BARBER: Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24. HILBORG: The Strand Settings. BJORK (arr. Hans Ek). Virus. Jöga. All is Full of Love.
Renée Flenming, soprano. Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orch. / Sakari Oramo, cond,
DECCA B 0026096 TT: 47:56
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PAGANINI: Introduction and Variations , Op. 38 on a theme by Paisiello,. 24. Caprices, Op, 1. Duo merveille, Op. 6. Caprice d'adieu, Op. 68. PINE: Introduction, Theme and Variations on God Defend New Zealand.
Rachel Barton Pine, violin.
AVIE CD AV 2374 (2 disks) TT: 122:36
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STAMITZ: Clarinet Concerto in B flat. DANZI: Concertino for Clarinet, Bassoon and Orchestra, Op. 47. Fantasy for clarinet and Orchestra on Mozart's La ci darem la mano. MOZART: Se viver non degg'io from Mitridate, re di Ponto. Batti, batti from Don Giovanni. C. STAMITZ: Clarinet Concerto No. 7 in E flat
Andreas Ottensamer, clarinet, basset clarinet, basset horn. Albrecht Mayer, cor anglais. Emmanuel Pahud, flute. Kammerakademie Potsdam
DECCA CD 002394814711 TT: 71:58
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Renée Fleming's latest disk is this fine collection featuring Barber's masterpiece Knoxville; Summer of 1915, a work written for and dedicated to American soprano Eleanor Steber who sang the premiere in 1948 with Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony. Her recording of a few years later still is considered definitive. Fleming is equally impressive, and has the advantage of rich orchestral sound beautifully recorded. Fleming collaborated with Anders Hillborg on a setting of four poems by American poet Mark Strand, U.S. poet laureate 1990-1991. Titles are Black Sea, Dark Harbor XX, Dark Harbor XXXV, and Dark Harbor XI,.To end the CD, Fleming as chosen three works by pop music artist Bjork, arranged for Fleming by arranger/composer/conductor Hans Elk. While the non-Barber works have some limited appeal, I found them of little interest, although they are superbly sung by Fleming. Excellent recorded sound and the soprano's voice is well balanced letting her immaculate pronunciation easy to understand. It seems odd that this program is so short (47:56); surly more music easily could have been included.

American Rachael Barton Pine is a fantastic violinist, and a remarkable survivor as well, overcoming incredible physical disabilities. Already she has to her credit a number of magnificent recordings of music of many composers some of which have been reviewed on this site including the recent Mozart violin concertos (REVIEW). Nouw she turns her attention to Ncolò Paganini, a two disk set of all 24 Caprices along with several other lesser-known works. Recordings were made in the Fall of 2016 in in Chicago's St. Pauls United Church. The artist's magnificent playing has been captured with utmost fiidelity. The two disks sell for the price of one.Many major violinists have recorded the infamous Paganini Caprices. Barton Pine' is equal to the best of them.

Decca's CD called New Era reflects the popularity of music for the clarinet in the Manheim Court, a major music center of the 18th Century that attracted Mozart, Haydn and other leading composers of the time. There was great interest in music for the clarinet, heard on this CD performed by Andreas Ottensamer. He founded the Bürgenstock Festival and performs with colleagues from the Berlin Philharmonic, Emanuel Pahud, flute, and Albrecht Mayer, English horn. The Potsdam Kammerakadimie accompanies. Recordings were made in the Fall of 2016 in Berlin's Teldex Studio, and engineers have captured a very realisticm well-balanced sound, An outstanding issue!

R.E.B. (June 2017).