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 Posted:   Jul 16, 2018 - 9:02 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Benjamin Britten’s most frequent and important muse was his personal and professional partner, the tenor Peter Pears. In 1940, Britten composed “Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo,” the first of many song cycles for Pears. It consists of musical settings of seven sonnets, all love songs, by the Italian painter and poet Michelangelo (1475–1564), in the original language.

Britten’s “Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings” (1943) sets verses by a variety of poets, all on the theme of night-time. Though Britten described the song cycle as "not important stuff, but quite pleasant, I think", it was immediately greeted as a masterpiece, and it established him as one of the leading composers of his day.

“Winter Words” is a song cycle for tenor and piano that Britten wrote in 1953. It sets eight poems by Thomas Hardy.

The 1986 tape below, reissuing recordings originally made in 1945 and 1954, has Peter Pears singing all three of these song sets. Britten himself conducts the orchestra and plays piano on the recordings.

 Posted:   Jul 18, 2018 - 10:45 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Cellist Steven Isserlis was born in London on 19 December 1958 into a musical family. His grandfather, Julius Isserlis, who was a Russian Jew, was one of 12 musicians allowed to leave Russia in the 1920s to promote Russian culture, but he never returned. Steven Isserlis once revealed that on arrival in Vienna in 1922, his pianist grandfather and father found a flat, but the 102-year-old landlady refused to take in a musician, because her aunt had a previous musician tenant who was noisy and would spit on the floor—the tenant was Ludwig van Beethoven.

The recording below of cello sonatas by Debussy, Poulenc, and Franc was made in February 1989, when Isserlis was 30. Pascal Devoyon provided piano accompaniment.

 Posted:   Jul 18, 2018 - 8:18 PM   
 By:   tvogt1   (Member)

The most recent (July 13) non-soundtrack I played:

 Posted:   Jul 20, 2018 - 3:22 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Antonio Janigro was an Italian cellist and conductor. He graduated from the École Normale in Paris in 1934 and began performing solo and in quartet recitals. An unfortunately timed vacation in Yugoslavia left Janigro stranded in that country for the duration of World War II. He became a professor of cello and chamber music at the Zagreb Conservatory, where his influence developed modern cello playing in Yugoslavia.

Following the war, Janigro was a highly regarded conductor who led a symphony orchestra for Radio Zagreb. It was with that orchestra that he recorded Haydn's Symphony Nos. 44 and 45 for Vanguard Records in the early 1960s.

 Posted:   Jul 22, 2018 - 1:03 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

The only composer’s name on this bargain bin cassette from Canada is “Handel.” But the primary piece on the tape, the Don Quixote Suite, which takes up all of side A, is actually by Georg Philipp Telemann. The first selection on Side B is simply titled “Oboe Concerto.” While Handel did write an oboe concerto, so did Telemann. And Daniel Saidenberg, a Canadian conductor and the only other name mentioned on the cassette, conducted both composers’ oboe concertos. (Both appeared on the same Kapp Records LP.) So, actually, I can’t be sure what I’m listening to here.

 Posted:   Jul 22, 2018 - 10:54 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Born in Bucharest, Romania in a Jewish family, Sergiu Comissiona began violin studies at the age of five, was hired as a violinist by the Romanian State Ensemble while still in his teens, and made his conducting debut at the age of 17. In his twenties he was named principal conductor of the Romanian National Opera, which he led from 1955 to 1959.

He fled the Communist regime in 1959 and emigrated to Israel. He directed the Haifa Symphony from 1959 until 1966. Comissiona made his American debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1965 and emigrated to the United States in 1968. Beginning in 1969 he spent 15 years with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and transformed it from a little-known ensemble into a nationally respected orchestra, eventually taking it on its first international tour and directing it in its first recordings.

From his final year in Baltimore comes this recording of Zoltan Kodaly’s “Háry János Suite,” which was done for Vox Records.

