SIBELIUS: Complete incidental music for Pelléas and Mélisande. Musik zu einer Szene. Valse lyriuque, Op. 96a. Autrefois - Scene pastorale, Op. 96b. Valse chevaleresque , Op. 96c. Morceau romantique sur un motif de Monsieur Jakoav von Julin.
Pia Pajala, soprano. Sari Nordqvist, mezzo-soprano. Turku Philharmonic Orch/Leif Segerstam, cond.
NAXOS 8.573301 TT: 57:49

CHIN: Cello Concerto No. 1. Symophony No. 3 "Taiwan."
Wenn Sinn Yang. cello. Taiwan Philharmonic/Shao-Chia Lü, cond.
NAXOS 8570615 TT: 62:12

DUTILLEUX: Métroboles. Violin Concerto "L'arbrer des songe." Symphony No. 2 "Le double."
Augustin Hadelich, violin. Seattle Symphony Orch/ Ludovic Morlot, cond.

Naxos continues their exploration of relatively unknown Sibelius, In 1905 Sibelius wrote incidental music to Maurice Maeterlinck's play Pélleas and Mélisande; three years earlier, Debussy had completed his opera on the subject. Commissioned by the Swedish Theater, Sibelius's work was the most ambitions project up to that time. There have been a number of recordings of excerpts including those by Beecham and Karajan, and some complete versions as well. This new one is complete including the two soprano solos; texts and translations are provided. We also have the five short works listed above, all rarities in the comp;composer's output. As with the recent issue of the complete Belshazzar's Feast (REVIEW), Leif Segerstam and the Turku Philharmonic play very well indeed, and stereo sound is most realistic.

A year ago this site endorsed a superb DGG issue of music of South-Korean composer Unsuk Chin (b. 1961) (REVIEW). Now we have an intriguing CD of music of another Korean composer, , Gordon Chen (b. 1957). He studied at the Eastman School of Music with Christopher Rouse and Samuel Adler, and is considered to be Taiwan's most prolific composer. His works have been performed by the Seattle and San Diego orchestras, but little of his music has been recorded. Naxos again does a great service to collectors by issuing these world premiere recordings of two major compositions. The Cello Concerto, a stunning work full-length work (35:44), has three movements/ It deserves attention from all cellists. Written in 2006 on a commission from the Chi-Lin Foundation, it was premiered that year by Felix Fan. There are three movements, but each has multiple contrasting episodes, all of which display the soloist's virtuosity and ability to expo lore the complete range of cello sonorities. This is a fascinating work in every way—don't miss it, and this performance is outstanding showing Wen-Sinn Yang as a master of his instrument. For some years he was principal cello with the Bavarian Radio Symphony and although he has made many recordings, this is the first I've heard. Symphony No. 3, written in 1996, was a commission from the Vancouver Symphony. In it the composer reflects the troubled history of Taiwan, vividly depicted in a score that often is violent. The three movements are explained in detail in the composer's program notes. Expect huge outbursts of percussion and many rather unusual brass effects. This, too, is an important work. The performance is outstanding, recorded sound state-of-the-art stereo. Thank you, Naxos!.

The mystic world of Henri Duilleux (1919-2013) is explored on a superb new Seattle;e Symphony disk with Ludovic Morlot M on the podium. We have three of his most famous works. Métaboles, which takes its name from the Greek which means "changing, surely a fitting for this moody piece. Symphony No. 2 was written for the Boston Symphony's 75th Anniversary Season. Within the regular orchestra there is a second 12-nenber ensemble, and it is the interplay between the two that given the the symphony the subtitle Le double. . We also have the violin concerto he called Tree of Dreams, composed in 1985, suggests continued growth. It was commissioned by Radio France for Isaac Stern to whom it is dedicated; he gave the premiere in 1985 with the French National Orchestra directed by Lorin Maazel, and recorded it at that time. This new recording with Augustin Hadelich is excellent in every way. Stereo sound is first-rate. An excellent issue!

R.E.B. (September 2015)