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BOOK REVIEWS

Love Me Tender – The Stories behind the world’s best-loved songs by Max Cryer. Frances Lincoln Limited. ISBN 978-0-7112-2911-2. [IL]

An intriguing little book that would make an ideal Christmas stocking filler. ... see Full Review


LATEST CD REVIEWS

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FRIDAY November 14th

Ernő (Ernst von) DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Violin Concertos 1 & 2 Michael Ludwig (violin) Royal Scottish Ntl O/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570833 [71:24] [DW]

This rare recording makes this issue an important and welcome one … see Full Review

Jan Ladislav DUSSEK (1760–1812) Piano Sonatas Markus Becker (piano) rec. 2007 CPO 777 323-2 [69:31] [BBr]

Music well worth investigating ... see Full Review

Georges Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Faust Alfredo Kraus, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Renata Scotto NHK SO & Opera Ch/Paul Ethuin rec. live 1973 VAI 4417 [187:00 + 37:00] [RJF]

Worth watching for the three principals, despite the technical limitations ... see Full Review

Adrian MUNSEY (b. 1947) Requiem, Theme from Images of Nature, The Right Words, Faraway Place, The Distance Between, Broadwell, Beautiful Earth, The Sky Inside, I Would Lay Down My Life for You, Voice of an Angel, I’ve Been Praying, Faraway Place City of Prague PO/Paul Bateman, John Bell and Nic Raine; English Sinfonia/Geoffrey Alexander; Janice Graham (violin), English Studio Orchestra/Geoffrey Alexander; Elin Manahan Thomas, Keedie, Treorchy Male Choir, London Studio Players/Paul Bateman rec. 2005-8 MUSIC INFINITY INS109 [47:00] [BBr]

Very approachable and most enjoyable ... see Full Review

Edgard VARESE (1883-1965) Orchestral Works 2 Includes Amériques, Ecuatorial, Nocturnal, Ionisation Elizabeth Watts (soprano); Maria Grichiwska (flute); Thomas Bloch (ondes martenot); Men’s Voices of Camerata Silesia, Polish National RSO/Christopher Lyndon-Gee (piano and conductor) rec. 2005 NAXOS 8.557882 [67:14] [CR]

This is unmissable ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) La Traviata Angela Gheorghiu, Ramón Vargas, Roberto Frontali, Teatro alla Scala di Milano O & Ch/Lorin Maazel rec. 2007 ARTHAUS MUSIK 101343 [134:00] [RMc]

A towering performance by Gheorghiu ... see Full Review

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786–1826) Euryanthe Siegfried Vogel, Nicolai Gedda, Jessye Norman, Tom Krause, Rundfunkchor Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden/Marek Janowski rec. 1974 BERLIN CLASSICS 0184412BC [3 CDs: 64:53 + 45:20 + 63:59] [GF]

Wholeheartedly welcomed ... see Full Review

Constant Lambert conducts ballet music Peter Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893) The Sleeping Princess Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791–1864) Les Patineurs William BOYCE (1710–1779) The Prospect before us Gioachino ROSSINI (1792–1868) William Tell Sadler’s Wells O/Constant Lambert rec. 1939 SOMM SOMMCD080 [70:50] [BBr]

An unhurried quality about all the performances ... see Full Review

The Light Wraps You New Music for Oboe Rodney ROGERS (b. 1953) Lessons of the Sky Bill DOUGLAS (b. 1942) Oboe Sonata James MACMILLAN (b. 1959) Intercessions Bill DOUGLAS (b. 1953) Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano Andrea CLEARFIELD (b. 1960) Three Songs Fulvio CALDINI (b. 1959) Etude de réveil Phillip BIMSTEIN (b. 1947) Cats in the Kitchen Michelle Fiala (oboe) Donald Speer (piano); Bill Douglas (piano); Joseph Salvalaggio; Martin Schuring (oboes); Frank Morelli (bassoon); Karl Olsen (double-bass); John Cipolla (clarinet); Heidi Pintner (flute) rec. 2007 MSR CLASSICS MS1217 [63:41] [CR]

