SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 54. Suite from Incidental
Music to King Lear, Op. 58a. Festive Overture, Op.
96. Symphony No. 7 in C "Leningrad" Op. 60.
JOSEPH MARX: Nature Trilogy: Symphonic Night Music, Idylle (Concertino
on the Pastora Fourth. Spring Music.
VIVALDI: Arias from Argippo, Orlando, Il Giustino, La Silvia, Ottone
in Villa, La verita in cimento, Andromeda liberata,Tito Manlio, and
Catone in Utica.
Andris Nelsons continues his magnificent Shostakovich recordings with the Boston Symphony with this disk that contains "works written under Stalin's shadow, specifically Symphony No. 6 composed in 1939, and Symphony No. 7 composed in 1942. The two are quite different, the Sixth a half-hour work with a light-hearted atmosphere. No. 7, subtitled "Leningrad," is another mater. It has as four movements and lasts 78 minutes. It is dedicated to the city of Leningrad as a symbol of resistance to Nazi totalitarianism and militarism. The fourth movement, originally called "Victory" is often a frenzied march that builds to a tremendous and perhaps troubling climax. We also have light-hearted brief pieces of incidental music written for a 1941 production of King Lear. These are scored for large orchestra and include a number of brilliant brass fanfares. The composer's spectacular Festive Overture written , Op. 96 dates from 1947. Commissioned by the Bolshoi Theate, to celebrate the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. This is one of Shostakovich's most joyous works with a rousing conclusion scored for no less than six each of trumpets and trombones, and eight horns. A rouser, indeed. All of these performances were recorded live in Symphony Hal, and the audio is state-of-the-art. Doubtless soon we will have more in this distinguished Shostakovich series. We look forward to them!
Joseph Marx (1882 - 1964) was a leading theorist and pedagogu, and composed profusely. He avoided the atoality interest of other composers of the time incouding Schoen erg, Webern and Berg, preferring to align himself with Romanti omposers of the era inluding Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Richard Strauss. His works include symphonie poems and other orchestral works, chamber music and many piecess for solo instruments, but Marx is best-iknown for his 150 lieder. Many famous singers performed them. I trreasure a 9850 recoirdubg by Ljuba Welitsch of two of them: Hat dich die Liebe berührt and Valse de Chopin. In 2004, ASV issued a superb CD of 22 lieder performed by sopranos Angela Maria Blasi and Stella Doufexis with the Bochum Symphony directed by Steven Stearne (REVIEW). Now Naxos has reissued another ASV release made at the sme time, with the same orchestra and conductor. We have three major atmospheric and colorfully titled symphonic works as listed above. Marx surely was a superb orchestrator, and all of this music is fiulled with rich sonorities very reminiscent of Korngold and Strauss—lovely indeed, but unmemorable, unfortunately. Surely Stearne and the excellent orchestra present his music superbly, and it is good tohave it available for occasional listening. A fine reissue!
The amazing Cecilia Bartoli enhances her discography with this magnificent issue of arias ans scenes from nine operas by Antonio Vivali including some that are little-known. Perfect singing through displayng the singer's incredible viruosity and aristry. he period-music style accompaniments by Ensemble Matheus directed by Jean-Christophe Spinosi, gives rich support. The recordings were made last year at Max-Littmann-Saal, Bad Kissingen, and audio is clear an natural. The handsome booklet provides intensive program notes plus complete texts and translations. A quality release!
Verdi's Macbeth is well-represented in the catalog with major singers and conductors. One of the most famous is this 1976 ersion with an all-star cast conducted by Claudio Abbado. In spite of its age, the sound throughout is rich and well-balanced. Now it is reissued again in a deluxe set that offers the entire performance on two remastered CDS, along with a Blu-Ray disk of the complete performance. A 120-page booklet contains many photographs and the complete libretto in Italian and English. A quality release¡
R.E.B. (February 2019)