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在這古典音樂版,經常看到的字眼是:

聽多十年才開Post 吧,新手!!

我聽完這句,十分高興,回想十多年前,我父親贈給我的一張入門Naxos CD ,內有十首不同風格的名曲,引發我這終生受用的樂趣,就開啓了這道音樂之門。

聽過Beethoven, Brahms等的作品後,又探索Debussy, Poulenc, Sibelius, Gorecki 等,感覺樂海無涯,在與一位真正小堤琴家,一位真正的鋼琴家和一位真正聲樂家會面後,更覺以前所聽不過皮毛。

在這裡,我歡迎真正的初學者與像我一樣覺得自已還是〝新手〞的朋友分享心得,如切如磋。

一如既往,和音樂無關不回答。



熱賣及精選
既然初學,就先帖100首外國綱站推介樂曲作討論:

1. Symphony No. 9 "Choral" – Ludwig Van Beethoven

  2. Mass In B Minor – Johann Sebastian Bach

  3. Symphony No. 6 "Pathetique" – Peter Ilitch Tchaikovsky

  4. Symphony No. 41 "Jupiter" – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  5. Rite Of Spring – Igor Stravinsky

  6. Symphony No. 9 – Gustav Mahler

  7. The Ring of the Nibelungs – Richard Wagner

  8. Symphony No. 3 "Eroica" – Ludwig Van Beethoven

  9. Pictures At An Exhibition – Modest Mussorgsky (orch. by Maurice Ravel)

10. Symphony No. 5 – Ludwig Van Beethoven

11. Symphony No. 9 "From The New World" – Antonin Dvorak

12. Piano Concerto No. 5 "Emperor" – Ludwig Van Beethoven

13. Also Sprach Zarathustra – Richard Strauss

14. Violin Concerto – Ludwig Van Beethoven

15. St Matthew's Passion – Johann Sebastian Bach

16. Piano Concerto No. 2 – Sergei Rachmaninoff

17. Symphony No. 4 – Johannes Brahms

18. Piano Concerto – Robert Schumann

19. Symphonie Fantastique – Hector Berlioz

20. Piano Sonata No. 2 – Frederic Chopin

21. Symphony No. 9 – Anton Bruckner

22. Piano Concerto No. 1 – Peter Ilitch Tchaikovsky

23. Requiem – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

24. The Planets – Gustav Holst

25. Symphony No. 8 "Unfinished" – Franz Schubert



26. Piano Sonata – Franz Liszt

27. Aida – Giuseppe Verdi

28. Messiah – George Frideric Handel

29. Piano Concerto No. 2 – Johannes Brahms

30. Messa Da Requiem – Giuseppe Verdi

31. Scheherazade – Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov

32. The Four Seasons – Antonio Vivaldi

33. Enigma Variations – Edward Elgar

34. Don Giovanni – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

35. The Goldberg Variations – Johann Sebastian Bach

36. Symphony No. 40 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

37. Symphony No. 7 – Ludwig Van Beethoven

38. Symphony No. 94 "Surprise" – Franz Joseph Haydn

39. Piano Concerto No. 20 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

40. Symphony No. 5 – Dmitri Shostakovich

41. Firebird Suite – Igor Stravinsky

42. Piano Concerto No. 2 – Franz Liszt

43. Lohengrin – Richard Wagner

44. Violin Concerto – Peter Ilitch Tchaikovsky

45. Piano Quintet "The Trout" – Franz Schubert

46. Cello Concerto – Antonin Dvorak

47. Symphony No. 1 – Gustav Mahler

48. Appalachian Spring – Aaron Copland

49. Madama Butterfly – Giacomo Puccini

50. Missa Solemnis – Ludwig Van Beethoven



51. Piano Sonata No. 14 "Moonlight" – Ludwig Van Beethoven

52. Serenade No. 13 "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

53. Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini – Sergei Rachmaninoff

54. Symphony No. 5 – Serge Prokofiev

55. La Mer – Claude Debussy

56. Symphony No. 2 – Jean Sibelius

57. Don Quixote – Richard Strauss

58. Piano Concerto No. 2 – Frederic Chopin

59. The Barber Of Seville – Gioacchino Rossini

60. Symphony No. 5 – Ralph Vaughan Williams

61. Symphony No. 4 – Peter Ilitch Tchaikovsky

62. Falstaff – Giuseppe Verdi

63. 24 Preludes – Frederic Chopin

64. Symphony No. 3 "Scotch" – Felix Mendelssohn

65. Carmen – Georges Bizet

66. Symphony of Psalms – Igor Stravinsky

67. Canon – Johann Pachelbel

68. Toccata and Fugue – Johann Sebastian Bach

69. Boris Godunov – Modest Mussorgsky

70. Romeo And Juliet – Peter Ilitch Tchaikovsky

71. Symphony No. 2 – Johannes Brahms

72. Otello – Giuseppe Verdi

73. Piano Concerto No. 21 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

74. Water Music – George Frideric Handel

75. Piano Concerto No. 3 – Sergei Rachmaninoff



[隱藏]
76. Symphony No. 4 – Charles Ives

77. Carmina Burana – Carl Orff

78. Symphony No. 35 "Haffner" – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

79. "Little" Fugue – Johann Sebastian Bach

80. Piano Concerto No. 4 – Ludwig Van Beethoven

81. The Marriage Of Figaro – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

82. Symphony No. 6 "Pastorale" – Ludwig Van Beethoven

83. Carnavel – Robert Schumann

84. A Midsummer Night's Dream – Felix Mendelssohn

85. Symphony No. 9 "The Great" – Franz Schubert

86. Symphony No. 3 "Rhenish" – Robert Schumann

87. Violin Concerto – Felix Mendelssohn

88. Hungarian Rhapsodies – Franz Liszt

89. Tristan Und Isolde – Richard Wagner

90. String Quartet No. 14 – Ludwig Van Beethoven

91. Night On Bald Mountain – Modest Mussorgsky

92. Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 – Edvard Grieg

93. Concerto for Orchestra – Bela Bartok

94. Symphony No. 5 – Jean Sibelius

95. Verklaerte Nacht – Arnold Schoenberg

96. Symphony No. 1 – Dmitri Shostakovich

97. Clarinet Quintet "Stadler" – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

98. German Requiem – Johannes Brahms

99. Piano Sonata No. 15 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

100. Violin Concerto – Johannes Brahms



另一德國綱站推薦:
http://www.culturekiosque.com/klassik/best/ra1best.htm

101 Best Classical Music CDs:
Early and Baroque Music
CHANT CISTERCIEN (12th century)
Ensemble Organum
harmonia mundi
If you have fond memories of the strange world of Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose, or of Sean Connery in the film version then this disc is for you. Recorded at Fontfroide, one of France's oldest Cistercian monasteries, this collection of 12th century chants will draw you into the sounds of the Latin Middle Ages. The granite voices of the Ensemble Organum make for a sure-footed guide.

JOSQUIN DESPREZ (ca 1440-1521): Missa Pange Lingua
Ensemble Organum and Ensemble Clément Janequin
harmonia mundiThe Flemish composer Josquin Desprez (or Josquin des Prés) is recognized as the greatest musical genius of the late Middle Ages. His masterpiece the Missa Pange Lingua represents the height of Franco-flemish polyphony and occupies a place in musical history as important as Bach's Mass in B, Mozart's C Major Mass or Miles Davis' Flamenco Sketches. The performance on this disc is unrivalled.

ALLEGRI (1582-1652): Miserere
PALESTRINA (ca 1525-1594): Missa Papae Marcelli
MUNDY (ca 1529-ca 1591): Vox Patris Caelestis

The Tallis Scholars
GimellEnglish to the core, Peter Phillips and his early music group The Tallis Scholars have few rivals when it comes to the sacred music of the Renaissance. In fact, this album exploded onto the market when it was released back in the '80s. The luxurious beauty of Allegri's Miserere and the controlled spirituality expressed in Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli are presented with great depth and refinement.

SCHÃœTZ (1585-1672): Musikalische Exequien - The Seven Words of Christ
Peter Schreier, Siegfried Vogel, Theo Adam
Dresdner Kreuzchor
Rudolf Mauersberger, conductor
Berlin Classics
Often considered the father of German music, Heinrich Schütz was the first German composer to have assimilated the treasures of Italian music (and especially Venetian) while still producing music of great vision. The works heard on this disc number among his greatest masterpieces, echo the religious fanaticism and the barbaric slaughter that ravaged Germany during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), a war worse than the Yugoslav conflict today. Recorded in East Germany at the height of the Cold War, the great Dresden Holy Cross Choir traces its roots back to Schuütz himself. The sound engineering is superb.

MONTEVERDI (1567-1643): Vespers of the Blessed Virgin
Monteverdi Choir
English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor
Archiv Produktion
Recorded "live" in Venice in San Marco's Basilica where Claudio Monteverdi was choir master for several decades, this superb version of the Vespers of the Blessed Virgin breathes new life into this work. Under the leadership of British conductor John Eliot Gardiner, for whom this music holds few secrets, the English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir demonstrate tremendous virtuosity.

SCARLATTI (1685-1757): 22 Keyboard Sonatas
Pierre Hantaï harpsichord
Astrée-Auvidis E 8502
Generations of pianists and harpsichordists have been nourished during their formative years on Domenico Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas (555 in total!). They are not only dazzling in their virtuosity, but contain a wealth of musical material. Composed partly for Princess Maria Barbara of Portugal, betrothed in 1729 to Fernando who was later to become King of Spain, these short pieces represent the pinnacle of Spanish baroque music. Young French harpsichordist, Pierre Hantaï, brings out all the elegance and fireworks of these compositions.

BACH (1685-1750): Six Cello Suites
Pierre Fournier, cello
Deutsche Grammophon
It was the great Spanish cellist Pablo Casals who resurrected these Six Cello Suites. Today, they are a yardstick by which to measure the technical ability of any cellist. Even though Pablo Casals, Janos Starker, Yo-Yo Ma, Paul Tortelier, Anner Bylsma, and Mstislav Rostropovitch have each given a significant interpretation of this corpus, none has achieved quite the same exquisite balance as Pierre Fournier (1906-1990). A great Bordeaux!

BACH (1685-1750): Six Trio Sonatas for Organ
Ton Koopman, organ
Archiv Produktion
The organ is central to Bach's music and the Six Trio Sonatas are considered by most specialists as the Cantor's perfect cycle. Dutch organist Ton Koopman, an extraordinary virtuoso, communicates the intimacy of this music. Played on a splendid instrument in the Waalse Church in Amsterdam, this recording will satisfy even the most demanding listeners.

BACH (1685-1750): Violin Concertos
Thomas Zehetmair, violin
Amsterdamse Bach Solisten
Teldec
Just like the Brandenburg and keyboard concertos, the violin concertos illustrate Bach's ease and mastery in the concerto genre. Over and above their virtuoso writing, these works have a rythmic seduction which makes them irresistable. Through his elegant and totally committed playing, Austrian violinist Thomas Zehetmair (b. 1961) breaks new ground in an already rich catalog.

BACH (1685-1750): The Well-Tempered Clavier (vol.I+II)
Ton Koopman (harpsichord)
EratoThe daily bread of all piano students, The Well-Tempered Clavier was in fact composed for the harpsichord! It is an immense encyclopedia of forty-eight preludes and fugues. Many great pianists today maintain that this vast cycle still sounds best played on a harpsichord. The brilliant Dutch harpsichordist Ton Koopman takes on this great masterpiece to bring out its multitude of colors and moods. Recommended piano versions include Edwin Fischer, Sviatoslav Richter and Friedrich Gulda.

BACH (1685-1750): St Matthew Passion
Lucia Popp, Marjana Lipovsek, Peter Schreier, Theo Adam
Rundfunkchor Leipzig
Staatskapelle Dresden
Peter Schreier, conductor
PhilipsIn the Saint Matthew Passion, Bach blends metaphysical reflection into the drama of the Crucifixion. Tenor Peter Schreier (born in Meissen, near Dresden, in 1935) not only interprets the role of the envangelist, but also directs the exquisite Dresden orchestra and Leipzig choir. While remaining absolutely correct musicologically, this version possesses the dynamic and breadth that one searches for in vain in interpretations on period instruments.

PURCELL (1659-1695): Music for a while - O Solitude
Alfred Deller (counter-tenor)
harmonia mundiHenry Purcell was the greatest English composer of the baroque era. The music on this disc illustrates the stupefying ease with which he created the illusion of suspended time. Alfred Deller (1912-1979) was a pioneer in bringing back to life not only this long-forgotten répertoire, but also the equally forgotten voice of the countertenor.

DOWLAND (1563-1626): Musicke for Lute
Paul O'Dette (lute)
Astrée-AuvidisClearly identified with Elizabethan music, the Englishman John Dowland is above all known for his music for lute. This collection contains some of his major works and is interpreted by Paul O'Dette, without a doubt the greatest living lutenist.

RAMEAU (1683-1764): Platée
Gilles Ragon, Jennifer Smith, Guy de Mey, Vincent le Texier
Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski, conductor
EratoGiven its premiere at the Court of Versailles in 1745, this ferocious and devastating comedy in which Jupiter pretends to fall for the nymph of the frogs, had an impact comparable to Airplane. One would have to wait for Shostakovitch's The Nose before hearing another work going as far in burlesque and the absurd. Directed with lots of camp by Marc Minkowski (b. 1962).

HANDEL (1685-1759): Messiah
Monteverdi Choir
English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor
PhilipsHandel's Messiah offers a more extrovert vision of the story of Christ than the more metaphysical Bach passions. The undisputed champion of Handel, John Eliot Gardiner interprets what is considered one of his masterpieces with the sympathy which comes from total understanding of the score.

HANDEL (1685-1759): Water Music
English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor
PhilipsHandel's celebrated Water Music was composed for the glory of George I of England. It was first played in 1717 during extravagant royal festivities on the river Thames. John Eliot Gardiner and his unrivalled English Baroque Soloists put just the right spin on these stately tunes.

VIVALDI (1678-1741): Le Quatro Stagioni (The Four Seasons)
The English Concert
Trevor Pinnock, conductor
Archiv ProduktionNotoriously overrecorded, Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons also have an annoying habit of turning up as music-whilst-you-wait on switchboards of banks and other financial institutions. Like all masterpieces, they have given rise to countless interpretations. British conductor Trevor Pinnock's splendid and intelligent version (on period instruments) remains unequalled.

[ 本帖最後由 Kennymoore 於 2009-3-28 02:13 PM 編輯 ]



101 Best Classical Music CDs:
Hadyn - Mozart - Beethoven



HAYDN (1732-1809): The Creation
Gundula Janowitz, Fritz Wunderlich, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Walter Berry
Wiener Singverein
Berliner Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon
Haydn's oratorio The Creation, where he puts to music the birth of the universe, has two spectacular bits: "Chaos" and the final chorus. This version ranks as the most polished and the most accomplished in terms of the orchestra and chorus. It is one of Herbert von Karajan's greatest records.




