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Stokowski: Bach Orchestral Transcriptions

Stokowski: Bach Orchestral Transcriptions Lowest new price: $5.00
Lowest used price: $1.73
Brand: Naxos

It was as a young church organist that Leopold Stokowski grew to love the music of Bach. Later, he arranged a number of Bach's organ works for full symphonic forces. The results were a spectacular success and through Stokowski's Bach transcriptions music

Leopold Stokowski's Orchestral Transcriptions are guilty pleasures: high-fat concoctions that are always in danger of becoming campy and gargantuan, something like the classical equivalent of Phil Spector, but without the guns. It is crucial to almost (and I mean "almost") underplay them; they will speak for themselves. The transcriptions are not particularly complicated and lack anything even vaguely revolutionary in their tonality. What we get is a wall of string tone carrying the melodies, usually, with brass and winds used for focus and enlarging. The famous Bach Passacaglia finds the entry of the brass reiterating the ostinato with a handsome blare, and much to the credit of conductor José Serebrier, he does not play all his cards so early in the piece. It builds and builds, and then blows us away. The CD opens with the almost too famous Air from the 3rd Orchestral Suite of Bach. Serebrier gets just the right dark, warm sound from the low strings that one associates with a Stokowski performance. Also included on the CD are Dido's Lament (Purcell), not needing its text in such an expressive performance; a big, toasty version of the Pastoral Symphony from Messiah; and a pairing of Two Ancient Liturgical Melodies by Stokowski himself. The Bournemouth Symphony seem to know they're doing something popular. This is a stunning CD and the engineers have done a great job as well. --Robert Levine

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Essential Bach: 36 Greatest Masterpieces / Various

Essential Bach: 36 Greatest Masterpieces / Various Lowest new price: $9.93
Lowest used price: $2.99
Brand: CD

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH - ESSENTIAL BACH - 2 CD SET

It is not possible to fit 36 Bach masterpieces on two CDs, so what Essential Bach does is present individual movements from across a range of the composer's work. The anthology is clearly aimed at the newcomer, and the absence of booklet notes to put the music in context is disappointing. We are only given titles, performers, and what films the extracts have been featured in, from Rollerball to The English Patient.

On the plus side, most if not all of the music is instantly recognizable, by melody if not by name. Everything from the Brandenburg Concertos to "Air on a G String" to the B Minor Mass and St. Matthew Passion is represented. Performances range from 1960 to 1993, encompassing both early instrument and modern orchestra interpretations by a wide variety of forces, including Sir Neville Marriner with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and Raymond Leppard leading the English Chamber Orchestra. Given such diversity the result is unavoidably a patchwork, albeit one made from the finest materials, and as such is perhaps best treated as a sampler to aid exploration of the vast legacy of one of the very greatest composers who ever lived. --Gary S. Dalkin, Amazon.co.uk

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Sacred Songs

Sacred Songs Lowest new price: $9.64
Lowest used price: $3.99
Brand: Decca
Model: 1992998

Renee Fleming, Sacred Songs

This lovely CD features Renée Fleming singing religious music in an unaffected, lovely manner. Many favorites are here: both the Bach/Gounod and Schubert versions of "Ave Maria," each offered with long breaths and soft tone; "Rejoice Greatly" from Messiah, delivered with virtuosity and gleaming sound, and "He Shall Feed His Flock," also from Messiah, sung in a smooth, laid-back manner. Bits of the Fauré Requiem and Poulenc Gloria are welcome, as is the gorgeous "L'Adieu des Bergers" from L'Enfance du Christ. In the prayer from Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel, Fleming is joined by the splendid Susan Graham, and a version of "Amazing Grace" features Mark O'Connor on violin. Two excerpts from Mozart's Mass in C Minor, pieces by Reger and Franck, and a few surprises round out this devotional CD. --Robert Levine

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Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique

Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique Lowest used price: $8.62
Model: 2331744

Brand New

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  • Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique (2006-02-07)

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100 Best Opera Classics

100 Best Opera Classics Lowest new price: $8.99
Lowest used price: $5.93
Brand: Warner Classics
Model: 3066168

This six CD set contains the most important sections of key Operas through history. 100 Best Opera Classics is the companion to last years 100 Best Classics. From Mozart's 'Les Noces De Figaro' to Verdi's 'La Traviata' this collection has you covered. EMI Classsics. 2005.

