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Classical music and opera by Classissima

Richard Wagner

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


parterre box

Yesterday

Wallflower at the orgy

parterre boxI’ve reached one of my goals for 2017: with this week’s upload of Edgar, you can now find at least one complete performance of every opera by Giacomo Puccini on my Mixcloud site. Bryan Hymel and Angela Meade star in the composer’s second opera in a concert performance from Frankfurt in 2014. Edgar remains perhaps Puccini’s least-performed opera. It is the only one which I’ve never seen staged, nor have I even heard of a staging in my part of the world. (At least Wiener Staatsoper gave us Le villi.) In a second upload, I supplement the opera catalogue with the Messa a quatri voci con orchestra, more commonly known as the Messa di Gloria, plus two early, brief orchestral works, and some lovely canzoni. If you recognize some of this music, it just proves that Puccini was not above recycling: just listen to the first chords of Crisantemi or the first canzone. Now that Wagner and Puccini are complete, look for the rest of Janá?ek and Britten in the coming months, as well as more Verdi and some rare Richard Strauss.

Iron Tongue of Midnight

Yesterday

A Few Notes on "Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix"

Lucas Cranach the Elder, Samson and Delilah The other week, I ran across an article on Corymbus, via a tweet from the author, Emma Kavanaugh. It's called "Rethinking Sexual Agency in 'Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix'" and it's an analysis of Dalila's power and sexuality in the context of 19th century opera and signifiers of exoticism. This is, of course, one of the showstopper arias from Samson et Dalila, the only one of Camille Saint-Saens's dozen operas that is still performed in the US. The article is largely on target, but I also think that Kavanaugh misses one or two significant points and that one point she's trying to make is simply not supported by the musical evidence. Here are some useful links, if you'd like to follow along:Text of the aria, Wikipedia, with translationsFull score of the opera, IMSLPLots of mezzos and a few sopranos taking a shot at the aria. I listened to Horne in 1983, at the Met Gala, because that rich, chocolaty tone of hers works very well in this one. I tried to find a recording by a late 19th/early 20th c. French contralto with no success. I'll note that it's interesting to listen to the Italian Ebe Stignani right after Horne. She's singing in Italian, and her timbre is so bright (and admittedly it is a gorgeous sound) that she doesn't sound quite right to me.In fact, here she is: First off, we are going to take a step or two back and note that Dalila is a mezzo-soprano. This is significant, perhaps twice over. Nineteenth century French opera has some notable mezzo prima donnas, whereas in Italian opera, mezzos are usually the other woman, the witch, the mother. French opera gives us Cassandre, Didon, Dalila, Charlotte, and others. Take a minute to think of Wagner's mezzos, and, well, they're a rather mixed lot. There's enough association between sex and mezzos, and between the exotic and mezzos, that I think somebody must have written a dissertation about this. Consider Azucena and Ulrica, Verdi's mezzo witches. They are exotic: a gypsy, to use the older term, and a black woman. Consider Princess Eboli, who is in love with Carlo while carrying on with his father, and who gets the most exotic, most Spanish, aria in the opera.( Keep the Veil Song in mind, because I'll be getting back to it later.) Berlioz being Berlioz, Didon doesn't have the earthiness of Verdi's mezzos, or of Dalila, but gosh, she is rather obviously having sex with Enée in the Royal Hunt & Storm and again in "Nuit d'ivresse." (There's some exoticism in Troyens but it comes in the Act IV ballet music rather than in the vocal parts.) And (ahem) how could I forget Carmen, historically sung by both mezzos and sopranos, but sporting gypsy exoticism, the use of Spanish musical styles, and a very free sexuality? Continuing on the theme of exoticism, if you've listened to the aria, does the opening sound familiar? That's right: it's awfully similar to what the high strings are doing at the opening of Act 3 of Verdi's Aida, another opera steeped in exoticism. I see that the French premiere of the opera didn't take place until 1876, five years after its world premiere, and Samson's premiere was in 1877. Well, hmm, there are such things in scores, and it seems possible that S-S could have seen the score of Aida. In any event, I do not think this is an accident. Now, about Dalila's sexuality and how she uses it. Maybe she's just trying to seduce Samson in order to symbolically castrate him....but if you listen to this aria and read the text of it, well, I'd say that she might just have the hots for him. Look at that text: yeah, it might be her heart opening to him, but consider how he might "fill her with ecstasy." That...is all pretty blatant, in my reading. Kavanaugh discusses the chromaticism and increasing complexity of the orchestral accompaniment as signifiers of exoticism, which is in itself something of a stand-in for sexuality. But I think she goes too far is her discussion of "wordless vocalise." She offers as evidence the following phrase, which I've copied directly from her article: I confirmed on Twitter that yes, she's talking about the "Ah!" in the above example. I do not buy this as "a wordless vocalisation" (or vocalise, the word she uses earlier). To start with, we're talking about three beats, three-quarters of a four-beat measure in an aria that's about 75 bars long and has lots of words. As a wordless vocalization, it's not much. The "Ah!" has a couple of functions. It's an intensifier, a sort of a sigh, which is not surprising when she's singing about being filled up with ecstasy. Practically speaking, it is possible the librettist put it in to make the French phrase more singable. Try to fit the words to the phrasing without the "Ah!" and you'll see what I mean. Lastly, it's the first bar of a two-bar melodic sequence...and it's a sequence that occurs in a number of places in the aria proper and in the duet that follows. Here's another musical example, from the full score: Note Dalila in the third through sixth measures, where she's singing an elongated version of what's in her aria (unless tempo changes have made the measures sound at the same apparent speed as in the first example), complete with the leap of a 7th, etc. This is now in duet with Samson, who has a sort of inversion of some of what she's singing. You want an exotic vocalization, I've got one for you, and here we bring in "Nell giardin del bello," the Veil Song, which I suggested you keep in mind a few paragraphs back. Here's the great Fiorenza Cossotto - it's just the first verse, but that should be enough to make my point. Listen to what she is doing starting around 1:50 or 1:55. Now there is a wordless vocalise, indicating exoticism: in this case, it's fake-Moorish style, entirely appropriate for an opera set in renaissance Spain not all that long after the Jews and Muslims were thrown out of the country. Compare with Dalila's three beats above, and that's why I'm a skeptic.




Meeting in Music

February 17

Recent updates to previously posted music

02/18/17 Schoenberg Piano Music +1DDL Complete set by Pina Napolitano (2012) 02/16/17 Debussy #4 +2CDs Etudes by Garrick Ohlsson, both the 1988 and the 2013 recordings 02/11/17 Prokofiev #1 +1CD 2nd Piano Concerto + Tchakovsky's 1st by Beatrice Rana & Antonio Pappano in Rome 02/1/17 Musique Française #3 +1CD Rameau & Royer's Pièces de clavecin by Jean Rondeau ('Vertigo') (2015) 01/28/17 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP Schubert's Symphonies Nos. 5 & 8 by Böhm in Vienna (1982) (a transfer by Enrico B.) 01/28/17 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP Haydn's Symphonies Nos. 29, 30, 31 by Dorati in Budapest (1975) (a transfer by Enrico B.) 01/21/17 Summer Nights #3 +1CD Mendelssohn's 3rd & 4th Sym. by Heras-Casado in Freiburg (2015) (a rip by Enrico B.) 01/21/17 Summer Nights #3 +1LP Mendelssohn's 1st & 2nd Sym. by Sawallisch in London (1967) (a transfer by Enrico B.) 01/19/17 Murray playing Bach Organ Works New links in the posting 01/18/17 Musique Française #2 +1DDL Respighi's Fountains & Pines of Rome, The Birds by Louis Lane in Atlanta (1985) 01/11/17 Debussy #3 +1DDL Jeux & Images pour Orchestre by Tilson Thomas in San Francisco (2014) 01/10/17 Musique Française #2 +1CD Saint-Saens' 1st Cello Concerto by Tortelier & Frémaux in Birmingham (1974) 01/03/17 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Elgar's Cello Concerto by Paul Tortelier & Charles Groves in London (1988) 12/29/16 Goodbye 2015 +1CD Monteverdi's Selva morale e spirituale by William Christie (1987) 12/26/16 Musique Française #3 +1CD set Berlioz's L'enfance du Christ by C. Davis in London (1976) (a rip by Enrico B.) 12/19/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Tchaikovsky's 'Pathétique' Symphony by Giuseppe Sinopoli in London (1989) 12/16/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Gesualdo's Tenebrae responsories by the BBC Singers & Bo Holten (2004) 12/16/16 Summer Nights #10 +1CD set Byrd and Taverner: Masses, by David Willcocks in Cambridge (1963) 12/12/16 Schubert #1 +1CD Sonata D.894 & Impromptus D.899 by Daniel Levy in London (1997) 12/11/16 Summer Nights #9 +1CD Volkmann's Cello Concerto & Serenades by H. Karni & M. Pommer (Hamburg 1997) 12/9/16 Mozart: Nachtmusik Added missing track #9 (+New cue file and log) 12/5/16 Stravinsky #2 +1DVD Petrushka + Blacher's Paganini Variations by Zubin Mehta in Florence 1995 12/5/16 Opera Favourites #3 +1DVD Verdi: 4 Pezzi Sacri by Claudio Abbado in Stockholm 1998 (+ Debussy's Nocturnes) 12/3/16 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #4 +1CD Schoenberg's Pelleas + Variations Op. 31 by Zubin Mehta in Tel Aviv 12/3/16 In the Name of Music +1CD Orff's Carmina Burana by James Levine in Chicago (1984) (a rip by Cunctator) 11/29/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Korngold's Piano Music by Ingrid Jacoby (1998) 11/29/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Grieg & Schumann, Piano Concertos by Ingrid Jacoby in London (2005) 11/21/16 Poulenc +1CD Motets, 7 Chansons, Mass, Figure humaine by the Grex Vocalis choral ensemble (1999) 11/18/16 Musique Française #1 +1 CD Ravel Tombeau, Fauré Masques & Pavane by the Orpheus Chamber Orch. (1995) 11/18/16 Musique Française #3 +1CD set Ravel's piano music by Jacques Rouvier (1974) 11/15/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Concertos Nos. 1 & 3 with Gary Graffman & George Szell in Cleveland (1966) 11/15/16 In the Name of Music +1CD Orff's Carmina Burana by Richard Hickox in London (1987) 11/14/16 American Classics +1CD Ives & Creston's Symphonies no. 2 by Neeme Neeme Järvi in Detroit (1995) 11/13/16 Shostakovich #2 +1CD Suites from 'The Gadfly' and 'Pirogov' film scores by José Serebrier (1987) 11/13/16 Shostakovich #1 +1CD Semyon Bychkov's 5th in Berlin (1986) now from original CD 11/11/16 The Odd Couple +1CD Mozart Concerto No. 13 + Beethoven's 'Eroica' by Barenboim in Versailles (1997) 11/11/16 The Odd Couple #2 +1CD Mozart's Requiem by Riccardo Muti in Berlin (1987) 11/8/16 Rachmaninov #2 +1DVD Rip Concerto no. 3 with Giorgia Tomassi in Tel Aviv (1992) 11/8/16 The Long Goodbye +1CD Mozart & Weber's Clarinet Quintets by Eduard Brunner & the Hagen Quartett (1987) 11/7/16 Summer Nights #1 +1CD Korngold & Schmidt Chamber Music with Piano Left Hand by Leon Fleisher (1993) 11/4/16 Mahler Lieder +1CD Fischer-Dieskau's Gesellen & Kindertoten + Wolf's Lieder in the 50s (a rip by Corrado D.) 11/4/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Dvorak Cello Concerto & Tchaikovsky's Rococo' by Christine Walevska (1971) 11/3/16 Rare Grooves #2 +LP set Vivaldi's Il Cimento Op. 8 by I Musici and Felix Ayo (1959) (a transfer by Enrico B.) 11/1/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Chinese Ancient Classical Music by Xiaming (2001) 11/1/16 Debussy #4 +1CD Etudes, Images oubliées, Estampes, Suite Bergamasque by Roger Woodward (1997) 11/1/16 American Classics +1CD Copland's Piano Works (Blues, Sonata, Rodeo, Salon) by Eugenie Russo (1995) 11/1/16 American Classics +1CD Copland's Tender Land & Red Pony Suites by James Sedares in Phoenix (1991) 11/1/16 Stravinsky #2 +1CD The Rite of Spring & The Firebird Suite by James DePreist in Portland (2000) 11/1/16 Stravinsky #2 +1CD The Rite of Spring & Apollo by Jaap van Zweden in Hilversum (2006) 10/17/16 Mahler Lieder +1CD Wyn Morris 1966 Des Knaben Wunderhorn (J. Baker & G. Evans) (a rip by Leroy V) 10/12/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Debussy, Ravel, Poulenc, Saint-Saens: Violin Sonatas by Kang & Devoyon (2003) 10/11/16 Darmstadt #4 +1CD Carter's Piano & Cello Sonatas + works by Del Tredici, Helps & Persichetti 10/11/16 Brahms Piano & Chamber Gems +1CD Clarinet & String Quintets by D. Shifrin and Chamber Music N-W 10/11/16 Darmstadt #3 +1CD Boulez's Structures for 2 Pianos by the Kontarsky Duo (1965) 10/8/16 Spanish School #2 +1CD set Albeniz's Iberia by Olivier Chauzu (2008) 10/4/16 Strauss #3 +1CD Oboe Concerto by Douglas Boyd & Paavo Berglund (1986) (+ Mozart's K. 314) 10/4/16 Strauss #3 +1CD set Heldenleben & Zarathustra with Zubin Mehta in L.A. (1968) (a rip by Dante B.) 10/3/16 Bartok #5 +1CD The wooden Prince & Hungarian Pictures by Neeme Jarvi in London (1990) 10/3/16 Bartok #5 +1CD The wooden Prince & Dance Suite by Ivan Fischer in Budapest (1996) 10/1/16 Haydn Quartets Op. 9 New links added for the original release from the 1990's. Disc scans and inside cover scans are included in the new scans link. Scroll to the bottom of the comments section for the new links. 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 School #2 +1CD Spanish & Argentine Flamencos played by Paco Peña & Eduardo Falú (1989) 9/14/16 Spanish School #2 +1CD Montoya & Ricardo: Flamencos, played by Paco Peña (1987) 9/13/16 Spanish School #3 +1CD Spanish 20th Century Guitar Works by Agustin Maruri (1995) 9/13/16 Spanish School #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 Hungaria

