EMI is one of the core classical music labels that is released in America. It can be found frequently in Musi clubs of all sorts that promote huge savings in the pruchase of CDs while bilking you with their shipping and handling charges. Thus, I have often found the degree of the selection on the EMI label to be somewhat disappointing. While the performances themselves are not, EMI does not often pursue the more eclectic of works, or at least not regularly. Still, what gems I have foud have been true gems.

Available Reviews:


Martha Argerich

Live from the Concertgebouw

Track Listing:
    J.S. Bach: Partita No. 2 in C Minor, BMV 826
  1. I. Sinfonia - Grave. Adagio
  2. II. Allemande
  3. III. Courante
  4. IV. Sarabande
  5. V. Rondeau
  6. VI. Capriccio
  7. Chopin: Nocturne No. 13 in C Minor, Op. 48 No. 1
  8. Chopin: Scherzo No. 3 in C Sharp Minor, Op. 39
    Bartók: Sonata, Sz 80
  9. I. Allegro moderato
  10. II. Sostenuto e pesante
  11. III. Allegro molto
    Ginastera: Danzas Argentinas
  12. I. Dance of the Old Cowherd
  13. II. Dance of the Delightful Young Girl
  14. III. Dance of the Artful Hersman
    Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 7 in B Flat
  15. I. Allegro inquieto - Andantino
  16. II. Andante caloroso
  17. III. Precipitato
  18. Scarlatti: Keyboard SOnata in D Minor, Kk. 141
  19. J.S. Bach: Bourrée - English Suite No. 2 in A Minor, BMV 807

CDC 556975

Anton Bruckner

Symphony No. 4 in E Flat 'Romantic'

The Berlin Philharmoinc conducted by Herbert von Karajan

Track Listing:
  1. I. Bewegt, nicht zu schnell
  2. II. Andante quasi Allegretto
  3. III. Scherzo (Bewegt) & Trio (Nicht zu schnell)
  4. IV. Finale (Beget, doch nicht zu schnell)

Probably the most well known of the Bruckner symphonies, the 4th is a titanic expression of romantic grandeur. It well deserves the recognition it has received. And Karajan's treatment of it is simply thrilling from beginning to end. Karajan imbues the already exultant chords and trumpets calls with a magesterial breadth that is difficult to surpass. This CD should not be missing from any Bruckner collection.

CDM 7243 5 66094 2 6

George Gershwin

Orchestral Works

Various Orchestras and Conductors

Track Listing:

CD 1
  1. Rhapsody in Blue
    Concerto in F
  2. I. Allegro
  3. II. Adagio - Andante
  4. III. Allegro molto
    3 Préludes
  5. I. In B Flat
  6. II. In C Sharp Minor
  7. III. In E Flat Minor
    6 Mélodies
  8. 'S Wonderful
  9. The Man I Love
  10. Strike Up The Band
  11. Embraceable You
  12. Oh, Lady Be Good
  13. Fascinating Rhythm
CD 2
  1. An American in Paris
  2. Porgy and Bess, Symphonic Tableau
  3. Cuban Overture
  4. Second Rhapsody

7243 5 75341 2 3

Charles Ives and Karl Hartmann

Bamberger Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ingo Metzmacher

Track Listing:
    Ives: Robert Browning Overture
  1. I. Adagio maestoso. Largo-
  2. II. Allegro con spirito-
  3. III. Adagio-
  4. IV. Allegro con spirito
    Hartmann: Symphony No. 3
  5. I. Largo ma non troppo - Allegro con fuoco (Virtuose Fuge)
  6. II. Adagio (Mit bewegtem Ausdruck) - Andante - Allegro moderato - Andante - Adagio

7243 5 55254 2 0

Erich Korngold

Symphony in F Shapr

The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Franz Welser-Möst

Track Listing:
    Symphony in F Sharp
  1. I. Moderato ma energico
  2. II. Scherzo (Allegro molto) - Trio (Molto meno (tranquillo))
  3. III. Adagio (Lento)
  4. IV. Finale (Allegro)
    4 selections from Six Simple Songs
  5. 1. Schneeglöckchen
  6. 2. Das Ständchen
  7. 3. Liebesbriefchen
  8. 4. Sommer
  9. Mariettas Lied

