Sir Colin Davis

Conductor

Sir Colin Davis

Sir Colin Rex Davis (1927-2013) was a noted British conductor.

He first found wide acclaim when he stood in for an ill Otto Klemperer in a performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera, Don Giovanni, at the Royal Festival Hall in 1959. A year later, he stood in for Thomas Beecham in similar circumstances in Mozart's The Magic Flute at Glyndebourne.

In the 1960s he worked at Sadler's Wells Opera, the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. In 1971 he succeeded Georg Solti as principal conductor at the Royal Opera House, where he had given occasional performances before, remaining there until 1986. He became noted for championing the operas of Michael Tippett, giving the premieres of his works The Knot Garden (1970), The Ice Break (1977) and The Mask of Time (1984). In 1977 he became the first English conductor to appear at the Bayreuth Festival (dedicated to the works of Richard Wagner) where he conducted Tannhäuser.

Davis was knighted in 1980. He subsequently worked at the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra before being appointed principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra in 1995. He died aged 85 on 14th April 2013.

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Sibelius: Violin Concerto & Six Humoresques

Sibelius: Violin Concerto & Six Humoresques


Sibelius:

Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47

Six Humoresques, Op. 87 and Op. 89 for violin and orchestra


As a young man, Sibelius dreamed – not just figuratively but literally – of becoming an internationally acclaimed violin virtuoso. Sibelius’s best mature compositions, however, are free of mere showmanship and his Violin Concerto might be the composer’s attempt to reconcile the world of the flashy virtuoso with that of the brooding, Nordic ascetic. Whether this reconciliation occurred or not is a matter of opinion, but the reservations of music critics (including Joseph Joachim) have not prevented the work from becoming one of the most popular violin concertos.

Sibelius may have written only one violin concerto, but he wrote other music for solo violin accompanied by orchestra. In 1917, he composed six Humoresques. They were premiered together on 24 November 1919, with soloist Paul Cherkassky, and Sibelius himself conducting the Helsinki City Orchestra. In all six, the orchestral forces required are relatively small; the middle two call for strings alone. Sibelius claimed that the Humoresques convey ‘the anguish of existence, fitfully lit up by the sun’.

Although noted for his fearless and thrilling performances of music by Paganini for Deutsche Grammophon, Salvatore Accardo, who celebrates his 75th birthday in October 2016, also recorded extensively for Philips in the 1970s and 80s. His repertoire ranged from Baroque music through to 19th and 20th concertos, including the complete music for violin and orchestra by Bruch, and concertos by Brahms and Mendelssohn.

“this set of six miniatures [Humoresques] would probably tempt me to lay out the whole price of the disc by themselves. They are small, compact works of very concentrated content. One could almost call them musical K-rations except that they bring far more satisfaction than K-rations possibly could. At first they may appear to be mere trifles, but do not be deceived. They are virtual case studies in virtuoso violin technique but with some musical substance mixed in. Accardo provides a ravishingly beautiful performance. Like the Concerto, these are sometimes taken more slowly in tempo than normal, but the pulse never falters and new beauties are revealed.” Fanfare, September/October 1980

“I can’t think of many artists who have more successfully conveyed the innocence as well as the magic of the opening bars. […] The slow movement has warmth and its textures a glowing, lambent quality. […] Throughout the work, the brass have exactly the right kind of power and sonority. The finale is played with effortless brilliance by the soloist. […] Accardo is the first to record all six Humoresques as a fill-up to the concerto and he and Sir Colin Davis bring to them a fine sense of atmosphere and rapture. […] A superb record.” Gramophone Magazine, October 1980

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Peter Racine Fricker: The Vision Of Judgement & Symphony No. 5

Peter Racine Fricker: The Vision Of Judgement & Symphony No. 5


Fricker:

The Vision of Judgement, Op. 29

BBC Broadcast 14 October 1980

Jane Manning (soprano) & Robert Tear (tenor)

Leeds Festival Chorus & Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Charles Groves

Symphony No. 5 for organ & orchestra, Op. 74

BBC Broadcast 5 May 1976. Live from the Festival Hall. First performance

Gillian Weir (organ)

BBC Symphony Orchestra, Colin Davis


Peter Racine Fricker was among the first composers in Britain to be influenced by the music of Béla Bartók, Arnold Schoenberg and Igor Stravinsky, assimilating aspects of their very different styles into a distinctive musical voice of his own. Unconcerned by the vagaries of musical fashion, he proceeded to build an impressive body of work in his highly expressive, urbane and freely atonal language. His catalogue, which exceeds 160 pieces in total, encompasses all the main genres with the exception of staged opera.

The Vision of Judgement was first performed on 13 October 1958 at Leeds Town Hall as part of the Leeds Centenary Festival. The performance presented here is conducted by Charles Groves, who was familiar with the Frick er style, having taken up the composer’s

First Symphony and performed it in one of his last concerts as conductor of the BBC Northern Orchestra and then introduced it in Bournemouth and on the Continent.