The Boston Musical Intelligencer

February 17

Is Maelzel the Boss?

Commemorating the 2009 premiere of Schuller’s “Where the World Ends” (BMInt montage) Gunther Schuller, who died two years ago at age 89, made his home in Boston ever since 1967, when he arrived to direct the now 150-year-old New England Conservatory of Music. His relationship with the Boston Symphony, which includes commissions and over 100 performances, stretches from 1959. The renowned conductor, orchestra player, and writer, composed abundantly for orchestra in his long career; the BSO had performed his well-known Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee (1959) either complete or in part over 30 times before last night. It is a natural idea to associate Klee’s paintings and drawings with music, knowing that Klee himself was trained as a musician and only at maturity gave up the violin for full-time effort as an artist; one could say that in Klee’s visual art, the graphic line is like melody: a unifying element of structure. Schuller’s seven pieces are mostly short and fragmented; the first, “Ancient Harmonies,” is less than two minutes, with chromatically complex wind chords, and the second, “Abstract Trio,” about as long, presents more winds in pointillistic groups of three, concluding with a cadential pizzicato for the strings. “Little Blue Devil” begins with an orchestral shriek, and then, according to the composer’s notes, “is transformed into a kind of jazz piece. A perky, angular theme…is combined with a blues progression.” The blues had a sighing 1940s sound, very appealing, with walking bass beat and trap set, rich low-tessitura harmony, and some wild solo flurries for the vibraphone. “Twittering Machine,” another short piece, began with buzzing bees, a rapid texture of closely-packed seconds in strings and winds, which alternated thereafter with high- and ultra-high-register squeaks and bleats: string harmonics, three piccolos, and piano seemed to carry the day. “Arab Village” the longest of the seven pieces, was marked by intense color and spatiality, including an offstage solo flute and Arab melodies in an extraordinary timbral mix — the warbling melodic unit appeared to be a dissonant unison of solo viola, harp, and three oboes, and something else I couldn’t see or identify. The background of this was a G minor ostinato pulse just like Tchaikovsky’s in The Nutcracker but richer. The flute solo faded in and out of this, with echoes of Griffes’s beloved Poem and Ravel’s Flûte enchantée, and widely-spaced divided strings in lush harmony. “An Eerie Moment” was dominated by brief fortissimo gestures and a sostenuto background with a continuous roll on high timpano (I think). The last piece, “Pastorale,” which in Klee’s original carried a subtitle, “Rhythms,” revealed repeated stepwise oscillations, back and forth and slurred, and fading away. Andris Nelsons directed the whole ensemble with close precision and minimal gestures, and the orchestra’s concentration was complete. Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat Major, K. 482, comes geographically between two more popular works in the same genre, No. 21 in C Major, K. 467 “Elvira Madigan,” and No. 23 in A Major, K. 488. K. 482 is like a reincarnation of an early but fully mature concerto, no. 9 in E-flat Major, K. 271 “Jeunehomme”, but with a larger orchestra (flute, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets, timpani, strings, but lacking oboes); both works have slow movements in C minor, and both include a Minuet as a separate section in the middle of the finale. K. 482 is more relaxed, just as K. 271 is more brazen. The slow movement of K. 482 is a variation form of rare beauty, like that of no. 18, K. 456. (The finales of no. 17 in G Major, K. 453, and no. 24 in C Minor, K. 491, are also in variation form.) A perceptible orchestral problem in this work has something to do with the woodwinds: if the passages for two bassoons in unison were played by only one, there would be an improvement. Emanuel Ax was the expert piano soloist. He and conductor didn’t seem to quite match at first; it was a while before his running scale passages achieved the requisite metric clarity; but eventually all was well, as Ax allowed Mozart’s unsurpassed lyricism to emerge full strength. This was especially true in the lovely slow movement. (Psychological programming nexus here: the subdominant coda of Mozart’s Andante [from m. 200 to the end] and the subdominant coda in the Marcia funebre of Beethoven’s Eroica [from m. 223 to the end], both in the same key, have an uncanny feeling.) The finale had plenty of bounce and brightness, and Emanuel Ax’s love for the piece was everywhere evident; according to the program book, he has played it with the BSO “on numerous occasions” with six other conductors. Most histories of music point to Beethoven’s Third Symphony, the Sinfonia eroica, op. 55, as a milestone that marks a point-of-no-return for the evolution of musical art. I think of it in slightly different terms — as a work of such amazing originality that no one could have foreseen its appearance on the horizon, no one could have heard it coming just on the basis of what was already known. There are other such works: Chopin’s B Minor Scherzo, op. 21; Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique; the Prelude to Tristan und Isolde (Wagner himself wrote at the end of a sketch: “So ward noch nie komponirt!”); Debussy’s Nuages; Stravinsky’s Petrushka. But Beethoven’s Eroica is what made the entire Romantic era, and indeed the whole modern musical world from 1815 to 1914, possible. Paul Henry Láng said it well 76 years ago: “Beethoven himself never again approached this feat of fiery imagination; he wrote other, perhaps greater works, but he never again took such a fling at the universe. Every component is unusual but singularly appropriate for his purpose, which is not the cult of one person but of an ideal, that of heroism itself.” Beethoven’s personally heroic act was also his triumphant affirmation of his destiny over his own despair. Judging from the joyful and witty lyricism of the Second Symphony of 1802, one could not imagine that Beethoven, crippled by advancing deafness, had considered suicide in that same year; just two years later, he launched mankind on its greatest musical adventure, leading the way with the Eroica. The formal features of the Sinfonia eroica are so well known, and so often written about by dozens of major writers, that I hardly need say much about them here. (An excellent recent treatment can be found in Beethoven’s Symphonies: An Artistic Vision, by Lewis Lockwood, published 2015.) Above all, the four movements of the Eroica are an unflagging demonstration of forward motion in time, of assuring that the musical ideas follow correctly and in unbroken succession, whether in rapid tempo (the Scherzo), slow tempo (the Marcia funebre), moderate tempo (the first movement: Allegro con brio), or changing tempi (the Finale). It still startles audiences to realize that the first movement of the Eroica, nearly 700 measures, is almost as long in performance as an entire symphony of Haydn’s or Mozart’s, and its intensity never diminishes, even when it breathes for an instant, as at mm. 154-166 and 551-566. The Marcia funebre, with its triplet drumbeats and reverse-dotted rhythms, is almost as long as the first movement. The Scherzo bursts the bonds of the classical minuet and trio decisively and relentlessly. The Finale, which blends variations with the Sturm und Drang fantasia, is Beethoven’s single most radical adventure in variation form, his most brilliant confrontation with a theme that began as a Contredanse (WoO 14), broadened in his Prometheus ballet (op. 43), expanded further in his Variations for piano, op. 35, and culminated in the last movement of the Eroica. This was the first Eroica I had heard live in some years. The orchestra played brilliantly in all respects. My disagreements are interpretive, and I’m not sure that everybody will follow my lead. First of all, the tempi. This performance, as in so many other recent instances, reveal to me that Beethoven’s own metronome markings, as published, are just wrong. Beethoven’s opening Allegro con brio asks for 60 to the measure. Andris Nelsons’s tempo last night was close to Toscanini’s, in fact slightly slower than 60; most listeners would be convinced that more coherence, and more audibility of detail, would be possible only with a slower tempo, something like Klemperer’s of about 120 to the quarter. But an even more egregious example is the Allegro molto of the Finale, which Beethoven marks at 76 to the 2/4 measure ( = 152 to the quarter), which just doesn’t make sense. Nelsons came close to this, and it sounded really chaotic, indeed much faster than the Presto at the end of the movement, where the M.M. is 116 to the quarter. When the main theme enters at m. 12, a slower tempo than 76 is surely called for; 60 to the measure is more like it. As for the dynamics, the faster tempo tends to push these as well, and many times I felt that the tutti were too loud. E.g., in the Marcia funebre, the crescendo at mm. 96-98, marked f sempre più f should culminate in a solid ff, not fff. Not always, for sure! In the first movement, the crescendo from p to ff in just one measure (m. 185), just as Beethoven demands, was superbly exciting. Then there’s the middle of the Development section, a very famous passage, where Beethoven writes accents with sf 36 times in 32 bars, beginning at a ff level, climaxing with four very dissonant Neapolitan seventh chords which are, ironically, marked only f. Yet all of these contradictory markings don’t, to my mind, represent a challenge for greater force so much as greater restraint. In this performance of the Eroica I was able to get the full impression of Andris Nelsons’s choreographic bent. He throws gestures all over the place, often conducting the accents rather than the measures, where these are at variance, and this can be very important; he turns right and left to face one or the other sections of strings (cellos and basses on the right), sometimes with small precise beat, other times with exaggerated swoops, and sometimes to great effect, not at all (e.g., mm. 527-531 in the first movement); often he rests his left hand on the railing behind him — again, so as to call attention to the conducting arm. Sometimes he bounces on his feet. Nelsons’s big gestures sometimes generate a bigger, louder response from the orchestra than is called for by the music. But I don’t expect everyone to agree with me about this. This expressive Eroica deeply moved even when it was too fast and too loud. Mark DeVoto, musicologist and composer, is an expert in Alban Berg, also Ravel and Debussy. A graduate of Harvard College (1961) and Princeton (PhD, 1967), he has published extensively on these composers and many music subjects, most notably, harmony. The post Is Maelzel the Boss? appeared first on The Boston Musical Intelligencer .



