Author Topic: Gurn's Classical Corner  (Read 518472 times)

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #220 on: March 11, 2009, 06:20:55 PM »
Mozart, WA (1756-1791) - Symphonies w/ Mackerras & the Prague Cham Orch on Telarc - released as a 10-CD box at a fabulous price - just arrived the other day and starting my listening experience; I had 3 previous CDs of these works, but this is my first 'complete' set of the Mozart Symphonies; do own a number of different conductors in the latter half of Mozart's output in this repertoire - in fact, love this guy in a variety of different approaches.

So, my reason for posting is not to start a discussion of Mozart 'Symphony Sets' (we already have these threads), but to discuss several issues of Mozart's output in this genre:  1) Authenticity, esp. of the early Symphonies, e.g. on the first disc of this set the No. 1 Symphony, likely authentic, was composed by Wolfie in London when in was 8 y/o!  However, some of the later 'early' works were likely composed by others, including his father & Abel; 2) Sequence of these works - the numbers relative to the Symphonies was intermixed, but the Kochel numbers are in order; and 3) Performance - his first 'verified' symphony was written in 1764 and the last toward the end of his life a quater of century later - how should these works be performed?  I like Mackerras' approach (why buy the box?), but of course there are so many other ways to perform these works.  So, thus the questions - Dave  :D



Dave,
I have this box too, it is my favorite modern instrument set (by a good margin).

Interesting questions. Maybe ones that don't have a definitive answer either.

Authenticity - At this point, our best recourse on this question is the Neue Mozart Ausgabe (The New Mozart catalog) which has finally been completed within the last couple of years. It is essentially the replacement for Köchel. The editor-in-chief of this project was Dr. Neal Zaslaw, who coincidentally authored a couple of superb books about Mozart, one which should be on everyone's shelf (The Compleat Mozart), and another that is a specialist volume, The Symphonies of Mozart. He also wrote The Piano Concertos of Mozart, but since I don't have it, it remains lower in my estimation ;D . In any case, it is Zaslaw's contention that since we don't have the original manuscripts for a lot (most?) of these early works, we may never know for sure what the story is. So they are instead analyzed on stylistic grounds (a tricky proposition at best). The likelihood that they are by Abel is slim. There is little doubt that Leopold had a hand in some of them, at the very least in copying and correcting obvious errors. The creative part of them is most likely Mozart himself. You will note that the numbering jumps from #1 (K 16) to #4 (K 19). K 17 & 18 (#2 & 3) are omitted as being certainly not by Mozart. So there are examples of works omitted. There are also works added, such as K 19a. This was a manuscript found much later on (in the 20th century, I believe) and attributed for mostly circumstantial reasons. Direct evidence is lacking in either direction. This is going to be the story on a lot of them, so you may never find satisfaction. I've decided to simply enjoy them, because whoever wrote them was a good craftsman. :)

The numbering is much the same. I don't remember the number of K 19a, but since it showed up after the "Jupiter" had gotten #41, it has a weirdly higher number, like #45 or something like that. Anyway, I almost never use the numbers so I don't care... :D

Performance - well, as you note, they span a relatively long period of time, one which was also chockfull of changes in performance. If you really want to hear something approaching the best we can do in recreating performance practice, I highly recommend dropping a fairly large chunk of change and getting the Academy of Ancient Music / Schröder/Hogwood set of 19 disks. A long time went into the preparation of this set. Zaslaw and Hogwood prepared all the scores and did a huge amount of research to make sure that each one was done as closely as possible to the original. I have no intention of getting into an argument with anyone on whether HIP recreates the past listener's experience, I'm just saying that they made a supreme effort to do as well as they could with it. The accompanying booklet (written by Zaslaw) is a trove of information too.

