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Schoenberg's Piano Concerto seems to be very popular today! This is probably my favorite performance.
It must have popped up in one or more of those forums where a certain kind of poster just has to repeatedly go out of their way to trash music other people like that they don't. Unfortunately Schoenberg is one of their standard targets, as totally unfair as that seems to those of us who genuinely enjoy or even love his music.

Anyway, it's a gorgeous, emotionally rich piece and the Abbado/Pollini recording is one of my favorites, too.
 

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Arnold Schönberg: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 42
Alfred Brendel
SWF Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden, Michael Gielen

Seeing this masterpiece's popularity in this thread today made me want to join in listening to it as well. I mentioned earlier how much I like the Abbado/Pollini, and this recording with Gielen/Brendel is very close in my esteem. Honestly I don't think I can choose a preference between them. Both are highly enjoyable and recommendable!

 

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Arnold Schönberg: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 36
Isabelle Faust
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Harding

I guess I'm sticking with Schönberg this afternoon! Certainly makes for highly pleasurable, engaged listening.

This Concerto took me a bit longer to absorb and appreciate than Schönberg's Op. 42, but it was worth it. In retrospect I'm not even sure why it did. Maybe I simply had a stronger affinity for piano concertos back then? Anyway, I originally imprinted for Op. 36 on the famous Zvi Zeitlin recording with Kubelík/Bavarian Radio (1971). Isabelle Faust's is quite different, and again took me a little while to fully appreciate. But I do recognize hers as a lovely, emotionally committed performance, one that explores well the work's "Brahmsianness."

 

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How much it warms my heart to see so many of us listening to Schönberg lately! I've believed in the worth of his music for decades. Anecdotal evidence (and not just here) suggests acceptance and appreciation of Schönberg is growing. :)

In other news:

Anton Bruckner: String Quintet in F major, String Quartet in C minor
Leipziger Streichquartett with Hartmut Rohde

New arrival.

 

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Richard Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40
Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan

This extremely finely detailed, passionate, committed, powerfully dramatic, incisive when necessary but also expansive in turn, supremely executed performance from 1959 remains my favorite Ein Heldenleben. There is some fierce competition, including from Karajan himself, but for me this one is really something special.

 

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Antonio Vivaldi: Concertos for viola d'amore, RV 392-397 & 97
Europa Galante, Fabio Biondi

Continuing to make my way through this wholly remarkable set of Vivaldi concertos. Hopefully, no one still thinks or says this, but if someone does, this set presents a wonderful example of the depth of variety and imagination in Vivaldi, and thereby gives lie to the canard that he "wrote the same concerto 500 times."

 

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Mario Lavista: String Quartet No. 4, "Sinfonías"
Cuarteto Latinoamericano

The earlier enthusiasm today for Revueltas's string quartets, which I too like very much, made me also think of the excellent string quartets by Mario Lavista, a wonderful (living) Mexican composer whose works deserve to be much more widely known. I think No. 4 might be my favorite of his six. Recommended!

 

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In search for a superb battle of the timpani in Nielsen's fourth symphony, and finding Rattle feeble and Oramo good, but not spine-tingling...
If you're interested (probably not), Merl and I did an overview of a number of leading Nielsen 4 recordings. YMMV in terms of whether our experience and taste will match yours, but we both comment on the timpani duel, so you can focus your search. However, as I explain, I think it's a mistake to focus overly much on the timpani... Anyway, here 'tis:
Merl and Knorf with more stuff & nonsense: Nielsen's Symphony No. 4

In other news:

Sergei Prokofiev: String Quartet No. 2 in F major, Op. 92
Pacifica Quartet

This week's selection in the string quartet listening thread.

 
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