The intent of this set is pretty clear from the titles of each of the six discs: Meditations; Orchestral Fireworks; Invitation to the Dance; Nocturne; Pomp & Circumstance; Grand Opera. This is mood or 'theme' music designed to provide either a background or a sequence of 'tasters' initiating the person who comes fresh to classical music with a sampling from the 'great and the good'. True the 'great and the good' are all from the core repertoire; not even a scintilla of Janacek, Nielsen, Adams, Reich which is a shame.
This long-deleted Essential Classics reissue (available again courtesy of Arkivmusic.com’s on-demand reprint program) comprises the first CD remastering of two separate Bach piano releases. One disc features Rosalyn Tureck’s Bach Album, an early-1981 digital production made up mostly of short pieces, plus the Aria and Variations in Italian Style. The close-up yet warm sonics capture the full measure of Tureck’s technical specificity, subtle use of color, and micromanaged dynamics. Notice her absolute linear control in the F minor suite’s Prelude (first sound clip), or how her seemingly over-detached articulations (the seventh Italian variation) always maintain a lilting presence.
Five discs - five conductors - four orchestras - nine composers - 28 works: Decca's collection Ultimate Baroque is as one might imagine a mixed bag. The best of the set is I Musici's sweet and fresh 1996 recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, with Mariana Sirbu as the lighter-than-air and younger-than-springtime soloist and Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields' stately yet sprightly 1971 recording of Bach's four Suites for orchestra, and Raymond Leppard and the English Chamber Orchestra's robust and rambunctious 1970 and 1972 recordings of Handel's Water Music suites and Music for the Royal Fireworks.
Being that J.S. Bach is arguably the most influential classical composer in history, it's fair to say that his most crucial works ought to form the foundation of every classical-music collection. This 5-CD set (especially at that price) is the place to start, as it brings together Bach's Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1-6; Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor; Violin Concerto No. 2 in E; Concerto for 2 Violins, Strings and Continuo in D Minor; Goldberg Variations (Andras Schiff); Tocatta and Fuge in D Minor; Suite No. 3 in D: Air on the G String/Fugue in G Minor "The Little"; Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C; Concerto for Violin, Oboe and Strings in D Minor , and more!
Released in 1974, this 2-LP set devoted to the 6 Brandenburg Concertos supplanted the old Erato reference by Kurt Redel – the stereophonic version of 1962. It remains precious testimony to the art of Jean-François Paillard, a musician who assuredly deserves to be re-evaluated, like Louis Auriacombe, who had, with the Toulouse Chamber Orchestra, made magnificent recordings devoted to 18th-century music for Le Club Français du Disque. With their intimate chamber tone, these Bach recordings celebrated the 20th anniversary of Erato (founded in 1953) and also remain an example of the achievement of a performing aesthetic that has now become marginal.
The long-awaited first collaboration between two icons, Count Basie and Frank Sinatra, did something unique for the reputations of both. For Basie, the Sinatra connection inaugurated a period in the '60s where his band was more popular and better-known than it ever was, even in the big-band era. For Sinatra, Basie meant liberation, producing perhaps the loosest, rhythmically free singing of his career. Propelled by the irresistible drums of Sonny Payne, Sinatra careens up to and around the tunes, reacting jauntily to the beat and encouraging Payne to swing even harder, which was exactly the way to interact with the Basie rhythm machine – using his exquisite timing flawlessly.
This 6CD set contains 100 tracks of popular organ music from the catalogues of EMI Classics and Virgin Classics performed by some of the world’s finest organists on a wide variety of instruments from all over the UK and Continental Europe.
“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.