Concert Reviews | CD Reviews | DVD Reviews | Opera | Early Music | News | Film | Art | Books | Kids

20.1.18

#morninglistening to #Busoni-#Bach transcriptions on...



#morninglistening to #Busoni-#Bach transcriptions on @capricciorec w/#PeterRösel

http://amzn.to/2EYU3w2

(also on @berlinclassics)

#classicalmusic #EarlyMusic #classicalmusiccollection #classicalcdcollection #baroquemusic #solokeyboard #pianomusic #transcription #transcriptions of works for solo violin and other instruments by #ferrucioBusoni. The playing, alas, is hard and unyielding and not very pleasant listening to my ears. Then again, the Amazon reviews all rave about his playing…



http://ift.tt/2EWE15Z
via Instagram

#morninglistening to #Sibelius on #BIS w/@LahtiSymphony &...



#morninglistening to #Sibelius on #BIS w/@LahtiSymphony & @OsmoVanska

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/3tcclmv

#Snöfrid & other delightful #choralmusic
and #vocalmusic w/orchestra.

@surprisedBeauty music

#classicalmusic #classicalmusiccollection #classicalcdcollection #contemporarymusic #20thCenturyMusic #finnishmusic #OrchestralMusic #JeanSibelius



http://ift.tt/2DyykOz
via Instagram

#morninglistening to superb playing of #SergioTiempo on a...



#morninglistening to superb playing of #SergioTiempo on a strangely unprofessional disc* on #AvantiClassic:

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/27UUzlb
“Legacy”

#Beethoven - #Chopin - #Prokofiev - #Brahms - #VillaLobos - #Piazzolla

#SACD #classicalcdcollection
#classicalmusic #classicalmusiccollection #solokeyboard
#20thCenturyMusic #surprisedbybeauty


*a veritable family album of snap shots inside, looks like a self-made mixtape one might give to relatives. Artistic Ego getting the better of esthetic restraint. Or a bit as if he had recently died. Strange. But an amazing recital!



http://ift.tt/2FYZ5ds
via Instagram

18.1.18

#morninglistening to #HansZender...



#morninglistening
to #HansZender w/@koelnmusik/#WDRSinfonieorchester on #Wergo:

http://amzn.to/3GHjJeS

Dialog mit #Haydn, issei no kyO & nanzen no kyO - canto VII

#classicalmusic #classicalmusiccollection #classicalcdcollection #21stcenturyclassical #20thcenturyclassical #contemporaryclassical



http://ift.tt/2mSOusx
via Instagram

On Forbes: Oh Danny, What Have You Done Now?

Picture of Daniel Hope © Nicolas Zonvi


Over on Forbes.com, I have published a bit of background information on the controversy regarding Daniel Hope's very successful attempt at suppressing a YouTube 'shred' that included him... and how he went just a little beyond that, for good measure. Bit of an ugly tale that composer-pianist-writer Moritz Eggert brought to the fore with his superb open letter to Mr. Hope. (Provided in full, translated, in the Forbes article.)

Trouble In Berlin: Whatever You Do, Don't Make A Shred Video Of Superstar Violinist Daniel Hope


"Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel? Well, Daniel Hope would, or so it seems from this open letter to the violinist, written by composer-pianist-writer Moritz Eggert in response to a spat over a YouTube "shred" that had appeared with Hope as one of the main subjects."


Link to article here.






#morninglistening to #FrancoisCouperin’s #Apotheosis on...



#morninglistening to #FrancoisCouperin’s #Apotheosis on @harmoniamundi / @piasclassicsusa

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/5D5K7S2

w/@lesartsflo’s #WilliamChristie & @talenslyriques’ #ChristopheRousset


#classicalmusic #classicalmusiccollection #classicalcdcollection #EarlyMusic #baroquemusic #harpsichord #historicalinstruments #historicallyinformedperformance #HIP #frenchmusic



http://ift.tt/2DldOBP
via Instagram

16.1.18

#morninglistening to #Beethoven w/@Singverein in arguably...



