When he announced in 2004 that he was stepping down as music director from the Royal Concertgebouw, easily one of the best orchestras in the world, it would have been easy for anyone to brand Riccardo Chailly as clinically insane. His announcement stunned the music world. The young, passionate Chailly had succeeded in bringing a new energy and vitality to the Concertgebouw during his impressive 16-year tenure.
Along with Wit's Naxos recording, this is one of the best versions of Messiaen's phantasmagoric Turangalîla-Symphonie available, and it's very different: swifter, more obviously virtuosic in concept, perhaps a touch less warm in consequence, and engineered with greater “in your face” immediacy. The playing of the Concertgebouw, always a wonderful Messiaen orchestra, is stunning throughout. Chailly revels in the music's weirdness. The Ondes Martinot, for example, is particularly well captured. It's interesting how earlier performances tended to minimize its presence, perhaps for fear that is would sound silly, which of course it does, redeemed by the composer's utter seriousness and obliviousness to anything that smacks of humor. In any case, it's not all noise and bluster. The Garden of Love's Sleep is gorgeous, hypnotic, but happily still flowing, while the three Turangalîla rhythmic studies have remarkable clarity. Jean-Yves Thibaudet plays the solo piano part magnificently, really as well as anyone else ever has.
Riccardo Chailly was born into a musical family in Milan. He studied at the conservatories in Milan and Perugia and received specialized training in conducting from Franco Ferrara at his Siena summer courses. At the age of 20, Chailly became assistant conductor to Claudio Abbado at Milan’s La Scala. He made his opera debut there in 1978 and was soon in great demand at the world’s leading opera houses and concert halls.
How good to see Riccardo Chailly so radiant at the end of this great event.It's an exhilaration he earns through sheer hard work as well as injecting the adrenalin at most of the right moments.(Majority) of the singers are excellent,from two very different but keenly-projected lyric-dramatic sopranos,Erika Sunnegardh and Ricardo Merbeth,to Georg Zeppenfeld,whose bass is rock solid and expressive across a huge range.Chailly holds attention between movements and makes you realise how many soloists within the orchestra have to sing,too.His Leader,the superb Sebastian Breuninger,assists him between blazes in the most striking of chamber-musical moments.Breuninger shares the front desk of viloins in Claudio Abbado's Lucerne festival Orchestra,but this one Mahler symphony Abbado's forces have yet to tackle,and Chailly's rendering leads the field on DVD. (BBC Music Magzine)
The most brilliant of Belgian composer César Franck's compositions were written during the final decade of his life; the Symphonic Variations for piano and orchestra, the famous Violin Sonata, the D major String Quartet, and, perhaps most important, the Symphony in D minor are all the products of a single, remarkable five-year period. The Symphony, by no means an immediate success with critics or audiences, has nevertheless become so fused with the popular image of César Franck that it is nearly impossible to think of him without also thinking of this 40-minute orchestral juggernaut.
Stage and television director Werner Herzog, one of the most highly acclaimed German film makers of all time, joins forces with the great Italian conductor Riccardo Chailly to effect a masterful rendition of this rarely-performed opera involving spectacular scenes of alternating light and dark, pageantry and intimacy. The production is further complemented by the great Italian baritone Renato Bruson as Giacomo, the American soprano Susan Dunn as Giovanna and the outstanding tenor Vincenzo La Scola as the Dauphin. The magnificent Teatro Comunale di Bologna provides an intimate yet ornate setting for this production of Verdi's seventh opera, the story of the Maid of Orleans.
Here we have not only the (now "Royal") Concertgebouw ensemble in all of its idiomatic glory, magnificently recorded, but also Chailly at his most interpretively perceptive–and the result is absolutely stunning… As a bonus, Mahler's Bach Suite also receives its finest performance on disc. - David Hurwitz; Classicstoday.com
Puccini’s reputation rests on a mighty handful of operas whose popularity shows no sign of diminishing. It would be tempting to suppose that because of this a wealth of scintillating orchestral music has been unjustly ignored. Not so – the music so fervently performed here is lyrical and charming, but ultimately weak-willed. The very beginning of La bohème crops up in the middle of E the Capriccio sinfonico, but the energy soon peters out. It shows just how much Puccini needed the external impetus of a libretto to create drama and excitement in his music. For all that, these soft-centred sweeties make enjoyably soothing listening.