2008年11月30日 星期日

Angeles Quartet 演奏海頓弦樂四重奏全集

以下摘自英國留聲機雜誌(Gramophone)2001年3月號,執筆者Mr. Rob Cowan:

The wonderful and variegated world of Haydn’s string quartets has long been daily sustenance for connoisseurs of musical classicism, and record companies have consistently honoured its worth with enthusiasm, even since the days of acoustically recorded 78s. For our purposes, however, the most relevant comparisons are with the Aeolian Quartet on Decca and the Kodaly Quartet on Naxos. The all- digital Naxos series features performances that are, in the main, musically reliable and technically proficient. But turn back to the 1973-76 Aeolian series and every work becomes an event, every quirk of harmony, rhythm or timing is etched with maximum relish.

Up until now, the Aeolians have had the slimline CD box field very much to themselves, which makes the arrival of this superb new Philips release especially significant. In practical terms, switching between sets can be confusing. Both reproduce the same portrait of Haydn on individual disc jackets, each within the context of an identical jacket design, save that Decca uses a serif typeface printed in black, and Philips, sanserif printed in blue. So if you already have the Aeolian set, but fancy owning both, then beware of unintentionally mixing and matching.

Comparative disc layouts begin to differ from CD 3, and the Angeles omit The Seven Last Words, a work which, beautiful though it is, was not originally written for string quartet. Recordings-wise, Philips favours a warm, open sound, balanced much as you would hear it from the centre stalls in a smallish-size concert hall. Decca’s analogue recordings are closer, dryer, more sensitive to extraneous noise and commonly balanced in favour of Emanuel Hurwitz’s first violin. I like that quality in principle – it’s a clear and intimate sound frame – and the leader bias actually suits the divertimento-style early quartets, but Philips’s more refined engineering makes for less strenuous listening in extended (ie concert-length) sessions. A handful of edits (audible more through headphones than on speakers) are the only blots on Philips’s otherwise immaculate aural landscape.

The 12-year-old Angeles Quartet embarked on their Haydn recording project back in 1994, bringing it to final fruition some five years later. The original team consisted of Kathleen Lenski, Steven Miller, Brian Dembow and Stephen Erdody, with Sara Parkins replacing Miller in 1998. Seventeen of the 67 quartets feature the revised line-up but, to be quite honest, the blend, balance and distinctive aural profile that was already in place by the early 90s was scarcely altered with that one personnel change.

I admire the svelte texture of the Angeles’ pooled sound, their consistent evenness in full chords and the musical like-mindedness of individual players, whether in excited presto s or in shared rubato. As to contrasts in playing styles, think of the relatively smooth-toned Juilliard or Emerson Quartets (Angeles) as compared with the internally differentiated Amadeus Quartet (Aeolian). There are a few textual differences – accompanying figures that fall 1'15'' into the Adagio of Op 0 are played pizzicato by the Angeles and arco by the Aeolians, and an appoggiatura in the first movement of Op 54 No 1 (Angeles) is ironed out to full note value by the Aeolians; other such differences centre primarily on the issue of musical repeats, and in that respect the Aeolians are marginally more generous. The Angeles are generally lighter, faster and subtler in their use of tone colouring whereas the Aeolians’ roster of virtues includes strong (even emphatic) characterisation, consistently flexible phrasing and a more pungent approach to rhythm.

Surfing the set for good sampling points brings us, initially, to the early quartets, where both groups sport some superb first-violin solo work, tastefully inflected with Lenski, more candidly expressive with Hurwitz. A particularly telling comparison is provided by the quietly contrapuntal Minuet of Op 17 No 1, where the Angeles’ seamless legato contrasts against the Aeolians’ near staccato. The exquisite Adagio of Op 20 No 6 is another good place to compare, the Angeles with their perfectly timed pauses, warm cello line and overall restraint set against the more romantic, even rhapsodic, Aeolian. Listening to the first bars of Op 33 No 1 is like eavesdropping on a small gathering mid-conversation, where the cello line gradually gains in urgency. I loved the Angeles’ sotto voce handling of the scherzo to Op 33 No 3: it’s rather more pensive than the Aeolians and marks much more of a contrast with the chirping trio.

