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Sunday, November 4, 2012
NIELSEN, C.: Symphonies Nos. 2, 'The 4 Temperaments' and 3, 'Sinfonia espansiva' (New York Philharmonic, Gilbert)

NIELSEN, C.: Symphonies Nos. 2, "The 4 Temperaments" and 3, "Sinfonia espansiva" (New York Philharmonic, Gilbert)
Dacapo: 6.220623
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
10/10 Artistic and Sound Quality

Dacapo's Smoking New Nielsen Cycle

The New York Philharmonic is a powerhouse orchestra, Nielsen is a powerhouse symphonist, and Alan Gilbert revels in the music's energy and dynamism. I had the great joy of attending one of the performances of the Third Symphony from which this recording was compiled. As everyone knows, Avery Fisher Hall doesn't have the best acoustics, and I was sitting in the balcony directly opposite the brass section. The sheer volume of sound that the players produced was stunning, literally. Fortunately, Dacapo's engineers have managed to achieve a very natural and lifelike ensemble balance in these recordings, without in any way compromising the guts and gusto of the playing. Sample the big waltz from the Third Symphony's first-movement development section (sound clip below) and you'll immediately hear what I'm talking about.

As already suggested, Gilbert's interpretations take no prisoners, and frankly that is just what Nielsen needs. The Allegro collerico opening of "The Four Temperaments" is really ferocious, the finale almost... (read more)

-- By David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
 
BEETHOVEN, L. van: Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7 (Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, Gardiner)

BEETHOVEN, L. van: Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7 (Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, Gardiner)
SDG: SDG717
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WQXR Album of the Week

Nearly 20 years after their acclaimed Beethoven Symphonies recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique returned to this repertoire for the first time last year, in a tour that took them to London, Philadelphia, Washington and New York. The concert in Carnegie Hall was broadcast live by WQXR, who kindly agreed to make the recording available on our label. Performing on period instruments, the ORR brings brisk energy, as well as a genuinely thrilling sound.

Copyright © 2012 WQXR.org
 
LISZT, F.: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 / Totentanz / Hungarian Fantasy (Arghamanyan, Berlin Radio Symphony, Altinoglu)

LISZT, F.: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 / Totentanz / Hungarian Fantasy (Arghamanyan, Berlin Radio Symphony, Altinoglu)
PentaTone: PTC5186397
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A wonderful disc!

In the opening Op. 3 (that contains *that* prelude), Arghamanyan shows herself to possess not only a phenomenal technique but an understanding of Rachmaninov's music. The rubato is varied but never goes "against the grain"; this is most vividly illustrated in the famous C sharp minor prelude where the structure of the harmony and the melodic line is never pulled so far as too fragment (never mind break). Arghamanyan uses the later revisions to the third and fifth pieces (added filigree is the main difference) to great effect - the Melodie is wonderfully shaped and the climaxes built powerfully but the highlight has to be the "singing" style that is evoked in this beautiful melody although coquettish end comes close! The one (slight) disappointing rendition is that of the Polichinelle where some of the clarity that is elsewhere in abundance is lacking and the final statement is not a convincing coda in either an affirmatory manner nor a "wait for what's next" effort. Such concerns vanish for the concluding Serenade which rounds off the set with considerable style and grace.

The Etudes Tableaux are meatier fare, pianistically and musically, for they contain technical challenges of a far greater level that makes it so much more tricky to play musically. Here Arghamanyan manages... (read more)

Copyright © 2012 John Broggio and SA-CD.net
 
HOLST, I.: Choral Works / BRITTEN, B.: Rejoice in the Lamb (orch. I. Holst) (Clare College Choir, Cambridge, G. Ross)

HOLST, I.: Choral Works / BRITTEN, B.: Rejoice in the Lamb (orch. I. Holst) (Clare College Choir, Cambridge, G. Ross)
Harmonia Mundi: HMU907576
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10/10 Artistic and Sound Quality

Essential Holst–Imogen, That Is

Like cousins born of different parents but so similar as to make anyone believe they were siblings, Imogen Holst's Mass in A minor (1927), only one step removed from the monumental G minor work by Ralph Vaughan Williams, is almost a dead ringer for the earlier creation (1921) of her illustrious teacher. The resemblance is more than uncanny, and certainly not coincidental—throughout the Mass there are so many identical rhythmical treatments of the text, imitative devices, undulating chant-like modal melodies, even exact quotes of melodic themes, and so many instances of the same characteristic parallel harmonic voicings Vaughan Williams employed as a distinctive feature of his Mass, even in some cases a reiteration of the exact chord progressions (the conclusion of the Agnus Dei), that as you listen you can’t avoid hearing both works simultaneously, any more than you could ignore those two cousins playing energetically in the next room.

For sure, the Kyrie's melismatic opening measures, with pseudo-fugal staggered entrances, could only... (read more)

-- By David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com

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