WILLIAMS-BOCOCK: Catch Me If You Can. MILHAUD: La Création du Monde. BOUTRY: Divertimento for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra. CRESTON: Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Band. EMILSSON: Salute to the Band. PIAZZOLLA-TEHO: Escualo
Claude Delangle, alto saxophone; Swedish Wind Ensemble/Christian Lindberg, cond.
BIS SACD 1640 TT: 68:35
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MENDELSSOHN: Excerpts from A Midsummer Night's Dream. Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56 "Scotch."
Wurttemberg Philharmonic Orch/Ola Rudner, cond.
ARS SACD 38118 TT: 73:38
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MENDELSSOHN: Concerto in D minor for Violin, Piano and Strings. Octet in E flat, Op. 20.
Polina Leschenko, piano; Richard Tognetti, violin; Australian Chamber Orchestra.
BIS SACD 1984 TT: 66:58
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Here's another winner from trombone virtuoso/conductor Christian Lindberg, focusing on jazz elements in music. It opens with John Williams' delightful Catch Me If You Can arranged by Jay Bocock for also sax and band, a clever 7-minute romp followed by the best-known work in the collection, Milhaud's Creation of the World, a ballet composed in 1923. The saxophone also is featured in the works by Boutry and Crestgon. Anders Emilsson, a clarinetist with the Swedish Wind Ensemble, composed his Salute to The Band to commemorate the group's centenary. The program ends with Piazzolla's Esscualo ("Shark"), a highly rhythmic piece depicting the composer's favorite sport—shark fishing. All of this music is superbly played and recorded with uncommon clarity and impact. Rear speakers supply only ambient sound.but in a most effective way. This is a superb SACD.

This Mendelssohn SACD with the Wurttemberg Philharmonic is of little interest. We have the usual excerpts from A Midsummer Night's Dream and Symphony No. 3 in unexceptional performances, adequate but not exceptional sonically—and at a maximum price. The composer's concerto for violin, piano and strings, written when Mendelssohn was only 14 years old, is the composer's longest concerted works (36 min), and shows little of the imagination and spirit of most of Mendelssohn's earlier works. It is not a vehicle for virtuoso display; Yehudi Menuhin for whatever reason championed the work, but even his support (and recording) created limited interest. The concerto receives a fine performance from pianist Polina Leschenko and violinist Richard Tognetti who also is leader of the excellent Australian Chamber Orchestra. Members of that ensemble are heard playing one of Mendelssohn's finest earlier work, the Octet, Op. 20. It's unfortunate this fine performance wasn't coupled with a worthy companion. The ACO is a superb group and has given countless highly acclaimed concerts. On this recording they play period instruments; I imagine most listeners would prefer a more robust sound for this repertory. Excellent engineering.

R.E.B. (March 2013)

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