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Gioachino Rossini: Tancredi

TDK (remember those blank cassettes? - not bad, but never as good as Maxell or TEAC) has recently issued an impressive amount of operas on DVDs. The standard is really high, consistently so - take Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande conducted by Franz-Welser Möst for instance. This installment of Rossini's Tancredi is one of their coups.

Tancredi is Rossini's first foray into serious drama - a tragedy (based on an historical event) at that. Rossini had so far distinguished himself as a master of comedies (that said, those comedies have dark undertones as well). And, for this new venture, he was engaged by the première opera house in Venice - Teatro La Fenice - and it was an unequivocal success, which earned him greater clout. Incidentally, he was just a few days short of his twenty-first birthday (and, never mind that he was born on February 29); and, he will soon be engaged to write L'Italiana in Algeri.

This production at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Florence, Italy) is well recorded and filmed. The costumes are generally apropos, with a few crazy exceptions, notably Tancredi's casual attires. The stage set has classical grandeur and severity, very elegant, in fact, but, not at all in keeping with the story's Medieval context (mid 11th century). Nevertheless, one is not disturbed by this, for much of the story reminds one of ancient classical stoicism.

The cast is uniformly strong. Amenaide (the heroine) is sung by Darina Takova (already a Rossini veteran - she participated in an impressive CD production of L'Italiana in Algeri, for instance). And, Raúl Giménez - in the role of Amenaide's father, Argirio - is superb. His voice has a rare purity. He is also impressive in his aristocratic comportment. Some of us will remember his contribution in La Cenerentola as Prince Charming. Barbara Di Castri is a fire-breathing mezzo, demonstrating her loyalty as lady-in-waiting to Amenaide. Orbazzano is sung by Marco Spatti, whose voice is dark and incisive. Its cold edge brings chill down one's spine, perfectly fitting here. Then, there's Nicola Marchesini in the counter-tenor role of Roggiero - gorgeously sung and stylistically acted, without any hint of effeminacy. After all, he is the trusted confidant of Tancredi - that in turn sung by a full soprano! Daniela Barcellona certainly wore Tancredi's trousers very well indeed.

The orchestra played beautifully and the choral contributions are secure. Riccardo Frizza's conducting demonstrates mastery with regards to tempi, shading, phrasing, pacing, style, and rhythmic groove - so important with this composer. Altogether, a winner. Indeed, the fact that there are a few serious misprints in the booklet's chapter index is inconsequential.

Rossini: Tancredi (2005)

Andrew Lee, reviewer

Karol Szymanowski: King Roger

The Polish composer Karol Szymanowski (pronounced "Kah-rôl Shimanovski") was an exceptional intellectual. Together with a follow literati, he fashioned quite a fantasy-tale based on the tolerant reign of the historical King Roger II of Sicily, who is of Norman descent (if you want to read about his life, read "Normans, The Other Conquest"). This fairytale-like opera tells how King Roger, ruling a country steeped in Byzantium culture, would be bedazzled by Dionysian magic and in turn embraced it (his acceptance is a homage paid to Apollo at the end, who is the opposite of Dionysus).

Take this set conducted by Simon Rattle. It is gorgeously recorded, with no weak link whatsoever. Added to it is a masterly performance of the composer's Symphony No. 4, also titled Symphonie Concertante for its prominent solo piano part, here handled by the exceptional Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes.

Simon Rattle has two other outstanding discs of Symanowski's music. As with his performances of King Roger and Symphony No. 4, his take of Symphony No. 3 quite sweeps the board, though there are other first-rate recordings. The two attached works for chorus and orchestra are important and they are likewise ravishingly performed and recorded. Not to be missed!

Szymanowski's two violin concertos are significant works and they can be put alongside those by Prokofiev and Shostakovich. On this disc, the soloist and conductor share equal distinction.

