30 November 2018

Disappointing program of Folksongs of Catalonia: harmonizations by  Amadeo Vives, Lluis Millet, Antoni Pérez Moya, Josep Cumellas i Ribó, Enric Morera i Viura, Eduard Toldrá, Nadal Puig, Salvador Mas, Pau Casals. Orfeó Catalá, Jordi Casas. Harmonia Mundi Ibèrica HMI 987006 (1992) and reissues. The songs are unsophisticated and the harmonizations not particulary ear-catching. A curiosity: the arrangement for soprano and chorus by Pau (Pablo) Casals of the Christmas Carol  El cant dels ocells (The Song of the Birds), which he made famous through his arrangement for cello and piano, which he played at all his concerts after his exile from Spain (1939), and which subsequently (and consequently) became the unofficial anthem of Catalonia. The arrangement sounds extremely nostalgic – I could have mistaken it for a Russian folksong, had I not known it was Catalan – which is bizarre, considering that it’s a song in which the birds happily welcome the birth of Jesus… A case, I guess, where context engulfed content.

28 November 2018

Transferred the remainder of my Amazon reviews of Vivaldi’s mandolin and lute concertos:

Intégrale des oeuvres avec luth (complete works with lute): Concertos RV 558, RV 540, RV 93, Trios RV 82 and 85. Michel Amoric (lute), Jean Estournet (violin and direction), Jean-Philippe Vasseur (viola d’amore), Ensemble instrumental (rec. 1981). Adès 14.024-2  (1986)

Music for Lute and Mandolin (Concertos RV 532 for two mandolins, RV 425 for mandolin, RV 93 for lute, RV 540 for viola d’amore & lute, Trios RV 85 & 82 for lute, violin & cello). Paul O’Dette, Robin Jeffrey (second mandolin), Paul Goodman (violin & viola d’amore), The Parley of Instruments, Paul Goodman and Peter Holman (12/84). Hyperion CDA66160 (LP 1985, CD 1986) and subsequent reissues

Concerti per Liuto e Mandolino / Concertos for Lute and Mandolin (Concertos RV 558 for multiple instruments, RV 540 for viola d’amore & lute, RV 425 for mandolin, RV 93 for lute two violins & b.c., RV 532 for 2 mandolins, Trio RV 85 & RV 82 for violin lute and b.c.). Duilio Galfetti & Wolfgang Paul (mandolin), Luca Pianca (archlute), Enrico Onofri (viola d’amore), Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini December 1990, April/May 1992. Teldec 4509-91182-2 (1993) and subsequent reissues

Good thing done. Now I need to listen to and review my two remaining versions, by Fabio Biondi and L’Arte dell’Arco. Then I can move on to other (Vivaldi) things – like, how about my complete comparative survey of the Four Seasons? Or the flute and recorder concertos?

26 November 2018

Long time no activity on Discophage.com. Well, here is a return in a whimper rather than in a bang, with a review of four lovely 18th-century Italian concertos for Mandolin by obscure composers whose dates history hasn’t even retained, recorded by Claudio Scimone in 1971 and reissued by Erato in 2009, 5050466-5691-2-7 . And since, in the review, I referred to Scimone’s two recordings of Vivaldi’s Mandolin Concertos, I went ahead and transferred from Amazon.com my reviews of the 1969 recording (with the same Alessandro Pitrelli and Bonifacio Bianchi as on the Italian Mandolin Concertos) and 1983 remake (now with Ugo Orlandi and Dorina Frati). As always, that process of transfer over here involves much more in content… and time! than just copy and paste. I’m hoping to transfer my other reviews of alternative versions of the Vivaldi Mandolin Concerti, by The Parley of Instruments on Hyperion and the extraordinary Il Giardino Armonico on Teldec.

Other than that, these last few months without any activity on Discophage.com, I’ve been still buying an unreasonable amount of CDs with the secret hope of living 1,000 years, with each CD very cheap but 1 million times cheap starts piling after a while, listening to a few but not reviewing (time consuming! Just look at the research behind the oh-so-inconspicuous Erato disc of the mandolin concertos….), busying myself with many label discographies – Harmonia Mundi, Erato, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Hyperion, Chandos among the biggies, but also Cascavelle, Tahra, Fnac Music, Continuum, Montaigne, Salabert, Bluebell – so many in fact that I can’t mention them all, but hope to publish them eventually.