Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Missy Mazzoli, a 36-year-old composer from Brooklyn, has created the most startling and moving new American opera in memory. This astonishing achievement—in collaboration with librettist Royce Vavrek—was part of the opening week at Opera Philadelphia, which had commissioned the work and staged its world premiere. The “industry audience” that was present of course expected to cheer the composer, a popular figure in New York’s new music circles. But the stunned silence when the curtain fell is not something that can be planned. Neither did the screaming ovation that followed sound like pro forma good will. Mazzoli found a way to dramatize in music the paradoxical falling/rising of a simple girl, Bess, who from the utmost degradation and a terrible death becomes a healing spirit of love affirmed against the odds, expressing a pure impurity. The story is set on the Isle of Skye, seaside, in the 1970’s. Bess—because of her love for her husband—defies conventional lower middle class morality, a venomously repressive life-denying Christian religion to become as one with the eternal feminine, a transcendent spirit of courageous joy and affirmation. Mazzoli used a fairly simple technique, falling and rising slides which sometimes become scales that ascend and descend, to make us continually aware of the fall/rise of this great spirit. Mazzoli proved that originality in music is not something literally never heard before but rather a combination of familiar techniques, some from the musical avant-garde of sixty years ago (what was then called musique concrete), some rooted in “serious” Western Music, some generated in the 1980’s (Minimalism). She wove them into an unexpected and rich tapestry, not heard before, not in this way and not to this effect. Vavrek’s handling of the story, based on Lars Von Trier’s disturbing 1996 film, evoked the operatic trope of woman as redemptive force, becoming a very contemporary version of Wagner’s “The Redemption of the World through Love” idea at the end of the Ring or his Senta (like Bess a redeemer by the sea) to a Lulu-like earth spirit who embodies the shocking and disturbing sexual power of women. But unlike that unfortunate, Bess transcends what society regards as a perversion to create in death a kind of miracle. Mazzoli is herself a performer. She began in music as an adolescent singer. She has an all-female “post-rock” band called Victoire, indeed in Breaking the Waves she uses an electric guitar as the voice of God; it had, she said “ambiguity and strangeness”. Singing was her first musical impulse in life, later refined by formidable training, and extensive experience writing “serious music.” It makes her a natural for opera. That she has a spontaneous love of music rooted in word, emotion, theater, supported by complex structures and high sophistication and a constant contact with the emotional states of characters allows her to create drama through music. In contrast to most academically trained composers, Mazzoli understands that performers are the lifeblood of opera. They must serve but also be served by the music. With tremendous skill, Mazzoli has made the role of her heroine, Bess, an equal of the great virtuoso roles in opera. And she found an astounding singer: Kiera Duffy, who gave one of the greatest performances I have seen in the opera house in the past 20 years, maybe more. Duffy rolled back time to become what great opera singers are supposed to be but usually aren’t now—an unforgettable embodiment of profound emotion through music. I doubt the audience at this world premiere understood that Duffy was giving an archetypal performance of tremendous authority, accomplishment, and profundity in something new. She was the great singer as both creator and servant without whom an opera can’t work. Like the opera itself, what she did was new because it is only possible now in this precise way yet ancient because it is what the greatest composers have always yearned for—a tremendous musical performer who could live in their work, whose soul, expressed through her voice, united with the composer’s truth to attain a soaring affirmation not only of a particular narrative but of the value and magic of the form itself. Duffy has a sweet crystalline high soprano. She is at ease over a very wide range. She was always precisely in tune and every word was clear even very high— in a Scottish accent no less! She is a superb musician, shaping phrases, allowing her voice to find the musical impulse at every second. She is also improbably brave for an operatic performer. She sang naked, was bare breasted often, and gave herself over to the sexual behavior of the character without even an instant of self-consciousness. What she did is very risky for a performer and she worked without a net, throwing herself into Bess and personifying this entire work. Breaking the Waves, like many recent operas uses a film as its basis, not the easiest task of adaptation. Most of the operas of the past were based on plays where the narrative—however much it had to be simplified and changed to accommodate music—had already been solved for the stage. But in a film, an entire universe can be delivered directly to the viewer’s brain, encompassing events impossible to depict in a live theater. Neither the horrifying accident that nearly kills Bess’s Norwegian husband, Jan nor her detailed sexual exploits with him and then a range of men at his request can even begin to be recreated on stage. The complex rig in the strange light of the island, the sound of waves, the dreary streets and the lives of the shadowy people who walk them can barely be hinted at on stage. Vavrek had to find a way to tell this story on a modest sized stage in a low- budget context where much of what happens and all the locations could only be suggested in simple ways. He needed to find text that established characters directly and simply but did not reduce them to cartoons. He had to dramatize with the most simple tools—words and stage actions—without signposting or “indicating” highly specific and often strange events. He accomplished this task admirably. There was nothing silly, inapt, over-general in what he wrote. His words are well chosen for music and sound natural when sung. The thrust of the story was maintained and never trivialized. Bess, a girl with a history of psychiatric problems (she “takes pills” for her difficulties), falls ecstatically in love with a Norwegian rig worker named Jan. She is drawn to him by the music he and the other foreigners have brought to the island. Despite the warnings of the church elders and her mother, she marries him. She suffers intense longing when he is away. To save a friend’s life he puts himself in danger and falls, shattering his body. He is left alive but paralyzed. The kind Dr. Richardson tells Bess “sometimes it’s better to die, life shouldn’t be preserved at any cost,” but aware of the life force in Jan, Bess refuses to listen. Jan asks her to have sex with other men and to tell him about it in detail. She is shocked at first but then agrees. Jan begins to heal slowly, apparently in response to her narratives. She begins to realize that life sometimes must be lived in fantasy, in narrative—in art. She abandons herself to all the men who approach her. She is killed. The Elders of her Church curse her soul. Her mother is shamed, her sister-in-law confronts them angrily but it is Jan—miraculously recovered—who rescues Bess’s body from their graveyard and carries her to the sea, where… well, something profoundly moving happens. One of my teachers, Dika Newlin (Schoenberg’s youngest pupil and according to him the only genius he taught in America), felt that ultimately “music” was organized and controlled noise, that sounds preceded the tune and harmony. She’d argue that the first “music” we hear are noises comforting or frightening and that when we hear them as we age they evoke delight, childish terrors, joy, sorrow, the most complex emotions. The child hears sound—the clock, the rain against the window, the wind at a distance, the cars in the street, voices distant and close in conversations with their own shapes and cadences, someone humming, a distant radio or TV, doors slamming. A sophisticated ear will create powerful sounds with these homely noises as a basic vocabulary. Mazzoli’s technique is founded in such sound. She harks back to the creators of electronically enhanced sound in an artistic context, and to timbres made by unusual objects. In her opera, Mazzoli uses glockenspiel, melodica, tam-tam, and car suspension spring, along with the electric guitar, standard instruments and taped sound. Mazzoli’s tinta (a musician’s fancy way of saying “color”) starts not with musical keys but with sounds that carry automatic associations, which summon concrete emotions. Mazzoli has mentioned Janacek and Britten as influences, but Britten looms especially large. Bess’s dying calls of Jan’s name echo Peter Grimes’ keening his own name at the end of his mad scene. Mazzoli also adopts the kind of lyrical “twelve-note” technique Britten uses in Death in Venice. Her “row” is inverted, played backward, transposed and makes up most of the chords she uses. It provides melodic fragments that are molded apparently effortlessly around the words and sometimes it evolves into more sustained “tunes”. When the Doctor reaches out to Bess, his line echoes Peter Quint’s in The Turn of the Screw when he summons Miles. That iteration of part of her row, recurring twice, and is familiar enough to pull someone who knows The Turn of the Screw out of the opera for a moment. (There’s nothing unusual in that—in Turandot, one of the other works Opera Philadelphia was offering in its opening weekend, Puccini lifts Mussorgsky’s Gopak for the Executioner, and some of Schoenberg’s Pierre Lunaire (written 1912) for the Ghost Voices (Eine blasse Wäscherin and Der kranke Mond) and that’s just for starters.) For a listener of my generation, one technique she uses, Minimalism, is a little less convincing. Philip Glass developed this style after years of intense study and practice at the highest intellectual level and several mystical trips to Bali and India. It was in him and of him and worked well in his earlier operas, but even he has moved on. John Adams used an aspect of Minimalism in the marvelous orchestral works her wrote just before Nixon in China, such as Harmonielehre. But in his operas, I’ve been unconvinced. I can understand the continued appeal of Minimalism to younger composers. Here it provides Mazzoli with a sure-footed shape and framework for her chords, but the impression of repetition (despite small variations) brings a kind of stasis, a slowness of movement, to a work which might have benefitted from a more volatile and eruptive impulse. That the second and third acts felt a little longer than ideal I think can be blamed on this technique. But these are minor quibbles. Opera Philadelphia gave the opera the strong production it deserved. The director, James Darrah, found simple but effective solutions to the narrative issues and worked with the cast wonderfully. The clear lines of the set (designed by Adam Rigg), atmospheric costumes both of the period and in the mood of the piece (by Chrisi Karvonides), beautiful lighting by Pablo Santiago and remarkable projections that evoked seascapes and the eerie allure of the beach by Adam Larsen added significantly to the impact of the evening. Steven Osgood conducted the superb cast sympathetically. Eve Gigliotti as Bess’s sister-in-law unleashed tremendous power in her rebuke of the vicious Church Elders, Patricia Schuman had compelling complexity as Bess’s mother—loving but narrow and frightened. Jon Moore, perfectly cast as Jan, has a rich baritone. Handsome enough to carry off a nude scene, he projected a powerful, sympathetic masculinity. David Portillo supplied a beautiful high tenor voice and tender sympathy as the doctor. The cast was effectively rounded out by Zachery James and Marcus DeLoach. The evening was unforgettable for Kiera Duffy and the stunning work itself. May Mazzoli continue to write operas of this power! Photos: Dominic M. Mercier
Well, that didn’t last long. Just four months after closing out a triumphant Ring cycle that briefly made DC the envy of opera-goers across the country, Washington National Opera has launched its new season with an exceedingly safe, borrowed production of a repertoire chestnut. I suppose that’s not quite fair. WNO is solidly beyond the statute of limitations for reviving Marriage of Figaro, which hasn’t been seen here since 2010, and while this production (I saw the second outing on Saturday) is very much in DC’s comfort zone, the new season is devoting two out of five productions to recent compositions. Still, one couldn’t help but dwell on still-fresh memories of headier offerings in the opera house. On the plus side, this is a highly watchable show that takes pains to avoid the stodginess and self-seriousness that can turn Figaro into four hours of exquisite paint drying. Supported by a game cast of younger American singers, director Peter Kazaras’ inventive touch keeps the farce entertaining and endearing, generally without resorting to cheap laughs. He also keeps this Figaro largely untroubled by the work’s deeper currents and ideas. I bring this up not to imply that every Figaro production needs to be some psychosexual journey through the history of class relations, but it struck me Saturday that the other Mozart/Da Ponte collaborations now routinely serve as opportunities for more adventurous presentations by relatively “safe” companies, while conservative takes are still the default for Figaro. A bigger issue for this show is that, despite strong constituent parts, the musical picture never coheres in a fully satisfying way. In the pit, conductor James Gaffigan was admirably committed to matching the lighthearted tone of the direction and keeping any sense of drag at bay. Kicking things off with a bubbly overture, he frequently returned to exhilarating tempi throughout the night, all assisted by nimble, precise playing from the WNO Orchestra. Yet these ambitious tempi came at a cost. The ensembles should be just as powerful an engine of Figaro’s overall impact as the arias, but too often the cast here seemed to be trying to keep up, as in a nail-biting Act I finale. At other times, balances between the singers seemed haphazard, as in that gorgeous Act III ensemble after Figaro’s parentage is revealed. In the end there was much to dazzle in this reading, but also a feeling that crucial aspects of the score had received short shrift. Headliner Amanda Majeski did not disappoint in the Countess’s major showpieces, especially a captivating “Dove sono” in which her colorful, urgent soprano beautifully conveyed the Countess’ frustration and melancholy, eliciting the biggest audience response of the night. There was more to quibble with in the balance of her portrayal, which often felt like a relatively surface-level approach, and in her sometimes cursory contributions in the ensembles. Joshua Hopkins seemed headed for broad comedy in his initial entrance, serving us the Count as buffoonish lothario, complete with chest hair sight gag. But he promptly dialed this back and turned in one of the more complex portrayals among the leads, finding a comfortable balance between making the farce work and hinting at the darker undercurrents of the Count’s rage, including a penetrating “Hai già vinta.” Hopkins’ pleasant sound is perhaps a weight class lighter than what is really needed for a memorable reading of the Count’s music, but he compensates with intelligent attention to the text. DC audiences spent a lot of time with this production’s Figaro, Ryan McKinny, as both Donner and Gunther in the Ring. He has been singing more Wagner in the intervening months, taking on Amfortas in that controversial new Bayreuth Parsifal that sounded like it might give the old rabbit cadaver version a run for its money. McKinny is a charismatic performer, and his confident, virile Figaro often stole the show here, though times he came off as perhaps a bit too glib vis a vis the Count. For instance, the potential cuckold’s rage in Act IV’s “Tutto è disposto…” doesn’t really register if we have a hard time believing Figaro could find the Count threatening in the first place. McKinny’s velvety bass-baritone sounds great in Figaro’s music within a core range, though lower-lying passages proved a challenge. Lisette Oropesa made for a winning Susanna, though she had trouble vocally distinguishing herself for most of the evening, her clear soprano sometimes losing steam amidst the broader ensemble issues. A gentle, beautifully shaped “Deh vieni…” was a welcome counterpoint in Act IV. Aleksandra Romano brought a warm sound and anxious energy to Cherubino. “Non so più…” was a bit tentative and never really took flight, but “Voi che sapete…” and the charged ensuing Act II interaction with the Countess made a strong impression. Happily back at WNO after her celebrated turn as Fricka in the Ring, Elizabeth Bishop (Marcellina) was a standout on the crowded stage, easily elevating the comedy while her generous, distinctive voice soared in the ensembles. If you need a reason to open up the cut with Marcellina’s bonus track about goats, Bishop is it. Valeriano Lanchas’ commanding Bartolo cemented their duo as a key asset in this show; a robust “La vendetta” registering as one of the evening’s early musical highlights. Several of the current Domingo-Cafritz young artists made notable appearances as well, including Ariana Wehr lending a sweet, inviting soprano to Barberina and bass Timothy J. Bruno as a resonant, implacable Antonio. The production design, originally from Glimmerglass, is a solid example of what one might call “budget period whimsy.” The set, by Benoit Dugardyn, is organized around a colonnade of generic classical columns; flats with trompe l’oeil drapery between the columns define the interior spaces of the first and second acts, and are later removed to very attractive effect to create the more public spaces in the third and fourth acts. Mark McCullough’s lighting contributes a lovely transition from evening to night over the course of the second half. Garishly colored vaguely 18th century costumes by Myung Hee Cho try very hard to make sure you know you are having fun. Mostly these are par for the course, though occasionally one will cross the line into poor taste, as with the Pepto Bismol peignoir visited upon Majeski in the first half. Photo by Scott Suchman for WNO.
