15 MAY 09 JASON SERINUS
I've been spending many joyful hours enjoying Telarc's Everybody's Classics series, and I'm quite impressed. The first 10 titles, all costing under $10, contain some of the greatest music that Beethoven, Brahms, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky and Vaughan Williams wrote. Not only is the sound often demonstration class, but the artists and performances are quite fine.
In a recent survey of American orchestras, the U.K.'s Gramophone Magazine ranked the Cleveland Orchestra as seventh best in the world, and second best in the United States. Prominent in the series are Cleveland performances of Beethoven's Symphonies Nos. 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, as well as the Choral Fantasy and Leonore Overture No. 3, conducted by Christoph von Dohnanyi.
No less than the celebrated André Previn conducts the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on the Brahms and Vaughan Williams sets. His rich Brahms compilation includes the Haydn Variations and both great piano concertos.
This opera queen is especially excited by the generous excerpts from Mozart's great Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro, The Magic Flute, and Così fan tutte, all performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Charles Mackerras. Mackerras' encourages his singers to embellish, making for compelling performances from such top-tier artists as Christine Brewer, Bo Skovhus, Nuccia Focile, Alessandro Corbelli, Alastair Miles, Barbara Hendricks, Thomas Allen and Suzanne Mentzer. Check out all the titles here. I expect you, too, will want to listen and applaud.