Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Plugged in to the spirit of the composers


The new concerto disc from cellist Clemens Hagen features the very fine 1B1 ensemble, made up of the best instrumentalists from University of Stavanger and the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, led by violinist Jan Bjøranger. Haydn's 1st Cello Concerto is from Haydn's early 30s (the early 1760s), when he wrote the superb Symphonies 6, 7 and 8. Hagen and 1B1 are completely in tune with each other. These fine musicians communicate both the high spirits and the more thoughtful moments of a young composer discovering and presenting his own genius.


In the profound Sinfonia Concertante by Mozart Jan Bjøranger takes a solo role as well as continuing to lead the orchestra, and his playing is exceptional. Violist Lars Anders Tomter, who shone in the 2013 DaCapo recording of Vagn Holmboe's Viola Concerto, is up to his high standard. This is a performance that doesn't suffer by comparison with any of the classic recordings of the past. All in all, this Simax release is a real winner.

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