VILLA-LOBOS: Symphony No. 8 (1950). Symphony No. 9 (1952). Symphony
No. 11 (1955)
LAJTHA: Suite No, 3, Op. 56. Hortobágy - Film Music Suite, Op.
21. Symphony No. 7, Op. 63 "Revolution Symphony."
TABAKOV: Symphony No. 1 (1981-82). Concerto for Viola and Orchestra
THOMPSON: Symphony No. 2 in E minor (1931). SAMUEL ADAMS: Drift
and Providence (2012). BARBER: Symphony No. 1, Op. 9
Naxos again is providing recordings of major importance. Recently their focus has been music of Heitor Villa-Lobos, and this site has praised recordings of major works: Symphonies 3 and 4 (REVIEW), Symphonies 6 and 7 (REVIEW), Symphony No. 10 (REVIEW).and Symphony No. 12 (REVIEW). These feature the superb São Palo Symphony Orchestra directed by Isaac Karabtchevsky. The series continues now with three more symphonies. The featured work is Symphony No. 8, written in 1950, which has brief suggestions of Schubert. It was premiered in Carnegie Hall in 1955 with the composer conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra. Symphony No. 9 dates from 1952 and was premiere in Philadelphia with Eugene Ormandy conducting, and Symphony No. 11 was written in 1955, a commission from the Boston Symphony for their 75th Anniversary; Charles Munch led the premiere. All three of these symphonies have much to offer the listener, and they are given superb performances by this dedicated orchestra and conductor Excellent audio is another plus.
Naxos continues their reissues of recordings of music by László Lajtha with this fine disk of Symphony No. 7, the Suite No. 3, and music for the film Hortobágy. Symphony No. 7 is a dark, tragic work reflecting the Communist brutality over the Hungarians in 1956, with a somber mood not found in the composer's other symphonies. Suite No 3 was written for the hundredth birthday if the Hungarian Philharmonic Orchestra. There are four movements to this light-hearted work. Lajtha collaborated with film director Georg Hïllering on a documentary film about the beauty of the area and life of those who inhabit the beautiful Hungarian Puszta. There are only two brief sections: The Grand Hungarian Plain, and Gallop in the Puszata. All of this music is very well played by the fine orchestra, and audio is excellent as well,
Emil Tabakov (b. 1947) is a respected Bulgarian conductor, composer and double-bass player. He is a prolific composer, having written 9 symphonies, many concertos for various instruments, and chamber music. He is respected as a conductor and currently is Music Director of the Sofia Philharmonic (appointed 1987), and also leads the Belgrade National Radio Symphony. His orchestral music is big-scale, invariably of a tragic nature, probing and dissonant. Toccata Classics already has issued a disk of his Symphony No. 8 and Five Bulgarian Dances. I haven;t heard it, but surely plan to, based on what is heard in this remarkable new recoding of Symphony No. 1 and the viola concerto written in 2007. The symphony has a bold French horn motif which is often interrupted by smashing dissonant chords. This is a major, dramatic work by any standards, and we can assume this performance is what the composer intended. The Bulgarian orchestra plays well enough, but there is no question the music would be even more effective with a major orchestra. The Viola Concerto written in 2007 is a long (38:54) work in three movements. It is an amazing concerto that totally integrates the soloist with the entire orchestra, with much interplay. The final movement ends quietly and mysteriously, a fitting conclusion to a monumental composition. It is spectacularly played by Alexander Zemtsov, who did the premiere. Violists should rejoice in this major addition to concertos for their instrument. Thee recordings were made 2009) and March 2014 (concerto). Audio is excellent. Recommended!!
Naxos has yet another winner with their American
R.E.B. (July 2017)