Jul 12

Janina Fialkowska – Chopin Recital 2 (2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96 kHz | Time – 76:01 minutes | 1,16 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: LinnRecords.com | Front Cover

Very few composers exist whose piano music can fill an entire evening without straining the attention or good will of an audience of non-professional musicians. But all-Chopin recitals have been popular throughout the 20th and now the 21st centuries. For this reason Janina Fialkowska offers, without qualms, her second all-Chopin recital album.

Loved and admired by virtually all of his contemporaries, Chopin cast a magical spell on his generation as well as on all future generations of musicians. His music remains as fresh, as enchanting and as powerful as the day it was first penned. Janina Fialkowska has chosen a very personal program of Chopin’s most delightful piano music including Waltz, Preludes, Ballade and Mazurkas.

Tracklist:
01 – Polonaise No. 2 in E flat minor, Op. 26, No. 2
02 – Waltz No. 14 in E minor, Op. posth.
03 – Waltz No. 3 in A minor, Op. 34, No. 2, ‘Valse brillante’
04 – Waltz No. 8 in A flat major, Op. 64, No. 3
05 – Ballade No. 2 in F Major, Op. 38
06 – 24 Preludes, Op. 28 – No. 10 in C sharp minor
07 – 24 Preludes, Op. 28 – No. 11 in B Major
08 – 24 Preludes, Op. 28 – No. 13 in F sharp Major
09 – Fantasy in F minor, Op. 49
10 – Nocturne No. 16 in E flat Major, Op. 55, No. 2
11 – Mazurka No. 5 in B flat Major, Op. 7, No. 1
12 – Mazurka No. 50 in A minor, Op. posth., ‘Notre temps’
13 – Mazurka No. 32 in C sharp minor, Op. 50, No. 3
14 – Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 31

Continue reading »

Jul 12

Benjamin Grosvenor – Dances (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Digital Booklet | 1.16 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Highresaudio | Label: Decca

Dances is a dazzling display of solo works for piano from Bach to Boogie Woogie; via Chopin, Granados, Albeniz, Scriabin and the Blue Danube. For his second solo album on Decca, Benjamin Grosvenor has assembled a typically imaginative and appealing programme of piano music inspired by the dance form. Shining the spotlight on the music of movement, this album was inspired by a letter from the great pianist-composer Ferruccio Busoni to his pupil Egon Petri proposing a “dance programme” as a theme for Petri’s recitals, a concept Grosvenor expanded on for his Queen Elizabeth Hall debut recital in 2012.

A former Gramophone Young Artist of the Year, Grosvenor will appearing at two BBC Proms in 2014 with a performance of Chopin’s First Piano Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra (8th August), followed by a solo recital at Cadogan Hall (1st September). In 2011, he was awarded the honour of opening the BBC Proms Concerts season and was the youngest-ever soloist to perform on the ‘First Night’.

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach, Frédéric Chopin, Alexander Scriabin, Enrique Granados, …
Performer: Benjamin Grosvenor

Reviews:

Benjamin Grosvenor presents Dances, a glittering album shining the spotlight on music from Bach to Boogie Woogie via Chopin, Scriabin, Granados and the Blue Danube. Grosvenor states: “This album’s inspiration comes from a letter in 1909 from Busoni, proposing a ‘dance programme’ comprising original compositions and transcriptions. With Bach’s 4th Partita as its starting point, this recording presents a chronologically and geographically wide-ranging recital of works by composers (and transcribers) to whose output the keyboard was central, featuring both familiar and more obscure gems from the piano repertoire.”

A young pianist shines in Bach and boogie . . . [you’ll find lots of] artistic personality in this lively and intelligent double album . . . [J.S. Bach / Partita no. 4 BWV 828]: [Grosvenor gives] us Bach playing with elegant clarity and a gentle heart. The poise of the sarabande is particularly exquisite: Grosvenor at such points seems inside the notes, entirely the music’s servant . . . one pleasure follows another, with carefully balances textures, widely varied degrees of touch and virtuosity that comes as naturally as breathing. Three od Scriabin’s early mazurkas glide by, fluidly poetic, music poised between the concert hall and the salon . . . [Granados’s “Valses Poéticos” are] pitched with exquisite skill and delicacy . . . a deliciously smoky Albéniz tango . . . This is an exhilarating programme all told, from a greatly gifted young artist. Excellently recorded, too. –Record Review / Geoff Brown, The Times (London) / 01. August 2014

His virtuosity is most floridly displayed in Adolf Schulz-Evler’s gloss on Strauss’s “By the Beautiful Blue Danube”, but it’s the Bach Partita that best displays a talent where an assured modesty allows the music’s subtler charms to shine through. –Record Review / Andy Gill, Independent (London) / 01. August 2014

A superb collection from a brilliant young pianist . . . an outstanding collection of pieces . . . Here Grosvenor brings all of his virtuosic brilliance and musical intelligence to a wide-ranging and very attractive selection of pieces, all immaculately played and crisply recorded.

