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Nicholas SACKMAN (b. 1950) Scorpio (1995)a [12:08] Time-piece (1983, rev. 2002)b [8:40] Cross hands (2002)c [10:02] Koi (1999)d [13:13] Sonata for Trombone and Piano (1986, rev. 1999)e [11:18] Sextet for wind (2000)f [13:14] Matthew Dickinson (percussion)a; Mervyn Cooke (piano)a; Fine Arts Brass Quintetb; Costas Fotopoulos piano)c; Carla Rees, Carolyn Hope, Jane Stevens, Emma Williams (flutes)d; Simon Hogg (trombone)e; Charles Matthew (piano)e; Carla Rees (flute)f; Helen Barker (oboe)f; Emily Sutcliffe (clarinet)f; John Barker (saxophone)f; Oliver Fitzgerald-Lombard (horn)f; Adam Treverton-Jones (bassoon)f rec. Djanogly Concert Hall, University of Nottingham, September 2001 (Scorpio), July 2002 (Time-piece), August 2002 (Trombone Sonata) and December 2003 (Cross hands); and Holy Trinity Church, Weston, April 2002 (Koi, Sextet) METIER MSV CD92049 [69:28] [HC]

Uncompromisingly independent, always superbly crafted and often strongly expressive. Not to be missed. ... see Full Review

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22 (1868) [25'39]. Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, 'New World' (1893) [42'40]. Franz Vorraber (piano) Anhaltische Philharmonie Dessau/Golo Berg rec. live at the Anhaltisches Theater Dessau, 9-10 October 2003. DDD THOROFON BELLA MUSICA CTH2504 [69'31][CC]

A disappointing release. ... see Full Review

Erik SATIE (1866-1925) The Velvet Gentleman Gymnopédie No. 1 [2:18] Gymnopédie No. 2 [2:18] Gymnopédie No. 3 [1:50] Ragtime Parade [2:36] Gnossienne No. 1 [2:47] Gnossienne No. 4 [2:11] Gnossienne No. 5 [2:47] Sonatine Bureaucratique [3:27] Passacaille [2:10] Nocturne No. 1 [3:09] Je te veux – valse [4:47] Gnossienne No. 2 [1:51] Gnossienne No. 3 [2:06] Le Piège de Méduse [3:16] Rêverie du Pauvre [3:43] Valse-Ballet [2:01] Pièces Froides [6:46] Chapitres Tournés en tous sens [4:09] Nocturne No. 3 [2:43] Nocturne No. 5 [2:02] Avant Dernières Pensées [2:51] Sports et Divertissements [11:47] Cinq Grimaces [3:14] John McCabe (piano) rec. 1980. ADD
REGIS RRC 1227 [77:00] [ABi]

Those works not affected by poor sound are highly recommendable ... see Full Review

Othmar SCHOECK (1886-1957) Two Songs; Peregrina II Op.17/4 [5.34] An meine Mutter Op.14/1 [1.58] Elisabeth Gehri (soprano) Othmar Schoeck (piano) Seven Spring Songs [14.05] Die Natur Op.52/5 [0.55] Der Frühling Op.52/6 [1.09] Der Kirchlof im Frühling Op.17/3 [2.32] Frühlingsfeier Op.15/3 [1.49] Frühlingsblick Op.5/3 [2.33] Frühlingsruhe Op.20/4 [2.07] Frühlingsglaube Op.55/18 (1941-43) [2.52] Silvia Gähwiller (soprano) Othmar Schoeck (piano) Three Songs from Der Sänger Op.57 (1945) Spruch Op.57/24 [0.33] Der Waldsee Op.57/20 [3.46] Trinklied Op.57/22 [0.50] Ernst Haefliger (tenor) Othmar Schoeck (piano) Four Songs from Das Holder Bescheiden Op.62 (1947-49) Auf einen Klavierspieler Op.62/31 [1.58] Mein Fluss Op.62/9 [4.34] Restauration Op.62/32 [1.13] Besuch in Urach Op.62/40 [17.11] Hilde Schoeck (soprano) Othmar Schoeck (piano) Two Arias from the singspiel Erwin und Elmire Op.25 (1911-16) Mit vollen Atemzügen [4.20] Sieh mich, Heil’ger, wie ich bin [4.25] Annette Joel-Brun (soprano) Radio Orchester Beromünster Jean-Marie Auberson Historical performances from 1942 to 1960 JECKLIN JD 714-2 [74.00] [JW]