 Posted:   Jul 24, 2018 - 7:53 AM   
 By:   theMaestraX   (Member)

 Posted:   Jul 24, 2018 - 9:52 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Greek pianist Janis Vakarelis teamed with Polish conductor Witold Rowicki and Britain’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to record this program of piano concertos by Liszt and Prokofiev. The Liszt concerto was composed in 1857 while the Prokofiev piece is from 1921. The recording was released in 1987.

 Posted:   Jul 25, 2018 - 12:23 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Marie-Claire Alain was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France on 10 August 1926. Her father Albert Alain was an organist and composer, as were her brothers, Jehan and Olivier. Marie-Claire Alain, who died in 2013 at the age of 86, was the most-recorded classical organist in the world, with over 260 recordings in her catalogue. Alain recorded the complete organ works of J.S. Bach three times as well as the complete organ works of over a dozen other major composers of works for the organ, as well as many individual works. When her third recording of Bach's works for organ appeared in 1994, she explained to The Organ, a British journal, why she was recording them again:

“It's because of the instruments, the instruments above everything else, and the fine state to which they have been restored—and the fact that they are now accessible. These recordings use instruments from Bach's time, and we know that Bach even played some of them—it's an extraordinary feeling, to put your hands on the keyboard, knowing that he was there 250 years before you!”

It was with the organ in the Orléans Cathedral, a church once attended by Joan of Arc, that Alain recorded a 1987 program of organ music by Franz Liszt.

 Posted:   Jul 26, 2018 - 12:03 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Janet Baker is an English mezzo-soprano who gained fame during the 1960s and 1970s for her operatic performances and for her oratorio and song work. In 1968, she recorded Gustav Mahler’s “Kindertotenlieder,” a song cycle for voice and orchestra, with Sir John Barbirolli and The Halle Orchestra. The words of the songs are poems by Friedrich Rückert. David Gutman, writing in Gramophone, described her performance as "intimate, almost self-communing."

Dame Baker's final operatic appearance was as Orfeo in Gluck's “Orfeo ed Euridice,” on 17 July 1982, at Glyndebourne. She continued to perform lieder recitals for another seven years, retiring for good in 1989 at age 46. She will turn 85 years old next month.

 Posted:   Jul 27, 2018 - 8:55 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Czech violinist Josef Suk was born in Prague, the grandson of the composer and violinist Josef Suk, and great-grandson of the composer Antonín Dvorák. His first significant success was a recital in Prague on 6 November 1954. Shortly after that, George Szell invited him to the U.S. to play with the Cleveland Orchestra.

In 1961, Suk was named the soloist of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and went on many of its tours and recitals. With that orchestra, in 1964 he recorded for Supraphon a program of violin concertos by Felix Mendelssohn and Max Bruch. That recording was re-issued by Quintessence in 1984. Josef Suk died on 6 July 2011, aged 81, and was buried in Prague,

 Posted:   Jul 28, 2018 - 10:22 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 was written in 1899 and 1900, though it incorporates a song that Mahler composed as a freestanding piece in 1892. The song, "Das himmlische Leben", presents a child's vision of Heaven. It is sung by a soprano in the work's fourth and final movement.

Elly Ameling was that soprano in the 1979 recording of the Symphony made by Andre Previn and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. A native of The Netherlands, Ameling had previously recorded the piece in 1967 with Bernard Haitink and the Concertgebouw-Orchester, Amsterdam.

 Posted:   Jul 29, 2018 - 11:26 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

After early violin studies at the Oberlin Conservatory, David Zinman studied theory and composition at the University of Minnesota, earning his M.A. in 1963, and took up conducting at Tanglewood. He then worked in Maine with Pierre Monteux from 1958 to 1962, serving as his assistant from 1961 to 1964.

Zinman held the post of second conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra from 1965 to 1977. He was the principal conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra from 1979 to 1982.

In the U.S., Zinman was music director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra from 1974 to 1985. With that orchestra, in 1981, he recorded Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for Vox Cum Laude Records.

