Friday, June 01, 2007

Recommended Romantic and Post-Romantic Orchestral Music (Composers: N - Schumann)


CARL NIELSEN
(1865-1931)

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Symphony No. 4 ("Inextinguishable")

BPO/Karajan 1995 "By far the best performance ever recorded . . . playing is altogether incomparable and there is both vision and majesty in the reading . . . thrilling sense of commitment throughout . . . excellently recorded too."
CBO/Rattle (1984) / 2001 "undeniably powerful performance . . . the Birmingham orchestra play with splendid intensity and conviction"
Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Blomstedt 2003 "The sound is full and brilliant . . . excellent with some fine wind playing"

SERGEI RACHMANINOV
(1873-1943)

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Symphonic Dances

BPO/Maazel "crisp, light-textured reading . . . brilliance is there in plenty . . . bright, spacious recording"
CON/Ashkenazy 1991 "rich and powerful in playing and interpretation . . . extra darkness and intensity . . . splendid recording"
LSO/Previn (1976) / 1993 "vividly wide-ranging sound is highly spectacular . . . added clarity and sparkle"

The Isle of the Dead


CON/Ashkenazy 1991 "rich and powerful in playing and interpretation . . . relentless in its ominous build-up . . . splendid recording"
LSO/Previn (1976) / 1993 "vividly wide-ranging sound is highly spectacular . . . added clarity and sparkle"
BPO/Maazel 1999 "powerful . . . climaxes have real fervour and the result is intensely compelling . . . recording is strikingly vivid and full"

Symphony No. 1

BPO/Maazel "particularly fine . . . beautifully transparent"
LSO/Previn 1993
CON/Ashkenazy 1998 "outstanding version, volatile and extreme in its tempi . . . total conviction . . . sound is full, atmospheric and brilliant"

Symphony No. 2

BPO/Maazel "very impressive . . . superb playing . . . abundance of adrenalin"
CON/Ashkenazy 1998 "most impressive, a performance of high contrasts . . . romantic urgency and drive . . . vibrant impulse . . . which is very Russian in its intensity . . . vivid Decca sound"
LSO/Previn (1973) / 1999 "passionate intensity combines freshness with the boldest romantic feeling . . . vividly committed playing . . . classic account, unlikely to be surpassed"

Symphony No. 3

BPO/Maazel "distinctive, unusually fierce and intense. Exhilaration . . ."
LSO/Previn 1993 "outstanding performance . . . The LSO has rarely displayed its virtuosity more brilliantly"
CON/Ashkenazy 1998 "volatile and passionate in a very Russian way . . . unqualified recommendation . . . drama, energy, and drive"

MAURICE RAVEL
(1875-1937)

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Alborada del Gracioso

ONF/Stokowski 1993 "glitters, with rhythms exhilaratingly precise"
OSM/Dutoit 1999 "playing . . . absolutely first class and thoroughly atmospheric . . . recording defines the state of the art . . . sumptuous music-making"
RPO/Previn 2005 "imbued with sentient warmth"
BSO/Ozawa (1975) / 2005 "admirable orchestral playing . . . recording is first class . . . hall ambience colouring the textures most naturally"
CLE/Boulez (early 70s) / 2005 "superbly brilliant . . . very impressive"

Bolero

BPO/Karajan (1964) / 1996 "marvellously controlled, hypnotic and gripping"
OSM/Dutoit 1999 "playing . . . absolutely first class and thoroughly atmospheric . . . recording defines the state of the art . . . sumptuous music-making"
BSO/Ozawa (1974) / 2005
NYP/Boulez
(early 70s) / 2005 "detail is sensitively observed . . . splendid virtuosity"

Daphnis et Chloe (complete)

NYP/Boulez "among the very finest . . . a sense of ecstasy and excitement . . . transport[s] the listener into the enchanted landscape . . . playing . . . is beyond praise . . . effortless virtuosity and brilliance"
OSM/Dutoit (1980) / 1999 "sumptuously evocative . . . the most ravishing textures . . . recording is wonderfully luminous"
LSO/Previn 1999 "rhythm more important than atmosphere . . . very dramatic performance, clear-headed and fresh . . . textures sharply defined"
BSO/Munch (1955) / 2004
BSO/Ozawa 2006 "superbly played . . . glowing sense of rapture"
LSO/Monteux (1959) / 2006 "For many years . . . held sway over all other versions and carried the Rosette . . . poetic and subtly shaded reading"

La Valse

OSM/Dutoit 1999 "playing . . . absolutely first class and thoroughly atmospheric . . . recording defines the state of the art . . . sumptuous music-making"
BSO/Ozawa (1974) / 2005 "admirable orchestral playing . . . recording is first class . . . hall ambience colouring the textures most naturally"
NYP/Boulez
(early 70s) / 2005 "detail is sensitively observed . . . splendid virtuosity"

