Stark and stunning piano and cello from Mischa Schneider and Peter Serkin

Sonata in A Minor for Cello and Piano, Op. 116: I. Allegro moderato

by Peter Serkin – on the album “Music from Marlboro – Busoni: Fantasia Contrappuntistica for Two Pianos / Reger: Cello Sonata”

6dd7bd04df449d2967566e76f0da6f4e82ab4c74Ah… being first is neat… but rather bittersweet. I mean, here is this really quite stunning festival recording of a Reger piano and cello sonata from two masters,* yet no one has listened to it yet on Spotify. Where they could listen for free. (Or at least at the pain of an advert every once in a while — keep a hand ready to turn down the volume, since the ads are about Skrillex level, relative volume-wise.)

The work, itself, has a haunting, brooding quality (not like all those happy-go-lucky piano-cello sonatas, yeah?) perfect for the right rainy day. (But watch out on the wrong one. Do not follow with Billie Holiday singing, “Gloomy Sunday.”)

Strong performances, I think, a rapt audience, and darkly hypnotic material. What’s not to like? You’d think it would have caught on. (But, hey, maybe it went up yesterday, right? But not all of the 4 million unheard tracks on Spotify went up yesterday.)

On Google Music: https://play.google.com/music/m/B427f76tt2a2fvzym4azxdqmp3i

* Someone else had listened to the Busoni piano duo. And, in fact, someone else on Forgotify will likely be served up the second movement of this sonata, since I switched to my own (‘hi fi’) all-320 kbps subscription service when the sound on Spot — who have a mix of stream qualities — seemed a bit dodgy — that said, there’s a bit of noise on this live, festival recording at the very beginning of the sonata, sounds like something scraping a live mic. But the rest of the recording is fine, I often ‘forgot’ I was listening to a live recording.

Alaskan history told in song…

Stampede: Stroller White’s Account / Battleship Maine (medley)

by Walter Krauss – on the album “Southeast Alaska Folk Tradition, Vol. 2: Stampede and Settlement, 1898-1941”

cdcdb182bf27b812b9a35b03ef38eff49bd52e4aThe language is a bit bluer than we might expect from an anthology of old-time music, but this collection of spoken word, found sound, narration, and musical recreations aims to reveal Alaskan history mostly through song from the era — and is probably one of the most on point collections of folk music around when it comes to history and storytelling.