New Releases: Fauré, Fibich and the Golden Age of Venice

Email a Friend

This week's featured albums include a trip through Baroque Venice, Faure's orchestral music via Seattle, and a lush Czech romantic. 

Venice: The Golden Age
Academy for Ancient Music Berlin
Kenia Loffler, oboe
Harmonia Mundi 

The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin explores one of the surefire human-interest stories of the Baroque era: the ospedali, or girls school, in Venice where Vivaldi taught. The album contains a selection of concertos by the "Red Priest" (featuring the very fine oboist Xenia Löffler), as well as several contemporaries and successors, among them the living composer Uri Rom. His Concerto L'Olympiade is a pastiche based on the music of Vivaldi, Bach and Tessarini. The latter composer's La Stravaganza overture is played with lots of sizzle. 

Fauré: Masques Et Bergamasques
Seattle Symphony
Ludovic Morlot, conductor
Seattle Symphony Media
Available at

We've previously shared our initial enthusiasm for the Seattle Symphony's in-house label, which was launched in March to favorable notices. The fourth release on the series features the colorful and effervescent music of Gabriel Faure. This music well suits the orchestra's French music director, who is quickly putting his stamp on the busy ensemble (which appeared at Carnegie Hall in May for the Spring for Music Festival). Morlot conducts the Masques et bergamasques, Pelleas et Melisande, Élégie for cello and orchestra (with Efe Baltacigil) and Berceuse for Violin and orchestra (with concertmaster Alexander Velinzon). A fine introduction to Faure's orchestral music. 

Zdenek Fibich: Symphonic Poems
Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Marek Stilec, conductor
Available at

This is the latest installment in the Czech National Symphony's cycle dedicated to the Czech composer Zdenek Fibich (1850-1900), the last of which we told you about in September. Fibich fell into the cracks of music history, having been born just after Dvorak, just before Janacek, and ultimately overshadowed by them both. Unlike the Czech nationalists, his music looked more broadly towards Western-European late Romanticism, which is probably why he lacked enduring advocates at home. This collection includes two Shakespeare-inspired tone poems - on Otello and The Tempest - plus some shorter bucolic pieces that never outstay their welcome.