A true Callas cornucopia, this 70-CD set gathers together everything Maria Callas ever recorded in the studio. That's 26 complete operas (four of which are studio repeats), plus the complete studio recitals made during the legendary soprano's recording career, which lasted from 1949-69. The bonus CD-ROM contains libretti and translations in English, French and German, plus a Callas photo library, while remastered treats include Callas's first recital recording, originally made for the Fonit-Cetra label and featuring arias by Wagner and Bellini. – Barnes & Noble
Two rarely recorded Haydn violin concertos frame Rachel Podger’s performance of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E flat on this disc. Both concertos have only string accompaniment, here provided by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and a discreet harpsichord (the player’s name unaccountably omitted from the list of the orchestra personnel in the accompanying booklet). Rachel Podger has chosen to play both concertos on her own Pesarinius violin (1739) that she feels is most suited to the style of these works and few would disagree with her choice. Her agile and spirited playing in the outer movements is complemented by her pure cantilena in the slow movements. As is to be expected, both works are full of baroque idioms and, while neither presents Haydn at his most inventive, they make an enjoyable pairing.
The contents of the EMI box are too numerous to list but all the sonatas, variations, and most short pieces are here: absent is the London Sketchbook, which is trite juvenalia.
The Mozart Requiem is one of the best-known sacred works in the classical repertoire. It was the composer's last work, and he left it unfinished at his death. British conductor Roger Norrington, a pioneer of authentic performing practice, and an outstanding group of singers present Duncan Druce's version of the Requiem, based on the latest Mozart research, together with other moving choral works.
Joao Maria Pires is nowadays, the supreme female pianist in the sublime art of playing Mozart. Because although she is far from the superior vision of Clara Haskil, for instance, she plays with an artistic conviction that may be noticed from the first bar, her spiritual affinity has joined with an overriding goal to capture with mind and heart the essential nuances of the beloved Salzburg's son. It's not an easy fact she has achieved this envied place. There are superb and majuscule pianist all over the world, but the difference that makes the difference is the quality of sound, between incorporeal and evanescent that remarks the sumptuous lyricism we always find in Mozart.