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Lorin Maazel - The Complete Early Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon


Release Date: 02/17/2015 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 002251502  
Composer:  Peter Ilyich TchaikovskyMaurice RavelNikolai Rimsky-KorsakovIgor Stravinsky,   ... 
Performer:  Jeanine CollardJane BerbiéSylvaine GilmaColette Herzog,   ... 
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio OrchestraBerlin Philharmonic OrchestraBerlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 18 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Here we go again. Lorin Maazel recorded everything for everyone, multiple times, but this set, which contains his earliest DG recordings, does go a long way to explaining what made him so compelling in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Simply put, he was exciting as hell, and he got a remarkably disciplined response from three orchestras, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, plus the R.T.F. National Orchestra in Paris. The German ensembles were recovering from the depredations of war and all could sound a bit seedy for other conductors. A remarkable podium technician, Maazel’s gifts as a leader are everywhere in evidence, even as some of the interpretive weirdness so evident later also appears here and there. So, Read more what do we get?

1. German Stuff: Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6; Consecration of the House Overture; 12 Contredanses; Schubert Symphonies Nos. 2-6 and 8 “Unfinished”; Mozart Symphonies Nos. 1, 28, and 41; Mendelssohn “Italian” and “Reformation” Symphonies; Brahms: Symphony No. 3 and Tragic Overture

The Beethoven performances are outstanding: forthright, exciting, and featuring the Berlin Philharmonic in top form. The Schubert and Mendelssohn performances too are also really effectively shaped, with the precision (without coldness) that characterizes Maazel’s best work. The Mozart symphonies are interesting in that Maazel recorded them in France with the R.T.F. Orchestra, but they aren’t notably special or competitive unless you want to hear that particular ensemble. The Brahms Third starts out boldly and incisively, but Maazel’s heavy hand makes hash of the finale.

2. Russian Stuff: Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4; Romeo and Juliet; Stravinsky: Firebird Suite; Song of the Nightingale; Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet; Peter and the Wolf; Mussorgsky: Night on Bald Mountain; Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio espagnol

Maazel was usually convincing in Russian music, and these releases constituted some of his best early work. The Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Stravinsky performances are all brilliant, compromised only by the grotty percussion typical of late 50s German orchestras. The Prokofiev shows the Berlin Philharmonic clearly out of its element in the days when orchestras still had a proprietary sound in certain repertoire. It dates from 1957 and is recorded in mono (astonishing how long Maazel’s recording career lasted, isn’t it?). It’s a strange selection–Montagues and Capulets, Dance, Romeo at Juliet’s Tomb, Dance of the Girls from the Antilles, Tybalt’s Death–no Balcony Scene, Masques, or Morning Dance. Peter and the Wolf features English narration by a too-closely miked Alec Clunes but it gets the job done. The Tchaikovsky Fourth is rousing, direct, and very enjoyable. Romeo and Juliet (mono again) begins with the slowest introduction ever, lasting some eight minutes (!), but when it gets going it takes off like a bat out of hell.

3. French Stuff: Berlioz Romeo and Juliet (orchestral bits); Frank D minor Symphony; Ravel: L’Heure espagnole and L’Enfant et les sortilèges

The Berlioz excerpts (in mono) have plenty of color and finesse, with a really beautiful love scene. Franck’s Symphony features some razor-sharp articulation in the outer movements and comes across as quite fresh and unsticky. The two Ravel operas have been reference recordings since the day that they were issued, and so they remain. No librettos are included, though. Are we surprised?

4. Other Stuff: The performance of Respighi’s Pines of Rome was very highly regarded in its day, and it’s very smartly shaped, but it lacks impact and amplitude by today’s best standards. Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra features narration specially edited “with the composer’s approval” and delivered rather creepily by Maazel himself. He kind of sounds like the child catcher in Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang–“Here kiddies, come and get some nice candy!” If I were a young person I’d have been terrified. Finally, Falla’s El amor brujo is vivid and clear, if not terribly idiomatic, with Grace Bumbry as soloist, and the collection concludes with the dances from The Three-Cornered Hat; again, very well-played save for rather colorless percussion.

