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Volume 10 Issue 9 - June 2005

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-·11ii•11111tt1@111- replicas illustrate sharp differences - wood, not teel, frames; leather, not felt, hammers. Beethoven's score contains no specific indications for the soft pedal, but Orkis applies the device in the opening bars of the sonata and elsewhere in pianissimo passages; its silvery color in the fortepianos is perfect for the Appassionata's wild contrasts. For the theme of the central Andante con moto variations, there is even something called a bassoon stop, an interesting period rattle perhaps veering towards quaintness. The sonata relishes the bunching of low bass notes into chords, especially at loud moments, and here the 1830 instrument offers surprising force and clarity. The equivalent effects on the modern piano are, of course, wonderfully resonant but require careful control: Orkis says he was surprised that his Bosendorfer performance was marginally slower than the other two. Beethoven Sonatas at the Library of Congress Henryk Szeryng; Gary Graffman Bridge9165 These performances have been remastered from original Library of Congress LPs, recorded in the early 1970s. Henryk Szeryng is one of the great "worldly" Eastern European violinists, born near the beginning of the 20th century and deeply connecting music with life experience, especially during Wor.ld War II. During his charmed upbringing near Warsaw, he studied with an assistant of Leopold Auer's, knew Paderewski and eventually moved tO Berlin to study with Carl Flesch. A few years later (early I 930s) he was in Paris, studying violin with Gabriel Bouillon and composition with Nadia Boulanger. He is quoted in the liner notes of this recording as saying "violinists should obtain a good general education, particularly in the humanities, in history, and languages. The study of music should include the sciences of acoustics and mathematics. Their musical education should include harmony, counterpoint, piano, orchestra, opera, etc. A violinist can learn a good deal from singers and from pianists." Here, here. Well, this recording, with its slightly inferior sound quality and rough edges, is a joy. Gary Graffman, a fine American pianist born continued from page SS Orkis is an experienced and versatile U.S. artist. He plays the sonata with a fine appreciation of its special expressive ambience, its insistence, and its exaggerated loud/ soft swings. Appassionata was not the composer's title, but "passionate" seems the right word for those terrific sweeps up and down the keyboard in movements 1 and 3, and for that whirling gypsy song ·just before the end. Orkis delivers it all with impressive precision, and follows Beethoven's sometimes-eccentric pedal markings - with strikingly different results in the three instruments. However, his interpre- . tat ion of movement 2 's tempo (An- dante con moto = "moving along") reduces this .oasis of tranquility to mere plainness, at least in the fortepiano versions: the modern-piano performance inserts a few person­ al rubato touches. All in all an uncommonly worthwhile release. John Beckwith in 1928, gives solid partnership in these remarkable pieces, but my biased ears keep turning to Szeryng. I've never heard the famous opening of the Kreutzer sonata played with such a magnificent mixture of technique and soul. .. and in fact the two become one throughout this recording. Szeryng' expression through dazzling technique is intriguing and wholly satisfying to listen to. That's not to say the performances are not without their flaws. They're live recordings, after all, with a certain "seat of the pants" excitement which occasionally elicits some bloopers, but these are wonderfully in the spirit of the whole thing. Ultimately, the genius of Beethoven shines through: what tremendous and deep insight that man had, and what a miracle it is that we are able to connect to it so fully and intimately in this very different day and age. Larry Beckwith OLD WINE ... NEW BOTTLES One frequently asked question, in Canada at least, r----:--.. ... ..... is "What happened to Ofra Harnoy?" Ofra is a cellist who was front and centre throughout the l 980's until she withdrew to raise a family in the early 1990s. For RCA Red Seal her first undertaking was to record Vivaldi cello concertos with 'The Toronto Chamber Orchestra', an ad hoe group assembled for the occasions by -----' conductor by Paul Robinson. Paul was familiar voice on CJRT-FM and also conductor of the CJRT Orchestra and The Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra. The recordings received enthusiastic reviews everywhere. BMG has a new four disc set which happily returns these gems, which have lost none of thejr sparkle, to the catalogue at budget price [82876678862]. '· The late Claudio Arrau's admirers will be pleased to know that Music & Arts has a new CD [CDI 158] of the two Chopin concertos. The first with Otto Klemperer and the Cologne WDR Orchestra from 25 October 1954; the second with Fritz Busch and The New York Philharmonic from the U.N. Human Rights Day Concert of 10 December 1950. A[rau was not the usual titan of the keyboard who felt the need to flaunt his considerable technique but a thoughtful musician who did not put himself between the composer and the listener. He treated every note as important and one has only to listen to these performances to know exactly what that means. Klemperer is rather gruff for Chopin but it is Arrau on whom we focus. No complaims about the sound which is remarkably clean and clear and not restricted in dynamics. Another artist who plays more than just the notes is violinist Ida Haendel, well known for her recording of the Sibelius concerto on EM!. Supraphon has a new CD of recordings made in 1959 and 1965 in Prague [SU3782]. The pleasure in hearing her play results from her sensitivity to what the music is saying and passing it on to us. Included is the Glazunov and the Wieniawski 2nd concertos, and for violin and piano, Stravinsky's Divertimento and Tartini's Devil's Trill Sonata. An exceptional disc. . Louisville First Edition recordings are back! The original First Edition LPs were just that, introducing music-hungry co)lectors to composers and compositions which they would never hear in concert nor find elsewhere on the dealers' shelves. They commissioned works from famous and not so famous composers, introducing us to composers Tobias Picker, Joan Tower, Christopher Rouse, Lou Harrison, John Harbison, and others. There are about 50 CDs out now. An excellent 17 track sampler [FEDC0032] has music by all the above composers and other . Mostly in stereo, each of the tracks samples a disc that, quite likely, would be passed over on a dealer's shelf. My instant reaction to each track was that I must have this disc. Five more Mercury Living Presence hybrid SACDs are out and I must say that I was startled by the sound of the CD tracks. Audiophiles tumbled over each other fawning over the original digital transfers while invoking the name of Wilma Cozart Fine. The DSD transfers, employing new three-track playback heads to read the original tapes, are superior. I listened to the five of them as CDs and find it difficult to prefer one over the other. .. the Roumanian and Hungarian Rhapsodies, or Janos Starker's Dvorak. Byron Janis's mighty Prokofiev 3rd and Rachmaninoff lst were recorded in Moscow, as was Balalaika Favorites with the Osipov State Russian Folk Orchestra. "Screamers and March Time" with Frederick Fennel is a riot. Bruce Surtees . Editor's Note: Reviewer John Beckwith will . . . . take a closer look at the Louisville Orchestra First Edition re-issues next month in DISCoveries. 56 WWW. TAEWHOLENOTE.CoM JUNE 1 - JULY 7 2005

NEW.from Deutsche Grammophon • 1erre OULE birthday, Deutsche Grammophon celebrates with this release _performed by the young Finn, aavali Jumppanen. !JS claim to be the most consistently "sfying of the complete sets currently ailable" Gramophone May 2005 LANG LANG'S RECENT TORONTO PERFORMANCE OF THE PAGANINI WON OVER THE HEARTS OF THE CROWO ANO THE CRITICS! THE PERFECT SOLOIST FOR THIS VIRTUOSO ENSEMBLE -THE GLOBE ANO MAIL A PIANIST BORN TO PLAY -THE NATIONAL POST YES. YES-LANG LANG HAS CLAIM TO GREATNESS-TORONTO STAR

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