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MusicWeb Recommended Recordings 2004 Sept-Dec

[Jan - April] [May-August] [Sept] [Oct] [Nov] [Dec]



John ADAMS (b. 1947) On the Transmigration of Souls Philip Smith, trumpet New York Choral Artists (Joseph Flummerfelt, director) Brooklyn Youth Chorus (Diane Berkun, director) New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Lorin Maazel Recorded at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, NYC, 19-24 Sept 2002 NONESUCH 7559 79816-2 [25.03] [NH]

Quintessential Adams, evoking the artistically benevolent spirits of Ives, Whitman, Sibelius and Mahler all bound by a common devotion to humanity and universality. An absolutely essential disc. ... see Full Review

The Secret Bach Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue (Rust version BWV 903A) Hass [12.59] Adagio in G major BWV 968 Hass [3.48] Fugue in G minor (after BWV 1000) Hass [5.38] From the Clavier-büchlein für Wilhelm Friedmann Bach: Allemande in G minor BWV 836 Bodechtal [1.47] Menuet 1 BWV 841 Bodechtal [1.11] Menuet 3 BWV 843 Bodechtal [1.55] Partie diverse sopra il Corale ‘O Gott, du frommer Gott’ BWV 767 Schmahl [14.56] Partita in A minor after BWV 1004; arranged by Mortensen; Hass [29.30] Christopher Hogwood, clavichords Recorded in Newnham College, Cambridge and Challow Park, Berkshire in 2002 METRONOME MET CD 1056 [71.54] [JF]

A revelation that such a diminutive keyboard instrument as the clavichord can express such power, emotion and expressiveness. ... see Full Review


Three Mantras from Avatara (1. Of Action and Vision of Terrestrial Avataras; 2. Of Bliss and Vision of Celestial Avataras; 3. Of Will and Vision of Cosmic Avataras) Op. 61b (1930) [26:28] Lyra Celtica - concerto for voice and orchestra Op. 50 (1925) [16:11] Apotheosis (Elegy) - Music Poem No. 4 for violin and orchestra Op. 18 (1907) [11:18] Mirage - Music Poem No. 5 for orchestra Op. 20 (1910) [23:49] SusanBickley (mezzo) Daniel Hope (violin) City of Birmingham SO/Sakari Oramo rec. Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 26-27 Feb 2004. DDD WARNER CLASSICS 2564 61525-2 [78:13] [RB]

Enigmatic but not difficult, lambent, delicate, ecstatic and non-conformist. There is light and air in this man's music as well as lyrical release... see Full Review

Charles IVES (1874-1954) Piano Sonata No. 2, "Concord, Mass., 1840-1860" [42.54] Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Piano Sonata, Op. 26 [19.15] Marc-André Hamelin, piano Jamie Martin, flute Recorded Henry Wood Hall, London on April 5-6, 2004 HYPERION CDA67469 [62:09] [SM]

Hamelin seems more attuned to Ives’ sound-world than any other pianist I’ve heard ... see Full Review

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 2 Resurrection Eteri Gvazava, soprano, Anna Larsson, contralto Orfeón Donostiarra Lucerne Festival Orchestra/Claudio Abbado Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) La mer Lucerne Festival Orchestra/Claudio Abbado Recorded live at the Lucerne Festival, Summer 2003 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 00289 477 5082 [45’01 + 60’29] [MB]

‘One is battered to the ground and then raised on angels’ wings to the highest heights.’ Performances that are second to none ... one of the most remarkable discs of either work ... see Full Review


String Quartet No. 3 (1929) String Quartet No. 4 (1937) String Quartet No. 5 (1938) Emperor String Quartet Recorded at Holy Trinity Church, Wentworth, Yorkshire, August 2002 BIS CD 1389 [61.10] [JW]

Powerful and eloquent performances ... an opportunity to explore the Emperor’s abrasively vertical response ... see Full Review

HISTORICAL RECORDING OF THE MONTH Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphony No. 2 in D major Op. 43 (1902) [39:35] Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No. 8 in G major Op. 88 (1898) [36:15] BBC Symphony Orchestra (Sibelius) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Dvořák) Sir Thomas Beecham Rec. Royal Festival Hall, London, 8 Dec 1954 (Sibelius); 25 Oct 1959 (Dvořák).ADD MONO 20 Bit remastering from the original BBC tapes BBC LEGENDS BBCL 4154-2 [77.09] [RB]

Live versions of Sibelius 2 and Dvořák 8: sensational, thrilling, incandescent. No Sibelius collection is complete without this extraordinary disc ... see Full Review


(1921 – 1997)
Symphony No.11 (1990) Variations on atheme by Nielsen (1983) City of London Sinfonia/Matthew Taylor Recorded: St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London, December 2003 HYPERION CDA 67500 [54:55] [HC]

This release, appropriately dedicated to the late Ted Perry, is up to Hyperion’s best. Performances and production are simply magnificent, so that this splendid disc is warmly and unreservedly recommended. ... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Fireworks - Fantasy for Orchestra (1909) [3:57] The Firebird - complete ballet (1910) [41:12] Tango (1940 rev 1953) [3:31] Scherzo à la russe (1944) [3:50] The Song of the Nightingale - symphonic poem (1917) [21:56] London Symphony Orchestra/Antal Dorati Rec. Watford Town Hall 7 June 1959 (Firebird); 22, 24 June 1964 (Nightingale); 27 June 1964 (Fireworks; Scherzo); 7 July 1964 (Tango). ADD
SACD reviewed in CD mode MERCURY LIVING PRESENCE 470 643-2 [76:47] [RB]

