Saturday, 23 September 2006

  Posted by Picasa

For Bach, you need a) the composer in good form b) singers who are accurate and have attractive voices c) instrumentalits who are accurate and sound good d) a conductor or director with a sense of the music, tempi and balance and e) a warm, intimate acoustic. All of these are found on the Ricercar Consort disc I have mentioned before (Philippe Pierlot conducting Katherine Fuge, Carlos Mena, Jan Kobow and Stephan MacLeod). In particular, Katherine Fuge has a highly pleasing soprano voice. A gold CD.

Before this, I marvelled again at Furtwängler conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in Bruckner's 9th Symphony (Berlin, 1944). With the Red Army only a few months away from the Berlin suburbs, the mood is understandably grim. But what music! And what playing! And what conducting! And what a marvellous recording! Another gold CD.

During the afternoon, I twice listened to Guillaume Lekeu's unfinished string quartet. The first six minutes are fine, but each time I fell asleep after that, so a more considered verdict with have to wait.

Picture shows the ox tongue turned out by me this morning. Should go well with more Bruckner.

Monday, 18 September 2006

I was a bit harsh with Roberta Invernizzi in my previous Handel comment. I spent much of the weekend re-listening to her in the four cantatas on the CD, and enjoyed everything very much indeed. Yes, she does sound more mezzo than young-voiced soprano. But the music is great, the playing is great, and the singing pleases immensely. Handel brightens up any weekend! I'll be waiting for the next discs from this ensemble (La Risonanza).

Monday, 4 September 2006

Large new box of CDs from MDT today, mostly vocal. Interesting evening with Handel's Tra le fiamme sung by a) Nuria Rial and b) Roberta Invernizzi. Nuria (Catalan) is with Philippe Pierlot and the Ricerca Consort (Mirare) and Roberta (Italian) with La Risonanza and Fabio Bonizzoni.

Nuria Rial wins, easily. The sound is more focused, and the singer sounds young and agile. A quick look at Google shows that Invernizzi is 40 years old and, sadly, she sounds a bit matronly (touch of the Gladys Ripley). Good, but overshadowed by the Mirare disc. This is my second Ricerca Consort CD, bought entirely on trust. It is a winner and I'm in the market for yet more! In addition, it has an attractive mixed programme of concertos and cantatas by Bach and by Handel. The Mirare recording is bright and natural; the Glossa (Bonizzoni) a bit distant and murky. No contest, alas.