Recorded at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in June 2004, le Nozze de Figaro was unanimously acclaimed by public and critics alike as a Mozart opera landmark. Director Jean-Louis Martinoty brings an elegantly intelligent narrative sense to an interpretation in which the protagonists, against a backdrop of magnificent canvases of 18th- century inspiration, are dressed by Sylvie de Segonzac in a palette in which every shade is perfect.
An Italian chamber orchestra, Rondó Veneziano set itself apart from many groups of similar style by not only employing mostly women musicians and making it a rule to perform in period Baroque dress, but mainly because they were able to meld traditional chamber music pieces to modern backing tracks, rhythms, and percussion lines, almost giving their classical sound a club music foundation that sometimes bordered on prog rock. Their first big break came in the United Kingdom in 1983, with the single "La Serenissima," which was followed two years later by a successful appearance providing the score to the film Not Quite Jerusalem…
This groundbreaking performance seems as if it is happening in real time. At its best, and seemingly counter-intuitively, opera is at its most effective when we don’t notice that the characters are singing: such is the case here. If you know this opera, then the third of the men’s trios in scene 1 (“Una bella serenata”) will seem very fast; hearing it with fresh ears, Jacobs’ breakneck tempo seems utterly natural—these guys have been worked up into a fun/competitive frenzy and can’t wait to get started on what they think will be a grand adventure. Similarly, the little quintet before the men depart (“Di scrivermi…”) is so slow that you feel the melodrama; if they are going to play, they are going to play thoroughly, making each word and situation count.
Involving, as it does, three master musicians and a fine chamber orchestra this was never likely to be be other than rewarding. It may not correspond with the ways of playing Mozart at the beginning of the twenty-first century which are fashionable at the beginning of the twenty-first century, but it has virtues – such as high intelligence, sympathy, certainty of purpose, grace, alertness of interplay – which transcend questions of performance practice. Looking at the names of the pianists above, we might be surprised by the presence of Sir Georg Solti, so used are we to thinking of him as a conductor. But the young Solti appeared in public as a pianist from the age of twelve and went on to study piano in Budapest, with Dohnányi and Bartok.
First recorded collaboration between one of the leading sopranos of our time, Juliane Banse, and the incomparable pianist András Schiff. The programme is a fascinating combination of two different worlds of 'Liedgesang' - in language as well as musical style and historicity.
Johannes Chrystostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart (1756–1791) was arguably the most gifted musician in the history of classical music. His inspiration is often described as 'divine', but he worked assiduously, not only to become the great composer he was, but also a conductor, virtuoso pianist, organist and violinist. Mozart's music embraces opera, symphony, concerto, chamber, choral, instrumental and vocal music, revealing an astonishing number of imperishable masterpieces.
Guiomar Novaes' life story has been the stuff of legend in the classical world for decades and this CD is clear evidence why none other than Claude Debussy himself helped single her out for greatness as a teenage prodigy. Recorded when she was in her 50's, she's absolutely stupendous, pulling off difficult passage after passage with fabulous effortlessness, her trademark. But forget the 'feminine piano' tag that has been given to her at times, this CD shows she can bring on the 'thunder and lightning' whenever necessary. Thanks to Vox Box Legends for this magnificent digitally mastered 2 CD set, the wonderful sound, and very detailed, extensive liner notes that put most other liner notes to shame.