2008年4月25日 星期五

Brilliant兩套北歐交響曲錄音Hugo Alfven&Franz Berwald


Hugo Alfven交響曲全集5CD音源來自瑞典BIS,由Neeme Järvi 指揮Stockholm PO。 Franz Berwald四首交響曲2CD則是來自英國Chandos唱片,由Thomas Dausgaard指揮Danish National Symphony Orchestra。BIS與Chandos在台灣剛好都是由上揚代理,正價版都是「高不可攀」且「可遇不可求」的稀貨!


2008年4月16日 星期三






還是先看看英國留聲機雜誌上Richard Osborne的樂評吧!

Karajan's fourth complete Beethoven cycle, his third for Deutsche Grammophon, has had a somewhat muted reception in these columns and elsewhere. Familiarity with the broad outlines of his readings—re-recorded as recently as 1977—seemed to have merged with some general disquiet about aspects of the recorded sound of the new cycle to sow seeds of doubt in the minds of a number of people. The unevenness of the recorded sound (it is no worse than that) can be attributed to an array of possible factors: the intrinsic difficulties the Beethoven sound presents to engineers, the wide range of tonal and textural perspectives Karajan now draws from his orchestra in this music (the sound worlds explored here in, say, the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies are radically and revealingly different), the recent variability of some of DG's own Berlin recordings, and—last, but I suspect by no means least—the hitherto unexplored factor of having a film company, Karajan's own Telemondial, intimately connected with the project.

The principal technical disappointments to date have been the cavernous sound (and unduly legato playing) at the start of the Seventh Symphony's second movement, the grey and somewhat costive choral sound in the finale of the Ninth Symphony, and some variability of instrumental 'placing'. Moving from symphony to symphony it is often difficult to decide where precisely in the sound spectrum the bass line is meant to be.

Some of this may be a reflection of Karajan's own changing priorities, symphony by symphony. The Eroica, which Karajan has again recorded very late in the sequence, is given as lucid and natural-sounding a recording as any in the cycle, similar to the kind of sound we have in the 1977 set; but the Fifth, recorded nearer the start of the cycle, is altogether tougher and gruffer. What was in earlier sets a thing of burnished splendour now more closely resembles a comet burning across darkened heavens.

The new cycle begins, as did the 1977 cycle, with a rather laboured ('autumnal' would be a politer and more poetic epithet) reading of the First Symphony; and the Fourth, which has put on weight since the ravishing 1962 performance, reappears in the grander and gruffer of Karajan's two readings. The reservations noted above notwithstanding, the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Symphonies go very well, though Karajan still declines to take the big exposition repeats in the Third and Seventh Symphonies. (It would be interesting to know his thinking on this). I had a faulty pressing of the Sixth Symphony (track five going haywire) but the performance is a joy, the best account of the Pastoral Karajan has given us since his widely admired 1953 Philharmonia version. There isn't here the sheer vernal freshness of the recently reissued Erich Kleiber LP recording with the Concertgebouw Orchestra (Decca France mono 1592105, 10/85) nor does the Karajan outclass the pre-war Toscanini, but the orchestral playing provides miracles of fine-grained detail and exquisite tone-painting, and the climaxes have their own special lambency. Karajan doesn't attempt to disguise the fact that he knows every inch of the terrain he is crossing, but the performance avoids all sense of routine or predictability. It is also a joy to put on the fast movement of the Ninth and hear a reading so rhythmically accurate and authoritative as this. Not since Toscanini has there been a conductor who conveys so acutely the movement's fraught oscillations between rhythmic drive and charged songfulness: the tragic confrontation between Dionysus and Apollo which the finale will resolve.