HAYDN (1732-1809): Symphonies no 93, 94, 95 + 98
Staatskapelle Dresden
Eugen Jochum, conductor
Berlin Classics
Symbolizing the height of Viennese classicism, Haydn's four London symphonies are the equal of the great symphonies of Mozart and Beethoven...with a sense of humor thrown in! Eugen Jochum (1902-1987), who mastered these scores like nobody else, leads the Dresden Staatskapelle, the oldest and most aristocratic of German orchestras.




HAYDN (1732-1809): Six Last Piano Sonatas
Glenn Gould, piano
Sony Classical
Haydn's piano sonatas, masterpieces adored by Beethoven, are pieces bubbling with intelligence. Known for his iconoclastic and sometimes "off the deep end" readings of Bach and Mozart, the great Canadian pianist Glenn Gould (1932-1982) signs a recording whose refinement and tonal nobility inspire admiration.


MOZART (1756-1791): Requiem
Edith Mathis, Julia Hamari, Wieslaw Ochman, Karl Ridderbusch
Wiener Staatsopernchor
Wiener Philharmoniker
Karl Böhm, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon
Despite having been finished after his death by his student Franz Xaver Süssmayer, Mozart's Requiem remains one of Western music's all time "hits". Karl Böhm's second version for Deutsche Grammophon (the first, recorded on Philips, was splendid) is one of those rare recordings which makes history. A classic.




MOZART (1756-1791): Don Giovanni
Cesare Siepi, Lisa Della Casa, Suzanne Danco, Fernando Corena, Anton Dermota, Hilde Gueden, Walter Berry, Kurt Böhme
Wiener Staatsopernchor
Wiener Philharmoniker
Josef Krips, conductor
Decca
According to Wagner, Don Giovanni was "the opera of operas"; In other words, it is unthinkable not to include it in your record library. Warning! Don't buy the wrong version. Thanks to an exuberant orchestra and soloists, this recording under the leadership of Josef Krips is fabulous and the famous dinner scene where Don Giovanni defies the statue of the Commandeur (better than Hammer Studios!) is simply terrifying.




MOZART (1756-1791): The Magic Flute
Gundula Janowitz, Lucia Popp, Nicolai Gedda, Walter Berry, Gottlob Frick, Christa Ludwig, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
Philharmonia Chorus and Orchestra
Otto Klemperer, conductor
EMI
An opera which dramatizes the struggle between good and evil, innocence and sin and all the rest, The Magic Flute has an improbable cast of hallucinogenic characters: Papageno, the batty bird-catcher; Pamino and Tamino as the perfect TV sitcom suburban couple; Sarastro a crusty old bore; and the unforgettable Queen of the Night - an unlikely cross between a Studio 54 drag queen and a New York feminist. Up to you to find the moral to this story. The "tongue in cheek" German conductor Otto Klemperer (1885-1973) keeps a straight face throughout.




MOZART (1756-1791): Symphonies no 21-41
Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam
Josef Krips, conductor
Philips
In just six chock-full CDs, Philips gives you Mozart's most famous symphonies. Why Krips? Because his frank and luminous musical direction gets straight to the point.




MOZART (1756-1791): Piano Concertos no 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 20 + 27
Rudolf Serkin, piano
Philadelphia Orchestra, Marlboro Festival Orchestra, Columbia Symphony Orchestra
Eugene Ormandy, George Szell, Alexander Schneider
Sony Classical
Like the Beethoven "Emperor" concerto, the Mozart piano concertos exist on a plane of their own. Their supernatural beauty makes them immediately accessible. Mozart has rarely ever sounded so right as he does in the hands of the Czech-born pianist Rudolph Serkin (1903-1991). Available at mid-price on Sony Classical, this collection is terrific value for money.




MOZART (1756-1791): Piano Sonatas K.333+545 - Rondo K.494 - Allegro K.533
Sviatoslav Richter, piano
Praga
Imagine packing your favorite piano into a rented van, driving out into the French countryside, stopping at a particular wheat field that strikes you just so, rounding up some of the locals and giving a historic performance of Mozart sonatas in a barn. That should give you an idea of the appeal of Ukranian-born Sviatoslav Richter, who at 80 is today's leading draw in concert pianists. Critics often say that Mozart piano sonatas are too difficult for children and too easy for adults. Richter proves the opposite.




BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Symphonies no 5+7
Wiener Philharmoniker
Carlos Kleiber, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon
Number one on the hit parade since 1808, Beethoven's Fifth was the first symphony to be recorded in its entirety. That was in Berlin in 1913 and the conductor Artur Nikisch was the Karajan of the time. Since then, there is no counting the number of recordings from excellent to impossible. Pay your money and take your choice. Many go for Carlos Kleiber (b. 1930), a conductor who, despite an intense cult following, is seen as rarely on the rostrum as Marlon Brando is on the screen. Warning! The recordings are rare, but once heard are not forgotten.




BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Piano Sonatas no 27-32
Solomon, piano
EMI
Beethoven's late piano sonatas present challenging enigmas for even the greatest of players. As a result, interpretations vary widely from one artist to the next, because of the intimate engagement between performer and composition through which meaning is either intuited from the piece or projected onto it. Some say Solomon (1902-1988), an English pianist, alas dead, was the one to get to the heart of these strange compositions.




BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Piano Concerto no 5 L'Empereur - Piano Sonata no 7
Edwin Fischer, piano
Philharmonia Orchestra
Wilhelm Furtwängler, conductor
EMI
There is no need to be a musicologist to understand that the marriage between pianist and conductor is so total that they have produced a performance truly worthy of the name Emperor. Whoever has not heard the "sincerity" of their second movement (adagio un poco mosso) has missed one of the miracles of recorded music. If you must have a stereo recording, choose the Michelangeli/Giulini version on Deutsche Grammophon.




BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Violin Concerto (+ Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Lalo)
Leonid Kogan, violin
Orchestre de la Socié© des Concerts du Conservatoire
Constantin Silvestri, conductor
EMI
A work which achieves great warmth, without pyrotechnical indulgence. Beethoven's violin concerto has been the subject of other splendid interpretations: Menuhin/Furtwängler (EMI), Ostrakh/Cluytens (EMI), Schneiderhan/Jochum (DG), Heifetz/Toscanini (RCA-BMG), Perlman/Giulini (EMI) to give some examples. The somewhat feverish interpretaion of Leonid Kogan has the great advantage of being accompanied by blood and guts interpretations of the Brahms and Tchaikovsky concertos. Two CDs for the price of one: who could resist?




BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Missa Solemnis (+ Mozart: Coronation Mass)
Gundula Janowitz, Christa Ludwig, Fritz Wunderlich, Walter Berry
Wiener Singverein
Berliner Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon
In the Missa Solemnis, Beethoven succeeds where Mahler, ultimately failed - to produce "absolute" music which knows no frontiers. Karajan, haunted by this enormous challenge, produced no less than four versions. Recorded in 1966, this interpretaion (not to be confused with the bloated one recorded in the '80s for DG) is blindingly beautiful, but venomous.



