TCHAIKOVSKY: The Swan Lake Ballet|
State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia "Evgeny Svetlanov" / Vladimir Jurowski
PENTATONE SACD 5186641 TT: 71:54 / 71:54

SANFORD: Black Noise. Prayer: In Memoriam Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scherzo Grosso.
Sarah Bradley, flute. Eric Berlin trumpet. Matt Haimovitz, cello. Boston Modern Orchestra Project / Gil Rose, cond.

Dynamic young Russian conductor Vladimir Jurowski has has a spectacular career. Born in 1972 into a musical family (his father is famous conductor Michail Jurowski), he early was recognized as a master of the podium with a wide repertory, both on the concert stage as well as in the opera house. He already has recorded a wide range of operas from Mozart and Rossini through Berg and Dean. His amazing concert performance of Strauss's Die frau ohne schatten in the Concertgebouw can be viewed on YouTube. Long associated with the London Philharmonic, many of his performances with them have been issued on the orchestras label including all of the Tchaikovsky symphonies. The Russian State Orchestra has been around since 1936, and many conductors have been associated with it. In 1972 it was given the honorary title "academic" and in 2005 was officially named after Evgeny Svetlanov, who made numerous superb recordings with them. It is a fine orchestra; already with Jurowski they have recorded Tchaikovsky complete Sleeping Beauty issued on ICA Classics. Jurowski now has signed with Pentatone. Here is his latest recording—the complete original version of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. This had its premiere at the Bolshoi in 1877, a disastrous event. However, Swan Lake was again presented in 1894 with choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. There were several minor cuts, abridgements and omissions. and this is the version known today. Now we have the ballet as originally presented restoring it to Tchaikovsky's original. I doubt many listeners will be aware of the slight changes. This performance was recorded in Moscow's Philharmonia 2, Rachmainov Hall February 2017 and February 2018. Superb performance, authoritatively played, and recorded with a fine sense of space although little use is made of rear speakers except for ambient sound. A fine addition to the catalog!

American composer David Sanford (b. Pittsburgh 1963) came from a highly musical family. He always had a keen interest in jazz, big and music, and played the trombone. He attended the University of Northern Colorado, The New England Conservatory of Music, and Princeton. Now he is a faculty member at Mount Holyoke College. After studying in Italy in 2002, he formed the Pittsburgh Collective which included both classical and jazz musicians. A number of chamber organizations have performed Sanford's music, and for the past years he has had a close association with master cellist Matt Haimovitz, composing some works specifically for him. Sanford also has a close relationship with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and its conductor\k Gil Rose. They are featured on this SACD which offers premiere recordings of three works beginning with Black Noise, commissioned by BMOP. The title is a pun on "white noise." Program notes by leading Boston author Robert Kirzinger give detailed information about what this work represents. The second piece, Prayer: In Memoriam Dr. Martin Luther King, is an 11-minute work featuring solo flute and trumpet. It contains some dissonant outbursts and ends softly. The disk ends with Scherzo Grosso, a rather odd title for what is bsically a 25-minute cello concerto with four sections: According to program notes, this music gives soloist and orchestra the opportunity to " engage in musical behaviors that tap into rock, free jazz and the classical avant-garde." Recordings were made on various dates 2011 0 2017 and engineers have provided a satisfying sonic picture. There are few recordings of music by Sanford, and I can understand why.. Here's an opportunity to hear three major works should you be interested. Most listeners will find this music challenging and probably unrewarding as a musical experience. Approach with caution!

R.E.B. (March 2019)