SCHMIDT: Suite for Flute, String Orchestra, Harp and Percussion, Op. 21. Concerto for Flute and String Orchestra. Concerto for Horn and Chamber Orchestra, Op. 31. Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra, Op. 42.
Ulla Milmann, flute; David M.A.P. Palmquist, horn; Jens Bjorn-Larsen, tuba; Danish National Symphony Orch/Ole Schmidt, cond.
DACAPO SACD 6.22-515 TT: 68:50

SARASATE: Zigeunerweisen. Carmen Fantasy.WIENIAWSKI: Légende. TARTINI: Sonata in G Minor "Devil's Trill." RAVEL: Tzigane. MASSENET: Médidation from Thaïs. FAURÉ: Berceuse.
Anne-Sophie Mutter, violinist; Vienna Philharmonic Orch/James Levine, cond.

MOZART: Music from The Abduction from the Seraglio.
Wind Ensemble of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/Bastiaan Blomhert, cond.
PENTATONE SACD PTC 5186 088 TT: 66:47

As a conductor, Ole Schmidt already has to his credit many fine recordings including all of Carl Nielsen's symphonies recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra as well as other contemporary Danish works. His recent CD of music inspired by Hans Christian Andersen fairytales is reviewed on this site. On this superb new release we have Schmidt the composer as well as conductor, with four of his works for soloist with orchestra, a lovely suite for flute, strings, harp and percussion, a concerto for flute and strings, and concertos for horn and tuba. The two works for flute are light fare, the brass concertos are bravura showpieces for the soloists, both of whom are magnificent. Both of these concertos offer the soloists many opportunities to show the entire range of their instruments. As the recordings, made in the Danish Radio Concert Hall in August 2004, are sonically outstanding (performers in front, ambient sound from other speakers), those who delight in the splendors of the sound of the French horn and tuba will find what they want here—including the lowest notes of the tuba, wonderfully captured by recording producer Chris Hazell and engineer Jan Oldrup. A fine SACD!

When Deutsche Grammophon made these Anne-Sophia Mutter recordings in 1992 they went all out so to speak, providing the glamorous lady with the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by James Levine for this collection of showpieces. Probably if this was recorded a decade later, the conductor would have been her new husband, André Previn. At any rate, the collaboration between Mutter and Levine works admirably, and he, of course, is sensitive to her concepts of this music. If a collection of violinistic showpieces appeals to you, here it is, very well recorded, although the surround sound effect is minimal, the soloist overly close.

Pentatone's SACD of more than an hour of music from Mozart's opera The Abduction from the Seraglio beautifully played—although some listeners might find this arrangement for eight woodwinds lacking in tonal variety, almost too much of a good thing. Conductor Bastiaan Blomhert, who has worked with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields since 2000, gives a detailed history of the origin of this arrangement concluding that Mozart wrote it himself from memory. Blomhert surely is an authority on this subject: he earned his Ph. D. in 1987 with his dissertation about the Donaueschingen Harmoniemusik of The Abduction from the Seraglio. The recording, made in December 2005 in London's Henry Wood Hall, was produced by Job Maarse and engineered by Hein Dekker and Erdo Groot. Sound is close-up with performers in front, ambient sound from the rear.

R.E.B.(May 2006)