Balázs Szokolay – Lyric Pieces (Edvard Grieg) (1990)

FrontCover1Lyric Pieces (Norwegian: Lyriske stykker) is a collection of 66 short pieces for solo piano written by Edvard Grieg. They were published in 10 volumes, from 1867 (Op. 12) to 1901 (Op. 71). The collection includes several of his best known pieces, such as Wedding Day at Troldhaugen (Bryllupsdag på Troldhaugen), To Spring (Til våren), March of the Trolls (Trolltog), and Butterfly (Sommerfugl).

The theme of the first piece in the set, Arietta, was one of the composer’s favorite melodies. He used it to complete the cycle in his very last lyric piece, Remembrances (Efterklang) — this time as a waltz. (by wikipedia)

This is a very pleasing assortment from among Grieg’s 66 short Lyric Pieces, written between 1866-1891. There were 6-8 pieces in each of the 10 “books”, and this collection of 30 pieces contains selections from 9 of the books (there is no selection from Book 62 for TitlePagesome reason).

Each and every one presented here is a pure delight, and represent Grieg’s life-long desire to create a true Norwegian music genre derived from the folk music, dances, stories and natural environment of Norway. Every piece is evocative and the entire disc is delightful, thanks to the colorful and imaginative piano of Balazs Szokolay.

These pieces were recorded in 1989 at the Italian Institute in Budapest, and first released in Germany in 1990  The DDD recording quality was excellent and stands the test of time.
Since his first international appearance in 1979 with Peter Nagy at the Salzburg Interforum, pianist Szokolay has been a successful contender who has won many important awards and who maintains a steady following. His piano is energetic and expressive, and he is featured in over 90 albums on the Naxos label. As he is not yet 60 years old, we can hope for more from this productive and interesting artist. (by Philly Galon)

Balázs Szokolay

Balázs Szokolay
Personnel:
Balázs Szokolay (piano)

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Tracklist:
01. Arietta, Op. 12, No. 1  1.09
02. Halling (Norwegian Dance), Op. 38, No. 4  0.46
03. Melodie, Op. 38, No. 3  1,40
04. Melodie, Op. 47, No. 3  2.39
05. Halling (Norwegian Dance), Op. 47, No. 4  1.12
06. Fra Ungdomsdagene (From Years Of Youth). Op. 65, No. 1  4.27
07. Canon, Op. 38, No. 8  4,31
08. Småtrold (Puck), Op. 71, No. 3  1.42
09. Walzer, Op. 38, No. 7  1.01
10. Matrosernes Opsang (Sailor’s Song), Op. 68, No. 1  1.04
11. Springtanz, Op. 38, No. 5  1.20
12. Halling (Norwegian Dance), Op. 71, No. 5  2.43
13. Volksweise (Folk-Song), Op. 38, No. 2  1.33
14. Elegie, Op. 38, No. 6  2.10
15. Gangar (Norwegian March), Op. 54, No. 2  2.42
16. De Var Engang (Once Upon A Time), Op. 71, No. 1  3.28
17. Einsamer Wanderer (Solitary Wanderer), Op. 43, No. 2  1.36
18. Elverdans (Elves’ Dance), Op. 12, No. 4  0.42
19. Vals, Op. 12, No. 2  1.40
20. Folkewise (Folk-Song), Op. 12, No. 5  1.11
21. Skovstilhed (Peace Of The Wood), Op. 71, No. 4  4.58
22. Stambogsblad (Album-Leaf), Op.12, No. 7  1.11
23. Valse-Impromptu, Op. 47, No. 1  2.59
24. Forbi (Gone), Op. 71, No. 6  2.10
25. Sie Tanzt (She Dances), Op. 57, No. 5  2.43
26. Albumsblatt (Album-Leaf), Op. 47, No. 2  2.58
27. Sommeraften (Summer Evening), Op. 71, No. 2  2.24
28. For Dine Födder (At Your Feet), Op. 68, No. 3  2.22
29. Valse Mélancolique, Op. 68, No. 6  3.24
30. Efterklang (Remembrance) , Op. 71, No. 7 1.45

Music written by Edvard Grieg
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Edvard Grieg
Edvard Grieg

Christopher Wilson – Early Venetian Lute Music (1995)

FrontCover1This is a wonderful CD! Beautifully recorded in St. Andrews Church in Toddington, England! The quiet melodies of each piece are different enough that you will never get bored playing it over and over again! The next time you have a bad day, or come home from work some night with frayed nerves, try this!

