In the week ending Saturday, 20 JAN 2007, I listened to the following:
1. 10/10 CDs 1-4 of the 8 CD Music & Arts boxed set, The Fine Arts Quartet at WFMT Radio. WFMT is a fine arts and classical music station that has been in business in Chicago since the early 1950's. It the late 1980's, it had an ownership and management change which would up tarnishing its reputation and lots of people were up in arms about it, including one of the mainstays of the station, whose broadcasts and books brought him national and international fame, Studs Terkel. Programming was restricted to Top 100 classical, and they introduced produced commercials. It had always been a commercial, for profit enterprise, but up to the late '80's, commercial announcements had simply been read by the announcer on duty at the appropriate times. They also produced lots of programming of their own, including taping CSO concerts, and recording various musicians and chamber ensembles in their own studios. This 8 CD set is a collection of a number of such live broadcasts and WFMT studio recordings by the Fine Arts Quartet in the 1960's and 1970's. State of the art sound for ther period.
CD1--Beethoven: String Quartets, Op. 59, #1 (40:37) & #2 (31:33)
CD2--Beethoven: String Quartet in C Major, Op 59 #3 (28:02) |String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 132 (38:52)
CD3--Haydn: String Quartet in E Flat, Op. 1 #0 (16:03) |Quartet in D, Op 2 #5 (13:05) |Quartet in B Flat, Op. 2 #6 (17:37) |Quartet in F Minor, Op. 20 #5 (18:59)
CD4--Haydn: Quartet in E Flat, Op. 64 #6 (16:33) |Quartet in B Flat, Op. 76 #4 (20:06) |Quartet in E Flat, Op. 76 #6 (21:19)
2. 10/10 CDs 3, 4, & 5 of the 9 CD Annie Fischer Supraphon box of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas.. Sonatas 7, 9, 10, 14 "Moonlight," 18, 20, 27, 28, 29 "Hammerklavier," 32. All are superbly performed and recorded in state of the art sound for the period in 1977 & 1978.
3. 10/10 CDs 1-4 of 10 CD DG Kubelik, Bavarian RSO cycle of the Mahler Symphonies. CD1--#1 "Titan" (50:00) |CD2--#2 "Resurrection," Edith Mathis, soprano, Norma Procter, contralto (76:24) |CD3 & 4--Sym 3 (93.44), Marjorie Thomas, contralto | CD 4--Sym 10: Adagio (23:56). These are superb performances. Kubelik's Resurrection has moved into second place on my list of great 2nds.; Segerstam, which I heard for the first time just a few weeks ago, is still #1.
4. 10/10 Prokoviev: 7 Symphonies |Lt Kije Suite--Seiji Ozawa, cond. Berlin Phil Orch, Andreas Schmidt, baritone (in Kije)--I have the Martinon and the Jarvi sets, and will start on the Gergiev next week. So far, this is my favorite, overall. These are fine performances, recorded 1989-92. In several cases, there is another performance or two I prefer, but this is, so far, the best set. A couple disappointments--Ozawa does only the revised version of #4, and there is no Sinfonietta in A, which Jarvi did record.
5. 10/10 Siegmeister (1909-91): Solo Piano Music, Vol. 2--Sunday in Brooklyn (1946) (17:22) |Piano Sonata 2 (1964) (11:26) |Theme & Variations 1 (1932) (10:07) |Piano Sonata 3 (1979) (16:58 ) |From These Shores (1985) (15:37)--Kenneth Boulton, piano--NAXOS. I always thought of Siegmeister as a guy from the 30's whom time had passed by. When I was growing up in the 1950's, I took out a few library books consisting of anthologies of popular writing on classical music from the previous 2 decades, ane Elie Siegmeister seemed to be a mainstay of popular journalism about art music in those decades. In the last few years, I have begun to see recordings of his works come out, but with absolutely no publicity that I encountered. Its a shame. These are pleasant, though not great, works. His work is filled with jazz idioms. He is to the great American composers what Glazunov was to Prokofiev, or what Franz Schmidt is to Bruckner and Mahler--pleasant, tuneful, artfully constructed, well worth listening to, but not what you would call great music.
6. 10/10 Liebermann, Rolf (1910-99): Furioso for Orchestra (8:34) |Geigy Festival Concert (12:10) |Medea-Monolog (Cantata) (23:41) |Les Echangers (Symphonic) (3:19) |Concerto for Jazz Band and Symphony Orchestra (16:48 )--Gunter Neuhold, cond., Bremen Phil Orch with various soloists and choirs. Liebermann was a Swiss composer strongly influenced by Hermann Scherchen and Frank Martin.The last piece, Concerto for Jazz Band, might better be called "Riffs on 'New York, New York.'" Interesting work, but sometimes seems filled with faux anger and angst.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.