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Ultrarunner (Perth-West Australia)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A critic stated this very great conductor, has passion, enthusiasm, a technique that summons, supports or soothes the orchestra., 22 Jun. 2017
I have been aware of Andre Cluytens the conductor, for some time, as I own his recordings of Les Pecheurs de perles, with Angelici, Legay and Dens. L' Opera comique. Gounod , Faust, Gedda, de los Angeles, Christoff and Angelici. L' Opera de Paris. Also the box set 10CDs, Cluytens Wagner Bayreuth Live, Complete recordings, Lohengrin, Tannhauser and die Meistersingers von Nuremberg. (See my review). I consider him a great conductor in the French Tradition. So obviously I recommend this great box set, which is not only for experienced collectors, but for those who are new to classical music. To those I say welcome, for it is a life long journey of exploration. I have been collecting for over 50 years, and you never stop learning. In this set I have come across works I have never heard before.
The boxes, for there are two, are made of tough cardboard. The first box with all the details printed on, has a second box with the CDs, fits inside perfectly, a rather unique solution I think. This set can be picked up by one hand. There are 4 CDs available for the first time which were originally issued on CDs. The rest are taken from LP's with the original sleeves on the outside, also having the CD number on the front and back. So they are divided into CD 1-35 (1-3) MONO and CD 35 (4-7) to CD 65 STEREO. The CDs are white with a big CD number, music played and orchestra. One cannot get lost. Included is a booklet which has no translations of the Choral work and spoken French, but does have brief details of Cluytens life and a article by Anja Silja. The complete set without the operas, is published by Warner music group company. So like the two big Warner boxes Callas and Perlman, there is Cluytens signature on the top of this greeny blue box.
Each recording has been remastered in 24 bit/96 kHz sound using original tapes for LPs and best available sources for 78 rpm, by Art and Son Studio, Paris. One has only to hear the 78 rpm CD's to hear how well this has been done. That is, there is a bit of hiss, but the music is clear. The Mono and stereo sound is remarkable. Often the publishers of these box sets never mention if the CD's are remastered or not, and we reviewers have to become a sleuth and work it out. So this set is a godsend for a reviewer of box sets like myself.
I shall not place all the works in this space, as Amazon has provided this, so I shall merely give an insight into this delightful box set by reviewing certain pieces of music. I have placed them in the same order as in this set. By the way there is history in this collection as you shall see.
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No 4. The eight sides of this 78 recorded in 1943 have not been officially issued until 2017. LALO : Symphonie espagnole. Zino Francescatti Violin.(1946) His father who gave the boy his first lessons, was a violinist who had studied with Sivori, Paganini's only pupil. Francescatti in 1926 also joined forces with Ravel and formed a violin and piano duo for a while. This piece is played passionately. GOUNOD: Mirelle Overture. (1949). This is a very tuneful piece. I own the bluray of this opera. CHOPIN: Andante spianato et grand polonaise, beautifully played by Jeanne-Marie Darre.(1951) A work you may not heard before, but typical Chopin and worth while hearing. RAVEL: Ma Mere I' Oye.(1949) You can understand why Cluytens was considered a Ravel specialist after hearing this piece. His rendition of Pavane pour une infante defunte(1950) is simply beyond words. HAYDN: Symphony No 94 & 104. (1950) Balanced but gentle and shows why Cluytens was much admired. Often fast tempi.
FAURE: Requiem. (1950) Angelici soprano, Noguera baritone, Durufle organ. Orch de las Societe des concerts du Conservatoire. A deeply spiritual work. As nearly as great as his 1960 version in this set. If you like this composer try the Box set Faure edition. Published by Brilliant. (read my review). Ballade for piano and orchestra. Marguerite Long- a great pianist. Cluytens manages to bring out the subtle emotion as only he can.
BIZET: Carmen, Suite No 2. Prelude. Entracte 11-1V. The conductor beings out the Frenchness of this work. national de i' opera Comique
RAVEL: Rapsodie espagnole National de la Radiodiffusion Francaise. (1951) Cluytens in this music show why he and Ravel were made for each other. He seems to become part of the music.
BERLIOZ: L'Enfance du Christ. Helene Bouvier mezzo soprano. Michel Roux. Noguera. Giraudeau. Societe des Concerts du Conservatoire. (1951). Won the Grand Prix du disque in 1952. You will have to decide which version you prefer, this one or the 1965 version with de los Angeles, Gedda, Blance. Paris Conservatoire Orchestra, which is the last recording he made. The CDs also come last in the box, No 64-65. DELAGE: Quatre Poemes Hindous & Trois Chants de la jungle. (Kipling) Martha Angelici soprano. (1956) Ensemble instrumental. Profoundly stunningly beautiful. This is French singing at his best and how the music should be played. How does Cluytens capture perfectly this limpid work.?
TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano concerto No 1. Aldo Ciccolini- piano.(1951) Orchestra society des Concerts du Conservatoire. A different approach to this concerto which allows the music to breathe. After all Cluytens was a fine pianist in his youth. In the first movement the conductor builds up to a fast climax with this fine pianist. The last movement is fast being out the dance that springs out of the music. SCHUMANN: Symphony No 4. National de la Radiodiffusion francaise.(1950) The last two movements are quick as they should be.
RUSSIAN music. BORODIN: In the Steppes of central Asia. MUSSORGSKY: Night on the bald mountain. RIMSKY- KORSAKOV: Russian Easter Festival Overture. The conductor has captured the spirit of this marvellous music. Capriccio espagnol. (1952) Listening to this work really puts a spring in your step as it should. SCHEHERAZADE: (1952) Of course this version is not as good as the Beecham 1957 recording, not many are. But I mentioned this, because Cluytens reminds me in his conducting as a French version of this great man. I mean this is just an opinion. Both of their orchestras loved these two conductors and would do anything for them and both these men were charismatic.
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto's No 2 & 4. (1952). Solomon-piano. Philharmonia orchestra. This may not be Beethoven concerto's played as you are used to hearing, for the playing is limpid, and makes you hear the works in an entirely different manner. But this is a great pianist make no mistake. CHABRIER: Espana. Rhapsody. World Premiere release. Means this work has never been released before. Who was Solomon ? He was known only by this name, his surname was Cutner. He was taught by Mathilde Verne, who had studied with Clara Schumann. Solomon is renowned for his Beethoven which had almost legendary status. He suffered a stroke in 1956 and lost the use of his right arm, so he never played in public or recorded again. He lived another 32 years.
CHOPIN: Piano Concerto No 2. Marguerite Long- piano. (1953) Make no mistake this is great playing. Listen to the Larghetto for example. PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No 3. Samson Francois. I remember reading a review on this website, where the author stated that he bought the collection of Francois's CD's,because he had not heard of him before, and was surprisingly completely blown away by his playing. Marguerite Long established the Long Thibaud international competition for violinists and pianists held each year in Paris. Ravel dedicated his piano concerto in G major to her. This concerto is in this set. Samson Francois studied piano with Cortot, who could not teach him and found him out of control. He also studied Harmony with Nadia Boulanger, a pupil of Faure. She also taught Phillip Glass, the great American composer. Samson moved to Paris to study with Long and won her competition. Jazz was his favourite art form and claimed it influenced his playing.
FRANCK: Symphony in D. Orchestra national de la Radiodiffusion Francaise. (1953) The best recording is the Monteux Chicago Symphony orchestra 1961 version recorded on stereo. But the conductor as usual makes us look afresh at this great symphony. He was not an objective but subjective conductor. BONDEVILLE: Gaultier Garguille Symphonic poem. Madame Bovary, Opera in 3 acts. Excerpts Act 11 Scene V. Act 111 scene V11.National de I' opera- comique. recorded 1954 . But first time released. Some of the music from the opera reminds me of Debussy and his Pellas and Melisande.
RAVEL: Daphnis et Chloe Suite No 1 & 2. Orchestra National de la Radiodiffusion Francaise. (1953) Some of this music is unworldly and Cluytens achieves these effects which enter the world we cannot put into Words. Another conductor to achieve this is Charles Munch, considered a great French conductor, although born in German Alsase-Lorraine, now part of France; his Berlioz is sublime. In 1949 Cluytens took over from Munch to conduct the Paris Conservatorie Orchestra.
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No 1. Emil Gilels Piano. Societe des Concerts du Conservatoire(1955) First time released.
BIZET: Symphony in C. Orchestre de la Societe des Concerts du Conservatoire. Captures the French spirit and elan. D'INDY: Symphony for orchestra and piano. Not often heard. Aldo Ciccolini. A iIalian French pianist. He studied with a pupil of Busoni. He was a celebrated interpreter and advocate of the piano music of French composers, Saint -Saens, Ravel, Debussy, Alkan, Satie and Massenet. In 1949 he won the Long- Thibaud competition in Paris.
MASSENET: Les Erinnyes Incidental music.National de I' opera. (1952) Scenes alsaciennes orchestral suite No 7. Scenes pittoresques. Orchestral suite No 4. Phedre overture. Theatre national de I' opera-Comique. These works gives you an insight into Massenets work if you have never heard his music before. This music is from the composer of those great operas Manon with De los Angeles, Legay, Dens, National de I' opera-comique conducted by Pierre Monteux. EMI 1955. and Werther with Georges Thill, Ninon Vallin, Germaine Feraldy. National de i'opera-comique. Conducted by Elie Cohen. (1931). Considered the two best of the many recordings of these two operas.
DEBUSSY: Le Martyre de Saint Sebastien. Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Francaise. (1954) There is spoken French in this recording, Sung roles, Rita Gorr and Solange Michel Contralto, Martha Angelici soprano. All great singers. What this recording shows us is how much richer and varied the score is, then the usual symphonic fragments. The music is sublime. First time this recording is on CD.
STRAVINSKY: Persephone. Orchestre de la societe des Concerts du Conservatoire.(1955) Gedda tenor. first release on CD. The score is in his Classical period style. Not often heard.
BERLIOZ: Symphony fantastique. Orchestre national de la Radiodiffusion francaise. (1955). This is a very French version of a much played piece. Quick tempi and the conductor seems to understand the Romantic drugged illusions of this piece, written for the English Shakespearean actress Harriet Smithson, whom Berlioz hoped would notice him. Eventually they married and lived unhappily together until they separated. Read Berlioz's autobiography, probably the best written by a musician and gives you an insight into his personality and the times in which he lived. Amazon has it in stock. This mono version is better then the stereo version in this set. But the stereo sound brings the various instruments to the fore. I suppose I like both.
SHOSTAKOVICH: Piano Concerto No 2 in F major. (1958). Piano Dmitri Shostakovich. Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Francaise. (MONO). Fast tempo and authentic as the piano is played by the composer. Marvellous work and recording.
SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No 11. (1958) The year 1905. He seems to have captured the Russian flavour of this work. I own Kondrahin's conducting of the Shostakovitch, 15 symphonies with the Moscow Philharmonic symphony orchestra. Russian to the core.
RICHARD STRAUSS: Don Juan and Feuersnot. Love scene. Don Juan is highly emotional with quick tempo's. The conductor captures the long Straussian line in the love scene which is hard to do. When Strauss's beautiful melodies are played as they should be, they could reduce you to tears. I would have loved to hear Cluytens conduct Der Rosenkavalier and Daphne. I own the great Von Karajan 1956 Der Rosenkavalier with Schwarzkopf, and Daphne with Lucia Popp cond Haitink. On DVD there is no greater version live then Der Rosenkavlier conducted by Carlos Kleiber, son of Erich, with Gweneth Jones. Traditional scenery. These are all worth owning. I am such a fan of Richard Strauss, that I played one song from the recording of the last four songs, sung by Schwarzkopf, cond Szell at my Mother's funeral. I had the great honour of hearing many of his operas played in the Munich state opera, in his home state of Bavaria in 1977.
SMETANA: Ma Vlast. The Moldau. From Bohemia's Meadows and Forest. You will notice the difference between the Mono and Stereo sound, and know the CD's have been remastered.
BEETHOVEN: Violin Concerto in D major. Cadenza's Fritz Kreisler. Orchestre national de la Radiodiffusion Francaise. (1958). Violin David Oistrakh. A strong, aristocratic reading by Oistrakh. Because Cluytens brings emotion to his orchestra, you will know that this inspires the soloist.
WAGNER: In this recording you can hear why Cluytens was thought by Wieland Wagner to be a fine conductor of this composers music, as the opening to this review mentions. The sheer emotional pull and blaring trumpets catches that unmissable sound of Wagner, with quick tempo's which the composer wanted, as Bryan Magee mentions in his book Aspects of Wagner. For Wagner brought a sexual element to his sound, for one only has to listen to the great love duet in Tristan und Isolde, which is really the sex act put to music. The two great recordings of this opera are by Von Karajan, Bayreuth festival orchestra recorded 1951, Vinay, Weber, Modl, Hotter,& Uhde. Also Knappertsbusch conducting Bayerischen Staatsoper, live recording 1950. Braun, Treptow, Franz, Klose, Schoffler. Another great recording is by Furtwangler, a 1953 recording with Flagstad. A great Ring cycle recording is the 1953 recording conducted by Keilberth, with Modl, Uhde, et al. For beginners I would suggest the Solti Ring cycle. Another cycle worth investigating is the Furtwangler Rome cycle, with Modl, in my opinion the greatest of Brunnhildes, along with Frida Leider, who reigned supreme in the 1930's. Modl had a stunning emotional voice that you immediately recognised like Callas had. Albert Coates the English Russian, caught Wagner perfectly with his extremely fast tempi. All that I suggested is worth investigating.
BEETHOVEN: Symphonies 1-9. Recorded 1957-1960 with the Berlin Philharmonic. So how does this Beethoven set compare with Furtwangler's war symphonies, Toscanini, early Walter, later he is slow, Reiner, Klemperer, Monteux and Munch, 1955 Von Karajan, and the delightful early 1990's set by Harnoncourt. Each are subjective in their interpretations and have their champions. For example I like Mackerras's version, not because he is Australian, but he was one of the first to use the new edition of Beethoven score which had the true metronome speeds in it, very quick, as Beethoven wanted it. I think Cluytens compares very well, as I keep mentioning, emotional and quick where he needs to be. In the first two symphonies, he captures the dance like quality. I got up and did a jig. The 3rd symphony 1st Movement opens very quickly. Marvellous, Beethoven would have been pleased. So are the 3rd and 4th movements.
We, who are apart of nature, with that creative impulse both destructive and positive, bound together by a quietness beyond words, whom religion regards as God, but is the essence of the many universes. We who live, are but that force, as we who die. For that eternal answer is within us, no where else. This Beethoven portrayed. Ah! I am on wing, for such is the spirit of Cluyens in this music, I hear these symphonies but for the first time. In the 7th symphony 3rd movement Presto is slow, to build tension for the last movement, which is quick. Builds up speed , then slows down, then changes gears in the Furtwangler fashion, faster and faster, then slow and faster again, this dancelike movement as Wagner called it. The 3rd Movement Adagio no 9 symphony, is conducted like it is a quiet vision, fragile in its beauty, limpid, this reflection of the eternal in a pool of our own making. We, who are briefly here on this planet, forget this fact and live life as if we are here for ever, bogged down in trivial pursuits.
RAVEL: Piano Concerto in G major.(1959) dedicated to Marguerite Long the Pianist. Samson Francois orchestre de la societe des Concerts du Conservatoire. The 2nd movement Adagio assai is a beautiful movement written for a woman whom Ravel loved. Some men do understand a woman as they can understand us. The best playing of this movement is by Helene Grimaud with the chamber orchestra of Europe conducted by Vladimir Jurowski on BluRay. I kept playing this movement over and over again with Helene playing the piano as she caught the essence of this movement perfectly. I knew it had to do with a lady, but could not figure out what it was. Concerto for the Left hand, well played by Francois.
RAVEL: Orchestre de la Societe des concerts du Conservatoire.(1962) Reissued in EMI's "Great Artists of the Century" series, Cluytens splendidly vivid account of this great score projects the music with extreme brilliance, yet the effect is warmly atmosopheric. With this 1962 recording you are confronted with the orchestral tradition that Ravel would have known. The playing has a voluptuousness all its own.
RAVEL: Orchestre de la Societe des concerts du Conservatoire. (1961-1962) Alboraba del gracioso, une barque sur I' ocean, Bolero, Ma mere I' Oye. Menuet antique, Pavane pour une infante defunte, rapsodie espagnole, Le tombeau de Couperin, La valse, Valses nobles et sentimentales. These works have a strongly idomatic and atmospheric feel; the Rapsodie espagnole, La Valse and the Valses nobles are exceptionally good and so is the Ma MereI' Oye.
FAURE: Requiem. The Paris Conservatoire. (1962). A good sounding version, with great expressive eloquence in its favour. With Victoria de los Angeles and Fischer- Dieskau. it is my first choice, probably because I owned it as a young chap.
ROUSSEL: Bacchus Et Ariane. (1963) Teems with life and is full of rhythmic vitality, even if it has less poetic feeling then Le Festin de I' araignee. Symphonies No 3 & 4. Cluytens has a splendid grasp of the energy and character of these symphonies.
BERLIOZ: L'enfance du Christ. Paris Conservatoire Orchestra. (1965-1966) Victoria de los Angeles, Nicolai Gedda, Roger Soyer, Ernest Blanc. Paris Conservatore Orch. de los Angeles is superlative and so is Ernest Blanc. The orchestra gives sensitive support and the choral singing is agreeably fresh. The shepherds farewell, is beautiful.
WHO WAS ANDRE CLUYTENS? (1905-1967)
Cluytens was born in Antwerp into a musical family: his Grandfather, father and Uncle were professional musicians. His father conducted the Theatre Francais opera. He engaged his son as a chorus master and coach. He joined his father at the opera, conducting productions there, having his debut in 1926. In 1937 he became principal conductor of the Theater of Toulouse.
Cluytens volunteered to serve in the French army in September 1939 but never saw action. he became a French citizen in 1940. Following the liberation of France complaints from Bordeaux about his alleged collaboration with Nazi authorities led to him being sentenced, but after his appeal in 1946, his sentence was revoked. This was due to the fact that he had helped the French Resistance. A top leader in that organisation testified on his behalf, so did the pianist Long.
