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January 08, 1970 - Image 2

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-01-08

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Friday, January 9, 1970

Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY

records

Random

thoughts on

random

records

By R. A. PERRY
Angel's set of the Five Piano
Concertos of Beethoven-team-
ing pianist Daniel Barenboim
and conductor Otto Klemperer
- was a runnerup in High Fi-
delity's "Best Recording of the
Year" sweepstakes; in my opin-
ion the set is a disaster, or at
least an overwheifling bore. The
very pairing of Klemperer and
Barenboim is absurd: Klemper-
er the Germanic master. who
paints with a housepainter's
brush and Barenboim the young
virtuoso overburdened with en-
gagements that disallow the
maturing of taste. As expected,
Klemperer choses broad, slow
tempi too often lugubrious, but
at times, of a dignified power
and beauty, as in the Adagio of
the Emperor.
Against this heavy backdrop,
Barenboim offers a contrasting
random aesthetic of almost
whimsical and precocious phras-
ing. His playing lacks convic-
tion, ardor, and intellectual
:commitment; if these w o rd s
seem harsh, simply listen, if you
have a chance, to the second
and third movements of t h e
Emperor for uninspired piano
playing. With their options nev-
er converging, Klemperer and
Barenboim plow through the
concerti, revealing neither poet-
ic Insights nor architectural
structure; movements come to
an end like the wind going out
of a balloon.
The Angel set (SD-3752) fur-
thermore has been ridiculously
pressed for automatic changers,
involving annoying disc handl-
ing. The sound is over-ripe and
undistinguished. If you desire a
set of the Beethoven piano con-
certi, the Fleisher/Szell read-
ings still demand allegiance;
many excellent single disc re-
cordings on budget labels are
also available, however.
Pro Musica
concert set
New York Pro Musica, a group
of 10 vocal and instrumental vir
tuosi conducted by John Reeve
Whte, will give a concert at 8:3
p-m. ;Jan. 12 in Rackham Lectur
Hall. The concert is part of the
University Musical Society'
Chamber Arts Series.
The group has performed in Ann
Arbor on five previous occasions
Pro Musica was founded in 1953
by the late Noah Greenberg, who
remained- its musical director un
til his death in 1966. White, th
second musical director, has en
sured the continuity of the en
semble in two brilliant seasonsn 1
nearly 200 concerts.
A Pro Musica concert is an ex
cursion into the great musica
past; sacred works first perform
ed in the cathedrals of 13th cen
tury France; lustry songs, dances
and delicate ballades from the
medieval French court anld coun
tryside; dramatic pieces of Ren
aissance Spain; music in the Flem
Ish tradition, and the sounds o
the glittering Tudor reign in Eng
land.
Standing-room-only tickets fo
Monday's concert remain at $
at the offices of the VMS in
Burton Tower.

Another loser is Angel's re-
cording of the Chopin Nocturnes
as played by Alexis Weissen-
berg. (SB-3747) The pneumatic
fingering t h a t Weissenberg
brought to the Chopin concerti
on a recent Angel recording cre-
ated appropriate excitement,
like the clashing of swords, but
in the Nocturnes, the pianist's
bravura technique is misplaced.
These short works, equaled only
perhaps by Schubert's Improm-
tus for epigrammatic lyricism,
are shorn of all sentiment and
atmosphere. Heavy yet skeletal,
Weissenberg's Nocturnes never
add up to anything but the sum
of the notes, the effect being
akin to Romeo's balcony speech
being spoken in a monotone.
About the only thing interest-
ing in this set is the arrange-
ment of pieces; by playing the
Nocturnes in random rather
than chronological order, cer-
tain expectations of sequence
are shattered to good effect. I
still find Moravec's renditions
on Connoisseur Society the most
subliminally beautiful, though
Rubinstein and Novaes offer
splendid versions.
With most young pianists to-
day substituting virtuosic, note-
perfect display f o r truly felt
emotion, three pianists stand
out for their excellent t a s t e
among the under-thirty group:
Stephen Bishop, Mischa Dicht-
er, and Augustin Anievas. Anie-
vas is perhaps the least known
of the three, though his first
two records on the Seraphim la-
bel, one of the Chopin Etudes
and the other of Brahms, were
both thoroughly outstanding.
They revealed a pianist who had
not only the requisite technique
but also a command of style and
an unblinking control.
Anlevas's new recording of
the Chopin Waltzes, including
- five seldom heard, posthumous-
ly published waltzes, is wonder-
fully communicative while be-
ing controlled enough as to pre-
vent aberrant stylistic slips. His
playing is strong without being
aggressive, and sweet without
being treacly; in a word t h e
young man has Taste and his
version of the-Waltzes can stand
next to Lipatti's (if down a few
s rungs).
Raymond Lewenthal is a p-
sanist who exalts virtuosic tech-
nique, but he has had the in-
genuity and courage to apply
1his powers to recording works
by late (and perhaps decadent)
Romantics whose names had
slipped from memory - Alkan,
Schwarenka, and Medtner. An
early Lewenthal recording of
sScriabin has just been re-re-
leased by Westminster on their
valuable "Collector S e r I e s.
Scriabin's early (thus less ad-
- AUDITION for
Arts Chorale
- AUD C-ANGELL HALL
T & Th-3-5
or Phone 764-2506
PROF. KLEIN, conductor

