Jan 20

GoreckiStringQuartGórecki String Quartets, performed by the Royal String Quartet ★★★★★

If you prefer to listen to pop/rock music, you will truly detest these pieces, as they are not easily accessible. The music is complex, challenging, and multi-layered. It is not 12-tone music, but definitely does not hold to a given key as your typical tonal composition. Unlike much 20th century music, which is nothing but noise, Górecki succeeds in accomplishing a convincing piece of music. The quartets fit the style of Shostakovich, though definitely having the personal sound unique to Górecki. The performance is very well done, and the recording comes across as sharp. This is not music for everybody, but seems to suit my taste quite well.

 

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May 16

WeberSonatas

 

Carl Maria von Weber: Sonatas for piano & violin, piano quartet, performed by Isabelle Faust, Alexander Melnikov, et. al. ★★★★

This is a delightful CD of chamber music written by von Weber, best known for the opera Der Freischutz. The music is unfamiliar to me, but fits the style contemporary for von Weber. The performance is superb, and the music is given in a lively and compellingly delightful format. Von Weber shows his capabilities best in his opera, but I am pleased to learn of his great skill also in chamber music.

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Apr 29

ErnstErlkonigHeinrich Wilhelm Ernst – Violin Music (Naxos label), Josef Špaček, Gordon Back ★★★★★

I recently acquired some new CD’s from Archiv Music (www.arkivmusic.com), which is a good source for inexpensive classical music. You’ll be seeing some of those reviews in the next few weeks. Arkiv Music provides better search engines for finding particular music, and offers recommendations and decent critical analyses of CDs. They are competitive with Amazon.com and often are cheaper than Amazon. This was an album on sale, and since I’ve had no music by Ernst, decided to try it. Ernst wrote in the era of the virtuoso performer, sitting in the lime-light of Paganini. Ernst shows him most capable of writing technical yet very acceptable music. The performances on this CD are well recorded, with a spacious quality to them, and executed with great feeling and understanding for the composer. While not well known, this is a delightful CD to listen to, and recommended by me.

 

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