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Messages - Jim Penn

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The Coffee Bar / Re: Six Letter Word Game
« on: November 06, 2009, 12:56:33 pm »
Perhaps Alkan nudged armoire, maybe apocryphally!


The Concert Hall / Re: Forthcoming concerts in London
« on: October 21, 2009, 09:39:57 am »
Just spotted this one that might be remotely interesting to some people round here...

TONIGHT (Oct 21st) at 7:30, at Westminster Cathedral, Nicholas Kynaston will be giving an organ recital, featuring Elgar's Sonata No. 1, Mendelssohn's prelude and fugue in B minor (transcribed for organ), and Reger's "Introduction and Variations on an original theme".

Free entry!

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Now spinning ...
« on: October 20, 2009, 10:30:15 am »
Goldenweiser - "Contrapuntal Sketches", as recorded on the Toccata Classics recording by a certain J. Powell of these environs... Marvellous stuff indeed.

The Coffee Bar / Re: Youtube
« on: October 13, 2009, 01:18:01 pm »
Sorry to change the subject, but this is a youtube thread, and I wanted to post something (mind you, it could just as easily have gone in “down the shameless plughole”).

Anyway, if you’ll forgive a “pop music” interlude, here’s the promo video for the forthcoming single “Black Swan Song” by the former Mercury award-nominated band Athlete. The single is being released on November 9th, and proceeds from the sale of the single will be going to the British Legion’s poppy appeal. The “shameless plughole” aspect of all this, incidentally, is that the leading (actually, only) actress in the video is my very own Mrs Penn, and I am unashamedly proud of her being in this video…

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Now spinning ...
« on: October 07, 2009, 09:58:31 am »
Currently listening to Morton Feldman's "Violon & String Quartet" (Peter Rundel and the Pellegrini Quartet).

The Concert Hall / Re: Forthcoming concerts in London
« on: October 01, 2009, 10:03:51 am »
1 October, 7pm
The Forge, Camden, London

Rohan de Saram and Jonathan Powell

Alkan Grand Duo concertant
Mendelssohn Sonata op.58

Anyone coming to this tonight?
3-7 Delancey Street NW1


Mind you, could do with catching up on some sleep first, having caught a late train back to London from Birmingham last night (after hearing the premiere of Colin Matthews' violin concerto at Symphony Hall). Will just have to make do with gallons of mediocre coffee at work, I think.

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Favourite CDs
« on: September 28, 2009, 04:12:55 pm »
It’s nothing if not eclectic, but here’s a top ten discs (which would, inevitably, include different things tomorrow!), in alphabetical order by composer:

Busoni – Piano Concerto (David Lively with South West German Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Gielen).
Chopin – Ballades 1 to 4 and Piano Sonata No. 2 (played by Emmanuel Ax – grunting and all!).
Georg Friedrich Haas – In Vain (Klangforum Wien, conducted by Sylvain Cambreling).
Mahler – Symphony No. 2 (Philharmonia, conducted by Otto Klemperer).
Messiaen – La Nativite du Seigneur (played by Simon Preston).
Palestine – “Schlingen-Blangen”, played by the composer.
Sorabji – I suppose any number of Sorabji recordings could make it into a list of my favourites, but I think Charles Hopkins’ recording of “Gulistan” is something very very special indeed.
Stockhausen – Klavierstuck 1 to 8, played by Bernard Wambach (not a particular favourite for listening, I confess, I have other Stockhausen recordings that I listen to with more frequency and more enjoyment, but I managed to get this signed by Stockhausen 17 years ago, so it’s probably the individual CD I value most highly).
Various – Jorge Bolet’s 1974 Carnegie Hall recital (part of the Great Pianists of the 20th Century collection); Bach-Busoni’s “Chaconne”, Chopin’s “Preludes”, two Strauss-Tausig transcriptions, Schulz-Evler’s “Arabesques on the Blue Danube”, Liszt’s transcription of the Tannhauser overture, and encores by Rubinstein and Moszkowski. Staggering stuff from beginning to end….
Villa-Lobos – Choros No. 11 (Ralf Gothoni and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sakari Oramo).

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Now spinning ...
« on: September 15, 2009, 03:39:18 pm »
Currently got on Rudolf Innig's recording of Felix Nowowiejski's 9th organ symphony (from the three-disc set of N's complete organ symphonies on Dabringhaus & Grimm). Fantastic work, as are the other eight, but the ninth is rather unusual with the dramatic addition in the final movement of brass and timpani playing the melody of the Polish hymn "Bogurodzica" (the same hymn that provides the basis for the finale of Panufnik's "Sinfonia Sacra"). Terrific performance, and on a fine sounding instrument (Bremen Cathedral).

