The second installment in Sakari Oramo's superb hybrid SACD cycle of the symphonies of Carl Nielsen on BIS presents the Symphony No. 1 in G minor and the Symphony No. 3, "Sinfonia espansiva," two ruggedly independent works that reflect the composer's late Romantic style yet point to the modernism to come. While the Symphony No. 1 was influenced by Brahms and offers a rich harmonic language, propulsive rhythms, and a fairly homogenous orchestral palette, the Symphony No. 3 is striking for its reliance on unfolding counterpoint and long-breathed lines, and most notable for the use of wordless parts for soprano and baritone voices in the pastoral slow movement. These performances by Oramo and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra are exceptional for their stunning power and spacious feeling, though the crisp details and focused sound quality will be the biggest draw for audiophiles.
This 1985 Seventh, the first release in Riccardo Chailly's 15 year-old Bruckner symphony cycle, is a wonderful performance, thankfully available again. Chailly takes a majestic view of the work… Decca's remastering for this release adds just a bit more clarity and presence to what was already a dynamic and full-sounding recording. A great Bruckner seventh. –Victor Carr; classicstoday.com
George Szell's Dvorák performances feature his customary blend of razor sharp orchestral discipline allied to a wholly idiomatic, singing line. Even more interesting, he takes numerous liberties with Dvorák's orchestration in the Seventh Symphony, reinforcing the violins and woodwinds with horns at several points in the outer movements.
"Perahia doing Bach, as Perahia does Bach: very clean and very smooth. Very un-Gould. If Gould uses the piano to try and emulate the detached sound of a harpsichord (always sans pedal), Perahia is almost the opposite. Having said so, the sound Perahia achieves in the second movement (largo) of Concerto No. 5 (BWV 1056) is simply fabulous … one of my favourite piano sounds on SACD (after the Tchetuev Schnittke SACD on Caro Mitis). Beautifully recorded. Perahia's Goldberg variations on SACD is now almost impossible to find, and this SACD seems to be heading the same way, so grab it while you can. Highly recommended." ~sa-cd.net
Dame Mitsuko Uchida, universally acknowledged as one of the world’s foremost Schumann interpreters, follows her last album of the composer’s music (Davidsbündlertänze and Fantasie in C) with another sublime Schumann programme. Uchida’s latest Decca recording brings together the romantic fire and intensity of the Piano Sonata No. 2 in G minor Op. 22 with two remarkable works from Schumann’s final years, Waldszenen and the Gesänge der Frühe.
The wonderful timbres of original Baroque instruments and the vigorous period interpretations by Paul Dombrecht and Il Fondamento go far to make this 2004 release a delightful listening experience, even if Johann Friedrich Fasch's music falls short of genius. Not that Fasch was considered a mediocrity in his time: despite his later reputation as a modest Prussian kapellmeister, he was widely traveled, well-educated, and popular in his youth; and he enjoyed the benefits brought by continued publication of his Ouvertures, even after settling down in Zerbst in 1722..
GRAMMY WINNER - Best Classical Performance – Orchestra; 1972 - 15th Annual GRAMMY Awards
If one is searching for an extra-musical heading under which to bracket the con- tent of the Symphonies Nos. 4, 5 & 6 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, one cannot really avoid the word “fate”. Personal fate, to be exact. Thus his Symphony No. 4 (1876-78) was a frank confession straight from the soul, a subtle psychological portrait printed on paper. In a letter to his patroness, Nadezhda von Meck, he talked of “fate, this disastrous power, which prevents our urgent desire for happiness from achieving its objective”. After this, a further 11 years passed before Tchaikovsky attempted to compose another “purely” symphonic work – his Symphony No. 5.