What are you listening two?

Seán
Posts: 4884
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:59 pm

Re: What are you listening two?

Post by Seán »

Image

Johann Sebastian Bach
Easter Oratorio
Bach Collegium Japan
Masaaki Suzuki conducting
"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler
Seán
Posts: 4884
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:59 pm

Re: What are you listening two?

Post by Seán »

And on to one of my favourite recordings of the Resurrection:

Image

Gustav Mahler
Symphony No. 2

London Symphony Orchestra
Georg Solti conducting
Last edited by Seán on Mon Apr 01, 2024 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler
Seán
Posts: 4884
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:59 pm

Re: What are you listening two?

Post by Seán »

And on Easter Monday

Image

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Symphony No. 40

Danish National Chamber Orchestra
Adam Fischer conducting
"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler
Seán
Posts: 4884
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:59 pm

Re: What are you listening two?

Post by Seán »

Image


Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony No. 5
String Symphonies No. 5, 6 & 10

Heidelberger Sinfoniker
Thomas Fey conducting


The string symphonies are fabulous especially the fifth, I love them.
"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler
Seán
Posts: 4884
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:59 pm

Re: What are you listening two?

Post by Seán »

Image

Dmitri Shostakovich
Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 4

Gürzenich-Orchester Köln
Dmitrij Kitajenko conducting


This is great music brilliantly played. The recording quality is superb. I love this set.
SHOSTAKOVICH The Symphonies • Dmitri Kitayenko, cond; Marina Shaguch (sop); Arutjun Kotchinian (bs); Cologne Gürzenich O; Prague P Ch • CAPRICCIO 71 029 (12 Hybrid multichannel SACDs: 751:29 )

In recent years, the reputation of Shostakovich has evolved to the point where it can be persuasively argued that he is the greatest composer of the 20th century. His symphonies regularly appear on programs of touring orchestras, and Shostakovich recordings are so common that they resemble the height of the Mahler boom over the past several decades. This first integral SACD set of the Shostakovich symphonies contains both live and studio recordings. Sound is a critical factor with Shostakovich, as it is with Mahler. In fact, the development of modern recording technology undoubtedly played a major role in the emergence of Mahler’s popularity, and the same is now true of Shostakovich. So, a complete cycle of the Shostakovich symphonies in his centenary year utilizing SACD technology is a significant event that invites close scrutiny. Of course, no recording is really worthwhile if the performance is mediocre (as is often the case with audiophile recordings). Also, it is rare that complete cycles played by one conductor and orchestra are totally satisfying, especially when you are dealing with a project of this size and scope.
Dmitri Kitayenko’s cycle is, for the most part, highly competitive with the best single recordings available. Curiously, the two most obvious exceptions are probably Shostakovich’s two most popular symphonies (No. 5 and No. 10). On the surface, it is not unusual for a conductor to fare better in unfamiliar works because there is less recorded competition. In the present case, this is less applicable because nearly all of the symphonies have been extensively recorded by conductors who are generally considered to be Shostakovich experts. Kitayenko starts the Fifth with an urgent and crisply articulated statement of the principal theme, but then settles into a surprisingly routine first movement. The second movement lacks bite, and the third movement lacks intensity. In the 10th, Kitayenko starts slowly, then doggedly plods through the rest of the piece. The second movement sounds more like a dirge than a reign of terror. The slowly played, atmospheric opening of the fourth movement goes well, but the ending never catches fire, and the climactic gong crash is underplayed. This is surprising, because nothing else in this set is underplayed. There are no other weak performances, and most of them rank near the top. The First and Ninth are similar in concept. They are full of fire, but perhaps because of the close miking, lack the quicksilver lightness of Eugene Ormandy and Leonard Bernstein. Jesús López-Cobos’s First on Telarc (coupled with the 15th) is another fine performance with outstanding sound. The Second and Third are probably the best available versions. Kitayenko makes it clear that the orchestral portions point the way to the fascinating Fourth Symphony with its mind-boggling profusion of ideas. No one can do anything for the choral finales. The Fourth is similarly excellent, and Kitayenko superbly judges the huge climaxes and angry dissonances, but he doesn’t quite match André Previn’s organizational control of this sprawling work. The Gürzenich Orchestra cannot approach the suave virtuosity of the Philadelphia Orchestra, especially in the magical finale.

Kitayenko begins the Sixth with incredible power and gravity, but he doesn’t sustain the tension that Sir Adrian Boult maintains throughout the rest of the first movement, and the final two movements are a bit straight laced. No one can compete with Bernstein’s epic view of the Seventh Symphony with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Deutsche Grammophon, and the New York Philharmonic on Columbia, but both of these recordings can sound excruciating at the climaxes. Kitayenko comes close to Bernstein, except for a rather bland third movement, and his staccato presentation of the opening theme of the first movement seriously lacks weight. The finale is overpowering, and the SACD sound handles it better than any other recording. The Eighth is a powerhouse performance which, taken as a whole, leads the pack. Part of this is again due to sound that reproduces the massive climaxes in the first and fifth movements without the usual strain and shrillness. The manic third movement is shattering, and the crisply recorded, pounding timpani leading to the climactic transition to the Largo must be heard to be believed. Kitayenko matches Mstislav Rostropovich in intensity, with better sound.