Op 50 No 4’s Andante anticipates the dramatic interjections that trouble various late Schubert slow movements. Both groups are effective here, though when the cello marks an expected change of key two minutes or so into the movement, it’s the Aeolian’s Derek Simpson who makes the biggest impact: you can almost see the rosin erupt from his strings. In Op 50 No 5 late Beethoven springs more readily to mind, but there I find the Angeles’ extra speed and restraint more effective. Note how beautifully they negotiate the quiet alternation between upper and lower voices towards the end of Op 50 No 6’s Poco adagio and the sudden blossoming that follows. Then again, Op 54 No 1’s mobile Allegretto second movement harbours the potential to switch from tenseness to lyrical effusiveness, which the Angeles exploit to the full, as they do for the rhapsodising Adagio of Op 54 No 2. Late Beethoven is evoked once more, this time the Cavatina from Op 130.

Beam up around three minutes into the Adagio of the Lark Quartet (Op 64 No 5) and you’ll note how skilfully the Angeles cue a ritardando, while the bracing finale to Op 74 No 3 has just the right degree of bounce to offset all the breathless excitement. The Sunrise Quartet (Op 76 No 4) opens like a spring flower (never more so than in the Angeles’ ecstatically controlled performance) and Op 77 No 1’s cheeky Allegro moderato bounds in with perfectly modulated high spirits.

Whenever I encounter these works en bloc I momentarily wonder if life isn’t too short to bother about any other music. Silly, I know, but the pickings are so incredibly rich. I had originally sorted through my own collection to compare the Lindsays, Amadeus, Vienna Konzerthaus, Quatuor Mosaiques, Pro Arte and Takacs, all of whom have added substantially – and characterfully – to the Haydn quartet discography. All have their value, but in this particular context it really is a head-to-head contest between two ‘complete’ sets similarly presented.

Richard Wigmore contributes detailed annotation, quite different from Lindsay Kemp’s overview for Decca, but just as useful and equally well-written. My own tastes incline towards the Angeles, and primarily to their restrained expressiveness and consistent attention to detail. Philips’s superior recording is another bonus. The Aeolians generate more immediate heat (I mean that as a compliment) but, ultimately, the Angeles’ intelligence and cooler blending pay the higher musical dividends. Personal taste will be a crucial deciding factor, but one thing is for certain: you simply have to invest in one or the other. Fortunately for us, both are competitively priced, though the Decca set is the cheaper of the two.'

小眉批:無論是Aeolians或Angeles任一套都是在Decca,Rob Cowan說前者具有價格優勢,但這是指國外售價而言,趕在環球低價套裝優惠即將結束前,我還是決定買下後者,只花三張小朋友外加兩個銅板...

2008年11月29日 星期六

聞所未聞:Schiff &Vegh貝多芬小提琴奏鳴曲全集

匈牙利鋼琴家András Schiff跟同為匈牙利裔的指揮家Sandor Végh曾經合作留下一套莫札特鋼琴協奏曲全集,算是樂迷們比較熟悉的作品,但兩人有室內樂合作,恐怕沒幾個人知道吧!?
該系列同時推出的作品有英國古鋼琴家Malcolm Binns彈奏貝多芬鋼琴奏鳴曲全集(10CDs,¥7500),這不但是從未聽過的版本,更是一個陌生的名字,再次深刻體會碟海無涯的個人之不足...

2008年11月25日 星期二


國內有代理商發行的Lothar Zagrosek指揮擁有「冬天拜魯特」封號之Stuttgart Opera,2002~3年實況錄影華格納指環歌劇全集DVD,在本地代理商的行銷策略主導下,擁有非常適合擺放在客廳酒櫃的「精美燙金外盒包裝」(博×來上有詳細介紹),看起來似乎很美,只可惜價格一點都不美,一個人頭的消費券只能買3/4集,也就是說,要看完第四部曲《諸神的黃昏》的,請自己掏腰包補價差囉...