An important disc of Schoeck historic performances and a masterpiece in the shape of Der Kirchlof im Frühling ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 43 (1937) [47'55]; Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op. 93 (1953) [51'37] Hallé Orchestra/Stanislaw Skrowaczewski. rec. Town Hall, Huddersfield, 29-30 January 1990 (No. 5); Albert Halls, Bolton, 23-24 November 1990 (No. 10). HALLÉ CD HLD 7511 [47'55 + 51'37] [CC]

The strength of this set lies with its booklet notes. The power of the music is undersold dramatically, making recommendation impossible. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) The War Symphonies: No. 4 in C minora (1935/6) [64'12]; No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47b (1937) [48'09]; No. 6 in B minor, Op. 54c (1939) [27'53]; No. 7 in C, Op. 60, 'Leningrad'd (1941) [78'50]; No. 8 in C minor, Op. 65e (1943) [63'16]; No. 9 in E flat, Op. 70c (1945) [25'45]. Kirov Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, dRotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra/Valery Gergiev. DDD PHILIPS 470 841-2 [5 CDs] [CC]

A must for all students of Shostakovich. ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 8 in C Minor, Op.65 (1943) Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra/Mark Wigglesworth rec. Music Centre for Dutch Radio and Television, Studio MCO 5, Netherlands, 20-22 December 2004. DDD BIS SACD1483 [69:54][SA]

An interesting and highly individual performance worth hearing. ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906 – 1975) Suite on Words of Michelangelo Op. 145a (1974) [44:50] Six Songs to Lyrics by English Poets, Opp. 62, 140 (1942/1971) [14:28] October Symphonic Poem (1967) [13:21] Ildar Abdrasakov (bass) BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda. rec. Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, 5-7 April 2005. DDD CHANDOS CHAN 10358 [72:49] [JPh]

An excellent release, but if Melodiya were to re-issue their original recordings with Yevgeny Nestorenko there would be no contest. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk - opera in four acts (1934) Libretto: Dmitri Shostakovich and Alexander Preys, after the novella by Nikolay Leskov Katerina Ismailova - Nadine Secunde Sergey - Christopher Ventris Boris Ismailov - Anatoli Kotcherga Zinoviy Ismailov - Francisco Vas Shabby Peasant - Graham Clark Aksinya - Mireille Capelle Sonyetka - Nino Surguladze Chief of Police - Juha Kotilainen Teacher - John Hurst Priest - Maxim Mikhailov Old Convict - Yevgeny Nesterenko Chamber Chorus of the Palau de la Música Catalana Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona/Alexander Anissimov Stage Director: Stein Winge Video Director: Toni Bargalló Recorded live at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, May 2002
LPCM Stereo, Dolby Digital Surround, Format - NTSC 16:9 EMI CLASSICS 5 99730 9 [2 DVDs: 187:15] [ABa]

An exceptionally good performance of a very important opera that so seldom appears on the stage. ... see Full Review

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Anthony Collins’ Sibelius Cycle Disc 1: Karelia Overture Op.10 [6:57] Symphony No 1 in E minor Op.39 (1899) [34:30] Symphony No 7 in C Op.105 (1924) [19:47] Disc 2: Symphony No 2 in D Op.43 (1902) [41:54] Symphony No 6 in D minor Op.104 (1923) [27:54] Disc 3: Symphony No 3 in C Op.52 (1907) [24:48] Pohjola’s Daughter Op. 49 (1906) [12:54] Pelléas and Mélisande (excerpts) Op.46 (1905) [16:19] Nightride and Sunrise Op.55 (1907) [14:32] Disc 4: Symphony No 4 in A minor Op.63 (1911) [31:01] Symphony No 5 in E flat Op.82 (1919) [30:39] London Symphony Orchestra/Anthony Collins rec. Kingsway Hall, London 1952-1955 in mono (OneSound) BEULAH 14PD8 [4 CDs: 61:17 + 69:48 + 68:38 + 61:40] [PW]

Still in a class of its own ... see Full Review

Louis SPOHR (1784-1859) Complete String Quintets, Volume 4. Quintet No. 7 in G minor, Op. 144a,c (1850) [32:01] Sextet in C major, Op.140a,c,d (1848) [23:57] Potpourri, Op. 22 (1807)a,b [13:30] a New Haydn Quartet: János Horváth (violin I), Péter Sárosi (violin II), György Porzsolt (viola), Gábor Magyar (cello); b Attila Falvay (violin); c Sándor Papp (2nd viola); d Tamás Varga (2nd cello) rec. 4-7 March 1996, Unitarian Church, Budapest. from Marco Polo 8.223600 NAXOS 8.555968 [69:29] [GPu]

