6 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 1 - September 2004

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phans, Orlando finto

phans, Orlando finto pazw or La verita in cimento will ever become a mainstay of the opera houses. This recording, however, should become a 'must have' for all the vocal music lovers. Robert Tomas Editor's note: You can read Pamela Margles' review of the Opus 111 release of Vivaldi's La verita in cimento in the April 2004 WholeNote available online at www. thewholenote. corn. Janacek- Jenufa, her stepdaughter (Brno version) Janice Watson, Dame Josephine Barstow, Nigel Robson, Welsh National Opera; Sir Charles Mackerras CHANDOS Opera in English CHAN3106 How do you deal with a growing trend that is meant to help the operatic genre and instead is hurting it? Carefully, that's how. 'Opera in English' - is an admirable sentiment, meant to help audiences better understand the treasures of vocal music. The reasoning being that if people understand what's going on without having to read the libretto, they will find themselves more involved. Maybe, but let's look at what is being lost: you can, quite easily, translate Bellini's 'Casta Diva' into 'Chaste Goddess', but the singer will have to end the musical phrase on an extended consonant, not a vowel. Try singing 'Aaaaaaaaaa' and then 'Ssssssss' and tell me which one sounds better. Each language has its own rhythms and sounds and the music was written specifically for that language. One size does not fit all. Probably the only opera that does not suffer in translation is Don Carlos by Verdi - originally composed to a French libretto and later recomposed by Verdi into Italian. A Czech opera sung in English is another story. The singing and playing are beautiful, all the principals acquit themselves well and the recording is a tribute to a young, tragically short-lived Jenufa, Susan Chilcott. Yet, given the overall damage to the opera done through the' translation, it is not a recording I can recommend. Robert Tomas CLASSICAL AND BEYOND available individually) After 1945 the ever enterprising producer Walter Legge had signed up most of Europe's great conductors and soloists for EMI to be issued on their HMV, Columbia, and Parlophone labels and hence in North America on RCA and Columbia. As a result there was, as might be expected, a paucity of superior, high profile conductors and soloists available to other labels. Certainly, there was the emerging Ferenc Fricsay, also Eugen Jochum, Wolfgang Schneiderhan, and various orchestras such as those in Munich and the newly formed RIAS (Radio In the American Sector), but the biggies were not at large. By 1953 DOG had perfected their recording expertise and were recording regularly in the Jesus­ Christus-Kirche in Berlin-Dahlem, the Vienna Konzerthaus, and elsewhere. Their LPs from that era did not enjoy the widespread distribution they deserved but, of necessity, they contracted, licensing agreements with existing companies such as American Decca. However, the superior German DOG pressings were much sought after by the cognoscenti. At one time, or maybe all the time, the DOG pressing plant in Hanover would not employ natural red-heads because (I have box,are characterized by the same extremely high standards of performance due to the indulgence of the company in allowing whatever time it took to perfect the conductor's realization of the score. These were not idle claims but are manifest in each and every performance, carefully chosen for inclusion in this first selection of "Music - The Universal Language''. · It would be impractical to analyze each disc so here is a brief overview. As a pre-amble be assured that these are neither original instrument performances nor could they be taking advantage of the latest musicological scholarship. These are all examples, the best examples in fact, of the finest music making of a past generation in some of the basic repertoire of the day. · Fricsay's way with the three Haydn symphonies (44, 95 & 98) places the composer just outside the sentimental Viennese tradition (after all, Fricsay was Hungarian) into a tauter, less sentimental precurser to Beethoven. The two Jochum discs, made when he was in his early fifties reveal, as if we didn't already know, that he was a master in his chosen repertoire, be it Mozart (3, 36, 39) or Bruckner (9). Any Jochum recording is worth hearing. Somehow Karl Bohm often sounded like the proverbial Kapellmeister. Not here. The Beethoven Fifth held this listener to the very end with its intense, focused playing. Brilliant balances and a crystal-clear recording make this a winner along with a powerfully driven to be careful here) they were in­ Seventh in perfect stereo. Bohm's Musik - Sprache der Welt (Mu- clined to perspire excessively and Brahms Second is equally decisive sic - The Universal Language) might mar those pristine LP sur- and the delightfully catching Reger Selected Orchestral faces. Today those LPs are very Variations calls for repeated hearings. Recordings I (1953-1956) collectable and rare because they Various Artists ' were not produced in any larger A favourite conductor, Igor Deutsche Grammophon 474980-2 quantities than the demand war- Markevitch, is well represented 10 CDs boxed with booklet (also ranted. All the recordings in this ,here with ideally balanced and rhythmically precise readings of Schubert (3 & 4) sounding very much in line with the latest performing practices. Berlioz' Fantastique, the earliest and arguably the best of his recorded versions, took 22 hours over six days to complete the 48-minute work to his entire satisfaction. Such perfection would be an intolerable if not unbearable expense for today's companies that are bottom-line obsessed. Well, it was worth the six days because listening now one has the impression of spontaneous perfection. The Sanderling and Lehmann items are new to me but obviously I had mi.ssed some impressive performances. The stereo Beethoven Third piano concerto with Sanderling finds Richter at the pinnacle of his legendary brilliance. Fritz Remote Recording Recording Truck Portable Recording Systems Record Anywhere, Anytime Call Bruce @ PRB 647-272-3674 SEPTEMBER 1 - OCTOBER 7 2004

