Starting in 2003, Jonathan Nott and the Bamberg Symphony pursued the ambitious project of recording Franz Schubert's symphonies Nos. 1-8, and the SACDs were individually released later that decade to considerable critical praise. This 2011 set of six SACDs brings together the four albums with the symphonies, plus two collections of modern compositions inspired by Schubert's music. Nott's conducting tends to be on the fast side in Schubert, and the Bamberg Symphony is sometimes a little uneven in sound quality. But by and large, they demonstrate a great understanding of Schubert's styles, both in his Classical and Romantic veins, and acquit themselves with enthusiasm and brilliance.
More than most composers currently active, Brett Dean uses music to tackle political and social themes of our times. A common factor in the works on this recording is the sometimes problematic aspects of human communication and the erosion and misuse of language. In his violin concerto The Lost Art of Letter Writing, which was awarded the renowned Grawemeyer Award in 2009, Dean strikes a blow for written correspondence, demonstrating how, even today, the art of letter writing, the conveyance of wholly individual mood pictures, is possible.
This 17CD Limited Edition Set encompasses the 70-year history of one of Germany’s leading orchestras. Includes no fewer than 5 CDs of world premiere recordings by luminaries such as Kertész, Sinopoli, Blomstedt as well as definitive recordings by all the famous conductors who shaped the orchestra’s distinctive style.
Mahler’s Resurrection has been much recorded in recent years, so much so that new versions prompt one to groan inwardly and mutter: ‘Not another one’. Such ubiquity has its price, for any newcomer has to be something out of the ordinary if it’s to have any impact. Of recent releases David Zinman (Sony-BMG), Jonathan Nott (Tudor) and James Levine (Orfeo) definitely belong in this category; Vladimir Jurowski (LPO) and Markus Stenz (Oehms) manifestly don’t. And now Oehms are taking another bite out of the cherry, with the Hamburg orchestra led by their chief conductor Simone Young. Curiously, this was recorded at around the same time as the Stenz Mahler 2, which seems extravagant in this already overstocked field.
This is a perfectly reasonable recording of Bach's works for violin and orchestra and anyone who has not heard the works before will no doubt find them more than adequate. Violinist and leader Jonathan Rees is a fine player with a sweet tone and a warm style and he takes the strings of the Scottish Ensemble through thoroughly professional performances of the works. When joined by spry violinist Jane Murdoch in the Concerto for two violins and plangent oboist Nicholas Daniel in the Concerto for violin and oboe, Rees proves himself a graceful and considerate partner. Virgin's early-'90s sound is a bit thin on top but still clean and clear.(James Leonard)