#morninglistening to #Beethoven w/@Singverein in arguably @Vienna_Phil’s best cycle of the 9 #symphonies under Hans #SchmidtIsserstedt

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/25ifLDC

on @deccaclassics Korea; a re-issue in the rest of the world would be great!

#classicalmusic
#classicalmusiccollection
#classicalcdcollection #Symphony #Ludwigvan #ludwigvanbeethoven #wienerphilharmoniker #viennaphilharmonic

With gratitude to @classic22!



http://ift.tt/2mClLHu
via Instagram

#morninglistening to #Britten’s #PaulBunyan...



#morninglistening to #Britten’s #PaulBunyan w/@vocalessencemn (1) on @warnerClassics (2):

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/52B3La1

1: formerly #PlymouthMusicSeries
2: formerly #VirginClassics

@surprisedbeauty composer #BenjaminBritten

#classicalmusic #opera #classicalmusiccollection #classicalcdcollection #20thCenturyMusic #surprisedbybeauty



http://ift.tt/2Dj0D4s
via Instagram

#morninglistening to #Brahms #cellisonatas on @warnerclassicsus...



#morninglistening to #Brahms #cellisonatas on @warnerclassicsus @warnerclassics w/@atharaud & @QueyrasJG

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/2A3AXFa

On paper certainly the most tantalizing proposition in these works since Serkin/Rostropovich who managed one of their best senority-efforts in these works.

#classicalmusic #AlexandreTharaud #classicalmusiccollection #chambermusic #cellosonata
#JohannesBrahms #JeanGuihenQueyras #germanromanticism



http://ift.tt/2mATS2J
via Instagram

15.1.18

#morninglistening to #Purcell’s #DidoAndAeneas...



#morninglistening to #Purcell’s #DidoAndAeneas w/@permopera on @Alpha_Classics

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/4oStLQI

w/#TeodorCurrentzis

Terrific #reissue; cracking performance.

#classicalmusic
#classicalmusiccollection #alphaclassics #EarlyMusic #noFilter #reissue #opera #vocalmusic #englishclassicalmusic



http://ift.tt/2DjBXrK
via Instagram

14.1.18

#morninglistening to @BENETCA on @NaxosRecords...



#morninglistening to @BENETCA on @NaxosRecords w/@BrouwerTrio

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/71IUlSG

#classicalmusic #naxosrecords #classicalmusiccollection #classicalcdcollection #ChamberMusic #repertoireexplorer #21stCenturyMusic #contemporarymusic #SpanishMusic @brouwer_trio #BenetCasablanca



http://ift.tt/2DbDH6Y
via Instagram

#morninglistening to #AlfredoCasella on @ChandosRecords...



#morninglistening to #AlfredoCasella on @ChandosRecords w/@BBCPhilharmonic & @NosedaG

http://amzn.to/XHBS9Qn

@surprisedbeauty music.

#classicalcdcollection
#classicalmusiccollection
#classicalmusic #orchestralsongs #italianmusic #20thCenturyMusic #surprisedbybeauty



http://ift.tt/2mtzRuM
via Instagram

#morninglistening to #Vivaldi on #BIS...



#morninglistening to #Vivaldi on #BIS w/@1b1tweets

http://amzn.to/Qss4NUF

#AntonioVivaldi #fluteconcertos

#classicalcdcollection
#classicalmusiccollection
#classicalmusic #EarlyMusic #baroquemusic #flutemusic #italianbaroque #recordermusic



http://ift.tt/2CYUm9H
via Instagram

13.1.18

#morninglistening to #PetrEben w/ #MartinuQuartet on...



#morninglistening to #PetrEben w/ #MartinuQuartet on @supraphonCZ

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/6oa3Lk8

possibly @SurprisedBeauty-music…

#classicalmusic #classicalmusiccollection #classicalcdcollection #czechmusic #ChamberMusic #stringquartet #20thCenturyMusic #surprisedbybeauty #PianoTrio #PianoQuintet



http://ift.tt/2mt9vJl
via Instagram

#morninglistening to #Sibelius on @OndineRecords w/@Yle_RSO...



