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Solti - A Passion For Music

Solti,Georg
Release Date: 09/18/2007 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 000972102   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Ludwig van BeethovenRichard StraussMikhail GlinkaAlexander Borodin,   ... 
Performer:  Tamás DaróczyAlexandru Agache
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Tonhalle OrchestraChicago Symphony OrchestraLondon Symphony Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 5 
Recorded in: Stereo 
CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This digitally remastered 5-disc set brings together some of the highlights of Sir Georg Solti's long and distinguished recording career with Decca, including music of Richard Strauss recorded with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a late concert of Solti's beloved Mahler Fifth, and of course, orchestral excerpts from Wagner's Ring cycle with the Vienna Philharmonic. The set also features the great maestro's final studio recording, fittingly devoted to composers from his native Hungary.

Reviews of individual recordings in this set:

DISC 3 - STRAVINSKY
Performance: 5 (out of 5) / Sound: 5 (out of 5)
Ever the pragmatist, Stravinsky composed both the Symphony of Psalms and the Symphony in C ‘to the glory
Read more of God’, and dedicated them at the same time to the Boston and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, respectively. The first of them, with its unique sonorities (the staccato opening chord alone is enough to identify its composer beyond any doubt), and the haunting ‘Allelujahs’ of its finale, is one of Stravinsky’s authentic masterpieces – at once austere and intensely dramatic.

-- BBC Music Magazine

DISC 4 - THE LAST RECORDING
It is apt, if ironic, that these very last recordings of Sir Georg Solti, product of sessions in Budapest last June, three months before his sudden death, should make up the perfect valedictory disc. Ironically too, these were his very first recordings made in his native Hungary with Hungarian musicians. Solti’s plan was to pay tribute to his three great teachers at the Liszt Conservatoire in Budapest, not only in this recording but in a concert of the same three representative works, designed to round off this year’s (1998) Budapest Spring Festival.

In the event the concert went ahead as a memorial to Solti with most of the same performers conducted by Ivan Fischer. Here on the disc, with incandescent singing from the choirs and incisive playing from the orchestra, we have what might have been, and very welcome it is. In his final reconciliation with his native land (which, as he always pointed out, rejected him twice over, both under the Fascists and the Communists) Solti found extra warmth in music he loved, while keeping the biting intensity which was always a hallmark of his conducting.

As he explains in the accompanying booklet, Solti came finally to feel that the story of Bartok’s Cantata profana – about nine sons turned by magic into stags, who finally return home – symbolized his own life-story. The chorus, as I say, sing superbly, with the Romanian baritone, Alexander Agache, a strong and dark soloist.

[Tamás Daróczy's] singing is the drawback in the Kodaly ..... None the less, what matters is the incandescence of the whole performance. This was a work which Solti recorded in mono right at the beginning of his years with Decca (10/54 – nla), but with glowing digital sound, reflecting the helpful acoustic of the Italian Institute in Budapest, the piece is transformed, particularly with such idiomatic singing and playing.

The rarity here is the Serenade of Leo Weiner, the teacher closest to Solti in his student days, one who both challenged him and drew him out. The amiability of this music, far less individual, less specifically Hungarian than that of Bartok or Kodaly, seems to reflect Weiner’s character as Solti’s mentor. Beautifully written in four cleanly constructed movements, this is a delightful piece full of fresh, crisply conceived ideas, as in the easygoing sonata-form first movement. The warmly responsive woodwind soloists of the Budapest Festival Orchestra come into their own in the interlude of the third movement with its sequence of solos getting faster, in turn for clarinet, bassoon, oboe and flute. Solti could never have conceived a more winning last offering on disc.

-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [6/1998]

DISC 5 - MAHLER SYMPHONY NO 5
The power of the great Hungarian's conducting is awesome in this recording of Mahler's Fifth Symphony, and he has the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich drilled to within an inch of its life. But the salient feature of the performance is its autumnal, elegiac character, an impression heightened by the knowledge that this was Solti's last ever concert.... [T]his new recording is an invaluable document of Solti's last concerts and is to be highly recommended to all who admired and loved him.

-- Dominic McHugh, musicalcriticism.com

Compared with his earlier studio recording, and even with the one taken from his farewell concert with the Chicago Symphony in 1991, his approach with the Tonhalle Orchestra is mellower, yet everything fits together precisely: the first two movements make a complementary pair, the adagietto never loses its momentum, and the finale pulls the threads together with total conviction.

-- Andrew Clements, The Guardian (UK)
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Works on This Recording

1.
Egmont, Op. 84: Overture by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1810; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 8 Minutes 8 Secs. 
2.
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1895; Germany 
Length: 15 Minutes 3 Secs. 
3.
Don Juan, Op. 20 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
Length: 17 Minutes 31 Secs. 
4.
Russlan and Ludmilla: Overture by Mikhail Glinka
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1842; Russia 
Length: 4 Minutes 58 Secs. 
5.
Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances by Alexander Borodin
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Length: 13 Minutes 37 Secs. 
6.
Die Walküre: Ride of the Valkyries by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856; Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 7 Secs. 
7.
Das Rheingold: Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854; Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 24 Secs. 
8.
Die Walküre: Leb' wohl..."Farewell and Magic Fire music" by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856; Germany 
Length: 15 Minutes 8 Secs. 
9.
Siegfried: Forest Murmurs [Instrumental] by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Germany 
Length: 9 Minutes 3 Secs. 
10.
Götterdämmerung: Siegfried's Funeral Music by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Germany 
Length: 8 Minutes 35 Secs. 
11.
Le sacre du printemps by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911-1913 
Length: 30 Minutes 9 Secs. 
12.
Symphony in Three Movements by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942-1945; USA 
Length: 22 Minutes 33 Secs. 
13.
Symphony of Psalms by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930/1948; France 
Length: 21 Minutes 9 Secs. 
14.
Cantata Profana, Sz 94 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Tamás Daróczy (), Alexandru Agache ()
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; Budapest, Hungary 
Length: 17 Minutes 13 Secs. 
15.
Serenade in F minor, Op. 3 by Leó Weiner
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906; Hungary 
Length: 19 Minutes 23 Secs. 
16.
Psalmus hungaricus, Op. 13 by Zoltán Kodály
Performer:  Tamás Daróczy ()
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; Hungary 
Length: 20 Minutes 29 Secs. 
17.
Symphony no 5 in C sharp minor by Gustav Mahler
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901-1902; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 67 Minutes 29 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Strauss)
Die Walküre (Wagner): Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music
Cantata profana "The Enchanted Stags" (Bartók): I. Molto moderato
Symphony no 5 (Mahler): III. Scherzo

Sound Samples

Overture "Egmont" op.84
Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks (Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche), Op. 28
Don Juan, Op.20
Ruslan and Lyudmila / Act 1: Overture
Prince Igor / Act 2: Polovtsian Dances and Chorus
Die Walküre: The Ride of the Valkyres
Das Rheingold / Vierte Szene: Entry of the Gods into Valhalla
Die Walküre - Concert version / Dritter Aufzug: Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music
Siegfried - Concert Version: Forest Murmurs
Götterdämmerung - Concert version / Dritter Aufzug: Siegfried's Funeral March
Götterdämmerung - Concert version / Dritter Aufzug: Finale

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