Simon Rattle has recorded a lot of 19th century music and most of the results have been dismal. There is little to recommend by Rattle in pre-20th century repertoire. A few Haydn symphonies, some pretty good Brahms, bits of Mahler, Ein Heldenleben by Strauss which is just at the cusp of the 20th century. Alright, so Rattle is not the conductor to go to for the great classics. However, when he records modern music, he seems fully in tune with it's sound and style, plus he has less competition on the market to boot.
Frode Berg plays six-string electric and acoustic bass with zeal on Dig It! (Nagel-Heyer). Tenor saxophonist Petter Wettre sounds somewhat bland and regressive on the band’s rendition of “Giant Steps” but is quite spirited and exuberant on “41b” and “Hocum,” both penned by group pianist Roy Powell. Wettre is even more energized on Berg’s “Sir Nuke” and “I’m Gone.” The Norwegian quartet nicely handles bossa nova on “Another Song,” one of five Berg compositions on the CD. Berg’s unit sounds loose and relaxed on almost every cut-the Coltrane anthem excepted.
If you don't already have any recordings of Beethoven's late string quartets, by all means get this one by the Alban Berg Quartet. There hasn't been a set to equal it since it was originally released in a different configuration in the early '90s - the Emerson's overly enthusiastic but not especially insightful set? oh, come on! - and there hadn't been many to equal it before the '90s, only the Quartetto Italiano's wonderfully balanced and incredibly lovely set, the Quatuor Végh's supremely intense and transcendentally sublime set, and the Berg's own earlier, extremely concentrated and austerely passionate studio set.
If you're going to record the fiendishly difficult and vibrant violin and cello concertos of Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian, magnificently clean, virtuosic, and sensitive performances are absolutely essential for soloists and orchestra alike. Fortunately, that is precisely what is achieved on this recording featuring violinist Arabella Steinbacher, cellist Daniel Muller-Schott, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Breathtaking virtuosity flows seamlessly with expansive lyrical passages and fiendish passagework in this commanding performance by Arabella Steinbacher of the restless and technically demanding violin concertos of Britten and Hindemith in this new release from PENTATONE, with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.
On his third Denon release Berg ventures into a few jazz standards while maintaining a strong hold on his fusion roots. Jim Beard is featured on keyboards.
“…Fleming looks fabulous, knows and can deliver good German, and can sing this role at least as well as anyone on the planet at the moment. But it's a shame that all concerned did not wait for a genuinely new production to preserve. This run-through of an old staging… is fluent and energetic… but it is not an evening pregnant with dramatic insight. In the pit Welser-Möst is an efficient, unemotional guide to the score…” (Gramophone Magazine)