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What are you currently listening to?


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Author Topic: What are you currently listening to?  (Read 65963 times)
Lionel Harrison
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« Reply #3225 on: November 21, 2021, 05:59:59 pm »

This weekend we are having a Sibelius/Berglund-fest, listening to all the symphonies in all three of Berglund's recordings of the seven. Currently on the set he did with the Helsinki Philharmonic between 1984 and 1987, which is universally faster than the set he did in Bournemouth between 1972 and 1982, which we had yesterday.



I've known the Sibelius symphonies for over 60 years and they seem as fresh and compelling today as they did way-back-when.

Tomorrow (I expect) the set with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe from 1996-1998.
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #3226 on: November 22, 2021, 11:36:16 am »



A tribute on the 121st anniversary of Sullivan's death. Super performances of major scores, but are anyone else's SACDs "bronzing" on the upper side (remembering the bad old days of PDO)? Mine are - they still play perfectly but it's worth keeping an eye out...

 Undecided
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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #3227 on: November 22, 2021, 06:08:23 pm »

On to

Malcolm Williamson

The Brilliant and the Dark (1966)*
April Cantelo, sop; Sally Lesage, sop; Alfreda Hodgson, alto; Norma Procter, alto/ Avalon Singers/ Llewellyn Singers/ English Chamber O/ Antony Hopkins (Readers Digest LP RDS 9351/2, 1977)


I treasured this LP of one of Williamson's most immediately attractive works to a libretto by Ursula Vaughan Williams which charts the role of women throughout certain moments in history. It contains some very powerful and moving sections. Unfortunately I couldn't locate an image of the original release, so here's the vocal score...



...my vinyl copy vanished decades ago but luckily there is a recording in the archive.

 Smiley
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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
Lionel Harrison
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« Reply #3228 on: November 22, 2021, 07:19:33 pm »

On to

Malcolm Williamson

The Brilliant and the Dark (1966)*
April Cantelo, sop; Sally Lesage, sop; Alfreda Hodgson, alto; Norma Procter, alto/ Avalon Singers/ Llewellyn Singers/ English Chamber O/ Antony Hopkins (Readers Digest LP RDS 9351/2, 1977)


I treasured this LP of one of Williamson's most immediately attractive works to a libretto by Ursula Vaughan Williams which charts the role of women throughout certain moments in history. It contains some very powerful and moving sections. Unfortunately I couldn't locate an image of the original release, so here's the vocal score...



...my vinyl copy vanished decades ago but luckily there is a recording in the archive.

 Smiley

Here's the Briliant:



And here's the Dark:

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Albion
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #3229 on: November 22, 2021, 07:37:53 pm »

Yay!!! Go Lionel...

 Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

...Dame Shirley Porter nicked my car from outside a Westminster hotel about thirty years ago and impounded it despite the fact that there were no parking notices visible. The £120 reclamation fee paid for her lunch that day no doubt. Although Shirley Williams sadly passed away this year on April 11, Shirley Porter (the Tesco heiress) is still sadly with us. Somehow I don't think that she'll feature in the "Another birthday!" celebrations on 29th November.

 Roll Eyes
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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #3230 on: November 22, 2021, 08:00:18 pm »



Kenilworth (1864)? Jolly good stuff methinks, despite Chorley's drivelling libretto (when he didn't have recourse to the Bard of Avon). Now we have two recordings (on Symposium and Dutton) there's no excuse for not getting to know it: neither rendition is perfect (chiefly in the orchestral department) but both are more than welcome. Sullivan's first choral work has many highlights, not least "How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank" which continued to be programmed throughout the composer's career, for example at a Philharmonic Society Concert and at the Crystal Palace. "Let fauns the cymbals ring" is pure nonsense but such irresistible fun, "I have slept beneath the waters" is lovely and the "Brisk Dance" does what it says on the tin. It will probably never be programmed live again...