8)

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #221 on: March 11, 2009, 06:22:23 PM »
Gurn, Nut-Job, and Dave,

Just added the Beck disc to my wish-list.  As stated in the past, I buy a classical cd each month for my God children.  A goal within this is to make sure that their library not only has the "war-horses", but also composers not always thought of by most.  A variety if you will.  So just added the Beck disc to the wish-list for next months purchase.  Obviously, I will snag one also. ;)

Ah, great choice, Bill, especially within your parameters. You and they will be delighted. :)

8)

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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #222 on: March 12, 2009, 07:59:48 AM »
Clementi, Muzio (1752-1832) - well an 'update' from way back on page 7 of this thread!  :o

Yesterday's arrival in the mail - the 2nd Volume (3-CD set) of Mastroprimiano's perusal of Clementi's Keyboard Sonatas on the fortepiano; and about to be released is another 2-CD bargain set of Shelley - this will be Vol. 3 for him (and will bring his total to 6 discs!); not sure 'how long' the two will be releasing these sets but provides some delighful comparisons of the fortepiano vs. the modern instrument in these keyboard works.

Just finished the first disc of the set by Mastroprimiano, which mostly include the Op. 1 Six Sonatas dedicated to Peter Beckford, an interesting relationship that pretty much changed Clementi's life.  Beckford was an Englishman who met the young keyboard artist in Rome in 1766 (two years earlier, Muzio at age 12 y/o had pretty much become a professional organist!); after making a 7-year contract w/ Clementi's father, Beckford took Muzio back w/ him to England, where he studied composition and keyboard technique, thus the reason for the dedication. When the contract expired, Clementi stayed in England, but of course travelled extensively on the continent -  :)

 

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #223 on: March 12, 2009, 08:31:59 AM »
Nut Job - looks like Gurn has already provided some intro material on Franz Beck (his dates relative to Haydn have always been intriguing, just 2 yrs off the birth date!); he is certainly worth exploring, and the CPO label has done a great job in recording his works - currently, I have the disc that you have shown, but have inserted 2 others on the CPO label that are worth a hearing, i.e. Op. 4, Nos. 1-3 Symphonies & the Op. 3, Nos. 3-5 Symphonies; of course, Naxos is also publishing some of his works - just have a single disc on that label so far!

Having listened to them, I tend to prefer the Opus 3 to Opus 4 from Beck.  Opus 3 strikes me as having a  bit more contrapuntal rigour in its construction, Opus 4 with a more sigificant emphasis on orchestral effects.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #224 on: March 12, 2009, 05:06:32 PM »
Clementi, Muzio (1752-1832) - well an 'update' from way back on page 7 of this thread!  :o

Yesterday's arrival in the mail - the 2nd Volume (3-CD set) of Mastroprimiano's perusal of Clementi's Keyboard Sonatas on the fortepiano; and about to be released is another 2-CD bargain set of Shelley - this will be Vol. 3 for him (and will bring his total to 6 discs!); not sure 'how long' the two will be releasing these sets but provides some delighful comparisons of the fortepiano vs. the modern instrument in these keyboard works.

Just finished the first disc of the set by Mastroprimiano, which mostly include the Op. 1 Six Sonatas dedicated to Peter Beckford, an interesting relationship that pretty much changed Clementi's life.  Beckford was an Englishman who met the young keyboard artist in Rome in 1766 (two years earlier, Muzio at age 12 y/o had pretty much become a professional organist!); after making a 7-year contract w/ Clementi's father, Beckford took Muzio back w/ him to England, where he studied composition and keyboard technique, thus the reason for the dedication. When the contract expired, Clementi stayed in England, but of course travelled extensively on the continent -  :)

 

That Vol. 2 of Mastroprimiano has worked its way to near the top of my wish list. Somehow on Amazon they didn't list the Op #s, so this is the first I hear that it is Op 1 et al. I haven't heard these (my collection starts at Op 2 with Susan Alexander-Max) yet, but even the Op 2 works display the Clementi that would be. These early works were very popular in Vienna, especially after he showed up on tour, the time he had the "dueling pianos" interlude with Mozart. You may have just pushed me over the top on getting this set. :)   I haven't heard Shelley, and I do like his playing, but I don't have any internal dichotomy to resolve for myself over the supremacy of the fortepiano for Classical Era works, so I decided long ago that I would concentrate on them. It was a challenge in itself until Mastroprimiano came along! :)

8)


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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #225 on: March 12, 2009, 05:31:29 PM »
That Vol. 2 of Mastroprimiano has worked its way to near the top of my wish list....
... I haven't heard Shelley, and I do like his playing, but I don't have any internal dichotomy to resolve for myself over the supremacy of the fortepiano for Classical Era works, so I decided long ago that I would concentrate on them. It was a challenge in itself until Mastroprimiano came along! :)
Good evening Gurn - just finished the 3rd CD of the 'new' Mastroprimiano release - just great (for some reason, Susan can't tolerate this instrument or the harpsichord - she's pretty much a 'professional' musician - is the issue her skill or possibly sex - I think women just have different 'ears' from men - OK, a side note of interest to me, and maybe others?).

