This recording of the Shostakovich Symphony No. 8 with the Concertgebouw Orchestra is one of the best perfromances on CD.
Composer: Gustav Mahler
Performer: Elly Ameling, Aafje Heynis, Maureen Forrester, Ileana Cotrubas, Hermann Prey, Marianne Dieleman, Birgit Finnilä, Heather Harper, Hanneke van Bork, William Cochran, Hans Sotin
Conductor: Bernard Haitink
Orchestra/Ensemble: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Chorus, St. Willibrod Boy's Choir, Netherlands Radio Women's Chorus, Stern des Volks, Amsterdam Toonkunst Chorus, Collegium Musicum Amstelodamense, St. Pius X Children's Choir, St. Willibrod Children's Chorus
"Bernard Haitink: The Symphony Edition" is one of two recent box sets from Decca, marking Haitink's eighty-fifth birthday in 2014. Together with Haitink: The Philips Years this set offers a broad, tantalizing overview of the great Dutch conductor's compelling artistry, and makes a near-perfect introduction to one of the truly magnificent recorded legacies of our time. Haitink will be 85 on 4 March 2014, and this set presents his six complete symphonic cycles by cornerstone classical composers: Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, Schumann and Tchaikovsky.
The name of Eduard van Beinum may too often be overlooked among the music directors of Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, in between the longer and more internationally renowned tenures of Willem Mengelberg and Bernard Haitink, but this is a wrong that Eloquence has put right with the reissue of the greater portion of Van Beinum’s recorded work with the orchestra on both Decca and Philips. The conductor has been revealed anew as an interpreter of lucidly phrased fidelity to the score and uncommon sensitivity. The present issue brings repertoire especially close to Van Beinum’s heart. He was a master Schubertian, who needed to be taught no lessons by the nascent period-instrument movement on nurturing a hop, skip and jump in the composer’s effervescent orchestral textures or coaxing a sweetly flowing lyricism from their sunny complexions.
Bernard Haitink conducts the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Brahms’s great orchestral works, including the complete symphonies. The concertos feature three great soloists: pianist Claudio Arrau, violinist Henryk Szeryng, and cellist Janos Starker. "No one, I trust, will deny that Arrau has lived with, wrestled with, and in a truly terribly way ’known’ the D minor Concerto for more years than most of us can consciously recall. Where contemporary pianists have often tended to refine or domesticate the concerto, withdrawing it from the world of heroic endeavour, Arrau has always done the reverse. No pianist, apart possibly from Serkin in his several recordings, has communicated so formidably the work’s scope: its seriousness and its anxious, tragic mood. Often Arrau makes free with the text. But the vision is huge, the technique astonishing. Haitink is a worthy accompanist."
Mariss Jansons’s international reputation as a Mahler conductor is indisputable. During his tenure as chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Jansons did not record a full cycle of Mahler symphonies. With this new 2016 recording that project is now nearing completion. Mahler himself led the Concertgebouw Orchestra in the Dutch premiere of the Seventh in October 1909. How must the audience in the Main Hall have reacted to this whimsical work with its night-time atmosphere and eerie sounds? Although this vast symphony, featuring a number of unconventional instruments like the mandolin and guitar, did not catch on right away, it would slowly but surely win the hearts of music lovers everywhere.