This is the kind of package which represents the best of the Philips Classics Duo series. Slightly older recordings, but in beautiful, clear, warm analogue sound; artists of the old school and the first rank; a compilation of potentially neglected music made available absurdly cheaply in attractive packaging with high production values and intelligent notes; what's not to like?
Released to celebrate his 75th Birthday, this 25CD Limited Edition encompasses the complete recorded legacy of Stephen Kovacevich for the Philips label. It includes his acclaimed interpretations of works by Beethoven, Bartók, Brahms, Chopin, Debussy, Dvorák, Grieg, Mozart, Schumann and Stravinsky.
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.
Jazz pianist Iiro Rantala’s remarkable live album proves that barriers between musical genres needn’t exist. Electrifying performances of his own works, including the thrilling Freedom for prepared piano and orchestra, sit cheek-by-jowl with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21. The latter is played with glorious swagger, Rantala’s own ingenious first-movement cadenza, by turns dream-like, witty, and charming, proving a brilliant foil to Mozart’s perfect artistry. The album is bookended with another genre-busting set: Bernstein’s overture to Candide, two of Rantala’s own pieces, again arranged for orchestra and piano, and a mesmerizing solo fantasy on John Lennon’s Imagine.
Mozart wrote a plethera of fine chamber music in the galante style of the classical era: Quintets for various instruments, string quartets, string trios, string duos, piano trios, violin sonatas and the two magnificent piano quartets here. With these two quartets, Mozart more-or-less invented the genre which was later taken up by Schumann, Brahms and Dvorak. These piano quartets show Mozart in both a dramatic mode in the minor work and a typical merry mood in the major piece.
Franciscus (30 October 1934 – 13 August 2014) was a Dutch conductor, recorder player and baroque flautist.
"Arrau's Chopin – now available in a six-CD box (Philips 432 303-2) as part of Philips's Arrau Edition – is as far from moonstruck "sentimentality" as any Chopin ever was. But no performance of the Preludes is more sentimental, in Schiller's sense, than the version Arrau recorded for Philips in 1973. Its premise – that the cycle is a grand tragedy, the darkest thing Chopin wrote – is unmistakable. Even the prefatory C-major Prelude heaves with orgasmic rubatos – more weight, it seems, than the music can possibly bear. And yet, as Arrau packs each small berth with a world of feeling, the weight grips and holds. At times, the sheer density of emotion can seem suffocatingly intense. The Prelude No. 22, a Stygian descent, is surely Hades; the plunging scales of No. 24 rip the thread of life."
For her fifth live recording of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's piano concertos with the Cleveland Orchestra, Mitsuko Uchida presents the Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K 453, and the Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K 503, a delightful pairing that reflects her previous albums in this critically acclaimed series on Decca.