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Symphonic Music - Released August 10, 2018 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Record of the Month - Exceptional Sound Recording - 5 étoiles de Classica
If Leonard Bernstein was one of the greatest conductors from the second half of the 20th Century, his interpretation job never outshone his composer one. But the durable and worldwide success of West Side Story has often irritated him, as it left in the shadowed the rest of his abundant and varied catalog. Antonio Pappano has had the good idea to gather the three symphonies from Bernstein in a single album recorded in several concerts in Rome with his Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, which reaches under his baton an international dimension. Bernstein had a special relation with this institution that he has frequently conducted. Jeremiah, Bernstein’s first symphony, dates from 1944. Bernstein was 26 and wrote it the same year as his first ballet for Broadway, Fancy Free.He blends genres in a way that is now typical of him, disturbing many timorous music lovers who don’t understand that this dichotomy is the result of his genius. This first symphony sung in Hebrew denounces the horror of the Holocaust in Europe. 1949 is the year of The Age of Anxiety, his strange second symphony inspired by a long and difficult poem by W. H. Auden. Rarely played because of his difficult solo piano section that few interprets possess in their repertoire, this symphony is a succession of “themes and variations”. If the beginning flirts with the European Art music, notably from Prokofiev, it ends in a syncopated sentimentalism in the style of the great Hollywood movies. The excellent pianist Beatrice Rana (who has recorded for Warner Classics a very exciting Second Concerto by Prokofiev with the same conductor, as well as, more recently, the most talked-about Goldberg Variations by J. S. Bach) is here a brilliant and convinced performer of the work. Written in 1963 and dedicated to President Kennedy, Kaddish, his third symphony, is probably the most personal work of this trilogy. Heterogeneous as is all Bernstein music, it goes together with a text written by him that caused a scandal because of his iconoclastic arrogance, as Bernstein is giving advice to God to better rule mankind… Unsatisfied with his text, the composer did several revisions of his work to give it the form that is mostly used today. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 6, 2014 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Classical - Released September 7, 2009 | Warner Classics

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica
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Opera - Released September 22, 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
The pianists are perhaps the most exotic of all the creatures in the Carnival of the Animals. A very rare and treasurable pairing has been made by Warner Classics for this new recording of Saint-Saëns’ enchantingly witty suite: Martha Argerich, often described as the world’s finest example of the pianist species, and Antonio Pappano, a particularly fine specimen of the conductor-pianist. Beside such natural wonders as the graceful swan, the mighty lion, the waltzing elephant, the iridescent denizens of the aquarium and the rattling fossils, the pianists are the prize exhibits of the Carnival, bringing their colour and virtuosity to all but one of its fourteen movements. Their big solo moment comes towards the end of proceedings as they relentlessly practise their scales, which are punctuated with peremptory chords from the strings. Argerich and Pappano met in Italy for the recording – not in Venice, the city of Carnival, but in Rome, where, since 2005, Pappano has been Music Director of the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Nine of its players partner the two star pianists in Saint-Saëns’ suite. In 2012, when Argerich performed Schumann’s Piano Concerto with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Pappano told Euronews that he was “just knocked over by the amount of energy that she has, but actually what she does is always extremely natural, as if the music can’t go any other way.” Argerich’s daughter, Annie Dutoit also makes a contribution to the Carnival: she recites verses written for the piece by the French actor, singer, humorist Francis Blanche (1921-1974). The Carnival shares the album release with another of Saint-Saëns’ most celebrated works, the magnificent Symphony No. 3. The prominent organ part is played by Daniele Rossi. Both the Carnival and the Symphony No. 3 were composed in the same year, 1886, but their aesthetics could hardly be more different. In Spring 2016 the Symphony No. 3 featured on a European tour that Pappano made with the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. In Germany, the Hamburger Abendblatt reported that the audience responded to the performance of the symphony with “euphoria …stamping on the ground and calling for two encores,” while the Frankfurter Rundschau wrote that “under Pappano’s inspiring direction the Italian musicians captured the reverential, ethereal atmosphere [of the first movement’s Poco adagio] with the same precision as the circus-like uproar of its combined instrumental masses [in the Allegro finale].” This was the last symphony that Saint-Saëns composed, though he lived for a further 35 years. When asked why, he responded: "With it I have given all I could give. What I did I could not achieve again." © Warner
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Classical - Released November 8, 2010 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Month
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Classical - Released July 11, 2011 | Warner Classics

Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released April 15, 2013 | Warner Classics

Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
Gioacchino Rossini's Petite messe solennelle was composed in 1863 and orchestrated by the composer before his death so that no one else would do it. Premiered publicly after his death, it drew the comment (supposedly from Napoleon III) that it was neither small, nor solemn, not really liturgical. The work indeed benefits from historical performance practice, including the revival of the original version for eight singers, two pianos, and a harmonium, which really challenges the singers to fit their agility demanding lines into a chamber context. What's here is a performance that is indeed not small, a full-size rendering by traditional Italian forces mostly associated with opera: conductor Antonio Pappano, the Orchestra and Chorus of the National Academy of Saint Cecilia, and a quartet of soloists who are equal to the music's demands. For many buyers the chief attraction of this release will be the presence of alto Sara Mingardo, who during the period preceding the album was active mostly in the field of Baroque music. But Pappano's driving, thick-boned reading of the music, especially effective in the big contrapuntal choruses, and the sound, in the musicians' own auditorium, sorts out the big masses of sound very well. An excellent specimen of the sort of performance people go to Italy to hear, from musicians who've been doing it since childhood. © TiVo
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Classical - Released April 1, 1997 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year
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Classical - Released September 1, 2013 | Warner Classics International

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
Benjamin Britten's War Requiem of 1958 remains one of the composer's most popular works, and a host of new recordings and reissues surfaced in connection with the composer's centennial year of 2013. This one from conductor Antonio Pappano and musicians and singers from the venerable Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia has a satisfying way of seeming to reflect Britten's own aims for the work. There are smoother choristers in some of the purely English versions of the work. But internationalism was part of Britten's plan. He wrote the work for soloists from the countries of the wartime combatants: a Russian soprano (Galina Vishnevskaya), a British tenor (Peter Pears), and a German baritone (Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau). Here the German baritone is replaced by American Thomas Hampson. But the fundamental contrasts Britten built into the work, among its three singers and among its various sections of text, are nicely realized. The highlight is Anna Netrebko in the Vishnevskaya soprano part. The soprano sections are restricted to the portions of the work drawn from the traditional Requiem mass, and Britten defines these as operatic in character. Those Latin texts are interspersed with poems by the antiwar World War I writer Wilfred Owen, who was killed in action a week before the armistice. The power of the work derives from its mixture of formal mourning and direct evocation of the experience of war, accomplished in the music as well as in the texts. This is a performance that brings that contrast to life. The dynamic level of the whole is extremely low, but the work's considerable dynamic range doesn't seem to be squeezed. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 25, 2011 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
Conductor Antonio Pappano and Rome's Orchestra dell'Accademia Nationale di Santa Cecilia are frequently found performing Italian operatic standards and sacred music by Rossini and Verdi, and their discography for EMI is quite impressive. But their 2011 concert recording of Sergey Rachmaninov's Symphony No. 2 in E minor and Anatol Lyadov's The Enchanted Lake is not a sudden departure into Russian music. Indeed, Pappano and his ensemble have had modest success with recording the music of Tchaikovsky, and Pappano is quite versatile in a wide range of styles and international repertoire. Yet this experience and the musicians' feeling for dramatic expression are insufficient to make Rachmaninov's most popular symphony really work, because the brooding Russian spirit of the work's melodies is diffused with the surface loveliness of the orchestra's technique, and Pappano doesn't dig deep enough to find the darkness in this piece, just the gorgeousness. His efforts in the Lyadov are better, though this is such a slight, atmospheric composition, it seems all impressionistic prettiness and little else, and as a filler work, it doesn't offer much of an incentive to acquire the full album. One thing that can be said in favor of the performance of Rachmaninov's Second is that there is nearly perfect audibility and every note can be heard in its proper place. This provides value for someone who is studying the score and wants to hear every detail, but listeners who want to feel what this symphony is about should look elsewhere, possibly for recordings by Russian conductors and orchestras. © TiVo
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Classical - Released April 16, 2021 | LSO Live

