GRIEG: At the Wedding / In the Hall of the Mountain King. from Peer Gynt. Six orchestral songs. Two Lyric Pieces, Op. 68.The Mountainh Thrall. Op. 32. Four Norwegian Dances, Op. 35.
Camilla Tilling, soprano. Tom Erik Lie, baritone. WDR Symphony Orchestra Köln/Eivind Aadland, cond.
AUDITE SACD 92,671 TT: 66:26
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BRUCH: Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 44. In Memoriam, Op. 45. Konzertstück, Op. 84.
Ulf Wallin, violin. Berlin Symphony Orch/Okko Kamu,, cond.
BIS SACD 2059 TT: 59:4
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BACH: Six sonatas for cembalo and violin BWV 1014-1019. Two sonatas for violin and basso continuo BWV 1021 - 1023. Sonata for violin and harpsichord BWV 1022.
Ericgh Höbarth, violin. Aapo Häkkinen, harpsichord
AEOLUS SACD AE 10236 (2 disks) TT: 119:35
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For the fifth and final issue in their series of orchestral works of Edvard Grieg,Audite offers a collection that includes many lesser-known vocal works. Soprano Camilla Tilling sings 6 songs that include two from incidental music for Peer Gynt, and baritone Tom Erik Lie dramatically sings the relatively unknown ballad for baritone and orchestra The Mountain Thrall. Only six minutes in duration, it was composed around 1877, the same time he wrote his string quartet. It is the only completed part of a large choral work and in it a wanderer travels through the dark woods aimlessly encounters elf-women, but his life still remains unfulfilled. The familiar four Op. 35 Norwegian Dances fill out this fine disk. Excellent audio. Text is [provided in German and English. Surprisingly there are no translations of the vocal works.

There are numerous recording of Max Bruch's famous Violin Concerto No. 1, both historic and on SACD, but the Concerto No. 2 is unfamiliar to most listeners, and unjustly so. Composed in 1877, eleven years after the first concerto, it is a work of equal merit. It receives a most convincing performance on this new recording played by the superb young Swedish violinist Ulf Ullman. Many of his BIS recordings have been praised on this site. To add to the attraction of this disk, we also have two other major works of Bruch, which also deserve more frequent attention, the Konzertstüke, Op. 84, and In Memoriam, Op. 65 originally planned as part of another concerto. Perfect support is provided by the Dresden orchestra under Okko Kamu's firm but sensitive direction. Engineers have placed the soloist up front, but that is no problem. A terrific issue!

Bach's many works for violin and harpsichord are considered to be among his finest works. Nine of his sonatas for the two instruments in sterling performances are featured on this new 2-disk set. . This amounts to about two hours of music, and it is difficult to imagine anyone would listen to all of it in one session. There is an early instrument sound to the instruments, and the harpsichord played is said to be the same kind used in Bach's time,with an extra low octave. Erich Höbarth, born in Vienna in 1956, is a distinguished violinist/conductor known for his expertise in baroque music, and harpsichordist Aapo Häkkinen also is a recognized authority. This deluxe album contains profuse explanatory program notes. . The recording is very close-up; for a mn ore natural sound, play this at a somewhat lower level.

R.E.B. (December 2015)

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