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Chamber Music - Released August 1, 2005 | audite Musikproduktion

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This disc demonstrates the principle that if you dress up a perfectly ordinary individual in fine style, the results can be impressive. Louis Massonneau, despite the French name, worked at several German courts during the very last stages of the system of aristocratic patronage in the early nineteenth century. He was a virtuoso violinist and apparently a skilled oboist, as well, for the three quartets for oboe and strings included here are beautifully written for the instrument. They are three-movement works that look back to Mozart, and they're attractive but harmless. Gussied up in well-recorded SACD sound, wrapped in liner notes that make the most ordinary events of common sonata and rondo forms sound like something special, and very smoothly executed by Germany's Ensemble Più, you can easily forget that there's not really much going on here. Oboists, audiophiles, and those with large collections of chamber music will gravitate toward this disc, but those generally interested in distinctive proto-Romantic chamber music for winds might check out instead the Helios-label reissue of two Hummel septets, performed by the ensemble Capricorn. © TiVo
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Comedy/Other - Released June 1, 2005 | audite Musikproduktion

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When Schubert composed his last setting of the Roman Catholic Mass in the final year of his life, he was no longer a Catholic. Born in what was then known as the Holy Roman Empire, Schubert came of age in the post-Revolutionary era. After imbibing the Enlightenment's lucidity and humanity and Schubert's s own intimate encounter with mortality, Schubert fell out of sympathy with the Roman Church. Although Schubert tried in his final Mass to imbue the text with the same ecstatic energy of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, the music sounds more ironic than ecstatic and more disingenuous than candid. As a result, Schubert's last Mass has been relatively rarely recorded and most of those recordings, no matter how grand and glorious, have always seemed somehow emotionally false. One cannot accuse Rafael Kubelik of being disingenuous. As this 1968 recording with the Bayerischen Rundfunks Sinfonie-orchester proves, Kubelik was always entirely, sincerely, and scrupulously honest. Even in his celebrated Mahler cycle from the same period, Kubelik downplays that composer's habitual intellectual irony for his heart, soul, and spirit, and this Schubert mass is cut from the same bolt of earnest cloth. Unfortunately, Kubelik is a victim of his own good intentions. The glory of the Gloria and the belief of the Credo are almost tangible, but never quite creditable. Even the outstanding singing of soprano Gundula Janowitz and alto Grace Hoffman cannot make the melodies sound lyrical and even with the superlative support of the Bavarian Radio Symphony, Schubert's Mass still seems full of false sound and dishonest fury, signifying no real faith or belief. Audite's super audio sound is, however, warm, honest, and true. © TiVo
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Symphonic Music - Released January 1, 2005 | audite Musikproduktion

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