Monday, January 24, 2011

Stockhausen: Mantra

Karlheinz Stockhausen (Composer)

 Andreas Grau, Gotz Schumacher (Performer)

Audio CD (1995)

Number of Discs: 1

Label: Wergo


Mantra", composed in 1970 and premiered in Donaueschingen, was Karlheinz Stockhausen's first composition following the orchestral work "Carré" to return to a largely traditional style of notation and to a relatively closed form. "Mantra" is at the same time, the first of Stockhausen's works in a style of composition that he has been pursuing exclusively since the mid-1970s:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10

Dimitri Shostakovich (Composer)

Vasily Petrenko (Conductor)

Royal Liverpool Philarmonic Orchestra (Orchestra)

Audio CD (2010)

Number of Discs: 1

Label: Naxos


This performance goes right to the top. Not since the amazing mono Ancerl recording has there been a version of this work of such intensity, such expressive urgency, and (yes, believe it or not) such incredible orchestral playing. It's impossible to praise the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic enough: they put their London colleagues to shame. The cellos and basses have a dark, tactile presence in pianissimo not heard since the old Kondrashin Melodiya recording. The horns play the daylights out of their solos in the first and third movements, while Petrenko has the violins sustaining, articulating, and phrasing the climax of the first movement with a passion and grit that's beyond praise.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Arnold Schoenberg: String Quartet No.3

Arnold Schoenberg (Composer)

Jaromir Klepac (Piano)

Prazak Quartet

Audio CD (2010)

Number of Discs: 1

Label: PragaDigitals


The fifth volume devoted to Schönberg’s chamber music. On display here is writing that, after being based on traditional models (youthful Scherzo and Presto), evolves towards a melodic density and clarity of counterpoint making the Chamber Symphony, Op.9 (1906) accomplished and radiant as much in its chamber transcriptions as in the versions for full orchestra.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

J.L. Godard - Socialisme

The first movement, Des choses comme ça ("Such things") is set on a cruise ship, featuring multi-lingual conversations among a medley collection of passengers. Characters include an aging war criminal, a former United Nations official, and a Russian detective, There is a brief cameo appearance by American singer Patti Smith.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos 3-4

Sergey Rachmaninov (Composer)

Antonio Pappano (Conductor)

Leif Ove Andsnes (Performer)

London Symphony Orchestra (Orchestra)

Audio CD
Release Date: (2010)
Number of Discs: 1
Label: EMI

The passion burns from within in this incendiary account of Rachmaninov's third and fourth piano concertos. The amplitude of his melodies, the rich scoring and the insistent Russian melancholy are most potent when kept under control. The poetic, muscular Andsnes, sensitively and glitteringly accompanied by Pappano and the LSO, does just that.

Ludwig Van Beethoven: Fidelio

Florestan... René Kollo
Leonore... Gundula Janowitz
Don Fernando... Hans Helm
Don Pizarro... Hans Sotin
Rocco... Manfred Jungwirth
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
Stage Director: Otto Schenk

Bernstein conducts with all his heart -- and with the occasional eccentricities as regards tempo that went with the package. By '78 Bernstein was God in Vienna and receives here an . . . effusive welcome at start and finish . . .

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