Granted, there are better individual performances of the various symphonies from conductors as diverse as Eugen Jochum, Leonard Bernstein, Trevor Pinnock, and Thomas Fey; but when all is said and done this remains the finest complete set of Haydn symphonies yet recorded, and its basic musicality only seems to grow more impressive over time.
2014 Limited Edition deluxe individually numbered 50 CD boxes et with all of conductor Zinman's Zurich recordings. Includes the complete Beethoven Symphonies, concertos & overtures, complete Mozart Violin Concertos played by Pamela Frank, plus complete cycles of Brahms, Mahler, Schubert, Schumann & Richard Strauss.
My first reaction was to wonder whether we had not passed saturation-point for recordings of Mahler's Fifth Symphony. Over a dozen are currently available, of which any one of those mentioned above should satisfy the needs of even an insatiable Mahlerian. All are performances on insight, executed in majestic style, and several are available on CD. Now comes Sinopoli to add to the pile. Remembering colleagues' reviews of his London performances of Mahler, I put this recording on the turntable with misgivings. But I have to report that I now gladly make room for this remarkable performance alongside my other favourites. It does not displace them, but it complements them.
Part of the art of conducting seems to me to lie in the ability to make the listener attend afresh to familiar music, to reveal new or different facets. This is what Sinopoli does here, and whatever may go on in the concert hall (I have not heard him there), in the recording studio, judging by this release, the most certainly does not miss or misjudge the spirit of the music.
John Storgårds and the BBC Philharmonic here present a complete set of Nielsen’s symphonies, following on from the successful release a year ago of Sibelius’ complete symphonies. The two sets together celebrate the 150th anniversary this year of the birth of both composers. Several concerts devoted to Nielsen’s symphonies, played by the same forces, coincide with this release: on BBC 3 in February, at the Nielsen and Sibelius festival in Stockholm in April, during a week of celebrations at the Bridgewater Hall in June, etc.
The Beethoven set includes the first two piano concertos (No. 1 in two versions, one with cadenzas supplied by Glenn Gould) together with Beethoven’s only completed opera in its final version: Fidelio. He always had a strong and fervent view of freedom and its resonance still rings true today nearly two hundred years since its first performance.