GULDA: Concerto for Cello and Wind Orchestra. TCHAIKOVSKY: Rocco Variations for Cello and Wind Quintet. Andante Cantabile from String Quartet No.2.
Jakob Spahn, cello. Orchestra Academy of Bayerisches Staatsorchester / Stephen Frucht, cond.
HÄNSSLER CLASSICS HC 18016 (2 disks)

Christoph Schoener, organ
MDG SACD 949 2096 TT: 78:03

BACH: Weihnachtsoratorium (Christmas Oratorio)
Sunhae Im, soprano. Petra Noskaiova, alto. Stephan Scherpe, tenor. Kan Van der Crabben, bass. La Petite Bande / Sigiswald Kuijken, cond.
CHALLENGE CLASSICS SACD CC 72806 (2 disks) TT: 72:32 / 66:50

Viennese pianis/ composer Friedrich Gulda (1930 - 2000) was known for his performances of Mozart and Beethoven. But there was another side to him; he had interest in jazz and many of the works he composed reflect that. His Cello Concerto, is scored for cello, wind orchestra, double bass, guitar and percussion. There are five brief movements to the work. The premiere took place in 1981 with the composer conducting and Heinrih Schiff as soloist. There have been a number of recordings of this delightful work which is a showcase for the soloist This new disk features master young cellist Jakob Spahn who has ample opportunity t display his virtuosity, particularly in the Cello Concerto. . The premiere took place in 1981 with the composer conducting and Heinrich Schiff as soloist. There have been a number of rewordings of this delightful work which is a showcase for the soloist . The disk also includes two works of Tchaikovsky, the familiar Rococo Variations in an arrangement by David Stromberg,for cello accompanied by wind orchestra, and the Andante from the composer's String Quartet No. 2, another arrangement by Geringas, this time for cello, and string trio. Performers are superb, with rich accompaniments from members of the fine Bavarian orchestra. Recordings were made in two venues, Siemens Headquarters and Bayerische Staatsooper in Munich. Audio is remarkably clear and rich; excellent engineering. This is one of those "super audio" releases. The same program is on two disks. The first disk is called: .Audio CD: 16 bit, 44.1 khz. Disk 2 is Super Audio Blu-Ray and there are three playback choices described as (1) 2.0 PCM stereo / 96 khz / 24 bit. (2) 11.1 Auro-3-D (immrersive) 24 bit/96 Hz. (3) Dolby Atmos, 24 bit . 48 Khz. Depending on your playback equipment, you can hear it in stereo, ,or multi-channel. Disk 2 also contains a movie of Gulda at Siemens Headquarters: For some reason, I could not access it. My Oppo controls seemed unable to find it.

Here is a terrific disk of music of Mendelssohn performed by Christoph Schoener on the grand four organs of St Michael's Church in Hamburg. The program is called Organ Works although several of the pieces weren't written for the instrument. The program begins in stunning fashion with a transcription for organ of the Wedding March from A Midsummer Night's Dream, sounding regal indeed played on this magnificent instrument. We also have Lied ohne Worte, Op. 106 No. 2, Theme with Variations, Chorale with Variations Herzlich tut mich veriangen, Trauermarsch, Op.62 No 3 and the first of the Six Preludes and Fugues, Op. 35, originally written for piano. Schoener's recording of Brahms arranged for organ was praised on this site two years ago (REVIEW), These Mendelssohn recordings were made May 2018, and engineers have captured the huge organ sound in effective multi-channel audio.

Bach composed his Christmas Oratorio 1734 - 1735 for the Leipzig celebration. This splendid new recording attempts to recreate what Bach possibly heard at the premiere, with solo voices rqther than a choir. Sigiswald Kuijken, a specialist in Bah who has recorded many of the composer's works, is a master of Broque music. Here he leads a spirited performance of this masterpiece. He has perfect soloists, the chorus conconsiusts of somh;e bpovrd, and La La Petite Bande, equally scaled down, performs on authentic period instruments. The redording was made December 2013 in Belgium's Predikherenkrtk, Leuven. The multi-channel sound is clear, rich and well-balanced. Limited program notes, and texts and translatios are not provided. An important issue!

R.E.B. (June 2019)