Today's Listening

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RE: Bax' symphonies with Bryden

Bliss wrote:

(maybe we can blame the orchestra and/or the hall).

I wonder which hall it was. Perhaps even the huge cathedral on the hill. That acoustic would not be perfect for Bax's already congested scores, I would wager!

As for the Lloyd-Jones cycle, it is up there with his other superb Naxos recordings of British music so if you like them you will like the Bax.

 

RE: Today's Listening

tagalie wrote:

If you like gigantic musical wallows try Respighi's Sinfonia Drammatica...

That work would be a masterpiece - if Respighi had kept only the finale.

RE: Today's Listening

BazzaRiley wrote:

tagalie wrote:

If you like gigantic musical wallows try Respighi's Sinfonia Drammatica...

That work would be a masterpiece - if Respighi had kept only the finale.

 

So, Bazza, what have you been listening to recently? And others here?

Best, Petra

RE: Today's Listening

Poor old Respighi! A bit like Aram Khachaturian, he just got a bit too carried away at times. Just yesterday I was listening to his The Birds suite which is subtly and delicately done, lovely music. I have never heard the Sinfonia Drammatica but must do so soon to see what you guys mean!

Graham

RE: Today's Listening

Graham J wrote:

Poor old Respighi! A bit like Aram Khachaturian, he just got a bit too carried away at times. Just yesterday I was listening to his The Birds suite which is subtly and delicately done, lovely music. I have never heard the Sinfonia Drammatica but must do so soon to see what you guys mean!

Graham

I don't know that work, but I must admit from your description, it doesn't sound like one I should eagerly seek out! Too many other recs for me to try first me thinks. ;--)

Best wishes,

Petra

 

 

RE: Today's Listening

Respighi was a great orchestrator above all. One has to listen to his orchestral works at least to admire this brilliant palette of colours he uses in so many and intriguing ways.

Two rather neglected but highly interesting orchestral works are the ballet La Boutique Fantasque and the Suite Rossiniana, both based on pieces by Rossini. Wonderful orchestration and creative reincarnation of otherwise indifferent pieces by Rossini. His orchestration of the monumental Passacaglia in c minor by Bach is worth investing.

His Chamber Music is also noteworthy: A beautiful Quintet for Piano and Strings, two interesting String Quartets and some wonderful pieces for Violin and Piano, including the very fine Violin Sonatas in d and b minor respectively. The latter is a true gem of the late 19th century.

Finally, for the vocal fans, his Songs and Operas are quite interesting and well crafted. The latest installment is the upcoming release (in UK it is to be released on Dec.3) of his Opera Marie Victoire by CPO (on 3CDs); an innovative and creative one from an Italian who, despite he wrote 10 Operas, he didn't make a name as an Opera composer. Pity!

Parla

RE: Today's Listening

Shockingly traditional (in the sense of mainstream repetoire) fare today! I listened to Tchaikovsky 5 in a recording from Vladimir Jurowski and the LPO. Tchaikovsky often gets a sniffy response these days (overtly emotional, cheap thrills etc.) but I don't see that myself. It is just wonderful, tightly written music that wears a very large heart on its sleeve.

I have to say that after two listens I think this is a very fine performance. Jurowski presents a sharp edged reading which cuts through any possible hints of sentimentality, strutting along like Vronsky... if you get my drift. My only concern at present would be the final bars, where the strut slips - personally I prefer Mavrinsky, who just hits the end emphatically. But then again, Mavrinsky in this music really has no peers...

 

Naupilus

RE: Today's Listening

Just been reading the lateset news on the closing of the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Frieburg, which I cannot help feeling is the passing of a rather fine orchestra. Now the Salzburg festival has invited them along next year, in protest. Not sure it will do much good, but I think tonight I will listen to some Rihm and Mahler, with the very fine Michael Gielen conducting.

Naupilus

RE: Today's Listening
naupilus wrote:

Just been reading the lateset news on the closing of the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Frieburg, which I cannot help feeling is the passing of a rather fine orchestra.

That's quite sad news. I think I'll whip out my cd of Ferdinand Leitner conducting the orchestra in Bruckner's and Hartmann's 6th symphonies. Great performances! Leitner's Hartmann may be the best on record and his Bruckner 6 is among the best.

As for my present listening: it's Britten. Never been a big fan but I couldn't pass on that nice dirt cheap EMI 5 cd box with the War Requiem and a lot of other orchestral and vocal works, conducted by Simon Rattle.
Britten is a bit like Shostakovich to me (not surprisingly since they were friends and their styles - specially in their later works - is closely related) in that you have to look for the real gems in his oeuvre among the fluff. The fluff being pompous soviet-realism in Shostakovich' case, and quirky superficiality in Britten's.
In Britten's defense it needs to be said that he had good taste regarding his own music, and he didn't want to have most of the "quirky superficial" pieces on the cd's to be published. I wonder why Rattle found it necessary to record them, it's not like you're doing the composer a favour with it.
The real gem of the box is the recent (2005) cd with the 3 great song cycles (Illuminations, Serenade and Nocturne), recorded in Berlin with Ian Bostridge as soloist. Britten at his very best, and worth the price of the full box alone. I bought the box mainly for the War Requiem (Rattle's Birmingham performance is great and maybe only second to the composer's own recording), but the song cycle cd was a more than pleasant surprise.

RE: Today's Listening

50milliarden wrote:

That's quite sad news.

Indeed it is... The battle to keep the orchestra going has been in full swing for quite some time - Boulez spoke about the issue and Gielen himself posted a wonderful, furious riposte to the management (here) - 'a barbarian act'. Of course, in the middle of one of the worst financial crisis in our history, arts organisations supported by public spending are getting a hammering. For me this case is particualarly sad because the orchestra has been such a wonderful vehicle for contemporary music.

The situation the US seems, from what I read, equally bad. Right now the Minnesota Orchestra is locked out in a labour disput, one of a few across the US. Osmo Vanska finally came out and asked the sides to talk to each other but  even his words were embraced by both sides for various purposes. And my local orchestra is still recovering from an unecessary bloody dispute in which musicians first got the chop, then the chief conductor in turn had to go (due to his too enthusiastic handling of said axe) and now we are left with no really decent orchestra in a major international city. The good news is that down the road in Sao Paulo they have an orchestra on the rise and a steady hand in Marin Alsop. Plus what I am told is an absolutely amazing concert venue.

Naupilus

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