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Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Samson et Dalila opera in three acts (1877) Plus: César Vezzani, (ten) and Marie Duchêne (mezzo) in Act 2 scene 3 and César Vezzani in the ‘Mill Scene’ Samson, René Maison (ten); Dalila, Gertrud Wettergren (mezzo); High Priest, Ezio Pinza (bass); Abimelech, John Gurney (ten); Old Hebrew, Emmanuel List (bass) Orchestra and Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera, New York/Maurice Abravanel Rec. from Live Broadcast, December 26th 1936. Vezzani and Duchêne scenes recorded around 1930 GUILD HISTORICAL IMMORTAL PERFORMANCES SERIES GHCD 2273-2274 [76.05 + 78.48] [RJF]

The performance on these discs features the conducting of Maurice Abravanel making his Met debut at the age of 33, then the youngest conductor in the company’s history ... see Full Review

Antonio SALIERI (1750-1825) La passione di nostro Signore Gesu Cristo – Azione sacra per Soli, Coro ed Orchestra (1776) Maddalena – Melba Ramos (soprano) Giovanni – Franziska Gottwald (contralto) Pietro – Florian Mock (tenor) Giuseppe d’Arimatea – Hanno Müller-Brachmann (bass) Chorus Musicus Köln Das Neue Orchester/Christoph Spering Recorded DeutschlandRadio, Funkhaus, Cologne, July 2003 CAPRICCIO 60 100 [2 CDs: 47.29 + 43.06] [JW]

A mark of the young Salieri’s already impressive command ... this performance, whilst hardly flawless, is committed and lucidly performed. ... see Full Review

Emil von SAUER (1862-1942) Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor (publ. 1901) Cinq Morceaux de difficulté moyenne (1909) Marche in G major, Petite Etude in E flat major, Valse lente, Berceuse, Humoresque Petite Scène de Ballet in D major (1908) Menuet (Vieux style) in B flat major (1904) Polka de Concert in A major (1895) Galop de Concert (Etude-Galop) in A flat major (1899) Oleg Marshev (piano) Aarhus Symphony Orchestra/James Loughran Recorded Frichsparken, Aarhus and Symfonien, Aalborg, September 2002 DANACORD DACOCD 596 [66.35] [JW]

Music played with outstanding sympathy and delicate colouration – not to mention command of the idiom bringing out all the orchestral piquancies and romantic swellings with unselfconscious finesse. ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Octet for Winds and Strings D. 803 [65:36] Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello D. 471 [12:23] Chamber Players of Canada: Julian Armour, cello; Murielle Bruneau, double bass; Jonathan Crow, violin; Andrew Dawes, violin; Guylaine Lemaire, viola; Christopher Millard, bassoon; James Sommerville, horn; Kimball Sykes, clarinet. Recorded at St. Patrick’s Church, Fallowfield, Ontario, June 14-15, 2002 DDD CBC RECORDS MVCD 1159 [77:59] [KS]

Except for the occasional balance issue in the recording, this is a winner on all counts. Highly recommended. ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)String Quartet No. 13 in A minor D804 Rosamunde (1824) String Quartet No. 14 in D minor D810 Death and the Maiden (1824) String Quartet No. 15 in G major D887 (1826) String Quintet in C major D956* (1828) Hungarian Quartet * with László Varga (2nd cello) Rec. Schola Cantorum, Paris 1958 (D804, D810); Salle Wagram, Paris 1968 (D887); 1970 (D956) ADD EMI Gemini CLASSICS 585 526 2 [78:47 + 77:58] [PCW]

A recommendable bargain price set for newcomers to Schubert’s chamber music ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonata D960 in B flat Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)/Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Song transcriptions: Ständchen, S560 No.7 (after Schwanengesang, D597); Das Wandern, S565 No.1 (after Die schöne Müllerin, D795); Wohin?, S.565 No.5 (after Die schöne Müllerin, D795); Aufenthalt, S560 No.3 (after Schwanengesang, D597) Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Mephisto Waltz No.1, S514) Evgeny Kissin (piano) rec. 10 & 11 June 2003, SWR-Studio, Freiburg, Germany. DDD BMG-RCA RED SEAL 82876 58462 2 [72’ 21"] [RNB]

buy this CD for masterly readings of the Liszt works and you have the bonus of two delicious sonata movements. ... I’d go for that! ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Franz Peter SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Deutsche Schubert-Lied Edition 15 - Schubert’s Friends, Vol.2 see review for titles Brigitte Geller (mezzo) Ulrich Eisenlohr (piano) Recorded at Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, 10-13 December 2002 NAXOS 8.557171 [70:10] [SA]