On Monday, the Met kicks off its 132nd season with a new production of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde by Mariusz Trelinski, with Sir Simon Rattle leading a premiere cast of Nina Stemme, Ekaterina Gubanova, Stuart Skelton, Evgeny Nikitin and René Pape (not pictured). Tristan has been the season-launching opera three times before now, but good luck finding someone to provide a firsthand account of the last time. Stemme and Skelton will follow in the footsteps of Flagstad and Melchior (1937), who followed Ternina and Van Dyck (1901), who followed Lehmann and Niemann (1887). Of these three illustrious pairings, that of Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior is most familiar to us listeners of the 21st century. While Stemme and Skelton will be singing their roles at the Met for the first time, the Scandinavian Connection headlined 67 Met Tristans between 1935 and 1941, both at 39th and Broadway and on tour. The 1937 opening night was the 26th of these. Artur Bodanzky‘s cast also included Kerstin Thorborg, Julius Huehn and Emanuel List. How “ordinary” was a Flagstad/Melchior Tristan in those days? Reviewing one Saturday matinee of the late 1930s with all five of the above singers and the same conductor, the Herald Tribune took a cautioning note: The frequenters of out foremost opera house are perhaps beginning to regard the accomplishments of Mme. Flagstad a bit too complacently, for while there was no want of enthusiasm in the reception accorded her, there were numerous vacant seats and the number of standees was considerably smaller that it has been in past seasons at Tristan performances in which she has participated. […] Such artistry is rare in any time, and in our day, when good singing–not to speak of great singing—is all too rarely encountered, it should not be too lightly appraised. Here are Flagstad, Melchior and Bodanzky in the last performance of the 1937-38 season. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=6J6iCfEokqw A review of the historical archive illuminates how the different regimes of different times had differing ideas about what an opening night should be. The incumbent general manager has favored new productions of familiar, popular works, and in one case the Met premiere of an opera many considered overdue (Anna Bolena, 2011). Only once has there been a gala, the 2008 Renée Fleming showcase. Those productions have covered the spectrum from triumphant (Madama Butterfly) to dismal (Tosca) to just “there” (…actually, all of the others), but they have brought to opening night some excitement that had ebbed away in the Crawford/Southern/Volpe years. In that era, it usually seemed as though the previous season were picking up where it had left off, with a business-as-usual Aïda, Bohème or Carmen slapped onto the stage in an existing production that had worked or had not worked, plus one big star. “But opera is about the singing!” you say. Yes, yes. In more distant times, opening night was often a time of important musical debuts. This is something of which we have not seen much in recent decades. In the Gelb era, there have been the slim pickings of Stephen Costello (2007) and Amanda Majeski (2014)… the former in a comprimario role, the latter as an emergency replacement. New faces to begin the season were few and far between in the 20 years prior to Gelb’s time too. José Cura had been highly touted in advance in 1999, but he was an anomaly. As you will see below, in the Met’s first century, many significant artists were initially heard on opening night. There were so many such examples that I had to leave many out of my survey in the interests of brevity and balance: Geraldine Farrar, Emmy Destinn, Tullio Serafin, Fritz Busch, Erna Berger, George London, Giulietta Simionato, Bonaldo Giaiotti, Florence Quivar, Kurt Moll. In first-night casting, at least, the most recent regimes have been in agreement, sticking with the tried and true. Here is just some of what you could have seen, and perhaps did see, on opening night through the years at the Met. 1890: The seven-year-old company dared to open the season with a work little known at the time and even less well known today. Franchetti’s Asrarel, a mystical mash-up of Meyerbeerian, Wagnerian and Italian influences, was said to have had some overseas success. An anonymous New York Times reviewer handled it cautiously: The opera was received with no small favor, but it will have to grow into deep public affection. It is not the kind of work to carry an audience by storm. There is too much thought in it. This brain food may have proved indigestible to New Yorkers of the Gilded Age; the work did not grow into deep public affection. After five performances, it was not heard again at the Met. Of the cast members, several of them debuting artists, only tenor Andreas Dippel lasted past the 1890-91 season. He proved valuable in a wide range of repertoire over the following 18 years. 1893: For its tenth anniversary, the Met returned to the opera with which it had all begun, Gounod’s Faust. The entire previous season had been wiped out by an August 1892 fire, allegedly caused by a workman’s casually discarded cigarette. Recorded the Times: There is scarcely a reminder of the old Metropolitan Opera House in the magnificent new building[,] a marvel of brightness in color and grace in all its outlines. The severe decorations of the auditorium, which was destroyed by the big fire, have given place to brighter ornamentation, and, while the seating capacity of the house has been materially increased, the comfort of its patrons has been steadily kept in view in the arrangement of the changes. Surely, all thought of ornamentation and outlines was put to the side when Emma Eames and brothers Jean and Edouard de Reszke got their Goethe on. 1903: “Not that he is the greatest tenor ever heard in New York,” the Sun hastened to assure its readers about a new singer who was no Jean de Reszke or Francesco Tamagno. “He pretends to be such a singer in his part as [Marcella] Sembrich is in hers.” Such remarks were typical within the press’s generally complimentary notices for Enrico Caruso. The 30-year-old Neapolitan, acclaimed elsewhere in the world, debuted as Rigoletto‘s Duke alongside Sembrich and Antonio Scotti. 1907: Cilea’s seemingly unkillable Adriana Lecouvreur got its first Met hearing, showcasing a star tenor and a soprano considered one of the world’s most beautiful women. “How poor a vehicle the opera is for the exhibition of Mr. Caruso’s extraordinary gifts and powers,” clucked the formidable Henry Krehbiel in the Herald Tribune. “Adriana is not for such as this; rather it is for such as Mme. [Lina] Cavalieri, who has neither beauty of voice nor excellence of song to recommend, but who can make pictures, and act as opera people act.” 1916: “Pearls of song by all-star anglers were never cast before a more brilliant assemblage […] The old Metropolitan put its best foot forward as it hasn’t done in years,” raved the Evening Sun‘s W. H. Chase at the company’s first complete performance of Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles, starring Frieda Hempel, Caruso and Giuseppe De Luca. Despite this enthusiasm, the opera received only two more Met performances, sank to the depths for nearly a century, and resurfaced looking very different. 1921: Curiously, the American‘s Max Smith suggested that Verdi’s La traviata may have been too slight an offering for this occasion. [T]he work has none of the spectacular glories usually associated with the opening night. […] Traviata, as all of us know, affords no opportunity for big ensembles, for massed effects, for the combined assault of cumulative sonority and gorgeous pageantry upon eye and ear.” One suspects this gifted writer would never have foreseen Meyerbeer’s fall from fashion. Still, Smith found excitement in the debut of soprano Amelita Galli-Curci. [H]ow fascinating is Amelita’s impersonation of Violetta, already made familiar during her association with the visiting Chicago Opera Company! How imaginatively vivacious in the first act; how pathetic in the second; how tragic in the last. It was fitting, indeed, that [general manager] Giulio Gatti-Casazza should bring forward his latest “star” in Traviata. For surely no other role reveals her own peculiar powers, histrionic as well as vocal, to greater advantage; none permits her to disclose more affectingly the characteristic delicacy of her art, the essentially feminine charm of her persuasions. Beniamino Gigli and De Luca supplied the masculine charm. 1926: Another work not long for the Met’s repertory inaugurated the 43rd season, as a 34-year-old bass made his company debut in Spontini’s admired La vestale. “Ezio Pinza, a newcomer, orated the bass pronouncement of the Pontifex Maximus and gave promise of being a useful addition to the company. There is little else to be said. The audience was large, but the familiar excitement of an opening night was absent,” wrote W. J. Henderson in the Sun. Maestro Serafin’s cast included Rosa Ponselle, Giacomo Lauri-Volpi and De Luca. Vestale would receive only two more Met performances, but Pinza would settle in until 1948. 1938: As Smith had in 1920, the Herald Tribune’s Lawrence Gilman mused on what constituted appropriate opening-night fare: From a strictly realistic standpoint, it does not matter very much […] [T]he inaugural work could be almost any choice at all from the Metropolitan’s extensive repertoire, active or inactive. It might be Tristan or Mignon, Madama Butterfly or Dinorah–perhaps only Parsifal or In the Pasha’s Garden would not serve. On this occasion, it was Otello. Giovanni Martinelli and Lawrence Tibbett returned to roles in which they were building legends, and Verdi’s score was in the hands of one of its great conductors, Ettore Panizza. Debuting soprano Maria Caniglia would not remain with the company for long, but her Desdemona made a strong impression: [T]he Neapolitan soprano […] is a singing-actress of exceptional feeling and sincerity, a gracious and gentle personality, equipped with a sense of the theater and a voice which often serves her responsively as a vehicle of dramatic utterance and lyric speech. She was vocally ill at ease in the first two acts, but later she sang with greater freedom and security, and often with affecting beauty and communicative eloquence. 1950: The season and the eventful tenure of GM Rudolf Bing began with Verdi’s Don Carlo, featuring six notable debuts: sopranos Delia Rigal and Lucine Amara, mezzo Fedora Barbieri, bass Cesare Siepi, director Margaret Webster and designer Rolf Gérard. Jussi Björling, Robert Merrill and Jerome Hines completed the principal cast; Fritz Stiedry conducted. At this time, the opera itself could still be described as “Verdi’s gloomy and seldom-heard Don Carlo” (Max de Schauensee, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin). But Virgil Thomson was happy to see it back after a 27-year absence: [T]his ever-so-grand grand opera is perfectly suited to the space and paraphernalia possibilities of New York’s historic music theater. It is also a fine vehicle for musical display, and last night’s performance was not wanting in grandeurs from the auditory wing. He praised the sophisticated work of the director and designer. 1956: The heavily hyped Met debut of Maria Callas (Bellini’s Norma) was, like so much else about this singer, controversial. Bing, Callas herself and many attendees claimed she had not been at her best. The Saturday Review‘s oft-dyspeptic Irving Kolodin left a judicious assessment that stands the test of time, not only as regards this performance but Callas’s art: The kind of voice, basically, requires some consideration. It is what every great artist’s means of communication becomes: an extension of her own personality. That personality is dynamic, highly charged, tigerish, and utterly under discipline. So, too, the voice is dynamically dramatic, produced as though it might be torn from the singer’s insides, and presided over with an almost visible concern for every word and note she sings. Nothing is thoughtless, left to chance, or without total purpose. Factually, Miss Callas cannot afford to perform otherwise, for were she dependent on the pure physical beauty of the sound she produces she would be sung out of sight by many people presently inconspicuous.” Barbieri, Siepi and Mario del Monaco were this fabled Norma’s colleagues and competitors. 1966: The Met’s state-of-the-art Lincoln Center home flung open its doors for the world premiere of Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra with Leontyne Price and Justino Diaz. The story of that inauspicious beginning is a familiar one. Franco Zeffirelli‘s elaborate production was critically savaged, and the Christian Science Monitor adjudged the opera inferior to the composer’s Vanessa (“At times tedium was definitely on hand”). Reviews for the venue were considerably better. Inez Robb (under her nom de plume, Nancy Randolph), covering for the Daily News, beseeched: “New Yorkers at all levels have been talking, day and night, about quitting this city. It’s ‘so tired,’ ‘so sooty,’ ‘so traffic-choked,’ this ‘irritating island’ with its ‘horrid sights and sounds.’ Now, won’t these dear people please stay? There are new wonders here in New York and they’ve been wrought while the complainers were busy with pale martinis and dark moods.” 1970: What the New Yorker‘s Winthrop Sargeant found “an unusually sedate and refined” opening night may impress us as more special 46 years later: Verdi’s Ernani conducted by Thomas Schippers, starring Martina Arroyo, Carlo Bergonzi, Sherrill Milnes and debuting bass Ruggero Raimondi. Sargeant felt that baritone Milnes, already a local favorite, had won the evening, but he praised the new kid too: “[A] young Bolognese named Ruggero Raimondi […] sang with fine quality and style, making an impression that will entitle him to many a future role at the Metropolitan Opera. He is not a deep bass, but he is one with plenty of velvet and a commanding stage presence.” Indeed, Raimondi frequently returned, most recently in 2008. 1981: Andrew Porter found little to cheer in a Norma remembered as a lowlight of Renata Scotto‘s distinguished Met career. No one seemed very much interested in anyone else, and the drama dragged. If Miss Scotto’s technical execution was faulty, the others [Tatiana Troyanos, Plácido Domingo and Bonaldo Giaiotti] lacked delicacy, refinement—the individual touches, vocal and dramatic, by which imaginative singers bring Bellini’s opera to life. The approach of the conductor, James Levine, did not encourage them to finesse. He laid out foursquare metronomic rhythms. He was energetic and assured, […] but he showed almost no feeling for sensitive, flexible shaping of Bellini’s melodies. 1983: The Met marked 100 years of flush times and lean times, the forgettable and the unforgettable, with a work close to the heart of music director Levine: Berlioz’s epic Les Troyens. The large cast included Troyanos, Domingo and Jessye Norman, making her house debut as Cassandre (“She delivered her pronouncements with magnificent tone and searing authority, and while her figure is of the same Wagnerian proportions as her voice, she moved with as much grace as grandeur,” per the Daily News). The tenor had had second thoughts about his role’s tessitura and even had asked to be relieved of the assignment. Although his reviews in the main were good, four performances of Enée in this run would be the only ones of his career. 1986: In a decade that saw several innovative Rings around the world, the Met put its technical and monetary resources in the service of pictorial conservatism. The Times‘s Donal Henahan assessed the first completed entry, Die Walküre: Feasible, but on the whole so far from being satisfactory in both large and small matters that the success of the cycle may already be in jeopardy. Otto Schenk‘s staging is a schizoid affair, with naturalistic, 19th-century scenery bumping up against naturalistic acting in a 20th-century style. […] Günther Schneider-Siemssen‘s sets, which look as if they were copied from one of the historical dioramas in the Wagner museum at Bayreuth, are not individual in any way, but they please the eye and would serve well in a performance better directed and better sung. Levine’s premiere cast included Jeannine Altmeyer, Hildegard Behrens, Brigitte Fassbaender, Peter Hofmann and Simon Estes. 1994: General manager Joseph Volpe scored a coup when two of the famous Three Tenors agreed to share opening night in a pairing of Puccini’s Il tabarro (Domingo) and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (Luciano Pavarotti). Perhaps the bigger news was the 35th Met anniversary of Teresa Stratas. The elusive and mercurial Canadian performed adulterous double duty as Giorgetta and Nedda. Veteran mezzo Florence Quivar made much of relatively little, stealing a scene as Tabarro‘s Frugola. Levine conducted. 2006: New GM Peter Gelb‘s tenure began with a hit, a fresh take on Puccini’s Madama Butterfly by esteemed film director Anthony Minghella in collaboration with his wife, choreographer Carolyn Choa. “We are first-time opera makers; it’s not for us to revolutionize opera,” the director said at the time. “It’s for us to understand it and to bring to bear whatever it is that we can bring to the work.” Opera News‘s F. Paul Driscoll described the result as a clean-lined, luxuriously spare Butterfly that borrows liberally from the traditions of Asian theater. Minghella is not the first director to try this, but no other director has accomplished his unaffected fusion of East and West with such sumptuous flair—abetted here by the sleek settings of Michael Levine and the elegant costumes by Han Feng—or his highly individual musicality. Levine led Cristina Gallardo-Domas, Marcello Giordani, Maria Zifchak and Dwayne Croft. Sadly, this instant classic was both Minghella’s first opera production and his last. He died in 2008.
