BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 7 in E
Suisse Romande Orch/Marek Janowski, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186370 TT: 66:04
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BRAHMS: Violin Sonata No. 1 in G, Op. 78. Violin Sonata No. 2 in A, Op,. 100. Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108. Scherzo from the FAE Sonata in C minor,. WoO 2.
Arbella Steinbacher, violin; Robert Kulek, piano
PENTATONE SACD 5186267 TT: 78:57
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TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 "Pathétique."
Gürzenich-Orchester Kölh/Dmitrij Katienko, cond.
OEHMS CLASSICS SACD OC 666 TT: 51:09
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Marek Janowski's traversal of Bruckner symphonies recorded with the Suisse Romande Orchestra continues with Symphony No. 7. Already he has recorded Nos. 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9, all admirable additions to the Bruckner catalog. The Suisse Romande Orchestra, which had a French sound through the Ansermet decades, has now developed into a world-class group, and their current rich sound and powerful brass are appropriate for Bruckner. Janowski's includes the cymbal crash at the climax of the second movement. Throughout, tempi are on the leisurely side, but the forward pulse is always there. A major plus in this recording is audio quality. Job Maarse and his crew have done a magnificent job in capturing the rich orchestral textures, with space as well as impact. Highly recommended!

The new violin superstar Arabella Steinbacher has been praised on this site for her recordings of concertos of Bartók, Szymanowski and Dvorák. Now exclusively on Pentatone, she now has this set of all of the music for violin and piano by Brahms. She isn't the first one to record all three sonatas plus the Scherzo from the FAE Sonata, but this is the only version on SACD. Pianist Robert Kulek already is established as a teacher and chamber music specialist; these two artists made a previous recording of sonatas of Poulenc, Fauré and Ravel on the Orfeo label. High quality on this new release, and the expected quality audio from Pentatone's engineering team headed, as usual, by Job Maarse.

Conductor Dimitrij Kateienko is no youngster (he was born in 1940) and his career was overshadowed by other Russian conductors including Yuri Temirkanov and Kiril Kondrashin. However, over the years he has made a number of acclaimed recordings, both symphonic and opera. I haven't heard his recent SACD recording of Tchaikovsky's Manfred, but this new recording of the composer's Symphony No. 6 has much to offer and suggests that Manfred might be of equal merit. Kitajenko emphasizes some brass writing in the first movement usually obscured, and the excellent recorded sound lets us hear it all. The only problem here is the playing time.Why didn't the producers offer more? 51:09 is brief playing time for a full-priced disk..

R.E.B. (April 2011)

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