Leonard Slatkin and his marvelous Detroit Symphony really hit a home run with their splendid Naxos release of Rachmaninoff’s Third Symphony and
. The same could be said for the Claus Peter Flor/Malaysian Philharmonic Dvořák program on BIS 1976, boasting a stunning Symphony No. 8, and Michael Stern’s Elgar and Vaughan Williams disc with the Kansas City Symphony on Reference RR-129. The performances on these three discs can take their rightful place in the upper echelon with the very best recordings these works have ever received.
Though the entire disc is a knockout, the highlights (for me) of Michael Tilson Thomas’s
program with his magnificent San Francisco Symphony are an absolutely riveting performance of Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra and a spectacular Varèse
Giannini’s Piano Quintet and Piano Trio are early works in the composer’s output. Though they do not represent Giannini’s mature style, they are beautifully crafted and thoroughly satisfying works in their own right and as such, this MSR disc by the Manchester Music Festival is a valuable addition to the growing discography of this sadly neglected and underrated composer.
Finally, I must mention an outstanding release featuring the music of two extraordinary composers that, because of my personal involvement in the project, is disqualified from being included on my Want List. Naxos 8.573060 offers the remarkable wind band music of Nicolas Flagello and Arnold Rosner. Especially noteworthy is the dark and brooding Symphony No. 2 “Symphony of the Winds” by Flagello and the mystical and wondrous Symphony No. 8 “Trinity” by Rosner, both of which I consider to be modern-day masterpieces. Superlative performances by the University of Houston Wind Ensemble conducted by David Bertman make this disc a “must have” not only for wind band aficionados, but for the general music lover as well.
Symphony No. 3.
Symphony No. 8,
The Golden Spinning Wheel,
. Scherzo Capriccioso,
BIS 1976 (SACD)
Fantasia on Greensleeves
Stern/Kansas City SO
Tilson Thomas/Denk/Jacobs/San Francisco SO
SFS MEDIA 82193600562 (SACD)
. Piano Concerto.
Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra.
Piano Quintet. Piano Trio
Musicians of the Manchester Music Festival