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Wednesday February 28th

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If you are anything like me you will find yourself being educated and cheered up at the same time. ... see Full Review

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We need books like this, particularly in an increasingly non-analytical society, to keep us focused on why music matters. ... see Full Review

 


LATEST CD REVIEWS

Wednesday February 28th

Ross Lee FINNEY (1906-1997) Fantasy in two movements for solo violin (1958) [20:20] Sonata No. 2 for violin and piano (1951) [12:35] Sonata No. 3 in A for violin and piano (1954) [19:59] Fiddle-doodle-ad: Eight American Folk Tunes for violin and piano (1945) [8:47] Miranda Cuckson (violin) Thomas Sauer (piano) rec. 12-13 November 2004, Patrych Sound Studios, NY. DDD CENTAUR CRC 2757 [63:48] [RB]

Finney: severe, fantastic and not averse to sparkle; superbly played and recorded. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Trio Sonata for flute, viola and harp (arr. Dezso d’Antalffy-Zsiross from Duo for violin and viola in G Major KV423 (1783)) [14:30] Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Sonata for flute, viola and harp (1915) [17:53]André JOLIVET (1905-1974) Petite Suite for flute, viola and harp (1941) [11:44] Ludwig Van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)Serenade for flute, viola and harp (arr. Ami Maayani, 1936 from Serenade for flute, violin and viola in D major, Op. 25 (1801)) [20:12] Bohemia Luxembourg Trio: (Carlo Jans (flute); Jitka Hosprová (viola); Kateřina Englichová (harp)) rec. 27 February, 1-2 March 2006, Domovina Studio, Prague, Czech Republic. DDD ARCODIVA UP 0088-2 131 [64:42] [MC]

Quality music in a lighter vein. Perfect for relaxing and for late night listening. A fascinating disc that will undoubtedly appeal to a wide range of listeners. ... see Full Review

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Piano Works Péchés de Vieillesse, Volume 7: Gammes et Spécimens Petite promenade de Passy à Courbevoie, la percourant (homéopathiquement et à la pesarese) [3:31] Un cauchemar [11:52] Tourniquet sur la gamme chromatique [5:24] Spécimen de l’ancien régime [18:07] Gamme, Des montées et des descentes; Deux gammes chinoises, suivies d’une mélodie analogue: Première montée et descente [2:19] Deuxième montée et descente [0:55] Première Gamme chinoise, Montante et descendante [0:45] Deuxième Gamme chinoise, Montante et descendante [0:39] L’amour à Pekin, Petite mélodie sur la gamme chinoise [4:23] * Spécimen de mon temps [10:42] Des tritons s’il vous plait, Montée – Descente [1:24] Encore unpeu de blague, Montée – Descente [2:55] Spécimen de l’avenir [11:42] Ritournelle gothique [3:42] Stefan Irmer (piano) * Michaela Dobmeir (alto) rec. 20-22 April, 2006, Fürstliche Reitbahn Bad Arolsen. MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 618 1426-2 [79:34] [Gpu]

A well-filled, well-played selection of extraordinary piano pieces, in exemplary sound … see Full Review

Carlos SALZEDO (1885-1961) Night Breeze – the Harp Music of Carlos Salzedo Short Stories in Music, Book I (1934) [12:26] Short Stories in Music, Book II (1934) [11:08] Suite of Eight Dances (1943) [14:33] Prelude for a Drama (1948) [4:29] Préludes intimes (1919) [5:58] Variations sur un thème dans le style ancien, Op. 30 (1911, revised 1954) [15:12] Sarah Schuster Ericsson (harp) rec. 13-14 February 2003, Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California CAMBRIA CD-1151 [66:39] [GPu]

A well-recorded and thoroughly enjoyable recording of music by one of the great modern harpists, music which lives and breathes its composer’s familiarity with the instrument … see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Fünf Klavierstücke, Op. 3 (1880/1) [24:14] Piano Sonata in B minor, Op. 5 (1880/1) [23:03] Stimmungsbilder, Op. 9 (1882/4) [19:16] Stefan Veselka (piano). rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, 3-4 April 2005. DDD NAXOS 8.557713 [67:33] [CC]

A fascinating disc, well recorded at Potton Hall by Michael Ponder who doubles as Producer and Engineer ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No.4 in F minor Op.36 (1877) [42:57] Symphony No.5 in E minor Op.64 (1888) [47:28] Symphony No.6 in B minor Op.74 Pathétique (1893) [46:09] Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (Rome)/Antonio Pappano rec. live, Sala Santa Cecilia, Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome, 3-15 July 2006 EMI CLASSICS 3 53258 2 [71:27 + 65:05] [DC]

These discs are a real ‘concert in your pocket’, and genuinely satisfying. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Rigoletto - Operatic melodramma in three acts (1851) Duke of Mantua - Giuseppe Di Stefano (ten); Rigoletto, his jester - Tito Gobbi (bar); Gilda, Rigoletto’s daughter - Maria Callas (sop); Sparafucile, a villain available for hire as an assassin - Nicola Zaccaria (bass); Maddalena, his sister - Adriana Lazzarini (mezzo); Giovanna, Gilda’s Duenna - Giuse Gerbino (alto); Count Monterone - Plinio Clabassi (bass); Marullo, a courtier - William Dickie (bar); Matteo Borsa, a courtier - Renata Ercolani (ten); Count Ceprano - Carlo Forti (bar); Contess Ceprano Elvira Galassi (sop) Chorus and Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala, Milan/Herbert von Karajan rec. September 1955, Teatro alla Scala, Milan. ADD Restoration Engineer: Mark Obert-Thorn. NAXOS HISTORICAL GREAT OPERA RECORDINGS SERIES 8.111242-3 [56.18 + 61.54]
and
REGIS LEGENDARY PERFORMANCES SERIES RRC 2076 [53.29+71.45]Note. Regis timings including bonus tracks of Callas singing Son guinta [6.59] and Pace, pace mio Dio [6.07] from Verdi’s La Forza del Destino – rec. 1954. ADD [RJF]