Now we have considered the three “winners” in the Tristan competition, let’s turn to the also-rans, or, to be more optimistic, the runners up. Many admirers of Dame Gwyneth Jones prize a 1993 Tristan from the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Being one of her admirers, I wish I could join. Götz Friedrich‘s then-13-year-old production has qualities in common with Wieland Wagner’s, but unlike that, it had drifted into vagueness and generalization by the time of the filming . Schwarz and Kollo return in their roles from the Ponnelle, but the years tell. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSVqbcFzFgk I find Jones difficult to enjoy here, not only because of vocal unsteadiness but because her performance has a predetermined, overemphatic, almost pedantic quality, like an Old Hollywood actress who has worked out every expression in the mirror beforehand and rigidly stayed the course. There is little spontaneity, life, or give-and-take with others, and I do not think it preserves her Isolde at its best. The Met’s 1999 production by Dieter Dorn, not a great one, was a step in the right direction after all the calendar-art Wagner that had held sway at that theater in the James Levine era. The aesthetic is abstract, spare yet luminous. Costuming has a hint of Kurosawa. At the time, Levine and some critics were very excited about Ben Heppner and Jane Eaglen in the title roles. Neither seems to me, as captured here, the kind of performer a static, minimalist production needs; one’s attention wanders from Eaglen in particular. The one performer who is exactly what it needs is René Pape, whose early Marke is a reminder that he can or could be a compelling storyteller when so motivated. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRRhBPa4hUc Levine wraps Wagner’s score and the listener in sweaty bear-hugs that go on for quite some time. If you are a parterre reader, you probably know by now whether you will want to savor the embrace or wriggle free. The Met’s orchestra was indisputably a wonder by the 1990s. I must skip several other Tristans of greater and lesser interest (a Nilsson/Jon Vickers Orange performance that is valuable for existing at all but calls for great tolerance; another with Vickers in Montreal; productions by Alfred Kirchner, Olivier Py, Nikolaus Lehnhoff, Christoph Marthaler). I will confront a recent release, the 2015 Bayreuth production. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9y65GIto4Q Katharina Wagner is not yet 40, and fairness precludes me from making a final judgment on her as a director . Perhaps everything we have had will one day be seen as early work in which she found her way. However, watching her Tristan not long after I watched her uncle’s, my impression was that the theatrical gifts she inherited were Papa Wolfgang’s–a more modest bequest. She shows signs of being to Regietheater Wagner what he was to “traditional” Wagner. Her idea of Tristan and Isolde as prisoners of a sadistic despot, evading searchlights in a prison compound to steal time together, might be playable and interesting if it had an ounce of human feeling in it, rather than a tiresome fetishization of the bleak. It is all so drearily secondhand, this inky ragbag: the characters cutting themselves and smearing blood, the coal-mine lighting (the top-flight Reinhard Traub, surely giving the lady what she wants), Tristan’s kitschy visions of a phantom Isolde… who removes her own head, but never mind. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzL8cmq4K8U A viewer may feel elevated in knuckling under, in being conned. It is so dark, so grim, so “unsparing.” To reject it, to want its four hours to end, must be a sign of personal timidity to be confronted and overcome, right? I do not think so. Tristan und Isolde itself opens up many avenues to get us to care, rather than to endure. Frau Wagner drives us down the first dead end. This is emptiness competently achieved. If you watch it anyway, you will hear spectacular conducting from Christian Thielemann, who needs fear no comparison to the living or the dead in this score. There is an inspired and electric Isolde, in very rough voice, from Evelyn Herlitzius. Georg Zeppenfeld gets everything possible out of this Marke, ambling around in hat and fur with relaxed menace, a pimp crossed with the lead bounty hunter in McCabe & Mrs. Miller. But unlike Tristan and Isolde, we need not be detained. There is always a chance that the next dream will be better. The Met’s cast, conductor, and director for its new Tristan hold great promise, and the production has stirred excitement overseas. I look forward to its Met Live in HD showing. Of course, there are the dreams we have when we are asleep and the dreams (the aspirations) we have when we are awake. The latter keep opera alive. A young woman I know saw the film of Traviata and knew by the time it was over that she wanted to become an opera singer, not any other kind of singer. She is coming along well. You may see her one day as Isolde. Such roles–Salome, the Dyer’s Wife, Isolde–are where she is told she will end up. Diana Damrau, interestingly, has talked of having the same experience, being 12 years old and seeing Teresa Stratas singing and acting in that film. “That is the way I actually wanted to find out if I could do this myself as well, with my voice, with my body. I prayed to God, please, hopefully I’ve got some talent to try to do this one day.” Not among tenors in our survey was the South African Johan Botha, who died on 8 September. I have thought of him often in the days since the news broke. He too had a dream that began with Traviata; he obsessively played the Moffo/Tucker LPs when he was five. Some time before his cancer was diagnosed, Botha gave an interview in a German-language publication, and he was excited about his first Tristan in 2017 with Barenboim in Berlin. It takes years to learn such a role, he said. He talked of studying the whole score, the whole text, not only his part. He was dyslexic, and made notes and little drawings in his scores to help him internalize. That Tristan is not an assumption we will hear now. I think such things (“If only So-and-So had lived to sing/record/direct/write…”), and then I remind myself not to think of these people only as existing to do their work and give enjoyment, or fail to give enjoyment, to the likes of me. The greatest regret is that a 51-year-old man suffered and died, not that a 52-year-old man could not pretend onstage to suffer and die. Botha might have happily parted with his dream of singing Tristan to have another year with his wife, his two sons, and his model railroads. There will be other Tristans to hear, of course. Some of them will be great. Maybe Stuart Skelton will be one of them. The great performances discussed here are products of the things Wagner mentioned in his letter, dreams and love. So are some bad performances. Those of us who write about performances or just attend them wait for the next great one, and much of what we see and hear falls short. You may find yourself sitting next to someone who goes into a state of bliss at everything put in front of her. Everything is the best production, with the best singers ever, the best conductor. On your other side may be someone at the opposite extreme. In the grip of the cataractous nostalgia that passes for discernment in his circle, he has seen nothing worthwhile since 1970. He still shows up, just to make his disapproval known. Both of those people deserve understanding. They are at points on their journeys. The goal is to learn, to examine, to question, to reconsider, to arrive at standards without prejudices…and still to believe. Maybe at first you were bowled over by everything you saw and heard, and then as the years went by it became one in four times, then one in 12 times, then only a few times a year. But whatever the next thing is, it could be one of those times. That is the dream, anyway. I close with Waltraud Meier, now yielding to time and setting aside her great roles. She was talking about the responsibilities of the interpreter, but I think these are useful words for an audience member too: “The only distance should be what allows you to see the essence. Anything else is cowardice in the face of a great art. Maybe sometimes you must endure discomfort. Or just the opposite, you can see something great in itself. And when you have recognized this, you do not want to deny yourself the same again.”
9/22/16 Prokofiev #1 +1DVD Romeo & Juliet: Royal Ballet Covent Garden, Alessandra Ferri & Wayne Eagling (1984) 9/21/16 Prokofiev #2 +1CD 1st Symphony, Love for 3 Oranges & Lieutenant Kijé by Lorin Maazel in Paris (1985) 9/21/16 Prokofiev #2 +5CDs 5th Symphony by: Y. Levi, V. Handley, Y. Temirkanov, J. Martinon & G. Noseda 9/20/16 Prokofiev #1 +3CDs Romeo & Juliet (Excerpts) by Claudio Abbado, Claus Peter Flor & Yoel Levi 9/20/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD set Cinderella complete ballet by Vladimir Ashkenazy in Cleveland (1983) 9/20/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD set Romeo & Juliet complete ballet by Valery Gergiev in St. Petersburg (1990) 9/20/16 Prokofiev #1 +2 CDs Alexander Nevsky & Scythian Suite by Valery Gergiev (2002) & Neeme Jarvi (1988) 9/14/16 Spanish Modern #2 +1CD Spanish & Argentine Flamencos played by Paco Peña & Eduardo Falú (1989) 9/14/16 Spanish Modern #2 +1CD Montoya & Ricardo: Flamencos, played by Paco Peña (1987) 9/13/16 Spanish Modern #3 +1CD Spanish 20th Century Guitar Works by Agustin Maruri (1995) 9/13/16 Spanish Modern #1 +1CD Guitar Music of Ponce, Piazzolla, Barrios played by Manuel Barrueco (1997) 9/12/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Borodin's String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 by the Borodin Quartet (1980) 9/12/16 Rachmaninov #2 +3CDs Piano Concertos & Paganini Rhapsody by T. Vasary & Y. Ahronovitch /a rip by Dante B.) 9/12/16 Bruckner +1CD set Symphony No. 8 by Giulini in Vienna 1985 (a rip by Dante B.) 9/10/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Vivaldi's Le Quattro Stagioni by Gil Shaham & the Orpheus C.O. (1993) 9/10/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Smetana's Ma Vlast by Vaclav Talich in Prague (1954) (a rip by Corrado D.) 9/10/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD 1st Violin Sonata (+ Debussy & Janacek) by V. Mullova & P. Anderszewski (1994) 9/10/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD The War Sonatas by Vladimir Ashkenazy (1995) 9/10/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD 3rd Concerto & Tchaikovsky's 1st by Noriko Ogawa & Gennady Rozhdestvensky (1989) 9/10/16 Prokofiev #1 +1 CD set The 5 Piano Concertos by Vladimir Krainev & Dmitri Kitaenko in Frankfurt (1992) 9/10/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD set 3rd & 5th Concertos (+ Schumann's and Liszt's) by Samson François (1958-1961) 9/10/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD 3rd Concerto & Ravel's left Hand Concerto by John Browning & Erich Leinsdorf (1960) 9/8/16 Schumann +1CD Papillons, Piano Quintet, Fantasiestücke Op. 73 with Jonathan Biss, Jerusalem Q., Martin Fröst 9/8/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Domenico Scarlatti's Keyboard Sonatas by Marcela Roggeri (Piano) (2004) 9/8/16 Rachmaninov #1 +1CD Symphony No. 1 by Mariss Jansons in St. Petersburg (1999) (a rip by Corrado D.) 8/29/16 Schumann +1CD Margaret Price's Frauenlieben und Leben (1981) 8/14/16 The Long Goodbye +1CD Beethoven & Mozart's Wind Quintets by Alfred Brendel & Soloists (1986)8/14/16 The Long Goodbye +1LP Beethoven's 7th Symphony by Karl Böhm (1958) (a transfer by Enrico B.) 8/14/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Pergolesi Stabat Mater by Claudio Abbado (1985)8/14/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Mozart's 3rd & 5th Violin Concertos by Isabelle van Keulen (1989)8/14/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Mozart Piano Sonatas by Daria van den Bercken (2014) 8/5/16 Summer Nights #7 +1CD Mendelssohn's String Quintets at the Marlboro Festival 1990 (a rip by Corrado D.) 8/5/16 In the Name of Music +1CD set Mendelssohn's Elias by Wolfgang Sawallisch (a rip by Corrado D.) 8/5/16 In the Name of Music +1CD set Mendelssohn's Elias & Paulus Oratorios by Helmut Rilling (a rip by Dante B.) 7/19/16 Mahler 7 +1CD Gianandrea Noseda in Manchester (2010) (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/19/16 American Classics +1CD Barber's Sonata (+ Berg's Op. 1 & Beethoven's Op. 126) by Ashley Wass 7/19/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Gubaidulina: The Piano Music by Marcela Roggeri (2007) 7/18/16 Summer Nights #6 +1CD Frederica von Stade's Haydn, Mozart, Rossini solo album (1975) w/ de Waart & Dorati 7/18/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD set J-P. Rameau's Zais by Christophe Rousset (2014) 7/16/16 Summer Nights #4 +1CD set Beethoven's 4th Concerto (+ Chopin's 2nd & Schumann's) by Guiomar Novaes 7/16/16 Summer Nights #4 +1LP Beethoven's Violin Concerto by H. Szeryng & B. Haitink (a transfer by Enrico B.) 7/16/16 Summer Nights #4 +1CD Beethoven's Violin Concerto by Anne-Sophie Mutter & Kurt Masur in NYC (2002) 7/16/16 Summer Nights #4 +1CD Beethoven's Quartets Nos. 9 & 14 by the Quartetto Italiano (1969) 7/16/16 Summer Nights #4 +1CD Beethoven's 4th Concerto by Lang Lang & Christoph Eschenbach in Paris (2007) 7/13/16 Summer Nights #12 +1CD Guastavino's Songs by Florent Héau (Clarinet) with Marcela Roggeri, Piano (2008) 7/11/16 Opera Favourites #2 +1DVD Puccini's Il Tabarro & Leoncavallo's Pagliacci by James Levine (1994) 7/11/16 Messiaen +1CD La fauvette passerinette & other piano pieces by Peter Hill (2014) 7/11/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Lalo's complete Piano Trios by