The Schmooze

A Little Midsummer’s Night Music

Even as summer winds down, classical CD releases continue apace.

A pellucid live performance on DVD from VAI Music of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” from the 1964 Salzburg Festival is one of the season’s best choices. It’s conducted by the Hungarian Jewish maestro István Kertész, who died in a swimming accident at Herzliya beach in 1973. In Salzburg, Kertész already possessed the required wisdom for Mozart’s profound score. The American Jewish coloratura soprano Roberta Peters incarnates a nightmare Jewish mother as the berserk Queen of the Night.

Another Jewish diva of a different genre is Hungarian pianist Márta Kurtág, wife of the composer György Kurtág. An unsurpassed interpreter of her husband’s music, which she has recorded for the Budapest Music Center (BMC) label, Mrs. Kurtág is one pianist unimpressed by commercial considerations. She studied Beethoven’s rambunctiously finger-busting “Diabelli Variations” for a half-century before recording the piece in 1999, and that thrilling, soulfully sonorous recording is only now available on CD from BMC.

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A Little Midsummer’s Night Music

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