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Sunday, December 2, 2012
MAHLER: Symphony No. 10 in F sharp major

MAHLER: Symphony No. 10 in F sharp major
Haenssler Classic: CD93.124
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10/10 Artistic and Sound Quality

This is without a doubt the finest Mahler 10th currently available, and a performance that more than any other vindicates Deryck Cooke's work as the closest to what the composer's intentions must have been at the moment of his death. As Gielen himself points out in his more-coherent-than-usual comments in the accompanying booklet, by letting the score's bare bones remain, and only doing minimal filling out of contrapuntal lines and textures, Cooke allows us to hear just how much Mahler there really is in the piece as it stands. In the hands of a great Mahler conductor, which Gielen certainly is, there's more than enough meat on this particular skeleton to offer a fully satisfying listening experience, and he achieves this by sticking to the fundamentals: clear textures, idiomatic phrasing, and a deep understanding of Mahler's particular sound-world.

The opening Adagio is taken a couple of minutes more slowly than on Gielen's previous recording (of that movement only), but this only serves to heighten the music's passion and intensity, with the two main tempo areas strongly and purposefully characterized. The big climax has... (read more)

- David Hurwitz, © 2012 ClassicsToday.com
 
FUCHS, K.: Atlantic Riband / American Rhapsody / Divinum Mysterium / Concerto Grosso (London Symphony, Falletta)

FUCHS, K.: Atlantic Riband / American Rhapsody / Divinum Mysterium / Concerto Grosso (London Symphony, Falletta)
Naxos: 8.559723
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LSO play music tailor-made by American Fuchs

This is the third CD of Kenneth Fuchs's orchestral music arising from the enthusiastic partnership of JoAnn Falletta and the LSO. United Artists on the second CD (3/08) was a tribute to that orchestra and now the viola concerto Divinum Mysterium has been written for the LSO's lead viola, Paul Silverthorne.

As with Fuchs's Canticle to the Sun, for LSO horn player Timothy Jones, this concerto is based on a hymn-tune. This time it's 'Of the Father's love begotten', originally plainsong, and it's interesting to trace the use of that fine melody, which emerges in full about two-thirds of the way through. The concerto, obviously rewarding to play, has cadenza material but is temperamentally more poetic than display. There's a similar approach in American Rhapsody for violin and orchestra but the discourse is more meandering, as the title suggests.

Fuchs is not an original figure: he's affably conventional and undemanding. The opening of Atlantic Riband, celebrating the transcontinental shipping lines, recalls the triads of Vaughan Williams, while Copland has affected... (read more)

- Peter Dickinson, © Gramophone
 
BACH, C.P.E.: Keyboard Concertos, Wq. 14, 17 and 43/4 (Rische, Leipzig Chamber Orchestra, Schuldt-Jensen)

BACH, C.P.E.: Keyboard Concertos, Wq. 14, 17 and 43/4 (Rische, Leipzig Chamber Orchestra, Schuldt-Jensen)
Haenssler Classic: CD98.653
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10/10 Artistic and Sound Quality

More Fine CPE Bach Piano Concertos from Rische

Even in major keys C.P.E. Bach's music remains unpredictable, arresting, and delightful. Consider the finale of the E major Concerto, and consider that this music was composed in 1744, when J.S. Bach was still very much alive and active. You really can hear the emergence of a new musical style, and the difference between the father and his scarcely less gifted son. And as with the first volume in this series, the music has never sounded better than it does when played on Bach’s own preferred instrument, the piano.

Also as previously, Rische includes one of Bach's "concertos" for solo keyboard, in this case that in C minor, Wq.43/4. It's a remarkable piece in four movements, including a minuet, actually giving it the shape of a full-fledged sonata or symphony (in cyclical form, no less, as the finale recapitulates themes from the previous movements). The other work on the program, the Concerto in D minor, resembles one of Bach's best known works (Wq. 23 in the same key), and like its brother concerto it immediately brings to mind the elder Bach's... (read more)

- David Hurwitz, © 2012 ClassicsToday.com
 
JANACEK, L.: String Quartets Nos. 1 and 2 (Mandelring Quartet, Teuffel)

JANACEK, L.: String Quartets Nos. 1 and 2 (Mandelring Quartet, Teuffel)
audite: Audite92.545
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Leoš Janácek is a unique phenomenon in the history of classical music. He was born in humble surroundings in 1854 in the small Moravian town of Hukvaldy. After his studies he became the head of his own music school in the town of Brno. Until 1895 he devoted himself mainly to folkloristic research. His early musical output was unremarkable and influenced by contemporaries such as Antonín Dvorák. His later, mature works incorporate his earlier studies of national folk music in a modern, highly original synthesis. This was first evident in the opera Jenufa, which was premiered in 1904 in Brno. In the year 1916, at age 62, Jenufa was performed to great acclaim in Prague. When Jenufa was staged in the opera-houses of Vienna (1918) and Berlin (1924), he finally achieved international recognition. In the eight years before his death at age 74, he astonished the musical world by completing five more operas.

In the summer of 1917, while on holiday at his beloved spa Lucacovice, he met a beautiful woman half his age, with whom he fell madly in love. A love-affair never materialized, but she was to remain the object of his affection for the rest of his days. While staying faithful to her husband and children, Kamila Stösslova maintained... (read more)

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