TCHAIKOVSKY: The Sleeping Beauty
Bergen Philharmonic Orch/Neeme Järvi, cond.
CHANDOS SACD CHSA 5113 (2 disks) TT: 77:14 & 77:56

TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op. 13 "Winter Dreams." Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17 "Little Russian." Symphony No. 3 in D, Op. 29 "Polish."
London Symphony Orch/Valery Gergiev, cond.
LSO LIVE SACD 0710 (2 disks) TT::125:56

EGGERT: Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen. Tetragrammaton. Der Rabe Nimmermehr Ouvertüre. Adagio - An Answered Question. Der ewige Gesang. Drei Seelen
Inga Humpe, vocals. Adrian Hiescu, violin. Moritz Eggert, piano. Heine Schiffers, guitar. Gregor Daszko, percussion. Stuttgarter Kammerorchester/Michael Hofstetter, cond.
AUDITE 92.687 TT: 64:59

Chandos has a blockbuster in this complete recording of Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty, the first issue in a planned series of Tchaikovsky's ballets. Neemi Järvi's older recordings of the Tchaikovsky symphonies were nothing special, but here he is on adrenalin and whips up an orchestral frenzy at every opportunity. This is a tremendously exciting performance beautifully played by the Bergen Philharmonic, and a major element in its success is the stunning audio, not very "surround," but rich. Sound engineer/producer Ralph Couzens has captured the Norwegian orchestra with a big hall acoustic, plenty of low bass, and sizzling highs. The Bergen Philharmonic has never sounded better on recordings. . Audiophiles, rejoice! And thank you, Chandos!

Valery Gergiev's Tchaikovsky recordings generally have been commendable. However, his DVD of the last three symphonies with the Mariinsky Orchestra is undistinguished for a variety of reasons (REVIEW). But his live recording of Symphony No. 5 with the World Orchestra for Peace from the 2010 BBC Proms is electrifying (REVIEW). He continues his Tchaikovsky recordings with what are apparently his first recordings of the first three symphonies recorded live with the London Symphony, Symphony No. 1 in January 2011, Symphony No. 2 in March of that year, both in London's Barbican, and Symphony No. 3 in May 2011 in Zurich's Tonhalle. The LSO is in fine shape throughout and sound is well-balanced with no attempt at "surround" sound. The Barbican recordings are unflatteringly dry; the Zurich audio is somewhat better, but these surely cannot match the sonic splendor of Mikhael Pletnev's recent recordings of these symphonies.

German composer Moritz Eggers (b. , 1985) is on the cutting edge of contemporary, both praised and condemned by his peers. Winner of a number of prestigious prizes for his compositions he also is a fine pianist often performing contemporary keyboard music (the complete piano music of Henze). This recording subtitled Music of Infinite Variety, is just that. Eggers primarily writes vocal music, including nine operas, but only one work for voice is included here, Friedrich Rückert's Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen, used by Mahler in his Rückert Lieder. You won't recognize it here—this is a soft rather jazzy improvisation on the text scored for voice, electric guitar, piano and strings, crooned by Inge Humpe from the rock band 2raumwohnung. The disk's title is taken from the overture based on Edgar Allan Poe's poem The Raven Nevermore, scored for chamber orchestra, "dedicated to the topics of transience and decline, as is the force behind Poe's poem." We also have other works for string orchestra, and for violin and piano. You can be certain performances represent what the composer intended as he is heard as pianist and was present at the recording sessions in September 2011. Audio is excellent, but approach this one gingerly.

R.E.B.(December 2012)