Leonard Bernstein – Requiem (Mozart KV 626) (1989)

FrontCover1.jpgYesterday my mother-in-law passed away at the age of 93 … So this is the right music for the moment:

The Requiem in D minor, K. 626, is a requiem mass by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791). Mozart composed part of the Requiem in Vienna in late 1791, but it was unfinished at his death on 5 December the same year. A completed version dated 1792 by Franz Xaver Süssmayr was delivered to Count Franz von Walsegg, who commissioned the piece for a Requiem service to commemorate the anniversary of his wife’s death on 14 February.

The autograph manuscript shows the finished and orchestrated Introit in Mozart’s hand, and detailed drafts of the Kyrie and the sequence Dies irae as far as the first eight bars of the Lacrimosa movement, and the Offertory. It cannot be shown to what extent Süssmayr may have depended on now lost “scraps of paper” for the remainder; he later claimed the Sanctus and Agnus Dei as his own.

Walsegg probably intended to pass the Requiem off as his own composition, as he is known to have done with other works. This plan was frustrated by a public benefit performance for Mozart’s widow Constanze. She was responsible for a number of stories surrounding the composition of the work, including the claims that Mozart received the commission from a mysterious messenger who did not reveal the commissioner’s identity, and that Mozart came to believe that he was writing the requiem for his own funeral. (by wikipedia)

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Leonard Bernstein dedicated this performance to the memory of his late wife, the actress Felicia Montealegre. It was recorded during two concerts in July 1988 in the beautiful St. Mary’s Cathedral in Diessen at the Ammersee and has been available as a CD since 1989. Bernstein uses the Franz Beyer “completion” of Mozart’s unfinished mass. His tempi are predominantly slow, accents are sharp, and the excellent Bavarians, both orchestral and chorus musicians, achieve a high level of transparency despite the reverberant church acoustics. Bernstein’s reading of the score is neither “romantic” nor “authentic”: it is unique in its uncompromising, searing intensity. The four soloists are outstanding. All in all, this may not be your one and only performance of the Requiem, but it is immensely moving and it will stay with you. Get it while you can. (Gerhard P. Knapp)

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Personnel:
Choir and Symphony-Orchestra of the Bayerischen Rundfunks conducted by Leonard Bernstein
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Maria Ewing (Sopran)
Jerry Hadley (Tenor)
Cornelius Hauptmann (Bass)
Marie McLaughlin (Sopran)
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Friedemann Winklhofer (organ)

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Tracklist:

Introitus:
01. Requiem 6.39

Kyrie:
02 Kyrie 2.45

Sequentia:
03. Dies Irae 1.43
04. Tuba Mirum 4.28
05. Rex Tremendae 2.42
06. Recordare 5.42
07. Confutatis 2.21
08. Lacrimosa 5.36

Offertorium:
09. Domine Jesu 3.28
10. Hostias 3.59

Sanctus:
11. Sanctus 1.48

Benedictus:
12. Benedictus 5.14

Agnus Dei:
13. Agnus Dei 4.53

Communio:
14. Lux Aeterna 6.44

Music composed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with additions from Joseph Eybler und Franz Xaver Süßmayr

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Leonard Bernstein – Rhapsody In Blue & An American In Paris (1959)

LPFrontCover1Because George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue is one of the most beloved American masterpieces, most people who have taken an interest in his music have come to know it quite well and have usually adopted a favorite recording already. Thanks to Sony, its Great Performances series now includes a classic that many will remember vividly — due in great part to its iconic cover photograph — and which some will recall fondly as their first introduction to Gershwin’s entertaining work. Among American performers who made a splash playing this piece, Leonard Bernstein may not have given the most fastidious, note-perfect performance, but he made this impressive recording with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra in 1959 a true reflection of his charismatic, flamboyant personality. Paired with his buoyant 1958 performance of An American in Paris with the New York Philharmonic, Bernstein’s rendition of Rhapsody is lively, flashy, bluesy, and intensely romantic in feeling, and these positive characteristics no doubt contributed to keeping this album in print for many years as one of Columbia’s great successes. (by Blair Sanderson)

