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Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7

Gianandrea Noseda

Symphonies - To be released February 4, 2022 | LSO Live

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Jessye Norman sings Strauss: Five Songs & Salome

Klaus Tennstedt

Symphonies - Released January 21, 2022 | London Philharmonic Orchestra

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This album is not a reissue but a BBC recording of a concert, on an unspecified date at the Royal Festival Hall in London, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. It features Jessye Norman's smooth, golden, sensual voice under the direction of Klaus Tennstedt, a conductor from the former East Germany (the GDR at the time) who suddenly came out of the shadows when he crossed to the West and became established in Hamburg in 1979. Spotted by the major figures, he began a new career, notably at the head of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, which appointed him principal conductor in 1983. He made a name for himself with a complete performance of Mahler's symphonies, which caused a sensation. That new impetus was soon shattered by poor health, putting an end to his career in 1995. He died near Kiel in 1998.This recording, devoted entirely to Richard Strauss, includes a selection of five famous Lieder, sung in a particularly vibrant manner by an extremely inspired Jessye Norman, and beautifully rendered in an airy recording of superb spatiality. The rest of the programme consists of the suite Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, rather well Germanised by Strauss, who multiplies Lully's quotations and mockingly snide remarks. First performed in 1918, this stage music was not successful in the theatre but continues to be performed in concert. The highlight of the album is the final scene of Salomé sung by a simply imperial Jessye Norman. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Bruckner: Symphony No. 2

Paavo Järvi

Symphonies - Released December 10, 2021 | Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

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The Estonian conductor Paavo Järvi is establishing himself more and more as one of the great Brucknerians of today. After having recorded a remarkable complete set of the nine symphonies by the Austrian master at the head of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony under the RCA label, here we return, in a separate version, to his concert recording of Symphony No. 2 with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, published in the beautiful Bruckner anthology released in 2019 by the Berlin Philharmonic's own label with eight of today's great conductors.“Serene and reserved” according to Harry Halbreich, the great and beautiful unknown Symphony No. 2 in C minor is Bruckner’s first major achievement, and in this score he exposes the duality of humanity between meditation and action that would be the mould of all his future works. Bruckner conducted the creation on the 26th of October 1873 at the head of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, whom he had taken a long time to convince, with mixed success. Throughout his life, the composer had to give in to the demands of ill-intentioned friends and revise his work on several occasions.For this beautiful concert performance, Paavo Järvi used the latest reviewed edition of the second version of 1877, published in 2007 by William Carragan, with its gaping voids and shortcomings making its performance particularly risky. Paavo Järvi's vision is almost bucolic. His tempi are fast, but never excessive, the structure is skilfully constructed, and the rhythms clearly cut out. All immersed in an expression of great simplicity which is the hallmark of his art, even if it means sometimes being too neutral. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 1, Op. 68, Violin Concerto, Op. 77

Le Cercle De L'Harmonie

Symphonies - Released November 19, 2021 | NoMadMusic

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Schnittke: Concerto for Piano and Strings - Prokofiev: Symphony No. 2

The Cleveland Orchestra

Symphonies - Released November 5, 2021 | Cleveland Orchestra

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Two live recordings from Cleveland and Miami. The Schnittke Concerto for Piano and Strings was recorded in Cleveland’s Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Concert Hall at Severance in October 2020. It features pianist Yefim Bronfman with the Orchestra’s strings. Prokofiev’s Second Symphony was recorded in January 2020 on tour in Miami, in Knight Concert Hall and features full orchestra ensemble in this work inspired by the early 20th century’s fascination with mechanics and industry. Thoughts from Franz-Welser-Möst, Music Director of The Cleveland Orchestra: "This is a side of Prokofiev that I didn't know until I discovered this piece. He wrote it in Paris, but deep down, he was carrying his Russian soul — though he was struggling with the political establishment at that time. The symphony was written in the Roaring Twenties, but somehow predicts World War Two, and you can hear the war machine stirring in its mechanical motifs". "Schnittke, in the years after World War Two, was also suffering from the legacy of Russia’s communist regime. And I think that both composers were so grounded and bound to Russian soil that they could not deny that that spirit in their music. You can hear that they are inspired by the same history, the same tradition, and the same heart". © The Cleveland Orchestra
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Bruckner: Symphony No. 1

Berliner Philharmoniker

Symphonies - Released October 29, 2021 | Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

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Mahler: Symphonie No. 6 in A Minor

Ádám Fischer

Symphonies - Released September 17, 2021 | CAvi-music

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Jurowski Conducts Mahler's Symphony No. 8

