These are rare archive recordings. In 1962 Michelangeli agreed to record a series of televised studio performances for RAI Turin, though not without laying down strict stipulations: the camera set-ups were to be minimal, and there were to be no facial close-ups. Those limitations explain the austere visual style of the recordings presented here, but the light they shed on Michelangeli's artistry is in no way diminished - indeed, the restraint of the camera-work enables us to concentrate without distraction on the musical performances. Even between individual movements of the same work there is no edit, and it is clear that these are single-take interpretations.
The legendary Italian pianist Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (1920 - 1995), playing at the height of his powers, performs some of Debussy's most sensuous and arresting music for piano, in the famously rare 1962 RAI television recording, newly restored and re-mastered for this release. Michelangeli's fine control and perfect clarity - always present in his playing - have positioned him among the most outstanding recording artists of any generation. "His fingers can no more hit a wrong note or smudge a passage than a bullet can be veered off course once it has been fired…" (Music critic Harold Schonberg)
There's little doubt that to have heard Sutherland in 1961 must have been really something. It was the year she found New York, and New York found her. This recording, along with the live recording of her early 1961 New York debut in Beatrice di Tenda are legendary moments. Both are concert performances, conducted by Nicola Rescigno.
This Sonnambula was in Carnegie Hall in December and just after her Met debut. The voice is astonishing. The 'Ah, non guinge' is sung with almost wild abandon, absolutely thrilling, and was described the next day by Harold Schonberg as "flawlessly performed pyrotechnics".
Contrary to Harold C. Schonberg's patronizing remarks about Felix Weingartner's creative output, recent releases from CPO prove that the noted conductor was a much better composer than he's given credit for. There's plenty in his First and Third string quartets to hold your attention. The former's Adagio assai alternates a plaintive, lyrical theme with animated, conversational material that prides itself on unexpected key changes. Also striking are the Scherzo's declamatory unison passages and a tender Trio theme cradled by an eerie, high-register accompaniment.