This performance of Bach's St. Matthew Passion is sung in English and played on modern instrument. If that bothers you, don't bother checking out this recording. If it doesn't bother you, and you like the idea of a heartrending, awe-inspiring, and profoundly moving performance of Bach's sacred dramatic masterpiece, by all means, try this recording. David Willcocks, the dean of English choral conductors, leads the combined forces of the Bach Choir, the Boys' Choir of St. Paul's Cathedral, and the Thames Chamber Orchestra along with six A-list British soloists in a deeply human, intensely spiritual, and amazingly dramatic performance of the work.
The presence of the young Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the decision by pianist Leif Ove Andsnes to conduct it from the keyboard may lead you to expect a smaller-scale performance than listeners actually get here, in this second album of Andsnes' "Beethoven Journey." Certainly this isn't keyboard-pounding Beethoven. The slow movement of the Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58, has none of the giant-stomping-around quality it often received in golden-age recordings.
Perahia’s immaculate technique, stylistic surety, and classical symmetry are remarkably consistent. While his tone is always singing and rounded, lyrical melodies and decorative passages alike convey a slight diamond-like edge to the peak of crescendos or an emphatic accent. This helps achieve an attractive fusion of unruffled poise and dramatic tension. You hear this quite readily in the B-flat K. 456 concerto ‘s first movement, or in the carefully pedaled trills and restatement of the main theme in K. 595’s heavenly Larghetto, also sampled here. Perahia’s symbiotic musical rapport with Radu Lupu in the two-piano concerto and the two-piano version of the concerto for three pianos should not go unmentioned.– Jed Distler
Musical scholar that he is, Charles Mackerras adopts period performance practice, but opts for modern instruments. The Prague Chamber Orchestra is one of the world's best small ensembles. They play this music with impeccable wit, sophistication, and style. Of course, Mackerras himself studied in Prague–Mozart's musical home away from home–and has long enjoyed an excellent relationship with the city's orchestras and musicians. With swift tempos, employment of a harpsichord accompaniment, and all the repeats taken in each work, these finely honed interpretations offer a uniquely consistent view of Mozart's symphonic achievement. Telarc's superb sound allows the music to fall very gratefully on the ear.–Dave Hurwitz
Renowned, American born violinist & conductor, Yehudi Menuhin was a vegetarian and committed supporter of many social and environmental causes, with a great interest in Yoga and eastern religion. He was considered one of the greatest violinist of all time and this EMI recording of "Violin Voncertos by Vivaldi" is an excellent introduction to his work Performed by the Polish Chamber Orchestra.