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.