MOZART: Symphony No. 14 in A, K. 1114. Symphony No. 18 in F, K. 130. Symphony No. 20 in D, K. 133. Symphony No. 39 in E flat, K. 543. Symphony No. 41 in C, K. 551 "Jupiter."
Boston Symphony Orch/James Levine, cond.
BSO CLASSICS 1001/02 (two disks) TT: 63:35 & 70:11
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MOZART: Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola in E flat, K. 364. Violin Concerto No. 1 in B flat, K. 207. Violin Concerto No. 3 in G, K. 216.
Scott St. John, viola; Lara St. John, violin; The Knights/Eric Jacobsen, cond.
ANCALAGON SACD ANC 136 TT: 74:08
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BUXTEHUDE: Prelude in D minor, BuxWV 140. Toccata in G, BuxWV 164. Passacaglia, Bux WV 161. BÖHM: Ach wie nichtig, ach wie flüchtig. Capriccio in D. Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele. J. S. BACH: Christ ist erstanden, BWV 627. Prelude and Fuyguye in D, BWV 532. Herr Jesus Christ, dich zu uns wend, BWV 655.
Martin Neu, organ
AUDITE SACD 92.547 TT: 72:02
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The Boston Symphony is another major orchestra with its own label. For decades they recorded for RCA, and many memorable performances were made with conductors Serge Koussevitzky, Charles Munch, Pierre Monteux, Erich Leinsdorf and Seiji Ozawa. There is renewed interest in the BSO now that James Levine is music director. In recent years the BSO has issued many live performances available via the BSO Digital Music Store in stereo downloads (MP3, AIFF, WMA) as well as in surround (WMA), although the latter is playable only on computers—I do not know anyone who has a computer with surround sound. You can check what's available on the BSO link. Here is a set issued on SACD as well as other formats, performances of Mozart symphonies from live concerts recorded in Symphony Hall in February 2009, three early symphonies (14, 18, 20) and two of the latest (39, 41). Levine, a Mozart specialist, about two decades ago recorded all of the symphonies for DGG with the Vienna Philharmonic, recordings still available thanks to ArkivMusik. Should you wish to hear Levine's latest ideas on these symphonies, here they are in resplendent audio that beautifully captures Symphony Hall's warm acoustics. There is a debut: Maestro Levine often "sings" along with Mozart, not as objectionably as Glenn Gould often did, but still annoying to some listeners, including me.

Lara St. John already has to her credit outstanding recordings of music of Hindson and Corigliano (REVIEW), Bach music for solo violin (REVIEW) and The Four Seasons in versions by both Vivaldi and Piazzolla (REVIEW). Now we have this superb SACD of music of Mozart in which she is joined by her brother, Scott, who although primarily a violinist, also plays the viola in the major work on this disk, Sinfonia Concertante, K. 364. He also is heard as soloist in the Violin Concerto No. 4, while his sister plays the Violin Concerto No. 3. The Knights is a chamber orchestra primarily of New York players and since 2007 has been directed by Eric Jacobson. Splendid performances throughout, and the rich sound is perfectly balanced.

Audite's SACD Bach and the North German Tradition is the first volume in a series that features music of two composers who influenced him: George Böhm (1661-1733) and the better known Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707). Four works of Bach are surrounded by three each by Böhm and Buxtehude. Martin Neu plays the Ahrend Organ at St. Otto in Herzogenaurach, a venue that apparently presented various obstacles to the organ builder, described at some length in CD notes. The instrument has a smallish sound but has been very well recorded, as usual with this label.

R.E.B. (September 2010)

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