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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]


Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 2 in C minor, ‘Resurrection’ (1894) [81:46] Juliane Banse (soprano); Anna Larsson (contralto) Schweizer Kammerchor/Fritz Näf Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich/David Zinman rec. 10-12 February 2006, Tonhalle, Zurich. BMG-RCA 82876 87157 2 [22:04 + 59:42] [DM]

Zinman really is on form in this repertoire and that is why this triumphant new ‘Resurrection’ deserves its place in the winners’ enclosure. ... see Full Review

Pierre de MANCHICOURT (c.1510-1564) Regina caeli [4:04] Peccantem me quotidie [7:08] Missa ‘Cuidez vous que Dieu nous faille’ [31:32] Osculetur me [6:16] Ne reminisacaris, Domine [5:24] Magnificat Secundi toni [10:52] Jean RICHAFORT (c.1480-after 1547) Cuidez vous que Dieu nous faille [2:07] The Brabant Ensemble: (Helen Ashby (soprano); Kate Ashby (soprano); Alison Coldstream (soprano); Kate Semmens (soprano); Jan Aitkenhead (alto); Emma Ashby (alto); Tom King (alto); Gulliver Ralston (alto); Fiona Shand (alto); Adrian Lowe (tenor); Alastair Putt (tenor); David Stuart (bass); Tim Scott Whiteley (bass); Angus Wilson (bass))/Stephen Rice rec. 2-4 September, 2005, chapel of Merton College, Oxford, England. DDD HYPERION CDA67604 [67:16] [MS]

Beautiful music of a neglected corner of sixteenth century polyphony performed splendidly. ... see Full Review

Pierre MAURICE (1868-1936) Overture, La nuit tous les chats sont gris, Op 35 (1924), [4:51] Pêcheur d’Islande, impressions musicales d’après Pierre Loti, Op 8 (1895, rev 1911) [23:14] Francesca da Rimini, poème symphonique d’après Dante, Op 6 (1899) [14:21] Daphné, prélude pour orchestre, Op 2 bis (1894-7, ed. Adriano) [3:15] Suite: Perséphone, Op 38 (1930) [27:12] Fugue for stringed instruments, Op 20 (1901) [5:00] Moscow Symphony Orchestra/Adriano rec. Mosfilm Studios, Moscow, January 2003. DDD STERLING CDS 1053-2 [78:17] [GR]

Some finely written music here ... see Full Review

Nicolai MEDTNER (1880-1951) Complete Solo Recordings of Nicolai Medtner - Volume 3 Canzona matinata Op.39/4  (c.1918-20) [4:25] Sonata tragica in E Op.39/5 (c.1918-20)  [9:58] Arabesque in A Op.7/2 (c.1904) [3:17] Sonata-Ballada in F sharp Op.27 (c.1912-14) [22:58] Hymn in Praise of Toil (Before Work) Op.49/1 (c.1926-27) [4:16] Novelle in C Op.17/2 (1908) [4:25] Märchen [Skazka] in D Op.51/1 (c.1928) [5:26] Märchen [Skazka] in F Op.26/3 (c.1912) [2:16] Primavera Op.39/3 (c.1918-20) [4:26] Nicolai Medtner (piano) rec. Studio 3 Abbey Road, London, 1947 APR 5548 [62:29] [JW]

Essential fare for the Medtnerian.  Profoundly important documents of a great executant-composer ... see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Octet in E flat, Op. 20 (1825) [31:45] Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Octet in B flat, Op. posth. (1920) [24:44]* Kodály Quartet Auer Quartet * Zsolt Fejérvari (double-bass) rec. Phoenix Studio, Budapest, June 2003 and April 2004. DDD NAXOS 8.557270 [56:29][SV]

Recommended for the Bruch, and for a different take on the ever-popular Mendelssohn. ... see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Verleih’ uns Frieden [5:44] Kyrie Eleison [1:23] Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe [4:54] Ave Maria Op. 23 No. 2 [7:22] Mitten wir im Leben sind Op. 23 No. 3 [8:35] Heilig, heilig ist Gott, der Herr Zebaoth [1:37] Six Anthems for different times of the year Op. 79 [11:56] Warum toben die Heiden Op. 78 No. 1 [7:15] Richte mich, Gott Op. 78 No. 2 [3:51] Mein Gott, warum hast du? Op. 78 No. 3 [10:07] Hör mein Bitten [11:23] Anne Dawson (soprano) Rogers Covey-Crump (tenor) John Scott (organ) Corydon Singers English Chamber Orchestra/Matthew Best rec. 10, 17-18 February 1989, St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London HYPERION HELIOS CDH55268 [74:58][ABi]

A welcome addition to Helios catalogue – surely a must for bargain hunters and aficionados alike. ... see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 (1844) [26:59] Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto in D Op.77 (1878) [39:51] Joseph Szigeti (violin) New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra/Bruno Walter (Mendelssohn), Dmitri Mitropoulos (Brahms) rec. February 1941 (Mendelssohn) and October 1948 (Brahms) MUSIC AND ARTS CD1197 [67:55] [JW]