Tracklist:

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Partita No.4 in D , BWV 828
1. 1. Overture 04:33
2. 2. Allemande 04:44
3. 3. Courante 01:40
4. 4. Aria 01:02
5. 5. Sarabande 02:51
6. 6. Menuet 01:00
7. 7. Gigue 01:55

Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
Andante spianato and Grande polonaise in E flat, Op.22
8. Andante spianato 04:02
9. Grande Polonaise 08:57
Polonaise No.5 In F Sharp Minor, Op.44
10. Polonaise No.5 In F Sharp Minor, Op.44 10:24

Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915)
10 Mazurkas, Op.3 (1889)
11. No.6 in C Sharp Minor (Scherzando) 02:17
12. No.4 in E (Moderato) 03:55
13. No.9 in G Sharp Minor 02:48
Valse in A flat major, op.38
14. Waltz No.4, Op.38 05:38

Enrique Granados (1867-1916)
15. Preludio: Vivace molto 01:04
16. I. Melodioso 01:21
17. 2.Tempo de Vals noble 01:07
18. 3. Tempo de Vals lento 01:32
19. 4. Allegro humoristico 00:39
20. 5. Allegretto (elegante) 01:09
21. 6. Quasi ad libitum (sentimental) 01:04
22. 7. Vivo 00:40
23. 8. Presto 01:55

Adolf Schulz-Evler (1852-1905)
24. An die schönen Blauen Donau – concert arabesques after a waltz by J. Strauss jr. 10:02

Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909)
25. Tango, Op. 165 No.2 02:40

Morton Gould (1913-1996)
26. Boogie Woogie Etude 02:08

Bonus Tracks
27. No.2 Gnomenreigen 02:51
28. Siciliano 03:34

Continue reading »

Jul 12

Benjamin Grosvenor – Chopin, Liszt, Ravel (2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Digital Booklet | 1.15 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Highresaudio | Label: Decca

Chopin Liszt Ravel is the debut album from the incredible Benjamin Grosvenor. Decca Classics’ new signing made his name as an 11 year old prodigy when he performed at the BBC Young Musician Final, (narrowly missing out to winner, violinist Nicola Benedetti). Still only aged 18, Benjamin has burst onto the performance scene. His debut album, Chopin Liszt, Ravel is out this July.

Benjamin is due to receive nationwide media attention when he performs at the First Night of the Proms, which will be followed by a BBC Breakfast News appearance. He will also tour this season with the National Youth Orchestra (and play at their BBC Prom) showing his relevance and support to young classical musicians today.

Composer: Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt, Maurice Ravel
Performer: Benjamin Grosvenor

Reviews:

If you don’t believe the critical accolades praising 18-year-old pianist Benjamin Grosvenor’s astonishing command of the instrument and vivid interpretive gifts, you will when you’re done listening to this disc. His supple, light-fingered, playful, and imaginatively characterized Chopin Scherzi count among the best. Fanciful nuances, inner voices, and unexpected rubatos fall from Grosvenor’s sleeves like rabbits from a magician’s hat, yet these gestures enhance rather than dissipate Chopin’s structures.

The three Nocturnes are brisk but not rushed, and feature eloquently spun, gorgeously shaded, perfectly proportioned right-hand melodies. Both Chopin/Liszt song transcriptions stand out for exquisite, amazingly even filigree that yields nothing in finesse and control to Josef Hofmann’s 1935 HMV test pressings, and that’s the ultimate compliment! In contrast to pianists who play Liszt’s sparsely-textured late pieces in a gloomy, bleak manner, Grosvenor almost throws En rêve away.

