PROKOFIEV: Symphony No. 5 in B flat, Op. 100. Scythian Suite, Op. 20
Bergen Philharmonic Orch/Andrew Litton, cond.
BIS SACD 2124 TT: 67:00
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NIELSEN: Symphony No. 2, Op. 16 "TThe Four Temperaments,: Symphony No. 6 "Sinfonia Semplice."
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orch/Sakaro Oramo, cond.
BIX SACD 2128 TT: 64:34
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MAHLER: Songs of a Wayfarer. BUSONI: Berceuse Elegaic, Op. 42. ZEMLINSKY: Seven Songs, Op. 13. WAGNER: Siegfried Idyll
Royal Acacdemy of Music Soloists Ensemble/Trevor Pinnock, cond.
LINN SACD 481 TT: 61:00
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BIS here has two multi-channel disks to delight the audiophile. The Prokofiev was recorded in Grieg Hall in Bergen in January 2014 (Symphony) and June of the same year. The two Nielsen symphonies wee recorded in June 2014 in Stockholm's Concert Hall all produced by Robert Suff. It would be more impressive if rear channels were a touch more prominent but there is no question that the orchestras are presented in rich, realistic and impactful audio. Clarity of the recording gives us the opportunity to hear orchestral details sometimes lost. The finale of Scythian Suite ("The Glorious Departure of Lolly and the Sun's Procession") builds to a glittering climax indeed. There is strong competition for the two Nielsen symphonies, particularly from Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic (see REVIEWS). Collectors will not be disappointed by either of these new releases.

The LINN SACD is a rather odd collection of music either written or arranged for chamber orchestra (there are only 17 players in the Royal Acacdemy). It begins with Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer is heard arranged by Arnold Schoenberg's with Gareth Brynamor Jones as soloist. He is a member of the Royal Academy of Music and his performance of Mahler's song cycle is admirable. The other participating young artist is mezzo Kate Bray, also associated with the Academy. She sings the six songs of Zemlinsky originally written for voice and piano, here arranged by Christopher Austin for for voice and a chamber orchestra Her voice has a tremolo that distracts, disturbing to hear this early in her career. The other two works were originally composed for chamber orchestra, the lovely Busoni Berceuse and Wagner's Siegfried Idyll, the first performance of which on Christmas Day 1870 was played by only 13 players. This program was recorded in St. George's, Bristol,February 2014. Audio is excellent although not particularly "surround." Complete texts are provided.

R.E.B. (May 2015)

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