Other classical: Sibelius | Invitation to the Seraglio | Scarlatti

Also reviewed: Invitation to the Seraglio | Scarlatti

Symphonies Nos 5 & 6
LSO/Davis (LSO Live LSO0037)

As with Sibelius's third and seventh symphonies, Sir Colin Davis and the LSO offer a crafty pairing: the familiar fifth, played with all the seasoned wisdom one would expect of this veteran maestro and his mean London machine, alongside the less well-known, but no less rewarding, sixth, another journey into a Finnish wonder world of alfresco beauties and introspective angst. This is Davis's third Sibelius cycle on disc; by the time it is complete, from live recordings at the Barbican, it will rival his Berlioz with the LSO as a must for serious collectors.

Invitation to the Seraglio
London Academy of Ottoman Court Music/ Araci (Warner Classics 2564 61472-2)

Now here's a curiosity, and a rewarding one for those intent on new musical discoveries. The London Academy of Ottoman Court Music was founded six years ago by composer, conductor and musicologist Emre Araci with the express purpose of exploring the Euro-Ottoman repertoire - the mid-19th century merging of Eastern and European styles in music d'occasion from military marches to salon seduction themes (hence, perhaps, the saucy title). The 21 tracks on this fascinating album, uniting exotic Turkish delights with Western styles from Strauss to Rossini, trace the beginnings of this distinctive genre and seem set to produce a wave of 'Ottomania'.

La Santissima Trinita

Véronique Gens, Roberta Invernizzi (sopranos), Vivica Genaux (contralto), Paul Agnew (tenor), Roberto Abbondanza (bass). Europa Galante/ Biondi (Virgin Classics 545 6662)

One of Scarlatti's last oratorios, its score only recently discovered, La Santissima Trinita (1715) consists of a passionate theological dispute between Faith, Divine Love, Unbelief and Time. No prizes for guessing who wins. But this is a thrilling addition to the repertoire, its metaphysical musings richly illustrating a high point of the Baroque adventure, and few are better qualified to bring it to palpitating life than that expert ensemble Europa Galante. Its founder-director Fabio Biondi has recruited an especially fine array of soloists, notably Véronique Gens and tenor Paul Agnew, to introduce a new treasure to Baroque enthusiasts.


Anthony Holden

The GuardianTramp

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