RAMÍREZ: Misa Criolla. Missa Luba (arr. Guido Haazen). Misa Flamenca (arr. R. Fernández de Latorre and José Torregrosa)
José Carreras, tenor; Coral Salve de Laredo; Sociadad Coral de Bilbao/José Luis Ocejo (Ramirez); The Troubadours of King Baudouin/Guido Haazen (Missa Luba); Maitea Choir; Members of the Coro Easo/José Torregrosa.
PHILIPS CD/DVD VIDEO 475 6133 (ADD/DDD) TT: CD: 59:18
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DEBUSSY: Arabesque No. 1. Beau Soir. En Bateau. FAURÉ: Berceuse, Op. 56. Sicilienne, Op. 78. NOBLOT: Andantino. RAVEL: Pièce en forme de Habanera. MASSENET: Meditation from Thais. MONTI: Czárdas. SATIE: Le Fils des Étoiles. TAKEMITSU: Toward the Night (The Night, Moby Dick, Cape Cod). MIYAGI: Haro no Umi.
Emmanuel Pahud, flute; Mariko Anraku, harp
EMI CLASSICS 57740 (F) (DDD) TT: 63:44
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FRANCK: Sonata in A. STRAUSS: Sonata in E Flat, Op. 18. WIDOR: Suite for Flute and Piano, Op. 34.
Emmanuel Pahud, flute; Eric le Sage, piano
EMI CLASSICS 57813 (F) (DDD) TT: 74:03
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FRANCK: Violin Sonata in A. SAINT-SAËNS: Violin Sonata No. 1, Op. 75. RAVEL: Violin Sonata
Sarah Chang, violinist; Lars Vogt, pianist
EMI CLASSICS 57679 (F) (DDD) TT: 68:46
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"The Golden Age of Light Music: - Great American Light Orchestras
GUILD GLCD 5105 (F) (ADD) TT: 73:45
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The Philips CD/DVD is a bit of a mystery. The number on my copy is 475 6133; the number on Arkiv is 000298700 but they are both the same recording. All three of the Missa recordings were great hits at the time of their original release more than twenty years ago and now we have all three remastered on one full-priced CD along with a DVD which actually is a film by Dick Kool, Job Maarse and Anthony Howard. This includes a performance of Missa Luba by the Muungano National Choir of Kenya as well as scenery of native villages and surrounding countryside. DVD Documentation is inadequate (as it is so often on DVD issues). Tracks are listed for the performance of Missa Luba, but only on the DVD screen menu do we find that there is something called "DVD Showreel" which actually is a series of advertisements for various Decca/Philips/DGG videos, vaguely identified on screen—and one would never know that these includes a brief appearance by Sir William Walton, which could be of major interest to many—you won't know about it unless you watch the ads. This 2-disk set sells for the price of one full-priced CD and is worth having just for the three Masses. The original release of Misa Criolla also contained a delightful Ramirez work called "Navidad Nuestra," his treatment of part of the Christmas story; the original release of Missa Luba contained 10 Kenyan folk melodies—it's odd both of these weren't included on the new release—there's plenty of room.

Flutist Emmanuel Pahud, like his illustrious predecessor James Galway, was for some time principal flute of the Berlin Philharmonic (Galway had that post under Karajan). Pahud is a young man (b. 1970) and has won just every prize there is. His career as a soloist is going very well and already he has a list of over 20 recordings of works ranging from Mozart to Khachaturian. Obviously he's always on the lookout for new repertory. Franck's violin sonata doesn't work well with a flute, no matter how well played (even Galway with Martha Argerich couldn't make it convincing), and Strauss's sonata is of limited interest even when played on the violin. The only work here played as was written is Widor's 17-minute suite for flute and piano. The other Pahud CD is a dreamy collection of mostly French works arranged for flute and harp, a collaboration with Mariko Anraku. It's quite beautiful, although the Meditation from Thais sounds quite strange played by flute and harp. If you're interested in the flute beautifully played, both of these CDs are for you.

To hear the Franck sonata played as it should be, get the EMI recording with Sarah Chang and Lars Vogt. There currently are more than 80 recordings of this but perhaps the reason to choose this new one would be the companion works, Ravel's sonata and the dazzling performance of Saint-Saëns' Violin Sonata No. 1 with its Allegro molto conclusion.

Lastly, a superb CD for what it is - a compilation of "American Light Orchestral" music. In the '50s radio played a major part in American life and played this kind of thing repeatedly. Many performers became household words particularly André Kostelanetz, Leroy Anderson, Percy Faith, Richard Hayman, Paul Weston, Morton Gould, Hugo Winterhalter and Gordon Jenkins. Older collectors doubtless will remember many of these recordings, all of which have been masterfully transferred from the original 78s. It's a full-price CD, but the playing time is generous and for many it might bring back pleasant memories far removed from today's bombastic popular "music" scene.

R.E.B. (October 2004)