With a career spanning more than five decades, Thomas Beecham was one of the most important and influential conductors in England during the first half of the 20th century. He had a tendency, when dissatisfied with the musical scene in a given locale, to just form a new orchestra. As such, Beecham was responsible for the founding of both the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Beecham also had a penchant for unearthing little-known compositions, or performing less common versions of works. This EMI reissue features one of his favorite works, Grieg's incidental music to Peer Gynt. Most listeners are no doubt familiar with one or both of the orchestra suites Grieg extracted from the 23 total numbers, but Beecham presents listeners with much more. In addition to the 10 selections from the two suites, Beecham includes two additional movements and includes the little-heard choral parts from "In the Hall of the Mountain King" and "Arabian Dance" as well as the solo soprano parts from "Solveig's Song" and "Solveig's Lullaby".
…Firkušný taught at the Juilliard School in New York, and in Aspen, Colorado as well as in the Berkshire Music Centre in Tanglewood. Among his students were Yefim Bronfman, Eduardus Halim, Alan Weiss, Sara Davis Buechner, Carlisle Floyd, Kathryn Selby, Avner Arad, June de Toth, Richard Cionco, Robin McCabe, Anya Laurence, Natasa Veljkovic and Carlo Grante. After the fall of the communist regime in his homeland (the "Velvet Revolution" of 1989), Firkušný returned to Czechoslovakia to perform for the first time after more than 40 years of absence…
: This is a transfer from analog cassette tape to digital. A very rare opportunity to hear a young Virssaladze. My intention in posting this is to give our Russian friends the opportunity of listening to one of their co-nationals on a South American Tour in Buenos Aires during 1976. The announcer is the official Radio Municipal de Buenos Aires broadcast from the theatre on the day of the concert.
The Aeolian Quartet's epic cycle, originally released in the Seventies, was one of the gramophone's major contributions to Haydn's cause. Listening to the performances anew I find they have lost none of their freshness: they were based on the latest research, and the playing itself is always intelligent and thoughtful, with Emanuel Hurwitz's sweet-toned violin-playing a great asset throughout. (Misha Donat)
This live Appassionata, from a Moscow recital of 1959, is one of the most thrilling piano performances ever recorded. Sviatoslav Richter fills every moment of the first movement with intense drama, creates the illusion of total repose in the central variations, and then takes off in the finale with an exhibition of musical virtuosity and ever-increasing tension that becomes almost unbearably intense (and unbelievably fast and accurate). The studio Pathétique is quite fine, and the Fantasy (sung in Russian!) well performed by all but still rather quaint in its effect. But don't miss that Appassionata!
Since his victory in the Reine Elisabeth Competition in Belgium in 1992, at the age of 22, Braley has allowed himself plenty of time for reflection, and his career… has been, in his own image, refined and demanding.