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PABLO CASALS (1879-1973) El Pessebre (The Crib) - oratorio (1945?) Ana Maria Sanchez (sop) Raquel Pierrotti (con) Joan Cabero (ten) Enric Serra (bar) Stefano Palatchi (bass) Orfeo Catala, Cor de Cambra del Palau de la Musica/Jordi Casas Orquestra Sinfonica de Barcelona I Nacional de  Catalunya /Lawrence Foster rec Barcelona 3-6 Sept 1997 AUVIDIS IBERICA NAIVE V4866 2 CD set [47.03+49.57] [RB]

Highly recommended to choral conductors looking for a novelty for Christmas. There is much here to enjoy.

Stephen CHATMAN Choral Music Linda Lee Thomas (piano) Roger Cole (oboe)
Vancouver Chamber Choir/Jon Washburn rec 26-29 Oct 1999  CBC RECORDS MVCD 1132 [71.14] [RB]

Freshly inventive tonal choral settings largely in the choral tradition represented by Geoffrey Bush and Herbert Howells perceptively recorded and brilliantly performed.

CHOPIN  Piano Concerto in E minor, Op.11, Scherzo in Bb minor Op.31, Waltz in Ab major Op.34/1 & short pieces by Rachmaninov, Mendelssohn, A. Rubinstein, Weber, Schytte & von Sternberg. Joseph Hofmann   Nimbus Grand Piano NI 8819 [75.57]

These performances show Joseph Hofmann (1876-1957) in his prime; he went into a sad decline in later life and retired in the '40s, the worse for too much drinking. He made this Duo-Art recording of the Chopin E minor Piano Concerto in 1925, and the shorter pieces were committed to piano rolls at various dates between 1919 & 1928.

CLERAMBAULT  Livre d'orgue; Chants du Salut   Jean Boyer (organ) with Les Demoiselles de Saint-Cyr/Emmanuel Mandrin Virgin Veritas VC5 61777 2 [65.47]  [PW]

The present Music at Versailles series is devoted to discovering or rediscovering little known gems from France's musical heritage.

COUPERIN Organ works (Fantaisies etc) Jan Willem Jansen Virgin Veritas VM5 61775 2 9 [56.53] [PW]

Perhaps rather a specialist's collection, but (taken a few at a time) the music should give pleasure to a wider listening public, and there are some delicious stops on this early 18.C instrument.

DEBUSSY String Quartet in G minor, op. 10 RAVEL String Quartet in F major.   Lasalle Quartet.   DG Classikon 469-591-2. [52] [GF]

This is a bargain of bargains!

Marcel DUPRÉ Complete Organ Works Vol.11  Vespers Op.18; Regina Coeli Op. 64;  Chorale & Fugue Op. 57. Jeremy Filsell (organ) Guild GMCD 7198 [55 mins]  [PW]

With this CD, Jeremy Filsell reaches the penultimate stage of his vast task, the complete recording of Marcel Dupré's compositions for organ solo.

DUSAPIN  Requiem(s) Granum Sinapis; Umbrae Mortis; Dona eis Choeur de Chambre Accentus/Ars Nova/Laurence Equilbey Auvidis/Naïve MO 782116 [PW]

In any country or musical culture, the most interesting composers are often those whose work stands apart from prevalent or mainstream trends. Pascal Dusapin, the most important French composer of the generations younger than Boulez or Barraqué, undoubtedly belongs to this category. His music has a penetrating, searing individuality that is utterly unassimilable within stylistic categories.

DVORAK (1841-1904) Symphony No. 9 in E minor, B178, 'From the New World'a. Piano Trio in E minor, B144, 'Dumky'b. Slavonic Dances, B83c. Serenade for Strings in E, B52d. Carnival Overture, B169c. aBerlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan; bBeaux Arts Trio; cBavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Rafael Kubelik; dAcademy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields/Sir Neville Marriner. DG Panorama 469 133-2 [140'34] [ADD] Recorded 1964-77. [CC]

There are some real gems in this set - certainly enough to justify the modest outlay. Buy this set, play the Slavonic Dances. And smile.

GEORGE DYSON  Violin Concerto. Children's Suite after Walter de la Mare.   Lydia Mordkovitch (violin)  City of London Sinfonia, Richard Hickox.   Chandos CHAN 9369 (DDD) (62.23) [DW]

How many versions of the Elgar Violin Concerto are currently available or of the Britten? How many of the Dyson? This Dyson concerto is vastly superior to both of these.

