Notes & Reviews:
When great masters compose miniature operas, the result is - well, masterly , Mozart, Weber, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Gluck, Lortzing and D' Albert: one-act operas from these famous pens are true gems of music history - and of the EMI archives. The Electoral recordings of these 11 short operas (mostly in Singspiel form) were made in the 1970's, but thanks to their all-star casts, which are nothing short of legendary, they seem as fresh as ever. Now EMI is releasing them in a complete edition for the first time.
"I was regularly surprised to find that there are still some undiscovered little jewels among the minor works of major composers" - thus Ekkehard Pluta in the magazine Klassik heute, reporting on these small entirely fine works when they first appeared on CD in 1998: We hear the brilliant young Mendelssohn as composer of two Singspiele that were performed in the family circle, we hear Schubert's still little-known contributions to the musical repertoire of the Vienna Volkstetheater, Weber's Abu Hassan and - especially delightful - works where the composer made fun of the music scene of his day, such as Lortzing's Opernprobe or Mozart's Scahuspieldirektor. In addition to the commendable rediscovery of the repertoire, the recordings derive special appel from outstanding singers, who wittily recreate the generally light-hearted spirit of these works: singers like Nicolai Gedda, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Edda Moser, Anneliese Rothenberger, Helen Donath, Hermann Prey and Kurt Moll.
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Conlon Nancarrow: Late and Unknown Works on Piano Rolls / Conlon Nancarrow, player piano
Respighi: Marie Victoire / Michail Jurowski, Chor und Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin / Kizart, Brück, Pauly, Bronk, Villar, Schümann
Saint-Saens: Rhapsodies sur des Cantiques Bretons; O Salutaris Hostia; Sarabande; Elevation; Fantaisie/ Andrew-John Smith, organ
Lionel Sainsbury: Cello Concerto; John Foulds: Cello Concerto / Raphael Wallfisch, cello
Puccini: Il Trittico / Roberto Alagna, Angela Gheorghiu et al. / Antonio Pappano
Horatio Parker: Organ Works / Rudolf Innig
Paganini: Violin Concerto No. 5; I palpiti, Op. 13; Moto perpetuo, Op. 11 / Ivan Pochekin, violin
Mozart: Divertimenti Nos. 11, K251 & 17, K334 / Cologne CO, Muller-Bruhl
Between the Bliss and Me: Songs to Poems of Emily Dickinson by Copland, Farwell, Laitman, Pearson-Thomas, Hoiby / Julia Faulkner, soprano; Martha Fischer, piano