Hot on the heels of Decca's 6-disl set of Eric Satie's complete (and totally complete) piano music played by Jean-Yves Thibaudet (REVIEW), we have this SACD of selected works played by Noriko Ogawa, identified as Volume I. These are played on Érard Grand Piano No. 69351, from 1890. The instrument has a beautiful sound, belying its years. Recordings were made August / September 2015 in J Studio, okyo College of Music. Ogawa has built an international career, primarily in Japan and Great Britain. Shehas made more than thirty recordings for BIS including all of the Rachmaninoff concertos, music of her native Japan, and contemporary music as well. Her recordings of music of Debussy and Ravel have been critically acclaimed. Certainly she plays these Satie miniatures elegantly, but there is keen competition from the Thibaudet set, which is budget-priced.
For their fourth BIS disk, New York Polyphone has selected this program of 16th century nsucr multiple voices about Rome, the Eternal City. It begins with a brief work by Spanish composer Francisco Guerrero (1528 - 1599): Regina Caeli (2:30). This is tfollowed by major works of Palestrina (1525 - 1594): Missa Papae Marcelli, Sicut Cervus /Sitivit Anima; as well as Missa O Quam by Victoria (1548 - 1611): Profuse program notes give details of each work, and complete texts are provided. Singers are Andrew Fuchs, Jonathan Woody, Geoffrey Williams, Craig Phillips, Christopher Dylan Herbert, Steven Caldicott Wilson, and Tim Keeler. Recordings were made in August 2015 in St. Cecilia Cathedral inOmaha, Nebraska. The multiple channels offer a most realistic resonant aural image of the singers.
Pentatone is to be praised for their issues of American music. This disk, called Out of the Shadows features relatively unknown songs by American composers whose names will be new to most listeners, including Paul Nordoff (1909 - 1977), Paul Bowles (1910 - 1999), Stephen Paulus (1949 - 2014), David Garner (b. 1954), Jack Perla (b. 1959), John Duke (1899 - 1984), John Kander (b. 1927), and the better-known Gordon Getty (b. 1933), Norman Dello Joio (1913 - 2008), and Randall Thompson (1899 - 1984). The soloist, Lisa Delan, studied with some of these composers while at the San Francisco Music Conservatory. Some of them knew these composers and assisted in choosing repertory for this disk. Delan also went on a search for other songs appropriate for the category and Pentatone elected to record them. It is an admirable project and doubtless virtually all of this music will be new to listeners. Complete texts are provided. Unfortunately the singer, Lisa Delan, a young American soprano has a voice marred by a very wide vibrato on every note. It is not pleasant to listen to. This is an intriguing disk but the choice of singer is questionable. If the repertory interests you, listen to Lisa Delan on You Tube and decide for yourself.
R.E.B. (September 2016)