Notes & Reviews:
The 20th century inspired music that was provocative and challenging - music that in many ways we are still corning to terms with. The ideas are radical, the variety immense and public appetite to hear more is still growing. In five waves of ten releases over two years Deutsche Grammophon and Decca are releasing a new series: 20C. With 50 releases that will cover 50 key works from 50 composers, the 20C series aims to present an overview the music of the 20th century. The series is not a standard re-issue, but a completely re-thought approach to presenting repertoire across a wide range of styles and 100 years.
The series will include: 1) five waves of 10 releases each; 2) each wave will consist of 10 works, one from each decade of the century; 3) 50 iconic works in total (plus fillers) which together form the backbone of the century's music, 4) writer and critic Nigel Simeone is responsible for the new booklet notes which both the work and composer as well as give context.
The series is presented in innovative, environmentally-friendly packaging which includes no plastic apart from the CDs themselves, and each title is also available digitally. A new line of artwork has been created to place an emphasis on the work and composer, though there are some of the greatest interpreters of 20th century music included in the series.
The co-ordination of music & presentation makes for a vividly enjoyable experience.
It is to this new version that the uncommitted should be directed... the clearer Decca digital sound is superior. Likewise, the singing on the new version is undeniably of a higher standard, whilst no less appropriate in terms of Weill's requirement for singing actors. In orchestral playing, too, there is a clear advantage, no less than in John Mauceri's imaginative conducting. In the "Zuhalter Ballade", above all, these characteristics come together to give.
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