Richter was considered to be somewhat of an old-school romantic by the auntentic instrumentation crowd back in the 70s and 80s. I thought similarly at the time, and even felt a little guilty for liking these recordings as much as I did. Now older (and presumably a little wiser), I’ve decided that Richter was, in many respects, ahead of his time. Richter’s tempos are mostly lively when compared to other Bach specialists of his generation. Some critics have complained of a certain rhythmic squareness and rigidity of phrasing in Richter’s performances, but to my ears those liabilities are more the exception than the rule. Usually, Richter is alive to the complexities and tensions in Bach’s music that rule out reductionistic interpretation.
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Orchestra: Münchner Bach-Orchester
Conductor: Karl Richter
Vinyl (1971-72) Number of Discs: 9
Label: DGG Archiv
Size: 8.34 GB
This very special record offers us the chance to sample the music of maestro Mantovani – the man who, let’s not forget, was selling records by the million long before the Beatles came on the scene. 1962’s “A Song for You” (English title of this album) is a somewhat unusual entry in Mantovani’s discography, being the only album he made that featured a vocalist throughout. The vocalist in this instance is someone very special, none other than legendary Italian operatic tenor Mario Del Monaco. The effect of Del Monaco’s voice set against Mantovani’s lush orchestral backgrounds is truly captivating, which produces exquisite versions of Love’s Last Word is Spoken (Parlami d’Amore Mariu), Be My Love, Ti Voglio Tanto Bene and Mantovani’s own Cara Mia, among others.
Performer: Mario Del Monaco
Orchestra: The Manovani Orchestra
Conductor: Paolo Mantovani
Vinyl (1962) Number of Discs: 1
Size: 684 MB
In 1959, Mario Del Monaco was invited by the Russian Goverment to perform his famous role of Otello with the soloists, chorus and Orchestra of Moscow’s celebrated Bolshoi Theatre. He combined this trip with serving as a member of the jury of the Tchaikowsky International Competition. This live recording was made by the Russian Radio Network at that time and is one of a very special serie, including also Bizet’s Carmen and Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci. These three roles – Otello, Don José and Canio – became the three mos performed by Super-Mario and also became synonyms for Mario Del Monaco.
Composer: Georges Bizet
Performer: Mario Del Monaco, Irina Archipova, Pavel Lisitsian, Irina Maslennikova
Orchestra: Bolshoi Theatre of Moscow
Conductor: Alexander Melik-Pashayev
Vinyl (1959) Number of Discs: 1
Size: 1.1 GB
If it were not for Maria Callas, we would all think that La Forza del Destino is essentially a prime exercise and showcase for great soprano voices, with a few goodies thrown in for the rest of the cast and the chorus. In this recording, Callas’s voice is not technically great, though it is usually good. She makes most of her points by other means: close attention to the value of words, subtle nuances of tone and phrasing, an uncompromising determination to confront the emotions in the text and convey them honestly and strongly, even when they reach a terrifying intensity. We have here, under the absurdities of plot, a compelling psychological portrait of a woman driven beyond her limits–a woman whose brother wants to kill her lover, who has killed her father. The supporting cast is skilled and Serafin shapes a powerful interpretation. — Joe McLellan
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Performer: Maria Callas, Richard Tucker, Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, Renato Capecchi, Plinio Clabassi
Orchestra: Teatro Alla Scala Di Milano
Conductor: Tullio Serafin
Vinyl (1954) Number of Discs: 3
Size: 1.75 GB
Many thanks to Jean-Luc for this wonderful set Compared to his colleagues in the French Baroque harpsichord business, Rameau wrote relatively little keyboard music. It all fits on two discs. Like the keyboard sonatas of his contemporary Scarlatti, these pieces contain moments when Rameau clearly uses the harpsichord to evoke the sound of the orchestra–trumpets, flutes, and drums–but unlike Scarlatti’s, several of these pieces were actually orchestrated and reappear as dance numbers in Rameau’s operas. William Christie is our leading exponent of French Baroque opera, Rameau in particular, and it follows that he is alive to every detail in these fascinating and delightful miniatures.
Composer: Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer: William Christie
Vinyl (1983) Number of Discs: 2
Label: Harmonia Mundi
Size: 2.75 GB
Many thanks to Jean-Luc for this rarity These classic Karel Ancerl recordings are, in my opinion, among the best accounts of Mahler’s symphonies that are available at present. The playing of the orchestra is outstanding, especially the brass department (note the typical horn vibrato) and the recording quality is very good for its age. But, above all, this set is to be treasured for Ancer’s superb interpretation, which is as good as an interpretation can be: moving, powerful, balanced, convincing, non-mainstream, and provoking.
Composer: Gustav Mahler
Orchestra: Czech Philarmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Karel Ancerl
Vinyl (1964-66) Number of Discs: 3
Size: 2.51 GB
Orchestra:Choir and orchestra of the Vienna Opera.
Blu-Ray Disc / DVD Disc
Number of Discs:1
Performer:Jon Fredric West
Blu-Ray Disc / DVD Disc
Number of Discs:1
Many thanks to Jean-Luc for this rarity This was recorded in one take.
Among the genre of Strings Quartets, there’s no other that reveals the quintessence of the post-romantic atmosphere like this Op. This is without any doubt one of the last masterpieces of Schubert. Written in 1828, it epitomizes and depicts the slight barrier between dream and reality, creating an illusionist atmosphere that leaves behind itself any the previous attempt. It’s such its kaleidoscopic conjunction of unsaid feelings and thoughts that may be regarded like a musical canvas which transcends by far the limits of its historical moment. The approach given by the Amadeus Quartet is intensely dramatic and powerfully convincing, specially in the First movement where they achieve a coherent structure of gelid mystery.
Composer: Franz Schubert
Performer: Amadeus Quartet, William Pleeth
Vinyl (1965) Number of Discs: 1
Size: 998 MB
# Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
# Orchestra: Academy Of St. Martin-In-The-Fields
# Conductor: Neville Marriner
# Performer: Alfred Brendel
# Number of Discs: 1
# Format: FLAC
# DR Analysis: DR 13
# Label: Philips | 6514 148
# Size: 24-bit/192kHz (1.99GB), 24-bit/96kHz (0.99GB) and 16-bit/44.1kHz (259MB)
# Recovery: 5%
# Scan: yes
# Servers: File Factory
Piggybacking on Alf’s recent Brendel posts..
For those not familiar with Brendel, his mastery of the keyboard is at a level that few will ever be able to reach. Here, though back in 1982, Brendel has already “owned” the works, playing each Mozart work with fluidity, precision, and smooth sonority. Brendel’s playing is a delight, and that is true regardless of how many other recordings you might have of the Mozart piano concertos.
The recording here by Philips is very good, and the trademark smooth and rich Philips recording characteristics are in full play. It is unlikely you’ll have much, if any at all, issues with the technical aspects of the recording itself.