> Mahler: Symphony No.1.
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Marin Alsop conducts the US orchestra in this famous
symphony - just under an hour's enjoyable listening. The eerie
slow movement has its funeral march of animals ironically based
on the Frere Jacques
children's song. It follows a long
opening movement based on Gustav Mahler's memories of childhood
sounds, full of a sense of wonder, and a second movement that
is an exuberant scherzo and trio based on a peasant dance.
The last movement is one of great intensity and Alsop's
musicians conjure up the storm of sound in exciting fashion.
Only just released, this disc was recorded in 2008 in a
concert hall, and sounds as if the brilliant dynamics of the
thrilling finale have been slightly reduced in volume.
Highlight: Tweak the volume up for that great ending!
Elina Garanca (mezzo soprano), Filarmonica del Teatro
Comunale di Bologna.
Deutsche Grammophon CD.
"Between Love and Despair" is the heading to an essay in
this disc's booklet, which helpfully provides lyrics and
Latvian singer Garanca, one of the world's leading mezzos,
made a personal selection of classics and little-known gems
for this studio recording of nine arias.
She adds her flawless, velvety technique and stylish delivery
to portray tragic heroines such as Tchaikovsky's Joan of Arc,
Gounod's Sappho and Queen of Sheba, Saint-Saens' Delilah and
other women sketched by Romantic composers. Some of this
music may be unfamiliar, but singer and orchestra (conductor
Yves Abel) bring it to life.
Berlioz's D'amour l'ardente flame from La Damnation
de Faust, however, seemed unable to reach the highest
Highlight: Mon Coeur s'ouvre a ta voix, Saint-Saens.