Friday, August 31, 2012
"Carl Nielsen: Symphonies no. 2 & 5" (CD)
Being personally most familiar with his "Inextinguishable" 4th symphony, I am really enjoying this recording of the 2nd symphony.
Based on the ancient psychological philosophy of the four temperaments, (which is the symphony's subtitle, interestingly enough) each movement explores the idea of the different personality trait.
Filled with just enough 20th century tonality to keep it compelling yet with enough traditional form and harmony to remind you of everything that had become before.
The 5th Symphony has no subtitle or programmatic leanings. It was written nearly 20 years after the 2nd symphony, and unlike the 2nd, the 5th is divided into two large, sweeping movements that seem to share less with the traditions of before.
Posted by T. at 10:45 AM
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Imagine "Now! That's What I Call Music!" in the early 1960's and you have a guess at what Guest Star Records was shooting for.
Side A is Trini Lopez doing his early rock 'n roll thing (ala Elvis) and side B is the instrumental Exotic Guitars doing theirs (ala Ventures.)
The record is not well made. Neither is the recording. It is a budget record.
And I'm fairly convinced the record can't keep a constant pitch center. I don't think I want to/can blame that on my 1950's record player...
Posted by T. at 5:43 PM
"In Concert, 1966" (Vinyl)
Horowitz, regarded as one of the pre-eminent pianists of the 20th century, presented a series of recitals at Carnegie Hall in 1966. Over the course of these three recitals these live recordings were selected for this double-LP release.
I'm not sure when the "formula" for a traditional piano program was born, but its already ensconced on these records; each recital featured Baroque, Classical, Modern and Masterworks, almost exactly in that order. The culture is a bit different amongst pianists; there's an unwillingness (and perhaps a lack of necessity) to adapt programs even today outside of this mold that samples from each important era of composition.
These recordings are beautifully done and one can sit back and enjoy the mastery of Horowitz as a mature, seasoned musician at the height of his power.
Monday, August 27, 2012
"Beethoven: Symphony no. 7" (Vinyl)
One of the six-eyes found in the thrift store trove a couple weeks ago, this is a beautifully preserved copy of a now-nearly complete Walter Beethoven cycle.
I'm currently on a phone call so I'm unable to listen too closely to the recording, but what I'm constantly struck by is the quality of these recordings.
Having grown up in an iPod-toting mp3 culture of near constant musical inundation, the concept of sitting down with a recording to listen through an entire side of a vinyl record represents a culture shock of sorts.
But when I do I'm rewarded with some of the most beautiful, warm and realistic sounding recordings of classical literature I've ever heard. This "golden era" of recording (which I would estimate spans from the mid-50's through the entire 60's) was a fleeting moment when recording technology and techniques yielded amazing results and before rock n' roll, digital recording and cheaper production methods made the concern for a pristine recording secondary.
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Monday, August 20, 2012
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Saturday, August 18, 2012
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Thursday, August 16, 2012
Posted by T. at 12:29 PM
Okay, yes, it's been two months, but I've made three cross-country trips and moved to a new apartment in that time. Cut me a little slack! I found a small stack of Columbia six-eye records at the thrift store yesterday. It seemed the perfect opportunity to jump back into it...
Posted by T. at 12:08 PM