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Guy SACRE  Mélodies  Florence Katz (mezzo-soprano) Jean-Francois Gardeil (baritone) Billy Eidl (piano)  Timpani 1C1051 [68.53] [PW]

Little known, a welcome addition to Timpani's extensive collection of Melodies Francaises, and to my ears and mind a major discovery, Guy Sacre (b. 1948) composed 120 songs, carefully respecting the texts in their every inflection in his exemplary vocal writing.

SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Symphony No. 7 (1994) 23.25 Cello Concerto No. 1 (1985) 40.08 Alexander Ivashkin (cello)  Russian State SO/Valeri Polyansky CHANDOS CHAN 9852 [63.34]  [RB]

This is not the Schnittke to start out with. Certainly a connoisseur's choice.

SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Pelléas et Mélisande - symphonic poem Verklärte Nacht Philharmonia Orchestra/Giuseppe Sinopoli rec 1995 ELOQUENCE 469 690 2 [79.06] [RB]

A Pelléas that misses the mark coupled with a much more successful Verklärte Nacht. Not the pick of the Eloquence crop.

SCHOENBERG (1874-1951)Violin Concerto (1936) Piano Concerto (1942) ALBAN BERG  (1885-1935)Violin Concerto (1935) Zvi Zeitlin (violin) Henryk Szeryng (violin - Berg) Alfred Brendel (piano) Bavarian Radio SO/Rafael Kubelik rec 1971/72 ELOQUENCE 469 606 2 [77.29] [RB]

Totally committed interpretations of one mainstream 12 tone work and two peripheral concertos by the progenitor of dodecaphony.

SCHOENBERG and SCRIABIN from 1932 SCHOENBERG Gurrelieder (1911) Stokowski discusses Gurrelieder; illustrations Artur Rodzinski (piano) SCRIABIN Poem of Ecstasy (1908) Poem of Fire (1910) Schoenberg: Waldemar - Paul Althouse; Tove - Jeannette Vreeland; Waldtaube - Rose Bampton; Klauss-narr - Robert Betts, Bauer - Abrasha Robofsky; Sprecher - Benjamin de Loache; Princeton Glee Club; Fortnightly Club; Mendelssohn Club.  rec 9 Apr 1932 during actual performance. from 33rpm discs Scriabin: both rec 15 Mar 1932 Philadelphia Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski PEARL GEMM CDS 9066 CD1 [78.47] CD2 [79.19] [RB]

Historical recoridngs. Packed generously tight onto two CDs. Magnificent Schoenberg with all the vitality of a live performance. Scriabin not on same elevated level and poorer audio but virtuous and instructive versions..

SCHUBERT Piano Sonatas: No. 17 in D, D850; No. 14 in A minor, D784. Mitsuko Uchida
Recorded in 1999; issued 2000 Philips 464 480-2 [DDD] [62.03]  [AB]

Very good performances of two interesting and highly contrasting works in a recording which is excellent in every way.

Giovanni SGAMBATI (1841-1914) Piano Quintet No.1 in F minor, Op.4 Two Pieces* for violin and piano, Op.24 Gondoliera* for violin and piano, Op.29 Romanzafor cello and piano, Op.23. Francesco Caramiello (piano) Ex Novo Quartet: Carlo Lazari* (violin); Annamaria Pellegrino (violin) Mario Paladin (viola) Carlo Teodoro† (cello) ASV CD DCA 1029 [67:21] [IL]

Sgambati symbolised a struggle to free Italian music from a complete dominance of opera in favour of instrumental, chamber and orchestral music. He was an early link in the chain of late 19th/early 20th century Italian music that included the, perhaps, more familiar name, Martucci (who frankly wrote stronger works), down to Martucci's student Ottorino Respighi.

SIBELIUS Violin Concerto [34.31] DVORAK  Violin Concerto [32.57] Salvatore Accardo (violin) LSO/Colin Davis (Sibelius) rec 1979 Royal Concertgebouw/Colin Davis (Dvorak) rec 1980 ELOQUENCE 468 144 2 [67.39] [RB]

Anyone picking up this disc in a motorway service area (or wherever) will have acquired a really classy pair of recordings.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30a. Horn Concerto No. 2 in E flat, AV132b. Vier letzte Lieder, Op. Posthc. Don Juan, Op. 20d. Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28d. Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40a.  bNorbert Hauptmann (horn); cGundula Janowitz (soprano); Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/abcHerbert von Karajan, dKarl Böhm. DG Panorama 469 208-2 [two discs] [156'09] [ADD] [CC]

As an introduction to the orchestral works of Strauss, this set will fulfil its function well. It is also fitting as a monument to what Karajan achieved in Berlin, whether or not one agrees with his philosophies.

