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Thomas ADÈS (b. 1971) Asyla Op.17 for orchestra (1997) [22:32] Concerto Conciso Op.18 for piano and chamber ensemble (1997-98) [9:26]These Premises are Alarmed Op.16 for large orchestra (1996) [3:56] Chamber Symphony Op.2 for fifteen players (1990) [14:14]…and all shall be well Op.10 for orchestra (1993) [10:28] City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (Opp. 2, 18) Simon Rattle (conductor Asyla), Thomas Ades (piano/ conductor rest) rec. live Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 29-30 August 1998 (Op.17), CBSO Centre, Birmingham, Oct. 1998 (Opp.2, 18); Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick, October, November 1998 (Opp. 10, 16) EMI CLASSICS 5034042 [61:10] [TH]

If you don’t have this disc, its new cheaper reissue gives you no excuses ... see Full Review

Charles-Valentin ALKAN (1813-1888) Concerto for solo piano, Op. 39 Nos. 8-10 (1857) [49:35] Troisième recueil de chants, Op. 65 (1857-70) [17:57] Marc-André Hamelin (piano) rec. 9-10 February 2006, Potton Hall, Suffolk; 20 December 2006, Henry Wood Hall, London HYPERION CDA67569 [67:39][DM]

Rather than ransack the cupboard for any more superlatives I would simply urge you to go out and buy this disc at once. ... see Full Review

Charles D'AMBLEVILLE (late 16th century–1637) Mass (transc. Joseph-Marie AMIOT (1718–1793) Actiones nostras; Acte d'humilite; Prelude "Pin, bamboo, prunus"; Aspersion de l'eau; Elevation de l'hostie; Elevation du calice; Salve Regina; L'ois qui se pose; Sanctissima; Pater; Communion; Prière à Jésus-Christ; Prière au Saint Sacrement; Prière après l'Office; Ave Maria Simon BOYLEAU (1544-1586) Per la Nativita della Beata Vergine Teodorico PEDRINI (1641-1746) Sonata XII (adagio and pastorale) Francois Picard (orgue a bouche sheng, flute vertical ziao, hautbois guanzi) Ensemble Meihua Fleur de Prunus Choeur du Centre Catholique Chinois de Paris XVIII-21 Musique des Lumières/Jean-Christophe Frisch (flute, clavecin) rec. Temple Bon Secours, Paris, June 1998, originally issued on Auvidis Astrée NAIVE E8910 [79.25][RH]

Mixes scholarship with charm and intelligence in a way which illuminates a forgotten corner of Sino-European musical cross-fertilization ... see Full Review

Johann Ludwig BACH (1677-1731) Das Blut Jesu Christi [7:40] Das ist meine Freude [4:40] Die richtig für sich gewandelt haben [11:25] Gedenke meiner, mein Gott [10:45]* Gott, sei uns gnädig [5:21]+ Ich habe dich ein klein Augenblick verlassen [8:15] Ich will auf den Herren schauen [6:58] Sei nun wieder zufrieden, meine Seele [8:43] Uns ist ein Kind geboren [6:40] Wir wissen, so unser irdisches Haus [7:00] Stephan Van Dijck (tenor)*, Dirk Snellings (bass)+ Ex Tempore Gent/Orpheon Consort/Florian Heyerick rec. l'église de Boissières-Saint Gérard CARUS 83187 [77:36] [JW]

These polychoral settings are enjoyable, sometimes refined, often exciting, and occasionally more run-of-the-mill ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685–1750) Concerti a violino certato Concerto for violin, strings and bc in d minor (after BWV 1052) [20:05] Concerto for violin, strings and bc in g minor (after BWV 1056) [09:20] Concerto for violin, strings and bc in E (BWV 1042) [14:41] Concerto for violin, strings and bc in a minor (BWV 1041) [12:58] Gli Incogniti/Amanda Beyer (violin) rec. January 2007, Église St Marcel, Paris, France. DDD ZIGZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT070501 [57:06] [JV]