#morninglistening to #Sibelius on @OndineRecords w/@Yle_RSO & @hlintu

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/2vhLXRo

#lemminkäinen legends!

@surprisedBeauty music

#classicalmusic #classicalmusiccollection #classicalcdcollection #contemporarymusic #20thCenturyMusic #finnishmusic #OrchestralMusic #JeanSibelius



http://ift.tt/2DrDBVC
via Instagram

12.1.18

#morninglistening to #Bach w/concertoItaliano &...



#morninglistening to #Bach w/concertoItaliano & RinaldoAlessandrini on @naiverecords

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/6nyG7iI

#GoldbergVariations for small ensemble. #HIP -yet- totally unorthodox + #Passacaglia

♡♡♡ #classicalmusic #classicalmusiccollection #classicalcdcollection #EarlyMusic #baroquemusic #ChamberMusic #JohannSebastianBach #historicalinstruments #historicallyinformedperformance #noFilter



http://ift.tt/2DpDnP1
via Instagram

#morninglistening to #JuliusBeliczay’s #Symphony No.1...



#morninglistening to #JuliusBeliczay’s #Symphony No.1 & #Serenade w/#BudapestConcertOrchestra

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/3R4MzOI

Rather decent 1995 performances of rather interesting repertoire.

#classicalmusic #Sterling #classicalmusiccollection #classicalcdcollection #orchestralmusic
#stringorchestra #repertoireexplorer #WorldPremiereRecordings #MAVzenekar



http://ift.tt/2Fucxpz
via Instagram

11.1.18

#morninglistening to #LvB #symphonies w/@RCOamsterdam &...



#morninglistening to #LvB #symphonies w/@RCOamsterdam & @BostonSymphony

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/7aRqMHt

der under/#RafaelKubelik - part of his international #Beethoven #Symphony cycle being reissued on #SACD.

#classicalmusic
#classicalmusiccollection #Decca #orchestralmusic #germanromanticism #Ludwigvan #ludwigvanbeethoven #classicalcdcollection #Kubelik



http://ift.tt/2D0yiPl
via Instagram

#morninglistening to #Stravinsky-rarities w/@LucerneFestival...



#morninglistening to #Stravinsky-rarities w/@LucerneFestival Orchestra undrr #Chailly on @DECCAclassics

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/3tW2ykd

#WorldPremiereRecordings - well, one. Ravishingly beautiful Stravinsky with the Rite a mere bonus. Igor at his most late-romantic French.

#lesacreduprintemps ♡♡♡ #classicalmusic #classicalmusiccollection #classicalcdcollection #20thCenturyMusic #IgorStravinsky #RiccardoChailly #OrchestralMusic #orchestralsongs #lucernefestivalorchestra



http://ift.tt/2D4VsF2
via Instagram

An Update about Updates to the Beethoven Piano Sonata Discography:


Readers interested in the discographies on ionarts might be interested to know that I have been working away on making some overdue updates to the Beethoven Sonata Survey:



Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Ronald Brautigam's BIS Cycle

Ronald Brautigam's hyper-complete cycle of the complete works for solo piano finished (on individ. volumes)


Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 3, 1977 - 1989

Eduardo del Pueyo's cycle on Pavane added, at last.


Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 4, 1990 - 1996

Bomba Piter "St.Petersburg Collective" cycle added.


Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 5, 1996 - 1999

Yaeko Yamane's cycle on Exton/Adam added.


Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 7, 2006 - 2009

Jean Muller's cycle re-issued on Membran. Irina Mejoueva's, Sequiera Costa's, and Hiroaki Ooi's cycles were newly added!


Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 8, 2010 - 2013

Sebastián Forster's self-published cycle added – and, more importantly, Paavali Jumppanen's cycle on Ondine added and given an "ionarts' choice" recommendation.


Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 9, 2014 – 2016

New cycles added by Tamami Honma (2015?, Divine Arts), Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (2011-2016, Chandos), Steven Masi (2011-2016, Troy/Albany) and Martin Rasch (2014-2016, Audite Forum)



Part 1: 1935 - 1966
Part 2: 1967 - 1975
Part 3: 1977 - 1989
Part 4: 1990 - 1996
Part 5: 1996 - 1999
Part 6: 2000 - 2005
Part 7: 2006 - 2009
Ronald Brautigam Special
Part 8: 2010 - 2013
Part 9: 2010 - 2013






10.1.18

#morninglistening to #Bach’s #ArtoftheFugue...



#morninglistening to #Bach’s #ArtoftheFugue w/@AccademiaBizant & #OttavioDantone on @DECCAclassics

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/6kfZNCQ

#DieKunstDerFuge

♡♡

#classicalmusic #classicalmusiccollection #classicalcdcollection #EarlyMusic #baroquemusic #JohannSebastianBach #historicalinstruments #historicallyinformedperformance #DieKunstDerFuge



http://ift.tt/2EtWqqr
via Instagram

#morninglistening to #Reger #organworks on #cpo: Amazon:...



#morninglistening to #Reger #organworks on #cpo:

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/VwzyuR2

w/#GerhardWeinberger.

After decades of dry Rheinberger, there are now two, three superb, sumptuous cycles available… This being one of them. The other is Buttmann’s on Oehms.

#classicalmusic #classicalmusiccollection #classicalcdcollection #20thCenturyMusic #organmusic #noFilter #germanromanticism

Link Organ Giengen. Klais Organ Beckum

Symphonische Phantasie op.57 ¤ Sechs Trios op.47 ¤ Sieben Orgelstücke op.145 ¤ Suite op.92



http://ift.tt/2FnATBa
via Instagram

9.1.18

#morninglistening to #FrancoisCouperin’s #Apotheosis...



#morninglistening to #FrancoisCouperin’s #Apotheosis w/@gli_incogniti on @harmoniamundi / @piasclassicsusa

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/6jj2mXI
w/@Amandine_Beyer

#classicalmusic #classicalmusiccollection #classicalcdcollection #EarlyMusic #baroquemusic #choralmusic #historicalinstruments #historicallyinformedperformance #HIP #frenchmusic

Only downside: Garbage verbose liner notes in the French style.



http://ift.tt/2DdDSeY
via Instagram

8.1.18

#morninglistening to magnificent #Telemann #cantatas...



#morninglistening to magnificent #Telemann #cantatas w/#KammerchorBadHomburg on #Christopherus:

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/1zuz15N

One of my favorite choices of other “Best-of” lists: Thanks @WQXR!

#classicalmusic #reformation500 #classicalmusiccollection
#classicalcdcollection #baroquemusic
#EarlyMusic #repertoireexplorer #georgphilipptelemann @wqxr_classical



http://ift.tt/2DaGo5z
via Instagram

7.1.18

#morninglistening to #KaraKarayev w/@BSOrchestra &...



#morninglistening to #KaraKarayev w/@BSOrchestra & @kkarabits on @ChandosRecords

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/c8Wg2ex

@SurprisedBeauty composer!

#classicalmusic #classicalmusiccollection
#classicalcdcollection #20thCenturyMusic #SovietClassicalMusic #AzerbaijaniMusic

#OrchestralMusic #surprisedbybeauty #repertoireexplorer



http://ift.tt/2CPJFtk
via Instagram

6.1.18

#morninglistening to #GrazynaBacewicz #stringquartets...



#morninglistening to #GrazynaBacewicz #stringquartets w/#SilesianQuartet on @ChandosRecords

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/1tVElgU

#Epiphany and another total @SurprisedBeauty composer!
#classicalmusic #classicalmusiccollection
#classicalcdcollection #20thCenturyMusic #PolishClassicalMusic on the occasion of the smashing Polish victory at the @VierSchanzenTournee / #4hills by @kamilstochofficial

#ChamberMusic #surprisedbybeauty #repertoireexplorer #polishmusic #stringquartet



http://ift.tt/2CZD7FV
via Instagram

#morninglistening to #Mozart w/@ChambOrchEurope on...



