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With their performances of arrangements of well-known, romantic Russian pieces, popular adaptations and waltzes, this professional orchestra gives us an insight into the spirited and highly entertaining world of a living musical culture.
Richter and Rostropovich devote themselves to their task with verve and freshness. The two early works are marked by the rich and full sound of the cello and an elegantly performed piano part, while the two Russian musicians foster a contemplative, introverted style in the A major Sonata.
In their tactful tone, warm exploitation of melody, and candid desire to please, the bulk of the violin sonatas certainly reflect the easy terms on which Beethoven, as the latest musical lion, found himself with dilettante circles in turn-of-the-century Vienna.
Any pianist who tackles Franz Liszt's great works must possess outstanding skills in many areas. Technical prowess is absolutely necessary to play the extremely difficult score, as is immense physical energy in order to compete with the hefty onslaughts from the orchestra.
That the C minor Quintet found its way into a chamber is all thanks to Mozart himself, for he sought out his Wind Serenade K. 388 – composed many years previously – and arranged it anew. Holliger and his fellow musicians leave no doubt as to the serious, mysterious character of the piece, which are inherent in the key and formal structure of the work.
After hearing the results of small revisions Joaquin Rodrigo wrote: "It was with the greatest pleasure that I listened to this recording of my Andaluz and Aranjuez Concertos.
The spoken word is also brimful of rhythmic vitality and is impressively rendered by the enormously adaptable voices of Jean Cocteau as the Narrator and Peter Ustinov as the Devil. Igor Markevitch urges on the excellent musicians in his little orchestra with élan and accuracy, with the young Maurice André’s brilliantly performed trumpet part being particularly conspicuous.
It is pointless to look for a recording that is remotely as good as this one. It doesn’t exist!
This is the work with which Tchaikovsky made his symphonic break-through. Its three predesessors - known as the "Winter Dreams" symphony, the "Little Russian," and the "Polish" - all contained flashes of the Tchaikovsky that was to emerge in the fourth symphony...
The music on this Philips LP is modern and timeless, and has been recorded using the very best stereo technique.