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Still trying to catch up on my listening

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Posted on June 27, 2020 at 17:42:47
Chris from Lafayette
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Here are some brief reactions from single listenings of recent recordings I've heard:


The other Patrenko's other Rimsky-Korsakov album (i.e., Scheherazade, Capriccio espagnole and Russian Easter Overture with the Oslo PO on the LAWO label - heard via Qobuz) - I didn't listen to Scheherazade, but the Capriccio and the REO were excitingly performed (especially the REO), and I thought the Oslo acoustic suited these works better than it did the previous Scriabin album I'd heard from this team.


Mozart - Abduction from the Seraglio (blu-ray video), Soloists, Netherlands Opera - I got this to see Mojca Erdmann (with her cute rabbit teeth - BTW, that's NOT her on the cover!) in the role of Blonde. One of the Amazon posters says that this is a worthwhile purchase if only for Ms. Erdmann! If only! Alas, everything else about this production gives me the creeps, from the raw, ultra-HIP impositions on the playing of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra by conductor Constantinos Carydis, to the godawful Eurotrash sets and costumes. Spare me! One of the Amazon posts speaks of the "high-school production level" of this joke of a presentation. If only I'd seen that comment before I ordered this misbegotten excuse for a serious musical effort!

Now a few cheap-thrills SACD's from Pentatone:


I already had Janowski's Bruckner Ninth with the OSR from quite a while ago, and I posted here at the time that one would hardly recognize the OSR these days compared to the many recordings the orchestra made during the Ansermet days in the "Golden Age of Stereo". The playing is so secure and in tune! Nevertheless, even now, the OSR is not the first orchestra you think of when someone mentions "Bruckner". That's what's so amazing about these Janowski recordings: the orchestra gets a real Teutonic style sound which one might never have guessed they had the capacity to produce! (I suppose this is a bit similar to the situation with the Skrowaczewski/Saarbrucken recordings too - but if anything, I think that the OSR seems even more "Germanic" and solid here with Janowski!) As with the Ninth, I really liked all three of these symphonies, especially the Sixth, which, in its wonderful response to Janowski's clarifying direction, forms a useful corrective to the recent Dausgard/Bergen recording BIS - a lightweight rush-through which can't be bothered with such niceties as clear articulation and textural lucidity. Janowski's performances of the First and Third Symphonies are also excellent (as much as I've loved the Neumann/LGO recording of the First for decades!). Janowski chooses the 1877 Linz version of the First and the 1888/89 version of the Third (with the "abbreviated" recap in the finale!). All of these are Nowak editions. Just as before, I was surprised by how good these recordings were, and I should probably pick up the Fourth Symphony if it's still available at BRO.


Hindemith's "Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber" is so gosh darn clever, that I always look forward to hearing new performances of it. (BTW, sometimes you'll see it in the plural "Metamorphoses" instead of the singular - apparently this divergence was caused by the translation into German. A couple of publishers put out the title, "Sinfonische Metamorphosen nach Themen von Carl Maria von Weber" (i.e., plural). And then this German title got translated back into English, where the plural remained, and the "of" became "on", i.e., "Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber". LOL - What a mess - and it persists to this day!) Anyway, Janowski's performance is very fast and brilliant (too fast for some Amazon posters however - LOL!). As with all of these Pentatone offerings, the SQ is great!

I'll try to write up some more of these "shoot from the hip" mini reactions in another few days.

 

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Janowski, posted on June 28, 2020 at 03:50:02
pbarach
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I had a neutral impression of Janowski from his first Ring cycle (the one with Jeannine Altmeyer as Brunnhilde). But I was very pleased with his Brahms 1 (Pittsburgh), so I bought the other Brahms SACDs, and they are wonderful performances in predictably great sound--with that topnotch Pgh horn section!

Some years ago, I'd won a Pentatone sampler box in a contest--a few months ago, I revisited it and found Janowski's Bruckner 7 (also with OSR), which I really enjoyed.

 

Janowski's Bruckner 4th with "new and improved OSR, (firmware updates monthly!)...., posted on June 28, 2020 at 08:57:36
jdaniel@jps.net
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I really enjoyed their Bruckner 4th. The only eyebrow-raising moment involves the great brass chorale midway through first mov't: Janowski really holds them back, compared to Solti, who respects Bruckner's directive, "chorale alla batteria e trombettista." : )

I don't have a score. What dynamic level does Bruckner request at that point?

