ORFF: Carmina Burana
TCHAIKOVSKY: Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32. Romeo
and Juliet Fantasy Overture.
Waltz and Polonaise from Eugene Onegin. 1812 Overture, Op. 49.
BRANT: Ghosts and Gargoyles. Mass in Gregorian Chant for Multiple Flutes.
Angels and Devils.
CHOPIN: Polonaise No. 1 in C# minor, Op. 26 No. 1. Polonaise No. 2 in
E flat minor, Op. 26 No. 2. Polonaise in C minor, Op. 40 No. 2. Polonaise
in A flat, Op. 53. Impromptu in A flat, Op. 29. Impromptu in F#, Op.
36. Impromptu in G flat, Op. 51. Fantaisie-Impromptu in C# minor, Op.
KARAINDROU: Elegy of the Uprooting
VAN DELDEN: Complete String Quartets: String Quartet III, Op. 106 "Willink
Tetraptych." String Quartet II, Op. 86. String Quartet I, Op. 43. Musica
di Castato: Intrada e Passacaglia, Op. 108
RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 1 in F# minor, Op. 1. Piano Concerto
No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40. Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, OP. 43.
ELISABETH SCHWARZKOPF - Legendary Recordings in Opera, Operetta
and Lieder: Excerpts from Der Rosenkavalier, Turandot, Gianni Schicchi,
Hansel and Gretel, The Gypsy Baron, Die Fledermaus, The Merry Widow,
The Land of Smiles, Boccacchio and Vienna Blood; music of Mozart and
With well over sixty versions available of Orff's Carmina Burana, another recording has to be very special to compete and this new Naxos release does quite well. All three soloists are excellent as are the three choruses, and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is in top form. There are many competing budget-priced versions including interpretations by Frühbeck de Burgos, Dorati, Mehta, Muti, Ormandy, and Kegel, but Marin Alsop's interpretation does not suffer by comparison. Excellent sonics is another plus, and complete texts are provided. The only negatives to this release are that tenor Tom Randall is recorded too closely in his "roasting swan," and producers have given a tad too much of a break between the different sections of Orff's popular work.
Antonio Pappano, a major figure on today's conducting scene, has a new issue of music by Tchaikovsky played by the St. Cecilia Orchestra. In spite of heavy promotion by EMI , there's nothing here makes this release special. The Italian orchestra is competent rather than inspired, and as recorded in Rome's Parco della Musica, sounds rather thin. 1812 is presented with chorus (heard four times in the score). During the final pages there are no cannon, but bells are effective. The chorus also is heard in the Eugene Onegin waltz. These performances were recorded live, but as there is no applause, it's obvious some editing was done. If you're looking for big-sounding Tchaikovsky, you won't find it here. Sonically there are no fireworks. Horns are rather recessed throughout, low bass is murky. Pappano has made some superb recordings; this is not one of them. EMI has recorded Tchaikovsky's last three symphonies with the same conductor and orchestra. Based on what is heard here, I cannot imagine how these yet-to-be-released recordings could in any way be competitive.
Vintage collectors might recall CRI's early '50's LP of Henry Brant's best-known music, Angels and Devils, scored for flute, three piccolos, five C flutes, and two altos. This remarkable and very listenable 20-minute three-movement work, recorded in 1951, has now been reissued on New World, sounding more intriguing than ever. The performance features leading flutists of the time with the composer conducting. This new CD also contains the composer's other two works for massed flutes, Mass in Gregorian Chant for Multiple Flutes written in 1984, and Ghosts and Gargoyles, composed in 2001, in performances by the New York Flute Club directed by Robert Aitken. Both were recorded in stereo in April 2005 at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York. Fascinating, distinctive music, beautifully played and very well recorded—recommended!
Evgeny Kissin's new Chopin disk offering four polonaises and the four impromptus recorded at the Verbier Festival July 26, 2004, is self-recommending. He brings new freshness to the familiar Fantaisie-impromptu, and the famous Polonaise in A flat seldom sounds as majestic as it does here. Beautiful recorded sound. Applause is heard only at the beginning and end of the program, as well as after the E-flat minor Polonaise.
Collectors should be grateful to ECM New Series for their 2-CD set called
Elegy of the Uprooting, music of Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou (b.
1946), recorded at a live concert March 27, 2005. Elegy of the Uprooting actually
is a compilation of excerpts from other works of this remarkable composer
including music for films (many by Theo Angelopoulos), and the
theater. The basic theme throughout is exile and sadness. Scoring combines
modern and ancient instruments, a chorus, and features a soprano soloist,
Maria Farantouri. During the concert scenes from various films were
shown, but even without the visual element this is enchanting,
powerful listening—and beautifully
recorded. Highly recommended!
Boris Berezovsky's recording of Rachmaninoff's Paganini Rhapsody and concertos 1 and 4 doesn't challenge the finest of previous recordings: Earl Wild, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Vladimir Ashkenazy from their complete sets, with special bows to Krystian Zimmerman for his recent Boston recording of Concerto No. 1, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli's of Concerto No. 4—and, of course, the composer's own recordings made more than a half-century ago. This new Berezovsky issue is on the Mirare label, and premium priced—for a bit more you can get Earl Wild's recording of the four concertos and the Rhapsody.
Admirers of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf might wish to investigate Profil's 2-disk set of early recordings on the Columbia, EMI and Telefunken labels. However, all of these have been issued before and at lower price (the Profil set has a list of more than $30).
R.E.B. (February 2007)