I used mostly my ears

a blog about music by Marc Haegeman


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Herbert von Karajan remastered

Mili Balakirev: Symphony #1 in C Major
Alexander Borodin: Polovtsian Dances from “Prince Igor” (Mono & Stereo Versions)
Modest Mussorgsky: Khovanshchina (Act 4 Entr’acte & Dance of the Persian Slaves); Khovanshchina (Excerpts)1; Boris Godunov (Excerpts)1;
Pictures at an Exhibition (orch. Maurice Ravel)
Serge Prokofieff: Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67²
Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake Suite, Op. 20 (Mono & Stereo Versions); The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a; The Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op. 66 (Mono & Stereo Versions); 1812 Overture, Op. 49; Symphony #4 in F minor, Op 36; Symphony #4 in F minor, Op 36 *; Symphony #5 in E minor, Op. 64, Symphony #6 in B minor “Pathétique”, Op. 74
Igor Stravinsky: Jeu de cartes

1 Boris Christoff, bass
2 Peter Ustinov, narrator
Philharmonia Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan
* Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan
Warner Classics 2564633620-3 7CDs Mono/Stereo ADD

Claude Debussy: La Mer, Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
Maurice Ravel: Bolero, Alborada del Gracioso **, La Valse **, Rapsodie Espagnole **, Le Tombeau de Couperin **
Georges Bizet: L’ Arlésienne Suite No. 2
Emmanuel Chabrier: Espana Rapsodie
Charles Gounod: Faust-Ballet Music
Hector Berlioz: Hungarian March from “La Damnation de Faust”
César Franck: Symphony in D minor **
Giacomo Puccini: Intermezzo from Suor Angelica, Intermezzo from Manon Lescaut
Pietro Mascagni: Intermezzo from L’Amico Fritz
Antonín Dvořák: Symphony #8 in G Major, Op. 88, Symphony #9 in E minor “From The New World”, Op. 95, Slavonic Dance #8 in G Minor
Bedřich Smetana: The Moldau from “Ma Vlást”
Béla Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra
Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky: Symphony #4 in F minor, Op 36; Symphony #5 in E minor, Op. 64; Symphony #6 in B minor “Pathétique”, Op. 74

** Orchestre de Paris/Herbert von Karajan
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan
Warner Classics 2564633593-0 7CDs Stereo ADD

Karajan Official Remastered Edition

Karajan Official Remastered Edition

To mark the 25th anniversary of the death of Herbert von Karajan (this 16 July) Warner Classics, now owning the EMI catalogue, reissues a substantial chunk of the Austrian maestro’s legacy. The Official Remastered Edition, as it is called, will comprise 13 box sets regrouping his most remarkable orchestral recordings for EMI, in all 101 discs, spanning a period between 1946 and 1984. (Karajan’s opera recordings are conspicuously absent, but will perhaps be covered in a separate edition.)
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Vaughan Williams by Sir Adrian Boult

Ralph Vaughan Williams: A Sea Symphony (1,2,a); A London Symphony (2); A Pastoral Symphony (3,c); Symphony #4 in F minor (3); Symphony #5 in D Major (2); Symphony #6 in E minor (3); Sinfonia antarctica (1,2,b); Symphony #8 in D minor (2); Symphony #9 in E minor (2)
(a) Sheila Armstrong, soprano
(a) John Carol Case, baritone
(b) Norma Burrowes, soprano
(c) Margaret Price, soprano
(1) London Philharmonic Choir
(2) London Philharmonic Orchestra/Adrian Boult
(3) New Philharmonia Orchestra/Adrian Boult
Recorded between 1967 & 1971
Warner Classics (EMI) 87484-2 5CDs ADD

Vaughan Williams Symphonies

Sir Adrian Boult plays Vaughan Williams

For anyone looking to explore the symphonies of Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) this famous set recorded by Sir Adrian Boult for HMV/EMI between 1967 and 1971, and reissued by Warner Classics at an attractive price, is still a clear first choice. While clearly not neglected on disc Vaughan Williams’s symphonies are hardly ever heard in the concert-halls. There are first-rate complete sets by Bernard Haitink, Vernon Handley, and André Previn among others, yet one doesn’t get any closer to his particular and ever-changing sound-world than with Sir Adrian Boult, who knew the composer since his Oxford student-days, premiered three of his symphonies and remained a close friend and lifelong champion of his music.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Rachmaninoff by Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (part 2)