Turn out all of the lights, light a candle in a jar, preferably a scented one (sounds awfully 60’s doesn’t it!) put this CD on the stereo, get comfortable, let your mind drift back to the 16th century, watch the candle light flicker on the walls and ceiling and feel yourself relax!!!

This CD is a lot cheaper than a bottle of tranquilizers or a visit to the shrink! BEWARE: Don’t substitute Lute music played on an acoustic guitar! A Lute has different dynamics, nuances and colours! Good Listening To You!!! (by John F. Coughlin)

ChristopherWilson01I discovered this CD quite by accident. I had been listening to two solo albums by Jan Akkerman, at one time the guitarist in Focus. Amid all the rock and jazz-rock tunes, it was clear that his solo lute recordings were much the best aspects of the two CDs. I resolved to buy a John Dowland CD, and this album also came up in the search.
This has quickly become the favourite of my lute CDs. The others feature singing — usually by a counter-tenor — and while that is pleasant enough, it places the music firmly in another time.
Without the singing, we can place this album almost anywhere we want: ambient, rock, classical, music to work to. There’s a nostalgic quality to several of the pieces here: they are so close to musical scales that they distantly remind me, as a child of the 1960s, of the themes to ‘Camberwick Green’ and ‘Trumpton’. This is music that it is impossible to dislike. (by Gavin Wilsonon)

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Personnel:
Christopher Wilson (lute)
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Shirley Rumsey (lute duetist)

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Tracklist:

Joan Ambrosio Dalza:
01. Calata ala spagnola 2.06
02. Tastar de corde, Recercar dietro 2.13
03. Pavana alla venetiana 3.26
Francesco Spinacino:
04. Rececar 1.37
05. Jay pris amours 3.33
Franciscus Bossinensis;
06. Recercar 0.28
Francesco Spinacino:
07. La Bernardina de Josquin 2.59
Vincenzo Capirola:
08. Recercar quinto 3.45
09. Canto bello 1.36
10. La villanella 1.29
11. O mia cieca e dura sorte 3.47
12. Che farala che dirala (after Don Michele Vicentino) 2.00
13. Non mi negar signora (After Serafino dall’ Aquila) 1.01
14. Recercar 0.50
15, Pavana 2.16
16. Calata 1.46
Franciscus Bossinensis;
17. Recercar 0.41
Francesco Spinacino:
18. Je ne fay 4.10
19. Recercar 2.54
20. De tous biens 3.52
Joan Ambrosio Dalza:
21. Tastar de corde, Recercar dietro 1.09
22. lata ala spagnola 2.33
23. Poi che volse la mia stella (after Bartolomeo Tromboncino) 2.43
24. Laudato dio 2.43
25. Saltarello and Piva 4.54

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Various Artists – Harmonia Mundi – New Releases January – June (2004)

FrontCover1Harmonia Mundi is an independent record label founded in Paris, France, in 1958 by Bernard Coutaz. In 1986 Harmonia Mundi (France) moved to Arles, France.
The label’s catalogue is devoted to classical music, jazz, and world music (on the World Village label). Harmonia Mundi (US) is a branch of Harmonia Mundi (France). There are also operations in the United Kingdom and in Spain.
The label was acquired by PIAS Entertainment Group in September 2015.
The Latin phrase harmonia mundi means “world harmony”.
The classical label Deutsche Harmonia Mundi is not related to Harmonia Mundi (France) and belongs to Sony BMG. (by wikipedia)

