Andante

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Andante

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Finally, Andante, until now purely a music web site, has set up shop as a CD producer with an impressive initial release.

I’m trespassing on historical territory here, but must mention a live VPO set, with BRUCKNER’s Eighth Symphony conducted by Karajan, STRAUSS’s Ein Heldenleben under Böhm, and an electrifying (if sonically challenged) MAHLER Nine with Mitropoulos (4997-5000).

The BEETHOVEN piano concertos (1996-1999), some in more than one performance, feature artists such as Dorfmann, Kapell, Long, Gieseking and Haskil – not the usual suspects.

On the other hand, the collection of SCHUBERT chamber music (1991-1994) pulls together familiar and justly celebrated recordings by Cortot, Thibaud and Casals, Busch and Serkin, Schnabel and the Pro Arte Quartet.

Almost all have been reissued on other CDs, but this, like all the Andante series, is a deluxe product, with extensive notes and a high standard of remastering.

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They’re equivalent to special edition hardback books rather than paperbacks, and you have to pay accordingly: whether sales will justify this approach remains to be seen – though the web site is currently offering an ‘introductory price’ of $64 (c£45).