BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67. Symphony No. 7 in A, Op. 92.
Vienna Philharmonic Orch/Carlos Kleiber, cond.
DGG 471 639 TT: 72:27 (5 channel)
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SALIERI: Arias from La secchia rapita, La scuola de' gelosi, La fiera di Venezia, Palmira, regina di Persia, La cifra, Il ricco d'un giorno, La secchia rapita, La finta scema, La grotta di Trofonio and Armida.
Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo-soprano; Orchestra of the Age of Enlightement/Adam Fischer, cond.
DECCA 470 631 TT: 68:14 (5.l channel)
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Carlos Kleiber's Vienna recordings of Beethoven's Fifth and Seventh symphonies recorded in Vienna's Musikvereinssaal in 1974 and 1976 are classics in the CD catalog, and sound better than ever in this pseudo-surround treatment. Originally were not valid multi-channel recordings; they have been been given a "new surround mix and new stereo mix" by Andrew Wedman—and he has done his task superbly. The Vienna Phiharmonic is in front with natural reflected sound from the rear, with no loss of detail and an abundance of hall warmth. Truly outstanding indeed, and highly recommended.

Cecilia Bartoli surely is to be admired for her continued exploration of music by lesser-known composers. Here she applies her remarkable artistry to rediscovery of music of Antono Salieri who had the misfortune of being cast as Mozart's enemy in the film Amadeus. A strong case for the composer is made, indeed, in these stunning performances, mostly world premiere recordings, of arias from the operas listed above. Bartoli's vocal fireworks are incredible, although some of the sounds she produces are odd, rather like a parrot gone beserk. Don't get me wrong, I have the greatest respect for Bartoli. This is truly remarkable singing, but it's not anything I'd want to hear often. Decca's sound is first-rate, astoundingly clear in detail. This is a deluxe package with profuse notes and complete texts—and an inner CD sleeve from which it is almost impossible to extricate the disk.

R.E.B. (December 2003)

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