Enjoyable and well written ... see Full Review

Andrés Segovia – The Master Guitarist rec. 1927-49 EMI CLASSICS ICON 2080772 [3 CDs: 62:09 + 59:02 + 62:09] [JW]

Inexpensive, well produced and fully representative ... see Full Review

 

THURSDAY November 13th

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) La straniera Patrizia Ciofi (soprano) Mark Stone, (baritone) Darío Schmunck (tenor) Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, London PO/David Parry OPERA RARA ORC38 [61.56 + 69.58] [RJF]

A warm welcome for this first studio recording of Bellini’s fourth opera ... see Full Review

Norbert BURGMÜLLER (1810-1836) Symphony 1 Hugo STAEHLE (1826-1848) Symphony 1 Staatstheaters Kassel O/Marc Piollet rec. 2001 STERLING CDS1046-2 [74:25] [SV]

Are we so jaded that we can't appreciate such well-crafted, expressive music ... see Full Review

Maurice DELAGE (1879–1961) Quatre poèmes hindous, Deux fables de La Fontaine, Trois poèmes désenchantés,Sept haï–kaïs Maurice JAUBERT (1900–1940) Saisir, Chants sahariens Ernest CHAUSSON (1855–1899) Chanson perpétuelle Felicity Lott (soprano), Jean–Claude Bouveresse (violin) Kammerensemble de Paris/Armin Jordan rec. 1994 VIRGIN CLASSICS 5221282 [60:02] [BBr]

Rare melodies by Jaubert and Delage finely sung ... see Full Review

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797–1848) Lucia di Lammermoor Vladimir Stoyanov, Mariella Devia, Teatro Lirico di Cagliari Ch & O/Gérard Korsten rec. live 2004 DYNAMIC CDS 576/1-2 [65:15 + 71:16] [GF]

Not a top contender but deeply involving despite less than consummate singing ... see Full Review

Dmitry Borisovich KABALEVSKY (1904-1987) Piano Concerto 3, Rhapsody on the Theme “School Years”, Poem of Struggle Nikolay Adreyevich RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Piano Concerto Hsin-Ni Liu (piano) Gnesin Academy Chorus Russian PO/Dmitry Yablonsky. rec. 2005/6 NAXOS 8.557794 [54:09] [MSJ]

Maybe Kabalevsky’s karma really has come home to roost ... see Full Review

Modest Petrovich MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition Alexander Nikolayevich SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Vers la flamme, Five Preludes, Sonata 5 Mikahil ARKADIEV (b.1958) Sonata brevis, Eine Kleine Zaubermusik Mikhail Arkadiev (piano) rec. Moscow, 1994 CLASSICAL PIANO ASSEMBLY RCD30108 [75:14] [JW]

The accent is on the performer-composer ... see Full Review

Reinhard Schwarz-Schilling (1904-1985) Introduction and Fugue, Symphony in C, Sinfonia diatonica Staatskapelle Weimar/José Serebrier rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570435 [65:40] [WK]

Sincere music filling a major gap in our knowledge of post-war German music ... see Full Review

Georg Christoph WAGENSEIL (1715–1777) Symphonies Volume 2 Stuttgarter Kammerorchester/Johannes Goritzki rec. 2004 CPO 7771122 [54:24] [BBr]

Sprightly and well thought out music played with some brilliance ... see Full Review

Eugene YSAYE (1858-1931) Six Sonatas for solo violin, Poème élégiaque, Rêve d’enfant, Philippe Graffin (violin); Pascal Devoyon (piano) rec. 1997 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55226 [78:30] [EM]

