BERLIOZ: Fantastic Symphony, Op. 14. WEBER-BERLIOZ: Invitation to the Dance.
Argovia Philharmonic Orch/Douglas Bostock, cond.
COVIELLO SACD 91508 TT: 1:02:03

SARASATE: Fantasies on Boieldeu's La Dam Balanche, Gounod's Faust and Mireille, Romance and Gavotte on Thomas' Mignon. Fantasy on Mozart's Don Giovanni. Fabntasy on Hérold's Zam;a.
Volker Reinhold, violin. Ralph Zedler, poiano
MDG SACD 903-1909 TT: 77:30

BERNSTEIN: Candide Overture.. ALBENIZ: Aragon, Granada, Asturias from Suite Espanola.
GENTWORTH: Blues for Gilbert. SHAWN: Three Dance Portraits. GERSHWIN: Rhapsody in Blue.
Blue Chamber Quartet (Julia Bartha, poiano. Angelika Siman, harp. HOlger Michalski, double bass. Thomas Schindl, vibrapohone)
COVIELLO SACD 91410 TT: 53:23

Doughlas Bostock is a respected conductor, but he is against the odds in this SACD of Berlioz primarily because he has little to work with. The Argovia Philharmonic sounds under-sized and cannot provide the rich orchestral sounds essential for this music. This is a tepid Fantastique, far removed from the sonic glories of other SACD versions, particularly the acclaimed version by Sir Colin Davis and the Concertgebouw. This new SACD also includes the Berlioz orchestration of Weber's , and even with this, playing time for this full-priced disk is limited. Skip this one.

Early last year this site mentioned a fine release on MDG of Sarasate fantasies on operatic themes (REVIEW). Now we have a second SACD of the same genre with the same performers, violinist Volker Reinhold, and pianist Ralph Zedler. This time they have ventured further into the world of the relatively unknown, with fantasies on themes for Mirabelle and Zampa, as well as better-known music from Faust, Mignon and Don Giovanni. All these are played vigorously and with beautiful tone, the demanding parts for both instruments tossed off with the greatest of ease. Excellent audio, as well. Recommendes!

The Blue Chamber Quartet consists of Julia Bartha, piano; Angelika Siman, harp; Holger Michalsski, double-bass; and Thomas hindl, vibraphon(. They have been performing together for some years now and this us their first recording, It features favorites (Gershwin's ;s Rhapsody in Blue/Bernstein's Candide Overture), familiar works by Albeniz, and Blues for Gilbert by Mark Glentworth, and Three Portraits by Alan Shawn. It's a bright program very well performed, and the engineers have taken full advantage of SACD's multi-channels, providing a rich encompassing audio picture. If the repertory suyi8te you, check this out.

R.E.B. (October 2015)