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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

La Chronique du Disque (June 2015)

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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.

BACH, C.P.E.: Complete Keyboard Concertos, Vol. 1

We begin our monthly look at my recent purchases with a pair of BIS recordings, one from the latte-baroque/early-classical era, the other from the cusp of the avant garde movement. For our first disc, I sampled a few of the recordings from harpsichordiist/fortepianist Miklós Spányi and the Hugarrian Concerto Armonico conducted. by Péter Szüts (some feature Miklós Spányi as conductor). This is clearly a labour of love for Spanyi, who also recorded much of the CPE Bach solo keyboard works. This Bach son, his most prolific, indeed paves the way for Mozart and Haydn in this genre. Very interesting and respectful of the era. SQ = A, OI = A-.

Scriabin Orchestral Works

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passing of one Alexander Scriabin, a true Russian original whose music paves the way to the innovations of the Second Viennese School, yet does not stray far from the tradition of the late great Russian Romantics (Rachmaninov chief among them). THis multi-disc set focuses on the orchestral works - many "poems" as it were, his symphonies and his piano concerto. You will find that these recordings (by a Swedish orchestraand conductor) maintain intact the atmosphere - the mysticism - we associate with Scriabin, and this is no small feat. A fine compilation of these works in my opinion. SQ = A, OI = A-.

Mahler: Symphonie Nr. 4/Das Lied Von Der Erde

You can't have too much Mahler if you ask me, and you can't have too much Fritz Reiner either, especially from his "golden years" with the Chicago Symphony. However, these two arcs have not intersected on record very often, and that's a shame. These two great vintage RCA recordings (reissued by a third party label) displat Reiner and his charges in full colour in a superb Mahler 4 - accompanied by the great Swiss-Italian soprano Liza Della Casa, and a remarkable Das Lied featuring a young Maureen Forrester. Like I said, it's a shame we don't have more Mahler from Reiner... SQ = A-, OI = A.

Kabalevsky: The Comedians

Kiril Kondrashin was "summoned" to New York shortly after Van Cliburn's epic win at the Tchaikovsky Competition to capture Cliburn (with the Symphonu of the Air) in the great Russian concertos that secured his win. Kondrashin also had the opportunity to record some Russian orchestral titles with the same group (under its other moniker, the RCA Symohony). One 1960 RCA title stands out, a coupling of Khatchaturian's Masquerade Suite and Kabalevsky's The Comedians. This eMusic title is a vinyl transfer of the katter performance. Unlike Scriabin, Kabalevsky stays clearly within the bounds of Russian tradition, further constrained by the Soviet view prevalent at the time. There are some great moments here, and Kondrashin doesn't fail to convey them with the right amount of drama and sweetness. SQ = A-, OI = A-.

The Best of B.B. King

To complete this month's suggestions, a fitting tribute to B.B. King, who left us a few weeks ago. You can find many :copilations" from this legendary Bluesman, and most of them will include "The Thrill is Gone", probably his most famous track. This "Best of" album has many live titles, showing off King's distinctive voice and guitar prowess. He will be missed. SQ = A-, OI = A-.

My Chronique du Disque for June was the last installment of “Pierre’s Tuesday Blog” for the foreseeable future, as I intend to take a break and will likely return near Labour Day.

Visit my Blogspot blog for my Friday series through the Summer "Mozart Gets My GOAT".

Have a great Summer!