We indeed had many showers and thunderstorms here in Hong Kong in April this year, a little too many compared with previous years. On the other hand I could only find very few CD releases that interested me in April, the EMI Schuricht/VPO Bruckner's 8th and 9th SACD being the only one that comes easily to mind. Barenboim's magnificent Bruckner's 7th was released in late March. As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers, so I'm looking forward to many attractive CD releases, as well as beautiful flowers, in May. Let me share with you some of the notable ones.
Celibidache's video products have always been much-sought-after items, and chances are if you miss it in the first batch of release, you'll more often than not miss it altogether. Now EuroArts will give us a treat in the form of a 5-DVD box set. All have been previously issued, but it is the first time that they are grouped together in one convenient box set. It contains the piano concerti of Schumann, Tchaikovsky (No. 1) and Brahms (both) with none other than Daniel Barenboim at the piano on DVD1 and DVD2, Dvorak Symphony No. 9 and Prokofiev Symphony No. 1 on DVD3, and Ravel and Debussy on DVD4, all with the Munich Philharmonic. DVD5 contains Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade and Richard Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel, this time with the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR.
Bruckner fans are not forgotten as well. The long out-of-print LDs and VHSs of B6-8 will now be reissued in 3 newly remastered DVDs, coupled with a "re-discovered" audio recording of B4 in 2 CDs, of concerts on 5&6 February 1989 in Musikverein, Vienna. It was a significantly slower reading than the one performed 4 months previously in Gasteig, Munich issued previously in the EMI set (about four minutes longer in the Adagio and more than three minutes longer in the Finale, discounting the applause recorded at the end). It was reportedly due to Celi's meticulous adjustment of tempo according to the acoustic of the performing venue, i.e. shorter reverberation in Munich.
When Bruckner is mentioned, how can we not come to the ubiquitous Günter Wand? Following the issue of his Bruckner recordings with the Berlin Philharmonic in a budget box set in January 2012 (RCA 88691922952), and those in Cologne included in the Günter Wand: The Great Recordings 28CD+1DVD box set, now comes a Korean release of 33 CDs of his live recordings on RCA (RCA S70845C) in the late 1980s till his last recording, including all his Bruckner recordings with NDRSO and BPO, apparently filling the gap left by the The Great Recordings set. What is particulary tempting is the inclusion of his only recording with the Chicago SO in 1989 of Brahms Symphony No. 1 which I praised in a previous post, and his incomplete live Beethoven cycle (lacking the 7th -9th) with NDRSO, with excellent Eroica, 4th, 5th and 6th.
Here comes a major reissue from Universal Italy: The Art of Giuseppe Sinopoli, a 16-CD box set featuring many out-of-print recordings, among which are his lovely Beethoven's Ninth, and Ravel's Bolero and Daphnis and Chloe suite. A little disappointing is the inclusion of only two of his Bruckner recordings, the popular 4th and 7th, which IMHO do not serve as good examples of how wonderful a Brucknerian he is. Yes his 5th and 9th may still be in circulation and thus not "allowed" in such a set, but why not his superb 3rd and 8th?
|Michael Gielen's Beethoven recordings referred to in the post|
When Beethoven symphonies recordings are mentioned, how can I forget Michael Gielen? This is not the reissue of his recordings in the EMI set (recorded in 1986-1994), but a newly remastered audio products of his live recordings (recorded 1997-2000) issued on DVDs by EuroArts. Sample excerpts can be found here. The Eighth within this cycle has been issued by Hanssler before (CD93.56) but I don't know if there is a new remastering for the present release.
Claudio Abbado's Bruckner recordings with the Vienna Philharmonic may have received at best luke-warm reception in the past, but his performances with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in recent years have made him a master Brucknerian of wide acclaim. His 4th is among one of my favourites. And now comes the 5th on DVD and BD (Accentus ACC10243BD), recorded in performances on 19 and 20 August 2011 which were highly lauded in the press.