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Haydn: The Creation

Haydn: The Creation Lowest new price: $18.75
Lowest used price: $2.50
Brand: Ful
Model: 2023023

Robert Shaw is so dependable a guide to the masterpieces of the choral repertory that it's safe to say you can't go wrong in turning to him for Haydn's greatest work for voices. That's true even in a field crowded with solid alternatives geared to differing tastes. So if you want Haydn's original German text ("Die Schöpfung"), there are excellent performances by von Karajan on DG and Wöldike on Vanguard; for the same, with an extra dash of exuberance, there's Solti on London. If only original instruments will suffice, try Gardiner on Archiv. But for a Creation in English (using Shaw's own superior translation), Shaw rules the roost. It's also the best-recorded version; when the big choruses let loose, this is an audiophile's delight. The soloists are never less than adequate, though no match for von Karajan's starry cast. Shaw's interpretation hews the fine line between drama and lyricism; his middle-of-the road stance lets the music speak eloquently for itself. Even if you have a German-language version, this set will give joy and insights. --Dan Davis

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Handel - Messiah / Vyvyan · Sinclair · Vickers · Tozzi · Royal PO · Beecham

Handel - Messiah / Vyvyan · Sinclair · Vickers · Tozzi · Royal PO · Beecham Lowest new price: $5.40
Lowest used price: $2.98
Brand: HANDEL,G.F.

No Description Available
No Track Information Available
Media Type: CD
Artist: HANDEL,G.F.
Title: MESSIAH-COMP
Street Release Date: 07/28/1992
Domestic
Genre: XMAS CLASSICAL VOCAL

Sir Thomas Beecham's Messiah has become notorious among baroque purists (like this writer) for embodying the worst excesses of pre-1960 Handel performance: ponderous tempos, stentorian opera singers, huge lumbering choruses and orchestras, crashing cymbals, clanging triangles.... Well, we'll need a new straw man: this performance is WONDERFUL. Jon Vickers and Giorgio Tozzi negotiate Handel's writing surprisingly well; Jennifer Vyvyan takes to it naturally. The chorus and orchestra (yes, including trombones, tuba, triangle, and cymbals) may obscure the part-writing, but they fill the music with power, grandeur, and faith. If Mozart could re-orchestrate Messiah, why not Beecham? This may not be Handel's Messiah as such, it may even be a period piece itself--but it's magnificent. --Matthew Westphal

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Mendelssohn: Elijah (Sung in English)

Mendelssohn: Elijah (Sung in English) Lowest new price: $16.72
Lowest used price: $2.14
Model: 2570106

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The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas: Traditions

The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas: Traditions Lowest new price: $9.98
Lowest used price: $7.99
Brand: Joy To The World

Traditions is an outstanding, value-priced collection of 50 songs by famous composers in a 2-CD slimline case filled with the most beautiful and recognized holiday melodies of all time. Over two hours of traditional and classical melodies that will bring a joyful spirit to the holidays!

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Angels: Christmas with the Great Sopranos

Angels: Christmas with the Great Sopranos Lowest new price: $16.81
Lowest used price: $3.98
Brand: Angels FLEMING,RENÉE BONNEY, BARBARA

Let these operatic voices take you up on high with 16 classic songs of Christmas. Includes O Holy Night Leontyne Price; Ave Maria Ren+ªe Fleming; Pie Jesu Kiri Te Kanawa; Good King Wenceslas Joan Sutherland; Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht (Silent Night) Renata Tebaldi; Alleluia Sylvia McNair, and more.

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