STRAVINSKY: Suite from L'Histoire du Soldat. Ragtime for Eleven Instruments. Petit Choral. Concerto in E-flat Dumbarton Oaks. Concerto in D for Strings. Suite No. 1 for Small Orchestra. Suite No. 2 for Small Orchestra.
Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen/Paavo Järvi, cond.
PENTATONE PTC 5186 046 (F) TT: 72:53 (5 channel)

STAMITZ: Sinfonia a Quattro in F. RICHTER: Sinfonia a Quattro in C. Sinfonia a Quattro in E Flat. Sinfonia a Quattro in G.
Chamber Orchestra of the New Dutch Academy/Simon Murphy, cond.
PENTATONE PTC 5186 029 (F) TT: 67:23 (5 channel)

Here are two more winners from Pentatone. The Stravinsky collection is particularly attractive as it contains some of the composer's best-known works for small orchestra in brilliant performances, vividly recorded. The entire program is a delight and another plus is the fact that the playing time is very generous (72:53). The performers are in front, appropriate ambient sound heard from the rear.

The New Dutch Academy consists of leading members of the new generation of early music performance specialists in the Netherlands. This SACD is the second volume in what is called the "Mannheim project," recordings of music by Johann Stamitz (1717-1757) and Franz Xaver Richter (1709-1789). The first volume contains some of their works written from 1740 to 1750, this one offers music written by both composers from 1750 to 1755. Expert performances with the 22-member ensemble directed by Simon Murphy, very well recorded in Oud-Katholieke Kerk in The Hague in January 2003. CD notes state some of the performance were recorded "in concert" but one can't tell which—there are no audience sounds and there is no applause. There is an oddity regarding track 12, the final track on the CD, which contains the finale of Richter's G major Sinfonia. Playing time is listed as 4:41 and that is indeed the playing time of the track—but the music stops at 4:20. This is a very minor matter; if you're interested in this repertory you'll not be disappointed by this SACD.

R.E.B. (March 2004)