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MAHLER Symphony No.2 in C minor "The Resurrection" György KURTAG
Stele op 33 for large orchestra Arnold SCHÖNBERG Kol Nidre op 39* for speaker, choir and orchestra James Johnson (Speaker)*  Juliane Banse (Soprano) Cornelia Kallisch (Alto)  EuropaChorAkademie SWR Radio-Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiberg Conducted by Michael Gielen Hänssler Classic CD 93.001 [107.28] [TM]

I think Gielen's new Mahler 2nd is one of the greatest Mahler recordings of recent years, and one of the best recordings ever of the 2nd.

MAHLER Symphony No.4 in G Major Eva Johansson (Soprano) Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Leif Segerstam Chandos CHAN 9836 [61:42] [TD]

An expressive, consciously moulded performance resonantly recorded and sonorously played. Some of Mahler's lightness of touch is sacrificed but Segerstam's involvement offers a persuasive alternative to more central views.

MAHLER  Symphony No 4 BERG  Early Songs   Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Chailly with Barbara Bonney (soprano) Decca 466 720-2 [74 mins] [PW]

Riccardo Chailly, popular incumbent of the position held before him by so many famed Mahlerians from Mengelberg to Haitink, instils confidence. The playing is confident, the direction assured in a way which puts out of mind thoughts of other interpretations.

Gustav MAHLER Symphony No.7 in E Minor New Philharmonia Orchestra
Conducted by Jascha Horenstein (Recorded "live" at the Royal Albert Hall on August 29th 1969) BBC Legends BBCL 4051-2  [74.53] [TD] [TM] [SF]

So complete is Horenstein's grasp of every aspect of this first movement that the end is genuinely triumphant, the feeling that you have lived through something important.

Gustav MAHLER Symphonies 1 - 9 Conducted by Yuri Simonov (1), Hans Vonk (2), Jascha Horenstein (3), Hartmut Haenchen (4&6), Vaclav Neumann (5&9), Kurt Masur (7), Neeme Jarvi (8) Brilliant Classics 99549 (11 Discs) [11.07.24] [TD]

This is one of the great bargains. All of Mahler's completed symphonies for the same price you might pay for one of them at full price.

MALIPIERO The 8 String Quartets The Orpheus String Quartet ASV DCD 457 [65.13+59.22] [PW]

They are a gift to a good string quartet and should find welcome niches in recital programmes. Excellent recording quality and comprehensive, interesting notes by Jean-Yves Bras.

Martucci (1856-1909) The Piano Music, Volume 2.  Capriccio and Serenata, Op. 57.  Fantasia, Op. 51. Two Nocturnes, Op. 70. Capriccio and Toccata, Op. 77. Six Pieces, Op. 44. Francesco Caramiello (piano). ASV CDDCA1092 [DDD] {78'18] [CC] [CH]

Caramiello is both musical and capable of truly virtuoso feats, needing perhaps only that extra bit of force of personality to do full justice. The piano sound, on the thin side, lets him down a little.

MASSENET (1842-1912) MANON Opéra Comique in five acts and six tableaux  Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna, Orchestre Symphonique et Choeurs de la Monnaie Conducted by Antonio Pappano EMI 3CDs CDS5 57005 2 [163:07] [IL]

This scintillating opera set that will be making repeated visits to my CD player

MASSENET Thais   Renee Fleming/Thomas Hampson/Guiseppe Sabbatini/Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine/Yves Abel Decca 466 766-2 [147 mins]  [PW]

The three lead parts are taken magnificently, Renee Fleming's singing luscious and a continual cause for wonder and delight

Áskell MÁSSON  Til Lifsins (To Life) Music 1967-98. including Gna (The Goddess) Áskell Másson  and Steve van Oosterhoot (percussion) Margrétar Pálmadóttur (voice) with cello, guitar, childrens choir. AC Classics SMK 14 [47 mins] [PW]

Not as stimulating as one had hoped

PETER MENNIN Concertato - Moby Dick10.53 Symphony No. 3 20.28 Symphony No. 7  Variation-Symphony 26.11 Seattle SO/Gerard Schwarz DELOS DE 3164 [57.32] [RB]

Subtle and power-satiated sound quality matched with perceptive performances make this a disc of preference for those wishing the best of DDD digital sound.


