Monday, December 21, 2009

Etsuko Hirose plays the Chopin Preludes

You may not have heard of Etsuko Hirose, but you will. This young woman won the International Martha Argerich Competition in Buenos Aires in 1997. Competition winners are many, but the signs are that she is maturing into a formidable musician.

This is a live recording from La roque d'Anthéron, 13 August 2009. Aside from the Preludes, she plays a couple of Polonaises, just to warm up.

The reason for posting this, though, is the preludes - a sustained feat of concentration and pianism. Even the things that don't come off are spellbinding.

The recording, from France Musique, is open air, and you will have to get used to the occasional sounds of children playing in the distance. But you do. Sound is 320 kbs, mp3.

Many thanks to Chris, the original uploader, with whose permission this is posted here.

Polonaise-fantaisie in A flat major, op 61   
Polonaise in A flat major, op 53 "Héroïque"   
24 Préludes, op 28   
Encore : Etude in A Flat Op 25 No 1
Etsuko Hirose, Piano

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Backhaus : Beethoven Piano Concerto No 4

Wilhelm Backhaus, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Ferenc Fricsay - Recorded 1961

It's a pity that Backhaus' late recordings for Decca were marked by Decca's hamfisted recording technique. His Diabelli Variations, for instance, are marred by a microphone placed far too close to the keyboard, which picks up the clicking of his fingernails!

Here he is, captured by honest radio engineers, in a wonderfully natural recording that shows off his burnished tone and sure sense of the music's structure perfectly. Listen to how the passagework flows - no sense of yammering semiquavers here! (I am reminded of Fauré's comment to a pupil who was making a meal of a difficult passage: Remember: they're only semiquavers).

Once again, thanks to R, who originally captured and uploaded this performance.

mp3, 256 VBR

Download from Rapidshare

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mozart : Piano Concertos 17 and 18 - Ingrid Haebler

There were a number of well-worn LPs that dominated my childhood listening. Richter playing Rachmaninoff, Solomon playing Beethoven and Haebler playing the 15th and 18th Mozart concertos on an old Vox LP that dated from more or less the year of my birth
She has never been up there with the greats - though Tom Deacon, rather contentiously, put her into the Great Pianists of the Century series. Haebler, like Nikita Magaloff, was a Phillips house pianist for many years, recording Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert (her foray into Chopin - the waltzes - is, well, odd).

Perhaps it's time to listen again to her playing. I think the photo does her justice - there's a merry twinkle in that eye. Her impeccable and meticulous phrasing is matched by an ability to catch the wit and wisdom of Mozart without making a fuss over the discovery.

The two recordings are twenty years apart. The 18th concerto is from 1961, and is a youthful Haebler (she was 32 at the time). The slow movement is a perfectly balanced whole - seldom has the transition from minor to major seemed so poignant. And her fermatas fit seamlessly in - I really like the one in the last movement just before Mozart mischievously slips from B flat major to B minor (listen out for it - the piano also slips into 2/4 time while the orchestra continues in 6/8!)

The second recording is from 1981, and is a affectionate reading of one of the gentler concertos.

Oh - I should mention that the orchestra for the 1961 recording is using some corrupt version of the score, with the horns playing their parts an octave lower than Mozart actually wrote it! This shows up the bassoons, but subtracts a beautiful glow from the orchestral sound. Still, it's a small flaw in a really enjoyable recording.

Mozart : Piano Concerto 17 - 1981
Ingrid Haebler, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Gerhard Wimberger

Mozart : Piano Concerto No 18 - 30.10.1961
Ingrid Haebler, Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester, Joseph Keilberth

mp3 at 256kbs VBR - good sound quality from German Radio rebroadcasts

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Kristian Bezuidenhout : Mozart Concerto No 18

I told you he was good!

Mozart's 18th concerto gets less than its fair share of performances, seen as a 'slighter' concerto than its fellows. This performance certainly argues the case persuasively. Bezuidenhout effortlessly varies Mozart's written figuration and improvises fermatas and cadenzas that fit seamlessly into the music - and that's hard to do. Mozart sounds natural until you try writing some.

The slow movement, in particular, benefits from this approach. I'd like it a little more poignant, especially where the theme turns from G minor to G major, but, well, some people are never satisfied.