The Symphony was one of Korngold's last works. It is also one of his best in my opinion. I've found that most of Korngold's output suffers from the late Viennese fin-de-siecle fluffiness that makes it rather pedestrian to my ears. Yet this work defies that, maintaining a serious dread and a sense of dark ominous life throughout its entire body. And the recording here by Welser-Möst is quite convincing. One of the finest of symphonies ever to be written. I wish I could say the same for the companion pieces, but lieder has never been my favourite genre. While decent, they are not very interesting. Even so, this is a rock solid selection that will convince anyone that Korngold was not just another Hollywood composer.

7243 5 56169 2 0

Gustav Mahler

Das Lied von der Erde

Philharmonia and New Philharmoina Orchestra conducted by Otto Klemperer

Mezzo-soprano: Christa Ludwig

Tenor: Fritz Wunderlich

Track Listing:
  1. I. Das Trinklied von Jammer der Erde
  2. II. Der Einsame im Herbst
  3. III. Von der Jugend
  4. IV. Von der Schönheit
  5. V. Der Trunkene im Frühling
  6. VI. Der Abschied

CDC 547231

Olivier Messiaen

Turangalîla Symphony

London Symphony Orchestra conducted by André Previn

Track Listing: CD 1
    Messiaen: Turangalîla Symphony
  1. I. Introduction
  2. II. Chant d'amour 1
  3. III. Turangalîla 1
  4. IV. Chant d'amour 2
  5. V. Joie du sang des étoiles
  6. VI. Jardin du sommeil d'amour
  7. VII. Turangalîla 2
  8. VIII. Déveleoppement de l'amour
CD 2
    Messiaen: Turangalîla Symhpony
  1. IX. Turangalîla 3
  2. X. Final
    Poulenc: Concerto Champêtre
  3. I. Allegro molto
  4. II. Sicilienne (Andate)
  5. III. Finale (Presto)
    Poulenc: Concerto in G Minor for Organ
  6. Andante - Allegro giocoso -
  7. Andante moderato -
  8. Tempo Allegro, molto agitato -
  9. Très calme, Lent -
  10. Tempo de l'Allegro initial -
  11. Tempo introduction, Largo

I must confess that the mounmental Turangalîla Symphony is beyond me. While there are parts of this piece that I find very enjoyable, most especially in the first movement, I cannot fathom the structure and thought that Messiaen put into this work. Thus I cannot recommend it by itself. Of the two works by Poulenc, I find the Concerto Champêtre to be rather lackluster. But the Organ Concerto is a perenial favourite of mine, one that immediately grabs your attention and holds it tightly, while giving you a good shake every now and then. Although this piece alone does not make this CD worth buying. If you like Messiaen, get this CD. Otherwise, you'd be best off avoiding this one.

7243 5 69752 2 4

Sergei Rachmaninoff

Symphony No. 2 in E Minor

London Symhpony Orchestra conducted by André Previn

Track Listing:
    Symphony No. 2 in E Minor
  1. I. Largo - Allegro moderato
  2. II. Scherzo (Allegro molto)
  3. III. Adagio
  4. IV. Finale (Allegro vivace)
  5. Vocalise
    Two scenes from 'Aleko'
  6. 1. Intermezzo
  7. 2. Women's Dance

CDC 566997

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Scheherazade and Capriccio espagnol

The London Philharmonic conducted by Mariss Jansons

Track Listing:
    Scheherazade - Symphonic Suite after 'A Thousand and One Nights'
  1. I. The Sea and Sinbad's Ship
  2. II. The Story of the Kalender Prince
  3. III. The Young Prince and the Young Princess
  4. IV. The Festival of Baghdad - The Sea - The Ship goes to pieces on a Rock surmounted by a Bronze Warrior
    Capriccio espagnol
  5. I. Alborada -
  6. II. Variazioni -
  7. III. Alborada -
  8. IV. Scena e canto gitano -
  9. V. Fandago asturiano

Is there any piece more sensous and titilating to the ear than Rimksy-Korsakov's Scheherezade? If so, I can hardly think of its name. Mariss Jansons brings unbounded life to this great bit of exoitca, planting one firmly in Arabia to witness the unfolding stories told. This is one piece that belongs in every musical collection. The Capriccio espagnol is a lighter work, but nevertheless, never fails to delight as well. A solid recording all around.

