DEBUSSY: Pelléas and Meisande Symphonic Suite (arr. Nott). SCHOENBERG: Pelléas and Melisasnd, Op. 5
Susse Romande Orchestra / Jonathn Nott, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186 782 (2 disks) TT: 47:04 / 42:11

AUCOIN: Exodos For Tony. Cioncerto for Piano and Orchestra. The Orphic Moment. Its Own Accord. Dual . The Earth. Gallop.
Paul Appleby, tenor. Conor Harniick, piano. Keir GoGwit, violin. Matthew Aucoin, piano. Coleman Itzkoff, cello. Doug Balliett, bass. Anthing Roth Cosstanzo, counteertenor. Davone Tines, bass-baritone. Emi Furguson, flutes. Jonny Allen, percussion. Miranda Cuckson, violin. Boston Modern Orchestra Project / Gil Rose, cond. American Modern Opera Company.
BMOP SACD 1084 (2 disks) TT: 62:20 / 49:01

HARBISON: Diotima. Milosz Scenes for Soprano and Orchestra, Symphony No. 6.
Dawn Upshaw, soprano. Boston Modern Orchestra / Gil Rose, cond.
BMOP SACD 10083 TT: 75:22

Plléas and Mélisande, Maeterlinck's play about the forbidden love between the two was the subject of Debussys opera. The premiere was at the Opéra-Comique in 1902. Ever since then it has been performed often, even though its vocal line surely is a not a showcase for singers. However, it does contain some of Debussy's finest music. Erich Leinsdorf prepared an orchestral suite of music from the opera, primarily the orchestral interludes between ats, which he recorded in 1946 with the Cleveland Orchestra. Many other conductors performed this, but now we are indebted to Jonathan Nott who has prepared his own arrangement including not only the orchestra interludes but some of the vocal parts resuoting in a 45-minute smyphonic poem. Arnold Schoenberg's symphonic poem was composed in 1903. When Schoenberg wrote his, he was not aware that Debussy's opera. Schoenberg's symphonic poem is from his early tonal Romantic period, scored for large orchestra . It has often beenr reeorded, notably by Pierre Boulez, Herbert von Karajan and Daniuek Barenboim. This fascinating Pentatone release includes a pined text of Schoenberg's comments for a 1950 Capitol recording. Nott is Music and Artistic Director of the Suisse Romande Orchestra. He conducts superb performances of both symphonic poems. Reordings were made in Switzerland's Geneva Victoria Hall June 2019 (Schemberg) and November 2020. Excellebt audio, as usual from Pentatone's engineering staff.

The enterprising BMOP label has two more SACDs of music by contemporary American composers who have a close association with Boston. American composrer/conductor Matthew Aucoin (b. April 3, 1990) perhaps is best known as a opera composer; he already has written five of them. He also writes orchestral and chamber music. Most of his activities are centered in B the Boston area, al¥hough he recently was appointed artist-in-residence for the Los Angeles Opera. This new set offers first recordings of a variety of his works including a new opera, Gallup. This is a 15-minute "opera" with text by Jake Skeets. The major work here is a 38-minute piano concerto written in 2016, a commission from the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival. It here is played by Conor Hanick, who played the premiere Adcoin's music is marked by countless repeated notes. Often his music produces ugly, abrasive sounds. There is no music here that I would wish to hear again. The performers presumably do what can be done to present this challenging music. Texts are propvided for vocal works.

John Harbison (b. 1938) enjoys a major career as a composer, conductor and administrator. He received a Pulitzer Prize in in 1986 for his choral work The Flight Into Egypt. In 1999, he was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera to write The Great Gatsby (his third opera) to commemorate James Levine's 25 years with the company. There were 12 performances and it never appeared again. Harbison has composed profusely, six symphonies, many concertos for various instruments, along with chamber and vocal music. This new set offers two of his major symphonic works, the symphonic poem Diatroma, and Symphony No. 6 .The 20-mimite Diotima is about the ancient female philosopher. It is filled with quiet dissonance except for the boisterous conclusion, which comes too late. Milosz Song is Harbison's setting of eleven poems by Polish poet Czestaw Motosz who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980. These are sung by soprano Dawn Upshaw, scored for a small chamber ensemble as well as an orchestra. Harbison's Symphony No. 6 composed in 2011 opens with a poem by James Wright sung by a soprano. There are four movements to this. It is a dark, brooding work, highly dissonant. The BMOP and r conductor Gil Rose do what can be done for this music. Texts are provided. Again, as with the Aucoin disk above, I would not choose to experience any of this music again Texts are provided for the vocal wors. There are four movements to this. It is a dark, brooding work, highly dissonant. The BMOP and r conductor Gil Rose do what can be done for this music. On both disks texts are provided. Again, as with the Aucoin disk above, I would not choose to experience any of this music again

R.E.B. (January 2022)