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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

La Chronique du disque (July 2012)

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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 July

The Songs Of Louis Vierne / Santesso, Vignoles
[eMusic Purchase]

A few months ago, I discussed a disc of non-organ music by Widor, and here is a similar purchase of works by Vierne. The soloist, Rachel Santesso, has studied voice and organ in Canada, and researched some of these forgotten vocal works by the French organ master. The first selection (Les Angelus) is set for voice and organ, a rare pairing when it comes to secular music… Some of these songs sound a lot like some of the early songs of Claude Debussy, for example. In fact, Verlaine and Beaudelaire were poets that Debussy set to music. This is a bit of a curiosity, and (unfortunately) Ms. Santesso’s French diction could have been better. A- for SQ, B+ for OI.

Soler: Keyboard Sonatas Nos. 1-15
[eMusic Purchase]

It would not be the Summer of the Sonata if we didn't have at least one sonata disc in this post, now would it? Father Antonio Soler composed more than 200 sonatas for harpsichord. No wonder the name Scarlatti comes to mind: not only Soler (may have) studied with Scarlatti, but many of his sonatas are single or two-movement works, very reminiscent of the Italian masters’. Soler’s language is more modern, and the set of 15 sonatas chosen by pianist Martina Filjak quite simply glow on a modern piano. As usual, this NAXOS disc sounds great, and the interpretation is on the mark. A for SQ, A for OI.

Benny Goodman- Mozart at Tanglewood-Berkshire Music Festival
[Torrent Download]

There are a number of interesting recordings by band leader and clarinetist Benny Goodman that explore his classical side. Many of these were compiled years ago by both CBS and RCA. This particular recording of Mozart clarinet works was recorded at the Tanglewood Festival in 1956 and features Goodman with Boston Symphony musicians in the delightful clarinet quintet, and the whole band with Maitre Munch conducting the Clarinet concerto. Goodman plays Mozart straight up – no jazz cadenzas – and he does a fine, fine job of both these staples of the clarinet repertoire. I have no reservations with this recording – the digital remastering is excellent, and brings back the great early Stereo sound that the Boston Symphony had with its long-time conductor. A for SQ, A for OI.

Rachmaninov: The Bells - Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky
[eMusic Purchase]

Yevgeny Svetlanov is one of the few Soviet-based conductors to have had something of a career outside of the Soviet Union (a situation that cost him a position in his homeland in 2000), and this disc of Russian choral works is indicative of what he could do as a guest conductor. The two works have this in common: they both are substantive choral works, both from the 20th century, and both of these scores are clearly mastered by the conductor, allowing him to take the reins of a pair of British orchestras (the BBC Symphony and the Philharmonia) and produce a distinctly Russian sound – this is especially true of Prokofiev’s Nevsky which, in its Cantata form, is one of my favourite Russian (or Soviet) choral works. A great recording if you ask me… A for SQ, A for OI.

Creedence Clearwater Revival - The Best of CCR [2cd's]
[Torrent download]

NOSTALGIA ALERT. Here's a selection for the long car rides to the beach or the cottage, car stereo blasting, fun music to sing along. My brother used to own Cosmo's Factory - one of the many CCR albums that featured the distinctive song and voice of John Fogarty - and I surprised myself singing the lyrics of some of these songs I hadn't heard for years. No, decades! They call it "swamp rock" or "roots rock", but I call this "timeless". Some things just deserve to get preserved in digital form! A- for SQ, A for OI.

August 3rd, 2012, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will feature a new podcast "Rivers" at its Pod-O-Matic Channel. Read more August 3rd on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.

Updated Jul-31-2012 at 10:36 by itywltmt

Classical Music , Non-Classical Music , Recorded Music