Comprising three centuries of noted composers' "minor" works, Lubimov's Der Bote (The Messenger) bears out its title with short, introspective pieces that capture thoughts of nostalgia, mourning, and meditation. The first work, C.P.E. Bach's 1787 Fantasy, sounds amazingly avant-garde, full of surprising darts and turns. And the experimental 20th-century composer John Cage's "In a Landscape" is an even bigger surprise. Instead of random keyboard plink-plunks, it's a diaphanous Debussyan tone poem, bound to startle party guests playing Name That Composer… –Dan Davis
This first complete studio recording of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, made between 1958 and 1966, was a groundbreaking technical and artistic achievement, the most ambitious and intricately involved opera recording project of the 20th century. Produced for Decca by John Culshaw, whose vision and untiring devotion brought the gargantuan project to completion, the 14 ½-hour release set a new standard for opera recordings. The details Culshaw lavished on the production, which included building new musical instruments, precisely calculating the placement and choreography of each singer to maximize the theatricality of each scene, and creating an array of fabulous special effects resulted in a landmark recording that has lost none of its power with the passage of time.
The first fully-staged productions of the LA Opera House groundbreaking Recovered Voices project, highlighting the works of composers affected by the Holocaust. A double bill of one-act operas: Viktor Ullmann's Der zerbrochene Krug, taken from a comedy by the Romantic German poet Heinrich von Kleist, and Alexander Zemlinsky's Der Zwerg, based on Oscar Wilde's powerful tragedy The Birthday of the Infanta. The music of Alexander Zemlinsky and Viktor Ullmann remained buried for decades in the wake of the destruction wrought by the policies of the Nazi regime. Dozens of composers and thousands of compositions are still largely unknown to musicians and lovers of classical music and opera.