This 16-disc set contains what is without a doubt the most distinguished collection of Mahler performances ever to have been assembled in one place. DG has sensibly collected all of Bernstein's Mahler for Polygram labels, including the London "Das Lied von der Erde," and all of the orchestral song cycles: "Song of a Wayfarer," "Kindertotenlieder," "Rückert-Lieder," and "Des Knaben Wunderhorn." All of these recordings have been issued separately to general critical acclaim, and despite a veritable warehouse of new Mahler discs in the '90s, Bernstein's versions by and large still reign supreme.
Claudio Arrau was past his prime when, in the mid-1980s, he offered these final thoughts on the late sonatas, but he was still a sovereign interpreter, with a sense of line and grasp of form few other exponents of this music have possessed in comparable degree. Where an interpreter like Pollini emphasizes the energy in Beethoven’s writing for the piano, Arrau conveys its mass, giving these sonatas a symphonic treatment.
In one sense, it's heartening that Jon Anderson has decided to explore music far outside the confines of Yes on his solo albums - and it would have been even better if the album actually worked. On 1994's Deseo, he delved into Latin music, and he returns to that territory on The More You Know, adding elements of worldbeat and smooth soul to the mix. Coming from Anderson, it's a bit of a surprise, albeit a welcome one, and for a few songs, the entire enterprise sounds quite promising. By the end of the disc, it almost collapses under its own weight, since Anderson relies more on sound than songs. Still, the very fact that he's trying something new is quite exciting, and the handful of songs that work make The More You Know worth a listen from hardcore fans.
This latter period Chumbawamba collection benefits from the inclusion of "Give the Anarchist a Cigarette," "Ugh! Your Ugly Houses" (a sideswipe at the non-taste of the celebrities featured in Hello magazine), "Enough Is Enough" (originally recorded with Brit rappers Credit to the Nation) and the catchy/cloying "Timebomb." Most of the material is taken from Anarchy (1994) and Swingin' With Raymond (1996). "Mouthful of Shit," the highlight of Anarchy, makes a welcome return. 23 tracks is surely enough Chumbawamba for even the hardiest of die-hards, but if you don't have the studio albums, this is the best place to start.
Pimpinone, TWV 21:15, is a comic opera by the German composer Georg Philipp Telemann with a libretto by Johann Philipp Praetorius. Its full title is Die Ungleiche Heirat zwischen Vespetta und Pimpinone oder Das herrsch-süchtige Camer Mägden (The Unequal Marriage Between Vespetta and Pimpinone or The Domineering Chambermaid). The work is described as a Lustiges Zwischenspiel ("comic intermezzo") in three parts. It was first performed at the Theater am Gänsemarkt, Hamburg on 27 September 1725 as light relief between the acts of Telemann's adaptation of Handel's opera seria Tamerlano. Pimpinone was highly successful and pointed the way forward to later intermezzi, particularly Giovanni Battista Pergolesi's La serva padrona.
Warm, lyrical, and aristocratic in his interpretations, Artur Rubinstein performed impressively into extremely old age, and he was a keyboard prodigy almost from the time he could climb onto a piano bench. He came from a mercantile rather than a musical family, but fixated on the piano as soon as he heard it. At age three he impressed Joseph Joachim, and by the age of seven he was playing Mozart, Schubert, and Mendelssohn at a charity concert in his hometown.