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BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Music for solo piano (CD1) Les Ritournelles (1932) Fantaisie et Toccata (1954) Sonata No. 1 (1954) Julietta (1939) Etudes et Polkas (1945) Piano Concertos (CD2) Piano Concerto No. 2 (1934) Piano Concerto No. 3 (1948) Piano Concerto No. 4 (1956) Rudolf Firkušný (1912-1994) (piano) Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Libor Pešek Rec. 1988 (solo piano), 1993 (concertos) RCA RED SEAL ARTISTES ET REPERTOIRES 74321 886 822 [2CDs: 58.37+68.47] [RB]

Anyone with any interest in Martinů should snap up this outstanding bargain. Radiant performances of music nurtured in sunlight, dewy with nostalgic nationalism. ... see Full Review

Joseph MARX (1882-1964) Natur-Trilogie (1922-5):- 1. Ein Symphonische Nachtmusik (1922); 2. Idylle - Concertino über die pastorale Quart (1925); 3. Eine Frühlingsmusik (1925) Bochum SO/Steven Sloane - rec. Maximilianpark, Hamm, Germany, 11-15 June 2002. DDD - Complete Orchestral Music: Volume 1 ASV CD DCA 1137 [64.19] [CSS]

Fabulous recording. There is little enough beauty in the world today - why complain of a surfeit of it in one man … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945) Il Piccolo Marat - Opera in 3 Acts (1921) Nicola Rossi-Lemeni (The President of the Committee – "The Ogre"), Virginia Zeani (Mariella), Giuseppe Gismondo (Prince Fleury – "Il piccolo Marat"), Afro Poli ("The Carpenter"), Anna Lia Bazzani (Princess Fleury – "la madre"), Giulio Fioravanti (The Soldier), Alfonso Marchica ("The Spy"), Giulio Montano (The Thief"), Bruno Cioni ("The Tiger"), Piero Francia (The Captain of the "Marats"), Armando Benzi (The Carrier of Orders) Chorus of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo/Ottavio Ziino Recorded live (mono) 20th January 1962, Teatro del Casinò di Sanremo WARNER FONIT "CETRA OPERA COLLECTION" 50466-3246-2-7 [2 CDs: 60:52+70:22] [CH]

A neglected and powerful opera in a very fine performance, acceptably recorded. Also a welcome reminder of the art of Virginia Zeani. … see Full Review

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Manon (an opera in five acts) (1882-84) Manon Lescaut - Germaine Féraldy (soprano) - Le Comte Des Grieux - Louis Guénot (bass-baritone) - Le Chevalier Des Grieux - Josef Rogatchewsky (tenor) - Lescaut - Georges Villier (baritone) - Pousette - Andrée Vavon (soprano) - Javotte - Jeanne Rambert/Mme Ravery (side 31) (soprano) - Rosette - Andrée Bernadet/Marguerite Julliot (sides 29, 32) (soprano) - Rosette - Marinette Fenoyer (side 33) (soprano) - Guillot - Emile de Creus (tenor) - De Brétigny - Jean Vieuille/André Gaudin (sides 17, 20, 21) (baritone) - L’Hôtelier - Paul Payan - Chorus and Orchestra of the Opéra-Comique, Paris/Elie Cohen - Recorded on 36 sides by French Columbia, December 1928-March 1929 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.110203-04 [2CDs: 76.08+65.25] [JW]

The French tradition caught still in its heyday … a Manon in some ways still unmatched. … See Full Review

David MATTHEWS (b.1943) Cantiga (1988) [23’42] - September Music (1979/81) [10’00] - Introit (1981) [6’08] - Symphony No.4 (1989/90) [27’19] Jill Gomez (soprano) - Bournemouth Sinfonietta/John Carewe - East of England Orchestra/Malcolm Nabarro (Symphony) - Recorded in the Great Hall, Nottingham University, Sept. 1993 (Symphony) - Winter Gardens, Bournemouth, Nov. 16-18, 1991 (rest) NMC ANCORA NMCD084 [67’09] [TH]

‘modernist’ features in check … great harmonic, textural and, particularly, melodic content being uppermost in the composer’s mind … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH John Blackwood MCEWEN (1868-1948) String Quartets Volume 2 String Quartet No. 3 (1901) String Quartet No. 6 Biscay (1913) String Quartet No. 13 (1928) Chilingirian Quartet Recorded Snape Maltings Concert Hall, 9-11 November 2001 CHANDOS CHAN 10084 [58.30] [JW]

