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Opera - Released July 30, 2013 | PentaTone

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Continuing PentaTone's brilliant super audio series of the music dramas of Richard Wagner, Marek Janowski, and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra present Die Walküre in a thoroughly compelling performance that has stunning multichannel sound. Previous releases in this critically praised series have shown some variability in the reproduction of the live performances, and this 2012 concert reading at the Berlin Philharmonie shows some problems in the direction and volume levels of the voices, but these are perhaps the only weaknesses in what is otherwise a strong rendition. Some members of the cast are by now familiar names to listeners who have followed this series. With Tomasz Konieczny as Wotan, Iris Vermillion as Fricka, PentaTone stalwart Robert Dean Smith as Siegmund, and featuring Petra Lang as Brünnhilde, the leads deliver solid characterizations and their singing rises to the high standards of the previous installments. Also important in the overall excellence of the recording is the riveting playing of the Berlin orchestra, which is fully present, vibrant, and sure to please fans who have enjoyed this ensemble's tremendous range of timbres, attacks, and dynamics. While this Walküre may not replace the cherished historical recordings of older collectors, it is a remarkable achievement for a modern Wagner production, and all the more stunning for being only the second of the four Ring operas to be released by this label in 2013. As a celebration of Wagner's bicentennial year, this recording and its companions are a handsome tribute and well worth exploring. © TiVo
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Symphonic Music - Released February 16, 2018 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
No, this is not a re-edit, but really a brand new recording – January 2017 – made by the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne and Marek Janowski. In addition to the vigorous and explosive Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber, the theme in question stemming from Schiller’s version of Gozzi’s Turandot, the recording also features the rarer – and much less “fun” – Nobilissima visione suite. In the initial eponymous ballet from which the suite is derived, Hindemith depicted in musical tones a few episodes of the life of Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, better known as Saint Francis of Assisi. The last movement depicts, provided such a text can even be depicted, the Canticle of the Sun; Hindemith turns it into an immense and intense passacaglia that instead of actually “telling” the Canticle, manages to convey its sheer grandeur. The album closes on another splendour, Konzertmusik for Brass and String Orchestra, Op. 50 from 1930, as ordered by Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Orchestra. In the great polyphonic tradition, the composer “opposes” groups, in this case the brass – 4 trumpets, 4 horns, 3 trombones, 1 tuba – and the strings (for which the partition requires the largest possible headcount), resulting in a fantastic musical, contrapuntal and architectural richness, not to mention a touch of humour in the race between both ensembles in the second part, as the brass play a rather quirky waltz with jazzy accents and the strings a much more “serious” style is adopted. For anyone barely familiar with Hindemith, these two latest works are a must-have, and more than likely a true revelation! © SM/Qobuz
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Opera - Released November 20, 2020 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet
After their acclaimed Cavalleria rusticana recording, Marek Janowski and the Dresdner Philharmonie now present Puccini’s Il Tabarro. Puccini composed this piece as the first panel of his Trittico (1918), a novel work combining three one-act operas, and also containing Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi. The explosive story about illicit love and revenge on the banks of the Seine recalls the Verismo of Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana. Beneath the Verismo surface, however, Il Tabarro is a highly modern piece, full of Impressionist harmonies, allusions to Stravinsky and dramatically significant self-borrowings. In this recording, Janowski and the orchestra particularly showcase the symphonic quality of Puccini’s music. They are supported by an outstanding cast of soloists, including Melody Moore as Giorgetta, Brian Jagde as Luigi and Lester Lynch as Michele, as well as the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir. © Pentatone
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Opera - Released July 16, 2021 | PentaTone

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After their acclaimed recording of Weber’s Freischütz, the Dresdner Philharmonie and its Principal conductor Marek Janowski present yet another German opera classic with Beethoven’s Fidelio. They work together with a stellar cast including Lise Davidsen (Fidelio/Leonore), Christian Elsner (Florestan), Georg Zeppenfeld (Rocco), Christina Landshamer (Marzelline) and Günther Groissböck (Don Fernando). This Beethoven’s masterpiece was recorded in two studio sessions, with two different, established choirs: the Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden, as well as the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir. Katharina Wagner and Daniel Weber have adapted the original dialogues for the recording. Fidelio is the quintessential rescue opera, in which a wife goes to any lengths to free her beloved from the chains of a barbaric, oppressive regime. Beethoven’s opera on the power of love and the enlightening power of humanity still resonates with us today, and its music continues to delight and inspire. © Pentatone
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Classical - Released May 13, 1997 | RCA Red Seal

