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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2018 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tales from the CD Changer

Yes, this might become a regular feature here on the 'Conductor. Here's what I've been listening to in the last couple of days:

Disc One:
Bruckner: Symphony No. 6
, Bavarian RSO, cond. Eugen Jochum
My current Bruckner kick continues, with this durable performance of the under-performed Sixth. Last night, listening I noticed explicit references to the Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde as well as the "Confutatis" section of the Mozart Requiem. Underpinned throughout by the distinctive two-beat/three-beat Bruckner rhythm, this is a powerful, underrated symphony.

Disc Two:
Mahler: Symphony No. 4
, Philharmonia Orchestra, cond. Giuseppe Sinopoli
This Mahler Fourth is something of a standout in Sinopoli's underrated, often erratic cycle of Mahler symphonies. This sharply played digital recording features a standout vocal performance from Edita Gruberova in the final movement. Sinopoli's slow tempos and rhythmic command do much to unveil the air of menace hidden in the pages of this deceptive symphony. One cachet: this recording is only available at the moment as part of a 15-disc box set chronicling all of Sinopoli's Mahler recordings with the Philharmonia.

Disc Three:
Buxtehude: Organ Works, Discs 1 and 2.
Harald Vogel, Organ
Johann Sebastian Bach once walked 25 miles to listen to Buxtehude play the organ, This exceptional set of performances (which, I'll admit, I've just started to work my way through) shows why. Harald Vogel plays with beauty and precision, and the set is recorded in exceptional, clear digital sound. If you love Bach organ music, you will need to hear this.

Disc Four:
Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4
, Wiener Philharmoniker, cond. Karl Bohm
Bohm was an outstanding conductor whose recorded output has benefited recently from a slew of budget DGG box sets in the last couple of years. His Brahms is not quite on the same level as Karajan's, but these are powerful, individual performances of the last two symphonies. The Third is exceptional. The Fourth glows in all of its intricacy, especially in the final chaconne movement.

Disc Five:
R. Strauss: Ein Alpensinfonie
, Bavarian R.S.O., cond. Sir Georg Solti
I have a glaring weakness for this biggest of Strauss tone poems, a 22-movement graphic aural account of the ascent and descent of an Alp, based on a climb the composer made in his youth. This gorgeous recording, featuring Georg Solti in command of this very difficult score, features exceptional brass and organ, with a full, wide aural spectrum that can make your windows rattle.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.