...the Chilingirians really do bring life and joyous affirmation to this...... a most enthusiastic welcome...see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphony No.1 in C minor, Op.11 (1824) - Symphony No.5 in D major, Op.107 ‘Reformation’ (1830) Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra/Kurt Masur - Recorded in the Leipzig Gewandhaus, September 1989 WARNER APEX 2564 60370 2 [55’03] [TH]

These later recordings have a great deal to commend them and can be very confidently recommended. … see Full Review

 Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) String Symphonies (1821-1823) - No. 8 in D Major [26:27] - No. 9 in C minor [30:18] - No. 10 in b minor [9:30] - Concerto Köln Recorded in Cologne in July 1994. DDD WARNER - ELATUS - 2564-60124-2 [66:13] [KS]

Seems as though I have been on a bit of a negative roll of late, but this disc does not impress me and I cannot recommend … see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Motets and Psalms Warum toben die Heiden, Opus 78 No. 1 (1844) - Mein Gott, warum hast du mich verlassen, Opus 78 No. 3 - Herr nun lässest di deinen Diener, Opus 69 No. 1 (1847) - Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe - Mitten wir im Leben sind, Opus 23 No. 3 (1830) - Sechs Sprüche, Opus 79 (1846) - Hymne: 'Hör mein Bitten, Herr' (1844) Rebecca Evans (soprano) - Greta de Reyghere (soprano) - La Chapelle Royale, Collegium Vocale Ghent - Johan Huys (organ) - Philippe Herreweghe - Rec May 1984, l'Église des Carmes, Gand HARMONIA MUNDI HMA 1951142 [51.36] [TB]

The Scottish and Italian Symphonies are splendid pieces but relatively speaking over-played and over-recorded; he did better elsewhere: in chamber music and in vocal works such as these. … see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) String Symphonies Symphony No. 12 in G minor Symphony No.1 in C major Symphony No.7 in D minor Symphony No.4 in C minor Symphony No.6 in E flat major Concerto Köln Recorded at Studio Deutschland Radio, Cologne, Germany. November 1995 ELATUS 2564-60353-2. [67.46] [RBr]

Together with the vivacity and technical accomplishment of the fugal passages it all adds up to a most attractive disc … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH - Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphony No.2 in B flat major, Op.52 Hymn of Praise (1840) Barbara Bonney, Edith Wiens (sopranos), Peter Schreier (tenor) - Michael Schoenheit (organ) - Leipzig Radio Choir - Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra/Kurt Masur - Recorded in the Gewandhaus, Leipzig, September 1988 DDD WARNER APEX 2564 60156 2 [58’32] [TH]

Competition is strong, but this is a highly desirable version of a rewarding piece. … see Full Review

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Turangalîla (1946-48) Paul Crossley (piano) - Tristan Murail (ondes martenot) - Philharmonia Orchestra/Esa-Pekka Salonen - rec. 1986, London. DDD SONY ESSENTIAL CLASSICS SBK89900 [77.41] [RB]

Salonen rather out-Boulezs Boulez. With that remark you will know now whether or not this is for you. Personally I prefer the Previn ... see Full Review

Jean Joseph de MONDONVILLE (1711-1772) Grand Motets, Venite Exultemus – Psalm 94 (1740) Dominus Regnavit – Psalm 92 (1734) Michelle CORRETTE (1709-1795) Laudate Dominum – Psalm 148 (1768) Collete Alliot-Lugaz (soprano), Danielle Borst (soprano) Michael Goldthorpe (tenor), Jean Buclet (tenor), Philippe Hutenlocher (bass) Ensemble Vocal de Lyon Jean-François Paillard Chamber Orchestra/Jean-François Paillard
Recorded at the Hospice Contesse, Lille, France, December 1979 (Mondonville) and July 1976 (Corrette) ADD WARNER APEX 2564 60155 2 [71’10] [TH]

If you fancy dipping your toe into the glories of French Baroque choral music, this is a good place to start. … see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K216 (1775) * Bassoon Concerto in B flat major, K191 (1774) ** Jan Václav Hugo VORISEK (1791-1825) Symphony in D minor, Op. 24 (1820-21) - David Oistrakh, violin * Karel Bidlo, bassoon ** Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Karel Ančerl - Rec. Rudolfinum Studio, Prague, December 1950, April 1954 *, February 1952 ** Karel Ančerl (1908-1973)- Ančerl Gold Edition SUPRAPHON SU 3678-2 001 [71:27] [DS]

Over 70 minutes of great music-making from volume 18 of the Ančerl Gold Series … see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART An Introduction to … The Marriage of Figaro Written by Thomson Smillie; Narrated by David Timson - Rec Motivation Sound Studios, London. No date given. [DDD] NAXOS OPERA EXPLAINED 8.558078 [79’34] [CC]

