WEINGARTNER: Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 "La Tragica." Frühling, Op. 80.
Basel Symphony Orch/Marko Letonja, cond.
cpo SACD 777 102 TT: 57:30
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DUPRÉ: Deuxième Symphonie pour orgue, Op. 26. Deux Esquisses, Op. 41. SWAYNE: Riff-Raff for Organ. JONGEN: Sonata Eroïca, Op. 94. BRIDGE: Adagio in E.
Tobias Frank, organ
PROFIL SACD 11060 TT: 70:49
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MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466 (with cadenzas by Rische, Busoni, Brahms, Clara Schumann, Hummel, F.X.W. Mozart, Beethoven)
Michael Rische, piano; WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln/Howard Griffiths, cond.
PROFIL SACD 90060 TT: 55:45
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This site already has mentioned several previous cpo issues in their series devoted to symphonic works composed by Felix Weingartner (1863-1942): Symphony No. 4/Der Sturm/Serenade (REVIEW), Symphony No. 2/Das Gefilde der Seligen (REVIEW); Symphony No. 3/Lustige Overture (REVIEW). This new issue contains a pleasant 19-minute symphonic poem called Frühling (Spring), and the Symphony No. 6, his last completed symphony (apparently a choral symphony No. 7 exists in manuscript). This symphony is called the "Tragic" , although there is nothing whatever about it that would suggests this title. Did Weingartner purposefully number this symphony the same as Tchaikovsky's and place it in the same key? It is suggested that the second movement of Weingartner's opus is based on sketches apparently meant for the scherzo or minuet movement of Schubert's "Unfinished" symphony—but it is impossible to figure that out from the confusing, unclear CD notes written by one Eckhardt van den Hoogen, whose writings have diminished previous issues in this series. Weingartner was a major conductor of his time and his many recordings are highly respected. However, as a composer he wrote rather inconsequential music, which here is well played and recorded.

Organ buffs will welcome Profil's SACD of performances by Tobias Frank performing on the organs of the Benedictine Abbey in Schweiklberg/Vilshofen. This instrument was designed specifically for the architecture and acoustics of the venue with two independent divisions on either side of the sanctuary with the main organ over the gallery, all controlled by a central console. The program focuses primarily on works of Marcel Dupré, his Symphony No. 2, Op. 26, and Deux Esquisses, Op. 41. Sonically, the most impressive work is Riff-Raff composed in 1983 by Giles Swayne. The different notes played by the organs are effectively captured in surround sound, although as music it isn't nearly as wild as its title suggests. An excellent disk for organ lovers.

Profil's SACD gives listeners the opportunity to hear an excellent performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 which includes cadenzas for it composed by six others. Mozart had indicated he himself had composed cadenzas for this concerto but they have never been found. Busoni, Brahms, Hummel and Beethoven composed cadenzas for the first movement. Busoni, Beethoven, Clara Schumann, and F. X. Mozart (the composer's son) wrote them for the third movement. On this recording we first hear the concerto complete with cadenzas written by the soloist, Michael Rische. All of the other cadenzas have separate tracks and the listener can select whichever ones he wishes to hear—it all works quite smoothly. I find the cadenzas by Rische to be the least appropriate. For repeated listening, I'd choose those by Beethoven. This is a fine, intriguing disk, the only debit being the short playing time. Excellent SACD sound, with performers in front, and a well-balanced piano.

R.E.B. (June 2009)

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