Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

November 2009

Disc of the Month

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Schubert: Winterreise D911

Awards:

Presto Disc of the Week

19th October 2009

Gramophone Awards 2010

Best of Category - Solo Vocal

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - November 2009

Catalogue No:

HMU907484

Discs:

1

Release date:

26th Oct 2009

Barcode:

0093046748425

Length:

74 minutes

Medium:

CD (download also available)
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Schubert: Winterreise D911


Mark Padmore (tenor) & Paul Lewis (piano)

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Composed in 1827 and first performed privately for members of Schubert's circle, Die Winterreise initially received a mixed reception. Now acknowledged as the greatest song-cycle ever penned, the work, here played in the original keys, it receives a profound and probing reading from tenor Mark Padmore and pianist Paul Lewis, and marks the launch of their Schubert triptych.

"Schubert couldn't be better served…Padmore's great gift, apart from his prodigious technical ability,whether to float a line with perfect legato or to enter pianissimo at the top of his range, is to sing from the soul." The Evening Standard

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part I: Gute Nacht

Winterreise - Part I: Gute Nacht

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part I: Die Wetterfahne

Winterreise - Part I: Die Wetterfahne

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part I: Gefrorne Tränen

Winterreise - Part I: Gefrorne Tränen

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part I: Erstarrung

Winterreise - Part I: Erstarrung

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part I: Der Lindenbaum

Winterreise - Part I: Der Lindenbaum

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part I: Wasserflut

Winterreise - Part I: Wasserflut

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part I: Auf dem Flusse

Winterreise - Part I: Auf dem Flusse

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part I: Rückblick

Winterreise - Part I: Rückblick

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part I: Irrlicht

Winterreise - Part I: Irrlicht

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part I: Rast

Winterreise - Part I: Rast

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part I: Frühlingstraum

Winterreise - Part I: Frühlingstraum

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part I: Einsamkeit

Winterreise - Part I: Einsamkeit

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part II: Die Post

Winterreise - Part II: Die Post

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part II: Der greise Kopf

Winterreise - Part II: Der greise Kopf

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part II: Die Krähe

Winterreise - Part II: Die Krähe

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part II: Letzte Hoffnung

Winterreise - Part II: Letzte Hoffnung

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part II: Im Dorfe

Winterreise - Part II: Im Dorfe

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part II: Der stürmische Morgen

Winterreise - Part II: Der stürmische Morgen

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part II: Täuschung

Winterreise - Part II: Täuschung

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part II: Der Wegweiser

Winterreise - Part II: Der Wegweiser

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part II: Das Wirtshaus

Winterreise - Part II: Das Wirtshaus

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part II: Mut!

Winterreise - Part II: Mut!

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part II: Die Nebensonnen

Winterreise - Part II: Die Nebensonnen

Franz Schubert: Winterreise - Part II: Der Leiermann

Winterreise - Part II: Der Leiermann

Gramophone Magazine

November 2009

“…I cannot think of one (not even Fischer-Dieskau in his 1965 recording with Jörg Demus) that leads more faithfully to the cold comfort at its end. And when we get there in this performance, what an end it is!”

The Independent on Sunday

15th November 2009

“...an arrestingly frayed performance that conveys the anguish of Wilhelm Müller’s dislocated protagonist...The balance between voice and piano is exceptional, the interpretation bold and complex.”

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Bach, J S: Sonatas & Partitas for solo violin, BWV1001-1006

Bach, J S: Sonatas & Partitas for solo violin, BWV1001-1006


‘One player, one instrument, one composer: Bach’s unaccompanied violin music has always been the greatest for any player, young or old. Alina Ibragimova, only 23, is already its equal’ (The Guardian)

‘Alina Ibragimova began to play unaccompanied Bach on the violin, and the hush became silence. This was spontaneous, the first sense that something new could happen’ (The Independent)

The dazzling young virtuoso Alina Ibragimova has enthralled audiences for years with her live Bach performances. Critics have acclaimed her faultless intonation, achingly beautiful tone, superlative technique and a musical wisdom far beyond her years. Now, in this important new recording of Bach’s complete sonatas and partitas for solo violin, Ibragimova brings all these qualities and more to create an interpretation that is both excitingly original and profoundly humble. This is music of unfathomable subtlety, astounding virtuosity and great expressive and architectural beauty.

