HERRMAN: Whitman (a radio play by Norman Corwin). Souveneirs de voyage. Psytcho: A Narrative for String Orchestra.
Soloises / Post Classical Ensemble / Agel Gil-Ordónez, cond
NAXOS 8.559883 TT: 71:35

AMIROV: Symphony 'To the Memory of Nizami'. Suite from One Thusand and One Nights
.Kyia Virtuoso Symphony Orchestra / Dmitry Yablonsky, cond
NAXOS 8.573803 TT: 57:22

DAVIDSON: Greetings to Denmark
The New York Virtuoso Singers / Harod Rosenbaum, cond
SOUTHBRUSH RECORDS SR 1030 (2 disks) TT: 63:45 / 51:11

Here is an exciting addition to Bernard Herrmann's discography featuring the word premiere recording of the complete 1944 radio play called Whitman. This half-hour radio play was a collaboration with Norman Corwin who worked with Herrmann many times. The score is for strings, harp, piano and percussion. The text is a collection of poems from Leaves of Grass. This recording features William Sharp as Whitman, with the minor roles of the Stranger, Cynic and Radio Voice spoken by Murray Horwitz, and the Child by Annasophia Nicely. We also have Souvenirs de voyage written in 1967, which has three movements: Lento: Molto tranquillo; Berceuse: Andante: and Canto amoroso. The final work is John Mauceri's reconstruction of music from the 1960 hit film Psycho scored for an orchestra of strings (those screechig high violin sounds in the famous murder scenes are heard twice).. Fascinating music all, and admirers of Herrmann will recognize his typical sonorities and imaginative ideas. Performances are superb, rich and naturally balanced. An important release! For me, the ultimate Herrmann CD is the magnificent RCA quad recording with Charles Gerhardt and the National Philharmonic now issued in stunning multi-channel audio (REVIEW).

Azerbaijan composer Fikret Amirov (1922 - 1984) often used elements of his native country's music. He composed profusely and first came to the attention of collectors with Leopold Stokowski's 1959 Houston Symphony recording of Azerbaijan Mugam. There are relatively few recordings of Amirov's music and Naxos is to be commended for their disks of varied repertory. They continue with this disk featuring his 1941 Symphony 'To the Memory of Nizami,' and he premiere recording of a 12-movement suite called 'One Thousand and One Nights' written 1968 - 2017. The symphony is dedicated to the Azerbaijan poet Nizami Ganjavi (1141 - 1209), a celebrated Muslim poet. Colorful exotic textures often are heard, even more so in the other work which sometimes is called Arabian Nights. Delightful listening throughout and the ensemble called Kyiv Virtuosi Symphony Orchestra plays very well under conductor Dmitry Yablonsky's direction. Recordings were made 2018 - 2019 in Ukraine's National Radio Concert Studio. Engineering totally captures the rich orchestral textures nd percussive effects. Let us hope Naxos continues their exploration of Amirov's music

The Southern Recordings label has released many recordings of lighter fare with the emphasis on the highest sonic quality—although apparently they have yet to issue any SACDs. Check their website for a complete catalog: SOUNDBRUSH RECORDS. Composer Roger Davidson (b. Paris 1962) is featured prominently in their releases as a pianist as well as a composer He now lives in New York with his wife and three children. Although not Danish, Davidson has this new CD title Greetings to Denmark, a choral work setting poems to music performed by a chorus with piano accompaniment, here played by the composer. This text is from the transcendental world of T\onward the Light (in Danish, Vandrer mod Lyset!) by Danish author Michael Agerskov. The book is said to have been conceived through intuitive thought-inspiration from the transcendental world by Michael Agerskov's wife, Johanne Agerskov, who was an "intermediary." We may be sure this performance is definitive sung by the superb New York Virtuoso Singers conducted by Harold Rosenbaum. This is a deluxe presentation with a 128-page booklet with extensive program notes by the composer and the complete text in both Danish and English. An unusual intriguing release.

R.E.B. (()ctober 2020)