SCRIABIN: Symphony No. 1 in E, Op. 26.The Poem of Ecstasy (Symphony No. 4) Op. 54.
Svetlana Shilova, soprano. Mikhail Gubsky, tenor. Moscow Conservatory Chamber Chorus. Russian National Orch/Mikhail POletnev, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186 514 TT: 76:56 75
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RODRIGO: Concierto de Aranjuez. Fantasy for a Gentleman. Concerto Madrigal for Two Guitars.
Narciso Yepoes and Godelieve Monden, guitars. Philharmonia Orch/ Garcia Navarro, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186 209 TT: 75:54
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Music of ANTONIO VALENTE, FRANCO PRPVENZALE, :GREGORIO STROZZI, and ANDREA FALCONIERI.
Echo du Danube
CPO SACD 777 834 TT: 60:26
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Scriabin's Symphony No. 1, composed 1899-1900, was his first large-scale work, with five movements and a finale with mezzo-soprano and tenor soloists, plus chorus. They are singing a text written by the composer that glorifies art, a subject Scriabin favored throughout his career. It is a long symphony (54) richly orchestrated. with many moments of idyllic beauty, quite removed from the passion and intensity of its disk companion, The Poem of Ecstasy, written in 1905-1908, sometimes identified as his Symphony No. 4. It is a mystic powerful works with an air exotic aur of suspense throughout featuring a solo trumpet as protagonist (here spectacularly played by Vadislav Lovrik). It reaches a huge sensuous climax re pleat with percussion and organ. Ecsatasy receives a thrilling performance, surely among the best ever recorded. Incidentally, you can see a performance of this on You Tube, worth checking out. The Pentatone audio is quite magnificent. This is a worthy addition to the Scriabin discography and I look forward to future recordings in this series. If you admire Scriabin, surely check out the huge Decca budget box of his complete works (REVIEW).

Here is another remarkable issue in Pentatone's issues of DGG original four-track recordings, heard here for the first time as originally recorded This consists entirely of music of Joachin Rodrigo, the well-known Concierto de Aranjuez plus the Fantasy for a Gentleman and the Concerto Madrigal for Two guitars. Narciso Yepes is featured in all along with Godelieve Monden in the double concerto, with the Philharmonia Orchestra directed by Garcia Novaro. All were recorded in 1977 and even though two different British halls were involved (Wembly Town Hall/Henry Wood Hall), the superb engineering staff has recreated a most realistic sound with a natural perspective that is admirable. Of course, performances are exemplary. This is a totally satisfying SACD.

The performing group Echo du Danube, founded in 1999, is devoted to research and uncovering totally neglected music from the 16th and 17th centuries. Surely they are to be commended for their scholarship in resurrecting the past. This gives collectors the opportunity to hear music by four composers that surely will be new to them performed authentically with instruments of the time including salterio, baroque harp, baroque guitar and varied percussion. Texts and translations are4 provided for vocal works, and there are comprehensive program notes. If this type of music interests you, here it is, recorded with uncommon clarity.

R.E.B. (Augusg 2015)

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