Seiji Ozawa


(Digital Download - Universal Classics & Jazz #)

Review by

To mark Seiji Ozawa's 75th birthday celebration, Decca has assembled an impressive box set of his finest recordings for the label, which amounts to 11 CDs of almost 12 hours of exceptional music, brilliantly performed by five great orchestras. The program has its share of warhorses, namely Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 in E minor, and his crowd-pleasing "1812" Overture, but there is much here that's far off the beaten path and worth investigating. The opening disc presents Bartók's Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, followed by the Concerto for Orchestra, so this is evidently a cue to take this set seriously. Other important choices are a handful of works by Takemitsu, whom Ozawa has championed for many years, a complete recording on one disc of Mahler's Symphony No. 2, and a CD of 20th century orchestral arrangements of music by Bach, possibly the most controversial and quirkiest of the set with its odd-lot transcriptions by Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Webern, Stokowski, and Saito. The rest of the set is perhaps less thought-provoking, but certainly just as enjoyable, with an assortment of popular works by Ravel, Poulenc, Rimsky-Korsakov, Richard Strauss, and Wagner, and a closing disc devoted to music on the theme of Romeo and Juliet by Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Berlioz, and Bernstein. Ozawa's fans may have some of these great recordings already, but because this package exposes the listener to much of his work that is special and hard to find, it is definitely worth spending a little time to examine its contents in depth.

Track Listing - Disc 8

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 02:23 Amazon
Alpensymphonie, Op.64
2 03:18 Amazon
3 01:38 Amazon
4 02:17 Amazon
5 04:50 Amazon
6 00:43 Amazon
7 00:15 Amazon
8 00:46 Amazon
9 00:55 Amazon
10 02:05 Amazon
11 01:26 Amazon
12 01:02 Amazon
13 01:24 Amazon
14 04:49 Amazon
15 03:29 Amazon
16 00:20 Amazon
17 00:54 Amazon
18 02:20 Amazon
19 02:51 Amazon
20 03:50 Amazon
21 02:48 Amazon
22 05:58 Amazon
23 02:19 Amazon
24 06:08 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick