TCHAIKOVSKY: Grand Sonata in G, Op. 37. The Seasons, Op. 37a
Freddy Kempf, piano
BIS SACD 2140 TT: 66:28
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CHOPIN: Scherzo No. 1 in B minor, Op. 20. ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23/ Pre;ides. P[/ 28. Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 31, Ballade No. 2 in F, Op. 38. Scherzo No. 3 in C sharp minor, Op. 39. Prelude in C sharp minor, Op. 45, Ballade No. 3 in A flat, Op. 47. Fantasie in F minor, OP. 49. Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52. Scherzo No. 4 in E, Op. 54. Berceuse in D flat, OKp. 57/ Barcarolle in F sharp, Op. 60. Polonaise-fantasie in A flat, Op. 61.
Burkhard Schliessmann, pianist
DIVINE ART SACD DDC 25752 (3 dosls) TT: 41: 50 / 51:28 / 50:09
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HILLBORG: Beast Sampler for Orchestra (2014). O Dessa Ögon for Soprano and Strings (2011). Cold Heat for Orchestra (2010) Sirens for two sopranos, mixed choir and orchestra (2011).
Hanna Holgersson, Ida Falk Winland, sopranos. Eric Ericsobn Chamber Choir. Swedish Radio Choir. Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orch/ Sakaeri Oramo, David Zinman (O Dessa Ögon), and Esa-Pekka Salonen (Sirens).
BIS SACD 2114 TT: 62:28
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Tchaikovsk composed his piano sonata in 1878: a student work from 1865 wan’t published until after his death in 1892. The “grand” sonata was written when Tchaikovsky was in full stride as a composer, acclaimed for his many masterpieces. He intended to create a virtuoso display sonata, and he surely did. This sonata is not as thematically inspired as most of Tchaikovsky’s music. There are four sections: two vigorous, splashy outer movements separated by an andante and and a scherzo. For whatever reason, it is seldom heard in concerts.
The Seasons, commissioned by the music publisher Novello. They requested a piano piece to poublish each month for a year, and Tchaikovsky obliged. Several sections from this delightful work often appear separately on concerts (in particular the Barcarolle June, and Ttoika November). Throughout, the solid young pianist Freddy Kempf shows he affinity for Russian repertory. Excellent audio in this recording made November 2014 in Munich’s Bavaria Studios.

Young German pianist Burkhard Schliessmann has a unique 3-disk set of music of Chopin presented chronologically. An interesting idea for those who might wish to experience this approach to the Polish master’s writing. Of course there are numerous recordings of all of this music, but here you can listen to it in order of composition. Included are the four scherzi, four ballades, the 28 preludes. Op. 28 (plus the Op 45 Prelude), Fantasie, Op. 49 and Berceuse in D-flat. Satchliessman is a sterling performer (he has a number of videos on YouTube). However, producers of this set have short-changed collectors. Playing time on two of the disks is but 50 min; on the third is is :57 min. Over an hour of available time has been wasted. They easily could have included the four Impromptus and/or many other works that would have added to the concept.. Sonically everything is excellent, rich piano sound with just enough audio from rear speakers to provide a most pleasing listening experience.

Swedish composer Anders Hillborg (b. 1954) is one of the most respected composers of his country, and has a particular strong association with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic which has featured his works on many occasion and given some premieres. He also had major commissions from the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and the Chicago Symphony. This fine new BIS SACD gives us the opportunity to hear three of his latest works in outstanding performances. All of these showcase his inventive o and unusual orchestral effects. In The Beast he portrays the orchestra as living, breathing and dangerous animal. Greatly contrasting is Odessa Ögon ("Oh these eyes") with text by Swedish poet Gunnar Ekelöf .The major work is Sirens, to a text b from Homer's Odyssey, vividly descriptive of the sensuous water maidens attempting to capture Ulysses. The music is appropriately sensuous with a constant sense of mystery. Two of Sweden's finest singers are featured and their beautiful, controlled performance has been captured in natural perspective. Complete texts and translations are provided. Audio is excellent. An intriguing release!

R.E.B. (February 1016)