“Alina Ibragimova's… playing… forges a potent synthesis, uniting the steely, eyes-wide-open focus of Christian Tetzlaff (her one-time teacher) and the supple stylistic insights of a Rachel Podger. In the Partitas she's supremely alert to the idiomatic nuances of each dance, while in the Sonatas the fugues are always contrapuntally clear and purposeful in their forward momentum.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2009 *****

“Ibragimova's playing is uncommonly neat, with precise fingerwork and relaxed management of the bow; the virtuoso finale of the Third Sonata sparkles effortlessly while remaining for the most part at a piano dynamic. She plays unequal quavers in the Third Partita's Minuet as naturally as if she'd grown up in the 18th century. And finally, all her stylishness and technical refinement is at the service of an ingrained understanding of the music; she makes us feel where the points of harmonic tension and emphasis are, and she's able to do it without distorting the surface...” Gramophone Magazine, November 2009

“This is an absolutely compelling set of performances, the kind that have you on the edge of your seat wondering at the freshness of it all and what she might do next. Every phrase in these familiar works seems newly minted, every bar totally alive...its sheer energy and self-belief are genuinely thrilling.” The Guardian, 2nd October 2009 *****

“her mastery is very striking indeed. Hers are traditional readings and they pay no homage to the authentic-instrument lobby. She brings a refined, quiet sensitivity to the slow sarabandes of the First and Second Partitas...There is elegance and character in every single piece.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

GGramophone Magazine

Collection Winner - June 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2009

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion - CDA67691/2

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Mahler: Symphony No. 9

Mahler: Symphony No. 9


This is Alan Gilbert’s farewell concert as chief conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.

“On a technical level this must, I think, be the finest recording the work has received. Every note is audible - and the achievement of the orchestra (still more extraordinary than that of the engineers) is to play them and show how they all matter. Gilbert juggles the many tempi of the inner movements to whip up the requisite hysteria (this isn't a performance for those who must have their banality served on a silver salver) before offering true catharsis with the Adagio.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2009

“The changing textures and dynamic contrasts in Mahler’s tumultuous Ninth Symphony have rarely had such clarity and bloom...An enthralling account, raptly contemplating bliss before sliding gently towards regret.” The Times, 21st November 2009

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2009

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

BIS - BISSACD1710

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Aida’s Brothers and Sisters

Aida’s Brothers and Sisters

Black Voices in Opera and Concert


A Film by Jan Schmidt-Garre and Marieke Schroeder.

Intriguing documentary about black singers of classical music set against the background of black emancipation in politics and society in the US.

Think of today‘s top operatic voices, and black owners of them are as likely to come into the list as white ones: Willard White, Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle to name only three. We know it wasn‘t always thus - Paul Robeson‘s struggles to be recognised as a great singer, instead of a black singer, went on for many decades. But this programme reveals just how hard the journey to acceptance of America‘s black singers has been. It opens with one of the greatest voices of the 20th century: Marian Anderson and a clip of her magnifi cent performance of ‚Ave Maria‘. The film offers newsreel footage from her landmark 1939 concert at the Lincoln Memorial, which was held after the Daughters of the American Revolution denied her access to their Constitution Hall venue. But the black tradition of classical singing goes back even further: Before Leontye Price, Jessye Norman and even before Marian Anderson, Sissieretta Jones was arguably the greatest black performer of 19th century America and certainly the first great black diva. Sissieretta Jones , the ‚Black Patti‘, an allusion to Italian-American primadonna Adelina Patti, performed before four American presidents, mesmerized critics and audiences alike and was so successful that at one concert in New Jersey 1,000 visitors had to be turned away. The film Aida‘s Brothers and Sisters intends to focus the viewer‘s gaze particularly on the black classic and also on the fascinating mixed forms that have developed from the confrontation of white and black music in the last hundred years. The encounter with the powerful personalities of the singers and their music will reveal the humour, the lust for life, and the spiritual depth of black culture, and will perhaps add a dash of colour to a white fin de siècle culture that is in danger of contracting anaemia. A fascinating documentary with historical and contemporary film and video records of performances by Leontyne Price, Simon Estes, Grace Bumbry, Reri Grist and many others.