Fulfils its remit perfectly. Something of interest for everybody, even those who may think they know the opera, its genesis and its context inside out. … see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART L’oeuvre Pour Clarinette De Basset (Works For Basset-Clarinet) (1756-1791) Clarinet Quintet in A K581 - Clarinet Concerto in A K622 Jean-Claude Veilhan, basset-clarinet - Stadler Quartet - La Grande Ecurie et le Chambre du Roy/Jean-Claude Malgoire - Recorded Paris 1989 (concerto) and 1992 (quintet) K617030 K617 RECORDS [58:02] [GPJ]

Performances worth hearing, if only for the unusual experience of the instrument for which this music was originally intended. … see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 - 1791) Symphony No. 38 Prague in D Major K504 (1786) - Jan Vaclav VORISEK (1791 - 1825) Symphony in D Major Op. 24 (1821) Prague Philharmonia, conducted by Jiři Bĕlohlávek - Rec. Domovina Studio, Prague, 17–18 October 2002 and 10–11 March 2003. DDD SUPRAPHON SU 3713-2 [60’31] [JP]

Good performances and beautiful playing. A very enjoyable disc. … see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 - 1791) Toscanini Broadcast Legacy: The Complete Concert 3 November 1946 Magic Flute Overture, K620:1 (1791) [6.46] Divertimento in Bb for 2 Horns and String Quartet, K287 (1777) [30.10] Symphony #35 in D, ‘Haffner’ K (1782) [16.52] NBC Symphony Orchestra/Arturo Toscanini Notes in English. Special feature: Rehearsals for the Magic Flute Overture and Symphony 35 (88.22) exclusive recordings from the Immortal Performance Recorded Music Society Guild GHCD 2232/33 2CD [147.08] [AAD]

So-so sound, good ... well, OK performances of great music, with some petty ranting thrown in. For Toscanini lovers and historians only … see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Mass in C minor, K427 (1783) Requiem, K626 (1791) Soloists in Mass: Edith Wiens, Dame Felicity Lott (sopranos I and II), Laurence Dale (tenor), Robert Lloyd (bass) Soloists in Requiem: Dame Felicity Lott (soprano), Della Jones (mezzo-soprano), Keith Lewis (tenor), Willard White (bass) London Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra/Franz Welser-Möst Recorded in Walthamstow Assembly Hall, 4-6 February 1987, and St.Augustine’s, Kilburn, 10-12 April 1989. EMI CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 7243 5 75770 2 1 [2CDs: 56:25+49:45] [GPJ]

As I say, not to everyone’s taste; you’ll either fall for these whole-hearted, large-scale performances, or you’ll hate them; I fell! … see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Abduction from the Seraglio, a German Singspiel in 3 Acts (1782) - New staging by the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino - Bassa Selim: Markus John - Konstanze: Eva Mei - Blonde: Patrizia Ciofi - Belmonte: Rainer Trost - Pedrillo: Mehrzad Montazeri - Osmin: Kurt Rydl Orchestra and Chorus of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Zubin Mehta - Chorus Master: Jose Luis Basso - Costumes Designer: Catherine Voeffray - Lighting: Jacques Battocletti - Stage Director: Massimo Teoldi - Scene: Elke Gramss - Set Designer: Christoph Wagenknecht - Recorded at the Teatro della Pergola, Florence, May 2002 - PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1. Aspect Ratio 16:9. Region Code 0. PAL. Subtitles in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian TDK DVD DV-OPEADS [136 mins] [DB]

A lively, traditional production of Mozart’s lovely singspiel. Well filmed and excellently sung and played. No need to hesitate. … see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 - 1791) Don Giovanni, K 527 (1787): highlights [76.38] Bo Skovhus, Don Giovanni; Janusz Monarcha, Commendatore; Adrianne Pieczonka, Donna Anna; Torsten Kerl, Don Ottavio; Regina Schörg, Donna Elvira; Boaz Daniel, Masetto; Ilkiko Raimondi, Zerlina David Aronson, harpsichord; György Eder, cello Hungarian Radio Chorus Nicolas Hesterházy Sinfonia/ Michael Halász Recorded at the Phoenix Studio, Budapest, Hungary, 30 November 2000. DTS 5.1 Surround, and AC3 Dolby Digital 5.1 (44kHz, 24 bit) One side only. Plot summary and performer biographies in English and Deutsch. No text. AC3 track playable on DVD video players. Not playable on CD players. Also available as a complete recording on NAXOS 8.660080-82, CD only. NAXOS 5.110011 DVD Audio [76.38] [PSh]

