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Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 35 - 41
“What the performances tell us, warm and genial, with bold contrasts of dynamic and well-sprung rhythms, is that for the players as well as the conductor this was a voyage of discovery, and their enthusiasm never wanes.” Gramophone Magazine, May 1997
Hummel: Mozart’s Symphonies
Uwe Grodd (flute), Friedemann Eichhorn (violin), Martin Rummel (cello) & Roland Krüger (piano)
Hummel stands as the last in the great Viennese line which embraced Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. He lived and studied with Mozart in his youth and, despite a career which saw him triumph as a conductor, composer and virtuoso pianist, Hummel never lost his reverence for his celebrated teacher. Intensified through changes in dynamics and the addition of extra accents, these stunningly effective arrangements preserve the integrity of Mozart’s masterpieces while demonstrating a heartfelt appreciation and understanding of the greatest symphonies of his “immortal master”.
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Mozart: Name Symphonies
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Otto Klemperer conducts Mozart, Schumann and Rameau
Recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall, London, October 1968
Although Otto Klemperer was approaching his 80s and not always in the best of health, the years 1967/68 were a period of great activity for him. The interpreter and creator who had been so at home with the radicalism of late 1920s-early 1930s Berlin picked up on the energy and youth of the age in 1960s London both to make and to work with new friends and colleagues.
With Pierre Boulez he attended and debated contemporary music concerts... . With Daniel Barenboim Klemperer debated Mahler 7, engaged in friendly banter about his own compositions and agreed ... to record with him the Beethoven Piano Concertos and Mozart No.25. He even did some work with Jacqueline du Pré on a test recording of Strauss’s Don Quixote. On his visit to Bayreuth he met Anja Silja and was charmed by her personality and the unsentimental nature of her performance as Elisabeth in Tannhäuser.
While Klemperer’s interest in cutting-edge contemporary music remained lively... his own performing and recording repertoire remained of an earlier vintage... . His Mahler now expanded to take in Symphonies Nos.7 and 9... . The Mozart operas and late symphonies that had once been so important to him... would now be performed, and recorded, in London as well... .
The London newspaper critics in October 1968 talked about this performance of Schumann Two as the rediscovery of a long lost work... . At first Peter Stadlen was perplexed: ‘it still comes as a surprise that Otto Klemperer’s tidily analytical mind will enter a happy symbiosis with Romantic music’. Mosco Carner (The Times) worried about Schumann’s mental health at the time of the score’s composition: because he was having ‘dark days’ (the composer’s own euphemism) surely the symphony couldn’t be good? ‘With Schumann’s difficulty in thinking in strict symphonic terms and his often clunky management of orchestral mechanics, the work would seem to merit its neglect’. Yet, eventually, Carner’s heart won out over his head. ‘Genius must out.
For all its faults each of its four movements contains moments of the sheerest beauty and the Adagio is a pure gem – typical Schumann in its introspection and Versponnenheit (‘airiness’) and demonstrating the puzzling fact of being like most of his slow movements, most imaginatively scored’.
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The Great Conductors: Joseph Keilberth, Vol. 2
Karel Sejna: Great Czech Conductors
Rarely mentioned in the same breath as his illustrious colleagues Talich, Kubelík and Ančerl, Karel Šejna (1896-1982) was perennially second-in-command, yet despite failing to receive the credit he deserves he too played a crucial role in shaping the history of the Czech Philharmonic. Initially solo double-bass of the orchestra, he began conducting upon Václav Talich’s request and in 1939 was officially named its second conductor. And he also remained deputy after the departure of Talich, who was replaced by Rafael Kubelík, as well as after Kubelík’s emigration, when Karel Ančerl was appointed (originally against the orchestra members’ will) to the vacant post of chief conductor. Consequently, still playing “second fiddle”, Šejna went on to conduct dozens of concerts and make numerous recordings, which today rank among the finest in the Supraphon archives. Period critics branded him a flexible and vivid conductor who always required an understanding of the style and consistently worked with detail. In 1972, Šejna rounded off a half-century of work for the Czech Philharmonic with Mahler’s Symphony No. 4. Šejna’s sensitively remastered recordings from 1950-1962, from the bracing Mozart played “with a light hand” to Mahler’s fourth, are now released by Supraphon for the first time on CD.
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