This is from a recent concert which I was recording from the internet when my connexion vanished for two maddening minutes during the last movement. All's well, however, thanks to Jaques, who had recorded the concert in far higher quality sound, and uploaded it. This posting is done with his permission. 

Bezuidenhout now has a snazzy website – have a look.

Kristian Bezuidenhout, Les Arts Florissants, Jonathan Cohen
Mozart Piano Concerto No 18 in B flat
321kbs mp3

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Sergio Fiorentino - the Chopin Preludes and Impromptus

Here is the second instalment of Fiorentino's Chopin recordings, made in the fifties for Concert Artist/SAGA records. For more about these recordings, see the previous post which, due to the reverse-chronology of blogging, appears after this one.

Chopin: Preludes Op 28
recorded: 4 March 1959 London, Hornsey Town Hall
First issued
LP: Saga XID 5076 (1959)
      Saga STM 6009 (1959)
      Roulette R 75004 (1961)
Prelude in C sharp Minor, op. 45
recorded: 4 March 1959 London, Hornsey Town Hall
First issued
LP: Saga XID 5076 (1959)
      Saga STM 6009 (1959)
      Roulette R 75004 (1961)

Prelude in A flat Major, op. posth.
recorded: 4 March 1959 London, Hornsey Town Hall

LP: Saga XID 5076 (1959)
      Saga STM 6009 (1959)
      Roulette R 75004 (1961)

recorded: 30 May - 1 June 1962 Paris, Salle Wagram

LP: Fidelio ATL 4098 / TLS 6035 (1965)
Recording dates from information from Ernst Lumpe's website at

FLAC file & Cuesheet. No covers

Sergio Fiorentino - the Chopin Studies

Sergio Fiorentino (December 22, 1927 – August 22, 1998)

One of the most undervalued pianists of the last century. He recorded a large amount of repertoire for the now notorious Concert Artist label, run by William Barrington-Coupe, who perpetrated the Joyce Hatto fraud.

Alas, Barrington-Coupe also issued fraudulent recordings under Fiorentino's name, cashing in on the pianist's popularity in the last years of his life. We will probably never know which of these recordings are actual Fiorentino and which were fakes. However, these Chopin studies are for real. They were issued in Fiorentino's own lifetime.

I am grateful to Ernst Lumpe, who was Fiorentino's champion, benefactor and friend in the last decade of his life, for the original recordings. They are posted here with his blessing.

The studies are a variable feast, I think, with signs of the hasty and often improvised recording conditions. However, I will be posting the Preludes, which are of a more consistently high quality. Be patient!

Chopin: The complete studies Op 10 and 25, and three Nouvelles Etudes, Op Posth.
Sergio Fiorentino, Piano
Apple Lossless
Recorded : Op  10: 8 January 1962 London, Greenwich Borough Hall
Op 25: 4 March 1959 London, Hornsey Town Hall
3 Nouvelles Etudes : 14 October 1954 London, Conway Hall

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Poulenc : Concerto for 2 pianos - US première with Poulenc and Crochet

Here's an evening to remember! Poulenc himself, together with the young french pianist Evelyne Crochet, joined the Boston Symphony for the US première of Poulenc's 2-piano concerto, with Charles Munch conducting. 21st of February 1961.

The playing sparkles and rollicks. There is an air of everyone enjoying themselves hugely.

This recording seems to be a rebroadcast of the original radio tape. It's hissy, but, by golly, you forget that within a couple of minutes.

And I must put in a plug for Evelyne Crochet's recording of the Bach Well-tempered Clavier (Music and Arts). This is Bach playing to live with for years - exquisite. Indeed, why not head over to Music and Arts - the whole outfit is virtually a one-man band. Fred Maroth, who runs it, is a wonderful character who has somehow managed to maintain a label of staggering diversity when many others have gone to the wall.

mp3, 256kps VBR - hissy but great.

Download from Rapidshare

Monday, November 16, 2009

Stockhausen : Stimmung - Theatre of Voices, Paul Hillier live

That old curmudgeon Sir Thomas Beecham was asked if he had ever conducted any Stockhausen.
No, he replied, but it's curious you should mention it I trod in some only yesterday.

