5 years ago

Volume 14 - Issue 8 - May 2009

of Ecstasy (Dorati),

of Ecstasy (Dorati), Mozart 24th (Brendel/Haitink), Song of the Nightingale (Chailly),Sibelius Sixth (Colin Davis), and SchubertFifth (Bernstein), there is also repertoire thatis rarely, if ever, heard live. Certain worksby Schreker, Escher, Webern, Schoenberg,Varèse, Keuris, and others may be new toone’s ears but well worth getting to know.There are 41 works in all and choosing fromthe wealth of repertoire and matching conductorsavailable could not have been easy. Whatis included is, presumably, the best of thebest. Other choices may have been differentbut not better. I am enjoying this set immensely.No complaints about the sound.Esoteric, the Japanese company thatmanufactures high quality CD players, amplifiersand speakers, is producing CDs derivedfrom existing analogue masters that are, fromthe two that I have heard, quite astonishing!Incidentally, these two discs are superior toany of the Japanese XRCD discs from JVCthat I have heard.Decca’s Dvorak Ninth Symphony withIstvan Kertesz and the Vienna Philharmonic(ESSD 90015, SACD hybrid) never had quitethis impact. The dynamics are true-to-lifeand the orchestra between the speakers hasbody, not just sound. This is what Decca’steam must have heard live in the Sofiensaalin 1961. Throughthe courtesy ofAmerican Soundin Richmond Hill,employing state-ofthe-artequipment,I compared thisSACD/CD to theoriginal SXL LPpressing and foundthat the sound was remarkably similar, theCD sounding more articulate in the bass andmore dynamic, with some finer details in thewinds. The bottom line is that the Esotericdisc sounds very analogue, dynamic anda must-have for those for whom analogueis their raison d’être. Kudos to Esotericcertainly but also to Decca, whose exquisitetechnology produced the original mastertapes that contained all this newly revealedinformation.Mozart’s Piano Concertos 20 and 27 playedby Clifford Curzon with Benjamin Brittenconducting the English Chamber Orchestra recordedby Decca in 1970 also enjoy an Esotericsonic renaissance. Because of the less expansivedynamic range there are no sonic fireworks butnevertheless the remastering reveals a subtlyheightened senseof reality (ESSD90014, SACDhybrid). There aretwo more discs inthis first releasefrom Esoteric, deFalla’s The ThreeCornered Hat withAnsermet andBeethoven Overtures with Colin Davis. I lookforward to hearing them. Beautifully packaged54like a hard cover book, these discs sell for,gulp! .99 each. However, it appears thataudiophiles who hear them are lapping them up.The DVD companies also have beenachieving remarkable results as they, too,re-master for Blu-ray HD discs. I am deeplyimpressed with the director’s cut of Milos Forman’s1984 masterpiece,Amadeus, based on PeterShaffer’s play. There are20 minutes of extra footageadded to the originalversion and a substantialdocumentary involvingall the principals, beforeand behind the cameras,on the making of thefilm. This two disc Blu-ray set from WarnerBrothers is a treasure both visually and intellectually.Wagner’s Mastersinger: Hitler’s Siegfriedis the intriguing if not provocative title ofThe Life and Times of Max Lorenz (MediciArts, EuroArts, 2056928 DVD+CD). Bornin 1901, Max Lorenz’s career is tracedfrom choir boy to super-star in Bayreuthand elsewhere during the 1930s and beyond.Intriguing films of his Siegfried give credenceto his reputation as the heldentenor of the era.Film and narration together with commentsby his contemporariesdescribe his social lifewith the in-crowd inBayreuth. His wife wasJewish and he stood withher, despite the Nazis.He was shielded byWinifred Wagner whoused her influence withHitler on his behalf. Butfame is fleeting. Lorenz sang his last Tristanin Dresden in 1960. Waldemar Kmenttrecalls that “After his final performance atThe Vienna Opera they just let him go homeas if nothing had happened. No one fromthe management came to give him a propersend-off. I felt deeply ashamed for the ViennaOpera.” There are trailers of scenes from fourLove Opera?Travel? Congenial people?Why not discover the fabulousopera houses of Europe?How? Just visit this website:www.opera-is.comWagner music-dramas on the DVD featuringlatter day heldentenors in leading roles that,perhaps unintentionally, confirm DietrichFischer-Dieskau’s summing-up, “Today youwon’t find anyone who could hold a candle tohim. No one. Hot air, that’s all.” The accompanyingCD contains a document of Lorenz athis best. Extensive excerpts from Siegfried areconducted by Erich Kleiber, recorded in theTeatro Colón in Buenos Aires on October 4,1938 with Max Lorenz, Erich Witte, HerbertJanssen and Emanuel List.Circle this date!Movies Embracing Music:A Choral Double Feature!June 24, 2009, 7:30pm atBLOOR CINEMACelebrate!WholeNote’s first-evermovie night is dedicatedto our vibrantchoral community:two superb films aboutpeople singing together.Participate!Live entertainment, doorprizes, audience participation.Investigate!See Choral Scene, page 10.w w w .t h e w h o l e n o t e.c o m Ma y 1 – Ju n e 7 2009

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