Now it is available at bargain price every Verdi collection should have a copy of this performance. But the significant differences between these two issues will require personal judgements to be made. ... see Full Review

Judith Lang ZAIMONT (b.1945) Pure Colors Wizards – Three Magic Masters (2003) [8:31]1 Astral ... a mirror life on the astral plane (2004) [8:54] 2 Virgie Rainey – Two Narratives for soprano, mezzo and piano (2002) [11:42] 3 Valse Romantique (1974) [4:29] 4 ‘Tanya’ Poems (1999) [12:25] 5 ‘Bubble-Up’ Rag: Concertpiece for Flute and Piano (2001) [9:32] 6 1 Young-Ah Tak (piano); 2 John Anderson (clarinet); 3 Wendy Zaro-Mullins (soprano); Jean del Santo (mezzo); Timothy Lovelace (piano); 4 Immanuel Davis (flute); 5 Tanya Remenikova (cello); 6 Immanuel Davis (flute); Nanette Kaplan Solomon (piano) rec. Ted Mann Hall, University of Minnesota, 16-18 May 2005 ALBANY TROY785 [55:38] [GPu]

A rewarding collection of well-made music, rhythmically and harmonically subtle, and, in its use of a variety of forces, never in danger of wearying the listener … see Full Review

Flying Kites - A Trafford Miscellany Sasha Johnson MANNING (b.1963)
Flying Kites for recorder and piano [3:15] Robert ELLIOTT (1932-2002) Piano Sonatina op. 2 [5:58] Robin WALKER (b.1953) Four Nursery Rhymes to texts by Thomas Pitfield for reciter, recorder and piano (2003) [3:26] Thomas PITFIELD (1903-1999) Xylophone Sonata [7:32]; The Skeleton Bride for reciter and piano [3:10]; Rain for reciter, xylophone and piano [1:15]; Bones for reciter and xylophone [1:29]; Bagatelle No. 3 for piano [1:55] David BECK (b.1941) A Dunham Pastoral for recorder and piano (2004) [6:01] John IRELAND (1879-1962) The Island Spell for piano (1912) [3:28]; Annabel Lee for reciter and piano (1910) [3:53] Martin ELLERBY (b.1957) River Dances for recorder and piano (2005) [12:19] James LANGLEY (1927-1994) Five Shakespeare Dances for recorder (1992) [9:06] Christopher COTTON (b. 1947) Rural Rondo for recorder and piano [4:52] Richard Baker (reciter), John Turner (recorder), Keith Swallow (piano), Damien Harron (percussion) rec. The King’s School, Macclesfield, 29-30 March 2005. DDD CAMPION CAMEO 2044 [60:52] [JW]

Strong on charm and melody; short on gloom and damp tidings. ... see Full Review

Italian Baroque Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713), arr. Torben SNEKKESTAD (b.1973) Concerto Grosso, Op.6 No.8 in G minor, ‘Fatto per la Notte di Natale’ (1714) [14:09] Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736) arr. Charlotte ANDERSSON (b.1973) Orfeo (1735) [15:59] Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725) arr. Torben SNEKKESTAD (b.1973) Concerto Grosso No.1 (1740) [6:37]; Concerto Grosso No.2 (1740) [7:38] Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736) arr. Charlotte ANDERSSON (b.1973) Salve Regina (1736) [10:27] Copenhagen Saxophone Quartet: Torben Snekkestad (soprano saxophone), Maret Petersen (alto saxophone), Jeanette Balland (tenor saxophone); Charlotte Andersson (baritone saxophone); Mathias Hedegaard (tenor); Viggo Mangor (organ) rec. Hendriksholm Kirke, Copenhagen, March 2006 CLASSICO RECORDS CLASSCD 687 [55:05] [GPu]

Distinctive, even quirky and not for purists, but serious, intelligent music making which, in its adventurous arrangements throws new light on some masterpieces of the Italian Baroque… see Full Review

Tuesday February 27th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685–1750) Mass in B minor, BWV 232 (circa 1740) [101.28] Mechtild Bach (soprano) Daniel Taylor (alto) Marcus Ullmann (tenor) Raimund Nolte (bass) Kammerchor Stuttgart Barockorchester Stuttgart/Frieder Bernius rec. March 2004, Ev. Kirche, Reutlingen-Goningen CARUS 83.211 [50.14 + 51.14][RH]

Not quite on a par with some of the fine period performances of the past, but it comes pretty close, with some superb playing and singing making for a highly recommendable modern version. ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Four Hand Piano Music Vol. 17 Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15 (arranged for piano duo – two pianos) (1859 arr 1873) [50:21] Joseph JOACHIM (1831–1907) arr. Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Demetrius Overture (arranged for piano duo – two pianos) (c. 1854) [15:55] Silke-Thora Matthies and Christian Köhn (pianos) rec. Clara Wieck Auditorium, Sandhausen, Germany, 10-12 December 2001. DDD NAXOS 8.555849 [66:16][TP]

Recommended to Brahms lovers who know the original well. ... see Full Review

Ross EDWARDS (b.1943) White Ghost Dancing (1999) [7:30] Veni Creator Spiritus (1993) [15:51] Concerto for Guitar and Strings (1995) [18:36] Mountain Village in a Clearing Mist (1973) [14:50] Chorale and Ecstatic Dance (Enyato I) (1993) [13:51] Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra/Richard Mills rec. Federation Concert Hal, Hobart, December 2002, December 2003 ABC CLASSICS 476 227-0 [70:17][JW]

Another winner from the ABC stable – and played as ever with brilliance ... see Full Review

Don KAY (b.1933) Tasmania Symphony – The Legend of Moinee [40:36] ¹ There is an Island (1977) [36:00] ² Christian Wojtowicz (cello) ¹ Australian Rosny Children’s Choir ² Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra/Richard Mills ¹ Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra/Georg Tintner ² rec. Hobart, Tasmania, 1992 ABC CLASSICS 467 5253 [70:36][JW]

A welcome reissue. Kay’s clear voice celebrates Tasmania in song with undimmed warmth and honesty. ... see Full Review

Songs by Henry and William Lawes William LAWES (1602-1645) Gather your rosebuds while you may1-3 [1:30] Henry LAWES (1596-1662) A Tale out of Anacreon1,4* [3:51] Oh, that joy so soon should waste1,4 [1:41] Sweet, stay awhile; why do you rise1,4 [3:01] Rene SAMAN (fl. 1610-1631) Monsieur Saman his Coranto4 [1:31] Henry LAWES Amarillis, by a spring1,4* [2:23] William LAWES Oh, let me still and silent lie1,4* [3:28] Oh, my Clarissa, thou cruel fair1,4*,5^6 [5:10] Henry LAWES From the heav’ns now I fly1,4* [2:07] William LAWES Corant from The Royall Consort4,5*,6 [1:59] Henry LAWES Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph that liv’st unseen2,4* [2:00] William LAWES Country Dance4 [0:55] Henry LAWES Oh sweet woods, the delight of solitariness1,4* [2:25] Tavola: In quell gelata core una voce1,4* [2:31] Loves Sweet Repose: Amidst the myrtles as I walk1,4*,5,6 [5:28] No Reprieve: Now, now Lucasia, now make haste1,4* [3:45] Cuthbert HELY (fl. 1620-1640) Fantasia4 [4:06] Henry LAWES Slide soft, you silver floods1,4* [2:36] Cuthbert HELY Saraband4 [1:03] Henry LAWES When shall I see my captive heart?1,4 [3:31] William LAWES Alman4,5 [1:57] Corant4,5 [1:11] A Dreame: I laid me down upon a pillow soft3,4* [1:45] Corant4,5 [1:13] Henry LAWES The Angler’s Song: Man’s life is but vain, for ‘tis subject to pain1,4* [1:07] William LAWES When man for sin thy judgment feels1,4 [4:57] Henry LAWES A Pastoral Elegie: Cease you jolly shepherds1-3,4*,5,6 [3:37] 1Robin Blaze (counter-tenor); 2Rebecca Outram (soprano); 3Robert Macdonald (bass); 4Elizabeth Kenny (lute, *theorbo); 5William Carter (lute, ^guitar, *theorbo); 6Frances Kelly (double harp) rec. All Saints Church, East Finchley, London. 3-5 May 2006. DDD HYPERION CDA 67589 [73:05][MG]

Brings to life English song in the early mid 17th century requiring you to come to terms with its distinctive manner and style of performance … see Full Review

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 6 in A minor (1904-5) [73:46] Cleveland Orchestra/George Szell rec. October 1967, Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio. ADD SONY CLASSICAL GREAT PERFORMANCES 88697008132 [73:46][TB]

Szell and his Cleveland Orchestra achieved the highest standards, based upon a discipline that was second to none. Adequate rather than inspiring sound. A notable performance. ... see Full Review

Richard MILLS (b. 1949) Cello Concerto (1990) [[24:57] a Violin Concerto (1992) [22:46] b Concerto for Violin and Viola (1994) [24:27] c Sue-Ellen Paulsen (cello)a; Barbara Jane Gilby (violin)bc; Janet Rutherford (viola)c; Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra/Richard Mills rec. Ballroom, Government House, Hobart, December 1996 ABC CLASSICS 462 016-2 [72:10][JW]

Performances first class and the orchestral accompaniment is spot-on. The recording captures the music with real warmth but without blunting detail. ... see Full Review

Peter SCULTHORPE (b.1929) Cello Dreaming (1988) [18:07] * Quamby (String Quartet No.14 arranged for chamber orchestra 2000) [21:20] Nourlangie (1989) [21:19] + Music for Bali (1968) [3:56] Sue-Ellen Paulsen (cello) * Karin Schaupp (guitar) + Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra/Richard Mills rec. Federation Concert Hall, Hobart, December 2002, December 2003 ABC CLASSICS 476 7627 [64:46][JW]

An excellently realised disc and part of a model series. ... see Full Review

Carl VINE (b.1954) Oboe Concerto (1996) [17:13] Canzona (1985) [11:50] Suite from The Tempest (1990) [22:26] Smith’s Alchemy (1994) [18:45] Diana Doherty (oboe) Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra/Ola Rudner rec. studio, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Hobart, February, March 2003 ABC CLASSICS 476 226-7 [70:16][JW]

Broad-ranging and attractively dissonant. The playing is first class. The TSO has nothing to fear from its more famous Antipodean rivals. ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813–1883) Die Walküre (1870) Martha Mödl (soprano) – Brünnhilde; Leonie Rysanek (soprano) – Sieglinde; Ferdinand Frantz (baritone) – Wotan; Ludwig Suthaus (tenor) – Siegmund; Margarete Klose (mezzo) – Fricka; Gottlob Frick (bass) – Hunding; The Valkyries: Gerda Scheyer (soprano) – Gerhilde; Judith Hellwig (soprano) – Ortlinde; Dagmar Schmedes (soprano) – Waltraute; Ruth Siewert (contralto) – Schwertleite; Erika Köth (soprano) – Helmwige; Hertha Töpper (contralto) – Siegrune; Johanna Blatter (contralto) – Grimgerde; Dagmar Hermann (contralto) – Rossweisse Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 28 September–6 October 1954, Musikvereinsaal, Vienna. ADD NAXOS 8.111056-58 [3 CDs: 71:17 + 78:06 + 78:39][GF]

