IVES: Orchestral Suite No. 2. Symphony No. 3 "The Camp Meeting." Symphony
SMETANA: Ma Vlast
Joachim Raff (1822-1882) was a prolific composer writing eleven symphonies, many other orchestral works, volumes of piano music, concertos and chamber music. In recent years, much of his music has, fortunately, been recorded, and this site mentioned recent SACDSs with Neemi Järvi and the Suisse Romande Orchestra: Symphony No 5 (REVIEW) and Symphony Nol 2 (REVIEW). These are not major symphonic statements, but they surely are well-crafted and pleasant to experience. Raff composed lieder throughout his career, and this disk offers two major cycles; the thirty songs of Sanges Frühling, Op. 98 (1855-1863), and the twelve of Maria Stuart, Op. 172 (1872). These are shared by the three excellent soloists sensitively accompanied by pianist Jan Schultsz. Fine audio, with natural balances. There are detailed program notes, but ho texts/translations are provided. The two disks sell for the price of one.
American music played by an Austrian orchestra and with a British conductor? That's what we fund on the new Chandos Ives series—and it works beautiully.volume three. Volume III. This site recently praised Volume I (Symphonies 1 and 2 ) (REVIEW). Volume II (CHSA 5163) contains A Symphony New England Holidays, Three Places in New England, and Central Park in the Dark. Volume III offers three important works listed above. Again the Melbourne Symphony is in top form, and the recording were made in two venues: Hamer Hall, Arts Center Melbourne June 2014 (Orchestral Set No. 2 / Symphony No 4), and in Robert Blackwood Hall Monash University in Melbourne March 2016 (Symphony No. 4).Auidio is super clear and wide range letting us enjoy all the composer's unuque orchestration. Little use is made of rear speajkersk but the overall effect is impressive.
Smetana's native symphonic Ma Vlast ("My fatherland") has been recorded numerous times, and its most famous movement "The Moldau" is available even more so. There are magnificent versions are available including two near-definitive performances available on DVD, one with Rafael Kubelik and the Bavarian Radio Symphony (REVIEW) the other with Jiri Bewlohlavek and the Czech Philharmonic (REVIEW)
This new version was recorded in Bamberg's Joseph Keilberth Hall during two different sessions: July 015 and March 2016. The recording is excellent if perhaps b ti congested, and it is effective that engineers have separated the harps, left and right, during the3 opening Vysehrad. Little use is made of rear channels, unfortunately. If you love this music, get either of the two videos mentioned for their richer audio and more impassioned interpretations.
R.E.B. (March 2017)