Giulinis Mahler recordings are few but notable. The earliest is of the First Symphony, made in 1971 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra a performance that seems to radiate from within, full of delicate colours and telling details as well as a strong sense of architecture. Giulini conducted the Ninth Symphony for the first time at Florence in November 1971 before performing it on a number of occasions in Chicago, where he made his famous Deutsche Grammophon recording of the work in 1976.
The composer (Johann Gottfried) Carl Loewe is familiar to music lovers of the 20th and 21st centuries above all as the writer of important ballad scores, of which Edward, Erlkonig, Herr Oluf, and Archibald Douglas are well-known examples. His songs Die Uhr or Heinrich der Vogler were or are popular hits, especially in a bygone heyday of salon music and educated bourgeois culture. Loewe wrote more than 400 songs. But the same Carl Loewe also write six operas, two symphonies and two piano concertos as well as a total of 17 sacred and secular oratorios, all of which have fallen into oblivion. With the present oratorio, the Arcix Vocalisten, led by Thomas Gropper, are vehemently opposed to oblivion.
Youthful Viennese pianist Till Fellner has performed J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier to critical acclaim across Europe, and has made it the backbone of his recital repertoire. For this recording of Book I, Fellner performs the 24 preludes and fugues with a rich and full sound, yet with the refinement and fastidious control required in these comprehensive studies of Baroque keyboard technique. Articulation and balanced phrasing are of paramount importance, and Fellner's energies are directed to the clean execution of lines and the careful shading of contrapuntal voicings. What emotion he communicates is subtle and somewhat constrained to the contrasting characters of each pairing – the preludes and fugues often play off each other – yet his interpretations are quite colorful and varied over the course of the set. Neither cerebral nor effusive, Fellner renders the music in an appealing middle area between schools of interpretation, and achieves imaginative results that should please both traditionalists and fans of period practice.
BIS has done it again! If you’ve been collecting any of the marvelous unknown composers that this label has been advocating over the years, including Tubin, Tveitt, Klami, or (from this source) Guarnieri, then you’re going to love this fabulous new disc of music by Brazilian composer Francisco Mignone (1897-1986). He’s best known today for his shorter piano pieces, which appear on numerous Latin American keyboard music collections–but there’s much more to him than that. The son of Italian immigrants, Mignone’s music sounds like an Afro-Brazilian homage to Respighi, Puccini, and Stravinsky–but as happens so often in these cases, whatever he may lack in sheer originality he more than makes up for in melodic spontaneity and in finding a mix of ingredients that is his alone. This disc, which shows the work of a superb craftsman and an orchestrator every bit on the level of the three composers just mentioned, only whets the appetite for more–much more.