Marc-André Hamelin - Max Reger: Variations and Fugue on Bach, Variations and Fugue on Telemann (1999)

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Marc-André Hamelin - Max Reger: Variations and Fugue on Bach, Variations and Fugue on Telemann (1999)

Marc-André Hamelin - Max Reger: Variations and Fugue on Bach, Variations and Fugue on Telemann (1999)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 01:13:51 | 260 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Hyperion | Catalog: 66996

Max Reger's music is never likely to be popular. Among this century's great pianists, only Rudolf Serkin championed some of it (the piano concerto in particular), and it's easy to see why this composer's dense, uncompromisingly note-heavy scores fail to appeal to most players. Simply put, when badly performed the music sounds like mud. All of its excruciating difficulties in performance are intellectual: the pianist has to plow through (and clarify) thickets of contrapuntal detail, and though the music really does demand a virtuoso technique, there's nothing flashy or spectacular about it at all.

Pierre Charial, Francoise Terrioux, Jurgen Hocker - Gyorgy Ligeti: Ligeti Edition 5 - Mechanical Music (1997) (Repost)

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Pierre Charial,  Francoise Terrioux,  Jurgen Hocker - Gyorgy Ligeti: Ligeti Edition 5 - Mechanical Music (1997) (Repost)

Pierre Charial, Francoise Terrioux, Jurgen Hocker - Gyorgy Ligeti: Ligeti Edition 5 - Mechanical Music (1997)
EAC | FLAC (tracks+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 75:20 | 389 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Sony Classical | Catalog: 62310

This volume of Sony's György Ligeti Edition contains all of Ligeti's music either written for mechanical reproduction or arranged for mechanical instruments. Dating from his brief flirtation with the Fluxus movement, "Poéme Symphonique," scored for 100 metronomes, produced one of the great scandals of Ligeti's career. As the metronomes wind down, what sounds like a waning rain storm evolves into overlaying rhythmic patterns and finally a single metronome coming to a halt. From the other end of his career come the etudes arranged for player piano.

Sviatoslav Richter, Benjamin Britten - Mozart, Schubert, Debussy: Piano Duets (2000)

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Sviatoslav Richter, Benjamin Britten - Mozart, Schubert, Debussy: Piano Duets (2000)

Sviatoslav Richter, Benjamin Britten - Mozart, Schubert, Debussy: Piano Duets (2000)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 01:18:12 | 367 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Decca | Catalog: 466 821-2

Between 1965 and 1967 Benjamin Britten and Sviatoslav Richter teamed up at the Aldeburgh Festival for piano duo programs that were taped by the BBC for future broadcast. Music and Arts brought out this material on several CD issues, which stemmed from excellent tape sources. The selections on Decca's "official" release sound marginally fuller with less tape hiss. Do the performances live up to their legend? In most ways, yes. The dream team understates the theme of Schubert's ravishing Andantino Varié, yet opens up more as the four variations effortlessly segue from one to the next.

Stefan Muhmenthaler, Anna Barbara Dütschler, Marc Pantillon - Ignaz Lachner: The Six Trios (1998)

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Stefan Muhmenthaler, Anna Barbara Dütschler, Marc Pantillon - Ignaz Lachner: The Six Trios (1998)

Stefan Muhmenthaler, Anna Barbara Dütschler, Marc Pantillon - Ignaz Lachner: The Six Trios (1998)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 02:25:19 | 708 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Claves | Catalog: CD 50-9802/3

Ignaz’s is probably the least well-documented life of the Lachner brothers who numbered Franz and Vinzenz and who were born in Bavaria. Ignaz was a string player – violin and viola – and worked in Munich until Franz managed to secure him a job in Vienna in 1826. He composed and travelled widely, spending a period in Frankfurt between 1861 and 1875 where he conducted Wagner operas which he then cut to fit local taste. Though he achieved a degree of renown during his lifetime Lachner’s works have sunk almost without trace and I doubt whether many, if any, are now in print.

