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ALKAN Grand Duo Concertante (Violin Sonata) op 21, Cello Sonata op 47, Trio in G minor op 30 Trio Alkan: Rainer Klaus (piano), Kolja Lessing (violin) and Bernhard Schwarz (cello)Recorded June 1991 NAXOS 8.555352  [75.13] [AS]

Recommendable to anyone curious to explore Alkan. The players take the technical demands in their stride (some impeccable, high-lying violin octaves in the violin sonata, for instance, and thunderous piano double octaves throughout). Recorded sound generally fair.

ARNOLD Chamber Music Volume 1 Violin Sonatas 1 & 2, Viola Sonata, Duo for two 'cellos,
Five Pieces for violin and piano, Piano Trio
The Nash Ensemble Hyperion Helios CDH 55071 [56.23] [SF]

This CD features his music for stringed instruments accompanied, in the main, by the piano. Each work is beautifully crafted and the pieces composed in the ten post-war years, in particular, are some of the best examples of the grittier side of Arnold the composer

Luis BACALOV Misa Tango, Tangosain Astor PIAZOLLA  Adios Nonino (Orch. Luis Bacalov) Libertango (Orch. Luis Bacalov) Anna Maria Martinez (mezzo), Placido Domingo (tenor), Hector Ulises Passarella (bandoneon), Luis Bacalov (piano) Chorus and Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Myung-Whun Chung recorded 2/1999 in Rome at the Auditorio di Via della Conciliazione. DG 463 471-2  [53.48]

A very unusual record of a religious mass written in tango rhythm, recorded in the presence of the composer, and superbly performed by Domingo and Martinez.

BACH (1695-1750) Cantatas  No. 64, Sehet, welch eine Liebe hat uns der Vater erzeiget a No. 25, Es ist nichts Gesundes an meinem Liebe b No. 69a, Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele c No. 77, Du sollst Gott, deinen Herren, lieben d No. 50, Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft. Ab Yukari Nonoshita, cd Yoshie Hida (sopranos); a  Robin Blaze (counter-tenor), cd Kirsten Sollek-Avella (alto); bGerd Türk, cdMakoto Sakurada (tenors); Peter Kooij (bass); abConcerto Palatino Brass Ensemble; Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki. BIS CD-1041 [DDD] [70.58] [CC]

Suzuki is alive to the moods and demands of the individual cantatas, lavishing each with equal amounts of care and losing nothing to already established performances.

BACH (1685-1750) Cantata BWV9: 'Es ist das Heil uns kommen her', Cantata BWV94: 'Was frag ich nach der welt', Cantata BWV187: 'Es wartet alles auf dich' Midori Suzuki (soprano), Magdalena Kozená (mezzo soprano), Knut Schoch (tenor), Jan van der Crabben (baritone) La Petite Bande Sigiswald Kuijken
Rec 20-22 November 1999, Athen Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 05472 77528 2 [68.26] [TB]

The performances convince entirely, though as one who loves the richness of Bach's choral writing, I cannot help but feel I'd like them even more with just a few extra voices added.

BACH St Matthew Passion Peter Pears (Evangelist) Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Jesus) Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Christa Ludwig, Nicolai Gedda, Walter Berry, John Carol Case, Otakar Kraus, Helen Watts, Geraint Evans, Wilfred Brown Boys of Hampstead Parish Church Choir Philharmonia Chorus and Orchestra/Otto Klemperer EMI CMS5 67538 2 (3CDs) [74.27,76.35 & 72.56] [TB]

One of the great recordings of the century - the Bach tradition represented by Klemperer has much to tell us about this music.

