DVORÁK: Requiem, Op. 89. Symphony No. 8 in G, Op. 88.
Krassimira Stoyanova, soprano; Mihoko Fujimura, alto; Klaus Floriena Vogt, tenor; Thomas Quastoff, bass; Wiener Singverein; Royal Concertgebouw Orch/Mariss Jansons, cond.
RCO LIVE 10001 (2 disks) TT: 76:37 & 60:09

SCHUBERT: Sonata in A for Violin and Piano "Duo," D. 574. Fantasia in C for Violin and Piano, D. 934. Fantasia in F minor for Piano Duet, D. 940.
Julia Fischer, violin/piano; Martin Helmchen, piano
PENTATONE SACD PTC 5186348 TT: 67:04

MOZART: Vorrei spiegarvi, oh Dio, K. 418. Ah, lo previdi, K. 272. Ah se in ciel, benigne stelle, K. 538. Vado, ma dove? oh Dei? K. 583. Bella mia fiamma, addio, K. 528. Se ardire e speranza, K. 82/73o. Chi sà, chi sà qual sia, KJ. 582. Exsultate, jubilate, K. 165.
Lenneke Ruiten, soprano; Concertgebouw Chamber Orch/Ed Spanjaard, cond.
PENTATONE SACD PTC 5186376 TT: 63:53

Dvorak's Requiem, composed in 1890 for British audiences, is hardly one of the composer's memorable works. For good reason, it is seldom presented in the concert hall. However, as a major choral work by a famous composer, it has been recorded a number of times by conductors including Vaclav Neumann, Karel Ancerl and Wolfgang Sawallisch. Most collectors know it from the famous 1968 István Kertesz LSO recording. This new version was recorded during live performances in the Concertgebouw in February 2009. Of course it is wonderfully performed by the Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Viennese chorus, but the two distaff soloists have a touch more vibrato than I care to hear. The set also contains an outstanding performance of Symphony No. 8, but it seems very odd that it was taken from no less than six live performances: December 19, 20, 21, 23 and 25 2007, and October 23, 2008. It would be intriguing to know what was involved in the editing process. Audio on this new set is typical of the RCOA series, very rich and detailed, although the famous French horn flourishes at the beginning and end of the symphony's final movement are quite distant. Complete texts are provided.

Violinist Julia Fischer and pianist Martin Helmchen continue their series of Schubert's music for the two instruments with this second issue featuring the Sonata D. 574 and Fantasia D. 934, as well as the Fantasia for Piano Duet D. 940 in which Fischer plays the second piano part, probably the only time we'll ever hear her at the keyboard. Will there be a Volume III? No indication, but doubtless there are other works of Schubert that might fit into this fine series.

Lenneke Ruiten is a young Dutch soprano (b.1977) who already has sung a wide variety of music ranging from Bach and Mozart to Debussy, Poulenc and the world premiere of Rob Zuidam's opera Adam in Ballingschap. On YouTube she can be viewed singing Verdi (Follie! Follie!), Lehár (Meine Lippen sie küssen so heiss) and Bernstein (Glitter and be Gay) from a concert February of this year, in all of which she shows total vocal security and an attractive stage presence. Pentatone's CD offers seven arias of Mozart, and Exsultate, jubilate, all immaculately sung. You can be sure we will see and hear much more from this super young artist. Ed Spanjaard and the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra provide perfect accompaniments, and the audio is excellent.

R.E.B. (May 2010)