<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Theodor Currentzis / Serebrier Gershwin / Glass: Symphony No. 11

MAHLER: Symphony No. 6 in A minor "Tragic"
Musica Aeterna / Theodor Currentzis, cond.
SONY 19075822952 TT: 85 min.

GLASS: Symphony No. 11
Bruckner Orchester Linz / Dennis Russell Davies, cond
Orange Mountain CD 0133 TT: 37:00

GERSHWIN: An American in Paris. Three Preludes (orch. Serebrier). Piano Concerto in F. Lullaby (orch. Serebrier).
Leopold Godowsky III, piano. Royal Scottish National Orchestra / José Serebrier, cond.
SOMM CD 5004 TT: 67:22

The Russian Musica Aeterna Orchestra, founded in 2004 by Theodor Currentzis, issued a splendid performance of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6, praised on this site (REVIEW). Now they turn their attention to the mighty Mahler Symphony No. 6, and the result is impressive right from the beginning of the first movement which really is rather like a demonic march. Throughout the entire performance the orchestra plays magnificently. The recording was made July 3 - 9, 2016 in Moscow's Dom Zvukozapisi (House of Audio Recording), and the engineers have captured a full-bodied aural picture, with the wide dynamic range essential for this music Fine though this is, there are competing versions by many others including Haitink, and Abbado, SACDS by Thomas and Jansons, and videos by Abbado, Haitink, and Chailly.

Dennis Russell Davies is a staunch supporter of music by Philip Glass. Davies and the LInz Bruckner Orchestra, of which he was Music Director 2002-2017, have premiered almost all of Glass's symphonies and last year at the opening of the new Linz Opera House they gave the premiere of the opera The Lost, commissioned for the event. The Orange Mountain label has issued numerous recordings of the the composer's music, some of which have been mentioned on this site. Symphony No 11 is a three-movement 37-minute work. As usual wi Glass, banal themes and ideas are repeated endlessly inc different keys. I find this boring no matter how well performed. This is a live recording from the Linz Brucknerhaus June 12, 2017. Excellent audio. The album's cover shows the conductor, not the composer.

Distinguished conductor José Serebrier has recorded profusely during his long caree. Two decades ago, he turned his attention to George Gershwin. These recordings were made in Glasgow's Henry Wood Hall July 30/31, 1998. Program notes point out that at the premiere of Gershwin's Concerto in F Dec 3, 1925 with Walter Damrosch conducted and Gershwin, for the first time in his career, appeared as soloist. Oddly, that program began with Glazounov's Symphony No. 1, with the composer in the audience. Coincidentally, Serebrier recently recorded all of that composer's orchestral works. This concert was an important historic event. This new disk offers some unusual items: Serebrier has arranged for orchestra the Three Preludes and the charming Lullaby, all are effective in these arrangements. We also have the Piano Concerto and the unusual feature here is the soloist, Leopold Godowsky III. He is is the nephew of George Gershwin, and grandson of the famous pianist Leopold Godowsky, a spectacular pianist during his time, famous for his virtuoso arrangements of Strauss waltzes. Godowsky III is a fine pianist but he doesn't possess the virtuosity or many others who have recorded this work. Excellent audio, but the main reason to acquire this CD is if you wish to hear Serebrier's Gershwin transcriptions which here receive theirpremiere recording.

R.E.B. (December 2018)