Ma mere l'oye [Mother Goose] Ballet Suite

Pittsburgh SO/Previn 1990 "played and recorded with consummate refinement, the quality of innocence shines out . . . recording is superb . . . a texture of luminous clarity"
OSM/Dutoit 1999 "demonstration quality, transparent and refined, with the textures beautifully balanced . . . the CD is altogether outstanding . . . superb . . . performances are wonderfully refined and sympathetic . . . ravishingly beautiful"

Rapsodie Espagnole


LSO/Stokowski 1994 "liltingly sensuous accounts . . . brilliant burst of colour and incandescent energy"
OSM/Dutoit 1999 "playing . . . absolutely first class and thoroughly atmospheric . . . recording defines the state of the art . . . sumptuous music-making"
RPO/Previn 2005 "unashamedly sultry . . . glowing EMI recording"
BSO/Ozawa (1974) / 2005
CLE/Boulez
(early 70s) / 2005 "very well shaped. Boulez's Spain is brilliant and well lit . . . splendid virtuosity"

OTTORINO RESPIGHI
(1879-1936)

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The Pines of Rome

OSM/Dutoit 1990 "committed playing . . . persuasive . . . the recorded sound is superlative"
PHI/Muti 1990 "warmly red-blooded . . . captivatingly Italianate in their inflexions . . . brilliant playing and warmly atmospheric recording"
BPO/Karajan 1997
CLE/Maazel (1976) / 2000
BPO/Maazel 2001
LSO/Kertesz 2002
CSO/Reiner 2006

NICOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV
(1844-1908)

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Capriccio Espagnol

BPO/Maazel (1960) / 2000 "has never been surpassed . . . gorgeous string and horn playing . . . breathtraking bravura in the closing section . . . unforgettable . . . sound remains vivid"
LSO/Dorati 2004

Le Coq d'Or Suite

RSO/Jarvi 1992 "consistently creates orchestral textures which are diaphanously sinuous"
CLE/Maazel (1976) / 2000
RPO/Beecham 2002
LSO/Dorati 2004

Russian Easter Festival Overture

CSO/Barenboim "splendidly dramatic and full of warmth and atmosphere; the recording is very spectacular"
OSM/Dutoit 1990 "strong, with a fine climax . . . iridescent orchestral detail"
CON/Markevitch 2000
LSO/Dorati 2004

Scheherazade

RSO/Jarvi 1992 "most persuasive . . . recorded sound is spectacular . . . spacious and refined"
RPO/Beecham (1957) / 1999 "extraordinary drama and charisma . . . electricity . . . brass fanfares have great flair and bite . . . finale has an explosive excitement, rising to an electrifying climax . . . trombones and tuba have a blazing gusto"
BPO/Karajan (1967) /2000 "superbly played . . . brass fanfares have a tingling immediacy . . . great vitality and thrust"
PHI/Muti 2002 "colourful and dramatic in a larger-than-life way that sweeps one along . . . exciting climax"
CSO/Reiner (1960) / 2005 "classic . . . strong forward impulse . . . beguiling colour . . . the finale [is] brilliant and exciting . . . climax of resounding power and amplitude"
CON/Kondrashin 2006 "expansively vibrant . . . vivid with colour . . . beguilingly gracious . . . irresistible forward impulse"

Symphony No. 2 ("Antar")

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra /Jarvi 2000
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra/Maazel 2003 "strong and colourful yet refined treatment . . . excellent playing - notably in the finale . . . brilliant, finely balanced recording"

Tale of Tsar Saltan Suite

RSO/Jarvi 1992 "achieves new standards in this repertoire . . . survives repetition uncommonly well"
PHO/Ashkenazy 2000

GIOACCHINO ROSSINI
(1792-1868)

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Overtures

BPO/Karajan (1971) / 1989 "orchestral playing of supreme polish and bravura"
LSO/Abbado 2001 "Brilliant, sparkling playing . . . vibrant rhythms and finely articulated phrasing -- altogether invigorating and bracing . . . superb performances . . . one of the very finest collections"
PHO/Giulini (1959/1964) / 2004 "careful attention to detail balanced by a strong sense of drama . . . strong in personality"

ARNOLD SCHOENBERG
(1874-1951)

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Pelleas und Melisande


BPO/Karajan (1-74) / 1998 "The Straussian opulence . . . has never been as ravishingly presented as by Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic in this superbly recorded version. The gorgeous tapestry of sound is both rich and full of refinement and detail . . . radiant performance"


