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William ALWYN (1905-1985) Symphony No. 5 Hydriotaphia (1973) [14:27] Lyra Angelica - concerto for harp and orchestra (1954) [28:12] Symphony No. 2 (1953) [27:22] Suzanne Willison (harp) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones rec. Philharmonic Hall. Liverpool, 4-6 Jan 2005. DDD NAXOS 8.557647 [69:52][DB]

Can be placed alongside the composer’s and Hickox’s discs ... its price as well as its performance quality make it a valuable contribution to the Alwyn discography. ... see Full Review

David AMRAM (b.1930) Symphony – Songs of the Soul (1987) 30.24] Shir L’erev Shabbat (excerpts) (1965) 12.24] The Final Ingredient (excerpts) (1966) [20.03] Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin/Christopher Wilkins (Symphony, recorded Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin, 1999) Richard Troxell (tenor), BBC Singers, Christopher Bowers-Broadbent (organ)/Kenneth Kiesler (Shir L’erev Shabbat, recorded St Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge, London 2001) Deborah Selig (soprano); Pei Yi Wang (mezzo); Sarah Elizabeth Williams (mezzo soprano); Thomas Glenn (tenor); Brian Pfaltzgraf (tenor); Nathan Phan (tenor); Jesse Blumberg (baritone); Tyler Oliphant (baritone); Mark Kent (bass) University of Michigan Opera Chorus and Orchestra/ Kenneth Kiesler, (The Final Ingredient, recorded University of Michigan, 2001)
NAXOS 8.559420 [63.12] [JW]

A melting pot of Jewish musics, a polycultural exploration that embraces disparate traditions and does so with colour and verve. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) The Nine Symphonies CD1 Symphony No. 1 in B minor op. 3 (1912) [40:47] Symphony No. 4 in G minor Sinfonia piccola op. 14 (1918) [21:03] CD2 Symphony No. 2 in F major op. 6 (1913) [41:00] Symphony No. 5 in D minor Sinfonia funebre op. 20 (1922) [34:23] CD3 Symphony No. 3 op. 10 in D minor Västkustbilder - West Coast Pictures (1914-16) [37:05] Symphony No. 6 op. 31 in C major (1928) [31:06] CD4 Symphony No. 7 Sinfonia Romantica, op. 45 (1941/2) [28:56] Symphony No. 8, in E minor op. 48 (1944/45) [31:31] CD5 Symphony No. 9 Sinfonia Visionaria op. 54 (1956) [40:45] ÄlvenThe River - Symphonic Poem op. 33 (1929) [19:50] Satu Vihavainen (mezzo) (9) Gabriel Suovanen (baritone) (9) NDR Chor; Prager Kammerchor (9) Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt/Ari Rasilainen (1, 4, 2, 5) NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Stuttgart/Ari Rasilainen (3, 6, 7, 8) NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Hannover/Ari Rasilainen (9) Rec. 1998-2003, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Germany. DDD Coproduction: CPO, Hessischer Rundfunk, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Südwestrundfunk CPO 777 118-2 [5 CDs: 61:55 + 75:34 + 68:18 + 62:43 + 60:35] [RB]

Sympathetically recorded, magnificently conducted ... To Atterberg enthusiasts current and future this box represents riches unimaginable. ... see Full Review

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) St. Matthew Passion (1785) Thomas Dewald (tenor); Daniel Jordan (baritone); Jochen Kupfer (baritone) Zelter-Ensemble der Sing-Akademie zu Berlin/Joshard Daus rec. live, Berlin Philharmonie, Kammermusiksaal, April 2004. DDD CAPRICCIO 60113 [55.01][GH]

Full credit to the performers and editor whose efforts are not in vain and who deserve rich applause for their handiwork and dedication. ... see Full Review

