BEETHOVEN: Symphohy No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67. Symphony No. 6 in F, Op. 68 "Pastorale"
WDR Symphony Orchestra / Marek Janowski, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186809 TT: 73:04

HANDEL: Brockes-Passion
Maria Keohanam, Joanne Lunn, Hanna Zumsande,sopranos. Daniel Carlson, Daniel Elgersma, altos. Ed Lyon, Gwilyn Bowen, tenors. Peter Harvey, Jacob Bloch Jesppersen, bass.Concerto Cpenhagen. Lars Ulrik Moprtensen, cond.
CPO 555 286 (2 dusks) TT: 152:20

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Rest. Three Shakespeare Songs. The Lark Ascending. BINGHAM - VILLIERS: The Drowned Lovers. The Blue Bird. STENHAMMAR: Three Choral Songs. ALFVEN: In Our Meadow. Limu , limu, lima. WIKANDER: King Lily of the Valley. MAHLER; Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen GJELLO: Serenity.
Maria Forsström, mezzo-sprano. Jennifer Pike, violin. Swedish Chamber Choir / Simon Phipps, cond.

This Pentatone issue of two of Beethoven's most popular symphonies seems odd for the label. Already they have Kurt Masur's superb 1972-1974 Leipzig recordings of all of the symphonies made in multi-channel audio (REVIEW). They also have several other recordings of Beethoven symphonies. Polish conductor Marek Janowski (b.1939) has had a remarkable career, holding major leadership positions with many orchestras; currently he is Music Director of the Dresden Philharmonic. Janowski has made countless recordings including all of Wagner's operas. This new release seems rather pointless. The WDR Orchestra is excellent but unexceptional, and Jarowski's interpretations are of limited interest considering the competition. The multi-channel audio does not impress. Incidentally, don't confuse Marek Janowski with the exciting dynamic conductor Vladimir Jurowski (b. 1972), who currently is Music Director of the London Philharmonic.

The remarkable Scandinavian Baroque ensemble Concerto Copenhagen is internationally famous for their dedication to their purpose. This site has praised many of their recordings, mostly recently the Bach Brandenburg Concertos (TREVIEW). Now we have their latest release, one of Handel's large-scale choral works, Brockes-Passion written in 1716, his only sacred work in German. This performance is based on the Halle edition of Handel's music to the text by Hamburg resident Barthold Heinrich Brockes.This performance by eight soloists listed above and Concerto Copenhagen directed by Kars Ulrik Mortensen will delight those who wish to experience this music as originally written. The audio is natural multi-channel, and producers have provided separate tracks for every interlude (107). Profuse program notes and the complete text and translations are included.

Chandos has an unusual SACD devoted for the most part to repertory relating to the lark. All of the music is heard in arrangements for chamber choir, the sterling sixteen-member Swedish Chamber Choir directed by Simon Phipps. Three works of Vaughan Williams are included, the seldom heard Rest and Three Shakespeare Songs, and the familiar The Lark Ascending, here with the solo violin accompanied by chamber chorus. Equally unusual is Mahler's Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen from the Rückert lieder, with the mezzo-soprano (Maria Forsström) accompanied by the chorus. This is one of many such arrangements by Clytus Gottwald. The program ends with music of Ola Gjello, Serenity, for violin and chorus. Comprehensive program notes are by Phipps The recording was made in Sweden's Arstads Kyrka, Heberg. Audio is very clear and well-balanced, but would have been be more satisfying had there been more hall resonance. Complete texts and translations are provided.

R.E.B. (Decemberr 2019)