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Mozart - Symphonies Nos. 32, 35, 36, 38 & 39
Sir Charles Mackerras’s performances of Mozart’s Symphonies with the Prague Chamber Orchestra were considered to be benchmark recordings when they first appeared. This specially priced 2-CD set includes five of the late symphonies, Nos. 32, 35 “Haffner”, 36 “Linz”, 38 “Prague”, and 39.
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Mozart - Symphonies
ABBADO 2008 is a celebration of Claudio Abbado's 75th birthday in June, and a cornucopia of six releases is planned to mark the occasion. These include two new Mozart recordings; a new version of his landmark Beethoven symphony cycle plus a new collection of Beethoven concertos; a DVD of Abbado in Concert; as well as a new CD compilation, for which Abbado himself made the selections. Two Times Mozart – Symphonies and Violin Concertos. The two new recordings are both Mozart themed. They feature the Orchestra Mozart, a handpicked group of players founded in Bologna in 2004, with Abbado as their artistic director – and with Giuliano Carmignola as concert-master. Both recordings bear witness to Abbado’s continuing love of Mozart. Abbado has prepared the orchestra by touring throughout Italy – gathering acclaim for their performances, not only for their Mozart, but also Bach (Brandenburg Concertos) and other composers. The energy and freshness found in the performances of the Violin Concertos is also evident in the recordings of five Mozart symphonies, including the "Haffner", the "Prague" and the "Jupiter". Consider these as Abbado’s “home recordings” of the five symphonies – recorded live from concerts in Bologna, Bolzano, Modena and Ferrara between 2004 and 2006 – giving them an extraordinary, raw energy, with the impact of drama and lyricism at the forefront. The recordings of Symphonies nos. 33 and 38 (Prague) are new to Abbado’s discography.
“Throughout these symphonies, recorded "live" with his young, hand-picked orchestra, articulation is crisp and pointed, vibrato abstemiously applied. Mozart's intricate contrapuntal textures in the first movement of the Prague and the finale of the Jupiter have rarely sounded so lucid. There is no denying the finesse of Abbado's phrasing and his care for inner detail. The flowing tempos for the andantes are ideally chosen. Too often, though, I hear coolness, a touch of over-calculation, in Abbado's conducting. Some of the detached, period-style bowing can sound finicky. The outer movements of the Jupiter and the stupendous first movement of the Prague have nothing like the incandescence of Charles Mackerras's recent Scottish Chamber Orchestra recordings (Linn).” The Telegraph, 26th July 2008
“The booklet quotes Abbado saying, “The study of phrasing in Mozart is endless.” Yes indeed, and the fruits are borne out in the conductor's live performances of five selected symphonies with his bouncy, young Orchestra Mozart. The Haffner first movement is especially thrilling and the pianissimos in No 29 would charm a mouse. Effects in No 33 seem more heavy-handed, but the set’s major drawback is the sound: constricted in tuttis, lacking air.” The Times, 25th July 2008 ***
“Mozart emerges here as a vital elixir: using the period-instrument orchestra he founded to perform music of the classical era, Abbado brings a time-honoured Mozartian tradition, learnt from the pianists Friedrich Gulda and Rudolf Serkin, to bear on these much-recorded works. The prestos of the Haffner and “Prague” positively tingle with excitement; the great finale of the Jupiter reveals Mozart’s complex counterpoint with unerring clarity. Textures are bright and clear, the balance between wind and strings is ideal and the sublime melodies of the slow movements are “sung” with an Italianate cantilena Mozart would surely have revelled in. A classic set.” Sunday Times, 10th August 2008 *****
“This is some of the best Mozart conducting you will ever hear. These performances are above all triumphs of experience, innate musicality and understanding, meticulous yet clear thinking, and… the art of listening.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2008
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Mozart Essential Symphonies Vol. IV
Recorded live at the Europäisches Musikfest Stuttgart 2006
(also available to download from $11.50)
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Nadia Boulanger - Mademoiselle
A film by Bruno Monsaingeon
It is difficult for us nowadays to imagine the prestige that Nadia Boulanger enjoyed. In the wake of Aaron Copland in the early 1920s, it seems as if the whole of musical America travelled to Paris to benefit from “Mademoiselle’s” advice. Her world was made of rigour and intransigence, but it was also a world in which, once all matters of musical technique had been mastered, she could abandon herself to the mystery of inspiration. If she was imperious and strict – towards herself as much as to others – she also radiated tenderness, humour and the joy of making music. Nadia Boulanger did not like to take others into her confidence. In the case of my film, I was not in any case interested in questions of a biographical nature. Rather, I wanted viewers to sense for themselves the force and flavour of a woman who had exerted a considerable influence on the musical life of the 20th century as it drew to an end. These, then, are the framework and the limits of this film (which is not free from the faults of a first opus), but also no doubt the reason why she gave it her approval. (Bruno Monsaingeon)
Format: Black & White, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of Discs: 1
DVD Release Date: November 20, 2007
Run Time: 79 minutes
Recorded Paris, 1967
“…Boulanger was Bruno Monsaingeon's first documentary. It captures Boulanger as she approached ninety, a living legend, and showing few signs of age. Although filled-in a little by the booklet, the lack not just of biography, but also context is frustrating, but that does not prevent this being a thoroughly absorbing film.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2008 ****
“Nadia Boulanger has to be counted among the most influential teachers of the 20th century” Andrew McGregor” CD Review
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