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Eric SATIE (1866-1925) Complete Piano Works Jean-Pierre Armengaud w/Dominique Merlet   MANDALA MAN 4975/79 5CDs [322:33] [PB]

How thrilling to have nearly all of Satie's piano works in this five-volume boxed set! How disappointing to hear Jean-Pierre Armengaud's sporadic renditions.

SCARLATTI 14 Sonatas Peter Katin (piano)   Claudio Records CR 35102-D [DW]

The performances are so good that anything I say will be unnecessary and foolish.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas - No. 19 in C minor, D958; No. 21 in B flat, D960. Sviatoslav Richter (piano). Regis RRC1049 [ADD] [78.29]  [CC]

It is the sheer level of Richter's concentration throughout coupled with his minute attention to detail that makes the two performances on this disc such a compulsive and special experience and ranks them alongside the finest available in the catalogue.

SCHUBERT The Piano Masterworks Volume 1.
CD1 Allegretto in C minor D915 Four Impromptus D935 Sonata in B flat D960 CD2  Sonata in A, D664 Fantasie in C D760 Sonata in G D894 Anthony Goldstone (piano).   DIVINE ART 2-1202 2 CDs. [77.28 and 73.36 respectively] (DDD) [DW]

Excellent sound and beautiful, well-shaped performances of admirable elegance and supreme style. If you like Schubert you can but love these discs. Goldstone is really superb.

SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Songs Felicity Lott (soprano) Graham Johnson (piano) Rec 6th-7th February 1988, Haberdashers Aske's, London REGIS RRC 1052 [65.08] [TB]

Anyone seeking a top class survey which includes the most popular Schubert songs need not hesitate.

William SCHUMAN (1910-1992) Two One Act Operas:- The Mighty Casey (1951) A Question of Taste (1987-89) soloists (listed at end of review) Juilliard Orchestra/Gerard Schwarz rec Juilliard Opera Center, December 1990. DELOS DE1030 [CD1 75.32; CD2 54.11] [RB]

The recordings derive from live performances given as a double bill at the Juilliard Opera Centre on 12, 14 and 16 December 1990. These were to mark Schuman's eightieth birthday. It is typical of Gerard Schwarz that he should lend his name and utter dedication to two such obscure works.

Dimitri SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 10 in E Minor *  Maurice RAVEL Bolero ** Zoltan KODALY Dances from Galanta ** Czech Philharmonic conducted by Karel Ancerl * RIAS Symphony Orchestra Berlin conducted by Ferenc Fricsay ** recorded 1956 Prague *, Berlin **. DG 457 080-2 [76.17] [JP]

Go out and buy it - it is a tragedy that these issues were not publicised in the UK. You might be interested to know that they are also hidden from view via the Universal France Website.

Nikos SKALKOTTAS (1904-49) Thirty-Two pieces for piano (1940) Four etudes (1941) Suite no 1 (1936) Nikolaos Samaltanos (piano) rec 1998-2000 at Eglise Saint-Marcel, Paris BIS CD 1133/34  2CD [119.22] [PGW]

A landmark release and essential purchase, a recording which is 60 years overdue. The Thirty-Two Pieces (1940) are of limitless variety and represent one of the great piano cycles of the century.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Salome (1905) Opera in one act and four scenes
Two Versions of Salome on Berlin Classics
Helmut Melchert (ten) (Herod) Siw Ericsdotter (mezzo sop.) (Herodias) Christel Goltz (sop) (Salome) Ernst Gutstein (bar) (Jokanaan) With Heinz Hoppe, Eva Fleisher, Harald Neukirch, Helmut Goldmann, Gottfried
Speck, Hans-Joachim Botzsch, Günther Leib Staatskapelle Dresden/Otmar Suitner Digital remastering (1995) of recording in August 1963 at Lukaskirche, Dresden   BERLIN CLASSICS 009102BC. 2 CDs [CD1: 52.97; CD2: 42.41]
Bernd Aldenhoff (ten) (Herod) Inger Karén (mezzo sop) (Herodias) Christel Goltz (sop) (Salome) Josef Herrmann (bar) (Jokanaan) Staatskapelle Dresden/Joseph Keilberth Digital remastering of a recorded broadcast on 20 May, 1948 by Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, Dresden.   BERLIN CLASSICS BC2062. 2 CDs [CD1: 51.80; CD2: 45.20] [RBr]

