Monday, May 14, 2007

Recommended Romantic and Post-Romantic Orchestral Music (Composers: E - M)

By Dave Armstrong (5-14-07)


EDWARD ELGAR
(1857-1934)
Symphony No. 1

RPO/Previn 1996 "Previn confirms his ability to point Elgarian climaxes with the necessary heart-tug . . . [sound is] outstandingly full and open"
LPO/Boult (10-76) / 2002 "hints of reflective nostalgia amid the triumph . . . radiantly beautiful performance . . . glowing with untroubled sweetness . . . brass is gloriously full"
LPO/Handley 2004 "beautifully paced reading which can be counted in every way outstanding . . . poise and refinement . . . spacious and movingly expressive . . . very good sound, clear first choice"

Symphony No. 2

PHO/Haitink 1990 "some altogether wonderful playing . . . valuable and fresh insights . . . many details to relish and beauties to discover . . . clearly relates Elgar to Richard Strauss [and] to Bruckner"
LPO/Boult 2001 "most richly satisfying performance of all . . . the pointing of climaxes is unrivalled . . . brilliant recording"LPO/Handley (4-80) / 2004 "most satisfying modern version . . . conveys superbly the sense of elgarian ebb and flow, building climaxes like a master . . . sound is warmly atmospheric"

Enigma Variations

LSO/Jochum "inspirational . . . thoughtful insight . . . outstanding reading, consistently satisfying. The playing of the LSO and the recording match the strength and refinement of the performance"
LSO/Boult 2002

CESAR FRANCK
(1822-1890)
Symphony in D Minor

CON/Chailly 1990 "weighty and well considered . . . first class playing"
BPO/Karajan (1970) / 1993 "large-scale performance . . . energy"
ONF/Bernstein 1995 "warmly expressive performance . . . flexible spontaneity . . . glowing positive qualities . . . recording is vivid and opulent"
PHI/Muti 1999 "strongly committed but unsentimental reading . . . the finale is particularly refreshing in its directness"CSO/Monteux (1961) / 2005 "unique grip on this highly charged Romantic symphony . . . sense of mystery . . . elegiac delicacy . . . splendid playing"


EDVARD GRIEG
(1843-1907)
Peer Gynt Suites No. 1 and No. 2

BPO/Karajan 2003

GUSTAV HOLST
(1874-1934)

The Planets

LSO/Previn (1974) / 1990 "highly desirable . . . brass sounds are sonorous and thrilling . . . appealing freshness"LPO/Solti 1991 "extremely brilliant . . . clear-headed intensity . . . refreshing new insights"
PHI/Ormandy 1992 "one of the finest records he made . . . great electricity . . . highly compelling reading"
BPO/Karajan (1981) / 1993 "spectacularly wide-ranging . . . dynamic contrast is something to be marvelled at . . . thrilling performance"
VPO/Karajan (late 60s) / 1997 "remarkably vivid . . . atmospheric . . . holds its place near the top of the list on most counts"
OSM/Dutoit 1998 "outstandingly successful version, both rich and brilliant, and recorded with an opulence to outshine all rivals"
LPO/Boult 1999 "intense and beautifully played, spacious and dramatic, rapt and pointed"
LAP/Mehta (1971) / 2001 "set a new standard for sonic splendour . . . vintage Decca analogue sound"
BSO/Steinberg (1971) / 2001 "outstanding . . . one of the most exciting and involved versions"


FRANZ LISZT
(1811-1886)
Symphonic Poems (Assorted)

LPO/Haitink (vol. 1 / vol. 2) 1993
BPO/Mehta 1997

SYMPHONIES

Faust Symphony

PHI/Muti 1991 "shows a natural sympathy . . . recording is brilliant yet full-bodied"
CSO/Solti 2001 "spacious, brilliant reading, marked by superb playing"
RPO/Beecham (1959) / 2006 "classic . . . shows this instinctive Lisztian at his most illuminatingly persuasive"
Radio Berlin Sym. Orch. / Inbal 2006

Dante Symphony

BPO/Barenboim (2-92) / 1994
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig / Masur 1996 "as persuasive an advocate as any on record in this repertoire"
Radio Berlin Sym. Orch. / Inbal 2006

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GUSTAV MAHLER
(1860-1911)

