Throughout the 1970s, conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein was invited to lead the greatest orchestras of the world in a number of concerts that since such time have become legendary. Now, these historic performances are available on DVD for the first time. This Leonard Bernstein collectors's boxed set is the ultimate concert experience on DVD, and it is also the perfect companion to the Leonard Bernstein's Young People's Concerts DVD set.
Living legend of the piano Murray Perahia records two benchmark sonatas by Beethoven for the first time in his career. Long renowned for his performances of this composer, Perahia’s brand new recording pairs together two of the most radically ground-breaking of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas, in a release that is sure to be a crown jewel of the Beethoven discography.
In the 1950s these recordings would have given a very up-to-date impression, I imagine; the playing is extremely clean there's never a hint of sentimental violin slides or over-use of the sustaining pedal. But nearly half a century later, perhaps we're more conscious of the old-world virtues Schneiderhan's beautiful legato bowing and gentle vibrato, Kempff's full, unforced tone, and a flexible approach from both artists, with finely graded ritardandos and subtle variations of tempo.
This really was quite a fine recording of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, one of the best in years and easily the best of the early music recordings. The Choeur de la Chapelle Royale et du Collegium Vocale sing with strength and stamina, but also with grace and beauty of tone. The Champs Elysees Orchestra plays with power and precision, but also with unity of ensemble and beauty of tone, a very rare quality in an early music orchestra. And Herreweghe himself is actually an apt interpreter of the work. Not only does he have a knack for bringing out better than the best in his performers, but he actually seems to believe in the spiritual and sublime essence of the work, a very, very rare quality in any conductor these days. The result is a performance which, while it doesn't rival the 1940 Toscanini, the 1965 Klemperer, or the 1974 Böhm, does express the overwhelming sense that the numinous is imminent. Harmonia Mundi's sound is rich and vibrant.- James Leonard
Often, artists embrace MTV Unplugged as an opportunity to stroll through their back catalog. Not Alanis Morissette. Instead of concentrating on the familiar (only four songs from Jagged Little Pill are here, and neither of its sequel's hits, "Thank U" and "So Pure," are performed), Morissette uses Unplugged as a way to reintroduce Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie to an audience that largely ignored it the first time around. It's easy to see why Morissette is so intent on selling these songs. Although their meaning may be elusive at times, they're extremely personal songs, which benefit from the stripped-down arrangements and intimate surroundings…
Over the years Ifor James (1931-2004) has played with numerous orchestras and many famous composers have written and dedicated works to him. He was also one of the world’s most successful teachers, having put over 100 people into the profession. On this CD he plays horn sonatas together with Jennifer Partridge. Beethoven’s horn sonata especially stands out from the programme, since it’s the only sonata that Beethoven wrote for a wind instrument.
This recording, by two generations of musicians from the Kuijken family (Veronica, Sigiswald, Sara and Wieland Kuijken), along with Sigiswald's wife Marleen Thiers, was made with so-called 'modern' instruments. Although their name is generally linked with 'period performance practice', listeners should not expect or seek a deliberate, specific 'historic' tendency in this recording.
Fans of either cellist Mstislav Rostropovich or pianist Sviatoslav Richter will have to hear the performances on this two-disc Doremi set. It contains the four pieces they performed in Moscow on March 1, 1950 Brahms' Sonata No. 1 and Beethoven's sonatas No. 3 and No. 4, plus the world premiere of Prokofiev's sonata and two of the pieces they played at the Aldeburgh Festival on June 20, 1964 Grieg's sonata as well as another Brahms' Sonata No. 1.