Today we have added a fine recording of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, S124 to our growing collection of masterworks. It is performed by Krystian Zimerman with the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Seiji Ozawa.
The Dufay Spectacle
There was a time when Gothic Voices reigned supreme and recorded some outstanding CDs. I’m thinking of such things as Hildegard of Bingen’s A feather on the breath of God which they recorded with Emma Kirkby. It is some time since I last encountered a recording by them but now we have a new offering from them on the Linn label.
This latest recording, of works by Guillaume Dufay (c1400-1474) has been well conceived and is performed outstandingly with some exceptional singing from Catherine King, in particular. Andrew Lawrence-King plays a large number of different instruments on this recording and is one of the many fine musicians accompanying the Gothic Voices.
This is medieval music at its finest and a worthy winner of our CD of the month award. Don’t hesitate to add this to your music collection.
Ginastera: Orchestral Works, Vol. 3
Xiayin Wang (piano), BBC Philharmonic, Juanjo Mena (conductor)
In this final instalment of Ginastera’s orchestral works Juanjo Mena and the BBC Philharmonic are, once again, joined by the Chinese pianist Xiayin Wang – this time she is the soloist in two of the three works.
Alberto Ginastera (11.04.1916 – 25.06.1983) was one of the most successful south American composers of the twentieth century but few of his works are represented widely in the current catalogue. Hopefully, this splendid series will give rise to an upsurge of interest in this composer.
The CD opens with the four movement Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 28. This is a stark work; it is full of detail and dissonance and requires a muscular performance. Xiayan Wang brings this off very well and is equally at home with the deft touches required in the ‘Scherzo allucinante’. She is clearly in tune with Mena and the BBC Philharmonic and we are treated to the best currently available performance of this concerto.
Why the second work Variaciones concertantes has not yet entered the common repertoire is something of a mystery. In this piece each of the principal instruments, either singly or in pairs, has an opportunity to shine. It alternates between slower and faster tempi and the piece is a major discovery for this reviewer.
The final work is the youthful Concierto argentino that was rapidly withdrawn by the composer, following a successful launch, pending revisions that never came to pass. On the basis of this performance it certainly deserves to be given full recognition.
Like the two previous issues, it has been expertly recorded and on our systems the 24bit 96kHz download sounded excellent and allowed us to fully appreciate the quality of not only the orchestral musicians but also the talented soloist, Xiayin Wang who clearly has a great deal of empathy with these piano pieces. Well written and informative notes in the booklet complete a thoroughly recommended release.
The most recent five additions to the collection are as follows:
Work 41: Delibes: Coppélia
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Richard Bonynge
Work 42: Copland: Appalachian Spring
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas
Work 43: Wagner: Tristan und Isolde
Wolfgang Windgassen (Tristan), Birgit Nilsson (Isolde), Christa Ludwig (Brangäne), Martti Talvela (King Marke), Eberhard Waechter (Kurwenal), Peter Schreier (Seemann), Chor und Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Karl Böhm.
Work 44: Fauré: Requiem in D minor, Op. 48
Work 45: Rautavaara’s Symphony No. 7 ‘Angel of Light’
You can find information about all 45 works here or by selecting Building a Collection from the main menu.