A fine tour through this very great opera, beautifully sung and recorded, but with little overall dramatic sense … see Full Review

Ib NØRHOLM (b.1931) Hearing Andersen - Symphonic Fantasy (1987) [27.18] - The Shadow - Suite (1974) [12.51] - Symphony No. 5 The Elements (1980) [29.01] Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Michael Schønwandt (Andersen), Tamás Vetö (Shadow), Jan Latham-Koenig (Symphony) - rec. Danish Radio, 1987, 1974, 1984. DDD, ADD KONTRAPUNKT 32005 [69.29] [RB]

Nørholm in uncompromising dodecaphonic robes for the symphony but more approachable in the two imaginative suites. ... see Full Review

Ib NORHØLM (b.1931) Violin Concerto (1975) - Cello Concerto (1989) Kishiko Suzumi (violin) - Erling Blöndahl Bengtsson (cello) - Aalborg Symphony Orchestra/Tamás Vetö - rec. 1991 DDD KONTRAPUNKT 32099 [61.06] [RB]

Two challenging concertos by Ib Nørholm. Their humanity never falters. Superb performances by Suzumi and Bengtsson ... see Full Review

Hiroshi OHGURI (1918-1982) Violin Concerto (1963) - Fantasia on Osaka Folk Songs (1955 rev. 1970) - Legend for Orchestra – after the tale of Ama-no-Iwayado (1977) - Rhapsody on Osaka Nursery Rhymes (1979) Kazuhiro Takagi (Violin) - Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra/Tatsuya Shimono - Rec. Osaka Philharmonic Hall, Japan, August 2000 NAXOS 8.555321 [67.42] [GH]

To sum up: these are excellent performances, vividly recorded. This is music which through a distinctive voice and some originality links past and present. … see Full Review

Nicolò PAGANINI (1782-1840) Caprices for solo violin (24) Op 1 (c1819?) [28.10] Michael Rabin, violin Recorded Capitol Records Studios, New York, New York, USA, 8 September 1958 Notes in Deutsch, English, Français. Performer photo and biography. 8 pages illustrated listing of the GROC series. Great Recordings of the Century series EMI CLASSICS 7243 5 67986 2 5 [72.07] [PSh]

Startling virtuosity, but to any result? A must for violin students and historians of music ... See Full Review

Ercole PASQUINI (late 16th – early 17th c.) Works for harpsichord and organ - I(ntrad)e (S 1) [03:22] - C(anzone) (S 10) [01:16] - Primo Tono (S 19) [02:49] - Corrente (S 28a) [00:39] - Corrente (S 28b) [00:41] - Pass’e mezzo (S 23b) [03:24] - (Toccata) (S 2) [02:39] - Canzona (S 18a) [02:12] - Gagliarda (S 29) [01:02] - Tocchata (S 4) [01:49] - ? (S 26) [02:30] - Canzon (S 14) [02:43] - Ru(ggier)i (S 22) [04:59] - Corrente (S 27) [00:48] - B(allo?) (S 30) [01:06] - Tocchata (S 5) [02:52] - Canzon (S 15) [02:46] - Anchor che col partire (S 21) [06:10] - Canzona francese (S 16) [02:10] - Romanescha (S 25) [01:26] - Romanesche (S 24) [10:30] - Toc(cata) (S 3) [02:15]* - Durrezza (S 8) [03:35]* - ? (S 20) [00:50]* - C(anzon)e (S 9) [01:31]* - Durrezze e ligature (S 7) [04:29]* - (Canzona) (S 12) [01:20]* - Toccata (S 6) [01:58]* - Fuga (S 11) [01:35]* - Canzona francese (S 13) [03:00]* James Johnstone, harpsichord, organ (*) - Recorded in May 2001 at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Chartres and June 2001 at St Jude’s Church, Hampstead (*) DDD ASV GAUDEAMUS CD GAU 336 [77:37] [JvV]

An entire disc devoted to an unjustly neglected Italian composer from around 1600 – strongly recommended. … see Full Review

Fra Armando PIERUCCI (b.1935) De Profundis (a) Variations on a Theme of 4th Mode of Alleluia (b) Variations on a Theme of Cantata ‘Via Crucis’ (b) Chamber Choir Aidija (a) Gintare Skeryte (mezzo-soprano) (a) Vilnius String Quartet (a) (Audrone Vainiunaite, Arturas Silale, Girdutis Jakaitis, Augustinas Vasiliauskas) Giedrius Gelgotas (flute) (a)
Gintautas Jocius (double bass) (a) Romualdas Grazinis (conductor) (a) Fra Armando Pierucci (organ) (b) Recorded: August/September 2001, Vilnius (a); December 1997, St. Saviour’s Monastery, Jerusalem (b) PILGRIM’S STAR 27004 [56.26] [RH]

