Saturday, February 7, 2004

Symphony no. 10 on Harmonia Mundi

I'm back after a long break. Hope you're all still out there...

The BBC's Classical Review website is featuring the new CD from Harmonia Mundi of Symphony no. 10 'Amerindia', with the Orquesta Sinfonica De Tenerife conducted by Victor Pablo Perez.

The new Harmonia Mundi Cd of Symphony 10

After only a couple of VL symphony recordings until just before the turn of the millennium, we can now choose between labels, orchestras and conductors for more than a few of the eleven symphonies. The BBC review by Andrew MacGregor notes that there are three recordings of no. 10, one of which has not been released. This would be a key disc in the soon-to-be-completed Carl St. Clair Stuttgart project of the complete symphonies. Recently Bert Berenschot let me know about the latest release in that series: Symphony no. 7 and Sinfonietta no. 1.

CPO's new CD of Symphony 7

The first recording of no. 10 was of course the Koch International Classics recording by Gisele Ben-Dor and the Santa Barbara Symphony. This disc has been a favourite of mine since it was released in 2000.

Koch's Symphony no. 10 with Gisele Ben-Dor

The BBC page has short RealAudio clips from the first and fifth movements of the Tenerife CD that give you an idea of the kind of music to expect, if not the sound quality. I'm looking forward to listening to the new disc more closely.

Here, by the way, is Bert Berenshot's posting to on the new cpo disc:

"Finally CPO released another cd in the Villa-Lobos cycle of 12 symphonies, conducted by Carl St. Clair. This time we get Symphony no.7 combined with the Sinfonietta no.1 (1916). The complexity of Symphony no. 7 dates almost audible from 1945, the same year Villa-Lobos wrote his most complex Piano Concerto (no. 1) and his most complex String Quartet (no. 9). All pieces contain more dissonant and even atonal sections he didn't write any more after 1930. Surely he did write them in the period 1917-1930 in pieces like Amazonas, Choros no. 8 and 11, the Trio and some others, but in a different way, more influenced by the 'primitivism' of those days. Symphony no. 7 is with 36 minutes longer than most of his symphonies and is a impressive piece starting with those orchestral glissandi we already know from the opening of Uirapuru and Symphony no. 11 and somewhere at the end of Genesis.

"It is combined with the early Sinfonietta no. 1 of 1916 which is much lighter and more transparant, composed for a Mozart-size orchestra and written in memoriam Mozart. It runs 23 minutes and is nice but still less typical Villa-Lobos.
So, now we still have to wait for the CPO release of no. 2 (a long piece of one hour, only recorded in the '40's by the Jansen Symphony of Los Angeles) and the choral 10th (Amerindia), already two times recorded by others the last years.

"See for information and sound samples. Until February 15th they sell it cheaper. I suppose it takes some weeks before it will be available elsewhere.

"Bert B."

Thanks for this, Bert - as usual you're on the leading edge of the Villa-Lobos recording world.

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