JOSE VIANNA DA MOTTA (1868-1948) Piano Concerto (1887) [26.07] Ballada for solo piano (1905) [9.18] Fantasia Dramatica (1893) [28.54] Artur Pizzaro (piano) Orquestra Gulbenkian/Martyn Brabbins rec Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisobn, 12-13 July 1999 HYPERION CDA67163 [64.24] [RB]
JOSE VIANNA DA MOTTA (1868-1948) Sonata, Fantasiestück, Barcarola No. 1, Barcarola No. 2, Ballada António Rosado (piano) rec Lisbon 31 Mar- 3 April 1986 STRAUSS PORTUGALSOM SP4044 [47.56] [RB]
JOSE VIANNA DA MOTTA (1868-1948) Lieder Elvira Archer (sop) Anton Illenberger (piano) rec Lisbon 25 May - 26 June 1981 STRAUSS PORTUGALSOM SP4180 [44.37]  [RB]

The name Vianna da Motta is now rather obscure. Not a few who snapped up earlier instalments in the Hyperion Romantic Piano Concerto series may well be scratching their heads over his name. However, in his time, this Portuguese composer had international renown as a piano 'lion'.

MOZART Die Zauberflöte Gedda - Janowitz - Berry - Unger - Popp - Frick - Schwarzkopf - Ludwig - Pütz - Höffgen - Crass Philharmonia Chorus & Orchestra, Otto Klemperer EMI Great Recordings of the Century, CMS5 67388 2 2 Discs [63'20 & 70'34], Mid Price. [MB]

Unlike some of EMI's recordings in this series this is truly a Great Recording of the Century.

MUSSORGSKY  Pictures at an Exhibition orch. Ravel Chicago SO, Guilini Night on the Bare Mountain BPO, Maazel Songs and Dances of Death Fassbaender, Gotheburg SO, Jarvi Prelude and Dance of Persian Slave Girls (Khovanshhchina) Vienna State Opera, Abbado Russian Nat Orch, Pletnev
Pictures from an Exhibition  Sviatoslav Richter Six Songs  Vishnevskaya, Russian SSO,Markevitch
Boris Godunov (excerpts)  Ghiaurov, Maslennoikov, VPO, Karajan DG Panorama series. 469 169 -2. 2 CDs Bargain price [DW]

Top marks to Guilini ... but not to Richter

NORGARD Siddharta/ For a Change Danish National Radio Choir & Symphony Orchestra/Latham-Koenig with soloists & Gert Mortensen (percussion) Marco Polo dacapo 8.224031-32 [136 min] [PW]

I am happy to recommend this essential acquisition for those interested to explore this important composer.

VITEZSLAV NOVAK (1870-1949) Lady Godiva (1907) 17.09 Toman and the Wood Nymph (1906-7) 25.33 De Profundis (1943) 23.19 BBCPO/Libor Pesek CHANDOS CHAN 9821 [66.22] [RB]

You will not find a better recording of these pieces and certainly there is no identical coupling though the works are available individually scattered across various Supraphon CDs.

ROBIN ORR  Italian Overture (1952)  From the Book of Philip Sparrow (1969)  Rhapsody for String Orchestra (1958)  Journeys and Places (1971)* Pamela Helen Stephen*, mezzo-soprano  Northern Sinfonia/Howard Griffiths GUILD GMCD 7196 [HC]

In short a well-planned, beautifully played and richly deserved tribute to a distinguished composer who certainly merits wider recognition.

