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Birgit Nilsson, famous upper register. 7th generation Swedish farming stock, the first non- Italian to open the season at La Scala in Milan. Side A Beethoven. B3 from Don Giovanni is a shorter tune. Every track hits the high notes.
Tommaso Albinoni, self described dilettante, scion of paper-mill wealth, Venetian contemporary of Vivaldi. Known mostly in his time as a composer of operas. None were published so what is known of him are instrumental Sonatas and Sinfonias. Sounds like a car or diamond ring commercial, sounds like Vivaldi, sounds like Classical. B2 is notable for its lack of counterpoint, prefiguring the symphony
Heifetz, Friedman, Smith – “Beethoven “Kreutzer” Sonata, Bach Concerto For Two Violins” – [RCA Victor/ BMG]
Violin virtuoso Sascha Heifetz. Accompanied by his student Eric Friedman and Brooks Smith at the piano. Side A & B1 are Beethoven. Bach Concertos add symphony orchestra.
This album features Bernard Brauchli playing clavichord compositions written in the 1500′s and early 1600′s. He performs on a period instrument – the Tosi Clavichord – which was built in 1568. Doing this review, I learned that clavichords of this era use fretting – more than one note shares a string. This saves space, but means that some note combinations are impossible.
These tunes are readily identifiable as coming from the Renaissance, but the sound of the clavichord is interesting – sounding guitar-like at times, with a bit of twang. Fun to compare to modern electronics in a way.
3-LP set from the 1970′s covers a fine selection of late Medieval secular music. Brilliantly played on period instruments, most tracks have vocals but some are only instrumental. Dissonant, odd harmonies to our 21st-century ears – this music links love to war, features “courtly” idealized love. Liner notes have lots of good background and academic information.
PGM: A sackbutt was an early trombone.
This old LP has very nicely recorded orchestral works from three 20th Century composers from Japan. Akira Miyoshi was born in 1933 and studied in the 1950′s in Paris, before returning to Japan. Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996) had many influences such as John Cage and musique concrete; he composed many film scores including Akira Kurosawa’s Ran. Toshiro Mayuzumi (1929- 1997) also studied in Paris and also wrote many film scores. Very original, often delicate, very listenable, western music with Japanese inflections.Might sound cinematic, but which came first?
PGM: LP is monaural.
This 1969 album came one year after the artistic and commercial success of Carlos’ record “Switched-On Bach”. All tracks are performed from the music as written using a variety of electronic voices to good effect for the polyphonic sound. Back then, Carlos had to stretch the capabilities of the Moog synthesizer by using an Ampex tape recorder and doing many takes and overdubs.The fluidity in the resulting tracks is even more impressive because this was not a case of just sitting down at a keyboard and playing. It required many hours of exacting labor to achieve the effect.
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