Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review of the year (Mean-spirited category)

German musician Ludger Rémy and (two members of) his orchestra Les Amis de Philippe were one of the runners-up in this year's Nereffid's Guide Awards, for their recording of trios by the Graun brothers. Part of the reason for that was a recommendation from Bertil van Boer in Fanfare. Indeed, that magazine's reviewers have been well disposed toward Rémy over the years, with praise going to discs of cantatas by Telemann and CPE Bach, arias by Theile, and concertos by Manfredini. Even Jerry I-hate-period-instruments Dubins was bowled over by a collection of music by Fasch. So when Rémy and his group's latest CPO recording - more CPE Bach cantatas - shows up for review in Fanfare you might have expected more of the same.
Fuck, no.
Here's what self-proclaimed "CPE Bach fan" Lynn René Bayley had to say about it:
Perhaps my reaction to these works would be more positive if the performances were actually good. Unfortunately, they are performed in a clipped, crispy-crunch style where neither the strings nor the chorus phrase in a legato manner. Some of the soloists do sing with a sense of legato, but more so the basses than the sopranos or tenors. Indeed, both the female soloists and the chorus sound as if they were “vocal effects” produced on a MIDI.

Okay, hyperbolic last sentence perhaps, but otherwise not unreasonable criticism. Fair enough, she didn't like the performances.
But then:
It’s rather disappointing to consider that conductor Ludwig Rémy, who appears to be a middle-aged man, could have made it this far in life without the least shred of feeling for music. I would suggest that he find another, nonmusical, line of work. I’m sure he’d make a fine electrical engineer or chartered public accountant.


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