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Adamos (Hertfordshire, UK)

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Haydn: Piano Sonatas
Haydn: Piano Sonatas
Price: £5.23

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haydn for both connoisseur and casual listener., 1 April 2016
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This review is from: Haydn: Piano Sonatas (Audio CD)
Like Ralph Moore, I bought this collection of Haydn Sonatas for Walter Klien, whom I first discovered years ago on Vox vinyl LPs, playing Mozart and Schubert in which he is the nonpareil. So far I agree with every word in the previous reviews and really have nothing to add about Klien’s Haydn; this box would be worth the money just for those two CDs.
I was moved to write because of the other two CDs. First Martin Galling: a contemporary of both Klien and Brendel – a word or two about the latter in a moment - Galling was both pianist and harpsichordist and best known for his complete cycle of Bach’s keyboard music on the harpsichord. As a pianist, certainly in these Haydn sonatas, he is every bit the equal of Klien, in particular one can hear the lightness and clarity of articulation one would expect of a Bach specialist of that era (the 1960s) as well as an impeccable pianism that, like Klien's, is thoughtful rather than flashy.
But for me the real revelation is Rena Kyriacou, who I had not heard of the before this, much to my regret. Some details for the pianophile: she was a contemporary of another great Greek pianist, Gina Bachauer, and a student of the great Isidor Phillip, a formidable pedigree, which shows through in exceptional pianism and musicianship. Again clarity of articulation but with a rich cantabile, a wide tonal palette, probably made the more effective by the use of a Bosendorfer piano, Kyriacou’s preferred instrument, and a shrewd sense of architecture and shape, even in the shortest and (apparently) slightest of these sonatas. Listen to the first track and you can already hear Beethoven in embryo. Plus there is a lightness and delicacy of touch, balanced by inner strength and an intelligent sense of melodic line.
Two final thoughts – first, sound quality is variable, although I find all of these listenable to. Anyone wanting a respectable survey of Haydn Sonatas need look no further, especially at the price. There are other sets to consider, Brendel’s Philips recording of 11 sonatas, for example, will have marginally better sound, though I find him a little too mannered and, frankly, sometimes stiff and dull. There is also Fou Ts’ong on Meridian, which is a formidable alternative, though only two CDs and at least twice the price. Personally I want Fou Ts’ong as well. John McCabe's complete cycle of Haydn Sonatas is also available at a reasonable price and contains 12 CDs, including a variety of other piano pieces. It's a wonderful set for the completist, beautifully played but not as refined in its pianism as any of the three on this set.
Second final thought, apropos of nothing at all: Vox had a range of wonderful and often neglected musicians recording for them in those days. Brendel was probably the most successful of all, perhaps because he recorded the more popular repertoire. Where Klien recorded the complete sonatas of Mozart and Schubert, Brendel recorded the complete sonatas of Beethoven. He went on to re-record them twice but his Vox recordings remain for me the best of the three. Those reading this who might otherwise eschew Brendel’s Beethoven should hear that first cycle, you will be pleasantly surprised.
As for this set, it is a treasure trove of wonderful music played by three extraordinary musicians, available for less than a fiver with P&P. I did not have the same problem with the box as Ralph but I bow to his judgement; I may have been lucky.

Finally finally, beware of the booklet listings for a few minor errors and stylistic idiosyncrasy. The list uses Hoboken's catalogue numbers in the way that most recordings would use Christina Landon's numbering, hence Landon number 62 is referred to as 52 etc. There are also typos: Galling finishes with Hob. XVI no. 50 not 5 - this is correct on the back cover, incorrect in the booklet. Kyriacou's third offering, referred to as Piano Sonata in D major is in fact Hob, XVI: 33. Tracks 4 & 5 on the same CD wold seem to have the Allegro and Adagio on the same track, with an extra Larghetto; in fact track 4 is the first movement Allegro and track 5 includes both movements 2 & 3 - an Adagio and Presto respectively. There may be others but that's all I've found so far.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 2, 2016 5:59 PM BST

