RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18. SAINT-SAËNS:
Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22. DE FALLA: Nights in the Gardens
Artur Rubinstein, piano. Philadelphia Orch. / Eugene Ormandy, cond.
DUTTION EPOCH SACD CDLX7336
NOW FROM DUTTON EPOH
DE RIIS: Amsterdam (2004). Riflession (2014). Ballet (1997/2013), Pop Concerto
for Guitar and Orchestra (2014)
Soloists. Boston Modern Orchestra Project / Gil Rosem cond.
BMOP SACD 1051 TT: 73:04
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HARTKE: The Ascent of the Equestrian in a Balloon,. (1995). Alvorada: Three
Madrigals for Strring Orchestra. (1983). A Brandenburg Autumn (2006). Muse
of the Missouri (2012).
Boston Modern Orchestra Project / Gil Rose, cond.
BMOP SACD 1052 TT: 59:17
BUY NOW FROM ARKIVMUSIC
DUTTTON EPOCH here has another fascinating issue in their SACD series.
Again they have been able to obtain original four-track surround recordings
never before issued in multi-channel. Artur Rubinsteun is soloist in Rachmaninoff,
Saint-Saëns and De Falla, with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia
Orchestra. The legendary pianist had previously recorded all three works.
Early in his career, Rubinstein often played the Saint-Saëns and recorded
it first in 1939 with Philippe Gaubert and the Paris Conservatory Orchestra
(REVIEW). He later recorded it with Alfred Wallenstein and the Symphony
of the Air; there is another recording conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos.
ass well as a video with André Previn and the London Symphony. The
Rachmaninoff concerto is Rubinstein's second; in 1956 he recorded it with
Fritz Reiner in Chicago, and there are two previous recordings of Nights
in the Gardens of Spain, one with Enrique Jorda, the other a live performance
with Ernest Ansermet. The Philadelphia performances are grand indeed, and
the great interest here is audio quality. RCA's engineers always had a
problem recording in the acoustically dry Academy of Music. Both the Saint-Saëns
and De Falla were recorded there January 2, 1969 produced by John Pfeiffer,
engineered by Max Wilcox, who was Rubinstein's RCA producer. Surely the
multi-track recording helped to create a most natural, rich sound, The
Rachmaninoff was recorded November 24, 1971 in Scottish Rite Cathedral';
Paul Goodman was producer and again Max Wilcox engineered. There is a very
realistic sonic picture here. These splendid performances are heard in
new sonic splendor. Let us hope DUTTON will continue to unveil more of
these long-lost treasures—there is a huge catalog available."
Anthony Paul De Ritis has a great sense of humor. He has said he likes
to write "happy music" ...all to often contemporary music sounds
scary or ugly to listeners—as if writing something beautiful or pleasant
is an insult to the intelligent." What is heard on this delightful
new SACD is highly enjoyable, a natural and effective combination of regular
instruments and electronic sounds. Amsterdam (the name really doesn't mean
anything) was premiered in 2004; the composer relates the debacle of that
occasion when lack of electricity changed the performance. Riflession ("Reflections")
was written for Patrick de Ritis (not relation), bassoonist of the Vienna
Symphony. It is a fascinating work, with jagged orchestral interjections.
Ballet (20:32), is scored for two pianos, played here by Vicky Chow and
Saskia Lankhoorn with the ensemble Duo X99.To me, this is the least interesting
work in this collection. The Pop Concerto consists of arrangements
of four classic pop songs: Bring It On, You Oughta Know, Beautiful
Day, and The Way You Make Me Feel. The guitar carries the vocal line in each
.It was written for Eliot Fisk, who wrote his own cadenzas. This is a terrific
concerto in every way and, of course, perfectly performed. All of this
music is expertly played by the splendid orchestra under Gil Rose's direction.
Engineers have captured all of this in realistic, ultra-sound. This is
a major issue of American music.
Another American composer, Stephen Hartke, is featured on a second BMOP SACD.
Although this composer is highly regarded on the current musical scene, and
has received numerous commissions, to me his music is more academic than
inspired. This disk includes four works written over a period of three decades,
beginning with The Ascent of the Equestrian Balloon, a dissonant "celebrity
piece" to commemorate the composer's son's second birthday. A Brandenburg
Autumn is a tribute to the baroque concerto grosso, Alvorada is three madrigals,
and the final work, Muse of the Mission, takes its name from one of Kansas
City's famous fountains, not suggested by the music. The composer wrote the
program notes. Excellent performances from Gil Rose and his fine orchestra,
with audio to match—but there is nothing here that I would want to
R.E.B. (April 2017)
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