Recording Date: 1999
Running Time: 85 min
Picture Format: 16:9
Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Language: GB
Menu Languages NTSC: GB
Subtitle Languages NTSC: D, F, I, SP

“There are more female than male voices, but most of the great black American singers are here in interview and musical extracts. The story of combating prejudice is traced with quiet dignity.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2009 ****

“…the history of black singers overcoming racism and prejudice is mostly told by the singers themselves, Shirley Verrett, Reri Grist and Grace Bumbry in particular… The film's tour of the issues such as what makes a black voice allows for a brief excursion on what might make a black opera: the debate over Porgy and Bess is crystallised by Edward Said, for whom it's "condescending", and Bobby McFerrin, with his praise for Gershwin's attempt to "understand the black experience".” Gramophone Magazine, November 2009

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - November 2009

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Arthaus Musik - 101367

(DVD Video)

$23.75

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Stabat Mater

Stabat Mater


Bach, J S:

Psalm 51 from Pergolesi's Stabat Mater BWV1083 'Tilge, Höchster meine Sünden'

Emma Kirkby (soprano)

Pergolesi:

Salve Regina in F minor

Vivaldi:

Concerto for Strings in E flat major 'Sonata al Santo Sepolcro', RV130

Stabat Mater, RV621


Daniel Taylor (counter-tenor and Director)

Theatre of Early Music

This disc features beautiful and moving works reflecting on the grief of the Virgin Mary written by great Vivaldi, Pergolesi and Bach. Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater dates from around 1711 or 1712 and he used just the first ten verses of the text, creating one of the most sombre of all settings.

Bach’s adaptation of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater uses a contemporary German version of the Biblical Psalm 51. To suit the requirements of the new text Bach made certain alterations to Pergolesi’s vocal parts but retained the scheme of solo arias and duets between a soprano and an alto voice. He also added a new, independent viola part to the score and rewrote the basso continuo, giving the work a new harmonic vitality.

Pergolesi’s Salve Regina, composed around the same time as the Stabat Mater, and of a similarly expressive, sorrowful style. Of Pergolesi’s two settings of the text, the present one – originally in C minor – is the most well-known, and is here performed in the F minor version for alto voice.

Daniel Taylor directs the Theatre of Early Music as well as performing himself - “The beauty of his voice will stop you in your tracks.” Gramophone

“Emma Kirkby at her most serene is matched by Taylor as if they were two faces of a single musical entity. With first-rate surround-sound recording and a warm ambience, this is a disc not to be missed.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2009 *****

“There are at least half a dozen recordings of Vivaldi's Stabat mater that I wouldn’t want to be without but this profoundly beautiful version leaps straight into their ranks. The Theatre of Early Music band is small (just single strings and simple continuo) but its playing never feels underweight, and rhetorical qualities in the music are clear yet unforced. ...Taylor's intelligent and stylish singing belongs in a select class alongside a few of the finest and sweetest voices of its type. ...the well chosen programme is rounded off by Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden (Bach's creative yet respectful adaptation of Pergolesi's Stabat mater, using the text of Psalm 51), in which Emma Kirkby's delicate singing elegantly blends with Taylor's.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2009

“Anyone looking for a musical and sensitive reading of the Vivaldi, or an interesting variation on the Pergolesi; any fan of either of the two soloists; or any audiophile should get hold of this wonderful disc as soon as possible.” Opera Britannia, 28th September 2009 ****/*****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2009

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

BIS - BISSACD1546

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Haydn Arias - Simona Šaturová

Haydn Arias - Simona Šaturová


Haydn:

Al tuo seno fortunato (L’anima del filosofo)

Filomena abbandonata (L'anima del filosofo)

Numi possenti aita!...Dov'è l'amato bene?...Del mio core (from L'anima del filosofo, ossia Orfeo ed Euridice)

Partì Rinaldo - Se pietade avete, oh Numi (Armida)

Berenice, che fai? (Scena di Berenice), Hob XXIVa:10

Che fingo? - Perché se tanti siete

Se la mia stella (Il mondo della luna)

Anna, m'ascolta (Il ritorno di Tobia)

Aure chete, verdi allori, Non partir, mia bella face (Orlando paladino)


Simona Šaturová (soprano)

NDR Radiophilharmonie, Alessandro De Marchi

Melodious, virtuosic, and with the added bonus of being fresh to the repertoire - Haydn's soprano arias are among the most beautiful artefacts of Viennese Classicism, especially when they are sung with immaculate clarity as here by Simona Šaturová. Widely praised for her crystalline voice, exquisite focus and musical expression, Simona Šaturová is in international demand in opera and concert. She was born in Bratislava, Slovakia and studied with Ileana Cotrubas in Vienna. In January 2009 Ms. Saturova sang in a performance of the Mozart C Minor Mass for the 85th birthday of Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.

