Italian opera, the most truly international of genres, spread far and wide all over Europe in the eighteenth century: Vienna, London, Dresden and St Petersburg were no less important as centres of Italian opera than Venice, Rome and Naples - indeed, they occasionally assumed even greater importance than Italian cities in stimulating composers to explore new avenues. A post at a court in northern Europe meant excellent pay for an Italian composer, as well as the chance to work with a degree of ease that was unknown in his homeland. This was a period in which a composer's earnings, were rarely sufficient to allow him to live comfortably. A prestigious, well-paid position abroad for a few years enabled a composer to set aside a little sum for his old age, and was a sort of gratification that none would wish to renounce. Thus it was that many successful composers set off for foreign lands, if for no other reason than to cash in on the success they had known in Italy in their youth, when the struggle to find a place at the top and the rhythm of production of operas obliged musicians to turn out as many as five or six works a year so as not to risk disappearing from the public eye.
In 2000, Britain's RCA Camden line mounted an extensive Harry Nilsson reissue campaign, remastering the original albums, offering bonus tracks, and combining the LPs into two-fers where possible. His first two records were issued as part of a double disc set, with the first disc devoted to the two original albums and the second containing his remixed, re-re-recorded consolidation of the two, Aerial Pandemonium Ballet, plus four unreleased tracks, all of high quality…
This seventh and final installment of the Anthology of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra covers the years 2000 to 2010, a rich period in the orchestra's history largely characterized by the changing perspectives of a new century. Indeed, it was in 2004 that Riccardo Chailly relinquished his position as chief conductor, to be replaced by the Latvian maestro Mariss Jansons, who shifted the orchestra's focus more towards Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss and Shostakovich. A generation of orchestral players retired and were succeeded by a group of outstanding young musicians, most of them hailing from outside the Netherlands, resulting in a growing internationalization of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Also in this period, the launch of the orchestra's own in-house record label, RCO Live, breathed new life into its rich recording tradition.
The Anthology of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is a recorded history of six decades of performances by the Concertgebouw Orchestra, taken from broadcasts contained in the archives of Dutch Radio and Radio Netherlands World Service. RCO Live has chosen not only legendary performances under chief conductors of the RCO but also concerts led by countless guest conductors of both greater and lesser renown. The sixth volume of the anthology features broadcasts from the 1990s, and presents a fascinating and colorful portrait of the orchestra s artistic development under various conductors during that period.