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Volume 10 Issue 6 - March 2005

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projects a formidable

projects a formidable dramatic edge in the powerful recitatives and the virtuosic fury arias like "I am surrounded by enemies, charged by mighty bulls". Her idiomatic, careful delivery of the words enlivens Marcello's uncluttered textures. Two of his Sonatas a tre for two violas da gamba and continua fill out this disc admirably, although I can't help wishing for the whole of Salmo XVIII instead. The intensely personal nature of Marcello's psalm settings, which viola da gambist Jay Bernfield, leader of the terrific ensemble, points to in his booklet notes, has been captured here with great success, making this an especially memorable and lovely disc. Pamela Margles Mozart Complete Sonatas for keyboard and violin, Vol.1 Gary Cooper; Rachel Podger Channel Classics CCS SA 21804 Mozart Complete Sonatas for fortepiano and violin Vol.2 David Breitman; Jean-Fram;ois Rivest Analekta AN2 9823-4 That these two most recent recordings of Mozart's sonatas for keyboard and violin are made on historical instruments indicates how accepted period performance practices have become today. Both duos use violins from the period and authentic copies of fortepianos similar to Mozart's own. The benefits of performing on period sive, with five of the six wonderful Auernhammer Sonatas plus the great A major Sonata KV 526. Cooper and Podger's single disc, which initiates their traversal of the sonatas, intentionally offers a cross-section. The charming Sonata in C major KV 6, published when Mozart was eight, is often overlooked in recordings of the sonatas, while the exquisite Sonata in F major KV 547 is Mozart's last. Cooper and Podger are full of character and exciting ideas. Podger is a muscular, confident player with gorgeous tone . Cooper's mellow sound is enriched by his thoughtfully articulated textures. But they overload Mozart's delicately balanced classical framework with extravagant ornamentation, rhythmic alterations and exaggerated dynamics, especially on the repeats. Rivest and Breitman favour a more elegantly nuanced style, using an imaginative range of articulations for the repeats. While Rivest doesn't achieve Podger's thrilling tone, he expresses a broader range of moods, wellcomplimented by Breitman's natural fluency and playfulness. The different approaches are apparent right from the opening of Sonata in B-tlat major KV 378. Even though the violin is accompanying here, Podger enters with a grand flourish. When she gets the melody, she is already way more intense than Mozart's piano marking indicates . But Rivest enters gingerly, his sound blending with th.e colours of the piano melody, and takes over the line gently. The Breitman and Rivest booklet is undermined by confusing graphic design. But this is preferable to the Cooper and Podger booklet, which talks about Leopold, Wolfgang, Rachel and Gary, but doesn't say much about the music. Nor does it say why Gary is out of focus and half Rachel's size on the photo. PamMargles CLASSICAL AND BEYOND lished it with its own opus-number and substituted a new finale, shorter and lighter, though featuring a central fugato section - altogether a better match to the ambience of Op. 130. In live performances these days, this new finale is suppressed, for dubious reasons. Scoffing at length and difficulty, professional ence could lament that of quartets prefer to play Op. 130 with Beethoven's 17 works for string its more complicated original ending. I heard the work twice last sea­ quartet only ten were available. "Perhaps no other body of music of son, both times in that form. comparable importance is so poorly Beethoven is not allowed to change represented on the gramophone." A his mind? The Takacs Quartet finds half-century later, the recent recorda nea t m1 . ddl e-pa th so 1 uuon · to t h e ing of all 17 works by the Takacs . . . · quesuon. They place the Fugue as Quartet (of which the third and last . . trac k 10 (th e fi ma 1 trac k o fO p. l30) mstalment 1s now released) augments . - ' I f . . but to hear the substitute fmale you a cata ogue o 40 to 50 ot h er mte- . . . . . can skip to track 11. Their account gral vers10ns, mcludmg transfers t· h 1 t · · 11 ti d rom u apest, me rts an por s thed even 78 rpm (Busch). These pieces · . The rauona 1 e t• or strmg-orc · h estra are the cream of the repertmre, no . . · b · h . transcriptions of the quartets (such question; ut, is t 1s not over k"ll? 1 . as t h at o f 0 p. 127 new 1 y recor ded Do players and promoters never ask un d er M urray p era h" 1a ) is · h ar d to themselves what other quartets may acce t. Th ey 1 eave wm · d an d per be "poorly represented on the gram- . cuss1on members on the players h "? E d f d"t 1 . . nc , an e music - conce1v ed B uyers w h o opt fi or th is entry over h f . not orchestrally but for one to a part t ose o ot h er name ensem bi es on h I. 1 bel . - becomes ponderous rather than ot er qua tty a s are un 1 k e 1 y to b d . profound, even when (as here) me- 1sap01nte · d . 1 n t h e rare f !e d 1 ate ticulously performed. pieces ot the cycle, the performers . . J o h 11 8 ec k wit · l 1 nse well to the challenges ot the music. They achieve high planes of Editor's Note: The Sony disc also expressivity in the astonishing Op. includes Murray Perahia in his more 131 and they cope fearlessly with usual role as pianist in Beethoven's the sprawling Great Fugue, Op.133. Sonata Op. 101. f LP (B d F A ) d op one . n o e 1 ona . Like many of their contemporaries, they make a scramble out of some fast movements, e. g . , the Presto of Op. 130 and even (surprisingly) the finale of Op. 132. The "hairpin" dynamics, like breathing, that are so essential to the profound feelings of these works, become lost in the rush. However, in a favourite movement, the "Tedesca" of Op. 130, similar touching ·details are well observed. (In the review copy, I have to report, this piece contained annoying tlaws, found nowhere else in the album.) o t e at er 1s espec1a y me an be h d th Concert Notes: Toronto audiences will have the opportunity to hear TSO maestro Peter Oundjian, former first violinist of the Tokyo String Quartet, conduct his own transcription of Beethoven's Op.131 quartet on April 2 as part of the New Creations Festival at Roy Thomson Hall. One wonders if perhaps Oundjian, with his intimate connection to the "one to a part" nature of this music, will be better able to capture the profundity in his orchestration. The Lark Quartet will perform Beethoven's Grosse Fuge for the Women's Musical Club of Toronto on March JO. instruments are apparent on both of these excellent recordings. Both duos achieve a rich variety of colours in Beethoven: The Late String Quartets Takacs Quartet Beethoven - Symphony #5; Wagner - Parsifal: Prelude & the different registers. With both Decca 470 849-2 Good Friday violinists using minimal vibrato, and Furtwangler - Symphonic Beethoven: String Quartet Op. 127, both pianists little sustaining of the Concerto: Adagio* transcribed for string orchestra sound. Textures are refreshingly The one-movement Great Fugue Berlin Philharmonic Academy of St Martin in the clear, especially in passagework and originated as a massive and densely Wilhelm Furtwangler Fields; Murray Perahia ornaments . polyphonic finale to the B flat Quar- *with Edwin Fischer, piano Sony Classical SK 93043 The two-disc Breitman and Rivest tet, Op. 130. Persuaded that, as NAXOS 8.110879 set, the second in their survey of the In 1951 long - play was in its infan- such, it was difficult for both play­ Mozart sonatas, is more comprehen-. cy ' and a record-collectors' refer- ers and listeners, Beethoven pub- 70 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM It is conceded that in 1937/1939 Furtwangler and his Berlin Philhar- . MARCH 1 - APRIL 7 2005