He was appointed director of the Opera-Comique in 1947 and resigned in 1953. However, Cluytens succeeded Charles Munch in 1949 as Principal conductor of the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra. He was the first Frenchman to conduct at Bayreuth in 1955, the Wagner opera Tannhauser. According to Wolfgang Wagner Cluytens was "universally liked for his amiable, open minded attitude". From 1964 until his death in 1967, he had a relationship with Anja Silja whom he met at Bayreuth. Anja Silja purchased his former house in France and now resides there.
I hope you enjoy this box set as much as I do, for this is one of the finest sets I have come across in a long time.
Penguin Classical guide 1977, 1996 and 2008. Wikipedia.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
The brilliant Perahia, 6 April 2017
I do not own the Perahia 40 years box set, which after listening to this 15 CD set you may wish to. At the time I bought the Glenn Gould box set, for I like his quirky approach to playing. I also own the DGG Richter and Ashkenazy sets as well. Being an award collection you get to hear the best of this pianist which is all you may feel you need, for some collectors do not like buying huge box sets of over 60 CD's. I do not mind, odd size boxes and all. This set would suit those new to collecting.
THE BOX SET:
This set is small covered by white velvet material. The lid covers the box and opens sideways, which allows you to place inside the cover of the CD you are playing. The sleeves are the originals, the CD number is on the spine which is quite useful. The CBS Masterworks are like a record, with the centre the same as the original LP-with digital upon the label, composer and music to be played. From CD 5 onwards the CD is white, with CD number, composer and music to be played in bigger letters then the CBS CD's. On the back of the sleeve track numbers and music to be played. The first four CDs do not have this, simply a essay in very small writing, but this is in the booklet.
The essay "an abundance of awards. Murray Perahia's prizewinning Recordings. Translated in German and French. Tracklist with a picture of the original sleeve and original liners notes which you can actually read. You do not need a spyglass to read them. Pictures of Perahia.
Nothing is mentioned about the CD's being remastered, except they are all stereo and Digital and the sound is fine.
Perehia is not from the huge sound of the Romantic school, but he is faithful to the score, thus playing what the composer wrote. His approach to the theme by Handel by Brahms, is limpid, quick tempo's, and you can hear every note, like a well spoken English actor.
The reviews are in the same order as the CD's in the box set.
MOZART: Concerto for Piano and orchestra no 15 and 16. English Chamber Orchestra, direction Perahia. Gramophone Award 1984. Best Concerto recording. Perahia's are superbly imaginative readings, full of seemingly spontaneous touches and turns of phrase very personal to him, which yet never sound mannered. Both these performances are very special indeed.
MOZART: Sonata for 2 piano's. SCHUBERT: Fantasy for piano duet. Perahia and Radu Lupu. Gramophone award 1986. Best instrumental recording. With Perahia taking the primo part, his brightness and individual way of illuminating even the simplest passage-work dominate the performance, producing magical results and challenging the more inward Lupu into comparably inspired playing.
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No 3 & 4. Concertgebouw orchestra Conductor Bernard Haitink. Gramophone award 1986. Best concerto recording. Perahia gives readings that are at once intensely poetic and individual, but also strong, with pointing and shading of passage-work that consistently convey the magic of the moment caught on the wing.
BARTOK: sonata for 2 pianos and Percussion. BRAHMS: Variations for 2 pianos on a theme by Joseph Haydn. Perahia & Solti piano. Corkhill and Glennie percusssion. Grammy award 1989. Best chamber music performance. A highly creative partnership produces a vivid and strongly characterized performance. Hungarian Solti had the rare distinction, of having turned the pages for Bartok's wife. the pianist Ditta Pasztory, when she and the composer gave the work's premiere in 1938. However Hungarian Nikisch who died in 1922, was the first modern conductor, who made him a pillar of society, also that a conductor should interpret the score subjectively. He influenced Solti, other Hungarians Szell, Ormandy, Fricsay, Dorati, Kertesz and mentored Fritz Reiner. Nikisch also fired the imagination of Furtwangler, Monteux, Kousssevitsky and Ansermet.
CHOPIN: 4 Ballades. Grande valse op 18 & 0p 42. Nocturne op 15/1. Mazurka 15/1, 7/3, 17/4,33/2, Etude 10/3, 10/4. Gramophone Award 1995. best instrumental recording. Chopin playing does not come better then this, and this set of the Ballades is unlikely to be surpassed. The waltzes turn one to the classic post-war Lipatti set, but comparsion does not find Perahia less poetic. A recital that is in a class of its own. From Penguin Classical guide 1996.
HANDEL: Suite No 5, Chaconne in G major with 21 variations. Suite No 3, suite No 2. SCARLATTI: Sonatas K491, K27, K247, K29, K537, K206, K212. Gramophone Award 1997. Best instrument recording. Midem Cannes Classical Award 1997. These works are for the harpsichordist , but Peraha is quite successful in translating these works to the piano. Where required his tempi are ever faster, a daredevil edge which they must have. He has the experience and virtuosity to pull off these pieces transcribed for the piano.
BACH: English Suite No 1, No 3, No 6. Grammy Award 1999, Best instrumental soloist Performance, Echo Klassik award 1999 17th/18th century. In this pianists hands the forward flow is a living thing in itself, and the listener is always made conscious of the richness of the underlying harmony, especially in the Sarabandes, which are played very beautifully indeed. The lighter dance movements have a refreshing lightness of articulation, with the decoration made to seem integral. His mastery is such that, while this personalized Bach, using a full range of pianistic colour with a disarming naturalness, there is never any suggestion of self-awareness.
BACH: Aria with 30 Variations " Goldberg variations". Gramophone Award 2001. Best instrumental Recording. Edison Award 2001. Record Academy Award (Japan) 2001. His version is personalized, essentially thoughtful and intimate, even ruminative, but with moments of high drama.
BACH: Concerto for Keyboard, strings and continuo No 1, No 2, No 4. Academy of St Martin in the fields.Echo Klassik award 2002. The playing of the Academy of St Martin in the field under Perahia is very sprightly. As a soloist, the pianist is his usual stylish, discreet refined self.
BACH: Concerto for keyboard, strings and continuo No 3, No 5, No 6 No 7. Academy of St Martin in the Field. Echo Klassik award 2003. As well as being immensely vital, Perahia's Bach is profoundly pianistic, but not in a exhibitionistic sense, but in the way tempo, dynamics and nuance register without undue exaggeration.
CHOPIN: 12 Etudes op 10. 12 Etudes op 25. Grammy Award 2003. Best instrumental soloist Performance. Gramophone Award 2003. Best instrumental recording. His virtuosity is totally self-effacing, so that the listener's engagement with Chopin's world is complete. There is not the slightest trace of self-awareness, only a total dedication to the musical vision on the page.
BACH: Concerto for Flute,violin, Keyboard and strings. Brandenburg Concerto No 5. Italian Concerto in F major. Echo Klassik award 2004.
The overriding impression is of intelligence, sensitivity and drama tempered by humility
BACH: Partita No 2, 3 ,4. Diapason d'or 2008. Echo Klassik Award 2008. 17th/18th Century.Midem Cannes Classical Award 2008. In this pianists hands, Bach's Partitas not only work well on the modern grand but sound completely at home. His tempi always seem right for what the music has to express, as opposed to that Perahia wants to express in the music.
BACH: Partita No 1,5, 6.Diapason d'or 2009. Echo Klassik Award 2010 17th/18 Century. See above.
BRAHMS: Variations and Fugue in B flat major on a theme by Handel. 2 Rhapsodies op 79. 6 piano pieces.op 118. 4 piano pieces op 119. Gramophone 2011. best instrumental recording. Echo Klassik Award 2011. Instrumentalist of the year. Perahia manages to get right inside Brahms piano music and bring alive some of the lovely melodies in these pieces.
REFERENCES: Gramophone Classical Guide 2002 & 2009. Lebrecht,N. The Maestro myth. 1997. Pocket Books. Penguin Classical Guide 1996, 2008.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
This box set is for new and experienced collectors, which takes into account the great conductors of the past., 20 Mar. 2017
I own the 50 CD Berlin Philharmonic Centenary Edition celebrating 100 years of recording with DGG, starting with Nikisch's Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Also the Decca 50 years with the Wiener Philharmoniker orchestral edition. This set contains conductors such as Clemens Krauss,, Monteux, Knappertsbusch, Reiner, Walter, Boult, Boskovsky, Solti, Bohm, Krips and so forth. When I bought it, the set was 76 pounds, now it is 225 pounds, an utter disgrace. In my opinion, this set is certainly better then the new 175th Anniversary Wiener Philharmoniker set. However, we who buy Classical box sets are a different breed, for we will gladly buy a set even though we own half of the CDs. So I can say, that this New York Philharmonic box set is certainly worth owning, and would bring joy to those new to classical music and those like myself, who are very experienced collectors of some 53 summers. Now I shall attempt to convince you of the validity of my statement.
Now first about the BOX SET. The lid which is basically a light grey, covering most of the box which contains the CDs. The box is made of tough cardboard and is smallish for 65 CD's, but reasonably heavy. The sleeves are also made of thickish.cardboard, and are a very light grey colour on both back and front. Here the music to be played and conductor and the CD number is placed. What is very useful is on the spine of the sleeve is the CD number and composer plus pieces to be played. Behind , the CD number, with the track numbers and music, plus conductor. The CD is white, with music and conductor, plus CD number. All Sony box sets are well made and presented.
BOOKLET: A hard cardboard cover. The New York Philharmonic for 175 years, a essay in English, German and French. Music and track numbers with dates recorded. Discography. A easy way to find the composer and music, plus sleeve number. Black and white pictures of conductors and musicians.
SOUND: This is the most important aspect where the box set is concerned. On top of the box is placed a statement printed on paper which can be taken off the box " 20 recordings for the first time on CD, 15 recordings as first authorized releases, remastered from the original discs and tapes using 24 bit/192 kHz (?) technology. As I own some of the recordings, I am able to judge exactly what has been done to the CD's soundwise. For example, I own the Mahler, 2nd ( Bernstein Century-Remastered 24 bit technology) and 3rd Symphony cond Bernstein,(The Royal Edition- remastered 20 bit technology) plus a excerpt from the 8th Symphony. These CD's have been remastered years ago. The Nielsen box set symphonies 1-6 conductor Bernstein, which includes the 4th and 5th symphonies that are included in this New York Philharmonic box set. Then Leonard Bernstein edition, concerto's and orchestral works. Also Arturo Toscanini-the complete RCA collection, Bruno Walter Edition and the Pierre Boulez complete Columbia Album collection.
At the back of the booklet it states, "Tape transfers, Mixing and Mastering for CD's, the CD numbers are mentioned, and who by. Andreas K. Meyer and Rebekah Wineman, Meyer Media LLC. Tape Transfers, a few CD's by Brett Zinn, Iron Mountain Digital Services. Mixing and mastering by Martin Kistner, b-sharp music & media solutions. Tape Transfers, Mixing and mastering, one CD, by Mark Wilder, Battery Mastering Studios, using 24bit/192kHz technology. All other tracks mastered by Martin Kistner and Hansjorg Seiler, b-sharp music & media solutions."
A HISTORY OF THE NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC:
Barbara Haws in her article mentions that recordings are identified by the conductor or composer rather then the orchestra. Rarely do we listen for what a group of musicians might bring to the piece. And we have probably never listened to a set of recordings to discern long past influences that may be heard in the playing of a orchestra. Yet this set which covers 78 years of a single orchestra, the New York Philharmonic; we can observe the echoes of the past that may still be living through the players themselves. The memory is always passed on into the future. I think you could say this of the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic.
At the Philharmonic's very first concert in 1842 there were no fewer then three conductors, all of them members of the orchestra. This set the stage for 66 years in which the Philharmonic was organised as a cooperative, with the musicians sharing in the work, the decisions, and any profits. The musicians elected conductors, who for most of the 19th century were expected to be members of the orchestra. The three conductors idea died out after one season. Then a different conductor from the orchestra was chosen for each concert. Then one conductor for a entire season. Anton Seidl was the first conductor to be elected for more then a single season who was not originally a member of the orchestra. A former assistant of Wagner at Bayreuth, he was brought to New York by the Met Opera to lead the German repertoire. He taught at the National Conservatory of music in America led by Dvorak. The composer wanted to create an America school of composition that included Negro and American indigenous songs. Hence the Symphony No 9, from the New World and the Philharmonic were given the rights to the world premiere 1893. In 1898 Seidl died.
After a number of experiments, wealthy New York's offered to support the Philharmonic financially. After 66 years the co-op was disbanded, and so Mahler came to lead this orchestra.1910-1911. So for two years he toiled away at his position, conducting the Symphonies 1,2 and 4, plus kindertotenlieder. The women on the committee unfortunately attempted to interfere in his programmes and handling of the orchestra causing him great stress. he died that year 1911. Stransky took over. Then change came about with the conductors, Mengelberg conducted only half the season from 1921 onwards, with the remainder handled by various guest conductors, including Furtwangler, Beecham, Stravinsky and Reiner. In 1928 New York's two oldest orchestra's merged to become the orchestra it now is. Then Toscanini took over and there was a clash with Mengelberg who gave up the post. When Toscanini eventually left, Barbirolli conducted for three seasons. However, Rodzinski was brought in as a orchestra builder who engaged 25 year old Bernstein as assistant conductor. After a fiery end to Rodzinski's reign, Walter took over the position. In 1949-50 the leadership was shared by Stokowski and Greek born Mitropoulos, who became the sole leader of this orchestra until 1960, then the era of Bernstein began. Haws in her essay mentions the different orchestral players from one era to the other, to show how a certain tradition and sound was continued.
I shall not review every piece of music, but simply give you an idea about what this box set is about, as Amazon has kindly placed the music piece for you to read.
The Flying Dutchman overture is a first release. (1924) (Remastered) Ein Heldenleben was dedicated to this conductor by Richard Strauss. Beethoven symphony no 3,(1930) plus Symphony No 5. Allegro con brio.(1922) (Remastered) Mengelberg attached great importance to what he considered a link between Beethoven and himself. For through his studies in conducting, theory and composition in Cologne under Franz Wullner, a friend of Anton Schindler, who in turn a been a friend, secretary, biographer and pupil of Beethoven himself, he felt there was a oral tradition passed down to him. Mengelberg asked his orchestra to play on his beat. He left all tradition behind, with his impassioned performances. He was indifferent to Metronome marks, accept where Beethoven symphonies were concerned.
From 1902 when Mahler met Mengelberg, they had an enduring friendship that lasted until the composers death in 1911. Mahler had told his wife Alma, that the conductor was the only person he felt he could trust his work to. Mengelberg was the first conductor ever, to play all his symphonies in a festival. After 50 years he was stripped of his post as chief conductor of the Concertgebouw, because of his closeness with the Nazi's. A 15 CD box set, Decca The Concertgebouw Recordings, Mengelberg. 1939-1941 Live .Contains all Beethoven symphonies. They should be in every serious classical music fan's collection and Mahler's 4th Symphony, Bach etc.
STRANSKY :Thomas - Raymond overture and Largo from the Dvorak New world symphony recorded in 1917,(Remastered) still had some members in the orchestra who had played in the Premiere of this symphony. The parts used in the 1893 premiere which reflected the changes that Dvorak and Seidl made in rehearsal, were still being used by the Philharmonic in concert. Could this first recording from the work capture some of the experience of the premiere performance.? The sound for this period is good. Who I wondered was Josef Stransky? I had never heard of him. Born 1872 died 1936. He was a Czech who worked in Prague and Berlin before being selected by the New York Phil to replace Gustav Mahler on his death in 1911. Walter and Fried were interested, but they picked Stransky because his fees were lower. Mahler scholar de la Grange considered Stransky as a " conscientious but uninspiring leader, who allowed the high performing levels achieved by Mahler to slip". From 1922-23 Stransky conducted the first half of the season, the Mengelberg the second. Then he left to become a art dealer, which was on of his interests. He amassed a private art collection of major Impressionist and post Impressionist paintings. For example, Van Gogh, Gaugiun, Renoir, Manet, Monet. He is buried in the Bronx, New York city.
TOSCANINI: Beethoven Symphony No 5. First Release.(1933) (Remastered) Symphony No 7.(1936) I have listened to this recording from the Toscanini box set-the complete RCA complete collection. Disc to digital tape transfer. Ward Marston who is blind and a magician. Digitally remastered by Anthony salvatore engineer and I cannot tell the difference. Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice. Dance of the Blessed spirits.(1929) Rossini overtures. 1929 & 1936) Verdi La traviata Act 1 and 111.(1929) Wagner. Siegfried Idyll. Gotterdammerung. Dawn and Siegfrieds Rhine journey. (1936) Lohengrin Acts 1 & Act 3.(1936). Disc to digital tape transfer. Ward Marston and there is hiss on both recordings, which is a trade mark of Marston's work. Swift tempo's as you would expect from this conductor.
Toscanini played the cello at the Premiere of Verdi's Othello. At 18 he started conducting when the singers went on strike. For he was told to by the orchestra. Thus he conducted Aida from memory. Muti who was inspired by Toscanini's conducting, mentions that the Verdi's sound is the one Toscanini left us because he played the cello under Verdi's baton. So the sound Verdi produced is certainly the same Toscanini used in a more modern way.
BARBIROLLI: Schubert. Symphony No 4. (1939) Brahms symphony No 2. (1940). (Remastered) The last movement is marvellous. A quick version. The sound is good. You could almost say it was remastered. Sibelius No 1 symphony (1942).(Remastered) The last movement is full of passion. I have never heard Sibelius played like this. Amazing. A New Yorker attempted to flatter Barbirolli by calling him Toscanini the Second, his soloist for the evening, Adolf Busch, interjected: " No-Barbirolli the first." Symphony No 2. According to the booklet these two CDs have been remastered. By 1942 Barbirolli had run into trouble with New York critics and was being pressed by the musicians union to become a US citizen. Desperately homesick, he obtained special permission from Churchill to sail on a convoy of 75 ships, of which 32 were sunk. Once in England he accepted a poorly paid post at the Halle and the rest is history.
BEECHAM: Richard Strauss-Don Quixote. Alfred Wallenstein cello. (1932). American players did not take Beecham to their unionized hearts, journalists did not appreciate his jokes. Americans did not appreciate him, but amongst British musicians, he could do no wrong.
