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RECORDING OF THE MONTH James MACMILLAN (b. 1959) Seven Last Words from the Cross (1993)* [46:24] On the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin (1997)** [6:41] Te Deum (2001)** [15:02] Polyphony; ** James Vivian (organ) *Britten Sinfonia/Stephen Layton Recorded* 1-2 April 2004 in St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb; ** The Temple Church, London. DDD HYPERION CDA67460 [68:35] [JQ]

Seven Last Words makes a profound impression; a masterpiece. I recommend this CD not just enthusiastically but urgently. ... see Full Review

Joseph MARX (1882-1964) Romantisches Klavierkonzert (The Romantic Piano Concerto) (1919-20) [40.25] Castelli Romani for piano and orchestra (1929-30) [31.41] David Lively (piano) Bochum Symphony Orchestra/Steven Sloane Recorded at Erholunshaus der Bayer Industry Services, Lerverkusen, January 2004 ASV CD DCA 1174 [72.46] [JW]

A wild-card entry for lovers of rich brew and ebullient musical cross-pollination ... see Full Review

Johann Simon MAYR (1763 – 1845) Sisara (1793) [93.36] Sisara – Vanessa Barkowski (mezzo-soprano) Jahel – Talia Or (soprano) Debbora, Thamar – Stefanie Braun (soprano) Barac, Elcana – Petra van der Mieden (soprano) Abra, Dina – Claudia Schneider (soprano) Simon Mayr Choir Accademia I Filarmonici di Verona/Franz Hauk Recorded Asam Kirche Maria de Victoria Ingolstadt, 9-12 September 2004 GUILD GMCD7288/89 [48.44 + 44.52] [RH]

It is enterprising of Guild to offer us another of Mayr’s early oratorios and this creditable recording helps us get a more balanced view of Mayr as a composer. ... see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto in D minor (1822) [23:28] (1), Violin Concerto in E minor op.64 (1844) [27:15] (2) Max BRUCH (1838-1920)
Violin Concerto no.1 in G minor op.26 (1867) [22:47] (3) Yehudi Menuhin (violin), RCA Victor String Orchestra (1), Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Wilhelm Furtwängler (2), Boston Symphony Orchestra/Charles Munch (3) Recorded 6th February 1952 in New York (1), 25th-26th May 1952 in the Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin (2), 19th January 1951 in the Symphony Hall, Boston (3) CD transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn NAXOS 8.110991 [73:31] [CH]

For Menuhin aficionados these long-unavailable recordings of the Mendelssohn D minor and the Bruch will be self-recommending. ... see Full Review
see also:
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-47) Violin concerto in D minor (1822): (Allegro Molto [8.52]; Andante no troppo [8.31]; Allegro [6.06]) Violin concerto in E minor, Op. 64 (1844): (Allegro molto [12.35]; Andante [7.57]; Allegro non troppo [6.43]; Allegro molto vivace Max BRUCH (1838-1920)Violin concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26 (1867): Allegro moderato [7.57]; Adagio [7.45]; Allegro energico [7.06] Yehudi Menuhin (violin) RCA Victor String Orchestra (Mendelssohn Concerto in D minor), Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Wilhelm Furtwängler (Mendelssohn Concerto in E minor), Boston Symphony Orchestra, Charles Munch (Bruch) Recorded 6th February, 1952 in New York (Mendelssohn Concerto in D minor), 25th and 26th May, 1952 in Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin (Mendelssohn Concerto in E minor) and 19th January, 1951 in Symphony Hall, Boston (Bruch) ADD NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.110991 [73’ 31"] [EM]

Cannot compete with modern verions but gives an insight into the early recordings of possibly the greatest violinist of the mid-20th century. A must-have for Menuhin enthusiasts! ... see Full Review

MENDELSSOHN The Complete Quartets - a comparative review by Michael Cookson: Pacifica Quartet, Emerson Quartet, Henschel Quartet, Talich Quartet, Aurora String Quartet, Bartholdy Quartet

