Classical Editor: Rob Barnett Music Webmaster Len Mullenger: Len@musicweb-international.com
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Eve de CASTRO ROBINSON Other Echoes, Triple Clarinet Concerto, Pendulums of Blue, Noah's Ark Auckland Philharmonia/Nicolas Braithwaite (Echoes); John Hopkins (Concerto) NZSO/Matthias Bamert (Pendulums); Ensemble Philharmonia/John Elmsly (Noah's Ark) ATOLL ACD300 [58.50] [RB]
Castro Robinson is no neo-romantic, that is for sure - well recorded and enterprising stuff.
CASTRO ROBINSON Chamber Music Tumbling Strains, Tingling Strings, Commemoration, Split the Lark, A Chaos of Delight I, A Chaos of Delight II, a pink-lit phase, small blue Douglas Bellman (violin), James Tennant (cello) (Strains); Dan Poynton (piano) (Strings); Alexander Ivashkin (cello); Mark Menzies (violin), Dan Poynton (piano) (Split the Lark), Andrew Uren (bass clarinet) (A Chaos of Delight I); Jane Manning (sop) (A Chaos of Delight II); Nash Ensemble of London (phase); Dan Poynton (piano) (small blue) ATOLL A9806 [79.02] [RB]
This is tough but substantial music; as out of step with neo-romantic trends. The composer must be delighted with these performances which are hoarse with conviction.
CHOPIN (1810-49) Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11. Nocturnes - No. 4 in F, Op. 15 No. 1; No. 5 in F sharp, Op. 15 No. 2; Two Nocturnes, Op. 27. Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23. Polonaise No. 6 in A flat, Op. 53. Maurizio Pollini (piano); Philharmonia Orchestra/Paul Kletzki. EMI Great Recordings of the Century CDM5 67548-2 [ADD] [72'59] [CC]
Pollini's marriage of youthful impetuosity, technical perfection and an understanding of Chopin's world well beyond his then-youthful years mean that this is a very special experience indeed.
CHOPIN 2 Polonaises, op.26, 2 Polonaises, op.40, Polonaise in f sharp, op.44, Polonaise in A flat, op.53, Polonaise-Fantaisie in A flat, op.61, Andante spianato & Grand Polonaise, op.22. Arthur Rubinstein (pianoforte) Recorded March 1964 BMG RCA Red Seal 09026 63048-2 [74' 24"] [CH]
The F sharp minor Polonaise receives a staggeringly great performance, its epic scale encompassing fervent patriotic aspirations, desperate initiatives and aching nostalgia.
CHOPIN (1810-1849) Complete (19) Nocturnes and Scherzi Arthur Rubinstein (piano) rec. 1932 (Scherzi) 1936-37 (Nocturnes), No. 3 Studio, Abbey Road, London Naxos 8.110659-60 (2CDs) [132.27] [SJ]
CHOPIN (1810-1849) Four Ballades: Four Scherzi: Tarantelle in A flat, opus 43 Artur Rubinstein Rec 1959 and 1965 (Tarantelle) RCA Red Seal 09026 63045 2 [74.00] [TB]
These beautifully remastered recordings from some forty years ago still rank as a major event in the evolution of the recorded music catalogue.
Giovanni CROCE (1557-1609) Carnevale Veneziano: Mascarate piacevoli et ridicolose per il carnevale, Triaca Musicale I Fagiolini CHANDOS CHAN 0665 [75:34]
A very entertaining comic album performed with great verve and wit - heartily recommended
DEBUSSY Douze Etudes Books 1 & 2 Mitsuko Uchida (piano) PHILIPS 464 698-2 [47.12] [PGW]
These studies should have a place in any collection of piano music or of Debussy and Uchida is a splendid guide through their intricacies.
DEBUSSY Claude String Quartet in G minor Maurice RAVEL String Quartet in F Igor STRAVINSKY 3 Pieces for String Quartet · Concertino · Double Canon Alban Berg Quartett EMI Classics - Great Recordings of the Century CDM 5 67550 2 [66.22] [SF]
Performed by non-French players, the sheer quality of the playing and recording ensures classic status.
