CORELLI: Six Sonatas (7-12) Op 12
Michala Petri, recorder; MahanEsfahani, harpsichord
OUR RECORDINGS SACD 6.220610 TT: 66:22

BUTTERWORTH: Two English Idylls. A Shropshire Lad - Rhapsody. The Banks of Green Willow. STEPHAN: Music for Seven String Instruments. Music for Orchestra.
Aachen Symphony Orch/Ensemble Aix/Kazem Abdullah, cond.
COVIELLO SADD 91418 TT: 68:32

DVORÁK: Requiem
Christine Libor, soprano; Ewa Wolak, contralto; Daniel Kirsch, tenor; Janusz Monarcha, bass; Warsaw Philharmonic Corus and Orch/AntoniWit, cond.

For decades recorder virtuoso Michaela Petri has made superb recordings of a wide variety of music focusing on the Baroque era, but also including many contemporary works many of which she commissioned. ¹his site mentioned an outstanding SACD of Chinese concertos for the instrument (REVIEW). Now we have this disk called La Follia containing six of Corelli's Op. 5, with the recorder accompanied by harpsichord. Immaculate artistry throughout, and the lively performances have been recorded with uncommon realism in Denmark's Garniskirken in Copenhagen May 5-8, 2014. Harpsichord sound is surprisingly subdued. There is minimal "surround" effect; performers are in front with limited sound from rear speakers. subdued; A lovely disk!

Corviello's disk is titled The End of Time features works by two contemporary composers, George Butterworth (1885-1916) born in England, and German Rudi Stephan (1887 - 1915(). Butterworth already was famous in his country, particularly for his Banks of Willow Green when he enlisted in the army, became a lieutenant and was killed in the Battle of the Somme, a major loss to Britain's music scene. Stephan was considered to be among Germany's leading composers; his music was played by the Berlin Philharmonic, but he also was killed in the war. The Butterworth works are given loving performances on this new disk, but most interested is on the two pieces by Stephan. He composed little music for orchestra and here we have two major works, Music for Seven String Instruments written in 1911 and Music for Orchestra composed the following year. Both of these are somber with only a glint of brightness towards the conclusion. These are intriguing works, hardly truly memorable, but surely a suggestion of what might have been from another composer who died all too young. Performances are superb in every way. The Aachen Orchestra is quite important and gives many concerts each year; Herbert von Karajan, Wolfgang Sawallisch and Fritz Busch all began their careers with this orchestra. Young American conductor Kazem Abdullah, making what apparently is his first recording, impresses. Recordings were made February 1-3, 2014, and June 19-20, 2014 (Music for Seven Instruments). Audio is excellent.

After he incredible success of his Staat Mater 1884/85 in England, he was commissioned o write a Requiem. He premiered he work in Birmingham in 1891 and it was recognized as one of he finest settings of the requiem. It is a long (one and a half hours) rather gentle work, and there have been a number of fine recordings of it, particularly by Isvan Kertesz, Karl Ancerl and Wolfgang Sawallisch. Now we have this magnificent new version recorded in sessions from May 29 - June 5, 2912 in Warsaw's Philharmonic Hall. Antoni Wit, an unjustly neglected conductor of our time, again shows he is a master of large choral works (his Mahler Eight is among the best), and the Naxos engineers have achieved a fine, if not particularly directional multi-channel sound. Complete texts are provided. An outstanding issue!

R.E.B. (February 2015)