RATHGEBER: Messe von Muri - Missa XII, Op. 12. Concertos XIX, VI, XX, I, XIV and IV from Chelys sonora, Op. 6. TELONIUS: Concerto XIII
Cappella Murensis/Johannes Murensis; Ensemble Arcimboldo/Thilo Hirsch
AUDITE SACD 92.559 TT: 72:03

GUILMANT: Sonata No. 5, Op. 80. VIERNE: Nos. 1, 4, 2, 3, 21 and 19 from 24 Pièces en style libre, Op. 31. LEFÉBURE-WÉLY: Offertoire. BOËLLMANN: Suite Gothique, Op. 25.
International Brass/Elmar Lehnen, organ
AUDITE SACD 92.556 TT: 73:02

GANDOLFI: The Garden of Cosmic Speculation
Atlanta Symphony Orch/Robert Spano, cond.
TELARC SACD 60696 TT: 67:36

Audite's two SACDs feature the high sonic quality we have come to expect from the label. Johann Valentin Rathgeber (1682-1750) composed his Messe von Muri in 1731 and the score presumably was lost until Thilo Hirsch, who conducts this performance, was able to reconstruct it from various sources. Hirsch also provided detailed information about instrumentation of all of the works on this disk stating that one of the concertos is the first known clarinet concerto and the Telonius concerto is the first of a concerto for "trumpet marine." Performances throughout are excellent and the recording, made in Abbey Church of Muri in October 2006, is appropriately spacious and resonant. The other Audite issue consists of arrangements by Wilhelm Junker (who wrote CD notes) of music for organ arranged for organ and brass as well as brass ensemble. Junker plays the horn and is a member of International Brass (along with Willy Huppertz and Waldemar Jankus, trumpets, Thomas Lindt, trombone, and Matthew Pavlos Hall, tuba) heard on the other SACD, along with organist Elmar Lehnen, performing in the Papal Basilica of Our Lady at Krevelder, recorded in April 2006. Again it is a huge sonic picture and I would have preferred more separation of the brass from the organ, but in its massive way it is indeed impressive.

Massachusetts-born Michael Gandolfi's Impressions from the Garden of Cosmic Speculation originally was a four-movement work that received its premiere in Tanglewood in 2004. After this highly successful event, Gandolfi expanded the work and it now has sixteen short sections with a performance time of well over an hour. Impressions is an expanded musical impression of a 30-acre garden in the Borders area of Scotland designed by American architect Charles Jencks. The garden apparently is visually stunning, with rocks, trees and shrubs as well as ponds and appropriate statues. All this was done, according to Jencks, "based on the new sciences of complexity developed with the aid of the computer over the past twenty years—strange attractors that organize such things as the flow of water, the movement of soil, the patterns of weather." Many of the sections have colorful, imaginative titles ("The Snail and the Poetics of Going Slow," "The Universal Cascade," and "The Nonsense"). The score includes momentary bits of well-known symphonic works "to trace the history of Western music." Gandolfi's score is no great masterpiece but is always entertaining, beautifully scored and pleasant. The work been championed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and conductor Robert Spano; this superb recording was made in the Woodruff Performing Arts Center in Georgia May 29, 2007. Elaine Martone produced it, and it is sonically the finest Telarc Atlanta Symphony recording I've heard. Rear channels are used consistently which produces a wonderfully satisfying concert hall presence—in most other Telarc recordings rear channels are used just for ambience. The sounds of birds (recorded in Scotland) introduce the three main sections of the work; these bird calls are at very low level—it would have been more effective had they been louder. This is a major addition to the SACD catalog in both performance and sound.

R.E.B. (January 2008)