Grosvenor’s gentle animation, delicacy, precision, and ravishing tonal palette set reference standards for those attracted to the underlying classicism in Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit, despite a few clipped and undersold climaxes in the Scarbo movement. For edgier, more subjective and demonically tinted Gaspards, go to Argerich and Pogorelich, but Grosvenor’s approach is on par with (and indeed sometimes surpasses) Simon, Schuch, Bavouzet, and Michelangeli. A remarkable release no piano lover should miss.

Tracklist:

Frédéric Chopin (1810 – 1849)
1. Scherzo No.1 In B Minor Opus 20 8:18
2. Nocturne No.5 in F sharp, Op.15 No.2 3:11
3. Scherzo No.4 In E Opus 54 9:59
4. Nocturne No.19 in E minor, Op.72 No.1 4:02
5. Scherzo No.3 in C sharp minor, Op.39 6:41
6. Nocturne In C Sharp Minor, Op. Posth. 3:46
7. Scherzo No.2 In B Flat Minor Opus 31 9:12
8. My Joys, Op.74 No.12 (arranged as No.5 of “Six Chants Polonais” S.480) 3:22
9. The Maiden’s Wish, Op.74, No.1 (arranged as No.1 of “Six Chants Polonais” S.480) 3:39

Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886)
10. En reve, nocturne, S.207 2:19

Maurice Ravel (1875 – 1937)
Gaspard de la nuit, M.55
11. Ondine 6:35
12. Le gibet 5:30
13. Scarbo 8:41

Continue reading »

Jul 10

Kristin Rule – The Knife That Cuts A Tear (2010)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 44:57 minutes | 485 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Bandcamp | Artwork: Front cover

Kristin Rule are cellist/composer/looper from Australia. Her release, ‘The Knife that Cuts a Tear’, is reaching deep into the hearts and minds of listeners from all walks of life. A composition graduate from the Victorian College of the Arts, Kristin has found her voice in the form of a cello and a loopstation. In performance, her original compositions are created live, layer by layer, mesmerising audiences with exquisite melodies, rich harmonies and beautifully raw sonorities.

Tracklist:
01 – Clarity
02 – Power
03 – Insight
04 – Self
05 – Impermanence
06 – Ending Illusions
07 – Affirmation
08 – Nature of Reality
09 – The Knife that Cuts a Tear

Produced by Kristin Rule with assistance from Christian Bianco.
Recorded and Mixed by Christian Bianco, Easy Tiger Studios.
Mastered by Lachlan Carrick, Moose Mastering.

Kristin Rule – Cello (& Viola on ‘Impermanence’)
Sam Lohs- Voice (on ‘The Knife that Cuts a Tear’)

Continue reading »

Jul 09

Ludomir Rozycki – Piano Concertos – Jonathan Plowright, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Lukasz Borowicz (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:03:08 minutes | 1,04 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: hyperion-records | Digital Booklet | © Hyperion Records

Ludomir Różycki, a composer who remains frustratingly obscure outside of his native Poland. On this exciting disc, pianist Jonathan Plowright is the soloist in Różycki’s three works for piano and orchestra, accompanied by Łukasz Borowicz leading the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. These pieces showcase a composer with an accomplished ear for instrumental color, whose late-nineteenth-century musical language responds to the horrors of two world wars with an irrepressible spirit.

Changes are you haven’t heard of Ludomir Różycki (1883-1953). He is forgotten not because he wrote inferior music, but because of the simple fact that there’s too much repertoire to discover in one’s lifetime, plus concert halls tend to present the same well-known works. For those looking for something new, Różycki offers a fascinating and rewarding world waiting to be discovered. This Polish composer wrote concertos for the super-virtuosos, scattering tunes, harmonies and brilliant orchestrations all over every page.

Jonathan Plowright and Lukasz Borowicz, ably abetted by the BBC Scottish Orchestra and the recording engineers, work the sort of magic associated with Sir Thomas Beecham in making the good second-rate sound first-rate: these are attractive performances of three works which span four decades but which all qualify as late-romantic, even the two concertos dating from the two World Wars. It seems hardly credible that such optimistic music as the second concerto could have been written when Różycki’s native Poland was under Nazi occupation. The second movement of Concerto No 1 is very moreish, as is the whole album.

Those new to this Hyperion’s “Romantic” series will be won over when they hear the formidable Jonathan Plowright tackle these original compositions.

