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I haven't heard this

I haven't heard this particular recording but I have a fair number of Linn CDs and a few downloads (most as Studio Masters - though I don't hear the difference when blind testing) - but their sound quality is always exceptional, I find.  The name of Philip Hobbs as recording engineer is a sure guarantee.  I suppose hearing them on Linn equipment gives them an advantage for me, as presumably Linn records with their own equipment as the benchmark for testing. 

I don't need another set of Schumann symphonies (unless there is something way out of the ordinary about this one (?)) but I'm pleased you are enjoying it EJ.

C.P.E. Bach.

You should not be a "C.P.E. Bach sceptic", EJ. Since you appreciate enough his father, you can listen to Harpsichord, Fortepiano and the Grand Piano as well, C.P.E. Bach has plenty to offer, since he was such a prolific, creative, inventive and inspired composer, particularly in the instrumental, chamber and orchestral works.

This particular CD did not "win me over" (neither Esfahani's recital on Wigmore Live), but it is good enough to indulge in these great works. I prefer the wisdom and more mature as well as refine playing of Van Asperen (on the defunct Virgin). On Piano, Markovina has made two quite interesting recordings (on Genuin and recently on Haenssler, but the latter can be found only in the 26CD box of the complete Keyboard works).

Parla

Laurence Equilbey directs Mozart's Requiem

A new recording of the requiem that is characterised by an incredibly atmospheric, balanced recording. Equilbey's direction and the band seem excellent, and especially well balanced; but this is really a vocal feast with attention-grabbing performances from chorus and solists. Play loud!

EJ

Mozart's Requiem.

For such an iconic work, any new approach is welcome. Accentus and Equilbey have done some excellent, sometimes even brilliant, recordings on various repertory works. However, I have my doubts about their endeavour of such a demanding enterprise as Mozart's Requiem (already, the Brahms and Faure's Requiems were not that -overall- excellent recordings). In any case, the soloists alone are good motivation to give a shot.

Parla

Mitsuko Uchida in Mozart's #18 and #19

Part four in her ongoing new Mozart series with the Cleveland, which she directs from the keyboard. Recorded live, but like previous instalments, the only way you'd notice is because of a slight lack of air around the recording. Otherwise, this new issue sounds the best so far. In terms of performance, Uchida has radically rethought her approach since her run with Tate in the 80s: hers is now on the romantic side of the spectrum, and very exciting. Listened to both redbook and 24/96; the latter is a big step up on my system.

EJ

Theodore Gouvy

A 2012 release on Ligia has this largely forgotten composer's music for two pianos, played by Laurent Martin and Carole Dubois. The music's more substantial than I expected, well played and recorded.

 

edit: for Gouvy, who could and did write some very average music based on recorded material, the quality here is quite consistent and I would rate this at about (or slightly below) the level of his piano trios (great recording by the Voces Intimae trio, on Challenge Classics). There's nothing that taxes the listener's mind, or these capable musicians for that matter - the enthusiastic give and take between the two players is a main attraction and prevents the music from becoming too predictable. Overall, a fun record - recommended for those interested in learning more about this man who apparently didn't have much affinity with music but had the financial means to soldier on without much success during or after his lifetime.

EJ

Gouvy, the underrated, neglected and recently discovered.

Gouvy had been for years so neglected and underrated. However, the last two decades or so, we have witnessed a good number of recordings of his works, which represent a composer of certain, sometimes even considerable, quality, not to be neglected, to say the least.

The 2CD set with three of the five Piano Trios, with the Voces Intimae (on Challenge), demonstrates a composer of individual sense of the Romantic era and a master of structure and harmony. I was not that thrilled with the "historic" performance of the Fortepiano used by the Voces Intimae for such deeply romantic works. The old single Orfeo disc (two Piano Trios only) with the Munchner Klaviertrio sounds more at home.

For a more comprehensive coverage of his work, the label Ediciones Singulares issued recently a 3CD set, in the form of Book/CDs, with a great selection of his Chamber works (including the Piano trio no.4), his Symphonic music (including the two Serenades) and some Cantatas (including the  significant Jean d'Arc).

Parla

Maurice Steger in Vivaldi

A new recording of a varied selection of Vivaldi's concertos for recorder and other instruments features some stunning recordering by Steger. 

EJ

Pomona by Keiser.

In the same era (as Vivaldi above-mentioned) but from the German Baroque, the brand new release by CPO of Reinhard Keiser's Pomona. An "Operetta", a sort of perfect example of the German-language baroque stage work with poetry and music of the first order, offering, at the same time, refined, albeit a bit light, entertainment.

An Ouverture of only 2 and a half minutes, short but delightful arias and vivid theatrical atmosphere. The very thin and transparent Orchestra (Capella Orlandi Bremen under Thomas Ihlenfeldt) consists of only nine soloists (2 Violins, one Viola, one Cello, two Oboes -exchanging with recorders, when needed-, one Fagott, Cembalo -or Organ accordingly- and Chitarrone.

The vocal soloists are not the "big" or well-known names (except perhaps of Jan Kobow) but idiomatic, keeping the light character of the work in a serious, consistent and fascinating narrative.

Nothing in the class of a masterwork, but very fine and entertaining music. Another brave effort in these difficult times for Classical Music by this daring label.

Parla

Ticciati's Schumann on Linn.

Eventually, I received and listened to Ticciati's Symphonies by Schumann. This is another production "miracle" of Linn: one of the most rewarding and revealing for such difficult and almost awkward in orchestration Symphonies. I happen to have, I believe, all the SACD recordings of these works (including the Sawallisch on Warner Japan), but this one goes beyond any expectation I could possibly have.

It is amazing that we have here a Chamber Orchestra (SCO), with a limited number of strings (e.g. five celli and three Double basses only!), but it sounds more bombastic than full symphonic ones like VPO (under Bernstein) or BPO (under Rattle) or Dresden Staatskapelle (under Sawallisch), demonstrating that, in playback music, the production team (and the respective label) matters more...

Performances as such are fine and impressive as well: broad tempi, very analytical and at times a refine way of projecting the various instruments in difficult passages as well as enough elan and musical fervour, when appropriate.

The particular double SACD sounds perfectly impressive in my equipment (which is not Linn). Do not miss it, if you really have some interest in these Symphonies. As they sound, you will love them!

Parla

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