MENDELSSOHN: Overture and Incidental Music for A Midsummer Night's Dream. FANNY MENDELSSOHN: May Night, Op. 9 No. 6. Distance, Op. 9 No. 2. Gondola Song, Op 1 No 6
Anna Lucia Richter, soprano. Barbara Kozeij, alto. Pro Musica Womens' Choir. Budapest Festival Ochestr / Iván Fischer, cond.
CHANNEL CLASSICS SACD CCSSA 37418 TT: 56:35
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BATES: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs
Kellyt Markgraf (Paul Jobs). Edward Parks (Steve Jobs). Sasha Cooke (Laurence Powell Jobs). Wei Wu (Kobun Chino Otogawa). Mariya Kaganskaya (Teacher).
Garrett Sorenson (Steve Wozniak "Woz."). Jessica E. Jones (Chisann Brennan). Santa Fe Opera Orchestra / Michael Christie, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 4186690 (2 disks) TT: 47:34 / 46:41
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HAYDN: The Creation
Nicole Heaston, sopano. Toby Spence, tenor. Peter Rose, bass. Houston Symphony Chorus and Orchestra / Andrés Orozco-Esrada, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186614 (2 disks) TT: 52:41 / 46:46
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Here is another recording of excerpts from Mendelssohn's music for A Midsummer Night's Dream superbly played by the virtuoso Budapest Festival Orchestra directed by Iván Fischer.Unique here is the coupling, inclusion of three of the six lieder by Fanny Hensel, Felix's elder sister. She married Whelm Hensel, a member of the Prussian court. He encouraged his wife's musical activities, although Felix and the rest of the family discouraged her. In spite of this, Fanny wrote about 400 selections, mostly smaller works, much of it vocal. Ther brief songs heard here are charming indeed. It is not clarified if she also wrote the orchestration; it sounds very much like Felix. It is unfortunate the three other songs weren't included—there is plenty of room. Performances are excellent throughout, and the recording is natural and clear. Texts and translations are provided for the vocal works.

Mason Bates is an exiting young American composer. About two years ago, this site praised an SACD of varied orchestral works with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony (REVIEW). Now we can hear his latest work, the opera The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, with a a libretto by Mark Campbell, directed by Kevin Newbury. The opera was a joint commission from the Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera and the San Francisco Opera. It had its highly successful premiere July 22, 2017 in Santa Fe. The opera outlines the life story of the amazing Steve Jobs (1955 - 2011), the eccentric entrepreneur who conceived the Apple industry. It is not a flattering depiction of Jobs, who was a demanding tyrant in many way. Bates has written a brilliant score, often with electronic effects, and it perfectly enhances the story. The opera has 14 scenes and interludes and as it is 90 minutes in length, it requires wo disks. Engineers have captured a most realistic multi-channel sound that places the listener in the theatre. A 90-page booklet offers profuse program notes, many photos, and the complete libretto. An outstanding important release and a major addition to the opera library!

HHaydn's masterpiece The Creation is close to conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada, as he explains in CD notes. This affetion is onveyed in this performance. He offers a modern instrument reading (for a period-instrument performance, check the SACD issued many years ago conducted by Sir Colin Davis (REVEW) Program notes analyze The Creation including a reference to the "big bang" theory. This is a first-class performance in every way with outstanding soloists. The recording was made during performances at the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts in Houston, September/October 2016. Excellent sound that provides a fine balance between soloists, chorus and orchestra. Complete texts and translations are provided. An outstanding issue!

R.E.B. (July 2018)

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