Despite his premature death at age 35, Fritz Wunderlich was one of the great lyric tenors of the century, equally at home with Mozart's Magic Flute and Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde. Why, then, does Schubert's great song cycle about disappointed love so often elude him? Though he brings his usual vocal splendor and gratifying lyricism to the music in ways that few tenors can dream of, both Wunderlich and his accompanist have a strangely club-footed sense of rhythm. What should often be an intimate expression is extroverted and even labored. – David Patrick Stearns
Often described as one of Europe's foremost living composers, Hans Werner Henze could perhaps more accurately be described as Europe's greatest living composer. Born in 1926, Henze's career spans sixty years, his style encompasses everything from neo-classicism to post-modernism, his works include everything from grand operas to intimate quartets, and his music embraces everything from ecstatic lyricism to agonizing expressionism. In this disc devoted to his music for guitar, Henze's intimate, lyrical, neo-classical side is brilliantly on display from the achingly lovely Drei Tentos (Three Attempts) and Drei Fragmente nach Hölderlin (Three Fragments from Hölderlin) both from 1958 through the intensely dramatic Royal Winter Music from 1979 to the wildly eclectic Selbst- und Zweigespräche (Monologues and Dialogues) from 1985 and Neue Volkslieder und Hirtengesänge (New Folk Songs and Shepherd's Melodies) from 1986.
Schubert's 'Death and the Maiden' Quartet is now available on Blu-Ray, DVD and HD video to download. The concert includes the early quartets in D Major D74 and B-flat Major D68 as well as the monumental 'Death and the Maiden' D810, and it's the first release of the Cuarteto Casals' five disc set of live performances of the complete quartets of Franz Schubert…
…The vivid MDG recording is slightly distanced, so the volume needs to be increased considerably for its fine qualities to become evident. Balances between voices and orchestra are excellent, and for those listening in multi-channel the surround speakers have been used to great effect for the off-stage brass, distant bells and chorus in the Act 3 cataclysmic immolation of Irrelohe castle. There is no applause or audience noise but the movement of singers on the stage is clearly defined with very few extraneous sounds being captured by the microphones. This is the latest addition to the Schrecker discography and will be welcomed by all admirers of the composer and can be confidently recommended.
As a musician, as a man of ideals, and as a true world citizen, Yehudi Menuhin made an extraordinary mark on his era. The Menuhin Century commemorates the 100th anniversary of his birth on 22 April 1916.