101 Best Classical Music CDs:
Austro-German Early Romanticism



SPOHR (1784-1859): Nonet op. 31 - Octet op. 32
Berliner Oktett
Berlin Classics
Composer, conductor and violinist, the German Louis Spohr was with Weber and Mendelssohn one of the major figures of early Romanticism. Clearly, music to be played "out of doors", these two brilliant works for strings and woodwinds have an irresistable pastoral charm. The Berlin Octet is simply glorious. Superb sound engineering.




SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Impromptus op. 90+142
Edwin Fischer, piano
Dante
When choosing a recording of the Schubert Impromptus, you might turn to the Swiss pianist Edwin Fischer (1886-1960). He remains the model for all; but if the date (1938) throws you, choose one of the two versions recorded by his distinguished pupil Alfred Brendel, who once said of Schubert's music: "Without it I should probably be less 'human.' "




SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Symphonies no 8 Unfinished + no 9
The Great Cleveland Orchestra
George Szell, conductor
Sony Classical
Composed four years after the famous Unfinished, the "Great" Symphony in C (1826) is the strongest orchestral work written between the Beethoven's Ninth (1827) and Bruckner's Fifth (1877). The tough-skinned George Szell (1897-1970) belonged to that extinct race of conductor-dictators. The Cleveland Orchestra, which became under his reign (1946-1970) one of the best in America (with Chicago and Philadelphia) possessed, in his hands, the power, lines and class of the most legendary Lamborghini.




SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Quintet in C - Quartettsatz
Weller Quartet, Dietfried Gürtler (second cello)
Decca
Chamber music is as central to Schubert's oeuvre as it is in Brahms. The Quintette in C for two violoncellos, which Schubert finished just before dying of syphilis, is one of his most emotionally disturbing works (not to be confused with the inoffensive Trout piano quintet). The Viennese Weller Quartet which had its moment of glory in the '60s, has left us a version which could be easily termed definitive.




SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Winterreise
Hans Hotter, bass-baritone
Michael Raucheisen, piano
Deutsche Grammophon
The undisputed master of the song for voice and piano, Schubert composed more than 600 melodies, many of which are masterpieces. At the head of this enormous production figures the immortal Winterreise. Originally written for tenor, this cycle expresses with a unique poetic and dramatic force man's disarray when confronted with his own solitude and death. Here, Schubert is the equal of the greatest Greek dramatists.




MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): Ein Sommernachtstraum (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Edith Wiens, Christiane Oertel
Rundfunkchor Leipzig
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Kurt Masur, conductor
Teldec
"Music of the elves", said Richard Strauss of Mendelssohn's Ein Sommernachtstraum and with Mendelssohn (and Bach) being the key composer of Leipzig, where would you find more magical music? The Leipziger musicians who recorded this version drank it in with their mother's milk. If your cousin's getting married next month, offer her this album - the Wedding March still works!



101 Best Classical Music CDs:
Austro-German Romanticism



(Schumann, Brahms, Bruckner, Wagner)



SCHUMANN (1810-1856): The Four Symphonies - Overture, Scherzo and Finale
Staatskapelle Dresden
Wolfgang Sawallisch, conductor
EMI
Compositions occasionally struck by visionary lightning, Schumann's symphonies give us a glimpse of the mental deterioration from which he died in 1856. The Dresdeners have this music in their blood and Wolfgang Sawallisch's white hot musical direction nails you to the wall.




SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Scenes from Childhood - Forest Scenes - Bunte Blätter (selection) - Abegg Variations (+ Scarlatti, Beethoven)
Clara Haskil, piano
Philips
Hunchbacked and Jewish in occupied France, the Roumanian pianist Clara Haskil (1895-1960) lived practically like a pauper until a few years before her death from an accidental fall on a staircase in a rundown Brussels railway station. Not exactly the dolce vita of Artur Rubinstein! Haskill, who made the world cry, knew unlike any other pianist how to interpret Schumann's shadow-peopled fantasy world.




BRAHMS (1833-1897): Piano Concerto no 1 (+ Franck, Litolff)
Clifford Curzon, piano
London Symphony Orchestra
George Szell, conductor
Decca
At twenty-three Brahms produced the D-Minor Piano Concerto, one of his four or five true chefs-d'oeuvre. Contrast the violence of the opening bars with the reflective entry of the piano. You immediately understand why this version wins out after more than thirty years. There is a legitimate alternative to this version, perhaps slightly more reflective recorded by Claudio Arrau and Carlo Maria Giulini (EMI). Both stand out from the crowd.




BRAHMS (1833-1897): Symphony no 3 - Tragic Overture - Schicksalslied
Ernst-Senff Chor
Berliner Philharmoniker
Claudio Abbado, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon
Do you like Brahms? Try the Third Symphony and you will be hooked. Claudio Abbado's masterly interpretation is almost epoch-making. It really is the great modern version. In the finale, drawn out to the limit, the musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic play as if their life depended on it.




BRAHMS (1833-1897): Piano Pieces op.117, 118 + 119 - Rhapsodies op. 79
Radu Lupu, piano
Decca
At the end of his life, a hardened old bachelor who favoured brothels, Brahms produced these concise little masterpieces so complex in form they breathe a poetry and a lyricism which is totally fulfilling. The Roumanian Radu Lupu (b. 1945), himself a secretive musician, produces the most mysterious version of Brahms.




BRAHMS (1833-1897):Trio no 3 - Cello Sonata no 2
Julius Katchen, piano
Josef Suk, violin
Janos Starker, cello
Decca
There are those who maintain that it was in his chamber music that Brahms was at his best. They could be right. The players on this recording form a unity and produce a warmth and an energy which are at the heart of chamber music.




BRUCKNER (1824-1896): Symphony no 7
Wiener Philharmoniker
Karl Böhm, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon
Implicated in the Nazi regime, like so many other orchestra conductors (Karajan, Furtwängler, Krauss, Mengelberg...) Karl Böhm (1894-1981) was briefly forbidden to conduct following the armistice until the indulgent allies gave him back his baton to conduct Mozart, Strauss and Bruckner, his favourite composers. The Austrian Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) who Wagner considered the greatest symphonist since Beethoven, composed immense sound cathedrals. His Seventh Symphony (of nine) is a mystical work to which Karl Böhm holds the key.




WAGNER (1813-1883): The Valkyrie
Birgit Nilsson, Theo Adam, Leonie Rysanek, James King
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Karl Böhm, conductor
4 CDs Philips
Generally, the Flying Dutchman is the ideal opera to become acquainted with the music drama of Richard Wagner. Next comes the Ring of the Nibelungen. Also known as the Tetralogy, Wagner's epic about the ferocious power struggles among the ancient Teutonic gods is composed of four operas: The Rheingold, Siegfried, The Valkyrie, Twilight of the Gods. Wagner did originally intend for the entire Ring to be heard over a period of four successive evenings. If such an approach seems intimidating, start with the most accessible episode: The Valkyrie. Free of any Germanic heaviness, Karl Böhm's reviting version (recorded "live" at the Bayreuth Festival in 1967) presents a more human Wagner. Those who are keen on historical recordings should rush out and buy the spell-binding "live" 1940 Metropolitan Opera performance on the American label Walhall with Lauritz Melchior, Lotte Lehamn, Marjorie Lawrence, Friedrich Schorr and Emanuel List!




