Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Gerhaher/Huber - Mahler, 23 September 2019


Pierre Boulez Saal

Mahler: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
Mahler: Des knaben Wunderhorn: ‘Wer hat dies Liedlein erdacht’, ‘Ablösung im Sommer’, ‘Ich ging mit Lust durch einen grünen Wald’, ‘Um schlimme Kinder artig zu machen’, ‘Rheinlegendchen’, ‘Der Schildwache Nachtlied’, ‘Lied des Verfolgten im Turm’, ‘Das irdische Leben’, ‘Zu Straßburg auf der Schanz’’, ‘Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen’
Mahler: Kindertotenlieder

Christian Gerhaher (baritone)
Gerold Huber (piano)


Christian Gerhaher in Mahler was always likely to prove special. Thus it was here at the Pierre Boulez Saal, if anything still more so than an identical programme – I thinkat the Wigmore Hall in 2014. At any rate, these were no repeated performances; in many respects, they proved quite different, bearing no trace of the routine.


Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen opened with Gerold Huber on piano nervous (in a good way!) and agitated, full of detail, Gerhaher surprisingly wan of tone (also in a good way: interpretatively, not by default). The sadness of that first song’s final stanza sounded still more sorrowful, even desolate, both in tone and tempo: ‘Denk’ ich an mein Leid! An mein Leide!’ A forthright ‘Ging heut’ morgen über’s Feld’ followed, Gerhaher closer to Fischer-Dieskau than I can recall, not least on repeated, ironic references to ‘eine schöne Welt’, Mahlerian alienation strongly to the fore. Recent performances of Wozzeck (also forthcoming, in Munich) seemed to have left their mark on a final, hallucinatory stanza. Would his ‘happiness’ now begin? No, no: that could never bloom for him. The vehemence, even rage, of ‘Ich hab’ ein glühend Messer’ again brought Fischer-Dieskau to mind; so too did attention to detail, if not the detail of that detail. Different colourings applied to cries of ‘O weh!’ offered progression without fussiness. Mockery, hallucination, and much else seemed to have developed from previous songs, whilst retaining their specific imperative and character in this. Memories of late Schubert haunted the final song: Winterreise  and Schwanengesang in particular. They were memories, though, mediated through and through. Here were not only smiling through tears, warmth that could not warm: they knew themselves to be such.


A selection of Wunderhorn songs spanned the interval: different in mood and implication, of course, yet possessed of similar virtues in detail without pedantry. Bachian coloratura in ‘Wer hat dies Liedlein erdacht’, ironic sympathy in ‘Ablösung im Sommer’ both lightly suggested a continuation of that fateful, necessary alienation that haunts Mahler’s music and summarises its modern lot. A leisurely stroll – much to take in, all the better at such a tempo, as would also be the case in ‘Zu Straßburg auf der Schanz’’ – through the green wood of the following song prepared the way for affinity and contrast in ‘Um schlimme Kinder artig zu machen’ and ‘Rheinlegendchen’. The prisoner in the tower sang freely, freshly, Gerhaher fully rising to the challenge of two ‘characters’ without caricature. ‘Die Gedanken sind frei’ (‘thoughts are free’) proved a final line rich with summative ambiguity. If Huber perhaps underlined specific figures too much in ‘Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen’, in danger of losing overall line, Gerhaher’s infinitely touching contribution more than made up for that.


Presaged in ‘Das irdische Leben’, Kindertotenlieder took matters further – and what a work with which to close! What a performance too. The different vocal colours in a single line such as ‘Als sei kein Unglück die Nacht gescheh’n!’, a line that yet remained very much a line, set the scene for a performance that moved through a profound musicality that had no need for histrionics, for anything externally applied. That ability to express all manner of verbal and emotional nuances without disruption to line was just as apparent in the sadness and regret, moving towards yet never quite attaining bitterness, of the second song too. Words were throughout permitted to chill through the bitter-sweetness of music. Was the hallucinatory conclusion to the final storm, repose ‘as if in their mother’s house’, enlightenment or delusion? In a formal sense, it must be the former, yet performance quite rightly left room for doubt. ‘Urlicht’ as encore brought lengthy, unfortunate, and deeply unsettling telephone disruption; and yet, finally, comfort and resolution.



