Thursday, December 10, 2009

Diddú ~ Ave Maria

Diddú & Blásarasextett Mosfellsdals

1. Franz Schubert / Sigurður Einarsson Ave Maria
2. Caccini/Mercurio / Latin prayer Ave Maria
3. Luigi Cherubini / Latin prayer Ave Maria
4. Old hymn tune / Unknown author Marian prayer
5. Björgvin Guðmundsson / Latin prayer Ave Maria
6. Eyþór Stefánsson / Latin prayer Ave Maria
7. Sigurður Þórðarson / Latin prayer Ave Maria
8. Páll Ísólfsson / Davíð Stefánsson Marian prayer
9. Bach/Gounod / Latin prayer Ave Maria
10. Georges Bizet / Latin prayer Ave Maria
11. Pietro Mascagni / Latin prayer Ave Maria
12. From an Icelandic gradual / Ólafur Hjaltason Mother of God
13. Einar Markan / Einar Markan Marian prayer
14. Karl Ottó Runólfsson / Matthías Jochumsson Marian prayer
15. Þórarinn Jónsson / Latin prayer Ave Maria
16. Sigvaldi Kaldalóns / Indriði Einarsson Ave Maria
17. Sigvaldi Kaldalóns / Halla Eyjólfsdóttir Marian prayer
18. Gunnar Þórðarson / Sigurður H. Guðmundsson Ave Maria
19. Atli Heimir Sveinsson / Halldór Laxness Marian prayer


She made her name when she sang with the legendary folk band Spilverk Þjóðanna 1975-78, and has made numerous recordings of folk music, popular music, lieder and operatic arias.

The members of the Wind Sextet of Mosfellsdalur are all veterans of the classical scene and their arrangements are renowned for the quality.

Most of the Icelandic melodies on this program were composed by men who played important roles in the growing Icelandic music life in the first half of the 20th century. Two of the composers are still in their prime and are among the leading composers of Iceland today, in different fields of music though. In 1995, when Atli Heimir Sveinsson wrote the melody for the Marian prayer by Halldór Laxness, the poem had recently been discovered. The future Nobel Prize laureate wrote it shortly after he had converted to Catholicism for a period of time in the twenties. The Ave Maria of Gunnar Þórðarson and the Rev. Sigurður Helgi Guðmundsson is the newest piece on the programme. It is included in the High Mass from the year 2000 by the two men and indicates that Mary still has the power to stir the imagination of Icelandic artists
Format : Flac. 252 mb.
12 tónar Iceland 2004

Friday, November 27, 2009

Johann Georg Leopold Mozart

Johann Georg Leopold Mozart (November 14, 1719 – May 28, 1787) was a composer, conductor, teacher, and violinist. Mozart is best known today as the father and teacher of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and for his violin textbook Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule.

He was born in Augsburg, son of Johann Georg Mozart (1679-1736), a bookbinder, and his second wife Anna Maria Sulzer (1696-1766). From an early age he sang as a choirboy. He attended a local Jesuit school, the St. Salvator Gymnasium, where he studied logic, science, theology, graduating magna cum laude in 1735. He then moved on to a more advanced school, the St. Salvator Lyceum.

While a student in Augsburg, he appeared in student theatrical productions as an actor and singer, and became a skilled violinist and organist. He also developed an interest, which he retained, in microscopes and telescopes. Although his parents had planned a career for Leopold as a Catholic priest, this apparently was not Leopold's own wish. An old school friend told Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1777, "Ah he [Leopold] was a great fellow. My father thought the world of him. And how he hoodwinked the clerics about becoming a priest!"

He withdrew from the St. Salvator Lyceum after less than a year. Following a year's delay, he moved to Salzburg to resume his education, enrolling in November 1737 at the Benedictine University to study philosophy and jurisprudence. At the time Salzburg was the capital of an independent state with Holy Roman Empire (the Prince-Archbishopric of Salzburg), now part of Austria. Except for periods of travel, Leopold spent the rest of his life there.

Leopold received the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy in 1738. However, in September 1739 he was expelled from the university for poor attendance, having "hardly attended Natural Science more than once or twice".

Leopold Mozart's music is inevitably overshadowed by the work of his son Wolfgang, and in any case the father willingly sacrificed his own career to promote his son's. But Leopold's Cassation in G for Orchestra and Toys (Toy Symphony), once attributed to Joseph Haydn, remains popular, and a number of symphonies, a trumpet concerto, and other works also survive.