WAGNER (1813-1883): The Flying Dutchman
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Marianne Schech, Fritz Wunderlich, Gottlob Frick
Chorus of the Deutsche Staatsoper, Berlin
Staatskapelle Berlin
Franz Konwitschny, conductor
2 CDs Berlin Classics (German libretto only)
Access to Wagner's operas is not always easy. Rather than Parsifal or The Twilight of the Gods, begin with The Flying Dutchman. Given its premiere in Dresden in 1843, this opera is based on an old Nordic legend about a dead sea-captain and his crew condemned to roam the oceans until redeemed by love and fidelity. A stroke of genius for a thirty-year-old composer still under the influence of Italian opera. High seas ambience and orchestral writing full of special effects, The Flying Dutchman remains one of the greatest dream-machines of the opera repertoire. Franz Konwitschny's surging musical direction creates an amazing wide-screen effect. If you still have difficulty getting into the opera, try renting Pandora, with Ava Gardner and James Mason.




WAGNER (1813-1883): Tristan and Isolde
René Kollo, Margaret Price, Brigitte Fassbaender, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Kurt Moll
Staatskapelle Dresden
Carlos Kleiber, conductor
4 CDs Deutsche Grammophon
An enormous melodrama about love, fidelity and betrayal, the medieval Tristan et Yseult is one of the oldest Western myths. While composing Tristan and Isolde, Wagner expected his peers, both living and unborn to feel emotionally ravaged. Indeed, this music is perhaps the most poetic, the most erotic and the most malevolent ever written. If you are strong enough to cope with its venom, try Carlos Kleiber who glorifies the dizzying musical sorcery. If historical recordings are not a problem, don't miss the miraculous 1936 "live" Covent Garden performance with Lauritz Melchior and Kirsten Flagstad under the musical direction of Fritz Reiner (Vai Audio).



[隱藏]
101 Best Classical Music CDs:
Romanticism in France and Spain
(Berlioz, Chopin, Liszt, Gounod, Bizet, Saint-Seans, Fauré, Albeniz)



BERLIOZ (1803-1869): La Damnation de Faust
Nicolai Gedda, Josephine Veasey, Jules Bastin
London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Sir Colin Davis, conductor
Philips
Neither opera, nor oratorio, The Damnation of Faust is a "dramatic legend" that opera houses are deathly frightened to produce. It is French composer Hector Berlioz's most ambitious work. Sir Colin Davis, who has championed Berlioz more than any other conductor, knew how to grasp two essential components: visual invention and metaphysical reflection. If you are fed up with the Faust myth, try Romeo and Juliet, a steamy work even more difficult to pigeon-hole, with Seiji Ozawa leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon).




BERLIOZ (1803-1869): Symphonie Fantastique
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
David Zinman, conductor
Telarc
Hector Berlioz's most famous work, the Fantastique is one of the most often recorded symphonies. After extraordinary versions by Beecham/Orchestre National de l'ORTF (EMI), Markevitch/Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux (Deutsche Grammophon) or Davis/Concertgebouw of Amsterdam (Philips), the American conductor David Zinman and the Baltimore Symphony have come as quite a surprise. Instead of banging us over the head with this music like so many of his colleagues, Zinman's fat-free approach turns this music into pure crystal.




CHOPIN (1810-1849): 19 Nocturnes - 24 Préludes op. 28
Samson François, piano
EMI
Polish-born, Frederic Chopin is generally considered history's greatest spokesman for the piano. The Nocturnes and Preludes are but two of several ingenious cycles written when Chopin was at the height of his career in 19th century Paris. Admired and heavily courted by wealthy and aristocratic patrons, Chopin excelled in poetic and refined composition for the piano, which sometimes took the form of concise, though dense, musical verse. Samson François (1924-1970) is a legend in France. A big risk-taker, his Nocturnes and Préludes can sound like a jazz improvisation.




CHOPIN (1810-1849): Recital (Mazurkas, Ballade no 1, Prélude op. 45, Scherzo no 2)
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, piano
Deutsche Grammophon
This album has toured the planet. Italian pianist Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (1920-1995), who Roumanian conductor Sergiu Celibidache considered the greatest living musician, imposes the most elegant and virile vision of Chopin's music.




CHOPIN (1810-1849): Piano Sonata no 2 + 3 - Barcarolle
Vlado Perlemuter, piano
Nimbus
Legions of pianists have lost their way while trying to perform these two treacherous sonatas. The Polish-born French pianist Vlado Perlemuter (b. 1904) knew how to reveal their secrets. His hard-line, uncompromising approach exposes the raw strength of these Chopin works. The Funeral March of the second sonata, generally played with pomposity, demonstrates noble accents and a ferocious beauty which place it amongst the greatest interpretations.




LISZT (1811-1886): Sonata in B Minor - Piano Concertos no 1 + 2
Sviatoslav Richter, piano
London Symphony Orchestra
Kirill Kondrashin, conductor
Philips
Dark and imposing, the B-Minor Sonata is no laughing matter. Favoured by pianists who specialize in the grand manner, it has all the style and melodrama of a Gothic horror story. Richter's torrential performance is perfectly threatening. The two piano concertos, conducted by the Russian Kirill Kondrashin, are almost absolute perfection.




LISZT (1811-1886): Twelve Transcendental Studies
Georges Cziffra, piano
EMI
The Twelve Transcendental Studies were for the 19th century piano what the effect of the World-wide Web is on computing. Almost impossible to play, and in mediocre hands bordering on cheap thrills, they literally propelled piano technique into the 20th century. The phenomenal Georges Cziffra (1921-1994), who supported his family at five as a circus act in his native Hungary, is simply mind-bending.




GOUNOD (1818-1893): Faust
Richard Leech, Cheryl Studer, José van Dam, Thomas Hampson
Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse
Michel Plasson, conductor
EMI
After Bizet's Carmen, Charles Gounod's Faust is the most famous French opera. Unmistakeably French, Faust is a throwback to a time when opera in Paris had to have a ballet sequence danced by pretty girls to keep the aristocrats, bankers and industrialists of the Third Republic happy. Michel Plasson's version featuring José van Dam's terrific Méphisto would have never seen the light of day without three Americans with impeccable French (Richard Leech, Cheryl Studer and Thomas Hampson). The definitive recording for probably a long time to come.




BIZET (1838-1875): Carmen
Teresa Berganza, Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, Ileana Cotrubas
Ambrosian Chorus
London Symphony Orchestra
Claudio Abbado, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon
Three hundred and sixty-five days a year, Carmen is produced somewhere - making it the world's favourite opera. Some audiences only hear the camp sparkle associated with Bizet's vision of Spanish culture, though German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, considered Carmen superior to any of Wagner's operas. It is not by chance that most of Bizet's peers (Wagner included) envied the young French composer's musical and dramatic genius. Three versions vie for the top rating on record: de los Angeles/Beecham (EMI), Troyanos/Solti (Decca) et Berganza/Abbado (Deutsche Grammophon). For some, the last distinguishes itself by a slim margin for its stylistic rightness (Abbado's lively and well chiseled direction) and the distinguée Carmen of Teresa Berganza.




SAINT-SAENS (1835-1921): Havanaise - Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso (+ Wieniawski, Vieuxtemps and Sarasate)
Jascha Heifetz, violin
London Philharmonic Orchestra
John Barbirolli, conductor
EMI
Was Jascha Heifetz (1899 or 1901?-1987) the greatest violinist this century? Many violinists think so, though an equal number are less inclined to place Heifetz above Fritz Kreisler, David Oïstrakh, Nathan Milstein, Henryk Szeryng, Yehudi Menuhin, Zino Francescatti, Leonid Kogan or Isaac Stern. One thing is certain. Nobody played the violin with as much brio. His detractors said that he was insurpassable - in second-rate music. Released as part of the Ré©rences series, an excellent historical collection on EMI, this disc presents Heifetz in virtuoso pieces. The verdict is clear: whoever has not heard Heifetz play the Introduction and rondo capriccioso has not heard anything. But, that should not prevent you listening to him play Bach, Mozart, Brahms and Beethoven.




