From the notes: Claudio Arrau [1903-1991] has perhaps the widest performing repertoire of any pianist in history, but four composers were central to it: Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin and Schumann. These composers he played in concerts and recordings all his life, reaching ever greater depths in interpretation as the years went by."… "Arrau's interpretations of Schumann and Chopin stress the darker, more complex and dramatic sides of the composers' personalities." Notes by Peter Warwick
Mendelssohn (1809-1847) is a perennially underrated composer who finally may be coming to greater appreciation. Certainly this fine recording (in English) of a masterpiece that he believed joined the Jewish faith of his fathers with his own Protestant Christianity should not hurt his reputation. The superb Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel gives a dramatically charged performance in the title role, while soprano Renee Fleming sings with beauty and limpid understanding; the cast is almost uniformly strong. The Edinburgh Festival Chorus, directed by David Jones, sings with care and conviction, and Paul Daniel conducts his forces firmly. –Sarah Bryan Miller.
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)