ANTHOLOGY OF THE ROYAL CONCERTGEBOUW ORCHESTRA
2000 - 2010
Here is the most recent issue in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Anthology series. This site has praised previous issues. For complete information on each, check the reviews: VOLUME I, VOLUME II, VOLUME III, VOLUME IV, VOLUME V, VOLUME VI. This new set covers the decade 2000 - 2010.
This 14-disk set offers many treasures. Of course all of the performances are first-rate displaying one of the world's greatest orchestras at its peak of performance, all beautifully recorded in splendid stereophonic sound. As you can see from the above list, there is a wide range of music. We do have standard repertory, symphonies of Haydn (No. 97), Mozart (No. 41), Schubert (No. 3), Schumann (No. 2), Brahms No. (4), Bruckner (No. 8), and Beethoven (No. 9). Soloists give dazzling performances of violin concertos of Szymanowski and Stravinsky, and 'Ligeti's Piano Concerto. Verbey's Lied is a virtuoso display piece for trombone magnificentlyh played by Jörgen van Rijen.
There are many unusual works in this set. Oddest of all perhaps is No Need to Panic by Mayke Nas (b 1972) She is on the cutting edge of the contemporary scene and has written numerous rather bizarre works including the one heard on this set. It is quji†e brief, and was an RCOA commission., scored for wind orchestra, percussion and double basses. At its premiere Oct. 5, 2006 with Vladimir Jurowski conducting, it caused a bit of alarm in the audience when during the piece a piano was raised onto the stage, a part of the performance. Obviously Nas has a sense of humor! Wolfgang Rihm's Marysas is described as "a rhapsody for trumpet with percussion. " It is a long ultimately explosive confrontation of the curiously introverted trumpet. It is very different from Dutch composer Alfons Diepenbrock's score with the same title. That composerr;s powerful suite from Elektra is included.
Peter Schat wrote his Symphony No. 3 1989-1900 and called it"Gamelan." Orchestration includes seven" metallophones" from the Indonesian gamelan tradition. A special set of instruments was built and can be heard in the third movement. Scoring also includes 12 timpani rather gently used. Schat never completed the work. There are 4 brief movements. Hans Vonk led the premiere in 2001. Another RCOA commission is music of Rob Zuidan, and we hear four rather violent interludes from his 2009 opera Adam in Exile. Gert van Keulen's Five Tragic Lieder, written in 2007, is a setting of five sad poems by Anna Enquist about the tragic death of her daughter. These are sensitively sung by baritone Detlef Roth.
Considering the many performances producers had to chose from, it seems strange that some of the works have already been issued on the label: the Nas, Hindemith, Messiaen, and Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde. Why duplicate?
These issues are full price, but for collectors they are well worth the price offering magnificent often historic performances by one of the world's finest orchestras. Also available, and not in the Anthology Series, are important multi-disk Concertgebouw performances devoted to Eduard van Benum (REVIEW), Willem Mengelberg (REVIEW), Bernard Haitink (REVIEW), Riccardo Chailly (REVIEW), and Mariss Jansons (REVIEW). In 2003 this site mentioned an important issue on the now defunct Andante label of live Van Beinum recordings (REVIEW). This is worth looking for as it contains some performances not available elsewhere.
R.E.B. (May 2017)