This EMI release of The Four Seasons gives violinist Sarah Chang top billing (as would be expected) and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra a smaller, less significant listing. As far as the quality of performance goes, however, Orpheus should absolutely be considered the star of this recording with Chang getting the footnote instead. This is simply not the case; from the ridiculously posed glamour photos filling the liner notes to the balance of the performance itself, this album is all about Chang. The most fulfilling aspects are the orchestral tuttis. Orpheus is truly at its best here, playing with as much energy and passion as the much ballyhooed recording with the Venice Baroque Orchestra.
While not a lot of its classical pursuits in the 2000s have panned out, Sony Classical has had good luck with violinists, thanks due to the popularity of contract player Hilary Hahn and an apparent assumption of the recording duties of the great Canadian violinist Lara St. John. This is Latvian violinist Baiba Skride's third disc, the first two being released simultaneously in 2004 and, of these, the violin solo disc – containing works by Ysayë, Bartók, and Bach – winning a German Echo Classic award.
With 40 tracks, and over 2½ hours of classical favourites, this double album features the best and most popular names in classical music, ranging from present day superstars to classical legends. An instant collection of the most commercial and beautiful classical music that will have a wide appeal.