This is an interesting, well-balanced program. The recently formed (1984) San Diego Chamber Orchestra and its conductor, Donald Barra, may be new to recordings, but I suspect we'll be hearing more of them if the quality of the performances heard hear is typical of their standard. Certainly the Koch recording is first-class as are the notes accompanying this issue.
The Prokofiev is a little-known orchestration by the composer of seven of the twelve pieces published as Music for Children. Written about the same time as Romeo and Juliet, is a lyrical delight. The performance here equals the old Supraphon by Alois Klima, but is much better recorded.
The Commedians is given a hair-trigger performance that isRead more surpassed in feeling, but not orchestral finesse, only by the old RCA Kondrashin. I do wish for a weightier orchestral sound (caused by a lack of low strings) in the Glinka and Tchaikovsky pieces. I still have an affection for the old Dorati Mercury of Mozartiana and hope that Philips reissues it as part of their Mercury series, but this new one certainly has better sound.
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