MENDELSSOHN: Symphony No. 5 "Reformation." Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage Overture. Ruy Blas Overture
London Symphony Orch/Sir John Eliot Gardiner, cond.
LSO LIVE SACD/BLU RAY AUDIO 0775 (2 disks) TT: 47:09

BEETHOVEN: StringQuartet in F, Op. 18 No. 1. String Quartet in C sharp minor, Op. 131 No. 14
Quartetto di Cremona
AUDITE SACD 92.683 TT: 67:45

SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 9. Violin Concerto No. 1
Leonid Kavakos, violin; Mariinsky Orch/Valery Gergiev, cond.

The LSO LIVE series apparently is starting a "mostly Mendelssohn" series;" Their first release was last fall, a disk containing Fngal's Cave Overture and the "Scottish" smphony, along with Schumann's Piano Concerto with Maria Joao Pires as soloist. That was a 2-disk release, one SACD and the other Blu Ray audio with the same program. This new addition to the series is all Mendelssohn as listed above, vibrant performances, very well played, recorded in the Barbican Theater in March and October 2014. This is some of the finest audio from the venue, but why so little music? Playing time is 47 minutes (!). It is true that the two disks sell for the price of one, but that is little solace, but why this two-disk special treatment?

This past Novmber this site praised an SACD of two of Beethoven's Quartets performed by Quartetto di Cremona (REVIEW). Now we have Volume 4 in the group's traversal of the composer';s quartets coupling the first with one of the last. Again the high performance standards are ever apparent, Audite engineers have provided a perfectly natural audio picture. This is a splendid issue, but it has very strong competition from the Tokyo String Quartet's Harmonia Mundi 8-disk set of all of the quartets on SACD at budget price..

In recent yeas, Valery Gergiev and his Mariinsky Orchestra have recorded all of the Shostakovich symphonies, sometimes more than once. This superb new SACD contins Symphony No. 9 recorded live June 16, 2012, apparently with touchup sessions two days later, and Violin Concerto No. June 17, 2011 with touchup sessions the following day. James Mallinson was the producer and he and his staff have produced a splendid sonic picture of a large orchestra—sound is sure to please audiophiles with its razor-sharp definition and wide dynamic range. And the performances are among the best. And if this combinaton of conductor/composer appeals to you, investigate the Arthaus Musik DVD set (8 disks) of all of the symphonies and concerrtos recorded live during the last year in Salle Pleyel in Paris, soon to be revieed on this site.

R.E.B. (May 2015)