Saturday, 21 September 2019

Eugene Onegin, Komische Oper, 20 September 2019



Images copyright: Iko Freese / drama-berlin.de


Eugene Onegin – Günter Papendell
Tatiana – Natalya Pavlova
Olga – Karolina Gumos
Lensky – Aleš Briscein
Mme Larina – Stefanie Schaefer
Prince Gremin – Tijl Faveyts
Filipievna – Margarita Nekrasova
Zareski – Changdai Park
M. Triquet – Alexander Fedorov
Zaretsky – Changdai Park
Captain – Carsten Lau
Guillot – Yuhei Sato

Barrie Kosky (director)
Rebecca Ringst (set designs)
Klaus Bruns (costumes)
Simon Berger (dramaturgy)
Franck Evin (lighting)

Orchestra and Chorus (chorus director: David Cavelius) of the Komische Oper
Ainārs Rubikis (conductor)



What’s in a name? Should Tchaikovsky’s opera – which, as Barrie Kosky states in the programme booklet, should be considered alongside Pushkin, not as its musical translation – really be called Eugene Onegin at all? Or would Tatiana Larina be the more fitting title? Eugene and Tatiana, perhaps? It is a silly question, really; for one thing, no one is going to rename the work, although someone, I suppose, might write another. But names aside, there will probably always be something of a tension between the centrality ascribed by a production to the opera’s two principal characters; and also something, moreover, of a tension between Tatiana and Onegin on one hand and Lensky, if more rarely Olga, on the other. It is difficult to imagine a successful or indeed pretty much any unsuccessful production that did not involve such tensions, although Achim Freyer, in his bizarre staging for the Staatsoper Unter den Berlin, a few hundred metres away, may be said to have accomplished that in his very typical way.





Kosky’s 2016 staging for Berlin’s Komische Oper, in co-production with Zurich, offers an intriguing, convincing blend of the broadly yet never lazily conventional; the slightly symbolic; and the point of detail, even the incidental, made more than that. The latter first: as the opera opens, Mme Larina and the nurse, Filipievna are making jam. I am not sure that I even recalled that point of detail, though I am sure that I will now. The jam jar, however, returns at a crucial point – in Kosky’s staging, that is – as container for Tatiana’s letter to Onegin. Her nurse, affecting not to understand for whom it is intended, keeps dropping it, casting it aside, until she relents and sets that train of events in motion. ‘So what?’ you may ask. So nothing, perhaps; but I think not. For the jar and its contents take us back to the opening, an apparently carefree summer afternoon, save of course for beneath the surface. Things have changed – and have stayed the same; such tends to be the way with life. And the chorus of local girls, more than usually an emanation of Tatiana’s unconscious – replication and contrast in Klaus Bruns’s costumes lightly make the point – has all along been framing, voicing, goading.


So too will the chorus, male and female, later on, as part of a more general pattern of contrasts and connections between public and private, indoor and outdoor, country and town; and the criss-crossing connections between those pairs of opposites. The fundamental setting, common to all scenes, is that of the meadow on which it all began: designer Rebecca Ringst’s simple, adaptable focus for development and memory. Franck Evin’s lighting works wonders in its partial transformations, highlighting (false or alienating?) community and Romantic loneliness, whilst never having us lose sight of where we are. So too, of course, do Kosky’s blocking and, more broadly, his story-telling. It does no harm for the ball to take place with torches outside for once; its stifling, tragic qualities are not lost. Only in the first St Petersburg scene is there an additional set design, but even then, the facade of Prince Gremin’s palace can, like all facades, readily be dismantled, so that we can turn to the inversion of our central pair’s fortunes and their resolution.





Like many directors, Kosky ignores the opera’s strong, at times overwhelming, homosexual subtexts: the ‘Romantic friendship’ between Onegin and Lensky and, of course, the figure of Tatiana herself as alter ego for Tchaikovsky, his fantasy of how a woman might feel and act. That, however, is simply not the concern of this particular production. For, in the programme booklet, Kosky expresses a preference for operas with ‘very simple stories and incredibly multifaceted themes and emotions – precisely as in Greek theatre,’ and also criticises composers who, over the past fifty years, have, allegedly, ‘simply set literature to music’. I am not quite so sure that it is as simple as that, nor that the comparison with ancient Greece is objectively meaningful in this case, as it certainly would be to Wagner; however, if it is to him, all the better. There is unquestionably a directness to Kosky’s telling of the story here, far from opposed to interpretation, but rather open to it, which works very well: as, say, in his Rusalka and his Pelléas, or indeed, harking back to Attic tragedy, in his Iphigénie en Tauride, all for the Komische Oper, yet sadly lacking in his Bayreuth Meistersinger. Whose opera is this anyway? Here, it conventionally, yet never stereotypically, moves from being Tatiana’s to Onegin’s; the latter character emerges in the reflection, the memories of the latter’s acts and emotions. That trajectory is delineated with a power only rarely achieved, at least in my experience.