ELGAR  Symphony No. 1 48.09 WAGNER  Meistersinger Overture 8.17 SWR Radio SO, Stuttgart/Roger Norrington live recordings HÄNSSLER CLASSIC - FASZINATION MUSIC CD 93.000 [56.26] [RB]

Recommendable disc - great for Elgar 1. Norrington deliberate but his approach imbued with passion. Superb technically. Auspicious launch to the series.

Heino ELLER (1887-1970) Violin Concerto (1933) Symphonic Poems: Twilight (1917) Dawn (1920) Phantoms (1924)  In the Shade and in the Sunshine (1926) The Singing Fields (1951) * Viktor Pikaizen (violin) Estonian Radio SO/Peeter Lilje (Vello Pähn *) rec 1984-86 Estonian Radio BELLA MUSICA - ANTES EDITION BM-CD 31.9123 [74.14] [RB]

A lucky find for the enquiring soul with a leaning towards Nordic late romantics. Notes are pretty good with sound quality consistently with very decent digital radio broadcasts.

Eötvös Psalm 151; Psy; Triangel Zoltan Racz (percussion) UMZE Chamber Ensemble/Peter Eötvös BIS 948 [65.34] [PW]

Here is one of the most important percussion CDs I have heard for many a month..... Definitely a CD to collect if you are interested in the development of percussion during the late 20th Century. 

MANUEL DE FALLA (1876-1946) El Sombrero de tres picos, La Vida Breve - interludio y danza, El Amor Brujo Teresa Berganza (sop) Sombrero Marina de Gabarain (Amor) rec Geneva 1961 (Sombrero, Vida Breve) 1955 (Amor) L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande/Ernest Ansermet DECCA LEGENDS 466 991-2 [68.40] [RB]

A mixed bag. Vivid in the Three Cornered hat and hints of tiredness in El Amor.

JOHN FOULDS (1880-1939) Works for string quartet Quartetto Intimo (1935) 32.32
Quartetto Geniale (1935) 7.33 Aquarelles (1921) 12.51 Endellion Quartet rec St Peter's, Notting Hill Gate, 25/26 July 1981 PEARL SHE CD 9564 [53.39] [RB]

Do not forget this simply superb Foulds disc. Foulds captured in all his dangerous and tumultuously inventive lyricism.

BENJAMIN FRANKEL  The Battle of the Bulge (1965)  Queensland SO/Werner Andreas Albert  CPO 999 696-2 [HC]

All in all this magnificent release of a large-scale score is a fine tribute to Frankel as a composer of highly distinguished film scores. A very welcome offshoot in CPO's Frankel series. Recommended and not only to film buffs.

Harold FRASER SIMSON The Maid of the Mountains Janis Kelly, Christopher Maltman, Michael George, Richard Suart, The New London Light Opera Chorus and Orchestra Ronald Corp.   Hyperion CDA67190 80m DDD. [GF]

Ronald Corp follows on his immensely successful recording of Sidney Jones' 'The Geisha' with this wonderfully melodious work that has been unjustly neglected for almost eight decades.

GABRIELI (c1553 - 1612) Music for Brass, Volume 2 London Symphony Orchestra Brass
Eric Crees Recorded All Hallows Church, Gospel Oak, London.19/8/95 (14), 12/3/96 (3,6,8), 13/3/96 (2,12),28/11/97 (1,5,7,10,11), 29/11/97 (4,9,13) DDD NAXOS 8.553873 [52.04] [HD]

A strongly recommended CD - and not just for those who enjoy good brass playing.

Paul Conway appraises available recordings of the symphonies

GILBERT Dream Carousels; Igoruchki; Quartet of Beasts; Six of the Bestiary; Towards Asavari. RNCM Wind Orchestra/Timothy Reynish and New Ensemble/Clark Rundell with Peter Lawson (piano) & John Turner (recorder) NMC D068 [78 mins] [PGW]

There is an abundance of purely musical humour and fantasy, making for an excellent long listen, nearly 80 minutes, and with NMC's production standards, a good bargain too. Gilbert manages all his disparate instrumental combinations with easy aplomb and there are many bright sounds to relish. Hard to describe; hear it instead!