Richard STRAUSS Also sprach Zarathustra, op.30;  Don Quixote, op.35 (a) James Krieger (cello) (a); Roger Benedict (viola) (a),  Philharmonia Orchestra/Djong Victorin Yu. Guild GMCD 7204 [77' 44"] [CH]

When I first saw this I thought of all the Reiners, Kempes and Karajans that had been here before and asked myself: was it worth doing? Well, I have to say it was.

Richard STRAUSS Capriccio Schwarzkopf, Fischer-Dieskau, Wächter, Gedda, Hotter, Ludwig, Moffo, Troy, Christ, Schmitt-Walter Philharmonia Orchestra, Wolfgang Sawallisch   EMI Great Recordings of the Century CMS5 67394 2 2 discs [61'53 & 73'02], Mid Price [MB]

The ideal Capriccio has not yet been recorded (and probably never will)


JOSEF SUK (1874-1935)Praga (1904) 25.09 Dramatic Overture (1892) 12.36 Meditation on Old Czech Chorale - St Wenceslas (1914) 6.53 Legend of Dead Victors (1920) 8.33 Towards a New Life (1919) 5.55 Prague SO/Petr Altrichter rec 6-10 June 1992 Prague SUPRAPHON 11 1825-2 031 [59.38] [RB]

The performances are respectable and 'catch fire' in the Meditation however nothing to make you throw your hat in the air.

BEDRICH SMETANA (1824-1884)  Richard III symphonic poem (1858) Wallenstein's Camp symphonic poem (1858) Hakon Jarl symphonic poem (1858) JOSEF SUK (1874-1935) Meditation on Old Czech Chorale - St Wenceslas (1914) 8.06 Legend of Dead Victors (1920) 8.20 Towards a New Life (1919) 5.26 Czech PO/Rafael Kubelik rec Prague 1943 and 1948 MONO SUPRAPHON SU 1911-2 001 [68.32] [RB]

Mono recordings from the 1940s. Smetana interesting. Suk: powerful performances from a conductor later to make one of the finest recordings of Asrael (Bavarian Radio SO).

ANTONIN DVORÁK (1841-1904) Violin Concerto (1883) Romance (1877) JOSEF SUK (1874-1935) Fantasy for violin and orchestra (1902) Czech Philharmonic Karel Ancerl rec Dvorák 1 Sept 1960 Suk 6 Jan 1965, Prague SUPRAPHON SU 1928-2 011 [68.52] [RB]

Dvorák and Suk generously packaged at mid price; authentic Czech performances with decent 1960s stereo.

TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No. 1 Violin Concerto Viktoria Postnikova (piano) Vienna SO/Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, rec 1983 Ruggiero Ricci (violin) Netherlands Radio SO/Jean Fournet, rec 1975 ELOQUENCE 467 404 2 [70.44]  [RB]

Not to all tastes but a challenging counterbalance to convention.

TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-93) Eugene Onegin (Highlights). Thomas Allen (baritone) Eugene Onegin; Mirella Freni (soprano) Tatyana; Anne Sophie von Otter (mezzo) Olga; Neil Shicoff (tenor) Lensky; Paata Burchuladze (bass) Prince Gremin; Rosemarie Lang (mezzo) Larine; Ruthild Engert (mezzo) Filipyevna; Jürgen Hartfiel (bass) A Captain; Günter Emmerlich (bass) Zaretsky; Leipzig Radio Chorus; Dresden Staatskapelle/James Levine. DG Classikon 469 588-2GCL [DDD] [74'35][CC]

A useful but not inspired performance

TCHAIKOVSKY  Mats Ek's Sleeping Beauty  choreography and stage direction by Mats Ek * sets and costume design by Peder Freiij * directed for television by Gunilla Wallin * music performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra * The Cullberg Ballet  Vanessa de Lignière, Princess Aurora * Gamal Gouda, Carabosse * Gunilla Hammar, Queen Silvia * George Elkin, King Florestan 16:9 anamorphically enhanced DVD * PCM stereo * subtitles in English, French & German  Arthaus 100 054 [106min] [GD]

This is extraordinary, but less anyone decide to incorporate that statement into publicity material let me immediately add that I would expect them to have the decency to print the full sentence, which concludes by saying that extraordinary is not always a good thing.

