<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Prokofiev symphonies 4 and 7 / Sibelius Symphonies 3, 6 and 7; Schreker operatic orchestral music / Osmo Vänska

PROKOFIEV: Symphony No. 4 in C. Op. 112(revised version 1947). Symphony No. 7 in C sharp minor, Op. 131.
Bergen Philharmonic Orch/Andrew Litton, cond.
BIS SACD 2134 TT: 81:58

SCHREKER: Symphonisches Zwiscjespiel from Der Schatzgräber. Vorspiel fro,m Die Gezeichheten. Vorspiel from, Das Spoe;werl/ Vorspiel zu Einer Grossen Oper. Nachtstüeke from Der ferne Klange.
Royal Swedish Orch/Lawrence Renes, cond.
BIS SACD 2212 TT: 68:30

SIBELIUS: Symphonyh No. 3 in C, Op. 52. Symphonh No. 6 in D minor, Op. 104. Symphony Nol 7 in C, Op. 105.
Minneapolis Symphony Orch/Osmo Vänska, cond.
BIS SACD 2006 TT: 82 min.

Aside from a Hyperion stereo disk of Prokofiev's Cello Concerto and Symphony-Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Andrew Litton's Bergen Pbhilharmonic series of music of the composer has been on BIS, mostly on SACD. Already available are Sympony No. 5 coupled with Scythian Suite (BIS 2124), Symphony No. 6 coupled with suitse from The Love for Three Oranges and Lt. Kije (BIS 1994), Suites from Romeo and Juliet (BIS 1301)and Piano Concertos 2 and 3 (with Freddy Kempf) who also plays PIano Sonata No. 2) (BIS 1820). This is a distinguished series, and this new SACD of Symphonies 4 and 7 is magnificent in every way. Ppowerful performances, beautifully played and recorded with uncommon impact and clarity. A plus is inclusion of the alternate ending for Symphony No.7. This is a must for lovers of Prokofiev and for audiophiles as well.

About a decade ago this site praised a German opera production of Franz SchrekerDie Schreker's(REVIEW).Austioan composer, conductor and teacher Schreker (1878 - 1934) was highly successful early in his career, particularly for his operas which usually were of an erotic nature with highly sensual music. He also composed much orchestral music and a limited amount of chamber music. Some leading conductors championed his music including Dimitri Mitropoulos and Jascha Horenstein, burt his music today seldom is heard in the concert ha. This superb BIS SACD offers major excerpts from Die ferne Klang (Distant Chiming), Das Spielwerk und die Prinzessin (The Music Box and the Princess), Die Gezeichneten (The Stigmatized), and Der Schatzgräber (The Treasure Digger) played with conviction and tonal beauty by the Royal Swedish Orchestra under conductor Lawrence Renes. The recording was made in Stockholm June 2015, and offers an appropriately lush sound that brings out all of the sensual beauty of this music. This issue is particularly welcome, a major addition to the Schreker discography. If you enjoy music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold and early Richard Strauss, you'll surely find this SACD rewarding.

Osmo Vänska is known for his interpretations of music of his countryman Jean Sibelius and has made many recordings. Orchestral works, including all seven symphonies, were recorded for BIS with the Lahti Symphony. Since that time the conductor has been recording them again, this time with the Minnesota Orchestra of which he has been music director since 2003. He here completes the set with two of the lighter symphonies, Nos. 3 and 7, as well as the brooding Symphony No. 6. These are outstanding in every way, and the BIS engineers have captured the resonance of the venue, Minneapolis's Orchestra Hall where these were made May/June 2015. Let us hope BIS will continue this superb series with other works of Sibelius, particularly the symphonic poems.

R.E.B. (November 2016)