The name harmonia mundi ‘France’ embraces a much wider range than its widespread image as an early music label would suggest. harmonia mundi is first and foremost a group, based in Arles since 1986 and numbering 330 people all over the world. That group now covers all the different crafts of the publishing business, for both recordings and books, from production to distribution – and even to a retail network in certain countries. Read on to discover that the sphere of influence of harmonia mundi extends far beyond ‘classical music’…

Labels
And this is a Promotion sampler from 2004 … and it´s great sampler from one of the best classic labels all over the world.
And because I´m too lazy today, to type all the tracks in theis blog … read this (taken from the booklet):

Personnel:
Personnel
Tracklist:
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The Cambridge Buskers – Double Concerto (1979)

frontcover1The Cambridge Buskers were a duo of British musicians, whose career began in the late 1970s and were subsequently called The Classic Buskers. They performed classical music humorously using many instruments, costumes and props.

Michael Copley and David Abraham Gillespie (Dag) Ingram met when they were students at Cambridge University. According to the liner notes of their first recording, their musical association began when they found themselves at the Blackfriars station without enough money for the fare to get home. In an attempt to raise the money from passers-by, they played The Entertainer and Eine kleine Nachtmusik for a while, until they were asked to leave by a London Transport official.

Subsequently, they gained international success with their performances and many recordings, and performed in over 20 countries and in 15 languages until September 2016. It is reported that at one point a Japanese comic strip was written about them.
Ian Moore, another Cambridge University graduate who is also an organist, conductor, composer and singer (formerly in King’s College Choir, Cambridge), later became the accordionist.
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The Classic Buskers wrote their own arrangements, primarily of classical works by famous composers. Ian Moore played piano accordion, used his voice, and occasionally other percussion instruments or props. Copley played a variety of woodwind instruments, including flute, recorder, ocarina, and crumhorn. (by wikipedia)

“Technical virtuosity, combined with musical seriousness, humour and high entertainment are a perfect recipe – the audience were delighted.” (Ian Ritchie, City of London Festival Director)

“I was delighted by the Musical Magic show – a winning combination.” (Mark Eynon, Director, Newbury Spring Festival)

And here you listen to one of their great Albums … great musicians, great compositions … played in their very unique and special way. Amazing !

It´s fun … believe me !

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Single front + back cover

Personnel:

Michael Copley (Recorder, flute and much more)
Dag Ingram (accordion and much more)

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Tracklist:
01. Marche Militaire (Schubert) 2.05
02. Hungarian Dance No. 1 (Brahms) 3.18
03. Papageno’s Song (Mozart) 1.15
04. La Rejouissance (Händel) 1.14
05. The Silken Ladder, Overture (Rossini) 3.54
06. Largo From Winter (Vivaldi) 2.03
07. Sabre Dance (Kachaturian) 1.41
08. Jig (Händel) 1.34
09. Farandole (Bizet) 2.19
10. Ding Dong Merrily On High (Traditional) 2.42
11. Theme From Sweet William (Boyce) 1.56
12. Largo  (Bach) 3.49
13. Champagne Air (Mozart) 1.11
14. Dance Of The Blessed Spirits (Gluck) 3.04
15. Courante (Praetorius) 1.50
16. The Dying Swan (Tchaikovsky) 2.26
17. Csardas (Monti) 2.50
busker

 

Vanessa Mae – The Violin Player (1995)

frontcover1The Violin Player is the first techno/pop album by classical and pop musician Vanessa-Mae, released in 1995. It is the first album Vanessa-Mae released on the EMI label. The album was produced by Mike Batt, and recorded and mixed by Gareth Cousins, who also programmed the synthesisers and beats for the album.