Instrumental – or better, vocal – to that was Günter Papendell’s Onegin, thus perhaps rebalancing the scales slightly in that direction. To begin with, I felt somewhat nonplussed at the apparent woodenness of his portrayal, until I appreciated that it was a portrayal of woodenness, of coldness, to be humanly defrosted, as it certainly was during the course of the opera. This was a fine, memorable, and sophisticated conception of the role. It would be an exaggeration, indeed a vulgarisation, to say that Natalya Pavlova’s Tatiana moved straightforwardly in the opposite direction, but tension was present in that respect: the crossing of lines and lives that ultimately turns, we think, to tragedy. Her opening fragility, her heartfelt and beautifully sung Letter Scene, and her final struggle, seemingly achieved, for self-possession proved similarly memorable and sophisticated. Aleš Briscein’s Lensky was surprisingly coarse of tone to begin with, though it was an ardent performance; I could not help but wonder whether he were unwell. A spirited Olga in Karolina Gumos, a stylish and lively M. Triquet in Alexander Fedorov, a splendidly deep-voiced Gremin in Tijl Faveyts, and above all a richly expressive, compassionate Filipievna in Margarita Nekrasova had much to offer, in a typically strong company performance that had no weak links.


The chorus sang and acted well too, its stage direction always a Kosky strength. My sole, relative disappointment lay in aspects of Ainārs Rubikis’s conducting of the orchestra. At its best, especially in the middle scenes, there was a telling striving towards symphonism. Elsewhere, however, much was oddly hard-driven. There were striking disjunctures, moreover, between orchestra and chorus in the first scene. This was not, then, an Onegin to think of in the way of Semyon Bychkov’s (probably the best conducted I have heard in the theatre) or Daniel Barenboim’s (for Freyer, as mentioned above). This was Kosky’s Onegin rather than the conductor’s, yet it belonged as much to the singers and of course to their characters. That, I think, was a good part of its point: a point served well.


Friday, 20 September 2019

Musikfest Berlin (11) - Karajan Academy/Mälkki: Neuwirth and Grisey, 18 September 2019


Kammermusiksaal


Image © Monika Karczmarczyk


Neuwirth: Aello: ballet mécanomorphe (2016-17)
Grisey: Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil (1998)

Emmanuel Pahud (flute)
Juliet Fraser (soprano)
Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Susanna Mälkki (conductor)


All good things must come to an end. This year’s Musikfest Berlin has been a very good thing indeed. I had hoped to go to Rusalka in concert performance to round things off, but alas that was not to be. This concert of works by Olga Neuwirth and Gérard Grisey, however, proved if anything a more fitting way to conclude, in performances from the young players of the Berlin Philharmonic’s Karajan Academy, under the wise leadership of Susanna Mälkki, to rival those of many a new music ensemble.


I first heard Neuwirth’s Aello as part of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra’s Brandenburg Project’, in which new works were commissioned to accompany Bach’s six concerti grossi. Then I wrote that it was ‘to my ears, by far the strongest of the new works’. Two years later, my ears found at least as much to fascinate and to enjoy. Having Emmanuel Pahud on flute (later bass flute) is unlikely ever to be a bad thing; it certainly was not here, in a performance of expressive virtuosity. As soloist, or first among equals, he was joined by two muted trumpets (piccolo in B-flat and in C), and three first violins, all at the flute pitch of 443 Hz; three second violins (431 Hz); two violas (443); two cellos (450); synthesiser (433, with guest artist, Majella Stockhausen); mechanical typewriter (Olivetti Lettera 22); hotel reception bell; wine-glass, with unknown (to me) liquid content, at pitch e’’; and small triangle with milk-frother. The machine element, then, is – and, in performance, was – important, acknowledgement no doubt of recent, to my mind highly regrettable, tendencies in Bach performance, from 1950s ‘sewing machine Baroque’ onwards. There was nothing, however, puritanical to what we heard, quite the contrary. Not only were there ghosts aplenty in the machine; they were having fun. Rhythms were tight, in a good way, facilitating metrical, melodic, and harmonic turns. Memories of Bach, often in the foreground, offered a framework for listening, in a fashion that perhaps might recall Berio, albeit without straightforward, evident ‘influence’. One listened, was aided to listen, on several levels at once. A closing climax both mechanistic and thrilling still left space for a fine surprise, whose secret I shall not spoil here, on the final note.