ArtsJournal: music

February 15

Lincoln Center Snapshot: Bing, Bernstein, and Balanchine Fifty Years Later

By Joseph Horowitz Fifty years ago an instantly iconic photograph was taken of Rudolf Bing, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, Leonard Bernstein, music director of the New York Philharmonic, and George Balanchine, artistic director of New York City Ballet. They are posed in front of Lincoln Center’s Philharmonic Hall. The Met is about to inaugurate its new home, completing the move to Lincoln Center of the three main institutional constituents. Bing stands alongside a poster brandishing the sold-out world premiere of Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra, inaugurating the New Met. Bernstein (with cigarette) stands alongside a poster showing the sold-out run of a subscription program comprising an obscure Beethoven overture, William Schuman’s String Symphony, and Mahler’s First (not yet a repertoire staple). A City Ballet poster, to the rear, announces the dates of the Fall season. So depicted, three performing arts leaders – all of them famously strong personalities -- are seen poised to drive their celebrated companies to greater heights, buoying an unprecedented American cultural complex. Half a century later, the photograph reads differently. We can newly observe that in September 1966 all three institutions were already fundamentally shaped by their pasts; that the pertinent histories of the Met and Philharmonic, and of New World opera companies and orchestras generally, were more confining than empowering; that Balanchine was the odd man out because he alone would sustain a creative aspiration in his new home, pursuing a kind of Americanization project that Bernstein could not successfully implement, and that Bing disdained attempting. And this juxtaposition, of three art forms and their chief New York City institutional embodiments, carries vexed implications for the pivotal half century to come. If the coming Trump Presidency suggests an exigent priority to the cultural community (such as it is), it may be this: that never before in recent memory have the arts been as challenged to inspire hearts and minds. I: OPERA Before 1900, opera in America was many things. It was exclusive and it was democratic. It habituated large bejeweled spaces and places small and cheap. It cherished European masterpieces in foreign tongues and “ballad operas” composed and sung in English. In Baltimore, in the 1830s, William Woods refused to sell private boxes “hankered for by a small class”; “every wise manager in America will set his face like a flint against it,” he predicted. In New Orleans, James Henry Caldwell (born in England) presented opera in English at a theater whose patrons included rivermen in buckskins; John Davis (born in Paris) meanwhile gave opera in French with a polished company that five times toured the northeast. In San Francisco, an illiterate saloon keeper named Tom Maguire built an operatic Academy of Music with three tiers of boxes. A panorama of New York City opera, ca. 1850, would include Donizetti and Verdi at a Chambers Street theater seating opera lovers on benches with wooden shoulder-high slats for support. “Tonight ‘Lucrezia Borgia,’” reported Walt Whitman in the Brooklyn Eagle. “On Wednesday night it will be pleasanter to go, for then they give ‘Lombardi.’” The Academy of Music, with 4,600 seats, hosted Giuliana Grisi and Giovanni Mario – great names. The German Stadttheater, on the Bowery, presented Goethe and Schiller alongside Flotow’s Martha; beer was hawked by vendors strolling down the aisles. Pelham’s Troupe offered such diversions as “The Laughable Opera Extravaganza of DON GIOVANNI,” plus “an unequaled programme of Ethiopian Songs, Choruses, solos, duet, jigs, fancy dances, &c.” When in 1861 the Academy of Music presented the American premiere of Verdi’s A Masked Ball, a reporter observed “the high and the low [and] the middle strata of metropolitan society. . . . Snuffy professors, wild looking pianists, inchoate prime donne, magnificent artists without engagements, sapient critics, and blase dilettanti . . . all mixed up in one grand olla prodrida, talking in as many tongues as the celebrated artificers of Babel.” Gradually, a general direction materialized, symbolized by great wealth: the opera box. Henry James took note and called it “the only approach to the implication of the tiara known in American law,” the “great vessel of social salvation.” Another observer, known as the dean of New York music critics, was Henry Edward Krehbiel, who in 1908 sagely prophesied that opera in America would remain “experimental” until “the vernacular becomes the language of the performances and native talent provides both works and interpreters.” Less sagely, he added: “The day is far distant, but it will come.” Krehbiel’s prediction was predicated on European practice: opera grew in Italy, Germany, France, and Russia via the evolution of national schools of repertoire and performance style. During this period of gestation, Italians heard all opera, no matter where composed, in Italian. The French heard opera in French, Germans opera in German. Russians were accustomed to hearing all opera in Russian well into the second half of the twentieth century. That in the United States the vernacular never became “the language of the performances”[1] doomed the creation of a native canon of American works that Krehbiel and many others once foresaw as a necessary fundament. If opera in America did not remain “experimental,” as “the implication of the tiara” it became exogenous. The melee of nineteenth century opera clarified after 1900 as “grand opera” – flung in Italian, French, and German by enormous voices into an enormous space, perpetuating great works by deceased Italian, French, and German composers. In no European country was twentieth-century opera so narrowly defined, or so defined as a foreign art. The agent of this definition was the Metropolitan Opera, founded in 1883 by arraviste socialites whose fabulous wealth dictated fabulous occasions at which to flaunt it. As the eighteen boxes at the Academy of Music were fully subscribed, a five-tiered horseshoe auditorium was built with 3,615 seats, including no fewer than 122 boxes (a number later reduced after an 1892 fire). At first the Met faced formidable competition from the Academy of Music and from Oscar Hammerstein’s visionary Manhattan Opera. The Academy could not rival the Met in star power or artistic prowess. Hammerstein could – and was bought out by the Met for $1,250.000 in 1910. Over time, the touring troupes that popularized opera (but not grand opera) were supplanted by the Met’s own ambitious national tours. Beginning in 1931, Saturday Met matinees were broadcast coast to coast. English-language opera, a nascent nineteenth century enterprise, was permanently marginalized. Opera in America was made fundamentally glamorous and exotic. If American grand opera therefore failed to produce enduring American operas, if its aura of exclusivity contradicted democratic American mores, a remarkable opera product was nonetheless sustained. From its inception, the Met – more than any house abroad – managed to corral a plethora of great voices. And it entrusted these voices to a series of great conductors who maintained standards of stylistic integrity. Anton Seidl – a protégé of Wagner – came first, followed by Gustav Mahler and Arturo Toscanini. After Toscanini’s departure in 1915, the house split into Italian and German wings, each demandingly and inspirationally superintended. The German wing was headed by Artur Bodanzky, the Italian by Tulio Serafin and then Ettore Panizza. If little remembered today, Bodanzky, Serafin, and Panizza were a galvanizing factor. The Italian pit orchestra bequeathed by Toscanini retained its powderkeg virtuosity. The singers, old and new, were coached in the traditions Bodanzky, Serafin, and Panizza had absorbed in Berlin, Vienna, Milan, and Rome. There were no airplanes to shuttle these artists elsewhere and back. An ensemble was maintained. The Bodanzky and Panizza broadcasts of the thirties document a caliber of execution unapproachable today in the core Verdi/Wagner repertoire. I know of no more explosive operatic performance than the Otello Panizza led on February 12, 1938. Giovanni Martinelli, in the title role, was the defining Otello of his generation. Elisabeth Rethberg, the Desdemona, possessed the lushest Germanic soprano of her time. The Iago, Lawrence Tibbett, was the first and most complete in a line of American Verdi baritones, a consummate singing actor. What binds these Italian, Austrian, and American ingredients is Panizza and the bright trumpets and drums, stabbing accents and biting articulation of his fabulous Italian band, incendiary exponents of a Latin style connecting via Serafin and Toscanini to Verdi himself -- who supervised the 1887 premiere of Otello at La Scala, with Toscanini sitting among the cellos. With Bodanzky’s death in 1939, and the wartime departure of Panizza to his native Argentina in 1942, the Met’s conducting corps lost stability and continuity. The orchestra deteriorated. Binding stylistic energies dissipated. The big voices were increasingly unmoored. Worse: to general surprise and consternation, they began to disappear. In Wagner, Lauritz Melchior and Kirsten Flagstad, Birgit Nilsson and Jon Vickers yielded no successors. In Verdi, the dramatic sopranos and tenors – the Aidas and Radames – turned scarce. If today’s opera stars are blander than their precursors, the dissipation of national schools has crippled opera more than it has performances of Swan Lake or Beethoven’s Ninth. There is a reason. Imagine performing Shakespeare or Chekhov with every verbal pitch and rhythm specified by the author, freezing in time the rhetoric of another era. People today do not speak as they did two centuries ago – our discourse is less formal, less declamatory. Our orators, with their microphones, are softer and quicker in delivery. Especially when grand spaces are maintained, opera makes no allowances for these changes. The consequences are most obvious in Russian opera, because Russian opera was long insulated from the West: it changed the most recently. The style of such iconic vocalists as Feodor Chaliapin (1873-1938) and Ivan Kozlovsky (1900-1993) projected a seamless continuum between speech and song. Their strategies of expression embraced an extreme range of dynamics and tempo, supported by dazzling command of what singers call “head voice” and “messa di voce.” Today, Kozlovsky’s way of singing Lenski’s aria, from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, is a lost art vividly preserved on film via youtube. The aria’s oscillation of “day” and “night,” life and death, is underlined by interpretive inspirations no present day singer would attempt. [2] Next to this timeless rendition, with its specifically Russian cast, what we hear nowadays seems an all-purpose exercise in “taste,” equally applicable to Russian, Italian, French, or German words. A prominent Italian conductor of my acquaintance says that it became impossible to adequately cast Verdi at La Scala beginning in the 1970s. Something like that equally happened at the Met. Self-evidently, the future of opera lies in smaller spaces. *** Rudolf Bing, who became the Met’s general manager in 1950, was a Viennese who had previously served as general manager of the