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The Feast at Solhaug : Henrik Ibsen's play Gildet paa Solhaug (1856) inspired Wilhelm Stenhammer's opera Gillet på Solhaug. The world premiere recording is now available via Sterling CD, in a 3 disc set which includes full libretto and background history.
Honours yet again to Oehms Classics who understand the importance of excellence. A composer as good, and as individual, as Walter Braunfels deserves nothing less.
‘Can great music be inspired by the throw of the dice?’ asks Peter Phillips, director of The Tallis Scholars, in his liner notes to the ensemble’s new recording of Josquin’s Missa Di dadi (The Dice Mass). The fifteenth-century artist certainly had an abundant supply of devotional imagery. As one scholar has put it, during this age there was neither ‘an object nor an action, however trivial, that [was] not constantly correlated with Christ or salvation’.
Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto was the composer’s ﬁfteenth opera, and the ninth to a libretto by Giovanni Faustini (1615-1651). First performed at the Teatro Sant’Apollinaire in Venice on 28th November 1651, the opera by might have been sub-titled ‘Gods Behaving Badly’, so debauched are the deities’ dalliances and deviations, so egotistical their deceptions.
New from Oehms Classics, Walter Braunfels Orchestral Songs Vol 1. Luxury singers - Valentina Farcas, Klaus Florian Vogt and Michael Volle, with the Staatskapelle Weimar, conducted by Hansjörg Albrecht.
Edouard Lalo (1823-92) is best known today for his instrumental works: the
Symphonie espagnole (which is, despite the title, a five-movement
violin concerto), the Symphony in G Minor, and perhaps some movements from his
ballet Namouna, a scintillating work that the young Debussy adored.
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.
28 Jan 2007
The reason for being of this set is Gruberova’s wish to record as much as possible of her repertory (on her own label as most of the majors were either not interested in recording belcanto operas or had their own stars like Decca’s Joan Sutherland).
We are told this was a live recording
for Austrian radio made in 1998. At that time the lady was 52-years of age and had already a
career of thirty years behind her. Amazing, of course when one thinks of many singers who have
spoiled their voices after half the amount of years. The result is still very fine: an object lesson as
to what belcanto technically means; how to sing coloratura, how to embellish, how to trill. To be
honest, one can regret the fact she didn’t record the role earlier. “Bel raggio” is fine but not quite
sung with the same freedom as she did on her French/Italian aria record on EMI from 1982. I’m
surprised, too, that the recording team didn’t ask her to re-record the top note at the end of the
cabaletta (or didn’t use electronic wizardry) as it falls painfully flat and it is not a note one wants
to hear everytime one plays this set; but honest it surely is.
Nevertheless not everything is a liability. The voice is somewhat more broad, more dramatic than
in 1982 and this corresponds far better with the character of the role. Bernadette Manca di Nissa
displays a fine, rounded mezzo though there is not much in her characterization that remind us of
a young exuberant warrior which we remember well Marilyn Horne in the famous 1966 Decca
recording. This is already more Azucena than Arsace and time. Ildebrando D’Arcangelo cannot
quite compete with Sam Ramey at the height of his powers but the voice of the Italian bass is
fuller, more beautiful and less dry than Rouleau’s in the Decca. The one singer in the recording
under review fully on Gruberova’s level is Juan Diego Florez at the outset of his big career. He
has the style and already knows all the ins-and-outs of Rossini. Moreover, he brings with him the
sunny colours of a Mediterranean ancestry, which at the time immediately eclipsed fine Rossini
singers like Blake and Ford — formidable technicians but without the Peruvian’s natural talent.
Marcello Panni’s conducting is not very inspiring, though one can never be sure on a prima
donna’s label that the conductor has the last word on tempi. Even Richard Bonynge, always
accused of indulging his wife, brings out the more tragic elements of this opera seria. With Panni
one too often has the feeling he is conducting one of Rossini’s comic operas. In the end this
rather well-sung and sometimes more homogenous sounding version cannot quite compete with
the Sutherland-Horne-Bonynge version where each of the principals is superior to the singers in