Latest additions and reviews

15 February 2018

No new from Amazon this morning. I’d better write back.

I created the entry for Munch’s Honegger Second Symphony with Orchestre de Paris, one of his last recordings, from December 1967. Didn’t actually leave a review – I saw that my notes were too sketchy, and I need to listen again, but the review is really scattered all over the other ones, each time I make a comparative reference to Munch. Nonetheless, it was a huge amount of work, locating and listing and finding suitable cover images for all the different editions including those from Japan. In the process I found a great resource for online photos of Japanese editions, which sent me back for additions to my reviews of Munch’s other Honegger recordings and Karajan’s.

14 February 2018

Morning

Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 7:47 AM
Subject: A message from Communities

Hello Discophage,

Thank you for writing in.

I have reviewed your profile and found active reviews appearing between April 2009 and August 2016. Here is a link to your Profile:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/amzn1.account.AGAFM74L2RIJ5O36NNYH4Z5ISQNQ

We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the buttons below to vote about your experience today.

Best regards,

Zelda.

Amazon.com

 

Now, of course, I click on the link, which takes me to My Profile, and I see ABSOLUTELY NO CHANGE from yesterday, eg all my reviews between April 29 2009 and August 18 2016 DO NOT show up on My Profile:

 

Inept, incompetent Amazon asses. I wrote back.

 

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And the Amazon nightmare continues. Minutes later (hey, that was quick!), I receive an answer:

Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 11:15 AM
Subject: RE:[CASE 4875863951] Issues with a website feature

Dear Seller,

Greetings from Amazon Seller Support,

Unfortunately, I was not able to find a selling account (reichenbachedouard@gmail.com) connected to the email address you sent your message from.

For account confidentiality reasons, we do not release account information to email addresses other than the one associated with your Amazon.com selling account.

Please re-send your message using the email address associated with your selling account.

If you no longer use that email, please update the email address on file for your account.

As a security precaution, we ask sellers to change their email addresses directly on our website. This ensures that the user requesting the change knows the current login credentials for the existing seller account. This prevents any unwelcomed changes.

To change your email address:

1. Log in to Seller Central
2. In the **Settings** section, select **Login Settings**
3. On the **Login Settings** page, in the **Password Settings** section, click **Change**.
4. On the **Password Settings** page, enter both your **Old password** and your **New password**
5. Click **Submit**

Thank you for your understanding of our account security precautions.

I hope that the above information helps you. However, If you need any further assistance, feel free and get back to us and be assured that we will be more than happy to assist you again.

Have a lovely day ahead!

Please let us know how we did.

Were you satisfied with the support provided?

 

Resounding NO. The support provided was TERRIBLE! In fact, I see that it’s partly my fault – sort of. I’ve already been subjected to this kind of shit by Amazon – many times. Some time ago, in another one of their customary moves to the worse, they changed the way Help requests were directed to them, and if you picked just about anything other than “Customer reviews” or “Customer discussions”, the requests went to Seller support rather than Customer support. And from there, they’d always send you the generic response, “we can’t find a seller account associated to this e-mail adress”. OF COURSE YOU ASSES, since I’m sending the request NOT in my quality of seller, but as a CUS-TO-MER.

And now things are even worse, because in yet another, and recent, change to even worse, they’ve suppressed all links to “Customer reviews” and/or “Customer discussions” (and of course, they have suppressed the Customer discussion boards altogether). So now, when I try to contact them for problems with Customer reviews or Customer profile, I more or less go on a limb, choosing “Give Amazon Feedback” or “Website features”, and, knowing what’s coming, I am very careful to say explicitly, and in capsize: “This request is sent as CUSTOMER, issue with CUSTOMER reviews, associated with email xxxx@xxxx.xxx, NOT AS SELLER“.

I had in my original request, and I thought I had in my reply to their first answer – but I see now that I had omitted to do so, thinking that, as it was a follow-up on previous exchanges, they’d relate it to those. Fatal mistake: NEVER give credit to the intelligence, competence and care of the bottom-tier who manage Amazon’s daily exchanges with you – and then you can only be happily surprised.

Well – I replied back. To think that they’d style themselves “Earth’s most customer-centric company“!!!! And “Donald Trump, most truthful man in the history of mankind“, I suppose…

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And with all that, I was able to repost my two reviews of Gennadi Rozhdestvensky‘s Honegger (recorded in 1985-86), Symphony No. 2 (with the Suite from Phèdre and three excerpts from the music for Abel Gance’s Napoleon) on Olympia OCD 212 / Melodiya MCD 212 (1988), and Symphonies Nos. 1 & 5 on Melodiya MCD 154 (1990) (I have found no trace of an Olympia counterpart for the latter). VERY idiosyncratic readings, marked by VERY slow tempos, but any sense of sluggishness is offset by the extraordinary bite of the Soviet players, abetted by the stupendous Melodiya sonics, which place you in the middle of the orchestra (and, in symphonies 1 & 5, nearer to the back and brass). For that reason, certainly not first choices, but certainly CDs that belong to the collection of the serious Honeggerite.

13 February 2018

Transferred from Amazon my reviews of two essential Honegger CDs, Neeme Järvi’s Symphonies Nos. 3 & 5 + Pacific 231 on Chandos 9176 (1993) and Mariss Jansons’ Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3 + Pacific 231 on EMI (1994). Both are among the best Liturgiques (others being those of Baudo, Mravinsky, and Karajan, with Plasson and Fournet also excellent versions), both following the furious model of Baudo and Mravinsky rather than the more expansive and grandiose one of Karajan. Jansons’ is even the fastest Finale ever recorded, and there’s a serendipitous irony that, in the very same month (December 1993), Jean Fournet would have recorded the slowest one ever! Jansons’ Second Symphony is excellent, though not quite on a par with the very best ones (all those of Munch belong there, with Baudo’s and Karajan’s). But I would venture to say, however reluctant I am to make such pronouncements, that Järvi’s 5th is the best ever – and, yes, I’ve heard almost all of them. Both Pacifics are excellent also, Järvi’s a touch better even than Jansons’ because of his great sonics – but none are quite equal to Bernstein’s.

Going to My Profile on Amazon because I was trying to locate my review of Denzler’s Liturgique on LP. The entry itself for the LP has been suppressed, but last time I looked (which was a long time ago), the review was still among my list of reviews, living some ghostly existence somewhere in the Amazon “system”.

But there, very bad surprise: all my reviews between April 29, 2009 and August 18, 2016 – gone. The reviews just jump from the one posted on April 29, 2009 and the one posted more than seven years later:

What a fright! (more a surge of grim rage, rather). That would be more than 1,000 reviews – gone. Sure, I keep copies on my computer – not always the final version, though, rather the final draft, which I then always marginally modify when I post the review. But it’s really the fact that I don’t keep track of what I posted in which chronological order.

But, after the first moment of startlement, I think it must be a glitch with the Profile. The reviews are still online, on their respective product pages, since I’m transferring all those Honegger reviews from 2013 and am finding them directly on the CDs’ entries, not going through My Profile. Well, I wrote to report the glitch (hoping it is indeed a glitch) and asking for a fix.

But it reminds me (if ever I had forgotten) that Amazon cannot be trusted for a second, and that I need to transfer these 2,500 reviews before they really delete them all.

12 February 2018

Yesterday and today, posted (not reposts from Amazon, but reviews written back in 2013 and pending):

Mravinsky‘s extraordinary Symphony Liturgique recorded live in 1965 with its many CD editions

Ansermet’s complete stereo Honegger, Arthur Honegger: Symphonies Nos. 2-4, Pacific 231, Le Roi David, Une Cantate de Noël. Frank Martin: In Terra Pax. Ernest Ansermet, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. 3 CDs Eloquence 480 2316 (2012)

Locating all (I hope) the CD reissues, including those from Japan (sleuth work!); finding suitable front and back cover scans or photos (back covers are sometimes hard to find, but that’s where the essential information is located); linking all the references to other versions, inserting photos… Lots of work!

10 February 2018

I’ve added Michel Plasson‘s recording of the complete symphonies of Honegger.

I’ve also added an addendum to my review of Baudo’s complete cycle. I had been puzzled ever since reviewing it back in 2013 of the sonic problems with the transfers of both the Western and Japanese reissues – especially since they were the inverted image of each other: in the Western set, the sonics were great, but incomprehensibly the transfer of the First Symphony was problematic, hollow and metallic, while those problems did not affect the 4th symphony, although it was recorded at the same sessions in 1973. In the later Japanese reissue, the First was great … but the all the rest was problematic, “not as clear, present and vivid as those of the earlier set”… and it is the Fourth that fared worst. All this seemed so senseless that I wondered if it hadn’t been a trick of my imagination when I had reviewed both sets five years ago. So I ripped both Symphonies 1 & 4 onto Audacity to compare the dynamic curves. Eloquent – and definitely NOT a product of my imagination. But still senseless.

9 February 2017

What takes a lot of time in posting here all the Honegger reviews, are all the cross-references. Each review will mention a number of comparative versions, including some that I haven’t yet transferred over here. So I keep not, and when I do transfer and post the relevant review, I need to go back to the first one and link it. I’ve just re-posted my review of Serge Baudo’s complete cycle on Supraphon, and because of the set’s historical and musical significance, I had quoted it a lot in other reviews. So link, link, link.

And I’ve got so much more that I need to bring over. The complete cycles of Plasson, Dutoit and Luisi… The individual symphonies of Mravinsky (great Liturgique), Winkler (great Liturgique), Munch’s 2nd with Orchestre de Paris and 4 with Orchestre Lamoureux, Ansermet’s Liturgique, Järvi (great Liturgique & 5), Jansons (fine 2 & 3), Fournet (great Liturgique, very idiosyncratic, very unique), Rozhdestvensky (very personal takes on 1, 2 and 5), Yuasa, Russell-Davies, Lopez-Cobos, Vasary, Turovsky… and the LP versions! Michel Tabachnik in 1, Jean-François Paillard, Izler Solomon in 2, Robert Denzler in 3…  Plasson’s tone poems on DG… The Christmas Cantatas of Michel Corboz, Thierry Fischer and Vladimir Jurowski…. La Danse des morts by Henry Vachey… Cris du Monde by Baudo (in Czech!) on Praga… And the Concertos… It’s going to take some time….