Brilliant Classics has a complete listing of the second volume HERE, but that first disc is the Op. 1 'dedicated' sonatas - really historic!  But, I must say that those Shelley recordings are special - might want to give one set @ least a try - not sure if they have appeared on BRO @ a reduced price yet?  Dave  :)

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #226 on: March 12, 2009, 05:42:52 PM »
Good evening Gurn - just finished the 3rd CD of the 'new' Mastroprimiano release - just great (for some reason, Susan can't tolerate this instrument or the harpsichord - she's pretty much a 'professional' musician - is the issue her skill or possibly sex - I think women just have different 'ears' from men - OK, a side note of interest to me, and maybe others?).

Well, I can't criticize her, her aversion is shared by many, and I am certain that the fortepiano is an acquired taste. Lots of people don't have the endurance to get there. I have some disks that would make her hair stand up, and others that I would challenge her to tell me that is was a fortepiano and not a modern one. Lots of variety. (and also I have disks on a modern piano that the player was talented enough to make sound like a fortepiano!) :)

Quote
Brilliant Classics has a complete listing of the second volume HERE, but that first disc is the Op. 1 'dedicated' sonatas - really historic!  But, I must say that those Shelley recordings are special - might want to give one set @ least a try - not sure if they have appeared on BRO @ a reduced price yet?  Dave  :)

Well, you are probably right, I should give them a listen. If they do pop up at BRO, I'll have a go. Thanks for the link too. Amazon frequently disappoints in that way: they want you to drop (a sometimes large) packet on a set of disks, and they don't even tell you what is on them :o  What the hell is that?  What other company that size sells you a pig in a poke like that?  ???

8)


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Offline Sorin Eushayson

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #227 on: March 12, 2009, 06:21:00 PM »
A question for Gurn...

I listened to Mozart's Violin Sonata K. 306 the other day and was surprised by how orchestral the second and third movements sounded (did you catch the 'cadenza' at the end of the third movement???).  This immediately brought to mind the wonderful little gem K. Anh. 56, the fragmented Violin & Piano Concerto movement.  As I'm sure you very well know, the recording on the Philips edition features the Wilby reconstruction: Wilby theorized that Mozart - unable to complete the concerto - rewrote it into the Violin Sonata K. 306.  What do you think of this idea?  I actually consider Wilby's work one of the more successful Mozart reconstruction attempts.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 06:24:05 PM by Sorin Eushayson »

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #228 on: March 12, 2009, 06:28:52 PM »
A question for Gurn...

I listened to Mozart's Violin Sonata K. 306 the other day and was surprised by how orchestral the second and third movements sounded (did you catch the 'cadenza' at the end of the third movement???).  This immediately brought to mind the wonderful little gem K. Anh. 56, the fragmented Violin & Piano Concerto movement.  As I'm sure you very well know, the recording on the Philips edition features the Wilby reconstruction: Wilby theorized that Mozart - unable to complete the concerto - rewrote it into the Violin Sonata K. 306.  What do you think of this idea?  I actually consider Wilby's work one of the more successful Mozart reconstruction attempts.


Well, I can't dispute it on musical grounds (I don't know enough theory!) so I read his argument on historical grounds instead, and really, it is all cogent. There is nothing to the story that would stand out as "Mozart would never do that!", and from listening to the works themselves, it certainly sounds right. As for K 300l_306, it is one of my favorite of the earlier sonatas. I have the Rivest/Breitman period instrument version and it flows like honey. :)

8)

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Offline Sorin Eushayson

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #229 on: March 12, 2009, 06:32:09 PM »
Thanks for the reply.  That concerto gets a lot of playtime on my music player.  Just great music.