 Roll Eyes
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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
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« Reply #3231 on: November 22, 2021, 08:37:27 pm »

More from the Bartered Bride! This famous set! Wonderful singing from the golden age of the big labels! They really don't make 'em like this anymore! Sad I think the old Czech (or was!) Zdeněk Košler and Zdeněk Chalabala recordings (Supraphon) have more of that earthy,peasant vigour,though. And I love the sound of their orchestras in this repertoire. The Jaroslav Krombholc (RCA/BMG) was surprisingly good,though. In fact,I'd rate all four recordings,highly! Although,For a newcomer,I'd recommend Košler,probably! And you get an english libretto! Not that I'm sitting here glued to it,mind!! Roll Eyes Grin And should I be calling peasant's earthy in these politically correct times?! Even if there any peasant's these days,earthy or otherwise! At least,I don't think there are any living in this street? Not that I've had much time to think about it, since the Lord of the Manor put up the rent here! Sad

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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #3232 on: November 22, 2021, 10:41:26 pm »

More from the Bartered Bride! This famous set!

A veritable Smet-Fest is taking place in Llanpanty! To misquote John Donne

Batter my cod, three person'd God...

 Cheesy

...oh well, long overdue for a little diversion off the beaten track -

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« Reply #3233 on: November 23, 2021, 02:36:29 am »

Dvořák,now! I used to love this opera with it's fairy tale plot.And I still do! Kate,the local battle axe,get's carried off to Hell & the devils just can't wait to get rid of her!! The music is great,too. Chock full of colourful orchestration & good tunes. The critic at Classics Today calls it "vastly entertaining" and I agree! For once,an opera with an entertaining plot that doesn't take itself too seriously,either. A great cast. I had the Lp set,originally. One minor gripe. I wish they'd kept the original 'artwork'. I liked the photo on the Lp set (see right). The Jacobin is another cracker! (There's a pun there,somewhere!)

     
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #3234 on: November 23, 2021, 02:27:05 pm »



Two lovely works by Granville Bantock: In the Far West (c.1899, revised 1912) and Scenes from the Scottish Highlands (1913). Bantock was a masterly writer for strings - The Pierrot of the Minute (1909), the Amphibian prologue to Fifine at the Fair (1912) and the Celtic Symphony (1940) are further examples of his virtuosic handling of this demanding and technically-challenging orchestration. It is great to see Douglas Bostock still very much active in the recording studio - a champion of neglected British music.

 Smiley
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« Reply #3235 on: November 23, 2021, 03:33:45 pm »

Yep, time has come for another traversal of the Vernon Handley Bantock odyssey on Hyperion...



...ey up, it's that dirty old Sir Edward Poynter (President of the RA) again. Cave of the Storm Nymphs? Hmmm, chance for a bit of Edwardian titillation methinks.

 Roll Eyes
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« Reply #3236 on: November 23, 2021, 04:06:53 pm »

Charles Lecocq: La Fille de Madame Angot

     

(complete, with dialogue in French)

Mady Mesplé (Clairette), Bernard Sinclair (Ange Pitou), Charles Burles (Pomponnet), Christiane Stutzmann (Mademoiselle Lange) Denise Benoit, 
Michel Roux, Jacques Loreau, Gerard Chapuis Choir of the Théâtre National de l’Opéra de Paris
Orchestre du Théâtre National de l’Opéra de Paris/Jean Doussard
emi 2 cd's

'Légende de la mère Angot: `Marchande de marée’ is a particularly catchy showstopper in this French hit which had an international success which dwarfed that of HMS Pinafore and Die Fledermaus,vastly successful as they were! It's full of tunes and brilliantly and elegantly scored. Sadly,neglected now. Mady Mesplé had a funny,fluttery little voice,but I agree with that critic who said that her sense of style makes up for what some might regard as her vocal failings. She is ideal in this repertoire.




           
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Albion
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« Reply #3237 on: November 23, 2021, 04:32:27 pm »

'Légende de la mère Angot: `Marchande de marée’ is a particularly catchy showstopper in this French hit which had an international success which dwarfed that of HMS Pinafore and Die Fledermaus,vastly successful as they were! It's full of tunes and brilliantly and elegantly scored. Sadly,neglected now. Mady Mesplé had a funny,fluttery little voice,but I agree with that critic who said that her sense of style makes up for what some might regard as her vocal failings. She is ideal in this repertoire.        