Hagen Quartett - Beethoven, Mozart, Webern: Works for String Quartet (2001)

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Hagen Quartett - Beethoven, Mozart, Webern: Works for String Quartet (2001)

Hagen Quartett - Beethoven, Mozart, Webern: Works for String Quartet (2001)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 01:15:25 | 354 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Myrios Classics | Catalog: 006

The program looks like what was conventional in the 1970s and 1980s: Beethoven, Mozart, and the obligatory entry from the early 20th century, in this case Webern. But what you get from Germany's Hagen Quartet, here celebrating its 30th anniversary, is anything but conventional. The group members state that their aim is "to illustrate such things as pauses, fermati, dissonances, and certain extreme emotional phenomena as vividly as possible." Indeed, this is a set of hyper-expressive performances.

Collegium Vocale Gent, Philippe Herreweghe - J.S. Bach: Advent & Christmas Cantatas (2010)

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Collegium Vocale Gent, Philippe Herreweghe - J.S. Bach: Advent & Christmas Cantatas (2010)

Collegium Vocale Gent, Philippe Herreweghe - J.S. Bach: Advent & Christmas Cantatas (2010)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 02:59:59 | 850 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Harmonia Mundi | Catalog: 5908369

Philippe Herreweghe has always seemed well-attuned to the more mystical aspects of Bach’s music, an empathy clearly evident on his new CD of Advent cantatas. Though the opening chorus of BWV 36 seems a touch reserved, those of BWV 61 and 62 match precision with vigour, and Herreweghe’s team of soloists are in fine voice throughout. BWV 36 is a parody, based on an earlier tribute to a local teacher. Bach retained his original music for the arias, but replaced the recitatives with chorales, so the cantata alternates delightfully between dance movements and more formal hymn settings.

Markus Becker - Max Reger: Bach Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 7 (2009)

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Markus Becker - Max Reger: Bach Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 7 (2009)

Markus Becker - Max Reger: Bach Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 7 (2009)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 01:50:01 | 341 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Hyperion | Catalog: CDA67683

Max Reger just couldn't stop composing. With 131 published works, most of them compendiums of several pieces in the same genre, Reger was relentlessly, even recklessly prodigious as a composer. And apparently when he wasn't writing his own music, the fin de siècle Bavarian composer was arranging Bach's. In addition to arrangements of the Brandenburg Concertos and Orchestral Suites for four-hand piano, Reger also transcribed 22 works for solo piano, four organ pieces, and 18 choral preludes, and all of them are included in this two-disc Hyperion set.

Quatuor Mosaïques - Schubert: String Quartets D.173 & 810 "Der Tod und das Mädchen" (2010)

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Quatuor Mosaïques - Schubert: String Quartets D.173 & 810 "Der Tod und das Mädchen" (2010)

Quatuor Mosaïques - Schubert: String Quartets D.173 & 810 "Der Tod und das Mädchen" (2010)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 01:07:28 | 354 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Laborie | Catalog: LC 06

A stunning version of Schubert's famous 'Death and the Maiden' String Quartet performed on period instruments by one of the leading string quartets of our time, the Quatuor Mosaïques. The 'String Quartet No.14 in D Minor', otherwise known as The Death and the Maiden, is considered one of the pillars of the chamber music repertoire. It's a work that shows Schubert struggling in a world in which he has a lost his bearings, but also yearning for heaven. It is his testament to death. This release also features one of Schubert's earlier quartets, the deeply foreboding D173 in G minor.

Gidon Kremer - Schubert Soirée (1993)

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Gidon Kremer - Schubert Soirée (1993)

Gidon Kremer - Schubert Soirée (1993)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 301 MB | 01:00:58
Genre: Classical | Label: Deutsche Grammophon

The two sets of dances are charming products of Schubert's mid-teenage years and provide Gidon Kremer with much food for musical thought. Whereas a lesser artist might settle for charm and no more, Kremer locates those occasional corners where bodeful intimations lie dormant: witness the darkening cadences at the close of the Sixth German Dance or the third (D minor) Minuet's pensive outer sections. His solo playing has a fine-spun, slightly husky quality, spot-on the centre of the note and with constantly shifting nuances.

