Bartok : Klavierkonzert Nr.1 Und Rhapsodie
Bartok : Klavierkonzert Nr.1 Und Rhapsodie
This uncompromising severity presents an enormous challenge that is mastered with aplomb by Géza Anda and the RSO Berlin under Ferenc Fricsay. Bartók’s musical language is milder and more accessible in his Second and Third Piano Concertos, which are now available in a new pressing from Speakers Corner Records (DGG 138 111).
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Bartok : Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3
Bartok : Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3
Bartók wanted his Second Piano Concerto to be understood as a contrast to his harsh and – for the orchestra – extremely difficult First Piano Concerto. But notwithstanding its more easily understandable theme, this work too was composed using strict classical sonata form. With a bright atmosphere, fired on by the sound of trumpets, the theme of the first movement forges ahead and sets the course for the whole work. Lively exuberance and a committed interplay between the soloist and orchestra result in a work that is wholly positive throughout and which remains full of energy yet bell-like and accessible right up to the final movement.
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Beethoven – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1
Beethoven – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1
The performance history of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos is, it appears, bound up with a paradoxical situation. On the one hand, every great pianist must almost feel destined to perform these works at least once in his lifetime. But on the other hand, so many heroes of the schellac era have left future generations their excellent recordings that these are filled with awe and respect, their otherwise nimble fingers become lame – and often only a mediocre recording is the result.  
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Brahms : The Complete Symphonies
Brahms : The Complete Symphonies
Karajan’s interpretations are orthodox and exemplary. He has intellectual mastery over every symphony, even the difficult Third, which clearly presents him with no difficulties at all... the performance of the Second Symphony has a beautifully lyrical, golden quality, with rich, warm phrasing, and plenty of vigour in the last movements. (Gramophone)
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Carl Orff – Carmina Burana
Carl Orff – Carmina Burana
Sung by world renowned soloists and conducted by the legendary Eugen Jochum, this recording of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana was authorised by the composer himself. It follows, therefore, that the present recording met with the high requirements of the composer himself and so represents an unusual collector's item. Orff intended not just to copy the medieval lyrics but to express the mood of that era. His highly rhythmic compositional style reflects the archaic character of the vocal line. The listener experiences not only the vital primordial pulse of the music in this thrilling interpretation but also the mystery of Fate through the tender lyrical passages.
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Chopin – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.1 / Liszt – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1
Chopin – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.1 / Liszt – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1
Putting Chopin’s brilliant youthful work, with which he took Paris by the storm, alongside Liszt’s symphonically structured work with its manifold improvisatory passages is rather like comparing apples and oranges. However, a compilation of the two works on one record is highly desirable, especially when the youthful and athletic Martha Argerich is at the keyboard. She lends Chopin’s dominant piano part elegance, pearly lightness, and brings out his exquisite harmonies to create haunting poetry in music. Just as effortlessly she brings the sharp contrasts between lyrical airiness and extreme tension to perfection in Liszt’s E flat major concerto. With shivers running down the spine, one eagerly awaits Argerich playing the forceful passages, where her complete control is particularly evident in the phenomenal chordal passages.
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Dvorak – Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra h-moll op.104
Dvorak – Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra h-moll op.104
The Cello Concerto op. 104 is the last orchestral piece Dvorák wrote during his stay in America. Unlike his Ninth Symphony which borrowed folkloric themes from the New World, the charming Cello Concerto reveals Dvorák's yearning for his Bohemian homeland.
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Dvorak – Symphonie No. 8
Dvorak – Symphonie No. 8
Dvorak wrote his Eighth Symphony during 1889 at Vysoka, where he had a small country house. The Symphony was published in London and for a time was known as the "English Symphony" although its Czech origins are apparent in every bar.
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Mahler: Symphony No. 9
Mahler: Symphony No. 9
In 1982, the BPO's centenary year, Mahler's Ninth was played in an unforgettable series of concerts in Salzburg, Berlin and New York. Two things were evident in the momentous first performance in Salzburg in April 1982. First, Karajan was bringing an added toughness and truculence to the opening measures of the second movement, strengthening still further an already masterly unfolding of Mahler's powerful essay in the metamorphosis of the dance.
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Mendelssohn – Barthodly – Italienische Sinfonie . Italian / Reformations-Sinfonie . Reformation
Mendelssohn – Barthodly – Italienische Sinfonie . Italian / Reformations-Sinfonie . Reformation
Mendelssohn’s Symphonies nos. 4 and 5 were composed within a short period of time and the highly individual form of the movements are proof positive of the young genius’s never-ending source of ideas. The sparkling first movement of the Fourth Symphony with its jubilant theme and the wild, thrilling Saltarello finale bear witness to an exuberant zest for life, such as Mendelssohn must have experienced it on his visit to Italy. As a contrast, the melancholic Andante is reminiscent of Beethoven’s expressive depth, while the following minuet-like movement with its horns conjures up a feeling of romantic German hunting scene in the forest.
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Mozart – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 19 in F major, K. 459/Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 27 in B flat major, K. 595
Mozart – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 19 in F major, K. 459/Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 27 in B flat major, K. 595
In spite of the varying degrees of popularity of Mozart’s numerous piano concertos, no one would seriously consider ranking them by quality. It would certainly prove an impossible task, for each and every one of these intense yet often playful compositions could be considered the most perfect of its genre. In view of this, one should concentrate on each work’s highly individual character and this can hardly be more contrasting than in the present two pieces.
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Mozart – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra Nos. 20 & 21
Mozart – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra Nos. 20 & 21
Friedrich Gulda is known to all. He is the musical wizard with the embroidered cap, an artist who is equally at home in jazz, the Viennese lied, or the works of the Viennese Classic. Gulda might have only performed a small number of his Austrian compatriot's 27 piano concerto ? but with these few he certainly created a sensation. That the present recording of the Concertos Nos. 20 and 21, even after 25 years, is still regarded as ranking among the very best performances is something that can be heard after just a few bars. The minor-key first movement of No. 20 begins with a measured tempo and precise articulation, then the piano joins in with almost sober clarity and proceeds to lead a concentrated, tightly enmeshed conversation with the orchestra.  
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