VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. Symphony No. 5 in D. Serenade to Music. TALLIS: Why Fum'th in Fight?
Jessica Rivera, soprano; Kelley O'Connor, mezzo-soprano; Thomas Studebaker, tenor; Nmon Ford, baritone; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus/Robert Spano, cond.
TELARC SACD 60676 TT: 70:32

KNELLER: Praeludium in D minor. Praeludiium in G. Praeludium in F. Non komm, der Heiden Heiland. GEIST: Allein Gott in deer Höh sei Ehr. Aus tiefer Not schrel ich zu dir. Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ. REINCKEN: Was kann uns kommen an für Not. Toccata in G minor. Fuga in G minor. Toccata in G major. An Wasserflüssen Babylon.
Friedhelm Flamme, organist
cpo SACD 777 246 TT: 75:00

DEBUSSY: Children's Corner/Clair de Lune (orch. Caplet). Six Épigraphes antiques (orch. Ansermet). Clair de Lune (orch. Stokowski). Sarabande. Danse (orch. Ravel). Le Soiré dans Grenade. Petite Suite (orch. Busser).
Orchestre symphonique de Québec/Yoav Talmi, cond.
ATMA SACD2 2377 TT: 73:44

Telarc has another winner with their Vaughan Williams SACD featuring three of the composer's loveliest works. Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, appropriately preceded on this recording by Tallis' hymn on which it is based (Why fum'th in fight?), is scored for two string orchestras and string quartet, with interplay between them beautifully captured by Telarc's recording team. Symphony No. 5, far removed from the tragic darkness that marked its predecessor, is given a reading of radiant beauty. Serenade to Music, originally written for sixteen solo singers and orchestra (a recording was made at the time), is heard here in the composer's version for chorus and vocal quartet. Unquestionably it is one of Vaughan Williams' great masterpieces, and this performance does full justice to it—unless you'd prefer to hear it in the original version.

Should you have an interest in obscure music for organ, cpo has provided this SACD containing the "complete" works for the instrument written by three German composers who were highly regarded during their time: Andreas Kneller (1649-1724), Christian Geist (1650-1711), and Johann Adam Reincken (1623/1643?-1722). There are only 12 works in all, three preludes, two toccatas, a fugue, and six hymns including Reincken's By the Rivers of Babylon. With a playing time of almost 16-minutes, it is considered to be the most extended hymn fantasy in the North-German repertory, incredibly difficult to play. Friedhelm Flamme specializes in music of the period and is in the process of recording "the complete North-German Baroque organ repertory played on historic instruments." Organ sound on this SACD is surprisingly unresonant considering that the recording was made in a church—St. Georg Church in Gartow.

ATMA's Debussy disk is perfection in every way. This music of Debussy is heard in orchestrations by Caplet, Ansermet, Stokowski, Ravel and Busser, all of whom obviously loved Debussy's music and knew how to transcribe it in the most sensitive and appropriate manner for orchestra. Yoav Talmi and the splendid Canadian orchestra play magnificently, and a high point of this release is SACD engineering. Anne-Marie Sylvestre supervised the recording and she did a stunning job in capturing rich orchestral sound that boasts presence, clarity, appropriate hall sound, and wide dynamic range. A terrific release!

R.E.B. (June 2007)