Vol. 3 of Lawrence Power's survey of the complete Hindemith work for viola features a cluster of works written for viola and orchestra in the short time between 1927 and 1930. Though Hindemith did not write a traditional concerto in the classical sense, the Op. 48 Konzertmusik, Kammermusik No. 5, and Der Schwanendreher each put the viola's abilities at the forefront of the orchestra. His personal knowledge of the instrument's technical, lyrical, and emotive abilities become quickly apparent as the viola is made to scurry around as nimbly as a violin in Konzertmusik, as emotionally rich as a cello in Trauermusik, or as colorful and evocative as a piano in Der Schwanendreher. All of these many moods are captured effortlessly by Power. His playing balances the clarity needed to execute agile passagework with the richness and depth needed for more lyrical sections. What's more, Power never gives the appearance of trying to make the viola sound like a violin; instead, he celebrates the viola's idiosyncrasies and transforms them into a rich, satisfying tapestry of sound. Joined by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under David Atherton, Vol. 3 of Power's hefty undertaking is just as worthwhile and engaging as the previous two and is certainly worth checking out.
This release continues this successful series. This ensemble has revived the music in one of the greatest collections of polyphonic music in Western Europe.
Zorn’s organ improvisations are transcendent, inspiring, outrageous and ecstatic experiences, offering a direct line to the workings of his rich compositional imagination. In this performance, recorded live at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 2013, Zorn creates a shockingly dramatic world of bizarre sonorities, spectral experimentation, hypnotic moods and stirring melodies. From first throbbing moment to last this third volume documenting Zorn’s legendary organ recitals on majestic instruments around the world presents the power of organ music at its most surprising, extreme and sublime.
This 53-CD set is more than the sum of its parts. While not all the performances and recordings are top-notch, the overall quality is very high and as a historical overview of a label known for its sonic as well as musical merits, it's full of treasures. The Mercury sound at its best is vivid and still sounds remarkable and many of these recordings - such as the marches, show tunes and orchestral showpieces conducted by Frederic Fennell - demonstrate this amply. But it's not all lollipops by any means.