Penguin Guide Rosette Winners

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

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Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture & Capriccio Italian

Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture & Capriccio Italian


Beethoven:

Wellington's Victory, Op. 91 (Battle Symphony)

London Symphony Orchestra

Tchaikovsky:

1812 Overture, Op. 49

Capriccio italien, Op. 45


spoken commentary by Deems Taylor

Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra & University of Minnesota Brass Band, Antal Dorati

Cannon and musket fire directed by Gerard C. Stowe

Recorded - 1955-60

“it sounds even more spectacular than it did in its vinyl format, vividly catching Beethoven's musical picture of armies clashing.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

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Decca - Originals - 4758508

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Emil Gilels - Beethoven Sonatas

Emil Gilels - Beethoven Sonatas


Beethoven:

Piano Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 2 No. 2

Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2 No. 3

Piano Sonata No. 4 in E flat major, Op. 7

Piano Sonata No. 5 in C minor, Op. 10 No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 6 in F major, Op. 10 No. 2

Piano Sonata No. 7 in D major, Op. 10 No. 3

Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 'Pathétique'

Piano Sonata No. 11 in B flat major, Op. 22

Piano Sonata No. 12 in A flat major, Op. 26 'March Funebre'

Piano Sonata No. 13 in E flat major, Op. 27 No. 1 'Quasi una fantasia'

Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2 ‘Moonlight'

Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale'

Piano Sonata No. 16 in G major, Op. 31 No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31 No. 2 'Tempest'

Piano Sonata No. 18 in E flat major, Op. 31 No. 3 'The Hunt'

Piano Sonata No. 19 in G minor, Op. 49 No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 20 in G major, Op. 49 No. 2

Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 'Waldstein'

Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 'Appassionata'

Piano Sonata No. 25 in G major, Op. 79

Piano Sonata No. 26 in E flat major, Op. 81a 'Les Adieux'

Piano Sonata No. 27 in E minor, Op. 90

Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101

Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat major, Op. 106 'Hammerklavier'

Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109

Piano Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, Op. 110

Piano Sonatas WoO 47 'Kurfürsten Sonatas' Nos. 1 & 2

Eroica Variations, Op. 35


Emil Gilels (piano)

“One can listen to Gilels’s Beethoven for hours on end without wishing a single passage to be differently phrased or moulded.” (Sunday Times)

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - April 2007

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DG - 4776360

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Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92

Live Recording 3 May 1982


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Orfeo - Orfeo d'Or - Bayerische Staatsoper live - C700051B

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Claudio Arrau & Otto Klemperer

Claudio Arrau & Otto Klemperer


Beethoven:

Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37

Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer

Piano Sonata No. 24 in F sharp major, Op. 78

Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58

Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer

Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 'Emperor'

Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer

Piano Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, Op. 110


Recorded 1957, mono

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Testament - SBT21351

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Beethoven - Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7

Beethoven - Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7


Beethoven:

Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67

Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92


“In Carlos Kleiber's hands the first movement of the Fifth is electrifying, yet still has a underlying hushed intensity...In the Seventh the symphonic argument never yields to the charm of the dance. Incisively dramatic, his approach relies on sharp rhythmic contrasts and thrustful rhythms.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

Presto Greatest Recordings

1970s

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DG - E4716302

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Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61, etc.

Beethoven:

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61

Mozart:

Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K219 'Turkish'


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DG Originals - 4474032

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Beethoven - Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7

Beethoven - Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7


Beethoven:

Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67

Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92


“The recording of the Fifth, always very fine, comes up superbly in this transfer.
What, though, of the Seventh, an equally distinguished performance though always perceptibly greyer-sounding on LP, and on CD? The result is a performance of genius that now speaks to us freely and openly for the first time. In some ways this is a more important document than the famous Fifth.
Great recordings of the Seventh, greatly played and conducted, but with first and second violins divided left and right, are as rare as gold dust. Freshly refurbished, this Kleiber Seventh would go right to the top of any short list of recommendable Sevenths. It's wonderful to have these two legendary performances so expertly restored.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Mercurial, thrilling accounts of two warhorses from the unique Carlos Kleiber” Gramophone Magazine, 1000th issue (James Jolly)

“an essential recommendation for any collection. These are performances which seem to present a Beethoven 'for the ages', a distillation of a long interpretative tradition, without concern for historical accuracy in text or performance practice. The sense of something monumental is enhanced by the imposing Vienna Musikverein acoustic.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2012

“In Carlos Kleiber's hands the first movement of the Fifth is electrifying, yet still has an underlying hushed intensity...In the Seventh the symphonic argument never yields to the charm of the dance. Incisively dramatic, his approach relies on sharp rhythmic contrasts and thrustful rhythms.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

“Carlos Kleiber's recordings of the Fifth and Seventh symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic are surely at the top of most people's lists of legendary Beethoven recordings. The Fifth has an irresistible drive and sense of drama, not least in the famous first movement, and a stately, noble feel to the last movement. For me, though, it's all about the Seventh: Kleiber brings an unmatched vigour, with a breathtaking account of the last movement, aided in no small measure by some boisterous horns.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