The Violin Player features a varied blend of music – covers of some classical (J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor), remakes of old favourites (including American composer Mason Williams’ “Classical Gas”) and originals (seven tracks composed by British musician and songwriter Mike Batt), and one original by Vanessa-Mae herself, co-written with Ian Wherry (“Red Hot”).
Singles released from the album include “Toccata and Fugue”, which reached number 16 in the UK Singles Chart and “Red Hot” which reached number 37.
The Violin Player reached #11 in the UK Albums Chart in February 1995, and was certified Gold by the BPI in June 1995. It has sold over 8 million copies worldwide, and is still regarded by many as Vanessa-Mae’s best work. (by Wikipedia)

Vanessa-Mae was just a teenager when her major-label debut, The Violin Player, was released. This may account for her ability to successfully fuse old-world classical styles with a contemporary new age sensibility. She comes out scorching on the Bach classic “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,” showing off her world-class talent as a revolutionary violinist. The new arrangements by producer Mike Batt add a flavorful world music appeal that both compliments and showcases her masterful skill. While all ten tracks are performed as instrumentals, Vanessa-Mae manages to squeeze every ounce of passion out of a note, transcending the necessity for lyrics. Her ability to play off of other instruments is brought to the forefront on the final track “Red Hot.” She goes toe to toe with a forceful electric guitar and her four-string violin leaves the challenging six-string in the dust. This record will delight those who are bold enough to challenge themselves by listening to a collection of songs that defy standard genre classifications. (by Erik Crawford)

And you´ll hear one of my favourite guitar players: Dave “Clem” Clempson !
EMMA Awards Vanessa Mae
Personnel:
Mike Batt (Keyboards)
Martin Bliss (guitar)
Dave “Clem” Clempson (guitar)
Dick Morgan (oboe)
Richard Morgan (oboe)
Maurice Murphy (rumpet)
Philip Todd (saxophone)
Unspecified Enemies  Composer
Vanessa-Mae (violin)
Vasko Vassilev (viola, violin)
Ian Wherry (Keyboards)
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Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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Tracklist:
01. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (Bach) 7.47
02. Contradanza (Batt) 3.49
03. Classical Gas (Williams) 3.21
04. Theme from ‘Caravans’ (Batt) 5.06
05. Warm Air (Batt) 3.38
06. Jazz Will Eat Itself (Batt) 3.30
07. Widescreen (Batt) 3.58
08. Tequila Mockingbird (Batt) 3.26
09. City Theme (Batt) 4.32
10. Red Hot (Wherry/Mae) 3.16
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The CD singles

Various Artists – Pianissimo – Music For Quiet Moments (1998)

frontcover1Only in the silence can music touch a chord within us, and create a distant echo. And it is through the silence that the piano can open and blossom with it incomparable voice, and the vibration of it strings melt into melody.

Since the invention of the modern Pianoforte in the 18th century, composers have again and again been inspired by its special sensibilities, and the capacity of this Instrument to encompass the slightest expressive nuances and translate them into Sound.

On this album you will find a collection of the loveliest piano melodies in musical history: Whether the Adagio sosenuto from Beethoven´s Moonlight Sonata, or the Largo from his Piano Concerto, whether Listz´s Liebestraum, or Schumann´s Träumerei, the Adagio from Grieg´s  Piano Concerto or Chopin´s Nocturne, all show how this instrument has struck a chord in these Composers (Georg Stänzel; taken from the original liner notes)

Enjoy the sounds of silence !

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Tracklist:
01. Alfredo Perl: Adagio Sostenuto (Beethoven)  6.02
02. Jena Philharmonic Orchestra: Largo (Beethoven) 10.41
03. Ricardo Castro: Adagio (Mozart) 4.14
04. Carmen Piazzini: Adagio (Haydn) 5.00
05. Nadja Rubanenko: Sehr langsam (Schumann) 4.13
06. Alfredo Perl: Adagio (Grieg) 6.52
07. Carmen Piazzini:  Danza Del Moza Donosa (Ginastera) 3.26
08. Carmen Piazzini:  Cancion De Las Venusinas (Piazolla) 3.26
09. Arkady Sevidov: Barcarolle (Tchaikovsky) 5.16
10. Ricardo Castro: Nocturne No. 1 Op. 9/1 (Chopin)  5.35
11. Michael Krücker: Liebestraum Op. 62 No. 3/Poco Allegretto Con Affetto (Liszt) 4.40
12. Andreas Bach: Träumerei (Schumann) 2.17
13. Russian Philharmonic Orchestra + Vladimir Mishtchuk: Adagio Sostenuto (Rachmaninov) 11.38