A Basket of Wild Strawberries: A Selection of Keyboard Works by Jean-Philippe Rameau
A Basket of Wild Strawberries: A Selection of Keyboard Works by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £12.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars La joyeuse..., 7 Oct. 2015
The performance of baroque keyboard music is one of those fraught areas in music that seems to divide opinion radically. No one these days would dream of treating Bach’s Goldberg Variations in the way, say, Kempff did as late as 1970, the opening theme sounding almost like a variation in its own right. At the other end of the scale is the period instrument lobby, whose search for fidelity to the composer’s intentions would often seem to preclude any originality of expression for the performer. Add to that the modernist tendency for reworking of old material - Thomas Ades’s extraordinary use of Dowland in his piano piece ‘Darknesse Visible’ (performed superbly by the young Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan on his CD of the same name) being a relatively recent case in point – and the room for controversy continues.
Tsimon Barto is, by choice, controversial in his musical choices and my reference to Ades is not entirely random; hearing the opening of this disc and you are in very similar territory. Barto seems to be recomposing the music in a way not unlike Ades and to similarly stunning effect. It is a long way from Ramuea on the harpsichord, or what we get from, say, Angela Hewitt, whose wonderful recordings of Rameau on Hyperion are an excellent benchmark for those who want to hear this music on a modern piano but with a baroque sensibility.
As the disc progresses, Barto adheres more closely to the score but adopts, to my ear, an essentially post-Romantic view of this music. The effect is mesmerising – Barto is a superb pianist, with an ethereal touch and innate musicality, unconventional certainly but sincere and authentic in the broadest sense. Perhaps the greatest difficulty is that he does not conform to modern expectations: his technique does not even out every note, he is unashamedly a showman and he brings to bear his own personality in interpreting the music he plays – but then that could equally describe any number of great pianists, from Rubenstein and Horowitz to Argerich or Zimerman.
The title – somewhat enigmatic – of this disc is probably also a clue to Barto’s approach. He does not give us compete suites, but rather his favourite excerpts: not an obvious decision in an age of completism, where ‘following the composer’s intentions’ so easily becomes a straight-jacket to originality.
So, if you are looking for an historically informed but modern reading of Rameau’s music, go to Hewitt; if you want to hear beautiful music, played by a refined pianist, give this a try. It will not be everyone’s taste, hence I’ve dropped a star, but it is exceptional music-making by an exceptional musician and, as a lover of the piano and its greatest exponents, I have thoroughly enjoyed this disc.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 8, 2015 10:18 AM BST

The Marriage of Jesus: The Lost Wife of the Hidden Years
The Marriage of Jesus: The Lost Wife of the Hidden Years
by Maggy Whitehouse
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reclaiming The Christ..., 7 April 2013
This is an extraordinary book that challenges conventional perceptions of the figure of Jesus and the concept of Christhood in a way that is both intellectually penetrating and spiritually uplifting.

Whitehouse presents strong arguments for why Jesus would have been married, a radical view of both Mary Magdalene and Mary, mother of Jesus, but never once claims to offer THE Truth. Instead, Whitehouse makes clear that this is her view and she offers evidence in a rational and coherent way. Her fictionalised account of what Jesus's wife and family may have been like offers an intriguing and tantalising view of Jesus's world and, while purely speculative (and claiming to be nothing more than speculation,) it nonetheless contributes significantly to the reader's understanding of the subject. Whitehouse is also a talented author of fiction and it is to be hoped she one day turns the fictional sections of this book into a full length novel.

It is regrettable that there is no bibliography, but various acknowledgments to the work of other writers demonstrates that the ideas contained in the book are based on genuine research. Indeed the author's breadth of learning and understanding are breathtaking and, whether you agree with her conclusions or not, there can be no questioning the quality of her scholarship.

Whitehouse's aim is clearly not to debunk Christianity or those who hold a Christian (or Jewish) faith, but she successfully contributes to an important debate that reclaims the role of the feminine, the status of women in spiritual work and the very essence of what it means to be a spiritual person, male or female, in a world too often ruled by dogma and bigotry.

Those who hold a strictly Christian or Jewish faith will find this an uncomfortable book to read, as it clearly has the reviewer, but, for those willing to approach the book with an open mind, it offers a rich and stimulating reassessment of Jesus for the twenty first century and a valuable, unsensationalised contribution to contemporary debate about the relevance of the teachings of Jesus for the modern world.