This magnificent set of the complete Mendelssohn String Quartets would have been my first choice selection even at full price... but you will have to read the review to see who is being referred to ... see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) The Complete String Quartets and Octet for Strings CD 1 String Quartet (No. 2) in A minor, Op.13 (1827) [29’40] Fuga in E flat major, Op.81/4 (1827) [04’51] String Quartet (No. 1) in E flat major, Op.12 (1829) [23’32] CD 2 String Quartet (No. 4) in E minor, Op.44 No.2 (1837) [27’01] String Quartet (No. 5) in E flat major, Op.44 No.3 (1838) [33’08]CD 3 String Quartet (No. 3) in D major, Op.44 No.1 (1838) [30’47] Capriccio in E minor, Op.81/3 (1843) [05’45] String Quartet (No. 6) in F minor, Op. posth. 80 (1847) [23’49] Andante (Tema con Variazioni) in E major, Op.81/1 (1847) [05’38]Scherzo in A minor, Op.81/2 (1847) [03’26] CD 4 Octet for strings in E flat major, Op.20 (1825) [30’20] String Quartet in E flat major (1823) [23’51] CD 4 is also a CD-ROM featuring a video documentary: ‘Recording the Octet’ Emerson Quartet: (Eugene Drucker (alternating as 1st and 2nd violin); Philip Setzer (alternating as 1st and 2nd violin); Lawrence Dutton (viola); David Finckel (cello)) rec. American Academy of Arts and Letters , New York, USA, Oct 2003; Apr 2004 DDD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4775370 [4 CDs: 57:47 + 60:17 + 69:46 + 54:18] [MC]

This is a highly desirable set and includes a really special account of the Octet ... see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Elijah – Oratorio Op.70 (1846) Isobel Baillie (soprano) Harold Williams (baritone) Clara Serena (contralto) Parry Jones (tenor) Tom Purvis (tenor) Berkeley Mason (organ) The Wireless Singers BBC National Chorus
Orchestra/Stanford Robinson Recorded at Central Hall, Westminster, London, 1930 THE DIVINE ART 27802 [54.40 + 37.58] [JW]

And above all else, above even Baillie, you’ll have a double dose of Williams, a magnificent colossus of an Elijah. ... see Full Review

Die erste Walpurgisnacht (The First Walpurgis Night) op.60* [35:35], Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt (Calm Sea and Propserous Voyage) op.27 [13:06], Ruy Blas op.95 [07:38], Die schöne Melusine (The Fair Melusine) op.32 [11:33], Die Hebriden (The Hebrides) op.26 [10:08] Juan Oncina (tenor)*, Giovanna Fioroni (mezzo-soprano)*, Robert Amis El Hage (bass)*, Coro* e Orchestra Sinfonica di Torino della RAI/Peter Maag Recorded live on 4th February 1972*, 19th October 1979 in the Auditorium della RAI di Torino, Italy ARTS ARCHIVES 43042-2 [78:21][CH]

Performances notable for their whole-hearted involvement; Mendelssohn in Maag’s hands is a fully romantic composer who sings and exalts. ... see Full Review

Gian Carlo MENOTTI (b.1911) Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in A minor (1952) [29.51]* Cantilena e Scherzo for harp and string quartet (1977) [10.16]** Five Songs (1983) [14.30]+ Canti della Lontananza (1961) [14.05] Ittai Shapira (violin) Russian Philharmonic Orchestra/Thomas Sanderling* Vanbrugh Quartet with Gillian Tingay** Christine Brewer (soprano) and Roger Vignoles (piano)+ Recorded Studio 5, DSS, Moscow, July 2001 (Concerto), Champs Hill, Pulborough, Sussex, March and November 2003 (remainder) ASV CD DCA 1156 [71.29] [JW]

An attractive bet for admirers of the Concerto ... see Full Review

Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) La Création du monde, Op.81a (1923) [16’49] Le Boeuf sur le toit, Op.58 (1919) [16’31] Suite provençale, Op.152d (1936) [15’14] L’Homme et son désir, Op.48 (1921) [20’06] Tomoko Makuuchi (soprano), Jian Zhao (mezzo) Mathias Vidal (tenor), Bernard Deletré (bass) Orchestre National de Lille/Jean-Claude Casadesus Recorded at the Auditorium du Nouveau Siècle, Lille, France, 15-18 July, 2003 NAXOS 8.557287 [68’40][TH]

The recording is a touch close, but has plenty of warmth and detail. The whole disc can be warmly welcomed. ... see Full Review

Richard MILLS (b. 1949) Aeolian Caprices Queensland Symphony Orchestra/Richard Mills; Soundscapes for percussion and orchestra; Seaside Dances; *Fantastic Pantomimes Queensland Symphony orchestra/Geoffrey Spiller *Gerhard Mallon, flute; Anthony Camden, oboe; Paul Dean, horn; Geoffrey Spiller, trumpet Recording dates 1983; 1988; 1990. nothing else specified ABC CLASSICS ELOQUENCE 476 7595 [70.50] [GH]

