RAFF: Symphony No. 5 Overtures to Dae Kobold, Op. 154, König Alfred, WoO, Die Efersüchtigen, WoO; Abends, Op. 163b. Prelude to Dornroschen, WoO
Suisse Romande Orch/Neemi Järvi, cond.

SIBELIUS: Violin Concerto, Op. 47. Karelia Suite, Op. 11.The Swan of Tuonela, Op. 22 No. 2. Valse lyrique, Op. 96a. Valse triste, Op. 44 No. 1. Andante festivo. Finlandia, Op. 20.
Jennifer Pike, violin; Bergen Phiharmonic Orch/Sir Andrew Davis, cond.

GRAUN: Overture in F. Recorder Concerto in F. SCHEIBE: Concerto a Quattro in B flat. GBRAUN: Concerto in C. ANONYMOUS: The Prncesses's Suite in D minor. SCHICKHARDT: excerpt from Sonata in C minor.
Bolette Roed, recorder; Arte Del Sonatori
DACAPO SACD 6.220630 TT: 75:34

If you enjoy Liszt's symphonic poems you'll surely love Raff's Leonore Symphony, the fifth of his eleven. Raff had a close association with Liszt, assisting in orchestration of several of his works. Symphony No. 5 is based on a poem by Wilhelm August Bürager, a gothic ballad ballad about the unfortunate maiden whose lover goes off to war, returns to her in a dream to take her on a fantastic ride filled with specters. She then discovers he is Death, and she joins him, with the symphony ending quietly. Written in 1879-1872, the work was highly regarded at its premiere, but soon was neglected. It first came to the attention of collectors when Bernard Herrmann and the London Philharmonic made the first recording in 1970. Orchestration is vividly rich, an example of colorful Romantic writing of the time. This is a memorable work, brilliantly played by the Suisse Romande Orchestra under its new music director. They do total justice to their countryman's music. On this capacity filled disk (80:55) we also have four opera overtures and an exquisite rhapsody Abends. All of this music has been recorded before; I haven't heard the 9-disk set on Tudor with Hans Stadlmair and the Bamberg Symphony, but surely it does not boast the vivid SACD sound of the new issue. Don't miss it!

This is Jennifer Pike's first SACD recording for Chandos (already available are CDs of works by Brahms, Chausson, Dvorák, Rozsa, Franck, Debussy and Ravel). Winner of many prizes, particularly in Britain, the young violinist already has displayed her virtuosity in her Chandos recording of Miklos Rozsa's violin concerto, and she surely displays her total technical command an beauty of tone in this recording of the Sibelius made in Bergen in June 2013. The disk is filled out with varied orchestral works including Andante festivo which has the distinction of being the only work by Sibelius available in a performance conducted by the composer via a short-wave broadcast from Helsinki on the occasion of the opening of New York's Fair. Sir Andrew and the fine Bergen Orchestra are in top form, and the Chan dos audio is superb if not particularly "surround."

Royal Recorder Concertos - Music from the Court of King Frederick IV is the title of a splendid SACD that features recorder virtuoso Billeted Robed assisted by the Polish chamber ensemble Carte Deer Sonata. The program features music performed in Denmark during the Baroque era. Elegant playing and the original instrument sound will delight those who relish this authentic approach to Baroque music. The recording is remarkably close-up and resonant. Recommended!

R.E.B. (June 2014)