ALLAN PETTERSSON (1911-80) Symphony No. 7 (1968) 40.12 Symphony No. 16* (1979) 22.23 Stockholm PO/Antal Dorati rec Stockholm 18-20 Sept 1969 * Frederick L Hemke (saxophone)
* Stockholm PO/Yuri Ahronovitch rec Stockholm 17-18 Oct 1984   SWEDISH SOCIETY DISCOFIL SCD 1002 [62.45] [RB]

Recommended very highly. It is the disc to have if you wish a single disc representative of Pettersson the fearless singer of despair and of consolation - a latter-day Tchaikovsky.

ANDRÉ PHILIDOR: Marches, Fetes & Chasses pour Louis XIV. La Symphonie du Marais Hugo Reyne. Virgin Veritas 561-778-2 68m. [GF]

Very intriguing stuff then and something which should definitely not be missed in the meleé of discs currently being issued.

WALTER PISTON Incredible Flutist suite (1938) 17.50 Fantasy for English horn. harp and strings (1954) 8.28 Suite for Orchestra (1929) 14.23 Concerto for String Quartet, wind instruments and percussion (1976) 9.57 Psalm and Prayer of David (1959) 17.09 Juilliard String Quartet (in the Concerto) Seattle SO and Chorale/Gerard Schwarz rec 1991/92 DELOS DE 3126 [68.09] [RB]

A useful single disc anthology of this core US composer featuring his most renowned score.

PROKOFIEV Piano Concertos; 3 in C, Op 26, 4 in B flat for the left hand, Op 53; 1 in D flat Op.lO. Kun Woo Paik, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Antoni Wit. Naxos 8.550566 [71.33)] (DDD)

These are good performances of three diverse and brilliant piano concertos.

PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Classical Symphony in D, Op. 25a. Violin Concerto No. 1in D, Op. 19b. Romeo and Juliet c - Suite No. 1, Op. 64a; Suite No. 2, Romeo at Juliet's grave. Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78 - The field of the deadd. Piano Concerto No. 3 in C, Op. 26e. Visions fugitives, Op. 22 (excerpts) f. Symphony No. 5 in B flat, Op. 100g. aChamber Orchestra of Europe/Claudio Abbado; bSchlomo Mintz (violin); bChicago Symphony Orchestra/Claudio Abbado; cNational Symphony Orchestra of Washington D.C./Mstislav Rostropovich; dElena Obraztsova (mezzo); dLondon Symphony Orchestra/Claudio Abbado; eMartha Argerich (piano); eBerlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Claudio Abbado; fSviatoslav Richter (piano); gCleveland Orchestra/Lorin Maazel. Recorded 1965-90. DG Panorama 469 172-2 [ADD/abcDDD] [150'08] [CC]

Definitely more thumbs up than thumbs down. This 'Panorama' release is intelligently chosen as far as repertoire concerned.

SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) War and Peace - opera in 13 scenes (1941-42) libretto by composer and Mira Mendelson after the novel by Leo Tolstoy Russian State Symphonic Cappella/Valeri Polyansky Spoleto Festival Orchestra/Richard Hickox recorded live 4-10 July 1999, Spoleto CHANDOS CHAN 9855(4) [RB]

Good 'live' version, probably the best recorded sound available. Often engaging but not overwhelming.

PUCCINI (1858-1924) La Bohème (Highlights) Tebaldi, Bergonzi Chorus and Orchestra dell'Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Roma Conducted by Tulio Serafin Plus arias from Turandot; Manon Lescaut, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi DECCA 458 248-2 [69:50] [IL]

For those preferring highlights this is a solid recommendation

PUCCINI (1858-1924) Manon Lescaut (Highlights). Mirella Freni (soprano) Manon Lescaut; Renato Bruson (baritone) Lescaut; Plácido Domingo (tenor) Des Grieux; Kurt Rydl (bass) Geronte; Robert Gambill (tenor) Edmund; Mark Curtis (tenor) Lamplighter; John Tomlinson (bass) Naval Captain; Paschal Allen (bass) Sergeant; Royal Opera House Chorus; Philharmonia Orchestra/Giuseppe Sinopoli. DG Classikon 469 589-2 [DDD] [66'15] [CC]

This Manon Lescaut demonstrates why, on occasion, Sinopoli's deconstructionist approach can be so telling. Orchestral textures that are often undifferentiated in an attempt at a Puccinian saturation point are here cleanly and clearly presented. The Philharmonia Orchestra seems completely behind Sinopoli's philosophy and gives its all for him - as do the cast.

