HERZOGENBERG: Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor, Op. 24. Piano Truo No.2 in D minor, Op. 36.
Vienna Piano Trio
MDG SACD 942 2017 TT:65:38

BACH: Suite in C minor BWV 997. Prelude, Fugue and Allegro BWV 998. Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme BWV 645.
Ismo Eskelinen, guitar
ALBA SACD ABCD 395 TT: 54:03

SZYMANOWSKI: Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35. Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 61. KARKOWICZ: Violin Concerto in A, Op. 8.
Tasmin Little, violin. BBC Symphony Orchestra / Edward Gardner, cond.

Austrian born Heinrich Herzogenberg (1843 - 1900_ was a major figure on the musical scene during his lifetime, although he had to live in the shadow of Brahms. He composed profusely, both for solo instruments, chamber ensembles and for chorus. Relatively little of his music has been recorded, so this MDG issue of his two piano trios is of major interest (there was one previous recording of each). Here they are played by the Vienna Piano Trio consisting of David McCarroll *(violin), Matthias Gredler (cello), and Stefan Mendl (piano). The trios are rather lengthy works Each trio has has four movements, Trio No. 1 has a Presto third movement followed by a Lento (which has an exhilarating conclusion.Trio No. 2 also has a sprightly third movement. These are not masterpieces, but and it is unlikely they will become standard repertory—but we do have a chance to experience ce them.

Young Finnish guitarist Ismo Eskelinen,s recognized as a leading classical guitarist, has performed concerts, chamber music and orchestral appearances. He already has several recordings to his credit; one was mentioned on this site about a year ago (REVIEW). Now we have this disk of music of Bach arranged buy the artist: the C minor Suite, and Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme; the third work is arranged by legendary guitarist Oscar Ghiglia. The majesty of Bach's music is well conveyed via guitar, and Eskelinen's playing is sensitive and assured. Recordings were made in Finland's Snellman Hall, Kokkola, May 25 - 28, 2015. The only debit, and a major one, is that the program is so brief. (54:03). This also was the case with the other SACD.

The two violin concertos by Karol Szymanowski are gems of the repertory, particularly Concerto No. 1, made to order for violinists with lush sound and the highest virtuosity. The first time I heard it was via the 1959 mono David Oistrakh recording with the Leningrad Philharmonic, long out of the catalog. Sir[Surprisingy, ;u. few major violinists have recorded it. For whatever er reason Jascha Heifetz didn't play it. This new recording also featured a violin concerto composed in 1902 by a Polish contemporary of Szymanowski, Mieczyslaw Karlowicz, (1876 - 1909). It is quite prosaic, and it is easy to understand its neglect, no matter how well played . Tasmin Little is a major young talent who has already made highly regarded recordings of most of the major concertos. She plays with technical expertise, but the engineers have placed her quite far back, and as a result her tone does not have the warmth and richness this music deserves. She is given a strong accompaniment from the BBC Orchestra directed by John Gardner. This is a multi-channel recording made October 4 / 5, 2017 in England's Watford Town Hall. Usually Chandos recordings offer the listener a rich listening experience particularly on SACD,m but this one falls short. My current favorite recording is the live recording included in Volume 7 of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra series featuring Vesko Eschkenazy conducted by Mark Elder.

R.E.B. (October 2017)