This is the much anticipated release of the first HD broadcast by the Met from 2 years ago. I saw it in the theater and was overwhelmed by the spectacular effects and, although I am not a big fan of abridged works as well as works not done in the original language, these concerns were dispelled by this production. It continues to play well on second and third viewings-something I cannot say for all video opera productions. With the exception of Rene Pape, none of the principal performers are operatic household names although, Nathan Gunn, a relative newcomer, steals the show as Papageno. Close seconds are Greg Fedderly (Monostatos) and Jennifer Aylmer (Papagena)…
Deutsche Grammophon is lucky in that World War II didn't slow classical recordings in Germany as it did in the United States but stimulated them: It was essential for wartime morale. Thus, if you can get past any repugnance related to these recordings' genesis, there's a huge amount to enjoy. There's a disc of lieder by all the prewar greats (Franz Volker, Tiana Lemnitz, Erna Berger, and Heinrich Schlusnus), a disc of Wagner featuring young Hans Hotter, opera and operetta performances by Berger and Helge Roswaenge, and a disc showing how the German singers gave Italian opera a distinctively Nordic but highly communicative edge. The set is crowned by a complete Winterreise that was recorded by Peter Anders in 1945 (and sounds it): the cultivated tenor's anguished performance embodies a Germany facing the abyss. –David Patrick Stearns
Still, Spyro Gyra's music has more depth and kick than most of their brothers and sisters in the smooth or contemporary genre. Jay Beckenstein once again delivers some fine saxophone playing, Tom Schuman lays down nice keyboard textures, and guitarist Julio Fernandez enlivens several pieces with his tasty fretwork (and Benson-like scatting on "Sierra"). Got the Magic is full of accessible melodies and polished playing, adding up to a very enjoyable pop-jazz outing.
Conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler already enjoyed a worldwide legendary standing during his lifetime he was considered the German conductor and performances were greeted with rapturous applause. Today, more than 50 years after his death, Wilhelm Furtwängler is still an icon and his work has become an integral part of the music scene.