"New" Music Log

Started by Todd, April 06, 2007, 07:22:52 AM

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Todd

Quote from: Florestan on December 12, 2023, 04:13:07 AMI'm sure that the choirs of the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow or the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg are as well-trained in this type of music as any other and able to deliver flawless renditions.

Maybe.  I will never find out.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

People would rather believe than know - E.O. Wilson

Propaganda death ensemble - Tom Araya

Florestan

Quote from: Todd on December 12, 2023, 04:45:25 AMMaybe.  I will never find out.

Neither will I, probably --- but then again, never say never.  :D
I love Italian opera – it's so reckless. Damn Wagner, and his bellowings at Fate and Death. Damn Debussy, and his averted face. I like the Italians who run all on impulse, and don't care about their immortal souls, and don't worry about the ultimate — D. H. Lawrence

Todd

Quote from: Florestan on December 12, 2023, 04:48:32 AMNeither will I, probably --- but then again, never say never.  :D

I can say never.  I have no reason to travel to Russia for business, and were I to travel to Russia for vacation, it would be to locales farther to the east - Lake Baikal, parts of the Siberian Traps, Kamchatka, those sorts of things.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

People would rather believe than know - E.O. Wilson

Propaganda death ensemble - Tom Araya

Florestan

Quote from: Todd on December 12, 2023, 04:55:07 AMI can say never.  I have no reason to travel to Russia for business, and were I to travel to Russia for vacation, it would be to locales farther to the east - Lake Baikal, parts of the Siberian Traps, Kamchatka, those sorts of things.

I see. Well, may you be able to see whatever interests you.
I love Italian opera – it's so reckless. Damn Wagner, and his bellowings at Fate and Death. Damn Debussy, and his averted face. I like the Italians who run all on impulse, and don't care about their immortal souls, and don't worry about the ultimate — D. H. Lawrence

Todd




Ridiculous.  That's a word that popped into mind multiple times while listening to the latest from William Youn, or as I prefer to think of him, Korean Piano Jesus.  Hot off belatedly devouring his third Schubert sonata installment and passionately hating myself for waiting so long to buy it, I snapped up and listened to this collection of French music for piano and orchestra, with some solo piano fare tossed in.  Most of the music is new to me, but some is old hat.

The set opens with something new to me, Reynaldo Hahn's Piano Concerto in E Major.  Now, I know me some Hahn, but only songs.  Without fail, they sound meltingly beautiful, and whenever I spin them, they beguile for the duration of the recording.  This here concerto is cut from the same cloth.  It opens with the soloist spinning out beautiful music, and then the band enters, winds dominating, in music that sounds so purely charming and beautiful it is ridiculous.  The movement slowly unfolds and dances around until the second movement Danse, which sounds so elegant and refined that it is ridiculous.  Finally, in the closing movement, starting with a reverie, the gentle, soft, hazy strings overwhelm the listener with impossible levels of beauty, and so does the solo playing.  It is ridiculous.  As the movement winds on, with some boisterous marches, wide dynamics swings, and a fleeting, almost vaudevillian feel, it imparts nearly limitless music enjoyment.  It is ridiculous.  While the recording is definitely modern, it most certainly does not offer clinical clarity of each instrument; everything sounds beautifully blended.  There are not too many recordings of this piece, though Shani Diluka recorded it recently, so perhaps that recording needs to find its way to my ears.

Faure's well-known Ballade, Op 19 follows.  As with pretty much everything he wrote, the music sounds either beautiful or stupid beautiful. Youn plays with nutso refinement and tonal gradation, with impossibly gentle dynamic changes.  Listen to his gentle runs.  They are so subtle it is ridiculous.  The orchestral accompaniment, with a cello peeking out here, the winds there, bewitches while KPJ spins out limitless beauty.  It's just so ridiculous.  (Seriously, if any pianist alive and recording should record every note of Faure's piano music, it's KPJ.  I mean, sure, Jean-Rodolphe Kars is alive, but the Father will not be making any more recordings.) 

KPJ then treats the ridiculously lucky listener to his own arrangement of Hahn's À Chloris.  In the brief three minutes, it's like hearing Bach filtered through a hyperromantic sensibility, stripped of the usual pesky voice muddying things, with the result being pure musical beauty.  But it sounds rough, ugly, and gauche compared to KPJ's transcription of L'heure exquise.  So sublime, so flawless, so hypnotic, the listener is forced to surrender to the sheer ridiculousness of it all. 

