KARAYEV: The Seven Beauties. Don Quixote. Leyla and Mejnun. Lullaby from The Path of Thunder."
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / Kiril Karabits, cond.
CHANDOS SACD CHSA 5203 TT: 73:10
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BACH: Musical Offering BWV 988. Aria from the Goldberg Variations. . XIV Canons from The Goldberg Variations. . Sonata iun G BWV 1038.
Members of the Bach Collegium Japoan: Kiyomi Suga, flute. Ryo Terakado, Violin I. Yukie Ramaguchi, Violin II/viola. Emmanuel Balssa, cello, Masaaki Suzuki, harpsichord.
BIS SACD 2151 TT: 72:12
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BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 6 in F, Op. 68 "Pastorale." (Orchestra of Paris). Symphony No.7 iin A, Op. 92.(Vienna Philharmonic Orch). Symphony No. 8 in F, Op. 93. (Clevaland Orchestra). Rafael Kubelik, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186250 (2 disks) TT: 45:42 / 65:31

Azerbaijan composer Kara Abdul'faz-ogliï Karayev (1918 - 1982) was a major figure on the Russian music scene. He was highly respected during his time, and twice was winner of the Stalin Prize. His music reflected Azerbaijan folk tunes, and he was famous for his large-scale ballet The Seven Beauties featured on this new SACD .Twelve varied dances are here, along with eight brief excerpts from Don Quixote. The major work is the symphonic poem Leyla and Mejnun written in 1947. We also have the brief Lullaby from Karayev's other ballet The Path of Thunder. No question that this music is pleasant, but it rather sounds like watered-down Khachaturian. It is difficult to believe that Shostakovich, with whom Karayev studied, praised his music. Surely this music is given superb performance from the Bournemouth Symphony under its music director, Ukrainian Kiril Karabits. They already have made many fine recordings, particularly of Russian music. This recording was made in The Lighthouse, Poole, Dorset in January 2017. Excellent, wide-range audio, if not particularly "surround." The label states these are premiere recodings which is not true, particularly for Seven Beauties which has been recorded several times.

This site has praised many Bach performances by Bach Collegium Japan and their leader, Masaaki Suzuki. Now they turn their attention to the Musical Offering, presented in authentic style. There are some brief extras performed by members of the group. Highest quality throughout, and superb audio A reminder: you watch this group and its conductor on a recent DVD (REVIEW).

Pentatone continues their unusual series of reissues of Beethoven symphonies conducted by Rafael Kubelik, each with a different orchestra. They already have issued a coupling of Symphony No. 2 ( Royal Concertgebouw) and Symphony No. 5 (Boston Symphony). This site has already mentioned the disk of Symphony No. 1 (London Symphony), and Symphony No. 4 (Israel Philharmonic) (REVIEW). Now we have this 2-disk set that contains Symphony No. 6 recorded with the Orchestra of Paris at Salle Wagram in January 1973, Symphony No. 7 with the Vienna Philharmonic recorded in Vienna's Musikverein September 1974, and Symphony No. 8 with the Cleveland Orchestra recorded in Severance Hall, March 3, 1975. Hans Weber apparently was producer for all three, with variable audio results. Best of all is the Pastorale, which offers the famed French orchestra in fine form with rear channels effectively providing ambience. No. 7 is less successful with the orchestra primarily in front, the Cleveland recording even less satisfying from a sonic standpoint—far removed from the glorious surround sound of Ein Heldenleben on a recent quad issue (REVIEW). For an "historic" recording of Beethoven in superb surround sound, stick to the amazing Kurt Masur/Leipzig set, also on Pentatone (REVIEW).

R.E.B. (December 2017)

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