Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Glorious John! I replaced my faithful old CD of Barbirolli conducting Elgar and Vaughan Williams pieces (including Tallis and Greensleeves, plus Sospiri, etc) with a new GROC version. Fine new sound; and what playing, and what music! This CD has to be one of the great immortal classics of all time.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Greatly astonished when settling down to listen to twelve pieces played by David Nadien (kindly sent to me by Lee). Here was a violinist who, in these pieces, was fully the equal of Milstein, Elman, Gingold, Hassid, etc! And I had never heard of him until Lee practically forced him on me. Seamless technique, plus the art of varying tone and approach so that each of the short pieces lives its own life. A quite unbelievable discovery.

Monday, 12 November 2007

After a second bite, big round of applause for Fanny Clamagirand. I picked up her CD of the complete solo violin sonatas of Ysaye purely by accident in the FNAC in Paris. It goes to the top of the pile for performances of these multi-faceted works. Like anyone under 25 years old, Clamagirand has no technical problems. But the variety and chameleon colouring she brings to the 15 movements rival that of Heifetz (if only he had recorded them). Top of the class. Whatever Ms Clamagirand records next, I'll be there! Proves the wisdom of serendipity when record buying.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

A fortuitous acquisition (FNAC, in Paris) was Fanny Clamagirand playing the six Ysa├┐e sonatas. Intelligent playing; over the fifteen movements of the sonatas there is plenty of room for alternative views, tempi, dynamics, etc and there are many good versions of the sonata. But Miss Clamagirand pleases.
Turning to more well-known names, I was again impressed with Lisa Batiashvili playing the Beethoven violin concerto, this time with the New York Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel (October 2007). Batiashvili is always impressive in this piece and, despite her very broad tempo for the opening allegro, I tend to go along with her. She has a remarkable power of concentration that really draws you into the music.
A final disc of note is another Handel disc from Magdalena Kozena – arias from the operas and oratorios. Sung with much fire and fury (where required) and, as always with Georg Frideric, entrancing music.