On the surface, this Ring cycle recording -- though a bargain price -- might seem like a poor relation to those by Sir Georg Solti, Herbert von Karajan, James Levine, and others, or to the live recordings from the 1950s by the likes of Wilhelm Furtwängler, Clemens Kraus, and Hans Knappertsbusch. The very names constitute big guns in opera, and their respective casts are not exactly weak either. Complicating matters further is the fact that Marek Janowski's Ring was originally released by Eurodisc/Ariola, a European-based label that, while huge over there, never had the profile or prestige of Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, orEMI; the fact that it's now on RCA/BMG doesn't exactly help, either, as the latter has lost a good deal of its luster as a major label since the 1980s. But the Janowski Ring also occupies its own place in history -- made over a period of just 29 months between 1980 and 1983, it was the first digitally recorded Ring, and also a true rarity as a Ring cycle recorded in almost perfect cast continuity from start-to-finish. Those technical attributes are fine to cite, of course, but the proof is in the listening, and in that regard the Janowski Ring has proof of its worth all over its 14 CDs. Janowski's conducting is both forceful and precise, keeping the pacing and the dramatic arc advancing in a way that never lags, yet he also leaves room for the work's occasional bits of ironic humor to play out to full effect -- in that regard, he is as profusely aware of the story and dramatic nuances as he is of the musical nuances, and never tries to out-guess or otherwise modify the composer's intent in either department. The cast performs impeccably as well, with Theo Adam an outstanding Wotan and Rene Kolo's lyric tenor ideal as Siegfried. Jeannine Altmeyer's Brunnhilde has proved a tiny bit controversial in the role to some critics, for her supposed lightness, but she is among the most lyrical in the role, an approach and a quality that, if not commonly emphasized, has some validity in the results here. Jessye Norman's Sieglinde is among the finest ever recorded, and Lucia Popp (as a Rhinemaiden) Cheryl Studer (as a Valkyrie) The 14 discs all sound great -- based on the evidence here, Eurodisc got its early digital recordings in the can with a lot more success than RCA did during the early '80s. There was a tendency by most labels to under-record their early digital sides, but this recording shows nothing of that problem; indeed, the textures, ordchestral and vocal, are quite vivid and crisp, and the listening experience is as vivid in its way -- and a lot more sound dramatically -- than the much-vaunted Solti Ring, which was the first such recording ever devised specifically for its ambient sonic/musical environment. This recording, as the first captured in digital audio, is technically the Solti's effective rival. The Solti Ring's producer and guiding force, John Culshaw, used the best technology at his disposal between the late '50s and the early '60s to create a Ring that was fully the product of the recording studio, utilizing stereo separation and dimensionality and the best editing and multitrack facilities of the era to devise an enveloping sound-picture -- the Janowski Ring, produced by Oskar Waldeck, isn't quite as ambitious as that, but it has its moments of sheer, overwhelming impact in the execution. The digital recording, though relatively primitive at the time, has yielded results nearly as compelling as the Solti: sonically flawless and so quiet and close and crisp that it, too, creates an illusion of envelopment, and is all the more bracing for Janowski's forceful yet finely nuanced conducting. The other beautiful part of it is the price; this 14-CD release, as part of Sony/BMG's "Complete Collections" box set series, lists for just $80, or under $6 a disc, and that's $100 less than the remastered reduced-price Solti Ring and $150 to $200 less than those from Levine, Karajan, and others. Indeed, it's more in line with what EMI's Furtwängler live 1953 Ring from La Scala costs, but that set, like most historical Rings, has its technical problems (endemic to live recording in the early '50s) that make it more suited to the experienced listener. There is one other rival at this price level with a heavy veneer of historical importance, the 1954 Clemens Krauss live Ring from Bayreuth as issued by the Gala label, but it seems as though the entire run of the latter release on Gala had a manufacturing defect that caused the discs to oxidize after a few years, so that version is out of the running. The Janowski has none of those technical or manufacturing flaws, and offers sound quality as modern as anything on the market, and at the same price -- that all makes it not only a fully competitive choice for a Ring cycle among experienced listeners, but also the ideal "starter" version for those people just discovering the work and the music and unsure of the kind of financial commitment they want to make to owning it. On the downside, there is no libretto, just a booklet with some notes and a summary of each opera and the individual acts, but obtaining a proper full libretto today is not difficult or expensive. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 13, 1997 | Eurodisc

