Fantasia Archive

Jascha Spivakovsky: Bach to Bloch, Vol. IV = Works for Solo Piano by BACH; BEETHOVEN; CHOPIN; SCHUMANN – Jascha Spivakovsky, piano – Pristine Audio 

Jascha Spivakovsky: Bach to Bloch, Vol. IV = Works for Solo Piano by BACH; BEETHOVEN; CHOPIN; SCHUMANN – Jascha Spivakovsky, piano – Pristine Audio 

The fourth installment of the Spivakovky Edition revels in the Romantic ethos of composer and performer.  Jascha Spivakovsky: Bach to Bloch, Vol. IV = BACH: Fantasia in c minor, BWV 906; BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Op. 110; CHOPIN: Impromptu No. 1 in A-flat Major, Op. 29; Etude in c minor, Op. 10, No. 12 “Revolutionary”; Etude in f minor, Op. 25, No. 2; Etude in G-flat Major, Op. 25, No. 9 “Butterfly”; Bolero in C Major/a minor, Op. 19; SCHUMANN: Carnaval, Op. 9 – Jascha Spivakovsky, piano – Pristine Audio PAKM073, 71:30 [www.pristineclassical.com] *****:  The latest installment of the Jascha Spivakovksy (1896-1970) legacy derives from a series of recordings that span approximately eighteen years, 1948-1966, derived from radio appearances and home recitals. Many of us who audition these rare and recently-revived performances marvel at the musical acuity and innate, Romantic sensibility of this magnificent artist, who never enjoyed the prestige of a commercial recording contract. Each interpretation bears Spivakovsky’s idiosyncratic temper and musical line, his astute rhythmic pulse and sense of the dramatic space between notes. Nothing that we hear bears the sense of routine or mediocrity of thought. We seem to become eaves-droppers on a […]

BRITTEN: String Quartet No. 2, No. 3;  PURCELL: Fantasias & Chaconne –  Emerson String Quartet – Decca Gold

BRITTEN: String Quartet No. 2, No. 3; PURCELL: Fantasias & Chaconne – Emerson String Quartet – Decca Gold

Chaconnes and Fantasias = “Music of BRITTEN and PURCELL” – BRITTEN:  String Quartet No. 2 in C Major; String Quartet No. 3 in G Major; PURCELL:  Fantazias No. 6, 8, 10, and 11; Chacony in g minor – Emerson String Quartet – Decca Gold 26509, 73:42, (4/21/17) ****; A meeting of England’s two most famous composers played brilliantly by the newly reconstituted Emerson String Quartet. (Eugene Drucker, Philip Setzer; violin/ Lawrence Dutton; viola/ Paul Watkins; cello) England was the world leader in industry and science in the 18th and 19th centuries.  In terms of patronage and audience, too, the London music scene was the the envy of artists elsewhere. Thus, it was all the more puzzling that, for almost exactly two centuries, England produced few composers beyond middling status. The death of Purcell in 1695, became increasingly seen as an endpoint, ushering in an age of lead. The 20th century saw the emergence of fresh talent in Edward Elgar and William Walton, national musicians of real stature, who duly feted in turn. However, the cruel terms of Modernism demanded more than talent and cutting edge sensibility, something to challenge if not chastise bourgeois tastes. It was Benjamin Britten who satisfied […]

BACH: Italian Con.; Four Duets; Partita Nos. 1 & 3; Fantasia; Aria – Rafal Blechacz, p. – DGG

BACH: Italian Con.; Four Duets; Partita Nos. 1 & 3; Fantasia; Aria – Rafal Blechacz, p. – DGG

Rafal Blechacz transfers his natural affinity for Chopin to the music of Chopin’s idol, Sebastian Bach. BACH: Italian Concerto in F Major, BWV 971; Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, BWV 825; Four Duets, BWV 802-805; Fantasia and Fugue in a minor, BWV 944; Partita No. 3 in a minor, BWV 827; Jesus bleibet meine Freude (arr. Hess) BWV 147 – Rafal Blechacz, piano – DGG 479 5534, 65:54 (3/3/17) [Distr. by Universal] ****: Polish piano virtuoso Rafal Blechacz (b. 1985) transfers his penchant for Chopin to selected works by Bach that highlight the close relationship between the ancient harpsichord and modern keyboard sonority, insofar as Blechacz – following in the Glenn Gould tradition – means to impart lyrical clarity as the main ingredient in the Bach contrapuntal ethos. Blechacz has chosen particular works from Bach’s Clavier-Uebungen as his source, works collected in a series of four volumes, 1735-1741. Many of the pieces present dance music of varied national styles, as well as virtuoso works that display the capacity of the keyboard to imitate the manuals of the harpsichord or the deep sonority and spacious range of the organ. A fine example of Blechacz’s approach comes to us by way […]

MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 24; Piano Concerto No. 8, Piano Sonata No. 11; Fantasia – Wilhelm Kempff – Praga Digitals

MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 24; Piano Concerto No. 8, Piano Sonata No. 11; Fantasia – Wilhelm Kempff – Praga Digitals

The Kempff Mozart recordings combine an elastic gravity with refined delicacy.  MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 24 in c minor, K. 491; Piano Concerto No. 8 in C Major, K. 246; Piano Sonata No. 11 in A Major, K. 331; Fantasia in d minor, K. 397 – Wilhelm Kempff, piano – Bamberg Sym. Orch. (K. 491)/ Berlin Philharmonic Orch./ Ferdinand Leitner – Praga Digitals PRD 250 359, 79:57 (10/7/16) [Distr. by Harmonia mundi/PIAS] ****: Praga gathers recordings by the great German piano master Wilhelm Kempff (1895-1991) recorded 1960-1962, of which the two works set in a minor key point to Mozart’s affinities with a burgeoning Romanticism. A case in point arises in the January 1961 reading of the unfinished 1782 Fantasia in d minor, K. 397, whose striking inwardness (Lento) wants to linger in an exalted space, but whose contrasting impulsiveness creates a palpable tension. Suddenly, in the last pages, a galant music-box sensibility dispels the clouds of doubt, although the authenticity of the conclusion remains questionable. Kempff allots to this rich piece his special presence. The 1786 Concerto No. 24 in c minor seems to be having a feast of recorded attention lavished upon it: the present performance from Bamberg […]

DEEMS TAYLOR: Three Century Suite  – Moravian Philharmonic Orch./ Petr Vronsky – Navona EP

DEEMS TAYLOR: Three Century Suite – Moravian Philharmonic Orch./ Petr Vronsky – Navona EP

A very short EP but very accessible music from Deems Taylor. DEEMS TAYLOR: Three Century Suite [TrackList Follows] – Moravian Philharmonic Orch./ Petr Vronsky – Navona NV6066. 15:39 [6/21/16] ••••: This is the 50th anniversary of the passing of Deems Taylor, who was the narrator in Disney’s original Fantasia, and composed the delightful Thru the Looking Glass on Alice in Wonderland (one of my personal favorite works…Ed.). The Three Century Suite had only one previous performance, at Interlochen in 1960, so it is more than welcome to have this recording at this time. You can see and hear each of the five movements on You Tube, because evidently the music went with historical video images on screen. The “Bartholomew Fair” closing movement is a celebration of sheer joy. It is in waltz time and has a lovely melody for strings and winds. The Moravian Philarharmonic does a fine job playing this short score. Sound is excellent – a recording made just this year. TrackList: 1. Pavan – Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra / Petr Vronsky 4:19 2. Saraband – Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra / Petr Vronsky 2:33. 3. Jig – Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra / Petr Vronsky 2:36 4. Ragadoon – Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra […]

