Author Topic: "New" Music Log  (Read 67716 times)

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Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #360 on: May 01, 2018, 04:28:18 AM »



From the DHM long box, a collection of mostly traditional and anonymous works from the 13th and 14th Centuries mixing Ottoman, Spanish, Italian, Arab works.  The works are obviously influenced by or rely solely on non-western traditions, and the sung texts are in different languages, including Arabic, and the instrumentation is almost exclusively Eastern.  I have no other recordings that use the zarb, for instance.  The music doesn't conform to western music norms, which of course makes sense.  The music sounds like the type of thing that one hears in travelogue shows or movies, unless, perhaps, one travels to regions of the world where this type of music or its current variants might still be played.  Some of the music is very vibrant, festive, and has irregular dance rhythms, while some other music is slower and more contemplative, in a playing to the crowd kind of way.  This is the type of disc that I would never buy on its own, but it's captivating in its rare (for me) sound, and the playing is obviously expert level and in SOTA sound.  I'll never listen to this frequently, but I will definitely listen again for something outside the (western) ordinary, and I may just explore other recordings by the ensemble.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #361 on: May 05, 2018, 04:54:01 AM »



The next Savall box disc is the first dedicated to a single composer, here Antonio de Cabezón.  The disc is billed as yet more music from the time of Chucky Number Five.  I've got some exposure to Cabezón from this set, some other collections, and a five disc Brilliant Classics set, though this particular compilation has some fresh material.  While not necessarily presented in an especially coherent thematic way, the music is stylistically similar throughout, is played stylishly and expertly, and partly through tunes and partly through intriguing instrumental combinations, entertains from first note to last.  The playing may not be to everyone's taste in that it is often of the laid back to the point of sounding languid.  Cabezón can be played with more pep.  I dig Savall's approach.  That the disc is in top shelf early 80s sound that doesn't really cede much to today's recording helps matters.  Superb.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #362 on: May 08, 2018, 04:20:00 PM »



From the DHM long box, another compilation I almost certainly would never have purchased on its own.  Los Otros, a HIP trio consisting of Hille Perl, Lee Santana, and Steve Player, combined various string instruments - viola de gamba, theorbo, baroque guitars, etc - to play multiple works from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries by six composers.  I've not heard anything from any of them to the best of my recollection, and the only name I recall seeing is Girolamo Kapsberger.  The music mostly has a folksy feel to it and sort of blends Renaissance and early baroque styles quite deftly.  There's a definite Spanish flavor to much of the music, with its somewhat distinctive rhythm.  The aforementioned Kapsberger is represented by eleven short pieces, ending with one named Villa di Spagna, which sounds as though it served as inspiration for Tejano music.  The three instrumentalists all play splendidly, and sound is essentially SOTA.  The venue used is not soundproof as one can hear birds in the distance on multiple occasions.  Most enjoyable.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #363 on: May 12, 2018, 06:38:35 AM »



The next grab-bag disc from the Savall box, this time of music from the time of Cervantes, and collected into four groups.  This disc succeeds more than a couple earlier discs by just jelling better.  There's some pep to a lot of the pieces, though some are more languid.  Ultimately, all sound just right.  Montserrat Figueras does her thing again, and superb sound again makes the whole thing a real joy to listen to.  A true Savall release. 
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #364 on: May 15, 2018, 04:10:49 AM »



Another all-Spanish disc.  Albert Attenelle was the main draw here.  I discovered his pianism via streaming, decided I had to listen to his playing in proper sixteen bit, and so snapped up all but one of his recordings.  (That's his Granados; I will be getting that at some point.)  Here, he is joined by Spanish violist Agustín León Ara in a recording of works by Spanish musicians better known as performers: there are world premiere recordings of the Violin Sonatas by cellists Pablo Casals and his student Gaspar Cassadó, and Sis Sonnets by conductor Eduard Toldrà.  León Ara not only performs on these first recordings, he resurrected the works in the 1970s, including partaking in the first performance of the Casals. 

