29 September 2016

Since I had mentioned Volkmann in my yesterday review of Draeseke, I transfered my reviews of his music from Amazon:

Complete Orchestral Works (Overture “Richard III” op. 68, Symphony No. 1 op. 44, Symphony No. 2 op. 53, Cello Concerto op. 33, Overture op. posth. In C major). Johannes Wohlmacher (cello), Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, Werner Andreas Albert. Cpo 999 151-2 (2 CDs) (1994)

Serenades 1-3. Carl Reinecke: Serenade in G minor. Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss am Rhein, Johannes Goricki. Cpo 999 159-2 (1994)


28 September 2016

Takes more time to listen to and review a CD of music that doesn’t win you over, than one that does. What is it that makes a memorable tune, and what it is that is lacking in well-crafted music to make it tuneful in a way that will imprint in your memory? I don’t know, I don’t have the technical equipment to define it precisely – and I’m not sure anybody has, or they’d be rich writing loads of tuneful music. But it’s one of those things you can’t define but that you recognize immediately when you encounter it… or don’t. Still, it’s a very subjective matter, and other may, and in fact have, reacted very differently to the same music. By the same token, some don’t hear memorable tunes in Mahler, or Stravinsky, or Bartòk.

Anyway, I posted my review of Felix Draeseke: Symphony No. 1 op. 12, Piano Concerto op. 36. Claudius Tanski, Wuppertal SO, George Hanson. MDG 335 0929-2 (1999)


26 September 2016

Last few days without publication, but I was spending some listening time on the chamber music of Félicien David:

Félicien David: Piano Trios Nos. 2 & 3. Eszter Perenyi (violin), Tibor Parkanyi (cello), Ilona Prunyi (piano). Marco Polo 8.223492 (1993), Naxos Patrimoine (France) 8.55083 (1993)

Félicien David: “Le Souvenir” (Trio No. 1, 3rd Quartet, “Le Souvenir” and “Le Caprice” for cello and piano, “Pensée” and “Absence” for piano, three arrangements from David’s operas “Lalla-Roukh” for piano, “Herculanum” and “La Nuit” from Ode-Symphonie “Le Désert” for cello and piano). Jean-Jacques Dünki, Andrés Gabetta, Christophe Coin, Quatuor Mosaïques. Laborie LC12 (2011)

While I was at it (“it” being the minuscule French label Laborie Records), I posted a discography of this obscure and interesting label. For reasons that will be clear if you look at the discography, it was a helluvalotowork!

…and while I was at it e.g. Laborie, I also brought over from Amazon my 2012 review of another Laborie CD, LC09, the chamber music and Lieder of Jean Baptiste / Johann Benjamin Gross.

…and I realize that I forgot to mention the publication, on September 23, of my review of Stevan Kovacs Tickmayer’s Cold Peace Counterpoints on ReR ST3 (2008)

19 September 2016

Published my review of Isang Yun: Königliches Thema für violin solo. Quintett für Klarinette und Streichquartett. Piri für Klarinette Solo. Duo für Violoncello und Harfe. Aurophon / Col Legno AU 31808 (1991). Looks simple enough, right, just a review of one CD? But it was a helluvalot o’ work! First, because there’s a lot of comparative listening behind it, and also because, for that very reason, the review makes many references to other recordings, for which I haven’t yet posted the reviews. So, in order to keep those numerous references from just “hanging in the air”, I had to create entries for each of those CDs – and each requires some amount of work and takes some amount of time, scanning the photos or downloading them when I don’t have the CDs (as with Camerata’s reissue series “The Art of Isang Yun”), typing the information, creating the links.

And there’s no rest for me on the 7th day…

Other than that, I was reminded this morning why I’m quitting Amazon – an abysmally stupid and incompetent reply to my request to split one of their entries, because two CDs actually have the same barcode and the entry is only for one of them. Of course I provided all the necessary information to prove my claim – to no avail. Baffling to have to spend so much time and energy to try and override the people who should be welcoming and helping your efforts to try and fix their website. I’m just tired of it. Here I have control over the information that is displayed, and I know it is (except for typos and oversights) accurate.

