Time for a review of classical CDs that were outstanding in 2011. My lists for the previous years: 2010, 2009, (2009 – “Almost”), 2008, (2008 - "Almost") 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004.
# 4 - New Release
R. Strauss, "Poesie", Diana Damrau, Christian Thielemann, Munich Philharmonic, Virgin Classics 628664
R.Strauss, Orchestral Songs,
D.Damrau / C.Thielemann / MuPhil
Her playfulness, her ease, her joyfully purled high notes, her melodious allure and the coy sparkle: Whether in opera or concert, Diana Damrau is a perfect joy to experience... capable of making believers out of doubters and turning hackneyed roles into three dimensional, intriguing characters. If you haven't the opportunity to hear Mme. Damrau live, the proof is in her latest pudding... err: CD release on Virgin Classics. Strauss' finest orchestral songs, recorded with the best Strauss-team available at the time: Christian Thielemann and the Munich Philharmonic.... The loving, caring sensitivity of Thielemann's support is oozing through the music everywhere; he accompanies in the best sense: eager to let Damrau and Strauss shine in the best possible light.
(Full review here: “Diana Damrau’s Strauss Sublime”)
# 4 – Reissue
F. Schubert et al., Symphonies, Dialog & Epilog, Jonathan Nott, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Tudor 1610
|F.Schubert, Symphonies et al.,|
J.Nott / Bamberg SO
This damn set, because it is so incredibly fancy and shiny, doesn’t fit into any CD shelf. That’s beautifully annoying, but depending on how picky you are about sorting your music, it may not matter… or you will find a creative work-around. In any case, it’s the music that (presumably) matters. And this Schubert cycle is absolutely fantastic, making the most of the lesser symphonies (1-4) and turning in highly competitive versions of the magnificent Fifth, the “Little C major”, the unfinished Eighth, and the “Great” Ninth. Better, still, it includes the “Dialog” and “Epilog” CDs of their Schubert exploration, and those two CDs alone would be worth the recommendation. I’ve written about Luciano Berio’s Rendering just recently (“Schubert’s Ghost”), and the other works included (Aribert Reimann’s Metamorphosen on a Schubert Minuet, Hans Werner Henze’s Erlkönig, Schubert Choruses by Hans Zender, and Kurt Schwertsik’s Rosamunde Epilog) are also highly intriguing, consonant works of modern beauty. The “Dialog” CD includes Schubert-infused and tuned works by Jörg Widmann, Wolfgang Rihm, Bruno Mantovani, and Dieter Schnebel and is just as fascinating. That’s contemporary music made very, very easy… with a generous Schubert dollop to boot.