Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Alan Hovhaness - Khaldis, Concerto for Piano, Four Trumpets and Percussion - Mount Katahdin, Sonata for Piano - Fantasy - Martin Berkofsky and Alan Hovhaness, Pianos - Crystal Records 2000

Hello everyone, I wish I could post more right now but it's been and still is a very busy time for me. But I wanted to give everyone a (imo) great and certainly unusual Hovhaness post before I leave for work. Some of Hovhaness's most intriguing and unorthodox works call for smaller forces, including chamber ensembles and atypical instrumental combinations. "Khaldis" Op. 91 is a good example.  

Scored for Piano, Four Trumpets and Percussion, Hovhaness considers it to be a concerto. I find it to be an exciting piece, and hope you do too. Then we have one of AH's Piano Sonatas, "Mount Katahdin" Op. 405 (!) here played by the skillful and seasoned Hovhaness specialist Martin Berkofsky. Lastly, we have Hovhaness himself playing his early "Fantasy" Op. 16 for Piano. It's always a pleasure to hear Hovhaness play or conduct his own music. Happily Crystal Record's Hovhaness catalog boasts several such recordings; usually (but not exclusively) taken from the initial Poseidon Society recordings (AH's own label during the 60's and 70's). The Sound quality on "Fantasy" is very good although not great. A wonderful and important document for any Hovhaness lover. 

The original album cover displaying an ancient Armenian ruin, from the Poseidon LP.

*I will add background information on each work (including Hovhaness's/Berkofsky's booklet
notes late tonight if I'm not too run down. Otherwise I shall do so on Thursday.

Tracklist: ("Khaldis" is incorrectly titled "Khandis", iTunes filename screwing I by one
letter..not exactly a problem, just a fyi!)

Khaldis, Concerto for Piano, Four Trumpets and Percussion (18:58)

1)Overture (3:31)
2)Transmutation (2:32)
3)Three Tones (1:07)
4)Bhajana (Adoration) (3:33)
5)Jhala with Drum (2:45)
6)Processional (3:12)
7)Finale (1:55)

Mount Katahdin, Sonata for Piano (13:16)

8)Solenne (7:39)
9)Lullaby (1:47)
10)Jhala on Larch Trees - Allegro (1:23)
11)Maestoso tragico (2:18)

Fantasy, Op. 16 (19:14) *Alan Hovhaness, Piano

12)Allegro giusto 





Anonymous said...

Una grabación única,inédita,super,gracias Tzadik,¿cuando se grabará the last Symphony of Hovhaness,no.67?¿acaso nunca podremos escuchar la 67,mein Gott?¿habrá alguna versión en vivo,en cd o nunca se interpretó?Is very important THE LAST Symphony a record!!!!!!!! Tapirman

brujo said...

Thanks Tzadik (are you really a Tzadik? haha) I have a lot of Hovhaness on disc but turntable blew up years ago. I love the way he write for trumpets.

theblueamos said...

Hi TZ, this imo is a truely wonderful cd.I listened to it repeatedly all day. these four trumpets are a dreame.Hope your situation improves and continues like the wonderful music you post.Looking foward for the background information.All the very best from jerusalem.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for introducing me to an amazing composer. This is an amazing aural treat.

This is my new favourite blog.



sneffels said...

I often wonder why Hovhaness doesn't get played very much, when his music is so gorgeous and fascinating.

This is wonderful, especially the piano concerto! Thank you!

We haven't heard anything from you for a while -- I hope all's well with you!

Anonymous said...

At first, I was so happy discovering this blog. So many wonderful music and almost impossible to find somewhere else, Weinberg and Gorecki and many others. But then I've discovered it was only in lossy format. No flac, no ape, no anything. So all that remained to do was to delete all the files and now I'm very sad. :(
Anyway, I appreciate your good intentions. Some people seems to be happy with this losyy format. Maybe one day this blog will be useful for me too. One can only hope.

Johannes R. Becher said...

Lossless bigots get funnier and funnier every day.

Anonymous said...

Dear Johannes, just because you can't hear the difference it doesn't mean it doesn't exists. Some of us have better ears and CAN tell you there's a huge difference between the shitty sound of lossy format and the lossless one. I feel sorry for you. But maybe it's not just your bad ears, maybe you don't have proper audio equipment too. Maybe you should upgrade it.
Anyway, you shouldn't talk if you don't know what you're talking about. It's not smart, it's stupid.

Johannes R. Becher said...

The strict moral principles I stick to forbid my engaging into discussions with morons, so I'm afraid the only sensible answer to the n-th tight-fisted, mentally-retarded-on-purpose lossless zealot's bragging about his alleged ability to distinguish what can't be distinguished I'm able to come up with is: XDDDDDDDDDD

Anonymous said...