The 11th has undergone a major rebirth in recent years, largely due to excellent recordings by Rostropovich, Paavo Berglund, James DePreist, and Semyon Bychkov. This one ranks with that group. The second movement fugato and percussion-dominated climax depicting troops firing on peaceful demonstrators, and the magnificently orchestrated finale are overwhelming in their impact. The 12th has traditionally been denigrated critically as being nothing more than a political potboiler. Kitayenko respects the music and makes the best possible case for it, aided by the incisive sound. In the 13th, Kitayenko rivals Sir Georg Solti interpretively, but Solti’s soloist and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra combine to make his performance the ultimate first choice. The knotty and difficult 14th has surprisingly had at least four great recorded performances from Rostropovich (Melodiya), Bernstein, Kitayenko, and Rudolf Barshai. Rostropovich with Galina Vishnevskaya is my favorite. In the 15th, as in the Fourth, it comes down to the magic of the Philadelphia Orchestra against the grittier Kitayenko. Barshai has also recorded the complete Shostakovich Symphonies on Brilliant Classics with excellent sound and a budget price. The performances are consistently solid and well prepared, but frequently miss the power and intensity that this music requires.

The stereo sound on these SACDs is generally very good without being overtly spectacular. In most of the symphonies, it succeeds in encompassing the massive climaxes with minimal harshness and strain. What it lacks in presence and fine inner detail it makes up for with a realistic sense of a concert hall with a fifth row aural perspective that doesn’t collapse at those climaxes. Multichannel moves the perspective back to the center of the hall. There is an increased sense of depth and ambience that is quite involving without spotlighting individual instruments.

To sum up: The Second, Third, Fourth, Seventh, Eighth, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th Symphonies rank at or near the top of the competition. The First, Sixth, and Ninth are not far behind. Any Shostakovich-lover will need other versions of the Fifth and 10th, but will undoubtedly already have them. Arthur Lintgen
"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler
User avatar
markof
Posts: 1033
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:54 am
Location: An Cobh

Re: What are you listening two?

Post by markof »

Image
A delightful new release - terriffic recording.
Main: Qobuz/Arcam Alpha 9 CD/Project Carbon Esprit->Auralic Polaris->Chord Silver Carnival->Martin Logan EM-ESL
Office: Qobuz->Auralic Aries Mini->Denafrips ARES II->miniDSP 2X4 HD>Primare I32->Harbeth P3ESR/REL T5X
fergus
Posts: 10296
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:12 pm

Re: What are you listening two?

Post by fergus »

CPE Bach: Flute Concertos played by Hunteler/Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra/Koopman


Image


I have spent some time recently on this mini listening project. I have listened to five CPE Bach Flute Concertos:

Flute Concerto in D minor W22 [H425]
Flute Concerto in A major W168 [H438]
Flute Concerto in B flat major W167 [H435]
Flute Concerto in G major W169 [H445]
Flute Concerto in A minor W166 [H431]

These are all very fine works. This is a particularly fine body of work for Flute Concerto.

There is a consistent pattern with these three movement, Classically structured Concertos. The opening movements are consistently buoyant, energetic and exciting and they are always well driven here. There are big technical and performance demands put on the abilities of the flautist in these movements.
The slow movements, by way of contrast, are much more sedate, gentle and contemplative. The emphasis is put on mood, tone and atmosphere in these movements. They are always well poised and expressive.
The final movements are not only energetic and exciting but they can also be thrilling! These movements are also always well driven here. Once again CPE Bach does not spare the flautist!

This is wonderful, inventive and progressive music throughout!
To be is to do: Socrates
To do is to be: Sartre
Do be do be do: Sinatra
fergus
Posts: 10296
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:12 pm

Re: What are you listening two?

Post by fergus »

Seán wrote: Fri Mar 29, 2024 11:35 am Well yes Fergus these are lovely performances and are beautifully recorded too.

Image

Joseph Haydn
Symphony No. 6, 7 & 8

Hanover Band
Roy Goodman conducting


I only have three CDs of their Haydn recordings, I had better get more of them.
I am very pleased that you found them agreeable, Seán. The timbre of the early brass and woodwind instruments make a big difference in this music, for me.
To be is to do: Socrates
To do is to be: Sartre
Do be do be do: Sinatra
fergus
Posts: 10296
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:12 pm

Re: What are you listening two?

Post by fergus »

Seán wrote: Fri Mar 29, 2024 5:46 pm
....I am reminded of the time many years ago when Fergus and I enjoyed a performance of the Haydn piece by the marvellous (RTÉ) Vanbrugh String Quartet in the RC Church in Rathmines, now that was special.
Yes, that was a special recital indeed. I recall it very well.
To be is to do: Socrates
To do is to be: Sartre
Do be do be do: Sinatra
fergus
Posts: 10296
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:12 pm

Re: What are you listening two?

Post by fergus »

markof wrote: Fri Apr 05, 2024 10:44 am Image
A delightful new release - terriffic recording.
That looks rather interesting!
To be is to do: Socrates
To do is to be: Sartre
Do be do be do: Sinatra
Post Reply