Classical and jazz pianist and composer, Friedrich Gulda was one of Austria's premiere pianists. Born in Vienna in 1930, Gulda started piano lessons at the age of seven. When he was 12, he enrolled in the Vienna Music Academy, and four years later received first place in the Geneva International Music Festival. In 1949, Gulda toured Europe and South America, earning international acclaim for his treatments of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, and the following year he successfully debuted at Carnegie Hall.
The work of another relatively new antiquarian group, the Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin, is altogether more interesting. Performing with no set director and alternating concertmasters, the academy applies fuller instrumentation to the suites and takes a compleatist approach to repeats(Harmonia Mundi).
Johann Mattheson gained lasting renown as a music writer with his two main works Die musikalische Ehrenpforte and Der vollkommene Kapellmeister, with the latter representing a foundational writing on cultural politics, musical aesthetics, and compositional practice in the first half of the eighteenth century. Mattheson was also himself a composer and experienced his most productive phase in this capacity during his years as cathedral music director at the Hamburg Cathedral (1715-28). He wrote twenty-four oratorios and other works for the cathedral music until increasing deafness forced him to resign from his post. That Mattheson is not at all known as a composer certainly has to do with the fact that a considerable portion of his compositional oeuvre was regarded as lost until 1998, when some works were rediscovered in a war evacuation depot in Erivan (Yerevan), Armenia. These works include Der liebreiche und geduldige David (The Loving and Patient David) of 1723, one of Mattheson’s last oratorios. It reveals him to us as a dramatically well-versed, highly imaginative musician who more than deserves his personal renaissance. cpo vows to take up his cause!
Marcus Creed amply proves in this recording of the Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne and the Dixit Dominus that he has what it takes to conduct George Frederick Handel. He's got the big beat down, plus the muscular rhythms, vigorous tempos, and vivid textures, as well as the tight ensembles and the unstoppable drive so essential in making Handel come alive. And that's just in the fast choral movements. In the solos and duets, Creed creates poised, alert, and wholly sympathetic accompaniments that help shape the singers' performances as part of the total work. And what singers! Both sopranos are superlative, especially Sophie Kussmann, and countertenor Andreas Scholl is, as always, strong, yet supple and sensitive. With the expert period instrument skills of the Akademie für Alte Musik, Berlin, and the agile but robust singing of the Vocalconsort Berlin, Creed has delivered one of the great Handel discs.(James Leonard)
I heard many great performances of Mozart's Piano Sonatas including: Uchida, Arrau, Wurtz, Eschenbach, Horowitz, and Kempff to name few. But Gulda's tone and interpretation is exceptionally unique, he plays Mozart with full involvement, dedication, passion and inspiration I've never heard from any other player. Those tapes shed the light on a great artist at his most intimate moment of work, as those tapes were supposed to be personal and not intended for public, and hence the sound quality is not top notch but it's worth it considering the legendary performance.