The Solti 100th birthday celebration, commemorating this outstanding musician, is the ultimate realization of Solti’s widow, Lady Valerie Solti, and the World Orchestra for Peace that the late conductor founded. A truly marvelous program of works that Solti knew well is carried off by top orchestral players and singers to the delight of those fortunate enough to be in attendance.
Peter Gabriel’s New Blood — Live in London concert shows Gabriel’s music is unexpectedly well suited to full orchestration and the 3D production is one of the best I’ve seen for a live concert to date.
Living piano legend Martha Argerich holds sway at this 2010 Verbier Festival video, featuring piano works by Beethoven, Shostakovich and Scarlatti. The superb performances are somewhat undermined by PCM 2.0 channel sound only.
This all-Beethoven program from the Paris Art Deco Theatre of the Champs-Elysees features period instruments and reduced forces. While maestro Vladimir Jurowski tries to stir up enthusiasm for this approach, most Beethoven-lovers will find these performances, sonically undernourished.
Claudio Abbado continues his Mahler wizardry with this luminescent performance of a less often heard Symphony No. 7, “Song of the Night.” In every respect, a top flight video which captures the essence of this enigmatic work.
Antoni Wit and his Warsaw forces give a stellar performance of Mahler’s imposing Symphony No. 8, “Symphony of a Thousand.” Aided by HD surround sound, this disc should be considered essential listening for veteran and novice Mahler fans.
Naxos has issued an HD surround sound version of Vivaldi’s popular The Four Seasons, featuring Cho-Liang Lin and the Sejong chamber orchestra. The sonics are excellent but the tempi are a little brisk for my taste.
Christian Thielemann and the Wiener Philharmoniker conclude an outstanding cycle of Beethoven symphonies with Nos. 7, 8 and 9. These performances are well recorded and offer world-class musicianship at every turn.
Thielemann and the Wiener Philharmoniker are perhaps the greatest interpreters of Beethoven around today and they gather on this first release of what is a complete series for a superb performance his early symphonies, including the breakthrough Eroica (No. 3)
Two of Dvorak’s last symphonies, numbers 7 and 8, are performed by Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. While both accounts provide pleasure, I was particularly struck by the effective musical direction of the seventh symphony and a bit let down by the finale of the eighth.