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Pedro Sena Lino "Bizancian" (Berlin, Germany)
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Strauss: Four Last Songs - EMI Masters
Strauss: Four Last Songs - EMI Masters
Price: £7.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The essence of Autumn, 2 Nov. 2013
If you are wanting to buy your first version of Strauss' Four Last Songs, this is the one. Let's see why:
- the matching between voice and orchestra is superb. There are other versions that try to go different paths, exploring two different ways, not always with good results (the interesting Norman/ Masur version in Decca is one example). Nevertheless, in this version, the splendid and exhilarating playing of LSO conducted by Szell creates a detailed, precise, crepuscular world. If you want to find more extreme and pronunced, even lavishing sound worlds, check Karajan or Tennstedt.
- Schwarzkopf is in the end of her career. This means her voice hasn't all her resources. But she uses it with such a warm and delicate intelligence that can be devastantingly moving at the 4th or 5th hearing.
- The text: Schwarzkopf's pronunciation and interpretation of the words (even if you don't know German) is conveying a more deep significance on what you are hearing. If you compare it with other versions where some singers don't seem even to understand what they are singing, this version is even more remarkable.

Closing: if we also consider that these are Strauss' four last songs, based on such extraordinary texts, a farewell to life, then Schwarzkopf's options, Szell's both contained and expanding reading, and the deep environment they create, make this recording an absolute landmark.


Haendel : Dixit Dominus
Haendel : Dixit Dominus
Price: £10.54

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is this possible?, 2 April 2012
This review is from: Haendel : Dixit Dominus (Audio CD)
I am not a baroque fan. But, together with Gardiner's breathtaking account of Bach's Magnificat, this recording made me enter the golden doors of Baroque music.
The atmospheres: severe, sublime, inspired. Gardiner can convey the strong personality of each movement, as well as giving a monumental vision of the whole.
The voices: perfectly shaped, detailed, in an harmonical totality with the orchestra.
And, mainly, the meaning of this music: this is a Psalm, that previews what will be Christ's fate. Gardiner plays with all the drama of the Ancient Testament, and the hope of the New.
Every time I hear this, I cannot listen to anything afterwards for a long time. The music is bigger than the music.


Sibelius: Symphonies Nos.1, 2, 5 & 7
Sibelius: Symphonies Nos.1, 2, 5 & 7
Price: £11.32

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn the fire of cold here, 2 April 2012
This is a superb recording.
The First Symphony is generally not considered as big as the other ones, like the 2nd or the 5th. Bernstein creates quite a psychological environment here, with jaw-dropping crescendos, and a hauting, noble atmosphere. The first and fourth movements are dashing, with an unparalled sense of drama and restlesness. There is a Sibelius here that we cannot hear in the other symphonies, a more heroic and elegiac one.
The Second is a wonderful account, and Bernstein seems to convey the architecture of the piece. However, Beecham's recording is even more dramatic; nevertheless, if you want a second version to compare to your Beecham one, this will be yours.
If the 1st and the 2nd already are wonderful reasons to buy this set, wait for the surprises the 5th and the 7th can bring you. Bernstein reads and plays them as an expansion of the 1st and the 2nd: drama, heroic pain, a romantic and cosmic sense of life.
There is fire in the cold landscapes of this music: and here you can learn them.


Haydn: Nelsonmesse / Theresienmesse
Haydn: Nelsonmesse / Theresienmesse
Price: £12.67

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unparalleled Haydn, 20 Sept. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The "Nelson Mass" is considered to be the best of Haydn's religious music. There is a great recording made by Sir Neville Marriner (EMI), but this reading by Gardiner is - if possible - even best. Crisp "pathos", intense drama, a sense of anguish in the orchestral playing. The orchestral playing is tantalizing, the chorus and the soloists singing with a lavish sense of urgency. The architecture of the piece is also very well seen, with the mirror episode of the "Benedictus" detailed and expanded. This recording also shows all the genius of Gardiner's readings. A must buy, and - please take due note - an obsessive piece to hear.


Symphonies No. 35, 38 and 40 (Schuricht)
Symphonies No. 35, 38 and 40 (Schuricht)
Price: £27.57

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unknowm Jewel, 7 Aug. 2011
Carl Schuricht is a top-class Maestro. Unfortunately, he wasn't in the recording studios' main attention. He left us a perfect reading of Beethoven's Symphonies, and some live recordings, generally with minor orchestras. But even there the sense of miracle is self-evident: they play like the top-ten orchestras of the world.
His Mozart is a kind of perfection: tempi, pace, expression, tensions, everything clear as water and compelling like a narrative of adventures. Schuricht is not making any statement, he doesn't want to put his name over Mozart, to write his ideas in the score. His reading has no comparison, but even using a different strategy, it is close from another hallmark, Fritz Reiner's Mozart.
EMI has his its catalogue a perfect CD with the Wiener Philarmoniker, where Schuricht directs Symphonies 38 and 41, and Violin Concerto No. 5. In «Great Conductors» Series, we could hear a perfect «Haffner» Symphony.
But this CD, from 2005, generously long, with the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, with good ADD sound, will be a discovery: the «Haffner» and «The Prague» here, even if not so compelling as the EMI recording, is bursting with energy. The «Haffner«'s Andante has humour and quiet explosions of new ideas, as well as the Presto. The «Prague» is quicklier than the EMI, but the building of the tension in the first mouvement is even more dramatical - some echoes of Don Giovanni here. It would be a great and pleasureous listening game to compare this version of the Prague with the one René Jacobs recently made (HM).
Even if you are by now thinking on buying this CD, wait for the 40th. It is by far the greatest reading of this well-known Symphony, together with the marvellous recordings of Reiner (Pittsburgh, Sony, and Chicago, RCA), Szell (Sony), Toscanini (RCA or Naxos) or even Krips (Philips). The orchestra is marvellously conducted, the breathing, pause, crescendos, sustained with a magnificent game of contrasts and a inner tension. It's the perfect Mozart, textual, more close to the score, but with a tiny bit of tension which makes the difference.
For extras, the most perfect reading of Schwarzkopf's "Porgi amor" from Le Nozze di Figaro, and Fritz Wunderlicht's mellow voice ending the CD with an aria from «Die Zauberflote». 77 minutes of joy.