King Roger . Symphony No.4 / Sir Simon Rattle

Symphony No. 3, Stabat Mater, Litania Do Marii Panny
Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Three Paganini Caprices; Romance

Andrew Lee, reviewer

Jordi Savall:  Orchestra of Louis XIII

The comprehensive record of French ballet music at the court of Louis XIV has been well-preserved. However, the music of the previous generation has been poorly documented by scholars. André Danican Philidor, the librarian of Louis XIV, compiled one of the most vital sources of dance music at the French court in the early 17th century. Its long title reads: Collection of Several Old Airs Composed for Coronations, Weddings, and Other Solemn Events During the Reigns of Henry III, Henry IV, and Louis XIII, Including Several Concerts for Their Royal Entertainment, Gathered Together in an Anthology by Philidor the Elder in 1690. It is from this source that the present recording is based on. Jordi Savall has come up with a unique program that celebrates the life of Louis XIII (1601-1643). Louis XIII was a lover of music, a great patron of the arts, and an accomplished dancer himself. He kept 2 court ensembles: Les 24 Violons et 12 Grands Hautbois du Roy. All these facts justifies the title of this CD. Certainly, this recording should establish in the minds of listeners that Louis XIII's patronage of the arts was the model for the splendid cultural flowering to come during Louis XIV's reign.

The program offers a fascinating combination of serious and light dances, giving you an ideal of Ballet de Cour. Of the dozens of pieces featured here, 27 dances here are linked to actual historical events during the reign of Louis XIII. Without further name dropping and event mentioning (never mind musicological analyses), all you need to know is that this is a major release of its kind and there is nothing to flaw the performances. Also, the liner notes demonstrate the epitome of exemplary scholarship. We have a winner here.

Orchestra of Louis XIII

Andrew Lee, reviewer

Jascha Heifetz: Heifetz plays Gershwin and Encores (RCA)

Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987) is one of the greatest violinists ever lived. And, for many, he is the greatest, and, likewise, for many reasons - his solid, unfaltering technique, his being able to deliver on every single occasion. However, as he was not always musically subtle, especially when music calls for subtlety, and, as he had on a number of occasions embellished upon original scores (the results are no doubt technically very impressive, due to his command of pyrotechnical virtuosity, but, musically, these travesties did not improve the originals, and, at best, they just offer something different), other violinists are to be preferred for certain works and passages. Indeed, for example, I cringe helplessly each time I hear the changes in the first movement of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto [RCA, 61495 - with Fritz Reiner at helm]. Now, all that said, no one could ever deny his status as one of the greatest violinists in history.

This CD, playing generously for 76 minutes and 12 seconds, offering 27 short pieces, is a beautiful testament of a violinist who could perform both larger-than-life, profound symphonic-scale concertos as well as miniatures (whether virtuosic fireworks or tiny, lovable vignettes). The recording materials are from different years - the earliest being 1946 and the latest 1970, therefore, sonic qualities do vary. A good deal of them are directly remastered from 78s, as the original elements are either not available or not good enough. On a few of these tracks, one can hear that the grooves are not quite centered. And, yes, one can also hear snap, crackle and pop on some of these. But, that should not detract one from enjoyment, especially those of us who were raised with 78s, alongside old LPs. The consolation is, RCA has done a magnificent job at remastering these tracks. The sound is always full-bodied and never thin. This CD is wonderful for a civilized evening of listening, whether alone, with dear friends, or, with a lover who appreciates fine things. Of course, all keen violin students would want to cash in on these - believe me, the ultimate path of musical education involves both actual practice and absorbed listening.

The program begins with Gershwin's Three Preludes and Porgy and Bess pieces, all arranged by Heifetz. Gershwin and Heifetz were dear friends - they met in the 1920s. A few anecdotal tales are provided in the program notes, which is wonderfully written, itself a revealing lesson of both life and music. The rest of the disc provides a healthy diet of expressive vignettes and virtuoso fireworks. To play any of these well, one has to immerse into the inner world of each piece in intimate terms. If one cannot access these secrets and all the special magic that come with these secrets, don't bother.

Just about all of these are arrangements, save for four pieces, the Hora Staccato he collaborated with the Rumanian Gypsy violinist, Sarasate's Zapateado (Sarasate was a virtuoso violinist), Kroll's Banjo and Fiddle, and, the fantastically virtuosic Scherzo tarantelle by Wieniawski, who was also a virtuoso violinist himself.