Glyndebourne Opera and artistic director of the Edinburgh Festival. Bing plausibly viewed his predecessor, Edward Johnson, as custodial. He fired Lauritz Melchior for not attending rehearsals and (in 1955) engaged Marian Anderson to become the Met’s first African-American soloist (an initiative Johnson had resisted, and which members of Bing’s board did not welcome). One of several prominent stage directors Bing quickly brought to the Met to replace aged, undistinguished productions was Garson Kanin, whose world was Broadway and Hollywood. Kanin clashed with Fritz Reiner over whether the partying principals in Die Fledermaus could sing lying down rather than standing up. When Reiner said no, it was Reiner who was replaced. Nothing about Bing’s initial Met season was more auspicious than his decision to open with Don Carlo, a late Verdi masterpiece long out of the Met’s repertoire. Less auspiciously, Bing (though not a professional musician) did not appoint a music director. In fifteen seasons prior to the move to Lincoln Center, Bing’s regime proved to be not about stagings, not about conductors, and not about repertoire. Twentieth century works were rare. A single premiere – Samuel Barber’s Vanessa (1958) – was given. But Bing was able to do what the Met had always done: secure leading international vocal artists. During his first Lincoln Center season, 13 of 26 operas were Italian (Bing did not like Wagner). The casts for these operas included Monserrat Caballe, Franco Corelli, Birgit Nilsson, Leontyne Price, Cesare Siepi, Joan Sutherland, Renata Tebaldi, and Tito Gobbi (there exists no present-day equivalent). If that was a typical Bing achievement, the first Lincoln Center season was in other respects atypical. The seven new productions included two premieres: Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra and Martin David Levy’s Mourning Becomes Elektra. Also new was a fresh mounting of Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes. But the Barber and Levy operas did not stick, and the list of important twentieth century operas Bing did not present remained long. Never during his 22-year tenure did Met audiences encounter Lulu, Moses und Aron, Billy Budd, Porgy and Bess, or anything by Poulenc, Shostakovich, Janacek, or Prokofiev. Ultimately, the Met remained stuck in the same time and culture warp that had insulated the Johnson regime. (A telling confession, in Bing’s memoirs, was that he so lived at the Met that he had no occasion to watch movies.) In fairness to Bing, he was burdened with a grand opera problem not of his own devising. The twentieth century operas New Yorkers needed to see were especially resistant to grand opera treatment: generally considered, they required a smaller space and an audience that could understand the words.[3] In any event, by the time Bing left in 1972, the generic grand opera product in which the Met specialized had quite obviously begun to run down. Goeren Gentele, who was named to take over, was a free-spirited Swedish impresario and director. He planned to bring in Ingmar Bergman, who had staged Stravinky’s The Rake’s Progress for him in Stockholm. He was eager to collaborate with other American companies Bing had disdained. He prioritized creation of a “mini-Met”: a smaller second house adapted to changing times. There was, however, never any public indication that Bing foresaw such a need. Moving to Lincoln Center, the Met had opted for an even larger auditorium, with 3,800 seats and 175 standees – about twice the size of the admired opera houses of Vienna, Munich, Bayreuth, and St. Petersburg (the old Met held 3,625). The logic was partly economic: more seats, it was assumed, would generate more income. And the Met remained enamored of sheer size. Eighteen days into his tenure, Gentele died in an automobile accident. The new Met regime, whose artistic leader was James Levine, promoted a slate of major twentieth century operas. It also, in 1995, introduced Met Titles, so that audiences could at last understand the foreign languages being sung. But these welcome initiatives required a more intimate setting to register fully. Today, no amount of glamour, real or synthetic, no amount of marketing panache can compensate for a space too vast even for Gotterdammerung or Aida, with their underpowered twenty-first century sopranos and tenors, for sung plays like Lulu or The Nose, for new, theatrically ambitious works by the likes of Thomas Ades. Depicted in September 1966 alongside a poster showing the sold-out world premiere of Antony and Cleopatra starring Leontyne Price and led by Thomas Schippers, Rudolf Bing may have projected a brave new world of American opera. Revisited today, Bing’s poster records an abortive stab at arresting the tide of cultural history. It documents grand opera in a sunset moment, divorced from transitional times to come. These days “opera” again means many things, spanning a variety of music-theater possibilities. Carousel, West Side Story, even Kiss Me, Kate are fair game for all but the most cavernous American opera houses. It has been some time since the opera was equated with the opera box. II: ORCHESTRAS If American opera was initially polyglot, the American orchestra was born Germanic. In cities large and small, German immigrants founded fledgling philharmonic and choral societies. German-born, as well, was Theodore Thomas, whose world-class Thomas Orchestra toured the nation, coast to coast, beginning in the 1860s. Thomas instilled reverence for the masterpieces of Beethoven and his Austro-German progeny. Thomas’s credo -- “A symphony orchestra shows the culture of a community” – proved prophetic. Europe mainly had pit orchestras; opera showed the culture of the community. In America, it was the concert orchestra that became an honored specialty. The first American orchestra to embody a community of culture was the Boston Symphony, invented by Henry Higginson (like Thomas, a colossus) in 1881. Boston’s example inspired Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Chicago, and St. Louis, all of which had substantial orchestras of their own by 1907. Though the players, conductors, and programs were, as in Boston, formidably Germanic, evolutionary change was anticipated. An “American school” of composers, it was assumed, would anchor the future. As abroad, orchestras would substantially perform native works. That nothing of the kind happened was a defining feature of classical music in America after World War I: the United States acquired a mutant musical high culture, a “culture of performance” relegating the composer to a back seat. This is why Aaron Copland could exclaim in 1941: Very often I get the impression that audiences seem to think that the endless repetition of a small body of entrenched masterworks is all that is required for a ripe musical culture. . . . Needless to say, I have no quarrel with masterpieces. I think I revere and enjoy them as well as the next fellow. But when they are used, unwittingly perhaps, to stifle contemporary effort in our own country, then I am almost tempted to take the most extreme view and say that we should be better off without them! The failed attempt to produce an American symphonic canon was complicated by a late start (modernism mainly rendered cultural nationalism passé) and by an influx of powerful refugee musicians for whom American classical music meant European classical music in a new locale. Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Hindemith, and Bartok were among the relocated composers. The relocated performers included the pianist Rudolf Serkin, who influentially presided at the Curtis School of Music and the Marlboro Festival, and Arturo Toscanini, who as conductor of the New York Philharmonic and NBC Symphony became the iconic American classical musician of the thirties, forties, and early fifties. Neither Serkin nor Toscanini took much interest in Copland’s nascent American school. The Philharmonic is an anomalous component of this tale. It was founded decades before Thomas and Higginson, in 1842 -- but as a part-time musicians’ cooperative. Not until 1909 did a board of directors stabilize and expand the Philharmonic under Gustav Mahler. With Mahler’s death in 1911, a mediocrity, Josef Stransky, was named to take his place. And this wrong turn was compounded by another, when the Philharmonic’s manager, Arthur Judson, and board chairman, Clarence MacKay, decided that they did not need a music director. Should they have known better? In Chicago, the orchestra had only two music directors over the course of half a century: Thomas (1891-1905) was succeeded by his German assistant Frederick Stock (1905-1942); both became civic fixtures. The Philadelphia Orchestra was led by a sui generis genius, Leopold Stokowski, for a quarter-century (1912-1936). Rather like Stokowski, Serge Koussevitzky, Boston’s longtime music director (1924-1949), tirelessly espoused new music. Each of these three orchestras inspired sustained local pride. And each (like Panizza’s Italianate Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) attained a distinctive stylistic identity. In New York, Judson and MacKay elected to appoint multiple principal conductors, supplemented by numerous guests. A pertinent factor was Toscanini, whom they cherished -- he did not wish to undertake a music directorship. Toscanini enforced a fierce perfectionism, but in his absence that the Philharmonic turned truant. It never “showed the culture of the community.” It never acquired the national influence exercised by the Met. Today, the Philharmonic’s national profile is at best modest. Its audience is notoriously inattentive and rude: only in New York do an orchestra’s subscribers prematurely flee the hall, backs turned on the standing players. Blocks away, at Carnegie Hall, the visiting orchestras of Berlin, St. Petersburg, Amsterdam, and Vienna are riper instruments with better listeners. All this is pertinent to Leonard Bernstein’s relatively brief Philharmonic tenure, including the orchestra’s move to Lincoln Center and our 1966 photograph of Bernstein standing alongside Rudolf Bing and George Balanchine outside Philharmonic Hall. * * * A story about Bernstein’s predecessor illustrates the magnitude of the challenge he would face. When criticism of the Philharmonic mounted because it could not compete in prestige with Boston or Philadelphia, Judson and his board gambled on a music director who was certain to make a difference. This was Dimitri Mitropoulos, who in Minneapolis had galvanized both orchestra and community. Mitropoulos was a conductor of naked intensity. As his aesthetic base was Expressionist (he made his name in Berlin), he specialized in lacerating readings of such Romantics as Schumann and Liszt. And he religiously administered bracing doses of Mahler, Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern. Mitropoulos’s New York Philharmonic programs were incomparably bolder than what had gone before. Judson, however, lacked sympathy for Mitropoulos’s torrid enthusiasms. One of the Philharmonic’s most historic American premieres was of Mahler’s epochal Sixth Symphony (1904), under Mitropoulos in 1947. But the Philharmonic balked at scheduling the work on the Sunday afternoon broadcast concert -- Judson maintained that Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F with Oscar Levant would be more suitable radio fare and would also sell more tickets at home. In response, Mitropoulos