Leopold Mozart was much concerned with a naturalistic feel to his compositions, his Jagdsinfonie (or Sinfonia da Caccia for four horns and strings) calls for dogs and shotguns, and his Bauernhochzeit (Peasant Wedding) includes bagpipes, hurdy-gurdy, a dulcimer, whoops and whistles (ad. lib.), and pistol shots.

When Leopold died on 28 May 1787, Wolfgang was unable to attend the funeral, the travel time to Salzburg being too long.

Little information is available on how Wolfgang took Leopolds' death, but a postscript he included in a letter to his friend Gottfried von Janequin suggests that, despite the quarrels and partial estrangement, his father's death was a blow to him: "I inform you that on returning home today I received the sad news of my most beloved father's death. You can imagine the state I am in."
For more see :

1 CD 232 mb Flac, booklet incl.
Smekkleysa 2006

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tosca ~ Giacomo Puccini (1858 - 1924)

Giacomo Puccini short biography

A member of a dynasty of musicians, Giacomo Puccini was the most famous Italian opera composer, next only to Verdi. Puccini began his music education in his native Lucca and continued at the Milan Conservatory where he was a student of Ponchielli and Bazzini. Puccini’s first outstanding success was in 1893 with Manon Lescaut. Puccini wrote 12 operas, a number of orchestral compositions, sacred music and songs. Puccini’s melodic gift made his arias exceedingly popular. News of Puccini’s death in 1924, was announced during a performance of his La bohème in Rome. The orchestra stopped the performance and played Chopin's Funeral March to a sobbing audience.

Georg Solti
National Philharmonic Orchestra
Welsh National Opera Chorus
Kiri Te Kanawa
Leo Nucci
Giacomo Aragall
Spiro Malas
Malcolm King
Piero de Palma

The Decca Record Company Limited 1986
Format: Flac,
Disk 1 : 237 Mb
Disk 2 : 222 Mb
Kiri Te Kanawa was born in Gisborne, New Zealand, on March 6, 1944, into a family that was too poor to keep her. She was adopted the following month by Tom and Nell Te Kanawa, whose respective Maori and European lineage matched that of her natural parents. The aboriginal people of New Zealand, the Maori, are a mixture of Polynesian and Melanesian. Although the family was not especially musical, Nell Te Kanawa encouraged her adopted daughter to sing, and at around the age of six she performed on a local radio broadcast.
In 1956 the family moved to Auckland at the insistence of Mrs. Te Kanawa, so that her daughter could be placed under the tutelage of a respected voice teacher, Sister Mary Leo, at St. Mary's College for Girls.
Her first triumph came as winner of the Auckland Competition in 1960. Two years later she was runner-up in the more prestigious Mobile Song Quest, and in 1965 she won this competition. In the same year she entered aria competitions of both the Sydney and Melbourne Suns, said to be the two most important such events in Australasia. The first awarded her second prize, but her singing of "Leise, leise" (sung in English as "Softly Singing") from Weber's Der Freischütz won her first place in the Melbourne Sun competition.
Disk 1:
Disk 2:

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Heinrich Schütz ~ Psalmen Davids

Heinrich Schütz (b: October 8 , 1585 in Köstritz – d: November 6, 1672 in Dresden)
was a German composer and organist, generally regarded as the most important German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach and often considered to be one of the most important composers of the 17th century along with Claudio Monteverdi. He wrote what is thought to be the first German opera, Dafne, performed at Torgau in 1627; however, the music has since been lost. He is commemorated as a musician in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church on July 28 with Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel. He was buried in the Dresden Frauenkirche but his tomb has since been destroyed.

He was the eldest son of Christoph Schütz and Euphrosyne Bieger. In 1590 the family moved to Weißenfels, where his father, Christoph managed the inn "Zum Ring". When staying at the inn, Schütz's musical talents were discovered by Moritz von Hessen-Kassel in 1599. After being a choir-boy he went on to study law and etymology at Marburg before going to Venice from 1609–1612 to study music with Giovanni Gabrieli. He subsequently had a short stint as organist at Kassel before moving to Dresden in 1615 to work as court composer to the Elector of Saxony. In 1619 Schütz married Magdalena Wildeck who had been born in 1601. She produced two daughters before her death in 1625, Anna Justina born in 1621 and Euphrosyne born in 1623.