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Herrn Professor Gellerts Geistliche Oden und Lieder CD 1 Trost der Erlösung [00:55] Am Neuen Jahr [01:52] Bußlied [03:42] Morgengesang [01:15] Der Weg des Frommen [02:33] Trost eines schwermütigen Christen [05:04] Der Schutz der Kirche [02:46] Das Glück eines guten Gewissens [02:09] Vom Worte Gottes [02:14] Die Liebe des Nächsten [03:18] Die Liebe der Feinde [02:26] Geduld [01:53] Die Ehre Gottes aus der Natur [02:48] Abendlied [01:05] Prüfung am Abend [06:14] CD 2 Weihnachtslied [02:27] Passionslied [07:55] Osterlied [02:25] Lied am Geburtstage [02:59] Preis des Schöpfers [02:37] Bitten [03:04] Der 100. Psalm [01:36] Das Gebet [05:07] Morgengesang [01:48] Wider den Übermut [03:00] In Krankheit [04:13] Der 88. Psalm [03:02] Vom Tode [03:47] Abendlied [03:17] Das natürliche Verderben des Menschen [03:21] Dorothee Mields, soprano; Ludger Rémy, fortepiano rec. Feb, April 2003, Studio of Radio Bremen, Germany. DDD CPO 777 061-2 [40:21 + 50:47] [JV]

A selection from the collection of sacred songs on texts of the German poet Gellert, interpreted with great sensitivity by Mields and Rémy ... see Full Review A selection from the collection of sacred songs on texts of the German poet Gellert, interpreted with great sensitivity by Mields and Rémy ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Complete Church Cantatas, Vol. 28 Nun komm der Heiden Heiland BWV 62 [17:47] Wohl dem, der sich auf seinen Gott, BWV 139 [17:42] Ach wie flüchtig, ach vie nichtig, BWV 26 [14:48] Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 116 [17:15] Yukari Nonoshita, (soprano) Robin Blaze, (counter-tenor) Nakoto Sakurada, (tenor) Peter Kooij, (bass) Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 16-19 March 2004, Kobe Shoin Women’s University Chapel, Japan BIS SACD 1451 [68:44][KS]

I was particularly impressed with the impeccable diction, the utterly unaccented German, and the lovely expression of each soloist. A complete winner. ... see Full Review

C.P.E. BACH (1714-1788) Keyboard Concertos - Volume 14
Concerto in A minor (1750) H 430 (W.26) [27.39] Sonatina in C major ( 1765) H.460 (W 101) [16.55] Concerto in E flat Major (1762) H.467 (W.40) [25.26] Miklos Spanyi (tangent piano) Opus X/Petri Tapio Mattson; Miklos Spanyi rec. Siuntio Church, Finland, June 2004. DDD BIS-CD-1487 [71.12] [RH]

Collecting this series ... then I need say little else. If you want to sample then I seriously recommend this disc as an excellent place to start. ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Poet Musician Choral Preludes from Orgelbüchlein: BWV 641, 640, 642, 636, 643 and 644 [7:46] Pièce d'Orgue, BWV 572 [9:18] Kyrie-Christe - Kyrie from Clavierübung III: BWV 669-671 [13:50] Trio Sonata No. 4 in E minor, BWV 528 [11:09] "An Wasserflüssen Babylon", BWV 653 [5:52] Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582 [13:38] "Vor deinen Thron tret' ich hiermit", BWV 668 [5:04] François Menissier (organ) rec. Silbermann Organ 1741, St. Thomas Church, Strasbourg, May 2000 EDITIONS HORTUS HORTUS 020 [67:25] [DS]

Menissier is a major Bach performing artist who deserves our attention ... see Full Review

Georg Heinrich BACKOFEN (1768-1830) Clarinet Concerto in B flat major Op. 3 (1796-1816) [23:45] Clarinet Concerto in E flat major Op. 16 (1796-1816) [20:42] Clarinet Concerto in E flat major Op. 24 (1796-1816) [24:06] Dieter Klöcker (clarinet) SWR Rundfunkorchester Kaiserslauten/Johannes Moesus rec. SWR Kaiserslauten, 29 Mar-2 Apr, 26-29 Apr 2004 CPO 777 065-2 [68:57][RB]

Masterworks? Well, no but they are eminently entertaining and touching and administer a few surprises along the way. ... see Full Review

Leonardo BALADA (b.1933) No-res (Nothing) (1974) [40.02] Ebony Fantasies – Cantata (2003) [25.36] Dennis Rafter (narrator) Chorus and Orchestra of the Comunidad de Madrid/José Ramón Encinar Recorded in the Teatro Isabel Clara Eugenia, Madrid, July 2003 NAXOS 8.557343 [65.38][JW]

The performances sound formidable. Kudos to Naxos. I found most of this a miserable experience. If that was the intention then the composer has succeeded admirably. ... see Full Review

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Sonatas for Violin and Piano – No. 1, Sz75 (1921) [33'55]; No. 2, Sz76 (1922) [20'40]. Robert Mann (violin); Leonid Hambro (piano). Rec. auditorium, Pequot Library, Southport, Connecticut, USA, 1950s. mono ADD BARTÓK RECORDS BR1922 [55'00] [CC]

