"If anyone has recorded a lovelier Mozart recital in recent years, I've yet to hear it. In her early thirties, Kozená is now consummate mistress of her art. Her liquid high mezzo, with its easy upward extension, combines warmth with the bloom and freshness of youth, while her coloratura, on display in 'Al desio di chi t'adora' . . . is as brilliant and expressive as Bartoli's, yet without the Italian diva's intrusive aspirates . . . Fortepianist Jos van Immerseel is an equally sympathetic partner in an impassioned yet intimate performance . . ." ~Gramophone
Involving, as it does, three master musicians and a fine chamber orchestra this was never likely to be be other than rewarding. It may not correspond with the ways of playing Mozart at the beginning of the twenty-first century which are fashionable at the beginning of the twenty-first century, but it has virtues – such as high intelligence, sympathy, certainty of purpose, grace, alertness of interplay – which transcend questions of performance practice. Looking at the names of the pianists above, we might be surprised by the presence of Sir Georg Solti, so used are we to thinking of him as a conductor. But the young Solti appeared in public as a pianist from the age of twelve and went on to study piano in Budapest, with Dohnányi and Bartok.
Naturally, this 14-disc set of live recordings of the Concertgebouw Orchestra from 1970 through 1980 is only for the hardest of hardcore collectors. Who else would be interested in a collection that mixes Beethoven with Boulez, Baird and Berio, Tchaikovsky with Lutoslawski, Ginastera and Caplet, Rachmaninov with Reger, and Martin and Walton?
MOZART 111 combines the best of the Austrian master's music with the best of Deutsche Grammophon's Mozart recordings, bringing together a total of 111 works, while retaining, as far as possible, the original album releases with their cover art. There's enough of everything here to stock a shop, as they say, in performances that have stood the test of time and performances that make you sit up and listen to Mozart afresh the perfect way to discover, rediscover and savor the incomparable genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Filmed in Vienna's Grosser Musikvereinssaal in the early 1980s, this fabled rendering of Mozart's complete violin concertos appears on DVD for the first time. Premier violinist Gidon Kremer unites with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Wiener Philharmoniker in a tribute to the musical genius Harnoncourt deems "the most Romantic composer of all".
Because Mozart's earliest symphonies are performed less often than the later masterpieces and are consequently underrepresented on disc, Nikolaus Harnoncourt's period performances with Concentus Musicus Wien may have an added value beyond sheer musical excellence. Much has been written about how these works are miraculous manifestations of the young Mozart's genius, and their consistently high quality obviates criticism for their few shortcomings. But these symphonies really do sound magical and even startling in Harnoncourt's vital renditions, and Concentus Musicus delivers them with boisterous enthusiasm and full bow, with absolutely no precious Rococo affectations. Brisk tempi, tight ensemble playing and the clear timbres of original instruments contribute to the authenticity of the performances, but these may count less than the gusto, humor, and freshness that the musicians display in each work. The woodwinds and horns are especially robust and earthy, and Harnoncourt draws out their distinctive colors and striking rhythms to contrast them more effectively with the strings. Deutsche Harmonia Mundi's sound is immaculate, without doubt the best the label can offer, and the acoustics of Kasino Zögernitz are ideal for balance and resonance.(Blair Sanderson)
Composed in 1783, Thrice Betrothed, Never Wed was the young Cherubini’s fifth opera and his first opera buffa. While it echoes its era—Paisiello, Cimarosa, Haydn, and early Mozart—it displays an almost Rossinian rhythmic bite and a few harmonic touches that look forward to the dramatic masterpieces of Cherubini’s Paris years (Lodoiska, Medée, Les deux journées, Anacréon, the C-Minor Requiem). Despite decades-long exploration of Cherubini, I have never encountered the opera before; this claims to be its first recording. The plot is filled with the expected inanities: disguises, mistaken identities, and Commedia dell’arte shenanigans. Don Pastacchio is the thrice-betrothed nobleman who is left standing when the music stops. After many false starts and red herrings, the other six characters finally match up into couples.
The two trouser roles are marvellously sung and believable! Kasarova and Garanca may not look butch but one won't forget they're playing male characters. And the romantic scenes are tastefully done, and don't look gratuitous (gotta show how Vitellia controls Sesto, after all). There is no nudity in it (Vitellia changes her clothes a lot on stage,but she is always covered).
Jean-Louis Martinoty’s production and the sets are—merciful heavens—firmly rooted in the 18th century, but by no means weighted down by convention. This Count Almaviva is something of an art connoisseur, a point underlined at the start of act III, where he is seen discussing artefacts that have been brought to him for possible purchase. One, an hourglass, will later be examined by the Countess while she sings “Dove sono,” one of many imaginative little touches. The décor is thus dominated by pictures, mainly by lesser-known French 18th-century artists like Outrey, providing considerable flexibility, and working to magical effect in the final act, where Almaviva’s gardens are based on decorative floral designs by Jan van Huysum and others, the translucency of which greatly aid the unraveling of the complexities being played out. The period costumes are equally attractive; richly burnished or muted yellows and browns for the principals, with bright primary colors for the peasant chorus, although my wife took exception to Marcellina’s red and white candy stripes. ..
There are four DVD of Entfuhrung with Malin Hartelius. In two she is Blonde, recorded in 1991 and 1997. She is Constanza here, recorded in 2004. In addition there is a Region 2 DVD from Zurich recorded in 2003 which I have not heard, other than a clip on line. This latest 2004 DVD is probably the best one as the Zurich one was conducted by an assistant conductor…Amazon.com