Tracklist:
01 – Ballade in G major, Op. 18 (1904)
02 – Piano concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 43 (1917-18) – I. Andante – Allegro
03 – Piano concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 43 (1917-18) – II. Andante con moto
04 – Piano concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 43 (1917-18) – III. Allegro giocoso
05 – Piano Concerto No. 2 (1941-42) – I. Moderato in tempo
06 – Piano Concerto No. 2 (1941-42) – II. Allegro giocoso

Produced by Jeremy Hayes. Engineered by David Hinitt & Mike Panayiotis.
Recorded in August 2014 at City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow, Scotland.

Jonathan Plowright – piano
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Conducted by Łukasz Borowicz.

Continue reading »

Jul 09

Karl Jenkins – Cantata Memoria For The Children (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 00:55:48 minutes | 0,98 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: prestoclassical.co.uk | © Deutsche Grammophon

Cantata Memoria commemorates through new music the Aberfan tragedy of October 21, 1966, when 116 children and 28 adults tragically lost their lives as a coal tip enveloped Plant Glas school, together with some houses, in Aberfan, South Wales.

This large-scale choral work in English, Welsh and Latin has been commissioned by S4C, the Welsh language TV channel, to mark the 50th anniversary of what has become known to subsequent generations both in the UK and around the world as the Aberfan Disaster.

The work will be premiered with the exact-same cast as on the record at the official Aberfan Charitable Trust Memorial Concert, to be held at the Wales Millennium Centre, on October 8, 2016.

The first half features music by Karl Jenkins and others, and words/poetry read by actress Sian Phillips and actor Michael Sheen, whilst the second half will premiere Cantata Memoria.

Though written to commemorate a specific and profoundly sad event, the emotions and themes housed within this special music can resonate beyond: Loss, then the transition from darkness into light are truly universal occurrences.

Tracklist:

01. Pitran, Patran
02. Then Silence
03. Cortège
04. Lament For The Valley
05. Lacrimosa Lullaby
06. Did I Hear A Bird?
07. Satin Feathers
08. And-A-Half
09. And Once Upon A Time
10. When The Shadow Dies
11. Lux Aeterna

Personnel:

Bryn Terfel (bass-baritone)
Elin Manahan Thomas (soprano)
Catrin Finch (harp)
David Childs (euphonium)
Joo Yeon Sir (violin)
Jody Jenkins (percussion)
Sinfonia Cymru
Karl Jenkins (conductor)

Continue reading »

Jul 08

Ksenija Sidorova – Carmen (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 52:28 minutes | 956 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © Deutsche Grammophon
Recorded: Blackbird Music Studio, Berlin ( Band ) 8 / 2015; Zorlu Performing Arts Center, Istanbul (Orchestra) 8 / 2015; Floating Earth Studios, London 11 / 2015

Countless artists, authors and other sharp creative minds – from Manet and Peter Brook to Nabokov and Nietzsche – have drawn deep inspiration from Carmen. Ksenija Sidorova is the latest to reimagine the tragic heroine of Bizet’s opera. The Latvian accordionist, a massive musical talent with the blazing energy of a comet, marks her Deutsche Grammophon debut with an album driven by her identification with Bizet’s famously free-spirited femme fatale. Ksenija’s Carmen gives new life to some of the most popular of all classical melodies, presented here in seductively fresh arrangements. She describes the character of Carmen as, above all, “a projection of the heart’s most intimate desires”. In response, her album, influenced by Latin, Asian, European and North American musical styles, offers an intoxicating mix of tone colours and pulsating rhythms.

Tracklist:
Georges Bizet (1838 – 1875)
1. Carmen’s Walk 00:49
2. Seguidillas 02:40
3. La Siesta 02:53
4. Chanson bohème 04:28
5. Love Song 03:53
6. Soir mélancolique 02:14
7. Sunrise Over Seville 05:15
8. In The Cards 05:13
9. La Fiesta 01:57
10. The Other Woman 03:55
11. Spanish Pride 02:22
12. À la bohèmienne 02:41
13. Date With Destiny 03:32
14. Reflections 02:11
15. Daybreak 03:31
16. Toreador (Los Toreros) 04:11
17. Carmen’s Shadow 00:51

Personnel:
Ksenija Sidorova, accordion
Nuevo Mundo:
Efrain Oscher, Flute · Dario Mariño Varela, Clarinet · Gregoire Peters, Soprano Saxophone
Brayahan Cesin, Trumpet · Joaquín “Ximo” Vicedo, Trombone · Maria Totdenhaupt, Harp
Alejandro Loguercio, Violin · Johannes Dworatzek, Cello · Roberto Koch, Bass
Itamar Doari, percussion · Reentko Dirks, guitar
Michael Abramovich, piano & musical direction
Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra
Sascha Goetzel, conductor

Continue reading »

Jul 08

Janoska Ensemble – Janoska Style (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:03:58 minutes | 1,06 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Universal Music GmbH
Recorded: August 2015, Lisztzentrum, Raiding, Austria

With their inimitable ‘Janoska style’ the four members of the Janoska Ensemble have developed a breathtakingly virtuosic and profoundly personal vision of music, which they interpret in a thoroughly modern way.

