KODALY: Concerto for Orchestra. BARTOK: Concerto for Orchestra.
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchesrer Berlin / Jakub Hrusa cond,
PENTATONE SACD 5186626 TT: 55:30
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AN-LUN HUANG: Piano Trio No 1, Op. 30. Piano Trio No. 2, Op, 84
Bin Huang, violin. Alexander Suleiman, cello. Yubo Zhou, piano.
MDG SACD 893 2065 TT: 73:13.
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BENEVOLO: Missa Si Deus. Pro Nobis. Magnificat. Le Concert Spirituel Chouir and Orchestra / Hervé Niquet, cond
ALPHA SACD 6031 TT: 64:00
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The idea of coupling the two concertos for orchestra by two of Hungary's leading composers is a logical one. Juxtaposition of the two clearly shows the superiority of the Bartók. Kodály wrote his 16-minute concerto 1938-1940 for the Chicago Symphony. There are five short connected sections. and folk music plays an important part. Bartók composed his concerto in 1943 on a commission from Serge Koussevitzky. It has become a staple of the repertory and there are dozens of recordings. Any new recording has to be something very special, and this one conducted by Hungarian native Jakub Hrusa, offers nothing new and exiting. The orchestra is a virtuoso group. Unfortunately the multi-channel sound disappoints. The orchestra is spread out in front effectively but minimal use is made of rear channels except to provide minimal resonance. The disk might seem more attractive had there been more music, as the SACD is rather short (55:30). There are superb SACD recordings of the Bartók conducted by James Ehnes, Christoph Eschenbach, Paavo Jarvi, and Rafael Kubelik

MDG continues their exploration of lesser-known repertory with this disk of two piano trios by gifted Chinese composer An-lun Huang. Born in 1949, he was largely self-taught, but also studied at Toronto, :Pittsburgh and Yale. and Toronto, which is now his home. We have his two piano trios, the first written in 1981, the second in 2014. Both are full-scale works of considerable length (39:50 / 33:23). The first has three movements, the second has an added sparkling scherzo. These are intriguing additions to the repertory, and both are given superb performances by the dedicated artists. These appear to be premiere recordings. MDG's audio is outstanding. A fine release!

Alpha's new SACD offers a wide selection of 16th Century choral music— works of Claudio Monteverdi Orazio Benevolo, Giovanni Pierluigi Da Palestrina, Girolamo Frescobaldi, and anonymous composers. This is written for mixed choirs, and producers of this recording, which was made February 2018 at Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban in Paris, have used the multi-channels most effectively; the listener is right in the cathedral surrounded by the fine voices of eight choruses. Performers are the choir and orchestra of Le Concert Spirituel directed by Hervé Niquet. An outstanding issue! No texts are provided.

RE.B. (June 2018)

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