MARTINU: Rhapsody Concerto for Viola and Orchestra. Three Madrigals for Violin and V iola. Duo No. 2 for Violin and Viola. Sonata for Viola and Piano
Maxim Rysanov, viola. Alexander Sitkovetsky, violin. Katya Apekisheva, piano; BBC Symphgony ORCHESTRA/Belohlavek, cond.
BIS SACD 2030 TT: 68:00

MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 26 in D, K. 532 "Coronation." Piano Concerto N. 14 in E flat, K. 449
Tamas Vasary, pianist-conductor/Berlin Philharmonic Orch.

KANNO: The Remains of the Light III "Angel's Ladder." A Particle of Light. A Particle of Water. A Particle of Rainbow. Lunar Rinbow. Prelude for Angel
Noriko Ogawa, piano
BIS SACD 2075 TT: 72:09

This Martinu SACD is a treasure. Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) wrote profusely for string instruments, numerous concertos and other works. This BIS disk offers a fine collection of music featuring the viola, beginning with the Rhapsody-Concerto composed in 1952, a work premiered the following year by George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra with Jascha Veiss (who had commissioned the work) as soloist. It is a gentle virtuoso work of great beauty perfectly played by renowned master violist Maxim Rysanov. Strong support is given by the BBC Symphony under Czech master Jiri /Belohlavek in this recoding made November 10, 2011 in the Barbican The disk is filled out with other works of Martinu written for viola and violin (with Alexander Sitkovetsky) and piano (with Katya Apekisheva). Beautifully warm sound. This superb issue offers relatively unfamiliar music in outstanding performances.

Another welcome reissue in Pentatone's multi-channel DGG recordings couples Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 14 and Piano Concerto No. 26. The recordings were made in Berlin's Philharmonie with Vasary both as pianist and conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. The recordings were made in quadraphonic (four-channel) sound, and now we can hear them as originally recorded. The elegant performances are heard with new realism. Let us hope there are many more treasures in the DGG vaults!

Never before have I heard music of Japanese composer Yoshiro Kanno (b. 1953). He is recognized as one of his country's leading composers, winner of numerous prizes. On this BIS SACD we hear some of his piano music, a sure challenge for the listener. Most of it features atmospheric clusters of piano sounds, in one work accompanied by computer-generated sounds, and in one, by a set of five metal bowls. Often this is intriguing, and the crystal clear BIS recording surely presents the music to perfection.


R.E.B.(June 2015)