...As for K 300l_306, it is one of my favorite of the earlier sonatas. I have the Rivest/Breitman period instrument version and it flows like honey. :)

Why did you have to say that???  Now I'll have to add it to The List!  ;D
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 06:35:06 PM by Sorin Eushayson »

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #230 on: March 12, 2009, 06:37:24 PM »
Thanks for the reply.  That concerto gets a lot of playtime on my music player.  Just great music.

Why did you have to say that???  Now I'll have to add it to The List!  ;D

I know how you feel, Sorin. The List can be a killer at times. I was blessed with the whole 4 disk set of Rivest/Breitman at a time when I was trying to find really good PI performances, and POOF, there they all were, all in one nice set. :)

8)

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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #231 on: March 12, 2009, 06:43:56 PM »
Thanks for the reply.  That concerto gets a lot of playtime on my music player.  Just great music.

Why did you have to say that???  Now I'll have to add it to The List!  ;D

Sorin  - Q & I have been recommending this duo CD set (shown below) for a while on this forum; just outstanding!  Please acquire @ your earliest convenience!   ;D   Dave


 

Offline Sorin Eushayson

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #232 on: March 12, 2009, 08:59:25 PM »
Sorin  - Q & I have been recommending this duo CD set (shown below) for a while on this forum; just outstanding!  Please acquire @ your earliest convenience!   ;D   Dave

The pressure!  The pressure!!! 

Offline Maciek

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #233 on: March 13, 2009, 07:30:25 AM »
I know some music from three of the composers listed: Kurpiński, Elsner and Lessel. In my very limited knowledge of Polish music from the classicism, I can recommend two works. First, Karol Kurpiński's overture to Zamek na Czorsztynie: it is a winner. Not a "great" work, but it is very beautifully scored and has some unforgettable ideas (I have two recordings of it: Spering and Borowicz). The other one is Franciszek Lessel's piano concerto in C major op. 14, a lyrical, delicate yet consistent work; in its simplicity, it has a Fieldian flavour, particularly in the undescribably beautiful Adagio. This movement alone would justify the purchase.

Fortunately for interested GMGers, the Borowicz recording I wrote about includes both recommended works from Lessel and Kurpiński. It brings also a couple more works, all highly enjoyable. Both works could be better recorded, but it is a competent recording nonetheless. (In fact, Kurpiński's overture by Spering is a better recording; he makes even the first chord meaningful, but you have to listen to it to understand what I mean. It is included in an Opus 111 CD called Chopin: the 1830 Warsaw concert).

Great to hear that! I'm not so sure about Borowicz as a conductor myself... But to his credit, he does record a lot of rare repertoire. And his recording of Cherubini's Loidoska was recently nominated for a MIDEM award (but didn't get it):


Today I'll stick to Kurpinski and Lessel. As I said, I can't offer many details about Polish classical music - I know most of it from the radio, so my impressions aren't reliable. But I'll list the recordings I'm aware of below. In some cases, I don't know the discs at all - I only just found them now when searching...

A few words about the composers. Karol Kurpiński was related to Jan Wański (whose name I also put on my list). His father was an organist and music teacher. In 1810 he came to Warsaw and managed to secure the prestigious post of second conductor at the Warsaw Opera (in 1824 he became director of the whole opera). Here he started to compose operas at quite an astounding rate (2-3 a year) - these met with general enthusiastic acclaim but were later promptly forgotten. He was also the founder of "Tygodnik Muzyczny" ("Musical Weekly") the first ever music magazine in Poland. He was the conductor at Chopin's famous March 1830 Warsaw concert (featuring the premiere performance of Chopin's F Minor Concerto).

Franciszek (Franz) Lessel studied with none other but Joseph Haydn for almost 10 years (was he such a bad student??). His father was associated with the Czartoryski family and spent almost his entire life as their court conductor in Puławy. The Czartoryskis financed Franciszek's studies in Vienna, where he stayed until Haydn's death. He then returned to Warsaw where he unsuccessfully tried to pursue a musical career. He gave up being a full time musician in 1812 - he left Warsaw and from then on only occasionally gave concerts as pianist or conductor. Shortly before his death he composed a Requiem. The Piano Concerto is his most popular piece today.

