BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 57. Symphony No.
6 in F, Op. 68 "Pastorale."
FOULDS: A World Requiem
Tacet continues their superb Beethoven symphony series with Nos. 5 and 6. Already issued are Nos. 1 and 2 (REVIEW) and Nos. 7 and 8 (REVIEW) The same high performances of those are evident in the latest two, and again we have the unique Tacet approach to recording a symphony orchestra. The listener is right in the center and a diagram is provided showing position of all instruments—the setup is different for each symphony, and producer Andreas Spreer explains their thoughts on this in the program notes. I've played this recording for various friends, and all were mightily impressed. The only objections were "this isn't the way it would sound in a concert hall," and "it's unnatural." Actually, that's the point. With SACD one can create something very different from past recordings, and I find this a totally valid approach. Listen for yourself! Tacet SACDS can be purchased HERE
Chandos gives us the opportunity to hear a massive choral work that utilizes larger forces than Mahler's "Symphony of a Thousand" This is A World Requiem by British composer John Foulds (1880-1939) scored for soprano, contralto, tenor and baritone soloists with a small chorus of "boys and youths," full chorus, orchestra and organ. It is a 90-minute Romantic work with a spiritual English text, a gentle pacifist statement of considerable power, often beautifully radiant as it describes paradise. Completed in 1921, it had its premiere November 11, 1923 with about 1,250 performers packed into Royal Albert Hall. It received several more performances the last of which was in 1926, but has not been heard again until the time of this recording. This was November 11, 2007, also in Royal Albert Hall, with the forces listed above under the dynamic direction of Leon Botstein. Although recorded "live," there are no audience sounds, nor is there applause at the tumultuous conclusion, so obviously there was some editing. The performance is magnificent in every way, although it is unfortunate a better soprano wasn't participating: Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet's voice has a distressing wobble. Everyone else is superb, and the SACD vividly captures the warmth of the venue, with outstanding organ sound. On occasion, there are discrete sounds coming from rear channels. A complete text is provided. A quality issue!
Cybele continues its SACD adventures into the avant-garde with a well-filled (72:21) disk of organ music by German composer Tilo Medek (1940-2006). During his time he was recognized as a leading musician and scholar on the contemporary music scene. Medek's organ music often replaces organ stops or pulls them only half-way to change the sound of the instrument, and he also alters sound by switching the motor on and off. This surely is not for everyone, buy organ buffs might wish to investigate this. Martin Schmeding plays the Sauer Organ in Resurrection Church in Dösseldorf. Sonic quality is excellent.
R.E.B. (February 2009)