Szigeti admirers should not hesitate to add this disc to their collection. ... see Full Review

French Baroque Cantatas Michel Pignolet de MONTÉCLAIR (1667-1737) La mort de Didon (c.1709) [13:04] Ariane et Bacchus (1728) [14:38] Jean-Baptiste STUCK (1680-1755) L’amant réconcilié (1706) [12:09] Céphale et Aurore (1706) [17:14] Fiona Campbell (mezzo) (Montéclair) Taryn Fiebig (soprano) (Stuck) Ensemble Battistin rec. October 2004 (Stuck) and September-October 2005 (Montéclair) ABC CLASSICS 476 5941 [57:25] [JW]

Contrasting and rewarding listening, especially when performed so well as here and in so sympathetic an acoustic ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Madrigali guerrieri et amorosi: libro ottavo (1638) 1. Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda [22:03] 2. Il Ballo delle ingrate [36:10] 3. Sinfonia a doi violini e una viola di brazzo [0:45] 4. Altri canti d’amor, tenero arciero, a sei voci con quattro viole e doi violini [9:52] 5. Lamento de la Ninfa [4:43] 6. Vago augelletto, che cantando vai, a sei e sette voci con doi violini e un contrabasso [5:42] 7. Perchè t’ en fuggi, o fillide? A tre (alto, tenore e basso) [5:59] 8. Altri canti di marte, a sei voci et doi violini [8:59] 9. Ogni amante è guerrier [14:18] 10. Hor che ’l ciel e la terra e ’l vento tace, a sei voci con doi violini [10:46] 11. Gira il nemico, insidioso amore [5:43] 12. Dolcissimo uscignolo, a cinque voci, cantato a voce piena, alla francese [3:42] 13. Ardo, ardo, avvampo, mi struggo, a otto voci con doi violini [4:16] 14. Introduzione e ballo [9:40] 15. Se vittoria sì belle, a doi tenori [2:39] 16. Su, su, su, pastorelli vezzosi, a tre, doi canti e alto [2:33] 17. Ardo e scoprir, ahi lasso, io non ardisco, a doi tenori [3:30] 18. Chi vol aver felice e lieto il core, a cinque voci, cantato a voce piena, alla francese [2:06] 19. Armato il cor d’adamantina fede, a doi tenore [2:20] 20. Non partir ritrosetta, a tre, doi alti e basso [4:17] 21. O sia tranquillo il mare, a doi tenori [4:20] 22. Mentre vaga angiolwtta, a doi tenori [9:31] 23. Ninfa che, scalza il piede [5:19] Concerto Italiano/Rinasso Alessandrini rec. (1-3) January 1998, Centro Giovanni XXIII, Frascati, Italy; (4-13) February 1997, Salone della Musica, Villa Medici, Ora Giulini, Briosco, Italy; (14-23) December 2005, Palazzo Farnese, Rome, Italy. OPUS 111 OP30435 [3 CDs: 58:24 + 75:11 + 46:22] [GPu]

A glorious, theatrical recording of Monteverdi’s final collection of madrigals, vivid, energetic, full of contrast and power, subtlety and rhythmic vitality … see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Clarinet Quintet in A major, K581 (1789) [31:32] Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Clarinet Quintet in B minor, op. 115* (1891) [39:00] Scharoun Ensemble Berlin: (Karl-Heinz Steffens (clarinet), Guy Braunstein (violin 1), Christoph Streuli (violin 2), Ulrich Knorzer (viola), Richard Duven (cello)) rec. Kammermusiksaal der Berliner Philharmonie, 22-23 June 2005, *Grosser Saal der Berliner Philharmonie, 5-8 February 2006 DDD TUDOR 7137 [70:44] [MG]

Beautifully played orthodox performances of a cultivated homogeneity … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Concertos for Horn and Orchestraa – No. 1 in D, K386b (1791?) [8:16]; No. 2 in E flat, K417 (1783) [13:44]; No. 3 in E flat, K447 (1784-87) [15:53]; No. 4 in E flat, K495 (1786) [16:05]. Quintet for Piano and wind Instruments, K452b (1784) [21:30]. aDennis Brain (horn); bWalter Gieseking (piano); aPhilharmonia Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan; bPhilharmonia Wind Ensemble (Sidney Sutcliffe (oboe); Bernard Walton (clarinet); Dennis Brain (horn); Cecil James, (bassoon)) rec. aKingsway Hall, London, 12-13, 23 November 1953; bEMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London, 15 April 1955. ADD NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111070 [75:16][CC]

This disc is pure joy. At the price, it is almost a crime not to snap it up. This is as near to flawless horn playing as we can expect this side of the veil. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Oboe Concerto in C, K. 314 (1777)* [19:25] Sinfonia Concertante for Winds in E flat, K. 297b+ [27:52] Clarinet Concerto in A, K. 622 (1791)^ [29:10] Douglas Boyd (oboe)*+ Richard Hosford (clarinet+, basset clarinet^) Robin O'Neill (bassoon)+ Jonathan Williams (horn)^ Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Paavo Berglund*, Alexander Schneider+^ rec. no information provided COE RECORDS CD COE 814 [77:07][SV]

