Presto Archive

BEETHOVEN: Violin Sonata in A Major, “Kreutzer”; Violin Sonata No. 6 in A Major – James Ehnes, v./ Andrew Armstrong, p. – Onyx

BEETHOVEN: Violin Sonata in A Major, “Kreutzer”; Violin Sonata No. 6 in A Major – James Ehnes, v./ Andrew Armstrong, p. – Onyx

Two of Beethoven’s sonatas in A Major provide excitement and inventive poetry, played brilliantly by Ehnes and Armstrong.  BEETHOVEN: Violin Sonata in A Major, Op. 47 “Kreutzer”; Violin Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 30, No. 1 – James Ehnes, v./ Andrew Armstrong, p. – Onyx 4170, 61:57 (3/24/17) [Distr. by HM/PIAS] ****: Recorded 15 January 2016 (A Major Sonata) and 7-8 December 2015 (“Kreutzer”), these two Beethoven sonatas proffer distinctly polar temperaments in the Bonn master – the 1802 A Major cast in a sunny, lyrically tender sensibility, while the 1803 Kreutzer has come to instantiate the turbulent, fiery nature of consummate passion. Ehnes opens with the “Kreutzer” Sonata, whose first measures indeed correspond to A Major but whose subsequent evolution well incorporates a minor. Beethoven conceded that the broad emotional canvas of the piece embraced the scope of a concerto, with three movements that occupy their own raison d’etre. Ehnes and his collaborator Armstrong each provide a balanced fury to the proceedings, which begin with Ehnes’ solo in multiple stops, Adagio sostenuto.  The Presto carries both players forward with a sweeping gesture initiated by a small interval, E-F. True, an chorale-like episode in E Major (echoed in […]

Audio News for September 9, 2016

Everything by Mozart Gets 200-CD Set – Decca Classics has now released a massive 200-disc box set for Mozart completlists. DGG also participated in the Universal Music Group release titled Mozart 225: The New Complete Edition, which arrives late next month. It contains all his symphonies, concertos and all 22 operas plus a newly-discovered composition. (It was a friendly competition with Antonio Salieri and involved a song.) There are also two hardcover books, with a new biography and several frame-worthy prints. The collection was created in partnership with the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation and Mozart expert Cliff Eisen. Amazon will sell it for $479.36, while Presto Classical appears to have it for only $350. Other Mozart products being prepared are a 33-DVD package all of his operas, a 3-CD collection of “singles,” digital download bundles, streaming albums and themed playlists. The box set consists of 4000 tracks, with 15,000 minutes of music, 600 performers and ensembles, 60 orchestras, 20 different record labels, 5 hours of newly-recorded performances, two hours recorded on Mozart’s own instruments, and it would take ten days to listen to all the music. 70% of the recordings are different from the last major Mozart box set. Video Games […]

BACH: Six Brandenburg Concertos, BWV 1046-1051 – Wiener Soloists/ Jascha Horenstein – Pristine Audio (2)

BACH: Six Brandenburg Concertos, BWV 1046-1051 – Wiener Soloists/ Jascha Horenstein – Pristine Audio (2)

Horenstein’s 1954 survey of the Bach Brandenburgs proves compelling and musically intelligent. BACH: Six Brandenburg Concertos, BWV 1046-1051 – Wiener Soloists/ Jascha Horenstein – Pristine Audio PASC 468 (2 CDs), TT: 1 hour 40 minutes [avail. in various formats from www.pristineclassical.com] ****: Horenstein spent much time and effort searching for the right combination of original instruments, not as easy to find then as now, and auditioning the musicians to play them. In the end he settled for a twenty-two piece orchestra that featured a harpsichord, a violino piccolo, two recorders, two viole da gamba, two natural horns and a clarino trumpet in addition to modern instruments. This formation (rec. 21-25 September 1954) represented a revolutionary new approach to these masterpieces, which until then were usually performed in a romantic style, mostly by large orchestras with modern instruments – Horenstein’s tutti utilizes modern stringed instruments – often with the keyboard part taken by a piano. The players were drawn mainly from members of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra that included, most notably, the young Nikolaus Harnoncourt (viola da gamba) and Paul Angerer (viola, violin piccolo, harpsichord, second recorder), both of whom later became important figures in the development of authentic performances of […]