Alas, a lot of avant-garde music of yesteryear is like the sci-fi of yesteryear – the vision of the future of the past. I get nostalgic listening to old time classics like Morton Subotnik's SilverApples of the Moon, which now seem as old as formica kitchens. Likewise the Helicopter Quartet, where each member of the string quartet plays from a helicopter hovering over the auditorium. I mean, puh-leeeuz! 

Stimmung, though, has somehow survived all this. I still like it, and feel it hasn't lost any of its lustre with the passage of time. Perhaps because writing for human voices places constraints on a composer that are fundamental.

This is a truly remarkable live performance, with Ian Dearden (sound projection), Theatre of Voices directed by Paul Hillier. It was recorded on 2nd of August 2008.

In deference to Boom, I should add that this recording is mp3 at about 230kbs variable bit rate. And I've no idea of its provenance. 

Download from Mediafire

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

From Yiddish Folk-Poetry Song Cycle Op.79 - Simonov 1997

A wonderful performance from the, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, October 1997. I'd like to thank John, the original uploader, for his permission to post the file here.

I'd never really warmed to this song cycle before, but this performance is a clincher. The soloists are splendid and the whole cycle moves with the sense of purposefulness that you get in live performance.

The soloists are
Maria Chagoutch, mezzo soprano
Anastasia Soupovskaya, mezzo soprano
Evgueny Akhimov, tenor
with the Saint Peterburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor Yuri Simonov

MP3, 256kbs from radio

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Georges Pludermacher - a recital of Janacek, Beethoven and Stravinsky

Janacek : In the Mists
Beethoven : Piano Sonata No 17 op 31/2 in D minor 'The Tempest'   
Stravinsky : Le Sacre du Printemps (version for piano solo)   
Debussy : From Etudes : Pour les quartes (encore)

Georges Pludermacher
Festival Radio France et Monpellier 2009

I can't stand Stravinsky, but for completeness I've posted it. You may have more fun with it than I've had.

The Beethoven is excellent, and a good teaser for Pludermacher's startlingly cheap complete sonatas, which you can download for the outrageous price of €9.99 from Qobuz - and you get the Diabelli variations thrown in!

Recorded from France Musique, internet 128 kbs

Download from Rapidshare

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Herbert Schuch - Chopin, Beethoven & Debussy

Herbert Schuch was a new name to me, but this young man can certainly play! It's not just the interpretations, which are wonderfully mature, but the sound he makes too, which is a joy to the senses.

The recital comes from a colleague who recorded it from satellite radio, so the sound is wonderful too. Many thanks Barny!

Rheingau Musik Festival, Schloss Johannisberg,  5. August 2009

Debussy : Brouillards (Préludes Book II No 1)  
Debussy : Feuilles Mortes (Préludes Book II No 2)  
Debussy : La Puerta del Vino (Préludes Book II No 3)  
Debussy : "Les fees sond d'exquises danseuses" (Préludes Book II No 4)  

Beethoven : Sonata No.32 In C Minor, Op.111: Maestoso-Allegro con brio ed appassionato  
Beethoven : Sonata No.32 In C Minor, Op.111: Arietta: Adagio molto semplice e cantabile  

Debussy : Ondine (Préludes Book II No 8) 
Debussy : Canope (Préludes Book II No 10)
Debussy : Les tierces alternées (Préludes Book II No 11)
Debussy : Feux d'Artifice (Préludes Book II No 12)

Chopin : Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58: I. Allegro maestoso
Chopin : Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58: II. Scherzo - Molto Vivace
Chopin : Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58: III. Largo
Chopin : Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58: IV. Finale - Presto non tanto

Encore : Beethoven : Bagatelle No 5
Encore : Schumann : Eusebius (from Carneval)

Mp3 320kbs from Digital Satellite mp2 

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Arcadi Volodos : Schwetzingen Festival 2009

I'm aware that I've posted Uchida yesterday, and I don't want you to get the idea that I can spend my time uploading music.

Scriabin : Prelude Op 37 No 1 
Scriabin : Prelude Op 11 No 16 
Scriabin : Piano Sonata No 7 op 64 'White Mass' 
Mompou : Paisajes : 3 piano pieces 
Ravel : Valses Nobles et Sentimentales 
Liszt : Apres une lecture de Dante, Fantasia quasi sonata 
Bach : Largo from concerto BWV 595 after Vivaldi Op 3 No 11 
Tchaikovsky (arr Volodos) : Berceuse Op 16 (encore) 
Scriabin : Album leaf (encore) 
Schumann : Der Vogel als Prophet (encore)

France Musique, internet, 22 Oct 2009 mp3 128kbs

Very well recorded - and an antidote to the image of Volodos as a sort of barnstormer. 

