Antonín Dvorák's Stabat Mater, Op. 58, truly merits the adjective "tragic"; it was written after the deaths of two of the composer's children in succession, and his grief rolled out in great, Verdian waves. There are several strong recordings on the market, including an earlier one by conductor Jiří Bělohlávek himself, but for the combination of deep feeling, technical mastery from musicians and singers who have spent their lives getting to know the score, and soloists who not only sound beautiful but are seamlessly integrated into the flow, this Decca release may be the king of them all. To what extent was the strength of the performance motivated by Bělohlávek's likely fatal illness (he died days after the album entered the top levels of classical charts in the spring of 2017)? It's hard to say, although he also delivered top-notch performances of Dvorák's Requiem in his last days. The members of the Prague Philharmonic Choir sing their hearts out in the gigantic, shattering opening chorus, which has rarely if ever had such a mixture of the impassioned and the perfectly controlled. Sample the chorus "Virgo virginium praeclara" to hear the magically suspended quality Bělohlávek brings out of the singers in lightly accompanied passages.
Copernicus is one of the few artists to play behind the Iron Curtain back in 1989. This is a live concert DVD from his show at Praha Slavia Stadium on June 17th, 1989. This concert drew on tracks from the first three Copernicus' albums: "Nothing Exists," "Victim of the Sky," and "Deeper."…
Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi (15 May 1567 (baptized) – 29 November 1643) was an Italian composer, gambist, singer and Roman Catholic priest.
Monteverdi's work, often regarded as revolutionary, marked the transition from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque period. He developed two individual styles of composition – the heritage of Renaissance polyphony and the new basso continuo technique of the Baroque. Monteverdi wrote one of the earliest operas, L'Orfeo, an innovative work that is the earliest surviving opera that is still regularly performed. He was recognized as an innovative composer and enjoyed considerable fame in his lifetime.
Prague-1770 celebrates the compositions of three such Bohemians, Franz Tuma (1704-1774), Josef Myslivecek (1737-1781), and Leopold Kozeluch (1747-1818). While listening to my satellite TV's classical music station I was introduced to the Larghetto movement of Myslivecek's Sinfonia in Es. I enjoyed it so much that I immediately set out to track down a CD recording on the Internet. Subsequent research revealed that my growing admiration for Josef Myslivecek was shared by none less than Mozart himself who after meeting the Czech in Bologna in 1770 exclaimed, "He exudes fire, spirit and life." There is now little doubt that Myslivecek's style influenced Mozart a great deal in opera, symphonies, and violin concertos. Moreover, it is worthy of note that even before 1767 Myslivecek was already writing the earliest examples of the string quintet, a form that Wolfgang made his own only much later.
If you're one of those who feel Telemann has gotten a bad rap, your day has come. Here's a disc that will make even diehard skeptics take another listen to this Baroque master. Reinhard Goebel and the Musica Antiqua Köln perform a program of Telemann's chamber music for strings, including a pair of symphonies (which didn't mean nearly the same thing to Telemann as it did to Mozart or Beethoven), a suite, and a series of concertos (which also meant something else to him).
There are so many excellent recordings of Messiah that the addition of another only further complicates the decision for the listener, but having such an abundance of riches should be no cause for complaint. Hyperion's recording with Stephen Layton leading the choir Polyphony and the Britten Sinfonia is not among the flashiest or most star-studded, but it is immensely musically satisfying.