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Another quiet moment
(I shoot this picture near Berchtesgaden (Bavarian Alps) in october 2009)

Quartetto Klimt – Quartetti Con Pianoforte (2000)

frontcover1Formed in 1995 at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole, the Klimt Quartet is today one of the most interesting young chamber music groups in Italy. Since its foundation it has performed in numerous concerts including prestigious Festivals in Italy and abroad. Between 1997-1999 the quartet attended for two years the master classes held by Trio di Milano in Fiesole; since 2000 the quartet has studied for various years with M.° Pier Narciso Masi. In April 1998 the quartet won first prize at the International Chamber Music Competition “Gaetano Zinetti” at Sanguinetto (VR).
A few months after its foundation the quartet was invited by: “Encontre Internationale des Enseignements Artistiques” organized by the Institute de le Marionette a Charleville-Meziéres (France); the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana ad Aosta; the “Ater Festival” in Rimini; and by the “Elba Isola Musicale d’Europa” Festival, where it captured the attention of the great Yuri Bashmet.
The following years have seen the group participating in prestigious musical seasons among which “Lingotto Musica” in Turin, the “Festival di Ravello”, “Musica Insieme” in Bologna and at the Bologna Festival, “Amici della Musica” in Florence, “Amici della Musica” in Perugia, the “Accademia Filarmonica Romana” in Rome, the “Serate Musicali di Milano”, the “Festival Mozart” in Rovereto. The quartet has also played a leading part in numerous live television and radio performances for the RAI (Radio Televisione Italiana).

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In these years of intense activity, the quartet has benefited from the advice and support of artists such as Carlo Maria Giulini, Natalia Gutman and Maurizio Pollini; the latter invited Klimt to perform during the award ceremony of “Una vita nella Musica” in 1999 in Venice, and in 2001 gave them the scholarship “Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli”. In April 2001 the quartet inaugurated the first edition of “I Concerti del Quirinale” in Rome; in July 2001 the Klimt Quartet was invited to the prestigious “Oleg Kagan Musikfest di Kreuth” (Germany) and the “Festival of Santander” (Spain).
In 2010 the prestigious magazine Amadeus published the two quartets for piano and strings by Robert Schumann performed by the Klimt Quartet and was later invited by the RAI to perform these pieces live for Euroradio for the bicentenary of Schumann’s birth. In 2011 it has been invited by Columbia University in New York, gaining a warm success by audience and press.
In recognition of Klimt’s unfailing, passionate commitment to the promotion and diffusion of contemporary music, various composers, such as A.Solbiati, F.Antonioni, M.D’Amico and I. Vandor have dedicated compositions to the Quartet.
Since 2008 the violinist of the group has been Duccio Ceccanti. (by livornomusicfestival.com)

And this is the debut album …. what a great debut album, recorded by this young Italian ensemble … if you like classic music (like me) … you should listen … what a unbelieveable sound !

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Personnel:
Lorenza Borrani (violin)
Matteo Fossi (piano)
Alice Gabbiani (violincello)
Edoardo Rosadini (viola)

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Tracklist:

 Johannes Brahms: Quartetto op. 25 in sole minore:
01. Allegro 13.09
02. Intermezzo 7.40
03. Andante con moto 9.11
04. Rondo alla zingarese 8.51

Robert Schumann: Quartetto op. 47 in Mib maggiore:
05. Sostenuto assai – Allegro ma non troppo 9.30
06. Scherzo – molto vivace 3.49
07. Andante cantabile 7.23
08. Finale – vivace 8.01

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