FAURE (1845-1924): Requiem - Messe Basse - Elégie
Alain Clément, Philippe Huttenlocher
Maîtrise Saint-Pierre-aux-Liens
Orchestre Symphonique de Berne
Michel Corboz, conductor
Erato
Compared to the sinister strains of Verdi's Requiem, that of Fauré's is peaceful and reassuring. Inundated with light this music's disarming beauty shuns an affected or saccharine interpretation - a trap that conductor Michel Corboz cleverly avoids.




ALBENIZ (1860-1909): Iberia
Alicia de Larrocha, piano
EMI
Iberia, a series of twelve pieces for piano, remains a little-known masterpiece. Composed between 1905 and 1908, this cycle glorifies the Arabo-Andalusian songs and dances which gave birth to flamenco; the colours and fragrances of Sevilla or Malaga; the weight of ancestral traditions and beliefs (bull-fighting, religious processions, gypsy rites....). Without Artur Rubinstein, the great pianist Alicia de Larrocha would probably still be unknown to music-lovers. His discovery of her immense talent while visiting Spain would later give this artist's career a new boost. Recently reissued by EMI, the first recording of Iberia exhales the most devouring duende.



101 Best Classical Music CDs:
Romanticism in Russia and Eastern Europe
(Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Rimsky-Korsakov)



MUSSORGSKY (1839 - 1881): Boris Godunov
Mark Reizen, Maria Maksakova, Georgy Nelepp, Elena Kruglikova, Ivan Kozlovsky, Maxim Mikhaélov, Vassili Lubenzov
Bolshoi Chorus and Orchestra
Nicolai Golovanov
3 CDs Arlecchino ARL 121-123
Okay, fine, so it sounds scratched and there is no libretto. But what atmosphere! Boris Godunov is the story of a nobleman at the end of the 16th century who, in order to become Czar, had an infant's throat slashed. Supported by legendary artists, the seven-foot Soviet bass Mark Reizen was as much Boris in this 1948 Moscow recording as Schwarzenegger was Terminator or, if you prefer, James Earl Jones was the voice of Darth Vader.




MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881): Pictures at an Exhibition (+ Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Ravel, Schumann, Weber)
Benno Moiseiwitsch, piano
Appian
Like David Niven, pianist Benno Moiseiwitsch was the epitome of distinction. Born in 1890 in Odessa (which at the time was a remarkable reservoir of pianists), Benno Moiseiwitsch possessed an unsurpassed knowledge of the keyboard. The Pictures at an Exhibition are a real war horse. Moiseiwitsch's (1945) recording takes what in so many recordings is a tireseome schlep through a gallery and opens your eyes to its real glories.




TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): Symphonies no 4, 5 + 6
Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
Yevgeny Mravinsky, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon
Nobody can resist Tchaikovsky's last three symphonies when conducted by Mravinsky. Those who pretend the contrary are lying. Head of the Leningrad Philharmonic for half a century, Yevgeny Mravinsky (1903-1988) terrorized his musicians....his audiences too.




TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): Piano Concerto no 1 (+ Mussorgsky)
Vladimir Horowitz, piano
NBC Symphony Orchestra
Arturo Toscanini, conductor
RCA
Nobody can resist Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto in the hands of Horowitz and Toscanini. Those who claim the contrary are liars. In this 1940 "live" performance Horowitz throws himself on the finale like a vampire on his victim.




TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): Nutcracker Ballet - Serenade for Strings
London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Hungarica
Antal Dorati, conductor
Mercury/Philips
Music of exquisite madness with a slight hint of scandal, the Nutcracker Ballet was the Grateful Dead of its time. Tchaikovsky used instrumental combinations as unheard of in his day as the Grateful Dead's use of harmonics in rock in theirs. The famous Mercury sound engineering accentuates even more the acid trip effect.




DVORAK (1841-1904): Symphony no 9 "From the New World"
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Karel Ancerl, conductor
Supraphon
Anton Dvorak's "New World" Symphony is a veritable post-card vision of America as seen by a Czech composer still mad about Brahms and German music. Despite other world-class versions (Kubelik/Berlin, Deutsche Grammophon; Fricsay/Berlin, Deutsche Grammophon; Toscanini/NBC, RCA-BMG...), Ancerl's super-Czech version remains the ne plus ultra.




DVORAK (1841-1904): Cello Concerto
Mstislav Rostropovitch, cello
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Vaclav Talich, conductor
Supraphon
Dvorak's Cello Concerto is the most famous and most often played of the repertoire for this instrument. There are some ten recordings of this work by the Russian-born Mstislav Rostropovitch (including pirate-versions). Splendid recordings for the most part, his first recording, made in Prague in the '50s, is still the most arresting.




RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908): Shé©razade - Capriccio Espagnol - Russian Easter Festival Overture
Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam
Kirill Kondrashin, Igor Markevitch
Philips
Rimsky-Korsakov never feared the critics. With its heavy-duty bazar orientalism, Shé©razade has the irresistible kitsch of Marlene Dietrich in Kismet. Still, let yourself be seduced by this highly effective Russian music that Stravinsky copied more than once.



101 Best Classical Music CDs:
Post-Romanticism



(Elgar, Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff)



ELGAR (1857-1934): Enigma Variations - Cello Concerto
Heinrich Schiff, cello
London Symphony Orchestra
Staatskapelle Dresden
Sir Colin Davis, Sir Neville Marriner, conductors
Philips
As in the literary works of Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), Edward Elgar's music glorifies the power and values of Victorian and Edwardian England. Influenced by the post-romantic aesthetic, the compositions on this disc express with poignant sincerity the ineluctable decline of the British Empire. If the languid and nostalgic atmosphere of James Ivory's Howards End or Remains of the Day moved you, this is a disc for you.




MAHLER (1860-1911): Symphony no 2 "Resurrection"
Sylvia McNair, Jard van Nes
Ernst-Senff Chor
Berliner Philharmoniker
Bernard Haitink, conductor
Philips
The Resurrection with its "Rise ye the dead" is the the most Catholic composition of the Jewish composer Gustav Mahler. It boasts several great interpretations: Walter/Sony Classical, Klemperer/EMI, Bernstein/DG - but the one that Bernard Haitink just made with the Berlin Philharmonic is reviting. Audiophiles will definitely get their money's worth. Play it loud - and to hell with the neighbors.


MAHLER (1860-1911): Symphony no 6 (+ Strauss: Metamorphosen)
New Philharmonia Orchestra
Sir John Barbirolli, conductor
EMI
Completed in 1904, Mahler's Sixth, with its boot noises and war sounds prefigures the butchery of World War I. Sir John Barbirolli's (1899-1970) recording gives you not just the Battle of Verdun, but above all the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Warn your neighbors.


R. STRAUSS (1864-1949): Don Juan - Till Eulenspiegel - Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life) - Also Sprach Zarathoustra - Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration) - Waltzes from Der Rosenkavalier.
Staatskapelle Dresden
Rudolf Kempe, conductor
EMI
The orchestral music of Richard Strauss is a surprising yet brilliant mix of Mozart and Wagner. A master of swooning elegance, his success was (and remains) enormous. Without Strauss, hollywood music wouldn't exist. The perfect Strauss orchestra the Dresden Staatskapelle reinvents, under the baton of Rudof Kempe, "wide-screen" music.




