This is a fine Testament release taken from the archives of Netherlands Radio and enshrines some magnificent Barbirolli performances in somewhat opaque sound. The Satie Gymnopedie's have a delicate and loving sound that reveal Sir John's deep and intrinsic love for the miniaturistic charm of these enchanting pieces. Britten's 'Sinfonia da Requiem' was another Barbirolli speciality and this is one of many recordings available. However it is intriguing to observe the special attention and alertness that the Concertgebouw players impart to the music that takes on an added grandeur. However it is the Dvořák Seventh that is the real highlight of the disc as it is a version to die for! Sir John handles the music with real imagery and heart-on-sleeve emotion that almost rivals Kertész and Sejna, my other preferred versions in this landmark work.
Fans of Leonard Bernstein will not want to miss the chance to snap up this limited edition 60-CD set, Bernstein Symphony Edition. With a list price of just over two dollars per disc, it's a bargain not to be missed. What's most impressive about these recordings of well over 100 symphonies made between 1953 and 1976, almost all of which feature the New York Philharmonic, is the scope and depth of Bernstein's repertoire. The complete symphonic works of many of the great symphonists are here, including Beethoven, Schumann …
A new Dvorák symphony and concerto cycle from the multi-Gramophone-Award-winning conductor and the great Prague-based orchestra. It marks a triumphant return to the orchestra where he trained, the world leading and multi-Gramophone Award-winning maestro Jirí Bìlohlávek records Decca’s first Dvorák cycle since the 1960s. This complete symphonies and concertos set is a pinnacle of brilliant music-making, and the first major cycle to be recorded in high-definition 24bit 96kHz and Mastered for iTunes sound.
The conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky was never a predictable artist on disc and his hottest performances could easily power the national grid. Such is the intensity of at least two Shostakovich performances that turn up in Brilliant Classics’s Gennady Rozhdestvensky Edition. I cannot recall ever hearing a more confrontational account of the Ninth Symphony than the one Rozhdestvensky gave with the USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra on December 21, 1982, the work’s cheerful, rather sardonic “not-a-ninth-symphony” spirit suddenly pushed to the edges of irony and at times sounding positively sadistic, the first and last movements in particular. A very extreme case of “what he really meant”, whether or not you agree.
Two glorious Czech masterpieces are presented on this 2014 release from Alpha, performed on period instruments by the exceptional Anima Eterna Brugge, directed by Jos van Immerseel. Considering that Antonín Dvorák's Symphony No. 9 in E minor, "From the New World" was completed in 1893, and Leos Janácek's Sinfonietta dates from 1926, and the period instruments movement mostly has been concerned with Baroque and Classical era works, original instrumentation might strike some listeners as odd. Yet performances in the late 19th and early 20th centuries called for instruments that differ substantially in construction and tone quality from modern models, and the variety of timbres was much greater with handmade instruments than the homogenized sounds of today's mass-produced woodwinds and brass.
"…65 exhilarating minutes!" ~Bayrischer Rundfunk
George Szell's Dvorák performances feature his customary blend of razor sharp orchestral discipline allied to a wholly idiomatic, singing line. - David Hurwitz