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Dances from “Aleko”, Symphony #2, Op. 27
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko
EMI 915473-2 73:05 DDD

Vasily Petrenko

Rachmaninoff Symphony #2 by Vasily Petrenko

For the second installment of their Rachmaninoff symphonies cycle for EMI, Vasily Petrenko and his Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra cover the most popular and significant of the corpus, the Second Symphony in E minor. If anything, this release is a ready reminder of how difficult this work is by its length, complex thematic material and emotional content. Yet today’s major labels confidently invest in less than foremost ensembles to fulfill the task. And why wouldn’t they? The hype is doing the rest. Reviewers already promoted the Liverpool forces to convincing interpreters of the Russian Romantic repertory. Sure they are. Bizarre then that by comparison the Rachmaninoff from old-school Russian maestros sounds like coming from a different solar system. With Petrenko/Liverpool there is very little of the dramatic grip and even less of the soulful lyricism and sometimes savage epic imagery that a Evgeny Svetlanov or a Kirill Kondrashin conjured with Rachmaninoff’s symphonic work.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Rachmaninoff by Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (part 1)

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Caprice Bohémien, Op. 12
Vocalise, Op. 34 #14
Symphony #3, Op. 44

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko
EMI 679019-2 DDD

Vasily Petrenko

Rachmaninoff Symphony #3 by Vasily Petrenko

Vasily Petrenko and his Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra continue their cycle of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s orchestral works and concertos. Started on the Avie label (with the Isle of the Dead, the Symphonic Dances and the piano concertos featuring Simon Trpceski as soloist Avie AV2191 & AV2192), this new CD focuses on the 3rd Symphony and marks Petrenko’s debut on EMI Classics. Interestingly, the EMI disc was (partly) recorded at the same time – September 2009 – in the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and produced by the same team as the older Avie CD already released in 2010. The transfer from an obscure to a more prestigious label reflects the success story of the award-winning young Russian conductor in another way. While one may still have to look for Vasily Petrenko’s name on the Avie CD cover, EMI generously gives him equal billing with Rachmaninoff.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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On unfamiliar ground

Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Simon Rattle
EMI 631621-2 DDD 2CDs Deluxe Edition

The Nutcracker

Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker by Simon Ratlle

It’s rare that a conductor admits in the liner notes to his new disc that he hasn’t always been much of a fan of the composer he is playing. But then again anyone familiar with the career of Sir Simon Rattle may have noticed he has so far been avoiding the music of Tchaikovsky like some rare disease. The release of a complete Nutcracker with the Berlin Philharmonic, moreover to mark Rattle’s 30th anniversary as recording artist with EMI, therefore has our undivided attention.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Fliter plays Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven:
Piano Sonata #8 “Pathétique”, Op. 13
Piano Sonata #17 “Tempest”, Op. 31 #2
Piano Sonata #23 “Appassionata” in F minor, Op. 57

Ingrid Fliter, piano
EMI 094573-2 DDD

Ingrid Fliter

Fliter plays Beethoven Sonatas

To many music lovers the name of Ingrid Fliter still won’t ring much of a bell. Yet 38-year old Argentinian-born Ingrid Fliter isn’t exactly a newcomer in the field. Noted by Martha Argerich early on, Fliter struck silver in the 2000 Frédéric Chopin Warsaw Competition before the 2006 Gilmore Artist Award, a prestigious non-competition award made to an outstanding pianist deemed worthy of a global career, put her even more on the map. That same year she was signed by EMI and while her first two discs were all-Chopin (Complete Waltzes 98351-2 and Barcarolle, Mazurkas, etc. 14899-2, consolidating her reputation as a specialist of that composer, her most recent CD groups three of Beethoven’s most famous piano sonatas.