I recommend this disc in ABC’s budget Eloquence series. It is very generously filled and I hope we can soon hear more of Richard Mills. If you are inquisitive, ‘go for it’. ... see Full Review

Richard MILLS (b. 1949) Snugglepot and Cuddlepie (1988) Queensland Symphony Orchestra/Richard Mills Recorded: no information ABC Eloquence CLASSICS 422 933-2 [40:03] [HC]

A lovely ballet score that should appeal to anyone responding, say, to Prokofiev’s ballet scores. ... see Full Review

Johann Melchior MOLTER (1696-1765) Overture in c minor (MWV III/9) [12:58] Sonata for transverse flute and bc in g minor (MWV XI/13) [14:13] Concerto for oboe, strings and bc in E flat (MWV VI/21) [09:01] Sonata for violin and bc in f minor, op. 1,6 (MWV XI/6) [13:52] Overture in F (MWV III/13) [15:05] Nova Stravaganza/Siegbert Rampe Recorded in January 2004 at the Fürstliche Reitbahn in Bad Arolsen, Germany DDD MDG 341 1279-2 [65:51] [JV]

Molter is generally considered a 'minor master', but that doesn't do him justice, as this very fine disc amply demonstrates ... see Full Review

Ignaz Moscheles (1794-1870) Piano Concerto No. 4 in E major Op.64 (1823) [25:53] Piano Concerto No. 5 in C major Op.87 (1826/32) [30:26] Recollections of Ireland Op.69 (1826) [15:23] Howard Shelley, piano and conductor Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Recorded in the Federation Concert Hall, Hobart, Tasmania on 23rd -25th September 2002 (Concertos) and 6th September 2004 (Recollections) The Romantic Piano Concerto: Volume 36 HYPERION CDA67430 [72:04] [JF]

Volume Three of the Moscheles Piano Concertos is essential listening for all those who wish to understand what was composed between the Emperor and Schumann’s A minor. A terrific investment. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Flute Concerto in D major, K. 314 (1778) [18.50]* Flute Concerto in G major, K. 313 (1778) [22.43]* Symphony No. 41 in C major, K. 551 "Jupiter" (1788) [35.34] Jacques Zoon, flute* Boston Baroque/Martin Pearlman rec. Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts, 7-8 March 2004 TELARC CD-80624 [77.07] [SV]

Boston Baroque recovers its poise, re-establishing itself as one of the most consistently satisfying "period" orchestras. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Prussian Quartets String Quartet (No. 21) in D major, K.575 (1789) [25:04] String Quartet (No. 22) in B flat major, K.589 (1790) [23:47] String Quartet (No. 23) in F major, K.590 (1790) [27:30] Tokyo String Quartet: (Martin Beaver (violin I); Kikuei Ikeda (violin II); Kazuhide Isomura (viola); Clive Greensmith (cello)) rec. Sprague Hall, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, 28-29 May, 6-8 Nov 2004. DDD BIDDULPH RECORDINGS 80215-2 [76:45][MC]

Surely the Vienna of Mozart’s day was more exciting and characterful than these interpretations would lead us to believe. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Sonatas for Piano and Violin Sonata in F major, K. 377 [19:39] Sonata in C major, K. 303 [9:50] Sonata in E minor, K. 304 [15:50] Sonata in A major, K. 526 [24:40] Mitsuko Uchida, piano Mark Steinberg, violin Recorded Snape Maltings Concert Hall, June-July 2004 PHILIPS 4756200 [69:59] [DS]

One of the most rewarding and enjoyable Mozart discs in recent years. Uchida and Steinberg go to the head of the class. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Mass in C minor The Great for solo voices, chorus and orchestra, KV 427 (1783) 1. Kyrie [7’00] 2. Gloria [2’19] 3. Laudamus te [4’59] 4. Gratias [1’25] 5. Domine [3’02] 6. Qui tollis [6’06] 7. Quoniam [4’03] 8. Jesu Christe [4’56] 9. Credo in unem Deum [3’28] 10. Et incarnatus est [8’37] 11. Sanctus [3’42] 12. Osanna [2’01] 13. Benedictus [3’56] Helen Donath (soprano) 14. Ave verum Corpus, motet for chorus, strings and organ (1791), KV 618 [3’56] Heather Harper (soprano) Ryland Davies (tenor) Stafford Dean (bass) John Constable (organ) London Symphony Chorus/Arthur Oldham London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Colin Davis Recorded at Westminster Cathedral, London, England, Feb. 1971 (Great Mass) and London, England, April 1971 (Ave verum Corpus) ADD PHILIPS ELOQUENCE 470 132-2 [59:39][MC]