the Trio Parnassus (1992) (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/11/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD set Bizet's complete Orchestral Music by Enrique Batiz (1988) (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/9/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Saint-Saens's Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 by G. Pretre (1991) (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/9/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Satie, Piano Music (including most Gnossiennes) by Marcela Roggeri (2005) 7/5/16 Opera Favourites #1 +1CD set, Rossini's L'italiana in Algeri by Claudio Abbado in Vienna (1987) 7/5/16 Opera Favourites #1 +2CD sets, Bellini's Norma (J. Levine 1979) & I Capuleti e i Montecchi (R. Muti 1984) 7/5/16 Bach +1CD Cantatas for Counter-Tenor (BWV 170, 54, 35) by A. Scholl & P. Herreweghe (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/5/16 Summer Nights #10 +1CD 'Nocturne' (Selected Lieder) by Rupert Charlesworth & Edwige Herchenroder (2014) 7/4/16 In the Name of Music +1CD set Liszt's Christus oratorio by Helmuth Rilling (1997) (a rip by Dante B.) 7/2/16 Summer Nights #7 +1CD Brahms' Trio Op. 8 & Beethoven's 'Archduke': V. Mullova, H. Schiff & A. Previn (1993) 7/2/16 Summer Nights #7 +1LP Brahms' Violin Concerto by Henryk Szeryng & Bernard Haitink (a transfer by Enrico B.) 7/2/16 Bach 1CD set The well Tempered Clavier by Sergey Schepkin (1998-9) ( a rip by Corrado D.) 7/2/16 Bach +1CD The Art of Fugue by the Keller Quartett (1998) (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/2/16 Bach +1CD Cantatas BWV 4, 56, 82 with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1951-2-3) (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/2/16 Bach +1CD Goldberg Variations (Arr. for String Trio by Bruno Giuranna), Trio Broz (2008) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/28/16 Bach +1CD set The well Tempered Clavier by Samuel Feinberg (1959) (a rip by Corrado D.)6/28/16 Bach +1CD set Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin by Salvatore Accardo (1976) (a rip by Corrado D.)6/28/16 Bach +1CD set The Art of Fugue by Grigory Sokolov (2008) (a rip by Corrado D.)6/28/16 Bach +1CD set Brandenburg Concertos by the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (2007) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/27/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Fauré, Chausson, Saint-Saens, Massenet by K. Deshayes & Ensemble Contraste 6/27/16 Musique Française #2 +2CDs Chausson Concert (Accardo) & Symphony (Ansermet) (rips by Corrado D.) 6/26/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD set Songs by Ravel, Fauré, Poulenc etc. by G. Souzay (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/26/16 Musique Française #3 +1CD Ravel's Piano Music by Vlado Perlemuter (1955 recordings) 6/26/16 Musique Française #3 +1LP Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé Suites by Willem van Otterloo in The Hague (1956) 6/26/16 Mahler 3 +1CD set Michael Tilson Thomas and the LSO, 1990 (with Janet Baker + Rückert-Lieder) 6/23/16 Schubert #2 +1CD set the Late String Quartets by the Quartetto Italiano (1965-1976-1977) 6/23/16 Schubert #1 +1CD Impromptus Op. 90 + Bach's Partitas Nos. 1 & 2 by Simone Dinnerstein (2011) 6/23/16 Schubert #3 +1CD Winterreise by Cristoph Prégardien & Andreas Staier (1998) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/23/16 Schubert #3 +1CD Winterreise by Anton & Hilda Dermota (1963) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/23/16 Schubert #3 +1CD Schwanengesang by Wolfgang Holzmair & Imogen Cooper (1994) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/21/16 Bach +1CD The Musical Offering by the Accademia Bizantina and Carlo Chiarappa (1991) 6/21/16 Bach +1CD set The Cello Suites in Mischa Maisky's first recording (1985) 6/21/16 Bach +1CD The Art of Fugue by Ramin Bahrami (2006) 6/21/16 Bach 2CD sets The well Tempered Clavier Books 1 & 2 by Daniel Barenboim (2003-2005) 6/21/16 Schumann +1CD set Kreisleriana by Imogen Cooper + V.A. at the Festival de Valloires 2006 6/19/16 Strauss Operas #2 +1DVD Der Rosenkavalier by John Neschling in Palermo (2004) 6/19/16 Strauss #3 +1CD set Wind Sonatinas, Suite & Serenade by the Royal Academy Wind Ensemble (2006) 6/19/16 Strauss #2 +1CD Music from the Operas by Jeffrey Tate in Rotterdam (1992) 6/19/16 Strauss #1 +1CD Metamorphosen, Don Juan & Lieder by Joan Rodgers & Jan Latham-Koenig (2001) 6/19/16 Strauss #1 +1CD set Lieder by Edita Gruberova & Friedrich Haider (1990) 6/16/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Fauré's 1st Piano Quartet & Trio by the Beaux Arts Trio (1988) (a rip by Dante B.) 6/16/16 Summer Nights #5 +1CD Berlioz's Symphonies fantastique by James Levine (1991) (a rip by Enrico B.) 6/16/16 Bach +1CD set Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin by Stefan Milenkovich (1997) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/16/16 Bach +1CD set Brandenburg Concertos by Giardino Armonico & Giovanni Antonini (1997) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/13/16 In the Name of Music +1CD Orff's Carmina Burana by Franz Welser-Möst in London (1989) 6/13/16 In the Name of Music +1 CD set Mendelssohn's Paulus by Kurt Masur with Theo Adam (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/13/16 Mahler Lieder +1CD Fischer-Dieskau's classic EMI recordings of the major Lieder sets (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/13/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Frank Martin's Piano Concertos & Ballade by J-F. Antonioli & M. Viotti (1985) 6/10/16 Burgmüller Songs & Sonata Replaced rip which was missing two tracks. The new link is complete. 6/10/16 Bach +1CD set Goldberg Variations & the Partitas by Karl Richter (1958-60) (a rip by Corrado D,) 6/8/16 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Elgar's 2nd Symphony + In the South Ov. with Andrew Davis (1992) 6/8/16 Bach +1CD set The Partitas for Keyboard by Richard Goode (Piano) (2002-2003) (a rip by Corrado D,) 6/8/16 Bach +1CD set The Cello Suites by Mario Brunello (1994) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/5/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD A. Caldara's & A. Lingua's Cantate by Recitarcantando Urbino (2009) 6/5/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD F.M. Stiava's Vespri di Santa Cecilia by Federico Bardazzi in Florence (2008) 6/5/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD G. Carissimi's Historia di Job, Vanitas Vanitatum by Federico Bardazzi in Florence (2005) 6/5/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD H. von Bingen's O Orzchis Ecclesia by Federico Bardazzi in Florence (2007) 6/3/16 Gershwin +1CD Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, Cuban Ov. by Lorin Maazel in Cleveland (1975) 6/3/16 American Classics +1CD MacDowell's Piano Concertos by Donna Amato & Paul Freeman in London (1985) 6/3/16 Odd Couple #2 +1CD Chopin's 3rd Sonata by Felipe Browne in London (1999) 6/3/16 Bach +1CD Goldberg Variations by Bruno Canino (1993) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/2/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD set Janáček's Piano Music by Håkon Austbø (2004)6/2/16 Bach +1CD Goldberg Variations by Jörg Demus (1989) 6/1/16 Schumann +1CD set Dichterliebe by M. Padmore & I. Cooper + V.A. at the Festival de Valloires 2007 6/1/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Yehuda - Jewish Music from the Seraglio, L'Orient Imaginaire, V. Ivanoff (1996) 5/31/16 Summer Nights #9 +1CD Dvorak's New World Symphony by Riccardo Chailly in Amsterdam (1987) 5/31/16 Summer Nights #9 +1CD Franck's Symphony by Tadaaki Otaka (1999) (a rip by Corrado D.) 5/31/16 Summer Nights #9 +1CDs Franck's & Saint-Saens' Symphonies by Antonio de Almeida in Moscow (1993) 5/29/16 Debussy #2 +1CD Mélodies by Barbara Hendricks & Michel Béroff (1985) 5/29/16 Rachmaninov #1 +1CD Cello Sonata (+ Strauss') bt Werner Thomas & Carmen Piazzini (1987) 5/27/16 Rare grooves #2 +1LP Mendelssohn's 4th Sym. 'Italian' by Colin Davis in Boston (1976) (a transfer by Enrico B.) 5/24/16 Medieval Music: New links 5/24/16 Debussy #6 +1CD String Quartet (+ Brahms's Op. 51/1) by the Ceruti Quartet (2008) 5/24/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Images & other piano pieces by Zoltan Kocsis (1988) 5/24/16 Debussy #5 1CD set Préludes & Etudes by Georges Pludermacher (2003) 5/21/16 Debussy #2 +1CD set The complete Mélodies with Ameling, von Stade, Command, Mesplé & Souzay 5/21/16 Debussy #2 +3CDs Mélodies by Christopher Maltman, Véronique Gens and Gérard Souzay 5/19/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Estampes, Pour le piano, Suite bergamasque etc. by Bruno Canino (a rip by Corrado D.) 5/19/16 Debussy #3 +1CD La mer, Préludes & Nocturnes by Jean Martinon in Paris (1974) 5/19/16 Odd Couple #2 +1Bonus, Chopin for Cello & Piano: Piatigorsky, Bonucci & Amfitheatrof (enc. by Corrado D.) 5/18/16 Debussy #6 +1CD Sonatas for Cello + Flute, Viola & Harp by Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society (2007) 5/18/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD set Ravel's Piano Music by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (2003) (a rip by Corrado D.) 5/17/16 Musique Française #3 +1CD Ravel's Ma Mère l'Oye & Prokofiev's Cinderella by piano duo Argerich & Pletnev 5/17/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Préludes by Steven Osborne (2006) 5/17/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Préludes Book 1 & Children's Corner by Nelson Freire (2009) 5/17/16 Debussy #5 +1CD set, Préludes etc by Samson François (1970) (includes 5 Etudes) 5/17/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Images, Pour le piano & Suite bergamasque by Cécile Ousset (1986) 5/16/16 Summer Nights #8 +1CD set Brahms' Symphonies by Antal Dorati (a rip by Corrado D.) 5/16/16 Brahms +2CDs Piano Quartets by J. Demus & the Barylli + Richter & the Borodin (2nd) (rips by Corrado D,) 5/15/16 A Weimar Rhapsody +1CD Krenek Piano Sonatas Nos. 2 & 4 + G. Washington's Variations. (M. Korzhev, 2007) 5/15/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Koechlin and Jolivet's Chamber Music with Flute (Philippe Racine, 1989) 5/13/16 Debussy #3 +1CD Jeux, Images, Prélude, Danses with Serge Baudo in Prague (1977) 5/13/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Alice Ader's rare album with Images, Estampes, Martyre de S-S, Masques etc. (1989) 5/5/16 Stravinsky #2 +1CD Sacre du printemps (+ Bartok & Boulez) by P. Boulez in Salzburg with the GMJO (1997) 5/5/16 Stravinsky #2 +1DVD Le rossignol by J. Conlon in Paris (Dessay/McLaughlin/Simcic/Urmana/Naouri) (1999) 5/5/16 Bartok #5 +1CD Miraculous Mandarin & Dance Suite by B. Maderna in Monte-Carlo (1968) (a rip by Corrado D.)5/4/16 Massenet Operas: +CD Don Quichotte at Mariinsky theater, Furlanetto/Gergiev 5/4/16 Early Music Collections: New links 5/3/16 Brahms +1CD The Quartets for Voices & Piano by the Kammerchor Stuttgart, A. Rothkopf & F. Bernius (1983)5/3/16 Brahms +1CD The String Quintets by the Hagen SQ & G. Caussé5/3/16 Brahms +1CD set The String Quartets (Italiano SQ) & Clarinet Sonatas (G. Pieterson & H. Menuhin)5/3/16 Brahms +2CDs Piano Sonata No. 3 by Lupu & String Sextets by Carmignola, Brunello etc. (rips by Corrado D.)5/3/16 Brahms +1CD Die schöne Magelone with Andreas Schmidt and Jörg Demus (1988) 5/3/16 Opera Favourites #1 +1DVD Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann by F. Chaslin in Macerata 2004 5/2/16 Summer Nights #8 +1CD set Brahms's Symphonies by B. Haitink in London (2004) 5/2/16 Summer Nights #8 +1CD Brahms's 2nd Symphony by C. Davis in Munich (1988) 5/2/16 Brahms +1CD Cello Sonatas by du Pré & Barenboim (1968) 5/2/16 Brahms +1CD Late Piano Pieces by Radu Lupu (1970) 5/2/16 Brahms +2CDs Ballades Op. 10 by Gould (1983) & Brendel (+ Weber's Grand Sonata) (1990) 5/2/16 Brahms +3CDs Piano Sonata No. 3 by Barenboim (1996), Perahia (1991), Kissin (2001) 4/27/16 Brahms +1CD/1Bonus Violin C.to: D. Oistrakh & Pedrotti (1961, rip by Corrado D.) + Fischer & Sinopoli (2000) 4/27/16 Brahms +1CD set Piano Concertos by Freire & Chailly (2006) 4/27/16 Brahms +4CDs Piano Concertos by Pollini & Abbado, Ax & Haitink, Donohoe & Svetlanov 4/27/16 Brahms +3CDs Violin Sonatas: Zukerman & Neikrug (1992), Tetzlaff & Vogt (2002), Mutter & Orkis (2010) 4/25/16 Rachmaninov #1 +3CDs the 3 Operas (Aleko, The Miserly Knight, Francesca da Rimini) by N. Järvi (1996) 4/23/16 Wintery Romantics +1Bonus Dvorak Symphony No. 7 by I. Fischer in Rome (2006) 4/23/16 Strauss #1 +1Bonus Le bourgeois gentilhomme by Christopher Hogwood in Milan (2005) 4/23/16 Rachmaninov #1 +1CD Symphony No. 1 & Isle of the Dead by M. Pletnev and the RNO (2000) 4/23/16 Rachmaninov #2 +1Bonus, 3rd Concerto by B. L. Gelber & E. Krivine in Geneva (1988) 4/23/16 Rachmaninov #2 +1CD set The Concertos in E. Wild & J. Horenstein's great recording in London (a rip by Odeon) 4/23/16 Rachmaninov #2 +3CDs Ashkenazy/Haitink; Glemser/Wit; Zilberstein/Abbado classic recordings of concertos 4/23/16 Rachmaninov #1 +2CDs Preludes by Weissenberg (1969) & 2nd Symphony by I. Fischer (2003) (rips by Sasha) 4/22/16 Schumann Piano Trio Op. 63 & Ravel's by the Trio di Bolzano (1954) (a rip by Corrado D.) 4/22/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD set 5th Symphony by L. Maazel in Cleveland (1977) (+ Rimsky's orch. works) (a rip by Sasha) 4/22/16 Wagner's Ring +4DVDs The entire Ring des Nibelungen in J. Levine's fundamental Met production for DGG 4/21/16 Wagner's Die Walküre +1DVD the great Boulez 1980 production (Hofmann, Altmeyer, McIntyre, Jones, Schwarz) 4/20/16 Wagner's Tristan und Isolde 2DVDs Z. Mehta in Munich (1998) and J. Levine in NYC (1999) 4/20/16 Wagner's Die Meistersingers +1DVD J. Levine's 2001 release (Morris, Heppner, Mattila, Allen, Pape, Polenzani) 4/20/16 Liszt's Sonata: +1CD Peter Donohoe's 1989 recording (including Berg and Bartok's Sonatas) 4/20/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Tchaikovsky and Dvorak: Serenade for Strings by C. Davis in Munich (1987) 4/20/16 Hindemith +1CD Reger's Clarinet Quintet & String Quartet by Karl Leister and the Vogler Quartett (1999) 4/20/16 Stravinsky #2 Apollon Musagète & Cantata by Esa-Pekka Salonen, new rip and scans available. 4/20/16 Summer Nights #8 +1CD set Brahms The Symphonies by Gustav Kuhn in Bolzano (a rip by Corrado D.) 4/19/16 Rachmaninov #1 +2CDs 2nd Symphony by S. Bychkov (1990) & Symphonic Dances by E. Batiz (1991) 4/19/16 Rachmaninov #1 +1CD 6 Choruses Op. 15 (+ Scriabin's 1st Symphony) by Valeri Polyansky (2004) 4/19/16 Rachmaninov #1 +1CD set & 1CD Preludes and Etudes-Tableaux by N. Lugansky, M. Petkova & L. McCawley 4/18/16 Wintery Romantics +6 CDs Scriabin Sonatas, Etudes, Piano Concerto, Poème de l'extase, Prometheus 4/18/16 Schubert #2 +1CD Symphony No. 9 'Great' by Daniel Barenboim in Berlin (1985) 4/18/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Symphonies Nos. 5 & 1 by André Previn in Los Angeles (1986) 4/17/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Piano Trio by Perlman, Harrell, Ashkenazy (1980) 4/17/16 Wintery Romantics + 3CDs Tchaikovsky's 5th (Ormandy 1981) & 6th (Gergiev 1995), Ballet Suites by Karajan 4/17/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto by V. Mullova and S. Ozawa (+ Sibelius) (1985) 4/17/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD set Tchaikovsky's Symphonies Nos. 4, 5, 6 by Gergiev and the Vienna Philh. (2004) 4/16/15 De Fesch Concerti - Musica ad Rhenum: New links 4/15/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Respighi's Sinfonia Drammatica by Daniel Nazareth in Bratislava (1986) 4/15/16 Stravinsky #1 +1Bonus, Oedipus Rex by Jeffrey Tate in Turin 1999 (Moser, Lipovsek, von Kannen, Kapellmann) 4/15/16 Opera Favourites #3 +1DVD Levine's Trovatore at the Met 1988 (Pavarotti, Marton, Milnes, Zajick, Wells) 4/15/16 Summer Nights #1 +1CD Erwin Schulhoff's piano works by Ulrich Urban (1993) 4/15/16 Messiaen +1CD Turangalila-Symphonie with R. Chailly (J-Y. Thibaudet, p.; T. Harada, o.M.) (a rip by Cunctator) 4/14/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Sibelius & Nielsen, Violin Concertos, by Maxim Vengerov & Daniel Barenboim (1996) 4/14/16 Summer Nights #12 +1CD B. Walter Violin Sonata & K. Goldmark 1st Suite by P. Graffin & P. Devoyon (2000) 4/14/16 Stravinsky #2 +2CDs Petrushka by D. Zinman in Baltimore & Symphony in 3 Movs. by J. Conlon in Rotterdam 4/14/16 Stravinsky #2 +1DVD Gergiev and the Vienna Philh. in Salzburg for The Firebird (+ Prokofiev & Schnittke) 4/14/16 Strauss Great Operas #2 +1DVD Ariadne auf Naxos by Colin Davis in Dresden (2000) 4/14/16 In the Name of Music +1CD Orff's Catulli Carmina & Trionfo di Afrodite by Franz Welser-Möst (1995)4/14/16 In the Name of Music +3CDs Orff's Carmina Burana by Z. Mehta (1992), A. Previn (1993) & R. Shaw (1980) 4/14/16 Hindemith +2CDs F. Schmidt's 4th Symphony (F. Welser-Moest) and Selected Organ Works (A. Juffinger) 4/14/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Moritz Moszkowski's piano works by Seta Tanyel (1993) 4/14/16 Shostakovich #2 +1CD Piano Sonatas Nos. 2, 3, 4 by Nikolai Miaskovsky in Lydia Jardon's recording (2007) 4/13/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Zemlinsky's Lyrische Symphonie by Riccardo Chailly in Amsterdam (1993) 4/13/16 Darmstadt #2 +1Bonus File: Nono's Il canto sospeso with Mario Venzago in Milan 2000 (+ Berg's Op. 6) 4/13/16 Bartok #1 +1Bonus File: Piano Concerto No. 3 with Roberto Cominati e Juraj Valcuha in Turin (2007) 4/13/16 Stravinsky #2 +1CD Esa-Pekka Salonen 1988 recording of The Firebird and Jeu de Cartes in London 4/13/16 Stravinsky #2 +2CDs Haitink's Berlin Philh. recordings of The Firebird, Scènes de Ballet & Petrushka (1988/9) 4/13/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Joseph Suder's Piano Concerto and piano pieces by Margarita Höhenrieder (1988) 4/13/16 Selig im Glauben (Wagner's Parsifal) +2DVD sets: Levine in NYC (1992) and Nagano in Baden-Baden (2004) 4/13/16 Debussy #6 +1CD String Quartet (+ Zemlinsky's 2nd String Quartet) by the Casals String Quartet (2004) 4/13/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Zemlinsky, Marx, Schreker: Lieder by Dorothy Dorow & Massimiliano Damerini (1980)4/13/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Zemlinsky's Psalm 23 & Symphony in B-Flat by Riccardo Chailly in Berlin (1987)4/13/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Zemlinsky's Lyrische Symphonie by Giuseppe Sinopoli in Vienna (1995)4/13/16 Summer Nights #2 +2CDs Zemlinsky by James Conlon (Eine florentinische Tragödie & Lyrische Symphonie) 4/13/16 Opera Favourites #2 +1DVD Puccini's La fanciulla del West by Nello Santi in London (1983) 4/13/16 Opera Favourites #2 +1DVD Puccini's La Bohème by Lamberto Gardelli in London (1982) 4/13/16 Summer Nights #5 +1CD Clemens Non Papa's Missa Pastores by the Tallis Scholars under Peter Phillips (1987) 4/13/16 Stravinsky #2 +2CDs Le sacre du printemps by B. Haitink in Berlin (1995) and M. Alsop in Baltimore (2006) 4/13/16 Stravinsky #1 +2CDs Oedipus Rex: Colin Davis' 1983 and Esa-Pekka Salonen's 1991 recordings. 4/13/16 Stravinsky #2 +2CDs Esa-Pekka Salonen for Apollo, Cantata, Concerto and Works for Piano & Orchestra (1988-90) 4/12/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1CD Scarlatti Sonatas in Ivo Pogorelich's classic 1991 recording 4/12/16 Wintery Romantics +2CDs Szymanowski's Piano Music by Marc-André Hamelin (2002) & Roland Pöntinen (2008) 4/12/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Scharwenka's 2nd Sonata, Romanzero with Seta Tanyel (1992) 4/12/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade with L. Maazel and the Berlin Philh. (1985) 4/12/16 Prokofiev #2 +2CDs Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-5 and 9 & 10; Piano Sonatinas (P. Donohoe) + Cello Sonata (Wallfisch) 4/12/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Symphony No. 2 with Valery Gergiev and the USSR TV & Radio Symphony (1988) 4/12/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Alexander Nevsky with Riccardo Chailly in Cleveland (1983) 4/12/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CDs set Alexander Nevsky & Ivan the Terrible with Mstislav Rostropovich and the LSO (1991) 4/12/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Violin Sonatas with Erik Schumann & Henri Sigfridsson (2007) 4/12/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Complete works for Cello and Piano with Raphael Wallfisch & John York (1999) 4/8/16 Cello Sonatas New links 4/4/16 Schumann +1CD set The Symphonies by Gustav Kuhn and the Haydn Orchestra (2010) (a rip by Corrado D.) 4/4/16 Hindemith +1CD Reger: 4 Solo Violin Sonatas by Ulrike-Anima Mathé (1995) 4/3/16 Hindemith +1CD Reger's Clarinet Quintet by Wenzel Fuchs & the Berlin Philharmonic String Quartet (1999) 4/3/16 Hindemith +1CD set Reger's Cello Sonatas by Alban Gerhardt and Markus Becker (2008) 4/3/16 Hindemith +1CD set Reger's Complete Works for Clarinet & Piano (Ib Hausmann & Nina Tichman, 1998) 4/3/16 Hindemith +1CD Reger: 2 Violin Sonatas by H. Schneeberger & J-J. Dünki (1991) 4/3/16 Hindemith +1CD Reger's Mozart Variations (+Schumann, Weber & Naumann) by Blomstedt in Dresden (1990) 4/3/16 Hindemith +1CD Reger: 3 Solo Violin Sonatas by Ulrike-Anima Mathé (1993) 4/3/16 American Classics +1CD Korngold's Symphonic Serenade + Griffes' Roman Sketches by S. Pittau and the LSO 4/3/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1CD Busoni pieces by G. Andaloro & M. Vacatello (+Franck, Handel, Liszt, Chopin) (2005) 4/3/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1CDset Malipiero's complete String Quartets by the Orpheus String Quartet (1991) 4/3/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1CD Busoni's Turandot Suite + Casella & Martucci's orchestrals works: Riccardo Muti (1992)4/3/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1CD Busoni's Piano Concerto by Garrick Ohlsson & Christoph von Dohnányi (1989) 4/3/16 Contrappunti Italiani +2CDs Busoni's 6 Sonatinas both by Roland Pöntinen (1999) and Michele Campanella (1981) 4/3/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1CD Busoni: Elegies and Sonata by Bruce Wolosoff (rare CD 1986) 3/30/16 Schumann +1CD Alicia de Larrocha for Piano Concerto (C. Davis) + Piano Quintet (Tokyo SQ) 3/30/16 Summer Nights #8 +1CD Brahms' 1st Symphony by Sawallisch in London (1991) (a rip by Corrado) 3/29/16 Summer Nights #1 +1CD Lieder by Korngold, Schreker, Weigl & Schoenberg by S. Kimbrough & D. Baldwin 3/29/16 Mahler Das Lied von der Erde +1CD K. Sanderling 1985 recording (with P. Schreier & B. Finnilä) (a rip by Juan F.) 3/28/16 Summer Nights #8 +1CD Brahms' Symphony No. 3 with Carlo Maria Giulini in Vienna 1991 3/28/16 Strauss #2 +1DVD Giuseppe Sinopoli and the Staatskapelle Dresden: Eine Alpensinfonie (+Wagner's Rienzi Ov.) 3/26/16 Mahler Das Lied von der Erde +1DVD Semyon Bychkov in Cologne (with Torsten Kerl & Waltraud Meier) 3/26/16 Wintery Romantics +2CDs Gorecki's 3rd Symphony (Zinman) and Khachaturian's Ballet Suites (Simonov) 3/26/16 Wintery Romantics +3CDs Lyapunov, Paderewski, Moszkowski's Piano C.tos; Moszkowski, Karlowicz's Violin C.tos 3/26/16 Wintery Romantics +2CDs Borodin's Symphonies by V. Gergiev (Rotterdam, 1990) and M. Ermler (Moscow, 2000) 3/26/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Borodin's String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 by the Borodin Quartet (1966) 3/25/16 Hindemith +2CDs Bernstein's and Eschenbach's recordings of Orchestral Works (with Midori for the Violin C.to) 3/25/16 Debussy #1 +1CD Montserrat Caballé for La damoiselle élue (and Chausson's Poème), Wyn Morris conducting. 3/25/16 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #3 +2CD Berg's Violin C.to (van Keulen) + Orchestral Works (M. Venzago, cond.) 3/25/16 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #3 +1CD Berg's Kammerkonzert conducted by Hindemith (1959) 3/24/16 A Weimar Rhapsody +1CD Krenek's Quartets Nos. 1 & 7 by the Petersen String Quartet (2003) 3/24/16 Strauss Operas #2 +2DVDs Abbado's (1989) and Böhm's (1981) Elektra in Vienna 3/24/16 In the Name of Music +4CDs Wolf's Lieder Bär & Fischer-Dieskau + Italienisches Liederbuch (Cotrubas/Allen & Oelze/Blochwitz) 3/24/16 In the Name of Music +1CD Pfitzner's Lieder selection with J. Kaufmann, C. Prégardien & A. Schmidt (1997) 3/24/16 In the Name of Music +2CDs Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 2 'Lobgesang' by Abbado (1985) and Chailly (2005) 3/24/16 Wagner Romantic Masterpieces +1DVD James Levine's celebrated Lohengrin at the Met 1986. 3/24/16 Strauss #4 +1CD Don Quixote in Pierre Fournier's classic Szell/1960 recording in Cleveland (a rip by Sasha) 3/18/16 Schubert #2 +1CD Symphony No. 3 by Ilan Volkov (+ Haydn's Symphony No. 46 & Mendelssohn's Melusine) 3/18/16 Schumann +1CD Brigitte Engerer's late studio recording (2003), including Mendelssohn, Chopin and Liszt. 3/18/16 Schumann +2CDs Concerto (+Grieg's) by Kovacevich & C. Davis (1971); Symphonic Etudes by Brendel (1990) 3/18/16 Schubert #3 +1CD New Rip and original scans of Winterreise by Hampson and Sawallisch (1997) 3/17/16 Poulenc +2CDs Sonatas by Pascal Rogé & Friends & Gloria by Andrew Davis (+ Stravinsky's Psalms Symphony) 3/17/16 Strauss #4 +1CD Pfitzner and Strauss Orchestral music from Operas, with Thielemann at the Berlin Deutschen Oper 3/16/16 Wintery Romantics +2CDs Grieg's Lyric Pieces (Andsnes, 2001) and 3 Violin Sonatas (Amoyal & Chiu, 1999) 3/16/16 The long Goodbye +1CD Beethoven's 9th Symphony in Karajan's classic London recording (1955) (a rip by Sasha) 3/15/16 Liszt +1CD Piano Sonata (+Scriabin's 2nd Sonata) by Ivo Pogorelich (1992) 3/15/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Saint-Saëns' Symphony No. 3 with Peter Maag and Daniel Chorzempa (1986) 3/15/16 Mahler Lieder +1CD Des Knaben Wunderhorn by Charles Mackerras (with A. Murray and T. Allen) (1990) 3/15/16 Summer Nights #1 +1CD Korngold's Lieder by Steven Kimbrough and Dalton Baldwin (1984) 3/15/16 Mahler 9 +1CD Myung-Whun Chung and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra 3/14/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Dutilleux's Correspondance and 'Tout un monde lontain...' with Salonen (2011) 3/14/16 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #3 +1CD Boulez's rec.of Schoenberg's Suite Op. 29 & Op. 4 in the Sextet version 3/13/16 Strauss #4 +1CD Lieder with Soile Isokoski and Marita Viitasalo (the studio recording on Ondine) 3/12/16 American Classics +1CD Vernon Duke's Violin Concerto and Sonata by Elmira Darvarova and Scott Dunn 3/12/16 Shostakovich #1 +1BONUS Symphony No. 4: Jukka-Pekka Saraste & the Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI (2004) 3/12/16 Strauss Operas #2 +1DVD Der Rosenkavalier: Franz Welser-Möst's production in Zürich (2004) 3/11/16 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Keith Emerson's Piano Concerto in Emerson's recording from 1977 (J. Mayer, LPO) 3/11/16 Bartok's Voices #5 +1CD Georg Solti's Hungarian Connections, works by Bartok, Weiner, Kodaly, Liszt (1993) 3/11/16 Strauss Great Operas #1 +1CD set Kurt Masur's Ariadne auf Naxos in Dresden (1988) 3/11/16 Strauss Great Operas #1 +1DVD James Levine's Ariadne auf Naxos in New York (1988) 3/11/16 Strauss Great Operas #1 +1CD set with James Levine's Ariadne auf Naxos in Vienna (1987) 3/11/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Milhaud's orchestral music and Harp Concerto (F. Cambreling) with Kent Nagano 3/11/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Dukas' complete piano music by Laurent Wagschal (2013) 3/10/16 Remembering Harnoncourt's early