D 111040

Camille Saint-Saëns

Symphony No. 3 in C Minor 'Organ'

Orchestre Du Capitole de Touluse conducted by Michael Plasson

Organist: Matthias Eisenberg Track Listing:
    Symphony No. 3 in C Minor 'Organ'
  1. I. Adagio - Allegro moderato -
  2. Poco Adagio
  3. II. Allegro moderato - Presto -
  4. Maestoso - Allegro
    Cyprès et Lauriers
  5. I. Cyprès - Poco adagio (solo organ)
  6. II. Lauries - Allegro non troppo

CDC 56362

Camilee Saint-Saëns

The Piano Concertos

Royal Philharmoic Orchestra conducted by André Previn

Piano: Jean-Philippe Collard

Track Listing: CD 1
    Piano Concerto No. 1 in D
  1. I. Andante - Allegro assai
  2. II. Andante sostenuto quasi adagio
  3. III. Allegro con fuoco
    Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor
  4. I. Andante sostenuto
  5. II. Allegro scherzando
  6. III. Presto
    Piano Concerto No. 4 in C Minor
  7. I. Allegro moderato - Andante
  8. II. Allegro vivace - Andante - Allegro
CD 2
    Piano Concerto No. 3 in E Flat
  1. I. Moderato assai - Più mosso (Allegro maestoso)
  2. II. Andante
  3. III. Allegro non troppo
    Piano Concerto No. 5 in F 'The Egyptian'
  4. I. Allegro animato
  5. II. Andante - Allegretto tranquillo quasi andantino
  6. III. Molto allegro
  7. 'Wedding Cake' - Caprice-Valse
  8. 'Africa' Fantaisie

CDC 573356

Dmitri Shostakovich

Symphony No. 11 in G Minor 'In The Year 1905'

Houston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski

Track Listing:
  1. I. The Palace Square (Adagio)
  2. II. January 9th (Allegro)
  3. III. Eternal Memory (Adagio)
  4. IV. Alarm (Allegro non troppo)

This was my first introduction to the Symhponies of Shostakovich, and it still remains my favourite of all that I have heard. And this recording continues to be my favourite as well. The sonorities are brought to rich life by Stokowski, and the drama is performed with full-throated grandeur, without losing the balance it needs to maintain. And the finale simply dies away on the chime of the bells as it is meant to. If you have any love of the Soviet masters, then you will love this disc.

CDM 65206

Dmitri Shostakovich

Symphony No. 11 in G Minor '1905'

The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Mariss Jansons

Track Listing:
    Symphony No. 11 in G Minor '1905'
  1. I. The Palace Square (Adagio) -
  2. II. The 9th of January (Allegro) -
  3. III. In Memoriam (Adagio) -
  4. IV. The Tocsin (allegro non troppo)
    Jazz Suite No. 1
  5. I. Waltz
  6. II. Polka
  7. III. Foxtrot
  8. Jazz Suite No. 2 - VI. Waltz 2
  9. Tahiti Trot (Tea for Two)

Compared to the Stokowski above, the Jansons performance is quite disappointing. While the relentless march in the second movement moves at an even quicker pace in the Jansons, it seems to move too fast. The sonoroities are decent enough, but the ending comes too quickly and far too abruptly. While not a bad recording, clearly one can find better and should. The accompanying pieces from the two Jazz Suites as well as the Tahiti Trot are such banal filler pieces that I scarcely can listen to them. Unless one finds such light music to their taste, I see no reason to buy this CD except for comparative purposes.