All the singing may not be up to the best but as a total experience this is still one of the really important recorded Walküres, most of all for Furtwängler’s inspired and inspirational conducting. ... see Full Review


Monday February 26th

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Prélude a l'après-midi d'un faune (1892) [9:23] Nocturnes (1897-9) [24:31]* La mer (1903-5) [24:29] Berceuse héroïque (1914/5) [5:13] Women of the May Festival Chorus * Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Paavo Järvi rec. Music Hall, Cincinnati, January and February 2004 TELARC SACD-60617 [64:15][SV]

If you're new to the repertoire, and looking for this combination of pieces, this handsomely recorded album will serve very well. ... see Full Review

Eivind GROVEN (1901-1977) Hjalarljod, overture, Op.38 (1950) [6:05] Symphony No.1, Op.26 Innover viddene (Towards the Mountains) (1938, 1951) [28:39] Symfoniske slåttar nr.1, Op.43 (Norwegian Symphonic Dances No.1) (1956) (I. Brureslått [3:45]; II. Springar [3:31]; III. Gangar [7:40]) Faldafeykir (Symfoniske slåttar nr.2), Op.53 (Norwegian Symphonic Dances No.2) (1965) (I. Gibø-springar [3:51]; II. Taug gangar [5:10]; III. Sevlien (halling) [3:51]) Stavanger Symphony Orchestra/Eivind Aadland rec. Stavanger Concert Hall, Norway, October 2001. DDD BIS-CD-1312 [63:55][RB]

Blow away the cobwebs with this open air Nationalist music with a strong dance theme. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ferdinand HÉROLD (1791-1833) La Somnambule (1827) Orchestra Victoria/Richard Bonynge rec. Iwaki Auditorium, Melbourne, Australia, July 2004 MELBA MR301087 [69:30][RW]

How could such fine music as this have remained neglected until now? ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Rare Recordings 1934-1970 Piano Concerto No.20 K466 [32:31] Les Petits Riens, ballet K299b [14:36] Symphony No.39 K543 [24:55] Horn Concerto No.2 K417 [13:39] Divertimento No.11 K251 [21:19] Symphony No.38 K504 [23:37] Sinfonia Concertante K364 [29:08] Serenata notturno K239 [Serenade No.6] [14:53] Symphony No.41 Jupiter K551 [26:26] La Betulia liberata K118 [72:31] Mitja Nikisch (piano) Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Rudolf Schulz-Dornburg, recorded 1934 (Piano Concerto) Winterthur Municipal Orchestra/Hermann Scherchen, recorded 1941 (Les Petits Riens) Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Leopold Ludwig, recorded 1941 (Symphony No.39) Dennis Brain (horn), NDR Symphony Orchestra/Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, live recording 1954 (Horn Concerto No.2) NDR Symphony Orchestra/Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, live recording 1954 (Divertimento No.11) Orchestre National de France/Hans Rosbaud, recorded 1954 (Symphony No.38) Arthur Grumaiux (violin) William Primrose (viola) Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra, live recording 1955 (Sinfonia Concertante) Toronto Symphony Orchestra/Hermann Scherchen, live recording 1965 (Serenata notturno) Toronto Symphony Orchestra/Karel Ancerl, live recording 1970 (Symphony No.41) Cesare Vallenti (Ozias); Myriam Pirazzini (Giuditta); Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Amital); Boris Christoff (Achior); Luigia Vicenti (Cabri) Orchestra and Choir of RAI, Turin/Mario Rossi, live recording 1952 (La Betulia liberata) TAHRA 595-598 [4 CDs: 72:56 + 59:46 + 71:31 + 72:31][JW]

Specialist collector territory. An attractive and enticing mix of rare commercial recordings and equally rare preserved broadcasts ... see Full Review

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 1 (1865/1884) [25:18] Fantasia on Serbian Themes, Op. 6 (1867/1887) [6:46] Symphony No. 3 in C, Op. 32 (1874/1886) [33:51] Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra/Kees Bakels rec. Dewan Filhamonik Petronas Hall, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 2002 BIS BIS-CD-1477 [66:48][SV]

In the mood for a Russian nationalist symphony brimming with gorgeous tunes and extrovert Russian spirit? The Rimsky Third will do nicely. Mystery and magic in this glowing performance but the First doesn't grab you the same way. ... see Full Review

James STEVENS (b. 1923) The Reluctant Masquerade (2000) Mayo Shono (singer) – Natzuko Stephen Gadd (baritone) – Mishima Susan Bickley (mezzo) – Satoko City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra/Cem Mansur rec. Prague 2002-6 (no further details provided) PRISTINE CLASSICAL PACO500 [47:00][PCW]

