7 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 8 - May 2004

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1'. f 11.~;~ The

1'. f 11.~;~ The Ottawa-born. London-based pianist Angela Hewitt, greatly renowned for her Bach interpretations, extends her time in the Barnque byways with this second of three volumes devoted to the harpsichord music of Fram;ois Couperin (1668 1733). Couperin is best known for his hundreds of fancifully titled and heavily ornamented works for the harpsichord, published in a sprawling collection of28 Ordres over the course of his career at the court of Louis XIV. Couperin's suites depart from the familiar Baroque pattern of fugues and courtiy dances by advancing the notion of the character piece, in the form of musical portraits of people and theatrical situations the composer observed amidst the bejeweled society of his time. The effect is graceful, elegant.and irresistible. The present volume is drawn from the concluding sets of this magnum opus. Jn interpreting these works on a modern piano, Angela Hewitt unveils a previously hidden dimension of tonal shadings and expressive nuances. Her beautifully shaped hel camo touch imparts a degree of intimacy and pathos far beyond the instrument of Couperin's time. Hyperion's production is first-rate as usual and there is a congenial essay by Ms Hewitt to enjoy. An exqulsite, memorable album indeed. Handel - ,Complete Chamber Music John Holloway, Stephen Preston, Susan Sheppard, John Toll Brilliant Classics 92192 (6 CDs) Georg Frideric Handel is best known to audiences today for his orchestral and choral music, and to a lesser degree for his operas, but his musical sensibility is also to be thoroughly enjoyed in his more intimate works. This 6-CD set features all of his solo and trio sonatas, and is a reissue of a series of recordings originally released in 1991 showcasing an array of that era' s best English period instrumenrplayers. The trio sonatas from opus 2. including the gorgeous sonata for flute. violin and basso continua in B minor, occupy disc 3. There are two more CDs of violin trio sonatas featuring the elegant playing of Jo'hn Holloway and Micaela C0mberti, and Holloway also gives a stylish rendition of the violin solo sonatas. Stephen Preston's performance of the flute sonatas is tastefully accompanied by cellist Susan Sheppard and harpsichordists John Toll and Lucy Carolan and last but not least, the recorder sonatas, with all their charming twists and turns, are spotlighted on the final CD. Though the performances might sound a little dated (not least perhaps to the performers themselves! ), these are refined and well-considered renditions exemplifying the high calibre of ensemble playing for which England is well known. Although the booklet's information on the CD' s actual repertoire and performers is a little scanty, this set is what you should buy if you're looking for all this music at a reasonable price! Alison Melville· Boccherini - Guitar Quintets Giangiacomo Pinardi Europa Galante Virgin Veritas 5 45607 2 Daniel Foley Italian Violin Sonatas Fabio Biondi; Europa Galante Virgin Veritas 7243 5 45562 2 7 The music of Boccherini is df:ceptive in its ready appeal : Violinist' · Fabio Biondi and his adept colleagues in the Italian ensemble Europa . Galante capture not only Boe- cherini's rococo charms. but also his more subtle depths. Their exuberance make this disc irresistible. The two guitar quintets on this recording are among Boccherini 's most popular works, in part because they are flavoured by the music of Spain, where the Italian composer spent most of his protessional life. Boccherini was himself a remarkable cellist. He revolutionized cello technique, pushing the performer off the fingerboard into the highest registers of the instrument. While cellist Maurizio Naddeo pulls off the virtuosic demands .with panache, he is equally powerful m the glorious expressive passages. Although Boccherini treats the guitar for the most part as a continuo instrument, guitarist Giangiacomo Pinardi contributes flamboyant colours. Europa Galante's use of period instruments and historically-based performance values undoubtedly contributes to the exciting harmonic tension and wide range of textures which make these performances, including an elegant reading of the string quartet, so enjoyable. Biondi is the soloist in the collection of Italian baroque violin sonatas by five different composers, all of whom were violin virtuosi. He offers up splendid effects, including thrilling spiccato, eloquent flattened sounds on scale passages, beguiling ornaments - all at tempi that feel just right. In the best period performance style, he lets go of the notes that don't matter and brings out the ones that do. But what invites repeated listening is Biondi' s irrepressible spontaneity. Even the most soulful passages, like the Adagio of Locatelli 's dazzling Sonata in D minor, with its extended cadenza, and the • gorgeous Largo ofTartini's Sonata in G minor, are coloured by Biondi's natural vivacity, intensity and warmth. In the lively Badinage of Mascitti's Psyche, a Frenchstyle divertissement of ten tableaux based on the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche, Biondi' s violin be- comes a discursive narrative voice. In the Presto of Geminiani's Sonata in A minor he . takes off into thrilling escapades. His natural ease with the syncopated dance rhythms of the Paesana of Veracini 's Sonat ~ in G minor is enthralling. Europa Galante players Naddeo, Pinardi and Sergio Ciomei provide their customary responsive continua support. Pamela Marg/es CLASSICAL AND BEYOND Brahms - Symphony No.2; Double Concerto Gordan Nikolitch; Tim Hugh London Symphony Orchestra; Bernard Haitink LSO Live LS00043 The London Symphon.y has issued, on their label, one stunning live recording after another ... and at budget price. Their conductor, Sir Colin Davis, has directed most of their recordings, including a new series of Berlioz orchestral works. The label has Rostropovich, cellist turned conductor, · in a stunning Shostakovich 11th surpassing by far his earlier effort with the National Symphony of Washington. Here they add Bernard Haitink to the roster, who for a couple of decades was the man at the Concertgebouw and is now 'at liberty,' as they in show biz, being tied to no record label. He had recorded the complete Brahms symphonies with the Concertgebouw from 1970 to 1973 but this new Second eclipses that earlier session, being much better played and Haitink has balanced the orchestra to produce a more solid Brahms sound. In truth, few conductors are able to deliver a really fulfilling Brahms symphony but this live Second is one of that select group. ' What can the LSO be thinking of, issuing a new Double Concerto without "name" soloists? The two soloists are orchestra members WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM MAY 1 - ) UNE 7 2004