Hi-Res Booklet
Sir Antonio Pappano leads the London Symphony Orchestra in a pair of symphonies by Ralph Vaughan Williams that span the build-up and aftermath of the Second World War. Throughout the Fourth Symphony Vaughan Williams channels tension and power through the music in amongst moments of light and clarity. It evokes a sense of hardship and persistence, perhaps suggesting the ever-present threat of war in the 1930s. Written in 1947, the composer's Sixth Symphony also seems to reflect the hardships and devastation wrought by World War II. Melancholic in some movements, ferocious in others. © LSO Live
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Classical - Released May 14, 2021 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet
Antonio Pappano has never before recorded the tone poems of Richard Strauss, and he is in no way a Strauss specialist. However, that may change with this fine live recording of Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40, with the conductor's Orchestra dell'Accademia nazionale di Santa Cecilia. The Ein Heldenleben was recorded live in 2018, and the brisk concluding Burleske in D minor, with Bertrand Chamayou, is a studio recording, but there really isn't much of a lurch, and this is a testament to how much Pappano has made this orchestra and his sound his own. As for Ein Heldenleben, the performance is perhaps an opera conductor's view of the work, and this is all to the good. The program of the tone poem is as detailed as in any other Strauss ever wrote and, whatever the composer's occasional protestations to the contrary, more personal. Pappano gets the humor at many points, such as the unflattering portrayal of the Austrian critics in the second movement (they noticed, and responded in kind), and his reading of the third movement "Des Helden Gefährtin" ("The Hero's Companion"), which even Strauss admitted was a portrait of his wife, Pauline de Ahna, is lush, gentle, and yet full of surprises and fun; Pappano takes a bit of extra time here in a reading that otherwise sticks close to the norms. So it goes throughout; listeners will feel that they have been on the epic journey suggested by the title, even if that journey doesn't extend beyond the composer's studio. The Warner Classics/Parlophone sound from the Parco della Musica auditorium is quite warm and contains nothing to distract the listener. © TiVo
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Opera - Released January 1, 1996 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released September 3, 2000 | Warner Classics

Booklet
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Classical - Released November 28, 1999 | Warner Classics

Antonio Pappano leads a sensuous and dramatically taut reading of Werther on EMI's all-star release. Werther is one of the most intimate and interior of operas, and Pappano successfully captures the mood of the protagonist's turmoil that constitutes its real drama. The leads are in strong voice and make dramatic impressions as the victims of passion in whose face they feel helpless. Roberto Alagna's Werther is consumed with love and anguish, and he sings with a ringing, heroic tone. Angela Gheorghiu's Charlotte is capable of expressing the fire that finally ignites in the third act, and her tone is pure and true, but she sounds a little mature for a 20 year old and misses the girlishness that makes Charlotte's predicament so poignant. In Werther's death scene, both are hugely moving. Thomas Hampson's voice is rich and dark, and he ably conveys the complexity of Albert's emotions. In a bit of luxury casting, Patricia Petibon sparkles as the adolescent Sophie. The smaller roles are well taken, and the singers make the most of their vignettes. The London Symphony responds with sensitivity to Pappano's fluid tempi and plays with gorgeous tone. EMI's sound is ideal -- realistically present, with excellent balance. © TiVo
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Opera - Released July 22, 2002 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released September 20, 2001 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released September 20, 2001 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released September 3, 2000 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released September 22, 2017 | Warner Classics

Booklet
This wonderful album contains perhaps Saint-Saëns' two most popular works: the Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78 ("Organ Symphony"), which is really a piano symphony as well, and the "Zoological Fantasy" for two pianos and ensemble Carnival of the Animals, which has no opus number because Saint-Saëns suppressed the work. He feared that it would damage his reputation as a serious composer. Such a loss for his French contemporaries! The work is full of high spirits, and the transitions between the depictions of the animals, far from being frivolous or simple, have an absolutely original rigor. There is undeniable fun in hearing conductor Antonio Pappano and piano superstar Martha Argerich take on the "Pianists" section, which depicts a pair of amateurs, and Pappano is a more than solid interpreter of the Symphony No. 3, which wears a neoclassic disguise, but has a delicacy and sensuousness in its quieter passages that reveal the composer as closer to Debussy than either one would probably have wanted to admit. The resurgent Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia sounds fabulously delicate in the symphony's quieter passages. Other major stars include the members of Warner Classical's engineering team, who deliver awesome clarity in the live recording of the Symphony No. 3 and sharp detail in the Carnival of the Animals in two different spaces at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome. Thoroughly a pleasure, all the way through. © TiVo