PUCCINI (1858-1924) Gianni Schicchi (sung in German). Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) Gianni Schicchi; Elke Schary (mezzo) Lauretta; Martha Mödl (mezzo) Zita, 'La Vecchia'; Bavarian Staet Opera Chorus and Orchestra/Wolfgang Sawallisch. Orfeo C546001B [ADD] [52'49] [CC]

Well worth the outlay. This disc can only bring pleasure, and our thanks must go to Orfeo for their ongoing services to opera on disc.

PUCCINI (1858-1924) TURANDOT  Eva Marton,  Michael Sylvester,  Lucia Mazzaria, Kevin Langan San Francisco Opera Chorus and Orchestra conducted by Donald Runnicles ARTHAUS MUSIK 100 088 [123 mins] [IL]

Runnicles brings out all the barbarity, passion, romance, and comedy in Puccini's score together with all its exotic orientalisms that are so much more subtly integrated into the score than they were in Madama Butterfly.

RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 19. Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-75) Cello Sonata in D minor, Op. 40. The Bekova Sisters (Alfa Nakipbekova, cello, Eleonora Nakipbekoba, piano). Claudio CR3911-2 [DDD] [66'27] [CC]

Two of the three Bekova sisters, caught here in their pre-Chandos days, present two Russian cello sonatas on this disc. The coupling is a good one: the yearning, passionate Rachmaninov goes well with the serious, more internalised Shostakovich.

RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 2 Piano Concerto No. 4 Russian Rhapsody Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano) LSO/Andre Previn (Previn and Ashkenazy in the Rhapsody) rec 1972, 1979 ELOQUENCE 467 453-2 [69.55] [RB]

A superb disc at bargain price and with analogue sound quality partnering the poetry of Ashkenazy and Previn's orchestra.

Symphony No. 3, The Isle of the Dead, Vocalise Philadelphia Orchestra/Rachmaninov PEARL GEMM CD 9414 [58.58] [RB]

Authentic composer conducted performances. Historic sound recreated with minimal intrusion by engineers.

RASMUSSEN; LARSSON; NIELSEN; HALLGRIMSSON  Wind Quintets.   Reykjavik Wind Quintet Chandos CHAN 9849 [73.53]  [PW]

The important work here is Carl Nielsen's 1922 Quintet which is a jewel in the repertoire of every wind quintet. It is a typically individual and often quirky work of Nielsen's maturity and characterised the personalities of some players whom he had heard, and it is well played here.

RAVEL ( 1875 - 1937) Complete Orchestral Music Ulster Orchestra  Jan Pascal Tortelier (cond) CHANDOS Enchant 7100 (4) [274.22] [HD]

Four discs, generously filled, with recordings varying from good to demonstration standard, and performances never less than satisfactory and at times excellent. Good value and anyone wanting to widen their knowledge of Ravel's music should not hesitate.

REGER, Max.  Variations and Fugue on a theme on a theme of Mozart Op 132, Variations and Fugue on a merry theme of Hiller Op 100. New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Franz-Paul Decker. Naxos 8.553079 (DDD) (72 22.) [DW]

I have never understood the objections that people make about the music of Max Reger. He was a truly great composer but, perhaps, it takes professional musicians to fully realise that. He was a genius.

RIHM  Trios 1969-1994   Ensemble Recherche KAIROS 0012092KAI [71.41]  [PW]

Challenging, often uncomfortable music which needs to be heard more than once, a few trios only at a time.

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 [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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