STRAVINSKY: Le Sacre du printemps.(1940) (Remastered.) This is how the ballet should be played, rough and raw. Fast and primitive.
RODZINSKI: Tchaikovsky No 6. Pathetique. (1945). (Remastered). Rachmaninov symphony No 2. (1945) (Remastered.) Curiously Cold and not warm. Wagner Die Walkure Act 3. Traubel, an extrovert Brunnhilde, Jessner and Herbert Janssen. Highly intelligent Wotan. The set was originally made to complete the recording of the whole work begun with the famous Bruno Walter set of Act 1, made in Vienna 1935. Who can forget the Sieglinde of Lehmann with Melchior's Siegmund. The Act 2 with Klose,Hotter as Wotan, Marta Fuch's Brunnhilde is Womanly. Lehmann and Melchoir are again superb this part conducted by Walter, the rest by Seidler-Winkler. Sibelius Symphony No 4. (1947) Rodzinski has captured the frozen ice and wind of Finland. Prokofiev No 5. (1946). The conductor has captured perfectly the spirit of this work. (Remastered.)
Rodzinski's first act was to dismiss 14 players, including the concertmaster." He sat in the balcony with his binoculars, looking-at people he was going to weed out. That's when the orchestra committee began to get organized" The tension and termoil with the management and orchestra. became too distracting to continue. he carried a gun on his person, but he never shot anyone. I suppose Mae West would have said "is that a gun in your pocket, or are you pleased to see me."
KOSTELANETZ: Gershwin Piano Concerto in F. Oscar Levant piano. (Remastered.)This is probably the greatest recording of this piece. Fast tempo, jazz and classical music mixed. O' Lordy me, it sure shook those old bones of mine.
WALTER: Beethoven No 3. (1941). No 5.(1941). (Remastered.) These are different to the Beethoven symphonies in the Bruno Walter Edition. Quick tempi and more spirit. Mahler 4th (1945) and 5th symphonies (1946). They have not been newly remastered. Walter's is a glowingly radiant reading of the No 4 but the 1996 remastering has worked wonders, and orchestral textures are clear and yet warm. Desi Halban's contribution is refreshingly individual, dramatic as well as touching. Walter was assistant conductor to Mahler and championed his music.
MUNCH: Saint-Saens. Symphony No 3. (1947) (Remastered). The music flows and is played quickly. I have always though highly of this conductor because of the twinkle in his eye, which comes through in his music. Mozart Piano concerto No 21. (1948)Remastered. Robert Casadesus.. piano.
Munch was born in German Strasburg, Alsace, Lorraine. His brother was a conductor. He was conscripted into the German Army in World war One, and gassed at Verdun. Munch was Concertmaster of the Leipzig Gewandhaus and played under Furtwangler and Walter from 1926-1933. This conductor remained in France conducting the Conservatoire orchestra during the German occupation, believing it best to maintain the moral of the German people. He refused engagements to conduct in Germany, also refused to perform German contemporary music. Munch protected members of the orchestra from the Gestapo and contributed funds to the French resistance. for this action he received the legion d' Honneur, with the red button in 1945. After he rehearsed his players, at the concert performance with a deadly smile he changed it all. " He kept us on our toes, it was exciting" said one of his players.
STOKOWSKI: Vaughan Williams symphony No 6. Fantasia on Greensleeves onwards (remastered.) Messiaen L'Ascension. Wagner Gotterdammerung. Dawn and Rhine journey. funeral march. This was a great conductor who could mould a orchestra. Somehow he is seen as a light weight. Born in London 1882, died in 1977. The first born of a cabinet maker of Polish descent and a Irish girl. He spoke in a affected mid-European brogue and claimed to have been born in Krakow. No one understood why he needed to create such a nonsense, which undermined his great achievements. But I suppose it was the times in which British singers sometimes changed their names to iIalian ones, so Stokowski thought it might make him more attractive as a conductor. In otherwords, he did not like being a plain cockney. Up the apples and pears-stairs. My Mum was from London, so I have a fair idea of their slang.
MITROPOULOS: Wozzeck . Harrell, Farrell, Jagel, Mordino, Lloyd.(1951) This first recording ever of this opera is a tribute not only to Mitropoulos's superlative skill but also his courage in bringing to American audiences a work that in 1951 was still controversial. This live recording remains in its remarkable expressive and dramatic qualities, the standard against which all subsequent recordings must be measured. The intensity of characterization that has hardly been surpassed by others. No other conductor has understood this music so well. (Met opera guide to recorded opera) Another opera you may like, from the 25 operas classic collection opera -diapason d'or. Barber- Vanessa. Steber, Gedda, Elias, Tozzi, Resnik. Cond Mitropoulos with the Met Orch. Schoenberg.
Erwartung. (1951) Dorothy Dow soprano. A very passionate unforgettable voice.The composers first stage work was a one character opera that he wrote in 17 days during 1909. It takes half an hour for performance. There is no dramatic action, the music following the course of inner emotions, and suggests the world of fFeudian psycho analysis.. in the first scene she is looking for her lost lover. She has come to the edge of the forest; since it is night she is overwhelmed by fears. she stumbles over a trunk of a tree she thinks is a body. She comes out the forest, she stumbles again and falls on the body of her lover. she now goes from love to hate, from reality to dreams.The First American performance came in the form of a concert performance by this orchestra under Mitropoulos on November 15, 1951. Not in the 12 tone technique, for that did not come into being for another 14 years. But this small opera predicts what is to come. Borodin symphony No 2. (1953) The third movement is beautifully done. In the steppes of central Asia. Caucasian sketches by Ippolitov-Ivanov (1959) captures the spirit of the composers works as if Mitropoulos had composed the music himself.(remastered) Scriabin the poem of Ecstasy, along with Prometheus: The poem of fire. There is an emotional intensity in these works, for the composer was influenced by the occult and Theosophy teachings. Shostakovich symphony no 10.(1954). The thrid movement is extremely quick. Schoenberg Verklarte nacht.(Remastered) Think of the chromatic chords in Tristan und Isolde with an even more intense yearning, but with quicker tempo's then you understand it.
Mitropoulos had been raised for the priesthood by two uncles in the monastery on top of Mount Athos after his father lost his life saving refugees from Turkish massacres at Smyrna. However his musical gifts took him out of this environment. So he was helped by Saint-Saens to win a travel scholarship to Berlin, where he studied with Busoni and became Erich Kleiber's assistant at the state opera. He conducted without a baton or a score, his memory was the envy of every conductor, and he was a progressive in politics and art. At the same time he turned the Minneapolis orchestra into a world beater. When he eventually became conductor of the New York Phil, he found they did not like modern music. Also because he was a homosexual some in the orchestra rode roughshod over his mild attempts to impose disciple. Harold Schonberg " he was a mild sweet man and that was one of his trouble." When Bernstein worked with Mitropoulos, what was not known was that they had been lovers. Eventually Bernstein ousted the conductor and he went to the Met. He had a warm relationship with orchestra and the directors. Two years later he was felled by a heart attack, but he had always been a fit man, who gave away most of his possessions and all of his money, mainly to needy musicians and music students. Somehow he lost his will to live after the hammering he took from the New York press and players. Today his records are rarely reissued. Why is this so. For Mitropoulos was a great conductor. I find that through his conducting I am hearing the pieces as if for the first time.
BERNSTEIN: Stravinsky. The Rite of spring. (1955).(Remastered.) Bernstein is the ideal conductor for the rite of spring, with a level of excitment and plenty of room for expression and a barbaric momentum that is frightening. The firebied suite- full of life and energy. Ravel. rapsody espagnole. His first version of this piece was judged the best, along with Pavane pour une infante defunte and. Ma mere l'oye. Tchaikovsky. Romeo and juliet (1957) capriccio Italian (1958). brightly lit orchestra and a brash version. Rossini overtures. Barber of Seville, Italian un Algers, La gazza Ladra (1960) William Tell, (1965) La Scala di Seta. Copland. Symphony No 3. One of the composers most ambitious and accessible works. This must rank among the very finest and most attractive of American symphonies. Some of Copland's most characteristic poetry is in this score, including the fanfare for a common man. Mahler symphony No 3 (remastered) was one of the first to be recoded in his Mahler cycle. it remains one of the most satisfying and passionate. The last slow movement is heavily expressive. Martha lipton, Mezzo, contributes to the overall success.
Mahler No 8 part 1. Veni creator spirtus. This was a natural piece with which to open the Lincoln center for the performing Arts on September 29th 1962. Amara, Chookasian, Tourel, Tucker, Flagelto, London. Bernstein the age of Anxiety. symphony No 2 for piano and orchestra, original 1950 version with Lukas Foss, composer, pianist and conductor, also a class mate of Bernstein's. Canide overture. A witty little overture. Symphonic dances from West side story (1960). Contains much more then the dance sequences. The lyrical tunes are outstanding.
Barber Adagio for strings. The music is heard on the film about the vietnam war, Platoon, directed by Oliver stone. concerto for violin and orchestra, violin Issac Stern. Gershwin An American in Paris (1958) Sways with a instinctive sense of popular and film music. Holst. The planets. Brilliantly played. The performance is never less then interesting.
Bernstein was schooled by Fritz Reiner, who called him my most brilliant and successful student, as well as Serge Koussevitsky. Both these conductors were inspired by Nikisch, the Hungarian conductor, who made the modern conductor what he is, and their subjective reading of the score.
BOULEZ: The miraculous Mandarin (1971). deeply felt. DeFalla, The three cornered hat. it is vividly played. Boulez capture the Spanish spirit, inspired by the singing of Flamenco. Ravel. Valses Nobles et sentimentales. This has a genuine sense of magic. Daphnis et Chloe. In this magical score, Boulez allows ample time for the music to breath.
This conductor was known as part of the contemporary music Avant-garde scene, then he became an internationally acclaimed conductor. he had come into contact with George Szell and Wieland Wagner, which inspired him. One only has to hear and see the DVD of Wagner's Ring cycle directed by Chereau, and conducted by Boulez, to know how far he had come. This is a classic and one of the greatest Ring DVD's around today.
This set concludes with Metha,1989.s. Music from Woody Allen's film Manhattan. Gershwin. Rhapsody in blue. Then music from his songs, someone to watch over me. I've got a crush on you. S'wonderful. Embraceable you etc. Masur with Yo Yo Ma cello Live Dvorak Concerto for cello and orchestra 1995.
REFERENCES: Blyth,A.(Ed) opera on record. 1979. Hutchinson. Gruber,P. Met opera guide to recorded opera. 1993. Thames and Hudson.
Lebrecht,N. The Maestro Myth.1997. Pocket Books. Penguin classical guide. 1977, 1993,1996 &2008.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
This set celebrates Bumbry's 80th birthday, born 4th January 1937., 7 Feb. 2017
I bought this set from Amazon.de as it was cheaper for me living in Australia. It is wise to look around the different Amazon's as you can pick up bargains. However Amazon.co. UK is my base and I usually buy from them.
AN INSIGHT INTO BUMBRY:
Bumbry started as a mezzo soprano and also sung Contralto roles, but in 1970 she made a foray into dramatic soprano roles. She explained " it was my voices decision, even if many people didn't understand that." Bumbry explains her change of Fach. " In this regard Azucena (Il Trovatore) was a key role. I sang the part in Vienna and had no problems with it, but then I went to New York- and things suddenly became problematic. This was also bound up with the fact that the orchestra is tuned slightly lower in New York than in Vienna. I suddenly no longer felt comfortable, my voice sounded hoarse and throaty and needed longer to recover between performances. I consulted three physicians, all of whom independently advised me to change my Fach. "In other words, if I go on as I am, I would not be able to continue my career for much longer. So I changed." Hence this box set is dedicated to her recordings released when she was a Mezzo.
She was a member of a pioneering generation of singers who followed Marian Anderson, including Leontyne Price, Martina Arroyo, Shirley Verrett and Reri Grist in the World of Classical music and paved the way for future African-American opera and Classical singers. Bumbry's voice was rich and big, possessing a wide range. A long time resident of Switzerland, she now makes her home in Salzburg, Austria.
She was born in St Louis, Missouri. She first won a local radio competition at the age of 17 singing Verdi's demanding aria" O don fatale" from Don Carlo. One of the prizes for first place was a scholarship to the local music conservatory. However, as the institution was segregated, it would not accept a black student. Embarrassed the contests promoters arranged for her to study at the Boston University College of fine arts. Bumbry later transferred to another University where she met Lotte Lehmann, with whom she later studied at the University of the West in Santa Barbara, California. In 1958 she was joint winner of the Met opera national auditions along with Martina Arroyo. Lehmann advised her pupil to go to Europe, and so she travelled to Salzburg to study at the Mozarteum in 1959. Then she went to the Basil Stadtheater and remained there until 1964. But her triumphs as Amneris, Aida in Paris, 1960 and Venus at Bayreuth in 1961 and 1962 where she was the first black singer, turned her into a sensation.
A tough small cardboard box with 8 CDs and a DVD. All original sleeves. The four Handel CDs have merely the singers on the back, plus orchestra, three have the aria, composers, opera and track number, also the CD number. They are white with CD number, plus composers. The DVD is bright red with Carmen, singers and conductor name.
Composer, singers, conductor, track numbers and aria's. Also essay Grace Bumbry, the black Venus.In Franch, German and English. At the back photo's and Details of dates recorded. The libretti of the Handel works can be downloaded. No translations of arias.
ADD: STEREO. According to EMI this means the following " analogue tape recorder used during session recording, digital tape recorder used during subsequent mixing &/or editing and during mastering (transcription). However there is no information on the dates that the remastering was done. But the sound is first class. To obtain the full force of Bumbry's voice turn your player up high.
As Amazon has provided details about the arias, singers and conductors involved in this set, I shall only comment on a number of them to give you the reader a idea about Bumbry's singing.
As Stephen Pruslin (International Record Review) states " These recordings will provide lasting pleasure to the many admirers of a strong minded artist who has always done things in her own way, and who possesses the elusive yet mistakable quality of charisma."
Israel in Egypt. 1957. The land brought forth frogs. Thous shalt bring them in. these two arias Shows her at 20 to be singing as a contralto and who knows what she would have achieved if she was not forced to become a dramatic soprano. (1958) Judas Maccabaeus. Contalto Israelitish Woman 11, Messenger and Priest. Here she sings with joint winner of the Met audition prize Martina Arroyo. Both oratiorio's swiftly conducted by Maurice Abravanel and the Utah Symphony.
Actually I will mention a little about Abravanel (1903-1993), because his life was interesting. He was born in Salonika, a town within the Ottoman Empire. His family were Sephardic Jews, who originally fled Spain when the Moors were defeated and the victorious Christians persecuted the Jews and Gypsy's, plus remaining Moors. Nothing changes, humans are always persecuting or at war with someone. In 1909 the family moved to Lausanne, Switzerland. for several years they lived in the same house as Ansermet, the conductor of Orch de la Suisse Romande. The young Abravanel played the Piano with Ansermet and met composers such as Milhaud and Stravinsky. He decided to become a musician against his father's wishes. Abravanel lived in Germany from 1922 to 1933 and fled to Paris when the Nazi's came to power with Weill, who had been his teacher and friend. Here he worked with Bruno Walter and also conducted Balanchine's Paris Ballet. After moving to the USA he accepted the post at the Met opera, at 33 the youngest conductor the Met ever had. Abravanel became a US citizen in 1943. In 1947 he was hired as music director of the Utah Symphony until he retired. So Bumbry was in good hands when she recorded the Handel oratorio's at a very young age.
HANDEL: (1961) Messiah. Behold a virgin shall conceive. O thou that tellest tidings to Zion. He was despised. Conducted by Adrian Boult, mentored by Nikisch, who created the modern conductor, who influenced Furtwangler, Monteux, Reiner, Fricsay and even Von Karajan. In these arias Bumbry shows her pedigree as a great Contralto/Mezzo.
MASCAGNI: (1962) Cavalleria Rusticana. Voi io sapete. Charles Osbourne Opera on Record rates Bumbry highly amongst so many greats, for her dramatic attack.
SAINT-SAENS: (1962) Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix. The great Mezzo aria is sung with ease by Bumbry showing another facit of her art.
FALLA: (1966) El amor Brujo: Her dark toned voice suits these Flamenco inspired pieces.
VERDI:(1966) Don Carlo. The Royal Opera House Orchestra cond Georg Solti. His tremendous energy is much in evidence. The Met Guide to recorded opera states about Bumbry as Eboli, " it is good to be reminded of how exciting this mezzo could be in her early days, generous of spirit and singing with apparently limitless vocal resources" " Don Fatale" shows us the sumptuous voice, the richness, size and range of it. But this aria is a eloquent testimony to the satisfaction this singer has given to many audiences in those early years in her spectacular career. I suggest you buy Verdi's Don Carlo on DVD, with Grace Bumbry as Eboli, Domingo, Freni, Ghiaurov. The Met opera Orch cond Levine, recorded in 1983 when she was 46. WOW!
VERDI: (1965) Il trovatore. Stride la campa. Condotta ell'era in ceppi. It was in this role in 1970 that Bumbry came unstuck and moved to a dramatic soprano. Later on in life she moved back to a mezzo.
MACBETH: (1965) Vieni t' affretta. La luce langue, una macchia e qui tuttora. She sings a powerful Lady Macbeth.
WAGNER: (1963) Tannhauser. Gelieber, komm! Sieh dort die Grotte. Stets soll nur dir mein Lied ertonen. Zieh hin, Wahnsinger. Bayreuth festival Orch cond Swallisch. This was a sensational appearance at the festival, here she has a opulent tone and authoritative style. She gained international renown when she was cast by Wieland Wagner as Venus in Bayreuth, the first black singer to appear there, which earned her the title " the black Venus'. Conservative opera goers were outraged at the idea, but Bumbry's performance was so moving that by the end of the opera she had won the audience over and they applauded for 30 minutes, necessitating 42 curtain calls. The ensuing furor in the media made Bumbury an international cause celebre.
BRAHMS: (1962) (1964) Piano Sebastian Peschko. Her Brahms lieder is movingly and beautifully sung. She is passionate.