GOODNIGHT TO FLAMBORO': Piano Music of BAINES and GOOSSENS William BAINES (1890-1922) Pictures of Light (1920?); Glancing Sunlight (1920?); Island of the Fay (1920?); Concert Study (Exaltation) (1919?); Idyll (Nocturne) (1919); Elves (1919?); Paradise Gardens (1920); Tides (1920) Eugene GOOSSENS (1893-1962) Nature Poems (1919) Alan Cuckston (piano) rec Leeds, 12 April 1990 SWINSTY FEW 119CDr [65.03] [RB]

The piano music of Baines and Goossens when presented in one recital offer contrast and similarity. In Baines' more immediately personal music Cuckston is strong on the subtle Debussian qualities

BALAKAUSKAS (b. 1937) Concerto Brio for violin and chamber orchestra (1999) Concerto for Oboe, Harpsichord and Strings (1981) Ludus Modorum for cello and chamber orchestra (1972) Concertino for Piano and Strings (1966 rev. 1994) St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra Vilnius conducted by Donatus Katkus Rusné Mataityté violin, Romualdas Stašjus oboe, Sergejus Okruško harpsichord, Edmundas Kulikauskas cello, Margrit Julia Zimmermann piano. BIS BIS-CD-1058 [DDD 65:18] [CT]

As you would expect from BIS, the quality of the recording is excellent, both vivid in sound and well balanced. Overall however, the music is of little more than fleeting interest.

Samuel BARBER Cello Concerto, Op. 22 Medea - Ballet Suite, Op. 23, (1947) Adagio for Strings, Op. 11. Wendy Warner (cello), Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Marin Alsop recorded 3-4/5/99 and 11-12/5/00, in the Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow. DDD NAXOS 8.559088 [65.58] [JP]

Naxos give Wendy Warner her recording debut. I can thoroughly recommend this issue to collectors

Béla BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra, The Miraculous Mandarin (suite) Kyoto Symphony Orchestra/Uwe Mund Arte Nova 74321 77064-2 [57:33] [SF]

Even at super-budget price this CD is not really competitive. Uwe Mund's players have yet to grasp the necessary performing style to bring off a truly convincing performance of twentieth century central European orchestral music.

The Best of Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) 6 Romanian Folkdances, Violin Concerto 2, Allegro barbaro, Sonata for Solo Violin, Concerto for Orchestra, Piano Concerto No. 3 Contrasts, Viola Concerto, 44 Duos for Two Violins, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta Various  artists and locations Naxos 8.556693 [74.00][SJ]

No-one really had quite had the nerve to bring out a Bartok's Greatest Hits, but Naxos have tried in their own 'Best Of' series. And they have a point. The shock of the old can still knock Classic FM listeners (or even the milder Brian Kay ones) off their musically feather-weighted nests....Altogether a painless 74 minutes.

Jennifer BATE (b. 1944) Reflections - Organ Music Jennifer Bate at the organ of the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. GUILD GMCD 7209 [50:29] [GB]

For the lover of organ music, this album is a treasure. Fifty minutes of sheer pleasure.

Arnold BAX (1883-1953) London Pageant (1937) Concertante for Three Wind Instruments and Orchestra (1949) Suite from Tamara (1911) Cathaleen-ni-Hoolihan (1905) BBC Philharmonic/Martyn Brabbins rec. 17 May & 23 June, 2000, New Broadcasting House, Manchester CHANDOS CHAN 9879 [74.33] [SJ]

Self-recommending to Bax and British music enthusiasts.

BEETHOVEN Missa Solemnis, op.123 Elisabeth Söderström (Soprano), Marga Höffgen (Contralto),Waldemar Kmentt (Tenor), Martti Talvela (Bass) New Philharmonia Chorus and Orchestra/Otto Klemperer EMI Great Recordings of The Century CDM5 67546 2 [79.31] [TD]

The glory of the recording has always been the singing of the New Philharmonia Chorus, still trained at that time by the legendary Wilhelm Pitz and what a memorial to their old chorus master their contribution is.

BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Missa solemnis in D, Op. 123. Edda Moser (soprano); Hanna Schwarz (contralto); René Kollo (tenor); Kurt Moll (bass); Radio Chorus of the N. O. S., Hilversum; Concertgebouw Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein. DG Galleria 469 546-2 [ADD] [81.00] [CC]

The meeting of three big personalities (Beethoven, Bernstein and, if you care to believe in him, God) here leads to a classic performance. The sum of the constituent parts is an extraordinary achievement

BEETHOVEN  String Quartets Op 127 & 135   Skampa Quartet Supraphon 3464-2 131 [56.40] [PGW]

These two contrasted quartets make an ideal coupling and this version can be highly recommended, provided you are not amongst those listeners who feel a need to experience a sense of struggle in performances of these late masterpieces by their deaf composer.