The presence of the impressive Sextet and the entertaining Potpourri make this a worthwhile collection of Spohr’s chamber music for strings ... see Full Review

Frank Lee SPRAGUE (b. 1958) Concerto in E flat major for Violin with Orchestra (2005?) (Tempo de Walse, Adagio, Allegro Assai) synthesised solo and orchestral (?) Wichita Falls Records Studios, North Hollywood, California, Feb 2006 WICHITA FALLS RECORDS WFR344 [30:42] [RB]

Despite exalted claims this is never stronger than pleasant and often sounds like a Beethoven facsimile but without Beethoven’s unruly originality ... see Full Review

Bernard STEVENS (1916-1983) The complete piano works CD1 Works for solo piano Fantasia on "Giles Farnaby’s Dreame" op.22 (1953) [12:08] Five Inventions op.14 (1950) [9:41] Theme and Variations op.2 (1941) [13:51] Ballad no.1 op.17 (1953) [8:48] Ballad no.2 op.42 (1969) [6:22] Sonata in One Movement op.25 (1954) [15:01] CD2 Works for solo piano, piano (four hands) and two pianos (four hands) A Birthday Song (1963) [4:41] Fugato (1936) [1:40] Invention (1937) [2:06] Fugue à 3 (1936) [2:18] Fantasia on "The Irish Ho-Hoane" op.13 (1949) [7:34] Barcarolle (1952) [1:28] Haymakers’ Dance (1952) [0:36] The Mirror (Canon) (1952) [0:47] Square Dance (1952) [0:37] Aria (1957) [3:27] Introduction and Allegro op.29 (1957) [8:09] Two Dances op.33 (1962) [5:35] Fuga alla sarabanda (1980) [2:53] Nocturne on a note-row by Ronald Stevenson op.51 (1980) [4:15] Elegiac Fugue on the name ‘Geraldine’ (1981) [5:41] Concertante for Two Pianos op.55 (1982) [11:34] Michael Finnissy (piano), Isabel Beyer and Harvey Dagul (piano duet) rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, 25-29 October 2004 2 CDs for price of 1 sponsored by Bernard Stevens trust DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7160 [66:38 + 64:39] [RB]

So many highlights here - any one of which would justify the purchase of this invaluable set. Not to be missed ... and at 2 for 1 price ... see Full Review

William Grant STILL (1895-1978) Carmela from Vignettes Trio (1962) [2.35] Bambalele e Espin Garda – Two Brazilian folk songs from Folk Suite No.1 (1962) [2.11] Here’s One African-American Spiritual (1941) arranged Louis Kaufman [2.44] Summerland from Three Visions Suite (1935) [3.56] Suite for Violin and Piano (1943) [14.41] Blues from the Ballet Lenox Avenue (1935) arranged Louis Kaufman [3.30] Quit Dat Fool’nish (1935) [1.15] Two Cameos – Picnic with Sheilah [1.10]; Procession of the Ants [1.43] Pastorela – tone poem (1946) [11.07] Clifford Panton (violin) Jason Alfred (piano) rec. June 2004 in LSU Recital Hall, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge CENTAUR CRC 2750 [45.37] [JW]

A cautious welcome. The repertoire is not especially exciting ... see Full Review

Bartholomaeus STOCKMANN (fl. 1580-90) Musica Nuptialis Candida lux rediit [04:46] Congratulare Musa [03:45] Vulnerasti cor meum [02:38] Veni, dilecte mi [02:54] Inclyte Thespiadum [04:00] Sicut iuvenis amat virginem [02:15] Tota pulchra es [03:39] Tu qui corda creas [03:07] Prospera coniugii [03:03] Commenda Domino viam tuam [03:08] Commenda Domino viam tuam [02:29] Befiehl dem Herren deine Wege [01:37] Anon (Cajus Schmiedtlein?) (c.1566-1611) Bewar mich Herr (after Stephan Zirler) [03:19] Dulcis memoria (after Pierre Sandrin) [03:41] Je prens Engre (after Jacobus Clemens non Papa) [02:43] Godt ist mÿn Licht (after Jacobus Clemens non Papa) [02:35] Pater peccavÿ (after Jacobus Clemens non Papa) [06:36] Capella Hafniensis/Ole Kongstedt Allan Rasmussen (organ) rec. February 2004, Kastelskirken, Copenhagen; March 2004, Frederiksborg Castle Chapel, Denmark. DDD DACAPO 8.226024 [56:50][JV]