Multiple musical idioms fused into a coherent and compelling experience … see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Don Carlo - Opera in Four Acts, sung in Italian. (1884) Philip, King of Spain, Boris Christoff (bass); Don Carlo, Infante of Spain, Mario Filippeschi (ten); Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa, Tito Gobbi (bar); The Grand Inquisitor, Giulio Neri (bass); Elisabeth de Valois, Philip's Queen, Antoinetta Stella (sop); Princess Eboli, Elisabeth's lady-in-waiting, Elena Nicolai (mezzo); Tebaldo, Elisabeth's page, Loretta di Lelio (sop); The Count of Lerma and A Royal Herald, Paolo Caroli (ten); An Old Monk, Plino Clabassi (bass); A Voice from Heaven, Orietta Moscucci (sop) Orchestra and Chorus of the Opera House, Rome/Gabriele Santini rec. Rome Opera House, October 1954. ADD Appendix. Historical recordings of Don Carlo [41.34] Restoration Engineer: Mark Obert-Thorn NAXOS HISTORICAL GREAT OPERA RECORDINGS SERIES 8.111132-34 [3 CDs: 77.29 + 71.26 + 63.08][RJF]

Mark Obert-Thorn’s remastering of this seminal first studio recording of Verdi’s masterpiece brings out the strengths of the performance as never before ... see Full Review

Nigel WESTLAKE (b.1958) Invocations – concerto for bass clarinet and chamber orchestra (c.1993-95) [20:35] * Antarctica – suite for guitar and orchestra (1991) [22:01] * out of the blue … for string orchestra (c.1993-95) [10:23] Nigel Westlake (bass clarinet) Timothy Kain (guitar) Alison Lazaroff-Somssich (obbligato violin) * Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra/David Porcelijn rec. Ballroom, Government House, Hobart, March 1997 ABC CLASSICS 462 017-2 [52:59][JW]

The Australian Composer Series notches up another success. Full marks to the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra under David Porcelijn for being such convincing advocates for so much good contemporary Australian writing. ... see Full Review

Michael Bohnen (1887-1965) - Volume 3 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Der fliegende Hollander: Die Frist ist urn [8:02] Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Was duftet doch der Flieder [4:07]; Gut'n Abend, Meister with Lotte Lehmann [8:35]; Wahn! Wahn! Überall Wahn! [6:26]; Gruss Gott. mein Junker with Ernst Kraus [8:44]; Euch macht ihr's leicht [3:48] Die Walküre: Lebt wohl. du kühnes. herrliches [6:59] Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Faust: O gib junges Blut with Robert Hutt [6:01];  Ja, das Gold regiert die Well [2:01]; Scheinst zu schlafen du im Stübchen [3:15]; Auf eilet!  with Lotte Lehmann and Robert Hutt [2:30] Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Rigoletto: Gleich sind wir beide [3:57] Ruggiero LEONCAVALLO (1858-1919) Bajazzo; Schaut her, ich bin's [3:35] Giuseppe PUCCINI (1854-1928) Tosca: Spät in der Nacht ist's [4:17] Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Die verkaufte Braut: Weiss ich doch Eine with Robert Hutt [2:33] Michael Bohnen (bass-baritone) Unnamed orchestras and conductors rec. 1916-25 PREISER 89676 [76:00][JW]

The transfers have minimal wear and have not been over-filtered – they’re warm and natural sounding. Bohnen collectors will certainly want this latest instalment. ... see Full Review

Anne Gastinel (cello) Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Arpeggione, Sonatina and Lieder transcriptions for Cello and Piano Sonata for arpeggione and piano in A minor D.821 (1824) [25:29] 1 Ständchen (from Schwanengesang) D.957, no.4 (1828) [3:53] 1 An die Musik  D.547 (1817) [2:06] 1 Sonatine for violin and piano in D major D.384 (1816) [13:31] 1 Litanei auf das Fest Aller Seelen D.343 (1816) [2:54] 1 Die Forelle D.550 (1817) [2:13] 1 Der Doppelgänger (from Schwanengesang) D.957, no.13 (1828) [4:44] 1 Auf dem Wasser zu singen D.774 (1823) [3:25] 1 Täuschung (from Winterreise) D.911 (1827) [1:25] 1 Der Müller und der Bach (from Die schöne Müllerin) D.795 (1823) [3:28] 1 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Cello Concerto in A minor Op.129 (1850) [22:03] 2 Fantasiestücke for cello and piano Op.73 (1849) [10:44] 1 Five pieces in folk-style Op.102 (1849) [16:01] 1 Adagio and allegro for cello and piano in A flat major Op.70 (1849) [9:38] 1 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Sonata No.1 for cello and piano in E minor Op.38 (1865) [26:01] 3 Sonata No.2 for cello and piano in F major Op.99 (1886) [25:45] 3 Anne Gastinel (cello) 1 Claire Désert (piano); 3 François-Frédéric Guy (piano); 2  Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège/Louis Langrée. rec. August 1998, Théâtre des Quatre Saisons, Gradignan, France (Brahms); May 2001, Théâtre des Quatre Saisons, Gradignan, France (Schumann chamber pieces); July 2001 Philharmonic Hall, Liège, Belgium (Schumann concerto); June 2005, Studio Tibor Varga, Sion, Switzerland (Schubert). NAÏVE V 5074 [63:12 + 59:26 + 51:85][GPu]

Three CDs which capture the poetic innerness of Gastinel’s reading of romanticism, and on which she benefits from some excellent partners and accompanists … see Full Review

 

Friday February 23rd

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No. 4 in G, Op. 58 (1805/6) [33:10] Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat, Op. 73, “Emperor” (1809) [39:16] Emil Gilels (piano) Philharmonia Orchestra/Leopold Ludwig rec. No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London, 26-27, 30 April, 1 May 1957. ADD EMI CLASSICS GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 4768282  [72:35] [CC]

Classic accounts of Beethoven ... These performances demand to be heard. ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 9 Choral (1824) Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano); Elisabeth Höngen (alto); Hans Hopf (tenor); Otto Edelmann (bass) Bayreuth Festival Chorus and Orchestra/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. Bayreuth, 29 July 1951. ADD NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111060 [74:19] [AOz]

