Saturday, July 25, 2015

Paul Ben-Haim: Chamber Works - Clarinet Quintet - Two Landscapes - Canzonetta - Improvisation & Dance - Piano Quartet - ARC Ensemble - Chandos Records 2013

Here we have a superb survey of Ben-Haim's chamber music played by the flawless ARC Ensemble
of Canada and recorded with Chandos sound-it doesn't get much better than this :)

The Piano Quartet, composed in 1921 by the young Paul Frankenburger (birth name) while still in Munich, is in a sense the next piano quartet Brahms would have written had he lived another 24 years. Everything about the piece-the gestural language, the melodic material, the thematic development, and the piano patterns and figurations-evokes the spirit of Brahms, except for one thing. The harmonic context, with its somewhat more liberal application of dissonance, parallelism, and freer approach to progression, suggests that Ben-Haim had received some exposure to Faure, Debussy, Ravel, and, according to the note, Richard Strauss and Max Reger. Nonetheless, for all its youthful susceptibility to the musical influences that would have been part of Frankenburger's German world, his Piano Quartet is a masterful and powerful work, at times turbulent and tragic, and at other times meltingly poignant. In three large movements, it's a big, late romantic work of nearly 30 minutes' duration. The performance is nothing short of magnificent. Written when Ben-Haim was just 24 years old,  this early work really should be in the standard piano quartet repertoire. 



By the time Ben-Haim came to compose the Two Landscapes for viola and piano, respectively titled "The Hills of Judea" and "The Spring", in 1939, he'd been living in Israel for six years, and his style had already radically changed as a result of adapting to his surroundings and embracing his Jewish culture. We now hear in these two short musical sketches the familiar sounds of nomads in the desert and the exoticisms we tend to associate with the Hebraic melos. 

The "Improvisation and Dance" was also composed in 1939. The Improvisation movement, marked Molto rubato, is free-flowing and sorrowful in feeling, evoking perhaps a camel caravan wending its way across the desert dunes. The Dance movement, is an animated, spirited, strongly accented rhythmic piece that sounds like a bunch of riled-up Klezmorim going after a marauding mob of Bartok's Rumanian peasants. 


In 1944, Ben-Haim composed a set of five piano miniatures, published as "Five Pieces for Piano", Op. 34. Here we get but one of the pieces from the group, No. 4, titled "Canzonetta". The style Ben-Haim adopts for these pieces is best characterized as Impressionistic. 

Originally written in 1941, the Clarinet Quintet was revised in 1965, and Ben-Haim rescored its last movement, a set of variations, for clarinet, harp, and string orchestra, assigning it the same opus number, but with a "b" appended. Like the Piano Quintet that opens the disc, the Clarinet Quintet is a large three-movement work lasting over 27 minutes, but unlike the much earlier Quartet, the Quintet is in a dissonant, occasionally (almost) atonal language that's more difficult to penetrate in just one or two hearings. But the score's romantic impulses do break through to the surface now and then, reminding us once again of Ben-Haim's musical roots. 

Enjoy!

Ben-Haim_Chamber_Music(ARC Ensemble)-Tzadik.zip

http://www12.zippyshare.com/v/iVWg8ZKU/file.html

28 comments:

theblueamos said...

Thank you from Jerusalem,enjoying this beautiful cover picture of Early Tel- Aviv

Tzadik said...

Hey Blue! I figured the cover photo was Tel-Aviv, although whether or not the booklet mentions it I haven't noticed. -I am currently listening to a rather obscure Israeli composer named Aharon Harlap, the work is his Symphony No. 2 (The Bird of War). Ever hear of him? The record label is called "Music In Israel", which if still around is located in Tel-Aviv. I will likely post it soon :)

-TZ

Anonymous said...

Just came across your WONDERFUL blog and feel like a child in a candy shop. Your selection is outstanding! Thank you for your incredible and rare shares....!!
Jan

Toon van Dijk said...

I also feel like a child in a candy shop. I take everything I think is interesting and I can't stop downloading.
Many thanks and regards from The Netherlands.
Veel groeten en dank uit Nederland.

Johannes R. Becher said...

Glad to see you finally found this one. It's the short pieces that I like the most. The Piano Quartet starts nicely but it soon becomes TOUGH. And certainly fairly long (it clocks in at about thirty minutes).

The cover is very nice indeed, with those just ditched trees enclosed in armour and the typical mediterranean façades (well, the curved corners resembling a ship's deck are not that common).

Greetings!

Scraps said...

I, too, am like a child etc. (Picture of a animated candy shop owner, harassed as hordes of sweet stuff aficionados, adults and children alike, keep pouring in to try everything with delight.) I am falling behind, behind, behind, as I try this and that; worse, I don't spurn any genre: for instance, you couldn't believe the breadth and scope of jazz on the internet. If I were nervous, I'd be a wreck.

Mr Ripley said...

My Norton Anti-virus has blocked both this and the Ivan Erod as possibly containing viruses or spyware. I have never had any problems before downloading from your site. Can you check the files please?

Marcelo Lasta said...

Super cd,otro magno aporte a tu blog,un abrazo de ballena franca austral(right whale),gracias Tzadik,¿acaso Oberturas maravillosas de Von Suppé en chandos x Jarvi? gracias,Tapirman.

Anonymous said...

My Avira anti-virus also blocked this file when the download was almost complete. Otherwise, I'v never had an issue from your terrific site.

Tzadik said...