SCHUBERT:(1962) (1964) Erik Werba and Sebastian Peschko. Bumbry's sings the Lieder her heroine Marian Anderson sung, who inspired her to take up singing when she was ten for she had heard the contralto in her home town. An die Musik, Litanei, Nacht and traume, are the stand out pieces, which make you want to play them again. BRAHMS. Zigeunerlieder. They have a lightness of touch. WOLF: The four songs she catches the right tone, and makes you eager for more. RICHARD STRAUSS: Sehnsucht is the work that stands out. One has to remember that she was 25 -26 when she sang these works and yet she catches the youthfulness of Schubert. People forget he was in his early 30's when he died and so it takes a younger person to understand his music. J.B Steane in his book the great tradition, praised Bumbry but then attempted to compare her to Elisabeth Schumann, the great German Lieder and opera singer. You cannot, for a start they have different voices, and secondly they were from totally different generations.
BIZET: (1967) .DVD. Carmen. Bumbry, Vickers, Freni, Diaz. Mariemma & ballet Espana. Wiener Staatsopernchor. Wiener Philharmoniker/ Von Karajan. Directed by Von Karajan.
Very traditional staging, with Flamenco dancing at the end of Act one. Von Karajan's conducting is swift. Vickers is passionate with his distinctive voice. Diaz is good as the bull fighter. Freni is in fine voice. here they are in their prime. Bumbry is in her element as Carmen, yet one gets the feeling if only Von Karajan had let her off the leash, she would have moved more, for she was a supreme actress. The singing and conducting is good. Worth while owning.
The pop music Grace Bumbury with Love, recorded when she was 59 is not bad, attempting to give a broader picture of her range. But I have to say its not my cup of tea. I would have much prefered hits from Broadway musicals, or even songs sung by jazz singer Billie Holiday. The only opera singer who was able to cope with pop was Caballe with Freddie Mercury singing Barcelona.
I hope you enjoy this set as much as I do.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Beauty comes alive in this box set., 2 Feb. 2017
Diapason is a French classical magazine and they award each year the Diapason d'or to classical CD's considered excellent. Now they have published the quintessential record library-Vol V.Beethoven Concerto's, Overtures, Fidelio and Masses. Legendary versions from 1930-1976 as selected by Diapason's critics and the greatest artists: Gidon Kremer, Isabelle Faust, Alfred Brendel and Paul Badura-Skoda.. I own Vol V11 Richard Strauss greatest operas and can assure you what I have written is not spin. For example, Ariane a Naxos recorded 11 June 1944 in Vienna with Maria Reining, Max Lorenz and Seefried cond Bohm. Bonus's, Lotte Lehmann singing in 1928 Es gibt ein reich and 1913 Maria Jeritza the same aria. Amazing!. So in this Beethoven set you hear amongst the 13 CDs, the 1st concerto played by Schnabel, conducted by Sargent in 1932. The great Flagstad singing the aria Abscheulicher from a Met opera recording of Fidelio 1941, conducted by Walter.
This small green cardboard box set is the size of a CD, with the details on the back in gold. CD numbers, artists, orchestra and conductors, year recorded. The CD's are placed in a light cardboard sleeve with round plastic in the middle, so you can view the dark golden centre amid a disc like LP shape. CD number and music to be played.
CD and track numbers. Essay's only in French on the music played. No translations into English for the opera Fidelio.
Transfers and mastering: Isabelle Davy, Circe- Fabrication: Sony DADC Published 2015. The sound is good and been remastered. In the older recordings they do not distort the sound.
Obviously there is history in this set, for a start many of the conductors were influenced by the Hungarian Nikisch, conductor for life at Berlin and Leipzig. He lifted the conductor off the podium and set him at the centre of society. Also, for him the score was only the beginning, not an end in itself, for Nikisch believed the conductor must interpret the music his own way to bring the score alive. He influenced Frenchman Monteux, German Furtwangler, and Hungarians such as Reiner, whom Nikisch mentored, Ormandy and Fricsay. Even Von Karajan dropped his name as a token of his legitimacy.
PIANO CONCERTO NO 1. (LIVE) Emil Gilels Orchestre symphonique d' Etat d' URSS, Cond Karl Masur 1976.
In his book on great 20th century pianists, the well known German music critic Joachim Kaiser quotes Goethe's impressions of Beethoven in the context of Gilels career " I have never seen an artist more concentrated, more energetic , more inward." In other words he applies this assessment to Gilels himself. The tempi of Masur is quick and Gilels responds to this well, especially the last movement.
Arhur Schnabel, London symphony orchestra, conduct Malcolm Sargent 1932. Bonus: Concerto No 3 Largo.1933. These pieces show Schnabel nobility and robustness that makes us realize why audiences of the 1930's identified Schnabel with Beethoven. The playing is in every way typical: in other words, he is fully aware of the deepest musical currents. Sargent whom Beecham called "flash Harry", gives him impressive support. There is background hiss, but this does not interfere with the piano playing and orchestra. Warner classics has just released Beethoven the Complete piano sonatas played by Schnabel recorded in 1932-1935. Newly remastered at Abbey road studios in 24 bit-96 kHz (2015-2016)
Rondo in B flat major for piano and orchestra. Richter Vienna SO cond Sanderling. Richter's approach is effortlessly brilliant, there is subtlety here, spontaneity and a sense of enjoyment throughout.
PIANO CONCERTO NO 2. Leon Fleisher Cleveland Orch cond George Szell 1961.
Schnabel was Fleisher's teacher who introduced him to Szell. Both were in sympathy with one another, yet they brought to the music a fundamentally classical sense of form. Such an approach served them well in the complete Beethoven Concerto's. Richard Strauss was an early mentor of Szell, as was Nikisch and the conductor Erich Kleiber, father of Carlos, who became a conductor. Fleisher is an American-one of many who either born or grew up in the San Francisco area (the list includes the violinists Yedudi Menuhin, Ruggiero Ricci and Isaac Stern). Monteux called the 15 year old Fleisher " the pianist of the century". It was a short career in 1965, his hand became disabled, it was not until 1982 that the cause was diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome, a form of recetitive stress injury. More recently, after years of injury the pianist has been able to take up the standard repertory once more. And no 3 PIANO CONCERTO with Szell and Cleveland orch 1961. The artists were at their peak and the performances are uncommonly rewarding.
Rudolf Serkin Philadelphia Orchestra, cond Eugene Ormandy 1954.
Serkin Studied composition with Arnold Schoenberg. He began a regular concerto career in 1920, living in Berlin with the German violinist Adolf Busch and his family. He married their daughter Irene when she was 18, whom he knew from the age of three. Serkin and the Buschs (who were not Jewish but opposed the Nazi regime) left Berlin for Switzerland. Both families immigrated in 1939 to the USA. Both artists founded the Marboro music school and Festival in Marboro, Vermont, with the goal of stimulating interest in and performance of chamber music in the United states.
The No 2 Concerto as played by Serkin is as fast as Fleisher, but the Adagio has more depth and is truly beautiful.
Fantasie for piano, choir and orchestra. (1954) Stich-Randall, Judith Hellwig (sopranos), Rossel-Majdan (Contralto), Anton Dermota, tenor, Schoffler (bass). Vienna city opera choir, Vienna symphony orch, cond Bohm . Very recognisable melody.
PIANO CONCERTO NO 3. 1961. Alfred Brendel. Orchestre Pro Musica de Vienne, Cond heinz Wallberg. This account is among the finest of Brendel's Beethoven concerto series. The interpretation of the soloist is deeply satisfying with the most delicate tonal rhythmic control married to intellectual strength. The slow movement has depth as well as poetry and the finale is beautifully jaunty.
PIANO CONCERTO NO 4. Wilhelm Backhaus. Vienna Philharmonic, cond Clemens Krauss. 1951. He is the conductor of the great Wagner 1953 Ring cycle recorded live at Bayreuth, Bavaria, ,Germany, with Varnay, Hotter, Windgassen. Richard Strauss dedicated his opera Capriccio to Krauss.
Backhaus was well known for his interpretations of Beethoven. However the boy's talent was spotted by Artur Nikisch. He studied with d' Albert. Aged about ten he was taken to hear both of Brahms piano Concerto's performed by d'Albert and conducted by Brahms himself. Backhaus met Hitler in May 1933, whom he glowingly praised and eventually was made a professor of music, yet eventually he moved to Switzerland in opposition to the Nazi regime.
Walter Gieseking, Staatskapelle, Dresden, cond Bohm, 1939.
The background has some hiss. The pianist was born in Lyon, France. He became a supporter of the Nazi Party, because he thought it would be good for Germany. Gieseking, because of his gifts-he had an acute faculty of memorization-thus he was able to master unfamiliar repertoire, however difficult, with little practice. He could learn an entire concerto by heart in one day. This comes across in the playing of this concerto. Paul Badura-Skoda recommended this rendition of this Beethoven 4th concerto.
PIANO CONCERTO NO 5. Robert Casadesus. New York Philharmonic, Cond Mitropoulos, 1955.
He believed in being faithful to the score, also he felt that the goal for all musicians should be to communicate with the audience. If an artist performs solely for effect, no real communication takes place. But if a musician loves a score and approaches it with humility, giving if his all, he can achieve that special communion with his audience. If he does not feel this exchange, the performance is not good. This comes through in this 5th Concerto.
Alfred Brendel. Orchestra Pro Musica de Vienne, Cond Metha, 1961. The pianist gives a bold and vigorous reading, and is well supported by Metha in this 5th Concerto.
Bonus: Adagio from the 5th Piano Concerto. Clifford Curzon. Wiener Philharmoniker, cond Hans Knappertsbusch 1957. Curzon's magisterial performance of the Emperor Concerto has long been regarded as a reference recording. A thoughtful reading.
5th piano Concerto. Edwin Fischer, Philharmonia orchestra, cond Furtwangler, 1951. Recommended by Alfred Brendel."A great Emperor for its sense of grandeur and majesty. A superb collaboration from 1951." Gramophone year book 2009.
VIOLIN CONCERTO. David Oistrakh. Orchestre national de la Radiodiffusion francaise, Cond Andre Cluytens, 1958.
Romance pour violin and Orchestra No 1 & 2. Johanna Martzy. Philharmonia orchestra, Cond paul Kletzki, 1955. The Hungarian Martzy left an indelible mark, so she should because the Romance no 2 is stunningly emotionally played. But it is a pity she is not as well known as she should be.
VIOLIN CONCERTO.LIVE. Zino Francescatti New York Philharmonic, cond Mitropoulos 1952.
Francescatti was born in Marselles, France. his father was a violinist who had studied with Sivori, Paganini's only pupil. His Mother was also a violinist. He was playing the violin concerto at age ten. In 1924 the violinist moved to Paris and teamed up with Ravel, and they became a violin and Piano duo. Later on after Ravel, he collaborated with Robert Casadesus, who plays the 5th piano concerto in this set. These pieces are recommended by Isabelle Faust.
Cadence: Kreisler. Fritz Kreisler violin. London Philharmonic orchestra, Cond John Barbirolli 1936.
Cadence: Joachim. Bronislaw Huberman violin. Vienna Philharmonic, Cond Szell.1934.
Huberman was co founder with William Steinberg of the Israel Philharmonic. His open letter to to the Conductor Furtwangler, in which he pledged support of the persecuted, and refused to perform in Nazi Germany, has become famous, and his astringent though frequently dazzling playing translates that steely resolve into musical terms. In the Naxos recording his speeds are lively not stately like some famous violinists.Recorded 1934.
Cadence: Milstein. Nathan Milstein violin, Philharmonic orchestra, Erich Leinsdorf. 1961.
Cadence: Auer/Heifetz. Jascha Heifetz violin, Boston symphony orchestra, Charles Munch. 1955.
Cadence Beethoven: Wolfgang Schneiderhan violin. Berliner Philharmoniker, Eugen Jochum 1962.
VIOLIN CONCERTO. Ginette Neveu violin. Sudwestfunk orchester, Hans Rosbaud 1949. recommended Gidon Kremer.
She was born in Paris into a musical family. She completed her training after the Paris Conservatoire with Enescu and Nadia Boulanger. At the age of 16, she achieved celebrity status when she won a famous violin competition over 180 contestants, including the future virtuoso David Oistrakh, who finished second. Her career was interupted by World war two, but she made her London debut in 1945. Noted for her intensity, power and impeccable sonority, Neveu is recognised as one of the great violinists of her era. She died in a plane crash in 1949 in the Azores after she recorded this violin concerto.
CONCERTO for Piano, violin and Cello. Hendl piano, Corigliano violin, Rose cello. new York symphony orch 1958.
Extremely beautiful playing.
I own the big box sets of those who were inspired by Nikisch: Reiner, Fricsay, Monteux, Furtwangler, Von Karajan (1938-1960), plus the Toscanini set. So I have an insight into these great conductors. I do own the 1913 version of Beethoven's 5th symphony conducted by Nikisch.
Coriolan overture. Chicago Sym Orch, Reiner 1959. Extremely quick tempi. Berlin Philharmonic, Furtwangler, 1943. These war recordings are justly famous because of the tension in the midst of war. The ending is very fast.
The creatures of Prometheus overture. British Symphony Orchestra, Bruno Walter 1930. To get an idea how Mahler conducted, it is said when you hear early recordings by Walter and Mengelberg you get the idea. Walter was an assistant to Mahler and Mengelberg knew the composer well.
Egmont Overture. Concertgebouw Amsterdam Cond Mengelberg 1931. Quick tempi. Hiss in the back ground but does not effect the sound of the orchestra. A better recording then the Mengelberg Decca set which I own. The quick tempi of the conductors is what Beethoven wanted.
Leonore Overture. Mengelberg 1931.
Leonore 2 Overture. NBC Symphony orchestra cond Toscanini 1939.
Leonore 3 Overture. Vienna Staatsoper Orch cond Karl Bohm. Vienna Phil, Cond Furtwangler 1944.
Haefliger, Rysanek, lenz, Fischer-Dieskau, Frick. Seefried. Bayerisches Staatsorchester, cond Fricsay 1957.
Fricsay was at his finest in this Beethoven opera. From the Overture onwards, his conducting matches the excitement and keen tension of a Toscanini performance, though the very clarity makes it more lightweight than many rivals. The principals sing with exceptional clarity. Haefliger is a fine, clear-cut Florestan, lyric in timbre rather than fully heroic, and Frick and Fischer-Dieskau offer strong, intense strong characterizations, with Pizarro's aria very chilling . Rysanek's Leonore is also impressive, one of her finest performances on CD. She is the glory of this set. Seefried makes an enchanting Marzelline. Bonus: Overture BBC Symphony Orch cond Bruno Walter. 1934.
Abscheulicher! Sena Jurinac,She makes a touching Leonore. orch de l'opera de Munich, Hans Knappertsbusch 1961. Kirsten Flagstad Orch Met opera New York, Walter 1941. She is splendid.
Gott! Welch Dunkel hier! Rene Maison, Orch Met opera New York, Walter 1941. Anton Dermota, Orch orch vienna Staat oper,cond karl Bohm 1955.
Fidelio and these excerpts are recommended by the chief editor of Diapason, Emmanuel Dupuy.
La consecration de la Maison Philharmonia Orch, Cond Klemperer 1959. Here the conductor's tempi are swift and he is at his best.
Missa solemnis. Schwarzkopf, Ludwig, Gedda, Zaccaria. Phlhamonia Orchestra cond von Karajan 1960. It is too slow for my liking and a waste of excellent soloists.
Ah! perfido! Schwarzkopf. Philharmonia Orch Cond Von Karajan 1954.
Mass in C, op 86. Jennifer Vyvyan, Monica Sinclair, Richard Lewis tenor. Royal Philharmonic cond Beecham 1959. With a first rate team of soloists and excellent choral singing, Beecham brings his usual magic to this piece.
The ruins of Athens. San Francisco symphony Orch, Monteux 1949.
I hope you enjoy this set as much as I have.
Blyth ,A. (Ed) Opera on Record. 1979. Hutchinson . Booklet Masterworks Heritage 2013. Sony music. Booklet Decca. Wiener Philharmoniker. The Orchestral edition. 2014. Lebrecht, N. The Maestro myth. 1997. Pocket books. Penquin Classical year books, 1976, 1993, 1996 & 2008.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Historical recordings from the operas by the great composer Richard Strauss. A treasure chest of jewels., 13 Jan. 2017
I own the DGG Richard Strauss's complete operas, Warner Classics Strauss the great operas and Richard Strauss conducting Strauss. So as you can gather I rather like the composer's music. This French 15 CD box set with seven operas recorded from 1944 to 1960, has bonus's from 1913 with Jeritza plus Lotte Lehmann 1928 up to 1960. 3hrs 35 minutes of them. Also Max Lorenz as Bacchus in the opera Ariane auf Naxos recorded in 1944 with Maria Reining. Here they are at their peak. The history in this set is incredible, so Diapason have done a remarkable job in putting this material together. The best of the best is what this series is about anyway.
The box is the size of a CD and made of tough cardboard. The wording on the front is in gold lettering, on the back the operas Salome, Elextra, Der Rosenkavalier, Ariadne auf Naxos, Die Frau ohne Schatten, Arabella, Capriccio. Bonus's added onto the operas as I shall explain later. Excerpts from Feuersnot, Egyptian Helen, Die Schweigsame Frau, (the silent Woman) Daphne. No cardboard sleeves, just white light card with a see through plastic center. This enables you to view the CD, which has a black like LP disc and dark gold centre with the CD number and opera printed on it, plus sound details. So if there are two CDs for the opera, it has the name and 1 & 11, the same for three CDs with the name of the opera and CD number. So you cannot get lost. There are no translations. Also the booklet is entirely in French, no English and German. As my French is dodgy, I was only able to make out the sound details.
Transfer and Mastering- Isabelle Davy, Circe-Fabrication: Sony DADC- p 2016. You just have to hear the 1913 Jeritza and 1928 Lehmann recording to hear how well these recordings are remastered.
This series is chosen by the chief Editor and his expert staff of the French Diapason classical magazine, which awards Diapason d'or award for best recordings. I know of this magazine via the 25 opera box set Une discotheque ideale de opera. Read my review on Brit Amazon. (They use the French name of the box set) This is their version of a desert island set. Barber Vanessa, Bellini Norma. Berg Wozzeck, Adriana Lecouveur, Donizietti Lucrezia Borgia, Gershwin Porgy and Bess, Handel Rinaldo, Korngold Die Tote stadt, Massenet Cendrillon and so forth. The most unusual and imaginative box set I have come across. That is why I recommend this Strauss set and I shall show you why.