This reissue is not my first choice in the ‘Great’ Mass in C minor but a performance from the early 1970s that is worthy of consideration. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Mass in C major Coronation, K317 (1779) [26.02] Ileana Cotrubas (soprano), Helen Watts (alto), Robert Tear tenor), John Shirley-Quirk (bass) Schola Cantorum of Oxford Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Sir Neville Marriner Vesperae solennes de confessore, K339 (1779) [28.08] Felicity Palmer (soprano), Margaret Cable (alto), Philip Langridge (tenor), Stephen Roberts (bass)
Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge Wren Orchestra/George Guest Exultate, jubilate, K165 (1773) [15.15] Erna Spoorenberg (soprano) Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Sir Neville Marriner Rec. 1966 (K165), 1971 (K317), 1979 (K339) DECCA ELOQUENCE 470 166 2 [65.44] [TB]

A most pleasing compilation for the discerning collector ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Requiem in D minor K626 completed by Franz Xaver Süssmayr [50:07] Franz Xaver SÜSSMAYR (1766-1803) Requiem [17:55] Maria Jette (sop); Jennifer Larmore (mezzo); James Taylor (tenor); Eric Owens (bass); St Olaf Choir/Anton Armstrong; St Paul Chamber Orchestra/Andreas Delfs rec. live Ordway Hall, St Paul, Minnesota, 7-8 Nov 2003 DDD (Mozart Requiem) St Olaf Choir and Orchestra/Anton Armstrong rec. St Andrews Church, Mahtomedi. Minnesota, 26-27 May 2004. DDD (Süssmayr Requiem) AVIE AV 0047 [68:11] [ZT]

Despite its virtues this disc probably will not supplant favoured versions of the Mozart but temptation to hear the Süssmayr is one to which many will succumb. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 – 1791) A Mozart Opera Festival

Le nozze di Figaro, KV 492: 1. Cosa sento! tosto andate (act I) – 2. Non più andrai (act I) – 3. Voi che sapete (act II) – 4. Crudel! perchè finora farmi languir così? (act III) – 5. Giunse alfin il momento ... Deh vieni, non tardar (act IV) Die Entführung aus dem Serail, KV 384: 6. Konstanze, dich wiederzusehen ... O wie ängstlich, o wie feurig (act I) – 7. Vivat Bacchus! Bacchus lebe! (act II) – 8. In Mohrenland gefangen war (act III) – 9. O, wie will ich triumphieren (act III) Die Zauberflöte, KV 620: 10. Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja (act I) – 11. Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön (act I) – 12. Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen Zaide, KV 344: 13. Ruhe, sanft, mein holdes Leben (act I) Così fan tutte, KV 588: 14. Soave sia il vento (act I) – 15. Un’aura amorosa (act I) – 16. Il cor vi dono (act II) Il re pastore, KV 208: 17. L’amerò, sarò costante (act II) Don Giovanni, KV 527: 18. Là ci darem la mano (act I) – 19. Finch’han dal vino (act I) Lucia Popp (soprano) (1, 4, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18), Brigitte Fassbaender (mezzo-soprano) (3, 14, 16), Werner Krenn (tenor) (1, 6, 7, 8, 11, 15), Tom Krause (baritone) (1, 2, 4, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19), Manfred Jungwirth (bass) (7, 9), Wiener Haydn-Orchester/István Kertész Recorded in the Sofiensaal, Vienna, October 1971 DECCA ELOQUENCE 476 7437 [71:25] [GF]

As a varied program, well recorded and with five of the best Mozart singers of their generation this reissue can be confidently recommended. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) … che cosa è amor ... Soprano Arias Le Nozze di Figaro Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio (Cherubino); Porgi amor (La Contessa); Voi che sapete (Cherubino); Venite, inginocchiatevi (Susanna); E Susanna non vien! ... Dove sono (La Contessa); L’ho perduta ... me meschina (Barbarina); Il capro e la capretta (Marcellina); Giunse alfin il momento ... Deh, vieni, non tardar (Susanna) Don Giovanni Ah fuggi il traditor (Donna Elvira); Or sai chi l’onore (Donna Anna); Batti, batti, o bel Masetto (Zerlina); Vedrai, carino (Zerlina); In quali eccessi, o Numi … Mi tradi quell’alma ingrata (Donna Elvira); Crudele? ... Non mi dir, bell’idol mio (Donna Anna) Andrea Rost (soprano) Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra/Tamás Pál Recorded in Phoenix Studio, Hungary, November and December 2003 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 62030-2 [52:13][GF]