A truly enjoyable disc. ... see Full Review

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonic Studies, Op. 13 (1852 version with Etudes from 1837 version, also including 1873 Appendix) [28’09]. Fantasie in C, Op. 17 (1836) [31’13]. Bunte Blätter, Op. 99 (1836-49) - Albumblätter I-V [8’23]. Arabeske in C, Op. 18 (1839) [6’36] Mikhail Pletnev (piano) Rec. Teldec Studio, Berlin, Germany, in August, 2003. DDD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 474 813-2 [76’31] [CC]

For Pletnev fans only, I fear. Fans of Schumann may like to give this disc a wide berth. ... see Full Review

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Kreisleriana, Op. 16 (1838) * Fantasy in C major, Op. 17 (1836-38) Evgeny Kissin, piano Recorded Südwestfunk Landesstudio, Freiburg, Germany, August 1995, August 1997 * BMG RCA RED SEAL 82876 59412 [67:21] [DS]

Displays superb pianism and often captures the full beauty of the music. He falls from the heights when portraying contrasting emotions ... see Full Review

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-56) The Complete Secular Choral Works, a cappella see review for details BRILLIANT CLASSICS 92148 [4CDs: 52:22 + 61:36 + 56:52 + 61:36] [MC]

Charming a cappella choral works sensitively performed and recorded with numerous precious gems to be unearthed. A most appealing set! Highly recommended! ... see Full Review

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Musicalisches Exequien (German Requiem), SWV 279-281 Die sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz (The Seven Words of Jesus Christ on the Cross), SWV 478 Die mit Tranen saen (They that sow in tears), SWV 378 So fahr ich hin zu Jesu Christ (So onward I go to Jesus Christ), SWV 379 Veronika Wihter (soprano) Bettian Pahn (soprano) Henning Voss (counter-tenor) Jan Kobow (tenor) Henning Kaiser (tenor) Ralf Grobe (bass) Ulrich Maier (bass) Beate Rollecke (organ) Die Himlische Cantorey Alsfelder Vokalensemble Bremen Barockorchester I Febiarmonici/Wolfgang Helbich (conductor). Recorded at the St. Petri Dom, Bremen from 10-12 October, 2001. DDD NAXOS 8.555705 [52:51 [MC]

An exceptional recording of the highest possible quality. Schütz is a major figure and his music offers major rewards. Wonderful! ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906 - 1975) Symphony No.4 in C Minor, Op. 43 (1936) London Shostakovich Orchestra/Christopher Cox recorded in St. Cyprian’s Church, London on 8 November 2003 (including applause) DDD DUNELM RECORDS DRD02126B [63’39] [JPh]

So, to sum up, I cannot give this disc a recommendation unless you want it as a memento of the concert in London on 8th November 2003. In that case go ahead but be aware of the shortcomings ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 99 (1947-48 revised 1955) Symphony No. 6, Op. 54 (1939) Elmar Oliveira (violin) Seattle Symphony/Gerard Schwarz Recorded at Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA, 2003 ARTEK AR 0017-2 [69.06] [JW]

This brace of recordings achieves a degree of emotive consonance without ever really getting to the heart of the matter ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Trios - No. 1, Op. 8 (1923) [12’24]; No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67 (1944) [28’41]. Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Trio ‘Vitebsk’ (1929) [13’16]. Trio Wanderer (Vincent Coq, piano; Jean-Marc Philips-Varjabédian, violin; Raphaël Pidoux, cello). Rec IRCAM, Paris, in May 2003. DDD HARMONIA MUNDI FRANCE HMC901825 [54’49] [CC]

Worth hearing, then, especially as the disc works so well as a programme. ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906 - 1975) Hamlet - complete music for the 1964 film, Op. 116/116a Russian Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitri Yablonsky Rec. Studio 5, Russian State TV & Radio Company KULTURA, Moscow, 6-14 February 2003 NAXOS 8.557446 [62'28] [PSe]

Another cracker from Naxos: that very rare bird indeed - an original film score that can not only stand on its own, but grip its audience from start to finish. ... see Full Review