CDC 55601

Johan Svendsen

Symphony No. 1 and 2

Oslo Philharmoic Orchestra conducted by Mariss Jansons

Track Listing:
    Symphony No. 1 in D Major
  1. I. Molto allegro
  2. II. Andante
  3. III. Allegretto scherzando
  4. IV. Finale: Maestoso -
  5. Allegro assai con fuoco
    Symphony No. 2 in B Flat Major
  6. I. Allegro
  7. II. Andante sostenuto
  8. III. Intermezzo: Allegro giusto
  9. IV. Finale: Andante -
  10. Allegro con fuoco

D 115616

Pyotr Tchaikovsky

The Piano Concertos

Conducted by Lorin Maazel

Piano: Emil Giles (in the Tchaikovsky)

Piano: Sviatoslav Richter (in the Prokofiev and Bartók)

Track Listing: CD 1
    Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B Flat Minor
  1. I. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso - Allegro con spirito
  2. II. Andantino semplice - Prestissimo - Tempo I
  3. III. Allegro con fuoco
    Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G (ed. Siloti)
  4. I. Allegro billante
  5. II. Andante non troppo
  6. III. Allegro con fuoco
CD 2
    Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 3 in E Flat
  1. I. Allegro billante
    Prokofiev: Piano COncerto No. 5 in G Minor
  2. I. Allegro con brio
  3. II. Moderato ben accentuato
  4. III. Toccata (Allegro con fuoco)
  5. IV. Larghetto
  6. V. Vivo
    Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 2, Sz83#
  7. I. Allegro
  8. II. Adagio
  9. III. Allegro molto

While Tchaikovsky's 1st Concerto has countless recordings, not so with either the 2nd or the fragment of the 3rd. Both are delightful works in their own right, and deserve wider recognition. The playing in all three is stunning, vivacious, and nostalgic. It is unfortunate that they chose to use the cut version of the 2nd Concerto, as it eviscerates the 2nd movement, but that is the only drawback. The other two pieces present polar opposites. While the Bartók is full and vigorous, an excellent addition to the compilation, the Prokofiev has to be the worst piece I have ever heard from him. I utterly detest his 5th Concerto, a piece of utter frivolity, and then not done well in my opinion. Apart from that, this is a very solid set that deserves listening.

7243 5 68637 2 9

Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Symphony No. 6 in B Minor 'Pathétique'

The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti

Track Listing:
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor 'Pathétique'
  1. I. Adagio - Allegro non troppo
  2. II. Allegro con grazia
  3. III. Allegro molto vivace
  4. IV. Finale. Adagio lamentoso
  5. Scriabin: La Poème de l'extase

CDR 69843

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Symphony No. 3 and 4

London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitink

Track Listing:
    Symphony No. 3 'Pastoral'
  1. I. Molto Moderato
  2. II. Lento Moderato
  3. III. Moderato Pesante
  4. IV. Lento
    Symphony No. 4 in F Minor
  5. I. Allegro
  6. II. Andante Moderato
  7. III. Scherzo (Allegro Molto)
  8. IV. Finale Con Epilogo Fugato (Allegro Molto)

I will confess, to date, I've not found a recording of either of these pieces that I haven't absolutely adored. Perhaps it is because I find both of these Symphonies to be amongst my favourite works in the genre, although for different reasons. The Pastoral Symphony is much ridiculed because it often seems to most folks that nothing actually happens in the piece. I disagree, and so too, from his sympathetic treatment of the work, does Bernard Haitink. Here the beautiful English countryside is made apparent, a feeling of seeig ones home as it was when you were a child is made apparent, and also how it has changed in all those years. You cannot go back to that home now, the Pastroal says to me, but it is there for you to remember still. Haitink never loses sight of this, making it all the better. Of the 4th Symphony in F Minor, I have never found a work I thought to be a better study in unbridled violence. From the opening bars to the final unresolved F thunderclap, I am entranced by this piece, my skin bubbling with electric thrill. Haitink maintains the excitement even in the slower and more elegaic parts. There is always that feeling that fury will be unleashed. If there were to be a symphony to characterize the first half of the twentieth century, this would be it. And this recording would be one of the ones you'd choose to represent it.