venturesome) a n d melodious
Op 11 Preludes (the complete
twenty-four) and the later mys-
tical conglomerates-: Vers la
flamme (Op. 72) and Five Last
Preludes (Op. 74) - are given
fine performances where tech-
nique does not swamp meaning.

The mono sound is quite good.
o n e of Toscanini's greatest
recordings was of the Mozart
Divertimento No. 15, K. 287;
whether or not you agree that
the style suited Mozart, you had
to admire the uncanny ensem-
ble precision that served a most

beautiful plastic articulation of
phrasing. David Blum and the
Esterhazy Orchestra's perform-
ance of the K. 334 Divertimento
(on Vanguard VCS-10066) is by
no means as quicksilver, b u t
Blum, like Toscanini, rarely al-
lows phrasing to be perfunctory,
and subsequently the music be-
comes a language with content.
Blum choses a warm, not clip-
ped, approach but does not blur
lines or sacrifice details. The
"rondo allegro" is especially de-
lightful, and the excellent re-
cording has clear, bass-rich Dol-
by sound.
Christopher Parkening, twen-
ty-two year old disciple of Se-
govia, has recorded for Angel
(SFO-36021) eleven Spanish
works of encore weight t h a t
show Parkening m o r e relaxed
and more expressive than on
his two previous recordings
where one felt a certain com-
pulsive rigidity. Parkening has
been groomed for the concert
stage and, as fine a guitarist as
he is, lacks the joie de vivre that
marked Julian Bream's youth-
f u 1 Westminster recordings.
Still, this Angel album is quite
lovely in a musky way, perfect
for late, cold wintry nights.
Anyone who has appreciated{
the purity of Teresa Stich-Ran-
dall's soprano voice, w i t h its
special distinction in legato
phrasing, should listen to a new
Westminster recording (WST-
17160) in which the Connecti-
cut-born Kammersangerin sings
Schubert arias and Schumann's
Frauenliebe und Leben. I have
Held Over 3rd Week

always thought Stich-Randall's
voice best suited for masses and
oratorios, where her angelic tim-
bre need not worry too much
about close textural expressivi-
ty. Although her Schubert is
strained in just that latter mat-
ter, the Schumann, more with-
in her range, has been given a
fine reading blending voice and
text well. "Du Ring an meinem
Finger," the climax of this
arching cycle, is especially well-
sung.
Finally, Columbia's "Historic
Organs of I t a 1 y" '(MS 7379),
finds globe-trotter E. Power
Biggs putting on vinyl the
sounds of four ancient Italian
organs, using passages from the
compositions of Frescobaldi,
Gesualdo, the Gabrielis, and
other more esoteric composers.
The longest piece runs only four
minutes, and I find such collec-
tions of organ tidbits less aes-
thetically satisfying than a pre-
sentation where the music, and
not the instrument, requires at-
tention. Someone, somewhere,
must enjoy knowing, however,
the length of each pipe on each
organ for Columbia has taken
great pains in this department.
LI

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