Thursday, February 23, 2017

I am here, as you can see.

Hello to all. I have been listening to a lot of Martinů lately and since I haven't been on here since my last post in January, I figured I'd force myself to sign in and share just a drop of what has been helping me cope with 2017.

2016 was an extremely trying year for me (regular visitors will know this) and thus far 2017 is much worse. The day after my Takemitsu post on January 7th, I lost my job. I am still looking for work and it's been over a month. I have no savings so I am currently (shamefully) borrowing money from my family in order to at least pay my rent. 

A week after this, my mother ended up in the hospital/icu with bacterial meningitis and we almost lost her; it was a nightmare that I won't even bother to share - too many complications to mention, weeks of hell on earth, no sleep/sanity or dry tear ducts. Thankfully she is now home, finishing one of the antibiotic treatments, and although dealing with neurological issues, she's alive. This has been eerily similar to my father's near-death while vacationing in Maui last year which landed him in the icu in Maui for 17 days and in a regular hospital room for many more.

Last week my dear uncle died from diabetic-related complications. His funeral was my mother's first trip outside of the house since leaving the hospital. Selfless and gentle, he was only in his 60s.

So, I am feeling a lot of dread lately. Try as I might, I cannot put on the brakes in any sense. I will try to post when I can/feel up to it, my dear friends. At some point I'm certain that I will be back to 'regular' posting; I just can't say when. 

Your Tzadik 

Bohuslav Martinů - Sinfonietta Giocasa - Toccata e due canzoni - Jazz Suite - Claire Désert & Lidija Bizjak, Pianos - Orchestre de Picardie, Pascal Verrot - Calliope 2008

Sinfonietta Giocosa has always been one of my favorite Martinu works. The best recording imo is to be found on Chandos - I shared it perhaps a year (or more) back, no idea if the link is still active at this point however. This version is very fine, as are the performances of "Toccata.." and "Jazz Suite".



Bohuslav Martinů - Early Orchestral Works, Volume Two "The Shadow", Ballet In One Act Toccata Classics 2016

I think I have already posted Volume 1 in this series but then again I'm not certain. Anyhow here's Volume 2 dedicated to the early ballet "The Shadow".


Martinů-The_Shadow-Ballet_in_1_act-Tzadik .zip

Bohuslav Martinů - Cello Concertos - Concertino for Cello, Wind Instruments, Piano and Percussion - Raphael Wallfisch, Cello - Czech PO, Jirí Bēlohlávek Chandos 1992/2009

I have the original Chandos recording from 1992 but as I cannot locate my original this is my father's newer Chandos "classics" (same great recording remastered) version of the disc.



Saturday, January 7, 2017

Toru Takemitsu - Rain Coming for Chamber Orchestra Archipelago S for 21 players - Fantasma/Cantos II for Trombone & Orchestra - Requiem for Strings - How Slow the Wind for Orchestra - Tree Line for Chamber Orchestra - BIS 2000

This BIS recording of Takemitsu orchestral works is one of my absolute favorites and it's on par with the must-have Denon recordings. The other Takemitsu discs on BIS are also splendid. Plenteous riches!!

I'm sticking with 'lazy' for now so here's a review from CT:

It is rare to find a disc as creatively programmed as this BIS release. Enhanced by lovely performances, played with great devotion to the memory of the recently-deceased Japanese master, the repertoire was chosen by conductor Tadaaki Otaka and producer Robert Suff, who organized it not only in the most effective succesion, but in a manner that illustrates the works' individual meaning and illuminates Takemitsu's career.

All but one of the compositions are from Takemitsu's late period. The other, the Requiem for Strings, is one of the earliest works to win him fame. Fantasma/Cantos II, for trombone and orchestra, is among the last Takemitsu compositions. Both it and the Requiem provide considerably more forward harmonic motion than the other four works, which are in Takemitsu's typical "Japanese garden" meditative style, a kind of revival of French impressionism using harmonies that are more like Messiaen's than Debussy's.

Christian Lindberg is well known to fans of the BIS label as one of the greatest masters of the trombone, seemingly undaunted by any challenge. He also is a musician of wide interests who has recorded all sorts of music for that instrument. Although his part in Fantasma/Cantos II no doubt is quite difficult, it is not written to make a virtuoso effect, and Lindberg shows that the loudest instrument in the orchestra is capable of unexpectedly subtle, gentle singing. And when Takemitsu permits loud sounds, Lindberg stays within the composer's undemonstrative aesthetic.

The nearest conducting competitor Otaka has in this music is Oliver Knussen, who has recorded four of these pieces for Virgin Classics and Deutsche Grammophon. Otaka gets the nod by banishing (except in Requiem, where it belongs) the hard-edged modernist feeling that slightly impairs Knussen's accounts.

The Kioi Sinfonietta of Tokyo is a select group of top-flight Japanese orchestral players plus some of their most talented younger counterparts. In this age where "training orchestras" frequently are first-rate ensembles, the Kioi sounds like an experienced group of long-term pros. Woodwind soloists beautifully play the short melody fragments that are so common in the descriptive pieces, and the whole ensemble seems to float effortlessly into Takemitsu's trademark meditative mood. The most lovely piece is How slow the wind, which has a gorgeous six-note melody. Tree Line, a more austere and static piece depicting a row of acacia trees near Takemitsu's studio, is impressively dark and mysterious.

The sound is absolutely clear. The disc is an SACD hybrid comprising two stereo music programs (one a standard CD, the other DSD) but no surround-sound, which would have been particularly desirable for the spatially conceived Archipelago S. Overall the SACD offers a substantially more natural sound than the standard CD layer.

In his own field Takemitsu was as important an artist as Kurosawa was in Japanese cinema. This disc is an excellent demonstration of the reason why, and is highly recommended to those who already understand this, but especially to those who have not yet realized it.
--Joseph Stevenson,

Enjoy everyone!

Toru Takemitsu - "Between Tides & Other Chamber Music" - Fujita Piano Trio - ASV 2001

I have been listening to (or I could say that it's been a necessary ingredient for living lately) a lot of Takemitsu, so, here are a couple of Takemitsu uploads for everyone to enjoy and bathe in. This disc opens with some rather early pieces and moves right on to works penned towards the end of his life.

No time for babble today, I present you with the music alone ;)


Making a request on my own blog 😁

Ok really I never do this - but I cannot find any of my recordings of the Schubert Sonatinas - I love them - if you can help - I will love you too

I would joyously flip my wig and then do a happy dance if anyone has this recording in particular:

If not, I will simply carry on with the perfect-pitched humming..