BACH: Prelude and Fugue in D minor. Six Chorales of Vaious Kinds. Other works of Bach arranged by WIDOR, KARG-ELERT: and LANDMANN"
Gerhard Gnann, organ
COVIELLO SACD 91416 TT: 72:56

KOPPEL: Concerto No. 1 for Marimba and Orchestra. Concerto No. 2 for Marimba and String Orchestra. Concerto No. 2 "Linzer" for Marimba and Orchestra. Concerto No. 4 "In Memory of Things Transcient" for Marimba and Orchestra. P.S. to a Concerto for Solo Marimba
Marianna Bednarska, marimba. Alborg Symphony Orch/ Henrik Vagn Christensen, cond.
DACAPO SACD 6.220 595 TT: 78:51

KHACHATURIAN: Piano Concerto. PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C, Op 26.
Nareh Arghamanyan, piano; Berlin Radio Symphony Orch/ Alain Altinoglu, cond. . 2
PENTATONE SACD 5186 510 TT: 67:17

Here is a treat for lovers of organ music, a splendid varied program recorded in rich multi-channel sound. It begins with a standard work by Johann Sebastian Bach, followed by arrangements and transcriptions of Bach's music by the composer and others: Widor, Karg-Elerg and Landmann. These are live recordings made September 23-24, 2013 by renowned organist Gerhard Gnann on the huge four organ of the Freiberg Münster. Producers Moritz Bergfeld and Olaf Mielke have done a superb job of capturing a rich, powerful sound. This well-filled SACD is essential for those who love the instrument.

Danish composer Anders Koppel (b. 1947) is remarkably versatile in the world of classical and jazz. He has written eight ballets, numerous concertos for various instruments, and plays piano in his son's jazz trio. He is a man of imagination for sure, composing music that is charming, gentle on occasion and usually exciting. Five of his works are on his superb new SACD played by the dynamic young Polish percussionist Mariana Bednarska, with fine orchestral accompaniment conducted by Henrik Vagn Christensen. Each concerto has a quiet central movement of high contrast to outer sections. This is audience pleasing music, and has been recorded in audiophile sound. On YouTube you can view some of Koppel's music including one of these concerto. A most intriguing issue!

Aabout two years ago, this site favorably mentined a Rachmaninoff disk b young Armenian pianist Nareh Arghamanyan (REVIEW); she also has recorded for Pentatone the Liszt concertos, which Ihave yet to hear. Now we have this latest issue, concertos of Khachaturian and Prokofiev. The Khachaturian is a big, odd concerto premiered in 1937 with the brilliant young Lev Oborin, for whom it was written, as fine soloist with apparently a disaserous accompaniament to the disress of he 34 year old composer. In the second movement, an unusual instrument is called for, the flexatone, creaing a strange, exotic sound. For whtever reason, this new recording feaured a musical saw which isn't nearly as effective. William Kapell gave he Americn pemiere in 1946 with the Boston Symphony conducted by Serge Koussevizky, and there recording for RCA was very popular. A number of pianists have recorded the work and some have been reviewed on this site (Alicia De Laroccha), (William Kapell), and (Mindru Katz). There are other recordings by Moura Lympany, Leonard Pennario,Lorin Hollander and, my favorite of all, Oscar Levant with Mirtropoolos and he Ne ork Philharmonia, a dazzling performance tha is not readily avso;sn;r/ zo fine Arghamanyan's new recording too sedate for maximum effect. This should be a wild display of virtuosity, and she makes little of the incredible cluster of descending chords towards the end of he second movement. The recording places the soloist rather distant; the orchestra is close-up. Prokofiev Three has numerous recordings including he composer's 1932 premiere recoding (REVIEW), There also are superb SACD issued by Aleksander Gavrylyuk (REVIEW), Freddy Kampf (REVIEW), Denis Masuev (REVIEW), AND Milhael Pletnev (REVIEW). And don't forget the CD issues by Van Cliburn, William Kapell, Lang Land and man others, many of which are reviewed on this sie. Unfortunately, this new issue cannot match these.

R.E.B. (January 2015)