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[Part 1 New]  
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[Recommended recordings]


Elizabeth MACONCHY (1907-1994) Overture, Proud Thames (1952) [5:58] * Symphony for Double String Orchestra (1953) [21:50] ** Serenata Concertante for Violin and Orchestra (1962) [21:37] ** Music for Strings (1983) [18:21] *** * London Philharmonic Orchestra/Vernon Handley ** Manoug Parikian (violin) London Symphony Orchestra/Vernon Handley ***London Philharmonic Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth rec. 1970, 1979, 1977. ADD LYRITA SRCD.288 [67.50] [RB]

Maconchy’s varied and brilliant writing at last receives a merited showcase … see Full Review

Ester MÄGI (b. 1922) Vesper (1990 arr. 1998) [7:32] * Piano Concerto (1953) [22:42] Bukoolika (1983) [8:34] * Variations for Piano, Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra (1972) [12:22] Symphony (1968) [13:29] * Ada Kuseoks (piano); Mati Mikalai (piano); Tarmo Pajusaar (clarinet) Estonian National SO/Arvo Volmer; Mihkel Kütson (Variations; Symphony) rec. October 2000 (Vesper); 3-4 December 1992 (Piano Concerto); 24 February 1995 (Bukoolika); 10 January 2002 (Variations; Symphony), Estonia Concert Hall; Estonia Radio (Concerto). DDD Eesti Radio First release in West except for Variations TOCCATA TOCC 0054 [64:44] [RB]

Have your horizons broadened and be happy about it. Another palpable hit. Mägi's name will from now on be on your 'to collect' list. ... see Full Review

Jules MASSENET (1842–1912) Amoureuse – Sacred and Profane Arias 1. Sainte Thérèse Prie (1902) [3:29] 2. Amoreuse (1898) [3:06] La Grand Tante (1867) 3. Je vais bientôt quitter [2:46] Marie Magdeleine (1873) 4. O mes soeurs [4:43] Eve (1875) 5. O nuit [2:57] La Vierge (1880) 6. O mon fils [5:10] 7. Rêve infini! [5:08] Hérodiade (1881) 8. Il est doux, il est bon [4:53] Le Cid (1885) 9. Plus de tourments [3:03] 10. Pleurez mes yeux [5:00] Sapho (1897) 11. Ce que j’appelle beau [2:33] 12. Ah, vous avez parlé [3:07] 13. Demain, je partirai [5:56] 14. Vais-je rester ici? [4:02] Griséldis (1901) 15. Loÿs! Loÿs! [3:51] Chérubin (1905) 16. Vous parlez de peril [1:54] Ariane (1906) 17. Avec tes compangnes guerrières [3:18] 18. Je comprends … un heros! Un roi [4:32] 19. Ils mentaient! A quoi bon [6:05] Rosamund Illing (soprano) Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra/Richard Bonynge rec. November 1998, Eugene Goossens Hall, ABC Sydney MELBA MR301106 [75:41] [GF]

For a broader picture of Massenet’s creativity this disc has a lot to offer and Rosamund Illing sings everything admirably ... see Full Review

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1994) L'Ascension (1933) [23:26] Les corps glorieux (1939) [45:49] Gail Archer (organ) rec. 11 July 2006, St. Paul’s Chapel, Columbia University, New York City MEYER MEDIA MM07007 [69:15] [DC]

I would be fascinated to hear Gail Archer performing this repertoire on a more sympathetic instrument ... see Full Review

Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) Symphony No. 6 (1955) [28:31] Symphony No. 7 (1955) [22:47] Ouverture Méditerranéenne (1953) [5:30] Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse/Michel Plasson rec. Toulouse, 1990s. DDD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 439 939-2 [57:03] [RB]

Plasson while sometimes given to languor gives fundamentally sound, informed and sympathetic performances ... see Full Review

Ernest John MOERAN (1894-1950) Rhapsody No.2 (1924 rev. 1941) [13:19] Violin Concerto (1941) [34:54] Rhapsody No.3 in F sharp for piano and orchestra (1943) [19:14] John Georgiadis (violin) John McCabe (piano) London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult (Rhapsody 2) London Symphony Orchestra/Vernon Handley (Violin Concerto) New Philharmonia/Nicholas Braithwaite (Rhapsody 3) rec. 1970, 1979, 1977. ADD LYRITA SRCD.248 [67:21] [RB]