R. STRAUSS (1864-1949): Four Last Songs - Songs for Soprano and orchestra
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, soprano
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
George Szell, conductor
EMI
Strauss was the last of the Romantics. Composed in 1948, given its premiere in 1950 by Kirsten Flagstad and Wilhelm Furtwängler, the Four Last Songs are Strauss' testament and mark the end of an era. The german soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was in complete symbiosis with this soaring music, in total disregard of musical trends of the time.




SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Symphonies no 1 + 7
Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra
Carl von Garaguly, conductor
Berlin Classics
Jean Sibelius' music is one of the most visual there is. It traces blinding horizon lines and is striking by its leonine power. Recently rereleased on a budget-priced CD, it includes the first and last symphony of the Finnish composer who, for obscure reasons, destroyed the manuscript of his Eighth Symphony. This is the most astonishing Sibelius disc ever published.




SCRIABIN (1872-1915): Sonata-Fantasia no 2 - 24 Préludes - Poème Satanique - 3 Etudes op. 65 - Sonata no 10
Kun Woo Paik, piano
Dante
The work of a visionary mind, obsessed with the occult arts, Alexander Scriabin's music smells of sulfur. His own son-in-law Vladimir Sofronitzky, a notorious heroine addict, and Vladimir Horowitz, as mad as he was brilliant, had a privileged relationship with Scriabin's piano music. Every bit as stunning as his two illustrious predecessors, the Korean Kun Woo Paik distinguishes himself from them through his Zen perspective on this music.




RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943): Piano Concertos no 2 + 3
Byron Janis, piano
Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra
Antal Dorati, conductor
Mercury/Philips
Sergei Rachmaninoff is a real case: a rather austere and depressed personality, he wrote music of shameless sensuality. Dark works full of irony, lush musicality and robust virtuosity, Rachmaninoff's Second and Third Piano Concertos always find an audience. While the second is particularly seductive and figures on the c.v. of any working pianist, the third piano concerto has always been reserved for only the most legendary pianistic talents. It requires the forces of a crack orchestra and a powerful chef. The joke amongst pianists attending a performance is: how many notes did he or she drop on the way through? American pianist Byron Janis not only plays them all, but takes you "surfing" from climax to climax with compelling insight and power.



(Rossini, Bellini, Verdi, Puccini)



ROSSINI (1792-1868): The Barber of Seville
Hermann Prey, Teresa Berganza, Luigi Alva
Ambrosian Opera Chorus
London Symphony Orchestra
Claudio Abbado, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon
Rossini confessed to have wept on only three occasions: when his first opera flopped, when he heard Niccolo Paganini play the violin, and the day his stuffed turkey with truffles fell overboard during a boat outing! As is generally the case with Rossini's music, The Barber of Seville is all good natured fun and farce. Given its premiere in Rome in 1816, the opera is about an old man who is engaged to marry a young girl - young enough to be his grand-daughter. After a thousand gags reminiscent of Laurel and Hardy skits, the astute barber, Figaro, will do just about anything to break up this match. Leading an irresistible team of actors and singers, Claudio Abbado has signed one of his greatest recordings. Warning! His recent remake of the Barber (in which Placido Domingo sounds utterly swamped) has little to commend it.




BELLINI (1801-1835): Norma
Maria Callas, Franco Corelli, Christa Ludwig
Chorus & Orchestra of La Scala, Milan
Tullio Serafin, conductor
EMI
Given its premiere at La Scala in Milan in 1831, Norma is the prototype of the Italian bel canto opera. With a simple but effective plot (a Gallic woman falls for a Roman) and its generous helpings of songfulness, this melodrama has long since established itself as one of the stable hits of the opera repertoire. Norma was one of Callas' three or four pet operas. Here she shares the stage with tenor Franco Corelli (b. 1923), the number one sex symbol of post World War II Italian opera.




VERDI (1813-1901): La Traviata
Maria Callas, Alfredo Kraus, Mario Sereni
Chorus & Orchestra of the San Carlos Theater, Lisbon
Franco Ghione, conductor
2 CDs EMI
Violetta was one of Maria Callas' greatest roles: that of a high priced courtesan (she calls you, you don't call her) who gives the best parties in Paris, falls in love too late with the son of a disapproving main-line family and takes forever to die of TB. Callas' devastating 1958 "live" performance in Lisbon is one of opera history's greatest moments and transforms Violetta into the equal of ancient Greek tragedy's most sublime heroines.




VERDI (1813-1901): Rigoletto
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Renata Scotto, Carlo Bergonzi, Fiorenza Cossotto, Ivo Vinco
Chorus & Orchestra of La Scala, Milan
Rafael Kubelik, conductor
2 CDs Deutsche Grammophon
Based on Victor Hugo's play Le Roi s'amuse, Rigoletto is about a hunchbacked widower who keeps his daughter under lock and key. So what happens? Somebody steals her, of course. Middle-period Verdi, Rigoletto is one of the most "italian" operas. A luxurious cast, an unrivalled chorus (la Scala!), this recording is an ideal choice for those just getting into opera.




VERDI (1813-1901): Otello
Carlo Cossutta, Margaret Price, Gabriel Bacquier
Wiener Staatsopernchor
Wiener Philharmoniker
Sir Georg Solti, conductor
2 CDs Decca
In opera, sex and violence always make for a good story. Mozart's Don Giovanni, Puccini's Tosca, Wagner's The Valkyrie, Richard Strauss' Salomé, Berg's Lulu, and Shostakovitch's Lady Macbeth, needn't envy A Clockwork Orange. Neither does Verdi's Otello. Adapted from Shakespeare's tragedy, this late Verdi opera keeps one breathless for nearly two hours. Compared to Toscanini's punchy version (RCA/BMG, mono) Solti's dazzling first recording (made in Vienna in 1977) is simply essential. Not to be confused with Solti's later and clearly less successful version with Luciano Pavarotti in the title role.




VERDI (1813-1901): Requiem - Te Deum
Herva Nelli, Fedora Barbieri, Giuseppe di Stefano, Cesare Siepi
Robert Shaw Chorale
NBC Symphony Orchestra
Arturo Toscanini, conductor
2 CDs RCA/BMG
Complete with ear-shattering fanfares announcing the Last Judgement, Verdi's Requiem can seem on first hearing like a liturgical monstrosity. Dedicated to the memory of the Italian writer Alessandro Manzoni and given its premiere in Milan in 1874, this death opera rivals some of the most powerful albeit overblown pages of Victor Hugo's La Légende des Siècles. Still, the then 84-year-old Toscanini's furia will leave you flabbergasted.




PUCCINI (1858-1924): Tosca
Maria Callas, Giuseppe di Stefano, Tito Gobbi
Chorus & Orchestra of La Scala, Milan
Victor de Sabata, conductor
EMI
The action is set in Rome in June 1880 during the Battle of Marengo. Mario Cavaradossi, Bonaparte's favorite painter, is Tosca's lover. Scarpia, Naples' sinister police chief, has sworn Cavaradossi's ruin. With three roles minted in gold (Maria Callas, Giuseppe di Stefano and Tito Gobbi), its dramatic tension, voluptuous and impressionist music, Tosca is the proverbial must!




