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Highlights from DG Panorama series.
full details below
DG Panorama 469 100-2 [137.40]

Panorama is the new Series of discs from Deutsche Grammophon. Its format is straight-forward enough drawing upon the back catalogue in double disc pack at a very attractive price (£8). The initial batch of twenty-five issues features a single composer in each of the two CD's though a glance at later scheduled releases shows this will be widened to allow releases with music of a particular style, country or with some other link. Those of the series that have come my way have impressed in value for money terms and collectors will welcome any worthwhile addition to the bargain label scene.

The big names abound in the series and inevitably they are on this new Highlights disc that goes with the series. Inevitably, being DG, Karajan is featured heavily along with Bohm, Abbado, Domingo, Michelangeli, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Giulini, Kempff , Previn and more in a selection of well-known pieces that will almost certainly attract those who like to dip into this type of disc before committing themselves further.

Vivaldi through to Gershwin is the logical progressive sequence and this sensible approach is probably the right one. Somehow "Spring" from the Four Seasons just had to be there at the beginning - it must be British commerce's favourite piece for those times when you're kept waiting on the telephone. Rather surprisingly the Water Music and the Brandenburg selections are not the hackneyed extracts one might have expected. Bohm's Finale from the Jupiter is an ideal inducement to rush out and buy - an old fashioned, not over big performance from the early sixties.

Schubert's Trout variations, clear, measured but lacking that final degree of charm, lead to a splendid extended extract from the Beethoven Violin Concert (Mutter in magnificent form). Karajan and the Berliners here and in the two following pieces - a rich and luscious Ball scene from the Fantastic Symphony and the closing Presto from the Italian Symphony taken at an exhilarating speed. The brief Traumerei from Scenes from Childhood has Kempff in reflective mood. Wagner's Flying Dutchman Overture with Karl Bohm in Bayreuth is a full-blooded account with a recording to match. The first operatic extract is the ever popular Hebrew's slaves chorus from Nabucco richly played and sung. Devotees of Strauss waltses will enjoy the offering by the VPO and Will Boskovsky.

The other operatic work featured has fine singing from Domingo and Teresa Berganza in Carmen under Abbado. More big orchestral showpieces to appeal to the casual buyer - a magnificent sounding Great gate of Kiev with the Chicago S.O under Giulini - somehow not what I would expect from him - Karajan and the New World Largo - some quite glorious playing in this 1964 analogue version. Peer Gynt - Karajan again - reminding of the magnificence of the Berlin Orchestra of that period. Ashkenazy and the Philharmonia buzz frantically and lead into Michelangeli and one of the best-known of piano pieces, played expressively and delightfully. Best known as film music, the Richard Strauss opening in 2001 used the Karajan recording and this 1974 analogue version still sounds magnificent in this brief extract.

The Sibelius choice is from the Karelia Suite - so much classical music has been used in film and television - here outstandingly played by Kamu and the Helsinki Orchestra. Richter is the soloist in the opening of Rachmaninov's Second Concerto - clear and precise and briskly paced. The Ravel representation has Ozawa and the Boston Symphony - a lush extract clearly recorded - a world removed from the sound picture of Prokofiev's Classical Symphony here stunningly and irresistibly played by Abbado and the COE. Andre Previn conducts and is the impressive soloist in the Finale from the Gershwin Concerto.


Harry Downey

CD1 [69.55]

1.Antonio VIVALDI (1678 - 1741) "Spring" from the Four Seasons. [3.19]
2.Georg Frederic HANDEL (1685 - 1759) Water Music. Suite No 3. Part 1. [2.07]
3.Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Allegro fromBrandenburg Concerto No 1. [3.38]
4.Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 - 1791) Symphony No 41 "Jupiter" Finale. [6.26]
5.Franz SCHUBERT (1797 - 1828) Quintet "Trout". Theme and Variations. [7.54]
6.Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 - 1827)Violin Concerto. Rondo allegro. [10.16]
7.Hector BERLIOZ (1803 - 1869) Symphonie Fantastique. "Un bal". [6.14]
8.Felix MENDELSSOHN (1810 - 1847) Symphony No 4 "Italian". Finale. ` [5.37]
9.Robert SCHUMANN (1811 - 1856)Kinderszenen "Traumerei". [2.26]
10.Richard WAGNER (1813 - 1883) The Flying Dutchman. Overture. [10.20]
11.Giuseppe VERDI ( 1813 - 1901) Nabucco "Va pensioro". [4.57]
12..Johann STRAUSS II (1825 - 1899) "Voices of Spring". [6.02]
CD2 [67.45]
1.Georges BIZET (1838 - 1875) Carmen. "Havanaise". [4.22] "La fleur tu m'avais jetée". [4.21]
2.Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839 - 1881) Pictures at an Exhibition. - "The Great gate of Kiev". [5.44]
3.Antonin DVORAK (1841 - 1904) "New World" Symphony. Largo. [13.06]
4.Edvard GRIEG (1843 - 1907) Peer Gynt Suite. "In the Hall of the Mountain King". [2.07]
5.Nicolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV ( 1844 -1908) "The Flight of the Bumblebee". [1.16]
6.Claude DEBUSSY (1862 - 1918) Preludes Book 1."The girl with the Flaxen Hair". [2.42]
7.Richard STRAUSS (1864 - 1949) "Also Sprach Zarathustra". Introduction . [1.50]
8.Jean SIBELIUS (1865 - 1957) Karelia Suite. Intermezzo. [4.03]
9.Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873 - 1943) Piano Concerto No 2 . First Movement. [11.07]
10.Maurice RAVEL(1875 - 1937) Rhapsody Espagnol. "Feria". [6.10]
11.Serge PROKOFIEV (1891 - 1953) "Classical" Symphony . Allegro. [4.13]
12.George GERSHWIN (1898 - 1937) Piano Concert. Allegro agitato [6.44]
Simon Standage (vn)(1/1), The English Concert. Trevor Pinnock 1/1 &1/2
Musica Antiqua Köln. Richard Goebel 1/3
Berlin Philharmonic. Karl Böhm 1/4
Emil Gilels (pno),Norbert Brainin (vn), Peter Schidlof (va)
Martin Lovett (cello), Rainer Zepperitz (d.Bass) 1/5
Anne-Sophie Mutter (vn)(1/6), Berlin Philharmonic, Von Karajan (1/6-1/8)
Wilhelm Kempff (pno) 1/9
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra. Karl Böhm 1/10
Orchestra & Chorus Berlin Opera . Giuseppei Sinopoli 1/11
Vienna Philharmonic. Willi Boskovsky 1/12
Teresa Berganza, Placido Domingo, LSO. Claudio Abbado 2/1 &2/2
Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Carlo Maria Giulini 2/3
Berlin Philharmonic. Herbert von Karajan 2/4 & 2/5
Philharmonia Orchestra. Vladimir Ashkenazy 2/6
Arturo Beneditti Michelangli (pno).2/7
Berlin Philharrmonic Orchestra. Herbert von Karajan 2/8
Helsinki Radio Orchestra. Okku Kamu. 2/9
Sviatoslav Richter. (pno). Warsaw Philharmonic. Stanislaw Wislocki 2/10
Boston Symphony Orchestra. Seiji Ozawa. 2/11
Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Claudio Abbado 2/12
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Andre Previn (pno /conductor) 2/13
Recording Dates 1959 - 1989.
AAD (2/7) ADD (1/4 - 1/10, 1/12)(2/1 - 2/4, 2/8 - 2/11). DDD - all others.

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