A welcome entry in complete sets of Camille Saint-Saëns’ five symphonies — a composer of his caliber deserves a wealth of viewpoints.
If this is your first Bluebeard’s Castle, Susanna Mälkki’s recording makes for a fine, occasionally inspired, introduction.
There’s much to admire in the color, character, and urgency of the Minnesotans’ playing and the overall strong direction from conductor Osmo Vänskä.
Three new discs do right by Beethoven’s chamber music.
Soprano Ruby Hughes’ album is fine, well played, sung, and programmed; baritone Christoph Prégardien delivers vocal works by Mahler, Alexander von Zemlinsky, and Max Reger with warmth; soprano Diana Damrau is in her glorious prime singing the songs of Strauss.
Lovers of American music, don’t miss Aspects of America: The Pulitzer Edition ; Lindberg’s recording of Leonard Bernstein’s first two symphonies lacks a compelling command of the musician’s singular voice; the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra tackles four pieces by Morton Gould.
The relative infrequency of big Berio releases makes new recordings of his major works into significant, contemporary music events; Dennis Russell Davies’ new recording of Bernstein’s Mass is done in by lax vocals and a paucity of emotional consistency; Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra supply a great Shostakovich Thirteenth Symphony.
Nancy Dalberg’s string quartets are worth getting to know, Wynton Marsalis’s violin concerto receives an electrifying performance, and Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra continue to churn out a less than necessary Mahler cycle.
A can’t-miss album of Bartók Ballets, Thierry Fischer continues to do right by the symphonies of Saint-Saëns, and a spirited recording of the “last great symphony in the German Romantic tradition.”
Vladimir Jurowski’s new recording of Rachmaninoff’s Symphony no. 1 is a tightly-played, exciting reading; The Yiddish Cabaret’s only real offense relates to poor labeling; The transcriptions in Russian Masquerade are played with spunk and vitality.