MUNKTELL: Sonata in E flat for Violin and Piano, Op. 21. Dix M∑elodies for voice and piano Kleines Trio for pianoo, violin and cello.
Tpbias Ringborg, violin Sofie Asplund, soprano. Kristina Winiarski, cello. Peter Friis Johansson, piano
BIS SACD 2204 TT: 73:3

GÁL: HIDDEN TREASURE - 26 unpublished lieder from 1910 - 1921.
Christian Immler, bass-baritone Helmut Deutsh, piano
BIS SACD 1543 TT: 72:25

FREEMAN: Under the Arching heavens: A Requiem A Woiderness f Sea.
Helsinki Chamber Choir Nils Schweckendieck, cond.
BIS SACD 2592 TT: 81:30

Swedish composer Helena Munktell (1852 - 1919) studied in Paris with Vincent d;Indy, who praised her orchestral works, some of which have been recorded on the Sterling label. In addition to symphonic works, Munktell composed an opera, chamber music and many lieder some of which was performed by leading singers of her time. This interesting disk opens with a half-hour Violin Sonata, Op. 21 written in 1905. It is a charming work in four movements, the second a lively scherzo. The original version of this movement is also included in this performance Another brief chamber work also is included, a Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello, one of her earliest works probably written in Sweden . There are three brief movements: Allegro Andante and Scherzo Finale. We also have ten "melodies: for version and piano. These miniatures were very popular at the time and often undated in concert programs Munktell wrote pleasant melodious music and these excellent performances are welcome additions to the catalog, doubtless mostly premiere recordings Recordings were made September 2019 in Sweden's Giresta Kyrka, Örsundsbro, and the multi-channel audio is excellent, Swedish texts and translations re provided.

Another obscure composer is Hans Gal (1890 - 1987). Born in Vienna, he spent most of his career in England. He was famous as a composer, lecturer and author. Gal wrote profusely his works including 4 operas, 4 symphonies, concertos for many instruments, chamber music and works for solo piano. He had particuar interest in the mandolin and the recorder, and wrote much music for these instruments. There are a number of recordings of varied works; you can see these on ARKIVMUSIC. This new BIS issue contains 31of Gal's previously;y unpublished lieder. All are brief, sung in German, by distinguished bass-baritone Christian Immler, who already has to his credit outstanding recordings of Baroque music. The excellent pianist is Helmut Deutsch. BIS called this album "Hidden Treasures," and indeed they are. The recording were made April 2016 in Cologne's Deutschlandfunk Kmmermusiksaal, and engineering is excellent. Compete texts and translations are provided. Anyone intresste in the art of lieder surely should investigate this unusual and welcome disk.

Finnish-American composer Alex Freeman has been (b. 1972) is another lesser-known composer. There are only a few recordings available of his music and this is his first recording for BIS. It contains two of his major choral works, and detailed program notes by the composer go into detail about what the music means to him. The featured work is lengthy (66:20) Requiem: Under the Aching Heavens for mixed chorus composed in 2018. The Requiem was commissioned by Nils Schweekekendiek and the Helsinki Choir to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Finland's Civil War in 1918. There are eleven sections with texts in Finnish, Swedish and English by Aleksis Kivi, Edith Södergran, Viljo Kajava, Siegfried Sasson, and Walt Whitman. Also included is A Wilderness of Sea which utilizes excerpts from four sonnets of Shakespeare that address two of the most universal aspects of human existence: water and impermanence. Freeman, himself a singer, understands choral textures, and his music often is poignant, particularly the opening section of the Requiem, a mother's ruminating on death as a solace for her child. Recordings were made in Finland's Uusi Paviljonki, Kauniainen. Excellent engineering with the chorus in front, rich ambience from rear speakers Compete texts and translatipns are inuded. An unusua choral release!

R.E.B. (February 2021)