So what you're saying is if just because you can't hear a difference nobody else can? Man, you must be really stupid! Unbelievable! You call others morons, but you should look in the mirror.
If you would suffer from color blindness, you would argue that red and green are the same color. And you would be stupid in the same way you are now. Millions of people are suffering from red-green color blindness, you know?
I'm out of here. It's a polluted place. Definitely not what I imagined when I first entered.

sneffels said...

Lossy vs. Lossless:

Enough name-calling, folks.

I once conducted a true double-blind comparison of original CD files and 320k MP3 copies. Listeners did no better than chance in distinguishing them; this included audiophiles and musicians.

Mr Anonymous: if you think you can do better than chance, I'd be happy to upload the files again and see how you do; but ONLY if you promise to acknowledge the fact if you cannot reliably distinguish original WAV from MP3.

(That said, honestly, I would prefer lossless too, because if I need to edit them (as often happens), there is no loss of quality.)

But to deliberately cut off oneself from a vast range of interesting music because one believes it's not quite flawless -- how pathetically thin, pale, and shallow life must be without Furtwangler, Casals, Flagstad, Beecham, Schnabel, the Beethoven quartet, Melchior, Cortot, Mengelberg....

And many, many thanks to Tzadik for all the hard work he puts into sharing this wonderful music with us.

Tzadik said...

Estoy totalmente de acuerdo con usted Dr. T. Yo ni siquiera sé si la 67 Sinfonía incluso se ha realizado! Estoy seguro, ya que es su última sinfonía "adecuado" (habría unos 75 en total, sin embargo algunos de ellos Hovhaness descartada o son "escondidos" por así decirlo. Sólo podemos esperar y esperar !! Saludos

Tzadik said...

Hiya t.b.a., nice to hear from you. Hovhaness loved brass and the trumpet in particular, I believe he felt it had a real 'celestial' quality, cherubs and all. Thus he wrote for brass magnificently. I really love this disc. Happy you do too :) TZ

Tzadik said...

Hello there Jeep, welcome and thanks for commenting! I have to say, discovering Hovhaness for the first time can be quite an experience. For me, it was an extremely profound and moving one...cannot put it into words really. Check out the other Hovhaness I have posted, there's a treasure trove here for ya ;) TZ

Tzadik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tzadik said...

Hey Sneffels, i have to say it blows my mind also, i am puzzled as to why AH's music isn't programmed on concerts all the time. I once had to drive all the way to Pennsylvania just to hear 5 minutes of Hovhaness at a concert that otherwise had Dvorak and Mozart. I love Dvorak but surely would never drive hours just to hear any!! The same is true on the radio. Even on N.Y. radio one is lucky to hear Hovhaness perhaps 1 or 2 times a month. TZ

Tzadik said...

Hi there brujo. Well, yes I do consider myself to be a Tzadik ;-) I have studied Jewish mysticism over the years, have read the Zohar, learned Gematria, and so on and so on...thus the inspiration for my "name". I find myself to be (at least somewhat) wise, some wisdom over here, a bit of transcendence over there ;)


Tzadik said...

Anon, you have every right to feel the 'need' to only listen to "lossless". That said, such rigidity means that you will miss out on a ton of music, on my blog or countless others. Quite ironically--this post IS lossless. Much of the music I have posted lately is in apple lossless format, still m4a. I don't deal w flac or ape unless I get it from someone else, to add to my own library. The "good intentions" line is silly. This is my 'home'. My blog is here to make people happy, and that's what it does. Anyhow, no need to talk about deleting files and so on...that is not relevant to anything. -I will say this-imagine how "sad" you would be had you lived say during Haydn's'd be lucky to hear his music played at all, unless you had it in w. the kapellmeister and had an invite to go to the court. Life is hard.

Tzadik said...

Johannes I agree with you. The main thing that really bothers me about such lossy "complaints" is the bizarre sense of entitlement that seems to be a prerequisite to for this sort of wannabe audiophile. In place of gratitude comes the ignorance-driven complaint. In any event lol-some people are hard to fathom. I certainly won't bother getting into all the technical details of encoding and audio containers w any such person-I like to keep my mop clean

Tzadik said...

Sneffels you are correct sir, and really the differences are important perhaps if one is bothering with $5,000 speakers.....for their computer. The thing to do is, buy ultra-premium audio components, bespoke speakers, build an acoustic cathedral or 'listening room' in one's house, temp. controlled helps- and there's certainly a specialty market out there for this-oh and make sure to own cds and especially lps. And have some spare change :D

Tzadik said...

I am going to leave the flame comments above from "anon" as a reminder of what this blog is NOT about and how NOT to communicate on here. I like to think that this is the friendliest blog of it's kind, and my hope is that more people will comment on the music and what they think about it-I would be happy if the blog took on a 'forum' type of feel as well; that's my style and relating to other humans is important-especially when it's about something that is loved by all! This can be a rare thing in life, particularly within the specialist's realm of classical/concert/etc. music! All the best to everyone, your TZ

Anonymous said...

Broken links... :(