What a versatile artist Steven Isserlis is. Having made his name as a sympathetic interpreter of a wide variety of romantic and modern music, here he shows he can be just as persuasive in eighteenth-century repertoire. His stylistic awareness is evident in beautiful, elegant phrasing, selective use of vibrato and varied articulation, giving an expressive range that never conflicts with the music’s natural language. In the cello concertos he is helped by an extremely sensitive accompaniment, stressing the chamber musical aspects of Haydn’s pre-London orchestral writing. The soft, intimate sonority at 3'06'' in the first movement of the D major is a typical example. The Adagios are taken at a flowing speed, but Isserlis’s relaxed approach means they never sound hurried. The Allegro molto finale of the C major Concerto, on the other hand, sounds poised rather than the helter-skelter we often hear. In his understanding of the music, Isserlis is a long way ahead of Han-na Chang, whose version places the emphasis on fine, traditional-style cello playing. Mork’s vivacious, imaginative performances characterize the music very strongly, but my preference would be for Isserlis’s and Norrington’s lighter touch and greater refinement.
The Karajan Official Remastered Edition comprises 13 box sets containing official remasterings of the finest recordings the Austrian conductor made for EMI between 1946 and 1984, which are now a jewel of the Warner Classics catalog. This 5-CD box includes Haydn's Die Jahreszeiten, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis and Brahms's German Requiem performed by the Berlin Philharmonic, with renowned vocal soloists such as Walter Berry and José van Dam.
A definitive documentary about legendary conductor Herbert Von Karajan to mark 100 years since his birth. First release in any format! Not just a biographical film, Karajan uncovers the true, personal essence of the unique artist behind the public figure, a portrait of a man who was full of contradictions and remained a mystery until his death.
Joseph Haydn (1723-1809) was one of the greatest musical innovators. His close friend Mozart, and his student Beethoven greatly revered him yet today in concert halls he is often overshadowed in favour of his younger contemporaries. By speaking to the greatest living exponents of Haydn's music, Phil Grabsky's film readdresses the balance and sheds light on the master and his work. It includes performances by some of the world’s most celebrated musicians and orchestras.
"Karajan's direction is exactly as in the studio: majestic, broadly paced without being inert, vast in dynamic range, always considerate to his soloists, unerring in its preparation and clinching of climaxes." ~BBC Music Magazine
Die Jahreszeiten, or The Seasons, is not as well loved as Haydn's other late oratorio, The Creation; here Haydn tried to force pastoral imagery – by 1801 a set of ideas that had been musically rehashed for centuries – into his late and in many respects proto-Romantic musical language.
These are not "classical" performances in the sense of attempting to reproduce the effect of a late eighteenth-century orchestra, but the interpretation has something classical about it all the same — a vigour and a sense of proportion which make me rate this record very highly among the many Karajan has given us … [the] guality of playing and interpretation and recording all combine to make this record … a luxury article. Gramophone (on the Haydn)
The Aeolian Quartet's epic cycle, originally released in the Seventies, was one of the gramophone's major contributions to Haydn's cause. Listening to the performances anew I find they have lost none of their freshness: they were based on the latest research, and the playing itself is always intelligent and thoughtful, with Emanuel Hurwitz's sweet-toned violin-playing a great asset throughout. (Misha Donat)