A interesting new cantata setting a cycle of poems by Regina Derieva, though perhaps Pierucci’s music is too respectful of the poetry for its own good… see Full Review

Serge PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78a (1939) [36’58]. Pushkiniana (compiled and edited Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, 1962) [20’03]: Queen of Spades (1916) – Hermann [5’30]; Liza [2’42]; Ball (Polonaise) [2’54]; Eugene Onegin (1936): The Larin’s BallMenuet [1’38]; Polka [1’37]; Mazurka [1’31]. Boris Godunov (1936) – Polonaise [4’11]. Music to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Op. 77 (1937/8) – Ghost of Hamlet’s father [6’19]. Ivan the Terrible, Op. 116 (1942-6) – Dance of the Oprichniks [2’15]. aIrina Gelahova (mezzo); aStanislavsky Chorus; Russian State Symphony Orchestra/Dmitry Yablonsky Rec. Studio No. 5, Moscow State Broadcasting House on May 28th-June 5th, 2002 DDD NAXOS 8.555710 [65’34] [CC]

If you are looking for your first Nevsky, this is not for you. However, Prokofiev completists will welcome the fillers … see Full Review

Serge PROKOFIEV (1891 - 1953) On the Dnieper, Op. 51 (1931) (40.37) - Songs of Our Days, Op. 76 (1937) (25.45) Victoria Smolnikova, mezzo-soprano; Igor Tarasov, baritone - Russian State Symphonic Orchestra and Capella/Valeri Polyansky - Notes in English, French, and German. Parallel translations of Russian song texts - Rec. Grand Hall of the Conservatory, Moscow, Russia, August 2002 CHANDOS CHAN 10044 [66.32] [PS]

Rare Prokofiev beautifully performed and recorded. Mostly for Prokofiev specialists and students of Russian language. … see Full Review

Serge PROKOFIEV (1891 - 1953) Zdravitsa, Op 85 (1939) - Autumnal, Op 8 (1934) - Hamlet, Op 77 (1938) - Flourish Mighty Land, Op 114 (1947) - Egyptian Nights, Op 61 (1938) Russian State Symphonic Orchestra and Capella/Valeri Polyansky - Notes in English, French, and German - Recorded Grand Hall of the Conservatory, Moscow, Russia, August 2002 CHANDOS CHAN 10056 [73.18] [PS]

A beautiful sounding selection of rare Prokofiev showing unfamiliar aspects of his genius … see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858 -1924) Turandot (1920-6) - Lyric Drama in Three Acts - The last scene completed in this production by Luciano Berio. In conventional productions by Alfano - Turandot…Gabriele Schnaut - Altoum…Robert Tear - Timur… Paata Burchuladze - Calaf… Johan Botha - Liù…Christina Gallardo-Domas - Ping…Boaz Daniel - Pang…Vincente Ombuena - Pong… Steve Davislim - A Mandarin…Robert Bork Vienna State Opera Chorus and Tőlz Boys Choir: Chorus Master: Rupert A. Huber - Vienna Philharmonic/Valery Gergiev - Stage Music: Mozarteum Orchestra - A co-production of the Mariisnki Theatre, St. Petersburg and the Festpielhaus, Baden-Baden. Recorded at the Grosses Festpielhaus, Salzburg, August 2002 TDK DVD Video - DV-OPTURSF [Opera: 125 mins; Special Features: 16 mins] [IL]

Disappointing performances from the two principals in an eccentric modern production… only partially successful … beautiful playing by the Vienna Philharmonic … see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La Bohème (1894-95) - Opera in Four Acts Rodolpho - David Hobson Mimi - Cheryl Barker Marcello - Roger Lemke Musetta - Christine Douglas Colline - Gary Rowley Schaunard - David Lemke Benoit - Graeme Ewer Parpignol - Jin Tea Kim Opera Australia Chorus prepared by Richard Gill Opera Australia Ballet and Orchestra/Julian Smith Recorded in the Sydney Opera House Originally produced for Television by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Opera Australia 1993 Photography ã Don Mcmurdo / Kiren Chang Production Director Baz Luhrmann DVD Aspect Ratio 4:3 ARTHAUS MUSIK 100954 [113 minutes] [DD]

