Pere Ubu's troubles with record companies are legendary within certain underground rock circles. In perhaps the most bizarre turn of events, the group's collected works of 1978-1982 – after being out of print for nearly a decade – were reissued by Geffen as a five-disc box set, Datapanik in the Year Zero. Named after the group's 1978 EP, the set is arranged chronologically and occasionally substitutes live versions for studio tracks, but that hardly matters – nearly every song the band recorded during the five-year time span is included.
Anyone listening to this admirable set will gain an accurate impression of David Oistrakh’s overall playing style, his poise, composure, interpretative finesse, velvety tone and highly sophisticated musicianship. Various of the works programmed are - or have been - available in alternative Oistrakh recordings (the Tchaikovsky and Brahms concertos in around six versions apiece), but Melodiya’s selections are, in general, judiciously chosen.
André Cluytens, though born in Belgium, achieved fame as one of the supreme French conductors of his era, renowned for his refinement and the sheer joy of his music-making. In the mid-20th century he built a substantial, varied and distinguished discography and became the first conductor to record the complete Beethoven symphonies with the Berliner Philharmoniker. This 64-disc set, uniting all his recordings of orchestral, concerto and choral repertoire, embraces the mainstream and the esoteric, and includes numerous items making their debut on CD or retrieved from the archives and released for the very first time.
One of the most persistent questions that musicians ask themselves while practicing a piece is the inevitable query of how the composer himself might have performed his music. There are many written reports on how the old masters such as Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven may have played or improvised; and there are lines of teacher/pupil relationships which can trace their lineage back to the pianistic greats such as Liszt, but still we have to imagine the sound since we cannot actually hear it.
The box set comprised 100 volumes featuring 72 pianists of the 20th century, each volume with two CDs and a booklet about the life and work of the featured pianist. The set contains a variety of composers from different eras, from Baroque to Contemporary classical.
For turning out reliable recordings of the standard repertoire, it's hard to beat Neeme Järvi and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra because their releases on BIS are always highly enjoyable, and they are dependable for accurate renditions that are genuinely exciting. The six-CD set of Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's symphonies Nos. 1-6, the Serenade for strings, Romeo and Juliet, Capriccio Italien, Francesca da Rimini, and other less familiar orchestral works, is a bargain that shouldn't be missed, for the beginning classical fan has everything necessary to begin appreciating the Russian master, while connoisseurs will find unexpected surprises in the obscure selections.
This is quite simply one of the most important and consistently superbly executed recording projects of all time. Bartók's piano music isn't exactly overrepresented on disc, being as it is without doubt one of the most important piano oeuvres ever composed, and in the hand of Zoltán Kocsis, doubtlessly one of the greatest pianists alive today, one should expect some superb discs where the works at long last receive the treatment they deserve. In fact, the actual result surpasses any possible expectations.
At the end of his life, Horowitz had chosen to record for Deutsche Grammophon. The Hamburg label reissues all of its recordings, 6 CDs, commemorating the centenary of the birth of the pianist.