The latest account of the Eroica, which is also issued separately this month, hasn't quite the uninhibited fieriness of the Kleiber, reviewed below, though it is beautifully played and projected at a comparably quick tempo in the first movement (dotted minim = 53). The sound has pleasingly natural perspectives, though I thought horn and flute a shade too distant at the crucial lead back to the recapitulation, bars 408-24. Unlike many conductors in their later years, Karajan does not take an apocalyptic view of the first two movements. The Beethoven hero, Karajan intelligently suggests, is not a tragic figure consumed by the experiences he confronts, but a man who sits easily in the saddle, riding out his destiny, Karajan's reading of the Funeral March, underpinned by hi fabled mastery of the long musical paragraph, is eloquent and long-breathed, a threnody for a dying Antony rather than the troubled obsequies of an Oedipus or a Lear. It follows that where a conductor like Furtwangler, increasingly gloomy and obsessed, grew to see the symphony's last two movements as an irrelevance, Karajan sees them more than ever as the symphony's true goal and resting-point. The Scherzo is bouyant rather than quick (dotted minim around 104, slower than Beethoven's metronome but establishing an identical pulse relationship between first movement and Scherzo to that suggested by Beethoven), the finale dazzling in its joyous revelation of Beethoven's contrapuntal string writing. The oboe-led Poco Andante is played more ravishingly than on any previous Karajan recording, ushering in a paragraph of quiet awe—the playing utterly simple, from the heart, as it were—which steals over the face of the performance like a benediction.

The Eroica record is completed by a performance of the Egmont Overture which has one surprising lapse of intonation and some more tonal commutings between sound that is full blown and sound that is sinewy and spare. This is a pity when Karajan's reading is intinct with a sense of theatre. (Even though he makes less of Egmont's deathblow than Furtwangler used to; there may be an edit or new take here.) There are some similar unevenness in the new account of the Eighth Symphony, also issued here for the first time. The symphony needs to sound terse and epigrammatic if it isn't to become too overweening a display of the obsessive and self-dramatising elements in Beethoven's personality. Karajan's 1962 recording seems more careful and keener-eared than this one, though the reading is essentially unchanged. The Fidelio and Leonore No. 3 are strongly played in the German style. There's some staggeringly fine playing in the coda of Leonore No. 3; and there is also a powerful account of the Coriolan Overture, its monomaniac passion throwing interesting light back over the Eighth Symphony which it follows.

Karajan's admirers will want the entire cycle; others would do well to investigate the Eroica and the single-disc coupling of the Fifth and Sixth symphonies before completing the purchase (CD 413 932-2GH, 1/85). The longer term significance of this cycle is that it is the first specially made for film, an enterprise which promises revealing insights into the processes as well as the results of Beethoven interpretation. I hope, too, that in the fullness of time Karajan's earlier Beethoven cycles will find their way on to Compact Disc, along with the Beethoven recordings of Karajan's principal mentor in Beethoven interpretation, Arturo Toscanini.'(Gramophone 6/1986)

補記:最後還是在博客來敗下去了,畢竟不貴,再加上即使日後降價再版,「金裝」亦可能不再復現...。這段過程中,曾仔細觀察博客來網站所謂的「限量」機制,第一,數字真的會往下掉,可能不是唬人的玩意,所以,部分熱門搶手貨往往短時間內便搶購一空,像是波伽利的幾張CD+DVD特價版在上線第一天後一路缺貨,第二,博客來生意真的非常不錯,此次卡拉揚百年紀念特賣活動最搶手的逸品,便是不到900元的3張DVD一套貝多芬交響曲全集,缺貨補貨的循環週而復始一再重演,光是這套DVD,博客來絕對賣掉不下數百套,難怪曾有媒體報導,光是一家博客來已經吃下古典音樂CD市場的八成以上(2005/09/29 聯合報)...