#morninglistening to #Mozart w/@ChambOrchEurope on @WarnerClassicUS w/#PiotrAnderszewski

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/sawebYi

in #pianoconcertos Nos. 25 & 27 on #Epiphany

#classicalmusic #classicalmusiccollection
#classicalcdcollection #WienerKlassik #orchestralmusic #pianoconcerto #Mozart #chamberorchestraofeurope
#Anderszewski



http://ift.tt/2CMvWnD
via Instagram

Forbes Classical CD Of The Week: Baroque Concerto Gems From Guretzky

Have a wonderful Epiphany!


…Frieder Bernius, leader of the Stuttgart Chamber Choir, was taught by a member of the Schola Cantorum Stuttgart whose founder and director, in turn, was the great Clytus Gottwald. Gottwald not only created some of the most challenging, brilliant, and touching arrangements for acapella groups, he was also close to György Ligeti and commissioned the latter’s Lux æterna (1966) for the 16 voices of his – the former’s – ensemble. That text specifically offered itself, because Ligeti had not set it in his Requiem (1965) and in that sense Lux æterna is a natural companion piece to the Requiem. This release on the chorally-inclined Carus label (mainly a publisher of scores with a side in superb recordings to popularize those scores – a setup not unlike Wergo/Schott) follows and links all these tracks and combines Frider Bernius’ 2006 performance of the Requiem with that of Lux æterna (put down in 1996) and then adds four of those sublime Gottwald arrangements of Ravel, Debussy, and Mahler (recorded between 1996 and 2007)[1]…

-> Classical CD Of The Week: Baroque Concerto Gems From Guretzky

5.1.18

#morninglistening to #LeoWeiner w/@ERSOtweet on @ChandosRecords...



#morninglistening to #LeoWeiner w/@ERSOtweet on @ChandosRecords w/@NeemeJarvi

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/68n14gP

#11thDayOfChristmas

#classicalmusic #classicalmusiccollection
#classicalcdcollection #20thCenturyMusic #HungarianClassicalMusic #Serenade #Divertimenti #Estonia #Erso #HungarianMusic #estoniannationalsymphonyorchestra #Doppelkopf



http://ift.tt/2quyDVb
via Instagram

#morninglistening to #CharlesIves w/@MelbSymphony on...



#morninglistening to #CharlesIves w/@MelbSymphony on @ChandosRecords w/#AndrewDavis

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/15aNQNT

in #symphonies No. 3 & 4 on the #11thDayOfChristmas

#classicalmusic #classicalmusiccollection
#classicalcdcollection #20thCenturyMusic #orchestralmusic #americanclassicalmusic #Symphony #SACD #Melbourne #melbournesymphonyorchestra
#jeanefflambavouzet



http://ift.tt/2CGP59T
via Instagram

4.1.18

#morninglistening to #Vivaldi on @Alpha_classics (@outheremusic)...



#morninglistening to #Vivaldi on @Alpha_classics (@outheremusic) w/@mussaintjulien

http://amzn.to/2Cpd621

#AntonioVivaldi with that WTF-twist; utterly enjoyable and bound to be a #CDoftheWeek

#classicalcdcollection
#classicalmusiccollection
#classicalmusic #EarlyMusic #baroquemusic #chambermusic #italianbaroque #FourSeasons #bagpipe



http://ift.tt/2AoeO1r
via Instagram

3.1.18

#morninglistening to #RobertFuchs #StringSerenadess on @Naxos...



#morninglistening to #RobertFuchs #StringSerenadess on @Naxos w/#CologneChamberOrchestra

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/71IUlSG

#ChristmasDay #10

#classicalmusic #naxosrecords #classicalmusiccollection #classicalcdcollection #orchestralmusic
#stringorchestra #repertoireexplorer

#10thDayOfChristmas



http://ift.tt/2CA2kKi
via Instagram

#morninglistening to #JohannSimonMayr #sacredmusic on @Naxos...