Grisey’s Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil, for which the players were joined by the ever-excellent Juliet Fraser, made for an intriguing contrast, evolution perhaps replacing mechanism. (Does that implicit contrast not already, however, beg several questions?) A pattern of almost, yet never quite, imperceptible openings – the first, in the Prélude, surely most so, and not only because one’s ears have yet to adjust – sets up such expectation; though expectations are there to be, if not confounded, then at least developed and questioned. Fraser’s emphatic intonation of her opening pitches received ‘backing’ that might almost have seemed ambient, until one listened. Process was clear: settling and unsettling, almost yet not quite according to one’s strategy of listening. How a voice’s, or rather this particular voice’s, timbre might be echoed, continued, by a trumpet or a clarinet was not the least of the mysteries to be savoured rather than resolved. Tuning, for instance in the Interlude between the first and second songs, continued to unsettle, somehow being both right and wrong simultaneously, the harmonic spectrum working its wonders, yet working them against an occasionally nagging backdrop of what we, or at least I, otherwise ‘knew’. By the time we had reached the fourth song, ‘La mort de l’humanité’, from the Epic of Gilgamesh, I began to wonder whether the change effected on my listening might have negative consequences for returning to the music I love, and perhaps know, so well. A brief, pointless fantasy, no doubt, yet testament to the transformational qualities of work and performance, whose form seemed to have something both natural and magical to them. We had observed, heard, perhaps experienced the deaths of an angel, of civilisation, of the voice, and now of humanity, but that did not necessarily seem to have been a bad thing. There will always, after all, remain ghosts in the machine; or will there?




Monday, 16 September 2019

Musikfest Berlin (10) - Zimmermann/Les Siècles/Roth: Rameau, Lachenmann, and Berlioz, 15 September 2019


Philharmonie

Rameau: Les Indes Galantes: Suite
Lachenmann: Mouvement (– vor der Erstarrung)
Berlioz: Harold en Italie, op.16

Tabea Zimmermann (viola)
Les Siècles
François-Xavier Roth (conductor)


Images: © Monika Karczmarczyk

Charles Ives’s father famously insisted that his son stretch his ears. It was partly in that spirit that I went to this concert from the French period-instrument orchestra, Les Siècles, and its founder, François-Xavier Roth. Hand on heart, I remain a sceptic, though certainly not an opponent, when it comes to period instruments. I reacted very strongly against them, or rather against the underlying ideologies of those preaching their use, when coming of musical age. No one was successfully going to tell this teenager that he could not play Bach – or Handel, or Rameau, or Byrd… – on the piano; no one likewise was going to create anything other than an enemy by telling him the Bach of Klemperer or Furtwängler or, God help us, even Karl Richter was ‘incorrect’, or as Gustav Leonhardt put it in the case of Furtwängler, ‘disgusting’. (To be fair, ‘disgusting’ at least shows some emotional engagement; the idea of a performance being ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’ is considerably worse.) However, not everyone is like that, especially today; many ‘period’ musicians indeed never were. Partly through curiosity, partly through friendship with many musicians with varying degrees of commitment to such music-making, and partly through re-examination of my own prejudices and that imperative to stretch my ears, I have latterly shown greater interest and sympathy.