Of course, there is a lot of schmaltz to these performances. I mean, what does one expect? Heifetz was Jewish. But, Heifetz was by and large not an indulgent violinist. Anyway, the schmaltzy elements (they do come in endless guises) may not always appeal, which is why the schmaltzy elements in pop music make me cringe. Indeed, when I played the violin, I was extremely discerning with every type of schmaltz; and, if any given effect is too corny for my taste, I did not enjoy being urged to incorporate it. If someone wants to be patronizing about enforcing schmaltz, I always respond by becoming very Germanic, deliberately. I love certain types of schmaltz and I delivered them with total and natural ease, but, when I did not want it, especially the kinds that are "not me", I avoided them like plagues and fought off all useless polemics. I mean, if I want to use any of them, and, as I had total technical command (my teacher was an old friend and colleague of Heifetz), I would not have hesitated. Yes, I have ditched blind loyalty a very, very long time ago, in favour of truth, sovereignty, independence, honesty and freedom.

Anyway, here is the CD. Ehnjioyee. I mean, enjoy.

Heifetz plays Gershwin and Encores

Andrew Lee, reviewer

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina: The Greatest Choral Music of Palestrina: Prince of Music

As far as Renaissance Italy is concerned, apropos religious music, two of the main branches were the Roman School and the Venetian School, for obvious political and cultural reasons. The Roman School was, of course, regulated by the Council of Trent and therefore the Roman Inquisition, which Palestrina had to face and be aware of. The Venetian Inquisition was more relaxed, however, temperature had often risen. Indeed, for example, Venice was pressured by the Roman Inquisition to arrest and hand over Giordano Bruno, who subsequently suffered in the dungeons of the Roman Inquisition and was eventually burned at the stake.

Anyway, enough of that. Palestrina (ca.1525/6-1594) had an elaborate and austere style of counterpoint, one of the greatest miracles of art music in music history. On the other hand, the Venetian style, mainly marked by the uncle and nephew Andrea Gabrieli (1520-1586) and Giovanni Gabrieli (1557-1612), reflected the splendors of its city-scape and lavish urban lifestyle.

The cover of this CD issue is rather hootchie-hootchie-ish. You have the St. Peter's Square at the bottom, with unmatching letterings and colours to go with it. Very bad taste, if you ask me. However, the performance is exquisite. I also dislike the title of the CD - "the greatest" is too much of a ploy, since it could mean "the other stuff are less worthy", which is simply not true, and, certainly not this composer. However, it's true that we are getting top-grade Palestrina here (I don't think he was capable of any less, which is the reason that he is regarded as the demiurge of all great composers, which went through Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and Bartók). The main large work, Missa Papae Marcelli, is generally regarded as his magnum opus. It was both genuinely inspired and carefully designed in order to avoid problems with the Roman Inquisition. This kind of daring and care takes a true genius! Here, he created a truly modern work of his age, while he avoided the grips of death. Indeed, if it were not for his inner strength, he would not have lasted.

Eventually, the chains of temporal power were shattered, and, in musical terms, by both Mozart and Beethoven - between the last two decades of the 18th century and the first two or three decades of the 19th century. The birth of modernity as we know it had been a long and painful process...

Speaking of inner strength and true spirituality, the music on the CD will "speak" infinitely louder than any word I can conjure up. Buy it and marvel at the music, and, the dedicated performance, in spite of its ugly cover (I mean, sheesh!). However, as any history buff would know, every religious centre is a hot bed for prostitution and sex...

Prince of Music

Andrew Lee, reviewer

Bach: The Bach Family

I would recommend this issue to anyone who is interested in the other Bachs, that is, other than Johann Sebastian. In large and informed classical CD stores, there will be many Bach sections (Johann Sebastian, Johann Christian, Carl Philipp Emanuel, etc.), plus a mixed Bach section for miscellaneous members, whose works still need proper attention by and large. This what must be the longest lasting musical family in history turned out dozens of composers. Here, we have an interesting sample of the Bach-genealogy. On this compilation set, you get to hear the music written by those Bachs both before and after Johann Sebastian (who is the most famous of all Bachs, and, who has long-been regarded as the family's central figure). In this collection, the attention is not concentrated on him alone. Though this set showcases only religious music, you get to trace stylistic developments through a few generations. And, make no mistake, this music is great music. I have one last warning for you - if you are an unbending stickler of period performance practice, stay clear. But, otherwise, this set is an interesting anthology for both the curious and the uninitiated.

