<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Rakowski / Mendelssohn Symphonies 1 and 4 / Meditatio

MENDELSSOHN: Symphony No. 1. Symphony No. 4 in A "Italian."
London Symphony Orch/Sir John Eliot Gardiner, cond.
LSO LIVE 2 dtsks - one Blu Ray Audio, one SACD

DAVID RAKOWSKI: Stolen Moments. Piano Concerto No. 2
Sarah Bob, piano (Moments). Amy Briggs, piano (Concerto). Boston Modern Orchestra Project/Gil Rose, cond.
BMOP 1048 TT: 70:02

MEDITATIO - music for rmixed choir by MacMillan, Taverner, Gudmundsson., Leifs, Esenvales, Porvaldsdóttor, Askelsson, Ingi, and Pärt
Schola Cantorum Reykjavicensis/Hörud Askelsson, cond.
BIS SACD 2200 TT: 68:03

It is a mystery to me that LSO LIVE issued these performances of Mendelssohn symphonies conducted by John Eliot Gardner in this format. Some months ago they issued a set containing Symphony No .5 and Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage Overture (REVIEW). Like that release, this one also has the same program on regular SACD as well as Blu Ray. Recorded in the Barbican, the sound of the LSO is rather harsh. These are vital performances (both the original and revised versions of the third movement of Symphony No. 1 are included). Apparently members of the orchestra stood while playing which Gardiner feels adds extra energy to the performance. The two disks sell basically for the price of one, but surely audiophiles will be disappointed—the sound of the LSO in Barbican Hall is not particularly attractive.

BIS has a serenely beautiful SACD of an All Soul's Day concert by Schola cantorum Reykjavicensis directed by Horour Askelsson. . These choral works depict grief and bereavement through the lens of hope and comfort.. The music is gentle, quiet and expressive, and is performed to perfection by the superb chorus. The recording was made October 2015 in Iceland's Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik, and the audio is excellent. Complete texts and translations are provided.

American composer David Radkowski (b. 1958) has a remarkable career. A prolific composer. he has written nine concertos, six ymphonies, and specializes in music for the piano, best-known for his set of 100 high energy virtuoso etudes. This is the second disk on BMOP of his music presenting two major works. Stolen Moments is for piano and orchestra, with four movements: Fast, Slow and Expressive, Sultry, and Vivace. Sarah Bob plays the piano part, which is always integrated into the orchestra. Rakowski is known for his energetic style and unusual use of instrumental tone color. His music is rather like a tapestry of sound, a starry sky filled with lightning bugs and an occasional meteor. It must be incredibly difficult to perform. The Piano Concerto No. 2 was composed for Amy Briggs, who has championed Radkowski's music for many years. This is not a virtuoso display piece in any way, and again we hear the composer's complex, often delicate orchestration. Fascinating in its own way, and the engineers in this recording, made Boston's Jordan Hall January 22, 2014,have captured the collage of sounds to perfection.

R.E.B. (November 2016)