NONO: Prometo
Liva Rado / Alda Caiello, soprnos. Katarzyna Otczyk / Silvia Regazzo, contraltos. Marco Rencinai, tenor. Sergio Basile / Manuela Mandracchia. Voci reitant. Alvise Vidolin / Nicola Bernardini, live electronics. Ensemble Proneteo. Philharmonica Arturo Toscanini. Coro del Teatro Regio di Parma /Marco Angius, director
STRADIVARIUS SACD STR 37096 (2 disks) TT: 58:17 / 50:54NONO

BACH: St. Mark Passion BWV 247
Katherina Müller, soprano. Han Börner, altus. Matthias Bleidorn, tenor. Manfred Bittner, bass. Richard Logiewa, Christus. Bell'arte Salzburg. Cantorey St. Cathariunen / Andreas Fischer, cond,.
MDG SACD 902 2105 (2 disks) TT: 62:55 / 68:18

MENDELSSOHN: Sonata in D Op. 58 No 2. Variations Concertantes in D, Op. 17. Albumblatt in B minor. Sonata in B, Op. 45 No 1. Lied ohne worte in D, Op. 109.
Guadalupe López Iniguez, cello. Olga Andryuushchenko, piano
ALBA SACD 434 TT: 62;16

Italian avant-garde composer Luigi Nono (1924 -1990) was beyond the cutting edge of contemporary music. Here is his large-scale "opera." a theater piece based on the story of Prometheus. It is scored for singers, electronic music and four small orchestras. It was intended to be performed in a large space with specific instructions for placement of performers. This performance apparently was recorded in 2017, and engineers have done a splendid job of capturing in music in multi-channel audio with sounds emendating from all parts of the performance space. Most of the" music" is very quiet. It is a rather unique SACD experience. I find Nono's music uninteresting. It is rather like an "The Emperor has no clothes" situation. It is incredible to me that major conductors, including Claudio Abbado and Pierre Boulez, favor him and have recorded some of his music. Abbado included music from Nono's Prometheus in his 1992 Berlin concert focusing on the subject, a disappointing conclusion to an otherwise brilliant concert (REVIEW). CD notes in Italian and English do their best to explain this work. Approach with extreme caution!!

Bach'a St. Mark Passion isn't as well-as his other large-scale choral works, the: St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion, and for good reason. Premiered in 1731 and revised in 1744. Unfortunately, Bach's music has been lost but the libretto by Picander (the pen name for Christian Friedrich Henrici). There are several performing versions and now we have this outstanding new one by Andreas Fischer, who has in scholarly fashion used other music of Bach to fit the libretto. We hve two choruses, six arias and sixteen chorales. This is an intriguing addition to the catalog, and the performance features distinguished soloists, the period instrumentensemble Bell'arte Salburg. Comprehensive program notes are included along with the complete libretto. Superb, wel-balanced multi-channel audio is another plus. For Bach scholars this is essential.

What an amazing composer Felix Mendelssohn was! His music for A Midsummer Night's Dream is only one of his masterpieces, as are his Violin Concerto, Piano Concerto No. 1, and several of his symphonies. His gift for melody also is evident in music of a more intimate scale, as displayed on this fine new SACD that contains all of the music he wrote for cello and piano. We have the two cello sonatas, Variations Concertantes, and two rarities: Albumblatt in B minor, a very short piece composed for Julius Rietz who replaced Mendelssohn as music director in Dusseldorf; we also have Romance sans paroles written in 1847, the only one of Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words not written for piano solo. This is a charming program sensitively platy ed by the two young artists, Spanish cellist Guadalupe López-Íñiguez and Russian pianist Olga Andryushchenk. They perform on authentic period-style instruments that do total justice to the music. Recordings were made August / September last year in Finland's Launiainen New Pavillion, amd emgimeers have produced splendid audio.

R.E.B. (May 2019)