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Sunday, December 1, 2013
Rachmaninov, S.: Isle of the Dead (The) / Symphony No. 1 (Detroit Symphony, Slatkin)

Rachmaninov, S.: Isle of the Dead (The) / Symphony No. 1 (Detroit Symphony, Slatkin)
Naxos: 8.573234
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10/9 Artistic and Sound Quality

This recording of the First Symphony is arguably the finest since Ashkenazy's...

Slatkin always has performed Rachmaninov as well as just about anyone alive today, and this cycle, quietly and with little fanfare as it has gradually appeared, sustains his reputation.

- By David Hurwitz © 2013 ClassicsToday.com
 
Piano Music - Liszt, F. / Faure, G. / Gliere, R. / Marx, J. / Delvincourt, C. / Hahn, R. (Rarities of Piano Music at Schloss vor Husum, 2012 Festival)

Piano Music - Liszt, F. / Fauré, G. / Glìere, R. / Marx, J. / Delvincourt, C. / Hahn, R. (Rarities of Piano Music at Schloss vor Husum, 2012 Festival)
Danacord: DACOCD729
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Gramophone Choice

...everything is of absorbing interest, particularly when played by pianists new to the festival. ...Sofja Gülbadamova...weaves her way through Fauré's intricacy with a warmth and affection the reverse of a rigidity often seen as an authentic French style. Sandro Russo gives us Granados's take on Scarlatti, clearly delighting in the romantic glow cast across music whether gentle or extrovert.

Gianluca Luisi, too, revels in the lush Scriabinesque outpouring of Joseph Marx: rarely can a fugue have sounded less academic and more freely expressive as it builds towards its effulgent end. Amir Tebenikhin offers four Preludes by Glière in superb performances, and there are tributes to Chopin from Adolf Gutmann, Julian Fontana and Szymanowski expertly played by Hubert Rutkowski. This, then, is an outstanding disc, particularly for explorers on the lookout for something beyond the safe and narrow.

- By Bryce Morrison © 2013 Gramophone
 
Enescu, G.: Cello and Piano Works (Complete) (Radutiu, Rundberg)

Enescu, G.: Cello and Piano Works (Complete) (Radutiu, Rundberg)
Haenssler Classic: CD98.021
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Recording of the Month

Rundberg voices the chords exquisitely, and Radutiu is rhythmically incisive in his dotted rhythms. Both players emphasise the dramatic elements. Eventually, the movement opens out into a lyrical section with Radutiu employing his rich full-bodied tone. At 3:25 there is an outstanding example of the cellist's beautiful warm, richly expressive tone, with the piano supporting through a sensitive accompaniment. A capricious scherzo follows, and the players fully capture the light-hearted, sunny, frolicking disposition, interrupted by a melody of charm and elegance.

The third movement Molto Andante is expressive, tender and passionate, yet with dark undertones. It feels very much like the emotional core of the work. The playing is fervent, with both players engaging with passionate intensity.

- By Stephen Greenbank © 2013 MusicWeb International
 
Shostakovich, D.: Symphony No. 5 (Berlin Symphony, K. Sanderling)

Shostakovich, D.: Symphony No. 5 (Berlin Symphony, K. Sanderling)
Berlin Classics: 0020632BC
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10/10 Artistic and Sound Quality

...if you are looking for the version that wrings every drop of existential anguish from the piece, then Sanderling is your guy. It's not just that the coda of the finale is the most shattering on disc, with those repeated A's hammered out in the violins and piano like a stabbing pain...there's also an amazingly intense, gripping, and wonderfully sustained Largo, with especially beautiful string playing, not to mention a first movement that opens like the crack of doom and never lets up. Even the more easeful second subject carries with it a benumbed sense of dread. Only the scherzo offers a brief hint of gawky humor. The Berlin Symphony Orchestra gives Sanderling 100% commitment, and the East German engineering, typically, is very impressive.

...this one belongs in the collection of anyone who cares about Shostakovich, and who relishes the most emotionally complete listening experience possible.

- By David Hurwitz © 2013 ClassicsToday.com
 
Flute and Orchestra Works - Nielsen, C. / Griffes, C.T. / Reinecke, C. / Chaminade, C. / Poulenc, F. (Bezaly, N. Jarvi)

Flute and Orchestra Works - Nielsen, C. / Griffes, C.T. / Reinecke, C. / Chaminade, C. / Poulenc, F. (Bezaly, N. Järvi)
BIS: BIS-1679
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Gramophone Choice

The adjective 'great' in the title of this disc perhaps needs some qualification in one or two cases but without question the concerto that Nielsen wrote in 1926 merits the supreme artistry that Sharon Bezaly brings to it, both in terms of deft, discerningly harnessed virtuosity and in her supple, sinuous shaping of the music. Neeme Järvi and the Residentie Orkest Den Haag astutely etch in the lively, spicy instrumental context and commentary for a performance that has a real sparkle and strength.

- By Geoffrey Norris © 2013 Gramophone

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