GLAZUNOV The Seasons - ballet * rec 1929 Symphony No. 7 ** rec 1950 * symphony orchestra/composer ** Soviet State Radio SO/Nikolai Golovanov PEARL GEMM CD 9404 [70.38] [RB]

Experience authentic Glazunov in historic performances. Neither conductor dawdles. You need to be tolerant of historic sound.

GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) The King of the Jews (1913) 53.33 Introduction and Dance of Salome (1908) 15.31 Russian State Symphonic Cappella Russian State SO/Valeri Polyansky rec Moscow Jan 1998 May 1997 CHANDOS CHAN9824 [69.09] [RB]

To date Polyansky is better in this incidental music than in the Symphonies. If you want the music for King of the Jews alone then the Naxos version is worth considering. Otherwise this full price disc is strongly recommendable as a generous selection of Glazunov's music for the theatre.

GODOWSKY Java Suite (1925) World Premiere Recording Alexander TANSMAN Exotique,
La Flute de Bambou dans la foret de Bandoeng, Le Gamelang de Bali
Esther Budiardjo (piano)
rec 12-13 Aug 1999, New Jersey PROPIANO PPR224529 [60.38] [RB]

Premiere CD of the Java Suite in extremely sympathetic performance and sound.

GIOVANNI MANE GIORNOVICHI Violin Concertos Vol 3 Nos 6,2 & 10.   Tania Davison, Brittany Kotheimer, Sha Ye, Starling Chamber Orchestra Kurt Sassmannshaus. Arte Nova 74321 654262 DDD. [GF]

It was indeed a pleasure to listen to finely crafted concertos which although satisfying are ultimately unmemorable.

Glière.  Symphony no. 1 in E flat Op. 8,  Symphonic Poem The Sirens Op 33. Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Stephen Gunzenhauser.   Naxos 8.550898 DDD) [48.46] [DW]

What a lovely, melodious, sunny and cheerful symphony.This is one to buy!

GLIERE (1875-1956) Bronze Horseman suite, Horn Concerto Richard Watkins (horn)
BBCPO/Edward Downes CHANDOS CHAN 9379 [70.16] [RB]

Gliere's Bronze Horseman is well worth the price and the concerto is there for good measure. Splendid recording and performances.

GLIERE (1875-1956) Overtures and Orchestral Works Gyul'sara overture (1936) Concert Waltz, Shakh-Senem overture (1925)s Ballad (1902) * Overture on Slavonic Themes (1941) Heroic March for Buryat-Mongolian ASSR, Holiday at Ferghana overture (1940) Peter Dixon BBCPO/Edward Downes CHANDOS CHAN 9518 [75.30] [RB]

Beyond the three symphony CDs the most intriguing of the Chandos series. A brightly coloured high calorie Russian selection.

GLIERE (1875-1956) Harp Concerto (1938) 26.59 Coloratura Soprano Concerto (1943) 13.54  GINASTERA  Harp Concerto (1956) 23.43 Rachel Masters (harp) Eileen Hulse (soprano) City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox CHANDOS CHAN 9379 [68.13] [RB]

The Ginastera lends backbone to this unusual and well engineered anthology. The Gliere vocal concerto is warmly recommended.

HAYDN  Piano Trios Op 71/2 & 3 and Op 73/3.   Jerome Hantai (fortepiano) with, Philippe Corvert & Alix Verzier. Astrée Naïve E 8811 [66 mins] [PW]

This is a good account of three of Haydn's piano trios, composed in London. To give them full stature, all repeats are included.

HOLTera madrugada; canciones;; sparrow night Nash Ensemble/Lionel Friend with Fiona Kimm (mezzo) & Gareth Hulse (oboe) NMC D008 [61 mins][PW]

This is darker music than that of Simon Holt's teacher Anthony Gilbert (NMC D068) which has been promoted in tandem with this one. Born 1958, Holt is an acknowledged leader of his generation of British composers, and this portrait CD can be recommended to those unfamiliar with his music, which is championed regularly by London Sinfonietta, the Nash Ensembles and others.

HOVHANESS Symphony No. 53 Star Dawn (1983) 13.56 Symphony No. 29 (1976) 25.16 *The Flowering Peach (1954) 15.20 Grand Final Processional - Symphony No. 20 Three Journeys toa Holy Mountain (1968) 6.49 Christian Lindberg (trombone) * Ohio State University Band/Keith Brion DELOS DE3158 [61.21] [RB]

An outstanding collection of Hovhaness's music for windband. The composer does not talk down to the highly skilled college bands who have taken up his ambitious music. These are very much symphonies that happen to have been written for windband.