A fine coupling including some classic Moeran in enduringly rewarding performances and recordings … see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony No. 35 in D major, K 385, Haffner (1782) [19:56] Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat major, K 482 (1785) [37:13] * Horn Concerto No. 1 in D major, K 412/514 (1791) [10:58] # Symphony No. 36 in C major, K 425, Linz (1783) [26:04] #Radek Baborak (horn) Berliner Philharmoniker/Daniel Barenboim *(piano conductor) Video Director: Bob Coles rec. Estates Theatre, Prague, 1 May 2006, DDD. Sound formats PCM Stereo, DD5.1, DTS 5.1. Picture format NTSC 16:9 anamorphic. Disc format DVD 9. Region code 0 (all regions). EUROARTS 2055308 [116:08][MG]

Barenboim’s Mozart is unashamedly high calorie but very stylish with it. … see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 9 in E flat Major K271 [30:41] Piano Concerto No. 19 in F major K459 [26:25] Variation on a Minuet by Jean-Pierre Duport K573 [10:38] Clara Haskil (piano) Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester (K271 & 459)/Otto Ackermann (K271), Ferenc Fricsay (K459) rec. live, 11 June 1954 (K271), 30 May 1952 (K459), 7 September 1956 (K573), Funkhaus, Saal 1, WDR Cologne (K271 & 459), Besançon Festival (K573) MEDICI ARTS MM004-2 [67:46] [CH]

K271 and K573, in particular, can be recommended to anyone in search of Mozartian truth ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Clarinet Concerto in A major, K 622 (1791) [32:22] Symphony No. 25 in G minor, K 183 (1773) [24:25] Peter Schmidl (clarinet) Wiener Philharmoniker/Leonard Bernstein Director: Humphrey Burton rec. Konzerthaus, Vienna, 1-2 September 1987 (concerto), Grosser Musikvereinsaal, Vienna, 1-4 October 1988 (symphony). Sound formats PCM Stereo, DD5.1, DTS 5.1. Picture format NTSC 4:3. Disc format DVD 5. Region code 0 (all regions) EUROARTS 2072088 [58:52] [MG]

Bernstein’s view of Mozart is essentially early romantic, but it’s very persuasive, revealing a greater range of mood and dimension than the lucidly classical approach … see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Quintet in E flat major for piano, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon, KV452 (1784) [24:37] Adagio in C minor and Rondeau in C major, KV617 (1791) [11:21] (arranged by Michael Hasel for piano, flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon) Ludwig Van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Quintet in E flat major for piano, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon, Op.16 (1796) [23:24] Stephen Hough (piano) Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet: (Michael Hasel (flute); Andreas Wittmann (oboe); Walter Seyfarth (clarinet); Fergus McWilliam (French horn); Henning Trog (bassoon)) rec. February 2000, Teldec Studio, Berlin, Germany (Mozart); December 2004, Kammermusiksaal, Philharmonie Berlin, Germany (Beethoven). DDD BIS-CD-1552 [60:26][MC]

Excellently performed and decently recorded … a hearty recommendation. Lovers of Mozart and Beethoven chamber works will be in their element. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) String Quartet in A major K.464 (1784-5) [33:53] String Quintet in D major K.593 (1790) [28:22] Brentano String Quartet Hsin-Yun Huang (viola, K.593) rec. 27 May–1 June 2005, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York City ÆON AECD 0747 [62:25][DC]

This beautifully engineered package is one with which I shall be able to live happily for a long time. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Flute Quartets Flute Quartet No. 1 in D major, KV 285 (1777) [13:54] Flute Quartet No. 2 in G major, KV 285a (1778) [9:05] Flute Quartet No. 3 in C major, KV Anh. 171 (KV 285b) (c.1781-82) [15:38] Flute Quartet No. 4 in A major, KV 298 (c.1786-87) [10:51] Sabine Dreier (flute); Gilles Colliard (violin); Marie Legendre (viola); Michael Kevin Jones (cello) rec. 6 August 2006, X Edition of Conciertos de Camera de la Ojeda, Palencia, Spain, live. DDD EMEC E-072 [52:46][MC]

