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Bernstein - Symphonic Dances & Trouble in Tahiti

Bernstein - Symphonic Dances & Trouble in Tahiti


Bernstein:

West Side Story: Symphonic Dances

Trouble in Tahiti

Kim Criswell (mezzo-soprano/Dinah), Rod Gilfry (baritone/Sam), Jazz Trio: Martene Grimson (soprano), Adrian Dwyer (tenor) & Ronan Collett (baritone)


The Münchner Rundfunkorchester is continually expanding its expansive repertoire of classic-romantic orchestral music as well as the key works of the classical modern era to include compositions that build a bridge to the genre of film scores and light classics. The flexibility of the orchestra, which can adapt to the widest imaginable variety of idioms on the highest quality level, has earned it the status of an exceptional ensemble on the orchestral horizon. Under its artistic director, Ulf Schirmer, it also presents itself on this CD as a charismatic advocate for enjoyable genre cross-over. No composer fits this pattern better than Leonard Bernstein. Both his West Side Story as well as the suite of Symphonic Dances extracted from the score number amongst the absolute Bernstein classics. A rarity, on the other hand, is the short one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti. The way the gaping abyss behind an upscale bourgeois marriage is exposed both musically and dramatically is funny, striking, thrilling – and far too infrequently heard! Including a bonus: Elgin Heuerding in conversation with Ulf Schirmer.

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BR Klassik - 403571900300

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Handel: Israel in Egypt, HWV54

Handel: Israel in Egypt, HWV54

Three-part Original Version from 1739


Rosemary Joshua (soprano), Atsuko Suzuki (soprano), Gerhild Romberger (alto), Kobie van Rensburg (tenor), Simon Pauly (baritone), Thomas Hamberger (bass-baritone), Harald Hoeren (harpsichord) & Christoph Lehmann, Max Hanft (organ)

Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks & Concerto Köln, Peter Dijkstra (director)

Georg Friedrich Händel’s great choral oratorio, “Israel in Egypt” is the most valuable gift the composer ever gave to choral music. The chorus functions as protagonist in this powerful work, which tells the Old Testament story of Exodus with telling dramatic intensity. Two multiple prize-winning, major ensemble, Concerto Köln, the well known period instrument ensemble and the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, joined forces for the first time in November of 2008. The strong individual characteristics of the vocal soloists combine impressively with the chorus and orchestra for a multi-layered interpretation that is concurrently borne by a clear, common musical objective. This recording features the original three-part version from 1739.

Live-recording; Munich, Prinzregententheater, Nov. 2008

Booklet Notes: English, German, French

Libretto: English, German

“Concerto Köln play with muscularity...the Bavarian Radio Chorus does not seem to be very large, although it makes a grand old-fashioned choral society noise...Its English pronunciation is flawless...Dijkstra achieves another worthy entry into a competitive discography” Gramophone Magazine, August 2010

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BR Klassik - 900501

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Hartmann, K: Simplicius Simplicissimus

Hartmann, K: Simplicius Simplicissimus


Camilla Nylund (Simplicius), Christian Gerhaher (Farm Worker/Narrator), Will Hartmann (Hermit/Governor) & Michael Volle (Farmer/Sergeant)

Münchner Rundfunkorchester, Ulf Schirmer

The absolute highlight of Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s centenary year was the concert performance of his opera Des Simplicius Simplicissimus Jugend in Munich’s Prinzregententheater. It was the first performance of the original version, reconstructed by Wilfried Hiller and Robert Klimesch on commission from Bavarian Broadcasting. Besides the Münchner Rundfunkorchester under Ulf Schirmer, the performance had the good fortune of featuring a first-rate quartet of soloists including Christian Gerhaher, Will Hartmann, Camilla Nylund and Michael Volle. With this release, Simplicius Simplicissimus is now available in an exemplary recorded production both editorially and musically. While Hartmann described his work as an “opera” he avoided “stock operatic gestures” in the shaping of his musical language – it seems more likely to have been based on the style of Stravinsky’s L’histoire du soldat. The style of the work is directly related to the historical context of its composition: the original version was composed in 1934 1936 on the suggestion of Hermann Scherchen, who had lived in Swiss exile since 1933. The plot follows the destiny of a person threatened with the loss of himself and his world in the maelstrom of the Thirty Years War. Hartmann confronts this period with harsh refractions, nameless sorrow and biting satire. He dedicated the overture, composed in 1939, to Sergei Prokofiev, whose music embodied the style of the international avant-garde decried by the Nazis. Hartmann’s feelings when he set to work on the revision (1955/56) following World War II would be hard to describe! Incl. Bonus: Bernhard Neuhoff in conversation with Wilfried Hiller and Ulf Schirmer, with sound documents from Karl Amadeus and Elisabeth Hartmann.

“This edition sounds taut and pungent under Ulf Schirmer's baton. Camilla Nylund sings gleamingly as the idealist Simplicius, and there are incisive yet pliable performances from the three excellent male soloists” BBC Music Magazine, June 2010 ****

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Sondheim: Sweeney Todd

Sondheim: Sweeney Todd


Mark Stone (Sweeney Todd), Jane Henschel (Nellie Lovett), Adrian Dwyer (Beadle Bamford), Ronald Samm (Adolfo Pirelli), Pascal Charbonneau (Tobias Ragg), Rebecca Bottone (Joanna), Jonathan Best (Judge Turpin), Diana DiMarzio (Lucy Barker) & Gregg Baker (Anthony)

Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks & Munchner Rundfunkorchester, Ulf Schirmer

The Complete recording of this musical by Stephen Sondheim

Features soloists such as Mark Stone in the title role and Jane Henschel.