BENTZON (191-2000) Piano Works Toccata (1941) Partita (1945) Woodcut (1947) Kaleidoskop (1952) Anker Blyme (piano) rec Birkerod Jan/May 2000 DANACORD DACOCD 531 [57.52] [RB]

Bentzon is serious, dissonant but never evasive, perhaps somewhat influenced by Shostakovich, daring and uncompromising. He is very well served by Anker Blyme.

BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Te Deum Roberto Alagna (tenor) Marie-Claire Alain (organ) EU Children's Choir, Maîtrise d'Antony Children's Choir Orchestra de Paris & Chorus/John Nelson Rec 19 & 20 February 2000, Salle de la Mutualité, Paris VIRGIN CLASSICS 7243 5 45449 2 7 [57.40] [TB]

A performance of great conviction and presence, and while the recorded sound might have been even better this is probably the best available recording of this wonderful work.

Jonathan BESSER Mr Darwin's Dances [24.30] Precious Legacy suite [30.27] various artists including the composer ATOLL ACD200 [54.57] [RB]

Without making a great mark on the memory Jonathan Besser's fusion, in Mr Darwin's Dances, of New Age pleasauntrie, Nova Celtica dance, Nymania stillness, softened jazz, Appalachian fiddling, bodhran rapping and antique gallantry makes for kindly listening.

Sylvie BODOROVÁ Pontem Video - Concerto for Organ, Strings & Percussion (1983) Plankty Music for Viola & Symphony orchestra (1982) Tre canzoni da suonare for Guitar and Strings (1985) Magikon Concerto for Oboe & Strings (1987) Dignitas homini String Quartet No. 1 (1987) Ventimiglia Music for Trumpet & Percussion (1992) Prague Symphony Orchestra/Jiri Belohlavek (Pontem & Plankty) Virtuosi Di Praga/Oldrich Vlcek (Tre Canzoni) Suk Chamber Orchestra/Petr Skvor (Magikon) Stamic Quartet (Dignitatis homini) Prague Percussion Group/Amy Lynn Barber (Ventimiglia) Vera Hermanova (organ) Jan Peruska (viola)
Lubomir Brabec (guitar) Jiri Vodnansky (oboe) Miroslav Kejmar (trumpet) Rec - unknown? private promotional issue [79.58] [SJ] [JF]

Impressive, technically competent and approachable modern music which is full of variety - drama, conflict and fun

Sylvie BODOROVA (1954-) Pontem video, Organ/String/percussion Concerto (1983) (1) [14.30] Plankty, Music for Viola and Symphony Orchestra (1982) (2) [14.35] Dignitas homini String Quartet No. 1 (1987) (3) [12.23] Ventimiglia Music for Trumpet and Percussion (1992) (4) [11.16] Concerto dei Fiori - Concerto for Violin and Strings (1996) [13.21] Vera Hermanova (Organ); Jan Perusaka (viola); Miroslav Keimiar (trumpet); Vaclav Hudacek (violin); Prague SO/Jiri Belohlavek (1-2); Stamic Quartet (3); Prague Percussion Group/Amy Lynne Barber (4); Prague Chamber PO/Christopher Zimmerman rec. 'njen' 1984 (1); 'cerven' 1984 (2); 'brezen' 1989 (3); 'kveten' 1997 (5), Planton, Supraphon, Cesky rozhlas recording, Rotag Records. Somewhere in Prague; Studio Ceskeho rozhlasu Prague, 1993 (4) Panton, Cesky Rozhlas 71 0522-2 [66.27] [SJ]

Attractive Czech composer, worth exploring

Sylvie BODOROVÁ(1954-) Terezin Ghetto Requiem for Baritone and String Quartet (1997) [16.30] Ivan Kusnjer (baritone) Stampa Quartet rec. 21. 1. 98 in Rudolfino  private promotional issue [16.30] [SJ]

A fine appendage to Bodorova's other work, though not, necessarily, as easy to listen to.