These performances from the talented Sabine Dreier and her players are badly let down by engineering deficiencies. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Sacred Music Regina Coeli in B major, K. 127 (1772) [16:57] Laudate Dominum (Vesperae solennes de confessore, K339) (1780) [4:58] Te Deum laudamus, K 141 (1769) [7:30] Exultate, Jubilate, K 165 (1773) [15:14] Ave verum corpus, K 618 (1791) [3:05] Regina Coeli in C major, K. 108 (1771) [16:00] Simona Houda Šaturová (soprano) Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno Czech Chamber Soloists/Petr Fiala rec. 11-13 January 2007, Josef Dobrovsky Hall, Convent of the Brothers of Mercy, Brno. DDD ARCO DIVA UP0101 – 2131 [64:14] [JQ]

If the programme appeals then this disc is thoroughly recommendable. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Zauberflöte K620 - Highlights Erika Miklósa (soprano) Queen of Night; Dorothea Röschmann (soprano) Pamina; Julia Kleiter (soprano) Papagena; Christoph Strehl (tenor) Tamino; Kurt Azesberger (tenor) Monostatos; Hanno Müller-Brachmann (baritone) Papageno; René Pape (bass) Sarastro; Caroline Stein (soprano) First Lady; Heidi Zehnder (soprano) Second Lady; Anne-Carolyn Schlüter (mezzo) Third Lady; Alexander Lischke (soprano) First Boy; Frederic Jost (soprano) Second Boy; Niklas Mallmann (mezzo) Third Boy; Danilo Formaggia (tenor) First Armed Man and Second Priest; George Zeppenfeld (bass) Speaker; Sascha Borris (bass) Second Armed Man; Andreas Bauer (bass) First Priest; Tobias Beyer (speaker) Third Priest Arnold Schoenberg Choir Mahler Chamber Orchestra/Claudio Abbado rec. Teatro Comunale, Modena, Italy, September 2005 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 6319 [73:44] [DM]

A well-chosen selection from an already much-praised Flute ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K488 (1786) [25:31] Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat major, K 482 (1785) [32:42] Robert Levin (fortepiano) Academy of Ancient Music/Christopher Hogwood rec. Walthamstow Town Hall, 21-24 August 1995. DDD L’OISEAU-LYRE 452 052-2 [58:33] [MG]

The understanding between Levin and Hogwood is finely balanced, giving these performances a real sense of spontaneity and partnership … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Santiago de MURCIA (1682-1732) La Guitarra Española Folias Españolas [3:11] Prelude [1:40] Passacalles por la E [7:59] Suite (after Gaspar Sanz, 1675, arr. Carter) [7:17] * Zarambeques, o Muecas [2:33] * Canarios [3:45] Passacalles por la B [5:09] Cumbees [4:14] * Passacalles por la D [9:44] Marionas por la B [4:13] Preludio Grabe de Coreli [2:55] * Giga de Coreli [3:02] * Gaitas [4:04] William Carter (baroque guitar); Susanne Heinrich (bass viol) * rec. 17-19 September 2006, St. Andrews Church, Toddington (Gloucestershire) LINN CKD 288 [60:23] [GPu]

A fascinating, beautifully played recital of the music of one of the great Spanish guitar masters … see Full Review

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition [34:48] Souvenirs d’enfance [13:48] The Seamstress [02:33] Mily BALAKIREV (1837-1910) Berceuse [06:17] Islamey – Oriental Fantasy [08:42] Michele Campanella (piano) rec. 11-14 June 1989, Montevarchi, Italy NUOVA ERA 9708017513599 [67:07][CH]

This disc is reviewed for its Hatto connections, but it’s an excellent disc of a good programme if you can find it. ... see Full Review