When it comes, say, to seventeenth-century music, I frankly have little choice, if I ever want to hear that music performed live. With the eighteenth-century, opportunities to hear its music on modern instruments vary according to repertoire and instrument: pianists are clearly never going to give up Bach, yet how often do we hear a symphony or even chamber orchestra perform a Handel oratorio that is not Messiah, let alone a Rameau opera? The nineteenth century is another matter again; I have never felt any particular need here, but curiosity led me here to give Berlioz on instruments of the period. So too did the ethos of the orchestra in question: that is, playing each piece, as close as possible, on the instruments of its time, thus affording a contrast between instruments of the mid-eighteenth, mid-nineteenth, and the late twentieth centuries. So too did the programme – how often, if ever, have Rameau, Lachenmann, and Berlioz appeared together like this? – and the conductor, whose work I have long admired. Why mention all of this? I hope that is not simply self-absorption, but also to try to explain what will perhaps be an unusually personal response. My aim is certainly not to dissuade musicians from performing and listeners from listening to Berlioz on period instruments – why on earth should I wish to do that? – but to describe and also to reflect a little on my experience. By all means call me an antediluvian, if it helps – whilst also acknowledging the ‘historicist’ irony that may entail.


First, however, Rameau, and a suite from Les Indes galantes (instruments of 1750, A=415 Hz). As it happens, I had actually heard another suite from the same opera on modern instruments (LSO/Rattle) earlier this year. I had also, once before, heard Roth conduct Rameau dances, albeit from Dardanus, with a modern orchestra (the BBC NOW), at the Proms. If my prejudices may lie in that direction, I am not at all sure that this was not the best performance of the three. It certainly left me in no doubt that I was happy to listen to this music on instruments of any period, which would doubtless have surprised my younger self. Roth and his players, mostly standing with obvious exceptions, offered an introduction, the ‘Entrée de la suite d’Hébée’, as enticing and in its way as fantastical as anything in Berlioz: an array of percussion, responded to by light, lithe, yet far from inexpressive or indeed vibrato-less playing. It set an infectious precedent, to which subsequent dances fully lived up. Two rigaudons (‘pour les Matelots provençaux et Matelotes provençales’) both offered expressive lilt and meaningful contrast, both with what had come and with each other. Here and in the pair of tambourins (also for those Provencal sailors) one could pretty much see the dancers in one’s mind’s eyes, fully alert to the dramatic possibilities of the dance’s intensification on repetition (and dynamic variation). Two numbers in common with Rattle’s selection, music for the ‘savages’ and the great chaconne, brought the suite to a memorable conclusion, the latter’s sequential sense of drama firmly founded in rhythm and harmony. Indeed, it was Raymond Leppard, rather than any period-instrument conductor, who came to mind for me. Not that these instruments lacked their own character and colour, in many respects delightful, but those were not ends in themselves.




Lachenmann’s Mouvement ( – vor der Erstarrung) for ensemble dates from almost two-and-a-half centuries after Rameau’s opera (1982-4, as opposed to 1735). It was played on modern instruments, or, as the programme had it, ‘instruments from the year 1980’, tuning at A=442. This was at least as committed a performance, not only revealing something akin to a sonic palimpsest, but also revelling in the drama of effort in music-making, as well as its reward, by players truly in sovereign command of their instruments. Webern and Nono, as in the Tanzsuite mit Deutschlandlied heard that morning, were present guests at the feast, yet in no sense could any of the music have been said to sound like theirs; rather, their methods, or memories thereof, helped us – or at least me – find a way in. Extreme ‘expressivity’ – I am not sure that that is quite the right word – of twin precision and intensity bade, even insisted, that one listen, and listen with ears both old and new: an idea not without implications for such an orchestra and such a programme. I could even have sworn I heard a Rameau rhythm echoed at one point: a coincidence at best, yet a pleasing one. Lachenmann’s music was played with all the skill and understanding of a dedicated new music ensemble, but does this music, the best of forty years all, still qualify as ‘new music’? Does it matter? Eruptions as powerful as those in Mahler (or Webern), whispered confidences as hyper-expressive as those of Nono, riots of wind and percussion to rival Messiaen’s: those and many other aspects, moments, of death, yet also surely in some sense of life, offered a world-kaleidoscope different from Rameau’s, yet one which could surely be heard with profit in succession to it. A performance exhilarating in its aggression had me ask whether my ears would ever be quite the same again, and why on earth I should wish them to be.


