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Reviews Written by
chris hall (Abergavenny, Wales)

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Holst - The Planets
Holst - The Planets

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boult's definitive Planets, 25 Jan. 2010
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This review is from: Holst - The Planets (Audio CD)
This is the finest of Boult's various versions and still carries with it a unique authority which renders it utterly indispensible to to the Holst collector.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 24, 2011 9:34 AM GMT

Verdi: Rigoletto
Verdi: Rigoletto
Price: £8.92

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant la Scala Rigoletto overrides recording quality, 28 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Verdi: Rigoletto (Audio CD)
This is probably one of the worst recorded performances of Rigoletto ever. Nobody hearing it for the first time could ever guess the date to be 1994, and might well place it between the wars. The perspective between orchestra and singers constantly shifts, and the overall sound is often muffled and opaque. Why the five stars , then? Quite simply, this is probably the most thrilling performance of the opera you are ever likely to hear, live or studio-based. Bruson gives his finest recorded rendering in the title role (which is saying something, given his pedigree), Alagna is a wonderfully expressive Duke, and Adrea Rost is an unusually characterful Gilda, investing the role with more depth and substance than is often the case, worthy of comparison with Callas's classic assumption, making me wonder why the Hungarian soprano is not more well-represented on disc. It is, though, the consummate contribution of the La Scala forces and Muti's exhilirating direction that set this version apart from all others. I urge all Verdi enthusiasts to try to tolerate the dire sound to allow themselves to experience this genuinely historic event, one of the greatest live performances from any opera house committed to disc.

Verdi: Messa da Requiem
Verdi: Messa da Requiem
Price: £9.75

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Requiem from Pappano, 28 Sept. 2009
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This review is from: Verdi: Messa da Requiem (Audio CD)
This really is an event. Not since the famous Serafin performance with Caniglia, Stignani, Gigli & Pinza has there been such a sheerly thrilling recording, and one which realises that without the dramatic and the spiritual elements both given maximum impact, you will not truly hear a Verdi Requiem as such. This release is genuinely historic and has to be the one by which all other performances are henceforth measured, live or recorded.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 4, 2009 9:32 PM BST

Mahler: Complete Symphonies Nos 1-9 (Decca Collectors Edition)
Mahler: Complete Symphonies Nos 1-9 (Decca Collectors Edition)
Price: £20.99

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Mahler, 28 Nov. 2008
This set is revelatory. Just listen to the famous Adagietto from the Fifth. How bloated and pretentious Bernstein sounds beside it. Only Barbirolli and Walter match the level of intensity of Solti, and his has the supreme advantage of the Chicago Symphony at its peak of perfection. I am beginning to think after listening to this, the Brahms and the Beethoven cycles, that under Solti they might well have been the finest orchestra ever, and that includes the Berlin band.

Indeed,the playing in every symphony is little short of miraculous and as for the interpretations they rescue this composer from an undeserved reputation as a self-indugent neurotic.

Whatever other versions of the complete symphonies you possess (I have Rattle and Neumann) Solti's cycle is unique in its elemental power and unsurpassed in terms of playing.

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