Simply one of the most enjoyable I have heard … truly thrilling at times. … if you are seeking a first class version of this work your search is over … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La Bohème (1894-95) - Opera in Four Acts Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica Mimi…….Renata Tebaldi (soprano) Rodolfo….Giacinto Prandelli (tenor) Musetta….Hilde Gueden (soprano) Marcello .Giovanni Inghilleri (baritone) Schaunard.Fernando Corena (baritone) Colline… Raphaël Arie (bass) Parpignol Piero de Palma (tenor) Benoit/Alcindoro. Melchiorre Luise
Sergeant….Ildebrando Santafé Chorus and Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Rome/Alberto Erede recorded in Rome, July 1951 Highlights of La Bohème Mimi .Licia Albanese (soprano) Rodolfo…Giuseppe di Stefano (tenor) Musetta…Patrice Munsel (soprano) Marcello… Leonard Warren (baritone) Schaunard…George Cehanovsky (baritone) CollineNicola Moscona (bass) RCA Victor Orchestra/Renato Celllini and Victor Trucco Rec. 31st March 1949 - 24th March 1951, Manhattan Center, New York City NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.110252-53 [2 CDs: 143:08] [IL]

Truly golden voices in glorious productions of La Bohème … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Tosca: Opera in 3 acts: libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica: Floria Tosca - Angela Gheorghiu,
Mario Cavaradossi - Roberto Alagna, Baron Scarpia - Ruggero Raimondi, Cesare Angelotti - Maurizio Muraro, Sacristan - Enrico Fissore, Spoletta - David Cangelosi, Sciarrone - Sorin Coliban, Il carceriere - Gwynne Howell, Un pastore - James Savage-Hanford Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Terry Edwards Tiffin Boys’ Choir/Simon Toyne Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Antonio Pappano A film by Benoît Jacquot, premiered at the Venice Film Festival 2001 English Subtitles Extras: interviews with Angela Gheorgiu, Benoît Jacquot and Antonio Pappano Picture Format: PAL Regional Codes 2 and 4; 16:9 Anamorphic; Sound Formats: PCM Stereo; DTS5.1 Notes: synopsis of libretto, soloist biographies and a good short essay on the opera by Roger Parker, Professor of Music, Cambridge University. Reviewed in both Stereo and in DTS5.1, see below. BBC OPUS ARTE DVD OA 0883 D [Film 120 minutes, extras 21 minutes] [DB]

Despite some odd directorial decisions this is so well sung, so well played, so well directed, so well acted, so well conducted, and looks so sumptuous that it has to be seen, and seen repeatedly. … see Full Review

Roger QUILTER (1877-1953) Songs Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor) a
Lisa Milne (soprano) b Graham Johnson (piano) The Duke Quartet: c Louisa Fuller d; Rick Koster (violins); John Metcalf (viola); Ivan McCready d (cello) ecorded 29-30 September and 1 October 1977 at All Saint’s Church, East Finchley, London. DDD First issued on Collins Classics in 1998 The English Song Series Vol.5 NAXOS 8.557116 [72:19] [MC]

Intimate cultivated songs in most accomplished, spontaneous and expressive performances with a real sense of intense communication. … see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Etudes-tableaux (1911-16): Op. 39 – No. 1 in C minor [3’12] - No. 2 in A minor [7’08] - Op. 33 – No. 2 in C minor [2’25] - No. 6 in E flat minor [1’46] - No. 9 in C sharp minor [3’00] Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Sonatine (1903-5) [11’16]. Miroirs (1904-5) [28’28] Lise de la Salle (piano) - Rec. Studio Tibor Varga, Sion, Switzerland, in September 2002. DDD NAÏVE V4936 [57’12] [CC]

‘Une barque sur l’Océan’ … details and overview meet in a vision of loveliness. This is a superb disc that should be heard without delay. … see Full Review

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Pièces de clavecin en concerts (1741) - Concert No. 1 in C minor - Concert No. 2 in G major - Concert No. 3 in A major - Concert No. 4 in B flat major - Concert No. 5 in D minor London Baroque: Ingrid Seifert, violin; Charles Medlam, bass viol; Terence Charlston, harpsichord - Rec: October - June 2002, St. Martin’s, East Woodhay, Hampshire, England BISCD1385 [67.00] [KME]

This is a very good recording of some fine works, but it pales slightly in its lack of inspiration … see Full Review

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano Music Volume 2 Valses nobles et sentimentales [14’56] - Le Tombeau de Couperin [26’30] - La Valse [11’53] - A la manière de Borodine [1’46] - A la manière de Chabrier [1’33] - Menuet antique [7’41] - Sérénade grotesque [3’48] Valerie Tryon (piano) - Rec. St.George’s, Brandon Hill, Bristol, Sept. 2000, May 2001, May 2002, DDD APR 5594 [68’57] [TH]

A cultured, refined feel … very nicely characterised, with charm, polish and wit in equal measure. … see Full Review

