"Longing for Paradise:
ELGAR: Soliloquy for Oboe and Orchestra. STRAUSS: Oboe Concerto. RAVEL: Le Tombeau de Couperin. GOOSSENS: Concertino for Oboe, Op. 45.
Albrecht Mayer, oboe. Bamberg Symphony Orchestra / Jakub Hrusa, cond.
DGG CD 002894846622 TT: 64:49

ELINA GARANCA: music of Lara, Parra, Grieg, Cardillo, Curtis, Gastaldon, Tosti, Piazolla, Hermida, Sorozabal, Gardel, and Anonymous composers.
Elina Garanca, mezzo-soprano. Grand Canary Philharmonic Orchestra /Karel Mark Chichon, cond.
DGG CD 002894836217 TT: 65:39

BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 6 in A. Symphony No. 9 in D minor. WAGNER: Siegfried Idyll. Prelude to Act I of Parsifal
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra / Andris Nelsons, cond.
DGG 002894836659 (2 disks) TT: 80:33 / 71:25

CRAMER: Piano Concerto No. 4 in C, Op. 38. Piano Concerto No. 5 in C minor, Op. 48.
Howad Shelley, piano / conductor / London Mozart Players
HYPERION CD 68270 TT: 61 min

Master oboist Albrecht Mayer has held the position of principal oboe with the Bamberg Symphony and the Berlin Philharmonic. He has made many recordings with fellow artists including Emanuel Pahud, Nigel Kennedy and the King;s Singers. In 2009, he began performing on a line of wind instruments (Oboe, Oboe d'amore and English Horn) named after him by the German instrument makers Gebrüder Mönnig. Presumably that is what is heard on his latest recording which has the quixotic title Longing for Paradise, which program notes attempt to explain. The program begins with Elgar's lovely Soliloquy for oboe and orchestra followed by Richard Strauss's Oboe Concerto. Then we have Rave's "tombstone" of Couperin arranged for oboe and orchestra. The program ends with a rarity, Eugene Goossens' One Movement Concerto written in 1927 for the conductor's brother Léon, a prominent oboist of the time. It is a virtuoso display piece tossed off with the greatest of ease by Mayer. And it is intriguing to hear music by Sir Eugene, who had played in Sir Thomas Beecham's orchestra and was selected by the conductor to make a big-scale performing version of Handel's Messiah—which outraged purists and delighted everyone else. Mayer's new recording was made September 2016 in Bamberg's Joseph-Keilberth Saal, and engineering is state-of-the art.

Glamourous Latvian mezzo-soprno Elina Garanca has had a fabulus career in a wide range of repertory oar†icularly impressive in Mozart and Donizetti. Often she collaborated with Ana Netrebko; this site has praised her videos of The Opera Gala (REVIEW), and has remarkable 2009 performance as Carmen at the Met (REVIEW). She has made many recordings and the latest is this rather odd issue of Mediterranean music that includes much music that she sings beautifully but seems usually seems out of place. Often tenors sing much of this reperory wi brvura and thrilling high notes, but it doesn't work with a mazzo. Excelle audio, but limied program notes and no texts or tanslations. Not one of the famous diva's more impressive issues.

Andris Nelsons continues his Bruckner symphony series with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra with this 2-disk set that contains Symphonies 6 and 9, with music of Wagner as generous fillers. This site unenthusiastically mentioned previous issues of Symphony No. 4 (REVIEW) and Symphony No. 3 (REVIEW). This new set of symphonies 6 and 9 is more of the same. Check the catalog for truly grand performances of these works. The only plus for this new issue is that the two disks sell for eh the price of one. The exciting and magnificent playing to be experienced in the Nelsons Boston Symphony Shostakovich recordings is not heard here.

German pianist/composer Johann Baptis Cramer (1771 - 1858) was born in Mannheim. He studied with Clementi and moved to London where he spebnt the rest of his life giving numerous concerts as a leading virtuoso of his era. Beethoven thought highly of him. It was Cramer who gave Beethoven's Concerto No. 5 the title "Emperor." Cramer omposed primarily for the piano, numerous sonatas and other works as well as at least seven concertos. This fine Hyperion CD, part of their important Classical Piano Concerto series, contains Cramer's Cnceros 4 and 5. Ech has he expeted three movements and ends with a spakling lively rondo. Delightful music, perfectly played by English pianis Howard Shelley (b. 1950) who has made a caeer of resurrecing unknown works and recorded dozens of them, often conducting from the keyboard. His repertory includes erly Baroque as well as contemporryt music—he is an important artist indeed. Excellent audio in this recording made July 16-17, 2018 in London's s St. John the Evangelist, Upper Horwood.

R.E.B. (June 2019)