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Carl Nielsen’s Prophet in Sweden CD 1 [71:32] Symphony No. 1 (1891-2) [32:21] Saga-Drøm (1907-8) [11:08] Symphony No. 2 The Four Temperaments (1901-2) [27:45] CD 2 [70:45] Symphony No. 3 Sinfonia Espansiva (1910-1) [35:30] Symphony No. 4 The Inextinguishable (1914-6) [35:05] CD 3 [78:26] Symphony No. 6 Sinfonia Semplice (1924-5) [33:02] Oriental Festival March, from Aladdin (1918-9) [3:02] Saul and DavidOpera in Four Acts (1898-1901): start [41:41] CD 4 [74:25] Saul and David – Opera in Four Acts (1898-1901): conclusion [74:25] Royal Stockholm Symphony Orchestra/Tor Mann Maria Ribbing (sop), Claes Göran Stenhammer (bass-bar) (Sym. 3) Sigurd Björling (bass); Lars Billengren (ten); Marianne Öhrn (sop); Uno Ebrelius (ten); Joel Berglund (bass); Bo Lundborg (bar); Hans Nerbe (bar); Barbro Ericson (alt); Inga-Lill Sannfrid (sop); Tora Teje (reciter); Swedish Radio Choir (Saul and David) rec. Royal Academy of Music, Stockholm, 15 February 1944 (Sym. 2); Concert Hall, Stockholm, 19 February 1947 and 5 March 1954 (Sym. 4), 27 January 1948 (Sym. 3), 20 November 1949 (Sym. 6), 4 February 1953 (March), 16-17 September 1957 (Saul), 11 September 1958 (Sym. 1), 11 September 1961 (Saga) DANACORD DACOCD 627-630 [4 CDs: 71:32 + 70:45 + 78:26 + 74:25][PSe]

Having evaded History’s dustbin by the skin of their teeth, these recordings proclaim Tor Mann as one of Nielsen’s most perceptive interpreters. ... see Full Review

Carl NIELSEN (1865–1931) Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra (1928) [23:59] Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra (2005) [29:07] Martin Fröst (clarinet) Lahti Symphony Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä rec. May 2004, Sibelius Hall, Lahti, Finland (Nielsen); June 2006, Church of the Cross (Ristinkirkko), Lahti, Finland (Aho) BIS-SACD-1463 [54:00][GF]

A clear winner on all accounts and Aho’s concerto is pre-destined to be a standard work. ... see Full Review

Steve NIEVE (b.1958) with Muriel TEODORI (libretto) Welcome To The Voice Profane Voices: Sting – Dionysos Robert Wyatt – The Friend Elvis Costello – Chief of Police The London Voices, Le choeur des amis Français Sacred Voices: Barbara Bonney – Opera Singer Sara Fulgoni – Ghost of Carmen Nathalie Manfrino – Ghost of Butterfly Amanda Roocroft – Ghost of Norma Brodsky Quartet; Steve Nieve (piano, moog synthesizer, theremin); Ned Rothenberg (clarinets, saxophones, shakuhachi, bass flute); Marc Ribot (guitars); Sting (electric bass guitar); Antoine Quessada (cymbals) rec. dates and locations not given DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 6524 [70:48][DC]

It’s a bit like breaking your leg on a Hollywood film set: painful in places, but at least you can enjoy your all-star cast. ... see Full Review

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Orpheus in der Unterwelt (sung in German) (1858) Pluto/Aristaeus: William Workman; Eurydice: Elisabeth Steiner; Diana: Regina Marheineke; Jupiter: Toni Blankenheim; Public Opinion: Liselotte Pulver; Orpheus: Kurt Marschner; Juno: Inge Meysel; John Styx: Theo Lingen; Venus: Urszula Koszut; Mercury: Peter Haage; Minerva: Cvetka Ahlin; Mars: Franz Grundheber; Eros: Heinz Kruse; Thalia: Renate Schubert; Vulcan: Ernst Umlandt; Hebe: Sabine Nolde; Flora: Ingeborg Kersten; Hercules: Friedhelm Brill; Iris: Margot Lund; Charon: Frank Straass; Erato: Helga Simon; Macquilla: Uta-Maria Flake; Ceres: Elfriede Zimmer. Ballet and Chorus of the Hamburg State Opera, The Philharmonic State Orchestra Hamburg/Marek Janowski. Adapted for the studio by Joachim Hess rec. 1971, released 2006. Region 0, NTSC, Dolby Digital (mono). Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Italian, German ARTHAUS MUSIK 101267 [101:00] [DM]

