BERNSTEIN: Symphony No. 1 "Jeremiah." Symphony No. 2 "The Age of Anxiety"
Anna Larsson, mezzo-soprano. Roland Pöntine, piano. Arctic Philharmonic / Christian Lindberg, cond
BIS SACD 2298 TT: 59:43
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MARE BALTICUM VOL. II
Ensem le Peregrina / Agnieszka Buidzinska-Bennett
TACET S 248 TT: 63:33
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SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 2 in B flat. Symphony No. 6 in C.Overture D. 590 Overture , Op. 170, D. 591 In the Italian Style. Ovrture in D In the Italian Style.
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra / Edward Gardner, cond.
CHABDOS SACD 5245 TT: 75:53
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In 1939 Leonard Bernstein composed a work for mezzo-soprano and orchestra called Lamentation, a Hebrew song." Three years later he included it as a movement of his Symphony No. 1, called Jeremiah. Fritz Reiner, conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony, arranged for Bernstein to conduct the symphony's premiere there in January 1944. There are three movements: Prophecy, Profanation, ending with Lamentation. Bernstein's Symphony No 2 was inspired by W H. Auden's 1947 poem The Age if Anxiety. The piano is featured in this six-section work: The Prologue, The Seven Ages, The Seven Stages, The Dirge, The Msque, and Epilogue. Both of these symphonies have been recorded many times including many by the composer. About two years ago this site praised a recording with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony, which had the luxury of Jean-Yves Thibaudet as pianist in Anxiety(REVIEW). This new BIS release features the superb Arctic Philharmonic conducted by Christian Lindberg. Several years ago this site praised their BIS SACD of Tchaikovsky's last three symphonies (REVIEW) The orchestra is equally impressive in these Bernstein recordings, with mezzo Anna Larsson and pianist Roland Pontinen as sterling soloists. The recordings were made May / June 2017 in Norway's Stormen, Bodä, and the surround sound is effective. Text is provided for Lamentation. .

Here is the second disk in Tacet's MARE BALTICUM series. As CD notes state, the project aims to present the medieval musical heritage of the Baltic Sea region in the 12th - 15th centuries. Each of the four sections presents the local character of a different coastal region of Balticum. Performances are by Ensemble Peregrina directed by Agnieszka Budzinska-Bennett, and obviously they are devoted to this ancient music. This is a typical Tacet muli-channel recording with performers widely separated All of this music will be new to listeners. Comprehensive program notes are provided along with complete texts and translations. A unique release!

British conductor Edward Gardner has made many superb recordings; recently this site mentioned his superb Chandos release of Symphonies 1 and 3 of Brahms(REVIEW).He already has recorded Schubert's Symphonies 3, 5 and 8 for Chandos with the City of Birmingham Orchestra, and now he continues his Schubert series with this splendid well-filled disk of Symphonies 2 and 6, and both of the Overtures in the Italian /style. From te session photograph it is obvious a reduced orchestra was used, appropriate for this musicCrisp, assured playing with plenty of spirit in this charming music. The recordings were made in Birmingham's Town Hall July 2019, and engineers have captured the sounds with greatest clarity.

R.E.B. (March 2020)

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