Daniel Barenboim: A Retrospective
Barenboim the pianist made his first commercial recordings in 1964 and soon began documenting his refreshing, vital interpretations of Mozart and Beethoven on disc. Before long he had added conducting to his already intensive musical activities, in 1965 beginning a close relationship with the English Chamber Orchestra. Much of that collaboration is to be found in Sony's vast new set, notably Mozart concerto recordings in which Barenboim's deep understanding of the composer is placed in the service of violinists Isaac Stern and Pinchas Zukerman. Soon Barenboim was conducting virtually all the leading European and American symphony orchestras. Among hte ensembles spotlighted in the new collection is the London Philharmonic, with whom he made a series of distinguished Elgar recordings, including ''a red-blooded passionate performance'' of the Second Symphony: ''The playing of teh LPO is superb throughout and the orchestra responds to Barenboim's every whim...Music seldom brings actual tears to my eyes, but I confess that the playing of the very soft last bars, from the molto lento, did'' (Gramophone).
Another treasurable Barenboim/LPO project found him partnering the legendary Arthur Rubinstein in the complete Beethoven Piano Concertos (when his own recording as a soloist accompanied by Otto Klemperer had already become a catalogue landmark). Of this 1977 Grammy winner for “Best Classical Album”, Gramophone wrote: “Have the Beethoven concertos ever been better accompanied, if accompaniment is the right word? … In each work [Barenboim and the orchestra] provide an opening tutti of such weight, richness of characterization and beauty of sound that the entry of the soloist, so splendidly prepared for, comes almost as an anti-climax. It is a little while before even Rubinstein's personality can match the splendour of the scene which has been set for him.”
The list of Barenboim’s other remarkable collaborations in this set is too long to be detailed here. A few examples must suffice: with Itzhak Perlman, the Brahms Violin Sonatas – not only on CD, but now for the first time on DVD; with Isaac Stern, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto (New York Philharmonic) and Saint-Saëns Third Concerto (Orchestre de Paris); with Jacqueline du Pré, the Elgar Cello Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra; with Pinchas Zukerman, the Elgar Violin Concerto (London Philharmonic) – “a reading which gloriously combined the virtuoso swagger of a Heifetz with the tender, heartfelt warmth of the young Menuhin. Barenboim is a splendid partner” – and viola soloist in Berlioz’s Harold in Italy (Orchestre de Paris); with John Williams, guitar concertos by Rodrigo and Villa-Lobos (English Chamber Orchestra); and with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Mahler song cycles (Berlin Philharmonic).
The wide range of symphonic works in this collection finds Daniel Barenboim conducting Tchaikovsky’s Fourth (New York Philharmonic); Beethoven’s Seventh, Schubert’s “Unfinished” and Berlioz’s “Fantastique” (Berlin Philharmonic); and Schoenberg’s Pelleas und Melisande (Orchestre de Paris). Barenboim the soloist can also be heard in piano concertos by Brahms (with Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic) and Beethoven (conducting the Berlin Philharmonic himself from the keyboard). There’s also a large-scale choral work, the Berlioz Te Deum, in an imposing recording made in St. Eustache with Orchestre de Paris forces.
The video releases in the new collection are especially enticing. As already mentioned, there is a first DVD release of the Brahms Violin Sonatas with Itzhak Perlman, coupled with Brahms’s Horn Trio (with the Chicago Symphony’s famed Dale Clevenger). And Barenboim’s unusually imaginative and varied Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s Concert from 2014 – one of the most highly praised of these occasions in years – is also included on DVD as well as CD. The Times of London remarked on its special qualities: “Recent New Year’s Day concerts have been flat affairs, but the champagne spirit flows freely in Daniel Barenboim’s second stint on the podium… The plums (encores apart) are a seductive Tales from the Vienna Woods (Johann II) and a gorgeous ‘Moonlight Interlude’ from Capriccio”, while Presto Classical wrote: “Despite his associations with more heavyweight Austrian composers, Barenboim never overplays his hand and has the idiom absolutely off-pat… he shapes and paces things quite beautifully, revealing all sorts of detail.”
And so, Sony Classical’s 46-disc Daniel Barenboim retrospective is not only a stunning display of this exceptional musician’s versatility; it also serves as a showcase for many of the world’s great orchestras and soloists.
Catalog Number: 88985393632
Composer: ["Alban Berg, Arnold Schoenberg, Camille Saint-Saëns, Carl Maria von Weber, Carl Stamitz, Claude Debussy, Eduard Strauss, Emmanuel Chabrier, Ernest Chausson, Franz Schubert, Gabriel Fauré, Gustav Mahler, Hector Berlioz, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Ignace Joseph Pleyel, J. "Pepi" Hellmesberger, Jacques Ibert, Joaquín Rodrigo, Johann Strauss Jr., Johann Strauss Sr., Johannes Brahms, Josef Lanner, Josef Strauss, Léo Delibes, Ludwig van Beethoven, Maurice Ravel, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss, Sir Edward Elgar, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart"]
Conductor: Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Zubin Mehta
Orchestra/Ensemble: BBC Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Maitrise de la Resurrection Chorus, New York Philharmonic, Paris Children's Choir, Paris Orchestra, Paris Orchestra Chorus, Philadelphia Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Performer: Antony Pay, Artur Rubinstein, Dale Clevenger, Daniel Barenboim, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Halina Lukomska, Isaac Stern, Itzhak Perlman, Jacqueline Du Pré, Jean Dupouy, Jean Guillou, John Williams, Lynn Harrell, Martin Gatt, Michel Debost, Neil Black, Peter Frankl, Pinchas Zukerman, Saschko Gawriloff, Yvonne Minton