For ageing hippies and nostalgia buffs only ... see Full Review

Claus OGERMANN (b. 1930) Works for Violin and Piano Sarabande-Fantasie (1990) [14:32] Duo lirico (1986) [27:52] Preludio and Chant (1979) [18:35] Nightwings (1975) [4:18] Yue Deng (violin) Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano) rec. Capitol Studios, Los Angeles, 18-19 February 2006 DECCA 475 8400 [65:22] [DB]

Intriguing works for piano and violin in compelling performances … see Full Review

Alla PAVLOVA (b. 1952) Symphony No. 5 (2006) [47:23] Elegy for piano and string orchestra (1998) [4:41] Mikhail Shestakov (violin); Andrei Korobeinikov (piano) Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio/Vladimir Ziva rec. Studio 5, Russian State TV and Radio Company Kultura, Moscow, 18, 21 June 2006 NAXOS 8.570369 [52:04][RB]

An instinct and compulsion to compose that remains as strong as ever and as distinctive. ... see Full Review

Petēris PLAKIDIS (b. 1947) Music for Piano, Strings and Timpani (1969) [21:14] Songs for the Wind and Blood (1991) [10:58] oncerto for Two Oboes and Strings (1982) [10:59] Concerto-Ballad for Two Violins and Strings (1984) [16:41] Pēteris Plakidis (piano) Antra Bigača (mezzo) Uldis Urbāns (oboe); Vilnis Pelnēns (oboe) Andris Pauls (violin); Dzintars Beitāns (violin) Riga Chamber Players/Normunds Šnē rec. Reformation Church, 12-16 February 1999. DDD first recordings on CD TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0004 [59:53] [RB]

Toccata are to be applauded for this refreshing and challenging collection ... see Full Review

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Sextet for piano, flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon FP 100 (1932/39) [17:03] Trio for piano, oboe and bassoon FP 43 (1926) [11:31] Jean FRANCAIX (1912-1997) Octet for clarinet, horn, bassoon, string quartet and double-bass (1972) [21:05] Decet for wind quintet, string quartet and double-bass (1986) [17:00] Linos Ensemble: Winfried Rademacher (violin); Sidsel Garm Nielsen (violin); Matthias Buchholz (viola); Mario Blaumer (cello); Jörg Linowitzki (double-bass); Anna Garzuly (flute); Klaus Becker (oboe); Rainer Müller-van Recum (clarinet); Paul van Zelm (horn); Eberhard Marschall (bassoon); Konstanze Eickhorst (piano) rec. 27-31 March 2006, Deutschlandradio, Sendesaal, Cologne CAPRICCIO 67191 [66:39] [DM]

A thoroughly engaging disc of very worthwhile music all superbly recorded. ... see Full Review

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Ivan the Terrible Concert Cantata Op.116 (1939) [74:11] Irina Arkhipova (mezzo); Anatoly Mokrenko (bar); Boris Morgunov (narrator) Ambrosian Chorus Philharmonia Orchestra/ Riccardo Muti Alexander Nevsky Cantata Op. 78 (1938) [42:27] Anna Reynolds (mezzo) London Symphony Orchestra/André PrevinSergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) The Bells Op.35 (1912) [35:24] Sheila Armstrong (sop); Robert Tear (ten); John Shirley-Quirk (bar) London Symphony Orchestra/André Previn rec. Kingsway Hall, London, July, Sept.1977 (Ivan); Nov.1971 (Nevsky); Oct.1975 (Bells). ADD EMI CLASSICS GEMINI 3 81513 2 [74:11+ 78:12] [TH]

Classic performances in sound that is still demonstration-worthy ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Serge PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Sinfonia concertante in E minor, Op. 125 (1952) [38:24] Nikolai MIASKOVSKY (1881-1950) Cello Concerto in C minor, Op. 66 (1944) [28:01]Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14 (1915, arr. cello and piano) [6:52] Mstislav Rostropovich (cello); Alexander Dedyukhin (piano) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra/Sir Malcolm Sargent. rec. Abbey Road, London 15 April 1957 (P), 5 March 1956 (M), 27 April 1957 (mono) (R). ADD. EMI GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 3800132 [73:29] [CC]

