Wading through the hundreds of nominations in our hunt for Gramophone Classics - the ten greatest recordings of the century - there are of course the usual suspects (Elgar from Menuhin and du Pre, Mahler from Waiter and Karajan, The Ring from Solti - you get the idea), but there is also an entire raft of suggestions that have sent me scuttling off to the record library to make the acquaintance of a large number of discs that I'd not heard (and in some cases, not even heard 01). What has been interesting is how often the records nominated have achieved a classic status not only because of their artistic credentials, but also because they seem to encapsulate an event, or they document a particularly momentous occasion (the reopening of the theatre at Bayreuth after the war when Furtwangler conducted the Choral Symphony or the bringing together of two temperamentally very different musicians - Elgar and Menuhin or Barbirolli and du Pre).
The closing date for nominations is the end of March so please don't forget to submit your list of ten favourite recordings (in addition to the form on page 32, an automated voting form also appears on the Gramophone web site and is waiting for your vote!) . When we have all the entries we'll take the top 50 and let you vote again to produce the Gramophone Classics of the century.
April sees significant birthdays for two musical knights, Andre Previn and Sir Neville Marriner, and both have played major roles in the world of classical music on record. Andre Previn, who is 70 on the 6th, has had an extraordinary career as pianist, arranger, composer and conductor and was, for many television viewers of the I970s, one of the true classical music evangelists. He has re-invented himself so seamlessly and so effortlessly that his career traces a perfect arc to his current status as a composer who speaks in a language that is both appealing and challenging. Sir Neville, 75 on the 15th, we seem to have known for years through his hundreds of recordings. There can be few classical music fans without an ASMF/Marriner production, his stylish musicianship having become synonymous with polished chamber orchestra performance practice. Meeting him for this month's birthday interview it was fascinating to sit chatting with someone who played under both Furtwangler and Toscanini.
Regular readers will notice that last month's cover tie-in disc (Richard Goode performing three Bach Partitas) received two reviews. Likewise, Andre Previn's A Slreelcar Named Desire is this month reviewed by both John Steane and Edward Seckerson. The reason? Quite simply that a lot of thought goes into selecting the cover subject for the magazine and the associated projects are considered major events in the classical record world, so we are increasing the critical response we can make - for regular readers just consider that you are being offered first review and quarterly retrospect all in one. I t will be vital for us to find two writers whose reviews will counterpoint each other, but the resulting sparks that are struck can, I hope, only prove provocative in the best sense. James Jollv Editor
In this issue
A Streetcar Named Desire
Andre Previn's operatic treatment of the Tennessee Williams play received its world premiere in San
Francisco last autumn, and now appears on record. The cast is headed by Renee Fleming, seen here with Rodney Gilfry who plays Stanley Photo San Francisco Opera/Sohl
Feature on page 10 Review on page 104
Spreading the word
Benjamin Zander has few rivals as an evangelist for classical music and this month takes on one of the towering masterpieces of this century 's symphonic tradition, Mahler's Ninth. Recorded live in London in 1996, it was clearly a very special interpretation Photo Telarc Interview on page 15
A star is born
A man of few words, but many notes, Arcadi Volodos has taken the piano world by storm. His second recital, recorded live in New
York late last year, proves that he's much more than just a flashy showman
PhOlO Sony Classica l Interview on page 18
Review on page 80
One of the most famous choirs in the world , the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, turns its attention to Rachmaninov's Vespers under the direction of Stephen Cleobury. He reveals how he approached a piece somewhat outside the choir's usual repertoire, and we assess the results Plloto King's College. Cambridge Interview on page 17 Review on page 88
Gramophone April 1999 1