Vladimir Jurowski

Symphonies - Released September 3, 2021 | London Philharmonic Orchestra

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Munich, September 1910. A tidalwave is flooding the world of music. Mahler's Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major has just premiered, conducted by the composer himself. This monumental symphony was a triumph in terms of its duration and the number of performers involved. Mahler's impresario, Emil Gutmann, used the term "Symphony of a Thousand" for promotional purposes, much to the composer's displeasure. It was an inspired turn of phrase though, which has persisted to the present day.The two-part work uses two forms of writing which differ in every respect: the Veni Creator Spiritus, a ninth-century Latin poem probably written by the monk Raban Maur, and the ending of Goethe's Faust. However, an impression of great coherence emerges from the whole: the two texts each evoke ideas of transcendence, but an incarnate, earthly transcendence, accessible to Man.This production brings together the London Philharmonic with three impressively uniform vocal ensembles (the London Symphony Chorus, the Clare College - Cambridge Choir and the Tiffin Boy's Choir). © Pierre Lamy/Qobuz
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Richard Strauss: Don Quixote. Till Eulenspiegel

François-Xavier Roth

Symphonies - Released September 3, 2021 | harmonia mundi

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After two recordings devoted to Mahler’s Third and Fifth symphonies, François-Xavier Roth continues his exploration of the major works premiered by the Gürzenich Orchestra. In the spotlight this time are two of the young Richard Strauss’s most brilliant achievements: Till Eulenspiegel and Don Quixote. In the latter, a symphonic poem in the guise of a double concerto, Jean-Guihen Queyras and Tabea Zimmermann form a picaresque duo playing the Knight of the Doleful Countenance and his squire Sancho Panza. © harmonia mundi
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Mahler: Symphony No. 8

Berliner Philharmoniker

Symphonies - Released August 27, 2021 | Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

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Furtwängler: Symphony No. 1 in B Minor

Fawzi Haimor

Symphonies - Released August 13, 2021 | CPO

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Wilhelm Furtwängler was an avid composer even as a boy. His natural talent developed continuously until he had reached early adulthood. His compositions from these early years included symphonic works and an impressive Te Deum, but the promise they contained was not fulfilled: while Furtwängler quickly was able to obtain increasing success as a conductor, his creative juices ceased to flow for almost a quarter of a century. It was first after his open conflict with the new German regime (in the “Hindemith Affair”), causing him to resign from all his official posts, that his compositional energies once again streamed forth. The yield from the last twenty years of his life, when he apparently was in search of lost times past, included two Violin Sonatas, a Piano Quintet, a Piano Concerto, and three monumental symphonies. And the search was successful: already the Symphony No. 1 in B minor composed between 1938 and 1941 releases with elemental force the energies formerly held back and sends them flowing into architectures of Brucknerian dimensions without the composer ever slavishly following the precedents set by the Austrian master. With this work Wilhelm Furtwängler, standing firmly on Late Romantic tonal ground, thoroughly acquainted with the resources of the philharmonic orchestra, slow and deliberate in his composing, introduced a triptych that can be understood as a memorial to a bygone era and at the same time is to be heard as a hopeful signal. © CPO
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Bruckner: Symphony No. 6

Juanjo Mena

Symphonies - Released August 1, 2021 | Chandos

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Mahler: Symphony No. 4

Berliner Philharmoniker

Symphonies - Released July 30, 2021 | Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

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The Mahlerian tradition of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is not very old, neither Furtwängler nor Karajan conducted much of Gustav Mahler's music. The famous Berlin phalanx has since made up for it under its later artistic directors, starting with Claudio Abbado, whose exceptional performances in Berlin and Lucerne are well remembered. This new direction has just been confirmed with the release of a splendid box set on the Berliner Philharmoniker's own label. It presents Mahler's ten Symphonies in versions recorded over the last ten years under today's finest batons: Daniel Harding, Andris Nelsons, Gustavo Dudamel, Kirill Petrenko, Sir Simon Rattle, Bernard Haitink and, of course Claudio Abbado who is chosen for the Adagio from Symphony N° 10.The last individual publication is the pastoral Fourth conducted by Yannick Nézet-Seguin, a musician adored as much by the Berlin musicians as by all the orchestras he conducts. It has to be said that the Québecois has a very rare, capital sympathy and charisma, not to mention his exceptional musical sense. His vision mixes supreme lyricism with an elegance at every moment, in a majestic art that succeeds in reconciling extremes with a great modesty, until the final explosion of the wonderful Ruhevoll. Then the final Lied bursts out, a true hymn to nature or a slightly ironic evocation of a vision of a paradise that is more earthly than it seems, sung with naive wonder by the soprano Christine Karg.This is a superb new recording that enriches the abundant discography of this happy symphony, so different from its nine sisters. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Sibelius: Luonnotar, Tapiola, Spring Song, Rakastava & Suite from Pelléas och Mélisande

