These two symphonies (Schubert 8/Beethoven 8) were two of the best things which Sir Thomas Beecham recorded during the early 1950's. I bought the Columbia LP of these recordings at the time, and they come up even better now that they have been re-mastered on CD.
The price charged by ClassicsOnline for downloading these works is very reasonable. (Incidentally I cannot find anywhere who performed the remastering - it is certainly very good). Delicious!
Of Dvorak's three concertos the one for piano is seen very much as the runt of the litter. It is seldom played and seldom recorded, but this particular recording shows it in the best possible light. Doubtful newcomers should listen in particular to the gorgeous slow movement. The whole work is delightfully played and well-recorded.
The violin concerto is also very well-presented here and will surely take a place among the best available recordings.
I bought this in order to familiarise myself with the Missa de Angelis and some of the chants for Gaudete Sunday. I was not disappointed. Some of the pronunciation does not accord with the Vatican standard, but that is part of the fun of listening to different renderings of the chant from around the world. The tunes match the Liber Usualis and that is what I wanted.
The selections come from all around the Liturgical year, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, the triumph of Christ's entry into Jerusalem in Gloria Laus, the desolation on the Cross of Popule Meus, Easter joy in the sequence Victimae Paschali Laudes, Ascension and Pentecost are all represented. There are also antiphons to Our Lady and her Magnificat.
The all-male choir sounds beautiful. The clear voices with the German flavour are so precise and yet expressive. The rituendos, the swelling and fading, all beautiful.
Gregorian chant is such a treasure and part of the cultural heritage of all Christians. This could form part of a common canon of musical expression transcending styles of music to reach out to that part of human experience that longs for the Divine.
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