MENDELSSOHN: Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25. Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40. Seenade and Allegro Giocoso, Op. 43. Rondo Brilliant, Op. 29. Capriccio Brilliant, Op. 22. Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra in A minor. Piano Concerto No. 3 in E minor. Concerto in A flat for Two Pianos. Concerto in E for Two Pianos. Concerto in D minor for Violin and piano.
Oleg Marshev, piano. Anne Mette Staehr, piano. Ruman Lukanov, violin. South Denmark Philharmonic/ David Porcelijn, cond.
DANACORD 734 735 (4 disks) TT: 75:06 / 57:41 / 73:53 / 38:13

SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 13 in B flat minor, Op. 113 "Babi Yar."
Alexander Vinogradov, bass; Huddersfield Choral Society/Royal Liverpool Chorus and Philharmonic Orch/Vasily Petrenko, cond.
NAXOS 8.573218 TT: 59:39

LOUIS GLASS: Symphony No. 3 in D, Op. 30. Summer Life Sommerliv (Suite for Orchestr, Op. 27).
Staatscorchester Rheinische Phiharmonie/Daniel Raiskin, cond.
CPO 777 525 TT: 65:20

ENESCU: Impressions d'En fance for Violin and Piano, Op. 28. Violin Sonata No. 1 in D, Op. 2Violin Sonata No. 2 in F minor, Op. 6. Sonata No. 3 in A minor, Op. 35. Sonata No. 3 in A minor, Op. 25.
Remus Azonitei, violin. Eduard Stan, piano.
HÄNNSLER 98035 (2 disks) TT: 2:10:31

This deluxe set from Danacord contains all of Mendelssohns' music for piano and orchestra with rarities usually neglected. It isn't often the Concerto for Piano and strings is heard, perhaps for good reason. We also have Marcello Bufalini's completion of the e-minor concerto Mendelssohn was working on at the time of is death in 1847. Except for the opening bars, orchestration didn't exist, and only sketches were found of the solo part. It might not be totally Mendelssohn, but it surely is a pleasant diversion. Oleg Marshev is featured in all of these, joined by other equally expert performers, with strong orchestral support from the excellent Danish orchestra directed by David Porcelijn. As usual with Danacord, audio is state-of-the-art.

With this powerful reading of Symphony No. 13, Vasily Petrenko concludes his Shostakovich symphony cycle on Naxos. As usual, there is a totally "Russian" sound, with the first-class Royal Liverpool Orchestra (which he has led since 2006) in virtuoso form. The orchestra's chorus provided robust sounds, and bass Vladimir Vinogradov, who also was soloist in this series version of Symphony No. 14, is equally impressive. Again Naxos is to be congratulated on there engineering expertise. Complete texts and translations are provided. A terrific conclusion to a distinguished series. Will Petrenko and his forces turn their attention now to other Shostakovich? Hope so!

Danacord sure is doing what they can to promote Danish composer Louis Glass (1864-1936). Already they have many CDs of symphonies and other works. Glass was a fine pianist until an arm injury made it impossible for him to continue his concert career. His works include six symphonies, four string quartets and other chamber music and much music for solo piano. This CPO CD apparently is the first in a new series of his complete symphonies on the label (over the years much of this repertory has been in performances condcted iucted by Nayden Todorov). We have the Symphony No. 3 called his "Forest" Symphony," and Summer Life, a suite for orchestra. Glass is not a forgotten master. He shows none of the imagination and inspiration found in the work of his contemporary countryman, Carl Nielsen. Both of the works on this CD are prosaic at best, pleasant to the ear, but there is nothing to challenge the listener in any way. These performances are excellent and do what can be done for the music, and CPO's audio is fine.

Romanian composer Georges Enescu (188101955) now is being recognized for the quality of his work and audiences are looking beyond his famous Romanian Rhapsodies. Now listeners have the opportunity to hear for themselves why Pablo Casals called him "the greatest musical phenomena since Mozart." This site recently mentioned a superb disk of his large-scale symphonic poem Isis, and his Symphony No. 5 (REVIEW). Enescu was a child prodigy excelling in the violin, and he studied composition with Massenet and Fauré, who obviously had a major influence on his music. He also was famous as a conductor and even was considered to take over the New York Philharmonic when Toscanini left in 1936. Yehudi Menuhin studied the violin with Enesco, and they made several recordings together. Enesco composed much chamber music, and this new CD offers all of his works for violin and piano, most of which are seldom recorded, the exceptions being sonatas 2 and 3, both of which are available in historic recordings with the composer as soloist with his countryman, Dinu Lipatti, at the keyboard. These works are major deserving more attention from today's violinists. These surely are strong performances the Romanian tem of Azoitei and Stan, although the audio is not flattering to the violin. All of the performances in this set were issued some years ago: now they are coupled in this new issue. You can view Azoitel playing concertos of Tchaikovsky, Sibelius and Shostakovich as well as music of Enesco on YouTube.

R.E.B. (December 2014)