He was born in Munich in 1864 and died in 1949. He was influenced in his conducting by Von Bulow, who was in turn inspired by Richard Wagner. So when you listen to Strauss's conducting, you get an idea how Wagner's tempi sounded. Karl Bohm was held in high regard by the composer. He conducted the world Premiere of Die Schweigsame Frau and also Strauss dedicated Daphne to him, and so he conducted the premiere in Dresden.. Clemens Krauss conducted the premiere of Die Liebe der Danae and Capriccio and wrote the libretto with the composer for this opera.
OPERAS AND BONUS"S:
You may notice that the numbering of the bonus's may seem rather odd and confusing. For example, Salome, CD 1 & 2 has bonus CD 2. That means when CD 2 has finished the bonus music will start. You may notice on the next page of the Salome information CD 15, Dance of the seven veils, Berlin Philharmonic Richard Strauss, That music will begin when CD 15 Capriccio has finished. Just read the booklet with its track and bonus numbers and you will not get confused.
SALOME:(1954) Vienna Philharmonic, Cond Clemens Krauss.
Christel Goltz (Salome), Hans Braun, Julius Patzak, Anton Dermota, Rudolf Christ. This was the first Salome by a major label Decca to be taken seriously as a recording. Krauss was a Strauss specialist and with an experienced cast promised and delivered a performance of style and authority. Goltz was considered a great Salome. In the smaller parts Dermota, Walter Berry and Ludwig. Julius Patzak as Herod is the star of this performance. He recorded in 1952 Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with Kathleen Ferrier contralto, who died in 1953. She was in terrible pain when she recorded Um Mitternacht.
BONUS: Finale Scene. Maria Cebotari (Salome) Berliner Radio Symphony Orch Cond Arthur Rothur 1941. The energy and individuality of her singing in this final scene is a kind of shrewish fanaticism and is probably unequalled. Unfortunately in her last years Celbotari was overshadowed by the sensational success Welitsch enjoyed in this role. She died aged 39 in 1949. Final Scene Ljuba Welitsch Orchester des Austrian Radio orch Cond von Matacic 1944. This final scene is taken from a broadcast 1944, and shows the young voice at its finest, and conveys perhaps the most vivid impression of the temperament. Here we are face to face with the anticipated greatness. Lord Harewood stated " Welitsch is one of the most remarkable singers of her day-I do not think there could be any doubt about that". Alan Jefferson writes in Opera on record " this recording gives a wonderful impression of Welitsch's youthfulness, strength and musicianship-perhaps the nearest any soprano has come to the Salome sound."
ELEKTRA: (1957) Vienna Philharmonic cond Dimitri Mitropoulos.
Inge Borkh (Elektra), Lisa Della Casa, Jean Madeira, MAX LORENZ, Kurt Boheme, Anny Felbermayer, Sieglinde wagner, Marilyn Horne, Lisa Otto. Borkh is intense according to J.B Steane. A strong cast. A true artist and a actress singer of genuine stature. Impassioned as Elektra.
BONUS: Allein ! Weh ganz allein. Rose Pauly (Elektra) New York Philharmonic cond Artur Rodzinski. (He carried a gun while conducting-he never used it. But was feared and sacked a lot of his orchestra when he gained a new post) Between the wars the Hungarian dramatic soprano, Rose Pauly, was the most successful Elextra. This 1937 Carnegie Hall Concert with Rodzinski shows Pauly's voice at its very best, and when she sung Elextra at Covent Garden in 1938, Ernest Newman stated " it was said to be a performance of a lifetime". Was willst du, fremder mensch? Varnay (Elektra), Hotter, Cond Richard Kraus 1953. Ich habe keine guten Nachte. Modl and Anny Konetzni (Elektra).
DER ROSENKAVLIER: (1960) LIVE. Vienna Philharmonic Cond von Karajan Lisa Della Casa (Marshallin), Sena Jurinac (Octavian), Hilde Guden (Sophie),Otto Edelmann (Ochs), Erich Kunz, Hilde Rossel-Majdan, I own the 1956 recording with Schwarzkopf which is the benchmark , for she influenced singers in this role even up today. I like both recordings and Della Casa's and Schwarzkopf approach to the role of the Marshallin. However there is nothing like hearing von Karajan live, especially in this opera with the great cast. For example, Della Casa, Jurinac and Guden singing "Maria Theres' hab mir gelobt and Ist ein traum " is beyond beautiful, it is almost a mystical experience.
BONUS: Die Zeit, die ist ein sonderbar Ding. Schwarzkopf. Philharmonia Orchester. Cond Von Karajan. Mir ist die Ehre Widerfahren. Schumann, Olszewska. Vienna Philharmonic cond Robert Heger 1933. There is a EMI recording with Lehmann and Mayr as well, which has Lieder sung by Schumann and Lehmann. Ohne mich. Ludwig, Jurinac, Reining. Vienna Philharmonic cond Erich Kleiber 1954. Ist ein Traum, kann nicht wirklich sein. Grummer and Koth. Berlin Philharmonic cond Wilhelm Schuchter 1956.
ARIADNE AUF NAXOS: (11th June 1944) LIVE Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper, cond Karl Bohm.
Maria Reining (Primadonna/Ariadne). MAX LORENZ (Tenor/Bacchus), Alda Noni, Erich Kunz, Emmy Loose, Paul Schoffler, Irmgard Seefried.
According to the Met guide to recorded music, this was a concert performance in the composers presence, celebrating his 80th birthday. If my French is correct, in the booklet it mentions that the Allies had just landed in Normandy to begin the liberation of Europe.(6th June 1944-D day). Bohm moves the music along in a theatrical way, and his cast is distinguished. Noni's Zerbinetta has a brilliant edge to her voice. Reining is at her peak. Lorenz relishes the role of Bacchus and Seefried then 24 is an engaged composer. Paul Schoffler's Music master is endearing.
BONUS: Lisa Della Casa (All Ariadne auf Naxos.) Vienna Phil cond Bohm. Lotte Lehmann orchester der Staatsoper Berlin, cond Weigert 1928. Maria Cebotari Vienna Philharmonic Cond Von karajan 1948. Maria Jeritza 1913. Lehmann and Jeritza did not like each other, even though they were in the Premiere of the Frau Ohne Schatten. Lehmann was Barak's wife. From what I can gather, it was about Strauss and their competition for the roles in his operas. Jeritza sung Ariadne in the world Premiere in 1912, the composer was delighted with her, so was the audience, but the work failed. But he retained her for the revised version of this opera when it was unveiled in 1916. Strauss entrusted her with the Premiere in 1919 of die Frau ohne Schatten as the Empress.and the title role in the Egyptian Helen. She knew Puccini, so while being directed by him in the role of Tosca in 1913 at the Vienna State opera, she should have fallen into the couch, but slipped and fell onto the floor and sung Vissi d'arte in a flat position. Puccini said " Brava Maria! Never sing it any other way". Nor did she.
FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN: (1955) Vienna Philharmonic Cond karl Bohm.
Hans Hopf, Leonie Rysanek (Empress), Hongen (Nurse) Schoffler (Barak) Christel Goltz, Kurt Bohme, Hilde Rossl-Majdan, Here Rysanek is at the start of a lengthy reign as Empress, binds the high soaring phrases into a personal statement. Bohm's tempo's are quick and he brings out the intensity and the beautiful melodies. I have the 1966 recording from the Met of this opera in the new box set, the Inaugural season, extraordinary Met Performances from 1966-67. Conducted by Bohm with Rysanek at her peak in this role, Ludwig who was married to Walter Berry at the time who is Barak. Ludwig and Berry sing beautifully in their roles. King is good as the Emperor. Probably the two best recordings of this often misunderstood opera, but great all the same.
BONUS: Ist mein Liebster dahin? Eleanor Steber. 1958. Vater,bist du du's? Hilde Konetzni Wolfgang Schneiderhan (violin) Vienna State opera cond Bohm. The violin playing is beyond beautiful, and the singing is good, but the recording breaks up a bit in the middle.
ARABELLA: (1958) LIVE Vienna Philharmonic Cond Keilberth.
Lisa Della Casa (Arabella), Anneliese Rothenberger (Zdenka) Fischer-Dieskau (Mandryka). No less then Richard Strauss prophesied that Lisa Della Casa would enjoy a major career when he saw her perform the role of Zdenka in Zurich in 1946- his words " One day you will be my perfect Arabella" became legendary and true. The Swiss soprano has had an unparalleled influence on the role. She should have after singing it more then 200 times. She is at the peak of her powers and her singing is constantly ravishing. Keilberth catches the Straussian long line which is difficult. This is probably the best recording available of this great opera.
BONUS: Aber der Richige. Maria Reining (Arabella). Lisa Della Casa. (Zdenka). Vienna Philharmonic cond Bohm 1947. Mein Elemer! Lotte Lehmann (Arabella), berlin Staatskapelle cond Richard Jager 1933. Und jetzt sag ich adieu. Schwarzkopf, Von Matacic 1954.
CAPRICCIO: (1957 &1958) Philharmonia Orchestra cond Sawallisch.
Schwarzkopf, Wachter, Gedda, Fischer-Dieskau, Hotter, Ludwig, Moffo, Schmitt-Walter. Considered a Classic what more can I say.
BONUS: Final Scene. Lisa Della Casa. 1953.
BONUS :FEUERSNOT: (1943) Berlin Radio symphony Orch cond Arthur Rother.
Feuersnot! Minnegebot! Maria Cebotari. Karl Schmitt-Walter.
Bei jener Nacht. Rose Pauly (Helene) Orchester staatsoper Berlin, cond Fritz Busch (1928) Pauly is great in the role.
Zweite Brautnacht! Zaubernacht. Inge Borkh (Helene). RIAS Symphony orchestra , Arthur Rother 1960. This aria shows you why Borkh was so great in Elektra. For this is one of Strauss's wonderful arias. The modern version is with Gwyneth Jones,cond Antal Dorati with the Detroit Symphony orch. Decca.
DIE SCHWEIGSAME FRAU:
Du susssester Engel. Hotter, Wunderlich, Guden, Vienna Philharmonic cond Bohm 1959.
Leukippos, du! Reining (Daphne), Dermotta. Vienna Philharmonic cond Karl Bohm. 1944
Ich komme, grunende Bruder. Maria Cebotari (Daphne) Berlin Radio symphony Orch Cond Arthur Rother 1943. The modern version is with Lucia Popp, Reiner Goldberg, Peter Schreier. Bayerischen Rundfunks, cond Bernard Haitink. One of the best versions around.
In this box set you have the great Straussian singers and conductors, that's why it is worth while buying.
Blyth, A.(Ed) Opera on record. 1979. Hutchinson. Christiansen, R. Prima Donna -a history. 1995. Pimlico. Douglas, N. More Legendary voices. Andre Deutsch. Gruber, P. (Ed) The Met opera Guide to recorded opera.1993. Thames and Hudson. Kennedy, M. Richard Strauss. 1976. J.M Dent & Sons.London. Penguin guide to opera on compact discs. 1993. Penguin books. J.B Steane. The Grand Tradition. 1974. Duckworth. Lisa della Casa-Living Poetry. Membran music Ltd.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Met at its best, the opening season at its new home at Lincoln centre 1966-67, 24 Dec. 2016
Peter Gelb, General manager of the Met writes " In honour of the Met's 50th anniversary in Lincoln centre, we have selected and remastered ten broadcasts from that inaugural season, including the never-before-released Antony and Cleopatra and extraordinary performances of Richard Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten and Peter Grimes. A special bonus with highlights from the operas, La Gioconda and Elektra. We hope you enjoy these unforgettable performances from the company's historic first season in Lincoln centre. It was a season for the ages"
A cardboard white box, with a lid which covers the entire box with red writing on it, plus the operas, conductors and singers on the back. The sleeves are made of tough cardboard, as are the sleeves inside holding the CD'S, but each cannot slip out because the back is blocked, which does not usually happen. The first sleeves each has a small booklet (like Callas remastered) with the singers and their roles, plus conductor. Also a essay in each booklet where the performances of the singers are discussed. Black and white photo's of the singers. Arias with track numbers as well as synopsis. No translations. Colour pictures of the singers on the front of the sleeve and inside it, with black and white photo's. At the back live performance and date recorded plus singers and conductor. On the spine are the composer, opera and conductor. The CD is red with writing in white, plus singers, disc number and compact disc digital audio. The CDs are easy to get out of the Sleeves in case you were wondering,. because of a curve in it, which allows you to actually grab the CD. Each sleeve is covered in light plastic which I have never seen before. At least you know the recording has not been played before it was sent to you by Amazon.
According to the booklet these recordings were captured for posterity thanks to the Saturday matinee radio broadcasts. Hence the enthusastic clapping. " These historic mono recordings were mastered from the original analogue tapes. Recording quality varies due to the evolving broadcast facilities at the new opera house. All recordings were restored and remastered using advanced audio restoration". The same Producers and engineers who were involved in remastering Verdi and Wagner at the Met, were engaged with this set. Restoration Producer Grace Row. Restoration Engineers Jeff Dudzick, Andreas Meyer and I-Hua-Tseng. Mastering Engineer Charles Harbutt. For example, in the 1935 La Traviata, with Tibbett and Ponselle in Verdi at the Met, the recording was remastered to such an extent, that you could hear Ponselle properly, which I had not been able to on the Pearl and Naxos recordings.
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA: BARBER. (Recorded September 16,1966.) World Premiere.
Justino Diaz. Ezio Flagello. Leontyne price. Jess Thomas. John Macurdy. Cond Thomas Schippers. Barber and Price had known each other for a decade and he knew what her voice could do being a singer himself. The role of Cleopatra was made with Price in mind. Jess Thomas brought his heroic presence to the role of Caesar. Rosalind Elias, in her 30's sung the role of Charmian. Diaz sung Antony though a bass which Barber had imagined as a high baritone. Zeffirelli wrote the libretto with Barber from Shakespeare's text. Also he directed and designed the production which completely overwhelmed the opera. A decade after the premiere, the revised opera with the help of Gian Carlo Menotti was successful. Irving Kolodin, music critic for Saturday Review had listened to an on air check after reviewing the Premiere. " The music proceedings" he stated, " gain in interest without the distraction of the scenery and staging". Koldin was particularly moved by the opera's tragic power in its final scene. This opera has been needlessly neglected.
However, Barber's opera Vanessa has not been forgotten. Premiered and recorded afterwards by Dimitri Mitropoulos. in 1958 with Steber, Elias, Resnik, Gedda and Tozzi. I came across it in the diapason D'Or 25 operas box set. That is the beauty of box sets you come across operas you have not heard before.
TURANDOT: PUCCINI. (Recorded December 1966.)
Mirella Freni, Franco Corelli, Birgit Nilsson. Conducted by Zubin Metha. Corelli had an exciting tenor voice, blazing its way heroically through the music, finshing with thrilling high notes. One should hear Nessun Dorma. A critic wrote of the opening night " Birgit Nilsson and fFanco Corelli took the leading roles as usual, the signing was magnificent. What else is there to say! This was a beautiful knit performance...just to hear Nilsson and Corelli almost sufficed last night since both were in superb voice." A recent debutante , the iIalian soprano Mirella Freni had assumed the role of Liu. She became one of the most admired singers of her time. This December 3rd matinee preserved on this recording was also the first Saturday afternoon radio broadcast from the new Met.
DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN: RICHARD STRAUSS.(17th December 1966)
Irene Dalis, James King, leonie Rysanek, Christa Ludwig, Walter Berry Conducted by Karl Bohm who knew Richard Strauss very well, who dedicated his opera Daphne to him. This opera is conducted swiftly and with emotion, capturing the stunning melodies. I think it is better then the October 1977,lLive DGG recording conducted by Bohm, with the Vienna State Orchestra. with Rysanek, Berry and King. The sound is clear and fine.
Harold Schonberg wrote in his opening night review in the New York Times. " all the principals had big voices, all were experts in the style". Soprano Leonie Rysanek triumphed in the demanding title role, the unnamed Empress. She has not been heard to better advantage. She is one of the few sopranos who has the top notes to meet Strauss's formidable writing on more or less equal terms". For many critic's, mezzo soprano Christa Ludwig, as the Dyer's Wife, was at least her equal. "Miss Ludwig captured every volatile mood of this tortured creature to perfection". Another, " in Ludwig's performance, we forgot it was opera". Tenor James King established a benchmark in his singing of the Emperor. Making a successful Met debut in this production, as Barak, the Dyer, was Bass-baritone Walter Berry " a fine actor, a superb musician...he took command of the stage when he was on it". Irene Dalis was considered " malevolence incarnate" Kolodin wrote ' Among the present group of Met opera conductors, Bohm towers like a Colossus" It is just an amazing performance, what else can I write.
LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR: ( Recorded December 31st, 1966).
Joan Sutherland, Richard Tucker, Anselmo Colzani, Conducted by Richard Bonynge, husband of Sutherland. She was at the height of her powers in 1966. The accuracy, brilliance, and quicksilver of her coloratura were only enhanced by her voice's dramatic size and presence-the kind of artistry that is made for a big theater like the Met. Schonberg wrote on 13th December, 1966, review " She is so obviously superior to he competition in this repertory, so commanding of technique that she is something special... an incomparable singer." Richard Tucker was Edgardo, live performances provide eloquence of his greatness, with the grand intensity and artistry that singing live do. I own the 1959 recording of this performance pf Lucia that made her world famous, with Joao Gibin conducted by Serafin. 26th February 1959. From the box set Great Performances recorded live, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden 1955-1997.
I have a theory about Sutherland, in her early years before she gained fame, Covent Garden thought she was a Dramatic soprano. However, Bonynge thought otherwise and tricked her into singing higher then she thought, while she sung and he played the piano. They both liked Galli-Curci that was the problem. Yet she has a loud singing voice and if you listen to her singing Turandot you will hear a dramatic soprano attempting to escape.
PETER GRIMES: BRITTEN. ( Recorded 11th,February 1967 )
John Vickers, jean Madiera, Lucine Amara, Geraint Evans. Conductor Colin Davis, swiftly with feeling. This is Peter Grimes at its best. The world began then to recognise Vickers as the greatest interpreter of this role. Over the years he would deepen his portrayal in a partnership with Colin Davis, who made his Met Debut with this opera. Britten wrote this title role for Peter Pears his partner. However, Vickers changed all this, bringing an intensity to the role and a powerful embodiment of the drives and the uncertainities, the inner tensions and, occasionally, the outer releases, of a fate driven personality. This recording shows something of this intensity. American soprano is heard as the compassionate Ellen Orford. The Welsh bass-baritone Geraint Evans brings his great voice to the role of Captain Balstrode. A great recording.
