The conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky was never a predictable artist on disc and his hottest performances could easily power the national grid. Such is the intensity of at least two Shostakovich performances that turn up in Brilliant Classics’s Gennady Rozhdestvensky Edition. I cannot recall ever hearing a more confrontational account of the Ninth Symphony than the one Rozhdestvensky gave with the USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra on December 21, 1982, the work’s cheerful, rather sardonic “not-a-ninth-symphony” spirit suddenly pushed to the edges of irony and at times sounding positively sadistic, the first and last movements in particular. A very extreme case of “what he really meant”, whether or not you agree.
Decca's Ultimate Ballet: The Essential Masterpieces is a budget box set of five discs covering the major dance works in the classical repertoire; newcomers to the genre can quickly pick up the basics from this generous collection. One can argue that Tchaikovsky should have been allotted greater space and that at least one of his ballets should have been presented in its entirety, rather than all three represented as suites and squeezed together on disc 1 to make room for Delibes' complete Coppélia. The Nutcracker, for example, could have fit nicely on a single CD, or an extra disc could have been provided to accommodate either a complete Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty.
This 10CD box covers the entire range of the repertoire with which Boris Christoff took the world by storm; from his first opera role in La Boheme over the important Verdi roles and his devilish portrayal of Mephisto to the major roles in Russian operas; Christoff took part in no less than 600 performances of Boris Godunov.
The Japanese company, BMG Japan, sorted the original RCA RED SEAL CDs according to the composers and the year when the music pieces were created. BEST100 series are the best representative CDs, which were carefully chosen from those music pieces by acting and recording, and they were released again with the mark of RCA BEST100. These CDs are the most impressive records in the classical field at RCA’s best. Theoretically, we could find the single originals of those CDs, but BMG Japan reorganised excellently for everyone. During BMG Japan period, it was released for the first time in 1999 and for the second time in 2008 after SONY took over BMG. BEST100 series belong to the latter.
The Bach/Stokowski orchestral transcriptions join Bartok's Music for Percussion, Stings and Celeste ; Shostakovich's Symphony No. 11 ; Barber's Adagio for Strings ; Holst's The Planets ; Schoenberg's Verklarte Nacht ; Stravinsky's Petrushka Suite and Firebird Suite ; Sibelius's Finlandia ; Orff's Carmina Burana ; Khachaturian's Symphony No. 2 , plus Dukas, Strauss, Vaughan Williams, Tchaikovsky, Frescobaldi, Bloch, Ibert, Mussorgsky, Respighi, Ravel, Palestrina, Gabrielli and more!
The keyboard aficionados from all over the world know that Katia and Marielle Labeque are the most famous pianistic duo on the international concert stage now. They have reigned supreme in the territory of the two keyboards repertoire for some three decades and still seem inexhaustible in musical resources when conveying its marvels…
While this collection brings together all the standard tunes Mstislav Rostropovich recorded for EMI Classics, the "Russian" recordings are deservedly the headline grabbers. World premieres abound, from a searing account of Prokofiev's Cello Sonata with Sviatoslav Richter to an especially probing Shostakovich Second Cello Concerto, both given in the presence of the composers.
For fans of Sviatoslav Richter, it does not much matter if the sound is not all that great and it does not much matter if the repertoire is the same repertoire as always. It does not even matter much if the performances are not the greatest Richter ever recorded. For fans of Sviatoslav Richter, the only thing that matters is that there are new Richter recordings because that all by itself means that they will be some of the greatest performances of the greatest repertoire ever recorded. And this five-disc set of Sonatas by Beethoven, Schubert, and Liszt does not disappoint. With recordings dates from 1961 through 1975 and recording venues all in the USSR and its empire, the sound is hard and harsh. But with repertoire ranging from the last three Beethoven Sonatas through Schubert's last Sonata to Liszt's only Sonata, the music has the supreme masterpieces of the Romantic repertoire. And while there are Richter performances here and there that may arguably exceed these, Richter's performances here are as virtuosic, as expressive, as profound, and as transcendent as any he ever recorded. Which makes them some of the greatest performances of the greatest repertoire ever recorded.