We know that we have a passionate and knowledgeable community of readers and followers on Facebook and Twitter, but even so we were delighted with the response we received last week when we asked the question 'what classical recording are you most proud to own?'
The most popular choice was nominated by Marcin Dąbrowski and is a live recording from 1967 called 'Homage to Gerald Moore'. It features Moore himself alongside Victoria de los Ángeles, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf in groups of solo items by Brahms, Schubert and Wolf, duets by Mendelssohn, Schumann and Rossini, and trios by Haydn and Mozart.
Alec Robertson reviewed this album in Gramophone's May 1967 issue, concluding: 'this recorded "Homage to Gerald Moore" is indeed a worthy and most treasurable tribute to a superb artist and a most beloved man and one for which we are deeply grateful to the artistic and technical staffs of EMI.'
The next most popular choice was nominated by Alysson Dinoá and is one of the most widely beloved of all classical albums – Elgar's Cello Concerto and Sea Pictures, recorded by Jacqueline du Pré, Janet Baker and John Barbirolli.
Deputy Editor Sarah Kirkup gave a fascinating insight into the creation and reception of this great recording on the 50th anniversary of it's release, which you can read here. She recounts the memories of the long-standing Gramophone critic, Edward Greenfield, who attended the recording sessions and recalled: ‘The orchestra wasn’t in the best of moods because of some internal dispute ... They recorded the first movement and the scherzo almost in one go, and at the end of that the LSO, forgetting their bad temper, broke out into spontaneous applause, something that is relatively rare in a recording session.’
When Richard Osborne reviewed the first official release of this recording for Gramophone in 1991 he wrote: 'As a study of Lucia herself this performance is well-nigh unsurpassable ... Many would agree, I suspect, that there are times in a live recording when the sideshow should be retained, though I gather that only video would convey the evening's most astonishing sideshow – Callas's consummate art in remaining half in character whilst she took ten minutes of solo curtain calls after the Mad scene. With or without visuals, though, this is the Lucia of a lifetime.'
Our thanks go to Jacobus Boschma for making another very popular suggestion: Handel's Rinaldo as recorded by the Academy of Ancient Music and Christopher Hogwood.
Decca assembled a de luxe cast for this recording: Cecilia Bartoli, David Daniels, Bernarda Fink, Gerald Finley and Bejun Mehta, to name a few, and the recording won a Gramophone Award in 2001. In his review of the recording, Lindsay Kemp wrote: 'Decca’s newcomer may not be the last word on the opera, but for all-round standard of performance and production it currently wins hands down. This is an important Handel recording, and it will take some beating.'
Many first encounters with classical music come through Gustav Holst's The Planets, so John Hatch's choice of Adrian Boult's recording of this evergreen work proved a popular one.
There are at least five different recordings of Boult conducting The Planets, but it is the 1978 recording with the London Philharmonic Orchestra for EMI (now Warner Classics) that is perhaps the most well-known. However, it is worth seeking out Boult's much earlier 1945 (mono) recording with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on the Beulah label, if you can cope with a bit of surface noise. Andrew Achenbach reviewed this CD for Gramophone in December 1996: 'The actual performance has an indefinable "rightness" about it, a supreme authority that makes it difficult to imagine the score being interpreted in any other way. Has "Mars" ever resounded with more terrifying ferocity? In "Venus" the playing has a translucent beauty, while the impish "Mercury" really sparkles. "Jupiter" has marvellous exuberance and sparkle, its big tune lent enormous dignity and humanity. "Saturn", too, is paced to perfection (the central climax has a massive inevitability about it), and "Uranus" goes about his mischievous antics with terrific swagger. If you've never heard Boult's Planets, you should investigate this set immediately.'
Andrea Chenier, booklet signed by Domingo in 1980. I had just bought the record in Geneva and I ran into @PlacidoDomingo at the airport and he kindly signed it - slightly in wonder.....
— Fred Blumer (@Pefdy) January 23, 2018
Goldberg Variations. Teldec vinyl edition. Gustav Leonhardt signed it for me after a concert a long time ago. Truly a treasure. pic.twitter.com/A4QbRp1DOS
— Jesús Angel (@JessAng59623544) January 23, 2018
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