Archive for the Instrumental Category

Messiaen: Quartet for the End of Time – V. “Praise to the Eternity of Jesus” (Barenboim, Tetard) – YouTube

Posted in Chamber music, Instrumental on July 18, 2013 by orinococds

Messiaen: Quartet for the End of Time – V. “Praise to the Eternity of Jesus” (Barenboim, Tetard) – YouTube.


The Celtic Viol 1 and 2 | Jordi Savall | Andrew Lawrence-King

Posted in Celtic music, Instrumental with tags , , , on March 28, 2013 by orinococds

Celtic Viol – Vol 1 and 2 | Jordi Savall | Andrew Lawrence-King | Alia Vox SACD | single cd plus elegant mini book | $39 NZ each

Delightful, engaging recordings from the artists who amazed WOMAD audiences in New Plymouth earlier  this month

Catalan early music supremo Jordi Savall (6 strings treble viol & lyra-viol),  Andrew Lawrence-King (Irish harps & psaltery) & Frank McGuire (bodhran)

This second volume follows the critically acclaimed and best-selling Volume I, but is far from being only a continuation.

Thanks to different types of viol (treble and lyra) and particularly inspired rhythms coming from Frank McGuire on bodhran (an Irish frame drum), Jordi Savall has enriched his vision of this fascinating repertoire. Andrew Lawrence-King offers a perfect counterpoint on Irish harp and psaltery.

This album is organised in seven sets and enables us to discover many sides of a repertoire Jordi Savall explores with the steadiest and most respectful hand.

“Savall and Andrew Lawrence-King have again opened a window on an approach to the tradition which differs intriguingly from more mainstream revivalist or folk-rock realisations.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2010 ****

“Savall has traded the fiddle on the previous disc for a deeper-voiced, flexibly-tuned lyra viol while retaining the treble viol in the outer sets. Lawrence-King alternates between two harps and a psaltery, providing a rich variety of accompaniments…Mcguire neatly underscores and complements the energy inherent in the tunes.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2010

“The tastefulness of his treble viol playing and the more resonant, lower lyra viol is fetching, and his rhythmic liveliness is always in evidence.” The Observer, 10th October 2010

Brahms: Handel variations | Sonata No. 3 | Jonathan Plowright pno.

Posted in Instrumental, Piano solo with tags , , , , on March 11, 2013 by orinococds

Brahms: Handel variations | Sonata No. 3 | Jonathan Plowright pno. | $NZ 33 | BIS-2047 1 cd, 73 min

It was in October 1853 that the 20-year-old Johannes Brahms completed his Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, while staying with Robert and Clara Schumann in Düsseldorf. The work had occupied him for some months – at least since the summer of the same year, when he had encountered Franz Liszt, and had heard his recently completed B minor Sonata. Strictly speaking, he may only have heard parts of it: according to some reports, Brahms fell asleep during the performance… It is tempting to see the younger man’s sonata as a response to Liszt’s work, but whatever the case may be, its hero­ic scale, unconventional layout and high quality made it one of the most impressive sonatas since those of Beethoven and Schubert. Signifi­cantly, Brahms never wrote another piano sonata, as if he had said as much as he wanted to say in that genre. Instead he would go on to compose in more concentrated formats, but he also wrote a series of large-scale sets of variations, among which the Handel Variations must be considered his crowning achievement. Completed in September 1861 and dedicated to Clara Schumann, the work shows Brahms at the height of his powers

British pianist Jonathan Plowright makes his début recording on BIS. Hailed by Gramophone as ‘one of the finest living pianists’, Plowright is recognised worldwide as a truly exceptional artist.

Plowright’s cd of the Piano Sonata No. 3 and the Handel variations on BIS2047 heralds something completely special, despite the eminent competition.

These are performances of superb technical command which never draws attention to itself but simply serves the music. And this is combined with an intense musical understanding which makes these weighty pieces seem fleet and logical. The Handel Variations fairly rip along, delighting the listener with their textural variety exploited to the full by this fine artist. The Andante Expressivo of the sonata is certainly that – full of poetry poetry and played with great delicacy and warmth. Let us hope that this cd is indeed the first of Plowright’s Brahms series. Peter Shaw, North and South magazine.

