iPod Classic) with standard earbud-type earphones. I ride the buses here in the National Capital Region; buses and work are where I do most of my iPod listening, so this gives you an idea of the ambient noise… When it comes to sound quality, a good grade means I hear the music clearly, good recording pick-up, acoustically pleasing.
  • About “overall impression”: my point of view varies widely. It may be jaded by other performances I have heard or own (comparisons will be identified if they apply), but a good grade means I heard conviction, virtuosity, and I enjoyed it.
My acquisitions for September

Mozart - Piano Sonatas complete (Andras Shiff)
[Torrent Download]

From Public Domain Classic, back in the day, I downloaded a number of the Mozart sonatas recorded by Walter Gieseking. In search of a more modern recording, and because I had read great things about them, I found this complete set of piano sonatas by Andras Schiff. Though I downloaded all of them, I only listened to the last few (nos. 15-18). Based on that fairly narrow sampling, I have to agree with the reviews I read – Schiff’s playing is not too dry, not too cute “just right”. The sonatas as a set may not be as chain—cranking as Beethoven’s for instance, but they have a variety all their own, and I can’t wait to listen to the rest! My provisional grades: A for SQ, A for OI.

DUPRE Complete organ works Oosten
[Torrent Download]
The reason why I haven’t listened to all the Mozart sonatas, is because I’ve been busy going through all 10 disks of Ben van Oosten’s complete works for Organ by French 20th Century organist extraordinaire Marcel Dupre. Some of you will recall my Lenten post on Dupre as a copmposer and organist in the vein of Vierne and Widor, Dipre having apprentioced under Saint-Saens who, himself, wasn’t too shabby at the organ. This is the third of a triptych of “complete sets” by Van Oosten (I reviewed his Vierne set, and am saving his Widor set for my end-of-year “catch all” post). Most of these works have been recorded on French Cavalle-Coll organs, with additional recordings in Ireland, America and even my home town of Montreal (at St Jean Baptiste Churcn on Rachel st on its beautiful Casavant). The Casavant is used for a disk dedicated to Christmas organ music, and the Dupre catalogue is about 70% scared, 30% secular. What a great job! A- for SQ, A- for OI.

MOZART: Church Sonatas (Complete)
[eMusic Purchase]

La Prairie is a small suburb in the South Shore of the St Lawrence River, a few km away from Montreal, and it is where I Musici de Montreal recorded this complete set of Mozart’s Church sonatas – at La Nativite de la Ste Vierge Chuirch, also equipped with a Casavant Organ. I find the choice of venue intriguing – given the number of fine churches in Montreal, many of them well endowed when it comes to organs… However, as the MSO did in St-Eustache, it is easier to control traffic and other outside noise sources when you work with a small town parish. The result is your usual fare for I Musici and Mme Soly – solid strings, solid organ, and an at times brisk approach using modern instruments. I Musici is an excellent string orchestra, and their preparation and attention to detail is always second to none. I liked this! A for SQ, A- for OI.

Saint-Saens - Piano Concertos (Complete) [2CD]
[Torrent download]

Charles Dutoit began his nearly 25 year tenure wuth the Montreal Symphony in 1978, and began recording with them for London/Decca around 1980. It is in that narrow 2-year window that he supported Pascal Roge in his Saint Saens cycle, doing so with a trio of London-based orchestras. A few years later, he and Roge did the complete Ravel concertos in St Eustache with the MSO and the results in this set of five concertos is equally strong. Roge’s skills and comfort with the repertoire are obvious - certainly, the inevitable ballad of the second movement of the no. 2 concerto is playful, but the Egyptian concerto is ravishing! Well worth downloading! A for SQ, A for OI.

Il Trittico - Orchestra and Chorus of the Opera House, Rome
[eMusic Purchase]

There aren’t many complete sets of the Puccini 1918 trilogy of one-act operas , and few have this strong made-to-measure cast, featuring the great Tito Gobbi as the gruff Michele and the jolly Gianni Schicchi, and Victoria de los Angeles as “daddy’s girl” Lauretta and the tragic Suor Angelica. These vintage mono recordings from the EMI collection are worth listening, and a bargain for $1.50 Canadian! A- for SQ, A for OI.

September 28, 2012, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will feature a new podcast "Mozart and his horny friends" at its Pod-O-Matic Channel. Read more September 28 on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.

Updated Sep-25-2012 at 10:32 by itywltmt

Classical Music , Recorded Music