LABELS: EMI: Encore
Highlights of Karajan’s 1972 recording of HAYDN’s The Seasons resurface on EMI’s budget Encore label (CDE 5 74977 2).
There’s little of the Arcadian feel of Eliot Gardiner’s benchmark 1990 Archiv version, but the grandeur of the big choruses under Karajan should impress, particularly if you’re new to the work.
James Conlon’s 1994 account of MAHLER’s Fifth Symphony (CDE 5 74979 2) played by the Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra (which gave the premiere under Mahler himself in October 1904) didn’t attract the critical acclaim it deserved, largely because the work has been over-recorded by the world’s more glamorous ensembles.
However, Conlon directs a lucid, majestic performance, skilfully played and expertly recorded – a genuine bargain at the price.
The centrepiece of a trilogy of MOZART piano sonatas (CDE 5 74983 2) played by Christian Zacharias is the familiar A major Alla turca, K331; these zestful realisations are captivating, and the recording superb.
Encore’s new batch also includes Previn’s highly regarded 1977 LSO performance of MENDELSSOHN’s complete incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream (CDE 5 74981 2).