BERLIOZ: L'Enfance di Chriist, Op. 25
CHOPIN: Sonata No. 3, Op. 58. Berceuse, Op. 57. Three Waltzes, Op. 64.
Nine Mazurkas Op. 56, 63 and 67. Largo from Cello Sonata, Op. 65 (arr.
This site has praised previous issues in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra's Horizon series, and now in Volume 9 we have four world premieres all commissioned by the orchestra. Compelling listening throughout. Two of them were commissioned to be performed at concerts commemorating the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein. Joey Roukens' Boundless has three sections and successfully captures the Bernstein idiom. Richard Rijnvos Amérique du Nord is described as "a collage-like work examining a cross-section of Americana. It actually is part of the composer's Grand Arias which depicts each of the world's seven continents. Program notes describe this " American journey." Hungarian composer/conductor Peter Oëtvös once said, ""Don't give the audience what they want - give them what they need." His music is a challenge for most listeners and his Multiversum, rather like a "cosmic ballet" shows his fascination with the universe. It is scored for an organ, a Hammond Organ placed in the rear of the hal, and there are specific instructions on stage placement for various instrumental groups. Some very unusual sounds here, for sure. The piccolo has been neglected as a solo instrument, and Vincent Cortvrint, piccolo player of the Concertgebouw Orchestra, was given the opportunity to chose a composer to write a concerto for his instrument. He chose Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür, who wrote Solastalgiai. a 20-minute work describe ed as a passionate call to care for the earth's environment. Decide for yourself if it achieves that goal. All of these performances were recorded live in 2017 and display the famed Cutch orchestra at its best. The multi-channel sound is superb. This is one of the longest SACDs I have heard (85:34). Recommended!
Although Berlioz was not a religious man, he composed two large-scale works on the subject. His huge Requiem is magnificent, and the oratorio The Childhood of .christ also shows his reverence for the story f Christ. He called it a trilogy, the first part describing Herod ordering the assassination of all newborn children in Judea. The second part is about Mary, Joseph and Jesus leaving for Egypt to escape, and the final part depicts the arrival in the Egyptian town of Saïs where they are given refuge by a family of Ishmaelites. Berlioz composed this in 1853 to his own text, nd conducted the premiere in 1884. This is a lovely work and it has been recorded a number of times notably by Sir Colin Davis whose early Decca London Symphony version has been supplemented by his live recording with the same orchestra released about a decade ago. Now we have this superb new performance with Sir Andrew Davis, the excellent Melbourne Symphony Chorus nd Orchestra and a fine roster of soloists. This is a deluxe album with comprehensive program notes many photos and the compete libretto, all in a an 88-page booklet. . The recording was made in Melbourne's Hamer Hall Arts Center June 2018. Excellent, full multi-channel audio. Another plus is the price; the two disks sell for the price of one.
The brilliant young Chinese pianist Jin Ju has won many competitions and given numerous concerts. The MDG label has been focusing on her talents and already has issued multi-channel recordings of music of Beethoven, Scniubert, Czerny, Schiumann, and Chopin. Now we have Volume II of her Chopin series featuring some of the composer;s later works. The major work is the Son mighty Sonata No. 3. We also have a group of mazurkas and an oddity, Alfed Cortot's arrangement for solo piano of the Largo from the Cello Sonata, Op. 65. The sound of Ju's Steinway Concert Grand Piano has been vividly captured in these recordings made in Abtei Marienmunster Konzerthaus April 2018. A fine release!
R.E.B. (April 2019)