SYMPHONIES

No. 1

VPO/Maazel 1990 "superb playing and refined recording . . . Viennese glow . . . ripeness and an easy lyricism . . . sound is full and atmospheric as well as brilliant"
LSO/Horenstein (1969) / 1993
COL/Walter (2-61) / 1994 "balance and ambient warmth are entirely satisfying . . . final apotheosis drawn out spaciously and given added breadth and imp. The orchestral playing throughout is first class"
BAV/Kubelik (1967) / 1997
LSO/Solti (2-64) / 2001 "Solti gives the orchestra its full head and coaxes some magnificent playing from the brass in the finale"CON/Bernstein (1989) / 2005

No. 2 ("Resurrection")

CSO/Solti 1992 "digital sound of extraordinary power . . . the weight of fortissimo in the final hymn, not to mention the Judgment Day brass, is breathtaking"
NYP/Walter (2-58) / 1994 "among the gramophone's indispensable classics . . . glowing resonance of sound brings an evocative haze . . . the performance makes a profound impression, with the closing section thrillingly expansive"
VPO/Mehta (2-75) / 2000 "refinement of the playing puts this among the finest versions of the symphony"
LPO/Tennstedt 2001 "dedicate performance . . . recording is impressively full and clear"CBO/Rattle 2006 "great Mahlerian with a strongly individual view . . . playing is inspired . . . outshining others in sheer commitment"

No. 3

VPO/Abbado 1984 "sound of spectacular range . . . sharply defined and deeply dedicated . . . extraordinary intensity"
CSO/Levine (1977) / 1990 "superbly rhythmic account . . . splendidly judged tempi . . . fine sense of atmosphere . . . radiant finale"
CSO/Solti 1992 "hushed and intense, deeply concentrated, building up superbly . . . brilliance, freshness and clarity . . . virtuoso playing"
LAP/Mehta (1978) / 1994
NYP/Bernstein (4-3-61) / 1999 "strong and passionate with few of the stylistic exaggerations that sometimes overlay his interpretations"
LPO/Tennstedt 2001 "eloquent . . . spaciousness . . . noble finale is very impressive, and it is splendidly recorded"


No. 4

VPO/Maazel 1990 "superbly refined and warmly atmospheric recording"
BPO/Karajan 1990 "playing of incomparable refinement . . . a performance of compelling poise and purity . . . glowing sound"
CSO/Solti 1992 "delightfully fresh and bright reading, beautifully paced and superbly played"
LPO/Tennstedt 2000 "strong, spacious reading which yet conveys an innocence"

No. 5

CSO/Solti 1992 "wistful rather than deeply tragic . . . dynamic contrasts are superbly pointed . . . intensely beautiful playing"
BPO/Karajan 1996 "may be a first choice . . . polish and refinement . . . sharpness of focus . . . among the most beautiful and most intense versions . . . resplendent recording"PHO/Barbirolli (7-69) / 1998 "on any account it is one of the greatest, most warmly affecting performances ever committed to record, expansive yet concentrated in feeling. A classic."
LPO/Tennstedt 2002 "ripe and measured view . . . outstanding performance, thoughtful . . . warm and expressive"
PHI/Levine 2002 "deeply perceptive and compelling performance"BPO/Rattle 2002
LAP/Mehta (1977) / 2005 "brilliant recording and playing"
VPO/Bernstein (1988) / 2007

No. 6 ("Tragic")

CSO/Solti 1992 "stunning playing . . . electric excitement . . . brilliant, immediate but atmpospheric recording . . . rather extrovert approach"
VPO/Boulez (5-94) / 1995
BPO/Karajan (1977) / 1998 "superlative playing . . . a revelation . . . compelling and refreshing . . . superb recording, with wide dynamics"
LPO/Tennstedt 1998 "characteristically strong . . . his expressiveness tends towards conveying joy rather than Mahlerian neurosis . . . the sound is full and the acoustic warm"
NYP/Bernstein (5-6-67) / 1998
BPO/Abbado (6-04) / 2005

No. 7

CSO/Solti 1992 "glorious [sound] . . . extrovert in display but full of dark implications . . . orchestra plays superlatively well"CSO/Abbado 1995 "precision and polish . . . total commitment . . . atmospheric . . . haunting tenderness"
NYP/Bernstein (CBS) (12-15-65) / 1998
BPO/Abbado (5-01) / 2002
NYP/Bernstein (DG) 2005 "riveting performance from first to last, ending with a searingly exciting account of the finale . . . a performance to send you off cheering . . . Mahlerian expression at its most red-blooded, and with fine playing . . . a splendid example of Bernstein's flair with Mahler"