recordings: +1CD Music at the Court of Mannheim 3/10/16 Menotti's The Medium +1DVD the 1977 classic video recording with Maureen Forrester as Madame Flora 3/10/16 Gershwin +1DVD Simon Rattle's Porgy & Bess (Glyndebourne 1993) 3/10/16 Debussy #6 +1CD Transcriptions for 2 Pianos of Jeux + Stravinsky's Sacre & Bartok's Portraits by Bavouzet & Guy 3/10/16 Debussy #6 +1CD Violin Sonata (+ Pierné's and Fauré's 1st) by C. Giovaninetti & I. Aoyagi (2013) 3/10/16 Debussy #6 Violin Sonata (+ Brahms' 2nd & Schubert's 1st Sonatina) Simone Bernardini & Vanessa Benelli-Mosell 3/10/16 Debussy #3 +1CD Printemps, La boite à joujoux, Children's Corner with Dutoit in Montréal (1994) 3/10/16 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #8 +1DVD Berg's Wozzeck in 1987 Claudio Abbado's production in Vienna 3/10/16 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #8 +1DVD Berg's Lulu in 2002 Franz Welser-Möst's production in Zürich 3/10/16 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #8 +1DVD Berg's Lulu in 1996 Andrew Davis' production in Glyndebourne 3/9/16 Bartok #5 +1CD Concerto for Orchestra with the Purcell School Orchestra conducted by Lionel Friend (1997) 3/9/15 Malcolm Arnold Symphonies - new links added 3/9/16 Summer Nights #3 +1CD Wagner scenes with tenor William Lewis and conductor Gabor Ötvös 3/4/16 Weill +1CD set 'Street Scene' in John Mauceri's 1990 classic recording for Decca 3/4/16 Strauss Operas #1 +1DVD Levine's Elektra (1980, B. Nilsson, L. Rysanek, M. Dunn, D. McIntyre, R. Nagy) 3/4/16 Stravinsky #1 +1DVD Ozawa's Oedipus Rex (1993), directed by Julie Taymor (P. Langridge, J. Norman, B. Terfel) 3/2/16 Ein Bach... +1CD Catalan keyboardist Miquel Villalba's splendid recording of the Goldberg Variations 3/2/16 Ein Bach... +1CD Glenn Gould's must-have 1981 recording of the Goldberg Variations for CBS 3/2/16 Ein Bach... +1CD Angela Hewitt's rare early Canadian recording of Concertos BWV 1052-3-6 with M. Bernardi 3/2/16 Ein Bach... +7CDs Murray Perahia's Concertos, English Suites, Partitas and Goldberg Variations for Sony 3/2/16 Ein Bach... +1CD set: Anner Bylsma's classic recording of the Cello Suites (1991) 2/21/16 Spanish School #2 +1CD Ginastera's Estancia Suite & Harp Concerto (Barrera) under Josep Pons (2003) 2/21/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Magdalena Kozena's recording of Martinu, Dvorak & Janacek's Love Songs (2000) 2/21/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Clifford Curzon and Vienna Philh. Quartet for Dvorak and Franck's Piano Quintets 2/11/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1 Bonus File: Vanessa Benelli Mosell for Busoni's Chopin Variatons (2006) 2/6/16 Musique Française #3 +1CD Fischer-Dieskau's historic 1975 recording of Ravel, Poulenc and Fauré's songs 2/6/16 Wintery Romantics +1DDL Sibelius and Goldmark, Violin Concertos by Bell and Salonen (2000) 2/6/16 Wintery Romantics +1DDL Sibelius, Symphony No. 2 by Salonen and the LA Philh. (2007) 2/5/16 Shostakovich #1 +1CD Jansons's recrding of Symphonies Nos. 2 & 12 in Munich (2005) 2/5/16 Shostakovich #1 +2CDs New rips for Jansons's Symphonies Nos. 3 + 14 & 13 on EMI 2/4/16 Ein Bach... +1CD set Goldberg-Variationen in Tessa Uys's rare recording for Claremont (2000) 2/4/16 Intense Bruckner +1DVD Audio Rip: Sinopoli's 4th Symphony in Tokyo with the Philharmonia Orchestra (1988) 2/4/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Franck & Debussy by Kenneth Weir (+ Rachmaninov's Chopin Variations) (2001) 2/4/16 Debussy #3 +1CD Images and Nocturnes with Dutoit in Montréal (1988) 2/4/16 Debussy #4 +1CD Etudes & Estampes by Véronique Pélisséro (1991) 2/4/16 American Classics +1CD Leroy Anderson's Favourite Orchestral Pieces conducted by Leonard Slatkin (1993) 1/28/16 Recorder music #1 New rips and links 1/27/16 Musique Française #1 +1LP Franck's Piano Quintet and Prélude, Choral et Fugue by J-P. Collard and Muir SQ 1/27/16 Debussy #6 +1LP String Quartet (+ Ravel's), by the Alban Berg Quartett on EMI (1984) 1/27/16 Summer Nights #4 +1LP Roger Woodward's recording of Beethoven's Op. 111 & Op. 57 for RCA (1973) 1/24/16 Opera Favourites #2 +1CD set Levine's Manon Lescaut (Decca, 1993) 1/21/16 Opera Favourites #1 +1CD set Karajan's 1982 recording of Carmen for DGG 1/18/16 Ein Bach... +1CD set Johannes-Passion in Harnoncourt's classic recording for Teldec (1993) 1/17/16 Ein Bach... +1CD set The Cello Suites in Rostropovich's classic 1991 EMI recording 1/16/16 Debussy #2 +1DDL Songs (including Chansons de Bilitis) + Ravel and Chausson by DeGaetani & Kalish (1979) 1/15/16 Musique Française #3 +1CD Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit (+ Elliott Carter's piano works) by Pierre-Laurent Aimard 1/14/16 Shostakovich #2 +1CD set Preludes and Fugues Op. 87 (+Bach from WTC Book 1) selections: Mustonen 1/14/16 Bartok's Voices #5 Additional links for 5CD-box Dorati conducts Bartok (Mercury Living Presence) 1/13/16 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Elgar & Walton's Violin Sonatas by Daniel Hope & Simon Mulligan (2000) 1/12/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Reger's Mozart Variations (Salonen) & Romantic Suite (Zagrosek) in Baden-Baden 1/11/16 Summer Nights #5 +5CDs Vivaldi by Onofri & Antonini, Harnoncourt, Hogwood, Petri, Kermes & Marcon 1/8/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Alice Ader's recording of Préludes 1 & Jeux (2002) (previously posted in Feb. 2012) 1/7/16 Opera Favourites #2 +1CD set Puccini's Turandot in Molinari-Pradelli's 1965 recording in Rome 1/7/16 Opera Favourites #2 +1CD set Puccini's Fanciulla del West in Lorin Maazel's 1991 recording in Milan 1/6/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Préludes by Pascal Rogé (2004 recording) 1/5/16 Debussy #4 +1CD set The Piano Music in Daniel Ericourt's rare recording (1962) (a rip by DanseDePuck) 1/5/16 Debussy #5 +1CD set Préludes, Images and Estampes by Claudio Arrau (1981) (a rip by OdeonMusico) 1/5/16 Opera Favourites #2 +2CD sets Puccini: Maazel's Manon Lescaut (1992) & Chailly's La Bohème (1992) 1/5/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Maazel's Mussorgsky: Pictures and Night in Cleveland for Telarc (1978) 1/3/16 Summer Nights #4 +1CD Beethoven's 9th Symphony by Donald Runnicles in Atlanta (2003) 1/2/16 Strauss Oktoberfest #3 +1CD Vier letzte and Lieder Selection with Soile Isokoski & Marek Janowski (2002) 1/2/16 Strauss Great Operas #2 +1CD set Der Rosenkavalier by Andrew Davis (1995) 12/31/15 Orlando di Lasso: +1CD Moduli Quinis Vocibus, Herreweghe, with extra links (bzzz) 12/29/15 Opera Favourites #2 +1CD Puccini's Suor Angelica by Bartoletti in Rome (1973) (a rip by Juan) 12/23/15 Hindemith +1CD performs his Piano Duet Sonata, 3rd Violin Sonata, Der Schwanendreher (a rip by bzzz) 12/22/15 Debussy #5 +1CD the Préludes by Philippe Bianconi (2012) 12/22/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Elgar's Cello Concerto & Enigma Vars. by J. Lloyd Webber & Menuhin (1985) 12/22/15 Ein Bach... +1CD Cantatas BWV 140 & 147 with John E. Gardiner (1990) 12/16/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Walton's 2nd Sym., Hindemith Variations and Partita (G. Szell 1959) (a rip by Sasha) 12/16/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Carols from Trinity College, Cambridge, conducted by Richard Marlow (1988) 12/16/15 English Baroque Music: New links 12/14/15 Mahler 2 +1CD V. Neumann's recording for Supraphon Fidelio in 1980 12/14/15 Liszt +1CD Gyula Kiss' recording of the 2 Piano Concertos and Totentanz (1976) 12/13/15 O Tuneful Voice (Bronze Series) Added new link with tracks Nos.20-22 repaired using CueTools. 12/13/15 American Classics +1CD Rozsa, Gould and Menotti Orchestral Music by David Amos and the LSO (1990) 12/13/15 Rachmaninov #2 +1CD 2nd Concerto by Cécile Ousset & Simon Rattle (+Grieg's Concerto with Marriner) 12/9/15 Debussy #5 +4CDs Préludes Book 1 (or both) by S.D. Lasry, M. Pollini, O. Maisenberg, Y. Egorov. 12/9/15 Debussy #5 +2CDs Selected Works by M. Lympany and R. O'Hora 12/9/15 Musique Française #1 +1HQ DDL Frank Martin's Mass for Double Choir with Robert Shaw (1994) 12/8/15 Spanish School #2 +1HQ DDL Villa-Lobos' Etudes and Preludes for Guitar with Alvaro Pierri 12/8/15 Spanish School #2 +1HQ DDL S. Isbin with the NYP and J. Serebrier for Rodrigo, Villa-Lobos and Ponce 12/8/15 Spanish School #2 +1CD Falla's Popular Songs by Ann Murray + Ginastera's Estancia (Harth-Bedoya cond.) 12/7/15 Summer Nights #10 +4CDs Holst's The Planets by Yoel Levi, Zubin Mehta, Eugene Ormandy, André Previn. 12/7/15 Debussy #6 +1LP String Quartet (+ Ravel's) by the Quatuor Parrenin on EMI (1970) 12/7/15 Summer Nights #5 +2CDs Handel's Organ Concertos (A. Frigé) and Selected Secular Cantatas (J. Baird) 12/7/15 Composer Alexandre Guilmant: new links 12/5/15 Debussy #4 +1CD box The Piano Music (including a MUST-HAVE recording of the Etudes) by Albert Ferber 12/5/15 Debussy #4 +4CDs The Etudes recordings by Jean-Pierre Armengaud, Monique Haas, Roland Krüger, Ju-Ying Song 12/5/15 Strauss Great Operas #2 +1CD box Edo de Waart's 1976 Der Rosenkavalier in Rotterdam 12/4/15 Summer Nights #10 +3CDs Grainger by Gardiner, Howell's Hymnus paradisi, Elgar by du Pré & Barenboim 12/4/15 Summer Nights #4 +6CDs Beethoven by Rostropovich/Richter, Serkin/Ozawa, Buchbinder, Gieseking, Maazel 12/3/15 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #4 +1LP Schoenberg's Erwartung by Susan Davenny-Wyner (+ Wolpe's Symphony) 12/2/15 Wintery Romantics +1CD Alexander Ardakov's recording of selected Piano works by Glinka, Scriabin, Chopin 12/1/15 Opera Favourites #1 +2CDs Humperdinck's Hansel & Gretel recorded by Donald Runnicles in Munich (1994) 12/1/15 Musique Française #3 +1CD Ravel's Gaspard and Tombeau in Charles Rosen 1959 recording for Epic 12/1/15 Darmstadt #3 +1CD Charles Rosen recording of Boulez 1st Sonata and excerpts from 3rd Sonata (1972) 11/27/15 Summer Nights #9 +1CD Brahms' Deutsches Requiem/Levine (a rip by Juan) + Selected Lieder from original LP 11/24/15 Musique Française #2 +1LP Ravel' for 2 Pianos and Piano Duet with Maria Tipo & Alessandro Specchi (1979) 11/24/15 Prokofiev #2 +1LP Tedd Joselson's rare recording of Sonatas Nos. 2 & 8 (RCA, 1976) 11/23/15 The Odd Couple +3CDs Mozart's Violin Concertos (Kavakos & Camerata S.) + "Gran Partita" by I Fiati di Parma 11/23/15 The Odd Couple +2CDs Mozart's K. 467& 595 (R. Serkin/Abbado) + 488 & 537 (F. Gulda/Harnoncourt) 11/20/15 Summer Nights #6 +1CD Rameau's Grands motets in Hervé Niquet's 1992 recording 11/18/15 Schoenberg Piano Music +1LP the rare 1970 J. von Vintschger recording for Turnabout Vox 11/18/15 Debussy #5 +1CD Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky for Piano Duet with Moneta & Rota Piano Duo (1990) 11/18/15 Debussy #5 +1CD Debussy & Ravel's Music for 2 Pianos and Piano Duet by Collard & Béroff (1982) 11/18/15 Debussy #6 +2CDs Debussy & Ravel's chamber works and Songs with chamber ensemble by the Nash Ens. 11/18/15 Debussy #3 +8CDs Orchestral works with Boulez, Lombard, Salonen, Volkov, Krivine, Rattle, F. de Burgos 11/17/15 Summer Nights #5 +1CD Couperin's Livre de Clavecin (6th, 8th, 18th Ordres) by Angela Hewitt (2002) 11/17/15 Ein Bach... +3CDs Tureck in St. Petersburg + Anderszewski Partitas 1,3,6 + Baroque music for Oboe and Organ 11/15/15 Summer Nights #7 +2CDs Brahms' Piano Concertos by M. Tirimo and the LPO (K. Sanderling & Y. Levi) 11/15/15 Strauss Oktoberfest #2 +1CD Zarathustra (Skrowaczewski) + Symphonia Domestica (Seaman) (NYO of GB) 11/12/15 Summer Nights #8 +1CD Brahms's Serenades in Haitink's classic Philips recording (1981) 11/12/15 Stravinsky #2 +1CD Gatti's 2011 recording with the ONF: Sacre and Petrushka 11/12/15 Stravinsky #2 +1CD Chamber Orchestra Works by the Endymion Ensemble under J. Whitfield (1987). Rare. 11/12/15 Stravinsky #2 +1CD Boulez's 1975 classic Firebird recording with the New York Philharmonic 11/12/15 Stravinsky #2 +2CD Sacre, Firebird, Petrushka & Pulcinella by Yakov Kreizberg and the Monte-Carlo Philh. 11/12/15 Stravinsky #2 +1CD Rattle and the National Youth Orchestra of GB (Sacre) + Dorati and the RPO (Firebird) 11/11/15 Prokofiev #2 +1CD Peter & the Wolf by M. Harth-Bedoya in Fort Worth + Saint-Saens' Carnaval des animaux 11/10/15 Locatelli - Complete Flute Sonatas: New links 11/10/15 Wintery Romantics +1CD Dvorak's Cello Concerto & Tchaikovsky's Rococo with Rostropovich & Karajan 11/10/15 Mahler Lieder +1CD Y. Minton and P. Boulez for Rückert Lieder + Wagner's Wesendonck (1979) 11/10/15 Hindemith +1CD Quartet with Clarinet and Piano with E.Brunner etc. (1999) (a rip by bzzz) 11/10/15 Summer Nights #7 +2LPs Brahms' Ballades Op. 10 by E. Gilels and by W. Kempff 11/9/15 Schumann +1LP Mehta's recording of the 3rd Symphony with the Vienna Philharmonic (Decca 1983) 11/9/15 Summer Nights #8 +1LP Mehta's Brahms's 1st Symphony with the Vienna Philharmonic (a transfer by Enrico B) 11/9/15 Rachmaninov #2 +1CD Leon McCawley's recording of the 3rd Concerto with Charles Groves conducting (1990) 11/9/15 Intense Bruckner +1CD Muti's 4th with the Berlin Philharmonic (1985) 11/9/15 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #1 +1 Bonus: Schoenberg's Phantasy Op. 47 by Irvine Arditti & Noriko Kawai 11/8/15 Poulenc +1LP & 1CD L'Histoire de Babar, with R. Gérôme & J. Février and with J. Moreau & J-M. Luisada 11/8/15 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #3 + 1LP Schoenberg's Chamber Works by de Leeuw (1986) 11/7/15 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #3 +1Double LP: Schoenberg's Complete Chamber Choir Works by de Leeuw 11/6/15 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #6 +1CD Dorow & de Leeuw: Webern's complete Soprano and Chamber Orchestra 11/6/15 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #6 +1LP Dorow & de Leeuw for Webern, Dallapiccola, Schoenberg & Stravinsky 11/4/15 Sgorby Rips #1 +1CD Sammartini's Quintetti e Quartetti by Ensemble Aglàia (2007) (a rip by Davide) 10/29/15 Dutch Organists #Part2: New links 10/27/15 Essential American Classics +1LP Wolpe, Lieberson, Stravinsky: piano works Peter Serkin (1985) 10/27/15 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #3 +1LP Serenade Op. 24, Boulez's classic recording of 1963 for Wergo. 