Siena Lute Book Francesco da PARIGI Fantasia [3.32] ANON Fantasia [3.34] Francesco da MILANO Fantasia [4.02] Francesco da MILANO Ricercar [1.07] ANON (Francesco da MILANO?) Fantasia [3.03] Francesco da MILANO Recercata [1.12] ANON Fantasia [3.27] ANON Passemezo del Giorgio [2.27] Francesco da MILANO Ricercata [1.53] Fabrizio DENTICE Fantasia [5.37] Perino FIORENTINO Fantasia [3.04] Fabrizio DENTICE Fantasia [2.48] ANON Spagna detta Lamire. Quarto Modo [1.30] ANON Spagna detta Lamire. Secondo Modo[1.20] Giulio Segni da MODENA Ricercar ottavo [2.06] Clement JANEQUIN / ANON Orsus Orsus [5.35] Francesco da MILANO Ricerchare[2.11] Pierre SANDRIN / ANON La Volunte [3.26] Thomas CRECQUILLON / ANON Pour ung plaisir [3.25] ANON Fantasia [1.47] Giulio SEVERINO Fantasia [3.36] Francesco da MILANO Fantasia [2.09] ANON Balletto [1.38] ANON Gagliarda [2.21] ANON Gagliarda [1.59] Fabrizio DENTICE Fantasia [2.55] Jacob Heringman (lute); Lynda Sayce (lute) Recorded in the Church of St. Michael and all Angels, Great Tew, Oxfordshire on 19-20th September 2003. DDD. AVIE AV0036 [72.06][EM]

One for lute music devotees, one feels, though, rather than for a wider audience. ... see Full Review

Christian SINDING (1856-1941) Symphony no.3 in F major op.121 (1919), Symphony no.4 – Rhapsody for Orchestra “Vinter og Vår” (1936) NDR Radiophilharmonie/David Porcelijn Recorded December 2001, November 2002 in the Grosser Sendesaal of the NDR CPO 999 596-2 [76:36] [CH]

Sinding’s final two symphonies much a much better impression than his first two. If you like the music of Pfitzner and Reger you should enjoy this disc. ... see Full Review

Nikos SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949) Concerto No. 3 for Piano and Ten Wind Instruments (1939) [65’50] The Gnomes (1939) [14’13] Geoffrey Douglas Madge (piano) Caput Ensemble/Nikos Christodoulou Recorded at Salurinn, Iceland, 6 Nov. 2002 (Concerto) and Reykjavik City Theatre, Iceland, 12 Nov. 2002 (Gnomes) BIS CD 1364 [80’53] [TH]

Well crafted music and worth getting to know ... see Full Review

Roger SMALLEY (b. 1943) Chamber Music: Chopin Variations for piano; Piano Trio; Poles Apart for ensemble; Trio for clarinet, violin and cello; Crepuscule for piano quartet; CHOPIN (1810-1849) Mazurka in C# minor; BRAHMS (1833-1897) Intermezzo in E minor Op. 116 no. 5 Douglas Finch (piano) Continuum Ensemble/Philip Headlam Recorded at the Church of St. Jude on the Hill, Hampstead, London, July 2003 NMC D083 [78.12] [GH]

This is strong and characterful music. It demands your attention but is not overbearing or ugly. ... see Full Review

Louis (Ludwig) SPOHR (1784-1859) Chamber Music CD 1 Quintet, in C minor, for piano, flute, clarinet, horn and bassoon, Op. 52 (1820) Sextet, in C major, for 2 violins, 2 violas and 2 cellos, Op. 140 (1848) CD 2 Septet, for flute, clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, cello and piano, Op. 147 (1854) Quintet, for 2 violins, viola, cello and piano, Op. 130 (1845) Ensemble Villa Musica Recorded: March 13-15, 1992 (CD 1); November 1993 (CD 2) at Furstliche Reitbahn Arolsen. DDD MDG GOLD 304 1263-2 [57:32 + 66:35] [MC]

Superbly performed and recorded this is a release worthy of inclusion in any serious collection. ... see Full Review

Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Cello Sonata No.1 in A major Op.9 (1877) Cello Sonata No.2 in D minor Op.39 (1889) Ballata Op.160 No.1 (1918) performing edition by Christopher Howell Alison Moncrieff Kelly (cello) Christopher Howell (piano) No Recording details [2003?] MERIDIAN RECORDS CDE 84482 [70.05] [JW]

The performances are fine evincing total identification. a boon to admirers – an increasing number it’s good to observe – of Stanford. ... see Full Review

William STERNDALE BENNETT (1816-1875) Piano Concertos (ed. David Byers): No. 1 in D minor, Op. 1 (1832) [24’12]; No. 3 in C minor, Op. 9 (1834) [27’15]. Caprice in E, Op. 22 (1838) [13’23] Malcolm Binns (piano) London Philharmonic Orchestra/Nicholas Braithwaite. No rec. info. DDD LYRITA RECORDED EDITION SRCD204 [65’48] [CC]

This release contains much to delight the senses. Binns’ other WSB disc forms the necessary complement to this release – they should be ideally enjoyed together. ... see Full Review

