DVORAK: Symphony No. 8 in G, Op. 88. The Wild Dove, Op. 110. The Noon Witch, Op. 108.
Netherlands Philharmonic Orch/Yakov Kreizberg, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186 065 TT: 71:53
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GRECHANINOV: Passion Week, Op. 58.
Caroline Markham, mezzo-soprano; Paul davidson, tenor; Bryan Taylor, baritone; Phoenix Bach Choir; Kansas City Chorale/Charles Bruffy, cond.
CHANDOS SACD CHSA 5044 TT: 74:00
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MÄNTYJÄRVI: Canticum Calamitatis Maritimae. TICHELI: There Will Be Rest. MARTIN: Messe pour double choeur. CLAUSEN: In Pace.
Phoenix Bach Choir; Kansas City Chorale/Charles Bruffy, cond.
CHANDOS SACD CHSA 5045 TT: 59:49
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About four years ago, Pentatone issued an excellent SACD of Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 with Kreizberg and the Netherlands Philharmonic (see REVIEW). Now we have the same composer's Symphony No. 8 coupled with two of Dvorak's rather bizarre symphonic poems, The Wild Dove and The Noon Witch. Again the Dutch orchestra is in fine form, Kreizberg a dynamic, sensitive leader. The Ninth was recorded live in the Concertgebouw; this new SACD was recorded in Beurs van Berlage, Yakult Hall in Amsterdam in May 2006 with producer Job Maarse who has captured orchestral sound with remarkable clarity. Recommended!

Chandos has two SACDs featuring the expert 50 singers of the Phoenix Bach Choir and the Kansas City Chorale directed by Charles Bruffy. The label seems to have particular interest in Grechaninov's Passion Week, Op. 58 as they issued the premiere recording of the work about three years ago with the Russian State Symphony Cappella directed by Valeri Polyanski which is still in the catalog (9303). The second SACD is a remarkable collection of powerful choral works, particularly Mäntyjärvi's 14-minute Canticum Calamitatis Maritimae descriptive of a Baltic Sea tragedy that killed 852 passengers. Sadness and melancholy also mark Ticheli's There Will Be Rest (a setting of a poem by Sara Teasdale), and Clausen's In Pace (written for the victims of 9/11). Frank Martin's more familiar Mass for Double Chorus completes this disk which has a rather brief (59:49) playing duration. The choruses are outstanding, and the usual Chandos sonic expertise is evident in the rich choral textures although the surround sound keeps the entire chorus on stage in front. Complete texts are provided

R.E.B. (July 2007)

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