Stunning. Those of us lucky enough to hear Slava live can only be grateful that we experienced the overwhelming musicality, charisma and generosity. A fitting memorial ... see Full Review

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) The Stone Flower (ballet) (1946) Ekaterina Maximova (Katerina) Vladimir Vasiliev (Danila) Svetlana Adirkhaeva (The Mistress of the Copper Mountain) Vladimir Levashov (Severyan) Bolshoi Ballet Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra/Alexander Kopilov. Choreography: Yuri Grigorovich Director: Valery Gorbatsevich rec. Gala 1979 performance, Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow. Bonus: Pas de Deux from Anyuta by Gavrilin with Maximova and Daukayev.. Colour, mono, 116 minutes. Region 0; Subtitles: none; Audio: MONO; Video: 4:3, colour VAI 4411 [116:00] [RB]

You must have this very idiomatic performance and production if you have any liking for Prokofiev’s music ... see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) Manon Lescaut (1893) Antonello Palombi (tenor) – Edmondo; Patrick Denniston (tenor) – Des Grieux); Paolo Montarsolo (bass) – Geronte di Ravoir; Roberto De Candia (baritone) – Lescaut; Adina Nitescu (soprano) – Manon Lescaut; Richard Mosley-Evans (bass) – The Innkeeper; Sarah Connolly (mezzo) – A Musician; Christopher Lemmings (tenor) – The Dancing Master; Kevin Sharp (bass) – A Sergeant of Archers; Michael Hart-Davis (tenor) – A Lamplighter; Richard Mosley-Evans (bass) – A Naval Captain The Glyndebourne Chorus London Philharmonic Orchestra/John Eliot Gardiner Director: Graham Vick; Designer: Richard Hudson; Lighting Designer: Jennifer Tipton Directed for video by Humphrey Burton rec. Glyndebourne Festival Opera, May 1997 Picture format: NTSC 4:3. Colour; Linear-PCM Stereo WARNER MUSIC VISION 50-51442-0489-2-6 [125:00][GF]

After initial misgivings about the conducting I came to like Gardiner’s unorthodox approach. The staging, acting and singing made this a worthwhile opera evening ... see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) Love Duets La Boheme O soave fanciulla [4.16]; O Mimi tu piu non torni [4.33]; Sono andati? [6.10] Victoria de los Angeles (soprano), Jussi Björling (tenor), Robert Merrill (baritone) Madama Butterfly Love Duet [13.43]; Flower Duet [12.39] Renata Tebaldi (soprano), Nell Rankin (mezzo), Giuseppe Campora (tenor)Tosca Mario Mario [12.26] Ah! Franchigia Floria Tosca [9.39]Maria Callas (soprano), Giuseppe Di Stefano (tenor) Manon Lescaut Tu, tu amore? [7.33] Licia Albanese (soprano), Jussi Björling Turandot Del primo pianto [8.13]Inge Borkh (soprano), Maria Del Monaco (tenor) RCA Victor Orchestra/Sir Thomas Beecham (Boheme) rec. 1956 Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Rome/Alberto Erede (Butterfly, Turandot) rec. 1950/55 Orchestra of La Scala, Milan/Victor de Sabata (Tosca) rec. 1953 Orchestra of Rome Opera/Jonel Perlea (Manon) rec. 1954 ALTO ALC1009 [79.20] [RH]

An attractive and well-filled disc which makes for good listening … would be ideal for someone just beginning to explore Puccini’s music ... see Full Review

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Dido and Aeneas (1689) Irma Kolassi (mezzo) – Dido Yvon le Marc’Hadour (baritone) – Aeneas Gisèle Vivarelli (soprano) – Belinda Hugues Cuénod (tenor) – Spirit Marguerite Pifteau (mezzo) – Sorceress Ellen Benoit (mezzo) – First Witch Juliette Bise (mezzo) – Second Witch Adrienne Comte (soprano) – First Woman Nastia Diakoff (soprano) – Second Woman Maroussia le Marc’Hadour (harpsichord) Student Choir of the Geneva Conservatoire Members of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande/Pierre Capdevielle rec. Geneva radio studios, 11 January 1951 CASCAVELLE VEL 3107 [60:39] [JW]