Sibelius: Violin Concerto; Lindberg: Violin Concerto
Sibelius: Violin Concerto; Lindberg: Violin Concerto
Price: £8.27

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful but uninspiring..., 20 Oct. 2012
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I am aware that this review will be unpopular as the dissenting voice among so much praise, but I hope it will be of help to those with similar tastes to mine.

Lisa Batiashvili is unquestionably a fine violinist with a rich and beautiful tone and neither her performance of the Sibelius nor the Lindberg Concerti contain an ugly sound. The playing is lyrical, refined and the phrasing is exquisite. Unlike a previous reviewer I found no great problem with the structure of the performance, indeed everything is impeccable.

So, what's the problem? For me it's exactly that: I'm looking for that cool, Nordic quality, something a little more edgy, the grit in the oyster. To my ear this is modern, sanitised musicianship, where beauty of sound is all and probing musicianship is sacrificed at the altar of technical perfection. That is not to say it is without merit, or that Batiashvili does not have something valid to say about this music; only that it did not appeal to this reviewer. Those who agree might try Ida Haendel with Berglund conducting the Bournemouth Symphony or (controversially, I know) Vengerov with Barenboim - a little over-dramatic in places, I accept, but far more interesting than Oramo's rather ordinary accompaniment. I'm even more inclined to go for Perlman, though I'm not usually a fan of his, simply because I hear more emotional depth in his account with the Pittsburgh Orchestra and Previn than I do with Batiashvili and Oramo.

Her reading of the Lindberg Concerto is perhaps more successful; it was composed for her and is a far less gritty piece anyway; and, of course I have no other recording to compare it to. That said, I found Lindberg's Concerto disappointing after works such as Kraft, with its altogether more modernist language, or the more congenial Concertos for Piano and Cello. For me there were too many clichés, too much compromise with the post-Romantic need for harmonic consonance and easy-listening gestures. If you like this performance of the Sibelius, you'll probably like the Lindberg concerto, which may be for some a way into contemporary music that often can seem distant and uninviting.

Franz Schubert: Piano Works 1822-1828
Franz Schubert: Piano Works 1822-1828
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £26.39

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect balance of heart and mind., 5 Nov. 2011
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Before beginning I should say I was one of those who clicked the `helpful' button for the Santa Fe Listener's review. I often head straight for his reviews when choosing whether or not to buy, not despite but rather because I am aware we have very different tastes. Anyway I bought this set after reading it and have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it, perhaps partly for the reasons SFL dislikes it.

I agree entirely that there is `a purity and honesty' to Brendel's musicianship, but not that he lacks wit. For me Brendel epitomises the balancing of heart and mind so necessary in the Viennese Classics, even though I have reservations about his later Mozart recordings, which I find too self-consciously a case of the Maestro committing his last thoughts to tape (or whatever they use these days). There is a refinement and subtlety about Brendel's approach to Schubert. His account of the impromptus is among the finest I have heard and I love the way he not only points the detail in the sonatas, but is always aware of the broader architecture of the work. Unlike SFL, I find these performances full of surprise and gusto and, if not exuberance, then probity (both intellectual and emotional) and reflective wisdom. Brendel is not a heart-on-sleeve musician, neither is he lacking in feeling or expressive warmth.

The benchmark for the last three sonatas is Perahia, of those readily available. Lupu is an acquired taste; I like him when I'm in the mood; others might not. My own favourites among Schubertians are the much underrated and sadly neglected Walter Klien and Martino Tirimo; I wish EMI would re-release the latter's extraordinary and groundbreaking cycle of the complete sonatas, the most complete of any. As a point of interest, it is Tirimo's edition of the scores that most pianists use these days, including Perahia.