#morninglistening to #JohannSimonMayr #sacredmusic on @Naxos w/#virtuosiitaliani & Franz Hauk:

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/61wP6jc

#ChristmasDay #10

#classicalmusic #naxosrecords #classicalmusiccollection #classicalcdcollection #stringquintet
#Masses #StabatMater #repertoireexplorer #WorldPremiereRecordings

#10thDayOfChristmas



http://ift.tt/2ENcX9U
via Instagram

Forbes Classical CD Of The Week: Josef Bohuslav Foerster's Surprised-By-Beauty Music

Merry Tenth Day of Christmas to You!


…Here's my latest personal discovery: The music of Josef Bohuslav Foerster. So good are his string quartets, he is a lock for inclusion in “Surprised by Beauty III” on their strength alone. (Assuming we ever shift enough copies of Surprised by Beauty II not to be stuck with a big fat loss; sales being currently at an underwhelming 1100 books.) Back to J.B.Foerster: Born in 1859 in an Austrian Empire’s Prague, he would be on the old side of composers included in SBB which, very roughly, deals with composers of the 20th century and beyond. After all, it’s a “Listener’s Guide to the Recovery of Modern Music”. But Foerster lived until 1951, which puts him well within our range. And the majority of his five string quartets were written in the 20th century, after all…

-> Classical CD Of The Week: Josef Bohuslav Foerster's Surprised-By-Beauty Music

2.1.18

#morninglistening to @tonkuenstler in #RichardStrauss #tonepoems...



#morninglistening to @tonkuenstler in #RichardStrauss #tonepoems under #JunMärkl

http://a-fwd.to/5QJfUjw

#DonJuan, #DerBürgerAlsEdelmann, #todundverklärung

#9thDayofChristmas

#classicalmusic #classicalmusiccollection
#classicalcdcollection #germanromanticism #orchestralmusic #tonkünstlerorchester #tonkünstler #20thCenturyMusic
#ChristmasDay 9.



http://ift.tt/2A8iCUs
via Instagram

Gustav Mahler – Symphony No.4 (Part 3)




While Mahler’s Forth Symphony is very different from the previous three, it also constitutes the group of Wunderhorn Symphonies with them, of which the last three had all included vocal elements. From here on, Mahler set out on a slightly different path and soon had a new source of delight and suffering entering his life in the form of Alma Mahler, née Schindler.


available at Amazon
Symphony No.4, Boulez / Banse / Cleveland (DG)


available at Amazon
Symphony No.4, Sinopoli / Banse / Dresden StK. (PROFIL Hänssler)

I have just extolled the virtues of recent Mahler Fourth recordings by David Zinman, Iván Fischer, and Michael Tilson Thomas, but if they fail to elicit more enthusiastic praise from me, it is because they share with the earlier Haitink recordings and Pierre Boulez’ (DG) a missing, hard-to-define, distinctive quality that goes beyond exquisiteness. Unlike with the Third Symphony, I am less content with sheer excellence alone in the Fourth, since the recording catalog offers so many more choices. Swift Boulez almost gets there, though, because the Cleveland Orchestra provides him with pronounced and individualist chatter of instruments that comes, like Bernstein, a little closer to the aforementioned ideal of a “Concerto for Orchestra”. What does stand out with Boulez is his first movement, which he zips through at a pace that leaves you bopping along without your mind ever tempted to wander. Taking only a minute less than Bruno Walter (who more than makes up for lost time in the last two movements), he sounds twice as fast. His soprano Juliane Banse is equally wonderful in the totally different, very broad Sinopoli recording from Dresden (PROFIL Hänssler) where the Italian (one of the few conductors to master Bruckner and Mahler equally well at a relatively young age) adds three minutes to Boulez’ 8’44” in “Das himmlische Leben”… with wildly fluctuating tempi. Banse doesn’t sing her quick parts any slower in Dresden than she does in Cleveland, only her slow parts are retarded to a point where it must have become challenging for the singer to maintain the line. It is exaggeration occasionally—well, regularly—seen in Sinopoli’s Mahler, but one can’t blame him for wanting to explore the beautifully spacious acoustic and striking sound of the orchestra both of which come across nicely on the recording.

