"…Hickox's set has achieved the status of a classic for Britten recordings." ~sa-cd.net
After having recorded Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius (‘Recording of the Month’ in BBC Music), Sir Andrew Davis now turns to two of the composer’s most popular early choral works: Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf and The Banner of Saint George. The recording was made soon after a successful performance, featuring the same ‘excellent Bergen Philharmonic’ and ‘outstanding’ vocal forces: the ‘imposing’ baritone Alan Opie, the ‘high, incisive tenor’ Barry Banks, singing ‘fearlessly in some quite challenging passages’, and the American soprano Emily Birsan, who sang ‘with radiant delicacy’ (The Daily Telegraph).
…Jascha Horenstein's incisive, colorful support is a major asset, and the Royal Philharmonic plays beautifully for him. If you don't mind the Third Concerto cuts (or already have Martha Argerich's landmark third), these classic performances only get better with age, and the sonics are still terrific. Go for it, piano fans
Neeme Järvi brings us Vol. 3 in his survey of orchestral works by the Norwegian composer Johan Svendsen. This series has received great reviews for its idiomatic performances by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and the violinist Marianne Thorsen. Gramophone wrote of Vol. 2: ‘Järvi and his Norwegian forces are on scintillating form… to be treasured.’
An early example of trio sonatas, which dominated baroque chamber music
This series of eleven church anthems is a sterling example of doing more with less. Though their format is multiple movements for soloists and chorus and inviting of grand treatment, Handel had available only a couple of oboes and a small string band and choir (with no violas or altos for nos. 1-6). Yet each one of these anthems is a gem. Handel's music captures well the changing moods of the Psalm texts–from somber penitence to serene bliss to infectious joy to the raging of storms and seas. Though Bowman's arias lie uncomfortably low for him, he and George do fine work; Lynne Dawson, Patrizia Kwella, and Ian Partridge are delightful. Harry Christophers leads his choir and orchestra in subtly inflected and beautifully paced performances.