WAGNER: Tannhäuser Overture. SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 43
Boston Symphony Orch/Andris Nelsons, cond.

MOZART: Symphony No. 14 in A, K. 114. Symphony No.18 in F, K. 130. Symphony No. 20 in D, K, 133, Symphony No. 39 in E flat, K. 543. Symphony No. 41 in C, K. 551 ":Jupiter."
Boston Symphony Orch/James Levine, cond.
BSO CLASSICS SACD 1001/1002 (2 DISKS) TT: 63:35 & 70:1

MESSIAEN: Trois petites Liturgie de la Présence divine. O sacrum convivium! Cinq Rechants.
Danish National Vocal Ensemble/Danish National Concert Choir/Danish National Chamber Orch/Marcus Creed, cond.
OUR RECORDINGS SACD 6.220612 TT: 59:03

Andris Nelsons is enjoing a triumphant first season as music director of theBoston Symphony, and rigtfuly so. He has brought new excitement to the famed orchestra, his concerts are sold out and there is international interest in whats going on in Boston. This SACD offers two performances, the Wagner Tannhäuser Overture from September 2013 and November of the same year. The Wagner is a surprisingly sedate performance, but the Sibelius is much more successful. Currently there are about 100 recordings of the Sibelius available inclding the first ever made about eight decdes ago with th e commposer's friend, Robert Karajnus and the London Symphony. And just about every major conductor has recorded it, and some of these are on SACD inclding Mariss Jansons/Concertgebouw, Sir Colin Davis/London Sympny and Pavo Järvi/Cincinnati.

James Levine has specialized in Mozart throughout his career. Over three decades ago he recorded all 41 symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic, and he has recorded any of the operas, sometimes more than once. Now we have this two-disk set of Symphonies 14, 18, 20, 29 and 41 recorded his tenure of the Boston Symphony, in 2009. As one would expect, these are fist-class performances beautifully played, and recorded sound, particularly when experienced in SACD mode) is very good. However, this is a full-price set and I cannot imagine why collectors would be interested particularly when the fine early Vienna Philharmonic set is currently available at super-budget price and costs about the same as this new release that contains only 5 symphonies. Unless you are interested in Levine's latest views on Mozart, skip this one.

Olivier Messiaen has said, " "The most important thing for me is to try to make life more interesting for my audience. ...to challenge them and to challenge the singers in as many different ways as possible." He surely did just that with his unique choral works listed above. This music is fascinating and must be incredibly difficult to perform, for the choux as ell as the varied instruments accompanying which include regular instruments as well as many unusual percussion instruments. It is fascinating to hear the unusual soundest produced by singers and instrumentalists, and all of their fantastic sounds have been captured by the engineers with remarkable presence and impact. If you're looking for unusual choral music, here it is, beautifully presented by Danish forces under the leadership of Marcus Creed.. Texts and translations are provided in this terrific issue.

R.E.B. (June 2015)