I own the complete works of Britten in a box set. Also, Bluray recording. Peter Grimes. John Grahan-Hall. Susan Gritton. Felicity Palmer. Catherine Wyn-Rodgers. Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala. Conducted by Robin Ticciati. In 1980's costumes with a lyrical touch to the music.
AIDA: VERDI. (recorded February 25th, 1967).
Jerome Hines, Carlo Bergonzi, Grace Bumbry, Leontyne Price, Robert Merrill. Conducted Thomas Schippers. The 3rd of 12 performances that season is heard here, Saturday matinee broadcast on February 25th 1967. Price is considered one of the very greatest of Aida's who sung the role at the Met, together with Destinn, Ponselle, Muzio, Rethberg and Milanov. Price redefined Aida, as a perfect vehicle for her sumptuous voice and powerful presence, which was tailor-made for Verdi's kind of musical theater. A critic wrote " Miss Bumbry sang Amneris with an imperious, scorching intensity that was the product of how she looked", Bergonzi brought his uncommon style and elegance to the role of Radames. Merrill in any Verdi role at the Met, little needs to be said, the majestic singing speaks for itself. Schippers died aged 47 in 1977.
DIE ZAUBERFLOTE: MOZART. (Recorded March 4th 1967)
George Shirley, Theodor Uppmann, Roberta Peters, Judith Raskin, John Macurdy. Conducted by Josef Krips quickly with an insight into the composer Mozart. Uppman was a favourite with the critics and audiences alike." he makes it a simple, boyish, character". George Shirley as Tamino had a beautiful voice, but he never became famous, which he deserved to do. Judith Raskin as Pamina really became the role. I own the 22 Mozart operas on DVD, just published on Amazon.
OTHELLO: VERDI. ( Recorded March 11,1967)
Tito Gobbi, James McCracken, Monserrat Caballe, Conducted by Zubin Metha. McCracken was a veritable voice of nature vocally, with a singular sound. Alan Blyth in Opera on Record stated that the tenor "was impassioned and tomented on stage as Othello". In otherwords, he can sing with a raw-nerve fury and also brings heroic tenderness to the love duet and his final moment. Harold Schonberg wrote in the New York Times, "Mr Mccracken is today's great Othello and most likely the best since Giovanni Martinelli ". See Verdi at the Met, Othello recorded 1940. Martinelli, Rethberg, Tibbitt, Conducted by Panizza. Naxos. Caballe's singing, regal in its beauty throughout, gives way to towering passion in Desdemonia's clash with Othello in Act 111. Her singing in Ave Maria was lovely, not heard since the days of the young Tebaldi at the Met. Gobbi is utter, impeccable evil as Iago, considered a great singing actor.
MADAMA BUTTERFLY: PUCCINI. (Recorded March 18 1967)
George Shirley, Renato Scotto, Ron Bottcher. Conducted by Molinari-Pradelli. John Ardoin hailed her Cio-Cio-San as "one of the supreme operatic characterization of the contemporary stage" noting that Scotto "was in extraordinary vocal estate" in the new Met's " superb accoustics" . Her performance " has deepened in refinement and poignancy."
The Penguin Classical Guide 1976 states about Scotto's voice on the CD Verdi conducted by Gavazzeni, " this recital gives a warm portrait not just of various Verdi heroines but a singer with a lovely characterful voice, which has overtones of the great Claudia Muzio". Who you might ask? J.B Steane wrote " she was the most imaginative soprano to be held in Italian repertoire between Kruscerniski and Callas. Kruscerniski took over from Storchio as Madame Butterfly after its failure in 1904 at the premiere. She sung it a few months later when Puccini revised it at Brescia and the opera was successful. Volpi-Lauri a tenor writes about Muzio " with that unique voice of hers made of tears, sighs and restrained fire." The Penguin guide was playing Scotto a compliment.
Although Scotto started out as a lyrical soprano she is now considered a Spinto soprano. This is Italian for pusher. A vocal term to characterize a soprano or tenor, between a lyrical and dramatic soprano. Soprano's of this ilk sing La Boheme, Madame Butterfly, or in Verdi Aida. Like tebaldi or Caballe.
RIGOLETTO: VERDI. (April 8th, 1967).
Gedda, Cornell Macneil, Roberta Peters. Conducted by Lamberto Gardelli very fast, nearly as quick as Solti with Moffo. Gardelli has recorded many early Verdi operas and they are in the New Verdi complete operas box 2016. A updated version of the 2013 set. One critic simply stated about Macneil's Rigoletto " What a voice". He sure has. Gedda was praised for his singing of the Duke," his voice rings out more then it did in the old house. He is tasteful and stylish as ever". Peters is right inside the role of Gilda. So a very good performance .
Opening night at the met. Live radio interviews recorded September 16 1966, partly about Barber's Antony and Cleopatra.
Mozart:(Live January 28th 1967.
Don Giovanni. Act 1. Don Ottovio, son morta. Sutherland, Gedda, Cond Bohm.
Ponchielli. Live April 15th, 1967)
La Gioconda. Act 11 E un anatema!. Vedi la, nel canal morto. Tebaldi, Elias, Macneil, Cleva conductor.
Wagner: Live January 21st, 1967
Act 11.Lohengrin. Du wilde Secherin! Wie wiilst du doch geheimnisvoll. Berry, Ludwig, Cond Bohm.
Puccini. Live February 4, 1967.
Act 3.La Boheme. Donde lieta usci. Teresa Stratas cond cleva.
Verdi: Live March 25th 1967.
Act 11. La traviata. pura siccome un angelo. Ah! Dite alla Giovine. Merrill, Moffo Cond Pretre.
Verdi: Recorded February 18th, 1967.
Il Trovatore. Act 1. tace la notte. Di geloso amor spezzato. Merrill, Tucker, Arroyo. Cond Molinari-Prdaelli.
R.Strauss: December 10th, 1966.
Ich habe keine guten Nachte. Wenn das rechte Bluloper unterm Beile fallt. Resnik, Nilsson. Cond Schippers.
Christiansen, R. Prima donna-a history. 1995. Pimlico. Penguin guide 1976. Steane, J.B. The grand Tradition. 1974. Duckworth. Warrack & West. The Oxford dictionary of Opera. 1992. Oxford university Press. Wilson,C. Puccini. 1997. Phaidon. Press Ltd.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
No Verdi lover should be without this box., 12 Dec. 2016
This is the 2016 version of this box which includes the entire opera I Vespri Siciliani, which the 2013 box did not have. Also I believe after reading the 2013 reviews that the box is now different. The box now has a lid covering it, so it is not attached to the box. Still no libretto's or CD rom and no 1847 version of Macbeth, only the 1865 version Premiered in Paris now given today. Otherwise it is complete as it will ever be.
The tough cardboard box is a dark creamy colour, covered by a strong lid. Attached to the lid is advertising about what the box is about. Simply take it off and do what you like with it. Inside are the sleeves with mainly double CDs, 5 x 3 CD sets and one four CD set, divided down the middle of the box with cardboard. At the top end of the each side is a block of foam, and the other end one of the hard covered books. This is to protect the box over the years. The sleeves are divided into cream and coffee coloured. On the front is the number, opera and the conductor. Behind the same with the cast and the roles they sing. On the spine the opera and the number which goes from the first opera Verdi wrote to the last. You cannot get lost and the operas are easy to find. Inside the sleeves track numbers and arias. Decca is on the spine, but DGG and Phillips, plus EMI have recordings in this set owned by the Universal music company. CD's all cream coloured with Opera, Acts, singers, conductor and orchestra and number.
Hard cardboard book cover. Vol 1 & 2. Cast and Cue points with page number. Verdi the operas by George Hall, essay in English, French and German, plus historical information on each opera. Synopsis in the same languages.
"ADD analogue tape recorder used during session recording, digital tape recorder used during subsequent mixing &/ or editing and during mastering transcription. DDD. Digital tape recorder used during session recording". (EMI) This set has obviously been remastered at some point, but when? for this set is divided between ADD and DDD.
Verdi was born October 1813 in Le Roncole, near Busseto in the Duchy of Parma. He was registered with the French as Joseph Fortunin Francois Verdi in Busseto, but it was as a Austrian citizen he grew up. In old age, he told his biographer that he had a hard time as a boy because of poverty, music was his only release. However he never got on with his father who hindered him. But his father in law had helped him when he was young and treated him like a father. He married his daughter when he was 23 in 1836, but his daughter died in 1838, his son in 1839 and wife 1840. This was between his first opera and while he was writing his comic opera Un Giorno di regno. Eventually Verdi adopted his father's youngest brother's daughter. He lived with Giuseppina Strepponi for 17 years before marrying her.
OBERTO: We can hear the Verdi to come, but there is much which reflects the style of Donizetti. Urmana, Neill, Ramey, Guleghina give it their all, with Marriner conducting the Academy of St Martin in the fields.
UN GIORNO DI REGNO: This may not be the greatest comic opera of the period, but the performance under Gardelli with the Royal Phil orchestra, clearly reveals the young Verdi as a potent rival even in this field. The Rossinian echoes are particularly infectious, though every number reveals the young Verdi as more then an imitator. Excellent singing from a fine team, Wixell, Cossotto, Norman and Carreras.
NABUCCO: After his wife died in the middle of writing his second opera which was a failure, his Impresario gradually over a period of time managed to talk him out of abandoning his career as a composer. So out of the wreckage of Verdi's life came Nabucco and the beautiful "Va, pensiero" which was used as a anthem for the Unification of what is now known as Italy. This is a masterly performance, with dramatically intense and deeply imaginative contributions from Gobbi as Nabucco and Elena Souliotis as Abigaille. Gardielli shows what a Verdian master he is. Gardelli and the Vienna Staatsoper orch is fine.
I LOMBARDI: Based on the staging of this opera at the Met, Levine brings out this early works striking anticipation of la forza del destino. The chief glory of this opera is Pavarotti as the hero, Oronte. He enters in Act 2 and dies at the end of Act 3, siginal for the great trio " Qual volutta trascorrere. The best version is with Gigli, Pinza and Rethberg, which is on my set of 1927-1934 Rethberg recordings from Romophone, engineered by Ward Marston. The prelude during Act three is particularly beautiful with its violin solo. Ramey sings strongly in the baritone role, June Anderson in the role of Giselda is both sweet and sympathetic but not a patch on Rethberg.
ERNANI: Bonynge's recording with the Welsh National opera is a celebrated one, with Sutherland who gives a commanding account of the role of Elvira with a wobble for she is older. I have a view about her. At Covent Garden when she was first starting out, they thought she was a dramatic soprano, but Bonynge thought otherwise and tricked her into singing high like Galli- Curci, who they both liked. She had a loud voice and if one listens to her Turandot one can see a dramatic soprano attempting to escape. In her early La traviata with Pritchard, she sounds like a spinto. A bit like Callas who was a dramatic soprano who could sing high roles. Naturally Pavarotti is involved after all Sutherland gave him his chance when he was younger. Leo Nucci firm and full of character. Burchuladze at the peak of his career. This is the first opera that Verdi wrote that brought Verdi international fame. DVD Ernani Met opera Orch cond Levine, with Pavarotti, leona mitchell, Milnes and Raimondi. traditional staging.
I DUE FOSCARI: This opera anticipates operas as late as Simon Boccanegra and La forza del destino especially in the orchestral motifs which act as labels for the principal characters. Ricciarelli gives one of her finest performances as Lucrezia and with Carreras sings with taste and power. The crispness generated by the Austrian Radio Orchestra and Gardelli is amazing.
GIOVANNA D' ARCO: LIVE 2013.SALZBURG FESTIVAL. This is based very loosely upon Schllers drama and is typical of the operas which Verdi was writing during his "years in the galleys."Basically melodic and full of energy. Meli is the tenor,soprano Netrebko,s voice has darkened over the years since she sung Violetta in La Traviata at the Salzburg festival in 2005 where she was a hit. Domingo is good as Giacomo. Munich radio orch cond Carignani.
ALZIRA: is the most compact of Verdi's opera's but is often given bad raps but it is tuneful, and if you have good singers, it is better then you may suppose. This is set in the Inca times when the Spanish arrived. The Orchestra de la Suisse Romande Ansermet's orchestra, is conducted with fire and energy by Fabio Luisi. This opera 's baritone has a most distinctive voice, for it stands out because of its sheer emotion, Paolo Gavanelli -Gusmano. One wonders why haven't we heard him before. Alzira is well sung by Marina Mescheriakova, and Torsten Kerl is Otumbo known for his Wagner like Rienzi and Korngold's Die todt stadt. That is the beauty of box sets like this, you discover works and singers you have never heard before.
ATTILA: With its dramatic anticipations of Macbeth, with Attila himself far more than a simple villain, the musical anticipations of Rigoletto make this opera enjoyable. With Cristina Deutekom at her best, Carlo Bergonzi still at his peak and with Sherrill Milnes and Ruggero Raimondi ideally cast, this adds up to a remarkable performance under Gardelli conducting the Royal Phil orchestra.
MACBETH: "In Macbeth Verdi changed his style of composing. Before, he often wrote the melodies and arias first, and later put them in the score, while rehearsing the singers at the theatre. This time he thought of the scenes, the beginning and the end, leaving in between space for arias that he already sensed or perhaps heard in his mind, which made for continuity. This was the beginning of his own kind of music drama not Wagner who still had to work his out. Verdi felt that that attempted continuity was essential to translate the spirit of Shakespeare into music. He was still a long way from succeeding: the path led by the way of Don Carlos to Othello; but he was at the beginning. He became passionately attached to it and it caused him more heartache-more then any other opera. What Verdi wrote about Lady Macbeth is this, "Mme Tadolini voice is that of an angel and Lady Macbeth should be hard, stifled, and dark, the voice of the devil". (Wechsberg: Verdi.)
I have many of the Macbeth recordings, even the Muti with Cossotto and Milnes. Naturally Muti's tempi are fast and on the original CD had arias from the 1847 version, which mine does not. Leinsdorf conducting Rysanek and Warren, not bad. Even Callas in the 1952 version cond De Sabata, was my favourite Lady Macbeth. Then I heard Sinopoli conducting the Orchestra of the German Opera, Berlin, with Mara Zampieri who is Lady Macbeth, biting, threatening to come off the rails, she became the she devil of Verdi's dreams. She had a great cast with Renato Bruson, Neil Shicoff and Robert Lioyd. This performance is on DVD with minimalist scenery and traditional costumes. This was for me the great Lady Macbeth. As good as Abbado's recording is, with his fast tempi, and a good Lady Macbeth in Verrett, it cannot match the Sinopoli version. When that was recorded something happened. Everything came together, that is what makes Opera so magic when this happens.
I MASNADIERI: The musical structure looks forward to a much later period with hints of Forza, Don Carlo and possibly Othello. Sutherland's view of Amalia is weighty although she is still at her peak. Her singing is very beautiful. Matteo Manuguerra sings strongly and sounds darkly villainous. Ramey sings with fine clarity. The Welsh National Opera is conducted by Bonynge.
JERUSALEM: For the French Verdi changed the tittle from I Lombardi to Jerusalem, so the Lombards were replaced by Crusaders from Toulouse. This opera was a success in Paris at the Opera in 1847. Verdi called Jerusalem a new opera which bears no resemblance to the original Italian version. The Italian version of this newish opera was performed at La Scala in 1850 but was not successful as the Milanese missed their Lombardic warriors. Gaston Marcello Giordani is a pleasing lyrical tenor. Comte de Toulouse Philippe Rouillon. Rodger Roberto Scandiuzzi. Helene Marina Mescheriakva whose voice is suited to the part. There are a number of beautiful arias in act one and dotted throughout this opera, including Dieu nous separe near the end of Act 4 sung by Scandiuzzi, Mercheriakova and Giordani, which is the exact melody from I Lombardi in Act 3, "Qual voluttta Trascorrere sento" Luisi conducts the Orchestra de la Suisse romande swiftly and with feeling.
IL CORSARO: Jose Carreras, Jessye Norman and Caballe, these rival heroines are taken splendidly here. Gardelli conducts the Philharmonia orchestra in a vivid performance.
LA BATTAGLIA DI LEGNANO: As a whole the opera shows an advance upon anything Verdi had done in the past both in its breath of outline and its elaboration of orchestral and choral writing. Voi lo diceste is beautifully sung by Lida Katia Ricciarelli. The fine cast also has Manuguerra, Carreras and Ann Murray conducted with passion by Gardelli. Written in the midst of a great uprising which failed in what we know as Italy.
LUISA MILLER: In this opera Verdi was finally learning how to write his form of music drama, generally referred to as the beginning of the middle period. Pavarotti, Caballe as Luisa and Milnes as Miller is a dream team in a well beloved opera. Maag conducting the national Philharmonic orchestra is elegant and is a sympathetic reading bringing out the atmospheric qualities of Verdi's conception. Scotto, Domingo and Milnes in this opera on DVD. Levine Conducts the Met opera and Chorus. A great recording, not to be missed. Scotto is a singer actress and highly emotional in this intense part.
STIFFELIO: was a total failure at its first performance in 1850. The score was in effect destroyed in order to make Aroldo six years later, and only through the discovery of two copists scores in the 1960s was a revival made possible. Becoming before the great masterpieces Rigoletto, IL Trovatore and La Traviata, Stiffelio is still a sharply telling work, largely because of the originality of the relationships and the superb final scene in which Stiffelio reads from the pulpit the parable of the woman taken in adultery. Gardelli directs a fresh performance with Carreras, Sylvia Sass, Manuguerra. DVD Stiffelio traditional staging. Domingo, Sweet, Chernov, Plishka. The Met Opera Orch cond Levine.
