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.
"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
"…Outstanding. I cannot recommend this disc highly enough." "…This is a remarkable recording which reveals Chopin in a new light." ~SA-CD.net
"…Janowski's pacing and preparation of the orchestra is masterly. Reacting with sensitivity to the score, the tender & reflective scenes are given space to breathe without taxing the singers into strained tone. (…) The more one hears, the more one appreciates the vocal acting as well as the superlative orchestral contribution (make no mistake, there are at least 3 world class orchestras resident in Berlin today). This listener (at least) is eagerly awaiting the next installment of the Ring." ~sa-cd.net
"This is the 6th instalment of PentaTone’s successful Wagner Edition. It is the first time in the recording history that a label records all major Wagner opera’s with the same orchestra, choir and conductor. This makes the PentaTone Wagner Edition a great collector’s item. All operas are recorded live in the Philharmonie in Berlin. The first five recordings were awarded with “Editor’s Choice” (Gramophone), Recording of the Month and Opera Choice of the Month (BBC Music Magazine), CD of the week (Sunday Times). Based on the reviews of the concert we expect high scores for the Tannhäuser recording as well." ~prestoclassical
"PentaTone have definitely established a winning formula for success with the ten Wagner operas they are currently recording in association with Deutschlandradio Kultur in Berlin. (…) The presentation of this set is excellent. Thankfully, it includes a well translated German/ English libretto (unlike the travesty supplied with the Bychkov version), a thought provoking essay on the opera by Steffen Georgi and full artist biographies. Though my own allegiance to the Bychkov version among recent recordings remains steadfast this Janowski account is unlikely to disappoint. It will surely be welcomed by avid Wagnerites and makes one eager for the next issue in what is proving to be a superlative series." ~sa-cd.net
"…Within a great session at an scottish artist location sang Christian Willisohn very impulsive and played a very concisely piano. Expressive join in sax, guitar, bass and drums into a very dynamic and balanced sound characteristics…" ~sa-cd.net
"…This dramatic and involving 'Parsifal' raises Marek Janowski's epic Wagnerian journey to a new level of excellence that one hopes will be maintained in the performances and recordings yet to come - an exciting prospect for all Wagnerites!" ~sa-cd.net