The second installment in Sakari Oramo's superb hybrid SACD cycle of the symphonies of Carl Nielsen on BIS presents the Symphony No. 1 in G minor and the Symphony No. 3, "Sinfonia espansiva," two ruggedly independent works that reflect the composer's late Romantic style yet point to the modernism to come. While the Symphony No. 1 was influenced by Brahms and offers a rich harmonic language, propulsive rhythms, and a fairly homogenous orchestral palette, the Symphony No. 3 is striking for its reliance on unfolding counterpoint and long-breathed lines, and most notable for the use of wordless parts for soprano and baritone voices in the pastoral slow movement. These performances by Oramo and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra are exceptional for their stunning power and spacious feeling, though the crisp details and focused sound quality will be the biggest draw for audiophiles.
Of Anton Bruckner’s 11 symphonies, the perennially popular 7th in E major is his most consistently melodious, evenly paced, & lyrically flowing, with comparatively few false starts, awkward pauses, or tedious fanfares. For this exceptional hybrid SACD from PentaTone, Yakov Kreizberg & the Vienna Symphony deliver 1 of the smoothest & roundest performances of the symphony heard in years. Yet it might actually be too polished for the liking of some old-guard Bruckner fans, who may argue that the orchestra is too mellow, luscious, & soft, & that Kreizberg’s inflections & phrases are too nuanced & sensual for the composer’s pure, almost sacred, intentions. But more important than the undeniably rich tonal quality found here is the interpretation, which draws on the style of Wagner’s most ardent music; some of the more ecstatic passages of Lohengrin & Tristan und Isolde may come to mind when one hears this disc.
You can see what Philip Glass liked about the harp in his music. On one hand, it’s a close substitute for a piano, which is involved in the originals of all three of these transcriptions. The excerpts from The Hours (tracks 7-12) were transcribed from a piano version of the original Nicole Kidman film soundtrack score, and unsurprisingly Meijer said that of the three works, that one gave her the most trouble.
This was Jimmy's best selling album ever but the title is very misleading in that these are all studio recordings, not live recordings, which means they weren't recorded at Carnegie Hall, but the tracks are in the order he performed them at a Carnegie Hall concert one week prior to recording the first dozen in the studio of this double album. This is actually the first time all of the original master tapes of this album were used as the songs recorded in mono were on all previous issues in rechanneled stereo while the true stereo tracks…