Featuring the best reviews from our loyal ClassicsOnline members.
(12 March – 25 March)
- REGER, M.: Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Mozart / SCHUMANN: Conzertstuck for 4 Horns (Blomstedt) (Staatskapelle Dresden Edition, Vol. 12)
(Profil / Edition Staatskapelle Dresden: PH07003)
- Opera Arias (Bass): Abdrazakov, Ildar - RACHMANINOV, S. / GLINKA, M.I. / BORODIN, A.P. / MUSSORGSKY, M.P. (Power Players: Russian Arias for Bass) (Delos: DE3456)
- TANSMAN, A.: Piano Music - Ballades Nos. 1-3 / Arabesques / Suite dans le style ancien / 5 Impressions / 8 Cantilenes (Reyes) (Naxos: 8.573021)
- Vocal Recital: Genaux, Vivica - PORPORA, N. / BROSCHI, R. / GIACOMELLI, G. / HASSE, J.A. (Harmonia Mundi: HMC901778)
- Guitar Recital: Vieaux, Jason - BELLINATI, P. / SAGRERAS, J. / JOBIM, A.C. / MYERS, S. / TÁRREGA, F. / YORK, A. (Play) (Azica: Azica71287)
This CD unites works of composers with a relationship to Dresden. Max Reger - unfortunately much underrated today - is given a most beautiful interpretation in his Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Mozart by Blomstedt and the Staatskapelle Dresden. The music unfolds in an absolutely natural way and even in the massive climaxes, the orchestra never sounds "thick", as in quite a few other interpretations.
The same interprets have performed in 1979 (?) this work at the Lucerne Music Festival. Unfortunately I could not be there, however, I remember the critics were full of praise and were talking about a magic moment of this festival. Schumann's Konzertstück for 4 Horns is given an exhilarating performance by the Staatskapelle and her Horn quartet, which is in all aspects outstanding.
The same applies to Weber's Oberon Overture. Its hushed beginning is in a class by its own - romantic music at its very best!
Naumann's Te Deum - a novelty to me - rightly deserves such an outstanding performance - it is truly memorable music! In my opinion this is one of the best CDs I have heard in the last years - simply perfect!
Becoming a power player
There are not a lot of solo recitals on record by basses, so this debut disc by one of the up-and-comers is especially welcome. Ildar Abdrazakov has been singing at the Metropolitan Opera and other major houses for ten years already, in roles ranging from the Italian bel canto through the twentieth century stuff; here he turns his talent to his “own” Russian music.
The voice still sounds more like a baritone, with a nice bright top--tossing off high notes to end the two Russian arias--and less splendid at the bottom. Not yet 40, he will grow into these roles even more. Meanwhile, he displays excellent breath control and dynamic range from soft asides through ringing and wobble-free fortes. The chorus joins in to cap the album with the Coronation Scene from Boris Godunov. (Alas, the “church bells” are dreadfully thin, although the orchestra otherwise provides fine support.) Much of the repertoire here will be unfamiliar to the casual opera listener, but texts and translations are included.
I play classical guitar. Until about 10 years ago I knew almost nothing about the music of this composer. One day came to my hands the score of his Cavatina (for guitar). I really realized that I was before a great composer. This motivated me to search Tansman's compositions for other instruments. So I reached this album. I was very impressed with his Arabesques and found a very "well-done work" in his beautiful Suite dans le style ancien. Highly recommended!
Arias for Farinelli by Vivica Genaux
The recording of a disc with arias written for the most famous 'castrati' and specially to the more famous Carlo Broschi, Farinelli, was really a big challenge for the mezzo soprano Vivica Genaux. This was with the invaluable collaboration and support of perhaps the best set of baroque orchestral as it is the Akademie für Alte Musik, masterfully directed by the famous singer-director-musicologist Rene Jacobs.
The director's achievement lend this excellent orchestra a rhythm and unsurpassed dynamism, achieving a fine integration between voice and music. Genaux owns a beautiful voice of great breadth and colorful tonal and an agility which allowed her to circumvent with great success the difficult vowels written for the voices of the 'castrati' of the eighteenth century. The incorporation of the concert of Baldassare Galuppi No. 4 in C minor was an aspiration of Genaux with a desire to integrate particularly music and voice. The album culminates with the exciting aria "Quell'usignolo" of the opera Merope by Geminiano Giacomelli, which very few singers of today can perform.
"Arias for Farinelli and Vivica Genaux" is an essential recording for all opera lovers and the baroque in particular. An opportunity not to miss.
This is how it's done
After nearly a dozen commercially issued CDs and having earned an enviable international reputation as a concert artist, Jason Vieaux has emerged as one of America’s, and the world’s, premiere classical guitarists.
“Play”, his newest effort, is a beautifully recorded collection of 20th century guitar music, with compositions by a who’s who of European, North and South American guitarist/composers. Ranging from the classicism of Tarrega and Segovia to the more modernist approaches of Andrew York and Leo Brouwer, Mr. Vieaux’s choice of repertoire showcases the full capabilities of his instrument, along with his own impeccable taste and flawless, seemingly effortless technique.
Topped off by his own arrangement of Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood”, Jason Vieaux’s latest recording “Play” is a must-have for students and fans of classical guitar; it is, however, even more highly recommended to the general listener who may not be aware of just how entertaining this kind of music can be in the hands of a master.
Highest possible recommendation 10 out of 10.
- Oscar O. Veterano
Best Customer Reviews Archive