Gottfried Heinrich STŐLZEL (1690-1749) Cantatas for Pentecost, 1737 Werdet voll Geistes [9:53] Siehe da, eine Hütte Gottes [9:21] Wollte Gott, daß alle das Volk weissagete [8:14] Daran ist erschienen die Liebe Gottes gegen uns [12:53] So denn ihr, die ihre arg seid [10:17] Lehre mich tun nach deinem Wohlgefallen [9:30] Cantata for Quasimodogeniti Sunday, 1732 Er heißet Friedefürst [6:47] Dorothee Mields, soprano Martin Wőlfel, alto Jan Kobow, tenor Christian Immler, bass Telemanisches Collegium Michaelstein/Rudger Rémy Rec. Evangelical Church of St. Bonifatius, June 23-26, 2002 DDD CPO 999 876-2 [68:11] [JV]

There is no note of music on this disc that is not pure pleasure ... see Full Review

Johann STRAUSS I (1804-1849) Edition – Volume 4 Schwarz'sche Ball-Tänze im Saal zum Sperl: Cotillons nach beliebten Motiven aus der Oper: Die Stumme von Portici (Auber), Op. 32 (09:17), Charmant-Polka, (01:57), Vive la danse! Walzer, Op. 47 (05:40), Fortuna-Galopp, Op. 69 (02:07), Heiter auch in ernster Zeit, Walzer, Op. 48 (05:30), Original Parademarsch: Wiener Bürger Marsch No. 1 (02:02), Das Leben ein Tanz oder Der Tanz ein Leben! Walzer, Op. 49 (07:02), Launen-Polka (02:50), Cotillons nach beliebten Motiven aus der Oper Die Unbekannte (La Straniera) (Bellini), Op. 50 (08:17), Venetianer-Galopp, Op. 74 (01:59), Hof-Ball-Tänzer, Walzer, Op. 51 (05:42), Galopp No. 1 aus Die Stumme von Portici (01:21), Bajaderen-Walzer, Op. 53 (08:38), Galopp No. 2 aus Die Stumme von Portici (01:15) Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina/Ernst Märzendorfer MARCO POLO 8.225254 [66:36][CH]

Another success for the veteran Märzendorfer – authentic performances in the truest sense. .. see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864 - 1949) Vier Letzte Lieder (1949) [24.03] Befreit, Op 39, #4 (1898) [5.56] Muttertändel, Op 43, #2 (1899) [2.06] Wiegenlied, Op 41, #1 (1899) [4.42] Waldseligkeit, Op 49, #1 (1901) [3.28] Cäcilie, Op 27, #2 (1894) [2.29] Renée Fleming, soprano Der Rosenkavalier, Op 59; Suite (1911) [25.21] Houston Symphony Orchestra/Christoph Eschenbach No information on recording location or date. [1996] Notes in English, Deutsch, and Français. Texts and translations. BMG RCA RED SEAL CLASSICS 82876 59408 2 [68.55] [PSh]

A great Rosenkavalier Suite and very fine, but maybe not the best, 4 Last Songs ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Salome (1905) [99’01] Eva Marton (soprano) Salome; Heinz Zednik (tenor) Herodes; Brigitte Fassbaender (mezzo) Herodias; Bernd Weikl (baritone) Jokanaan; Keith Lewis (tenor) Narraboth, second Nazarene; Gabriele Schreckenbach (mezzo) A Page of Herodias; James O’Neal (tenor), Peter Maus (tenor), Karl Markus (tenor), Donald George (tenor), Reinhard Beyer (bass) Five Jews; Victor von Hameln (bass) Nazarene, second soldier; Julian Robbins (bass) first soldier, Reinhold Beyer (bass) Cappadocian; Berliner Philharmoniker/Zubin Mehta. Rec. Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin-Dahlem, on November 3rd-8th and 12th, 1990. SONY CLASSICAL SM2K90450 [53’21 + 45’40] [CC]

The BPO is a tremendous vehicle to have at one’s disposal. A pity Mehta is unable to capitalise fully on his good fortune … a work of the stature and significance of Salome surely deserves better. ... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) L’histoire du soldat (1918) Renard (1915-22) Gérard Carrat (Narrator), François Berthet (Soldier), François Simon (Devil) Nicolas Chumachenco (violin) Eric Tappy, Pierre-André Blazer (tenors), Philippe Hutenlocher (baritone), Jules Bastin (bass), Siegfried Schmidt (cimbalom) Ensemble Instrumental/Charles Dutoit Rec. Salle des Fêtes de Rennens, Lausanne, Switzerland, 1970 (L’histoire); Koeniz, Switzerland, 1972 (Renard) ADD WARNER APEX 2564 61367-2 [73’25] [TH]

