BACH: Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F, BWV 1046. Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F, BWV 1047. Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G, BWV 1048. Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G, BWV 1049. Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D, BWV 1050. Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B flat, BWV 1051.
Le Concert des Nations/Jordi Savall, cond.
ALIA VOX HERITAGE SACD AVSA 9871 (2 disks) TT: 45:25 & 54:08

WEBERN: Im Sommerwind. STRAUSS: Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40
Chicago Symphony Orch/Bernard Haitink, cond.
CSO RESOUND CSOR 901 1004 TT: 62:32

NIELSEN: Festival Prelude to the New Century. 29 Short Preludes,. Op. 51. 2 Posthumous Preludes. Melody. Commotio, OP. 58. LANGGAARD: Ascension Day. Buried - First Sunday after Trinity. Harvest Prelude. At the Funeral of Axel Gade. Wedding March.
Friedhelm Flamme, organist
cpo 777 414 TT: 67:40

Jordi Savall's set of the Bach Brandenburg concertos was recorded in 1991, highly praised when originally issued. Now we have the same performances on SACD, two disks for the price of one. It doesn't sound like a multi-channel recording, but the sound is overly reverberant. There are several other SACD issues of Bach's immortal six, notably the recent one conducted by Richard Eggar, and if you are interested in this music you surely should investigate the Euroarts DVD offering remarkable, vibrant performances with Claudio Abbado and the hand-picked Mozart Orchestra recorded live in April 2007 in Teatro Municipale Valli, Regio Emilia. Bach has never been livelier.

Bernard Haitink has been principal conductor of the Chicago Symphony in 2006 and appears there often; many of his performances have been issued on CSO Live. Now we have Ein Heldenleben from three concerts in December 2008. It would be intriguing to know how much editing was done to produce this performance: did the CSO not play any one of the three perfectly? Aside from a more sedate view of the battle interlude, Haitink's view of the score has changed little since his 1970 Concertgebouw Philips recording. The Romantic early Webern, unusual repertory for Haitink on recordings, is taken from no less than four performances in April 2009. From an audio standpoint, these are two of the most successful live CSO recordings.

Friedhelm Flamme is recording organ music by lesser-known composers for cpo; .already issued are 6 SACDs, and now we have this intriguing music of the complete organ music of Carl Nielsen and selected organ works by Rued Langgaard. Most of the short pieces by Nielsen are trifles, but Commotio, the composer's last major composition, is a fascinating work for the instrument. Composed 1930-1931, it is a grand, mystic 20 minute fantasy ending with a mighty C-major fugue. Rued Langgaard wrote much music for the organ including his massive Messis (REVIEW). This new recording features 5 short works far removed from the imposing Messis. Recordings were made using the Mühleisen Organ of Stiftskirche zu Bad Gandersheim in May 2008, and the rich sounds have been beautifully captured.

R.E.B. (June 2010)