Berlin-dwelling Dane Agnes Obel has been racking up the accolades throughout mainland Europe since her platinum-selling 2011 debut, Philharmonics. With the beguiling Citizen of Glass, her third studio long-player, she looks poised to enchant the rest of the world with her dark charms. A classically trained pianist with an elegant and elastic voice, Obel's melancholic chamber pop invokes names like Goldfrapp, Bat for Lashes, and Anna Calvi, but with a succinct aura of Scandinavian refinery. Where her relatively austere prior outings relied largely on piano and strings, Citizen of Glass revels in ghostly electronics and voice modulation, even going so far as to bring in a temperamental, late-'20s monophonic synthesizer called a Trautonium. The string arrangements are more ambitious and the composition style is a bit more opaque, but the ten-track set is unequivocally Obel-esque.
Acclaimed Berlin Philharmonic conductor Herbert von Karajan leads a stellar cast – including mezzo-soprano Agnes Baltsa and sopranos Anna Tomowa-Sintow and Janet Perry – in this memorable 1984 production of "Der Rosenkavalier." Recorded at Austria's Salzburger Festpiele, composer Richard Strauss' comic opera tells a tale about love between an aging noblewoman, her handsome lover, a bumbling baron and a wealthy merchant's beautiful daughter.
Mozart, who composed 21 piano concerti, can be regarded as the “inventor” of the popular piano concerto. Although J.S. Bach and his son had written numerous concerti for harpsichord or fortepiano and orchestra before him, Mozart’s enormous input to the genre is mostly due to his concerti being regarded as ‘popular music’ by his contemporaries: to be enjoyed and replaced quickly by newer works. For this series on four DVDs, the most influential, the most artistically challenging and the most popular piano concerti have been selected to be performed by the best Mozart interpreters of our time. The second volume features pianists André Previn, Zoltán Kocsis and Heidrun Holtmann performing the piano concerti Nos 1, 4, 23 and 24. The performances on this DVD were shot in highly attractive baroque venues – at the Teatro Scientifico del Bibiena in Mantua, in the Rittersaal of the Palais Waldstein in Prague and in the Grosse Galerie at Schloss Schönbrunn in Vienna – capturing the atmosphere of Mozart’s lifetime.
In 2000, seventeen years after George Balanchine’s death, a rare and precious ballet arrived at the Paris Opéra: Jewels, a work first performed by the New York City Ballet in 1967. This alluring, abstract ballet, a triptych in which each piece sparkles with the brilliance of a precious stone, is a lyric tribute to women and to the capital cities of the great dance schools. Couturier, painter and craftsman Christian Lacroix created the glorious costumes and sets which, together with the outstanding performances of the dancers and the sensitive musical direction of Paul Connelly, results in a celebration of sumptuous splendour.
This new version by the greatly-gifted young Hungarian pianist Zoltan Kocsis, again vindicates the contention that The Art of Fugue makes its best effect as a keyboard work, even if on a modern piano. For Kocsis Bach's intellectual and technical demands seem to pose no problems: his exposition of the polyphonic conversation, whether, two, three or four participants are involved, is always admirably lucid and enables each voice to have its say. This is no doubt helped by the rather dry quality of the Hungaroton/ Philips recording on LP (the CD is appreciably fuller and brighter), and by Kocsis's very discreet use of the sustaining pedal.