MAHLER: Symphony No. 4 in G
STEINBERG: Violin Concerto, Op. 37. Symphony No. 4, Op. 24 "Turkish."
GRIEG: Complete Symphonic Works
BIS continues their Mahler symphony cycle with Osmo Vänska and the Minnesota Orchestra with Symphony No. 4. They already have released symphonies 1, 2, 5 and 6. The recording was made in June 2018 in Minneapolis's Orchestra Hall. Competition is keen; there are a number of SACD versions, in particular Haitink and the Concertgebouw. And there are many DVD versions, which of course are in multi-track, particularly those conducted by Haitink, Abbado and Chailly. All of these have been reviewed on this site. And collectors surely would wish o investigate the live 1939 performance with Willem Mengelberg and the Concertgebouw, and the later Georg Solti recording with the same orchestra. This new Vänska recording is surely a fine performed, but it cannot match the competition.
This Audite set contains many treasures. It is devoted to Edvard Grieg's symphonic works and includes some that will be new to most listeners. These recordings were issued individually in he past, but now it is possible to get all five in this boxed set at a reduced price. Of course we have the familiar Peer Gynt Suites, but we also have the Prelude to Act I Hochzeitshiof and from Act II Tanz der Bergkönigstochter, both surely will be new. Six lieder are sung by soprano Camilla Tilling and baritone Tom Erik Lie sings a six-minute dramatic oddity, .Der Bergentruckte (The Mountain Thrall). The conductor here is The norwegian conductor Eivind Aadland is a perfect conductor for this repertory. The WDR Orchestra is in top form, and the engineers have provided a superb multi-channel sonic picture. Each disk has the original CD booklet. The only negative here is that texts and translations are not provided for the vocal works. This is an important collection. Don't miss it!.
Dutton Epoch continues to record repertory new to most collectors. ¹his SACD is devoted to music of Maximillian Steinberg (1883 - 1946). He is considered to be a Russian composer although he was born of Lithuanian Jewish parents in Vilnius. His teachers included Lyadov, Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov. Steinberg and Stravinsky were friends although they soon parted ways. Steinberg was a respected teacher at the Moscow Conservatory; one of his pupils was Dimitri Shostakovich. Although he was considered to be a composer in the grand Russian tradition, judging by what is heard on this recording, hius music surely does not compare with his famous mentors. In 1908 Steinberg married Rimsky-Korsakov's daughter Nadezhda. Steinberg wrote six symphonies, two ballets, some chamber music and perhaps his best-known work is his choralPassion Week. There have been few recordings of his music although Neemi Järvi recorded the first two symphonies for DGG with the Gothenburg Symphony, and there are two recordings of Passion Week. . Both of the works on his new recoding are world premiere recordings.They are lengthy, the concerto written in 1946, has three movements (14:16 / 9:55 / 7:19), and the Symphony, composed in 1933, has four (14:24 / 13:12 / 4:08 / 10:41). Neither of these major works suggest the grand exotic Russian tradition. Unfortunately, there is nothing in either work that is memorable. The fine Royal Scottish National Orchestra does what can be done, and distinguished violinist Sergey Levitin, who is concertmaster of the Mariinsky Orchestra and has a solo career as well, is to be commended for giving his attention to this rather unrewarding concerto. Audio is exemplary, multi-channel recording at its best. At least we have the opportunity to experience this music.
R.E.B. (December 2019)