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last updated: 02/06/2016

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Symphony No. 9 op. 125 D minor

Elza van den Heever, soprano
Janina Baechle, alto
Robert Dean Smith, tenor
Georg Zeppenfeld, bass
Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno
Petr Fiala, chorus master
Beethoven Orchester Bonn
Stefan Blunier, conductor


MDG 937 1899-6

Info

Memory of the World, Anthem of the European Union, New Year's All-Time Great - the sublime significance assigned by the general public and music critics to "Beethoven's Ninth" means that its artistic core is sometimes obscured. As the latest release by the Beethoven Orchestra of Bonn magnificently demonstrates, however, this symphony has plenty to offer even before the titanic finale on Schiller's idealistic "Ode to Joy." From the initial fifth interval's ex nihilo to the fateful outbursts at the beginning of the finale, Stefan Blunier develops a compelling plot line making this full-length work an enthralling Super Audio experience.

Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)

String Quartets op. 56 & JS 183 (1889)

Leipziger Streichquartett

MDG 307 1957-2

Info

Two lonely reindeer herders exchange melancholy greetings over the lake. With the very first tones of his Voces intimae string quartet Jean Sibelius transports the listener into a fascinating Nordic atmosphere. At the same time this climactic point in his chamber oeuvre marked the end of a personal creative crisis during which he left late romantic terrain behind him and set out on the path to his modern and most highly individual musical language. The work of the composer's youth that the Leipzig String Quartet has paired with this milestone surprises us with original ideas while also meeting the highest compositional demands.

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Piano Trios Vol. 1
Trio op. 8 B major
Trio op. 87 C major

Vienna Piano Trio

MDG 942 1962-6

Info

Some compositions are so good that we wish we could have two of the same. The early Piano Trio in B major op. 8 by Johannes Brahms is one such work and one of music history's greatest cases of good fortune: it has been transmitted in two versions. As we know, the overly self-critical Brahms otherwise completely destroyed all the early versions, sketches, and drafts of his works. The Vienna Piano Trio's new Brahms edition in superior Super Audio sound on MDG opens with the late version of this work from the composer's youth and then confronts it with his mature op. 87.

Max Reger (1873-1916)

Reger and his time
Motets by Reger, Brahms, Bruckner and
Schönberg

OPUS VOCALE
Volker Hedtfeld, conductor


MDG 902 1959-6

Info

When Max Reger threatened to get caught between the hardened fronts of the Brahmsians and Wagnerians, he self-assertively termed himself a "Selfian." Commemorating the hundredth anniversary of Reger's death, the prizewinning OPUS VOCALE chamber choir considers his compositions along with works by his contemporaries Brahms, Bruckner, and Schönberg and explores surprising interconnections between them while showing the masterful chromaticist in an entirely new light.

Waldeinsamkeit

Songs and Piano Works by Schumann and Brahms

Efa Hoffmann, soprano
Edward Rushton, piano

Audiomax 703 1958-2

Info

Robert Schumann's Liederkreis is among the most romantic creations ever produced by romantic music. Here Joseph von Eichendorff's wonderful poems also play a significant role: profound seeking, longing, and yearning could certainly hardly be captured in more impressive words. Many a firmly held belief has to be thrown overboard - but who cares? On her CD debut Efa Hoffmann brings together the Liederkreis and a selection of folk songs by Johannes Brahms in a multifaceted exploration of the program's unifying theme of Waldeinsamkeit: the solitude of the woods. When she presents this theme to her concert audiences in song recitals,
she even incorporates special optical effects.


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