RACHMANNOFF: Piano Concerto No. 1 in F# minor, Op. 1. Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor, Op. 18. TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concert No. 1 in b flat minor, Op. 23. PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D flat, Op. 10. RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Piano Concerto in C# minor. GLAZUNOV: Piano Concerto No. 1 in F minor, Op. 97.
Sviatoslav Richter, piano; Orchestras conducted by Yevgeny Mravinsky, Kurt Sanderling, and Kiril Kondrashin.
PRISTINE CLASSICAL PASC 405 (2 disks) TT: 2:33:34

CHOPIN: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11 (Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich/Otto Ackermann, cond.). Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58.
Dinu Lipatti, piano.

WAGNER: Entrance if the Gods into Valhalla from Das Rheingold. Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walküre. Forest Murmurs and Fire Musie from Siegfried. Excerpts from Parsifal: Prelude to Act I. Transformation Music. Flower Maidens Scene. Prelude, vocal excerpts from Act III. Bayreuth Festival Orch/Franz vo Hoessin, cond Bayreuth Festival Orc/Siegfried Wagner, cond. (Parsifal Prelude to Act III).Good Friday/Siegfried Wagner, cond. Bayreuth Festival Orch & Chorus/Karl Muck, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO 103 (2 disks) TT: 2 hr. 31:42

PUCCINI: La Bohème
Maria Callas (Mimi). Giuseppe di Stefano (Rodolfo). Rolando Panerai ( Marcello). Anna Moffo (Musetta). Nicolai Zaccaria (Colline). Carlo Badioli (Benoit/Alcindoro). Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala/Antonino Votto, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO 108 (2 disks) TT: 1 ht. 45:23

LOTTE LEHMANN - A 125th Anniversary Birthday Tribute
Arias, lieder and concert performances by the legendary soprano, many previously unreleased
MUSIC & ARTS CD 1279 (4 disks)

This Sviatoslav Richter collection makes available in finest possible sound some of the pianist's greatest rewordings, made 1950-1959 in Russia. They have been recognized over the years for their power and technical brilliance. This recording of Rachmaninoff No. 2 was ,ade Feb. 18, 1959, a majestic reading of radiant assurance, surely one of the top performances ever recorded. The Tchaikovsky. recorded July 24, 1958, is much superior to the rather sedate recording Richter made of the work with Karajan and the Vienna Symphony in 1962. The spectacular performance of Rachmanoff Concerto No. 1 makes one wonder why Richter never played Rachmaninoff Three and Four and the Paganini Rhapsody; those would have been intriguing indeed. The Rimsky-Korsakov concerto doesn't amount to much, and the Glazunov also is a minor work, but we can be sure they have never been better played. All of these recordings have benefited enormously from Arnold Rose's XR remastering. This is a terrific tribute to one of the truly great pianists of all time. Even if you own these recordings in previous issue, don't miss it.

Equally refined pianism is heard in this remastered release of Chopin played by Roumaian pianist Dinu Lipatti's (1917 - 1950). Unfortunately he made few recordings before his death from cancer. He did recorded the Schumann and Mozart 21 with Karajan, the Grieg concertos with Alceo Galliera, there also is a Schumann concerto live with Ansermet and the Suisse Romande Orchestra Feb 1950 shortly before his premature death from lymphomatic cancer. Lipatti's legendary live performance of Chopin's Concerto No. 1 with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra directed by Otto Ackermann, is a treasure. A poor-quality radio broadcast, it has been issued before, but now Pristine Audio's wizardry has restored this recording so it is now listenable, correcting various pitch and balance problems. generally enhancing the limited sonic range of the original source. It is a magnificent performance of this very demanding concerto, particularly remarkable as it was a live performance shortly before the pianist's death. Lipatti specialized n Chopin and recorded a number of his works for EMI This performance of Sonata No. 3 was recorded in March 1947, is among the best, and as reprocessed here can be heard in its full beauty. An important issue for pianophiles!

This 2-disk set of historic (and first) recordings of music from Parsifal is a treasure. This important recording has been issued previously. This site covered the earlier Naxos issue remastered by Mark Obert-Thorn (REVIEW).and you might be interested in R.D.'s comments on Karl Muck (REVIEW). Here we have new transfers from MOT that offer a wondrous restoration of recording made more than six decades ago. Audio quality is amazing in every way, and what a pleasure it is to hear this magnificent music performed as the composer himself doubtless intended. At the time, Parsifal could not be performed anywhere except in Bayreuth (the first performance outside of Bayreuth was in 1903 at the Met). .These recordings have been treasured ever since their release, and for good reason. Karl Muck was a racist and Hitler fanatic, a rather revolting person as well, but he surely was a superb interpreter of Wagner. Orchestral playing is excellent throughout, singers in the vocal excerpts are equally fine. The main interest is that we have an opportunity to hear the original "Parsifal bells," built to the composer's specifications. These huge bell sproduce a fascinating, rich, deep sound perfect ct for the solemnity of the music. Unfortunately the bells were melted down in the 40's for the war effort. .For detailed information about the famous bells used in the Transformation Scene, check details on WIKIPEDIA. In addition to the Parsifal excerpts, we have several intriguing "bleeding chunks" of Wagner from Bayreuth with conductors Franz von Hoesslin and the composer's son, Siegfried. Don't miss this major issue!

La Bohème was one of Maria Callas' first complete opera recordings, her only complete recording of the opera, taped in August/September 1956 at La Scala. The stellar supporting cast. included Carlo Bergonzi in one of his first recorded collaborations with Callas, whom he appeared with often including the diva's "final" concert tour in 1973.. Anna Moffo is a sprightly Musetta—five years later she would make her famous RCA recording as Mimi. This is a famous recording of the opera although I find the Greek soprano's voice, even this early in her career, hard and often uncontrolled. Andrew Rose has done everything possible to present this performance in best possible sound, providing an "ambient stereo" effect that much improves audio on original tapes.

German soprano Lotte Lehmann ( 188801978) was one of the greatest performers of the century, loved and respected throughout the operatic world. In 1935 she was on the cover of Time magazine! Lehmann was chosen for many important premieres including . the composer in Ariadne auf Naxos, the Dyer's Wife in Die Frau ohne Schatten, and Christine in Intermezzo. She sang hundreds of times in more than 50 roles at the Vienna State Opera ranging from Puccini, Kongold, Thomas, Gounod and Massenet to Wagner (Elsa, Sieglinde, Elisabeth). A favorite of conductors Arturo Toscanini and Bruno Walter, she often gave lieder recitals with Walter at the piano. She made many recordings including the famous 1935 Act I of Die Walküre in which she was joined by Lauritz Melchior with Bruno Walter and the Vienna Philharmonic. We are indebted to Music & Arts for this 125th Anniversary Birthday Tribute, four capacity-filled CDs of mostly live performances many of which are premiere issues. All have been beautifully restored by Lani Spahr. The four CDs sell for the price of three, and a bonus disk contains a CD-ROM with complete recording information, liner notes, photos, texts and translations. and special feaures. An important vocal release! For a complete list of contents, visit the Music & Arts WEBSITE

R.E.B. (March 2014)