同樣的東西,國際版近期將改由Medici Arts公司發行,英國Presto網站正進行大特價,要價折合台幣不到NT$1400(美金US$40.11),如果連同時間將重新上市的阿巴多義大利實況錄影貝多芬九首交響曲全集DVD(US$29.61)一起買,還花不到2/3消費券的金額,還可以在3000元免關稅門檻下加買1~2張CD,感覺起來消費券好像還真的能夠買不少好東西。

2008年11月21日 星期五







《命運》的主旋律在姜瑪愛到達機場的場面中響起。韓國交響樂團的李慶蘭(音)表示:“當初在沒有協奏曲的情況下,僅用交響曲舉行演奏會有不少壓力,但隨著交響曲在電視劇中被介紹,反應非常熱烈。”作為藝術總監參與電視劇製作的指揮家徐熙太(音)計畫組成“貝多芬交響樂團”,本月29日在城南藝術中心歌劇院(Opera House)舉行音樂會。

在唱片市場,情況也很相似。唱片公司UNIVERSAL MUSIC KOREA表示,以電視劇《貝多芬病毒》中演奏和介紹的古典音樂為主製作的唱片發行一個月就售出3.6萬張。這比同期上市的女高音家曹秀美、申英玉的新專輯銷量多出1萬至2萬張,排在古典音樂排行榜首位元。UNIVERSAL MUSIC KOREA部長曹熙京(音)表示:“觀眾們通過電視劇重新感受了本來就想聽一聽的熟悉的古典音樂,因而感到更加親切。”


來源:2008.11.14 南韓 朝鮮日報

2008年11月16日 星期日

音樂會前推薦聆賞錄音:英國Philharmonia Orchestra

近日跟一位國內公立交響樂團大老提到英國愛樂交響樂團(Philharmonia Orchestra)網站上,有列出所謂「音樂會前推薦聆賞錄音」,他剛開始覺得覺得是一個推廣古典音樂很好的點子,但想了一下以後,又覺得很可能會被批評是「商業化」或「圖利特定唱片廠牌」,在台灣落實的困難度有點高...


茲以明年2月21日Gustavo Dudamel指揮,Emanuel Ax擔任協奏的定期音樂會為例,演出曲目為莫札特第17號鋼琴協奏曲與馬勒第5號交響曲,愛樂交響樂團網站上推薦的錄音為~


Mozart Piano Concerto No. 17, K453

Leif Ove Andsnes/Norwegian Chamber Orchestra (with Piano Concerto No. 20, K466) EMI 5 00281 2

Maurizio Pollini/Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (with Piano Concerto No. 21, K467) DG 477 5795

Mahler Symphony No. 5

Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela/Gustavo Dudamel DG 477 6545

Berlin Philharmonic/Sir Simon Rattle EMI 5 57385 2

New Philharmonia Orchestra/Sir John Barbirolli EMI 5 66910 2

Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Jonathan Nott Tudor 7126

Philharmonia Orchestra/Benjamin Zander (plus introductory talk) Telarc 2CD-80569

Brahms Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79; Three Intermezzos, Opp. 117 & 119

Emanuel Ax/Chicago Symphony Orchestra/James Levine (Concerto No. 1); Boston Symphony Orchestra/Bernard Haitink (Concerto No. 2) Sony 88697035102

Chopin Ballades and Scherzos

Emanuel Ax RCA 82876 72554 2

The Promise of Music

A documentary about the Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel (includes a complete performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, Eroica) DG 073 4427 (DVD)

前兩者是音樂會曲目,後三者則顯然是關於演出音樂家本身的代表作。比較讓人驚異的是,莫札特鋼琴協奏曲並未列入Vladimir Ashkenazy與英國愛樂樂團本身的錄音(Decca),這樣的「廓然大度」,不得不讓人豎起大拇指!

2008年11月6日 星期四

戴牙套的15歲鋼琴新秀龔天鵬(Peng Peng)

在近日新購入的CD中,有一張10月是初率領英國皇家愛樂來台演出而即將又在12月底指揮國家交響樂團(NSO)的Leonard Slatkin在Naxos公司新作~Leonard Slatkin自己編曲的展覽會之畫,係其指揮Nashville Symphony Orchestra於2007年6月21日的美國交響樂團聯盟年會音樂會實況錄音,因此,音樂會安可曲目是慷慨激昂的交響樂版美國國歌(Star-spangled Banner)。

協奏曲目是李斯特第一號鋼琴協奏曲,擔綱演出的則是目前就讀於茱莉亞音樂學院的中國鋼琴新秀龔天鵬(Peng-Peng Gong),錄音當時尚未滿15歲,看看以下其個人近兩年演出簡歷,實在讓人刮目相看,尤其很難不讓人聯想到朗郎(Lang Lang),前者英文名字故意取了一個複音的Peng Peng,則頗有東施效顰之味。

