Colin Davis is arguably the finest Berlioz conductor in the world; both of his recordings of Les Troyens are magnificent and elsewhere he's rarely bettered. His winning streak continues with this live performance with the LSO of Harold in Italy and the ballet music from Troyens. Tabea Zimmermann's solo viola is as grand, brilliantly flavorful, and picturesque as the LSO's playing; and the entire performance swift and rhythmically propulsive is simply fantastic.
Verdi's "La Forza del Destino" is a story of forbidden love, seduction, jealousy, honor and revenge. The opera was composed in 1862 and had its premiere in St. Petersburg. In this recording from 1976 with star cast (Leontyne Price in the role of Donna Leonora, Plácido Domingo as Don Alvaro and Sherrill Milnes as Don Carlo) under the direction of James Levine the beauty and attention to detail Verdi comes out particularly well. The London Symphony Orchestra and the John Alldis Choir provide the perfect musical accompaniment for the ensemble, which includes Fiorenza Cossotto, Bonaldo Giaiotti and Gabriel Bacquier. This recording is considered one of the best of Verdi's La Forza del Destino.
Recording a piece like the Verdi Requiem in the Barbican presents various technical challenges. Scored for very large forces, it pushes to the limit the number of people you can fit on the stage. It is a work with an enormous dynamic range. Maestro Noseda, with this performance, teases every decibel from barely audible to almost ear-shattering climax. Representing that in a recording is a challenge, but one that our experienced team of engineers at Classic Sound was more than capable of overcoming.
RCA put a major push behind Armenian conductor Loris Tjeknavorian in the 1970s and '80s, and this two-disc set, Khachaturian: Gayne (Complete Ballet), restores to the active catalog a highly desirable recording at a price that is entirely reasonable. When it first appeared in 1976, Tjeknavorian's Gayne (Gayane), made with the National Symphony Orchestra, was a mite controversial in that it was marketed as "complete"; Khachaturian fanatics had long sought a complete Gayne, as the suites Khachaturian had prepared from the ballet were common on recordings, but not the work as a whole.