BEAL: House of Cards Symphony. House of Crds Fantasy for Flute and Orchestra. Six Sixteen for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra. Canticle for Sring Orchestra. Concerto for Flute and Orchestra.
Sharon Bezaly, f fute. Jason Vieaux, guitar. Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra / Jeff Beal, cond.
BIS SACD 2299 (2 disks) TT: 1:32:23

Music of Gounod, Boito, Beethoven, Mozart, Weber, Offenbach, Verdi, Mussorgsky, Getty, Meyerbeer, Stravinsky and Wagner
Kevin Short, bass. Marseille Philharmonic Orchestra / Lawrence Foster, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186585 TT: 57:41

"La Premùere"
JAnAcEK: Podahka (A Tale). Piano Sonata 1. 1905 "From the Street" FRANDSEN: Kaleidescope - Sonata for Cello and Prepared Piano. BRAHMS: Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38.
Adam Stadnicki, cello. Galya Kolarova, piano.

Robert Bahr, founder and managing director of BIS, was fascinated by the popularTV series House of Cards, which features music by Jeff Beal. He suggested to the composer that he arrange an orchestral suite of music from the score along with a fantasy for flute and orchestra based on music for the series, plus a flute concerto both played by Sharon Bezaly. There are ten sections to the Symphony with titles including Forward March, Betrayal, Portrait of a Marriage, Dignity, Power, and Puppet Master. This superb new twin-disk set contains the lengthy (83:20) symphony, the fantasy, and on the second disk, Six Sixteen for guitar and orchestra (performed by Grammy winner Jason Vieaux), Canticle for strings which features a violinist, Henriuk Jon Petersen. Beal's music is imaginative, highly rhythmic and beautifully orchestrated. These performances feature, in addition to artists mentioned earlier, Henry Beal, bass guitar, soprano Joan Beal, Joakim Lundström, guitar, , pianists Fredrik Inga and Erik Mansson; the composer plays the flugelhorn, along with the Norrköping Symphony led by the composer. Superb, full multi-track audio. A valuable issue!

Since winning a Metropolitan Opera Audition award in 198, American bass-baritone Kevin Short has enjoyed a successful career singing a variety of roles at the Met, the New York City Opera and many other leading opera houses . He has made surprisingly few recordings, two for Naxos, several videos for C Major. He was featured as Lodovico in Pentatone's fine recent recording of (REVIEW), and now the label gives us the opportunity to hear him in a wide variety of roles in most of which he is the "bad guy." We have arias from Fidelio, Faust, Mefisofele, Abduction from The Seraglio, Der Freischutz, The Tales of Hoffmann, I Lombardi, The Damnation of Faust, The Rake's Progress, Robert the Devil and Das Rheingold, plus songs by Getty and Mussorgsky. Splendid singing, sinister as necessary, but always a beautiful sound, wi with perfect accompaniment from the fine orchestra directed by Lawrence Foster. Recordings were made July/August 2016 in the Marsaille Palais du Pharo. Excellent, well-balanced sound. Complete texs and translations are provided.

La Premiere is a disk so named as it features the first sonatas for cello and piano by Leos Janacek.Johannes Brahms, and prominent Danish composer John Frandsen. The disk also contains Janacek's only piano sonata. Performances are by Adam Stadnicki and pianist Galya Kolarova. Their splendid playinh is richly captured by the engineers in these resonant but well-balanced recordings. Of particular interest is the Frandsen Sonata which is subtitled Kaleidoscope consisting of countless minute fragments of music. This was written for the two soloists and they gave the world premiere last year. This is a Blu Ray audio disk.

R.E.B. (September 2018)