Rachmaninov's First Sonata (in D. minor, Op.28) in its powerful impact and vivid embodiment of grandiose philosophical concepts ranks equal with such gems of world piano music as B minor Sonatas by Chopin and Liszt.from the LP cover
ECM New Series is better known for its documentation of contemporary works, but the music of the past sometimes receives coverage when artists bring a new perspective to it. The Diabelli Variations, Op. 120; the Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111; and the Six Bagatelles, Op. 126, are among the most original and intellectually stimulating works Ludwig van Beethoven composed for the piano, and the sophisticated interpretations of András Schiff are especially worthwhile for their insights into authentic performance practice and reception. Here, Schiff gives the listener options between a relatively modern sounding version of the Diabelli Variations and a period interpretation, without favoring one or the other.
In presenting a new recording of one of the world's most popular symphonies, the Fifth Symphony of Beethoven, it is fitting that it should be conducted by a musician internationally acclaimed as one of the foremost Beethoven interpreters of our day, Josef Krips. All the dynamism of the music and its performance has been faithfully preserved through the magic of Everest sound.
Bruckner’s majestic Symphony No. 8 overflows with lavish themes and rich sonorities, representing the composer at his grandest, whilst the Symphony’s occasional title ‘Apocalyptic’ alludes to an underlying tone of solemnity. This strong and idiomatic reading comes from a live-to-air BBC recording dating from October 1981. This is very early days in the Orchestra’s long association with Tennstedt. In true Tennstedt fashion, the sheer beauty of the sound and opulence of the textures are awe-inspiring in this triumphant interpretation. Recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall, London, on 29 October 1981.
… boldly carved, formidable in articulation, bright in tone, inspired in sensibility… [Serkin's] profundity makes him a paragon among pianists of the mid-20th century.(The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians)
The excellence of these two famous performances hasn't diminished a bit over time. George Szell's Beethoven Fifth exists in three versions: this one; another with the Cleveland Orchestra on Sony; and (finest of all) one with the Vienna Philharmonic live from the Salzburg Festival on Orfeo. Talk about an embarrassment of riches! It's really pointless to dwell on minute variations in interpretation or playing: all three recordings represent a surpassingly high level of achievement, from the taught opening and generously "con moto" Andante, right through the grim scherzo to the explosive finale. It's simply great Beethoven….
For his project of recording the complete symphonies of Anton Bruckner on CPO, Mario Venzago has chosen to record each symphony with a different orchestra to re-create the sounds that Bruckner would have heard. Considering that Bruckner's experiences with orchestras spanned three decades, he would have witnessed growth of the orchestra's size and the introduction of new instruments, which clearly influenced his decisions when he composed and revised each work. Venzago performs the Symphony No. 8 in C minor with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, following the 1890 version and employing the same instrumentation and ensemble scale, as well as traditional practices that are documented in performances from that period. The result is an Eighth that sounds strikingly different from the other symphonies, quite far removed from the early Romantic orchestra he used in the First, and considerably expanded from the ensembles he would have expected for the Fourth or even the Seventh symphonies.
…It is fascinating to hear the work played on Bruckner’s own instrument and it works surprisingly well. Some of Rogg’s tempi are as quick as I have heard, particularly the adagio, but they make sense in this context.