The motets by Stockmann are the oldest items which were with certainty composed in Denmark - they are more interesting for historical than for musical reasons ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Music for violin, viola, cello and piano Piano Quartet in C minor Op. 13 (c. 1883/84) [38.51] Festmarsch, (1884) [05.31] Ständchen, (1881) [04.16] Liebesliedchen, (1893) [05.07] Arabischer Tanz, (1893) [01.24] Mozart Piano Quartet: Paul Rivinius, piano; Mark Gothoni, violin; Hartmut Rohde, viola; Peter Hörr, cello rec. 29-30 January 2005, Furstliche Reitbahn Bad Arolsen, Germany. DDD MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM  MDG 643 1355-2 [55.41] [MC]

A marvellously performed release that will surely win these Strauss chamber scores many admirers. ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Capriccio Op. 85 (1942) Renée Fleming (soprano) - Countess Dietrich Henschel (baritone) - Count Rainer Trost (tenor) - A Musician Gerald Finley (baritone) - Olivier Franz Hawlata (bass) - La Roche Anne Sofie von Otter (contralto) - Clairon Robert Tear (tenor) - Monsieur Taupe Annamaria Dell’Oste (soprano) - An Italian Singer Barry Banks (tenor) - An Italian Tenor Petri Lindroos (bass) - Major-Domo Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Paris/Ulf Schirmer. rec. live, Opéra National de Paris, July 2004. DTS 5.1 Stereo, DD 5.1, LPCM Stereo TDK DVWW-OPCAPR [2 DVDs: 148’00”][JPh]

I have not enjoyed an opera DVD so much for a very long time, and if traditional productions are for you, then try this one – you will not be disappointed. ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Salome (1905) Catherine Malfitano (sop) - Salome Simon Estes (bass-bar) - Jochanaan Horst Hiestermann (ten) - Herod Leonie Rysanek (mezzo) - Herodias Clemens Bieber (ten) -Narraboth Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin/ Giuseppe Sinopoli Directed for the stage by Petr Weigl Directed for video by Brian Large Recorded Deutsche Oper, Berlin, 1990 NTSC 4:3, Regions 2, 3, 4, 5 NVC ARTS 9031-73827-2 [108:00] [TH]

The artistic side is enough to make me recommend it, especially for Malfitano, Sinopoli’s supple conducting and a gimmick-free production that Strauss himself would have recognized ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Salome (1905) Libretto from the play by Oscar Wilde (1892) Catherine Malfitano (sop) - Salome Simon Estes (bass-bar) - Jokanaan Horst Hiestermann (ten) - Herod Leonie Rysanek (mezzo) - Herodias Clemens Bieber (ten) - Narraboth Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin/Giuseppe Sinopoli Directed for the stage by Petr Weigl Directed for video by Brian Large Recorded Deutsche Oper, Berlin, 1990 NTSC 4:3, Regions 2, 3, 4, 5 NVC ARTS 9031-73827-2 [108:00][JL]

A DVD release of a much admired, stunning realisation by Catherine Malfitano. But is it her best performance available on film? ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Pulcinella* (1920) [36:22] The Fairy’s Kiss** (1928) [42:01] Diana Montague, (mezzo)* Robin Leggate, (tenor)* Mark Beesley, (bass)* Philharmonia Orchestra/Robert Craft * London Symphony Orchestra/Robert Craft ** rec. Abbey Road Studio No.1, London, 3-5 January 1995 (The Fairy’s Kiss), 31 January and 1 February 1997 (Pulcinella). DDD NAXOS 8.557503 [78:23] [DC]

This CD attracts another unhesitating recommendation and collectors should add it to the Stravinsky/Craft section on their shelves. ... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) L’Oiseau de feu, Suite (1919) [21:02] Rodion SHCHEDRIN (b. 1932) Concerto for piano and orchestra No. 5* [32:19] Denis Matsuev (piano)* Symphonieorchestrer des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Mariss Jansons rec. 9-10 December 2004, Philharmonie am Gastang, Munich SONY CLASSICAL 82876703262001 [53:21][JQ]

Though short on playing time, an enterprising coupling. ... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rake’s Progress (1951) Libretto by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman Tom Rakewell – Greg Fedderly (tenor) Ann Trulove – Barbara Hendricks (soprano) Nick Shadow – Håkan Hagegård (bass-baritone) Baba the Turk – Brian Asawa (counter-tenor) Trulove – Erik Saeden (bass) Mother Goose – Gunilla Söderström (mezzo) Sellem – Arild Helleland (tenor) Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir/Esa-Pekka Salonen Directed by Inger Åby Co-production by SVT1 Drama, German TV Network and Nordic Film Fund, c.1995 NVC ARTS 3984-22352-2 [119:00] [TH]

