Many collectors would agree that Sviatoslav Richter was the greatest pianist of the 20th century. His enormous recorded legacy hides hundreds of treasures, many of which are included in this beautiful 51CD set. Released to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth (20th March 2015), the edition encompasses his complete Decca, Philips and DG recordings, including his Sofia Recital as well as his collaborations with Rostropovich, Karajan and Benjamin Britten.
* Performer: Mstislav Rostropovich
* Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
* Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
* Composer: Antonin Dvorak, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky
Mstislav Rostropovich is the world's greatest cellist, and he has actually made at least five recordings of this greatest of all cello concertos. I have a certain preference for his later version, with Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra on Erato. This version has long been a prime recommendation, and in this new remastering at mid-price, it's an even better deal now. Herbert von Karajan accompanies with his usual expertise, and the Tchaikovsky performance is quite simply the finest around. This concerto is one of those pieces of which you'll want to have five or six copies. Just make sure this is one of them. –David Hurwitz
Between 1961 and 1986, Herbert von Karajan made three recordings of the Mozart Requiem for Deutsche Grammophon, with little change in his conception of the piece over the years. This recording, from 1975, is, on balance, the best of them. The approach is Romantic, broad, and sustained, marked by a thoroughly homogenized blend of chorus and orchestra, a remarkable richness of tone, striking power, and an almost marmoreal polish. Karajan viewed the Requiem as idealized church music rather than a confessional statement awash in operatic expressiveness. In this account, the orchestra is paramount, followed in importance by the chorus, then the soloists. Not surprisingly, the singing of the solo quartet sounds somewhat reined-in, especially considering these singers' pedigrees. By contrast, the Vienna Singverein, always Karajan's favorite chorus, sings with a huge dynamic range and great intensity, though with an emotional detachment nonetheless. Perfection, if not passion or poignancy, is the watchword. The Berlin orchestra plays majestically, and the sound is pleasingly vivid.