BODOROVA (1954-) Tre canzoni da suonare for Guitar and Strings (1980-85) [16.53]
Concerto: Donna nobis lucem for voice, violin, guitar and strings (1995) [10.55] Lubos FISER (1935-99)
Sonata per Leonardo for Guitar and Strings (1994) [6.47] Pastorale on Giuseppe Tartini for Guitar and Strings (1995) [9.56] Otmar MACHA (1922-) Christmas Concerto for Guitar and Strings (1995) [12.24] Lubomir Brabec (guitar) Vaclav Hudecek (violin, 9) Zdena Kloubova (soprano, 9) Prague Chamber PO/Jiri Belohlavek rec. 30-31. 8. 96, Domovina Studio, Prague   SUPRAPHON SU 3272-2 031 [56.50] [SJ]

Czech guitar concertos, and fine ones, not without weight. Best on Sunday afternoons or when burdened with the kind of lotus-munching people for whom it's always Sunday afternoon when they listen to music

BOYCE David's Lamentation over Saul and Jonathan. Ode for St Cecilia's Day The Charms of Harmony Display.- first version. Patrick Burrowes (boy soprano), William Purefoy (alto), Andrew Watts (counter-tenor), Richard Edgar-Wilson (tenor), Michael George (bass-baritone), Choir of New College Oxford, The Hanover Band/Graham Lea-Cox. ASV GAUDEAMUS CD GAU 208. [CF]

There's a nice touch to the performances here, for the players and singers involved are reading off facsimiles of Boyce's original manuscript parts

BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C minor Op. 68 Joseph JOACHIM Overture Hamlet Op. 4 Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra/Mariss Jansons SIMAX PSC 1206 [60.43] [SF]

First impressions are not entirely positive....There remains a nagging feeling, however, that the extended musical argument employed by Brahms, deploying carefully constructed, if lengthy, passages of great beauty if not dramatic effect, does not truly touch a fundamental musical nerve in the conductor.

BRAHMS Symphonies - No 1 in C minor, Op. 68; No 2 in D, Op. 73; No 3 in F, Op. 90; No 4 in E minor Op. 98; Tragic Overture Op. 81 Philharmonia Orchestra/Thomas Sanderling Real Sound RS 953-0040 (mid-price) 4CDs [186.00] [MB]

On four discs, even at mid-price, and with only one coupling (an appallingly laboured Tragic Overture), this is a waste of money. Celibidache on EMI (also on four discs) offers expansive and perceptive performances - and we even get the German Requiem as a filler.

BRAHMS conducted by ABENDROTH Symphony No. 3 [31.08] Symphony No. 4 [40.16] Leipzig RSO/Hermann Abendroth rec Leipzig Congreßhalle 17 Mar 1952 (Sym 3) 8 Dec 1954 (Sym 4) MONO ADD BERLIN CLASSICS 0094332BC  [71.38] [RB]

Abendroth in No. 3 is in touch with an edge-of-seat excitement for which Bruno Walter largely substituted an autumnal glow. Abendroth liked to live dangerously as well.

[Part 1 New]  [Part 2 A-B] [Part 3 C-L]
[Part 4 M-R]  [Part 5 S-Y] [Part 6 Misc] 

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett,  Reviewers: Rob Barnett, Ian Lace, Len Mullenger, and:  Richard Adams, Colin Anderson, Arthur Baker, Grace Barber, Terry Barfoot,  Peter Bates, Marc Bridle, Arthur Butterworth, Colin Clarke, Paul Conway, Gary Dalkin, Andy Daly, Tony Duggan, Harry Downey,  Christopher Fifield, Lewis Foreman, Simon Foster, Christopher Howell, Simon Jenner, Stephen Lloyd, John Phillips, Ailís Ní Ríain, Humphrey Smith, Philip Scowcroft, Colin Scott-Sutherland, Andrew Seivewright, Christopher Thomas, Richard Whitehouse, 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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