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Classical - Released September 4, 2015 | Naxos

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
The third volume in Marc Soustrot's series on Naxos of the five symphonies of Camille Saint-Saëns presents one of his least familiar works, the Symphony in F major, "Urbs Roma," an early effort from 1856, written when the composer was 21 years old. The symphony won a prize at a competition held by the Bordeaux Société Ste Cécile, no doubt in recognition of Saint-Saëns' skillful orchestration and many striking passages that, by turns, evoke Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Schumann. However, Saint-Saëns thought so little of the piece that he didn't publish it, and it subsequently suffered from decades of neglect. With little coverage in the concert hall or on CD, this symphony deserves a break-out recording, and Soustrot's performance with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra may be the one to secure this symphony a place in the standard repertoire. Programmed with the somewhat obscure tone poem, La jeunesse d'Hercule, and the extremely popular Danse macabre, the symphony has a fine presentation, and if Soustrot has performed a service for Saint-Saëns' music, it may be in giving new life to this long forgotten work. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 31, 2009 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released July 27, 2010 | Naxos

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released September 29, 2009 | Naxos

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
On this 2009 Naxos release, Vassily Sinaisky and the Malmö Symphony Orchestra turn in an emotionally committed and sonically lustrous performance of Franz Schmidt's Symphony No. 2 in E flat major, to follow their recording of the Symphony No. 1 in E major earlier in the same year. With this luminous and surprisingly inventive work, composed between 1911 and 1913, Schmidt abandoned his youthful and imitative Romantic style, which had been heavily influenced by the music of Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann, and advanced toward the complex harmonies, unexpected modulations, fluid rhythms, and organic counterpoint of his maturity. Fans of lush post-Romantic music will find much to like in the Symphony No. 2, for Schmidt's rich, atmospheric style seems an agreeable blending of the sounds of Anton Bruckner, Richard Strauss, and Gustav Mahler, with periodic forays into the colors and textures of Impressionism; yet all of this is unified through the integrity of an original artist. That Schmidt was a master is readily apparent in this symphony and in the elaborately constructed Fuga Solemnis for organ, brass, and percussion, which fills out the disc. In both works, the levels of his creativity are extraordinarily high and his expression is continually compelling. There is always some bold feature or novel combination to hold the attention and hardly, if ever, a cliché to distract. Naxos provides a warm and radiant reproduction for the symphony, though the change of venue from concert hall to church creates a noticeable difference in the recording of Fuga Solemnis, which is quite resonant, yet occasionally details are blurred. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 10, 2019 | Naxos

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Classical - Released June 5, 2020 | Ondine