Leonard Bernstein’s recording is a disc for the ages. It’s American music performed with mid-century flair, a moment never to be recaptured. Bernstein had the feel for Rhapsody In Blue, and he does full justice to the still racy and spontaneous score. His performance of the piano solo has a smoky, sultry jazziness to it, along with a brash exuberance; there is touching tenderness in the lullaby, riveting dynamism in the fast pages. (b analogspark.com)

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Personnel:
Leonard Bernstein (piano)
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The Columbia Symphony Orchestra (on 01.)
New York Philharmonic (on 02,)

conducted by Leonard Bernstein

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Tracklist:
01. A Rhapsody In Blue 16.29
02. An American In Paris 18.27
03. Allegro 12.56
03. Andante con moto 12.44
04. Allegro agitato 6.30

Composed by George Gershwin

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Various Artists – Concert Of The Century (1976)

FrontCover1.JPGI guess this was a very special night at the Carnegie Hall, New York. This concert should celebrate the 85th anniversary of this legendary concert hall.

My uncle bought this double LP as a Christmas present for my father back when it first came out. It was recorded in celebration of the 85th anniversary of Carnegie Hall. That concert night featured Leonard Bernstein and members of the NYP, Isaac Stern, Rostropovich, Yehudi Menuhin, and of course, Dieskau and Horowitz! Bach’s double violin concerto in D minor is unpolished with Stern and Menuhin and the entire cast singing Handel’s “Hallelujah” from the Massiah at the end is a bit much and over the top.

Still, it was indeed a historical night and Dieskau and Horowitz’ performance of Schumann’s Dichterliebe made it so. A must have for anyone who loves this piece or wishes to fall in love with it. (Peter Chordas)

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The performance of the slow movement of the rachmaninoff cello sonata is among the most touching recordings that have ever been made. (Joerg)

The performance of the slow movement of the rachmaninoff cello sonata is among the most touching recordings that have ever been made. (Pete)

All lovers of Lieder seem to have a certain passion and veneration for Fischer-Dieskau’s interpretation of Schumann’s Dichterliebe. It is appearant that this singer’s understanding of the music, his vocal capacity, his beautiful phrasing, clear diction, and his general (outstanding) musicianship enable him to communicate these Lieder in a way nobody else has done before (save maybe Hotter) or since.
In this live-recording he is supported by no other than Vladimir Horowitz! And the inspiration between these two artists works wonders. Horowitz’ playing in crucial moments of the cycle fx “Ich Grolle Nicht” adds a spiritual dimension to the interpretation that you do not get from Moore, Brendel or Demus. We are dealing with the best interpretation of this cycle ever conveyed to disc. (Tommy Nielsen)

And … listen to “Pater Noster” … unbelieveable music … I call this music … spiritual music, even I don´t believe in god !

What a night !

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Personnel:
Leonard Bernstein (harpsichord on 05.)
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (vocals on 04. + 07.)
Vladimir Horowitz (piano on 02. – 04. + 07.)
Yehudi Menuhin (violin on 05. + 07.)
Mstislav Rostropovich (cello on 02., 03. + 07.)
Isaac Stern (violin on 02., 05. + 07.)

Members Of The New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein (on 01., 05. + 07.)
The Oratorio Society Orchestra conducted by Lyndon Woodside (o6. + 07.)

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Tracklist:
01. Leonore – Overture No3/Ouvertüre Nr3/Ouverture Nº3 Op.72a (Beethoven) 14.34
02. Piano Trio In A Minor/Klaviertrio, A-moll/Trio Pour Piano En La Mineur – Op.50, I – Pezzo Elegiaco (Tchaikovsky) 18.18
03. Sonata For Cello & Piano In G Minor/Sonate Für Violoncello & Klavier G-moll/Sonate Pour Violoncelle & Piano En Sol Mineur – Op.19, III Andante (Rachmaninoff) 5.47
04. Dichterliebe, Op.48 (Schumann/Heine) 29.30
05. Concerto In D Minor For Two Violins/Konzert Für Zwei Violinen, D-moll/Concerto Pour Deux Violons En Ré-mineur BWV 1043 (Bach) 15.29
06. Pater Noster (Tchaikovsky) 3.53
07. The Messiah/Hallelujah Chorus (Händel) 4.04

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