wrote Judson (October 14, 1947) “to beg you, almost on my knees” to change his mind. “It would be a crime not to give this New World [broadcast] premiere of this great and exciting symphony . . . It would be a great event from which we have nothing to fear and from which to expect no less than the highest gratitude of all the musical artistic world in the United States.” He added that he awaited Judson’s response “with anxiety.” Judson said no. [4] Ultimately, Mitropoulos and Judson were both terminated. A very new regime was implemented in 1958. Bernstein, forty years old, became the first American-born music director of a major American orchestra. More important: his American lineage mattered most to Bernstein himself. His entire career may be read as a quest for self- understanding; urgently, impatiently, he needed to define “American classical musician” as something other than an oxymoron. Bernstein cared about Broadway and foresaw a New World music-theater genre to set beside opera and operetta; he predicted that an American Mozart (possibly himself) would marry the Singspiel tradition of The Magic Flute with Gershwin and Rodgers & Hammerstein. He equally yearned for a validating Great American Symphony composed by an American Beethoven. At the Philharmonic, Bernstein undertook “a general survey of American Music from the earliest generation of American composers to the present.” Anchoring the 1958-59 season, this comprised a chronological sequence, starting with a pre-1920 “Older Generation” comprising George Chadwick, Arthur Foote, Henry Gilbert, and Edward MacDowell. A second installment, “The Twenties,” included Gershwin, Aaron Copland, and Edgard Varese. “From the Crash through the Second World War” sampled Samuel Barber, Randall Thompson, Roy Harris, Walter Piston, Roger Sessions, and Virgil Thomson. Bernstein concluded with “The Young Generation” – Grant Beglarian, Keneth Gaburo, Irving Fine, Lukas Foss, Ned Rorem, and William Russo. That Bernstein had in mind a kind of evolutionary ladder was made explicit in his second Young People’s Concert, “What Makes Music American,” on February 1. Typically, this pedagogical polemic was an outgrowth of Bernstein’s subscription agenda, and of his ongoing self-interrogation. American concert music attained something like maturity, Bernstein decided, with the seamless integration of jazz influences beginning in the 1930s. Afer that, Americans “just wrote music, and it came out American all by itself.” The stage was set for an American canon to come. It bears emphasizing that in 1958 Bernstein was already the composer of On the Town, Candide, West Side Story, The Age of Anxiety, and the Serenade for Violin, Springs, Harp and Percussion. He was someone of whom ever greater things were expected. In 1959-60 Bernstein programmed Mahler on every Philharmonic concert from December 31 to February 21. The pertinent Young People’s Concert, “Who is Gustav Mahler?,” was an instant classic. Though Mahler’s symphonies were scarcely unknown, they had never enjoyed such concentrated advocacy. Bernstein’s identification with an embattled fin-de-siecle Jewish composer/conductor, tugged backward by Romantic instincts, pushed forward by progressive impulses, was uncannily complete. His self-referential zeal attained a messianic cast. But Bernstein was not yet the conductor he would become. Mitropoulos’s slash-and-burn style – jagged phrasings, sinewy musculature, hairtrigger accents – was replaced by an all-purpose ardor in search of a style.[5] And while Bernstein energetically sustained his glamour and pedagogic acumen, his identity quest began to lose direction. Both “Keys to the Twentieth Century” (1960-61) and “The Avant-Garde” (1963-64) posed more questions than answers; Bernstein’s head and heart were at war with contemporary non-tonal idioms. In 1962 the orchestra moved to Lincoln Center and its acoustically troubled Philharmonic Hall. In 1964-65 Bernstein took a sabbatical to compose. His planned Broadway musical proved painfully abortive. His experiments in 12-tone concert music came to naught. He produced instead Chichester Psalms, which he called “old-fashioned and sweet.” This, then, was the backdrop to September 1966, when the Metropolitan Opera joined its Lincoln Center partners. Rudolf Bing’s two world premieres – the new operas by Barber and Levy – were the only American works in the Met’s 1966-67 repertoire; Bing’s Americanization project, if it could even be called that, was purely ephemeral. Bernstein, however, was still pursuing a great American hope. Of the symphonic works he led that season, ten were by Barber, Bernstein, Marc Blitzstein, Copland, Henry Cowell, Irving Fine, Lukas Foss, William Schuman, and Edgard Varese. There were no safe choices: with the arguable exception of Varese’s Integrales, none of these pieces, composed between 1924 and 1965, was yet canonized. And none would be. Bernstein’s mighty effort to instill an “American school” remained a lost cause. The American orchestra remained fundamentally Eurocentric, upholding a culture of performance, marginalizing contemporary creativity. In fact, on November 2, 1966 – just after our photograph was taken -- Bernstein announced that he would quit the Philharmonic in 1969. His ultimate cause was neither American nor modernist. Rather, it was unfashionably Romantic: the twentieth century survival of the symphony as an heroic genre, sustained by Mahler, Sibelius, Nielsen, and Shostakovich. His final concerts as music director, on May 17, 1969, featured Mahler’s 100-minute Symphony No. 3, composed in 1893-96. Interviewed on TV, he did not conceal his frustration that he had not accomplished more. Bernstein’s subsequent career increasingly transpired abroad. He found a second home in Vienna, conducting Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, and Mahler. He had hoped (it is said) that his successor in New York would be his friend and colleague Lukas Foss – a kindred composer/conductor/pianist. The try-out ultimately took the form of an 18-day Stravinsky festival in summer 1966. Foss was curator and principal conductor. The other conductors – a remarkably varied list – included Bernstein, Ernest Ansermet (who had conducted for Diaghilev), Kiril Kondrashin (a major Soviet artist), and Stravinsky himself. George Balanchine choreographed Ragtime for Suzanne Farrell and Arthur Mitchell. The Soldier’s Tale was given with John Cage as the Devil, Elliott Carter as the Soldier, and Aaron Copland narrating. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf sang five Stravinsky songs, Pulcinella, an excerpt from The Rake’s Progress. Larry Rivers created a visual presentation for Oedipus Rex. Not the least novel aspect of the 12 concerts was the inclusion of more than a half dozen works for small ensembles. The “symphony orchestra” (an American coinage) is mainly a product of the nineteenth century. In its largest, most grandiloquent manifestation, it showcases the mega-symphonies of Mahler and Bruckner. But Stravinsky and other twentieth century masters typically preferred smaller forces: a problem. By including non-Philharmonic musicians in such repertoire as a Gesualdo motet, songs with piano by Rachmaninoff, Webern’s String Trio, Varese’s Octandre, Elliott Carter’s Etudes and Fantasy, and Boulez’s Eclat, Foss not only illustrated a range of music influencing and influenced by Stravinsky; he temporarily transformed the Philharmonic into a flexible contemporary instrument. For whatever reasons, the Stravinsky festival failed to impact and Foss was passed over in favor of a French composer/conductor – Pierre Boulez – as much a stranger to Bernstein’s American agenda as to Indian ragas or Brazilian sambas. When Boulez, too, failed to take, the orchestra opted for Zubin Mehta, who was suspected of possessing something like Bernstein’s glamour. Mehta stayed thirteen years – too long. Kurt Masur and Loren Maazel came after. This 32-year post-Boulez epoch was among the least eventful chapters in the orchestra’s long history. The repertoire lost its edge. A generic mission was promulgated and re-promulgated. With Maazel’s quiet 2009 departure, the New York Philharmonic again coveted glamour in the person of Ricardo Muti, but Muti said no. The board next veered sideways and opted for a small American name: Alan Gilbert, who pushed for change. In 2015 Gilbert announced he would leave in 2017. David Geffen Hall (previously Philharmonic Hall, then Fisher Hall) remains acoustically challenged; it is scheduled for further redesign and renovation. Like grand opera at the Met, New York’s orchestra today retains a culture of performance remote from both the creative act and the American experience. It has discovered no means of adapting to a future in which the rituals of the symphonic concert will grow ever more distant, and sheer scale will no longer connote status. III: BALLET Before World War I the Boston Symphony Orchestra experienced a golden age. Its conductors included Arthur Nikisch (1889-1893) and Karl Muck (1906-1908, 1912-1918) – great names. New music by Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, and Richard Strauss was of eager interest to the subscribers. So were the local composers George Chadwick, Arthur Foote, and Amy Beach. A case can be made that the Metropolitan Opera’s peak years were the “German seasons” of 1885 to 1891 under Anton Seidl. With Lilli Lehmann, Albert Niemann, Marianne Brandt, and Emil Fischer, the ensemble was unsurpassed abroad. The American premieres of Das Rheingold, Siegfried, Gotterdammerung, Tristan und Isolde, and Die Meistersinger were given. After that came seasons of vocal splendor in Italian, French, and German under Mahler and Toscanini. Like the Boston Symphony, the Met ranked with the kindred institutions of Berlin, Vienna, Paris, and Milan. Meanwhile, Oscar Hammerstein’s Manhattan Opera undertook a far-sighted exercise in musical theater, specializing in finished stagings of such key contemporary works as Salome, Elektra, and Pelleas et Melisande. Ballet in America featured no concurrent institutions of world standing; even acquiring advanced classical training was uncommon in the United States before 1900. The important performers were itinerant. Adelina Genee toured influentially between 1908 and 1911, mainly in vaudeville and in Florenz Ziegfield’s revues. Anna Pavlova, a decisive inspiration, toured from 1910 to 1926 with her own troupe in a mixed repertoire ranging from a “capsule” Sleeping Beauty, with interpolated operatic recitatives, to salon entertainments. Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes visited in 1916-17 with far more progressive fare (and flair) – for which audiences were not prepared. Not until 1933 did a world-famous company regularly regale the major American cities. This was Colonel W. de Basil’s Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo. The programs included such Diaghilev staples as Prince Igor, Petrouchka, and Les Sylphides, plus Leonid Massine’s new “symphonic ballets.” Beginning in 1938 Sergei Denham’s Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo simultaneously toured the US. It bears stressing that comparable benchmarks in American classical music occurred half a century earlier or more. In 1848 the Germania Orchestra, fleeing European turmoil, became the first world-class symphonic ensemble to tour America; much as Diaghilev’s troupe would deposit Adolph Bolm in the New World, the Germanians furnished subsequent musical leaders in Boston (Carl Zerrahn), New York (Carl Bergmann), and other cities large and small. The American tours of the “Swedish Nightingale” Jenny Lind (1850-52) and of the prodigious Anton Rubinstein (1872-73) nationally promoted Italian arias and nineteenth century keyboard classics, respectively. The touring Theodore Thomas Orchestra was a far finer ensemble than would be Pavlova’s fifty years later. It was also significantly more conservative. Unlike ballet, ”classical music” in America would be truculently highbrow, undiluted by popular genres. And so when George Balanchine arrived in New York in 1933 from Europe, ballet remained in a pioneer period. American orchestras and opera companies, by comparison, had already entered a museum phase, albeit vigorous. If the Met no longer featured important new works, under Bodanzky and Panizza it maintained an acute curatorial panache. Under Toscanini, the New York Philharmonic was for a time an equally vibrant museum. In Boston and Philadelphia, Koussevitzky and Stokowski fought a valiant but futile battle to champion the new. Their orchestras were world-class. Balanchine’s lineage was both formidable and formidably complex. St. Petersburg, where he was born in 1904, was remarkable for its cosmopolitan court and intelligentsia. Beginning in 1905, it became a cauldron of social and political unrest, breeding a radical idealism in the arts. In 1921, Balanchine graduated from the Imperial Ballet School. In 1924, he defected west, and in Paris became ballet master for a kindred Russian exile. A worldly eclectic and provocateur, Sergei Diaghilev ingeniously and prophetically intermingled art and entertainment. Balanchine was still only 24 when he created Apollon Musagete for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Stravinsky had created a “ballet blanc” eschewing (he said) “many-colored effects” and “all superfluities.” Balanchine embraced Stravinsky’s vigorous lucidity. No less than Stravinsky, he married classicism and modernism; Stravinsky’s sharpness of rhythm, attack, and contour correlated with torso distortions, with jutting hips and shoulders. The post-Romantic search for order was stabilized. In 1933 Lincoln Kirstein met Balanchine in London and proceeded to bring him to America. As Kirstein appreciated, Balanchine was equally a bearer of tradition and an apostle of innovation, poised to play a formative role in a nascent dance culture. Consider, by comparison, the thinner lineage of Balanchine’s 1966 Lincoln Center colleagues. Born in Vienna in 1902, Rudolf Franz Joseph Bing was the son of a Jewish industrialist. He studied singing privately before becoming a career impresario. He disclosed no passion for opera as a living artform. Though impatient to refresh the Met, he was at heart a snob who disdained fundamental change. Bernstein, born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1918, first heard an orchestral concert at the age of fourteen. As Lenny Amber, he supported himself arranging pop songs and transcribing jazz. His earliest (and greatest) success as a composer was on Broadway. His reformist agenda was equally an attempt to find his own, American place in European classical music. For Bernstein himself, this tenacious effort initially succeeded to a degree. For American classical music, it came far too late. The early history of the New York Philharmonic, predating the Civil War, is murky and sporadic. The early history of the Metropolitan Opera is tortuous: a social club begot a Wagner theater because German opera was less expensive than the vocal glamour club members preferred. They threw the Wagnerians out only to provoke a Teutonic counter-attack culminating in the peaceful co-existence of German, Italian, and French warhorses: grand opera. But there was nothing remotely murky or tortuous about the early history of the New York City Ballet founded by Balanchine and Kirstein. In fact, its genesis is mythic: it seemingly sprang to life fully formed. But a significant false step came first. With Kirstein, Balanchine in 1935 accepted an invitation to furnish ballets for the Metropolitan Opera (as Balanchine and Diaghilev had once done for the opera in Monte Carlo). Bing’s predecessor Edward Johnson understood operas as hallowed and old. He innocently invited Balanchine to stage and choreograph Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice. Balanchine relegated all the singers to the pit. His dance drama, designed by Pavel Tchelitchev with chicken wire, cheesecloth, and dead birch branches, was in Kirstein’s opinion “the most beautiful visual spectacle I have seen on any stage.” The audience responded with titters and weak applause. Balanchine publicly declared the Met “a heap of ruins.” This was in 1936. Twelve years later, Kirstein and Balanchine relocated their Ballet Society from the Central High School of Needle Trades to the City Center for Music and Drama, and New York City Ballet was born. They had also created, in 1934, an accessory unknown to the Met or the Philharmonic: a training academy to instill a precise performance style -- the School for American Ballet. Alongside Balanchine’s New World adventures, a conscious effort emerged to cultivate a ballet-infused native dance style, “American” in spirit and subject matter. The enduring specimens include Eugene Loring’s Billy the Kid (1938) and Agnes De Mille’s Rodeo (1942). The same happened in American concert music – witness Aaron Copland’s scores for both ballets. But a national school based in language and custom, perpetuated by American creators, performers, and institutions of performance, did not Americanize the ballet or the symphony. Balanchine achieved a more protean New World product, oblivious of cowboys and other explicit markers of the American experience. His roots were and remained Russian. But he did not transplant Petipa and Tchaikovsky in their canonical St. Petersburg forms as a timeless Holy Gail, after the fashion of such Beethoven apostles as Serkin and Toscanini. Rather, Balanchine’s Russian inheritance acquired a bracing and contemporary American accent. A crucial factor was Kirstein, himself pressing for an American variant of classical ballet distinct from modern dance (which he generally considered self-indulgent and ephemeral). No remotely comparable impresario ever inspirited the Philharmonic or the Met; Judson and Bing, in particular, loudly abdicated responsibility for leading taste.[6] Equally crucial was the tabula rasa Balanchine encountered. Far more than the pianists and chamber musicians Serkin guided at Marlboro and Curtis, or the orchestra players Toscanini fiercely honed, or the foreign-born sopranos and tenors Panizza and Bodanzky coached and conducted, the dancers – young Americans from a wide variety of backgrounds -- were a blank slate upon which Balanchine could inscribe his vision. “There was no one here who could dance,” he would later say. Other Balanchine sayings include: “America has its own spirit – cold, luminous, hard as light.” “”Good American dancers can express clean emotion in a manner that might almost be termed angelic.” It was “the land of lovely bodies.” He observed in their unselfconscious freedom of gesture an openness kindred to the American West, which he avidly toured. Living in the present, he absorbed the panache of Hollywood and Broadway; the clean lines and cool selflessness of American modernism; the anxieties of 1950s Manhattan; and of course the sassiness of jazz. In the process, he instilled a new technical prowess – yet another dimension of American speed and athleticism. [7] For Balanchine to have been coaxed “backwards” to Europe, as Bernstein was to Vienna, or to have discovered his true self returning in old age to Russia, as did Stravinsky, would have been unthinkable. In this regard, he could be said to have become more American than Lennie Bernstein, the American classical musician, ever was or could be. * * * For New York City Ballet, the 1964 move to Lincoln Center’s 2,500-seat New York State Theatre meant a longer season, a bigger stage, and a home whose clean lines resonated with the company aesthetic. But the State Theater also inflicted an unexpected artistic deficit. Like Philharmonic Hall, it was acoustically jinxed: what Balanchine memorably expounded as the “dance element” in Stravinsky – his choreographic point of ignition, “insistent yet healthy, always reassuring” – thinned and dissipated in the ungrateful new house. The Romantic tapestries of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2, glorified as Balanchine’s “Ballet Imperial,” were reduced to dull parchment. The City Ballet repertoire for 1966 – the year of our photograph – comprised 47 works. Of the 36 Balanchine ballets, the earliest – Apollo (1928) and Prodigal Son (1929) -- were not yet forty years old. The composers most set by Balanchine were Tchaikovsky (seven ballets) and Stravinsky (six). A formidable dose of uncompromising twentieth century music included three late Stravinsky works (Agon, Movements for Piano and Orchestra, Monumentum pro Gesualdo, and Variations: Aldous Huxley in Memoriam), an Ives suite (“Ivesiana”) with such musically tough nuggets as “In the Inn,” and a Webern set (“Episodes”) including Five Pieces (Op. 10), Symphony (Op. 21), and Concerto (Op. 24). When in 1950 Dimitri Mitropoulos gave the American premiere of the Webern Symphony, the Philharmonic revolted in rehearsal; Mitropoulos never attempted another Webern performance in New York. At City Ballet, “Episodes” was a staple, having been premiered in 1959. The 1966 City Ballet repertoire also included Morton Feldman’s Ixion (as choreographed by Merce Cunningham as Summerspace). The only challenging twentieth century music heard at the Met that season was Levy’s ephemeral Mourning Becomes Elektra. The Philharmonic’s eight subscription months included no Ives, Webern, or late Stravinsky. The only comparably daunting score, I would say, was Arnold Schoenberg’s twelve-tone Violin Concerto, given four times under Bernstein. Balanchine worked steadily at Lincoln Center until shortly before his death in 1983. The high point of this period, many would say, was the Stravinsky Festival of 1972. Beginning on June 18 – a date late for what would have been Stravinsky’s ninetieth birthday – City Ballet gave seven Stravinsky programs in eight days. Of 31 ballets presented, 21 were premieres. The eight Balanchine premieres included Violin Concerto, instantly recognized as iconic, and – on the same opening night -- Symphony in Three Movements, which would take some years to register. Comparisons to the New York Philharmonic’s Stravinsky festival six years previous were and are inescapable. The Philharmonic festival was bigger, with more big names and a fuller perspective on the Stravinsky odyssey -- but was quickly forgotten. Obviously, the City Ballet festival enjoyed a creative component: the new ballets. Equally obvious was the difference in reception. Judson had for 34 years haphazardly fostered a faceless Philharmonic constituency. Balanchine and Kirstein had since 1948 purposefully honed a validating cultural community. For the Philharmonic subscribers, Stravinsky remained a chore. For patrons of the City Ballet, Stravinsky was a privilege. To summarize this Lincoln Center tale: George Balanchine and his City Ballet changed the face of dance. Leonard Bernstein led audiences to Mahler: he