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Symphonies - Released June 10, 2016 | Dacapo SACD

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - 4 étoiles Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
The music of Danish composer Per Nørgård contains multitudes, one might say. It is perhaps best experienced through his symphonies, which tend to contain and juxtapose many of his ideas. The packaging of this Dacapo recording of two of Nørgård's symphonies puts it well with the words that "[h]is music stems from an insatiable urge to explore the phenomena of the world and the possibilities of music." Nørgård was mentored in the 1950s by the elderly Sibelius, and in the Symphony No. 6 ("At the End of the Day") suggests a Sibelius for modern times, influenced by the great Finn's spiritual encounter with the Scandinavian natural world and by the vast, subtle detail of his orchestral canvases, yet with a kind of obsessive intensity. Sample the opening movement of the first track, which evokes and then blasts through classical formal ideas. The Symphony No. 2 in One Movement marked one of the first appearances of an "infinity principle" of motivic derivation that appears in many of Nørgård's works. A full measure of credit goes to the Oslo Philharmonic under John Storgårds; the orchestra conveys the excitement of playing well at the limit of its abilities, and Storgårds catches many small details. Part of a series devoted to Nørgård's symphonies, this release is perhaps especially recommended. © TiVo
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Symphonic Music - Released January 4, 2019 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released November 1, 2019 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
In this their third volume of orchestral works of Antheil, John Storgårds and the BBC Philharmonic present a collection of scores spanning the whole of Antheil’s compositional life. Written in the early 1920s, the First Symphony is full of Antheil’s enthusiasm for the mechanical, and takes strong leads from the prevailing sound of the jazz era as well as a nostalgic look back to its predecessor, ragtime. Antheil regarded this work as ‘a young symphony with the feeling of summertime in eastern America in it’. For it he drew heavily on his experiences of his home town of Trenton, and the nearby Delaware River. His ballet score Capital of the World dates from the mid-1950s, and was based on a short story by Hemmingway. The Golden Bird was originally conceived as a solo piano piece, and in his translation of the piece from piano to orchestra Antheil demonstrates an ability equal to Ravel’s to think simultaneously in two musical media. The concert overture McKonkey’s Ferry is based on a painting of George Washington and his continental army crossing the Delaware River at Christmas 1776 at McKonkey’s Ferry, near Trenton – an event that proved a turning point in the Revolutionary war. © Chandos
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released May 26, 2009 | BIS

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Classical - Released June 1, 2008 | BIS

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To say the least, Kalevi Aho's Twelfth Symphony is unique in musical history. Like Wagner's Parsifal, it was written to be performed in a specific acoustic environment. But while Parsifal was composed for Wagner's six-year-old Festspielhaus in Bayreuth, Aho's Twelfth was composed for Finland's million-year-old Luosto Mountain in Lapland, hence the sobriquet Luosto Symphony. Commissioned by Soldankylä, the city at the base of the mountain, Aho wrote his Twelfth after carefully exploring the mountain slopes' acoustical properties and many of his artistic decisions were dictated by his findings. Given that vast stage, for example, the work would contain no fast sections requiring precision ensemble playing. And because it would be played outside, the possibility of an audible wind had to be taken into account. Like Nielsen's Fourth, Aho's Twelfth includes parts for antiphonal percussionists. But while Nielsen's work features two percussionists at opposite sides of the stage, Aho's work features four percussionists on opposite corners of the mountain, plus six brass players in a wide ring around the orchestra. And like Nielsen's Third, Aho's Twelfth includes wordless soprano and tenor parts to one of the work's four movements adds a saxophone obbligato. Beyond these additions, Aho's work is scored for large orchestra arranged on the mountain's lower slopes and a chamber orchestra on its upper slopes. Fortunately or unfortunately, this world-premiere recording of the Luosto Symphony with John Storgårds leading the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Lapland was not recorded at Luosto Mountain but rather at Sibelius Hall in Lahti, Finland. Though some might regret the loss of acoustic authenticity, more will be delighted that this 2007 BIS disc is one of the most sonically spectacular recordings ever made. Recorded in super audio sound, the experience of Aho's Twelfth as it comes at the listener from all sides is absolutely overwhelming. The percussion at the start of the opening movement is frightening. The brass at the climax of the second movement is crushing. The soprano, tenor, and saxophone trio in the third movement is tactile. And the sound of both orchestras and all the off-stage brass and percussion going full tilt at the climax of the closing movement is beyond description. Whether in the view of musical history the Luosto Symphony is more of an updated rewrite of Strauss' Eine Alpensinfonie than a timeless classic like Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony remains to be seen. But in the meantime, any listener with super audio playback system and four or more speakers will probably enjoy taking it out for a spin. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2002 | Ondine

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Classical - Released January 1, 2007 | Da Capo

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Symphonies - Released March 27, 2020 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet
1905 was a year of revolutionary upheaval in pre-Soviet Russia. Shostakovich based this work on the events of one episode of that year, when thousands of workers and their families converged on the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg to petition the Tsar over their working and living conditions. The Tsar had been advised to leave, no-one was there to accept the petition, and the authorities resorted to cavalry charges to disperse the crowd. With 200 dead and 500 wounded, this incident damaged the Tsar’s reputation and flamed the fire of revolution in the masses. Whether the work was intended as a politically correct commemoration to please his Soviet paymasters, or actually as a commentary on the 1956 Hungarian uprising, remains under debate. There is no doubt, however, that this majestic score, almost filmic in its conception, remains a milestone in Shostakovich’s output. The BBC Philharmonic under John Storgårds captures here the tremendous intensity of the work. For perhaps the first time for sixty years, this recording uses four church bells, on loan from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, rather than the standard orchestral tubular bells. Church bells may be heard on the earliest recording of the Eleventh Symphony, by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under Yevgeny Mravinsky in 1959, and may therefore be presumed to have the composer’s approval. John Storgårds has chosen to let them ring on after the end of the work, an option also favoured in performance by Mstislav Rostropovich. © Chandos
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Opera - Released August 11, 2007 | Aulos MusiKado

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Classical - Released January 1, 1996 | Ondine