The ugliest recording of Bach's violin concertos I have heard in a long time: rough and often aggressive, and lacking expression ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D minor BWV 1052 [21:19] Keyboard Concerto No. 2 in E BWV 1053 [21:16] Keyboard Concerto No. 3 in D BWV 1054 [18:28] Keyboard Concerto No. 4 in A BWV 1055 [15:10] Keyboard Concerto No. 5 in F minor BWV 1056 [10:00] Keyboard Concerto No. 6 in F BWV 1057 [15:48] Keyboard Concerto No. 7 in G minor BWV 1058 [14:43] French Suite No.5 BWV 816 [18:21] Andrei Gavrilov (piano) Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields/Neville Marriner rec. No.1 studio, Abbey Road, London, April 1986; Slovak Philharmony, Bratislava, May 1984 (French Suite) EMI CLASSICS 3 81482 2 [71:15 + 69:18][JW]

Attractive modern-instrument performances without mannerisms; involved and penetrating ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Bach Cantata Pilgrimage Volume 6 Cantatas for The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele, BWV 69a [17:18] Geist und Seele wird verwirret, BWV 35 [24:32] Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren BWV 137 [12:49]  Katharine Fuge (soprano); Robin Tyson (alto); Christoph Genz (tenor); Peter Harvey (bass) The Monteverdi Choir English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner. rec. Jakobskirche, Köthen, 10 September 2000 Cantatas for the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben, BWV 77 [17:47] Ihr, die ihr euch von Christo nennet, BWV 164 [16:16] Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 3 [22:42] Gillian Keith (soprano); Nathalie Stutzmann (alto); Christoph Genz (tenor); Jonathan Brown (bass) The Monteverdi Choir English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner. rec. Dreikönigskirche, Frankfurt, 17 September 2000 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG 134 [2 CDs: 54:53 + 57:03][JQ]

Yet another distinguished release in this excellent series. All the usual high standards of previous volumes are maintained. ... see Full Review

Francis Edward Bache (1833-1858) Piano Concerto in E major Op.18 see Bennett

William BAINES (1899-1922) Silverpoints (1920/21) [6:39] Paradise Gardens (1918/19) [8:29] Coloured Leaves (1919/20) [8:36] Twilight Pieces (1921) [7:36] Tides (1920/21) [5:33] Seven Preludes (1919) [13:23] E. J. MOERAN (1894-1950) Stalham River (1921) [5:16] The White Mountain (1929) [2:14] Toccata (1921) [4:40] Prelude (1935) [2:53] Berceuse (1935) [2:28] Bank Holiday (1925) [2:12] Two Legends (1923) [9:16] Eric Parkin (piano) rec. Decca Studio No.3 West Hampstead, London, May 1971 (Baines); St John’s Smith Square, London, April 1970 (Moeran). ADD LYRITA SRCD.266 [79.26] [JF]

A fine CD and is essential listening for all who claim to be enthusiasts of British piano music ... see Full Review

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Sonata for Solo Violin, Sz 117 (1944) [26:33] Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano, Sz 76 (1922) [21:26] Contrasts for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, Sz 111 (1938) [17:31] Annar Follesø (violin); Björn Nyman (clarinet); Christian Ihle Hadland (piano) rec. 2003-2004, Sofienberg Church, Oslo, Norway. DDD 2L28 [65:53][LW]

A representative sample of Bartók’s art as chamber music composer … three diverse works that demonstrate well the richness of his output. ... see Full Review

Bela BARTÓK (1881-1945) Concerto for Orchestra, Sz116 (1943) [39:46] Four Orchestral Pieces, Op. 12 (1912, orchestrated 1921) [25:01] Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz100 (1933) [9.38] Concerto for Orchestra (original ending) [0:57] London Philharmonic Orchestra/Leo Botstein rec. 21-23 February 2000, Walthamstow Town Hall, London TELARC CLASSICS CD80564 [76:22]  [DM]

If you are looking for a good, idiomatic performance of the Concerto this is not it ... see Full Review

Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Music for two pianos Festival Overture (arr. for two pianos) (1909) [13:51] The Poisoned Fountain (1928) [4:12] Moy Mell (An Irish Tone Poem) (1916) [9:02] Sonata for two pianos (1929) [21:44] The Devil That Tempted St. Anthony (1928) [6:31] Red Autumn (1931) [5:33] Hardanger (1927) [3:30] Ashley Wass, Martin Roscoe (pianos) rec. 21 January 2007, Potton Hall, Westleton, Suffolk (tr. 1);  20-21 November 2006, St. George’s Church, Bristol (trs. 2-9) NAXOS BRITISH PIANO MUSIC 8.570413 [64:22][DM]

