SZYMANOWSKI: Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 15. Symphony No. 2 in B flat,
VIVALDI: Concertos, Op. 8 Nos. 1-6.
SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 9 in C, D. 944 "Great." Five
German Dances, K. 89
HAYDN: The Seasons
Several months ago this site mentioned a DVD of Szymanowski's Symphonies 3 and 4 with Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic (REVIEW).That recording was made 2006-2008; this Blu Ray audio disk was recorded during that same period, so now we have available multi-channel recordings of all of the composer's symphonies in authoritative performances. Recorded sound is sumptuous and clearly defined. There's no need for anyone else to record this music.
Taiwanese-American violinist Cho-Liang Lin (b. 1980) already has to his credit superb recordings of concertos of Nielsen, Sibelius and Mozart as well as contemporary music. His recording of Vivaldi was first issued by Naxos in 2006 on a regular CD; now we have this performance on Blu-Ray, another rather odd choice for super-audio presentation. The Korean Sejong ensemble and Anthony Newman give fine support. The Blu-Ray audio lets us discover that the recording venue (Manhattan's Holy Trinity Church) has some background sound that comes over clearly. The audio picture has performers in front, but very clearly defined.
Here is yet another winner from Iván Fischer and his superb Budapest Festival Orchestra. You will not find a more loving impeccableperformance of Schubert's masterpiece than this splendid reading. The surround sound from Channel Classics is rich, warm and detailed, and the charming German Dances make an appropriate filler. Don't miss this one.
In 1968 Sir Colin Davis made a memorable Philips recording of The Seasons by Haydn sung in English and it remains a respected item in the catalog. This new recording, made live in June 2010 in London's Barbican Hall, joins many other available versions sung in German with conductors including Böhm, Karajan and Krauss. Actually, Haydn wished The Seasons be performed in both languges, although the English translation is rather stilted. The composer had hoped to create another major choral work to match the enormous success of The Creation composed in 1798. However, The Seasons never reached those heights, probably because of its subject. The new Davis version is a vibrant performance, very well recorded, with soloists perfectly and naturally balanced against chorus and orchestra. The set includes complete texst in German and English. Should The Seasons appeal to you, you will not be disappointed in this issue.
R.E.B. (June 2011)