16 September 2016


…and there’s more to my Isang Yun story of yesterday. Only today do I realize that I had in fact received an immedite response from the Society, same day I had sent my request: they were offering to sell the lot for 100 $ and free postage. Apparently that mail went directly to the spam box (I was deleting those spams today and that’s how I found it) so I missed it and didn’t respond. I’d probably have accepted and said thanks. And that’s how, four days later, I got the second offer…

No problem that won’t get solved if you spend long enough WITHOUT addressing it…


Other than that: in a bid to complete the Ys (Ys are easy, there aren’t so many Ys… Ysaye’ s would be the big Y, only I haven’t yet reviewed much of it or any, so for me Yun is the big Y), I brought over from Amazon my review of Richard Yardumian’s Armenian Suite, Symphony No. 2 by the Utah Symphony Orchestra under Varujan Kojian, Phoenix PHCD 112.

15 September 2016

So here’s the GREAT news from the International Isang Yun Society that I mentioned in my post from September 6 but didn’t have time to elaborate.

As I was working on my Isang Yun introductory page and doing some discographic research, I realized that the Intenationale Isang Yun Gesellschaft had published, over the years (between 1999 and 2014), a series of 10 CDs of Yun’s music, including recordings of works not available elsewhere. The complete list is given on the Society’s website (click on the link “CDs” under the heading “The Society”). Of course that series immediately appeared as potently desirable, because of the unavailability elsewhere of some of that material, but also because those discs had had only limited circulation, and most of them were propably long out-of-print. I had found a few listed on various Amazons but not the complete series, others on eBay but again just a few among the series, and when offered, always at prices significantly higher than what I’d be willing to pay, especially if I was going to buy 10 CDs.

And then I noticed that the listing of those CDs on the Society’s website was introduced by the mention “It is possible to order the CDs (12 Euro plus shipment) at the International Isang Yun Society”.

“Now, really ?” I thought. “Could all these CDs be still available, and don’t you need to be a member to purchase them?” 12 euros x 10 was still quite an outlay, but… you know… rarities… Yun… I thought it might be time to break the piggy bank, just this once. So I wrote to the Society, explaining what a great fan of Yun I was, providing the link to my Isang Yun introductory page, and enquiring if it was still possible to buy the series. And on a spur-of-the-moment inspiration, I added, trembling at my own audacity: “since I’d be buying the whole series, could you consider offering a rebate?”

That was on a Friday. No reply. Well, sure, week-end, you can’t expect these people to work on Saturdays and Sundays just for the love of Isang Yun [but about this, see my addendum from September 16]. But Monday came and still no response, so I kind of gave up hope. And Tuesday night, as I was about to shut down the computer, came the great news: yes, they could sell the whole series, sure, they’d consider a rebate, how about 5 euros each and free postage?

WHAT??? 5 euros and free postage???? 50 dollars for the whole series? Golly miss Molly… THANKS AND GRATITUDE, FRIENDLY AND GENEROUS PEOPLE FROM THE ISANG YUN SOCIETY!!! You’ve turned a shattered piggy bank into a GREAT bargain.

And I’ve received them today. It is with a certain pride that I can now reasonably consider myself to be one of the greatest collectors of CDs of Isang Yun in the world after the Society itself.

Okay, now I need to listen to all that music of Isang Yun, and review it. But THANKS AGAIN, SOCIETY!



14 September 2016

Haven’t been able to achieve much this last couple of days – no time for Yun, and I feel terribly frustrated about it -, but I had been wanting to re-post my review of Henry Brant’s Kingdom Come and Machinations, and I have.

Listened to three symphonies of Michael Haydn by Harold Farberman on Vox. They’re great! I’m not all that familiar with those of Joseph, but I hear nothing in those of his kid brother that I can recognize as inferior to his, or to Mozart’s. In fact, I hear many traits of great originality. Posterity is a bitch (and that’s going to be the title of my review). Why did Franz make it to fame, during his lifetime and after, and not Michael? I don’t know, it’s a true question that would deserve an in-depth sociological study: the mechanisms of fame. And it’s not that one would have been working in a remote cultural backwater and the other one in a dominant cultural centre, because it’s the opposite: Joseph was famously at the service of the Esterházys in the middle of nowhere, and Michael was in a prominent position in Salzburg which was a prominent musical city then.

12 September 2016

…and this morning everything’s working like a charm, fast boot, no problem to load Firefox, IE, Windows Live Mail or my current Word documents. Well, it doesn’t make up for the fact that my yester-day was ruined. And I dread the day when the problems will return. Only one thing is sure: they will.