If you know orchestral Bax you will have the measure of these scores. Colourful and seductive … utterly irresistible ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 – 1827) The Nine Symphonies CD 1 Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op.21 (1800) [26.56] Symphony No. 3 in E Flat, Op. 55, Eroica (1803) [49.34] CD 2 Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op.67 (1807) [31.10] Symphony No. 7 in A, Op.92 (1812) [38.55] CD 3 Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op.36 (1801) [31.02] Symphony No. 4 in B Flat, Op. 60 (1806) [33.05] CD 4 Symphony No. 6 in F, Op.68, Pastoral (1808) [36.57] Symphony No. 8 in F, Op.93 (1812) [25.39] CD 5 Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op.125, Choral (1824) [65.45] Angela Denoke (soprano); Marianna Tarasova (mezzo); Endrik Wottrich (tenor); Matthias Goerne (baritone) Moscow State Chamber Choir Russian National Orchestra/Mikhail Pletnev rec. Moscow, State Conservatory, June-July 2007 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 6409 [5 CDs: 76.37 + 70.16 + 64.15 + 62.47 + 62.27][DC]

Incredibly, it does almost everything it says on the tin. ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral” [42:07] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony No. 41 “Jupiter” [38:46] London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult rec. Abbey Road Studios, London, 17 April, 10-15 May 1977 (Beethoven); 23 September, October 1974 (Mozart) MEDICI MASTERS MM019-2 [80:56][EMc]

A Pastoral to treasure and Jupiter with grandeur underlined ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos CD 1 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.1 in C Op.15 (1795) [32:28] Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.3 in c minor Op.37 (1797-1803) [33:57] CD 2 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.2 in B flat Op.19 (1793-5) [29:13] Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.4 in G Op.58 (1806-8) [34:41] CD 3 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.5 in E flat Op.73 ‘Emperor’ (1809) [36:54] Concerto for Violin, Cello, Piano and Orchestra in C Op.56 ‘Triple Concerto’ (1808)* [34:53] Christian Zacharias (piano) Heinrich Schiff (cello)*; Ulf Hoelscher (violin)* Staatskapelle Dresden/Hans Vonk; Gewandhausorchester Leipzig*/Kurt Masur* rec. Lukaskirche, Dresden (Piano Concertos) 28-29 August, 1989 (No.1); 9-11 September 1988 (No.3); 30 September and 3 October 1986 (Nos. 2 & 4); 10-12 January 1988 (Emperor); Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche, Leipzig, 10-13 September 1984 (Triple Concerto). DDD Booklet with notes in English, French and German EMI CLASSICS TRIPLES 5 00927 2 [3 CDs: 66:35 + 63:54 + 72:21] [BW]

Not the top recommendation in a very competitive market, but these fine performances, well recorded, add up to a very attractive bargain ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15 (1796-98) [38:58]  Piano Concerto No.4 in G major, Op.58 (1805-06) [35:17] Lang Lang (piano) Orchestre de Paris/Christoph Eschenbach rec. January 2007, Salle Pleyel, Paris, France. DDD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 6719 [74:30][MC]

Lang Lang’s sparkling playing and considerable insights make for joyous listening. ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat major, Op.19 (ca 1801) [28:24] Piano Concerto No.4 in G major, Op.58 (1805-06) [35:02] Mikhail Pletnev (piano) Russian National Orchestra/Christian Gansch rec. Bonn, Beethovenhalle, 2-3 September 2006 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 6416 [63:26][DC]

Visceral and stimulating musicianship. ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto no. 2 in B flat major op. 19 (1795) [31:21] Piano Concerto no. 5 in E flat major op. 73 – "Emperor" (1809) [39:31] John O’Conor (piano) London Symphony Orchestra/Andreas Delfs rec. 16-18 January 2007, Jerwood Hall, LSO-St. Lukes, London TELARC CD-80675 [69:18] [CH]

One kind of Beethovenian truth, but others are lacking. ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 27a (1800) [35:08] Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Konzertstück in F minor, Op. 79b (1821) [16:16] Piano Sonata No. 1 in C, Op. 24c (1815) [21:13] Claudio Arrau (piano); aPhiladelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy; bChicago Symphony Orchestra/Désiré Defauw rec. aAcademy of Music, Philadelphia, 24 December  1947; bOrchestra Hall, Chicago 13 April 1946; cVictor Studio 2, New York City, 20 February 1941. ADD NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111263 [72:37][CC]