TURINA  Danzas Gitanas (Granada City Orchestra/Udaeta) Rapsodia Sinfonica (Ricardo Requejo, piano) Theme & Variations (Gabriella Dall'Olio, harp) Serenata Op. 87; Oracion del Torero; String Quartet Op4; Las Musas de Andalucia op 93 (Quartet Sine Nomine with Ricardo Requejo & Maria Bayo) Claves CD 50-9215 [55.44] & 9320 [73.57] [PGW]

Albeniz advised Joaquin Turina (1882-1949) to introduce more of a traditional Spanish flavour into his music; thereafter he never looked back! These releases show him as the Andalucian composer par excellence.

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Symphony No. 6, Dona Nobis Pacem  Blanche Christensen (sop)
William Metcalf (ten) University of Utah Civic Chorale Utah SO/Maurice Abravanel Symphony recorded 1966 University of Utah Dona recorded 1966 Mormon Tabernacle, Slat Lake City VANGUARD CLASSICS SVC7 [72.30] [RB]

A good bargain coupling of one work seemingly predictive of the War and another (and of course I speculate) influenced by the guilt and psychological impact of Hiroshima.

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS  Symphony No. 9 ARNOLD  Symphony No.3 Boult introduces RVW9 0.26 LPO/Boult VW9 34.34 LPO/Arnold Arnold 3 34.44 recorded and first released 1958/59
EVEREST EVC9001 [70.25] [RB]

A great mid-price bargain and an enduring triumph for Everest.

VERDI (1813-1901) Don Carlo. Plácido Domingo (tenor) Don Carlos; Montserrat Caballé (soprano) Elisabetta; Shirley Verrett (mezzo) Eboli; Sherrill Milnes (baritone) Rodrigo; Ruggero Raimondi (bass) Philip II; Giovanni Foiani (bass) Grand Inquisitor; Delia Wallis (mezzo) Tebaldo; Ryland Davies (tenor) Conte di Lerma; Simon Estes (bass) Monk; John Noble (baritone) Herald; Ambrosian Opera Chorus; Ortchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Carlo Maria Giulini. EMI Great Recordings of the Century CMS5 67401-2 [3CD] [208'45] [ADD] [CC]

Giulini's vision shines through the entire production. Backed by a list of talents such as this, Don Carlo becomes an unforgettable experience.

VERDI (1813 - 1901) Il Trovatore (The Troubadour) Alan Opie (Count)  Clive Bayley (Ferrando) Sharon Sweet (Dona Leonora) Helen Williams (Inez) Anne Mason (Azucena) Denis O'Neill (Manrico) Marc le Brocq (Ruiz) Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra David Parry (cond)
Recorded 16 - 20 December 1999. Blackheath Halls, London. Chandos Opera in English CHAN 3036(2)  DDD 2 CD's [134.56]  [HD]

Keep an open mind on the matter of England v Italy. This English Travatore is first-rate.

VIVALDI The Four Seasons ; Gloria RV 589 ; Concerto for two violins and two cellos RV 575
Concerto for two mandolins RV 532 ; Concerto for oboe and violin RV 548 ; Flute Concerto (La Notte) RV439 ; Concerto for strings RV 151; Concerto for four violins RV 549 ; Bassoon Concerto RV 484 ; Concerto " con inolti istroments" RV 558 .
The English Consort, Trevor Pinnock Recordings made between 1982 and 1995 DG Panorama 469 220-2. (2 CDs) Bargain price. [DW]

This is very special music in a very special perfomance. Convincing, moving, rewarding, rare and totally glorious. Music of real class given a performance that does it justice. (Gloria)

VIVALDI Violin Concertos op. 6, Concerto in A major, 'The Cuckoo'.   Andrew Manze: Violin, The Academy of Ancient Music Christopher Hogwood.   Decca L'Oiseau Lyre 455-653-2 59m DDD. [GF]

Strongly recommended to lovers of this music and an essential component in any Vivaldian collection.

