The works of Franz Danzi did not achieve especially widespread appeal during his lifetime, nor have they been particularly popular in modern times despite the trend of resurrecting lost or unknown compositions. In addition to being a prolific composer, Danzi was quite active as an educator, though his pedagogical achievements are equally unrecognized. While not all of his compositions are necessarily worthy of a second look, his chamber works are of interest. In particular, his wind chamber music finds the composer hard at work advancing his ideals of wind performance and the advocacy of the "new," modernized versions of wind instruments. This set of three piano quintets (for fortepiano plus winds) is an ideal setting. The fortepiano, played by Christine Schornsheim, is clearly the dominant force throughout the three quintets, the winds are given several opportunities to stand alone. Danzi sought a more equal treatment of the wind instruments, even bringing the bassoon out of its more traditional role as a mere bass accompaniment instrument.
Over the years Ifor James (1931-2004) has played with numerous orchestras and many famous composers have written and dedicated works to him. He was also one of the world’s most successful teachers, having put over 100 people into the profession. On this CD he plays horn sonatas together with Jennifer Partridge. Beethoven’s horn sonata especially stands out from the programme, since it’s the only sonata that Beethoven wrote for a wind instrument.
"…Man spürt in jedem Takt dieser spannenden konzertanten Live-Aufführung, bei der man die angestaubten Dialoge weggelassen hat, die hohe Motivation und den Herzenseinsatz aller Beteiligten, sodass Bernius hier weit über seine archäologische Pflicht hinaus eine „Weltersteinspielung“ von bestechendem interpretatorischen Niveau, also eine echte Modellaufführung, abgeliefert hat." ~audio
Opera lies at the heart of Rimsky-Korsakov’s colourful idiom, but performances are few and far between; this realisation of his penultimate and grandest stage work is a very rare and special experience. Kitezh is known as ‘the Russian Parsifal’, which encapsulates its mystical flavour and steady unfolding of a legend of redemption. A largely Russian cast (headed by the stunning Svetlana Ignatovich) and production team works within a set that moves from opulent naturalistic scenery to some startling theatrical coups worthy of Rimsky’s underrated dramatic instincts.
Recorded Live at Wolf Trap National Park For The Performing Arts, July 25, 2004. The Doobie Brothers Live at Wolf Trap may not be the entire Doobie Brothers story, but it's a really fun and musically brilliant tour through some of the band's best material. One of the great ironies of The Doobie Brothers' history is how the early days were kind of shunted off to the sidelines once Michael McDonald came on board, and so it's nice to revisit some of those storied early hits, especially since there's such camaraderie between Johnston and Simmons especially. This live concert is further aided by some great supporting musicians, and a superior video and audio presentation.