The Bach Family

Andrew Lee, reviewer

Shakespeare-Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Jaime Laredo is a wonderful human-being and musician (he is a violinist, violist and conductor). Here, this atmospherically recorded set of A Midsummer Night's Dream combines the complete play by Shakespeare with the complete score of incidental music provided by Mendelssohn in 1842, together with its prodigious overture (1826, when Mendelssohn was 17 years old). The Scottish Chamber Orchestra is attuned to this music with fine sensibilities. It is a winner for all concerned.

Now, if you just want the incidental music by Mendelssohn, you either stay clear of this issue or you will have to resort to your programming device to make it so.

Midsummer Nights Dream (complete) Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Laredo)

Andrew Lee, reviewer

Schumann: Symphonies - Wolfgang Sawallisch (EMI)

When I first saw these, that is, when they were still on LPs (these were recorded in the analogue era), I fell in love with its box cover, which featured a painting by one of my favourite artists, the German Romantic landscape painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840). I have attached an image of this painting for your viewing pleasure. The name of the file is the title of this painting.

This is not their first appearance on CDs. The first incarnation was in EMI's Studio series (bargain price), with loving photographic portraits of the conductor on the CD covers (yes, they came in two single discs). I must say EMI has done a beautiful job in the remastering of these oldies, not an easy thing. From the interpretation point of view, these will always be among the best. Wolfgang Sawallisch is a great vanguard of this repertoire. And, the playing of the Dresden State Orchestra is solid. Genuine professional spirituality is their stock and trade. Indeed, they always show fineness, a sense of culture, and real musical substance. This is the world's oldest surviving orchestra, which began life as a court orchestra.

Characteristically, Sawallisch performs the final version of Symphony No. 4. And, for good measure, the not so often performed Overture, Scherzo and Finale is thrown in. Schumann's music live in the hearts of these performers...

Schumann: Symphony Nos. 1-4 [Wolfgang Sawallisch]

Large Enclosure  - Caspar David Friedrich

Andrew Lee, reviewer

Schumann: Symphonies - John Eliot Gardiner (DG Archiv)

The great German classical music recording label Deutsche Grammophon has a specialized line which they call "Archiv Produktion". In this series, music from the antiquity, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical eras are featured. So, music from the Romantic era and onwards would not be included into this series, as these are featured in the label's main sector. For decades, the most recent music in the Archiv Produktion section of the catalogue would be something like the piano trio version of Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 (Beethoven himself made this arrangement). A few years ago, John Eliot Gardiner gave Archiv Produktion one of the finest cycles of Beethoven's nine numbered symphonies. Now, this landmark set of Schumann's symphonies (among the mighty pillars of German Romanticism), also conducted by John Eliot Gardiner, has broken that barrier. This set has every bit of scholarly merit and it is also musically rewarding at the highest level.

John Eliot Gardiner's aims to equal Schumann's symphonies to Beethoven's and to demonstrate that they are worthy successors are in every way validated by this set. Gardiner also aimed at dispelling the myth that Schumann was a lousy orchestrator. Indeed, it ought to be clear to all that Schumann's orchestral logic is as valid as any great composer's. Gardiner inspired his fine orchestra (L'Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique) to brilliant playing on period instruments. And, he did not just offer the 4 symphonies. There is the first version of Symphony No. 4 (CD 2), as well as the final version (CD 3). It is fascinating comparing the two versions.

Included into this set are the incomplete Zwickau Symphony in g-minor (1832) (if you want to know, Zwickau was part of the former East Germany), the freshly composed Overture, Scherzo and Finale (1841) and the magnificent Konzertstück for four horns and Orchestra (1849), which is very difficult to bring off.

This set is the epitome of commitment, understanding and empathy. There should be no reservation towards its exalted place in the pantheon of great symphonic canons.

Schumann: Complete Symphonies

Andrew Lee, reviewer

Mozart: Woodwind Serenades and Divertimenti

This wonderful box set, Volume 5 of Philips' monumental Complete Mozart Edition, is a landmark issue. Mozart's wind music is masterly, whether large-scale or short works. Every detail reveals his complete and felicitous understanding of instrumental timbres and colours, as well as the art of tonal blending. There are no dull moments in this music.