For their debut album they have chosen to present a picture of Vienna as a cultural melting pot, lacing it with irony and wit and taking it beyond the confines of the Austrian capital.

On “The Janoska Style” virtuoso classics by Franz Waxman, Niccolò Paganini and Pablo de Sarasate are heard alongside a Viennese work by Fritz Kreisler and operetta themes by Johann Strauss combined with the strains of a Csárdás, music from the Balkans, the world of the tango, rumba and of jazz improvisations.

Their inexhaustible inventive arrangements allow the Janoska Ensemble to explore a wide range of works from popular classics to compositions that they have written themselves.

Violinist Julian Rachlin says: “As an ensemble “they are a whiff of fresh air”, combining their outstanding, individual talents with their family ties. They have become successful in performing in a variety of genres in their unique ‘Janoska style’, which is creating a new hybrid genre”.

Tracklist:
Boris Fomin (1900 – 1948), Konstantin Podrevskij, Nadir Mamedoff
1. Dorogoi Dlinnoyu (Those Were The Days) 8:41
Fritz Kreisler (1875 – 1962)
2. Liebesleid (Love’s Sorrow) 3:47
Frantisek Janoska (1989 – )
3. Musette Pour Fritz 5:53
Franz Waxman (1906 – 1967), Georges Bizet (1838 – 1875), Frantisek Janoska (1989 – )
4. “Carmen” Fantasie – for violin and orchestra based on themes from the Opera of Georges Bizet 11:25
Jules Massenet (1842 – 1912)
5. Meditation From “Thais” 5:56
Niccolò Paganini (1782 – 1840), Janoska Ensemble
6. Capriccio No.24 Opus 1 (Caprice) 5:11
Roman Janoska (1986 – )
7. Janoska: Melodie For Melody 4:45
Frantisek Janoska (1989 – ), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)
8. Janoska: Rumba for Amadeus 5:16
Pablo Martin De Sarasate (1844 – 1908)
9. Introduction and Tarantella Op. 43 6:00
Astor Piazzolla (1921 – 1992)
10. Adios Nonino 7:13

Personnel:
Ondrej Janoska, Violin
Janoska Ensemble, Ensemble
Roman Janoska, Violin
Julius Darvas, Double Bass
Frantisek Janoska, Piano

Continue reading »

Jul 08

Georg Friedrich Handel – Suites for Harpsichord Nos. 1-4, HWV 426-429 – Glenn Gould (1972/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 43:28 minutes | 475 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © Columbia Records

Gould’s only recording on harpsichord owed its existence to a transportation mishap suffered by his Steinway CD 318. Once again the critics’ reactions ranged from rejection to outrage. Gould himself was so satisfied with the results that he once contemplated recording Part 2 of The Art of the Fugue on this instrument—a Wittmayer harpsichord.

Tracklist:

Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759)

Suite No. 1 in A Major, HWV 426
1  I. Prelude 02:17
2  II. Allemande 03:06
3  III. Courante 02:20
4  IV. Gigue 02:01

Suite No. 2 in F Major, HWV 427
5  I. Adagio 02:29
6  II. Allegro 01:26
7  III. Adagio 01:57
8  IV. Allegro – Fuga 01:55

Suite No. 3 in D Minor, HWV 428
9  I. Prelude. Presto 00:59
10  II. Allegro – Fugue 01:55
11  III. Allemande 02:31
12  IV. Courante 01:56
13  V. Air 03:59
14  Variation 1 00:42
15  Variation 2 00:40
16  Variation 3 00:40
17  Variation 4 00:48
18  Variation 5 00:36
19  VI. Presto 02:03

Suite No. 4 in E Minor, HWV 429
20  I. Allegro – Fugue 02:49
21  II. Allemande 01:10
22  III. Courante 01:17
23  IV. Sarabande 02:48
24  V. Gigue 01:04