PUCCINI (1858-1924): La Bohème
Luciano Pavarotti, Mirella Freni, Elizabeth Harwood, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Rolando Panerai
Chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin
Berliner Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan, conductor
Decca
Puccini's La Bohème is a work whose perfection defies analysis. Like Mozart's Don Giovanni, Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, or Janacek's little known The Cunning Little Vixen, no matter how hard you look for a flaw, you can't find it. Very few operas can compete in terms of melodic and poetic grace. Herbert von Karajan's recording deserves the same remarks.



DEBUSSY (1862-1918): La Mer - Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune - Nocturnes - Marche Ecossaise - Berceuse Héroïque - Musiques pour Le Roi Lear
Orchestre National de l'ORTF
Jean Martinon, conductor
EMI
Throughout his life Claude Debussy struggled against the massive influence of Richard Wagner. One of the complete novelties of Debussy's music was that it rejected the thick textures of German music, turning towards the South and the Mediterranean for inspiration. Available on the EMI budget series "La Voix de son Maître", this album contains Debussy's three orchestral masterpieces: La Mer - Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, Nocturnes. L'Orchestre National de l'ORTF (today's French National Orchestra) turns in a distinguished performance under the transparent and remarquably committed direction of Jean Martinon.




DEBUSSY (1862-1918): Préludes (Books I+II) - Images I+II - Children's Corner
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, piano
2 CDs Deutsche Grammophon 449438-2
Several months after the death of Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (1920 - 1995), Deutsche Grammophon reissued on two compact discs what originally had been released on three separate full price CDs. This new edition is thus excellent value for money. Rather than limiting these works to their French idiom, the ingenious Italian pianist glorifies their universal import. Michelangeli was the only pianist to dare to emphasize the occasionally monumental structure of this music. Worse still, to put his finger precisely on what Debussy owed to Wagner. Listen to La Cathédrale engloutie (The Sunken Cathedral).




RAVEL (1875-1937): Boléro - La Valse - Rhapsodie Espagnole - Pavane pour une infante défunte - Ma Mère l'Oye
London Symphony Orchestra
Pierre Monteux, conductor
Philips
A genius at orchestration, Maurice Ravel knew better than anybody how to hit the listener right between the eyes. Listen to the Boléro whose hypnotic rythm brings to mind the sassy creations of Christian Lacroix, or the delirium of La Valse, as provocative as Jean-Paul Gaultier. The legendary French conductor Pierre Monteux's musical direction is as classic as a Dior suit.




RAVEL (1875-1937): Piano Concerto in G major - Piano Concerto for the left hand
Samson François, piano
Orchestre de la Socié© des Concerts du Conservatoire
André Cluytens, conductor
EMI
The Concerto for the Left Hand is one of the four or five most perfect concertos of the repertoire. Ravel wrote this strange masterpiece for the Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who had lost his right arm in the trenches of World War I. Samson François and André Cluytens channel with incredible ease the concise energy of the tightly-knit proportions of this concerto. Their interpretation of the more traditional Concerto in G is on the same order.




FALLA (1876-1946): El Amor brujo (L'Amour sorcier) original version, 1915 - Les Tréteaux de Maïtre Pierre
Ginesa Ortega, cantaora
Orquestra de Cambra Teatre Lliure
Josep Pons, conductor
harmonia mundi
Born in Cadix, the son of an Andalusian father and a Catalan mother, Manuel de Falla like his compatriot Isaac Albeniz contributed to the rebirth of Spanish music at the turn of the century. El amor brujo is derived from an old gypsy tale about a couple, Candelas and Carmelo, that the ghost of Candelas' dead lover trys to destroy. The opera's famous Fire Dance draws its inspiration from gypsy flamenco, a musical tradition that fascinated Falla. The Catalan Josep Pons, who conducts the original 1915 version of the score, paints this music in the darkest hues.



[隱藏]
101 Best Classical Music CDs:
Twentieth Century in Eastern Europe and Russia



JANACEK (1866-1928): Sinfonietta - Taras Bulba
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Vaclav Neumann, conductor
Supraphon
Born in Moravia (Czech Republic), Leos Janacek was a kind of Czech Debussy. Like the Hungarian composer Bela Bartok, Janacek struggled against the expansionism of Germanic music. He wrote rough, brassy music which dipped heavily into the raw sounds of his native culture. The two works on this disc are excellent examples of Janacek's special brand of musical poetry. World Music enthusiasts should tune in without hesitation.




BARTOK (1881-1945): Music for strings, percussion and celesta - Concerto for orchestra
Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Yevgeny Mravinsky, György Lehel, conductors
Praga/harmonia mundi
There is nothing more barbaric or refined than the music of the Hungarian Bela Bartok - by far the best World Music ever! The dizzying rythms and colours of Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta recall the most primitive forms of musical expression. This piece has the intensity and impact of gypsy flamenco, Indian râga and African polyrythms. Tame by comparison, the Concerto for Orchestra is a hundred times richer and more exciting than any possible combination of MIDI files.




STRAVINSKY (1882-1971): The Rite of Spring - Petrushka
Cleveland Orchestra
Pierre Boulez, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon
The premiere of Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring in Paris in 1913 triggered a riot in the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées: fist-fights, booing, verbal abuse, stink-bombs and more. Why all the noise? Because of the primitive power of Stravinsky's music and the supposed obscenity of the ballet's choreography. Today, the ballet is a big hit with audiences around the world and has even made its début on CD-ROM. The ballet Petrushka is based on an old Russian farce. Pierre Boulez's musical direction is impeccable.




STRAVINSKY (1882-1971): The Firebird (complete ballet and rehearsals)
New Philharmonia Orchestra
Ernest Ansermet, conductor
Decca
First danced in Paris in 1910 by the then celebrated Ballets Russes, the two-act Firebird is based on an old Russian legend about Czar Ivan's annihilation of the green-fingered wizard Katshei with the aid of a magic bird. The orientalist music is saturated with colour and recalls Rimsky-Korsakov's Shé©razade. The Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet (1883-1969) was a close friend of composer Igor Stravinsky.




PROKOFIEFF (1891-1953): Piano Concerto no 3 - Toccata (+ Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto no 1)
Byron Janis, piano
Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
Kirill Kondrashin, conductor
Mercury/Philips
Prokofieff's Third Piano Concerto is the most electrically charged of the five. American pianist Byron Janis and the Russian conductor Kirill Kondrashin sprint through this ironic and rather breathless score like a couple of Olympic champions. Their performance of this concerto easily qualifies as the greatest ever recorded. The Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 1 is also stunning.




"MUSICA REDIVIVA"
SCHULHOFF (1894-1942): Symphony no 2
HAAS (1899-1944): Study for String Orchestra
KLEIN (1919-1945): Partita for Strings
ULLMANN (1898-1944): Symphony no 2
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Gerd Albrecht, conductor
Orfeo C 337941
Czech-born composers, Erwin Schulhoff, Pavel Haas, Gideon Klein and Viktor Ullmann all have in common that they died during deportation, victims of Nazi barbarism. The works presented on this CD convey influences from Bartok and Stravinsky and reveal deeply original composers that we are only just beginning to discover. Gerd Albrecht, leading the top-drawer Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, communicates these scores with intense commitment.




SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): Symphony no 5
Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
Yevgeny Mravinsky, conductor
Erato
The most important composer of the Soviet Empire (15 symphonies, 15 quartets...) Dimitri Shostakovich is in some circles considered the Beethoven of the 20th century. Caught between the dictates of the Stalinist regime and his own artistic conscience, he left behind works of suffocating pessimism. Given its premiere in 1937, the Fifth Symphony owes a great deal to Tchaikovsky. Under the baton of Yevgeny Mravinsky, it becomes a veritable crucifixion.



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