HOVHANESS The Music for String Quartet Bagatelles String Quartet No. 1 Jupiter String Quartet No. 3 Reflections on my Childhood String Quartet No. 4 The Ancient Tree ZHOU LONG
Song of the Ch'In Shanghai Quartet DELOS DE3162 [69.28] [RB]

Generous selection. Recommendable especially for those put off by the complexity of Hovhaness's orchestral scores. Melody presented with crystalline clarity.

Jacques IBERT Bacchanale (1956) Divertissement (1928) Overture de Fete (1940) Symphonie marine (1931) Escales (1922) L'Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux - Yutaka Sado recorded 29th and 30th April 1996 at La Salle Pleyel, Paris (live and studio recordings) Naxos 8.554222 [71.20] DDD [JP]

This disc is quite clearly for those who want this programme as a one disc collection, and as such it is a very good offering. By buying separately however, you can do better, although it will damage your pocket more.

CHARLES IVES (1874-1954)  Symphony No. 2 (1897-1901) 34.33 PAUL CRESTON (1906-1985)  Symphony No. 2 (1944) 21.55 Detroit SO/Neeme Järvi rec 29 April 1 May 1995, Detroit CHANDOS CHAN 9390 (American Series vol. 8) [56.37] [RB]

A recommendable disc showing two contrasting facets of neglected orchestral Americana.

Janácek Mša Glagolskaja & Vecné evangelium (Glagolitic Mass & The Eternal Gospel) Eva Drizgová (sop) Hana Štolfová-Bandová (cont) Vladimir Dolezal (ten) Jiri Sulzenko (bass) Martin Jakubiek (org) Czech Symphony Orchestra of Brno, Leos Svárovský Ultraphon UP 0011-2-231, 62’21, £11.50 [MB]

Svárovský’s new recording is in every way a thrilling performance of the Glagolitic Mass. Not only are the great orchestral interludes beautifully played, but there is a symbiotic relationship between them and the great choral sections....This new Ultraphon recording offers a rare performance of one of Janácek's unknown glories  (The Eternal Gospel) and this will probably make it the first choice for many.

LEHÁR: Die lustige Witwe Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Hanna), Eberhard Wächter (Danilo), Josef Knapp (Zeta), Nicolai Gedda (Camille), Hanny Steffek (Valencienne), Philharmonia Chorus and Orchestra/Lovro von Matacic. Recorded in 1962 EMI CMS5 67370 2 2CDs 28' 36"; 50.44"  [CH]

By and large this set has seen off all comers since it first came out and probably will do so for a good long while yet. It comes with a synopsis, libretto and a detailed essay by Richard Osborne, in English, French and German; and if anybody thinks that a first CD of under half-an-hour sounds like poor value, I can think of plenty that last nearly three times as long and aren't worth a third of what you pay for this.

KENNETH LEIGHTON  Sonatina No.2 Op.1b  Fives Studies Op.22  Fantasia Contrappuntistica Op.24  Pieces for Angela Op.47  Four Romantic Pieces Op.95   Margaret Fingerhut (piano)   CHANDOS CHAN 9818 [HC]

Margaret Fingerhut plays beautifully throughout and this CD is yet another well-deserved tribute to a most distinguished composer whose death in 1988 was a great loss indeed.

 [Part 1]  [Part 2]
 [Part 3] [Part 4]  [Part 5]    

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett,  Reviewers: Rob Barnett, Ian Lace, Len Mullenger, and:  Richard Adams, Colin Anderson, Arthur Baker, Terry Barfoot,  Marc Bridle, Arthur Butterworth, Colin Clarke, Paul Conway, Gary Dalkin, Andy Daly, Tony Duggan, Harry Downey,  Gerald Fenech,  Lewis Foreman, Christopher Howell, John Phillips, Ailís Ní Ríain, Humphrey Smith, Philip Scowcroft, Colin Scott Sutherland, Andrew Seivewright, Richard Whitehouse, Reg Williamson, Peter Grahame Woolf, David Wright. A complete list of contributors can be seen here


Any opinions expressed in reviews or articles on this site are those of the author and  do not necessarily represent the views of the site owner, Len Mullenger or the Editors.  Reviewers and authors retain copyright in their work unless it has been paid for or commissioned by the site owner.

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