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  • The Beethovensaal in Hannover was the setting for Valentina Lisitsa's most recent recording

    December 2011

    The Beethovensaal in Hannover was the setting for Valentina Lisitsa's most recent recording: a program of rare and fiendishly demanding Liszt including the famously unplayable La Contradbandista. Valentina played an extraordinary Boesdendorfer Imperial meticulously prepared by Gerd Finkenstein. As usual, Wolf-Dieter Karwatky was tonmeister, Michael Fine produced. Valentina will play a full recital at the Royal Albert Hall on June 19, 2012.

  • Embarrassing overproduction of Mahler in the past decades has raised the bar ridiculously high

    December 2011

    Even though the almost embarrassing overproduction of Mahler in the past decades has raised the bar ridiculously high, worthwhile recordings do occasionally seep through and, in the case of the Houston Symphony under Hans Graf, demand to be taken seriously. Graf’s musical values are entirely different from Sanderling’s; clarity is prized above all, not merely in the musical line but in each little diversion along the way. But individual threads never dangle far from the musical fabric.

    Perhaps the only similarity between these recordings is their use of non-traditional Mahler singers. Although mezzo-soprano Jane Henschel, a frequent performer of gramophone.co.uk Wagner and Strauss, finds herself on familiar ground, it’s Gregory Kunde – generally a bel canto tenor – who remains the standout. I’m not sure how much of Kunde’s refined elegance would soar above the orchestra in a live performance but this is the first Das Lied recording in a long time that made me wish Mahler wrote more for the

  • Superb reviews from the leading British newspapers

    November 2011

    With superb reviews from the leading British newspapers, it's no surprise that the Virgin set of Faure's complete chamber music is on the specialty classical recording charts in England. As Andrew Clements concluded his five star review in the Guardian, " ...it's a real treat to hear chamber-music playing of such assurance and enquiring intelligence."

  • Naxos releases Michael's production of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde recorded live

    November 2011

    Naxos releases Michael's production of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde recorded live by the Houston Symphony with Hans Graf, tenor Gregory Kunde, and mezzo-soprano Jane Henschel.  Naxos has previously released Hans Graf's critically lauded recording of the Zemlinksy Lyric Symphony, also recorded in concert with the Houston Symphony and recorded by Michael Fine.

  • The Seoul Philharmonic's 2nd recording

    October 2011

    The Seoul Philharmonic's 2nd recording, a stunning live performance of Mahler's 1st Symphony conducted by Myung Whun Chung and recorded by Michael Fine at the Seoul Arts Centre, will be released in October.  The SPO's first recording, music of Debussy and Ravel, has already received a Gold Record in Korea and sources there tell us that Platinum is not far away for this critically lauded recording.  Future releases include live recordings of Mahler's 2nd Symphony.