Download from Rapidshare

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Beethoven : The Last Three Piano Sonatas - Mitsuko Uchida, Paris 2009

Concert given 30th of September 2009, Paris (Théâtre des Champs Elysées)

Beethoven : The Last Three Piano Sonatas - Mitsuko Uchida, Paris 2009

Uchida has recorded these on CD - a wonderful recording which I would recommend to anyone - but these performances are live: three of the highest peaks in the repertoire, one after the other, without a break, without a retake. That gives this recording the magic of live performance. They are so different, one from the other. It is truly a piano triathlon, with the most searching test saved for last.

I've written a paper on the last sonata, thanks to the prompting of my versatile colleague Dr Des O'Neill, who organised a symposium on creativity in older age. It's my most downloaded paper, curiously.

You can read it here

Recorded from France Musique, internet, 21 October 2009

Download from Rapidshare

Tipo, not Michelangeli, in a legendary Beethoven 4th concerto

This recording was long thought to be by the legendary Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. I came across it because a colleague who is a Michelangeli obsessive was searching for it and enlisted my help, and I, of course, put out feelers across that vast web that connects pianists and pianophiles everywhere...

And it isn't Michelangeli – recent research has identified the pianist as Maria Tipo - a pianist whom Marta Argerich rated as one of the world's best pianists.

I was prompted to dig this recording out by The High Pony Tail's posting of a wonderful recital of Scarlatti by Maria Tipo. When you've finished here, head over there and download it.

Here, then, is my contribution to Tipo Day: the legendary, almost mythical Beethoven 4. Sound is, well, a bit Soviet, but they got the microphones close to the piano, which emerges well – it's the poor orchestra that sounds a bit like they are playing out on the theatre stepsl

Beethoven Piano Concerto no 4 op 58
Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra/Zivojin Zdravkovic
Maria Tipo, Piano

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Shostakovich : Symphony No 14 - and Blok Romances première

Symphony No 14 Op 135
Galina Vishnevskya, Mark Reshetin
Chamber Orchestra of Moscow, Mstislav Rostropovich
Recorded 12 Feb 1973

Seven Romances on Poems of Alexander Blok Op 127
Galina Vishnevskaya, David Oistrakh,
Mstislav Rostropovich, Moisei Vainberg
Recorded 27 October 1967 at the premiere

The première of the14th symphony was cancelled by the authorities at the last minute. However, someone had tipped off the orchestra, who gave a public 'dress rehearsal' the night before the scheduled première. The young bass Mark Reshetin sang, as he does in this recording of the 'official' première. Shostakovich had, of course, wanted Nestorenko, but he - and any other likely singer - was officially 'booked for another engagement'. Shows how nervous the authorities were.

And they had every reason to be. Shostakovich spoke briefly at the public dress rehearsal, and said that the symphony was a tribute to the people of the USSR, who had endured so much that was, he said, disgusting.

The bonus is another star-studded première: the Blok romances, played by the A team.

Ripped from an out of print Russian Revelation CD

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Anna Kravtchenko - Chopin, Beethoven and Haydn

Anna Kravtchenko's playing is a reminder of all that pianism should be, in an age of idiot savant barnstormers. It's intelligent, nuanced, with a warm, bell-like tone.

But in case you think I exaggerate, let me quote from the New York Times critic, Harold Schonberg:

"Anna Kravtchenko reminded old-timers on the jury of Guiomar Novaes, the late Brazilian pianist whose radiant sound and poetical interpretations could sometimes reduce audience to tears."

