Monday, 30 July 2007

Sunday evening I basked once again in the comfortable arms of Handel's Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno (Emmanuelle Haïm, Natalie Dessay, et al). Undemanding music, uncomplicated, and quite entrancing. A good way to spend 2 1/2 hours! And I also enjoyed Handel's contemporary, Johann Sebastian in the Trauer-Ode cantata (BWV 198) in Pierre Pierlot's excellent new recording with the Ricercar Consort. While I am going off one-per-part Bach choruses, it does work well in some of the cantatas, as here.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Having a bit of a Julia Fischer season at the moment. Polished off the two Brahms concerti again, then embarked on the Tchaikovsky disc. Next up will be the trio of Russian concertos, then I'll have another go at the Bach solo sonatas and partitas (that did not impress me too much first time round). Miss Fischer is pretty remarkable; cool, poised, classical, controlled. Reminds me often of Nathan Milstein. She is not an impulsive player, nor does she wear her heart on her sleeve. But when the music demands agitation, she agitates. She is due to play the Elgar concerto (in Poole and Reading) next year, and I shall certainly try to make a pilgrimage to hear her. Enjoying her playing is greatly aided by the superb Pentatone engineering of the CDs – very well balanced, to boot.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

David Gomberg sent me a broadcast of Akiko Suwanai playing the second Prokofiev violin concerto (Luxembourg Philharmonic, Emmanuel Krevine, July 2007). Totally admirable, as is pretty well everything this violinist does. Strange that she is not better known, since she plays with intelligence, extraordinary ability, and a real concentration on the music rather than on drawing attention to herself and her great violin. Pretty well everything Akiko does is OK by me; real musical intelligence, and a real mastery of the violin. It's an unfair world. Of the 49 pieces of music I have her playing, I would guess 47 are totally admirable -- I only hesitate over her Bruch G minor concerto, and Scottish Fantasy; but maybe this is also because Neville Marriner is accompanying.

Friday, 6 July 2007

New CDs continue to pour in. Nice, on occasions, to receive a real "find". Such a CD is that featuring Liza Ferschtman and Inon Barnatan playing the Beethoven Op 96 sonata, plus Schubert's Fantasia; pretty short measure, but never mind. This is a true partnership, with a well-balanced piano and violin. Both players know how to play piano and pianissimo, which has the advantage of making forte and fortissimo passages really stand out. Too many violinists, in particular, play at a constant mezzoforte.

Nice programme; excellent playing (by both); excellent balance; excellent choice of works. It's a CD I shall come back to regularly.