The performances featured here are admirable, polished and fresh. The world-famous oboist Heinz Holliger and his group provide stylish and nimble readings. Equally fine are the wind members from the Academy of St. Martin in the fields. Dutch conductor Edo de Waart and his Netherlands Wind Ensemble play the large scale works. They sound very homogeneous. All in all, a fine bargain (Philips, 422 505-2, 6 CDs).

Serenades Divertimenti- Complete Mozart Edition

Andrew Lee, reviewer

Stravinsky: L'histoire du Soldat, Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio espagnol - Chicago Pro Musica

This record is excellent, but, there are a few things I must point out. First, this is not the complete performance of Stravinsky's L'histoire du Soldat (The Soldier's Tale), a fascinating theatrical work he composed shortly after the First World War, when money was extremely short for lavish production with a large orchestra. On this record, only the main numbers are presented, without the linking material used when the narrator is present for the complete theatre version. This narrator-less performance is thereby a concert suite, if you will. The instrumentation is modest: clarinet, cornet, trombone, double-bass, percussions and a violin. Modest is its instrumentation, but, the composer's imagination is endlessly fertile, novel and, indeed wonderful. This work is not easy to play to all. For one thing, the rhythmic meter either change ever so often (such as the last piece: Triumphal March of the Devil) or come in irregular patterns (for example, The Royal March, Ragtime).

Now, Rimsky-Korsakov's famous orchestral tour-de-force is here arranged by Easley Blackwood, who is a composer and a pianist. The reduced instrumentation consists of flute, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, violin, cello, bass and piano (played by Easley Blackwood). Yes, one misses the full size orchestra Rimsky-Korsakov calls for (composed in 1887/8), but this lively and colorful travesty is deliciously rewarding in its own right.

The Chicago Pro Musica is drawn from the ranks of the eminent Chicago Symphony Orchestra. One hardly needs to mention how virtuosic they are. Though this record is a short measure in terms of total playing time, its artistic worth is assured.

The program concept of this disc is not outlandish, since Stravinsky was Rimsky-Korsakov's pupil. Both composers were masters of instrumental colors. Stravinsky was an iconoclast who ventured beyond Russian Romanticism, though his sentiment for all things Russian remained passionately ardent throughout his life. Stravinsky left Russia for in 1911, whereas Shostakovich (pupil of Glazunov, who also studied with Rimsky-Korsakov) remained in Russia.

Stravinsky: L'histoire du soldat / Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio espagnol

Andrew Lee, reviewer

Lympany Plays Chopin:

19 Nocturnes; 14 Waltzes - Moura Lympany

This issue is released recently to celebrate the 85th birthday of Moura Lympany. Though she is one of the most respected pianists, representations of her work on CDs have been lamentably seldom. This release is a real gem. The Nocturnes were recorded in 1960 (London) and the Waltzes were recorded in 1958 (New York City); however, the expert remastering by Dutton (the label) has made them comparable to today's sonic standards, well, to be precise, extremely close, but, remarkable all the same, indeed.

Her reading of the Nocturnes (there are pianists who present 21 Nocturnes, which include two posthumous ones, while there are pianists who only present 19, ones that have been approved by the composer and were thus published) is personalized, stylish, iridescent, sensitive and eloquent. They compare favorably to Rubinstein, and, Cortot (Cortot was a great pianist of the mono era, who also published detailed analyses of these works).

Lympany's take of the Waltzes are more predictable and less varied. However, her sure technique and delightful touch win the day.

All in all, this is a set that will reward all listeners. And, it is a at the same time a marvelous document of this venerable artist. Now, I would like Dutton to remaster her legendary recording of Rachmaninov's Preludes.

Lympany Plays Chopin

Andrew Lee, reviewer

Farina: Le Sonate

10 Violin Sonatas

This recent release features an early Baroque composer who had a reputation as a musical humorist, comparable to P.D.Q. Bach of today. Carlo Farina (ca.1604-1639) wrote pieces that rendered animals and real life scenarios in unbuttoned fashion, but, he was more than a mere musical humorist.