Performances well-matched, stylish, unashamed modern-orchestra Mozart, with a consistent interpretive approach. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) La clemenza di Tito (1791) K. 621 Nicolai Gedda (tenor) – Tito Vespasiano, Imperatore di Roma; Hilde Zadek (soprano) – Vitellia, figlia dell’Imperatore Vitellio; Ilse Wallenstein (soprano) – Servilia, sorella di Sesto, amante d’Annio; Ira Malaniuk (mezzo) – Sesto, amico di Tito, amante di Vitellia; Peter Offermanns (tenor) – Annio, amico di Sesto, amante di Servilia; Gerhard Gröschel (bass) – Publio, prefetto del pretorio; Kölner Rundfunkchor und Rundfunkorchester/Joseph Keilberth rec. Funkhaus des WDR, Saal 1, Cologne, 28–31 December 1955 CAPRICCIO 67 159 [49:53 + 54:45] [GF]

While this can never be a first recommendation it has good things on offer and admirers of Nicolai Gedda may well be interested ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Complete Church Sonatas Istvan Matyas, organ (KV263, KV278 & KV329) Thomas Fheodoroff (violin) Regine Schroder (violin) Alexandra Dienz (bass) Wiener Akademie/Martin Haselböck (director; organ) rec: 12-15 June 2005, Hofburgkapelle, Vienna, Austria. DDD CAPRICCIO DIGITAL SACD 71 064 [61.37] [MC]

This is a disc of high quality music from Mozart which I have no hesitation in recommending to anyone especially to those who enjoy lesser known music from the Classical era. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major K467 (1785) [27:41] Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major K503 (1786) [31:23] Stephen Kovacevich (piano) London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Colin Davis rec. London, June 1972, ADD PHILIPS ROSETTE COLLECTION 476 5316 [59:33] [IB]

Enjoy … I certainly did. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Chamber Music CD1 Divertimento for violin, viola and cello in E flat major K563 (1788) [49:21] Quartet for oboe, violin and ‘cello in F major K370 (1781) [14:32] CD2 String Quartet no 14 in G major K 387 (1782) [21:11] String Quartet no 15 in D minor K 421 (1783) [30:45] CD3 String Quartet no 16 in E flat major K428 (1784) [33:40] String Quartet no 17 in B flat major K 458 “The Hunt” (1784) [32:49] CD4 String Quartet no 18 in A major K464 (1785) [37:42] String Quartet no 19 in C major K465 “Dissonance” (1785) [38:06] CD5 String Quintet in B flat major K174 (1773) [39:52] String Quintet in G minor K516 (1787) [39:33] Smithson String Quartet (Jaap Schroder (violin), Marylin McDonald (violin) Judson Griffin (viola) Kenneth Slowik (cello), Lisa Rautenberg (2nd viola in K174 and K516)) rec. Chateaubriant, France, 19-23 September 1990 (disc 1); Evangelische Kirche, Honrath, Germany, 16-23 October 1989 (Discs 2-4); Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, London, UK, 17-21 October 1990 (Disc 5). DDD VIRGIN CLASSICS 3727782 [5 CDs: 63:58 + 66:17 + 66:34 + 75:53 + 79:13] [IB]

I have derived a great deal of enjoyment and insight from this set and would be willing to give it a fair welcome albeit with two small reservations. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No.14 in E flat major K449 (1784) [22:03] Piano Concerto No.15 in B flat major K450  (1784) [25:23] Piano Concerto No.17 in G major K453 (1784) [30:18] Piano Concerto No. 18 in B flat major K456 (1784) [30:07] Rondo in A minor K511 (1787) [10:36] Sonata in C major K330 (1779) [13:22] Artur Balsam (piano) The Haydn Orchestra/Harry Newstone rec. BBC broadcasts June 1956 (Concertos); Concert Hall LP c1951-54 (Sonata) and live at the Manhattan School of Music, February 1980 (Rondo) BRIDGE 9217 [67:00 + 66:30] [JW]

Excellent retrieval work from Bridge, whose commitment to Balsam has been of long standing and great worth ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Divertimento in B flat major K254 [17:51] Piano Trio in G major K496 [23:30] Piano Trio in C major K548 [18:44] The Florestan Trio (Anthony Marwood (violin); Richard Lester (cello); Susan Tomes (piano)) rec. Henry Wood Hall, London, 18–20 May 2006. DDD HYPERION CDA67609 [60:07][MK]

The Trio’s Mozart interpretations are really second to none. … see Full Review

Georg MUFFAT (1653-1704) Armonico Tributo, 1682 Sonata I in D [13:28] Sonata II in g minor [13:50] Sonata III in A [08:35] Sonata IV in e minor [08:43] Sonata V in G [21:31] Ars Antiqua Austria: (Gunar Letzbor (violin, director), Ilia Korol (violin), Peter Aigner, Susanna Haslinger (viola), Claire Pottinger-Schmidt (cello, viola da gamba), Luciano Còntini (archlute), Norbert Zeilberger (harpsichord, organ)) rec. 2005 SYMPHONIA SYCAT 00183 [66:35][JV]

