Sunday, January 6, 2008 9 - 12AM
We start a new year; thoughts of the death of our show are far behind us lost in the swirling waters of our wake. We're like a transatlantic liner turned ghost ship, still plying the old route, even though we've been superceded, outmoded. and unnoticed for 2 years. Not many passengers on board, and they are all hollow-eyed and wraithlike, older than Eld, fixed on the past with relentless intensity.
The vital pulse of the music brings a flush to pallid cheeks; how can this beauty not be young forever?
Here's what we played:
Jacques Offenbach: La Perichole
Regine Crespin, Alain Vanzo, Jules Bastin
Alain Lombard/ Strassbourg Phil. (Erato)
Starting the New Year and ending the Holiday Season with Operetta is a tradition worth keeping up. And this recording has so much to offer: three great voices and a vital flow of energy from start to finish. It dates from 1977, rather late for Crespin, but she is always an artist who inhabits the soul of whatever she sings, especially if it is French. And as for someone who is forever young, who but Offenbach?
Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari: String Trio in B minor.
Deutsches Streichtrio (CPO)
Bryant picked this out from the DePaul library collection. It's an early work by a mostly unplayed late Bavarian-Italian musician which he pegged as more classical than he expected. I found it fluent and well-played. Another unknown gem from CPO.
Versailles: L'Ile Enchante
Capriccio Stravagante/Skip Sempe
(Alpha) Cuts 18-21.
Music by D'Anglebert, Lully and Marais.
A treasure trove from the wonderful Alpha catalogue, reflecting happier days at the ingrown court of Louis XIV. Skip Sempe plays D'Anglebert harpsichord music, a Marais sarabande calls to mind the great viol music of the time, and we hear Lully's incidental music to Moliere's Bourgeois Gentilhomme before Strauss got ahold of it.
Beethoven: 6 Bagatelles, op.126, 7 Landlerische Tanze
Olli Mustonen (London).
LvB's last piano work; playful and full of contrast. Our "mystery piece"-- well-chosen by Bryant to mystify even this Beethoven lover...solid playing from Mustonen.
Einojuhani Rautavaara: Symphony 8 "The Journey"
Leif Segerstam, Helsinki Philharmonic (Ondine)
Our clear winner for this day's show! A dramatic deeply felt symphonic showpiece. I think the Chicago Symphony could take this one on with great success -- maybe Maestro Haitink would consider? Not that this performance isn't wonderful. Go buy it!
Reynaldo Hahn: Piano Quintet in F sharp minor
Chilingirian Quartet w/ Stephen Coombs, piano. (Hyperion)
Bryant, who is always up on the backstory of the music we play was surprised to learn that Hahn was Proust's lover and friend. He was also a consistantly interesting creator of gorgeous salon music, and Hyperion has brought us a masterpiece of the genre.
Werner Egk: Fearlessness and Goodwill
Fritz Wunderlich, tenor.
Bavarian Radio Orchestra/ Istvan Kertesz
(Orfeo) Recorded in 1966?
Two artists early gone in an Orffian oratorio. Great conducting and a peerless voice distinguish this old-fashioned piece from the composer Hitler declared a worthy successor to Wagner.
So it goes...until we bring you more discoveries next week.