Friday, September 14, 2007

As rare as hens' teeth

I'm putting together a little collection of viola CDs to give to the new Georgian classical music radio station, Radio Muza. It's just been started - it was an idea of Mrs President who missed listening to classical music radio (she's Dutch). So she rounded up a lot of sponsors and got people trained by Dutch producers and now it's off. Having no real radio myself here I listen to it via my mobile phone (a Nokia N80) which is really coming into its own now!

Anyway, when one puts together a collection of CDs, of course one seeks advice (and gets it, from the ever wonderful viola list). In addition I have quite a big collection of my own, but of course like to keep that, in case Ipods melt down etc.

So I looked round amazon.de for some of those CDs, and geez, what a surprise! The Tabea Zimmermann Bartok/Schwanendreher recording costs 150 Euros; the Masurenko CD of British viola works which I bought some time last year, is no longer available; Kancheli's 'Styx' with Bashmet is still available new, but already 69 Euros from other dealers. I'm glad I usually buy the CDs when I see them reviewed. This collection of mine may be worth something in time....

I did find some lovely new CDs though, including the lovely Antoine Tamestit's recording of Bachs second violin partita (or sonata? - the one with the Ciaconna), which also included a piece by Ligeti I don't know. Tamestit takes risks and does 'funky' - he's a wonderful player and a lovely person, too. The gorgeous Lars Anders Tomter has recorded both Shostakovich's viola sonata and his cello sonata transcribed for viola; first time I heard him was in Edinburgh with the world premiere of the Halgrimsson viola concerto; he's another fairly regular attender of viola congresses. It's fun doing this, and getting them some less well-known pieces.

My impression had been that was a bit of a conservative station until, when I listened the other evening, I heard a version Bach's 4th cello suite with cello, bandoneon and percussion - still trying to work out who recorded this - it really was fun! Took me a while to identify the piece which I knew oh so well (there was so much percussion and other extraneous stuff, but I know a bandoneon when I hear one) - but luckily I had my sheet music with me. (Announcements in Georgian aren't much good to me - my numbers only go up to 3 - erti, ori, sami - and I think even 'Bach' might become 'Bachi'.)