“A splendid recital from a young soprano who rises with skill and flair to the music's varied challenges.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2009

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2009

Orfeo - C782091A

(CD)

$15.25

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Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D795

Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D795


James Gilchrist (tenor) & Anna Tilbrook (piano)

Renowned British tenor, James Gilchrist, presents his first recording for Orchid Classics, “Die Schöne Müllerin” (The Beautiful Maid of the Mill”), Schubert’s classic a setting of poems by Wilhelm Müller – generally accepted to be a masterpiece of the song genre.

Gilchrist has performed this cycle many times, to great acclaim, in concert in the UK and abroad – usually in partnership with Anna Tilbrook. He is one of Britain’s most popular and sought after singers. This is the first time he has recorded “t Die Schöne Müllerin “ and will make a wonderful addition to his already extensive discography

The CD booklet contains full German text with English translation, and an essay by Richard Morrison of The Times giving a fascinating insight into both Schubert and Die Schöne Müllerin.

“he is now unsurpassed amongst lyric tenors in sweetness and technical security, and for his musical intelligence” The Independent

“…worthy to stand with the best. Gilchrist's light tenor, with its springing rhythmic life, makes us feel that the young lad is living very much in a wide-eyed emotional present, as elusive and ever-shifting as the delightful chiaroscuro of Anna Tilbrook's piano accompaniment.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2009 ****

“…in place of the youthful impetuosity of Werner Güra is the anxiety of a man to seize what he can while he can. His jealousy - "Eifersucht and Stolz" - gains thereby a specially manic edge, and leaves him almost shouting at the end of "Die Böse Farbe" before he takes his leave of love and life in both sorrow and anger over the ever-more-painful course of the last triptych. How aptly Anna Tilbrook's pedalling poses the question to the brook at the beginning of "Die Neugierige", and how graciously Gilchrist waits until the last verse before slowing down to ask himself.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2009

“There’s a touching simplicity to Gilchrist’s delivery...“Eifersucht und Stolz” and the “liebe/böse Farbe” songs are riveting…” The Independent on Sunday, 15th November 2009

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2009

Orchid Classics - ORC100006

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$16.00

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Bryn Terfel - Bad Boys

Bryn Terfel - Bad Boys


Beethoven:

Ha! Welch ein Augenblick! (from Fidelio)

Boito:

Son lo Spirito che nega (from Mefistofele)

Donizetti:

Udite, udite, o rustici (from L'elisir d'amore)

Gershwin:

It Ain't Necessarily So (from Porgy and Bess)

Gounod:

Le veau d'or est toujours debout (from Faust)

Mozart:

Don Giovanni, a cenar teco (from Don Giovanni)

Ponchielli:

Maledici? O monumento (from La Gioconda)

Puccini:

Tre sbirri...Una carozza...Presto 'Te Deum' (from Tosca)

Rossini:

La calunnia è un venticello (from Il barbiere di Siviglia)

Schönberg, C-M:

Stars (from Les Misérables)

Sondheim:

Epiphany (from Sweeney Todd)

Anne Sofie von Otter (Mrs Lovett)

Sullivan, A:

When the Night Wind Howls (from Ruddigore)

Verdi:

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

Weber:

Schweig, schweig (from Der Freischütz)

Weill, K:

Moritat von Mackie Messer (from The Threepenny Opera)


Bryn Terfel, a gentle man in real life, recruits a gang of “bad boy” characters from opera and musicals to serenade us with tunes from the sinister side of the bass clef. Thoroughly convincing as villains you would not want to meet alone in the dark, Bryn Terfel wields a full, wide ranging bass-baritone ever in service to dramatic instincts rare in any era Bad Boys delivers an original concept sure to seduce the media, wow the classical crowd and exert powerful mass appeal. No singer morphs from Don Giovanni to Mack the Knife to Sweeney Todd with Terfel’s devilish ease – Bad Boys is a delightful box of mixed (dark) musical bonbons

“…Terfel is a consummate singing actor. …what other artist could find such different voices for singing Il Commendatore, Don Giovanni and Leporello in the closing scene of Mozart's opera.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2009 ****