A real love and comprehension shines through ... see Full Review

David Oistrakh – 100th Anniversary Edition CD 1 Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concerto for two Violins Antonio VIVALDI (1678–1741) L’Estro Armonico No 8 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto 5 Jean-Marie LECLAIR (1697-1764) Violin Sonata Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967) Three Hungarian folk dances CD 2 Ernst Hermann MEYER (1905-1988) Violin Concerto David Oistrakh, Igor Oistrakh (violin) Leipzig Gewandhaus O, Staatskapelle Dresden/Franz Konwitschny (Mozart) rec. 1954-65 BERLIN CLASSICS 0184612BC [77:52 + 36:19] [JW]

Offers gap-filling opportunities even for strong Oistrakh admirers ... see Full Review

 

WEDNESDAY November 12th

Judith BAILEY (b. 1941) Instrumental music String Quartet Op. 31, Clarinet Quintet for B flat clarinet and string quartet Op. 47, The Towers of San Gimignano for solo piano Op. 51, Egloshayle Nightingale Trio for violin, viola and cello Op. 59, Aquamarine Waltz for cello and piano Op. 65, Microminiature No. 1 for violin, cello and piano Op. 68, Microminiature No. 2 for violin, viola and cello Op. 70, Visions of Hildegard for B flat clarinet, violin, cello and piano Op. 72, Light for violin, viola and piano Op. 76 Davey Chamber Ensemble (Juliet Davey, Prunella Sedgwick (violins); Lucy White (viola); Catherine Wilmers (cello); Jane Plessner (clarinet); Nicola Grunberg (piano)) rec. Michael Tippett Centre, Bath Spa University, 19-21 December 2007 METIER MSVCD92101 [77:24] [JW]

A fine and stimulating conspectus ... see Full Review

Arnold BAX (1883 -1953) The Piano Music Iris Loveridge (piano) rec. 1959-1963. mono ADD LYRITA REAM 3113 [3CDs 3:44:55] [JF]

Technical brilliance, interpretive skill, spirit and inspiration ... see Full Review

Charles-Auguste De BÉRIOT (1802-1870) Piano Trio No.1 Op.58 (1847) [17:58] Grand Trio Op.64 (published 1850) [22:50] Trio Op.4 [11:57] Nocturne Plaintes de jeune fille [Piano Trio Op.34] (1841) [9:04] Kuniko Nagata (violin); Mark Drobinsky (cello); Hirotoshi Kasai (piano) rec. no details given TALENT DOM 2911 127 [62:44] [JW]

Big-boned and assertive ... see Full Review

George LLOYD (1539/40-1623) Symphony No. 4 in B, Arctic (1945-6) [65:07] Albany Symphony Orchestra/George Lloyd rec. Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, New York, 7-8 December 1987. DDD ALBANY RECORDS TROY 498 [65:07] [MG]

The better of the two recordings available and now in even better sound … see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858 – 1924) Soprano arias Amarilli Nizza (soprano) Orchestra of the Dvořák Theatre of Ostrava/Gianluca Martinenghi, except tracks 15-17, recorded live with Orchestra of the Arturo Toscanini Foundation of Parma/Julian Reynolds rec. 2007 Italian texts enclosed DYNAMIC CDS 595 [75:48] [GF]

A bit uneven but constantly thrilling to hear ... see Full Review

Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) Symphony No. 1 in Bb major (1876) [48:36] Clarinet Concerto Op.80 (1903) [22:03] Robert Plane (clarinet) Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones rec. 2007. DDD Sir Charles Villiers Stanford: Symphonies - Volume 4 NAXOS 8.570356 [70:39] [JF]

Stanford the consummate craftsman, music that is subtle and unpredictable ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949)
Salome (sung in English, translation from German by Tom Hammond) (1905) Susan Bullock (soprano) – Salome John Graham-Hall (tenor) – Herod Philharmonia Orchestra/Charles Mackerras rec. 2007 Salome’s dance of the Seven Veils (concert version) CHANDOS CHAN 3157(2) [61:39 + 52:40] [DH]