 Posted:   Jul 30, 2018 - 12:38 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Pianist Murray Perahia was born in the Bronx borough of New York City to a family of Sephardi Jewish origin. Perahia began studying the piano at age four with a teacher he says was "very limiting" because she made him play a single piece until it was perfect. He says his musical interests blossomed at age 15 for reasons he can't explain, and he began to practice seriously.

In 1965, Perahia won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions. In 1972, he was the first North American to win first prize at the Leeds Piano Competition, helping to cement its reputation for advancing the careers of young pianistic talent.

From 1973 - 2010, Perahia recorded exclusively for Columbia Masterworks, now Sony Classical. His first major recording project was Mozart's 27 piano concertos, conducted from the keyboard with the English Chamber Orchestra. From that cycle comes this 1984 recording of Concerti Nos. 19 and 23.

 Posted:   Jul 31, 2018 - 3:51 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Collegium Vocale Köln is a German vocal ensemble, founded in 1966 as a quintet when its members were still students at the Rheinische Musikschule in Cologne. It is directed by Wolfgang Fromme, who also sings tenor in the ensemble. One of their key recordings, for Columbia Records, was a 1980 3-LP set entitled “The Most Beautiful Madrigals.” (A madrigal is a secular vocal music composition of the Renaissance and early Baroque eras. Traditionally, polyphonic madrigals are unaccompanied; the number of voices varies from two to eight, and most frequently from three to six.)

From that 3-LP set, Columbia culled various subsequent releases, including this 1986 cassette of “18 Madrigals from the Second Madrigal Book” by Claudio Monteverdi.

 Posted:   Aug 1, 2018 - 5:24 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

This might sound weird, but Rozsa's outstanding score for Providence helped spur my interest in what was never a favorite instrument of mine, the piano! So, I've been delighting in the Pollini box set of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas as well as Uchida's interpretations of Mozart's same; plus I discovered Rachmaninoff's 2nd and 3rd Concerti (I like Fedorova and Ashenazy on these).

 Posted:   Aug 2, 2018 - 12:11 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Felix Prohaska (1912 – 1987) was an Austrian conductor, who spent many years conducting at the Vienna State Opera and the Frankfurt Opera. He is noted for his recordings for the Vanguard Classics label of the music of Bach, Mozart, Schubert, and Mahler. His recording of Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony (No. 41) with the Vienna State Opera Orchestra was made in 1961. This 1987 cassette is that recording’s last known re-issue.

 Posted:   Aug 2, 2018 - 1:31 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

Felix Prohaska (1912 – 1987) was an Austrian conductor, who spent many years conducting at the Vienna State Opera and the Frankfurt Opera. He is noted for his recordings for the Vanguard Classics label of the music of Bach, Mozart, Schubert, and Mahler. His recording of Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony (No. 41) with the Vienna State Opera Orchestra was made in 1961. This 1987 cassette is that recording’s last known re-issue.

I'm still looking for that on CD without much luck.


Beethoven Piano Sonata "Les Adieux" (performed by my favorite pianist, Pollini).

 Posted:   Aug 2, 2018 - 11:48 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

The Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra took the name of the great composer to pay homage to the genius who became inseparable with the establishment of Hungarian music and whose spirit irradiates the musical life of the entire world. After having studied for years at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, the Orchestra made its debut in 1963 and since then has played a very significant role in Hungarian and international musical life.

The Orchestra consists of 17 strings, with the addition of other instruments as needed (harpsichord, winds, etc.). The first artistic director of the ensemble was Frigyes Sándor, who conducted the recording of Handel’s Water Music Suite No. 1 heard on this compilation release. It was probably originally made for Hungaroton Records.

 Posted:   Aug 3, 2018 - 11:22 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

A gift from my guy: Ms. Uchida burning through the Mozart Piano Concertos (complete box set)!

Though there are film composers I actually like better than Mozart (really! lol), I'm starting to appreciate his music much more as I get older. As consonant as he was, he took more musical risks than he's given credit for. Great composer (like anyone here didn't know that, sorry!).

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