CDC 556564

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Concerto in C for Two Pianos; Job

Londond Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Adrian Boult

Track Listing:
    Concerto in C for Two Pianos
  1. I. Toccata(allegro moderato) -
  2. II. Romanza (Lento) -
  3. III. Fuga chromatica (Allegro) con
  4. finale alla tedesca
    Job: A Masque for Dancing
    Scene I
  5. 1. Introduction -
  6. 2. Saraband of the Sons of god
  7. Scene II: Satan's Dance of Triumph
  8. Scene III: Minuet of the Sons of Job and Their Wives
  9. Scene IV: Job's Dream -
  10. Scene V: Dance of the Three Messengers
  11. Scene VI: Dance of Job's Comforters -
    Scene VII
  12. 1. Elihu's Dance of Youth and Beauty -
  13. 2. Pavane of the SOns of Morning
    Scene VIII
  14. 1. Galliard of the Sons of the Morning-
  15. 2. Altar Dance-
  16. Scene IX: Epilogue

CDM 67220

Richard Wagner

Overtures, Wesendonck Lieder, Symphony in E

The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch

Mezzo-soprano: Marjana Lipovsek

Track Listing:
  1. Overture: Das Liebesverbot
  2. Symphony in E Major: I. Allegro con spirito
  3. Eine Faust-Overture
    Wesendonck Lieder
  4. I. Der Engel
  5. II. Stehe Still!
  6. III. Im Treibhaus
  7. IV. Schmerzen
  8. V. Träume
  9. Overture: Rienzi

7243 5 56165 2 4

Carl Maria von Weber

Symphony No. 1 and 2; Konzerstück

The London Classical Players conducted by Roger Norrington

Track Listing:
    Symphony No. 1 in C Major
  1. I. Allegro con fuoco
  2. II. Andante
  3. III. Scherzo. Presto
  4. IV. Finale. Presto
    Konzerstück in F Minor
  5. I. Larghetto affettuoso -
  6. II. Allegro appassionato -
  7. III. Adagio - Tempo di Marcia -
  8. IV. Più mosso - Presto giocoso
    Symphony No. 2 in C Major
  9. I. Allegro
  10. II. Adagio, ma non troppo
  11. III. Menuetto. Allegro
  12. IV. Finale. Scherzo presto

D 108784

Kurt Weill

Symphony No. 2

Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Mariss Jansons

Track Listing:
    Symphony No. 2
  1. I. Sostenuto -
  2. Allegro molto
  3. II. Largo
  4. III. Allegro vivace
    Concerto for Violin and Wind Orchestra
  5. I. Andante con moto
  6. II. Notturno: Allegro un poco trenuto -
  7. Cadenza: Moderato -
  8. Serenata: Allegretto
  9. III. Allegro molto, un poco agitato
    Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagony Suite
  10. I. Allegro giusto
  11. II. Moderato assai
  12. III
  13. IV. Lento
  14. V. Molto vivace
  15. VI
  16. VII. Largo

CDC 556573

Alexander von Zemlinsky

The Mermaid

Kölner Philharmonic conducted by James Conlon

Track Listing:
    The Mermaid - Symphonic Poem
  1. I. Sehr mäßig bewegt
  2. II. sehr bewegt, rauschend
  3. III. Sehr gedehnt, mit schmervollem Ausdruck
  4. I. Sehr lebhaft (Presto)
  5. II. Ballade. Sehr gemessen (Poco adagio), doch nicht schleppend
  6. III. Rondo. Sehr lebhaft

CDC 55515

Alexander von Zemlinsky

Symphony No. 1 and 2

Kölner Philharmonic conducted by James Conlon

Track Listing:
    Symphony No. 1 in D Minor
  1. I. Allegro ma non troppo
  2. II. Allegro scherzando
  3. III. Sehr innig und breit
  4. IV. Moderato
    Symphony No. 2 in B Flat Major
  5. I. Sostenuto - Allegro
  6. II. Nicht zu schnell - Scherzando
  7. III. Adagio
  8. IV. Moderato

CDC 56473


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