Edward Gardner

Symphonies - Released July 1, 2021 | Chandos

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Mahler: Symphony No. 1

Berliner Philharmoniker

Symphonies - Released June 25, 2021 | Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

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In a volcanic outburst of creativity, the 27-year-old Gustav Mahler wrote his First Symphony within just a few weeks. He then struggled significantly longer to find a definitive shape for this unprecedentedly novel work, which shook the musical public like an earthquake and divided heated tempers into Mahler lovers and Mahler loathers. No one was left cold by the overpowering sound of this work he initially entitled Titan (after Jean Paul’s novel). It begins as a quivering surface (“Wie ein Naturlaut” – “Like a sound of nature”) out of which motivic ideas emerge – fanfare and birdcall fragments from near and far, including an obstinate cuckoo – until a melody is articulated, derived from the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer), where it is sung to the words “Ging heut Morgen übers Feld…Wird’s nicht eine schöne Welt?” (“This morning I went across the fields…Isn’t the world looking lovely?”). In programmatic indications that he later withdrew, Mahler describes the movement as “the awakening of Nature after a long winter’s sleep”. The earthy ländler-scherzo is followed by a whimsical funeral-march parody based on a minor-mode version of the folksong canon Bruder Jakob (Frère Jacques). Naïve humour and obscure tragedy clash very much as in Jean Paul’s writings. The “horrifying outcry” that launches the finale definitively exposes the “lovely world’s” ambiguity. The violence of this last movement tears open a roaring abyss. According to Mahler, in the tumultuous masses of sound the “hero” – is it the composer himself? – is locked in a terrible battle “with all the sorrows of this world”. Then, almost imperceptibly, out of a reminiscence of the shimmering sounds of nature that began the symphony, a “victory chorale” takes shape and, with the mobilization of all forces, is elevated into a gigantic apotheosis. Mahler’s First: a hero’s life – or indeed a commedia humana? © 2020 Berlin Phil Media GmbH
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Beethoven: Coriolan Overture & Eroica

Ensemble Cristofori

Symphonies - Released June 18, 2021 | CAvi-music

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Tempo, accentuation, phrasing, or structural architecture are not the first thing that strikes the listener when he listens to Arthur Schoonderwoerd’s performances of classical orchestral music for the first time. Instead, the first thing we can notice is that the music sounds different. The orchestra is unusually small. You might want to judge whether this is good or not, but that will not truly help you deal with the phenomenon in itself. Apart from the winds – in the usual line-up as called for in the score – the string section is barely larger than a string quartet. It is pointless to dispute whether this is preferable to a large orchestra. More significant is the striking effect this has on the senses. If you want to do justice to Schoonderwoerd’s interpretation concept, it is best to start by focusing on what you are hearing. © CAvi-Music
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Dutilleux: Le Loup, Sonatine, Sonate & Sarabande et Cortège

John Wilson

Symphonies - Released June 1, 2021 | Chandos

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Mahler: Symphony No. 3

Berliner Philharmoniker

Symphonies - Released May 28, 2021 | Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

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Bernstein, Barber, Crawford & Ives: Americans

James Gaffigan

Symphonies - Released May 28, 2021 | harmonia mundi

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Vivid testimony to the multifaceted partnership of James Gaffigan and the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, their latest release invites us to explore the conductor’s American roots, from the most mischievous (Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story) to the spiritual (Charles Ives’ Symphony No. 3, based on his works for solo organ). With dramatically potent dissonances, Ruth Crawford’s Andante for Strings casts a spell in the form of a hypnotic and restless nocturne, while Samuel Barber’s boldly athletic Toccata for Organ and Orchestra reveals a rarely heard aspect of this well-known master. An electrifying performance! © harmonia mundi
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Schubert: Symphony No. 5 - Haydn: Symphony No. 99

Concentus Musicus Wien

Symphonies - Released May 21, 2021 | Aparté

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Concentus Musicus Wien continues its exploration of works of the Classical and pre-Romantic periods as envisioned by Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Stefan Gottfried conducts Schubert’s Symphony No. 5, written in 1816 at the age of 19, and the seventh of Haydn’s 12 London symphonies, No. 99, written in 1793. The former shows the melodic inventiveness and admirable mastery of form of a young composer, heir to the giant Haydn. Recorded live at the famous Musikverein in Vienna, this concert immortalises yet again the skill and the exceptional sound quality of this renowned progenitor of historically informed performance, which continues to perpetuate the work of its visionary founder. © Aparté