Small-scale performances of five wonderful sonatas by Muffat … falls a little short in regard to contrasts in dynamics and tempo ... see Full Review

Olga NEUWIRTH (b. 1968) Lost Highway (2002-2003) (93:10) Libretto by Elfriede Jelinek and Olga Neuwirth Constance Haumann (Renée/Alice) Vincent Crowly (Fred/Mechanic) David Moss (Mr. Eddy/Dick Laurent) Andrew Watts (Mystery Man) Kai Wessel (Andy/Mechanic) Gavin Webber (Party Guest/Doctor/Arnie/Raucher) Grayson Millwood (Al/Party Guest/Mechanic) Rodolfo Seas-Araya (Ed/Party Guest/Mechanic) Lucas Rössner (Party Guest/Bill/Mechanic) Jodi Melnick (Party Guest/Candice/Mechanic) Klangforum Wien/Johannes Kalitzke rec. Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics, Graz, Austria 2003. DDD KAIROS 0012542KAI [49:58 + 43:12] [PC]

Obviously a labor of somebody’s love. But I can only recommend it to a stalwart few. You may find some kindred spirits here. ... see Full Review

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphony No.3 FS 60 (Op.27) “Sinfonia Espansiva”(1910-11) [37:57] Symphony No.6 FS 116 “Sinfonia Semplice” (1924-25) [32:17] Pia-Maria Nilsson (soprano)*, Olle Persson (baritone)*, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Esa-Pekka Salonen. rec. Berwald Hall, Stockholm, 5-6 June 1989* and 20-21 September 1990. DDD SONY CLASSICAL SK46500 [70:48][TP]

If you want this particular coupling or are keen to hear Salonen's take on Nielsen, look no further.  This disc is worth the outlay. ... see Full Review

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) CD 1 Symphonic Rhapsody (1889) [8:27] Helios Overture (1903) [12:01] Saga-drøm (1907-8) [9:01] Violin Concerto (1911) [37:20] CD 2 Pan og Syrinx (1917-18) [8:36] Flute Concerto (1926) [19:03] Rhapsody Overture (1927) [9:56] Clarinet Concerto (1928) [25:36] Arve Tellefsen (violin); Frantz Lemmser (flute); Kjell-Inge Stevennson (clarinet) Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Herbert Blomstedt rec. February-April 1975, Danmarks Radio Concert Hall, Copenhagen EMI CLASSICS 3 81503 2 [67:16 + 63:42][DC]

You will never go far wrong with this programme and these musicians. ... see Full Review

Gyora NOVAK (b. 1934) Sh’maa! The Dirge of York (1995) Rohan McCollough (speaker), Gyora Novak (speaker), Eidit Arad (mezzo), Nicholas Hill (horn), Catherine Butler-Smith (oboe), David Watkins (harp), Robert Truman (cello), Chris Brannick (percussion) No recording details CLAUDIO CC4832-2 [71:13] [JW]

Music that gradually becomes more consoling and emptied of external feelings. ... see Full Review

Carl ORFF (1895-1936) arr. John KRANCE Suite from Carmina Burana (1936) [27:23] Arthur BIRD (1856-1923) ed. Gunther SCHULLER (b.1925) Serenade for Wind Instruments, Op. 40 (1898) [24:11] Herbert Owen REED (b.1910) La Fiesta Mexicana (1954) [22:40] The Peabody Conservatory Wind Ensemble/Harlan D Parker rec. 14 December 2000, 15 February 2001, 18 March 2001, Griswold Hall, Baltimore, Maryland. DDD NAXOS WIND BAND CLASSICS 8.570242 [74:15][TP]

If you buy this disc for Carmina Burana, you will be disappointed, but Bird's serenade is simply delightful and Reed's symphonic poem is colourful and exciting. ... see Full Review

Harry PARTCH (1901-1974) The Bewitched – A Dance Satire (1956) Freda Schell (the Witch)/The University of Illinois Musical Ensemble/John Garvey
rec. 1957, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana Campus Reissue of material originally released on Gate 5 and subsequently on CRI CD 754 The Harry Partch Collection – Volume 4 NEW WORLD RECORDS 80624-2 [75:43] [PSe]

Remastered, restored and sounding as fresh as a daisy, this recording of the première of The Bewitched is, to put it bluntly, bewitching. ... 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 Korobelnikov (piano)* Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio/Vladimir Ziva rec. 18-21 June 2006, Studio 5, Russian State TV & Radio Company Kultura, Moscow NAXOS 8.570369 [52:04][DM]

Yearning, even vulnerable, yet always tethered to a grimmer reality …the material is plain, the colours muted. ... see Full Review