波蘭指揮家安東尼魏特(Antoni Wit)CD銷售突破300萬張




1.在Naxos的長期經營下,安東尼魏特已經灌錄超過140張CD,超越等前輩Witold Rowicki等人榮登波蘭指揮家銷售成績一哥。


3.最早前,魏特曾經幫波蘭前國營唱片公司Polskie Nagrania錄音,1989 東歐民主化浪潮風起雲湧,恰逢Naxos積極在東歐地區尋找價廉物美的錄音樂團,魏特當時擔任波蘭西南工業大城Katowice市的波蘭國家廣播交響管絃樂團(The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Katowice,簡稱PNRSO)藝術總監一職,就陸續幫Naxos公司錄下Tchaikovsky、Rachmaninov、Prokofiev、Mahler等人交響作品基本曲目,在此同時,魏特也沒有忘記替祖國音樂家發聲,一路從Katowice挺進首都波蘭,2002年就任波蘭首屈一指的華沙愛樂交響樂團音樂總監。

Warsaw Philharmonic and the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) conducted by Antoni Wit - Record sales reach three million

Sales reports published by NAXOS, the leader of the world's classical music market, inform that the company has already sold nearly 3 million CDs recorded by Antoni Wit with NOSPR and Warsaw Philharmonic. More than one fifth of this number are recordings of works by the greatest Polish contemporary composers: H.M. Górecki, W. Kilar, W. Lutosławski.

The NAXOS catalogues cover a wide spectrum of Polish music on 28 CDs. Thanks to these releases, the majority of symphonic and large-scale vocal-instrumental works by these composers has been made available worldwide, as NAXOS is renowned for excellent, global distribution of its products. Many of NAXOS's projects have not been sold in large numbers of copies and have not brought sufficient profit to offset the initial outlay. In spite of this, NAXOS has upheld the decision to release Polish music by the above listed composers in collector sets, and in now has in its catalogue 10 CDs with music by Lutosławski and 8 CDs with works by Penderecki. A complete edition of works by Szymanowski and Karłowicz, recorded with the Warsaw Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, is forthcoming. The recording sessions were completed in January 2008, and the first disc containing both Violin Concertos (with Ilya Kaler as soloist) as well as the Nocturne and Tarantella by Szymanowski has already been released.

Eighty records sold in more than 2,200,000 copies feature music by European composers, as well as film music. The top selling records contain compositions by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Mahler and Ravel. In the previous year, the albums which enjoyed the greatest popularity were those with recordings of Symphony No. 8 by Gustav Mahler (with the Warsaw Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and Choir) and The Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauss (with Staatskapelle Weimar), which were highly acclaimed by music critics worldwide.

Antoni Wit has also recorded for such record labels as EMI-HMV, CBS, Decca, NVS Arts, Pony Canyon, Polskie Nagrania, altogether - more than 140 titles. The total sales figures for CDs which feature maestro Wit as conductor are the highest among the Polish conductors and place him on a par with the greatest European artists.


2008年4月3日 星期四

Andre Previn蕭士塔高維契第八號交響曲經典錄音重現江湖(EMI)

雖然貝多芬錄音被批評的一文不值,Previn畢竟不是浪得虛名,EMI Encore系列即將推出其指揮LSO錄製的蕭士塔高維契第八號交響曲,則是公認可以列入名盤的經典錄音。

香港版 Hi-Fi音響CD天書(1996年版)是這麼寫的:

Sensible Sound雜誌在評論葛濟夫錄音時也是這麼開始的:
What is clear is that if you already own Previn's 1973 EMI recording of the Shostakovich Eighth, you probably don't need any others. It is still among the best performances and best recordings available. If you don't have it or can't get it, this one by Valery Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra (and several other alternatives) may fit the bill. What is unclear is why Philips re-released this 1995 Gergiev recording at full price after releasing it originally in 1996. ( November 1, 2007


2008年4月2日 星期三

Andre Previn的RCA時期貝多芬交響曲錄音(SONYBMG日本版)

看看Richard Osborne是如何在英國《留聲機》雜誌評價這些錄音:

This newly released RCA recording of the Ninth was made several years ago, in July 1989 and June 1990. Previn's reading is a traditional one, and none the worse for that. The Scherzo takes fire and so does much of the finale. Elsewhere, though, there is often a feeling of blandness about the orchestral playing. This may be due in part to the recording which renders the orchestral sound as a slightly distant mass. The first movement, certainly, needs to be much more cleanly etched than it is here. But, then, this in turn raises the question of the degree to which the players are engaging with the music as opposed merely to playing it through.(Gramophone 4/1995 )