Hybrid SACD format.

Solo | Santiago Canon Valencia (cello)

Posted in Chamber music, Instrumental with tags , , , on February 17, 2013 by orinococds

“A new cd from Atoll brings to wider attention the extraordinary talent of Santiago Canon Valencia, a young Colombian cellist who has been the star student at Waikato University School of Music since 2006. Solo, his first cd (Atoll ACD 884), is devoted to twentieth century music for solo cello by Cassado, Ginastera, Ligeti and Kodaly. The music chosen displays a rare talent possessed by an artist who is surely destined for an international career.

From a musical family, Valencia began cello studies at the age of four and made his first concerto appearance in Bogota at age six. He eventually became a pupil of James Tennant at Waikato University (his mother had earlier studied with the same teacher).

One listens to this young artist’ skill in amazement at his dexterity, beauty of tone and musicianship. beautifully recorded in the University’s Gallagher Concert Chamber … this recital will prove to be a landmark in the career of a musician of whom we will hear much more.” Peter Shaw, North and South magazine (March issue)

Link to:

Atoll website:

Debussy: String Quartet; Piano Trio | Brodsky Qt | Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (pno)

Posted in Chamber music, Instrumental with tags , , , , , on February 6, 2013 by orinococds
Debussy String Quartet | Piano Trio | Bavouzet |  CHAN10717 | 1 cd | $NZ33

Debussy String Quartet | Piano Trio | Bavouzet | Brodsky Qt | Gianandera CHAN10717 | 1 cd | $NZ33

The Brodsky Quartet celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year. Formed in 1972, the Quartet quickly emerged at the forefront of the international chamber music scene. It has performed more than 2000 concerts and made more than fifty highly acclaimed recordings. Now exclusive Chandos artists, the Brodsky players are releasing their second disc on Chandos with guest soloists Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and the harpist Sioned Williams.

The Trio for piano, violin, and cello is an early work, written before Debussy established his own very distinctive musical language heard in pieces such as La Mer. Another early piece, Rêverie, for piano, was written by the young, struggling composer at a time when he was trying to make a living in Paris. The easiest market to break into for a composer was the salon, where songs and not-too-taxing piano music were in demand. Rêverie was one of several charming and tuneful works that Debussy wrote for this scene.

In a somewhat different league, the String Quartet is considered a defining work in the history of chamber music. Sensual and impressionistic, it employs a cyclic structure that constituted a split from the rules of classical form and pointed the way forward. In the words of Pierre Boulez, Debussy freed chamber music from ‘rigid structure, frozen rhetoric, and rigid aesthetics’.

The Deux Danses, made up of the ‘Danse sacrée’ and ‘Danse profane’, complete the disc. At the end of the nineteenth century, the Parisian instrument makers Pleyel invented a ‘chromatic harp’ which dispensed with pedals and achieved the full chromatic compass from two rows of strings that slanted across one another. Debussy was approached to write two pieces intended for a final examination of the Pleyel model. ‘Danse sacrée’ makes use of Church modes, while ‘Danse profane’ is a kind of sarabande. The ‘competition’ aspect of the pieces is highlighted by the fact that, after the opening introduction, the harpist has no more than six bars’ rest. As it happened, the Pleyel model never caught on, and the works are now always performed on a pedal harp.

“… compelling account, forthright and dramatic, rather than hazily impressionistic, of the [Debussy]” Sunday Times, 1st April 2012

The Quartet tops the running order in a confident, vital, lyrical reading. Beautifully nuanced, there’s acerbic edge, gentle Gallic playfulness, aching romance and every emotional and tonal shade in-between…Cassidy’s scoring [of Reverie] is so similar to that of the quartet that the work has taken on a new identity…its new gravitas makes it a fitting bookend to the programme, a partner to the Quartet, and an unexpected delight.” Charlotte Gardner,, 18th April 2012

