<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Fantastic symphony / Faure violin sonatas / Tasmin Little Vivaldi

BERLIOZ: Sinfonie fantastique, Op. 14
Royal Concertgebouw Orch/Daniele Gatgti, cond.
RCOAS LIVE SACD TT: 57:30
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FAURÉ: Violin Sonata No. 1 in A, Op. 13. Apres une Reve, Op. 7 No. 1. Morceau de Lecture. DEBUSSY: Minstrels. Beau Soir. RAVEL Piece in the Form of Hbanera. Berceuse on the name of Fauré. Violin Sonata in G.
Christian Svarfvar, violin. Roland Pöntinen, piano.
BIS SACD 2183 TT: 61:08
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VIVALDI: The Four Seasons (Violin Concertos Op. 8 Nos. 1-4). PANUFNIK: "Four World Seasons"
Tasmin Little, violin. David Wright, harpsichord. BBC Symphony Orch/ Tasmin Little, cond.
CHANDOS SACD CHSA 5175 TT: 62:38
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The Concertgebouw Orchestra has made a number of recordings of Symphonie fantastique, the first with Eduard van Beinum on 78 rpm disks in 1943 , a second one in 1946, and a third in 1951 with the advent of the LP. They also made an acclaimed recording for Philips with Sir Colin Davis in 1974, which some years ago was reissued in the original four-track version on Pentatone (EVIEW). Since that time the RCOA Live label issued one conducted by Mariss Jansons, and there was a video of a Bernard Haitink performance from 1979 (REVIEW). All of these are quite superior to this latest, from three concerts in March/April 2016. Gatti's interpretation is bland; no Berrlioz excitement here. Bells in the finale are subdued, and the final note sounds as it is was cut off by the engineers. Previous RCOA issues have had superb audio, but here that is not the case. There is little of the natural hall resonance and dynamic range is restricted. Gatti was appointed Chief Conductor of the RCOA this season. I hope this Fantastique is not typical of future performances.

Swedish violinist Christian Svarfvar (b. 1982) is a respected chamber music performer, displayed at his best in these sensitive performances of music of Fauré and Ravel. Recordings were made December 2014 and June 2015 in Stockholm's Grünewaldsalen, Konserthuset. There are dozens of other recordings of all of this music played by just about every leading violinist, but this one has the advantage of BIS's ultra clear recording that presents the two performers in most realistic audio.

One could hardly say we need another recording of The Four Seasons, but this one is different as it is coupled with the premiere recording of a unique work by Roxanne Panufnik, daughter of the famous composer. This is entitled Four World Seasons, for solo violin string orchestra and Tibetan singing bowl. The four movements are: Autumn in Albania. In Memory of my Father Amdrzej Panufnk.). Tibetan Winter for Tasmin. Spring in Japan (for my dear friend Tasmin Little and the Orchestra of the Swan. Indian Summer. To Tasmin Little and the Orchestra of the Swan. Captivating listening, a modern view of the seasons which has little to do with Vivaldi's opus. Performances are expert, and the recording made in the Church of St. Jude-on-the-Hill in London's Hampstead Gardens in January of this year. A lovely SACD that captures the varied sounds most realistically.

R.E.B. (November 2016)