On the surface, this Ring cycle recording -- though a bargain price -- might seem like a poor relation to those by Sir Georg Solti, Herbert von Karajan, James Levine, and others, or to the live recordings from the 1950s by the likes of Wilhelm Furtwängler, Clemens Kraus, and Hans Knappertsbusch. The very names constitute big guns in opera, and their respective casts are not exactly weak either. Complicating matters further is the fact that Marek Janowski's Ring was originally released by Eurodisc/Ariola, a European-based label that, while huge over there, never had the profile or prestige of Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, orEMI; the fact that it's now on RCA/BMG doesn't exactly help, either, as the latter has lost a good deal of its luster as a major label since the 1980s. But the Janowski Ring also occupies its own place in history -- made over a period of just 29 months between 1980 and 1983, it was the first digitally recorded Ring, and also a true rarity as a Ring cycle recorded in almost perfect cast continuity from start-to-finish. Those technical attributes are fine to cite, of course, but the proof is in the listening, and in that regard the Janowski Ring has proof of its worth all over its 14 CDs. Janowski's conducting is both forceful and precise, keeping the pacing and the dramatic arc advancing in a way that never lags, yet he also leaves room for the work's occasional bits of ironic humor to play out to full effect -- in that regard, he is as profusely aware of the story and dramatic nuances as he is of the musical nuances, and never tries to out-guess or otherwise modify the composer's intent in either department. The cast performs impeccably as well, with Theo Adam an outstanding Wotan and Rene Kolo's lyric tenor ideal as Siegfried. Jeannine Altmeyer's Brunnhilde has proved a tiny bit controversial in the role to some critics, for her supposed lightness, but she is among the most lyrical in the role, an approach and a quality that, if not commonly emphasized, has some validity in the results here. Jessye Norman's Sieglinde is among the finest ever recorded, and Lucia Popp (as a Rhinemaiden) Cheryl Studer (as a Valkyrie) The 14 discs all sound great -- based on the evidence here, Eurodisc got its early digital recordings in the can with a lot more success than RCA did during the early '80s. There was a tendency by most labels to under-record their early digital sides, but this recording shows nothing of that problem; indeed, the textures, ordchestral and vocal, are quite vivid and crisp, and the listening experience is as vivid in its way -- and a lot more sound dramatically -- than the much-vaunted Solti Ring, which was the first such recording ever devised specifically for its ambient sonic/musical environment. This recording, as the first captured in digital audio, is technically the Solti's effective rival. The Solti Ring's producer and guiding force, John Culshaw, used the best technology at his disposal between the late '50s and the early '60s to create a Ring that was fully the product of the recording studio, utilizing stereo separation and dimensionality and the best editing and multitrack facilities of the era to devise an enveloping sound-picture -- the Janowski Ring, produced by Oskar Waldeck, isn't quite as ambitious as that, but it has its moments of sheer, overwhelming impact in the execution. The digital recording, though relatively primitive at the time, has yielded results nearly as compelling as the Solti: sonically flawless and so quiet and close and crisp that it, too, creates an illusion of envelopment, and is all the more bracing for Janowski's forceful yet finely nuanced conducting. The other beautiful part of it is the price; this 14-CD release, as part of Sony/BMG's "Complete Collections" box set series, lists for just $80, or under $6 a disc, and that's $100 less than the remastered reduced-price Solti Ring and $150 to $200 less than those from Levine, Karajan, and others. Indeed, it's more in line with what EMI's Furtwängler live 1953 Ring from La Scala costs, but that set, like most historical Rings, has its technical problems (endemic to live recording in the early '50s) that make it more suited to the experienced listener. There is one other rival at this price level with a heavy veneer of historical importance, the 1954 Clemens Krauss live Ring from Bayreuth as issued by the Gala label, but it seems as though the entire run of the latter release on Gala had a manufacturing defect that caused the discs to oxidize after a few years, so that version is out of the running. The Janowski has none of those technical or manufacturing flaws, and offers sound quality as modern as anything on the market, and at the same price -- that all makes it not only a fully competitive choice for a Ring cycle among experienced listeners, but also the ideal "starter" version for those people just discovering the work and the music and unsure of the kind of financial commitment they want to make to owning it. On the downside, there is no libretto, just a booklet with some notes and a summary of each opera and the individual acts, but obtaining a proper full libretto today is not difficult or expensive. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 18, 1982 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released January 4, 1980 | Eurodisc

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Classical - Released May 13, 1997 | RCA Classics