One of the greatest recordings. If you have any affection for the Russian tradition or for unbridled voluptuous orchestral extravagance sensationally recorded then this must be on your shopping list. ... see Full Review


RECORDING OF THE MONTH Potentially the best soprano news since Caballé. Anna Netrebko - Sempre libera [CH]

Potentially the best soprano news since Caballé. ... see Full Review


Goldberg Variations BWV988 [47.19] Gustav Leonhardt - harpsichord
rec 1978, Haarlem, The Netherlands DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 82876601462 [47.19] [JL]

Gustav Leonhardt will always remain separate from mere ‘other’ harpsichordists. This really is sitting at the feet of the master. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Quatre Chansons Françaises, op.posth. (1928)* [12:08] Our Hunting Fathers, op.8 (1936) [28:07] Les Illuminations, op.18 (1939)* [22:21] * Felicity Lott (soprano), Phyllis Bryn-Julson (soprano) English Chamber Orchestra/Steuart Bedford Recorded at Abbey Rd. Studios, London, UK in June/July 1990 (Our Hunting Fathers), and at Henry Wood Hall, London UK in July 1994 (other items) NAXOS 8.557206 [62:38] [GPJ]

These versions are quite fit to take their place alongside the finest available, and all is captured in vivid recordings of the highest standard. It’s great to welcome them back into the catalogue. ... see Full Review

Dietrich Buxtehude (1637 -1707) Sacred Cantatas Was frag’ ich nach der Welt, BuxWV 104 [7.57] Jesu, meine Freud und Lust, BuxWV 59 [6.47] Sicut Moses, BuxWV 97 [7.55] Passacaglia, BuxWV 161 (arranged for strings by Kevin Mallon) [6.09] Wenn ich, Herr Jesu, habe dich, BuxWV 107 [8.31] In te, Domine, speravi, BuxWV 53 [2.11] Jubilate Domino, BuxWV 64 [9.06] Wie schmeckt es so lieblich und wohl, BuxWV108 [9.55] Matthew White, counter-tenor; Katherine Hill, soprano; Paul Grindlay, bass Arcadia Ensemble/Kevin Mallon Recorded at Grace Church on the Hill, Toronto, Canada, 13-16 May 2002. NAXOS 8.557041 [58.30] [JF]

A real eye opener. All of these works prove that there is much more to Buxtehude than organ music. One of two of these cantatas are true masterpieces and deserves recognition as such. ... see Full Review


Feste Romane; Fontane di Romana; Pini di Roma Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Daniele Gatti Recorded 14-16 October 1996 at Auditorio Via della Concilliazione, Rome RCA RED SEAL 82876 60869 2 [65:54] [GPJ]

This is going to take some beating – as to Gatti, sensational, yes, but that’s meant as a compliment! ... see Full Review

Sonata for violin and piano No. 1, in D minor, op. 75 (1885) Sonata for violin and piano No. 2, in E flat major, op. 102 (1896) Berceuse, op. 38, for violin and piano (1871) Elegie, op. 160, for violin and piano (1920) Elegie, op. 143, for violin and piano (1915) Romance, op. 37, for violin and piano (1871) String Quartet No. 1 in E minor, op. 112 (1899) String Quartet No. 2 in G major, op. 153 (1919) Quatuor Viotti
Olivier Charlier (violin) Jean Hubeau (piano) Recorded in Studio 103, Radio-France, December 1984 (string quartets) and Studio 107, Radio-France, August 1987 (violin and piano works). WARNER CLASSICS APEX 2564 61426-2 [65:20 + 54:34] [MC]

Simply wonderful chamber works superbly performed. This disc would have been strongly recommended at full-price. An indispensable release. ... see Full Review

Perséphone Paul DUKAS (1865-1935) Overture Polyeucte Paul Groves (tenor); Nicole Tibbels (speaker) Cantate Youth Choir; Trinity Boys’ Choir BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Sir Andrew Davis (Stravinsky) and Jan Pascal Tortelier (Dukas) Recorded in the Royal Albert Hall (live) August 10th 2003 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 61548-2 [73:34] [GH]

Beautiful choral writing like nothing I have ever heard in Stravinsky. Its melodic charm seems set in another world, which indeed it is as Persephone lies asleep beside the banks of the Lethe. ... see Full Review



RECORDING OF THE MONTH John ADAMS (b. 1947) Short Ride in a Fast Machine (1986) [4’05"] The Wound Dresser* (1988) [19’19"] Shaker Loops (1978, rev. 1983) [25’28"] Ferrucio BUSONI (1866-1924) arr. ADAMS Berceuse élégiaque (1991) [9’27] *Nathan Gunn (baritone) Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Marin Alsop Recorded at the Lighthouse Poole Centre for Arts, UK, 10 – 11 June 2003. DDD NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559031 [58’20"] [JQ]

Excellent performances in good recorded sound .... an ideal very inexpensive introduction to one of the most stimulating composers currently before the public. Well-nigh ideal. Urgently recommended. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Toward the Unknown Region Malcolm ARNOLD – A Story of Survival - A Film by Tony PALMER Ratio 16:9. Widescreen. All regions. Isolde Films ISO 001 [133:00]also available as VHS [CT]

