Like Paavo Berglund’s Sibelius symphony recordings, also with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, these Brahms performances inject a certain novelty that will be appreciated especially by the listener who has wearied of them due to excessive repetition. While these are not radically desiccated renditions in the manner of Chailly or Harnoncourt, the COE’s smaller-scaled string body does require a bit of time at first for your ear to adjust to the thinner timbres. But the reward is a harvest of inner detail, much of it barely audible in full-size orchestral performances (but well captured by Ondine’s vivid recordings), which continually surprises and delights.
This is the fourth instalment in Deutsche Grammophon’s new Mozart cycle. In the end this will encompass the seven great operas, from Idomeneo forwards. I haven’t heard the previous three, but from the reviews I have seen the reception has been rather mixed. Concerning this latest issue I am also in two minds. The problem, as I see it, is that Nézet-Séguin hasn’t quite decided what he is up to. He has the excellent Chamber Orchestra of Europe at his disposal.
Schubert had only about a month to put together the incidental music for the Rosamunde play. As a result, he had to press some already written compositions into service and add them to those newly composed in order to complete the score in time for the first performance on Dec 20, 1823. As it was, the final numbers of the score were ready only two days before the performance, leaving little time for adequate rehearsal. That may be a reason, along with the convoluted nature of the play itself, why there were only two performances before the play was cancelled.
This Così fan tutte enchanted the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus audience when recorded in concert in 2012, with Nézet-Séguin inspiring his stellar cast to feats of vocal derring-do. An enthusiastic advocate of Mozart s music, Rolando Villazón takes on the lead tenor role. Das Opernglas hailed his debut as Ferrando, calling him ideal for the role we have not heard a more beautiful, better sung and deeper felt Un aura amorosa in a long time. Starring a thrilling cast of both young and experienced Mozart opera stars including accomplished soprano Mojca Erdmann as Despina, acclaimed Mozartian soprano Miah Persson and prize-winning young American mezzo Angela Brower as the emotionally manipulated sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella. Also joining this crème-de-la-crème cast are distinguished Mozart bass-baritone Adam Plachetka as Guglielmo and Italian buffo baritone Alessandro Corbelli as Alfonso.
This is one of those great Rossinian singing competitions in which everyone–and, in particular, the listeners–wins. Composed as a piece of occasional entertainment for the coronation of Charles X in Paris, Rossini borrowed liberally from his recent comic success Le Comte Ory and fashioned a musical necklace chock filled with one shiny bauble after another. Each character has a showpiece aria, from the highs of soprano Cecilia Gasdia as a melodramatic poetess all the way down to the basso realms of Samuel Ramey and Ruggero Raimondi. The ensembles are as delicious as the solos, and Claudio Abbado, in a very theatrical mood (this was recorded live) keeps everything going wittily and with great elan. The plot is practically nonexistent, but with singing like this, it's hard to complain.
Abbado’s complete Schubert symphony cycle is a benchmark recording, exhibiting a “freshness of approach and authentic Schubertian warmth and glow” (Gramophone). Not only does this collection contain the entire collection of Abbado's Schubert symphonies, it also features the added bonus of Joseph Joachim’s great orchestration of the "Grand Duo", originally for piano duet, now a virtual symphony in its own right.