Naturally, Brilliant Classics could not afford to get the best baroque performers - this is a super budget set - but one thing that the listener discovers in this set is that there are many fine, even excellent "second tier" performers of Bach's music. Many of the instrumental ensembles whose recordings are in this set are excellent. The Consort of London, for example, is a pleasant surprise. They perform the Brandenburg Concertos and the Orchestral Suites…
Performed by various soloists with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ryusuke Numajiri. Recorded both in analog and digital versions in the Japanese double-CD release. "Twill by Twilight" is a harmonically and timbrally lush work, which often evokes the tone painting breadth of Debussy and the crystalline delicacy of Webern, an outpouring of "pastel coloring…reminders of the transient nature of twilight, before the coming night and after the sunset" (Takemitsu). It is dedicated to "the memory of my dear friend Morton Feldman." Takemitsu described the work's sub-structure as developed "through strictly measured musical units, through what might be called musical principles before a melody is constituted or before a rhythm is formed." This is a very apt metaphor applicable to Morton Feldman's own compositional style. The small and broad cyclicism of the rhythm patterns in Takemitsu's work is however much more hidden – a kind of phased, elastic, non-clockwork repetition with imaginative variations.
Performed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Yuzo Toyama with soprano Rie Hamada. A beautiful digital recording of several rarely performed works by Takemitsu (the soprano part of the marvelous "Coral Island" is very difficult, for example, and the "Archipelago S" is for an unusual ensemble of instruments). Many of the subtleties of Takemitsu's writing are lost in recording (for example, subtle harmonics behind more foreground material), but the engineers made a good effort here.
This is the second volume in a series from Neeme Järvi and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande dedicated to the orchestral music of the Swiss-born composer Joachim Raff. Although he was a highly popular and prolific composer during his day, his works quickly fell out of the repertoire after his death and are largely forgotten today. The idiomatic performances by Neeme Järvi and his Swiss orchestra in Volume 1, described as ‘peerless’ by BBC Music (*****), suggest that they are the perfect performers to reinvigorate interest in Raff’s music. This second volume features the rhapsody, Abends, and a number of overtures and preludes alongside Symphony No. 5. Subtitled Lenore, the fifth is one of Raff’s so-called programme symphonies, the only one based on a precise extra-musical source: Gottfried August Bürger’s poetic ballad of the same name. The shorter works show very different sides of Raff’s compositional personality.