A five-star review and a "pick of the month" designation from BBC Music Magazine is the latest international accolade for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's recording of Reinhold Gliere's Symphony No. 3, "Il'ya Muromets," released on the Naxos label in February.
"Falletta and her excellent orchestra give a visceral account of the score, projecting its wide range of moods, from mystery and enchantment to violence and tragic intensity," reviewer Erik Levi said.
The BBC Music Magazine is one of the most widely read classical music publications in the world. The magazine gave this disc five stars for performance and five stars for recording quality.
The disc of this rarely recorded work has drawn praise from many publications. Fanfare Magazine's feature took readers inside the May 2013 recording of the symphony. International reviews have come from the British newspaper The Telegraph; the Luxemburg-based site Pizzicato Daily News; and the French site ResMusica.
In a comment typical of reviewers, Classics Today said, "Finally, we have a superbly played, viscerally exciting, richly engineered recording that proves that the symphony does indeed 'work' as a coherent piece of music. ... This interpretation makes better sense of it than any previous version, and it's also engineered with the vividness and impact necessary to do the playing full justice."
The Buffalo News, which has been reviewing the BPO's recordings since the 1946 world premiere recording of Shostakovich's Stalingrad Symphony, called the Gliere disc the best yet.
This disc was the 28th recording completed by the Buffalo Philharmonic since the beginning of Music Director JoAnn Falletta's tenure in 1999. The BPO records on its own label, Beau Fleuve, and on the international classical label Naxos Records. This was the 18th recording completed for Naxos, and several other recording projects for the label are in the works. These recordings are available on the Naxos website, on amazon.com, and at countless other classical websites and brick-and-mortar record stores.
Through these recordings, the BPO is heard on broadcast and satellite classical radio stations worldwide. In addition, the BPO's concerts can be heard regularly on American Public Media's "Performance Today," which is syndicated on public radio stations in 225 cities in the U.S., and available online. The program reaches an estimated 5 million listeners weekly.
The release of the Gliere Symphony No. 3 was followed by "BPO Live in Concert" on the Beau Fleuve label. This recording was captured during the BPO's 2014 "Florida Friends" tour, which saw the group perform six times in five cities throughout Florida. Strong ticket sales were reported at each venue, and the tour garnered many positive reviews.
"Rarely has an orchestra sounded so purely beautiful in sound, balance and clarity. Falletta, who has been at the helm of the band for nearly 15 years, had beyond a solid regional presence and, with recordings and tours, turned it into a truly international one," the Palm Beach Daily News said in its review.
This international presence led to the BPO winning seventh place in a contest held last fall by the UK-based website Bachtrack, which asked people to vote for their favorite orchestra. About half of the votes in the contest came from Europe.
"Given the international composition of our orchestra, it's fitting that our music has a global reach," Falletta said. "Technology has made it easy to bring our music and our story to people around the world. When we performed the Gliere symphony at Carnegie Hall, we had listeners from Russia, Japan and Germany. We're proud to serve as ambassadors for classical music and for Western New York."
"The accolades are music to our ears," said BPO Executive Director Daniel Hart. "Not only is it wonderful for our growing discography to be heard around the world, it also serves as a testament to the outstanding artistic talent of our musicians and as evidence of what will be one of Maestra Falletta's most important legacies."