The Casals starts the disc.  It's a lengthy work at just over 33' - and it doesn't include a finale.  Casals stopped with the Lento third movement.  While listening to the opening Allegro, French Violin Sonatas of the Franck or Faure variety, updated with a 1920s Paris vibe (though it was written in 1945) came immediately to mind.  The opening movement lasts for over seventeen minutes, and it's multi-sectional, with the end of each section sort of offering a false ending.  The music is nice, but it does seem a bit long.  The Scherzo is more robust, infused with some fast and slow quasi-dance like elements, and the Lento, save for a quick and robust coda, is lyrical and almost liturgical much of the time, with some stormy outbursts.  Overall, it's a nice work.

The Cassadó work comes in at under sixteen minutes, and it starts off with ample energy and sounds unabashedly romantic, belying its 1926 composition date.  The opening Fantaisie is very free flowing and at times passionate, and sounds sort of French with hints of generic Spanish and/or Italian influences.  The Pastorale is sheer delight, all fun or tender beauty.  (Cassadó dedicated the work to his brother, who died in 1914, so perhaps it transmutes memories to music.  Or not.)  The Finale is vibrant and fantastical, like the opener.  This compact work is really quite good and, though not groundbreaking, deserves a wider audience and more recordings.  It's the best thing on the disc.

Toldrà's Sis Sonnets has received other recordings, and it is easy enough to hear why.  Like Cassadó's piece, it was penned in the 20s (1922, to be exact), and it is quite romantic and conservative.  While big portions of the music are vibrant and extroverted and of the playing to the gallery sort, good portions are more intimate.  It's quite good.  Some fun Spanish music trivia: Toldrà himself debuted the piece playing violin, along with Federico Mompou's teacher Ferdinand Motte-Lacroix.

Sound for the 2002 recording falls just shy of SOTA, but it's fully modern and superb and offers a realistic representation of two musicians playing in what sounds like a modest sized venue.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #365 on: May 19, 2018, 04:30:18 AM »



Next from the Savall box, the second single composer disc.  Three quarters of an hour of Savall front and center, sometimes solo, but mostly with a keyboard accompanist in twenty-seven tracks of Renaissance chamber music.  Savall plays his instrument superbly, sometimes as lyrically as one could hope for, which is not at all surprising.  His fellow musicians - Genoveva Galvez on harpsichord and positive organ, and Sergi Cassademunt on tenor viola de gamba - likewise play splendidly.  While every piece sounds superb, I particularly like the combination of viola de gamba and positive organ, with its at times piquant upper registers and generally small scale and light sound.  It's something either new or very rare in my collection and listening experience.  Ortiz's music lacks the same pop as Cabezon's, but it's nonetheless enticing.  Sound is excellent for its time (1969), but is not as good as the in the later recordings in the set.  This is another one of those discs one expects from Savall. 
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #366 on: May 22, 2018, 03:53:35 AM »



Prior to buying the DHM big box, I'd heard only one disc of music by Heinrich Schütz, Paul McCreesh's recording of the Christmas Vespers.  I liked it and figured I should try some more Schütz, but I failed to do so until now.  Fortunately, the DHM set has three Schütz recordings, and I opted to sample Anthony Rooley and The Consort of Musicke's recording of the madrigals first.  The disc offers fifty-three minutes of irresistible counterpoint.  The music doesn't exhibit the same beauty as Renaissance polyphony, and while the music is often quite attractive, that's not the most striking or appealing part.  No, the most appealing part of the music is the astonishing clarity of the vocal parts.  Mostly limited to five voices, or fewer, it doesn't matter how many parts there are: each part is always perfectly clear and superbly sung.  Listening offers more of an intellectual exercise than an aesthetic or emotional one.  I literally perked up to listen, sat up straighter, and focused on a point in between the speakers much of the time.  The headphone experience is less satisfactory here since the spatial presentation of the voices offers part of the appeal.  Superb sound adds to an immensely appealing disc.  It's something.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #367 on: Today at 05:33:29 AM »



The box closer from the Savall box, El Barroco Español.  Another mid-70s kick-ass disc from Savall and crew.  Fourteen tracks by seven composers, all new to me, mostly anchored by Montserrat Figueras belting out tunes, and including superb work from Ton Koopman and Christophe Coin, this is another of those discs that one expects from Savall.  Nary a bum track is to be heard. 

The set overall is a humdinger, especially at its price.  Even the weakest discs are excellent and worth repeated listens.  Some are just plain stupendous. 
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations