The presence of the young Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the decision by pianist Leif Ove Andsnes to conduct it from the keyboard may lead you to expect a smaller-scale performance than listeners actually get here, in this second album of Andsnes' "Beethoven Journey." Certainly this isn't keyboard-pounding Beethoven. The slow movement of the Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58, has none of the giant-stomping-around quality it often received in golden-age recordings.
Perahia’s immaculate technique, stylistic surety, and classical symmetry are remarkably consistent. While his tone is always singing and rounded, lyrical melodies and decorative passages alike convey a slight diamond-like edge to the peak of crescendos or an emphatic accent. This helps achieve an attractive fusion of unruffled poise and dramatic tension. You hear this quite readily in the B-flat K. 456 concerto ‘s first movement, or in the carefully pedaled trills and restatement of the main theme in K. 595’s heavenly Larghetto, also sampled here. Perahia’s symbiotic musical rapport with Radu Lupu in the two-piano concerto and the two-piano version of the concerto for three pianos should not go unmentioned.– Jed Distler
Musical scholar that he is, Charles Mackerras adopts period performance practice, but opts for modern instruments. The Prague Chamber Orchestra is one of the world's best small ensembles. They play this music with impeccable wit, sophistication, and style. Of course, Mackerras himself studied in Prague–Mozart's musical home away from home–and has long enjoyed an excellent relationship with the city's orchestras and musicians. With swift tempos, employment of a harpsichord accompaniment, and all the repeats taken in each work, these finely honed interpretations offer a uniquely consistent view of Mozart's symphonic achievement. Telarc's superb sound allows the music to fall very gratefully on the ear.–Dave Hurwitz
Renowned, American born violinist & conductor, Yehudi Menuhin was a vegetarian and committed supporter of many social and environmental causes, with a great interest in Yoga and eastern religion. He was considered one of the greatest violinist of all time and this EMI recording of "Violin Voncertos by Vivaldi" is an excellent introduction to his work Performed by the Polish Chamber Orchestra.
Bent Sorensen’s piano concerto Mignon- part of his Papillons trilogy- reveals textural beauty and melodic elegance in a language both modernist and sweetly nostalgic. The piece was written for Katrine Gislinge, one of the most significant pianists in Scandinavia, and on this premiere recording she is accompanied by Lapland Chamber Orchestra, conducted by John Storgards. A former student of Per Norgard, Bent Sorensen (b. 1958) is one of the most internationally performed Danish composers. His works have been performed at Carnegie Hall, the BBC Proms, and other notable venues across the world by ensembles like the London Sinfonietta, Ensemble InterContemporain, SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, and more. Sorensen is a highly decorated composer, winning the Nordic Council Music Prize in 1996, the ‘International Award’ at British Composer Awards 2011, and was composer-in-residence at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2011 and Trondheim Chamber Music Festival 2016. Of his previous album, Gramophone wrote: “…all-round excellence and a disc that’s unusually moving in one sitting.”
Brilliant's breezy survey of Rossini's one-act operas is assembled from five different recordings originally released on the Claves label in the early '90s. All were well received in their original form, and since all five were conducted by the veteran Marcello Viotti in similar-enough-for-non-audiophile acoustics, they make a convincing box set, and an attractive buy for those looking for a lighthearted Rossini infusion. The packaging is minimal, and the included libretti are in Italian only, so if you're counting on a translation you'll have to find it somewhere else. Viotti's work is exemplary and idiomatic throughout, always putting Rossini's most tuneful and lighthearted foot forward, while never forgetting that every good comedy has real moments of pathos. The overtures all seem a bit under tempo, and could use an extra shot of fun, but they are still upbeat enough to elicit a smile. The casts are uniformly excellent, mostly populated with journeyman Rossinians with fresh, if not always head turning, voices and good character. But each opera has at least one higher profile name, whose charisma adds just enough spice to the mix to elevate the entire collection above the competition: Ramón Vargas, Maria Bayo, and the accomplished buffo Bruno Pratico are exceptionally good.(Allen Schrott)