鵬鵬近兩年演出亮點包括和小提琴家Itzhak Perlman指揮的茱莉亞音樂學院預科室內樂團在林肯中心的演出;由世界著名指揮家Leonard Slatkin指揮的Aspen Festival Orchestra演出及在法國羅浮宮的歐洲首演。2006年四月鵬鵬參加茱莉亞百年慶典音樂會,與著名作曲家John Williams合作演奏拉赫曼尼諾夫第二鋼琴協奏曲,2007年2月與San Francisco Symphony Orchestra合作,在慶祝中國新年音樂會上演奏柴可夫斯基第一鋼琴協奏曲,07年四月在中國南京、石家莊、鄭州,及青島舉辦系列獨奏音樂會。六月,鵬鵬作為特邀獨奏家在美國交響樂團聯盟年會上與納什維爾交響樂團合作演奏李斯特第一鋼琴協奏曲,指揮Leonard Slatkin,Naxos唱片公司進行了現場錄音。2007年9月在華盛頓甘迺迪中心和National Symphony Orchestra演出季開幕式合作演出。其他合作過的交響樂團包括New Jersey Symphony Orchestra 、Orlando Symphony Orchestra、San Diego Symphony Orchestra等,並在全美各地舉辦獨奏音樂會。2008年元月在北京保利劇院參加《鄉愁》作品音樂會演出,演奏他創作的交響序曲《鄉愁》和鋼琴與交響樂隊《鄉愁》(根據晁岱健為余光中詩篇《鄉愁》譜曲的歌曲《鄉愁》)。2月又再次受邀與San Francisco Symphony Orchestra合作演出,並赴多明尼加共和國國家交響樂團合作演出。未來的演出包括斯洛文尼亞,巴西,夏威夷等。

土耳其鋼琴家Idil Biret推出一系列貝多芬錄音

曾經在Naxos出版蕭邦與布拉姆斯鋼琴音樂全集的土耳其國寶級藝術家Idil Biret,將自2008年12月起陸續發行總數多達20張CD的一系列貝多芬鋼琴作品錄音,其中包括鋼琴協奏曲全集(由 Antoni Wit指揮安卡拉 Bilkent Symphony Orchestra伴奏)、鋼琴奏鳴曲全集、李斯特改編鋼琴版九首交響曲。

雖然英國網購網站將這一系列CD的廠牌標示為Naxos,但從CD照片來看,Naxos應該只是負責代理經銷而已,實際上發行者還是Idil Biret Archives(IBA) ,也就是Idil Biret 專屬的唱片廠牌!
進一步查閱Idil Biret官方網站,除了鋼琴協奏曲2008年新錄音之外,鋼琴協奏曲與鋼琴改編版交響曲都是之前已發行過的舊錄音,後者曾經在1985年短暫以EMI名義發行。

2008年11月1日 星期六


對國內樂迷來說,皇家蘇格蘭國家樂團很可能會直接與Neeme Järvi的樂團劃上等號,他目前是該團的桂冠指揮,過去20年來曾攜手合作為Chandos留下數十張CD錄音,包括普羅高菲夫交響曲與管弦樂曲全集,且新錄音還在不斷推出中,最新作品一樣是由Chandos公司發行,為俄羅斯風濃厚的Taneyev與Rimsky-Korsakov 管弦樂曲作品。

而皇家蘇格蘭國家樂團與Naxos公司的合作關係,最早是從Georg Tintner於1997年灌錄布魯克納交響曲全集,只可惜其中有幾首作品並非是由皇家蘇格蘭國家樂團演出。接下來,讓美國籍女指揮家Marin Alsop揚名立萬的Samuel Barber交響曲與管弦作品全集,再加上兩套北歐作品家錄音~Geirr Tveitt與Hugo Alfvén,都獲得樂評與市場相當正面迴響,最叫好叫座的則是由David Lloyd–Jones指揮的Arnold Bax交響曲全集(7CDs),不僅榮膺企鵝三星指南戴花殊榮(第6號交響曲),更有4張陸續被英國留聲機雜誌挑選為每月主編推薦(第2、3、4、5號交響曲)。在此之前,Arnold Bax的交響曲全集也是由Chandos唱片保持「獨家發行」紀錄,但比較特別的是,該公司有兩套,分別是Bryden Thomson指揮倫敦愛樂與Vernon Handley指揮BBC Philharmonic Orchestra。

