Archive for Nonesuch

Mahler

Posted in Classical music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2010 by Craig Zeichner

Today is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Gustav Mahler. The Resurrection Symphony was the first Mahler I ever heard. I remember seeing it listed in FM Guide magazine for broadcast on New York’s WNCN at the ungodly hour of 1AM back in 1974. That was when the Music Through the Night With Fleetwood program was on, a bit of a problem since it was a school night, but I actually set my alarm clock and put my headphones on to hear Bruno Walter lead the New York Philharmonic. I was hooked. I saved my lunch money to buy the recording – back in those days I would eat a 75 cent pretzel and save the rest of my lunch money to buy records—and two weeks later I had a double LP Odyssey recording of the Walter performance. God bless all the budget labels that I was able to buy back then, they were my musical education. Odyssey, Seraphim, Nonesuch, Turnabout, Vox, London Stereo Treasury, RCA Victor were my lifeblood. There was no Naxos back then and these labels, unlike Naxos, were the golden age recordings of an earlier generation.

I bought the Mahler and 36 years later have never looked back. Mahler has been one of those composers who always nails me right between the eyes. Sentimental, acerbic, neurotic and schmaltzy, Mahler connects with me.

I have two and half large binders filled with Mahler CDs. The collection is ever-growing but here’s some of my favorites. I believe all of them are currently available, I only wish the older recordings still had their original cover art.

Symphonies

Symphony No. 1
The London Symphony Orchestra
Georg Solti

The original cover had a glowing red sun burning the surrounding sky

Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection”
Emilia Cundari, soprano; Maureen Forrester, alto; The Westminster Choir; The New York Philharmonic
Bruno Walter

I remember the Odyssey reissue has having a blue cover?

Symphony No. 3
Petra Lang, mezzo-soprano; Prague Philharmonic Choir; Netherlands Children’s Choir; The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Riccardo Chailly

Symphony No. 4
Reri Grist, soprano; The New York Philharmonic Orchestra
Leonard Bernstein

It's a little faded, but the original artwork is charming



Symphony No. 5

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Leonard Bernstein


Symphony No. 6

The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Claudio Abbado

Symphony No. 7
The Cleveland Orchestra
Pierre Boulez

Symphony No. 8 “Symphony of a Thousand”
Soloists; The Chicago Symphony Chorus; The Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Sir Georg Solti


Symphony No. 9

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Carlo Maria Giulini

Symphony No. 10
The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Sir Simon Rattle

Song Cycles

Das Klagende Lied
Marina Shaguch, soprano, Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano; Thomas Moser, tenor; Sergei Leiferkus, baritone; San Francisco Symphony Chorus; San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
Michael Tilson-Thomas

Das Lied von der Erde
Christa Ludwig, mezzo-soprano; Fritz Wunderlich, tenor; The New Philharmonia Orchestra
Otto Klemperer

Das Lied von der Erde (version with baritone)
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; James King, tenor
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Leonard Bernstein

The original cover had Lenny in profile against a black background

Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, soprano; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; The London Symphony Orchestra
George Szell

Kindertotenlieder
Janet Baker, mezzo-soprano; Hallé Orchestra
Sir John Barbirolli

Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo-soprano; North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
John Eliot Gardiner

Rückert Lieder
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Daniel Barenboim, piano

Resurrection Symphony finale — nothing more can be said

Advertisements

Best of 2009

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2010 by Craig Zeichner

Lots to chose from and most of it from living composers who create outside the tedious and ugly world of the conservatory. Proving that the future of music is really in the hands of those who care about originality and beauty rather than residing in the clammy claws of the sterile academics.

CD of the Year

Phil Kline: John the Revelator
Lionheart; Ethel
(Cantaloupe Music)
I can’t say enough about John the Revelator. Phil Kline has created a work whose stark beauty connects on so many levels. You’d have to be made of stone not to feel this one.

John Adams: Dr. Atomic Symphony
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
David Robertson, conductor
(Nonesuch)
A strange and beautiful world of orchestral color and rampaging rhythms.


Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 1

Budapest Festival Orchestra
Ivan Fischer, conductor
(Channel Classics)
Big-boned, heroic Brahms that rivals my favorite recordings by Otto Klemperer and Istvan Kertesz. Speaking of Kertesz, I wish the corporate troglodytes at Universal would get a clue and reissue his Decca recordings.

Michael Daugherty: Fire and Blood
Ida Kavafian, violin; The Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Jarvi, conductor
(Naxos)
Daugherty’s Fire and Blood concerto has balls and Kavafian delivers a brilliantly muscular performance. Daugherty’s music is disliked by the pasty-faced academics–“it’s glib and filled with cheap effects”–they shriek. All the more reason to love his music. Check out the recording of his Metropolis Symphony too.

Gabriel Jackson: Not No Faceless Angel
Polyphony
Stephen Layton, director
(Hyperion)
Jackson grabbed some deserved acclaim with “The Christ Child Sat On Mary’s Lap,” the carol commissioned for the 2009 Festival of Lessons and Carols at Kings College, Cambridge. This sublime CD is an ideal introduction to his music.

Rued Langgaard: Messis
Flemming Dreisig, organ
(Dacapo)
An organ work that clocks in at over 2 hours? Yes please! Langgaard’s music is hyper-Romantic and Dreisig is a superb organist. It’s been quite a Langgaard year with Dacapo releasing a boxed set of the quirky Dane’s complete symphonies.

James Macmillan: St. John Passion
Christopher Maltman, baritone
London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra
Sir Colin Davis, conductor
(LSO Live)
A deeply moving and piercingly dramatic telling of the Passion story. A gorgeous performance led by the greatest living conductor.

Mahler Symphony No. 4
Miah Persson, soprano
Budapest Festival Orchestra
Ivan Fischer, conductor
(Channel Classics)
Fischer’s excellent Mahler cycle hits a high point.

Felix Mendelssohn: Complete Organ Sonatas
William Whitehead, organ
(Chandos)
Church organists love these little gems but they are not especially well-know outside the organ loft. Whitehead plays a marvelous old instrument on this terrific recording.

Olivier Messiaen: Saint Francois d’Assise
Rodney Gilfry, baritione; Camilla Tilling, soprano; Hubert Delamboye, tenor
Netherlands Opera Chorus, Hague Philharmonic Orchestra
Ingo Metzmacher, conductor
(Opus Arte)
Pierre Audi’s hypnotic staging is remarkable and Messiaen’s score will probably never be better-served. I think they will be serving frozen margaritas in hell before this opera is ever staged in New York, so grab this DVD and prepare to be overwhelmed.

A video treat

I’m deeply in love with soprano Miah Persson, the soloist on Fischer’s Mahler 4th. Here she is singing “Come scoglio” from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte.

Happy 2010! I hope…