Featuring the best reviews from our loyal ClassicsOnline members.
(11 November – 24 November)
Is really the best
Many opera followers got overwhelmed with the extraversion of the great bass baritone Bryn Terfel and wondered how he was second after Hvorostovsky. Many of us felt from the very beginning that the Russian had a 'classical' school of singing, and that point was essential to understand the whole artist's picture.
As a matter of fact, Hvorostovsky has improved in the course of his career; and hasn't needed to deeply explore the oceanic Wagner's field as many artists do when starting to fail, to give the false impression of sublime perfect career. Real Wagnerian singers start very young and dedicate the majority of their times to that music.
In this recital Dmitri offers us a nice group of Verdi's works. I have enjoyed these recordings several times and I felt that he belongs to the group of those baritones that, as I have already said, have a classical school of singing. Hvorostovsky material, in the vocal perspective, is very disciplined prepared. But not in the way we feel in Metternich or Tibett where the 'natural' gift is very much notorious. This doesn't mean that those two examples didn't prepare his performances, but the security of emission was so special that one could say they never will lose their voices. We know that Tibett demonstrated a contrary theory causing everybody a great sorrow.
Intelligence and beauty are two words that describe Hvorostovsky's performances. We can forgive some of his notes that happen to be not Verdian in the way of performance; but the great composer would have been more than happy knowing this distinguished person with his disciplined voice emission. A final appreciation. Nothing is more difficult to establish than the 'dramaticity' of a singer. Is Hvorostovsky a dramatic baritone? I think he is not. He has a dark voice, very good middle and high notes; but he is not the owner of a big and clearly robust one as for clearly predominate over the orchestra and/or chorus. A real true recital, not comparable with anything in its category.
A positive surprise
I've seen Peter Brötzmann's Chicago Tentet at this year's Moers Festival and was very much disappointed. They mostly delivered an impenetrable wall of sound, without development, without dynamics, and seemingly without purpose. Nevertheless when I saw that Jazzwerkstatt albums are now offered here at ClassicsOnline, I had the impulse to give this group a second try. And what a difference this recording is when compared to my negative concert impression.
This music here is carefully and thoughtfully developing, it's a grand-scale sound-painting, coupled with Kenneth Patchen's poetry, which is recited during this one-hour, three-act large-form piece. The recording is pristine and clear, every musician's individual voice can be heard (well, Fred Lonberg-Holm's cello is maybe not always there, unfortunately). I used the metaphor "sound-painting" quite consciously and it's quite literally true: While the two arts of music and literature are combined here, the effect is quite visually evoking a great landscape picture.
Wonderful, recommendable sound poetry for everyone who's got an open mind for contemporary, modern/post-modern art - not just for jazz/free-jazz fans. I think this should appeal to friends of the modern classical / contemporary / composed avant-garde as well.
Great music without going baroque
Interesting selection, several favorites, very good quality (for use on iPod) and all for a real great price. Hard to turn this offer down. ClassicsOnline Exclusive has allowed me to improve my music collection without moving it to the poorhouse.
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