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b.1933) CD 1 Anaklasis (1959)* [5:58] Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima (1959-61) [9:54] Fonogrammi (1961) [6:40] De natura sonoris No.1 (1966) [7:15] Capriccio for violin and orchestra (1967) [11:38] Canticum canticorum salomonis (1970) [16:47] De natura sonoris No.2 (1971) [9:03] The Dream of Jacob (1974) [7:31] CD 2 Emanationen (1961) [6:48] Partita [19:15] Cello Concerto (1972) [14:45] Symphony* (1973) [31:14] Krakow Philharmonic Choir (Canticum), Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra* Wanda Wiłkomirska (violin - Capriccio), Felicja Blumental (harpsichord - Partita), Siegfried Palm (cello - Concerto) Krzysztof Penderecki (conductor) rec. July 1973, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London (Anaklasis and Symphony), February 1975, Katowice, Poland (Threnody, De natura sonoris 1, Canticum, Jacob), April and May 1972, Studio of Polskie Radio, Katowice, Poland (Fonogrammi, Capriccio, De natura sonoris 2, Emanationen, Partita, Cello Concerto). EMI CLASSICS GEMINI 381 5082 [75:44 + 72:30][DC]

These premiere recordings conducted by the composer have something that bit special to offer. ... see Full Review

Wilhelm PETERSON-BERGER (1867-1942) Domedagsprofeterna (“The Doomsday Prophets”, comic opera in 3 acts — excerpts, 1917) [79:19] Lennart Sporre, captain - Mikael Samuelson (baritone); Elin - Solveig Faringer (soprano); Lars - Thomas Sunnegårdh (tenor); Klas Mugg, Elin’s father - Göran Annebring (bass); Johan Bure, Professor - Bo Lundborg (bass); Simon Wolimhaus - Sven-Erik Alexandersson; Rector Magnificus - Curt Appelgren; Drottning Kristina - Inger Blom; Bengt Skytte - Lage Wedin; Fru Kerstin - IngMari Landin; Gorvel Mardh - Gunnel Bohman; Johan Papegoja - Nemgt Krantz; Brita - Catharina Olsson Other roles by members of Orfeo Drängar and the Allmänna Sången/Robert Sund Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Ulf Söderblom rec. Stockholm, Swedish Radio, radio broadcast, January 1984. DDD STERLING CDO1069-2 [79:19] [GR] [RB]

The cast acquit themselves with distinction ... what a shame that the entire work was not made available [GR] ... Allowance made for the inherently unsatisfactory nature of excerpts every aspect is exemplary [RB] ... see Full Review

H.E. PIETSCH The Profound Effect of One (2005) (I. From Nowhere [3:49]; II. Revelation [5:16]; III. The Uncertainty Principle [6:21]) Ralph Morrison (violin); Richard Altenbach (violin); Simon Oswell (viola); Andrew Shulman (cello)/H.E. Pietsch rec. 2 June 2005, Todd AO Studios, Studio City, CA Reflets Dans La Sainte Chapelle (2005) [16:55] Wally Snow (vibraphone); M.B. Gordy (percussion)/Brent McMunn rec. 2 June 2005, Todd AO Studios, Studio City, CA The Profound Effect of One (arr. for two pianos, four hands) (2005) (I. From Nowhere [3:39]; II. Revelation [4:58]; III. The Uncertainty Principle [6:12]) Brent McMunn (piano); Bryan Pezzone (piano) rec. 20 December 2005, Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA. DDD SPM 6 08793 01072 7 [47:08][PG]

One of the most solid recent compilations of music by a young composer. The orchestral portions of this album could not be more highly recommended. ... see Full Review

Amilcare PONCHIELLI (1834-1886) La Gioconda (1876) La Gioconda, a street singer - Andrea Gruber (soprano); Enzo Grimaldi, exiled Genoese prince in love with Laura - Marco Berti (ten); Barnaba, sadistic spy who lusts after Gioconda - Alberto Mastromarino (bar); Laura Adorno, wife of Alvise and loved by Enzo - Eildiko Komlosi (mezzo); Alvise, one of the Heads of the State Inquisition - Carlo Colombara (bass); La Cieca, blind mother of Gioconda - Elisabetta Fiorillo (alto) Orchestra, Chorus and Corps de Ballet of the Arena di Verona/Danato Renzetti rec. live, Arena di Verona, Italy, June 2005 Director, set and costumes by Pier Luigi Pizzi Video Director Tiziano Mancini Recorded in High Definition. dts digital surround sound, Linear PCM 2.0. Vision 16:9 Colour. NTSC DYNAMIC 33500 [2 DVDs: 162:00] [CC]

I hope many will see this DVD and enjoy it, for that may lead to increased cries for regular stagings of Gioconda in the UK. Offers a real emotional experience ... see Full Review

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) The Carmelites - Opera in three acts (1953-56) Libretto by the composer after Georges Bernanos' play Dialogue des Carmélites, revised English version by Joseph Machlis Ashley Holland (baritone) - Marquis de la Force, Catrin Wyn-Davies (soprano) - Blanche de la Force, Peter Wedd (tenor) - Chevalier de la Force, Gary Coward (baritone) - Thierry, Natalie Herman (soprano) - Off-stage voice, Felicity Palmer (mezzo) - Madame de Croissy, Josephine Barstow (soprano) - Mother Marie, Orla Boylan (soprano) - Madame Lidoine, Sarah Tynan (soprano) - Sister Constance, Jane Powell (mezzo) - Mother Jeanne, Anne Marie Gibbons (mezzo) - Sister Mathilde, Ryland Davies (tenor) - The Chaplain, William Berger (baritone) - Monsieur Javelinot, James Edwards (tenor) - First Commissioner, Roland Wood (baritone) - Second Commissioner, Toby Stafford-Allen (baritone) - First Officer, David Stephenson (baritone) - Gaoler, English National Opera Orchestra and Chorus/Paul Daniel rec. Blackheath Halls, London, 20-26 October 2005. DDD. CHANDOS CHAN 3134(2) [79.50 + 64.25] [ED]