RIGOLETTO: This is a long step forward from Macbeth and Luisa Miller to this masterpiece, none of the arias, duets and ensembles interrupts the action, in fact they further the action. Also the libretto is well written. This recording is not a red blooded Rigoletto (Cappuccilli) but an attempt to get away from the melodrama, thus making the hunchback a noble figure, Domingo is a reflective Duke and Cotrubas a touching Gilda. Giulini and the Vienna Phil create a unique vision, bringing the beauty to the fore. I am glad I now own it. I like Solti's version with Moffo, Merrill and Kraus and Serafin's with Gobbi, Callas and Di Stefano. Also the 1945 version, Warren, Sayeo, Bjorling, cond Sodero. But lets us not forget the Milan 1930 version cond by Molajoli with Straacciari, Capsir, Borgioli.
IL TROVATORE: In an intensely revelatory performance, one which is red blooded but which transformed melodrama into a deeper experience, for Giulini flouts convention at every point. The white hot inspiration comes out in the singing and playing, which show the opera in a new light. For example, the Anvil chorus is taken at a fast tempo, other arias are taken at moderate speeds but do not seem like they are. His singers are in fine form such as Fassbaender, Zancanaro, Plowright as Leonora. This was her first international recording. I am glad I own this version, I also like Von Karajan's swift version with Callas, Di Stefano and Panerai. I have Callas remastered and the other Callas huge box produced by Membran. A good recording is the Bluray of this opera. Armiliato cond Met opera orchestra. Alvarez, Zajick ,Hvorostosky. Leonora Sondra Radvanovsky who is rated by many of us as highly as Callas.(Traditional staging) She is in the Bluray of Bellini's opera Norma where you can hear her true greatness.
LA TRAVIATA: There is no doubt this is a great set with Carlos Kleiber conducting the Bayerisches Staatsorchestra. Toscaninilike it fizzes along. with singers Cortrubas, Domingo and Milnes. I must admit to having a fondness for Caballe as Violetta Cond Pretre. Then there is the 1935 recording with Ponselle, Jagel and Tibbett cond Panizza found in the Verdi at the Met box set. This is a true masterpiece that Verdi wrote. He wanted the singers dressed in modern clothes of the time, but he was overuled on this point. So this opera was highly advanced for its time, with a glorified prostitute as the main role. One thing about Verdi is he disliked the Church and considered himself not religious, but he was a spiritual man which is entirely different, for it is beyond words.
I VESPRI SICILIANI: LIVE. A long opera written for Paris. I own the DVD of this opera and a Bluray, as it is full of melodies. One of the recordings that Muti made at La Scala, Milan. He brings out the huge drama. Outstanding is Cheryl Studer as Elena, Chris Merritt, tenor is Arrigo Zancanaro responds to the role of Monforte with sensitivity. Worthwhile listening to. I also have Callas in this opera..
SIMON BOCCANEGRA: This opera was not a success at its Premiere in Venice in 1857, and much later, when he had established his partnership with Boito, Verdi made a complete revision. The present version was first heard in Milan in 1881. This set is considered one of the most beautiful of a Verdi opera ever made, the warmth and beauty of the sound, the orchestra fresh, the voices vivid. Cappuccilli, always intelligent, gives an intense and illuminating performance of Boccanegra. Ghiaurov as Fiesco sings beautifully. Freni as Maria Boccanegra sings with freshness and clarity, while van Dam is an impressive Paolo. Adorno Carreras. Claudio Abbado conducts the orch dell Teatro Alla Scala.
AROLDO: Verdi's radical revision of the earlier unsuccessful opera Stiffelio he transferred the story of a Protestant Pastor with an unfaithful wife into the tale of a crusader returning from the Holy land. This version contains some splendid material. Neil Shicoff, Carol Vaness, Roberto Scaniuzzi, Anthony michaels-Moore. Orchestra Maggio Musicale Fiorentino cond Fabio Luisi.
UN BALLO IN MASCHERA: Set in colonial Maasachusetts as the censors had forced him to do. Solti is relaxed in the conducting of this opera, also presenting a warm and understanding view of the score. Amelia Margaret Price in this role in one of her richest and most commanding performance on CD, ravishingly beautiful, flawlessly controlled and emotional. The role of Riccardo very pushy, is well suited to Pavarotti, challenged by Price to produce some of his subtlest tone colours. Bruson makes a noble Renato, Ludwig an intense Ulrica, while Battle is an Oscar whose coloratura is brilliant but sweet as well. This opera is served well on DVD by the very traditional TDK version. Solti took over from Van Karajan who died before he could conduct it at the Salzburg Festival in 1990. Set in Stockholm in the 1790's at the court of King Gustav 111 of Sweden, as Verdi has originally conceived this work. Domingo, Josephine Barstow, Quivar, Sumi Jo, Barstow is not often heard on CDs or seen on DVD which is a shame. Solti conducts this work swiftly.
LA FORZA DEL DESTINO (1862) Premiered in St Petersburg 1862. Kirov opera and orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre Cond Valery Gergiev swiftly.Galina Gorchakova is weighty of voice, a broad sweep of tone and line, that her solos demand. Her singing of Pace, Pace with the dark timbre recalls Ponselle. Gegam Grigorian is an exciting Alvaro, fulfiling the demands of the part easily. The confident spinto in his voice is just right. Nikolai Putlin Don Carlo his baritone is just the instrument for this role.Olga Borodina mezzo, easily encompasses the high flying demands of Preziosilla. The minor parts are well done.
LA FORZA DEL DESTINO (1869) Sinopoli is akin to Giulini's reading of Il Trovatore, refined in its expressive warmth that is traditionally italian and deeply felt. Sinpoli draws out phrases lovingly, sustaining pauses to the limit. Basically, you can sum it up as fast and slow. Plowright with her creamy soprano gives a great performance in Giulini's Trovatore. Carreras performance is strong and involved. Bruson is a thoughtful Carlo. Fine singing by Baltsa and Burchuladze.
DON CARLO: (1867) The five act French Grand Opera version in its 1886 form. This is one of the best versions of this opera and probably the greatest sung in French. Abbado not content with providing us with the most beautiful recorded of Verdi operas with Simon Boccanegra, follows it up with this opera. Raimondi has a very distinctive voice and fits the part of Phillippe 11. Don Carlos is sung well by Domingo. Nucci is a noble Rodrigo Katia Ricciarelli is a passionate Elisabeth. Lucia Valentini Terrani is inside the part of Eboli. Ghiaurov the Grand Inquistor is good.
DON CARLO: Modena version 1886, which broadly speaking reinstates the original Act 1 while leaving the remaining acts in the revised 1884 form. Bumbry Eboli and Bergonzi Don Carlo both sing splendidly. Fischer-Dieskau rises fittingly to Rodrigo,s great death scene. Phillip is Ghiaurov married to Freni who went to school with Pavarotti and whose Mothers worked together.
AIDA: Vienna Philharmonic Cond Von Karajan. This is not a traditional Italian version but another look at a well known opera. Bergonzi here emerges as a model among tenors. Cornell Macneil too is splendid. Tebaldi's interpretation of Aida is much loved. Simionato provides one of the finest portrayals of Amneris. Arnold van Mill and Fernando Corena are both superb. Aida bluray, with maria Chiara, avarotti, Dimitrova, Ghiaurov, Juan Pons, Burchuladze. Highly traditional. Maazel cond Orchestra of teatro Alla Scala.
OTHELLO: This is said to be Domingo's very best recording of Othello, but I disagree. The best is his Othello in Solti's version, with Kiri te Kanawa and Sergi Leferkus as Iago again. Royal opera House 1992.DVD. Solti whips up the orchestra and all the three main singers are in tune with one another. Here Myung-Whun-Chung brother of the great violinist Kyung-wha-Chung is not inside the score for a start. Domingo is better in the DVD as is Leferkus. A great Othello is conducted by Panizza with the Met orch 1940. Martinelli, Rethberg, Tibbet. Naxos.
FALSTAFF: LIVE. Bruson, Nucci, Ricciarelli, Hendricks, Lucia Valentini Terrani. Los Angles Phil cond Giulini who brings the melodies to the fore. Not to my taste. I like The Bernstein Vienna Philharmonic version which he conducts fast and is full of fun, trying to out Toscanini in this opera. With Resnik, Fischer-Dieskau, Sciutti, Oncina. These views of mine on these operas are subjective, for it is a matter of taste and opinion.
REQUIEM: Sutherland, Horne, Pavarotti, Talvela. Vienna Philharmonic. cond Solti. I like his operatic approach. I also like Giulini's version with Ludwig and Schwarzkopf as well for its depth. If you want swift, Toscanini's version is worth a look. 4 Sacred pieces.
SACRED WORKS & DISCOVERIES. SONGS. ARIAS & OTHER RARITIES. STRING QUARTET & BALLET MUSIC. 3 CD's.
The songs sung by Margaret Price get to the heart of Verdi's music.
Gramophone Year Classical book 2009. Holden, A. Concise Guide to Opera. 2005. Penguin Books. Husssey, D. Verdi.1975. J M Dent & Sons. Penguin Guide to Classical Music 1993, 1996 & 2008. Wechsberg, J. Verdi.1974. G.P Putnam & Sons.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A marvellous DVD companion to the 200 CD Mozart box set, one of the great sets of all time., 10 Dec. 2016
I bought this set from Amazon.com because it was cheaper for me as I live in Australia. One should always look around the different Amazon's for the cheapest price. Actually, Amazon actively encourages it in case you did not know.
This is a marvellous well produced companion to probably the greatest CD classical box set yet produced. The productions on the DVDs are mainly modern staging and costumes, but they have something to say and we can see these operas anew and think about what we have seen, for they are timeless. As one reviewer stated, almost modern. This is probably because human behaviour does not change much and Mozart had a way of understanding the Human animal. Because for all the advancement we make in inventions, only superficial staging and scenery changes, nothing else. As one historian once stated, " why do I bother writing about this subject and teaching it, for we never learn, as all the problems we have now have started in the past and so on into the future. In otherwords a Endless repetition" That is why genuinely good people stand out.
A very tough box which is crimson red with white writing and can be picked up by one hand. The operas are placed in the back with the number of the box they are placed in. The back has a flap which wraps around the box and is held in place with a magnet which is hidden. I have never seen that before and is a good idea, for it stops the flap opening. There is a black bookmark inside the box as in the Mozart 200 CD box set, so you can pull up the smaller grey boxes inside the box containing the DVD's. They each have a different grey colour, in fact box two has two black DVD's, based upon the colour system of its companion box with 200 CD's. The DVD's are placed in slits and do not fall out, for it is a smaller version of the Pavarotti edition. When you take a DVD out the slit, it has the name of the opera and Disc number printed in its place, which helps you to replace it, so you do not get the opera's out of order.
Red cover with shiny expensive white paper inside. Operas and DVD numbers, with roles and singers, orchestra, conductor and Orchestra, stage director et al. Beneath the arias you are given the synopsis of the opera. All were produced in 2006 live except La clemenza di Tito filmed live in 2003.
Menu's English. Picture format: 16.9. Filmed in high definition. Colour mode: Colour. Region code: 0 (worldwide) DVD format NTSC.( In Pal regions eg Europe, Australasia & Africa ensure your DVD and TV are Pal/NTSC compatible). "Dual standard". Sound: LPCM Stereo. DTS 5.1 Surround, and it actually is, also the sound is good. Subtitles: Italian (only if original language), English, French, German, Spanish). Chinese on some operas. This is the 2nd version of M 22, an update of these Mozart opera's and the box is more subtle then the older one. So if you are thinking of buying this set, chose this one. Produced by Decca, DGG & Phillips part of Universal music company. Remember reviewing is subjective, merely a matter of taste and opinion.
I will place the opera's in order, but will not review them all. But I want you to obtain a idea of what this set is about, for you are going to spend quite a bit of money and I would like you to be happy with the purchase.
Most of the operas have Bonus's on describing the making of the opera and other details.
APOLLO ET HYACINTHUS:
Mozart wrote this opera when he was eleven and the composition is remarkable, astonishingly mature. The director John Dew created his own Baroque acting movement which would be understood by the modern audience. He took original pictures of the costumes of that time and did not recreate them exactly, but was inspired by them. So one could say this is a traditional staging. Maximillian Kiener, Christiane Karg, Jekaterina Tretjakova and Anja Schlosser all do justice to this piece, as does the conductor Josef Wallnig with the Sinfonieorchester der Universitat Mozarteum.
DIE SCHULDIGKEIT DES ERSTEN GEBOTS: A Sacred Singspiel. Conductor Josef Wallnig. Sinfonieorchester der Universitat Mozarteum. Michiko Watanabe, Cordula Schuster, Christiane Karg, Bernhard Berchtold, Peter Sonn.
DER SCHAUSPIELDIREKTOR together with BASTIEN UND BASTIENNE.
Der Schauspieldirecktor had its Premiere in Vienna on 7th February 1786, a few months before the Marriage of Figaro 1st May 1786, Vienna. Bastien und Bastienne was completed when Mozart was twelve in 1768 and was his first German Songspiel, a modest stagework,with popular songs, arias, duets and small ensembles. A shepherdess has been deserted by her lover Bastien for a noble lady. Bastienne turns to Colas a Magician who gives her practical advice including flirting with another. This works and when Bastien has lost interest in the lady he hears from Colas what his former love has done and is horrified. The two lovers come together and eventually all is forgiven. The Schauspieldirektor looks at the theatrical business, including the egotism of artists with a cynical eye. While casting two good singers they argue about money and position, for he has picked both of them in the same part.
So to put both operas together Puppets are used, so you get to see the theatrical business via them. Then the choosing of the singers to provide the voices for the puppets, all sorts of singers turn up which drives the director batty. Then eventually Bastien and Bastienne takes place with puppets on the stage, and the orchestra beneath the curtain, with the singers at the side. This works very well. I once created my own puppets and gave shows to children, so I related very well to this interpretation.
Junge Philharmonie Salzburg conductor Elisabeth Fuchs. All sing well.
LA FINTA SEMPLICE:
What is astonishing is the way the twelve year old Mozart responds to this amorous mix up. The costumes and the staging are modern. Two white parts on each part of the stage link, so that high up in the middle is blue sky and sometimes the sun, which gives the background a eerie backdrop. Marlin Hartelius, Josef Wagner, Mathhias Klink, and Silvia Moi all are inside their parts. Michael Hofstetter conducts the Camerata Salzburg swiftly.
MITRIDATE re di Pondo.
Richard Croft states in the Bonus Film, that this opera is filled with hate, rage and anger. This is written by the 14 year old Mozart, who explodes with a form of Opera Seria. This opera is about two brothers who quarrel with each other, but later make up with their father. The opening overture has a line of 18th century dressed Mozarts with big eyes. Then four persons come on the stage after the others have departed also dressed in red and they change into modern clothes. They dance around like children referring I think to Mozart's age of 14 when he wrote this opera. Miah Persson is Sifare, Mitridate's younger son who sings gloriously. Farnace the older son, is well sung by the counter-tenor Bejun Metha, while the role of Mitridate is strongly taken by the tenor Richard Croft. March Minkowski draws swift and lively playing from the period performers of Les Musiciens du louvre. His edition of the score includes one or two additions, like the Adagio from the symphony No 37 used as a interlude. There is a huge angled mirror at the back of the stage which gives duplicate images. The two brothers wear school pants and Mitridate is dressed up in a ancient costume.
Ovenden, Mijanovic, Kleiter, Selig. Munchener Kammerorchester Cond Christoph Poppen.
ASCANIO IN ALBA:
This opera contains one delightful number after the other, plus chorus's of comment. Instead of recitiatives which are long, they have been shortened and given to a man and a women who recite the poetry back in German. The singing is good with Sonia Prina as Ascanio sounding just like a counter tenor. Iris Kupke sings the role of Venere with bright clarity. Diana Damrau is bright and edgy as Fauno. Adam Fischer's conducting of the Orchester des Nationaltheaters Mannheim is fresh and edgy. Modern dress and staging.
IL SOGNO DI SCIPIONE:
The opening is set against a backdrop of powered blue, turning into light yellow. And the two women in modern versions of 17th century clothes. Then a light orange cloth is pulled away showing a room of a mixture of styles, 1920's, 1950's and furniture going back to the French Rocco period with a bed from the late 1950's. With a sequence of 11 extended arias using three tenors and two sopranos. Scipione Blagoj Nacoski, La Costanza Louise Fribo, La fortuna Bernarda Bobro, Publio, Iain Paton, Emilo Robert Sellier. All sing well. Robin Ticciati conducts the Karntner Sinfonieorchester.with energy. Some of these operas we have not seen nor will we again and this one I particularly like.
Mozart was 16 when he wrote his 5th opera. There are pre-echoes here in this score of later Mozart operas, not just of Idomeneo, but of Entfuhrung and Don Giovanni. In the background of the stage is a ancient Roman building. The costumes are 18th century, which makes this traditional staging. Tomas Netpil conducts the Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice well. With singers Sacca, Massis, Macelli, Cangemi, Kleiter, Ferrari. They do themselves justice.
LA FINITA GIARDINIERA:
At the opening of the curtain the Countess is stabbed by her lover. Both are dressed in 18th century clothes, however throughout the proceedings these clothes appear amid the modern dress. John Graham-Hall and John Mark Ainsley are familar to British audiences. Veronique Gens is known for her roles in Rameau operas and also for her Gluck and Baroque singing. The staging by Doris Dorrie is generally unique. The conductor Ivor Bolton of the Mozarteum orchestra Salzburg conducts swiftly. Many do, for they are inspired by authentic instruments, or are actually conducting them on this set which makes a big difference, for 18th century sound is different to the huge romantic 19th and 20th century orchestras.
IL re PASTORE:
The last of Mozart's early operas is best known for the glorious aria " L amero" one of the loveliest he ever wrote for soprano. The whole opera is on the subject of the Shepherd -King nominated by Alexander the great as his successor, is among the most charming of his early music, a gentle piece which works well. Marlis Petersen, Annette Dasch, two great singers today in 2016. The Balthasar-Neuman Ensemble conducted with feeling by Thomas Hengelbrock.
LO SPOSO DELUSO. L'OCA DEL CAIRO. Camerata Salzburg conducted by Hofstetter.