available at Amazon
Symphony No.4, Kletzki / Loose / Philharmonia (EMI)

The gEMIni re-issue of Paul Kletzki’s Fourth—coupled with his acclaimed Lied—does the EMI remastering-engineers proud: the 1957 sound is far better than one might expect and the performance among the light ones that please. Paul Kletzky’s wife, Emmy Loose, sings faultlessly and wonderfully innocently, if without particular distinction beyond that. Washingtonians with a long memory and therefore skeptical of such musical Mahler-Fourth / Wife nepotism can be assured that Loose earns her inclusion in that performance on account of skill, not wedding band. [Ed.] It holds up in 2017 just as much as in 2009 and it is high time that Warner, which has taken over EMI's catalogue and tends to it very appreciably, gives this a nice re-issue as it seems currently out of print.

available at Amazon
Symphony No.4, Haitink / Schäfer / RCO (RCO Live)

SACDLogo_Klein2
One Mahler recording issued in 2008 truly stood out among the lot: the Concertgebouw’s performance of the Fourth Symphony with Bernard Haitink conducting and Christine Schäfer taking the soprano part. If a Fourth Symphony can easily be undone by an inappropriate soprano (Gielen/Whittlesey, Abbado/Fleming), it can’t generally be ‘made’ by a great singer. Well, maybe Schäfer could actually, because her soprano is simply perfect for “Das himmlische Leben”. Clarity and beauty of tone are a given with her, but the innocence, the angelic ring that she believably exudes is exactly what the symphony (and Mahler) asks for. In theory a treble might be better, still, but put into practice it simply doesn’t work.

Fortunately Schäfer doesn’t have to rescue anything here, she’s simply the crowning glory of what is a superb performance. Haitink is generally short on cutting and acerbic tones in Mahler and long on beauty. So here. This Fourth Symphony (his fourth commercial recording of it!) benefits from beauty and suffers not from the absence of tortuous and biting sounds, as for example the Sixth would. Generous, rich, and yet transparent, there is plenty of that beauty to go around here. Among his three live recordings (two with the RCO and one with the Berlin Philharmonic), this is the one with the quickest pulse. The RCO plays with near-perfection (this is a true live recording, not patched from several performances), its usual gorgeousness, and grandeur of sound—all caught perfectly by the recording engineers. This sumptuous performance has now replaced Inbal, my previous top choice.


available at Amazon
Symphony No.4, Gielen / Whittlesey / South West German RSO (Hänssler)

Michael Gielen’s Mahler is more and more becoming a favorite of mine. Here is a conductor with a modernist perspective of Mahler (like Abbado and Chailly) who (unlike Abbado and Chailly) can really rip through these symphonies instead of making them sound ‘lovely’. There is little of that ‘well behaved’ sound in his recordings with the South-Western Radio Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden. Perhaps because his players are not as seasoned a Mahler orchestra as are Chicago, Vienna, and even Berlin? His Fourth suffers from the same problem Abbado’s does, though: Three good movements and then big a let-down from the soprano. Christine Whittlesey’s problem is not self-conscious artificiality but that she sounds like the evil witch from one of Brother’s Grimm fairy tales. You’d think that once she finishes with “Die eng’lischen Stimmen / Ermuntern die Sinnen, / Daß alles für Freuden erwacht” she’ll rush back home to roast Hänsel. Others react more kindly to her voice, but it manages to rub me the wrong way, alright. (Gielen’s inclusion of the sublime Schreker “Prelude to a Drama” probably makes for the best filler on any disc with the Fourth Symphony, though.) [Ed.] Gielen's cycle has just been re-boxed by SWR Classic: This arguable dud apart (and they all have at least one dud), it is probably one of the two all-around best Mahler cycles out there. While this second re-issue also doesn't include the fillers that I find so attractive in the single discs, it does include absolutely all the Mahler that Gielen recorded with the South-Western Radio Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden & Freiburg and covers 17 CDs and a DVD of the Ninth Symphony.