This is an account that does Weber proud and should ever be available. A mandatory purchase for those interested in the great work of Claudio Arrau. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat, Op. 73, Emperora (1810) [38:18] Piano Sonata No. 28 in A, Op. 101b (1816) [20:58] Hélène Grimaud (piano) aStaatskapelle Dresden/Vladimir Jurowski. rec. aLukaskirche, Dresden, December 2006; bSiemens-Villa, Berlin, July 2007. DDD Includes promotional DVD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 7149 [59:16][CC]

Grimaud remains one of the most individual – and hence unclassifiable – pianists of today. ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Diabelli Variations Op.120 (1823) [63:10] Piotr Anderszewski (piano) rec. Auditorio Stelio Molo, RTSI, Lugano, Switzerland, 29 July-3 August 2000 Originally on Virgin Classics EMI CLASSICS 50999 5 03406-2 [63:10][TH]

Treat yourself and enjoy a pianistic feast ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Missa Solemnis in D, Op. 123 [75:27] Annelies Kupper (soprano); Sieglinde Wagner (contralto); Rudolf Schock (tenor); Josef Greindl (bass); Kölner Rundfunkchor; Chor des Norddeutschen Rundfunks Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester/Otto Klemperer rec. Funkhaus, Sall1, WDR Cologne, 6 June 1955 MEDICI MASTERS MM015-2 [75:27] [JS]

Can be recommended only to fans of the conductor who must have everything he did ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trio in E flat Op. 1 No.1 (1794) [32:45] Piano Trio in B flat major Op. 11 (1797) [21:46] Piano Trio in D major Op. 70 No.1 Ghost (1808) [30:57] Piano Trio in B flat major Op. 97 Archduke (1811) [39:23] Chung Trio rec. Théâtre Impérial, Compiègne, Oise, November 1991 and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York, December 1992 (Op.11 and Op.97) EMI CLASSICS 3817512 [63:51 + 61:09] [JW]

My main concern is that I find the playing rather reserved throughout the four performances. The recorded sound is excellent, the notes brief, but recommendation remains equivocal ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony no. 4 in B flat major op. 60 [37:05] Symphony no. 5 in c minor op. 67 [35:50] Munich Philharmonic Orchestra/Sergiu Celibidache rec. live 19 March 1995 (no. 4), 28, 31 May 1992 (no. 5), Philharmonie am Gasteig, Munich EMI CLASSICS 56521 [77:57] [CH]

Sadly half-hearted readings from a conductor whose Beethoven had been in the great class thirty years earlier ... see Full Review

Ludwig Van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61 (1806) [44.01] Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26 (1866) [24.65] Kyung-Wha Chung (violin); Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Beethoven), London Philharmonic Orchestra (Bruch)/Klaus Tennstedt rec. Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, 29-30 November, 1 December 1989 (Beethoven), No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London, 8-10 May 1990 (Bruch) EMI CLASSICS 5034102 [69.57] [US]

A worthy addition to the collection of any Romantic concerto enthusiast, with the Beethoven in particular ranking among the most enduring and sensitive performances ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Volume II Sonata in C op. 53 – Waldstein” [23:31] Sonata in D minor op. 31/2 [23:32] Sonata in E flat op. 81a - “Les Adieux” [16:33] John O’Conor (piano) rec. 3-5 April 1987, Maltings, Snape, UK TELARC CD-80160 [64:10] [CH]

A reissue of one of the more collectable of O’Conor’s Beethoven sonata discs ... see Full Review

Arthur BENJAMIN (1893-1960) Overture to an Italian Comedy (1937) [6:21]Cotillon, A Suite of Dance Tunes (1938) [12:12] North American Square Dance Suite (1951) [13:48] Symphony (1945) [44:22] Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Myer Fredman (overture); London Symphony Orchestra/Nicholas Braithwaite (Cotillon); London Philharmonic Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth (Dance Suite; Symphony) rec. 1971, 1982. ADD/DDD LYRITA SRCD.314 [76:50] [JW]

Traverses the gorge from light to dark …an imposing three quarters of an hour, four-movement Symphony of very considerable stature ... see Full Review