A remarkably honest and moving portrait of Malcolm Arnold’s extraordinary and often tragic life. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor op.25 (1861) Robert SCHUMANN (1810-56) Fantasiestucke for piano, violin and cello op.88 (1842) Martha Argerich (piano) Gidon Kremer (violin) Yuri Bashmet (viola) Mischa Maisky (cello) Recording: Teldec Studio, Berlin. February 2002 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON DG 463 700-2 [58:17] [MC]

Really great performances with the Brahms undoubtedly a ‘classic’. An indispensable release! ... see Full Review

DISC OF THE MONTH Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (b. 1934) Naxos Quartets: No. 1 (2002) [29’35]; No. 2 (2003) [53’05]. Maggini Quartet (Laurence Jackson, David Angel, violins; Martin Outram, viola; Michal Kaznowski, cello). Rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, on September 30th-October 2nd, 2003. DDD NAXOS 8.557396 [72’39] [CC]

A superb, vitally important disc. Naxos is to be congratulated on their foresight in aiding the creation of a cycle of quartets that promises so much. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 in f-sharp minor, Op. 1 [26:02] Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in g minor, Op. 40 [24:35] Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, op. 43 [23:44] Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in c minor, Op. 18 [32:26] Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3 in d minor, Op. 30 [38:23] Stephen Hough (piano) Dallas Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Litton Recorded live in concerts at the Eugene McDermott Concert Hall, Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas TX in May 2004. DDD HYPERION CDA67501/2 [74:41 + 70:54] [KS]

A must have. A revelation. Get it. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Vier letzte Lieder* [20’44"]; Capriccio: Closing Scene* [20’09"] Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Schéhérazade** [15’04"] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Le nozze di Figaro: "Porgi, amor, qualche ristoro" *** [3’36"]; "E Susanna non vien! – Dove sono i bei momenti*** [6’43"] Elisabeth Söderström (soprano) *Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Antal Dorati **BBC Symphony Orchestra/Pierre Boulez ***Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir John Pritchard Recorded: *Royal Festival Hall, London, 3 October 1976; **Royal Albert Hall, London, 3 August 1971; *** Royal Albert Hall, London, 20 August 1960 ADD BBC LEGENDS BBCL 4153-2 [67’46"] [JQ]

Treasurable ... vividly recalls one of the greatest soprano voices of the second half of the last century. The recorded sound is very good in the Strauss ... see Full Review

SURPRISE RECORDING OF THE MONTH Kurt WEILL (1900-1950) The Seven Deadly Sins [35:19] Alabama Song [2:55] The Ballade of Sexual Dependency/Die Ballade der Sexuellen Hörigkeit [2:37] Bilbao Song [5:04] Pirate Jenny/Seeräuber Jenny [4:34] Bertolt Brecht, lyrics Marianne Faithfull, voice Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra/Dennis Russell Davies Recorded at Konzerthaus, Vienna on 5 June, 1997 and at Großer Sendesaal, Radiokulturhaus, Vienna on 9 February, 1998. DDD BMG CLASSICS 82876 60872 2 [50:46] [PG]

This album crosses boundaries and can easily be recommended to fans of rock sensibilities, jazz tonalities or musical theatre and operetta. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Sara Mingardo (contralto) Arie, Madrigali e Cantate Tarquinio MERULA (c.1595-1665) Hor ch’è tempo di morire [8:51] Giovanni SALVATORE (1600-c.1688) Allor che Tirsi udia [8:33] Giacomo CARISSIMI (1605-1674) Deh, memoria, e che più chiedi [7:22] Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Vorrei baciarti* (from 7th Book of Madrigals) [5:28] Francesco CAVALLI (1602-1676) Erme e solinghe cime (from La Calisto) [6:44] Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Se i languidi miei sguardi (from 7th Book of Madrigals) [7:14] Giovanni LEGRENZI (1626-1690) Costei ch’in mezzo al volto scritt’ha il mio cor [4:52] Gorge Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Lungi da me pensier [11:45] Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Pianti, sospiri e dimandar mercede RV 676 [10:20] Sara Mingardo (contralto), Monica Bacelli (mezzo-soprano)* Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini Recorded January 2004, Sala Accademica del PIMS, Rome NAIVE/OPUS111 OP 30395 [71:40] [CH]

Fascinating and thrilling; anyone at all interested in baroque music should give this a hearing. ... see Full Review



BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Rhapsody, Op. 1 (1904) [22’45]. Etudes, Op. 18/Sz72 (1918) [11’13]. Suite, Op. 14/Sz62 (1916) [10’34] Sonatina, Sz55 (1915) [4’36]. Out of Doors, Sz81 (1926) [16’41]. Allegro barbaro, Sz49 (1911) [3’02] Andreas Bach (piano) Rec. August 22nd-25th, 2003 in Studio 2 of the Bavarian Radio. DDD OEHMS CLASSICS OC348 [68’58] [CC]

