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Pierre Boulez, music for solo piano: Incises, Sonata No. 1, Une page d'éphéméride, Sonata No. 3
Marc Ponthus

Authoritative and poetic performances of these scintillating, gorgeous masterpieces! Highly recommended.

Side note: Bridge makes many superb recordings, but why do most of their albums have terrible cover art? This one if anything has better cover art than average for them...

 

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Carl Nielsen, orchestral works: Overture and "Cockerel's Dance" from Maskarade, Prelude to Sir Oluf He Rides, Snefrid suite for orchestra, Prelude to Act II from Saul and David, Rhapsody Overture: An Imaginary Journey to the Faroe Islands, Prelude to Act III from Willemoes, Pan and Syrinx, Overture to Cupid and the Poet, Helios Overture
Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Thomas Dausgaard

 

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Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 in C minor
Münchner Philharmoniker, Valery Gergiev

Continuing my evaluation of this cycle. No. 4 was a bit of a letdown. Much beautiful playing, but an interpretation that was a little too reverent and cautious in my opinion, and failed to quite catch fire. If you prefer a slower, "more spiritual" (barf) interpretation, this might work for you. I want more fire.

No. 8 so far is more promising, so far. But both recordings are characterized by an less-than-impressive, overly veiled sound quality.

ETA: assessment after the final bar: this is an excellent, deeply satisfying performance of Bruckner 8! The sound still bugs me, but I definitely liked Gergiev's Bruckner 8 more than his 4, which I listened to a day or two ago. I feel I can recommend this Bruckner 8.

More to come.

 

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J. S. Bach: Cantatas BWV 26, 81, 14, Motet "Jesu meine Freude," BWV 227
Joanna Lunn, Katharine Fuge, William Towers, Paul Agnew, Peter Harvey
The Monteverdi Choir, the English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner

Cantatas for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany. I am very, very far from getting bored with these incredible pieces and amazing performances.

 

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Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 in E major
Münchner Philharmoniker, Valery Gergiev

While No. 4 of the cycle was a bit disappointing to me, No. 8 was very good, and No. 7 so far is similarly excellent, sufficiently so for me to continue exploring Gergiev's Bruckner. And either I've gotten used to the recorded sound, or they did a better job with 7 than the two previous, so while I'm not going to run out and mail a postcard to everyone I know about how good the sound is, at least now I'm satisfied enough to not to think about it.

 

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Arnold Schönberg: Pelleas und Melisande, Op. 5; Variations for Orchestra, Op. 31
Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan

How I adore this complex, emotionally intense, gorgeous music! I listened to this box set over and over when I was a kid (well, undergraduate,) and it is always a pleasure to return to this music and these recordings.

 
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