Good analogue recordings ... instruments emerge with excellent clarity. This new super budget release is well worth considering ... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) CD1 The Firebird (1910) Scherzo à la russe, version for jazz band (1944) Four Studies (1952 version) Scherzo à la russe, orchestral version (1943-44) CD2 Petrushka (1911) Symphony in Three Movements (1942-45) City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle Rec: Arts Centre, University of Warwick, England, Dec 1986, Dec 1897. DDD EMI CLASSICS GEMINI 7243 5 85538 2 6 [65:11 + 56:44] [MC]

Rattle’s performances with the CBSO are appealing and finely executed with enthusiasm and precision. ... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring (1913) The Firebird – Suite (1919)* Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Scythian Suite Op.20 (1914-15)* London Symphony Orchestra New York Philharmonic Orchestra* Leonard Bernstein Recorded London, 1972 (The Rite of Spring), New York 1957 (The Firebird) and 1964 (Scythian Suite) SONY CLASSICAL 516240 2 [76.15] [JW]

Plenty here to excite, alarm and intoxicate ... see Full Review

Leopold STOKOWSKI The New York Philharmonic Recordings Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphony No. 6 in e minor [29:16] (First recording, originally issued on Columbia Masterworks LP ML 4214) Pyotr Ilych TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture [19:07] (Originally issued on Columbia Masterworks LP ML 4071)Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony No. 35 in D Major ‘Haffner’ [15:17] Thomas Jefferson SCOTT (1912-1961) From the Sacred Harp [6:48] (With introductory remarks by the composer) [:55] Jaromir WEINBERGER (1896-1967) Polka and Fugue from Schwanda the Bagpiper [7:30] Recording dates: 21 February 1949 (RVW);. 28 November 1949 (PIT); Recorded in Columbia Records’ 30th Street Studios, New York 20 November 1949 (WAM); 30 February 1949 (TJS) originally issued on V-Disc 896; 16 January 1949 (JW). Live recordings from Carnegie Hall, New York. DDD CALA CACD0537 [78:58] [KS]

A valuable disc, and for Stokowski fans in particular it is a vivid portrait of a uniquely talented artist in his prime. Recommended. ... see Full Review

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Songs of a Fairytale Princess Op. 31 (1915 orch. 1934) [9:51] Love Songs of Hafiz Op. 26 (1914) [22:54] ongs of the Infatuated Muezzin Op. 42 (1918 orch. 1934) [12:55] Three Songs to Poems by Jan Kasprowicz Op. 5 (1902, orch Grzegorz Fitelberg, 1930s) [18:30] Izabella Klosínska (sop) Krystyna Rorbach (sop) Barbara Zagórzanka (sop) Krystyna Szostek-Radkowa (sop) Polish National Opera Orchestra/Robert Satanowski rec. Oct 1986, Polskie Nagrania studio, Warsaw. VMS MUSICAL TREASURES 133 [64.28] [RB]

Go for the VMS. ... see Full Review

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 Felicja Blumental - piano Orchestra of the Vienna Musikgesellschaft/ Michael Gielen Recorded Vienna 1957 Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906) Piano Concerto in F minor, Op. 2 Felicja Blumental - piano Brno Philharmonic Orchestra/Jiri Waldhans Recorded Milan 1968 BRANA RECORDS BR0013 [58:06] [JL]

Another disc from Brana Records celebrating the art of Felicja Blumental. The performance of the Arensky is enjoyable in its own right but the poorly recorded Tchaikovsky comes more as an item of historical interest. ... see Full Review

Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, ‘Pathétique’ (1893) [48’39]. Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)Tristan und Isolde (1865) - Prelude, Act I [11’23]; Verklärung [7’04]. Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Wilhelm Furtwängler From HMV DB4609-14 (Tchaikovsky) and DB3419/20 (Wagner). Rec. in Berlin on October-November (Tchaikovsky) and February 11th (Wagner), 1938. ADD NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.110865 [67’05] [KS]

This is a, if not the, must-have performance of this music, and at a bargain price, no collection is complete without it. ... see Full Review

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Complete violin concertos, Vol. 1. Violin Concerto in C major TWV 51:C2 [10:15] Violin Concerto in G major TWV 51:G8 [6:36] Violin Concerto in E minor TWV 51:e3 [7:06] Violin Concerto in D major TWV 51:D9 [9:34] Violin Concerto in E major TWV 51:E2 [11:28] Violin Concerto in F major TWV 51:F2 [8:55] Violin Concerto in D major TWV 51:D10 [5:15] Elizabeth Wallfisch, violin and conductor L’Orfeo Barockorchester Rec. 11-13 September 2002, Sendesaal des SWR-studios, Karlsruhe, Germany. DDD CPO 999 900-2 [59:21]

