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Volume 16 Issue 4 - December 2010

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from the 14th, all duly

from the 14th, all duly presented in a stylishapproved. Indeed, to my mind, the smallerresources found here result in a wonderfulsense of intimacy, transporting the listenerfrom the vast space of the concert-hall toa private chamber in 18th century Vienna.—Richard HaskellBeethoven – Piano TriosOp. 70 Nos.1/2; Op. 11Gryphon TrioAnalekta AN 2 9860It will surelycome as no surpriseto learn that thewonderful GryphonTrio are in theirusual superb formvolume in theirrecording of the complete Beethoven PianoTrios. clarinet, cello and piano but published forclarinet or violin, apparently to increase thesales potential. years now, and their mutual understandingand sense of ensemble is unsurpassed. Fromthe cascade of unison notes that opens themovement that prompted the work’s sub-title,to the ebullient closing bars of the Op.11,there is never a moment when you don’t feelthat this must surely be the only way to playthis music.Jamie Parker, as usual, anchors theperformances with his immaculately brilliantpiano playing, and violinist AnnaleePatipatanakoon and cellist Roman Borysare every inch his equal. In every possiblerespect – tempo, phrasing, dynamics, ensemble,style – this is playing and interpretationof the highest quality, and the result isalready impressive catalogue of recordings.Recorded in the Salle Francoys-Berniersound is warm and resonant, and the balanceideal.—Terry RobbinsBrahms – Violin Sonatas 1-3Mark Fewer; Peter LongworthAzica ACD71259Long-time collab-erand Peter Longworthhave produceda fascinating andthought-provok-Brahms violin sonatas.This is notnecessarily the sonatas asthewayyouwouldyou wouldthat they’re possibly a little too restrained,and perhaps lacking a sense of urgency andtension at times, but this soon proves to beirrelevant. sonata – the two warm piano chords and thealmost hesitant off-beat entry of the violin– always set the tone for the whole work,and Fewer and Longworth set up their stallfrom the outset. The tempo is perfect, with agentle, rhythmic lilt that never falters, and avibrato are warm but never large or effusive,allowing Longworth to shine and establisha true balance and sense of partnership.playing.This mood of thoughtful interpretationcontinues throughout the work, andwell. Finally, when the mood changes in thepossible doubts about their commitment witha passionate ending to a deeply satisfying Forget was the venue for the warm, resonantand intimate recorded sound.These are intelligent and richly rewardingreadings that offer more each time youhear them. I’ll be playing them again andagain.—Terry RobbinsTchaikovsky – The NutcrackerBerlin Philharmoniker; Simon RattleEMI 509996 4638522 (2CD set);509996 3162127 (Experience Edition)Surely there is nomore beloved scorein all music thanTchaikovsky’s enchantingNutcracker,traditionally enjoyedby young and oldalike at this timeof year. For thosewho know the music only from the NutcrackerSuite, there is another hour of equallyenchanting, instantly captivating music.The electrifying Pas de deux from Act II issometimes played as an encore by visitingRussian Orchestras, to thunderous applause.loss to identify it or else conclude that it isfrom Swan Lake.Collectors will remember the PhilipsThe Nutcracker played with astonishingPhilharmonic. After hearing the Rattle,Antonín KubálekPianoLive performances, broadcast recordings, andLP reissues from Kubálek’s private archivesBrahms 1 st Sonata & 4 BalladesChausson Concerto with the Orford QuartetFranck Quintet with the Vaghy QuartetBuczynski Piano Sonatas 1-2-3-4Paderewski Sonata & Variations and FugueKubálek arrangements of John Philip SousaKubálek’s first North American recordings - For an “electronic brochure,”go to tiny.cc/kubalekFrom L’Atelier Grigorian (tiny.cc/grigorian)& CD Baby (tiny.cc/akcdbaby)70 thewholenote.comDecember 1, 2010 - February 7, 2011

