Let's say your tastes usually run to the Austro-Germanic, but you already have all of Beethoven's and Brahms' symphonies, most of Bruckner's and Mahler's symphonies, and many of Mozart's and Haydn's symphonies, so now you're thinking about trying out Tchaikovsky's symphonies. The question is: how many should you get? Should you get just the famous last three symphonies? Should you get all six numbered symphonies? Should you get all six symphonies plus the Manfred Symphony. Or should you get all symphonies six plus Manfred plus the orchestral suites? The answer, of course, depends on how much of Tchaikovsky's richly melodic, fabulously colorful, and extravagantly emotional orchestral music you're up for.
Sony Classical releases a comprehensive homage to Abbado, acknowledged as one of the greatest of all conductors, by releasing a 39 CD boxset comprising his complete recordings for both RCA and CBS/Sony with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as with the London Symphony Orchestra and featuring such stellar soloists as Murray Perahia, Martha Argerich, Midori, Cecile Licad and Lazar Berman.
This thought-provoking, modern-day interpretation of Rossini’s “Mosè in Egitto” sets the scene for superior music-making at the prestigious Rossini Festival in Pesaro. For conductor Roberto Abbado, the transposition of the action to the present day releases the energy of Rossini’s music. At his disposal is a cast of top-quality vocalists such as the “refined bel canto artist” (Bresciaoggi) Sonia Ganassi as Elcia, and the “outstanding” Dmitry Korchak as the Pharaoh’s son, two lovers fatefully drawn into the political turmoil and catastrophes of their time. Also among the protagonists are the “thoroughly brilliant” (DeutschlandRadio Kultur) baritone Alex Esposito as Faraone and, in his Rossini Festival debut, young, full-bodied bass Riccardo Zanellato as Moses. Conductor Roberto Abbado “inspired his musicians to deliver a spectacular performance” (Salzburger Nachrichten).
An extraordinary program for an extraordinary night: The Berliner Philharmoniker celebrates the final day of the 20th Century with Grand Finales in the first part and heralds the leap into the 21st Century with an explosion of sparkling music pieces in the second half of the program. For the Grand Finales, maestro Claudio Abbado conducts masterpieces including Beethoven's finale of the 7th symphony, excerpts from Stravinsky's "Feuervogel" and the final movement of Mahler's 5th Symphony. In the famous Finale of Arnold Sch+Ýnberg's "Gurrelieder", the internationally renowned actor Klaus Maria Brandauer plays a leading role.
During Claudio Abbado’s time as chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker, the great symphonic repertoire naturally formed the core of his artistic work, and it was almost forgotten just what an important role the music theatre of his Italian homeland played in his life – after all, he had led La Scala in Milan from 1968 to 1986. Just how special the works of Verdi were to him could be heard in the New Year’s Eve Concert from 2000 which, with famous scenes and arias, rang in the Verdi year 2001 when the music world commemorated the 100th anniversary of the composer’s death.
Juan Diego Flórez stars in the only available blu-ray version of Zelmira, filmed at the celebrated Rossini Festival in the composer s home town of Pesaro. The final opera Rossini wrote for Naples is a dramatic and musical tour de force and a magnificent showcase for the bel canto superstar of our time. Recorded in high definition at the 2009 Festival, Giorgio Barberio Corsettis production places the classical tale, set during the Trojan Wars, in modern times and modern dress. Joining Juan Diego Flórez are a major international cast, described as near miraculous by Opera Today and led by American mezzo-soprano Kate Aldrich in the virtuosic title role. The evening remained another distinguished triumph for Juan Diego Flórez as Prince Ilo, whose arrival in his homeland, to rescue Zelmira, was marked by a dazzling tenorial display which evoked a nearly twenty-minute ovation (Opera Today) .
It's a recording that just a few years ago would have been mainstream: a "name" pianist (albeit one much less well known in the U.S. than elsehwere), who has been playing Mozart's piano concertos since childhood, joins forces with a name conductor with whom she has frequently collaborated, leading a modern-instrument orchestra of some 70 players, with the results released on a major international-conglomerate label. Now it's distinctly unusual. But lo, there's value in the old ways. Portuguese-Brazilian pianist Maria-João Pires is a lifelong Mozart specialist, but she still has new things to say in two of Mozart's most popular piano concertos. You can chalk it up to her Buddhist outlook if you like: her readings of the Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K. 595, and Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466, might be described as detached without being lifeless. Her approach is most startling in the Piano Concerto No. 20, where her no-drama shaping of the material runs sharply counter to type. Sample the piano's entrance in the first movement, where it offers a twisting, tense elaboration of the main theme that is far removed from its source material. Generally pianists use this to raise the tension level, but Pires lets the unusually shaped, chromatic line speak for itself with fine effect.
Had Pergolesi not died young, his name would rank among the most stellar and influential of Italy’s 18th-century composers. Despite the brevity of his life – he died at 26 – Pergolesi created numerous deathless works. In this second album of Claudio Abbado’s Pergolesi Project, the renowned maestro conducts the Missa S. Emidio, Manca la guida al pie, Laudate pueri Dominum, and the Salve Regina in F minor. Abbado’s passion for this music meets these sacred compositions on the exalted level where they were composed.
On this 3-CD album Claudio Abbado brings to Figaro, Mozart's "sublime mixture of wit and melancholy" (Stendhal), "a keen sense of rhythm and texture and a very keen ear for orchestral detail" (Gramophone), with Cecilia Bartoli "ideally cast", an "enchanting" Sylvia McNair, and Cheryl Studer giving a "totally radiant performance"(The Penguin Guide).
Pergolesi Year 2010 marks the birth 300 years ago of a first rank composer and singular voice. Claudio Abbado's affinity for Pergolesi is a joy to the ear and balm to the soul. The introductory album of maestro's Pergolesi Project, the famous Stabat Mater, was rapturously received by the press.
Characteristic are these comments in The Times: "Abbado's commitment to period style is never in doubt…He has exceptional soloists: Rachel Harnisch and Sara Mingardo in the Stabat, ravishing in the harmonic suspensions of their duets; a lovely toned Julia Kleiter in the Salve; and the exemplary Giuliano Carmignola in the rarely recorded Violin Concerto, a little masterpiece, all but forgotten by the mainstream."