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
"…The disc’s exceptional, state-of-the-art recording draws you in right close, with Allan’s very special and intimate delivery cocooned by the immaculately judged and empathic contributions of a handful of other musicians (guitar, dobro, accordion, banjo, bowed psaltery, fretless bass). I feel sure that Leaving At Dawn will come to be judged as one of Allan’s finest ever collections." ~folk roots
Izrael-born Sharon Bezaly (who now lives in Sweden) has rightly risen to the top of her field with silky performances like this one which seemed universally rated highly by the music press (Gramophone, ClassicsToday, etc). Her repertoire extends to many Scandanavian composers who have written several flute concertos for her marvelously refined technique (she was a student of Aurele Nicolet). On this recording she plays a 24k instrument custom-made for her by Muramatsu Japan.
If Wishbone Ash can be considered a group who dabbled in the main strains of early-'70s British rock without ever settling on one (were they a prog rock outfit like Yes, a space rock unit like Pink Floyd, a heavy metal ensemble like Led Zeppelin, or just a boogie band like Ten Years After?), the confusion compounded by their relative facelessness and the generic nature of their compositions, Argus, their third album, was the one on which they looked like they finally were going to forge their own unique amalgamation of all those styles into a sound of their own…