Saturday, September 5, 2015

Giovanni Sgambati Piano Quintets String Quartets - Quartetto Noferini Roberto Plano

Giovanni Sgambati (May 28, 1841  – December 14, 1914)
Performers :  Quartetto Noferini, Roberto Plano (Piano)
Label : Brilliant Classics
Released : August 2015 - Buy it HERE -AMAZON

The legendary Giovanni Sgambati from Rome, Italia finally got his chamber music recorded properly. Two string quartets and piano quintets in on the Brilliant Classic CD. The CD liner notes :

Giovanni Sgambati (1841‐1914) was an important composer of 19th century Italy. A pupil and disciple of Franz Liszt he was one of the most brilliant pianists of his day. However, he was a composer, a conductor, a teacher and a patron as well, composing symphonies and chamber music in a country where opera was predominant.

Sgambati’s musical language is romantic pur sang. Rooted in the German tradition of Mendelssohn and Schumann he was further influenced by his great mentor Franz Liszt and by Wagner (as so many in that age). This 2CD set contains two string quartets and the two piano quintets, impressive works of substantial length, richly textured and full of instrumental virtuosity. Excellent performances by Italian forces, the great pianist Alberto Plano (a Van Cliburn Competition winner) and the Quartetto Noferini.

Maybe the last of Italian Romantic defender, here are the album descriptions from Brilliant Classics.

Giovanni Sgambati (1841-1914) was one of the few 19th- century Italian musicians who worked outside the native operatic tradition of Donizetti and Verdi. As a conductor, composer, teacher and pianist, he promoted symphonic and chamber music alongside his younger and now more renowned colleague Giuseppe Martucci. Records of Sgambati’s music have largely confined themselves to his orchestral and piano works (as well as his magnum opus, a Requiem Mass), but transfers of a dusty 78 show him having enormous fun with the Scherzo of Dvořák’s Piano Quintet.

This set redresses the balance and reveals Sgambati as a chamber musician no less accomplished in composition than performance, within the German tradition that he worked hard to introduce to Italian concert societies: Mendelssohn and Schumann are keynote influences here. The first string quartet and piano quintets are early works, dating from 1864 and 1866
respectively; the latter written in the fairly unusual key of F minor (think Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony) for which Sgambati appears to have had a special fondness, given the many piano pieces he also composed in that key.

The second string quartet (1882) and piano quintet (1876) are more chromatically developed to embrace some of Wagner’s idiom (Sgambati also wrote a concert overture on the subject of Rienzi); and when Wagner heard Sgambati give a performance of the quintet at the Royal Court of Savoy he was sufficiently impressed to suggest to his publisher Schott that they also publish Sgambati’s work. This proved to be a turning point in Sgambati’s career, as well as the beginning of a friendship between the two composers.

Roberto Plano’s previous disc for Brilliant Classics, of the piano music of Smetana (BC94788), won warm critical appreciation;

Giovanni Sgambati (1841-1914) was an important composer of 19th- century Italy. A pupil and disciple of Franz Liszt he was one of the most brilliant pianists of his day. However, he was a composer, a conductor, a teacher and a patron as well, composing symphonies and chamber music in a country where opera was predominant.
Sgambati’s musical language is romantic pur sang. Rooted in the German tradition of Mendelssohn and Schumann he was further influenced by his great mentor Franz Liszt and by Wagner (as so many in that age).
This 2CD set contains two string quartets and the two piano quintets, impressive works of substantial length, richly textured and full of instrumental virtuosity.
Excellent performances by Italian forces, the great pianist Roberto Plano (a Van Cliburn Competition winner) and the Quartetto Noferini.