I have derived a lot of pleasure from this disc and am sure that many other opera lovers will like it too ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Mitridate, re di Ponto (1770) [152.00] text by Cigna-Santi after Racine/Parini. Rockwell Blake ... Mitridate, King of Pontus Yvonne Kenny ... Aspasia, betrothed to Mitridate, beloved of Sifare, desired by Farnace Ashley Putnam ... Sifare, son of Mitridate, beloved of Aspasia Brenda Boozer ... Farnace, son of Mitridate, betrothed to Ismene Patricia Rozario ... Ismene, daughter of the king of Parthia, betrothed to Farnace Christian Papis ... Marzio, Roman Tribune Catherine Dubosc ... Arbate, governor of Nymphæa Orchestre de l’Opéra de Lyon/Theodore Guschlbauer Recorded live Lyon, France, 1986. Staged (1983) by Jean-Claude Fall, designed by Gérard Didier. Video direction by Bernard Maigrot. PAL 4:3 letterbox. Sound 2.0 stereo, 5.1 Dolby Digital, 5.1 dts surround. Subtitles Italiano, English, Deutsch, Français. Notes in English, Deutsch, Français. DVD 9 Region 0 [all regions] EUROARTS 2053609 [152.00][PSh]

A very good but not the greatest Mitridate, a very great Mozart opera. ... see Full Review

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Songs and Dances of Death (1877) (1962 orchestration by Dmitri Shostakovich) (I. Lullaby; II. Serenade; III. Trepak; IV. The Field Marshal) Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphonic Dances (1941) Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone) (Mussorgsky) St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra/Yuri Temirkanov Recorded live at the Royal Albert Hall, 24 August 2004 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 62050-2 [53:55][GF]

We have here two excellent performances, and anyone who wants this particular coupling need not hesitate. ... see Full Review

Josef MYSLIVEČEK (1737-1781) La Passione di nostro Signore Gesu Christo Sophie Karthäuser (Maddalena), Jörg Waschinski (Pietro), soprano; Yvonne Berg (Giovanni), contralto; Andreas Karasiak (Giuseppe d'Arimatea), tenor Chorus Musicus Köln Das Neue Orchester (on period instruments)/Christoph Spering Recorded April 2004 at the Studio of DeutschlandRadio, Cologne, Germany. DDD CAPRICCIO 71 025/26 [59:08 + 43:14][JV]

An oratorio by a celebrated opera composer on a libretto by Metastasio - an interesting example of the treatment of religious subjects in the second half of the 18th century ... see Full Review

Eduard NÁPRAVNIK (1839-1916) Concerto Symphonique in A minor Op. 27 (1877) [31:15] Fantasie russe in B minor Op. 39 (1881) [12:19] Felix BLUMENFELD (1863-1931) Allegro de concert in A major Op. 7 (1889) [13:54] Evgeny Soifertis (piano) BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Alexander Titov Recorded at the Caird Hall, Dundee, 15-16 Sept 2004. DDD The Romantic Piano Concerto series: Vol. 37 HYPERION CDA67511 [57:44][JF]

Another three interesting discoveries on the Romantic Piano Concerto series. All lovers of the genre must but this and support the project! ... see Full Review

Nicolò PAGANINI (1782-1840). I palpiti - Introduction and Variations on " Di tanti Palpiti" MS 77 Op. 13 (1819) [11.42] Le Streghe, MS 19 Op. 8 (1813) [10.21] Cantabile, MS109 Op. 17 [4.09] Six Sonatas, MS 27 Op. 3 - No. 6 in E minor [4.06] The Caprices, MS 25 Op. 1 (1801-07): No. 1 in E [1.53]; No. 2 in B minor [4.17]; No. 5 in A minor [2.54]; No. 9 in E [2.43]; No. 13 in B flat [2.42]; No. 14 in E flat [2.01]; Moto perpetuo, MS 72 Op. 11 [4.21] David N. BAKER (b.1931) Ethnic Variations on a Theme of Paganini (1982) [11.07] Pavel Sporcl (violin) Petr Jiríkovský (piano) Recorded at the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, June and July 2004 Includes a video for Windows PCs (Real Player), directed by Juraj Herz SUPRAPHON SU 3772-2 [63.01] [JW]