10/27/15 Schoenberg Piano Music +1CD Paul Jacobs' legendary Nonesuch recording (1975) (a rip by BZ) 10/27/15 Mendelssohn Chamber Music: New links 10/25/15 Mendelssohn New links 10/24/15 Hindemith +1CD 4 Violin Sonatas with Oleg Kagan & Sviatoslav Richter (1978) (a rip by bzzz) 10/23/15 Glories of the Italian Piano School +1CD Domenico Nordio & Giorgia Tomassi (Beethoven & Pärt) 10/23/15 Glories of the Italian Piano School +1CD Geza Hosszu-Legocki & Giorgia Tomassi (Franck & Beethoven) 10/23/15 Glories of the Italian Piano School +1CD Giorgia Tomassi's unreleased recording of Chopin's Préludes (1997) 10/23/15 Rachmaninov #2 +1CD Glemser's recording of 2nd and 3rd Concertos under Wit (1996) (a rip by Lupo2004) 10/22/15 Summer Nights #7 +1CD Brahms's Violin Sonatas by Cristopher White and Melanie Reinhard (1999) 10/21/15 Rare Grooves #1 +3LPs Böhm's Eroica; Argerich's Bach and Muti's Verdi (4 Pezzi Sacri) 10/21/15 Dutch Organists #1 New links 10/20/15 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP Debussy Images, Faune and La mer by Paul Paray and the Detroit SO (1957) 10/19/15 Glories of the Italian Piano School +1CD Ciani & Gavazzeni for Mozart's K. 466 & K. 491 (1970/1973) 10/19/15 Rachmaninov #2 +1CD Noriko Ogawa's recording of 2nd and 3rd Concertos in Malmö under Hughes (1997) 10/16/15 Darmstadt #5 +3LPs Xenakis's Choral and Orchestral works with Constant and Tabachnik (a rip by Sotise) 10/16/15 Darmstadt #5 +1LP Rare album with Levinas's Orchestral Works ripped by friend Sotise (Adès MFA 1985) 10/15/15 American Classics +1CD Bernstein's Dybbuk (Complete Ballet), first recording (1974) 10/15/15 Wintery Romantics +1CD: Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade by John Mauceri and the LSO (1987) 10/1/15 Glories of the Italian Piano School +1DDL: Tomassi with Accardo for Beethoven's 'Kreutzer' & 'Spring' (2004) 10/1/15 Glories of the Italian Piano School + 1 Bonus: Dino Ciani plays Brahms's 1st Piano Concerto (Turin, 1969) 10/1/15 Messiaen +1LP: Paul Jacobs' rare recording of the Quatre études de rythme + Busoni, Stravinsky, Bartók (1976) 9/29/15 Strauss Great Operas #2 +2CD sets: Der Rosenkavalier. Karajan's (1956) and Bernstein's (1971) recordings 9/29/15 Strauss Great Operas #2 +1CD set: Die ägyptische Helena conducted by Gérard Korsten in Cagliari (2001) 9/27/15 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter etc. with Ernest Ansermet (1958) (a rip by Enrico B) 9/26/15 Mahler 3 +1CD set: V. Neumann's great Prague early digital recording for Supraphon (1981) 9/26/15 Mahler Lieder +1CD Christianne Stotijn's Rückert and Selected Lieder + Brahms Alto Rhapsody (2006) 9/25/15 Second Viennese School Ess'ls #2 +1CD Berg's Kammerkonzert by the Baton Rouge Chamber Players 9/25/15 Messiaen +1CD Cinq rechant by the BBC Singers/S. Cleobury (+ Choral works by Villette, Poulenc, Caplet) 9/25/15 In the Name of Music +1CD Mendelssohn's 2nd Symphony ('Lobgesang') by Richard Hickox (2002) 9/24/15 Mahler Das Lied von der Erde +1CD, Donald Runnicles (2008) 9/24/15 Strauss Oktoberfest #2 +2CDs The Piano Music by Stefan Vladar & The Piano Trios by Odeon Trio 9/24/15 Strauss Oktoberfest #3 +2CDs Alpensinfonie: Masur & ONF (2007) and M. Jansons & BBC Welsh (1991) 9/22/15 Schoenberg Piano Music +2CDs Roland Pöntinen's & Madalena Soveral's fabulous complete recordings 9/22/15 Schoenberg Piano Music +1CD, Claude Helffer's classic recording for HM (1969) (a rip by John F) 9/22/15 Schoenberg Operas +1CD set, Georg Solti's reference recording of Moses und Aron in Chicago 1985 for Decca 9/21/15 Messiaen +1CD, Cinq Rechants + Stockhausen's Choruses for Doris and Xenakis choral works (Chandos, 1998)9/21/15 Messiaen +1DDL, Fête Des Belles Eaux by the Sextet of Ondes Martenot of Montréal (ATMA 2008) 9/18/15 Summer Nights #1 +1 Bonus: Martinu, Krasa and Schulhoff conducted by Christopher Hogwood (Milan, 2003) 9/18/15 Hindemith +1Bonus: Hindemith in Italy, conducting his music plus Brahms's, Webern's and Blacher's at RAI 9/18/15 Hindemith +1CD Violist A. Tamestit & P. Järvi beautiful CD (also including pianist M. Hadulla) (2012) 9/18/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD set, Lloyd Webber's rock opera masterpiece Jesus Christ Superstar (London cast 1996) 9/18/15 Weill +1CD Dessau's Symphony No. 2, In memoriam Brecht, Les voix etc. by Roger Epple on Capriccio (2009) 9/18/15 Rare Grooves +1LP Liszt & Wagner Preludes with Mehta & the WP (1967) (a stunning LP transfer by Enrico B) 9/17/15 Prokofiev #2 +1CD Boris Giltburg's recording of the War Sonatas (6th, 7th and 8th) (2012) 9/16/15 Poulenc +1CD Chamber Music with Woodwinds and Piano Duet Sonata by the Ensemble Petra (1999) 9/16/15 Darmstadt #2 +1CD Carter's Sonata (+ Bartók's and Dutilleux's) by Claire-Marie Le Guay on Accord (2000) 9/15/15 Darmstadt #2 +2CDs Including a new rip of Maderna's Oboe Concertos by Holliger & Bertini (1993) 9/14/15 Darmstadt #2 +2 Bonus: Donatoni's Le ruisseau (Brunello); Maderna Grande Aulodia + Nono's A Carlo Scarpa 9/14/15 American Classics +2CDs Herrmann & Diamond Chamber M. + Donald Fagen's milestone album The Nightfly 9/14/15 Schumann +1CD: Fischer-Dieskau's reference recording of Dichterliebe, Myrten and Liederk. Op. 39 (1979) 9/14/15 American Classics +1CD: Ives's "Concord" Sonata by Aimard and Songs by Graham on Warner (2004) 9/14/15 Darmstadt #2 +1CD Maderna's 3 Oboe Concertos by Fabian Menzel and Michael Stern on Col Legno (1996) 9/13/15 Darmstadt #4 +1CD Carter's one act opera "What Next?" in Péter Eötvös's première recording for ECM 9/11/15 Debussy #1 +1CD Thierry Fischer's recording of Le martyre de Saint Sébastien (BBC MM, 2011) 9/11/15 Debussy #5 +2CDs Benedetti Michelangeli's historic recordings of the Préludes for DG (1978 & 1988) 9/11/15 Debussy #4 +1CD Charles Rosen's reference (and first ever) recording of the Etudes (1955) 9/11/15 Summer Nights #12 +1LP Grumiaux and Haitink for Bruch 1st Violin Concerto (a transfer by Enrico B) 8/4/15 Schubert on Modern Instruments: new links for Oktett in D, by Cherubini Quartett 8/4/15 Schubert on Modern Instruments: new links for Richard Goode 8/3/15 Rare Grooves#1 +6 LPs mostly Enrico B's outstanding transfers of great out-of-print material 8/2/15 Intense Bruckner +9CDs with classic recordings by Solti, Chailly, Abbado, Wand, Karajan, Harnoncourt 7/25/15 Buxtehude & Pachelbel Organ Works - New links 7/18/15 Darmstadt #3 +1CD Pollini's classic DGG recording of Boulez's 2nd Piano Sonata (1978) 7/17/15 American Classics +1CD (NEW RIP) Lieberson's Neruda Songs with Hunt Lieberson & Levine (BSO) 7/16/15 Tristan und Isolde +1CD box, Georg Solti's classic recording (1960) (a rip by Cecco) 7/16/15 Selig im Glauben (Parsifal) +1CD box, Georg Solti's classic recording (1972) (a rip by Cecco) 7/15/15 Strauss Operas #1 +1CD box, Leinsdorf recording with Caballé, Milnes and the LSO (1968) (a rip by Cecco) 7/14/15 Die Meistersinger +2CD box, Solti 1975 Vienna (a rip by Cecco) and Kempe 1957 Berlin (a rip by A. Zaccaria) 7/13/15 Tristan und Isolde +1CD box, Fritz Reiner's historical London recording (1936) (a rip by Andrea Zaccaria) 7/2/15 Second Viennese School Ess'ls #2 +2DT Berg's Violin Concerto by Carmignola/Inbal & Kavakos/Harding 7/2/15 Second Viennese School Ess'ls #2 +1CD Berg's Violin Concerto's & Kammerkonzert, I. Stern (Bernstein/Abbado) 6/30/15 Darmstadt #3 +1CD Boulez's Piano Sonatas and 12 Notations by Pi-Hsien Chen (2004) 6/30/15 Summer Nights #7 +1DT: J. du Pré with R. Goode and T. Schippers, Brahms & Mendelssohn (live in Spoleto) 6/30/15 Bartok #4 +1CD Violin Concertos by Midori & Mehta (1990) previously only on LP rip (courtesy of Cecco) 6/30/15 Bartok #5 +1CD Concerto for Orchestra & 4 Pieces by Leon Botstein and the London Philharmonic (2000) 6/29/15 Summer Nights #9 +2CDs (incomplete) Franck Symphonie with the Berlin Philh. (Mehta 1995 & Giulini 1986) 6/16/15 German Baroque New link: Fischer Musica Sacra 6/6/15 Bruckner +1CD Ozawa's 7th with the Saito Kinen Orchestra (2004) (Courtesy of Cecco) 5/27/15 Summer Nights #8 +2CD Mehta and the IPO, Brahms' 1st Symphony and Mozart Sinfonia Concertante K.364 5/27/15 Musique Française #2 +1CD Milhaud Piano Concertos + Carnaval d'Aix by C. Helffer and D. Robertson (1992) 5/27/15 Rachmaninov #2 +1CD 3rd Concerto by Jorge Luis Prats and Enrique Bátiz (1989) 5/27/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Howell's Music for String & Orchestra, by Richard Hickox (1992) 5/27/15 Wintery Romantics +1LP Tchaikovsky's 2nd Piano Concerto by Magaloff and C. Davis (a rip by Enrico B.) 5/22/15 Second Viennese School Ess'ls #9 +1CD Chamber Concerto by J-F. Heisser (a rip by Ranapipiens) 5/19/15 Hindemith +1CD Trumpet Sonata by Ole E. Antonsen & Wolfgang Sawallisch (EMI, 1996) 5/19/15 Prokofiev #1 +1CD "Romeo & Juliet" excerpts with Kurt Masur and the Gewandhaus Orchestra (1987) 5/19/15 Summer Nights #5 +1CD Wagner Opera Scenes with W. Meier and L. Maazel (1997) 5/19/15 Strauss #1 +1CD Horn Concertos with B. Tuckwell & V.Ashkenazy and the RPO on Decca (1990) 5/19/15 Wintery Romantics +1CD Tchaikovsky, Dukas, Enescu, Mussorgsky showpieces, E. Mata & the Dallas SO (1988) 5/14/15 Schumann +1CD Piano Concerto by R. Serkin/Ormandy 1965, and same from an outstanding LP rip by Enrico B. 5/14/15 Strauss #3 +1CD Zarathustra and Don Juan with Alan Gilbert and the NYP 5/14/15 Musique Française #1 +2CDs completing Eschenbach's Roussel Symphony cycle in Paris on Ondine 5/5/15 Strauss #2 +2CDs A Cappella Choral Works (Danish Radio Choir 1993) & Alpensinfonie by Michalakis (2000) 5/5/15 Contrappunti italiani +1CD Busoni's Piano Concerto with Peter Donohoe & Mark Elder (1988 on EMI) 5/5/15 Second Viennese School Ess'ls #1 +1CD Verklärte Nacht + Metamorphosen & Siegfried-Idyll by Levine (1991) 5/5/15 Debussy #5 +1CD Images I, II & Oubliées + Estampes & Berceuse Heroique by Fou Ts'Ong (1990) 5/5/15 Schumann +1CD String Quartets Op. 41 with the Eroica Quartet (2001) (a rip by Der Wanderer) 5/4/15 Webern +1LP Chamber Music with P.Serkin and the Tashi Ensemble (1983), + Takemitsu's Piano Works 5/4/15 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP: Vivaldi Concertos with Ayo and I Musici (1968) (a rip by Enrico B.) 5/4/15 Prokofiev +1LP Violin Concerto No. 2 (+ Sibelius'): Szeryng & Rozhdestvensky 1965 (a rip by Enrico B.) 5/4/15 Bruckner +1DVD: Sinopoli's 4th with the Philharmonia Orchestra in Tokyo 1988 (NHK Classical DVD) 4/29/15 Telemann +1CD Collegium Musicum '90 - Hickox - Donner Ode 4/17/15 Haydn - Complete Baryton Trios - Esterhazy Ensemble Added working link for dsic 16 and cover image for disc 13 4/17/15 Summer Nights #10 +3CDs Elgar Symphonies (C. Davis 2001), 3rd (P. Daniel) & Serenade (Orpheus CO) 4/16/15 Baroque Music in the Netherlands: New links (Koopman, Huggett, Hazelzet, Mathot, vdMeer) 4/16/15 Summer Nights #4 +1CD Mozart's Divertimenti and Serenata notturna with I Musici (a rip by Enrico B.) 4/16/15 Willem de Fesch: New links 4/15/15 Stravinsky #2: +1LP Symphony in C, Symphonies for Wind, 4 Etudes, Suites (Ansermet. A rip by Enrico B.) 4/15/15 Schubert New links Paul Badura-Skoda, playing Sonata D960 & Klavierstücke 4/15/15 Summer Nights #10 +2CDs Walton's Belshazzar's Feast (Terfel & Litton) and the Symphonies (Ashkenazy) 4/15/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Holst's The Planets (Y. P. Tortelier in Manchester) 4/13/15 Sibelius +1CD The NZSO & Inkinen: Scènes historiques and King Christian Suite 4/11/15 Entartete Lieder +1CD Dagmar Krause - Supply & Demand 4/11/15 Schubert: +1CD Quintet in C, by the Arcanto Quartett 4/9/15 Liszt +1CD Symphonic Poems (including Les Préludes) with Zubin Mehta and the Berlin Philh. (1994) 4/9/15 American Classics: 1CD Gershwin Porgy & Bess highlights, American in Paris, Cuban Ov. by Mehta & the NYP 4/9/15 Summer Nights #2: +1CD: Rezniček and Korngold's 1st String Quartets by the F. Schubert Quartett of Vienna 4/9/15 Schubert Essentials #1: +2CDs Works for Piano Duet by Anne Queffélec & Imogen Cooper (Erato, 1978) 4/9/15 Debussy #4: +4CDs The Complete Piano Music by Paul Crossley with one of the finest accounts of the Etudes 4/8/15 Musique Française #1: +1LP Frank Martin's Der Cornet (Rilke), Lipovšek & Zagrosek (1984) 4/8/15 Rare Grooves +1LP Grofé's Grand Canyon and Alfvén's Swedish Rhapsody by Ormandy in Philly (CBS, 1958) 4/8/15 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP Vivaldi, Capuzzi & Paisiello: Concertos with I Musici (Philips 1964. A rip by Enrico B.) 4/7/15 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP: Goldmark's Rustic Wedding Symphony by Jesús López-Cobos (1981) 4/7/15 Rare Grooves #2 +2 LPs: Mendelssohn 3rd (A. Davis), Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht & Suite in G (Scimone) 4/7/15 Summer Nights #3: +1CD Mendelssohn's 3rd ("Scottish") Symphony + Beethoven's 1st by Osmo Vänskä 4/7/15 Summer Nights #4: +1CD Mozart's 'Jeunhomme' Piano Concerto with McCawley and Leaper (1996) 4/7/15 Wintery Romantics: +1CD Silvestrov's 5th Symphony and Postludium with Lubimov and Roberston (Sony, 1995) 4/7/15 Summer Nights #1: +1CD Glière's 'Ilya Muromets' Symphony by Edward Downes in Manchester (1991) 4/7/15 Summer Nights #1: +1CD Borodin's 3 Symphonies by José Serebrier in Rome (1989) 4/7/15 Second Viennese School Essentials #7: +2CDs Schoenberg's Moses und Aron by Sylvain Cambreling (2012) 4/7/15 Wintery Romantics: +1CD Tchaikovsky Suites (Nutcracker & Swan Lake), Mehta & the Israel Philh. (Decca, 1979) 4/7/15 Summer Nights #7: +1CD Brahms Hungarian Dances, 5 Studies and 2 Rhapsodies by Louis D. Alvanis (1994) 4/7/15 Ein Bach...: +1LP: Daniel Varsano's recording of the Goldberg Variations (CBS, 1980) 4/7/15 Debussy #2 +1LP: Mélodies (including Baudelaire & Mallarmé sets) by Hugues Cuenod (1979) 4/7/15 Musique Française #2 +2CDs Wagschal for Fauré's Nocturnes (2009) + Satie by Ciccolini (and Tacchino) (1986) 4/7/15 Easter Passion Music: New links 3/22/15 German Baroque chamber Music New links in the comments 3/21/15 London Baroque - Trio Sonatas: new links in the comments 3/21/15 Vivaldi - Musica ad Rhenum : new link in the comments 3/19/15 Shostakovich #1 +1CD Bernstein's 5th (NYP, Tokyo 1979) & Cello Concerto with Ma & Ormandy in Philly 1982 3/19/15 Mahler 1 +1CD Solti's recording with the LSO (Decca, 1964), a new rip by Sgorby 3/19/15 Darmstadt #3: +1CD rip by Sgorby of already posted Ligeti by Cerha (Wergo) 1971 (previously on LP rip) 3/16/15 Debussy #4 The Complete Solo Piano Music by Aldo Ciccolini on EMI (1991) (a rip by Sgorby) 3/16/15 Strauss #3 +2CDs 4 last Songs Schwarzkopf & Szell (1966) and Harper & Del Mar (1981) 3/15/15 Strauss #3 +1CD Ein Heldenleben by Haitink and the CSO (2009) 3/15/15 Stravinsky #2 +1CD The Firebird (complete) & Chant du rossignol by Kitajenko and the Danish Radio SO 1991 3/14/15 Summer Nights #1 +1CD Respighi's Belfagor, Belkis and Church Windows (Ashkenazy, Netherlands Radio Philh.) 