LANGGAARD: The Music of the Spheres. The Time of the End. From the Abyss
Inger Dam Jensen, soprano; Herna Regitze Brunn, mezzo-soprano; Peter Lodahl, tenor; Johan Reuter, baritone; Danish National Chorus and Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Dausgaard, cond.
DA CAPO SACD 6.220535 TT: 71:53
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HAYDN: Concerto in F, Hob. XVIII: 6. Quartet in F, Op. 50, No. 5 "The Dream," Hob. III:48. Concerto in G, Hob. VIIa:4.
Alexei Utkin, oboe/conductor/Hermitage Chamber Orchestra
CARO MITIS SACD CM 0012007 TT: 51:43
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HENZE: Appassionatamente. BERG: Suite from Lulu
Julia Bauer, soprano; Essener Philharmonic Orch/Stefan Soltesz, cond.
CYBELLE SACD 860801 TT: 54:56
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This site has mentioned most of Da Capo's important series of music of Danish composer Rued Langgaard (Symphony No. 1 (REVIEW), Symphonies 2 and 3 (REVIEW), Symphonies 12, 13 and 14 (REVIEW), Symphonies 15 and 16, other works (REVIEW). All of these are of enormous interest for collectors, and now we have a major addition to the catalog featuring Music of the Spheres. This astounding work was composed 1916-1918, scored for a huge orchestra with eight horns, organ, four sets of timpani and soprano, large chorus and extra "distant orchestra." But these forces are used sparingly except for the apocalyptic Antichrist-Christ section when all is unleashed to stunning effect. At the premiere in 1921, Langgaard provided a subtitle, "A life-and-death fantasia." When György Ligeti saw the score in the late '60's, he commented, "I didn't know I was a Laggaard imitator!" This magnificent work, a milestone in 20th century choral literature, was given in Stockholm in 1968, and the first complete performance in Denmark took place in 1980. There are two previous recordings, all with Danish forces, on DaCapo with John Frandsen conducting, and on Chandos with Gennadi Rozhdestvensky on the podium; I have not heard either of these. This third recording is stunning in every way, although engineers have made little use of the four channels available. The Time of the End is a 24-minute suite of music the composer removed from his revised version of his opera Antikrist. From the Abyss, for chorus and orchestra, a setting of lines from the Requiem liturgy, was Langgaard's final work. All performances are superb, and complete texts are provided in Danish, English and German. Don't miss this exciting issue!

According to CD program notes, Haydn did not compose any solo music for the oboe, so oboist Alexei Utkin plays arrangements of works written for other soloists. We have a concerto for violin, oboe and orchestra originally for violin, harpsichord and orchestra, a quartet (Op. 50 No. 5) originally for strings here becoming a quintet (violin, oboe, viola, cello, harpsichord), and a concerto for oboe originally for violin and orchestra. All are beautifully played, charming, and beautifully recorded. A lovely CD in every way.

Cybele has a fascinating SACD of the familiar orchestral suite (with soprano soloist) of music from Berg's Lulu, and a suite from Henze's 1989 opera Das verratene Meer ("The Sea Betrayed"), adapted by the composer in 2003 called Appassionatamente plus. The latter is a violent score with massive percussion, the brutal outbursts seldom interrupted by serenity. The excellent Essen Orchestra presents a strong case for all of this music, and this seems to be the only recording of the Henze. Soprano Julia Bauer, who has sung Lulu on stage, copes admirably with the difficult vocal line. Audio is outstanding, as usual from Cybele, but it is surprising the label has not provided texts for the Lulu excerpts.

R.E.B. (November 2010)

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