From the Royal Albert Hall, Daniel Barenboim returns to the Proms with his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the celebrated ensemble of young Arabs and Israelis. Following his highly acclaimed Proms performance of Wagner's Ring in 2013, Barenboim conducts two Wagner overtures - Tannhauser and The Mastersingers of Nuremberg - alongside music from Gotterdammerung. The great pianist Martha Argerich is the soloist in Liszt's Piano Concerto No 1 and the programme also includes Jorg Widmann's lively Con Brio.
Barenboim is an excellent Wagner conductor, and it's a pity his ongoing series of Wagner operas is often forced to make do with less than splendid voices. All the more reason, then, to enjoy this excellent disc of overtures and preludes, all of which are played to the hilt by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and recorded in sound of superb amplitude.
The New Year's Concert in Vienna has been a glorious tradition for over six decades. A best-selling classical event year on year, the concert has unique global appeal. It is broadcast on TV and radio to over 50 countries, and is viewed by tens of millions of people all over the world.
Daniel Barenboim is an expert in exploiting the impact of cyclical performances of composers works: This time he focuses his sharp intellect on all six of Anton Bruckners mature symphonies. Der Tagesspiegel described Barenboim's performance of the works with the Staatskapelle Berlin on six nearly consecutive evenings in June 2010 as a superhuman accomplishment and went on to praise how: His Bruckner is conceived and performed very theatrically, like an opera without words.
After Decca’s best-selling Beethoven For All campaign and Barenboim’s Olympic appearance comes a celebration of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra’s 10th anniversary in a stunning Berlioz recording from the BBC Proms. This recording comes from WEDO’s 2009 Prom, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the West Eastern Divan Orchestra and marking a return to the roots of the orchestra’s conception in Weimar – a place where Liszt championed the works of Berlioz.
Because Beethoven's symphonies have been played many different ways, from conventional modern versions with full-scale symphony orchestras to historically informed performances on period instruments, listeners should try several sets to get a clear idea of what suits them. Of the mainstream style of interpreting Beethoven, Otto Klemperer's approach is one of the most widely admired, and his EMI recordings of the nine symphonies have become legendary, representing the serious, rigorous, and clear-eyed treatment that he generally brought to classical music, but especially to these masterpieces…