Continue reading »

Jul 07

István Kertész, LSO – Dvorak Symphony No.8 “Scherzo Capriccioso” (1963/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Digital Booklet | 1.82 GB
Genre: Classical | Official Digital Download – Source: Highdeftapetransfers

Istvan Kertesz (1929-1973) was born into a Hungarian-Jewish, and he grew up taking violin lessons at a time “when terrible things were happening in Europe.” By the time Istvan was twelve, he had been mastering the piano as well. But Hungarian Jews were persecuted relentlessly, and many of his extended family members were sent to Auschwitz to be murdered. After the war, he resumed his studies in what is now the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, taking composition lessons with Kodaly and Leo Weiner. An interest in conducting led to studies with Laszlo Samogyi and Janos Ferencsik. Kertesz openly admired Bruno Walter as well as Otto Klemperer, the latter fo whom had led the Budapest Opera. Kertesz married soprano Edith Gabry, with whom he had three children, Gabor, Peter, and Katarin. Between 1953 to 1957, Kertesz conducted in Gyor, moving from 1955 to 1957 to the Budapest Opera.

With the Hungarian uprising Kertesz left for studies in Italy, at the St. Cecilia National Academy in Rome, with Fernando Previtali. Germany soon called for Kertesz’s talent, and he appeared at Hamburg Symphony and State Opera, Wiesbaden and Hanover, leading performances of La Boheme and Fidelio that guaranteed his reputation. In March 1960 he was appointed Music Director of the Augsburg Opera, adding Mozart, Verdi, and Richard Strauss to an expanding repertory. Guest appearances came, by way of Spoleto, Berlin, Israel, London, Paris, and San Francisco, with several major artists’ requests for his collaboration: Rubinstein, Curzon, Tuckwell, and Katchen. Kertesz debuted in Liverpool in 1960. He then assumed work with the Israel Philharmonic, where he performed 378 works over eleven years. The premier of Britten’s Billy Budd brought some distance between Kertesz and German ensembles, who had complained of his fast tempos.

From 1965 to 1968 Kertesz led the responsive London Symphony Orchestra, also appearing with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Kertesz’s performances of the complete Dvorak symphonies took recorded form with Decca, 1963-1966. In 1973 Kertesz was appointed to lead the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. Cleveland courted him as conductor to succeed George Szell, but the Board refused him. Instead, Kertesz led the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, 1970-1972.
It was in Israel, off the coast of Herzliya, that Kertesz drowned (16 April 1973) under mysterious circumstances. He was forty-two, a much-beloved figure in music. Kertesz rejected authoritarian means to lead orchestras, and he would not lead scores he disliked, particularly modernists he felt “could be left to the specialists.” His repertory in opera included some 60 full scores, and his mastery in works by Schubert, Brahms, Mozart, Dvorak, Bartok – especially his recording of Bluebeard’s Castle – and all fellow Hungarians still reigns as a model for all to admire. A contemporary review of the Dvorak G Major Symphony and Scherzo Caprriccioso for Decca wrote:
Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony and Scherzo capriccioso inhabit an urbane and genial world, but István Kertész’s approach to them is direct. Thankfully, he did not see the first movement’s second subject (or any new theme or episode) as an excuse to grind to a halt, which means there is never any lack of impetus or momentum, nor is the structure of either work compromised. Kertész does mould the line, use rubato, strictly controlled tempo and dynamic variation, and pays close attention to detail and balance, and the results are marvellously idiomatic, expressive, and invigorating. As with Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic, Kertész’s relationship with the LSO was very close, and it plays magnificently.

The sound in both performances is outstanding. Anyone wanting to hear what is wrong with digital sound need only listen to the end of the Scherzo capriccioso. There is depth and width, huge presence, every section of the orchestra is clearly audible (the final timpani role is startlingly realistic) the timbre of each instrument can be heard, and the ersatz quality found in even the best quality 24bit high-resolution recordings is completely absent.

Tracklist:
Symphony No.8
1. I. Allegro con brio (G major) 10:08
2. II. Adagio (C minor) 10:02
3. III. Allegretto grazioso – Molto vivace (G minor) 6:01
4, IV. Allegro ma non troppo (G major) 9:00
5. Scherzo Capriccioso 11:55

Personnel:
István Kertész conductor
London Symphony Orchestra

Continue reading »

Page 3 of 2812345...1020...Last »