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.
Chailly's powerful, dramatic reading with the Concert gebouw makes an outstanding first choice. The richness of the sound goes with beautiful balance, fine clarity and a keen sense of presence, heightening the impact of Chailly's clean cut, brilliant interpretation.
Riccardo Chailly's sensational recording will be an obvious first choice. Decca's sound is brilliant, detailed and just a little airless, emphasizing the Concertgebouw's astonishing unanimity of attack. (Both engineers and musicians are perhaps less preoccupied with achieving a real pianissimo). The soloist are closely balanced - not unacceptably so - but this does again serve to exaggerate the impersonal, mechanistic aspects of Messiaen's writing. Let's be clear: I have never heard this unprecedented score unleashed with greater panache than it is here. Chailly's interpretation is thrilling.
Recording information: Grote Zaal, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam (03/1992).
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Chopin: 4 Ballades; 4 Scherzi / Claudio Arrau, piano
Works DetailsMessiaenOlivier : Turangalîla-symphonie, for piano, ondes martenot & orchestra, I/29
- Performers: Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Piano); Takashi Harada (Ondes Martenot)
- Conductor: Riccardo Chailly
- Ensemble: Concertgebouw Orchestra
- Running Time: 74 min. 31 sec.
- Period Time: Modern
- Form: Orchestral
- Written: 1948-1990