MOZART: Symphony No. 29, K. 201. SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 3 in D D 485.
Dogma Chamber Orchestra / Mikhail Gurewitsch, cond
MDG SACD 912 2108 TT: 53:18

BACH: The Art of the Fugue BWV 1080
Bob Van Asperen, harpsochord
AEOLUS SACD AE 10154 TT: 76:45

Music of Marcello, Vinci, Gasparini, Leo, and Handel
Magdalena Kozená, mezzo-soprano. Collegium 1704 / Vaclav Luks, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186624 TT: 81:44

The Dogma Chamber Orchestra, founded in 2004 by Mikhail Gurewitsch, is a small chamber ensemble. Their name is taken from the film director's manifesto Dogma 95, a protest against the technical side of film-making that supposedly diminishes dramatic effect. The orchestra has about 30 players and they give superb performances of these symphonies of Mozart and Schubert. Both works are presented with greatest clarity and finesse. These are live recordings made in the Dortmund Konzerthaus January 28, 2018. The orchestra has already made two SACD disks for the Audiomax label featuring modern repertory. This Mozart/Schubert release is impressive. It seems odd more music wasn't included; playing time is less than an hour.

Born in Amsterdam October 8,1947, Dutch Baroque music specialist Bob van Asperen is highly regarded as a harpsichordist, conductor and musicologist. He has made numerous recordings of a wide variety of music for various labels. On this new SACD he play's Bach's The Art of the Fugue on the brilliant rare 1741 Christian Zell harpsichord. In the score's four duets, he is joined by a former student, Bernhard Klapprott. Recording site is not indicated, nor date it was made, but engineers have captured a crystal-clear audio picture that will delight those interested in this repertory. This is a handsome presentation that includes a 56-page booklet with scholarly notes an musical illustrations in English and French.

Famed Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena has enjoyed a major career, a frequent performer in major concert venues throughout the world. Born in Bruno, Czechoslovakia in 1973, she still is a glamorous star, with perfect vocal control and consummate artistry. Her speialty is Bach and Baroque opera, and she has made many recordings of this repertory for many labels including DGG. She is now married to Sir Simon Rattle, and they have three children. Her life seems to be just about perfect in every way. Now she has signed a recording contract with Pentatone, and this is her first release for the label. She returns to early Baroque music, with this collection about tragic heroines who display their unhappiness in virtuoso fashion. It is an imaginative program that includes many orchestral interludes that set the stage for the vocal fireworks. Benetto Marcello ( 1686 - 1739) is represented by 7 excerpts from Arianna abbandonato; Leonardo Vinci (1690 - 1730) by three excerpts from Maria dolorata; Leonardo Leo (1694 - 1744) by three selections from Amgelica e Medoro; Francesco Gasparini (1661 - 1727) has but one aria from Atalia. More familiar music of Handel completes the disk. Some of this music has not been performed since its premiere. The Baroque ensemble Collegium 1704, a dynamic group, plays with intensity under conductor Vaclav Luks. The recordings were made September 2018 in Prague's Church of Saint Anne, and the engineers have captured a most realistic sound. Complete texts and translations are included A superb issue in every way!

R.E.B. (June 2019)