Haydn: Piano Sonata in C, H.XVI No.35 – 2. Adagio

Haydn: Piano Sonata in C, H.XVI No.35 – 2. Adagio

by Haydn, Franz Joseph – on the album “Haydn: The Piano Sonatas/Variations/The Seven Last Words”

Finding great music that’s never been played before on Spotify… it’s fun at first… then it becomes kind of depressing.

Let’s just say you find a lot of music by incredible musicians past and present  that’s never been played… actually, in fact, it looks like most of the world’s insipid, insulting, and annoying music has already been played to death on Spot. You’re not going to run into any Katy Perry or Bruno Mars through Forgotify.

But you will have a chance to hear sublime music like Haydn’s piano concertos played by skilled virtuosi from around the world.

Here’s to forgotten genius!

Tears of the soul over lame re-release labels…

92fe26a161188a5c2518f688b3fdc08d61e21db9Lágrimas Del Alma (Bolero)

by Magdalena Castro – on the album “Vintage México Nº 96 – EPs Collectors “Padre Nuestro””

The good news: fine late 50s or early 60s Latin pop.

The bad news: obviously taken from a scratchy LP, almost certainly by a fly-by-night ‘re-release’ label (likely in an East European country with extremely lax copyright laws that put material out of copyright after 25 years). It’s a practice that’s lead to the cottage industry of such re-release labels simply going down to the used record shop, buying an old copy and releasing it themselves, without paying any licensing or royalties to the artist or original label.

With the rise of so-called aggregators (services that package and release material to a wide variety of online stores and stream operations), we’ve seen these sleazy copyright scofflaws flooding the online stores and stream services with sometimes incredibly awful re-releases. Sometimes the source records are so scratchy the labels apply heavy-handed ‘noise reduction’ that makes once-stellar sounding records sound like crappy low bitrate mp3s from 1996. Underwater, in this case, is precisely the right term for the sonics of many of these releases.

Happily, this is far from the worst of these shadowy re-releases. Still, it’s clear from the continual waver of pitch that the grooved disk these tracks were recorded from had an off-center hole… even if we’re not under water here, the sea is rocky.

Too bad, too, because it’s pretty great music. Castro’s voice gets a little pinched and chipmonky in the high, loud parts, but it’s got a lot of very Latin soul. Fine music. Crummy vessel for it.


A listener’s guide to what, you say?

1fdab0e4cab07f7bb0f13bcd001d4314a6f67bbeLa Nativite du Seigneur: IX. Dieu parmi nous

by Olivier Messiaen; Robert Noehren – on the album “Organ Music – Bach, J.S. / Gherardeschi, G. / Buxtehude, D. / Lefebure-Wely, L. / Durufle, M. / Messiaen, O. / Sowerby, L. / Rorem, N.

Ah… people just keep cranking out beautiful music —  but then there’s no one to listen.


Yet another heretofore unheard track from Spotify’s ‘forgotten fifth’ — the roughly 4 million of Spot’s 20 million or so tracks that have never gotten a human play there.

Until now.

For the record, this mouthful of an 8 minute-or-so modernist organ fantasia by 20th century composer Olivier Messiaen is track 7 on this album, indicating at least one other brave soul (but perhaps six) have plumbed these deeply reverberant depths — and heights — there is something about this track that, in this listener’s usually unfevered imagination, paints a stark and stunningly acromanic* image of a huge Gothic cathedral, its far and upper reaches lost in shadow. Lots of forearm on the keyboard stuff… worthy of yet another remake of the Phantom of the Opera — but, of course, with Messiaen’s  bold and restless embrace of the musical moment.

Organist Robert Noehren struck these ears as well-worthy of the challenges implicit in this striking piece.

I also listened to “Fantasy for Flute Stops” by Leo Sowerby, performed by Catharine Crozier, a six minute plus exploration of the flute (and presumably other woodwind) stops on what very much seems to be  a very different instrument in a very different environment. The piece may well have presented special challenges to the performer, but, particularly after the Messiaen, it offers the listener a moderately charming, relatively charming six minutes.

Neologiphobe note: as used above, acromania is a form of madness induced by certain forms of acrophobia.