Cilgwyn, you truly are our light-opera guru (I personally hate the term "operetta", which implies "little opera"). I tend to concentrate on Sullivan, Johann Strauss and Offenbach, although I've dabbled in Suppe, Lehar and Ziehrer in my time (luckily the charges didn't stick). Please keep listening to these wonderful scores and letting us know where the gems can be found. In this age when new recordings of this repertoire are few and far between, it's vital that new generations are aware of the vast amount of great music that still languishes unappreciated.

 Cool Wink Smiley
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« Reply #3238 on: November 24, 2021, 06:07:25 pm »

Yo! It's Schwanda! Smiley



I must admit,I'm not listening to op.....light opera at the moment! Note the,'at the moment'!! However,this opera has all the glorious melodies and colorful orchestration a fan of that genre would enjoy! Such glorious,ricness of invention. One critic reckoned the Overture was too long. It is long,but not too long for me and like the Prelude to Schreker's Die Gezeichneten it sets you up for the drama that is to follow. (Indeed,the gloriously scored Overture is a concert piece,in itself!) I've been saying that I tend to prefer The Bartered Bride in Czech (or whatever it is now?! Huh It all broke up after the fall of the USSR,didn't it?! And,I failed geography! Roll Eyes) but I can't imagine this being better performed and recorded! What a great cast! Lucia Popp,one of my favourite ever sopranos,never sounded so luscious! Siegfried Jerusalem is magnificently heroic*. Hermann Prey is on top for mere. His rich baritone has a lustre to it! It really sounds that good! I sometimes find his voice a little to macho for my taste;but there's no doubt he was very good at what he did. (I have seen his voice described as a "fruity baritone" by someone who didn't like it!) Siegmund Nimsgern's dark bass is an ideal Devil. And Gwendolyn Killebrew (a singer I'm unfamiliar with) as the Ice Queen,could freeze your b******* off! The Munich Radio Orchestra and CBS recording are,unbelievably,sumptuous,and the whole score is teeming with invention. A veritable feast for the old ear 'oles! As if that isn't enough:like Dvorak's Kate and the Devil,the fairy tale storyline is,actually,fun to follow! Oh,and fun artwork. I had the Lp set,back in the day,and I used to prop it up and look at it while I listened to the opera. I've got to say here,that these CBS Masterworks box sets are some of the most nicely presented boxes I have ever seen! I bought the set of Massenet's Cendrillon recently and that's lovely to look at and handle too! What a pity Weinberger's subsequent career didn't live up to the expectations this international hit must have promised! Reading his life story is one of hardship and disappointment! One thought! Isn't it a bit strange that Supraphon never recorded it?!! I'm sure they would have made a good job of it;but then this wonderful recording might never have happened! The CBS Masterworks edition,if you can find it a reasobale price,includes an English libretto. I don't think the recent reissue does. Oh well,never mind (idiots! Roll Eyes Grin) the glorious sounds coming from your speakers,or headphones,will keep you enthralled!



NB! *Siegfried Jerusalem plays the Robber,Babinsky! Hermann Prey is Schwanda,the (ahem!) hero,you fool! This is what comes of listening on wireless headphones while the cd playerr & libretto are downstairs! Roll Eyes Tut,tut! And I haven't listened to it for a while! (Excuses!) Oh well,never mind! Babinsky's a Robin Hood type,who takes from the rich to give the poor and you got the other parts right! Roll Eyes
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« Reply #3239 on: November 24, 2021, 07:24:36 pm »

This weekend we are having a Sibelius/Berglund-fest, listening to all the symphonies in all three of Berglund's recordings of the seven. Currently on the set he did with the Helsinki Philharmonic between 1984 and 1987, which is universally faster than the set he did in Bournemouth between 1972 and 1982, which we had yesterday.



I've known the Sibelius symphonies for over 60 years and they seem as fresh and compelling today as they did way-back-when.

Tomorrow (I expect) the set with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe from 1996-1998.
   Yes I thought the same....   The 7th symphony is wonderful along with the 2nd and 5th
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