SCHUBERT: Overtures: The Devil as Engineer. The Looking-Glass Knight.
Overture in D, D. 12. Overture in D, D. 26. The Devil's Pleasure
Castle. The Four-Year Sentry Duty. Claudine from Villa Bella. Overture in B flat,
D. 470. Overture in D, D. 556. Overture in the Italian Style. Rosamunde,
D. 644 (from The Magic Harp). The Twin Brothers. Overture in E minor,
D. 648. Rosamunde, D. 732 (from Alfonso und Estrella).The
Conspiracy--Domestic Warfare. Fierabras.
Audiophiles welcome the emphasis Naxos has placed on super-quality audio in their Blu Ray Audio series. Previously we have mentioned symphonies of Dvorák and Corigliano's Circus Maximus (REVIEW), Chopin piano concertos and Mahler's Symphony No. 8 (REVIEW), and Szymanowski symphonies and Vivaldi's The Seasons (REVIEW).The two latest offer unusual repertory, Lancino's Requiem, and a collection of Schubert's complete overtures. The latter is an odd choice to be issued in the new format. This music is not scored for a large orchestra, percussion is limited. and there are no opportunities for audio display. All of these recordings were released several years ago on Naxos (and are still available at budget price); now we have them on this one Blu Ray disk, in "surround" sound. The music is enchanting throughout and includes many works that will be unfamiliar to most listeners. Excellent performances indeed, but this is a reference set - I cannot imagine anyone wanting to hear this disk in one sitting.
The other disk, Lancino's Requiem offers much more opportunity for sonic display as it is scored for large orchestra and choruses along with four vocal soloists and heavy on percussion. Commissioned jointly by Radio France, the French Ministry of Culture and the Koussevitsky Foundation, it is "a challenging and eloquent contemplation on human mortality both an epic fresco and ceremony." The text, in three languages, is by Pascal Quignard. David and Sybil confront their fates: David facing death begging for eternal life, and Sybil, forced to age for eternity with no hope of death. The music is bold, challenging and dark, with many thrilling choral outbursts. This recording is the premiere presented January 8, 2010 at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. Performers seem committed to this demanding score, and presumably it is the conductor whose exhortations occasionally can be heard. If you have a monitor you can see the texts in English, French,. Latin or Greek. Audio is superb, although not particularly surround. Naxos, please let us have more Blu Ray Audio disks of this quality! This recording also is available on a regular budget CD.
R.E.B. (February 2012)