Short measure at 55 minutes, certainly, but this is a wonderful CD. ... see Full Review

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Piano Concerto No. 1, Sz83 (1926) [22'12] Piano Concerto No. 2, Sz95 (1930/1) [28'45] The Miraculous Mandarin, Suite for Orchestra, Sz73 Op.19, (1927) [18'54] a Zoltan Kocsis (piano) Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra/György Lehel Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra/Sir Neville Marriner a No recording details given CAPRICCIO SACD 71 044 [69'51][MC]

This is a fine Bartók release from Capriccio, if not the preferred version of each work. ... see Full Review

Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Tintagel (1919) * [14:33] The Garden of Fand** (1916) [16:32] The Happy Forest (1921)**[9:39] The Tale the Pine Trees Knew*** (1931) [16:38] November Woods (1917)**** [16:48] Royal Scottish National Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones Recorded in the Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow and *the Royal Scottish National Concert Hall on *21-22 August 2002; **31 January 1996; ***June 1996: **** August 1995 DDD NAXOS 8.557599 [74:11][JQ]

It’s been a pleasure to revisit these recordings of some of Bax’s finest orchestral works. ... see Full Review

Franz Ignaz BECK (1734-1809) Six Symphonies Op. 1: Sinfonia No. 1 in G minor [12:24]; Sinfonia No. 2 in F [11:42]; Sinfonia No. 3 in A [9:06]; Sinfonia No. 4 in E flat [8:12]; Sinfonia No. 5 in G [11:29]; Sinfonia No. 6 in C [6:06] New Zealand Chamber Orchestra/Donald Armstrong rec. Brierley Theatre, Wellington College, New Zealand, August 2001. DDD NAXOS 8.554071 [59:00] [CH]

Sufficiently rewarding to suggest that further exploration of Beck may be in order. ... see Full Review


Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Five Piano Concertos: Piano Concertos – No. 1 in C, Op. 15a (1795) [38'29]; No. 2 in B flat, Op. 19a (1798) [30'58]; No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37b (1800) [37'14]; No. 4 in G, Op. 58b (1806) [34'38]; No. 5 in E flat, Op. 73, 'Emperorc (1809) [39'43]. 32 Variations on an Original Theme in C minor, WoO80d (1806) [11'13]. Mitsuko Uchida (piano) Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestraac, Concertgebouw Orchestrab/Kurt Sanderling. Rec. Herkulesaal, Munich in July 1997a and November 1998cd; Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, in November 1994b (No. 4 is a live performance). PHILIPS 4756757 [3 CDs: 69'43 + 72'21 + 51'19][CC]

No surprise that a musician of such integrity and intelligence as Uchida has bided her time when it comes to Beethoven. Yet this set represents work in progress. ... see Full Review

Ludwig Van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartet in B flat major, Op. 18, No.6 ‘Lobkowitz’ (1798-1800) [24:38] String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 127 (1822, 1824-25) [37:46] Henschel Quartet rec. December 6-9, 2004, Studio 2, Bayerischer Rundfunk, German Republic DDD ARTE NOVA CLASSICS 82876 63996 2 [62:55] [MC]

The reputation of the Henschel continues to go from strength to strength and their playing serves Beethoven admirably with this superb release. ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas:- Sonata in G major, Op. 31 No. 1 (1802) [24.20] Sonata in D minor, Op. 31 No. 2 ‘Tempest’ (1802) [21.57] Sonata in E flat major, Op. 31 No. 3 (1802) [21.23] Sonata in G minor, Op. 49 No. 1 (1797) [8.12] Sonata in G major, Op. 49 No. 2 (1797) [8.19] Sonata in C major, Op. 53 ‘Waldstein’ (1804) [24.20] Sonata in F major, Op. 54 (1804) [9.47] Sonata in F minor, Op. 57 ‘Appassionata’ (1804) [23.47] Sonata in F sharp major, Op. 78 (1809) [10.06] Sonata in G major, Op. 79 (1809) [9.35] Sonata in E flat major, Op. 81a ‘Les Adieux’ (1810) [17.22] Kun-Woo Paik (piano) Rec 30th April – 8th May 2005, Wyastone Quays, Monmouth DECCA 475 6909 [3 CDs: 58.03 + 58.46 + 63.43] [TB]

