"Musikalisch dichte, klanglich prächtig ausbalancierte und das Primat der Sänger wahrende Aufnahme, deren Schönheit aus der Gesamtwirkung resultiert…Im Gesamteindruck setzt diese Aufnahme große Wagner-Tradition mit großer Bestimmtheit und Überzeugungskraft fort." ~Hermes Opernlexikon
You will probably be as incredulous as I was to learn that the greatest cycle of Mahler symphonies comes not from any of the usual suspects - Abbado, Bernstein, Chially, Haitink, Kubelik, Rattle, Sinopoli, Solti, Tennstedt - but from the unsung Gary Bertini, who spent the better part of his career as music director of the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra. Unlike any of those more publicized sets, each of which includes a misfire or two, Bertini is consistently successful from first to last; his performance of each of these works can stand comparison with the very best available.
This is a gem of a CD. It's a well-chosen, well-performed and well-presented anthology of mid-Baroque German sacred cantatas. Bass Peter Kooij and the seven-person L'Armonia Sonora are directed by gambist Mieneke Van der Velden. They have a close and warm affinity not only with one another, but also for the music; it's music as varied as it's beautiful. Its rich, sustained sonorities will stay with you long after you have finished the uplifting experience of listening to the CD. Released on the enterprising Ramée label De profundis clamavi comprises seven sumptuous examples of the music written in the north German Länder in the period after the Thirty Years War. It's music which not so much 'reflects' that profound conflict, as is 'affected' by it – weighed down with detached regret and unselfconscious resignation.
Manuel Tomadin follows up his first album for Brilliant Classics, of Weimar-composed chorales by J.S. Bach (94456), with some little-known musical treasures from Hamburg c.1700 complemented by a bona-fide rarity by Bach, a chorale fantasia believed to date from between 1705 and 1710 and rediscovered as recently as 2008.
Last year's revival of Jan Philipp Gloger's controversial 2012 production was greeted (as so often in Bayreuth) with huge acclaim. He translates the tale of the Dutchman, whose travails can only be redeemed through the unconditional love of a woman (Senta), to a future time, where part-human/part-cyborgs grind out an existence in a world completely subservient to business and commerce. In the modern fan-making factory, which replaces the world of Senta and her fellow seamstresses, we see a final tableau in which the Dutchman's and Senta's heavenly union is commemorated' by the factory workers now producing souvenir statuettes of the couple. The production stars Samuel Youn, Ricarda Merbeth, and Franz-Josef Selig, and is conducted by Christian Thielemann, arguably the greatest Wagnerian conductor of today.
Ondine's successful Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) recordings with the NDR Sinfonieorchester conducted by Christoph Eschenbach continue with another release featuring two major symphonic works by the composer: Symphonie ‘Mathis der Maler' and Symphonie in E-flat. The orchestra's and Christoph Eschenbach's previous Hindemith release together with Midori won a Grammy Award in 2014. The ‘Mathis der Maler' Symphony is based on an opera that treats the life of the Renaissance painter Mathias Grünewald. Hindemith started to work on the symphony already prior to the completion of the opera. The symphony was premiered with great success by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Wilhelm Furtwängler on 12 March 1934. Hindemith wrote his Symphonie in E-flat during his exile in the United States in 1940. The Symphony is absolute music in the tradition of the four-movement symphony of Beethoven and the romantic period.