It is coming up to five years since Sarah Chang, then in her early teens, made her brilliant and moving concerto recording debut in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto on EMI (12/93). Her concerto recordings for the label since then have been of brilliant showpiece works like the Lalo Symphonie espagnole (5/96) and the Paganini First Concerto (1/95) rather than of the central repertory. It is good here to have her remarkable artistry revealed again at full stretch in astonishingly mature interpretations of the Mendelssohn and Sibelius concertos.
This is an auspicious beginning to what one hopes will be a series of recordings of French opera made with the forces of the Bastille under Chung. Without doubt this is the most subtly and expertly conducted performance of this work to appear on CD, excellent as others have been in this respect, and also the best played and sung. Chung's achievement is to have welded the elements of pagan ruthlessness, erotic stimulation and Wagnerian harmony that comprise Saint-Saens's masterpiece into a convincing whole.
Myung-Whun Chung is one of the leading conductors of his generation. Also a prize-winning pianist, he is particularly noted for his interpretations of the music of French composer Olivier Messiaen. There has rarely been as talented a group of siblings as Myung-Whun and his two older sisters, cellist Myung-Wha Chung (born 1944) and violinist Kyung-Wha Chung (born 1948). Myung-Whun made his performing debut as a pianist in Seoul at the age of 7. At 8, he flew to Seattle, WA, to begin his American musical studies.
Assembled to mark the centenary of Henri Dutilleux (1916-2013), this collection of recordings, produced over a period of nearly 60 years, is unrivalled in its scope. Equally remarkable is its array of performers; among them are such dedicatees of the composer’s works as Mstislav Rostropovich, Renée Fleming, Seiji Ozawa and Paul Sacher. Quintessentially French, Dutilleux captured the imagination of audiences around the world with his iridescent, yet formally coherent scores, which engender narratives filled with memories and mystery.
This eleven CD box set from Korean violinist Kyung-Wha Chung combines her complete Warner Recordings produced in the period 1978/2000. Just to be clear: these are her recordings on EMI and not those released on Decca. Kyung-Wha Chung is an outstanding artist deserving of her elevated ranking in the pantheon of violinists and this set is a confident reminder of why she is so highly placed.
Acoustic MTV is a live album by Gilberto Gil, released in 1994 as part of the MTV Acoustic series. Between the tracks are old compositions of the musician and novelties. For being one of the first in the series, produced by MTV Brazil, did not have on the cover, the logo of the broadcaster or the symbol of 'Acoustic MTV', since it followed the pattern of the North American series of 'MTV Unplugged'. Where he brought only the artist in question, in the classic image, stool and guitar, with the other musicians in the background, reading only 'Gilberto Gil Unplugged'.
“Now I know there is a God in heaven!”, exclaimed Albert Einstein when he heard the young Yehudi Menuhin play the violin. Not only was Menuhin an extraordinary musician, he lived through – and helped to shape – a momentous period in history. The Warner Classics catalog contains 70 years’ worth of his recordings and this 3-CD collection, Yehudi: The Art of Menuhin, provides a fascinating perspective on his achievements: Menuhin was a man of ideals who changed the world through music.
This key title is being reissued at a special price as part of the celebration of Rostropovich - "Cellist of the Century". Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich was born in Baku, USSR on March 27, 1927. His first name means "avenged glory"; he is familiarly known by the root of the name, "Slava," which means "glory." His father, Leopold, was an excellent cellist, and after 1931, a teacher at the Gnesin Institute, Moscow after attending the Moscow Conservatory. Slava's mother was an accomplished pianist. The family moved to Moscow in 1931; Slava had already begun cello studies with his father and continued them there. His first public appearance was at eight years of age. In 1939, he entered the Central Music School, studying there until 1941.
Weighing in at 15 CDs, The Studio Albums 1969-1983 is a hefty box set but, at $85, it is relatively affordable considering that it contains everything Alice Cooper – both the band and the man – recorded at Straight and Warner. Whatever bonus material attached to CD reissues over the years has been stripped away – nothing from the 2001 deluxe edition of Billion Dollar Babies, then – and there are no new remasters of the albums, but this set isn't bare bones. The mini-LP replicas contain a few inserts carried over from the vinyl and, more importantly, those early Straight Records are present, which is good because they were out of print for a while. Not everything here is great – he did have a rough patch in the late '70s and early '80s – but it's all interesting, and it's especially nice to be able to get the entire catalog so easily and cheaply.