The Keilberth is the more thrilling and the Suitner - orchestrally at least - the more tense and atmospheric … The Keilberth suffers from the dim studio sound of the original mono broadcast, though the singers fare better than the orchestra in this respect

Sir Arthur SULLIVAN The Martyr of Antioch Catherine Foster (sop); Gillian Knight (contr.); Stephen Brown (ten.); Gareth Jones (bar.); Stephen Godward (bass); Clive Woods (organ); Northern Chamber Orchestra and Sullivan Chorus Conducted by Richard Balcombe Recording of performance at Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, Buxton, August 2000 SYMPOSIUM 1289 [78.41] [AB]

The work was written for the Leeds Triennial Musical Festival and is tuneful piece which is perhaps more lyrical than dramatic. The performance and recording is good and the disc will give pleasure to all who hear it.

Margaret SUTHERLAND (1897-1984) Piano music David Lockett (piano) rec May/August 1996 ABC CLASSICS 441 934-2 [67.04] [RB]

A rather serious recital from a composer who wrote music of character and whose consistency is traceable throughout all these works.

Toru TAKEMITSU (1930-1996) Rain Coming for chamber orchestra (1982) Archipelago S for 21 players (1993) Fantasma/Cantos 2 for trombone and orchestra (1994) Requiem for strings (1957) How slow the Wind for orchestra (1991) Tree Line for chamber orchestra (1988) Christian Lindberg, trombone Kioi Sinfonietta conducted by Tadaaki Otaka Recorded February 2000 in the Kioi Hall, Tokyo, Japan. BIS BIS-CD-1078 DDD [71:39] [CT]

At over seventy-one minutes playing time this is a generously filled disc that gives an excellent overview of Takemitsu's considerable output for chamber orchestra.

VIRGIL THOMSON (1896-1989) Symphony no 2 in C major (1931-41) Symphony no 3 (1932-76) Pilgrims and Pioneers (1964-76) Symphony on a Hymn Tune (1926-45) New Zealand Symphony Orchestra/James Sedares Recorded at the Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington, 21-25 November 1998 NAXOS 8.559022 [64:21] [AAS]

Thomson's music lacked a truly distinctive voice. Recording and performance are as straightforward and uncomplicated as the music itself.

Henri TOMASI (1901-1974) Requiem pour la paix (1945) Fanfares liturgiques (1947) Etre ou ne pas être (1963) Marie-Paul Lavogez (sop) Jacqueline Mayeur (mezzo) Michel Pastor (ten) Didier Henry (bar) Trombone Massilia Choeur Régional Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Choeur Départemental des Alpes-Maritimes Orchestra Philharmonique de Marseille/Michel Piquemal rec Marseilles 8-10 July 1996 MARCO POLO 8.225067 [61.52] [RB]

A gentle but not anodyne entrée to the world of Henri Tomasi.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Phantasy Quintet, String Quartet No. 1 in G minor, String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Maggini Quartet, with Garfield Jackson (viola) Rec 13th-15th June 2000, Potton Hall, Suffolk  NAXOS 8.555300 [66.29] [TB] [HC]

At the bargain Naxos price, this disc represents quite extraordinary value, and adds something special to our awareness of RVW's achievement.

John VEALE Violin Concerto Benjamin BRITTEN Violin Concerto. Lydia Mordkovitch/BBC Symphony Orchestra/Richard Hickox rec 1999? (DDD)CHANDOS CHAN 9910 [69.57] [DW]

Apart from the Britten, beautifully played and executed though it is, this is the 'disc of the year' It sets a standard of sound quality and performance that will hardly be beaten.

Giuseppe VERDI Don Carlos (Original Five Act French Version) Don Carlos: Roberto Alagna, ten Rodrigue: Thomas Hampson, bar Elisabeth de Valois: Karita Mattila, sop Philippe II: José Van Dam, bass Princess Eboli: Waltraud  Meier, mezzo-sop Grand Inquisitor: Eric Halfvarson, bass Orchestre de Paris/Antonio Pappano NVC ARTS PRODUCTION WARNER MUSIC VIDEO  DVD 0630-16318-3. [211.00].

