Saturday, 30 August 2003

Big listening day today: Repin, plus Bella Davidovich and cellist in the Tchaikovsky piano trio (1992 broadcast, and super); Repin in the Lalo Symphonie Espagnole (brilliantly played, but I think I am played out with the Lalo); Bronislaw Gimpel in the second Wieniawski concerto (radio, late 1940s) plus some bits – what a virtuoso he was! Also played most of the new Naxos Nathan Milstein re-issues from 1949-50 recordings (particularly good violin playing in the Glazounov concerto). Then finally the newly-purchased DG of Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic playing Wagner: Tannhäuser Overture, Tristan Prelude & Liebestod, plus nearly 40 minutes of Parsifal, including the Act I Prelude, Good Friday music, and music and final chorus from Act III. A stream of beautiful, golden sound! I take back any suspicions concerning my new amplifier; the sound was excellent from the 2000 DG recording. I really like Wagner!
I shall round off the evening with Klemperer playing Mozart (1950).

Friday, 29 August 2003

Enforced Alkolfrei few days (antibiotic for an infected gum). Amazing how much more I can accomplish in an evening! Listened to the 28 August Prom performance of Vadim Repin playing the Brahms Violin Concerto (and made copies for Dave, Akiko and De Haas). Repin's concept is lyrical and relaxed; a valid concept, even if I still hanker after Heifetz after Repin has finished. He played the Auer cadenzas, which made a nice change. A good performance (and it recorded well). I’ll come back to it from time to time. His tone, particularly in the adagio, seems to be becoming “plummier”. By popular demand? A pity (viz Samaroff, below).
Then off into 25 tracks and 74 minutes of Toscha Samaroff, about whom I know nothing … except that he’s my kind of violinist. Despite his name, he sounds Hungarian, and his playing makes me think of Szigeti, Dinicu and the Léner Quartet. Exemplary articulation with the right arm. Clean sound with lots of colouring (not just the überall caffè con latte of the modern brigade). No idea when the 25 tracks were first recorded; but from the sound and the clicks, we are back in the 1920s and '30s. Can’t even think of declicking these recordings; it would take ten years. However, the unknown Samaroff joins the small band of violinists of whom I approve. Even Mr Google hasn't heard of Samaroff (or Samarov; who knows how it is even spelled?)

Sunday, 24 August 2003

A long time since my last entry. Two weeks of this were spent in Kentucky / Georgia / Indiana, with no great musical or gastronomic experiences to recount. However, yesterday I re-listened to Handel’s Saul (John Eliot Gardiner, 1989). I really like Handel! Most refreshing. I find Gardiner somewhat inclined to be hectoring as a conductor, and he is not my favourite in this (or any other) repertoire. Weekend was spent eating langoustines and mussels. No complaints on that front. I then re-embarked on Klemperer’s Eroica (Danish performance of the early 1950s). As I have remarked before on this blog, my respect for Otto Klemperer grows stronger every year. Rounded off the evening with Barbirolli's superb performance of Mahler's 4th symphony. This is now my official favourite. A pity about the horns of the Halle Orchestra. But what a warm, affectionate performance! Makes one realise how cool Kletzki is (Philharmonia).