And here she is in a wonderful recital from Dutch radio:

Haydn - Sonate in E, Hob. XVI.13 'Divertimento' Moderato   
Haydn - Sonate in E, Hob. XVI.13 'Divertimento' Menuet   
Haydn - Sonate in E, Hob. XVI.13 'Divertimento' Finale: Presto   
Chopin - Sonate No  3 in b minor, op. 58 Allegro maestoso   
Chopin - Sonate No  3 in b minor, op. 58 Molto vivace   
Chopin - Sonate No  3 in b minor, op. 58 Largo   
Chopin - Sonate No  3 in b minor, op. 58 Finale Presto non tanto   
Beethoven - Sonate No  30 in E, op. 109 Vivace ma non troppo   
Beethoven - Sonate No  30 in E, op. 109 Prestissimo   
Beethoven - Sonate No  30 in E, op. 109 Thema Variazioni   
Chopin - Sonate No  2 in bes, op. 35 'Marche funèbre' Grave - Doppip movimento   
Chopin - Sonate No  2 in bes, op. 35 'Marche funèbre' Scherzo - Presto ma non troppo   
Chopin - Sonate No  2 in bes, op. 35 'Marche funèbre' Marche funebre   
Chopin - Sonate No  2 in bes, op. 35 'Marche funèbre' Finale - Presto   
Chopin - Prelude op. 28 No  15 in D flat "raindrop" - Sostenuto   

Recorded at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, 15 Jan 2006


Thursday, October 15, 2009

András Schiff - a whole Haydn recital

Digital satellite recording from German radio, 320kbs

Schiff does Haydn proud. The programme includes old favourites such as the world-weary F minor variations, which Haydn playfully entitled Un piccolo divertimento and the well-known E-flat sonata, but also some works which really deserve more exposure – the G minor sonata, for instance.

I am grateful to a German colleague for making the original mp2 available to me,
which I have converted and edited.

Capriccio on "Acht Sauschneider müssen sein" G-dur Hob. XVII Nr. 1
Sonate g-moll Hob. XVI Nr. 44
Fantasie C-dur Hob. XVII Nr. 4
Sonate e-moll Hob. XVI Nr. 34
Variationen f-moll Hob. XVII Nr. 6 "Un piccolo divertimento"
Sonate Es-dur Hob. XVI Nr. 52
Mendelssohn : Zwei Lieder ohne Worte - Op 19/1 in E dur, Op 67/4 in C dur
Mozart : Adagio für Glasharmonika C-Dur, KV 356

András Schiff
Schwetzinger Festspiele June 7, 2009

Mp3, 320kbs

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nami Ejiri in high-voltage Chopin and Mussorgsky

Nami Ejiri : Recital in the Alten Oper Frankfurt (April 24,2009)
Recorded from German radio

Chopin : Scherzo no 1 in B minor
Chopin : Scherzo no 2 in D flat
Chopin : Scherzo no 3 in C sharp
Chopin : Scherzo no 4 in E
Mussorgsky : Pictures at an Exhibition
Chopin : Valse Op 64 1 in D flat (Minute Waltz) (Encore)
Chopin : Noctourne in C sharp minor Op Posth (Encore)
Scriabin : Etude in B flat minor Op 8/12 (Encore)
Siloti : Prelude in B (After Bach Prelude BWV 855a) - Version played by Emil
Chopin : Etude in C minor Op 10 No 12 (Encore)

High voltage playing from the young Japanese pianist now resident in Germany.
More about her here :

Many thanks to the original uploader, with whose permission I have edited the
broadcast into tracks and cut out the chatter.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Brams German Requiem with a Twist (and Natalie Dessay)

This performance of the German Requiem has four interpolated pieces by Rihm which
actually work well. I have divided the work into tracks so you can bypass the
Rihm if you like, though I would recommend giving it a try.

I also left some interesting commentary at the end which tells you more about
the Rihm if you speak French.

Johannes Brahms:
Ein deutsches Requiem Op. 45
Wolfgang Rihm:
Das Lesen der Schrift

Natalie Dessay, soprano
Ludovic Tézier, baritoe

Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Choeur de Radio France, Myung-Whun Chung

Source: France Musique, internet 128 kbs

More Olivier Greif

Two more pieces by the French composer Olivier Greif, who died in 2000 aged just
50. They are from a concert dedicated to his memory given on then19 September
2009, in the Studio Charles Trenet de la maison de Radio France à Paris.

The concert also included a piece by Guillaume Conneson for viola and piano.

The performances are superb.