Hi-Res Booklet
How intriguing! American conductor Robert Treviño has dedicated his debut release with Ondine to Beethoven’s symphony cycle. This is the first time the Finnish label has visited these landmarks of Western symphonic culture with a traditional Scandinavian orchestra, namely the Malmö Symphony Orchestra, which will celebrate its centenary in 2025. With a rather faded palette of sound-colour and a smooth legato, this is undoubtedly a traditional version of the nine symphonies that transports us back to an era of discographies from Herbert von Karajan and Otto Klemperer. But by no means does it belong in the past…Treviño has worked closely with the likes of Leif Segerstam, David Zinman and Michael Tilson Thomas, the two latter conductors having, incidentally, made many interventions of their own in the Beethovenian symphonies as each attempted to produce worthy reinterpretations. Tilson Thomas drastically reduced the number of musicians in his complete cycle for CBS, whilst David Zinman based his work on Jonathan Del Mar’s Barenreiter edition which restored many of the lost accents and phrases that had been altered from one hundred and fifty years of, at times, rather unscrupulous interpretations. Here, Robert Treviño’s interpretations are lyrical and rich, precise as regards polyphony and mindful of the need to find a balance rather than overstress the text. Treviño ensures that each section finds its proper place and doesn’t get lost in the overall composition, creating dialogues with a chamber-like aesthetic. The unusual “concertato” at the beginning of the last movement of Eroica is the prime example of this. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Classical - Released November 22, 2019 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet
The Malmö Symphony Orchestra and its conductor Jun Markl uphold a repertoire which is rarely heard live, specifically French music from the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. After Albéric Magnard (BIS in 1999 and 2000) and Vincent d’Indy (Naxos, 2019), they have published a Camille Saint-Saëns album (once again for Naxos). An untiring globe-trotter, Saint-Saëns peppers his music with effects which create a background of different sounds. As opposed to Louise by Gustave Charpentier or Pelléas by Debussy, Les Barbares by Saint-Saëns (conceived in 1901) is a new example of the purest tradition of of French lyricism. The harmonic richness of the score, its bountiful melodies and the opulence of its orchestration do not break any new ground. Indeed, it seems Saint-Saëns is more inventive when composing within a more classic framework. However, despite the anachronistic nature of this work, which is also identified in Ascanio, La princesse jaune, Jota aragonese, Andromaque and Ouverture d’un opéra-comique inachevé, the listener savours every note. The programme, which combines the orchestral pages of these scores (ballet, opera and other lyrical tragedy), allows the Malmö Symphony Orchestra to show the full range of their musical colour: sumptuous strings, soaring harps and an irresistible harmony make them sound like one lone supermusician. Indeed, Jun Markl sculpts the MSO with uniformity in mind - the sound recording sticks to this approach as well - highlighting the the powerful lyrical dimension of this repertoire. An inspiring and necessary account of the genius of French orchestration. © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz
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Classical - Released May 27, 2008 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet
Naxos' Charles Ives: The Three Orchestral Sets contains the three large orchestral works Ives designated as "sets," as distinct from the 10 suites of pieces Ives collected as "sets" for chamber or theater orchestra, or his four numbered symphonies. This release heralds the first complete rendering on record of the Orchestral Set No. 3, a late work that Ives worked on primarily between 1919 and 1926, although, as in the case of the Universe Symphony, occasional additions to the score were made into the 1950s. In 1919-1926, however, Ives was incredibly busy with other projects: the compilation of 114 Songs and the first publication of the Concord Sonata, not to mention the creation of numerous other ambitious compositions, including The Celestial Railroad, Four Transcriptions from "Emerson, and the Three Pieces for Quarter-Tone Piano. That Ives found the time and energy to pursue all of this creative work in addition to holding down his full-time job as an insurance executive in the wake of a debilitating heart attack that permanently sapped his strength is, in itself, a seemingly superhuman achievement. The sets are performed expertly and authoritatively by conductor and Chief Ives Society editor James Sinclair with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra; the Malmö's chamber chorus likewise joins in on the "From Hanover Square North" movement in the Orchestral Set No. 2. Orchestral Set No. 1, under its alternate title of "Three Places in New England," was once Ives' most famous orchestral work. Three distinct versions exist of the piece, the most familiar being a revision from about 1930 made at the request of Nicolas Slonimsky in a reduced orchestration; to achieve a "full orchestration" at one time, conductors simply magnified and doubled parts from the chamber orchestra version, a practice that does not represent Ives' intentions. Sinclair first edited and introduced the genuine full orchestration in the 1970s, which Ives had unwittingly endangered by cutting and pasting many of its parts into the smaller score. However, Sinclair has further uncovered the first, 1913-1914 version of the Orchestral Set 1, which departs from the familiar one in many respects: it has a longer "Impression of the St. Gaudens in the Boston Common," a shorter and more direct "Housatonic at Stockbridge," and a less dense "Putnam's Camp" with a number of variant readings in it. It is unlikely to overtake the later editions in terms of popularity -- the more developed "Housatonic at Stockbridge" is certainly to be preferred overall -- but as in the case of all Ives' variants, it is fascinating, and one is grateful to hear it at last. Although for Ives it was a purely posthumous work, the text of the Orchestral Set No. 2 has been long established, apart from some monkeying around by invasive conductors who handled the score early in its history. None among such changes are incorporated into the text Sinclair utilizes here, and the interpretation is clearer and more direct than many. One appreciates being able to understand what the chorus is singing in "From Hanover Square North," a rare reflection on current events for Ives: it was inspired by the spontaneous singing of people at a railway platform upon arrival of the news of the sinking of the Lusitania. Sinclair also achieves a balanced and well-phrased reading of the amazing "comedy" movement "The Rockstrewn Hills Join in the People's Outdoor Meeting" without sacrificing the sheer excitement of its clangor. As to the Orchestral Set No. 3, the first movement Andante moderato has been known for some time, recorded in 1979 for an obscure LP release along with some works of Roy Harris. This movement was always a tantalizing fragment that made one want to hear the whole; as Ives returns in it, for a final time, to the kinds of stacked arrangements of perfect intervals that distinguishes his 1907 orchestral piece Central Park in the Dark. Some aspects of this approach continue throughout remaining movements, as well. The second movement "comedy of Danbury reminiscence" -- as John Kirkpatrick referred to it -- returns to the 1904 Overture and March 1776 to patch over some sections and is the weakest movement of the three. Its seamy, cut and paste structure is more glaringly apparent than in any other Ives piece that uses a similar construction, and as such is a rare dud among his output. However, once finished it dovetails directly into Nors Josephson's very well achieved realization of Ives' third movement Andante, of which the source material is particularly scanty, but nevertheless yields a 13-minute movement that is one of Ives' definitive statements, and perhaps the most valedictory one in his orchestral music. This is a transcendental conception par excellence, in which Ives revisits elements from various works, the Browning Overture most obviously, and weaves them into a dreamy, otherworldly and profound atmosphere that is uniquely his. Careful ears will pick out a short passage drawn from the Concord Sonata: is this the only time Ives ever tried to orchestrate from that work? If so, Henry Brant's impulses to create a full orchestration of the Concord were on the right track after all. One wants to be a little cautious regarding Jan Swafford's assertion that the Orchestral Set No. 3 as "the most profound discovery of the many and ongoing efforts to reconstruct Ives' incomplete works" as it is hard to imagine music more profound than the Universe Symphony. However, the multiplicity of solutions in regard to that work -- and the intense disagreement among Ives' editors as to what represents his intentions there -- can be seen as a rather disconcerting development, although multiple viewpoints on its realization is what Ives wanted. The Orchestral Set No. 3, by comparison, is both sufficiently finite and definitively Ivesian; it puts the period on the end of the long sentence of his orchestral work, and it, along with this recording, further confirms Ives' place as an American composer whose voice spoke both to the whole world and beyond it, into the infinite. © TiVo
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Symphonic Music - Released January 31, 2000 | BIS