This is a disc that should appeal to almost anyone who enjoys fine music making ... Recommended without a moment’s hesitation. ... see Full Review

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) Concertos and Chamber Music Vol. 2 Concerto in D minor for 2 violins, viola and basso continuo, TWV 43:D2 Concerto in F major for recorder, bassoon, 2 violins and basso continuo, TWV 52:F1 Sonata in F minor for 2 violins, 2 violas and basso continuo, TWV 44:32 Sonata in D major for cello and basso continuo, TWV 41:D6 Overture in B minor for solo violin, 2 violins, viola and basso continuo, TWV 55:H4 Ensemble Musica Alta Ripa Danya Segal, recorder; Michael McCraw, bassoon; Anne Röhrig, violin; Ursula Bundies, violin; Cosima Taubert, violin and viola; Christoph Heidemann, viola; Klaus Bundies, viola; Juris Teichmanis, cello; Jacques van der Meer, double-bass; Ulrich Wedemeier, theorbo and baroque guitar; Bernward Lohr, harpsichord. Rec. Oranienburg Schloss, Nordkirchen, March 2 and October 23-24, 2003. DDD MUSIK DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM GOLD MDG 309 1250-2 [62:44] [MC]

Telemann’s strength and depth in these chamber compositions is never in doubt ... consistently fine playing ... see Full Review

Ernst TOCH (1887-1964) Symphonies: No. 1, Op. 72 (1950) [39’52]; No. 4, Op. 80 (1957) [26’45]. Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/Alun Francis (reciter). Rec. Jesus-Christus-Kirche Berlin on April 8th-11th, 2002 and July 2nd-4th, 2001. DDD CPO 999 774-2 [66’38] [CC]

To explore the music of Ernst Toch is to be borne away by the spirit of discovery .. Recommended with all possible enthusiasm. Superb. ... see Full Review

(Nils) Geirr TVEITT (1908-1981) Concerto No. 1 for Hardanger Fiddle and Orchestra, Op. 163 (1955) (Allegretto, 10.15 +Andante, 9.45 +Allegro moderato, 9.11) [29.19] Concerto No. 2 for Hardanger Fiddle and Orchestra, Op. 252, “Three Fjords” (1965) (Hardangerfjord: Tempo tranquillo e deciso, 4.31 + Sognefjord: Mesto maestoso – Danza determinata e lenta – Tempo I, 4.42 + Nordfjord: Giocoso, 9.21.] [18.42] Nykken, symphonic painting for orchestra, Op. 187 (1956) [15.57] Arve Moen Bergset, Hardanger fiddle Stavanger Symphony Orchestra/Ole Kristian Ruud Rec. Sept 1999 (concertos), June 2000 (Nykken), Stavanger Concert Hall, Norway BIS CD 1207 [65.18] [LN]

Captures as nothing else can the excitement of Norway’s landscape, with its tension between sea and land ... see Full Review


Viktor ULLMANN (1898-1944) The Emperor of Atlantis (Der Kaiser von Atlantis) Op.49 (1943) Libretto by Peter Klein. English Translation by Aaron Kramer Kaiser Overall – Joseph Neal (baritone) Der Lautsprecher (Loudspeaker) – Stuart Duke (bass) Ein Soldat (A Soldier) – Roger Grow (tenor) Harlekin (Harlequin) – Steven Goldstein (tenor)Ein Mädchen (A Girl) – Ann Fitch (soprano) Der Tod (Death) – Robert Osborne (bass) Der Trommler (The Drummer) – Sandra Sliker (mezzo soprano) Members of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra/Robert DeCormier Recorded at Ira Allen Chapel, University of Vermont, Burlington, January 1996 ARABESQUE Z6681 [51.53] [JW]

Though you must have the Zagrosek recording, this Arabesque disc would be an apt and moving ancillary purchase. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Nabucco (1842) Renato Bruson (baritone) Nabucco; Carlo Colombara (bass) Zaccharia; Maurizio Frusoni (tenor) Ismaele; Monica Bacelli (soprano); Lauren Flanigan (soprano) Abigaille Chorus and Orchestra of Teatro Di San Carlo/Paolo Carignani. Rec. live at Teatro Di San Carlo, Naples, on May 9th, 1997. BRILLIANT CLASSICS 92270 [131’00] [CC]