There is much to enjoy and move you in this recording. ... see Full Review

Francois POULENC (1899-1963) La Voix Humaine ¹ (1958) [41:31] Gian Carlo MENOTTI (1911-2007) The Telephone² (1946) [23:29] Carole Farley (soprano) Russell Smythe (baritone) Scottish Chamber Orchestra/José Serebrier (conductor) Mike Newman (director) co-production between BBC Scotland and Decca Records 1992. DVD all regions VAI 4374 [65:00][AOz]

We’re eavesdropping, literally, on an intimate, private moment, as the protagonist disintegrates emotionally. ... see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La Bohème (1896) [108:10] Jussi Björling (Rodolfo, tenor); Victoria de los Angeles (Mimì, soprano); Robert Merrill (Marcello, baritone); John Reardon (Schaunard, baritone); Lucine Amara (Musetta, soprano); Giorgio Tozzi (Colline, bass); Fernando Corena (Benoit/Alcindoro, bass); William Nahr (Parpignol, tenor); Thomas Powell (Custom House Official, bass); George Del Monte (Sergeant) Columbus Boychoir, RCA Victor Chorus and Orchestra/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 16-17, 30-31 March, 1-3, 5-6 April 1956, Manhattan Center, New York Bonus Tracks: Jussi Björling sings Puccini Manon Lescaut: Donna non vidi mai [02:17] Royal Opera House Orchestra, Stockholm/Nils Grevillius, rec. 1948 Manon Lescaut: Ah! Manon, mi tradisce [02:31], Presto in fila … No! Pazzo son! [03:50] Licia Albanese, Franco Calabrese, Enrico Campi, Rome Opera House Chorus and Orchestra/Jonel Perlea, rec. 1954 Tosca: Recondita armonia [02:45], E lucevano le stelle [03:02] Swedish Radio Orchestra/Grevillius, rec. 1950 La Fanciulla del West: Ch’ella mi creda [02:19] Royal Opera House Orchestra, Stockholm/Grevillius, rec. 1937 Turandot: Nessun dorma [03:15] Orchestra/Grevillius, rec. 1944 REGIS RRC 2075 [54:11 + 74:49][CH]

A recording that has to give way before the better cast, better conducted and better recorded version under Erede on Naxos ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Complete Songs Joan Rodgers (soprano), Maria Popescu (mezzo-soprano), Alexandre Naoumenko (tenor), Sergei Leiferkus (bass) Howard Shelley (piano) rec. St. Michael’s Church, Highgate, London 1994-95 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 8531 [3 CDs: 76:01 + 71:54 + 68:00] [JW]

These decade-old recordings have stood the test of time. The set is something of a steal ... see Full Review

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Dardanus (1739) [128:07] Paul Agnew (tenor) - Dardanus Paul Whelan (baritone) - Anténor, Kathryn McCusker (soprano) - Iphise, Stephen Bennett (bass) - Teucer, Damian Whiteley (bass) - Isménor, Penelope Mills (soprano) - Vénus, Miriam Allan (soprano) - Une Phrygienne; Un Songe, Anna Fraser (soprano) - Une Phrygienne, David Greco; Dan Walker; Corin Bone Pinchgut Opera/Justin Way Orchestra of the Antipodes (on period instruments)/Antony Walker Artistic Directors: Erin Helyard and Antony Walker rec. live, 30 November, 3-5 December 2005, City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney ABC CLASSICS 476 5844 [54:35 + 73:32] [DC]

Certainly worth seeking out ... see Full Review

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Daphnis et Chloé, Orchestral Suite No.1 (1909-12, suite arranged 1911) [11:47] Daphnis et Chloé, Orchestral Suite No.2 (1909-12, suite arranged 1913) [15:58] Ma mère l’oye (Mother Goose) (1908-10, orchestrated 1911, expanded as ballet 1912) [27:04] Boléro, ballet for orchestra (1928) [15:49] Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Bernard Haitink Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra/Edo de Waart (Bolero) rec. September 1971, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Holland (Haitink); December 1974, De Doelen, Rotterdam, Holland. PENTATONE CLASSICS SACD PTC 5186 167 [70:29]

With excellent performances and superb sound quality I would not be too displeased to have this disc as my only representation for these Ravel scores. ... see Full Review

