Current Listening: Howarth and Abbado Conduct 4 Works by Xenakis

Iannis Xenakis’ music is nowhere near being easy-listening, but he was a genius. He was undoubtedly a genius whose works are some of the most important of the contemporary period. This release by Decca features four orchestral works by him: Synaphaï, Aroura, Antikhthon, and Keqrops. The first three are performed by the New Philharmonia Orchestra … More Current Listening: Howarth and Abbado Conduct 4 Works by Xenakis

Current Listening: Gidon Kremer Plays Gubaidulina’s Offertorium

Composer Sofia Gubaidulina is another big name in the contemporary circle. This recording from DG features two works by the Russian composer. The first one is a concerto for violin and orchestra, titled Offertorium, performed by violinist Gidon Kremer and the Boston Symphony Orchestra led by Charles Dutoit; the second one is Hommage à T.S. … More Current Listening: Gidon Kremer Plays Gubaidulina’s Offertorium

Current Listening: Lutosławski from Krystian Zimerman and Simon Rattle

Krystian Zimerman is back with another recording of the Lutosławski Piano Concerto, this time with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. The result? Fantastic! Coupled with the Piano Concerto is a rendition of Lutosławski’s Symphony No.2 by Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, which is also splendid. Zimerman’s performance of the Piano Concerto hasn’t lost … More Current Listening: Lutosławski from Krystian Zimerman and Simon Rattle

Listening of the Week: Günter Wand’s Beethoven Symphony Cycle

I don’t plan on making too many posts on older recordings, but this lovely box set seems to be asking me to make a post on it. Günter Wand was a great German conductor whose Bruckner recordings are regarded as legendary. This box set here contains his Beethoven symphony cycle recorded with the NDR-Sinfonieorchester (NDR … More Listening of the Week: Günter Wand’s Beethoven Symphony Cycle

Favourite Recording: Salonen Conducts Adams’ Naive and Sentimental Music

John Adams’ Naive and Sentimental Music may not seem as “complex” as many other contemporary works, but Adams has successfully crafted a magnificent work for orchestra. The three movements of the work last about 45 minutes in total. It could easily be called a symphony, but Adams chose not to name it as such (the … More Favourite Recording: Salonen Conducts Adams’ Naive and Sentimental Music

Current Listening: Salonen Conducts Bernard Herrmann’s Film Scores

I’m not familiar with many film scores, but Bernard Herrmann’s scores are brilliant and intelligent; and when you have Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic performing, you have very fine renditions of his music. This recording includes Herrmann’s scores for the following films: The Man Who Knew Too Much, Psycho, Marnie, North by Northwest, … More Current Listening: Salonen Conducts Bernard Herrmann’s Film Scores

Current Listening: Boulez Conducts Alban Berg’s Lulu

Thanks to the orchestration completion by composer Friedrich Cerha, we now have a completed three-act version of Alban Berg’s opera Lulu (even though Berg’s widow had forbidden the completion). This recording captures an excellent performance of the full Lulu, featuring Pierre Boulez conducting the Orchestre de l’Opéra de Paris with soprano Teresa Stratas as Lulu. … More Current Listening: Boulez Conducts Alban Berg’s Lulu

Favourite Recording: Riccardo Chailly’s Messiaen Turangalîla-Symphonie

Olivier Messiaen’s cosmic Turangalîla-Symphonie is, to me, one of the greatest orchestral works ever written. Scored for two soloists (solo piano and ondes Martenot) and orchestra, a performance of the work often lasts about an hour and 15 minutes. With Jean-Yves Thibaudet on piano and Takashi Harada on the ondes Martenot, this recording with Riccardo … More Favourite Recording: Riccardo Chailly’s Messiaen Turangalîla-Symphonie

Current Listening: Shostakovich 10 from Mariss Jansons and the RCO

The Symphony No.10 is one of Shostakovich’s greatest orchestral works. It was premiered nine months after Joseph Stalin’s death (Stalin would have loathed this symphony). Here is another recording of the work, finely interpreted by Mariss Jansons and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Though not perfect, Mariss Jansons’s judgements are overall very good, especially in the … More Current Listening: Shostakovich 10 from Mariss Jansons and the RCO

Favourite Recording: Lindberg’s Clarinet Concerto et al from Kriikku and Oramo

Magnus Lindberg’s Clarinet Concerto is one of the best works written for the clarinet, not just within the contemporary repertoire but also of all time. Written specifically for Kari Kriikku, the work is in one movement and lasts about 25 minutes. Kari Kriikku is supported by Sakari Oramo and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in … More Favourite Recording: Lindberg’s Clarinet Concerto et al from Kriikku and Oramo