Those reading these reviews who know Brendel will know whether they like him or not - this is Brendel at his finest; and (with all due respect to the SFL) those who don't know Brendel's work should have no hesitation in starting here.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 2, 2014 6:26 PM GMT

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos.20 & 27
Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos.20 & 27
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mozart at its best...., 5 Oct. 2011
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This disc contains two of the greatest piano concerti ever written; indeed Beethoven so admired the d minor concerto that he provided cadenzas that have become almost compulsory. Yet somehow I have always found it an elusive piece. Mozart in d minor is always of interest. It is the key of the requiem, the string quartet K.421 and, perhaps most crucially, of the commendatore's music in Don Giovanni. Indeed it is often said that to play the concerti, one must get to know first the operas. When one puts this together, one can see that what is required to play the Concerto in D minor (K.466) is an appreciation of Mozart's darker musical moments. It is the music of death, of reflections of mortality and, as the musicologist Alfred Einstein put it, `passion, pathos, drama'.

One finds these in abundance in Uchida's Cleveland recording of the concerto. Here is real gravitas, yet with that necessary elegance and refinement that is so essential in performing Mozart's music. This is not for those who seek lightweight, easy listening, but the serious music lover cannot help but be moved by the intensity of expression, the control of phrasing that finds emotional depth, tragedy and yet easefulness. I find myself wanting to quote Keats's easeful death. The slow movement is graceful yet profound and Uchida's pianism is superb, each phrase carefully placed, yet never predictable, with a beautiful legato that allows Mozart's melodic line to flow and grow with grace and sensitivity.

If the d minor concerto is Don Giovanni, then the B flat Concerto K595, is closer to Cosi Fan Tutte. A lighter weight opera, at least on the surface, it contains a comedy's potential for tragedy. If one takes the bittersweet arias of the lead soprano as a starting point, one can imagine Fiordiligi's quiet stoicism and gentle contemplation of her lover's infidelity expressed in this concerto. Here Uchida finds both grace and delicacy, majesty and refinement; I have rarely heard this concerto played with such beauty and emotion.

Like a previous reviewer, I too was hesitant to give Uchida's first Cleveland recording of Mozart Piano Concerti a full 5 stars. I too have no hesitation here. I have some dozen or so recordings of the d minor, including fine performances from Perahia, Brendel, Pletnev and Serkin, but none of those matches this one. K595 too is well served on disc, again Perahia and Serkin offer wonderful readings, but these performances of Uchida and the Cleveland orchestra surpass them all. I am not always given to gushing superlatives. Here I make no apology for them. This is Mozart playing of the very highest quality and a must for anyone serious about his music.

Stockhausen: Mantra
Stockhausen: Mantra
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.99

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary venture..., 27 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: Stockhausen: Mantra (Audio CD)
Karlheinz Stockhausen was one of the most significant composers of the late 20th century, a contemporary of Boulez and Berio, successor to Webern, pioneer of electroaccoustic music and a wholly original voice in modern music. Composed in 1970, Mantra is one of his most fascinating scores and a significant step towards developing the formula technique that dominated his subsequent music, in particular the opera cycle, Licht, which occupied him for some 30 years. Unlike much of his music to that point, which required its performers to realise the score (a sort of semi-improvisation), it is largely through-composed (that is annotated precisely by the composer), combining accoustic instruments (two pianos) and electronics.

There are going to be people reading this review for whom the music itself, indeed Stockhausen's music generally, is entirely new. What should you expect? Music that is intense, exciting, original, but also uncompromisingly modern: don't look for tunes, there aren't any! And beware, Mantra takes a committed listener: I suppose you could dip in, but to get the best of the piece you need to listen intently all the way through. As a devotee of 20th century modernism, I love this music and would recommend it to anyone with a bit of adventure about them. It is music that gives more of itself on each hearing.

As to the performance: realistically, comparison is difficult, because Stockhausen's music is not widely available outside of his own website and I know of only one other recording, which, if it were the only one, I would certainly be recommending. I've done no comparative listening for this review, so my recommendation, and it is (as the 5 stars should suggest) a strong one, is on the basis of what I've heard here alone. Our perforners are young, enthusiastic and talented musicians, thoughtful and sensitive, and wholly together in their vision of the work. They have the advantage of working with Stockhausen's former assistant, Jan Panis, and modern digital technology, which is another factor distinguishing this performance, as well as having the advantage after all this time of at least something of a performing tradition. All that together with a price tag of around a fiver makes this a very attractive purchase for anyone seeking to explore this most individual and unique composer. The track listing and general presentation are also excellent and will be helpful to afficianados and newcomers alike. This is another extraordinary venture for Naxos, who must now be regarded as one of the most important record labels going.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 20, 2011 6:22 PM GMT

