UBliss: Morning Heroes / Hymn to Apollo / Music for saxophone and accordion / Matthias Racz / Francaix

BLISS: Morning Heroes (A cantata for Orator, Chorus and Orchesgtra). Hymn to Apollo (original version).
Samuel West, narrator. BBC Symphony Chorus and Orch / Sir Andrew Davis, cond.
CHANDOS SACD 5158 TT: 65:122

HANDEL: Sonata HWV 360. BARTOK: Romanian Folk Dances. DEBUSSY:
Syrinx. VIVALDI: La Notte. BACH: Allemande BWV 813. PENDERECJUL Three Miniatures. DE FALLA: Siete CAncionhes. PIAZZOLA: Histoire du Tango.
Michal Knot, saxophone. Bogdan Laketic, accordion
ARS SACD 38182

FRANÇAIX: Concerto for Bassoon and Strings. Divertissement for Bassoon and Strings. TOMASI: Concerto for Bassoon and Strings with Harp. JOLIVET: Concerto for Bassoon, Strings, Harp and Klavier, VILLA-LOBOS: Ciranda on Seven Notes for Bassoon and Strings.
Mattias Rácz, bassoon. Stuttgart Chamber Orch/ Johannes Jkumpp, cond.
ARS SACD 06900

Sir Arthur Bliss (1891-1975), a major figure on England's musical scene, as a composer and a conductor, but today is far from the top of the list of favored British composers. His best known works are A Color Symphony, incidental music for the film Things to Come, Introduction and Allegro and his Elgaresque march Welcome To The Queen. He wrote concertos for piano, violin and cello, but these are seldom playe d.Blis's also composed a great deal of chamber music. He also had a conducting career and in 1955 recorded The Colour Symphony and the Introduction and Allegro for Decca, recently reissued in their magnificent huge set The Decca Sound (REVIEW). One of his strongest works is the choral work Morning Heroes written in 1930, a symphony for Orator, Chorus and Orchestra. In it he reflects on his feelings and emotions with the daily prospect of death while a soldier in World War I. / It is dedicated to the memory of the composer's brother, Francis Kennard Bliss and other comrades killed in battle. There are eight sections depicting various aspects of war with a sift vision of dawn.Also we have the premiere recording of the orchestral version of Hymn to Apollo written in 1926. Bliss said this music was a "thank you" to Pierre Monteux who had championed the composer's music in New York and Boston; the French Maestro conducted the premiere with the Concertgebouw.. Audio on this new SACD is outstanding, if not particularly "surround," Complete texts are provided.

The accordion today is accepted as a valid, important musical instrument, evidenced by a number of new recordings featuring it. This new BIS SACD offers Duo Aliada: Michal Knot, saxophone, and Bogdan Laketic, accordion. A wide range of music is heard, as listed above. These are effective transcriptions and the performances surely are expert in every way, but I imagine most blisters will not particularly enjoy this music being performed on this combination of instruments. Duo Aliada has been highly praised for their enterprise, and their distinctive sounds have been well captured by the BIS engineering team. If y0u feel adventurous for a new musical experience, check this out.

Here's yet another delightful woodwind SACD, this one featuring a wide variety of concerted works or the bassoon with various accompaniment. . Concertos by Françaix,, Tomasi and are accompanied by the seldom-heard Cirandas by Villa-Lobos. Matthias Bacz who is recognized internationally as a master of the bassoon. He has played with many major orchestras and was invited by Claudio Abbado to perform with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. Certainly he produces impressive sounds, and he is given sensitive accompaniment from the fine orchestral ensemble directed by Johannes Klumpp. Superb engineering as well.

R.E.B. (December 2015)