ATTERBERG: Symphony No. 2, Op. 6. Symphony No. 8, Op. 48
TCHAIKOVSKY: Violin Concerto in D, Op. 35. BRUCH: Scottish
MARAIS: Suites from Alcione
Chandos continues their series of orchestral works of Swedish composer Kurt Atterberg (1887-1974) with this disk of symphonies 2 and 8 with Neemi Järvi and the Gothenburg Orchestra; this site mentioned the first release in this series which offered symphonies 4 and 6, the Värmland Rhapsody and Suite No. 2 (REVIEW). Those interested in Atterberg's music might wish to check the late R.D.'s review more than a decade ago of many of the composer's works including most of the symphonies performed by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony directed by Ari Rasilalinen—see CD index. This new SACD is terrific in every way. Symphony No. 2 dates from 1911-1913 when Atterberg was a student. Symphony No. 8 was composed more than three decades later, and has three distinct movements, while the earlier symphony, which also has three movements, is highly episodic. Symphony 8 was composed on Swedish National Melodies, and folk tunes also play an important part in the earlier work. Atterberg doesn't hesitate to use the full resources of the orchestra, and each symphony contains numerous horn calls and percussive effects. And the music, which often has a cinematic quality, is always engrossing. Järvi's performances seem perfect, and the splendid Swedish orchestra plays their countryman's music with virtuosity and affection. Add to this the rich Chandos sound, and we have a winner. Don't miss it!
Young Chinese violinist Ming Feng has several disks of solo works primarily by Hindemith, Bartók and Paganini. Winner of many prizes, he has a highly successful career in his native country, and has often appeared in Europe as well. This is his first concerto recording and it is a winner. The technical difficulties of both works are tossed off with the greatest of ease, Feng's tone is consistently ravishing. He displays musicianship of the highest quality, and the superb Berlin Orchestra is in top form, directed by another outstanding young Chinese artist, Yang Yang. Just about every violinist has recorded the Tchaikovsky, many several times, but this new version is right up there among the best. Bruch's beautiful Scottish Fantasy is equally well presented, and the Channel Classics audio is state-of=the-art. This is an outstanding release in every way.
Some years ago this site mentioned a fine SACD on the ATMA label of a suite of dances, arias, and marches adapted by Gérard Geary from the composer's last opera, Sémélé performed by Montréal Baroque directed by Wieland Kuijken (REVIEW). Now we have another work of Marais given the same treatment by Jordi Savall with Le Concerts Des Nations of music from one of the composer's greatest and most successful works, Alcine which premiered in 1706 in Paris. We have 27 interltues including spirited dances and marches. Sémélé included depiction of an earthquake; here we have a mild storm at sea. Enchanting music perfectly played and recorded with natural, well-balanced sound. Jérome de la Gorce's program notes are another plus, as is the luxurious packaging.
R.E.B. (April 2014)