ANTHOLOGY OF THE ROYAL CONCERTGEBOUW ORCHESTRA 2000-2010

JANÁCEK: Jealousy. Taras Bulba (Sir Mark Elder, November 10, 2000). STRAUSS: Sinfonia domestica, Op. 53 (Lorin Maazel, October 14, 2000). DIEPENBROCK: Elektra, Symphonic Suite (Claus Peter Flor, October 7, 2001). STRAVINSKY: Oedipus Rex (Robert Dean Smith, tenor; Waltraud Meier, mezzo-soprano; Juha Uusitalo, baritone; Jan-Hendrik Rootering, bass; Marcel Reijans, tenor; Johan Leysen, narrator; Men of the Netherlands Radio Choir/Riccardo Chailly, December 25, 2001). STRAVINSKY: Violin Concerto in D (Alexander Kerr, violin/Riccardo Chailly, September 8, 2000). MARTINU: Les fresques de Piero della Francesca (Leonard Slatkin, February 16, 2001). SCHAT: Symphony No. 3, Op. 45 "Gamelon." RAVEL: Suite No. 2 from Daphnis and Chloe (Mariss Jansons, April 11, 2002). SIBELIUS: Pohjola's Daughter, Op. 49 (Sir Colin Davis, June 7, 2002). SZYMANOWSKI: Violin Concerto No. 1 (Vasko Eschkenazy, violin; Sir Mark Elder, November 10, 2000). SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 5 in E flat, Op. 82 (Paavo Berglund, February 16, 2003). HAYDN: Symphony No. 97 in C (Nikolaus Harnoncourt, October 16, 2003). BERIO: Rendering (Heinz Holliger, September 26, 2003). HINDEMITH: Concert Music for Strings and Brass, Op. 50 (Kurt Masur, February 2, 2004). DUTILLEUX: Tout un monde lointain (Godfried Hoogeveen, cello; Yan Pascal Tortelier, April 7, 2004). LUTOSLAWSKI: Piano Concerto (Lars Vogt, piano; Daniel Harding, January. 23, 2004). RIHM: Marsyas - Rhapsody for Trumpet, Percussion and Orchestra (Reinhold Friedrich, trumpet; Gustavo Cimeno, percussion/George Benjamin, October October 27, 2004). VERBEY: Lied for Trombone and Orchestra (Jörgen van Rijen, trombone/Markus Stenaz, September 14, 2007). BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 8 in C minor (Zubin Mehta, December 2, 2005). ESCHER: Musique pour l'esprit en deuil (Bernard Haitink, February 25, 2005). NAS: No reason to panic (David Robertson, October 11, 2008). ADÈS: Asyla, Op. 17 (Daniel Harding, January 23, 2004). WEBERN: Six Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6 (Pierre Boulez, January 21, 2011). BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral." (Krassimira Stoyanova, soprano; Marianna Cornetti, alto; Robert Dean Smith, tenor; Franz Josef Selig, bass; Netherlands Radio Choir/Mariss Jansons, (December 25, 2006). SCHUMANN: Symphony No. 2 in C, Op. 61 (Kurt Masur, November 4, 2007). BRAHMS: Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98. (Herbert Bloomstedt, April 15, 2007). SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 13 in B flat minor, Op. 113 "Babi Yar." (Sergei Leiferkus, bass; Men of the Prague Philharmonic Choir/Kurt Masur, May 12, 2006). BRITTEN: Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20 (Stefan Asbury, March 9, 2007). MESSIAEN: Les offrandes oubliées (George Benjamin, November 9, 2007). ZUIDAM: Adam-Interludes (Ingo Metzmacher, June 14, 2008). DEBUSSY: La Mer (Bernard Haitink, March 12, 2009). VAN KEULEN: Five Tragic Lieder (Detlef Roth, baritone; Lothar Zagrosek, June 14, 2008). MOZART: Symphony No. 41 in C, K. 550 (Iván Fischer, November 6, 2009). SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 3 in D (Iván Fischer, April 23, 2010). STRAUSS: Suite from Der Rosenkavalier (Mariss Jansons, February 4, 2011). BUSONI: Berceuse élégiaque, Op. 42. PROKOFIEV: Autumn, Op. 8 (David Robertson, December 10, 2010 and October 11, 2008). MAHLER: Das Lied von der Erde (Robert Dean Smith, tenor; Anna Larsson, alto; Fabio Luisi, May 20, 2011).
RCOA LIVE 12004 (14 disks) TT: 19 hours +
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This is the seventh multi-disk set in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra's valuable Anthology series of live performances that began with important recordings from 1935. In addition to this series, there also have been issues of live performances conducted by Willem Mengelberg, Eduard van Beinum, Bernard Haitink and Riccardo Chailly, and other compilations on various labels—check our CD Index. This new set is really an extension of the Orchestra's superb RCOA Live series. It contains many valuable performances but, unfortunately, there are some that already have been issued in the RCO Live series: the Van Keulen lieder, Berio's Solo Trombone, Messiaen's Les offendres oubliée, Zuidam's Adam Interludes and Verbey's lied for trombone. And this Mahler Das Lied is included in the new RCOA Mahler set! Producers have much to choose from. Why the duplications? However, we should be thankful for what we have, as there are many treasures. All of these of course display the virtuosity of members of the orchestra in countless solo passages all immaculately played.

