This site has mentioned many recordings of music by Swedish composer Kurt Attenberg including all of his symphonies (see CD INDEX) and the Chandos Atterberg series has has released on SACD Symphonies 1 and 5 (REVIEW), 2 and 8 (REVIEW) and Symphonies 4 and 6 (REVIEW). Now we have the next disk in their series offering Symphony No. 3, orchestral excerpts from his opera Fanal (called Three Nocturnes), and a triumphal march. Symphony No. 3 (1914-1916), originally was intended to be a series of West Coast pictures, and each of the three movements has a title: Summer Haze, /Storm / Summe, Night; The Symphony was praised by all, played by other European orchestras as well. Atterberg's third opera, Fanal; is about Vikings and the premiered 1934 well received. Famed tenor Jussi Bjoerling sang in the premiere. Three scenes are depicted: Flight to the Executioner's Cottage, The Dream/The March to the Scaffold, and Escape into the night and The Awakening. Energetic, martial music appropriate for the subject is heard often, including a jaws-like motive composed before John Williams was born. The CD ends with Vittorios (its first recording), music the composer originally intended to be the finale of his Symphony No 7. Then he felt the symphony didn't need it, so it became an independent work. Throughout it he uses themes from other works including the opera Fanal. All of this music is played to perfection by the fine orchestra under Järvi's knowing direction, and the two-channel sound is superb. It is odd this was not issued by Chandos on SACD, as the first threes volumes in this series were.
Over the years American composer David Chesky has written in many styles, and now he turns his attention to a reexamination of Baroque composers, in particular Corelli and Vivaldi. We all know these composers produced countless ensemble concertos. Chesky has reinvented this style in modern terms. As CD notes state, we hear dense chromatic polyphony, a tapestry of interlocking grooves by turns urban, Brazilian and Latin inspired. Each concerto has three movements, with high energy throughout, even in the central movements. There are a number of solo instruments featured, particularly the flute, and each player must be a virtuoso. Thousands and thousands of notes here, and the orchestra, without conductor identified, really is put through its paces. Perhaps these concertos will find`a spot on chamber orchestra programs—if they have enough rehearsal time to prepare them. Audio is excellent in these recordings made October 2015 in Brooklyn's St. Elias Church. Check this one out—you will be surprised by the music and the stunning performances.
Xiaogang Ye (b. 1955) is a major figure on China's contemporary music scene. He studied at the Eastman School of Music and his works has received numerous awards Ye's piano concerto ("Starry Sky") was premiered in 2008 at the Olympics with Lang Lang as soloist. His works include The Song of the Earth, scored for soprano and baritone, his setting of the same Chinese poems set by Mahler in his work of the same name. There are few recordings available of Ye's music, so this release is particularly welcome. Symphony N o. 3 (Chu), premiered in 2004, celebrates the tenth anniversary of founding of the orchestra of Wuhan City, capital of Hubei province. Chu Symphony has 7 sections: Lord in the Clouds, Song and Dance, Silk, Xiaoyao (Free and Unfettered), Bronze, Xiling Gorge, and Soul. Orchestration includes xiao (a vertical end-blown flute), sheng (mouth organ), and erha (Chinese violin). A wordless soprano is heard in movements 3 and 7. The Last Paradise, for violin and orchestra, composed in 1993, could be considered a programmatic concerto with the soloist depicting the protagonist' sad fate. Both of these scores are richly orchestrated, and gentle, with many subtle Impressionistic sounds. In spite of all of the percussion, Ye's score is free from bombast. These are fascinating scores, and performances sound perfect. Serebrier always an imaginative conductor, leads the Royal Philharmonic in these recordings made in Cardogan Hall in London, June 2015. The BIS engineering is state-of-the-art, but one wonders why this was not recorded multi-channel? At any rate, a fascinating addition to the catalog.
R.E.B. (May 2016)