Enthusiastically recommended. Bach is a most musical pianist whose understanding of the Bartókian idiom should be sampled. Currently available at a bargain price from Crotchet... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH André JOLIVET (1905 – 1974) The Erato Recordings Cello Concerto No.1 (1962)a Cello Concerto No.2 (1967)b Suite en concert (1965)a Harp Concerto (1952)c Trumpet Concerto No.1 (1948)d Trumpet Concerto No.2 (1954)d Ondes Martenot Concerto (1947)e Heptade (1970)d Arioso barocco (1968)d Flute Concerto No.1 (1949)f Suite en concert (1965/6)f Chant de Linos (1944)g Six Incantations (1936/7)f Sérénade avec hautbois principal (1944)g Cinq Danses rituelles (1939, orchestrated 1940/1) Bassoon Concerto (1954)h Suite liturgique (1942)i Poèmes intimes (1944)j Lily Laskine (harp)c; Jeanne Loriod (ondes Martenot)e; Colette Herzog (soprano)i; André Navarra (cello)a; Mstislav Rostropovich (cello)b; Maurice André (trumpet)d; Jean-Pierre Rampal (flute)f; Maurice Allard (bassoon)h; Maîtrise de l’ORTF, Jacques Jouineaui; Quintette Marie-Claire Jametg; Orchestre de l’association des Concerts Lamoureux; Orchestre National de l’ORTF; Orchestre Philharmonique de l’ORTF; Orchestre Jean-François Paillard; Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourgj; André Jolivet, Alain Lombardj Recorded: ORTF Studios, Paris, December 1968-January 1969 (Cello Concerto No.1, Cinq Danses), November 1967 (Harp Concerto, Ondes Martenot Concerto); and Eglise du Liban, Paris, May 1966 and April 1967 (flute works), and September 1967 (Bassoon Concerto). No further information concerning the other works WARNER ERATO 2564 61320-2 [78:04 + 71:32 + 76:48 + 71:58] [HC]

May be safely recommended to those who want to investigate Jolivet, in excellent performances and at quite approachable expense. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Beethoven’s Symphony No 9 (Piano Transcription) S464/R128 (1863-5) Konstantin Scherbakov (piano) Rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk in June 2003 DDD NAXOS 8.557366 [63:05] [PCW]

Each time I have listened to it I have marvelled at Beethoven’s music, Liszt’s conception for the piano, and Scherbakov’s musicianship and virtuosity. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Symphony No.6 ‘Fantaisies symphoniques’ (1951-3) Three Frescoes of Piero della Francesca (1954-5) Orchestral suite ‘Julietta’ (1937) Symphony Orchestra St.Gallen/Jiři Kout Recorded at the Tonhalle St.Gallen, Switzerland, June 2003 (Symphony, Julietta) and March 2004 (Frescoes) ARTE NOVA 82876 57740-2 [63’17] [TH]

Recording: rich and full ... A super-budget winner. ... see Full Review



RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gustaf BENGTSSON (1886-1965) Violin Concerto in B minor (1941) * Cello Concerto in A minor (1932) † * Tobias Ringborg (violin) † Mats Rondin (cello) Malmö Opera Orchestra/Mats Rondin*; Tobias Ringborg † Recorded at the Palladium, Malmö, June 2004 STERLING CDS-1063-2 (59:42) [IL]

Why have these lovely melodic concertos been so ignored? Every soloist should be considering them. I urge you to hear them. ... see Full Review

DVD OF THE MONTH Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Les Troyens (1856-60) Grand Opera in five acts, libretto by the composer after Virgil’s Aeneid Dido (mezzo) – Susan Graham Cassandra (soprano) – Anna Catarina Antonacci Anna (contralto) – Renata Pokupic Aeneas (tenor) – Gregory Kunde Choroebus (baritone) – Ludovic Tézier Pantheus (bass) – Nicolas Testé Iopas (tenor) – Mark Padmore Ascanius (mezzo) – Stephanie d’Oustrac Helenus (tenor) – Topi Lehtipuu Chorus of the Théâtre du Châtelet /Monteverdi Choir Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique/John Eliot Gardiner Stage Director – Yannis Kokkos TV Director – Peter Maniura Recorded live at the Théâtre Musical de Paris, Châtelet, October 2003 BBC OPUS ARTE OA0900D [3 discs, running time approx. 5 hrs 12 minutes] [TH]

Hard to imagine this being bettered. ... see Full Review

A Ceremony of Carols, op.28 arr. For SATB and Harp by Julius Harrison [21:50] (1942 arr. 1955): Procession [1:37]; Wolcum Yole [1:25]; There is no Rose [2:19]; That yönge Child [1:43]; Balulalow [1:15]; As Dew in Aprille [0:58]; This Little babe [1:23]; Interlude [3:45]; In Freezing Winter [3:22]; Spring Carol [1:01]; Deo Gracias [1:06]; Recession [1:36] Arr. Jaroslav KRČEK (b.1939) Old European Christmas Carols: Adeste Fideles [3:21]; Dormi, dormi bel Bambin [1:55]; Ding, Dong! Merrily on High [1:47]; Es ist Ein Ros’ entsprungen [2:39]; Vstávajte, pastieri [1:54]; Lulajźe Jezuniu [3:23]; Los animals ante el nacimento [2:01]; Žežulka z lesa vylitla [1:42]; Deck the Halls [1:12]; Les anges dans nos campagnes [2:06]; Byla cesta, byla uŝlapaná [3:34]; A vent-i-cinc de desembre (Fum, fum, fum) [2:06]; Stille Nacht [2:43] Hana Müllerová-Jouzová (harp), Miroslav Kejmar (flugelhorn) Boni Pueri Czech Boys Choir Musica Bohemica Praha/Jakub Martinec Recorded 27-29 August 2004, Domovina Studio, Prague. DDD ARCODIVA UP 0070-2 231 [54:08] [GPJ]

Buy this and give it to your Best Friend – you’ll be rewarded with eternal gratitude. ... see Full Review


DISCOVERY OF THE MONTH Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1858-1919) Pagliacci - Opera in Two Acts. Plus appendix, Florence Quartararo Memorial Canio, Ramon Vinay (ten); Nedda, Florence Quartararo (sop); Tonio, Leonard Warren (bar); Silvio, Hugh Thompson (bar); Beppe, Lesley Chabay (ten) Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera New York/Giuseppe Antonicelli Live broadcast performance. 28 February 1948 Appendix of Florence Quartararo in excerpts recorded 1945-1950 George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Atlanta, Care Selve Umberto GIORDANO (1867-1948) Andrea Chenier, La mamma morta Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Il Trovatore, Tacea la notte placida Otello, Act 1 duet (abridged) with Joseph Laderout (ten) Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Tosca, Perche chiuso with Ramon Vinay Tosca, ‘Vissi d’arte’ Landon RONALD (1873-1938) Cycle of Life, Love I have won you Georges BIZET (1838-1870) Carmen, Parle-moi de ma mère. With Ramon Vinay Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945) Cavalleria rusticana, Voi la sapete Madama Butterfly, Un bel di vedremo Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Le nozze di Figaro, Dove sono Don Giovanni, Taci inguisto core. With Ezio Pinza (bass), Salvatore Baccaloni (bass) Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Thais, Mirror Song Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828). Ave Maria GUILD HISTORICAL IMMORTAL PERFORMANCES SERIES GHCD 2291-92 [72.08 + 79.10] [RJF]

Quartararo - a voice to set alongside the giants of the 20th century. I suggest lovers of fine singing go out and buy while stocks last. Once the word gets out copies will surely fly off the shelves. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Joseph MARX (1882-1964) Orchestral Works: Volume 2 – Orchestral Songs Songs for High Voice , Songs for Middle Voice, Verklärtes Jahr Angela Maria Blasi – soprano Stella Doufexis – mezzo Bochum Symphony Orchestra/Steven Sloane Rec. Maximilianpark, Hamm, Germany, September 2003. DDD ASV-SANCTUARY CD DCA1164 [56.35] [RB]

Intrepid as ever ASV bear away the laurels for this audacious and highly accomplished first recording of Marx's songs with orchestra ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Dichterliebe op.48 [30 :07], 7 Lieder op.90 [18 :13], Die Löwenbraut op.31/1 [08:15], Die arme Peter op.53/3, Belsatzar op.57 [04:28] Christian Gerhaher (baritone), Gerold Huber (piano) Recorded June 15th-16th, July 26th-27th 2004 at the Bavaria Musik Studios, Munich, Germany BMG RCA RED SEAL 82876 58995 2 [65:48] [CH]

A version of "Dichterliebe" to set alongside the classic ones. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Harold Shapero (b.1920) Nine-Minute Overture (1940) [9:15] Symphony for Classical Orchestra (1947) [44:04] Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra/André Previn Recorded, in performance, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center in Los Angeles between 22nd April – 1st May 1988 NEW WORLD RECORDS NW 373-2 [53.19] [JF]

This is a wonderful Symphony. It deserves to have a permanent place in the canon of American music. Well done New World Records! ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Franz von SUPPÉ (1819 - 1895) Overtures: The Beautiful Galatea (1865) [6'22] Pique Dame (1864) [7'28] Light Cavalry (1866) [6'26] Poet and Peasant (1854) [9'24] Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna (date uncertain) [7'32] Boccaccio (1879) [6'48] Daniel-François AUBER (1782 - 1871) Overtures: The Bronze Horse (1835) [6'49] Fra Diavolo (1830) [7'31] Masaniello (1828) [7'24] Detroit Symphony Orchestra/Paul Paray Rec. Cass Technical High School, Detroit, 29 November 1959 (Suppé), Old Orchestra Hall, Detroit, 4 April 1959 (Auber) SACD reviewed as CD MERCURY LIVING PRESENCE 470 638-2 [65'44] [PSe]

Eminently enjoyable overtures, joyous performances utterly without peer. Stunning! ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Vespers of Sorrow Stabat Mater, RV621 Sonata al Santo Sepolcro, RV130 Nisi Dominus, RV608 Magnificat, RV611 Salve Regina (Plainchant) La Tempesta/Jakub Burzynski (counter-tenor) Rec.: 11, 14 Jan 2004, Evangelical Reformed Church, Warsaw, Poland. DDD BIS BIS-CD-1426 [54:35] [MC]

A superb release, not to be missed! This will be my Record of the Year! ... see Full Review





BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas Volume 1 Friedericke Sailer, Maria Friesenhausen, Agnes Giebel, Emiko Iiyama, Ingeborg Reichelt, Edith Selig, Hedy Graf (sopranos) Claudia Hellmann, Emmy Lisken, Barbara Scherler, Hertha Töpper, Marga Höffgen (altos) Helmut Krebs, Georg Jelden, Theo Altmeyer, Friedrich Melzer, Kurt Huber (tenors) Erich Wenk, Jakob Stämpfli, Barry McDaniel, Franz Kelch, Bruce Abel (basses) Heinrich Schütz Choir, Heilbronn Pforzheim Chamber Orchestra *Württemberg Chamber Orchestra, Heilbronn Conducted by Fritz Werner WARNER ERATO 2564 61401-2 [10 CDs: 70’43" + 77’10" + 77’39" + 75’38" + 75’36" + 68’05" + 74’38" + 78’24" + 70’34" + 77’09". Total: 741’36"] [JQ]