I want to share what this music means and why this recording in particular is worth listening to. ... see Full Review

Giovanni Lorenzo GREGORI (1663-1745) Concerti grossi  piu Stromenti Op.2 (publ. 1698) [46:01] Alessandro STRADELLA (1644-1682) Sinfonie “in due cori” [1:58] Cantata per il santissimo Natale [9:01] Sonata di viole – concertino di due violini, el lueto, Concerto grosso di viole [7:15] Capriccio Basel rec. Kirche Heilig Kreuz, Binningen, September and October 2005 CAPRICCIO 71091 [64:21] [JW]

Capriccio Basel captured with fidelity … an original instrument ensemble … pithy and lyrical ... see Full Review

Gordon KERRY (b. 1961) Nocturne for double chamber orchestra (1995) [11:11] Concerto for cello, strings and percussion (1996) [14:31]* Bright Meniscus (1997) [8:54] Heart’s-Clarion for trumpet and strings (1988) [13:21]+ Harvesting the solstice thunders [12:35] Sue-Ellen Paulsen (cello)* Geoffrey Payne (trumpet)+ Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra/David Porcelijn rec. Odeon Theatre, Hobart, June 2000 ABC CLASSICS 4762268 [61:03] [JW]

Kerry’s is a strong and individual voice and he’s been outstandingly well served by his forces here. ... see Full Review

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano Sonata in B Minor, S178 (1852-3) [29:20] Tasso, Lamento e Trionfo – Symphonic Poem (1849), transcr. (1858) Carl Tausig (1841-1871) [19:21] Gretchen, from A Faust Symphony, S513 (1854), transcr. (1856, 1857) Liszt [16:08] Oleg Marshev (piano) rec. Aalborg, Denmark, February 2006. DDD DANACORD DACOCD653 [65:16] [PSe]

I’m not Liszt’s biggest fan, but Marshev has made me love what I merely admired, admire what I merely respected and, to cap it all, he’s even managed to make the boring bearable. ... see Full Review

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Music for Queen Mary Come, ye sons of Art (Ode for the Birthday of Queen Mary, 1694) (Z 323) [22:18] Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem, verse anthem (Z 46)* [05:51] Love's goddess sure was blind (Ode for the Birthday of Queen Mary, 1692) (Z 331)** [20:01] [Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary, 1695] Drum Processional [01:38] March (Z 860a) [01:49] Canzona (Z 860b) [03:01] Drum Recessional [01:39] [Funeral Sentences] Man that is born of a woman (Z 27)* [02:45] In the midst of life (Z 17b)* [04:44] Thou know'st, Lord, the secrets of our hearts (Z 58b)* [03:41] [Funeral Anthem of Queen Mary, 1695] Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts (Z 58c) [02:32] Edward Phillips (treble) (*/**); Kate Royal (soprano); David Hansen, Tim Mead (alto); Andrew Staples (tenor) (**); Jacques Imbrailo (bass); Members of the King's College Choir; Cambridge (*) Choir of King's College, Cambridge; The Academy of Ancient Music/Stephen Cleobury rec. April 2005, Chapel of King's College, Cambridge, UK. DDD EMI CLASSICS 3 44438 2 [70:03] [JV]

Disappointing performances despite some nice moments ... see Full Review

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Moses und Aron (1930-1932) Moses: Wolfgang Schöne (bass); Aron: Chris Merritt (tenor); Young Girl: Irena Bespalovaite (soprano); Young Man: Bernhard Schneider (baritone); Priest: Karl-Friedrich Durr (bass); First Elder: Ulrich Frisch (baritone); Second Elder: Sasa Vrabac (tenor); Third Elder: Stephan Storck (baritone); Invalid Woman: Emma Curtis (mezzo) A Naked Youth: Alois Redel (tenor) Stuttgart State Opera Chorus/Polish Radio Choir, Krakow/Stuttgart State Opera Children’s Chorus Stuttgart State Orchestra/Roland Kluttig rec. live, Staatsoper Stuttgart, Germany 10, 13, 20 September 2003 NAXOS 8.660158-59 [52.02 + 58.04] [GH]

At Naxos price for a work for which you need some patience and application this version is perfectly good. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartet No. 14 in D minor D.810 Death and the Maiden (1824) [33:06]; String Quartet No. 15 in G major D.887 (1826) [39:58] Busch Quartet (Adolf Busch; Gösta Andreasson (violins); Karl Doktor (viola); Hermann Busch, (cello)) rec. 16 October 1936 (D.810); 22, 30 November 1938, Studio 3, Abbey Road, London (D.887). ADD MONO. EMI CLASSICS GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 3615882 [73.33] [ED]

The Busch’s feeling for the music is unsurpassed nearly seventy years after it was recorded. ... see Full Review

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (Moisei VAINBERG) (1919-1996) Piano Trio Op.24 (1945) [28:36]Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Trio No. 2 Op.67 (1944) [26:23] Leschetizky Trio Vienna rec. Bösendorfer Piano Company Hall, Vienna, December 2005, March 2006 CASCAVELLE VEL 3104 [54:59] [JW]