Elgar: Cello Concerto
Elgar: Cello Concerto
Offered by Todays Great Deal
Price: £8.21

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another perspective...., 24 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Elgar: Cello Concerto (Audio CD)
I'm moved to review this performance less because of its own qualities than that reading the reviews here you might think the only other performance worth a consideration is du Pre's. First, Clein: this is indeed a fine performance, refined, subtle, her tone and technique gentle and expressive, never lacking emotional depth, if in places a little more reserved. In the first movement Clein begins gently and wistfully, perhaps too much so - there were indeed times when I was half expecting the bow to fall off the strings- but it grows in emotional weight. In fact that is true of the whole performance. The tone, expression and shaping of the slow movement are sublime and Handley is a most sympathetic accompanist, utterly at home in this music. The moment at the end of the piece when the opening chords intrude on the reflective mood of the slow movement material, as if the composer is saying "pull yourself together Edward", grip the heart strings and pull the structure together superbly.

So the question I'm left with is: would I choose this over du Pre? Well, perhaps I might, but there are other places worth looking also. Forgetting the awful recording she made with her husband, Daniel Barenboim, the performance we all know best, made with that greatest of Elgarians, Sir John Barbirolli (by the way, a fine cellist himself), remains extraordinary, emotional, gritty, intense, but utterly unrelenting, constantly heart on sleeve. But sometimes I want a little more restraint to balance the emotive outpouring. After all, this is Elgar, a product of Victorian/Edwardian England. In fact my first choice for this work would be either Navarra, also with Barbirolli, although the sound quality precludes it as a `building a library' recommendation, or Fournier, in perhaps an unlikely partnership with the great American conductor, Alfred Wallenstein. He balances emotional depth with Gallic restraint, in a performance that has all the wistfulness of Clein, the emotion of du Pre but a greater wisdom than either; that of one who, like Elgar when composing the work, can look back on life and put the subjective, emotional side of this work into a bigger, even spiritual, context, so that amidst the angst there is something more ...something I can only describe as transcendent.

On a practical note, at this price, this performance is worth having as well as du Pre. It's also worth listening to Beatrice Harrison, who recorded with Elgar himself, but only if you can listen through the historic recording. Clein is a wonderful cellist and I wish she would record more. If I were to choose one performance, however, this would not be it. But then, for me, heretical though I know that is with most music lovers, it wouldn't be du Pre either and I would urge anyone who loves this music, or who wants to explore it for the first time, not to fall in the trap of assuming that du Pre is definitive: in the opinion of this reviewer, she is not.

Sviatoslav Richter: The Master Pianist
Sviatoslav Richter: The Master Pianist
Price: £19.32

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not be be missed, 5 Sept. 2010
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Admirers of Richter's unique style will need no review to tell them that this set is extraordinary value and essential listening, so I am directing this review at those who are interested in exploring one of the great pianists of the 20th century. The previous reviewer (Previn Karian) outlines lucidly Richter's qualities. A very `physical' pianist, I find something percussive in his tone, particularly in faster, louder moments, but equally the ability to sing with a warm legato line, and it tends to be in slow movements that I like him best. Richter is unquestionably a magical pianist and listening to his account of the slow movement of the Schumann concerto, to take only one example, one finds a Romantic weight and richness without the cloying sentimentality that often goes with it. Yet Richter is never cold or distant, always sympathetic to the demands of composer and piece.

The caveat is that few of these performances would be my first choice: exceptions to that are the Bartok, Prokofiev and Dvorak Concerti, and I admit I don't like his Schubert, preferring the likes of Perahia, Tirimo, Brendel and Klien. For me it is at times too brittle, though I know many feel very differently and my objections are more a matter of taste and sensibility, because Richter certainly has much to say about this music too. He was never one to take the obvious or easy route; his recording of the Berg Chamber Concerto, for example, is the only one (as far as I am aware) to include the repeats and, though, I don't believe you need them, it does add a whole other dimension to the music. I particularly enjoyed his collaborations with the violinist Oleg Kagan, in both Mozart and Beethoven, in which one gets a sense of two equals probing and examining as partners in a great adventure. It brings a freshness to the music and an excitement, as if (paradoxically) hearing the music again for the first time.

