IRELAND: A Dowland Suite. Julius Caesar: Complete Score. The
Overlander: Complete Film Score.
BARTOK: Concerto for Orchestra. The Miraculous Mandarinm Op 19.
Well over a half-century ago, Japanese musician Isao Tomita joined Wendy Carlos and Robert Moog in development of electronic music. He made a number of highly successful electronic music disks including one devoted to Debussy (Snowflakes are Dancing), which was the best-selling "classical" album of 1974. This SACD features a Ravel collection all given Tomita's unique sonic approach. It is impressive in its own rather bizarre way, but the beauty of Ravel's music is totally absent. Numerous electronic synthesizers were used in this production—they are all mentioned in CD notes. Bolero has been truncated, and Tomita decided to end it softly, surely not what Ravel intended. Those who love Ravel's music will probably be horrified. No question that as pure audio it is impressive with various sounds coming from all directions, but often the bass is blurred. Approach with extreme caution!
This new SACD of music by John Ireland contains world premiere recordings. The familiar Downland Suite is heard in an arrangement by conductor Martin Yates. Julius Caesar is a set of 13 brief interludes written in 1942 for a BBC TV production. Ireland had only ten days to complete the project, scored for woodwind, brass, piano, percussion and 2 double basses. Charles Groves conducted the premiere, and here we have the compete score as transcribed and edited from the original score by Graham Parlett. These brief episodes are mostly brass fanfares, with the exception of the Funeral March. We also have the complete score (17 tracks) for the 1942 film The Overlanders. This is big-scale music, and is heard here the complete score edited and transcribed by Graham P Parlett. Recordings were made in Glasgow;s RSNO Centre August 14-15, 2017, and the production team has provided a rich, full and effective multi-channel sound. Recommended!
Pierre Boulez's Bartok recordings with the New York Philharmonic were highly praised when originally released. Concerto for Orchestra was recorded in Manhattan Center's Grand Ballroom December 18, 1972, Mandarin in Philharmonic Hall My 11, 1971. Edward T. Graham and Raymond Moore were engineers for both and in spite of the different venues they have provided a most satisfying multi-channel audio picture that puts the listener right in the middle of the orchestra. It is very impressive indeed. I find Mandariun, with its detiled, rich orchestra textures, even more interesting than the Concerto. There is a brief choral part, ably sung by Schola Canturm, and engineers have placed them in rear speakers most effectifely. These performances were issued on SACD by Columbia in 2002, but discontinued shortly thereafter. Don't miss these outstanding performances, brilliantly recorded.
R.E.B. (January 2019)