Kun-Woo Paik will reward the enquiring and sensitive listener ... interesting interpretations and an abundance of technique. The insights he brings are always worth hearing, though there are more to be found besides. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) La Lettre à Elise WoO 59 [3:10] Variations on "God Save the King" WoO 79 [8:17] Andante Favori in F WoO 57 [9:25] Sonata No. 14 in c-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2 (Moonlight) [16:09] Bagatelle in E flat, Op. 33, No. 1 [3:59] Bagatelle in g minor, Op. 119, No. 1 [2:33] Bagatelle in D, Op. 119, No. 3 [1:39] Bagatelle in B-flat, Op. 119, No. 11 [1:55] Bagatelle in G, Op. 126, No. 5 [2:38] Rage Over a Lost Penny, Op. 129 [6:14] Variations in F, Op. 34 [12:41] Anne Queffélec, piano Recorded at the Cité des Congrès in October 2004. MIRARE MIR 9972 [69:00] [KS]

One of the most charming piano recitals that I have come across in years ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartet in A major, Op. 18, No.5 ‘Lobkowitz’ (1798-1800) [31:46] String Quartet in B flat major, Op. 18, No.6 ‘Lobkowitz’ (1798-1800) [26:04] Quatuor Mosaïques: Erich Höbarth (violin); Andrea Bischof (violin); Anita Mitterer (viola); Christophe Coin (cello) Recorded in April 1994, in Grafenegg Schloss ‘Alte Reitschule’, Austria. DDD NAÏVE E 8901 [57:40][MC]

These are first class performances enhanced by a most natural sound quality. Lovers of period-instrument performances need not hesitate. ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 127 (1825) [33.43] String Quartet in A minor, Op. 132 (1825) [41.16] Hagen String Quartet rec. Nov 2003, Schloss Mondsee (Op. 132); Mar 2004, Minnesgångersaal, Wiesbach (Op. 127) DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 00289 477 5705 [75.07][TB]

Performances to challenge all comers in the catalogue, and with the benefit of the best modern sound. ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonata No.3 in E flat major Op.12 No.3 (1797-98) [18.52] Violin Sonata No.5 in F major Op.24 Spring (1801) [22.04] Violin Sonata No.9 in A major Op.47 Kreutzer (1803) [32.55] Leonid Kogan (violin) Emil Gilels (piano) Recorded live in Leningrad, March 29th 1964 DOREMI DHR 7845 [73.52] [JW]

Impressive to have such a titanic meeting of musicians, of equal standing but the deficiencies of the violin sound mean that this disc will be of a highly specialised appeal. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Works for Solo Piano – Vol. 2 Piano Sonatas: No.1 in F minor, Op.2 No.1 (1793-95) [16’10]; No.2 in A major, Op.2 No.2 (1793-95) [22’33]; No.3 in C major, Op.2 No.3 (1793-95) [26’44]; No.19 in G minor, Op.49 No.1 (1797) [6’55]; No.20 in G major, Op.49 No.2 (1795) [7’47] Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano by Paul McNulty, 2001 after Walther & Son c.1840) Recorded in Österåker Church, Sweden, August 2004 BIS SACD 1363 [81’04][TH]

My breath was taken away by the mixture of superb instrument, vital, energetic playing and crystal clear recording ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Diabelli Variations, Op. 120 (1819-23, two performances). Edmund Battersby (Graf fortepiano/piano). rec. Performing Arts Centre, Country Day School, King City, Ontario, Canada, 23-29 Aug 2003. DDD NAXOS 8.557384/85 [51'47 + 50'44][CC]

A fascinating idea – two performances of the Diabelli, one on a modern grand, the other on a 1997 replica of an 1825 Conrad Graf fortepiano. Battersby is clearly a musical interpreter. ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Fidelio (1814, sung in English) [111'00] Christine Brewer (soprano) Leonore; Richard Margison (tenor) Florestan; Robert Lloyd (bass) Rocco; Rebecca Evans (soprano) Marzelline; Peter Wedd (Jacquino); Pavlo Hunka (bass-baritone) Don Pizarro; Christopher Purves (bass) Don Fernando, Second Prisoner; Ashley Catling (tenor) First Prisoner Geoffrey Mitchell Choir Philharmonia Orchestra/David Parry. Text included. Rec. Blackheath Halls, London, on August 21st-25th, 2004. CHANDOS OPERA IN ENGLISH CHAN3123 [67'40 + 43'20][CC]