Franz BERWALD (1796-1868) Overtures, Concertos and Symphonies CD1 Sinfonie Singulière in C (1845) [29:56] Sinfonie Sérieuse in G minor (1842, rev. 1844) [27:30] Play of the Elves (1841) [8:25] CD2 Estrella de Soria - Tragic Overture (1841) [7:54] Reminiscences from the Norwegian Mountains (1841) [8:53] Racing (1841) [9:01] Sinfonie Capricieuse in D (1842) [23:50] Symphony in E flat (1845) [28:13] CD3 Drottingen av Golconda - overture (The Queen of Golconda) (1841) [7:12] Piano Concerto in D (1855) [20:35] Bajadarfesten (Festival of the Bayaderes) (1842) [11:37] Violin Concerto in C sharp minor op. 2 (1821) [21:10] Allvarliga och muntra infall (Serious and Merry Whims) (1841) [8:13] Marian Migdal (piano) Arve Tellefsen (violin) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Ulf Björlin rec. 8, 10-12 January, 6-8, 10 September 1976, Studio No. 1, Abbey Road, London. ADD EMI CLASSICS TRIPLE 50999 5 00920 2 4 [3 CDs: 66:05 + 78:04 + 69:07][EMc]

Well worth investigating, then, if you are new to Berwald’s world. ... see Full Review

William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875) Piano Concerto No.4 in F minor Op.19 (1838/39) [27:35] Caprice in E major Op.22 (1838) [12:49] Francis Edward Bache (1833-1858) Piano Concerto in E major Op.18 (1851/1856) [24:42] Howard Shelley (piano, conductor)  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra rec. City Hall, Glasgow, 5-7 December 2006 The Romantic Piano Concerto – Volume 43 HYPERION CDA67595 [65:19] [JF]

This disc demands recognition. These composers are totally worthy of our attention, especially for their craftsmanship and invention ... see Full Review

Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Four Episodes (1926) [15:06] (Humoresque macabre [3:04]; Obsession [3:23]; Calm [4:53]; Chinese [3:47]) Two Poems (Winter-Spring) (1905) [13:59] (Winter [6:16]; Spring [7:43]) Concertino for Flute, Viola and Strings (1948) [9:20] Suite Modale for Flute and Strings (1956) [14:04] Noam Buchman (flute) (Concertino; Suite); Yuri Gandelsman (viola) (Concertino); Soloists of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra/Dalia Atlas (Four Episodes) Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra/Dalia Atlas (Two Poems); Atlas Camerata Orchestra/Dalia Atlas (Concertino; Suite) rec. 31 October 2005, Yaffo Tel Aviv Music Center (Episodes); 28-29 June 2006, Concert Hall of Slovak Radio (Two Poems); 31 October 2001, Bloch Concert Hall, Haifa (Concertino; Suite). DDD NAXOS 8.570259 [52:29][LW]

Atlas obviously has a real affinity for the music of Bloch. Again Naxos has come up with a real winner that should make new converts to Bloch’s music. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) String Quintet in A Minor Op. 25 No. 6 [23:48] String Quintet in C Op. 25 No. 4 [19:52] String Quintet in D Minor Op. 25 No. 1 [15:55] String Quintet in E Op. 11 No. 5 – Minuetto [3:40] Europa Galante (Fabio Biondi, Enrico Casazza (violins); Ernesto Braucher (viola); Maurizio Naddeo, Antonio Fantonuoli (cellos)) rec. Montevarchi (Toscare), Italy, 5-8 December 1999 VIRGIN CLASSICS 50999 503 4082 8 [59:97][JS]

Quite simply the most enjoyable recording of the music of Boccherini that I have ever heard ... see Full Review

William BOLCOM (b. 1938) Works for violin and piano Third Sonata (Sonata Stramba) (1993) [19:51] Second Sonata (1978) [17:36] Fourth Sonata (1994) [14:19] Graceful Ghost Rag (1979) [5:33] Renata Artman Knific (violin) Lori Sims (piano) rec. 4-6 June 2006, Dalton Centre, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan. MSR CLASSICS MS1197 [57:20] [DC]

A fine recording and very good playing ... see Full Review

Simon BOYLEAU (1544-1586) Per la Nativita della Beata Vergine - see D'AMBLEVILLE

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No.1 in C minor Op.68 (1876) [43:07] Henri VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881) Violin Concerto No.5 in A minor Op.37 (1859) [18:33] Lola Bobesco (violin) Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra (WDR Symphony)/Karl Böhm rec. live 5 April 1963, Funkhaus, Cologne AUDITE 95.592 [61:52] [JW]