On the surface, this Ring cycle recording -- though a bargain price -- might seem like a poor relation to those by Sir Georg Solti, Herbert von Karajan, James Levine, and others, or to the live recordings from the 1950s by the likes of Wilhelm Furtwängler, Clemens Kraus, and Hans Knappertsbusch. The very names constitute big guns in opera, and their respective casts are not exactly weak either. Complicating matters further is the fact that Marek Janowski's Ring was originally released by Eurodisc/Ariola, a European-based label that, while huge over there, never had the profile or prestige of Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, orEMI; the fact that it's now on RCA/BMG doesn't exactly help, either, as the latter has lost a good deal of its luster as a major label since the 1980s. But the Janowski Ring also occupies its own place in history -- made over a period of just 29 months between 1980 and 1983, it was the first digitally recorded Ring, and also a true rarity as a Ring cycle recorded in almost perfect cast continuity from start-to-finish. Those technical attributes are fine to cite, of course, but the proof is in the listening, and in that regard the Janowski Ring has proof of its worth all over its 14 CDs. Janowski's conducting is both forceful and precise, keeping the pacing and the dramatic arc advancing in a way that never lags, yet he also leaves room for the work's occasional bits of ironic humor to play out to full effect -- in that regard, he is as profusely aware of the story and dramatic nuances as he is of the musical nuances, and never tries to out-guess or otherwise modify the composer's intent in either department. The cast performs impeccably as well, with Theo Adam an outstanding Wotan and Rene Kolo's lyric tenor ideal as Siegfried. Jeannine Altmeyer's Brunnhilde has proved a tiny bit controversial in the role to some critics, for her supposed lightness, but she is among the most lyrical in the role, an approach and a quality that, if not commonly emphasized, has some validity in the results here. Jessye Norman's Sieglinde is among the finest ever recorded, and Lucia Popp (as a Rhinemaiden) Cheryl Studer (as a Valkyrie) The 14 discs all sound great -- based on the evidence here, Eurodisc got its early digital recordings in the can with a lot more success than RCA did during the early '80s. There was a tendency by most labels to under-record their early digital sides, but this recording shows nothing of that problem; indeed, the textures, ordchestral and vocal, are quite vivid and crisp, and the listening experience is as vivid in its way -- and a lot more sound dramatically -- than the much-vaunted Solti Ring, which was the first such recording ever devised specifically for its ambient sonic/musical environment. This recording, as the first captured in digital audio, is technically the Solti's effective rival. The Solti Ring's producer and guiding force, John Culshaw, used the best technology at his disposal between the late '50s and the early '60s to create a Ring that was fully the product of the recording studio, utilizing stereo separation and dimensionality and the best editing and multitrack facilities of the era to devise an enveloping sound-picture -- the Janowski Ring, produced by Oskar Waldeck, isn't quite as ambitious as that, but it has its moments of sheer, overwhelming impact in the execution. The digital recording, though relatively primitive at the time, has yielded results nearly as compelling as the Solti: sonically flawless and so quiet and close and crisp that it, too, creates an illusion of envelopment, and is all the more bracing for Janowski's forceful yet finely nuanced conducting. The other beautiful part of it is the price; this 14-CD release, as part of Sony/BMG's "Complete Collections" box set series, lists for just $80, or under $6 a disc, and that's $100 less than the remastered reduced-price Solti Ring and $150 to $200 less than those from Levine, Karajan, and others. Indeed, it's more in line with what EMI's Furtwängler live 1953 Ring from La Scala costs, but that set, like most historical Rings, has its technical problems (endemic to live recording in the early '50s) that make it more suited to the experienced listener. There is one other rival at this price level with a heavy veneer of historical importance, the 1954 Clemens Krauss live Ring from Bayreuth as issued by the Gala label, but it seems as though the entire run of the latter release on Gala had a manufacturing defect that caused the discs to oxidize after a few years, so that version is out of the running. The Janowski has none of those technical or manufacturing flaws, and offers sound quality as modern as anything on the market, and at the same price -- that all makes it not only a fully competitive choice for a Ring cycle among experienced listeners, but also the ideal "starter" version for those people just discovering the work and the music and unsure of the kind of financial commitment they want to make to owning it. On the downside, there is no libretto, just a booklet with some notes and a summary of each opera and the individual acts, but obtaining a proper full libretto today is not difficult or expensive. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 1, 2005 | Warner Classics International

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Classical - Released January 7, 2013 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released October 29, 2009 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released March 29, 2013 | Eurodisc

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Classical - Released January 7, 2013 | Eurodisc

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Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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Symphonic Music - Released December 21, 1995 | RCA Red Seal

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Classical - Released November 11, 1997 | RCA Red Seal

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Opera - Released December 31, 1995 | Eurodisc

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Choral Music (Choirs) - Released January 1, 1990 | Warner Classics International

Classical - Released July 1, 2008 | Kairos

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