3/14/15 Shostakovich #1 +1CD Hypothetically Murdered Suite + Pushkin Romances (Kharitonov & Elder) 1992 3/14/15 Shostakovich #2 +1CD 1st Violin Concerto (+ Glazunov Violin C.to) with Perlman & Mehta on EMI 1988 3/12/15 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Li & Ozawa's for the 2nd Piano Concerto (+ Ravel's G Major Concerto) (DGG, 2007) 3/12/15 Mahler 8 +2CDs Leif Segerstam's recording in Copenhagen for Chandos (1994) + 10th Adagio 3/12/15 Summer Nights #8 +1CD Andrew Davis recording of Brahms's 4th + the Zigeunerlieder (BBC 1996) 3/12/15 Musique Française #1 +3CDs: Boulanger's Faust et Hélène; Franck by Firkušný & Flor; Debussy & Takemitsu 3/12/15 Debussy #4 +1CD Livia Rev's recording of the Etudes (+ Suite Bergamasque, D'un cahier, Berceuse) (Saga 1980) 3/5/15 Mahler 5 +2CDs Frank Shipway and the RPO (1996) (Symphony + No. 1 by Yuri Simonov) 3/5/15 Spanish School #3 +2CDs Ginastera by Santiago Rodriguez (1984) & Mompou by Ester Pineda (1992) 3/4/15 Bartok #4 +1LP 2nd Piano Concerto and 4 Pieces for Orchestra, Weissenberg and Ormandy (1970) 3/3/15 Musique Française #2 +1CD Debussy for Piano Duet & 2 Pianos by Pascal & Ami Rogé (2011) 3/3/15 Gershwin +1CD Rhapsody in Blue (Daniel Adni in Bournemouth), Addinsell's Warsaw C.to & Rózsa's Spellbound 3/3/15 Wintery Romantics +1CD Nielsen's 2nd Symphony (A. Davis) and Sibelius's 5th (Bamert) with the BBC SO 3/3/15 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Salonen and the Berlin Philharmonic: Romeo & Juliet (Excerpts) (CBS 1986) 3/1/15 Spanish School #3 +2CDs Albeniz & Granados selection by J.M. Pinzolas + "My Piazzolla" by Cecilia Pillado 3/1/15 Debussy #1 +1CD Jeux (Eötvös), Prélude (Robertson), Satie's Parade (Porcelijn), Roussel's BeA's 2nd Suite (Weller) 2/28/15 Debussy #4 +3CDs: Anne Queffélec's 12 Etudes, Ravel's Concertos & Miroirs, Fauré's Violin Sonatas (with P. Amoyal) 2/28/15 American Classics +2CDs: Copland The Populist by Tilson Thomas & MacDowell Symphonic Poems by Krueger 2/28/15 Debussy #2 +1CD Claudette Leblanc's album of Mélodies (with Valerie Tryon) (1989) 2/28/15 Summer Nights #5 +1CD Mackerras' recording of Berlioz Symphonie fantastique (with the RPO, 1994) 2/28/15 Summer Nights #4 +1CD Mackerras' recording of Beethoven 9th for EMI (Liverpool 1991) 2/27/15 Des Horizons #2 +1LP Debussy's Chansons de Bilitis & Satie's Socrate cond. by Friedrich Cerha (1969) 2/27/15 Des Horizons #2 +1CD Debussy and Ravel Music for 2 Pianos, by Pascal & Ami Rogé 2/27/15 Debussy #4 (Etudes) +1DDL: Nelson Goerner's recording of Etudes Livre II, plus Images Livre I & Estampes 2/27/15 Des Horizons #1 +1LP, Munch's last recordings in Paris, Ravel Concerto in G (w. Henriot-Schweitzer) & Honegger 2/26/15 Wintery Romantics +1LP: Maazel early recording of Tchaikovsky's 4th Symphony in Vienna for Decca (1965) 2/26/15 Des Horizons #1 +1CD Canteloube's complete Chants d'Auvergne by von Stade and De Almeida (CBS 1985) 2/26/15 Strauss Operas #2 +1CD set: Die Frau ohne Schatten, the complete Sawallisch recording for EMI (1987) 2/22/15 Des horizons de la musique française #2 +1CD Chabrier's Piano Music by Hewitt (2004) (a rip by Alan) 2/22/15 Rachmaninov #1 +1CD 2nd Symphony by Farberman & the RPO (1978) (a rip by Sgorby) 2/22/15 Summer Nights #9 +1CD Respighi Antiche Danze e Arie per Liuto by Ozawa (DGG 1979) (a rip by Sgorby) 2/22/15 Wintery Romantics +1CD Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker by Gergiev (Philips 1998) (a rip by Alan) 2/21/15 Wintery Romantics +6CDs Tchaikovsky Complete Symphonies: Temirkanov and the RPO (BMG) (a rip by Sgorby) 2/21/15 Wintery Romantics +2CDs Tchaikovsky Swan Lake (Complete) with Sawallisch (EMI 1994) 2/13/15 The World of Debussy #5 +1LP Rip, Teddy Teirup plays "La boîte a joujoux" (+ Ravel's Sonatine) 2/10/15 Bohemian Composers of the 17th Century New links added 2/7/15 Music from the Renaissance #2 New links added 2/3/15 Shostakovich #2 +1CD Cello Concerto No. 1 by Amit Peled 2/3/15 Summer Nights #5 +1CD Cello works by H. Eccles, Couperin, Fauré & Ligeti (Amit Peled with Eliza Ching) 2/3/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Elgar's Cello Concerto by Amit Peled 2/02/15 Keyboard Music on Harpsichord New links completed 1/30/15 Brahms's Concertos +1CD Violin Concerto & Sonata No. 2 by Vengerov & Barenboim (1998) 1/30/15 Second Viennese School Essentials #4 +1CD Karl Weigl's String Quartets Nos. 1 & 5 by the Artis Quartett Wien 1/30/15 Schoenberg: Piano Music +1CD Pi-Hsien Chen's reference recording of the complete set (1996) 1/30/15 Des Horizons #1 +1CD d'Indy's Symphonie sur un chant montagnard with Marek Janowski 1/30/15 American Classics +2CDs Thomas Hampson's Songs by Ives, Griffes, MacDowell & Glass Syms 2 & 3 by M. Alsop 1/30/15 Brahms Piano & Chamber Music Gems +1CD Andrea Bonatta's recording of 8 Klavierstücke, Paganini, Rhapsodies 1/29/15 Keyboard Music on harpsichord Added new links 1/28/15 HIF Biber and comtemporarie
Yesterday we pondered two videos of Tristan und Isolde from the 20th century. Now let us move on to a performance that is definitively of the 21st. Patrice Chéreau, the humanist in provocateur’s clothing, returned to Wagner in 2007 at La Scala with Daniel Barenboim and Waltraud Meier. The three had first collaborated, memorably, on Berg’s Wozzeck more than a decade earlier. In all of Chéreau’s work in opera, but more than ever in the work completed in the last decade of his life (Così fan tutte, From the House of the Dead, Tristan, Elektra), there is an urgent humanity about familiar characters. These are not myths or archetypes, not superpeople. They are plausible and volatile human beings bearing up under extreme circumstances. When it works, as I believe it usually did, you may ask: is anything grander than that? //www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGy3tWPMx4g In this production , the dream is in the middle of the opera: two people at last alone. The outer acts are set in squalid realism. There are more people laboring away on the ship in the first act than we typically see, busy with their own concerns, stories concealed from us, paying no mind to Isolde and Brangäne. Again in the third act, we see more people around Tristan than are absolutely necessary. The director’s usual designer, Richard Peduzzi, does characteristic work with utilitarian settings that loom over the characters, creating a stark environment against which principals stand out. Waltraud Meier’s Isolde here, her third and last on video, is one of the greatest filmed performances I have seen in an opera. The voice is what it is, a lifted mezzo that had dared Isolde for 14 years and was inevitably showing some wear. It is in good shape for the date, but you can hear bigger voices, easier voices, more beautiful voices in this music. On a sound-only recording, there would still be much to praise in the musical technique, the way she makes the strengths and weaknesses alike work for her (a slightly sour or tangy quality to the lower middle is useful to color sarcasm), the impressive textual specificity, the obvious care for and perceptive handling of language and music. But it is the total performance that is worth considering in this visual document: the voice, the face, the eyes, the disciplined and meaningful use of the body, the ravaged glamour and charisma of a great screen actress. The first word that comes to mind to sum up what she provides is “command.” And the second, even more important, is “love.” This intelligent, opinionated artist was in something that brought together three men it would not be hyperbole to call the artistic loves of her life: her favorite director, the conductor with whom she was most closely associated, and the composer she has said she wishes she had another lifetime to explore. She gives the impression of going after an ultimate statement on Isolde as she understands Isolde, with enough voice left to do it and in conditions that made it attainable. She achieved that, and the cameras were there. Meier’s lioness-in-winter turn at the center gives the rest of the cast a challenge to meet. Only Salminen, back as Marke, was in 2007 a Wagnerian of comparable stature, and his voice is drier and more restricted in dynamics and color than it had been 24 years earlier. This is an angrier Marke than the one for Ponnelle. He stalks about like a wounded bear and shoves Melot around, but we sense sorrow and loss along with the seething. Durham-born Ian Storey‘s voice, good-sized but pale and starchy, may not be anyone’s dream instrument for Tristan, and he can be seen glancing at the conductor a few times. He holds his own and has some rough-hewn magnetism. Michelle DeYoung, younger than the Isolde, convincingly embodies Chéreau’s interesting idea of Brangäne as surrogate mother figure, with thinning hair and a stoop. Gerd Grochowski supplies rude, blotchy life as Kurwenal. In general the supporting characters are better considered than they usually are, including Melot (Will Hartmann, pursuing the whiny option). Barenboim’s conducting this time is more evocative, with a languorous mystery to the prelude, as if the curtain is being pulled back on long-ago, secret things. Much of the performance suggests, in the way scenes are built and shaped, remembrances coming into sharper focus. The Scala orchestra’s sound is rich and mellow. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGkzbIwEHnQ Of (Waltraud) Meier’s two prior filmed Isoldes, the 1998 Munich is the more interesting and the more strongly cast. She was in firmer voice than in 2007, and had been able to explore the role more fully than in 1995. Director Peter Konwitschny does much that may impress as strange and perverse, but he can never be easily dismissed in German repertoire. It is obviously the work of a real director with insights into what he is staging. Things linger in the memory: the childhood slideshow accompanying Tristan’s sickbed reverie. Isolde’s moment of hesitation near the end as she closes the red curtain on the mourning Marke and Brangäne, understanding their grief but removed from it, no longer of their world, like a spectral visitor to her own funeral. Kurt Moll‘s frail, kindly, yet very dignified Marke. Meier’s first Isolde, in Heiner Müller‘s 1993 Bayreuth production as taped two summers later, might seem more valuable if her Munich and Milan ones did not exist. Müller, for all his accomplishments as a creative artist, was not a director on the level of the four aforementioned, nor as conversant with the medium of opera. He was pursuing a tone of restraint and alienation, but lacked the means to enliven scenes, which tend to sag. Coming to this after any of the performances previously discussed, one may find it undercooked, plain. There is honest and often moving work from the veteran Siegfried Jerusalem as Tristan, but everything else that is worth having can be had better elsewhere. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CNBIJj1CFM
Richard Wagner (22 May 1813 - 13 February 1883) was a German composer, conductor, theatre director and essayist, primarily known for his operas (or "music dramas", as they were later called). Wagner's compositions, particularly those of his later period, are notable for their complex texture, rich harmonies and orchestration, and the elaborate use of leitmotifs: musical themes associated with individual characters, places, ideas or plot elements. Unlike most other opera composers, Wagner wrote both the music and libretto for every one of his stage works. Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works such as The Flying Dutchman and Tannhäuser which were in the romantic traditions of Weber and Meyerbeer, Wagner transformed operatic thought through his concept of the "total work of art". This would achieve the synthesis of all the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, and was announced in a series of essays between 1849 and 1852. Wagner realised this concept most fully in the first half of the monumental four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen. His Tristan und Isolde is sometimes described as marking the start of modern music. He had his own opera house built, the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, which contained many novel design features. It was here that the Ring and Parsifal received their premieres and where his most important stage works continue to be performed today in an annual festival run by his descendants.
Great composers of classical music