These are tough, feisty, devastating pieces — easily among the 20th century’s finest symphonies — and they receive ferocious readings from Antonio Pappano and the LSO.
Mariss Jansons’ ultimate performance, taped live at Carnegie Hall, shows the maestro at the top of his game; François-Xavier Roth’s new recording of pieces by Ravel and Debussy is a bit of a hit-or-miss affair; Diana Damrau’s Tudor Queens, a survey of heroines from three Donizetti operas, is nothing short of terrific.
Concert halls and opera houses remain closed — but unusual musical experiences await in this era of social isolation.
Ádám Fischer’s reading of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony is breathtakingly clean.
Michael Tilson Thomas delivers a towering Ives Fourth; pianist Conrad Tao’s American Rage is hard-edged and defiant, but also poignant and stirring; Gianandrea Noseda’s Shostakovich Fourth is ferocious.
Simon Rattle’s Bruckner is, on the whole, lean and lively; if you’re looking for a new Mahler Four, Vladimir Jurowski’s is the one to check out; Thierry Fischer leads performances of each symphony that take Saint-Saëns’ writing seriously.
Semyon Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic do justice to a lot of Tchaikovsky’s orchestral music, while John Eliot Gardiner and the London Symphony play Robert Schumann’s famously-dense orchestrations with clarity. But Michael Stern’s account of The Planets completely lacks mystery.
Anniversaries are both the bane and the lifeblood of the classical music industry as, for better or worse, three new box sets remind.
Violinist Viktoria Mullova supplies one of the year’s most programmatically-cohesive and thoughtfully-executed albums.
Pražák Quartet’s Smetana is keeper, Sir Simon Rattle’s Haydn is a loser, and Lindberg’s “On the Waterfront” is a knockout.