Once considered in the same breath as Prokofiev and Shostakovich, Kabalevsky’s star has waned somewhat (the same fate has befallen both Myaskovsky and Khachaturian), both in his native Russia and farther West, where he is primarily remembered for his exuberant orchestral potboiler, the overture he wrote to an opera on a Romain Rolland story, Colas Breugnon. The opera won both a Lenin Prize and Rolland’s approval – no small feat – but has been completely forgotten. However, the offbeat rhythms that made the overture an instant hit also lend an upbeat, funky character to the opening movement of the Third Piano Sonata.
The ever-expanding catalogue of Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach on Brilliant Classics (most of it contained in a 30-CD box, 94640), now reaches his music for clarinet, which has received much less attention on record than his orchestral or keyboard works but is no less melodically fertile and formally inventive than his better?known music.
Here comes from a guy nickname as "The Handel of Sweden". Johan Helmich Roman is Baroque composer born in Stockholm. He was a violinist and oboist. He was leading figure in Swedish Royal Orchestra back then in 1720s. His most famous work happened to be a wedding compilation called "Drottningholmsmusique" a large orchestral suite for the wedding of the Crown Prince Adolf Frederick of Sweden and Louisa Ulrika of Prussia. In this CD we found 12 flute sonatas for Basso Continuo, which replaced by harpsichord and cello. The form was most famous back then for flute enthusiast as they are simple. The pieces are somehow Handellian in spirit. This CD will enrich our experience and knowledge in Baroque flute repertoire. The whole CD is given performance by flutist Jed Wentz, who happened to be American flutist born in New Brighton PA. He is expert in Baroque repertoire.
The second section of the cantata is a long vocal section opening with four soloists (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) singing together. Many recordings of this cantata use a choir for this section, but recent recordings have featured a one-voice-per-part strategy here, as does this one. The texture of this is excellent, although the balance between the voices wavers a bit. The tenor, bass and soprano each have ariosos within this section. Tenor Knut Schock enters a bit heavily, but his voice is quite appropriate for the melancholy tone of his section. Bass Bas Ramselarr has a slightly dark, yet clear voice. His section features a delightful accompaniment by the two recorders - in an interesting counterpoint with such a deep voice - and, again, the balance is slightly off, his voice sometimes drowning out the recorders just a bit…
The B Minor Mass is a fine performance by The Sixteen and Harry Christophers, which is subtle and well-sung. The choir, which is fairly large at 26 singers (whereas some recordings in recent years have used much smaller groups) is nevertheless of a size that allows the individual voices to stand out in the choral melange. The instrumentalists also play in perfect balance with the choir - the obbligato instruments fit perfectly with the vocal texture, and the overall sound of the orchestra is excellent.
Here, again, Brilliant Classics has licensed recordings of the passions, masses and other works. The St. Matthew and St. John passions are good recordings by the Brandenburg Consort and the King's College Choir; I find these two passions to be a bit weak, and this is a shame.
Naturally, Brilliant Classics could not afford to get the best baroque performers - this is a super budget set - but one thing that the listener discovers in this set is that there are many fine, even excellent "second tier" performers of Bach's music. Many of the instrumental ensembles whose recordings are in this set are excellent. The Consort of London, for example, is a pleasant surprise. They perform the Brandenburg Concertos and the Orchestral Suites…