TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 "Pathetique."
Musica Aeterna / Teodor Currentzis, cond.
SONY CLASSICAL 88985404352 TT: 47:00

TCHAIKOVSKY: Manfred Syphony, Op. 58
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra / Semyon Byuchkov, cond.
DECCA 483 2320 TT: 59:19
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ABRAMS: Unified Field. The Long Goodbye. STORM LARGE: A Woman's Heart. COLE PORTER: It's Alright With Me. COPLAND: Clarinet Concerto.
Teddy Abrams, clarnet/conductor. Jason Seber, conductor. Storm Lqrge, conductors / Louisville Orchestra
DECCA GOLD 002730602 CD TT: 46:00
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FARKAS: Symphonic Overture. Elegia. Concertino for Piano and Orchestra. Planctus et consolationes. LISZT: Funerailles (orch. Farkas).
Gábor Farkas, piano. MAV Symphony Orchestra / G∑abor Takacs-Nagy, cond.
TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0286 TT: 75:40

tThe Russin Muisica Aeterna Otchestra was founded in 2004 by Teodor Currentzis. Although they specialize in period style performances (they have recorded many Mozart operas), they also excel in standard repertory. This fine disk offers Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 conduted by Gurrentz, and it surely is among the better recorded performances of this work. The conductor's interpretation is sensitive and detailed, and the superb orchestrl playing could not be bettered. The recording was made February 9 - 15, 2015 in Berlin's Funkhaus Nalepastrasse. Producer Damien Quintard did his work well: orchestral sound is hearty, rich and detailed. It is unfortunate another Tchaikovsky work wasn't included.

Semyon Bychkov continues his Czech Philharmonic Tchaikovsky series with this disk of Manfred Symphony. This site was unenthusiastic about the first release in the series, Symphony No. 6 (REVIEW). There are many superb recordings of this masterpiece going back to the exciting 1948 Toscanini/NBC performance (even though it is a bit truncated), to the recent Mikhail Pletnev/Russian National Orchestra Pentatone SACD (REVIEW). This new Bychkkov version is beautifully played as one would expect from the famed Czech orchestra, but low in energy. Surely the preferred version is Pletnev, a specialist in Tchaikovsky's music. His Manfred is available at mid-price in a 7 SACD set that contains all of the symphonies (Pentatone 5186489).

A rather odd disk features young American comp;oser/conductor Teddy Abrams who us now Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra. The program features his four-movement 17-minute work United Field. Abrams states this "is an attempt to join everything I love in the musical universe into a single expression across multiple genres." Not much of substance here; no question that the most worthy music on this disk is Copland's Clarinet concerto with Abrams as soloist (Jason Seber conducts). Well-known singer/actor Storm Large is heard performing one of her own songs plus one each by Cole Porter and Abrams. The recordings were made April 19, 2016 in Whitney Hall in Louisville's Ken nedy Centr for the Arts .Excellent audio, but limited playing time (46 minutes).

The enterprising Toccata Classics label continues to explore neglected repertory. This site recently praised their two of their recordings of music by Emil Tabakov, Symphony No. 1 and Viola Concerto (REVIEW) and Symp;honiy No. 8 (REVIEW). Recently they have focused in Hungarian composer Ferenc Farkas (1904 - 2000) and released several disks of chamber music. Now they turn their attention to his orchestral works with this fascinating issue. It begins with a Symphonic Overture and Elegia, which actually were the first two movements of an unfinished symphony. Then we have a 16-minue three movement bright Concertino for Piano and Orchestra written in 1947. This is followed by Farkas's orchestration of Liszt's massive piano work Funérailles, displaying the composer's mastery of orchestration, with rich percussive sonorities appropriate. Finally, we have one of the composer;'s final works, Planctus et consolationes, dedicated to his friend, film editor Paul Fejos. The second movement is a tragic Funeral March. Worthy music all, with splendid performances very well recorded in Budapest's Hungarian Radio Studios. Thank you, Toccata Classics!

R.E.B. (December 2017)