available at Amazon
Symphony No.4, Chailly / Bonney / RCO (Decca)


available at Amazon
Symphony No.4, Szell / Raskin / Cleveland (Decca)

Another wonderful and appropriate filler are the Seven Early Songs by Berg. The above mentioned Abbado offers them (and here, unlike with Mahler, Fleming really shines)—as does the Ricardo Chailly recording with the Concertgebouw and Barbara Bonney. Like Gielen, the recording can be difficult to get outside the complete box (Arkiv currently lists it, actually), which is a shame as neither collections—Gielen’s or Chailly’s—include any of the ‘fillers’. Chailly’s Fourth is unwavering in its forward-momentum… steady and secure like a sewing machine. Understated, but surreptitiously powerful. The playing (aided by excellent sound) is three-dimensional. There isn’t a more delicate, more loving third movement on record. This is a monument to well thought-out craftsmanship of the highest order. ([Ed.] Chailly has re-recorded the Fourth in Leipzig - issued on DVD/Blu-ray on Accentus, this time with the fine (scarcely divine but appropriately young) Christina Landshamer as the soprano.)

Many consider the George Szell recording (Sony) with Judith Raskin one of the finest recordings; inexplicably it has gone out of print... though thankfully it can now be had as an ArkivMusic licensed CDR re-print (if you can't find the original cheaper on Amazon). It should be heard; it remains one of the finest in the catalog even after so many years of strong competition. The same cannot be said of every recording that has old age on its side. When, after timid discovery, I started listening to Mahler in earnest, it was usually a Bruno Walter recording that I went with. My first impressions of the First, Second, and Fourth were with Walter. Such early impressions are usually indelible, but in this case they have all been dislodged and surpassed. His Fourth (Sony) with the New York Philharmonic from May of 1945, for example, is nice and brisk, and the less than perfect playing, occasionally sour, can be said to add lots of character. (More character, still, comes from the so-so 1945 recording quality!) But it is full of strange touches, too. Take the first movement, where Walter doesn’t hurry up the introductory sleigh-bell phrase and consequently has no room or time for a ritardando. (Boulez almost does the opposite: begins fast and refuses to slow down.) By not making much of a distinction between “Deliberate” and “Very leisurely”, it sounds like his sleigh grinds into the snow and never quite gets going again. For reasons of interpretation and authority, Walter is always worth coming back to. But if I had only two or three Mahler Fourths on my shelf, I’d not put up with the technical limitations this effort demands excusing.



The font used in the title is "Eckmann Regular"

Mahler 4 Choices

1. Bernard Haitink / Christine Schäfer, RCO, RCO Live

2. Eliahu Inbal / Helen Donath, Frankfurt RSO, Denon / Brilliant

3. Paul Kletzki / Emmy Loose, Philharmonia Orchestra, EMI

4. Esa Pekka Salonen / Barbara Hendricks, LA Phil, Sony via Arkiv

5. George Szell / Judith Raskin, Cleveland, Sony via Arkiv

6. Riccardo Chailly / Barbara Bonney, RCO, Decca

Mahler 4 SACD Choice

Bernard Haitink / Christine Schäfer, RCO, RCO Live


This continues Gustav Mahler — Symphony No.4 (Part 1)
and: "GUSTAV MAHLER — SYMPHONY NO.4 (PART 2)"
FIND A LIST OF THE Mahler Survey HERE: HTTP://IONARTS.BLOGSPOT.COM/2009/12/MAHLER-SURVEY.HTML



Gustav Mahler. Postcard by Hans Boehler.
Courtesy of the Carnegie Hall Archives