Luciano Berio's most celebrated and influential work is his Sinfonia for 8 amplified voices and orchestra (1968), a tour de force of musical quotations and collages, literary references, and social commentary that he composed for The Swingle Singers and the New York Philharmonic on the occasion of the orchestra's 125th anniversary. This composition has received noteworthy performances by Berio, Pierre Boulez, Peter Eötvös, Riccardo Chailly, Hannu Lintu, and now Josep Pons, who leads the Synergy Vocals and the BBC Symphony Orchestra for this important release on Harmonia Mundi.
This live recording of Mozart's Don Giovanni inaugurates a series of Mozart operas to be recorded live at the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden in southwestern Germany, featuring a galaxy of top operatic stars. The performance marks an impressive beginning indeed for the project. The incongruously named Mahler Chamber Orchestra under French Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin may seem tentative and underpowered to those used to, say, the Vienna Philharmonic, but Nézet-Séguin keeps the music very tightly connected to the singers. The opera stands or falls on the voice and attitude of the seducer Don himself, and the performance of the young Italian bass-baritone Ildebrando d'Arcangelo may come to be seen as a milestone in his career development. He has a low yet lively voice, and he's a completely persuasive Don Giovanni.
Transcriptions of chamber works to orchestral works have been interesting asides for composers for a long time - whether the transcription are alterations of a composer's own songs or chamber works to full orchestral size or those of other composers for which the transcriber had a particular affinity. Stokowski's transcriptions of Bach's works are probably the most familiar to audiences. The two transcriptions on this recording are the creations Gustav Mahler and his election to transcribe the quartets of Beethoven and Schubert is not surprising: Mahler 'transcribed' many of his own songs into movements or portions of movements for his own symphonies. Listening to Mahler's transcriptions of these two well known quartets - Franz Schubert's String Quartet in D Minor 'Death and the Maiden' and Ludwig van Beethoven's String Quartet in F Minor 'Serioso' - provides insight into both the orginal compositions and the orchestration concepts of Gustav Mahler. The themes of these two works would naturally appeal to Mahler's somber nature. Mahler naturally extends the tonal sound of each of these transcriptions by using the full string orchestra and in both works it is readily apparent that his compositional techniques within string sections are ever present.
This C Major Blu-ray disc release of Gustav Mahler's Symphonies 3 and 4 continues the complete Mahler audiovisual cycle project the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor Paavo Järvi initiated with the recent release of Mahler's first two symphonies. Soprano soloists Waltraud Meier and Genia Kühmeier feature in these performances of the Third and Fourth Symphonies respectively. "Genia Kühmeier sang with a transcendent and immaculate tone." (FAZ) "Great orchestra, outstanding conductor." (Bild Zeitung)