HARRIS: Symphony No. 8. Memories of a Child's Sunday. Symphony No. 9
LLOYD: Symphony No. 1 in A (1932). Symphony No. 12 (1989)
PIAZZOLLA: Double Concerto (Hommage à Liége). TIRAO: Conciertango
Buenos Aires. LACAGNINA: Concerto Serenata (Omaggio a Astor Piazzolla).
Three absolute winners here! Both of the Albany Troy SACD reissues are magnificent in every way. The performances were acclaimed when originally issued (the Harris July 1999, the Lloyd in August 1993). Harris gives titles to each section of both symphonies on this disk. Symphony No. 8 ends with The Joy of Pantheistic Beauty as a Gift of God and Ecstasy After the Premonition of Death (!), and Symphony No. 9 is prefaced by excerpts from the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. Forget all these superfluous appellations and enjoy the composer's inventive, well-scored music. The charming brief suite Memories of a Child's Sunday, separates the two symphonies. Albany Troy's interest in music of George Lloyd has produced a series of definitive recordings. This important disk contains his first and last symphonies, the latter commissioned by the Albany Symphony, dedicated to Susan Bush and Peter Kermani of Albany Records, premiered early in 1990 when these recordings were made. On both of these SACDs the Albany Symphony plays like a major orchestra producing a splendid rich sound. Both of these SACDs were processed for surround sound using the Zarexhd system, which worked magnificently in producing a fine encompassing spread of orchestral sound without losing detail or impact. For more about this process, visit: Zarex
Arts' SACD entitled Conciertango is an outstanding release. Astor Piazzolla's Double Concerto subtitled Hommage à Liége is scored for guitar, bandoneón and strings, and has three movements, ending with a scintillating tango. The greatest treasure on this disk is the Guitar Concerto based on Argentinian folk music, by Cacho Tirao, who was born in Buenos Aires in 1941. The exquisite second movement, Lento, nostalgico e cantabile, rivals Rodrigo in its gentle, sensuous beauty, and the final tango is a delight. Oliviero Lacagnina's Concerto Serenata, a tribute to Piazzolla, is a welcome addition to the catalog, although musically not quite up to the level of interest of the other works. Performances are brilliant with strong support from the Vincenzo Galilei Orchestra which consists of graduates of the Fiesole school of music, directed by Nicola Paszkowski who obviously knows what to do with a tango. Another plus is sonic quality—super clarity, impact and dynamic range, with remarkable presence.
All three SACDs are highly recommended.
R.E.B. (January 2007)