Saturday night listening: Hans Werner Henze's too-rarely-performed opera "Elegy for Young Lovers". I know, it's light listening as usual. An old college friend reminded me earlier today that I would often assert that "music should be rigorous"; that sentiment has changed little in 30-plus years.The Henze recording features Lisa Saffer (she can sing anything, and I mean anything), Roderick Kennedy, a stunningly good supporting cast, and the Schoenberg Ensemble conducted by the much-underrated Reinbert de Leeuw. It's part of a 27-disc set documenting Schoenberg Ensemble recordings of 20th century music issued about five years ago by Dutch indie Et'Cetera. The performances are consistently excellent.
Something a little different for this year (that also kinda hints at my age), courtesy of Walt Kelly and Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. Hat tip: "DerDingle" on YouTube.
Before there was Doonesbury or Bloom County, there was Walt Kelly's Pogo. Their mutated lyrics to "Deck Us All with Boston Charlie" (and a little analysis and speculation in true Walt Kelly fashion) can be found here.
About a month ago, a pair of enormous shipping crates arrived at the New York apartment. Mrs. Synaphaï nearly freaked out.
I'm going to take a crack at regularly showcasing new and recent releases that impress the heck out of me. Herein is the first edition.
More information on the featured recordings:
His recent post on the best Bruckner recordings on CD comes pretty close to mine (though I'm not as sanguine about the Welser-Möst/Cleveland Orchestra Bruckner DVDs I've seen). Besides, how can I not like a guy whose first LP was Jascha Horenstein's mighty Bruckner Ninth on Vox?
I'll add two alternate first choices to Alex's short list: the Eighth with Herbert Blomstedt and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig on Querstand, and the Ninth with Evgeny Mravinsky conducting the Leningrad Philharmonic on Melodiya.
It was Ray Edwards – at the time buyer for Tower Records' legendary, late, lamented classical department on West 4th and Broadway – that recommended I check out the recordings of British-born, Russian-raised conductor Albert Coates (I believe we'd been talking about the ever-popular "Toscanini vs. Furtwängler" debate and my having come down decidedly on the side of Willem Mengelberg).
Does listening to Mozart make you a genius? Lest anyone forget, here is an example of a decade-plus-old product for which I take near-full responsibility.
Courtesy of the gang over at bigthink.com, Oliver Sacks has a detailed answer:
I'm listening to a recording of Das Lied von der Erde that has been much awaited among Mahlerphiles: the concert recording of June 14, 1968 with Fritz Wunderlich, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and the Vienna Symphony conducted by Josef Krips. Back when I was with Andante there had been talk about attempting to release the recording; alas, those plans did not come to pass. The good news is that it's finally been given an "official" release by Deutsche Grammophon. To say the extrovert, characterful performance transcends the boxy sonority (that sounds to these ears to have come from a true "taped off the Telefunken receiver" aircheck and not from a broadcast or archival master) is an understatement – the singing is stunning, and what a treat to hear Krips get such evocative playing from the Vienna Symphony. It's the most edifying and satisfying vocal release I've heard so far this year. Highly recommended.
Regular readers know that I'm a fan of the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. While she may have been gone nearly five years, a number of live recordings have been released since her untimely passing that strongly complement her studio output.
The voice of legendary critic and musicologist Deryck Cooke has officially been recovered from the depths of the BBC's tape archives.
On December 10, 1960, the Third Programme (now Radio 3) aired Cooke's lecture-demonstration on his first realization (with the assistance of composer Berthold Goldschmidt) of Mahler's Symphony No. 10 followed by a performance of the near-complete realization by the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Goldschmidt. This program has long circulated privately among Mahler enthusiasts. Testament Records has just released a newly remastered edition of the broadcast under license from the Beeb — along with a live Proms performance of the completed first realization (with further assistance from David and Colin Matthews) on August 13, 1964 by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Goldschmidt.
I've just put disc one on the CD player, and can attest to a huge improvement in sound quality over any privately circulated version I've run across. I will have much more to say about this release in the next few days. And here's something else Mahlerites and admirers of Cooke might find interesting.
"Maintenance is a breeze. I am so happy that we chose InstantEncore!"