Previn's new Fifth with the RPO sits a little heavily on the stomach like decent beef rather too thickly cut and too liberally supplied with unsurprising things like gravy and potatoes. This particularly applies to the RPO's playing of the slow movement and the trio of the scherzo. But Previn's rather too moderate view of the first movement must take some of the blame for the lack of excitement and wonder it all brings on. By the time we have been invited to look through the charmed casement opened by the oboe's rapt cadenza, the tension is relatively low. There is little sense of brief visionary release. At the onset of the recapitulation there is no onrush of feeling or sudden spontaneous outflow of emotion such as Weingartner used to engender. I miss any sense of scalp-tightening excitement as the new motif spontaneously breaks in at bar 423; and there is little sense of pathos in the oboe's falling descants in the coda. The symphony's finale is very grand here, but ultimately rather marmoreal.
The recording is clean and lively but in both the symphony and the overtures the RPO playing seems to be geared to that quality of Englishman characterized by Sir Thomas Beecham as not much liking music, but absolutely loving the noise it makes. In Beecham's day the RPO was a subtler, fierier, more quick-witted band than here.'(Gramophone 1/1990)

第四號&第八號交響曲(日本版分兩張,分別是4/5 與 7/8)
There have been some tolerable things in Previn's Beethoven cycle but his evident care for the music is not enough to imprint the performances on mind and imagination at this juncture in the history of these too much recorded works. Compared with EMI's recently reissued CDs of Beecham's account of the Eighth Symphony made with the five year-old RPO in 1951 orKlemperer's 1957 Philharmonia Fourth (reviewed below) the interpretations lack individuality and the playing lacks point. Of the two symphonies, the Fourth responds better to Previn's relaxed, warm-toned approach; the Eighth, by contrast, is very laboured in feel: broadly paced and slow on the uptake.'(Gramophone 8/1990)

幾年前玫瑰唱片大特價時,以很低的價格(應該略等於NT$100上下)購進一片第七號加第八號(RCA Basic 100版),原本想說可以參考看看。看完這樣只有一個「慘」字加以形容的樂評,老實說,一點購買意願都沒了...

2008年4月1日 星期二



事實上,儘管NAXOS不特別強調「明星級」演奏家或指揮家,但也逐漸捧出幾位屬於自己旗下的明星藝術家,像是美國女指揮家Marin Alsop或波蘭指揮家Antoni Wit等,都是實實在在靠著一張張演錄俱佳的作品,慢慢累積自己的國際聲望,也將自己從地區性二線樂團慢慢推向世界古典音樂表演舞台的中央。
華沙愛樂(Warsaw Philharmonic)音樂總監魏特(Antoni Wit)指揮馬勒第八號「千人」交響曲

事實上,NAXOS也慢慢吸引很多之前五大古典集團簽約明星藝術家加盟,美國籍指揮家史拉特金(Leonard Slatkin)便是其中一例,繼獲得葛萊美大獎的波爾肯(William Bolcom)《純真與經驗之歌》(Songs of Innocence and Experience ,8.559216-18)之後,計畫與英國BBC音樂會交響樂團(BBC Concert Orchestra )灌錄安德森(Leroy Anderson)管弦樂曲全集,四月份已經發行第二集

史拉特金指揮美國當代女作曲家陶爾(Joan Tower)作品《Made in America》錄音(8.559328)獲2007葛萊美最佳當代古典音樂作曲大獎。

另外,儘管其他公司絕版重發片現身NAXOS已經不是新聞,但四月份有看到一張英國ASV公司的Bottesini低音提琴協奏曲,印象當中應該是頭一回,指揮家是Andrew Litton,連豎笛家艾瑪強森(Emma Johnson)也都插上一腳,也都算是明星級的古典音樂家。