The Sitkovetsky-Geringas-Nemtsov trio on Hänssler are to be preferred with greater edge and intensity and instrumental security. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Elisabeth SchumannAria Recordings 1926–1938 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) 1.  Exsultate jubilate, K 165: Alleluia [2:24]; 2.  Il re pastore: L’amerò, sarò costante [4:24]; Le nozze di Figaro: 3.  Non so più [3:27]; 4.  Venite, inginocchiatevi [3:13]; 5.  Voi che sapete [3:43]; 6. Deh vieni, non tardar [3:49]; Don Giovanni: 7. Batti, batti, o bel Masetto [3:45]; 8. Vedrai carino [3:24] Johann STRAUSS II (1825–1899) Die Fledermaus: 9. Mein Herr Marquis [3:24]; 10. Spiel’ ich die Unschuld vom Lande [3:24] Carl ZELLER (1842–1898) Der Vogelhändler: 11. Wie mein Ahn’l zwanzig Jahr [3:23]; 12. Wie mein Ahn’l zwanzig Jahr ’Nightingale Song’ [3:30]; Der Obersteiger: 13. Sei nicht bös’ [3:28] Carl Michael ZIEHRER (1843–1922) Der Landstreicher: 14. Sei gepriesen du lauschige Nacht [3:11]; Der Fremdenführer: 15. O Wien, mein liebes Wien [3:12] Heinrich BERTÉ (1858–1924) Das Dreimädelhaus: 16. Was macht glücklich [3:29] Richard HEUBERGER (1850–1914) Der Opernball: 17. Im chambre separée [2:45] Fritz KREISLER (1875–1962) Sissy: 18. Ich glaub’ das Glück [3:40] Josef STRAUSS (1827–1870) 19. Spährenklänge [3:38] Ralph BENATZKY (1884–1957) 20. Ich muss wieder einmal in Grinzing sein [3:24] Rudolf SIECZYNSKI (1879–1952) 21. Wien, du Stadt meiner Träume [3:25] Elisabeth Schumann (soprano) Orchestra/Georg Byng (1, 2, 5, 7, 8); Lawrance Collingwood (3, 4, 6, 12, 13, 18); Carl Alwin (9); Vienna State Opera Orchestra/Carl Alwin (10, 11); Orchestra/Walter Goehr (14-17, 20, 21); Leo Rosenek rec. 19 May 1926 (1, 5, 7); 7 June 1926 (2, 8); 1 February, 1927 (3, 4); 4 February, 1927 (6); 11 November 1927 (9); 6 September 1929 (10, 11); 17 February 1930 (12, 13); 23 June 1934 (19); 20 November 1935 (18); 25 November 1936 (16, 21); 11 March 1937 (14, 15); 8 June 1938 (20); 11 June 1938 (17). ADD NAXOS 8.111100 [72:12] [GF]

Grading the singing greats for loveliness and charm Elisabeth Schumann inevitably occupies the top position. This disc shows her at her most lovely. ... see Full Review

 

Thursday February 22nd

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat, Op. 106, Hammerklavier (1818) [44:50] Piano Sonata No. 3 in C,  Op. 2 No. 3 (1794/5) [26:35]. Markus Becker (piano) rec. November 2004. DDD CPO 777 239-2 [71:30] [CC]

Becker is a pianist to watch. There is so much to admire here, yet this is clearly an interpretation in progress. ... see Full Review

Brenton BROADSTOCK (b.1952) Festive Overture (1981) [11:25] Timeless (2002) [10:50] The Mountain (1983) [10:45] Federation Square: Rooms of Wonder [11:19] Symphony No.4 Born from Good Angel’s Tears (1995) [14:46] Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra/Ola Rudner rec. Federation Concert Hall, Hobart, October 2003 and June 2004 and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Studio October 2003 ABC CLASSICS 4768041 [59:05] [JW]

First class performances and values attend this issue – in every way a splendid platform for Broadstock and his exciting music. ... see Full Review

Eric COATES (1886-1957) Suite: The Three Men (1935) [23:19] Concert Valse: Dancing Night (1932) [8:12] Two Symphonic Rhapsodies: I Pitch my Lonely Caravan; Birdsongs at Eventide/I Heard You Singing (1933) [5:06; 5:19] Idyll: Summer Afternoon (1924) [3:53] Ballet: The Enchanted Garden (1946) [21:11] Concert Valse: Footlights (1939) [5:50] Suite: Four Centuries IV Rhythm (20th Century) (1942) [6:57] March: London Bridge (1934) [4:31] London Philharmonic Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth rec. 1990s? DDD LYRITA SRCD213 [76.19] [RB]

One of the most handsome Coates collections, recorded con amore and performed with idiomatic dedication. ... see Full Review

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Requiem Op.89 B165 (1890) Gabriela Beňačková (soprano) Ida Kirilová (alto) Josef Protscka (tenor) Luděk Vele (bass) Prague Philharmonic Chorus Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Václav Neumann rec. St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague, 1988 Sound Format; PCM stereo: languages; GB, D, F, SP: Subtitles; GB, D, F, SP: picture Format; 4:3: Region Code; 0 (worldwide): DVD 9 NTSC ARTHAUS 102 063 [97:00] [JW]

Neumann directs with impressive and only occasionally impassive control. This visual documentation of Neumann’s Requiem is valuable ... see Full Review

HK GRUBER (b. 1943) Zeitstimmung (1996) [38:35] Rough Music (1983) [26:06] Perpetuum Mobile/Charivari (1981 rev. 1984/1999) [13:25] HK Gruber (chansonnier) Martin Grubinger (percussion) Tonkünstler Orchestra/Kristian Järvi rec. Vienna, February 2005, October 2004. BIS SACD1681 [78:06] [AOz]