Greif : Le Tombeau De Ravel for Piano Duo 17:37
Géraldine Dutroncy & Fuminori Tanada (Piano Duo)

Connesson : Constellation de la couronne boreale, Constellation II for Viola and Piano 14:16
Jitka Hosprovà (viola) Eric le Sage (Piano)

Greif : Lettres de Westerbork for Mezzo Soprano and two violins 17:51
Andréas Hill (Mezzo) Hélène Collerette & Florent Brannens (vln)

Source: France Musique internet 128 kbs

The photo shows Fuminori Tanada, one of the piano duo. He has also recorded Takemitsu piano works for BIS

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Greif : Cello Concerto - in a blazing live performance

Olivier Greif died in 2000, aged only 50. This cello concerto, subtitled Durch Adams Fall, was premiered by Henri Demarquette (photo above). This recording comes from a Radio France concert given on the 18th of September 2009.

It's a masterpiece - dark, anguished, taking almost half an hour to find some sort of reprieve. Henri Demarquette's playing is astonishing, and the Orchestre Nationale de France under Jean-Claude Casadesus play as if possessed.

If you only download one piece this month, make sure this is it!

Greif : Cello Concerto

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sokolov plays Couperin

Another Sokolov programme: Music by François Couperin

Les Lis Naissans
Les Rozeaux (Rondeau)
La Virginité, sous le Domino couleur d'invisible
La Pudeur, sous le Domino couleur de rose
L'Ardeur, sous le Domino incarnat
L'Espérance, sous le Domino vert
La Fidélité, sous le Domino bleu
La Persévérance, sous le Domino gris de lin
La Langueur, sous le Domino violet
La Coquéterie, sous différents Dominos
Les Vieux Galans et les Trésorières Suranées, sous les Dominos pourpres et fe...
Les Coucous bénévoles, sous des Dominos jaunes
La Jalousie taciturne, sous le Domino gris de maure
La Frénésie, ou le Désespoir, sous le Domino noir
L'âme en peine
Allemande (La Verneuille)
La Verneuilléte
Soeur Monique (Rondeau)
Le Turbulent
Le Tic-Toc-Choc, ou les Maillotins (Rondeau)
Le Gaillard-Boiteux

Very good sound – mp3, VBR with a bitrate about 220


Monday, September 7, 2009

Kristian Bezuidenhout plays Mozart

All right - the picture shows him playing a harpsichord! In this recording, however, he plays a copy of a Walther piano.

Mozart : Rondo in A minor K511 - Andante
Mozart : Variations on Unser dummer Pobel meint K455
Mozart : Ch'io me scordi di te (Carolyn Sampson, Soprano)
Mozart : Piano Concerto no 17 in G, K453

Kristian Bezuidenhout, Piano
Carolyn Sampson, Soprano
Orchestre des Chaps-Elysees, Phillipe Herreweghe

Concert given 13 July 2009 en the Abbaye aux Dames; Festival de Saintes.
Piano: copy of a Walther by Clarke

Recorded 7 September 2009, France Musique, Internet
128 Kbs, good sound.

I have left in some of the commentaries because it was impossible to slice them out cleanly.

Download here

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Schumann : Konzertstuck for four horns - a Cracking Performance Gromit!

A piece that is unjustly neglected, I think. The glorious sound of four french horns - what's not to like? One of my favourite moments, though, is carried by the trumpet. At the end of the dreamy, reflective slow movement, there is a quiet trumpet call that is ignored by the rest of the orchestra. The trumpet repeats the call, louder, and this time it's taken up by everyone, and the last movement is ushered in.

The four players on this marvellous recording are David Pyatt, Michael Thompson, Martin Owen, and Cormac Ó hAodáin, with the BBC Philharmonic, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras.

It was recorded at a concert on the 28th of July 2007.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Angela Hewitt - Glorious Goldbergs!

Angela Hewitt live from the BBC playing Bach's Goldberg Variations at the Royal Festival Hall, 29th April, 2009.

This is wonderful playing. If you have her studio version of the Goldbergs, this is, well, different. The intervening years have brought an affection to her playing - a way of pointing up details that she obviously loves, and a warmth of sound.

Very good recording from the BBC. 320Kbs, about 180 Mb of mp3 file. Includes an attractive photo of Ms Hewitt you can sigh over.

I have abandoned Rapidshare, or, should I say, Rapidshare has abandoned me and its other users. I am now uploading replacement links to Mediafire. Please be patient while I work on the problem.

