Picks of the Year: 1993

Walter Simmons: Want List 1993

This year’s selection of the five most exciting releases to come my way features an international assortment of twentieth-century treasures. I have colleague Jim North to thank for bringing to my attention the marvelous program of Dutch post-romanticism, headed by Hendrik Andriessen’s neat and vigorous Fourth Symphony. Each of the remaining pieces is a treat as well. The disc, incidentally, is entitled, “400 Years of Dutch Music, Volume 8.”  Nicolas Flagello gets my vote as America’s greatest exponent of the post-romantic aesthetic, and this Phoenix release offers an excellent opportunity to discover the warm lyricism and dark, passionate intensity of his powerful personality (reviewed in 16:4). Bis deserves credit for undertaking the cycle of symphonies by the extraordinary Danish composer Vagn Holmboe, and this release is a fine introduction to his stirring and individual music (reviewed in 16:5). Korngold considered Das Wunder der Heliane his greatest work, and it is perhaps the most ambitious undertaking of this extraordinary talent. All enthusiasts of late-romantic Austro-Germanic opera will want to know this work (reviewed in 17:1).  Like Holmboe, Edmund Rubbra of England used the symphonic medium as a natural vehicle through which to express a unique and profound world-view. His Sixth and Eighth Symphonies are two of his loftiest and most sublime creations (see reviews in 16:3, 16:4 and 6:1, if your issues go back that far). 

H. ANDRIESSEN: Symphony No. 4; Ricercare; works by DIEPENBROCK, VAN GILSE, BADINGS. Spanjaard/Hague Residentie Orchestra (OLYMPIA OCD-507)

FLAGELLO: Contemplazioni di Michelangelo; Lautrec (Ballet); Cello Capriccio; Remembranceet al. Flagello/Soloists/Orchestra, Sinfonica di Roma. (PHOENIX PHCD-125)

HOLMBOE: Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5. Hughes/Jutland Opera Choir/Aarhus Symphony Orchestra. (BIS CD-572)

KORNGOLD: Das Wunder der Heliane. Mauceri/Tomowa-Sintow, Welker, de Haan, Runkel, Gedda et al./RS0 Berlin. (LONDON 436 636-2; three discs)

RUBBRA: Symphonies Nos. 6, 8; Soliloquy. Del Mar/Philharmonia Orchestra; de Saram/Handley/London Symphony Orchestra. (LYRITA SRCD-234)