The conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky was never a predictable artist on disc and his hottest performances could easily power the national grid. Such is the intensity of at least two Shostakovich performances that turn up in Brilliant Classics’s Gennady Rozhdestvensky Edition. I cannot recall ever hearing a more confrontational account of the Ninth Symphony than the one Rozhdestvensky gave with the USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra on December 21, 1982, the work’s cheerful, rather sardonic “not-a-ninth-symphony” spirit suddenly pushed to the edges of irony and at times sounding positively sadistic, the first and last movements in particular. A very extreme case of “what he really meant”, whether or not you agree.
The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and IMG Artists present an exclusive deluxe 8CD box set edition celebrating the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and its century-long national and international tradition. The box offers a unique collection of recordings dating from 1934-1978 with more than 10 hours of music. Here the orchestra plays under legendary names like Arturo Toscanini, Fritz Busch, Leopold Stokowski, Bruno Walter, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Pierre Monteux and Rafael Kubelik, together with their Swedish counterparts Tor Mann, Sixten Ehrling and Herbert Blomstedt.
For fans of Sviatoslav Richter, it does not much matter if the sound is not all that great and it does not much matter if the repertoire is the same repertoire as always. It does not even matter much if the performances are not the greatest Richter ever recorded. For fans of Sviatoslav Richter, the only thing that matters is that there are new Richter recordings because that all by itself means that they will be some of the greatest performances of the greatest repertoire ever recorded. And this five-disc set of Sonatas by Beethoven, Schubert, and Liszt does not disappoint. With recordings dates from 1961 through 1975 and recording venues all in the USSR and its empire, the sound is hard and harsh. But with repertoire ranging from the last three Beethoven Sonatas through Schubert's last Sonata to Liszt's only Sonata, the music has the supreme masterpieces of the Romantic repertoire. And while there are Richter performances here and there that may arguably exceed these, Richter's performances here are as virtuosic, as expressive, as profound, and as transcendent as any he ever recorded. Which makes them some of the greatest performances of the greatest repertoire ever recorded.
Vladimir Sofronitsky was among the greatest Russian pianists of the twentieth century, and, while he had become a somewhat less prominent figure following his death, he must be still considered in the company of Richter, Gilels, and Yudina. In his time, Sofronitsky became widely recognized as the leading interpreter of and authority on the music of Scriabin in Eastern Europe. He was also highly praised for his interpretations of the piano works of Robert Schumann and he was a highly respected teacher.
This is the second of Brilliant's box sets devoted to Russian recordings from Evgeny Kissin. Labeled as early, these live concert performances from 1984 to 1990 carry us from the day after Kissin turned 13 (Mozart Cto. #12 K. 414) to age 18 (Mozart Cto. #20, K. 466), with most readings clustering in the range of 1985-89. Russians were well aware of the marvel in their midst; the pianist's American breakthrough occurred in 1990 when he debuted at Carnegie Hall's centennial season.
Pianos in The Kitchen brings together select concert recordings of solo piano works performed at The Kitchen from 1976 through 1983, including works from the 1976 Bösendorfer Festival and the 1983 series of benefit concerts that supported the purchase of a new Steinway Baby Grand piano for the institution. Featured are names familiar to The Kitchen’s history such as Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Charlemagne Palestine, and Anthony Davis as well as performers/composers Harold Budd and Dennis Russell Davies, who have enjoyed important careers, but are not necessarily associated with The Kitchen’s programming. This CD covers a range of genres, from jazz to classical to new music. All of the recordings document performances in which the piano–the instrument most central to the development of Western music–is played, explored, and extended. There is a notable immediacy and intimacy about each performance in this compilation, stemming perhaps from the nature of live recordings and the strength of the piano as a large organic, vibrant instrument.