There's also a Mega link, as an experiment. 

Download from Mediafire
Download from Mega

Friday, July 10, 2009

Beethoven : Triple Concerto with Patricia Kopatchinskaja

Patricia Kopatchinskaja's website used to have a lot of recordings available for download. However, these have now disappeared. Luckily, I had downloaded some of them already.

Here she is in Beethoven's triple concerto:

Beethoven: Concerto for Piano, Violin and Cello Op 56
Patricia Kopatchinskaia (violin),
Henri Sigfridsson (piano) and
Sol Gabetta (cello),
Berne Symphony Orchestra, Andrey Boreyko

Live recording, 15.6.2007.

Download here

Bach : The Leipzig Chorales - Kibbie

Another volume from James Kibbie's monumental project to record all the Bach organ works on historic instruments and make them available free.

As I pointed out before, the only problem with the website is that the pieces come in individual music files, tagged only with their BWV number. I have downloaded them, labelled them and used the 'comments' section to identify the organ on which they were recorded and even, in some cases, the registration used.

Go along to James Kibbie's website to read more about the project and download more music.

Bach: The Leipzig Chorale Preludes, BWV 651-668

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Patricia Kopatchinskaja - Beethoven Violin concerto

The violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja has caused a certain amount of controversy with her recent release of Beethoven's Kreutzer sonata with the pianist Fazil Say (that's them in the picture). It's a hair-raising ride, that much is for sure. Her playing takes a lot of risks and she doesn't play safe. You can read her spirited defence of their interpretation at her website. And you can listen (and watch) the pair performing on YouTube - see what you think.

One of her projects is a recording of the Beethoven Violin Concerto with Philippe Herrreweghe and the Orchestre des Champs Elysées, due for release later this year. In the meantime, here is a live recording made with those same forces. At the orchestra's website, an anonymous critique claims Grâce à l’explosive Patricia Kopatchinskaia, le concerto pour violon de Beethoven devient une expérience décapante. I'd certainly agree with that! Not everything she tries works, but the performance crackles with electricity.

And the encore is a virtuoso explosion of playing, half-playing, singing and other vocal noises, all in less than a minute!

Kopatchinskaja is one of those performers who bristles with oddball musical musical intelligence. It's going to be fascinating to hear how she develops.

Ludwig van Beethoven :
Concerto for violin & orchestra in D opus 61 (1806)
01 - I Allegro ma non troppo 22'02"
02 - II Larghetto + III Rondo 18'22"
Jorge Sanchez-Chiong (Born 1969):
Crin [for solo violin] (1996-7)
03 - Crin 00'55"

Orchestre des Champs-élyses
Philippe Herreweghe - conductor
Patricia Kopatchinskaia - violin
Abbaye aux Dames, Saintes (FR) (Academies Musicales)
15th july 2007.

Download here

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sokolov Plays Stravinsky - Trois Mouvements de Petrouchka and more

Here is Sokolov in a live recording of unknown provenance, playing the
Stravinsky, and a couple of other pieces. I got this from a friend who
has no idea where it originated. Perhaps someone else out there knows.

Stravinsky - Trois Mouvements de Petrouchka - I - Danse Russe
Stravinsky - Trois Mouvements de Petrouchka - II - Chez Petrouchka
Stravinsky - Trois Mouvements de Petrouchka - III - La Semaine Grasse
Rameau-Sokolov - La Livri (from Pieces de Clavecin en Concert)
Bach-Sokolov - Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein, BWV 734a
Chopin - Prelude in E minor, Op28 No4
Chopin - Etude in C minor, Op25 No12
Brahms - Intermezzo in B-flat minor, Op117 No2

Download here

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sokolov Plays Rameau

The pianist Grigory Sokolov has gained a cult following that reminds me of Glenn Gould. A friend passed on some fascinating recordings which apparently originated on German Radio. This is one of them.

The sound is good - it's VBR MP3, about 220 KBS

Les Tricotets (Rondeau)
Menuet II
La Poule
Les Triolets
Les Sauvages

Download here

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Schmidt : Symphony no 2

Franz Schmidt (1874-1939) is rarely performed nowadays. More's the pity, because three of his four symphonies are substantial and original works. I've been listening to them recently, and I'm posting them over the next while.

