STRAUSS: Also srrach Zarathustra, Op. 30. MAHLER: Totenfeier. Symphonic Prelude for Orchestra (reconstructed by Albrecht Gursching.)
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra / Vladimir Jurowski, cond.
PENTATONE SACDE 518§597 TT: 64:46

Festival Prelude, Op. 61. SCHMIDT: Symphony No. 2 in E flat
Beethoven Orchestra Bonn / Stefan Blunier, cond,
MDG SACD 9372006 TT: 62:33

SCHUBERT: Piano Trio No. 2 D 929. Adagio D 897 "Notturno"
Trio Alba
MDG SACD 903 2013 TT: 60:17

Vladimir Jurowski(b. 1972, son of Mikhail Jurowski), is one of today's leading conductors in the opera house as well as the concert hall. He focuses particularly on Russian repertory, and has made many superb recordings, some of which have been praised on this site. In September 2017, Jurowski was appointed Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Berlin Radio Symphony and now we have this Strauss/Mahler SACD. Of prime interest here is the virtually unknown Symphonic Prelude, a 9-minute work that suggests little of the emotion and sound of Mahler's later works. This is understandable as it was composed when Mahler was a student of Bruckner, who doubtless was a major influence in its composition. In any case, the original manuscript and parts, recently re-discovered in the Munich Philharmonic library, is in the handwriting of and is signed by Bruckner's pupil, Rudolf Krzyanowski, who on the title page ascribes the work to Anton Bruckner.On this recording we hear an adaptation by Albrecht Sürsching.Iit surely is well performed here. I believe this is the only recording, a welcome minor addition to the Mahler catalog. Also we have the original first movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 2, Totenenfeier. I was disappointed by this performance of Zarathustra. The opening Sunrise is perfunctory. The recordings were made June 2016 in Berlin's RB B studios. The organ is played by Tobias Berndt on the Seifert Organ of the St. Matthias Kirsche in Berlin. The dubbed sound is not very impressive. There are numerous competing recordings of this Strauss masterpiece superior both musically and sonically to what is heard here.
This site mentioned a new recording of Franz Schmidt's Symphony No. 2 with the Vienna Philharmonic directed by Semyon Bychkov (REVIEW). Also available is an historic performance with the same orchestra directed by Erich Leinsdorf (REVIEW). The SACD begins with a seldom-heard work by Richard Strauss, Festival Prelude, Op. 61 which was premiered October 19, 1913 with the composer on the podium. It was commissioned to mark the dedication of the Vienna Konzerthaus. Scored for a huge orchestra with organ, it is a grand work, typical late Strauss. The most impressive performance I've heard is a live BBC Proms performance that featured the mighty Royal Albert Hall Organ in its full glory. This new recording is not as grandiose. The Schmidt symphony is given a solid performance, but this music is of limited interest. These are live recordings made March 2016 in Bonn's Beethoven Hall. Excellent rich orchestral sound.
MDG also offers a performance of Schubert's large-scale Piano Trio No. 2 with the charming Adagio D 897 as an encore. Trio Alba Trio was formed in 2008. It consists of violinist Livia Sellin, cellist Philipp Camplot. and pianist Chengcheng Zhao. They were praised for their performances at the International Competition Schubert and Modern Music in 2012. Surely these are fine performances, but the recording made January 2016 in Abtei Marienmümster Konzerthaus places performers very close which is not flattering to the string instruments. Even with the filler, playing time is rather brief.

R.E.B. (October 2017)