This recording received the 1998 Cannes Classical Music Award for "Best Choral Performance - 19th/20th Centuries"..
2007 release of a mammoth box set of 50 CD's with key recordings from the Angel/EMI Music classical catalog. Performers include Yehudi Menuhin, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Quatuor Hongrois, Heutling Quartet, Erich Leinsdorf, Jean-Philippe Collard & Augustin Dumay & Frdric Lodon, Christian Zacharias, Paolo Bordoni, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Geoffrey Parsons, Lucia Popp, Barbara Hendricks, Radu Lupu and many more.
Franz Schubert’s choral works have certainly never achieved the popularity or the impact of his late symphonies, of some of the piano and chamber works, or of his best-known songs. And yet his extensive choral oeuvre is no less important, and no less characteristic….
Franz Peter Schubert (January 31, 1797 – November 19, 1828) was an Austrian composer.
Although he died at an early age, Schubert was tremendously prolific. He wrote some 600 Lieder, nine symphonies (including the famous "Unfinished Symphony"), liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music. Appreciation of his music during his lifetime was limited, but interest in Schubert's work increased dramatically in the decades following his death at the age of 31. Franz Liszt, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms and Felix Mendelssohn, among others, discovered and championed his works in the 19th Century. Today, Schubert is admired as one of the leading exponents of the early Romantic era in music and he remains one of the most frequently performed composers.
In nearly every respect this is outstanding. The Rondo brillant and the Fantasie, both written for the virtuoso duo of Karl von Bocklet and Josef Slawik, can sound as if Schubert were striving for a brilliant, flashy style, foreign to his nature. Both are in places uncomfortable to play (when first published, the Fantasie’s violin part was simplified), but you would never guess this from Faust’s and Melnikov’s performance; they both nonchalantly toss off any problem passages as though child’s play. The Fantasie’s finale and the Rondo brillant are irresistibly lively and spirited, and this duo’s technical finesse extends to more poetic episodes – Melnikov’s tremolo at the start of the Fantasie shimmers delicately, while the filigree passagework in the last of the variations that form the Fantasie’s centrepiece have a delightful poise and sense of ease.
During the final years of his life, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) created the monumental body of music that can be considered his “Testament”, comprising the Musical Offering, the Art of Fugue and the B minor Mass. This latter work is a perfect synthesis of all his skill and flair in the art of composition (and essentially in that of counterpoint), as well as his gift for invention and his extraordinary sense of form, structure and number.