Nikolay RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Snow Maiden - opera in 4 acts with prologue - Snow Maiden, Valentina Sokolik (sop) - Spring Fairy and Lel, Irina Arkhipova (m. sop) - Tsar Brendel, Anton Grigoriev (ten) - Mizguir, Anatoly Moksayakov (bar) - Kupava, Lidya Sakharenko (sop) - King Frost, Alexander Vedernikov (bass) - Bermiata, Vladimir Matorin (bass) - Maslenitsa, Ivan Budrin (bass) Grand Choir of the USSR Radio and TV - Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio/Vladimir Fedoseyev - Recorded 1975. No venue given - Silver Edition RELIEF CR 991049 [3CDs: 60.50+61.38+65.05] [RJF]

Luxuriate in the composer’s genius for painting orchestral pictures … see Full Review

Russian Easter Festival Overture Op. 36 (1888) [15.00] - Antar - Third Version - Symphonic Suite Op. 9 (1868, 1876, 1903) [33.23] Philharmonia/Yevgeny Svetlanov - rec. 15-16 Dec 1999. DDD HYPERION HELIOS CDH55137 [48.48] [RB]

Svetlanov in resounding and resplendent form with the best Russian sounding orchestra outside Russia. ... see Full Review

Nikolay RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) May Night - opera in three acts - Levko, Konstantin Lissovsky (ten); Hanna, Liudmilla Sapyeghina (sop); the Sister-in-law, Anna Matiushina (m.sop); The Governor, Aleksej Krivchenko (bass); Kalanik, Ivan Budrin (bar); Distiller, Yury Yelnikov (ten) - Grand Choir of the USSR Radio and TV Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio/Vladimir Fedoseyev - No recording dates or venues given but believed to be 1983 Silver Edition RELIEF CR 991044 [2CDs: 60.35+67.16] [RJF]

Some splendid singing. We are fortunate that the performance and recording allow the listener to enjoy its atmosphere and compositional pleasures to the full. … see Full Review

Nicolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Scheherazade, Op.35, Symphonic Suite after The Thousand and One Nights (1888) * Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887)
orch. Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936) and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Polovtsian Dances (from Prince Igor, Act II) † Steven Staryk (vn.) (*) Beecham Choral Society (Chorus Master: Denis Vaughan) () Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Thomas Beecham Rec. at Kingsway Hall. London 17-19 & 28/3/1957 (*), No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London 10/11/1956 () Great Recordings of the Century series EMI CLASSSICS CDM 5 66983 2 [58'07] [PSe]

A "Great Recording of the Century" that is a good enough, but not a great recording - but tweak your treble control, and you will enjoy some great performances. … see Full Review

Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999) Concierto para una fiesta (1982) [29.03] - Concierto Madrigal (1966) [32.34] Ricardo Gallén, Joaquín Clerch – guitars - Asturias Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maximiano Valdés - rec 2-4 October 2001, Auditorio Principe Felipe, Oviedo, Asturias DDD - Complete Orchestral Works Vol. 5 NAXOS 8.555842 [61.38] [PW]

A knack for finding just the right early music to resonate with his more romantic treatments … see Full Review

Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999) Concierto para una fiesta (1982) [29.03] - Concierto Madrigal (1966) [32.34] Ricardo Gallén, Joaquín Clerch – guitars - Asturias Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maximiano Valdés - rec 2-4 October 2001, Auditorio Principe Felipe, Oviedo, Asturias DDD - Complete Orchestral Works Vol. 5 NAXOS 8.555842 [61.38] [PW]

A knack for finding just the right early music to resonate with his more romantic treatments … see Full Review

Joaquin RODRIGO (1901-1999) The Rodrigo Edition Concierto Serenata for harp and orchestra (1952) [22.47] Concierto Pastoral for flute and orchestra (1978) [25.06] Concierto Heroico for piano and orchestra (1939) [30.28] Concierto Madrigal for two guitars and orchestra (1967) [33.40] Concierto de Estio for violin and orchestra (1943) [20.32] Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra (1939) [21.08] Concierto Andaluz for four guitars and orchestra (1967) [26.01] Concierto en Modo Galante for cello and orchestra (1949) [25.42] Fantasia para un Gentilhombre for guitar and orchestra (1954) [20.15] Per la flor del lliri blau (El lirio azul) (1934) [20.00] Musica para un jardín (1957) [11.16] A la busca del Más allá (1976) [13.53] Zarabanda lejana y villancico (1926, 1928, 1930) [9.22] Cinco piezas infantiles (1924) [12.31] Soleriana (1953) [9.34] Nancy Allen (harp) Lisa Hansen (flute) Jorge Federico Osorio (piano) Agustin Léon Ara (violin) Robert Cohen (cello) Alfonso Moreno (guitar) (Madrigal; Aranjuez; Andaluz; Fantasia) Minerva Gáribay (guitar) (Andaluz) Cecilia López (guitar) (Andaluz) Jesús Ruiz (guitar) (Andaluz) Deborah Mariotti (guitar) (Madrigal) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Enrique Bátiz London Symphony Orchestra/Enrique Bátiz Orquesta Sinf'onica del Estado de Mexico/Enrique Bátiz rec. Feb 1980, Sala Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico City; Aug 1981, Watford Town Hall; December 1984, Watford Town Hall; Jan 1985, St Barnabas Church, Woodside Park, London DDD EMI CLASSICS CZS 7 67435 2 [4CDs: 79.01+75.48+72.24+77.21] [RB]