Verklarte Nacht

BPO/Karajan (12-73) / 1998 "altogether magical and very much in a class of its own. There is a tremendous intensity and variety of tone and colour . . . masterly performance . . . classic"

FRANZ SCHUBERT
(1797-1828)

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SYMPHONIES

No. 4 ("Tragic")

BPO/Bohm (between 1963 and 1973) / 2001
ASM/Marriner (early 80s) / 2002 "excellent . . . sparkling . . . highly desirable issue"

No. 5

VPO/Solti "few that so beautifully combine freshness with refined polish"
COL/Walter (1961) / "much loving attention to detail"
RPO/Beecham 1999
BPO/Bohm (between 1963 and 1973) / 2001 "wonderfully light and relaxed . . . power"
ASM/Marriner (early 80s) / 2002 "excellent . . . sparkling"
BPO/Karajan (late 70s) / 2005 "Karajan at his freshest and least complicated . . . full, clear sound and superb playing"

No. 6

RPO/Beecham 1999
BPO/Bohm (between 1963 and 1973) / 2001 "the Berlin Philharmonic plays with striking warmth and finesse"
ASM/Marriner (early 80s) / 2002 "excellent . . . sparkling"
BPO/Karajan (late 70s) / 2005

No. 8 ("Unfinished")

VPO/Solti 1991 "total concentration. Excellent recording"
PHO/Sinopoli 1994 "the most ravishingly refined and beautiful playing: the orchestral blend, particularly of the woodwind and horns, is magical . . . deeply concentrated reading . . . takes its place among the recorded classics . . . warmly atmospheric recording"
COL/Walter (1961) / 1999 "special qualities of warmth and lyricism . . . Affection, gentleness and humanity . . . sound is richly expansive as well as clear"
BPO/Bohm (between 1963 and 1973) / 2001 "striking warmth and finesse . . . the Berlin wind are a joy to listen to . . . glowing performance . . . magic"
ASM/Marriner (early 80s) / 2002 "splendidly taken . . . fresh, direct readings"
VPO/Kleiber 2004 "The recording brings out the brass sharply, and is of pleasantly wide range"
BPO/Karajan (1966) / 2005 "simplicity and directness . . . extraordinary polish of the orchestral playing . . . first movement is extremely compelling in its atmosphere; the slow movement too brings tingingly precise attack and a wonderful sense of drama"
PHO/Karajan (late 50s) / 2007 "without any question a most beautiful account . . . quality of the playing is remarkably fine . . . belongs among the finest"

No. 9 ("Great")

COL/Walter (1959) / 1995 "warm ambience of the sound - yet with no lack of rasp on the trombones . . . much to admire"
VPO/Solti (1981) / 1999 "one of the happiest and most glowing of all his many records, an outstanding version, beautifully paced . . . superbly played and recorded . . . drama as well as lyrical feeling, but above all it has a natrural sense of spontaneity and freshness . . . richly balanced recording"
LPO/Boult 2000 "splendidly wise and magisterial account . . . playing of high quality"

BPO/Bohm (between 1963 and 1973) / 2001 "Boehm is the best of Schubertians [here] . . . stands in the lyrical Furtwangler tradition . . . excitement in plenty. The recording is full and resonant"
ASM/Marriner (early 80s) / 2002 "splendidly taken . . . making up in rhythmic vitality for any lack of weight . . . fresh resilience . . . first-rate recording"
BPO/Karajan (late 70s) / 2005
BPO/Karajan (mid-60s?) / 2005

ROBERT SCHUMANN
(1810-1856)

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SYMPHONIES


No. 1 ("Spring")

BPO/Karajan 1996 "dominates all other modern recordings . . . beautifully shaped performances, with orchestral playing of the highest distinction"
VPO/Bernstein 2000 "extra voltage . . . a natural response to Schumann"
ZUR/Zinman 2005

No. 3 ("Rhenish")

BPO/Karajan 1990 "one of the most impressive versions ever committed to disc . . . playing . . . is beyond praise"
CON/Haitink 1994 "strong and direct reading, beautifully played with outstandingly resonant and rich brass -- most important in this of all the Schumann symphonies"
LAP/Giulini 1996 "aristocratic qualities . . . spirituality . . . the sound he produces is of great beauty . . . sheer musical vitality and nobility are beautifully conveyed . . . a very well-blended, warm and cultured sound that is a joy to listen to in itself. The recording is extremely fine, too"
ZUR/Zinman 2005

No. 4

BPO/Karajan 1990 "dominates all other modern recordings . . . especially fine . . . inspirational"
VPO/Bernstein 1997 "splendid orchestral playing and much engaging detail . . . a great deal to admire here . . . striking warmth and humanity"
ZUR/Zinman 2005

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