Dedicated ‘to the many fine musicians with whom I have had the pleasure of working so happily in the Royal Festival Hall’, Fricker’s Symphony No.5 was premiered by organist Gillian Weir with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Colin Davis on 5 May 1976 at the RFH in the presence of the composer. It was featured at the Proms on 11th August 1976 with the organist Jennifer Bate and the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra under John Pritchard. Terse and direct, the score offers some grand gestures in its lively outer sections which are offset by eloquent dialogues between its two principal protag onists in the interludial central segment. Considerable tension is generated in the closing pages, which present an unbuttoned, euphoric display of bravura.

“There’s a truly impressive work in here, capable of exciting grand gestures, but most personal in the sensitive elegiac sections – the a cappella ‘Libera me’ is a highlight” BBC Music Magazine, November 2016 ***

Lyrita Itter Broadcast Collection - REAM1124

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Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2


Rachmaninov:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Adrian Boult

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18

New Symphony Orchestra of London, Sir Colin Davis


Peter Katin (piano)

Pianist Peter Katin died on 19 March 2015 at the age of 84. He was born in London in 1930, and by the time he was twelve he was a student at the Royal Academy of Music. He made his professional debut in Wigmore Hall six years later. Early in his career, he was particularly admired for his performances of works from the Classical era, but he caused a sensation in 1953 when he performed Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3. (One reviewer wrote, ‘The young English pianist was greeted, after this breathtaking display, with the hearty and prolonged applause that we generally confine to established public idols.’) The Rachmaninov recordings reissued here date from 1958 (Concerto No. 1) and 1959 (Concerto No. 2). In addition to Katin’s virtuosity, they feature intelligent conducting from Sir Adrian Boult and Sir Colin Davis, and engineering which is almost as impressive today as it was more than five decades ago.

“[the Piano Concerto No. 2] is all brought off very well and there are many passages of great felicity” Gramophone Magazine, September 1964

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Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 3, 6 & 7

Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 3, 6 & 7


Sibelius:

Symphony No. 3 in C major, Op. 52

Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 105

Symphony No. 6 in D minor, Op. 104


Up to 40% off top DG & Decca recordings

Decca 20C - 4788349

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Tippett: A Child of Our Time

Tippett: A Child of Our Time


Jessye Norman (soprano), Dame Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano), Richard Cassilly (tenor) & John Shirley-Quirk (bass)

BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Choral Society & BBC Singers, Sir Colin Davis

“Davis’s reading as a whole packs an enormous dramatic punch, and this is one oratorio that suffers not at all from being brought close to the opera house” Gramophone Magazine

Up to 40% off top DG & Decca recordings

Decca 20C - 4788351

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Weber: Clarinet Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 & Quintetto

Weber: Clarinet Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 & Quintetto


Weber:

Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F minor, Op. 73

David Glazer (clarinet)

Württemburg Orchestra

Gran Quintetto for Clarinet & Strings in B flat, Op. 43

Gervase de Peyer (clarinet)

Melos Ensemble

Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E flat Major, Op. 74

Gervase de Peyer (clarinet)

London Symphony Orchestra, Colin Davis


Alto - ALC1252

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Great Scenes from Aida

Great Scenes from Aida

Decca Most Wanted Recitals Vol. 31


Verdi:

Ritorna vincitor! (from Aida)

Birgit Nilsson (Aida)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, John Pritchard

Fu la sorte dell'armi a' tuoi funesta (from Aida)

Birgit Nilsson (Aida), Grace Hoffman (Amneris)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, John Pritchard

Qui Radamès verrà!... O patria mia (from Aida)

Birgit Nilsson (Aida), Louis Quilico (Amonasro)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, John Pritchard

Rivedrai le foreste imbalsamate (from Aida)

Birgit Nilsson (Aida), Louis Quilico (Amonasro), Luigi Ottolini (Radames)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, John Pritchard

La fatal pietra sovra me si chiuse (from Aida)

Birgit Nilsson (Aida), Luigi Ottolini (Radames)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, John Pritchard

Wagner:

Wesendonck-Lieder (5)

Birgit Nilsson (soprano)

London Symphony Orchestra, Colin Davis


Decca Most Wanted Recitals - 4808168

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Ingvar Wixell sings Verdi - 8 Arias for Baritone

Ingvar Wixell sings Verdi - 8 Arias for Baritone

Decca Most Wanted Recitals Vol. 49


Verdi:

Tregua e cogl' Unni...Dagli immortali vertici...E gettata la mia sorte (from Attila)

Staatskapelle Dresden, Silvio Varviso

Cortigiani, vil razza dannata (from Rigoletto)

Staatskapelle Dresden, Silvio Varviso

Morir! Tremenda cosa! (from La Forza del Destino)

Staatskapelle Dresden, Silvio Varviso

Alzati…Eri tu che macchiavi quell'anima (from Un Ballo in Maschera)

