DEBUSSY: Prelude to The Afternon of a Faun. La Mer.
RAVEL: Rapsodie espagnole.
HARBISON: Concerto for Viola and Orchestra. Double Concerto for
Violin, Cello and Orchestra. Concerto for Bass Viol and Orhestra.
BRAHMS: Scherzo in C minor, WoO 2 Sonata in G minor, Op 38. Trio in E
flat, Op 40
French conductor François-Xavier Roth (b. 1971) currently is principal guest conductor of the London Symphony. He also has held leadership positions with the City of Cologne and Gurzenich orchestras. On this new disk he leads three major works in the French repertory. Performances were recorded live in London's Barbican Hall on three different dates: April 25, 2019 (Rapsodie), January 25, 2018 (Afternoon of a Faun), and March 25 & 28, 2018. The LSO plays sensitively, but the dry acoustic does not flatter them, Applause has been omitted. Audio does not impress; no sonic display here. The SACD is very short (49:07).
The BMOP group continues to issue quality recordings of music by American composers including John Harbison (b. 1938). He is highly respected throughout the world, has won many prizes, and well-known artists and conductors have championed his music. Already BMOP has three disks devoted ro Harbison. One of these, the ballet Uysses, was reviewed by S.G.S. on this site some years go (REVIEW). Their latest issue offers his Viola Concerto (1988), and two later works, the Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra (2009), and the Concerto for Bass Viol and Orchestra (2005). All three are primarily dissonant. There are profuse program notes about each work an we can be certain that the splendid performances present this music in exemplary fashion. I found little of lasting interest here, and I find it doubtful that major artists would keep any of these in their active repertory Excellent audio, natural, as always, from this fine label that focuses on the unusual.
BIS has a delightful SACD featuring the artistry of Alec Frank-Gemmill who currently is principal horn with the Gothenburg Symphony; before that he held that position with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He also has a career as a soloist and in chamber music, heard on this new disk featuring music of Brahms with the Scherzo in C minor originally written for violin and piano, followed by the Sonata in G minor originally written for cello and piano. The disk ends with the well-known Trio in E flat originally composed for horn, violin and piano. The other works were tranarranged for horn and piano, the sprightly Scherzo priginally was for violin and iano, a movement from the so-cakked "AFE Sonata whose other movements were comp;osed by Schumann and Albert Dietrich in an arrangement by Simon Smith; it is a showopiee for the horn. The Cello Sonata is heard in an arrangement by Danoe; Gro,wpd.. The transcription is by The recording was made May/June 2019 in England's Pamoja Hall, Sevenoaks School, Kent. The BIS engineers have provided a rich audio picture. It is unfortunate more music wasn't included; there is room for more
R.E.B. (Novembr 2020)