The Japanese company, BMG Japan, sorted the original RCA RED SEAL CDs according to the composers and the year when the music pieces were created. BEST100 series are the best representative CDs, which were carefully chosen from those music pieces by acting and recording, and they were released again with the mark of RCA BEST100. These CDs are the most impressive records in the classical field at RCA’s best. Theoretically, we could find the single originals of those CDs, but BMG Japan reorganised excellently for everyone. During BMG Japan period, it was released for the first time in 1999 and for the second time in 2008 after SONY took over BMG. BEST100 series belong to the latter.
RCA Red Seal is a classical music label and is now part of Sony Masterworks. The Red Seal label was begun in 1902 by the Gramophone Company in the United Kingdom and was quickly adopted by its United States affiliate, the Victor Talking Machine Company, and its president, Eldridge R. Johnson. Distinctive, red paper information labels affixed to the centre of the two affiliated companies' black shellac discs inspired the name. Led by the work of the great tenor Enrico Caruso, Victor's Red Seal Records changed the perception of recorded music.
As recommendable an album as anyone could wish, Carlos Kleiber's performances with the Vienna Philharmonic of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, and the Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92, are classics that should always be within reach, and this disc should be passed along to friends as the single best pairing of these two pieces. Other performances of these symphonies are absolutely essential to know, and recordings by many great conductors and orchestras certainly compete with this Deutsche Grammophon album for listeners' affections.
Actually, there is a considerable amount of available versions in the market. But just a few possess the radiant sense of expression of Beethovenian pathos. Many connoted interpreters mistakenly play Beethoven just remarking the Romantic mood, without going deep inside the score, and overlooking the fact the genius simply cannot be labeled.
The East German-born Stephan Genz, still in his mid-twenties, brings an engaging voice and glowing dramatic sense to this desirable Beethoven collection. Some of the ballad-like songs undoubtedly suit his rich, warm, darkish timbres especially well (‘Klage’ – ‘Lament’, or the mournful ‘Vom Tode’); yet he relishes, too, the lively patter of ‘Neue Liebe, neues Leben’, which, with Vignoles’s lively accompaniment, takes instant flight. The phrasing is nicely sustained, though Genz’s rather self-conscious, earnest delivery can be fractionally unsteady (chiefly in the descent to cadences, a slight overweighting of second syllables, the arching up towards higher notes, and scattered patches of chromatic detail). Goethe’s ‘Es war einmal ein König’ and Gellert’s ‘Busslied’ both hint at the wider emotional range to which this young singer can aspire. His contrast between the end of Goethe’s poignantly pleading ‘Wonne der Wehmut’ and the lightly alert ‘Sehnsucht’ could not be more charming. True, one senses those gloomier timbres might be lightened to advantage (an exquisitely floated ‘May-Song’ cheerfully counters his unusually doom-laden launch to the An die ferne Geliebte cycle). Yet if the disc sometimes suggests a promising artist still just emerging, there is much here that is elegantly persuasive.
With no slight intended to the other great recordings of the Missa Solemnis in the world, there's this one and then there are all the rest. Truly. Even with the 1940 Toscanini and the 1974 Böhm, this 1965 recording of Otto Klemperer and the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus embodies everything that's great about the Missa Solemnis.