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What Classical Music Are You Listening To?


StarThrower

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35 minutes ago, StarThrower said:

I don't find the Finzi work stodgy at all. So far it's the most impressive piece I've listened to in this 5 disc set. I also enjoyed Holst's Egdon Heath. But you're probably better off with a modern recording. This set is mastered too loud, and there are some rather harsh sounding passages, which kind of ruins the beautiful choral singing. The same is true for the Adrian Boult Complete RVW set I have.

Egdon Heath is magnificent...one of my favourite Holst pieces. The way the ghostly morris dance emerges out of the gloom in the middle is fantastic. I just finished a bio of Holst...the piece was greeted with incomprehension when first performed (like much of his post-Planets work). 

I suspect the sound might be due to the age of the recordings. Hopefully they sound better than the original first CD transfers of the 80s (horrible red and white sleeve designs too) - EMI was in such a hurry to get the music out for sale that they didn't try very hard with the remastering. I'm not one for buying multiple versions of classical pieces - one will usually do...but I've tended to buy newer recordings of that music as they've emerged. I had several of the Boults on LP in the 70s, not that long after they first emerged (I actually saw Boult a couple of times at Prom concerts - Beethoven 6 and Elgar 2. He waved a very big stick). 

Edited by A Lark Ascending
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22 minutes ago, StarThrower said:

I like the Howells Hymnus Paradisi. I may pick up the Hickox recording on Chandos, which is one of their budget priced re-issues.

Howells (and Ivor Gurney) had a thing for a place in Gloucestershire called Chosen Hill. I went to school there briefly in 1968 - had no idea who Howell or Gurney were at the time!

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One of the top 5 of Britten operas for me (along with Grimes, Screw, Budd and Midsummer). Superb orchestration - the wonderful bell effects, the gamelin influences and the Mahlerian strings in the moments of high drama. Excellent production - the scenes change quickly and here the sets are simple but effective with brilliant use of light and shadow. Ashenbach is a really unsympathetic character - self-obsessed, prissy, an arty-farty aesthete. Yet despite wanting to bop him one, the opera is thoroughly engaging from start to finish. I saw an Opera North version a few years back which was very good; this strikes me as its equal.   

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Yehudi wasn't the world's snazziest fiddler, but at his best, as here, he was like Szigeti among the most musical. And Kentner is terrific. BTW, Menuhin and Kentner not only sound like they were joined at the hip, but they also were married to sisters.

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8 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

Yehudi wasn't the world's snazziest fiddler, but at his best, as here, he was, like Szigeti, among the most musical. And Kentner is terrific. BTW, Menuhin and Kentner not only sound like they were joined at the hip, but they also were married to sisters.

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10 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

Yehudi wasn't the world's snazziest fiddler, but at his best, as here, he was like Szigeti among the most musical. And Kentner is terrific. BTW, Menuhin and Kentner not only sound like they were joined at the hip, but they also were married to sisters.

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I frequently quote myself.

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The Rose Lake - utterly beautiful late Tippett piece. Unfortunately suffers from the flaw in quite a few Chandos downloads - bloody gaps by the time it hits the iPod. Why they have this problem when other record companies don't escapes me. Will give a listen to the RCA version on Spotify...also has The Vision of St Augustine which I'm unfamiliar with.   

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