DEBUSSY Claude (1862-1918), Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) String Quartets
Quartetto Italiano Recorded Vevey, Switzerland August 1965 PHILIPS 464 699-2 (50 Great Recordings series) [56.41]
New Zealand String Quartet Recorded Victoria, New Zealand (date not given) ATOLL ACD 399 [54.22] [GP-J]
The Quartetto Italiano, bring to these works a subtlety and idiomatic quality which is seductive and unfailingly stylish. I enjoyed the freshness and energy of the New Zealand Quartet. They are a group well worth listening to.
DELIUS: Brigg Fair, Dance Rhapsody no. 2, On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, Summer Night on the River, A Song before Sunrise, Intermezzo: Fennimore and Gerda, Irmelin Prelude, Sleighride, Summer Evening, Florida Suite: Dance, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Thomas Beecham EMI 5 67552 2 [76.45] [TB]
Hearing this disc makes it seem all the stranger that much of this music is so seldom performed today
DELIUS (1862- 1934) Orchestral works Vol.2 The Walk to the Paradise Garden* Sea Drift+ Intermezzo from Fennimore and Gerda + In a Summer Garden + Over the Hills and Far Away + John Brownlee (baritone) London Select Choir London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Thomas Beecham recorded Fyvie Hall, London, Dec 1927+ recorded Abbey Rd. London, April, September and October 1936 NAXOS Great Conductors series 8.110905 [62.42] [GP-J]
All, in their way, wonderful performances transferred lovingly. Occasional glitches owing to surface imperfections in the original 78s. The magic and authority of Beecham's readings
DOPPER (1870-1939) Symphony No.2, Päân I, Päân II Residentie Orchestra The Hague/Matthias Bamert Recorded 2000 Chandos CHAN 9884 [65.08] [CF]
For those wishing to explore the byways of European music
Antonín DVORAK (1841-1904) Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, 'From the New World'. Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Overture, Leonore No. 3, Op. 72a. Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) The Love for Three Oranges - Symphonic Suite, Op. 33bis. BBC Symphony Orchestra/Rudolf Kempe. Recorded in the Royal Albert Hall, London on August 27th and 29th, 1975. [ADD]. BBC Music/IMG Artists BBCL4056-2 [70.35] [CC]
This disc acts as a fitting memorial as well as a pointer to what might have been.
DVORÁK (1841-1904) Biblical Songs (1894) & Preludes & Fugues for Organ (c1857)
Juraj FILAS (1955) Fresko for organ in one movement (1991) Juraj BENE (1940) 'O Virtu mia' - Aria concertante per basso ed organo (Dante-Purgatoria) Sergej Koptchak (bass) Ales Barta (organ) Rec. 6th-8th June 2000 & 22nd August 2000 Arcodiva UP 0033-2 231 [67.40] [JF]
Sensitive songs from Dvorak & good virile organ music from the Czech Republic.
DVORÁK (1841-1904) String Quintet in A minor, Op 1 (30.04) String Quintet in E major Op 97 (35.00) Vlach Quartet, Prague; Ladislav Kyselak, viola. rec. 12-13. 4. 97 (Op 97); 30-31. 5. 97 (Op 1), Martinu Studio, Prague Naxos 8.553376 [65.04] [SJ]
Superbly idiomatic readings, in Op 1 as good as any.
ELGAR POWICK ASYLUM MUSIC Rutland Sinfonia/Barry Collett BRITISH MUSIC LABEL BML 028 [53.48] [RB]
All in all a fascinating disc for the Elgarian marking the one day a week he spent at the asylum during the period 1879-1884; otherwise of limited attraction.
ENGLUND (1916-1999) Symphony No. 4 Nostalgic (1976) [25.18] Symphony No. 5 Fennica (1977) [18.45] The Great Wall of China (1949) [20.08] Tampere PO/Eri Klas rec Tampere 2-3 March 2000 ONDINE ODE 961-2 [64.31] [RB]
Englund is very much under Russian and specifically DSCH thrall. Sound quality: startlingly immediate. Ondine's eminent reputation continues securely with this disc.