(Damn, this thing doesn't want to post properly so I'm cutting it into several parts...)

Offline Maciek

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #234 on: March 13, 2009, 07:30:41 AM »

Offline Maciek

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #235 on: March 13, 2009, 07:40:46 AM »
Now for specific recordings.

There's a very good recording of Kurpinski's overture to The Two Huts on a disc of Polish 19th century symphonic music. One of the few that I own from this list and I can heartily recommend the whole disc (also, there's a rather enthusiastic review on Musicweb):


A slightly newer set of Kurpinski pieces (also under Borowicz) recorded for the Polish Radio is unfortunately out of print. It contains the Clarinet Concerto (with Kornel Wolak as soloist) and a selection of (five!) opera overtures:


And another out of print recording of the Clarinet Concerto (on DUX) - arranged for clarinet and string quintet (the clarinet played by Artur Pachlewski). I hope it is re-released at some point, the whole disc is very interesting (a good helping of "light" contemporary clarinet):


This Lidia Kozubek recital is interesting not just for the Kurpiński pieces but also compositions by two other composers I mentioned above: Maria Szymanowska and Maciej Kamieński:


A real rarity is a small vocal selection from Zamek na Czorsztynie (though some of Kurpinski's operas used to be once available in the Olympia Musica Antiqua Polonica series):


This is an excellent selection of Polish classical (Radziwiłł, Holland, Kurpiński, Janiewicz, Ogiński) and baroque music:

It used to be available under a much more fetching cover on Olympia (I think). The performance is anything but HIP - the pieces are all wonderful though. I think Gurn might know this one, at least he should, he had access to it once. ;D Heather Harrison was quite enthusiastic about it.

There's also an out of print Polish Radio CD with Kurpiński's Te Deum (PRCD129-2).
« Last Edit: March 13, 2009, 07:49:44 AM by Maciek »

Offline Maciek

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #236 on: March 13, 2009, 07:49:11 AM »
Part 2. Lessel. This will be mostly Acte Préalable. ;D

The excellent Wilanow Quartet has recorded Lessel's string quartet and flute quartet (with Elzbieta Gajewska) - here the performers are a recommendation in themselves:


There's also a disc of flute duets:


Marcin Łukaszewski has recorded a 2CD set of Lessel's complete piano works. I know some of these through scores and, frankly, find them a frightful bore. But perhaps a better pianist than me can make something out of them:


Also released under single cover:


The Variations in A minor Op.15 have also been recorded by Jerzy Sterczyński on Selene (a label specializing in piano repertoire):


This disc of Lessel's music for piano and orchestra (Piano Concerto op. 14, Adagio et Rondeau a la Polonaise op. 9) looks very enticing. Except for what's listed on the cover, I don't know anything about it, have never heard the performance. I think it's rather new. The label is quite reliable for good performances of rare stuff:


And probably the newest release of all these. Lessel's Grand Trio op. 4 for piano, clarinet and horn:

Offline Maciek

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #237 on: March 13, 2009, 07:52:40 AM »
Lessel and Kurpinski recordings, part 3 (of 3!).

Sometimes both composers are recorded together.

Acte Préalable has another disc with the Wilanow Quartet (and the pianist Pawel Perlinski):


And this must be the disc Gabriel mentioned (I think it's been released under a different cover or several different covers as well):

Offline Gabriel

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #238 on: March 13, 2009, 10:23:42 AM »
And this must be the disc Gabriel mentioned (I think it's been released under a different cover or several different covers as well):

That is the CD indeed, Maciek!

Thank you for the very interesting information about the recordings. It's true that Polish composers of this era are almost unknown, but I'm sure that Kurpiński and Lessel can provide a proper motivation for discovery.

On the other hand, I didn't know the existence of that recording of Cherubini's Lodoïska. I have Muti's, but I wasn't too excited when I listened to it; I have a great admiration for Cherubini's music, but this particular composition seems to be an exception... ;)

Offline Valentino

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #239 on: March 13, 2009, 02:50:19 PM »


I'd buy it for the cover.  8)
We audiophiles don't really like music, but we sure love the sound it makes