In the Piano Trio Bavouzet enjoys the spotlight with some memorable pearliness of tone, and here violinist Daniel Rowland is joined by cellist Jacqueline Thomas in a performance notable for its warmth and luminosity…the natural-sounding acoustic does much to enhance the listener’s experience.” International Record Review, May 2012

Altogether a satisfying and unique Debussy coupling, superbly played…What is so striking about the playing of the Brodsky Quartet throughout is their brimming love for the music, with some ravishing shading down to the most hushed pianissimos. All this is caught in wonderfully rich and transparent sound, a credit to the Chandos engineers.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2012

This is a marvellously inventive collection…There has been a tendency towards more red-blooded performances of Debussy’s String Quartet in recent years…The Brodsky Quartet partially fit that mould…Their playing is tempered, both in the Quartet and the Reverie, by a quivering texture in more hushed moments” BBC Music Magazine, June 2012 ****

The Brodsky Quartet makes its intentions clear from the first bars of Debussy’s Opus 10 String Quartet: this is by no means going to be an atmospheric echo of impressionism, but an interpretation in which every single stress and emotive extreme is going to be exploited and laid bare. The Brodsky players do plenty in terms of colour” MusicWeb International, June 2012

Mozart and Haydn Duo Sonatas – Rachel Podger and Jane Rodgers

Posted in Chamber music, Instrumental, Violin with tags , , , , on December 29, 2012 by orinococds
Mozart and Haydn Duo Sonatas | Channel Classics | NZ $33

Mozart and Haydn Duo Sonatas | Channel Classics | NZ $33

BBC Review  Graham Rogers 2012-01-25 (BBC Radio 3 website:
A warm ambience pervades this highly recommended album.

Following her excellent series of Mozart’s sonatas for violin and piano for Channel Classics, expert period-instrument violinist Rachel Podger now turns to the lesser-known duo sonatas for violin and viola. The two sonatas’ relative unfamiliarity can mainly be put down to rarity of opportunity of performance; for musical invention and sunny appeal they rival many of Mozart’s best chamber works. Podger and her violist partner Jane Rogers say they have long been favourite pieces of theirs (not least because the sonatas always ensured them double takings when busking as teenagers!) and their enthusiasm is borne out by these lively and committed performances.

Written in 1783, after Mozart had been settled in Vienna for a couple of years, the sonatas were actually the product of a return visit to his native Salzburg. His friend and fellow composer Michael Haydn (younger brother of Joseph) was still employed by the Archbishop of Salzburg, for whom he was struggling to complete a commission for six violin and viola duos. Haydn had finished four sonatas; Mozart stepped in to complete the set with two more.

Haydn’s sonatas are attractive pieces that are certainly worth hearing, but it is no great shame that Podger and Rogers include only two of them on this album: his affable but classically conformational style pales beside the extrovert originality of Mozart’s contributions. Building on the masterfully engineered relationship between solo violin and viola in his Sinfonia concertante K.364, Mozart revels in the operatic opportunities offered by – as Podger and Rogers put it, with only slightly fanciful exaggeration – “soprano diva” and “heroic tenor”. Anyone imagining that the works might lack depth, without piano or cello accompaniment, need only listen for a few minutes to be convinced by the richness and extraordinary variety of Mozart’s writing – especially in such vibrant and beguiling performances.

The splendid recording has a warm ambience without compromising clarity – but, listening on headphones at least, there is a disturbing amount of traffic noise from outside All Saints Church, East Finchley. This is a pity but, once adjusted to, doesn’t detract too much from an otherwise delightful and highly recommended album.

J S Bach: Orchestral Suites Nos. 1-4, BWV1066-1069

Posted in Baroque, Instrumental, Orchestral with tags , , , on December 2, 2012 by orinococds

JS Bach: Orchestral Suites 1-4 | Le Concert des Nations | Savall | AliaVox avsa9890 2 cd | $NZ 39

Another Bach treasury from the Astrée repertoire: a milestone in the history of Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations.

These Four Orchestral Suites are an essential addition to the recently released Brandenburg Concertos.

SACD remastering enables us to fully enjoy the hearty, colourful and cheerful performance.

As usual, the digipak is lavishly illustrated and documented, with a 180pp booklet in six languages.