Hi there Jan, I'm pleased to hear that you feel like the child who has endless barrels and bins of candy to explore and sample; I know the feeling well-it's both overwhelming & exciting :) Thank you for your kind words and welcome! -How did you stumble across my lil haunt? I'm always curious..

Regards,

TZ

Tzadik said...

Halo Toon, thanks as always for commenting; I'm happy to hear that you too fell like a 'kid in a candy shop', that is quite validating for me, and it makes it all worth it for me :) -I wish all of my beloved cd/record shops still existed....talk about being a kid amongst sweets!!! That was one my favorite things in the world, spending (too many!) hours, lost in excitement and pure joy with countless recordings to browse through; it was also therapeutic and calming, an added bonus.. Memories...

Best,

TZ

Tzadik said...

Johannes, it's nice to hear from you friend, been a while!

Yes, I was pleased to locate the disc! I have been wanting to play it again for months now. It's a great recording on every level. My favorite piece is the Clarinet Quintet-guessing it's your least favorite? The early Quartet is pretty masterful coming from the pen of a 24 year old, although in some sections it fails to excite for me. The shorter pieces I find delightful. The picture of Tel-Aviv is nice and perfect here. Funny, the curved corners of the buildings remind me of areas in Florida (like Palm Beach) that have many a buildings like this (many also feature colors like peach, pink, light blue and so on-with much white and stone trim-this was the center of "art-deco" in the early days...) I can imagine pulling up curbside in my 1944 Packard long wheelbase, with my fancy broad by my side ;)

TZ

Tzadik said...

Oops Toon I meant "Feel" not "Fall"...if you fell over the candy that would be a dangerous problem-especially if we are talking 'rock candy' :-O

Tzadik said...

-To those whom I haven't replied to, I shall do so later, I'm in a rush!

**I checked the file for any viruses or spyware (unlikely as I'm on a Mac) using Sophos and there's
no problems detected on my end. I hope that helps...

TZ

Tzadik said...

Also I will add that I import each disc directly to iTunes, and then simply compress the files as a zip and upload...I hope zippy share isn't causing an issue for anyone

TZ

Anonymous said...

Hi Tzadik
I found you through google, searching for Papandopulo's Piano Concerto.
For my personal taste the genre Piano Concerto is the crown of music and Ginastera's 1st and Saygun's 1st made me very hungry to make similar discoveries for modern piano concertos which leave a lasting impression....Thanks again for filling this niche!!!
Jan

Scraps said...

(Zippy lately has been causing problems for many people, the same way it's causing people problems here: apparently detecting false positives. In fact, I had the same problems here about a month ago. When I looked up discussions on the internet, the People Who Knew said it was zippy's fault. Now, I was reassured, but I'm not a expert at all. I'm just reporting.)

Scraps said...

(Also: makes me sad, that zippy is causing problems. It's my favorite service, one that I use. I hope they get it cleaned up.)

Anonymous said...

With so many laudatory comments, I am going to download this share as well. I have not checked your blog for a couple of days, and now I am like that kid in that candy store as well...:))) Thanks!

Piterets

theblueamos said...

This lovely picture is of Dizengof street ,Tel Aviv. The building style is refered as Bauhaus.It doesn't look anything like it today.It's a main,past it's prime,shopping street, named after tel aviv's mayor.The music has aged as well.To me its romantic,in retrospect. I have heard of of Aarron Charlap,more as a conducter (of Choir).I'm not shureI know any of his musuc.I do have some of his music In vinyl.I think It was a Bassoon concert.

Johannes R. Becher said...

Thanks a lot for this info Blue Amos. I've been walking there with google street view and there are quite a few buildings in a similar style, although I've been unable to find this one. A very nice boulevard, quite mediterranian to me.

Tzadik said...

Hiya Scraps, good to hear from you; I'm thrilled to hear that you also feel like the child browsing through all kinds of sweets ;) As far as Jazz blogs go-I wish I had more time to look around; I do have a nice sized collection myself, but it's small compared to many others I'm sure-there's so much out there indeed. I have been quite excited by dozens of ECM discs lately that are Jazz/Experimental or even Jazz-meets-chamber music, or Ambient, etc..

Zippyshare...I hope it's ok now, it is the best file host site I have ever known.

Best,

TZ

Tzadik said...

Hola doctor T! Es bueno saber que te gusta el Ben-Haim. Yo creo que tengo el algún lugar Von Suppe, ya sea el disco o en una de mis de HD ... Voy a buscarlo después de que el fin de semana (de irse w. La familia durante 2 días). Espero que tengan un maravilloso fin de semana de mi querido amigo.

su TZ

Tzadik said...

Hey Jan, thanks for getting back about how you found me. Yes, that's a great disc, the Papandopulo-you must have been excited to have found it! The Ginastera and Saygun also are great choices :) -So which concerto is your all-time fav, if you have one?

TZ

Tzadik said...

Piterets I hope you enjoy. -Are you a Fan of Jon Hassell? Been listening to his "Last Night the Moon Came Dropping it's Clothes in the Street" and what a knock-out album!! I have a few of his early discs but never played them much..yet.

TZ

Tzadik said...

Hiya Blue. Yes, Bauhaus...I like the architectural style (often) and also the early 'gothic' band of the same name...grew up w. much music like that!
Thanks for the additional info my friend!

TZ

Marcelo Lasta said...

Buen Weekend,Tzadik,gracias,abrazo de Tapirman!!

Tzadik said...

Hello Dear Marcello, good weekend to you too my friend, although let us fast-forward by 7 days due to my
absence during the week :)

TZ