Tchaikovsky- Symphony No.6 "Pathetique"
Tchaikovsky- Symphony No.6 "Pathetique"
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £16.19

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super-interpreted Tchaikovsky, 15 Feb. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It is true that there are more textual interpretations of Tchaikovsky's 6th than this: Mravinsky, Fricsay, Cantelli, Toscanini, Reiner, Monteux, Dorati... And more coherent versions scaled and structured with outbursts (Mravinsky, Svetlanov) or more "romanticized" readings (Mengelberg, Furtwängler).
It is also true that the tempi Bernstein chooses for this version are larger: he takes 5 minutes more than Cantelli and Toscanini just in the first mouvement.
But if you are interested in a version that is also an interpretation, a reading deeply rooted in the nature of this symphony, "pathos" (suffering), as a farewell to life and music, it is all here. And, after some time, Bernstein will show how coeherent he is in the overall approach of the music: the two central mouvements sound "fake", with a plastic joyfullness - exactly like Mahler's 9th. After hearing this version, I could finally understand Mahler's 9th, Mozart's Requiem, Bruckner's 9th, Brahms 4th. It is the end of music for a composer, a requiem that embraces all life and music in the same expectation.
This is an experience. An excessive one. If you want to enter deeper in the essence of music, this kind of alchemy will poison your soul.
It will never be "your only" version of Tchaikovsky 6th. For a more balanced version, try Fricsay, Cantelli, Mravinsky, Toscanini. For a musical excess, for a rebirth through death, drink this, as if it was Tristan's drink.


Haydn: Early London Symphonies
Haydn: Early London Symphonies
Offered by rwl-123
Price: £14.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classically classical, 17 Aug. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These are perfect interpretations, full of humour, wit, rythmical precision, sheer joy. Elegantly played, we can understand why Szell made of the Cleveland Orchestra one of the top orchestras of the world. Szell gives us clear access to Haydn's composing workshop, in a solar view of the architecture of these works. The sound is sharp, the sense of detail very precise. We can only cry over the fact Szell and Cleveland didn't record the second set of the London Symphonies. But there is a recording, issued by United Archives, of the 88, 92 and 104 Symphonies.
Even prefering the recordings on period instruments, these are definitive recordings for Symphonies No. 93-98; number 99 is superb, but Toscanini and Beecham's recordings, as all as Harnoncourt, make a very tough competition. Nevertheless, this is recorded silver. A must buy.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 7, 2010 6:43 PM GMT


A La Mode
A La Mode
Price: £12.03

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Voyaging music, 23 Mar. 2009
This review is from: A La Mode (Audio CD)
This is not a CD, this is a vice!
Temmingh's playing is unforgettable, displaying virtuosity and a sense of rythm, suggestion and style. From the unstoppable rythms of the "Folia" (the last Allegro) to the more inner or meditative passages, this CD is also a voyage to the way Corelli was interpreted and received throught times.
A double achivement and a must-have!


Mozart; Mendelssohn - Violin Concertos
Mozart; Mendelssohn - Violin Concertos
Price: £5.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A romantical Mozart, 2 Jan. 2009
Forget the problems with the sound. Thought in the 30s, the sound is perfect and Heifetz's violin sounds with every light and torment that made him famous.
This is not a "philological" Mozart, obviously: some "rubato" where it wasn't even conceived, some Brahmsian phrasing. But in the end, this ultralyrical Mozart strikes you like an arrow directly to the heart of the music, the heart of the feeling.
Even comparing with Mullova or even Stern (a little more Mozartian...), these recordings, with their diversity, are perfect accounts. I recommend to start with the "Andante" of the 4th Concerto: everything is there, feeling, intensity, perfect bowing, virtuosism, and a tremendous sensibility.
The Mendelssohn is good, but Heifetz's best reading of the concerto is with Toscanini, also in Naxos.


Mozart, W.A.: Symphonies Nos.35 - 41
Mozart, W.A.: Symphonies Nos.35 - 41
Price: £8.07

4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mozart of mass destruction, 2 Jan. 2009
This is probably one of the worst Mozart symphonies' recording ever.
Otto Klemperer said that Karajan only knew "piano, forte, fortissimo" and this is the example: he goes through the symphonies as if he was directing a rehersal of a rehersal of Beethoven; undoubtely there are some good "tutti", but everyone knows how Herr K. sat like a dictator over the orchestra. And he sits as a dictator also over these scores: heavy solutions, massive phrasings, nothing of Mozart's joy or simplicity. If you compare Karajan with Karajan, and mainly the first Karajan that was Lipatti's maestro in the 21st Concerto, you will be absolutely amazed.
Rephrasing Klemperer, again: this is not Mozart, this is Karajan.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 30, 2013 1:23 PM BST


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