In this collection presents works that combine his "P.D.Q.Bach" ways with his art in serious composition. There is an operatic quality to these sonatas that reminds one of a great contemporary of his, Claudio Monteverdi. There are brilliant rapid passages as well as passages with ingenious mood swings.

Each sonata has a descriptive title. They denote countries (Poland, Hungary, Greece or, France) or moods. There is an imaginative set of variations on the Moresco, which was then a popular dance.

Violinists Lukas Friederich and Christine Busch (some of these are for two violins) are joined by cellist Barbara Noeldeke, lutenist Hubert Hoffmann and harpsichordist Jörg Hannes Hahn (who also plays the chamber organ here). They are ever so alert to every possibility of expression, color, and style. Indeed, they are a truly expert bunch. With lively recorded sound to boot, this is most enjoyable.

Farina: Le Sonate

Andrew Lee, reviewer

Olivier Messiaen: Vingt regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus - Håkon Austbø (Naxos)

This cycle of piano works - 20 pieces in one long suite, lasting well-over two hours - is one of the most difficult things to play. Sustaining concentration for over two hours is a test, especially when the music demands the highest level of spiritual dedication in addition to technical prowess. The structural and harmonic complexity of this work is daunting, not a joking matter. Yes, this is one of the greatest works of the modern age (composed in 1944). Messiaen (1907-1992) was a colorful composer; and, in this respect, he inherited the most keen attitudes towards tone colour and esoteric imagination from Debussy. Indeed, as with Debussy's piano works, Messiaen's piano works are orchestral in feeling. This places an even greater demand on the pianist..

These 20 pieces project 20 ways of looking at the Infant Jesus (of course, in the most reverent and affectionate way). Messiaen was a deeply spiritual man, but, he was also a sensualist, with an endlessly broad mind at that. Here, he incorporated elements of religious, folk, and art music from the Hindu tradition as well as various other Asian traditions. Added to this is his interest in bird songs. Messiaen made a thorough study of bird songs and was himself a complete ornithologist. For him, the birds are a divine lot. Given his spiritual outlooks, this is not a surprise.

This Naxos set is first-rate. Håkon Austbø was a winner of the Olivier Messiaen Competition for Contemporary Music in Royan. Hence, he carries excellent credentials in this terrain. This is an individual view, different from the authoritative interpretations by Yvonne Loriod, the composer's wife. The ranges of tempi and dynamics are wider in his hands. Indeed, the opening Regard du Père and Regard du Fils sur le Fils (the fifth piece) are slower than Loriod's. But, his concentration and evocative feeling justify these tempo choices. The dynamism in his account of Par Lui tout a été fait (the sixth piece) is bold and brilliantly profiled. Naxos' digital sound is well-focused throughout. The entire performance is gripping. There is no doubt that this is one of the best choices around.

Messiaen: Vingt regards sur l'enfant Jésus, Naxos, 8.550829/30, 2 CDs, DDD, super-bargain price

Andrew Lee, reviewer

Claude Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande Suite

One may not readily think of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra as an ideal orchestra for Debussy's music. Indeed, quintessential great German orchestras like this are expected to excel in Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, etc. But, Debussy? Yessiree, those who know the catalogue would know that Herbert von Karajan, who once led this orchestra for four decades or so, made some great recordings of Debussy's music. Here, they struck a pot of gold once again, under their next chief conductor, Claudio Abbado (whose contract had ended, and Simon Rattle is now at helm), who had already proven his sensibility with Ravel's music - music that is most closely associated with Debussy's.

On this disc, we get an orchestral suite based on Debussy's opera Pelleas et Mélisande, complied by Erich Leinsdorf, with some additions by Abbado. None of the compiled suites is done on a regular basis (the Leinsdorf compilation is one of many). This performance is sensitive, elegantly shaped and clearly layered - with superb recoded sound to match.

The famous works here, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune and Trois Nocturnes, are just as beautifully done. Emmanuel Pahud, with whom Abbado recorded Mozart's flute concertos few years ago, delivered the silvery and warm solo parts with wonderful poise in Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, while the women's chorus (in the last movement of the Nocturnes) is superbly drilled.

This is another triumph from Deutsche Grammophon!

Pelléas et Mélisande Suite

Andrew Lee, reviewer



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