Shirley Horn - Loving You (1997)

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Shirley Horn - Loving You (1997)

Shirley Horn - Loving You (1997)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 292 MB | MP3 (CBR 320 kbps) - 138 MB | 53:27
Genre: Vocal Jazz | Label: Verve

Shirley Horn continues in a formula that has become very popular for her. De-emphasizing her piano, Horn sings one very slow ballad after another. The intimate music, which features her trio members, percussionist Alex Acuna and most prominently the keyboards and orchestrations of George Mesterhazy, has very little variety and should be listened to in small doses.

Guy Touvron - Molter: Trumpet Concertos (2007)

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Guy Touvron - Molter: Trumpet Concertos (2007)

Guy Touvron - Molter: Trumpet Concertos (2007)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 01:00:11 | 336 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Rca Victor Red Seal | Catalog: 61200

Johann Molter was a prodigious composer of trumpet concertos in the first half of the eighteenth century. He spent his musical life moving between his base, Karlsruhe, and Italy, where he obviously absorbed the baroque influences of the time. He was an inventive and capable composer, and although these concertos are very much alike they are each enjoyable if taken singly. The allegros have vitality and slow movements are agreeable, sometimes serene, sometimes moving on at a gentle, walking gait.

Beaux Arts Trio, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bernard Haitink - Beethoven: Triple Concerto, Piano Trio No.11 (1987)

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Beaux Arts Trio, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bernard Haitink - Beethoven: Triple Concerto, Piano Trio No.11 (1987)

Beaux Arts Trio, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bernard Haitink - Beethoven: Triple Concerto, Piano Trio No.11 (1987)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 55:11 | 258 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Philips | Catalog: 4202312

This Haitink/Beaux Arts/LPO Triple Concerto is superb and also unique in my experience. The acoustic captures the BA Trio so closely that one can hear their playing in minute detail. At the same time, the orchestral playing is equally detailed and attractively unbloated. The BA plays the concerto from a chamber music perspective more than a triple superstar perspective. Nothing drags and the bouyancy helps. Pressler and Greenhouse are especially eloquent. Both play with beautiful tone.

Leslie Howard - Tchaikovsky: Piano Sonatas (1997)

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Leslie Howard - Tchaikovsky: Piano Sonatas (1997)

Leslie Howard - Tchaikovsky: Piano Sonatas (1997)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 01:07:32 | 216 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Hyperion | Catalog: 66939

Tchaikovsky only wrote one "official" piano sonata, the Grande Sonate in G major, Op. 37, but when he was a student at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, he began an Allegro in F minor and completed a full sonata in C sharp minor, published posthumously as Op. 80. Leslie Howard, in the midst of his enormous Franz Liszt project, recorded all three works for Hyperion. Howard fleshed out the Allegro into a complete sonata allegro movement. The result is a movement that is solid, structurally and musically, much meatier than the Tchaikovsky character pieces that are more often heard, but still an immature work for the composer.

Marc-Aandré Hamelin - Godowsky: Piano Sonata, Passacaglia (2002)

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Marc-Aandré Hamelin - Godowsky: Piano Sonata, Passacaglia (2002)

Marc-Aandré Hamelin - Godowsky: Piano Sonata, Passacaglia (2002)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 01:05:59 | 247 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Hyperion | Catalog: 67300

Perhaps it's true that Vladimir Horowitz claimed Leopold Godowsky's 1928 Passacaglia "impossible to play." That hasn't stopped brilliant, note-gobbling supervirtuosos from taking up its uncommon cause. The work treats the opening measure's of Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony as a ground bass from which 44 variations and a gigantic fugue evolve. The increasingly elaborate, upholstered textures and harmonic purple prose often suggest Max Reger huffing and puffing his way through the Gershwin songbook, leaving little time to relax or breathe.

James McChesney - Anton Eberl: Piano Concerto, Piano Sonata (2001)

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James McChesney - Anton Eberl: Piano Concerto, Piano Sonata (2001)

James McChesney - Anton Eberl: Piano Concerto, Piano Sonata (2001)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 50:34 | 232 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Koch Schwann | Catalog: 36763

it’s not often that you get to hear the music of Anton Eberl (1765-1807), a Viennese composer who was both a pupil and a friend of Mozart (and of course a contemporary and supposed rival of Beethoven as well). These are technically quite competent works whose temperament straddles both classical and romantic styles, but there probably won’t be a rush to an Eberl revival anytime soon.