BEETHOVEN: Violin Sonata No. 9 in A, Op. 47 "Kreutzer." Sonata No. 10 in G, Op.96.
Thomas Albertus Imberger, violin; Michael Korstick, piano
GRANOLA SACD 99050 TT:: 63:51

SCHUÖNBERG: Moses and Aron
Franz Grundheber (Speaker/Moses). Andreas Conrad (tenor/Aron). Johanna Winkel Katharina Perike (soprano). Elvia Bill, Nora Petrohenko (altos). Jean Noël Briend, Jason Bridges (tenor). Andreas Wolf (baritone). Friedermann Röhlig (bass). Europa Chorus/ SWR Orch/ Sylvain Cambreling, cond.
HÄNNSLER CLASSICS SACD 93.324 (2 disks) TT: 1:41:10

WARD: Fantasies and Verse Anthems
Phantas,/Lawrence Dreyfus, director and trebel viol. Emilia Benjamin, treble and tenor viols. Jonathan Manson, tenor viol. Mikko Perkoia, bass biol. Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford/Daniel Hyde, director.LINN SACD 427 TT: 60:00

Young violinist Tomas Albertus Imberger (b. 1985) already has made acclaimed recordings of works by Paganini, Mendelssohn and Schumann (although these generally are not available in he U.S.). Pianist Michel Korstick also has been praised for his solo recordings, and now they collaborate on two of Beethoven's best-known violin sonatas, Mastery of their instruments is ever apparent, and the clear audio presents a natural image of both. There is keen competition from famous duos of the past (Francescatti/Casadesus, Argerich/Kremer, Grumiaux/Haskill,to mention only a few). This new disk hold up very well, and surely is better recorded than most.

A superb video of a Vienna State Opera production of Schönberg's Moses and Aron was mentioned on this site in June 2007 (REVIEW). The history of this extraordinary opera is related in that review. Now we have another magnificent performance of the work, this one with an outstanding cast, chorus and orchestra directed by Slvain Cambreling from Baden-Baden. It is remarkable in every way. A complete libretto with translation is provided. The recording was made in September 2012 with three different venues listed, and Klause-Dieter Hesse is listed as engineer—and he did a superb job. Audio on this SACD is among the finest I have ever heard, totally natural, full and satisfying with remarkable dynamic range. This is a major surround sound release. The music is challenging for many listeners, but this recording;/performance presents it in the most favorable light.

The ensemble Fantasm was founded in 1994 by Laurence Dreyfuss, a consort of violas. They already have to their credit a number of highly regarded recordings. On this superb new SACD they are joined by the Choir of Magdalena of Oxford College in a program of anthems and fantasies by John Ward (c. 1589-1638). No question of authenticity in performance here, and the rich sounds of the unspecified venue have been captured with totally natural full rich audio. Complete texts and profuse program notes are provides. An essential disk for those interested in this repertory.

R.E.B. (November 2014)