BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 3 in D minor (original version 1873)
Philharmoniker Hamburg/Simone Young, cond.
OEHMS SACD OC 624 TT: 68:38

GIGOUT: Grand Choeur dialogué. SAINT-SAËNS: Cyprès et lauriers, Op. 156. GOUNOD: Fantaisie sur l'hymne national russe. DUPRÉ: Cortège et Litanie, Op. 19 No. 2.GUILMANT: Allegro, Op. 81. Méditation sur le Stabat mater, Op. 63. Final alla Schumann sur un noel languedocien, Op. 83. Marche-fantaisie sur deux chants d'eglise, Op. 44. DUBOIS: Fantaisie triomphale.
Ian Tracey, organist; BBC Philharmonic Orch/Rumon Gamba, cond.

HINDSON: Violin Concerto. CORIGLIANO: Suite from The Red Violin. LISZT-KENNEDY: Totentanz.
Lara St. John, violin; Royal Philharmonic Orch/Sarah Ioannides, cond.

Australian conductor Simone Young (b. 1961) already has enjoyed a distinguished career and has appeared to great acclaim with many major orchestras and opera houses of the world . In November 2005 she was the first woman to conduct a concert with the Vienna Philharmonic. She has been conductor of the Hamburg Philharmonic since 2005, taking an active role in concerts and opera in that city. Her enormous repertory specializes in contemporary music—but she also has a long association with music of Anton Bruckner. This live recording of Bruckner's Symphony No. 3, presented in its 1873 original version edited by Leopold Nowak, is a magnificent performance. Everything is right about it, and the Hamburg Philharmonic plays brilliantly. On this disk we hear what many call the "Bruckner sound," a big sonic picture with rich strings and powerful brass. Young already has recorded Bruckner's Symphony No. 2, and it is said she will record more. I look forward to them.

Chandos' "Triumphal Fantasy," features Ian Tracey playing the huge Liverpool Cathedral organ in recordings made June 28-29, 2006. The program is meant to display the magnificent sound of organ and orchestra, and this disk succeeds admirably. Gamba and the BBC Philharmonic do their job well. The SACD sound is full and rich and there's plenty of low bass although it would have been more effective if at least some of the brass came from rear speakers .A welcome release, indeed.

Young violinist Lara St. John has another fine CD offering for the most part unusual fare. For me, greatest interest is the arrangement for violin and orchestra of Franz Liszt's Totentanz, the "Dance of Death," which is a spectacular showpiece for piano and orchestra. St. John and composer-pianist Martin Kennedy felt this music would be effective with violin instead of piano soloist, and they collaborated on this transcription.The score is basically the same as the original, with very few changes. Of course it is a terror technically for the soloist—either piano or violin—and I still prefer the original piano/orchestra version. But this is intriguing to the ear, and the solo violin, especially when played as brilliantly as it is here, does have a rather macabre sound in this music. The featured work is a violin concerto by Australian composer Matthew Hindson (b. 1968) written "to reflect the spirit of Australia." The first movement, Windturbine auf Kooragang Island, describes the mammoth wine turbine there, near Newcastle. The second, Westerway, is named after a desolate small town in Tasmania, and the third, Grand Final Day, represents the culmination of sports activity in Australia. An odd program indeed for a "violin concerto." Although there are some effective descriptive moments relating to the subjects, this score probably will be of limited interest to most listeners. The disk is filled out with a suite from John Corigliano's score for The Red Violin in its original scoring for violin and string orchestra. Excellent SACD sound. The disk is elaborately produced with many photographs, inserts, etc., making it rather cumbersome to store.

R.E.B. (June 2008)