SCHUMANN: Abegg-Variationen, Op. 1.Träumerei. HAYDN: Sonata in C, Hob. XVI:50. SCHUBERT: Fantasia in C, D. 760 "Wanderer Fantasy." DUN: Eight Memories in Watercolor, Op. 1. CHOPIN: Nocturne in D-flat, Op. 27 No. 2. LISZT: Rémininiscences du Don Juan de Mozart, S. 418. Liebestraum, S. 541 No. 3. Horses after Hang Hai Hwai. Chen Rao Xing and Shen Li Qun arr. by Lang Lang and Lang Guo-ren.
Lang Lang, pianist, recorded live in Carnegie Hall November 7, 2003
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON SACD 474 875 (2 CDs for the price of one) (DDD) TT: 68:24 & 29:12

RIES: Symphony No. 7 in A minor, Op. 181. Symphony No. 8 in E flat WoO
Zurich Chamber Orch/Howard Griffiths, cond.
CPO 999 905 (5 channel) TT: 67:16

Lang Lang's Carnegie Hall concert of Nov. 7, 2003 has already been mentioned on this site (REVIEW). It's a flashy concert with generally superficial performances—and now we have it in very effective 5.1 multi-channel sound that gives remarkable presence to the proceedings. Superb piano sound, and the two SACDs sell for the price of one.

For its first venture into multi-channel sound, cpo has this release of two symphonies by a relatively obscure composer, Ferdinand Ries (1784-1837) who was a student of Beethoven. cpo has taken up the cause of Ries; already they have issued CDs of cello sonatas and piano quartets as well as the first six symphonies all of which are performed by the Zurich Chamber Orchestra directed by Howard Griffiths. The label completes its symphony series with this release with the final two, Nos. 7 and 8. It appears the Symphony No. 8, composed about 170 years ago, here receives its first performance. The music is delightful, each of the symphonies having the usual four movements, one a sprightly scherzo. Leading these performances is Swiss-based conductor Howard Griffiths who is at the beginning of what promises to be a major career. The CD booklet contains comments about surround sound by Stephan Reh, producer of the recording, in which he states, "the result is a greatly enhanced, intensive sound experience conveying Ries's music to us in an entirely different manner. The enhanced richness of sound also improves the clarity and listening quality of the recording.... " It's fascinating that this release is available only in SACD format, a disk that will play on regular CD units as well.

R.E.B. (June 2004)