Sgambati: Piano Quintets & String Quartets

String Quartet in D Minor 21:43
I. Allegro moderato 5:51
II. Allegro 6:21
III. Romanza: Andante 4:48
IV. Allegro assai e appassionato 4:43

Piano Quintet No. 2 in B-Flat Major, Op. 5 41:20
I. Andante - Vivace 13:27
II. Barcarola (Allegretto con moto) 8:45
III. Andante 10:14
IV. Allegro vivace 8:54

String Quartet in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 17 31:06
I. Adagio - Vivace ma non troppo 12:02
II. Prestissimo 3:30
III. Andante sostenuto 8:52
IV. Allegro 6:42

Giovanni Sgambati: Piano Quintet No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 4 46:20
I. Adagio - Allegro ma non troppo 12:19
II. Vivacissimo 7:37
III. Andante sostenuto 10:21
IV. Allegro moderato

Franz Xaver Gebel String Quartets - Hoffmeister Quartet (2015)

Franz Xaver Gebel (1787-1843)
Performer : Hoffmeister Quartet
Label: Profil
Release: August 2015 - BUY IT HERE AMAZON

Another rarity found in Amazon today. Franz Xaver Gebel is mostly unknown, I went for research and found very little information on this guy. From Wikipedia :

Franz Xaver Gebel (1787 – 3 May 1843) was a German composer, music teacher, and conductor.

Gebel was born in Fürstenau, near Breslau, Silesia. He studied under Johann Georg Albrechtsberger and Abbé Vogler, and became Kapellmeister at Leopoldstadt in Vienna in 1810, then worked at a succession of theatres in Pest and Lemberg.

He moved to Moscow in 1817, where he would remain until his death in 1843. He taught piano, and became a significant figure in Moscow's musical life, teaching notable figures such as Nikolai Rubinstein and Alexander Villoing,[2] and organizing string quartet performances from 1829 to 1835.

He wrote operas, a mass, four symphonies, overtures, string quintets and quartets, and many piano pieces, among other works.

and from the CD notes :

Franz Xaver Gebels biographer Ernst Stöckl reported that while there were at least three Gebel string quartets, he was familiar with but one, the published Quartet in D major. Despite persistent research in Russian libraries, he was unable to find the others mentioned in contemporary discussions about concerts. Recently however, the sheet music for the Quartet in E-flat major, printed in Moscow around 1840, where Gebel spent the remainder of his life after 1817, was found in a German library. The Hoffmeister Quartet performs these rarely heard, little-known early-Romantic gems. 

another version...

Stöckl was unable to find any of Gebel’s later quartet compositions mentioned in contemporary discussions about concerts, despite persistent research and requests in Russian libraries. Thus it was a real stroke of luck when we discovered the printed music of the previously unknown Quartet in E-flat major. The sheet music, which was printed in Moscow around 1840, was found in the City Library of Hanover. sources

and ...

 A German who spent the last 25 years of his life as a valued teacher and performer in Moscow, Gebel (two of whose string quintets came out on MD&G in 1999) wrote the D major quartet just before leaving Germany in 1817 and the other in Moscow around 1840. Oddly the later one is in a Beethovenian severe classical style and the early one redolent of early Romanticism. Hoffmeister Quartet. sources

The trend of discovering string quartet music from the 18th century and put it right away to record is most encourage by we, fans of lost string quartet. The Hoffmeister Quartet already done the recording on Ferdinand Titz under PROFIL Label, so it is not new to the industry. The other F.X. Gebel record we can find is his String Quintet, recorded by MDG.

buy it here - AMAZON

String Quartet in D major
1. Allegro vivace
2. Menuetto, Presto
3. Andante
4. Presto

String Quartet in E-flat major op.27
5. Allegro con brio
6. Largo con espressione
7. Minuetto
8. Finale. Allegro

Hoffmeister Quartet :
Ulla Bundies, Violine
Christoph Heidemann, Violine
Aino Hildebrandt, Viola
Martin Seemann, Violoncello

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Top 50 Most Recommended Cello Concertos

Top 50 Most Recommended Cello Concertos
One per composer

Inspired with my Top 60 Most Recommended Violin Concertos that I posted years ago, which seemingly gain lots of visitors, I going to list out 50 most recommended in Cello concertos. As the nature of this task, it will only limited to my knowledge about the genre, but I think most of mainstreams (and non-mainstream) repertoire is included. As with the violin concertos, there are tons of pieces from Baroque and Classical era that hardly can included due to my limited knowledge, so the list is heavily Romantic era onward.

