The second installment in Sakari Oramo's superb hybrid SACD cycle of the symphonies of Carl Nielsen on BIS presents the Symphony No. 1 in G minor and the Symphony No. 3, "Sinfonia espansiva," two ruggedly independent works that reflect the composer's late Romantic style yet point to the modernism to come. While the Symphony No. 1 was influenced by Brahms and offers a rich harmonic language, propulsive rhythms, and a fairly homogenous orchestral palette, the Symphony No. 3 is striking for its reliance on unfolding counterpoint and long-breathed lines, and most notable for the use of wordless parts for soprano and baritone voices in the pastoral slow movement. These performances by Oramo and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra are exceptional for their stunning power and spacious feeling, though the crisp details and focused sound quality will be the biggest draw for audiophiles.
Dame Mitsuko Uchida, universally acknowledged as one of the world’s foremost Schumann interpreters, follows her last album of the composer’s music (Davidsbündlertänze and Fantasie in C) with another sublime Schumann programme. Uchida’s latest Decca recording brings together the romantic fire and intensity of the Piano Sonata No. 2 in G minor Op. 22 with two remarkable works from Schumann’s final years, Waldszenen and the Gesänge der Frühe.
The wonderful timbres of original Baroque instruments and the vigorous period interpretations by Paul Dombrecht and Il Fondamento go far to make this 2004 release a delightful listening experience, even if Johann Friedrich Fasch's music falls short of genius. Not that Fasch was considered a mediocrity in his time: despite his later reputation as a modest Prussian kapellmeister, he was widely traveled, well-educated, and popular in his youth; and he enjoyed the benefits brought by continued publication of his Ouvertures, even after settling down in Zerbst in 1722..
George Frideric Handel (1685 – 1759): Italian Cantatas “Clori, Tirsi e Fileno” and “Apollo e Dafne”. Oboe Concerto in G Minor. Performed by various soloists and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, directed from the harpsichord by Nicholas McGegan.
Here is a recital by several great instumentalists. Often the atmosphere of a true "chamber" ensemble is missing when several great soloists play together, but not here. The recorded sound is beautiful, and the musicality could hardly be bettered. These are prime recordings by Richter, Kagan, Bashmet and each musician involved.
Parry (1848-1918), along with Stanford, made the first stage of a three- stage rocket that got British music into the orbit of the 20th century. Between them, they taught practically every major British composer of the coming generations. Both were excellent symphonists. Parry's Symphony 1 (1891) is itself strongly influenced by Brahms and Schumann in both structure and tone, but it also has a dab of British pomp (you can hear Elgar coming over the horizon). His Concertstuck of 1877 has clear Wagnerian traits, but it is more morose than Wagner. A fine performance and recording. –Paul Cook