NIELSEN: Flute Concerto. GRIFFES: Poem for Flute and Orchestra. REINECKE: Flute Concerto in D, Op. 283. CHAMINADE: Concertino for Flute and Orchestra, Op. 107 TCHAIKOVSKY-SAUTER: Largo and Allegro for Flute and Strings. POULENC-BERKELEY: Flute Sonata. RIMSKY-KORSAKOV-AHO: Flight of the Bumblebee
Sharon Bezaly, flute; Hague Residency Orch/Neemi Järvi. cond.
BIS SACD 1679 TT: 69:25

SCHOENBERG: Kammersymphonie No. 1 in E for 15 solo instruments. Cello Concerto in D. MONN: Cello Concerto in G minor.
Hans-Christiuan Schwarz, cello; Thomas Günther, cembalo; Hanstet Lübeck Philharmonic Orch/Roman Brogli Sacher, cond.
CYBELE SACD 761301 TT: 66:57

Gabrieli V Brass Ensemble
Paracletepress GDCD 058 TT: 49:55

Flutist Sharon Bezaly already has made numerous recordings in a wide range of repertory. Now we have this splendid disk featuring important concertos for the instrument by Nielsen and Reinecke, plus the arrangement for flute and orchestra by Lennox Berkeley of Poulenc's Flute Sonata,a gem of a subtle showpiece. A rarity is a student work of Tchaikovsky, Largo and Allegro, written in 1863-64 when he was a student of Anton Rubinstein. Less than four minutes in length, it doesn't amount to much, wasn't published by the composer, found after his death. Originally it was written for two flutes, but one plays only for a few bars. An oddity indeed. We also have a group of "lollipops" that are delightful, Griffes' Poem, Chaminade's enchanting concertino, and, for a final show of virtuosity, Rimsky-Korsakov's Bumble Bee. Bezaly is in top form, orchestral accompaniments are rich, and audio excellent, with performers in front.A delightful issue from BIS!

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1851) is featured both as a composer and arranger on Cybele's new SACD. Schoenberg had hoped to gain public acceptance with his Chamber Symphony No. 1, scored for a small ensemble, but the 1905 premiere was a scandal, one critic saying this music was, "a rowdy manner of making noises." Those expecting the lush sounds of his earlier Verklärke Nacht.(1899) and Gurre-lieder (1901) were puzzled by this new approach to harmony. Times have changed; today this work is accepted in the concert hall and there are numerous recordings including versions by major conductors. This new one is excellent in every way. Austrian composer, organist and teacher Georg Matthias Monn (1717-1750), highly regarded in his time, was important in the transition from baroque to classical music. Guido Adler, a major figure on the Viennese musical scene early in the 19th century, asked Schoenberg to write a performing version for cello and orchestra of Monn's harpsichord concerto in D, a project the composer enthusiastically accepted (he wrote two elaborate cadenzas for the work). The premiere was given in 1913 with Pablo Casals as soloist with the Vienna Philharmonic directed by Frans Schalk. Listening to this charming work, one would never suspect Schoenberg was involved. The disk is filled out with another cello concerto composed two decades at the suggestion of Casals, who seemed enthusiastic about the work. But he never performed it publicly; and mentioned the scores many technical demands. The premiere took place November 7, 1935 with Emanuel Feuermann as soloist with the London Philharmonic conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham. This actually is another reworking of the Monn concerto of earlier years. Both of these concertos were recorded live in 2009, and soloist Hans-Christian Schwarz makes a strong statement for both. It is highly unlikely either of these will gain popularity, although Yo-Yo Ma did record the earlier concerto, as did Jacqueline DuPré in earlier years. Cybele's engineers have captured a warm, natural sound picture.

Celebration in Brass is a short disk of performances by Gabrieli V Brass Ensemble assisted by the Spirit of Winter Percussion Ensemble. Music includes colorful works and arrangements by James Curnow Jack Stamp, John Stevens, Karl Jenkins and others, all in superb performances. The recording was made in a resonant acoustic (Mechanics Hall, Worcester, MA), and we have a splendid spacious effect—however, engineers have missed a golden opportunity to give listeners broad five-channel effects. Playing time is but 49:55—easily much more music could have been included. This is a full-priced CD available from the producer:

R.E.B. (September 2013)