WAGNER (1813-83) Der Fliegende Holländera - Overture; Johohoe! Traft ihr das Schiff; Steuermann, lass die Wacht. Lohengrinb - Act 1, Prelude; Einsam in trüben Tagen; Bridal Chorus; In fernem Land. Tannhäuserc - Overture; Dich, teure Halle; Beglückt darf nun dich, o Heimat. Die Meistersinger von Nürnbergd - Act 1, Prelude; Was duftet doch der Flieder; Priza Song. Parsifale - Act 1, Prelude; Good Friday Music; Du siehst, das ist nicht so. Tristan und Isoldef - Act 1, Prelude; Act 3, Prelude; Mild und Leise. various artists. Recorded 1966-94. DG Panorama 469 226-2 [adfADD/DDD]. [135'17] [CC]

Excerpts from Wagner are always problematical, given the composer's insistence on the whole and complex interrelations, leitmotivic and otherwise, within that whole. Use the most impressive snippets as an excuse to go out and buy the complete sets.

WAGNER Lohengrin Lohengrin - Jess Thomas Elsa von Brabant - Elisabeth Grümmer Ortrud - Christa  Ludwig Telramund - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau The King - Gottlob Frick The Herald - Otto Wiener Chor der Wiener Staatsoper & Wiener Philharmoniker, Rudolf Kempe EMI Great Recordings of the Century CMS5 67415 2 3 discs [72'04, 77'12 & 68'07], Mid Price [MB]

Though Jess Thomas' Lohengrin is a disappointment compared with the remaining glories of this set, it is, I think, the primary recommendation for this opera.

WAGNER Siegfried Alan Woodrow, Elisabeth-Maria Wachutka, Juha Uusitalo, Thomas Harper, Andrea Martin, Julia Oesch, Ziaoliang Li, Hiroko Kouda, Singers of the Accademia di Montegral, Orchester der Tiroler Festspiele Conducted by Gustav Kuhn Arte Nova Classics 74321 72116 2 [229.18] [TD]

This recording is taken from "live" performances at the Tiroler Festival in Erl in 1999 and is the second instalment of what will be a complete super-bargain Ring from Arte Nova conducted by Gustav Kuhn. With Wagner operas frequently coming expensive that has to be especially welcome for CD shoppers on limited budgets.

KARL WEIGL (1881-1949)String Quartet No. 1 (1904) 44.05 String Quartet No. 5 (1933) 26.10 World Premiere Recordings Artis Quartett, Wien rec Nimbus Concert Hall, 3-5 Dec 1999 NIMBUS NI5646 [70.15] [RB]

Captivating playing presenting a significant and lyrically rewarding voice. The Artis (and the Maggini on Naxos!) deserve a prize for their pioneering approach. While others churn out a further Shostakovich, Britten or Bartok set these Viennese players challenge or preconceptions of where the boundaries of the repertoire should be. Nimbus should take a major bow for this disc. It will be interesting to see whether The Gramophone awards will recognise the disc.

SAMUEL SEBASTIAN WESLEY Anthems.   The Choir of York Minster.
John Scott Wesley: Organ, Philip Moore: Director. Guild GMCD7201 68m DDD. [GF]

A fine collection of anthems from one of Britain's most prolific church composers.

PERCY WHITLOCK (1903-1946)  Symphony (organ and orchestra) FRANCIS JACKSON (b.1917) Organ Concerto Francis Jackson (organ) University of YorkSO/Jonathan Wainwright rec 20/21June 1999, York Minster AMPHION PHI CD 155 [74.30]

The world premiere recording of the sturdy Whitlock Symphony and the salty organ concerto of Francis Jackson.

Nebojsa Jovan ZIVKOVIC (b. 1962) Ultimatum IIa. The Castle of the Mad King. Ilijas. Ein Liebeslied?. Northwind. Bayerischer Ländler. Trio per unoab. Il canto dei gondolieri. Suomineito. Der kleine Paganini. Nebosja Jovan Zivkovic (percussion) with aBenjamin Toth, bFernando Meza (percussion). BIS CD-1098 [68'41] [DDD]

It would appear that the age of the virtuoso who performs his own compositions is not dead after all.

 [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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