Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen
Birgit Nilsson, Hans Hotter, Wolfgang Windgassen, George London, Gustav Neidlinger, Gerhard Stolze, Gottlob Frick, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Kirsten Flagstadt, Set Svanholm, James King, Régine Crespin, Christa Ludwig, many others; Vienna State Opera Chorus, Vienna Philharmonic, Georg Solti
Decca 0289 478 3702 2 (17 CDs, 1 BD, 1 DVD). 195866/1997/2012. John Culshaw, prod.; Gordon Parry, eng.; James Lock (1997), Philip Siney (2012), remastering. ADD. TT: 14:36:56 (Ring only)
Gramophone called it "the recording of the [20th] century"; Stereophile named it No.1 of the 40 essential recordings of all time. Fifty-four years after the first Rheingold sessions, there is still nothing like this history-making first studio recordingby conductor Georg Solti, the Vienna Philharmonic, and producer John Culshawof Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, originally taped and released on LP from 1958 to 1966. The unsurpassed quality of singers and orchestra, Solti's astonishing ability to tell a dramatic story in music, the epic scope and sweep of work and performanceand the sound, as much a wonder for our own time as half a century agomake these recordings seem more precious, their combinations of qualities less likely to ever be repeated, with every passing year.
Wynton Marsalis: Baroque Music for Trumpets Vivaldi: Concerto for 2 Trumpets, RV 537; Telemann: Concertos for 3 Trumpets, in B-flat and D; Pachelbel: Canon for 3 Trumpets (arr. Leppard); M. Haydn: Concerto for Trumpet; Biber: Sonata for 8 Trumpets & Orchestra
Wynton Marsalis, piccolo trumpets; Raymond Leppard, English Chamber Orchestra
CBS M 42478 (LP), MK 42478 (CD). Bud Graham & Steven Epstein, engs.; Steven Epstein, prod. DDD. TT: 47:18
There are very few musically satisfying compositions for solo trumpet. A great deal of the standard repertoire is Baroque, and that primarily of the Paradestuck (parade, or showoff piece) school. Of Wynton Marsalis's five Masterworks releases, at least three fall into this category, the present one most of all. There are gimmicks galore here, of composition, arrangement, and recordingWynton Marsalis, genius of all trades, overdubbing himself ad infinitum through digital wizardry. The fact is, given the music, such an approach is probably the most appropriate; certainly no one listens to the Biber Sonata for 8 Trumpets for profound spiritual insight, and none of this music was written to stretch the boundaries of anything but the trumpeter's chops. In the recording of such antiphonal works, the 18th century's version of "special effects" or "stereo spectaculars," it makes sense that the soloists seem as telepathically in tune with one another's playing as possible. So why not use the same single player?
The Phantom of the Opera: Original Canadian Cast
Jeffrey Huard, cond.; Andrew Lloyd Webber, music; Charles Hart, lyrics; Richard Stilgoe, additional lyrics
PolyGram 847 689-1 (LP), -2 (CD*). Martin Levan, David Caddick, prods.; Martin Levan, eng. DDA/DDD. TTs: 57:03, 69:45*
VIVALDI: The Four Seasons; Flute Concerto in D ("Il Gardellino"), RV 428; Harpsichord Concerto in A, RV 780 Igor Kipnis, Connecticut Early Music Festival Ensemble Chesky CD78 (CD only). David Chesky, Jeremy Kipnis, prods.; Jeremy Kipnis, eng. DDD. TT: 62:15
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD: Friday Afternoon in the Universe John Medeski, organs, piano, wurlitzer, clavinet; Billy Martin, drums, percussion; Chris Wood, acoustic bass, harmonica, wood flute Gramavision GCD 79503 (CD only). MMW, David Baker, Jim Payne, prods.; David Baker, eng.; Dr. Toby Mountain, mastering. DDD? TT: 57:06
TONY BENNETT/BILL EVANS: The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album Tony Bennett, vocals; Bill Evans, piano JVC JVCXR-0208-2 (CD). 1975/2001. Helen Keane, prod.; Don Cody, eng.; Akira Taguchi, XRCD2 prod., Alan Yoshida, XRCD2 mastering eng. AAD?. TT: 35:09 Performance ***** Sonics ****
THE BAND: The Last Waltz Warner Bros./Rhino Entertainment R2 78278 (4 CDs). 1978/2002. Robbie Robertson, prod.; Rob Fraboni, John Simon, co-prods.; Larry Samuels, exec. prod.; Terry Becker, Tim Kramer, Elliot Mazer, Wayne Neuendorf, Ed Anderson, Neil Brody, engs. AAD? TT: 4:10:16 Performance ***** Sonics ****?