CPO diaries

Started by Brian, March 06, 2024, 01:07:52 PM

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ritter

#40
Indeed, CPO has been really inventive in making obscure repertoire to the record collector.

In my collection, these sets hold pride of place:



The Milhaud symphonies haven't had a very enthusiastic reception here in GMG (have they, @Karl Henning;D ) but it's certainly a good thing to have access to all of them in one set.




TBH, I have this a singles (except for the Second Symphony, which I only have in the Zagrosek recording on Decca's "Entartete Kunst" series).


The new erato

cpo has a great series of baroque opera under the supervision of Stephen Stubbs and Paul O'Dette from the Boston Baroque fetival. This is just one example:


Brian



This disc contains three unnumbered quartets, in G, A, and E minor. Newspaper articles of the time suggested that Mayer ultimately composed 14 quartets, of which 7 survived, the latest from 1858. (The later ones seem to be the lost ones, which is a pity.) The numbering/exact years are unknown, though in some cases we have info on premiere performances.

The music, to my surprise, is very Haydnesque. Not to mean witty and sunny, but more like the "serious" mature Haydn groupings. The craft is serious, the music has integrity, the parts are all in nice conversation. You could also compare it to Mendelssohn's quartets, but the early ones only, not the fire or complexity of Op. 80.

Although I doubt I'll listen to these as often as I do the Mendelssohn or Cherubini quartets, they are very pleasant and it'll be nice to see this cycle completed.

JBS



Good @Florestan music:
High Viennese Classical style, perhaps not on the level of WAM or FJH, but not far below them.
Well done by the performers. Sonics are crystal clear.

I suppose I should read the liner notes for more information, but I've had a hard week at work, and this music, and the Pinot Grigio I'm drinking, are all the stress relief I need.

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Brian

There are no rules for erudition in this thread  ;D that sounds lovely and is on my list for next week, thank you! The violinist's name is very familiar...

Florestan

Quote from: JBS on March 22, 2024, 06:08:54 PM

Good @Florestan music:
High Viennese Classical style, perhaps not on the level of WAM or FJH, but not far below them.
Well done by the performers. Sonics are crystal clear.

I suppose I should read the liner notes for more information, but I've had a hard week at work, and this music, and the Pinot Grigio I'm drinking, are all the stress relief I need.

IIRC, one of his violin concertos was attributed to Mozart for a long time, which speaks volumes about their quality.
There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law. — Claude Debussy

Brian



A tiny bit of false advertising here, as the CPE Bach work is actually one of the cello concertos (in B flat), arranged for viola by the soloist. It's still lovely, of course, and Mathis Rochat is an appealing soloist, with a direct, slicing style that remains tonally pretty. From Johann Gottlieb Graun, we get a true viola concerto and a double concerto with viola and violin. All three pieces fit comfortably together on the disc, with stylistic similarity, and all three are well-written. The stylish playing of Rochat and his small string orchestra accompaniment (with rather prominent harpsichord) are definitely pleasing enough to make this worth an hour of your/my time.



Music for two pianos was a constant throughout Carl Reinecke's career, and this three-CD box spans from Op. 6 to Op. 275. There are three formal sonatas, several orchestral transcriptions, and a whole lot of theme-and-variations type works. The highlights of CD1 are the opening and closing variation tracks, the first one a fresh youthful charmer and the second based on a minor-key Bach sarabande.

CD2 starts with a series of miniatures, highlighted by a scherzo "in canon" (barely) and a swirling, up-and-down darting Impromptu in a very cheery mood. (I could imagine it as a very long encore at a two-pianos concert, or a showoff piece for teenage prodigies.) Then we get the second of the formal sonatas. This is by far the biggest, at 24 minutes, and in C. It starts off in a pensive, Brahmsian mood, but don't expect autumnal profundity; it eventually settles into a little lighter vein. The finale's more rigorous counterpoint brings back Brahms as a reference point in its development section, but not for long.

This disc ends with two 10-minute curiosities: a concert paraphrase of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 19, and a "Dramatic Fantasy Piece." The Mozart piece freely mixes up all the themes, not at all attempting to recapture the original dramatic arc. It's a genial little piece. The Dramatic Fantasy, on the other hand, finds Reinecke attempting to do brooding, emo, and eventually heroic/grandiose. This is not his usual language, but I find the result rather endearing.

CD3 starts with "Prologue solemnis," a quasi-religious sounding slow hymn with a main melody that sounds, a little bit, like the old folk tune "rock-a-bye baby." The faster middle section sounds a little bit like an orchestral piece that has lost its color and contrapuntal clarity in the reduction, although I still like it. The Sonata on this disc is a shorter, more modest one (less than 15 minutes), mostly rather leisurely and amiable in tone. Only the short final "Vivace" picks up the energy.

Zur Reformationsfeier Overture is, I assume, an orchestral transcription. It shares the big theme from Mendelssohn's Reformation Symphony, in a somewhat more reticent, less heart-on-sleeve phrasing. (I don't know the original hymn well enough to know whose version is "authentic.") After five minutes of increasingly elaborate, contrapuntal variations on this Big Tune, the music abruptly stops, then turns to another hymn tune. After this reprieve, the original tune returns along with interjections of Handel's Messiah's "Hallelujah." The two pianos basically duel it out, one playing Handel, the other playing Not Handel. It's super earnest, but very entertaining.

After that, we get a couple light little finales to round out the set: a scene of Mediterranean tone-pictures (including a "Neapolitan mandolin serenade") and Improvisations on a Gavotte by Gluck.

Reinecke's total sincerity, craftsmanship, and commitment to two equal partners really make his two-piano music consistently enjoyable. Although none of this is as memorable or personal as the Schubert masterpieces, it's music I'd happily return to a few dozen more times.

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I also listened to the Eck concertos album above today, and enjoyed that too.