Antonio Salieri set Shakespeare’s comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor to music in 1799, and his work was successfully premiered in Vienna the same year. Michael Hampe staged Salieris’s Falstaff at the Schwetzingen SWR Festival in 1995 with similar success – wonderfully supported by the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor Arnold Östman. The libretto by Carlo Prospero Defranceschi reduces Shakespeare’s original play to a few main characters and drastically simplifies the plot. This gives John Del Carlo, Teresa Ringholz, Richard Croft and Delores Ziegler a lot of space for their artistic interpretation and brilliant singing. The work lives from the wealth of the Italian opera buffa and absorbed influences from the German Singspiel (song-play), and delights with a number of great arias.
This 10-disc set from Brilliant Classics, featuring the Chapelle du Roi, presents the complete works, including recordings of music that have hitherto been unrecorded. How lovely to have a complete set of works. Tallis lived during a time of tremendous religious upheaval. The succession from Henry VIII to Edward VI, Edward to Mary Tudor and Mary to Elizabeth meant changes from Catholic to Protestant, and back again with Mary, before Elizabeth’s “third way” – a more accepting and moderate form of Protestantism.
This fine work, in the perfect Classical tradition, is from late in Piccinni’s French period. It was composed in 1783 and was performed in Paris regularly until 1836 and throughout the rest of Europe until about 1830. Piccinni keeps the plot moving at a fine clip, running one number into the next without a glitch and (especially in the third act) effectively using the chorus to add to the excitement. His writing for the solo voices is stirring in a Gluckian way, but elements of his Italian roots show up in the vocal line and melodic inspiration as well.
Consummation. This is what the piano music of Arnold Schönberg (1874-1951) and Franz Schubert (1979-1828) have in common, the bridge that Thomas Larcher brings to this welcoming solo recital, his first for ECM. To underscore this point, he shuffles Schönberg’s Klavierstücke op. 11 with Schubert’s posthumous Klavierstücke D 946. By turns halting and didactic, the opening pairing opens into the fresh air of Schubert’s precisely syncopated revelry. The contrasts between the two composers are obvious to the ear, but to the heart Schönberg is an extended exhalation to Schubert’s inhalation. Where Schönberg plots slow, jagged caverns, Schubert runs furtively above ground in the sunshine. Yet both seem so urgent to tell their stories, offering lifelong journeys from relatively young minds.
Fierrabras is a three-act German opera with spoken dialogue written by the composer Franz Schubert in 1823, to a libretto by Josef Kupelwieser, the general manager of the Theater am Kärntnertor (Vienna's Court Opera Theatre). Along with the earlier Alfonso und Estrella, composed in 1822, it marks Schubert's attempt to compose grand Romantic opera in German, departing from the Singspiel tradition.
Having released two albums in a nine month period between October 1981 and July 1982, “Three of a Perfect Pair” is the final part of the recorded trilogy begun with “Discipline” and “Beat”. Originally released in April 1984, from the pointillist minimalism of the title track through to the urgent rush of ‘Sleepless’ and the album’s closer ‘Larks’ Tongues in Aspic III’ - the only reference to the 1970s incarnations of the band – Crimson’s distinctive mixture of rock, electronica, funk and pure pop songs, ensured the group’s status as one of the most interesting and innovative bands of the decade.