The mezzo Irma Kolassi is the main focus – noble, powerful but not really the right voice for the role. … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) CD 1 [73:05] Symphonic Dances, op. 45 (1940) [37:08] The Bells, op.35 (1912) [35:45] CD 2 [79:42] The Rock - Symphonic poem after A. Chekhov op. 7 (1893) [14:50] Prince Rostislav - Symphonic poem after A.K. Tolstoy (1891) [18:18] Scherzo in D minor [5:30] Caprice bohémien, op. 12 (1893) [18:33] The Isle of the Dead, Symphonic poem after A. Böcklin op. 29 (1907) [22:03] Olga Lutsiv-Ternovskaya (soprano); Leonid Bomstein (tenor); Vyacheslav Pochapsky (bass) (op. 35) Russian State Symphonic Cappella Russian State Symphony Orchestra/Valeri Polyansky rec. Moscow Conservatoire, 1998 (CD1); 2001 (CD2) CD1 first issued as Chandos CHAN9759; CD2 first issued as Chandos CHAN BRILLIANT CLASSICS 8532 [73:05 + 79:42] [RB]

You simply cannot go wrong with this. A budget price item with all the merits of a premium production and packed close to maximum playing time. ... see Full Review

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Rapsodie espagnole (1908) [16:14] Ma mère l'oye (1908-1910) [16:33] Menuet antique (1895) [7:12] Pavane pour une infante défunte (1899) [4:27] Prélude (1900) [1:56] Boléro (1929) [15:08] Katia and Marielle Labèque (piano) Gustavo Gimeno and Thierry Biscary (percussion) rec. 2006 KML RECORDINGS KML1111 [61:30] [DM]

Not particularly inspired or inspiring. Reasonably well recorded but lacks subtlety and brio. The triumph of style over substance ... see Full Review

Alan RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971) Symphonic Studies (1938) [20:11] Overture: Street Corner (1944) [5:32] Piano Concerto No. 1 (1939 rev.1942) [20:10] Piano Concerto No. 2 (1951) [31:24] Malcolm Binns (piano) London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir John Pritchard (Studies; Street Corner) London Symphony Orchestra/Nicholas Braithwaite rec. 1977, 1979. venue not given. ADD LYRITA SRCD.255 [77:26] [GH]

A worthwhile release, fine performances and fine music which should be better known. ... see Full Review

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) La Campana sommersa (The Sunken Bell) - opera in four acts (1925-27) Margherita Carosio (soprano) - Rautendelein Rita Malatrasi (soprano) – Magda Lucia Danieli (mezzo) – La Strega Umberto Borso (tenor) - Enrico  Tommaso Frascati (tenor) – Il fauno Rolando Panerai (baritone) - Ondino Plinio Clabassi (bass) – Il curato Pierluigi Latinucci (baritone) – Il maestro Angelo Mercuriali – Il barbiere  Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro Di Milano delle RAI/Franco Capuana rec. 11 July 1956, Milan GREAT OPERA PERFORMANCES GOP66.360 [71:20 + 65:38] [GPu]

An interesting document of a fine opera, but certainly not a first choice in the work … see Full Review

Joaquín RODRIGO (1901–1999) Piano Music Vol. 2 Danza de la amapola (Dance of the Poppy) (1972) [2:03] El Album de Cecilia (Album for Cecilia) (1948) [7:00] Tres danzas de España (Three Danxes of Spain) (1941) [4:29] Sonatas de Castilla con toccata a modo de pregón (Sonatas from Castile, with Toccata in the Style of a Proclamation) (1950-51) [24:53] Suite para piano (1923) [9:31] Cancíon y danza (1925) [7:12] Preludio al gallo mañanero (Prelude of Dawn Cockerel) (1926) [4:11] Tres Evocaciones (Three Evocations) (1981) [12:45] Artur Pizarro (piano) rec. Potton Hall, Westleton, Suffolk, UK, 1-3 July 2005 NAXOS 8.557923 [72:02] [GF]

Constantly invigorating, inspiring music, played in masterly fashion …. a pity that Rodrigo didn’t compose more for the piano ... see Full Review

