"However, in contrast to Abbado's boring Berliners, Fischer's orchestra plays better, and he's much better recorded. Just listen to the characterful brass in the coda of the first movement, with a particularly fine first trumpet, or the splendid woodwinds in the trios of the scherzo. (…) for a legitimate alternative viewpoint you will find it difficult to do better than this." ~classicstoday
Following the Artemis Quartet‘s prizewinning Beethoven Quartet cycle on Virgin Classics, the Berlin-based ensemble has recorded Schubert’s last three quartets, works that Artemis cellist Eckart Runge praises for both their “incredible simplicity and purity” and their “almost terrifying modernism”. Awarded both Germany‘s prestigious Klassik ECHO award and France’s Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros in 2011 for their Virgin Classics Beethoven cycle, the members of the Artemis Quartet now release an all-Schubert CD. It presents the composer’s final three string quartets: No 13 in A minor, ‘Rosamunde’ (which draws on his incidental music for Helmina von Chezy’s play Rosamunde); No 14 in D minor, ‘Death and the Maiden’ (with its haunting second movement based on his song Der Tod und das Mädchen), and No 15 in G major.
Carl Czerny, one of Vienna’s most illustrious musicians, was Beethoven’s student and devoted friend. Renowned today for his piano treatises, he was also a prolific composer in almost every genre, but it is the music for his own instrument that has aroused the most curiosity. The Grand Concerto in A minor, a work both serene and spirited, is historically important as one of the first romantic concertos ever written. The lyricism and playful bravura of the Grand Nocturne Brillant is balanced by the delicious Rossini Variations de Concert.
Following his CPO recording with the Tapiola Sinfonietta of Anton Bruckner's Symphony in D minor, "Die Nullte," and the Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Mario Venzago presents the Symphony No. 2 in C minor, this time with the Northern Sinfonia. Unlike some contemporary conductors who favor the original 1872 version of this symphony, Venzago performs the more familiar 1877 version, edited by William Carragan. This is the first of Bruckner's symphonies where he expanded the form to an hour duration, and the fertile ideas it contains are appropriate to the greater time frame. Yet this work has never been accepted by audiences in the way most of the later symphonies have, such as the Fourth, Seventh, and Ninth, and the music falters over too many starts and stops, indecisive development, and repetitions. Even so, there is much attractive material here, and Venzago brings it off with a light touch, having the orchestra play delicately and sweetly, almost as if this were a Mendelssohn symphony.
A grieving husband tries to uncover the truth behind his wife's suicide, leading him to discover a tragic tale of infidelity and redemption.
For his project of recording the complete symphonies of Anton Bruckner on CPO, Mario Venzago has chosen to record each symphony with a different orchestra to re-create the sounds that Bruckner would have heard. Considering that Bruckner's experiences with orchestras spanned three decades, he would have witnessed growth of the orchestra's size and the introduction of new instruments, which clearly influenced his decisions when he composed and revised each work. Venzago performs the Symphony No. 8 in C minor with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, following the 1890 version and employing the same instrumentation and ensemble scale, as well as traditional practices that are documented in performances from that period. The result is an Eighth that sounds strikingly different from the other symphonies, quite far removed from the early Romantic orchestra he used in the First, and considerably expanded from the ensembles he would have expected for the Fourth or even the Seventh symphonies.
Rubinstein's heartfelt affinity and mastery of Brahms' burly piano writing is never in doubt, although the pianist's remake 10 years later with Erich Leinsdorf and the Boston Symphony benefits from his greater introspection and expressive simplicity in the first movement's lyrical second theme and the entirety of the slow movement. All told, the volatile Rubinstein/Reiner Brahmsian chemistry holds its own after more than half a century. –Jed Distler, Classicstoday.com
"…CPO's production is exemplary; informative and detailed notes on the organ and music are given in German, English and French, and the cover reproduces an attractive landscape painting. A most enjoyable recording of two excellent but rarely-performed Widor works, which will delight organ and orchestral lovers in equal measure." ~sa-cd.net