WAGNER: Das Rheingold
BACH: Mass in B minor
BATES: The B-Sides. Liquid Interface. Alternative Energy.
This fine performance of Das Rheingold has been issued on regular CD. Now we have †he same performance on Blu Ray mul†i-channel audio. The only difference is the sound. Although this is loisted as 5.1 audio, little use is made of rear speakers except for pleasing ambient sound. Voices are extraordinarilhy clear, alnmost too close. The cast is strong except for baritone Oleksandr Pushniek as Donner who does not have the necessary power and control in the iumportant enduing scene as he summons a thunderstorm.
Bach's Mass in B minor, composed over a period of two decades and including excerpts from some of his other works, is considered to be a towering masterpiece in the world of music. There are numerous recordings most of which utilize a modest or large chorus. This fine new recording is about as authentic as you can get, performed on original instruments of Bach's time (or replicas thereof), all tuned to the lower pitch of the era. Choral parts are performed by solo singers, and conductor Lars Ulrich Mortenson's approach is totally convincing. The smaller forces enable remarkable clarity. The performance, recorded in Copenhagen's Garnisons Church May 2013, is a model of clarity with voices perfectly balanced against the small instrumental ensemble. Text is provided. This is a memorable release in every way.
American composer Mason Bates (b. 1977, Richmond, Va.) is a leader in the world of electronic music, a scholar in the education world. He has compose dr many works for orchestra that include electronic music. Bates has enjoyed a long relationship with the San Francisco Symphony, which commissioned The B-Sides, which is included on this new SAD. There are five movements: Broom of the System, Aerosol Melody (Hanalei), Gemini in the Solar Wind, Temescal Noir, and Warehouse Medicine. Liquid Interface has four sections: Glaciers Calving, Scherzo Liquido, Crescent City, and On the Wannsee. The final work, Alternative Energy, also has four movements: Ford's Farm 1896, Chicago 2012, Xinjiang Province 2112, and Reykjavik, 2222. All are live recordings made in 2014 in Davies Symphony Hall.
Bates for years was a D.J. The B-side refers to earlier days when records had two sides, the A-side the feature, the B-side a "filler," hence the colorful titles, all described in program notes. Bates considers Liquid Interface to be his first symphony. It reflects mostly catastrophic events in various locations involved. All of this music is colorful and heavily orchestrated, with the composer providing appropriate electronic sounds. We also hear NASA cosmonauts speaking appropriately from different corners of the listening area. Sonically, this is impressive, a rich tapestry of orchestral/electronic sound, and audiophiles will surely be pleased with the test this will give their woofers. In interesting disk! I'm surprised some of the sound effects don't move around the listener; with multi-hannels they easily could have.
R.E.B. (February 2016)