RHEINBERGER: Concerto in F for Organ, String Orchestra and Three Horns, Op.137. Concerto in G minor for Organ, String Orchestra, Two Trumpets, Two Horns, and Timpani, Op. 177.
E. Power Biggs, organ. Columbia Symphony. Maurice Peress, cond.
DUTTON LABORATORIES SACD CDLX 7334 TT: 56:00
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"RECURRENCE"
JONSDOTTIR: Flow and Fusion. VILMARSSON: bd. SIGFUSDOTTIR: Aequora. BJARNASON: Energenee. THORVALDSDOTTIR: Dreaming.
Iceland Sykmphony Orchestra / Daníel Bjarnason, cond.
SONO LUMINUS DSL 92213 (1 SACD / 1 Blu Ray disk)
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MOZART: March in D, K. 335 Nos. 1 and 2. Serenade No. 9 in D, K. 320 "Posthorn." Serenade No. 13 in G, K. 525 "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik."
Doe Kölner Akademie / Michael Alexander Willens, cond.
BIS SACD 2244 TT: 74:41
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In 2003 Sony issued a series of multi-track recordings that had been made in the early '70's. That was the first time they had been issued in quad sound as prior to that technology didn't exist to do this. Now, with the advent of SACD, it was possible. The disks were spectacular. Unfortunately all of these fascinating SACDS have been deleted. This is a major loss for collectors—also the fact that there are many other multi-track recordings that have never been issued in multi channel.

This splendid Dutton SACD, licensed from Sony, contains two organ concertos by Joseph Rheinberger The concertos are among the finest ever composed for the instrument. Rheinberer included brass soloists and timpani as well as an orchestra. E. Power Biggs is featured along with the Columbia Symphony directed by Maurice Peress, recorded in St. George's Episcopal Church in New York November 28-29, 1973 on the grand Möller organ. Producers used great imagination taking full advantage of the four channels, separating the instruments most effectively. My equipment indicates that this is a 5.1 recording, which seems rather odd as this was a four-track recording. At any rate, the result is a treat for those who care about quality sound, a thrilling audio experience. Let us hope Dutton Epoch will release more of these sonic treasures! The SACD can be obtained directly from Dutton via this LINK

Sono Luminus ventures into the contemporary Iceland music scene with this recording called "Recurrence" features music by the five composers listed above, one of whom is the conductor, Daniele Bjarnason. All of this is primarily electronic music and it is unfortunate CD notes don't tell us something about what the composers intended to convey. There are profiles, and plaudits, for all of the composers but nothing about the music, All we have are the titles, which are ambiguous, particularly Viimarsson's "bg." Nor is there any explanation about electronic "instruments" used. Were most of the sounds produced by the orchestra and then electronically altered? we'll never know. What were have are big masses of undefined sound, often dark and brooding. Occasionally there are rhythmic outbursts, but not often. From an audio standpoint, this surely will give your woofers a workout in a rather gentle way. Sounds are very clear but little use was made of rear speakers for instrument placement. I have great admiration for the Iceland Symphony ever since they recorded Leif;s Hekla ("the loudest music ever written?") for BIS many years ago (REVIEW). They surely aren't called upon to do any virtuoso playing here. This set includes an SACD and a DVD Blu Ray audio with the same program.

Here is another delectable BIS issue, a well-filled disk (74:41) of familiar Mozart performed by Die Kölner Akademie. The imaginative program features the great Post Horn Serenade preceded by and followed by a lively march. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik fills out the program. The orchestra is a leader in period instrument performance. Their sensitive, precise playing has been captured most naturally by the BIS engineers in these recordings made December 2015 in Cologne's Deutschelandfunk Kammermusiksaal.

R.E.B. (April 2017)

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