RAVEL: Daphnis and Chloe. Pavane for a Dead Princess.
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orch/Yannick Nézet-Séguin, cond.
BIS SACD 1850 TT: 63:27

GRIEG: Cello Sonata in A minor, Op. 36. GRAINGER: La Scandinavie. NIELSEN: Saenk Kun Dit Hoved, DuBlomst, Op. 21 No. 4.
Andreas Brantelid, cello/ Chriistiane Ihle Hadland, pianbo
BIS SACD 2120 TT: 66:33

"COMEDY OVERTURES" - Music of Hérold, Offenbach, Nicolai, Wolf-Ferrari, Reznicek, Thomas, Flotow, Auber, Lortzing, Cimarosa, Auber and Cornelius
Royal Scottish National Orch/Lance Friedel, cond.

This is BIS's third SACD with the Rotterdam Philharmonic conducted by Yannick Nézet-Seguin. This site was not enthused about his Berlioz Fantastic Symphony (REVIEW) or Straus's s Heldenleben (REVIEW). The conductor is one of the mst sought after musicians of our time, frequently guest conducting. He holding the prestigious position of Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra and has just signed a long-term contract with them. He surely shows affinity for French repertory on this new recording. The Rotterdam Philharmonic plays gloriously for him (he became their music director in 2008 and has a contract continuing through 2018). While the BIS engineering is very clean, their engineering team has elected to have a somewhat distant effect—the orchestra is in front of you and little use is made of rear speakers. This is effective in its own way in this magic atmospheric score. It is unfortunate the only filler is the Pavane; there was plenty of space for more.

Anteater splendid BIS release features Grieg's Cello Sonata in A minor. Composed in 1883, this is a big-scale passionate work in three movements. It's interesting that Grieg's last appearance as a pianist was to accompany a very young Pablo Casals in 1906. This is grand, soaring music, so much so that it was arranged as a cello concerto which has been recorded by Rafael Wallfisch (REVIEW). Grieg's three works for violin and piano also are heard here transcribed for cello, and the SACD is filled out with Percy Grainger's charming La Scandnavie, and a brief (1:50) miniature by Carl Nielsen. The multi-channels capture he insrumens' sound with uncommon clarity. A terrific SACD!

"Seven years ago R.D. praised the Naxos disk of music of Josef Bohuslav Foerster with the Slovak Radio Orchestra directed by young American conductor Lance Friedel (REVIEW). Now we have his latest recording, a collection of Comedy Overtures, a wide variety of overtures leading the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. There cold be much more sparkle here, not only in the performances but audio quality as well. One would expect a Blu Ray audio disk to be a sonic spectacular, but this one is not. The sound picture is rather congested, and rear channels are used sparingly. Some of Naxos' Blu audio disks have been terrific (Mahler Symphony No. 8 (REVIEW), Lancino Requiem (REVIEW), and Prokofiev Symphony No. 5 (REVIEW). This new issue doesn't approach their level sonically or musically.

R.E.B. (May 2015).