Long Live Classical Music!

Last week, Reference Recordings, of San Francisco, announced that it is planning five new symphonic projects to be recorded by "Prof." Keith Johnson in 88.2kHz, HDCD, 5-channel discrete surround sound. These will be released on standard two-channel CD in the coming year, and eventually on DVD-Audio disc. According to RR, with these ambitious plans, the company hopes to reverse the industry-wide decline in new recordings of classical orchestral music.

With Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra in mid-February sessions, RR will record music by Leonard Bernstein (Oue was Bernstein's last protégé), including two world-premiere recordings: a new orchestral suite from Candide, and orchestrations of Five Songs, featuring mezzo Beth Clayton. Also on the program are the Divertimento for Orchestra and "Three Meditations" from Mass. RR will record Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra in Das Lied von der Erde by Gustav Mahler, with mezzo Michelle De Young and tenor Jon Villars. Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra will also record A Ring of Time, by American composer Dominick Argento, for a CD of Argento's orchestral music to be completed in the year 2000.

In early March, RR travels once again to the legendary acoustics of Watford Town Hall for sessions with José Serebrier and the London Philharmonic. Serebrier will conduct world-premiere recordings of his own works---including a new composition, Winterreise, in addition to a Fantasia for Strings, and the first complete recording of his Partita for Orchestra. The second project will be a new recording of orchestral favorites by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade and Russian Easter Festival Overture.

RR recently garnered a 1999 Grammy nomination for its recording of Bruckner's Symphony 9. The disc features the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and is a 24-bit HDCD recording.