STENHAMMAR: Synphony No. 2 in G minor, Op. 34. Music for A Dream Play by August Strindberg
Antwerp Symphony Orchestra / Christian Lindberg, cond.
BIS SACD 2329 TT: 58:23
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SCHNELZER: Cello Concerto "Crazy Dianmond. Tales from Suburbia. Brain Damage - Concerto for Orchestra.
Gothenburg Symphuny Orchestra / Benjamin Schwartz, cond.
BIS SACD 2313 TT: 71:53
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GETTY:Choral works
Netherlands Radio Choir. Netherlands Radio Phllharmonic Orchestra / James Gaffigan, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186 521 T: 57:32
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Many years ago, BIS released a set of CDs that included many major orchestral works of Swedish composer Wilhelm Stennghammar (1871 - 1927). He composed profusely ,chamber music, orchestral works, and a number of songs. This site recently mentioned a fine new Hyperion disk of the two piano concertos (REVIEW). Now we have this new disk that contains one of the composer's major symphonies, No. 2, which has four movements: Allegro energico, Andante, Scherzo, and Finale. It is a delightful work in every way, and is given a brilliant performance by the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra which on this recording sounds like a major orchestra. The conductor, Christian Lindberg, obviously loves this music. The disk also contains an 11-minute suite of music written for a radio performance of August Strindberg's A Dream Play arranged by Hilding Rosenberg. It is based on the legend of Indra and his daughter. Obviously Stenhammar wrote much more music for this; appaarently it has been lost. It is unfortunate that more of it isn't include here. Playing time of this SACD is rather short; easily producers could have included more music. The recording was made April 2017 in Antwerp's Koningen Elisabethzaal, and the audio is superb. Here we have the big sound of an orchestra in a resonant hall, with plenty of detail and impact. Recommended!

Swedish composer Albert Schnelzer (b. 1972) has been recognized as one of his country's leading composers. His music appears more frequently on concerts, to great acclaim; His A Freak in Burbank, a tribute to filmmaker Tim Burton, was a hit in Riyal Albert Hall at the 2004 Proms. His Cello Concerto "Crazy Diamonds" was written in 2014 and is a tribute to Pink Floyd; each of the four movements contains a quote from Floyd. Titles are You should like the sun, If the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear, Re-arrange me 'till I'm sane, and Trade your heroes for ghosts. It is a major work for cello and orchestra, beautifully played on this recording by Claes Gunnarsson. .Tales from Suburbia is a 16-minute reflection on where the composer spent most of his life, and the final work, imaginatively called Brain Damage, is a concerto for orchestra with three sections: If Your Head Explodes, Folded Faces, and Dam Breaks Open. All of this is compelling listening, the cello concerto has magic moments, and the other works show great imagination. The effect of rock music often is evident, and there is no question that Schnelzer is a master of orchestration. The excellent Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Benjamin Schwartz makes a strong case for this music.The recordings were made May 2017 in he Gothenburg Concert Hall, and engineers have provided a rich, detailed audio picture. An outstanding release! Thank you, BIS!.

Pentatone has a close relationship with Gordon Getty. Already they have issued recordings of many of his works including the operasJoan and the Bells (REVIEW), The Little Match Girl (REVIEW), Plump Jack, and a collection of piano music (REVIEW). Now we have this lovely SACD of choral music focusing on love and dance. Getty has set texts by John Keats, Lord Byron, John Masefield, Sara Teasdale, Edwin Arlington Robinson, and Ernest Christopher Dowson. The ten works are quite beautiful, Titles are The Old Man in the Night, The Old Man in the Morning, Ballet Russe, Shenandoah, There Was a Naughty Boy, Those Who Love the Most, Beauty Come Dancing, For a Dead Lady, The Destruction of Sennacheib, Cynara, and La Belle Dancensans Merci. These are sung by he fine Netherlands Radio Choir accompanied by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra directed by James Gaffigan. Excellent audio in these recordings made in June and October 2017 in Hilversum's MCO5 Studios. Complete texts are provided.

R.E.B. (September 2018)

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