I will group these Cello Concertos into three groups, (1) Mainstreams repertoire, which probably best tested by time (2) Underrated repertoire that should make it to the mainstream but only less popular (3) hardcore list for cello concerto,  rarely seen in performance but still they are gems in the genre. Btw, the list is technically not only in form of cello concertos, but rather works for cello and orchestra. This is to accommodate popular pieces such as Bruch's  Kol Nidreai (#5) or Bloch's Schelomo for cello solo and orchestration (#10) that technically not a cello concertos. Also included are double concertos (Brahms' #6) and triple concertos (Beethoven's #12). Overall, all major composers were selected. The missing major composers are Mendelssohn, Schubert, Sibelius, Stravinsky etc that didn't have (notable) cello concertos in their port folio. For some pieces, I write in short commentaries. Recommended recording is in Amazon links.

Top 50 Most Recommended Cello Concertos

Top 1 - 10 - the mainstream repertoire
Top of the list is Lalo's cello concerto.  Arguably, Lalo's Cello Concerto is also one of most popular concerto in classical music. Oftenly in live performing up to this day, and tons of recordings available. The second one is very personal choice and I picked up Dvorak's cello concerto in B minor as #2 recommendation. Fans of Dvorak's Symphony no.9 will found this familiar. The concerto is very "American" in feel, something that similar to his popular string quartet no.12 "American". Elgar and Shostakovich are the other most popular cello concerto in history. Then Brahms' double concerto. Saint-Saens is another personal choice that make it to top 10. Saint-Saens has two cello concerto and both are pretty close each other. Kabalevsky is the 'outsider' that make it to top 10. Same with Khachaturian, in which his violin concertos is more popular, but his cello concerto deserve good place in the repertoire. Bruch and Bloch's cello solo for orchestra is also very popular and must listen for fans of cello concerto. For recommended recording click on the link to Amazon.

1. Lalo  - Cello Concerto in D minor (1876) records [by Janos Starker, du Pre]
2. Dvorak - Cello Concerto in B minor Op.104 (1894-1895) records [by Pablo Casals, Moser]
3. Elgar - Cello concerto in Em Op. 85 records [by Pablo Casals, Paul Watkins]
4. Shostakovich - Cello concerto no.1 in Eb Op. 107 and No.2 in G records [by Rostropovich]
5. Bruch - Kol Nidrei Op.47 records [by Pierre Fournier]
6. Brahms - Double Concerto in Am, Op. 102 for violin, cello and orch. records [by Shaham/Wang]
7. Saint-Saens - Cello Concerto No.1 in A minor Op.33 and No.2 in Dm Op.119 records [by Isserlis]
8. Kabalevsky - Cello Concerto No.1 in Cm Op. 49 and No.2 in Gm Op.77 records [by Wallfisch]
9. Khachaturian - Cello Concerto in E Minor (1946) records [by Shakshovskaya]
10. Bloch - Schelomo Rhapsodie Hébraïque for cello solo and large orchestra (1916) records [by Casals]

Top 11-25:
of which the Baroque and Classical era must be represented. I picked Carl Emmanuel Bach's concerto in A major for this late Baroque era, and Haydn's concerto no.1 in C for Classical era. Bach and Haydn wrote more concertos but my personal favorite are these. Beethoven's triple concerto is very popular, only that this is not pure cello concerto, so can't put in the top 10. Myaskovsky is the next must listen piece, his concertos by him are extremely good. Tchaikovsky is also very popular but it is more a one variations rather than a concerto.

