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Positive Feedback ISSUE 72
march/april 2014


New Music
by Karl Lozier


Jean-Marie Leclair, The Complete Sonatas for Two Violins. Violinists: Greg Ewer and Adam Lamotte, Sono Luminus DSL-92176

I got more than I expected with this new release. The name, Leclair I had remembered but not really knowing why. He is one of the great names when violins are the subject. Violinists know about him. They know about his style of playing and his influence on others as to playing the violin. The French style emphasized fast rhythmic bowing, influenced by dancing more than the vocal and slower lyrical style favored by the Italians. Leclair influenced the French school of playing, at least partly because of his common use of multiple stops. It has been said that he created the French national style of violin playing. He also mastered the Italian style though more importantly was his compositions in the mainly French style .The writer of the liner notes stated that Leclair's contribution to music history cannot be overstated. His duos influenced later composers such as Mozart and De Beriot as well as Bartok and Berio.

The Opus 3 sonatas were from 1730 and the Opus12 were sixteen years later. These beautiful compositions seem to be perfectly performed here as might be expected as they seemed to be written with advanced amateurs in mind. The audio quality is probably as close to perfect as can be done with the current state of the art. If you know any very good amateur violinists that like to play duos, you might be doing them a favor to mention this outstanding release.


Prokofiev. Piano Concerto No.3 and Symphony No.5. Pianist: Denis Matsuev , Orchestra: Marinsky. Conductor: Valery Gergiev. Marinsky: SACD hybrid Mar 054

There certainly is a great deal of top notch concert programmed classical music presented here. Each selection could easily be the featured concert selection. The well known piano concerto No.3 was recorded in the concert hall of the Marinsky Theater, St. Petersburg, Russia .The longer symphony was recorded in the Moscow Conservatoire during the Moscow Easter Festival. As I ponder as to my selection of words, I realize that I have much the same general feeling about both of these fine compositions. Any flaws are not very obvious and during loud and powerful passages the clean clear passages can be almost over powering. Not quite as melodic as some Russian composers, the orchestra responds with forward momentum and a driving energy more often than simple melodic passages. The fine results seem more serious than with similar potential passages by the Russian composer Tchaikovsky that often turn out so very melodic. The playing is fully captured by the fine recording though there does seem to be a slight emphasis on the bass end or the left hand side of the key board in both of these fine selections. It is easy to recommend the recording for either selection.


Sultans of Strings 9 (Performers)

Symphony (Album Title) Why, the unusual title for the music you are probably asking. The following statement should give you a big hint. For two days in June we brought together the finest musicians from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Ballet Orchestra, Canadian Opera Company Orchestra and others to realize our vision of recording with a full symphony and conductor Jamie Hopkins and some special guests we have always wanted to work with. The resulting fifty-five piece orchestra did windup being a bit special. They were really quite excellent. In addition to the excellent overall performance, Definitive Technology's Supercube 4000 subwoofer at a mere795 dollars, was a bit of an over performer at that price and is really a genuine bargain and easy to recommend for getting really down low and with power .Yes, it was kind of getting reviewed at the same time. It should be interesting for you to try to determine if a certain note or passage is being played on the usual instruments or not with the unusual mix mentioned.


Mozart Serenade in B flat major KV361 "Gran Partita". The Stuttgart Winds  Tacet# B 209 

The disc says Blu-ray though I get hints that it will play just fine on any player you have (no guarantee).The performance is simply excellent and so is the recorded audio quality. It will earn a top recommendation from me. You heard that first, right here.


Nine Notes That Shook The World. Ronn Mc Farlane-Renaissance and Baroque Lutes and MindyRosenfeld- Renaissance,Baroque and Celtic Flutes, Fifes, Harp and Bagpipe

Much of the traditional or folk music here is Irish or from Scotland, or Britain. This collection has borrowed its title from one of the contained musical sources. So many sources and stories; too many to list easily so I chose one as an example: "Sitting in the Stern of a Boat." This tune was written by the Rev. Wm .McLeod as he sailed off for the last time from the village he'd lived in for his whole life, watching as everything familiar to him slowly receded from sight disappearing into the mist as he sailed to his new parish. Think about that event sometime! In the meantime, think about the second disc in the CD case. It is the same music except in beautiful Blu-ray form. How about that?


Anders Koppel. String Quartets and Mezzo Saxophone Quintet featuring Benjamin Koppel

Anders is a composer that is free to go wherever he seems to be called. He definitely is a product of the classical European musical tradition. He also is deeply into what might be called world music; the music of rock and jazz. He is the son of composer and pianist Herman D. Koppel. Early on as might be guessed, he played piano and on the side, he chose clarinet. As a performing artist he was one of the mainstays of the rock group Savage Rose. After he left Savage Rose, he spent more time crating contemporary music. He still is an active musician in the Group Bazaar. He actively joins his son the saxophonist, Benjamin Koppel.