The most brilliant of Belgian composer César Franck's compositions were written during the final decade of his life; the Symphonic Variations for piano and orchestra, the famous Violin Sonata, the D major String Quartet, and, perhaps most important, the Symphony in D minor are all the products of a single, remarkable five-year period. The Symphony, by no means an immediate success with critics or audiences, has nevertheless become so fused with the popular image of César Franck that it is nearly impossible to think of him without also thinking of this 40-minute orchestral juggernaut.
Even before he was famous, he was already a legend among piano aficionados. Not until he won a 1985 Gramophone award for a Liszt album did Jorge Bolet, then already 70, graduate from insider tip to household name. Now Sony Classical releases on 10 CDs of all those fabled, yet heretofore only sporadically accessible, recordings that the great Cuban-American pianist made for RCA, CBS and Spain’s Ensayo Records between 1959 and 1983. This first ever complete Sony collection also includes many tracks for the first time on CD, including Bolet’s debut on RCA, a Liszt programme from 1959. Many CDs have been remastered from the original analogue tapes for this release, packaged, as always, with original covers, labels and full discographical notes.
Classical music captures the spirit of romance like no other music and this charming collection of perennial favorites includes music from the most romantic of composers - Chopin, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Puccini and many more. The set is themed for every romantic mood, with the first two discs devoted to the stirring passion of orchestral music, the second two to the intimacy of solo piano music, and the last two to the wide-ranging emotions of opera. Includes music from three works written for the greatest love story ever told, Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet, with music from Tchaikovskys overture, Prokofievs ballet and the main theme from the soundtrack to Franco Zeffirellis film, by Nino Rota. Recordings from some of the world s greatest artists including Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, Sir Georg Solti, Herbert von Karajan, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Radu Lupu, Nigel Kennedy and Bryn Terfel.
With the stresses and strains of modern life to contend with, many turn to classical music for solace and this varied collection of over seven and a half hours of relaxing favorites is the perfect antidote to the pressures of modern life. The set is themed and starts with two CDs of choral music, many of which are vocal arrangements of familiar favorites. These are followed by CDs devoted respectfully to flute and harp, the classical guitar, piano and orchestral music. Those who enjoyed the 101 Adagios set will find much to enjoy here, and can be reassured that any duplication is kept to an absolute minimum and where it does occur, is in strikingly different arrangements. The artists at the helm of this relaxing journey include the choirs of King s College Cambridge and the New College Oxford, flautist William Bennett and harpist Marisa Robles, Pepe Romero, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Herbert von Karajan and Sir Georg Solti.
This is the sixth recording by the Doric String Quartet for Chandos Records, and the discography is going from strength to strength. The disc of Schumann’s String Quartets, Op. 41 was ‘Recording of the Month’ simultaneously in BBC Music and Gramophone, and nominated for a Gramophone Award in the Chamber Music category in 2012.