The steady increase in recordings of his music has now established Suk as one of the great musical poets of the early 20th century. Too much is made of his affinities with his teacher and father-in-law, Dvorák; for his own part, Dvorák never imposed his personality on his pupils and Suk's mature music owes him little more than a respect for craft and an extraordinarily well developed ear for orchestral colour. His affinities in the five-movement A Summer's Tale, completed in 1909 – a magnificent successor to his profound Asrael Symphony – reflect Debussy and parallel the music of his friend Sibelius and Holst, but underpinning the musical language is a profound originality energising both form and timbre.
Mackerras's recording joins a select band: Šejna's vintage performance on Supraphon and Pešek's inspired rendition with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic; his is an equal to them both and the Czech Philharmonic's playing is both aspiring and inspiring.
This disc was nominated for the 1998 Grammy Awards for "Best Classical Album," "Best Engineered Album, Classical," and "Best Orchestral Performance."
This is not your father's Brahms, though it may be your great-grandfather's. The concept behind this cycle-with-a-difference is to emulate the kind of orchestra Brahms liked to use, specifically the Meiningen Court Orchestra, with which he worked extensively after 1880 and entrusted with several important premieres…
This famous production of Donizetti’s Mary Stuart was one of English National Opera’s most memorable from the 1980’s. Dame Janet Baker chose the title role of Donizetti’s Scottish queen for her farewell to the London operatic stage in 1982. It was a triumph for Dame Janet, in one of the most rewarding of operatic roles. As Mary, she displays her full range as a great singing actress, at times imperious and confrontational, yet during the quieter reflective moments intensely moving. Her adversary Elizabeth is sung by Rosalind Plowright, in one of the best performances of her career, both intense and passionate in this demanding role. The famous, though entirely fictional, encounter scene between the two Queens is extremely powerful. The cast also includes John Tomlinson I commanding voice as Talbot, and David Randall as an ardent Leicester. The Performance is gloriously conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras.
Charles Mackerras is one of the most purely musical and versatile conductors around. In fact, he's never made a bad record, and this Nutcracker is outstanding… In short, a great performance. - David Hurwitz; Editorial Reviews - Amazon.com
This month, on the Chandos Classics label, we are re-releasing our recording of Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor and the Konzertstück for Cello and Orchestra by Dohnányi (CHAN8662), performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Charles Mackerras, with Raphael Wallfisch the featured soloist.
Don Giovanni is one of the timeless classics of all opera. Mozart's music, and the words of his great collaborator Da Ponte, are brought to life in Francesca Zambello's engrossing production from 2002 with its rich and colourful designs by Maria Bjornson. The music is memorable, dramatic and enjoyable: from the seductive solo voices of the famous 'La ci darem la mano' to the fabulous ensemble as Don Giovanni's infatuated conquests, vengeful victims and their outraged relatives join forces for justice. And retribution does finally come to Don Giovanni, a serial womanizer and a murderer, with the searing flames of Hell ready to engulf him. Simon Keenlyside heads the outstanding cast, conducted by renowned Mozart expert Charles Mackerras.
Sir Charles Mackerras and the London Philharmonic Orchestra shared a musical heritage spanning 45 years and this live recording of Dvorák’s Symphonic Variations and Symphony No. 8 from 1992 pays tribute to a partnership that exuded a joy and vivacity in music making.
Beverly Sills has said that Elizabeth I in Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux was the role that took 10 years off her career, and indeed, it’s a fearsome undertaking. It is very long, it encompasses a slightly larger than two-octave span, there are forte passages at both ends (in ensembles and alone), and the sheer number of notes the character has to get out is awe-inspiring. Emotionally, too, the part is ripping: The elderly Elizabeth, in love with the young Earl of Essex who in turn loves Sara, the Duchess of Nottingham (forget real English history), is a ferocious monarch, comfortable and powerful only when ruling, and, in private, a shattered woman filled with vulnerabilities and doubts. It’s a truly tragic figure Donizetti has given us, and when Sills first appeared in the role at the New York City Opera in 1970, it cemented her reputation as one of the world’s greatest singing actresses. (Montserrat Caballé and Leyla Gencer performed it in Europe at approximately the same period, and while their readings are poignant and special in the way that only they can be, Sills gets deeper into the character and sings all of the notes–and then some–more accurately than either.)
Though one could quibble with this detail of articulation or that detail of phrasing, one could not convincingly assert that the performances of Mozart's symphonies No. 29, No. 31, No. 32, No. 35, and No. 36 with Charles Mackerras leading the Scottish Chamber Orchestra are anything short of superlative. They famously recorded these same works for Telarc 20 years ago in performances that were hailed as a masterful meeting of conductor and orchestra, and the intervening years have only deepened the relationship, resulting in performances that shine and sparkle, as well as probe and ponder. With all repeats intact, the works here are much longer than usual, but the energy and spirit Mackerras and the Scottish musicians bring to the music makes their performances seem not a note too long.