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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Philips

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released January 1, 2007 | Philips

Holland's self-proclaimed new Waltz King, André Rieu, has experienced tremendous success in both Europe and, unusually for a European crossover artist, the U.S., where his festive performances have become staples of the PBS television network's annual fundraising programming. The result has been a flood of Rieu discs that may confuse the new buyer simply interested in a fair sampling of what Rieu does and what has made him so popular. His recent concerts from his home base of Maastricht have evolved into extravaganzas featuring U.S. gospel singers and the like, with his one-time salon orchestra taking on symphonic dimensions. On the other hand, the market is awash in more or less random reissues of early Rieu discs of highly variable quality. This release from the major Philips label solves the new listener's problem. It is heavy on the Strauss waltzes that still make up the backbone of his repertoire, beefed up in their arrangements with space carved out for Rieu's own violin. Favorites are left more or less intact, while highlights of lesser-known pieces are combined into medleys. The inclusion of the Second Waltz from Shostakovich's Suite No. 2 for Jazz Orchestra is welcome; strange as it may seem for this rather acerbic waltz, it was one of the pieces with which Rieu launched the new vogue for waltzes in northwestern Europe. And there's just a moderate dose of the favorite classical tunes that Rieu weaves expertly into his programs -- it is here, in the likes of the "Meditation" from Massenet's Thaïs, that his violin really comes to the fore. This is a compilation of Rieu recordings from the 1990s, and for his hardcore fans it probably doesn't contain anything new. If you've just stumbled on His Longhairness during your local PBS pledge drive, however, this is a good disc to pick. © TiVo
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Full Operas - Released January 1, 2006 | Philips

Although not the most controversial of postwar Bayreuth Rings -- Georg Solti and Peter Hall's retro-Romantic Ring with naked Rhine maidens wins that prize -- Pierre Boulez and Patrice Chéreau's post-industrial revolution Ring as metaphor for the decline and fall of capitalism is certainly the second most controversial postwar Bayreuth Ring. But more controversial than Chéreau's dramatic conception was Boulez's musical execution. With startlingly clear textures, spectacularly bright colors, and stunningly light tempos, Boulez' obtains a Wagner sound like no other. And for those with ears to hear, it works. Wagner's music doesn't have to be murky to be metaphysical or massive to be overwhelmingly moving and Boulez gets playing from the too-often turgid Bayreuth Festival Orchestra that makes the music crackle and blaze with musical and dramatic meaning. But perhaps most surprisingly, the best thing about this Ring is the singing, or, rather, the singing-acting. From Donald McIntyre's bigger than life but deeply human Wotan to Gwyneth Jones heartbreakingly beautiful Brünnhilde, the leads are magnificently convincing both as singers and as actors. And while Peter Hoffmann's Siegmund and Manfred Jung's Siegfried were less well received at the time, their performances, while perhaps too earnest, are still quite effective in their roles. Philips' 1981 sound is very live -- much of the stage action is plainly audible -- but this only adds to the verisimilitude of the recording. While not for everybody, the Boulez Ring has to be heard by anyone who loves the work. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Philips

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Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Philips

What makes Alfred Brendel Alfred Brendel? What are the defining characteristics of his playing that make him the instantly recognizable piano virtuoso he is? Is it his prodigious intellect or his ability to comprehend all the aspects of the score at once? Is it his rigorous interpretations and his ability to include all aspects of the score in a single unity? Is it his brilliant lucidity or his ability to express all aspects of the score with precisely the correct balance, depth, and light? Is it his clarion tone or his ability to articulate all aspects of the score with a touch as deliberately and precisely deployed as a nuclear missile? Is at least part of what makes Alfred Brendel Alfred Brendel the sound of his recordings? It could be. For all the distinctiveness of his playing, at least part of what makes Brendel instantly recognizable is the quality of Philips' piano sound, that clear and crystalline sound that puts the piano right in the room with the listener. And, speaking of which, at least a part of what makes Alfred Brendel Alfred Brendel is the sound of his piano, a Steinway voiced bright, clear, deep, and colorful and balanced so that the top rings, the middle sings, and the bottom resound like bells. With choice performances selected from Brendel's vast discography -- his astounding recording of Schumann's Fantasiestücke, Op. 12, may be the single standout here, but they are all amazing -- this two-disc set will serve as a fine introduction to the inimitable artistry of Alfred Brendel. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Philips

