MAHLER: Das Klagende Lied
Marina Shaguch, soprano; Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano; Thomas Moser, tenor; Sergei Leiferkus, baritone; San Francisco Symphony Chorus and Orch/Michael Tilson Thomas, cond;

BACH: Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001.Partita No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002. Sonata No. 1 in A minor, BWV 1003. Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004. Sonata No. 3 in C, BWV 1005. Partita No. 3 in E, BWV 1006.
Lara St. John, violinist
ANGALAGON SACD AR 132 (2 disks) TT: 56:02 & 70:25

"Orfeo Fantasia"
Music of Monteverdi, Hume, Guédron, Caccini, Picchi, D'India and Dowland
Charles Daniels, tenor; Montréal Baroque
ATMA SACD SACD2 2337 TT:62:00


Michael Tilson Thomas's fine Mahler cycle with the San Francisco Symphony is nearing completion: all symphonies have been issued except No. 8 and whatever version Thomas chooses of the 10th. The series has been expanded to include all of Mahler's works for voices, chorus and orchestra (although Kindertotenlieder, with Michelle DeYoung as soloist, was issued in the same set as Symphony No. 3). Das Klagende Lied was recorded in 1996 and issued on RCA, still in the catalog. Now the same performance has been remastered for "surround sound" as part of the San Francisco Mahler collection. The fine performance was acclaimed when originally issued. The artificially produced "surround sound" is full and rich, but sonic quality of this release is not as good as the later SFO Mahler recordings which were made with multi-channel in mind. Plentiful documentation and full texts are provided, but you can obtain the original RCA set at less than half the cost of this re-processed version.

Canadian-born violinist Lara St. John surely is one of the most exciting young performers on today's concert scene. Her previous recordings of Bach have been widely acclaimed, as has her Sony disk of collaborations with composer/producer Magnus Fiennes that includes, among original compositions by Fiennes, jazz, electronic and pop treatments of music of Bach. This superb new Angalagon set offers the six sonatas and partitas for solo violin in extraordinary, assured performances. The recordings were made at Skywalker Sound, and recording producer Martha de Francisco has provided a wonderfully natural sonic picture with St. John front center, ambient sound from other speakers. A quality issue! The cover photograph of the attractive young violinist on the seashore with crashing waves behind her might perhaps for some collectors add to the appeal of this set.

"Orfeo Fantasia" is a collection of works inspired by the legend of Orpheus for lute, harpsichord, organ, and bass viol, some with tenor soloist. Performances feature tenor Charles Daniel, who specializes in early music, along with the top-notch Montréal Baroque. Complete texts and quite profuse program notes are provided, and the sound is well-balanced. If you are interested in this repertory, you'll find it effectively presented on this release.

R.E.B. (November 2007)