Released between 1991 and 2005, the selections in The Warner Recordings encapsulate the period when Pierre-Laurent Aimard was signed to Erato and Teldec, performing mostly 20th-century fare and some music from the 19th century. Aimard is famous for his contributions to the modernist catalog, and his performances of works by Pierre Boulez, Elliott Carter, György Ligeti, and Olivier Messiaen are regarded as scrupulously executed and authoritatively interpreted. Aimard also recorded early 20th century pieces by Charles Ives, Alban Berg, Maurice Ravel, and Claude Debussy, as well as Romantic masterpieces of Beethoven and Liszt. A pianist's pianist, Aimard is well-rounded in his repertoire and a true master of keyboard technique, yet he has received considerably less fanfare than many of his flashier colleagues. Yet connoisseurs of piano recordings know that Aimard is indispensible, especially for his special feeling for French music, and his recordings are important documents that serious students and newcomers should appreciate.
Walton has been heralded as the most important composer of the 20th century. I knew little of his work and wanted to 'hear' for myself. His musical range is impressive and I feel that he has influenced many contemporary composers.
The best of Wayne Shorters electric era all in one bundle. The most complete package to date of Wayne Shorters Columbia albums, nearly 20 years of his greatest electric solo and co-leader performances of his own songs.
The Great Classics series from Naxos is the perfect introduction to myriad genres of classical music. Comprising both complete and compiled selections from the greatest works in the repertoire, the boxes are bursting with wonderful pieces of music, both recognizable and unfamiliar. The boxes take the listener on a thrilling tour of some of the worlds most dramatic musical media, encompassing music from six centuries and featuring sensational performers. All boxes come with a fascinating booklet with detailed information on the genre itself, chronological placement of each work, and a comprehensive study of the music. A fitting celebration of 25 years of superb music from Naxos, the worlds favourite classical label.
Continuing his impressive series of Anton Bruckner's symphonies on CPO, Mario Venzago leads the Bern Symphony Orchestra in period style performances of the Symphony No. 3 in D minor (1889 version) and the Symphony No. 6 in A major (1881 version), using scores edited by Leopold Nowak. Venzago strives for historically informed performances that give varying perspectives on Bruckner's development, employing different orchestras with each release to reveal important differences in the composer's orchestral conceptions and to show that there wasn't one prescription of how the symphonies should sound. Instead, Venzago rejects the massive and heavy-handed interpretations of the early 20th century and tries to re-create the 19th century sound world in all its variety and intimacy. The glistening, vibrato-less string tone, pungent woodwinds, and crisp brass and timpani are easily distinguished from the more homogenized tone colors of a modern symphony orchestra, and Venzago ensures that these distinctive timbres aren't obscured by keeping the orchestral sections lean and discrete.