News and Current Affairs / Re: Today's Barking News Story
« on: September 11, 2009, 01:56:42 pm »
Spotted a headline on the BBC news website about the director of "Slumdog Millionaire" seemingly being closer to agreeing to direct the sequel to "Trainspotting". Unfortunately, the headline of Boyle is 'edging closer' to Porno made me think it was a story about the declining career trajectory of the runner-up of "Britain's Got Talent". Talk about three Xs!  :o

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Now spinning ...
« on: September 10, 2009, 01:36:13 pm »
John Ogdon on Altarus, for my money! He used to play it in warming-up sessions for his recording of Sorabji's Opus Clavicembalisticum (as one would); he borrows the occasional moment from the two-piano version in his account of the edizione definitivà. Kevin Bowyer's registrative imagintion in this recoprding is as much to the fore as it usually is (which is a lot) and the instrument and acoustic help a great deal (it's the Harrison & Harrison at St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol).

Alistair - OF COURSE! I don't know why I've never got round to getting that one already. I'll stick it on my shopping list right away.

And while I'm thinking about it, I am indeed now spinning "Pansophiae for John Ogdon".

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Now spinning ...
« on: September 10, 2009, 01:11:59 pm »
Is it marvellous in comparison with the solo piano version? How long does he take? How creative is he with registration?

I've only ever heard one recording of the solo piano version, Autoharp, and that one doesn't sound particularly convincing at all (it's on Naxos, can't remember the pianist's name off hand). Bowyer takes it in a few seconds under 34 minutes. His registration choices sound pretty good to me; for my money, he balances that kind of full-blooded Germanic organ sound (think Reger played by Thalben-Ball, if you will!) with a more French sense of delicacy and colour, and he gets a really clear focus to the counterpoint, making it all sing rather wonderfully. If you (or anyone) would care to recommend a good solo piano version, I'm all ears...

That all said, I think I like the version for two pianos most - I heard it played at SJSS last year by the two pianists who recorded the two piano version for (again) Naxos. And again, I can't remember their names off the top of my head, but their live performance was superb, and I keep meaning to get their Naxos recording.

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Now spinning ...
« on: September 10, 2009, 11:43:14 am »
Kevin Bowyer's performance of the organ version of Busoni's "Fantasia Contrappuntistica". And bloomin' marvellous it is, too.

I may well give ahinton's "Pansophiae for John Ogdon" from the same set a spin after lunch.  ;)

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Now spinning ...
« on: September 09, 2009, 03:39:33 pm »
All on one disc? I would have thought it would be too fast then! Besides, I listen to the thing on my iTunes, where that isn't such a problem. Still I'll check out Zukofsky. I'd love to hear Isabelle Faust play it too!

The Zukofsky recording is 77 mins, compared to Sabat/Clarke's 82 mins (or thereabouts), so not really any tempo difference you'd really notice.

Allgen - a much-marginalised figure in Swedish music, he lived rather like a hermit, and in much poverty until he rather tragically died in a house fire caused by a candle falling over while he slept (the fire also took a fair amount of his music, I understand, and very little of it had been backed-up in any way, existing only in manuscript). The few pieces I've heard are all quite substantial; the 2nd string quartet and the piano "Fantasia" are both in the 50 to 60 minute region, and the violin sonata exists in two recordings, Wallin's on BIS, and a live recording by Joar Skorpen on Nosag (who gets through the sonata an hour quicker than Wallin, but it's not much of a difference in the experience of actually listening). And the music is mostly quite bleak - if you know Allan Pettersson's music, it's not a million miles away in tone, I think. But it's very rich stuff indeed, and if you've got some guts, it's worth a punt...

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Now spinning ...
« on: September 09, 2009, 10:35:48 am »

NS Marc Sabat and Stephen Clarke playing Morton Feldman's For John Cage on mode records. Good for them. I haven't heard this before, but as silly as it seems to compare, I prefer the earlier Spring of Chosroes. FJC seems a little too balanced somehow.

I think the Sabat/Clarke recording's okay, if perhaps a little 'polite', perhaps a bit overly polished. The Zukofsky/Schroeder recording, for my money, is much more convincing (and is on one disc, so there's no unwelcome break in the middle!).

Right now, I'm listening to Claude Loyola Allgen's violin sonata (the BIS recording by Ulf Wallin); will be finishing around noon! It really is an incredible work.

Proms / Re: Prom 63 2009: Xenakis, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich
« on: September 07, 2009, 09:36:00 am »
I've said elsewhere that, in the hall, "Nomos Gamma" was really quite extraordinary, and "Ais" and the Rakhmaninov were very effective too. I was quite surprised by the Rakh, he's a composer I normally struggle with. I didn't stay for the Shostakovich, it's not exactly a favourite of mine.

But, Selva...

I forgot to mention that after Inori and Gruppen last year I'm becoming quite an admirer of David Robertson.

I couldn't agree more with this, it's something I've been thinking myself over the last few days. That "Inori" was incredible, and "Nomos Gamma" has confirmed that Robertson has really grown as a musician lately. Which is all rather odd for me to acknowledge, as a few years ago his name on a concert billing would have been sufficient to put me off even thinking about going. I'd previously heard him conduct the WNO revival of "Pelleas & Melisande" a year after hearing Boulez conducting the same production (c.1992, 1993, something like that), and it was about asflat as a pancake. Then a couple of years later, I heard him conduct an unfeasibly lifeless Turangalila with the CBSO. But he's well and truly erased my doubts about him with the Stockhausen and Xenakis performances.

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