It's an intimate, home-studio recording of love songs – deep, almost painfully heartfelt – and so good it will be sure to top most best-of lists. There's no tricksiness, just the woody thump of Haden's bass adding authority to Jarrett's tender, faithful chording. "For All We Know" is a Desert Island Discs cert; "Body & Soul" is done almost jauntily; the closing "Don't Ever Leave Me" a bitter sweet miracle. If you buy only one album this year, etc. ~Phil Johnson in The Independent, 2 May 2010
Major documents from Rudolf Kempe's later years at the head of the Munich Philharmonic. Beethoven's Fifth, that masterpiece of emotional tension, and his Sixth, all vivid depiction of nature, are both readings of maturity and perfection.
…I already indicated the excellent qualities of the soloists especially Franziska Hirzel and Birgit Remmert who sing with that important ethereal intensity. Kofman conducts with the ideal tonic and lets the music move along quite magically. The SACD sound comes out trumps on my Sony SACD-11 player and I really have nothing but an unqualified recommendation for this beautiful set.
The Beethoven set includes the first two piano concertos (No. 1 in two versions, one with cadenzas supplied by Glenn Gould) together with Beethoven’s only completed opera in its final version: Fidelio. He always had a strong and fervent view of freedom and its resonance still rings true today nearly two hundred years since its first performance.
Firma Melodiya presents a unique boxed set with recordings of Beethoven’s symphonies 1 to 8 conducted by Rudolf Barshai. One of the most prominent representatives of domestic music performing art of the 20th century, Rudolf Barshai was a man of amazingly versatile talents. His character combined obsession of a seeker and explorer of new sides to performance with an aspiration for his own creative way avoiding a bitten path.
Every man's death diminishes us all, but the death of a man so close to completing his greatest achievement and the summation of his life's work diminishes us all greatly – very, very greatly. When Emil Gilels died in 1985, he had completed recordings of most but not all of Beethoven's piano sonatas, released here in a nine-disc set. What's here is unimaginably good: superlative recordings of 27 of the 32 canonical sonatas, including the "Pathétique," "Moonlight," "Waldstein," "Appassionata," "Les Adieux," and the majestic "Hammerklavier," plus the two early "Electoral" Sonatas and the mighty Eroica Variations. What's missing is unimaginably priceless: five of the canonical sonatas, including the first and – horror vacui – the last. But still, for what there is, we must be grateful. Beyond all argument one of the great pianists of the twentieth century, Gilels the Soviet super virtuoso had slowly mellowed and ripened over his long career, and when he began recording the sonatas in 1972, his interpretations had matured and deepened while his superlative technique remained gloriously intact straight through to the last recordings of his final year.
"Even though Stefan Blunier's 2011 recording of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 8 in C minor is a lot to digest, timed at over 88 minutes and stretched almost to the breaking point, this is a deeply compelling performance and an impressive recording that deserves all the time listeners devote to it. (…) MDG's natural, unprocessed sound is a great aid to capturing the orchestra's subtle dynamics, and the live recording has very few extraneous sounds. Highly recommended." ~AMG