MAHLER: Blumine. Songs of a Wayfarer. Symphony No. 1 in D "Titan."
Thomas Hampson, baritone. Estonian National Symphony Orchestra / Neemi Järvi, cond.
VAI VIDEO 4603 TT: 85 min.

YE: Winter 1, Op 28. VERDI: The Four Seasons from I Vespri Siciliani. GLAZUNOV: The Seasons Ballet, Op. 67.
RTÉ National Orchestra of Ireland / José Serebrier, cond.
VAI DVD 4604 TT: 97 min.

The amazing Neemi Järvi has had varied success with his Mahler recordings, although his video of Symphony No. 2 is outstanding (REVIEW). He also recorded Das Lied von der Erde in the version for tenor and baritone, with Paul Groves and Thomas Hmpson(REVIEW). This concert, recorded in 2017, focuses on Mahler's earliest works. It begins with Blumine, which originally was part of Symphony No. 1 but omitted in later performances until it wa "rediscovered" many years later. It is seldom performed as a part of the symphony. We also have Songs of a Wayfarer, which includes music also used in the symphony. Mahler specialist Thomas Hampson sings these withi authority if perhaps not with the security of earlier recordings with conductors Leonard Bernstein (1990), Klaus Tennstedt (1991) and Michael Tilson Thomas. This is an interesting well-played collection of early Mahler with excellent video and outstanding 5.1 surround sound. The cover illustration is a seldom-viewed photo of a very young Mahler.

José Serebrier (b. 1938) has enjoyed a remarkable careers. Mentored by Leopold Sokowski in his youth, he composed profusely, and Stokowski conducted the premiere of Serebrier's Symphony No. 1. He has made countless recordings; perhaps the most important are the recent Naxos series in which he leads Stokowski transcriptions. (REVIEW). There is a splendid video of him conducting Mussorgsky Stokowski i (REVIEW). This new DVD is rather odd. The concert was given July 23, 2017 in China's Centre for the Performing Arts. There is no explanation of why this orchestra from Ireland was performing in China. The program is focused on "the seasons, and begins with a wok by Chinese composer Xiaogang Ye called Winter I. It is a 12-minute piece appropriately somber and was met by tepid applause from the packed house. This was followed by Verdi's Four Seasons ballet written for a Paris production of I Vespri Siciliani, not among he composer's finest works works. Things pick up considerably with the delightful Glazunov Four Seasons, a masterpiece in ballet, filled with wonderful soaring tunes and orchestral effects. ending with the exciting Bacchanal. . Serebrier and the orchestra give it a brilliant performance. The conductor specializes in Glazunov and has recorded all of his chasmal woks. The enthusiastic audience was rewarded with three encores, Bach's Air from Suite No 3, Falla's Ritual Fire Dance, and Farandole from Bizet's L'Arlesienne. Excellent video, and the stereo sound is rich and detailed. .

R.E.B. (September 2018)