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codaex releases for January 2012

The "English Channel" is very wide for music to cross.

This grouping will illustrate the problems for musicians and composers recording in Europe. Numerous CDs are being made everywhere, more than ever it seems, and competing for notice and review. We try to combat insularity.

For example the distributor Codaex offers reviewers monthly choices of some 60 "classical" CDs from many countries.

From their lists, I usually ask for 10 or so to consider for revew, with priority for music and artists I don't know. I will then receive half a dozen or less...

It is very much a pot-luck lottery and must be frustrating for producers at the other end; certainly, many of those I select don't make it into the review pages of e.g. Gramophone...

So, here are short notes with my reactions to the four I have now before me:

Bach and Sons – Clavichord and Flute

Benjamin-Joseph Steens clavichord,
Jacques-Antoine Bresch flute

EPRC 011

This was of particular interest to me. It would seem that the players are not really into the burdgeoning early music scene, because the notes refer to the clavichord as an obsolete instrument until very recently.

I had never thought of it as a chamber music instument, nor have I heard it as such. We have often noted that in baroque orchestras, the flute is often the one with the most delicate sound. This release was prompted by the success of Benjamin-Joseph Steens' recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations on a clavichord instead of a harpsichord, which became a hit (first on Youtube, then on compact disc).

Something else which roused my interest was a memorable recent EUBO concert with a baroque flutist as conductor, and soft though his instrument indeed was, it worked well live with the aid of one's eyes (q.v. European Union Baroque Orchestra).

And here too it is peculiarly pleasurable, in a sequence of music for solo clavichord interspersed with duo pieces. Indeed, the sound of the clavichord as recorded here is very similar to mine in my bedroom, and the CD is a good reminder that most music making in the Bachs' time was domestic, with small gatherings in musicians' homes. So this is a welcome, enjoyable and thought provoking release, that otherwise might have escaped my selection of four out of the sixty....

de Boeck orchestral works

Concerto for piano and Orchestra
Prelude to the opera 'Théroigne de Méricourt'
Suite from the opera 'Francesca'

Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra, Venkov; Jozef de Beenhouwer (piano)

Phaedra PH92071

"The suite from the opera Francesca has rescued this accomplished musical drama from obscurity. De Boeck’s piano concerto is a highly original, fresh and effervescent."

I have kept an eye open for music in Flanders since attending memorable festivals in Antwerp.

Luc Famaey's In Flanders Fields & Phaedra labels run to 100 releases; what can one do?

August de Boeck (1865-1937) proves a delightful surprise. His piano concerto sparkles with originality. It was commissioned by a pianist with thick fingers who created a special Hans Piano to cope with them, one with two manuals, the upper a semitone above the other, which enabled the player to achieve special effects at speed, a number of concertos for it emerging...

A reconstruction for normal piano of Boek's concerto for Pierre Hans proves a great success, one for exploring-minded young pianists to consider.

The other works add to make this CD a substantial discovery. I shall hope to try their disc of his solo piano music...

Godowsky Chopin Studies (Ivan Ilic)

Paraty 311:205

This is one definitley not to recommend - a waste of my "choice of four"!

For unexplained reasons best known to himself, this two-handed pianist has chosen to make a disc of Godowsky's left-hand-only transcriptions of Chopin preludes. To make this effective needs a top master pianist.

Ilic sounds pedestrian and dull! Avoid this one and go for Hamelin's.



Tromba Hispanica: Battallas y Canciones

Barocktrompeten Ensemble Berlin/JohannPlietzsch

Girolamo Fantini(ca 1600 - ?) Sonata per Trombe detta del Gucciardini for six trumpets and percussion Anonymus (Spain 17th cent.) Chacona for six trumpets, percussion & B.c. Gaspar Sanz (Spain 17th cent.) La Tarantella & Folias for lute & theorbas Gaspar Sanz Clarines y Trompetas – La Minina de Portugal – Zarabanda francesa – Canciones Clarin de los mosqueteros de Rey de Francia – La cavalleria de Napoles con dos Clarines for six trumpets, percussion, theorbas & B.c. G. Kapsberger(1580 - 1651) Passacaglia & Corente for two theorbas & B.c. Anonymus(Italien, um 1700) Sonata à quattro for four trumpets & B.c. Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (1644-1704) Sonata à 7 for six Trumpets, Timpani & B.c. G. Kapsberger Sarabanda & Capona for two theorbas & B.c. Flores de música (Pater Martin y Coll, 17.Jahrhundert) A. de Cabezon – Pavana con su glosa S. Aguilera de Heredia – Pange lingua espagnol for six trumpets, percussion, theorbas & B.c. Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger Sferina - Chiaconna (Piccinini) for lute & theorbas Anonymus(Spanien 17. Jhdt) Batalla famossa – Cancion de Clarines – Aria con eco – Batalla de Clarines for six trumpets, percussion, theorbas & B.c.s by Kapsberger, Sanz and de Murcia

Edn raumklang RK2906

A pleasant baroque curiosity with 17. C battle pieces played by ensembles of up to seven trumpets, alternating with gentler offerings featuring baroque guitar, theorbo and organ.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Other January 2012 releases
which had been requested for MusicalPointers:
ARPCD 0477
ATT 2011127
1CM 0278
N 67083
GEN 11219
MELCD 1001837
PAS 979