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Camille Saint-Saens: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 5
Camille Saint-Saens: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 5
Offered by rbmbooks
Price: £22.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Stunning performance., 8 May 2013
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I read the two reviews, by Glynluke and by Schumann bg, and these persuaded me to buy this version. I concur totally with their enthusiastic and glowing appraisals.
French composer, French pianist, French Conductor and French Orchestra, as authentic and empathetic as you can get. Also, I believe these concertos benefit from the female interpretation which they receive; so much time and space given to the sensitive phrases, but with no shortage of bravura and fireworks when required. The quality of the sound is excellent and the balance of piano and orchestra first class. A wonderful aural experience.


Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition
Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition
Price: £7.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling, and of demonstration audio quality., 22 April 2013
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I purchased this CD after reading the enthusiastic recommendations of your other reviewers. I agree wholheartedly. This version is a tour de force from all relevant viewpoints .....interpretation, orchestral playing and recording.
If you need a cd to demonstrate the prowess of your HI Fi equipment, this could be the one. Simply splendid!


Bartók: Duke Bluebeard's Castle
Bartók: Duke Bluebeard's Castle
Price: £8.44

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Decca's all time greats., 18 April 2013
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Back in the late 1960's a Bartok boffin friend advised me to buy the LP of this version. He told me he could not imagine anyone doing it better. Decca must have thought so too because they have now reissued it on the "LEGENDARY PERFORMANCES" series, 1965 Legends.
Decca have done the transfer to CD in their exemplary fashion and the result is just stunning. The full libretto is included in the booklet in both Hungarian and English, with additional introductory notes of a discussion between the singers and the conductor, all of which is so helpful to new listeners.
I don't expect I shall see the opera on stage, but this performance with its three dimensional sound, the hertfelt singing of Walter Berry and his then wife Christa Ludwig, lead one through each step perfectly well. And of course Bartok's music, virtually one tone poem after another, is so descriptive that as each door opens, if I close my eyes, I see it all.
It just doesn't get any better.


Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring
Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £10.61

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Rite" out of the Top Drawer., 18 April 2013
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I was introduced to Stravinsky's masterpiece in 1959 when I bought the then highly rated Decca LP featuring Ernest Ansermet and L'Orchestra de la Suisse Romande. And now in 2013 after hearing numerous versions through the intervening decades, I was persuaded to purchase this version.
What a revalation. I am hearing sounds missing before, with phrasing and emphasis that presents a whole new experience and rejuvenates my delight. It must be a combination of Gergiev's perception, the Kirov musicians and the recording technicians. One thing is for sure ... Stravinsky wrote every note and intended each one to be heard. The result is thrilling.
I am indebted to those people who have taken the trouble to write their opinions and praise this CD so highly. Without your input I may very well have missed it. Thank you.


Bartok:Complete String Quartets
Bartok:Complete String Quartets

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic Hungarian through and through. Beware of imitation!.., 18 April 2013
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In 1956 as a late teenager, I called in as often as I could afford, to my local record shop to discuss classical records with the owner, a recently retired orchestral player. His knowledge and advice was first class, and he steered me often with wise choices and valued explanations.
When I asked his advice on the Bartok String Quartets he was unequivocal .... the latest version (1955 I believe) by the VEGH Quartet issued on the Columbia label. He stressed that no one understands Hungarian Magyar music better than the Hungarians themselves. They don't just play the notes. They play the music.
Now that my vinyl LP's have worn thin and I enter the CD age, it is most gratifying to learn that the Vegh Quartet are still regarded as the definitive reading.
On my Hi Fi system the recording sounds lovely with no "inner groove distortion" one had to forgive on the old LP's. For me the overall sonorities are just sublime. All human emotions are here, and Sandor Vegh, Sandor Zoldy, Georges Janzer and Paul Szabo miss nothing. Listening to and bouncing off each other they are in impeccable form in this 1972 recording.
I have two other versions, well recorded and with all the notes. The Vegh Quartet do likewise, but with an additional and vital ingredient .... they play the music too.


Violin Concertos 1 and 2 (Fischer, Hsso)
Violin Concertos 1 and 2 (Fischer, Hsso)
Price: £14.56

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unreservedly the version I recommend, 18 April 2013
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The quality of this recording is excellent. The sonority of the Stradavari in Gerhart Hetzel's gifted hands is sublime. And the orchestral playing under Adam Fischer is superb. So what else is there? The interpretation....... and in my opinion this is simply inspired.
But how does one measure "Interpretation"? Well, a clue comes from the timings. As an example, in the 2nd Concerto, the second movement, marked "Andante Tranquillo" typically takes between 9 minutes 20 seconds and 9 minutes 40 seconds to perform. Here, Hetzel takes 11 minutes 21 seconds.
The opening notes of this movement, played by the orchestra, are the three notes of the descending triad, which establish a warm, safe, and protecting sanctuary. Immediately a cautious violin emerges into an uncertain world, stepping tetatively, unsure which way to move, a fragile and perilously exposed theme. Here the pace is judged to perfection. giving the music time to develop and gain confidence in itself, and thence to reveal its beauty.
Music stirs the emotions of course. But sometimes it is in the pauses between adjacent notes where the most profound emotions are rewarded. You cannot convey these if you are hurrying to catch a bus.
For me this performance is the paradigm.


Music for Strings, Percussion & Celestat
Music for Strings, Percussion & Celestat
Offered by KAOZI168 Classical_ ''Dispatch in time''
Price: £18.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Stunning. Exhibition quality performance and recording., 17 April 2013
I have three versions of these works dating back to my teenage years when on the BBC Anthony Hopkins in his radio programme "Talking about music" introduced me to Bartok's world.
First Ansermet with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, then Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and now this my latest version.
The booklet provides the list of named players, who all seem to be Hungarian. What better pedigree for understanding and delivering every nuance of this music. I cannot fault the interpretation, performance or the recording which on my HI Fi set up thrills me still even after all these years. This is the only cd I own which is recorded by Harmonia Mundi on the Quintana label in France. It is impeccable. I unhesitatingly recommend this to all those of us who love Bartok's music.


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