EMI Classics Rodrigo Edition packed with delights and surprises. ... see Full Review

Joseph-Guy ROPARTZ (1864-1955) La Chasse du Prince Arthur (1912) [12.38] Quatre Odelettes for soprano and orchestra (Henri de Régnier) (1913) [16.23] La Cloche des Morts (1887) [7.24] Quatre Poèmes for baritone and orchestra (Heinrich Heine) (1899) [15.04] Soir Sur Les Chaumes (1913) [14.34] Cécile Perrin (sop) Vincent Le Texier (bar) Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg/Emmanuel Krivine rec. Conservatoire Luxembourg, Oct 2002, DDD Timpani 1C1073 [61.01] [RB]

Satisfyingly closes Ropartz loopholes in convinced and convincing style. I hanker now for Symphonies 4 and 5 and can only hope that Timpani will not let us down. ... see Full Review

Ned ROREM (b.1923) Symphony No. 1 (1950) [22.11] Symphony No. 2 (1956) [22.20] Symphony No. 3 (1958) [24.19] Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/José Serebrier rec. The Lighthouse, Poole, 8-9 Jan 2003 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559149 [69.22] [RB]

Nostalgia, joyously athletic and a certain tenderness of expression without dissonance ... always rife with the flavour of originality. ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792–1868) The Thieving Magpie - Melodrama in two acts - (1817) Fabrizio Vingradito, a rich farmer…Jeremy White (bass) - Lucia, his wife…Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano) - Giannetto, their son, a soldier…Barry Banks (tenor) - Ninetta, a servant in their house…Majella Cullagh (soprano) - Fernando Villabella, Ninetta’s father, a soldier…Russell Smythe (baritone) - Gottardo, the village mayor…Christopher Purves (baritone) - Pippo, a young peasant in Fabrizio’s service…Nerys Jones (mezzo-soprano) - Isaaco, a pedlar…John Graham-Hall (tenor) - With Stuart Kale, Toby Stafford-Allen, Nicholas Garrett, Darren Jeffery, Philip Tebb, Daniel Slater and Prunella Scales - Geoffrey Mitchell Choir - Philharmonia Orchestra/David Parry - Recorded at Blackheath Halls, London: 21-23, 27-28 September 2002. DDD CHANDOS OPERA IN ENGLISH CHAN 3097 (2) [2CDs: 79.58+71.04] [RMK]

A seriously good recording. Do not hesitate. … see Full Review

Nino ROTA (1911-1979) Suite from the Ballet La Strada (1966): Nozze in campagna – È arrivato Zampanò; I tre suonatori e il ‘Matto’ sul filo; Il Circo (II numero di Zampanò) – I giocolieri – Il violino del ‘Matto’; La rabbia di Zampanò; Zampanò uccide il ‘Matto’ – Gelsomina impazzisce di dolore; L’ultima spettacolo sulla neve – ‘Addio Gelsomina’ - Intermezzo; Solitudine e pianto di Zampanò (with Salvatore Grecco (violin) and Salvatore Piazza (trumpet)) - Sinfonia sopra una canzone d’amore (Symphony on a love song) (1947) - Two waltzes from Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) (1962) Orchestra Sinfonica del Teatro Massimo di PalermoMarzio Conti - recorded at the Teatro Massimo, Palermo, Italy; 19-21 July 2002 CHANDOS CHAN 10090 [64:04] [IL]

A wonderful album of Nino Rota’s music straddling the worlds of the concert hall, the ballet stage and the silver screen. … see Full Review

[Detailed listing (last two days)]
[Part 1 New]  [Part 2 A-B] [Part 3 C-L]
[Part 4 M-R]  [Part 5 S-Z]
[Part 6 Misc A-L] 
[Part 7 Misc M-Z]

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