在筆者CD架上,皇家蘇格蘭國家樂團也曾經由José Serebrier指揮灌錄蕭士塔高維奇芭蕾舞劇Golden Age(黃金年代),一樣是和Chandos公司發行同曲目錄音正面對決,打破Gennady Rozhdestvensky指揮Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra的「一」家之言局面。

皇家蘇格蘭國家樂團現任音樂總監Stéphane Denève是位法國人(2005年9月上任),已經為Naxos公司錄製兩張Albert Roussel交響曲作品,都被Classics Today網站列為10/10(藝術演出與錄音品質都是滿分),一舉摘下法國Diapason D’Or年度大獎 ,全集系列剩下的第1與第4號交響曲何時會上市頗讓人期待。



皇家利物浦愛樂對台灣樂迷來說,比較熟悉錄音作品的是Sir Charles Mackerras指揮的貝多芬交響曲全集與Vernon Handley指揮的Vaughan Williams交響曲全集,都由廉價廠牌Classics for Pleasure發行,皆屬於演錄俱佳的廉價盤。

皇家利物浦愛樂在Naxos公司的代表作,是由David Lloyd-Jones指揮的William Alwyn交響曲全集(4CDs),並在William Alwyn 基金會支持下,繼續灌錄其他管弦作品。在Naxos公司這套錄音之前,William Alwyn的交響曲錄音,只有由Richard Hickox指揮倫敦交響樂團的Chandos獨家一套錄音,在接下來我們還會看到很多類似例子,Naxos找英國樂團灌錄20世紀英國作曲家罕交響曲目,直接的競爭對手不是Chandos,就是Hyperion,Naxos公司挾其價格優勢,對向來穩扎穩打的兩家英國獨立唱片公司經營帶來很大威脅。

年僅32歲的俄羅斯指揮新秀 Vasily Petrenko就任(2006年9月)後,Naxos公司繼續保持與該團錄音關係,這兩個月來連續推出由其擔綱指揮的兩張錄音,獲得英國媒體相當好評。


They seek him here, they seek him there. Everybody wants Vasily Petrenko, the blond, galvanizing young Russian who, in two years as principal conductor, has transformed the artistic profile of the royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, a talented outfit that had been languishing for too long on the Mersey without inspiring leadership.

So all praise to the budget label Naxos for signing a deal with the orchestra and their Russian wizard for a series of major recordings. This Tchaikovsky CD is just the trailblazer. Liszt’s piano concertos, with the little-known Eldar Nebolsin, follow. Then Petrenko sinks his teeth into a complete Shostakovich symphony cycle—an exciting prospect to be completed in five years, just after his Liverpool contract ends.

Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony, recorded in Liverpool in June last year, presents abundant evidence of the orchestra’s new glory. Feel that crackle of electricity. Listen to the woodwinds’ bright dexterity in the second movement, the strings’ ravishingly controlled pianissimo at the movement’s close, or the fat confidence of the brass. Throughout, the orchestra’s ensemble spirit is so tight that you could cut yourself on the music’s edges. Note, too, the Philharmonic’s rousing organ, crucial to the symphony’s bulging finale: a very satisfying sound.

But the playing on this disc goes beyond polished, red-blooded music-making. Call it taste and intelligence. This programmatic symphony, inspired by Byron’s poetic drama about an outcast wandering to his death in the Alps, belongs in the hothouse corner of Tchaikovsky’s works. An over-melodramatic conductor—no need to list names—can make its weaker portions uncomfortably ludicrous.

Petrenko, bless him, keeps a level head. He makes no attempt in the climax of the problematic finale to raise the dynamics to a level to match the absurd quadruple forte marked in the score. At all points, any vulgar underlining is avoided: Tchaikovsky’s turmoil, passion and sweat come across quite clearly enough through the orchestra’s rhythmic drive, textural clarity and Petrenko’s tight grip on phrasing.

He makes just as good a case for the CD’s filler, the symphonic ballad The Voyevoda, 11 minutes of love, jealousy and death (a typical Tchaikovsky cocktail). Watch out for more Petrenko magic on Naxos.

在不到40歲之前以5年任期時間灌錄蕭斯塔高維奇交響曲全集,Vasily Petrenko,Good Job!