You could give this Swedish film some consideration, but its many virtues are probably outweighed by too many important minuses. ... see Full Review

Carlos SURINACH (1915-1997) Melorhythmic Dramas (1966) [21:54] Symphonic Variations (1962) [15:58] Feria Magica Overture (1956) [5:12] Sinfonietta Flamenca (1950) [12:41] Louisville Orchestra/Robert Whitney, Jorge Mester rec. Louisville, 1954, 1956, 1965, 1967. ADD FIRST EDITION FECD-0039 [55:46][RB]

Intriguing to encounter Surinach's intercession between typically Iberian material and dissonant modernity. A stunning disc. ... see Full Review

Piet SWERTS (b. 1960) Wings (2002)a [24:12] Centennial (1994)b [8:16] Fantasy Tales (1994)c [10:39] Shirim (1998)d [9:50] The Titanic Saga (1998)e [16:53] William Tyndale Overture (2202)f [5:35] Piet Swerts (piano)a; Symphonic Band of the Lemmens Institutea; Johan Willem Friso Military Bandbdef; Royal Military Band of the Netherlandsc; Jan Van der Roosta, Jan de Haanb, Pieter Jansenc, Alex Schillingsde, Tijmens Botmaf (conductors) rec. De Haske Sound Services, no date, published 2003 DE HASKE DHR 10.015-3 [75:59] [HC] 

Piet Swerts’ music for symphonic wind band is expertly done, attractive, accessible, challenging and rewarding to play and hear. ... see Full Review

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Piano Works - Volume 4 Nine Preludes Op.1 (1896-1900) [18:58] Variations in B flat minor Op.3 (1901-3) [11:11] Mazurkas Op.50 Nos. 17-20 (1924-5) [10:15] Two Mazurkas Op.62 (1933-4) [5:44] Valse Romantique (1925) [3:43] Piano Sonata No. 3 Op.36 (1917) [18:58] Martin Roscoe (piano) rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, UK, April 2003. DDD NAXOS 8.557168 [68:51] [WK]

Roscoe does very well ... as part of one of the few complete Szymanowskis and at budget price this CD becomes almost indispensable. ... see Full Review

Sir John TAVENER (b.1944) Schuon Lieder I-Herbstlaub [3:29] Canon a 4 [0:08] II [1:16] Canon a 4 [0:16] III [1:49] Canon a 4 [0:25] IV [1:37] Canon a 4 [0:32] V [4:40] Canon a 4 [0:40] VI [3:29] Canon a 4 [0:09] VII [3:06] Canon a 4 [0:15] VIII [1:58] Canon a 4 [0:24] IX [2:34] Canon a 4 [0:31] X [2:09] Canon a 4 [0:40] XI [3:05] Canon a 4 [0:08] XII [3:52] Canon a 4 [0:15] XIII [2:44] Canon a 4 [0:24] XIV [2:28] Canon a 4 [0:32] XV [1:33] Canon a 4 [0:36] XVI [3:41] Canon a 4 [0:08] XVII [3:52] Canon a 4 [0:15] XVII [0:53] Canon a 4 [0:23] XIX – Ein Leid [4:50] Canon a 4 [0:31] Postlude [1:39] Patricia Rozario, soprano, The Schubert Ensemble – Simon Blendis and Jan Peter Schmolck (violins), Douglas Paterson (viola), Jane Salmon (cello), William Howard (piano), Gillian McDonagh (Tibetan temple bowls) rec. 24-26 November 2004, St Michael’s Church, Highgate, London BLACK BOX BBM1101 [62:19] [EM]

Not all Tavener works – yet in some pieces he makes an incredibly valuable contribution. This is one of those works. ... see Full Review

Boris TCHAIKOVSKY (1925 – 1996) Piano Concerto (1971)a [34:39] Clarinet Concerto (1957)b [11:52] Signs of the Zodiac (1974)c [23:35] Olga Solovieva (piano)a; Anton Prischepa (clarinet)b; Yana Ivanilova (soprano)c; Irina Goncharova (harpsichord)c Russian Academy of Music Chamber Orchestra/Timur Mynbaev rec. Mosfilm Studios, Moscow, May 2005 NAXOS 8.557727 [70:06] [HC]

A good introduction to Boris Tchaikovsky’s music ... well worth having ... see Full Review

