PENDERCKI: The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ according zzzzza to St. Luke
Sarah Wegener, soprano. Lucas Meachem, baritone. Matthew Rose, bass. Stawomir Holland, speaker. Warsaw Boys' Choir. Krakow Philharmonic Choir. Montreal Symphony Orchestra / Kent Nagano, cond.
BIS SACD 2287 TT: 66:52

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 1 in C, Op. 21. Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 36. Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op. 55 Eroica. Symphony No. 4 in B flat, Op. 60. Symphony No. 5 n C minor, Op. 67. Symphony No. 6 in F, Op. 68 Pastorale. Symphony No. 7 in A, Op 92. Symphony No. 8 in F, Op. 93. Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 Choral.
Kate Royal, soprano. Christine Rice, mezzo-soprano. Thiomas Katajala, tenor. Derek Welton, bass. MSO Festival Chorus. Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Robert Trevino, cond.
ONDINE SACD ODE 1348-5Q (5 disks) TT: 5 hr. 5:02

ZIMMERMANN: Drei frühe Klavierstüxke (1838 - 1846), Extemporale (1946). Capriccio (1946). Enchiridion (1949). Enchiridion - Anhang (1949 - 1951). Enchiridion II (Exerzitien) (1951). Konfigurationen (1956).
Eduardo Fernández, piano.
BIS SACD 2495 TT: 74:02

Krzysztof Penderecki's setting of the Passion story as told in the Gospel of St Luke was premiered in 1966 and immediately,an instant major addition to the choral repertory. It was a modern realization of the famous biblical tale, and for it Penderecki composed some of his most emotional, grandiose music. About two decades ago, this site mentioned a superb recording on MDG conducted by the composer (REVIEW). This new recording was the opening event at the Salzburg Festival July 20, 2018. It was performed in Salzburg;s Felsenrreitsshule.It was a festive occasion and the composer was present (*he died March 29, 2020). The recording was produced by Robert Suff with Carl Talbot as recording engineer, and they have produced a rich, resonant sound that is totally satisfying. The four choruses re clearly defined, and the organ sounds are grandly impressive, For many reasons this is a major addition to the catalog. Profuse program notes are provided along with the complete text and translations.

Malmö is the third largest city in Sweden. Their orchestra was founded in 1925 and has had numerous Music Directors including Vernon Handley , James DePreist, Pavo Järvi, Chrisopher König, Vassily Sinaisky, and Marc Soustrot (2011 - 2019) .American-Mexican conductor Robert Trevino is now the Principal Conductor. He already has appeared with many major orchestras in a wide range of repertory. Checking the personnel list in the program notes, it is obvious this is a full-size orchestra. Thus far Trevino has made few rewordings, and now has an exclusive contract with Ondine; this set of Beethoven symphonies is their first collaboration—and it is impressive in every way. This is a virtuoso orchestra, and they play superbly. These are live recordings made October 2019 in Sweden's Malmö Live Konzerthus, which obviously has excellent acoustics. From a sonic multi-channel standpoint, this is one of the finest sets of Beethoven's symphonies. Another plus is that the five disks are priced for the cost of two. I look forward to future Ondine releases by this excellent orchestra and its exciting young condutor

Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918 -1970) was known as one of the leading composers of the German post-war generation. He was known particularly for his opera Die Soldaten premiered in 1965, and his Requiem for a Young Poet, completed in 1969 the year before Zimmermann committed suicide . He composed in varied musical styles, atonal, twelve-tone, serialism, and his interests were broad and included jazz and pop music. This fine new SCD contains all of the music he composed for solo piano.The music is imaginatively and sometimes whimsical as in the 9-minute Capriccio which is Zimmermann's treatment of seven children's songs. This music is played to perfection by the superb prize-winning young Spanish pianist Euyardo Fernanez (his fellow countryman with the same name is a famous guitarist). This is a delightful release in every way, an important addition to the catalog. The recording was made July / August 2019 in Berlin's Teldex Studio, and the multi-channel audio could not be bettered. An important issue!

R.E.B. (June 2020)