I am thrilled that Warner Classics have made these recordings available again and at a bargain price. I would advise anyone who takes Bach’s vocal music seriously to snap them up while they are still around... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) Tempro la cetra (1619) [9:08] Il ballo delle ingrate (1608) [34:10] Tirsi e Clori (1615) [9.20] Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (1624) [22:59] John Potter, tenor; Barbara Borden, soprano; Päivi Järviö, mezzo soprano; Harry van der Kamp bass; Suzie le Blanc, soprano; Dougnal Nasrawi, tenor; Cesare Righetti, baritone. Tragicomedia/Stephen Stubbs Rec. Kleiner Sendesaal, Sender Freieis, Berlin, 21-23 September 1992 WARNER APEX 2564 61781-2 [78:01] [JF]

Essential listening for all Monteverdi enthusiasts. Here are the some of the composer’s superb essays in opera from the ‘lost years’. A must-have for all opera lovers. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Piotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No. 1 [34.42] Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873–1943) Piano Concerto No. 2 [34.08] Van Cliburn (piano)
RCA Symphony Orchestra/Kirill Kondrashin (Tchaikovsky) Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Reiner (Rachmaninov) Rec. 30 May 1958, Carnegie Hall, New York City (Tchaikovsky); Rec. 31 March, 2 April 1962 Orchestra Hall, Chicago (Rachmaninov). ADD RCA BMG LIVING STEREO SACD 82876613922 [60.02] [AR]

A must-have CD for any lover of Russian music and legendary piano playing. Buy it! ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH The Leonard Bernstein Collectors Edition: The Americans Barber - Bloch - Copland - Foss - Gershwin - Harris - Ives - Rorem - Schuman - Del Tredici CD 1 George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Arr. F.GROFÉ Rhapsody in Blue [17:07] Leonard Bernstein (piano) Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein Three Preludes for Piano Solo [04:22] Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Adagio for Strings, Op.11 Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein [10:02] Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Schelomo [24:34] Mischa Maisky (cello) Israel Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein CD 2 Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Symphony No. 3 Quiet City for Cor Anglais, Trumpet and Strings [10:35] New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein, Philip Smith (trumpet), Thomas Stacy (cor anglais) Appalachian Spring - (Ballet for Martha) [26:34] Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein CD 3 Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) El salón Mexico [12:00] Concerto For Clarinet: New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein, Stanley Drucker (clarinet) Music For The Theatre (1925) Connotations For Orchestra (1961-62): [20:29] New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein CD 4 Roy HARRIS (1898-1979) ymphony No. 3 in one movement [18:27] William Howard SCHUMAN (1910-1992) ymphony No. 3; American Festival Overture [09:23] CD 5 Charles IVES (1874-1954) Symphony No. 2 The Gong on the Hook and Ladder or Firemen's Parade on Main Street [02:16] Tone Roads No. 1 [03:16] Largo cantabile "Hymn" [03:43] Hallowe'en [01:56] Central Park in the Dark [07:11] The Unanswered Question [06:07] CD6 David Del TREDICI (b.1937) Tattoo [18:05] Ned ROREM (b. 1923) Violin Concerto [23:32] Lukas FOSS (b.1923) The Song of Songs - Biblical Cantata for voice and orchestra [28:29] Gidon Kremer (violin) New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein (American Festival Overture) Sheri Greenawald (sop) (Foss) Israel Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein (Foss) Rec. live 1982-1989 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 474 940-2 [56:30 + 80:56 + 74:06 + 60:42 + 67:34 + 70:14] [RB]

Essential listening for Bernstein adherents and for anyone who has already fallen for the American Adventure. Bernstein’s adroit no-holds-barred approach establishes new friends for old favourites and fresh discoveries. Performances vivid and often brimming with unbridled life. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Leontyne PRICE Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Aidaa (1871) – Ritorna vincitor! [6’55]; Qui Radamès verrà [1’32]; O patria mia [5’14]. Il trovatore (1853) – Che più t’arrestib? [2’28]; Tacea la notteb [4’31]; Di tale amor che dirsib [1’25]; Timor di me? … D’amor sull’ali rosee [5’19]c. Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Madama Butterflyd (1904) – Un bel dì vedremo; Tu? Tu? piccolo Iddio! (Morte di Butterfly) [2’50]. La rondine (1917) – Chi il bel sogno di Dorettae [2’48]. Tosca (1900) – Vissi d’artee [3’15]. Turandotf (1926) – Signore, ascolta! [2’33]; Tu che di gel sei cinta [2’34]. Leontyne Price, bLaura Londi (sopranos) Rome Opera Orchestra/adefOliviero de Fabritiis, bcArturo Basile. Rec. June a27th, d29th, ef28th, f29th, 1960, bcJuly 15th & 22nd, 1959. ADD RCA RED SEAL LIVING STEREO SACD 82876 61395 2 [46’18] [GF]

I do not expect to hear a better recital this side New Year’s Eve, probably not afterwards either. ... see Full Review



RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Six Cello Suites Antonio Meneses (cello) recorded in St Martin’s Church, East Woodhay, Berkshire, 2-5 June 2004 AVIE AV0052 [55'48" + 72'59"] [PL]

