Continuing his impressive series of Anton Bruckner's symphonies on CPO, Mario Venzago leads the Bern Symphony Orchestra in period style performances of the Symphony No. 3 in D minor (1889 version) and the Symphony No. 6 in A major (1881 version), using scores edited by Leopold Nowak. Venzago strives for historically informed performances that give varying perspectives on Bruckner's development, employing different orchestras with each release to reveal important differences in the composer's orchestral conceptions and to show that there wasn't one prescription of how the symphonies should sound. Instead, Venzago rejects the massive and heavy-handed interpretations of the early 20th century and tries to re-create the 19th century sound world in all its variety and intimacy. The glistening, vibrato-less string tone, pungent woodwinds, and crisp brass and timpani are easily distinguished from the more homogenized tone colors of a modern symphony orchestra, and Venzago ensures that these distinctive timbres aren't obscured by keeping the orchestral sections lean and discrete.
The symphonies of Georges Onslow (1784-1853), rather than following the path blazed by countryman Hector Berlioz, instead adopt the German romantic style epitomized by Schumann and Mendelssohn. For example, the high-spirited Symphony No. 2, a smart and finely crafted work continuously self-propelled by busy string writing, presents a very Schumannesque profile (explicitly so in the scherzo), while the orchestration, with its bucolic woodwind writing, owes much to Mendelssohn. Symphony No. 4 immediately announces its weightier countenance with a powerfully portentous introduction reminiscent of Schubert. Onslow enlivens both the first movement and finale with skillful pacing and an unerring sense of dramatic timing, but it's the spiritually elevated adagio–the emotional center of the work–that remains most in the memory.
Bernard Haitink conducts the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Brahms’s great orchestral works, including the complete symphonies. The concertos feature three great soloists: pianist Claudio Arrau, violinist Henryk Szeryng, and cellist Janos Starker. "No one, I trust, will deny that Arrau has lived with, wrestled with, and in a truly terribly way ’known’ the D minor Concerto for more years than most of us can consciously recall. Where contemporary pianists have often tended to refine or domesticate the concerto, withdrawing it from the world of heroic endeavour, Arrau has always done the reverse. No pianist, apart possibly from Serkin in his several recordings, has communicated so formidably the work’s scope: its seriousness and its anxious, tragic mood. Often Arrau makes free with the text. But the vision is huge, the technique astonishing. Haitink is a worthy accompanist."
Here's a set of the best of Mozart's symphonies performed by the well-respected Vienna Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein. These are reissues of recordings made in the 1980s, and although half were done in the studio and half were live, there is really no significant difference in sound.
Le Donne Curiose premiered in Munich in 1903, numbered among the greatest and earliest successes of the German-Italian composer Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari. Based on a comedy by Carlo Goldoni, this merry opera tells the story of the inquisitive wives who investigate the mysterious behaviour of their husbands and discover little more than their love of food! Typical figures of the Italian comedy appear in the score, here beautifully performed and recorded under the baton of Ulf Schirmer.
Lorin Varencove Maazel was born of American parents in Neuilly, France on March 6, 1930 and the family returned to Los Angeles when Lorin was still an infant. He exhibited a remarkable ear and musical memory when very young; he had perfect pitch and sang back what he heard. He was taken at age five to study violin with Karl Moldrem. At age seven he started studying piano with Fanchon Armitage. When he became fascinated with conducting, his parents took him to symphony concerts, then arranged for him to have lessons with Vladimir Bakaleinikov, then assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.