Contemporary music plays an important part—as always—in RCO programming and much is included in this new compilation. Thomas Adès is now a major figure on the musical scene; his opera The Tempest had its highly acclaimed Met premiere last year (the Royal Opera House performance was mentioned on this site (REVIEW). His 1997 orchestral work Asyla ("Asylum" or "madhouse") was chosen by Sir Simon Rattle for his first concert as music director of the Berlin Philharmonic in 2002 (REVIEW). This wild music with its colorful percussive sounds is given a vivid performance conducted by Daniel Harding. Dutch composer Mayke Nas has always had a theatrical component in her music. No reason to panic, scored for wind instruments, percussion and double basses, confused audiences at the 2006 premiere when during the performance a grand piano was raised onto the stage by an elevator with no explanation (you can hear the mechanical sounds)—the the piano is not played during the music which is an odd collection of squeaks, whistles and wailing, often sounding like music in the 1954 film Them whenever giant ants appeared. Intriguing to hear, but you probably wouldn't want to hear it often. Of more interest is Dutch composer Theo Verbey's four-movement "song" for trombone inspired by various poems., This music surely is one of the most difficult works ever composed for trombone and it is spectacularly played by Jörgen Van Rijen, principal trombone of the RCO. Peter Schat (1935-2003) is represented by his fascinating rather short Symphony No. 3, dedicated to nature with scoring that includes specially tuned metallophones from the Indonesian gamelan tradition. It is one of the gentlest works I've ever heard by this composer, with many quiet rich interludes. More standard Dutch repertory is a suite from Diepenbrock's Elektra, conducted here by Claus Peter Flor. Another first-desk player, cellist Godfried Hoogevensen is soloist in the brooding Tout un monde lointain by Dutilleux. And concertmaster Vesko Eschkenazy's spectacular performance of Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 1 is a gem indeed .Prolific German composer Wolfgang Rihm's 18-minute Marsyas scored for solo trumpet and percussion is very different indeed from Dutch composer Alfons Diepenbrock's symphonic work of the same name recorded in 1953 by Eduard van Beinum. After a brooding introduction, Rihm's work builds to an explosive jazzy climax before fading away. Reinhold Friedrich is the sterling soloist. Also included is Luciano Berio's Rendering, his treatment of sketches left by Schubert for a final symphony. Riccardo Chailly leads an exciting performance of Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex, featuring Waltraud Meier as a dynamic Jocasta.

Zubin Mehta's powerful performance of Bruckner's Symphony No. 8 had to be split over two disks. Other standard repertory includes Schumann's Symphony No 2, Shostakovich's Symphony No. 13 and Hindemith's Concert Music for Strings and Brass conducted by Kurt Masur, and Herbert Bloomstedt's Brahms Symphony No. 4. Iván Fischer conducts Mozart's Symphony No. 41 and Schubert's Symphony No. 3. Nikolaus Harnoncourt leads Haydn's Symphony No. 97, and Mariss Jansons, current music director of the RCO is more effective suites from Strauss's Der Rosenkavaler and Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe than he is in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. Inclusion of this performance of Das Lied von der Erde does seem odd since, as mentioned earlier, it also is found in the new RCO Mahler set.

This Anthology, like all of the others, is superbly presented, with extensive program notes in English, Spanish and Dutch for each work, with complete texts. While the duplications of previously issued recordings are regrettable, there is much of value here. Audio is superb throughout. This is an important, quality issue. Thank you RCOA Live!

R.E.B. (January 2013)