A fascinating set. Not a five-star product, despite its luxury packaging, but definitely worth it for the unforgettable Leonore of Christine Brewer. ... see Full Review

Ofer BEN-AMOTS (b. 1955) Hashkivenu – Song of the Angels (1994)a [9:53] Celestial Dialogues (1994)b [28:49] Shtetl Songs (1985/6)c [18:54] Psalm 81 (1989)d [13:37] BBC Singers, Christopher Bowers-Broadbent (organ), Kenneth Kiesler (conductor)a; Alberto Mizrahi (cantor), David Krakauer (clarinet), Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, Karl Anton Rickenbacher (conductor)b; Re’ut Ben-Ze’ev (soprano), John Musto (piano)c; Permonik Children’s Choir, Petr Hladik, Rostislav Mikeśka (percussion), Eva Šeinerová (conductor)d rec. St. Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge, London, June 2001 (Hashkivenu); Sala Sinfonica del Auditori, Barcelona, June 2001 (Celestial Dialogues); Lefrak Concert Hall/ Colden Center for the Arts, Flushing, NY, December 2001 (Shtetl Songs) and Karvina, Czech Republic, 1998 (Psalm 81) NAXOS MILKEN SERIES 8.559421 [71:41][HC]

Sheds interesting light on the output of a younger composer whose well-made and deeply sincere music was new to me ... see Full Review

Niels Viggo BENTZON (1919-2000) Symphony No. 8 Sinfonia Discrezione Op. 113 (1957) [44.20] Symphonic Variations Op. 92 (1952) [17.55] Gothenburg-Aarhus Philharmonic/Douglas Bostock rec. Artisten, Goteborg, 23-24 Jan 2005. world premiere recording (8); first CD recording (Variations). DDD CLASSICO CLASSCD 622 [62.15][RB]

Superbly performed, recorded and documented Bentzon’s thorny Symphonic Variations alongside a fine Danish symphony of the 1950s ... see Full Review

Franz BERWALD (1796-1868) Tone Poems Symphonic Poem: Reminiscence of the Norwegian Mountains [9:24] Konzertstück for Bassoon and Orchestra (1827) [11:50] Etude for String Orchestra: Wettlauf (Foot-Race) [8:45] Fantasiestück for Orchestra: Ernste und heitere Grillen (Serious and Joyful Fancies) [8:44] Overture to Drottningen av Golconda (The Queen of Golconda) (1864) [7:55] Elfenspiel (Play of the Elves) [8:46] Patrik Håkansson (bassoon) Gävle Symphony Orchestra/Petri Sakari rec. Gävle Concert Hall in September 2000 NAXOS 8.555370 [55:24][PCW]

For those who know and love Berwald’s symphonies this should go straight to the top of the wish-list … see Full Review

Alexander Porfir’yevich BORODIN (1833-1887) Prince Igor - highlights: 1. Overture; 2. I don’t like boredom (Galitzky’s Recitative and Aria, Act I); 3. Dance of the Polovtsian Maidens, Act II; 4. Daylight is fading (Konchakovna’s Cavatina, Act II); 5. Slowly the day was fading (Vladimir’s Cavatina, Act II); 6. There is neither sleep, nor rest (Igor’s Aria, Act II); 7. Choral version of the Polovtsian Dances, Act II; 8. Polovtsian March, Act III; In the Steppes of Central Asia Angelina Shvachka (mezzo) (tr. 4), Dmytro Popov (tenor) (tr. 5), Mykola Koval (baritone) (tr. 6), Taras Shtonda (bass) (tr. 2), Kiev Chamber Choir/Mykola Hobdych National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine/Theodore Kuchar rec. Large Concert Studio, National Radio Company of Ukraine, Kiev, 12-16 Dec 2003. DDD NAXOS 8.557456 [57:45][GF]

Three exclamation marks: my personal top rating. I had expected good solo singing and I wasn’t disappointed. ... see Full Review

Thomas-Louis BOURGEOIS (1676-1750/51) Cantates françaises Ariane, cantata for solo voice, violin and bc [11:44] Le berger fidèle, cantata for solo voice, viola da gamba and bc [11:49] L'Amour et Psyché, cantata for two voices and bc* [18:54] Phèdre et Hippolyte, cantata for solo voice, transverse flute, violin, viola da gamba and bc [18:25] Isabelle Desrochers, soprano; Thibaut Lenaerts, tenor (*) Ensemble Ausonia: Georges Barthel, transverse flute; Mira Glodeanu, violin; Susie Napper, viola da gamba; James Munro, violone; Julian Behr, theorbo; Frédérick Haas, harpsichord rec. August 2004, Church of Franc-Waret, Belgium. DDD MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW0422 [60:55][JV]

