Known for his intense, insightful interpretations of the classical repertoire, Rudolf Serkin was one of the great American pianists of the mid-century, and seldom was he more in his element than when playing Mozart. This new six-CD release unites for the first time fourteen Mozart concerto recordings made at the height of his career, between 1951 and 1977. His is not a raised-little-finger type of Mozart; it is rugged, has contour, and is a welcome relief from the pretty-pretty conceptions heard only too often , wrote Gramophone of a 1955 recording with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra and Alexander Schneider. With the same orchestra, Serkin is ideally matched (AllMusic Guide) with conductor George Szell; elsewhere he partners Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as Pablo Casals at the cellist-conductor s festival in Perpignan for No. 22 ( exultant and miraculous BBC Music Magazine). Recordings from the Marlboro Festival include the Concerto No. 10 for two pianos with his then-teenage son Peter Serkin.
Mozarts Requiem may have been written under strange circumstances in the final months of the composers life, but the work itself it is timeless. Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus give a powerful and poignant performance of Mozarts masterpiece with an impressive group of solo singers, in a concert recorded live in Munich in May 2017.
Launching their complete cycle of Beethoven’s string quartets, the Cuarteto Casals present this first installment featuring initial examples of the genre from each of the three key periods in the composer’s career: his formative years, the socalled ‘heroic’ middle period and that of his artistic maturity. The ingenious juxtaposition reveals how his superhuman struggle for perfection informed a musical language of breathtaking originality in tandem with a depth of expression without precedent in this genre, of which Beethoven is the uncontested master.
Diana Damrau first made her mark as a sensational Queen of the Night – a part she has just relinquished – and has garnered rave reviews in roles such as Konstanze, Zerbinetta and Rossini’s Rosina. One or two other coloratura sopranos today can match her diamantine brilliance and agility, but few, if any, command such fullness in the middle and lower ranges.
The Amadeus Quartet developed a reputation as one of the finest string quartets from the second half of the twentieth century. Its tradition and style were Viennese and its repertory was largely Austro-German: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms were at the core, though it performed works by Smetana, Franck, Bruckner, Bartók, Britten, Tippett, and other twentieth century composers. They also regularly performed quintets and sextets (Mozart, Brahms, Schubert, etc.), usually adding cellist William Pleeth and/or violist Cecil Aronowitz. The Amadeus was one of the longest-lived quartets, performing for 40 years without a personnel change, and it was also among the most popular string quartets in England, Germany, the United States, and parts of Europe. It made numerous recordings – many still available – for several labels, including DG, Decca, and EMI.