WEBER: Euryanthe
Kurt Böhme (King Louis VI). Joan Sutherland (Euryanthe of Savoy).Franz Vroons (Adolar). Lloyd Strauss-Smith (Rudolph). Otakar Kraus (Lysart). Marianne Schech (Eglantine of Puiset). BBC Choruis and Symphony Orchestra / Fritz Stiedry, cond.
NIMBUS CD NI 7969 (2 disls) TT: 2 hours. 18 min.

MARSALIS: Violin Concerto in D. Fiddle Dance Suite for Solo Violin
Nicola Benedetti, violin. Philadelphia Orchestra / Christian Macelaru, cond.
DECCA CD B00521 TT: 67:06

Music of Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, Fauré, and Ravel
APR CD 6030 (2 disks) TT: 2 hrs. 26 min.

Here is an oddity for Sutherland collectors, one of her few ventures into German opera. This is a first-class BBC performance from 1955, and they gathered together some of the mos important singers of the time. And all are in great vocal condition. An important element here is the conducting of Austrian Fritz Stiedry, who had a distinguished career in Europe and later came to the U.S. His 1950's live Metropolitan Opera performance of Verdi's Simon Boccanegraand La forza del destino, are available on CD. Sutherland is at her best, and her clear effortless singing has been richly captured by he BBC engineers. This is an important addition to the soprano's discography. Complete texts and translations are provided. Thank you, Nimbus!

Wynton Marsalis is an amazing musician, at home in all types of music, and a composer as well as a virtuoso on his instrument. This site praised his large-scale choral work, All Rise conducted by Esa Pekka-Salonen (REVIEW) On this new disk we hear another major work, one of the longest concertos ever written for the instrument (45 min). It was commissioned by various orchestras: the London Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus, National Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, and the Ravinia Festival. There are four movements: Rhapsody, Rondo Burlesque, Blues, and Hootenanny. Marsalis states it was written from the perspective of jazz musician and New Orleans bluesman. It was inspire by the artistry of Nicola Benedetti, intended for a wide range of audiences. There are many jazz and blues elements. It must be very demanding for the soloist who plays seemingly millions of notes. Filling out the disk we have another work written for Nicola, Fiddle Dance Suite, which has four movements: Sidestep Reel, As the Wind Goes Goes, Jones' Jig,,Nicola's Strathspey (which is a Scotch-based 4/4 dance), and Bye-Bye Breakdown. Excellent performances throughout and it sounds as if everyone, including members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, is having a great time.

French pianist Jean Doyen (1907 - 1982) was a major figure on the French music scene for many years. A student of Marguerite Long, he replaced her as director of the Paris Conservatory's piano department, a position he held 1941 - 1977. Doyen also was a respected teacher but as a pianist he was completely overshadowed by Robert Casadesus and Samson François. He was best known for his interpretations of Chopin and French composers. This new set contains recordings made 1930 - 1943. All four Chopin Ballades are here, also Variations on Le di darem la mano recorded with an unidentified orchestra. Doyen was not an impressive virtuoso, evidenced by his rather dull Liszt (particularly La leggierezza and Gnomenreigen). We also have Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit in an unimpressive reading, as well as works of Chabrier, Fauré, Debussy and Saint-Saëns. Transfers are excellent, but Doyen's playing is only of interest to avid collectors.

R.E.B. (August 2019)