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Featuring the best reviews from our loyal ClassicsOnline members.
 (3 March – 16 March)





MAHLER, G.: Symphony No. 4 (R. Joshua, Orchestre des Champs Elysees, Herreweghe)
(PHI: LPH001)


Reviewer: RH112349
Date Reviewed: 02/23/11
MAHLER, G.: Symphony No. 4 (R. Joshua, Orchestre des Champs Elysees, Herreweghe)

Brilliant Mahler

There are so many great performances of the Mahler 4th on record, that to be viable, a new disc should surely have something new to say or have a different way to say it?

Herreweghe's orchestra seems lighter and more brilliant sounding than most of what I have heard over the years. You should have one of Bruno Walter's or Otto Klemperer's for authenticity perhaps. If you must have only one, then I would suggest Abbado or maybe Tilson Thomas.

I am crazy enough to have several others but this new one is a welcome addition. Briefly then, the performance is brilliant as is the recording, and the soprano soloist in the last movement is among the very best.



GUEDRON: Consort Music
(Alpha: ALPHA019)


Reviewer: gartho
Date Reviewed: 02/21/11
GUEDRON: Consort Music

What a completely enchanting disc!

These "Airs de Cour" by Pierre Guédron, interspersed with other brief viol and lute instrumentals from the same period, make for a captivating concert of French music circa 1600. Three weeks ago, I have not heard of Pierre Guédron, Vincent Dumestre, or his ensemble Le Poème Harmonique. But my vocalist son invited us to a concert in which an ensemble he was singing was highlighting music of Guédron. Always eager to ramp up on music new to me, I found this disc and downloaded it a few days before the concert. I was rewarded with one perfect musical hour.

Guédron's music is rich and has sumptuous settings of texts mostly of love and loss. The performance by Le Poème Harmonique is truly compelling. Somehow they bring out both the dance and the depth in these wonderfully recorded songs. Guédron's music ranges from the heart-wrenching "Quel espoir de guarir", my favorite, to the comical "A Paris sur petit pont". This leads me to my one very minor complaint, that Le Poème could have lightened up a bit on "Je suis bon garcon", in keeping with its somewhat facetious lyrics.

A Gramophone review of this CD begins with, "It's a long time since I had this much fun listening to a CD". I heartily recommend this affordable download if you're in need of that experience.



PETTERSSON: Symphonies 8 & 10
(BIS: BIS-CD-880)


Reviewer: PV88616
Date Reviewed: 02/18/11
PETTERSSON: Symphonies 8 & 10

Wonderful, crisp orchestration. This is a masterful recording

I had listened to five and thirteen before this recording, so I was well prepared. I had never heard Norrkoping before, but had listened to Segerstam's Rautavaara symphonies before, and for me he is a superb director. I had no idea of the treat that I was in for. Most of Pettersson's symphonies are on one huge canvass. The eight is different - it is in two parts.

I would think that you would have to like modern orchestral music to get to grips with any of Pettersson's works, but if you think you could listen to say a modern style 'symphonie fantastique', and are a bit of a thinker on the quiet, then this is definitely for you.

The orchestration is bold, dark and uncompromising. You will find hints of Shostakovich and Janecek and many more, but there is no doubting the influence of Carl Neilsen.

I remember reading once that living in the modern world was dehumanising - I find that same sentiment in Pettersson's works - but Pettersson's frustration, rage and mental anguish are never far beneath the surface. He also uses a leitmotif in number eight as a kind of celestial question.

If you like bold orchestral tones, then you don't need to look further. Although Pettersson is something of an enigma, his character and humanity shine through these works in a breathtaking way. Whether he was depressed or suicidal isn't clear, but he was a deep thinker, and for me his genius shines through in this work.

I adore the broad strokes, the crispness and depth of this recording. The way the mountains highs creep up and the combinations of texture - it is a truly masterful work and will not disappoint. The recording is very close - and there are times when possibly a little too close. But what a superb recording, what a superb combination, Be warned though, listening to this recording will drain you completely. I think I might even consider travelling to Sweden to hear this; I can't see it being performed in my country anytime soon...






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