D’Indy: Orchestral Works, Volume 1—Jour d’été à la montagne; La Forêt enchantée; Souvenirs. Iceland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Rumon Gamba. Chandos. $18.99.
Grainger: Transcriptions for Wind Orchestra. Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra conducted by Clark Randell. Chandos. $18.99.
Schubert: Mass No. 6 in E-flat Major, D. 950. Soloists and Collegium Musicum 90 conducted by Richard Hickox. Chandos. $18.99.
The independent label Chandos, which is now being distributed by Naxos, has an enviable longstanding reputation for exploring less-familiar classical repertoire with very high-quality performances, presented in outstanding sound. These three new releases show why Chandos fully deserves the esteem in which it is held. The music is less-known, if not necessarily unknown; all performances are top-notch; there are some premiere recordings among the works; the sound is uniformly excellent, with greater warmth and presence than is to be found on many CDs; and even the enclosed booklets are far more detailed than is common in CD releases, containing extensive background information, guides to the music and full texts of vocal works – much as the best enclosures did when vinyl records were the dominant form of recorded music.
The CD of Vincent d’Indy’s music shows the composer both in his maturity and in his youthful phase, when he was much influenced by Wagner. La Forêt enchantée, the earliest work, was first performed in 1878, two years after d’Indy attended the premiere of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen in
The Percy Grainger CD, which includes a number of premiere recordings, consists mainly of transcriptions from a collection that Grainger called
Schubert’s Mass No. 6 does not qualify as an unknown work –