Recorded on the occasion of the Müncher Runfunkerorchester’s 60th birthday.

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BR Klassik - 900316

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Tchaikovsky: Pique Dame

Tchaikovsky: Pique Dame

Live-Recording, Munich, Philharmonie, October 2014


Misha Didyk (Herman), Tatiana Serjan (Lisa), Larissa Diadkova (Countess), Alexey Shishlyaev (Tomskij and Plutus), Alexey Markov (Yeletzki)

Kinderchor der Bayerischen Staatsoper & Chor and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Mariss Jansons

In its history as a concert orchestra, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks has also devoted itself on numerous occasions to opera, under such eminent conductors as Rafael Kubelik and Leonard Bernstein. Chief conductor Mariss Jansons also maintains the tradition, for example with concert performances of Russian operas such as "Eugene Onegin". BR-KLASSIK now presents the 2014 live recording in Munich's Philharmonie im Gasteig of the semi-staged performance of Tchaikovsky's late masterpiece "The Queen of Spades". With great connoisseurship, Mariss Jansons has brought together a group of singers for this performance in original Russian who are all native speakers of the language, and very familiar with the work. They include Misha Didyk as Hermann, Tatiana Serjan as Lisa, and Alexey Markov as Prince Yeletsky.

Booklet: in German & English

Libretto: in German, Russian & English

“Didyk’s voice is not intrinsically beautiful, but its throaty, bottled-up sound suits this dark, brooding role well...His encounter with Diadkova’s Countess in her boudoir...chills the blood. Tatiana Serjan has a big, vibrant soprano and offers a Lisa in the grand Russian style. The supporting parts, including Alexey Shishlyaev’s bluff Tomsky, are all brilliantly taken, but this is Jansons’s set: his conducting is edge-of-the-seat stuff.” Sunday Times, 13th September 2015

“Hearing as refined and lustrous an orchestra as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra play Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score is a treat in itself...[Didyk's] confrontation with Larissa Diadkova’s terrific Countess (beautifully paced and detailed by Jansons), is impressive and never topples over into hysteria.” The Guardian, 10th September 2015 ****

“Serjan is a vibrant, fearless Lisa...Hers is a voice with plenty of ‘blade’ when required, yet she can shade it beautifully...[Didyk] surprises with his baritonal depths here as Herman, as well as a ringing top...Diadkova’s Countess happily relies more on secure vocal technique than scary histrionics and Oksana Volkova is a rich-voiced Polina.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2015

GGramophone Awards 2016

Finalist - Opera

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2015

BBC Music Magazine

Christmas Choice

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2016

Opera Finalist

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BR Klassik - 900129

(CD - 3 discs)

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Wagner: Das Rheingold

Wagner: Das Rheingold


Michael Volle (Wotan), Tomasz Konieczny (Alberich), Burkhard Ulrich (Loge), Elisabeth Kulman (Fricka), Herwig Pecoraro (Mime), Peter Rose (Fasolt), Eric Halfvarson (Fafner), Annette Dasch (Freia), Janina Baechle (Erda), Christian van Horn (Donner), Benjamin Bruns (Froh), Mirella Hagen (Woglinde), Stefanie Irányi (Wellgunde), Eva Vogel (Flosshilde)

Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Simon Rattle

The general consensus over the past few years among music critics and the public at large is that everything the conductor Sir Simon Rattle touches "turns to gold". Everything with the exception of the music dramas of Richard Wagner, that is! The oft-repeated assertion here is that Rattle and Wagner do not go together, even though no good reasons have been furnished to support this. The third collaboration between Rattle and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, together with a team of the very best Wagner singers, now conclusively proves the opposite. This concert performance of "Das Rheingold", the first opera in Wagner's mighty tetralogy "The Ring of the Nibelung", was performed live in the Herkulessaal of the Munich Residenz on April 24 and 25, 2015, and has now been brought out by BR KLASSIK on two CDs only a few months after the event.

No question about it: Rattle is a master of the Rheingold score, which is certainly a tricky one due to its closely interwoven ensemble of soloists and to the fact that the orchestra does not accompany events and flow round them in a lofty manner, as in other Wagnerian music dramas, but is also sometimes quite openly rebellious! Rattle has already impressively proven his expertise at handling the music of Wagner on two occasions: in 2004 in London, together with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and in 2006 in Berlin with the Berlin Philharmonic. The fact that he is more inclined to conduct this "evil conversation piece, almost a black comedy" (as Robert Braunmüller described "Das Rheingold" in the Munich "Abendzeitung") with light and sometimes even dance-like inflections, and that he has the orchestra play with a great deal of colour and detail, shakes a little of the supercilious Wagnerian dust from this work, without in any way compromising the glittering brilliance of the musical sound. The soloists – all of them very good without exception - blend in completely with Rattle's fine interpretation, which is very much in the spirit of the drama.

Audiences and critics alike were unanimously delighted by the Munich concert performances. Even more than in the small Herkulessaal, which already enabled more intimate insights into the structures of the score and of the aesthetic created by Rattle, this listening experience on CD makes it clear "just how radically the avant-garde artist Richard Wagner composed in every single bar" (Reinhard J. Brembeck, "Sueddeutsche Zeitung").

“His conducting is fast, as Wagner preferred and intensely dynamic but he avoids Boulez's glibness, illuminating the drama of the moment in a mercurial, almost Solti-like fashion...he seems to have encouraged his singers to act - with a vengeance...for sheer dramatic dash and glowing orchestral sound this is remarkable, promising an exciting Ring to come.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2016 *****

GGramophone Awards 2016

Shortlisted - Opera

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2015

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BR Klassik - 900133

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