The box contains eighteen not terribly long CDs with original jackets, as if we care, and at least ten CDs’ worth of styrofoam padding. Can’t these people make a box that fits the number of discs? It occurs to me that perhaps it’s cheaper to make one size of box, cover it appropriately, and just stuff the empty space with filler. Whatever the reason, there’s a lot of empty space here. It looks like most, if not all, of Maazel’s recorded legacy has now been boxed up and reissued. As I said, it’s amazing how much he did, and how little it seems to matter now, but let’s not ignore the many examples of superior music-making evident in this and those other sets.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
L'enfant et les sortilèges by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Jeanine Collard (Mezzo Soprano), Jane Berbié (Mezzo Soprano), Sylvaine Gilma (Soprano),
Colette Herzog (Mezzo Soprano), Heinz Rehfuss (Bass Baritone), Camille Maurane (Baritone),
Michel Sénéchal (Tenor), Françoise Ogéas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920-1925; France 
Date of Recording: 11/1960 
Venue:  Salle de la Mutualité, Paris, France 
Language: French 
2.
L'heure espagnole by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Jane Berbié (Mezzo Soprano), Michel Sénéchal (Tenor), Jean Giraudeau (Tenor),
Gabriel Bacquier (Baritone), José van Dam (Bass)
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907-1909; France 
Date of Recording: 02/1965 
Venue:  ORTF, Paris, France 
Language: French 
3.
Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Russia 
Date of Recording: 12/1958 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin, Germany 
4.
Chant du rossignol by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; Switzerland 
Date of Recording: 11/1957 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin, Germany 
5.
Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807-1808; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1808 
7.
Symphony no 3 in F major, Op. 90 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Austria 
8.
Tragic Overture, Op. 81 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Austria 
9.
Die Weihe des Hauses, Op. 124 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822; Vienna, Austria 
10.
Contradances (12), WoO 14 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
11.
Symphony no 2 in B flat major, D 125 by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1814-1824; Vienna, Austria 
12.
Symphony no 3 in D major, D 200 by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1815; Vienna, Austria 
13.
Symphony no 4 in C minor, D 417 "Tragic" by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 
14.
Symphony no 5 in B flat major, D 485 by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 
15.
Symphony no 6 in C major, D 589 "Little C Major" by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1818; Vienna, Austria 
16.
Symphony no 8 in B minor, D 759 "Unfinished" by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1822; Vienna, Austria 
17.
Symphony no 1 in E flat major, K 16 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1764; London, England 
18.
Symphony no 28 in C major, K 200 (189k) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1774 
19.
Symphony no 41 in C major, K 551 "Jupiter" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
20.
Symphony no 4 in A major, Op. 90 "Italian" by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1833; Germany 
21.
Symphony no 5 in D major, Op. 107 "Reformation" by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832; Germany 
22.
Roméo et Juliette, Op. 17: Excerpt(s) by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; France 
23.
Romeo and Juliet Overture by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869/1880; Russia 
24.
Symphony no 4 in F minor, Op. 36 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877-1878; Russia 
25.
Romeo and Juliet Suite no 1, Op. 64a: Excerpt(s) by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Paris, France 
26.
Romeo and Juliet Suite no 2, Op. 64b: Excerpt(s) by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Paris, France 
27.
Pines of Rome by Ottorino Respighi
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923-1924; Rome, Italy 
28.
Night on the Bare Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866; Russia 
29.
Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Alec Clunes (Spoken Vocals)
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; USSR 
30.
Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Lorin Maazel (Spoken Vocals)
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; England 
31.
Firebird Suite by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919/1945;   
32.
Symphony in D minor, M 48 by César Franck
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886-1888; France 
33.
El amor brujo by Manuel de Falla
Performer:  Grace Bumbry (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1915; Spain 
34.
El sombrero de tres picos: Suite - Excerpt(s) by Manuel de Falla
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; Spain 

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