Two rarely recorded Haydn violin concertos frame Rachel Podger’s performance of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E flat on this disc. Both concertos have only string accompaniment, here provided by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and a discreet harpsichord (the player’s name unaccountably omitted from the list of the orchestra personnel in the accompanying booklet). Rachel Podger has chosen to play both concertos on her own Pesarinius violin (1739) that she feels is most suited to the style of these works and few would disagree with her choice. Her agile and spirited playing in the outer movements is complemented by her pure cantilena in the slow movements. As is to be expected, both works are full of baroque idioms and, while neither presents Haydn at his most inventive, they make an enjoyable pairing.
Happy birthday, Franz Liszt! The Beethoven Orchestra Bonn under its conductor Stefan Blunier and the pianist Claudius Tanski present orchestral works and piano music by this Austro-Hungarian great, including the overture to Goethe’s Torquato Tasso and the Totentanz of 1849, on the occasion of the two hundredth anniversary of his birth. A finely nuanced extra comes in the form of an orchestration of La lugubre gondola by John Adams.
…I already indicated the excellent qualities of the soloists especially Franziska Hirzel and Birgit Remmert who sing with that important ethereal intensity. Kofman conducts with the ideal tonic and lets the music move along quite magically. The SACD sound comes out trumps on my Sony SACD-11 player and I really have nothing but an unqualified recommendation for this beautiful set.
…The vivid MDG recording is slightly distanced, so the volume needs to be increased considerably for its fine qualities to become evident. Balances between voices and orchestra are excellent, and for those listening in multi-channel the surround speakers have been used to great effect for the off-stage brass, distant bells and chorus in the Act 3 cataclysmic immolation of Irrelohe castle. There is no applause or audience noise but the movement of singers on the stage is clearly defined with very few extraneous sounds being captured by the microphones. This is the latest addition to the Schrecker discography and will be welcomed by all admirers of the composer and can be confidently recommended.
"…Outstanding. I cannot recommend this disc highly enough." "…This is a remarkable recording which reveals Chopin in a new light." ~SA-CD.net
"Even though Stefan Blunier's 2011 recording of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 8 in C minor is a lot to digest, timed at over 88 minutes and stretched almost to the breaking point, this is a deeply compelling performance and an impressive recording that deserves all the time listeners devote to it. (…) MDG's natural, unprocessed sound is a great aid to capturing the orchestra's subtle dynamics, and the live recording has very few extraneous sounds. Highly recommended." ~AMG
"The first thing to say about this splendid new CD from MDG is that the sound quality is quite simply stunning. My usual prerequisite for any recording is to feel that I am in the same room as the performers. This present disc makes me think I am sitting amongst the trio. Every detail, every nuance, of these three intricate works is crystal clear. That is before I consider the stunning playing by the Ensemble Blumina. (…) This is a recording to treasure." ~musicweb-international
"This SACD is an essential purchase for Bruckner aficionados, as not only does it contain an eloquent performance of Bruckner’s early D minor Symphony WAB 100 (Nullte) in superb sound, but also some other rare orchestral music by the same composer. (…) Strongly recommended." 5/5 ~SA-CD.net
…This is another winner for MDG in the sound department. There is a palpable sense of “place”, of being somewhere specific, conveyed by the 2+2+2 sound; it is suitably reverberant but not overwhelming. The piano is realistically distant (no under-the-lid clarity here), and its bass register is rich and strong. But the cornet/trumpet is the star of the show, and Mr. Bauer’s golden tone blooms beautifully in the ample recorded space, wherever that is. A superbly planned and executed recital in perfect sound. What more could you want?