There’s some really committed playing here, along with some more fallible moments ... see Full Review

Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) Libertango [3:38]; Decarissimo [3:48]; Preludio [7:36]; Bragatissimo [4:48]; Buenos Aires Hora Cero [4:49]; Lunfardo [4:54]; Adios Nonino [10:11]; Oblivion (arr by José Bragato); Four Seasons: Primavera Porteña [4:41]; Verano Porteño [4:11]; Otono Porteño [5:15]; Invierno Porteño [5:42] El Ultimo Tango: Nicolas Bricht (flute); Mark O’Brien (saxophones); Eduardo Vassallo (cello); Fred Lezama Thomas (piano) and Mark Goodchild (double bass) Rec. 21-22 January 2003, CBSO Centre, Birmingham SOMM CD 033 [65:44] [IL]

El Ultimo Tango presents Piazzolla sans bandoneon but with added colour. Tango music played with fervour and sensitivity. ... see Full Review

Antony PITTS (b. 1969) Adoro te (1999) [3’55"] The Lord’s Prayer (1997) [3’58"] The First and Last (1988) [2’16"] Seven Letters (1998) [24’10"] O Love (1999) [3’46"] O Wisdom of God. Antiphon for Advent (1991) [9’36"] O Holy of Holies. Antiphon for Advent (1995) [4’16"] Amen (2000) [8’24"] Tonus Peregrinus/Antony Pitts rec. Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Wadhurst, East Sussex, 18-19 Sept 2000 DDD HYPERION CDA67507 [61’25"] [JQ]

If, like me, you love to hear a small, expert choir performing with taste, skill and subtlety then you will not be disappointed by this disc. ... see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Gianni Schicchi - Opera in one act (1917/18) Gianni Schicchi…Alessandro Corbelli Zita, Buosco’s cousin…Felicity Palmer La Ciesca, Marco’s wife…Marie McLaughlin Rinuccio, Zita’s nephew…Massimo Giordano Lauretta, Schicchi’s daughter…Sally Matthews London Philharmonic Orchestra/Vladimir Jurowski rec. live at Glyndebourne Opera House, 11 July 2004 Directed by Annabel Arden DVD includes extras: cast gallery, illustrated synopsis and interviews OPUS ARTE OA 0918 D [74:00][IL]

A delightful humorous and warm production of the final part of Puccini’s Il trittico. Pity we could not have had Il tabarro and the sublime Suor Angelica as well. ... see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873 - 1943) The Miserly Knight, opera in 3 scenes (1904) [65.40] Text: Rachmaninov, after A. Pushkin. Albert ... Richard Berkeley-Steele, tenor Servant ... Maxim Mikhailov, tenor Moneylender ... Viacheslav Voynarovskiy, tenor The Duke ... Albert Schagidullin, bass The Baron ... Sergei Leiferkus, baritone Greed ... Matilda Leyser [non-singing pantomime role] London Philharmonic Orchestra/Vladimir Jurowski Recorded in high definition video by the BBC at Glyndebourne Opera House, Lewes, East Sussex, UK, 11 July 2004. DVD 9 NTSC 16:9 anamorphic. Region 0 "all regions" LPCM 48/16 2.0 stereo. dts 5.0 surround. DVD Extras: Cast Gallery (still panels), Illustrated Synopsis [2.35], Interviews [22.20]. Preview of Gianni Schicchi DVD [4.54] Sung in Russian. Subtitles in English, French, Deutsch, Castellano, Italiano. OPUS ARTE DVD OA 0919 D [95.00] [PSh]

A fine Rachmaninov vocal tone poem, or a morbid verismo opera, whichever you choose. Great performance by Leiferkus in an innovative staging ... see Full Review

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Bolero (1928) [14’28] Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Sarabande (orch. Ravel) (1922) [5’12] Danse (orch. Ravel) (1922) [5’11] Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition (orch. Ravel) (1922) [33’03] Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Riccardo Chailly Recorded at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, August 1986 DECCA ELOQUENCE 476 2452 [58’18][TH]

If you happen across this Eloquence re-issue and take a chance, you won’t be disappointed. ... see Full Review