No. 8 ("Symphony of a Thousand")

LPO/Tennstedt 1998 "magnificent account . . . superb . . . broader, grander view"LSO/Bernstein (4-20-66) / 1999
CSO/Solti (9-71) / 2006 "urgency and dynamism . . . irresistible, ending in an earth-shattering account of the closing hymn"

Das Lied von der Erde

CSO/Solti (1972) / "breadth of sound and precision of texture"
PHO/Ludwig/Klemperer (2-22-64) / 1998 "Klemperer's way with Mahler at its most individual"
VPO/Fischer-Diskau/Bernstein (4-66) / 1999
NYP/Ferrier/Walter 2000 "the maestro himself has rarely sounded so happy on record, even in Mahler"
BPO/Karajan 2005 "refinement and polish with a deep sense of melancholy"

No. 9

VPO/Maazel 1992 "superbly controlled . . . extremely well recorded . . . spectacular sound quality"
BPO/Karajan (1982) [live] / 1994 "reading of the deepest intensity . . . refinement and polish . . . new dimension of glowing optimism in the finale . . . supreme achievement . . . sound is bright and full"COL/Walter (1961) / 1995 "A fine performance . . . the sound is still impressive"
BPO/Karajan 1997
CSO/Boulez (12-95) / 1998
LPO/Tennstedt 1998 "performance of warmth and distinction, underlining nobility rather than any neurotic tension . . . the playing is excellent"
BPO/Barbirolli (1-64) / 2002
BPO/Abbado (9-99) / 2002
CSO/Solti 2003 "clear and certain . . . presents the power of the piece with total conviction"
PHO/Klemperer 2007


No. 10 (Deryck Cooke version)

FRT/Inbal [original Cooke version] 1992
BPO/Rattle 2000


FELIX MENDELSSOHN
(1809-1847)

Midsummer Night's Dream Incidental Music

BSO/Davis (1976) / 1994BPO/Abbado 1996
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra/Bramall 1999LSO/Previn 2003


Overtures, Misc.

Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra/Dohnanyi 1999
LSO/Abbado 2002 "strikingly vivid and spontaneous"


Symphony No. 3 ("Scottish")

LSO/Abbado 2002 "admirably fresh, brightly recorded"
BPO/Karajan 1997 "very fine indeed . . . the closing pages of the finale are taken with exuberant brilliance . . . the orchestral playing is superb"
VPO/Dohnanyi 1999 "fresh and alert . . . weighty recording . . . outstanding recording quality"


Symphony No. 4 ("Italian")

LSO/Abbado 2002 "admirably fresh"
BSO/Davis (1976) / 1994 "exhilarating . . . recording is warm and refined"
VPO/Dohnanyi 1999 "refreshing account"
BPO/Karajan 1997 "superbly polished and well paced"



MODEST MUSSORGSKY
(1839-1881)

Night on Bald Mountain (arr. Rimsky-Korsakov)

LSO/Solti (1966) / 1999 "can stand up to all competition . . . fine amplitude and great brilliance"CLE/Maazel 2001 "magnificently recorded . . . richly sonorous presentation of the deep brass"
CSO/Barenboim 2004 "spacious, weighty and very powerful . . . superb playing"NYP/Bernstein 2004


Pictures at an Exhibition (orch. by Ravel)

CSO/Solti 1991 "fiercely brilliant rather than atmospheric or evocative . . . orchestral clarity has an almost X-ray precision"
CSO/Reiner (12-57) / 1994
CLE/Maazel 2001 "warm, glowing ambience . . . overwhelmingly spacious in conception and quite riveting as sheer sound . . . the richness and amplitude of the brass make the work's final climax unforgettable"PHI/Muti 2002 "Muti's reading is second to none . . . excellence of recorded sound"
CSO/Giulini 2004
NYP/Bernstein 2004
BPO/Karajan (1966) / 2004 "undoubtedly a great performance, tingling with electricity . . . glorious orchestral playing, and especially the brass sonorities . . . [sound] is little short of demonstration standard"



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