expanded the canon. But Bernstein could not change the face of the New York Philharmonic. Rudolf Bing did not attempt to change the face of opera or of the Met. That, commensurately, he filled a vast auditorium with paying customers proved a cul-de-sac. * * * The Lincoln Center dream (however vague) was of American performing arts synergistically feeding off one another in a single charged location. But today’s Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, and New York City Ballet are institutions wholly distinct in identity, achievement, and potential. The Met pursues grand opera in a grand space – a brave but increasingly riddled enterprise. The Philharmonic has enjoyed no sustained artistic mission. As of this writing, it is preparing to decamp in 2019, presumably for an entire season or longer, while Geffen Hall is remade. Could the orchestra seize this serendipitous opportunity? Are the players and subscribers sufficiently game? The most subversive orchestra I know is Ivan Fischer’s Budapest Festival Orchestra. They perform Beethoven’s Pastorale Symphony with the solo woodwinds sitting around a potted tree. The musicians may burst into song midway through a Dvorak symphony. Could the Philharmonic ever be that surprising? As for City Ballet, the Stravinsky identity Balanchine conferred – an apotheosis of impersonality and lucidity – is not as timeless as the coda to Apollo. Who would succeed Balanchine was a puzzle; who and what will succeed Peter Martins is a greater puzzle. If the life cycles of the Met and Philharmonic are any kind of predictor, City Ballet may next experience a vital museum phase, intermingling aging Balanchine ballets with vital new work if such work can be found. Renovations undertaken in 2008-09 have improved the pit acoustic. The keen audience presence engendered by Balanchine and Kirstein remains a tangible asset. But this institution’s self-knowledge and self-approbation may also be read as smugness.[8] However much opinions may differ about the present caliber of the dancing (I claim no expertise), the musical rendering of The Four Temperaments last winter, with a polite piano soloist, was surely not the thrusting Four Temperaments Balanchine summoned to his ears’ imagination. The company has a new music director; that could help. Lincoln Center was conceived by public-spirited corporate businessmen, led by John D. Rockefeller III. It never became a magnet for artists and intellectuals, humming with creativity, after the fashion of Harvey Lichtenstein’s BAM or Joe Papp’s Public Theatre. It has lately acquired a $1.5 billion facelift, including a dramatically thrusting façade for Alice Tully Hall and the Juilliard School; Tully itself, however, remains deficient in the intimacy and warmth appropriate to a chamber-music venue. Imagine, if you can, a photograph of Peter Gelb, Alan Gilbert, and Peter Martins posed in front of the new, glass-enclosed Tully complex. A Metropolitan Opera poster announces the sold-out world premiere of a topical American opera, opening the season. The Philharmonic hosts the sold-out run of a subscription program led by Gilbert (sans soloist) and featuring works on the fringes of the repertoire, proposed as fresh candidates for canonization. A poster for City Ballet lists no repertoire because Martins confers a magical imprimatur. Of greater significance: all three institutions are poised to collaborate on a multi-week festival addressing pressing contemporary social and political issues, with the full participation of the New York City public schools and the City University of New York (whose Hunter College Auditorium will reportedly host the Philharmonic during Geffen Hall renovations). I cite this pipe dream because it will be realized this February in the city of El Paso, where a “Copland and Mexico” festival, supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, will celebrate cultural collaboration between two nations currently embroiled in an uncertain future relationship. Mexico’s amazing artistic efflorescence of the 1930s – today mostly unremembered by young Mexican-Americans – will be the central topic. A centerpiece of the programing will be the iconic film of the Mexican Revolution: Redes (1935), which thrillingly combines the talents of a master (and under-recognized) Mexican composer -- Silvestre Revueltas -- and a legendary American photographer – Paul Strand. The participating institutions will include the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, the El Paso public schools, and the University of Texas/El Paso, with classes and faculty members in half a dozen departments taking part. The festival will penetrate outlying “colonias” without paved roads or running water, and also the neighboring Mexican city of Juarez. The many scheduled events include “Copland and the Cold War” – an evening of music and theater exploring the impact of the Red Scare on America’s most prominent composer of concert music. Whatever degree of change this Lincoln Center thought experiment reveals, the next half century will bring greater changes still. Joseph Horowitz’s Classical Music in America: A History (2005) is an institutional history of symphonic music and opera in the United States. Of Horowitz’s nine other books, Understanding Toscanini (1987 – a New York Book Critics Circle best book of the year), Wagner Nights: An American History (1995), and Moral Fire: Musical Portraits from America’s Fin-de-Siecle (2012) deal with classical music in America from the late Gilded Age though the mid-twentieth century. His Artists in Exile (2008) considers the American careers of Balanchine and Stravinsky. As Executive Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic in the 1990s, Horowitz pioneered in thematic, cross-disciplinary symphonic programming. He has since worked as a consultant and/or producer for more than two dozen American orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and Los Angele Philharmonic, and is co-founder and Executive Director of PostClassical Ensemble of Washington, D.C. He curates programming, as well, for universities, conservatories, and summer festivals. He wrote the present essay as a Resident Fellow at New York University’s Center for Ballet and the Arts. Blog: artsjournal.com/uq . Website: www.josephhorowitz.com . [1] This is the central theme of my treatment of opera in Classical Music in America: A History (2005). [2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjGVNWG7T04 . Listen, for instance, to the prodigious retard and diminuendo at the aria’s first cadence (“blessed is the coming of darkness”). Compare that to your present-day tenor of choice, Russian or not. [3] Early in his regime, Bing adventurously attempted a fair number of operas in English, including standard repertoire by Mozart and Puccini. The subscribers resisted. Though aesthetics were doubtless a factor, that opera in English lacked snob appeal was ever a factor in American operatic affairs; the Met under Bing was nothing if not snobbish. New York’s second opera company, the City Opera, was fundamentally a foreign-language house for its duration (1943-2013). Though the City Opera gave more operas in English translation than the Met, the Italian and French staples (Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini, Bizet) were given in Italian and French. Abroad, the England National Opera has, in comparison, maintained an English-only policy since its inception as Sadler’s Wells during the interwar decades. [4] In 1947-48, Mitropoulos was not yet Music Director of the Philharmonic (a post vacant since Spring 1947), but was a candidate, having conducted the Philharmonic on tour the previous summer. It must be considered that in 1947 there were no commercial recordings of Mahler’s Sixth, and that Mitropoulos was a true believer -- to my ears, a more satisfying Mahler interpreter than his Philharmonic colleagues Bernstein and Bruno Walter. (I am by no means alone in this opinion.) [5] The late Gunther Schuller, who played French horn for both the Met and Philharmonic in the 1950s, first made me aware that the Philharmonic’s playing standards declined under Bernstein – an observation confirmed by countless Philharmonic broadcasts under Bernstein and Mitropoulos. [6] In 1931 Judson, ever the businessman, responded in the New York Times to complaints about the Philharmonic’s conservative programming. “There are certain composers like Bruckner and Mahler who have not yet been accepted heartily by the American public,” he said. “We can only go as far as the public will go with us.” (Horowitz, Classical Music in America, p. 429). Judson’s notion that the public sets taste was unknown to Balanchine and Kirstein – or to Leopold Stokowski and Serge Koussevitzky. But it was embraced by Rudolf Bing, In his second volume of memoirs, Bing delightedly reported that he “hated” Alban Berg’s Lulu on the occasion of its belated Met premiere, five years after his departure. In a note to the Met’s board regarding his possible successor, he especially warned again Hamburg’s Rolf Lieberman: “His musical taste and production tendencies are totally wrong for the New York public. He goes all out for contemporary opera and for ultra-modern productions which, no doubt, would create a love affair with the press and at the same time disaster with the subscribers and the box office. I think we have to face the taste and desires of the overwhelming majority of Metropolitan Opera subscriber and patrons.” (Bing, A Knight at the Opera [1981], pp. 212, 36.) [7] I rather doubt that comparable technical growth may be observed in musical performance. A safer generalization – for orchestras, violinists, pianists, and singers – is that the general level is higher, but the upper end is not. The Met Orchestra could do things under Panizza it cannot do today – and the same is true (to pick two obvious examples) of Stokowski’s Philadelphia Orchestra or Mravinsky’s Leningrad Philharmonic versus their present-day embodiments (with more limited tonal and expressive resources). Concert pianists and violinists are speedier and more accurate than a century ago, and their command of complex rhythms is unprecedented. But the Romantic mastery of keyboard tone, color, nuance, and texture, documented by the recordings of, e.g., Sergei Rachmaninoff and Josef Hofmann, is a no longer a living art. Ivan Kozlovsky’s rendition of Lenski’s aria (cf p. xx above) relies upon vocal feats no longer encountered. The dissipation of national traditions of performance is of course pertinent: even if Chaliapin and Rachmaninoff were not Russian musical colleagues, their uncanny melding of “speech” and “song” would remain recognizably kindred. [8] When I emailed the City Ballet to obtain some information about the 1966-67 repertoire, I received a reply reprimanding me for my inquiry: “I can see what I can provide but I am just going to give you a bit of advise [sic]. When you plan to approach the other institutions in Lincoln Center regarding their programs, you may want to utilize Capitalization and double check your spelling. Although I understood what you meant, others within my field are not the biggest fans of acronyms and such.” In fact, I have for some decades enjoyed an amicable relationship with John Pennino of the Met Archives, and with the Philharmonic’s Barbara Haws, both of whom were typically helpful fielding queries for the present article. I never heard back from the City Ballet.