DE FALLA (1876-1946) Songs and Piano Music Merlyn Quaife (soprano); Len Vorster (Piano); Anthony Field (Guitar); Ben Dickinson (percussion).[Rec. November 1998] NAXOS 8.554498 [53.57] [JF]
A fascinating insight into the lesser known works of this great Spanish composer. More than just folk songs from Spain, this is de Falla at his creative best capturing the essence of his beloved country. The later works are quite a revelation.
FAURÉ (1845-1924) Requiem Elly Ameling (soprano) Bernard Kruysen (baritone) Netherlands Radio Chorus Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra/Jean Fournet Pavane Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra/Jean Fournet Pelléas et Mélisande Jill Gomez (soprano) Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra/David Zinman Rec March 1975, Rotterdam (Requiem & Pavane); November 1979, Rotterdam (Pelléas) PHILIPS 464 701 2 [60.15] [TB]
This nicely presented disc offers a thoughtfully planned Fauré programme.
Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) In Years Defaced (six songs for voice and orchestra) Prelude for string orchestra, Romance for string orchestra, Violin Concerto John Mark Ainsley (ten) Tasmin Little (violin) City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox world premiere recordings of the concerto and five of the six songs 2 Dec 1999, 30 May 2000, Watford Colosseum CHANDOS CHAN 9888 [54.34] [RB]
A very fine disc though short on playing time. Finzi lovers may find the Violin Concerto's outer movements something of a neo-classical jolt out of the accustomed track.
FRANCK Symphony in D minor , Symphonic Variations , Les Eolides Louis Lortie, piano
BBC Philharmonic conducted by Yan Pascal Tortelier Chandos CHAN 9875 [61:47] [GD]
From the opening mysterious tone colours to the bold finale, the symphony gleams lustrously as pivotal work in late 19th century French music.....it is doubtful the composer could be in safer hands than those of Yan Pascal Tortelier and the BBC Philharmonic.
HAYDN Symphony no 27 in G major, Symphony no 28 in A major, Symphony no 31 in D major (Hornsignal) Nicolaus Esterhazy Sinfonia/Bela Drahos Recorded February 1998 NAXOS 8.554405 [62.41] [AS]
At Naxos prices a disc is worth buying just for the Hornsignal symphony here delivered with utmost panache. Sound clear spacious. A terrific disc!
HOLST Savitri VAUGHAN WILLIAMS The Lark Ascending BRITTEN Sinfonietta Jessica Miller (Savitri) Kyu Won Han (Death) Simon O'Neill (Satyavan) Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater
Manhattan Chamber Sinfonia/Glen Barton Cortese PHOENIX PHCD145 [53.26] [RB]
Rewards in all this repertoire and the Savitri bids fair to be the best currently available. Pity about the 53 minutes total playing time.
LAKELAND PICTURES: Piano Music of HOWELLS and ARMSTRONG GIBBS Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) Gadabout (1928); Slow Dance (1928); Cobbler's Hornpipe (1928); There was a most beautiful lady (1928); Triumph Tune (1934); Sarum Sketches (1917); Rhapsody (1919); Jackanapes (1919) ARMSTRONG GIBBS (1889-1960) In the High Alps - suite (1925); Lakeland Pictures - eight preludes (1940) Alan Cuckston (piano)rec Leeds, March 1991; Ripon, Oct 2000 SWINSTY FEW 123CDr [70.16] [RB]
Cuckston characterises the music with care and is recorded in an enclosed and warm acoustic. The music on this disc offers some real surprises; particularly in the case of the Gibbs' pieces.
HUMMEL Piano Concerto in F Op. posth ; Theme and Variations in F Op 97; Piano Concerto in A S4/W24. London Mozart Players, Howard Shelley (piano) CHANDOS CHAN 9886 (DDD) [67.42] [DW]
For my taste Hummel's music needs more elegance and refinement. These performances are too strong and persuasive for its style. I wish I could be more positive.