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Complete Symphonies Symphony No.1 in G minor Op.13 Winter Daydreams (1866) [42.02] Symphony No.2 in C minor Op.17 Little Russian (1872) [34.31] Symphony No.3 in D major Op.29 (1875) [45.47] Symphony No.4 in F minor Op.36 (1885) [39.58] Symphony No.5 in E minor Op.64 (1888) [47.31] Symphony No.6 in B minor Op.74 Pathétique (1893) [45.36] USSR Symphony Orchestra/Evgeny Svetlanov rec. 1967, Moscow. ADD AULOS MUSIC AMC2-057 [4 CDs: 72.28 + 62.55 + 74.29 + 45.41] [JW]

Uneven certainly but the folkloric kick, seductive sway and vibrancy of this music-making could well make this your Tchaikovsky set. Glorious. ... see Full Review

Piotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Pathètique (1893) [46:40] Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Verklärte Nacht (1899) [28:48] Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Mariss Jansons rec. Munich Philharmonie in Gasteig, 23-25 June 2004. SONY SK 93537 [75:26][BB]

Jansons tries to steer between the extremes of Bernstein and Mravinsky and fails achieving something that is neither fish nor fowl. ... see Full Review

Peter TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Suite No. 3 in G, Op.55 (1974) [39:21] Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Divertimento Ballet Suite from Le Baiser de la fée, (1942/1971) [24:10] Russian National Orchestra/Vladimir Jurowski. rec. DZZ Studio, Moscow, October 2004. DDD PENTATONE PTC 5186 061 SACD [64:02][JPh]

A wonderful job is made of these two colourful and tuneful works. I recommend it unreservedly. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Sir Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) Concerto for Double String Orchestra (1938-39) [22.25] Little Music for String Orchestra (1946) [10.59] Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Five Variants of ‘Dives and Lazarus’ (1939) [11.12] Partita for Double String Orchestra (1946-48) [20.21] English Sinfonia/John Farrer rec. 23, 27 November 1995, Walthamstow Town Hall, London (Concerto); May 1992, Henry Wood Hall, London (Little Music); 1-2 July 1996, St Giles Cripplegate, London (Vaughan Williams) SANCTUARY CLASSICS CD RSN 3057 [65.11] [DC]

A welcome collection of interesting and attractive pieces for strings. These yield little or nothing to more expensive versions ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813 - 1901) Songs: Ave Maria (1880); In solitaria stanza; Nell’orror di notte oscura; More Elisa, lo stanco poeta; Non t’accostare all’urna from Sei Romanze (1838); Stornello (1868); Il tramonto; Ad una stella; Il mistero; Lo spazzacamino; Brindisi (2 versions) from Sei Romanze (1845); Il poveretto (1847); La seduzione (1839); Chi I bei di m’adduce ancora (1842); L’Esule (1839) Dennis O’Neill (tenor) Ingrid Surgenor (piano) rec. St. Silas’s Church, London, 27-29 October 1997 First issued in 1998 by Collins Classics NAXOS 8.557778 [57.24] [RH]

I can’t quite recommend this disc unreservedly but it has many strengths. O’Neill is one of our finest Verdi interpreters and as such, this recital has much to commend it. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813 – 1901) La Traviata (1853) Libretto by Francesco Piave after Dumas Violetta Valéry – Eva Mei (soprano) Flora Bervoix – Katharina Peetz (mezzo) Annina – Irène Friedli (mezzo) Alfredo Germont – Piotr Beczala (tenor) Giorgio Germont – Thomas Hampson (baritone) Gastone – Miroslav Christoff (tenor) Il Barone Douphol – Valeriy Murga (baritone) Il Marchese D’Obigny – Reinhard Mayr (baritone) Il Dottor Grenvil – Giuseppe Scorsin (bass) Giuseppe – Noel Vazquez (tenor) Chorus and Orchestra of the Zürich Opera House/Franz Welser-Möst, Stage Director – Jürgen Flimm, Stage Designer – Erich Wonder, TV Director – Felix Breisach rec. Zürich Opera, 2005 ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 101 247 [128:00] [TH]

Competition is getting quite fierce in the Traviata DVD market, but this Zürich production has a lot going for it. ... see Full Review

