Volume 2 of EMI's comprehensive Herbert von Karajan centenary edition gathers virtually all of the conductor's operatic and vocal output for the label in one place, taking up 71 CDs (Disc 72 contains complete librettos in the form of PDF files). I use the word "virtually" because the package omits four posthumously issued archival items taped live during the 1957-60 Salzburg Festivals (Beethoven's Missa solemnis, Brahms' German Requiem, Bruckner's Te Deum, and Verdi's Requiem). Otherwise, it's all here.
The word "simulacra" comes from the Latin, "simulare," and refers to simulations: forgeries, copies, or imitations that stand in for actual realities. The French thinker Jean Baudrillard cited maps as good examples of simulacra - artificial renderings of the real world whose relation to the landscape is merely symbolic. It comes as no surprise then that Keith Berry’s new album of the same name is itself a fake mapping of a fictional world. There are tracks titled Spektr Forest, Kristall Ridge, Kolrox Beach, and Mont Lux, along with imagined bodies of water like Praxis Gulf, Perma Bay, and Kritikon Sea - tracks whose post-linguistic names invoke a bizarre nostalgia for some artificial, hyperreal future…
This recording of Beethoven Trios follows the Van Baerle Trio’s album dedicated to Mendelssohn’s piano trios, and their debut CD, which featured works by Saint-Sa ns, Loevendie and Ravel, received an Edison Award in 2013.
This Scriabin set is one of the finer offerings in Universal's Trio series. Vladimir Ashkenazy's crisp phrasing and lean orchestral sonorities contrast markedly with the lush appointments of Riccardo Muti's cycle, which relies heavily on the voluptuous sound of the Philadelphia Orchestra to make its effect. In this regard Muti scores over Ashkenazy in the First symphony, where the Russian conductor's crisp, no-nonsense approach sounds comparatively restrained (especially the highly emotive second movement). But the tables turn in Symphony No. 2. Here Ashkenazy's clarity and focus give much needed shape and rhythmic definition to this music, which tends to meander in Muti's hands. The finale is a perfect example: muscle with Ashkenazy; mush with Muti.