11. Bach, Carl Emmanuel - Cello Concerto in A major records [by Tim Hugh]
12. Beethovens -  Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano in C major, Op. 56 records [by Yo-Yo Ma, Perlman, Barenboim]
13. Myaskovsky, Nikolai - Cello Concerto in C Minor, Op. 66 records [by Tarasova]
14. Strauss - Don Quixote for Cello, viola and orchestra records [by Rostropovich]
15. Prokofiev - Cello Concerto Op.58 records [by Gerhardt]
16. Dohnányi - Konzertstück in D major Op 12 records
17. Schumann  - Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129 (1850) records [by Rostropovich]
18. Penderecki - Cello Concerto No. 1 (1972) and No.2 (1982) records [by Noras]
19. Pfitzner - Cello Concerto No.1 in G Op.42 (1935) and No.2 in Am Op.52 ('43) records [by Geringas, Gerhardt]
20. Rubinstein - Cello Concerto in Dm Op.96 and in Am Op.65 records [by Thomas-Mifune]
21. Tchaikovsky - Variations on a Rococo Theme, this is the more popular cello pieces to his unfinished Cello Concerto in B minor (1893) records [by Vardai]
22. Stanford, Sir Charles - Cello Concerto in D minor (1879) records [by Rosefield]
23. Walton - Cello Concerto (1956) records [by Watkins, Poltera]
24. Williams, John - Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (1994) records [by du Pre, Yo-Yo Ma]
25. Vieuxtemps - Cello Concerto in Am Op. posth 46 and in Bm Op. posth 50 records [by Gerhardt, Hallynck]
26. Haydn - Cello Concerto No.1 in C H. 7b/1 records [by Yo-Yo Ma, Rostropovich]

top 26-50:
these are following list for eager fans to dig out more into cello concerto. they are mostly randomly sorted actually. Notable are Kalevi Aho concerto for 2 cellos from the 21st century era. Two Classical era composer that are famous in cello concertos are Luigi Boccherini and Pleyel. I picked up one concertos from each of them, in which they wrote many more.

27. Aho, Kalevi - Concerto for 2 Cellos and Orchestra (2003) records [by Lindberg]
28. Lutoslawski - Cello Concerto (1969) records [by Rostropovich]
29. Barber - Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 22 (1945) records [by Poltera]
30. Bax - Cello Concerto in G minor (1932) records [by Wallfisch]
31. D'Albert - Cello concerto in C Op. 20  (1899) [by Gerhardt, Zollman]
32. Boccherini - Cello Concerto No. 9 in B-flat major, G. 482 records [by Moller, Bronzi]
33. Hindemith - Cello Concerto O.3 (1916) records [by Poltera]
34. Korngold - Cello Concerto Op.37 (Deception) 1946 records [by Steckel]
35. Ligeti - Cello Concerto for Siegfried Palm records [by Siegfried Palm]
36. Rozsa - Cello Concerto Op.32 records [by Harell]
37. Delius - Cello Concerto (1921) records [by Watkins]
38. Dutilleux - Cello Concerto "Tout un monde lointain" records [by Rostropovich]
39. Glazunov - Concerto-ballata in C, Op. 108 (1931) records [by Rudin]
40. Gulda  - Concerto for Cello and Wind Orchestra (1980) records [by Schiff]
41. Gernsheim, Friedrich - Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 78 records [by Gerhardt]
42. Moeran E.J. - Cello Concerto in B minor (1945) records [by Johnston]
43. Atterberg -  Concerto for cello & orchestra in C minor, Op 21 records [by Truls Mørk
44. Monn, Georg Matthias - Cello Concerto in Gm, re-arranged by Schoenberg  records [by Zipperling]
45. Raff - Cello Concerto No.1 in D minor Op.193 and No.2 in G Op. Posth records [by Müller-Schott]
46. Popper  - Cello Concerto No.2 in E minor Op.24 (1880) and other four concertos records [by Wen-Sinn Yang]
47. Britten - Cello Symphony, Op. 68 (1963) records [by Rostropovich]
48. Herbert, Victor - Cello Concerto No. 2 in E minor, Op. 30 (1894) and no.1 in D records [by Capucon]
49. Volkmann - Cello Concerto in A minor Op.33 (1853) records [by Gerhardt, Wohlmacer]
50. Pleyel - Cello Concerto in C (1782-84) Ben.101 records [by Szabo]

other notable concertos:

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

George Onslow String Quartets Opus 8 and 10 - Quatuor Ruggieri

George Onslow (1784-1853)
Performer : Quatuor Ruggieri
Label: Aparte
Release: 2015

Quatuor Ruggieri recorded more George Onslow string quartets. Having previously recorded three string quartets, they added three more on this CD. This time they recorded Opus 8 no.1 and no.3. The first quartet in Opus 8 already exposed to us by the Mandelring Quartet, yet no.3 in A major is likely a first recording of this. In the third quartet is Op.10 No.3 in E flat major. This make it that more George Onslow's earlier period string quartets are being available for public now.

