GIULIANI: Guitar Concerto No. 1 in A, Op. 30. RODRIGO: Concierto Madrigal. Sones en La Giralda.
Pepe Romero, Angel Romero, guitarists; Catherine Michel, harpist; Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/Sir Neville Marriner, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186 141 (5 channel) TT: 59:50

BACH: The Art of the Fugue.
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/Sir Neville Marriner, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186 140 (5 channel) TT: 80:27


SCHUMANN: Frauenliebe und Leben, Op. 42. SCHUBERT: Lieder für Gretchen. Lieder für Ellen und Suleika. Ellens Gesänge.
Elly Ameling, soprano; Dalton Baldwin, pianist
PENTATONE SACD 5186 131 (5 channel) TT: 65:00


MOZART: Opera and Concert Arias: Chi sa, chi sa qual sia. Giunse al fin il momento - Deh veini, non tardar. Voi che sapete. Non so piu cosa son. Misera, dove son! Temerari! Sortite fuori di questo loco - Come scoglio. Batti, batti, o bel Masetto. Vendrai, carino. Ch'io mi scordi di te? (with pianist Dalton Baldwin). SCHUBERT: Arias from Claudine von Villa Bella, D. 239, Die Bürgschaft, D. 435, Die Zweillungsbrüder, D. 647, Alfonso und Estrella, D. 732, and Romanza from Die Verschworenen, D. 787.
Elly Ameling, soprano; English Chamber Orch (Mozart); Rotterdam Philharmonic Orch (Schubert); Edo de Waart, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186 133 (5 channel) TT: 65:47

Here are four more winners from Pentatone, all in their RQR (Remastered Quadro Recordings) series recorded 1972-1975. This RQR series offers some of the most natural recorded sound you'll ever hear, performers performing in an ideal space. Although the CD player reade 5 channel, actually there are only four—no center, no low-frequency. The guitar SACD is a particular pleasure to hear, offering Giuliani's delightful first guitar concerto with Pepe Romero as soloist, as well as Rodrigo's Concierto Madrigal, in which he is joined by his brother, Angel. This actually is a ten-movement suite of dances from the Spanish and Afro-American Folklore. As a bonus we have the same composer's Sones en la Giralda, scored for harp and orchestra, with Catherine Michel as soloist. Although recordings on this SACD were made in two locations, the surround sound and overall effect is the same, that is to say totally satisfactory.

The two Elly Ameling SACDs are welcome additions to the surround catalog. The Dutch soprano's artistry is consummate and when these recordings were made, 1972-1975, she was in her prime. She is perfectly balanced with the piano and orchestral accompaniments. Texts in German with English translations are provided. Marriner's Art of the Fugue, recorded Brent Town Hall, London in July 1974, is , as expected from the participants, a splendid performance, superbly recorded. It also is one of the longest SACDs: 80:27.

All four SACDs are highly recommended.

R.E.B. (October 2004)