RAVEL: Piano Concerto in G. Concerto for the Left Hand. SCHMITT: J'entendes dans le lointain.
Vincent Larderet, piano. OSE Symphonic Orch/Daniel Kawka, cond.
ARS SACD TT: 53:45
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"Natallie in Italia"
Dagmar Saskova, soprano. Jan Van Elsacker, tenor. Ensemble La France/Jean Tubéry, cond.
ARS SACD TT: 54:04
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LARSSON: Symphony No. 2, Op. 17. Variations for Orchestra, Op. 50. Barpccp Suite for Orchestra, Op. 64
Helsingborg Symphony Orch/Andrew Manze, cond.
CPO SACD 777 672 TT 69:53
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This site has mentioned many recordings of Ravel's piano concertos, both historic and recent (the latest the stunning Yuja Wang DGG release conducted by Lionel Bringuier (REVIEW).There is nmuch lesss competition on SACD so this fine new recording featuring Vincent Lardaret accompanied by the fine OSE Orchestra directed by Daniel Kawka will be of great interest for those who want multi-channel audio. Recording quality is excellent although not particularly "surround" with the soloist well-balanced with the orchestra. Of prime interest here is the coupling, a 12-minute work by Florent Schmitt, J'entendes dans le lointain which ("I hear in the distance.") which here receives its first recording in the version for piano and orchestra. This is a powerful work of great drama suggested by a quote from Lartréamont about nb evil antihero who causes much suffering. A gloomy story indeed, and the tragedy is obvious in this dramatic score that sounds like the best of film music. It's played to the hilt here, a welcome addition to the catalog. Recommended!

Here is an entire SACD of Italian Nativity Musiuc of the Early 16th Baroque. Music of Giordano Frescobaldi, Giovanni Battista, Bonifazio Graziani, Christoph Bernhard, Johann Schelzer, Alessandro Grandi, Biagio Marini and Giacomo Carissimi is included. Performances are by soprano Dagmar Saskova and tenor Kamn Van Elsaker, along with an instrumental ensemble of, violin, bass viola, organ, theorbe, baroque guitar and other period instruments. This is a class production with profuse program notes and complete texts. Excellent audio as well. If this kind of music appeals to you, here it is.

Lars-Erik Larsson (1908-1986) was a major figure on the 20th Century Swedish musical scene throughout his entire life, but is kown today mostly for the many concertos he wrote for various instruments. Each of these taxes the performer's technical resources. CPO again is to be commended for their investigating lesser-known music; this is the second volume in their series devoted to Larsson. He wrote his Symphony No. 2 in 1937. It is in three movements with varied sections. The premiere was a disaster and the symphony was withdrawn until 1973 when a Swedish radio performance was more favorably received. This new recording was made in April 2011. We also have the Variations for Orchestra that date from 1962, an example of Larsson's 12-note style, and the Barocco Suite was written in 1973, a six-movement collection of old-style pieces. These performances by the Helsingborg Symphony directed by Andrew Manze are excellent, but this music is of limited interest to most listeners.

R.E.B. (December 2015)

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