and prove to be P,erfectly chosen. Over the years there have been 80 Stokowski 's own· collection of In- The Raphael Ensemble presents us Here conductor, soloists and orch~stra different orchestrations of Mus- donesian gongs. with two never before recorded are of a single mind and sorgsky's original piano version of The album also includes a per- works by the youthful Bridge:' the the performance, like it's discmate, Pictures at an Exhibition', the most , formance of the version of Night String Quintet in E minor, com­ has a natural pulse and familiar of which is the 1922 ar- on Bare Mou/lfaili produced for posed at the age of 22, and the, sounds more lyrically Brahmsian rangement by Maurice Ravel. In Walt Disney's Fantasia and the String Sextet in E flat Major, stanthe than we have heard in a long, long 1930s. the conductor Leopold short En tr 'acre from Khova11sch- ed 5 years later. Bridge, who stud­ ·time. S1okowski would not merely re- china. The composer and conduc- ied with Sir Hubert Parry and It's not likely, but let's hope for orchestrate this and other works of tor Oliver Knussen brings a spe- Charles ViUiers Stanford, exema complete cycle from the same Mussorgsky - he would transform cial commitment and understand- plifies the latter's teaching meththem source. With an unheard audience, . the recorded sound puts the I istener into orcl)estral showpieces. ing to this project, having followed od: the worshipful respect for clas­ Although they have a few points in Stokowski's rehearsals and per- . sical structure. The '"heart'' of it right in London's Barbican. common, Stokowski's orchestra- formances since childhood. The is, however, pure, unadulterated Bruce Surtees tions seem a Technicolor vision of excellent Cleveland Orchestra does neo-Romanticism. With echoes of shifting spotlights and sinister shad- the music ful I justice, and then Brahms· am! Dvorak reverberating ows compared to Ravel's disci- some' Not to be missed. throughout, these works remind us Mussorgsky /Stokowski: plined French curves. They art} Daniel Foley at times of Schubert as well.. Pictures at an Exhibition thrillingly recreated here in a spec- Though the melodic lines and phrastacular Cleveland Orchestra; new disc from Oliver Knus- ing are not as accomplished (Ben- Oliver Knussen sen and the Cleveland Orchestra. Frank Bridge - Sextet; Quintet jamin Britten, a pupil of Bridge's, Deutsche Grammophon 457 Stokowski's Boris Godunov Svm- Raphael Ensemble described his master's works as 646-2 phonic Synthesis (1936) draws to- Hyperion CDA67426 "graceful, elegant and grateful to gether several of the principal play") the yearning and lyricism themes of Mussorgsky's great op- puts these works with those of Robera, which was little known outside ert Schumann and Leos Janacek. of Russia at the time . It is It is music to listen to with your Stokowski 's gift to those who pre- heart, not your ear. fer the thrilling orchestrat.ions typ- The recording also contains the ical of the Wagnerian music dra- 1912 Lament for two violas, writma without all that annoying sing- ten for an occasion of a performing. The symbolic tolling of bells ance with the future virtuoso, Liin this work is wonderfully enhanced by the pulsing overtones of one! Tertis. It seems to take a com- poser who plays viola to make.the instrument sound brilliant. Frank )

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