8 February 2018

No time today to post or repost Honegger reviews, regrettably. But I was able to find the fix for one little glitch that had bothered me since the beginning of this webiste: how to prevent that clicking on one of the cover photos posted on any review would load the photo’s page. The problem is that, now, I’m going to have to go back to every single review posted here and fix individually each photo (and there are at least two per review, back and front cover – and sometimes many more). And the fix requires five clicks per photo…. So I spent my time today fixing all my Honeggers…

I also pulled out my rare Honegger LPs – to which I make some references in some of those reviews -, scanned them and added them where relevant. Very happy with the result. Collector’s glee.

7 February 2018

Two new posts, one a transfer from Amazon, the other from notes I had taken back in 2013 but not published:

Arthur Honegger: Symphony No. 3 “Liturgique”, Chant de Joie, Horace Victorieux. Basler Sinfonie-Orchester, Paul Sacher. Pan Classics 510 053 (1992), Accord 203 022 (1995?)

and Paul Sacher conducts works personally commissioned: Bartók (Divertimento), Stravinsky (Concerto in D), Honegger (Symphony No. 2). Primož Novšak, solo violin (Bartók), Henri Adelbrecht, trumpet (Honegger), Collegium Musicum Zurich. Erato Japan ECD 75545 (1989)

As the commissioner and premiere performer of many of Honegger’s masterpieces (Symphonies 2 to 4, La Danse des Morts, the Christmas Cantata, Concerto da camera), Sacher has unique legitimacy in this repertoire, and any document of him conducting these works is of paramount interest (he also recorded the Christmas Cantata in 1954 and the Concerto da camera on a small Swiss label at the end of the LP era, but no recording of him in the 4th Sympony and Danse des morts has surfaced commercially). That said, the great admiration bestowed upon him for his role as a patron did not always extend to his skills as a conductor, and it is illustrated here: his Second Symphony is one of the most tensionless I’ve heard, and his Liturgique is nothing special.

I’m reminded that I also have a few rare LPs of Honegger, recordings that were never reissued to CD, or only from unofficial labels and as transfers directly from the LPs, and that I wrote reviews of those too (or took detailed notes for reviews) that I never published on Amazon. In fact, for one of them, Symphonie liturgique by Robert Denzler on Decca in 1955 (and a great performance too), I DID publish the review under the entry for the LP… and the entry was suppressed shortly after… (the recording was reissued by Decca in 2015, on their mammoth set “The Decca Sound: The Mono Years 1944-1956”, which I bought almost only for that recording). So I need to post all those too on Discophage.com

 

 

6 February 2018

Not much time today to work on my transfers. I did import

Darius Milhaud: Les Choéphores (Geneviève Moizan, soprano. Hélène Bouvier, Electra. Heinz Refhfuss, Orestes. Claude Nollier, speaker. Chorale de l’Université). Arthur Honegger: Symphony No. 5 “Di tre re”. Albert Roussel: Bacchus et Ariane Suite No. 2. Orchestre Lamoureux, Igor Markevitch. DG “The Originals” 449 748-2 (1997)

and Milhaud: Les Choéphores/The Libation Bearers (Vera Zorina, McHenry Boatright, Irene Jordan, Virginia Babikian, Schola Cantorum of New York), Roussel: Symphony No. 3, Honegger: Rugby, Pacific 231. Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic. Sony Masterworks Heritage MHK 62352 (1996) (the later is not a repost from Amazon, I had witheld it at the time pending review of the Roussel part).

5 February 2018

Today posted review of the Honegger part of Johannes Brams: Symphony No. 2, Arthur Honegger: Symphony No. 3 “Liturgique”. Boston Symphony Orchestra, Charles Munch . Multisonic 31 0025-2 (1990). Not a re-post from Amazon, although the review was written back when I was reviewing all that Honegger in 2013, but I hadn’t published it pending review of the Brahms part – and when I’ll do that is anybody’s guess. It’s an important addition to the Munch and Honegger discographies, as it is the only document of Munch in that work.

Same with Les grands concerts inédits du Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, vol. 3. Charles Munch dirige Claude Debussy (Iberia, Fantasie for piano & orchestra w. Nicole Henriot, La Mer), Arthur Honegger (Symphony no. 1), Henry Dutilleux (Symphony No. 2 “Le Double”), Albert Roussel (Bacchus et Ariane Suite No. 2). Orchestre National. 2 CDs Disques Montaigne TCE 8730As with the Liturgique on Multisonics, it is the only documentation of Munch in the First Symphony and it is so far the only part that I’ve reviewed. Thanks to those live First and Third we’ve got the complete picture of Munch in Honegger’s symphonies.

On the other hand, Milhaud: Music for Prague, Symphony No. 10, Honegger: Symphony No. 2. Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Darius Milhaud, Charles Munch. Multisonic 31 0022-2 is the respost of a review already published on Amazon. It is possibly Munch’s most intense and raging account of the 2nd Symphony.