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.
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.
In 2010 Yevgeny Sudbin released the first instalment in a cycle of Beethoven's piano concertos. Featuring the Fourth and the Fifth concerto the disc received top marks on web sites such as ClassicsToday.com and klassik-heute.de and was selected CD of the Week in Daily Telegraph and Editor's Choice in Gramophone, whose reviewer wrote 'The mother-of-pearl sheen of [Sudbin's] pianism is backed by a special underlying sensitivity…Delectably light-fingered brilliance and virtuosity shines a new light on some of the most familiar scores in the repertoire…'
At long last, Bel Air Classiques has released a DVD of the Jun 2004, Theatre des Champs-Elysees (Paris), Rene Jacobs/Concerto Koln performances of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. Those productions along with the ones in Oct 2001 were a treat to attend and having a DVD of the 2004 event is a dream come true… By rhun10
Michael Collins combines the roles of clarinet soloist and conductor as he leads the Swedish Chamber Orchestra in three works that chart the journey of the clarinet from Mozart’s late eighteenth-century Europe, via Aaron Copland’s 1940s America, to today’s classical scene with a piece written, for Michael Collins, in 2007 by the Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin.
This 2 CD compilation has a number of the greatest adagios Mozart composed, performed by some of the greatest conductors and musicians in the world. Mozart was such a prolific composer of incredibly beautiful music in his short 35 years that one can easily imagine a second 2 CD set of his adagios in this series. The quality of the performances and the sound quality of the recordings on both CDs are outstanding.