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Gaspard de la Nuit (1908) [23’10] Elliott CARTER (b.1908] Night Fantasies (1978-80) [22’13] Two Diversions (1999) [7’37]
90+ (1994) [5’29] Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano) Recorded in the Grosser Saal, Konzerthaus, Vienna, 7-11 Feb 2005 Includes bonus disc with illustrated talk on the music by Aimard WARNER CLASSICS 2564 62160-2 [58’21 + 26’45] [TH]

Aimard is one of the modern breed of ‘super-virtuosos’ ... positively revels in complexities, eating up fistfuls of notes and spitting them out with ease. ... see Full Review

Giulio REGONDI (1822-1872) 1 Premier Air Varié, Op.2 [10:24] 2 Rêverie, Op. 19 [9:28] 3 Étude No.4(b) [3:08] 4 Deuxième Air Varié, Op.22 [10:58] Johann Kasper MERTZ (1806-1856) From Bardenklänge (Bardic Sounds, Op.13) 5 Polonaise No 1 [2:23] 6 Polonaise No.2 [5:48] 7 Polonaise No.3 [4:09] 8 Polonaise No.4 [4:32] 9 Polonaise No.5 [5:21] 10 Polonaise No.6 [4:41] 11 Polonaise No.7 [3:56] 12 Rondino [7:02] Ricardo Gallén, guitar rec. Green Room, Offord Hall, Aurora, Canada 12-16 September 2002. DDD NAXOS 8.555285 [71.50][ZT]

An important recording for those with a knowledge of guitar music of the period. Less relevant to those with a casual interest in the modern classical guitar. ... see Full Review

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il barbiere di Siviglia - Comic opera in two acts. Libretto by Cesare Sterbini based on Beaumarchais’s play. First performed at the Teatro Argentina, Rome 20 February 1816 as Almaviva, ossia L’inutile precauzione (the useless precaution) Count Almaviva, Ramon Vargas (ten); Figaro, a barber, Roberto Serville (bar); Bartolo, a doctor and ward of Rosina, Angelo Romero (buffa bar); Rosina, Sonia Ganassi (mezzo); Basilio, a singing teacher, Franco Grandis (bass); Berta, Dr. Bartolo’s housekeeper, Ingrid Kertesi (mezzo); Fiorello, servant of Count Almaviva, Kázmér Sarkáney (bass) Hungarian Radio Chorus Failoni Chamber Orchestra, Budapest/Will Humburg Recorded by Alpha-Line Studio, Italian Institute, Budapest, 16-28 November 1992 NAXOS OPERA CLASSICS 8.660027-29 [3 CDs: 43.03 + 51.26 + 63.13][RJF]

A perfect complement to other less complete, but starrier cast recorded performances and worthy of a place in any opera lover’s collection. ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Otello, Dramma in three acts.
Libretto by the Marchese Berio di Salsa, loosely based on Shakespeare’s play.
First performed at the Teatro del Fondo, Naples, 4 December 1816 Plus: Appendices including the ‘lieto fine’ (Happy Ending) of Act 3 first performed at the Teatro Argentina, Rome, during the 1819-20 carnival season. Also an entrance aria for Desdemona and an example of music for a female travesti Otello Otello, an African in the service of Venice, Bruce Ford (ten); Desdemona, the lover and secret wife of' Otello, Elizabeth Futral (sop); Elmiro, the father of Desdemona, Ildebrando d'Arcangelo, (bass); Rodrigo, Desdemona's unsuccessful suitor, William Matteuzzi (ten); Iago, the secret enemy of Otello, Juan José Lopera (ten); Emilia, Desdemona's confidante, Enkelejda Shkosa (mezzo); The Doge, Ryland Davies (ten); Lucio, Otello's confidant. Dominic Natoli (ten); A Gondolier Barry Banks (ten) The Geoffrey Mitchell Choir Philharmonia Orchestra/ David Parry Recorded at Henry Wood Hall, London, September and October 1999 using the critical edition by Michael Collins for the Rossini Foundation. OPERA RARA ORC 18 [3 CDs: 71:58 + 77:51 + 77.34] [RJF]

