. 64 Bach: St. John Passion / Beethoven Piano Concertos 1 and 2 / Haydn: Symphonies 55, 64 and 96 \

HAYDN: Symphony No. 55 in D "The Imperial." Symphony No. 64 in A "Tempora Mutantur". Symphony No. 96 in D "The Miracle."
Oregon Symphony Orch / Carlos Kalmar, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186612 TT: 61:51

KRAKAUER: Akoka. Reframing Messiaen's Quarttet for the End of Time.
David Krakauer, clarinet. Matt Haimovitz, cello. Jonathan Crow, violin. Geoffrey Birleson, piano. Spcalled, electronics.
PENTATONE SACD 5186560 TT: 65:45

BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C, Op, 15. Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat, Op 19
Yevgeny Sudbin, piano. Tapiola Sinfoniuetta / Osmo Vänska, cond.
BIS SACD 2078 TT: 63:18


Haydn symphonies with the Colorado Symphony? Why not? These three symphonies are live performances recorded in Portland's Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, in 2013 (Symphony No. 64), and 2016.Conductor Carlos Kalmar (b. 1956) has enjoyed a respectable career. He was music director of the Hamburg Symphony (1987-1991), the Stuttgart Philharmonic (1991-1995), and the Anhaltisches Theater in Dessau, Germany. He also was principal conductor of the Tonkünstlerorchestra, Vienna, from 2000 to 2003. Since 2000, Kalmar is the principal conductor of the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago. Kalmar was appointed music director of the Oregon Symphony in 2003, and it seems to be a mutuallysatisfactory association. These performances surely are expert in every way, but competition is keen, particularly whn one realizes that this is a full-priced disk that contains onoy three sytmphonies when there woulfd have been room for one more. In addition, there is an audio problem. There seems to be a very low background sound in the venue, clearly audible, and it does detract from the performances. Approach with caution. Remember that you can buy all of the Haydn symphonies in superb histori recordings at budget prie (REVIEW).

Brilliant young Russian pianistYevgeny Subin already has made many superb recordings of varied repertory for BIS issued on SACD, We have concertos of Medtner, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, and Thaikovsky, and many solo disks as well. He and Osmo Vänska started a Beethoven cycle several years ago and already we have recorded Concerto No 3 coupled with Mozart Concerto No. 24 (REVIEW), and a coupling of Concertos 4 and 5 (REVIEW) all with the Minnesota Orhestra .Now they complete the cycle with the first two concertos recorded in September 2014 and October 2015 (No. 2) in Finland's Tapiola Concert Hall. Of course these are outstanding performances, and the pianist inCD notes explains the cadenza he used in the first movement of Concerto No. 1. Excellent audio is another plus. We are fortunate BIS is issuing many recordings by this fine artist.

Clarinetist/composer David Krakauer (b. 1956) has enjoyed a varied career as a virtuoso master of his chosen instrument, and as a performer in a wide range of music from classical through klezmer and jazz. Akoka is a brief ()5:59) work named for the wartime experience of Jewish clarinetist Henri Akoka, who premiered the Quartet for the End of Time with Messiaen himself at the piano in a German prisoner-of-war camp in which they were both interred. It is scored for clarinet and cello with both instruments creating sounds usuaolly not associated with them. It is a rather wild explosion of sound played by clarinet and cello based on Messiaen's Quartet, dramatic indeed. The New York Times described it as "brilliantly inventive." Then we have a performance of the complete Messiaen work in a fascinating version that also features violin, piano, cello and electronics. The program ends with a nine-minute work by electronic music artist Socalled called "meanwhile.... It makes a strange conclusion to this challenging program. If you are adventurous, check this out. Performances were recorded live September 8-9, 2008 in Montreal's Schulick School of Music, McGill University.

R.E.B. (May 2017)