Real emotional and sonic surge ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring (1911-13, revised 1947) [34:14] Apollon Musagète (1927-28, revised 1947) [29:36] Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra/Jaap van Zweden rec. 2006 EXTON OVCL 00330 [63:50] [DM]

A very fine Rite indeed. One of my discs of the year. ... see Full Review

Arabenne and other trombone works from the North Christian LINDBERG (b. 1958) Arabenne, for trombone and strings (1996-97)1 [11:05] Vagn HOLMBOE (1909-1996) Concerto No. 12, Op. 52 (M. 169) (1950)2 [14:04] Mats LARSSON (b. 1965) Concerto for trombone and wind instruments (1995)3 [21:03] Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Symphony No. 9, for trombone and orchestra (1993-94)4 [31:19] Christian Lindberg (trombone) 1Tapiola Sinfonietta/Jean-Jacques Kantorow 2Aalborg Symphony Orchestra/Owain Arwel Hughes 3Östgöta Blåsarsymfoniker/Arie van Beek 4Lahti Symphony Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä rec. November 1998, Tapiola Concert Hall, Finland (Lindberg); June 1996, Aalborghallen, Aalborg, Denmark (Holmboe); May 1996, Linköping Concert Hall, Sweden (Larsson); January 1995, Ristinkirkko, Lahti, Finland (Aho) BIS CD888 [78:48] [DM]

Mandatory for anyone interested in the modern trombone ... see Full Review

Robert Merrill & Jussi Björling - Operatic Arias and Duets rec. 1949-51 NIMBUS PRIMA VOCE NI 7945 [78:31]

This disc is a gem ... see Full Review

 

TUESDAY November 11th

Bela BARTÓK (1881-1945) Music for violin and piano Elise Båtnes (violin); Håvard Gimse (piano) rec. 2005 SIMAX PSC1174 [71:24][KS] 

Superb performances of wonderfully romantic and passionate music ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Trios Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin); Bruno Giuranna (viola); Mstislav Rostropovich (cello) rec. 1988 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4777430 [66:24 + 73:12][MC]

A most rewarding and invigorating experience ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Violin Concerto Ilya Kaler (violin); Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Pietari Inkinen rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570321 [72:13][TP] 

Another wonderful disc from Ilya Kaler ... see Full Review

Pierre de MANCHICOURT (c.1510-1564) Missa ‘Cuidez vous que Dieu nous faille’ etc. The Brabant Ensemble/Stephen Rice rec. 2005 HYPERION CDA67604 [67:16][BW]

Another neglected composer receives his due ... see Full Review

Joseph MARX (1882-1964) Piano Music Tonya Lemoh (piano) rec. 2006 CHANDOS CHAN10479 [54:38][WK]

Marx presented with flow and serenity, sureness of touch and clarity ... see Full Review

Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945) Cavalleria Rusticana Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1857-1919) I Pagliacci Plácido Domingo; Beppe Union of Japan Professional Choruses NHK Symphony Orchestra/Oliviero de Fabritiis rec. 1976 VAI 4438 [158:02][RM] 

Domingo fans and all lovers of fine singing should seek this out ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quintet; Lieder Chilingirian Quartet; Dame Janet Baker; Geoffrey Parsons (piano) rec. 1971-81 CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 2282822 [76:42][BW]

A recommendable bargain but I very slightly prefer the Aeolians ... see Full Review

A song more silent - New works for Remembrance by Cecilia MCDOWALL (b. 1951), Lynne PLOWMAN (b. 1969), Tarik O’REGAN (b. 1978) and Sally BEAMISH (b. 1956) Portsmouth Grammar School Chamber Choir; London Mozart Players/Nicholas Moldoveanu rec. 2007 AVIE AV2147 [65:35][JQ]

Exciting and original modern choral music, splendidly performed ... see Full Review

