Remember our news of the exciting releases in March? To be very honest, we weren’t THAT excited, especially compared to the releases that will reach your nearest disc shop in April. Therefore, kindly observe the comparative form of “exciting” that we have used in this news’ title: “Very Exciting”.
And it is Very Exciting, because Universal’s Virtuoso budget series, whose offerings haven’t been terribly impressive so far (save for their entirely agreeable release of Kubelik’s Mahler 2nd), has suddenly decided to exhume a huge bunch of goodies from their back catalogues for our listening pleasure.
Of course, while all the discs were equal, some were more equal than others. We at Top Ear are particularly excited about Sinopoli’s Respighi and Strauss, which are epic (if not totally without mannerisms) readings of their respective works (his Tod und Verklarung is even slower than Celibidache’s!). In particular, the Respighi disc is coupled with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No. 3, one of Jeremy’s favorite works for string orchestra. Mackerras’ Janacek with the Vienna Philharmonic is also a classic, as is Antal Dorati’s Haydn with the Philharmonia Hungarica. Kovacevich/Davis’s Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 and a selection of Debussy piano works played by the authoritative Debussian Pascal Rogé fill out the picture.
As can be seen by this not-particularly-high-resolution photo, DG will release Boulez’s complete works on 13 CDs, which will appeal in particular to cognoscenti of modern music. Habitues will be fascinated to know that this box contains previously unpublished recordings and new recordings specially made for this edition. Other listeners, however, will know whether they accept the music and need this pretty costly box.