A truly wonderful thing, it deserves the strongest recommendation: buy it, be it your 1st recording, or your nth. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Robert JOHNSON (c.1583-1633) Away Delights – Lute Solos and Songs from Shakespeare’s England Fantasia, The gypsies’ dance, As I walked forth, Where the bee sucks, Gallyard (My Lady Mildmay’s Delight), Woods, rocks and mountains, Come hither you that love, Tell me dearest, Pavan I in C minor, Almayne I Hark! Hark! The lark, Away delights, Oh, let us howl, Pavan II in F minor, Almayne II, How wretched is the state, Have you seen but a white lily grow? Care-charming sleep, Pavan III in C minor, Almayne III, Almayne IV, With endless tears, Come heavy sleep Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Matthew Wadsworth (lute) Mark Levy (bass viol) Recorded St Mary’s Church, South Creake, Norfolk, October 2003 and April 2004 AVIE AV2053 [64.47] [JW]

A very distinguished release and its dynamic motor, Wadsworth, also wrote the notes, produced the artwork and owns the copyright. A Restoration Man indeed. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Charles KOECHLIN (1867-1950) Vers la Voûte Étoilée - nocturne pour orchestre dédié à la mémoire de Camille Flammarion (1923-33, rev. 1939) [12:31] Le Docteur Fabricius - poème symphonique d’après la nouvelle de Charles Dollfus Op. 202 (1941-44 orch. 1946) [51:09] Christine Simonin (ondes martenot) Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR/Heinz Holliger Rec. SWR, Stadthalle Sindelfingen, Konzertsaal, 24-26 Feb 2003. DDD HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD 93.106 [63:40] [RB]

Two world premiere recordings ... two philosophical and imaginative pieces touched with an ardent imagination ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Carl REINTHALER (1822–1896) Jephta und seine Tochter Jephta – Richard Salter (bass) Mirjam – Sabine Riggerbusch (soprano) A Maiden - Waltraud Hoffmann-Mucher (alto) Ephraim – Jurgen Sacher (tenor) A Maiden – Konstanze Maxsein (soprano) Prophet – Oliver Zwarg (bass) Bremer Domchor Kammer Sinfonie Bremen/Wolfgang Helbich Recorded St. Petri Dom Bremen, 25-28 March 1997 CPO 999 938-2 [60.47 + 63.35] [RH]

A fascinating oratorio written just after Mendelssohn’s death and owing something to Elijah but displaying a fine command of the genre. I enjoyed this immensely.... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835 - 1921) Symphony #3, Op 78 Organ (1886) [34.44] Berj Zamkochian, Aeolian-Skinner organ; Bernard Zighera and Leo Litwin, pianos. Claude DEBUSSY (1862 - 1918) La Mer (1905) [22.52] Jacques IBERT (1890 - 1962) Escales (1922) [15.21] Ralph Gomberg, oboe Boston Symphony Orchestra/ Charles Munch Recorded in Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. RCA/BMG 828766-61387-2 [73.04]

A blockbuster of a recording, the centrepiece of any collection of French music, organ music, or hi-fi demonstration sound! ... ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Piano Quintet (1972-76) [27’42"]; Piano Trio (1992) [29’18"] * Barbican Piano Trio: Gaby Lester (violin), Robert Max (cello), James Kirby (piano), with Jan Peter Schmolck (violin on Quintet) and James Boyd (viola on Quintet). Recorded 6 August and 23 November 2000 at St. Georges, Brandon Hill, Bristol. DDD * BLACK BOX BBM1093 [57’03"] [BH]

An outstanding addition to the Schnittke canon. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Claudio Arrau (piano). Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata No. 13 in E flat, Op. 27 No. 1 (1801) [16’59]. Robert SCHUMANN (1810-56) Fantasy in C, Op. 17 (1838) [33’06]. Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Drei Klavierstücke, Op. 11 (1909) [13’43]. Claudio Arrau (piano). Rec. BBC Studios, London, October 16th, 1960 (Beethoven, Schumann); March 13th, 1959 (Schoenberg) ADD mono BBC LEGENDS/IMG ARTISTS BBCL4162-2 [64'08] [CC]

A magnificent disc that reveals ... sovereign majesty. This demands to be heard, both as an indispensable addition to Arrau’s discography and as a testament to Arrau at his very greatest. ... see Full Review

The 'Borderless' RECORDING OF THE MONTH Nostalgica Juan MARTÍN (b. 1943): Rumba Nostálgica; Astor PIAZZOLLA 1921 – 1992): Romance del Diablo; Roland DYENS (b. 1955): Tango en Skai; Béla BARTÓK (1881 – 1945): Romanian Folk Dances; Bill WHELAN (b. 1950): Riverdance (from Riverdance The Show); CELTIC TRADITIONAL: She Moved Through the Fair; Bill WHELAN: American Wake (from Riverdance The Show); CELTIC TRADITIONAL: The Salley Gardens; Nigel WESTLAKE (b. 1958): Six Fish; DEEP PURPLE: Highway Star. Saffire – The Australian Guitar Quartet (Antony Field, Slava Grigoryan, Karin Schaupp, Gareth Koch). Recorded 4–16 June 2004, Jumpstart Studios, Brisbane, Australia. ABC CLASSICS 476 261-1 [54:39] [GF]

