------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Berlioz Requiem / Eldbjorg Hemsing / Schlagobers / Ligeti Melodien / Debussy Jeux

BERLIOZ: Requiem, Op. 5
Bror Magnus Todenes, enor. Choir of Coillegium. Musicum. Edvard Grieg Kor. Royal Northern College of Music Chous. BeBergen Philharmonic Choir. Bergen Philharmonic Youth Orchestra / Bergen OPhilharmonic Orchestra / Edward Gardner, cond.
CHANDOS SACD 5219 TT: 80:54

BRAHMS: Symphony No 3 in F, Op. 90. SEGERSTAM: Symph0ny No. 294 "Songs of a U*nuicorn heralding...."
Tuki Philharmonic Orchestra / Leif Segerstam, cond.
ALBA SACD ABCD 420 TT: 61;12

DVORAK: Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53. SUK: Fantasy in G minor, Op. 24. Liebeslied, Op. 7 No. 1
Eldbjorg Hemsing, violin. Antwerp Symphony Orchestra / Alan Buribayev, cond.
BIS SACD 2246 TT: 63:02

The countless recordings of Berlioz's magnificent Requiem include performances conducted by Beecham, Bernstein, Mitropoulos, Munch, and Sir Colin Davis. One must not overlook the famous 1958 Paris recording directed by Hermann Scherchen (look for the stereo version - REVIEW). Now we have this new one from live performances May 21 - 24 at the Bergen Festival. Edward Gardner conduits the huge choral and orchestral forces, recorded in Bergen's Grieghallen. Chandos engineers have done their usual fine engineering job. Audio is very clear and the dynamic range is extraordinary. At the climax of Tuba mirum the sound of 16 timpani, 2 bass drums and percussion is impressive indeed. And the four brass bands are heard in surround sound. I prefer to hear this music in a resonant acoustic. For me, the ideal recording is the 1969 Philips performance recorded in Westminster Cathedral with Sir Colin Davis on the podium. This has been reissued in quad sound (REVIEW). This new Gardner recording is admirable in many ways, and beautifully packaged with profuse program notes, photos and complete text and translation.— and with today's technology it is possible to fit it onto a singe disk with tplaying time of : 80:54.

Finnish conductor Leif Segerstam (b. 1944) is an amazing musician. He has been Music Director of the Turku Philharmonic since 2012 and has made a number of recordings with them. This site mentioned a previous SACD that coupled Symphony No. 1 of Brahms with Segerstam's Symphony No. 288 (he has written more than 300!!!) (REVIEW). Segerstam continues his Brahms series with this issue of Symphony No. 3, coupled with the conductor's Symphony No. 294 subtitled Songs of a UNICORN heralding..". The composer has written program notes which to me are confusing and incomprehensible. I can hear no relationship whatever between the Brahms symphony and Segerstam's opus. However, I do find the 21-minute symphony a fascinating listening experience, avoiding the cacophony of his other symphonies I have heard. It is quite gentle, impressionistic and and atmospheric and features countless horn and trombone solos in their highest registers. Worth a listen, even though the Brahms is not.

The brilliant young Norwegian violinist Eldgborg Hemsing made her debut with the Bergen Philharmonic when only 11. With an exclusive contract with BIS, her first recording was a coupling of Shostakovich's Concerto No. 1 and an obscure work by her countryman, Harald Borgström, a welcome addition to the catalog. On her second disk, sue turns to more familiar fare, the Dvorak Concerto, and Suk's Fantasy in G minor. As an attractive bonus, she plays the latter's Liebeslied in an arrangement by Stephan Koncz.for violin and orchestra The Suk Fantasia is the composer's onhy work for solo violin and orchestra. Written in 1902, it is a a single 23-minute movement with varied sections including a lovely "song of the woods." The work has not attracted major violinists over the years and there are few recordings. The young violinist does what can be done for this score, and her performance of the Dvorak is equally fine. Strong support is given by the excellent Antwerp Orchestra directed by Alan Buribayev. The recording was made September 2016 in Antwerp's De Singel, and the BIS engineers have provided a splendid sonic picture. We look forward to future releases by this remarkable young violinist.

R.E.B. (November 2018)