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Symphonic Music - Released January 12, 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.
Symphonies - Released November 3, 2017 | BR-Klassik
As one of Anton Bruckner's more experimental symphonies, the Symphony No. 6 in A major has never been as popular as the Symphony No. 4 in E flat major, "Romantic," or the Symphony No. 7 in E major; consequently, it has been recorded less often than any other of the mature symphonies. Yet this is one of his most intriguing works, insofar as it defies expectations by having no tremolo opening, no unnecessary pauses, few fanfares, and surprisingly little bombast in its relatively compact and direct movements; it seems more abstract and purely musical because it lacks any of the programmatic or biographical associations that affect the other symphonies. Furthermore, Bruckner's rhythmic patterns are more complex and interesting in this piece than in any previous symphony, and his modulations and harmonic choices are decidedly more adventurous, particularly in the increasing use of dissonance to build tension throughout each movement. In this live 2003 performance by Bernard Haitink and the Dresden Staatskapelle, the symphony's unique characteristics are emphasized, so the striking cross-rhythms and ingenious suspensions are always easy to make out, and every detail in the score is conveyed with precision and clarity. This recording has exceptional reproduction with few audience noises (really only audible in the breaks between movements), and the orchestra's dynamic range is extremely wide, so audiophiles will find the sound to be subtle and delightfully nuanced, qualities that are rather hard to come by in live Bruckner recordings.
Symphonies - Released October 27, 2017 | Sony Classical
Symphonies - Released October 13, 2017 | Naxos
Let’s start by saying this is not a “complete” collection of Havergal Brian’s symphonies in the true sense of the word, meaning a complete collection in which all symphonies are recorded by the same orchestra, with the same conductor over a more-or-less-precise period of time. However Naxos can boast about being able to offer all thirty-two of this unique composer’s symphonies, the oldest recordings dating back twenty years and just a few months for the most recent ones. It’s also worth mentioning that several of these symphonies had never been recorded before, further highlighting the rarity of this collection. The first one, Gothic − started in 1919 and only completed in 1927 − is highly majestic, with an orchestra of 210 performers and a choir that would need to exceed 500 people to be heard over the 17 percussionists, 68 brass and 32 woodwinds of the ensemble. Lasting almost two hours in total it is one of the most imposing of the entire repertoire. Quickly however Brian had to make amends and move towards more reasonable formats, with the vast majority lasting around 20 minutes, and the shortest – the aptly named 22nd, Sinfonia brevis from 1965 – doesn’t exceed nine minutes. In this complete collection, the listener will find everything and its opposite, big surprises, others more staggering or odd, never radical, but Havergal Brian will undeniable move you, with a personal language that can’t quite be categorised, neither modern nor old, but stubbornly Havergalbrianian. In addition to his symphonies, some albums also feature concertos, overtures and isolated orchestral pieces that offer a different way to approach the work of this unique character.
Symphonic Music - Released September 29, 2017 | Aparté
Symphonic Music - Released February 3, 2017 | BIS
Conductor Osmo Vänskä has used his residency at the Minnesota Orchestra to revisit the symphonic music of Jean Sibelius, which he recorded some years ago in acclaimed version with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra in his native Finland. In Vänskä's hands, the meaty epic Kullervo has always been a crowd favorite, and it was a natural for the new version offered here. What's new? The energy of live performance for one thing, with the recorded product artfully stitched together from three nights of music at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. The key vocal soloist, mezzo-soprano Lilli Paasikivi, is actually the same one who appeared on the Lahti Symphony recording, back in the '90s, and she's glorious. Sample the deliberate slow movement "Kullervo's Youth," which in no way lacks intensity: it seems to bespeak great natural forces, and the whole orchestra has a remarkable quality of seeming to flow slowly in a distant epic world. The other major new factor here is the presence of a new work, Migrations, by Finnish composer Olli Kortekangas. The work was commissioned both to mark the Finnish migrations to Minnesota and to provide a companion piece for Kullervo (it was actually intended as a prelude and might have functioned better in that spot in the recording, but was probably relegated to the end so that Kullervo would fit onto the first CD of the double set). It offers a mix of instrumental and vocal movements, the latter set to texts by Minnesota Finnish-American poet Sheila Packa. "The Man Lived in a Tree" is a delightful bit of Nordic Americana, but you'd be hard-pressed to connect the words in the piece as a whole to the specific theme of Finnish migration to America without prior consultation or explanation, and Finland's YL Male Vocal Choir is not overly clear in their English enunciation. They do, however, provide a stirring performance of Sibelius' Finlandia, Op. 26, in a unique version that combines the orchestral original with a choral arrangement Sibelius made in 1940; it was one of the last things he wrote, and it wraps up a concert like this in a very satisfying way. This is a worthwhile purchase for the legions who think Vänskä is the great Sibelius interpreter of our time.
Symphonic Music - Released June 3, 2016 | BR-Klassik
Symphonic Music - Released March 17, 2016 | Sony Classical
Symphonies - Released February 19, 2016 | harmonia mundi
Symphonic Music - Released April 21, 2015 | Aeon