 

Thanks for the thoughts on Rimsky :), posted on June 28, 2020 at 09:57:21
popsy
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n/t

 

Thanks for thoughts on Petrenko's Rimsky but Bakel's BIS cycle seems, (I repeat) "seems" hard to beat. , posted on June 28, 2020 at 10:08:15
jdaniel@jps.net
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Certainly one of BIS' best recordings, and one of the best modern recordings I know.

 

RE: Petrenko's Rimsky..., posted on June 28, 2020 at 10:40:15
Ivan303
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Agree, overall the Malaysian Phil. rules when it comes to Rimsky

But as Golden Cockerels go, the above has pretty much become my current favorite.

24/96 on QOBUZ and as you don't require MCH you are running out of excuses!



 

That's a harder question than one might think!, posted on June 28, 2020 at 11:02:38
Chris from Lafayette
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First of all, the "Romantic" is one of Bruckner's "problem" symphonies and there are all these different versions of it floating around which don't line up with one another. So, you finally figure out which version is being used - then you have to figure out whose edition of that version is being used (at least in some cases!). Just to get one's feet on the ground and the general orientation, you have to use that abruckner.com site - or you could be lost (well, depending on the symphony!).

Fortunately for us, both Janowski and Solti are using the 1953 Nowak edition of the 1886 version (aka the 1878/80 version!) - are you still with me? (Not to complicate matters, but there's a 1936 Haas edition of the 1881 version (which is ALSO known as 1878/80 version! As I was just posting about the Hindemith Symphonic Metamorphosis, what a mess! One absolutely NEEDS a crutch like abruckner.com to keep it all straight!)

So. . . to answer your question about the dynamic level at that chorale-like place in the middle of the movement (measure 305 in the Nowak score, if I read you correctly), everybody is marked fortissimo: strings, brass and winds. People can check this for themselves at the imslp site, but here's a screen shot of the beginning of the passage in question:



Interestingly enough, there are no cellos or double basses in this little section - I guess Bruckner thought that trombones and tuba would be enough to hold down the bass line! ;-)

 

You're welcome, but I should have elaborated more, posted on June 28, 2020 at 11:07:27
Chris from Lafayette
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Frankly, the truth is that I don't know of any really poor recorded performances of Capriccio espagnole or the Russian Easter Overture - but I'm interested enough in this new Petrenko/Oslo/LAWO recording that I'm sure I'll eventually download the MCh version available on Jared's Native DSD site.

 

I agree about the Bakels/Malaysian PO recordings, posted on June 28, 2020 at 11:13:37
Chris from Lafayette
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But the Petrenko recording is available in MCh, and MCh is. . . well. . . MCh (at least for me!). ;-)

(But I did download the four-album Bakels R-K bundle from eClassical - again, I agree with you that the whole thing is excellent.)

 

RE: Janowski, posted on June 28, 2020 at 11:51:12
Chris from Lafayette
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I haven't heard Janowski's Brahms recordings, but your post makes it sound like I should investigate it. The Brahms symphonies are another part of the repertoire where I don't know of many bad recordings - I'm pretty easy to satisfy here!

I also haven't heard Janowski's Bruckner Seventh, but now the four Bruckner symphonies I have heard from him and the OSR do make me curious about the rest of them.

Shortly after he won the Cliburn Competition, Jon Nakamatsu had a concert with Janowski in South America. Jon was replacing an indisposed Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Janowski was pissed off about it! ;-)

 

For Petrenko, I'll repeat: his Danse Sacrale from Stravinsky's Rite simply smokes! nt, posted on June 28, 2020 at 12:19:07
jdaniel@jps.net
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.

 

Wow, thanks for screen shot. Such a great moment, isn't it? , posted on June 28, 2020 at 13:18:40
jdaniel@jps.net
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Janowski seems to have made his own decision, then. Not the end of the world, but its blazing light is dimmed quite a bit, especially at the high-trumpet summit.

I guess the conductor wanted the ear to focus on the subsidiary material in violas and ww's?

"lang gesogen immer"... pulled long always. Hmmmm.

 

Well, every chorale needs a nice "halo" of strings! [nt] ;-), posted on June 28, 2020 at 15:43:34
Chris from Lafayette
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RE: Janowski, posted on June 30, 2020 at 18:47:50
Todd Krieger
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I took in a video of him doing Beethoven's Ninth (link)...... It was not exactly my favorite.........

 

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