Böhm in performances of the Brahms with which he was strongly associated and the Vieuxtemps with which he would have had, at best, only a fleeting acquaintance. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No.4 in E minor Op.98 (1885) [41.48] Hungarian Dances Nos. 2, 4-9 (1868) [22.51] London Philharmonic Orchestra/Marin Alsop rec. Blackheath Concert Hall, London, 21-22 March 2005 (Symphony); Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford, 22-23 April 2006. NAXOS 8.570233 [64:39][DC]

Top Brahms! ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Tragic Overture, op. 81 (1881) [14:05] Symphony No. 2 in D major, op. 73 (1877) [42:01] London Classical Players/Roger Norrington rec. No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London, September 1992. DDD EMI CLASSICS 54875 [55:11] [MG]

A cleaner toned and textured, fresh perspective, less romantic than the norm but with its own impetus and drama … see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto in D major Op.77 (1878) [37:05] ² Edouard LALO (1823-1892) Symphonie espagnole (1873) [25:06] ¹ Nathan Milstein (violin) Orchestre National de Paris/André Cluytens ¹ NDR Symphony Orchestra/Paul Kletzki ² rec. live, Septembre Musical, Montreux, 11 September 1955 (Lalo); 6 September 1960 (Brahms) CLAVES 50-2708 [62:22] [JW]

An ancillary disc for Milstein collectors – reinforcing the manifold pleasures of his playing in these two works ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Cello Sonata in E minor, Op. 38 (1862-1865) [28:45] Cello Sonata in F major, Op. 99 (1886) [28:50] Benjamin Shapira (cello); Shulamith Shapira (piano) rec. The Classical Studio, June 2007? DDD IRC 214 [57:37] [LW]

Rather literal and tends towards the stolid ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) CD1 Sonata for Viola and Piano No. 1 in F minor, Op. 120 (1894) [22:05] Sonata for Viola and Piano No. 2 in E-flat major, Op. 120 (1894) [19:52] Sonata for Cello and Piano in E minor, Op. 38 (1862-65) (Transcribed for viola by Emanuel Vardi) [26:17] CD2 Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 in G major, Op. 78 (1879) [27:19] Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 in A major, Op. 100 (1886) [21:14] Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108 (1888) [22:27] Emanuel Vardi (viola), Nobu Wakabayashi (violin), Kathron Sturrock (piano) rec. rec. St. Michael’s Church, Highgate, London, 21-23 August 1991 (CD1), 18-19 July 1991 (CD2) PORTRAIT CLASSICS PCL2103 [68:55 + 71:43] [LW]

A qualified recommendation. Just don’t turn up the volume too high! ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897) Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (1868) Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano), Hans Hotter (baritone) Choral Society of the Friends of Music, Vienna Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan rec. Grosser Saal der Musikverein, Vienna, 20-22, 27-29 October 1947. ADD NAXOS 8.111038 [76:13][GF]

At Naxos price this disc gives much music for the money ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony no. 1 in C minor op. 68 [44:27] Variations on a Theme of Haydn op. 56a [16:47] Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra/Marek Janowski rec. live, March 2007, Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh PENTATONE CLASSICS PTC 5186 307 [61:31] [CH]

Among the most recommendable versions of both works ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Double Concerto in A minor Op.102 (1887) [34:25] Clarinet Quintet in B Minor Op.115 (1891) [37:56]* Renaud Capuçon (violin), Gautier Capuçon (cello), Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester/Myung-Whun Chung; Paul Meyer (clarinet), Capuçon Quartet rec. Osterfestspiele - Grosses Festspielhaus (Salzburg, Austria), Grazer Kongress – Stefaniensaal (Graz, Austria), Wiener Musikverein (Vienna, Austria), 8-10 April 2007; Paris, Eglise du Bon Secours, 9-10 July 2007*. DDD VIRGIN CLASSICS 3951472 [72:21] [TP]

One of the essential purchases of 2007 ... see Full Review

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) CD1 String Quartet No. 3 (1927) [29:58] String Quartet No. 4 (1937) [22:27] CD2 Piano Trio No. 2 (1929) [30:36] Phantasy Piano Quartet (1910) [12:45] Miniatures for Piano Trio (Set 3) (c. 1907 pub. 1915) [8:42] Allegri Quartet (Hugh Maguire (violin); David Roth (violin); Patrick Ireland (viola); Bruno Schrecker (cello)) Tunnell Trio (John Tunnell (violin); Charles Tunnell (cello); Susan Tunnell (piano)) Brian Hawkins (viola) rec. Kingsway Hall, London, December 1971 (CD 1); Christ Church, Chelsea December 1976 (CD 2). ADD LYRITA SRCD.302 [52:29 + 52:08] Two discs for the price of one [EMc]

