MAHLER: Symphony No. 1 in D "Titan."
Utah Symphony Orch/Thierry Fischer, cond.
REFERENCE RECORDINGS SACD FR 715 TT: 52:55
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NERUDA: The Poet Sings - Poetruy of Neruda set to music by Cary Ratcliuff, Shawn Kirchner, Shawn Kirchner and Donald Grantham
Conspirare.
Conspirare Chamber Players/Craig Hella Johnson, director and
HARMONIA MUNDI SACD 807636 TT: 73:55
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BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 5 in B flat
Hamburg Philharmonic Orch/Simone Young, cond.
OEHMS SACD 689 TT: 73:23
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The Utah Symphony was famous for their pioneering recording of all of the Mahler Symphonies more than forty years ago, with their long-time music director Maurice Abravanel on the podium. These were solid performances and showed the Utah orchestra to be a first-class ensemble. These were recorded in surround sound and several have been issued on DVD in multi-channel video, reviewed on this site. Now we have this new recording of Symphony No. 1 made in in Salt Lake City's Maurice Abravanel Hall September 12, 2013. On the podium is Thierry Fischer. a dynamic young conductor who has been music director of a number of orchestras. He has led the Utah Symphony since 2009 and during that time has presented a complete cycle of Mahler symphonies, This is an excellent Mahler First, much more leisurely than Abravanel recording of decades ago. The orchestra is excellent, with outstanding brass. Audio is well-balanced and close-up, with an impressive dynamic range. Applause has been eliminated.

The famous Chilean poet and statesman Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) wrote poetry that is sensitive and powerful, and is held in highest esteem in today's kuterart world. This fine new recordings offers musical settings of a number of his poems a;; wrutten by American composers. Cary Ratcliff (b. 1953) has set 5, Shawn Kirchner (b. 1970) has set two, and one is the work of Ronald Grantham (b. 1947(, These are beautiful additions to the choral repertory, and are given outstanding performances by the ensemble Conspirare directed by Craig Hella Johnson with a group of chamber players. Profuse program notes are provided along with complete texts of each work. Audio is excellent. This is a first-class issue in every way.

Simone Young has now completed her Bruyckner symphony series with her Hamburg Philharmonic. This performance of the mighty Symphony No. 5, recorded in March 2015. Engineers again have done an outstanding job in capturing a huge orchestral sound, and the massive brass in the final movement is impressive indeed. This is an outstanding issue in a very crowded field. This site has mentioned many recordings of Bruckner Five including some major historic performances (see CD index). I surely would not want to be without the Beinum or Jochum recordings; how unfortunate they don't have the glorious audio of this new SACD.

R.E.B. (September 2015)

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