Lehmann was an early music specialist and his tempos and orchestral balances reveal an unexpected lightness of touch agreeably suitable to Schubert. The well-known Furtwangler items are well known and self-recommending. All the recordings are mono, except as noted and the exemplary processing from analogue tapes to CD by the Emil Berliner Studios reflects exactly the same care and pride that those LPs boasted some 50 years ago. Owning these performances is what knowledgeable record collecting is all about. Bruce Surtees Bruckner - Symphony No. 3 Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Kent Nagano Harmonia Mondi HMC 901817 Bruckner - Symphony No. 3; Wagner - Siegfried Idyll Wiener Pliilharmoniker; Hans Knappertsbusch Testament SBT 1339 Anton Bruckner's Third Symphony exists in three versions, the most familiar of which is the 1877 revision that formed the basis for the tumultuous premiere of the work. Sadly, there were only 25 patrons left in the hall by the end of that first performance, though among these chosen few was the young Gustav Mahler, who would ·become a leading advocate of Bruckner's works. Known to Brucknerites as the 'Wagner Symphonie', the original 1872 version of the work included several thematic lifts from Richard Wagner's operas. The Wizard of Bayreuth accepted Bruckner;s heartfelt dedication of the score to him on the condition that tl;lese references be withdrawn and consequently the original version has gone unrecorded until now. Kent Nagano has conducted the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin since 2000 but has recently left his post there to accept the directorship of the Montreal Symphony. He is best known for his proficiency in contemporary music SEPTEMBER 1 - OCTOBER 7 2004 · and hence would seem an unlikely proponent of Bruckner. Though the Berlin ensemble remains one of Germany's most distinguished ensembles, this important, gorgeously recorded addition to the Bruckner discography falls considerably short of a great performance. A clouq of suspicion still hangs over the head of Hans Knappertsbusch (1888-1965) for his role in promoting German culture throughout the occupied territories while on tour with the Berlin Philharmonic>from· 1940 to 1944; nonetheless, his interpretations of Bruckner and Wagner remain unassailable. 'Kna', as he was affectionately known, led this recording session at the Vienna Musikverein in 1954 for the Decca company; it has been re-issued over the years on various boutique labels. Despite the limitations of Decca' s monaural sound, the recording is extremely lucid; the articulation of the crashing tutti entrances that follow Bruckner's idiosyncratic caesuras are astonishingly precise. 'Kna' uses the abbreviated 1890 edition of the score in a performance that never loses its sense of forward momentum. Moreover, there is an uncanny psychic communication between conductor and orchestra that allows for subtle tempo modifications (particularly noticeable in the Scherzo movement) that simply can't be matched by Nagano's performance. Da11iel Foley Beethoven - Triple Concerto; Schumann - Piano Concerto Martha Argerich, piano Renaud Caprn;on, violin Mischa Maisky, cello Orchestra della Svizzera italiana Alexandre Rabinovitch­ Barakovsky EMI Classics 5 57773 2 In Schumann's brilliant A Minor Piano Concerto, the solo piano part is so expertly integrated into the texture of the piece that one hardly differentiates between it and the other instruments of the orchestra. After the initial explosion of descending piano octaves, the lst oboe emerges to play the first movement's exquisite main theme, with its aching octave leap. There are several similar solo turns by other instruments over the course of this remarkable work, making the challenge of the pianist not only to negotiate technically difficult sections, but to accompany and react to the orchestra in an intricate and intimate way. 'In this recording of a live performance from June of 2002, the formidably talented Martha Argerich rises to this challenge subtly and '%'1/l/,Jl'/l/Z-1?;,,,.'l-IXl/l/l/l/lfl/ll',,#I/' 314 Churchill Ave ,, Toronto, Ontario i M2R 1 E7 Canada Tel: 416-224-1956 Fax: 416-224-2964 ' MIKIOKOSMOS ' We buy your i classtcal LP I collectton ,, (classical, such as Beethoven, Mozart, Stockhausen) we tra vel anywh ere _ for good colle ctions i/l/l/11 l"l/l/l/.l/l/l/ll.11'/l/l/I/ ll!lll!ll!!!!!l!l!lllm::nr: )ffif )ffif )ffif )ffif )ffif NAXOS 11111 11111 11111 11111 11111 NAXOS CLASSICAL g AMtRIC\N n.m1c; SC:Oll'.IOPl.JN Pinno Rags .'\!'kr Pe;.k2n11 SCOTT JOPLIN Piano Rags - Alexander Peskanov NAXOS EDUCATIONAL THE STORY OF CLASSICAL MUSIC ... a young person's introduction narrated by conductor Marin Alsop. Also new from Naxos Avison: Twelve Concertos Paisiello: Piano Concertos Schoenfiel: Viola Concerto Pete Seeger: If I had a Hammer Bruegel: Music of his Time Rossini: II Signor Bruschino Available through fine record stores everywhere For more Naxos information visit: 61

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