Classical CDs: Debussy | Beethoven | Glass

Classical CDs: Debussy | Beethoven | Glass

La Mer and other orchestral works
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Rattle
(EMI 5 58045-2)

Recorded live over several concerts at the Philharmonie last September, this stylish disc couples the ever popular La Mer with another Debussy favourite, Prélude a l'après-midi d'un faune, his languid adaptation of Mallarme's erotic poem about a faun lounging in the heat of a summer afternoon. Simon Rattle endows them with the supple authority we have come to expect of him, blessed with the Berlin's uniquely sumptuous strings. Less familiar is Debussy's ballet for children, La boîte à joujoux, for which they are joined by pianist Majella Stockhausen-Riegelbauer. Also making their debut on disc are three of Debussy's piano preludes, orchestrated by British composer Colin Matthews.

Christine Brewer (soprano), Richard Margison (tenor), Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Philharmonia/Parry
(Chandos CHAN 3123)
(2 CDs )

The Leonora of the great merican soprano Christine Brewer (who sings Isolde in Edinburgh this week) is the stand-out performance in this fine new recording, worth considering for its English translation by opera director David Pountney - elegant and incisive, despite severe cuts to the dialogue. Richard Margison as Florestan, Rebecca Evans as Marzelline and Robert Lloyd as the jailer Rocco all make distinguished contributions, with only Pavlo Hunka's insipid Pizarro failing to excite as the Philharmonia plays its collective heart out for David Parry.

Philip Glass Ensemble/Reisman
(Orange Mountain)

(2 CDs)

Who will London commission to write the pening music for the 2012 Olympics? Athens had the bright idea of asking American composer Philip Glass to come up with something for its Cultural Olympiad 2001-4; conducted by Michael Reisman in Athens as the Olympics opened, it is recorded here for the first time. Suitably multicultural, climaxing in a tune from Greek singer Eleftheria Arvanitaki in which all the musicians can join, Orion is as large and all-embracing as the constellation of its title, joining didgeridoo with sitar in a joyous hymn to life brimming with all the energy and inventiveness of its genial composer.

Best of the rest

SO & Chorus of Gran Teatre del Liceu/Bertrand de Billy
(Opus Arte OA 0913)

Covent Garden's upcoming Siegfried in Barcelona staging.

Symphonia Domestica, Eine Alpensinfonie, Oboe Concerto, Duett-Concertino
Royal Liverpool SO/Schwarz
(Avie AV 2071)

Scintillating Strauss under Gerard Schwarz.


Anthony Holden

The GuardianTramp

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