IT WOULDN’T have been high on my wishlist. But, then, Haydn’s complete music for that obsolete, stringed instrument, the baryton, which so fascinated his aristocratic employer, was long caught in a Catch 22 situation. Not any more. The Esterházy Ensemble’s complete recording on a bargain-basement 21-CD set (Brilliant Classics 93907) offers insight into a world that fascinatingly presents lightweight music with sombre colouring.
Brilliant Classics specialise in megaset bargains. It’s the label that brought you the complete Bach and Mozart – and more – at ridiculous prices. They’ve been scouring former Soviet archives for a while now, but some of the majors have been hitting back.
Last year EMI issued sets of all their recordings of Rostropovich and Richter, and this year Deutsche Grammophon collected all their Richter recordings (477 8122) into a nine-CD a set which includes the extraordinary Schumann performances which earned the great pianist instant cult status in the 1950s.
You can expect cult status to attach to Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova’s rivettingly pure account of Bach’s solo violin music (Hyperion 67691/2, 2 CDs). And, still
Alina Ibragimova: cult status in the making