The CD notes:

George Onslow (1784-1853) was a French composer of English descent. His wealth, position and personal tastes allowed him to pursue a path unfamiliar to most of his French contemporaries - one that was closer to that of German romantic composers. His principal output was chamber music and Onslow's efforts expanded the audience for a genre that was not popular in Paris at the time. Amongst the many works he wrote, his String Quartets stand out for their unique spirit of invention. This recording by the Quatuor Ruggieri bring out both the intelligence and Parisian charm of these unjustly neglected works.

Ruggieri Quartet:
Gilone Gaubert Jacques, violin
Grattard Charlotte, violin
Delphine Grimbert,  viola
Emmanuel Jacques,  cello


String Quartet in C minor, Op. 8 No. 1
1 Largo / Allegro agitato 7:51
2 Adagio 5:55
3 Minuetto allegretto 2:30
4 Finale presto 3:45

String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 10 No. 3
5 Largo / Allegro con brio 5:51
6 Andantino sostenuto 7:14
7 Minuetto allegro (air de danse des montagnes d'Auvergne) 3:15
8 Allegro vivace 5:37

String Quartet in A major, Op. 8 No. 3
9 Allegro 8:06
10 Andante non troppo lento 3:55
11 Minuetto allegro 3:30
12 Finale vivace 4:43

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Carl Goldmark String Quartets and String Quintets - Haydn Quartett (2015)

Composer: Carl Goldmark (1830-1915)
Performer: Haydn Quartett
Label: Gramola
Releases : May 2015

Carl Goldmark (or something, Karl), best known for his opera "The Queen of Sheba", Rustic Wedding Symphony and Violin Concerto No.1 in A minor, is Hungarian composer of Jewish descendant. Carl widely regarded as one of Vienna-based composer. He was born in 1830, just a few year after Haydn's Op.76. Less remember by many chamberian lover, Carl Goldmark String Quartet in B-flat major Op.8 is existed in this world. The quartet noted to be produce around 1860. Making it is as  interesting specimen of late Vienna Classical period. The quartet recorded by Haydn Quartett to be paired with Carl's String Quintet in A minor Op.9It should be noted also that this string quartet is rarely found in recording before. So let's celebrated and heard this exiting pieces done by the talented Haydn Quartett.

Streichquartett,Streichquintett Carl Goldmark  -  BUY IT HERE
Haydn Quartett / Rudolf Leopold

Streichquartett B-Dur op. 8 / String Quartet in B-flat Major Op.8
1 I. Andante - Allegro moderato    
2 II. Andante sostenuto 9:51
3 III. Allegro vivace 3:02
4 IV. Allegro molto 7:56  
Strecihquintett a-Moll op. 9  / String Quintet in A minor op.9
5 I. Allegro molto 16:01    
6 II. Andante con moto 8:33
7 III. Allegro molto 4:16
8 IV. Andante maestoso - Allegro 9:09

Haydn Quartett
Fritz Kircher (first violin)
Martin Kocsis (second violin)
Gerswind Olthoff (viola)
Nikolai New (cello)
Rudolf Leopold (cello)

new Carl Goldmark chamber piece records by Gramola 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

Felix Blumenfeld - Theophil Richter - String Quartets (2015)

Composers: Felix Blumenfeld (1863-1936) , Theophil Richter (1872-1941)
Performer: Odessa String Quartet
Label: Naxos America
Release: May 2015

Theophil Richter is father of great Soviet pianist Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997).  Theophil Richter worked in Odessa at the St. Paul's Church, at the opera and at the conservatory and fell 1941 Stalinist repression victims. According to Sviatoslav, Theophil indeed lived in Vienna for about 20 years. This string quartet in one of Theophil's many composition. While Felix Blumenfeld is widely known as Russian pianist and composer. String Quartet in F major Op.26 by Felix will be world premiere as recording by Odessa String Quartet, all together in this CD. The works will be a valuable addendum to our extensive knowledge of late Romantic era string quartet.

CD notes;
Aside from some smaller piano pieces, the String Quartet in F major is the only remaining composition by Theofil Richter, father of pianist Sviatoslav Richter, who preserved the manuscript. In this work, Theofil Richter presented his compositional mastery in the sophisticated genre of the string quartet. Felix Blumenfelds String Quartet Op. 26 in F major (1898) captured first prize of the St. Petersburg Chamber Music Society (Russia). This powerful piece is characterized by a wealth of melodic imagination. The Odessa String Quartet gives these works their world premiere recordings. 

Theophil Richter (1872–1941) ; Felix Blumenfeld (1863–1936): String Quartets
World Premiere Recordings - BUY IT HERE

Odessa String Quartet:
Natalya Litvinova & Leonid Piskun (Vl)
Iya Komarova (Va)
Sergei Scholz (Vc)

Theophil Ricter String Quartet in F major
1 Moderato 08:51
2 Andante 06:28
3 Tempo giusto à la Valse 08:40
4 Allegro 06:32

Felix Blumenfeld String Quartet F major, op. 26

5 Allegro 06:41
6 Presto 05:40
7 Andantino 07:05
8 Finale. Allegro molto 07:39

  Total Time: 57:39

Carl Czerny - String Quartets (2015)

Composer: Carl Czerny (1791-1857)
Performer : Sheridan Ensemble
Label: Capriccio
Release: May 2015

This is an important release of Carl Czerny's string quartet cycle. It is only believe that Czerny composed about 20 of string quartets as mentioned in Wikipedia. Not much details is known afterward. The only famous is String Quartet in C minor, edited by Bernard Pauler only in 2006. Apparently now, a project to recorded some of Czerny's quartets is on the way. We got a beautiful 2 CD of the quartets done by Sheridan Ensemble. As the book notes :

Known as a piano teacher, with whose works almost every piano pupil should be familiar and possibly also as a pupil of Beethoven, Carl Czerny enjoys practically no fame as a composer today. The composing maniac (round about 800 published works) acquired a great reputation (and wealth) from piano teaching and writing educational works for the piano and compositions the market expected from him and from which he earned a lot of money. At the moment, seven quartets are recorded, four of which were probably intended for publication. Czerny composed in the tradition of Haydn and Beethoven. Echoes of Mendelssohn can be discerned as well as a romantic style full of drama and profundity of expression. The quartets have only been passed down as manuscripts from Czernys estate, which can be found in the archives of the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna. 

Seven quartets being recorded! So, we'll see at least one more volume of Carl Czerny's quartet. Sample can be heard on Sheridan Ensemble website. As the website suggest, Sheridan Ensemble is found by cellist Anna Carewe and probably based in Germany (?) and they are not exclusively string quartet but rather, an ensemble.

Carl Czerny - String Quartets  WORLD PREMIERE
Sheridan Ensemble - BUY IT HERE
CD 1
1. String Quartet in A Minor: I. Allegro espressivo ma animato
2. String Quartet in A Minor: II. Andante espressivo
3. String Quartet in A Minor: III. Scherzo. Vivace
4. String Quartet in A Minor: IV. Finale. Quasi presto
5. String Quartet in D Minor: I. Allegro moderato
6. String Quartet in D Minor: II. Scherzo. Allegro molto
7. String Quartet in D Minor: III. Adagio
8. String Quartet in D Minor: IV. Finale. Allegro non troppo
CD 2
9. String Quartet in D Major: I. Allegro molto vivace e giocoso
10. String Quartet in D Major: II. Andantino quasi allegretto
11. String Quartet in D Major: III. Scherzo. Molto vivace
12. String Quartet in D Major: IV. Finale. Allegro vivace
13. String Quartet in E Minor: I. Allegro affetuoso
14. String Quartet in E Minor: II. Andante poco sostenuto
15. String Quartet in E Minor: III. Scherzo. Vivace - Trio. Un poco tranquillo
16. String Quartet in E Minor: IV. Finale. Allegro vivace