Louis VIERNE (1870-1937) Disc 1 Symphonie no. 1 en ré mineur op. 14 (1899); (Prelude [9'00]; Fugue [5'38]; Pastorale [8'29]; Allegro [4'45]; Andante [8'19]; Final [6'46]) César FRANCK (1822-1890) ed L. Vierne Offertoire [5'42] Petit Offertoire [3'07] Versets en fa mineur no. 1 [0'38] Versets en fa mineur no. 2 [1'07] Communion [2'49] Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) arr L. Vierne Prelude en do diese mineur [5'50] Johann Sebastian BACH (1985-1750) ed L. Vierne Sicilienne [2'13] Toccata et fugue en re mineur BWV 565 [12'08] Disc 2 Symphonie no. 2 en mi mineur op. 20 (1902); (Allegro [7'43]; Choral [8'10]; Scherzo [4'11]; Cantabile [8'17]; Final [8'25]) Tantum ergo pour choeur et orgue op. 2 (1886) [3'16] Ave Maria pour choeur et orgue op. 3 (1886) [2'09] Cantique à Saint Louis de Gonzague pour choeur, tenor et orgue op. 3 (1886) [5'27] Messe solennelle pour choeur et deux orgues op. 16 (1900); (Kyrie [5'05]; Gloria [7'53]; Sanctus [2'11]; Benedictus [3'55]; Agnus Dei [5'24]) Christine Kamp (organ) Koor Nieuwe Muziek/René Nieuwint Wim Dijkstra (orgue de choeur) rec. October 2003, St Ouen, Rouen, France DDD FESTIVO 6962.052 [76'40 + 72'12] [CB]

This is a worthwhile, enjoyable and unusual Vierne recording. It is recommendable, especially for the awesome sounds of the Rouen organ, but also for the interesting repertoire, good performances and the excellent booklet. ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Recorder Concertos: G minor, RV 103 [10:25]; D major, RV 92 [10:15]; G minor, RV 105 [8:45]; D major, RV 94 [10:50]; A minor, RV 108 [8:25]; C major, RV 87 [8:20]; G major, RV 101 [9:41] László Kecskeméti (recorder) László Hadady (oboe) Attila Falvay and Katalin Párkányi (violins) György Olajos (bassoon) György Kertész (cello) Borbála Dobozy (harpsichord) rec. 24-27 July 2003; Phoenix Studios, Budapest, Hungary. DDD NAXOS 8.557215 [66:41] [ABi]

Engaging, exciting, dramatic and exquisite music in intimate, clear and superbly balanced recorded sound ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Motezuma, Dramma per musica, in three acts, RV 723 (1733) Libretto by Luigi (Girolamo?) Giusti; Musical reconstruction of the missing parts by Alessandro Ciccolini Motezuma, Vito Priante (baritone) Mitrena, Marijana Mijanovic (contralto) Teutile, Roberta Invernizzi (soprano) Fernando, Maite Beaumont (mezzo) Ramiro, Romina Basso (mezzo) Asprano, Inga Kalna (soprano)
Il Complesso Barocco/Alan Curtis (harpsichord) rec. San Martino al Cimino, (Italy), Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, Sala Olimpia, November 2005. DDD World première recording
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON ARCHIV PRODUKTION 477 5996 [3 CDs: 77.00 + 63.41 + 54.07] [MC]

Vivaldi lovers will not want to be without this beautifully performed and recorded opera. ... see Full Review

William Vincent WALLACE (1812-1865) To my Star - Celtic Romance La Louisiana, Waltz (1842) [4:14] Music Murmurings in the Trees, Romance (1851) [6:07] Mazurka-étude (1858) [3:26] L’Absence et le Retour, Romance suive d’une Grande Polka Brillante (1856) [9:09] To My Star, A Mon Etoile, Romance (1844) [3:26] La Raidité, Second Étude de Salon (1853) [5:28] La Force, Third Étude de Salon (1853) [6:46] A Flower of Poland, Une Fleur de Pologne, Mazurka (1862) [3:42] Nocturne Dramatique, Grande Nocturne (1848) [6:09] The Empress, L’Imperatrice, Waltz (1844) [2:36] The Shepherd’s Lament, La Plainte du Berger, Idylle (1859) [3:50] Souvenir of Spain, El Nuevo Jaleo de Jerez, Danse Nationale (1856) [5:50] The Bee and the Rose, Morceau de Salon (1844) [2:03] Valse Militaire (1837) [3:26] La Cracovienne, Grande Fantasie and Variations (1842) [11:49] Rosemary Tuck (piano) rec. St. Silas Church, Kentish Town, London, 3-4 May 2005. DDD CALA CACD 88044 [79:00] [GPu]

Colourful music, persuasively played ... see Full Review

Felix WEINGARTNER (1863 - 1942) Tone Poem: Das Gefilde der Seligen (The Elysian Fields), Op. 21 (1892) [22:47] Symphony no. 2 in E flat major, Op. 29 (1900) [43:45] Basel Symphony Orchestra/Marko Letonja rec. Casino Basel Musiksaal, Dec 2004, June 2005. DDD. Hybrid CD: SACD CPO 777-099-2 [66:38] [LF]