Renato Bruson .. makes this DVD worthwhile in itself. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Bassoon Concertos - Volume 1: Concertos in: C major RV 476; F major RV487; C major RV 471; A minor RV 498; C minor RV480; B flat major RV 503; G major RV 493 Tamas Benkocs (bassoon) Nicolaus Esterhazy Sinfonia/Bela Drahos Recorded at the Phoenix Studios, Budapest March 2002 NAXOS 8.555937 [61.32] [GH]

Benkocs whose virtuosity, lyrical tone and dexterity of finger-work is utterly superb lifts the music and the recording out of the ordinary into something approaching the sublime. ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678 - 1741) arr. Federico GUGLIELMO (b.1968) Le Quattro Stagioni, RVv 269, 315, 293, 297. Hypothetical "Dresden version," with wind parts, in the style of Pisendel. [38.38] Giovanni Antonio GUIDO (c1660 - >1728) Scherzi Armonici sopra le Quattro Stagioni dell’Anno (>1733) [17.32] Federico Guglielmo, solo and leader; L’Arte dell’Arco Recorded Chiesa di S. Maria, Marostica, Italy, 20 September 2001 Notes in Deutsch, English, Français. Photo of artist, painting of Guido Hybrid SACD Playable on CD players and SACD players CPO 777 037-2 [56.10] [PSh]

Less radical revisions, actually two, of the Four Seasons than some — interesting, fundamentally musical, but is it Vivaldi? Does it matter? ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Mandolin Concertos Concerto for 2 mandolins, strings and bc in G* (RV 532) [12:21] Concerto for mandolin, strings and bc in C (RV 425) [08:27] Concerto for 2 transverse flutes, 2 chalumeaus, 2 violins ‘in tromba marina’, 2 mandolins, 2 theorbos, cello, strings and bc in C* (RV 558) [11:47] Concerto for mandolin, strings and bc in D (RV 93) [10:37] Ugo Orlandini, Dorina Frati (*), mandolin I Solisti Veneti/Claudio Scimone
Recorded in 1984. DDD WARNER APEX 2564 61264 2 [43:13] [JV]

Vivaldi’s mandolin concertos as they were played in the 1960s and 1970s ... see Full Review

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphony No. 5 (1943) Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis (1910) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/André Previn Rec 6-7 July 1988, Walthamstow Town Hall, London. DDD TELARC CD-80158 [56.30] [TB]

Previn’s deep understanding of this glorious and visionary score. ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)Overtures: Rienzi, King Enzio, Das Liebesverbot (Forbidden love), The Fairies, Christoph Columbus, Faust Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra/Alexander Rahbari (conductor) Recorded at the Teatro Cervantes, Malaga, Spain, 2nd to 4th April 2002 DDD NAXOS 8.557055 [59’ 06"] [EM]

For Wagner devotees the disc is a must! ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde (1865) Thomas Moser (tenor) Tristan; Deborah Voigt (soprano) Isolde; Petra Lang (mezzo) Brangäne; Robert Holl (bass) King Mark; Peter Weber (baritone) Kurwenal; Markus Nieminen (baritone) Melot; Michael Roider (tenor) Shepherd; In-Sung Sim (baritone) Steersman; John Dickie (tenor) Young Sailor Chorus and Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera/Christian Thielemann. Live rec. from the Vienna State Opera, May 2003. DDD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 474 974-2 [3CDs 235’03: 80’03 + 79’48 + 75’12] [CC]

Not a performance to usurp any of the classic accounts of this endlessly fascinating work, but one that will certainly provide food for thought. ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde (1865) Lauritz Melchior (tenor) Tristan; Kirsten Flagstad (soprano) Isolde; Kerstin Thorborg (contralto) Brangaene; Julius Huehn (baritone) Kurwenal; Alexander Kipnis (bass); George Cehanovsky (baritone) Melot; Anthony Marlowe (tenor) Sailor’s Voice; Doublas Beattie (baritone) Steersman; Karl Laufkoetter (tenor) Shepherd; Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera House, New York/Erich Leinsdorf. Includes synopsis and broadcast introduction, plus Intermission Programme. Rec. Metropolitan Opera House, New York, March 25th, 1940, except for a February 8th, 1941 insertion. ADD GUILD IMMORTAL PERFORMANCES GHCD2266/68 [217’23: 79’13 + 71’38 + 66’32] [CC]

There is little doubt that this set demands to be heard, and the Kipnis insertion seems to be a real success. Alas Leinsdorf’s performance begs so many questions that it could never approach a library recommendation. ... see Full Review