Charles IVES Universe Symphony (1911-51) * Orchestral Set No. 2, The Unanswered Question C.C.M. Percussion Ensemble, C.C.M. Chamber Choir, Cincinnati Philharmonia Orchestra/Gerhard Samuel CENTAUR CRC 2205 [62.04] [RB]
A fine piece of work by all concerned and a tribute to Centaur's judgement that these events are in their catalogue
Michael KAMEN The New Moon in the Old Moon's Arms also featuring Mr Holland's Opus - An American Symphony The National Symphony Orchestra / The BBC SO; both works conducted by Leonard Slatkin Decca 467-631-2 [58:22] [GD]
This album contains two concert works by the film composer Michael Kamen. The New Moon in the Old Moon's Arms - Symphonic Poem is referred to in the accompanying notes by the composer as a symphony, while there is no doubt that Mr Holland's Opus - An American Symphony is indeed a symphony.
László LAJTHA (1892-1963) Symphony No. 8 (1959) [38.29] Symphony No. 9 (1961) [26.17] Pécs SO/Nicolás Pasquet rec Pécs, Hungary, Oct 1996 MARCO POLO 8.223673 [64.52] [RB]
The Eighth is extremely colourful and astoundingly well recorded.....The three movement Ninth continues the dark pilgrimage with tragedy weighing down its wings intensified by sardonic humour.
LANGGAARD (1893-1952) Messis - Organ drama in three evenings (1932-37) In Tenebras Exteriores (1947) Flemming Dreisig (organ) Organ of The Church of St Nicholas, Ronne, Denmark, Nov 1997, May 1998 DANACORD DACOCD 485-486 [CD1 55.54; CD2 68.34] [RB]
This disc reveals a rich seam for organists prepared to think outside the Bach, Howells, Vierne, Widor 'box'.
LANGGAARD (1893-1952) Antichrist - Church opera in six scenes (1923-30) Soloists Chor des Tiroler Landestheater Tirol SO/Niels Muus rec at premiere stage performance, 2 May 1999, Großen Haus, Innsbruck, Austria DANACORD DACOCD 517 [87.12] [RB]
Antikrist - yet another surprising, sublime and challenging work by Danish composer Rued Langgaard.
LILBURN (b. 1915) Festival Overture , A Song of Islands , Suite for Orchestra, A Birthday Offering, Drysdale Overture (1937) 9.37 New Zealand SO/Sir William Southgate rec 1996? Lower Hutt Town Hall, NZ CONTINUUM CCD 1077 [62.33] [RB]
A nice Lilburn sampler well worth picking up if you encounter it in a CD shop. It is, though, shorter in playing time than the very similarly programmed Kiwi Pacific disc. The first choice if you must have only one Lilburn must be either the Continuum or the Kiwi Pacific CD of all three symphonies.
LILBURN (1915-) Aotearoa Overture, Allegro for Strings, Concert Overture in D, Introduction and Allegro for Strings, Four Canzonas, Diversions for Strings, Festival Overture New Zealand SO/John Hopkins (Aotearoa; Festival) Ithaca College Festival Orchestra/Grant Cooper rec Wellington TH: Aug 1968 (Aotearoa); Oct 1985 (Festival) rec live Ithaca College, NY, USA, Sept 1996 KIWI PACIFIC CD-SLD-99 [71.17] [RB]
A very fine disc with music by a freshly inspired lyrico-dramatic talent whose music deserves to travel.
LILBURN (1915-) Drysdale Overture, A Song of Islands, Suite for Orchestra, A Birthday Offering, Prodigal Country David Griffiths (bar) Orpheus Choir of Wellington New Zealand SO/John Hopkins; Charles Groves (Prodigal) rec Wellington TH: Nov 1982-June 1987 KIWI PACIFIC CD-SLD-100 [68.15] [RB]
While the strongest Lilburn is to be found in the three symphonies and the piano music this is a meritorious collection for the Lilburn listener who wonders what lies in the further recesses. By no means a barrel-scraping exercise and much pleasure is to be had by those in sympathy with the works of Sibelius and RVW.
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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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