Mahler. Chamber Orchestra; Claudio Abbado Deutsche Grammophon 477502-2 monic were at the very height of musical powers both in interpretation and execution. Happily for music lovers around the world HMV recorded the Tchaikovsky Sixth, the Beethoven - Piano Concertos Beethoven Fifth. and the usual two nos. 3 & 5 each from Tristan and Parsifal. Benno Moiseiwitsch For many years Furtwangler's Philharmonia Orchestra; reputation as an iconoclast rested Malcolm Sargent (3) on these 27 78rpm sides. Through- London Philharmonic; out his career he intuitively looked George Szell (5) beyond the printed score, making NAXOS: 8.110776 every performance a personal statement. Some conductors, such was very angry to the verge of deas Daniel Barenboim, attempt to es but intuition is not a quality that many versions of the Pastoral symcan be emulated. sifal Prelude. The flawlessly judged rests midway through have never conveyed so much meaning. If rap- ture can be conveyed in music then here it is. The Good Friday Music breaks the spell but then recasts it as an apotheosis. There is clearly more to this music than just getting the right notes in the right order. The Beethoven performance is aristocratic with not one tentative cisely sets up Moiseiwitsch's stenness that reflects the conductor's less than razor sharp beat. This is the work Sargent matches the inspione of the great recordings. tor's own concerto, recorded by Some years ago a most irate fellow manding satisfaction because on a give Furtwangler-like performancradio discussion on CJRT-FM of phony we found Toscanini and Furt-. Listen to the nuances of dynamics, phrasi'ng and tempo in the Par- wangler equally persuasive and de­ sirable. Surely in any art form one can equally appreciate diametrically opposed points of view. Moiseiwitsch's 3rd was recorded in EMI's Abbey Road Studio No. 1 in December 1950 and confirms that the legendary pianist's reputation was not exaggerated. Sargent, a fine musician and interpreter, was best known as HMV's house accompa- nist. The bite and urgency of the first movement's orchestral opening premoment and yet there is an open- torian entry and right to the end of ration of his soloist. The booklet The movement from the conducidentifies the cadenza as that by Carl Reinecke. The second movement Electrola, reminds us of Furtwansounds like one of those rare mogler's empathy with Bruckner and · ments of creation wherein the lis­ Brahms. There is a complete tener can hear Beethoven's train of Fischer/Furtwangler live recordthought as each successive note _ aping of the concerto on a Pilz C. pears. There is no lapse of power· Excellent transfers make this a and concentration in the last movevery desirable disc. The rest of b.le on an earlier Naxos release. Bruce Surtees Beethoven - Piano Concertos nos.2&3 Martha Argerich MARCH 1 - APRIL 7 2005 ment where every familiar note those HMV recordings are availafrom pianist and orchestra sounds logical and fresh. The transfers are full-bodied and detailed. The Emperor from 1938, although not quite as brilliantly recorded, finds the pianist and George Szell at their very best, seeing eyeto-eye, producing one of, if not the work's finest pre-WW2 recording. Admittedly Moiseiwitsch was of the old school of Schnabel, Backhaus, Gieseking, et al and does have some dated mannerisms, but these recordings reveal a master pianist totally absorbed into the score. WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM 'Ms Jackson is superb here, completely secure in her wide-ranging technique .. ; of the ... finest bassoon recilals I have· lucky enough lo review. Steven Ritter, The A Record Guide, Sept./

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