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Two new recordings from highly acclaimed specialists Opera Rara -
Gounod La Colombe and Donizetti Le Duc d'Albe.
It is not often that a major work by a forgotten composer gets rediscovered
and makes an enormously favorable impression on today’s listeners. That has
happened, unexpectedly, with Herculanum, a four-act grand opera by
Félicien David, which in 2014 was recorded for the first time.
This recording, made in the Adrian Boult Hall at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music in June 2014, is the fourth disc in SOMM’s series of recordings with Paul Spicer and the Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir.
Félicien David’s intriguing Le désert, for vocal and orchestral forces plus narrator, was widely performed in its own day, then disappeared from the performing repertory for nearly a century.
This well-packed disc is a delight and a revelation. Until now, even the
most assiduous record collector had access to only a few of the nearly 100
songs published by Félicien David (1810-76), in recordings by such notable
artists as Huguette Tourangeau, Ursula Mayer-Reinach, Udo Reinemann, and Joan
Sutherland (the last-mentioned singing the duet “Les Hirondelles”
This new release of John Taverner’s virtuosic and florid Missa
Corona spinea (produced by Gimell Records) comes two years after The
Tallis Scholars’ critically esteemed recording of the composer’s
Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas, which topped the UK Specialist Classical
Album Chart for 6 weeks, and with which the ensemble celebrated their
40th anniversary. The recording also includes Taverner’s two
settings of Dum transisset Sabbatum.
Sounds swirl with an urgent emotionality and meandering virtuosity on Jonas Kaufmann’s new Puccini album—the “real one”, according
to Kaufmann, whose works were also released earlier this year on Decca records, allegedly without his approval.
Marion Cotillard and Marc Soustrot bring the drama to the sweeping score of Arthur Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au
bûcher, an adaptation of the Trial of Joan of Arc
Stephen Paulus provided the musical world, and particularly the choral world, with music both provocative and pleasing through a combination of lyricism and a modern-Romantic tonal palette.
Richard Taruskin entitled his 1988 polemical critique of the notion of ‘authenticity’ in the context of historically informed performance, ‘The Pastness of the Present and the Presence of the Past’.
As the editor of Opera magazine, John Allison, notes in his editorial in the June issue, Donizetti fans are currently spoilt for choice, enjoying a ‘Donizetti revival’ with productions of several of the composer’s lesser known works cropping up in houses around the world.
Philippe Jaroussky lends poetry and poise to the sounds of nineteenth- and
Carolyn Sampson has long avoided the harsh glare of stardom but become a favourite singer for “those in the know” — and if you are not one of those it is about time you were.
This Winterreise is the final instalment of Matthias Goerne’s series of Schubert lieder for Harmonia Mundi and it brings the Matthias Goerne Schubert Edition, begun in 2008, to a dark, harrowing close.
This elegant, smartly-paced film turns Gluck’s Orfeo into a Dostoevskian study of a guilt-wracked misanthrope, portrayed by American countertenor Bejun Mehta.
We see the characters first in two boxes at an opera house. The five singers share a box and stare at the stage. But Konstanze’s eye is caught by a man in a box opposite: Bassa Selim (actor Tobias Moretti), who stares steadily at her and broods in voiceover at having lost her, his inspiration.
Richard Strauss may be most closely associated with the soprano voice but
this recording of a selection of the composer’s lieder by baritone Thomas
Hampson is a welcome reminder that the rapt lyricism of Strauss’s settings
can be rendered with equal beauty and character by the low male voice.
Bernarda Fink’s recording of Gustav Mahler’s Lieder is an important new release that includes outstanding performances of the composer’s well-known songs, along with compelling readings of some less-familiar ones.
Das Rheingold launches what is perhaps the single most ambitious project in opera, Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen.
This live performance of Laurent Pelly’s Glyndebourne staging of
Humperdinck’s affectionately regarded fairy tale opera, was recorded at
Glyndebourne Opera House in July and August 2010, and the handsomely produced
disc set — the discs are presented in a hard-backed, glossy-leaved book and
supplemented by numerous production photographs and an informative article by
Julian Johnson — is certainly stylish and unquestionably recommendable.
01 Aug 2006
Morricone Conducts Morricone
Connoisseurs of pretentious booklet essay verbiage will delight in the prose style of Matthias Kellerin his musings for this EuroArts DVD of Ennio Morricone conducting his film scores with the Munich radio orchestra.
Translated from the German, Mr. Keller informs us that "It
is no exaggeration to call Ennio Morricone the Picasso of film music,
an experimenter for whom the synchronicity of the historically
diachronic has become a point of principle..." That's because
Morricone sometimes throws in a harpsichord or some such antiquated
musical instrument. Ergo - he's Picasso!
A master of his craft, Morricone certainly deserves an overview of
his work. Is this the ideal tribute? Doubtful. The composer leads the
large orchestra without much exertion; he spends a surprising amount of
time looking down at his own scores. The music is well-played and
recorded, but a few minutes of one score fading into a few minutes of
another doesn't make for the most riveting viewing experience.
The concert breaks his work into five sections, each with its own
title. Many will be waiting for the third, "Sergio Leone: Modern Film
legends." These are the classic scores that brought Morricone
world-wide fame. It is here that a soprano and chorus join the
orchestra for some vocalise-style contributions (thus prompting
this review for OperaToday). Susanna Rigacci is not asked to do too
much strenuous work, and probably her pleasant voice would be less
attractive if asked to. The chorus "ooh"s and "ahh"s with
Since 100 minutes of film music excerpts, even from as esteemed a
composer as Morricone, could use some variety, the vocals help break up
the program, as does a visit from Ulrich Herkenhoff, a panpipes
performer. Ultimately, this concert has to be for the most dedicated
film music fans. Music that adds so much to the cinematic experience
can be curiously uninvolving as concert fare, and Morricone himself,
with his deadpan manner, lacks charisma as a conductor. The
presentation is classy and the camera work professional (the director
credit goes to a Giovanni Morricone - no word as to a possible relation
to the composer). However, the few brief snippets of some actual film
footage serve to emphasize that the best presentation for this music
remains as soundtrack to a film experience.
Los Angeles Unified School District, Secondary Literacy