Finally, then, Berlioz, and Harold en Italie (instruments from 1850, A=438), for which the orchestra was joined by Tabea Zimmermann. I learned much from the performance, yet emerged from it less convinced. That may simply, or principally, be more a matter of my resistance; perhaps I was hearing it not dissimilarly from the way some notably dissatisfied members of the audience appeared to have heard Lachenmann. Perhaps that was no bad thing at all. Certainly the darker, less resonant string tone with which the first movement opened, had its own potentialities. It was woodwind blend, or lack thereof, both within the section and with the strings, that troubled me more. That will doubtless have been part of the attraction for many, but I found it had me listen more to the instruments, less to what they played. On her entry, Zimmermann proved unfussy yet expressive; so too was the harpist with whom she duetted. (The idea of placing the harp at the front of the stage, almost as a second soloist, offered a definite advantage here.) As time went on, though, Zimmermann proved surprisingly wayward, not just of mood, but of tuning, a problem far from restricted to this movement. Roth’s basic tempo was faster than usual, but it worked well, and was far from inflexible. If a relative thinness of orchestral tone contrasted greatly with Roméo et Juliette from the Berlin Philharmonic just two nights previously, stretching my ears was always intended as part of the exercise.


For the second movement, I was gain struck by the difference in balance and blend. The mood was very different, too, from any performance I could recall: less solemn, more a motley crew of pilgrims. Why not? Again, it made me listen, and there was something quite Catholic, even if renegade Catholic, to the conception, which fitted well. The mountaineer serenading his beloved in the third movement benefited from splendidly rustic sound, period woodwind here coming into its own (for me, at any rate), in what proved another swift account. There was plenty of nervous energy to the finale, whose darker colours and moods came off best, Roth handling its many twists and turns with typical skill and conviction. There were some pretty wild sounds, all in all: many will have found them exciting; alas, they soon became rather wearing for me. I suspect they would have done so still more on repetition. As an encore, the ‘Marche hongroise’ from La Damnation de Faust proved infinitely more colourful and involving than it had during a dreary trudge on modern instruments through the entire work at Glyndebourne this summer with Robin Ticciati. Swings and roundabouts, then; I had at any rate stretched my ears and been made to think.


Five hundred recordings


In June of last year, I received on Facebook a challenge to list ten recordings, or as the instructions put it, ‘favo[u]rite albums’. ‘What really made an impact,’ the rubric continued, ‘and is still on your rotation list [?? whatever that may have been: I never did find out], even if only now and then? Post the cover, no need to explain. Nominate a person each day to do the same.’ Often I ignore such ‘challenges’, but in this case I accepted, not least on account of the friend who had issued this particular call to action. I posted an ‘album’ cover each day, then decided to continue to twenty, then to fifty, and so on. I had firmly resolve to stop at 100, then 200, then 366 (one for each day of a well-endowed year), before finally, this month, deciding to quit whilst ahead at 500. Initially, I avoided any replication of works, then slightly relaxed that, thinking it perverse to exclude a recording simply because it included a different performance of three minutes of music, then there were seventy-odd unrepresented elsewhere. After 366, I permitted myself a little more repetition, selecting some second recordings of ‘central’ repertoire works that meant a great deal to me, whilst continuing to present many more works for the first time. Having drawn to a close, I decided to share the covers with a wider world, for anyone who might be interested.


What I should like to say before doing so is that the selection is necessarily restricted. First, and most obviously, it is restricted to recordings that I own. However good some alternative may be, if I do not, for whatever reason, it will not even have been considered for inclusion. The selection is also weighted very strongly towards a time when, before attending more live performances, I acquired recordings far more regularly than I do now: mostly of ‘historical’ repertoire. There are some more recently issued recordings, but not so many. It is also necessarily restricted to works that have been recorded, and to artists who have recorded particular works. Much music that interests me, especially new music, is not present at all. Likewise, there are culpably few recordings of music by women composers; that, I am afraid, is a reflection of the CDs I own, though not a reflection of what interests me in live performance, something nowadays considerably more important to me. The absence of other musical traditions is similarly not intended as a comment upon them. Put simply, I mean no harm with this, and hope to Mozart that it will not offend anyone. I shied away from large boxed sets, since that rather seemed to defeat the point; a recording of the Ring is one thing, a set of 50 different Klemperer recordings another. They are also all audio-only recordings: no videos. This is not a list of ‘500 greatest recordings’, or some such nonsense; it is not a guide of recommended recordings of particular work; it is simply a selection that grew over time, of recordings meaning something to me, which attempts not to overlap too often. I hope that it may prove of some interest to some people; if not, other websites are available...





(It also appears that the number may not be precisely 500. I am not at all sure how that happened, but never mind: it is certainly c.500. Too much precision can be a deadly thing.)