This is not going to be an "objective" review, because I specifically asked that Australian Eloquence issue this compilation for the express purpose of bringing back into the catalog the Surinach Piano Concerto, a dazzling, hell-for-leather contemporary Spanish romp that would bring the house down in a live setting, and that has never been released on CD until now. The truth is, I heard it on my car radio in 1984 and sat transfixed in a parking lot, engine running, late for work, until it was done. Then I ran to my local Tower Records to buy it, only to find that it was out of print (it was recorded in 1977). I couldn't find it used, and never heard it again. I was extremely annoyed that Decca Legends released the equally gorgeous and little-known Montsalvatge Concerto Breve (which isn't so "breve" after all, lasting about 25 minutes) in tandem with a miscellany of solo works, when the Surinach would have made the perfect coupling. All of the material included here is vintage Larrocha. The Albéniz and Turina performances are famous and highly regarded anyway, making this CD the ultimate 20th-century Spanish piano concerto collection that does not include the ubiquitous Nights in the Gardens of Spain. So aside from saying that the performances are spectacular, the sonics are terrific, and coming clean about my complicity in this enterprise, I'm just going to limit myself to a heartfelt "Thank you!" I hope that you agree.
This fabulous five disc set is replete with some of those old Stokowski warhorses all recorded in absolutely mind boggling Phase 4 sound, overblown perhaps but astounding for its time. Decca's remastering is absolutely magnificent and the discs are jam packed with almost six hours of music. This is another fine memorial to a great conductor who remained astonishingly vital until the very end of his life.
Bernard Haitink conducts the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Brahms’s great orchestral works, including the complete symphonies. The concertos feature three great soloists: pianist Claudio Arrau, violinist Henryk Szeryng, and cellist Janos Starker. "No one, I trust, will deny that Arrau has lived with, wrestled with, and in a truly terribly way ’known’ the D minor Concerto for more years than most of us can consciously recall. Where contemporary pianists have often tended to refine or domesticate the concerto, withdrawing it from the world of heroic endeavour, Arrau has always done the reverse. No pianist, apart possibly from Serkin in his several recordings, has communicated so formidably the work’s scope: its seriousness and its anxious, tragic mood. Often Arrau makes free with the text. But the vision is huge, the technique astonishing. Haitink is a worthy accompanist."
5 April 2008 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Herbert von Karajan, the legendary Austrian-born conductor who achieved a position of musical supremacy as director of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra that made him one of the most famous and celebrated conductors of the second half of the twentieth century. While the majority of his symphonic recordings were made for Deutsche Grammophon, von Karajan also recorded for Decca and EMI during the 1950s and 1960s. This set is reissued to mark this momentous anniversary and contains all of his orchestral recordings made with the Vienna Philharmonic for Decca during the late 1950s/early 1960s.
Duke Ellington recorded for Brunswick from 1926 to 1931, the period in which his great talent and great orchestra first flowered, whether the band was recording under his own name or such pseudonyms as the Washingtonians or the Jungle Band. The earliest recordings are highlighted by the presence of trumpeter Bubber Miley and trombonist "Tricky Sam" Nanton, whose brilliant work with plunger mutes for vocal effects did much to define the early sound–which, in turn, rapidly evolved and expanded with the additions of Harry Carney, Johnny Hodges, and Cootie Williams. While the band's repertoire included many blues and popular songs, its distinctive identity emerges from early renditions of such trademark pieces as "East St. Louis Toodle-O," "Black and Tan Fantasy," "The Mooche," and "Mood Indigo." By the end of the period covered in this set, Ellington's ambitious later suites–some of them CD-length–are portended in the elegant extended composition "Creole Rhapsody," his clearly superior contribution to the symphonic jazz movement.
Ex-Tangerine Dream guitarist Bernhard Beibl, joins epic cinematic TV and film score producer Ryo Utasato, celebrated New Age pianist Kori Linae Carothers, and the layered synthesizers and guitars of producer Kuutana for Sequential Dreams' seventh album.
Although taken individually, sections of Legends tracks may have a sound familiar to New Age or Ambient music genres, the listener will discover the progressive nature of the composition style as the sections evolve from a setting of gentle mystical beginnings which gradually transition into energetic finales blending rich layers of synthesizer textures and pads, with percussive sequences cut through by masterfully played guitars…