“Terfel, of course, brings the smell of the theatre into everything he does. His powerful vocal presence is born of physical presence and he harnesses words, in any language, like few others. Brecht's words for "The Ballad of Mack the Knife" casually slip off Terfel's cords like the threats of a slickly attired bouncer... Sweeney Todd's "Epiphany" (with a flash of Anne Sofie von Otter's cockney Mrs Lovett - not 'arf bad) is scary to behold...” Gramophone Magazine, November 2009

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2009

DG - 4778091

(CD)

$14.00

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Debussy - Complete Works for Solo Piano Volume 5

Debussy - Complete Works for Solo Piano Volume 5

Debussy Transcriptions – 3 Ballets


Debussy:

Khamma

version for piano

La Boite A Joujoux

Jeux - Poème dansé

version for piano


Jean-Efflam Bavouzet reaches the climax of his multi award-winning complete works for piano, with an album of solo piano transcriptions of three ballets from the same period.

Sir Charles Stanford subjected all music to what he called a ‘piano test’: if it didn’t stand up to being played on the piano, then it wasn’t to be taken seriously. In the case of Debussy, all the French composer’s scores went through a notational stage which, if not specifically designed for piano, could be given a reasonably accurate performance on that instrument. Where ballets were concerned, obviously the choreographer had to rehearse the dancers to the accompaniment of a piano score that conformed to the rhythms and structure of the final orchestral product. The three piano versions recorded here were therefore intimately related to both the compositional and production processes.

Khamma stems from a commission in 1910 for an Egyptian ballet, originally entitled Isis. The project was troubled from the start when Debussy refused to reduce the orchestra from 90 to 40 players. He never heard the work, which was first given its concert performance in 1924. Bavouzet writes, ‘I discovered almost by chance in a Parisian music store, a version for piano of Khamma. This had previously escaped me so what was my surprise when I saw the richness and originality! The virtuosity required is much more subtle than the more obvious. It must give the illusion of more perfect sound levels corresponding to each specific instruments group.’ In the midst of the negotiations over Khamma, Debussy wrote his second ballet, Jeux. Jeux is a highly complex and incomprehensible piece for two hands. Bavouzet notes, ‘In several places what Debussy wrote in the reduction for solo piano is really unplayable. The text is so thin and poor that a small part of the richness of the orchestral version is realised. It was indeed this frustration that prompted me to write some years ago, a version for two pianos today published by Durand. But for this disc I had to make a version for two hands to do justice to the score. I can say that this is probably one of the most difficult works that I have played.’ Two months after the Jeux premiere, Debussy began work on his last ballet, La boîte à joujoux, based on an illustrated children’s story. Debussy embraced the plot, busy ‘extracting secrets from [his daughter] Chouchou’s old dolls and learning to play the side drum’. Within a month the first tableau was done, and he claimed he had ‘tried to be straightforward and even “amusing”, without pretentiousness or pointless acrobatics.’ The following month the piano score was complete.

Jean-Efflam concludes, ‘In my opinion the transcriptions can offer greater clarity and organisation of musical discourse. Young conductors have told me that they understood the score of Jeux better after hearing the version for two pianos… for those who do not know these three ballets in their orchestral version, this disc may give them the curiosity to explore the works further.’

“This series has been as much an exploration of the mind of Debussy as a traversal of the works themselves. Bavouzet combines a probing intellect with a sensuality of touch that is enthralling. …a remarkable achievement…” Gramophone Magazine, November 2009

“The work’s prismatic inventiveness and its way of seeming at once discontinuous and a breathless sweep do not need instrumental colour to be forcefully registered, as Bavouzet demonstrates. His accounts of all three pieces are graphic and meticulous.” Sunday Times, 22nd November 2009 ***

“In all three works, Bavouzet's exceptional control, variation of touch and keyboard colour regularly provide new insights, so that he conjures up the evasive, mutable world of Jeux in a way that seems almost as convincing as the composer's own exquisitely dappled scoring.” The Guardian, 19th November 2009 ****

“it’s a musical adventure for everyone, and Bavouzet has more than achieved what he set out to do. Anyone familiar with Debussy’s shimmering orchestral colouration will recognise it translated into piano form, and anyone who isn’t will find their imaginations filling in the blanks.” Charlotte Gardner, bbc.co.uk, 17th November 2009

“Such vivid colours, such superbly voiced textures and such flair, nuance and richness of atmosphere, who needs orchestras?” Classic FM Magazine, December 2009

