Thursday, August 02, 2007

Classical Recordin's

I know Norman Lebrecht says that classical recording is dead but he apparently forgot to tell the producers of some new and upcoming recordings:

- René Jacobs has a new recording of Mozart's Don Giovanni coming out this fall. I will reserve judgment on it until I hear more than the brief excerpts on the website, but his recordings of other Mozart operas have been very good. His approach to Mozart is starting to remind me less and less of other period-instrument conductors and more of conductors like Furtwangler; he's not as slow, obviously, but the tempo shifts and playing with dynamics (jumping from very soft to very loud and back again) are basically "Romantic" conducting mannerisms. As is his willingness to add stuff that isn't in the score if he thinks it'll play better dramatically.

- I agree with Dave Hurwitz's very enthusiastic review of a new orchestral song-cycle CD by mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink and Montreal music director (albeit conducting in Berlin) Kent Nagano. Harmonia Mundi is an interesting record label because while it started as a small specialty label focusing on early music and local (French) artists, it's grown into the last label that operates the way the old "major" labels did: signing certain artists to exclusive contracts, giving them publicity pushes and recording them in a lot of major works. Fink is a good example of that: once a fine singer who made a lot of recordings without ever getting particularly famous, in recent years she's become Harmonia Mundi's star singer, releasing solo recital albums every year.

- Hurwitz also has an entertainingly nasty review of a not-very-good new Haydn recording by his bete noire, conductor Simon Rattle. For better Haydn symphony recordings, I picked up a good new SACD recording of symphonies # 88 & 101 by Adam Ficher; Fischer previously recorded all of Haydn's symphonies for the now-defunct Nimbus label, and now he's recording them again, but in better performances and sound.


Brent McKee said...

The critique of the Rattle recording of Haydn is amazing. It seems that no critic dips their pen in as much venom as a classical music critic. Can you imagine Roger Ebert writing a review of a movie like that?

Anonymous said...

On the subject of Haydn recordings, Richard Hickox's masses (i think he did them all) are very special recordings.