MENDELSSOHN: Incidental music for A Midsummer Night's Dream
Monteverdi Choir. London Symphony Orch/Sir John Eliot Gardiner, cond
.LSO LIVE 0795 (two disks, SACD and BLU RAY)

SCHUMANN: Kinderszenen, Op. 15. LISZT: Ballade No. 2 in B minor. JANACEK: Sonata I.X. 105 "From the Streets." BRAHMS: Drei Intermzzi, Op. 117.
Haochen Zhang, piano
BIS SACD 2238 TT: 65:46

BEETHOVEN: Quartet in G Op. 18 No. 2. Quartet in C, Op. 59 No. 3
Cremona Quartet
AUDITE SACD 82.689 TT: 56:05

The LSO Live series continues their Mendelssohn project with this recording of familiar excerpts from his masterpiece, A Midsummer Night's Dream. This is a splendid presentation that includes some of the brief dialogue excerpts spoken by actors of the Guildhall as well as brief choral excerpts sung by the Monteverdi Choir. This was part of a gala celebration to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. This has been issued in deluxe fashion, a two disk set, one SACD and one Blu Ray to provide maximum fidelity. Unfortunately the concert was recorded, as all the others in the series, in the dry acoustics of the Barbican, unflattering to the performance, reproduced accurately on these disks and hardly a sonic showpiece.

Young Chinese pianist Haochen Zhang is at the beginning of an auspicious career Winner of the Gold Medal at the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition (his prize-winning performance is available on Harmonia Mundi ), he has appeared with many orchestras and given countless recitals. He now has a contract with BIS and this is his first release, coupling works of Schumann, Brahms, Liszt and Janacek. The pianist wrote insightful program notes for the release describing his emotional response to this varied program. First-rate performances, recorded February 2016 in Germany;s Reistadel, Meumarkt. Excellent,in natural audio, as usual from the label.

The youthful Cremona Quartet (Christiano Gualco, Paolo Amdreolli, violins; Simone Gramaglia, viola, Giovanni Scaglione, cello) continues their Beethoven quartet series with this issue of one of the earliest (Op. 18 No. 2) and one of the latest (Op. 59 No.3). This site has praised previous issues in the series, and those high standards continue here in a recording made November 27 - 30, 2015 made in Poirino's Fondazione Spinola Banna per per l'Arte, and the engineers have captured a very realistic audio picture.

R.E.B. (February 2017)