Grab this recording for the authentic Gruber experience ... see Full Review

Johann David HEINICHEN (1683-1729) Concertos and Sonatas Concerto a 4 for oboe, bassoon, cello and harpsichord in G [08:41] Sonata a 3 for oboe, viola da gamba and bc in c minor [06:21] Sonata a 2 for oboe and bassoon in c minor [10:53] Concerto a 4 for violin, viola da gamba and bc in D [10:46] Sonata a 3 for oboe, violin and bc in c minor [06:15] Sonata a 2 for oboe and bc in g minor [08:26] Sonata a 3 for violin, oboe and bassoon in B [07:50] Epoca Barocca (Alessandro Piqué (oboe); Margarete Adorf (violin); Hartwig Groth (viola da gamba); Ilze Grudule (cello); Sergio Azzolini (bassoon); Matthias Spaeter (archlute); Christoph Lehmann (harpsichord (organ)) rec. November 2003, Studio of Deutschlandfunk, Cologne, Germany. DDD cpo 777 115-2 [59:42] [JV]

This disc gives an idea of the splendour of music-making at the court in Dresden in the early 18th century - Musica Epoca delivers vivid and dynamic performances ... see Full Review

Nicholas MAW (b. 1935) Three Hymns (1989) [13.07] (1) Five Epigrams (1960) [6.40] The Angel Gabriel (1963) [2.24] Our Lady’s song (1961) [2.34] Balulalow (1964) [2.20] Corpus Christi Carol (1964) [3.25] (2) Swete Jesu (1992) [3.25] Five Irish Songs (1972) [15.13] One Foot in Eden still, I stand (1990) [7.52] Schola Cantorum of Oxford/Mark Shepherd Jeremy Filsell (organ) (1) Simon Jones (piano) (2) rec. Chapel of Exeter College, Oxford, 12-14 March 2000 HYPERION CDA67615 [58.04] [RH]

It is good to have another disc of Maw’s music in the catalogue, particularly in performances as fine as these. If you are interested in choral music or well wrought contemporary music, then buy this disc. ... see Full Review

Andrzej PANUFNIK (1914–1991) Homage to Polish Music Old Polish Suite (1950, rev. 1955) [10:16] Concerto in Modo Antico (1951, rev. 1955)a [14:13] Jagiellonian Triptych (1966) [8:47] Divertimento after Janiewicz (1947, rev. 1955) [11:31] Hommage à Chopin (1949, orch. 1966)b [13:10] Igor Cechoco (trumpet)a; Hanna Turonek (flute)b Polish Chamber Orchestra/Mariusz Smolij rec. W. Lutoławski Concert Studio, Polish Radio, Warsaw, June 2005 NAXOS 8.570032 [57:58] [HC]

Arrangements done with taste, subtlety and affection. A must for all Panufnik admirers. A lovely disc. ... see Full Review

Gabriel PIERNÉ (1863-1937) La Musique de Chambre (Vol. 1) CD 1 Fantaisie-Impromptu for violin and piano, Op. 4 (c.1885) [5:45]  Sonata for violin and piano, Op. 36 (1900) [22:40]  Sérénade for violin and piano, Op. 7 (pre-1881) [2:26]   Berceuse for violin and piano, Op. 8 (1880) [3:28]    Andante for violin and piano (pre-1881) [2:35] Quintet for piano and string quartet, Op. 41 (1916-17) [38:18] CD 2 Pastorale for woodwind quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, cor anglais) (c. 1886) [2:27] Canzonetta for clarinet and piano, Op. 19 (c. 1887) [3:45] Sonata da camera for flute, cello and piano, Op. 48 (1926) [13:53] Prélude de concert sur un thème de Purcell for bassoon and piano, Op. 53 (1933) [5:21]  Prelude and Fugue for woodwind septet (2 flutes, oboe, clarinet, 2 bassoons, cor anglais), Op. 40/1 (1903-04) [5:25] Pièce in G minor for oboe and piano, Op. 5 (1884) Pastorale variée for wind septet (flute, oboe, clarinet, trumpet, cor anglais, 2 bassoons), Op. 30 (1898) [6:44] Solo de concert for bassoon and piano, Op. 35 (1898) [5:37] La Danseuse espagnole for violin and piano (1925) [6:35] Giration, ballet for piano and ten instruments (1933) [8:47] Nuit divine for violin, harmonium and narrator (c. 1902 / Poème d'Albert Samain) [2:46] Soloists of the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra (full list of performers in each work listed below) DDD rec. 2005/06 Philharmonie, Luxembourg TIMPANI 2C 1110 [75:44 + 64:58] [MC]

Superbly performed but how one cries out for more variety and drama in these works. A disc for dipping into rather than listening to at one sitting.  ... see Full Review  

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949) Vier letzte Lieder (1949) [19:10] 1. Frühling (Hesse) [3:24]; 2. September (Hesse) [4:07]; 3. Beim Schlafengehn (Hesse) [4:27]; 4. Im Abendrot (Eichendorff) [7:11] Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano) Philharmonia Orchestra/Otto Ackermann rec. 25-26 September 1953, Watford Town Hall Arabella (1933), highlights [57:41] 5. Ich danke, Fräulein [8:21]; 6. Welko, das Bild! [13:11]; 7. Mein Elemer! [7:55]; 8. Sie wollen mich heiraten [8:49]; 9. Und jetzt sag’ ich adieu [13:26]; 10. Das war sehr gut, Mandryka [6:00] Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano) – Arabella; Joseph Metternich (baritone) – Mandryka; Nicolai Gedda (tenor) – Matteo; Anny Felbermayer (soprano) – Zdenka; Walter Berry (bass) – Count Lamoral; Harald Pröglhöf (baritone) – Count Dominik; Murray Dickie (tenor) – Count Elemer; Waiter; Theodor Schlott (bass) – Count Waldner Philharmonia Orchestra/Lovro von Matacic rec. 27–29 September, 6 October 1954, Kingsway Hall, London. ADD NAXOS 8.111145 [76:51] [JW]

This disc is worthy of a place in any Strauss collection. ... see Full Review


Detailed listing (last five 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]
[Recommended recordings]



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