Starting with the second symphony, his first truly original work, I think. Here it is in a wonderful live performance with the MDR Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Fabio Luisi.

Listen to how the players respond to the work - the horn section, in particular, play gloriously. It's wonderful to hear such a joyful noise!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The James Kibbie Bach Organ Project: Chorale Preludes

There is a remarkable project under way to record the complete Bach organ works on organs of Bach's day (not a new idea) and make them available free in the internet (that's the new bit!). The organist is the American James Kibbie. You can visit the website here.

The funding for this venture came from a donation by the widow of one of Kibbie's admirers as a memorial to her husband. This is considerably more civic spirited than my wife's plans to celebrate my death. I understand she intends to demolish the greenhouse.

The organs chosen are superb, and the recordings excellent. It can be quite a challenge to record organs. Not only do you have the background noise of urban traffic to deal with, but the hissing of blowers, the clacking of trackers and the trampling of feet on pedal boards make it hard to position microphones properly so as to catch the full effect of the organ in its native acoustic. The team has done an excellent job. I recommend listening on loudspeakers rather than headphones. There are some things that you really can't achieve on cans, and a baroque organ in fully cry is one of them!

There is only one problem with the project: each work is uploaded individually, and tagged only with the BWV number of the work. I have been downloading them and tagging them and, as an appetiser for the collection, here are the miscellaneous chorale preludes recorded so far. Incidentally, I have identified the organ involved in each prelude in the comments field.

BWV 720 Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott à 3 claviers et pédale
BWV 721 Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott
BWV 722 Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
BWV 724 Gott, durch deine Güte / Gottes Sohn ist kommen
BWV 725 Herr Gott, dich loben wir
BWV 726 Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend
BWV 727 Herzlich tut mich verlangen à 2 clav e ped
BWV 728 Jesus, meine Zuversicht
BWV 729 In dulci jubilo
BWV 730 Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier
BWV 731 Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier à 2 claviers et pédale
BWV 732 Lobt Gott, ihr Christen, allzugleich
BWV 733 Meine Seel erhebt den Herren (Fuge über das Magnificat; pro organo pleno)
BWV 734 Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein / Es ist gewisslich an der Zeit
BWV 735 Fantasia super Valet will ich dir geben
BWV 736 Valet will ich dir geben
BWV 737 Vater unser im Himmelreich (manualiter)
BWV 738 Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her
BWV 749 Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend
BWV 750 Herr Jesu Christ meines Lebens Licht
BWV 752 Jesu, der du meine Seele
BWV 753 Jesu, meine Freude
BWV 754 Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier
BWV 755 Nun freut euch, lieben Christen
BWV 756 Nun ruhen alle Wälder
BWV 757 O Herre Gott, dein göttlich's Wort
BWV 758 O Vater, allmächtiger Gott
BWV 762 Vater unser im Himmelreich
BWV 763 Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
BWV 764 Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern (fragment)
BWV 765 Wir glauben all' an einen Gott, Schöpfer

These are in AAC format - enjoy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bloch : Piano Quintet No 1 - 1934 recording

Alfredo Casella and the Pro Arte Quartet
Ernest Bloch (July 24, 1880 – July 15, 1959): Piano Quintet No 1 (1923)

Rapidshare link

Vintage Bloch! The gruff, wild character of his early works combines a late romantic style with some quite daring experiments - listen out for the quarter tones in the first movement! The recording blazes with life. Bloch must have been delighted with it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Niklas Sivelöv on danish radio

Danish Radio have thoughtfully made available a whole series of concerts for downloading. Unfortunately, you have to navigate the website in Danish! I downloaded this concert by the Swedish Pianist Niklas Sivelöv. It includes his own "Suite in modo classico" as well as Beethoven's Op 111 sonata and the Schumann "Concert sans Orchestre". I've tagged the MP3s properly and included a nice picture of Mr Sivelöv to grace your iPod.

Sivelöv: Suite in modo classico (14:31)
Ach Värmland du sköne (Swedish Traditional) (05:27)
Schumann: Concert sans Orchestre (Grand Sonata) Op 14 (24:32)
Bach: Das Wohltemperirte Klavier II - Preludes & Fugues in C, C minor and C sharp (12:09)
Beethoven: Pianosonata Nr. 32 in C, Op 111 (23:38)

You can download the whole thing here.