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) Cello Concerto No.1 (1893-94) [29:13] Cello Concerto No.2 (1909) [18:37] Cello Concerto No.3 (1928) [16:19] ¹ Arturo Muruzabal (cello) Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic/Paul Watkins Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic/Henrik Schaefer ¹ rec. Muziek Centrum van de Omroep, June 2006 and December 2004 (No.3) ETCETERA KTC 1329 [64:23][JW]

This is a fine addition to the Röntgen discography – a fringe enthusiasm that encourages affection. ... see Full Review

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Ciro in Babilonia (1812) [131.59] Baldassare – Riccardo Botta (tenor) Ciro – Anna Rita Gemmabella (contralto) Amira – Luisa Islam-Ali-Zade (mezzo) Argene – Maria Soulis (mezzo) Zambri – Wojtek Gierlach (bass) Arbace – Giorgio Trucco (tenor) Daniele – Giovanni Bellavia (bass-baritone) ARS Bunensis Chamber Choir Wurttemberg Philharmonic Orchestra/Antonino Fogliani rec. live, 16, 22, 24 July 2004, Kursaal, Bad Wildbad, Germany NAXOS 8.660203-04 [61.50 + 70.09] [RH]

Neither vintage Rossini nor a vintage performance. But strong, bravura performances make this well worth investigating ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) La Cenerentola - opera buffa in two acts (1817) Angiolina (Cenerentola) - Sonia Ganassi (mezzo); Don Ramiro, a disguised Prince and her suitor - Antonio Siragusa (ten); Dandini, his servant - Marco Vinco (bass); Don Magnifico, Cenerentola’s father - Alfonso Antoniozzi (buffa-bass); Alidoro, Ramiro’s tutor – Simon Orfilo (bass); Clorinda, Cenerentola’s step-sister - Clara Di Censo (sop); Tisbe, Cenerentola’s step-sister - Paola Gardina (mezzo) Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa/Renato Palumbo rec. live, Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa, May 2006 Stage Director: Paul Curran. Set designer: Pasquale Grossi. Costume designer: Zaira De Vincentiis Sound format: DD 5.1. DTS 5.1. LPCM stereo. Picture format: 16:9 NTSC Introductory essay in English, German and French Subtitles in Italian (original language), English, German, French, Spanish TDK DVD VIDEO DVWW-OPLACEN [2 DVDs: 169:00][RJF]

This production can stand alongside the classic versions whilst giving a slightly more updated perspective on the traditional story. Vinco’s outstandingly acted portrayal of Dandini will find favour among Rossinians. ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie) - melodramma in two acts (1817) Fabrizio, a rich farmer - Carlos Feller (bass); Lucia, his wife - Nucci Condò (alto); Gianetto, Fabrizio’s son, a soldier in love with Ninetta - David Kuebler (ten); Ninetta, a servant in Fabrizio’s house - Ileana Cotrubas (sop); Fernando, Ninetta’s father, a soldier - Brent Ellis (bar); Il Podesta, the Mayor who lusts after Ninetta - Alberto Rinaldi (bass); Pippo, a young peasant employed by Fabrizzio and infatuated by Ninetta - Elena Zilio (mezzo); Isacco, a pedlar - Erlingur Vigfusson (ten); Antonio, a gaoler - Eberhard Katz (ten) Chorus of the Cologne Opera. Gürzenich Orchestra/Bruno Bartoletti rec. 1987 Production directed by Michael Hempe. Set and costume designed by Mauro Pagano Directed for television by José Montes Baquer Picture format 4:3. Recorded in PCM stereo. Subtitle languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian (original language). Notes, synopsis and cast profiles in English, German, French ARTHAUS MUSIK 102203 [182:00] [RJF]

This excellently directed performance in realistic stage sets with period costumes fills a big gap in the Rossini discography ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937) Symphony No. 3 in G minor, Op. 42 (1929) [25:31] Bacchus et Ariane, Op. 43 (1930) [37:37] Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Stéphane Denève rec. Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, 17-18 October 2006 (Symphony); 2-4 May 2006 (Bacchus). DDD NAXOS 8.570245 [63:08] [CC]

Although Martinon on Erato couples Bacchus with the equally apposite Aeneas this new Naxos carves a niche firmly for itself on any serious record collector's shelves. The recording is fabulous with plenty of depth and definition ... 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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