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1970s

GGramophone Magazine

100 Greatest Recordings

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Building a Library

First Choice - January 2016

Building a Library

First Choice - October 1999

Building a Library

First Choice - October 2007

DG Originals - 4474002

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Harp Concertos

Harp Concertos


anon.:

Theme, Variations and Rondo pastorale

Beethoven:

Variations (6) in F major on a Swiss Song, WoO 64

Boieldieu:

Concerto for Harp and Orchestra in C

Dittersdorf:

Harp Concerto in A major

Handel:

Sixteen Concertos for Organ and Strings

Theme and Variations in G minor


“The ASMF accompaniment, so stylish and beautifully balanced, is a treat in itself, and the recording is well-nigh perfect.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

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Decca - 4257232

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Beethoven - Symphony No. 4

Beethoven - Symphony No. 4


Beethoven:

Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60

Strauss, R:

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

Leon Spierer (solo violin)


The concert which Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic gave in London’s Royal Festival Hall on the evening of Saturday 27 April 1985 was their first in England for four years. In May 1981 they had played Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony in the Royal Festival Hall and given an unforgettable concert of music by Bach, Mozart and Richard Strauss in Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre. London had not been included in the orchestra’s itinerary in its centenary year in 1982 and for much of 1983-84 Karajan and the orchestra had barely been on speaking terms. Since the centenary year had been something of a high water mark in this hitherto sensationally successful 27-year partnership, the breakdown in relations came as something of a shock to the musical world. There were times in 1984 when it looked as if the two parties would go their separate ways; finally, a reconciliation was effected in the late summer of that year ahead of a scheduled tour of Japan and South Korea. The Krach was ostensibly over the appointment of a new clarinettist but there were other factors too, not least Karajan’s advancing years and stirrings among a contingent of mainly younger players keen to assert their independence and exploit the financial strength which the orchestra’s sky-high reputation now conferred on them. Throughout his life, Karajan had been noted for his extraordinary mental and physical prowess. Now in his mid-70s, he was troubled by a painful and ultimately irreversible spinal condition that had nearly cost him his life in the winter of 1975-76. He had soldiered on but even his energies were finite. In April 1985, he had invited Klaus Tennstedt to share the conducting burden at the Salzburg Easter Festival. ‘It was good to have Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic, happily reunited after a prolonged disagreement, pay their first visit to the Festival Hall – an event said to have caused prices of black market tickets to reach astronomical heights,’ wrote Peter Stadlen in the Daily Telegraph. The audience was clearly shocked to see how frail Karajan had become as he edged towards the rostrum. (He himself likened his experience of walking unaided in his later years to stepping on sheet ice.) The Times reported a slight stumble in the advance, at which point ‘the applause hiccupped in a breathless unison’. Yet once settled on the podium, Karajan was, as ever, fully in control, master of all he surveyed. Extract from the booklet note © Richard Osborne, 2008

“For anyone lucky enough to have secured a ticket few orchestral concerts have remained so vividly in the memory as the one given by Karajan's incomparable Berlin Philharmonic in London's Royal Festival Hall on April 27, 1985.
The surprises began with the conductor's own physical frailty. Edging unsteadily towards the rostrum and propping himself up against the railing, he adopted the peculiar posture that enabled him to remain upright and in command notwithstanding a debilitating spinal condition.
In truth the Beethoven was and is a gift to his many detractors. With the maestro unwilling or unable to lift his arms, the band turns in its patented imitation of a gramophone record. Surfaces are immaculate but it's like being trapped in a pudding without air in the texture. Phrases, even whole sections glide by with no intake of breath and the first two movements in particular may induce feelings of claustrophobia in younger listeners. They should persevere.
No superlatives can convey the inevitability, conviction and sweep of Karajan's Heldenleben which makes even this notoriously shrill-sounding venue resound in glory. The original BBC sound team of producer Misha Donat and balance engineer John McCulloch capture a paradoxical sonority, rich yet transparent, 'lambent in its beauty, never cloying or opaque' as described by Richard Osborne in his characteristically generous booklet-notes. The battle scene may be slow but was it ever more incisively chronicled? The Strauss at least is indispensable.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Karajan's Beethoven Fourth was recorded when the Berlin Philharmonic came to London in 1985. Its excellent speaks for itself and the coupling is equally memorable.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

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Up to 40% off Testament

Testament - SBT1430

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Beethoven - Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 3

Beethoven - Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 3


Beethoven:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15

Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37


'For me Beethoven is like a god. I worship him, and I admire his music. It always produces very deep emotions in me when I'm conducting it or playing it on the piano.' (Mikhail Pletnev)

“…there were times when I genuinely wondered if even five stars wasn't insulting to playing of such glorious playful penetration. …the next minute Pletnev does something that makes you howl with disbelief.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2007 ***

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Presto CD

DG - 4776415

(Presto CD)

$16.25

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