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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

La Chronique du Disque (October2013)

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For those unfamiliar with our monthly recordings review - If Sound Quality (SQ) and Overall Impression (OI) grades need further context, feel free to visit earlier posts in this series.

My acquisitions for October

Nielsen Symphonies 1-6 - Blomstedt, SF Symphony

Herbert Blomstedt has recorded the complete symphonies of Carl Nielsen twice: once for EMI with the Danish RSO (analog) and with the San Francisco Symphony for London/Decca (digital). I tend to favour my vinyl set with the Danish orchestra over these recordings, and this may simply be because I find the play of the orchestra on the earlier set to be just a notch better. This doesn't mean that this set isn't good - it is quite good, actually. Though I like the more "in your face" fifth from the Danish set, the ethereal sound of the third in the San Francisco set is just as inspired. Judge for yourself. A for SQ, A- for OI.


I have a monthly download subscription with eMusic, and sometimes I end my month with a few tracks left unused. What I tend to do is "nibble" at a large album, a few tracks at a time. TRhis is one of those albums (over 50 tracks) which have this in common: they are composed by this quite prolific person from the renaissance we have come to call "Anonymous". There is lots of a capella, instrumental and accompanied songs in this set, covering a large chunk of a foregone era. Mostly sacred tracks, but with a good sampling of secular works, by a number of performers. This is a very good Naxos disc, worth sampling. A for SQ, A- for OI.

Ferenc Fricsay conducts Mozart

A couple of albums this month feature the legendary founding conductor of the Berlin RSO (known for years as the RIAS Symphony), Ferenc Fricsay. In this first disc, we are in familiar territory with Fricsay, Mozart. This is an excellent broadcast-quality recording of the Great Mass in C Minor, K. 427, unjustly overshadowed (I find) by the Requiem Mass as a pure gem of the sacred repertoire. All is there - the great soloists, the great chorus, the great musicians and a visionary at the helm. What more could you ask for? Maybe a bit better digital remastering... A- for SQ, A- for OI.

Hindemith, P.: Symphonische Tanze (Rias Symphony, Fricsay) (1951) / Stravinsky, I.: Firebird Suite (Swiss Romande Orchestra, Ansermet) (1950)

Fricsay returns in this NAXOS Archives disc of broadcast recordings from the 1950's of "contemporary" music. Here he is heard in Hindemith's Symphonic Dances and here again, he displays the full virtuosity of his orchestra in repertoire which 60 years later sounds tame and accessible. The other half of the disc features Ernest Ansermet in the 1917 suite from the Firebird. Ansermet was a Stravinsky friend and collaborator, and his reading of the suite is oin the mark. Notice, hoiweverm the final "swoops" of the orchestra, and how different they sound to the more modern "staccato" approach to the same well-known passage from the score. Interesting... A- for SQ, A- for OI.

BACH-MARKEVITCH: The Musical Offering

To end "Back to Bach" month, a little Bach with a twist. In an earlier montage this month I looked at the cottage industry that has emerged from transcribing, arranging and orchestrating the music of J. S. Bach, and this recording is exactly one such example. Igor Markevitch, the ever-thinking musician, was not only a great conductor in his own right, but also a composer and arranger of great quality. His approach to the Musical Offering proposes a "big orchestra" rendition of the Bach seminal work, in the tradition of Henry Wood and Leopold Stokowski. For those who have an ear for Bach outside the HIP box. A for SQ, A- for OI.

November 1st, 2013, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will feature a new podcast "You're Killing Me!" at its Pod-O-Matic Channel . Read more November 1 on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.

Updated Oct-29-2013 at 10:34 by itywltmt

Classical Music , Recorded Music