SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 1 in D. Symphony No. 6 in C
B'Rock Orchestra / René Jacobs, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186707 TT: 57:39
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HOSOKAWA: Drasings. SORENSEN: MinnMinnelieder - Zweites Minnewater. LINDQUIST: Mantra NORDERVAL: Chapel Meditation.
Espen Alberg, gamelan. Kristin Norderval, soprano. Trondheim Sinfonietta / Kai Grinde Myrann, cond.
BIS SACD 2340 TT: 54L59
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Folkjul - A Swedish Christmas
Gunnar Idenstam. Ulrika Bodén. Sandra Marteleur. S:T Jacobs. Kammarkör/ Gary Grande, dir.
BIS SACD 2334 TT: 74 min.
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There are numerous recordings of Schubert's symphonies, but not many on SACD. Here is a disk of Symphonies 1 and 6 conducted by René Jacobs, a specialist in early music who already has made numerous recordings. Here he leads the period-music group known as B'Rock, a Belgian ensemble of virtuoso players. Their first concert was in 2005 and since then they have prticipated in many concerts and opera performances. Their rather lean sound seems perfect for these Schubert symphonies, and the recording, made March 2018 inSaal Innsbruck, Congress Messe, captures the orchestra's uniue sound with clarity.Detailed program notes are provided in English, German and French. I look forward to future releases by this distinguished conductor and orchestra.

BIS's SACD will be a challenge for most listeners. The disk is called Mantra, the name of the featured work, called "a concerto for gamelan and sinfonietta" written in 2016. The composer, Ellen Lindquist, describes it as "a reverential hymn full of subtle teeming detail and delicate instrumental partnerships..... I don't understand why this 26-minute work is called a "concerto" as it not a display piece for any of the performers. It is a somber interlude of delicate sounds usually widely separated. Kristen Norderval's Chapel Meditation is the shortest piece on this disk, scored for voice and plucked piano. The two other works, by Toshio Hosokawa and Bent Sorensen, are studies in dissonance and abrasive founds, each lasting about 13 minutes. Program notes give detailed information about what inspired all of this cacophony. The Trondheim Sinfonietta, and guests, play al of this and in most of it doesn't have to be concerned about beauty of sound. Recordings were made December 2017 in Norway's Kimen Kulturhus, and engineers have captured all of the ugly, non-musical sounds with alarming fidelity. Approach with extreme caution!!!

After theabove it was a re;oef to turn to a delightfl BIS release called Folkju II - a Swedish Folk Christmas. The well-filled SACD (74 min.) is the sedond volume of a series, and it contains 17 Swedish Holiday folk songs,m all arranged by Gunnar Idenstam. Performers are Ulrika Bod∑£en (vocals / fippe flute), Sandra Martefleur (violin), Gunnar Idenstam (organ), kw with the S:T Jacobs Chamber Choir directed by Gary Graden. Lovely music beautifuly performed. The recording, made June 2016 in S Stockholm's Eric Eriucsonhallen, has captured the performances perfectly. Complete texts in Swedish and English ar provided.

R.E.B. (February 2019)