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[Sticky] New Music Friday

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 Hugh
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I'm loving the first half of Haydn Op 33 from the Chiaroscuro Quartet, especially the Joke and Bird quartets. Curiously, the Presto website says it's due for release on 2nd June, but Apple Music says it was released on 5th May.

Haydn: String Quartets Op. 33 Nos 1-3 - BIS: BIS2588 - SACD or download | Presto Music


   
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 Hugh
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Posted by: @jen

the “star of the show” is the CPE Bach F sharp minor Fantasia played on a tangent piano

Yes, the "tangent piano" was interesting, but the instrument I liked best was the Walther fortepiano used for the Mozart pieces.


   
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 Jen
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Posted by: @hugh

Curiously, the Presto website says it's due for release on 2nd June, but Apple Music says it was released on 5th May.

Oh, I’m so pleased you spotted this! I’ve hugely enjoyed Chiaroscuro’s recordings of Haydn Op.76 and Op.20 quartets, so it’s great news that they’ve released the first three of Op.33 too.  (The release dates are indeed a bit of a mystery: this recording is available now to stream on Presto, despite what the website says… perhaps the 2 June date applies only to CD?)

Posted by: @hugh

I'm loving the first half of Haydn Op 33 from the Chiaroscuro Quartet, especially the Joke and Bird quartets.

Yes, these are such lovely readings, impish and full of mischief. The B minor quartet is my favourite of Op.33 and this performance, to my ears, surpasses even that of Quatuor Mosaïques.  

And the Bird quartet always makes me smile: how curious is that Scherzo movement?

 


   
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 Hugh
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Posted by: @jen

The B minor quartet is my favourite

In the past I have found this a relatively austere work, but it's growing on me, especially in this delightful rendering of the Andante and the very lively Finale.


   
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 Jen
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Among the new releases this week is a puzzling album:

https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/products/9490798--handel-poro-re-dell-indie

At first glance it’s a Handel Opera that may or may not have two names.  And the track titles are half in Italian, half in German. And… Telemann is mentioned on the cover but doesn’t appear to have composed any of tracks.  Has the metadata got in a megatangle?

Well, no.  My broadband isn’t broad enough just now to pick up the lengthy booklet, but Presto’s ‘about’ option explains that Handel set Cleofida in Italian.  It seems that Telemann was keen to present this opera in Hamburg, and translated the recitatives to German (recomposing them as he went) so the audience could follow the complex plot. 

Mystery solved!  And I have the pleasure of a new Handel opera to listen to, with the added bonus of Telemann recits.  It’s sounding like a splendid performance… and the joins aren’t obvious 😁


   
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 Jen
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Well… I’ve listened to Cleofida twice now and, sadly, that was perhaps two times too many.  There are some lovely arias but the opera is lengthy and very heavy on recitative; I think I’d rather a simpler plot and more interesting music.  Sorry Telemann!

There’s no shortage of interesting music in this newly released album, though:

https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/products/9459742--j-s-bach-the-art-of-fugue

I most love to hear Art of Fugue played by a string quartet and this performance is superb.  The booklet quotes Goethe who describes a quartet as a ‘conversation between four reasonable people’.  And on the subject of Art of Fugue, it’s hard to imagine a more enlightened conversation between four more reasonable people!


   
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 Jen
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Recorded almost 30 years ago… and released only today: 

https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/products/9491675--c-p-e-bach-wurttemberg-sonatas

Presto writes “The younger Bach's idiosyncrasies: the gentle playfulness of the music, the fondness for subtle and sudden tempo shifts, the extraordinary, rippling invention...all of this is wonderfully delivered.”

These are sonatas I love, and today I’m listening with new ears.  What a superb perfomance!


   
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 Hugh
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I've never come across these sonatas. I look forward to getting to know them. (In fact, given all your enthusiasm for CPE Bach I realise I must explore more of his work!) Thanks for the recommendation.

Listening to the first sonata, I found the piano sound in the slow movement too percussive. I later tried snippets of a few other versions. On a harpsichord the inevitably quite strident sound of the tune seemed to be masked slightly by the jangliness of the instrument. A couple of alternative piano versions seemed slightly mellower, but then when I went back to Jarrett it seemed mellower too! Perhaps I just need to get used to the sound. I wonder what it would sound like on an early fortepiano (or Melnikov's tangent piano).

Having said all that, I simply loved the finale!

Posted by: @jen

Recorded almost 30 years ago… and released only today:

I wonder why! Could it be that Jarrett and/or the producers were not entirely happy?


   
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 Jen
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Well that raises an interesting question: does CPE Bach do mellow?  I readily associate sturm und drang, a mischievous energy, an eccentricity with CPE’s music, but not mellowness.  Except, perhaps, on occasions in the cello concertos (I must listen again).

What I love about Jarrett’s performance of these sonatas is the frequent sense that they are bring improvised.  Oh yes, it would be fascinating to hear them ‘improvised’ on the tangent piano 😊


   
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 Jen
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I’m very taken with this striking new release - just 11 minutes long - by a composer I hadn’t heard of until today: 

https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/products/9508904--jaap-nico-hamburger-piano-quartet

Jaap Nico Hamburger was born in Amsterdam, is currently Montréal’s Mécénat Musica Composer in Residence, and is a cardiologist in his ‘spare’ time.  

One reviewer simply describes his compositions as ‘extraordinary’.   I’m much looking forward to exploring further 😊


   
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@jen Thanks! I love the rhythms in the Andante. The second movement feels both driven and at times humourous. What can you expect from a part-time cardiologist!


   
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