Grace Davidson – A Portrait Grace Davidson (soprano); Fiori Musicali/Penelope Rapson rec. 2007 METRONOME METCD1083 [69:54][JW]

This engaging recital makes a fine calling-card ... see Full Review

Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen Music by Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750), Johann Philipp KRIEGER (1649-1725), Johann ROSENMÜLLER (1619-1684), Gottfried FINGER (1660-1730), Johann ROSENMÜLLER and Jan Dismas ZELENKA (1749-1745) Ruth Ziesak (soprano); Reinhold Friedrich (trumpet); Berliner Barock Compagney rec. 2006 PHOENIX EDITION 102 [61:01][JV]

An interesting and musically captivating programme ... see Full Review

 

MONDAY November 10th

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies Nos. 1-4 etc. London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult rec. 1954 NAXOS CLASSICAL ARCHIVES 9.80228-31 [56:43+49:24+48:44+56:40][CH]

A great Brahms First … playing of extraordinary fervour ... see Full Review

Francesco CILEA (1866-1950) Adriana Lecouvreur Union of Japan Professional Choruses; NHK Symphony Orchestra/Gianfranco Masini rec. 1976 VAI 4435 [147:00][ST]

Let’s hear it for this opera, in spite of its faults ... see Full Review

Peter CORNELIUS (1824–1874) Der Barbier von Bagdad Philharmonia Chorus and Orchestra/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1956 Carl Maria von WEBER (1786–1826) Abu Hassan Berlin Radio Symphony Chorus and Orchestra/Leopold Ludwig rec. 1944 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111337-38 [78:26 + 57:18][GF]

There is an extra frisson to this set … a prime recommendation ... see Full Review

Christian Joseph LIDARTI (1730-1795) Violin Concertos Auser Musici/Francesco D'Orazio (violin) rec. 2004 HYPERION CDA67685 [61:25][JV] 

Impressive performances of first-rate music ... see Full Review

Georg MUFFAT (1653-1704) Auserlesene Instrumentalmusik Holland Baroque Society/Matthew Halls rec. 2007 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA27408 [64:26][JV]

An eloquent and passionate plea for Muffat’s splendid music ... see Full Review

Wayne PETERSON (b.1927) String Quartets Nos. 1-3 Alexander String Quartet rec. 2006 FOGHORN CLASSICS CD1994 [60:55][JW]

An engaging discovery for chamber enthusiasts ... see Full Review

Elizabethan Love Songs Hugues Cuénod (tenor) rec. 1952 LYRICHORD LEMS8063 [57:33][JW]

Cuénod’s distinctive high tenor from 1952 ... see Full Review

Gundula Janowitz in Concert Music by George Frederic HANDEL (1685-1759), Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791), Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826), Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901), Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) and Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Gundula Janowitz (soprano); Graz Philharmonic Orchestra/Berislav Klobucar rec. 1970 VAI 4458 [54:00][ST] 

I’ll not be returning to this in a hurry ... see Full Review

Klabunterbunt - Chansons, Lieder, Gedichte und Prosa von Klabund (Chansons, Songs, Poetry and Prose of Klabund (Alfred HENSCHKE 1890-1928) Artists include: Annemarie Hase; Ernst Busch; Kate Kühl; Hanne Wieder; Blandine Ebinger; Hanne Wieder; Hannes Wader; Hermann Prey; Tim Fischer EDEL KULTUR/AKADEMIE DER KÜNSTE 0014682BCB [52:27 + 66:57][DB]

For fans of German Cabaret ... see Full Review

Songs My Mother Taught Me Music by Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1938), Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904), Ervin (Erwin) SCHULHOFF (1894-1942), Petr EBEN (1929-2007), Jan Josef RÖSLER (1771-1813), Vítězslav NOVÁK (1870-1949) and Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Magdalena Kožená (mezzo); Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2007 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4776665 [70:17][JW] 

Thoughtful and imaginative ... see Full Review

 



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