“BUTTERWORTH: Orchestral Works – The Banks of Green Willow” – Kris Russman – BIS

“BUTTERWORTH: Orchestral Works – The Banks of Green Willow” – Kris Russman – BIS

“BUTTERWORTH: Orchestral Works – The Banks of Green Willow” A Shropshire Lad – six songs orchestrated by Kriss Russman · World première recording of the orchestrated version – James Rutherford (bari.); Two English Idylls; Suite for String Quartette arranged for string orchestra by Kriss Russman; world premiere recording of the orchestrated version; Love Blows As The Wind Blows; James Rutherford (bari.); Fantasia for Orch. completed by Kriss Russman · World premiere recording – BIS multichannel SACD BIS-2195, 74:00 (7/1/16) [Distr. by Naxos] ****: Familiar music by Butterworth re-scored for orchestra, along with some world premieres. George Butterworth was a fine English composer whose life was cut short 2 years after he joined the army and died in the trenches at the Somme in 1916. This disc has several of Butterworth’s pieces, most notably his Orchestral Fantasia (a world premier recording) which he had started just before the war broke out: a 92-bar full score manuscript lasting some three-and-a-half minutes has been preserved. On the first page Butterworth wrote ‘see short score’ which indicated that the work may have been completed but if so, the score has been lost. The composer and conductor Kriss Russman has therefore taken up where the […]

Mordecai Shehori plays Fantasies = Piano works of BEETHOVEN, SCHUMANN, CHOPIN – Cembal d’amour

Mordecai Shehori plays Fantasies = Piano works of BEETHOVEN, SCHUMANN, CHOPIN – Cembal d’amour

Mordecai Shehori plays Fantasies = BEETHOVEN: Fantasia in g minor, Op. 77; SCHUMANN: Fantasia in C Major, Op. 17; CHOPIN: Fantasy in f minor, Op. 49;  Polonaise-Fantasy in A-flat Major, Op. 61 – Mordecai Shehori, piano – Cembal d’amour  CD 182, 62:41 (2/7/16) [www.cembaldamour.com] ****: Beethoven and Schumann works allowing Shehori to improvise within restricted borders. Recorded 22-24 August 2009, this compilation of keyboard fantasies rather unleashes Mordecai Shehori in repertory that allows him – in accord with the colossal demands of the composers – to “improvise” within restricted borders. Shehori opens with Beethoven’s 1808 anomaly, his Fantasia in g minor, whose own designation belies its impatience for that starting point and gravitates to B Major.  In a series of expanding musical periods, Beethoven “settles” for a group of seven variations in B Major, with a kind of germ theme in an adagio section. Besides the explosive and impetuous aspects of the work, Shehori reveals that the fermatas prove just as dramatically potent. The Schumann 1836 Fantasy in C Major – dedicated to Franz Liszt – has its roots in the city of Bonn, which wished to erect a monument to their esteemed musical son.  Schumann spliced his devotion to […]

TIPPETT:  Symphony No 2* [ world première]; BLISS: Short works – Boult/Bliss – Pristine Audio

TIPPETT: Symphony No 2* [ world première]; BLISS: Short works – Boult/Bliss – Pristine Audio

An intriguing collection of English Music from both sides of the coin. TIPPETT:  Symphony No. 2* [ world première]; BLISS:  Welcome The Queen – March; March from ‘Things to Come’; Checkmate (excerpts); Theme and Cadenza for violin and orchestra; Overture: Edinburgh / BBC SO / Sir Adrian Boult*/ BBC Concert Orch. / Sir Arthur Bliss – Pristine Classical PASC460; 78:20 [www.pristineclassical.com] reviewed as a 24-bit download (24 & 16-bit download or CD-R available) ****1/2: Pristine Classical presents a very valuable Janus of a release, the two faces of which are clear from the contents. First we hear the world premiere, together with its unfortunate collapse early on the performance, of Sir Michael Tippett’s knotty and energetic Second Symphony, and then some of the urbane Sir Arthur Bliss’s music on the lighter side.  Widely differing music by widely differing composers make for an intriguing combination and a successful one. Sir Michael Tippett was inspired for his athletic and boldly rhythmic Second Symphony by the insistent rhythms of music by Vivaldi to which he was listening, captivated, while on holiday by the shores of Lake Lugano in the early 1950s. It took some years for the inspiration to gestate and assume the […]

Audio News for September 10, 2013

New Specialist Direct-Disc Label; Facebook is Gearing Up for Showing Video Ads to Users; U.S. Trade Deficit Widens; Rentrak Corp. Top DVD & Blu-ray Sales; The Expansion of Sacred Harp Singing; New Broadway Musical on Duke Ellington at the Cotton Club