joy of the subject matter as the Berliners do.The complete ballet is rarely, if ever, heardat a symphony concert and, according toRattle, the 1st Act music presents a challengeto even a great orchestra.Checking a few other complete versionsfor comparison the Rattle has the edgewith its infectious exuberance and goodfeelings. The recorded sound is stunning inits delineation of details, width, depth anddynamics.The regular set includes access to liveconcert footage and a one day free pass tothe online Berlin Philharmonic ConcertHall. The Experience Edition is a beautifullittle hard-bound 60 page art book with theviews,and downloads to the regular edition.A handsome package for only a few dollarsmore.—Bruce SurteesThe Gustav Mahler CelebrationThomas Hampson; Anne Sophie von Otter;Marita Solberg; Mahler ChamberOrchestra; Manfred HoneckEuroArts 2058148Introducing Mahler – Symphony No.2Lucerne Festival Orchestra;Claudio AbbadoEuroArts 2056178There’s not a lotthe tiny enclaveof some 330 soulsin the present-dayCzech Republic, buton July 1 this pastsummer the townwas inundated tocelebrate the 150th birthday irthdayoftheirmosttheir aryoutdoor structure, the greatly augmentedallyfounded by Claudio Abbado) appeareda festival performance of excerpts fromSecond Symphony and ahandful of his more intimate songs with orchestrafeaturing baritone Thomas Hampsonthe compromised acoustics of the band shellthe sound of the performance is actuallythe conventional park-and-bark position todeliver her considerable vocal gifts, hammyHampson relishes the opportunity affordedby his wireless headset microphoneto roam the stage both back and front in ariveting performance of the great anti-warsong Revelge. Though little of the town thata ghostly military band in the distance andetery.The Czech Boy’s Choir and PraguePhilharmonic Choir chime in remotely fromthe local church in Es sungen drei Engel andappear on the bandstand to great effect forthe concluding paean of the Symphony.Introducing Mahleris an episode from amusic documentaryseries on EuroArts,Introducing Masterpiecesof ClassicalMusic. It features asuccinct explicationof the Fifth Symphonyby British musicologist Jeremy Barham,with piano excerpts leading into thecorresponding orchestral segments augmentedby appropriate visual footage, scrollingmusic examples, and additional commentaryby anonymous voices reading from perioddocuments. Unfortunately these secondarynarrative sub-tracks are at times near-inaudiblein the stereo mix. The real draw of thissymphony by Claudio Abbado and his handpickedLucerne Festival Orchestra, repackagedfrom an earlier incarnation of this 2004once-in-a-lifetime concert. The expertlydirected camera work brings an extra dimensionto the intense concentration and amazingensemble work of this distinguished ensembleresponding as one with the greatest—Daniel FoleyMODERN AND CONTEMPORARYKoechlin – Piano Music Vol.3Michael KorstickHänssler Classic CD 93.261Though stillrelatively unknownto the general public(and indeed evenamongst musicians)the name of theinimitable Alsatiancomposer Charles1950) unquestionably deserves a place in thepantheon of the great 20th century composers.Though revered in his own time as atheorist, essayist and teacher, his subtle and-while the captive dogs have the easy life.”Recognition of his remarkable talent wouldcome only later, largely thanks to sporadicrecordings that began to appear in the 1980s.Thankfully the Hänssler label has committeditself to a systematic survey of his works inconjunction with the Koechlin Archives inKassel.Following impressive releases led byHeinz Holliger and the Stuttgart RadioOrchestra of his symphonic works, the projecthas recently turned to documenting hispiano works in a series of albums by theVolume 3, the 10th album in their Koechlinseries, groups together seven works fromvarious periods of Koechlin’s long and pro-of Koechlin’s restless creative impulse, rangingfrom the serene classicism of the DouzeEsquisses (1905-15), the childlike charm ofthe Sonatinas of 1916 and 1923, and mostimpressively, the broad canvas of the dozenmovements that form the retrospectiveL’Ancienne maison de campagne (1933).Korstick’s multi-hued piano sonorities areexpertly captured in closely recorded soundboth thought-provoking and authoritative.Strongly recommended.—Daniel FoleyChinese Recorder ConcertosMichala Petri; CopenhagenPhilharmonic; lan ShuiOUR Recordings 6.220603This remarkablemiererecordings offour concertos byliving Chinese composers,two of whomcurrently work inthe USA. The discopens with TianJianping’s Fei Ge (Flying Song), originallywritten in 2002 as a concerto for dizi (Chi-mentalensemble. This transcription by thecomposer for western orchestra and recorder,on which Petri eloquently evokes the diziin tone and effect, works beautifully withplaying of the highest order from both orchestraand soloist.Bright Sheng’s evocative and strikinglybeautiful Flute Moon is more a full orchestralwork than a concerto, and Petri playsand piccolo. The piece revels in a rich arrayof orchestral colours, dazzling musicalgestures, and dramatic shifts of mood. Thethree-movement Bang Di ConcertoShui-long is the composer’s best known composition,and is an extraordinarily effectivefusion between Chinese and western musicallanguages. It receives an utterly virtuosicThe Ancient ChineseBeauty draws inspiration from Chinesement,particularly in its evocation of theancient xun or large Chinese ocarina, is particularlyimpressive. has been one of the busiest and most familiarrecorder players to audiences aroundthe globe, and with programs such as thisshe continues to do great things beyond therecorder’s more typical boundaries. Sheseems eminently at home here, making herown distinct music in a fascinating projectDecember 1, 2010 - February 7, 2011 thewholenote.com 71

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