Well conducted and recorded, Opera Rara’s more natural aural ambience tells in its favour as does the liveliness and vibrancy of the chorus. ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) L'equivoco stravagante (A Bizarre Deception) - Dramma giocoso in Two Acts. Libretto by Gaetano Gasbarri Edition of the Deutsche Rossini Gesellschaft revised by Marco Beghelli and Stefano Piana. Prepared for the Rossini in Widbad Festival. First performed at the Teatro del Corso, Bologna on 26th October 1811 Ernestina, Gamberotto's literature-loving daughter ... Petia Petrova (mezzo); Gamberotto, a newly rich farmer ... Marco Di Felice (bass-bar); Buralicchio, rich, young and stupid, betrothed to Ernestina ... Marco Vinco (bass); Ermanno, a poor young man, in love with Ernestina ... Dario Schmunck (lyric ten); Rosalia, a servant of Ernestina, Monica Minarelli (mez); Frontino, Gamberotto's servant and Ermanno's confidant ... Eduardo Santamaria (ten) Czech Chamber Chorus
Czech Chamber Soloists/Alberto Zedda Recorded live July 14th and 16th 2001 in the Kursaal, Bad Wildbad, Germany, during the Rossini in Wildbad Festival World Premiere Recording NAXOS OPERA CLASSICS. 8.660087-88 [75.20 + 72.07] [RF]

Gives more indications of the riches that were in store from Rossini’s pen as he went on to become the universally recognised father of bel canto. Highly recommended. ... see Full Review

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Tancredi, Opera in Two Acts. Libretto by Gaetano Rossi after Voltaire tragedy of 1760 but with a happy ending first performed at the Teatro La Fenice, Venice, 6 February 1813 Tancredi, a Knight and son of the deposed king of Syracuse, Ewa Podles (mezzo); Argirio, ruler of Syracuse and father of Amenaide, Stanford Olsen (ten); Orbazzano, leader of a powerful family faction in Syracuse, Pietro Spagnoli (bass-bar); Amenaide, daughter of Argirio in love with Tancredi, Sumi Jo (coloratura soprano); Roggiero, Tancredi’s friend, Lucretia Lendi (mezzo); Isaura, Anna Maria di Micco (mezzo) Chorus Capella Brugensis Collegium Instrumentale Brugense/Alberto Zedda Recorded at the Poissy Theatre and the Musical Centre Lyrique-Phonographique, Ile de France, 26-31 January 1994 NAXOS OPERA CLASSICS 8.660037-38 [75.20 + 72.07] [RJF]

All lovers of bel canto and the evolution of romantic opera should have this set on their shelves. ... see Full Review

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Guglielmo Tell (1829). Giorgio Zancanaro (baritone) Tell; Chris Merritt (tenor) Arnoldo; Giorgio Surjan (baritone) Gualtiero; Franco De Grandis (bass) Melchtal; Amelia Felle (soprano) Jemmy; Ludicana D'Intino (mezzo) Edwige; Vittorio Terranova (tenor) Ruodi; Alberto Noli (bass) Letuoldo; Luigi Roni (bass) Gessler; Cheryl Studer (soprano) Matilde; Ernesto Gavazzi (tenor) Rodolfo Corps de Ballet, Chorus and Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala, Milan/Riccardo Muti. rec. Teatro alla Scala, Milan in 1988. 4:3 OPUS ARTE OALS3002D [2 DVDs: 240'00]. [CC]

In many ways this is a magnificent achievement ... This is a superb DVD. Tell is one of Rossini's masterpieces. Do try to experience this treat. ... see Full Review

Miklós RÓZSA (1907-1995) Three Choral Suites: Ben-Hur, Quo Vadis and King of Kings: Ben-Hur (1951) 1. Overture; 2. Star of Bethlehem/Adoration of the Magi; 3. Rowing of the Galley Slaves; 4. Alleluia; 5. Parade of the Charioteers; 6. Miracle and Finale [21:24] Quo Vadis (1959) 7. Prelude; 8. Ave Caesar March; 9. Fertility Hymn; 10. Assyrian Dance; 11. Marcus and Lygia; 12. Miracle and Finale [18:01] King of Kings (1961) 13. Overture; 14. Roman Legions; 15. Nativity; 16. The Feast of Passover; 17. Herod's Feast; 18. Miracles of Christ; 19. The Lord's Prayer; 20. Pieta; 21. Resurrection and Finale [22:29] Mormon Tabernacle Choir/Craig Jessop Cincinnati Pops Orchestra/Erich Kunzel Rec. orchestra: Music Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio, 15-16 May 2004; choir: Maurice Abravanel Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah, 22 Oct 2004 DSD 2 Channel Recording 6 Channel Recording multichannel SACD as well as the CD recording TELARC CD-80631 [61:54] [RB]

The music has never sounded as princely. ... 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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