Cantatas by an unknown French composer turn out to be real discoveries to treasure - strongly recommended ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 (1876) [50.25] Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73 (1877) [42.55] A Portrait of Semyon Bychkov [57.19] WDR Sinfonie-Orchester Köln/Semyon Bychkov rec. August 2002 (No. 1), April 2004 (No. 2), Kölner Philharmonie. DDD ARTHAUS MUSIK 101 243 [92:01] [TB]

The sound is rich and warm and individual brilliance is not lacking ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 (1876) [44.07] Symphony No. 1, initial version of second movement (before 1876) [8.35] Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80 (1880) [9.40] Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Sir Charles Mackerras rec. January 1997, Usher Hall, Edinburgh TELARC CD-80463 [63.51] [TB]

The violin sound lacks warmth and body. A pity, since Mackerras brings plenty of attack and drama with sensitive attention to details of dynamic and some really distinguished playing. ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto in D Op.77 (1879)  [34.29] Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto in D Op.35 (1880) [29.34] Jascha Heifetz (violin) Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Reiner Recorded Chicago, 1955 and 1957 BMG-RCA RED SEAL SACD 82876 67896 2 [64.16][JW]

Self-recommending to Heifetz admirers but surely they have these performances already and won’t need an SACD incarnation? ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Four-Hand Piano Music Vol. 14 Piano Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 26 (arranged for piano duet - one piano, four hands) (1862) [45:52] Five waltzes, from set of 16, Op. 39 (arranged for piano duo - two pianos) (1865) [06:33] Silke-Thora Matthies (piano) Christian Köhn (piano) rec. Clara-Wieck-Auditorium, Sandhausen, Germany, 31 Oct-6 Nov 2000 DDD NAXOS 8.554821 [52:24][MC]

Memorable and sparkling performances from the winning combination and supreme talents of Matthies and Köhn. ... see Full Review

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Occasional Overture (1946) [7.27] Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op.10 (1937) [25.54]: (Introduction and Theme [1:57]; Adagio [2:00]; March [1:09]; Romance [1:25]; Aria Italiana [1:18]; Bourée Classique [1:36]; Wiener Waltzer [2.48]; Moto Perpetuo [1.12]; Funeral March [3.32]; Chant [1.35]; Fugue and Finale [7.24]) Prelude and Fugue for 18-part String Orchestra, Op.29: (1943) [9.49]: (Prelude: Grave [3.49]; Fugue: Allegro energico [3.24]; Coda: Grave come prima [2.37]) The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Op.34 ‘Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Henry Purcell’ (1946) [16.39] (Theme [2:03]; Variation A – The Flutes [0:31]; Variation B – The Oboes [0:59]; Variation C – The Clarinets [0:39]; Variation D – The Bassoons [0:54]; Variation E – The Violins [0:39]; Variation F – The Violas [0:54]; Variation G – The Cellos [1:11]; Variation H – The Double Basses [1.02]; Variation I – The Harp [0.48]; Variation J – The Horns [0.48]; Variation K – The Trumpets [0.32]; Variation L – The Trombones and Bass Tuba [0.59]; Variation M – Percussion [1.55]; Fugue [2.45]) English Chamber Orchestra (Variations and Prelude and Fugue), London Symphony Orchestra (Occasional Overture and Young Person’s Guide), Steuart Bedford Recorded in All Saints Church, East Finchley, London in April 1992 (Variations and Prelude and fugue) and at the Barbican Centre, London in April 1991 (Occasional Overture and Young Person’s Guide) DDD NAXOS 8.557200 [59.50][EM]

Another spectacular and poetic Britten collection ex-Collins courtesy of Naxos I wholeheartedly recommend this disc. ... see Full Review

