VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Symphony No. 7. "Sinfonia Antartica." Four Last Songs for voice and piano. Piano Concerto in C.
Mari Eriksmoen, soprano. Roderick Williams, baritone. Helene Mercier, piano. Louis Lortie, piano. Bergen Philharmonic Choir. Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Andrew Davis, cond.
CHANDOS SACD CHSA 5186 TT: 77:47
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RIES: Grand Sonata in F, Op. 34. DANZI: Sonata in E flat , Op;. 28. KRUFFT: Sonata in E.
Steinar Granmo Niulsen, natural horn. Kristin Fossheim, fortepiano
2L 113 (2 disks, one SACD, one Blu-Ray audio) TT: 68:00
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'FROM WHENCE WE CAME"
Ensemble Galilei
SONO LUMINUS DSL 92194 TT: 56:35
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Symphonies of Vaughan Williams have been recorded often. Chandos already has a complete set with Bryden Thomas and the London Symphony. Now we have this superb SACD with Sir Andrew Davis and his fine Bergen forces containing the mighty Sinfonia Antartica, plus premiere recordings of the beautiful Four Last Songs (orchestrated by Anthony Payne) which had its world premiere at the Proms four years ago, and the rather odd Piano Concerto in C in the arrangement for two pianos made by the composer and Joseph Cooper. Treasures all, and the performances could not be bettered. The SACD effectively evokes the barren landscape, with the solo soprano's voice appropriately distant. As always with Chandos complete program notes are provided along with texts for the songs. An outstanding release!

The 2L label continues its high quality audio-oriented series of recordings with this set of baroque music by Ferdinand Ries, Franz Danzi and Nikolaus von Kraft. All of this music is scored for scored for natural horn (played by Steinar Granma Nilsen) and fortepianist Kristin Fossheim. It is a generously-filled disk (67:38), recorded in Norway;s Jar Church, Akershus in June 2014. .Flowery program notes describe the music.The sound of the natural horn is not to everyone's taste, but these are virtuoso performances on a very demanding instrument. Should this repertory appeal to you, investigate this excellent disk. As with other issues, there are two versions of the program, one SACD, the other Blu-Ray audio

Another "pure audio" set is not as generous in playing time (56:35), a release oddly calledFrom Where We Came. Performances re by Ensemble Galilei, which was founded in 1995, the same year the space telescope Hubble was launched . Members of the ensemble are Isaac Alderson (Uillean pipes, Irish flute, whistles), Ryan McKasson (fiddle), Kathryn Montoyta (recorder, whistles). Jackie Moran (p[percussion banjo). Sue Richards (Celtic harp). and Carolyn Surrick (viola da gamba). Elaborate program notes by members of the ensemble attempt unsuccessfully to correlate space adventure with early baroque music. There are only 13 brief selections. The recordings were made at Sono Luminus Studios in Boyce, Virginia in February 2015. Engineers have captured a very clear audio picture of these unusual instruments. It seems like overkill to have such rather delicate sounds receiving this state-of-the-art digital presentation. There are two disks, one SACD, one Blu-Ray audio. It is not an inexpensive release, with less than an hour of music.

R.E.B. (December 2017).

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