The stars were well aligned when this production was staged at the Théàtre du Châtelet in Paris during March of 1996, when it was recorded live for this DVD

VERDI Falstaff Jean-Pierre Lafont , Hillevi Martinpelto, Orchestre Revolutionaire et Romantique I Sir John Eliot Gardiner PHILIPS 462 603-2PH2 [121 mins] [PGW]

Buy it by all means, but not as your only Falstaff.

VERDI (1813-1901) Aida (Highlights) Aida: Maria Dragoni (sop) Radames: Kristjan Johannsson (ten) Amneris: Barbara Dever (mezzo) Amonasro: Mark Rucker (bar) Ramfis: Francesco Ellero D'Artegna (bass) King of Egypt: Riccardo Ferrari (bass) National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland conducted by Rico Saccani Recorded October 1994 NAXOS 8.554706 [67.15] [JQ]

At the Naxos price this is a good way to obtain an introduction to Verdi's masterpiece.

VERDI Opera Arias Thomas Hampson (baritone) Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Richard Armstrong EMI Classics CDC 5 57113 2 [64.51] [SF]

All lovers of fine singing need not hesitate.

VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Chôros XII for orchestra (1929) Chôros VII for flute, clarinet, oboe, saxophone, bassoon, violin, cello and gong (1924) Bachiana brasileira I for eight cellos (1930) Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège cond. Pierre Bartholomée (Chôros XII) cond. Georges-Élie Octors (Chôros VII) Cello Octet Conjunto Ibérico (Bachiana brasileira I) rec: (Chôros XII): Conservatoire Royale de Liège 9-10 Sept 1980; (Chôros VII): 22 Dec 1986; (Bachiana Brasileira I): l'Abbaye de la Byloke, Ghent, 5 Sept 1999 DDD CYPRÈS CYP 1623 [63.24] [RB]

This is music by which to warm your heart and your hands. Treasurable stuff.

VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Forest of the Amazon (1958) Renée Fleming (sop) Chorus of the Moscow Physics and Engineering Institute Moscow Radio SO/Alfred Heller rec Nov-Dec 1994, April 1995, Studio 5, State House for Broadcasting and Recording, Moscow. DDD DELOS DE 1037 [74.05] [RB]

Sample, in good sound, this untamed tone poem written after the composer's final string quartet (No. 17) and final symphony (No. 12).

Jan Vaclav VORISEK (1791-1825) Piano Works Sonata quasi una fantasia in B flat minor, Op 20  Six Variations in B flat major Op 19 Fantasia in C major, Op 12 Six Impromptus Op 7 Olga Tverskaya (piano) OPUS 111 OPS 30241 [77.02] (DDD) [DW]

An important disc and very welcome. The performances are generally very good. The Sonata is important.

James WILSON (b1922) Orchestral Works. Menorah (Viola Concerto), Op. 122* [24.54] Concertino, Op. 37 [12.38] Pearl and Unicorn (Violin Concerto), Op. 20 [26.50] * Constantin Zanidache (vla) ** Alan Smale (vln) National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland conducted by Colman Pearce Recorded, April 1996 in the National Concert hall, Dublin MARCO POLO 8. 225027 [65.40] [JQ]

Despite some atmospheric and intriguing scoring I must confess that I was not greatly attracted to James Wilson's music, still less moved by it.

[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, Frank Cadenhead, Colin Clarke, Paul Conway, Jim Cooke, Gary Dalkin, Andy Daly, Tony Duggan, Harry Downey,  Christopher Fifield, Lewis Foreman, Simon Foster, John France, Julian Hellaby, Christopher Howell, Simon Jenner, Stephen Lloyd,   Kirk McElhearn, Gwyn Parry-Jones, John Phillips, John Quinn, Ailís Ní Ríain, Humphrey Smith, Philip Scowcroft, Adrian Smith, Colin Scott-Sutherland, Andrew Seivewright, Paul Serotsky, Christopher Thomas, Richard Walker, Richard Whitehouse, Jonathan Woolf, 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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