An Unamplified Voice

February 15

The 2017-18 Met season announcement, annotated

Productions are in order; bold indicates a debut; I may have omitted some one-off cast combos. On the whole: as exciting as this season is weak. Norma (new David McVicar production) Radvanovsky, DiDonato, Calleja, Rose / Rizzi (September-October) Rebeka, DiDonato, Calleja, Rose / Rizzi (October) Meade, Barton, Calleja, Rose / Colaneri (December) Having middling '90s throwback Carlo Rizzi in the pit instead of the 2013 revival's Riccardo Frizza is about the only less-than-thrilling element of this opener. Three premiere principals who've proved not only star-quality sound but bel canto mastery, interesting alternate ladies afterwards... And David McVicar is not only an brilliant director but one who has done great things with Sondra Radvanovsky particularly, from 2009's Trovatore to 2016's Donizetti queens. Les Contes d’Hoffmann Grigolo, Morley, Hartig, Volkova, Erraught, Naouri, Mortagne / Debus (September-October) I rather liked Grigolo in this season's Romeo, but this Bart Sher show requires him to sustain a character for longer stretches than the Gounod opera, making his choppy sense of phrase more of a liability. Still, there are enough elements that could go well (including new-to-the-house Irish mezzo Tara Erraught as Niklausse) on top of an excellent production. Die Zauberflöte Schultz, Lewek, Castronovo, Werba, Van Horn, Kehrer / Levine (September-October) Müller, Lewek, Castronovo, Gunn, Walker, Kehrer / de Waart (November-December, family version in English) The conductors should make both the regular and "family" versions work. Besides returning names (including Kathryn Lewek, the best Queen of the Night I've ever heard), South African (by way of Juilliard) soprano Golda Shultz's debut as Pamina should be interesting. Incidentally, Rene Pape is scheduled for one performance of Sarastro on October 14. La Boheme Blue, Kele, Popov/Borras/Thomas, Meachem/Simpson, Rock, Soar/Rose, Plishka / Soddy (October) Hartig, Kele, Thomas, Meachem, Rock, Rose, Pliskha / Soddy (November) Yoncheva, Phillips, Fabiano, Lavrov, Rose, Plishka / Armiliato (February-March) Some new faces debuting in this eternal Zeffirelli production, most notably Oxonian conductor Alexander Soddy and American soprano Angel Blue. But the surest bet is the last cast, with young Americans Susanna Phillips and Michael Fabiano in roles they've made their own. Turandot Dyka, Agresta, Alvarez, Morris / Rizzi (October-November) Serafin, Yu, Alvarez, Tsymbalyuk / Armiliato (March-April) Some unexpected casting choices here. Oksana Dyka, decent but somewhat faceless in this season's Jenufa, at least has done Tosca and Aida here before. The alternate Turandot, Martina Serafin, was last seen here as an enchantingly responsive Marschallin! Since then she's taken on the really big parts, though not at the Met: Abigaille, Brünnhilde, Lady Macbeth, and Turandot. Could go well... or not. Hei-Kyung Hong reprises one of her signature roles once with each cast. The Exterminating Angel (new Tom Cairns production) Luna, Echalaz, Matthews, Bevan, Coote, Rice, Davies, Kaiser, Antoun, Portillo, Moore, Gilfry, Burdette, Van Horn, Tomlinson / Adès (October-November) The two prior operas of Thomas Adès have not lacked good music nor good libretti: it's the combination of these into an interesting, human opera that hasn't quite come off. Perhaps a show based on a Luis Buñuel movie (and directed by the librettist) will do the trick. There is, in any case, an impressive lineup of British and American vocal talent involved. Madama Butterfly He, Zifchak, Aronica, Bizic / Bignamini (November) Jaho, Zifchak, Aronica/Chapa, Frontali / Armiliato (February-March) So after doing one emergency sub performance (for Ruth Ann Swenson in Traviata) at the Met in 2008, Ermonela Jaho never appears here again... until a decade later, when she headlines a revival of Butterfly. The fall run brings new Italian conductor Jader Bignamini. Thaïs Pérez, Borras, Finley / Villaume (November-December) Ailyn Pérez, an outstanding Mimi this season, takes a full-on star vehicle opposite Gerald Finley. They don't quite have the name recognition of Renee Fleming and Thomas Hampson, for whom this show was made, but this could be one of the stealth successes of the season. Requiem Stoyanova, Semenchuk, Antonenko, Furlanetto / Levine (November-December) I don't recall recurring concert performances scheduled as part of the season before, but if any plotless piece could work this way, it's Verdi's famously dramatic-operatic Requiem. These shows will be almost a generation after the April 29, 2001 performance at Carnegie that everyone who attended will still wax on about (shouldn't the Met or Carnegie release a recording of this at some point?). Levine then had Renee Fleming, Olga Borodina, Marcelo Giordani, and Rene Pape at or near the height of their powers (though Giordani was a bit of a weak link, and I'd like to have heard how Ramon Vargas did in a similar performance on the Met's Japanese tour). Here it looks like Aleksandrs Antonenko will be an upgrade at tenor, but mezzo Ekaterina Semenchuk - another singer not seen at the house for a while - is an odd choice, not having impressed in her appearances so far. Le Nozze di Figaro Plachetka, Karg, Willis-Sørensen, Pisaroni, Malfi / Bicket (December) Abdrazakov, Sierra, Yoncheva, Kwiecien, Leonard / Bicket (December-January) The names in the latter cast may be more recognizable, but I suspect the former (with debuting German soprano Christiane Karg as Susanna) may provide more of Mozart's ensemble glory. The Merry Widow Graham, Groves, Chuchman, Portillo, Allen / Stare (December) Graham, Groves, Chuchman, Stayton, Allen / Stare (December-January) Not a bad cast for the most cast-proof show the Met has debuted in decades. Who knew that comic timing drives comedies? Young American conductor Ward Stare debuts in the pit. Hansel and Gretel (family version in English) Oropesa, Erraught, Zajick, Siegel, Kelsey / Runnicles (December-January) McKay, Gillebo, Zajick, Siegel, Croft / Runnicles (December 28) Good casting for a kids' piece. Tosca (new David McVicar production) Opolais, Kaufmann, Terfel / Nelsons (NYE-January) Netrebko, Alvarez, Volle / de Billy (April-May) Netrebko, Alvarez, Gagnidze / de Billy (May) I believe Sondra Radvanovsky was originally supposed to headline this new production, which attempts to wash away the much-hated Luc Bondy version of 2009. Instead we get Kristine Opolais, the least interesting part of both Richard Eyre's wretchedly bad Manon Lescaut and Mary Zimmerman's otherwise-brilliant Rusalka. (She has succeeded in more direct Puccini, though.) But perhaps it doesn't matter - except as a what-if - when Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel have shown themselves of carrying this piece on their own. And though she has less male star power, I think Tosca might be a very good part for Anna Netrebko. Cav/Pag Semenchuk, Alagna, Lučić; Kurzak, Alagna, Gagnidze, Arduini / Luisotti (January) Westbroek, Alagna, Lučić; Kurzak, Alagna, Gagnidze, Arduini / Luisotti (January-February) I'm not sure whether the Alagna who shows up will be the no-voice one of the Manon Lescaut premiere or the respectable-sounding and insightful one of the end of that run and Butterfly, but his inconsistency has been characteristic since the beginning of his international career. McVicar's rendering of the double-bill is outstanding, and San Francisco's Nicola Luisotti has done magical things in his too-rare Met appearances. L’Elisir d’Amore Yende, Polenzani, Luciano, D'Arcangelo / Hindoyan (January-February) Both Yende and Polenzani have an emotional transparency that should work excellently in this piece. Il Trovatore Lee, Agresta, Rachvelishvili, Kelsey, Kocán / Levine (January-February) Lee, Agresta, Rachvelishvili, Salsi, Youn / Levine (February) Anita Rachvelishvili moves up a vocal weight class with her first Met Azucenas (she did her first performances of the part recently in London), opposite two baritones moving up from Marcello to Di Luna. But with outstanding Korean spinto Yonghoon Lee in the title role and Levine in the pit, this is yet another promising staple. Parsifal Vogt, Herlitzius, Mattei, Nikitin, Pape / Nézet-Séguin (February) The most significant revival of the season. Yannick Nézet-Séguin will go from "Music Director Designate" to the actual thing in 2020, but he's debuting German repertory cornerstones until then. This spring it's Flying Dutchman, but next year he'll lead the first revival of the most significant and successful Met Wagner production in a long, long time: Francois Girard's 2013 Parsifal. (Not least in that success was Daniele Gatti's intensely concentrated conducting, so there's a lot to live up to there.) He has the low-voiced end of the original cast, with Peter Mattei's Amfortas, Evgeny Nikitin's Klingsor, and René Pape's Gurnemanz all returning. The new parts of the cast are significant as well: dramatic soprano Evelyn Herlitzius finally makes her Met debut as Kundry, and Klaus Florian Vogt returns to Wagner a dozen years after making the most stunning - and most stunningly ignored - Met debut of our era as Lohengrin. (Vogt does return to the Met before this, in next month's Fidelio.) Semiramide Meade, DeShong, Camarena, Abdrazakov, Green / Benini (February-March) Good cast for a Rossini rarity. After her scheduled performances of Italiana this season went to debuting Italian mezzo Marianna Pizzolato, I do wonder whether Elizabeth DeShong will in fact sing these performances as Arsace. Elektra Goerke, van den Heever, Schuster, Morris, Petrenko / Nézet-Séguin (March) Christine Goerke's titanic concert performance of this early Strauss opera with Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony (October 2016 at Carnegie) dwarfed the dull, homogenized new Met version last season. The change from Salonen's civilizing version to Yannick Nézet-Séguin's characteristic visceral style should do much, and Goerke's ability to sing through the cacophonic title part lyrically can't be missed, but full success may require a revival stage director unafraid to depart from Chereau's drab vision. Così fan tutte (new Phelim McDermott production) Majeski, Malfi, O'Hara, Bliss, Plachetka, Maltman / Robertson (March- Though the cast looks good and the visuals interesting, David Robertson was responsible for the worst-conducted night of Mozart I've ever heard at the Met, so I'll wait and see. The production is new to the Met but already debuted at ENO. Lucia di Lammermoor Peretyatko, Grigolo, Cavalletti, Kowaljow / Abbado (March-April) Pratt, Grigolo, Cavalletti/Salsi, Kowaljow / Abbado (April) Yende, Fabiano, Kelsey, Vinogradov / Abbado (April-May) I was listening to Pretty Yende last night in Puritani, thinking that the Met should hire her for Lucia... and here we go. She gets the better Edgardo in Michael Fabiano as well: the role depends far too much on line and phrase to expect much on the whole from Vittorio Grigolo (though the Italian will surely deliver exciting high notes). Luisa Miller Yoncheva, Beczala, Domingo, Petrova, Vinogradov, Belosselskiy / Levine (March-April) Sonya Yoncheva's manner is a bit on the chilly side to get all the pathos of the title part's great duets, but the men involved should make much of this early Verdi. Cendrillon (new Laurent Pelly production) DiDonato, Kim, Coote, Blythe, Naouri / de Billy (April-May) So, we're officially in the part of Joyce DiDonato's career when she makes big houses put on silly shows. Good cast, seems charming enough, and though Laurent Pelly (Fille, Manon) hasn't done a really good production here, he hasn't made any terrible ones either. Roméo et Juliette Hymel, Pérez, Deshayes, Hopkins, Youn / Domingo (April-May) Interesting cast, very good production, but Domingo in the pit is a deal-breaker. If you have the itch, just see Yende and Costello next month (which has many fewer good alternative options than spring 2018).

Richard Wagner
(1813 – 1883)

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.



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