Of all the Strauss recordings in Universal's vaults, one might wonder why the label chose to reissue these. When Bernard Haitink's recordings of Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Don Juan, and Death and Transfiguration with the Royal Concertgebouw were originally released in the '70s and '80s, they were more admired for their coolness and clarity than loved for their passion and ecstasy. And when Eugen Jochum's Waltz Suite from Der Rosenkavalier with the Concertgebouw was originally released in 1960, it was more interesting than entertaining, that is, the listener found out how stodgy and sloppy Jochum's Strauss sounded. Indeed, after the flabby playing of the Concertgebouw under Jochum, its astounding precision under Haitink is all the more impressive. But even the Concertgebouw's virtuosity cannot inflame Haitink, who remains a model of clear-eyed lucidity in repertoire that requires ecstasy as well as clarity. With recordings by Herbert von Karajan, Georg Solti, Karl Böhm, and Richard Strauss himself in the vaults, one might well wonder why Universal chose these. Philips' stereo sound for the early '70s Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks and Don Juan is warmer and richer than for the early digital '80s Death and Transfiguration and much fuller and deeper than the '50s Waltz Suite. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2004 | Philips

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Classical - Released January 1, 2003 | Philips

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Classical - Released September 1, 2002 | Philips

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Concertos - Released January 1, 2001 | Philips

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Classical - Released May 5, 1998 | Philips

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Classical - Released January 1, 1998 | Philips

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Classical - Released January 1, 1997 | Philips

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Classical - Released January 1, 1996 | Philips

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Classical - Released January 1, 1995 | Philips

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Classical - Released January 1, 1994 | Philips

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Classical - Released January 1, 1994 | Philips

The movie version of Hello, Dolly! was considered to be something of a disappointment, which may help explain why the soundtrack album is one of the few records Barbra Streisand is associated with that hasn't even gone gold. Streisand's wild miscasting is less apparent on record than on film, however, and she sings effectively. The album also features Louis Armstrong, who had a hit with the title song (not this version) and, in a small part, Michael Crawford, later in the award-winning Phantom of the Opera. On the other hand, Walter Matthau can't sing. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Secular Vocal Music - Released January 1, 1991 | Philips

The photography on the original CD and the labelling are somewhat tricksy, deceptive even: they list the programme of a recital given at the 1990 Salzburg Festival, whereas this recording was made several months after the event, in a studio in New York. What matters, though, is clearly the stunning vocal powers of the American diva, and the magisterial piano accompaniment supplied by her old accomplice James Levine. This homage to the German Lied starts with the cycle of Six Lieder, Op.48 (after Gellerts Lieder) by Beethoven and continues with a substantial selection of Lieder from the Italienisches and Spanisches Liederbuch by Hugo Wolf, into the middle of which the two musicians have slyly slid five melodies by a young Debussy still under the influence of Massenet. It's an elegant way of saluting four great European nations from the height of an Austrian summer... A performer for concerts rather than operas, Jessye Norman has given recitals all over the world, meeting with overwhelming enthusiasm every time. Her arrival on stage was itself an impressive spectacle. Her imposing stature, often topped off with a coloured turban, lent her the air of a goddess from antiquity. This first visual impression was followed up by the deployment of a full and powerful voice which could also whisper imperceptible pianissimos. "Sometimes when I hear your voice, it breaks my heart. But all of the time when I hear your voice, it healed my soul", as the Nobel-prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison once said, who herself died a few weeks before the great singer, in summer 2019. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released January 1, 1987 | Philips

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Lieder (German) - Released December 10, 1983 | Philips

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
When she recorded this sublime farewell to life in 1983, Jessye Norman was 38 years old. She was at the height of her glory, and the summit of her vocal power and of her art. At the time, some wondered if there wasn't a contradiction between that voice, so bursting with life, and the crepuscular, delicious morbidity of the late Strauss. As time went by, this record became a confirmed classic. The incandescence of this sumptuous voice is a perfect fit for the "red sky at night" of Im Abendrot that Eichendorff describes in the final poem of this cycle. With Jessye Norman's passing, this performance takes on an almost-metaphysical dimension. Her voice glides into a drawn-out breath in tormented melismas which sound almost like incantations. It speaks to us of life, of death, of the beauty of nature and the passage of time. At her side, Kurt Masur accompanies her with infinite subtlety, following the slightest melodic twists of the score with the superb Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, which has a history of performing Strauss's work. The style, the perfect intonation, the colours from every stand all mix together with this voice of sunlight and honey. If you're bound for a proverbial desert island, be sure to pack this record in your luggage. © François Hudry/Qobuz

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