ZEMLINSKY: Lyric Symphony, Op. 16. SCHREKER: Prelude to a Drama
Karan Armstrong, soprano. Roland Hmann, baritone. ORF Radio Symphony Orchesstra / Michael Gielen, cond.
ORFEO CD C210241 TT: 62:17

GRECHANINOV: All-Night Vigil, Op. 59
Latvian Radio Choir / Sigvards Klava, cond.
ONDINE CD ODE 1397 TT: 46:01

BACH: English Suite No. 1 in A, BWV 806. English Suite No. 2 in A minor, BWV 807. English Suite No. 3 in G minor, BWV 808. Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D minor, BWV 808
Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano. London Symphony Orchestra / David Zinman, cond.
DECCA 485 2088 (2 disks) TT: 92:35

BACH-BUSONI: Choral Prelude Now Rejoice. CHOPIN: Polonaise in A fflat, Op. 53 No. 6. Nocturne in F sharp minor, Op. 15 No 2. 24 Oreludes ,Op. 28. LISZT: Valse a capriccioon Donzetti's Lucia et Parisima. Adelaide (transcription of Beethoven;s Op. 46). La Campanella. Polonaise No. 2 in E. Réminiscenves of Bellini's Norma,. Fantasyon Beethoven's Ruins of Athens, Mozart's Don Juan, and Verdi's Rigoletto..
Ferruccio Bosoni Welte-Mignon piano roll recorings)
TACET CD 244 (2 disks) TT: 47:13 / 58:49

Alexander von Zemlinsky ( 1871 - 1942) wrote his Lyric Symphony in 1922-1923. It is scored for a a large orchestra with soprano and baritone soloists. The text is taken from from The Gardene, a series of love poems by Rabindrandath. There are seven continuous sections. Some have compared it with Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde, although it hardly matches that masterpiece except that the final adagio ends quietly. However, it is a rich score reminiscent of Richard Strauss and early Schoenberg. It is performed every well here. This is a live recording made January 27. 1989 in Vienna's Musikverein. It is a splendid often moving performance under the direction of Michael Gielen. This was issued before, and here it is again. Unfortunately; as with the earlier CD release, no texts or translations are provided, although detailed program notes are provided. There are several other recordings of Zemlinsky's best-known work, in particular one conducted ny Christoph Eschenbach and the Orchestra of Paris. The new release is filled out with music of Franz Scheker (1878 - 1934). Prelude to a Drama is based on of the overture to his opera Die Gezeichneten. It was written at the request of Felix Weingartner who conducted the premiere in Vienna in1914. It is a romantic, richly orchestrated work. It seems appropriate that it is coupled here with music of Zemlinsky. This also is a live performance from 1993 and againGielen shows he is a mastrrt of this repertory.

Alexander Gretchaninov, like his contemporary Sergei Rachmaninov, wrote some beautiful choral music in his time,.r having heard Rachmaninov's "All-Night Vigil" should purchase this without hesitation.In 1914 Rachmaninoff composed his magnificent Vespers, considered o be the ;ast greast oral msic of the Russian Orthoox Cuuch. There are a number of fine recordings including two SACDs mentioned on this site. Alexander Grchaninov (1804 - 1956) composed his Vespers three years earlier. It is a moving, sincerre choral masterpiece, one of mny major choral works It is hScored for two choruses, abd has ten sections. This dedicated, reverent performance was recorded February 8 - 19, 2021 in the resonant avoustivs of Latvia's St. John's Church, and the engineering has captured the spacious sound realistically. Complete texts in Russin and English are provided.

Ever since winning prizes in major competitions including the Tchaikovsky, Vladimir Ashkenazy (b. 1837) has had a remarkable career both as pianist and conductor. He has recorded most of he major concertos, sometimes twice. However, he always had great interest in music of Bach and late in his career began to record it. This latest disk, made April 2019 in London's Suffolk Hall features the first three English Suites, and as a bonus we have his early recording of the D Minor concerto made in 1965, originally coupled with Chopin's Concerto No. 2, both with David Zinman and the London Symphony. He is now well into his eighth decade with no loss of musicianship or virtuosity. Doubtless a future release will feature the final three English suites. This is a welcome release, the two disks selling for the price of one.

Tacet continues their fine series of performances recorded decades ago on the Welte-Mignon piano rolls system. This latest issues feature all of the recordings made 1905 - 1907 by legendary Italian pianist Ferruccio Busoni. (1866 - 1924). His first concert was given when he was seven and he continued to amaze audiences as a supreme virtuoso. He also was a composer and conductor, and transcribed many of Bach's organ works for the piano. This release contains all of his Welte-Mignon recordings transferred September 2012 using a Steinway D piano. Although Busoni made a few recordings for Gramophone, these no longer exist, so the Tacet release is of great interest, even though Egon Petri, another major figure in the pianisic world of the time, said they did not truly represent Busoni's playing. At any rate, here they are, and we can experience piano performances more than a century ago. The piano does not have a rich, resonant sound, but the thousands of notes are there.

R.E.B. (January 2022)