NORGARD: Symphony No. 1, Op. 13 "Sinfonia austera." Symphony No. 8.
Vienna Philharmonic Orch/Sakari Oramo, cond.
DACAPO SACD 6.220574 TT: 57:09
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MARTINU: Sonata No.1 for Cello and Piano. Sonata No. 2 for Cello and Piano. Sonata No. 3 for Cello and Piano. MUSTONEN: Sonata for Cello and Piano. SIBELIUS: Malinconia, Op. 20.
Steven Isserlis, cello; Olli Mustonen, piano
BIS SACD 2042 TT: 78:15
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"THE TUDORS AT PRAYER" - Latin Gothic music by John Taverner, Thomas Tallis, William Mundy , Robert White, and William Byrd.
Magnificat/Philip Cave, director
LINN SACD CKD 447 TT: 79:42
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This site already has mentioned fascinating multi-channel issues of musi cby Danish composer Per Norgard: symphonies 3 and 7 with the Danish National Symphony and choruses conducted by Thomas Dausgaard (REVIEW), works for soprano and chamber orchestra (REVIEW), the challenging vocal work The Divine Circus (REVIEW), and an unusual accordion concerto (REVIEW). Norgard is a composer of uncommon interest and we are fortunate more of his music is being recorded in first-class performances. This new issue of two symphonies is a treasure. His first symphony, written in 1953 and revised three years later, is strongly influenced by music of Sibelius, a composer Norgard highly respected. Sparsely orchestrated, it even opens with a soft timpani role and solo clarinet (as does Symphony No. 1 of Sibelius), as well as including a "bird call" Sibelius used in Tapiola. This is a gloomy work in three movements the last of which ends quietly. . Symphony No. 8, composed 2011-2012, also has three movements. Much of it is delicately scored with mysterious quiet episodes, and Jans Cornelius's CD notes appropriately call it "playful." At the conclusion, it simply fades away. It is a pleasure to hear the great Vienna Philharmonic under Sakari Oramo's firm direction playing this music. Recordings were made in Vienna's Konzerthaus in May 2013, Symphony No. 8 recorded live. Audio through is rich if not particularly "surround." A superb issue!

Bohuslav Martini (1890-1959) was a prolific composer and wrote much music for the cello including four major works for cello and orchestra, three sonatas, several variations for cello and piano and a few shorter works. On this new BIS release we have the three sonatas, composed in 1939, 1941 and 1952, Each has three movements, with a slow middle section and lively outer movementsm . These are played by Steven Isserlis with pianist Olli Mustonen..We also have the pianist's cello sonata composed in 2006 wrutten as result of the two artist's friendship over the years. It is a lively work also with three movements, It ends with a dazzling perpetual motion precipitato. We also have the only work for cello and piano by Sibelius, a somber piece called Melanconia written in 1900 when the composer's infant daughter. These performances could not be bettered, and the BIS audio is just about as good as i gets, although hardly "surround."

Those who enjoy very early English choral music surely should investigate Linn's latest issue in their series of the genre. This is called The Tudors At Prayer ad features Latin sacred music by eight composers who wrote early in the 16th Century. Philip Cave organized Magnificat in 1991 and since that time they are recognized as perhaps the finest such group. The recording was made January 2013 ub in Cambridge's St. George's Chesterton and the engineers have captured the warm acoustics to perfection, with splendid rich ambience. The program is only a few seconds short of capacity CD playing time .Complete texts are provided. This is a class production, highly recommended.

R.E.B. (July 2014)

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