Sunday, 26 September 2004

Enjoyable re-listen to the F minor violin concerto by Otar Taktakishvili (probably Number 2, dating from 1976, but I must investigate. CD copy from Carlos). Highly capable soloist was Liana Isakadze (Georgia). Not all the Soviet music written and performed 1920-90 was dross. The Taktakishvili is a mixture of Mahler and Rimsky-Korsakov. Enjoyable to sit back and listen to.
Before that, I had basked once again in Patrizia Ciofi and Joyce Di Donato in Handel's opera duets. Bliss! And listened once again to Mendelssohn's Op 80 quartet, which is rapidly becoming one of my "fetish" works. From the heart, to the heart, to paraphrase Beethoven.
Weekend rounded off with an excellent dover sole, plus a rich casserole of ox tale. All is well, for the moment !

Saturday, 18 September 2004

Handel and Franck / Fauré. First it was sheer bliss to listen to Patrizia Ciofi and Joyce Di Donato singing duets from Handel operas (Virgin Veritas, new release). Handel soars and dives and enchants. This really is a CD to take to Heaven (or elsewhere) with me.
Followed by the elusive Lola Bobescu (with Jacques Genty) in the Franck sonata and the first Fauré sonata. One can only boggle at the fact that semi-contemporaries such as Isaac Stern had great and glorious careers while Bobescu (who was his equal technically and his superior musically) hung around on the edges of a Belgian / Japanese career. Like Ciofi and Di Donato in Handel, Bobescu soars and dives. I must find more of her recordings. Hard to get.
Nachspeisen were Sherry Kloss playing arrangements and transcriptions (on Heifetz's own Tononi violin). CD courtesy of Carlos. Highly enjoyable. A shame no one has really taken on the large-scale arrangement work of Kreisler and Heifetz in the violin world. Anyway; well done Ms Kloss. And the violin sounds just as good as it did back in 1917 on Heifetz's original recordings.

Monday, 13 September 2004

This weekend it was Otto Klemperer again; he seems to be becoming my House Conductor. This time it was the 1957 concerts with Claudio Arrau at the Royal Festival Hall, and the piano concertos Nos. 3, 4 and 5 (I was actually in the audience in September 1957 for the fourth concerto!)
I am perfectly happy with these performances and recordings. Don't need any others. Somewhat to my surprise, I particularly enjoyed the third concerto. In the fourth concerto, the orchestral sound is a bit backward. But good, evergreen classics.

Sunday, 5 September 2004

Gloroius Bernard Haitink! At 75 years old, his 3 September Promenade concert with the Dresden Staatskapelle Orchestra saw an exemplary performance of Mozart's Jupiter symphony, and a truly marvellous performance of Bruckner's 7th symphony. Listening to this Bruckner performance, it is quite clear that the work demands an orchestra with the sonorities of Central Europe, and a conductor who concentrates on the paragraphs rather on than the sentences. A great, classic account. It's fortunate I captured it on CD.
Another Britten violin concerto! This time played by Frank Peter Zimmermann (broadcast March 2004 from Paris, courtesy of Ronald de Haas). Confirms my love of this concerto. I had never really considered Zimmermann before, but he is revealed here as a major violinist. His encore, Paganini's variations on God Save the King reveals quite incredible virtuosity (unlike the Ricci live recording I have of the piece, with intonation there all over the place).
I must brush up on Zimmerman recordings. I have him playing the Beethoven concerto (with Jeffrey Tate) but it never really registered. Goodness only knows how I am going to find it, in the bowels of my collection, somewhere.