Emil REESEN (1887-1964) Grønlandsk Folketone (1934) [6.56] Polkina Fra Gudindernes Strid (1933) [2.53] Trianon, Suite I Gammel Stil (1941) [9.23] Variationer over et tema af Fr. Schubert (1928) [16.49] Agnether Og Havmanden (1929] Jeg Gik Mig Ud en Sommerdag (1929) [2.43] Gaucho-Suite (1931) [7.03] Himmerland (1925) [13.24]; Festmarch (1937) [3.41] Aalborg Symphony Orchestra/Bo Holten rec. Symfonien, Aalborg, 12-16 June 2006. DACAPO 8.226031 [67.29] [GH]

Reesen: my kind of composer - imaginative, versatile, highly professional and writing wonderfully for orchestral musicians. Most enjoyable ... see Full Review

Carl Heinrich REINECKE (1824-1910) Symphony No. 1 in A Major, Op. 79 (1858) [25:45] Violin Concerto in G minor, Op. 141 (1876) [34:03] Romance for Violin and Orchestra in A minor, Op. 155 (1879) [9:48] Romance for Violin and Orchestra in E minor, Op. 93. (ca. 1860) [3:39] Ingolf Turban (violin) Bern Symphony Orchestra/Johannes Moesus rec. Grosser Saal, Kultur-Casino Bern, 23-24 September 2004, 12 October 2004. Works for violin and orchestra are from live concert performances. CPO 777 105 2 [73:18][KS]

A pleasant discovery, professionally played. This will be of interest to fans of romantic literature, particularly the violin concerto. ... see Full Review

Joseph RHEINBERGER (1839-1901) Organ Concerto No. 1 in F major, Op. 137 (1884) [27:10] Organ Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 177 [24:54]* Paul Skevington (organ) Amadeus Orchestra/Timothy Rowe rec. St Luke Catholic Church, McLean, Virginia, April, *November 1999 NAXOS 8.557787 [52:04] [SV]

The essential impulse from which Rheinberger's music arises is lyrical rather than thrusting or dramatic ... see Full Review

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Scheherazade – Symphonic Suite after "The Thousand and One Nights", Op. 35 (1888) [45:15] Sadko, a musical picture Op.5 (1867) [10:49] Fantasia on Serbian Themes Op.6 (1866) [6:56] At the Tomb, Prelude to the Memory of M Belyaev Op.61 (1904) [4:18] USSR Symphony Orchestra/Evgeni Svetlanov rec. Moscow 1969 (Scheherazade) and 1965 (remainder) MELODIYA MEL CD 10 00180 [67:18] [JW]

Svetlanov’s 1969 Scheherazade in its brazen, indulgent and dramatic way still has claims to be taken as seriously ... see Full Review

Michelangelo ROSSI (1602-1656) Toccata e Correnti d'Intavolatura d'organo e cembalo Toccata I [05:34] Toccata II [05:38] Toccata III [06:05] Toccata IV [06:15] Toccata V [07:52] Toccata VI [05:23] Toccata VII [06:06] Toccata VIII [06:38] Toccata IX [06:08] Toccata X [09:00] Corrente I [01:05] Corrente II [01:25] Corrente III [01:34] Corrente IV [01:11] Corrente V [00:58] Corrente VI [01:27] Corrente VII [01:15] Corrente VIII [01:17] Corrente IX [02:45] Corrente X [01:55] Sergio Vartolo (harpsichord) rec. June 2003, Fumano, Italy. DDD NAXOS 8.557321 [79:31][JV]

Rossi's keyboard works belong to the most brilliant and captivating of the 17th century - this interpretation is disappointing as the virtuosic and capricious nature of the music is underexposed ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Ciro in Babilonia - drama with chorus in two acts (1812) Baldassare. King of the Assyrians in Babylon - Riccardo Botta - (ten); Ciro, King of Persia, disguised as an ambassador - Anna Rita Gemmabella (contralto); Amira, wife of Ciro, prisoner of Baldassare - Luisa Islam-Ali-Zade (mezzo); Argene, her confidante - Maria Soulis (mezzo); Zambri, a Babylonian prince - Woitek Gierlach (bass); Arbace, captain of Baldassare's army - Giorgio Trucco (ten); Daniele, a prophet - Giovanni Bellavia (bass-baritone) ARS Brunensis Chamber Choir Württemberg Philharmonic Orchestra/Antonino Fogliani (conductor; harpsichord) rec. live, 16, 22, 24 July 2004, Kursaal Bad Wildbad, Germany, Rossini in Wildbad Festival. NAXOS OPERA CLASSICS  8.660203-04 [61.50 + 70.09] [RJF]

Although not the only recorded version of what is essentially Rossini’s first opera seria, the ready availability of this live performance from Naxos will compensate for some vocal and dramatic weaknesses. ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) L’italiana in Algeri - Opera giocosa in two acts (1813) Mustafa, Bey of Algiers - Simone Alaimo (buffa bass); Elvira, Mustafa’s wife - Jeanette Fischer (sop); Haly, captain of the Algerian pirates - Anthony Smith (bass); Lindoro, a young Italian and Mustafa’s favourite slave - Bruce Ford (ten); Isabella, an Italian lady - Jennifer Larmore (mezzo); Taddeo, Isabella’s companion - Alessandro Corbelli (buffa bar) Orchestra and chorus of the Paris Opera/Bruno Campanella rec. live, Opéra National de Paris, Palais Garnier, April 1998 Stage Director: Andrei Surban; Set and costume designer: Marina Draghici Sound format, DD 5.1. DTS 5.1. LPCM stereo. Picture format 16:9 anamorphic Introductory notes in English, German and French Subtitles in Italian (original language), English, German, French and Spanish TDK DVD VIDEO DVWW-OPITAL [148:00][RJF]