Low strings bellow beauteously to open Nadia Boulanger's Fantaisie variée pour piano et Orchestre.  The music sounds like a literally perfect stereotype of Fin de siècle music.  Thick and often orchestrally opaque, with piano writing that nearly mimics organ writing in places, the music floods the listener.  Slight hints of Straussian goodness can be heard, some Gounod, too.  Instruments jump in and out, flitting by.  While French, there's an almost Russian excess sentiment, a Rachy gooiness that's so ridiculously mesmerizing that one wallows in the music as it moves from one (probably too) thickly textured variation to the next.  And are those hints of Ravelian waltzes one detects?  Probably.  It is easy to hear why this is not core rep, but at least as delivered here, one certainly thinks it deserves a bit more love than it has received to date.

Faure's Fantaisie for piano & orchestra, Op 111 follows, and it would be ridiculous to think it's not every bit as good as the Ballade.  KPJ produces a stream of beauty.  And then, to cap everything off, is his arrangement of Après un rêve for solo piano.  This piece, which also works well for Cello and Piano, is played in beautiful fashion, but also with more drive and tension than expected, though on evidence of this (and all prior recordings), KPJ can't produce an ugly sound no matter how loud he plays.  How ridiculous.

So, here's nearly ninety minutes of musical gorgeousness and excess too good to be true.  Yet it's true.  No, the non-core pieces are not quite elevated to core rep levels, though the rendition of the Hahn as played here comes pretty gosh darned close.  The whole thing just washes over the listener, generating giddiness and unlimited satisfaction.  Is this a purchase of the year?  It would be ridiculous if it were not. 
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

People would rather believe than know - E.O. Wilson

Propaganda death ensemble - Tom Araya

Todd




For no particular reason, I decided I wanted to listen to a big ol' slug of new religious music from different eras, though with a heavy concentration on the Renaissance.  ('Tis my favored era for such music.)  Unlike the last time I had a similar hankerin', listening will not be limited to Requiems.  Once again, I decided to rely on Naxos for a goodly chunk of the music since recordings can still be had for a pittance when sales happen.  Also. I have found that Jeremy Summerly and his normal crew tend to be quite reliable sources of lovely recordings, so they will appear.

Writing of Mr Summerly, a hot off the press, 2024 release of music by written by Philip Stopford between 2016 and 2022 kicks things off.  The shortest possible review: Steven Spielberg would reject the music as too trite and treacly.   The music actually annoys as the recording unfolds.  The melodies blend show tunes and feel-good Hollywood schlock into a saccharine mess.  Too, the star soprano does not generate a particularly appealing sound.  The cymbals make the listener wonder just what the heck is going on.  (This is sacred music, after all.  Right?)  For the most part, the Missa Deus Nobiscum and all the smaller works sort of all sound like a treacly, annoying musical blob.  It's not until the closer, God is Our Hope and Strength, where the music tips over into outright awfulness, with horns, organs, and electric piano generating noise that nearly causes the annoyance to morph into mild anger.  Thankfully, it lasts only six little eternities, er, minutes. 

The plusses here are limited to the up to snuff modern recording quality, fine instrumental playing, nice organ playing, and generally fine choral singing. 

A big ol' whiff.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

People would rather believe than know - E.O. Wilson

Propaganda death ensemble - Tom Araya

Cato

Quote from: Todd on February 18, 2024, 02:31:38 PM


For no particular reason, I decided I wanted to listen to a big ol' slug of new religious music from different eras, though with a heavy concentration on the Renaissance.  ('Tis my favored era for such music.)  Unlike the last time I had a similar hankerin', listening will not be limited to Requiems.  Once again, I decided to rely on Naxos for a goodly chunk of the music since recordings can still be had for a pittance when sales happen.  Also. I have found that Jeremy Summerly and his normal crew tend to be quite reliable sources of lovely recordings, so they will appear.

Writing of Mr Summerly, a hot off the press, 2024 release of music written by Philip Stopford between 2016 and 2022 kicks things off.  The shortest possible review: Steven Spielberg would reject the music as too trite and treacly.   The music actually annoys as the recording unfolds.  The melodies blend show tunes and feel-good Hollywood schlock into a saccharine mess.  Too, the star soprano does not generate a particularly appealing sound.  The cymbals make the listener wonder just what the heck is going on.  (This is sacred music, after all.  Right?) 


For the most part, the Missa Deus Nobiscum and all the smaller works sort of all sound like a treacly, annoying musical blob.  It's not until the closer, God is Our Hope and Strength, where the music tips over into outright awfulness, with horns, organs, and electric piano generating noise that nearly causes the annoyance to morph into mild anger.  Thankfully, it lasts only six little eternities, er, minutes. 

The plusses here are limited to the up to snuff modern recording quality, fine instrumental playing, nice organ playing, and generally fine choral singing. 

A big ol' whiff.



Your review makes me wonder about the arbitri musicae at NAXOS! 


And our great Karl Henning and his assorted religious works stay unrecorded and unpromoted!


Another example of how the amount of kulcheral garbage generated by the talentless drowns out those whose works deserve an audience!
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)