A perfect introduction to the composer’s chamber music and to one of Britain’s most original and imaginative composers. ... see Full Review

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) A Midsummer Night’s Dream Op. 64 – an opera in three acts after William Shakespeare (1960) [144:36] James Bowman (counter-tenor) - Oberon; Lillian Watson (soprano) - Tytania; Dexter Fletcher (spoken) - Puck; John Graham Hall (tenor) - Lysander; Henry Herford (baritone) - Demetrius Della Jones (mezzo) – Hermia; Jill Gomez (soprano) - Helena; Norman Bailey (bass) - Theseus; Penelope Walker (soprano) - Hippolyta; Donald Maxwell (bass) - Bottom; Roger Bryson (tenor) – Peter Quince; Adrian Thompson (tenor) - Francis Flute; Robert Horn (tenor)- Snoat; Andrew Gallacher (tenor) - Snug; Richard Suart (tenor) - Starveling; Simon Hart; Gregory Pierre; Andrew Mead; Nicholas Watson – Fairies. City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox rec. November 1990, Studio 1, Abbey Road, London VIRGIN CLASSICS 3818322 [77.14 + 77.12] [GH]

I was disappointed. This seems to lack cohesion and substance ... see Full Review

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra see PROKOFIEV

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto No. 1 see BEETHOVEN

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) CD1 Symphony No. 4 in E flat major Romantic (1881 version, ed. Haas) [70:28]CD2 Symphony No. 8 in C Minor (1890 version, ed. Nowak) [75:33] Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (4), London Philharmonic Orchestra (8)/Klaus Tennstedt rec. 13, 15, 16 December 1981, Philharmonie, Berlin (4); 24-26 September 1982, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London (8). DDD EMI CLASSICS GEMINI 3817612 [70:28 + 75:33] [TP]

The last Tennstedt Gemini set I reviewed, an all-Beethoven set, was very good. So is this brace of Bruckner symphonies ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (1637–1707) Eine Lübecker Abendmusik Benedicam Dominum (BuxWV 113) [11:42] Gott hilf mir (BuxWV 34) [13:34] Wie wird erneuet, wie wird erfreuet (BuxWV 110) [11:18] Wo soll ich fliehen hin? (BuxWV 112) [15:03] Mein Gemüt erfreuet sich (BuxWV 72) [07:54] Herr, ich lasse dich nicht (BuxWV 36) [07:36] Ihr lieben Christen, freut euch nun (BuxWV 51) [10:37] La Capella Ducale Musica Fiata/Roland Wilson rec. 20–22 November 2006, St. Nikolaus- und Ulrichskirche, Nürnberg-Mögeldorf, Germany. DDD CPO 777 318-2 [78:18] [JV]

The best recording of Buxtehude's sacred music ever made ... see Full Review

Dietrich Buxtehude (c.1637-1707) Organ Music Volume 6 Prelude and Fugue in G minor, BuxWV150 [8:35] Canzona, BuxWV166 [6:00] Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren, BuxWV215 [2:50] Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren, BuxWV213 [7:40] Magnificat Primi Toni, BuxWV204 [4:48] Præludium in F Major, BuxWV145 [7:73] Ich dank dir, lieber Herre, BuxWV194 [5:52] Canzonetta in A major, BuxWV225 [2:47] Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit, BuxWV222 [2:26] Præludium in C major, BuxWV136 [7:06] Auf meinen lieben Gott, Partita, BuxWV179 [4:30] Toccata in G, BuxWV165 [7:04] Præludium in G, BuxWV162 [6:47] Julia Brown (organ - Martin Pasi) rec.  Saint Cecilia Cathedral, Omaha, Nebraska, 18-20 September 2006 Booklet with organ specification and notes in English and German NAXOS 8.570311 [74:21] [BW]

This may not be the most vital recommendation for Buxtehude’s centenary year but it is an attractive proposition: a good cross-section of his organ music in fine performances, well recorded ... see Full Review

 


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