Larmore’s singing as Isabella, together with a fine acting cast, rescues this rather wacky production from presenting Rossini’s opera giocosa as a farsa. ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il Viaggio a Reims - dramma giocoso in one act (1825) Madame Cortese, the Tyrolean owner of the Golden Lily Inn - Anastasia Belyaeva (sop); Baron Von Trombonok, a German aristocrat - Vladislav Ouspenski (bass); Contessa de Flolleville, a Parisian lady of fashion - Larissa Youdina (sop); Count Libenskof, a Russian General - Daniil Shtoda (ten); Marchesa Melibea, a young Polish widow - Anna Kiknadze (mezzo); Don Alvaro, a Spanish admiral - Alexei Safiouline (bar); Corinna, a poetess from Rome - Irma Guigolachvili (sop); Belfiore, a young French chevalier - Dmitri Voropaev ( ten); Modestina - Olga Kitchenko (mezzo); Lord Sidney, and English aristocrat in love with Corina - Edouard Tsanga (bass); Don Profondo, an antique collector - Nikolai Kamenski (buffo bass); Maddalena, the housekeeper - Elena Sommer (sop); Don Prudenzio, a spoof doctor and buffoon - Alexei Tannovistski (bass); Don Luigino, cousin of Contessa de Folleville - Andrei Illiouchnikov; Antonio, Maître d’hôtel - Pavel Chmoulevitch Chorus and Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre St. Petersburg/Valery Gergiev A co-production of the Mariinsky Theatre St. Petersburg and the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris. rec. live, Théâtre du Châtelet 10, 15, 17 December 2005. Stage Director - Alain Maratrat; Set Designer - Pierre Alain Bertola; Costume Designer - Mireille Dessingey Picture format: 16/9 Anamorphic. Sound formats: LPCM Stereo. DTS surround Subtitles in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian (original language) OPUS ARTE OA0967D [135:00] [RJF]

This modern dress production is wholly enjoyable, not least because of the acting commitment and quality of the singing and ensemble of the performers from the Academy of the Mariinsky Theatre ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Torvaldo e Dorliska - Dramma semi-seria in two acts (1815) Torvaldo - Francesco Meli (ten); Dorliska, Torvaldo’s wife - Darina Takova (sop); Giorgio, custodian of the Duke of Ordow’s castle - Bruno Pratico (bass); Duca d’Ordow - Michele Pertusi (buffo bass); Ormondo, Captain of the Duke’s guard - Simone Alberghini (bass-bar); Carlotta, Giorgio’s sister - Jeanette Fischer (sop) Prague Chamber Choir Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento/Víctor Pablo Pérez rec. live, Teatro Rossini, Pesaro Festival, Italy, August 2006 Performed in the Critical Edition by Francesco PaoloRusso for the Rossini Foundation in collaboration with Casa Ricordi DYNAMIC CDS 528/1-2 [76.52 + 74.18] [RJF]

Rossini lovers will want to add this fine live performance from the 2006 Pesaro Festival of this rarely staged opera to their collection. They might also hope, and wait to see, if a video recording was made. ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) L’italiana in Algeri - opera giocosa in two acts (1813) Mustafa, Bey of Algiers - Marco Vinco (bass); Elvira, Mustafa’s wife - Barbara Bargnesi (sop); Haly, captain of the Algerian pirates - Alex Esposito (bass); Lindoro, a young Italian and Mustafa’s favourite slave - Maxim Miranov (ten); Isabella, an Italian lady - Marianna Pizzaloto (mezzo); Taddeo, Isabella’s companion - Bruno De Simone (buffa bar) Prague Chamber Choir Orchestra of the Teatro Communale, Bologna/Donato Renzetti rec. live, BPA Palais, Pesaro, 12, 15, 19 August 2006, Rossini Opera Festival Performed in the Critical Edition by Azio Corghi for the Rossini Foundation in collaboration with Casa Ricordi DYNAMIC CDS 526/1-2 [69.43 + 73.47] [RJF]

For those only interested in audio recordings, I suspect the live occasion caught here will appeal over better sung performances in a highly competitive market of studio recordings ... see Full Review

Jakub Jan RYBA (1765-1815) Flute Quartet in C (1811) [15:35] String Quartet in A minor (1801) [7:00] Flute Quartet in F (1811) [18:00] String Quartet in D minor (1801) [9:56] Jan Ostry (flute) M. Nostitz Quartet rec. 9-12 November 2004 Studio Arco Diva, Dumovinč, Prague NAXOS 8.557729 [50:54] [DB]

A greatly enjoyable disc, recommended especially for fans of Haydn’s string quartets … see Full Review


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