“Debussy playing does not come any better than this” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

GGramophone Awards 2010

Finalist - Instrumental

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2009

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos Bavouzet Debussy Series - CHAN10545

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Donizetti: Parisina d’este

Donizetti: Parisina d’este


Carmen Giannattasio (Parisina), José Bros (Ugo), Dario Solari (Azzo), Nicola Ulivieri (Ernesto), Ann Taylor (Imelda)

Geoffrey Mitchell Choir & London Philharmonic Orchestra, David Parry

‘Carmen Giannattasio’s last gasp was one of the most electrifying in all opera' Hilary Finch, The Times, reviewing Opera Rara’s concert performance.

Donizetti’s gripping opera Parisina comes from a particularly fruitful period in the composer’s output. It was premiered in Florence in 1833, the year that Lucrezia Borgia opened at La Scala and Torquato Tasso in Rome, with a libretto by the leading exponent of the craft at that time, Felice Romani. And yet the opera is rarely performed today – even though it was widely staged during the two decades following its premiere. Its fortunes may change again with this new recording, cast from strength and led by the Parisina of Carmen Giannattasio (heard in La donna del lago – ORC34) and José Bros (heard in Roberto Devereux – ORC24) as Ugo. The plot is unusually dark, even for an early romantic melodramma. Parisina, the wife of Azzo, a 15th-century Duke of Ferrara, has fallen in love with Ugo, who turns out to be a child of Azzo’s previous marriage.

In furious anger at her outlandish passion, Azzo has his own son murdered, and presents his anguished stepmother with the corpse. This horrifying scenario was just the sort of passionate narrative to set the composer’s musical pulses racing, and the result remained his favourite among his works for many years; as his biographer William Ashbrook has written, ‘Parisina contains some of Donizetti’s most vivid musical portraiture.’

The 3CD set comes with a lavishly illustrated book including a complete libretto with an English translation. Article and synopsis by the eminent 19th century musical scholar, Jeremy Commons.

“Donizetti provides Parisina with one of his most plaintive arias in 'Sogno talor di correre' and a spectacular send off in Act III with 'Ora funesta!'. There's some exquisite orchestra writing… and fine work for the chorus, with the Geoffrey Mitchell Choir on tiptop form here. ...Carmen Giannattasio's... vocal attack is magnificent and the trills and runs and drops through the registers spot on.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2009

“Opera Rara's recording is less by Carmen Giannattasio… Her Act 3 defiance of Azzo, the ingenious Romanza in Act 2, and her fatalistic "Forse un destin che intendere" are agile in decoration, expressive and well acted - a cunning piece of casting. The Spanish tenor José Bros displays enough metal in the voice to catch Ugo's Percy-like desperation in returning obsessively to Parisina's hostile court. The horns at Parisina's entrance and the spooky bird-calls in Act 3... show off Donizetti's imaginative use of scoring to second dramatic points. David Parry's well paced conducting is especially aware of these touches.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2009

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2009

Opera Rara - ORC40

(CD - 3 discs)

$48.00

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Václav Talich conducts Dvorak's Slavonic Dances

Václav Talich conducts Dvorak's Slavonic Dances

Recorded on 27th and 28th November, 1935 in EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London


Dvorak:

Slavonic Dances Nos. 1-8, Op. 46 Nos. 1-8

Slavonic Dances Nos. 9-16, Op. 72 Nos. 1-8

Carnival Overture, Op. 92


Restoration Engineer: Mark Obert-Thorn

For almost forty years the name of Václav Talich was synonymous with the great orchestra he conducted, the Czech Philharmonic. When he made these records in November 1935, he was at the height of his career as the most charismatic Czech conductor in history. The orchestra’s autumn London visits, beginning in 1935, were eagerly awaited events, not least by the HMV technicians at Abbey Road Studios, where the art of 78rpm recording had been brought to its peak.

The Slavonic Dances give Talich the chance to show the full panoply of his skills in subtlety of rhythm and orchestral colour. In Carnival, the strings’ natural portamento lends lovely curves to the second theme, while in the quiet interlude the delicately rustic Czech woodwinds come into their own.

Talich was to return to all this music in the 1950s but these 1935 recordings catch an immortal partnership in full flood and vigour.

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - November 2009

Naxos Historical Great Conductors - 8111331

(CD)

$7.50

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Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

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