My revenge on yester’s hell of a day: I took the time to do a careful comparative listening of Yun’s beautiful fist Clarinet Quintet (three versions by Eduard Brunner and one by Sabine Meyer).

11 September 2016

There are two eBay sellers – Snowkees and Avantgarcon, both located in the Netherlands (but not the same city) – who have been, for some months now, selling huge loads of attractive CDs, and always by lots (it can go from two CDs to more than 10, in the case of sets or multiple sets), regrouped by label, or composer, sometimes performer, and I’m winning a lot of those bids at attractive prices. It’s tragic! The CDs are too attractive and the prices too bargain to resist, but I’m winning too much and too easily! Just today I’ve won ALL my bids with both of them. I don’t even have the time to unpack and list the CDs, when a new shipment arrives! Not to speak about actually listening to all those CDs. Sometimes you can get choked by an “abundance of riches”. So I’m hoarding, hoarding and hoarding for later as if I was eternal. Not speaking about shelf space…

Uh? There’s a crisis of the CD? especially in Classical music? Oh, really?

(well, in a way, sure, there may be a crisis of the CD. Many of those that I buy were released in the 1990s, when the market was still high and everybody was surfing on the wave of the new medium. I loooove Capitalism and its lemming syndrom: “there’s a wave? Let’s all throng there!” And I’m the bounty-hunter picking up the dead carcasses rejected on the shore, decades later. Who did they think those hundreds of attractive CDs issued every month would be for, who would buy them? And who do they think will buy the new ones they are still releasing? Why would I buy the new releases, when I can buy for so cheap used copies of older CDs that are still missing from my collection? And it’s not like there’s a sonic value added to the new releases. Reissues from the 1960s will sound as great and as “new” as the new recording. And unlike the LP, there’s no difference between a used CD and a new CD, they don’t deteriorate – and in the very rare cases that I’ve encountered when they do, seller refunds. You read everywhere about the crisis of the CD and the crisis within the crisis of the classical music CD, which, we are told, is an ever smaller crump, an  ioata even, of the ever dwindling CD market, but there are many things unsaid and unstudied about that purported crisis. Like: how many used CDs of classical musc are sold every year on platforms like eBay or Amazon? I don’t think that this, and the consequences of this, have been measured by the industry. Nobody seems to be making an issue about it, but if I were a classical music label struggling to record and release new stuff and hoping to make money out of it, it would be a huge issue, I think. If record producer sells his new CD (rarely these days), he’ll receive a modest revenue for it. But if the same CD resells 10 times on the secondary market, passes from hand to hand, he won’t get a dime for it! Not that I’m going to make too much noise about the issue: I’m the guy who take huge advantage from the secondary market…)

Incidentally, there’s something intriguing about those two sellers, Snowkees and Avantgarcon. Their offers are so similar, oftentimes involving exactly the same CDs (but there’s more of a bent towards standard repertoire with Snowkees, more contemporary music with Avantgarcon) that I wonder if they could be the same seller. And also the fact that they both have the same selling strategy (selling by lots), same type of cover photos (very detailed), and that their sales come to end precisely every Sunday, Snowkees starting at 10:00 am and Avantgarcon starting at 11:00 am… Very convenient, in fact (that is, if you don’t go to Church on Sundays).


Other than that: my laptop has given me HELL today. All of a sudden, in that afternoon, mousepad didn’t work properly, I clicked and clicked and clicked frantically and nothing happened, or it happened after what seemed like hours. Turns out there was one of those automatic updates that Windows forces on you, of, wouldn’t you know, the newest version of the Synaptics mousepad driver: IT’S HELL! IT DOESN’T WORK! IT FUCKS UP YOUR MOUSEPAD! AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE! I had to restore my system to the point just before this shit was downloaded, then I had to find a way so that it would NOT be re-installed immediately again against my will (I have, Microsoft has a downloadable tool for that. I hope it works). All this has cost me hours, thrown me in fits of rage (much worse than any of my ex-wives ever has), and prevented me from doing any serious listening today. And some people really get PAID to make your computing life a hell like this?

Oh, and I’ve also found a tutorial to override the password lock screen that Windows 10 now IMPOSES on you. I hate it. I don’t want to have to type in my password every time I boot or shut the lid of my computer! Isn’t it the password to connect your computer online and allow Microsoft to suck in all your information, under the pretense of saving it? (not, I think, that overriding the password screen changes anything to that, in fact, it just makes entering the password automatic. Oh well…)