CONNESSON: Cosmic Trilogy (Aleph/Une lueur dans l'age sombre/Supernova). The Shining One.
Eric Le Sage, piano; Royal Scottish National Orch/Stépane Denève, cond.
CHANDOS SACD CHSA 5076 TT: 52:13
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HAYDN: Violin Concerto in G, HobVlla: 4. Violin Concerto in C, HobVlla: 1. MOZART: Sinfonia Concertante, KV 364.
Rachel Podger, violin; Pavlo Beznosiuk, viola; Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS SA 29309 TT: 67:43
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BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 36. Symphony No. 6 in F, Op. 68 "Pastorale."
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen/Paavo Järvi, cond.
RCA RED SEAL SACD 8869542542 TT: 72:51
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French composer Guillaume Concesson (b. 1970) is a name new to me. His music shows influences of Ravel and Stravinsky and possibly a touch of John Williams as well. Concesson is fascinated by cosmic space, the universe and energy, all vividly depicted in this fantastic "lyric symphony." Program notes give a detailed description of the cosmic episodes.His stunning Cosmic Trilogy, spectacularly played by the Scottish Orchestra conducted by Stépane Denève, is a major addition to the repetory. Denève champions Concesson's music—he is dedicatee of the second movement of Trilogy (A Glimmer in the Age of Darkness), written in 2005. The first movement, Aleph, was composed in 2007 and revised two years later, is dedicated to the conductor and his wife as a wedding present. The last movement, Supernova, dates from 1997 but was revised in 2006. The SACD ends with The Shining One, a mini piano concerto composed in 2009 and premiered that year with Jean-Yves Thibaudet as soloist. It's a rather odd but brilliant work only 9 minutes long and the soloist doesn't appear until 2 minutes into the work—but after that he has a virtuoso workout. Young pianist Eric Le Sage is the impressive soloist on this recording. All of these are premiere recordings and set a standard unlikely to be matched. The Chandos SACD sound is superb. Don't miss this one!

Distinguished violinist Rachel Podger, already has made many recordings for Channel Classics and here we have the two Haydn violin concertos plus Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante. There are other performances of these works that are more polished then these, but Podger's many fans doubtless will wish to have this new release. As usual in this repertory, the SACD from Channel Classics is impecable.

Paavo Järvi continues his Beethoven symphony cycle with Nos. 2 and 6. The first disk in the series offered Nos. 3 and 8 and was favorably mentioned on this site (REVIEW). It was recorded in 2004/05; surprisingly no information is provided on this latest releases about venue or technical staff. Performances are spirited, the smallish orchestra very well recorded. This is a quality issue, but when I listen to Beethoven symphonies I enjoy a larger orchestral sound and would not want to be without the imaginatively recorded SACD releases with the Polish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Wojciech Rajski, Nos. 1 and 2 (REVIEW), and 7 and 8 (REVIEW). Also investigate Mikhail Pletnev's new DGG recordings, not SACD but very well recorded (REVIEW).

R.E.B. (January 2010)

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