William WALTON (1902-1983) Belshazzar's Feast (1931) [34.13] Crown Imperial (1937) [6.45] Orb and Sceptre (1953) [7.20] Christopher Purves (bar) Simon Lindley (organ) Huddersfield Choral Society; Leeds Philharmonic Chorus; Laudibus English Northern Philharmonia/Paul Daniel rec. Town Hall, Leeds, 30 June - 1 July 2001, 7 July, 25 Oct 1996. NAXOS 8.555869 [48.17]

So this is a very good disc but issues of recorded balance prevent me from giving it the outright recommendation I’d hoped ... see Full Review

Egon WELLESZ (1885-1974) The Dawn of Spring - tone poem for large orchestra Op. 12 (1912) [8.15] Life, dream and death - two songs for contralto and orchestra Op. 55 (1937) [8.15] Song of the World - for soprano and orchestra Op. 54 (1938) [3.03] Sonnets from the Portuguese - for soprano and string orchestra Op. 52 (1935?) [21.04] Ode to Music - for contralto and chamber orchestra Op. 92 (1965) [4.46] Vision - for soprano and orchestra Op. 52 (1966) [9.11] Symphonic Epilogue - for large orchestra Op. 108 (1969) [12.36] Regina Klepper (sop) Sophie Koch (mezzo) Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Roger Epple rec. Berlin-Dahlem, Jesus-Christus-Kirche, 18-21 Nov 2002. DDD CAPRICCIO 67 077 [69.12] [RB]

An indispensable complement to the emerging Wellesz symphony series on CPO - the composer driving song through the 12 tone landscape ... see Full Review

Johann Paul von WESTHOFF (1656-1705) Complete Suites for Solo Violin:- Suite in A major (1683) Six Suites for Solo violin (1696): No. 1 in A minor; No. 2 in A major; No. 3 in B flat major; No. 4 in C major; No. 5 in D minor; No. 6 in D major Kolja Lessing (violin) Rec. Hans Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden Südwestrundfunk, November 2002 CAPRICCIO 67 083 [55.55] [JW]

Full of great delicacy and clarity ... vibrant and vocalised ... these far too little known works ... see Full Review

John R WILLIAMSON (b.1929) Twelve More Housman Songs The ploughman, Keeping sheep by moonlight , The recruit , White in the moon the long road lies , Soldier from the wars returning, When first my way to fair I took, Is my team ploughing? When I watch the living meet, Young is the blood that yonder, In valleys green and still, Look not in my eyes, for fear,The carpenter’s son Nigel Shaw (baritone) John R Williamson (piano) No recording details DUNELM RECORDS DRD0218 [38.50] [JW]

Here is a composer who has inhabited these poems with personal and lasting illumination. ... see Full Review

Peter de WINTER (1754 – 1825) Maometto Maometto – Sebastian Na (tenor) Zopiro – Antonio de Gobbi (bass) Omar – Luca Salsi (baritone) Fanor – Cesare Ruta (tenor) Seide – Gloria Montanari (mezzo-soprano) Palmira – Maria Luigia Borsi (soprano) Czech Philharmonic Choir, Brno Czech Chamber Soloists, Brno/Gabriele Bellini Recorded 13th and 18th July 2002 in Kurhaus Bad Wildbad, Germany MARCO POLO 8.225279-80 [72.26 + 64.32] [RH]

A fine, if flawed performance of a fascinating opera from the byways of German/Italian operatic history. ... see Full Review

Hugo WOLF (1860-1903) Manuel Venegas and Orchesterlieder Goethe Lieder - Mörike Lieder - Spanisches Liederbuch, 'Spanish Songbook' - In dem Schatten meiner Locken (trans Heyse) – from Der Corregidor Mitsuko Shirai (mezzo-soprano) Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/David Shallon Spanisches Liederbuch, 'Spanish Songbook' - In dem Schatten meiner Locken (trans Heyse) – from Der Corregidor Mitsuko Shirai (mezzo-soprano) * Josef Protschka (tenor) Hartmut Höll (piano) Manuel Venegas Manuel Venegas - Josef Protschka (tenor) Don Trinidad - Cornelius Hauptmann (bass), Josef Protschka Vitriolo - Christoph Späth (tenor) Carlos - Oliver Widmer (baritone) Morisco – Kor-Jan Dusseljee (tenor) Soledad Arregui - Mitsuko Shirai (mezzo-soprano) Württemberg Chamber Choir, Stuttgart/Dieter Kurz (chorus master) Hartmut Höll (piano) Recorded in Berlin, Stuttgart and Heidelberg, 1989-90 CAPRICCIO 69 091/92 [2 CDs: 52.20 + 57.50] [JW]

Idiomatic and resourceful, this set is very welcome and strongly commended. ... 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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