In Dresden he sowed the seeds of what is now the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, but left there on several occasions; in 1628 he went to Venice again, most likely meeting Claudio Monteverdi there—he may have studied with him—and in 1633, after the Thirty Years' War had disrupted life at the court, he took a post at Copenhagen. He returned to Dresden in 1641. In 1655, the year that his daughter Euphrosyne died, he accepted an ex officio post of Kapellmeister at Wolfenbüttel. He died from a stroke in 1672 at the age of 87.
Format: Flac, scans, 233 mb.
Naxos 1996 DDD

Friday, March 20, 2009

Gardar Thor Cortes ~ Cortes

1. Nella Fantasia
2. Hunting High and Low
3. Luna
4. Love is a Miracle
5. Caruso
6. Romanza
7. Lontano
8. Where the lost ones go (With Katherine Jenkins)
9. Nessun Dorma
10. Granada
11. Con Te
12. Skyid

Cortes was born in Reykjavík, Iceland, on 2 May 1974 into a musical family. His father, Garðar Cortes Snr., was a world-class tenor who founded the Icelandic Opera, the Reykjavík School of Singing and the Reykjavík Symphony Orchestra. According to Cortes, his father had the same stature as Pavarotti and Domingo, and once when he was ill while performing in Oslo Domingo stepped in for him. "He sang the main spinto tenor roles, including Caravadossi [from Tosca], Otello, Alfredo [La Traviata] and Canio [Pagliacci]. He'd go away to sing Otello in Helsinki and he'd be there for several weeks, and he became so homesick he couldn't do it, so he didn't go as far as he should have and stopped." His English mother, Krystyna, was a concert pianist who studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London. His sister Nanna Maria is an operatic soprano, while his younger brother Aron Axel is studying to become a baritone. When commitments permit, the Cortes children perform in the chorus when their father is conducting an opera.

Cortes spent six months at a Hertfordshire private school in England when he was aged nine and 11. He insists that there was never any pressure on him to become a singer. "At home, mum was always playing piano and dad was singing. I'd listen to dad's records of other tenors and whole operas but I also had a huge pile of Bon Jovi, Queen and Shakin' Stevens albums. I absolutely loved Prince and when I was 10 I was convinced I wanted to be a pop star. Then I got bitten by the acting bug."

At 13 he won the lead role of Nonni in Nonni and Manni (known in German as Nonni und Manni) (1988–1989), an Icelandic TV series about two children living with their mother and grandmother in the late 1850s which was filmed in Iceland, Norway and England and highly successful in Europe. Cortes got the part because he could speak English and ride horses bareback: "It was great fun: we had all sorts of adventures with polar bears, an erupting volcano and getting lost at sea with whales tipping the rowing boat over. I'd always loved movies but it didn't ignite until then." Actor Einar Örn Einarsson, who played Manni, remains Cortes's best friend.
Soon after he turned 18, Cortes decided he wanted to be a singer. "I loved acting but I realised I couldn't live without music. What decided me was the amount of times I have cried over a phrase in an opera or the piano. In opera you can combine the two and, apart from Domingo, there aren't that many singers who are good actors." He spent four years at his father’s school in Reykjavík and then won a scholarship to the Hochschule, or University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, but left after six months to study privately with Professor Andrei Orlowitz in Copenhagen. For the next five years he spent two weeks in Denmark, then flew home to earn enough to pay the tuition and the airfares. He sang at funerals and weddings, appeared as Tony in West Side Story at the National Theatre in Reykjavík in 1995, and for five summers worked with disabled people. At the opera he was the toilet cleaner, the usher and the doorman. Recalling his father's advice about the hardships of a musical career, Cortes has commented: "Even though he told me it was difficult, I still wanted to pursue this road. But looking back, you realise he was right, it is bloody difficult! Excuse the language."

Other teachers that he had the opportunity to work with included David Maxwell Anderson, Stuart Burrows, Paul Farrington, Paul Whynne Griffiths, David Jones, Kiri Te Kanawa and Robin Stapleton.


Format: Flac 254 mb.
Release date 2008

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Placido Domingo ~ Be my Love

Especially made for my dear friend ICE

1 Granada
2 Core‘ngrato
3 Dein ist mein ganzes Herz
4 Mattinata
5 Siboney
6 Ay, Ay, Ay,
7 Be My Love
8 Magic is the Moonlight
9 Because
10 Marta
11 Non ti scordar di me
12 Jurame
13 Ich schenke dir eine neue Welt
14 Ampola

Placido Domingo, Tenor

London Symphony Orchestra
Conductors: Karl Heinz Loges and Marcel Peeters

Deutsche Grammophon 1976 ADD

Format: Flac 214 mb.