A rewarding release… As to the Mandarin, first impressions suggest a gloved fist on Ozawa's part and a general softening of attack since [his earlier DG recording from] 1975… Ozawa is strong on sensuality - those all-pervading glissandos, the seduction games and the languidly teasing sequences that lead to the chase… As to the Concerto for Orchestra…the Bostonians' Bartókian pedigree - it was, after all, Koussevitzky who commissioned the work — guarantees a certain élan and refinement… Ozawa is best where the going gets frantic (his finale is terrific, especially at the outset, and he plays Bartok's more concise original ending)… Ozawa's virtues are intelligence, alertness and a fine ear for detail… (Gramophone [8/1995] reviewing the Bartók recordings, originally released as Philips 442783)
Finally, Mendelssohn's string quartets are hitting the big time. Over the past decade, there have been more and, for the most part, better recordings of his quartets that at any time in history. Think of the Alban Berg Quartet's brilliantly bracing recording or the Quatuor Mosaïques' fervently soulful recording. Of course, there have also been some fairly mediocre recordings – think of the Emerson's recklessly energetic recording – and merely passable recordings – think of the Henschel's hastily enthusiastic recording.
Italy's retro bike race is a cycling classic. Running on gravel roads with 80's bikes, woolen jerseys and fueled by rich Italian food and wine, the glorious L'Eroica race captures the golden era of cycling. The film follows cycling greats of the past, and some of the younger enthusiasts for an excellent view of the magical land and race.
Two sketches covering episodes from the World War II. In the first novel, "Scherzo alla polacca", a shrewd son, trying to preserve his skin, ultimately becomes a hero and finds a reason for fighting. He initially tries to avoid underground training to avoid the Warsaw uprising. His drunkenness, disregard for safety and cowardice when sober stated with humorous effect come out as something sane in the world gone mad.
"…Like the previous releases in this series, BIS's sound is excellent. All I can say are the usually adjectives of praise. Since I received this disc a month and a half ago I've probably listened to the Eroica Variations nearly 20 times – like the previous releases, it's Beethoven played to perfection." (sa-cd.net)
…A treasureable and revelatory disc of the alpha and omega of Schumann's symphonies; I can hardly wait for the other pair.