Rodger Norrington conductor of the Camerata Salzburg is clearly concerned for authenticity, using a far more complete version of the score. Idomente is magnificently sung by Magdalena Kozena, Exaterina Siurina is a sweet IIia. Ramon Vargas's Idomeneo is well sung. Anja Harteros is wearing a glamorous Pink gown as Elettra. She has gone onto great things, such as singing Elisabetta di Valois with Jonas Kaufmann In Verdi's Don Carlo at the 2013 Salzburg Festival. Modern costumes with white bare walls with a middle space. The walls turn into different colours. There is even a Monster dressed in dark green with a mask which looks the part. One could say the scenery is spare, because sometimes in traditional staging of operas they become so over cluttered that it encourages you to take your eye off the singers.
Idomeneo is a opera seria, a form of italian heroic opera on a classical or mythological subject which was already becoming outmoded, but Mozart was strongly influenced by French models, namely Gluck's French opera. This is witnessed by a deliberate blurring of the distinction between Mozart's recitative and aria, his bold use of choirs, and his "Humanising" of the characters. For example, Idomeneo and Idamente are no mere cardboard figures.
The likenesses between the singpiel Zaide, and the masterpiece Mozart wrote a year later, Entfuhrung are astonishing, with a remarkably similar plot involving parallel characters in a Turkish setting. That said Zaide cannot match the later work in quality apart from the aria " Ruhe Sanft". After writing 15 numbers Mozart lost interest in Zaide and forgot about it and so it was left without a overture and final. After his death Constanze found the score and sold it without the libretto which was lost and rewritten by the new owner. Adama by Chaya Czernowin is added about a Israeli Woman and Palestinian man. A modern work combined with Mozart's Zaide. The Mozarteum Orchester, Salzburg conducted by Ivor Bolton.
DIE ENTFUHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL:
Weber stated about this opera " I think I see in this opera what every man feels about the happy years of his youth, a time of blossoming which can never be recaptured in the same way. In this opera Mozart had attained maturity in artistic experience and thereafter only experience in life could do anything further." The stage director Stefan Herheim has made this opera extremely modern and after all, why not? The Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg is conducted in a bubbly fashion by Ivor Bolton. Konstance Laura Allen, Blonde Valentina Farcas, Belmonte Charles Castronovo, Osmin Franz Hawlata.
LE NOZZE DI FIGARO:
Here we have a dream team of singers, Figaro Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, Susanna Anna Nekrebko, The Counr Bo Skovhus, Countess Dorothea Roschmann, Cherubino Christine Schafer, Marcellina Marie McLaughlin. Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
Hampson in the bonus states that the supernatural ending by Don Juan going to hell misses the point, in fact in elevates him. He has been chaos all the way through his life and he is now literally dead but still breathing, now that fact has happened, the life force has gone. And so Hampson has portrayed him this way throughout the opera even in his singing. This brings a new interpretation to this great opera which is timeless. Daniel Harding conducts the Vienna Phil swiftly. D' Arcangelo is a good foil for Hampson. Il Commendatore is Robert Lloyd and fine he is. Donna Anna is Christine Schafer and Don Ottavio Piotr Becazla is brilliant in the part. Today he is rated a great singer. Melanie Diener makes much of Donna Elvira. Luca Pisaroni Masetto.
COSI FAN TUTTI:
Thomas Allen is a wonderfully wily Don Alfonso, Anna Martinez as Fiordiligi and Sophie Koch as Dorabella sing with great Charm, she also went on and sung alongside Kaufmann in Massenet's Werther. on Bluray. Helen Donath sings with great energy as Despina. Some of these singers are now well known but were not so in 2006, 10 years is along time.
I find Pierre Audi an interesting stage director, after all he directed the Dutch Wagner Ring cycle, which was set on a round stage with the orchestra sunk in the middle. He always has something interesting to say as he does in this opera. The performance opens with a multi-coloured serpent with two torches for eyes. Tamino Paul Groves is saved by the three ladies, all dressed in late 19th , early 20th century dark green dresses with the same coloured hat with a red feather. Papageno Christian Gerhaher comes on stage in a brightly coloured car. The Queen of the Night Diana Damrau appears from out of the Earth dressed in a lime green 18th century dress. Pamina Genia Kuhmeier. is wearing a bright red dress and blends well with Tamino. Rene Pape as Sarastro is a fine lyrical baritone, his O' isis and Osiris is sung most beautifully. The scenery captures the magic of this wonderful opera, which has such fine singing with no weak links. Conducted in a traditional manner by Muti swiftly. For me this DVD is worth the price of this entire set. EMI Die Zauberflote Lemnitz, Rosraenge, Berger, Husch, Berlin Phil cond Thomas Beecham 1938. EMI 50 years of Mozart's singing on records. Digital remastering 1991.
LA CLEMENZA DI TITO.
I have owned this DVD for ages and can say that it is a great rendition of this much misunderstood opera. One has only to look at the cast, Schade, Roschmann, Kasarova at her peak, Garanca, Bonney and Pisaroni. Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Harnoncourt.
Batta,A. Opera.2005. Konemann. Holden,A. Penguin Concise guide to opera.2005. Mozart the music. M 225. DGG. Penguin books. Penguin Classical Guides 1993, 2008.
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of the great box sets ever produced., 10 Nov. 2016
I specialize in reviewing box sets and have been doing so for quite a few years, and consider this Mozart 225 box set as great as the Schubert complete songs set released by Hyperion in 2005. About this set BBC music magazine stated " a magnificent project. One of the great achievements of recording history." And I intend to show you why I have come to this conclusion regarding this Mozart box set.
The box is made of very heavy cardboard and has grey coloured light canvas placed over it, including the lid which covers the inner box, which has part of the top cut out so you can reach the recordings easily. Four pictures of Mozart's era are placed around the four sides. On one side is also details on paper of what is in the box, held in place by the plastic covering the box. Take it off and place it with the other material included in the box. When I mentioned heavy I meant it. For the person who brought it to the door mentioned that they were glad I was at home, for having to carry it back down to the bottom floor would be too exhausting. " Can I help you carry it inside so you do not ruin your back". It is the size of Glen Gould remastered, and as high as Decca's Britten the complete works.
There are four light cardboard cubes ( small boxes) inside the box which contain the CD''s, so you can take out the cubes and place them elsewhere if you so desire. At the end of each cube is one black tape to lift out the booklet, then you can obtain the CD's you wish to hear. This situation is based upon the Von Karajan opera recordings box which has basically the same set up. The four Cubes are divided into (Chamber ) 1-49 with sleeves different shades of Grey. (Orchestral ) 50- 101 same set up.. Both Cubes are in light grey. (Theatre) 152-102 operas starts off with a blue grey sleeve and progresses to a light grey. ( Sacred. Private. Supplement.) 153-200. Black to light grey. On the front of the cubes printed in white is the title. For example, Chamber. Each cube has a booklet with the music to be played and tracks, plus musicians, orchestra, conductor, soloists and singers. This idea comes from the Decca Britten the complete works. The SLEEVE. On the front, for example, Chamber, Number, then the same picture on the front for violin sonatas, then a different picture for piano trio's and so on. The music to be played below it. On the back, number, tracks to be played and music, plus musicians. The CD is the same colour as the sleeves, with Number and cube it comes from and has quite a lot of music on each CD.
Mastering: The Audio Archiving Company Ltd. (Paschal Byrne & Craig Thompson); Ian Watson & Jenni Whiteside. The sound is excellent and has been remastered.
Book 1 Mozart by Cliff Eisen. Chapters. Mozart on the road 1763. Salzburg. 1773-1780. Mozart in Vienna 1781-1791. This biography is based primarily on the Mozart family letters and contemporaneous documents. A picture of Mozart on the heavy cardboard Cover. Book 2. Mozart's music. Ludwig von Kochel and the Kochel catalogue. Chapter headings. Chamber, Orchestral, Theatre and Sacred and private music. Supplement. Fragments and Completions. Arrangements. Doubtful works. At the side of the page number is what section the music comes from. Each musical piece is explained in the chapters with the CD number next to it. Also a chapter Mozart's original instruments. Performing Mozart. Included in Book 2 are the picture credits for Book 1 & 2. Outer box plus CD Sleeves. At the back on page 167 is found how to find the sung texts and translations, plus useful links. Also protection paper found under all the books. This has a image of a watermark from paper probably of Dutch origin used by the Mozarts while in England 1764-65.
In a paper sealed Envelope are 5 prints which you can place in a picture frame. Also included on dark paper is the limited edition number, mine is 05269/ 15000. The K book is held in a cardboard music stand holder. The introduction is in English, German, French and Japanese. The numbering of the works in the new edition of the Kochel catalogue combines tradition and current trends. K number. CD number. Title. Date. So as I have shown this set in its presentation does justice to 225th anniversary of Mozart's death on the 5th December 2016. I would say that it is the finest box set I have come across in its presentation as I have already stated.
This New complete Mozart edition is as complete as it can be, to a level never before attempted. That is all Mozart's work that is realistically performable is included, with all his significant fragments and sketches, works finished by others, plus arrangements of both his own and others work. New recordings have been made of several performable fragments, some on Mozart's own instruments at the Salzburg Mozarteum foundation, including the first recordings of his recently donated "Costa" violin.
By the time of Mozart's bicentenary in 1991, historical instruments were accepted, yet hardly any were used in the Phillips music edition. But this Mozart 225 set has not simply stuck to performances given solely on either period of traditional instruments and includes no less then 30 CDs of "supplementary performances of key works." Over 600 solo performers and ensembles are found in this set. And it should be noted that by using the recordings of DGG, Decca, ASV and twelve other labels all part of the Universal music company, more then two thirds of the selected recordings are different from the Phillips 1991 edition. So as you can see both Period and Modern approaches to this great composer is used. . A Bruggen symphony and the smoother sonorities of a Brendel, Pires or Vegh are found here.
CLASSICAL PERIOD: ( 1730-early 1800).
Called the age of reason. It was an unsettling period where composers such as Haydn and Mozart created their unique work, with the simplicity and restraint of their music, where the symphony, concerto and the sonata underwent change. Artists looked to the ancient Greeks and Rome for inspiration as it summed up their ideals. HAYDN was the founder of the string quartet, Mozart dedicated six of his own quartets to Haydn, who told his father Leopold, " before God and as an honest man I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name" (Classical music- J Stanley). What may interest you is the Haydn edition 150 CD's published by Brilliant. Read my review.
Amazon has provided you details of the CD's, so I shall give you reviews of some of the music in each of the sections to give you an idea of what this box is about.
Sonata in e for piano and violin K304. .Lambert Orkis piano Anne- Sophie Mutter Violin. Sonata in D for piano and Violin K306. walter Klien piano & Athur Grumiaux. Sonata in B for piano and violin K378. Sonata in G for piano and violin K379. Maria Joao Pires Piano. Augustin Dumay violin. Modern versions of these pieces by great performers.
Divertimento in D K136,B K 137, K138, String Quartet in G K 80. D K155 & 156. Hagen Quartet. Played with charm and polish. An excellent balance between naturalness of utterance and sophistication of tone. String Quartet in G. K 387. This is what chamber music is all about. The Lindsays radiate a delight in their music and judge the character of each piece exactly. Lindsays Quartet. Sonata in E for piano and Violin K 380. Perlman and Barenboim form a distinguished team, with alert, vital playing and a sense of spontaneous music making. There is much attention to detail which makes this piece come over as fresh.
The period instruments. Piano Quartet in g K478. Piano quartet in E K493. Quartet Movement in E K493a. Piano Quartet in g K478/Allegro. Les Solistes des musiciens du Louvre. They use Mozart's fortepiano, violin (Costa) and viola, plus Cello-not Mozart's. This gives you an idea of how Mozart heard his music. Totally different to the modern sound. The piano sound is much lighter then most may be use to hearing. The violin you would recognise. I like it. Actually I own the complete set of Beethoven Sonatas played on a fortepiano by Malcolm Binns from the Classical & early Romantic set L' oiseau-lyre. One of my favourite sets of these sonatas, but not to everyone's taste.
Symphony No 1 K 16, No 4 K 19, No 5 K22, No 6 K 43, No 7 K45. No 8 K48, No 9 K 73, No 12 K110, No 13 K112, The English concert, Trevor Pinnock. His Mozart is a smoother but not less vital playing style. Greater polish, smoother and less edgy violins in these authentic instruments renditions. These are early Mozart symphonies. No 16 K128, No 17 K 129, No 18 K130. The playing has polish and sophistication, fine intonation and spontaneity, balanced by warm, lyrical feeling in the slow movements. No 29 K 201. is one of the finest available on either modern or authentic instruments. In fact the English concert brings sweetness to the period instrument sound. They play much of the time as if it were chamber music. Symphony No 31 K297 Paris. No 32 K318. No 33 K 319. No 34 K338. English Baroque Soloists. John Eliot Gardiner. These period instruments lean towards the 19th rather then 18th century manners. This are late Mozart symphonies with a Beethoven tinge. Beethoven was the bridge between the Classical and Romantic period.
No 40 in G. Les Musiciens du Louvre. Marc Minkowski. This period instrument rendition is truly individual and very much forward looking. The String playing of the Musiciens du Louvre in the slow movement is lyrical and beautiful. The Minuet is both bold and brisk, and the more lyrical trio brings some superb horn playing. Hogwood with the Academy of ancient music in the No 19 K 132 and No 31 K297 (alternative versions). The music making with authentic instruments is more harsh then the other symphonies, for it was the beginning of this authentic instrument revolution. But I like it.
Piano Concerto's No 21 K467,No 24 K491, No 25 K503. No 27 K 595. Malcolm Bilson fortepiano. English baroque Soloists. John Eliot Gardiner. Bilson is an artist of excellent musical judgement and good taste. Authentic instrument music. No 25 K 503. Brendel piano. Scottish chamber orchestra. Cond Mackerras. Modern version. Greeted with wild acclaim. The playing is highly intelligent. No 16 K 451. No 19 K459. Andreas Schiff Piano. Camerata Academica des Mozarteums Salzburg. Sander Vegh. Schiff plays a Bosendorfer piano and its relatively gentle, cleanly focused timbre has something of the precision of a fortepiano without any loss of colour which comes with a more modern instrument. In the late 1980's this was considered one of most satisfying cycles of that time and one of the finest since the Perahia's cycle of the late 1970's.
Apollo et Hyacinthus (complete) This opera was written when Mozart was eleven, with all but two of the parts taken by school children. The style of the writing and vocalization is rather simpler than in other dramatic works of the boy Mozart, but the inspiration is still remarkable, astonishingly mature. The performance here is stylish and very well sung. Auger, Mathis, Rolfe Johnson, Hanna Schwarz, Salzburg Chamber & Mozarteum cond Hager.
Mitridate, re di Ponto. Bartoli, Dessay, Sabbatini, Asawa, Piau, Les Talens Lyriques, Rosset. he conducts his period forces with a panache that disguises the weaknesses. Bartoli is outstanding as the hero. Dessay is rich of tone and agile in coloratura, Piau to be found in Baroque operas is softer- grained. An excellent set. Mozart was not quite 15 when he composed this first carnival opera for the Milanese opera house, which was shortly to become La Scala.
Idomeneo, re di Creta K 366. munich version, 1781, in its original version. Rolfe Johnson,Von Otter, Mcnair, Hillevi Martinpelto, English Baroque soloists Cond John Eliot Gardiner. Exhilarating vigour and fine singing, Gardiner's aim has been to include all the material Mozart wrote for the original 1781 production. Gardiner's Mozartian style is well sprung. The principals sing beautifully.
Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail. Hinze, Lynne Dawson, Uwe Heilmann. The Academy of ancient Music Cond Hogwood. in what was the first (originally Oiseau-lyre) period recording of this opera. An excellent cast. Dawson is is a dazzling Konstanze, Uwe Heilmann as Belmonte sings beautifully
Le Nozze di Figaro. Hagegard, Auger, Bonney, Della jones, Nancy Argenta. Drottningholm Court Theatre Orchestra Arnold Ostman. The Figaro, the first to be recorded with period instruments by Oiseau-Lyre, gives the opera a newly minted sound. Every instrument is at least subtly different from its modern counterpart. With such a orchestra and more animated tempos, encourage an intimacy of expression that changes the way one had perceived Mozart's operas. The excellently prepared cast has been welded into a strong ensemble that achieves the naturalness and quick give and take of a performance in a the spoken theatre. This Figaro is complete.
Don Giovanni. D'Arcangelo. Luca Pisaroni makes a lyrical Leporello, Donna Anna Diana Damrau, Don Ottavio Rolando Villazon, Donna Elvira Joyce DiDonato. D' Arcangelo is a very good Don Giovanni and passionate. Mahler Chamber orchestra-Yannick Nezet-Seguin. Recorded in 2012. A fine up to date cast with stars Villazon, Damrau and DiDonato a mezzo. The orchestra is influenced by period instrument speeds.
Cosi fan Tutte. Fleming, von Otter, Olaf Bar, Frank Lopardo, chamber orchestra of Europe. Influenced by Period instruments swift speeds. Solti takes a fast and light approach. The singers are at their peak. Altogether Solti's finest Mozart recording .
Die Zauberflote. Rene Pape, Erika Miklosa, Roschmann, Stehl, Brachmann, Mahler Chamber orch Claudio Abbado.. (Live) This performance has freshness and charm, Rene Pape's magnificent Sarastro dominates the opera. Roschmann and Stehl are a perfectly matched Pamina and Tamino, for both have lovely voices. Strehl is ardent and Roschmann is infinitely touching when she mistakenly thinks Tamino is lost to her forever.
La clemenza di Tito. Trost, Kozena, Martinpelto, Rice. Scottish chamber Orchestra cond Mackerras. Here modern instruments, used with concern for period performance. The cast is good.
Le Nozze di Figaro. Poell, della Casa, Gueden, Siepi, Danco, Rossel-Majdan, corena, Dickie, Anny Felbermayer. Vienna Philharmonic cond Erich Kleiber. Recorded 1955 at the dawn of stereo and remains to this day one of the most loveable accounts on CDs. This is a classic. Beautifully played by the Vienna Philharmonic and therefore very much a Viennese performance. "No lover of this opera should be without it," states Gramophone 2009.
This should give you a glimpse about what this box is about, a mixture of the period and modern instruments and their different approaches.
This box set would make a fine Christmas present. Imagine being given this as a gift and opening up the box set and going through the books and listening to the music at the same time. A present to remember. I hope you enjoy this box set as much as I do.
Gramophone year book 2009. The Penguin guide to recorded Ckassical music 1996 and 2008. Stanley, J. Classical music. 1994. Reed International Ltd.