A long overdue project and a worthwhile disc.  The Second Symphony is a noble work, which will probably represent the series in many non specialist collections. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Eric WHITACRE (b. 1970) Cloudburst and other choral works i thank You God for most this amazing day (1999) [6:05] I hide myself (1991) [2:51] Sleep (2000) [5:33] i will wade out (1999) [2:45] Go, lovely Rose (1991) [4:07] When David heard (1999) [12:57] hope, faith, life, love (1999) [3:50] Cloudburst* (1993) [8:25] With a lily in your hand (1991) [2:27] This Marriage (2004) [2:59] Water Night (1995) [5:03] A Boy and a Girl [2002) [4:25] Her sacred spirit soars (2002) [5:08] Lux aurumque (2000) [4:08] Polyphony/Stephen Layton. *with Stephen Betteridge (piano); Robert Millett (percussion); pupils of The Lady Eleanor Holles School, Hampton, Middlesex rec. The Temple Church, London, 3-5 January 2005. DDD HYPERION CDA67543 [70:50] [JQ]

Whitacre’s a highly significant composer with a very genuine gift for choral writing with that priceless ability to communicate strongly and effectively with his audience. ... see Full Review

Malcolm WILLIAMSON (1931-2003) Orchestral Works, Volume 1 Santiago de Espada (1956) [6:09] Suite from 'Our Man in Havana' (1963/1966) [20:19] * (Prelude, Cuban dances and waltz song. Presto; Passacaglia and Threnody. Allegretto - Poco lento; Serenade. Allegretto; Intermezzo. Allegro; Finale) Concerto grosso (1965) [10:49] (Adagio; Adagio; Presto vivace) Sinfonietta (1965) [19:42] * (Prelude; Toccata. Allegro; Elegy. Grave; Tarantella. Presto) Iceland Symphony Orchestra/Rumon Gamba rec. Háskólabió, Reykjavik, Iceland, 13-16 June 2005. DDD * premiere recordings CHANDOS CHAN 10359 [57:13] [RB]

It is wonderful to have the first disc of this series. I hope it is not long before volume 2 comes out; perhaps this time with a symphony ... or three. ... see Full Review

Isang YUN (1917-1995) Chamber Symphony I (1987) [26:53] Tapis pour cordes (1987) [8:23] Gong-Hu for harp and strings (1984) [25:47] Rana Park (harp)
Korean Chamber Ensemble/Piotr Borkowski rec. 24-26 August 2005, Seoul National University Concert Hall, Republic of Korea. NAXOS 8.557938 [61:03] [GPu]

Distinctively beautiful music, convincingly played and well recorded ... see Full Review

Erich ZEISL (1905-1959) Lieder (1922-1936) Vor meinem Fenster (Arno Holz) Die du so fern bist (Otto E. Hartleben) Jannette (Otto J. Bierbaum) Vergissmeinnicht; Der Fiedler (Richard v. Schaukal) Komm, heil'ge Nacht (Fritz Böhm) So reg net es sich langsam ein (Casar Flaischlen) Der Schafer (Johann Wolfgang v. Goethe) Armseelchen (Emil Alfred Herrmann) Gigerlette (Otto J. Bierbaum) Sehnsucht (Johannes Schlaf) Der Weise (Wilhelm Busch) Die Sonne sinkt; Ecce Homo; Das trunkene Lied (Friedrich Nietzsche) Nachts (Joseph v. Eichendorff) Sonnenlied; Auf dem Grabstein eines Kindes in einem Kirchgang im Odenwald (Des Knaben Wunderhorn) Im Frühling, wenn die Maiglockchen lauten (Des Knaben Wunderhorn) Grabschrift (Gotthold Ephraim Lessing) Die Nacht (Hermann Gilm) Stilleben (Gotthold Ephraim Lessing) Armkrautchen (Joachim Ringelnatz) Kein Ton mehr klingt (Rudolph Paulsen) Mondbilder I-IV (Christian Morgenstern) Wolfgang Holzmair (baritone) Cord Garben (piano) rec. 19-22 April 2005, Friedrich-Ebert-Halle, Hamburg-Harburg. DDD CPO 777 170-2 [66:27] [RB]

A lyric voice touched lightly with expressionism and owing more to Lehár than Schoenberg. A lovely recital showcasing composer and artists in the best possible light. ... 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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