Thomas Sanderling

Sergei Ivanovich Taneyev: Suite de concert; Cantata 'Ioann Damaskin'

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This may be the best disc yet in Thomas Sanderling's series of recordings of Sergei Taneyev's orchestral works. Part of the reason may have to do with these pieces, which are very different from the composer's symphonies. The religious text of the cantata John of Damascus for chorus and orchestra drew the best out of the young composer; the three-movement work features impressive counterpoint and effective choral writing. The later Suite de Concert for violin and orchestra, a violin concerto disguised as a pastiche of Baroque forms, displays the composer's humor rather than his learning. The Russian Philharmonic Orchestra plays superbly for Sanderling, giving him polished and committed readings. The Gnesin Academy Chorus is exemplary in the cantata, with a big, rich tone and a robust feeling for rhythm. Perhaps the finest thing about this disc is violinist Ilya Kaler's performance of the suite. Kaler has a ravishing tone, an outstanding technique, and a charismatic presence, and he delivers the most persuasive account of the suite since Oistrakh's. Naxos' digital sound is a bit close, but amazingly vivid and colorful.

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