Zemlinsky: The Mermaid, Sinfonietta / Judd, New Zealand SO

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Believe it or not, this is at least the third recording of this particular coupling. Aside from the Dausgaard listed above, there's also a set with James Conlon on EMI (probably out of print), and all of them are generally very good. The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra hasn't quite the polish of Dausgaard's Danish forces, and in the Sinfonietta greater familiarity with the music might have led to a more nuanced handling of Zemlinsky's very detailed dynamic markings, but there's very little here to criticize. James Judd usually does well in music of this period, and in The Mermaid he has the orchestra sounding larger and more lush than usual, with surprisingly rich strings and a suitably dense, saturated sonority. The work itself does go on a bit too long, and one of its main themes sounds stolen from Tchaikovsky's Francesca da Rimini, but that's hardly the fault of the performance, and the engineering is also quite good, without the oddities of balance that sometimes afflict productions from this source. A fine disc, and a very nice introduction to the composer generally.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 8570240

  • UPC: 747313024070

  • Label: Naxos

  • Composer: Alexander von Zemlinsky

  • Conductor: James Judd

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra