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Clyne
The Seamstress
Irene Buckley, Jennifer Koh
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Saraki Oramo




Truly a beautiful work. This recording and the cello concerto, Dance are all I own of Clyne's music. Hopefully, more will come our way.

Edit: Okay, I could do without all of the electronic whispering and so forth. It's more of distraction than anything that adds to the actual work itself. I won't be listening to this work again for a long-time I'm afraid.
So, in the end you didn't like it too much? I find Clyne's music undemanding but filled with inventive and very attractive ideas and I don't mind the spoken part in The Seamstress too much (it works for me but I could live without it, too).
 

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Sgambati Piano Quintets and String Quartets Quartetto Noferini

After recently discovering this composer via his symphonies, I'm diving into this set of chamber music. Chamber is not my usual forte, but I'm thoroughly enjoying this.
 

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Going through the Russian "Five"...



"Theodore Kuchar is an American conductor who has led the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine in absolutely first-rate recordings of the orchestral music of Prokofiev and Lyatoshins'ky, a conductor whose passion, power, and precision made Prokofiev's symphonies sound as deep and moving as Shostakovich and made Lyatoshins'ky's symphonies sound as deep and moving as Prokofiev. But most of the orchestral works of Prokofiev are almost unknown and nearly all the orchestral music of Lyatoshins'ky is virtually unknown, so the question inevitably remains: how is Kuchar in standard-repertoire Russian music?
As it turns out, Kuchar is very, very, very good, but not quite great. In this 2001 recording of orchestral music by Mussorgsky, Kuchar leads passionate, powerful, and precise performances, but they are performances that do not quite touch the infinite. Both Kuchar's interpretation of the Rimsky-Korsakov and the Mussorgsky original versions of Night on the Bare Mountain start with the smell or hellfire and brimstone but never quite catch fire compared with the recordings of Claudio Abbado. Kuchar's interpretation of Golitsin's Journey from Khovanshchina is dark and heavy, but it lacks the pathos of Svetlanov's recording. And Kuchar's interpretation of Ravel's orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition is fine as far as it goes, but his interpretation misses the depths and heights of the work compared with dozens of other recordings." - James Leonard

 

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Brahms, Symphony No 1 - Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Robin Ticciati.

I have concluded that chamber scale Brahms Symphonies are my (current) preference, thats not to say that I won't listen to old favourites like Klemperer, Giulini, Harnoncourt. Really what I'm trying to suggest is that there is more than one way to make these symphonies sound great - which is why with great works seeking to find the one 'best' recording is pointless.

Ticciati is good. Have you heard Dausgaard's recordings of the symphonies ... also with a chamber orchestra? And, for a full orchestra, I wonder what you make of Abbado?
 

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"His output, admittedly variable in quality...." With those frank words, the liner notes write off the mighty musical compositions of Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev. It is, unfortunately, also true. Even his best works -- the Symphony in C major and the symphonic poem Tamara -- have their structural flaws and his lesser works -- the too-early Overture to King Lear and the too-late Symphony in D minor -- have their formal mistakes. But in his best works, Balakirev's strength of will forces the music to succeed despite the C major Symphony's Allegro vivo's lack of a recapitulation and Tamara's endless languors. And even in his lesser works, Balakirev's powerful imagination, sensual energy, and strength of will makes the music work despite the D minor Symphony's Finale's interminable fanfares and the King Lear Overture's inexhaustible climaxes.
On this two-disc set by Vassily Sinaisky and the BBC Philharmonic recorded for Chandos in 1997 and 1998, Balakirev's orchestral music receives its most convincing performances since Evgeny Svetlanov's with the Philharmonia for Hyperion in 1991. Sinaisky's Balakirev is a full-blooded Balakirev, a massively powerful, easily excitable, and deeply moody Balakirev and the BBC Philharmonic delivers playing of brilliant colors, warm tones, and raw strength. While there have arguably been better performances of the First Symphony in the past -- Beecham's suavely sensual recording with the Royal Philharmonic, Karajan's supremely symphonic recording with the Philharmonia, and Svetlanov's histrionically passionate recording with the USSR Symphony Orchestra -- Sinaisky and the BBC still deliver a great performance, a performance spaciously conceived and grandly executed. In the Second Symphony and the other works in the set, the competition is sparser and Sinaisky and the BBC are as good as the best. Chandos' mature digital recordings are more subtle but just as dynamic as its earlier digital recordings. - James Leonard

 

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William Vincent Wallace: Lurline (Victorian Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Richard Bonynge, Sally Silver, Keith Lewis, Donald Maxwell, Fiona James et al, Naxos, 2 CD's)

The opera Lurline (1860), based on the Lorelei legend, is probably the best known work by this Irish composer. It was once pretty popular in the UK, and it is indeed an opera that at least in terms of music is well worth listening to.
 

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I know you've been a big fan of Steinberg's Brahms cycle. How do you find his Beethoven? Should I try it? If I'm to guess based on his Brahms, I think he would be capable of a very successful Seventh, for instance; how did you like his Sixth?
Not a question to me but as a huge fan of Steinberg I would say you should definitely give his Beethoven a go. I've been listening to it for years and continue to love it.
 

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I must have been around nine years old when I first heard the suite from this opera (it was the Malko recording) and I can remember having a very high fever so that I was delirious. I played the Malko record and found that the Love for Three Oranges suite fed my delirium with dark and ominous images. Even then I must have liked altered states of consciousness because I fell in love with the piece immediately and whenever I listened to it after that could revisit my hallucinatory state! Even now, nearly 60 years later, I can. I was somewhat disappointed when, years later, I first heard this opera. The humorous opera was not at all as I had imagined it would be. Of course, I am over that now and I love the opera!

 

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The fountainhead of Russian classical music conducted by Evgeny Svetlanov with the Bolshoi Theatre Symphony Orchestra for the overture of Ruslan and Lyudmila and the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the USSR for everything else. This concludes my Russian explorations for now.

Tracklist

GLINKA, Mikhail Ivanovich (1804-1857)
1.​
Patriotic Song​
1:35​
Spanish Overture
2.​
No. 1 - "Capriccio Brilliante on the Jota Aragonesa"​
9:10​
3.​
No. 2 - "Souvenir d'une nuit d'été ? Madrid"​
9:04​
4.​
Valse-Fantaisie​
8:48​
5.​
Fantasia on Two Russian Themes - "Kamarinskaya": Wedding Song and Dance Song​
7:25​
6.​
A Life for the Tsar: Krakovyak​
5:31​
Ruslan and Lyudmila
7.​
Overture​
5:05​
8.​
Act III: Dances in Nanna's Castle​
14:58​
9.​
Act IV, Oriental Dances: Turkish​
2:34​
10.​
Act IV, Oriental Dances: Arabic​
1:36​
11.​
Act IV, Oriental Dances: Lezginka​
3:12​
12.​
Act IV: March of Chernomor​

 

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Ginastera II: works for Violin and Piano and Cello and Piano. Pampeana No. 1 (v & p), Pampeana No. 2 (c & p) and Cello Sonata. If you like the cello, you have to listen to Ginastera, these two works are amazing, plus Puñeña for Solo Cello and the two Cello Concertos



Up next, Kopatchinskaja and the Camerata Bern play his intense and dark Concerto for Strings. I also highly recommend the other works on this disc

 
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