Let me say from the outset that this is a fantastic disc! ... see Full Review






BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Engelbert HUMPERDINCK (1854-1921) Hänsel und Gretela (1890-93) Elisabeth Grümmer (mezzo) Hansel; Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano) Gretel; Else Schürhoff (mezzo) The Witch; Maria von Ilosvay (mezzo) Mother; Josef Metternich (baritone) Father; Anny Felbermayer (soprano) Sandman, Dew Fairy; Loughton High School for Girls Choir; Bancroft School Choir Philharmonia Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan. Hänsel und Gretel extracts: Suse, liebe Suse, was raschelt im Strohb; Brüderchen, komm tanz’ mit mirb (sung in Italian); Ral la la … heissa Mutter, ich bin da! (Besenbinderlied)c; Ein Männlein steht im Walded; Der kleine Sandmann bin ichd; Abends, will ich schlafen gehnd; Hurr hopp hopp hoppe; Juchhei! Nun ist die Hexe tot (Witch Waltz)f. bConchita Supervía (mezzo); bInes Maria Ferraris, dElisabeth Schumann, fMeta Seinemeyer (sopranos); fHelen Jung (mezzo); cGerhard Hüsch (baritone); borchestra/A. Albergoni; cefBerlin State Opera Orchestra/cHanns Udo Müller, efFrieder Weissmann; dErnest Lush (piano) Synopsis included. From aColumbia 33CX1096/97, Fonotipia b120166, cHMV EH1024, dDA1439, efOdeon O-7796. . Rec. aKingsway Hall, London, on June 27th, 29th-30th and July 1st-2nd, 1953, bMilan in 1928, Berlin in cJanuary 1937, efFebruary 15th, 1929, dAbbey Road Studio No. 3, London, on August 28th, 1935. NAXOS GREAT OPERA RECORDINGS 8.110897/8 [127’21: 62’45 + 64’36] [CC]

Surely one of the real jewels in Naxos’ crown … and don’t just play it at Christmas, either! ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 6 in A minor
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra/Yoel Levi recorded in Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta, Georgia, 26-27 June 1997 TELARC CD-80444 [78'07"]

I can’t tell you how impressed I am with Levi’s conducting. One of the most striking achievements is the extent to which Mahler’s every marking is loyally enacted. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Il Terzo Libro de’ Madrigali (1592) La giovinetta pianta [03:13] O come è gran martire [03:49] Sovra tenere erbette e bianchi fiori [03:39] O dolce anima mia, dunque è pur vero [03:31] Stracciami pur il core [03:12] O rossignuol chín queste verdi fronde [04:38] Se per estremo ardore [03:27] Vattene pur crudel [02:09] Là tra'l sangue [03:21] Poi ch'ella in sé tornò [03:36] O primavera gioventù de l'anno [03:33] Perfidissimo volto [03:31] Ch'io non t'ami, vor mio? [05:11] Occhi, un tempo mia vita [03:10] Vivrò fra i miei tormenti [01:49] Ma dove, oh lasso me! [03:09] Io pur verrò là dove sète [02:40] Lumi, miei cari lumi [02:50] Rimanti in pace [04:01] Ond'ei, di morte [04:36] Delitiae Musicae: Alessandro Carmignani, Fabian Schofrin, Gianluigi Ghiringhelli (alto), Fabio Fùrnari, Paolo Fanciulacci (tenor), Marco Scavazza (baritone), Walter Testolin (bass), Maurizio Piantelli (theorbo), Carmen Leoni (harpsichord) Dir: Marco Longhini Rec. May 2002, Chiesa di San Pietro, Vincoli, Azzago, Italy. DDD NAXOS 8.555309 [69:06] [JV]

Another enthralling recording of Monteverdi madrigals by Delitiae Musicae ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839 – 1881) Pictures at an Exhibition orch. Maurice Ravel (1922) Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 – 1893) March miniature, (from Suite No. 1 in D minor) (1879) Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839 – 1881) A Night on the Bald Mountain (orch. Rimsky-Korsakov) (1886) Alexander BORODIN (1833 – 1887) Prince Igor: Polovtsian March (1890) Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 – 1893) Marche slave (1876) Dmitri KABALEVSKY (1904 – 1987) Colas Breugnon Overture, Op. 24 (1938) Mikhail GLINKA (1804 – 1857) Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture (1842) Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Reiner. Recorded 7 Dec 1957, 14 March 1959, Symphony Hall, Chicago, U.S.A. SACD (ADD). BMG-RCA LIVING STEREO 82876 61394-2 [70’57"] [JPh]

Like many of Reiner’s recordings the performances have never been surpassed ... see Full Review

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) The Fairy Queen. Semi-Opera in Five Acts (1692) Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Andrew Carwood (tenor) Michael Bundy (bass) Gillian Keith (soprano 1) Rebecca Outram (soprano 2) William Towers (counter-tenor) Robert Murray (tenor) New English Voices Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone Recorded at Teatro Rossini, Lugo di Romagna, Ravenna, July 2001 ARTS 47679-2 [65.19 + 67.07] [JW]

This entrant has strong and lasting virtues of its own and is recommended on merit. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Gurrelieder (1900-11) Stephen O’Mara (tenor), Melanie Diener (soprano), Jennifer Lane (mezzo-soprano), David Wilson-Johnson (bass), Martyn Hill (tenor), Ernst Haefliger (speaker) Simon Joly Chorale Philharmonia Orchestra/Robert Craft Rec. The Colosseum, Watford, England, 16-20 October 2001 DDD Previously released on Koch International Classics NAXOS 8.557518-19 [66.48 + 51.00]

The opening sequence: among the highlights ... has probably never sounded better than it does here. Pacing and shaping are beautifully judged ... played supremely well. [TB]
Clarity and majesty and a huge sense of occasion ... see Full Review [BH]




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