On one end of the continuum, there is Dvorák's Concerto in B minor for cello and orchestra, a composition that is among the composer's best known and has become a cornerstone of the instrument's repertoire. On the other end, the Piano Concerto in G minor, a work that had difficulty garnering acceptance even during the composer's lifetime and is still looked upon with less favor than other concertos written in the same period.
Rafael Kubelik was one of our foremost interpreters of Dvorak and other great Czech composers such as Smetana and Janacek. His critically acclaimed 1960's Dvorak symphony Deutsche Grammophon cycle was reissued several years ago as a budget-priced collection.
Filmed and directed by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle in the unique interiors of Vicenza's Teatro Olimpico in 1986, this DVD offers an intimate glimpse of Mozart's first major opera, written when the precocious composer was just fourteen. Nikolaus Harnoncourt leads a stellar cast in portraying the inner circle of the Roman Empire's fiercest enemy: Mithridates, king of Pontus.
Nikolaus Harnoncourt created an interpretation in which Haydn’s work can become a veritable gem of opera literature. Renowned actor and director Tobias Moretti relates the story as a light-footed, magical fairy tale infused with slapstick, witty details and fantasy costumes.
This delightful "dramma eroicomico" ("heroic-comic drama"–-a made-up phrase brimming with irony) tells the story of the noble knight Orlando, who goes mad being torn between duty and love, his love, Angelica, who actually wants Medoro, and Alcina, an evil sorceress out to get Orlando, and turns it into a type of farce, with great results. There is some lovely music, mostly for Angelica and Medoro, but most of it is fun and light, with characters whistling, trying to impress people with how well they sing, etc. The scoring wittily underlines their foibles… –Robert Levine
This performance of the piano concerto is cherishable. It was not a work I knew when I bought this record but I fell in love with it quickly. It is by no means a second rank work - it belongs next to the wonderful Schumann piano concerto. At least that must be the conclusion of anyone listening to this magical performance.
Harnoncourt has already shown himself to be quite the Dvorak interpreter in other recordings, but this one may trump them all. With the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in blazing form, these performances show why these pieces are often used as encores.