Although best remembered for his devotion to the core Austro-Germanic repertoire, Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan did flirt with the English repertoire in the '50s and early '60s.
A new recording of Weber's piano concertos was obviously long overdue, and this one fits the bill more than adequately, coming as it does generously coupled with the much better known Konzertstück and in first-rate sound quality from HMV. Not the least of its virtues is the light it casts on the origins of the piano idiom of Chopin and Liszt and, in the case of the Konzertstück, on the very foundations of the romantic concerto. I wouldn't envy any historian out to determine who was responsible for which innovation in the first two decades of the nineteenth century, but certainly to hear so many fully-formed romantic textures in music dating from 1810-21 is an instructive, not to say startling, experience.
In light of the "chill-out" trend of the 1990s, major labels released many albums of slow, meditative pieces to appeal to listeners who wanted relaxing or reflective background music. Deutsche Grammophon's vaults are full of exceptional recordings of classical orchestral music, and the performances by Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic are prominent in the label's catalog. The slow selections on Karajan: Adagio are in most cases drawn from larger compositions, though these movements are frequently anthologized as if they were free-standing works. Indeed, many have come to think of the Adagietto from Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5 as a separate piece in its own right, largely because of its evocative use in the film Death in Venice. Furthermore, the famous Canon by Johann Pachelbel is seldom played with its original companion piece, the Gigue in D major, let alone in its original version for three violins and continuo; it most often appears in an arrangement for strings.
A definitive documentary about legendary conductor Herbert Von Karajan to mark 100 years since his birth. First release in any format! Not just a biographical film, Karajan uncovers the true, personal essence of the unique artist behind the public figure, a portrait of a man who was full of contradictions and remained a mystery until his death.
A superb box-set. Karajan set the bar high, paid great care and attention in monitoring the recording process and correcting any "mistakes" that recording engineers or producers might make. Of course, producers and recording engineers would correct Karajan's "corrections"! The recording studio - in which he thrived - and the end product were just as important to Herbert von Karajan as his live concert performances.
Alexander Mosolov (1900-1973), too, uses his own distinctive scheme of tonal organisation, different from Roslavets, and different from the Vienna School as well. His sonatas are technically very complex and difficult, and symphonically oriented, exploiting the full resources of the modern instrument. Herbert Henck puts this difficult material across in a beautiful, spirited performance and finds a lot of lyricism behind an often forbidding surface. The recording and production are up to the highest possible standards, as with all of ECM's releases, which are unsurpassed.