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Classical - Released October 30, 2007 | Naxos

Booklet
The catalog is brimming with superlative recordings of Grieg's Peer Gynt Suites from the monaural, stereo, and digital eras. This offering sets itself apart by pairing that popular standard with eight of Grieg's songs for voice and orchestra. Bjarte Engeset and the Malmö Symphony may be out-gunned by some bigger named conductor-orchestra combinations, but their performances here are still strong, energetic, and colorful. More importantly, the performances of the eight songs by Inger Dam-Jensen and Palle Knudsen are nearly as good as it gets in these much less familiar works. Dam-Jensen's clear, vibrant soprano is heartbreaking in "Solveig's Cradle Song," while Knudsen's big, virile baritone is heart-swelling in the ballade Henrik Wergeland. Engeset and the Malmö Symphony provide competent accompaniments. So, while the Grieg shopper looking for a Peer Gynt has many other choices, and many better ones than this, the inclusion of the songs makes this otherwise middle-of-the-road recording stand out. Produced by Morten Mogensen and engineered by Erik Nielsen, Naxos' 2006 digital sound, though not particularly warm, is sharp, colorful, and detailed. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 31, 1992 | BIS

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Classical - Released November 16, 2010 | Naxos

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Classical - Released April 30, 1992 | BIS

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Classical - Released February 4, 2013 | Naxos Special Projects

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Symphonic Music - Released October 31, 1995 | BIS

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Classical - Released August 31, 1992 | BIS

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Classical - Released July 5, 2019 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
The music on "Presentiment", a 2018 release with four orchestral works by Rolf Martinsson, was described by one critic as "bold and uncompromisingly personal, eschewing avant-garde modernism and engaging us with solidly expert conventional techniques of composition and orchestration" (MusicWeb International.com). The present volume features more of Martinssons music, performed by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra a body with which Martinsson has enjoyed a close relationship as its composer in residence. In two of the recorded works, the orchestra conducted by Paul Mägi is joined by another of Martinssons regular collaborators, the soprano Lisa Larsson. Larsson is the soloist in Ich denke Dein..., a song cycle setting five poems by Goethe, Rilke and von Eichendorff, and in Into Eternity, a longer work which in its second half incorporates two poems by the Swedish poet Karin Boye. Into Eternity was composed for the opening of the Malmö orchestra's new concert hall in 2015, and Martinsson wrote it, as well as Ich denke Dein..., with Lisa Larsson in mind. Larsson also appears on the composer's previous monograph on BIS, in his settings of poems by Emily Dickinson. © BIS Records
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Classical - Released September 30, 1990 | BIS