Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Capirola - Pieces du luth - Marincola

Rating: 4/5

Very enjoyable

I think this is rather lovely.  Capirola was a new composer to me, who turns out to have written some very worthwhile lute pieces.  They don't have immense melodic and harmonic inventiveness, but they are very enjoyable and have the musical content and variety to keep me interested throughout the disc.  Frederico Marincola's playing is very good; smooth, expressive and well adapted to Capirola's style.  The recording is good, so the lute sounds full and quite beautiful at times. 

In short, this is a good disc of enjoyable Renaissance lute music, well played and recorded.  If you have any interest in this period or in the lute, I can recommend this warmly.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Mozart - Piano Concertos - Suh, ASMF, Marriner

Rating: 3/5


I'm afraid I'm not all that keen on this set.  It has its moments, but overall I was rather disappointed.

Suh Hai-Kyung is plainly a talented pianist with the technique to deal with some of the demanding passages in these concertos, but I find there's an empathy and expressiveness missing in a lot of places.  Take the D minor Concerto, K466, for example.  The dark drama of the opening movement never quite becomes really dark or dramatic for me, and the exquisite second movement Romance just sounds…well…a bit ordinary, somehow.  I don't get any of the flowing beauty which Brendel, Perahia, Uchida and others bring to it and the whole thing sounds just a bit mechanical to me.  I certainly don't want grand romantic gestures, but Mozart's music does need a subtle expressiveness if it is really to speak to me.

The orchestral work is very good under Neville Marriner and Suh's approach works much better in some of the lively rondo finales, so it's not all bad news, but I have to say that I'll be sticking with my already much-loved versions.  I would recommend sets by Mitsuko Uchida or Murray Perahia well before this, and I can't give it much of a recommendation.