SCHNITTKE: Concerto for Choir. Three Sacred Hymns. PÄRT: Seven-Magnificat-Antiphons
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir / Kaspars Putnis, cond.
BIS SACD 2521 TT: 60:22
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SHOSTAKOVICH: The Symphonies
Symphonies 1 - 4, 7, 8, 11, 13, 15. Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. Symphonies 5 -7, 10, 1 4 (BBC National Orchestra of Wales / Mark Wigglesworth, cond.
BIS SACD 2593 (10 disks) TT: 12 hours, 10 min, 4 seconds
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IBERT: Divertissement. BARTOK: Divertimento for Strings. IPPOLITE: Divertimento for Chamber Orchestra.
C/O Chamber Orchestra
BIS SACD 2499 TT: 79:22
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Several years agp this site praised BIS SAVD of choral muysic of Russian compossers Alfred Schnittk and Pärt (REVIEW). This ssite also recently mentioned a BIS release of the Violin Concerto bye, a prominent composer/performer of the eary 20th Century. Tiss SACD also featured the Beethoven Violin concerto with cadenzas by Schnittke (REVIEW).. Now BIS turns to choral music of Schnittke and Pärt. Both composers had adopted the Orthodox faith in the 1970s. We have Schnittke's Three Sacred Hymns composed in 1984, and the Concerto for Choir composed at the sme time. The Seven brief (13:12) Magnificat-Antiphons by Pärt were composed 1988-1991. All of this music is reverential and beautifully sung by the magnificdnt Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir directed by Kaspars Putnins. The recordings were made January 2020 at Niguliste Kirk in Estonia. The engineers have provided an impressive well0balanced resonant sonic picture Complete texts and translations are provided. If you enjoy choral music surely you should investigate this.

Over the years BIS has released Mark Wigglesworth's recordings of all of the Shostakovich symphonies. Two superb orchestras were involved: Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. These are not recent recordings; the earliest date from 1996. However, the fine original stereo audio on te earlier recordings has been mixed for multi-channel very effectively.These fine performances surely deserve attention and the set is budget-priced. However, competition is fierce, particularly from the magnificent Valery Gergiev Mariinsky DVD set of all of Shostkovich's symphonies and concertos praised on this site, spectacular in both video and multi-channel audio (REVIEW).

C/O is a new chamber orchestra that performss without a conductor. Apparently they feel dedicated musicians don't really need a conductor. For more information about this group, visit their website: www.cochamberorchestra.com. On this disk they play familiar divertimenti by Bartok and Ibert, along with one by19th Century cinposer EEmile Bernard. The final work is a Divetiimento by American composer Michael Ippolito commissioned by O/C. The delightful Ibert is the high point of this release. Although the O/C plays well, this performance of Bartok's piece is elipsed by many others. The Bernard and Ippolito works, pleasant though they may be, are of minor interest. Ths recording was made August 2018 in Germanhy's Jesus-Christus-Kirsche, and the BIS engineering is ecellent.

R.E.B. (June 2021)

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