SPOHR: Symphony No. 7 in C, Op. 121. Symphony No. 9 in B minor, Op. 143. Erinnerung an Maienbaden.
NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover/Howard Grffiths, cond.
CPO SACD 777 746 TT: 70:06
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BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 7 in E
Hamburg Philharmonic Orch/Simone Young, cond.
OEHMS SACD OC 688 TT: 66:32
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FLEURS - A program of music by Purcell, Schumann, Quilter, Britten, Gounod, Fauré, Strauss, Schubert, Poulenc, Hahn, Debussy, Boulanger, and Chabrier
Carolyn Sampson, soprano/Joseph Middleton, piano
BIS SACD 2192 TT: 68:50
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German composer Louis Spohr ( (1784-1859) was a major figure in leading German cities at the beginning of the 19th century, respected for his music as well as his expertise as a conductor. His instrument was the violin and he composed eight concertos for the instrument, each a gem of the repertory, as well as four concertos for the clarinet. This site has praised previous CPO issues of Symphonies 3 and 10 (REVIEW) and Symphonies 2 and 8 (REVIEW). Now we ave two more symphonies as well as a waltz for chamber orchestra composed in 1833, Souvenir of Marienbad, featuring a solo flute. His Symphony No. 7 is subtitled "The Earth and the Divine in Human Life." His wife suggested he write a symphony for two orchestras, one full-size, the other with but 11 players, the smaller group representing Good, the larger, Evil. Throughout the three movements the two ensembles are contrasted, and the symphony ends quietly. Detailed CD notes explain the work's meaning. Symphony No. 9 is nicknamed "The Seasons," beginning with Winter. The music seems to have little to do with the subject (far removed from Vivaldi's Four Seasons), but it always is inventive and pleasant. Howard Griffiths and the excellent Hannover orchestra provide excellent performances, and the audio is excellent if not particularly"surround."

Simon Young continues her Bruckner cycle (only 5 and 9 remain) with Symphony No. 7. Many of these have been mentioned on this site, and it is an admirable series although not quite of the heights reached by many other conductors and orchestras. This is a strong account of Symphony No. 7, and the recorded sound is superb. Lots of competition here, for sure.

British soprano Carolyn Sampson has had a successful career for two decades concentrating on early music and recitals. Her many recordings include major choral masterpieces under distinguished conductors, and some are available on video. On this superb BIS SACD she presents a recital of wide-ranging repertory including Purcell, Schubert, Britten, Quilter, Strauss and several French composers, all sung with the greatest tonal beauty. Joseph Middleton is the sensitive pianist, and BIS has recorded them to perfection; they are in front of you most realistically. This is an elaborate presentation with complete texts. Recommended, if this repertory appeals to you.

R.E.B. (May 2015)

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