And indeed Richter is often revelatory in his view of standard repertoire. The Mozart recordings exemplify this. The set offers a performance of the Concerto in E flat (no. 22) that is individual and idiosyncratic, yet wholly convincing in its vision, and it is wonderful to hear Britten's cadenzas. Admittedly I prefer both Perahia and Uchida in this music, but Richter is inspired, refreshing one's view of what is possible. Perhaps the most surprising inclusion is the Brahms Die Schone Magalone, a song cycle in which he accompanies the great Fischer-Dieskau in a lesser known masterpiece that well deserves to be heard when treated with such affection and concentration. I say accompanies, though again one has a sense of partnership, a meeting of equals determined to winkle out the subtleties of the piece.

The set is, as another reviewer says, incomplete. The live account of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is a must and there are other performances by Richter of Beethoven sonatas and concerti that better demonstrate why many regard him as such a great Beethovenian. Nonetheless, at this price, 14 discs of recordings by such a great musician as Richter undoubtedly is an exceptional bargain and not too be missed.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 30, 2015 2:50 PM GMT

Requiem (Muti)
Requiem (Muti)
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Muti and Pavarotti - should be good, but..., 9 April 2010
This review is from: Requiem (Muti) (Audio CD)
In my long enduring search for the ideal Verdi Requiem, I was drawn to this set partly because of Muti and partly Pavarotti and I find myself a little torn. Muti is a little too restrained at first, but picks up significantly as the performance progresses (compare the reprise of the Dies Irae at the end of the Confutatis to the opening of the Sequenza). His tempi are measured and judicious, if perhaps a little slow at the start, though for some that will be just right. The first entry of soloists did not inspire me, with the exception of Samuel Ramey, who is a little gruff at first but on fine form overall, particularly in the Tuba Mirum, which he revives after some rather unconvincing trumpets. I wasn't sure about either Studer or Zajick at first, but again they both find the necessary tone and depth by the end of Sequenza, and the Lachrymosa is especially lovely. In fact they both get better and contribute much of what is good about this account. Zujick is extraordinary in the Lux aeterna and Studer brings fire and passion to the `finale' Libera me, floating that high note at the reprise superbly.

I've saved up comments about Pavarotti, partly because he is probably the reason many will look to this set. Most will be familiar with Pavarotti from the late 80s onward, by which time his voice had lost the richness and mellifluousness that it had up to the late 70s. If you want to hear the difference, listen to him sing Nessun Dorma as one of the Three Tenors and then in his complete Turandot (with Mehta in the early 70s). The earlier one is vastly superior in every respect. Here he has many of those qualities for which he is so admired, but the dramatic tenor entry at the start of the Kyrie sounds thin and strained. The ingemisco is little better, despite amazon's attempt to talk it up in their review, and to my ear he has trouble with the mezza-voce in the Hostias. Again compare it to his Ingemisco with Solti and you'll hear the difference. The voice is richer and rounder and the performance more expressively phrased because he doesn't need to strain to get it, and because Solti is a finer accompanist on this occasion, drawing out some wonderful sounds from the Vienna strings. If you want Pavarotti, buy that one not this.

Overall, this is a recording that has much to recommend it but which ultimately I found disappointing, especially in comparison to other readings, and Pavarotti is one of the reasons. Perhaps I am expecting too much of the great man. I do like Ramey throughout and would swap him for Konstantinov in the Abbado recording any day. But like the previous reviewer, I rate Abbado's account highly and find Alagna better than usual (I'm not a fan of his except in lighter roles) and better than Pavarotti here, though even that has draw backs. You'll do worse than this recording but for me it doesn't quite get there and for that reason I've given only 3 stars and recommend it only to the mad collector who has to have a collection of recordings on the shelf: of which I am one. Oh that de Sabata had been able to record in stereo! The search goes on!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 6, 2012 10:21 AM BST

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