RESPIGHI: Sinfonia dramaztica
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Edward Downes. comd.
CHANDOS CD 9213 TT: 60:29

ELGAR: Violin Concerto in B minor, Op.61. BRUCH: Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op.26.
Rachael Barton Pine, violin . BBC Symphony Orchestra / Andrew Litton, cond.
AVIE CD AV 2375 TT: 76:23

COPLAND: Symphony No. 3. Three Latin American Sketches.
Detroit Symphony Orchestra / Leonard Slatkin, cond.
NAXOS CD 8.559844 TT: 55:18

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra / Riccardo Muti, cond.
SONY CD 547700 (2 disks) TT: 53:00 / 61:00

One of my favorite major works of Ottorino Respighi is his magnificent large-scale Sinfonia drammatica. Recently this site praised an outstanding BIS SACD performed by the Liege Royal Philharmonic directed by John Neschling (REVIEW). This music is described in detail in that review. Now Chandos has reissued an older recording of this music with Edward Downes and the BBC Philharmonic, made in 1992. It is excellent in every; Downes and the BBC orchestra aso have a magnificent Chandos recording of Gliere's mighty Symphony No. 3, which you can hear on YouTube although of course to appreciate the state-of-the-art sonics you should get the CD (Chandos 9041).

The Detroit Symphony is among America's best and over the years they have recorded profusely. Of particular interest are the disks made decades ago with Paul Paray, all of which have now been reissued in updated audio. Leonard Slatkin has been music director of the Detroit Symphony since 2008. Naxos is recording a Copland d series with them and already has issued the complete Appalachian Spring (8.559806) and the complete Rodeo, with other brief works (8.559758)—both praised on this site (REVIEW). The series continues now with this fine recording of Symphony No. 3 coupled with the delightful Three Latin American Sketches. Top quality here, superb audio—and reasonable price. This is an important series.

Rachael Barton Pine has many superb recordings many of which have been mentioned on this site. She now adds to her concerto discography this set of two major works for her instrument, the Elgar and Bruch's Concerto No. 1. Recordings were made January 9 - 11, 2017 in BBC studios in London. The album is dedicated to the late Sir Neville Marriner, who originally was scheduled to accompany these works, and already made a fine recording with Barton Pine of the Mozart concertos. Surely these new recordings are among the finest of the concertos, and her silken tone and technical mastery are ever apparent. Andrew Litton and the British orchestra provide perfect accompaniment, and engineers have done their work well. This is another major release by a courageous master of the violin who has overcome physical limitations to achieve her goal of making great music.

The great Viennese tradition of a New Years Day Concert continues with this latest version, conducted by Ricardo Muti. As this site has mentioned, this concert actually is presented three times as the demand for tickets is so great and they do want to accommodate most of the Vienna dignitaries and political figures. This is the Italian conductor's fifth time leading this event, and as one would expect, performances are usually brisk and beautifully played. The program contains the usual Johann Straussian / Viennese fare, but there are many works appearing for the first time at these concerts: Josef Strauss's Viennese Frescoes, Op.249, Johann Strauss II's Bridal Parade Polka, Op. 417, and Myrtle Blossoms Waltz, Op. 395, Johann Strauss's Maria Waltz, Op. 212, the Galopp from Rossini'sWilliam Tell, Von Suppe's Boccacchio Overture, and Alfons Czibulka's Stephanie Gavotte, Op. 312. High spirits prevail, and the engineering captures the rich sounds of the Musikveon. ¹he two disks sell at budget price.

R.E.B. (January 2018)