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Symphonic Suites: Gloriana, Op.52a () [27:06] (The Tournament [4:36]; The Lute Song [5:13]; The Courtly Dances: I – March [0:52]; II – Coranto [1:22]; III – Pavane [2:45]; IV – Morris Dance [1:05]; V – Galliard [2:00]; VI – Lavolta [1:25]; VII – March [0:57]; Gloriana Moritura [6:51]) Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia from Peter Grimes, Op.33 [24:29] (I – Dawn [4:00]; II – Sunday Morning [3:59]; III – Moonlight [4:26]; IV – Storm [4:25]; Passacaglia [7:38]) Sinfonia da Requiem, Op.20 [20:17] (I – Lacrymosa [8:46]; II – Dies Irae [5:23]; III – Requiem Aeternam [6:08]) London Symphony Orchestra/Steuart Bedford Recorded in Abbey Studio 1, London, 15-17 July 1989 DDD NAXOS 8.557196 [72.03] [EM]

Another excellent Britten disc from Steuart Bedford and the LSO on Naxos ... see Full Review

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Folk Song Arrangements – 2 Eight Folk Song Arrangements for High Voice and Harp [18:43]: (Lord! I married me a wife [1:16]; She’s like a swallow [2:43]; Bonny at morn [1:26]; Lemady [3:16]; Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn [2:20]; Dafydd y Garreg Wen [3:04]; The False Knight upon the Road [3:40]; Bird Scarer’s Song [0:56]) The Holly and the Ivy [3:18] King Herod and the Cock [2:05] The Twelve Apostles [6:10] The Bitter Withy [5:08] Orchestral Arrangements [30:32]: (Le roi s’en va-t’en chasse [2:13]; Fileuse [1:38]; Eho! Eho! [1:49]; La belle est un jardin d’amour [2:29]; Quand j’étais chez mon père [1:52]); The Salley Gardens [2:49]; Little Sir William [2:52]; The Bonny Earl o’Moray [2:38]; O can ye sew cushions? [2:14]; Oliver Cromwell [0:40]; The Plough Boy [ 1:58]; O Waly, Waly [3:22]; Come you not from Newcastle [1:11]; The Salley Gardens [2:43] Philip Langridge, tenor (1-8, 10-12, 19-16); Osian Ellis, harp (1-8); Margaret Feaviour, soprano (9); Judith Harris, mezzo (9); Vernon Kirk, tenor (9); Graham Titus, baritone (9); BBC Singers (Simon Joly) (9); Wenhaston Boys Choir/Christopher Barnett (10-12); David Owen Norris, piano (10-12); Thomas Allen, baritone (13-18); Northern Sinfonia/Steuart Bedford (13-26). rec. London, Snape, Newcastle, January-June 1995. DDD NAXOS 8.557222 [66.13] [EM]

Recommended to any fan of folksong, or of Britten’s always fascinating and brilliant, if occasionally a little strange, music! ... see Full Review

Salvador BROTONS (b. 1959) Guitar Concerto Mare Nostrum op. 78 (1999) [27:08] Sonata-Concertino for trombone, strings, piano and percussion op. 82 (2000?) [15:25] Flute Concerto op. 72 (1996) [23:10] Fantasia for horn and strings Op. 12 (1976) [8:16] Àlex Garrobé (guitar) Ricardo Casero (trombone) Daniel Espasa (piano) Magdalena Martínez (flute) David Thompson (horn) Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya/Salvador Brotons rec. Auditori de Sant Cugat, Barcelona, May 2004. DDD HARMONIA MUNDI HMI 987055 HDE [74:00][RB]

I am glad I heard the music on this disc and am happy to recommend it for its poetry and high spirits. ... see Full Review

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1884-7, revised 1890, ed. Robert Haas) [85:45] Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam/Bernard Haitink rec. live, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, 18, 20 February 2005. DSD RCO LIVE RCO 05003 [61:01 + 24:44] [JQ]

A reading of nobility and integrity. A very fine achievement indeed graced by superb playing. ... see Full Review

Anton BRUCKNER (1824 - 1896) String Quintet in f (original 1878 version) [43.04] Franz SCHMIDT (1874 - 1939) Piano Quintet in G (1926, arr. Wührer) [33.43] Vienna Philharmonia Quintet: Wolfgang Poduschka, Alfred Staar, vv; Josef Staar, Helmut Weis (Bruckner only), vlas; Wolfgang Herzer, vc; Eduard Mrazek, piano (Schmidt only) Recorded in the Sofiensaal, Vienna, Austria, April 1974 ADD Notes in English. DECCA ELOQUENCE 476 2455 [76.49] [PSh]

Excellent performances and recordings of two very worthwhile but unfamiliar works. The sound is exceptional, at its best approaching SACD quality. ... see Full Review





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