Fierrabras is a three-act German opera with spoken dialogue written by the composer Franz Schubert in 1823, to a libretto by Josef Kupelwieser, the general manager of the Theater am Kärntnertor (Vienna's Court Opera Theatre). Along with the earlier Alfonso und Estrella, composed in 1822, it marks Schubert's attempt to compose grand Romantic opera in German, departing from the Singspiel tradition.
A “touching and magnificent reunion” (Der Standard). The public and press enthusiastically celebrated the long-awaited return of Claudio Abbado to the Salzburg Festival in 2012. The conductor brought with him Mozart’s youthful Mass K. 139, the so-called Waisenhausmesse, and Schubert’s late Mass in E flat major. In a fascinating way, Abbado succeeded in merging the singers and instrumentalists into a total collaborative effort: “Seldom has one heard such a perfect balance between choir, orchestra, and vocal soloists; one has also seldom heard such a beautifully coordinated and perfectly balanced vocal ensemble” (Salzburger Nachrichten).
Masters of Classical Music is an informative and captivating guide to twenty of the most important works in music history. Outtakes from the original scores within the documentaries, assist the viewer by making it easier to follow the music and to overall comprehend the structure of the works. The viewer will travel back in time to experience the birth places of these compositions and will thereby gain insight into the lives of the composers whilst receiving a thorough introduction to the works.
Abbado's Verdi recordings are some of the finest available and this Requiem recording is no expection. Abbado takes a less ferocious approach than say Muti, or Barenboim, balancing the dramatic moments effectively against the more introspective aspects of the score. Ricciarelli is in fine form here, singing with a fine sense of line and intense emotional declamation. Her intonation is perfect. Verrett blends seamlessly with Ricciarelli, making the most of their duet and capturing the intense sadness of much of the writing quite well. Domingo, in his first recording of the part, provides a steady stream of golden tone, effortlessly produced. His emotional temperature runs about right here - not overly dramatic - after all, this is not Aida - but strong feelings kept on a tight rein. Ghiaurov is phenomenal. His gigantic bass somehow anchoring the entire quartet and chorus into an imposing yet gorgeous Verdian soundscape. There are many excellent Verdi Requiem recordings - this is surely one of the very best.
Dwarfing even the late Beethoven quartets in sheer length, Schubert's final String Quartet in G major, D. 887, clocks in at nearly an hour of performance time. This ambitious length made it difficult to appreciate in Schubert's Vienna and can even be a test of focus for modern audiences if anything but a superb performance is put forward. Fortunately for listeners of this Onyx album, the Kuss Quartet produces just such a performance. The approach to Schubert offers far more drive, intensity, and grit than the vast majority of recordings available.
While these recordings by the Hungarian Quartet contain perfectly acceptable performances and adequately idiomatic interpretations of Schubert's later chamber music for string quartet and quintet, they contain nothing more than that. In the late '50s and early '60s, the Hungarian Quartet was a widely respected group playing in the central European tradition of plumy intonation, sugary sonorities, sometimes scrappy ensemble, and often sentimental interpretations.
Five years after first conducting the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra in their Venezuelan home, Claudio Abbado continues his commitment to this stunning ensemble in this first joint audiovisual concert recording. Prokofiev's extrovert Scythian Suite is a gift for the boundless energy of these young players, while the intricacy and anguish of Berg's Lulu-Suite are an Abbado speciality, with soprano Anna Prohaska, in her Lucerne Festival debut, singing the heroine's dazzling statement of self-justification. The concert ends with an impassioned account of Tchaikovsky's Pathétique, his final symphony, one of the most moving works in music history.