Staatskapelle Dresden, Silvio Varviso

Vanne, la tua meta gia vedo…Credo in un Dio crudel (from Otello)

Staatskapelle Dresden, Silvio Varviso

Il balen del suo sorriso (from Il Trovatore)

Staatskapelle Dresden, Silvio Varviso

Son io, mio Carlo... Io morro (from Don Carlo)

Staatskapelle Dresden, Silvio Varviso

É sogno, o realta? (from Falstaff)

Staatskapelle Dresden, Silvio Varviso

Compagnoni di Parigi…Verrà pur troppo il giorno (from Un giorno di regno)

with William Elvin (bass), Wladimiro Ganzarolli (baritone)

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The Ambrosian Singers, Lamberto Gardelli

Tutto è deserto (from Il Trovatore)

Nicolai Ghiaurov (bass)

National Philharmonic Orchestra, Richard Bonynge

Il balen del suo sorriso (from Il Trovatore)

National Philharmonic Orchestra, Richard Bonynge

Alla vita che t'arride (from Un ballo in maschera)

Sona Ghazarian, (soprano), José Carreras (tenor), Robin Leggate (tenor)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis

Alzati…Eri tu che macchiavi quell'anima (from Un Ballo in Maschera)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis


Ingvar Wixell (baritone)

Decca Most Wanted Recitals - 4808186

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Mozart: Overtures

Mozart: Overtures


Mozart:

Le nozze di Figaro, K492: Overture

Bastien und Bastienne, K50: Overture

Der Schauspieldirektor, K486: Overture

Lucio Silla, K135: Overture

Così fan tutte, K588: Overture

La finta giardiniera, K196: Overture

Die Entführung aus dem Serail, K384: Overture

Il re pastore, K208: Overture

Idomeneo, K366: Overture

La clemenza di Tito, K621: Overture

Don Giovanni, K527: Overture

Die Zauberflöte, K620: Overture


RCA - 74321566982

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Berlioz: Grande Messe des Morts, Op. 5 (Requiem)

Berlioz: Grande Messe des Morts, Op. 5 (Requiem)


Sir Colin Davis is a revered Berlioz expert and his LSO live Berlioz recordings have been one of the most widely acclaimed series’ of classical recordings of recent years and collected numerous awards, including two Grammy Awards for Les Troyens.

The release of the monumental Grande Messe des morts marks the completion of this cycle and further confirms Sir Colin’s status as one of the greatest living conductors of Berlioz’s music.

Recorded in St Paul’s Cathedral, a fitting acoustic for the work, the London Symphony Orchestra opened the 50th anniversary of the City of London Festival with the requiem, joined by English lyric tenor Barry Banks and two of London’s finest choirs, the London Symphony Chorus and London Philharmonic Choir.

Grand Messe des Morts is a popular Berlioz creation, yet remains a rare and special treat. A requiem whose text derives from the traditional Latin Requiem Mass, it was composed, uniquely, by a man with no firm religious belief. Throughout the piece there is an extreme variation of dynamics. Poignant, reflective music is contrasted with four blazing brass ensembles, ensuring a very powerful and grand listening experience.

“the enigmatic rising phrases that launch the work continue to reverberate hauntingly in the surrounding silences, and the tone of the combined LSO and LPO choirs — singing beautifully and bringing out the music’s profound sadness — is wonderfully enhanced. Colin Davis fits the work to the conditions with a master hand. Memorable.” Sunday Times, 17th March 2013

“The orchestral playing is superb throughout...Sir Colin Davis, too, is in a class apart as a Berlioz interpreter and this performance simply confirms that. This is, from start to finish, magnificent. It’s astonishing to think that when this recording was made he was a few weeks shy of his eighty-fifth birthday for there is no want of energy here...Berlioz found in Sir Colin Davis a champion beyond compare.” MusicWeb International, 18th April 2013

“The two concerts in Saint Paul’s Cathedral in June 2012 upon which this recording is based were colossal events. I attended the first of them and have rarely been so moved by the magnificence of stately music superbly rendered. LSO Live has captured the moment with remarkable fidelity.” classicalsource.com

“Sir Colin Davis’s grip on the score is as sure as it ever was, the massed choral forces coordinated with unerring precision. He’s always had an ear for Berlioz’s quirky sense of orchestral colour...Barry Banks is excellent...This is an essential purchase” The Arts Desk, 20th April 2013

“The St Paul's acoustic is something to be reckoned with...and it is striking to observe how careful Davis is to allow for the famous echo...There's some lovely orchestral detail...The chorus is excellent...Barry Banks, sounding some way off, is effortlessly mellifluous. Whether in 2012 or 1969, Colin Davis is a must-have.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2013

“Everything about it is judged as just right, and Davis is one of the few who consistently realizes that the lyrical propensities of the composer are as important—especially in this work—as the more grandiose and bombastic passages. As an interpretation this is as good as it gets, the equal of any recording on the market.” Audiophile Audition

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2013

Super Audio CD

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LSO Live - LSO0729

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